November 28, 2010


People like to say that LA doesn't have seasons, but when you live here, you learn that they're just more subtle. Despite the chill, the beach in the winter feels different. The light is different, as are the waves, and even maybe the color of the water. Not to mention the natural quiet and sparsely populated beach. It can be pretty peaceful, and often a refreshing change.

November 27, 2010


Nice couple days off, including away from the blog. After the last couple weeks the break was in order, so I'm not apologizing this time. Today my friends Jon and Rob had a housewarming potluck at their new place in Santa Monica. The house is amazing, but the view is even better. The coolest thing is that they found old photos of the house in a book of Julius Shulman's photographs. They've done a lot of work to the place, but still plan to do more eventually to bring it back closer to the original state after the last owner messed it up with "improvements." Maybe I'll get em to let me do some old/new pics sometime. Regardless, a nice Southern California afternoon with friends. I love the way LA during Thanksgiving is just a big exhale.

November 24, 2010

2005: thanksgiving at the beach

[note: this is a repost of my very first blog post, originally posted
November 24, 2005]

I moved from Silverlake to Manhattan Beach this year, and I'm still discovering how life at the beach is how I always thought living in LA should be. As much as I love Silverlake, the Beach is a different world. While it is so white and homogeneous at times that it can be disconcerting, the connection to the ocean - just being here - never ceases to connect with something inside.

So this morning I got up to take my friend Casey to the airport (which thankfully got me out of the house), and then took a slew of architectural pattern photos at LAX and other neighborhoods around there - tooling around the neighborhoods and taking the pics gave me one of those 'this is what I was meant to be doing' feelings. These are the type of photography that will be the basis of my website once it's up.

I got home and jumped on my beach cruiser and took a ride up the beach. Its sunny, clear, 75 degrees. Its Thanksgiving. This is why we live here. The RV park near Dockweiler State Beach was full of people making their Thanksgiving dinners outside their RV's. People are out riding bikes, playing volleyball, taking walks. This isnt my vacation, I LIVE here. How did I get so lucky? I rode on through the Ballona Wetlands and saw people taking their sailboats in and out of the harbor. Up through Marina Del Rey through the seafood restaurants and yacht and fishing stores.

On the way back, halfway down the beach the sunny sky suddenly became a thick fogbank. Jets taking off out of LAX materialized just over my head out of the clouds with a roar. The fog was so thick that you could see wisps of cloud between yourself and the bike in front of you. Before I even realized it, I was back in Manhattan Beach. Time to fix the Turkey...

Thanksgiving in LA. This is why we live here.

November 22, 2010


Still busy! So another gallery - more unpublished leftovers, this time from Downtown LA.

November 20, 2010


We had a little bit of rain overnight last night. That doesn't happen too often here, so where it does, the way it changes the air and sky are dramatically noticeable. Skies full of clouds with the occasional dramatic sun breakthrough. LA likes its drama.

November 18, 2010

tips to trux

Chances are you know I'm a huge fan of the gourmet food truck scene that began in LA and has spread across the country. From my experience as a fan, I thought I'd offer a couple tips to the folks with the trucks. That said, I realize its a little like someone who knows nothing about design or tv offering me advice on my business - it could be a brilliant suggestion I never thought of, or it could be something completely implausible, no matter how well-intentioned. I don't claim to know anything about running a food truck, so take these with a grain of salt. My first is about marketing - something I know a little about: Make sure your name, logo, or twitter handle is prominent near your order and pickup windows. People taking photos of your truck like to take photos of people lined up and ordering or getting their food. Most trucks have their name on the side panels that flip open, meaning when the truck is open, the only people getting good views of that logo are people flying over. A lot of trucks do smartly have their name above that panel, but that also can be blocked when the panel is open. The second idea is about food - something I know nothing about: If your menu allows, offer options that allow multiple tastes or small bites when in locations with other trucks. Some people coming to your trucks are there for their meal, but others, like me, think of it like the county fair and want to try several trucks or multiple things from one. Sliders and tacos are great examples of this: offering a combo of three types or just individual ones. On one hand, maybe someone isn't spending as much with you that way. On the other hand, more people may give you a try. Despite wanting to try them, I've bypassed the cheesesteak trucks every time because one cheesesteak is too much food to handle if I want anything else that day. But like I said, take those ideas with a grain of salt. I know nothing about your business, but I love being a fan. And finally, a tip to those customers new to gourmet food trucks: remember the gourmet part. Orders are almost always prepared to order and take some time. This isn't fast food. Be patient. Its (almost) always worth the wait. And if you want to follow all of LA's 145 Gourmet Food Trucks in one click, just follow my list on Twitter. Noms away!
  • jonberrydesign's foodtrucks list
  • November 16, 2010


    Stepping back through my files again for another gallery, with some retro signage or sights around town...

    November 15, 2010


    Sunday my pal Alan joined me for the LA Galaxy game - it was the Western Conference Championship to go to the MLS Cup, so we went early. Turns out we were wayyy early - which wasn't a bad thing. We drove into a virtually empty parking lot right in front of the Stadium and had our choice of anywhere we wanted to park and set up. Plenty of other people started arriving not long after and the tailgates began to set up. Our vat of caipirinhas and food from the North End Caffe was not exactly a match for the grills and awnings that people came with, but it worked for us. I had forgotten what a great stadium the Home Depot Center is, especially with everything so open. I had gotten seats next to the LA Riot Squad to be close to the fans that'd be singing and chanting through the match. They were fun, but the Angel City Brigade on the opposite side of the stadium seemed to be a lot more into it. Next time I'll try over there. Overall, there was a youth and energy to the place that was very different than any MLB or NFL game I've been to. Its clearly is a sport that's more accessible and leaning to the future. Unfortunately, the game itself didn't go so well. Alan commented how you could feel the energy drain out of the stadium after the other team scored their first goal. Even the Riot Squad got subdued. And after two more goals from the other team, the feeling of defeat was palpable. Despite the score, it was a fun night, but I hope my streak as my teams bad luck charm is ending, because I plan to go to a lot more games here next year.

    November 13, 2010


    Have I mentioned things being busy lately? Thats not a complaint, thats good. But it means the blog falls to the bottom of the list (and not a lot of leaving my usual space to have anything to show, or time to write a very interesting post.) So yet another gallery from older pics that were left on the blog equivalent of the cutting room floor.

    November 11, 2010


    busy day here, so another gallery. This time going back to my roadtrip in August to Ventura with my friend Matt. Here are a few slivers of color that didn't get posted at the time.

    November 9, 2010

    now boarding

    Warning - this is a solicitation, but its a good one. I have often preached about the value of belonging to any and every airline frequent flier program. Chances are you don't fly just one or two airlines, and you never know when you will fly a particular one if you shop for fares and schedules to meet whatever your trip calls for. Belonging to a frequent flier program costs nothing. And it doesn't take much to keep from losing miles you earn even if you rarely fly. So even if you are a rare flier, eventually you will probably earn enough to redeem either for a flight or for something else (my Europe travel always is by redeeming miles.) And even if you don't, you really haven't lost anything. So now you have a chance to join a frequent flier program, earn some bonus points for yourself, as well as some for me. Here's the deal: I can register 15 friends' email addresses for a special invite if they aren't already members of Virgin America's "Elevate" program. If those addresses accept my invite and register for Elevate, they get 250 elevate points, and I get 250. So - if you aren't already a member of Virgin America's Elevate - you should be. If you're willing to join, send me an email and let me know what email address to use. I will register that email and send an invite for you to join. Its that simple. As for Virgin America, they are a really great airline. And you probably know I travel a lot and have some definite opinions about airlines. I consider Virgin America my 3rd favorite - but that 3rd ranking is only because of bag fees - which puts JetBlue and Southwest above Virgin in my rankings. For every other part of the fying experience, Virgin America is unmatched. Flying them is a treat and enjoyable - really. When was the last time you said that about an airline? It feels to me what I imagine flying must have felt like 40 years ago when it was still special. Their routes are still limited, but they are constantly adding new cities. And you don't have to fly them to join Elevate - if you join now, you'll already be set once you finally do fly them. You can check a couple old blog posts about them below. And if you're ready to join, send me an email. See you aboard.
  • jbd blog 02/24/09: traveltip: think small
  • jbd blog 11/09/07: like a virgin
  • jbd blog 08/16/07: better air