Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Today's walk report: 052113 (sort of)

Once upon a time...

I mentioned in my "introductory" post some of the evolution of the walk report, it transitioning to this blog, etc. The walk report was just a title for something I've been doing in some form or another for years and that's reporting both interesting and not so interesting things I observed on my daily constitutional. I've carried a camera with me for the most part since at least 1999 when I bought a Polaroid not even 1 megapixel digital camera for less than $100. However, the walk as a regular thing, probably didn't get in full swing until late 2000.

Looking back...

I usually started from here, although at times would drive somewhere nearby because I had a destination, a purpose, that would make the journey far too long. This is the apartment complex I lived in for nearly 14 years in the beautiful neighborhood of Windsor Square in Los Angeles. The red dot marks the location of my apartment. It was ALMOST far enough away from the swimming pool.

However, I walked this neighborhood for close to 7 years prior to those 14 when I lived in this house nearby. It just wasn't part of a habitual exercise plan. Hey! There's my son probably rushing off to his new job... Oh wait... I just had that conversation with him on the phone, moments ago. Yeah, he's in college now and has a first "real" job coming up tomorrow. Where did the time go? The 70 rose bushes I nursed back to life when we 1st moved in, front of the house there, are all gone now too.

We had a little deli/restaurant/Italian market on this street for years. Larchmont is a throwback street to the old studio days in early Hollywood. Laurel and Hardy films along with the Keystone Cops, etc. were shot on and near Larchmont Blvd.

There's the shop now and LOOK! It's that kid again! Yes, his name is Alessio. It was cute when he was 4-5 and told people he was the owner. 7-8, not so cute anymore.  I had already gone on to do new things when the place was sold in the late 90s. I did, however, sneak there one night before the new owners fully took over and grabbed that hanging sign for my boy. A lot of people in the hood knew me from the shop. Alessio's got to be pretty popular. Toward my end there I was counting over 200 in store transactions, mostly lunch, plus catering to the studios, etc. We also would cater special events at times exceeding 1,000 people. I learned a lot on that gig.

Frequent cleb customers were, Vincent Schiavelli, James Remar, Vince Vaughn, Adam Goldberg, Alexis Arquette, Joanna Cassidy (always right at closing for a piece of fresh buffalo mozzarella), George Takei, Fran Drescher, a bunch of Star Trek: Voyager people and early on some of the Frasier cast. Plus a bunch of people I can't think of right now.

Happy Days house 1974-1984

One of the more famous houses in the hood. This was the Happy Days house. Anybody hearing Rock Around The Clock in their head right now?

A little creepier, at least for some (Happy Days was pretty creepy for me)... The house used for the films Willard and also Ben. These were films about a rats used for revenge and other disturbing stuff.
Willard (1977) & Ben (1972) house.
There were several other famous homes in the old hood too. The Dorothy Chandler home would be one. I don't know about the people named in that article but someone living in this house turned their sprinklers on me once. I had stopped on first step off the sidewalk to take a pebble out of my shoe and BAM. But here's the deal, it was a stream across the steps seen here from both directions. I later heard some story about how how they didn't like lookie-loos or some bullshit. I flipped off the camera. In fact I think I did that a few times walking by.

Houses being used for filming for both television and feature film was common. Almost too common. There were times I'd have to detour off my regular route and find as much as 1 mile to make up elsewhere at time because of filming. However that's rare because most of the time nothing is happening with hours of prep going into minutes of actual shooting. This shot was taken during an episode of the TV series, Monk in 2003. The woman standing near the foreground tree is in the backside driveway of the Los Angeles Mayor's home.

Filming the TV show Monk. Scenes like this can freak you out at 1st coming home from work.
Around 2006 I was trying to become better at drawing stuff on my computer and was also making a decision about buying Adobe Illustrator CS2 or CS3. I think I ended up buying CS3 in 2007. I also had an idea for a children's book at the time. That's part of the reason for the orange cat which bears some resemblance to my cat, Lucy. In fact I used a photo of Lucy's fur for the texture of the cat drawing. The last 2 houses were drawn with AI the first 2 were done with Adobe Imagestyler. I think I'm the only person who ever bought that.

Houses I drew.

Here's what the last house really looks like... Unfortunately I took the photo the day the lawn was prepped and fertilized in the fall. Quite some time after I drew this I printed a 4"x6" copy and put it in the owners mailbox. It had my contact information on it. I never heard back. I guess they weren't impressed.
There was also the official home of the Los Angeles Mayor which was unoccupied between 1993 and 2005, during the terms for mayors Richard Riordan and James Hahn. Hahn's successor, mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, has been using the house since 2005 with some intervening marital complications. I had also started an AI drawing of the Getty House in 2008. When I was taking reference photos from the sidewalk one day the mayor, one of his daughters and a police officer were out jogging. He asked me what I was taking pictures for and was fine with my answer (again 1st amendment--please police departments get your heads around the 1st amendment.) The cop who was struggling with the jog however stopped to take my card. I never went too far with the drawing. However, one of my photos is posted for the Wikipedia entry on the house itself. Mayor Thomas Bradley lived their the longest, from 1977 to 1993. I used to see mayor Bradley on Larchmont with infrequently during his declining years. I'm not sure where he was living once he left office but I'll assume he was nearby. I had a lot of respect for Tom Bradley from the time I was in Jr. High.

The Getty House, official residence of the mayor of Los Angeles.
 Dogs... I had several dog friends over the years. Some of whom actively looked forward to my arrival everyday.

(The next two posts are supposed to be videos but apparently there's an issue loading videos on Blogger.com right now and the Google Blogger team says they're working on it... since May 8th.  Anyway, I put in images as placeholders for now.Yikes!)

These two were probably my favorites. We certainly had the longest relationship. He always would try to get me to reach in for whatever we were playing with but I never had that degree of trust. If I ever get the video up you'll see he ultimately gives back the slimy rubber bone so we can continue our game of fetch.

Later on these two showed up on the other end of the same street... Dino and Dinah, I think. Both of these houses are mansions--again, if I can ever get the videos up you'll see.

Then there was Bailey. He often liked to stop with no intention to move on. His owner who was a rather slender woman about my age, would have a very difficult time trying to deal with this. Turns out she was a highly respected ENT surgeon specializing, I believe, in pediatrics and was probably a very busy person. I helped Bailey along a few times and also corralled him once after he had slipped off his leash. He's actually on a leash in this picture but I removed it for the portrait and because I can.

I was going to show some of the old hood during Halloween decorations but the video thing kind of screwed me up. Windsor Square went ALL OUT for Halloween so maybe later once Blogger gets their act together. Yes, I did walk today and it was pretty down and dirty, no action so maybe this post was a good idea after all. I hope somebody enjoyed it. These were fond memories and I miss my old neighborhood.

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