Daytrip to West L.A.

Hello there my lovely blog-er-oos!  Yes, it’s been a long time.  I’ve had my nose to the grindstone — pumping photos & descriptions into the website from those 10,000 photos from last year.  I still have maybe 4,000 photos to go.  If you want to follow along with my additions & progress, there’s always the “what’s new” page:

Otherwise, eking out a living & spending a lot of time with the dogs at various beaches & grassy fields.  I should announce that I lost one of my dogs a couple months ago.  Gripper had a really bad case of anemia (IMHA) and then had a miraculous recovery.  A full month of joy for us both before she succumbed to a quick and fatal gastrointestinal episode.  I’m still a bit of a wreck from missing her.  She was one special dog and gave me more than 15 years of challenges, laughs, and companionship.

Which brings me to the reason for today’s daytrip.  An annual checkup for Sputnik with a doggie ophthalmologist in Culver City.  His one functioning eye has definitely gotten worse in the past few months.  I have to on-leash steer him to keep him from crashing into poles and even walls.  I only run him in wide open spaces, where he continues to run about 60 mph.  I strategically throw the ball which ever direction he’s heading, landing it near him so he can hear it and sniff it down.  The good news is that his crappy, cataract-ed lens is so bad now that surgery is not an option.  That saves me a few thousand bucks with the risk of blindness anyway, thank you!  Fortunately, the lens is so bad that with these new pupil-constricting drops, it may just fall down inside the eye — meaning he could see much better if it does.  Crossing fingers!  He has to go back in a month for evaluation.  Therefore, more good news, another day trip ahead in June.  More photos then…  And hopefully the weather is better then than I can get in TWO days.   (Forecast is rain for tomorrow.)  No biggie roadtrips on the horizon — but eventually I will figure out a way.

OK — on with the photos!!  Let’s start with some Culver City stuff:






On to Los Angeles — the former Kelbo’s:





From West L.A.  It was shocking and sad to see Dolores closed.  Evidently, there was a fire there in December:




For this trip, I gave a new app a try.  I won’t bore you with my old system.  But, this time, I plotted the destinations (actually enough for maybe a dozen days) on Google Maps and then used the free “My Places” app.  I’ve tried using Google Maps directly on my iPhone on a previous trip and it sucked.  But this was a pretty handy, well-functioning thing.  Tapping on the pushpins gives you the address.  And the map has that constantly updating blue dot that shows you where you are in relation to the push pins.   I still bring my printed companion list with the biz names, etc. so I know what the addresses represent.  It did help to organize the route & list once I had plugged everything in on the computer.  This is as close as I’ll come to GPS folks!!




Further diversions…  I’ve seen quite a lot of these trees and have no idea what they are.  Bizarre, drooping, trumpet-y flowers.   Can you flora experts out there give us an I.D.?




Hollyhocks, in abundance!




This one breaks my heart.  Back when I lived in Venice in the late 1970s, the Fox Venice was a happening place.  Double features, all kinds of fun art house, foreign film stuff.  With an upstairs lounge so popular that many people just paid the box office fee and never watched the movies.  The neon marquee is gone and there are crappy stores there now.  I couldn’t bring myself to peek inside.  What once was:




The Penguin Coffee Shop in Santa Monica is still sorta kinda there.  Well, a dentist office now but… be grateful, glass half full.  The penguin survives and there are still white rocks on the roof, too.  Here’s a vintage photo:





And I’m very grateful that one of my fave college-days-budget-eats places is still around.  It’s hardly changed at all.  Pancho’s Tacos on Lincoln in Santa Monica.  I got a chile relleno burrito but I don’t have a photo for you since I ate it at night.  The entire thing.  Like a ravenous pig.



OK, let’s close out with some pretty neon-night photos.  From Santa Monica:





And Venice:



Same place — animated parrot with open/shut beak:




See you all back here in June!  Happy spring to you all!


Oh, and, don’t forget, there’s more photos from today at Flickr:


24 thoughts on “Daytrip to West L.A.

    • Thanks, Larry. Yes, I loved that dog with all my heart and soul. I always tried to prepare myself emotionally as she got older. Savor every day. But losing her has been like losing a limb. It helps having the other 3 dogs I think to keep me busy & amused & the same routine. They certainly didn’t mourn over her. I can’t imagine the emptiness of losing a dog when it’s the only one you have.

    • Datura! Thanks — and I will keep the dogs away from them. Grem loves to munch on grass so you never know.

      Yes, Grip was an incredible dog in every way. I still cry a bit daily missing her as much as I try not to think about her. She taught me so much about dog training and dogs in general.

    • Thanks. Yes, she was one special dog and we were very luck to have found one another. She was hilarious, athletic, and the smartest dog I’ve ever known. She went from being completely untouchable (a biter) to an agility superstar in record time. And she had glorious golden years. I’m glad she got to experience “retirement” here in the sun and sand.

    • Hey there! Yes, it felt good to be back shooting again — even if only so briefly. It’s really a good thing that I can’t travel right now so I can catch up on the website stuff.

      Grip was an incredible dog. I’m glad she bounced back for one miraculous month and then went so quickly in the end.

  1. Hey I missed you! I ABSOLUTELY loved this posting! Good luck and I hope more to come? So sorry to hear about Gripper. I lost my little Mazie last year after 14 years. Take Care!

    • Thanks! Glad you are enjoying my posts. It looks like I’ll be heading back to Culver City on June 1 — so stay tuned for more photos. Sorry to hear about Mazie.

  2. actually, the flower you picture is part of the datura genus, but is a brugmansia. The brugmansia is woody, therefore grows like a shrub or tree, and the blossoms are pendulous.
    The datura is herbaceous, and grows like a leafy bush, with erect blossoms. both are toxic, so beware!
    RIP Grip.

  3. heythere — sorry to hear about grem, but glad to see you are able to get out on the road. So many WestLA places are pale echoes of the past — esp the former Kelbo’s, and the Fox Venice. Or gone entirely, like Pacific Ocean Park, and the landmark 24-hr Ship’s coffee shops in Westwood and Culver City.

    Thanks for the flashbacks, I’m staying tuned for more! (Like those 1930s Westwood Village movie palaces, perhaps?)

    Cheers, and condolences.

    • Hey Jamie — Good to hear from you. It was Grip that “passed on”. Hopefully, Grem will be around another dozen years. Surely, I’ll be deaf by then from her barking.

      I only post a few photos to my blog & Flickr. I did reshoot the Westwood theatres on Saturday and will get them and another 150 photos or so up at the website soon.


  4. I loved reading your latest post. I’m glad to see you have seemed to have settled in. Sorry to hear that Gripper passed away.

    • Thanks, Corey. Good to hear from you. I will eventually get my Colorado photos up at my website. Still bogged down with Minnesota, South Dakota, Wyoming and then finally, last but not least, Colorado!

  5. Glad to see you’re posting again…welcome back! Missed reading about your travels in the last few months. So sorry about losing your friend.

  6. So happy to see you back. Gripper is still in my thoughts, as are you and the other pups.

    I always knew your bush/tree in question to be called “angel’s trumpet”. I don’t know if that’s right, but that’s what we call ’em!

    • Thanks for you kind words. Grip was an incredible dog and I’m still raw from missing her. When a dog gets to double-digits, you know every day is a blessing. But I’d give up a year of my life for another year with her. But the gods work in mysterious ways. It wasn’t going to be easy living with two blind and active dogs — so this means I’ll be able to take better care of Nik as his good eye continues to degenerate.

      All I know is I’m staying away from these droopy-flowery trees since they’re poisonous!

  7. Hello, Debra Jane! The spring semester is over, so I finally crawled out of the darkroom to get caught up with my online friends. I am so sorry about your loss of Gripper. Our animal companions are just as important as our human ones, and often more loyal and loving. And even though we love ALL animals, once or twice in a lifetime there comes along a dog or cat that we really connect with, who impacts our life deeply. A kindred spirit. You gave dear Grip a great life, full of fun and adventure. She was lucky to have you as her companion.

    Your day-trip yielded some great photos! The last time I shot photos was in February, a day-trip to Bakersfield.

    I had three gallery shows with my photos this spring, which kept me insanely busy. One group show in Hollywood is still up. I haven’t even seen it yet!

    I know you’re itching to get back on the road with another Big Trip, but in the meantime, I hope you are enjoying the beach, your new job, and settling into the California groove.

    • Congrats on your shows! Yes, I’m still recovering from losing Grip. After moping around for a few months, I rather impulsively added another dog to my pack. For chaos sake! More about him this weekend as I’ll be doing a blog post during a little L.A. trip.

      I haven’t had much time to miss traveling yet. Still slaving away at the website & hope to catch up this summer with last year’s photos. THEN maybe I’ll be motivated to find a different job situation that will allow travel time.

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