November 29, 2013
About That Walmart
I was wondering, when the proposed Desert Hot Springs Walmart eventually comes before the Planning Commission, if it would be within the city's powers to include as a condition of approval that they don't open their doors on Thanksgiving or the Friday after. It would be a public safety necessity, I would think.
LA Auto Show
I don't know what everybody else did yesterday, but I went to the LA Auto Show.
That's a Corvette, but that's not a standard color.
When I first saw this I thought it was pronounced like "Elmira Jay" which I thought was pretty damned weird. Then I realized they were going for "El Mirage." But is that final "j" pronounced like French "zh" or English "dj"?
This is what the LA Convention Center provides for a charging station.
While this is what Ford provided.
Which would you prefer? The one where you have to bend over and put your hand into some poorly lighted hole to plug in your device and then wait by sitting on the floor? Or the one out in the bright light where it all looks clean with a bench right there to sit on while it charges? Ford has this one figured out. BTW, the free Wi-fi was provided by Porsche...or at least they got naming rights, which is how I imagine it goes at the convention center.
Here's the real problem with customizing classic cars: the only place you can put your flatscreen TV is in the trunk.
The Honda CNG. Comes in gray, but they probably call it silver.
Hyundai offers a Tucson with a fuel cell and this was a demo model of the fuel cell engine.
Thank goodness, somebody is finally bringing back fins. This is the Jeremy Scott edition of a Smart Car.
Bob Vila again, right?
If you're going to put it on a sign, spell it right. It's "Nürburgring."
Sound system in the back of a pickup. I'd be afraid that spare tire would ruin the acoustics.
Is this a promotion for Volvo or IKEA? Since neither are truly Swedish, does it matter?
Would you sit on what looks like a bunch of broken lattice suspended over an electric light? No, and apparently no one else would do it either.
A word of advice for future attendees. Do not buy any tickets or parking reservations online. I looked at the choices and didn't buy either. Once I got into downtown LA I saw that the real prices for both admission and parking were lower than what was quoted online...and this was before the online purchases started stacking on those extra service fees.
Visiting The Annenberg Estate
On Wednesday Great Outdoors met at Sunnylands for a tour inside the pink walls of the Annenberg estate. I'll tell you, after listening to the stories that caused me to imagine the estate would be a sort of cross between the Emerald City and Willy Wonka's factory with a sort of Frank Sinatra/Ronald Reagan flavor - it's a golf course. Just a golf course. Nine holes. Mid-century modern house sitting in the middle. We were not allowed to photograph inside the house, but we got the full tour. Great views of the mountains. And, to answer the most important question, they pump their own water.
Some Great Outdoors members in the labyrinth which is at the Sunnylands Center & Gardens.
Meanwhile, at Two Bunch Palms
The restaurant renovation enclosed a former open patio to enlarge the dining area with length of picture windows framing the soaring San Jacinto Mountains. Essense' ambiance is a composite of light, natural woods, soothing white walls, and natural stone and fabric textures. Burlap napkins, nubby placemats and small square glazed pots of tiny cactus decorate the tables.
"Next year, developers anticipate room renovations and expansion, construction of a new spa, café, boutique, fitness center and eventually a high-energy grotto." That's after building the 3,000 square foot yoga dome.
November 27, 2013
Rwanda Launches Circumcision Drive
In an attempt to reduce the number of new HIV infections Rwanda is seeking to circumcise 700,000 adult men by a "non-surgical" method. When I first read that I assumed a "non-surgical" circumcision would involve some kind of magic ritual that, if performed correctly, would cause the foreskin to just fall off. But I was wrong. Science has brought us the Pre-Pex. You can find a video on that site which will answer most of your questions. It requires two visits to a medical professional, but the procedure can be performed by nurses.
About Those Drugged Up Naked Burners
You know how there are articles and videos from Burners who talk about their first time and say something like "I thought it was going to be nothing but drunk, naked hippies running around, but it was so much more!" It was art, it was spiritual, it was renewing and cleansing, yadda yadda.
Well, in this article we hear from those damn, drunk naked people who run around at Burning Man. Yeah, you bet it's NSFW.
Jessica Gentile talks about the Dr. Bronner's camp:
They have a big tent. And the best music. So you go in and you get naked and you’re all dusty and dirty with a bunch of other naked people and there’s this big plexi glass chamber that looks like a gas chamber and it had metal grates on the top and on the bottom and a super hot naked dude that looks like Jesus—WWJDM: When Will Jesus Do Me—is herding all the naked people into this gas chamber of joy. Then all these people with hoses start hyping you and getting you to dance and when you dance enough they spray you with magical lavendar Dr. Bronner foam and you just get covered in it, and everyone is like blissfully laughing and screaming. I was scared to open my eyes because I thought it would sting so I was just bouncing off all of these foamy naked people in a big tank. Then I rubbed my eyes and opened them and it didn’t sting at all and I have never seen any group of people so happy in my life. It was awesome. It was like when you show a puppy snow, but the puppy is actually a fucking guy with a hemp necklace.
Her advice for first time Burners: "light a cigarette in your butt then make someone in the crowd take it and smoke it."
Home Invader Arrested
CITY OF DESERT HOT SPRINGS POLICE DEPARTMENT
INCIDENT: Home Invasion Robbery
DATE/TIME OF INCIDENT: Nov. 26, 2013, 6:57 PM
SUSPECT: Aguilera, Jose, DOB: 12/19/1981, MH, 5'4", 140 lbs, Black/Brown, Address: 66410 Mission Lakes Blvd.
CHARGES: Home Invasion Robbery, Assault with a Deadly Weapon
STATUS: In Custody, Riverside County Jail
On 11/26/13, at about 6:57 PM, officers were dispatched to a residence in the 10000 Block of Palm Drive for a subject who had entered the residence armed with a knife. Officers arrived and found the suspect being held down by the victims. The suspect was handcuffed and transported to DRMC for injuries sustained during a struggle with the victims.
The victims said they were in bed when the suspect came inside the bedroom through a sliding glass door. The suspect was armed with a knife and told the victims not to move. The suspect jumped on the bed at which time the victims tackled the suspect and a struggle ensued over the knife. The victims suffered injuries from the knife during the struggle.
A third victim, who was in the kitchen, heard the commotion and went to the bedroom. He struck the suspect with a metal pot at which time the three victims managed to subdue the suspect until we arrived.
The victims were treated at the scene for their injuries. This incident is still being investigated. Anyone with any information is asked to call the DHS Police Department.
My Timelapse Of The Great L.A. Walk
Only a tad over 14 minutes long. Sunset Boulevard (really long), Whittier Drive (short) and Wilshire Boulevard (long).
Bostonians, keep your eyes open for the views of the new Emerson College building under construction. Incredible!
British Views Of The States
It is alleged that these are attempts by Britons to identify the American states. I was hoping to cheerfully point out that California and Texas were the only states gotten correct in all of the maps, but then there's that one train wreck of a map that leaves California blank and labels Nevada as "L.A."
Some of them are pretty accurate, but I noticed that no one attempted to identify the upper peninsula of Michigan as anything at all. But on the up side, no one tried to label Lake Michigan as a state either, despite the fact that it looks like one on that map.
November 26, 2013
Deal On A GoPro Silver At Costco
I just noticed today that Costco is selling a GoPro Silver Edition for only $230 (also available at Costco.com. This is the same kit that costs $269 at Amazon. But be aware this is the GoPro Hero3 Silver Edition. It is NOT the GoPro Hero3+ Silver Edition (which is the same price at Amazon and GoPro.com.
The differences between the Hero3 Silver and the Hero3+ Silver are these: The + has a sharper lens, longer battery life, better audio, and 4x faster Wi-fi.
The differences between the top-o-the-line ($399) Black and Silver editions are: 12MP vs 10 MP, no continuous photo in the Silver, no simultaneous video and still photo in the Silver, the Silver does not have 4K or 2.7K or 1440p, Black has higher fps in some modes, Black has Video Bitrate Capture up to 45Mbps - Silver 25 Mbps.
I think the Black edition has lots flashy stuff that will probably never translate into anything you can see with your eyes - for most videographers and most viewers. The Silver is a little more down to earth, but I would definitely go for the Hero3+ Silver over the Hero3 Silver. The unplussed versions of Hero3 were buggy.
Timelapse Great LA Walk
William Campbell's timelapse of this past Saturday's walk shot with a GoPro. You can bet I'm working on my own, too, but I guess I'm just slow. Mr. Campbell's video may be better than mine because he shot a photo every two seconds, while I shot one only every five seconds, reasoning that I wouldn't cover all that much ground in those few seconds. Also, he doesn't seem to turn and look at things (or he's edited out all those shots) so it's a more straight-ahead journey. Mine will include all my gawking as well as walking. His is from a chest mount while I wore my camera up on my head. This means I looked much nerdier all day than he did, but I think I got better views. Also, the one he has uploaded to Youtube seems to have had the bejeezus compressed out of it, resulting in some giant jpeg artifacts. I won't do that. But it will be a while before my jerky, uninteresting masterpiece is ready.
The chest mount, being a little more discreet, means few people come up and ask what the hell that thing is. I considered using my chest mount, but besides the better point of view up on my head, I have found that the head mount is less prone to blur because as one walks ones body prevents most of the shocks of walking from being transmitted up to ones head. A chest mount doesn't do that. It's more noticeable in videos than still shots. Here's one of mine from near the beginning of the walk when some ladies wondered about that thing on my hat.
Here's the 9:42 point in Mr. Campbell's video where he passes me. That's me on the left. I saw in his video that he was often walking with our Glorious Leader, Michael Schneider, and I remembered Michael Schneider catching up to me at this point, which really surprised me since I thought I was trailing behind. I did not notice Mr. Campbell's GoPro on his chest.
Yesterday's MSWD-CVWD Joint Meeting
The meeting had four items on the agenda: MSWD's groundwater protection program (i.e., sewer construction), MSWD v. Verjil (where I learned for the first time that one of Jarvis's arguments was that they did have the right via the initiative process to bankrupt a government agency), I-10/Indian sewers, and the IRWMP Salt and Nutrient Management Plan. I thought that last item would be the dull one, but I was 180° wrong as the two boards and General Managers went at it. We can be thankful they stopped short of busting open heads with pool cues. Here's the Desert Sun story on that part of the meeting. To my utter astonishment the article appears to be entirely accurate! I didn't know this was possible at the Desert Sun.
The meeting did end on an up note with each director speaking in favor of continued cooperation and more joint meetings.
A Recent Aerial Photo of Desert Hot Springs
Shot on November 10, 2013. Photo by Michael Rymer. That's Flora Avenue running left to right at the very bottom of the photo. Cactus Drive (on the left) and Palm Drive (on the right) are the prominent north-south streets shown.
November 25, 2013
The Rude Pundit (one of my guilty pleasures) admits that one of his guilty pleasures is Restaurant Impossible and then he goes on to write about an episode "last week" (which I missed) that focused on the Georgia Boy Cafe in Maryland that is owned by two gay African-American men who have been together for some years. Rude Pundit liked the way they were presented on the show: "A damn food show was more honest and less sensationalistic and patronizing about how a nonwhite LGBT couple exists than pretty much anything the Rude Pundit's seen on American television."
Here's the website of the Georgia Boy Cafe. They offer a "bacon brownie" on their dessert menu.
November 24, 2013
First I came across this music video which seems to be four hours of individuals dancing and lip-synching (with professional skills) to a simple, happy little tune that just keeps cycling over and over. It is surprisingly easy to watch. The first hour appears to have been shot at the Super A Foods in Eagle Rock.
But it turns out this is just a small part of a project to produce a 24-hour music video featuring that little tune. Here it is: 24HoursOfHappy.com. It has a handy interface that shows you the time of day and allows you to move to other parts of the day. One is satisfied that many young dancers in Los Angeles were kept well occupied for a day.
Is that Steve Carrell starting at 5:08 PM? Yes, yes it is. Now I'm going to have to watch the whole thing without skipping to see if any other celebrities join in.
Fatal Traffic Accident On Little Morongo
CITY OF DESERT HOT SPRINGS POLICE DEPARTMENT
INCIDENT: Fatal Traffic Collision
DATE OF Incident: Saturday Nov. 23, 2013
At approximately 10:13 PM, Desert Hot Springs Police Officers were dispatched to the area of Little Morongo Road south of Pierson Boulevard in reference to a single vehicle traffic collision. The vehicle, a 1997 Honda Civic, was traveling southbound on Little Morongo from Pierson Blvd. when it apparently veered off to the left shoulder across the northbound lane, leaving the roadway and striking an electrical pole. Paramedics and the fire department were on scene immediately, however, the victim had already expired. The victim's identity is pending verification and next-of-kin notification by the Riverside County Coroner’s Office.
Little Morongo Road was closed for both directions of travel, between Pierson Boulevard and Two Bunch Palms Trail, while the scene was processed and has since reopened. Anyone with information is encouraged to contact the Desert Hot Springs Police Department. You may also contact Crime Stoppers, at (760) 341-STOP (7867).
Great LA Walk 2013
Download the Google Earth file here if you want to see more detail (let me know if that doesn't work for you as I haven't tried sharing a kmz file before).
The Great LA Walk yesterday was officially 18 miles, but I got 18.9 on my GPS (I always get more). It went fast - they say it went fast for everyone. This is the first time I've done the walk where it was still daylight when I entered Santa Monica. There was even still a halfway decent sunset dying when I reached the ocean.
There was no rain because I carried an umbrella this time. The single biggest challenge was paying my parking fee in Santa Monica because the machine switched from English to Spanish midway through the transaction and I could find no way to change it back. I think I paid 14 pesetas.
Other walkers who apparently have no need to eat or rest have already started uploading their photos. You can see them here. Mine will take a little time.
Here's a photo shot by our Glorious Leader at our start spot in Echo Park. I am way at the back, just below the little boathouse, wearing an orange cap with the GoPro on top of my head.
November 22, 2013
Are You Over Age 30? Of A Responsible Nature?
And thinking of ending your Birgin status? Trailer Life has the best short guide to Burning Man aimed at the responsible (but fun loving) adult who wants to give it a try.
Ed Coffman first "Burned" four years ago. "I didn't even really know much about what it was, except that it was an art festival in the middle of the desert," he recalled. "I had some time off so I bought a tent, some wine and a cooler, a sleeping bag and a bicycle, and I flew down here and bought a ticket at the gate." (Walk-up tickets are no longer sold at the entrance.) "I liked it enough I bought an Airstream!"
Ed's younger brother Bill accompanied him in the 1998 Airstream Safari the following three years, and baby brother Quentin joined them in 2012 — marking the first time they had traveled together since they were kids in North Carolina.
"Anything you read online is never going to indicate what Burning Man really is," said Bill. "I knew it was an art event and I knew it was a party event, but it's a lot more spiritual than I thought it would be. It's also so much bigger than I could've ever imagined; when you go out on the playa that first night, it's just phenomenal. It's something you'll never forget."
November 21, 2013
Tablets In Public Schools
The problems with the iPad program in the LAUSD schools have been administrative; failure to evaluate the full cost, failure to fully consider the physical security of the devices, failure to understand how quickly their bright students would bypass their flimsy filtering software.
OTOH, here's a community college in County Laois in Ireland that went for 64 GB HP Elite Pads. They paid €550 each for them (about US$740). "Students experienced problems such as tablets failing to switch on, tablets spontaneously going into sleep mode, devices looping while performing automatic repairs, system board failures and issues with wi-fi." According to HP's website, the HP Elite Pad runs Windows 8 Pro 32. The school has replaced all the pads with books.