Tuesday, August 30, 2011

... to bring dire straits to your environment

i bagged on some public health officials a couple months back for showing the improper use of a thermometer.  apparently, they're not the only ones who have made this mistake publicly.  at least with vaccinations, a single, simple stab of a needle does the trick.

you got a lotta convincin to do to make me think thermometer misuse qualifies you for computer repair.  what's next? sprint car mechanics trying out rocket science?

note: title of post quotes deltron 3030's song "virus"

Monday, August 29, 2011

why i write

it's been about a year since i started this blog.  as i stated in my inaugural post, one of my primary motivators was the crap writing from our esteemed l.a. times.  their factual reporting is usually okay, though they do rely on the bus riders' union for an "opposing perspective" all too often.  i hate this because public transit is not a team sport, where there are only two sides and a definitive winner.  also, i've yet to talk to an actual bus rider that agrees with much of what this so-called union advocates.

back to the l.a. times, they're anecdotal writing invariably makes me want to vomit.  it seems that they decided to continue their tradition of "oooohhhh, public transit is soooo novel and weird" with this piece.  of course we all want to avoid being stabbed, but what insight could a single ride possibly give you?  the shallowness is pretty plain when the subway is described as "a commuter culture that relies on nobody seeing nothing."  when that's still a part of a writer's perspective on l.a. public transit, additional thoughts on the topic tend to not exactly be deep.  i'd humbly request that the author page through my blog here.  strangers strike up conversations and otherwise acknowledge each other all the time.  but, i guess, that's too normal to make for good copy.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

trash porn, pt. 4

i think this place is supposed to be a recycling center specializing in dumpsters and other large steel containers.  i say "i think" because i'm not sure any of those steel containers has moved for several months.  perhaps i'll take another photo in a couple of weeks and compare them to find out for sure.

no one ever talks about dumpster heaven, a place they go after a life of service comes to an end.  that's probably because dumpsters can't talk; and yet i can't think of another object i'd be more interested in asking questions.  indeed, investigative work of all sorts would become easier if this were the case.  if i ever get to open one of my own dumpster heavens, i'll be sure to make asking the dumpsters about their days of service a top priority.

(if you're new to lamtadiary, but love pictures of trash, see trash porn pt 3, trash porn pt 2 and grab yer shappin cart)

Sunday, August 21, 2011

first red line slaying

it's been a busy couple of days for la mta news.  first, there's been a bunch of jibber-jabber about bus bench contracts.  second, the bru adds to its long history of race-baiting campaigns and the la times once again takes the bait.  but the biggest news this weekend has to be the mta's first red line slaying (ok, technically it was on friday, but i've had a busy weekend).

this is, of course, a tragedy from which no good will come.  a person has died, another is on the run from authorities and dozens of riders have been emotionally traumatized.  additionally, nonriders' still-unfounded fears surrounding public transportation will only increase (already evidence of this in the la times' article's comments).  perhaps worst has been the mta's reaction.  their main page and twitter feed have yet to even acknowledge a death, simply citing "police act" for the cause of severe delays.  i can only imagine what the reaction in the coming days is going to be.  security companies will be lining up and lobbying to add their presence so such an act can never happen again.  worst case, we'll have a tsa-style organization patting people down before boarding the train.

as for the events themselves, there's simply not enough information out to know if the stabber was in fact defending himself as he claims.  i've never been threatened with a chain, but i can see how that might put one in a defensive mood.  the mta would do well to release the video or at least a solid mug-shot so that he can be identified.  beyond that, however, i haven't even heard of a chain vs knife rumble since playing "double dragon" at the arcade as a young child.  throw in the skateboards as weapons and, well, it's the first time i've heard of this happening.  also, the times staff witness, "waited for five minutes then left when police still failed to appear."  ok, dude, i know you're just the music writer, but did you really expect lapd or even the sheriffs to respond in 5 minutes?  and even so, it's a murder.  what could possibly be so important that you need to take off after a mere 5 minutes?

Thursday, August 18, 2011


i hear a death metal voice say "MAIL!"  it's someone's phone.  a few moments later, "hey, baby, how are--" this man says before being cut off by his fellow conversant.

"well, no, i --" makes me wonder how the real life conversations go.

"i'm going to court."  i'm imagining his "baby" does meth on a regular and often only lets the need to breathe interrupt the word flow, but i've been terribly wrong about such things before.

"feasib-- well-- feasibly they'll release me from my commitm--" this side of the stilted conversation continues.

in as upbeat a tone as i've heard from this guy, "i could go with you today."  if "released from his commitment," i suppose he'll need someplace to go.

"that'd be great, wouldn-- ok-- ok-- don't forget my headphones."

Monday, August 15, 2011

congress and the train

an interesting report on the topic of federal transportation funding recently came out with some accompanying congressional testimony.  you can tell by the name of the sources, both with "civilrights" in the address, just what the perspective of them will be.  while i find the hand-wringing over discrimination a bit overblown, i do agree with the conclusions.  spending 80% of our federal transportation dollars on car-oriented modes is too much. our trains and buses need upgrades and the systems they run on need both maintenance and improvement.  the united states' standing in the world regarding innovation, especially regarding trains, is pretty dismal these days. but, then again, i've got my iphone, product of the world's newest most highly capitalized company, which happens to be american.  i can still fly my flag with pride.

Saturday, August 13, 2011

shiny whites

i wasn't there to hear how this conversation got started, but the fella whose shoes so shiny in the picture below was talkin to a lady with fingernails so long, they were curling back.  sounds a little scary when i put it that way, but, my, my, were they prettily groomed.

i'm guessin the conversation started somethin like, "got yourself some new shoes, huh?" the lady sayin to the fella.

the part i actually did get to hear started with the fella sayin, "oh no.  you gots to take care o wha cha got.  things'll last a long time.  my routine, every night i do this.  i take my shoes off, clean em, wipe em down with that oil, put em away and set out my next day's shoes."

"no wonder they look like new."

"yeah, that's right.  gotta make sure to clean em every night.  these shoes, they two months old, but they look like i just got em yesterday, don't they?"


i know i don't like to wear white shoes because they get dirty so easily.  but if i were as diligent as this man, maybe that would all change.  gotta hurry.  it's almost labor day.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

from above

a lot of how l.a. gets portrayed comes from the west side of town.  this is only natural as most of the portrait-makers (movie, tv, music, etc) with national and international reach are from there.  a common theme is that you need to have a car to get around; and if you're a creative type whose daily improvisations are the lifeblood of your work, i can see how that might be the case.  but for us boring 9to5ers, well, you see for yourself.

i was in the above crowd, waiting.  i noticed the outcropping and took these pictures because it turned out to be a fun vantage point.

iphones aren't real good with things beyond 20ft or so, but you get the idea.

Monday, August 8, 2011

streets of laredo

al (probably not his real name).  sort of a barney rubble type.
ed (also not likely his real name).  imagine the lazy drawl of tommy chong mixed with the intensity of danny trejo.

al: this train's goin to union station.

ed: union station, more like the streets of laredo.  we were drinkin our coffee there, man, we weren't doin nuthin and they still come and mess with us.  we weren't doin nuthin, man.

al: when we get off, i gotta go.

ed: i know whachoo mean, man.  sometimes you gotta go so bad, it'll make you wanna jump off the aleutian islands.  once i had to go so bad at the santa anita track, i just found a garbage can.  some guy started starin.  i said, "why don't you just join me, you sunuva bitch!"  man, when you're walkin down the street and you got no money, just stick out your thumb.  you never know what'll happen.

slight lull in conversation.

al: trash can's full.

ed: man, she found thirty grand in a trash bag once.  can you believe that?  in a trash bag, man.

al and ed get off the train, taking their sun-baked skin and wifebeaters with them.

Saturday, August 6, 2011

juan the warlock

despite having juan vordath and his staff of expediency on my side for this trip, i don't think we arrived any sooner than we would have otherwise.

next time, i'll have to bring my amulet of lightning and maybe the combined effect will give the train that flash gordon speed.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

trash porn, pt 3

thrown anything away today?  check back in a couple weeks time to see if it made its way into this pile.  you could also check out the trash track project, which tagged some trash to see where in the country it ended up. 

i know "globalization" sounds like a neat idea.  if done right, i suppose it might even yield some good results.  when we take the bad with the good, however, it just means that rather than this pile growing to the point where l.a. is forced to confront its own resource usage, thousands of invisible piles all around the globe keep growing instead.

well, i need some toothpaste.  off to the big-box store with me.

Monday, August 1, 2011

peace and quiet

some people see this sign and talk about how neglected things are, how the mta needs to get their act together and make sure their trains work for all people all the time, blah, blah.  me, i just see a place no one will be getting on or off the train from.  sounds like a perfect spot to stand and read.