Category Archives: Rants

Response time to a 911/LAPD call

As far as I can tell, anyone who has ever called 911 in LA to report something has a story about it not being as helpful as they’d hoped. We’ve got a few of these tucked away in out archives. Back in 2004 Cindy blogged about a recording telling her that her call was not an emergency and being put on hold after calling 911 and last summer Spencer started a running count of how many times he called 1-800-ASKLAPD to report drug deals & prostitution happening right outside of his house only to never have an officer even drive by. Today LA Observed points to Here in Van Nuys where Andrew is documenting minute by minute his call to 911 and then the wait for a reaction.

4:45pm: A man parks a truck in front of your house, blocking your driveway. He is dressed in para-military clothing and boots. He gets out of the truck and walks up and down your street, throwing objects at various houses…

At 5:05pm you call “911”. The operator, here in Van Nuys, answers in Spanish. Not English. You don’t know if you’ve reached 911. Then you say, “Is this 911?” She answers back in Spanish. Then you are transferred to a police operator. You describe a weird man in front of your house, doing strange things, and ask if they can send a cop car over to check it out.

6:02pm: He finally drives away.

6:10pm: The LAPD drives past your house.

For every one of these stories someone seems to have an idea how to get a better reaction. Personally I’ve been told (by friends, not law enforcement) never to call 911, but rather to call a local dispatch. I’ve also been told to make the situation sound “a little worse than it is” to get an officer to show up quicker. While I haven’t tried those myself, nor do I recommend them, it definitely is worth asking if calling 911 isn’t the best way to get help fast, what is, and why isn’t 911 what it’s billed as being? In fact, this is exactly the kind of thing that I’d love to hear from the folks at the LAPD blog about, maybe they have some insight?

Killing the Crows

Well, not really – but I want to. For the past week or so, these big black crows have been hanging out in the tree in front of my house. They caw, caw, caw, just like they are doing now, for hours, while I try to keep concentration to write. Today, one of those beautiful stereotypical LA days, I was woken up by the caw, caw, cawing of the crow at 5am!

Quoth the heathervescent “Nevermore!”

* photo from crunchbot via Flickr

Freakin’ MTA Bastids

b2wd.jpgYeah so tomorrow is the MTA’s annual Bike To Work Day, which for those of you strictly vehicularly inclined is better known as Blahbitty Blah Day. You might be expecting this urban ‘cycler to blow exhaust up your collective tailpipes about the benefits of two-wheeling, but instead I’ve got a bone to pick with our Metropolitan Transit Authority’s long-suffered hypocricy spurred on by the promotional photo pictured at right of County Supervisor Zev Yaroslavsky City Councilperson Wendy Gruel among other cyclists. Now, I’ve got nothing against Zev or Wendy in particular. What really pinches my innertubes is the MTA banner in the background that reads “Bike To Work” and below that “Be part of the solution!”

If our transit agency is all gung-ho to get more people out of their bucket seats and onto bike saddles I’m curious as to how they insist bikes are a solution when they forbid the things on the red/blue/green/gold lines every workday of the year — including Bike To Work Day — from 6:30 to 8:30 in the morning and again from 4:30 to 6:30 in the afternoon. Some solution.

Look, under all this aggro is an appreciation for the MTA’s efforts to get more people on bikes, but this will be the 12th annual Bike To Work Day where bikes aren’t allowed on its trains when people normally go to or from work. Is it just me or is that a DUH of the highest magnitude? Instead of strapping helmets on our politicians one day out of the year and pretending to rock bicycle commuting as a viable alternative, I say it’s high time the MTA finally make a serious effort to viably integrate and accept bikes onto every component of their mass transit grid — all day, every day.


Fill it up

I’ve got a new gripe with Gelsons. Their baggers are completely incompetent. Take this morning for example, I ran in to pick up a few things. I grabbed one of those little red carry baskets because I new I only needed a handful of stuff. When I got to the register I had one (1) bottle of Ice Tea, one (1) bottle of lemonade, one (1) bag of chips, and one (1) bottle of laundry detergent. 4 items. All easily carried in the one basket with one hand. Of course I was asked if I wanted paper or plastic, and as I usually do I chose paper. The main reason I ask for paper is because you can fit more stuff in it and it’s easier to carry. The cashier rings me up, I get to the end of the counter and there are four (4) paper bags sitting there, one item in each. WTF? So right in front of the bagger I emptied three of the bags into one, grabbed it and walked away leaving the 3 other empty bags sitting on the counter for the next customer who had an entire cart full of foodstuffs.

I mean, seriously, what is going on with this? When I was a freshman in highschool I worked at a grocery store and we had to watch about 48 hours worth of “this is how you pack a bag” videos. While I thought they were completely retarded at they time, maybe there weren’t because I now know that you could fit more than one item in a bag.

My (first?) Jailhouse Tattoo

jailhouse.jpgThank goodness tattooing is legal in the City of LA – although this one was certainly administered without a license –

So I’m paying for my stuff at the post office, of course using the world’s best pen, and in my zeal to shut said pen, I miss the cap and jam the pen point right into my finger.

A week and a half later, I still have the spot! I’m sure it will fade soon, given its location, but I’ve never felt more like a badass.

Don’t mess with me!

The REAL Crisis – Double Coupon Death Knell


Like the Killer Bees, I remember hearing that this day was coming. The day, of course, when major grocery chains stopped doubling coupons, leaving us dangerously close to retail prices on essentials like microwave SoftPretzels and Chore Boy scrubby sponges.

Well, according to a news flash from Mister Jalopy, that sad day is finally upon us.

From my debriefing:

Tragedy has struck in
the form of discontinuation of the double-couponing at Vons and Pavilions
markets. When I got the news, I informed the checker that this would be the
last time Pavilions would have the pleasure of my patronage as I thrust a
finger in the air. Only after leaving did it dawn on me that perhaps there
was no double-couponing grocery store in Los Angeles. Hopefully, the kind
readers of will have some input before my, admittedly, ample
supplies of 20 cent Lysol Toilet Bowl Cleaner, 9 cent microwave SoftPretzels
and free toothbrushes are exhausted.

What do you say, people? Can we help a brother out?

I’m pretty sure Ralph’s is still in the Double Coupon game, but beyond that I have no info. Does anybody out there know?

Bring out your dead!

Week after week I buy all kinds of food with only the best intentions.

My fridge and freezer are overflowing, yet there never seems to be anything that would provide a complete meal in there.

Every now and again I weed out the dead soldiers, and yes, I am overwhelmed by shame at the sheer wastefulness of it –

This one’s particularly embarrassing, but he was hiding in the door:
Continue reading Bring out your dead!

New CCW Forum for CA Residents

You know I’ve got a lot more to say about this but with time short today I didn’t want to let this slide. There’s a new forum for CCW advocates in California online at Most notable for people in LA would be the General Discussion and Los Angeles County sections. There are also breakouts for every other county in the state if you don’t actually live in LA County and want to talk to people in your area or find out what the local scoop is. The LA Forum is already getting some good posts with a note about Ken Masse who is running for Sheriff against notoriously anti-CCW Sheriff Baca, as well as a fantastic letter to Assemblyman Lieu written by one of the board users named glennh10 which gets right to the heart of the CCW issue here in CA. He writes:

Dear Assemblyman Lieu:

Liberalization of the right-to-carry procedures for handguns in California is sorely needed. I’m sure you realize that every person in California has an inherent right to defend themselves against criminal assault. As a result, every qualified person as well should have at their disposal the most effective tool of self defense, a concealed handgun, if they so choose. In the 36 states that have passed “shall issue” right-to-carry/concealed-carry laws, crime rates have declined. Criminals are discouraged when they don’t know who is armed. These 36 states require that carry permits be issued to all applicants who meet uniform standards established by the state legislature, regardless of whether the applicant is a celebrity “in the public eye”, or not. This is a smart move, since it is not just celebrities, politicians, and the like who could be victims of violent crime. Far from it. The current policy in California of “discretionary” issuance results in politicians, movie stars, sports figures and other people of influence acquiring permits, while the average woman or man who is equally or more likely to be a target of violent crime is most often denied; issuance or denial being at the discretion of the local sheriff or police chief. In addition, a concealed firearm “evens the odds”; it provides the greatest help and protection to the weakest and most vulnerable of society.

The current “discretionary” issuance policy is both archaic and discriminatory. And, as you can imagine, it is also subject to abuse. I ask that you introduce a bill in Sacramento to establish objective “shall-issue” right-to-carry procedures for handgun carry in California, similar to the majority of other states that have already done so. Thank you for your understanding and assistance in addressing this need.

Wanna feel smart?


Oh yeah. PEOPLE Magazine.

Are you in a doctor’s waiting room? Did you forget your knitting?

Why not pass the time with – um – People Magazine’s Super Challenging Crossword Puzzle!

New York Times be damned, at least 80% of the answers to People’s puzzle have ONLY THREE LETTERS. Seriously, it got to be funny – nearly every single answer (minus Patricia Arquette’s name, which was split up between two clues) had only three letters.

A few had four letters, and I believe the only other long word was PHANTOM (of the Opera, natch). I did the whole puzzle with a Sharpie, and as fast as I could fill in the boxes.

Thanks, People! Me feel am super-smartie!

A new kind of parking ‘tard


I don’t know if this class of parking ‘tard / douche / asshat has been categorized by the writers here at, so I thought I should bring this to everyone’s attention.

I watched as this guy, with a fuel efficient compact vehicle (pictured above) pulled up to the curb across from the Glassell Park Community Center. Mind you, parking is incredibly limited in the area to begin with, so one would imagine that residents would recognize this fact. Instead, this compact vehicle parked in such a way as to keep a second vehicle from easily parking in front or behind it. (and no, they weren’t parking around motorcycles or other obstructions – I watched as it pulled up.)

Dear people of Los Angeles: while parking inches away from another is not cool, or encroaching on a driveway is uncool, so is parking in a way as to prevent others from sharing the space. Common sense, please. The bloggers are watching you!

Prisoner of X – Finally!


Many, many years in the making, Feral House Books is finally ready to ship Prisoner of X, Allan MacDonnell’s tell-all memoir about his 20-year tenure on the staff of Larry Flynt’s HUSTLER Magazine.

“During his tenure in the Hustler trenches, punk-rock dropout Allan MacDonell ascends from entry-level comma-catcher to editorial overlord of the unseemly offerings at Larry Flynt Publications. Here’s the inside story of running America’s most influential porn domain.”

is shipping now, or you can order directly from Feral House.

Cover art is by the one and only Daniel Clowes.

This is the MySpace link.