Saturday, July 28, 2007

The Bullet Train or My Birthday Project #15

Lord knows I love public transit, I love trains and I love speed. Put the three together and you've got the bullet train from Madrid to Taragona.

A first class ticket sets you back about a hundred euros, but it's worth it as you recline in style as the Spanish landscape shoots by you at 300km/hour. And, you get served snacks and drinks as a crappy american movie that is both dubbed in spanish AND has spanish subtitles plays.

Still, we made it to the east coast in two hours at about the same cost of flying with none of the hassle.

Now, imagine bullet trains in the US -- in the Boston/NYC/DC corridor, in the SF/LA/Las Vegas corridor, in Florida, in the Midwest.

Come on "leaders", wtf are you waiting for?


L.A.'s The Place

It's damn hot right now, but it sure beats the hell out of Brussels in March.


Head over to Atwater Village today for the first annual Summer Art Walk.

Friday, July 27, 2007

Monday, July 23, 2007

Climate Change

Major flooding in Britain, China and Texas during the summer. Nope. Nothing to see. Move along. Keep on keeping on.

Seth on Barbra

(again, hat tip, Tom)

Defying Gravity

(Thanks Tom)

Friday, July 20, 2007

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Vinyard Junction

I used to drive by this intersection all the time and wondered about the weird transit center. And now the Militant Angeleno dusts of his local transit history book and reconnects us to this major junction for the L.A. Red Cars.
So cool.


We're back from Madrid, Targona (very short visit), Sitges and Barcelona and boy are our arms tired. And, I have a cold. And I despise the company known as Continental Airlines -- more on how they turned a typical 14 hour trip home into 26 hours in another post. Just know this, if you have to fly Continental and you have to switch planes at Newark International Airport, you may as well pad on a day to the front and a day to the back of your vacation. Continental Airlines sucks ass.

That said, we LOVE Spain. With the little doggies secured in a friendly kennel, friends checking on the house and pool company people coming by every so often, we felt secure in going.

We landed in Madrid after all day and night flying (Continental sucks, doncha forget), we checked in at the Vincci SoHo, which is fabulous. We texted our friend Jon who arrived early with Nial from Dublin and we met them in a big square. Madrid is nothing if not squares. Plazalapooza. Seriously.

With nothing more than a siesta, we hit dinner at midnight and the clubs til 6a. We're not young anymore, but Madrid is. When in Madrid...

The next day we checked out the Reina Sofia Museo, immsersed ourselves in Picaso's Guernica (most stunning in person) and galavanted around town. We did have amazing tapas at the Museum's cafe.

Next day, we took the Bullet train to Targona. Now, it was fast, on time, and super convenient. Why is there not transportation like this in the US? Why? Maybe it's the half trillion dollars the government has failed on an illegal and catastrophic war. Who can say, really.

So, after Taragona, we take an expensive cab to Sitges and are dropped off at the Mediteraneo. We thought we'd switch it up this year, and stay somewhere more expensive. Let me be frank. The Mediteraneo Hotel in Sitges sucks all kinds of ass and is ridiculously expensive. Luckily, the Hotel Subur remembered us and found an Ocean Front room (the same one we first stayed in many years ago) and we had it for the final 4 days.

Sitges is great for lying on the beach, getting massages on the beach, drinking on the beach and just being on the beach. God bless it. Gerard and John met us there for our first two days and with the exception of a couple dramatic events, we all got on famously.

With Sitges done, it was off to Barcelona for a final day and night. Barcelona is one of the most beautiful cities in the world and the people are magnificent...especially that 65 year old chubby naked man walking down La Rambla completely naked with his horse-hung scholong gently swaying from side to side with every stride. It takes a village...people.
All in all, we had fabulous meals, great laughs, restful times. Who could ask for anything more (other than Continental Airlines not sucking)?

If you haven't been to Spain, go. Go now...especially if you live in L.A. There's too many people here.

Are we Worker Bees or the Board of Directors?

The Rude Pundit has a theory.

College Republicans

Thursday, July 05, 2007

Los Angeles 35 years ago

Architect Reyner Barham loved L.A. and created a short film tour of the city 35 years ago (hat tip: laobserved).
Watch it.

My Requisite Libby Post

This one is for all my friends, colleagues and coworkers who seem to agree with Bush that Libby's sentence was too harsh. Too harsh for Bush? The man, who has Governor of Texas, didn't see fit to commute or pardon one of the more than 150 death sentences he oversaw (the most of any governor at that time) and didn't find once that the sentence of death was too harsh? But 30 months in country club jail is? Yeah, right. As Amb. Joe Wilson says, Bush is obstructing justice.

As for those who take Bush out of the equation and just say the sentence is too harsh. Suck it up. It's not. Read this.

Wednesday, July 04, 2007

Building a Swimming Pool or My Birthday Project #12, 13 and 14

Consider it official. I may be in the midst of a midlife crisis. Partly as a result and partly due to both of our boyhood wishes and partly due to global warming (Thanks George Bush!), we've decided to put in a swimming pool in our small backyard, which is Birthday Project #12.

This did not happen without a lot of forethought. An awful lot of middle of the night forethought. Lots of forethought. Still, we continued. We met with one company -- let's call them California Pool cause that's what they are named -- and they came in and made us a ridiculous offer.

We almost bit. But, first, we decided to get a competitive bid and went to another company -- I dunno, let's call them Anthony Sylvan -- and they came in with...a more expensive bid.

And we bit.

Yep, we're fools, but we liked the sales guy better. How it turns out, we're not sure...and when the other sales guy from (I dunno) California Pools was told we were going with these guys, he took some time to bad mouth him. We'll see if he's right, but we're going forward.

Since our contract was signed on May 31st (8th anniversary of moving in), not too much happened for the first few weeks. Then, they finally got the permit and dug and formed the hole in two days.

While we waited for rebar to be put in -- several days -- one of our dogs easily paraded thru the "safety fence" and became the first mammal to dive into the pool. Thank God it was the shallow end. Knowing us, both ends will be shallow...

Speaking of dogs, reminds me of Birthday Project #13: a front wall for our front garden so that the dogs who's space we've just robbed will have more room to roam and, more importantly, shit and piss.

Well, we got the guy who built a neighbor's wall down the street and he dutifully charged us more, but basically in three days we had a lovely stucco wall...except...except... The original height was 4 feet tall but we felt that it felt too fortressy and so brought it down to 3 and a half feet, which they then brought down to 3 feet four inches...which the little energetic dog could jump over if he really really really liked...and he will.

Which then leads us to Birthday Project #14: planting drought tolerant plants in front and behind the wall with the hope and desire that someday they will grow larger than the wall and discourage the little miscreant from jumping.

We shall see. It's sort of like that childhood song -- "The Old Lady Who Swallowed a Fly" -- and one thing is just leading to another bigger thing. I won't even begin yet to touch on pool fencing. Oy freakin' vey, I say.

Someday, though, we will have a pool...and it's guaranteed before 8/31...and Anthony Sylvan will either get well deserved praise or not so much. Stay tuned.

Monday, July 02, 2007

Overdosing on Camp

Listen to a track. It's remarkable.

Why not enjoy a clip of her 1990 exercise show, featuring Shelly Winters in sweats!