Offering the online funerals was William R. "Just call me Bill" Bowers' idea, and the manager at Dilday Brothers in Huntington Beach had never even seen Six Feet Under. Who needs an edgy HBO show when you are a fourth-generation funeral director? "I've seen this transition coming for 10 years," says Bowers. "People have been doing slide shows, making videotapes, putting them to music—and this seems to be the next step." Online funerals are called "eulogycasts" by the dot-com outfit that invented and promotes them. They enable people who can't—or won't—go to the funeral to download the services off the Internet. Sounds a little creepy, not to mention like the latest in technological cop-outs, but Bowers doesn't see online funerals as anything edgier than customer service. "More and more families, particularly in Southern California, come from someplace else," he says. "People from around the world and people of low or moderate income often don't have a way to make it to the funeral of a loved one. This way, they can log onto a computer and participate. It provides a way for families to honor and preserve the legacy of the person who died. That's what funerals are for anyway." 17911 Beach Blvd., Huntington Beach, (714) 842-7771.

CASPERS WILDERNESS PARK

Hikers, equestrians and mountain bikers will appreciate the Park's 8,000 acres and more than 30 miles of trails. Sage- and chaparral-adorned hillsides rise above the woodland habitats of Bell and San Juan canyons. And to think, in the early '70s, there were plans to convert this land into an amusement park. 33401 Ortega Hwy., San Juan Capistrano.

DRAG SHOW

Since 1951 (the same year the Los Angeles Rams were crowned NFL champions), people have come from miles around to watch—and bet on—the equine equivalent of drag racing: quarter horse racing, the fastest horses in the world. Founded by Frank Vessels, the Los Alamitos Race Course is open 51 weeks per year. In feel and temperament, it is much closer to the Old West than such tony tracks as Santa Anita that try for that Old English feel. Los Al is filled with regular folk who watch their mortgage payment trail the pack while downing the track brew, which packs a wallop. Sure, it's not always what you would call spick-and-span, and, yeah, there always seems to come a point in the evening when someone throws up in a trash can. But, hey, it's a racetrack; you're betting hard-earned money on an animal that poops while standing up. At Los Al, they race quarter horses—the funny cars of the equine set—with races decided in, like, 20 seconds. Quarter horses are built for terrific short bursts of speed—none of this running around, taking valuable time away from your Coors Light or causing you to look up from your trash can for long periods of time. 4961 Katella Ave., Los Alamitos, (714) 995-1234.

SEAL BEACH NATIONAL WILDLIFE REFUGE

This is where the wildlife lives in Seal Beach—heron, egrets, peregrine falcons and those scary red-tailed hawks that attack pickup trucks. The Navy, which runs the place, gives tours at 9 a.m. on the last Saturday of every month. Shows begin Oct. 26. 800 Seal Beach Blvd., Seal Beach, (562) 598-1024.

NATURAL/URBAN WONDER

Sure, the sign off of Michelson says Irvine Ranch Water District (IRWD) Water Treatment Plant, but the 300 acres of the San Joaquin Freshwater Marsh Reserve/Wildlife Sanctuary in Irvine features coastal freshwater wetlands surrounding it is why the place is crawling with joggers, hikers, birders and a nice lady from Irvine who picks blackberries. The UC Regents run part of the reserve, working with Sea and Sage Audubon. Look for the old windmill in the shadow of the ugly former Fluor Corporation building and follow San Diego Creek to ample parking. The river runs through the sanctuary, and the nice people at IRWD have brought the surrounding marshland back to health, adding 10 miles of trails through native plants, trees and scrub visited annually by 200 species of birds. Smart landscaping makes this place the kind of locale a lazy Weekly contributor might call an oasis of natural wonder in a desert of overly manicured suburban lawns and poisonous yuppie golf courses. He might, but in this inspired natural milieu, one just stays quiet and watches the sunset as the egrets hunt frogs in the creek. No dogs allowed.

THE BEST ART FLACK, IF BY "BEST," YOU MEAN ONE WHO SINGLE-HANDEDLY INSPIRES THE DISDAIN OF ALL THE LOCAL ART MEDIA

The Bowers Museum of Cultural Art's Rick Weinstein's multiple daily press releases and his anger if you have to apologetically cancel a lunch are fine—we're all used to that. But when the whispers made the rounds that Weinstein disinvited the Los Angeles Times' Richard Chang from the Bowers' big, exciting "uncrating" of Tibetan treasures by telling him the uncrating had been canceled, the rest of us could only laugh.

THE BEST ART FLACK, IF BY "BEST," YOU MEAN ONE WHO GETS ALL THE LOCAL ART MEDIA TO FAWN AND SIMPER OVER WHATEVER IS PUT BEFORE IT
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