Thursday, November 16, 2006

le beaujolais nouveau est arrive!

today is the annual launch of beaujolais nouveau!! all over the world, vino lovers like us are toasting and sipping the freshly harvested fruits from the beaujolais region of france.

mmmmmmmmmmmmmmm! it is on mornings just like this one (rare, sadly, lo they are) that we are glad to have our drivers in waiting (specifically the Culver 6).

the worldwide awareness for this juicy juice is due primarily to Georges Duboeuf. in the '50s, he gave up studies in Paris to travel around the Maconnais region via bicycle to help sell his family's Pouilly-Fuisse.

today, we joined the US importer -- WJ Deutsch & Sons -- for a sampling of this year's vintage. at the tasting, Georges Deboeuf and Deutsch presented a check for $7,000 to the LA Food Bank!

and now, to nap!

PS: lil' bro: your bday goodies are en route!

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

being home on Halloween rocks!

some of the all-time best outfits haunted our door last night. lil' chillens from far and wide made their way to Culver City for a helluva take on sweets.

just think, if i'd had an auto, i might've felt obligated to attend a party here or there. instead, i sipped vampire wine, laughed with friends in front of crackling fire place, cuddled kittens and doled out jelly eyeballs, skull pops, chocolate, chocolate, chocolate ... even a cupcake or two.

why is halloween only once a year?!

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

things to do without a car:

1. walk by Kirby's Pet Store on your way home from the Farmer's Market and exit with a new bundle of fluff & sass

2. throw a "cracklin" duraflame on the fire and watch Batman Begins with your pals, lolo and po

3. join your significant other on the walk home from work in the quiet of the late, late night

4. hop the bus to see Jack in 3D (with new & improved Roy Orbison styled glasses)

5. watch a meth junkie tweak and twitch on the bus as she multitasks and begs for quarters

Wednesday, October 11, 2006


Not our favorite city.
  • Smoke
  • Ridiculous airport
  • Are-you-kidding-me taxi lines
  • Non-stop noise
  • Sensory confusion and overload
  • The general smell of ass near the slot machines
We recently discovered that you can do Vegas and avoid some of the nonsense.
Item 1: Flexcar
$100 roundtrip, including gas, insurance and any maintenance.
No line, no early check-in and wait.

Item 2: Don't fuck around
Go directly from your hotel room to dinner. Vegas has upped the ante on stellar restaurants. One of our faves is Craft. The room is much too large but the somehow the service team makes it fun and the sides are amazing.

Item 3: Stick with people you dig
Head back to your room with wine and champagne. Spend time talking with people you love. You get to talk in your normal voice; you aren’t jostled, or hurried. The smells are up to you.

To quote the ubiquitous credit card ad: priceless.

Thursday, September 21, 2006

Well, blow me down (the road) or Put that in your pipe and smoke it.

In my last post - about our Flexcar jaunt to Palm Springs - I mentioned
something about having Willie Nelson along for the ride. Well, as bad
as yesterday's errand-running adventure was for me, I think Willie had it worse this week. All for having Mary Jane along for the ride in his tour bus.

I mean, come on Louisiana! I know Bush and the Republicans screwed you and now with noone coming to New Orleans y'all are a little desperate for revenue but busting Willie for pot is just UnAmerican. And well, just plain MEAN. Pulling over Willie's tour bus to look for marijuana is like pulling over Popeye's boat to look for spinach: OF COURSE he has some on board. Where do you think Willie gets the strength at his age to play music for the masses three hours a night and god knows how many nights in a row? (Hmm. Given this weeks e-coli scare, maybe Popeye would be happy to switch places with Willie. I bet Bluto's been kicking his ass non-stop.)

No doubt Wille and the Family were (pardon the pun) ROLLING thru the state trying to spread a little good cheer in these hard-luck times and backwater bayous and this is how you thank them down there?

Oh and if you think a pound and a half of marijuana in this case means "Intent to Sell" not only do you not know jack, you sure as shit don't know Willie. That was ALL for the boys and girls in the band. Or in the Family. Hell, it was probably just enough pot to get 'em thru to the next whistle-stop. Maybe the DA should change the charge to "Intent To Share." Regardless, once again, I'm rooting for the Outlaw.

Monday, September 18, 2006

learning from the kiddos

our culver digs provide a long sidewalk in front of our house and down the side yard. on weekend mornings, wee ones scoot by on their own four-wheeled chariots. they get especially excited when they come to the end of the sidewalk and the sloping ramp that gives them some acceleration. always elicits brrreerrrrurrr sounds followed by giggles and hoots.

how much more fun would our city streets be if we were each using our own internal horsepower to propell our scooter along and, at the same time, making our own engine noises?

vroom, vroom

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

right place, wrong stuff

advertising and messaging on the bus makes sense. you've got a captive audience who actually can take their eyes off the road and focus on what you have to say.

inside the LA metro bus system you'll find printed display panels and small, LCD screens. the printed display panels are, for the most part, really well done and provide a tasty mix of art and useful tidbits (Poetry in Motion and the schedule changes for corresponding routes, for example). there are a few cheesy ads from ambulance chasers and debt consolidators, but these seem almost demure in their quiet printedness.

the screens show content managed by TransitTV. folks, this is some of the all time poorest use of full motion video and place-based media we've ever seen. the content is obviously repurposed from use on traditional networks. we say obviously because the logos, show titles, web sites etc. all get lost when shown on the little screens. the few slides that are printed in large enough type to read from a bus seat typically contain multiple typos and are random headlines culled from front pages. and, most of the content is in English; this might shock you, but English is not the primary language on the metro bus routes.

we might mind the lame ads for the “work from home” scams less if the content on the screens was even a smidge better and more relevant. why use this valuable time to showcase snow boarders at a competition in Utah? why not publicize LA-based events? theater shows, art openings, new restaurants, local sports scores, and cultural celebrations, to name a few. (to be fair, there is often a print ad for the Hollywood Bowl, but it doesn’t include the schedule (which could be easily updated via a digital, visual program)).

or, here’s a thought: communicate the location and availability of programs that are useful to the onboard audience such as business development workshops, ESL classes, car sharing programs, bicycle repair tips, job postings and more.

yeah, yeah ... we know that TransitTV probably thinks it's saving money by just using the same programming on all screens across the states. and that going after national advertisers is the best way to make bank. well, it might be but only if the advertisers are chumps and don't care about actual ROI because we've never seen moving images get so little attention as the screens on the LA metro.

Sunday, September 10, 2006

cultural immersion

we hadn't ventured onto olvera street before. so with tickets to Culture Clash's new show at the Mark Taper in our pocket, we felt today was the day.

we strolled in the sunshine. listened to music. watched kids play and families gossip. grabbed lunch at El Paseo, along with a tasty margarita (as you can see from the blurry pic, our table neighbors may have had more than one).

Water & Power is really good, filled with great characters and terrific performances. the three founders of Culture Clash, also leads in the play, work amazingly well together. their closeness is palpable and necessary for the storyline.

there is a timeline titled "how'd we get here?" in the program. it begins at 8,000BC and chronicles Los Angeles-area milestones. here's an entry for 1954:
"the police swarm through Mexican American neighborhoods searching for illegal immigrants in 'Operation Wetback.' agents locate over 1 million illegal immigrants. some American-born children are deported along with non-citizen parents. agents begin stopping 'Mexican-looking' citizens on the street and asking for identification."

clearly not one of our best moments.

the route home was detoured due to filming which involved a huge, smoldering hole in a downtown city street, complete with a taxi on its side. a crowd had gathered for the free entertainment ... a very lovely, diverse Angeleno crowd, brought together in the afternoon heat by our natural inclination toward human interaction and the uniqe surrealness of this city that we share ... just the way it should be!

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Hybrid to Hell?

Driving on Labor Day has always seemed like work to us, so we’ve avoided it. Of course, living just off the beach in Santa Monica for 10 years made that easier. It seemed those car-obsessed masses fuming and reeling from the congestion of the 10 Freeway and the 405 were all headed to our neighborhood anyway, so most of our efforts on the long weekend went toward avoiding them.

This year, we decided to join the rest of the lemmings and hit the highway, but driving in the opposite direction. We may be just as crazy, but we’re a smarter kind of crazy. Or are we? Palm Springs this weekend was easily into the triple digits and apparently still “off-season” so when our old beach buddies from Santa Monica invited us out to their new digs in the desert, we fired up the Flexcar in the cool belly of its Batcave and took off toward the desert heat.

And liked it. Of course, it’s all in the timing and having Willie and Waylon and Dwight Yoakam along for the ride helped.

Yet, the best driving (for me, anyway) came on the Westin’s Mission Hills Gary Player golf course – where the rates are still cheap because the Golf Rat regulars have yet to come out from under their rocks. There the fairways are fair and square and more forgiving than most and the deserted course was devoid of party-pushing pinheads and sputtering putterers as well. Kevin and I quickly breezed through 18 holes before the cicada-drone heat and the humility got to us. Back at the Rancho ranchero, the pool was cool, the golf widow wives were too and the margaritas frozen.

And when it was time to leave, the cumulus clouds provided cover for our trek back with the American masses. No blinding setting sun in our windshield sights but a quick flash of lightning (!) was a sure sign from the Gas Guzzling Gods to hit the Drive-Thru Starbucks for a jolt of caffeine. Safety first/thirst. And save for two fender-bender slowdowns (not involving us), we made good time and shockingly HAD a good time Flex-ing our Freeway muscles. Equally amazing, Flexcar’s new Hybrid Honda Civic still feels like the first easy-to-drive Honda I drove back in 1980 . For just over a hundred bucks (gas included! insurance included!) we got our communal little Hybrid for more than 48 hours which meant a lot of cylinder-bang for our bucks. And for little work. Of any kind.

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

by nature or nurture, we tend not to be "joiners." one friend wiser than we recently recommended that we stop belittling ourselves for not joining more groups and to be loud and proud weavers, weaving together the ideals that work for us from the various groups we check out.

however, make no mistake that by choosing not to own a car and therefore curb the whims to hop in and drive when the mood strikes (as it inevitably will) is our way of joining the peace movement. choosing to find new ways to be less dependent on oil is our way of joining with parents who want their kids home and out of war. it is our way of joining with back-to-the-landers who work to reincorporate locally and mindfully produced agriculture into our societies. it is our way of joining with other likeminds who say: we can do better, simply because it feels better.

Monday, August 28, 2006


if you put up a fete within a rock's throw of the Green Machine 1, we're pretty much a sure thing. we like to get out and about; ain't no lack of four wheels gonna slow us down.

so last night we trekked to the marina for the fourth of four parties given by monsieur hotcakes, Fernando. yes, that's no typo, four soirees.

it was an easy trip down washington but we were left waiting due to the weekend schedule. fortunately we have a new toy. prepare yourself, this blog just went full color. we've got a digital camera and we're not afraid to use it.

if you see a flash and some goofy looking folks posing at a bus stop, you've got a pretty good idea who it be.


Thursday, August 24, 2006

flexcar as magic carpet ....

anyone else out there rented a flexcar and then began manifesting everything they've been asking for?

is the flexcar magic?

or, is it just that we took this leap of faith, tried a little somethin new and the universe is serving up all the tasty morsels are hearts desire? can it really be that simple?

Sunday, August 20, 2006

rockin' downtown

so we bus-stopped into downtown Los Angeles last night to meet our gorgeous friend Pammy for an evening of music and art at MOCA's Night Visions.

yep, the bus to downtown. LA. and ya know what? it was pretty cool. there were people milling about, headed into restaurants, coffeeshops still serving on patios. it was, like, a city.

yeah, sure, there were still homeless folks setting up their cardboard homes for the night. but hey, it's a free country and LA's got that great climate. it is what it is.

but there was, dare we say it, a vibe. a feeling of energy, of happenings. and even though we were headed back to the Double C by 10:30pm, it was obvious that things would still be going down 'til much later.

we left with a promise to return for further investigation into this evolving landscape ...

Thursday, August 17, 2006

We started this blog as part of an eco-challenge to ourselves ... go without a car, see what LA is like from the vantage of a bus, source new ways to get mobile, and at the same time, be a little kinder to mother earth.

Occasionally, and lately frequently, we are shown other reasons why NOT driving so much might be good for our health, too. Our lovely pal Lori and her little mustang were recently rammed by a giant F-150. Fortunately, she's physically fine; the same cannot be said for the 'stang.

Then, over lunch, you read a story like Rick Rielly's piece in Sports Illustrated, and tears well up so quickly there is simply no way to stop them.

Here's a link to the article.
And, before you drive, please take some time to buckle up and envision a safe journey for all!

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Schtuff for Safe and Savvy Sojourns

1. Handiwipes: Typically the seats and handrails on the buses and trains we've taken are far cleaner than the baskets and shopping carts at our local Ralph's. Still, occasionally, you’ll happen upon a substance that you simply don’t want to continue with on your hands.

2. Change: Duh. Though, if you’re going to use the Metro, a monthly EZ Pass ($52 per month) or all-day pass ($3) are better options (versus chucking in quarters each time). However, if you have extra change, you will be very popular with other less prepared passengers who only have singles.

3. Kleenexes: Public transportation is no time to touch eyes, nose or mouth at any time. Nuh uh.

4. Face Spritz: Waiting for the bus can leave you in the sun and exposed to exhaust, so it’s handy to have a small spritzer to freshen and refresh.

5. Reading Material: Helps the time at the bus stop pass more quickly (you’d be surprised how long five minutes seems when you’re waiting). And, prevents the unconscious stare at the occasional rider-as-human-oddity accompanying you on your journey.

6. Patience: Ha, ha. Well, we try.

7. A Bag: The perfect yoga mat bag for the bus...done. The search for a general tote-all continues. Backpacks smack other passengers in the face when you try to sit down. Suggestions and comments welcome!

8. Flashlight, whistle or some other talisman: While it's probably safer waiting for the bus than walking to your car in a dark, deserted parking lot, you should still carry something that helps you feel certain in your safety. Krav Maga training is useful, too.

See you 'round town!

Sunday, August 13, 2006

welcome to socal ...








(followed by some other stuff that belongs on a tooooootally different blog ;)

Friday, August 11, 2006

our crystal ball for public transpo

if you are contemplating utilizing the bus for trips around town, there are tricks to be learned. one of the best is SoCal Metro's Trip Planner. it's like Mapquest, only accurate.

you just pop in the starting locale, where ya wanna go, date, time, yadda yadda ... and bing, bam, you've got a trip planned.

race ya to downtown!

Trip Planner link

Wednesday, August 09, 2006


When we let folks know that our primary form of transportation around town is the bus, they consistently pause and then say “Aren’t there, like, crazy people on the bus?”

And, yes, you do witness the occasional turrets breakdown or hear discussions with invisible friends on the bus. Once there was a man in his late fifties who sounded like he might have been the inspiration for Beavis with a continuous loop of Buck, Buck Man, Flash Gordon, Buck, Buck, OK Buck, take over Buck, Buck Wheat, yeh, yeh, yeh, Buck, you’re in for it now Buck, Buck, Flash Gordon, Buck, OK Buck, yeh, yeh, yeh …

However, look around while you’re driving. Think about that slack jawed person, staring off into space, next to you on the freeway. Or the guy with veins popping out of his forehead as he wheels his monster truck in a fury through traffic, whizzing past yellow lights and tailgating. Or the woman, on her cell phone, gesticulating wildly with lipstick in the free hand, looking as if she’s been hungry for most of her life, driving (is that really the word?) a super-sized SUV on a neighborhood side street at a ridiculous rate of speed.

Our final analysis of crazy on the bus: Not enough.

Saturday, August 05, 2006

Looking for the coolest clime in H’wood?

As west-siders, we know we are blessed with a cooling breeze and very temperate days. And while our in-town pals have better proximity to hip stores, splendid eateries and other urban delights, they do get the hot hots over there.

There’s an easy way to refresh: head to Barnsdall Art Park on Hollywood Blvd for an evening performance of Shakespeare. And while no jacket is required, you’ll still wanna bring one ‘cuz Hamlet and the gang perform under the stars and among the sweet breezes. You’ll also get spectacular city views, especially at dusk as twinkly lights peep on across the hills. Bring a picnic and settle in for a great evening.

Of course, another option is to take a little stroll north on Vermont and tuck in to Figaro Bistrot (as we did last night … the cooling Kir Caraffe and Parmentier Vegan are highly recommended, mmmmmmmm). If you’ve still got some time to kill there are a plethora of swell shops. Our personal fave is Skylight Books (our wanderlust mingling over tomes made us a bit late for good Will).

Coincidentally, those civic-minded folks at Flexcar are sponsors of this summer’s Shakespeare. They’ve got a promotion running called the Hollywood 100; the first 100 Hollywoodians signing up for a Flexcar membership get a special deal. The promo isn’t on their web site but we got the DL from Margaret, Flexcar’s LA rep.

Yes, we took the bus … the 333 to the 206 works quite nicely!

Link it up and get going!
Independent Shakespeare

Barnsdall Art Park

Art Classes

Flexcar LA Specials!

Skylight Books
Figaro Bistrot

Monday, July 31, 2006

So far, riding the bus has been an interesting – albeit unforeseen – experiment in collective psychology. The result? Amusement with or bemusement at our fellow travelers and a shocking degree of civility and hygiene, despite the record humidity outside. Yes. Believe it or not, there are upsides to riding the bus here and (regardless if what downsides come hand-in-hand) an inarguable sense of WE’RE ALL IN THIS TOGETHER (cue Ben Lee, please).

Not to say that altruism is bubbling over in Busworld but five minutes into reintroducing ourselves into the petrol Petri dish of automobile driving, we realized just how selfish and myopic THAT form of transport is. Ohhhhh. Right. THIS is what we didn’t miss about driving. There, immediately after taking the road in our Flexcar-of-the-day, was evidence of just how selfish the average driver is. And there again. And there. And there. In fact, the average driver is, well, below average when it comes to vehicular skill AND civility. (we’ll give them an edge on the hygiene.)

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Flexcar to the rescue!!

Wow. In a metropolis like LA, it’s still a bit shocking that there are some spots between two points one simply cannot get to via bus, light rail or train. For the inventive Angeleno, there are other options (not many, but a few).

One of the easiest routes to four-wheeled freedom is signing up for Flexcar. We had used Flexcar’s convenient car-when-you-need-it program last year when we had our own vehicle. The yearly fee is reasonable; most cars are fuel efficient and all are beautifully maintained. And, perk of perks, they carry their own automobile insurance. Suhweeeet.

It gets better … the car we’ve reserved for tomorrow’s meeting in Burbank, is a Freedom 5. That means from midnight to midnight on the same day, we’ll pay for no more than 5 hours! On our Flexcar rate plan, that’s right around 50 buckaroos. Plus, we’ll have the car for the entire day, allowing for a quick trip to the garden store and any other errands we’ve been saving. The mind reels!

Monday, July 24, 2006

take action and get your jollies, too

But first, a quote from today’s bus trip, an enthusiastic “It’s cooler in here than it is outside!”
Ya gotta love cruising on SaMo’s Big Blue and Double C's Green Machine … natural gas and air conditioned too!

The folks at the NRDC have asked that we take a pledge, so we did. Their goal is to urge Congress toward a national commitment to save at least 2.5 million barrels per day by 2015 and set enforceable limits on global warming pollution

Speak on up by clicking here. It’s an efficient way to voice your concerns in the midst of your hectic day. Got other ideas for a nationwide intervention? Hug it out virtually by sharing in the comments section (click on Comments below … you don’t even have to be a Blogger member).

And now for the fun stuff.
All the way from the UK, check out the new promo piece from Greenpeace. Watch it closely; watch it all the way through. Count the many reasons why it would never be shown on traditional media outlets in the US.

Some scoop from the Greenpeace release:
“The advert satirises the aspirational images and glossy marketing used by motor manufacturers to encourage car drivers to purchase an urban 4x4. In the film a city employee encounters distain from his fellow employees, but only at the end of the film does the viewer learn why – he owns a city gas guzzler. The ad ends with the line, ‘What does your car say about you?’”

Download the flick with a click!

Not to be a spoiler on the mini-film, but c’mon … you knooooow you’ve called your SUV cruising neighbor something similar (at least in your mind) as they wedged their hulk into 1.5 spots on your crowded, LA street.

Sunday, July 23, 2006

just-in-time sustenance

Ahhhh. One of the adjustments to maneuvering your life on foot or bus is grocery shopping. Well, the shopping doesn’t change, but the hauling home of the groceries is a new verse. CostCo is long ago fairy tale.

Living in a metropolitan area does provide the convenience of a major supermarket and relatively close Trader Joes. And, once a week we revel in Culver City’s year-round farmer’s market.

Even with these divine logistics, planning is required. It’s about buying all the ingredients for the next few meals versus stocking up. And striking a balance of heavy objects and lighter fare. On the upside, fruits and vegetables are actually eaten while fresh instead of withering away while waiting for the jars and cans to be diminished.

All of this recent toting has taken a toll on our inventory of cotton market bags, each received as gifts and branded with some event or logo. The last of the batch suffered a ripped handle Friday. We have yet to give in to the temptation of the granny cart; an ambulatory life can still be one of style. So, now we’re on the market for new bags to hold our bounty. Heading to Santa Monica for errands and this will be one of them. Some pre-shopping research online provided some dazzling styles, all in various shades of enviro-mindfulness. Who knew there were so many options!

Thursday, July 20, 2006

power to the peacemakers

Took a busline pilgrimage (by way of Venice and Fairfax) to see musician Michael Franti’s first film, I KNOW I’M NOT ALONE. The human-sized, home-movie focuses on our global family dysfunction – or more directly – a chance to see how our brothers and sisters in Baghdad and beyond are dealing daily with this stupid, selfish brutal war bred in Washington.

Topical Heat
A brave and amazing thing to do for a conspicuous 6’ 5” American with dreadlocks – walk down sniper alley in Iraq armed with nothing but an acoustic guitar and a question or two. This is no naïve hippie minstrel here; this is a man on a mission and vis-à-vis, we all take the trip with him …get to see the other side of a television war, the other side of “terrorists” and Muslims. Get to see ourselves reflected back at us. Get to see in a passing flash of the camera the truth caught in a gap-toothed smile, a tear. The fear of an eye. Watching these faces of civilians and soldiers, absolutely light up to the simplest of music in a war-torn world or cracking under the chaos of blackouts and bombs.

After the film, Michael took the stage for a thought-full Q + A, the art of listening on full display as every time we asked a question, he took a full and conscious pause before answering. Not a reflexive, defensive utterance to be heard – maybe the White House press secretary should take note. Or take up a guitar.

Speaking of which, Michael eventually segued from the film festival Q + A format into an hour-long acoustic celebration of the moment at hand, sharing old songs and new anthems and hearing us echo some simple, heartfelt, choruses back.

The new songs, perhaps from the about-to-be-released YELL FIRE, were pure Franti: born of simplicity, heart-sprung and giving us all a Here Hear Ear Now Wow goodie.

Or giving us (as he likes to ask/shout, arms open wide, smile mega-watted on maximum) a chance to answer “How you feelin’?!”

Babylon By Bus
Despite the invites from friends we ran into at the screening, we wanted to let the night sink in in private, so it was onto public transportation where the irony increased. After a pony-tailed Filipino American helped us find our bus stop (note to MTA: How the hell do you expect us to see out of these blacked-in, scratched-up windows?), we got off the 217 together and he recognized an old acquaintance of his, a wound-up ex-actress with old plastic surgery and barettes in her pushing 50, dyed-blonde hair. Somehow they get into a loooong War & Peace debate, triggered by his offhand declaration that the war in Iraq was wrong. I, a not so innocent bystander, admit I enjoyed watching her throw up her ludicrous defenses, her “I-on-the-other-hand-have-an-open-mind” posturing quickly killing all of his good intentions to have an honest dialogue. Single-handedly she stalled all negotiations of civility between them and the film came back to me again. Here were another bunch of strangers, on different trips but the same eventual ride and all of us just waiting….waiting…waiting for connections

Mucho thanks to KCRW and Laemmle for creating the opportunity to experience the magic of the film and the music. May habibi become our national anthem!


Monday, July 17, 2006

alternative energy all night long

Should Kimmie and Gadget ever invite you to one of their parties, you should say yes immediately and thankfully, rest up and go with gusto. At the house of bliss, it’s dance, dance, dance ‘til the rising sun.

Domo arigato!

Saturday, July 15, 2006

we are all in this together ...

Ever notice that once you start focusing on a subject, you see it everywhere? Though it may have more to do with one’s brain simply recognizing like-items, I prefer to think that it’s the universe stepping up to meet you as you mindfully choose a path. Serendiposynchrinicity, if you will.

In last week’s New York Times, there was an article on car buying lessons. This week’s LA Weekly is dedicated to electric and alternative fuel vehicles. The movie “Who Killed the Electric Car” is out; you can view a snippet of the movie on’s video podcast (is that a vodcast?). And, TreeHugger TV recently covered Lovecraft Biofuels, also part of the LA Weekly article.

Obviously most of us are looking for ways to be "less fuelish." What are some of the ways you’re making changes in your life? C’mon … share by adding a comment. Inspire us!

PS: Tonight we’re headed to Gadget’s geisha soirée. It’s within walking distance. Kismet, indeed!

Monday, July 10, 2006

More wine? Sure, I'm not driving ...

Had a very good pal in town for a visit. She was a brave soul and took to being carless quite well despite hailing from a city that relies on personal transportation almost exclusively.

Our plan was to take a train up to Santa Barbara for some scrumptious wine tasting. We missed the first Metro 33 from the Westside to Union Station (this is where we would’ve previously given up on public transportation and hopped in the car!) but made it downtown in time for the Starlight Express.

The Starlight is a sleeper train that cruises up to Seattle. It’s clean and spacious; seems a bit newer than most of the Surfliners I’ve taken.

St B was lovely (of course)…both Giessinger and the Wine Cask indulged us in some delish vino. I purchased the ’98 Lodi Zin and the ’98 Viognier at Giessinger (the Zin was not long for this world and accompanied dinner last night).

Some tips for the newbie public transporter:
  • Amtrak has an easy to use site, but some of the times are slightly off (our trip to San Diego left 20 minutes earlier than we were confirmed for on our reservation; all Santa Barbara times were spot on).
  • Wear layers! The sun shines beautifully into the train during day trips and keeps the cabins toasty. However, the air conditioner stays on high at night. We were all a little stiff from the chilled air on the return, evening trip.
  • Pack cards! Stay tuned for complete instructions on our favorite train game, Hate Thy Neighbor. It’s a combination of Crazy 8 and Uno; always gets everyone in an uproar (the ensuing noise works well for scaring pesky kids away from your seats, too).
  • Be early; prepare to wait (I have a feeling this will be a recurring theme). An on-time bus is sweet, but an early bus can take you by surprise … and, possibly cause you to miss a train. The best option is to get to the bus stop early and have a book handy to bide your time.

A thankful shoutout to the bus driver of the Metro 33 that handled our stop at 8:01am … your helpful, cheery attitude set the tone for the day and was greatly appreciated!


Friday, July 07, 2006

memento mori

So I had just done the post-mortem final examination of the auto body…conducted the silent (and private!) last rites over our old four-wheeled friend and proceeded to pick over the glove compartment, the trunk, the front and back seats, of everything “important.” I threw it all into a Hefty bag, grabbed the big, 4-armed tire iron and walked out of our mechanic’s auto graveyard into the high noon heat and concrete of Sepulveda Blvd. There. I had joined the walking few. The Untouchables. A caste system refugee on some slow Pilgrim’s Progress back home, dusted by all the cars hurtling by me, spitting up road grime, spewing Styrofoam cups, cigarette butts and assorted trash in their hurry-by wake. A few wide eyes stared at me as they turned the corner past me. I realized the sight of me must have frightened them, with my big X of a trunk tool held aloft, pushing the WALK button. Me in white – a neon reminder that they too, one day, would be dead, I mean, they too would be (gasp!) without a car. Yes, no matter how briefly, the thing they were driving – right now, right by me – would die. So I came home and scratched this poem out (literally, a few times) and realized that old-fashioned feeling I was carrying was guilt. And now the unperfect poem was my punishment. Oh well.
Mea Culpa Mitsubishi…


walking down the boulevard
with a tire iron in my hand
the sign of the crossed
the unlucky
of a pent-up penitente
paying for the sin
of being carless in L.A.

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

A new kind of independence ...

Did you hear the one about the couple who’s car died and they decided to live without one, just for a while, to see what it was like?

We hadn’t either ‘til we decided to try it for ourselves.

Our beloved ’94 Mistubishi Mirage Coupe said so long suckers on June 18, 2006. We grieved; we cried. Then, we woke up to reality. We had no car. We live in Los Angeles … without a car!

Ambulation Locomotion … or just Loco?
But we had just moved into a new house, walking distance to our new jobs. We work a lot. And when we’re not working, we like to be home or near by. Within walking distance are a large grocery, mid-sized grocery and weekly market…also, yoga, a pharmacy, post office, two movie houses, a fab theater company and a handful of bars. Plus, very near by are bus stops for both the local and the metro cross-town buses.

How bad can it be, to be without a car?
It’s been two weeks and we’ve adjusted nicely. We’ve celebrated a birthday in fine style and have been to San Diego’s Sea World via bus, train and taxi (in less time than it took us to drive last visit!). But as the novelty wears off, will we crack? How long can we do this?

Get on board!
Check in with us as we report from the field about life in the city of angels, sans auto. We’ll take buses, trains, and taxis as well as utilize car sharing programs like FlexCar. Wish us luck, we’re gonna need it…enjoy the ride!