My Foodscape of Los Angeles from 1989-2001 during my my Formative, Pre-Car Years

I am not a healthy eater today, which I'm trying to reverse.

I remember growing up and reading about athletes who "ate whatever" and still managed to perform like they did.  I remember Tyra Banks, my first celebrity crush, saying that she wanted to be able to eat anything while still looking the way she did.  Somehow, what she said has been sticky to my subconscious, and I've adapted a similar attitude --- I'll eat anything, and nothing gets wasted. 

I don't remember eating the healthiest foods.  The standard Filipino diet isn't exactly filled with vegetables, and neither were the convenience of McDonalds, KFC, or Little Caesar's.

Within our world, there weren't really any healthy grocers that we knew of other than the Asian food stores that my parents somehow knew about.  They always somehow knew how to find these markets and get some helping of vegetables, fish, and meat. There was a Trader Joe's in Silver Lake, which to me was just very eccentric.  I only went in because my godsis went there one time. 

Nowadays, I think I've shifted a bit in my tastes.  I love Trader Joe's (when affordable), and can't stand McDonald's except for its Sundaes.  I still have the attitude where I'll eat anything cheap and don't want to waste any food whatsoever, but have been trying to completely cut down on that.

Old eating habits are hard to break.  As an Anthropologist, I'm trying to understand how my habits formed in the first place:  what was ritualized, what was built into our daily lives, and ultimately how that can be countered.  In this vein, I thought it would be interesting to map out my "foodscape" of LA as the eldest child of 2 lower middle-class Filipino immigrants from Chicago.

So I present to you the foodscapes of my childhood here in LA from 1989 - 2001.

A Biking "Novice" on PCH from Wilmington to Long Beach (VIDEO)

After our bike-commute dominated trip to New Orleans which saw us cross an intimidating bridge (with sharrows though!) separating the Lower 9th Ward from the rest of the 9th Ward, I decided to get my significant other a townie bike.  She wanted something a little faster than her 40-lb cruiser, but not quite a road bike.

Previously, she'd used her 40-lb cruiser for anything bike-related.  She wasn't quite a novice, but she wouldn't bike on the streets if she didn't know bike law. 

One of the first things we did on her brand new used townie was bike from her house to her work (which would take me about 20 minutes).  I recorded our ride on camera.  I salute her for her bravery, but then again, biking to commute shouldn't be an act of bravery and heroics.

The number of times I look back is the number of times I felt nervous about the traffic creeping behind me, enticing me to look back.  It was a bit nerve-wracking sometimes, completely unsure if cars actually 1)  see us 2)  respect us on the road to a) enough to give us our room b) not yell, curse, speed up and cut us off.

So There's this Documentary Kickstarter about Pacific Coast Highway...

It'll be set in Malibu

The Documentary will be called PCH, which will stand for Probably. Cause. Harm.

They're going to focus on efforts in the Malibu community and why so many have been killed on the freeway.

It's a great title, and a great idea, and I feel for the filmmaker's loss.

However, I can't help but think about the PCH we have down here in Wilmington and Long Beach because without looking at the statistics, but merely feeling the pressure that drivers place on me as a bicyclist and the average speed traveled, the road down sure as hell doesn't seem safe for neither bicyclists nor pedestrians.

Just this morning near the Westbound biking route from Cal State Long Beach on PCH after the roundabout, a motorist was killed by slamming into a big rig. I've shared stories from other sites about how one woman was killed in West Long Beach, the treacherous route that more than a handful of school kids at Cabrillo High School took to and from, and I've even taken still video and video of my actual route to and from Long Beach and Wilmington.

Libraries: Essential in Disaster

Listening to KPCC this morning and I caught this segment about libraries. It's part of their summer-long investigation into the role of libraries in public life.

Of course, libraries are essential in my everyday life as wannabe academic + social hacker and I realize their value as social service agencies, but in areas struck by natural disaster, its apparent that they become necessary to an even larger population for basic restoration of social life.

Across the country, in places like Louisiana and Oklahoma, libraries have served as crucial hubs for information and help in the aftermath of hurricanes and tornadoes. And federal emergency planners have noticed. "The Federal Emergency Management Agency classified libraries as an essential service — like one of the things that would get early funding so that communities could recover," says Jessamyn West a librarian in Vermont and a moderator of the popular blog, Metafilter.

"People are finding in the wake of the natural disasters we've seen — lots and lots of flooding, hurricanes, storms, tornadoes — that getting the library up and running with Internet connectivity or air conditioning or clean bathrooms or a place that you can plug in your phone really has benefit to a community that's in a recovery situation," she adds.

A few days earlier, NPR quoted Carl Sagan:

We are the only species on the planet, so far as we know, to have invented a communal memory stored neither in our genes nor in our brains. The warehouse of this memory is called the library. 
The quote about library being a "warehouse of memory" reminds a bit about the communal tree of the Na'vi;  the difference is that they seem to care and nurture theirs.