Thursday, January 10, 2013

Santa Monica - The Whole City - Is A Free Wifi Zone

We went to Wise and Healthy Aging, a Santa Monica non-profit that acts as a reference for older folks who want to stay in their own homes as independently as possible.  We wanted to see all the options available to my mom.  There are lots of options and we're still going through all the materials to see if we can make things work for her.

But afterward I asked if they had wi-fi - so we could see if there was a movie nearby we wanted to see - and she said, "Yes.  All of Santa Monica is free municipal wi-fi zone." 

I'd heard about that idea, but I've never experienced it before.  Anyone with a lap top or an i-pod touch or similar device that can connect to the internet with wifi is connected, without having to have a smart phone. 

As we walked over to the Santa Monica Promenade - 3rd Avenue is blocked off from cars for four or five blocks -  we passed this bike center which was part of a large parking garage.  They don't just have a few bike racks, they have a whole space for bikes.

The LA Times had a piece not too long ago about all that Santa Monica is doing to encourage people to get out of their cars and onto their bikes.  Given so much flat land and good weather, Santa Monica is a perfect place to bike.

We stopped in the REI and found these electric bikes.  (Is this the first step from car to bike?  Or is this to entice people with bikes to start moving toward a motor?)

The batteries are on the bike racks over the rear tires.  I'd like to think these are just batteries on the bikes that get charged by your biking and you can use for small appliances like your computer at home.  But I think that's probably just wishful thinking.

That morning I'd seen this guy who was using his bike as many Asians have in the past.  I remember people carrying everything - even beds - on their bikes in China.  

This is Venice, not as upscale as Santa Monica.  When I asked if I could take a picture he dug into the 'trunk' and got out his pet pigeon to be in the picture.  It's sitting on the red object.

Before we got to the movie, we passed the Apple store.  It used to be on the other side of the street.  Now it looks like an airplane hanger with dozens and dozens of small tables with iPads and iPad minis. 

I standing across the pedestrian only street so I could get the whole thing in the picture.  I like the idea of the street being car free, but on the downside, it's nothing more than an outdoor shopping mall.  Big name stores you could now find in any city around the world. 

We saw Zero Dark Thirty.  As a movie, it worked for me.  I know there's some controversy over the idea that it promotes the idea that torture gets people talking.  I know movies like this one can have a big impact on how people understand current events.  But I doubt this movie will change people's minds either way on this topic.  Even if one bought the premise that torture worked, it was clear that it is also inhumane.  It shows how it damages not only the person tortured but the person doing the torture.   I thought it was just a good movie. 

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