Monday, August 28, 2023

Don't let Supervisors ban short term rental in Altadena

Forgive the local politics, but next month LA County board of supervisors is going to be voting on a draconian restriction that completely bans short term rentals in all unincorporated parts of the county with very limited exceptions for primary residences.

If you appreciate use of unique local STRs like the ones up at Zorthians and the Ranchito, please take a minute to voice your opposition to Barger's office.

Below is a link and a prompt you can use to fill in the contact form on Kathryn Barger's site.

Field Office Location:
San Gabriel Valley

Vote no on the proposed STR ordinance

As a resident of unincorporated Los Angeles County, I am opposed to the proposed short term rental ordinance. It is needlessly restrictive and punitive to small businesses and families who rely on STR income. We personally enjoy the use of numerous unique STR options in Altadena when we have friends and family visit. Please vote no on the proposed STR ordinance.

Friday, September 30, 2016

What If: Official Rules

What If is a game. I just made it up, and so the rules are subject to change, based on game-play feedback. This post will be updated when/if rules change, so you can permalink it as the sacrosanct official rules. We'll use Semantic Versioning, you can always be sure if you've got the latest version by looking at the version number at the top and the change log at the bottom of the post.

What If v1.0.0

Objective: Get points by proposing your best answer to any What If scenario, or teaming up with a better answer.
Number of Players: Minimum of 5 is suggested
Age: Any, as long as they can understand the rules and participate. They should be able to talk in a manner which all the other players can understand. Minimum of 8 is suggested.
  1. All turns start with the youngest player, and proceed by increasing age, returning to the youngest after the oldest player's turn (until you want to stop playing).
  2. Anyone can join or leave the game any time, if you want to play that way (decide as a group before you start).
  3. Each player poses a What If scenario, and then the youngest player gives an answer. The youngest player will always answer first, even on their own scenario.
  4. Any What If scenario can be vetoed by any one player objecting.
  5. If your proposed scenario is vetoed, you can keep changing the scenario or proposing new ones until no other player objects.
  6. If a player is being particularly objectionable, all the other players may unanimously agree to skip the player's turn to make a What If scenario.
  7. Any player can ask clarifying questions about the What If scenario before it is accepted.
  8. Once the What If scenario is understood and accepted by all the players, everyone goes around, always starting with the youngest player, and proposes an answer or solution based on What they would do If they were either alone, or were the most responsible person in a group when the What If scenario happens.
  9. As each player's answer turn comes up, they can do one of three things:
    • Join with any previous player's answer
    • Propose an improvement to any previous player's answer
    • Propose a completely new answer
  10. If a player has their answer improved upon, they decide if they accept the improvement, or consider that a completely new answer.
  11. If other people have already joined a player's answer, and that player decides to accept an improvement and join the improved answer, the original answer goes up for grabs; every player who joined it can choose to also follow the original player and join the improved one, or stay with the existing one.
  12. When an answer splits, the youngest player left on that answer becomes the new owner.
  13. Once the current player is finished deciding if their answer is new or and improvement, everyone has the option to join any given answer, following the same process of deciding who owns the answer if the current owner joins another answer.
  14. After the oldest player finishes answering, and every player has finished deciding which answer they want to join, points are awarded based on the number of people on each answer as follows:
    • For the owner of the answer, 2 points per person who joined it.
    • For everyone else on the answer, 1 point per person who joined it.

Example Game Play

  1. Five players play in this order: Fiona (13), Pepper (15), Lily (15), Dad (45), Grandma (103).
  2. Nobody else wants to play.
  3. Fiona poses her scenario first, since she's the youngest. Her What If scenario is, "What If you suddenly discovered you can fly one day."
  4. Grandma objects, because she says that's too boring.
  5. So Fiona changes her What If scenario to, "What If you suddenly discovered you can fly one day, but slowly and not very well."
  6. Nobody objects.
  7. Pepper asks if flying is risky, and Fiona says, "Yes, it is risky. You sometimes have a hard time controlling it, and you could fall really hard and maybe die. It's similar to riding a motor cycle."
  8. The scenario is accepted, and answers will be given in order starting with Fiona, as they always will. Fiona is always first in this group.
  9. The turns go like this
    1. Fiona:
      • Fiona would carefully practice and try to get better at it.
    2. Pepper
      •  Pepper would only do it to a hovering height
    3. Lily
      • Lily would join Fiona's answer
      • Pepper and Fiona stay with their current answers
    4. Dad
      • I would improve Fiona's answer by adding motorcycling leathers and helmet.
      • Fiona accepts Dad's improvement.
      • Lily is now the youngest on Fiona's answer, so she owns it
      • Lily decides to join Fiona, moving to Dad's answer.
    5. Grandma 
      • Grandma would improve Pepper's answer by adding a cool witch outfit.
      • Pepper accepts Grandma's improvement.
      • Fiona and Lily join Grandma's answer.
      • Dad complains loudly about it, but still loses the round. 
  10.  Points are tallied on the two remaining answers
    • Dad's answer:
      • Dad 1 person x 2 points = 2 points total
    • Grandma's answer:
      • Grandma 4 people x 2 points = 8 points total
      • Lily 4 people x 1 point = 4 points total
      • Pepper 4 people x 1 point = 4 points total
      • Fiona 4 people x 1 point = 4 points total
  11. The points are tallied, and then everything starts from step 3, but with Pepper proposing the What If now. Turns proceed in order until everyone gets a turn to propose a scenario, and then everyone decides if they want to go another round.

Friday, July 01, 2016

Rain wrap-up 2016

The Stonehill News weather station recorded 14.43 inches of precipitation for the rain season ending June 30, 2016. I have made a tradition of reporting what my neighbors Dan Gollnick and Bill Westphal recorded, going back to 1999 and 2003 respectively.

Here are the available seasonal totals:

Season    PacRad     KCAALTAD1   SHN       Avg
1999-2000  19.76"      --        --        --
2000-2001  21.22"      --        --        --
2001-2002   8.27"      --        --        --
2002-2003  24.47"      --        --        --
2003-2004  15.47"     14.72"     --        --
2004-2005  62.56"     56.66"    61.61"    60.28"
2005-2006  24.06"     22.37"    23.35"    23.26"
2006-2007   6.81"     6.52 "     6.15"     6.49"
2007-2008  26.04"     24.66"    23.64"    24.78"
2008-2009  16.34"     15.77"    15.09"    15.73"
2009-2010  26.50"     25.55"    24.92"    25.66"
2010-2011  34.49"     34.17"    30.70"    33.12"
2011-2012  13.62"     13.66"    13.39"    13.56"
2012-2013  11.58"     11.59"    11.39"    11.52"
2013-2014   6.38"      6.82"     6.66"     6.62"
2014-2015  12.81"     10.28"    11.82"    11.64"
2015-2016  16.84"     14.17"    14.43"    15.12"
(04+) Avg  21.5"     20.19"    20.26"    20.65"

Monday, June 20, 2016


originally posted 7/01/2007

The web cam snapshot is updated every minute. The graphs and data on this page are updated every minute. The raw data is also submitted to Weather Underground every minute.

Weather Dashboard:

Sunday, October 11, 2015

Unusually hot nights in Southern California

The last three nights, Thursday, Friday and Saturday, October 8-10, 2015, have been unusual for southern California. This graph shows the outdoor temperature in Fahrenheit for the last five days running. The horizontal axis shows midnight for each day. The nights of October 6/7 and October 7/8 show the typical southern California pattern, a smooth even cooling off starting at sunset, with the coolest part of the day being just before sunrise.

I've taken the curve from the first night on this graph and overlaid it on the last three nights. The bold, jagged line is the actual temperature, and the grayed out smooth line below it is what the night temperature might have looked like if not for the unusual hot dry air that caused the jagged warming effects throughout the last three nights.

Saturday, September 26, 2015

Simple Shower Water Recapture System

In spring of 2015 we implemented a variation of the "bucket flush" concept. If you search with terms like "bucket flush graywater" there is plenty of material out there, but all of it that I found is either too complicated (involves plumbing) or talks in generalities.

We have been using a bucket flush system in both bathrooms for about six months now; this is a write-up of exactly how we did it, and how it has been using it in practice.

Catching the water

I found these plastic organizer boxes from Really Useful Boxes at OSH, and it turns out they're available online direct from the manufacturer for about what I paid at OSH (just over $10 each). While they are not the cheapest organizer boxes, I chose them for a number of reasons. On top of being very sturdy, they are wide-mouthed for catching water, a good size for the shower stalls and are a manageable for kids to carry and pour. They hold 8.1 liters (about 2 gallons) each. You won't need the lid, and the handles pop off easily if you don't want to use them.

Saturday, September 19, 2015

Advice From Dad: Installment 1


I am the father of two wonderful teen girls. Over the past 15 years, I’ve occasionally heard well-meaning, but old-fashion clich├ęs such as, “Two girls? Watch out dad! Better have the shotgun ready!” I know the sentiment behind this is well-meaning, but it implies that girls are helpless. I trust my girls to carry their own metaphorical shotguns.

I strive to help them feel empowered. I trust they will try to practice common sense. Of course they will make mistakes, but that is how we all learn. For years I’ve been contemplating what kind of dating advice I might give them when they’re old enough. I hope to impart self-confidence, and give them some advice that will help guide them as they begin to navigate the fraught waters of adolescent sexuality.

I acknowledge that the following advice may be more frank than some parents are comfortable with. I wrestled with the decision to publish what is fundamentally personal material. Before I shared it with my daughters, I sought feedback from a few parents of their BFFs. I didn’t want my kids to share it with their friends, without first having vetted it with some fellow parents. I received positive feedback, and some encouragement to publish it. So here’s the first (and possibly only) installment of “Advice From Dad” for my two wonderful daughters.

Installment 1

Hello my darlings,

You are both old enough that I want to start a dialogue about some adult topics that we haven’t discussed much in the past. I’ve been working on articulating these first few topics over the summer, and I think they’re ready to share now.