A Clay Statue For El Chile

Clay Woman of El ChileIt was the second day of construction. We were supposed to be building, but the supplies still hadn’t arrived. We were hanging out near the half constructed bodega that we were working on and started noticing the clay.

Natural inclination is to make little balls of clay. My soon to be sculpting collaborator Saelee mentioned Hikaru Dorodango, the Japanese art of polishing balls of mud until they are shiny. Tried that, and it did not really work out. Plus, I think you have to do it for a long time.

The mud balls – er clay – turned into an attempt to make a basketball out of clay for a quick game.

Also was not successful, but that basketball became the base for our “snowman”, which grew more elaborate as Steve – another esteemed colleague – began to gather small bits from around the construction site: roasted corn husks, flower petals, coffee beans, sticks, wood shavings. Really much of the natural detritus of the village.

It started to form. Eyes, ears, mouth, hair, lips, eyebrows, nose and arms. Then some clothes.

As we worked on this figure, more and more people from the town coming to watch. Absorbed, we did not notice that we had a huge audience until we were almost finished and at one point I remember Saelee asking, “there are a lot of people watching, aren’t there?”. I don’t really know if the people were thinking that we were just crazy gringos or some wayward santeros. Probably the former, right?

The end result is what you see in the accompanying picture: a fully formed clay woman.

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?


I spent last week drinking beer and riding my bike around the Black Rock Desert. Exactly what the doctor ordered to clear all the BS outta my psyche(for the time being I guess) and to return to life and work much refreshed.

There is a lot I could say about Burning Man, and risk being a “Burning Man Bore” but to me the real kicker, and the real reason that I love going out there is to spend quality time with friends that I don’t often get to see. I love the aspect of a coordinated vacation.

But yeah. You can expect hundreds of picture from me and them over the next couple of weeks.

And if you emailed me in the last week – I will be getting to you soon. I really should have set an auto-responder, but OK, I didn’t.

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.

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?