Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

Banksy Strikes Again

Monday, March 7th, 2011

The tank being removed to some art collector's warehouse.

This rusty old water tank on Pacific Coast Highway just north of Santa Monica has become the latest target of celebrity tagger Banksy. It suddenly became very  popular once it became an official work of art. I snapped this picture on my way home Friday night. The tank has apparently been bought by an art collector and is being carted off to who knows where. The CHP is probably relieved because all the gawkers and photographers were creating a traffic hazard.

The sad thing is that the tank was actually a dwelling. I’ve met the old, indigent man who lived in it and am worried now about what will become of him.

I guess Banksy owes him a house. Maybe one not shaped like an elephant.

Another stunner

Sunday, November 21st, 2010

Another stunner of a sunsetNot to get too carried away with the weather but this sunset was one for the books. Took this tonight as the rain was moving out. It’s from my back patio and was taken with nothing more than my cell phone camera. Claude Monet himself couldn’t pull off these colors.

There will probably be more like this one since another blessed rain is due to arrive in a few days, but I’ll spare you any further gloating. It’s not like Malibu has a patent on pretty pictures, after all.

I’ll be getting back to my usual snarky self soon. Got a major rant brewing on “Private Beach” access … stay tuned.

Drivetime Sunset on PCH

Wednesday, October 6th, 2010

After a few days of much-needed rain, the sunset last night was a stunner. This is on Pacific Coast Highway headed north from Santa Monica towards Malibu. The  picture doesn’t do justice to the color and texture of these clouds. Everyone was driving just a little slower than usual and taking it all in.

I’m always grateful to live in such a beautiful place, on such a beautiful planet. Just need reminders like this every now and again.

Farewell to a Summer That Wasn’t

Thursday, September 16th, 2010

Gray!The image accompanying this post serves as my visual for the summer of 2010: The Summer That Wasn’t. While it was still a fun-filled two months, we never really saw a decent stretch of sunny weather in Malibu. We were socked-in virtually nonstop. And the water temperature never really climbed out of the mid-50’s either. I can remember summers not too long ago where you had to wear shades constantly and you could get in the water without a full wetsuit.  Ah, those were the days. So while other parts of the country sweltered and even inland areas nearby had bright blue skies daily, we lived in a giant gray sack day in and day out. Is the climate changing? Is this somehow a sign that global warming is starting to show itself? I’m no meteorologist, so I’ll not offer an opinion beyond, “Man, this sucks.”

Lives of the Rich and Obscure

Saturday, August 14th, 2010

For the past week, a huge, mysterious and kinda creepy looking mega-yacht has been moored off the Malibu pier, prompting hundreds of inquiries to the local news outlets. At first, I thought it might belong to the fleet of the evil Dr. Oracle (Larry Ellison), who often parks his giant sailboat where he can keep an eye on the beachfront property he’s redeveloping (site of the former Pierview Restaurant).

It’s a sinister looking thing and huge, at least 300 feet from bow to stern. I’ll bet if you tried to paddle out for a closer look, a team of Uzi-toting ninjas would launch from a secret hatchway on a zodiac boat to dissuade you. Either that or a school of sharks with frickin’ laser beams on their heads…

$300 million buys you a lot of boat

It turns out to be the property of a Russian billionaire, one Andrey Melnichenko, who likes to cruise the world with his supermodel wife. Evidently Mr. Melnichenko is a guy who likes his privacy, in as much as you can go unnoticed on a $300 million yacht. Read more about the yacht here, as long as the link stays alive. By the way, the boat’s name is “A.” (Not “B” mind you, just “A.”)

The Lifeguard Towers are in Bloom… Must Be Summertime

Tuesday, June 1st, 2010

The non-profit group Portraits Of Hope assembled groups of volunteers to paint all of the LA County lifeguard towers from Malibu to Hermosa Beach for summer. A nice change of pace from that same old boring blue, dontcha think?

Memorial Day weekend was a record breaker for beach crowds at Zuma. Glad we skipped town for the slightly less crowded beaches of Laguna Niguel for a family gathering.

Amgen Tour of California comes through town

Sunday, May 23rd, 2010

Passing through the intersection of Kanan Road and Mullholland Drive.

Today we caught a glimpse of the annual Amgen Tour of California as it wove through the mountains above Malibu. We drove up Kanan Road to the Mulholland intersection for a look. This was the final stage of the eight day race. While I’m not a big fan of cycling, I have to admit it has its moments: You see a lot of colorful guys in space helmets and mirror shades whiz by to the sound of cowbells and cheering. And then they’re gone.

Last year we had a closer look at the whole deal in Solvang where they held the time trial stage. The time trials are held over a closed loop route so the racers start and finish in the same area. This affords a much closer look at the riders and all of the support that the tour requires. Hopefully next year they’ll move it back there again.

You’re probably aware of all the steroid controversy surrounding professional cycling, if not other sports. Hardly anyone is surprised anymore when a rider is banned for juicing these days. It’s just a little weirder when the company that created the racer’s drug of choice (EPO or Epogen) also sponsors a major sporting event. Who knows? Maybe soon we’ll see British Petroleum sponsoring a surf contest.

Cowabunga(low)

Thursday, May 6th, 2010

Every now and then you spot something out of the corner of your eye that makes you do a double-take, and that maybe brings a smile to your face. Here’s a “prime” example. (And I promise to keep the puns to a minimum from here on.)

This PCH home near the infamous Moonshadows restaurant features a small corral on the roof, home to one life-size plastic Holstein.

Just one question: Is that pole-mounted camera for watching the waves or for keeping an eye on the “range”? Never know when them Malibu cattle rustlers will strike.

RIP Emily

Wednesday, April 14th, 2010

EmilyIt’s been nearly two weeks now since little Emily Shane was struck and killed by a crazed motorist near the corner of PCH and Heathercliff Road on April 3rd. The roadside shrine in her memory is still there — a large bed of flowers, pictures and handwritten cards. I drive by it and have to look every time. Soon, the flowers will be gone and there will only be the ragged patch of iceplant where she died. But she’ll live on in our hearts. Earlier on the day she died, I had spotted her with a couple of pals walking near the very spot, on her way to a friend’s home to hang out. I was checking to see if my own son was with them.

Emily’s memorial gathering at the Malibu West beach club was heartbreaking. The small room, scene of so many happier memories, was packed to the walls with well wishers young and old, most of whom knew one another. I brought my young son. It was the first such event he’d ever attended. He took it pretty well although I don’t think the reality of losing a friend had set in yet.

Emily’s dad spoke eloquently at the memorial, challenging all in the room to do a good deed in his daughter’s name. I’ve made it my resolve to do more than one. The world needs and we all deserve a little more kindness. Rest well, dear Emily. Do a little tap dance for God when you get a chance.

Farewell Zuma Video & Music

Monday, March 1st, 2010

Yet another venerable Malibu institution has closed its doors: Zuma Video and Music ended its 24 year run at the Point Dume plaza last week, the victim of a weak economy, bad location (relocated upstairs and out of foot-traffic range by the evil plaza landlords) and the inevitable march of technology. I guess we all saw it coming, but I’m still sad to see them go. Zuma Video was a big, well-stocked video and music store complete with all the stuff you’d expect: Posters, arcade games, funky carpeting and equally funky employees. I’ll miss the place a lot, despite having not rented from them very much in recent years. In fact, the main reason I patronized them was for the very complete range of guitar strings they offered, something I now have to drive 30 minutes to Thousand Oaks to get.

It seems that video rental stores, like film processing labs, have for the most part been pushed aside by the digital age. The convenience of on-demand cable rentals and the $1 Red Box rental kiosks has rendered them obsolete.

A digression: I often ponder whether there’s a net gain or loss associated with our “digital age.” For example, we don’t need to “go there” anymore. We can do it all from home. The way we discover new things like music and film is unrecognizable from how we did it just two decades ago. Sure, it’s more convenient, but is it better? Wasn’t going to the record store as a kid with your buddies more fun than watching an iTunes download? Isn’t sitting in a darkened movie theater more exciting than navigating the pay-per-view menu on your sleek new flat screen TV? The inconvenience of the trip was actually the fun part: “Going there” was its own reward. My own kids don’t know what they missed.

The Point Dume plaza is that much duller and emptier now. I for one will not be lining up out front when the new Subway opens its doors. But that’s another rant.