Saturday, November 28, 2009

MILITANT BOWL I Champions Announced!

Congrats to USC, who fought on to win the inaugural MILITANT BOWL, 5-4!

As winner of the MILITANT BOWL, USC fans have bragging rights on which school is more militantly Angeleno. The Militant plans to pay a visit to the campus next week and do a blog entry on the school, so look out for him!

USC scored 5 comment posts vs. 4 for UCLA, which had a chance to win, had two of the comment posters followed the rules and not posted as "Anonymous." If only they followed the rules, UCLA would have won 6-5.

But thanks for playing, UCLA and USC fans! They may disagree on most things, but they should agree that they - and their rivalry - are part of what makes Los Angeles great! We'll do this next year! Until then, STAY MILITANT!

[MILITANT UPDATE: The score of the actual football game is USC 28, UCLA 7. The Militant may or may not be personally happy or sad with that result, but he is happy that the MILITANT BOWL is already batting 1.000 in terms of predicting the outcome of the crosstown gridiron match! Will MILITANT BOWL II predict the results of next year's game too? We'll find out next year!]

Friday, November 27, 2009

UCLA or USC? You Decide In The First Annual MILITANT BOWL!

It's that time of the year again, folks! It's the rivalry that dwarfs all So Cal sports rivalries! It makes the Dodgers-Angels rivalry look like a tee-ball game, it makes the Galaxy-Chivas rivalry look like soccer mom fodder, it makes the Kings-Ducks rivalry look like slushy Zamboni scrapings. It even makes the Lakers-Clippers riv...okay there really is no basketball rivalry in Southern California, but still, when it comes to intercollegiate sports rivalries in the same metropolitan area, This Is It. No other city in the USA, or even the world, can lay claim to a rivalry such as this.

This is, as you may or may not know, the weekend where the UCLA Bruins (6-5) face off against the USC Trojans (7-3; note: the Militant lists the schools in alphabetical order, hence the reason why UCLA goes before USC). Unlike the past several years, where the Trojans passed this off as a practice round before their inevitable new year's Bowl game glory, three stinging losses knocked them down to Earth from the Top 3 in the BCS rankings down to #20. The Bruins, playing a better-than-expected season this year with a few key victories, hopes to take advantage of the Trojans' fall from grace and become the city rivalry victor for the first time since 2006. However, history smiles more favorably on the Cardinal and Gold as the Trojans have won 9 out of the past 10 matchups, and lead the all-time record with 43 wins, 28 losses and seven ties.

The schools have fought for not only bragging rights, but a Victory Bell and a corporately-sponsored Gauntlet.

But what about the fans? The diehard Angelenos representing their schools, their ties to the schools, or their bandwagon statuses? How do they settle the score?

The Militant offers the solution: The Inaugural MILITANT BOWL!

It's like this: from the moment this post is published to the moment of kickoff at Saturday's game, UCLA and USC fans can post their respective roots and cheers for their school below in the Comments section of this blog entry. Points will be awarded (and deducted) and the winner will be announced via This Here Blog as well as the Militant's Twitter account.

The Militant will temporarily change out of his camo fatigues and into black-and-white referee stripes! [WHISTLE] So here are the rules! Read carefully!


1. Post a comment below in the Comments section of this blog entry, beginning with "GO UCLA!" or "GO USC!" and then explain, in your opinion, why [UCLA/USC] rules or sucks.

2. ONE entry per person! Subsequent entries by the same comment poster account will be disregarded.

3. You are, however, more than welcome to encourage other fans to post their own comments!

3. Each comment poster must have a screen/user name. Any comments posted by "anonymous" will BE DISQUALIFIED!

4. Comment must be a clear root or diss towards one of the teams. Ambiguous comments will also BE DISQUALIFIED! Also, wise-ass comments irrelevant to UCLA or USC will also BE DISQUALIFIED!

5. Each root for one school or diss against the other school will earn 1 point for the appropriate school.

6. Profanity will be permitted but let's keep this (relatively) civil and respectful! No _____-ist or _____-phobic comments please. Any comment of that nature will be penalized -1 point!

7. A root or diss comment of an extremely witty nature will earn 3 points!

8. In the event of a tie, The Militant Angeleno may or may not exercise his right to use his personal bias towards his unspecified alma mater and name it as the winner of the tiebreaker. So yes, the Militant will have to reveal his unspecified alma mater! LET'S TRY TO AVOID THIS FROM HAPPENING, FOLKS!

9. The comment period shall begin from the moment of this blog entry's posting and will close at the moment of kick-off at Saturday's game (around 7 p.m. this Saturday)!


Are you excited? The Militant sure is, and not just because his Comments section will artificially inflate for the next day and a half. But as you may or may not know, the Militant is a proud alum of one of the schools, and the rivalry is one of the highlights of the Militant's year! So get out there and post your comments! MAY THE BEST SCHOOL WIN!

Friday, November 20, 2009

Facebook Vs. The Militant

So the Militant logs into his Facebook page and gets this:
"Account Disabled."


So he logged in again, but got the same results:

"Account Disabled."

There was a link that offered an explanation, so he clicked on that.

It read:

Why was my account disabled?
Your account was disabled because the name it was registered under was fake. We do not allow users to register with fake names, to impersonate any person or entity, or to falsely state or otherwise misrepresent themselves or their affiliations. In addition, Facebook accounts are intended for use by single individuals, so groups, clubs, businesses, or other types of organizations are not permitted to maintain accounts.



Excuse the Militant, but the Militant Angeleno is as real as it gets. After doing some research, the Militant discovers that is based in Palo Alto, CA - in the Bay Area - and that it was founded in Cambridge, MA.

Which only means one thing:

Facebook hates Angelenos.

The Militant, who proudly embodies everything Los Angeles, is viewed by people in the Bay Area and the East Coast as "fake." Because they unfairly stereotype everything in Los Angeles as "fake." So for them, Los Angeles is a "fake" place, and surely someone who represents Los Angeles to such militant extremes has got to be "super fake."

This made the Militant fume with fury.

He has never felt so insulted in his life.

Then again, as wrong as those Bay Area and East Coast haters think about this City, it must be an honor though to be considered a true representative of Los Angeles, despite their disingenuous notions.

Not a good week for the Militant as far as the Internet. First YouTurd refuses to accept the Militant's recent Gold Line Opening Day Vlogstyle Episode, now Facebook denies the Militant entry because it believe all Angelenos are fake. Just a warning to all you other Angelenos out there, if you seem to have problems with Facebook.

So a big F-You to F-Book!

Monday, November 16, 2009

Vlogstyle Episode 05: The Militant Rides The Gold Line Eastside Extension On Opening Day!

gave the Militant a hard time, so now he's going Vimeo.

Movin' On Up To The Eastside: (M) Gold Line Extension Opens!

After the Militant graduated high school, he knew things were changing in this City. A different-looking skyline was going up, subways were being built below, the place he knew from the '70s and '80s was going to me no more, and he wanted to be there to witness that change, so when he attended his unspecified Pac-10 university, he never left Los Angeles.

Since July 14, 1990, the Militant has attended every single one of the (M) Rail line openings, and Sunday was no exception. And he especially wanted to be there for his Militant readers, as this was the first (M) Rail opening since this here blog began.

It's been reported that around 75,000 people took advantage of the free rides of the 6-mile Gold Line Eastside extension opening, which is about the same amount of people that ride the 22-mike (M) Blue Line on a typical weekday!

The Militant has definitely been to the Eastside - and East Los Angeles proper - before
. But for many Southern Californians, a good number who've long held the notion that East Los was some putrid 3rd world ghetto of sorts, this was a discovery, an awakening. A curious one, since the Militant overheard many families on Sunday talk about how eager they were to not only ride the line, but to go to a part of So Cal they usually don't go to. And if it was good enough for Metro to invest $800+ million to go to, they might as well check it out.

Of course though, by the time the autumnal dusk set at the 5 o'clock hour, the lengthy, nearly-hour-long lines at both ends had shrunken down to "just a bunch of people waiting on the platform," maybe those preconceived notions had not changed just yet. Tiny steps...

The short lines were perfect for the Militant though, as they gave him an opportunity to see the two light rail subway stations at Mariachi Plaza and at Soto - the first since 7th Street/Metro Center opened to Blue Line riders in February, 1991, and also the first deep-bore subway stations in Los Angeles not directly linked to the Red Line tunnel system.

Both stations resembled mini-Red Line stations - the same plaza-mezzanine-platform design, but with a lighter infrastructure (shorter platforms and no TransitVue video screens -yet). The Militant also noticed that the track floor is flat and not sunken-in like that of the Red/Purple lines - which means that if you fall in the tracks, you either have to GTFO or you'll die, as they lack the crawlspace clearance of the heavy rail trains that allows one to get run over by a train and still survive.

Los Angeles County Supervisor Gloria Molina said that the Gold Line was and "inadequate" transit system. She needs to STFU, especially as an obvious non-transit rider. The Soto and Mariachi Plaza stations aren't just the nicest stations on the Eastsdie extension, but they're some of the nicest (M) stations in the entire system. Soto's blue glow motif is a wonderful addition to the 1st/Soto intersection and the palace-like Mariachi Plaza station (hands down the fun-nest transit station name in human history) makes an already-cherished community public space even more vibrant. It's like the Leimert Park of the Eastside.

It's only six miles, but this relatively short stretch of light rail infrastructure is perhaps the most meaningful segment of the (M) Rail system to date. Los Angeles Times architecture critic Christopher Hawthorne summed it up best in his recent Eastside Extension review: trains trace new paths across the city, some of the divisions that for generations have made Los Angeles a balkanized collection of neighborhoods may begin to wobble or fall away.

That's not to say that some homogenization of L.A.'s various parts is on its way or should be our goal. Quite the opposite: New transit lines tend to throw the vibrant differences among neighborhoods into high relief.

(Bless that Hawthorne guy...he's not a stuck-up elitist prick like his predecessor, Nicholas Ouroussoff was. The Militant sooo wanted to slap that sucka upside the head many times).

There are some in the Eastside who fear that despite the increased accessibility for its denizens, that the Gold Line will bring on hipsterification and all that. It may or may not happen, and some of it will happen, but ultimately, in the bigger picture, the Militant predicts they have nothing to fear. The community culture of the Eastside is strong, solid and well-defined. No one can take that away. Stop worrying about how the rest of the City will change the Eastside and start thinking about how the Eastside can influence the rest of the City.

Night and Day: Compare this picture, taken Sunday evening:

With the same view, taken a little over two years ago for a previous Militant Angeleno post:

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Uncommon Valor in Historic Filipinotown

With today being Veterans Day, the Militant wanted to find a monument in the City (aside from a Veteran Avenue street sign - speaking of which, ever notice that the Veterans Administration Hopsital is by Federal while the Federal Building is by Veteran?) that honored veterans somehow.

Back in August of '07, the Militant showed you this World War I memorial on Adams and La Brea in Mid-City, but this being a day to honor primarily the living veterans, rather than the dead ones (who have their own holiday), the Militant had to look elsewhere.

But he didn't have to bike that far. Working on operative tips, he discovered a relatively new veterans memorial, just west of Downtown, in a relatively hidden place called Lake Street Park, just north of Beverly Blvd in Historic Filipinotown (and around the corner from Brooklyn Bagel), that honors not just the courage of a certain group of veterans, but their unique battle, both during - and long after - the war.

Dedicated in 2006 and designed by public artist Cheri Gaulke, also known for her station art at the (M) Gold Line Lincoln Heights/Cypress Park stop, the Filipino World War II Veterans Memorial tells their story through five granite panels, which describe America's colonial relationship with the southeast Asian country, the role of Filipino soldiers during the war, particularly through Japanese occupation and such enduring events as the Bataan Death March.

But even after victory in 1945, the battle wasn't exactly over for the Filipino war veterans, who, through the Rescission Act of 1946, were ultimately denied the benefits promised to them during the war.

Since then, over time, the Filipino veterans received part of their benefits piecemeal - including some of the few surviving who received checks just this year, but not until they, their advocates in the Filipino community and their allies fought for it over the course of several decades.

Just then, right after the Militant took his pictures, as if on cue, a swarm of four helicopters from a Veterans Day ceremony flew almost nearly overhead.

It became a very appropriate VetsDay moment for the Militant.

Stay Militant, Veterans.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

The Militant's Ultimate (M) Gold Line Tour

Yes, Angelenos, the Militant is back.

He took a brief hiatus after getting over his post-Dodger-postseason Depression (PDPD) and had a bout with what may or may not have been the Swine Flu.

The Militant is okay, both emotionally and physically, and in fact did see someone dressed in a costume resembling that of the Militant at a gas station on Halloween Night (for you "Pics-Or-It-Didn't-Happen" types, sorry, the Militant Cam didn't work quickly enough, and certainly none of you would be amused by the picture of a back of someone's car).

Anyhoo, let's get right down to business. Sometimes the Militant gets lazy, sometimes he rants, sometimes he does a little event coverage, but sometimes he does a Mega-Post(tm) - such as last year's Pulitzer Prize-winning* post on the lost Sacatela Creek. A post full of text, images and a heck of a lot of Militant Research. Well, Angelenos, the Militant is about to give you the proverbial Mother Of All Mega-Posts.

This Mega-Post(tm) contains not one, not two, nor three, four or five, but - count 'em - six years of Militant research (Of course, there was no MA blog as we know it even three years ago, but you'll just have to trust the Militant on this one.

Okay, we're inflating the word count already...As you may or may not know, the (M) Gold Line will never be the same this Sunday, as the long-awaited expansion to the Eastside (the Real Eastside, to you hipster lowlifes out there) will open to the transit-riding public.

Well, your lives - and your knowledge of Los Angeles - will never be the same after this Mega-Post(tm). The Militant is about to take you on a tour of the Pasadena-to-Los Angeles (M) Gold Line...MILITANT STYLE!

Yes, it's not just about parades, football games, concerts or pub crawls. The Gold Line is a veritable, uh, gold mine of historical and trivial facts, most of which aren't visible to the casual obvserver. It's like a Transformer, yo...More than meets the eye!

So here it is...drum roll please...a post over two years in the making...


Being that the Militant is central Los Angeles-centric, this tour will start from Union Station and end at Sierra Madre Villa station. Got it? Now tap your TAP cards (beep), and let's goooo!

Oh wait, you gotta go to the bathroom first? OK, OK, It's down the pedestrian tunnel, then make a left. HURRY!

...Okay, we're off!

View The Militant's (M) Gold Line Tour in a larger map

1. Private Rail Car Yard
Look to your left, as the train ascends up the elevated structure. There's a private rail car yard for privately-owned (non-Amtrak) passenger cars, whose owners pay Amtrak a fee for connecting to existing passenger trains.

This yard was originally built to house the business cars of the Southern Pacific, Union Pacific and Santa Fe railroads, during the heyday of passenger rail travel.

2. Homeboy Industries / Homegirl Cafe
Due directly right as the train curves, you can literally touch the building. It's the new headquarters of the nonprofit social enterprise Homeboy Industries. The Militant has already eaten at Homegirl Cafe. Great food, great service, great cause - MILITANT APPROVED!

3. Capitol Milling Company
This family-owned flour mill operated from 1831 to 1997, before moving its operation to a much larger facility in Colton. The mill supplied flour to clients such as Ralphs, Foix French Bakery and La Brea Bakery. In 1999, the family-owned operation was purchased by industry giant Con-Agra Co.

The historic building, built even before the railroads arrived in Los Angeles, still has a horse-tethering ring, back to the days when grain was hauled by horse carriage from farms in the San Fernando Valley.

4. Zanja Madre Relics
This recovered piece of Los Angeles history appears as a pipeline-like structure made of bricks and masonry. The Zanja Madre was the early water supply/irrigation system for the early pueblo of Los Angeles, which channeled water from the then-naturally running Porciuncula (Los Angeles) river into the town.

This relic was discovered by Metro construction crews in 2005 and placed on display here.

5. Swallow's Nests
Who says there's no wildlife in the City? Look towards the side of the Broadway Viaduct (along the middle of the photo on the left) and you'll see a row of swallow's nests - constructed in the same fashion as they are in mountainside cliffs - built into the concrete!

6. (M) Gold Line Yard & Shops
This yard, the former approach to the old Southern Pacific Cornfield Yard, (now Los Angeles Historic State Park), is where the Gold Line's fleet of Siemens and Breda light rail cars are stored, cleaned and maintained daily.

7. The Old Lincoln Heights Jail
Former LAPD Police Station and City Jailhouse from 1931 to 1966, holding up to 2800 prisoners at its peak. Still owned by the City, it was abandoned due to capacity and now serves as the home of the Los Angeles Youth Athletic Club, The Bilingual Foundation for the Arts theater company, and the Aztlan Foundation which provides workshops in Latino art and culture for the community.

8. Unidentified Flying Object!
Look to your left right before the train crosses the Pasadena Freeway! There's a flying saucer here at this Lincoln Heights scrapyard!

9. Bird Zoo
If you're heading towards Pasadena, look quickly to your right, just before you reach the Southwest Museum station and behind the fence, you'll see a bunch of caged birds and animals in the backyard of this apartment complex. Exotic animals seen here include a peacock, cockatoos and a goat.

10. Casa de Adobe
Building owned by the nearby Southwest Museum for temporary exhibits and cultural events, such as the annual Lummis Day Festival.

11. Figueroa Upper Walkway
You'll have to get off at the Southwest Museum station to see it. This second-set-of-sidewalk above the street-level sidewalk is a unique sight in Los Angeles, connecting various houses and apartments with the Casa de Adobe and the entrance to the (M) Gold Line Southwest Museum Station.

12. Old L.A. Certified Farmer's Market
Hop off the Gold Line at the Highland Park station every Tuesday from 3 to 8 p.m. for this weekly Farmer's Market in Highland Park. Check out the Militant's post!

13. Quetzalcoatl Chicano Heritage Mural
This mural, painted in 1995, depicts and celebrates Chicano history and heritage. Commissioned for $50,000 and partially financed by Rage Against The Machine singer Zak de la Rocha, this mural at Ave 61 and Figueroa has been a visible landmark and point of pride for the Highland Park community.

14. Arroyo Seco Viaduct
Your train travels on this bridge, along with most of the Gold Line's right-of-way, carried freight and passenger trains of the Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe Railway (now merged into the BNSF Railway) until 1994. The bridge was converted from single-track to double-track during the Gold Line's construction in the late 1990s.

15. Mission West Farmer's Market
Don't forget to hop off the Gold Line at the Mission Station on Thursday evenings to catch this SouthPas tradition. Check out the Militant's Post!

16. Oaklawn Pedestrian Bridge
This decorative concrete arch bridge was built in 1910 for the neighborhood's bougie residents to cross over the Santa Fe Railway tracks. More info here.

17. Potential Bikeway?
Wouldn't this be a neato location for a future bikeway? A Militant can dream...C'mon Metro, let's make it happen!

18. Art Center South Campus
The South Campus of the Art Center College of Design opened in 2004. The building was originally an aircraft testing facility built during World War II. The Militant visited this place at the end of a Pasadena Ride-Arc ride last year.

19. The First Trader Joe's
This is the oldest and longest-operating Trader Joe's supermarket in the entire chain. So for all of you with friends in Seattle or Boston or NYC who just rave about "their TJ's," show them the OG TJs and make them RECOGNIZE!

20. Historic Santa Fe Pasadena Depot
This building at the Gold Line Del Mar station says "Pasadena" on it for a reason: it was the original Pasadena railroad depot operated by the Santa Fe Railway from 1925 to 1971, and by Amtrak form 1971 to 1994, when the passenger line was rerouted and the line abandoned to make was for what was then known as the "Pasadena Blue Line." The Santa Fe "cross" logo motifs can still be found all over the station building.

The station is now adaptively reused as a restaurant as part of the Del Mar Station mixed-use development.

21. Del Mar Station Bike Parking Facility
Check it - this station has bike parking! No, not just some lame aluminum "sinewave" racks placed in some obscure, forgotten corner, but an actual room where bikes can be parked and locked!

22. Manny Ramirez's Condo(?)
Not confirmed, but according to operative reports, Dodgers Outfielder Manny Ramirez owns a condo in this mixed-use development. The Militant doesn't know which unit, nor has he had the opportunity to party like a rockstar there.

23. Colorado Blvd Subway
The original Santa Fe Railway tracks crossed Colorado, but Metro built an underpass for the light rail line for some reason. Something to do with a parade every January...

24. Ruins of the Original Pasadena Public Library
This "Memorial Park" in Pasadena is no cemetery, but it does contain the remains of the original central Public Library building, located here from 1890 to 1927, and demolished in 1954. The current Public Library opened in 1927. The city of Pasadena retained the columns in memory of the original library building, dedicated in 1955.

25. Former Pacific Electric Right-Of-Way
This landscaped median, typical of many in Southern California, once carried interurban streetcars of the Pacific Electric Railway from 1904 to 1950 in a line that originated from 6th and Main streets in Downtown Los Angeles.

26. Eaton Wash
This flood control channel captures snow runoff from the San Gabriel Mountains about a mile high above, and runs through Eaton Canyon.

27. Pasadena Sandwich Co.
Some of the biggest sammiches you've ever seen are sold at this hole-in-the-wall shop on Sierra Madre Villa Ave, just steps away from the Gold Line station.

28. Site of Hastings Ranch
This large suburban retail development was once the location of Charles Cook Hastings' 1,100-acre Mesa Alta Rancho from 1882 to 1942, boasting a vineyard and later exotic plant and animal life. After the death of Hastings' son the land was sold to become tract housing, retail and a drive-in theater during the post-war development boom.

So there you have it, 28 points of interest from the window of your Gold Line train or a short walk away. Come Sunday, the Militant will no doubt have to update this list (Google Maps needs to put some more recent images, ahem, ahem). But for those of you who do the Gold Line every day to and from work, you'll never look at your commute the same way again.