Category Archives: Los Angeles

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.

A Weird Transmission on the 105 to 110 Transition

If you are coming from the Eastbound 105 to the Northbound 110, you go on a really high interchange. It’s really nice to be high up there, if only for a few moments.

But I wanted to see if anyone else gets about half a second of very strong radio interference about halfway through the transition. It just comes and then it goes, and it affects all frequencies it seems.

My hypothesis is that this interchange is right on the level with some radio transmitter or cell tower. Anyone know about this? I did check this map of cell phone tower locations, and there are a couple nearby.

Here is the spot on Google Maps.

This entry was posted on Friday, August 10th, 2007 at 4:58 pm and is filed under Driving, Los Angeles. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

Some People Do Need to Drive In Los Angeles

This is the text of a really long, drawn out and rambling comment that I posted to Metrorider LA. It’s my reaction to transit advocates’ hostility to those who drive in LA.


While I appreciate your message, I do not think that insulting drivers is the way to convince them to use public transportation.

Everyone has different threshold of frustration for different things, and their own reasons for doing what they do. Perhaps the things that you value, they do not and vice versa.

I know that the above sounds simplistic, but my point is that perhaps for them the implicit and explicit costs of driving are outweighed by those of taking public transportation.

I know that is true for me. I have ridden the bus and rail system in Los Angeles for years, and at this point the cost in time it takes to get from point A to point B makes using public transportation in LA prohibitively expensive.

Maybe when I was 18, it was not such a big deal, but now to do so would cost me hundreds of dollars a week in lost hours, and I would have to sacrifice activities that I love because the places that I need to go for them are not well served by public transportation, and if they are I could not get there fast enough to fit them into my schedule.

I commend people who use public transportation and bikes to get around LA. It takes smarts and it takes commitment. But it also takes a lifestyle and job that can accommodate that. Not everyone has that – I know I don’t.

I guess my comments here address the broader issue of an attitude that I have seen among transit advocates of late: that people are stuck in their cars for irrational reasons, whether it be “ingrained car culture”, desire for status, stupidity or a whole host of others.

The solution has always been to expand public transit, and encourage its use. In Los Angeles, because of its geography, that is a tough tough tough sell. This is not New York, this is not London. The solutions that work there, will not work here. Despite its flaws, what works here is the freeway system.

Those who have lived and driven in LA generally know how to avoid traffic by staggering work hours or staying off the 405, for instance. It takes me 20-30 minutes to go from El Segundo to Echo Park and two hours by public transit. The cost is more in gas/insurance/depreciation of vehicle/maintenance(let’s say it costs $5 each way), but the time saved equals more hours that I am able to bill.

Nobody in LA is against public transit, per se. It’s just not a logical choice for them. If, in the future, I decide that I no longer want to drive I will move to New York or some other transit friendly city, but I know that I am not going to be able to change LA.

Anyways, my whole point in this artless ramble is that public transit advocacy need not be opposed to driving, and need not be disrespectful to those who, for their own reasons, choose to drive.


update: I have written about this before…

Google Maps Adds Traffic Data

Well, that’s cool. Google Maps has traffic data. I knew it would only be a matter of time before I could stop using Sigalert, which for some reason does not give the traffic data for downtown Los Angeles, which is the most hellish part of my daily commute. Brilliant. Sigalert has been good to me, but that glaring omission always bothered me.

Anyways, LAist reports that Yahoo! Maps has had traffic data for years. Well, I went and checked it out. Unusable. I spent a minute on there and could get no useful data. Sure there are some colored dots scattered on the page, and I am sure they correspond to real world events, but I could not get an overall picture of what my commute would look like.

Now if we could get rid of all of the idiot lane-switchers and tailgaters and overly aggressive drivers, maybe we would not need traffic maps.

Putting The Magic Back Into Gas

Magic Gas, by this time has become an Echo Park institution, but as Chicken Corner blog notes, some changes have been afoot since Aramis sold the place to new owners(we miss you Aramis).

Magic Gas SignPrimarily, they will be serving coffee and espresso there, and there is a new patio for seating outside. And my wife, MAKSTER, will be working there(and the quote on the Chicken Corner post is from her, btw…she has been a booster of the Magic Gas project).

It’s a strange change, and a strange thing for a gas station to do. But I guess I have my own personal image of what a gas station is(some of my friends remark that it is more like European gas stations in this sense, but that does not really make a difference to me). It will be cool if they can pull it off, it would be rather unique, and might give Chango some competition. Would it cause a bifurcation of the Changoscene? I dunno. I hardly go into Chango unless it is early in the morning when MAKSTER opens store. I guess I find the crust of hipsters that forms at around 11AM a little offputting.

The one thing that I will say is this though: no matter what you do, Magic Gas, no matter what happens…do NOT…I will repeat…DO NOT…get rid of the mechanic. Seriously. DO NOT.


A Little More On Playstation Portable Graffs

Not to beat a dead horse, but I want to talk a little bit about the fake Playstation Portable graffiti by Sony. Since it has been talked about to death(I first saw these in New York), I don’t really have much more to ad except that Sony has really been shooting themselves in the foot lately.(first the DRM, and now this.)

Wooster Collective presents this arresting image of a Sony hired gun artist doing it for money.

Below is an image portraying public reaction(and by public I mean taggers and street atrists) to these corporate incursions. Image from Vidalia.

Also, here is an informative thread on Flickr, in the Graffiti group.

Despite this fiasco, I bought a Sony Vaio laptop last month and it’s pretty ill, so I will give them credit there. I just don’t want to see Vaio graffiti written on my kitten. Stick to advertising in computer magazines you nuts. Nobody like ingenuous “urban” crap.