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

Macedonia Was Really, Really Boring

I mean it was really boring. I picked up Harvey Pekar’s new graphic novel, “Macedonia” because I am interesting in international affairs and things of that nature. Thought it would be engaging.

Well, I was wrong. Although I did finish it, it was by far the most boring graphic novel I have ever read. Sure I am fascinated by the complexities of foreign policy(I even get the magazine – which, by the way is great. I like the blog, too. It’s got a sense of humor I can relate to.), but 100 pages of comics describing meetings between Heather Roberson, a UC Berkeley Peace and Conflict Studies student and various Macedonian officials is not exactly compelling reading.

If it was a magazine article, I would read it. But I just don’t get the logic of devoting so much artistic energy to what is essentially amounts to panel after panel of Roberson talking to people.

I am going to sue them all for the time I wasted reading this.

Meet The Van

It’s a 1989 Dodge Ram Van – an El Kapitan conversion with carpeted interiors, captains chairs, folding backseat, built in cooler, TV/VCR(we removed that), and a CB radio. The V8 engine they threw in for kicks.

Fisheye In VanSince we bought it in May, we have added all new brakes and knobbier tires. Next, we need to get some roof and bike racks.

The thing has revolutionized the way we travel. Taking it to the desert or on road trips is like bringing a room from our house with us. It is the first car that I had that I can sleep in comfortably. I mean a real sleep, not a “car sleep”.

Overall, it feels more like a private plane on land, rather than a car.

Now though, I am looking for some conversion places that can sell me parts that I want to replace(stuff like compasses, drink holders, tables, etc…minor things that need fixing). If anyone knows, comment here. Unfortunately, El Kapitan’s site is busted – but I will Google and see what else is out there. Still, recommendations would be cool.

I’m Going To Court!

Wednesday, July 18th, 2007

This time not as a juror, but as your garden-variety defendant in a civil case.

Although I cannot give details about the case at this time, the basic premise is that our landlord bought our rent controlled property in Echo Park a little while back and wants to get rid of all of the tenants – starting with us. It’s a sordid tale, and I promise I will tell it later. For now, though I must be silent.

All I can say though is that most people don’t fight th type of sleazeball tactics this fella is using, and that is the true reason why areas get gentrified. Mostly, the people who try this crap are successful in their attempts to harass, intimidate and pressure tenants out of their neighborhoods.

While the experience has been a moderate pain in the ass for a while now, I look forward to our day in court. We have a solid case and some pretty big guns on our side.

It all goes down next Wednesday at the Stanley Mosk Courthouse in downtown LA.

Lotus Festival 2007

So who’s going to this year’s Lotus Festival at Echo Park lake. I will probably head over there on Saturday and I will be doing a meet and greet from 2-4pm. You can get your picture taken with me, and enter a drawing to win a free haircut.

Actually, I will probably just being walking around, eating lobster balls. That is what I do every year.

Even though the lotus count is low this year, the festival is always a good time.

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.

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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.

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update: I have written about this before…

Art Price Inflation At Chango

The current art exhibition at Chango is by a (presumably)local photographer. There are about 30 or so photographs and a couple of enlarged cartoons on display and for sale.

Without yet commenting on the quality of the pieces, I will say that the prices for this art are absolutely insane. We are talking $500 bucks or so for a moderately large print of a photo.

And I have to call it on this one…why? I mean I could understand if the photos were done by a big name, or were somehow unique(ie. “mint condition World War II photos discovered in my uncle’s attic”), but these are not.

None of them are any more amazing than what you can easily find on Flickr. There is nothing technically or conceptually or evocatively exceptional about them. I am not saying that they are bad, but they are average.

Also, none of them are framed. If the photos are truly that valuable, one would think that they would be framed so that at the very least the bottom edges are not curling under or so that they don’t need to be affixed directly to a painted or brick wall, like they are.

Add to that, there is nothig spectacular about the prints themselves. In an era where you can get photos printed on canvas online, I would expect something more.

But yeah, the prices are just too high. I mean if someone offered me a choice of either five hundred dollar bills or one of these prints that are being sold for $500, I would take the 5 hundreds every time. Trip to Peru or one of these prints? Trip to Peru. Gas for two months or one of these prints? Gas. See what I am saying? Substitution effect in action.

And let’s say the average price of one of these is $300(going conservative here) and there are 30 there – that is nearly 10 grand on the wall. Wouldn’t there be more security? One could easily lift them and carry them out with no one the wiser.

While some months the art at Chango is outstanding and deserves the high price tag it commands(and receives), other months I get the vibe that someone said to themselves: “Yeah man, you should see how much art sells for these days – make a print of a photo, and BOOM, five hundred smackers”.

Apparently the public agrees with me. Not a single one of these photos has sold. Again, not to be mean – but if these are going to sell the price needs to come down to the two digits.