Thursday, May 31, 2007

five golden rules and how to blog

I got an email from a company that provides software to PR companies - they were pushing a white paper that has their "Five Golden Rules for Blogger Relations: Tips and Tools of the Trade from Today's Blogging Experts". Yeah, they sent a paper on how to deal with bloggers to one of the crankiest, most curmudgeonly, contrarian bloggers in downtown Los Angeles. Anybody want a copy of their white paper?

I actually thought that what they had to say was very not bad, once you get past the cheesy PR-speak. But what do I know? After watching this video, I see now that I really don't know the first thing about blogging.

where can we meet our neighbors?

William Frederickson Jr., Robert Howe and William T. Wright examining model of planned redesign of Pershing Square, Calif., 1964
William Frederickson Jr., Robert Howe and William T. Wright examining model of planned redesign of Pershing Square, Calif., 1964.

As blogdowntown mentioned previously, Pershing Square is hosting the second annual "Meet Your Neighbors" event this Sunday, June 3rd, from noon to 4pm. Here's the flyer. Jim and I went last year. It was wicked hot and we stayed for about a minute. The only one there was Russell Brown, and he was manning a booth. Maybe this year will be better and hopefully the APT will be operational again (haven't checked lately).

BTW, the photo above is from the UCLA Digital Collections Library, now available online. Click here for the large size.

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

weekend 'gina watch

yoda on 'gina watch
“Ready for 'gina are you? What know you of ready? Hmph. 'Gina. Heh. A Jedi craves not these things."

Sorry for the blurry pictures, but he wouldn't stop fidgeting.

yet another barbecue

After running around attending other people's weekend festivities, Jim and I had one more event to hit on Sunday night - the barbecue we hosted at our loft for friends, family, and a visiting dignitary from the Philippines, my cousin Dr. Bert.

I didn't take any pictures because I was running around getting everyone fed and full of drinks, but thankfully, Angel blogged it and posted some pics. Ed and Davefrom blogdowntown 2.0 were both in attendance and wielding some impressive camera lenses, so hopefully they'll post some pics soon, in which case I'll link to it.

There were a few teenagers at the barbecue and they were snapping up a storm as well. I'm expanding my reach - I'll be on a few MySpace pages soon! Okay, that's scaring me a little bit now that I think about it.

Anyway, thanks to all who helped out, brought some food and/or drink, and those who came out and helped make it such a fun gathering. Jim and I slept through most of yesterday, recovering from all the weekend activity, but we had a blast and hope everyone had a great holiday weekend as well.

blogdowntown picnic

downtown skyline from Elysian Park
Jim and I went to Elysian Park on Sunday for the blogdowntown picnic. It was smoggy, and the sun was brutal.

You couldn't swing a dead cat over your head without hitting a downtown blogger.
Jim at Elysian Park for blogdowntown picnic
Jim of

shannon and friend
Shannon of Sha in LA.

Don Garza at a picnic
Don Garza of Central City East.

dave, eric, ed and HK
Dave Bullock, Eric Richardson and Ed Fuentes - blogdowntown 2.0

We left before the City officials showed up - we had a barbecue to get ready for. But we were there long enough to meet some new people and for Jim's neck and forehead and my lips to get sunburned, despite my parasol. Good times.

geeking out at celebration iv

star wars celebration iv exhibit hall
After sleeping off the big cafeteria meal we had Saturday morning, Jim and I met up with Angel and Tastypants and hit Star Wars Celebration IV at the Los Angeles Convention Center on Saturday.

This Darth Vader uses the Force to bring him more cheeseburgers.
fat Darth Vader

Yeah, it didn't take long for me to piss someone off. I'll never learn.
Darth Vader chokes Celia

Someone should tell Spock he was at the wrong convention.
spock at celebration iv

Jim was disappointed that no one had enough commitment to come as Jabba the Hut, but there was plenty to gawk at. There was this guy challenging all comers to a saber duel in front of South Hall and he was so lame. Members of the 501st Legion walked past us on the way to their group photo and we overheard someone say, "His swordfighting skills have improved since New York..." Jeez, that was an improvement? He must've really sucked then. One guy dressed as C3PO, but he looked more like the tin man from Wizard of Oz. Overall, the costumes and commitment to character were impressive.
Darth Maul


emperor and subject

stormtroopers on the move
The 501st Legion storms past Angel to get inside South Hall for their group photo.

501st Legion at South Hall

celia and chewbacca
Me and Chewbacca. I'm the one on the left.

Angel took some great shots, but I want to know - how did I miss seeing this guy and this guy?

saturday at clifton's

Clifton's Cafeteria Brookdale
Jim and I had a very full holiday weekend. On Saturday, we hit the Southern California Restaurant Historical Society thing on the third floor of Clifton's Cafeteria.

restaurant historical society at Clifton's Cafeteria

The LA Times wrote it up, saying there were about 70 people in attendance, which sounds about right but I'm still waiting for Brady to point out the inaccuracies in that article. I thought that with so many blog posts about this event (here, here, here, here, and here)that it would be lousy with bloggers, but not so much. We ran into fellow downtown blogger Don Garza, recognized a few faces from around the Historic Core, and met some really nice people (Hi Susan! I really am glad you came up and introduced yourself!).

After the illuminating talks from D.J. Waldie (Author: Holy Land: A Suburban Memoir) on postwar dining in Lakewood, Charles Perry (LA Times Food Writer and president, Culinary Historians of Southern California) on the first cafeterias in Los Angeles, Chris Nichols (Los Angeles magazine editor, author of "The Leisure Architecture of Wayne McAllister") on architect McAllister and his midcentury restaurants, and special guest Robert Clinton, third generation owner of Clifton's, we were HUNGRY! So we went downstairs to enjoy some cafeteria food and to take in the scenery.

dining at Clifton's Cafeteria

deer overlooking Clifton's Cafeteria

deer and chapel

It was a good start to the weekend.

Thursday, May 24, 2007

movie nights

Orpheum marquee
Jim and I went to the 21st Annual Last Remaining Seats screening of North by Northwest at the Orpheum last night. We really enjoyed it - Jim had never seen it before, and I've never seen it on a big screen.

Before the screening, there was a reception next door with some yummy food and drinks. I'd post more pics, but they came out lousy.
vip reception for last remaining seats

So much to say about last night, but I have to get going, I'm running late again. I'm headed over to a POC thing at the Writer's Guild Theater with Ted Elliott and Terry Rossio.

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

sb lofts

I looked out my kitchen window this morning and noticed a crane lifting stuff onto the SB Lofts' rooftop.

readying the SB Lofts

last load

last load for the rooftop

CU-crane drop off onto SB Lofts rooftop

CU-crane drop off onto SB Lofts rooftop

During the Internet boom-years, I met with Cheryl, the building manager, to lease office space. She took me on a tour of the building, including the 13000 sq ft penthouse. She asked where I lived, and I told her that I lived in the penthouse of the Alexandria Hotel down the street. She said, "I have a funny story about Marty Sr. (then-owner of the hotel). I had asked him about managing the hotel for him and he pulled pulled a gun on me." Yeah, that sounds like Marty Sr.

Downtown sure is changing.

who left the lid up?

It's Wednesday, so Jim and I walked to the Central Library Farmer's Market to get our tamale fix, pick up some fruits, some flowers, and maybe some snacks.

There's a new crosswalk at 5th and Main Streets:
hk at new crosswalk at 5th & Main

Nice pattern.
new crosswalk at 5th & Main

I read on blogdowntown that the new automated pay toilet near Pershing Square was finally operational, but it didn't look like I'd be able to use it.
automated pay toilet at 5th & Hill

I approached the guys repairing it to ask how much longer, but they were so engrossed they didn't pay me any mind. So I eavesdropped.
workers repairing the APT

Guy in green shirt on the left says, "I don't know which one needs repair."

The guy pointing, "I think it's this one."

"Why that one?"

"Because when I touched it, that's when it all went, you know."

hk inside the APT
Someone really needed to go, but it didn't look like that was going to happen at this APT. It looks like the seat retracts for cleaning and when it isn't operational.

sink and toilet inside the APT

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

what to do wednesday night

My friends Eli and Mary, otherwise known as The Monolators, are premiering their video and corraling other Los Angeles indie bands this Wednesday at the Echo. I hear it's going to be quite the scene. You should go.

I wish I could, but Jim and I are going to one of our favorite downtown pastimes, the Los Angeles Conservancy's 21st Annual Last Remaining Seats. The opening film is North by Northwest at the Orpheum (sold out, sorry) and there's a VIP reception and everything. Anybody else going?

'gina watch

hello kitty at pastagina

Jim and I were in Little Tokyo for lunch today and to check on Pastagina's progress. I'm really looking forward to the day when I ask Jim what he wants for dinner, and when he says, "I want 'gina," I can say, "Hell yeah you can have 'gina for dinner!" Unfortunately, from the looks of things, the new Pinkberry on 2nd will probably open before Pastagina does.

The poster in the window says the store was scheduled to open in March 2007, their website says May 2007. Okay, they still have a little time before they blow that deadline.
pastagina coming soon poster

What rhymes with Pastagina? Kajima!
hello kitty at the kajima building

What other downtown buildings rhyme with Pastagina?

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

if you barbecue, they will come

Last night as Jim and I were walking out of the DLANC Residents Ad-Hoc Filming Issues Committe Meeting (say that five times fast) at the Little Tokyo Library, we heard honking. I thought it was Ben and Dave, as they were at the meeting and had just hopped in Dave's car. Maybe they forget to tell us something at the meeting. We turned to see more downtown bloggers - Ed and Don were in a car, parking on Los Angeles Street, and honking for us to stop.

Don hopped out of the car and talked to Ben and Dave while Ed chatted with me and Jim. I was glad to see Ed, my emails to him have been bouncing back and I had more tasteless jokes to share re Pastagina. Turns out Ed hadn't rested on that downtown blogger meetup and was working with Eric on planning a barbecue. He asked what days we were available and noted our preference for a venue we could walk to. Is there a park somewhere downtown where we can barbecue? Didn't think so. Anyway, stay tuned, we will have a downtown bloggers barbecue soon!

ray's 'n shit

After hours of hanging out with my mom and other guests (Angel blogged about it and has cute pics of Jim playing) on Mother's Day, Jim and I cleaned up the loft and realized we had a lot of ice left over. Knowing it wouldn't fit in our already-overflowing freezer, we decided to mix up some daquiris and get roaring drunk. We were missing a few ingredients, so we headed over to see Ray at the Old Bank Market & Deli.

While I was sick last week, Jim picked up some orange juice and blogged about Ray's expanding into the space next door, but I hadn't seen the new space yet. I also hadn't seen Ray in a long while, so we hugged and caught up. He was so excited about the expansion and told us that in a month, he'll have everything a grocery store should have - fresh meat, vegetables, a liquor section (we found what we needed for our daquiris), etc.

Then Ray dropped the best news about downtown development that I'd heard in a long time, "You know, I also got the place across the street and the parking lot. I'm going to open a casual, full-service restaurant and turn part of the parking lot into an open-air patio." We looked across the street at the old Burgers 'N Shit, (which was also sushi 'n shit for a nanosecond). Ray was beaming as he told us of his plans, and he continued, "We're going to serve breakfast and we'll be open until midnight."

burgers ’n sh t
Photo courtesy of Jim Winstead

Ray was smiling from ear to ear, as he usually is, but he was so excited about his expansion into the new space and his new restaurant venture that it was contagious. I was practically jumping up and down with joy when I hugged him in congratulations. I feel safe in predicting that the patio of Ray's restaurant will be the place to dine and hang out when it opens (this summer?). I know Jim and I will be there. I can hardly wait!

more downtown filming bullshit

On Thursday, May 10th, Jim and I walked out of our building to attend the closing night ceremony of the VC Asian Pacific Film Festival (Jim blogged about it). There was a filming notification on our door for a production shooting in front of our building, in the alley behind us, and in the parking lot next door. We were going to be surrounded, and it was going to start at 6am the next morning. Less than twelve hours notice and although it said, "pending community survey", no one in our building was surveyed (I asked around).

All day Friday, May 11th, we were surrounded by a lot of noise, and although it was annoying and made it difficult for me to work all day, it got really noisy and bothersome in the afternoon. That's when they started using their smoke machines and the smoke started to come in through our windows facing the parking lot and Main Street.

I walked through the throng of extras and the off-duty LAPD officer blocking the sidewalks on Main Street and into the lot. At 5:34pm I asked the security guard if I could talk to the location manager, Bruce Boehner, 213-925-5379, and/or the FilmLA rep. The security guard said that the FilmLA rep left earlier that day at 12:30pm. I asked to see the location manager, verifying on my notification that it was Bruce Boehner, and for a copy of their film permit. He then said, "Can I take that back about the FilmLA rep leaving?"

I walked over to a guy on a walkie-talkie and asked to see the location manager. He asked me what the problem was, so I identified myself as a resident and a member of the DLANC Residents' ad-hoc Filming Issues Committee. He said he'd find the location manager or the FilmLA rep, who was supposed to be on the radio. Yeah, he just happened to not be responding. Even though two security guards verified that the FilmLA rep left about five hours earlier.

Then they started wrapping their location. Oh good, they were leaving. Except that they were leaving their cars there. Which meant that I could look forward to cars honking as they left the lot sometime around 1 or 2am. Great. There I was, standing around for a half-hour instead of working, while they pretended to care, pretended to try to locate a film permit (which is a matter of public record and a document they're supposed to have on-hand at each location), and the location manager refused to talk to me. The guy on the walkie who was supposed to locate Bruce Boehner then asked me to step out of the parking lot and onto the sidewalk so that I wouldn't get in their way. Yeah, never mind how the film crew was inconveniencing the whole fucking neighborhood all day starting at 6am, and with less than twelve hours notice, I needed to stand three feet away on the other side of a fence. So I stood there and waited.

Then, at 6:11pm the guy gets in his car and drives out of the lot. Without finding the location manager or FilmLA rep. Without furnishing me with a copy of their film permit. I ask the security guard what's going on. He just shrugged. I called Jim, who I could see in our window, and asked if he had called FilmLA's office or the 24-hour emergency number. He had, but there was no answer. It didn't even go to voicemail, it just kept ringing.

Finally, a full hour after I asked, Derek the FilmLA rep walks up to me with a copy of their film permit, permit # F-205458. I asked him for the copy of the special conditions, which the permit said was "attached". He said there weren't any. I pointed out that it was supposed to be attached. I asked him, "Do you know that there are special conditions for filming in downtown?" He said, "No."

I looked through the permit and asked for a copy. He said no, that was his copy and I could just call FilmLA and ask for a copy. I told him they weren't anwering the phones at the office. He said it was after hours. I told him that we also tried calling the emergency, after-hours number and no one was responding. I told him that there were special conditions for filming downtown and that they were on his company's website and he said that he never heard of it, no one ever told him about it.

I pointed out that all the buildings surrounding this "location" were residential. He shrugged and asked what my problem was. "Besides the smoke going in my windows? And the noise? And the caterer setting up the open-air barbecue underneath our windows? How about this 6am start time on the permit? How about less than twelve hours notice?"

Derek said, "Oh, they didn't start at 6am."

I countered, "How do you know that? You didn't get to the set until after the previous FilmLA rep left at 12:30pm today. And it says right on this permit, this permit and this notification that it was a 6am start time. I didn't hear you guys setting up, but I'm on the 7th floor. The guys on the 2nd floor heard you guys set up, though." I admit I was guessing about Derek's start time, but Derek confirmed it.

I copied all the pertinent information off his film permit and then he asked for my contact info. I resisted telling him my name was Heywood Jablowme (Jim's suggestion) and gave him my real name and contact info.

Was that the end of it? No. As I predicted, when the cast/crew was done shooting at their other downtown location, they left the lot past midnight, honking and dropping metal pipes on the ground and making all sorts of noise. Never mind the other shoot on Spring Street that got Jim all riled up Friday night. But that's not the end of it.

At 2:40am, the eighth trailer pulled into the parking lot for yet another shoot. Yes, 2:40AM. I didn't walk over and ask for a copy of their film permit, so I don't know which production it was. But they're still there so I might go over later today. But I ask again, what's the point of FilmLA? Why issue film permits if they don't mean anything? What's the point of having rules for downtown area filming if their own employees don't know they exist and don't care? Why have an on-site monitor if they don't do anything when the permit is violated or when residents complain?

UPDATE: Dave blogged about the production that has bright lights shining onto Main Street and his issues with them. That's the producton that had their trailers noisily move in at 2:00am this past Saturday morning, (5/14/2007). Here's their film permit, the location manager is France Myung Fagin, (310) 447-4441, their permit number is F-205179-2, and, according to their film notification (which I never received) they plan on filming until 4am on 5/18/07, (Friday/Saturday morning). Since they didn't bother with a community survey, if anybody has a problem with that, just call them and let them know what you think.

Friday, May 11, 2007

attention downtown literati

If you don't already have your copy of Los Angeles Noir, then this is your lucky weekend. As Ed has already noted on his blog, a few of the contributing authors will be signing the well-reviewed book this Saturday at Metropolis Books. The website doesn't say which of the 17 authors will be in attendance, but a reliable source tells me that a Jim Pascoe reading is in the cards, "especially if enough of you show up and demand it!" I'll be there to get my copy signed and to demand a reading - I strongly urge readers of this blog to do the same. Maybe we can all get a drink somewhere afterwards.

Also on the same day and just around the corner from Metropolis, Crewest Gallery will be hosting a book signing for Yo! What Happened to Peace? in conjunction with their five-year anniversary festivities. This book sounds amazing - 144 full-color pages of handcrafted anti-war and pro-peace posters with more than 200 prints by 125 artists, with an introduction by punk art legend Winston Smith and a street-ready stencil cover. Prints will also be available for sale.

In addition to the signing, there will be a Unification Theory performance/event featuring the artwork of fellow Yo! artists Man One, Gustavo Garcia Vaca and Overton Loyd. Although the book signing will be from 5-7pm, there will be DJs spinning music until 10pm.

I've said it before, but I'll say it again - I love my neighborhood.

Los Angeles Noir Book Signing
Metropolis Books
440 S. Main Street (between 4th and 5th streets)
Los Angeles 90013
ph: 213.612.0174

Yo! What Happened To Peace Signing
110 Winston St. (between Main and Los Angeles Streets)
Los Angeles, CA 90013
tel (213) 627-8272

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

free beer in little tokyo

Official VC Asian Pacific Film Festival after-party at the Far Bar tonight:

HK 1960 is a night celebrating the style, fashion & romance of an era that now only exists on the silver screen.

The Far Bar
347 E 1st Street
Little Tokyo, 90012

Wednesday, May 9th, 2007
Doors open 9 P.M.
Free Heineken until 10:30 P.M.

Mahjong | 60'S Pop | Vintage Polaroids

Period attire is strongly encourage. Dazzle us all.

Damn, my cheongsam is at the cleaners.

search terms that brought you here

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and my personal favorite:

the whore peed on me

"in the year 2000"

Much like like CurbedLA, I dig video. Especially video that shows downtown in the future.

I used to live in South Park, which is the residential area of downtown closest to the LA Live project. When Jim and I had dinner at The Pantry the other night, I was blown away by how different my old neighborhood looked, how much construction rendered the place unrecognizable to me. I say, bring it on.

some film crews just don't change

Despite what FilmLA has posted on their website about filming downtown, it seems like some things just don't change - like commercial film crews filming wherever they want, residents and businesses be damned. I've mentioned before that we still hadn't received any notifications for recent shoots where we heard extremely loud and disturbing simulated gunfire, but here's another instance where the crew continued shooting, even after the FilmLA reps on location were notified. But of course, they were ready to hand out a few benjamins after they got their shot. The following is from Julie Rico, posted on the DLANC Residents mailing list:

Tue May 8, 2007 9:08 pm (PST)
"Today a group called Gearhead decided to shoot just outside the Red Dot Gallery Window. There is a permit called a block permit. The officer (Carr) showed it too me that allowed him to shoot wherever they want except for the arts district, chinatown and one other area. Our area was not on the exempt list. According to Carr they have not been formally told about the change in policy. Part of our agreement is now on the front page of Film LA and I brought out the paperwork so that Officer Carr could see it. He called some women over at Film LA and of course they finished their shoot, we are not on the documents anymore. I have a feeling these documents will be coming up here and there. Not cool.

I staged a protest but to no avail. Waay after the shoot some guy named Jeff came over and gave me $300. It was a Chevy commercial."

Looks like FilmLA shouldn't congratulate themselves just yet on being such good guys just because they posted conditions for filming downtown (as if it were their idea and not because of community pressure). It doesn't seem like FilmLA's word counts for much. Why am I not surprised? These guys lost their credibility with me a long time ago. Did I mention that their contract to issue film permits for the City of Los Angeles is up in June? I wonder how many complaints have to be lodged against them for someone to realize they shouldn't be awarded another contract.

Monday, May 07, 2007

has it really been that long?

Two years ago today, my sister Laura married my ex-loftmate James in what is now the loft that Jim and I live in. After the ceremony and a dessert reception on the patio, we all took a candlelit walk down the street to Cole's for the real reception.

Laura and James' wedding reception at Cole's

Their wedding was so beautiful and one of the brighter moments during her 14-month battle with cancer. I look at this and other pictures, re-read what I wrote about it, and while I love seeing her so happy, I can't help but cry. I miss her so much.

Friday, May 04, 2007

"you offend me, you offend my family"

Thanks to my friends Hank and Berda, Angel and I attended a really fun VIP reception and the opening night festivities at the VC Asian Pacific Film Festival last night. Poor Jim caught some bug and stayed home. I forged ahead, but stupidly decided not to bring my camera, thinking I wouldn't need it. Luckily Berda brought hers and took the pics below (thanks Berda!).

I have mixed feelings about FINISHING THE GAME. It's a mockumentary about the search for the new Bruce Lee and while it had its moments, I don't know that I can get behind it. It's like the cool indie film your friend made, not necessarily something you'd see because it was playing near you. There were some cool cameos, some very good acting, and really great use of some of my favorite character actors. In any case, opening night was fun and you couldn't swing a dead cat over your head without hitting an actor you recognized but couldn't place. There were, of course, some exceptions.

celia and berda with james kyson lee
James Kyson Lee, from HEROES and emcee of the opening night ceremonies, graciously poses with me and Berda.

celia and ron jeremy
Ron Jeremy, who made an appearance in FINISHING THE GAME, poses with me at the post-screening reception.

Celia - Finishing the Game

Did I mention that it was open bar?
angel - finishing the game

Or that Hank was jacked up on sweets (there was a post-screening dessert reception)?
hank - finishing the game

I was feeling a little under the weather, so I didn't "work the room" or anything. But minutes after we sat down in the theatre, a well-known actor/comedian (who I promised not to name) sat down in front of me. Berda and Hank sat behind us, engrossed in conversation with some programming director from another film festival. I think I was telling Angel about Pastagina when this actor/comedian turned around to see who was making all the 'gina jokes. We started talking - he was bummed because his movie just came out and "tanked horribly." I told him I didn't see his film - that I was invited to the premiere party, but not to the screening of the actual film. Who the hell does that?

Of course once people around us realized that the actor/comedian was talking to people and not being all Greta Garbo, everyone tried to jump into the fray. We both sat on the aisle, so people would come up to him and interrupt our conversation so they could suck up. In between interruptions, he'd say things like, "This is so depressing," or, "They're just trying to get something out of me, like for me to wear their shirts or shoes so they can get free advertising," and "The blogs hate me, they're the worst. They just tear me apart, saying how much I suck."

I then promised (because he was so depressed), "I won't say bad things about you on my blog."

He then asked, "Please don't write about this on your blog, or don't say it was me! I'm going to get so much shit, saying how depressed I am because the movie tanked!"

Then this white chick comes up and awkwardly tells him how she loves him and then said nothing else, but stood there staring at him intently. So I whispered in his ear, "Dude, I think she wants to fuck you." He looked at Angel, then at me, hesitating to reply. Finally the girl leaves and he says, "Maybe I should date an Asian girl."

You know, before I married Jim, I was the beneficiary of that kind of thinking. I replied, "Yeah, I used to date an Asian chick. But Asian guys never asked me out."

He replied, "Yeah, Asian chicks and Asian guys never ask me out either."

Thursday, May 03, 2007

come for the booze, stay for the movie

Tonight is opening night for the Los Angeles Asian Pacific Film Festival, is anybody else going to see the opening night film or attending the party? Open bar, baby.

Things actually got underway last night with a party at the Far Bar in Little Tokyo, but I punked out and stayed home instead. I'm not sure what other films I'll be screening, but if you don't have plans, I strongly suggest you check out the festival - I've yet to be disappointed by any of the features or docs I've screened here in all the years I've attended. The shorts, however, are another story.

the new cw

This morning, I went to the DMV to get my name changed on my driver's license. It seemed like I was the only one in the joint who made an appointment. I walked in, strolled past the long-ass, no-appointment line, and went to the head of the appointments line. The clerk helped me immediately, annoying everyone standing in line next to me. I sat down with my numbered slip, looking at the monitor for my number to be called. There was a couple sitting behind me and I asked them, "Have you guys been waiting a long time?"

The woman let out a loud sigh, "Yes, forever."

"Did you make an appointment or did you walk in?"

The man shook his head, "No, we should've made one. We've been here all morning."

She asked, "What number do you have?"

I showed her my slip, she showed me hers. I seemed to be quite a ways behind them. So I fired up my iPod, inserted the earbuds and watched the drama unfold around me. Even with the earbuds in I could hear this woman screaming at a clerk, her head full of pink rollers shaking violently. I don't know how the people working there do it, I would go from zero to batshit in record time. Then the woman sitting behind me tapped my shoulder, "Isn't that your number on the screen?"

I looked up. Yeah, that's me. Damn, that was quick. I thanked her and made my way across the room. The clerk shuffled a few papers, tapped something into a computer, and then directed me to yet another window to take my picture. The woman in pink curlers was standing ahead of me in line, pulling her curlers out, complaining that she wouldn't look good in her picture because she didn't know she had to retake her picture. She finally yanked them all out and patted her hair down, yelling the whole time about trying to look good. The clerks behind the desk were poker-faced, but as soon as she left, the one taking pictures turned to her co-worker and said, "She crazy." The co-worker just shook her head and said, "That's my people."

They snapped my picture and I asked, "Does it look okay? Because I think I left a curler in." Stonefaced and ignoring a perfectly good joke, she turned the monitor around so I could see. I made a face.

"You don't like it? It looks cute."

I shrugged, figuring they weren't going to do a reshoot "Eh."

I turned and walked away, but I was only ten feet away when I heard them laughing and they called me back.

"Is something wrong?" I asked.

"No, we just got your joke," they laughed. "Do you want to take your picture again?"

So they took another picture and I asked, "How does it look?"

She didn't even bother to turn it around. "Exactly the same."

Right after lunch I dealt with getting my name changed on my passport. Since my old one was issued less than a year ago, there's no charge for changing my name. But for whatever reason, it took three employees to get my re-application together. So helpful. Then I was asked to sign the application, raise my right hand, and swear everything on the application was true. I picked up the pen to write, but then I hesitated, "Sign using which name? The new one or the old one?"

"The new one, baby. That's your only name now."

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

weekend full of jim

I can't believe it's already Tuesday and I still haven't told you about my weekend. Jim has been telling me for ages (ok, a little over a year) about this donut place near Harvey Mudd (his alma mater) that has amazing donuts filled with fresh strawberry goodness. So after sitting on this information for too long, I got it in my mind that we had to go this past Saturday. Jim agreed. So I call Angel and tell him we're all going to Glendora for strawberry donuts.

Jim the Donut Man sign

It took us an hour, but Jim the Donut Man was worth leaving downtown for. Those strawberry donuts? It was like strawberry and glazed donut sex in my mouth. I also tried the bavarian cream, which was like creamy filling and chocolate-glazed donut sex in my mouth. The tiger tails were good, too. I don't remember what happened after that.

my strawberry donut

Then on Sunday night, we had Jim (fresh from the FOB to promote his book, LA Noir) and Gabrielle over for dinner, to thank them once again for guest-blogging and loft-sitting for us while we were in Hawaii. My Jim made margaritas using our new blender (thanks Jeff!), we caught up on each other's lives, barbecued some Hawaiian chicken and sesame salmon, they watched Sopranos, and Reverend Jim schooled me on graphic novels and comic books. Thanks again Jim and Gabrielle, for keeping the loft and the blog safe.

I don't think we can allow anymore people named Jim, James, or Angel into our lives, not unless they have a nickname, like Tastypants. Then it's okay. Otherwise, it's getting too confusing.

we're #1

The American Lung Association just released their list of the most polluted cities in the country and Los Angeles is number one on the list of Metropolitan Areas Most Polluted by Short-term Particle Pollution, number one on the list of Metropolitan Areas Most Polluted by Year-Round Particle Pollution, and lastly, number one on the list of 25 Most Ozone-Polluted Cities.

Downtown Los Angeles may be the third bloggiest neighborhood in the country, but we're number one in breathing air that sucks. Whooo! I love LA! From the American Lung Association's website:
The American Lung Association State of the Air 2007 report grades communities across the nation based on the number of days they have unhealthful levels of air pollution. The grades come from the color-coded alert system called the Air Quality Index, which may be familiar from newspaper, radio, television and on-line weather forecasts.

march through downtown

It's so noisy downtown, what with all the news helicopters flying around trying to get a good shot of the May 1st rally for workers and immigrants' rights. There's all sorts of info online where you can find which streets are closed and how to avoid being inconvenienced, but if you haven't figured things out by now...

I feel a little guilty about not marching this year. You see, I'm a naturalized citizen, an immigrant, a 1.5-er. I'm in-between the first generation, those born in another country who immigrated to the U.S. as adults, and the second generation, those born in the U.S. of immigrant parents. I was born in the Philippines and my parents emigrated legally to the U.S. when I was a child. I understand how difficult it was for my parents to emigrate and what a difference it's made in my world, but I still feel a little disconnected. I don't speak with an accent and most of my pop culture references are American. I understand my native language of Tagalog, but don't speak it fluently. I'm thoroughly westernized, but as I get older I realize how much I am influenced by my Asian roots and less by American mores.

I marched last year, does that count? Adam isn't around to march with us this year, he's still traveling around the world. I know that's not an excuse. And I miss Lucas, too.

I don't think this march is going to make as much of an impact (positive or negative), or be as effective as last year's marches. You know what, never mind. Don't look back. Jeez, I just re-read what I was blogging about two years ago. Sometimes, it's better to look forward.