Navel Gazing's Project Un-uncensored

Looking back at 2012 news that was fit to blog but not to print . . . until now

Navel Gazing's Project Un-uncensored

Keeping up with this crazy county of ours through the dead-tree issue is fine in a sopping-up-chin-latte-at-the-coffeehouse kind of way, but for the full story on the really real OC, you need to plug in that power sucker in your backpack or pocket (no, not the rocket), cue up's Navel Gazing and Stick a Fork In It blogs and associated slideshows, and burn your eyeballs with our assorted award-winning alt-journo reportage. To further display our online prowess (and give the real writers a holiday break), we present this regurgitation—erm, brilliantly compiled anthology of just some of what print-only readers missed over the past year. Timber!

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Jason Quinn, the chef of Santa Ana's popular Playground restaurant, reacted to Yelp reviewer Naseem M.'s charge in January that he and his family were just playing at running a restaurant by telling the reviewer to "burn in hell." The response gained nationwide attention, with Yelpers crying into their beers and chefs from here to New York cheering on the 25-year-old restaurateur. Quinn then served "Burn In Hell Shrimp" for a week or so. Almost a year later, no one remembers Naseem M.'s name, and it's harder than ever to get a seat at the Playground. (Dave Lieberman)

These colors do run
David Le
These colors do run
Odd Future fun!
Christopher Victorio
Odd Future fun!

Local bicyclists were thrilled about a proposal to complete the Santiago Creek off-road bicycle trail through Santa Ana, but property owners along the creek east of Jack Fisher Park began the year angry, writing letters to the City Council demanding an alternate route and stomping around outside meetings chanting, "Ooh, la la!" The creek-side property owners appear to be getting their way; current plans are for bicycle paths to be laid on more than a mile of Broadway and Santa Clara and Flower streets on the way west to join the main bicycle path instead of through the 300 feet of creek that separates the existing trail from the park. (DL)

With gentrification raging through downtown SanTana, El Centro Cultural de México was controversially forced from its home last year in the city's historic Knights of Pythias building. The nonprofit seemed to be the latest victim in the ongoing trend, especially with controversial property owner Irv Chase being connected to the ordeal. Ousted in September 2011, El Centro quickly found a new home at the nearby Veterans Hall, reopening its classes, cultural programming and political organizing to the community in January of this year. Since then, it has hosted two "anti-mall" marketplaces; pulled off an ambitious, outdoor, summer music festival; and, of course, helped to put together yet another amazing "Noche de Altares" Day of the Dead celebration. The only thing left for the Santa Ana-based community center to do? Subdue Chase into taking free jarana lessons and transform him into a son jarocho aficionado. (Gabriel San Román)

DNA evidence linked accused serial killer Itzcoatl "Izzy" Ocampo to the fatal stabbing of 53-year-old Raquel Estrada and her son Juan Herrera, 34—just as it cleared the son and brother of the victims, Eder Giovanni Herrera, of the same crimes, the district attorney announced Feb. 4. In announcing that additional charges were being filed against 23-year-old Ocampo and dropped against 24-year-old Herrera, DA Tony Rackauckas made the case for authorities being correct in holding the wrongfully charged man for months. See, both Ocampo and Herrera attended Esperanza High School and are Latinos, and evidence showed the son moved at least one body, placed the 9-1-1 call alerting cops to the murders and acted strangely in the hours afterward. So where exactly does one learn how to act unstrangely after stumbling upon your fatally stabbed mother and brother? (Matt Coker)

Most any adult who finds him/herself imprisoned at Disneyland applauded the 2001 California Adventure opening including alcohol availability. "Better to help you cope, my dear . . ." However, in the same high-octane breath, we must acknowledge that booze and theme-park-going don't always mix, as folks near the Tower of Terror discovered Feb. 18, when a sloppy drunk taking swings at cast members in bellhop costumes was taken to the ground by security and showered with Mace. Not that it stopped Hillbilly Ray Robinson from taking another swing at an employee before burly guests essentially sat on Glenn Horlacher. Officials at the Anaheim resort later released a statement saying such booze-fueled incidents were "uncharacteristic" for California Adventure. But the place is supposed to reflect the Golden Ale State, and truth be told, the incident resembles most Weekly staff meetings. Hiccup! (MC)

One of the most widely read and controversial blog posts of the year was written in March by the Weekly's very own Kenyan intern, Peter Ngugi, who took exception to Jason Russell of Invisible Children's KONY 2012, a piece of propaganda targeting the fugitive Ugandan Joseph Kony and his maniacal Lord's Resistance Army. According to Ngugi, the short film oversimplified the Ugandan civil war to the extent of showing a baby-talking Russell telling his toddler that Kony was a bad guy. The best thing about Ngugi's post, though, was an update about Russell's mental breakdown, which included a photograph of Russell stripping down and diddling himself on a San Diego sidewalk. (Nick Schou)

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