Darwin Awards, Twitter-Style

My sympathy level has reached an all-time low.

Over Labor Day weekend in Ontario, California, five young men lost their lives in a car crash. Horrible. Sad. I am sorry for their family and friends.

However, my deepest sympathy is somewhat limited in this case. Turns out the driver, Ervin McKinness, 21, was drinking, Tweeting and driving. Even though it’s been proven that using any type of mobile device whilst driving can be deadly, many folks–mostly youngins–choose to ignore it. One would think that with all of the information out there about how dangerous it is to text/Tweet while driving that most folks wouldn’t partake in something so dangerous.

Not so fast. Enter #YOLO or “You Only Live Once” — a saying made famous by the performer Drake, which has since been turned into a popular Twitter hashtag used by Tweeters ranging from ordinary folks to Katie Couric. Apparently, young folks have taken this #yolo as a shout-out to do real dumb things, like drive drunk and Tweet about it.

It’s sad that the aspiring rapper/singer’s life & the lives of four others were cut short by his stupidity.

What irritates me about the Vibe.com article is this part: “Ervin McKinness, 21, died in the car crash, which police say occurred around 1:40AM on Labor Day (Sep. 3), but approximately twenty minutes before the deadly accident, the 21-year-old sent out a tweet that could have saved his life if someone had intervened.

Intervened? How exactly–by driving around, calling him as an attempt to talk some since into him? Hey, here’s a novel idea, how about not drinking and driving? Seriously–how fucking stupid, in this day and age, do you have to be to realize that alcohol consumption and driving do not mix? Is this article saying that this horrible accident was not the driver’s fault? Does the author of the article, Charley Rogulewski, even follow and understand Twitter? If he did, then he’d know that most Tweets are bullshit, and only capture the attention of the reader for about a nanosecond–unless it’s porn, of course. Is the po-po supposed to monitor Twitter like a hawk? Think about it–If the cops were monitoring Twitter for possible criminal and life-threatening Tweets, crime outside of the Twitterverse would be out of control.

This crappy crap pisses me off.

Or, is this an instance where social media failed too?

What a difference a year makes

On July 6, 2011, I started this blog. I had no idea how it would turn out or if it would even last more than a few posts. There was always the chance that I’d grow bored and dump it like a bad boyfriend. Hell — that could still happen, but I doubt it because this is just too damn much fun. It’s my own creation that hails from the most mysterious, silliest, contemplative parts of my soul.

With the exception of a few posts where I find inspiration in another news story or in normal everyday human behavior, I never truly know what I’m going to write about until I click on “new post” and start typing.

It’s that very moment when I feel the most creative and free. I feel fortunate to have this innate ability (some might argue with my word choice) to create and write, and I’ve learned that the more I do it, the (hopefully) better I get. To me, writing is a release, a comfort and a source of nourishment. It’s what I long to do for a living.

When I started this blog, I was unemployed and uncertain of my future. Sadly, that’s today’s theme too. It’s been 17 months since I was laid off from my job at Modern Healthcare magazine, and very little has changed. I’ve had a few, brief freelance assignments, sent out countless resumes and went on a bunch of interviews. Southern California was my home for roughly 6 months — and I long to make it my permanent home, dog willing. I do believe that will happen but it’s just a matter of when. While I love Chicago, Southern California just suits me better. There’s a comfort level I’ve never been able to achieve in Chicago — a concept that is lost on so many folks, but not on those with whom I am closely yoked.

A year moves quite fast these days. Time moves faster when you’re not working, by the way. It wasn’t unusual for me to experience a myriad of emotions within a 24-hour span. Brutal, yes, but I learned a great deal about myself, and have realized it’ll all work out — life has a way of making things just so. Sure, the path is riddled with crap and more crap, but it’s worth it all in the long run.

So, thanks for your support. I do plan on writing more political posts since we’re smack-dab in one of the biggest political pig fucks of all time. What’s happening in this presidential election season breaks my heart, makes me laugh and gives me hope.

Odd, yes, but it’s not unlike what I’ve personally experienced during the past year.

Kitten with a whip

This past weekend was DomCon LA at Los Angeles.

Now, I’m not into fetish or S&M or bondage, and IF those things did whet my appetite, I sure as shit wouldn’t talk about them here. This is a family blog — with lots of swears and porn. And other material that is not welcome in polite society.

But, had I known about Dom Con, I woulda gone — as a journalist, an observer for the people if you will. You know, as a member of the 4th Estate — I could’ve dressed up as Mistress McCrabass — the Goddess of “Fact-checking” — you get something wrong, well, you get my red pen. *Ahem*….

Mistress McCrabass would’ve known what to do when chump Will Smith backhanded a reporter who tried to give him a big old wet one. Mr. Smith would been licking my boots had he tried that with me.

It’s ok — let your mind wander. And while you’re imagining me correcting you with my crop across your bare, oiled ass here are some pix from conventions — past and present.

Enjoy — you swine fucking assholes.

I

A somber anniversary

This week marked a difficult anniversary for Los Angeles — the 20th anniversary of the LA riots.

What do I remember?

I remember driving home from Hollywood and stopping at a stoplight only to be surrounded by very angry people wielding bats and other large blunt instruments. When I told them I was on their side, they let me go.

I was living with a now-ex-fiance at the time who came from a very religious (born again) family. He was funny, but trying waaaaay too hard to be the next Howard Stern. When his creepy, crispy Christian brother asked if Dan had found Jesus during the riots, his classic response was, “Yeah, I think I saw him looting an appliance store in South Central.” End of conversation.

Very funny line but he was gone by the end of May for many reasons.

The first evening of the riots, I went up to Mulholland Drive to watch the city burn. It was eerie and unbelievable. But what really made that trip totally LA was the fact that there were probably about 20 camera crews up there shooting stock footage for the inevitable MOWs that would be produced in the next few months/years. What made it even MORE LA is the LAPD did nothing to stop the filming. Ahhh…the needs of Hollywood trump social justice every damn time.

Life in the Valley was relatively normal during the riots. At least it was in my ‘hood. The LA basin was a  true hot mess. Television coverage was hypnotic and for the most part, the media did an ok job — with one exception: Bree Walker. She was working for the CBS affiliate here at the time and was at the anchor desk reporting about the live shots happening all over the city. The one in Koreatown stuck in my mind. The reporter in front of a mini-mall was giving a report as to what was happening when a shootout between a Korean business owner and rioters sprang up behind him, he dove for cover as the bullets flew and reporting the action along the way. Instead of asking if the reporter was okay, Bree asked, “Do you think those guns are registered?”

At that moment, I chopped off Dan’s head and threw it at the tee vee.

After Rodney King made his whacked-out plea, and the fires were put out and 53 people were killed, and not to mention the emotional and fiscal damage the riots had on the city, state and the psyche of Angelenos, not much changed for those who erupted in anger. Florence and Normandie is still old school and Reginald Denny forgave the folks who beat him within an inch of his life on national tee vee.

South Central is still wallowing in poverty and high unemployment.

Check out these stats courtesy of Mental Floss: From 1970 to 1990, the number of African-Americans living in suburbs jumped from 3.6 million to 10.2 million. However “black flight” contributed to an even greater concentration of poverty in central cities. The total number of African-Americans living in poverty in the ghettoes increased from 2.9 million in 1970 to 5.3 million in 1990, from 13 percent to 18 percent of the African-American population.

And, these numbers will continue to get worse each year. Having a black POTUS or more blacks in positions of power has helped a miniscule amount and bode well for the future, but ill-informed attitudes will be around forever, sadly.

I don’t know if LA has completely recovered from what happened 20 years ago. Sure, the burnt-out buildings are either rebuilt, painted over or gone forever. But the stench of what happened is still permeating this city, and that’s good. A little reminder never hurt anyone, but will it help?

 

 

Magnificent Obsessions

When I’m not focusing on my main obsession — finding a decent job — I’m out and about checking out the sights, sounds and smells of Los Angeles. I’ve wandered all over the place in the past two months, out among the living and breathing denizens of this city and have found some new and not-so-new-but-seem-new loves.

Am I obsessed with astrology and psychics? Nope. Especially not after a well-known website which houses psychics and their wares turned me down for a writing/editing job. I know, how odd of me to not be into this since California IS the place for such obsessions. The last thing I need is to have someone tell me what my future is based on a reading a synapse misfiring in their brain gave them. I have a hard enough time dealing with my own little reality to get bogged down in cosmic farces.

Rot.

The hunt for the perfect t-shirt. Actually, this obsession has been a life-long one. I’ve tried them all and my fave has to be a James Perse one I found at a deep-discount place in Chicago. It was similar to this one, but sans the writing on the sleeve.

Best. T-shirts. Ever.

My perfect-t-shirt-obsessed-sister-Liza tells me that the Gap has some decent ones that are long enough at a fraction of the cost. The good thing is, the Gaps out here are great and seem to carry different stuff than their stores in other cities. Also, since James Perse is located here, I’m sure they have some sort of  warehouse sale where those of us of limited means can venture to buy their threads on the cheap. We probably have to be escorted in under a cloak of darkness though as to not to embarrass ourselves. Chalk one up for Los Angeles.

Scarves. Always scarves. My new fave is this one from the over-priced and over-hyped Lululemon. But I love it anyway.

                          

If/when I get a gig, I’m treating myself. Odd? Perhaps. But, that makes more sense to me than getting some hookers and blow and going to town. Hey, that’s just me — I don’t mean to knock your habits.

Friends, this is a horchata con espresso AKA liquid crack.

Magnificent obsession.

I get this fab beverage at the best coffee house I’ve ever been to in my entire life: Cafe de Leche on York and Ave. 50 in Eagle Rock. Words can’t quite describe how fucking yummy and good this stuff is, so I won’t even try. I don’t want to embarrass mahself OR my favorite drink by getting all schmaltzy. Sadly, I view this obsession as a treat since it’s loaded with calories AND it’s kinda expensive. It’s getting to the point that after I guzzle one of these, I need a cigarette and a nap.

 Thank you, Darrin N. for introducing me to my new, fave crack house.

One of the advantages of not having broadcast tee vee is I listen to NPR all day long. When it gets to be too much, I resort to watching screeners or listening to my own music on my ‘puter. Or, I read — a lot. One of the nice things about radio out here is it’s a bit more progressive and interesting than what we have in Chicago. There’s more alternative music here than anywhere else. One of the NPR stations here, KCRW, plays a lot of this music. Some of it is a bit much, but the atonal crap comprises about 5% of their playlists. The rest is worth listening to again and again. My latest faves? Gotye, Heartless Bastards, Los Campesinos, Shelby Lynne, Kimbra, Jessie Baylin and more. Now, before the music snobs weigh in, I’m well aware that some of these artists have been around for a while. No shit. But, this is the first time I’ve had the chance to listen to any of them. These types of tunes aren’t played that often over the Windy City airwaves.

Anyhoo, enjoy.

Gotye.

Smells.

My ‘hood smells. The whole city smells. Some good smells and some bad smell, but mostly good. The ocean, orange blossoms, night blooming jasmine, gardenia and eucalyptus — they’re especially strong post-rain and help to smother the roasting taco meat and pee-pee stench (rarely are the two experienced at the same time) that permeate my street when the breeze is juuuuuust right.

Since for the moment I’m living in a desert and not in a swamp, my skin is suffering. Big time. I’m starting to resemble Bridget Bardot circa now and thrilled about it I’m not. Short of soaking in olive oil, nothing keeps my skin from puckering up due to the arid air here. Add super-sensitive skin to the mix and I’m in a conundrum. The stuff I get from the chain drugstores doesn’t work (and I’ve tried them all) and the good stuff costs some serious coin (thank dog for samples). Pure coconut oil is messy and a pain to prep so I’m still figuring this one out. But, I do have the sunscreen issue licked. A daily shea butter bath will be the way to go should I end up here.

Beautiful people –LA’s filled with ‘em due to the movie industry and a burgeoning fashion scene. They’re fun to look at for a minute or two, but as soon as most of them open their mouths, well… there goes my erection.

 

 

 

 

Radio daze

Recently, I’ve been asked to co-host The Matthew Aaron Show with a sort-of former student of mine from DePaul University in Chicago. Actually, he was introduced to me via some friends who had him in their classes. Sure, I could go back and edit the first statement, but I’m too damn lazy and I don’t feel like it.

Tomorrow’s my birthday so I’m getting my birthday bitch on a few hours early.

Matt was kind enough to ask me to fill in as an occasional co-host a few weeks ago. The show is good and lots of fun, so I jumped at the chance. So far, it’s been a blast. I’ve met some great people and, most important, I’m keeping my skills current for ye olde job (pronounced ‘yob’) search. Now, I have zip radio experience, but I’m a true Chatty McTalksAlot, and I think I’ve intelligent things to say, some sort of wisdom to impart and a saucy wit that most folks seem to enjoy.

Who knows where this wild ride will take me–probably nowhere, but at least I’ll have fun gettin’ there.

Here’s a link to the shows. You can hear my sweet, dulcet tones in Episodes 1, 2, 4 and 9. Hopefully, I’ll be on again in the future. We’ll see what the Fates have to say about it.

Until then, enjoy!

 

I spy

I’ve been in LA for about three weeks and much has caught my eye. While most of what I’ve witnessed/experienced constitutes normal differences that are expected between two major metropolitan areas of the US, the stuff that stands out appears to be unique to LA and California.

Food stuff.

Food prices are cheaper out here. While LA is near the top with its astronomically high rents — about twice the national average — food is cheaper than in Chicago. At least the food I buy — mostly fruits and veg, chocolate and panther piss-esque booze. Perhaps that’s because most fruits and vegetables are grown in this state, so the price of transportation, storage, etc. isn’t tacked onto the product. However, residents are zapped for other expenses like transportation (you need a decent car out here) clothing and entertainment. Gas isn’t too bad either, but I’m sure it’ll get more expensive as the warmer months approach and Angelenos emerge from their well-appointed, cozy lairs, don their full-length mink coats (hey, it gets cold here at night! Around 50 degrees!) and get moving. So far, the city doesn’t appear to have its hand out for every little thing, every little service. Of course, I could be wrong. I just haven’t witnessed it yet. In Chicago, it’s a different story.

As for restaurants, there are shitloads of vegan/vegetarian eateries out here. I’ll write more about this at a later time.

In-Your-Face-Nature. A few days ago, mockingbirds woke me up around 3 am with their yap-yapping, trying to be all clever with their mocking ways. This little pest was in the citrus tree right outside my bedroom window and he just … wouldn’t … shuttie. I finally had to open the crypt door and tell Mr. Mockingbird and his cadre to sit down. Did they? Oh for about 10 minutes, yes. But soon they were taking requests and recruiting members of the audience to join them on the branch. I finally gave up and retreated to the living room to read. Seriously though, I don’t mind mockingbirds because they like to mix it up AND they’re sassy as hell. Total brats.

The mockingbird is somewhat of a milquetoast of the fauna I’ve encountered since landing at LAX. The weirdest was the brightly colored snake I startled while leaving my apartment. It was chilling out on my porch, and was gone before I could snap a photo of it. So now I traipse around the outside of my apartment with care these days because who knows if the snake is considering a comeback and moving into my mailbox. Or recycling bins.

The brat of the bird world.

Let’s chat about hummingbirds. A tree in front of my place is festooned with them. They’re everywhere — yesterday I spied a wee nest, not much bigger than my thumb, tucked in the crook of a tree branch. I follow the “No Moleste” mantra of my wildlife loving friends and family, so I don’t gawk and try to become one with the tree to get a better look. Plus, hummingbirds will pull out the big guns to defend their territory and I’m not into getting pelted by tiny beaks. Maybe 20 years ago, sure! But now? Nah. Not so much. I find their frenetic, squeaky speech hypnotic — except when they’re coming after me as I’m leaving my apartment.

So, as the song goes, Let it be.

Beautiful Buteos.

I haven’t spied anything shocking with four legs yet — like a cougar or a woolly mammoth — but once I do, I’ll write about it.

LA is lousy with birds of prey. They’re everywhere. Illinois is too, but it doesn’t have Harris Hawks. Apparently, there is a pair of these hawks living in the hills at the end of my street and like to cause trouble with their tag-team hunting ways. Last week, the pair snagged some sort of varmint and the cacophony of bird squeals and squawks was almost too much for me to take. One of my neighbors informed me that this pair has been here for quite some time and they’re left alone.

That’s a huge relief.

You'd better watch your ass, or we'll git ya.

Cops. Yes, cops. The po-po, fuzz, 5-0, the Men in Blue, donut patrol — or whatever monikers kids these days are giving G-men. I’ve noticed that LAPD officers are in much better shape then their brethren in Chicago. Perhaps the tough fitness requirement the department has for wannabe cops is carried over once one becomes a member of the force. Or, perhaps this is Hollywood and everyone is vying to be the next big thing.  Since it’s alllll about what you look like out here, the need to be attractive no matter what your profession is constant. Also, cops out here tend to become the news. (note: Zsa Zsa’s cop was from the BHPD). The cops trolling my neighborhood are also easy on the eyes — they’re kinda cute in that jack-boot thug kinda way. It’s tempting to get arrested. “Really, Mr. Po-leeece man, you can tighten the handcuffs more if you like … Aaaand your night stick?”

Now I’m done.