Floating Rocks

MetaFilter links to the Concrete Ships site and the commenters all fall in to discuss the concrete battleship, concrete submarines and the, well, underwhelming remains of the S.S. Atlantus.

Folks, if you want to get some dead concrete ship action going, then get on over to Seacliff State Beach in Aptos, CA and check out what’s left of the S.S. Palo Alto. I had been meaning to send the link to the wreck in to one of the Google sightseeing sites so here you go…


U-turns = Communism

no_u_turnI just started a new job in Rancho Santa Margarita – deep in the bowels of exurban Orange County and already I have a rant. Why can’t anyone make a u-turn in this burg? Not only do most intersections prohibit u-turns, but many streets have center dividers, so if you don’t know exactly where you’re going, you’ll end up driving miles out of your way.

Since most of the restaurants and shops here are buried in ambiguous-looking strip malls that face away from the street be prepared to drive a lot.



This morning I woke up to the sound of goats bleating outside and, yup, the goat herder on the hillside moved the goats directly below the house. It’s all in the name of fire-prevention – the hillside is overrun with dry brush and the idea is that the goats can get into places where human brush-clearers can’t. The effectiveness is still undetermined, though after the big 1993 fire anything that reduces overall brush is a Good Thing.

Of course since it is Laguna Beach someone always has to complain.

Goat below houseGoats below house

La Sirena Grill

La Sirena Grill Sirena Plate @ La Sirena GrillI’ve been driving past this “restaurant in a house” for months now and never bothered to drop in until now. Who the hell knew that it was so wonderfully kick ass? Fave dish so far is the “Sirena Plate” – a grilled chile filled with vegetables, cheese and your choice of meat. When you can’t make the drive to La Super Rica and need a worthy substitute…

La Sirena Grill
347 Mermaid
Laguna Beach, CA 92651
(949) 497-8226


I knew something was up this morning when the Orange County Fire Dept. mobile command post and a half-dozen fire trucks tore down Laguna Canyon Road as I was driving up to catch the train to work. Fire and Water were the last two elemental apocalypses to hit Laguna Beach, so I guess Earth was next. This morning’s landslide wasn’t too far away from the center of the big 1978 landslide. Obligatory GoogleMap of the affected area.

UPDATE: A local blog chimes in

An ironic announcement comes via Elizabeth Pearson-Schneider, the hopelessly vain mayor of Laguna, “An account has been set up for donations.” In her usual clueless fashion it has gone out of her mind that just a minute before she set the value of the homes as “Oh, nothing below a million five certainly,” with no little local booster pride in her voice. She’s sporting the right look as usual: sharp little black baseball cap with the Laguna Beach zip code “92651” embroidered, not stenciled, on the front, carefully formed blonde (of course) pony tail falling just so out of the back, an intense attention to her makeup, and dangling gold errings that set off her carefully chosen black jacket.

Deep inside she’s probably hoping people don’t look too close at the town’s habit of wantonly handing out building permits for homes on 50 degree slopes. That’s been the way it has worked for years in this hamlet that is home to some of the worst art and most expensive real estate in Southern California.

Google Map tourism

Between GoogleGlobetrotting, Google Maps Mania, Google Sightseeing, Scavengeroogle, Interesting Google Satellite Maps, and Sprol you need a separate blog to keep up with the GoogleMaps blogs.

Anyway, my contribution to GoogleMaps sightseeing is the site of Rice Army Air Field in eastern Riverside County. The air base was used in World War II as a training area for pilots who were ground support for Patton’s army that trained nearby. California Highway 62 stretches across the picture and the Colorado River Aqueduct is just north of the highway.


GoogleMaps link.


Pisgah Crater

What’s left of Pisgah Crater. A gravel company has been steadily picking away at it for years.


I always thought that Pisgah Crater was the site of a hilarious prank that involved a truckload of burning tires and a panicked phone call to Barstow claiming that “the volcano is going to explode!” but apparently it took place at Amboy Crater farther east.

From the newsletter of the California Historic Route 66 Association:


In the 1940s, probably ’45, ’46, the kids from the Barstow High School hauled for about a year all kinds of debris out and at different times dumped it down to the bottom of the cinder cone. They had tires, old lumber, old creosoted railroad ties, all kinds of junk. Who started it, nobody knows. On the fateful day, they set it on fire. The cinder cone was then dormant for years. Suddenly it began to get a trickle of smoke. It shut down the Santa Fe railroad, Highway 66, evaculated Barstow – they moved the entire company out – everybody. And that thing burned and it burned and it got more and more and even people could feel rumblings from the ground. They were very excited. The Los Angeles Times hired an airplane, a reporter and a photographer, and they could see what happened and they broke the hoax that had lasted for some 72 hours and had the whole center of the desert tied up.

Jumbo Squid invade home

squid_lagunabeachGreat Cthulhu! It hasn’t even been a month yet since I left and already jumbo squid (well, Humboldt Squid) are invading my former home.

LAGUNA BEACH, Calif. — About 1,500 jumbo squid, apparently far from home, have mysteriously washed up on Orange County beaches, creating a scene more akin to “20,000 Leagues Under the Sea” than “The O.C.”

Meanwhile up in Santa Cruz, the squid invasion has moved inland.

Random Linkage I

Homemade macaroni and cheese is one of the greatest things ever and Gothamist links to New York Magazine’s review of the poshiest mac and cheeses in New York.

I like the idea of a Mac mini home media server, but nothing has inspired burning technology lust more than a Mac mini-based synth controller/sound module.

Phone phreaking in the early days – recorded for posterity. I still miss the different dial tones and rings from the old analog switches.

Ladies and gentlemen, the Casio VL-80 Kraftwerk Pocket Calculator.

Na + H20 = boom. This guy optimizes that equation to its ridiculous and inevitable conclusion.

And sadly it looks like TiVo will be out of business before I find an apartment.