Saturday, December 15, 2012

You Like Me! You Really Like Me!!

Found at HuffPo: they liked my writing on PST and the Posse.

Validation is great; a salaried position doing something I love would be great..

Image stolen from Huffington Post.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

YouTube finds: Electric Dreams

I just spent a couple of hours watching the fascinating and wholly excellent BBC Doc "Electric Dreams". It takes a typical Upper-Middle class English family of 2009 and plunks and re-does their home back to 1970. From there, they will "age" technologically one year for every day, until they hit the year 2000.

It's fascinating because the parents long for the days when families would be more together as they remember it, but forget that a lot of the time-savers they take for granted in 2009 weren't standard equipment in 1970- they start out without central heating, an apartment-sized stove, no freezer and with a car they can't find second gear in.

As the go through the weeks they are delivered technology as they would have according to statistics. Color TVs, VHS recorders, computers, game consoles, and mobile phones.

What's really nice about it is that these people seem really, well, nice. They aren't out for camera time and while they might be occasionally petulant, you can tell they really love each other. You'd be thrilled to have them as neighbors.

All three installments are viewable on YouTube:

The 70's

The 80's

The 90's

One of the things I like about it (in addition to the fact that as a kid of the 70's it resonates) is that it is flawlessly scored with period-correct music. Which I enjoyed, even if it made me feel older than dirt.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Whither Twinkie?

Hostess is no more.

The company said that they cannot afford to continue to bake it's low priced treats while paying the wages of it's employees. The unionized employees counter that the top-heavy management was sucking the life out of the company.

So, we can argue that this is a brand that went into cultural irrelevance long ago in the quest for healthier food. You can say (and you'll likely be correct) that they aren't going anywhere because someone will buy the rights and start making them again. You could also say (and are likely correct) that they weren't very good to begin with.

But it is sad to have more lost jobs in this economy.

For the first time since I was about 13 I really want a Twinkie..

Image: Internets..

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Sorry I've been away..

But the blog has taken a backseat to other things. Like lying around. I'll try to put a stop to that and post more.

While I am on the subject of things that must be stopped. here's one:
Yes, it's that devilish "please prove you're not a robot" crap that Blogger has instituted to stop spam. It doesn't, since I'm always deleting comments with "gosh, this helpfil info! please blog about black pearl jewelry". It just makes it annoying enough to comment on blogs that I sometimes just give up.

Do you hate this as much as I do? Comment, if you dare..

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Friday, August 24, 2012

Air Conditioning, Mankind's Greatest Achievement?

As much as I will whine about being too cold, being too hot makes me want to bite someone, and not in a good way. Luckily I reside in one of the more temperate zip codes in one of the most temperate climates in the country. For the most part, the parts of it that are less temperate have AC.

I don't.

Why? Well every year we get two weeks or so where it's miserable spread out between August and late September, and even then unlike other places it's guaranteed to cool off at night that at some point I'll be reaching for the comforter. I actually prefer fresh air to AC if I can at all, and would love to have a place with an old-fashioned California "Sleeping Porch": a second-floor covered and screened balcony older houses had for sleeping in the summer.

The only place that I really love AC is in the car. My current car is a venerable Civic which gets almost hybrid-like gas mileage, mostly due to the fact it's likely made out of gum-wrapper thin metal and has an engine that is perhaps powered by bees. Well, it sounds like it anyway. It does have an air conditioner, which does cool the air somewhat if given a big head-start. It's sort of like someone holding an ice cube in their palm and blowing on it into your face.

From across the street.

I remember one particular time having met my BFF Sue at the Huntington Library in San Marino to see the Corpse Flower bloom, and to wander the gardens on one of those blazing dry Pasadena days where you could start a fire by rubbing your hair briskly. She got into her New Beetle with the good AC and I got in my Honda, which, had I thought ahead I could have left bread dough in to arrive to a nice snack. I think I was at the Fairfax exit on the 10 before the temp was anything close to human and I believe I sweated through my wallet.

As I wrote, her car had the good AC- I've tested it. But the number one champs in the Air Conditioning department are the Americans. I've had more experience with General Motors, since my parents were confirmed GM people and I've driven several Cadillacs over the years. They had a system you would dial a temperature into and upon starting the car it would do it's level best to get you there. So if you were parked in an open lot in the Valley for four hours and had it set at 62° it will be a blast chiller freezing your face off until you either change the setting or it was darned we'll 62° in apparently the package shelf.

I assume that is why they now have remote start. I'd love to find out.

Having tested a Chevy Volt I did like one of the features that wasn't remote start: pressing and holding the unlock button on the remote would open all four windows to their fullest to help cool off the car. I loved that and used it a lot. Of course that week the temps were in the mid-70's. They also do remote start, but suggest that it's done while plugged in to use the plugs power to "pre-condition" the interior before unplugging and driving off.

Yes, I still have that Civic. Yes, the AC is still unimpressive. So a lot of the time I take the MTA. While it moves at a glacial pace to get you where you want to go (4 hours round trip to the Marina? Really?) at least it's glacial in temps as well. Because I don't need to sweat through another wallet..

Photo: Wikipedia Commons

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Today Was Mimi's Birthday

My friend Mimi Monette would be 98 today. I'm not going to rehash her whole life here, you can read the post I put up upon her death. I'm not really sorry that she's gone, since her world became smaller and smaller as she got older, and at the end even though she remained as cheerful and engaged as she ever was I could tell that she was ready for this chapter of her life, with health issues and home care and a lack of mobility to be finished.

What I do miss is the amount of fun I had with her.

In a way. Mimi was like Auntie Mame (although she might not like the comparison- Mame was a bit vulgar, and Miss Muriel Monette was never, ever vulgar..) in that conformity was something that she loathed. The social rules governing what women could or could not do, mind you, not the idea of manners or standards or taste. She didn't see any particular reason why she shouldn't take a couple weeks off to South America to study native fauna with a male friend and if you thought there was something dirty there, well that was really about you, not her.

One of the things I remember most about her was her love of Los Angeles, and of California, in the way that perhaps only non-natives (Mimi was from Oregon and moved here in her late teens) can have. We know where we came from and even may have fond memories, but don't want to go back. She had stories of going to UCLA back in the day when the stretch of Sunset between Crescent Heights and the Beverly Hills border was unpaved.

Mimi especially loved the coast, and would spend her rare free time painting the beaches. There was one particular painting of a guards shack that I loved and wonder what happened to. I hope her family has given it pride of place. I would have loved to have it, but I couldn't possibly have asked for it. It would be a breach of manners that Mimi would never comment upon, but I'd know.

Thursday, August 02, 2012

Forgive Me, I've Been Bad..

I know I haven't been posting a whole lot on here; I'll try to be better for the three of you that might still be paying attention. A lot has been going on in my little existence. My time on Team Beverly Hills was a wonderful experience, and I'm glad that several friends of mine (including my Sis) will be in the 2012 class. I've become more involved in local issues and have become better friends with my neighbors. My time on the Human Relations Commission has been very rewarding.

Attached is a picture of my "graduation" from Team BH, with Vice-Mayor Brien and Mayor Brucker. I've disagreed with Mayor Brucker in the past on some issues, but really do have to write that he has been generous, supportive and genuinely kind to me; while I might continue to disagree with him, I appreciate that.

Of course, a big thank to Lili Bosse who sponsored me for Team BH 2011. She really is one of the best people I know. Also to former Mayor Nancy Krasne who appointed me to the BHHRC. I still can't think of anyone else I'd rather be pinned by.

Photo: Dunno. Given to me?

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Gilmore Car Show at the Farmers Market

Last weekend was the 10th annual Gilmore Car show at the original Farmers Market in Hollywood. It was a fun show, featuring American cars from the 20's to the 60's; the cars that would have been parked there during the markets heyday when the site was part of "Gilmore Island"

At left is perhaps one of the snazziest numbers that would have been seen at the market, a Dual-Ghia from 1956. Dual-Ghias were extremely expensive sport/luxury cars that were hand-made using Chrysler components and based upon a Chrysler show car from the fifties. Frank Sinatra and Lucille Ball had one. They were so exclusive that the owner of the company would refuse to sell to someone he thought might lower the tone of the brand by being seen on one. Sammy Davis, Jr. and Dean Martin apparently didn't make the cut.

The images below are of a 1957 Ford Skyliner retractable hardtop, and group of Pontiac GTOs and a 1955 Cadillac convertible, which really needs to come live with me. Photos are mine.

Saturday, May 05, 2012

This is just wrong.


The video was shot at a Massachusetts school for special needs kids called the Judge Rotenberg Center (JRC). Gregory Miller used to be a teacher there, and he says electrocuting kids as punishment is extremely common -- even for minor offenses like raising your hand to go to the bathroom.

The Center's take on it?

"It is used to change behaviors in order to save, extend and enrich students' lives to help turn them around, to give them hope for their own future and to enable them to once again become part of, and enjoy the love of, their family,"

I don't normally push petitions online, but electrocuting special needs children as "punishment" strikes me as just wrong..|Online Petition Form

Monday, April 02, 2012

Let's go for a walk..

In my latest bit of deathless prose for Beverly Hills Patch, I cover my penchant for walking. I love to walk. Now, I love to drive as well. I love piloting an automobile, preferably a convertible along the byways of California. Or New England, the shores of Lake Michigan or the high desert of Arizona, where I once had an incredible drive with my BFF Dana during a meteor shower. We pulled over and spent a good half-hour freezing looking at a Spielbergian show with the top down and the seats of her Le Baron fully reclined, and a quarter century later I can still remember it. I can still remember driving into downtown Northampton in my college-years Spyder in autumn with the leaves crimson, the heater at full blast and Siouxsie on the radio. I can remember a recent trip to NYC on a hot summer evening walking through Times Square looking at someone driving a 1973-vintage 450SL with the top down, my envy as pea-green as his paint.

I love to drive.

I hate to commute.

Driving is carefree. Driving is top down, who cares where we're going or when we get there: let's stop at that funky place and grab an ice cream. Let's stop at that farm stand, that antique store, that stretch of beach. PCH. 17 Mile Drive. Taconic State Parkway

Commuting is girding the loins. Bluetooth on in case we're late. Coffee in cupholder. Water in other cupholder. Wondering what we were thinking when we got the stick-shift. The 10. The Henry Hudson. PCH..

So as much as I enjoy driving, I think I like walking more. When walking becomes a means of commuting (if you are lucky enough to arrange that in the megalopolis that is Los Angeles) it can be more pleasurable and sometimes even faster than driving. Don't believe me? Try getting from Santa Monica and Wilshire to City Hall during rush hour.

Even if you beat me there, I'll be refreshed by my nature walk through Beverly Gardens from the electric fountain to the big rock while you will have gnashed your molars to nubs driving..

image: my iPhone

Monday, March 12, 2012

Pets, & Why Your Children Need Them

I grew up in the 70's. Well to be honest I was born in the 60's but since I don't remember any of that I claim the 70's. I actually claim the 80's since that was the time I could drink and vote, but for this blog we're going back to the 70's. When we were kids it was decided we'd get a dog. I wasn't privy to the process, but there was a lady up street who bred poodles, and I believe that the dog we got was less than show quality but looked upon as a good pet. He was called something something Jacques something something since he was a pure bred. We called him Jackie.

For those of you who don't know poodles, in addition to the fact they don't shed they're very intelligent and don't care to be bored. I remember that Jackie loved to play in the snow with us when we'd let his coat grow in. Actually he loved to play with us whatever the weather, demolishing leaf piles we'd carefully raked up or just sitting on the sofa wondering why we'd be watching "Rhoda" when he was so much more interesting.

Jackie was a perfect dog to grow up with; a pet, a playmate and a workout partner. We'd take Jackie out for exercise and he'd tire us out before we'd tire him. Countless frisbees, chewtoys and knitted whatnots would be gnawed into shards in the tug-and-toss games we'd play when we were outside and he'd sit on the sofa with us while we read or watched TV. As long as we payed attention to scratching his muzzle. Family Sunday summer drives would mean that Jackie got his own cone at Dairy Bar and family dinner meant that nobody said a word when Grampy fed Jackie at the table.

I grew more mature as did Jackie. White invaded his muzzle and his eyes. He lost teeth and his eyesight was going. I'm reading into it but there was an all too human look to him as he lost more and more control of his faculties. Finally our mother decided to take him to the vet and and let him go. I can't fault her for doing so, because Jackie was her dog and well, that was how it was done in the era, and Jackie wasn't doing well.

I like to remember that Jackie that rode as a pup in our old Ninety-Eight with his nose in the Air-Con vents and eyes glued on the road and the elder Jackie who rode in my spider with the wind on his face, licking the air.

Maybe that's the best thing that happens with us being temporary guardians of pets. We learn about how we should treat each others by living with creatures who depend on us utterly, and know that we'll be giving them our best, and teach us the lessons of love, loss and the responsibilities in between.

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

"Before Stonewall" and "After Stonewall" are on Netflix Streaming

Both are worth watching for a history of gay life in the US in the 20th century. Of course, since I am vintage "after" I think the latter one hit closer to home. My youth was in the AIDS 80's and it's hard to watch some of that period without a certain bitterness. Watching it reminded me of a lot of rhetoric from politicians about GLBT people that was fairly disgusting. While I'd like to have the waistline, flesh tone and hair color I had in the 80's I am completely unsentimental about any other aspect of that time.

Sad to think that in this "enlightened" day we have children killing themselves because of bullying over being gay. Or for that matter over anything else.

Sunday, January 01, 2012

Happy New Year!

It's 2012, and BBC America is having an AbFab marathon, and there will be a new episode shown on the 8th! I can quite grasp that it's been 20 years since this show has been on the air. It's still as fresh and funny as it was back in the 90's. Right now they're showing "Poor", one of my all time favorites..

Photo: BBC America