Amoeblog

Where the samba takes you out of nowhere -- Visiting Santa Catalina Island and Avalon

Posted by Eric Brightwell, June 26, 2013 07:38pm | Post a Comment
Two weeks ago I made my first visit to one of California’s Channel Islands, Santa Catalina Island. For those that don’t know, Southern California is home to an archipelago of small, rugged islands off its coast. My 2012 New Year’s resolution was to visit one or more of the Channel Islands. Having failed to realize this wish by December of that year, I instead resolved to learn to tie a bow tie after being berated (jokingly, I think) for not knowing how do so despite operating a gentlemen’s shop. For the record, I accomplished this last minute resolution and wore a bow tie a few nights later New Year’s Eve that I tied all by myself. Any, since transportation via Catalina Express is free on one’s birthday, I decided to have another go at island life.

Pendersleigh & Sons Cartography's map of Santa Catalina Island
Pendersleigh & Sons Cartography's map of Santa Catalina Island 

Accompanying me in her debut appearance was Una. In order to get as much out of our adventure as possible, we departed at some pre-dawn hour. After a hastily-devoured meal from McDonald's (which, though simple and clarified three times, managed nonetheless to be both screwed up and roof-of-the-mouth blisteringly hot) we raced down the docks and leapt aboard the boat with about two minutes to spare.

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My maiden voyage on the RMS Queen Mary

Posted by Eric Brightwell, November 12, 2012 08:49pm | Post a Comment
RMS Queen Mary deck

The other day I went to the RMS Queen Mary for birthday drinks for Lynn Garrett’s birthday. Lynn is the founder and head honcho at Hidden Los Angeles. As the name suggests, Hidden Los Angeles is a highly useful guide to Los Angeles for Angelenos and visitors who presumably have no interest in (or interests beyond) celebrity culture, “The Industry,” or the beaten path in general. It’s also the perfect riposte to Los Angeles’s haters complaints about our fair city. Lynn was staying on board the ship for three a three day non-cruise and the visit to the ship was my first.

View of Long Beach from the Queen Mary



The RMS Queen Mary is an ocean liner that sailed the North Atlantic from 1936 (when it was known as the Cunard-White Star) and 1967, when it retired to Long Beach.


She was built in Clydebank, Scotland and held the Blue Riband (an accolade granted to ships with the fast average speed when crossing the Atlantic) from 1936 to 1937 and then from 1938 to 1952.

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Restored and renovated Rancho Los Alamitos ready to return

Posted by Eric Brightwell, April 17, 2012 05:13pm | Post a Comment

Members of the press were recently treated to a preview of the historic Rancho Los Alamitos, in Long Beach. The public re-opening will take place on June 10 although special events will afford interested parties an opportunity to enjoy the site before then. 

Rancho Los Alamitos 1948

Rancho Los Alamitos is a deeply significant historic site – home to a 19th century homestead that today offers a 7.5 acre oasis in the middle of a densely-populated urban area -- and the ancestral birthplace of Los Angeles’s Tongva people. For most of its existence it belonged to the prominent Bixby family before it was donated to the City of Long Beach in 1968, when it was apparently converted into a corny tourist trap. In 1986, the Rancho Los Alamitos Foundation took over and this grand re-opening is the culmination of a quarter century’s worth of their restoration efforts.

Under Long Beach’s watch, the barn area buildings on the site were rearranged in a semi-circle, effectively turning the once-proud site into a Harbor Area answer to South Dakota’s 1800 Town. A “Wisteria Walk” was added. Grass was put in and visitors got to make candles. It may’ve all been good fun to the grade-schoolers who visited at the time but it probably wasn’t the ranch’s most dignified era. When the Rancho Los Alamitos Foundation took over and pursued a different approach, there were predictably grumblings. This is SoCal, after all, and Southern Californians are very serious about kitsch.

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8th LA Harbor International Film Festival

Posted by Eric Brightwell, April 14, 2011 02:30pm | Post a Comment
Another day, another film festival! Today, the four day LA Harbor International Film Festival (LAHIFF) begins. From the 14th through the 17th, a selection of films will be screened at the Warner Grand Theatre (478 W. 6th Street in San Pedro).

LA Harbor International Film Festival 2011

Films in the festival are chosen based on their reflection of the character of The Harbor region. This year, picks include Treasure Island (USA, 1950), Il mare de Joe (Italy, 2009), The Joy Luck Club (USA, 1993), April Love (USA, 1957) and The Tillman Story (USA, 2010).






To purchase tickets and for more information, click here to visit the official site. It's free to all those serving now or in the past in the US military. 
 

 

America's Port - A Harbor Primer

Posted by Eric Brightwell, March 23, 2011 03:30pm | Post a Comment
THE HARBOR

Map of the Harbor
Pendersleigh & Sons' Official Map of The Harbor

The Harbor
is the region of Los Angeles County centered around San Pedro Bay. It is the site of both the Port of Los Angeles and the Port of Long Beach, which together form the fifth-busiest port facility in the world (behind the ports of Shanghai ( 上海), Singapore, Hong Kong (香港), and Shenzhen (深圳) -- all in Asia). It was originally a shallow mudflat known to the indigenous Tongva as the Bay of Smokes. It was dredged in modern times to an average depth of ten to twenty meters. Natural islands in the Harbor included Terminal Island, Mormon Island and Dead Man's Island. The latter was removed, the second was connected to the mainland and the first is a highly augmented mudflat. There are four artificial islands built around oil rigs; Freeman, Grissom, White and Chaffee Islands. If one figure can be credited with the Harbor's transformation, it's Delaware-born Phineas Banning.

 

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