Los Angeles

Apr 11

Taking in CicLAvia

There are times when an idea is good. There are times when the implementation of that idea is excellent. CicLAvia falls into the latter category. To make it even better, the weather in Los Angeles was perfect for a bike ride through the city.

On Sunday, I packed up the kids and we went over to Hollenbeck Park to see one of the end-points of CicLAvia. We’ve visited the park before and enjoy it immensely. There is rarely more than 50 or so people around the park, so it was even more amazing to see hundreds of Angelenos congregating at the northern end of the park with their bikes, scooters, skateboards and feet.

LA Cyclists

According to their site:

Ciclovías started in Bogotá, Colombia, over thirty years ago as a response to the congestion and pollution of city streets. Now they happen throughout Latin America and the United States, connecting communities and giving people a break from the stress of car traffic. The health benefits are immense. Ciclovías bring families outside of their homes to enjoy the streets, our largest public space.

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Apr 11

Stopping to smell the roses…

I have a habit of being nosy. I also have a habit of putting off somethings. Everyday, I drive by a building with a scarecrow painted on the wall. I love the look of it, and sometimes hope for a little back up in traffic, so I can look at it longer. For the past 4 years, every time I drive past the wall I think, “I really should take some photos of that.” One day…

This morning, I was going to drive over near Chinatown to take pictures of graffiti under a bridge. I’ve been meaning to shoot that one almost 6 years. On my way, I decided to go past my scarecrow. Then decided to get out of the car and snap off a few pictures. I stood there, looking at this building, and saw something I had never noticed from the car: the entire building was covered in graffiti. Not only that, but the one building was actually two buildings.


I’m nosy…remember.

I did a u-turn to find the entrance to the compound. I knew that sometimes these places are locked up tight and often, even when I’m shooting them for work, I get hassled. Today, I got doubly lucky. The people inside the business were more than happy to allow me to shoot the art on the walls. They told me that the artists come in and ask if they can grab a spot. The building owner is aware of the artwork on the walls. This makes for a very wonderful relationship between all three groups.

The work inside the compound is amazing, even more impressive than just the scarecrow. If you visit El Sereno and have a chance to see these in person, I highly suggest you do so. Otherwise, you can look at what I shot, today. There are a lot more pieces on the wall, but I think this is a nice sample.

And no…I never did make it over to Chinatown. One day…

Jul 10

So you want to grow your own food (Part 2)

Your soil is prepped and you have a rough sketch of your water needs, as mentioned in Part 1, but now it’s time for the best part: picking your plants.

Choosing Your Plants

Find Your Zone

I love growing vegetables, even the ones I won’t particularly eat. I often grow extra produce so that I can trade with neighbors or use in my compost pile. Most people start off with tomatoes. Tomatoes are easy to grow and aren’t too tempermental. Best of all, they only need minimum watering. If you live in Southern California, you can actually grow some tomatoes year round if you let them go to seed. Ideally though, they need warm weather to get sweet and ripe.

Depending on your growing zone, you may be able to grow many different kinds of plants. For example, I’m in Sunset Zones 19, 20, 21. I would love to grow apples or pears for eating, but it will be a toss up as to if I’d get fruit at all. Sunset  Zone 22 can grow edible pomes.

You’ll notice that I listed 3 zones above. That’s because my tiny backyard ans 3 different microclimates. In fact, even the temperature will vary 3 -5 degrees depending on location. Some areas are in full sun year round. Others get only 3 – 5 hours of sun during the summer months and are in shade the rest of the year. I highly suggest checking out Sunset’s Western Garden book for Southern California gardeners.

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Jul 10

So you want to grow your own food (Part 1)

Recently, I’ve been asked about how to grow food at home. This is something I get rather excited about, not only because I love gardening, but I love seeing people talk about how they use the food they grow in their meals. Let’s face it, this economy has us all re-evaluating out food choices. When you go to a large grocers and see sad produce at exorbitant prices, it gives you pause.

I hope to be able to get you started on growing your own food, but this is especially geared toward people who live in the city. I grew up in the suburbs. We also had herbs growing in pots and grew a few vegetables, but most of our plants were indoors. When I moved to Hollywood in ’98, we lived in a courtyard apartment. The courtyard was very shaded and cool. Had I wanted to grow lettuce year round, I could have. Behind our apartment was a 6′ strip of concrete that was sunny year round. Trial and error taught me what I could grow and where. All of my produce and herbs were grown in pots and buckets. In 2006, we moved to El Sereno. I took my back yard from looking barren to a complete jungle in just a couple of years. (Side note: Those pots you see in the second photo are the same ones I used to grow veggies in, back in Hollywood.)

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Jun 10

Activities That Take Less Time Than Registering for Swim Classes at Richard Alatorre Pool

There’s incompetence and then there’s mind blowing WTFness that makes you worry that the people in charge are capable driving, breeding and/or voting. Today’s experience registering for swim classes definitely fall into the latter. With only 36 families in front of us, what should have taken, at the most 10 minutes, took a little under 3 hours. Two hours and 51 minutes, to be exact.

How is such buffoonery possible? Well, first off, they would not pass out registration papers to us while we were standing on line. Considering some people were registering 3+ children, logic would dictate that making the registration forms available would have been the most efficient way to handle this. When I spoke to the woman handing out the forms, she said that she’s only handing out 10 at time so that she won’t get confused.


Her exact words were, “Well, whether you have them now or get them later, you still have to stand in line.” I said, “I get that, I just thought I’d spend my time effectively. I thought this would be…efficient.” She just looked at me.

As we got closer to the front, I overheard her talking to other parents. That’s when I learned that the line wasn’t just for swim classes, but also for people signing up for team sports or the Jr. Lifeguard program. Once again, logic dictates that separating us into 3 separate lines would be the best course of action. Especially since, I also learned that after you filled out the registration papers, you’d have to go stand on one of these lines anyway.

What it came down to was that I got to spend 2 hours in the sun, standing on line to get a piece of paper that I could complete. Once that was done, I was given the opportunity to stand on yet another line, to give that paper to someone else.

I can think of several ways this registration could have gone so much faster. Making the registration forms available online, would be awesome. Even better, would be to allow for online registration in the first place. The multiple line suggestion above would have worked wonders, too.

Then I started thinking about other things I could have done that wouldn’t have taken nearly as long:

  1. Getting a new license at the DMV. Hell, doing anything at the DMV.
  2. Standing on line for a ride at Disneyland.
  3. Getting a DBA.
  4. Filing for unemployment benefits.
  5. Going through airport security. Internationally.
  6. Finding parking in West Hollywood during Pride.
  7. Getting an outside table at Doughboys.
  8. Listening to a speech by Bill Clinton.
  9. Getting inside the Federal Building.
  10. Visiting an IRS office.
  11. Driving to San Diego, Palm Springs or Santa Barbara.
  12. A dinner cruise in Long Beach.
  13. Watching TWO soccer matches.

I could go on, but what it boils down to is that whoever was the mastermind of today’s events should be fired. Immediately. Or at the very least, someone with half a brain should be in charge of registration from here on out.

Mar 10

It’s no secret that I prefer, no, love summer. I like the heat. I adore days that seemingly last forever.  There is a reason I’d never move any place where it snows more than one day a winter. Somehow, this winter seems longer than others and I’m not too happy about that. I could blame the weird, cooler weather in fall on the nearby fires. It feels like it’s been raining every week since December. There was that bright spot in the middle of February when it hit 81 degrees for 3 days in a row.

I want that back.

I need the sun kissing my skin.


Nov 09

Great LA Walk ’09

Yesterday was the 4th annual Great LA Walk. Began by Mike to mark his 10th anniversary in LA, it has grown to hundreds of Angelenos showing up to walk this great city. The walk started at the Shrine Auditorium and ended in Venice Beach. We met at Baja Cantina in Marina Del Rey to celebrate the end of the daylong walk. Below is the slideshow of some of the photos I took and the map route.

Map Route:

Oct 09

Pre-K Literacy Parade

Here’s some photos from today’s Literacy Parade (read: Halloween parade) for Pre-K.

Sep 09

NHRA Museum at the Fairplex

Did you know that there is an NHRA Museum on site at the Fairplex in Pomona? I didn’t. All these years and I had no idea. When we went to the LA County Fair on Saturday, we stumbled upon this place. It’s packed full of racing history. Admission was $1 for adults and frankly, should be more. The place is detailed in racing history, complete with roadsters, motorcycles and drag racers from the beginning of racing history on down to today.

Melrose Missle III

Melrose Missle III




Original Batmobile


Wally Parks


Bench with racing stickers



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Sep 09

Moon Sept. 1, 2009