Holy Jim Trail is named for one of the area's earliest residents, James T. Smith. Aptly nicknamed Cussin' Jim, he was a cantankerous old coot famous for his constant epithet-spewing. Government cartographers eschewed this sobriquet, preferring the sanitized Holy Jim. Despite this bit of revisionism, the trail does have more in common with the fictional name. One of the most beautiful trails in the Santa Anas, it begins along the canyon's lush floor, bordered by thick foliage and towering trees. A brief hike leads to Holy Jim Falls, an enchanting spit of water that drops 15 feet into a shallow pool. From here, you can turn back and brave the throngs who make this short pilgrimage or push higher up the canyon. A series of 17 switchbacks lead to a ramble along a chaparral covered hillside. The intersection with the Main Divide Truck Trail is soon reached. Options then lead to Santiago Peak, West Horsethief or Trabuco Trails. Park at the intersection of Trabuco Creek Rd. & Holy Jim Canyon Rd., Trabuco Canyon.


Say you're Bradford J. Salamon—say it!—and you're a pretty talented artist, but you just can't get past the taint of having started out drawing those beautifully drafted pencil portraits of Marilyn Monroe and Jimi Hendrix you used to be able to buy at swap meets. You need to ingratiate yourself with some critics—stat! What better than to appeal to the vanity of every single one of 'em—and some higher-ups in the local museum world, too!—by asking them to sit for you and then showing the world their inner soulful, hazy beauty? There's The Orange County Register's Daniella Walsh, hazy and Impression-y. There's the Orange County Museum of Art's Elizabeth Armstrong, modernist and chic. There are some collectors, cowboy-cool. Yes, that's what you should definitely do!


A cross between the office of a taxidermist and the Country Bear Jamboree, the water closet at Mr. Ed's Barber Shop in Orange is bound to make you feel like Grizzly Adams. After you take your growler, you have to pull a slot machine to flush the toilet. It's not exactly the thrill of megabucks you may find in Vegas, but if you don't get a splinter in your ass from the wood toilet seat, consider yourself a winner. 2769 N. Orange Olive Rd., Orange, (714) 637-3949.


The quintessential mountain-bike ride in OC. Beginning in Hot Springs Canyon, the trail snakes upward for 11.9 miles before dumping into Blue Jay Campground, near the summit of Ortega Highway. This trail has it all, from seemingly endless switchbacks that lead up chaparral-covered slopes to rocky technical sections that test your bike-handling skills. In the last few miles, sage-scrub gives way to cooling canopies of live oak and alder. As good as the ascent is, the return trip is even better. If you find this downward plunge less than stimulating, loosen your damn death grip on the brakes. Park near the trailhead on Hot Springs Canyon Rd., one-half mile from the intersection with Ortega Hwy. (near the San Juan Fire Station).


The weekly Saturday demonstrations at Main Beach in Laguna from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. are organized by four lifelong Laguna activists and self-described "hearty optimists." The current beachside vigil led by Jeanie Bernstein, Irene Bland, Eleanor Henry and Liz Erger since March 2002 adds to a decades-long cumulative local presence against militarism and wise-guy presidents who trick Americans into war. Seventeen months of anti-Iraq/Bush protesting, plus seven years of Viet Nam-era vigils and 11 more during the Cold War make this stretch of lawn South County's Hyde Park. Completely legal and peaceful, the assembly is one of a dozen stubborn weekly vigils happening countywide, even as the Department of Defense adds up its increasing casualties but fails, consistent with new policy, to count dead Iraqis or Afghanis at all. Wars are presumably easier to sell if you ignore the deaths of others, but not to this regular crowd of a couple of hundred pissed-off Republicans, Move On Democrats, Greens, Libertarians, Leisure Worlders, students, grandpas, grannies and many first-time protesters. They gather adjacent the nifty playground, volleyball and b-ball courts, a hippie drum circle, upscale boutiques, and, yes, as everywhere, a Starbucks. The scene perhaps suggests the nearby Pageant of the Masters, except that here, real, live people portray real-life, angry, engaged citizens instead of, say, figures in oil paintings. Bernstein, a co-founder of the Alliance for Survival, notices increasing numbers and increased enthusiasm from supporters driving or walking by. "Last week," she says," we even got a thumb's-up from a Hummer." Solidarity confronts antipathy from the clueless tourists, yuppie dog-walkers and local hooligans, inevitably young white dudes in SUVs who scream thoughtfully, "USA! USA!" and, "Fuck you" at their fellow Americans. Democracy is a funny thing: one Saturday morning in March found the beautiful synchronicity of the odious Chamber of Commerce-sponsored "Patriot's Day Parade" and the peace vigil within a block of each other. Bunting-bound classic cars, beauty queens, chubby real-estate agents, marching Boy Scouts and stubborn VFW types strolled past, only momentarily puzzled by the fleeting recognition of their own lives as tired simulacrum against genuine existential dread and organized political resistance. Or not.

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