All posts by la_jonathan

Slipping Across Lanes And Into Red Lights

I am trying to figure out if it’s a new thing, or if it has been happening all the time and I just recently started noticing it. I feel like in the last year or so people’s driving skills have been slipping. Slipping: entering intersections on red lights, and changing lanes without signalling. I see it almost every time I drive now. I feel like its becoming more and more common.

Is it because LA drivers are so jaded, and been at the wheel for so long that now we figure that we have signalled enough in our lives, so we just can’t be bothered to do it anymore. That we have stopped at enough red lights, and we might as well cruise through this one(does this relate to the revelation that the red light cameras don’t actually work?)

Before I noticed the pattern of people cruising through red lights, I would see the Watch the Road ads that said “Stop at Red or End Up Dead” and be like – who the hell doesn’t stop at red? Now I see who.

Anyways, I hope these habits don’t become part of the “LA driving style”…

Sex Offended

fwd_logo.jpgAlright, even though I wish that this was hypercool Google Maps and Ajax enabled deal, it ain’t. But the information is there, and I guess that is all you need to know to protect your familia with the Family Watchdog. You enter your address, and then after an excrutiating minute or two, you get a map pinpointing all of the sexual offenders in your neighborhood, with details about their crime, as well as photograph. You can also get notifications of when a sexual predator moves near you.

The photograph part is sort of strange(especially when the subject has a mischievous smirk) and as I click on the map around my house I wonder if I will end up looking at someone who I see around the neighborhood. So far, I haven’t – but still. There are a crapload of sex offenders where I live.

The Downfall of Edendale Station Post Office

I read tammara’s article about how quick her post office at Hollywood and Highland is. No lines. I thought to myself, “If only that were true for me too…” Sadly its not, as my local postal joint is Edendale Station at the intersection of Glendale and Alvarado Blvds, which is walking distance from my house.

I have been going there a couple times weekly for the past year and a half to ship books that I have sold on the interwebs, and for the majority of that time things have been pretty efficient, and relatively short lines. Those were the good days…
Continue reading The Downfall of Edendale Station Post Office

We Can Safely Do Away With Car Alarms

Continuing on yesterday’s trend of pointing out irregularities in our vaunted driving related systems, today I will speak briefly about car alarms.

In short, it’s time that we did away with them. The only purpose of their existence at this point is to wake me up in the middle of the night when a truck or bus passes a Honda Civic. Whoop! Whoop!

As far as I know, nobody responds to them. Nobody calls the police and nboody thinks, “Oh my goddam, someone’s car is being robbed.” If anything, it gives the owners a false sense of security in thinking that this secures their vehicle. It seems, in some cases it can have the opposite result. Someone might unload a clip.

They are useless, and they are annoying, and I ask car owners everywhere to consider the alternatives.

Compact Space Invaders

Compact spaces came up in a post last week, and personally I never understood why there are so damn many of them in parking lots across Los Angeles. I understand that it would seem to be that there are so damn many of them because developers would like to fit more spots, or encourage us to drive smaller cars. How conscientious. But a comment by Wil on that same post gave me a clue to what might be the real reason:

The city mandates a certain number of parking spots for every new development, like a mall for instance.

To get around spending precious land on parking lots, developers came up with the “compact” idea, so they can make the city happy, with fewer kickbacks.

It’s a pretty stupid fucking way to handle the problem of parking and it has nothing to do with encouraging people to drive smaller cars, or rewarding them when they do. Like a deadbeat dad who works for cash under the table, it’s just a way of getting around a system that simply does not work.

That sound about right to me. At first, I respected the fact that someone had carefully stencilled the word Compact on a bunch of parking spots, and since I don’t drive a compact(nor does most of LA’s populace), I didn’t park there. But then I realized how ridiculous this is, and now I completely disregard that word spraypainted on the ground. I think pretty much everyone else does as well. If you fit, you fit. My car is just as wide as most compacts.

Others might have the opposite idea. LAist proposes a special ticket to punish those who would violate the compact code. Personally, if I do have to park in a tight space, I park very carefully, in order to create less of an impact on the people who would park next to me. I would not want to incur the wrath of other drivers.

I know that blatant disregard for Compact spaces might be seen as an abomination by some, but in my mind it is pretty low on the totem pole in terms of parking problems in our city. Some people do park like idiots, and I do think that they should be pointed out and pointed at.

I just think that the whole compact space experiment has failed. Photo from vidalia.

Chinese New Year Parade Wrap Up

DragonDespite an unsavory incident at the shuttles heading down to the Los Angeles Golden Dragon Parade in Chinatown(celebrating Chinese New Year – year of the Dog), I can say that good times were had by all. So this is a quick wrap up of the day. Even if others were quicker on the draw in getting their posts up, I figured that one more just couldn’t hurt.

After arriving at the parade route, I met up with a detachment of Ninjas, all of us ready and willing to shoot mass amounts of photos, which I can safely say that we did. Mr. T was in full effect that day, posing with many of the parade participants.

The parade itself seemed kind of strange. One float or group would come through, then maybe five minutes would pass and then another float or group would come through.

Pop PopAnd the groups that did come through were remarkably varied: everything from high school marching bands to martial arts groups to councilpeople riding in Sebrings(Garcetti we missed you!). Pretty eclectic bunch, but no Falun Gong. But we did get to see Villaraigosa in the flesh. Nice.

Lots of fireworks. Lots of loud fireworks, which I loved, but many people could not take the heat. And St. Moxiee was there to hand out sparklers to the youth.

So that’s all I got for right now. Anyone else go?

Los Angeles Search Roll

Last week I had an epiphany and finally understood Rollyo, a tool which lets you “Roll Your Own Search Engine”. At first I was not sure why I would want to do that, but driving to work I got it. You do this so that you can search a topical set of sites, sites that you frequent and that are familiar, and get results from those sites.

Pretty simple, really.

The result is that I quickly created a “searchroll” called LA Blogosphere, which searches a number of sites in the Los Angeles blogosphere, returning results from your Los Angeles area friends and neighbors.

Search in…LA Blogosphere

Try it out, and see what you think.

Chess At Tang’s Donuts

Inside Tang's, Saturday Night I often pass Tang’s Donut on Sunset Blvd, which is open 24 hours every day, and although I have never gone in(not so big on donuts and donut related products these days, even though this is my second post about donuts on here in the last week), I do notice that it is absolutely poppin’ fresh when it comes to chess.

A commenter on chessninja has this handy information:

“Tang’s Donut Shop: At the intersection of Sunset Boulevard and Fountain Avenue in Hollywood, a couple of miles west of downtown Los Angeles along Sunset. A donut shop that is a hangout for chess and backgammon players (they also play cards there), this is chiefly a place for gambling (for small to medium stakes unless you are lucky enough to gain entre into the perennial “high roller” game, which has been going on for sporadically for at least 15 years to my knowledge) but it is still possible to get free games here. There are normally a few players there at any time after dark 7 days a week, but the peak hours are between 9 p.m. and dawn the next day. Somewhat of a hangout for local Filipino players, there are usually one or two masters there in the evenings willing and able to take your money. (This used to be a much better place to play and spectate, with the likes of Cris Ramyrat and other extremely strong blitz players showing up on a semi-regular basis, but seems to have gone into a bit of a decline in recent years.)”

It’s also mentioned on this Public Chess Spots page. Has anyone ever gone in on one of these games? Spectated?

Picture from Meltwater.

Cambodian Donut Shops

A while back I read a fact: that something like 95% of the donut stores in Los Angeles are owned by Cambodians. I remember that it had something to do with a few Cambodians who came to Los Angeles in the seventies, and by doing so they were able to teach that business and trade to new arrivals from Cambodia in the years following. Eventually, they were able to get a strong corner on the market.

Anyways, I recently decided to investigate this idea again and found a few different links talking about this phenomenon. From Asianweek:

The notion that California’s donut stores are predominantly owned by Cambodians may seem bizarre. “Our customers are mostly Caucasians. It is odd that Cambodians are doing this work—considering that most Asians don’t eat donuts and prefer noodles or other Asian foods,” Lee said while making a customer’s latte at the Happy Café, Lee’s donut cafe on Powell Street. But the attraction is clearly there. Cambodian-owned donut stores began proliferating in Southern California back in 1976.

Also, I found a good video from KCET regarding this same topic, interviewing a Cambodian family running a donut shop in LA. (It’s the first video on the linked page).

Heading to the San Gabriels? Get There Early.

So yesterday, we took a hike to Switzer Falls in the San Gabriel Mountains, arriving there at roughly 2pm. At the trailhead there are a few moderately sized parking lots, probably enough to house fifty vehicles.

When we got there every spot was full. Every. Single. One of them. Which was awkward, as we had to wait around in the lot for someone to pull out, and then take their spot. I guess I had no idea that this particular trail is this popular.

But its for good reason. It’s a great hike and a great environment – I saw lots of families, Europeans and small groups along the trail. Lots of people out there.

I have been to the San Gabriels a few times, normally during the week and this was the first time I made it there on the weekend, and was really surprised that it was this packed. Is that normal? Is it the same all over or are certain trails more impacted than others?

Los Angeles Related Flickr Groups

For a while now I have wanted to create a comprehensive listing of all of the Los Angeles related Flickr groups, so over time I have compiled a fairly large list of them. I selected groups that related directly to Los Angeles, Los Angeles neighborhoods, Los Angeles Locations, and Random LA Related Groups. In cases where there were two or more groups that covered the same thing, I chose the one that seemed the most active.

Although I got a lot of them, I doubt I got all of them, so if you have any that I missed leave them in the comments and I will add them later. Ideally, this list can serve as a definitive resource for any Los Angeles Flickr user that is looking for pictures of places in LA, or is looking for a place to post their LA photos(on topic of course…).
Continue reading Los Angeles Related Flickr Groups

Are Drivers More Aggressive In The Valley?

So yesterday I had some errands to run in the San Fernando Valley – Encino basically – and as I was driving on Ventura Blvd I came to realization that I had come to a few times before. Drivers in the Valley seem really aggressive, more than what I am used over here in laconic Los Angeles. A lot of changing lanes to get around each other, a lot of cutting-in-front-of, a lot of not letting you in, a lot of tailgating and a lot of horn.

Or am I just being too sensitive about the whole thing? Anyone else notice this? It could have just been a bad day in the SFV.