Cory in Pasadena this aft

Hey, Pasadena! I'm signing and speaking at Vroman's Bookstore this afternoon at 3PM, as part of the Pirate Cinema tour. I'll be in Rendondo Beach at Mysterious Galaxy tomorrow, before heading east to Lansing, MI, then Chicago, NYC, Bethesda, Edmonton, and many other cities in the US and Canada. Here's the full schedule -- I'm looking forward to meeting you! Cory

Garage door that looks like a book-case


LA Observed republished this photo of a garage-door painted to look like a magnificent outdoor book-case, apparently ganked from author Robert Crais's Facebook (I don't have a FB account, so I can't verify this).

LA garage door painted to look like bookshelves (via Super Punch)

Bookmobile, 1928


This bookmobile for the sick was wheeled around Los Angeles hospitals in 1928, a service of the LA public library.

Bookmobile

Caine's Arcade raises $164K for scholarship; $164K more for other creative kids

A followup to the wonderful Caine's arcade story Mark blogged two weeks back: the Internet's many users were so impressed by Caine's ingenuity that they raised $164,000 for his college fund. The funds are matched 1:1 by the Goldhirsh Foundation, and these matching funds are earmarked to fund the Caines Arcade Foundation "which will help find, foster, and fund creativity and entrepreneurship in young kids." Cory

World's most distracted driver?

A 29-year-old woman in Torrance, CA, has been arrested for driving on the 405 freeway while texting on her cellphone, with a kid in the back seat without a seatbelt, another kid in the back seat in an unsecured child seat, and an infant on her lap, while her license was under suspension.

At least one other driver on the road spotted the woman chatting and texting on her phone with the baby on her lap and contacted the police. When she was pulled over, she was still holding onto the baby, presumably because it would be cruel to put him in the glove compartment.

"Her excuse was that, while she was driving on the 91 Freeway near Compton, the 1-year-old started crying and in an effort to comfort the 1-year-old, she pulled the 1-year-old to the front seat," a police department rep tells CBS Los Angeles.

Happy distracted driving awareness month!

California Woman Takes Distracted Driving To Entirely New Level

Resin octopus


Judy Fox's "Octopus" is an awfully lovely piece -- it's repped by LA's Ace Gallery.

Octopus, 2009 Sculpted in terra cotta, cast in poly resin and painted with casein paint

LA Zine Fest: Feb 19

Inky-handed, staple-punctured mutants, start your engines! The LA Zine Fest comes to the Spring Arts Tower (453 S. Spring Street) on Feb 19, from 11AM to 5PM.

Team False Start is a collective of zine-enthusiasts dedicated to promoting zine culture as a means to connect the pre-exisiting communities in L.A.–artistic or otherwise. We aim to create opportunities for people to share self-published works and host events that encourage ideas to spill out onto paper in pictures and words. We believe that by embracing the urge to create and sharing ideas there can be a more robust and formidable local zine community that extends beyond bookstores and bedrooms. In order to accomplish these goals, we are organizing an event that has been needed for a long time: Los Angeles Zine Fest 2012! This is an opportunity for So-Cal zinesters to come together en masse and meet and exchange ideas with those from all over the country.

lazinefest 2/19/12 (Thanks, puppetisto!)

American sf convention costumers of the 1980s

Here's a great gallery of Dik Daniels's photos of science fiction costumers from the conventions of the 1980s, when I was a teenaged con-goer. If only I'd had a little more forward planning nous, I'd have been one of those costumed folken!

Dik Daniels photos: 1980 Westercon (Thanks, Jukevox!)

LA City Attorney to Occupy: pay for brainwashing lessons on limits of free speech and we'll drop the charges


The Los Angeles City Attorney's Office has offered Occupy protesters a get-out-of-jail card: all they need to do to skip their court dates is pay $355 for private "free speech lessons" where they will be taught a highly selective version of Constitutional law that holds that the First Amendment doesn't include the kind of protest they enjoy.

It's like they combined traffic school with Maoist "self-criticism sessions" from the Cultural Revolution to make something worse than both combined.

As a civil rights attorney working with some of the approximately 350 protesters who have been arrested in recent weeks noted, the offer is nothing short of "patronizing."

However, it's much more than that. It's a disgusting and cynical way to alleviate the strain on city courts by having protesters pay for an unofficial guilty plea.

In short, the city is offering protesters the chance to purchase courses in which they will learn about the free speech LAPD officers stripped from them.

Apparently, in L.A., you can pay to learn about the free speech you don't actually have.

NOT SATIRE: L.A. Tells Arrested OWS Protesters They Can Pay for "Free Speech" Classes to Avoid Court (Thanks, phosphorious!)

(Image: Police Lines blocking City Hall entrance, a Creative Commons Attribution Share-Alike (2.0) image from neontommy's photostream)

First-hand account of Occupy LA arrest

Patrick Meighan, a writer on Family Guy, describes his arrest at Occupy LA, part of a brutal crackdown on 292 protesters whose belongings were destroyed and who were then subject to cruel (and in Mieghan's case, possibly crippling) detention. Meighan explains why he did it:

So that’s what happened to the 292 women and men were arrested last Wednesday. Now let’s talk about a man who was not arrested last Wednesday. He is former Citigroup CEO Charles Prince. Under Charles Prince, Citigroup was guilty of massive, coordinated securities fraud.

Citigroup spent years intentionally buying up every bad mortgage loan it could find, creating bad securities out of those bad loans and then selling shares in those bad securities to duped investors. And then they sometimes secretly bet *against* their *own* bad securities to make even more money. For one such bad Citigroup security, Citigroup executives were internally calling it, quote, “a collection of dogshit”. To investors, however, they called it, quote, “an attractive investment rigorously selected by an independent investment adviser”.

This is fraud, and it’s a felony, and the Charles Princes of the world spent several years doing it again and again: knowingly writing bad mortgages, and then packaging them into fraudulent securities which they then sold to suckers and then repeating the process. This is a big part of why your property values went up so fast. But then the bubble burst, and that’s why our economy is now shattered for a generation, and it’s also why your home is now underwater. Or at least mine is.

Anyway, if your retirement fund lost a decade’s-worth of gains overnight, this is why.

My Occupy LA Arrest, by Patrick Meighan

Cedar-Sinai takes cancer sufferer off transplant list for taking the medical marijuana its doctor prescribed

Norman B. Smith was diagnosed with inoperable liver cancer by his doctor at LA's Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, who prescribed medical marijuana. Now, Cedars-Sinai has removed Mr Smith from the list of liver-transplant candidates...because he tested positive for marijuana, which their own doctor prescribed.

Hospital officials are insisting that Smith stop using marijuana for at least six months, undergo random drug testing, and participate in weekly substance-abuse counseling before they will consider putting him back on the list.

L.A. Hospital Denies Liver Transplant to Medical Marijuana User Despite Prescription from Its own Doctor (via Reddit)

Long Beach Police Chief: we detain photographers, and I don't have any guidelines for that policy, photography is classed with attempts to acquire weaponized smallpox

The Police Chief of Long Beach has confirmed that his department's policy is to detain photographers who do nothing more than take pictures in public places, and that he neither has, nor plans to implement, any guidelines for these detentions. He classes photography with other "suspicious activity" such as "attempts to acquire illegal or illicit biological agent (anthrax, ricin, Eboli, smallpox, etc.)" and "In possession, or utilizes, explosives (for illegal purposes)."
"If an officer sees someone taking pictures of something like a refinery," says McDonnell, "it is incumbent upon the officer to make contact with the individual." McDonnell went on to say that whether said contact becomes detainment depends on the circumstances the officer encounters.

McDonnell says that while there is no police training specific to determining whether a photographer's subject has "apparent esthetic value," officers make such judgments "based on their overall training and experience" and will generally approach photographers not engaging in "regular tourist behavior."

This policy apparently falls under the rubric of compiling Suspicious Activity Reports (SAR) as outlined in the Los Angeles Police Department's Special Order No. 11, a March 2008 statement of the LAPD's "policy … to make every effort to accurately and appropriately gather, record and analyze information, of a criminal or non-criminal nature, that could indicate activity or intentions related to either foreign or domestic terrorism."

Police Chief Confirms Detaining Photographers Within Departmental Policy

(Image: Perfection, a Creative Commons Attribution (2.0) image from omaromar's photostream)

Walt Disney's house for sale


Walt Disney's handsome four-bedroom house and its grounds are up for sale in Los Feliz, a neighborhood in east LA. Disney had the house built to his specifications and occupied it from 1932 to 1950. The list price is $3.65M, not bad for a house that's pretty beautiful, on a big piece of land in the middle of a hip (and generally fun) neighborhood.

The House That Mickey Built: Walt Disney's Estate in Los Feliz (curbed.com)

Walt Disney LA Home 4053 Woke Way (Realtor's site)

(Thanks, Mike!)