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Archive for the ‘News’ Category

Event: California Native Plant Sale – Oct 22 & 23, 2016 – 10am-3pm

September 26th, 2016 Comments off

Click for larger images


OCTOBER 22 & 23, 10AM TO 3:00PM

Sepulveda Garden Center, 16633 Magnolia Blvd., Encino (near Hayvenhurst)

MEMBER PRE-SALE AT 9:30am-10am Saturday only


With over 1000 plants of over 50 California native species, there is a plant that can fill your garden’s needs — from hot and dry to moist and shady. Many native plants can survive quite well with natural rainfall once they get established. Sale items include seeds, irises, mints, sages, berries, hummingbird and butterfly plants, shrubs, perennials, and trees. Wildflower seeds will be available for purchase. Also for sale are natural history and native gardening books, activity books for children, field guides, and posters. Refreshments and lunch will be available for purchase.

During the sale, experienced CNPSers can assist you in selecting plants that are suitable for your garden! Proceeds from the plant sale help support the activities of the Los Angeles / Santa Monica Mountains Chapter of the California Native Plant Society.

Featuring FREE Native Plant Gardening Talks:

Saturday – Noon Wild Suburbia – Learning to Garden with Native Plants Barbara Eisenstein Thinking of getting rid of the lawn or simply improving your existing landscape? This talk will present practical approaches to transitioning from traditional resource-intensive yards to more natural, interesting and fun gardens featuring low water-use native plants. Barbara will present information from her new book, Wild Suburbia – Learning to Garden with Native Plants. Ample time will be left for discussion and book signing.

Sunday – Noon Designing a Native Garden in a Limited Space Steve Gerischer Garden design, particularly for a small space can be challenging. Some of the best strategies are counter-intuitive. Thinking ‘small’ can result in a garden that isn’t working at its best. Learn a few ideas for designing in confined spaces using our beautiful native flora.

More information at the Los Angeles/Santa Monica Chapter of the California Native Plant Society Web Site

Learn more about California Native Plants with these books

* A portion of each sale from directly supports our blogs
** Many of these books may be available from your local library. Check it out! 

Event: A Bintel Brief – A New Musical by Ken LaZebnik and Leslie Steinweiss – Sunday, July 10, 2016 @ 3 pm

July 7th, 2016 Comments off

Event: A Bintel Brief - A New Musical by Ken LaZebnik

Continuing his post-high school theater work, our son, Joseph Welch, will be appearing in this staged reading of our friend’s latest play, The Bintel Brief.

“100 years ago, Jewish immigrants to America sent letters to The Daily Forward’s column “A Bintel Brief)” (a bundle of letters), seeking advice about everything from labor disputes to romantic troubles. The editor, Abraham Cahan, responded as a kind of a Yiddish Dear Abby, offering advice and reassurance. The letters in “A Bintel Brief” remain a vivid and moving document of what it means to be newly arrived in America.

The new musical A Bintel Brief dramatizes those letters and the immigrant experience, which is universal and unchanging. Our cast represents the diversity of the immigrant experience: the letters may have been written in Yiddish, but the joys and sorrows are the same in any language.”

A Bintel Brief – A New Musical

Sunday, July 10, 2016 at 3 pm

The Pico- Union Project
1153 Valencia Street, Los Angeles, CA 90015

Takata Air Bag Crisis Hits Our Home [News]

June 30th, 2016 Comments off

The long-running and widely reported problems with Takata air bags in a variety of Japanese vehicles has be on-going for a long time now and as owners of 2 Honda vehicles, we have been dealing with it for over a year. We were lucky enough to get replacement air bags for our 2004 Honda Element, although to took several trips to the service department, over several months, to get them all replaced.

We recently traded in a 2003 Honda Civic Hybrid, which didn’t have any air bag recalls with a 2014 Honda Insight Hybrid. Unfortunately, we recently received a recall notice for this new vehicle and tried to get it into service. What has happened, though, would seem ludicrous if it didn’t involve injury or death from a malfunctioning Takata airbag.


Our service department was unable to get any replacement air bags for our vehicle and recently offered us an option. First, they would take the vehicle into their storage lot and offer us a full paid rental car for the full time required to receive and install new air bags. Unfortunately, the dealer’s service storage lot was completely full with other vehicles awaiting air bag replacements. Instead, the dealer agreed to provide the free rental and told us to simply park the car at home and not drive it.

We waffled a bit on doing this, as it seemed odd to just have a car sitting around, even if we would get a replacement vehicle. I had heard how dangerous the air bags could be, though, so my wife and I finally relented and picked up a rental car about 2 weeks ago. It still seemed silly, but better safe than sorry, we thought.

It looks like it was a good idea, though, as today the US Department of Transportation has issued a press release that “…urged owners to stop driving the “unsafe” cars until they have been fixed.” (U.S. Warns Honda and Acura Owners to Replace Airbags, New York Times, June 30, 2016) I had seen previous stern warnings like this for other affected vehicles, but this was first one I had seen specifically for Honda. What’s interesting, though, is that these recall warnings only seem to address 2001-2003 vehicles, but ours is much newer, so there must still be large issues involving vehicles made up to the 2015 model year. You should check this article (Takata Airbag Recall: A Complete List of Affected Vehicles, Daily News, June 3, 2016 ) and with your dealer to see if your newer vehicle is affected.

Based on this new warning, I would urge you to immediately call or visit your dealer’s service department, confirm that your vehicle is under recall, and then take advantage of whatever programs they provide for replacing your vehicle until it can be repaired. This situation has clearly reached a crisis point where car dealers realize that the potential legal exposure of not replacing the vehicles far outweighs the cost of providing rentals to affected vehicle owners. As several of the related articles said, the very next trip of your vehicle should be to your dealer for repair and nowhere else.


Categories: News, Opinion, Technology Tags:

California Wildfire Information 2016 – A collection of resources for the 2016 fire season and beyond

June 23rd, 2016 Comments off

(All links confirmed as working – June 23, 2016)

As is common, we are in a drought again, here in California, and this makes the occurrence of wildfire more likely and also increases the damage that wildfires can do in the landscape and in populated areas. In an effort to stay in touch with the wildfire situation here in California, I have collected a set of resources to keep me informed when fires break out. While I live in the middle of the San Fernando Valley and fairly free from the direct danger of wildfire, fires in the surrounding areas can cause large problems with evacuations, smoke plumes, and ash and also directly affect friends and family who live in or near wildlands

I noticed this year that 2 major map-based information sites are no longer available. This is a big loss, as they tried to show active burn locations, fire perimeters and more for each incident and provided a large amount of easily interpreted data. I hope that they come back online before too long (as one web page suggests.) They were great resources.

Cal fire banner

CAL FIRE is a State agency responsible for protecting natural resources from fire on land designated by the State Board of Forestry as State Responsibility Area (SRA). CAL FIRE also manages the State Forest system and has responsibility to enforce the forest practice regulations, which govern forestry practices on private and other non-federal lands. Two major themes are attendant to the CAL FIRE mission. One is the protection of the State’s merchantable timber on all non-federal lands from improper logging activities and the other is the protection of the State’s grass, brush, and tree covered watersheds in SRA from wildland fire. CAL FIRE is a “conservation agency” with origins stemming from the “Conservation Movement” of the last century.”

Cal Fire provides a number of online resources:

Cal Fire Incident Google Map with perimeters

Inciweb Wildfire Information

“InciWeb is an interagency all-risk incident information management system. The system was developed with two primary missions:

Provide the public a single source of incident related information
Provide a standardized reporting tool for the Public Affairs community
A number of supporting systems automate the delivery of incident information to remote sources. This ensures that the information regarding active incidents is consistent, and the delivery is timely.”

InciWeb Resources: Fire Information Fire Infomation

Join us for Arduino NIght at Hackerspace LA! – Wed, June 8, 2016

June 4th, 2016 Comments off
I’ll be at this upcoming Hackerspace LA meetup showing off what I’ve learned about Arduino in the last few months. Join me for demos and discussion. Bring your own projects to share!

Join this free meetup as we learn about more and tinker with the Arduino electronic microcontrollers and learn about building all types of circuits. Arduinos are small electronics boards that can be used to create easy to sophisticated circuits with wires and sensors. Bring your own laptop, Arduino and bread board.  This is for anyone, at any level, to come and have some fun tinkering, learning, and showing off your own projects.

RSVP for Arduino Night via Meetup
RSVP for Arduino Night via Eventbrite

500 YouTube Subscribers! Thank You All!

May 16th, 2016 Comments off

500 Subscribers on YouTube! Woohoo!

Thanks to all those people who like what I do enough to take the time to subscriber and watch. It is greatly appreciated!

Youtube 500


Watch my latest YouTube videos in this playlist

Recent uploads

Categories: Announcement, New Media, News, Podcasting, YouTube Tags:

New Technology Project — chime in on the topic!

January 10th, 2016 Comments off

Thinking on a new project for the New Year…  
What is your biggest problem/issue/success with technology?

What do you wish technology could help you accomplish?

How could technology make life easier for you and yours?

What small/large task would you like to see technology address?

I am keeping the questions very general for now to see where the conversation goes?

What are your thoughts? Add a comment!


Free Sandbags from the City of Los Angeles at Local Fire Stations

January 4th, 2016 Comments off

The rains are coming…or so they say. I was a little worried that I had missed the window to get some sandbags from the local First Station and install them since it did rain here a bit over night. A bright, clear and warm day made a perfect day to get them, though. It looked liked a lot of other people had the same ideas. The lot at LA City Fire Station 88 was hopping with at least 8 other groups there.

As an added bonus for some, this is also the same location to recycle your (once) live Christmas Tree instead of just dropping it on the curb or in an empty lot. There is a large dumpster that will be added to the city mulch piles and re-distributed to citizens. That is the next trip I have planned.

City of Los Angeles Sandbag Pickup Locations

City of Burbank Sandbag Pickup Locations

For those outside of the City, check with your local city web sites for more information

Panorama of Station 88 sandbag pickup

The  City provides both bags and sand, but you need to bring your own shovels and elbow grease. It only took about 15 minutes for the 3 of us to file 6 bags and load them in the car. They are heavy, even when only filled halfway, so you may need to bring some help with you, too. Don’t hurt yourself! I would guesstimate about 50 lbs per sandbag if filled 3/4 full. 

I wasn’t sure how much weight my Honda Element could take, but it handled 6 bags with no problem at all. I could probably have gone with as many as 10 without causing any issues with the suspension. 

…and here they are installed in the back yard. For the most part, our yard and garden doesn’t have any drainage problems, but this one spot — at the end of the patio can fill up during the heaviest rains and once it leaked under the garage door. I am placing these just in case we get the heavy rains that are predicted. They will raise the water level just enough to allow the heaviest rains to run around the garage and down the alley to the street.

I highly recommend keeping a few sandbags on hand just in case they are needed. You don’t want to be running to the station and shoveling in the rain, if you can help it.


City of Los Angeles Sandbag Pickup Locations

City of Burbank Sandbag Pickup Location

Where to find Douglas E. Welch Online!

September 25th, 2015 Comments off

You can find my content on all your favorite social media sites. You can see everything I create of just the content you are specifically interested in, like gardening, using the links below.


Categories: Announcement, News Tags:

My Work 1: Acting Archivist for The John Braheny Archive on the Craft and Business of Songwriting

September 22nd, 2015 Comments off

Due to the wide and differing nature of the work I do, I am often asked by friends and acquaintances, “What are you doing now?” This blog series will keep you informed and up-date-date on some of my bigger projects, blogs, podcast and more! — Douglas

The John Braheny Archive on the Craft and Business of Songwriting

The John Braheny Archives on the Craft and Business of Songwriting

I have been long-time friend with John and JoAnn Braheny and when John passed away 2 years ago, we immediately started discussing an archive of John’s long work as “The Songwriter’s Best Friend.”

“The John Braheny Archives on the Craft & Business of Songwriting, contains audio interviews, videos, photos, documents, articles and miscellany from the early 1970’s to the mid-1990’s.

John, along with friend and partner, Len H. Chandler, Jr., creators and co-directors of The LA Songwriters Showcase (a non-profit organization for the purpose of discovering and promoting songwriters) which held weekly meetings in Hollywood, California, plus The Songwriters Expo, (an  annual multi-event conference), from which many others throughout the country were modeled. There are articles and interviews from their monthly publication, The Musepaper.

John was a songwriter and performer in the 1960’s. The music “scene” in LA, during the ’70s, ’80s and ’90s is reflected here with all its excitement, especially driven by the community of songwriters along with those who worked in the industry at that time.

John wrote the best-selling book, The Craft & Business of Songwriting (F&W Publications), still used as a text in music departments of schools and universities.

Our intention is to provide as much info as possible to aid those who wish to do scholarly research, authors, documentarians, and those who wish to know how the industry worked in that time period. — JoAnn Braheny

In a recent push to get John’s archive of work cataloged and made available for researchers, I joined the project as the Acting Archivist for the collection. This has meant diving into documents, cassette tapes, audio, video, documents and publications from John’s long career. One minute I am digitizing a cassette tape interview with Lamont Dozier and later happening upon a photograph of John interviewing Brian Wilson of the Beach Boys. I’m never quite sure what I am going to find.

You can check out the first efforts of my work on the archive by visiting The John Braheny Archives on the Craft and Business of Songwriting.


Categories: Announcement, Music, New Media, News Tags: