November 30, 2011
Great L.A. Walk - To The Pacific
You've got to be confident about your business to promote its initials so prominently when they are "SH." The business is Smith House.
Pants Cleaners are reported to have broadened their services since opening.
I had never heard of such a thing: tattooing the appearance of a buzz cut on your scalp. But here on their website you will find testimonials from many men whose lives were made miserable by baldness or receding hairlines. Getting their scalps tattooed totally turned their lives around. Who am I to argue. It's surely safer than penis enlargement.
A small number of these are along Santa Monica Boulevard, each one unique.
The 405 achieved! Couldn't be too much further now, could it.
I found this billboard confusing, although I got the idea they want me to buy Hennessy.
Mom's Cocktails - I was tempted, but did not stop.
Sign said Fisker, but I had never heard of it. Thought maybe I was looking at a Tesla and Fisker was the dealer.
NYPD Crime Scene Photography
This brief N.Y. Times article about the New York Police using the Panoscan to record crime scenes includes several interactive images from actual crime scenes with all the bloody bits. You can scan a complete sphere around the camera. I suspect they have disabled zooming for these images in the Times. I'm sure the police can magnify for greater detail. Here is a related blog post where they show the same images in flat 2D - no pan and scan. Here are the specs for the camera on Panoscan's own website. The camera can record UV and infrared as well as visible light. A high resolution scan takes at least 54 seconds for the full 360°. Not for sale at B&H.
DHS Marmol Radziner Prefab Sells!
They were filming some of Seven Psychopaths in the Pioneertown area this past weekend. "The cast includes Colin Farrell, Sam Rockwell, Christopher Walken and Woody Harrelson." The movie could be released in 2012.
"[A] struggling screenwriter played by Farrell, 'Inadvertently becomes entangled in the Los Angeles criminal underworld after his oddball friends (Rockwell and Walken) kidnap a gangster's (Harrelson) beloved Shih Tzu.'"
Tree Lighting December 2
Holiday Tree Lighting Ceremony in Desert Hot Springs
The City of Desert Hot Springs will host a Holiday Tree Lighting Ceremony on December 2, 2011, from 6:00 pm. to 8:00 p.m., at the corner of Palm Drive and Pierson Blvd. Entertainment will include the DHS High School Jazz Band, Soloist Kelly McDaniel and Christmas Carols by the Boys & Girls Club Christmas Choir and Girl Scout Troop 1257. Santa and Mrs. Claus will also be in attendance!
In addition, receptacles will be available to receive donations of new, unwrapped toys for the Coachella Valley Christmas Store (please note that stuffed animals and opened packages cannot be accepted). For large donations, please call (760) 775-6200 for special arrangements.
From The City Manager's Memo
Digested from the City Manager's Memo:
- Progress at the Community Health & Wellness Center:
- Masonry work continues at the locker rooms, Athletic Center and western section of the Boys & Girls Club Building.
- Installed rebar for slab foundation at Teen Center.
- Steel Columns and beams were set at Teen Center and for the building overhang structure.
- Rough underground installed for the section revised by the Desert Healthcare District.
- All Commissions are now on the SIRE system, with agendas, minutes and audio recordings available on the city's web site.
- Researching automation of the employee performance review process.
- Developed draft Home Alarm Ordinance and circulated for internal review.
- Developing Business License automation module.
- The traffic analysis for the updated General Plan is being completed. The draft EIR will be released early in 2012.
- The Parks Master Plan is being reviewed by a sub-committee. It will come to the city council for adoption in early 2012.
- The directional sign program is being reviewed and revised and will be brought to the city council [say it with me!] in early 2012.
- LAFCO is putting its fine touches on Annexation 29 and has scheduled its hearing for January 26, 2012.
- We don't have an ordinance regulating billboards! But now with the annexation, we've got billboards. An ordinance is in the works.
- Walmart is working on their draft EIR.
- Dollar General is at the Initial Study/Mitigated Negative Declaration stage. A public hearing will be scheduled in early 2012.
- Aloha Systems Photovaoltaic Plant is at the same stage as Dollar General.
- You may have noticed the digging and fencing at Shodhan Dentistry on Palm. They have filled and capped the septic tank and they are now connected to the sewer.
- There is a Painted Hills Wind Project that would put 6 new turbines in the southwest end of the city [is that, like, I-10 & Indian sort of?]. It's going through the environmental gauntlet now.
- Flamingo Hotel: the architect plans to submit conceptual site plans and floor plans within 2 months [meaning early 2012].
- A greenhouse gas inventory is being done for the Tahiti Partners Commercial Center [AKA "Pierson Professional Plaza"].
- A grading permit has been issued for YK Spa, which will be on Hacienda.
- A broker representing the property owners at the southeast corner of Palm Drive and Dillon Road has submitted a conceptual site plan for a commercial retail center to include a 45,000 square foot major anchor tenant, 2 minor anchor tenants (15,000 and 18,000 sq. ft.) and a variety of smaller pads ranging in size from 2,280 sq. ft. to 7,130 sq. ft.
- Sea Mountain Inn: A Conditional Use Permit (CUP) application has been submitted for a parking lot and landscaping but is incomplete. A Parcel Merger, Development Permit and Design Review Permit are required.
- Palm View Estates: the city attorney has responded to the opinion from California Department of Housing and Community Development that says the city can't collect DIFs at the mobile home park. The city is now awaiting a reply.
- Dillon Road House: A CUP application was submitted, but was deemed incomplete. The City received a letter from the applicant’s attorney and the City attorney is preparing a response.
- Riverside County previously approved a 1.8 million square foot warehouse and distribution center on Indian. The project is now in the city due to the annexation. The developer has applied for a time extension, which is being reviewed. Ultimately it must go before the planning commission. It's being called "Plot Plan 21355," if you'd like a handle to keep track of it as it goes along.
- Traffic light at Camino Campañero: "Installation of wires to serve the meter for the signal was rescheduled for November 28 by So. Cal Edison. Mission Springs Water District is reviewing the responsibility for damage to their waterline." [I can hardly wait to hear how this resolves.]
- Sonora Drive: a Resolution Of Necessity has been scheduled for the December 6 city council meeting to get the 8-foot right of way north of Avendia Dorado. [IIRC, this is the first step toward eminent domain proceedings and means some property owner is not cooperating at the pace we would like.]
- At the December 12 city council study session, one of the subjects will be an underground utility project.
- Western & Scenic: Initial Site Assessment will be completed on November 30, which is the last of the environmental documents requested by Caltrans...[so it is alleged.]
- Website for the "Devers-Palo Verde No. 2" transmission project which includes more power lines coming to Devers Hill where a new substation will be built. These lines will be bringing all the new solar power from eastern Riverside County to the populated areas. You may have already seen surveyors along the route, but real work will commence in December and continue through August 2013.
November 29, 2011
Great L.A. Walk - Beverly Hills
Another hiker had me take a photo of him and his group with his Fujifilm Instax 210 Instant Film Camera which is a HUGE camera. I had never heard of these, but they came out in early 2010. Costs about $61 for the camera. A pack of film with 20 exposures costs about $16.
And finally, Maison Martin Margiela just inside the western city limit of Beverly Hills:
That is a well-maintained exterior.
Baldwin Hills Views
Some time in the last couple of years I had read that Baldwin Hills Scenic Overlook was an ideal spot to get panoramic views of Los Angeles. I went up there this past Sunday, and the advice I'd gotten was dead on right! I couldn't believe the completely unobstructed clear view of EVERYthing from Mount San Jacinto all the way to Santa Monica in one sweep. I've never seen anything like it, even from atop Mt. San Jacinto.
Clicking this will get you the full size image which is about 5.5 MB; 28,963 × 1,226. Neither San Gorgonio nor San Jacinto are included.
Clicking this will get you the Google map of the park. I was surprised when I got there to see that this is a major physical exercise park. You can drive to the top and pay $6 to park there, but only one other driver and I did that - and the other driver was getting busted for smoking medical marijuana in his car there. Everybody else (and that's like hundreds of others) park on the street at the bottom of the park and then walk UP it, and it is no easy hill at all. It's steep in all directions. You've got your choice of walking up the winding paved road, a switchbacked dirt path, or a very old stairway that goes dead up the hill by the steepest route possible. That stairway laughs at modern ADA requirements. The steps are irregular and some are more than a foot high. Still, this seems to deter no one.
There's a very nice visitor center at the top which is, of course, closed.
But if you turn around and face south, this is what you see. They are still pumping oil there.
Nature Is Dirty
After years of complaints about oily, greasy sheens in Ballona Creek, unidentified "environmentalists" have discovered the source is the La Brea tar pits! Damn that nature getting in the way of our imaginary pretty views! I have a solution: next September hold the L.A. Decompression (the post-Burning Man event) on the site of the tar pits and, uh, maybe waive some of those petty fire safety rules. We can deal with those tar pits in a way that is both memorable and permanent.
November 28, 2011
Great L.A. Walk - West Hollywood
Now we're finally on Santa Monica Boulevard itself.
I think it would have been a lot simpler to state what parking is permitted. There were several surrounding businesses, and I didn't have a pad of paper where I could have worked up a list to figure out which ones were left standing after running down the list of forbidden ones.
Kitchen 24 "combines the relaxed comfort of a traditional diner with a vibrant and modern energy." Basically, a diner with a martini menu. $2.50 for a Coke, $1.95 for coffee, "two Eggs any style with two pancakes and your choice of bacon or sausage and potatoes" ($7.95) is called "Wakey Wakey Eggs and Bakey," chicken salad sandwich $10, skillet apple pie $5, a burger is $10 and served on a toasted brioche bun.
I got no idea. Next door to The Abbey.
Art in public places. Any guesses at the nicknames for this piece?
Today's Salton Sea Hearing
The full audio recording of this afternoon's hearing for the Assembly Budget Subcommittee No. 3 on Resources and Transportation at the North Shore Community Center on the subject of the Salton Sea is available here. The meeting was chaired by Assemblyman Richard Gordon. Assemblyman Brian Jones from San Diego was also there, along with Assemblyman V. Manuel Pérez. The first hour and sixteen minutes of the meeting were mind numbing - and not in any enjoyable way. The Assembly members spoke. Then we heard from Anton Favorini-Csorba from the Legislative Analyst's Office, followed by Kealii Bright from the California Natural Resources Agency, Ken Nelson from Department of Water Resources, and Kevin Hunting Department of Fish & Game. All great minds in their area of expertise, I am sure, but public speaking is not their area of expertise.
Then we finally got to hear from local people, and things got a bit more exciting since the locals are mostly of the opinion that Sacramenta has done worse than nothing. Here are the time stamps where you can find these speakers in the recording. I have extracted individual audio files for those whose comments really stood out, IMO.
|1:16:43||Imperial County Supervisor Gary Wyatt.|
|1:28:13||Riverside County Supervisor Marion Ashley.|
|1:32:53||Riverside County Supervisor John Benoit.|
|1:37:12||General Manager Kevin Kelly, Imperial Irrigration District.|
|1:41:14||Dr. Timothy Paul Krantz, University of Redlands, who had a Powerpoint presentation depicting the coming disaster and a possible solution; all images that you've already seen, if you've been following the Salton Sea story.|
|1:50:01||Kim Delfino, California Program Director, Defenders of Wildlife.|
|1:56:47||General Manager Steve Robbins, Coachella Valley Water District.|
|1:59:48||General public comments begin, limited to 2 minutes per person.|
|2:27:14||Assemblyman Pérez made his final remarks, which were much more stirring than his opening remarks.|
Yes, the sharp-eyed reader will have already spotted the blocked fire exit behind the platform where the Assemblymen sat. Well, if you have to die a horrible death by fire, what better place than in an Albert Frey building on the Salton Sea?!
November 27, 2011
Chinese Chicken Jerky For Dogs - Warning From The FDA
Chicken jerky products should not be substituted for a balanced diet and are intended to be fed occasionally in small quantities.
FDA is advising consumers who choose to feed their dogs chicken jerky products to watch their dogs closely for any or all of the following signs that may occur within hours to days of feeding the products:
If the dog shows any of these signs, stop feeding the chicken jerky product. Owners should consult their veterinarian if signs are severe or persist for more than 24 hours. Blood tests may indicate kidney failure (increased urea nitrogen and creatinine). Urine tests may indicate Fanconi syndrome (increased glucose). Although most dogs appear to recover, some reports to the FDA have involved dogs that have died.
- decreased appetite;
- decreased activity;
- diarrhea, sometimes with blood;
- increased water consumption; and/or
- increased urination.
FDA, in addition to several animal health diagnostic laboratories in the U.S., is working to determine why these products are associated with illness in dogs. FDA's Veterinary Laboratory Response Network (VLRN) is now available to support these animal health diagnostic laboratories. To date, scientists have not been able to determine a definitive cause for the reported illnesses. FDA continues extensive chemical and microbial testing but has not identified a contaminant.
The FDA continues to actively investigate the problem and its origin. Many of the illnesses reported may be the result of causes other than eating chicken jerky. Veterinarians and consumers alike should report cases of animal illness associated with pet foods to the FDA Consumer Complaint Coordinator in their state or go to www.fda.gov/petfoodcomplaints.
Waggin Train Chicken Jerky Tenders have been sold at Costco and seem to be causing health problems in dogs. I can't find the product now at Costco.com, so they may have pulled it from their inventory. Amazon has 67 1-star reviews of this product which include reports of the illness and even death of pet dogs.
November 26, 2011
Successful Launch Of Mars Science Lab
From Pasadena to Mars. The video includes shots from exterior cameras on the launch vehicle.
Story here. It is scheduled to land on Mars on August 6, 2012.
9th Circuit Appeals Court Hearings On December 8
The 9th Circuit appeals court has scheduled two hearings on December 8, 2011, that relate to Prop 8. At 2:30 PM the court will hear arguments about Judge Ware's decision to unseal the trial recordings from the Perry vs. Schwarzenegger trial. As though court proceedings should be public! The very idea! Then at 3:30 PM they will hear the arguments on Prop 8 itself, since the California Supreme Court released their opinion on "standing."
Great L.A. Walk - Fairfax Avenue
Intro Level DSLRs
B&H Photo offers this intro video for entry-level DSLRs which can be helpful if you are thinking of making the leap up from point & shoot. I wish people would avoid distinguishing these as being more "serious," as though they are better for photographing funerals, and enjoyment is frowned upon. I would describe them as take-better-photos cameras.
BUT, before you make that leap, which commits you to spending more money to acquire a physically larger camera, you should consider mirrorless cameras as well. (Canon does not yet offer a mirrorless camera.) Wikipedia article on mirrorless cameras.
Your worst photo will be the photo you don't shoot, so consider which camera you are most likely to actually use and the situations in which you will be using it.
November 25, 2011
The Great L.A. Walk - Hollywood Boulevard
Gene Autry, the only star on the Hollywood Walk Of Fame with a star in all five categories: radio, motion pictures, recording, television and live performance.
Mars Science Lab Ready For Launch
A Cautionary Tale
Errol Morris's "The Umbrella Man" offers guidance for all (and I mean ALL) conspiracy theorists.
John Souders of Marietta, Georgia, plans to make 100 parachute jumps (in 11 hours of daylight) this weekend "to offer his own kind of gratitude to veteran Mike Spann, who died 10 years ago Friday, and to raise money for Spann's children." "Spann, an Alabama native, was a paramilitary officer with the CIA when he became the first U.S. casualty in the war in Afghanistan. He was killed during a prisoner riot at the Mazari Sharif compound in the northern part of the country." Before working for the CIA, Spann was a Captain in the Marines.
With 11 hours of daylight, Mr. Souders will have to average no more than 6 minutes 36 seconds per jump to make 100. He says he can average one jump every 5 minutes. One way he keeps it fast is by jumping from 2,000 feet. The airplane will require at least 3 fill-ups.