Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Pigeons on the Pill?

photo from the LA Times

Drastic times call for drastic measures.

The little town of Hollywood has decided to roofie the pigeons in the neighborhood with a birth-control pill. That way, even if they're going at it like, uh, rabbits, they'll have no babies to continue pooping everywhere. Funny, since the neighborhood seemed to love picking up poop; this is my favorite quote from the LA Times story:

"We clean doo-doo all the time and are proud of it," said Laura Dodson, president of the Argyle Civic Assn., the Hollywood group leading the effort to try the new contraceptive.

HUH? Sounds like a fetish to me.

Anyway... listen, I get it. When my mum was working at the Dubai Hospital, just one sight of those flying vermin sent her into a ten-minute tizzy. Pigeon poop is a tiny world of bacteria heaven... which for a hospital is HELL. Mum, being the clean freak that she was (there was no 3-second rule. If your biscuit fell on the floor, it was a goner), she was deadset on exterminating the winged rats. They tried everything: chemical repellents, netting, even broken glass I think. Finally, if memory serves, I think they installed tiny little spikes on every window sill and roof. Pesky pigeons. They are so pig-headed!

But here's the thing: where's my government-issued birth control?! I know I could feign super poverty and run to Planned Parenthood for some free Yaz or whatever cheesy name they've given the latest form. But especially in LA, where hundreds if not thousands of women are working on a freelance basis with no health coverage, couldn't you throw some of the Pigeon Poop Fund toward the needy sexually-active-but-no-i-don't-a-baby women?

My two cents. What do you think?


p.s. Bren has a guest spot on a new show, "murder" on Spike. I'm not sure if he's in the premiere episode, but it debuts tonight! Check your local listings! (He OF COURSE plays a homeless guy).

Saturday, July 28, 2007

It's oh so quiet

Hello chaps and chapesses,

Sorry for the silence on this end. I've been a bit uninspired really. Yesterday, Bren had an audition, so I told him to take the car. I stayed at home, endured the increasing heat, and returned to an old love: crochet! Here's the red sweater that I started before Christmas last year, that I am determined to finish! I hope it looks good at the end of it, 'cos bloody hell, it's tedious work doing row and row of the same stitch.

I did watch Mr. Death, the Errol Morris documentary. If you haven't seen it, you should! It's great to see a documentary that was made by a filmmaker, rather than a clip-show artist like Michael Moore. Don't get me wrong. Michael Moore has my respect for his dogged determination to make people care about concepts they usually ignore such as Big Business wiping out the Little Man, gun control, politics and healthcare. But, Errol Morris is in a class of his own.

Oh here's a cute, cute photo of my friend Talika and her husband, Brian. Bren took this one. Adorable!

Well that's where my mind's at. I'll leave you with an example of the kind of work Bren has been doing at Ripe TV. I don't want to embed it here because it'll slow down my site, so I'll put up a link. It's a short viral piece, starring and I think written by none other than Brendan McNamara! Yippee!

Click here for Franklin the Wordsmith!


Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Gardena Swap Meet Photo Essay

Bren and I went to this awesome swap meet in Gardena this weekend. Bren has inherited his mum's keen bargain sense, and I love to take photos. Hey presto! Photo essay!

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

No Reservations

It finally feels like an LA summer this week; hot, dry, extremely bright and sunny. You won't catch me complaining though. Eventually, if global warming has its way, summers like these will be a thing of the past. Plus, I'm getting a killer tan (albeit, mostly on my left arm, which catches all the rays when I'm driving).

But this is a first, and it's making me want to throw up.


Look closely! Yaa! Those little brown buggers are ANTS!

For some reason, they are climbing up the fridge and sneaking into the freezer, perhaps drawn by the cool air ('cos they're certainly not going for the frozen chocolate chip cookies), and subsequently, freezing to death. And their brothers and sisters aren't learning... they're just following them, doh di doh, up the fridge and into the ice-cold tomb of certain death. Aren't they supposed to communicate, morse-code-style, to each other by rubbing their antennae together? You mean to tell me, not one of them, on the precipice of a glacial death, doesn't yell out, "save yourselves! it's a polar death trap up here! forget about the chocolate chip cookieeeeeeeeeeeeees!"

What the heck?! Anyone got a solution?!


Happy Birthday Eli!

Happy Birthday Elizabeth McGowan Stegall Fowlkes, my friend of over 10 years!! I'm so glad you were born!!

Saturday, July 21, 2007

Red Without Blue

Some of you remember Todd Sills, from our days in CRC at Northwestern. I believe he lived with Micah in 1-Blue. Is that right?!

Anyway, Todd and his now wife, the lovely and talented Benita (also an NU alum) made an award-winning documentary along with their friend Brooke, called "Red Without Blue". It's playing on the Sundance Channel and also making the festival circuit rounds, as every good film should, and so I had the chance to see it last night!

It's a wonderful documentary, and when I thought about how this was their first project, my head exploded. It's about a set of male twins (Mark and Alex) who, struggling with their sexual identities and their parents' divorce, tailspin into a world of drugs, depression and sexual abuse. After a joint-suicide attempt at the age of 13 I believe, they are split up, and sent to a rehab boarding school, where they don't see each other for 2 years. If that's not traumatic enough, when they reunite, one of them tells the other that he can no longer live his life in a fully masculine role, and that he has decided to live as a transgender person. They are no longer Mark and Alex. They're Mark and Clair.

I was wicked impressed by how they told the story; it was as if an old hand documentary hand had structured it, finding humour when I would have never expected it, which I always think is the hardest thing to do. It's such a well-woven story! The editing was superb. Oh, and the music! It's a testament to the doc that the amazing Antony (of Antony and the Johnsons) GAVE them pieces of his music to use in their film.

I'm gushing I know. But I was so proud! And inspired. And since everything is always about me (!) I'm trying to figure out if I have the balls to go out on a limb, like they did, and make a film. The Sills have cojones. And I have cojones envy.

RedWithoutBlue website


Recipe: Almond Crusted Snapper

I had a few requests for this one, so here you go! This one is very easy, and makes you feel like you're eating a fancy meal. Props for this recipe go to the folks at the cooking school I went to.

1/2 cup almonds, lightly toasted and then ground into tiny pieces
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 to 2 tbsp dijon mustard (i used the grainy kind that mikael wood left at my house. thanks mikael!)
1 tbsp chopped fresh parsley
1 tbsp chopped fresh basil
Enough extra virgin olive oil (i will not call it EVOO!!!!) to make a paste
4 6oz fish fillets
salt and pepper

1) Preheat your oven to 350 degrees fahenheit
1) combine all the ingredients except the fish and mash together to form a paste. don't forget to taste and season it!
2) pat dry your fillets, place them on a baking sheet (i line mine with parchment paper for easy cleanup) and season well with salt and pepper. then, pat the mash over the top of each fillet.
3) bung it in the oven for 5-8 minutes depending on the thickness of your fish. Check to make it's cooked in the middle and hey presto! DINNER! For a nice little fresh taste, squeeze a little lemon over the top.

For the green bean salad: I boiled them in salted water for about 4 minutes, and immediately plunged them into ice water to keep them green and crispy. The dressing consists of a tablespoon of white balsamic vinegar (my new favorite!), a squeeze of lemon and a tablespoon or so of olive oil, depending on how vinegary you like your dressing.

Let me know if you try it and how it comes out!

Also, I try as much as possible to make sure we only eat SUSTAINABLE seafood, ie. no Chilean Sea Bass! Have a heart! For a complete and often changing list of sustainable fish, check out the Monterrey Aquarium Seafood Watch List. You can even print out a pocket guide. I'm not sure where snapper is on that one. Anyone know?

Also, anyone have a good recipe for deep, dark, banana'y banana bread?


Friday, July 20, 2007

Get to the point!

This is my friend, Spike. Every other day, we have a date.

Grabbing his end between my thumb and my index finger (oo-er!), I tap his spikey head over the skin on my shin, until pretty little droplets of blood appear. Sometimes, tapping doesn't do it, and I have to wack it. (Why does this sound so dirty?!)

It's all part of my acupunture treatment for my psoriasis. Ugh. Everytime I say "my psoriasis", I know I sound like an old lady. I always think of this old witch-type lady who was on Woody Woodpecker (my favorite cartoon when I was a child, because that was the only one we had on tape aside from Jungle Book, another fav!), who would concoct a brew saying, "This is all I need to cure my lumbaaaago!". I had no idea what Lumbago was, still don't; but I was pretty sure that if someone had embraced their affliction enough to call it "my _____", they were old... and um, witchy.

Anyway, the theory is that underneath MY psoriasis patch, there's a bunch of stagnant blood -- apparently, your spleen is good for something after all (who knew?); it replenishes and retones your blood. Mine has decided to take a few years off. Apologies to the squeamish. I have to puncture the skin every other day in order to let some of this bad blood go and make my body take notice of it. It's kinda like a mild form of leeching.

As part of my witchy treatment of course, I have to boil my own brew of Chinese herbs. They taste exactly the way you'd think -- herby, earthy, a little sweet, but oh they smell pretty terrible when they're boiling: kinda like sour burning sage and old salad greens. They're so alien-looking, I love looking at them. Take a gander:

I also get acupuncture every other week. They stick needles in my head, my forehead, my tummy, my wrists (these hurt the most! oo!) and along my legs. The three-pronged approach seems to be working, slowly. And I'll take it. I've been to two dermatologists (one of them is Tim Robbins dermie, and the other is Hilary Swank's!), but neither of them had a clue as to how to fix me, other than injecting me with cortisone. I've always wanted to believe that the "old cultures" knew what they were doing, applying leeches or sticking needles in people's bodies or contorting your body in weird positions (yoga). Maybe that's because there isn't much that my people are doing right these days, or maybe it's a holdover of my dad's drunken lecturing about how the East was going to rise (drunken or no, he totally called the rise of the Chinese and Indian economies!). In some way it's reassuring to know that those old folks, people who were probably called witches in their day, had more of a clue than these guys do today. And isn't it kinda cool to be drinking the same kind of formulas, moving in the same poses, submitting to the same needling, that has been done for centuries?

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Shots Fired

There's a gang in our neighborhood: the Westside Locos 13.

For the most part, they just tag up the neighborhood, including an old man's garage -- i love that old man. He has repainted that garage wall probably 100 times. Now they don't touch his wall anymore.

God bless perseverance.

Now it seems the gang is sadly, "maturing".

It was about 9:45 last night. Bren and I were canoodling, when we heard about 10 gunshots. They were loud and they sounded vicious... fired very quickly. Then it was eeriely quiet. 10 minutes later the cops arrived... then the firetruck/paramedics, and finally the chopper with the big searchlight.

It circled over our house, whoosh whoosh whoosh... loud, ominously shining a light into our bedroom and our kitchen until 1130p or so. I saw a bunch of kids talking to the cops, heard a cop yell, "get back into your house, miss" and another one say, "there's one over here and over there."

It was kinda scary, but mostly kinda exciting! The news choppers arrived a little bit after the police chopper did.

I did the only thing you'd expect from me... I climbed out onto the porch in an effort to catch a glimpse of the action. I know, I am horrible. Then I tried to take some photos of it, but my zoom lens is sorely lacking. I also immediately checked the news wires to see what was happening. Pretty sobering stuff:

From City News Service

LOS ANGELES (CNS) - A teenage boy was fatally wounded when he allegedly fired toward a Los Angeles police officer in the South Robertson area, authorities said today.
The youth was shot after LAPD officers witnessed a shooting involving several people near Venice Boulevard and Cattaraugus Avenue around 9:45 last night, said Officer Jason Lee, a department spokesman.
Authorities withheld his name, pending notification of relatives. But ABC7 identified the fatally wounded teen as 14-year-old Victor Garcia, whose family set up a makeshift shrine at the shooting scene.
``I came over here and they didn't want to tell me nothing. I had to go to the hospital,'' the teen's sister told Channel 7. ``All they told me is`he's gone.' He liked to play football and video games, basketball. He was a good brother, a good uncle.''
According to police, the shooting occurred as officers arrived at the scene. The teen allegedly fired toward an officer, who returned fire, Lee said.
A weapon was recovered at the scene, he said.
A person was taken into custody for questioning, according to police.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Farmer's Market Booty

Tuesday is Farmers Market Day in Culver City. It's small, but I love it. Especially compared to the Santa Monica one, where you have to dropkick the neighborhood yogis and snooty chefs just to get your hands on some fresh goods.

Heirloom tomatos finally hit the market this week. Whoopee! Look how many I got! And that's just a portion. Everyone here has been waiting with bated breath for the heirlooms to arrive -- last year, they arrived much earlier. Bring on the burrata!

Photo quite lovingly taken by one Brendan McNamara.

Farmer's Market acquisitions: red snapper from the fish guy, spring green mix, green beans, summer and patty pan squash, zucchini, yellow & white nectarines, some French kind of melon that made the whole car smell great!

I thought I'd share what I end up doing with all these goodies. Tonight, baked snapper with an almond-garlic-mustard crust, served alsongside a green bean and heirloom tomato salad with a white balsamic vinagrette. It turned out great! Let me know if you want me post any recipes!

Monday, July 16, 2007

Welcome back!

I started this blog a while ago, but it sat vacant, like a field of clover. Probably because that's where my brain was. But I'd like to revive it, mostly because I realised how much fun it was to read Eli's blog, and even though I don't have a cute baby to take photos of, I have Bren and me: we're pretty cute, we're learning how to eat and talk, although we have pretty much mastered the walking part. So there Carter! :)

Yesterday, I was event coordinator. I pitched Bren, Mikael and Sally on a number of activities for the day, primarily, the Lotus Festival in hipster-neighborhood-in-training, Echo Park. The festival marks the blooming of the lotus flowers which grow on the shadier part of the Echo Park lake. It's also ostensibly a celebration of all things Asian and Pasific-Islander, but when we saw a girl on stage signing the Alannah Miles hit, "Black Velvet", I realised something was amiss here! The lotus flowers were beautiful though.

Then we went to Felt Club XL, an awesome craft fair featuring handmade knickknacks and paintings, made by some of the artists behind the recent crafting craze. I picked up an adorable pair of earrings from the Singing Librarian:

THEN, (yes there's more!), we stopped by local favorite, Scoops, in search of their signature Maple-Bacon icecream. Alas, they had not made it that day, and they were pretty much out of everything that looked good. However, I did have some Black Sesame icecream that was surpisingly yummy -- not too sweet, but subtly nutty, and a beautiful grey in colour. Mikael had a mixture of the Strawberry-Black Pepper, (awesome! you only taste strawberry at the beginning but there's a nice peppery aftertaste) and Peppermint-Chocolate.

Finally, we went to a lovely restaurant we had all wanted to try, called Canele, which some have called the Lucques of the East Side (Lucques being the restaurant in whose kitchen I worked for a bit). Delicious and unpretentious. Highlights were the Beef Bourgignon with buttered noodles, the roast chicken with sweet corn cake and sweet carrots, and what Bren battered the waitress into calling her least favorite but still yummy dish: nonni's aglio olio. YUM! Too bad I ran out of Lactaid so I couldn't fully enjoy the dessert. wwaaamp, waaaamp.

Bren and I finished the night watching this week's episode of John from Cincinnati -- the best episode so far, and a delicious reminder of the genuis of the Deadwood crew.

It was in short, a grand GRAND day!!
all text and photographs on aartilla the fun © 2005-2009 Aarti Sequeira unless otherwise indicated. All rights reserved.