Living in Los Angeles County

  When I lived in Los Angeles County I rented houses in El Segundo and Manhattan Beach. Also I stayed at a number of hotels along California Highway One which in that area is Sepulveda Blvd and passes thru the cities of Los Angeles, El Segundo, Manhattan Beach, Hermosa Beach, Redondo Beach, and Torrance. That area is just south of Los Angeles International Airport which is called LAX, and it is called the South Bay area.

I worked at Xerox in El Segundo, and often ate lunch at the Xerox plant which is in Manhattan Beach. Even though the plant is in Manhattan Beach it is further inland then the Xerox tower I worked at in El Segundo. The Xerox tower was on the corner of El Segundo Blvd and Continental Blvd. It is about a mile east of the beach and about a half mile south of LAX.

At Xerox I wrote a bunch of software to take printer font definitions and load them into a tiff file, which is uploaded to the printer. And I wrote a second set of software to extract the font definitions from a tiff file that was downloaded from a printer.

The reasoning behind this was a customer buy a Xerox printer. Then take the font files on their IBM printer and download them to a PC or IBM mainframe computer. And last convert the font files to a tiff file which could be uploaded to the Xerox printer.

I wrote all the code in the C language. It was written to run on PCs, Unix computers, and IBM mainframes which ran either MVS or VM/CMS.

I have never worked at a place that treated employees better then Xerox. It is a real cool company. Although they have made lots of dumb mistakes they really treat employees and contract employees great. The Xerox employees will talk for hours about all the great inventions that were invented at Xerox but that Xerox never made a cent off of. One of them is Microsoft Windows. Xerox invented windows and never made a cent off of it. Steve Jobs worked at Xerox for a while up in the Bay area and saw the idea. From that Apple stole the idea and used it on it Mac computers. Then Microsoft came along and stole the idea from Apple and used it for Microsoft Windows.

One of the best computers I ever used was a Xerox 6580 windows computer I had at my desk at Xerox. Of course Xerox in its traditional odd way of doing things scrapped all those great computers and replaced them with Microsoft Windows computers.

El Segundo is named after the Standard Oil refinery in the city. El Segundo means ďthe SecondĒ in Spanish and that is because it is the second Standard Oil refinery in California. I think the first one is up in the San Francisco Bay area.

I toured the oil refinery and that is really something interesting to do. Notice those flames coming out of the smoke stacks at an oil refinery? Well the tour guide told us those are mistakes when somebody screwed up and did something wrong. Also oil refineries are very dangerous places. The question is not will something will go wrong, but when will something go wrong. When I lived in El Segundo they had one large fire at the refinery.

Downtown El Segundo is rather strange. Despite the fact that it is in the middle of the Los Angeles area it is more like being in Mayberry. The town motto was ďone mile from LAX, one thousand miles from LAĒ. Which they preached trying to get businesses to come to the city. It means they are right next to Los Angeles International Airport or LAX and a thousand miles form all the bureaucracy that business have to put up when dealing with government officials and rules in the City of Los Angeles.

I moved out of my home in El Segundo because it was too damn noisy. El Segundo is right next to LAX and every 60 seconds a plane is taking off and rattling your brains.

I rented a 2nd house in Manhattan Beach about a mile south of my home in El Segundo and didnít have to deal with the noise from LAX. My problem in Manhattan Beach was when summer came and you canít find a place to park. Then I would have to park my car a block or two away from my house and walk home. I should have rented a parking space but I was too cheap.

I was renting a tiny one bed room home in Manhattan Beach for $600 a month which was almost the $675 I was paying on my mortgage of my Tempe home before the government seized it for not mowing the lawn.

I used to ride my bike 10 miles everyday along the beach. If the wind was blowing from the northwest I would ride north to Marina del Rey so that on the return trip I would have the wind to my back. If the wind was coming from the southwest I would ride south to Redondo Beach, again so on the trip home I would have the wind to my back.

Manhattan Beach is pretty cool. It is like Mill Avenue on the Ocean. All lines of bars and shops to go to. Sam for Hermosa Beach which is the next beach city south. In Redondo Beach which is the next city south after Hermosa Beach they have some cool fish markets near the pier and the marina which I used to buy fresh fish at.

One other cool place to hang out in that area is in Westwood. Westwood is right next to UCLA and it is kind of like Mill Avenue in Tempe. Itís been a while but I think take the San Diego Freeway, get off on Santa Monica Blvd and go east. You will hit Westwood Blvd after about a half of a mile. Then go north and you will find the area that is like Mill Avenue in Tempe.

If you go south instead you will run into the Westwood Pavilion which is a mall. One of those movies about dumb blonds was filmed there. Also one of the five Los Angeles atheist groups meets there.

I went to the OJ trial when I was working at Xerox. I got in by accident because I took a big camera and looked like a reporter. They kicked us out after about 30 minutes.

At the OJ trail one of the reporters was making fake OJ badges as a spoof. Instead of the normal badge issued by the LA County court these badges had humorous things on them like official OJ blood stains. He sold me maybe twenty of them. I lost all of them when the City of Phoenix seized my Phoenix home because I didnít mow my lawn.

I gave a few of them to Pats friend Ari in Japan. Those Japanese people were fascinated by the OJ trial.

I also went to the 2600 meetings which were held at the Union Station in downtown Los Angeles. Well that was the starting point. They often went to Felipeís Sandwich Joint which is across the street from Union Station. Union Station is a train station in downtown LA. I guess the reason they hold the 2600 meetings there is so people can go there on the train.

Light rail also goes to Union Station and for something to do I took the Green Line from Union Station down to Long Beach or wherever it goes. Light rail sucks.

I also used to hang out at the ICCA meetings. They met in the San Fernando Valley, I think in Woodland Hills somewhere off of the Ventura Freeway. They also met by LAX in Culver City. Every month the LA chapter would switch locations. I also went to the Orange County ICCA Chapter which met in either Tustin or Irvine near the El Toro Marine Corps Air Station.

I could get there in an hour from LA County during rush hour. That was because I was going in the opposite direction of the traffic and I could cruise down there doing 70mph on the freeways.

I always do the speed limit because I donít like being harassed by cops. But when I started driving on the LA Freeways that was downright dangerous. If I drove at 55 mph I was a traffic hazard since all the other cars were illegally going 65, 70, 75, or faster. I talked to my cube mate Dev and he told me if I never went over 70 mph the cops wouldnít stop me. I didnít like speeding, but I always did drive at 70. I was a little scared at first. But one day I was going 70 mph, and I passed a slow poke CHP doing 65 on the Century Freeway. He didnít bother me or any of the other people that passed him. That was back when the speed limit was 55 mph. I think they have raised it back to 65 now.

I went to all the atheist groups in LA. They have something like 5 atheist groups in the area. And that is not counting Orange County or any of the other areas. That was just LA County. They were Humanist Association of Los Angeles (HALA), Secular Humanist of Los Angeles (SHOLA), Atheists United (AU), Ethical Culture Society. Even though I am not gay I also went to GALA which is a gay and lesbian atheist group. I think it stands for Gay Atheists of Los Angeles.

Hell I even went to the Jewish Atheist group in Los Angeles. They are a national group called something like Jewish Humanists. In LA they meet at a church which is caddy corner to a synagogue on Wilshire Blvd. It was freezing cold and raining that night and I left because I was cold and nobody showed up for their meeting.

For me the best part of Los Angeles is the Indian food. They have an area called ďLittle IndiaĒ which is in the City of Artesia. You take the 91 freeway west from Los Angeles and get off on Pioneer Blvd. Go south about a half a mile. Then Little Indian will begin there and go for about a half a mile. The whole place smells like curry. Women walk around in saris. It almost looks like India except for the Jack in the Box.

There are a bunch of run down dumps that sell hot spicy Indian food like the Indians eat it. Not like the watered down bland worthless food they sell to white people in American joints that claim to sell Indian food. You could stuff yourself for $3 back in 1995 when I was there. When I ate there on the weekends I would usually be the only white person in the restaurant. Good food. But if you think Mexican food is hot donít even think about going.

There is a China Town near downtown LA. I suspect they have lots of good Chinese food, I have been there but I didnít check the food. Also down in Orange County they have a huge area in Garden Grove called Little Saigon. If you like Oriental food I would check it out. I didnít go there much because it was a long way from Manhattan Beach in LA where I lived. When I went there I had some language problems. They didnít speak English or Spanish, and I didnít speak Vietnamese so I had problems figuring out what the food they were selling was.

Another place I liked was soul food that the Blacks ate. That is in South Central LA. I used to go to these fish fry places on Crenshaw Blvd and buy fried fish to go. That is great stuff. I didnít know it was soul food till my other cube mate who was a Black told me.

This area has really changed. When I lived in Orange County a long time ago it was almost all white people. Now some sections like Garden Grove are mostly Oriental, other places like Anaheim are mostly Latino. The same for parts of where I lived in near LAX. A long time ago Inglewood was almost all white people, and now it is almost all Black people.

At Xerox about one third of the people where whites. One third were Blacks, and one third were Oriental, which includes Indians. At the time I was there whites became a minority in Los Angeles County with the percent of whites dropping below 50 percent.

I didnít know Indians from India are technically white people. My cube mate who is from India was telling me that he was pissed off because the area he lives half the kids are Chinese and half the kids are Indians. The Chinese kids get special privileges because they are considered minorities. But his kids who have dark skin are consider Caucasians and donít get the privileges that other minorities get even though they have dark skin.

Event the graffiti is international. Driving around Los Angeles in addition to the Spanish graffiti I have seen graffiti in Arabic, Korean, and even Japanese. I could tell the Korean stuff because almost every Korean letter has a circle as part of it. Same for the Japanese, I know what katakana and hiragana look like and they were part of the graffiti.