Thursday, April 30, 2009

Dopamine, Dopamine, Dopamine

My brain's life long craving for dopamine has finally run out of options.

Meanwhile, I keep intending to lay out the whole history of that battle online to see if there is any doctor out there who has ever seen a case like mine - and who might know if there is anything that can be done about it.

The reality today, though, is that the last drug that worked well enough for me to be something resembling normal stopped working so long ago, I can't even recall when that was.

The last drug that did anything to help me maintain a level of 'alertness' finally stopped last summer. Next, a couple weeks ago, the last drug that even kept me awake stopped working.

And then when one drug yesterday seemed to be able to keep me awake, it turns out to spiked my blood pressure by over a hundred points within hours of my taking it. Or at least that seems to be how high by blood pressure jumped when I was out last night based on my blood pressure today that many hours after taking the drug. My actual memories of last night, though, are ... shall we say.... close to non-existant.

And the hope that I would be able to somehow activate my 'fight or flight' syndrome and wrestle my way out of my problems - as was predicted by Thelma Moss of UCLA back in 1966 - now seems to be a hopeless one as finding the right sparring partners at the same time my body is injury free enough to grapple, seems to be an impossible equation.

So this post is just to goad me into finally laying out the whole story of this dopamine battle in the hopes that some doctor somewhere - will have treated someone like me and have some idea of what to do next. And... hopefully... I can stay awake enough over the next week to do that.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

LA Weekly On LA Cowboy As One of LA's 100 People!

Published on April 20, 2009 at 4:35pm
At a BOXeight Fashion Week show, you expect to find the standard batch of bony models, fashion-forward magazine editors and flamboyant buyers, but who’s the silver-bearded cowboy? That’s Brady Westwater, a.k.a the L.A. Cowboy, director of Economic Development for BOXeight. He was instrumental in getting the event off the ground. If he seems slightly out of place runway-side, Westwater is right at home downtown, where nearly every resident and business owner knows who he is. They call him “the unofficial mayor of downtown,” or the “go-to guy.”

Westwater serves pro bono on 29 boards and committees, but much of his day to day is spent doing what he calls, “curating downtown.” The nonpaying job involves a lot of leg work. On a recent weekday, we snake up and down Main, Spring and Broadway, for blocks on end, as he makes his usual rounds.

“I walk around, see what’s happening, ask business owners what they need, if they have any problems, see who’s new to the neighborhood,” he says, taking strides at a steady clip. “This is a place where the impossible happens every day. We’re the only neighborhood where businesses are still expanding. We’re bringing in new business. Of the 50 business I brought downtown, every single one of them survived.”

When Westwater says he “brought” businesses, he means everything from leaking the availability of a space to the right people before it goes on the market and advertising on craigslist to handling the responses and actually brokering a lease. “I hear about people who need a certain space, or people who have a certain space, and then I refer them, or negotiate the lease. It’s a lot of referrals. Did you know there are actually only three people in L.A.?” He laughs. “The rest is done with mirrors.”

Curating downtown, creating the perfect resident-business symbiosis for an organic vibrant artistic community, is a labor of love for Westwater, who has spent his entire life downtown. His father’s law office was on Third and Spring. “All the theaters on Broadway and the department stores were still open,” he says, scanning the old buildings. “I’m the last of the generation who remembers that.”

Along our sidewalk travels, one business owner puts in a request for a public parking structure, another asks about a vacant building, then someone else asks if Westwater knows where to get cheap mannequins. At a 9,000-square-foot space Westwater calls the “incubator,” leaseholder Jose Caballer comes out to say hello. “The city owes a lot to Brady,” he says. “I don’t know how they’re ever gonna pay him back. I guess his legacy will be in the history books.”

Westwater has a real-estate license but doesn’t use it, and refuses to take any money for connecting the dots. That has to do with living the cowboy way, an ethos he adopted one fateful night when he was 17. He had decided to drive to Owens Valley. He wasn’t sure why, but something told him to go. On the way, he picked up a hitchhiker, a man 6 feet 2 inches and about as wide. They got drunk and became fast friends, and the evening ended with Westwater losing his virginity in a brothel in Nevada. He became a part of this man’s posse, with whom he earned a living catching and breaking wild horses in Wyoming and Montana, repossessing airplanes in South America, and traveling the underground street-fighting circuit to Turkey and India. Part of the cowboy way is to be an independent contractor, a free agent, and Westwater, who roams downtown L.A. like it’s his own Ponderosa, has never had a steady job or been on a payroll. “The cowboy life,” he says, “ is just adventure. Every morning waking up and talking life.”

Thursday, April 16, 2009

LA Times Hosts LA Cowboy And LA Observed

When I walked into LA Times event last night, one of the first people I saw was frequent LA Times critic - LA Observed's Kevin Roderick. I then wondered if someone's head was going to roll in the morning once the powers that be realized someone had invited not just one of us - but both of us to the LA Times forum featuring Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger.

But all the appropriate authorities seemed friendly enough when they greeted us, so hopefully there will be no more LA Times layoffs - at least this week.

As for what happened when LAT Opinion Editor James Newton interviewed Arnold - the above link will detail that - along with showing a photo of Bob Hertzberg - aka 'Huggy Bear' - hugging the Governator.

I, however, got a sharp punch in the shoulder from the former speaker of the Assembly when he greeted me in the buffet line - since his right hand was filled with Italian spring rolls. I then retaliated with a stiff left jab - and made my get away.

I next tracked down a number of people from the business community and the green movement to ask them each about their true, off the record, opinion of the Mayor's proposed Green Tech manufacturing corridor along the LA River. Strictly off the record - they each used the term - bull shit. I then asked them if they had told the Mayor or his staff that - and they all looked at me as if I had just landed from the planet Mars.

Finally, just before we went into the room to hear the speakers, I was cornered by UCLA Chancellor Gene Block - and one of his henchmen - and they politely demanded of me why I was wearing a Bruins Wrestling sweat shirt - and why was said shirt in red and gold - which are the USC colors.

I equally politely replied that I was a second generation - on both sides of my family - Bruin - but that I now lived in occupied USC - i.e., Downtown LA - territory. So once I saw this shirt on e-bay - I knew I had to get it just to screw with everyone's minds.

And so far - my plan has succeeded beyond my wildest expectations.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

DLANC Founder and Friend Lesley Taplin Killed In Car Crash

One of the founders of the Downtown Los Angeles Neighborhood Council, Lesley was killed early Tuesday morning in a car crash. The neighborhood council movement, all of Downtown - and every person who knew her had no greater - or more supportive or more loyal friend. There is so much more I would love to say about her - but I am still in too much shock to even believe she is no longer with us.

From: "Qathryn Brehm"
Date: Tue, 14 Apr 2009 23:19:16 -0700

To: Qathryn
Subject: Lesley Gilb Taplin

It is with a heavy heart I pass on the news of our friend, Lesley, who was killed in a freeway accident early this morning.

Lesley’s passion for life, her love for the whole of us she held so dear and the encouragement she showered on each of us will forever remain.

Details of a remembrance are being worked out. Please let me know if you wish additional information.

Qathryn Brehm

Sunday, April 05, 2009

Is Anyone Home At The Los Angeles Times? UPDATE! Over 24 HOURS Late - LAT Finally Posts The Rest Of The Story!

Liberals & Limbaugh
When this glitch first appeared on the Los Angels Times website - at least 24 hours ago - I was tempted to mention it - but didn't call it out since I assumed it would be shortly fixed. Well, now it's Sunday - and it's still not fixed. The below article is a challenge to four 'liberals' to listen to Rush Limbaugh - which I have to admit, I never have - and it then asked for their response.

And as you can see by the blank white space at the bottom of their proposal - evidently- not a one of them had a single word to say....

April 5, 2009

Last week in these pages, Andrew Klavan, a conservative who writes for the Manhattan Institute's City Journal, addressed himself to liberals, insisting that "whatever you claim, you still haven't listened to Rush Limbaugh."

He concluded with a proposal: "I am throwing down my gauntlet at your quivering liberal feet. I hereby issue my challenge -- the Limbaugh Challenge: Listen to the show. ... Ask yourself: What's he getting at? Why does he say the things he says? Why do so many people of goodwill -- like that nice Mr. Klavan -- agree with him?"

We asked four local liberals to take that challenge, and one fallacy in Klavan's argument quickly became clear: They all had already listened extensively to Limbaugh.

Here's what they concluded from the experience:

Yes, for 24 hours now there is not a single word there which means that for 24 no one at the LAT seems to have bothered to read the article on-line and notice that.

UPDATE - OK - after I finally called in the error to the weekend staff - it at last go fixed. But it was still the ultimate non-story that wasn't worth reading in the first place.

Saturday, April 04, 2009

New Downtown Ed Hardy Store Has Sneak Preview Sale!

The new Ed Hardy Store at 433 S. Spring - which is scheduled to open in about a week - is having an unadvertised two day only end of season warehouse sale from 10 - 6 this Saturday and Sunday. 25 item per person maximum.