2012 Dec 15 | Geminid meteor shower, downtown LA housing tour, Arcade Relief

If the dumb driver behind me would have pulled over a bit, the bus could have gotten by easily.

My present for the office Secret Santa.

I don't see an accident, but the cops had stopped all traffic.

Pretty sunset.

The left turn arrow turned green, but I waited to make sure the train wasn't going to come smashing through. Thankfully he stayed right there.

I just recently found out these circles on the bumper are sensors to let you know how far away you are from whatever is behind you.

Downtown LA at night.

The US Bank building is in a Christmas spirit.

I think this was the International Space Station. It said it was flying over at this time in this direction, although since it was just a speck of white light, I guess it could have been a plane. Pretty sure it was the ISS, though.

Thursday night was the peak of the Geminid meteor shower. This shows the dark areas around LA. The plan was to drive east towards Joshua Tree. Going north on 395 we'd hit the darkest area in about the same time, but that's a smaller road, so I figured it'd be better to stick with the 10.

There were some rain clouds over LA that made a lot of people cancel their meteor-watching plans.

Although it kept moving east throughout the day, so it looked like we'd be fine by the time we got there. Unfortunately, that wasn't the case. It was raining only after about an hour of driving. We drove through the rain and it stopped, but there were still clouds everywhere. So we turned around, drove until we were out of the rain, and then checked the dark sky map to see where to go. We ended up going northwest of LA on the 5. If we would have done that in the first place we would have saved about 5 hours of driving, but oh well, it was still only around midnight, and the meteors peak around 3am, so no rush. We kept driving north until we actually ran into rain again, then turned around and went south a bit, and pulled off. We weren't in the black zone, but we were in a blue zone, so second-darkest skies. I wonder if it'd actually be faster to get a boat and go out to sea.

We watched from on top of the Jeep. I had my camera set up with a remote shutter so I hung it in the driver's window and could reach over and click it.

Orion in the bottom-right pointing towards Gemini in the middle.

Castor and Pollux in Gemini.

We saw meteors at the rate of about 1 a minute, mostly smaller white ones but a few large green ones that hung in the sky for a few seconds. Unfortunately I didn't get pictures of any meteors, although I did catch a plane flying by. I think I'd need a lens with a wider field of view or else just stay out longer.

Driving back to LA, it's almost 4am, and there's still a bit of a traffic jam here where there's road construction. I don't know why, though, because there are almost no cars on the road before and after here.

Thankfully it only lasted for about 5 minutes.

I was depositing checks into this ATM. It said there was an error, kept my checks, but said it didn't deposit them. Then it asked me to type in the approximate amount of the checks and spit that out on a receipt. It gave me back my card, but then it went out of service. Since the bank is closed, I'll have to come back another day to try to get my money. How annoying.

Some TV show taping.

On Saturday morning I did a housing tour with the Donwtown Cenber Business Improvement District. We met at Bottega Louie.

A reflection of a painting in the building across the street.

The painting.

What is this?

Pieces of a light bulb.

And the bulb in the street. I wonder how it got broken.

There are businesses on the bottom floor, offices in the middle ones, and apartments on the top.

Grand Hope Park.

Hal Bastian was the tour guide. He was great; he has worked with almost all of the building developers in downtown LA for years and also knows all of the little shops and restaurants.

Leaving the park.

Walking through Ralph's, which Hal said was really difficult to bring in.

Interesting artwork.

Our group.

The first set of apartments. Normally they also see a condo or two, but there are almost none on the market right now.

This was one of the penthouses which costs $5300 per month.

A great view from the patio, looking west.

Looking north.

The living room.

A second patio.

The rec area with a jacuzzi.

A view to the east.

The only gas station in downtown LA is right next door.

This is pretty cool.

A couple of other apartments.

This one is called Apex; very cool.

Neat top.

That's pretty cool looking.

The next apartment building was the Watermark.

Very cool corner.

The lobby.

A little nook with couches.

Very shiny.

We saw another penthouse here. This one is $6000 per month, 1500 sq ft. The cheapest apartment they have is $2900.

The patio on the northern end.

Looking east.

A panorama from northwest to southeast.

The master bathroom with a view to the east.

The shower.

The second bedroom, also with a view.

The pool.

Looking down.

Neat lounges by the pool.

A patio area.

With grills.

Cool sculpture.

Lounge area.

Downstairs there is a lounge-type area.

A dining room with lots of wine.

Bar and pool table.

Movie room.

Hal in one of the giant chairs.

Next stop: Bunker Hill Tower Apartments.

The master bedroom.

The living room. This was a 2 bedroom apartment for $2000; studios are $1400. It's part of Essex properties which has many apartment complexes around LA and which often have very low prices for what you get, especially as many of them are under rent control so they can't raise the rent more than 3% per year.

You can see the Disney Concert Hall from the window.

A large square.

Huge pool, although it was being renovated at the moment.

Another part of the square.

A skybridge.

The sun over the US Bank building.

Then we saw Metro 417.

Very nice ceiling in the reception area.

A 2 bedroom here goes for $2800 and is around 1200 sq ft.

Big bathroom.

Cool bed.

They also have a movie room.

And a sit-down multi-cade, very fun.

Pool table.

They also have office suites you can rent, so you can have your business in the same building as your apartment.

Last stop was the Historic Gas Company Lofts.

Very open feeling.

The bed on the other side.

Huge walk-in closets.

The living area.

One of the unique things about this place is you can pay your rent with a credit card so you can get points.

At the end we got a goodie bag with magazines and brochures.

Giant tree ornament decorations.

An interesting sculpture.

Traffic from a bridge.

Lots of baby pumpkins.

I stopped by Raul Bocanegra's inauguration ceremony in the afternoon.

My cheat sheet of various legislators who might be there.

Listening to some speeches.

Up close.

Dr. Stevin Minie, Assemblyman Raul Bocanegra, and me.

I heard that Family Fun Arcade was closing down and was having a 24-hour streaming marathon of many different fighting games called Arcade Relief. It was only 15 minutes away from the inauguration, and since I had driven all the way to the San Fernando Valley for that, I figured I'd stop by.

Some of the players.

A lot of consoles jammed into this area.

There were lots of famous fighting-game players.

Tekken Tag Tournament 2.

Super Street Fighter 2: HD Remix.

Ooh, double KO.

More good players.

Seth Killian, Floe, and Alex Valle, three huge names in fighting video games.

Part of the streaming setup.

Floe and Alex Valle playing Tekken Tag Tournament 2 on the stream.

The casters.

Marvel vs Capcom 3 in this area.

The place was packed.

Street Fighter 4.

The jeep just hit 150,000 miles.

The LACOS holiday dinner was at Cafe Bizou which is in a complex called The Water Garden. This would be a beautiful place to eat outside if the weather was warmer.

Although it was a bit hard to find the restaurant because it was hidden behind this unmarked door.

When I got home I watched a bit of the stream from the Arcade Relief I had checked out in person earlier in the day.