Midnight Ridazz do group rides through LA. My bike is a POS and I'm probably not in good enough shape to hang with these guys, but Taco Tuesday meets five minutes from my house in ... two hours. So ...
I just had the spiciest meal I've ever had in this city, after five years of chasing Thai and Vietnamese delicacies. It was a pizza, at Mr. Pizza on Fairfax. They also have a silly good beer selection, with like six Samuel Smith varieties.
EmpowerThyself.com is an activism engine - a social network, a community-edited site, and a game with achievement points. Contribute and learn about goals and tactics; recruit other activists; earn gold stars. Been around for a year now.
I've been wondering for a while how social network sites could be leveraged into real-world action - bingo! What an awful name though.
Taking a concept from software development and applying it to your life: test small parts of the system constantly. These tests should:
Be fixable within 1-2 hours after figuring out you failed the test
Test steps, not ends ("did I study Spanish for 20 minutes today?" not "am I fluent in seven languages?")
Test what, not how (don't really get this one)
Be as easy as possible, or you won't do it. Pencil and paper? Spreadsheet? whatever
Be answered every day. But you can create tests that have a time period longer than one day, e.g. "have I talked to my mother in the last seven days?" - you do it once, and then it's a freebie for the next six days
Goal is mindfulness - being aware of different areas of your life. Good areas to include are things like: health, community, relationships, work, finances ... but avoid introspection. "It's so much easier to lie to yourself about things that are just in your head ... I decided to only test things that someone else could verify if they happened to be there."
Guy (I think his name is Ted) tracks what % of tests he tracks every day, and has a goal of hitting at least 50% every day. Has gradually trended upwards over time, best day was 73%. He makes his test results public, with a changelog.
"Personal unit tests are a way to discover if you're kicking ass."
Q: "How do you know if you've covering enough areas of your life?" A: "The simple answer is you don't."
Finally, I'm so sick of people who don't live here recycling the same shit about Hollywood and how LA "doesn't actually exist", just because they can't submit to the fact that LA's too big and weird to figure out.
Los Angeles is where you confront the objective fact that you mean nothing; the desert, the ocean, the tectonic plates, the clear skies, the sun itself, the Hollywood Walk of Fame – even the parking lots: everything there somehow precedes you, even new construction sites, and it's bigger than you and more abstract than you and indifferent to you. You don't matter. You're free.
LA residents given to talking about life in the city talk about freedom a lot. Without a cohesive citywide identity or community structure, without a city center in any sense of the word, you don't situate your life in relation to some imagined ur-community or parental figures. You're just there. But I'd add one thing: it's true that the city as a whole cares about nothing. But there are a thousand communities, more, within the city.
William Gibson reads from Spook Country. Also a haul, but maybe. I went to hear him read when I was in high school, at a public library in Minneapolis. I think it was Virtual Light then. I embarassed myself nicely with a question about Roger Zelazny (no, he hasn't read him.)
Really useful and loving portraits of LA neighborhoods. They just started, but they say they want to do all of them. Tons of photos, maps, recommendations on places to go, the works. You will feel less guilty about saying the word "blog" after checking them out.
I'm dreading Eli Broad's massive downtown ego extension. Give LA a center, are you kidding? "I was fearful we would have unplanned development there that would create a mess" - something's happening here, and you don't know what it is, do you, Mr. Broad?
I want a bullet train to the Bay as much as anybody, and arguing that you can't invest in rail because "the voters are crying for relief from congested freeways" is the very definition of myopic, but Governator's got one good point: if you can't attract private investment (for a state-sponsored monopoly ... with a glut of capital looking for an opportunity ...) maybe time for a reality check.
Yellow loading zones are in effect from 7 to 6 only, and not on Sundays, and green loading zones are 8 to 6 only, not on Sundays, but white loading zones are 24/7. And don't fuck with red or blue ever.
"Mountain and loft parties, puppet shows synced to garage music, bake-offs at 180 beats per minute, late night bike tours, costume balls, instant beach art, movies in unusual places, unlicensed parades, outlaw slip and slides, extravagant variety shows, benefits for the non existent and random games of dodgeball."
I'm skeptical of the butterfly and the philosophy (if I wanted a car-free city I wouldn't have moved to LA, kids) but what the hell.
Taking the train through southern California is a strange, foreign luxury, like having a sommelier pour your drinks at a football game. Most of the trip has been through densely populated areas, so the driver's been leaning on the horn (or the conductor's been hanging on it, or whatever) most of the way. The train tracks don't skirt the cities - it's a constant level of sprawl and we're just cutting through it. Mostly, though, it's the novelty of public transportation that makes an impression - you've given up some of your God-given auto-driving freedoms to sit on this train, and in exchange you get to sit and relax for a bit.
I'm having some aesthetic problems with Los Angeles. Where are the moderns? I know, believe me I know, Los Angeles is Not New York, but people came out here, I thought, to build something new. So they threw off their shackles, went west, watered the desert, and created...kitsch? Some of my favorites -- Neutra, Wright -- did their stuff out here, but the kids have forgotten about them.