June 3, 2016
Santa Monica Photos
Things seen on a Sunday near the Santa Monica downtown Expo Line stop.
See how nicely they do the trees, with a big expanse of wood with lots of spaces to allow rain (as if it ever rained!) to get to the soil. Also expensive, I'm sure. But how much does it cost to replace dead trees?
The street intersection at the Expo Line goes all four ways whenever it goes into Walk mode and so, knowing how L.A. drivers are, no expense was spared in slapping paint all over the place. Also, there's a cop on duty.
This was a bit of a challenge for me. Even when you're walking on this flat surface, your brain tells you its wavy. Easiest solution was to look away.
Simple and durable directions. Now, try to find that in the press of a crowd.
I'd like to see their calculations on the efficiency of putting solar panels in a fixed vertical array like this. Their western wall, where these are mounted, is a lot bigger than their roof.
Please excuse my stupid finger in the view. I want you to notice how they handle their public education campaign.
April 4, 2016
How Much Would You Pay For A Randomizer?
The TSA bought an app that randomizes a simple binary choice: left or right. You could do it with a magic 8 ball, but that's not expensive enough. TSA paid IBM $1.4 million for this randomizer.
March 7, 2016
The I-10 Express Lanes
Back in January I had my first opportunity to use the express lanes on I-10 heading into Los Angeles and, boy, I was impressed! The regular lanes were a parking lot while I passed them doing 80 MPH. Last weekend I used them again and discovered congestion pricing. The first time I drove them, it cost me $2.60. This past weekend it was only $1.10! Cheaper than a bus ride! You have to have Fastrak, but getting set up with a Fastrak device costs you nothing at all. Sign up online, linking it to a credit card, and everything gets mailed to you. Stick it on your windshield and you don't have to think about it again, unless you have more passengers. You can set it to say you're solo, have two in the car, or more than two. Pricing may vary. I got it initially for the bridge tolls in the Bay Area. There is no way to pay your toll in person on the Golden Gate anymore. It's either Fastrak or go online afterwards and pay it.
This video picks up where I'm transferring from southbound 605 to westbound 10 which is where the express lanes begin. If they can ever extend them further east, that will be wonderful! The predictable permanent backup on I-10 begins east of the 605.
The thing to note in this video is that the regular lanes of I-10 on my right are mostly a parking lot, while I'm staying in the 70-80 MPH range. This is one of the very few places where I think the leftmost lane is where you should do most of your driving, while passing on the right. This gives you a buffer of one lane most of the time between you and the parked cars. One stupid driver opening his door, unaware of the faster traffic immediately to his left, and everything goes to hell.
As it approaches downtown there is a split between I-10 and 101. I've only followed the 101 branch. It crosses the L.A. River and puts you on Alameda Street right at Union Station. There's an entrance right there to get you back on the 101. But in this video I exited the express lane just before the bridge over the river. Would've been faster to stay in the express lane.
An interesting thing about the congestion pricing is that if the average speed in the express lanes drops below 45 MPH, Fastrak customers will no longer be permitted to enter, as the lanes will be reserved for those vehicles qualifying for HOV status.
January 1, 2016
At last week's Economic Development meeting, Councilmember Joe McKee shared some of the information he brought back from his official visit to Dalian, China.
First, there is the pamphlet about DHS prepared by Councilmember Russell Betts and his wife. For anyone who is worried, Mr. McKee said one of the first things they did in China was to ask one of their hosts to take a look at it to assure it didn't say anything we didn't mean to convey.
The Chinese returned the favor with a book illustrating many of the attractions in the area.
Jinzhou New District is home to a cluster of pearls: the romantic Jinshitan, the fashionable camp, the lofty Dahei Mountain. the thousand-year-old Jinzhou city... If you come here, you will be enchanted by her glamour, considering its being endowed with the coastlines of the Yellow Sea and the Bohai Sea, with the ancient Jinzhou city and the fast emerging New District, with the natural scenery and cultural landscape. which make New District a colorful scenic tourist resort with a blend of history and modernism.
Jinzhou New District of Dalian is constituted by the original Jinzhou District, the Development Area of Dalian, the National Tourist Resort -Jinshitan, and Dalian Export Processing Zone. She is favored by nature with abundant tourist resources, embodied by several "GuoZiHaos" (places of interest recognized by the nation): the National Tourist Resort, the AAAA Class Scenic Spot, the National Scenic Attraction, the National Forest Park, the National Natural Reserve, etc.
Jinzhou New District borders on the Yellow Sea and the Bohai Sea, rich in mountain and sea, sand and stone. She boasts several types of landscape as follows. Her natural scenery includes the coastline, stretching for over 322 kilometers, the coastal Karst landform of prehistoric Sinian and Cambrian, the National Scenic Attraction, the Jinshtan and the Dahei Mountain known as the First Mountain of South Liaoning province; her cultural landscape covers the historic Bei Shacheng city, the site of battle between Japan and Russia in Nanshun Mountain, and the former residence of Guan Xiangying, a respectable revolutionary Martyr; besides, she also has various plant bases, such as the nationwide largest base of large cherry and yellow peach, the bases of orchid, chrysanthemum, and lily, and the Ziyun Huaxi lavender ﬁeld covering a thousand mu of land [about 165 acres], which presents a purple sea of ﬂowers and becomes a landmark of the romantic and modem metropolis-Dalian. Also, you can enjoy pastoral scenery here, as described in the verses from Tao Yuanming, a renowned ancient poet, that "Picking chrysanthemums Dongli, I unexpectedly see Nanshan." The tourist resources here range from ancient ones to those of modem times. The ancient ones are amazing and beautiful, like the unique costal national geopark; the historic ones are eternal and profound, like the historic and cultural sites that have lasted across time and space; the modem ones are fashionable and energetic, like the Discovery Kingdom, the Tangfeng Spring, the RV camping encampment, as well as other leisure activities, for instance, playing golf, yachting, hunting, equestrian sports, etc.
Jinzhou New District is well equipped with tourism facilities, and now, she prides herself on five national A-class tourist resorts, six national agri-tourism sites, four streets for characteristic tour provincially, four tourism-oriented countries, nineteen households for star-rated agritainment. twenty-one star-rated hotels prepared for tourism, as well as twelve travel agencies.
The tourism activities in Jinzhou New District never cease to be held for all year round. The Temple Fair of the Dahei Mountain, Dalian International Cherry Festival, Dalian International Beach-culture Festival, Dalian International Winter Swimming Festival, together with other wonderful branded festivals and tourism activities, enjoy a high reputation home and abroad.
Jinzhou New District is a glamorous and brilliant place. And your coming will be greeted with a heartedly welcome from the hospitable people here.
Golden Pebble Tang Dynasty International Hot Spring Resort-one thousand year dream back to Tang Dynasty, oriental culture health spring.
"In early spring, princess Yang baths in the huaqing pool' which warmed and smoothed the creamy-tinted crystal of her skin." it comes from Tang Dynasty poet Bai Juyi's "A song of unending sorrow", gives the hot spring culture connotation, Golden Pebble Tang Dynasty International Hot Spring Resort is surrounded by mountain and near the sea, moving Huaqing Hot Spring to the picturesque Jinshitan, and hot spring culture deduces to perfection. Everywhere embodies Tang Dynasty's style of 56 Chinese courtyards, spa resort collects from the stone, bamboo, pine gardens and other landscape, Huaqing palace, Princess pool, Rose pool, etc. 76 hot springs bubble pool, it becomes an independent spa resort, unique style, as the advertisement says, "one thousand year dream back to Tang Dynasty, oriental culture health spring."
UPDATE: Councilmember Betts shares this:
6:55 PM (28 minutes ago)
to me, Joe
That probably is the stupidest thing I've seen you write Ron.
"At last week's Economic Development meeting, Councilmember Joe McKee shared some of the information he brought back from his official visit to Dalian, China.
First, there is the pamphlet about DHS prepared by Councilmember Russell Betts and his wife. For anyone who is worried, Mr. McKee said one of the first things they did in China was to ask one of their hosts to take a look at it to assure it didn't say anything we didn't mean to convey."
I have asked him to clarify what part of it is stupid:
Which part? It's all accurate.
Mr. Betts clarified:
7:29 PM (11 minutes ago)
Don't waste my time
He was the one who wasted his time by emailing me, and he probably could have clarified his comment using just as many syllables as "Don't waste my time."
What's the problem? Has he gotten tired of bullying everybody else in town?
December 26, 2015
NYC Cyclist Finds Route 66 "Not very scenic"
Jeffrey Tanenhaus grabbed a Citi Bike (a bike sharing bike) in New York City this past August and headed west. He has just now reached California. Yes, obviously he should have started sooner, but he's here and hanging out in Joshua Tree National Park now...or at least that's what the article says. He remarks on the sparsity of drug stores and such in the southwest, and he's not carrying any camping gear, so I don't know how he will make it in the park. He has been depending on the kindness of strangers for places to sleep, so maybe he can become the darling of Jumbo Rocks campground, or something like that.
He has done a bulk of the ride along historic Route 66, at times pedaling out on the shoulder.
“Out here in the West, sometimes there is no other road,” he said. “It’s not very scenic, but that’s where the roads are.”
One article dated in October said Los Angeles is his goal but he "may end up in San Diego instead of Los Angeles, as he originally planned, because of weather concerns." I wonder what sort of major weather difference he thought he could detect four months in advance.
In effect he bought the bike for $1,200 by not returning it within the time limit. For $1,200 he could have gotten an even better bike. He carried his gear in a trailer.
October 23, 2015
Well, This Explains That
The extension of the Gold Line along the 210. I first noticed this bridge sometime last year, I think. I thought it strange that I couldn't recall noticing the distinctive design, nor could I recall a lot of construction in that area. I thought maybe I had just been paying too damn much attention to traffic. But, now I learn that it is a new bridge and it's for the Gold Line extension.
September 22, 2015
Old Cazadero Road
Old Cazadero Road is the 5½ mile road from Guerneville up to the Wildwood Retreat Center. A look at the map suggested this road might be a good opportunity for a video, and I was right.
Three Bay Area Bridges
September 13, 2015
"How can I go to Burning Man?"
Well, here's one way, starting at Barstow. (Hang in there, it gets pretty on the playa.)
August 17, 2015
Corona to Palm Springs
While driving along CA-91 on one of the hottest days this summer my Ford Ranger seemed to lose its air conditioning. I didn't notice the temperature gauge climbing severely. What had happened was a small plastic part in the heater core had failed (after only 215,000 miles!). I drove probably another ten miles and didn't realize the trouble I was in until I pulled off for gas. When I stopped, steam was pouring out from under the hood. I thought I had blown the water pump, since that is also still original equipment, but it wasn't that. AAA covered my tow back to my mechanic in Palm Springs, about 85 miles one way.
And I took what I hope is a rare opportunity to video the route from a bit higher than I usually sit. I just left my dashcam turned on. Most of this video is at 12X speed. The parts that are not at that speed are faster. So it's only 5½ minutes long.
Music: "Break and Enter" by Prodigy
The highways are CA-91, CA-60/I-215, CA-60, I-10, CA-111.