Archives for October 2005

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One More Reason Arclight is Amazing

Tonight Kathy and I are headed up to Hollywood to see How the West Was Won at the Arclight. The film is a restored print screening in the original 3-strip Cinerama format.

Now, likely you've never or only vaguely heard of Cinerama. I knew it was a 3-strip process (meaning three film strips -- three cameras & three projectors), but that was about it. A couple articles I read since buying the tickets really left me amazed at the process. This piece written by a USC film grad gets into some technical details, while this 20 year old piece from in70mm gets into some amazing shooting details from this particular film. I found this particularly fascinating:

"During early tests of the Cinerama camera, it was glaringly apparent that the huge format revealed fine detail to an extent no one could have imagined. Machine-sewn costumes were reassembled by hand and thousands of yards of authentic homespun were ordered from India. Fifteen hundred pairs of moccasins arrived from Indian reservations across the country, and an entire studio department was created to handcraft 2300 pairs of period shoes."

It will probably help to see a diagram of how the camera works. The whole setup with three lenses and a single shutter is crazy to think about, but yet it's actually a cool solution.

Anyway, I'm sure I'll have more to say after seeing the film tonight.

PHP Wants to Be My Kernel

I love Debian, but there are aspects of the package management system that I don't understand. For instance, I'm trying to install the newest php4 in stable so that I can try to get mod_php working again. Simple enough, but apt-get is convinced it wants to delete my kernel:

[eWorld (eric@bit)-([Thu October 20 12:20pm])]
~: sudo apt-get install php4
Reading Package Lists... Done
Building Dependency Tree... Done
The following extra packages will be installed:
  libapache2-mod-php4 php4-cgi php4-cli php4-common php4-mysql
The following packages will be REMOVED:
  initrd-tools kernel-image-2.4.26-1-386 kernel-image-2.4.27-2-686
7 upgraded, 0 newly installed, 3 to remove and 323 not upgraded.
Need to get 6633kB of archives.
After unpacking 62.0MB disk space will be freed.
Do you want to continue? [Y/n]

I understand that 2.4 is old, but a) you would think php wouldn't care and b) you would like to think it would suggest installing a new kernel at the same time.

I really don't want it to touch that.

The Date Is Set

If you've followed my bicycling ticket and the subsequent wonder I had at all the penalties that get added onto a simple fine, you may be interested to know that I have now scheduled a court date. It is -- drumroll please -- January 13th, 2006, at 8am. That was, apparently, the first date at which the computer could schedule me in.

When you select the court date option you're asked for a time preference -- AM, PM, Night Court, or No Preference. I selected AM, an after thinking about it for a bit the computer told me no dates were available that met my criteria. It also gave me no options for "Ok, try no preference" so I had to start the search by ticket process all over again. This time I selected No Preference and it gave me an 8am time. Go figure.

Good Ol' Speed

I don't know exactly why, but my trip back from JPL tonight was fast. Back in July, when I first got my bike computer, the JPL to Downtown trip took me 50 minutes and 21 seconds -- but that was with the clock only counting when I was moving. Tonight's trip took me 46 minutes and 33 seconds, and that's with the clock running the entire time. My average speed was 18.4mph, again with stops counting against the average.

Best part of the trip was just after I came off the Salvia Canyon hill (Google Maps says Canyon... I think the road sign says Canon with the squiggle on the first n). I came to the bottom of the hill behind a delivery truck; I had to slow up a little to avoid trying to squeeze by it when we went two lanes to one. On the flat now, I kept having to ride my brake to keep from getting too close. I thought the truck was going slow, and in the dark it was tough to see my speed. Then I did see it, and I realized I was going 32.5 without even trying on a stretch where I'd normally work to go 24 - 25. I now realize the power of drafting.

Just north of the river I came across two ladies on bikes. They asked directions to the Cornfield and told me about N.E. LA Critical Mass, which I already knew about but hadn't made it out to.

Wandering in With the Experts

Here's one of the random things you get with a USC education that you don't get pretty much anywhere else... I'm sitting in one of my classes, The Communication Revolution and the Arts, and we're talking about cable television and its ability to roll out channels that appeal to a very narrow segment of the market. The discussion was about whether there are too many channels spread too thin, and whether consolidation is going to need to occur in the future.

As we're having this discussion one of the Annenberg administration people wanders in and asks the professor if it might be ok if his guest gives some real world experience on the subject. With him is Jeff Smulyan, CEO of Emmis Communications. Emmis just happens to own a bunch of radio stations including LA Leader Power 106 and has owned a number of TV stations (but is working on getting out of that market). And so for the next ten minutes or so we get to hear Smulyan talk about where he sees the digital market going.

Smulyen is a grad of both USC undergrad and the Law School, and currently is on the school's Board of Trustees.

The Wonder of Government Math

Today I finally got something in the mail about my ticket from a few weeks back. My ticket still doesn't show up online, but they say it can take up to three weeks for that. My "Due Date" isn't until November 16th, so there's still plenty of time for it.

The "Bail Amount" for my ticket is $114. Remember, this is for an alleged violation of CVC 21650.1, operating a bike the wrong way down a street. I thought that seemed high, so I found the LA Superior Court 2005 Bail Schedule for Infractions and Misdemeanors (PDF). That document lists the bail for my infraction at $25 (bottom of page 34), but like most vehicle code violations it's eligible for penalties.

That's where the fun starts... — Continue Reading...

Making My Way Around LA

Yesterday I had one of those days that I like to think proves the point that indeed you can get around LA without a car. I started off in Norwalk, took a couple trips Downtown, and ended up in Hollywood to meet Kathy and her parents for a movie. The odometer on my bike, which recently I was saying was a little low to my liking at 356.2 miles, now reads 478.7 miles. That doesn't change my 10-week average much, but it's a nice little jump.

Counting miles on both bike and train, I think I travelled 62.9 miles yesterday. From this very crowded GmapPedometer map you can see all the different points of the city I moved through. It's not a perfect map, but I think it's interesting. After the jump I'll run through the different legs. — Continue Reading...

Hiking Mt. Hollywood

It may seem like all I take these days is sunset pictures, but I really love some of the pictures I took yesterday on Mt. Hollywood. A good number of the pictures have a peak with radio towers on it as a focal point. That peak is Mt. Lee, which has the Hollywood sign on it. Silhouetted in the picture at left are Kathy and her parents standing against one of the hitching posts for horses.