Category Archives: Los Angeles

Luck

As some in the US might have noticed, there are a couple of lottery drawings that have built up large jackpots, if by “large” you mean “GARGANTUAN.” And that’s “gargantuan” as in “A BILLION FREAKING DOLLARS!!!!!!!” gargantuan. (I know, it’s advertised as a billion dollars but that’s if you take the money over several decades and if you take the cash it’s only $565,600,000 and then after Uncle Sam takes his share it’s barely $340,000,00 but what are you going to do? “Marketing” – am I right?)

Anyway, at lunch I walked down the block from the office to buy a Quick Pick ticket because it’s really hard to win without having a ticket (or so I’ve heard). On the way back, I damn near got run over crossing Ventura Boulevard when an SUV ran the red light.

A Bentley SUV.

“What the ACTUAL fuck???!!!!!” as the kids say.

Bentley makes an SUV???!!!!

Yes, indeedy, they do, as in this monstrosity. 600 HP, 664 lb-ft of torque, and it starts in the range of $250,000. One would think that a car costing a quarter million dollars wouldn’t have many accessories – one would be dead wrong. Read the bit in the article about the $160,000 Breitling clock that’s an option. It almost makes the $32,000 picnic basket seem reasonable.

So I didn’t win the lottery tonight – too soon to tell if anyone else did, but I figure I used all of my luck just getting out of the way of a luxury armored personnel carrier with quilted leather interior.

But at that MSRP it would no doubt have been an honor to have been smeared across two blocks of Ventura Boulevard if I hadn’t declined the opportunity. I mean, anyone can get picked off by a BMW or Mercedes in this town, they’re thick as flies. But it would be news if you got pegged by a Bentayga!

As long as they spell my name correctly, any publicity is good publicity?

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Sunset From Anthony’s Deck

Meet your neighbors. Make friends.

The urban legend says that no one in LA knows ANY of their neighbors. This has a grain of truth to it – there were people who lived across the street from us for 27 years at the old house and I don’t know that I ever said two words to them and I most certainly didn’t know their names. On the other hand, the other five or six closest houses to us on the street as well as the folks who lived on the other side of the wall in the back were all at least casual acquaintances. We knew their names, we knew their dogs, if they were going out of town for the weekend we would keep an eye on their place and bring their trash cans up from the curb, and they would do the same for us.

Since we moved in May I’ve met several of our neighbors and I go out of my way to say hello, introduce myself, find out who they are, invite them over if they see the telescopes out in the front yard, and so on.

Tonight that paid off.

There are the remnants of a “small” hurricane to the south of us, streaming lots of moisture across Baja and into Arizona at the moment. That stream of rain and thunderstorms is shifting over us, so I figured there might be a decent sunset to look at. Fortunately, it came just as halftime started (where my beloved KC Chiefs were beating the Broncos to go 4-0) so I grabbed my camera and went out.

As I’ve mentioned, we’re at the top of the hill, on the side of the street where our back yard drops off to the east. To our west, there are a bunch of trees and lots of power lines.

Things were starting to look colorful – but trees, neighbors’ houses, etc. I wandered down the hill a couple of houses.

Back to the west, with all of these layers of clouds and the sun setting through the layers to the west, there were some interesting spots of color floating in a sky full of darker clouds.

As the sun started to get to the horizon and peek out from under the last layer of clouds…

…the colors started to get vivid near the horizon. But still, trees, antennas, neighbors’ houses. Better, not spectacular.

The pinkish mid-layers got even more pronounced.

One of the neighboring wives came out to leave and saw me, asked what I was taking pictures of. I told her – she called for her husband to come out. I had previously met Anthony and he told me I should come with him. They live on the other side of the street with the hill dropping away and giving a clear view to the west, and they’ve got a deck so that it’s a particularly spectacular view.

Down below in the gloaming are the West Hills Baseball fields where we spent so many hours with all of our kids. The central hill there we always called Castle Peak, primarily because it’s surrounded by Castle Peak Park.

Meet your neighbors. Make friends. One of them, like Anthony, might like sunsets just as much as you do, and they might have a great view of the western horizon.

 

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Filed under Castle Willett, Los Angeles, Photography, Weather

LA Metro – Hollywood & Vine

On Sunday when we went to the Pantages to see “Waitress” we started out at the Universal City station. Directly across the street from the Pantages is the Hollywood & Vine station. Naturally, it has a distinctly Hollywood theme to its decor.

 

 

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LA Metro – Universal City

Yes, Los Angeles does have a mass transit system, including subways!

When travelling to downtown or Hollywood it’s actually quite easy to get to one of the stations on the subway, particularly on the weekend or in the evening. We don’t have a subway line terribly close to us (although there’s a dedicated bus line only a couple miles away that goes to the station at the end of the subway line) but it boils down to parking for $3 at the subway station that we’re driving past and $2.75 to get to Hollywood, or driving to Hollywood and paying $25 (or more) to park and having to deal with a ton of nasty traffic.

The LA Metro system, when you’re in that envelope where it’s going where you’re going, can be quite useful.

And a lot of it is gorgeous as well. The stations are all relatively new (the entire system only started twenty-five years ago) and there’s a lot of interesting designs and artwork involved.

When we went to the Pantages to see “Waitress” yesterday, we started out at the Universal City station.

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Pantages

Tonight we returned to the room where it happened – to see a different play.

The Pantages Theater in Los Angeles was, as always, spectacular.

It’s a 1920’s design so the bathrooms sort of suck, but you learn to live with that.

Can you say, “Ro – co – co?”

Sure. I knew you could.

The play, “Waitress,” had a cast with great voices, some great staging and choreography, and one part in particular that was way, Way, WAYYY over the top and hilarious.

Hollywood Boulevard on a Sunday afternoon with all of the tourists and buskers and hustlers and people in costume – it’s our little version of Times Square. Complete with that certain smell (stale urine) which out here is cut with that other (now legal) certain smell (pot).

I love LA!

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Filed under Entertainment, Los Angeles, Music, Photography

Now It’s A Party!

The first four police cars that roared by with full lights & siren blaring were a hint.

The two fire trucks doing the same indicated that the game was afoot.

The ambulance meant that it was serious.

But when the LAPD helicopter starts orbiting at 500 feet, NOW IT’S A PARTY!!

(Never did figure out exactly what was going on, but it was about two blocks away. The chopper was gone in about five minutes.)

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Seeing Is Believing

Saturday morning. Heading toward the hangar. Getting onto the freeway. There are two lanes, both of which have a stop sign at the bottom of  a short downhill ramp to allow for cross traffic into and out of a residential neighborhood.

I’m driving the 18-year old “mom-mobile mini van” with 193,000 miles on it. But it’s been pretty well taken care of, has the big six-cylinder engine, and can get up and go when I really need it to.

Heading onto the ramp I see there are six or seven cars all lined up in the left lane with zero cars in the right lane. I have no idea why, but that’s the way they’ve decided to line up.

I see that the last car in line in the left lane is a Tesla. The S-model. The “mom-mobile mini van” for Mrs. Jetson. The acceleration and speed available should be reserved for drag racers, not mini vans. I love the look, I love the style, I would love to own one. But I’ve never actually SEEN one really floor it and let fly, just heard of it.

I can see that there’s no cross traffic coming.

My mission is clear.

I’m watching the Tesla and the car in front of it, first of all, to make sure that neither of them is going to think, “Why am I sitting in this lane as car #5 or #6 when the other lane’s open?” This thought could be immediately followed by a quick flick to the right, directly into my lane, probably just about the same time that I’m trying to occupy those spacetime coordinates.

More to the point, my brain is telling me that the timing is juuuuuuust right. If they all stay in their lane and take turns at the stop sign and if there’s still no cross traffic to wait for, the Tesla should be pulling up to the line and stopping in the left lane right about the exact same instant that I’m pulling into the right lane beside him and doing the exact same thing.

I’m thinking, “He’s driving lazy, otherwise he would have pulled into the empty lane.” I’m thinking, “He’s probably on his phone or distracted by the radio or something.”

I’m thinking, “I’m going to smoke his ass and show him what a REAL ‘mom-mobile mini van’ can do!!”

And the timing worked perfectly!

I’ll never know what it was that tipped him off to my intentions. Maybe I was visibly trembling with excitement and he subliminally caught sight of it out of his side mirror. Or maybe he just chose that point to pay attention to his driving and see that it was his turn at the stop sign.

Whatever the cause, at the precise same moment that he did his “touch and go” at the white line next to the stop sign, I did mine about eighteen inches to his right. I stomped on the gas to show him…

…and he was freakin’ GOOOOOONE and probably pushing 80 mph before I had a chance for my jaw to drop.

Seeing is believing.

Damn!

I want me one of them!

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