Saturday, December 28, 2013


One of my favorite things about living in LA is the attitude of many people. It certainly isn't the friendliest place on earth, but the attitude is unique.

I thought about calling it a youthful attitude. That's pretty accurate, but not quite right. I also thought of stubborn, but other cities can be described as stubborn. I'm going to go with willful. The LA attitude is like that of a willful toddler.
these are way fun!

Much like toddlers, people here can be a bit self obsessed. They want to be paid attention to. They are not always cognizant that they need to use their nice words when dealing with others.

However, the attitude comes with a lot of upsides. People try new things. They aren't afraid to look silly. Frankly they don't care what you think. I frequently see adults skateboarding and riding kick scooters. I think that is awesome. These aren't just young adults either. These include folks with gray hair. I've seen them riding for fun, riding with their kids, riding to/from work, and riding for errands. I've seen people in scrubs and guys in business shirts. My personal favorite was a guy riding away from the grocery store on his skateboard with a new frying pan in hand.

Having lived other places, I know that many other cities carry social pressures about acting "outside the norm". Despite many areas being flat and blessed with far nicer sidewalks than LA, I really can't imagine a 40 year old cruising into work on a kick scooter in other cities. Why is that? Why let social stigma affect our actions? Be like that toddler and think you're the greatest thing ever.

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Areas to live in LA: maybe

This is part 3 of my entirely opinion based series on where to live in LA.

The maybe area lies within the "yes, but" category except for the desert and high desert.

Desert and High Desert: I love the desert when it is vast and empty and full of interesting geology. This area has a bit of that. However, due to the availability of cheap land, it is slowly gaining boring suburbs. It is also a transportation nightmare. Unless you live along the Metrolink line, you get to enjoy grueling long car rides through limited options into the city.

Chinatown: This area extends past the commercialized Chinatown to include several other largely immigrant communities. For many recent immigrants, cheap housing and lower crime make this a desirable area. However, if you're not a recent immigrant you may feel out of place.

Downtown: For years if you weren't homeless, there was no reason to linger in downtown after sunset. Like many American cities, downtown is slowly experiencing a renaissance. Unlike other cities, it isn't totally overtaken by yuppies just yet. Apartments in historic buildings can be had for reasonable rates. This is also at the hub of the current hub and spoke model public transport system. The massive homeless population is not to be ignored, though. They bring with them the odor of open sewers and street trash like you wouldn't believe. 

Hawthorne and Torrance: These are suburbs with lots of single family homes or squat multi-family units. I have no particular love for the area nor do I loathe it. If you work in aerospace, this may be a good area to situate yourself due to proximity to jobs. What I dislike, are the prevalence of big box stores and sprawling parking lots. However, I do like the Carson Ikea better than the Burbank Ikea for the very reason of the massive surface lot. A parking garage at an Ikea is just insanity!

Palos Verdes: Unlike the others areas in this category, this is expensive. It sits on a rise on a point overlooking the ocean. The hillside homes are largely spacious and cost you plenty. There was the debacle where a developer built a neighborhood on a known landslide and then as nature would have it the homes started migrating oceanward and the area had to be razed. Load up on the insurance if you live here. Other than that, you have some stunning ocean views, a lighthouse, a beautiful chapel designed by Lloyd Wright, and several parks.