December 4, 2013
I don't know what to make of the fact that the clocks in the station say it's after 2 PM and the angle of sunlight seems to match that.
November 27, 2013
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!
November 26, 2013
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.
November 24, 2013
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 5, 2013
The Great Los Angeles Walk 2013
For those seeking some urban exercise, The Great Los Angeles Walk has finally sketched in the route for Saturday, November 23. They announced the starting spot (the refreshed Echo Park Lake) a few weeks ago, saying we would be heading along Sunset Boulevard, but getting off of it before we got to the part that's inhospitable to pedestrians. I waited to see what the rest of the route was, because it sure looked like it would be Santa Monica Boulevard again. That was fun my first time in 2011, and it was okay to do it again in 2012, but those last miles on Santa Monica Boulevard go pretty slowly for me, and I wasn't sure I would want to do it again.
But now they've announced that after Sunset Boulevard we'll get over to Wilshire Boulevard and follow that to Santa Monica. They haven't given an estimated mileage, but they say they try to keep it under 18 miles. Easy bugout for participants are bus routes 704 or 4 over on Santa Monica Boulevard. Either will take you back to Echo Park for only $1.50.
No charge for the walk. It's not a fundraiser. No waivers to sign. It's loosely organized and you are on your own, although the loose organizers usually make some arrangements with a couple of businesses along the route for food or snacks for you to buy. Two years ago it was food trucks on Hollywood Boulevard. Last year we could pre-order breakfast at a bakery that was a few miles from the start point.
The last two years someone has been there at the start to give a brief lecture on the landmark where we are meeting, and I expect we'll get the same for Echo Park Lake.
October 19, 2013
Beverly Hills Wallis Performing Arts Center Complete
Lots of photos here. This is what Beverly Hills did with its classic post office building on Santa Monica Boulevard built in 1934. Technically, it's named the "Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts."
The L.A. Times has a more detailed article including a video of the architect Zoltan Pali.
October 8, 2013
The problem is that Verizon FiOS is not available in Boston because it would cost too much to put the cabling into the complex old city. Mayor Menino is pissed: "'I think they should put in big letters in the ad, "We do not serve Boston. But we're using Boston as a backdrop, because Boston is a great city,"' he said."
September 29, 2013
Of the Publisher's Clearing House sweepstakes? No, something even better. These people are Linda Kidd and Jim Lopez who are City Council members in Needles, California.
They said that their City Council used to be troubled by internecine conflicts, one faction going against the other, with little benefit to the city. But now things are entirely different, the City Council works cooperatively, disagreements are dealt with respectfully and civilly, and after a vote they all move on together. They said they want Needles to move forward now, and that they thought Rick Daniels was their man for that.
Impressed by such a transformation I had to ask how it was accomplished. Did they hire a psychologist? Was it a criminal investigation? Switchblades and brass knuckles at the skate park?
No! No, they said. They said some good people ran for election and were elected, displacing the malcontents. That sounds like democracy. Just crazy talk!
The party at Fleming's was well attended by Coachella Valley luminaries and was nominally chaired by former Mayor of Palm Springs Will Kleindienst, who I had never met before. Dean Gray was outside with Lou Stewart and Pamela Berry, making us all feel at home. I posed and smiled for his photo and am waiting almost breathlessly for him to abuse it somewhere.
September 23, 2013
Frank Lloyd Wright's John B. Storer House On The Market
(via Curbed LA)
September 14, 2013
I have just finished L.A. Noir: The Struggle for the Soul of America's Most Seductive City by John Buntin. The skeleton of the book is the parallel biographies of William Parker, LAPD Chief from 1950 until his death in 1966, and Mickey Cohen, L.A. mobster who died in 1976. John Buntin fleshes out that skeletal frame with the sprawling story of 20th century Los Angeles and everything it touched. It's a history of the LAPD through the Rodney King riots and the story of the mob throughout the United States in the last century. It's politics in the LAPD, City of Los Angeles and State of California. It's a history of racism in the United States as well as a history of the advances of civil liberties from an era when courts generally considered the 4th amendment to the U.S. Constitution to apply only to the federal government to the radical changes that began to come in the 1950s. Until the courts decided otherwise, it was considered 100% legal to hide (without a warrant) a Dictaphone in someone's house to record all conversations because it was technically not wiretapping (the breaking and entering part of the process was just overlooked). It's the Chandlers at the L.A. Times versus William Randolph Hearst.
Both William Parker and Mickey Cohen came to Los Angeles as children around 1920-ish; Cohen from Brooklyn and Parker from Deadwood, but their histories didn't begin to directly interact until Parker became Chief in 1950. Prior to that, Parker, who had joined the LAPD in 1927 and was instrumental in crafting the civil service protections that allowed the LAPD to function fairly freely of political control by city hall until those protections were reduced after the Rodney King riots. His LAPD career was interrupted only by his service in the Marines in World War II where his duties included de-Nazification of police agencies in Europe.
I listened to the audiobook version. Up to now I've been very impressed with the skill of the various narrators of audiobooks. Kirby Heyborne, narrator of L.A. Noir, is the first exception. He mispronounces a few words that most English speakers are familiar with ("Sardinia" for example), but his biggest howler was pronouncing "lunged" as though it were the past tense of "lung" (as if that were possible) instead of the past tense of "lunge." My moment of visuo-lingual confusion was pretty messy. Also, he renders all female voices so they sound like an 11-year old boy pretending to be a girl.
I was able to mostly overlook those flaws. The book itself will give you a non-standard view of the story how Los Angeles came to be what it is.