Guiseppe the Albino Praying Mantis!

When I first moved to Los Angeles, I marveled at the oddities of nature. Those gigantic swan-type plants that bore bananas, the endless varieties of succulents and glamorous palm trees. One thing I thought we were short on, was insect life. And I was fine with that! L.A. is too dry for mosquito infestations, and as an East Coaster, I was thankful for it.

popping out to greet me after a long day
Then I realized something - the nicer the neighborhood, the more nature takes over. I was so used to living in the concrete flatlands of Hollywood, that wildlife was an afterthought. I didn't even see bees. Then we moved to Studio City, at the foot of Laurel Canyon. Holy coyotes in the driveway on summer nights. Black widows under patio rocks. Moths smothering our porch lights and a wasp nest in the lemon tree.

making his way to his nightly perch; my shoulder
All of this was fairly unnerving, until we met Giuseppe. He's the albino praying mantis that used to hang out on our front porch. Grayish and papery, my husband and I thought it was the shell of a praying mantis. I said, "I didn't know they shed their skin like snakes." As we inched closer to the specimen, it suddenly turned his head towards us. We jumped. 

He even started popping out during the day
But a new friendship was born, and Giuseppe would pop out from behind the porch light when I came home. He liked to jump on my hand and crawl up my arm. He'd rest on my shoulder as I walked around the yard. To him, it must have felt like flying. He preferred the top of my head when we walked, but he was so big, that when he moved it felt like someone was brushing my hair. It gave me the creepy crawlies. He'd come into the house and stare at the glow in the fireplace. So mesmerized he was, that he didn't move his shiny triangle face from it for a second. 

Evening stroll
Then one day he was gone. We looked around the porch light but only saw the corpses of the moths he sucked dry. No trace of his easy-to-spot body anywhere. His color made him an easy target, and Lord knows he was too trusting. It's been months, we was always keep an eye out, just in case. He's a reminder that nature is a joy, and not a nuisance. Readers, since there's a chance you think I'm a bit loopy because of this, rest assured that I have no intention of trying this with coyotes. 



Burbank Airport, CA

If you want a creative way to write the word "cheese," fine - but rules are rules. Phonetically it still has to sound like the word "cheese."


the entity house

Martin Scorsese has a list of the 11 scariest movies he's seen, and The Entity is on it. The fact that it's based on a true story makes it scarier. The fact that it happened in L.A. makes it awesome. At least for me, since I can drive by and gawk. Not so much for Doris Bither, who claimed to have been brutally raped by the house's ghosts. According to her, she was gang-banged, bitten and beaten by four Asian male spirits.

Unlike the Amityville House, where the owners claiming supernatural activity have long been suspected of sensationalism and general attention-whoring, Doris Bither wanted answers. She held her ground and refused to move. She invited paranormal specialists to come in and film, photograph, and use every measurement tool in between, per below.

The paranormal team claims to have encountered some activity. Was Doris Bither crazy? Chances are she was. Even if she was telling the truth, the ghosts surely bought her a first class ticket to Bonkerville. The events were significant enough to make a Hollywood film about it, starring Barbara Hershey and Ron Silver. And it scared the bejesus out of Scorsese. This was enough of a reason to do a drive-by with a couple of friends. The home did have a dark quality, but that's because it was painted a dark mustard color. And the lumpy stucco job was inlaid with dirt and dust, nestled into all the cracks from years of dry winds and little water. Not to mention the big unidentifiable thing nailed to the door. The only object that humanized the place  was a monster of a truck, freshly washed and gleaming out front. 

We weren't scared and there was no Asian Rapist Vibe, if there can be such a vibe. But it's right off the 405 in Culver City, which makes it a go-see, if you're on the Westside.

The Entity House: 11547 Braddock Dr. Culver City CA.


What the Thugs Made Me Do

Oh damn you thugs and your wily ways! As if you weren't annoying enough for stealing money from people with jobs. You have to steal their tacos too?

Tonight, I had to put my hand in a trashcan for you. That's right, thugs. At King Taco, when they called my order, they would not give me my food. Why, you ask? Because I did not present my ticket with the order number. "But it's...me," I said, "Remember me? I just ordered." And they said, "Yes, but so many people steal tacos from paying customers by hanging out by the order window, that we need to have all ticket stubs returned to us for our records."

"They steal tacos too?"
"Yes, even tacos."
"But the people with the tickets are also standing by the order window. Can't they flash their stub and take their own food?"
"No, the people who stole their tacos were gangsters. No one wants to mess with them."
"But...I stuck my stub in the trash 20 minutes ago. People have been dumping in their dirty trays after it."
"I'm so sorry. Since you already paid, I'd dig in the trash."

So what did I do, thugs? I dug in the trash. It was slimy and smelled like salsa and swine. I needed to wash my hands before I ate. But guess what, thugs?  The bathroom was out of order, because you vandalized it.

Please get jobs, thugs.


Cups of Cake!

They say New York City starts the trends which then trickle over to L.A. This was certainly the case with cupcakes. Magnolia Bakery in Manhattan had such a following that it was featured in Sex and the City, and showcased in the "Special Features" section of the box set. Then in 2010, Magnolia Bakery set up shop on 3rd St. in Los Angeles.

Not to mention the countless cupcakeries that have popped up all over LaLa Land. Yummy Cupcakes has the most exquisite batter and frosting, Cupcakes Couture have an outstanding presentation and Suzie Cakes stands apart because their cupcakes have homemade filling. We've become so advanced, that I recently enjoyed a bacon & peanut butter cupcake with banana frosting. No, seriously.

But I must give a shout out to the newest innovators of cupcakedom, the B Sweet Cupcake Bar. They come to your party and build a cupcake bar. With homemade cake batter like beer-flavored, frostings like peppermint and toppings such as coconut and Reece's Pieces, they are abusively onto something. It was a real treat, and if you're throwing a party in Los Angeles, they are a must.