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Halloween: In the Spirit of Spirits

25 Oct

It’s Halloween time.  As we all know, it’s the time where people get dressed up in a variety of different costumes for a variety of different reasons and attempt to get scared out of their minds.  People get an opportunity to let loose and take on another persona for one night a year.  Oh, and girls dress slutty – there’s a slutty version of everything (please click on this link to see a slutty unicorn.)

I can do blood, guts and gore, but when it comes to people jumping out at me, I’m a huge pussy.  I’m really terrible at being scared.  It’s not even that I carry it with me after the fact.  After I leave a scary movie or event,  I’m not worried about walking through an empty parking lot in the middle of the night and I don’t have nightmares, but I do feel massively stressed out and anxious.  And listen, I feel that way so often normally that I don’t prefer to seek that out, let alone – pay money to feel that way.  No, thanks.  Really.  I will not be going to see Paranormal Activity 29, going to a Haunted Hayride, a Halloween Horror Night or the Queen Mary thing.  I prefer to enjoy Halloween for what it’s really about.  Candy.  Obviously.

So in the spirit of spirits – why not do something festive that doesn’t require actually being scared shitless.  Many deceased celebrities are buried here in our fair city.  Why not peacefully and respectfully go hang out with some famous ghosts, visit some graves, and walk with the dead?

See below for some highlights, click on the links to their websites for visiting hours, etc.


WESTWOOD VILLAGE MEMORIAL PARK – 1218 Glendon Ave., Los Angeles, CA  90024; (310) 474-1579

I think this is the real winner in the celebrity cemetery circuit.

Marilyn Monroe (1926-1962) – The whispers around town are that Hugh Hefner owns the plot next to hers so he can lay next to her for all eternity.  Pimp.

Truman Capote (1924-1984)

Natalie Wood (1938-1981)

Rodney Dangerfield (1921-2004)

Janet Leigh (1927-2004)

Dean Martin (1917-1995)

Bettie Page (1923-2008)

Mel Torme (1925-1999)

Frank Zappa (1940-1993)


FOREST LAWN – 6300 Forest Lawn Dr., Los Angeles, CA  90068; (800) 204-3131

Photo by Wildhartlivie

Bette Davis (1908-1989)

Walt Disney (1901-1966)

Sandra Dee (1942-2005)

Liberace (1919-1987)

George Burns (1896-1996)

Errol Flynn (1909-1959)

James (Jimmy) Stewart (1908-1997)

Not open to the public (but you can still revel in their presence):

Michael Jackson (1958-2009)

Sam Cooke (1931-1964)

Humphrey Bogart (1899-1957)

Nat King Cole (1919-1965)

Sammy Davis, Jr. (1925-1990)

Clark Gable (1901-1960)

Jean Harlow (1911-1937)

Mary Pickford (1892-1979)

Elizabeth Taylor (1932-2011)


GREEN HILLS MEMORIAL PARK – 27501 South Western Ave., Rancho Palos Verdes, CA 90275; (800) 597-7331

Bukowski Street Art. Photo by GFreihalter 

Charles Bukowski (1920-1994)


HOLY CROSS CEMETERY – 5835 W. Slauson Ave., Culver City, CA; (310) 836-5500

Rita Hayworth

Rita Hayworth (1918-1987)

John Candy (1950-1994)

Bing Crosby (1903-1977)

Rosalind Russell (1907-1976)

Sharon Tate (1943-1969)


INGLEWOOD PARK CEMETERY – 720 E. Florence Ave., Inglewood, CA  90301; (310) 412-6500

Ella Fitzgerald

Ella Fitzgerald (1917-1996)

Etta James (1938-2012)


HOLLYWOOD FOREVER – 6000 Santa Monica Blvd., Los Angeles, CA  90028; (323) 469-6349

Johnny Ramone statue. Photo by Sean Russell

Johnny Ramone (1948-2004)

Estelle Getty (1923-2008)

Jayne Mansfield (1933-1967)

Rudolph Valentino (1895-1926)

Benjamin “Bugsy” Siegel (1906-1947)



Children are scary anyway, let alone on Halloween.


Hotter Than Hades

16 Sep

Yesterday it was over 100 degrees in Los Angeles.  Today?  Also, hot.  Too hot.  Most of the time the heat goes unnoticed by me since I work long hours in an air-conditioned environment, usually even wearing a sweater or jacket.  I know, don’t hate me.  I’m oblivious to the heat unless it goes down on the weekend and then I’m whining like a little bitch.  I whine because I, along with many Angelenos, do not have AC.  Sure, the heat index is worse in a lot of other places, South Florida, Arizona, etc., but those lucky bastards typically have AC, which makes it bearable.  In fact, in Florida it’s considered an actual emergency if your AC breaks.  You would be permitted to call the emergency number on the repairman’s answering service.  Lucky you.

Here are some things you can do to stay cool if you are without air-conditioning on a terrible, horrible, disgusting, hot day.  Side note: While doing these things you should wear as little clothes as possible (you’re not a slut if the temperature is over 85 degrees) and ice water, beer and creamsicles are heavily suggested.

1.  Go to the MALL – Embrace your inner teenager and go to the mall. Window shop in the free air-conditioning and have an Orange Julius.  Go with your boyfriend so you can hold hands awkwardly and make out in the corner.  Or, if you go with your girlfriends, be sure to wear almost the exact same thing and style your hair in the exact same way.  Oh, and don’t forget to talk loudly and laugh and squeal a lot.  These additional tips won’t help with the cooling process, but since you’re there, it will help with your overall nostalgic experience.

2.  Go to a MOVIE – Go to your own tiny dark hole filled with joyous AC and be entertained (in theory).  For a few brief hours, you will forget that there is a scorching hot world outside.  There are some good movies out/coming out soon too.  Some suggestions: “Beasts of a Southern Wild”, “Lawless”, “The Master” (this one gets a gold star since it will keep you in there for 2 ½ hours), “Jesse and Celeste Forever” and “Expendables 2” (hey, it’s supposed to be good if you like that sort of thing).

3.  Go to the GROCERY STORE – Make like The Bundy’s and go.


4.  Take COLD SHOWERS – This is for when you can’t leave your house, because if you did, you would incinerate.  When you are forced to sit in the hot box stillness, this will help you make it through.  Or, you can try the younger sibling of a cold shower; it’s basically a cold shower without the full immersement part.  Wash your hands and without drying them, run the excess water along your arms, legs and chest and stand/sit in front of a fan.  It’s wonderful.

5.  Go to a BAR/RESTAURANT with AC – Also, it should have closed windows and doors so that delicious AC can’t escape out into the cruel, cruel world.  Bring a deck of cards and hang for a while.

6.  DRIVE AROUND in your air-conditioned car – But, what about the astronomical gas prices, you say?  Well, friend, sometimes reaching nirvana via cool air is worth the extra money.

7.  Phone a FRIEND – “Help me I’m poor.” [Think Kristen Wiig in “Bridesmaids”.] Maybe some sympathetic friend will take pity on your bad situation and adopt you for the day.

8.  Take a NAP – Seriously.  If you are able to, maybe you can sleep-out the heat.  When you wake up it will at least be cooler than it was went you passed out from heat exhaustion.

9.  POOL – I put this last because this option is unattainable in my world and hence makes me want to cry.  Not for lack of trying, I’ve got a B & E wound to prove it.  IF, you are one of the fortunate souls that has pool access, move this baby all the way up to the number one slot.  Enjoy that.  No no no, I’m not bitter! Of course not, I’m happy for you.  You and your pool…as I weep heavily into my hands.

The silver lining is that we are working on the last days of summer and fall is right around the corner (hopefully).  Sooner than later, we can say so long to this damn heat wave and hello to a new set of temperature extremes to complain about!

Photo by Miguel Virkkunen Carvalho. Pulled from wikimedia commons

Top Five: Easy Exercise DVDs To Get the Ol’ Body Moving

30 Jul


In the spirit of starting the week off with a bang, let’s work out!  I make this pledge every Monday, but this, this week will be different.  My motivation won’t falter come Wednesday!  I will look like an Olympian (by the next Olympics)!  I will…stop eating ice cream at 11:30pm…oh jeez, I’ve got a long road ahead of me. But Monday!  Here I come!

I’m what you might call an exercise DVD aficionado.  I’ve been doing these embarrassing little suckers since I was 10 or 11 when my Dad (that’s right) brought home my first Jazzercise VHS tape from the class he was taking.  He liked to workout with the ladies; I think he got a kick out of being fawned over since he was the only guy there.  Anyhoo – I must have done that video 5,000+ times in my life.  I still have it.

Exercise DVDs have always been cheesy.  Jane Fonda, the original legend, Tamilee Webb with her damn “Buns of Steel” and Suzanne Somers’ Thigh Master – which is still for sale, by the way.  There’s just no getting around it, but hey, it’s OK since I love to workout in privacy and actually get a good workout while doing it.  I’ve never been a fan of machines and I hate fighting over the treadmills/ellipticals.  I hate showering at the gym and hate having to spend extra time driving somewhere to workout when I can do it at home.  These are the facts of life.

There are strict rules in my household.  My darling boyfriend knows NOT to interrupt me whilst exercise videos are running – it’s for his own good really, that’s something you can’t unsee.  Which is another perk to working out at home; you don’t have to look good.  You don’t even have to look somewhat OK.  You can look down right horrid and it doesn’t matter because no one will see you (in theory).  Side note:  make sure all blinds, windows and doors are shut to both the outside world and the rest of your house.  I do and it makes all the difference.

Now I would like to share with you my Top Five Easy Exercise Videos.  These are the videos I do when I haven’t worked out in a month, or if I’m just feeling lazy.  They tend to be on the shorter side and are relatively easy.  After a week or two of having these in rotation, I’m going to move on to my stockpile of intermediate level DVDs…I’ll share those as soon as I make it there.   These will burn you anywhere from 250-300 calories.  Check out trailers for them on www. (awesome website to find new DVDs) – links below…

1.  PICK YOUR LEVEL: FAT TO FIRM FAST – It has 3 levels of difficulty.  I usually do level 3 most of the time, but I like the option.  It’s like, hey, we know you can do level 3, but just in caaaaase you didn’t sleep much last night, here’s level 2.  I like the instructor, I think there’s something to be said for someone who can just get the job done.  I’ve had some of her DVDs in the past and she’s always solid.  Instructor: Michelle Dozois.  Running time:  Approx. 35min.

2.  THE FIRM: ULTIMATE FAT BURNING WORKOUT– I’m not typically a fan of The Firm franchise, but this one has a little more going for it.  There’s not a lot of downtime and I like the fact it keeps moving.  Instructor:  Alison Davis-McLain.  Running time:  Approx. 40min.

3.  TRACY ANDERSON’S METHOD: MAT WORKOUT– This chick is annoying.  I mean, really really really annoying.  I wish I could sugar coat that for you, but I can’t.  She was definitely the prettiest and most special little 5 year old in her recital of “Singing in the Rain” and has carried that with her to this day.  She has that air of superiority that makes you want to punch her in the face.  You will feel stupid doing many of her exercises, no matter how much Gwyneth Paltrow promotes them.  That all being said, her workout does utilize a lot of muscles that I don’t usually work, in ways I don’t usually work them.  That, I can appreciate.  So after having done her DVD a few times, I mute that bitch, check my jazz hands at the door and rock out to my own playlist.  Turns out she’s far less irritating when she’s not talking.  Instructor: Tracy Anderson.  Running time:  Approx. 55min.

4.  PERSONAL TRAINING WITH JACKIE: POWER CIRCUIT TRAINING – After doing Jackie’s DVDs, I usually feel stronger.  They are challenging without making me want to curl up in a little ball on the floor and watch the remainder of the DVD from there.  There are a few different menus so your workout can be as long or short as you’d like.  Instructor:  Jackie Warner.  Running time: Approx. 40min (it varies pending the menu you decide on.)

5.  JILLIAN MICHAELS’ YOGA MELTDOWN – Everybody has an opinion on Jillian Michaels.  I certainly do.  A couple of them, in fact.  However, she will WORK. YOU. OUT.  We’ll get into her more challenging DVDs in another post. But here, I’m going to discuss a little known yoga DVD she released.  It’s mellow, but still has the Jillian touch and you will feel it the next day no matter how simple it feels when you’re doing it.   There are two programs, one a beginner and one that’s slightly more advanced.  Instructor:  Jillian Michaels.  Running time:  Approx. 30min/workout.

Again, none of these are particularly taxing, but if you give yourself a week or two, you won’t want to kill yourself when you try to do Jillian Michaels real DVDs.  I’ll leave you with this blast from the past –

A Realists Top 4 Ways to De-Stress from Work

24 Jul

Found imagine online. I’m not that creative.

We’ve all heard about the optimum ways to De-Stress.  Meditate, go for a walk, drink more water, smile…and I’m sure they work for a lot of people. But, then there are people who actually want to remove tension, anxiety and worry from their immediate world.  When I tell someone I had a stressful day at work and they suggest I should have taken a 5-minute walk, I want to do a combo move of laughing in their face and kicking them in the shin.  I’m not saying the following suggestions are healthy, or even responsible, but they work.  I’d love to think the normal clichés work for me, but sometimes, just sometimes, things suck so badly that a little walk around the block won’t cut it.  After a particularly bad day at work, follow my free and very logical advice on what to do when you finally make it out of the dragon’s lair.  None of these are innovative, but every now and then in moments of desperation we need things spelled out for us…

1.  HAVE A CONCERT/MINI DANCE PARTY IN YOUR CAR – On your way home put on some music that you can either sing to or dance to.  Turn it up extremely loud and sing and/or dance your way home.  You can also yell at your boss without fear of being terminated, vent to your rear view mirror about how you don’t need this kind of shit in your life, and cry a little, you know, let it all out.  This is the time to do that.  It’s good to do all this in the semi-privacy of your car so by the time you get home, you have finished Phase One of de-stress mode.  Most of your outward erratic behavior will be gone and you can begin Phase Two.

Personal note: You also might want to tone it down a notch at traffic lights.  Unless, of course, you really feel like giving the world a big “Fuck You!”, then of course you just keep on signing!  You give a good show to that homeless guy staring at you from the side of the road.

I had nothing to do with creating anything to do with this imagine…some awesome person odysseyroc did –

2.  HAVE A DRINK – Now you’re home.  Call up a friend(s) and go to anywhere that serves alcohol.  OR, stay at home and drink by yourself.  Now, some of you may think that if you turn to alcohol while you’re stressed, that makes you an alcoholic.  Well, let me assure you, I’ve taken a poll consisting of me, myself and myself and we all concur that isn’t true.  However, if you are stressed at work and have a drink during work hours, that’s a different story, but still something we can talk about.  We’ll take that one on a case by case basis.

3.  WATCH TV – Spend the rest of the evening watching TV or movies.  Once you’re focused on anything other than work, you will forget – obvious, right?  Anything will do, reality, sit-coms, the excellent cable programming they have on these days,  anything but sad movies/shows.  This will do nothing but snap you back into reality.  Seriously, stick with “Project Runway” or “Top Chef” (and yes, I do consider “Dance Moms” and “Keeping up with the Kardashians” sad TV).  Make sure to stay up as late as possible to prove to yourself that work doesn’t own you and you still have your own life and can make your own decisions like staying up late like a child to watch TV and NOT getting a good night’s sleep.  When you wake up on the couch and wonder if the time on clock is displaying 3:00 a.m. or p.m., it’s time to head to bed.

4.  SLEEP – Finally.  You will be tired since you stayed up entirely too late watching TV.  I know that many people who are experts in depression view this as just another symptom, but let me make my case.  When you are sleeping you can’t be stressed!  Simple as that.  There’s nothing to think about.  There’s nothing to worry about.  There’s nothing to [insert anything here].  See, you get it!  So I suggest sleeping off the rest of your night until that little asshole of an alarm starts-a-buzzing at the crack of dawn.

This list may seem silly, maybe even stupid, but I followed these guidelines just last night and here I am – STRESS-FREE.  I may be tired, hungover and hoarse, but stress-free nonetheless.  Success.

I had nothing to do with creating this quote/image/color/layout.

It’s a lovely day for a street fair!

22 Jul

Who doesn’t love a street fair?!  Especially, when one doesn’t have to park (for me anyway, we walked!)  Fun things that don’t involve parking are a rare and precious commodity in the City of Angels, so let’s appreciate them when we can, shall we?

So!  Since we are celebrating all things Los Feliz, I thought I would share some of my favorite things in the neighborhood.

Some of my favorites, in no particular order:

1.  SPITFIRE GIRL – There are two, one in Los Feliz and one in Silverlake.  It is a sweet little shop consisting of miscellaneous knick-knacks, ranging from cool and innovative jewelry to household items to chachkies for the kidies.  It’s very awesome and I’ve bought all sorts of lovely pieces from this establishment…

2.  PARADIS – Specialty ice cream.  What the what, you say?!  Yes.  Exactly as wonderful and fantastic as it sounds.  Whenever a shop closes in my area, I get VERY excited dreaming about what the next place to open will be – in this case, a very bland pinkberry closed and opened into an ice cream wonderland of happiness…for me.  It’s fresh, clean, and lovely to eat –

3.  MUSTARD SEED CAFÉ – This is my favorite brunch spot.  The food is great and they have a slew of choices.  My favorites are the Greek Scramble and BBQ Chicken Quesadilla.

4.  CO-OP 28 HANDMADE – This store sells jewelry and other handmade items made by local artists.   It’s interior design is fantastic and makes me want the delightful woman who owns it to come and fix up my apartment.

5.  COVELL – I have nothing but positive things to say about this wine bar (they usually have a handful of fantastic beer on tap as well).  The bartenders are always smiling, friendly and wanting to make your experience better.  Since I know next to nothing about wine, except it comes in different colors and I like it, I appreciate the fact that they don’t speak condescendingly to me.  When you get up to the bar they ask what kind of wine you like, pour you a taste and if you like it, they finish pouring the glass, if not, they ask you additional questions to help fine tune what they should pour you next…

6.  MOTHER DOUGH – I love this Neapolitan pizza joint.  Their pizzas are amazing and a little out of the ordinary.  I will always order the Zucchini Pizza and Burrata Salad – wonderful.

7.  SKYLIGHT BOOKS – A splendid independent bookstore that even comes with it’s own store cat.   I continuously go here to buy gifts, books and whatever else they happen to be peddling.

8.  DRAWING ROOM – I finish with Drawing Room, because this is usually where we finish the night.  We always always always always end up at Drawing Room.  This could possibly be my most favorite shitty bar that has ever existed.  It’s dark, cheap, has a great jukebox and a man that sells Trunk Tamales out of his (you guessed it) trunk in the parking lot.  I’ll tell you what – when 2 a.m. strolls around and you can’t remember the last time you ate, that Trunk Tamales man seems like a little Mexican angel sent from the heavens to help you with tomorrow’s hangover.  The jukebox is genius – David Bowie, Prince, Otis Redding, Thin Lizzy – and everything else you could imagine…this bar is holding some prime real estate in my heart.

If you’re familiar with the Los Feliz area at all, you may notice (or believe) that I’ve left off a number of local “favorites”.  I probably did.  OR maybe they just aren’t as cool or good as you think they are  🙂

I haven’t even touched on many bars that I love in this neighborhood – but that’s another day –

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