i got covid, finally, shockingly

i could feel a scratchy throat on thursday and it only increased on friday

i had driven a week without a day off so i just thought i was exhausted

turned out i had gotten the thing i had avoided for years

was it the sweaty lady who was running late for work and wouldnt turn her head to the right when i called her and said “if you could just walk to the end of the block i would have to go alllll the way around the block and then turn around”?

was it the lady who coughed several times

what about the man who wanted the windows up the whole ride?

how about the new yorkers, one of whom sat next to me?

i did 300 trips in January. who knows it could have been all of them.

went to the doc today because it was close and cheap.

otherwise i was just gonna sweat it out with nyquil and benadril

they saw me almost right away, swabbed my nose and told me to check the website in two hours

when i did it told me i was positive

so weird. for some reason i thought it would be worse.

sunday i had to do 18 trips for the bonus. i could have spread it out until tuesday but that tickle made me worried. i coughed so hard and long that i had to pull over on sunday in dtla. i was dizzy.

my doc today told me sometimes people pass out or faint during coughing episodes.

if not for that moment i wouldnt have gone to urgent care at all but that was unusual.

right now im pissed about a few things. covid has made me cranky.

im pissed that i had a pysch appointment today at 5 but the lady canceled on me but i didnt know about it til 530 so i was sitting on the kaiser website for a half hour like an idiot. the appt was so i can get adhd pills, which i am hearing, are in short supply.

im pissed because my cats want to play a lot. do they think im dying? am i dying?

if im dying please gather together and complete hear in LA

today kpcc announced it is now going to be called LAist

which cracks me up

today LAist launched their podcast about the neighborhoods of LA

sound familiar?

well How to LA’s first episode was 10 minutes long

i’m not saying good things can’t happen in 10 minutes

but Hear in LA

goes deeper and longer.

dedicated twitter, FB, IG and youtube channels

and hour long episodes so you can

you know

get to know the most important part of the neighborhoods: the people.

anyways, welcome to the jungle, LAist

thank you for affirming that doing deep dives into each of the neighborhoods in LA

is a valuable and worthy venture.

glad you agree,

people don’t believe me when i say i love competition,

but it’s true, i do.

kicking ass alone is boring

13 years ago i got called up to the big leagues

when i finished listing all my jobs (21!) someone DMed me and asked me which I was the most proud of.

im glad they didnt call me out in public because so many people who i used to work with are my friends on IG and i would never want to hurt anyone’s feelings.

but easily the one i am most proud of is LAist.

maybe you woulda have to have been there to understand but LAist was the bottom of the LA blogosphere at the time – in part because they didn’t pay the editor more than $100. but all these blogs that you don’t even hear about any more, including several at the LA Times were waaaay ahead of us when i was given the gig.

following Carolyn Kellogg was not so easy either. she’s a true pro. voracious reader. an intellect. and just straight up nice.

so a few of the staff bailed when they saw that i was taking over.

then there was the issue of what did i have to offer those who remained? i couldnt pay them. i couldnt even promise them that there would be an audience any time soon. and i did things so differently that some of them would predictably be upset.

for example, even though i make fun of Team Coverage when the LA news stations send all their reporters out to cover a 1″ rain storm, i sorta like Team Coverage because no one tells the same story the same way.

so if Beck is playing at some small venue and everyone is like, can i cover it can i cover it? i say you can all cover it, because id rather have 3 pieces on something theyre all passionate about then 100 pieces where everyones half assing it.

PLUS a lot of time in blogging, the reader will scroll down a few posts and if they see something good they’ll click, otherwise they’ll leave the site. so if i can give you a Beck review at noon, 3pm and 6pm, odds are you’ll read one of them, whereas if theres just one at noon, you might not even see it on the page if you get in at 6pm.

but on top of that, magic sometimes happens and out of the three articles one person might just emerge as a damn star. and sometimes that can be the person you least expect, aka the one you would have never assigned it to.

so what did i have to offer? a chance.

in a year and a half of breaking every rule, experimentation, love, support, and no deadlines, LAist quadrupled the LA Times’ #1 blog. a feat that was never accomplished by any other blog again after i became Blog Editor of the LA Times in late December of 2007.

and i did it with a group of beautiful humans who i dealt with honestly and openly.

i am so proud of that period of my life and i think about it all the time.

when in rome, ask a lot of questions

i had to do this thing in Hollywood this morning and i found myself doing the thing that i used to tell people to do.

comic book legend Stan Lee died. i was really close to hollywood and highland where all these cartoon characters hang out shaking down tourists for money.

i had this crazy idea that all the Marvel ones (the hulk, iron man, black panther, black widow, captain america, wolverine, etc) might be hanging out at his star because thats where the fans would go, no?

no. turned out neither of the spider men knew even who Stan was

but fortunately there was a Cap and a Logan who totally knew what was up and were willing to talk to me quickly so i could get a few quotes, take a few pics, and zip it over to LAist before lunch.

it was startling how easy the words came out of me in writing this little thing. with LAist i know exactly what humor to inject and where the line is. bing bang boom it was over before it started which was great because i had a big day planned for me for the secret project.

the talented mike roe, comic book expert had just posted his obit, so it fit nicely under the tweets. teamwork makes the dream work and they were able to move on to more pressing issues like these damn fires.

read the whole thing here.

the older i get the meaner i get

if i was on top of my game i would be bringing LAist back from the dead right now. i would be using the momentum of everyone being sad that it was gone, and i would make something new but the same.

i would do what i did back on 6/6/06 and i would find people who were in to writing for free and in exchange i would give them a platform where they would get read and have access to rock show and movies and whatever they couldn’t get from their own blogs,

and together we would build a community and from that love even greater things would happen like we would all get fancy jobs and become rich and famous, all while telling the tale of LA.

the Village Voice went under, and it looks like the LA Weekly is gonna be a weed weekly, so with LAist kaput and the LA Times on the ropes, there appears to be a giant hole in local LA news and entertainment and it’s only widening.

and if i wasn’t so angry and bitter and unfocused and out of tune i would simply ring the bell, find the right team of writers and photographers and a couple web designers and we would just build and make it happen and sell some ads and get this party re-started.

of all the things im most proud of, LAist is on the top of the list because no one expected us to do what we did and it lasted 10 years after i touched it. and it blossomed.

i firmly believe that as custodians of the Earth it’s our job to make sure that we make things better than how we found them. a very simple job.

but i am stuck at the dumbest part. i dont think as we sit here at the doorstep of 2018 that you can start a new thing without having a corresponding Twitter account and all of the LA names i can think of for a new group blog are taken, mostly by creeps who haven’t even really used those names.

so i think of even newer names but theyre taken too.

i know i can’t use LAist because grampa Ricketts still owns it technically.

and i doubt i have enough $$$ to buy it from him.

but fuck that, i dont wanna give him any money after what he did to everyone.

it is time to start a new thing.

everything must go.

last night we had a wake for LAist

i love this picture. these are five of the Editors spanning 2005-2017.

without Carolyn (far left), I wouldn’t have had the gig. she knew of this blog and sat in the front row at SXSW as i spoke on a panel with the first(?) LAist editor, Jason Toney, and others on the Blogging While Black discussion and she told me I would be great for the gig. she championed me to Jake and Jen and got it.

without Emma (center) i wouldn’t have been able to write under a pen name there. which would turn out to be my last writing for the blog. last night i told her that of the 10+ that i did, I was sorry that only 2 were any good. she looked at my like i was crazy and said that i was the only one who felt that way. so nice of her.

next to her is Carmen Tse who is a Giants fan.

and on the far right is Julia Wick who was the last LAist Editor. she wrote a good piece on City Lab explaining what that last day was like.

it was great to see everyone. i got a bit drunk. woke up in the middle of the night with nightmares. and i guess that was the proper reaction to what happens when a clueless billionaire takes this great thing that a huge group of people made out of nothing and wipes his old ass with it and flushes.

but something tells me we aint going out like that.

the kkk took my baby away

even though i don’t look it, i’m 51.

i don’t have children or a fancy house or a boatload of money in the bank.

but for a short period of time i was given the keys to a blog that very few people knew about, and enough of a salary that i could pay my rent while i tried to make it big.

after time there was a little money for an assistant editor who posted on the weekends, but other than us no one at LAist got paid while i was there.

and yet dozens of people wrote for the fledgling thing every day.

and quickly we did make it big.

it got so big that many of us were able to get gigs at fancy newspapers and exotic magazines and giant websites. that’s right, our dreams came true: we got to work at the places we always dreamed of working. and there we used what we learned at LAist to continue to kick ass.

when i look back at my life LAist was my baby. no, i wasn’t the first editor there or even the one who got the most hits. and for sure i was not the one who was there the longest. but for a while it was my everything. and when people today, ten years later, say “oh i read LAist every day.” that means more to me than even compliments about this very blog because LAist is meant for everyone. and i am so proud to have been part of it at a crucial part of its adolescence.

speaking of today, today the patriarch of the owners of my beloved Chicago Cubs pulled the biggest bitch move i’ve ever seen. he closed down all the Gothamist sites and deleted the archives. all because the writers wanted to unionize.

old Joe Ricketts, who gave Trump tons of cash, got butthurt that it was going to cost him a little more cash if he continued to own the network of local blogs.

so he took his ball and went home.

and on the way he carpet-bombed the past. which weirdly is something you can sorta do online.

what Joe will never understand is how not everything is about money.

he could probably never get why 30+ people a week would contribute to a blawwwg for free, spending time writing about strangers, or pouring their hearts out about how hard it is to date in LA, or letting people know about a restaurant no one’s ever heard of.

for some money is everything.

the reason LAist worked when i was there was because i was looking for people who were more interested in Love.

i wanted them to write about what they loved for the love of it.

i wanted photographers who took pictures for love.

in return i promised them the thing my bosses gave me: freedom.

i am heartbroken tonight, but thinking about all the people i met who were once strangers but who became my staff and then my friends is cheering me up because even though our archives might be harder to access and so many memories are locked away,

as Ozzy said, you can’t kill rock n roll

it’s here to stay.

so fuck you Joe Ricketts, and fuck your obsession with money and power.

a year ago tonight your kids’ hard work with the Cubs made millions of people’s dreams come true. and today you have tainted their legacy with your pettiness, selfishness and narrow-minded spite.

but you can’t take away the one thing that made Gothamist, LAist, SFist, DCist and all the other offshoots of the Jake and Jen universe so magical:


they breathed and celebrated life.

while you are only about death.

so see you in Hell.

i’ll be the one asking you where the fuck is my baby.

yesterday LAist had a great party

so many of your favorite people were there.

special guests included Peter from Kanpai

and current LAist editor Julia Wick

it was so great to see everyone and catch up and hug and drink and eat and omg the party just flew by

but no one wants to hear about how much we all love each other

after everyone left, amber and i realized that we had way too much food

as we both have to maintain our bikini bods.

so i said, lets put some of these in bags and drive down to the tiny intersection park in Los Feliz on Hollywood where the homeless have set up tents.

somehow i ended up with a garbage bag full of about 20 cans of Bud Light.

i said, before we give anyone any food, i need to get this out of my house, lets just do this run first.

so we put it in my trunk and headed to the spot.

but Alas, no one was there!?

so we drove down Hollywood Blvd looking for tents that have popped up in and around our fair city over these last few years.

i know i know, a lot of these downtrodden men and women are alcoholics and you really shouldnt be giving them garbage bags full of cold beer in the middle of the night light some deranged santa and his long legged blond Ms Claus

but Bud Light is basically bubbly beer-ish water

right before we got to the Fonda we saw these two black dudes next to a tent just past the Museum of Death

i stopped and said, you fellas want some cold beer?

they both stood straight up and ran over to the car. i popped the trunk, they dug in, said thanks and we were gone.


so we got back home. amber found 6-7 brown grocery store bags. in each of them we put beer in bottles, hot dog buns(!), candy, more candy, pretzels, chips, water and magazines because i have way too many magazines.

drove back to the brothers but they were busy inside the tent drinking

turned the corner at pep boys and drove to the 101 underpass and saw a few tents

amber yelled out the window sweetly to this gay guy, would you like some food?

he jumped up and saw the trunk and amber got out and helped him

he took all 7 bags. she helped him go back to the tent

and when she returned she said

someone was shooting up in that tent.

which made me sad i didnt put any cold Cokes in there.

anyways, mission accomplished.

LAist, once again, giving back to the hood.

the day the stingray apologized

corvette stingray10 years ago today Steve Irwin, The Crocodile Hunter, was killed by a stingray. I was pretty new to my job running LAist, trying desperately to bring traffic to our then-fledgling blog, when I thought of an idea.

I had been recently schooled in the world of Search Engine Optimization but nothing was clicking. I was up all night every night working hard to phrase things or write things that would reach the top of Google News. Even though I failed, one thing I noticed was it was easier from 3am-5am to get nibbles from the search engine because all of our competition was asleep and not publishing.

So a few days after Irwin’s death, I, a huge fan of old Vettes, whipped up the silliest thing I could think of to experiment with SEO headline writing and super late night publishing.

Stingray Apologizes for Crocodile Hunter Irwin’s Death

It quickly became the biggest day (at that time) traffic-wise in LAist history. it crashed the blog several times that morning as waves and waves of people came (for some reason to read the apology from a stingray?),

and naturally the comments section let me have it.

Why did I feel ok about making fun of a tragic death of a super upbeat tv personality? In my mind, Steve Irwin, as lovable as he was, knew he was doing extremely dangerous things with wild animals for money, fame, and ratings. Sure some of it was educational, but it was totally unnecessary entertainment on par with Johnny Knoxville.

Was I sad he was dead? Of course. But he went out doing what he loved and I assumed he would have gotten a laugh out of my piece because he sure seemed to love to laugh.

So dark humor it was.

ten years ago today i was about two weeks into my reign at LAist

annai was up all night, i was trying new things, i was writing my booty off

i was trying to recruit people to write for us for free

i was trying to get photographers and even copy editors

but one thing i was having no problem getting and that was bad reviews.

on Wednesday, HBO debuted a new weekly series hosted by Bill Simmons where he talks to a sports person and an entertainment person. a few days later the LA Times ran a review about the first episode and was super harsh about it.

i found it strange that they would go after a guy who had never hosted a show before and pounce on his first night out of the blocks.

i remember how the Food Desk would never review a restaurant the day it opened. instead they would let it get the kinks out, and then go 3-4 times during different parts of the day. theyd go on a weekend and then a weekday. that way their findings would be, in a way, scientific.

on this day ten years ago i was about ten days into my rule over LAist and i can tell you, things were far from ironed out

but still i posted some of the harshest comments that were being left by people who did not like my style.

behind the scenes i would write emails to the staff, sometimes daily, telling them that its ok, to hang in there.

keep writing, i would say, it’s the only way we can make it to where we want to go.

i felt like i was a captain of a ship that had to go through a huge terrible storm to get to the paradise on the other side, and there was no other route that could get us there quickly

either the ship would be sunk trying or it would sink not trying so we had to try

and i was going to yell at the storm as we did it and curse it out and give it the finger and moon it and dare it all along the way

but i needed the writers sooooo sooooo badly. without them i couldnt do it alone. so i begged them to be patient

and they were.

and of course i put the negative comments on the world famous, because f the haters. if anything they are the hot air in our sails.

blow, fuckers, blow.

and i hope Bill Simmons and his crew do likewise.

so thats what i was doing ten years ago today.

today im walking down robertson in beverly hills about to eat some sushi with anna kournikova because she cant stop loving me. and maybe i feel the same.