Category Archives: California

Does Anyone Like Larry Mantle?

And I don’t mean any disrespect towards Mr. Mantle, who is a Southern California mainstay.

I want to like Airtalk, as sometimes I fancy myself as being civic minded like he is, and being more aware of local issues, but the program seriously bores me. And he is on during my morning drive time, so I am stuck with him(not really into Morning Becomes Eclectic either)

I know that he must be popular, and I am not advocating that he be removed from the air(sh*t he is a million times better than a room full of AM talk radio guys or Tom Leykis…which is not really saying much). On the other hand there are folks out there who hate him with a passion:

I hate Larry Mantle . Like, seriously. He’s the host of Air Talk on KPPC 89.3 from 10:00 – 12:00 every weekday morning…The above opinion on callers stemmed from my realization Larry Mantle conducts himself on air like a caller. He’s inarticulate, amateurish, rudimentarily informed, and utters as many “umms” and “aahs” as he does real words. Plus, his voice sounds like that of a deer-in-the-headlights 14 year old who just found himself at a senior party. Oh, and he takes callers, which makes his show suck to high heaven.

So what am I missing? What do I not know that would allow me to appreciate his show? How does everyone else out there feel?

Foreclosure Bailout WTF?

I don’t get how anyone with a shred of sanity can propose bailing out all the would-be flippers and status seekers who made bad speculative plays by buying a house and who are now facing foreclosure and other kinds of dooms.

It’s not a threat to our city. Sure, it may hurt some of us who did not choose to make these unwise purchases, but a lesson needs to be learned. And hopefully home prices in LA will drop to somewhat realistic levels. Or is that just a dream. And while I am dreaming, hopefully all the crappy speculator landlords will choose to exit the business.

At least the LA Times weighs in strongly against this kind of bailout for these turkeys.

Books To Keep In Your Car This Summer

I am always looking for something new to do around Southern California, and while there are a great number of blogs chock full of ideas, I often find myself needing a solid set of reference. Not just for ideas – but how to get there, and what to expect once you have arrived. Or where to go if the original plan falls through.

So, I will begin a list of books that I always keep in the van – all related to Southern California – which are invaluable when looking for things to do.

  • Lonely Planet California – I admit that I felt like a tourist when I bought this. But that’s OK. It’s a useful book that give a nice, broad view of California as a whole. I always default to Lonely Planet when traveling, so I trust them on my home turf as well.
  • DeLorme Atlas Southern and Central California – This has become my de facto road map. It is an easy to read map that shows all major roads, dirt roads, trails, wells, elevations, landmarks, dry lake-beds and other terrain features. Also, camp sites, and boating sites. It’s fun to be able to name everything you are passing on road trips.
  • California Coastal Commission Coastal Access Guide – I mentioned it already, but here it is again because it is so good. It is a guide to all of the beaches on the California coast. Shows what services and amenities are available at each location along with a brief description. It also includes unnamed beaches – usually listed as “Stairs to Beach” or something like that – if you are looking to go more off the beaten track.
  • Afoot and Afield in Los Angeles County – OK, so it is a little too hot for most hikes in this book, but if the weather cools a little bit, you might want to pick it up. Everything from short hikes in Griffith Park to grueling 22 mile jaunts in the San Gabriel Mountains. Indispensable.

I am sure there are plenty more books like these, but with this set in the car I can usually hit the road and start reading(not at the same time) and find somewhere good to end up. I have not been going out to the desert this summer(unlike some people, much hardier than myself) so I did not really put any desert books – although the Lonely Planet guide does have some general info on the desert.

Anyone else have more suggestions?

1000 Steps To The Beach

There are only 227 steps, but it is an “ass-jarring” staircase down to 1000 Steps Beach, just south of Laguna Beach. Actually, going down is not bad – going back up is a little rough.

1000 Steps Beach
This long, flat expanse of sand had big waves that weren’t too rough, and the water was extremely clear. While there were a lot of people there, it never really felt crowded – you just had to watch out for the skim-boarders was all.

If you are willing to drive down to Orange County, this is a good beach to check out. Just make sure that you don’t forget your beer in the car(its all street parking, btw) or you will be forced to walk up the huge staircase to get it. Which I had to do.

At first we actually had a hard time finding it based on the directions in our books. I guess it is because the staircase down is sort of camouflaged, and since there is only street parking, there is little indication of when you are in the right area. Would a Google Map help?

Another Beach For You: Nicholas Canyon County Beach

Not as far up the coast as the lovely El Matador, Nicholas Canyon County Beach is a more “traditional” beach – in the sense that it is a long stretch of sand, rather than a pocket of sand nestled between rocks.

Nicholas Canyon County Beach SandStill, at has a quality of beaches that I like: you have to walk down stairs to get to it. Which means the road is out of sight, which for me makes things a bit more relaxing.

I will also suggest this beach because it seems rather underused. Maybe many people don’t know about it – well, I mean until they read this blog post. But its not like its a big secret(the locals call it Zeros) – there is a huge sign by the side of PCH, just easy to overlook is all.

Nicholas Canyon County Beach
33904 Pacific Coast Highway
Malibu, CA 90265-2315

Webcam of Nicholas Canyon County Beach

Kramer Junction, California

Kramer Junction CaliforniaKramer Junction is where state highway 58 and US 395 meet. We stopped here for food and supplies on our way back from the desert this weekend.

Personally, I have a certain affinity for small desert places like this. Five miles away is the town of Boron, where I predict that most of the people who work here at Kramer Junction actually live. Also nearby is the Kramer Junction Solar Electric Generating Station Number 3, which you might have seen in the 1997 blockbuster smash, Gattaca.

Before we got here, we did stop in Boron to ask for directions to the nearest service station as we needed some coolant and a clean bathroom. The gentleman we spoke to there seemed to be more interested in watching telenovelas rather than answering our dumb questions.

In any case, I hope to be back through there soon to investigate and photograph both Kramer Junction and Boron.

Posted by hexodus at June 16, 2006 06:07 PM

Wreckage of the Dominator

Hull of the DominatorChristmas day seemed like a great time to visit the decaying hull of 44 year old crashed freighter scattered in pieces on the coast of Palos Verdes.

In March of 1961 the Greek freighter Dominator got stranded on some rocks at the base of the cliffs:

The Dominator was a sensational story at the time it went down after striking a reef one early evening in March 1961. It carried 29 crewmen and 9,000 tons of grain. There was no difficulty in saving the crew, only in saving the ship. Tugs struggled for several days, trying to free the freighter from the rocks as crowds gathered to watch from the cliff tops.

It has been sitting on the beach, rusting ever since. Here is a photo taken at some time in the early 1980s, showing the hull more intact than it is now.

To get there we used directions taken from, coupled with my trusty Afoot and Afield in Los Angeles County guide(get one today, seriously). In both cases, the directions took a little interpretation, so we ended up finding a trail down the cliffs which the surfers were using to get down, at the corner of a bluff.

It’s definitely worth checking out, especially if you like to take pictures. Plenty of excellent rust textures, and decaying bolts for macro fanatics. Be aware, though, that the terrain is plenty rocky, so be prepared for that.