Sunday, December 27, 2009

Bilingual Typing

I recently converted my keyboard to the following keyboard

The Dvorak.
It is the only other keyboard recognized by ANSI. Th Dvorak Keyboard was developed as a way to speed up typing and efficiency with typing. If you didn't know, the QWERTY was developed in order to slow down typists. Back in the day when typewriters were in use, typewriters would often jam if a typist would type too fast. Hence, QWERTY.

I began using the Dvorak back in October near the beginning of my quarter in school. For the first few weeks I would switch back to the QWERTY when I had papers longer than 2 pages to write. At some point, I don't remember when, I stopped switching back, even for long 15 page papers. That was probably only four weeks into using tho keyboard. One thing I can say, is that i can definitely feel a difference in typing. At work where I use a QWERTY my fingers fly all over my keyboard, but at home my fingers barely move, and at first it felt VERY strange.

I decided to make the switch, even though it created challenges at first because it is a technelegical advancement, that is appropriate for computing and is much more efficient. Appropriate technology and efficiency, if you haven't noticed, are two (of many) things that I try to live by.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Pomona Massacre of Dec. 11th 2009

On December 11th in the still of the night, masked bandits made their way into my yard and opened the door to my chicken coop.

Unfortunately I was partly at fault. It was the night that i did not make sure the coop door had latched.

When I woke up in the morning I found that only one of my fifteen chickens and ducks were left alive. It was the sole rooster.

Raccoons massacred all but one of my birds overnight.

Raccoons are jerks. Let me tell you why; they did not eat most of the birds, in fact only one and a half were actually eaten. most of the rest were just killed, many of them with their heads severed.

I have already set a preliminary fence around the coop so that it will be harder for the raccoons to get to them and so that I can let my dog out to protect the birds. (i've successfully gotten our dog Nova to stop chasing chickens thanks to a dog whisperer episode) I will also be setting some humane traps for these bastards and will be sending them to the mountains.

Let this be a lesson, if there are critters in your yard call vector control services and also if you've got birds, keep them safe at night!

p.s. i would share pictures but it's pretty disturbing.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Back with a Hobbit Story

Hi All, I've been out for some time since Grad school Started. you can imagine why. It's VERY time consuming. But I've been up to a LOT. Really, I've been putting my money where my mouth is.
so in November a classmate of mine Kim P. and myself designed and built a test cell for thermal comfort. We also had help from my classmates Jacob, James, Melissa, and Alexandra. yau can go see it for yourself at the Center for Regenerative Studies at Cal Poly Pomona.

Essentially it is a hobbit hole with a large door facing south. We open up the door during the day and let in some sun that heats up stone tiles on the floor. We had initially been closing the door at around 3 pm but after we pulled the data we discovered it'd be best to shut the door no later than 1pm. I talk about why building underground is beneficial in a previous post.

The blue line is the temperature range inside the house and the red line is the temperature range outside. The yellow bar is the typical temperature range for thermal comfort. As you can see it did ok, but next time we should close the door at the peak of it's temperature gain. The lowest it got outside is just below 35 degrees and the lowest it got inside is just under 60 degrees while the warmest it got outside is just over 60 degrees but inside it got up to just over 85 degrees. This is all with passive methods and no energy usage.

When it's hotter in the summer we'll probably just need to keep the door closed and it'll stay cool all day.

Here's the opening line to The Hobbit
"In a hole in the ground there lived a hobbit. Not a nasty, dirty, wet hole, filled with the ends of worms and an oozy smell, nor yet a dry, bare, sandy hole with nothing in it to sit down on or to eat: it was a hobbit-hole, and that means comfort." - Tolkien

Friday, October 16, 2009

Just won an award for these.

So I'm adding a creative commons license so no one makes money off of them

Finished product.

Creative Commons License
Tire Chair by Andrew Kanzler is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 United States License.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Just got back from Peru,

I forgot to post that I was leaving for a couple weeks to Peru. I went with Green Empowerment to provide assist with water problems in rural communities of the andes. I'll have to fill you all in about it once I've finished catching up on things to do around the house.

Friday, July 17, 2009

More Community Action! Through the Weekend and Wednesday at DBA 256

So all through this weekend there will be more work parties to help out Dawn of the Garden and Pam of the Yarn Shop.

ALSO! I'm looking forward to this. There will be a fundraising event at DBA 256, drinking beer and wine for a cause? Sounds good to me!

Sunday, July 12, 2009

The First Organic Garden Shop in LA "The Garden" in Pomona Burned Down Yesterday

click here for more info at M-M-M-My Pomona
there are updates from community members there as well and links to News coverage.
The owner is Dawn Van Allen, she is also a regular on the workshop and lecture circuit for urban gardening among other things

The Yarn Shop next door also burned down.

These two businesses are well known among the community, in fact The Garden is the only place that Lisa ever frequents, and those that know us, know that Lisa almost never leaves the house, especially during the day.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Bicycling: The New Golf?

In New York (and Provo, and San Diego, and San Francisco) they are saying that Bicycling is the new golf. I'm not quite sure about that, and I don't think bicycling could adequately replace golf. I'm not a golfer, I've been golfing a handful of times, but I do think there are some fundamental differences that won't allow for one to replace the other. I do however agree that bicycling is picking up in popularity while golfing is declining, but it's not quite the same. So I've made a few comparisons (without addressing much in the article which talks more about the social aspects of golfing and networking):

Outdoors: Both "sports" happen outdoors, one in a very specific place that I find to be redundant and also not very conducive to the diversity of the environment. The other can happen almost anyplace at anytime.

Danger: Cycling is much more dangerous you cold get hit by a car! Though golfing DOES have its dangers.

Shoes: You can really golf or bicycle in almost any time of shoe. However, serious golfers and serious cyclists both have their own versions of cleats.

Clothing: I probably will not be wearing lycra anytime soon. Look at that style on those golfers though, I love it. Knickers also make perfect sense for bicycles. They'll keep your pants out of the chain instead of having to roll up your pant leg.

Folks early on seemed to recognize that golf clothing would work great for cycling. But somewhere along the development of bicycle clothing, clothes became geared only towards those who love spandex.

Fortunately, it looks like there are some folks who hate lycra as much as I do. This looks like a viable option, but i think there's still a ways to go.

Skill: Both Cycling and Golfing take adequate training. I know there are some people who teach their kids how to golf early on in their lives, but I still don't think it's as common as being taught how to ride a bike as a kid. One can learn how to bike in a day, it's much harder to learn how to golf in a day.

Transport: As we can see in this exhibit, it takes a bicycle in order to bicycle, and in order to golf one either needs to walk or use a golf cart. ALSO in order to GO golfing one needs to drive to the golf course with clubs in hand. In order to bicycle one just needs to jump on a bicycle. So you inevitably are being environmentally friendly, and with being environmentally friendly you are going to save money.

Here's a great article from Health & Fitness It talks about some more differences from golf and cycling. Things like Health benefits, Family time, Cost etc...

So is bicycling the new golf? I think it can be a viable way for execs to network over golfing, I think it's a better "sport" than golfing is by far. If I want to play a game that puts balls in holes I'll go play pool down on second street, (that guy really takes care of his tables AND cues they're PERFECT) and I'll bicycle there.

Bicycling is the new golf in that it is taking the place of many social aspects of golf while the popularity of the sport declines and while cycling ascends. But cycling will never take the place of the type of sport that golf is (for old white and asian men, which I will be one day except not plural)

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Bee Orgy

Found this in my yard today in one of the flowers on a squash vine. Thought I'd share it with you all.

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Future of Housing: Living Underground?

Bilbo's House
Originally uploaded by Jose Palad (modezero)
The ninja turtles did it, why can't we?

I've often wondered about the direction in which home building is going. "What will homes look like in the future?" And I always come to the same conclusion. Homes of the future are all going to be "underground" in one way or another. I put it in quotes, because the definition of "underground" in the way i speak of it can be disupted.

If we look back at the history of homes the first shelters were caves. It seems like a caricature of the cave person, but there is much evidence that points to caves being used as the earliest shelters by humans. See Lascaux. I'm also sure that trees were used as shelters, soon afterwards, sticks from the trees to prop an overhead structure up, then huts made of sticks and wood, and eventually that evolved into the modern day house.

I believe if the technology were available much earlier in our human history, we would probably be living in man made caves and underground. But it didn't and so instead, we are coming up with buildings with green roofs and living walls.

Windows. it seems silly, but that seems to be the most important distinction. When thinking of a cave, one typically imagines a dark, often damp, hard and sometimes scary place. Buildings instead, (particularly homes) are well lit, have windows to see outside and let in sun, are dry and very warm and comforting. With what is possible now and all the achievements made in engineering, living underground can be just as comforting, warm, well lit, and dry as living above ground.

Living underground is environmentally friendly on very many levels. More and more buildings today are taking advantage of the consistent 58 degrees Fahrenheit of being underground. Here in Pomona, the Center for Regenerative Studies has a building built into a hillside. This design takes advantage of the earth's natural insulation. Other buildings like that are popping up all over the place. Having a green roof also provides opportunities to grow food, and/or a place for wildlife to visit. The California Academy of Sciences building in San Fran does exactly that, it is planted with vegetation found specifically in the area where the building was placed. The Center for Regenerative studies also has a study building with a green roof that has some food plants growing on it. The same can be done with living walls.

When I own land, I'm going to build my home underground. And I mean literally underground, I'll likely be living in Pomona and since our water table is relatively high it'll look like a mound. It will have solar light tubes to let light into the home and I'll be growing fruits and vegetables all over it. Maybe it'll end up looking like Bilbo Baggins house from The Hobbit.

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Forgotten Fruits: Mangosteen (Garcinia mangostana)

Ah, the mangosteen, the sweet sweet mangosteen (no relation to the mango). The Queen of fruits. This fruit is described as sweet and tangy, citrusy with peach flavor and texture. I've had it (canned), it's pretty delicious and definitely different. You can obtain canned mangosteen at many asian supermarkets nearby. It may even be possible to find fresh mangosteen in some asian markets but i've never seen it. In New York fresh fruits have gone for $45 a pound in some produce stores. It is very rare to find fresh mangosteen. So if you can ever get your hands on it, try it!.

Until recently it was completely unavailable in the States. It is a very tropical fruit and there were many restrictions on fruit imports from southeast asia where the mangosteen is native to. In 2006 Puerto Rico began sending mangosteen to some specialty food places in the US and in 2007 the ban on fruits without special preparation was removed allowing mangosteen and all its forms to be allowed into the states.

There is a legend that says that Queen Victoria had offered a reward to anyone that could bring the fruit back to her as the fruit itself had many legends behind it.

Because it is ultra tropical, it is nearly impossible to grow in the states. In it's native home, the tree can grow from 25 to 80 feet tall. What can be done though is to grow it in a greenhouse in Southern California. The mangosteen will surely die if it even spends a single night anywhere below 40 degrees F. Here in Pomona it's common to see nights down in the 30's in the winter. But with a green house some good design using passive radiant heating techniques could probably solve this problem.

There are also other types of mangosteen. The most popular is the purple mangosteen but there is also the lemon mangosteen, which is more citrusy in flavor and almost looks like a lemon (it's yellow) and also the button mangosteen. The lemon mangosteen is from South America instead of from asia and is described as a lemony cotton candy. The button mangosteen is described as having an almost tangerine like flavor. There are actually more types of mangosteens but it's hard to find much information on them. These two mangosteens can survive in temperatures down to 35 degrees, so i'll grow them in containers and at nights i'll bring them inside in the winter.

I have very young plants of both the lemon mangosteen and button mangosteen. I'm being very careful with these two as I've already accidently killed my jackfruit due to over watering. The button mangosteen is doing well, but the lemon mangosteen is going much slower, and I accidently burned part of one leaf. I'll need to make a small greenhouse out of the plastic bottles i've been collecting.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Building Architecture and how it helps us understand who is running things.

Neuschwanstein's castle
Originally uploaded by ingirogiro
Food for thought (something I saw on the discovery channel a few years back):

In the western world, during the Medieval era (and in some places into the modern era like Germany), the largest buildings were castles. The people who built these castles were kings who were the ultimate rulers.

In the late Middle ages and into the early Modern Era, in many places such as Spain and Italy, the largest buildings were religious buildings (churches) in these places and at these times the greatest rulers of the land were religious leaders. Think Spanish Inquisition, The Pope and the history of the Church of England.

Now, look around, and see what the largest buildings are, they are owned by large corporations. Essentially these are the people in charge. "Corporation" tends to carry a negative connotation, but not all corporations are bad, like not all kings are bad and not all religious figures are bad.

I bet a thousand years ago, the concept of the corporation was completely inconceivable. I don't think anyone had written about these powerful businesses before they had existed. Authors like Jules Verne probably had no idea.

So I wonder what would be the next type of big shots of the world.

Just thought it was something interesting to share.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Downtown to Fill Emptry Tree Wells: Fruit Street Trees a Possibility?

Street oranges
Originally uploaded by Phil Jackman
This image is of orange trees lining the streets of Seville, Spain.
In other parts of the world Fruit trees lining streets is a common thing. It is also beginning to gain some movement in Berkeley and apparently Boston.

There are also sites like that maps fruit trees that hang over private properties into public space which make the fruits available for the public. There is a map for our neighbor Claremont on this site as well.

In the states, this public urban foraging is gaining some footage. It allows people within the community the opportunity to harvest locally grown public food which helps the environment in many ways including the reduction of fuel for shipping.

Let's not forget what Pomona means and the historical relevance of the city. Pomona is the Goddess of Fruit, Pomona was once a great agricultural town and I believe that bringing some of that history back would be great for the city. Ontario has been planting small grape orchards in corporate parks because of the history of Ontario. It helps to distinguish Ontario from other parts of the country and give it some character based on its history. It can be seen along Haven in North Ontario on the West side of the street. There are even some residential complexes with some grape orchards in the area. I think it makes sense for Pomona to bring some of the history back along with the Fox theater and allow Pomona to develop its own character. It'll also put is one step ahead of all the other cities of Los Angeles.

Even in the historic district there are some community members that have taken the initiative to plant some fruiting trees along the street, and their fruit is always harvested by passersby, it never goes to waste and almost never hits the ground.

According to MetroPomona, on July 9th. There is going to be a meeting with the Vehicle Parking District to discuss the three-way partnership developed with the VPD, Public Works Department and the DPOA, to fill the emptry tree wells in the Downtown Area.

With a Farmers market in Downtown, plenty of people living in Downtown (who do not have yards to grow their own food in) and this evolving shift in Urban Planning to provide more publicly available food. It only makes sense for Pomona to consider planting some Street Fruit Trees.

Some other sites that promote Urban Foraging are

Here is also a June 9th 2009 article published by the New York Times about Urban Foraging.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Finals week.

Nini in Her Study
Originally uploaded by knit_purr
Here I am studying (just kidding, we all know I'm semi-anonymous). We all also know what finals week means. It means my blog is down for the week. I'll be back once it's over. I always come back.

Friday, June 5, 2009

Forgotten Fruits: Goji Berry (Wolfberry)

This berry isn't totally forgotten, it has recently found a new following in health circles, but it is still unavailable as a fresh fruit. It is sometimes labeled as the Himalayan or Nepal Goji Berry to some exoticism to the berry but it is most likely actually just from China, like Citrus.

The botanical name is Lycium barbarum. As you can see, the "Lycium" is indicative of the name "Wolfberry" However it is probably a misunderstanding. (Lycos is latin for wolf but lycii and goji are Chinese terms)

It's gain in popularity is due to its high level of antioxidants. It is labeled as a superfruit like the acai berry (but note that oranges and strawberries are also "superfruits"). They are available in stores such as whole foods and asian markets as dried fruits. They have consistencies like that of raisins. Here in the States people will eat them by themselves or mixed in foods akin to foods with raisins or dried cranberries. Most Goji berries are grown in the Ningxia Hui region of north central China. In August there are Goji berry festivals that coincide with the harvesting of the fruits.

In China they are typically cooked usually in soups. In fact Lisa often makes soup with Goji Berries as an ingredient. These soups are generally used as tonics and are supposed to make you healthier.

They aren't readily available fresh because they are not shipped well. Only in regions where they are grown can one find them fresh at a store or farmer's market.

You can actually find the plants for sale. I recently purchased one and I will probably get fruits some time next year. The plants are used for erosion control in semiarid regions of China and are also being used to reverse the effects of desertification.

When I get my first harvest of Goji Berries I would be more than happy to do some trading with my fellow victory gardeners.

Oh, and the first time I had ever heard of the term Goji berries was from the first video made of the fellow below. (this is the second video made of him but you can see some of the exotification of the fruit however false it may be.) I had always known them as Wolfberries before.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Pomona's Old Pacific Electric Rail Lines

Believe it or not, there used to be a fairly extensive network of rail lines in Southern California. The removal of all the streetcars is known as the "Great American Streetcar Scandal" also the "General Motors Streetcar Conspiracy" in which the streetcar systems were replaced with buses illegally by General Motors, Firestone Tire, Standard Oil of California, Phillips Petroleum, Mack and the Federal Engineering Corporation. Those gave rise to the Car Culture of the U.S.

It is often said that driving is a privilege, but in southern California it seems like driving is a necessity, (especially considering there are exemptions made for people with revoked licenses to be able to drive to and from work, and the lack of an efficient mass transit system in places like Orange County).

It is unclear if Pomona's rail system suffered from the same fate or if it was a victim of the Great Depression.

However, the Pacific Electric lines that ran through the city were indeed some of the "World's Wonderland Lines" as the slogan for PE goes.

The first rails in the city were put in only twelve years after the city was founded in 1875. There were Five lines in the early lines Four of which were HORSE DRAWN and the last one was a small scale steam engine.

By 1907 Pacific Electric had purchased all the lines and began installing 8 more lines up through 1910:
Garey from 4th to walnut,
Walnut St. to Park
West Holt
East Holt
West Second
South Garey and E. 5th
South Gary and Franklin
Ganesha Park

By 1924 after WWI, PE applied to abandon the lines and the rails were removed in 1925.

Could you imagine what it'd be like if we had rails in Pomona today? It's unlikely to ever happen. I always hear that cost is a big issue. But is it really?

I have a personal agenda againt cars which I don't expect everyone else to have. But I'm telling you life would be so much easier if one didn't have to care for an automobile that needs constant upkeep. Plus if we had a rail system and you car broke down, you wouldn't have to rent a car.

I always wonder what it would have been like to live back in that time and to be riding electric rail street cars around town. Probably pretty awesome.

for more info on Pomona Rails click Here

Sunday, May 31, 2009

Downtown Pomona Owner's Association: Good for the City?

Pomona, the Roman goddess
Originally uploaded by ai pohaku
Short answer? Yes.

First step go here, there are some great points made to the benefit of keeping the DPOA and the city's involvement(and here). For example, certain funds for the land owned by the city in Downtown by Pomona cannot be relined for general funds, so it would not save on cost.

The Downtown Pomona Owner's Association (DPOA). Essentially is exactly what it says it is. But what they do is provide funding for extra patrolling by police, keeping the streets clean and coordinating events. It essentially unifies the folks in downtown and helps to organize efforts and really push the downtown into becoming a haven in Pomona.

With a population of around 149,000 (about a third are under 18) and the number of jobs in Pomona being only about 58,000. Pomona probably cannot sustain itself without money coming in from outside. What that means is that we here in Pomona need to bring people into Pomona to spend money. But before we ask other people to spend time and money in Pomona we have to be able to do it ourselves. That means shopping and buying locally within city limits. And hopefully from locally owned businesses, instead of large chains with headquarters outside of Pomona (at the very least not outside southern california).

That also means that the city needs to invest and spend money locally with some of the goal to draw business in from outside. To bring people that aren't from Pomona to experience what's best about Pomona and essentially spend some money here.

The biggest draw to Pomona is without a doubt Downtown Pomona. With neighboring Claremont quickly expanding their downtown, and even drawing Pomona residents out that way, Pomona has a lot of catching up to do. Fortunately, we have the Fox Theater, The Glass House, a Great Arts Colony, DBA 256 etc... and we also fortunately have the DPOA so that the owners in Downtown can make decisions as a unit and draw people into Pomona to help support our economy. If Pomona had a face it'd be the Downtown.

With the exception of Flame Broiler, Starbucks, Chase, and UPS, the businesses in the downtown are not large chains. Each of the business owners has a connection to Pomona. This is also what makes the DPOA successful and it is also something that slows gentrification. (by having local business owners being the primary makeup of the downtown, small timers have a better chance of making it)

People that I know that have lived in Pomona for over 20 years, have all said things like "Pomona takes one step forward and then two steps back" or "Pomona is always on the edge of cleaning itself up and becoming a great city, but over and over some bad decisions are made."

I just hope Pomona doesn't take two steps back when voting on Monday. They took a step forward by their efforts in recent years and they should be commended for it. But withdrawing participation, will indeed be a big mistake for the future of the city.

Someday if I ever own a business in Downtown, I'd like to be part of the DPOA, and I'd be able to voice my opinion on improving economics and the environment with the association. Sounds like a pretty sweet association to me.

So if you happen to live in Pomona, and you have an opinion one way or another, write your council person BY TOMORROW and better yet, try to go to the council meeting tomorrow. I probably won't be there but I'm going to write to my council person.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Tomato Tasting at The Garden Nursery, Aug. (date unconfirmed)

Dawn over at The Garden Nursery on Holt will be hosting a tomato tasting event at her nursery sometimes in August. Lisa is a big fan of her nursery and we purchased a couple of tomato plants from Dawn earlier this spring.

Unfortunately I will be in Peru at that time but Lisa will be going to the event (she says she's going to help out at 7am, but I doubt she'll wake up in time, she's a night owl.) The event begins at 10:00 am and ends at 2:00 pm. She is expecting around 99 varieties of tomatoes. I wish I could go, but what I'll do instead while I'm in Peru, I'll try to sample as many Potatoes as possible (I'll even try to beat 99 varieties).

Also my dear friend Olympia who now works there should be there. She's the infamous Goddess of Garey Ave.

The best tomatoes will be voted on and you could win a prize. So remove that lawn, plant some food and bring your best Big Boys.

For more information on the event click here

Monday, May 25, 2009

Forgotten Fruits: Nungu Fruit, Borassus flabellifer

(yes I've changed it from Lost to Forgotten)

The British call it Ice-Apple, in Southeast Asia it has names that cary from Nungu to Tal. The palm itself is called different names from the Asian Palmyra, to Sugar Palm and also Toddy Palm (the last two for it's sugary sap)

The unpopularity of this fruit probably has more to do with sociocultural reasons than it does with shipping. Because this palm is a tropical palm from Southeast Asia, it was probably difficult to grow in Europe, so it never made it to the Americas. Most fruits available in supermarkets are generally from East Asia, Europe, the Middle East and the Americas. This one is from Southeast Asia, (Thailand, Cambodia, Vietnam and the south east tip of India) and surrounding regions. Because those countries are not major world powers influence in new fruits is relatively slow in America.

The palm can get up to 100' high (like the Mexican Fan Palms that are common in southern California). It is the official Tree of Tamil Nandu (a state in southeast India) and is the palm most associated with the Angkor Temple in Cambodia. It could be a great replacement for the MFP's that line the streets of Garey Ave. in south Pomona. (it only makes sense, considering what "Pomona" means)

This description is from Wikipedia "The fruit measures 4 to 7 inches in diameter, has a black husk, and is borne in clusters. The top portion of the fruit must be cut off to reveal the three sweet jelly seed sockets, translucent pale-white, similar to that of the lychee but the flavor is milder and there is no pit. The jelly part of the fruit is covered with a thin yellowish brown skin."

The tree itself also contains a sap known as Toddy, it is sometimes used to make sugars and fermented drinks. This is also one of the few genii of palms that are actually used for timber.

I found a Nursery in San Diego called J.D. Anderson Nursery that lists it as a palm that they sometimes carry, they are however out of stock. I haven't called them yet to see when they might get some more, but when school gets out I'll be doing more nursery visits to find some more forgotten fruits.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Pomona Checkpoints: Saving Lives or Ruining Lives

Tuesday, May 26, 2009
7:00pm - 10:00pm
Bronco Student Center-Ursa Major Suite
3801 W. Temple Ave
Pomona, CA

A Panel discussion on checkpoints in P-Town

Guests will be:
Mayor Elliot Rothman
Pomona Habla Coalition
Dr. Jose Calderon of Pitzer College
Chris Rodriguez of Cal Pulli Sound System/Community activist
Shawn Fago, President of the Young Republication Party of Orange County

Should be Interesting!

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

New Urbanism vs. Landscape Urbanism

A reader asked what my bias is between these two schools of thought in regards to city design. Simply put, I find both of them useful but both of them also do not answer certain concerns about life in the city. I'll also discuss New Pedestrianism.

New Pedestrianism and New Urbanism both tend to focus on the walkability of the town or development. They tend to keep parking lots away from the streets instead making buildings and building entrances on the street. Walking to the center of town would take 5 minutes or less(in which there is usually a transit station) and all children should be within walking distance of schools. New Pedestrianism goes further to almost entirely abolish automobiles based on the way cities are designed. Allowing for more walking bicycling and public transportation. Both schools of thought exemplify mixed use and mixed housing types allowing for young people, older people and families to all cohabit with each other.

This allows people to remain in their town. With everything being walkable, money remains in the city, more jobs are placed in the city and pollution is reduced (as cars are gross polluters)

For those things, New Urbanism and New Pedestrianism is powerful and works. Downtown Pomona seems to be on the path of New Urbanist values. It isn't quite there yet especially with the large parking lots, and a lack of investors but it's definitely on it's way and I think it's great. A lack of investors is a blessing in disguise. it keeps investors that come into downtown coming FROM locals. Chains and corporations would suck the life and charm out of the city. For this I think the DPOA can be powerful as well.

View Untitled in a larger map
If you look at the map you can see the tight grids and the downtown is in the center of the city which is good. the transit system is however a tad weak and along major arteries such as Garey and Holt parking lots are in the way and there aren't many businesses that I can personally use.

Landscape Urbanism seems to be a bit more theoretical. It is a much newer school of thought and accepts suburban has and is happened and may be difficult to alter. This school of thought focuses more on landscape as organizing a city rather than buildings. Adaptability and change are utilized and expected and instead of a city being static it is understood to be dynamic and ever changing. The city becomes a series of of adaptable systems rather than a series of structures.

What this does, is it allows for ecological habitation. If the landscape organizes the city instead of buildings, the landscape is exemplified. The landscape can then provide for ecological habitats and green space. Phillips Ranch is the closest to this in Pomona but it is not nearly to the scale it should be, but even more so but on much smaller scale the Lyle center for Regenerative Studies at Cal Poly. The Lyle Center is designed according to the forms of the landscape, keeps space open and provides space for ecological habitats. Phillips Ranch provides a fairly long greenway, though somewhat narrow, it is the ravine for the Phillips Ranch area to carry water away. It is also however mostly lawn and the plant palette had very little variety.

View Untitled in a larger map
So while New Urbanism and New Pedestrianism provides great solutions for walkability of cities reducing dependence on automobiles and keeping money circulating. That's all it really does.

Landscape Urbanism provides opportunities for change in situations as big as global warming and as small as wildflowers in a park.

One of the most important things that they both don't do is to solve problems with food. Food has not been self contained for a long time. Food grown in public spaces like the Lyle Center and around the Regen Co-ops becomes a problem because it is often harvested prematurely and not shared publicly. It is fine do so and grow food publicly, but one cannot depend on it.

I think a hybrid of New Urbanism and New Pedestrianism with Landscape Urbanism could provide the adaptability needed for cities and ecological habitat (food can even be planted in the public spaces) and reduce dependence on driving as well.

What is missing is private food production. One cannot grow their own food in a highly densified city without land. Vertical green walls could work, but try growing a fruit tree on a wall.

I think a solution could be placing a large center like Downtown Pomona in the middle of the city, with major arteries like Garey, Towne, White and Mission & Holt should be lined with mixed use retail, living, dining and office space (with no parking lots!). Each Corner of the city (NE, NW, SW & SE) should also have smaller centers. The landscape could demarcate where "green" corridors could be placed. IF the land is entirely flat like Chino and In the Midwest, Diagonal axes of large greenbelts could be created going from the NorthEast corner to the SouthWest corner and the SouthEast corner to the NorthWest. Since that diagonal is the longest it would take to walk, a large park that can be walked through to get to the center of the city could be helpful. Yards can remain large for food growth and as residences get closer to city centers they can become smaller and smaller, that would provide different types of housing for a variety of people. That could be the most basic infrastructural framework and nuances could be developed as needed. I don't know that's just my thought. Phillips Ranch could be great if there were more retail space(minus the parking in front), dining and variety of housing types. The retail could be on the opposite of the long phillips ranch park all along village loop and it'd be perfect. (forget the fact that the house designs are basic tracts and have no character that reflect the landscape and the region.)

I wonder if this comes off as a rant but anyone with ideas and input is ALWAYS welcome. I've just grown more and more concerned with the problem of growing food and I see that as a problem with the existing popular schools' of thought.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Forgotten Fruits: The Thimbleberry

This one isn't so lost as it is uncommon. The Thimbleberry is another one of those fruits that no one eats because it cannot be found in the market. The reason this isn't grown commercially (as with most unavailable fruits) is that it does not ship well. When ripe it is softer than a raspberry but also larger.

As with the Raspberry and Blackberry the Thimbleberry is part of the Rubus genus. In fact there are hundreds if not thousands of plants in the Rubus genus and most of them have edible berries.

This Rubus, the Rubus parviflora is unique to most others in that it has NO THORNS! It is native to North America mostly in northern and western regions so it probably isn't as hard to find. The leaves resemble maple leaves which is different from the blackberry. It grows more similarly to the raspberry than the blackberry, which, means that it is more upright than bramble-like.

This shrub isn't as hard to find as the medlar tree, It can be ordered from most Northwestern native nurseries

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Economic Sufferance vs. Environmental Guilt

day 287 - money tree
Originally uploaded by Amadika
So, I was writing a paper on Nietzsche and contemporary problems. When Nietzsche's existentialist philosophies and that "exercise" led me to discover that it is Personal or Individual Economics that is the root issue with Environmental issues.

It goes like this. I figured that herd mentality is a problem with environmentalism and "going green." See this previous post for more information. I basically say that the fad and popularity of environmentalism leads to the labeling of something as environmentally friendly or sustainable when it is actually harmful to the environment.

It is not conducive for humans to constantly tell someone that what they are doing is bad. I doubt that most people are intentionally bad, so when one tries to make someone feel bad for what they are doing, what ultimately happens is that that person is filled with guilt or becomes highly defensive. When we feel guilty we often try to find the easiest way out of that guilt and end up buying the first thing we see that is labeled green(herd mentality). Or by being defensive one grows an aversion to the issues at hand. I'm sure we all know how annoying it is when someone tells you that you are doing something bad.

Besides, aren't people part of the earth and thus really a result of the earth's dynamic changes? We could really just be the opposite of Blue-Green algae which, was the earliest organism to convert our highly CO2 filled environment into a highly O2 filled environment. We very well could be a tool of the Earth (but that is an entirely different philosophical debate altogether, and I'm kind of digressing.)

Here's where I'm going with this. If we were instead to concern ourselves with putting in some extra effort into saving a buck those actions would ultimately supersede all environmental concerns and make them non existent.

Let me explain with a few examples. Driving: Cars cost money. Even hybrid cars. Well, what if the hybrid car is a gift? Then you must ultimately refill that car with fuel. Besides, are hybrid cars "environmentally friendly?" Not really, you're still using petroleum. So instead, save some cash and ride your bike. It takes 2 hours to ride 25 miles and you won't need to spend an extra 2 hours at the gym. Talk about killing two birds with one stone. Of course, this solution should be entirely subjective.

Food. All modern food production techniques are not "green" by any means, even with labeled organic food pesticides are still utilized. What if one were to grow his/her own food? It would cost a ton less AND there would be tons more variety! As we all know monocultures are bad for soils and growing food at home would inevitably provide polycultures.

So instead of feeling guilty about harming the environment, one should instead try to avoid economic sufferance. Not by going to Wal-Mart because crap is cheaper, but by avoiding the desire to go to Wal-Mart in the first place.

By avoiding the sufferance that comes with a culture of consumerism instead of self sufficiency, the ultimate result ends up being environmental friendliness.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Landscape Phenomenon: Phillips Ranch Linear Park

Originally uploaded by andrewkanzler
Hurry and see this before it disappears! This is a photo of some great landscape phenomenon occurring right now in Phillips Ranch.

What is happening is the Poplars in the park have seeded the surrounding area and saplings are beginning to come out of the ground. They are all over the place!

Unfortunately on my way to school today I saw a maintenance guy with a weed whacker hacking away at these saplings.

This phenomenon is a bit of what happens in Landscape Urbanism. Plants are set in and a growth in density naturally occurs. Unfortunately our infrastructure is built around the control and stasis of parks rather than encouraging growth and development.

I hope that this occurs again next year and some of the saplings are left to grow into trees. Maybe it'd be a good idea to bring this to the city council and see what they think about letting it grow. I think the problem with maintenance like this is that there is this constant need to control nature. We should let these poplars grow and see what the earth systems engineer on its own.

There are a lot of benefits for this. For example Poplars don't require as much water as turf and so when a Poplar takes over the space of the turf less water is required. When trees get old a new tree will need to take place, there are quite a few places where some poplars were obviously cut down for one reason or another. Since the poplars are columnar trees they'll provide enough shade for people and water conservation but not too much to choke out the sun, so more won't hurt. Not to mention the carbon intake and the provision of wildlife to the surrounding area (which should be obvious).

It may be too late for people to see what was happening but it was pretty cool while it lasted. Hopefully we'll see it again next year and maybe even the city will choose to save funds on maintenance and let them grow. (one can only dream)

Monday, May 4, 2009

Downtown Design Guidelines: Should Pomona Follow this Model?

Today at school Emily Gabel from the Urban Design Studio for the City of Los Angeles came to speak to us about the City of Los Angeles' new Downtown Design Guidelines. Now I have to say that this model could greatly be used by Pomona. There is a lot of emphasis on the walkability of the downtown area and it sets guidelines for Planners, Building Architects and Landscape Architects. If Downtown Pomona is to become a vibrant area these guidelines provide a strong framework for doing so.

An example of a building I can think of that could use some of these methods is the Chase (formerly WAMU) building. The entrance is facing the parking lot, but if we were to change the entrance to the street sides on both Garey and 2nd it would provide welcoming sidewalks. Think of a person facing you or having their back towards you. What is more welcoming? There is a reason why not a whole lot of people walk from the west side of Garey to the east: The massive Chase parking lot and the building being oriented towards the parking lot. (I would suggest getting rid of their parking lot altogether)

These methods could probably be considered "New Urbanism" I am rather partial to "Landscape Urbanism" which takes into consideration the ever shifting dynamism of the landscape of a city and includes the extension of ecological systems. This method does include the walkability methods of this guideline but it also includes more "green" space. However this is a great start, and in retrofitting an existing city, "New Urbanism" is much easier to deal with.

With the Pomona Planning Commission still trying to catch up to modern methods of urbanism, the downtown area provides a great framework for these methods to be implemented in. It would retain it's historic charm and also improve pedestrian traffic which is great for the business owners and also good for the environment. It is conducive to business and will help bring dollars to our city.

Should Pomona Adopt This Model? (by no means is it flawless, but...) HELL YEAH!

Thursday, April 30, 2009

Forgotten Fruits: The Medlar Tree

I'm going to make this a new part of my blog. So we'll see how it works.

Here's an introduction:
Think about all the food you eat. EVERYTHING you purchase at the supermarket has ONE thing in common. If you ONLY eat food from supermarkets and food from restaurants that means EVERYTHING you eat has this same thing in common. Give up?

All that food is profitable. All that food you eat is grown, or sold, most likely because it can be shipped. Think about figs, only recently have fresh figs been available in the market because of new breeds. Figs were only available as dry fruits (see: fig newtons) and that is really the only thing that saved the fig from being lost in oblivion. Figs typically open up on the ends when ripe and so they were never suitable for shipping. The tomatoes one buys at markets are also tough skinned so they won't bruise or break when being shipped. And so our diets are based on what foods are profitable for business. (see: McDonalds)

Unfortunately this has happened to many fruits. And today I'm going to talk about the medlar fruit.

I've never had one, but i've heard good things. It is native to Iran and was grown in ancient Rome and Greece. This leads me to believe it may be a PERFECT tree to grow in southern California as we share the mediterranean climate it was originally grown in. Mespilus germanica is it's botanical name. The fruit needs to be bletted in order to be eaten (that means it needs to be over ripe like the persimmon) It is also similar to the persimmon and blueberry in that the flower is directly attached to the fruit and noticeable. The fruit is a matte brown when ready to eat and is described as similar in taste and consistency to apple sauce.

Here is a photo of some of it's flowers. The tree gets to about 25 feet or so and is deciduous. "medlar" was once used as a term for "whore." And Mercutio mentioned the tree in this context in Romeo and Juliet.

"If love be blind, love cannot hit the mark.(35)
Now will he sit under a medlar tree
And wish his mistress were that kind of fruit
As maids call medlars when they laugh alone.
O, Romeo, that she were, O that she were
An open et cetera, thou a pop'rin pear!(40)
Romeo, good night. I'll to my truckle-bed;
This field-bed is too cold for me to sleep.
Come, shall we go?"

I would LOVE to get my hands on a tree, but I can't seem to find a local nursery that has them for sale. I did find this nursery in northern california that I could order one from but they seem to be out of stock. Rolling River Nursery

If anyone knows where I can find one TELL ME. If I can find a place that sells them I'll share it here. And if anyone has ever had one fresh, please share your experience! Otherwise I'll keep checking back on Rolling River Nursery until I can get one of my own.

Friday, April 24, 2009

What is Green? a critic's view

As a self proclaimed environmentalist. I often find myself to be critical of what it means to be an environmentalist. I have an aversion to this "Green" culture that is evolving. Even "sustainability" is shifting in meaning.

I recently heard an advertisement for Monsanto (see: The World According to Monsanto, and Aspartame) on NPR. Monsanto is the enemy of the original meaning of sustainability, BUT they are now saying they are leading agriculture towards sustainability! Well, in the sense that they can grow food for long periods of time they are right! But are they ACTUALLY Sustainable? When their patented genetically modified crops cross pollinate with neighboring crops on other farmers' land they will sue and they will win. Even though there was nothing that could have been done by the farmer. Monsanto even genetically modified their seeds so that when the plants become adults those new seeds are NOT VIABLE! They will NOT germinate! That is NOT sustainable. Imagine of those plants cross pollinate. And cross pollinate across the world. Monsanto would own ALL food and NO food could be grown without purchasing seed from Monsanto

Hybrid Cars. I'm very sorry to all my hybrid car driver friends but you may have bought into the hype, I do not find hybrid cars to be sustainable or environmental in any way. They still use gasoline: a non renewable resource that pollutes. alternatives? Mass Transit, Bicycle, Biodiesel and Vegetable oil and even electric cars, there's a company in San Dimas If you live to far from where you work to ride a bike or take mass transit, then maybe you should consider moving. Of course those who drive hybrids say they are "Green" and maybe that is so, but what does that really mean? That they are polluting a little less than others?

Recycling. Not that great. Simple fact. Recycling takes energy to create something new. Try reusing and buying compostable packaged items. Bring your own cup to your coffee shops, or drink at a coffee shop that uses mugs.

I think the problem comes in the group mentality. Like established religions, people begin to accept and think how everyone is thinking. Jesus was actually an anarchist yet many so called christians believe in placing heavy restrictions upon other people. Many so called buddhists often pray to the Buddha (much in the same way one prays to a God) and did you know Islam actually means peace?

It's when people begin thinking and acting within a group and become a single mass that single mass becomes easily manipulated like Hitler's Germany was manipulated. And how Gang Culture manipulated many people into thinking the toughest were the coolest.

Groups like Monsanto, Car Companies, the United States Green Building Council are leading and manipulating the poor folks who want to be "green" or "sustainable" and are making them think they are doing the right thing by bringing in the shiny and the new. And those poor folks aren't actually questioning or looking deeper to find the truth to what is actually happening. Not many people know what is real anymore.

But then, there's the effort. It's just so easy to see the advertisement that says "be green, by a hybrid" it takes much more effort to really think about it.

Friday, April 10, 2009

Live Chickens in Pomona

Little chicken
Originally uploaded by hddod
The other day (before my bicycle got stolen) I found a chicken walking around my yard. It had actually been walking around quite often in my yard and figured it was a neighbors coming to hang out. I'm fairly busy so I don't go out in my jungle that often.

But the other day I decided to chase it around. It had three chicks following it and I wanted to see where it'd go. As it turns out, this chicken and her chicks have been LIVING in my yard without my knowledge! I chased it to its nest which is hidden behind a few stalks of bamboo where our fence meets the shed. Very hidden and discreet. I found a lot of broken egg shells and feathers in the nest.

I decided I'd have to take the chicken to court and file a civil suit. But, I figured it could wait until the morning. Later that night, I heard the chicken get in a fight with a cat, twice. I went out to see what was going on but I was too late each time. Come morning, there was only one chick left. Poor chickens. So, while the chicken was out grazing for some food, I blocked off her nest and then cornered the chicken into our cage(it was formerly a wild cat cage) and then locked her up.

So with this, I've been looking at chicken laws in Pomona. Calwatch had given out some information previously but I wanted to know more. Pomona Muni Codes see Chapter 6

Chickens ARE legal to keep in Pomona BUT Roosters are not. There are at least two roosters in the neighborhood, one of them frequently visits (probably the father of the chicks).

I am a little confused about about 6.9 since the chicken had been obviously living at my house. Do I need to actually go to the shelter manager and then see if I can own the chicken?

Animals that aren't allowed within city limits are Swine, Dangerous or Poisonous Reptiles, Bees, Male Goats, (and exotic animals without a permit)

Unfortunately the only animals that one is allowed to slaughter are Chickens and Rabbits, (I would like to raise ducks but I won't be able to legally slaughter them within city limits, however I just might accidently do it anyways)

So, I suggest more peole raise chickens in Pomona, Maybe we can all help feed each other. And you don't need a rooster to get eggs, just eggs that turn into chicks.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Planning Commission Meeting + Update on Watt and the Artisan.

So I went to the planning commission meeting tonight. Are there always that few people? I think I was the only "non-official" of some sort myself and three others were in the audience and the three others were Larry Eagan, Mr. Fong, and another city employee.

Anyways. The Pomona Downtown Parking plan that was proposed actually looks really good AS IS. They seem to really know there stuff. The only thing I would be concerned with is the design for future structures and how those are designed. But that's something far in the future.

It's a lot to go into so I won't.

Ray Fong also gave a quick update on Watt and the Artisan Project. The Artisan project is entirely abandoned. BUT Watt is revisiting the project and going to come forward with some new ideas. The old ideas are dropped because the return on the market for what they had planned to build isn't enough to continue with the project. SO there will be new ideas put forward hopefully within a year.

on a sour note, I rode my bike to the meeting. I locked it RIGHT OUTSIDE the Council Chambers. went in at 7pm walked out at 8:40 and the chain was cut and my bike was gone and I had to walk home. I filed a report, but am kind of sad because I had just gotten that bike in perfect working condition on Monday, and Today was the first day I rode it in that condition. New Seat, New left Crank and New Rims front and back. (oh well, you win some you lose some, life goes on)

15 Gallon Tree vs. 36" Box Tree

Originally uploaded by andrewkanzler
I take requests!

This image is of the Chino Creek Wetlands Educational Park, It was taken a Year Ago. If you were to go to that same spot, your view would be completely obstructed with green crap(leaves).

Chainsaw Eddie asked a question. The basic question is, What is the difference between planting a 36" tree and a 15 Gallon tree. The answer is ONE thing. INSTANT GRATIFICATION. and even THAT can sometimes be a FALLACY.

Trees come in many different sized containers. The most common being 15 Gallon 24" Box and 36" Box. There is little difference between a 24" box and a 36" box and there is also little difference between a 15 Gallon container and a 24" container.

The INTENT for the difference in sizes of containers is based on the size of the ROOTBALL. NOT the size of the tree above ground. That can vary in relation to the size of the rootball. There is little consistency whatsoever.

Not only that, but sometimes a nursery will have just transplanted a 15 Gallon sized tree into a 24" Box just before it was sold and sometimes directly into a 36" Box (because it is harder to transfer from box to box due to the size) So There ARE chances you are getting a 15 Gallon Tree in a 36" box.

A lot of times those transfers are done TOO LATE! and that can be VERY DANGEROUS. If a 15 Gallon tree has been root bound in a bucket (meaning if you took the tree out and you can see a LOT of the roots and it begins to wrap around) Then that tree is in danger of Falling over in a few years. Trees need their roots to spread out laterally to gain a footing in the ground, not around in a circle (Arch principle doesn't work here folks). Nurseries WILL transfer those root bound buckets into boxes and SELL THEM. It is easier to check for this danger while it is still in a bucket. You can just pull it out, check the roots and put it back in. When it's in a box it's a little harder to check but you can push the trunk back and forth and see if the root ball moves in what might look like a 15 gallon sized radius(might take a trained eye).

Now let's say you've got ALL the BEST scenarios for a 36" Box, a 15 Gallon tree, of average size and healthy, and a MASSIVE 36" box with healthy roots and a healthy top.

That really means one thing. One is a bit older than the other (probably by a year). When you put the 36" in the ground it'll look like a tree (Instant Gratification Realized). The 15 Gallon won't look like an established tree for another year or two. But when it comes to trees, growth spurts happen only in their first few years of life. If you plant both those trees at the same time, by the second year, you won't be able to tell which one was the 36" tree and which was the 15 Gallon tree. (granted they are well taken care of)

So in the BEST Case scenario, the only difference is instant gratification.

No wait, that's not true. Let's not forget the price. a 36" tree can cost a few hundred dollars. A 15 Gallon tree, almost always under a hundred, say more like 50 dollars. If that tree dies, You'll be glad you went with the 15 gallon tree. Actually, no matter what, you'll be glad you spent 4x's less for any tree that'll look the same in 2 years.

Friday, April 3, 2009

Too many workshops on April 4th!

Don't forget everyone, My good friends at the Regen Cooperative of Pomona is putting on the 6th annual Sustainability Seminar beginning at 8am at 341 Kingsley Ave. Pomona

More info and Schedule can be found here

Also there is an Old Home Restoration Workshop put on by Pomona Heritage at 9:00am at the Trinity Methodist Church at 676 Gibbs, near Holt

More info here

and ONE more!!

According to Lisa, The Garden (nursery) at 845 N. Garey Ave. is doing a Victory Garden workshop at 2:00pm

Here's a website but not much info

so much to do, so little time! Maybe next year our good community organizers can get together and try to do things on different weekends! wouldn't it be great to have different things to go to every weekend?


Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Landscape Architects to Design Skins of Buildings?

This photograph here seems to be only the beginning(Patrick Blanc is however a botanist). With Living Walls and Green Roofs growing in popularity, Landscape Architects are encroaching on the field of Building Architecture. (I hope they don't take it personally) But this is really only the beginning.

As experts of exterior design, no one understands better than the Landscape Architect how exteriors change with time. If it happens on the outside the Landscape Architect knows best how to deal with it. And though buildings are currently being dressed in living material (which Landscape Architects are also experts at designing with) Soon Landscape Architects will be dressing exteriors with other kinds of materials.

Landscape Architects are also experts on materials. They have an extensive world of materials and a great understanding in weathering and change of the materials is always taken into consideration.

One thing that permeates throughout all aspects of Landscape Architecture is the idea of Change. Landscape Architects never design for stasis. However it is common to see Building Architects design with stasis in mind (or at least that ends up being the result). Buildings do not typically change (especially the skins of and with exception to the flux of people) but Landscapes always do. Even the most highly groomed gardens like Japanese Gardens and Versailles are in a constant flux. Changes in the seasons, the movement of water and its affect on stones, growth of plants , the weathering of materials, climate change etc...

So, will it be that one day Landscape Architects will be designing the skins of buildings? It seems like it may be going that way. But only as long as Building Architects design with change in mind.

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Spring is Here, Don't Forget to Save Your Seeds!

Water lotus seed pod
Originally uploaded by petrichor
All you Pomoniacs out there, as you're planting your vegetables and harvesting fruit and what not, DON'T FORGET to SAVE YOUR SEEDS!

It'd be really nice if we could have a vegetable seed exchange at the end of the Summer and again at the end of Winter.

That way resources won't be spent on shipping seeds around the country. We can just trade.

Also don't forget to share your fruits and vegetables with your neighbors. I've got a bunch of All Reds Potatoes growing I'd love to trade with some others. (I've even got some Lemon Tree seedlings I'm willing to trade)

I will be glad to organize such an event.

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Underpass vs. Overpass

I'm sure everyone recognizes this photo. It's of the Pomona Train station. This is also the location of the Garey Ave. underpass.

See, here in Pomona we have Underpasses. Overpasses aren't as popular. We've got three underpasses that dip down under the rails. A lot of excavation must have taken place to get the road carved down under an existing rail line. Residents used to have to just sit and wait for the train to cross in order to get to the other side of the tracks.

But today, I rode my bike to Montclair. Overpasses are all the rage in that city. Over the same rail the road is lifted up over the train instead of sent under.

I never really paid much attention to the differences when walking or driving. But riding a bike? There is a HUGE difference. While in a car one doesn't use much energy, it's all in the foot and gas pedal. While walking it doesn't really matter what you do first, go down or go up, the same amount of energy is generally used.

But on a BIKE? Pomona? Thank you for those underpasses! With an underpass you could use the bikes momentum going down for most of the energy coming back up. Less energy is used in pedaling in order to get back up the hill.

"But Andrew, don't you gain some of that energy back when going down after an overpass?" Well, sometimes you do but that's only of you're lucky. You're most likely going to hit a traffic light or a stop sign right after that overpass (underpass included) So all that momentum you've gained after the overpass is lost 'cause you've got to stop.

If you're familiar with how roller coasters work it's basically the same concept. But on the streets you have to stop, so would you rather have that momentum before or after going up hill?

Underpasses win, at least when it comes to bicycling.

Friday, March 27, 2009

Unfortunate Events, what's goin' on?

click on the picture to enlarge

It's not often I hear the Police Helicopter in the late afternoon or early evening, but here in south Pomona on Towne between Lexington and Philadelphia a helicopter was circling overhead around 6:00pm.

I noticed it on the way home on my bike, I jokingly thought to myself "the police are following me!" but when I turned onto Towne I noticed what it was. The police wouldn't let me by so I would eventually have to go around. I did get a snapshot with my camera phone. (i swear every i forget my camera i wish i had it with me). Yo can't tell from the photo but there is at least one Ontario PD car, a large armored police vehicle, and even an animal control truck. I saw some armored men with helmets and all enter the home it was at and I also did see a pit bull being put into the animal control truck.

I eventually turned around and went the long way home, does anyone know what was going on? I was considering asking, but not sure if it was my place to or not. It was pretty unusually for this to happen during the day. At least the bike ride was nice, I rode halfway through carbon canyon and back.

Thursday, March 26, 2009


Cal Poly POMONA is in the NCAA Finals! For the Firs time in History! Is there ANY Place in Pomona (other than my campus) that is going to PLAY this on their TELEVISIONS??

It'll be on Saturday March 28th. at 10am! Channel 2

Cal Poly Pomona: NCAA Final Four Division II

Cal Poly Pomona was the lowest seed in the Elite Eight and the largest school. Now they are in the Final Four of the NCAA Division II Championships.

Too bad there isn't a bar around town that can stream Live Video online or I'd be there watching the game!

If anyone wants to watch the game it'll be on CBS's College Sports network live at 3pm TODAY

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Pomona's Radio Station? Hot 92.3 and KDAY 93.5

I am one of those folks that says "I like everything" and I really do mean it. I enjoy all types of music from Broken Beat to Country and Classical to Classic Rock. But, most people don't know this, but I'm partial to "Old School" (more specifically James Brown to Curtis Mayfield type stuff). I grew up listening to KRTH 101.1 so it's only natural that I connect with music a few decades too late. ;)

So when I'm in my car I generally tune in to four stations. That would be 89.1(same as 89.3), 89.9, 92.3 and 93.5(the new KDAY)

The first two are obviously public radio stations and when I'm in the mood for music and it's a weekday I'll tune into KDAY or HOT 92.3

The point here is: I've noticed a LOT of callers to these two stations are from Pomona. It is a guarantee that I'll hear at least one caller per day from Pomona, either requesting or song or trying to win something.

Is this Pomona's radio station? Might it be a good idea to promote community events through these radio stations? I think I will look into that in the future. Anyone else who is trying to reach out to Pomoniacs out there I would suggest these two radio stations. Hot 92.3 and 93.5 KDAY(aka the beat)

Just remember to always Make it Funky.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

SAVE THE DATE: APRIL 4th! (FREE event in Pomona)

Come one come ALL to the Sustainability Seminar in Pomona at 341 Kingsley Ave. on April 4th FREE

Here's a schedule of Events (it's hard to read so just click on the link above.)

I'll definitely be attending the beginners beekeeping, edible mushroom cultivation and transition towns

I hope to see many of the other bloggers there and other community members. You'll get to meet some interesting some eccentric and just some plain old normal members of the community that have some skills and ideas to share.