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Men in Blue...and a Billion Hopes

Wednesday, February 28, 2007

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The Men in Blue left for West Indies for the 9th Cricket World Cup. Will the 24 year wait end this time or will it be another failure. But one thing is certain over the next 2 months most eyes will be on the action in West Indies. With the time difference being what it is, most will be awake most of the nights, more delays in the morning. But there will be a sense of accomplishment if the result is what we hope it would be. Though considering Team India's form over the last year maybe this would be hoping for too much. But with the so called glorious uncertainities of the game, one can only hope for the best. So all eyes will be on Dravid, Sachin, Dada, Veeru, Yuvi, Dhoni, Karthik, Uthappa, Agarkar, Zaheer, Munaf, Sreesanth, Pathan, Kumble & Bhajji as they make their attempt for the greatest glory in sport. After all they carry the hopes of over a billion Indians. Wishing Team India the very best. Hope the 24 year wait ends.

Things I Found in February

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

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What's better than finding stuff? (I guess having a lot of money to buy whatever, whenever one likes.) As I was saying, what's better than finding stuff?


Flag holder, picked from atop a dumpster on 24th near Vermont.



Maybe I shouldn't show off my found wares. Will others be inspired to salvage? Will I face more competition for choice cast-offs? Wouldn't I rather face more competition? I'd be a relief really, to drive by a stack of splintered wood and think, Jack and Joan'll see to that rubbish, and if they don't there's always Marty and Mort.








Pedestal sink. Placed at the curb near Venice & La Brea, along with the oft-discarded aquarium, a built-in tub, and drywall scraps.




Door hardware. Removed from discarded doors on Jefferson near St. Andrews. (Awaiting a tri-sodium phosphate bath.)

Favorite LA Movies 3

Monday, February 26, 2007

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The Driver

Director Walter Hill's The Driver is the veritable A to Z of downtown Los Angeles, a back drop to impossibly long car chases, expertly lensed by d.p. Phil Lathrop. Ryan O'Neal plays a nameless get-away driver, single-mindedly pursued by a conniving detective (actor Bruce Dern). The Bonaventure Hotel and Union Station receive especially long cameos along with some, probably long gone, SRO hotel. Despite the abundance of night driving sequences, Lathrop's photography, while sufficiently source motivated, is always permeable and coherent. Hill's second directorial effort (after 1975's Hard Times), the minimal, neo-noir Driver was released in 1978, a year before Hill's break-out success, the street gang picture The Warriors.

The Alley

Sunday, February 25, 2007

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Sooner or later it has to rain (doesn't it?); and, sometimes in Los Angeles it rains very hard, without interruption, and where is all the water to go?

In heavy rains, the water flows from my rear yard into the alley.

In preparation (of impending storms!) I cleared the leaves, deposited by my arch-rival the bouganvillea, and trash along the alley side of the run-off, anything that might interrupt or impede my serviceable grading. With regard to fluid dynamics, I was eliminating turbulence, or so the applied science reads.

My alley is ungated, backs a moribund commercial corridor, a pocket park, a library; and, increasingly disused, serves only to access a few garages. Open on both ends, it is prone to dumping. Richard the metalsmith who lives in a twenties warehouse behind me has furnished nearly his entire space in alley cast-offs, even window treatments.
"If I'm willing to wait", he once proclaimed, "it'll show up."
Some houses on my block/alley lack garages altogether. Some have converted their garage (illegally) into an in-law or rental (which makes street parking more scarce). Yet most prefer to park on the street which is less desolate and therefore feels safer. In many places the alleys are gated. By doing so the city abdicates their maintenance responsibilites. The gates are padlocked and only the residents have keys. This tends to discourage their use even further.

One elderly neighbor, exiled by his wife, uses the alley as a place to smoke. He doesn't seem the least bit concerned about fluid dynamics.

Of roses, fairies and hearts

Saturday, February 24, 2007

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Hello dear blogging friends and readers, I had plans to post again earlier but then on Thursday I suddenly fell ill with a terrible cold and a bad headache so that I had to go home from work, but today I feel on the mend so I have some new pictures to share with you!


My friend who stayed with me last weekend has got me this beautiful rose bouquet above. They still look good today after 8 days and the delightful mimosas are still smelling heavenly spring like.

Well and this is just a little corner of my home that I'd like to share, seeing how much I like to have a peek in other people homes I always think that you possibly do to:





Oh and not to forget the gorgeous pure white fairy doll, a wonderful creation of my friend Niki over @ Nostalgia at the stone house. She flew into my home last Saturday!


Try the click on picture to enlarge thing and see more details, it's worth it and I hope it works! This next picture looks so much better when you enlarge it and you can see all the gorgeous details Niki has used for the doll closer. I love her hair and the mini pompom garland and the silver flowers:


Luckily I still had a voucher for my fave shop which two friends gave me for my birthday and this charm is one of the things I've bought of it, it's not an antique piece I know, but doesn't it look like one?



Also I've got me this turquoise candle cup from the voucher, which matches so well with two of my jugs:



Further more I like to show you the 4 hearts I've created for my friend Anitas "Nostalgic Hearts Swap". They all have two sides, but I only show you one side so the other one is still a surprise for the recipients. I really do hope they look nostalgic and that the recipients will like them. I was supposed to send them out on Friday but due to my sickness I couldn't, but I'll do it tomorrow, promised!









And lastly here is a sneak peek of my spring garden, I hope that next weekend I can show you more spring pictures to bring us all in the joyful mood!


I still feel quite weak so if I don't get around to comment on your blogs as usual it is because sitting in front of the pc is still very exhausting for me at the moment, so I better go back to bed now and keep looking up my fave blogs later. I'm wishing you all a beautiful sunday and a good start into the new week! xox

The Brick Pile

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Five years ago I replaced my original foundation (from 1909) and removed a chimney that acted as a vent chase (for a floor furnace and wood burning stove).

Both were made of brick ("unreinforced masonry"), together they created a heckuva pile.

I've begun in earnest to sort through the heap, scraping away the disintegrating mortar, tossing the broken pieces, restacking the rest. Delightedly, many are "clinkers", bricks that became mishapen and irregular, vitrified, in the firing process.

The "clinker" name comes, supposedly, from the sound the bricks make when knocked together, owing to their increased density.

These odd lots were often discarded, until practitioners of the Arts & Crafts movement began to prize their organic, pre-industrial non-conformity.

Last year, I took a few hundred and laid a patio. This year maybe I'll make an horno, and then next year a giant tower that'll reach hundreds of feet up into the sky.....

Maybe I should just keep scraping.

Signs on Trees

Friday, February 23, 2007

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Electrical poles and streetlights are commonly "papered" with notices and fliers, recording industry promotions and pleas for los perros perdidos. Trees on the other hand are seldom festooned, respected as living things and quasi-private possessions.

Sometimes, revoltingly, a tree is tagged, often after the tree is adorned with a bright headlight-reflecting stripe.



My favorite, from the 2000 block of Oxford, presumably a No Parking sign, engulfed by a broad, unyielding trunk.






Scripture, sensitively fastened by string. These signs appear in many places, presumably the work of one, in English and Spanish. (32nd Street near Hill)





Los Angeles mayor Antonio Villaraigosa is spearheading a praiseworthy initiative entitled, Million Trees LA. As with most urban forest ventures, it encourages tree planting.
With my infinite powers, I would make tree planting mandatory. Every (plantable) lot in Los Angeles would be required to host at least one tree. Plant it, or face a property tax assessment!


And no signs, please.

Winter in my garden

Monday, February 19, 2007

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Hello everybody! I'm sorry for having been away for so long, but I've had a good friend staying with me from Friday until Monday so I had no PC time. Also I had no time for new pictures, but as you can see my dear and clever daughter was so kind to spend over 3 hours changing the look of my blog on Saturday night while I was out and about with my friend. She so knows me and what I like :D I'm especially fond of the colors and curls! How do you like the new look?

On the picture above you can see some spring flowers that I got on the end of January, just when I already started to think that we would not see any real snow here this winter. Then in February the weather suddenly changed from this

to this!

See how my spring flowers on the black iron table are all covered up with the white stuff (click on picture to enlarge it)?

I so like it when my garden ornaments are covered with a thick hat of snow:

My snowy front garden:

And the view from inside out (click on picture to enlarge it):

Well it's all over and gone again by now but I thought you'd might like to see these photos too. Today I'm still off work and I'm planning on spending as much time as possible in my studio corner because for the last 5 days as much as I like my dear friend, I've so missed being creative! And next weekend I'm planning on opening the spring season in my garden if the weather will allow it! Have a great week everyone! xox

The Year of the Pig

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Stop on by for these Year of Pig pieces: Indiana Glass snack set; Pig County Fair sugar and creamer set; Avon pomander Pampered Piglet; Winnie the Pooh's plush buddy Piglet; assorted pig figurines; stuffed toy Babe and Baby Miss Piggy.



For more information, check out:
Tennessee Antique Shack
http://www.tias.com/stores/tnantiqueshack

- Sierra

Favorite LA Movies 2

Saturday, February 17, 2007

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The Late Show, produced by Robert Altman, written and directed by Robert Benton, pairs nostalgia and whimsy, Art Carney and Lily Tomlin. Released in 1977, the film dressed down classic potboiler elements, interjecting Tomlin's scatter-brained wit and moments of gentle comedy.

The Late Show contains plenty of down home L.A. streetscapes and practical interiors. Carney's character, a wizened P.I., even lives in a West Adams area boarding house (note the Denker street signs). Ah, the bad old days.

Pilasters

Friday, February 16, 2007

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Get a load of those pilasters!


Pilasters are engaged, that is attached to or partly embedded in a wall. Pilasters, like these ionic columns, are purely decorative, as opposed to full columns that would instead be a supporting feature.

(Apartment building on 8th near Westlake)



Pilasters are a common detail in Greek Revival architecture, also featured in Georgian, Federal, and Colonial styles.

This house on 25th street in Kinney Heights has a pilaster that resembles a doric column, with a single story shaft, terminating at the stringcourse.




Pilasters are most commonly either piers or pillars/columns and can be constructed as a projection of the wall itself. This example in North University Park is also column-like, sporting a small rosette and capital (a type of finishing crown).

The entalature above is festooned with a garland, resembling a band of flowers, a swag of fabric, a festive decoration.

Happy Saint Valentine's Day

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

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to all of you dear blogging friends and readers!

Welcome to another rosy and heartfelt post for Saint Valentine's day today on February 14th 2007!


I'd like to invite you to a Valentines tea party, take a seat and make yourself comfortable, the table is set in rosy pinks for you:



And if you would like to stay also for a Valentines dinner party tonight, you are cordially invited as well:



This is a little Valentines "Hello" from my garden for you!



Last Sunday I've got this lovely antique rose book as another late b-day gift and I thought it would also make a pretty picture for Valentine's day here on my blog:



This is another rosy heart which I've finished making last week:



Talking about hearts, the paper hearts for my dear winners are both packed and ready to send out to Wales in Great Britain and to Idaho in the USA today!

I'm wishing everyone of you a most joyful day! xox

Listings Update

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The Emard house in West Adams Heights is in its final week of escrow.

The Kinney Heights Craftsman (2171 W. 24th St.) is also in escrow.

3637 2nd Avenue has received offers and may move into the pending category next week.

What's upcoming?

Another 24th Street listing, an Adobe Revival, built in 1931. Another dreamy Jefferson Park bungalow, and an unusual side-by-side Craftsman duplex in West Park. More details in a couple weeks.

The Death of the Empty Lot

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Remember the empy lot of your childhood? How it functioned, even minus picnic benches, a corkscrew slide, and spring rider as a defacto park, a sandlot, for unorganized games and adventure play?

But when was the last time you saw that? As the original horizontal city tilts vertical, as the term high-density infill becomes a councilman's mantra, empty lots are being devoured like hot dogs at a Nathan's event. They're inaccessible besides, wrapped in tall, liability-staving, chain link.

While the city becomes more dense (adding an average 30,000 new residents a year), rarely are the remaining un-built parcels commandeered for municipal use. The Santa Monica Mountains Conservancy will sometimes acquire an acre of two, protecting its holy land, in the canyons or passes, inaccessible to most, practical for none.

The Cornfield or Chinatown Yard, the city's first state park, is a notable exception. The 32 acre site, former Tongva village, and Southern Pacific train yard, funnels into the LA River, near the Brewery Art Colony and Lincoln Heights.



Of course urban infill is supposed to be about less resource intensive sustainable (is it a chant or a drone....) access to urban amenities--like parks! Really it's about units man, units, units, units. Is it smart growth or just big growth?

Which is why we need more parks, particularly if we've lost its poor cousin--the empty lot.

Valentine's day & all that stuff...

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So another Valentine's Day is here. Articles are being published to commemorate the day. Love songs are being played continuously on the music channels. The moral police have started issuing their warnings. Even the administration in my college has not scheduled any exams on the day. Not that I have had any reason to celebrate it yet or for that matter anyone to share it with. But have been getting a few mails giving advise for the V-Day. Here goes one of them.
Follow strictly the below mentioned steps and success is guaranteed:
  • Choose the girl you want to propose on the D-day
  • Pick a rose
  • Spot the girl
  • Stand in front of her
  • Give her the rose
  • Hug her tightlllyyyyy
  • If she doesn’t resist. Battle won, the girl is yours!!!
  • If she resists and stare at you angrily, immediately leave her and start clapping and shouting

Didi Darr Gayi, Didi Darr Gayi!!!

Crime Part 1

Monday, February 12, 2007

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Is it safe?









Is there crime in that grand swath of basin neighborhoods ("South Mid City"), in, around, and south of Historic West Adams, from Figueroa to LaBrea, Olympic to Slauson?

My response, with less and less hesitancy is, "very little, particularly relative to the past two decades, and to other big cities".

For starters, Los Angeles on a whole has gotten safer: on a per capita basis, type 1 crimes (which includes all violent crimes, burglary, and auto theft) is at its lowest point since the early 1950's. The FBI in their last Uniform Crime Report (UCR), ranked Los Angeles second safest (to New York) amongst the 10 largest cities in the country. According to Morgan Quinto, who publish state and city crime rankings each year, the 10 most dangerous cities with over 500,000 people in 2006 were: Detroit, Baltimore, Memphis, Houston, D.C., Philadelphia, Dallas, Nashville, Charlotte, Columbus, and Houston. Not only was Los Angeles absent from that ignominious roll but it also placed better than even smaller cities like Cincinnati, St. Louis, Atlanta, Kansas City, Birmingham, Richmond (VA), and Orlando.






While the police force takes credit, research professionals muse, and other critics cite stochastic hocus-pocus, the rankings continue to impress.

The Central Division which includes downtown (and the near nihilism of skid row) reported the lowest incident numbers since 1944, despite (or perhaps because of) a vertible population boom in the South Park area near the Staples Center.

Property crime dropped 9% last year in Los Angeles, and is now less than that of Sydney, Australia.

Homicide numbers have declined precipitously.

In 1992, LA's most violent year, the city recorded 1,083 homicides. Ten years later (2002) 647 persons were murdered--436 fewer. Last year, 436 persons were murdered (a further decline of 211 in five years). An unvarying reduction that seems to undermine all those haggard notions of urban hopelessness and inescapability.



Even former Fort Apache outposts like the Southwest precinct, 77th Street, and Harbor are posting statistics that mark a huge decline in violent crime. The Southwest precinct, which encompasses everything from University Park to Baldwin Hills, over 13 square miles and 165,00 residents including Baldwin Village and the notorious "Jungle", reported a mere 3 homicides in January (even with unusually dry, warm weather).

Some number of homicides too are not street crimes, but the tragic outcome of a destructive domestic dynamic. Still lamentable, but at least typically without the potential for collateral circumstance and broader violence. (The Bureau of Justice Statistics claim that 1,700 murders a year nationwide are the result of domestic violence.) This raises a further question, what number of murder victims are "unintended victims"?















To Be Continued...
 

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