Archive for the ‘neighborhood’ Category

Give A Little Bit

Tuesday, December 25th, 2012

photo(2)On Christmas Eve morning Susan and I set out in the light rain for a Silver Lake walkabout that turned into an almost-six-mile loop around our wonderful neighborhood. We discovered new stuff, like this colorfully reborn parking meter we dropped a couple coins into where it stands just south of Rowena on West Silver Lake Drive. This one’s set up to raise money to keep lighted the lovely “Chandelier Tree” the property owner created, and represents a variation of a movement afoot in various cities across the country to re-adapt and reuse the defunct machines as donation stations for various causes.

And we stopped into a variety of shops catering to last-minute holiday shoppers including Yolk, Brightwell, Broome St. General Store, Casita del Campo (for a mid-route libation), The Cheese Store of Silver Lake, Pull My Daisy, Reform School, the 99-Cent store, Daisy’s Antiques and Danish Modern LA.

Before we left I loaded into my backpack a couple books because the one place I wanted to visit in order to give rather than receive was St. George Street branch of the Little Free Library that’s been set up for well over a year (and actual it’s stationed on Rowena between St. George and Hyperion).

Mission accomplished:


One of these years I’m going to add my own satellite branch to the extensive nationwide system.

Merry Christmas!

PS> For a few more snaps of some of the things we saw along the way, check out this Flickr set.

Timelapse: Voting On Election Day

Tuesday, November 6th, 2012

If I didn’t have other errands to run I’d’ve just walked the half-block to our polling place, but since I had to go to Glendale, I hit the start button on my handlebar-mounted GoPro, hopped on the bike and made casting a ballot my first stop, where I was pleased to find myself waiting behind about 10 other voters ahead of me. You’ll never hear me complain about having to wait in a line to vote. It fires me up to see members of the local electorate fired up enough to make me have to stand around a few extra minutes.

As I moved up, others fell in behind me. I asked if it was OK to bring my bike inside and a volunteer said sure. And though I thought I’d shut off my cam, it turns out it kept recording my neighbors and me (in the black knickers shirt and backpack) doing our duty as citizens. Kinda nice to have a physical record of it. I even had the pleasure of helping out a first-time voter in the booth next to me who was unsure how to put the ballot in the voting machine and asked for my help.

To Catch A Newspaper Thief

Thursday, September 6th, 2012

Sometimes real life reinforces the lessons I’m learning in the course of my public safety education. Take this otherwise unidentifiable fellow below, who triggered the motion sensors of my front porch cam this morning, and was thus digitally captured stealing today’s newspaper (click them for the bigger pictures):


Thanks to the newspaper delivery person not tossing today’s edition high enough up onto our front steps, this male in a red long-sleeved shirt and black baseball cap, happened upon its accessibility. In the image on the left, he’s paused and is looking toward the street (perhaps to make sure no one is around to witness his impending act). Then, 18 seconds later in the frame on the right, he’s facing the house, having either begun to go down to get the paper on the lower steps or standing back up after taking it.

Coincidentally the exam we had last week was on property crimes, two of which this suspect committed: trespassing and petty theft (California Penal Code sections 602 and 488):

In class I learned that the elements required for the crime of trespassing to be complete are:

  • any person who enters any land, whether unenclosed or enclosed by fence,
  • for the purpose of injuring any property or property rights or
  • interfering with, obstructing, or injuring any lawful business or occupation
  • carried on by the owner of the land, the owner’s agent, or by the person in lawful possession.

And we also learned the elements that are necessary for petty theft to be complete:

  • the taking and
  • carrying away of
  • personal property of another without consent
  • with intent to permanently deprive the owner.

For those of you thinking it might be classifiable as burglary, that could only happen if he entered the actual residence to take the newspaper. Instead, for a $1 newspaper this fellow committed two misdemeanors, each punishable with six months in jail and a $1,000 fine.

But wait! There’s more: Upon discovering the paper missing shortly after 8 a.m., I saw that the twine wrapped around the paper had been removed and dropped on our bottom most step,  which means the suspect added the infraction of littering (California Penal Code Section 374.4) to such an illustrious resume.

If the overtly clinical tone of this post has left you wondering what’s been done with the Will who usually rants ballistically about such transgressions, rest assured, he’s still here — and wishing the images captured provided a clearer picture of the culprit for which to file a police report. In the meantime I’m simply deploying another crucial aspect of my training: objectivity.

And keeping an eye open wide for the next attempt.

Easy As 1, 2, 3… Well, Not Quite

Saturday, July 7th, 2012

It’s no secret I’m a huge fan of historic vintage maps of Los Angeles. I love pouring over high-resolution versions of the documents and one I’ve spent some time with is a fantastically detailed bird’s-eye view of the city from back in 1909 that I found here on the incredible Big Map Blog about a year ago.

I hadn’t looked at it in awhile, but I opened up the file again yesterday for no particular reason. And while past explorations left me kind of certain that our neighborhood was further to the right side of this image, yesterday’s visit left no doubt that I’d been waaay off.

Here’s the section annotated below (numbered and arrowed by me; click it for the bigger picture):

1. The intersection of Bellevue and what was then Temple or Old Temple Road (now bisected by the 101 with London Street to the north of the freeway and Park View to the south). Our street was originally called Sugg (and then later Ensign) and it’s shown extending northward from that intersection into what was originally the Rowland Heights tract.

2. This was the key element that I hadn’t previously recognized. That bend in the road is now the present curve of LaFayette Park Place (one street east of ours) down to what’s now Benton Way.

3. Is essentially our house. Not really, but pretty dang close to where it was built in 1906. It was one of the first on the block, and its position there on the map is good in relation to the view we have of Sunset Boulevard, seen above angling up between what was then curiously known as Capitol Hill (what’s now Micheltorena Ridge) and Crestmont (site of the famed Canfield-Moreno Estate aka Paramour Mansion built in 1923).

Streetfiti Case No. 2345-1a

Monday, June 25th, 2012

Almost eight years I’ve walked, biked, jogged past this, and only last week did it finally catch my eye on a slab of concrete bridging the parkway between the sidewalk and the curb down near the south end of our block (click it for the bigger picture):

At first I thought it read “Campbell’s,” but upon closer inspection and with Susan’s help we deciphered it out as “Campislia Oct 1925.”

1925 makes sense. That’s a key year in the block’s history when both the street and sidewalks were paved. Perhaps the original owners of the building on the corner this sits in front of DIY’d the parkway slab.

Whoever did it 86 years ago, it beats the previous record holder for freehand streetfiti in the neighborhood by 8 years — a 1933 scrawl in a driveway apron another block south.

Blink & You’ll Miss It

Sunday, May 20th, 2012

Last year the Amgen Tour of California ignored Los Angeles, and the year before I had to go downtown to watch a bit of the time trial stage, but this year the Amgen tour’s course designers did me a nice favor in sending the final stage cyclists along Sunset Boulevard — literally a half-block from my Silver Lake front door. So at 10:20a.m., about ten minutes before they were scheduled to roll through on their way downtown, I set up my cam on a tripod with a backdrop of some appropriately complementary street art, and they literally WHOOSHED by only a few feet from my lens.

Thundering Herd

Sunday, March 18th, 2012

This is the odd perspective you get from my Silver Lake backyard when you jam an old low-res camera into the eye-piece of a 20X spotting scope (at right), duct tape them both together and point the contraption down at Sunset Boulevard and capture at a frame a second the river of humanity that surges through this spot just past the beginning of the seventh mile of the LA Marathon. First it starts as a trickle with the elite runners, then the street soon floods curb-to-curb before eventually easing back down to those diehard participants slowly bringing up the rear.

All in, it’s about two hours condensed down to about eight and a half minutes that to me gives off something of a vintage vibe, as if this was footage shot with a rudimentary camera in the 1920s and colorized.

UPDATE (3.19): For a less strange look, here’s some real-time video of the thundering herd as it passed me at the curb. After setting up the scopecam Susan and I walked the half-block to Sunset to support and cheer on my neighbor Dean who was running in the LA Marathon in support of and to raise awareness for the Wounded Warrior Project. When we got there, we found another neighbor, Ralph, who’d brought out his drum (as well as an excellent St. Patty’s Day-green dye job to his  goatee), so Susan went back and got my drum and together the two of us banged on them (with another neighbor occasionally accompanying on cowbell) as a parade of  thousands of marathoners entered the race’s seventh mile in Silver Lake.