Saturday, October 28, 2006


Metro Rapid 720 – Wilshire/Western

Every music venue has its own personality.

The Wiltern’s is a wry sense of humor and strong grasp of the obvious.

By taking its name from its own intersection (and keeping it, even after corporate sponsorship), the Wiltern provides plenty of “deep thoughts” moments. It also provides endless amusement when someone doesn’t know how to get there.

And it often hosts concerts like this one. Evanescence on Halloween weekend.

I didn’t get to go.

It’s just as well, since the crowd camped out in front (all gothed out and camped out) was giving me weird looks.

Which was disconcerting, to say the least.

Monday, October 23, 2006


Metro Local 304 – Santa Monica Blvd/Purdue

Boots are made for walking, not driving!

Well, except for the Quality Shoe Service boots. There are actually two driving boots (that I'm aware of).
This red one is a new phenomenon. They’re better known for their large black cowboy boot.

Although I’ve never seen either of them driving. They’re always parked.

Maybe it’s true. Maybe they can only walk!

Sunday, October 22, 2006

Good Will

Metro Local 304 – Santa Monica Blvd/Barrington Ave

This is the best Goodwill ever.

No, really, I’m serious.

They have brand new, brand-name clothes. They have Ikea furniture. I have even seen real furs, runway clothes, and genuine Swarovski crystals.

Best of all, they have talking raccoons.

He says: Wendy – Please take me home. I love you. Feed me.

I even met Wendy (you can almost see her and her friend in the background of this picture).

It turns out she hates raccoons. They steal her cat’s food.

Go figure.

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Moving Cargo

Metro Blue Line - Long Beach Transit Mall

They do things big down here. And I’m not just talking about the big rigs.

Big murals, big boats, big traffic.

People cargo moves around real nicely. The Blue Line light rail avoids the perils of driving the 110 (otherwise known as Frankenstein’s Freeway – anyone who has driven it will know why. Anyone who hasn’t…just take my word that you don’t want to), or of dodging trucks on the 710 (just imagine being the frog in Frogger).

Once you’re in downtown Long Beach, you can walk anywhere. Restaurants, hotels, the Queen Mary. Since I was down here on business, I didn’t get a chance to do much more than see the view from my hotel room. Still, it’s a nice view.

The real problem here is that the actual cargo, Long Beach’s bread and butter, moves around real slowly. The ebb and flow of containers depends primarily on Big Rigs.

Long Beach shares a problem with the Port of Los Angeles - insufficient freight train access. The ability of trains to reach the ports (Long Beach and Los Angeles) has improved drastically since the completion of the Alameda Corridor in 2002. The 710 is still a sea of diesel trucks.

What is it they say? Something about the smog and sunsets...

Sunday, October 15, 2006

Crack is bad, mkay?

In the words of a furby I once encountered:
Ahh. Scared....

Saturday, October 14, 2006

(sub)Urban Yard Watching

Walking means that you get to slow down, take the side streets, walk against traffic...

...hang out in strange places. someone new...

...see something that's not from around here...

...and realize that, even if you don't have to mow the lawn, you still have to rake the leaves.

(Yes, that is all fake grass. Have I mentioned lately that people are weird? They are. Quite.)

Sunday, October 08, 2006

Weird things to drink that don't involve alcohol.

My Jamba Juice looks like split pea soup.

I'll skip the less pleasant analogies I could make here.

Friday, October 06, 2006

Engine Co. No. 28

Metro Red Line - 7th Street/Metro Center

Welcome to the old firehouse.

Although it might be fairly common in New York or London, it isn't every day that you get to knock back a few in a building that's nearly a century old. Between earthquakes, expansion, and a vague feeling that history is well...old, L.A. doesn't keep many buildings for more than a few decades.

The Engine Co. No. 28 building has been around since 1912.

It's just half a block from the train (good news if you're drinking!), across the street from the Wilshire Grand, and in the part of L.A. that is Downtown L.A. (south of Crenshaw, north of skid row, and parking is impossible so be ready to tip your valet).

One part historic landmark
Two thirds restaurant
One third bar
Substitute plate glass for two fire doors
Add a dash of freshly made potato chips
And top shelf alcohol
Mix with a few burnt-out coworkers and friendly bartenders

Serve chilled, over ice.

Oh and, watch it - the drinks will wet your thirst and start a fire in your belly.

(These are two of my co-workers. Our bartender felt obligated to forbid us from talking religion or politics while inside the building. We did anyway, but only while he wasn't looking. Both are mild-mannered by day. Honest.)

Sunday, October 01, 2006


Metro Green Line - Aviation/LAX Station

Getting to the airport is a special kind of hell in LA. LAX is one of the reasons that the 405 freeway is generally referred to as a parking lot. There are only so many times you can convince friends to drive you there before they stop returning your phone calls. So an industry thrives on providing a cornucopia of alternatives.

Alternatives which aren’t always appealing. A taxi ride can end up costing as much as the flight itself. Super Shuttles insist you need to be at the airport days before your flight is scheduled to arrive. And airport parking lots always seem to offer the minimum peace of mind at the maximum price.

And then there is public transportation.

The Green Line lands at Aviation Blvd.

A lot of major local bus lines converge at this station. It is as close to LAX as public transportation reaches (not counting the new Flyaway shuttle, which goes directly to LAX from Union Station, but also costs extra to ride). From here, you can take a shuttle to your terminal.

The station has the right ideas. Different bus lines to cater to practically every direction a rider needs to go.

Although the bus lines don’t accept each other’s passes.

A major lightrail station above the bus terminals.

Although the green line isn’t the easiest train to get to, it doesn’t travel through the best of neighborhoods, and the shuttle busses connecting to the airport could never carry even half a train full of people.

Large, well-lit areas, scattered with plenty of public seating.

Although the station is in an unpopulated area, with no shops, far from walking distance from anything, and is not staffed or patrolled on a 24 hour basis.

For the sake of traffic, sanity, and travelers, it would make more sense to have the station in or nearby LAX. Certainly there is a spare parking lot which could be used for this purpose.

But that might dent the profit margin for fleets of super shuttles and taxis.

“I saw the best minds of my generation
Destroyed by madness,

Alan Ginsberg