Archives for June 2004

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L.A. Means Business

Brady Westwater, who just joined the LA blogging scene, today pointed me to an event he's helping put on called L.A. Means Business. As you can see from the L.A./Downtown discrepancy between title and URL, it's focused on bringing business back to the central city. From the site:

So whether you want to create the latest hot night spot, a hip fusion restaurant, a new clothing line, an art gallery or a book store - or start a museum or a non-profit that funds micro-businesses or job training - or found a new magazine or publishing house, hold a film festival, bring Broadway and off-Broadway theater to LA’s Broadway theaters or manufacture the next big thing in furniture or electronic games - this is where you will need to be on June 19th.

I arrived in Los Angeles three years ago after having lived in a variety of towns that really didn't have much to say about urban planning. In Sumter I doubt the issue really ever came up. In New Jersey, well, I lived in the middle of a million acres of pine forests. Muskegon came the closest, with its constant discussion about how to revilalize an ailing downtown waterfront. Still, though, I can't call Muskegon urban. Talk about the downtown issues there lacks immediacy. It's interesting to read about, but really 90% of residents aren't too concerned about it. Or at least that's how I felt.

But then I moved to Los Angeles, first to the USC area and more recently to downtown. LA has more than its share of cool areas, but over time I've become a bit obsessed with downtown. Were I to start school over today I would give serious thought into going into Public Policy and Planning. Downtown right now just feels so like you're getting in at the ground floor. Instead of reading countless articles waxing theoretical, you can look outside and see change. You can see resturants opening and buildings under renovation. You can see the neon begin to relight.

And that's fascinating. So, yeah, I'll be checking out the event on the 19th.

thoughts on architectures and caching

99% of you are going to want to ignore this post. I need to write something out, and this is convenient, so I'm doing it here. It's technical, though, so if you're not in to that feel free to do something else. Maybe you want to read it to see how oddly my mind works, but I doubt it. That's why I'm hiding all the content after the jump. Click on if you really want to see it. — Continue Reading...

Birthday Wishes

Kathy and I -- along with 2000 other people -- saw Some Like It Hot tonight at the Los Angeles Theater. Doors were set to open at 7, so Kathy was going to pick up Subway on the way and come over to my place at like 6:15. We'd eat and then walk around the corner to the theater. She was running a bit late and pulled in at 6:40. She told me there was already a big line. We walked over and ended up getting in line on the north side of 5th street. It seemed like a lot of people in front of us, but really it was only a couple hundred, and it's a big theater.

At 7 they opened the doors and the line quickly moved to get people inside. We sat just right of center, about 2/3's of the way back on the floor. The interior of the theater was a mix of the impressively ornate and the depressingly run-down. The architecture and artwork were amazing. This truely was the last of the great movie palaces, and most of that still shows. What also shows, though, is years of neglect. Kathy noted that downstairs the children's room looks decrepit. Everywhere you can see hints of how amazing the place might look if fully restored, but at the same time the reality is that the job is nowhere near done. Hopefully events like this one can help that cause.

The show began with a short from the late 20's of a man and his female band. It wasn't originally intended to be humorous, but it was. Then it was time for Tony Curtis. He told a few tales about the making of the movie, and then a cake was brought out (today -- 6/3 -- is his birthday) and the audience sang to him.

And then he motioned for the film to roll.

The Los Angeles is one of those theaters where the screen reaches all the way to the floor of the stage, and as the opening credits of the film rolled we were treated to a picture you don't see anywhere else. The curtain is pulling back, the names are beginning to appear -- Marilyn Monroe... Tony Curtis...

And as his name is there on the screen, there he is. He's the silhouette still standing in the lower left corner of your screen, watching as the film begins and the capacity crowd applauds.

It was a great night, a great film, and a great experience. I look forward to looking around more in four weeks when we're back at the Los Angeles for It Happened One Night. But first it's next week at the Orpheum for Sunrise.

And last, but not least, it's not only Tony Curtis's birthday today -- It's also my mom's. I'm sure she doesn't know they share that.

changing drivers

Two weeks ago I commented about riding the Gold Line and having the train stop for a minute over the Los Angeles River. At the time I guessed this might have been to let Chinatown station traffic clear.

Today the same thing happened, in the same spot. This time, though, I was in the back of the front car instead of the front of the back car (more on that in a second) so I was able to see what was actually going on. The train stopped, sat for a second, and then the front right door opened. A man in a Metro uniform stepped onto the train. The driver stepped out of his cab, the new man stepped in, and the driver stepped off the train. As we began to move again I noticed that there just happened to be a stairway right there, and it clicked... Not only were we over the river, we were also over the Gold Line maintenance yard. This was their driver change location.

What are the odds, though, of riding two trains in a row that happened to be due for driver changes?

the future, according to 1971

On JPL's intranet news site, the library has a historical photo of the month (well, it's actually on the library's site, but the news page is where I see it). This month it's a picture from 1971, when JPL was developing a Personal Rapid Transit system that's still in use at Western Virginia University (oddly the PRT is also the featured image at WVU's site at the moment). I've always had an interest in transit systems, so I did a google search and found this site on the Morgantown PRT. It features a description of the system, links to some external resources, and a good collection of pictures.

Los Angeles Theater

I mentioned back at the beginning of last month that Kathy and I were going to be going to some of the Last Remaining Seats showings put on by the LA Conservancy. The first of those is tonight, when we see Some Like It Hot just around the corner at the Los Angeles Theater. This USC page has a good picture of the neon sign that I see out my bedroom window each night. Oddly I think the Payless in that picture is now directly across the street from where it's shown. Another site has a few more pictures (this time with the Payless gone).

Chances like this only come around every so often (well, really once a year). Definitely something not to miss.

RSS fixes

Over the last two days two people told me that my RSS feed sucked. The truth is, it did. HTML was going into the description field unescaped, and that was throwing off some readers and validators. I've fixed that now, and in the process remembered that I had also put together an RSS2 feed that I never got around to putting anywhere.

I've also added the rss links to the right sidebar.

hiking pictures

I just got bluetooth working well enough to upload the pictures I took hiking yesterday.

Click on any of the thumbnails to see the rest.