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February 28, 2010

Another Demolition in Desert Hot Springs

Over three days last week a rundown house in my neighborhood, abandoned by its owners, home to a couple of drug-snarfing squatters, was demolished at the behest of code enforcement. And I got photos. My thanks to the police, code enforcement and city staff for their patient work to get this done, and to Councilmember Karl Baker for keeping his eye on things.

66200 4th Street (8717)
Before.

4th Street Demolition (4245)
After.

4th Street Demo (1)
Woulda been nice if they could've knocked down that tamarisk tree while they were tearing things out.

4th Street Demolition (4049)

4th Street Demolition (4074)

4th Street Demolition (4077)

4th Street Demolition (4079)

4th Street Demolition (4085)

4th Street Demolition (4242)

4th Street Demolition (5444)

4th Street Demolition (4133)
To secure their equipment overnight the demo crew removed its wheels!

4th Street Demolition (4129)

More photos of the demolition here. And here is the complete set of photos of the house, including some interior photos that I got before I ran into the squatters.

Filed under Desert Hot Springs,Photography | permalink | February 28, 2010 at 08:27 PM | Comments (2)

The Desert Sun Does Asters (sorta)

Just when you begin to think the Desert Sun has achieved the nadir of idiocy, they go and outdo themselves. Here we have a nicely informative article about desert asters, and to help you identify them they include a black & white photo. TYVM. Perhaps the editors at the Desert Sun have lost all their cones and rely solely on rods for vision. For the few of us still able to see in color, here is what desert asters look like.

Mecca Aster (1633)
A Mecca Aster
Borrego Aster (5131)
A Borrego Aster

Filed under Coachella Valley,Photography | permalink | February 28, 2010 at 05:58 PM | Comments (0)

The Boston Globe Does Desert Hot Springs!

Amazing, the farthest afield a Boston Globe travel writer usually gets is Atlantic City. This reporter must have been here for the spa tour. She gets things almost perfectly accurate, except the Sidewinder Grill is somehow teleported to the outskirts of town. She got a much better photo of the Spring Resort than I did.

As growth and development spun off Interstate 10 along Route 111 south, the town was left in the dust. There is a sense that you could drop off the map here and nobody would notice. For years this town of some 25,000 had been one of the poorest and most crime-ridden in the desert, a haven for gangs, and at one point, home to 65 percent of all parolees in the Coachella Valley, despite having just 5 percent of the valley's population.

A new city manager, Rick Daniels, a newly elected Town [sic] Council, and a concerted law enforcement crackdown on gangs, drugs, and violence called Operation Falling Sun has made a dramatic difference in the past few years. Despite the flagging economy and the state's dire financial straits, Daniels secured a multimillion dollar redevelopment bond to be used for upgrading the town's infrastructure, building facades, and streetscaping.

Filed under Desert Hot Springs,Travel | permalink | February 28, 2010 at 05:47 PM | Comments (1)

February 27, 2010

Permit System For Half Dome

Yosemite National Park will impose a limit of 400 visitors per day to Half Dome on summer weekends and holidays. A permit to hike can be had by internet or phone, but you have to reserve it at least a week in advance. The good news is that the permit requirement applies only to those who climb UP the cable route. If you can get yourself to the top of Half Dome by some other route (a couple of days climbing the face, para-sailing from an airplane, levitation, whatever) then you are allowed to climb DOWN the cable route without a permit, saving yourself $1.50. Don't say the NPS isn't benevolent.

Half Dome (0432)

Filed under California | permalink | February 27, 2010 at 08:03 PM | Comments (0)

Downtown Streetscape and Facade Work

Downtown Streetscape Work (4119)

Pierson Boulevard (4114)

Downtown Streetscape Work (4107)

Downtown Streetscape Work (4105)

Facades on Palm Drive (4102)

Pierson Boulevard (4091)

Facades on Palm Drive (4099)

More photos of downtown Desert Hot Springs here.

Filed under Desert Hot Springs,Photography | permalink | February 27, 2010 at 01:59 PM | Comments (0)

Miss Beverly Hills Stumped

Turns out she can't quote any part of Leviticus, so she falls back on "the wages of sin are death," which means, of course, we are all sinners and we all die. Then the TV interviewer (who is probably a world famous philosopher) totally stumps her by asking "If they get to know Jesus, can they remain gay?" Watch closely and I think you can see smoke rising from her scalp as she reboots. Finally, she said she has moved from Pasadena to somewhere a little north of Beverly Hills. That would be Los Angeles, but maybe she forgot the name. I'm confused as to why she hasn't been pushed into running for a statewide-position on the Republican ballot.

Filed under Gay Issues,Religion | permalink | February 27, 2010 at 01:17 PM | Comments (1)

I-10 Interchanges Groundbreaking

Yesterday I went to the groundbreaking ceremony for the I-10 interchange projects. Yes, there was free food...unless you consider listening to everybody's little speech to be a price to pay.

Agua Calienta Casino (3)
Southerly view from the top level of the parking structure at the Agua Caliente Casino.
No interchange here, this area is to be developed.

Agua Calienta Casino (1)

Agua Caliente Casino (5418)
Agua Calienta Casino.

Bob Hope Interchange Design Elements (5417)
Details on the Bob Hope interchange will incorporate Cahuilla basket weaving designs.

I-10 Interchanges Groundbreaking - Chairman Milanovich (4164)
Richard Milanovich, Chairman of the Agua Caliente Band of Cahilla Indians.

I-10 Interchanges Groundbreaking - Senator Ducheny (4151)
State Senator Ducheny.
We could imagine she was singing the National Anthem in this photo, but she wasn't.

I-10 Interchanges Groundbreaking - Supervisor Ashley (4159)
Supervisor Marion Ashley.

I-10 Interchanges Groundbreaking (4216)
Members of the PR firm that are handling all the public information for the projects are a lot of very fun, exciting people, but they had a tendency to forget to get themselves out of the photo ops.

Desert Hiker (4222)
This late arrival seemed to come hiking in from the desert.
I assume she's got her Ten Essentials in that bag.

DHS City Council & Staff & Supervisor Ashley (4207)
The photo op for the Desert Hot Springs City Council, plus Rick Daniels and Jonathan Hoy, as well as Supervisor Ashley.

Mt. San Jacinto (4142)
View to the west.

I-10 Interchanges Groundbreaking - Assemblyman Perez (4154)
Assemblyman Manuel Perez.

Palm Drive - Gene Autry I10 Interchange (5415A)
Simplified map of the Palm Drive/Gene Autry interchange.

Jonathan Hoy - Rick Daniels (4196)
Desert Hot Springs Public Works Director Jonathan Hoy, City Manager Rick Daniels.

Agua Calienta Casino Parking Structure (5430)
No shortage of shaded parking.

Palm Springs Mayor Steve Pougnet (4211)
Palm Springs Mayor Steve Pougnet.

I-10 Interchanges Groundbreaking (4177)
The baleful eye of the press.

I-10 Interchanges Groundbreaking (4227)
Dunno who.
They just kept the dignitaries shuttling in and out of photo ops like a busy subway station.

I-10 Interchanges Groundbreaking - Color Guard (4147)
California Highway Patrol.

More photos from the groundbreaking event here.

Filed under Coachella Valley,Desert Hot Springs,Photography | permalink | February 27, 2010 at 09:44 AM | Comments (0)

Mata Ortiz at Cabot's

Cynthia has a few photos and a report from last weekend's Mata Ortiz pottery event at Cabot's Pueblo Museum.

Filed under Desert Hot Springs,Photography | permalink | February 27, 2010 at 08:02 AM | Comments (0)

Chilean 8.8 Quake

Chile 8.8
This is the USGS-provided map showing the 8.8 and its 27 aftershocks during the subsequent 8 hours.
The smallest quake shown is 5.0. There are several 6.-somethings. Here's the current USGS map of the area. Google map.

It's got a WikiPedia page. Today's quake was epicentered only 20 km from the epicenter of the 9.5 Valdivia quake that occurred in 1960. That was the biggest measured quake ever.

| permalink | February 27, 2010 at 07:22 AM | Comments (0)

February 26, 2010

Here's a Lens For You

Canon Super Telephoto 1200 mm f5.6 EF Autofocus lens

You can buy this used lens at B&H. 1200 mm. But if that's not enough you can put on teleconverters, although you will lose autofocus. Minimum focus distance 46 feet. Weighs 36 pounds. They've even got a video showing you its features. Watch for the bit showing how you put a filter on it. The drawback with a lens this size is it's only worthwhile if you've got a clear view of an endlessly fascinating subject some great distance away - like New York City where you can stand on one side of a river and shoot details on the other side.

Price: $120,000 - that's what caught my eye.

Filed under Photography | permalink | February 26, 2010 at 06:52 PM | Comments (2)

Jethro Tull In A Pizza Sauce Bucket

Jethro Tull
Jethro Tull

2m 21s video of a pizza sauce bucket:

Could be Jerry Garcia or Frank Zappa, too. News story here.

Filed under Religion | permalink | February 26, 2010 at 08:29 AM | Comments (1)

February 25, 2010

Kayaking To North Shore

The climax of our campout on the Salton Sea was kayaking a mile or two from the Salton Sea Recreation Area to the harbor at North Shore, the site of Albert Frey's North Shore Yacht Club, which is expected to have its grand re-opening as a community center, museum and coffee & juice bar in March 2010. The kayak rides are being offered for FREE every Sunday in February. I had my waterproof camera so I could take photos during the voyage.

The Salton Sea is supposed to be only about 50% saltier than the ocean, but to me it seemed to be 2 or 3 times saltier. I was encrusted with salt at the end of the trip and my clothes were far, far stiffer than mere ocean water would do.

Kayaking On The Salton Sea (0722)

Kayaking On The Salton Sea (0730)

Kayaking On The Salton Sea (0746)
The remains of the first resort on the Salton Sea.
That's an osprey taking wing.

Kayaking On The Salton Sea (0750)

Kayaking On The Salton Sea to North Shore Yacht Club (0760)

Kayaking On The Salton Sea to North Shore Yacht Club (0770)

Kayaking On The Salton Sea to North Shore Yacht Club (0765)

Kayaking On The Salton Sea (0788)
Also at the site of the first Salton Sea resort.

Kayaking On The Salton Sea (0775)

Kayaking On The Salton Sea (0774)

North Shore Yacht Club (3972)
A landside view of the North Shore Yacht Club that I took on Saturday morning.

More photos of this kayak trip here.

Filed under Architecture,Coachella Valley,Photography | permalink | February 25, 2010 at 04:12 PM | Comments (2)

More Salton Sea Camping Pics

Salton Sea In The Morning (1)

Salton Sea Sunset (4027)

Salton Sea Visitors Center Petroglyph Boulder (0708)
Petroglyph boulder at the Salton Sea Visitors Center
. I've no idea how they justified moving this boulder, since the actual location of the petroglyphs is nearly as important as the petroglyphs themselves.

Coachella Valley Mountains seen from Mecca Beach (5400)
The snow covered peaks of Coachella Valley seen from Mecca Beach.
It was warmer and much less windy at the Salton Sea than it was in Desert Hot Springs...but that's almost always true.

Salton Sea Sunset (4041)

Salton Sea Dawn (3964)
Sunrise.

Mecca Beach (0702)

Orange Gummi (4042)
A bear visited our camp.

Mecca Beach (3995)

More photos from the campout on the Salton Sea.

Filed under Coachella Valley,Photography | permalink | February 25, 2010 at 02:30 PM | Comments (0)

Greenscreenery

via Frank Martin.

Filed under Photography,Television | permalink | February 25, 2010 at 02:11 PM | Comments (0)

Good News For High Speed Rail

A report from San Mateo County Times on a study of the expected effects on Bay Area airports that would result from high speed rail. They predict that "operations" at SFO, Oakland and San Jose airports would drop 6.1%. Each airport would lose about 2 milion passengers, but that's 12% at San Jose, 9% at Oakland and 4% at San Francisco. "The consultants noted a few factors could change their estimates, namely the final high-speed rail fare and trip time, security screenings for bullet train passengers and how airlines react." Indeed, no one has estimated what a ticket might cost on California high speed rail, but I (and I imagine others) expect that lower price train tickets should be comparable to lower price coach air tickets. The advantage for rail will be greater comfort, shorter time between real point of departure (home, hotel, etc.) and real destination (office, hotel, etc.), plus a lot less of that TSA security bullshit (we hope, we hope, we hope), and no hours sitting on the tarmac.

Filed under California,Travel | permalink | February 25, 2010 at 01:52 PM | Comments (0)

Listening To The Right Wing

Or, demonstrating how to insert earplugs. Same thing.

20100218 GOPS Salton Sea Trip (130)
Photo by MadeIn1953.

Filed under Photography | permalink | February 25, 2010 at 12:19 PM | Comments (0)

February 24, 2010

Pentax X90

Just announced, this camera's got some features, all right, but the one that's going to sell it is the 26x zoom (26 to 676 mm equivalent). It can shoot macros as close as 1 cm from the lens. The face detection mode has gone crazy: "upgraded Face Detection AF & AE function, which automatically detects up to 32 faces in the image field in a mere 0.03 seconds and captures them in great accuracy and with superb clarity, even when the faces are tilted or turned sideways." Still can't do anything about ugly, though.

"It also offers a new Small Face filter, which makes the subject’s face appear slightly smaller than in reality in recorded images." WTF is that? Do Japanese consider large faces unattractive, or something? Smile Capture and Blink Detection don't even need mentioning.

Top ISO is 6400.

Some of the other scene modes are "Half-length Portrait" (?), Food (?), "Frame Composite" which I am going to guess means the camera can put a picture frame around your photo, "Natural Skin Tones" - so much nicer than those unnatural skin tones in all the other modes, "Green" (?), "Vertical Snap" (?), "Blog" (?) and "Text." There's also "Auto Picture" which lets the camera decide which mode it should be in.

No word on the price, but I betcha it's under $400.

Filed under Photography | permalink | February 24, 2010 at 11:35 PM | Comments (0)

I-10 Interchanges Groundbreaking on Friday

The groundbreaking ceremony for the I-10 interchange projects will be on Friday, February 26, from 10 to 11 AM at the southwest corner of Bob Hope and Ramon, right across from the Agua Caliente Casino. Following will be an "open house" at the casino from 11:30 AM to 1 PM. I don't know if that means free food, but I will be sure to report what I find out.

Ramon Rd & Bob Hope

Palm Drive & Gene Autry

Indian Canyon Drive

Filed under Coachella Valley | permalink | February 24, 2010 at 08:39 PM | Comments (0)

The Mysterious Case Of Mr. Bryant Solved

Back in late December there was the news of Kevin Anthony Bryant who was stabbed at 8th and Mesquite. A little investigation revealed that Mr. Bryant was not only a victim, but also a much-wanted bad guy. He was arrested before he could leave the hospital. Even so, police were like all WTF?! Who did the stabbing and why? And now the answers:

CITY OF DESERT HOT SPRINGS
POLICE DEPARTMENT

PRESS RELEASE

**UPDATE #2**

Date/Time of Update: February 24, 2010/1510

Suspect: Kevin A. Bryant, 5-22-86, Male, Black, 5-7, 180 lbs, Brown, Black; Address: Transient

Charges: (2) cts PC 211, Robbery; (1) ct PC 422, Criminal Threats

Status: Being booked into the Riverside County Jail

Regarding the previously described stabbing, we had been lacking a motive, the witnesses and the identity of the person who did the stabbing. We now have those answers. Detectives have located all persons involved in this incident. The persons involved did not come forward sooner because they feared for their safety in providing information involving Kevin Bryant. We have conducted interviews and gathered evidence surrounding the case. The following is the story that has emerged.

Kevin Bryant is involved in drug trafficking. In the recent past it has been reported to us that he has been running around town threatening people to pay him for drug debts they have allegedly incurred. On this day, Dec. 29, he saw three people (one male, two females) he knew walking down 8th St. He approached and threatened them with a knife he’d pulled. He demanded money. He stole $20 from the older lady’s purse. He wanted more.

Fearing for all of their safety, the male subject attempted to disarm Bryant. The male subject managed to free the knife from Bryant and in so doing stabbed Bryant once in the neck. All subjects fled after this happened.

Bryant is also suspected in an unreported robbery two weeks ago in the K-Mart parking lot. There he threatened another victim with having a gun and took $100 from her.

Any information regarding this press release should be directed to Desert Hot Springs Police Sergeant Dan Bressler at 760.329.6411 x315.

Dispatch Tel: 760.329.2904

Filed under Desert Hot Springs | permalink | February 24, 2010 at 04:31 PM | Comments (0)

Busted via Craigslist

Darius Griffin
Darius Griffin

CITY OF DESERT HOT SPRINGS
POLICE DEPARTMENT

PRESS RELEASE

INCIDENT: Craigslist Posting Leads to Arrest

DATE OF ARREST: Tuesday, February 23, 2010

DATE OF PRESS RELEASE: Wednesday, February 24, 2010

SUSPECT ARRESTED: Griffin, Darius M. A., 4-12-91, Male, Black, 6-1, 145 lbs, Black hair, Brown eyes; Address: 68200 blk Calle Azteca, DHS

CHARGES: PC 496, Possess Stolen Property

STATUS: In Custody, Riverside County Jail, $5,000 Bail

NARRATIVE

On 1/17/2010 officers were dispatched to the 67900 block of Whitney Ct. reference an alarm activation. When they arrived they found the rear sliding glass door had been smashed out and the home burglarized.

On 2/22/2010 the victim contacted DHS PD because he had information about some property that was stolen from his residence. Soon after the burglary, he noticed that the face plate to the stereo installed on his hot tub was missing. He went to Craigslist and found someone in the Palm Springs area was selling a detachable face plate that exactly matched his own.

Officers took this information and followed up on the posting. The subject making the post gave his location as DHS. Officers identified the person making the posting as possibly being Darius Griffin.

Detectives took this information and located Griffin at his residence on Calle Azteca. When confronted with the evidence against him, Griffin turned over the stolen face plate. Detectives confirmed with the manufacturer that the face plate in question would only work with the stereo it was removed from. They went back to the victim’s residence and confirmed it was the same face plate that was taken in the burglary.

Griffin was arrested without further incident for possessing stolen property.

The face plate would have cost the victim nearly a hundred dollars to replace. He was extremely pleased to get it back.

Filed under Desert Hot Springs | permalink | February 24, 2010 at 03:45 PM | Comments (3)