Monthly Archives: June 2005

traffic in america this weekend

Well. I am not going anywhere because I have a reality TV screening (which I’ll totally explain when I get it, because then it will be called for) tomorrow, but I’m glad. Because otherwise, I might get caught in that bottleneck “somewhere west of Portland”

I’ve driven that road. I drove it at sunset a year and change ago. It was a secondary growth forest, dripping with honey-colored sunshine, at 8pm on a very long Sunday. Somewhere in between the sleep deprivation, the trance I was blasting, and the quality of the light on the millions of trees, it was just a perfectly happy moment. I hate thinking of it jammed with a roadblock of vacationing cars.

And speaking of things that destroy us all:

    Co-chairman of the International Climate Change Taskforce, Mr Byers appealed to Prime Minister Tony Blair and US President George Bush in advance of next week’s gathering at Gleneagles, to heed the warnings of dire consequences for the planet and in particular Africa and other developing countries, if not enough is done to curb greenhouse gases.

    “That is why I think at the G8 next week, that Tony Blair can give political leadership, that George Bush will recognise the responsibility of the United States and that we can then move constructively and positively to take practical steps to tackle climate change and global warming.”

Uh-huh. And leprechauns will fly out of Dick Cheney’s ass!


I’m off to spinning.

I so can’t wait for the end of suburbia. (

best. celebrity. sighting. ever.

Tonight. James’ Beach in Venice. I’m out with vendors. Adam Sandler is having dinner across the room.

There are very few celebrities I respect enough to go up and talk to, but I waited until he was standing around outside, and then I HAD to say…”thank you for making being Jewish cool.”

He laughed. I made Adam Sandler laugh – or, at least, chuckle.

Anyways. That’s definitely the best Los Angeles celebrity sighting so far. Better even than Viggo Mortensen at a Rite Aid in Venice a year ago.

My sister will just die when she hears this.

But seriously, celebrities are part of the background here. I mean, there was Industry in Vancouver, but it was a quaint outpost of Hollywood. L.A. is the real thing. Ben Affleck shops at my Whole Foods; WB stars live in Venice, guy movie stars work out at my gym. You zone it out. I try to forget, that I am living in the epicenter of something as absolutely worthless and idiotic as American pop culture.

Still? Adam Sandler was really nice. THAT was cool. Adam Sandler and the Beastie Boys have done more for being Jewish than any other popular culture figures. And MY juvenile sense of humour thinks that “Happy Gilmore” and “Mr Deeds” were absolfuckinglutely hilarious. I didn’t say that, just introduced myself, said my line, walked off to let the man alone – but still, it was weird, having a voice I’ve heard so much, in movies and the Hanukkah song and countless SNL sketches saying, “what’s up, Jillian?”

Rare occasion when I’ll get psyched over a celeb. Then again – I didn’t come here for Hollywood. I came here to work. Los Angeles is just an American city to me, not the source of all things famous, and this episode is definitely one of the things that reminds me – to some people, this is the end all.

PS. He’s shorter in person. My height – 5’10. I always expected him to be over 6 foot.

a few public service announcements

one :: the SB1 bill

Here in the state of California, there is something called the SB1 bill.

Here’s yesterday’s L.A. Times article for reference:,0,3248023.story?track=tottext

And here’s the Environment California page on the subject:

And here’s the actual bill:

And here’s a summary, cut and pasted from the bill:

    This bill would establish the Million Solar Roofs Initiative, administered by the Energy Commission, with the goals of placing 1,000,000 solar energy systems, as defined, on new and existing residential and commercial customer sites, or its generation capacity equivalent of 3,000 megawatts, establishing a self-sufficient solar industry in 10 years, and placing solar energy systems on 50% of new home developments in 13 years. The bill would establish the Million Solar Roofs Initiative Trust Fund and would provide that, upon appropriation by the Legislature, moneys deposited into the fund may be expended by the Energy Commission for purposes of carrying out the Million Solar Roofs Initiative.

I read a Wired article on “hygrid” homes a couple months ago. Basically, they’re homes that are hooked up to renewable power, like solar or wind, but also on the main power grid. They store power when they can, sell the excess back to the power company when they’re at full capacity, and buy it from the power provider, if necessary, after they exhaust their supply (and the sun isn’t out). I thought it was a fantastic idea. THAT could do a lot to save the world.

So when Environment California came knocking last month, as soon as they said “solar panels on low-income housing”, I gave them a $15 recurring monthly donation. Getting solar in as an option in tract housing? Giving low-income Californians a break (power is expensive!) by installing solar panels at the state cost? Getting this whole state hooked up as hygrid? That’s as wonderful and hopeful a dream as Los Angeles’s public transit.

And yeah, it could jack my power bill a bit. So what? So I pay a few more dollars a month in exchange for helping make a renewable, non-polluting resource a more viable option NOW instead of when the situation is desperate. And maybe if I air-dry more laundry, take shorter showers and turn off all lights more often, then I’ll make up that few extra dollars in conservation.

two :: the one campaign
There is something out there called ONE: The Campaign to Make Poverty History. I’ve already signed the petition. I will probably start wearing one of their bracelets once I get a chance to research and make sure they’re not spending the money on celebrity endorsements. THAT is something I can believe in, so I encourage everyone to go sign the petition.

I also encourage you all to write to our President and Vice President (remember, it’s, not!) and ask them to represent America as a generous nation at the G8 conference. That is, if you’re American. Canadians should write Paul Martin. And please, UBC students – try not to get pepper sprayed this time, OK? I know it isn’t exactly Kent State, but it was the closest you can get in a non-violent country.

three :: eminent domain? screw you america!

Eminent domain might make a comeback yet, only with someone making more money off it somewhere along the way.

THAT ALREADY HAPPENED IN LOS ANGELES!! (click here for the non-propaganda version)

This is not good, but I can’t figure out a course of action right now. I’ll have to wait until it happens and THEN protest it.

And finally, unrelated:
where to get cheap contacts online

idle hands, devil’s work, etc

My biggest problem these days is that there is simply too much I want to do, and not enough of me to do it.

Or rather, I can do it all – but I have to get organized and manage my time really well, and I always seem to get distracted and fail to do so. Like, it’s tough to get up and do aerobics at 7am when I can’t find my sweatpants because I didn’t do laundry the night before, because I got distracted reading a book that shouldn’t have even snuck onto my reading list.
hooray for summer-induced mania!

not quite what I was tested at, but still…

Your IQ Is 135

Your Logical Intelligence is Genius
Your Verbal Intelligence is Genius
Your Mathematical Intelligence is Genius
Your General Knowledge is Exceptional

this is what history means to me

I went to the West L.A. library today, and found that they have twice the local history books available as my local Mar Vista branch does. Including three cardboard cover bank-commissioned booklets, all dating to 1928. The year before the Depression started. A year in which American Los Angeles barely dated fifty years back. 1928 is not that long ago, but when you are talking about the history of a city that has none, suddenly 1928 becomes primary source material. Which is a little disturbing, when you juxtapose it with the primary sources I worked with in college, none of which antedated the turn of the twentieth century.

the los angeles research project: year two

burning man is everywhere here

There is a large Burning Man community in Los Angeles.

By this, I mean the people that religiously attend the event itself, and then throw parties, maintain costumes, and keep the cult alive from one year to the next.

So I wasn’t terribly surprised when I found myself in the middle of a crowd of quasi-freaks in Venice yesterday. It was Carnivale, after all. Day One of the Venice Centennial celebration. And Venice is still very much what one would expect it to be: one of the pockets of Alternative America, the Haight-Ashbury of Los Angeles, crossed with Coney Island. Since its founding a hundred years ago, it’s gone to hell and back, from a whimsical resort town to Dogtown to the re-gentrified artist community it is today. It’s home to a half-dozen homes I know of that have been transformed into pieces of art, murals and mosaics galore, coffeeshops, dive bars, and the headquarters of projects like SPARC and Code Pink L.A..

(I know I talk about how much I love my hometown-within-hometown of Venice, within Los Angeles, but I really, really love being someplace just outside the ordinary like this. I love the color and chaos of the boardwalk, the graffiti walls, the quiet fairy-tale quality of the canals, the Americana of the pier. All of it.)

So the Carnivale yesterday had multiple stages of live music, booths of homeopathic medicine, and dozens of Harley Davidsons. Pretty much what you’d expect for Carnivale here. There were hippies and yuppies all over the place. I stopped to look at the classic cars, and to hear a band dressed in extreme Burning Man wear, and then headed home, because I was going out to the Electric Daisy Carnival with Wendy, and we had to get going to San Bernadino.

The EDC is something between a rave and Lollapalooza. They had a rock/rap stage, and five dance stages, plus carnival rides and freak shows. So we were able to see acts on all stages, ride a flying machine, watch firedancers, and dance for hours to trance and breakbeat. The condition I hadn’t accounted for was the FIFTEEN THOUSAND TEENAGERS ON X. I think Wendy and I, at 27, were some of the oldest people there. There were fourteen year olds covered in beads and glowsticks everywhere. And, of course, a massive contingent of extreme Burning Man style costumes, something between rave wear and freak show.

We still had a wonderful time dancing. We watched the Donnas play, which is disconcerting, like seeing a quartet of high school talent show winners possessed by the spirits of AC/DC. We saw Ozomatli, in all their tribal glory – a dozen people, with all kinds of instruments, representing almost every ethnic group in L.A. We danced to DJ Dan and Crystal Method and Ferry Corsten. But, even though I love the music, I think that will be the last time I go to that sort of event. I’m not too old for the artists and the event, I’m just too old for its audience.

I did have an amusing image moment mid-day though. The venue was an old Orange County event center, with multiple exhibition buildings – sort of a late 1960s World’s Fair inspired grounds. I could only imagine the designers of, say, 1965, if they were suddenly transported forty years forward, into a mass of thousands of extreme-rave-wear teenagers. They’d think they’d fallen into an extreme science fiction movie. And it kind of was – even for me, still well under thirty, I felt like I’d fallen into a rave-cult Logan’s Run.

Oh, and Ferry Corsten is wonderful, and I really want to see him in a smaller, 21+ venue now. I hadn’t heard him spin before. I like finding new wonderful trance artists to listen to.

Today, I got up and went to the Farmer’s Market, and to the library. But I’m tired now – still recovering from the damn Vancouver plague that got brought into my home last week – so I’m going to try to nap. And then go for a bike ride. And then catch up with the crew at the Kings Head. I have had enough alternative culture for a while now.