Saturday, July 31, 2010

Caltech Does Olive Oil

When I found out that Caltech produces olive oil, it was one of those WTF moments.  But having toured the campus, it now makes sense.  Caltech's campus has lots of olive trees with big, fat olives on them.  So why not make olive oil?  They even celebrate their endeavors with a Caltech Olive Harvest Festival.

BTW, Caltech also has an abundance of turtles.  If you go to the central campus, you'll find tiny streams and ponds filled with turtles anxiously waiting for you to feed them.  But you must not feed them because that is absolutely verboten.  Sorry, turtles.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

LA Highway to Heaven

I have to confess I'm still freaked out by the LA highways.  It's such a huge, convoluted mess, with lanes constantly breaking off into opposite directions with almost no warning.  Sometimes with no warning.  One moment you're happily driving along, the next, you realize you're five seconds away from missing your exit.  And you're not the only one who's had this sudden epiphany — so have several of the other drivers around you and you're all now part of an ugly scrum to make this rapidly-approaching exit, which just happens to be three or four lanes away.  And if you're in the carpool lane, God help you.

I'll never forget my first time.  I was in Studio City trying to get to Eagle Rock.  I get on the highway and I see the guy ahead of me merge past three lanes of traffic in less than a second and I shout, "Did you see what that Nut Job just did!"  Five seconds later, I realize I should have done exactly what the Nut Job had done because I had thirty seconds to get to the right lane.

That's what makes LA highway driving so fantastically scary — everyone is merging this way and that, the exit lane the exact same lane as the merge-onto-freeway lane.  I've been on highways all over Europe and the US — this merging thing is really uniquely Californian.  I can see why so many pileups happen.  You want to merge — there's the perfect spot — you start to slide in — and then you see him — the guy from the opposite lane who saw the exact same cute little spot you did, wanting to do exactly the same thing you are — disaster.