As you may or may not be aware, back in January of this year, I joined a group of esteemed local bloggers to contribute to L.A. Metblogs. Metblogs is an ever-growing international network of city-based sites where authors give first-hand accounts of their urban lives. I still feel like a guppy in a school of bigger fish, but was honored to make the cut and am inspired by the other writers.

I don't know if you read any of my stuff, and if not, that's okay. I'm not fishing for readers. However, if you do and have ever been inspired to leave a comment (again, no worries if you haven't), but were turned off by the need to register, I have some good news. Along with a general redesign of the entire site, commenter registration was nixed. If you're local, I encourage you to check out the site for cool events, contests, rants, and more. You can also follow us on twitter for alerts on posts that pique your interest.

For those of you elsewhere, check the list to see if your geographical area is represented. I know I do have some readers based in Philly, Orlando, San Diego, and even New Zealand. Not all cities have as many authors as Los Angeles, but that may just mean that you need to apply and share tales of your own beloved hometown. Unless you hate where you live.

P.S. We're adding L.A.-based blogs to the reinstated blogroll. If you'd like yours put into the mix, let me know and I'll see what I can do.


Where There's Smoke...

View of the smoke from the Station Fire, one of several blazes burning in Southern California right now, from the end of my street on Saturday afternoon. Bright white towers of smoke arose periodically from the black and gray stuff. It has seriously been looking like we've been nuked.

All fires are bad. The Station Fire is really close to where several of my friends live. The fire is barely contained and, today alone, it has tripled in size and burned down some homes. This is the one season I hate in SoCal and the one time of year I really wish for rain.


Eight Nights A Week

No, this isn't an early Hannukah post...

A lot of our friends always say things like, "You guys do SO much." I often downplay it and insist that sometimes we do sit at home and drool in front of the tv, but come to think of it, that is more the exception. This past week leaves me defenseless as we did something every single night.*

Monday: Neil Finn @ Largo, who was joined by his son on the drums and Largo's favorite son, Jon Brion, on all sorts of instruments. I could go on and on, but suffice it to say that the show was amazing.

Tuesday: As part of the Downtown Film Festival-Los Angeles, E and several members of the L.A. 3D Club , put on a special screening of independent 3-D short films at the Downtown Independent, a really cool, fairly new film and event center. We had a great turnout and a reception on the roof. (I had to go back to work from 11:30pm to 1:30am).

From a downtown rooftop
View from roof of Downtown Independent

Wednesday: VisionFest is the annual Filmmakers Alliance (FA) event which gives an award to a prominent figure in the world of independent film (this year's recipient was producer Ted Hope), a presentation of short films, followed by a party with food, booze, and mingling. During the festivities, E ran a video theater to show other shorts by various FA members.

Thursday: Of course we attended the 3-D Club's annual officer installation and awards banquet. Not only are we members, but E is the VP and usually the projectionist. One of our members was quite boisterous this year, making it a unique occasion, but that's neither here nor there. The important thing of it all is that I not only got my participation ribbon for entering each , but I also got a 3rd place medal for the newbie group!

Friday: It was Avatar Day and by the time we remembered to request tickets, the only place left in the L.A. area to go was Long Beach. That was fine since some friends who are also into 3-D live there and joined us. We made the trip worth our while and had some Peruvian food with them after the sneak preview. We stopped at Scoops once back in L.A. & I got the last of the Brown Bread for the day! P.S. Avatar looks pretty effin' cool.

Saturday: After a long, exhausting day at work, we went to closing night of the DFFLA. We got a very rare glimpse at a dated, but fascinating, documentary called The Jackson 5 in Africa. The footage from 1974 had only screened once before in New York and it's unknown when or if it will ever be seen again. Unfortunately, the after-party was a bust, but we ended up going to Wurstk├╝che, an exotic sausage restaurant in the Arts District. We'd heard wonderful things about the place and they were all true!

Sunday: After sleeping in a little, we decided to drive down to Laguna Beach to catch the soon-closing Sawdust Art Festival. We strolled around the art galleries along the ocean first and then took in the arts and crafts. There was also a lot of candy, but I don't want to talk about that.

Laguna Beach, my favorite place in the O.C.

Monday: Now we're up to last night. We met up with an old friend from college, who will soon be moving back to L.A., and a couple of his friends. It was a good time and even though some business-type stuff was discussed, the hours flew by as we indulged in good food and conversation.

*You may have heard me complain about being broke and that hasn't changed. We're very fortunate in that a lot of these fun things we do often cost very little to nothing, for a variety of reasons. We did pay full price for the sausage, though, and it was worth it.


The More You Know...

I sat down to do a big essay about my feelings on Michael Vick, but ending up rambling for paragraphs about growing up in a football fanatic family, being a fan myself by default, and coming to dislike the sport and its violent nature many years later. It was becoming an epic post and way longer than anything I would take the time to read.

When it comes to hearing Vick's name in the news whether he's going to court, leaving jail, getting a provisional reinstatement into the NFL, I just think of those dogs. Those innocent, tortured, indescribably mistreated dogs. The recent news has coincided with something in my life that lead to a lot of friends and colleagues ranting about how much they hate Pit Bulls and how evil they are by nature. My attempts to speak up on the unfair rap this breed have been ignored. I passive-aggressively printed out information from, well, the website called Bad Rap and posted them with photos of me being licked on the face by one of my best Pit friends. Obviously, not out to make friends, but if I could change one mind...

Me And <span class=
Daizy and me

We all have our prejudices and might be easily influenced by the fear-mongering media. If you aren't sure about Pit Bulls yourself, take a couple of minutes to read up on the breed and the crazy myths surrounding them. Yes, dogs can hurt you. ANY dog of ANY breed of ANY size can hurt you or another dog. Certain breeds have some traits that might not be a good match for you and your family as a pet. That's why people should educate themselves, make well-informed decisions before obtaining a dog, and commit to training that will help your canine become a good citizen. This goes for any dog from a teacup Poodle to a Great Dane to the I-have-no-idea-what-kind-of-dog-this-is Mutt. My cute fluff ball of a dog, Little Guy, is often horrible around other dogs, in spite of training efforts, so I purposefully avoid precarious situations as much as I can.

My creation
The many, often goofy, faces of Daizy

Personally, I don't think I would want to own a Pit Bull, but not because I'm afraid. I've just become fonder of smaller, long haired, pointy-eared dogs, in spite of growing up with and loving German Shepherds. I've spent a lot of time with my friend Daizy, above. I've walked her in the hills, played fetch with her, cuddled and snuggled with her as well. She is full of energy and love. She does like to jump up and say hi, but you tell her to "sit" and she does. Daizy has training, Daizy has responsible owners, Daizy is loved as much as she loves back. Daizy sometimes mingles at parties and is well received, especially when she's disguised Petey from The Little Rascals. Daizy's "parents" do encounter hate and prejudice though when in public, which shows how truly ignorant people often are.

I did end up rambling, but sometimes we have to speak up for those who can't for themselves. I understand that a lot of folks don't like or understand dogs period. Just because I'm a self-proclaimed "crazy dog lady," I really don't care if they aren't your thing and won't try to convince you otherwise. Talk to me about cats sometime. Or don't. Please don't. I just get really peeved that negative untruths being propagated by the ill-informed.


Dog Tired


Piggie Poems!

I've neglected a bit of self-promotion here. I put together a new book for Comic-Con this year called Piggie Poems. It was inspired by my former and current guinea pigs and contains original poetry and photographs.

As with my other books, it appeals to a select audience. Hamster Haiku was the best seller for me this year, with one person telling me that she bought it a year or two ago and still uses it with her elementary school students. Aw. So, if you a guinea pig enthusiast, or happen to know one, you might want to check it out. Feel free to contact me as I do have copies on hand and will offer free shipping. Or you can order it directly through Lulu, the self-publishing site I use. Admittedly, it's silly, but cute!


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