Tag Archives: expo line

Life on the Rails

My LA Metro commuteWith Los Angeles steadily increasing its mass transit options, especially with fuel prices staying still pretty fucking high (a conversation at work indicated that it’s pretty fucked up when we think that a gallon of gas dipping under $4 is great….it’s shocking that gas is as expensive as it is yet we’re used to it now), I have been experimenting with getting to work using the Los Angeles Metro.  As my dad could tell you, I do love me some subway systems.  I still don’t know if there’s anything quite like the Washington, DC Metro stations.  Those things are eerily futuristic and beautiful.  Seeing them in a decrepit post-apocalyptic state in the video game was Fallout 3 was both strange and thrilling.  The Paris subway system is unreal in how many lines there are – it’s also extremely picturesque and nearly romantic.  Except for when it smells or is dirty.

Los Angeles’ Metro is a mix of subway, dedicated bus lines, and light rail.  The first part that opened up was the Red Line, and it went from Downtown LA and Union Station for about two stations west.  That was back in 1996, and since then it’s obviously expanded all the way up through the Hollywood Pass into North Hollywood.  Subways aren’t always a great fit in an earthquake-prone area like Southern California, and also prohibitively expensive at times.  Play any game of Simcity and you’ll find that out for yourself.  Light rail is what LA went with, especially when trying to reach distant parts of the county.  First the Blue Line to Long Beach, then the Green Line that runs along the 105 almost to LAX (such bullshit) from the 605, and then the Gold Line, which reaches now into Pasadena (into Monrovia, yay!, in 2015) and swoops thru Union Station and into Little Tokyo.  Finally, FINALLY, the West Side of LA is starting to get some love.  The Expo Line light rail system (Phase 1) opened up in April, with the Culver City station having a delayed opening until last week.  It’s awesome to have this option, especially on days like Thursday and Friday when traffic on the 405 and 101 in the afternoon basically is terrible.

The commute does take longer now, but when you’re not behind the wheel and having to deal with jackholes who can’t figure out how to drive, there’s an element of stress reduction that can’t be overstated.  Additionally, I’ve been able to figure out that the $8 in gas I spend in a daily commute is more than a $5 Metro Day Pass.  If I decide to do this commute more than once or twice weekly, then it would even make sense to consider a monthly pass.  But we’re not there yet, as you can see the Expo Line only goes to Culver City.  So I still have to drive 10 minutes just to get to the endpoint.  But in 2016 (geesh…), the Expo Line will extend to Santa Monica.  That will be an awesome day.

By that point, who knows if Larry & I will be in Santa Monica still.  I have dreams of one day living in Downtown LA as there are some freakin’ awesome places down there.  Then I’d be centrally located to not only get to work (the Red Line Universal City station), visit Mom & Harv (Duarte stop on the Gold Line), but in 2016, the Expo Line would also take us to the beach in Santa Monica.  I think if you buy property in downtown now, you could be poised for a decent return if you decide to sell in the 2015/2016 timeframe, as you’ll be perfectly located to get many many places, plus Downtown is really getting revitalized.

Why the hell am I writing about this?  Well, I am fascinated by LA’s evolution into a city that not only is getting a cool downtown area, I love that it finally has a freakin’ Metro.  Go LA!  I keep up to date on the happenings via Curbed LA, a fantastic site that covers all the real estate, urban development, mass transit, and city issues that impact LA. What I love to read is that when the Purple Line extension to the VA Hospital on the West Side is supposed to be done: 2036.  Hahahahahahahahaha!  Ridiculous.  But that one is a subway so yeah, there’s lots of digging.  And Beverly Hills is being bitchy NIMBYs.  Screw you guys.

In other news….Colorado Springs IS ON FIRE.  HOLY SHIT!  This is a pic my friend Susan posted on her Facebook.   The fires that started in Colorado a few days back have basically become out of control.  I thought I had read the fires were initially up closer to Denver, but yeah, not the case.  These fires are on the West Side of the city, closer to Manitou Springs, Garden of the Gods, and the Air Force Academy.  All these locations are places I know very well and can’t believe that there’s a chance a lot of it will go up in smoke.  I am fairly certain my house is okay…for now.  It’s on the far east side of the Springs, and basically the entire city would have to flare up.  I’ve heard the winds are bad, but there’s also reports it could rain tonight.  It’s just crazy.  And I actually sign the paperwork to refinance my house tomorrow.  Here’s hoping I actually have a house that goes along with that loan.  Oy.  But let’s be serious and look beyond my own selfish needs at the moment…I really hope that the people who live there are safe and evacuate as necessary to stay out of harm’s way.  I have friends out there and really hope that they and their homes remain fire-free.

I think they may need this guy to help put out the fires.  Although he may start fires of another type.  I apologize for not posting plenty of pictures of shirtless hot guys recently.  I’ve been remiss.  But don’t worry – if you need a good sampling, this weekend’s release of Magic Mike is going to be…INSANE.

Alas, More Catch-up Pics!

I thought, erroneously, that I had caught the site up on collections of pictures from the last month and a half.  But I totally forgot about early May stuff!  WHAT could I have been THINKING????

Exciting news in Los Angeles – there’s a light rail called the Expo Line that will eventually reach all the way to Santa Monica and connect the West Side to Downtown LA, along with all the other subways and light rails that originate there.  It’s AWESOME.  Only Phase 1 is open as of this April, but it reaches Culver City.  I love taking subways and light rails especially if I can avoid some traffic.  So Larry & I took a ride on the Expo Line shortly after it opened and used that occasion as an excuse to visit the museums of LA right near USC.  There’s the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles, which I think I last visited sometime in the 1980s.  Really don’t remember if much has changed, but let’s just presume it has.  I was most impressed with the quality of the dinosaur exhibit, and I think it even trumps the Natural History Museum of New York City.  Yes, I just said/typed that.  It’s very well done and looks fairly recent and modern in presentation.  Sometimes it seems that museums don’t keep up to date and it sometimes shows, even between rooms of the same museum.  Anyway, it was a fun visit, and we skimmed by the California Science Center (soon to be the home of the Space Shuttle Endeavor) on the way back to the Expo Line to go into Downtown LA.  I wanted to visit the home of the French Dip sandwich at Cole’s, and while the ambience was there, the sandwich was sadly lacking.  But it was fun to try.  We’ll have to visit Phillipe’s next to see if his French Dip holds up.  Anyway, here are the pics from that little outing this past May:

Out in LA @ The Natural History Museum and Cole’s (Downtown LA) – May 27, 2012

Larry at the rear entrance to the Natural History Museum
Larry at the rear entrance to the Natural History Museum
Larry in the main foyer area with Triceratops
Larry in the main foyer area with Triceratops27-May-2012 14:05, Apple iPhone 4, 2.8, 3.85mm, 0.067 sec, ISO 1000
T-Rex v Triceratops.  An even match.
T-Rex v Triceratops. An even match.27-May-2012 14:05, Apple iPhone 4, 2.8, 3.85mm, 0.067 sec, ISO 1000
 
Someone needs to button up their shirt.
Someone needs to button up their shirt.27-May-2012 14:06, Apple iPhone 4, 2.8, 3.85mm, 0.067 sec, ISO 1000
This dinosaur wing at the LA NHM is pretty freaking nice.
This dinosaur wing at the LA NHM is pretty freaking nice.27-May-2012 14:16, Apple iPhone 4, 2.8, 3.85mm, 0.067 sec, ISO 320
27-May-2012 14:18, Apple iPhone 4, 2.8, 3.85mm, 0.067 sec, ISO 250
 
27-May-2012 14:18, Apple iPhone 4, 2.8, 3.85mm, 0.067 sec, ISO 250
Closeup of a T-Rex skull.  Those are some big-ass teeth.
Closeup of a T-Rex skull. Those are some big-ass teeth.27-May-2012 14:20, Apple iPhone 4, 2.8, 3.85mm, 0.067 sec, ISO 200
The sea monster section.  Seriously, can you imagine seeing an Elasmosaurus?
The sea monster section. Seriously, can you imagine seeing an Elasmosaurus?27-May-2012 14:27, Apple iPhone 4, 2.8, 3.85mm, 0.067 sec, ISO 125
 
Can't remember what this is called now...but it'll always be Brontosaurus to me.
Can't remember what this is called now...but it'll always be Brontosaurus to me.27-May-2012 14:28, Apple iPhone 4, 2.8, 3.85mm, 0.067 sec, ISO 250
Ah, one of my faves, Stegosaurus
Ah, one of my faves, Stegosaurus27-May-2012 14:30, Apple iPhone 4, 2.8, 3.85mm, 0.067 sec, ISO 80
Obviously a predator...they always look so scary.
Obviously a predator...they always look so scary.27-May-2012 14:30, Apple iPhone 4, 2.8, 3.85mm, 0.042 sec, ISO 80
 
I think another T-Rex
I think another T-Rex27-May-2012 14:31, Apple iPhone 4, 2.8, 3.85mm, 0.033 sec, ISO 80
27-May-2012 14:40, Apple iPhone 4, 2.8, 3.85mm, 0.05 sec, ISO 80
The art deco foyer between the dinosaurs and mammals wing
The art deco foyer between the dinosaurs and mammals wing27-May-2012 14:47, Apple iPhone 4, 2.8, 3.85mm, 0.067 sec, ISO 500
 

The week before that little adventure, there was what you’d call a Ring of Fire eclipse visibly primarily only on the West Coast.  It was the closest we’ll have to a total eclipse for like another 60 years or something, at least one that’s visible in this neck of the woods.  It didn’t get very sunny that day in Santa Monica, and when Larry & I were returning from putzing around Santa Monica, we realized we had some time to get to our roof deck and watch it.  But we realized we didn’t have any proper equipment to look at it without burning our eyes out.  Intrepid Internet browsers that we are, Larry quickly punched in ‘eclipse viewer’ and discovered you could easily make one with cereal boxes.  I eat cereal!  Problem solved!  While Larry made some viewers, it was also clear that the cloud cover over our area wasn’t thick enough to block out the eclipse totally so you could actually look at it directly sometimes.  It was awesome.  I’m not sure if the pics are in order here.  But you can figure it out, I bet.

Ring of Fire Eclipse in LA – May 20, 2012

20-May-2012 17:39, Canon Canon PowerShot ELPH 500 HS, 5.0, 4.3mm, 0.001 sec, ISO 160
20-May-2012 17:39, Canon Canon PowerShot ELPH 500 HS, 3.2, 4.3mm, 0.001 sec, ISO 400
20-May-2012 17:39, Canon Canon PowerShot ELPH 500 HS, 5.0, 14.77mm, 0.001 sec, ISO 100
 
20-May-2012 17:40, Canon Canon PowerShot ELPH 500 HS, 4.0, 7.815mm, 0.001 sec, ISO 100
20-May-2012 18:16, Canon Canon PowerShot ELPH 500 HS, 2.8, 4.3mm, 0.001 sec, ISO 200
20-May-2012 18:17, Canon Canon PowerShot ELPH 500 HS, 2.0, 4.3mm, 0.017 sec, ISO 500
 
20-May-2012 18:18, Canon Canon PowerShot ELPH 500 HS, 2.8, 4.3mm, 0.001 sec, ISO 200
20-May-2012 18:30, Canon Canon PowerShot ELPH 500 HS, 5.8, 18.8mm, 0.002 sec, ISO 160
20-May-2012 18:30, Canon Canon PowerShot ELPH 500 HS, 4.5, 9.815mm, 0.002 sec, ISO 100
 
20-May-2012 18:31, Canon Canon PowerShot ELPH 500 HS, 5.0, 14.316mm, 0.003 sec, ISO 100
20-May-2012 18:31, Canon Canon PowerShot ELPH 500 HS, 3.5, 6.932mm, 0.001 sec, ISO 125
20-May-2012 18:31, Canon Canon PowerShot ELPH 500 HS, 3.5, 6.932mm, 0.001 sec, ISO 200
 
20-May-2012 18:31, Canon Canon PowerShot ELPH 500 HS, 5.0, 12.281001mm, 0.002 sec, ISO 160
20-May-2012 18:33, Canon Canon PowerShot ELPH 500 HS, 5.0, 16.138mm, 0.003 sec, ISO 100
20-May-2012 18:33, Canon Canon PowerShot ELPH 500 HS, 5.8, 18.8mm, 0.003 sec, ISO 125
 

In May, it’s both Mother’s Day and Harv’s birthday.  So what better excuse than to have TWO reasons for a trip to Vegas?  We got rooms in the Paris Las Vegas hotel (Mom & Harv’s favorite – it’s definitely a great place, that’s for sure) and had a blast.  The first afternoon and evening, we treated Mom & Harv to the street-side restaurant at Paris called Mon Ami Gabi.  Surprisingly, they’d never been to it since it isn’t on the “comps” list.  It’s definitely worth a visit though, and we ended up spending a few hours there enjoying the pleasant weather and great food and company.

Day 1 Dinner at Mon Ami Gabi, Paris Las Vegas – May 11, 2012

11-May-2012 17:12, Canon Canon PowerShot SD1000, 2.8, 5.8mm, 0.017 sec, ISO 125
11-May-2012 17:13, Canon Canon PowerShot SD1000, 2.8, 5.8mm, 0.017 sec, ISO 80
11-May-2012 18:27, Apple iPhone 4, 2.8, 3.85mm, 0.001 sec, ISO 80
 
11-May-2012 18:28, Apple iPhone 4, 2.8, 3.85mm, 0.01 sec, ISO 100
11-May-2012 18:29, Apple iPhone 4, 2.8, 3.85mm, 0.01 sec, ISO 125
11-May-2012 18:31, Apple iPhone 4, 2.8, 3.85mm, 0.02 sec, ISO 100
 
11-May-2012 18:32, Apple iPhone 4, 2.8, 3.85mm, 0.025 sec, ISO 80
11-May-2012 18:32, Apple iPhone 4, 2.8, 3.85mm, 0.017 sec, ISO 100
 

The gambling was of course only so-so, and it was a bit dampered because just the weekend before, our favorite little casino, O’Shea’s, was shut down because the Imperial Palace is going to absorb it as part of it’s renovation.  Why don’t they just knock that mofo down and start from scratch?  That place is nasty.  But we ended up having fun at Bill’s Gambling Hall anyway, even more so because plenty and I mean plenty of hot college guys go there to gamble and drink too.  So even though Larry didn’t gamble, he was well entertained.  🙂  The next day, Larry & I had a full agenda that evening.  First, we had dinner reservations at Bobby Flay’s Mesa Grill restaurant in Caesar’s Palace.  Why Caesar’s? Because we also got tickets to see Elton John’s “The Million Dollar Piano” show.  Fantastic food at Mesa Grill, and the concert was awesome.  Elton John can still sing the shit out of his songs, the staging and video screens were insane, and he’s quite catty.  A great show.

After that, we then met up with Michancy and some of her girl friends – and went to Krave, Las Vegas’s one and only gay bar/club.  We had been to Krave before with Michancy (that time also with Susan, KD and some of their friends from the Springs) last year and got a table, and I loved that experience.  I didn’t realize that previous visit we had been in the small lounge area as it was a Thursday night that time – this time was a Saturday night and we were in the big club tonight.  I also asked to get a table and the prices are awesome, in that it was only $180 (with the extra tip I added on accidentally – drinking is one helluva thing);  in a straight club, expect to pay a minimum of $800 for a table and bottle service.  The BEST part though, besides the fact it’s a gay club with great dance music, was that we had our own hottie waiter, who only wears jockey shorts.  Le sigh.  And this motherfucker was so goddamn hot.  You can see for yourself in the pics below.  I have no shame.  He reminded me so much of Chris Evans as Captain America too…..and you know from a post a while ago that I can not get enough of that guy.  We ended up drinking the entire bottle…or shall I say, I drank most of the bottle.  Larry drank plenty, but the girls really didn’t.  I can’t say no to a nearly naked guy (who’s also very nice, even if that’s because we paid him to be) offering me more alcohol.  I just can’t.  I was so tanked that I didn’t know it and almost said yes to getting another bottle.  Can’t even imagine what that would’ve been like, as even with the voluminous amount I did drink, I had a pretty great hangover the next morning.  Ugh.

Elton John & Krave – May 12, 2012

12-May-2012 19:35, Apple iPhone 4, 2.8, 3.85mm, 0.067 sec, ISO 1000
12-May-2012 19:36, Apple iPhone 4, 2.8, 3.85mm, 0.067 sec, ISO 1000
 
12-May-2012 19:36, Apple iPhone 4, 2.4, 3.85mm, 0.067 sec, ISO 3200
12-May-2012 19:37, Apple iPhone 4, 2.8, 3.85mm, 0.067 sec, ISO 1000
12-May-2012 23:14, Apple iPhone 4, 2.8, 3.85mm, 0.067 sec, ISO 1000
 
12-May-2012 23:15, Apple iPhone 4, 2.8, 3.85mm, 0.067 sec, ISO 200
12-May-2012 23:46, Apple iPhone 4, 2.8, 3.85mm, 0.067 sec, ISO 1000
12-May-2012 23:47, Apple iPhone 4, 2.8, 3.85mm, 0.067 sec, ISO 800
 
13-May-2012 00:32, Apple iPhone 4, 2.8, 3.85mm, 0.067 sec, ISO 1000
13-May-2012 01:30, Apple iPhone 4, 2.8, 3.85mm, 0.067 sec, ISO 1000
13-May-2012 01:34, Apple iPhone 4, 2.8, 3.85mm, 0.067 sec, ISO 1000
 
13-May-2012 01:43, Apple iPhone 4, 2.8, 3.85mm, 0.067 sec, ISO 1000
13-May-2012 01:43, Apple iPhone 4, 2.8, 3.85mm, 0.067 sec, ISO 500
13-May-2012 01:43, Apple iPhone 4, 2.8, 3.85mm, 0.067 sec, ISO 800
 

As I said above, I had one hell of a hangover and it took me a little while to be able to eat again without wanting to throw up.  One of the things that definitely helps a hangover is going up to the top of the Eiffel Tower (1/2 scale of the real thing) at Paris Las Vegas.  Actually, it probably did help a little as it was nice and warm but not too hot.  It also wasn’t that crowded either.  Harv wanted to take advantage of the free tickets he got and mom didn’t want to go, so Larry & I volunteered.   A few hours later, including some time spent walking over to the Forum Shops, we headed to the LVH (no longer the Las Vegas Hilton  as they lost the right to that name) for Benihana’s for Mother’s Day and Harv’s birthday.  LVH is a sad shell of what it once used to be as the Hilton.  Here’s hoping that Benihana’s figures out how to move to a casino on the strip, as this LVH does not have a long life ahead of it.  Neither does the monorail, but that’s not surprising either.  It really doesn’t go to where you want or need it to.

Recovery Day, Eiffel Tower, Benihana’s – May 13, 2012

13-May-2012 13:44, Apple iPhone 4, 2.8, 3.85mm, 0.002 sec, ISO 80
13-May-2012 13:52, Apple iPhone 4, 2.8, 3.85mm, 0.001 sec, ISO 80
13-May-2012 15:00, Canon Canon PowerShot SD1000, 2.8, 5.8mm, 0.003 sec, ISO 80
 
13-May-2012 15:42, Apple iPhone 4, 2.8, 3.85mm, 0.001 sec, ISO 80
13-May-2012 17:13, Canon Canon PowerShot SD1000, 2.8, 5.8mm, 0.017 sec, ISO 200
13-May-2012 15:32, Canon Canon PowerShot ELPH 500 HS, 3.2, 4.3mm, 0.001 sec, ISO 200
 
13-May-2012 15:32, Canon Canon PowerShot ELPH 500 HS, 2.8, 4.3mm, 0.002 sec, ISO 160
13-May-2012 15:32, Canon Canon PowerShot ELPH 500 HS, 2.8, 4.3mm, 0.002 sec, ISO 125
13-May-2012 15:32, Canon Canon PowerShot ELPH 500 HS, 2.8, 4.3mm, 0.001 sec, ISO 320
 
13-May-2012 15:33, Canon Canon PowerShot ELPH 500 HS, 2.8, 4.3mm, 0.001 sec, ISO 160
13-May-2012 15:33, Canon Canon PowerShot ELPH 500 HS, 2.8, 4.3mm, 0.003 sec, ISO 200
13-May-2012 15:34, Canon Canon PowerShot ELPH 500 HS, 2.8, 4.3mm, 0.002 sec, ISO 320
 
13-May-2012 15:34, Canon Canon PowerShot ELPH 500 HS, 2.8, 4.3mm, 0.001 sec, ISO 250
13-May-2012 15:34, Canon Canon PowerShot ELPH 500 HS, 2.8, 4.3mm, 0.003 sec, ISO 200
13-May-2012 15:37, Canon Canon PowerShot ELPH 500 HS, 2.8, 4.3mm, 0.001 sec, ISO 320
 

Alright, I think that’s a big chunk taken care of.  There are definitely more pics to put up in a formal manner, primarily those from the Mediterranean Cruise last year.  Can’t believe I only put up three days worth and apparently forgot about those after and the TON beforehand.  I’ll be slowly but surely rectifying that.