Monday, January 30, 2006

Crime Wave?

Hey, I thought this was a crime free area! What's up with this? First the reports from last month and now this. According to Nick, the owner of our local lunch stop, Everest Burger got broken into and robbed the night before last. They were installing the new glass today at lunch time. I snapped some pics of the smashed door with my phone.

Monday, January 23, 2006

Seasonal Wind Storm

As you can see from this chart, we've been having one of our regular winter wind storms since about 2 pm yesterday. It really started to get going around nightfall, and then got quite intense overnight. Not too many people slept soundly in greater L.A. last night. So far our maximum gust has been recorded at 41.6 MPH. Lots of trees and branches are down, flaky power and utilities everywhere, the usual. These are the so called Santa Anas winds. Other reports indicate that we have not been getting the brunt of the Santa Anas, with other communities seeing nearly 70 MPH gusts.

Lucky me, I have not actually lost power for more than a few moments so far. The "logic" of wind driven power outages is never clear. For instance, I couldn't gas up at the local Chevron this morning and the traffic signals are down a few blocks away, but for once my utilities are mostly still up. My power has fluctuated enough to make the clocks start blinking, but all my computers, and network gear are surfing through it on the UPSs. I did lose one of my internet connections for a while, but my backup DSL is still holding.

Check out this 3.7MB video of the anemometer going nuts.

Here's another 3.7MB video of the blowing trees behind our house.

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

Renovation Boom

If you live in the greater LA region (or maybe anywhere in the country for that matter), you would have to be particularly un-observant to have missed the hot real estate market. A look at the LA County Assessor web site can be quite astounding. I created the composite image at right by overlaying one of their maps on a satellite image of our neighborhood. The tinted tracts are ones that recently sold.

All this activity seems to be fueling an equally hot home renovation boom, no doubt spurred by the ironic fact that homes are "worth" so much, people who already own can't afford to trade up. Home equity loans, on the other hand, are a fairly painless way for home owners to tap into the real estate bonanza, without having to move out of state. Surely home equity is behind this flurry of additions and remodels. In our little part of the world, it is particularly obvious. I snapped these pics this morning in less than a one block radius.

"1 wall standing" remodel. Almost a new house.

Gutting interior. Enclosing back porch.

Nice addition on the front (living in rest of house).

Thursday, January 05, 2006

Stolen car and burgled house?

A couple worrisome things our neighbor Isaac heard recently:
1. Right before Christmas a house was broken into on Windfall. It happened during the day. Not sure of what was taken or what happened.

2. Another neighbor on Loma Alta (between Noyes and the Rubio Basin) had their Cadillac Escalade stolen right out of their drive way. The thief must have had a key since the alarm didn't go off and there was no sign of entry (no glass etc). My wife's parents live down on La Paz Road (a mile south of here) and their neighbor also had their Escalade stolen out of their drive way the same way. The cops say that 4 were stolen in the area within a few days. They were found stripped out in San Bernadino somewhere. Cops think it might be an inside job with a dealership or a body shop.
Thanks for the heads up, Isaac. If anyone knows more details (without posting private details please) about these stories, we'd love to know. Stay vigilant, everyone. Sometimes it's hard to remember to treat security like we live in a major metro area, even up here in our little town.

Monday, January 02, 2006

Critter Talk

Doris Finch dropped by today to report on her sightings of bear, coyote, coy-dog (maybe) and fox (past tense). Thanks Doris. We haven't seen anything with claws over here lately, but we do have a small family group of deer that graze our hillside. They are quite tame, so Norah was able to walk quite close to them and snap a few pics. Unfortunately the light was a bit low for our digicam so they mostly came out blurry. You can check out the ones that more or less came out here. (There are also some interesting recent insect pics to see at that link.)

I have been wondering if we should try to frighten the deer so they don't become too used to people. I remember in the story of Gentle Ben (a grizzly), when it was time to send him off into the wild, the boy tossed fire-crackers and things to make him shy of people. I must admit, I worry about tame deer attracting mountain lions further down. Our new kitties are strictly indoor cats. We lost our two previous cats recently, suspecting coyotes, but as Isaac pointed out, it could just as well have been the mountain lions.

Sunday, January 01, 2006

Weather Underground

It looks like Altadena has become a hotbed for personal weather stations. As of today Weather Underground is displaying data from four stations in Altadena. I note that the station IDs skip a number so chances are we will see KCAALTAD4 come online soon, if they can figure out how to get hooked up.

Weather Underground Tips & Tricks:

1. Check out the new feature that allows you to view Personal Weather Stations using Google Maps.

2. Using a tabbed browser, open up each of the four stations in tabs. Carefully scroll each page down so the graphs are showing and all aligned with each other. Click from tab to tab and observe the similarities and differences in the Altadena foothills micro (nano?) climates. Note: If you have trouble with one of the pages being a tiny bit off alignment from the others, try reloading it. Some of the banner ads are shorter than normal.