Category Archives: Rants

All In All It’s Just A ‘Nother Dick With A Wall

Los Angeles Magazine June 2009

As far as I’m concerned Antonio Villaraigosa walled himself off from me way back a few months before his first election in 2005. First he started posting election signs that phonetically spelled out the pronunciation of his last name (ELECT Vee-ahh-ray-go-sah!) to help educate those who were obviously having trouble wrapping their tongues around that contrived conjunction of his and his then-wife’s last name. Shortly after that, he led me to vote for Hahn when he decided to pander to the animal activist vote and kneejerkedly blurt out his support for closing the elephant exhibit at the Los Angeles Zoo, as if that’d be the most important order of city business to get to the moment after being sworn in.

Then came all his missteps and failures and that silly affair with that TV news reporter and the divorce and more missteps and more failures, which just built the divide between him and me all that much thicker and higher.

In fairness, the wall came down a bit shortly after his re-election when I’m guessing his Hummer-lovin’ transportation deputy Jaime de la Vega had someone phonetically spell out “bicycle” (bye-sea-cull) for ‘Tonio and after practicing it diligently he actually said the word publicly for the first time. Shortly after that revelation someone got a picture of him astride a borrowed fixed-gear at a community event in Baldwin Hills, and that endeared me him a little more to him me. Then, as we all know, that high was followed by the low of him pedaling along Venice Boulevard where he took a bone-breaking tumble trying to avoid an inattentive cab driver. But from that near-disaster came his understanding that supporting bikes on the streets and cyclists’ rights to safely ride them there would be a lot easier and more positive a pet project than, say, taking over the school system or running for governor, or spending more time out of the state campaigning for a presidential candidate, or dating other local news reporters… well, scratch that last one.

And my belabored point is? Belabored more after the jump.

Continue reading All In All It’s Just A ‘Nother Dick With A Wall

LAFD: Right On!

I just want to take a moment to exploit this public forum to send out some very personal gratitude to the LAFD’s emergency responders.

Thankfully, it was only water spurting out under high pressure this morning and not blood, but the intrepid (and so handsome!) dudes appeared in a jiffy and had the situation under control in short order.

Did I mention they were gorgeous? And that after battling the water I looked like a drowned rat?

Oh and before you downgrade my IQ by 50 points you should know that They couldn’t find the water shutoff to the house either.

In fact, now that daylight is upon us and calm is restored, I’d really like to know where that shutoff is….

(and PS, kids: if you’re gonna sleep naked, maybe have some clothes in your handy emergency kit. Just sayin.)

The Dude Aside –


I saw This Person shopping at a Santa Monica Ralph’s last week, fully without irony.

She and her friends were not looking to see if anyone would notice the robe, nor were they in any sort of Dude-like good humor.

I would have been willing to Consider giving her a pass if she at least bought milk and/or Kahlua, but all they bought was a few bags of Doritos.

They wandered the store, jabbering in a language I failed to identify (and I’m pretty good at that), and exuding general bitchiness.


No thank you.


(No, I don’t show her face. And neither should she.)

Sidewalk Biking

The other day leaving work, I eased out of the driveway to make a right turn and head home, but I was so busy looking left for a break in street traffic I didn’t see the bicyclist on the sidewalk coming from the right. He subsequently yelled in my car window about watching where I was going and I yelled back about getting the hell off the sidewalk. Because that’s how I roll, yo.

I think sidewalk bicyclists are both annoying and dangerous, and lately I’ve noticed a marked increase in their numbers. I don’t know if it’s the high price of gas forcing more and more people to self-locomote, or if there’s some sort of bike-on-the-sidewalk-to-work campaign I haven’t heard about, or if it’s just part of the secret plot to make my commute more ever-more obnoxious. Regardless, I had a whole bloggy rant planned today about scofflaw cyclists and how you shouldn’t expect motorists to be looking out for you if you’re not obeying the traffic laws.

And then…I actually researched the traffic laws.

Who knew? Apparently you are, in fact, legally allowed to bike on the sidewalk in L.A. So go on with your bad self, bicyclist. Ride that vehicle on the sidewalk. Hell, take your whole family with you. Annoy everyone and endanger yourself. Because L.A. law allows it. We can’t legislate good manners or common sense.

(Daquella manera’s photo used through creative commons license.)

Buy clothes that fit…mildly nsfw

make the jump for uncensored

It caught my eye not in a good way.  Seriously, if you’re buying clothes, buy clothes that fit.  Nothing is worse than sitting down to dinner and having a big hairy butt crack staring at you when you look up from the menu.  Or plate.  Seriously its a total what not to wear moment.

Pic by me with my trusty cell phone.  To see it in its still blurred maximum glory you need to make the jump.

Continue reading Buy clothes that fit…mildly nsfw

Oven Fixin’s: Not So Simple

How easy is it to get your oven (or any appliance) fixed these days for a reasonable price?
Yeah: Difficult.

Or should I say, how easy is it to get a simple estimate over the phone before so you can assess how much cash you’ll need?

Almost impossible.

Unless you know about Antique Stove Heaven.

The fun and games started when my oven died. I did a search for LA Oven Repair. I called at least 6 repair places: AAA Appliance Repair, West Coast Chief Repair, AAA Service Repair, Ameripro… the list goes on.

Every single one refused to give me an estimate before coming out. Even a broad, ‘I promise I won’t hold you to it estimate’ was met with a horrified, “absolutely unheard of! No one in Los Angeles will do that!”

Seems talking money is a big no-no when you want to get something fixed these days. Ameripro even hung up on me! I guess I was asking too many questions. When I called back immediately, the same guy who hung up on me affected a ridiculous fake British accent (this really happened) and then put me on hold for 8 minutes til I gave up!!!!

Mind you, I was very cordial and said I just wanted a super general idea of the price for the specific problem. Every single place I called, except Antique Stove Heaven, refused to quote prices over the phone, would not give hourly rates, wouldn’t give the price of the part (I knew what I needed…and had actually looked up the part price online just for info, and was willing to pay retail). The standard answer is, “We charge a flat rate, say a minimum of $165, but could be up to $500 but we can’t give an estimate til we see problem.” Even though I knew what the fix was.

They offer to come and check out the issue for $25-45 which is credited to the repair should you hire them, but you can’t figure out the approximate cost before they come out.

Is it only me, or does this seem crazy? Clearly it works for the repair company but not for the consumer. Once they are there, you are pretty much locked in.
Then I remembered that years ago, I needed a repair on my old O’Keefe and Merritt stove (a dream stove if there ever was one) and Antique Stove Heaven fixed it fantastically! They are a local company, family owned and have restored old stoves for the past 30 years. My current stove was an entirely different animal, newer, but still… broken.
So I called expecting the standard, “we don’t quote prices over the phone” routine. And voila! Completely different experience. Not only did Antique Stove Heaven quote me the exact price it would cost to fix it, but they came right out and got it up and running immediately!
Yay!!!! for a business in LA who will actually give you a straight answer and do what they advertise. And a big relief to have an idea of what something will cost before you dive in!

Term for Los Angeles makes it into the Oxford Dictionary

I’ve never cared much for the term “la-la-land” as it was ‘most always used in a derogatory manner.  How dare you disparage the city I love in that manner.  Well the Oxford Dictionary folks have taken it a step further and given the term credibility without noting in the definition its a “derogatory” noun.  Their exact definition:

la-la land n. can refer either to Los Angeles (in which case its etymology is influenced by the common initialism for that city), or to a state of being out of touch with reality—and sometimes to both simultaneously.

What say you on this addition to the dictionary?  More power to the haters or are you non plussed over the addition?

Pic by me of the L.A. iconic palms in Venice Beach, taken with my beloved “che-ez snap” that shoots in all of .3 megapixels.

The Sad, Lonely Existence Of The Night Shifter

This evening, when I got excited because I realized my local WalMart is open 24 hours, I remembered how boring it can be to be a night shifter. I recently became a night shifter with my new job. I worked night shift briefly once before, but my girlfriend (now wife) worked days and most of my friends worked days, so I was constantly switching to accommodate to them. Now my wife also works nights, so that’s nice, but what do I do when I’m off and she’s not (which happens all too often)? And what do we do together for that matter? I have never been one to sit around the house. I mean, I have my days of lazy, but usually I love to just be outside.

Do we have any followers out there who work night shift? What do you do? I know I could go to a bar or club until 2am, but I have to be in the mood for that. I know there are some 24 hour diners, but what if I’m not hungry? I’m open to any ideas. It’s times like these where I wish I lived in a city like New York (except for the blizzard part), where there’s ALWAYS something to do.

Help me out fellow Angelenos!
(And if you know of something close to Long Beach, I’ll be extra, super special excited)

The 2010 Naughty List: Meg Whitman

My best friend lives in Vancouver BC, but he grew up in San Pedro. Expatriate though he may be, he’s still lived the bulk of his life in California, thus far. And while he’s now, as a Canadian Citizen, largely removed from the noise of California politics, it can still pique his interest when he comes to visit.

Back in July, he was here for Comic Con (something rarely missed) and, of course, Meg Whitman’s ads were running constantly on every available media outlet, short of Big Gulp cups and Happy Meals.

“Who’s this ‘Meg Whitman?'” he asks me.

“Used to run eBay. Dumping a crap ton of her own money into the race. Record amount, in fact.”

“Who’s running against her?”

“Jerry Brown.”

The look of disbelief that crossed his face will haunt my soul.

“Does anyone really need anymore proof that the Democrats are in collusion with the Republicans?”

Mike’s a cynical bastard.

Look, you can take any politician, ANY, and create a laundry list of their lies and deceit; they’re politicians. They are liars. All of them. Your favorite candidate, in whatever race that was? Yep, them. Big, fat liars. Pants ablaze. The Great Statesmen and Orators of History? Fibbers, every last one. So, I will not even to attempt to recount a play by play of campaign inaccuracies and skullduggery here. Putting a politician on the “Naughty” list for lying or running a rough campaign is like blaming a spider for having too many legs. It may creep you out, but that’s just the way the damn thing is built.

So, why bother? Well, I’ll tell yeh, and frankly, I kinda find it funny:

Bitch tried to buy us off.

Seriously. Slice it up any way you wish, it was a blatant attempt to run an unstoppable money-fueled juggernaut of a campaign, which collapsed under its own hubris.

I’m not even going to take up the tract of, “She should have just poured all that money into our failing education system,” or whatever. Would that have been great? Oh, hell yeah! I would love to see a politician actually do that, or similar, on that scale. I ain’t gonna ride her for not deciding to do something so grand.

No, what gets you the coal in your stocking this year, Meg, as far as I’m concerned, is the hubris. The unmitigated gall. You thought you had us, that you could just buy us. That that’s all it would take. We heard it in your voice. Well, take your lump and heat your stove, let that keep you warm, we’re gonna let Jerry do his thing. At least he didn’t try to buy us out.

The part that tickles me, really, is that it did happen here. Like it or not, the stereotype of a typical “Californian” tends to be either the dimwitted surfer or the shallow “Movie Star.” This tends to piss me off, but that’s really how much of the country sees us. And yet, the State known to be all flash and no substance passed on Meg’s Millions. Whatever else Jerry Brown may or may not be, “Flashy” he’s not.

I suppose those who insist upon State drawn stereotypes will shrug us off as “Hippies” now. Funny how such a bunch of Hippies have elected so many Republicans in the past. Whatever, I’ll take Granola over Vapid any day.

I can’t wait to find out what my friend in The Great White North thinks about all of this when I go to visit him over Christmas. Should be interesting.

Mayor Villaraigosa thinks security theater is awesome, doesn’t care about your privacy

Across the country people are voicing their concerns for the Advanced Imaging Technology (AIT) scanners recently implemented by the TSA. This is not surprising given the fact that the radiation used in the scanners has about 1 in 30 million chance of giving you cancer – the same odds of you being involved in any terrorist attack, and if you choose to opt-out of that scan, the alternative is basically a violation of your fourth amendment rights. The TSA is facing heavy questions about why they continually under represent the amount of radiation these scanners use, as well as their ability to store the naked images of you that they capture. This is such an issue that the Chairman of Homeland Security has asked the TSA to reconsider the policy, Congressman Mica, soon to be head of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee is reminding airports that using the TSA is optional and they can kick them out – and airports in New York and Orlando are already taking steps to do just that.

Very clearly people are upset, and their elected officials are stepping up to address these concerns. Well, in other places they are anyway, here in LA it’s almost like Mayor Villaraigosa is mocking them. In this climate of concern, the mayor is bragging about installing the tech at LAX. Lawsuits are being filed against the DHS, several nationwide protests are being organized (National Opt Out Day, We Won’t Fly, Opt Out on Twitter), people are collecting horror stories online and there is question if the scanners would have even detected the underwear bomber that apparently set this all into motion (Dear TSA, thanks for always being one step behind) – And here’s our Mayor clearly siding against all reason. This single act pretty much determined how I’ll vote at the next mayoral elections.


Just the few pairs that could make it to this morning's photo shoot. There are more....

I’m not sure if I saw “Blade Runner” first or went to LA Eyeworks first, but both left a profound impression on me.

My flesh crawling crowd loathing keeps me from witnessing what I’m certain can only be a Lucy-Show-esque spectacle (OUCH!) once or twice a year when they put Last Year’s Models on sale and let their mailing list have at them like a pack of ravenous wolves. Me, I prefer to shop in a much more civilized manner.

The price of such civilization? About $600 a pair, out the door with a progressive prescription installed and some ridiculous glasses case (one had a merkin, and another I continue to call “Elton John’s Coffin”).

Maybe you’re lucky and don’t need a prescription, so you get pretend glasses or sunglasses for just a few bucks over the frame price (which is still well over $300 most of the time). Worth every penny, says I, since I’m not the kind of person who loses or sits on glasses.

(Well there was that one time, and the LAE gods were smiling that day, because two years later They Had One Last Pair of the ones I lost – the red and pink sunglasses here.)

And although Mark Twain never shopped there, I’m sure he’d agree that any other optician vs. LAE might also be the difference between lightning and lightning bugs.

I’m a huge fan of their whole zipper tooth theme, and love the black sunglasses because they remind me of the top of Nancy’s head – not that anyone remembers Nancy any more, but still. And I do, dammit.

Will the stores still be standing when replicants come for their parents? Not sure. I’m loyal to the Beverly store, and I think Roy Batty shops on Melrose anyway.

All I know is I’m glad they’re here now.

Boulevard of Broken Dates

bored-now's Broken Heart photo used through Creative Commons license

As promised I am posting my lament about the horror that is dating in Los Angeles. Let me first say for years I defended L.A. in this regard. Having dated in Washington, D.C. and Madison, Wisconsin, I felt like I had enough boots-on-the-ground experience to say with some limited authority: no, it’s not L.A. per se that sucks so much as dating in general. It’s like a job interview except you have to eat dinner and feel bad that your tits aren’t big enough. Sadly my job history is about a thousand times more impressive than my dating history (unless you’re using impressive in a general but not necessarily positive sense). Regardless, I’ve always defended this town as not necessarily any better or worse than anywhere else for dating, but lately I have had a string of dates that make me reconsider. Maybe what they say is true and this town is particularly difficult.

Experiences I have had on dates over the past few months include, but are not limited to: someone showing up 40 minutes late for dinner on a first (and last) date, someone asking me out and then telling me he doesn’t date because he needs to be friends with someone for years before getting romantically involved, someone canceling a second date because during the one-short-week since the first date he launched into a serious relationship with someone else, and the pièce de résistance, someone who went awol mid-date. This last deserves special mention as the worst date I have ever been on, which is, I might add, a hard contest to win. He excused himself twice to go to the men’s room and when he got up a third time, purportedly to fetch a credit card from the front counter where he accidentally left it, he never came back. My theory: he was actually married and his wife or one of her friends was at the cafe at the time; an alternative theory: he was doing bumps in the bathroom; or perhaps both of these things were true. In any case, even if you suddenly determine that you are totally and completely not into someone, it’s not that hard to say to her that your stomach got upset or you forgot you left the oven on or the neighbor called and your condo is on fire or something. You don’t just leave the table never to return. This behavior is odd in the extreme.

The above list represents a sampling of the dates I’ve been on relatively recently. Not all have been that reprehensible and there are several I don’t mention simply because discretion is the better part of good manners. I know what you’re thinking. You’re thinking, Travis must look like a gorgon or have bad breath or be boorish or laugh like Elmer Fudd sitting on a juicer. Really though, my fellow can vouch for me when I say I am awesome-ish. Sure I have my issues–don’t we all–but come on, I’m a size 4 and I have a Ph.D. that should count for something.

And lest I come off like I’m trying to bust someone’s chops, I want to clarify that most of the guys I have been out with lately have been reasonably nice guys (except for the douchebag who left mid-meal–if you are out there db I hope your wife finds out you’re cheating on her). Some have been really cool, and I’ve become friends with a few of them. This town is filled with interesting great people, I’m really clear about that. But really dating here is frightful. I concede.