A little more information

The two main activities in my life: Helping the hungry in the late hours of the night and helping guitar players sound better one amp at a time.

I always try to remember that in order to do good one has to take action and actually do something.

I was born and raised in Los Angeles. I have watched the city and Southern California change for well over half a century.

I can be found on facebook at www.facebook.com/mylesr or on twitter at www.twitter.com/myles111us or on my own Guitar Amplifier Blueprinting website at www.mylesrose.com

Los Angeles Architectural History

Los Angeles Architectural History
1935 Art Deco at some of its finest: No. 168 - Griffith Observatory- (click on the photo for information)

Sunday, January 31, 2010

Nathaniel Ayers of Soloist fame enjoying his birthday

Many of you may have seen the movie The Soloist. Here is a recent shot of Nathaniel Ayres at a birthday party hosted by Steve Lopez (the man who wrote the story) where a new guitar was presented from the folks at Union Rescue Mission. Yes, he also now plays guitar.




You have seen Mr. Ayres as depicted in the movie by Jamie Foxx.  Here is the actual Nathaniel Ayres.

Below is a 60 Minutes segment that shows a little more about both Nathaniel Ayres and Steve Lopez. The movie was an accurate depiction from my own personal point of view in many ways. The majority of the movie was shot in Los Angeles in the heart of skid row. There were many aspects of the movie that are missed by people that do not know the area. One of these is a scene in the movie where Nathaniel Ayres and Steve Lopez run with a filled shopping cart from the LAMP center to Disney Hall. Most people may think that this is a simple film edit cut from one scene location to another. In reality the run between these two places with a shopping cart is well within reason as these two diverse places are less than a ten minute walk from each other.


Watch CBS Videos Online

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I took this photo sometime last month of LAMP. This spot is featured in the movie "The Soloist". Here is a typical shot during the day when there are no movie crews or reporters in the area.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Yesterday on the street the envelope of life was a bit wider than usual

Last night was a bit more intense than usual.  Perhaps it was the President's address on television, perhaps it was a hard week on Wall Street (not to be confused with the Los Angeles Wall Street where the most active police station in the city is located) or perhaps it was just a mix of many things.  Bottom line, it was a bit more interesting than typical which is saying quite a bit.

As I start this blog entry for today I see the market is down 149 points.   I did not take time to try to figure the reason as I have things scheduled today that I can do something about rather than put time toward something I can do nothing about.

Before I headed downtown last night I watched the State of the Union address by our President.  It was interesting but while I was watching I had my PC on and the debates on facebook on some of the pages of my friends was them most interesting aspect.  Perhaps the speech had something to do with the market being down this morning?  Then again, it has been down very sharply this month.

I am posting some links to audio files from the last few days.  Sort of a "person in the street" take on things.  One of them has very rough audio quality as there was a lot of background noise as the two of us walked together.  The  fellow had just been released from prison.  Another of the audio clips is two clips of a series from a girl that had been released from jail hours before the audio clip was recorded.  The last audio clip was done on the Metro Red Line last night as two homeless people were trying to raise a few dollars to pay for a place to stay for the night.  Music is somwhat against the posted rules on subway trains but these folks were well received and were able to raise a few bucks.

http://guitaramplifierblueprinting.com/audio/WS400028.WMA  
http://guitaramplifierblueprinting.com/audio/WS400029.WMA
http://guitaramplifierblueprinting.com/audio/13years.WMA
http://guitaramplifierblueprinting.com/audio/subway-song.wma  

I also want to post a video here done by a friend of mine Brad Kauffman.  Brad has his own blog at http://www.bradkauffman.com but I do not know if this latest video of his is on his own blog page yet.  Brad posted this and made a comment on facebook about "world class education" that was mentioned in the State of the Union Address last night.  Great work Brad!



Los Angeles is a city of extreme contrast.  I have made that comment many times before.  In keeping with the theme of that comment I am going to post a few photos from last night.   One can stand in a given location downtown and by facing one direction or another see either extreme wealth or extreme poverity.

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- The End -

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Preamp Tubes - The most critical, least expensive, most overlooked tubes in your amp.

This is the first post on my blog over here that is music related.  I wanted to widen the scope of this blog and expand the appeal.  I have updated an area on the right side of this blog site that explains things in a little more detail.



Preamp tube experimentation with the player (John March in this case).  This is his Fender Twin Reverb which was being blueprinted.  John March can be found at www.zenbluesmusic.com

Preamp tubes are the tonal signature of "your sound" and interchangeable without adjustment or the need of an amp tech. Unlike power/output tubes, which are routinely matched when they are sold (in different ways, some much better than others), preamp tubes are usually only tested at best to: (a) make sure they work and sometimes (b) test to assure they are not microphonic. In testing, we have found that some suppliers don't seem to test their preamp tubes at all.  They just figure folks will send them back under warranty.  There are good vendors out there that I continually mention.  Most vendors figure that is cheaper to just send them out as they get them in, and if there is a problem, it is cheaper to just give the customer another tube when they complain. This is of little comfort to somebody that either has to make another trip to their music store, or worse, box up the bad tube and ship it back to the supplier, and then wait for its replacement. This is one reason to consider a proven supplier when you buy preamp tubes.

Today's amplifiers, whether modern high gain types or boutique amplifiers, have one thing in common; the preamp tube in the first gain stage (usually V1 and / or V2) sets the tone and initial gain structure of the amplifier. 

Amp design -

Most guitar amps whether vintage or modern get just about all of their basic characteristics in the preamp section. How the gain stages are set up, how the EQ is set up, gain structure, and tone stacks, all are the main aspect of the sound character of the amplifier.

A bit about output sections and their tubes.  Amps such as Mesa Boogie, Fender, Marshall, Bogner, Peavey, and others, all use the same Sovtek, Svetlana, JJ, Electro Harmonix, and other tubes from the same factories. In spite of the same output sections, and in many cases the same range of B+ voltages on the plates of the output tubes, these amps sound different. This is all because of different designs, primarily in the front end, or initial gain section of the amplifier.

Inconsistencies -

Todays newly made preamp tubes are very inconsistent compared to the tubes from of the 1940 through the late 1960s. This was the golden era of vacuum tubes.  If you are an end user (not an amp manufacturer) you may want to consider NOS (new old stock) tubes for your personal amp.  They sound better to my own ears and will last decades.  In the end they are a better value than a tube that may last a few years or even fail within a few months that may look less pricy up front.  People that build amps need a continual reliable tube supply so this problem of poor tubes made today hits these folks very hard when they try to produce a quality product.  As a side note, I pull tubes to test all the time from amps as old as I am and they generally test better than the vast majority of new production tubes that are fresh out of their box.

I continually test current tube production.  I did this on a daily basis for six years for Groove Tubes and continue to do this at http://www.65amps.com/ where I select tubes for their amplifiers before they are shipped out the door to their customers.   The deluxe revised edition of The Tube Amp Book with the hard cover has my findings at one time on batches of over 100 tubes from the Electro Harmonix 12AX7EH, JJ ECC83, Ei 7025, Sovtek 12AX7WA, LP, LPS, Chinese 12AX7C (old tooling and new tooling), and a few others.

Basically, the standard 12AX7 spec that applies to 12AX7 / ECC83 / 7025 tubes, has a reference of 1.2 mA at 250 volts with a 2 volt bias.   This is standard design spec used by RCA, GE, Sylvania, Mullard, Telefunken etc.

Some people like to use those little reference point which say thinks such as, if you want less gain than a 12AX7, use a 12AT7, as it has only 70% of the gain of a 12AX7 etc. These little tips are cute, but with the wide range of inconsistency out there, they are not all that useful, as it is still a matter of chance. The 12AT7 has a different current output than a 12AX7, so if you are just looking for less gain, then you may, or may not get it with just a different 12AX7, even from the same brand, same date code, and same batch ? just by swapping tubes around already in your amplifier. With todays inconsistent offerings, the old tables of gain cannot be used with much accuracy.  As a side note, a 12AT7 is a terrible tone generator.  It is better used for phase inverters or reverb drivers.  If you want the gain of a 12AT7 in a front end stage use an NOS 5751 which has the same gain structure but is a much smoother tube.  SRV used these by the way in some of his amps front ends.  Another great lower gain tube is the 12AY7.  This is the front end tube of the Fender tweed deluxe and tweed bassman.

Back to testing:  In the tubes we went through, keeping in mind our 1.2 mA (plate current) / 1600 transconductance industry standard spec, we found our samples ranged from 0.5 mA to 2.6 mA. The plate current is all over the place as is transconductance (TC) / mutual conductance that ranged from 800 to 2500.  Most often the TC was 30% below design spec on average.  This makes an amp sound a bit tired or just lackluster.  Sustain suffers as does note definition and articulation.  Bottom line here ... preamp tubes are a crap shoot, a spin of the roulette wheel and the odds are NOT in your favor.  What can you do?  Know and trust your vendor.

Some of you have taken an old favorite amp that has all the original tubes it in and thought it would be a good idea for a complete retube.  You find that when you are done retubing the amp sounds worse, feels worse and is less dynamic than it was with the old original tubes.  You sit dumbfounded, how can this be?  Chances are the "new" tubes you put in your amp were down 25% - 40% compared to the tubes that were in the front end already.  This is very common in regard to preamp tubes.  Power tubes are a different matter as they are generally matched and have known specs by good suppliers.  Be sure to keep in mind that the phase inverter is the tube that "pushes" or drives your output tubes and this preamp tube is one of the most critical tubes in an amplifier.  There are a lot of folks that believe you can toss anything that works into the phase inverter position and it does not matter.  I strongly disagree and have many clients that know why I feel this way and have collections of long and short plate tubes that are numbered for phase inverter use.

You want even MORE GAIN from your Triple Rectifier or Bogner? Look at those first gain stage preamp tubes, and get some tube vendor to measure them for you. If you have a 1.1mA in there, and put in a 1.3mA, you will hear the difference in gain IMMEDIATELY. This is not a subtle change that only the "experts" can hear. Leave the settings on the guitar and amp the same, swap the tube, and listen again.  In the above example there is a 20% or so change and this is pretty dramatic.  You can also measure other parameters for your testing such as conductance as long as all factors are known; transconductance, plate current, plate resistance and you can calculate true gain based on transconductance and plate resistance.  It is not all that difficult to go through the front end of an amp and find the amp being "off" more than 30% and resolving this issue.

When we see a transconductance of 1100-1400 versus the 1600 design target, the way the tube reacts is different too, in this case, its rise time is can also be about 25% slower. This might be just the ticket for a blues player, looking for some nice initial compression on the pick attack, but it may not be the sound for a metal or speed player.  Looking at rise time requires special equipment which is not all that common.  Over at 65 Amps they often select tubes with a specific rise time requirement when developing a new amp and want to experiment.  As a side note in regard to the 65 Amps folks they know what the specs are of each tube placed in one of their amps when the amp ships.  It is not a crap shoot in their shop.

Transconductance measure in one good batch of tubes with "tight specs" ranged from 1060 to 1790. 1600 is the industry standard.  This was considered to be a good batch of tubes by the expectations of today.  I think if you check with most amp makers they will tell you they feel things are getting worse in most cases.  There are some nice tubes out there but vary from one run to another.  Just when your hope is lifted by a few great runs it is taken as a batch comes in that is not even usable.

Conclusion -

Your first gain stage in your amp is its soul, sound, and character. We talked here about gain, and a little about rise time, which is a subject in itself. We did not get much into "sound", such as the articulation and definition that comes from NOS tubes like the Mullards and Telefunkens.  There is no right or wrong in preamp tube tone.  It is all personal taste and preference.  A good rule of thumb is old tubes (NOS) will probably sound better to most folks and will always last longer than the majority of current production tubes.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Some thoughts on a Sunday morning. Haiti? Extreme Makeover Home Edition?

The post this morning on Sunday has no central theme or foundation.  The post is just a few thoughts that crossed my mind last night. 

The last week has been filled with news of supplies and help sent to the people of Haiti.  There was a concert shown on television that was broadcast on vitrually EVERY network in Los Angeles at the same time.  This concert was shown on more networks than 911 coverage was shown. 

My heart goes out to the people of Haiti but at the same time as I wish Haiti all the best I have continual increasing  thoughts of concern for the people in this country.  Their situation is rarely shown on television.  The level of concern that I see personally falls into two camps.  One camp are those folks that work in the missions and shelters or folks in organizations such as Skid Row Housing Trust.  In another group are the individuals and companies whose donations and activities help the folks and groups in camp number one in a manner of speaking.  There are folks in this group such as Norm Harris of Norm's Rare Guitars that call his musician friends together to put on a concert where the proceeds go to The Midnight Mission.  Norm does this every year and others in companies large and small do their part.  With all the people that do help there is still a huge shortage of funds and assistance, especially from our government.  Perhaps I am totally off base making the lack of help by our government.  I am not well enough versed on the economy of the government of California other than to see and hear the stories of cutbacks and shortfalls.   When this sort of thing happens it seems that people in government are subjected to salary and benefit cuts which makes keeping the roof over their head more difficult.  The cuts make the frequency of a nice meal more rare.  But many of these people still have a roof over their head or something to eat.  People in the street are not impacted directly by the economy.  They have nothing and expect nothing in most cases.  Many meals are served three times per day by people like the Union Rescue Mission, Los Angeles Mission, The Midnight Mission and many others but not everybody are fed on a regular basis.

I have thoughts of priority.  Hearing news of executives in large corporations who had their annual bonus reduced.  People who are subjected to pay reductions.  The sorts of things that make a degree of change in quality of life to others.  Unfortunately as one moves down the income scale the changes become more drastic.  The executive may have to lease a lower level of Mercedes next year.  Their kids may have to cut back on tennis lessons to every other week rather than weekly.   Moving down the scale we get to people like teachers who help teach and train the next generation who are asked to do much more with so much less.  At the same time their own quality of life is reduced.  It is not a matter of trading down to a C Class from the S Class Mercedes, it is a matter of finding the money for new brakes on their Toyota Corolla.  Moving to the lowest income levels we find people who had nothing and continue to have nothing.  A fraction of the money raised for the people of Haiti could do a lot of good and help many people who also have nothing right here at home in the United States of America.  OK, maybe I am off base here and off on some sort of rant.  That would not be all that unusual for me.  I was born and raised in Los Angeles as were both of my parents.  I served in the military at the height of the war in Vietnam.  My military experience was the birth or the seed of my looking at what our government did or did not do.  This was when I first started to observe and question what was going on around me in our government.  Well, today as I write this what comes to mind is that America seems very much involved in other places for many reasons.  The Mid East and Haiti to name only two places came to mind last night as I was in the alley.  From my own viewpoint, and please feel free to correct me if I am wrong, I see a token bit of help on occasion for people in our own country at best. 

As I slow down a little on the dialog here let us all give thanks for reality shows!  Tonight we can all watch Extreme Makeover Home Edition!  I think what they do on this show is great for selected individuals but really ... the fanfare, advertisers, celebrity, those great tour buses they move to show the great houses, the great furnishings, great appliances and yard equipment?  How about these folks doing one show per month with the Skid Row Housing Trust and other groups like them?  I'd love this show to take over a building in downtown Los Angeles (and I would be more than happy to point out a few they could consider) and do a makeover on the building where over 100 homeless folks who do have the desire to change their lives could change their lives.



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I spend quite a few hours here last night.  This is an alley off of 5th street and has become a place where I meet friends.  In the evening the cars are gone.  There are alley ways between the other buildings to the right and left that are not large enough to drive a car but large enough for somebody to hide or seek some degree of shelter from the elements and wind.  You find folks with the typical blue plastic tarp in some of these spaces between buildings. 

When I walk this alley alone I often find a spot to sit for a little while.  It is a spot to think and reflect.  So many questions come to mind.  Most have no answer but some raise many more questions.  Sitting in a warm living room with the TV on or nice music in the background does not trigger the same sort of thinking and reflection as sitting in the dark on hard cement in 28-35 degrees with the sounds of the city in the background as each exhale of breath creates a fog.



The road to making a transition from homeless to a different life is a long and hard road.  The video above by the folks at Union Rescue Mission looks at one of their stories in progress.   If you look at the math and take into account that is is one of 34 mothers you can see how much time, effort and resources are required for each family.  The Hope Gardens facility is impressive and a far cry from the alley above or some of the other photos I have posted of living conditions for too many people.  A minute fraction of the financial aid sent to Haiti could increase this facility or produce others that could raise the number of families helped tenfold.

Hope Gardens and the facilities such as those from the Skid Row Housing Trust are one part of a picture.  Much more often "home" is depicted by scenes like those below.

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I wish a good week to everybody whether you have a roof over your head or not.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Skid Row Housing Trust - great folks

Tonight I thought I'd post a bit on these folks. I first discovered them when I was walking the streets by 5th, 6th and 7th downtown. They are one more organization that is organized and well run with a very dedicated staff.

You can learn a lot more about them on their website at http://www.skidrow.org but I will post a few photos here from their website.  Some of these places may look familar as I have photographed some of them myself and they may be seen in some of my current portfolio.

As a side note, not to toot my own horn too loudly ....  Some of my architectural photography and homeless photography is being looked at by five or so galleries.  If any of these folks decides to represent me I will donate the money from any of my homeless series photos to the homeless.  The galleries which are currently looking at my work are; C4 Contemporary Art in Los Angeles / Hollywood, Stephen Cohen Gallery in Los Angeles, Contemporary Works / Vintage Works in Chalfont PA, DNJ Gallery in Los Angeles, and Fotovision in Berkeley CA.

Back to Skid Row Housing Trust ....




The commentary here is that this place would be open in 2009.  This information off their website had not been updated.  The New Carver Apartments are up and operational.

There is a nice story on this building at http://www.skidrow.org/pdf/LAT%20Built%20with%20Hope%204.29.2009.pdf and another at http://www.skidrow.org/pdf/NewCarverDTLAN_091809.pdf

The buildings above are just a few of their projects.  They cover a wide range of budget and a wide range of architecture.  The folks at Skid Row Housing Trust have won numerous awards.  Here is a list of a few.

Awards


Skid Row Housing Trust and its projects have been consistently recognized for their excellence in design, architecture and service.

Westside Urban Forum “Westside Prize” (2008)

Bank of America Neighborhood Excellence Initiative “Neighborhood Builder Award” (2006)

Inner City Law Center “Katherine Krause Award” (2005)

Southern California Association of Non-Profit Housing “Developer of the Year” (2003)

California Equity Fund Affordable Housing Production “Partner Award” (2002)

Housing Authority of City of Los Angeles “Partners for Success” (1999)

Great Western Savings Bank “Leslie N. Shaw Sr. Memorial Award” (1992)



Produce Place

Los Angeles Business Council “Residential Landscaping- Multi Family Beautification Award” (1996)


Rainbow Apartments

Los Angeles Downtown News “Downtowners of Distinction Award” (2008)


Senator Hotel

Los Angeles Business Council “New Affordable Housing Beautification Award” (1996)


Pacific Coast Builders Conference “Best Affordable Housing Project Gold Nugget Award” (1995)


Simone Hotel

American Institute of Architects “Honor Award for Architecture” (1994)
Los Angeles Business Council “Low Income Housing Beautification Award (1995)





St George Hotel

MetLife Foundation Award for Excellence in Affordable Housing “Finalist” (2008)
Maxwell Awards of Excellence “Honorable Mention” (2008)
Governors’ Historic Preservation Award (2005)
Los Angeles Conservancy Preservation Award (2005)
Charles L. Edison Tax Credit Excellence Award (2005)
California Preservation Foundation Preservation Design Award (2005)
Southern California Association of Non-Profit Housing “Project of the Year” (2004)




These folks are the real deal.


Wednesday, January 20, 2010

A little bit about the winter shelter program in the video posted

This is a video from the folks at Union Rescue Mission and Andy Bales.


URM Winter Shelters | John's Story from Union Rescue Mission on Vimeo.

Putting some photos together for a possible book

I am trying to put some photos together for a possible book.  I have just begin the selection process.  Most are from the Los Angeles area but there are many others to be considered, about 3,000 at this point.  Here is a bit of what I have at the moment.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Help a friend of mine help others in Haiti

A friend of mine at http://www.cupcapesfalmouth.com/ ( the finest cupcakes in the world? ) is doing her part to support the relief effort in Haiti. As a side note, her husband is a doctor and is talking to Cape Cod Hospital about donating medical supplies. Please pass this along and if you are anywhere near Falmouth Mass please stop in and buy a truckload of cupcakes for you and all your friends!

As a side note, the owner of Cupcapes of Falmouth is a major contributor to support the effort to help the homeless of Los Angeles even though she is on the opposite side of the United States! 

If you are too far to drive to get some great cupcakes or other great baked items but wish to help:
Donations may also be mailed to the store. Checks should be made out to CupCapes of Falmouth C/O Children's Relief Fund.



ccf

Sunday, January 17, 2010

A letter to www.dtownla.com - a trendy website which made me angry

This is a letter I wrote this morning to the folks at a website.  When I was downtown one night there was a billboard for these folks.  I took a photo of the billboard with my cellphone as a reminder to look at the website when I was back at a PC.  This morning I looked at the website.

Like most things in life, it is human nature to try to look at the beauty in life and turn our heads and vision from things that may not be comfortable to face.  Countless industries, jobs, sub-cultures and groups of people are supported by this basic human trait.  Magazines that focus on fashion, expensive property, cars, airplanes and the like are too numerous to be counted.  I could go on and on.

I am not complaining.  I am just asking myself why some of these publications which focus on one side of life do not make more space available in their publications to find a creative way to make some mention of those less fortunate and find some creative way to assist?  I realize that many large companies and individuals contribute to these causes every day.  I know there are good people in the world.  I have had many of my own good friends step forward and help me in my own activity and effort to help a handful of the homeless on the streets of Los Angeles.

What is the point of this post?  I think all I am accomplishing here is to show that I am a typical human being who can be emotional and overwhelmed by certain things in life just as most of us can be depending on the situation. 

I have been spending a lot of time in the street with the homeless of Los Angeles.  I spend most of my evenings on skid row and am learning that it does carry a price.  In my case the price at times can be a bit of anger toward those that in many cases have worked very hard to obtain a life that they deserve, a good life.  At times I have the same anger that many of the people of the streets have.  Maybe I see their point?  Maybe I am being more like the environment that I fit into on occasion?  It is probably many things. 

Part of my time downtown has the benefit of learning about the lives of others.  Part of the time I learn more about the city where I was born and raised.  Part of the time I learn more about myself.  Part of the time I feel as if I am doing something that carries a lot of value; making a long night a little more tolerable for others in a small way.  I also feel as if I am doing something to help some of the veterans on the street who are my brothers in some ways.

In my younger years I went to military school.  Later in life I went into the military.  I thought I knew all about the psycology of military life and boot camp and thought I was immune to the tactics of boot camp.  During graduation from boot camp when the Star Spangled Banner was played I wept as did everybody else.  Yes,  they had gotten to me even though was sure I was immune.  Yesterday I attended a photographic art show and two of the photos reminded me of my past back in the fifties where young people were indoctrinated (for lack of a better word) into the America of the day.  Today it looks as though the trend continues, especially in middle America?

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Above - Middle America steps toward conversion to one way of thinking? It worked on me in the fifties. I enlisted in the U.S. Military at the height of the Vietnam war, conflict, action or whatever people with to label the event. These two photos caught my attention at the photography art show in Santa Monica mid January 2010.

Decades later on the streets of skid row I also felt I was immune to what was happening and how it impacted others.  I could come and go when I wished and felt that I could help and be something of an outside observer and helper.  I have food to eat and a place to live.  I can come and go as I wish.  I can walk away from the situation anytime I desire.  I was wrong.  I am not immune.  There are times I become angry at those in nice cars.  I can feel anger at people having a nice meal in a nice restaurant that can be seen through an establishment window where a few feet away somebody lies on the sidewalk.

There is nothing wrong with a website that directs attention to things of beauty and comfort.  I should not become angry.  The point here is that all of us have moods which change depending on many factors.  Some people look at the darker side of life every day and have the strength, resolve, desire or whatever label one places on these attributes to direct their life and attention in helping others.  These are people like Andy Bales and his staff at places such as Union Rescue Mission and the other shelters and missions in the Los Angeles area.

So... the point of this post? I suppose that feelings come and go. The letter below was written from one point of view and the writing above this letter was written with another viewpoint. Both views are mine and both views less than 30 minutes apart.


My letter to the folks at the website:

Your dtownla website has a lot of pretty images and nice information. I find most of your dining choices expected and typical, the trendy spots where the prices are high, the presentation is more important at times than the food, the decor and environment do a fine job to distract the people dining so they may overlook substandard service.

Downtown Los Angeles is not a unique city in some ways. The wealthy and affluent are just steps away from the highest city population in the United States of homeless people.

I am not trying to give you a hard time here. I realize that your website caters to people that do not want to take a moment to look at the less fortunate who may be sitting on the curb in front of the restaurant where they eat or lie in the alley of the loft where they reside. These people would rather look the other way.

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What I am suggesting is that you have a link to some of the darker sides of Los Angeles on your page. Perhaps try to take a small step to help some be aware of some of the problems a stone throw away from the locations and establishments you feature on other pages. Maybe some of these folks would drop a few dollars to places such as Union Rescue Mission (  http://www.urm.org/  ) or one of the other places that are trying to change the face of Los Angeles to a point where there is less to see where people have to close their eyes.

You have many pretty images on your website at http://www.dtownla.com/   Perhaps you might make a section on your website showing a bit more of the total picture, perhaps asking your audience to help? Feel free to use any of my photos which you can see in a slide show at http://www.flickr.com/photos/myles111us/sets/72157622962099627/show/

I have my own blog on Los Angeles which can be seen at http://la-economy.blogspot.com/ which shows many sides of the city.

Regards,

Myles S. Rose

Friday, January 15, 2010

Sometimes we just need a break

For the last few weeks I have been spending a lot of time downtown on skid row in Los Angeles.  I generally spend two shifts downtown so to speak; an afternoon and very late evening shift.  In the evenings I pass out snacks such as protein bars, raisins, bananas and other healthy items to the folks who do not make it into the missions and shelters ... the folks that spend the evening on the street.

Today I thought I would take a break as I had not really taken a break for a few weeks.  The folks I work with are all at NAMM, a music trade show in Anaheim that happens once per year.  I am probably going to pass on attending this years show.  I find the show much the same year after year and my friends who are there are people I generally see or speak to outside of the event.  There are folks that travel from far away and spend a lot of money to exhibit at the show.  It is not fair to sit and chat with them when they are trying to generate business in this economy.

So, with the thought of my break today in mind I am going to post a few photos I have taken in the past of some sporting clays events.  This is a sport in which I participate and enjoy very much.  Sporting clays is something like skeet or trap shooting but it is considered more difficult and challenging by most.  The place I typically shoot is http://www.moorenmoore.com/ and there are more photos and some videos as well as video links at http://www.guitaramplifierblueprinting.com/moorenmoore.html  on my GAB website.  There is also a bit of explanation on the differences between the basic forms of shotgun sports.

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Above: Chad Weaver (Brad Paisley) learning sporting clay shooting one day when we were on a break from a TV show taping.

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Above: Carmello at Moore N Moore who keeps everything running properly.



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Above: Mike Zozaya with a great shirt which fits the basic nature of this blog: Los Angeles.
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Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Union Rescue Mission in Los Angeles served 134,699 meals in December

I am always impressed with these folks and this organization. Here is their December statistics report. It is pretty impressive to my way of thinking so I felt reposting it here may give others an idea of some of their work.  When one looks at the increase in numbers from December 2009 compared to December 2008 it is just one sign of the increase in homeless due to the economy.
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Here is part of our Statistics Report for December 2009 so you can see how many lives we touch with the help of our wonderful volunteers, donors, and sponsors!

Key December 2009 Stats (Compared to December 2008)

*URM= Union Rescue Mission
*WSP= Winter Shelters – Downtown, Glendale, Culver City, and West LA
*HG= Hope Gardens Family Center

Meals Served:

URM: 92,369       avg/day: 2980      6% increase
WSP: 39,548       avg/day: 1276 (no 2008 data)
HG: 10,800         avg/day: 348 (same)

Total: 134,699     avg/day: 4345


Nights of Shelter:

URM: 31,728      avg: 1023       43% increase
WSP: 15,397      avg: 497          (no 2008 data)
HG: 3,866           avg: 125          15% increase

Total: 50,991      avg: 1645

Children:

URM: 2767        avg: 89            33% increase
HG: 2229           avg: 72            28% increase
Total: 4996        avg: 161          31% increase

Project Restart Families*: avg: 15 families/night
*family defined as mother-father-child(ren) or single father-child(ren)

Quick Facts:

•It’s nearly impossible for whole families and single dads with children who are experiencing homelessness to find a place where they can stay together and receive the help they need.

We are caring for 15 of these precious families every night – most are experiencing homelessness for the very first time due to the economy.

$128.71 will help provide food, shelter and care for a family of 4 for one day.

$900.97 will help us care for one of our families for an entire week.

•Many who become trapped in homelessness have significant barriers to overcome before they can return to a productive life of their own. The longer one remains homeless, the greater the barriers become.
Union Rescue Mission has life transformation programs to serve the needs of men and women and families who want to break the cycle of homelessness for good.

$56.58 will help provide a day of care for one of the brave men or women who have entered our life transformation programs.

$396.06 will help provide a week of food, shelter and the training and counseling necessary for a successful and lasting transformation.

•From December 1st through the end of March, Union Rescue Mission provides shelter for an additional 600 people each night through our Winter Shelter Program. For some, the Winter Shelters provide the temporary assistance they need to get back on their feet and secure permanent housing of their own. For others, coming in out of the cold and interacting with one of the caring members of our staff is the first step in their journey towards life transformation.

$100.00 will help provide emergency services for a family of 3.

$ 257.60 will help provide an entire week of meals (dinner and a sack lunch for the next day) for 10 winter shelter guests.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Just a quick post from the field. An audio clip and a bit more information

Thanks to the David at The Courtland Hotel on Wall Street across from the police station for the use of a computer. The Courtland is one of the SRO hotels in a row on the street.

Feel free to click on the link below.  It is an audio file.

http://guitaramplifierblueprinting.com/audio/WS400017.WMA

This is part of my "sounds of the city" compilation.

Below are a few shots from last month along Wall Street across from the Police Station. 

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5 Ways To Help from Los Angeles Mission on Vimeo.

From time to time I will post information and links to some of the other great organizations in Los Angeles who are helping the homeless and hungry residents of Los Angeles. 

I focus a lot on Union Rescue Misson in many of my posts but there are many great organizations in Los Angeles that deserve mention as well. All these folks work together in a common goal.

Some of you reading my blog have donated or contributed directly to me so I can bring food items and snacks to the streets in the evenings to the folks that sleep on the street.  I am not a licensed charity and there are people that look for a tax deduction for their contribution.  If you wish to contribute to a  licensed organization I will list some of them on this blog from time to time.

Society of St. Vincent de Paul Council of Los Angeles

Phone:
213-229-9963 (Service/Intake and Administration) (Voice)
213-620-9141 (FAX) (Fax)

Website: http://www.svdpla.org/

Overview:  The agency provides homeless support services for people who are primarily in the Skid Row area of downtown Los Angeles. There are no geographic restrictions.

Administrative Description:  This is a program of the Society of St. Vincent de Paul, a private, non-profit organization. It is funded by the Society of St. Vincent de Paul, independent fund raising and the United Way. Services are provided by professional and paraprofessional staff and volunteers.

Site Hours:  Monday through Sunday, 24 hours per day.

Access:  This site is equipped with elevators and ramps; and is fully accessible to people who use wheelchairs.

SRO Housing Corporation

Phone:

213-229-9697 (Information Only)
213-229-9677 (FAX) (Fax)
213-229-9678 (Service/Intake)
213-229-9365 (Rental Office) (Service/Intake)
213-620-7146 (Information Desk) (Service/Intake)
213-633-4716 (Shelter Plus Care Program) (Service/Intake)
213-229-9680 (Service/Intake)
213-229-9640 (SRO) (Service/Intake) (Voice)
213-633-5464 (Transitional Program Information) (Service/Intake)

Website:  http://www.srohousing.org/

Overview:  The agency provides low-cost housing for homeless and low-income adults in the Skid Row area of downtown Los Angeles. Some residences are targeted to people living with HIV/AIDS, severe mental illnesses, substance addictions and other disorders; specialized programs for seniors and veterans are also available. Services are provided in the downtown Skid Row area of Los Angeles. There are no geographic restrictions.

Administrative Description:  This is a private, non-profit organization which is supported by HUD, the Los Angeles City Department of Aging, the Los Angeles City Community Redevelopment Agency, Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority and other public funds. Services are provided by social service professional and paraprofessional staff.

Access:  The site has elevators for people who use wheelchairs.

An email from a friend

My blog entry for today is something a little different. It is a copy and paste of a letter from a friend.

Simon Higgs is a bit of an icon in the music business. He also is a stong supporter of the homeless. Some information on Simon: He is the owner of Higgs Communications. They specialize in digital music distribution as well as providing technical expertise on web and network issues.

Simon Higgs also provides consulting and artist relations expertise to musical instrument manufacturers (guitars and amplifiers). Past clients include Gibson Guitars, Zemaitis Guitars (Greco / Kanda Shokai), Lipe Guitars, Togaman Guitars, Sonic Images Records, & NSoul Records.

Higgs Communications also publishes "The Guide To Selling Your Music In The iTunes Music Store", by Simon Higgs, which is aimed at independent artists and labels and has sold in over 30 countries. More info on Higgs Communications can be found at http://www.higgs.com/

On to the letter.  My style in answering email is to reply in the body of the letter itself in bold type or type font of a different color.

To: myles@guitaramplifierblueprinting.com
Date: Sunday, January 10, 2010, 8:16 PM

Hi Myles,

Sorry to have not touched base with you since before the holidays. I got slammed from a bunch of different things.

We've been working with some folks living in the National Guard Armory shelters. One girl we helped get in there ended up in jail (she couldn't make bail at the hearing for the situation that made her homeless in the first place) so I've been learning the ins and outs of the LA County Sheriff's dept inmate handling.

Which leads me to something else. Some of the people we've previously met downtown were only there because they came out of jail with no ID. Some of these people were working before they went to jail but without ID they couldn't apply for an apartment (requires a credit check), or access their bank accounts until their ID was replaced. They became instantly homeless and lost in the swirl.

I was wondering if you could do an informal survey to see who has CA ID and how long it takes a homeless person to replace it. I'm thinking this one issue may have some impact if the law could be changed to ensure every inmate gets their ID on release (they all have ID inside to keep track of them).

I will start asking folks if they have ID.

Also, how much is it to sponsor an evening of snacks & goodies?

I don't know how much at this point. It is very inexpensive. I have had money come in faster than it can be spent at times. There are some folks downtown that give me terrific prices on things like bananas, sometimes ten pounds for a dollar. Many folks give me some food items for nothing. I go to Smart and Final for breakfast bars such as quaker oatmeal bars which are not too pricy in bulk. The factor that is the holdback is my capacity to carry things while still having hands free at night. I have some friends at an SRO hotel that let me store things there so on most evenings I can come back a few times to replenish. On my blog I have a list of the contributors and their contributions are still holding up quite well.

Last question. Are you going to be at NAMM? Zemaitis aren't exhibiting so I'm not working for them this year (but I get to see the show - what a concept!).

I don't know about NAMM. I opted to not go a few years ago and found I did not miss it at all.  It is always the same stuff and if something is really cool that is shown at NAMM and is something of the "real deal" it will be cool for weeks or months after NAMM.   I will see it then, without being in the middle of the insanity and chaos of NAMM.  Friends I could talk to at NAMM I generally am able to talk to outside of NAMM and NAMM is not a great place to converse anyway.  Folks that exhibit who are friends need to spend time building their business and not chatting with me at the show when we can do that in a better setting and they have generally spent a lot of money to exhibit, the travel, hotel and other expenses.   It is better them to use their time at NAMM to best advantage for their business in these hard times.

-- Best Regards,

Simon Higgs

Regards,


Myles

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Taking a bit of a break from the homeless and unemployment issues for a moment. A few places in Los Angeles which are traditions where one can eat

Los Angeles has many places to eat where the food is great but the history may be just as big of a draw or factor.

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One day I took my two boys out.  The day started with one goal ... French Dip sandwiches at Phillipes. Two lamb sandwiches, double dipped, one roast beef. Graham and I split so we each had one half of each. Potato salad, cole slaw, a jar of mustard to bring home, cheesecake, the house lemonade, a nine cent cup of house coffee, crumb cake. It was a great lunch at a very historical place.

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Both of these french dip sandwich places go back to 1908. I do not know which was first. Phillipe's is a landmark in Los Angeles.  Phillipe may be the first according to the story of how the first french dip sandwich was an accident that happened there and became a requested item.

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