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Earthquake: 3.8 quake hits near Ridgecrest, Calif.

October 18, 2019 | News | No Comments

A magnitude 3.8 earthquake was reported Thursday evening at 10:34 p.m., six miles from Ridgecrest, Calif., according to the U.S. Geological Survey.

The earthquake occurred 34 miles from California City, 63 miles from Tehachapi and 66 miles from Barstow.

In the past 10 days, there have been two earthquakes of magnitude 3.0 or greater centered nearby.

An average of 234 earthquakes with magnitudes between 3.0 and 4.0 occur per year in California and Nevada, according to a recent three year data sample.

The earthquake occurred at a depth of 4.9 miles. Did you feel this earthquake? Consider reporting what you felt to the USGS.

Even if you didn’t feel this small earthquake, you never know when the Big One is going to strike. Ready yourself by following our five-step earthquake preparedness guide and building your own emergency kit.

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This story was automatically generated by Quakebot, a computer application that monitors the latest earthquakes detected by the USGS. A Times editor reviewed the post before it was published. If you’re interested in learning more about the system, visit our list of frequently asked questions.


Newsletter: Do you feel earthquake anxiety?

October 18, 2019 | News | No Comments

Good morning, and welcome to the Essential California newsletter. It’s Friday, Oct. 18, and I’m writing from Los Angeles.

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Yesterday marked the 30th anniversary of the 1989 Loma Prieta earthquake, which shook Northern California as Game 3 of the World Series was about to begin at Candlestick Park. The devastating quake killed at least 63 people and hospitalized hundreds. The shaking collapsed a portion of the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge and flattened a double-decker section of Interstate 880 in Oakland.

The anniversary comes amid a week of earthquake headlines, beginning with the magnitude 4.5 quake that rattled the Bay Area late Monday night. The ground shook again in Northern and Central California on Tuesday. On Wednesday, the governor’s office announced that a statewide earthquake early warning app was, at long last, ready. The app was unveiled on Thursday, as Great ShakeOut drills took place across the state. Thursday also brought news that a major California fault capable of producing a magnitude 8 earthquake had begun moving for the first time on record, a result of this year’s Ridgecrest earthquake sequence destabilizing nearby faults. And, as if on cue, there was a magnitude 3.8 quake near Ridgecrest on Thursday night and a magnitude 3.7 quake centered in Compton shortly after midnight.

So, amid the nonstop earthquake notifications, we’re interested to learn more about whether you’ve been feeling (or have ever felt) earthquake anxiety. How does it manifest? What do you do to cope? Shoot us an email and we’ll share some of the responses in a future newsletter.

And now, here’s what’s happening across California:

TOP STORIES

More on that newly active fault: The 160-mile-long Garlock fault is on the northern edge of the Mojave Desert. It has never been observed to produce either a strong earthquake or even to creep in the modern historical record. But new satellite radar images now show that the fault has started to move, causing a bulging of land that can be viewed from space. Los Angeles Times

A wind-driven 443-acre brush fire burning west of Santa Barbara prompted evacuations and a short closure of a section of the 101 Freeway. Los Angeles Times

L.A. STORIES

Light rail to Long Beach will reopen soon — but it won’t be called the Blue Line. We will now be expected to refer to it as the A Line, although the route will still be shown in blue on system maps. Los Angeles Times

Ed Buck, who has now been federally charged in connection with the overdose deaths of two men, was known for his abrasive behavior. But politicians still took his money. Los Angeles Times

See also: All the California politicians who took money from Ed Buck

The advice column answer that doubles as a thoughtful, lyrical meditation on living in L.A.: The advice-seeker moved to L.A., got her dream job in a TV writers’ room and is still miserable. “Ask Polly,” the advice-giver, responds with some wonderfully woven, unlikely truths about the Angeleno psyche. The Cut

How Los Angeles replaced New York as the NBA’s media capital: With the Lakers’ and the Clippers’ superstar-stacked rosters, L.A. has pulled the league’s center of gravity westward. The Ringer

In college football, UCLA’s losing streak against Stanford is finally over. The Bruins snapped an 11-game losing streak against the Cardinal that was their longest against any team in their 100 years of football. Los Angeles Times

An initiative to name a square in Tujunga-Sunland after Armenian American author William Saroyan has not been met with open arms by everyone in the community. There’s controversy between local residents who have claimed the initiative will overshadow the corner’s existing historical significance and those who believe the opposition is grounded in ethnic discrimination. Glendale News-Press

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IMMIGRATION AND THE BORDER

A San Bruno mother kept in ICE detention and denied bail for several months even after winning her asylum case earlier this year was freed Wednesday. San Francisco Chronicle

POLITICS AND GOVERNMENT

Fresno has a new, full-time police chief. For the next year, anyway. Fresno Bee

CRIME AND COURTS

A Stockton woman who livestreamed a deadly crash was arrested again after another crash, police say. Merced Sun-Star

Two Los Angeles police officers face criminal charges over an off-duty incident at a restaurant last October. Los Angeles Times

HEALTH AND THE ENVIRONMENT

At least 25 students in the Coachella Valley were sickened by smoke from a dump fire that began on Monday. Federal authorities have since ordered the closure of the recycling center in question, which has seen a number of fires. Desert Sun

How Loma Prieta changed earthquake science: What happened in the days, months and years after Oct. 17, 1989, rewrote our understanding of how the ground moves and what we need to do to stay safe. KQED

CALIFORNIA CULTURE

Cheating, protests and outrage have upended the otherwise buttoned-up world of pharmacy in California. California officials have invalidated more than 1,000 pharmacists’ test scores because of cheating on a state exam, a move that has caused an uproar among pharmacists who say they have lost wages and job opportunities as a result. Los Angeles Times

The seminal San Franciscan designer experiencing an unlikely surge of attention at 91: Barbara Stauffacher Solomon, who is primarily associated with the pioneering supergraphics she designed for Northern California’s Sea Ranch, is the subject of two new shows. Architectural Digest

Marin City was historically an African American enclave, but the African American population there has since dwindled to less than 30%. Oshalla Diana Marcus, a third-generation Marin City native, launched a membership-based arts collective to build community and provide support networks for African American artists with Marin City ties. Marin Independent Journal

How bad teeth and a lack of dental care can lead to discrimination and poverty: A deeply reported look at the challenges Medi-Cal patients face to getting adequate dental care, and the devastating consequences. Fresno Bee

A Napa synagogue celebrates the history and contributions of Jewish vintners. “There have been Jewish vintners since the early days.” Napa Valley Register

Weedmaps abruptly laid off a quarter of its workforce, two months after the online cannabis directory promised it would stop listing illicit marijuana businesses. Orange County Register

CALIFORNIA ALMANAC

Los Angeles: sunny, 78. San Diego: sunny, 74. San Francisco: partly sunny, 65. San Jose: partly sunny, 70. Sacramento: sunny, 74. More weather is here.

AND FINALLY

Today’s California memory comes from Bob Crittenden:

“We were driving north from San Diego in the early 1950s to spend the weekend with our immigrant Scottish aunts and a cousin who all retired from the textile industry and lived in South Central L.A. in a very small cottage. It was Friday night and we were driving north on the one lane each way 101, winding by a long line of headlights heading to San Diego and Tijuana and driving by the mission at San Juan Capistrano — and the next day walking around Aunt Emma’s neighborhood on a cool — almost foggy — L.A. morning.”

If you have a memory or story about the Golden State, share it with us. (Please keep your story to 100 words.)

Please let us know what we can do to make this newsletter more useful to you. Send comments, complaints, ideas and unrelated book recommendations to Julia Wick. Follow her on Twitter @Sherlyholmes.


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What's on TV Friday, Oct. 18: 'Charmed' on the CW

October 18, 2019 | News | No Comments

SERIES

Hawaii Five-0 McGarrett’s (Alex O’Loughlin) team enlists imprisoned hacker Aaron Wright (Joey Lawrence) to help when a young girl is kidnapped in this new episode of the police drama. 8 p.m. CBS

The Blacklist Aram (Amir Arison) goes undercover to infiltrate a secret society of wealthy thrill-seekers who entertain themselves with spectacular acts of violence. James Spader and Megan Boone also star. 8 p.m. NBC

Charmed Macy (Madeleine Mantock) tries making sense of some very intense dreams, while Mel and Maggie (Melonie Diaz, Sarah Jeffery) struggle to accept their new roles in this new episode. 8 p.m. The CW

American Housewife Greg (Diedrich Bader) hosts a meeting of the Westport Historical Guild, and Katie’s (Katy Mixon) homemade lasagna is a hit. 8 p.m. ABC

Fresh Off the Boat Eddie finally introduces his girlfriend (Isabel Oliver Marcus) to his mom (Constance Wu) in this new episode of the family comedy. 8:30 p.m. ABC

Magnum P.I. Katsumoto (Tim Kang) suspects one of his fellow cops is dirty and has stolen evidence, so he asks Magnum and Higgins (Jay Hernandez, Perdita Weeks) for help in this new episode. 9 p.m. CBS

Dynasty Blake and Fallon (Grant Show, Elizabeth Gillies) face legal troubles in this new episode of the prime-time soap. 9 p.m. The CW

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20/20 “The Death of a Playmate: The Dorothy Stratten Story,” a new episode of the news magazine series, documents the story of the actress and Playboy Playmate whose estranged husband killed her before killing himself. 9 p.m. ABC

Great Performances The new episode “Grammy Salute to Music Legends” is a tribute concert to the 2019 nominees and includes performances by George Clinton and Parliament Funkadelic, Johnny Mathis, Dionne Warwick, Garth Brooks, Snoop Dogg, Patti Austin, Sheila E., Sam Moore and Julio Iglesias. 9 p.m. KOCE

Blue Bloods After the terminally ill wife of a friend, FBI agent Wilson Ortega (guest star Emiliano Dez), dies under circumstances ruled mysterious, Frank (Tom Selleck) takes a personal interest in Jamie’s (Will Estes) investigation in this new episode. Also, Erin’s (Bridget Moynahan) desire to work on more meaningful cases lands her a robbery that looks impossible to solve, while Danny and Baez (Donnie Wahlberg, Marisa Ramirez) get to the shocking truth behind a baffling assault claim. 10 p.m. CBS

Van Helsing Axel (Jonathan Scarfe) reconciles with Vanessa (Kelly Overton) in this new episode. 10 p.m. Syfy

Comedy Central Stand-Up Presents… A new season of this comedy series launches with back-to-back episodes. First up is Jaboukie Young-White, a gay comic viewers may recognize from his appearances as a correspondent on “The Daily Show With Trevor Noah.” In the second episode, comic and writer Vanessa Gonzalez takes the stage. 11 and 11:30 p.m. Comedy Central

MOVIES

Uncle Drew Pro basketball star Kyrie Irving takes his character from a series of Pepsi Max TV commercials to the big screen in this 2018 sports comedy, in which he is joined by former NBA players Shaquille O’Neal, Chris Webber, Reggie Miller and Nate Robinson. Lil Rel Howery, Erica Ash, J.B. Smoove, Mike Epps, Tiffany Haddish and Nick Kroll also star. 8 p.m. Cinemax

Sid & Judy Never-before-heard recordings by Judy Garland are incorporated into this new documentary from filmmaker Stephen Kijak about the singer’s stormy marriage to Sid Luft, her third husband and father of her children Sid and Lorna Luft. The film, narrated by Jon Hamm and Jennifer Jason Leigh, chronicles the couple’s turbulent relationship, revealing how Garland’s vulnerabilities were exploited by the Hollywood film industry. 8:05 p.m. Showtime

TALK SHOWS

CBS This Morning Author Simon Sinek. (N) 7 a.m. KCBS

Today A copper mine planned in Alaska; Angie Mar. (N) 7 a.m. KNBC

KTLA Morning News (N) 7 a.m. KTLA

Good Morning America Leslie Mann; Sally McKenney, Wendy Kou and Julia Smith; Jon Pardi performs. (N) 7 a.m. KABC

Good Day L.A. Megan Hilty (“Patsy & Loretta”); the Motels perform; Grae Drake. (N) 7 a.m. KTTV

Live With Kelly and Ryan Michelle Pfeiffer; Julie Andrews (“Home Work: A Memoir of My Hollywood Years”). (N) 9 a.m. KABC

The View Victoria Beckham; Common performs. (N) 10 a.m. KABC

Rachael Ray Gretta Monahan opens up about her battle with breast cancer. (N) 10 a.m. KTTV

The Wendy Williams Show Jeremy Parsons, People Now. (N) 11 a.m. KTTV

The Talk Regina King. (N) 1 p.m. KCBS

The Dr. Oz Show Women share their skin-care secrets to look younger; what to know about retinol. (N) 1 p.m. KTTV

The Kelly Clarkson Show Sara Gilbert; Cyndi Lauper. (N) 2 p.m. KNBC

Dr. Phil A woman dies during a “Brazilian butt lift”; K. Michelle (“Love & Hip Hop: Hollywood”). (N) 3 p.m. KCBS

The Ellen DeGeneres Show Helen Mirren (“Catherine the Great”); Jenna Dewan (“Gracefully You”); guest host Sean Hayes. (N) 3 p.m. KNBC

The Real Gary Owen; Pam Grier. (N) 3 p.m. KTTV

The Doctors Visit to nail salon sends woman to hospital; company founders embrace integrative work lives. (N) 3 p.m. KCOP

The Wendy Williams Show The judges from “Hot Bench”; Eddie Jackson (“Game Day Eats”). 4 p.m. KCOP

The Real Joy Ann Reid; Tank performs. 5 p.m. KCOP

Washington Week Cease-fire in northern Syria; the impeachment inquiry; President Trump’s support from Republicans: Ashley Parker, the Washington Post; Jeff Mason, Reuters; Susan Davis, NPR; Vivian Salama, the Wall Street Journal. (N) 7 p.m. KOCE

Real Time With Bill Maher Former national security advisor Susan Rice; Neil deGrasse Tyson; Danielle Pletka, NBC; Sam Stein, Daily Beast; author Thomas Chatterton Williams. (N) 10 and 11:30 p.m. HBO

The Issue Is: Elex Michaelson Rep. Eric Swalwell (D-Dublin); Tomi Lahren, Fox Nation; civil-rights attorney Areva Martin. (N) 10:30 p.m. KTTV

The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon Taylor Swift; Chris O’Dowd; Angel Olsen performs. 11:34 p.m. KNBC

The Late Show With Stephen Colbert Hillary Rodham Clinton; Chelsea Clinton; Wilco performs. 11:35 p.m. KCBS

Jimmy Kimmel Live! Tyler Perry; Sunny Hostin; Gina Brillon. 11:35 p.m. KABC

Amanpour and Company (N) midnight KCET; 1 a.m. KLCS

The Late Late Show With James Corden Orlando Bloom; Yvonne Strahovski; O-Town performs. 12:37 a.m. KCBS

Late Night With Seth Meyers Anna Kendrick, Kal Penn and Edi Patterson. 12:37 a.m. KNBC

Nightline (N) 12:37 a.m. KABC

A Little Late With Lilly Singh America Ferrera. 1:38 a.m. KNBC

SPORTS

NBA Preseason Basketball The New Orleans Pelicans visit the New York Knicks, 5 p.m. TNT; the Lakers visit the Golden State Warriors, 7:30 p.m. SportsNet

NHL Hockey The Ducks host the Carolina Hurricanes, 7 p.m. FS Prime

Customized TV listings are available here: www.latimes.com/tvtimes


‘Eli’

In the supernatural thriller “Eli,” Charlie Shotwell plays an 11-year-old suffering from a mysterious disorder which causes his flesh and innards to flare up painfully when he’s exposed to non-sterile environments. Eli’s desperate parents (Kelly Reilly and Max Martini) bring him to a risk-taking doctor, Isabella Horn (Lili Taylor), who detains him in a spooky “clean house” in the middle of nowhere.

As is often the case with these situations, the cure ends up being worse than the disease. Eli’s condition improves, but Dr. Horn’s treatments are excruciating, and her Gothic mansion seems to have literal ghosts lurking around every corner. The only good part of Eli’s day is when a neighbor girl, Haley (Sadie Sink), wanders by and talks to him through the institution’s big windows.

“Eli” was directed by Ciarán Foy, who made the similarly character-driven thriller “Citadel,” about an agoraphobe confronting his fears. This time, though, Foy’s working with a team-written screenplay that takes too long to get to the point. The movie kills too much time with atmospherics and insinuations before finally answering its two big questions: What’s wrong with Eli?; and, what’s the deal with this crazy house?

Foy’s cast is excellent, and he stages everything artfully, using foggy glass and deep shadows to trick the eye. “Eli” has a strong payoff too with a memorably intense final 15 minutes.

But that roaring finish feels like it should come much earlier in the picture. The story ends just when it’s finally going somewhere.

————-

‘Miss Virginia’

Uzo Aduba gives a fine performance in the otherwise flat “Miss Virginia,” playing real-life education advocate Virginia Walden Ford. The film follows Walden Ford’s early 2000s grassroots campaign, aimed at giving children in Washington, D.C., the opportunity to attend the best schools in their area, rather than being forced by zoning to suffer in failing, crime-ridden institutions.

The school voucher issue is fairly controversial, but “Miss Virginia” screenwriter Erin O’Connor and director R.J. Daniel Hanna have turned it into simplistic and preachy melodrama, with several broadly drawn villains — including do-nothing politicians and predatory drug-dealers — lined up against the heroine and the maverick congressman (Matthew Modine) she sways to her cause.

Aduba’s impassioned speeches about fairness and opportunity are undeniably moving. But the spotlight the film attempts to shine on a complicated subject ends up being blinding, obliterating all nuance.

————-

‘Trick’

A combination police procedural and slasher film, “Trick” is notable mainly for how many old horror movie ideas it crams into a single feature. It’s almost as though writer-director Patrick Lussier and his co-writer, Todd Farmer, were trying to make their “Halloween” and “Halloween II” all at once — plus the third, fourth and fifth installments too.

Set in a small upstate New York town, “Trick” is named for a pumpkin-masked monster who keeps returning every Halloween, ever since a houseful of high schoolers got hacked to bits in 2015. Omar Epps plays a police detective who, alongside a local sheriff (played by Ellen Adair), tries to get to the bottom of the mystery before more people die.

Lussier and Farmer fill their film with set-pieces: a daring hospital escape, an elaborate death-trap for the cops, a carnival-style “haunted maze” populated by potential murderers and so on. Some work fairly well; others are too preposterous.

One whopper of a plot-twist briefly gives “Trick” an original hook. But by the end of the picture it’s clear the filmmakers aren’t really interested in exploring any of the potentially interesting sociopolitical implications of their big surprise. In the same “instant franchise” spirit that infests this whole project, they’re just setting up a sequel.

————-

‘3 From Hell’

Rob Zombie’s “House of 1000 Corpses” and “The Devil’s Rejects” were jolting when they arrived in multiplexes in 2003 and 2005. At a time when mainstream horror films were becoming increasingly machine-tooled, Zombie’s return to ’70s drive-in nastiness felt vital, as a reminder that some of the best thrillers make audiences uncomfortable, forcing them to think about what they’re watching — and why.

“3 from Hell” — the belated third entry in Zombie’s “Firefly trilogy” — isn’t as essential. The saga of a thrill-killing family who drive decent people to unspeakable violence reached a natural end with “The Devil’s Rejects,” and there’s not much more to say with the characters of Otis B. Driftwood (Bill Moseley) and Baby Firefly (Sheri Moon Zombie), even with the addition of the always entertaining Richard Brake as Otis’ half-brother Foxy Coltrane.

That said, Zombie’s schtick still works. With its bifurcated structure — which sees the family executing a brute-force prison break in the first half of the film, then dealing with some vengeful Mexican gangsters in the second — “3 from Hell” finds room for plenty of colorful dialogue, references to old movies, gratuitous nudity and gonzo splatter. This one’s really for diehard Zombie fans … provided they weren’t hoping he’d hit them with something new.

————-

‘Gothic Harvest’

New Orleans is an ideal setting for a vampire movie, and director Ashley Hamilton tries to make the most of it in “Gothic Harvest,” a threadbare horror picture about a group of drunken co-eds who get lured into the nefarious designs of a demonic clan. But while the Big Easy atmosphere is strong, the film (written by Chris Kobin) never develops much of a plot.

The movie’s best assets are genre stalwarts Bill Moseley and Lin Shaye, who play, respectively, a shaggy local detective who helps the tourists navigate the city’s underworld, and the matriarch of a demented family. Whenever Hamilton lets these actors ham it up — or whenever the plot pauses for some kind of quirky comic interlude — “Gothic Harvest” shows some personality.

But the more eccentric moments are sparse. Most of this film consists of tedious scenes of partying and violence, with much of the latter being unpleasantly sexualized. Flashbacks and monologues attempt to explain the story’s roots in an ancient feud between vampires and voodoo priestesses, but no amount of lore — or bayou seasoning — can enrich this dull, derivative monster movie.


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Telecommunications giant T-Mobile has agreed to partner with Quibi, a Hollywood start-up that plans to distribute bite-size entertainment designed for millennials.

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Under the arrangement, Quibi’s upcoming streaming service will be part of a T-Mobile offering, giving it a broad distribution platform as it prepares to launch in April. T-Mobile, the third-largest mobile phone network with 83.1 million customers, plans to merge with Sprint, the largest wireless merger in the industry’s history.

“Quibi will deliver premium video content for millennials on a technology platform that is built exclusively for mobile, so a telecommunications partner like T-Mobile, with their broad coverage today and impressive 5G road map, is the perfect fit,” Quibi Chief Executive Meg Whitman said in a statement.

The pact marks a significant step in Quibi’s plans to deliver premium content viewed in 10 minutes or less to mobile phone users.

Bellevue, Wa.-based T-Mobile has been looking for entertainment partners as its rivals expand their footprints in Hollywood. Texas-based AT&T last year acquired Time Warner Inc. for $85 billion, and its entertainment division will launch a new streaming service, HBO Max, next year. Verizon has also delved into streaming, launching its Go90 video platform in 2015 only to shut it down three years later.

“Quibi is leading the way on how video content is made and experienced in a mobile-first world,” said Mike Sievert, president and chief operating officer of T-Mobile. “That’s why our partnership makes perfect sense — two mobile-centric disrupters coming together to give customers something new and remarkable.”

Details of the partnership, such as whether T-Mobile customers will receive discounts or whether the Quibi app will be pre-installed on their phones, have yet to be determined. Financial terms were not disclosed.

Launched by veteran film mogul Jeffrey Katzenberg and Whitman, Quibi has made waves after raising $1 billion in financing from Disney, WarnerMedia and other major studios and investors. In the last year, it has gone on a hiring spree and made a flurry of announcements for upcoming projects with prominent filmmakers and news organizations. Company executives have said they expected to raise an additional $500 million this fall.

Quibi recently announced it will air a new six-minute “60 Minutes”-produced program, two English-language news shows from Telemundo, and two celebrity news shows from TMZ. This week, Quibi said the Weather Channel and Entertainment Weekly will also be providing programming.

But Quibi, which will charge about $5 a month with ads and $8 without ads, will face an increasingly crowded video streaming market when it launches next April. The space is already dominated by large subscription platforms such as Netflix and Amazon Prime Video, as well as free, mostly ad-supported sites such as YouTube and Facebook.

Quibi’s target audience is people ages 25 to 35, and its larger demographic could include people ages 18 to 44.

Its videos fall into three categories: long-form narratives distributed to consumers in short chapters; alternative content, which includes reality, documentaries and food shows; and so-called Daily Essentials, which include daily news such as morning and evening shows from NBC News that target millennials.

The company plans to amass more than 7,000 pieces of content in its first year. Among the upcoming projects is a modern take on the 2003 romantic comedy “How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days,” which is in development with Paramount TV. Quibi has also lined up major filmmakers including directors Antoine Fuqua, Guillermo del Toro, Sam Raimi and Steven Spielberg.

Quibi is using features on mobile phones to stand out from other streaming services and enhance the stories on its platform. For example, some shows may allow users to change their perspective by shifting how they hold their mobile phones. At least one program, “Spielberg’s After Dark,” is timed to appear on the service only after sundown.

The company aims to make money through subscriptions and advertising. It said that in its first year it will have an ad inventory worth $150 million and that such brands as Google, Walmart and Procter & Gamble have signed on.

Some analysts have been skeptical whether Quibi will be able to succeed where past efforts to delve into mobile-first premium content have had lackluster results. Last year, Verizon shut down its Go90 platform, which targeted millennials with programming that included short, episodic content. Analysts said a lack of a large enough audience led to Go90’s demise.


I didn’t know it when I shoved my swimsuit into my backpack. My husband was blissfully unaware of it as I handed him his boarding pass the next day. Twenty-two hours later as the customs agent stamped my passport, I was still very much me.

But sometime during that first overseas trip with Jeff, I transformed from mild-mannered middle-aged woman into someone I didn’t recognize. Who knew our long-term relationship would be tested on our first long-distance trip?

Jeff and I had been together 11 years. We had been through the usual together: thick and thin, sickness and health, richer and (mostly) poorer. Now we were going through something new — more than a dozen time zones away in Southeast Asia.

I spent my 20s traipsing around the world with a budget that was more thread-thin than shoestring, but this trip was different. Although we were staying in inexpensive guesthouses, I was in my late 40s and Jeff, a decade older.

I was certain this new adventure would bring us even closer together, especially because our guesthouse rooms were tiny.

After a few days, we left Ho Chi Minh City, where Jeff and I had indeed grown closer — by clutching each other tightly as we crossed streets that were a never-ending river of traffic. We traveled through the Mekong Delta to Phnom Penh. This was our dream trip, but I was about to learn Jeff’s dream of a trip was slightly different from mine.

After we checked into our hotel, we wandered the city’s dusty streets, stopping outside a restaurant.

“It’s too expensive,” I said as we looked at a menu. “Besides, the menu is in three languages. It’s not authentic.”

Jeff agreed to keep looking.

We ate at a less expensive place that I hoped was more authentic than the place down the street.

The next afternoon in our room, Jeff popped open a can of cashews from the hotel minibar.

“We could get those for half price at the market!” I said as I tightened my fists, filled with imaginary dollar bills.

Not unreasonably, he replied, as he tossed a handful of cashews into his mouth: “It’s our vacation. Let’s enjoy it.”

Like Dr. Jekyll, I could feel myself transforming into a monster. I gave Jeff eight reasons we should never, ever eat hotel snacks. He didn’t appreciate my helpful advice.

“Stop telling me what to do and stop trying to relive your past,” he said. “I don’t want to travel like you did in your 20s. I’ve had it. Go do what you want today. I’m staying here.” Jeff stormed off 10 feet to the other side of the room.

I would never have freaked out about a cafe or snack at home. What was happening?

I had returned to Southeast Asia, but I wasn’t trying to return to my youth, was I? I set off in a huff for the National Museum.

As I gazed at a stone Buddha, I wondered about what Jeff had said. Was this a midlife crisis? Maybe there was a kernel of truth to it.

I missed some things about traveling when I was young, but I also spent those years confused and lost, not really discovering myself as I discovered the world. As I got older, I got more comfortable in my own skin, even if it had more wrinkles.

I sat down at a cafe for an iced coffee, its bottom thick with condensed milk. Some people hit middle age and buy a shiny red sports car. My midlife crisis was slightly different — wanting to make this trip perfect, but perfect for me and the nostalgia of my backpacking youth.

I admitted this to Jeff.

We left Phnom Penh for a beachfront hut I had booked, with cold showers and electricity a few hours a day. I told Jeff next time we would search together for hotels.

The next morning the sun rose as we strolled the beach of Koh Rong Sanloem, holding hands. In my 20s, I had missed too many sunrises. Now, inching toward life’s sunset, I knew I couldn’t go back in time but I’d continue to go forward with Jeff, even when he hits the hotel minibar.

Departure Points explores the ways traveling changes us, whether it’s a lesson learned or a truth uncovered. You may submit a first-person essay of 700 or fewer words to travel@latimes.com using “Departure Points” in the subject line. Please include your first and last names and your contact information for editorial consideration.


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Some California ski resorts in Lake Tahoe and Mammoth Lakes received their first dusting of snow in September, before summer officially ended. Now resorts have set their opening dates for the coming winter season, provided more snow arrives in time.

Early predictions say California may be in for typical, non-drought conditions, according to AccuWeather’s winter 2019-20 forecast. “A normal season in terms of snowfall will also translate to decent ski conditions for resorts in California,” the online forecast says.

Regardless of how the weather plays out, ski resorts plan to open on these dates (though you should check conditions before you go).

Mammoth and Tahoe area

Mt. Rose Ski Tahoe, Oct. 25. The resort, about 25 minutes from Reno, Nev., hopes to be first to open in the California-Nevada area. This season, Mt. Rose will offer $49 lift tickets starting at noon Fridays.

Boreal Mountain Resort, Nov. 8.

Mammoth Mountain Ski Area, Nov. 9. The first chair spins at 8:30 a.m., with a beer toast and live music to follow. Last year, Mammoth did not shut down skiing and snowboarding until July 28, racking up a 260-day ski season. On opening day, the resort will offer $50 lift tickets; plus, active duty military and veterans ski or ride free on Veterans Day (Nov. 11).

Squaw Valley/Alpine Meadows. The resort plans to open Nov. 15. Squaw will host a Leap of Love event Feb. 29 (yep, 2020 is a leap year) with a high-elevation ceremony for up to 50 couples who want to get married or renew their vows.

Heavenly Lake Tahoe and Northstar California, both in the Tahoe area, Nov. 22. New this year, Northstar brings celebrity chef Michael Mina’s Bourbon Pub to its village.

Kirkwood Mountain Resort, Nov. 27.

China Peak, Nov. 28. Mark your calendar for the New Year’s Eve torchlight parade and fireworks to welcome 2020.

Sugar Bowl, Nov. 29

Sierra-at-Tahoe plans to open mid-November.

Diamond Peak Ski Resort, Dec. 12.

Tahoe XC Ski Area plans to be open December through April; Tahoe Donner Cross Country plans to open Nov. 28.

Southern California

Big Bear Mountain Resort. The two peaks in the San Bernardino Mountains have different opening dates: Nov. 15 for Snow Summit and Nov. 22 for Bear Mountain. When you’re not on the slopes, you might party or hang at Bear Mountain’s sun deck, which has doubled for the coming season.

Mountain High Resorts, Nov. 22. The resort near Wrightwood plans its annual “Santa Sunday” on Dec. 15, when anyone in costume who makes a $20 donation to nonprofit Protect Our Winters receives a free lift ticket.

Snow Valley Mountain Resort in Running Springs plans to open late November.

Mt Baldy Resort in the Angeles National Forest (north of Claremont) is selling lift tickets for dates that begin Dec. 7, according to its website.

Yosemite

Badger Pass Ski Area, Yosemite, Dec. 20. The little ski area in Yosemite National Park recently reclaimed its historic name. You can ski, go tubing and sledding and even snowshoe inside the national park.


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Now that the Dodgers have broken your heart, perhaps you’re ready for games that are played with a ball that might divert your attention, including pickleball and jai alai. Here are five sports and where you’re likely to find them.

Pickleball

Pickleball — a hybrid of tennis, badminton and table tennis — is played on a badminton-size court with a 34-inch-high net. Players volley a perforated plastic ball with a paddle about twice the size of the one used in table tennis. The sport can be played indoors or out, singles or doubles.

Pickleball continues to grow in popularity; tournaments are played throughout the country. In California alone, contests are played this month from Anaheim to Chico.

The sport is governed by the USA Pickleball Assn. Its National Championships will be Nov. 2-10 at the Indian Wells Tennis Garden, southeast of Palm Springs.

Info: USA Pickleball Assn., usapa.org

Lawn bowling

Lawn bowling games are fairly similar, although their roots are different. You can find three of the most popular (boccie, lawn bowling or pétanque) at San Francisco’s Golden Gate Park

Boccie is played with wood, metal or plastic balls and involves rolling a bigger ball toward a smaller ball, called a pallino. The idea is to get your ball as close as possible to the pallino.

The same is true of pétanque, or boules, a bowling game that originated about 1910 in southern France and is often confused with boccie. It uses steel balls — a rolling ball, which is about 3 inches, and a smaller ball, about 1 inch and known as the target.

For those interested in lawn bowling, the San Francisco Lawn Bowling Club offers free lessons at noon most Wednesdays and Saturdays at the park (flat-soled shoes are required).

Info: bit.ly/petanqueSF; sflbc.org

Lacrosse

Lacrosse has huge followings on the East Coast. The enthusiasm for the game on the West Coast is growing, Scott Gelman writes in the Diamondback, the independent student-run newspaper at the University of Maryland. But for now, the East is the hot spot for this fast-paced game played with a long-handled stick with a net that the player uses to catch or throw the ball.

The Eastern enthusiasm explains why the National Lacrosse Hall of Fame and Museum is in Sparks, Md., about 23 miles north of Baltimore.

At the museum, visitors can view rare photographs along with vintage equipment, memorabilia and more. The museum has free admission and is open from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. weekdays.

Info: bit.ly/lacrossemuseum, uslacrosse.org/about-us-lacrosse/museum

Jai alai

Jai alai, which uses a cesta, or a “basket-racket” as the Fla-Gaming website calls it, is used to catch and launch a ball against a wall. It was a popular sport before it faded, but it still can be found in the U.S., mostly in Florida.

Magic City Casino in Miami is showcasing a new generation of jai alai players, including many former University of Miami athletes. Performances, as the games are called, are at 3 and 7 p.m. Wednesdays through Saturdays and 1 p.m. Sundays through Nov. 30. Watching jai alai is free, although you can bet on the players.

Info: Magic City Casino, magiccitycasino.com/jai-alai

Underwater rugby

Underwater rugby consists of two teams of six players each (two goalies, two defenders and two forwards) trying to score a goal at the bottom of the pool, which may be as deep as 16 feet. Players wear a mask, snorkel and fins.

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An underwater rugby team in Boston, known as the Boston Narwhals, welcomes people to their practices and allows them to try out the sport for themselves. The team will compete for the Underwater Rugby Champions Cup Nov. 22-24 in Berlin.

Info: Underwater Rugby, underwaterrugby.org


Imagine you and a traveling companion are on Hawaii Island for a week and you want to find the best of the local cuisine that’s also budget friendly. Your quest takes you to three or four restaurants a day where you order, oh, say, two or three entrees. By Day 7, you just want to say no. But you can’t.

That was the world of writer Rosemary McClure and photographer Mel Melcon, whose mission was exactly that: Find 20 restaurants where you can have a nice meal for less than $20.

My name is Catharine Hamm, and I’m the travel editor for the Los Angeles Times. And I’m also in awe of these two, who document places where you can eat like a local. The most recent addition to our “20 Meals for $20″ series shows off lesser-known places on Hawaii Island where delicious and authentic intersect.

That’s just the beginning of our Hawaii coverage, which includes a look at the very different experiences you’ll have on Molokai and Lanai, tells you where to find golf courses that won’t set you back a week’s pay and shows off five pizza places in Honolulu.

Beyond the islands, we tell you about a traditional holiday dinner at Yosemite that’s like no other, when our ski resorts will open (sooner than you might think), a delay in reopening a Death Valley icon and where to find a mummy macaron. You’re about to embark on a veritable feast.

Eating too much so you don’t have to

Besides a lot of research ahead of time, the 20 meals for $20 team has to experience the places they showcase. By my calculation, they had at least 65 meals in seven days, probably more. I asked McClure if she ever gets sick of it. “Yes!” she told me in an email. “We count down from Day 1: 18 left, 12 left, seven left. We have to push ourselves to do the last three or four restaurants.”

But there’s an upside: “I love visiting the island mom-and-pops,” she said. “The people are so sincere and enthusiastic about their businesses and really want locals and tourists to taste and enjoy their food.” Check out their finds, and let us know if you have additions to the list.

Oh, how different they are

Lanai and Molokai aren’t the rock stars of Hawaii tourism, and at least one of them likes it that way. Jim Byers reports how one of those two lesser-visited islands has embraced the tourist, while the other has welcomed him but then reminded him to please go home.

Should you visit? Of course. But keep in mind that your visits will be very different depending on which one you choose.

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Pizza, pizza

In Hawaii? Well, yes, and we’re not just talking about the kind with pineapple, ham and cheese, James Charisma writes (and that pizza wasn’t born in Hawaii, either). He suggests five great pizza joints in Honolulu where you can get yourself a piece of the pie.

Playing a round in Hawaii

Writer Ken Van Vechten is a golf aficionado, but he knows a good value when he sees one. He tracked down eight places in Hawaii where you can enjoy the game and keep your budget relatively intact.

Scotty’s Castle reopening delayed

If it seems a long time since Death Valley’s Scotty’s Castle was damaged by a flash flood, it’s because it was. A flood in October 2015 caused nearly $50 million in damage. At first, it was thought repairs would take only a year. Now the completion date is set for 2021, the National Park Service says. In the meantime, you can take a flood recovery walking tour, Mary Forgione writes.

Visit giant California sequoias without moving a muscle

OK, a few muscles, but you don’t have to go quite as far to see the amazing trees. From noon to 2 p.m. Sunday, you can experience them through virtual reality as part of a presentation about climate change in L.A. There are concerns about the trees’ health — in fact, concerns about all plant life — in the face of hotter-than-usual droughts, Mary Forgione writes.

Let the merriment continue

The Ahwahnee is back, and so is the Yosemite Bracebridge dinner. Neither went away, but the iconic Yosemite hotel — renamed amid a legal dispute — is once again the Ahwahnee. It feels like a homecoming that the dinner, which its producing stage director calls “one part pageant, one part musical, one part immersive comedy, with a fabulous seven-course meal wrapped around it,” is nearly upon us and still has tickets. Mary Forgione has particulars.

Mummy macarons and monster milkshakes

Theme parks and Halloween go together like sangria served in an IV blood bag, don’t you think? If you said yes, take a look at some of the wonderful and weird offerings our area theme parks are touting in the spirit of Halloween, and in hopes of creating social media buzz, Hugo Martin writes.

Misplaced miserliness?

Sue Sanders and her husband, Jeff, were traveling to Asia, a place she had roamed in her youth — so she knew how to do frugal. When he opened a can of nuts from the hotel minibar, she saw red. This Departure Points, an occasional column on how travel changes us, explains that differences may define us but don’t need to defeat us. Worth a read if you ever travel with someone.

Another opening, another snow?

Mother Nature teased us last month with a taste of snow up north. Now resorts have announced opening dates, so let’s hope for another snow. Mary Forgione details which resorts are opening when, including what’s on tap for our Southern California snow playgrounds.

What we’re reading

And watching. This Atlas Obscura article by Vittoria Traverso introduces us to Kate McLean, an English artist who explores cities for their smells. Also take a look at the YouTube video as McLean leads and follows people in Canterbury, England, as they help to divine its smellscape, which includes wet dog, hot metal, tomato paste and yeast.

Paul Theroux is a master storyteller who travels and, of course, a traveler who tells stories. His prose is so vivid and fluid that you feel as though you’re with him. To get an idea of his newest book, “On the Plain of Snakes: A Mexican Journey,” start with this New York Times piece excerpted and adapted from “Snakes,” published Oct. 8. A quick nibble: “One of the greatest thrills in travel is to know the satisfaction of arrival, and to find oneself among friends.” Amen.

Victoria Kim details a different kind of journey in an article that is ostensibly a food story but speaks broadly to the people we call family and the places we call home. “South Korea Born, East L.A. Bred: A Seoul Taqueria for a Homesick Chef” tells the story of Christian Morales, a foster child who was raised by an abuela in Boyle Heights but later was deported to South Korea. Now he’s serving the foods he grew up with. It’s a story of hope and dreams realized.

What you’re reading

This newsletter, and you could be reading more like it. The L.A. Times offers a variety to suit your interests; you can browse at our newsletter page, and your choices will show up in your inbox, as if by magic. Plus they’re free. Can’t beat that with a stick.

You may decide, based on the content you see, that a subscription to The Times makes sense. We think it does, but we’re biased, so try an introductory offer. You can find the details at our special offers page. We thank you.

You can always tell us what you think to help us improve. Jim McKellar of Arcadia did.

“Great article about Santa Barbara,” he said of our recent affordable luxury story that explained how to visit Santa Barbara without breaking the bank. ”Much needed as their pricing for visiting this wonderful region has skyrocketed. Keep up the good writing.” Of course, that didn’t hurt our feelings one bit, but if you have constructive criticism, we’re open to that as well. Your thoughts welcome by email at travel@latimes.com.

End paper

I’m not making this up: I was sitting in my home office working on the newsletter, and the cat jumped down from her chair (and it is her chair), walked over to my desk, looked soulfully into my eyes and vomited. I tried not to take it personally. She must be a Dodgers fan too.

It’s that time of year when things are kind of upside down and out of order. It’s fall, and it’s 95 degrees. There’s still baseball to watch, but who cares? (I started my fanhood adoring the Washington Senators, who were so bad you had to really be a fan. A Nats cap taunts me from the bookcase.) Leaves are turning and falling — from my hibiscus, which I think got pruned to death.

My solution is always the same: Take my bad attitude and get out of town. In the coming days, I’ll pack my bags, jump on a plane and head for El Paso, for my national convention. (Do not think about burglarizing my house, thank you, lest my other cats throw up on you and the security system does the electronic equivalent.) In El Paso, I will see beloved travel colleagues in a town that has held it together since Aug. 3, when a gunman killed 22 and injured two dozen others and many more who suffer wounds we can’t see.

Of all the gifts of travel, perspective is perhaps the most valuable and least appreciated. Thank you, universe.

Now I must go clean up that orange spot on the rug.

Wherever you are, travel safely and well, and remember we will always be here to welcome you home.


BEIJING — 

China’s economic growth slowed more than expected in the third quarter, with lackluster domestic demand and the ongoing downturn in global trade weighing on output.

Gross domestic product rose 6% in the July-to-September period from a year earlier, the slowest pace since the early 1990s and weaker than the consensus forecast of 6.1%. Factory output rose 5.8% in September, retail sales expanded 7.8%, while investment gained 5.4% in the first nine months of the year.

Growth in the previous quarter was 6.2%.

The slowdown is further evidence that the Chinese government is letting the world’s second-largest economy drift lower while it seeks to clean up the financial system and curb credit.

Even without the drop-off in exports to the U.S., the economy is likely to continue struggling, with deflationary pressures hitting company profits and falling imports indicating that domestic demand is weak.

The data increase the risk that the government won’t hit its target of achieving growth of 6% to 6.5% for 2019, unless support measures are significantly stepped up. Until now, officials have focused on limited, targeted measures such as reserve-ratio cuts and credit support, wary of expanding the nation’s already heavy debt load.

“Momentum has been easing since the second half of 2018, driven by industrial weakness and moderating consumer demand,” said Li Wei, a senior economist at Standard Chartered in Shanghai. “The protracted U.S.-China dispute, which now goes well beyond just trade, has hit the sentiment badly. More policy stimulus can be expected as growth is now on the brink of sliding below the official target.”

The U.S.-China tariff battle has slowed global manufacturing, creating a drag on an overall economic growth.


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