Weekend Option: The return of the Must…sort of

It’s been a long time coming.  I recall that fateful Sunday morning after The Must was so rudely and surprisingly shut down.  As word started to trickle across downtown, I came to learn that those boards on the windows and locks on the doors were not remodeling efforts by The Must owners.  Instead,the owners of the property conducted a little late night switcheroo.  New agreements were made that did not involve The Must, and so all of the inventory, equipment, and furniture were moved out in the wee hours of the morning after The Must closed down for the night–which is also sad, because Sunday game night was one of my favorite Sunday evening before having to start a new work week activities.  Bring in the lawyers.

After more than a year of questions–when is The Must coming back?  Where are they going to be located?  The Hellman Building?  The Continental?  But there’s never any movement over there.  Are they really rebuilding?  When can I get that mac&cheese again?–it is finally happening. Continue reading

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Italian sunrises and Mexican beaches.

I had a hard time motivating myself to leave my house this morning.  I woke up later than usual, I took longer than usual to get ready for work, and instead of heading to my office I convinced my roommate that we should go downstairs and get coffee.  It took me three trips from the elevator to my front door and back again before my feet hit the pavement.

Unfortunately, and this is not the first time this has happened, my iPod was dead.  I forgot to charge it last night again!  An iPod is like a weapon on the streets of DTLA.  When I want to ignore people [or pretend like I’m not eavesdropping on conversations] I put my headphones on and try to get lost in the music.  Time and again, though, I must employ my acting skills because I have no juice in the iPod battery.

What I’ve learned from my actor friends is you must stay in character at all times.  My character today was “girl walking to work listening to music.”  That means I can’t acknowledge other people when they are making comments in my direction, I can’t respond to questions, and I must maintain a somewhat glazed and contemplative look as I walk down the street as though I am already running late.

What I’ve also learned is that I’m a bad actor. Continue reading

Downtown Los Angeles: Through the Looking Glass

I read an article last week written by a journalist contributing to the Los Angeles Times that discussed the joy of seeing downtown grow over the last eight years she has lived here.  It made me smile, because I’ve had those same thoughts (though my two and a half years pales in comparison).

A couple of days later I received a notice.  “Someone has tagged you in a post.”  My privacy settings are fairly intense on Facebook right now, so I get the opportunity to approve anything with my name on it.  Lo and behold, a friend tagged me in a comparison piece titled “Downtown L.A.: A nightmare on Every Street” written by contributing writer Mike Armstrong.

My first reaction to Mr. Armstrong’s article was angry and a bit defensive.  I thought “who does this guy think he is telling me that I live in a nightmare?”  I commented on my friend’s Facebook page in a somewhat passionate and bit DTLA biased manner.  Then I stopped to think.  Was he really wrong in his assessment? Continue reading

Weekend option on the Redline: Street Fair

Happy Friday, everyone.  I read an article this morning from our lovely local paper that said public transportation ridership increased during Carmageddon.  While the article is a bit cynical about continued use of the these alternative transportation options, it was nice to see that people weren’t afraid to at least try it.  Try anything once is my motto . . .

If you are in the area this weekend and looking for something to do, take the Redline to the Los Feliz Village Street Fair.  Find your way to a Redline train heading to North Hollywood and get off at the Sunset/ Vermont Station.  Walk north one block to Hollywood Blvd. and you’re there.  No designated drivers needed.  Just ask someone to point you back to the metro when it’s time to go home.

Flights v. Bikes

As Carmageddon took hold of Southern California and the world waited to see what may come of Los Angeles during the dark days without the 405, there was still a bit of fun and competition in the air.

I saw it posted and re-posted many times on my Facebook account before that fateful weekend:  Jet Blue offers $4 fares from Burbank to Long Beach

A brilliant marketing campaign.  From what I’ve read, seats sold out in mere hours.

I’m sure at one point or another we have all been stuck in an airport facing security lines, flight delays, and unexpected stopovers between our originating point and final destination.  And, I must admit, with the amount of traveling I’ve done over the past three years, my airport habits are lacking.  I am often that person you see running through the airport with shoes and belt in hand after exiting the security line trying to catch the flight before airline personnel shuts the door.  Once that door is shut, you need to be an extra special person to get it open again.

It’s during those moments that I often thought, “I’m going to X city.  That’s really only 30-40 miles away.  I bet I could make it there faster by driving.”

Well, Wolfpack Hustle, a group of L.A. cyclists, took that same thought to a whole new level during Carmageddon.  The gauntlet was thrown: who would win a race between a plane and bicycle going the distance from Burbank to Long Beach?  Jet Blue accepted the challenge.

I followed the race on Twitter.  Apparently, the original challenge inspired others to join.  In the end there were four contenders for the medal:  (1) Plane/Taxi, (2) Bike, (3) Metro, and (4) Rollerblader (though there is some question whether the rollerblader was an actual contestant/entrant).

In the end, cyclists beat out Jet Blue by more than an hour of travel time.  I would like to note that the Metro rider came in second place and only ten minutes behind the cyclist.  I’m not sure whether the rollerblader truly thought it was possible, but if the feat was attempted, then I commend the effort.

Congrats to @wolfpackhustle and all of the people who participated in the challenge.

The day I drove a car.

About a month ago now I randomly ran into a friend and his mother while out on a hike.  We spoke for a few minutes before we got onto the topic of not owning a car in Los Angeles.  I think she was a little surprised to hear that.  Though I did explain the LAX CarShare, because sometimes a car is just plain necessary.  She then asked me a very interesting question.

Do I feel like my driving abilities have diminished now that I’m driving less?

My initial thought was, no, no, I’m a great driver.  Then I gave myself a moment and had to admit, well my response times are a little slower these days.  However, I do continue to claim that I am a superior driver and even possibly one of the greatest drivers of all time.

My crazy tour of Los Angeles because I get lost easily route.

As evidence, I once picked up a guy from the airport to drive him to my graduate school campus for a panel discussion.  The speaker, who was from Massachusetts, said to me “you drive like a Boston cabbie.”  I am sure that was a compliment, and I have cherished those words ever since that day.

Well, today, the city streets of Los Angeles put my driving skills to the test.  I had to take the LAX CarShare to Brentwood for an appointment.  Then, because I am slightly terrified and often confused by the roads on that side of the world, I missed my entrance onto the freeway and ended up taking Wilshire to Santa Monica Blvd. to the 101.

Is this a three lane road or one lane. I'm not sure...

All would have been fine except, to my complete shock and utter dismay, there are no lanes on Wilshire Blvd for a short stretch before you reach Santa Monica Blvd.  It did appear that street crews were recently there repaving.  It is beautifully done.  No potholes at all.  But…no lanes?!  I have never seen such panic amongst other drivers.  One guy in a boxy SUV swerved unsure of whether he should merge into a lane or continue straight.  And rightly so.  There was no warning, no sign, nothing to tell us “hey, we aren’t quite done with the road work, so be careful and maintain the three lanes that are usually present here.”  Maybe that is just a tad long for a road sign. . .

Some of us tried to stay in what should have been our lane and others sort of meandered between lanes hoping for a sign from above to tell them what to do.  Luckily, we made it to the end without incident.

Seriously, I drive once or twice a month these days.  It would be really helpful if you didn’t try to create an obstacle course out there on the roads.

And as a side note, LAX CarShare, I still love the access and ease of use, but #65 in Pershing Square has a rather odd smell a la that Seinfeld episode about body odor in the car.

Wait . . . did I do something illegal?

As everyone knows at this point:  1) Carmageddon wasn’t as carpocalypticy as we thought and 2) the 405 reopened earlier than planned.  Excellent work when I had it on good authority that the person in charge of the project had never finished on time before.  If there was ever a moment to end that streak it was here with a $6,000 per every ten minutes of additional delay price tag potentially looming.  I’ve worked in high pressure situations before, so when that incentive is there you do what you must to finish on time.

My original title "Being Antisocial" has been changed by a friend to "If My Life Were A Chair."

What you may not have known is that multiple metro lines were free to ride this weekend.  This was wonderful news for me.  Carmageddon saved me a few bucks as I used the redline all weekend long.  I found myself asking if we could do Carmageddon again next weekend.

However, it got me to thinking.  The red, purple and orange lines were free, but the goldline was not.  Huh.  Interesting.

Yeah, so my dear City of Los Angeles, what you are telling me is that I should be buying multiple tickets for each ride?  You seriously think that when I’m running to catch my transfer line, say when I go to Pasadena, after I’ve exited the redline at Union Station and find myself scampering towards tracks 1 and 2 for the goldline, you want me to wait there and purchase a second ticket?  That might be the most rider-unfriendly practice I have ever witnessed. Continue reading