Thursday, November 27, 2008

Militant Recipes: The Militant's So-Cal Lo-Cal Chopped Salad!

This is what the Militant will be preparing for Thanksgiving dinner this evening:


- 2 whole bunches, romaine lettuce
- 1/2 package of prepackaged fresh spinach leaves
- 1/2 red onion, sliced
- 5 mushrooms, sliced
- 5-8 cherry tomatoes (whole)
- 4-6 cloves of garlic, chopped
- 1/2 cup sunflower seed kernels
- 1/2 bottle, red wine vinaigrette dressing
- 1 cup, large garlic croutons
- 3/4 cup fresh shredded parmesan cheese

Twist off romaine lettuce into bite-size pieces, place in large salad bowl. Place spinach leaves into bowl, rinse in cold running water, drain.

Add sliced red onions, sliced mushrooms and whole cherry tomatoes into bowl.

Roast sunflower kernels and chopped garlic in frying pan (do not add oil). Use wooden spatula to overturn sunflower kernels and garlic pieces to evenly darken. Remove from heat.

Using salad tongs, toss salad (hey hey, keep it clean, kids!) contents, add roasted sunflower and garlic. Sprinkle on vinaigrette dressing, parmesan cheese and croutons while mixing salad. Serve and enjoy!

This salad is great for any occasion! Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!

UPDATE: This was a hit at the dinner table! The Miltant's family loved it, and the compliments by one of the Militant's unspecified siblings sealed the deal. The Militant admits he shopped for the ingredients at the last minute. He normally goes to Trader Joes for the ingredients, but since they were closed for Thanksgiving, he had to settle for the nearest Albert$on$. This salad ended up costing him $23. Oh well, it was all for a worthy cause.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Vlogstyle Episode 04: The Militant Invades San Diego!

Hey, it's been a while since he made one of these. This time he gets back behind the camera to show you what he did this past weekend in San Diego, armed with his bike, an Amtrak ticket and his trusty Militant Video Camera. From Downtown to Point Loma to La Mesa to Balboa Park to Old Town, the Militant presents his little getaway.

For your curiosity, here's where the Militant rode:

The Militant's Santa Fe Station to Pt. Loma ride route - 9.7 miles

The Militant's Stockton District to Old Town (via Balboa Park) ride route - 12 miles

Friday, November 21, 2008

Ticket To Ride

Sometimes the Militant needs a little break.

No, not just from blogging (he's had many of those), but from the stresses and strains of Militancy. So he's taking a mini-vacation this weekend.

Gas is cheap, so does that mean the Militant will take a drive?

Aw, hell no! Everyone else will be driving, and he refuses to spend his time sitting in traffic with all y'all fools!

So he's taking the train.

The Militant has been on Amtrak a couple times before, once in the West Coast, another time in the East Coast. So this weekend he will go off to an unspecified location, and have a time. And he may or may not take his bike.

Of couse, when all is said and done, he will specify the location. So take extra good care of Los Angeles while the Militant is away. Maybe you can put on your walking shoes and do this on Saturday (the Militant would love to do that, but of course joining them might very well cause him to reveal his identity - especially in a group of bloggers...) If you're good, he just might make another Vlogstyle post!

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Los Angeles = Museum Town?

You know how "those people" say that "LA lacks a sense of culture?" Well, for one, we do have our share of museums. There's the requisite Natural History and Children's museums; the acronymic art museums: LACMA, MOCA and MONA; The Getty and The Other Getty; the California ScienCenter as well as a Museum of Jurassic Technology, among many others.

Well, in the next couple of weeks, add two more, both located in Downtown Los Angeles - the South Park (no, not that South Park) district, specifically.

The GRAMMY Museum opens December 6 at L.A. LIVE, also home to CLUB Nokia, which, as we all know, is across the street from STAPLES Center. Come to think of it, maybe that part of town should be renamed the CAPS LOCK District.

At first, the Militant was puzzled what exactly would appear in a Gramm, er, GRAMMY Museum. Aftr all, don't the winners keep their own awards? Oh wait, maybe the surrendered 1990 Grammy from these guys might be on display!

But in actuality, the 30,000 square-foot museum, according to its WEBSITE (okay, the Militant will stop now...), describes it as an institution that "explores and celebrates the enduring legacies of all forms of music; the creative process; the art and technology of the recording process; and the history of the GRAMMY Awards." So, expect it to highlight the recording studio -- from Les Paul's multitrack wonders to Phil Spector's Wall Of Sound to Quincy Jones' thrilling productions, right up to today's state-of-the-art digital technology that artificially makes Britney Spears' voice stay in tune.

Not too much far south is the Los Angeles Sports Museum, which was featured in today's Los Angeles Times Sports section. This one opens just days from now, on November 28. At 32,000 square feet it's roughly the same size as the GRAMMY Museum.

Now, if the Militant were to make a "Los Angeles Sports Museum," wanna take a stab as to what it's gonna have? Okay, besides all the Dodger memorabilia...No, seriously, it's probably going to have exhibits and mementos from decades of professional sports, two Olympiads, remanants of sports teams of the past - from the Hollywood Stars baseball team to the Rams and the Raiders, and heck, even the L.A. Extreme. It would also feature famous Angeleno athletes, from Robinson to Drysdale to Elway to Tiger to Kwan to the Williams Sisters...right?

Well apparently, for this "Los Angeles Sports Museum," not so much. Yes, there's a plethora of Dodgerabilia, though apparently it's from the time they wore the "B" on the caps. There's even sections devoted to the Yankees and Red Sox, for goodness sakes(?!?!) So yeah, tell the Militant about it, this museum is somewhat of a letdown. It's really less of a true homage to Los Angeles athletica than Some Dude's Sports Memorabilia Collection on display (for the nice price of $17.50 a head).

Oh well. If you really wanna see that $2.6 million Honus Wagner baseball card, this so-called Los Angeles Sports Museum is located near Washington Blvd. and Main Street.

Militantwise, both of these museums will be easily accessible via the (M) Blue Line -- the GRAMMY Museum is a few steps away from the Pico/Chick Hearn station and Some Dude's Sports Memorabilia Collection At $17.50 A Pop is just a short walk from the Grand Station. So don't none of you beyatch and whine about not finding any parking.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

I Can Feel It Coughing In The Air Tonight

The Milita(cough, cough, cough) wildfires this weekend in three corners of the Southlan(cough, cough, cough) n't be able to go out and ride his bicy(cough, cough, cough). The sky looks as if we have more than one thing (cough, wheeze) in common with Beijin(cough, cough, cough, hack, cough). Except this time, there are more homes bur(cough, cough, cough, hack, wheeze, cough). From his compound he can(cough, cough, cough, wheeze, cough, cough, hock...spit). The Militant can't (cough, cough) wait until all this (cough, cough, cough, wheeze, cough, cough, hoccccccccck, ptui!) the air and (hack, cough, cough, ack, cough, cough, cough, wheeze, wheeze, cogh, cough)...

Oh, forget i(cough, cough, cough, wheeze, hock...).

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

If I Can Make It There, I'll Make It Anywhere...

What would a Militant post be without talking about transplants? Sure, they're an easy target for the Militant. But this time, the Militant takes a different perspective. He shares a NY Times article link sent to him from an operative who recently transplanted himself out East.

The article is on young professionals from other states, who moved to NYC, sharing their trials and tribulations on fitting in to The Big Apple. Sez the article:

"Newcomers suddenly realize either that the city is not working for them or that they are inexorably becoming part of it, or both."

Sounds familiar to some of you? Since the Militant never had to move here, he'd like to hear from some of you transplanted ones who've read the article and would like to know, NY-local references aside, how similar it is to your experience. The rest of us natives can just observe.

Because in the end, it may not really be about the place, but the perspective.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

The Cosmetic Surgery Capital of America? Yeah Right.

Ask anyone where the Cosemetic Surgery Capital of America is, and you'll hear "L.A." before you even reach the second syllable of "Capital." Right?

But Men's Health Magazine recently ranked the top metropoli in the United States in terms of cosmetic surgery, botox applicatiions and cosmetic dentists. The number one city? It's in California alright, but you wouldn't have the foggiest idea where. The Militant will just hold that answer at bay. Okay, okay, here's a clue: It's famous for its bridges, and probably now those bridges might have to deal with the ones on people's noses.

And where does Los Angeles rank? No lie - click it on the map yourself - Number 48.

Friday, November 7, 2008

Attack Of The 50-Year-Old Woman!

When an unspecified source offered the Militant a free pair of tickets to Madonna's Thursday night concert at The Stadium, the first thing the Militant thought was, "Madonna has a concert at Dodger Stadium?" but the Militant accepted the tickets, despite not being the hugest Madonna fan (though he's not ashamed to admit he has some of her CDs and LPs in his collection). But (and he's dating himself now), he's a child (well, technically, a teenager) of the '80s, and why not see a true '80s icon while they're still performing? So the Miliant texted one of his platonic female operatives and off they went to the Ravine.

The big three American '80s pop music icons - Michael Jackson, Prince and Madonna - are all halfway to 100. Between the three of them, their ages total a sesquicentennial! The Militant saw Prince rock Staples Center four years ago, and after Madonna, it's time to see the fux0red-up King of Pop...if he can guarantee that the tip of his nose won't fly off into the audience.

It's been three weeks since that devastating season-ending loss to the would-be World Champs (eugh...), and the Militant returns to The Stadium. He'd seen a concert there before, and in fact, wrote about the experience on This Here Blog. Again, it's a confusing experience: the familiar aroma of beer, Dodger Dogs and nacho cheese wafts in the air while the crowd is pumped for The Material Girl.

The night began with DJ Paul Oakenfold providing mostly-house music before the show, then a long-ass wait that was accented with the celeb sighting of that dude who used to be a Star 98.7 on-air personality...what's his name...oh yeah, Ryan Seacrest. This sort of stuff is foreign territory for the Militant.

Eventually the soon-to-be former Mrs. Guy Ritchie got on stage and sang some tunes the Militant wasn't familiar with at all. Then came a remixed "Vogue," which he did recognize, interspersed with the familiar and unfamiliar. The singer, who picked up the guitar a few years ago, played nearly half of her set slinging a six-string, looking like the rocker chick that never was, but hey, if anyone's entitled to it, it's Madonna.

The Militant digs going to concerts, but in much more intimate spaces (the Univera, er, Gibson Ampitheatre is as big as he prefers) and with artists more focused on the music. So the big dance productions, and the little segues without the artist onstage (who uses the time to switch wardrobe) was again a paradigm shift for this Militant. The cameos by Justin Timberlake and the 30-second walk-on by Britney Spears were admittedly slightly interesting, of course the crowd of 50,000 went totally nuts. For the Militant, the highlight was the hard-rock version of her 1984 hit "Borderline," with Ms. Ciccone again on guitar.

Given what it was, it was a pretty cool show after all. He give props to Madonna for being a music artist who constantly reinvents herself (and even lampoons her former images in one of her numbers via live costumed "wannabees"), and despite the $20 event parking price (hey, no shuttle and she didn't have her bike on her that night), the show was the right price.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Voters Choo-Choo-Choose More Rail

The results are in, the people have spoken. Californians have voted to approve Proposition 1A and Los Angeles County residents have approved Measure R.

Proposition 1A, which will fund the construction of a high-speed passenger rail network stretching from San Diego to Sacramento, won with over 52% of the vote. Interestingly, according to the state county results map, even counties not directly served by the proposed rail system, such as Imperial in SoCal and Mendocino, Sonoma, Napa, Marin and Yolo counties up north, voted for high-speed rail. Of course, they would stand to benefit as well; San Francisco and Sacramento are just a relatively short drive away, and the high-speed train will do the rest.

Most people look at the Japanese Shinkansen bullet train or France's TGV as what the California high-speed train will be like. But both systems are already decades old. Perhaps take a look at Taiwan's high-speed rail system, which is closer in size to California's planned system and opened just last year:

More locally, and perhaps more suprisingly, Los Angeles County residents voted to increase the sales tax by half a cent to fund transit and road improvements in the county, most noticeably securing local funding for extending the Metro Purple Line (a.k.a. "The Subway To The Sea"). What made it surprising was that, despite a recession and sagging economy, this not only got a majority, but (barely) eked the 2/3 majority vote to pass. Perhaps traffic is indeed that bad that the public considers the tax a worthwhile investment. And tho those yellow-shirted sorry-asses passing out flyers before Election Day accusing Measure R of being "Racist" (the yellow-shirted sorry-asses passing them out in front of the Militant were blond-haired and blue-eyed, oh the irony!) well, YOU SUCK!

Measure R continues a 28-year trend of public support of transit, which started in 1980 when voters approved of a Proposition A that helped to fund today's Red, Blue and Green lines. Similar initiatives came before voters since the late 1960s, but they were soundly rejected, which is the primary reason why modern rail transit did not exist in Los Angeles until the 1990s.

The Militant will admist though, that sales tax revenue in a time of recession is not going to generate that much, and the MTA had to scale back on its plans during the last recession. But the prospect of over 210,000 new jobs coming to the region (and, similarly 160,000 jobs statewide as a result of Prop 1A) were probably the dealbreakers for most voters faced with economic reality.

Good work, California and Los Angeles County...can't wait to ride.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Where's The Party?

If there was elect-ricity in the air on Tuesday morning, then Tuesday night was a powerful jolt indeed, as America selected its new Presidential Idol by the name of Barack Obama, who, in his undergrad stint at Occidental College in the early '80s, lived as an Angeleno (an Obamangeleno?) in Eagle Rock (or rather, Eagle Barack?) for two years, at least in the Fall and Spring.

In New York City, crowds at Times Square and Harlem gathered, cheered and danced in the streets. In Washington, DC, multitudes staged an impromptu street party outside of Obama's next home, And in the president-elect's.hometown, an estimated quarter million people celebrated in Grant Park to see El Nuevo Presidente make his victory speech.

Like over 60 million others, Obama was the Militant's choice on the ink-a-vote card (He didn't want to openly endorse him on This Here Blog since his rivals might make a case of the Illinois senator associating himself with...Militants (is that such a dirty word?)). So thusly, he wanted to celebrate this historic moment.

He thought about heading to Century City (via Metro Rapid, because the parking situation was no doubt gonna be nuts out there) to join in the big-ass party that was the Century Plaza Hotel, but by the time he was ready to leave, the polls have closed in California, the networks have just projected Obama as the winner, and McCain's concession speech will soon follow. So the Militant had to scrap the Westside trek and return the compound and see it on TV.

See the problem here? The biggest party in Los Angeles - one of the cities where the president-elect resided in - took place in a private space, a hotel ballroom in the Westside that was limited to a capacity of less than 7,000 people. There was no public celebration (though the Militant has heard from operative reports there were a smattering of small, neighborhood fetes), no dancing and partying in the street. Perhaps the biggest thing he heard in terms of public celebrations were people driving along Wilshire, honking their horns. Whoop-ee.

Surely, one or more of you will respond in the Comments section with a paragraph that includes the phrase "too spread out." Sure for those of you out in Canyon Country, Rancho Palos Verdes or Rancho Freaking Cucamonga, but the Militant lives walking distance from a subway station.

But then again, despite a dense Central area of the city that is more transit-advantaged than the rest of the region, we still have a ways to go in terms of the use, or even the awareness, of public space.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

The Elect-ricity Is In The Air

Video: The kids from Atlanta, GA's Ron Clark Academy doing, "You Can Vote However You Like," to the tune of T.I.'s "Whatever You Like"

Here it is, folks. The big day has arrived. July 4 may be the day when people wave flags and shoot off pyrotechnics, but this is the day Americans get to do the do.

The Militant knows the reach of this subject goes beyond being an Angeleno, but hey, sometimes bigger things take effect.

The Miliant may have his voting preference, and his presidential choice may or may not be obvious, but the choice is really yours (The Militant does, however endorse Measure R).

There's some long lines out there, which is just awesome. This is the way it should always be. People in third-world countries may face levels of corruption that makes what goes on in our government look like child's play, and there's usually incidents of bloodshed, but people always turn out. Long lines? Be civil, be patient. Bring a book or your unspecified digital music playback device. Get to meet your neighbors, too (just try not to talk about politics, though, that might constitute electioneering).

So get out and vote, folks.

In the interest of expression, please use the Comments section of this post as a vehicle to big-up your specified candidate(s) or ballot measure(s)...