Totally Unauthorized

A side of the film industry most people never see.

Breaking news! Water falls from sky, entire city panic-stricken!

Los Angeles is a desert-ish city.

Sure, we have the baking heat, tumbleweeds and single digit humidity, but we don’t get the monsoonal rains like a ‘real’ desert, so when any water at all comes down, the whole place grinds to a halt.

Drainage is poor, so even a fairly light rain (by the rest of the world’s standards) will result in flooded streets, traffic jams as frantic drivers thumb through their manuals to try and figure out how to turn on those windshield wiper things they vaguely remember being on the car, and hysterical local news anchors warning the good citizens to just stay at home so things don’t get worse as civilization as we know it comes to an end.

This time, however, there really is reason to be concerned as we’re supposed to get several inches of rain overnight – although some of you in wetter climes are snickering right now, this is a big deal around here and is going to result in worse than usual flooding and huge mudslides in those burned areas.

Not where I live though – I’m just going to have to deal with car accidents in front of my house (people seem to mistake my residential street for the straightaway at a racetrack and hit the gas. Combined with a wet street this is fun) and all other news being pushed to the back burner (“Coming up next on Action News! Keeping your latte warm in cold wet weather! Plus, later in the newscast… the heartbreak of hair frizz!”)

Earlier today, I decided to wade out into the apocalyptic afternoon drizzle in order to go swim in the outdoor pool since for some strange reason people won’t swim in the rain (I can’t figure this one out. They’re going to get wet anyway) which meant I’d have an Olympic sized lap pool all to myself and all I had to do was drive a couple of miles through….The Water (cue scary music).
Actually, it wasn’t so bad except that I don’t have windshield wipers – it’s been so long since the last bit of rain that they’d gotten the dry rot and disintegrated as soon as I tried to use them. Oops. Guess I’m making a stop at the auto parts store in the morning.

Of course, Trader Joe’s was a complete madhouse – shelves emptying as people grabbed for the last package of lemon basil pasta, puddles of rainwater everywhere inside because no one wanted to leave an umbrella in the provided rack (include me in that – the last time I put my umbrella in the rack it got stolen and there weren’t any good ones left. I had to wait months before I could find a good umbrella to, um, Karmically replace the old one).

I got my coffee (I ran out this morning), more martini fixins and some fresh basil (now I can make pesto while I drink), so I’m set for the night.

Until tomorrow, when I venture out again, because I just can’t resist that empty swimming pool.

Filed under: life in LA, Los Angeles, Non-Work, , , , , , , ,

19 Responses

  1. JCW says:

    It’s so odd… here in the Bay Area, with even the slightest sprinkle people drive like they’ve never experienced rain before. For a region that generally gets quite a bit of rain each year, you’d think people would learn – but NOOOO.

    Also odd about Bay Area drivers – when crossing the Bay Bridge people ALWAYS slow down before the tunnel on Treasure Island – ALWAYS! Doesn’t matter how well traffic’s moving or how uncrowded it is – the slowdown occurs everytime.
    Perhaps some primal fear of what awaits in the tunnel? Maybe fear of the dark? (Though in truth – it’s not a dark tunnel)

    Bay Area drivers suck.

    Hey! Still waiting to hear what became of the dog, what you did about the toilet, details of your Christmas journey, and whether or not you’re going to spend anytime on the picket lines with the writers.

  2. nezza says:

    It sounds similar to what happens in the UK when it snows or gets icy. We don’t really get that much snow over here, the odd day or two really, so when the white stuff does ever make an appearance it all goes terribly wrong – even if it’s only 2 centimetres deep.

    Car accidents, traffic gridlock, panic shopping all commence as the first flake gently wafts to the ground, and it’s generally all melted away by the next day anyway.

    They’re better at it further up north in Scotland where they’ll get more of the stuff and for longer, but we’re completely useless where I live.

  3. Charli says:

    When I was young my mother gave me a bar of soap and told me to go shower myself in the rain, okay, it was fun in a bit of ghetto way.

    I suggest that you rent, “Nowhere in Africa” while you sit out the rain. We got a bunch of movies just because we didn’t want to venture out, though we are going to the theater today and I don’t care if I get wet. This foreign film is one of the BEST foreign films I’ve ever seen. It just had all the right ingredients.

    JWC – I don’t think Peg is going to join the picket lines anytime soon. The writers cost her, well, her job. I myself am so thoroughly disgusted with the writers (though I am one myself) and producers that I’ve chosen NOT to join the picket line. For someone like myself who hasn’t sold a script, it’s a good business move to get to know other writers, so we are all encouraged to go out and picket.

    I haven’t set one foot on that picket line. I am perturbed by the piss poor business moves of the WGA prior to the strike and more perturbed at the lack of fairness by the producers. I say go and screw all of yourselves.

    I think I’m going to go the Indie route and write/direct my own films. These factions are for the birds.

    Peggy sez: Even though I’m unemployed, I actually support the writers, and have been on a couple of picket lines (and have taken photos which were posted on LAist), but I’m trying to keep the blog out of the fray. I might go picket at the Golden Globes just because there’s a very good chance that it’s going to be a complete cluster fuck, and those are always fun.
    Of course, I want this to get settled ASAP so I don’t end up on the street pushing a shopping cart around and talking to myself.

  4. Dave2 says:

    When I was last down in L.A. the mere prediction of rain was enough to throw some people into panic. Once the rain actually came, it was surprising to me how quickly the streets were overflowing with water… almost instantaneous. When that happened, panic was understandable!

  5. strugglecity says:

    Panic-striken is so right! I have lived in L.A. my whole 49 years and 20 years back the weather forecast was “rain tomorrow, bring an umbrella, ho-hum”. Now local L.A. news stations actually post reporters 50 and 100 miles north of L.A. to report up-to-the-minute hysterical storm front eyewitness reports. I think the local news stations will actually self-combust if something really substantial happens in L.A.

    My native advice for a L.A. rainy day: Go to Disneyland: It’s not crowded and most of the rides are inside.

    BTW: My husband found out yesterday his windshield wipers are total dust!

  6. Charli says:

    Well, Peg, if you need a shopping cart, for some reason, here in Santa Monica, people take the grocery carts right off the lot then dump them on the sidewalk. I could get you a really nice Vons cart, in case you need one.

    Peggy sez: Oooo… could you get me one of those really nice double decker carts? I’m going to need the extra shelf space.

  7. snarkolepsy says:

    Did you know linked you?

    Peggy sez: I did not know that! Thanks for the heads up. Also, a gold star to them for abiding by the terms of my Creative Commons license and giving me a credit and a linkback to Flickr.

  8. JCW says:

    Peggy – glad to hear that despite the hardships this is causing you, you still support the writers. From all that I know of the issues, it really seems to me that the producers and studios are the ones being unreasonable.

    Nonetheless it is still my hope and prayer for you and for everyone involved that this does not drag on too much longer – you’re not the only person I’m acquainted with who’s being hurt by this and it just SUCKS!

    Please DO picket the Golden Globes – I CAN NOT believe those people still intend to put on that pretend award show despite SAG instructing it’s members not to attend.

    How very Dick Clark of them…. the operative word here being “dick”.

  9. getsheila says:

    Water falls from sky AND WIND BLOWS. The horror!

    People are kooky.

  10. boskolives says:

    A couple of things to consider about rain / water issues in the L.A. area:

    1. This is actually a desert area, enhanced by water stolen from other parts of the state and elsewhere which is routed here in huge volumes. Driving North on the 5 freeway, have a look at the huge flume on the right a few miles up the road. The film “Chinatown” will provide some (more or less) factual information on how this came to be with the aid of land barons and politicians that even then were in the pocket of the money people.

    2. There is almost no way for rainfall to get into the water table in the area around Los Angeles, pavement is not exactly water permeable (spell check didn’t freak out, I guess I guessed correctly), instead routing the water to the gutter and then through the oddly named “L.A. River” which dumps it into the ocean. Rainfall on those nice green lawns, you ask? Most lawns are at best 2 inches or so of sod (Sorry, Nezza, that word has a far different meaning here) over soil that might as well be concrete, it’s tightly compacted by huge rollers or pneumatic tamping devices when the real estate developers are over building their chunks of property.

    3. Do you know what fish do in that stuff? Keep your martini neat!

  11. Charli says:

    Double decker cart, well, that’s a tall order, let me hang out at Pacific Palisades park and see what I can find…

  12. Peter says:

    “Coming up on Eyewitness News at 11, live team coverage from our Storm Center on the two inches of snow that have paralyzed the Tri-state Region! We’ll also have Big Mike’s NFL report, and an update on today’s outbreak of thermonuclear war in the Middle East.”

  13. Jim says:

    Hmm.. “DrizzleWatch 2008”

    The flooding is for a reason, though. It rains so little, lots of crud builds up in the storm drains, until you get a decent gullywasher to, er, wash the gullies out. So, those December, January storms always flood the streets. (And, of course, the notorious intersection at San Fernando and Tuxford, which floods with the least amount of rain.. I think it’s because it’s actually the railroad’s responsibility to maintain that one.)

  14. Meg says:

    I love the rumors that are swirling around the Golden Globes. They -will- go on, but not televised. They -will not- go on, because SAG is telling their people to not attend. If it weren’t for the strike, it would be very very funny.

  15. Dan says:

    “Peggy sez: I did not know that! Thanks for the heads up. Also, a gold star to them for abiding by the terms of my Creative Commons license and giving me a credit and a linkback to Flickr.”

    Hi Peggy. This reminds me of my situation, and I just have to vent in a totally off topic way. I just finished my year end accounting. I offered my book as an ebook about last june to save people money. I lost a minimum of 15,000 bucks to piracy. I’m on the verge of bankruptcy. How in the world do you convince people to do the right thing? I’m totally depressed. Love the rain though!

  16. Not4me says:

    No matter how dire the drought conditions. When we finally get rain, where does all that precious water end up ? In the Pacific Ocean !

  17. nezza says:

    Boskolives – you made me smile. It’s funny how we speak the same language but yet not at all both at the same time.
    Turf to me :)

  18. Newsguy says:

    Is that Olympic sized pool indoors? And is it heated? If not, bravo girl. I would never go swimming in this chilly weather.

    (from an L.A. resident)

  19. geekhiker says:

    Personally, I love it when it rains in this town. The fact that I just discovered Loudon Wainwright III’s “Gray in LA” last weekend seemed especially perfect.

    Plus, there’s the added entertainment of the news and their “Whammo-Doppler-Seven-Million” or whatever.

    My personal theory is that people in LA freak out and drive so poorly simply because they’re confused. After all, water isn’t supposed to come from the sky. It’s supposed to come out of the faucet or hose, or already be in the pool…

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