This Is Why Sherman Oaks Will Never Bike or Walk

Came back from an eventful visit to the Bay Area this weekend. My mode of transportation, the Greyhound! The cheap and gritty way of travel. I always make sure to never shower, less I want some 6'9, 485 lb coughing bum closing me into a window seat.

Equally cheap was the method of transportation I chose to get from the Greyhound station in North Hollywood on Magnolia Blvd. to my casa back in Panorama City on Nordhoff.

I walk/ran 8 miles in the dark. West on Magnolia, North on Woodman.

I was planning on taking the bus once I hit Woodman, but I wasn't sure where the 158 bus would take me. It said Devonshire...but me remembering the lessons they tell engineers...if you don't know what to do, don't do anything.

On that string of conservatism I ran/walked West on Magnolia for about 2 or 3 miles

I was pretending this was a military drill, as I had my backpack full of crap, a water canteen, and cargo pants.

The thing that I couldn't but notice, that is relevant to this blog?

A nice chunk of that route is unwalkable/unrunnable. I felt like I was fighting for my life just running and walking through in the dark, as I stepped different terrains from mud, to cracked sidewalks, unkempt lawns, to phantom, disappearing sidewalks.

Perilous isn't it.

Try and locate a sidewalk one of these streets.

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Don't see any sidewalks?

Well, neither did I.

I was stuck running/walking those paths from 6-8 on a November night.

There are some plots of land where there's no sidewalk, but just dirt or manicured lawns. Imagine having to cross these at night where there are no street lights and only cars are passing through at 50 mph.

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What exactly do you do when there is no sidewalk and you're just on people's grass?

Is that their fault, or yours? City of LA's?

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Beneath that big tree is a great place to dump a body at night.

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If I wasn't a fit male who likes running and saving tons of money with keen awareness, there would be no way I'd walk from the station to my house.

Pictures posted in case anybody ever wanted visual, physical proof of the utter unwalkability of the San Fernando Valley, particularly in Sherman Oaks.

And why is unwalkability so bad again?

Unwalkability generally means not safe. Not safe means insecurity. Insecurity means borders and fences. Borders and fences mean disconnection. Disconnection means a lack of continuity and community. A lack of continuity and community means less attachment, less personal meaning to residents, less investment in city infrastructure.

The User Illusion, LACMA, Cleanliness, and Power

I finished Tor Norretranders' User Illusion about 2 months ago. A book ostensibly about consciousness that bleeds into physics, math, biology, and neuroscience.

One of the central themes of the book is that to receive/get/retrieve information, you must constantly "eliminate" information. You must constantly cut other things out to get your so-called bits of information.

When you calculate 2 + 2, you have to cut through the information of 2, the plus sign, and the other 2 to arrive at your desired bit of information. The answer, 4, means nothing in itself, but in the context of calculating 2 + 2, it's the answer.

And usually the answer is the only thing that is valued in this current socio-politico-economic context/"the real world." Your boss is not going to care if you "show your work." Essentially the problem 2 + 2 is just waste to your boss, but it is the very thing which creates any meaning as to why you want the number 4 in the first place.

The metropolitan urbanized societies in the so-called "West" seem to be built upon this notion of having all the answers.

If you're hungry, you can go to a restaurant or buy your meats, fish, vegetables, fruits at the supermarket. If you are lonely, buy your way to a club, a sports event, or some sexin'. If you're sick, go buy your medicine at a drug store, or a street corner.

Your answers are there for YOUR problems, ready for YOUR consumption.

However, what I'm intrigued by is that we don't really see the problems in creating those answers. We do not see the work that is gone to catch those meats, those fish, the farming involved in growing veggies and fruits. I don't see how long they took to build any of the apartments, houses I lived in, nor the clubs, or stadiums. I'll be damned if I ever have to build my own house. I don't see the process of mining done to make metals that are used in my computers, my vehicles.

Basically, we don't see the 2 + 2's. Via public discourse in form of billboards, television and internet ads, public education via school were almost wired to not see problems. We become suffused with this idea that things are easy. We just see the 4's as they are, take them, use them for our own problems, but we don't know how we produced that 4 in the first place. Subsequently, we become entirely dependent on the system that produced that 4, because we don't know how we arrived at it in the first place.

It takes a lot of work to make things look easy. What we discard of is a measure of depth, complexity, involved in

Now what does this have to with the LACMA?

Like any other museum, it's damn clean place. I could probably roll my tongue on the cement ground there and be cured of cancer or something.

Museums are places of power.
The LACMA makes simplicity look really easy. But could you imagine dealing with all the trash that about 700,000 visitors put in your spot all day? Could you imagine all the electricity needed to make visitors' food, and throw some light on art?

It seems to take a lot of power to generate this illusion, this aura of cleanliness, richness.

In the spirit of this Barnes & Noble book I bought with a gift card called the Works, which showed the consumption patterns inherent in New York City infrastructure, I think it would be a good idea to show how much an institution of power like a museum consumes.