tablesaw: An indigenous American crucified on a cross crowned by a bald eagle. In the background stands a Mesoamerican temple. (América Tropical)
For Christmas this year, I started asking for DVDs of films that were a bit harder to find. From my wife, I received Agnes Varda in California, a Criterion box set that includes Mur Murs. From my parents, I received The Exiles, which I watched tonight.

The Exiles is about the lives of young American Indians living in Downtown Los Angeles around 1960. The director collaborated with the cast of the film, who recreated scenes from "typical" nights, which coalesce into a single night for the story of the film.

It's noted as a document of Los Angeles history: much of the action takes place in portions of the city that literally do not exist any more. Bunker Hill, at the time a neighborhood of people working in downtown, was razed and rebuilt as office spaces. Hill X, where the characters gather in cars to dance, sing, fight, and generally escape the city, was also leveled to make way for Dodger Stadium. The movie palaces of Broadway exist mostly as neglected facades.

But mostly what I thought about, watching the young men and women meeting in diners, bars, and movie theaters, I think about my dad, who grew up in Los Angeles at about the same time. He would have been in his early teens, and already living on the Westside, pretty far from downtown. But Bunker Hill (and, of course, Chavez Ravine) were filled with Chicanos. And the unselfconsciousness of the filming makes it feel like I'm looking into places where my father or his cousins could have been.

I think I'm going to lend this back to my parents to see what my dad has to say about it.

Mur Murs

Nov. 21st, 2013 07:09 pm
tablesaw: An indigenous American crucified on a cross crowned by a bald eagle. In the background stands a Mesoamerican temple. (América Tropical)
I saw Mur Murs at the Aero last week, and had mixed feelings about it. It's a documentary by Agnès Varda about the murals of Los Angeles at the beginning of the '80s. Varda films murals of around Los Angeles talks with many of the artists. I came mostly looking for the aspects of Los Angeles history—and it was great to see some of the murals that have since been destroyed or covered up—but the film overall had a syrupy "artsiness" that left a bad taste in my mouth.

I grew up in Los Angeles in the '80s (though I was only a toddler when this movie was filmed), and there were so many twinges of memory while watching the movie. I don't know how much I've internalized the way film looked at the time as an indicator of what life looked at the time, but everything looked like something out of my vague memory. And judging by the occasional murmuring of the mostly boomer audience, others who were older then felt the same.

Because Varda always seems to have at least one mural in every shot, it leaves you feeling like Los Angeles is a is a city where very wall is filled with color, an art gallery on every street. It's not that way, and it wasn't then, and I was craving the chance to leave the frame to see the mundane spaces that I was more familiar with. But seeing those sometimes out-of-the way places knit into a dream geography is wonderful.

Some of the best moments of the movie involved the members of ASCO, an influential Chicano performance-art group. Members like Willie Herrón and Gronk talk about their early murals, which leads into their discussion of current work, culminating in the filming of an ASCO happening that is part mural, part theater, and, ultimately, part film. It's this kind of artistic synthesis that Varda seems to be chasing throughout the film, though in many places it falls terribly flat.

Where I was looking for the art to speak for itself, Varda seemed to want to comment on the art herself. She stages shots in painfully precious ways. A line of people practice Tai Chi in front of Two Blue Whales. People are provided with props to match the images of the murals they walk past. And most egregiously, while showing the entirety of the Farmer John Packing Plant mural, someone (presumably Varda) makes derisive pig sounds for a few minutes before the narrator (definitely Varda) chastises Farmer John for not showing the artists of the mural the appropriate respect. (Though, to her credit, Varda does make it a point to announce the artist credits whenever their work appears on screen.)

Maybe it's a generational thing; the older audience seemed to be eating those segments up. During the Q&A with Varda, even terrible puns were treated with absurd reverence. But the movie was made for a different audience and a different time. ASCO, who tagged LACMA in protest of Chicano exclusion from the at world, had a retrospective in LACMA recently. I can see how a film like this would be an argument for the art establishment to respect murals, but then I don't care much for that establishment anyway, then or now.
tablesaw: An indigenous American crucified on a cross crowned by a bald eagle. In the background stands a Mesoamerican temple. (América Tropical)
Saturday: I went with [personal profile] temptingcuriosity to LACMA for the Drawing Surrealism exhibit. The raw imagination on display reminded me very strongly of the underground indie aesthetic championed by Anna Anthropy in "Rise of the Videogame Zinesters." There's a lot of interesting connections to be made there, with the Dadaists and surrealists using games to promote automatism in creation, the use of collage (reusing sprites), and even a possible connection to the Futurist obsession with machine art.

Sunday: Virtually attended the planning meeting for the MIT Mystery Hunt next weekend. It's always good to see everyone, even the camera was mostly on [personal profile] tahnan doing his one-knee-on-a-chair pose.

Monday: I said goodbye to the Xmas tree immediately after the Epiphany. That almost never happens.

Tuesday: Made it out to a boardgaming night for the first time in a while. Played Chaos in the Old World to completion for the first time, and actually eked out a win. I've had a hard time with this game before, because the extremely asymmetrical roles can make it hard to figure out how to do things, but I finally pushed through. Still not entirely my game, but I won't be so quick to avoid it, either. I also got to dazzle everyone with word knowledge when playing and generally refereeing Bananagrams.

Wednesday: My main glasses broke a little while ago, and my backups are threatening to quit too, so I scheduled a new eye exam. I also made a quick jump into Sherman Oaks to pick up last year's prescription, just in case I need to make an emergency run to Lens Crafters for a cheap replacement. Having two hours to kill, I went to one of my favorite restaurants, Toshi Sushi. It was a great evening, as I was joined at the sushi bar by three lovely women who over-ordered and were pleased to hear of my birthday so that they had an excuse to foist some of the food onto me.

A cameraphone picture of a plate of sushi, all slightly different, with an assortment of fish, rice, sauces and toppings. They all taste delicious.

Heading to bed now. More birthday stuff later.
tablesaw: Two yellow roses against a bright blue sky. (Family Roses)
This past weekend was a lazy one, like the New Year weekend before. (The Xmas weekend was stressful, with most of my Christmas Day trivia written on Christmas Eve.) [personal profile] temptingcuriosity and I went to LACMA on Saturday, avoiding the bigger events (Kubrick and Caravaggio) and indulging our own personal preferences (Surrealist Drawings and Maya artifacts). On Sunday we stayed in, made bacon pancakes, and lounged around because it was cold outside.

I asked her what she was looking for from the new year, but I already knew what her year looked like, when I thought about it. Really, I wanted her to ask me the question. I know I want to get hired permanently at this new job, but past that I wasn't sure. Talking about it, I realized that I wanted to create more in 2013. Not a particular thing, or a big thing, just lots of things.

Recently, I say a lot that I'm too much in my head. I talk to folks a bit more on Twitter, and I'm talking to people in person, but I'm not getting things out in non-conversational settings anymore. As a true geek, I worry about the narrow bandwidth of talking to people one-on-one; I just don't have enough time to tell things to everyone I would like to. Blog posts allow you, my friends and readers, to time-shift the Tablesaw experience to fit your schedule (something I know I appreciate).

But while blog posts are always things I need to do more often, to get into the habit of writing long things (or just short things that aren't twitter), what I want to do is just create more things that I can share. And saying it the other day made me excited and happy. A good sign, I think.

This year I don't just want to do things I love, I want to make new things to send out into the world with them, so that my experiences can travel beyond the horizon of my personal bubble. I want to write about at least one thing a week, TV, movie, game, what have you. I want to make some more puzzles, definitely at least one thing I can bring to the NPL convention in Austin. I want to finally hide a geocache in LA. I want to make some games, eventually, somewhere. There's a pre-Companions DW/AW game knocking around in my head that mostly needs a lot of research (that TemptingCuriosity is eager to help with).

My birthday is on Thursday, and I turn 35, a number that is a multiple of the amount of fingers on one hand, which means that I'll probably freak out sometime this year, though I'm successfully blocking it out for now. It's a good time to have a plan, and it's a good time to have a plan that focuses so much on simple joys. Last year was not a good one, this one will be better.
tablesaw: Gaff, from <cite>Blade Runner</cite> (Gaff)
Psyche wanted to see the Perseid meteor shower last night. Her original plan was to see what was going on in the Griffith Park Observatory, but they aren't doing anything special for the showers, and the park closes at about 10:30, anyway. So instead we drove out to Antelope Valley to find a quiet spot in the desert to watch the stars.

We did the teenager-in-the-movies thing and lay down on the hood of her car to watch the sky. (It turns out that the engine can stay pretty hot for a while, so it's not always the best idea.) We got a pretty good showing of meteor, a number of small shooting stars, and a few big enough to leave afterimages. We talked about how we were into space as children.

We were far enough out of LA to get a real look at the sky, clear enough to remember again what the Milky Way looks like. And when we looked around, we could see the various "sunrises," where the light came up from places beyond the horizon and made the sky and clouds gray to the south.

In the starless sky of a city, it's easy to think about space what we now know it to be, an endless expanse of void. But under the bountiful sky, I saw so many things, and each one felt so close: a slightly vaulted ceiling, I might reach if I stretched just a bit more.

When we got back to Hollywood, Psyche asked if her eyes were all right, because the sky had a slightly purple tinge. No, I said, that's just what it looks like here. And when there are low clouds, it can get even pinker, like the sun is always just setting. I think that's amazing too, but I'm glad she asked me to go out, because it's been so long since I really saw the stars.
tablesaw: An indigenous American crucified on a cross crowned by a bald eagle. In the background stands a Mesoamerican temple. (América Tropical)
I'm back in LA, and recent evidence confirms that Portland may be quirky, but Southern California is weird, the kind of Capital-W Weird that encompasses Lovecraftian-level Weirdness.
  • There was an earthquake in Los Angeles last night. It wasn't big (magnatitude 3.7, below the 4.0 threshold for most Angelenos to care about), but it was centered in a populated area (I was playing board games less than a mile from there only three hours earlier). It also managed to move through most of the LA Basin without losing much strength; it woke me up sixteen miles away, wondering if this was the beginning of a large quake, tensing to leap out of bed and prepare for coming chaos. Instead I fell right back to sleep, and when I woke up, I couldn't remember why I was looking at the clock at 3:18.

  • The Los Angeles City Council voted to ban medical-marijuana dispensaries within city limits. This puts city law at odds with the state law which is at odds with federal law. (The LA law is also at odds with federal law since it affirms the right to "grow and share marijuana in groups of three people or fewer.") I love this quote:
    "The best course of action is to ban dispensaries, allow patients to have access under state law," [Councilperson Jose Huizar, who proposed the bill,] said. "Let's wait to see what the state Supreme Court decides and then we will be in a much better position to draft an ordinance that makes sense."
    Because when the law is unclear, the best thing to do is take the most drastic action possible while waiting for a final result.

  • I just recently learned about a wonderful blog series running on the KCET website: Laws that Shaped L.A. One was nominated by gaming buddy Mark Valliantos: "The Roots of Sprawl: Why We Don't Live Where We Work." It's about the 1908 zoning laws (the Residence District Ordinance and the Industrial District Ordinance) of Los Angeles, and how they were designed by the first Progressives who were trying to use the laws to create a more ordered and virtuous city.
    "People had a sense that when it came to land use of the city, we could spread out, we could avoid some of the problems of the East Coast industrial cities," he says. "But in the end, it's a shame. We went too far in the other direction, too much toward cars, too much toward sprawl. We're still repairing that today."
    My other favorite so far is on the Laws of the Indies enacted by King Philip II of Spain in 1573, which explains why Los Angeles isn't centered near the port (where Long Beach is) and why downtown LA's grid clashes with the areas around it (a story continued in an article on Thomas Jefferson's 1785 Land Ordinance.)

  • Occupy LA was an odd moment in our police history, when the LAPD (the L.A.P.D.!) was calmly letting Occupy do their thing. And yet, when folks take chalk to the streets, someone I know (don't know if I should reveal their identity) got caught in a MacArthur Park–like cleansing of the area, which resulted in getting beaten with a nightstick when trying to leave. It wasn't until after the police had begun firing rubber bullets into the crowd that a different officer let them through with the advice, "Run and hide."

  • And now there's Anaheim where the police seem to be going on a killing spree aimed at driving toward a 1965-style riot. Local radio station KPCC compared the situation to the one described in a 1963 report by the Los Angeles County Commission on Human Relations. The local nickname "Klanaheim" was earned in the '20s when the Ku Klux Klan briefly (and ultimately unsuccessfully) took over the city government. But resident OC Mexican Gustavo Arellano
    Wonder why Orange County trembles whenever its Mexicans protest? Welcome to the Citrus War of 1936, the most important event in Orange County history you've never heard of.
    His article about the Citrus War of 1936 details an extended racialized labor struggle in which
    Orange County Sheriff Logan Jackson deputized citrus orchard guards and provided them with steel helmets, shotguns and ax handles. The newly minted cops began arresting [mostly Mexican] strikers en masse, more than 250 by strike's end. When that didn't stop the strike, they reported workers to federal immigration authorities. When that didn't work, out came the guns and clubs. Tear gas blossomed in the groves. Mobs of citrus farmers and their supporters attacked under cover of darkness.
tablesaw: -- (Default)
While doing dishes, I heard music coming through the open windows. I went to investigate, I discovered a giant street fair. Now I am getting a Coolhaus ice cream sandwich.

A small crowd of people in summer clothes enjoying a street fair in a large parking lot. In the background, a band plays covers and a line forms to buy gourmet ice-cream sandwiches.

Also, Andy Dick is selling poetry.

Andy Dick waves to a friend in the $1 Poetry Booth at the Hollywood Street Fair.
tablesaw: Ration Hornblower, from the cast of Smile Time, peeks his horn nose out at you. (Ratio Hornblower)
So this week didn't work out so well.

After an initial flurry of activity filing for unemployment insurance and sending a few e-mails to staffing agencies, I fell into a funk of avoidance, leading to a mini freak out on Thursday. I talked with friends and family who reminded me that it's ok to be freaked out about being unemployed for the first time in over a decade, and that a few days of not doing anything productive is fine.

I'm going to try to set myself onto a daily working schedule come Monday. While it's nice to sleep in until 11 or noon, I'm not actually productive when I stay up late. Once it nears sunset, I start feeling like my work day is over, and I stop doing other things. I think that forcing myself to at least be awake by nine every morning will add a few hours to my "working" day, at the very least. More measures will probably be forthcoming.

I did manage to do a lot of nonproductive things, though. I entered a local crossword puzzle tournament and participated in a sudoku contest at Logic Masters India. boardgaming night (played Roll Through the Ages), role-playing-game night (beta-testing a game by Josh Robern), a party to read and mock Fifty Shades of Grey as a group, and an NPL party. And in addition to that, I saw a bunch of friends at different times. I joined the site Quora despite its "real names" policy, by hacking together a form of pseudonymity out of its nascent system. And I sauteed chicked without freaking out.

Starting Monday, I'm going to add DW to my list of daily things to do. For reals.

Ooooogh

Dec. 14th, 2011 12:04 am
tablesaw: Supervillain Frita Kahlo says, 'Dolor!' (Que Dolor!)
Food poisoning over the weekend. That was fun. As with the last time I got food poisoning, I can blame no one but myself, since I wasn't eating out. Luckily, I didn't end up at the hospital this time, but the weakness from dehydration and not eating kept me knocked out for two days.

My stomach's still a little skittish, but I bounced back strong. I'd been feeling a little out of shape before the poisoning, and after spending a weekend too week to open a bottle of orange juice (yeah, really), I've been leaping to get back on the exercise routine.

It's been a great time to be out and about in Los Angeles too. Except for the rain yesterday, but also because of the rain yesterday. It's all cool and crisp again, and it feels like an LA winter should after the cold snap earlier in the month.
tablesaw: -- (Real1)
As you may start hearing news of a shooting near my home, please know that I am fine and safe.
tablesaw: Two women put the star on a Christmas tree. (Apocalyptic Christmas)
I was in the Valley today, doing some preliminary holiday shopping on a day off. The wind has been incredible; it would be a Santa Ana, if it weren't so chilly.

We do have a few trees around that lose leaves in the winter, and those leaves were finally being knocked off the trees, flying up and around across the streets.

At one point, I even saw an honest-to-god tumbleweed roll in front of my car (though it was only about the size of a soccer ball).

It's still going strong, up here in the north valley. I'm pushing back an invisible wall just getting to and from my car.

Got a few geocaches on the way out too. Also, I got my bonus last night. A pretty good day, all told.
tablesaw: -- (Default)
Last night I came home with a headache, and I ended up falling asleep early, sleeping with the lights on. That's always disorienting (I couldn't figure out what day it was when I woke up), though I caught up with the sleep I needed, and I'm feeling much better.

Thanksgiving was a quiet day with family and Gelson's food. It's been gorgeous in LA, recently and Thursday was no exception. I got to see my neice again, who is now walking and occasionally saying syllables.

On Wednesday, I saw The Muppets at the El Capitan, which was cool because the El Capitan is the location of the Muppet Show in the movie itself. As we walked in, the audience received wristbands with jingle bells on them, to accompany the stage show of Kermit and Miss Piggy singing winter holiday songs. As the previews began to play, the audience developed a spontaneous tradition of jingling before the preview played, during the screen containing the MPAA rating.

Working the days before Thanksgiving, I was a wreck, though. As my department gets ready to be transferred to the new company, everyone's been trying to run out their sick days before they lose them when we get cashed out. As a result, we've been horrifically understaffed, with more than half the department gone at any given day. Especially when combined with the holiday. I've been carrying a lot of stress home with me. My holidays are postponed until the end of the month, when I'll get a four-day weekend from November 29-December 2.

On Saturday, I went over to Dave's for his birthday celebration, playing The Secret of Mana to celebrate his 30th birthday. It was a lot of fun. I'd been itching to play videogames for a while, but somehow not managing to sit down to do it when at home. Spending a few hours wandering around on an SNES game was just the ticket.

Earlier that morning, I took part in the LA Homewalk for the United Way. Thankfully, it wasn't raining (it would rain on Sunday), and so everyone stayed dry. The most surprising thing was that according to my GPS, the length of the walk was more than the 3 miles/5 kilometers announced. When I was finished, my GPS said 3.98 miles, well over 6 kilometers. That explains why it took so much longer than expected. In all, I raised over $400 for the United Way.

On Thursday, I saw The Language Archive at the East West Players. It was a really good show, and it hit a bunch of emotional buttons for me, between a painful breakup and the loss of language between generations. There was a question-and-answer session after the show, and the director mentioned that among the ten people at one early production meeting, seven had experiences not speaking the language of their grandparents, including Japanese, Korean, Yiddish, and Lakota. The show continues through this weekend, and I recommend it, if you can make it.

Sky

Oct. 8th, 2011 07:22 pm
tablesaw: Gaff, from <cite>Blade Runner</cite> (Gaff)
Driving home tonight, I wanted to breathe in the colors of the sky like anesthetic.

GO FAST

Sep. 13th, 2011 04:50 pm
tablesaw: Gaff, from <cite>Blade Runner</cite> (Gaff)
On Sunday, at the season opener of Dungeonmaster, I saw [livejournal.com profile] aimegame before the show, among others. When I asked what she'd been doing, she said, "Racing go-karts!" and invited me to join her and some friends on the track on Monday. I'd been feeling a little under-socialized, so last night I headed out to Torrance to race.

It was my first time in a go-kart, but I acquitted myself well. [livejournal.com profile] aimegame had yelled that the only thing I had to do was "GO FAST," and I took it to heart, barreling into turns and sliding all over the damn place. It turns out that my previous experience with drifting in Mario Kart was incorrect: in fact, sliding around curves makes you go slower, rather than giving you a burst of glowing speed. On the other hand, skidding around a corner takes less time than crashing into the corner, and my drifiting kept me from a race-stopping collision with the barriers several times. Though I was in the basement among eight racers in my first match, the second, when it was just the three of us, I managed to eke out second place over [livejournal.com profile] aimegame.

What I didn't expect was the toll it would take on my arms. I know I don't have the greatest upper body strength, but after the races, my arms were trembling, and it hurt to lift things, which was a bit much, even for me. It certainly didn't feel like I was overstressing myself while I was racing, but there was a decent amount of adrenaline. Whether the steering actually did require more work than I'd realize, or the rush of speed had simply caused me to grip the wheel too tightly for too long, my arms were wrecked. Between that and some bumping around in the cart that left my back and sides a bit sore, I've been feeling the kart all day.

I'm probably going to join them again, but I might need to work more on my push-ups before then.
tablesaw: Supervillain Frita Kahlo says, 'Dolor!' (Que Dolor!)
This has not been the greatest week, for various reasons. Some of those reasons are private and complicated. Some of them are not. Among the public and uncomplicated reasons, I went to work today without my cell phone. Or my keys. And I have no idea where the building manager is or when (or if) he'll be back. So I'm at Kinko's now. The "let's just spend some time in Hollywood" time has run into "uh, can I get in touch with someone to let me sleep somewhere?"

Among the private and complicated ones, well . . .

With various emotional ups and downs, it's pretty clear that I'm experiencing some general depression. And now that those emotional things are kind of settling, it's just out there in the open. Nothing major, but still annoying to deal with. Especially when all this stupid stuff happens.

So, just, generally, if you have a moment, I could kind of use people saying things to boost up my self-worth. I'm in the frame of mind where I don't immediately discount them, and they've been absurdly beneficial to me the last few days. They don't even need to be creative, just hearing good things from other people is kind of what I need at the moment.

That, and for my manager to finally be there when I walk back across the street.

ETA: I finally got in touch with my manager. Or rather, my manager's son, since the manager is apparently on vacation. So he graciously drove over and let me into the house. Time to numb my brain with TV.

Infodump

Jun. 5th, 2011 10:58 pm
tablesaw: -- (Default)
Things done since ever.

  • Bought tickets for the NPL Convention in Providence. Will be flying into Boston on the 4th (5 p.m. EDT), looking to bum around before heading to the hotel on Wednesday afternoon, then flying out of Logan early on the 11th (7 a.m.). Who'll be around?
  • I also said, "Screw it!" and asked for the rest of that week off from work, so it's going to be a real vacation for me all through to the 15th. I don't know what I'm going to do with myself. But it will not be working.
  • I'm coming out of a funk (well, came out of a funk a week or so ago). It's always hard to identify it when I'm in it, till my body rebels and says, "No, Tablesaw, you need to do things again. You're going to do those situps, and then you're going to go out and see people." I'm looking ahead to when the pushback happens, the time when I feel a little sick or a little tired, and I let my momentum slip, and I can't pick it up again. On the horizon, this is most likely to happen because . . .
  • I'm probably going into the dentist this week to get my other wisdom tooth looked at. I have a feeling it's going to need removal too. The last time that happened it took a lot out of me. If it happens again, I'm going to need to plan ahead so that I can remomentatize myself.
  • I planned to go geocaching with [personal profile] trinker, and then found out it was to happen on her birthday, so I went all out to be the birthday fairy. It turned out kind of okay.
  • All the TV shows ended, and everyone is pregnant, I guess.
  • My phone, my crappy-ass phone—that is only one step removed from a crappy assphone—has started losing its charge, so I'm actually getting a smartphone. Virgin Mobile, which I've been using to keep my cell-phone bill under $10/month, has an unlimited data plan for $25/month. It should arrive this week. So that'll be interesting.
  • The Portal 2 print is framed and gorgeous-looking. I'm also wrestling with framing these prints on the cheap, which would be easier if the United States and Canada hadn't decided that they wanted their own special paper sizes.
  • Oh, I got a haircut too. For me, it's super short. But then, my hair was getting kind of long. For a while, it looked way too young for my big, bearded, thirty-three-year-old face, but it's looking better with a beard trim.
  • I watched a friend run Dungeon World at Strategicon over the weekend, which got me rereading Apocalypse World. After playing through a campaign, the directives made a lot more sense. It's a fascinating game, which is probably why I keep talking about it to everyone I meet. Also, much like with Smallville, I'm seeing it in the shows I watch. Sons of Anarchy and Dexter are totally running on Apocalypse World.
  • Finished Dragon Age:Origins. Pablum is too exciting a word.
  • Visited the Museum of Death, knocking another item off of my bucket list (defined as things that are close enough for me to throw a bucket at). It was disappointing. I was hoping for a curatorial perspective beyond, "WOW ISN'T THIS COOOOOOOOL!? SERIAL KILLERS, MAN! FUCK SOCIETY!" There were some nice touches: a set of crime-scene photographs near (what I assume was) the brief mention of the murder-suicide. On the other hand, relics of Jeffrey Dahmer and Ed Gein were counterposed with "ads containing humorous depictions of cannibals." Yeah, that wasn't too pleasant.
Gotta go to bed now . . .
tablesaw: A trial sign ("This trail is OPEN") against a blue sky in Los Angeles's Griffith Park. (Hiking (Open Trails))
With all the caching I've been doing, I thought I should spend some time getting reacquainted with Google Earth. And yet, I didn't get around to uploading any of the new stuff. Instead, I touched up some photos and made a map of a hike I made three years ago with [personal profile] ojouchan.

It was one of a few hikes that Ojou indulged me in, since she never really enjoyed just walking through the mountains like I did. When we reached the peak, she was rather miffed that there was a road that led straight to the peak. Still, the trail led through a cool rocky narrow on the way up. She took a lot of pictures there. I did too, but most of mine didn't turn out so well.

Google Earth file / Online Google Map

tablesaw: The Maple Street streetlight blinks on and off and on. (Monsters Are Due)
Incidentally, while obviously it's useful to prepare for the Big One around LA, it's probably not going to get as big as Japan.
"What's especially important in the U.S. is we expect an even larger earthquake on our own Cascadia Subduction Zone," said Heaton, specifying that related hazards are located in Northern California, Oregon, Washington and British Colombia - not along the San Andreas fault that runs through inland Southern and Central California.

"We don't believe we could have an 8.9 here," Heaton said.

"If you want the Big One, you'll have to go to Portland," remarked Lucy Jones, chief scientist for the USGS Multi-Hazards Demonstration Project for Southern California.

Graves explained that known faults in Southern and Central California simply don't have long structures like the Subduction Zone that caused the Japan quake.

"We just don't have these types of structures in Southern California. "I wouldn't say it's impossible, but certainly it would be unprecedented," he said.
"Caltech Scientists Eagerly Await Lessons from Monster Quake," San Gabriel Valley News.

Earthquakes in the Northwest won't be a surprise to those familiar with another geological catastrophes, but 9.0 is still pretty huge to consider for that areas, and a quake that large would affect a wide range, as it has in Japan.
tablesaw: A trial sign ("This trail is OPEN") against a blue sky in Los Angeles's Griffith Park. (Hiking (Open Trails))
I've generally been avoiding the coverage of the earthquake in Japan, because as an Angeleno who's lived through a large earthquake only a few miles from my house, the orders of magnitude from that tremor to 8.9 is terrifying.

Still, I've started to see references to a USGS report estimating deaths and damage in a California quake:
A magnitude 7.8 quake in California — Japan’s quake was 30 times more powerful — would kill at least 2,000 people and cause $200 billion in damage, a United States Geological Survey estimates.
The Week via Tumblr (Note that even The Week's Tumblr writer misstated its own article, calling it "a United States Geological Survey", instead of "a United States Geological Survey study.")

The USGS report in question is "The ShakeOut Scenario," which was a detailed model of the effects of a large earthquake in Southern California. It was prepared as part of a push to better prepare Southern California for the occurrence and aftermath a large quake, and the results were used in planning, regulations, and in modeling large-scale drills as part of The Great Southern California ShakeOut, which has grown to become The Great California Shakeout. This year, the project will include Oregon and British Columbia, and eight states in the central U.S.

This 2008 study was to create a very detailed model of a very particular hypothetical earthquake. This quake would be large (7.8 moment-magnitude) and focused on the San Andreas Fault. This is a relatively likely scenario, which is why it was chosen, but it isn't the only kind of earthquake that could hit Southern California.

So what does the study say? Here's the executive study on deaths:
Because of strong life-safety building codes over the years, the ShakeOut Scenario estimates only approximately 1,800 deaths, of which about half occur because of the fires following the earthquake. There will also be about 750 people with very severe injuries who will require rapid, advanced medical care to survive. Approximately 50,000 people will have injuries that need emergency room care. The final mortality could increase if hospitals cannot function because of damage or if the transportation disruptions prevent people getting to emergency rooms.
Because the quake was modeled to be far from the coast, the tsunami possibility was negligible, but fires figure heavily in the aftermath of the ShakeOut scenario. It's likely that fires will start either in areas close to brush, or in clusters of wood-framed housing, which will allow them to spread rapidly. There's also a likelihood of water supplies being disrupted, which could make fighting fires harder. For the dollar value, here's the table adding it up, with values in billions of 2008 dollars:
Building Damage: $32.7
Related Content Damage: $10.6
High-Rise Building Damage: $2.2
Related Content Damage: $0.7
Fire Damage: $40.0
Related Content Damage: $25.0
Highway Damage: $0.4
Pipeline (water, sewer, gas) Damage: $1.1
Sub-total Property Damage: $112.7

Business Interruption: $96.2

Relocation Costs: $0.1
Traffic Delay Costs: $4.3
Sub-total Additional Costs: $4.4

Total: $213.3
The scenario measures "economic losses" which includes damage and the loss of stock, as well as the amount of loss caused by having to shut down for a period of time. And note that, again, fires after the quake result in more than half of the modeled cost of damages.

There's other interesting things in the report, including the fact that because the fault is located in San Bernadino county, the damage and loss of life will be focused there, not in Los Angeles or Orange County. There's also the modeling of steel-structure high-rises collapsing, which was done a bit off-the-cuff because nothing similar had occurred. (Did any high-rises collapse in Japan due to shaking? All I can find when I search for it is 9/11 conspiracy theorists.)

So that's what the numbers mean.

Bar Crawl.

Feb. 27th, 2011 04:35 pm
tablesaw: Ration Hornblower, from the cast of Smile Time, peeks his horn nose out at you. (Ratio Hornblower)
People keep telling me about bars opening up in Hollywood. Some of them are really close to me. These locations are starting to pile up. Because I don't usually like trying them on my own, and I can't always get people to go with me.

So I'm thinking about organizing a bar crawl from my house. To that end, I've created a map of locations. Some I've been to, some I want to go to, some I refuse to go to. But they're just getting put in. I'm trying to avoid anything that's a lounge or club that would have people pissy about a scene or dress code. I just want places that will give alcohol in exchange for money.

Here's the map as it stands now. I'm going to keep adding, but if you have recommendations, let me know.

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