Thursday, October 30, 2008

Happy Holly-ween Eve

The Militant, not only lacking in posts lately but a rather procrastinating kind, set out to acquire elements of his Halloween costume on Thursday night. After a quick net search, he realized the best place was the most obvious place: Hollywood Toys & Costumes, right on the boulevard.
As expected, he rode his bike there, and was able to find adequate bike parking horseshoes installed on the Walk of Fame. And also as expected, the costume shop was pure mayhem.

The business hours displayed at the window lists the closing time as "7 p.m." Of course, this being All Hallows Eve Eve, and this being past 8 p.m. when the Militant was in there, they weren't gonna close anytime soon. The Militant, only after a few minutes browsing, was able to find what he was looking for; a missing element in his unspecified costume, which he will wear in public on Friday (This costume non-description may just be a ploy as he may or may not just decide to dress up as his awesome camouflaged self (who's gonna notice, right?) for the 31st).

Finding the missing costume element was the easy part. Next was purchasing the damn thing. Outfitted with just three cash registers, the checkout like stretched as far south as Sunset Boulevard (okay, just an exaggeration, but it did stretch for nearly the entire depth of the storefront). Of course, this being Halloween Eve, the Militant was way willing to tolerate the long-ass queue of fellow procrastinators (pictured left).

The line moved faster than expected and people were rather civil. After making the purchase, the Militant decided to just stand outside with his bike on the Boulevard, watching the healthy-sized throngs of people stroll up and down the Walk of Fame, a few already in costume, a few carrying their costumes, and others already sharing their 'Ween night party plans with their group of friends, or via cellphone.

An ambulance wailed through the Boulevard, halting the slow march of cars, reverberating though the canyon of clubs, souvenir shops, restaurants and theatres. He appreciated this little take-for-granted urban scene, mainly because when he's on the Boulevard, he's either walking, riding the bike or driving -- either way, he's always in motion. But this time, he just stood still, and took it all in.

On another note, here's a sign (pictured right) that's posted all through the Boulevard, warning revelers on the City's anti-silly string ordinance. Possessing the streaming stuff can cost you a grand.

Of course, it raises a few questions:

  • So there is nothing to stop people from unleasing cans of the stuff at 11:59 p.m. tonight?
  • How does one quantify the silliness of the string? Can one, conversely, possess a can of a non-silly string, or even a considerably less sillier one?
Makes ya wonder. Happy Weening, folks.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Hey DJ Won't You Play That Song...

The Militant always believed that there's a rhythm to this City. Or rather, many rhythms. Angeleno indie filmmakers Jerry Chan and Mitchel Dumlao recently made a 4-minute short film, entitled DJ:LA, proving just that. Just d-d-d-d-dig it (Note: The above YouTube video is just a one-minute preview; the short in its entirely can be seen here:

Special props to Militant Operative Valleypinoy for the tip!

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

The Times, They Are A-Changin'

Call the Militant old-school, but he still likes to read the good ol' newspaper (once in a while). It's light, it's portable, it's a good way to kill time while riding on the Metro, sitting at the doctor's office, queuing at the bank, or sitting in the can.

Yeah, nowadays we got websites, news tickers, text updates, Twitter and, you know, those blog thingies. But the traditionalist in the Militant still believes there's still something to the printed word. After all, his trademark long-winded, word-count-heavy posts are testament to that.

Word? Word.

So while walking down an unspecified major thoroughfare on Tuesday, he happened upon a Los Angeles Times newsstand - a common sight - and did a "Hello, what's this?"

The display copy was partially obscured by a wraparound, with an uncharacteristically Wall Street Journal-esque illustration of the Times' editor (the Militant keeps up with local happenings, but he admits that he's never heard of "Russ Stanton" before, although it seems the Times changes editors these days with nearly the same turnover rate as Japan changes prime ministers). It appears that the Times got itself (yet another) facelift, its third in the past decade. And so the big ed sez:

"Today we're introducing changes designed to better match our coverage to your lifestyles and reading habits."


While the state of the traditional newspaper in the 21st century is a surprise to none, the Militant took to these "UI" changes with much skepticism. "Lifestyles?" You already know how much the Militant hates being stereotyped as an Angeleno.

So here we go, comparing today's Times with last week's paper (October 14):

The Nameplate: The most obvious change. Good to know the Los Angeles Times logo banner is still in that good ol' gothic typeface, but now its...SO MUCH BIGGER. And what's with the 3-D shadow? The date has moved from the bottom center of the nameplate to the upper-left. The price, moved to the other end. In the lower right: "" There is a reason for that.

The Headline: Looks the same as previous, though a sample front page rendering inside the wraparound shows one of those column-spanning "OMG NO WAI THIS IS IN ALL CAPS" -type headlines. Expect the November 5 edition to herald the announcement of our 44th president in that fashion.

Graphs and Illustrations: The graphic on healtchare costs looks a bit more USA Today. Of course, ever since McNewspaper debuted in 1982 with them boffo color pictures, all of the black-and-white-and-read-all-overs gradually followed suit. Over a quarter century later, that influence is still happening.

Color-Coded Sections: Speaking of color, the section flags are now symbolically color-coded: California is a dark orange/dark gold color; Sports is dark blue; Business is dark green; Calendar and Classified are red. Not that necessary, but if you wanna save on black ink in these tight economic times, might as well.

Sub-Sections: In the A section of the paper, the various subsections (i.e. World, Nation, Opinion, etc.) are presented in white on grey blocks to stand out. Okay, so much for saving on that black ink, then. But it does emphasize the sub-sections more.

Web-Exclusive: In an era where the Web is king, the new-look Times has ramped up the "web-teaser" sections, inviting readers to stories and features, such as Steve Hymon's popular Bottleneck Blog, and having readers continue their Times reading experience from newsprint to computer screen.

Other Changes: There's a bunch of other subtle, though interesting changes to the various sections. Each section now seems to feature a larger photo towards the top of the page. In terms of Tuesday's Sports section, there's one photo of the USC football team nearly half the size of the page. Speaking of whihc, Chris Dufresne's accompanying article directly below it leads off D1, filling much of the bottom half with oversized typefaces and paragraph symbols. What's disturbing is seeing the colloquial word, "Duh!" written in that oversized typeface, referencing the Trojans' single upset blemish to their season. Dunno..."Duh!" is fine for a blog, an email exchange or a text message, but in the lede of a newspaper article? Oh well.

"Change" is a big buzzord this year. Obviously the traditional newspaper has to keep up with technology and attitudes towards alternate news sources. So, yes, change is inevitable. On the other thand, the changes weren't as radical as what the Times seemed to make them out to be. Of course, if the gothic Los Angeles Times logo got changed to, say, a modern sans-serif font, then, well we might have anothe riot on our streets. Okay, maybe not. Or just a nerdy kinda riot.
So though the Militant might not be too crazy with this new Times look, it's not that bad either. Still, as long as the Times is under the wrath of Zell, and remains a mere outpost property for its Chicago-based colonist operation, the Militant still fears a day when he opens up the Times, and it looks and reads like a different city's paper. With the way things are these days, who knows?

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

The Impossible Has Happened...Twenty Years Ago Today

Before we go any further, the Militant is keenly aware that some of his readers are probably wondering, "WTF, is Militant Angeleno now just a Dodgers blog?" or "Aren't there more pressing issues right now since parts of the City are on fire?" The Militant's thoughts and prayers are with all who are affected by the northern SFV wildfires, especially since at least two of his operatives' families are directly impacted - one of whom were pictured on the website of a major local news source. If the Militant had the time and the resources, he'd be out there covering the fires. Of course, it's not where people should be right now, so to all those out there in the north Valley, hang in there!

On the topic of tragic loss, there's no need for the Militant to reiterate what happened at the Stadium on Monday night. Indeed, the Phillies started their own wildfires that ravaged Chavez Ravine in its own way, and all was glum in Dodgerdom.

On Wednesday, October 15, 2008, the Dodgers will play a game that may or may not be their last game of the year (no, really...). With the Phillies leading the NLCS 3 games to 1, with only one win separating the Phills from a World Series appearance, and with a seemingly improbable 3-game sweep being the Last Blue Hope, it seems that only a miracle can save the Dodgers now.

A miracle.
Kind of like the one that happened on October 15, 1988?

There's no need for the Militant to describe what happened. It's forever emblazoned in sports history, in baseball history, in Los Angeles history, in Dodger history. Wnenever it replays on the Diamondvision screen at The Stadium, the fans treat it like a religious observance - The glorious miracle of St. Kirk of Gibson. Even the irreverent Dodger blog, considers it "The Last Great Dodger Moment" (complete with a clock counting the time elapsed since then). Even the imagery of Gibson's fist pumping, or the equally memorable Scullyisms uttered ("She is...GONE! In the year of the improbable, the impossible has happened!") have become iconic images and sounds in their own right.

Though it's been two decades, and the players, managers, even owners have changed many times over since then, it remains a shining example of a beacon of postseason hope. The odds are against us, but remember, True Blue fans, if there's any team that can do the impossible, from 10/15/88 to 9/18/06 to today, it's our Boys in Blue.

MILITANT UPDATE: Alika, your wish has finally come true. The crown of the US Bank Tower is now lighted in blue. Hey, that rhymes...


Monday, October 13, 2008

It's Time For Dodger Base-brawl!

The Dodgers beat the Phillies 7-2 Sunday during Game 3 of the NLCS and the Militant was there (of course). Thanks in part to the hometown crowd and the great-at-home Hiroki Kuroda pitching, all the Dodgers really needed was the bottom of the 1st inning. Not being a series clincher like the last game here, the crowd was more like a normal Stadium crowd, albeit with more expensive tickets. Also, unlike the last series, the opposing team's fans stuck out like a sore thumb. And then a near-fight broke out. Enough words, here's the pics. GO DODGERS!

The lineups.

(From bottom, right) Garvey, Lopes (in Phillies uniform), Russell and Cey meet their current counterparts Garciaparra, DeWitt, Furcal and Blake after the classic '70s-era infield threw out the ceremonial first pitch.

The dude who sat in front of the Militant said to his friends,
"Dude, I'm just trippin' how it says "NLCS" on the field. How awesome is that?!?"

A couple fans wave signs referencing the Dodgers' unofficial theme song for this season. And yes, they got on the Diamondvision screen when the song got played.

A member of the media informs Russell Martin that the Phillies have declared today, "Hit Russell Martin with the Ball Day."

All together now: "Awwwwwwwwwwwww!"

A reporter from Philadelphia's FOX 29 goes live in enemy territory after the game.

'Nuff said.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Autumn Leaves in the Wind

They say there's no such thing as seasons in Los Angeles. Sorry to break this to you, but there are; it's just more subtle. And if you can't appreciate or recognize the subtleties, Mr. or Ms. Transplant, well, maybe you're the one who's superficial.

Anyway, the Militant spent his Friday night with one of his Is-This-Going-Anywhere-Or-Not female platonic friends in what may or may not actually be a date (no really, in this instance, the Militant isn't that proud of using his famous tagline). Oh it went well, but...wait, hold it! The Militant doesn't want to give out too many details on his personal life, so, enough with the background.

Anyway, as the Militant drove to the Westside, he noticed it. As he drove at the end of the night from the Westside via Downtown, he noticed it again. And from Downtown via surface streets back to his compound, yet again.

It was the sight, sound and feeling of those fallen autumnal leaves, swirling around by the Santa Ana Winds. He saw it on Venice Boulevard, he saw it on 8th Street, he saw it on Vermont Avenue. He has always wondered about those mysterious winds, as if they are a song that lasts all night, and even until the next day, whipping and bending the trees like an ongoing atonal symphony. Or perhaps they are the sound of the dry, invisible ocean that makes a ghostline appearance every so often.

Take a moment, stand still outside and let the wind envelop you. Let it whip your hair and ruffle your clothes. It's free. It's for all. Enjoy it.

Sunday, October 5, 2008


The Militant was joined by 56,000 loud, hungry - and sometimes rowdy Dodger fans (well, okay, there were a few pro-Cubbies transplants and tourists in there too...) at The Stadium on Saturday night to witness something he hasn't seen in over 20 years (and never before in person) - a Dodgers postseason series victory, SWEEPING THE CHICAGO CUBS TO GO ON TO THE NL CHAMPIONSHIP SERIES!

After two dominating games on the road, he admits he was waiting (though not hoping, of course) for the Dodger guard to come down a bit, maybe the Cubs would pull off the ironic win here (only to have us clinch today, of course), maybe add some more drama to the score, heck, to even put up a fight.

Hey, the Militant has been let down before...

...But it fortunately never happened.

It was too good to be true. Of course, the Dodgers were playing the Chicago Cubs, and if anyone is used to letdowns, it's Cubbies fans, who had to endure a century's worth of letdowns. But in Los Angeles, where our relative span of history is shorter than most large cities, twenty years might as well be a hundred.

The electricity in the Stadium began even before Kuroda's first pitch. Fans were just wired to the max in the parking lot. By the middle of the first inning, when the Cubbies' leage-leading season was reduced to its last 24 outs, the Dodger fans, audibly boisterous and visually animated - each of them twirling the small white rally towel given to them at the gate - were ready to just get the game over with and celebrate. In fact, there was no need to rally. Maybe the Cubbies fans needed the towel more -- as something to throw in.

The first inning was all the Dodgers needed, as by the time Russel Martin and Manny Ramirez reached home, the crowd treated every inning from then on like the 9th.

And when the 9th did come - with both the Dodgers and the Chicago Flubs, er, Cubs scoring one run each since - they team had done their first postseason sweep since 1963 and ended that 20-year playoff series drought.

the Militant enjoyed it all from his first-base side reserve seat, accompanied by an unspecified number of operatives. One middle-aged lady a few rows behind him screamed at the top of her lungs every time Blake DeWitt's name was called out on the stadium PA, while a Carnation ice cream vendor told the crowd he was selling "Manny Ramirez Ice Cream," and Dodgers and Cubbies fans taunted each other (mostly in a lighthearted way, though there were a couple incidents where security was called in). This being a playoff game, only the more hardcore fans were present and were focused on the game; there were no official, pavilion-generated waves in the stadium, beach balls were kept to a minimum and no one left early (the ones that did wore blue caps with a red "C" on them, of course).

After the speeches (quote of the night: Manny Ramirez shouting, "There's a party at my house! I'm gonna party like a rockstar...if you can find my house!"), the champagne-spraying, both in and out of the clubhouse, the parking lot wa one huge party zone, with post-game tailgating, horns honking, perfect strangers dressed in Dodger Blue giving each other high-fives...the Militant was in Blue Heaven.

Of course there's two more series and eight more wins to go...The Militant will be there of course (he's waited 20 years, come on...) BEAT THE PHILLIES!

Pics from that wonderful game:

Thursday, October 2, 2008

By Golly, Dodgers Trolley To Run in Postseason!

Another reason for Dodger fans to smile this month: The Union Station-to-The Stadium Dodgers Trolley bus service will be running for all postseason home games, according to an operative's report that relayed confirmation from the Dodgers' front office.

The service, which first ran on July 25 and last ran for the final regular season home game on September 25, even ran an hour later than scheduled to serve fans who opted to stay for the champagne-spraying revelry after the Dodgers clinched the National League West title.

The biodiesel-fueled buses will be running again on Saturday's and, if necessary, Sunday's home games, as well as any possible National League Championship Series and World Series games. So this October, Dodger fans can ride the Red or Gold, Act Green and Think Blue!

SLAM! Dut-duh-dut! Dut-duh-dut!

The Militant is no doubt exuberant that the Los Angeles Dodgers beat the Chicago Cubs 7-2 on Wednesday during the first game of the National League Division Series.

D-Lowe was d-lightful, holding down the Cubs to just two runs. Manny rammed, Martin sent one a-dartin', and most of all James Loney pwn3d with an el grande slammo in the 5th, which also sent Cubs starter Ryan Dempster into the dumpster. They went on to score three more after that, thanks to the aforementioned Ramirez and Martin bombs, so even without Loney's slam, they still would have won.

And them poor little Cubbies fans...left their little northside tourist attraction early. For a playoff game. And they claim to be so diehard, lol.

Dude, this is HUGE. This is the very first time since 1988 when the Dodgers won the first game of a postseason series, the first time since 1988 when they won a road game in the postseason and the first time they won a postseason game since 2004. Then, it was Lima Time. Now it's Loney Time. But unlike their postseason efforts in 2004 and 2006, the team isn't fraught with injuries (both on the field and off...). They got crazy depth. In fact, big injuries are behind them, with previously-hurt players like Rafael Furcal and Takashi Saito now back on the field.

The two teams face each other again tonight at 6:30 p.m. Pacific Time, which is gonna be a little tough since there's another kind of playoff match going on in the Midwest tonight. Chad Billingsley faces Carlos Zambrano. If they can secure a back-to-back win tonight, it's gonna be a madhouse at the Stadium on Saturday night. And yes, the Militant will definitely be there.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Livin' For This

Most people come "out here" (ugh, hate that phrase, would like to pound people in the head every time they say that...) for "the weather," which seems to be the sole reedeeming quality of Los Angeles according to them generalizing-loving transplantia. Of course you all knew that already. The Militant, who never chose to come "out here," simply accepted his fate in terms of his geographical placement and makes the most of it. Ergo, he takes this weather thing totally for granted.

But on Tuesday night, while taking a stroll in Little Tokyo to do some extramilitant tasks, at 11:30 p.m., the thermometer read an even 80 with humidity at 38%.




Though Summer symbolically ended a month ago, and officially a week and a half ago, the Militant longs to keep this Summer thing going as long as possible. In SoCal, it's not too uncommon to have a heatwave just a few days before Christmas. And besides, we won't have to change our clocks for another four weeks.

Yes, he lives for these warm, kind of humid nights. Nice and warm, but without the sun beating on one's skin in an oppressive manner. Nice enough to take a nocturnal bike ride, nice enough to hang out on the porch or a sidewalk cafe and have a chat, nice enough to take a stroll on the streets to take it all in. Ahhhh.

The very place he was in on Tuesday night, people did just that, riding their bikes on second street, hanging out amongst the closed storefronts of Little Tokyo plaza, chillin' out in the front patio of I <3 Boba on 1st Street. The warmth envelops you, but does not beat down on you like when the sun is out. It's like an invisible blanket, keeping you secure from the typical cold of night.

The Militant walked these same streets last Friday night, still warm yet not as warm, catching one of the last Red Line trains back to his compound after attending a Presidential Debate-watching party at an unspecified Downtown location. He saw the bicycles and the people hanging out and walking, as well as the Friday night bar/partygoers in various locations. And not realizing it before, he Though he knows how to handle himself in the City, and has walked through neighborhoods that most of you wouldn't even want to drive through - in a tank - he did feel a sense of comfort and an absence of danger. So for all you Downtowners (or potential Downtowners) wondering what the deal is, there you go from a non-Downtowner who's still down wit' Downtown.

The Militant knows this heat wave won't last, and will soon give way to the cool of Fall and the cold of Winter, so he will be out on the streets tonight. So who knows? You may or may not see him.