November 23, 2014
Great Los Angeles Walk 2014
This year's Great Los Angeles Walk was all in the San Fernando Valley, proceeding from Warner Center mostly along Ventura Boulevard easterly to Lankershim Boulevard and then north to the North Hollywood Red/Orange Lines station. The organizer measured it at 17.12 miles, but I think his distances are car miles and, therefore, straighter and shorter than pedestrian wandering miles. My GPS said my mileage was 18.8. All of it was in Los Angeles proper, but the neighborhoods included Woodland Hills, Tarzana, Encino, Sherman Oaks, Studio City and North Hollywood.
The route also traversed this neighborhood I've marked in green for which I could find no name. It's bordered by Toluca Lake, West Toluca Lake, Studio City, Universal City and North Hollywood. If anyone can give me a name, I'd appreciate it.
A little rotation and perspective. North is to the right in this image and we walked from top to bottom.
A big plus for some people this year was that the beginning and end of the route were close to the Orange Line Busway, making it easy to put your vehicle at one end or the other and get back to it fairly easily after the walk. I have some advice, however, for tourists who follow after me and come to the North Hollywood station for their fist time to catch the Orange Line. That large structure with a big orange arch over the entrance to the escalators that go underground to the ticket machine area where the highlight color is orange and to the waiting platform which is also highlighted with orange where you will see NO signs at all bearing the word "Red;" yeah, that place is NOT the Orange Line. It's the Red Line and your first clue that you have gone in the wrong entrance will come after you pay your fare and proceed to the waiting platform where you will see that either side of the platform will take you to Union Station and you would get there on a train that runs on rails. So, not the Orange Line. If you're looking for the Orange Line, it's across the street. There is one sign at the Red Line station with one arrow pointing to your right as you exit the Red Line station, but it doesn't indicate that you need to cross the street. Over there is a sort of nondescript bus shelter where you will see no color orange and there are no signs saying "Orange," until you get right into the station and look at the maps. The buses are, however, labeled with the word "Orange" and have some orange trim. This will only help you if a bus is there and you can see it from across the street.
IOW, the Metro's system designer must have worked for Boston's MBTA before coming here.
And while I'm on it, I have a few more observations about the Orange Line. As expected, every sign is in both Spanish and English, except for the warning labels on the poles next to the rear doors that tell you not to hold onto them. Those are only in Spanish. Both poles, left and right, have Spanish warnings. Are we to assume that English speaking people don't ever grab those poles or that they never ride standing up?
The names of stops on the Orange Line are announced once and once only. For some reason, the recorded voice always drops slightly when speaking the actual name, so that I could almost never understand it. Simultaneously, the electronic message display at the front (which is far less sophisticated than the ones they use on ordinary buses) will also display the name of the next stop once and once only at the same time as the recorded announcement. Then the display goes blank. Why it can't be continuously displaying the name of the next stop until it's needed for something else is something I don't know.
When you're waiting in a station and the electronic display shows you the times of the next three Orange Line buses coming, those are not the times of the next three buses coming. That is only a list of the scheduled times. You might as well look at your paper schedule. There seems to be no communication link between the Orange Line buses and the Metro system so that passengers might be able to realistically gauge their travel times. Every other transit system I've encountered that electronically shows train or bus times uses real times based on real feedback, not simply a display of scheduled times.
Despite all of that I somehow managed to traverse the distance from North Hollywood to Warner Center where our walk began. The walk was far less interesting than my three previous walks which all started in central L.A. and headed to Santa Monica, routing us through a range of economic levels and historical architecture. Ventura Boulevard in the San Fernando Valley is fairly much homogenous.
This unusual building heralded a view to the east that let us know our walk was going to be downhill for the next 15 or 16 miles as we descended towards the L.A. River.
The small building on the left is the Blue Velvet Beauty Boutique on Lankershim Boulevard.
I'm not as impressed by the claim of "real falling snow" (you can just rent that from Hollywood) as I am by the idea of a 7-foot Hanukkah puppy. This is a Hanukkah tradition I'd not heard of before.
The Valley's Miracle Mile is not quite as impressive as the one on Wilshire Boulevard, but I'm sure they are trying really hard.
Memorial to Thomas G. Taylor who died fighting a fire at this location which is now a Wells Fargo bank. The full story is here and there you will find the photo of the firefighter's 9-year old son which was the basis for the image on the memorial that wraps around the corner to the right. Here's a recent news story. The fire was started by an arsonist who, as of 2013, was still in prison.
"Vape" - new dictionary word of the year. On a related note, while I was waiting for the Orange Line bus a fairly stereotypical medium-sized old lady, wearing her everyday cloth coat, and carrying some shopping whipped out her vape device, took a big draw, and exhaled a cloud of smoke that was obviously from cannabis. Then she put it away.
Related to that is this sign I saw on Lankershim Boulevard. If it needs explaining, an ounce is 28.3495 grams. Marijuana traditionally has been sold in "eighths," an eighth of an ounce, which is about 4 grams. This dispensary claims their 8ths somehow contain 6 grams, which is all fine and good, but it's what they charge for that eighth that matters, isn't it?
This was the goal at the end of the walk. Not exactly the ocean view from Santa Monica, is it? In fact, I would have passed this by except there were about a dozen walkers hanging out there chatting and taking photos.
November 22, 2014
The Votes Are In
The final results for this month's election have been posted. Here are the numbers for the three tax measures in Desert Hot Springs.
|Measure HH (MJ cultivation tax)|
|Measure II (Tax on sales of MJ)|
|Measure JJ (Sales tax)|
The small difference in outcomes for HH and II is a little curious. Were there thoughtful people who supported the tax on cultivation, but opposed the tax on sales? Or was there some sort of confusion?
November 20, 2014
Trust But Verify
Sure, the South Coast Air Quality Management District has put up a new air quality sensor in Desert Hot Springs, but they're the gummint and who trusts them. Why not stick up your very own air quality sensor?
Friday, November 21, the SCAQMD will host a conference called "My Air Quality: Using Sensors to Know What’s in Your Air." The workshop will be at their HQ in Diamond Bar from 9 AM to 5 PM that day.
Manufacturers have begun marketing air monitoring sensors to measure air pollution, and local environmental groups and the public are considering them as inexpensive options to independently evaluate local air quality. The purpose of this forum is to share the latest information on monitoring and sensor technology, their various applications, and their limitations. This workshop will feature experts from various governmental and academic institutions, the private sector and community groups. The SCAQMD encourages anyone interested in this topic to attend this open discussion on sensor performance and data quality as well as sensor issues confronting agencies and proposed next steps.
Topics will include:
- Available Sensor Technology, Performance and Data Quality
- Community Projects, Sensor Development and Applications
- Sensor Technology Demonstration and Posters
November 19, 2014
Montana, No Stay
Federal Judge Brian Morris has declared Montana's ban on same sex marriage to be unconstitutional. Much of the reasoning is based on Latta v. Otter, which is binding in the 9th Circuit. The decision issued today included no stay, so marriage licenses should be flowing now.
Judge Morris is a new one. He was appointed to the seat last year and confirmed by the Senate in December 2013. Before this position he was on the Montana Supreme Court, an elected position.
Bryan Cranston/Aaron Paul/and that girl from "Seinfeld"
November 18, 2014
DHS Animal Hospital Offering Discount Services
The Animal Hospital of Desert Hot Springs is proud to announce a new service we're providing to accommodate the needs of residents throughout the Coachella Valley so they can comply with Riverside County Animal Licensing requirements at an affordable price.
What we provide by appointment is a three service bundled package at competitive and affordable pricing. This package includes Spaying or Neutering, Microchip and Rabies Vaccination. Riverside County Animal Licensing requires these procedures for all dogs. We also offer a similar special bundled package for cats.
Dogs (Spay/Neuter, Microchip & Rabies Vaccine)
1-25 lbs: $150.00
26-50 lbs: $160.00
51-75 lbs: $170.00
76-100 lbs: $180.00
100 + lbs: $190.00
Cats (Spay/Neuter, Microchip & FVRCP Vaccine)
We pride ourselves on providing quality health care for your animals at competitive and affordable pricing. Our goal is to work collaboratively with local communities and County agencies to assist in the health & wellness and safety of our pets.
For an appointment please call (760) 251-1400. Appointments available Monday through Friday from 8:00am to 3:00pm.
They are also offering deals on just spay/neuter, just vaccination, or just microchipping. And there's a "10% discount on services for Active Military and Senior Citizens."
They are at 13700 Palm Drive. You know, the place with the big dog, cat and tortoise mural. Call ahead 760-251-1400 to make an appointment. Their website: animalhospitaldhs.com
Indian Canyon Curve
November 17, 2014
Harvard Beats Yale
Maybe the title should be "Social Advice For Those Who Refuse To Watch The NFL."
If you are one of those people who can't stand watching NFL football, but have been socially ensnared into a group of friends that do that and you don't have the spine or cojones to abandon your friends, then my suggestion may be for you. Harvard Beats Yale 29-29 is a movie about football (and Vietnam and the Ivy League and "Doonesbury" and Meryl Streep as a college girl and even Tommy Lee Jones) but it is not about the NFL. Not at all. Maybe the NFL gets mentioned once.
It's a documentary with a lot of talking heads. But they are Harvard and Yale graduates who are the talking heads, so they know how to complete sentences and synthesize abstract comparisons and otherwise display their skill in using multiple brain cells simultaneously. Like I said, it's not about the NFL.
But in addition to the talking heads they've got good film of the game. The game where Harvard and Yale played to a 29-29 tie, that is. The Wikipedia article for the film says that the game footage "was a color kinescope of the WHDH telecast." I would guess that the kinescope was made at the time the game was broadcast, or shortly thereafter and the kinescope was recorded on Kodachrome film, because the colors are very good. The film includes instant replays and they appear to be genuine, so either WHDH used videotape or the producers of the film faked them up very well. Then there is the play-by-play dubbed over by Don Gillis, an actual sportscaster who was with Boston's WHDH (and WCVB) from 1962 to 1983 - and after that he continued to host their candlepin program through 1996. In case it needs explaining, "candlepins" is not a different New England name for bowling. It's actually a slightly different game. I never played it, so all I know is that the pins are a lot skinnier than bowling pins.
The setup is this: Harvard and Yale have their "crosstown rivalry" going in New England. It's 1968, the Tet offensive was earlier in the year, Harvard and Yale are both undefeated. The Yale quarterback Brian Dowling, incidentally, had not played in a single losing game since he was in 7th grade. This is the last game of the season. Harvard had a weak coach and a mostly inexperienced team, having lost many of its experienced players to either graduation or the war. The Harvard quarterback that actually brought them to the tie, Frank Champi, was 25 years old and had already served in Vietnam.
Everybody knows how the game turned out because it's right there in the title, but it's how they got there and people's reactions to it (then and still today!) that make the film. I hope it's not a spoiler to tell you that with 42 seconds remaining in the last quarter Yale was ahead with a score of 29-13.
What makes the film work for me is that when they show game footage, all you see is football. There's grass (grass!), two teams, the crowds on the sidelines and the crowds in the stadiums. There are no commercial signs anywhere. Nothing at all is sponsored by Coca-Cola or Marlboro or Chevrolet. There is not even an ad for Narragansett lager. There is no jumbotron. No electronic markings appear magically on the field. There is no ticker running at the bottom of the screen. The fans do not do "the wave." There are no stupid announcers. Just one knowledgable announcer. It's like, you know, watching football. All that and what seems to have been a genuine, life altering, spiritual transformation that affected both teams and still affects them now.
Some info for those who did not walk the earth with the dinosaurs: there was a time when football games could end in a tie, and in 1968 college football did have the two-point conversion after touchdown.
If your friends insist that you have to watch football with them, you can get yourself off the hook by showing them this film. They might even thank you.
Addendum: 1968 was the "good old days" for some people, and that may mean less commercialism and more sportsmanlike behavior. But the other aspects to the "good old days" are clear in this film too. Both teams are all white, as far as I can tell, and both schools were still men only. Yale went coed the next year, 1969, but Harvard didn't go coed until 1977.