I just finished Dangerous Beauty, by Mark Ross. It is a compelling read that details his dreams and nightmares as a safari guide in Africa. Throughout the majority of the book Ross highlights events and encounters from some of the unique tours he has conducted in the game parks of Tanzania and Kenya, but it concludes with the group he was leading in Uganda’s Bwindi National Park to see mountain gorillas when they and other tourist groups in the park were attacked and kidnapped by Rwandan rebels in March 1999. At the end of the ordeal a total of eight westerners were butchered, including a husband and wife that were with Ross’ tour. The horrific story made international headlines. In January the rebel faction’s reputed leader was convicted of the murders. I understand that three other rebels apprehended have been transported to the U.S. to stand trial for murdering the two Americans in Ross’ charge.

I’ve had Chuck Palahniuk’s Choke waiting in the wings for some time now, but I’m afraid it’s going to have to wait a little longer because now it’s time to finally discover John Fante via his Ask The Dust. What took me so long? I’ll be honest here: Up until a few months ago I hadn’t even heard of John Fante, and I’m ashamed to say that the recently released and coolly received movie version of the book — filmed in South Frickin’ Africa of all places — is what finally got my attention. Trust me, I’m not proud of such a confession and I literally have no idea why Fante has never popped up on my gotta-read radar — especially since I’m partial to L.A.-based fiction and he’s considered by many to be the king of that scene.
But better late than never.

In other news, by way of my blogifications I met up today with a filmmaker/neighbor by the name of Robert Sobul. He’s made shorts about Los Feliz and Griffith Park and other area hoods and attractions for the travel website turnhere.com, and his next endeavor is his homebase of Silver Lake. As such, he emailed me a few days ago saying he’d read some of my stuff on Blogging.la and he wanted to know if I’d like to participate and share my slice of the SL on-camera. I offered that I had no doubt he could find more camera-ready and knowledgeable Silver Lakers out there, but other than that I was game if he was.
So he came over this afternoon and hooked me up with a wireless mic and he and me and Shadow took a stroll up Sunset and back and with him filming while I talked about the good and the bad of what makes this place so special to me.

Not sure if I’ll end up on the floor of the hypothetical editing room, but it was fun and Robert was a great guy who was very nice to meet. I’ll be keeping my eyes open for whenever the short might go live.