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A family of quails, mom, dad and lots o’ little ones, ran for bushes when I surprised them with my car.


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Yesterday, I passed by Iranian protesters on the sidewalk in Westwood. They were angry over the election results in Iran. Despite a good crowd, they were quite tame, and I couldn’t help but contrast them with the protesters last fall when California was voting for Prop 8. I wonder how many people knew what was going on as they drove in their cars.

Today, on a green lot of grass, I drove by a flock of Canadian geese. Then I went and had sushi. That’s all!


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I had the pleasure of accompanying AH on a drive I often make: the 405 straight down from the Valley to Orange County. AH sputtered like she was crossing a time zone. She wondered if anything actually did exist BEYOND Los Angeles. I just couldn’t help laughing because everyone in Orange County is perplexed to learn that there is LIFE beyond the Getty Museum.

Similar dualistic feelings caught both of us earlier that week when we headed off to a networking event at the UnUrban Cafe on Urban Street in Santa Monica. Upon arrival, AH and I were floored to find ourselves in a sea of undergraduates. We clung like barnacles to pylons, wondering if the foam would swallow us whole. AH burrowed into an armchair with an adult person for most of the event, sipping her latte and saying marvelous AH things. I attempted to cross the waters to other islands–there was the just-fresh-out-of-school, maybe-we-are-professionals-and-maybe-we’re-not-professionals-but-we-can’t-decide-yet couple, the too-precocious-and-talented-and-unreservedly-but-sincere-ambitious duo who might have been teenagers. I don’t know, but they looked it. Then the older graduate who was here for reasons I couldn’t fathom. Everyone had business cards. Everyone asked what school I was with. I couldn’t believe anyone was asking me that question again.

And again, I’m sure I have another story about extremes but none come to mind….but I’m sure you won’t have to wait long.


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The famous opening lines of The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy (in the book by Douglas Adams) informs readers that space is big. Really big. You can’t imagine how mind-boggingly big it is. Now, because so our blog is, apply that idea to Los Angeles.

On Saturday of this lovely Memorial Day weekend, I joined up with a friend who is leaving Los Angeles soon. Having long been a native, she’s now trying to do everything she always planned to get to. I think that’s just the way it is in your native locale. You figure you’ll get to all those famous things eventually.

Our plan? We spent the afternoon wandering around the Griffith Observatory and then we hiked up as close as we could to the Hollywood sign.

The Griffith Observatory was very cool. I’d like to go back in the evening when the telescope is open and available for the public to look through. It’s actually quite a compact museum for such an expansive topic. The upper floor recapped lots of grade school information that I had forgotten: eclipses, tides, sunrise and set. It had a lot of really cool pictures of the sun. I love the idea of the sun as being made up of long tubes with “cool” sunspots. It makes the star seem….pet-able.

In another wing, the Observatory mostly had exhibits on telescopes. There was also a demonstration by a tesla coil, which was no so impressive because it’s only purpose seems to be impressive. In the entrance, there is a Focault’s pendulum, which I did not know was first used to prove the earth rotates. Aside from the big swinging pendulum, the most important part is a row of tubes that the pendulum is supposed to knock down. Depending on your position on earth and nearness to the poles and equator, the pendulum will eventually swing in the direction of the rotation and knock down a tube. In Los Angeles, the Griffith Observatory’s pendulum achieves its goal once every 42 hours.

Underneath the Observatory are exhibits on meteors, the planets and the whole “space is big” idea. The information is pretty up to date because Pluto is no longer a planet but a member of the Kuipur (sp?) belt. The only other object identified in the belt was Sedna, which takes about 10,000 years to make it around the sun.

Oh! A cool video was how the sun looks from various planets. From Earth, it looks pretty big. From Mars, pretty much the same too. When you get to Jupiter, I was actually surprised at how small it was. And from Pluto, it just looked like another star in the sky.

At the planet exhibit, you could weight yourself to see how gravity was different for each planet. I think some of them were broken because I weighed the same on Earth, Mars, Jupiter and Pluto.

Another cool interative video was one about other planets in the Milky Way. The computer showed you where the planets were located compared to Earth, how big their orbits were around the sun compared to Earth and how big they were in comparison to Earth. I liked that. I also liked videos they had of space vehicles landing on different planets and moons. I didn’t know we got an unmanned spacecraft to one of Saturn’s moons. (I want to say Triton?) And apparently there’s one on the way to Pluto. It will really suck if it misses the planet all together.

Oh! Because pluto takes awhile to get around the sun, the Observatory had a little video that showed where it was located during certain points in Earth history. In one rotation, Pluto would have witnessed a lot.

And I loved how it turned out all of Neptune’s moons are named after characters in Shakespeare’s The Tempest. And it was Neptune or Uranus that has “spring” storms that last for years. Down in the sun exhibit, they had really neat videos that showed different features of the sun because of different instruments, and how sun flares can really disrupt things even from far away.

Afterwards, we hiked up to the Hollywood sign. It was a two and a half mile climb upward. We navigated horses and manure and other hikers. We lost a friend. We were reunited with them. We made it back down before dark. But after seeing the vastness of space and then experiencing the vastness of possibility in the confined Griffith Park, we figured the day had been successful indeed.


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On Saturday, I:

  • volunteered at a 5k marathon at my local community park.
  • drove from one pole of Los Angeles to the other
  • ate homegrown blueberries that were a leetle tart
  • went to an ensemble recital for children at an Art Center
  • worked on my little audio project
  • went to an art walk in which snowboarding photography was the main attraction as well as pottery and mixe media white canvasses
  • drank hot apple cider and had white wine sangrias with an old friend

On Sunday, I:

  • worshipped like a good middle-class American in a house of the Lord
  • spontaneously called up an old friend
  • attended a backyard barbecue in which enchiladas, cheese burgers, bratwursts, strudel and butterfinger icecream pie was served
  • watched quite a few episodes of 30 Rock
  • felt an earthquake
  • drove back from one pole of Los Angeles to the other

And that’s the pulse of an LA weekend sometimes.


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The day started out as one where things go wrong, and yet, it had moments where things go right so much so that the right things negate the bad things, and I just realize how much I love living in Los Angeles.

Early morning was just chores. Go here. Go there. Wait in line. Wait in line some more. Spend money. Spend money some more. Put that back to pretend that I save money.
And then a golden moment: While wandering the shoe racks in a Ross clothing store, I came across a father helping his teenage daughter buy wedges. The man was throwing his heart into the moment. He took an active interest in what she was buying, and his daughter (who probably was just a girl learning that high heel shoes make her “hot”) was adorable in wanting his sincere opinion. You could tell he was a man at the crossroads for fatherhood; his little girl was growing up. She wanted to wear hot-pink wedges because they made her feet look cute. And he, well if she was going to do it, was going to make sure they were the “safest” heels a girl could wear. He stopped a nearby female customer and asked whether his daughter should start with wedges before graduating to stilettos. And then, he got into a very serious conversation about inserts. The daughter, so new to this realm of elevated footwear, nodded her head–she’d heard of this before and oh! Didn’t her feet look cute! And oh! Weren’t they so comfortable.

I had to leave. I was smiling too much. Way too much.

Then came more boring things. Get home late. Be late to meet friends. Have trouble looking up directions to get to Downtown LA. Get on freeway. Stop and go traffic. Stop. Go. Stop. Go. Stop. Go. For an hour and a half.  There was a weird limo too, which had a trunk like a truck and three suited men sitting in it with a canvas canopy over there heads. Stop. Go. GET OFF THE FREEWAY AND TEXT MSG FRIENDS TO LET THEM KNOW I’M ALMOST THERE! WHEE! And then a really, really, really long train. 10-minutes long. Followed by a search for parking on itty-bitty downtown streets. Restaurants who refused to give me money for the meter and a kind lady in a market who didn’t speak English as I was in Chinatown.

Whew.

I met the friends at Phillippe’s, as recommended by a friend. They boast the best French dip in Los Angeles. I’ve never had French dip before, and when I got there, my sandwich was cold. I asked the friends what there opinion was, and they said they were so hungry that anything tasted good. They also had to agree with my opinion about the weird day. They had taken the metro (missed it) to the Civic Center station to see a tapestry exhibition (which was already closed) then came here to meet me at 12:30 (but i arrived at 1:30).

Speaking of which, it was scorching hot today.

So why were we here? We had met up in Downtown Los Angeles to go and see the twice-a-year “open house” at the Brewery, which is the largest art community in Los Angeles. All we knew about the Brewery was that it existed in Lincoln Heights, which was in no part of Downtown any of us had visited. Now we know that the Brewery is in an old brewery. All the buildings have been converted into individual lofts in which artists can rent them like regular apartments for a contracted period. We met artists who’d lived in the brewery for 5+ years and others who had just moved in. The spaces are completely empty. Each artist receives a space that is literally an empty room with four white walls. They build from there. For the most part, each loft is divided into two floors. The downstairs seems to be the “workspace” while the upstairs is the “living space.” Any further division seems to depend on the individual artist. One told us that you couldn’t even depend on there being a sink upon moving in. That’s up to you.
The Brewery contains approximately 600 artists in old warehouse and factory buildings. When walking around it, it looks like a shantytown. A real bohemia. Each gallery/residence has an entrance. Some artists decorate their outside with potted plants, picket fences, metal walls, tall wooden gates, climbing ivy, bird baths. Each is marked with a number to delineate addresses. And some have signs outside, identifying specific galleries.

600 galleries is overwhelming, especially on a hot April day. We (I) was done in two hours. But before I was woe-is-me tired, we met some interesting artists and saw some interesting pieces. The ones I recall are:

Andre Miripolsky (?) who’s desiging a really huge, thousand-something feet mural for the LA Convention center in stain glass.

Then there was Sam Kopels who’d just finished a series of Downtown landscapes in industrial paints, the kind you see trucks, buildings and factories painted with. He’d sold two but wasn’t sure if he was done with the series. He is a paint supplier on the side. When he wants to paint, sometimes he just throws his huge wooden canvases on the back of his truck and drives them somewhere to sketch.

We next entered the realm of Victoria J. Sebanz, whose business card reads poet, photographer, dance/art educator. She also has a separate card if you’re interested in her travel adventures. (It’s interesting how the artists were moonlighting as other professionals or were clark-kenting their way through the world.) Generally, I’m skeptical of artists who claim to be poets, but Sebanz had beautiful poetry mixed in with her very feminist photos and mixed-media pieces. I always like to talk to artists/actors/creative types and tell them if I like their work. They appreciate it, and Sebanz was no different.
It wasn’t just artist artists in the Brewery. We saw jewelers, tailors, sculptors, refurbishers and all kinds of craftsmen. The art just went on and on. And I will definitely need to return to the Brewery for it’s next open house because we barely tapped the surface of it.

Golden moment: While sitting in patio chairs in front of the kid’s galleries at the Brewery, another father chased after his two golden-haired children. As they settled in chairs, we noticed a guy stop to take a picture of my two friends, me, the kids, the father and his wife. He said he just wanted a picture of people sitting at the Brewery to make into a Youtube video. I asked him if he was an artist here. He said no and anxiously showed us the nonthreatening picture so we didn’t think he was creepy. I said, we didn’t mind. We just wanted to know if he knew any ice cream places nearby. He didn’t. Neither did the family. We didn’t have ice cream.
Before leaving Downtown, I dropped the friends off at Union Station, then I drove to get back on the 5 Freeway. The thing about Downtown is that freeway entrances and exits aren’t uniform, so before I found my entrance, I drove through Lincoln Heights and into the more notorious Boyle Heights and passed several car junkyards. When I got on the freeway, it was more traffic, and that’s when I decided I wasn’t going to deal with. I was somehow going to bypass it and use my LA-traffic sense and travel skills to avoid it all. I got on the 110 North, which is unknown territory for me and just decided to drive until I hit Pasadena. Then I would go from there.
I drove past really beautiful-looking houses in disreputable parts of LA. When I got closer to the more reputable Pasadena, the houses looked smaller and more dilapidated. But then I remembered not to judge anything by its cover because Los Angeles has a habit of surprising you.

When I hit Pasadena, the freeway announced it would end. I had no idea where I was.

Remembering that I had passed a sign for the Norton Simon (a famous art museum in Los Angeles), I decided I’d find my way through surface streets to the museum. Someone had to know how to direct me from there. But before I could even enact that plan, I got distracted by the appearance of Wild Thyme the restaurant. Wild Thyme only means anything to me because I once had an amazing piece of carrot cake from it before it closed in my part of Los Angeles. Being the foodie I am, I couldn’t go back without stopping in. I parked, wandered in, got the staff to draw me a map and then sat down to order. While waiting for my food, I looked out the window and what should I espy? A kumquat tree! Which is when I knew I had to write about this day to all of you!


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Sometimes on the weekends, I’ll see motorcycle clubs riding down the freeway together in formation. Today was the first time I saw a racecar convoy zipping through traffic. It was pretty freaky. They would lane change a hair’s breath between cars. I immediately slowed down to let them all by. But it was also funny to think a bunch of fast-car aficionados had gathered to speed down the highway in comaraderie.


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Mogushi Beach (Kumamoto, Japan)

What was once molten
is now frozen.
You’ve kept your faces so long to see me!
Goggled eyes and agape water-
mouths–depressions, obsessions
of features: noses, ears, feet,
all discarded as the inspiration of an
era “posh today, gone in a
millenium.” Your toothless lips
apologize. Don’t.
I love you all. For so
long, I’ve faced the guardian
of two samurai boys poised
in combat. I’ve been apart,
been a dream in their periphery
of topography that I would
kiss you even as the sand is
black and the waves break
to scare us.


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I totally forgot it was Palm Sunday today, but fortunately, AH and I celebrated in style. On this beautiful beach-kind-of-day in Socal, we headed for the hills, specifically a leafy suburb of Pasadena for an outdoor Last Supper with Jesus. The specifics of the luncheon were this: A friend of AH’s dressed up as the Jesus. He set up a kind of daVinci-like spread in his backyard (rugs on the grass, pillows to lean on, low tables, pita bread, veggies, wine and other libations) and invited a lot of friends over. Some came as AH and I did, somewhat unsure what the deal was and stylishly dressed. While others came dressed in bedsheets, togas, and other “period” specific things. It was a very mellow affair. We sat on the ground and just chatted with a bunch of people. Some played backgammon, others tapped on drums, there was a crossword going around as well as a Vogue (Beyonce on the cover!). There were a lot of good-natured jokes about how this was  probably a lot more pleasant then the original Last Supper. No one had to worry about traitors or death, and the host of our supper eventually was too busy making sure everyone was fed. Oh yeah! The food was “fool”–a fava bean stew to which you could add any or all of the following: salt, pepper, chili, tomatoes, garlic, onions or parsley. There was a moment when everyone tried to remember the 10 commandments, but we forgot one and had to look it up on an iPhone. Figures that everyone forgot that you couldn’t commit adultery. Afterwards, AH and I got ice cream. 


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Here at LA Anatomia, we don’t get many comments from real people. Instead, we get lots of spam, and what interesting about that is how the comments have changed. In the beginning, the comments were so obviously spam that trickery was impossible. Then they progressed into large novelesque paragraphs full of key words and jibberish that were sometimes amusing to read. The latest batch of spam is actually trying to masquerade as human.Example:I think I’ve seen this somewhere before.Zoran zoranisspam@xxxxyb!.comAnother  example:Nice work but keep it short.Gigiiamaspamrobotinfiltratingyoursystem@spammer.comSee what I mean? Some days, there are spam. And other days, there is SPAM in the inbox in which we have to comb through hundreds of noncomments, deleting them one by one.Now let’s leap into the Los Angeles part of this entry:Last Saturday, I went hiking at Placerita Canyon Park. Friend and I took the Canyon trail two miles west and then a mile and a half north to get to a waterfall.It was a beautiful day with beautiful foliage. Anyway, one thing friend and I noticed was there were a lot of charred trees. Like a LOT. We reasoned that these were the scars of last year’s autumn fires. Placerita is in the way north of Los Angeles in dry, desert country. When you hear California fires, that’s where they are.Despite all the black bark, nature was alive all around. There were birds. There were birdwatchers. There were hikers and dogs, particularly dachsunds….Friend and I wondered if, as movies had taught us, the fires were necessary to burn out everything start life anew for this spring. And this is my not completely elegant link back to spam: It’s there. It needs to be purged out of the system sometimes for new things to grow.I’m a Angeleno on the go. I don’t always get the chance to sew everything up tight.

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