Posts Tagged ‘Los Angeles’

 

Upheaval In Television

Sunday, March 23rd, 2014

dodgers logoIt’s my understanding the Dodgers just swept a pair from Arizona. Did Vin Scully accompany the teams to Australia? I don’t know. Forty miles from Los Angeles, I’m shut out!

Cable subscribers comprising two thirds of the market are in the same boat.

There’s a money dispute with the new Dodger network. New owners paid lots for the team and broadcast rights. Now they have to recoup.

They probably paid too much. They want me to make it better.

Friday night’s game was on MLB Network. It was blacked out for us even though it wasn’t played locally and there was no other way to see it. That’s a slimeball move.

Once again viewers are caught in the crossfire.

The Weather Channel’s off DirecTV. Some markets have temporarily lost their local network affiliates. It’s a mess.

Lots of people pay for ESPN every month though they have no interest in sports. You’ve got to take the package. Got to!

I can watch some channels and shows on my tablet, but I’m not allowed to plug the table into my TV. One cable! The rights owners say no.

From where I sit the only parties not represented are us, the viewers.

The technology exists for all of us to watch what we want when we want it and on whatever platform we choose. It’s fair to say we want what technology could easily bring today. Why aren’t we getting it?

Established businesses will suffer, but that’s always a risk of business. We are entitled to benefit from technological advances. Instead, deals made out of our sight restrict our access. How are these in the public interest?

There will be an upheaval in what used to be called television. The legacy operators are fighting it, but how long can they prevail?

On The Red Carpet With Stef

Sunday, January 26th, 2014

stef on red carpetAt its heart Los Angeles is built on entertainment. This is ground zero for TV, movies and music. It all gets concentrated this time of year. In LA, this is award season.

We’ve already had the Golden Globe and SAG Awards. The Oscars are still to come. Tonight, it’s the Grammys.

Awards are big business, as are the shows that flank the awards. Think NFL pre and post-game shows. The depth of coverage is crazy. Tonight it’s four hours live before the Grammys and another hour after, all on E!.

That’s where you’ll find our child. Stef has been working for E! during awards season. She’s on the Red Carpet again tonight.

Like coverage of any live event, these shows include set-up packages for context and depth (and to fill time between the star sightings). Stef’s been involved in those as well.

Until now she’d had been involved in reality. This is Stef’s first time working live shows. Live TV was my crack cocaine. Hopefully, she’s feeling that same excitement.

The hours are very long, but she’s in the middle of events everyone talks about with the world’s biggest celebs. It’s a pretty cool job and we’re happy for our child.

Of course this does oblige us to watch five hours of E! today.

Is It Ever Not Perfect Out?

Tuesday, January 14th, 2014

Screenshot_2014-01-14-13-53-30_1

I’m not going to lie. It’s January 14th. It’s sunny. It’s 87°!

Are you kidding me? We’ve already blown through the forecast high.

I have one of my office windows open. There’s a cool breeze. No need for a/c.

It doesn’t seem logical. 87° and a cool breeze simultaneously.

This is where the dew point comes in, it’s 4°. The relative humidity is 4%. Exceptionally dry.

The dry breeze evaporates moisture on your skin, which cools you and makes this temperature very comfortable.

Yes, this weather is unusual. 81° was today’s record at John Wayne Airport. It’s been smashed.

There are serious implications from our dry weather. Most of California is already water challenged. And, of course, fire danger is high at a time of year fire season should be done.

BuzzFeed’s home page currently has an entry titled: “19 Questions New Yorkers Ask When Visiting Los Angeles” Number 18: Is it ever not perfect out?

So far, no.

Bitterly Cold–A Matter Of Perspective

Tuesday, December 3rd, 2013

us_tempdepartures_highs_day2_i1_points

Winter doesn’t officially begin for another few weeks. However, to meteorologists, winter has arrived!

So far SoCal has escaped. That’s about to change.

The map (above – courtesy HamWeather.com) compares Wednesday’s highs to the average for December 4. Cold air has dropped down from Canada. Instead of turning east, it’s mainly slithered south.

cali-freezeAlready NWS has issued Hard Freeze Warnings for the agriculturally important San Joaquin Valley. The Los Angeles office anticipates some frost or freeze as close as the San Fernando Valley (aka “The Valley”)

The official forecast has Los Angeles seeing upper 30°s and lower 40°s overnight all the way to the weekend.

A tease on Channel 7 warned of the “Bitterly cold weather” on the way.”

Bitterly cold? I guess it’s a matter of perspective.

So far this winter we’ve had the heat on around 25 minutes. I expect we’ll be multiplying that this week.

Last week I saw Grace, one of our neighbors, walking her dog Bailey. Grace was wearing a thermal jacket and scarf. It was in the sixties. I can’t imagine how she’ll dress for this.

Addendum:

Right after I posted this entry Ryan Maue put the map (below – click to enlarge) from the 00z European model on Twitter. It’s calling for a freeze all the way to the LA County coast by Monday! For SoCal that is serious weather.

lows Monday morning

Out… As If We Were Adults

Sunday, September 1st, 2013

IMAG0533-w1200-h1200Helaine and I went to Los Angeles for dinner last night. It’s around 45 minutes away on a good night, which last night was. We were meeting Evan Astrowski and his wife Ana at the Stocking Frame, downtown.

You don’t hear too much about Downtown Los Angeles, because it empties out after business hours. There’s been a recent resurgence of nicer restaurants and nightlife, but there’s still a long way to go. Most of LA’s nightlife is far removed.

Evan and I worked together just after he left college. He was a producer at Inside Space on SciFi, which I hosted for a few seasons. Now he’s a movie producer with a bunch of features under his belt.

IMAG0525-w1200-h1200As with so much else here in California, it’s ‘piece work.’ Each film is separate, then you look for you next production.

Ana is an animator. As we ate an ad for some recent work of hers, Disney’s Planes, flashed by on the TV at the bar.

The Stocking Frame is large and comfy. They encourage sharing, so we ordered a few appetizers, then a few entrees. The food was hot, good and spicy.

IMAG0529-w1200-h1200Unfortunately, none of us liked the dessert, Dark Cacao and Burnt Orange Tart. It is their only dessert. Maybe it was the oddball taste of Rosemary Creme? It was a let down after a tasty meal.

We were surprised the place wasn’t very crowded on a Saturday night. Downtown’s emptiness? Maybe it just hasn’t caught on yet? Time, tuly, will tell.

Oh… one more thing. Just in case anyone from the Stocking Frame reads this, your website has a problem.

I understand what you’re doing, trying to have the site replicate the look of your menu. Unfortunately, all your pages are images of text, not actual text. That means Google, Bing and the others can’t easily see what you’ve written. It’s why your search engine placement, even when searching for your name, is terrible.

I can’t be the first one to tell you this.

Fire In The Pass

Friday, September 14th, 2012

Stef called this evening. She is in Hollywood watching a fire burning just west of her. Not normally a TV news viewer, she found this very compelling. Fire coverage in Los Angeles is well choreographed.

There was a time when Channels 3 and 8 had helicopters here in Connecticut. Very expensive. Too expensive¹. Gone.

The expectation of TV helicopters in Los Angeles is so high they might as well be considered required! Some days it’s like there’s a broadcasters Air Force overhead!

When the market is so much larger in area and revenue it’s easier to amortize the copter’s immense cost. The L.A. stations use theirs every day–often enough to be proficient.

The copters are up and doing themselves proud this afternoon. There is a brush fire along the 405 in Sepulveda Pass. That’s the scene of LA’s infamous “Carmageddon,” a potential traffic tie-up so monumental everyone stayed away. The 405 (actually I-405) is the main gateway from L.A. to the Valley.

The fire is newsworthy because of the 405, because the Getty Museum is nearby and because the fire threatens homes in Bel Air (where the current average real estate listing is $3.7 million).

I had KCBS-TV’s live stream on for a while until I realized FoxCT’s co-owned sister station KTLA was also available. They have both done an exemplary job. Both have a bunch of ground based cameras aimed at the fire, plus a chopper.

The real show is Los Angeles Fire Department’s version of an Air Force: five firefighting helicopters on-scene plus two Bombardier CL415 Superscoopers leased from Quebec for the brush fire season. Each holds 1,620 gallons of water–seawater scooped from the Pacific.

Both stations’ copters captured the firefighting aircraft hugging the ground then dropping their loads while flying into a blinding column of smoke and steam. Air-to-air video with image stabilized cameras is a thing of beauty.

Firefighters on-the-ground and in-the-air made quick work of this blaze. When I tuned in flames dominated. When I left they had been beaten down. There will be dozens of small fires like this in Southern California this year. A few larger ones too.

If there was news like this every night more people would watch TV.

Photos are clickable for a larger version.

¹ – I always thought the money would have been better spent on hiring more reporters/photographers. No one asked for my opinion.

Bar Mitzvathon 2012

Saturday, March 31st, 2012

So here we are in Los Angeles… cloudy, chilly, sprinkly Los Angeles. Seriously, that sucks!

I’m typing from my friend’s office in the pool house. There’s no heat. I could really use some heat right now!

I dropped Helaine off at Stef’s place in Hollywood. They are now shopping at The Grove, adjacent to the Farmer’s Market and CBS Television City.

We are in California for a Bar Mitzvah. If you think of Bar Mitzvah at all you probably think of a Saturday morning religious service then a party at night. It usually doesn’t work that way with out-of-town guests.

Last night there was a nice dinner at a local Italian restaurant. Late this afternoon we’ll attend the service at a synagogue just off Mullholland Drive in Bel Air with the reception to follow.

Nope–not done yet!

Tomorrow morning there’s a brunch for the out-of-towners at a local hotel.

This is the same way we did Stef’s Bat Mitzvah around 12 years ago. It’s amazing the organizational skill necessary to pull it all together.

In between scheduled events we’ve got our own plans. That includes dinner in Malibu tomorrow. Clicky will be attending. We’re scheduled for sunset–if it’s even visible.

If I tried to live this lifestyle on a regular basis I’d be broke before the end of the month!

By the time our Monday flight rolls around we’ll limp onto the plane then sleep to JFK.

This House

Friday, March 30th, 2012

We’re in the Valley. We’re staying with my secretive friend. I love this vibe. I love this house.

There is one thing which separates Southern California from anywhere else I’ve ever been. In SoCal you can allow the outside inside. Doors and windows are left wide open. No bugs fly in!

This home is really a small compound. It’s a block or two from the business district in Sherman Oaks. This is a busy area and the noise associated with it does float in. I hear a siren now!

image On this city lot is a main house, pool and pool house. It is surrounded by a tall wall which runs the perimeter of the property. When you’re here you’re in a cocoon. Private. Secure.

Every square inch of the lot is in use which means a nice little patio area alongside the pool. I like to hang out there.

The main house is a wide open floorplan with tall ceilings. The kitchen is oversized and made to be used.

This is a very West Coast kind of home.

I am fond of Southern California. It has allure.

Photos From Stef’s Roof

Saturday, January 15th, 2011

The top floor of Stef’s building has an open air common area with chairs, tables, a stereo, tv, barbecue and view to die for! Nestled at the foot of the Santa Monica Mountains the ground floor is 425 feet above sea level. That gives it a height advantage over Downtown Los Angeles, Beverly Hills/Century City and the ocean.

Sunset here is a little after 5:00 PM. Helaine and I walked up at 4:55.

Earlier she’d asked about clouds. Wouldn’t they spoil the sunset? I knew the cirrus layer over the city would color the sky orange and red. Too much meteorology!

Here’s a little sample of what I saw. Click any picture to see a larger image.

I need one more trip to the roof after sunset with my tripod. There are more pictures to be taken!

The Furniture That Made Me Cry

Sunday, January 9th, 2011

This is a good story. This is a family story. This is about Stef living on the West Coast.

She had been sharing an apartment for the last year in “The Valley.’ Now she’s on her own in Hollywood!

For those of you who know the Los Angeles area you know much of Hollywood is not desirable. Stef seems to be in a nice part and under 10 minutes from work!

In Los Angeles having a ten minute commute is the equivalent of finding free all day parking in Manhattan… or Sasquatch!

With her few sticks of bedroom furniture she began to live in a barren space. TV watching in the living room was either done from the floor or… actually no or. It was just the floor!

Today she went furniture shopping. I guess I knew she was, but I’d forgotten until the email arrived with a photo. She bought a table and chairs and a few stools for the breakfast bar. Later she picked out a sofa.

“Is it leather?” Helaine asked on the cell.

“Is it leather?” Stef repeated to the salesperson.

“Faux leather.”

Close enough.

This is my child. I changed her diapers. I spread enough baby powder to look like a desert sandstorm. Now she’s bought furniture!

It made me cry.

It’s tough to think of her as a child now.