Southern California

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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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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Apr 08

Los Angeles “officially” welcomes Spring

Well, you know it’s time to see half-naked people in the City of Angeles just based on the events happening. This weekend is the unofficial kickoff to Spring in LA. So many things to do, I’m wondering how I’ll sleep this weekend. The best part: Most of them are free.

Obviously, we’ll be at LACMA celebrating opening night of Jazz on Friday night. I heard that Les Claypool is also playing tomorrow night. Who knew he was still around?

Oh and the Getty’s Friday off the 405 series also starts on Friday night.  Since my idea of fun doesn’t include being anywhere near the 405 on a Friday night, I won’t be here, but I’ll try to make it one day.  It’ll be like me cheating on LACMA.

The Brewery kicks off their spring ArtWalk on Saturday, April 5th. If you haven’t been, you’re missing out on some kind of wonderful. The restaurant onsite is overprice, but the last times we went they also had someone grilling burgers.  We’ll be doing this on April 6th and grilling afterwards.  We live nearby, so if you’re willing, come on by.

The Brewery ArtWalk is a twice annual open studio weekend at the worlds largest art colony. Each artwalk, over 100 resident artists participate. During this event, you will have the opportunity to see new works, discover new favorites, speak with the artists and purchase artworks directly from the artists at studio prices.

The Brewery Art Walk takes place:
April 5th and 6th, from
11:00 am – 6:00 pm

Admission is free and so is parking. Come support LA’s finest artists, take home some great works and and dine at the onsite restaurant. If you have questions or require more information, please contact us via email (click here)

The Brewery is home to over 100 artist-residents and the art you see is usually for sale.  So if you see something you like, feel free to ask a price.

Over in Little Tokyo is the annual Cherry Blossom Festival.  It’s going on all weekend too.  Parking stinks so plan ahead.  The event is free to enter.  We caught the tailend of this a few years ago and have sworn we’d go back to see the event.

Descanso Gardens is having A World of Good Weekend.  It’s $7 for adults, $5 for kids 5+.  You get to enjoy all the festival happenings and the gardens.  The happenings:

This is your personal invitation to enjoy acres and acres of spectacular
Gardens, health-conscious salad-making demos, kid’s crafts, world music and fun
for everyone.

Salad Days: Salad Making Demonstrations
Saturday and Sunday, April 5 and 6 – 11 a.m. to noon
Magnolia Lawn
Chef de Cuisine Tiana Driggins tosses in her knowledge and celebrates Descanso’s 2008 Center Circle Edible Estates Demonstration Garden with a delicious and interesting salad demonstration.

Kids’ Veggie People Craft Table
Saturday and Sunday, April 5 and 6 – noon to 3 – Main Lawn

Music: Robby Longley
Saturday, April 5 only – 1 to 3 p.m. – Under the Oaks Theater
A beautifully orchestrated fusion of neo-classical/flamenco world music will be here for your enjoyment.

Music: Banshee in the Kitchen
Sunday, April 6 only – 1 to 3 p.m. – Under the Oaks Theater
Don’t miss the combination of traditional Celtic music, spiced jazz and rock.

That’s just a few of the big and interesting-to-me things going on.  If you’re in LA, I hope you can make it even just one of these events.  Otherwise, stay tuned because you know I’ll have pictures galore!

Apr 08

Ballet Recital

Last night was Ilia’s 3rd ballet recital. It was a close call, as the instructor couldn’t get into the room. Luckily, one mom has a background in breaking and entering and we got inside the church. Okay, not really…she just tried the door and it opened.

Ilia was really excited about last night, not only would she get to dance to 2 songs from The Wizard of Oz, but she would get to wear a brand new dress.

They started off with warmups and that spinning thing. This time Ilia actually moved across the room and didn’t get stuck spinning in one place.


One of the most annoying things…cellphones. You’d think that in this day and age grown folks would know better than to go into a recital with their damn cellphone on, let alone freakin’ answering it. Yes. That’s right. One of the people in there, not only had a stupid music ringtone, that she took forever to get to (4 rings), but instead of shutting off the phone, she answered it. I wanted to just kick her chair over.

They started out with the theme song to the Backyardigans. That was kind of weird because the opening has dancing, so you’d sorta expect to see the kids doing that dance or something similar. I’m sure they all know it by heart.

They did Supercalifragilisticexpealidocious (which I spelled from memory, thank you very much!) from Mary Poppins. In this one, Ilia clearly decided to do what she wanted to do. OMG, they did this really annoying song from Cinderella. I realized then, that I’ve never seen the Cinderella movie and this song pretty ensured that I never will.

Then they did the Grandma Mambo, which always cracks me up:

There was some issues during the recital. One little girl pretty much kept the whole place hostage to her drama. At first she was scared of the Wizard of Oz sign and ran off the stage. Then it was moved and she came back up, only to try to run off again because she wanted to wear her Dorothy costume. Sigh. Then there was the bathroom drama in between, which sorta snowballed into everyone having to go to the bathroom. I knew Ilia was going to say she had to go soon, but there was no way I was having that nonsense.

Finally, they did their Wizard of Oz songs:

And here’s the class:

Oct 07


I’m curious. These fires were miles and miles away from me: Malibu ~30 miles, Arrowhead ~80 miles, Irvine ~ 60 miles. My car, trashcans, patio furniture are covered in ashes. Not huge chunk o’ ash, but fine particles. If ash is traveling that far, now I’m wondering what I’m breathing just from pollutants from factories. Ugh.

Oct 07

Fire Season

I hope that everyone affected by the fires in SoCal stay safe. I’m safe. I’m in Los Angeles and there is nothing but orange skies. The closest fires are 30 and 60 miles away from me. The other day was kinda of weird. I went outside and notice the ground was reflecting orange light. To the southeast, this is my view:
South skies show a different story

But just turning my head to the northeast, I see this:
Clear blue skies to the north

That’s how the sky’s been looking for the past 3 days. We got some ash and it smells like smoke, though I’m not sure how it smells like smoke. Considering the overly dramatic amount of coverage these fires have generated, I’m not even going to into detail. I’m chagrined that, once again, there are vocal morons who take it upon themselves to denounce people living in an area that is prone to [insert your natural disaster], unless of course it affect them. I’m wondering if any of the people affected by the fire, second-guessed the living option of people affected by Katrina or Rita. I heard that some right-wing mouthbreather actually went off about how it’s not natural to live in the desert, even though most of the places burning are closer to the beach or smack in the middle of the Mediterranean climate. Some other guy was saying that if there was mass transit and better urban planning there’d be no problem, that we should rebuild SoCal like Chicago. Considering the places burning are, for the most part, pretty rural I fail to see the connection. He called me obtuse. I’m obtuse because spots of SoCal burned so he thinks the entire region needs to be rebuilt? Okay.

Judgemental people do need to get over themselves. We have fire season. Oct. – Dec. stuff burns. Some of that stuff needs to burn in order to germinate. It’s called chaparral. Deal with it. Just like the south and east have hurricane season, Asia has monsoon season…I mean, it’s nature. Shit happens. But there’s no such thing as earthquake season. Those people who believe that are on par with flat-earthers and people who don’t believe in evolution.