The city from my view.

A pulse on a vibrant Megalopolis.

Monday, April 30, 2018

Football Comes To LaLa Land

Fan Base Of The LA Football Club--Notice The Difference Between This Crowd And a Trump Fund Raiser

View From My Seat

April 29 was the opening game for the Los Angles Football Club and it was a party from the get-go.  How could you not have a great time, and game, with the diversity and love for football that LA has stored in their hearts for generations. We are, in La-la Land, a mix of the world. We incorporate in our city, people from everywhere and every kind. That is our strength in that we unite to be who we are from where we came. Me and my friends left from Culver City after a great meal of Mexican food.  We boarded the Expo line a few blocks away that dropped us off in front of the Rose garden at Expo Park. From there we walked by USC students who graduated and were taking photo shoots in the rose garden's fountain  area. From there a quick step through the Science Center and to the Banc Of California Stadium. Along the way vendors plying us with all kinds of food and wear, people taking photos, families and friends smiling and enjoying everything Los Angeles has to offer at its finest. It was Disneyland in the heart of the city.  

The opening festivities left us with enough time to wait in line for a big-ass can of beer. We got to our seats to watch an eagle fly and for us to sing the national anthem before the game began. It was far different watching it live than from the living room's TV. The constant roar of fans, the anticipation of scoring throughout the game up to the last seconds where the score was 0 to 0. That's when LA's captain gave it one last try and scored. It brought the house down. 

For an hour after the game, fans roared, congratulated and praised our team and its wonderful, beautiful, diversified stadium and city. Our mayor was there at the opening to help usher in another wonder that makes La-La Land so unique in America. We left and walked back to the Expo line where our police force helped its citizens to board safely and quickly. It was far faster to take Metro than to drive there. Even where I live in the San Fernando Valley, I can go a few blocks to a Metro station and get to this stadium in the heart of the city faster than I could ever do in a car. How cool is that?

Tuesday, April 24, 2018

My Pal Sweet Pea

Animals are a joy to have. They light your soul and warm your heart like nothing else can. My Sweet Pea is one heart warmer, full of love who, from the moment he wakes next to me, wants nothing more than to be my pal for the whole day. He is there for me on good days and bad, doesn't matter, he'll bring me a squeak to toss in the air for him bringing it back with a dash for another toss. He lays down next to me when I take a nap and ready to go as soon as I wake. His favorite activity is a brisk walk when we canvass the hood looking for something new. He walks well with a strut in his stride, tail up and wide eyed, especially when squirrels comes his way.

Every animal I've known had their own unique personality, just like people, and all of them respond to love and affection. But I think some have a tad more love to give than others, it just depends how they match up with you. Sweet Pea and me match up pretty well and I can tell because Millie the cat and Sweet Pea got along just fine right from the day they met. That says a lot about Sweet Pea because Millie isn't real fond of other dogs at all except for this one. They sleep together, play together which is really fun to watch one chasing the other and then they switch until they tire enough and lay on the grass next to one another.

I love them both. Millie is a very special cat who watches out for everybody, patrolling the property on a regular schedule. If a gate is open, she'll get me and cry until I follow her where she will sit and stare at the problem until I realize that something isn't right and then fix it--thanks to her diligence. Sweet Pea knows the sound of any car. If a friend pulls up, Sweet Pea knows before we do because he recognizes each individual car. It's amazing what the little guy can hear but when you have ears like a bat it must be quite easy to know when butterflies come around. 

Monday, April 9, 2018

Bar Fly News From LaLa Land

The Pikey Bar and Grill

I like bars. It can be high end or low end, doesn't matter to me because it is the people that go to them that make the bar. It's a place, especially if you're alone where for a while you have companionship in the mix of drinks and conversation. Then there is the eavesdropping of other conversations that are of interest. The hookups, the failed hookups and the subtle seducing that draws your ear and thoughts away from your troubles while listening to theirs.

People come fresh from work to unwind, and hopefully before the end of Happy Hour. They open their collars and wallets as they ease into a chair at the bar. They come in groups and solo to join all the others wanting a moment away from the world. For that is what a bar brings people, a time to get away and be free of constraint. Bars are probably the first social experience man has created. I'm sure the caves of Lascaux France with the painted scenes of wild animals was to entertain guests waiting for some kind of alcoholic concoction served to them after a day of hunting. What could be a better experience than to sit in firelight drinking grog from a horn and recanting the great hunt pictured on the walls all around.

Even during the darkest hours in America when bars were closed and raided, people found a way to gather. Sure they could get a drink at home but why? It's not the same as when you go someplace else to drink because it is the social event that matters. It's in our genes to gather at the watering hole and spend time with complete strangers mixing thought and word with one another. So go on, find a place nearby and take part in this time honored tradition of our species to find a place with a sign hanging out front--Cocktails.    

Thursday, March 22, 2018

Keeping Chickens in LaLa Land Is A Tradition

Plymouth Barred Rock pullets in their run at home

In the novel, the Postman Always Rings Twice by James M. Cain, there is the telling of directions to an area of the Santa Monica mountains by a man who raised rabbits in Encino to the murderers in the story. In fact, my uncle raised rabbits in Encino, something he learned as a kid growing up during the depression era to put meat on the table. My own family, in the same neighborhood, raised chickens and probably for the same reason initially. We still have the chickens, not the same chickens but a clutch of hens I get when they are pullets for their eggs but not so much for the meat. That I leave to an immigrant family from Columbia who can't wait for the next meal of a healthy Encino raised chicken. The hens lay well enough for three years at most, after that it's time to start a new brood.

We in Los Angeles, though thought of in rural areas of the country to be city folk who couldn't survive without the farm produce raised in conservative rural areas, would be surprised to know La La Land has a vibrant farm community.  For us, we use the refuse of the chickens for compost in our vegetable garden that brings us apples, grapes, lemons, guava, peppers, tomato, lettuce, squash, herbs and anything else we wish to grow. Even those in apartments will grow something to eat or smoke in containers near a sunny window or balcony. Farming goes on everywhere in the city including bee keeping.

We not only raise enough produce and eggs to give to our neighbors and friends, but they in turn have reciprocated by giving us something they farmed as well. There is an added bonus that our produce brings, fish when a neighbor or friend has extra they caught in exchange. Nothing like fresh tuna with a homegrown salad to share it with. There too are the friends and family who dabble in beer or wine making. Sometimes surprising in content but always accepted and enjoyed because that's L.A. You learn to share space and with that--food.

There is a special beauty in seeing home garden plots. Dotting our city are open areas rented to those who want to get their knees brown and their thumbs green. A place to socialize and have friends visit with a picnic basket in hand. That's La La Land, unabashed liberals greening up So. Cal. So now that Spring is here. Get out your hippie jewelry and join in growing something for your table to enjoy with friends and family now that you're on the farm.

Thursday, March 15, 2018

La La Land Has Football

I've wanted to see live football in L.A. for a long long time. The Galaxy club is not really in Los Angeles proper, you can't take Metro to Carson that I know of, at least not without several hours on several buses. You can take the dreaded 405 to get there but at a  mind numbing crawl. Not now though with the new kid in town and he is a very bad boy.

I bought season tickets for me and my buds. We have shirts, caps and pins. We're ready and we can have a great time getting there without driving much and using the Expo line. It is the new Los Angeles coming of age with a hot football club with a very cool name and a sellout brand new stadium in the heart of Los Angeles. Welcome soccer fans everywhere, it's football that the whole damn world plays.

The first two games had winning scores. We watched the action unfold with our home team on television when they beat Seattle by one and then on to Salt Lake where they trounced Real Salt Lake 5 to 1. Our team is doing pretty good without yet having their stadium ready, but we are.

La La Land welcomes everyone from every place on the planet. Our multi-ethnic cuisines blend tastes and talent from far and wide. Now we have added to this wonderful mix a real football team and we can be proud for it. 

Wednesday, February 28, 2018

Dancing With Ghosts In LaLa Land

I've been doing that a lot lately, remembering those that are no longer here. It's part of aging, you begin to remember more about what you did with those deceased than the living. For me it's not bad because for the most part, I only remember the good times. Once in a while a memory of something terrible occurs but as time goes on, the mix of memories mellow and become a balm when you feel lonely. That's when you sooth your psychic with memories from another time.

That's the thing with aging, you will feel alone at times because most everyone else you know is either dead or close to it. It's all in how you want to look at it. I don't mind it myself for it gives me the time to remember, and in doing so for that brief moment, relive a wonderful experience. Each of us has in them beautiful memories culled from our past and groomed to fit how we look at ourselves and our lives. These selected memories are there to enjoy as we dance to a rhythm timed just right for us. Let the old have their dance, let them sing to songs of long ago and let them remember through a prism of their own.

I do miss the days in Topanga Canyon, especially in the cold season when we gathered at someone's house to keep warm and play musical instruments to entertain ourselves. We fixed dinners from whatever was on hand and laughed through it all. Each adding a story or two from where they hailed or adventures shared while we listened to old rafters creak and a stream surge into a river below us.

For in these memories I am young again, full of piss and vinegar ready to pit myself against the world. And that is what some of chose to do. Warriors that fought battles in our own worlds, we tried to bring understanding of ourselves to those that didn't know us. Isn't that what we all want? Understanding of who we are.

Monday, February 12, 2018

In A World Gone Mad Kindness Prevails

It's hard sometimes to watch the news about families torn apart for political gain along with a  mix of crude and vulgar language coming from the highest office in the land. It's hard to think the country I love wants to cast out those that yearn to be free because they come from a destitute land. But here in La La Land, life is a little different for this is where dreams can come true.

Sweet Pea and I think about the day on our walks in the hood. How people have shown kindness to me in a variety of ways when I tell them of Wally's passing. There is no judgement of our life style, no callous remarks of my loss but only sympathy for what I'm going through. It helps. For some days are really tough from beginning to end.

What I thought would be easy to adjust to, the freedom of  only caring for myself, isn't so easy. I'm so use to caring for Wally that it became who I was, and now I can't remember to take my pills because I'm not measuring out for the both of us in my morning routine. It's empty here, so very very empty. That too, I thought I would like but it is at times uncomfortable. Though Wally couldn't talk toward the end he was there to talk to, and now those little things that come up in a day that you would only say to someone you love can no longer be said. 

But something magical happens. People, strangers in fact, are kind to you with smiles and pleasantries. It doesn't take much to brighten someone's day. These things we do for one another connects us, makes us all better people, for in that magic moment of kindness we are not alone and that is very important for human beings.

I know that someday this will be behind me, I will feel more at ease and that all the legal issues concerning Wally will be over but right now that is not the case. Right now, he is gone and I miss him to the point that my guts hurt. We met at a dance class and I suppose someday we might dance again. Wouldn't that be nice.