Orange Countian Gothic

The Costa Mesa Grange

The last of the bean fields turned into retail a long time ago, and even the strawberry patches are gone. The Segerstroms kept their own estate as a farm for sentimental reasons, but that’s in Santa Ana. Costa Mesa has been definitively paved. Orange Coast College has a miniature farm for ag classes.

The Grange remains. I see AA groups coming out of there at night, but I have no idea if living or ghostly farmers meet.

more grange

Don’t call them trailer trash

In my part of Orange County, affordable housing is rare. One of the disappearing features of the landscape is the trailer park. We used to have quite a few around here but one by one they’re disappearing to be replaced with more familiar suburban things like parking lots and office buildings. The one down the street from me exists solely because the land is owned by a family that is resistant to change and has lots of money already, for example.

Until recently there was a trailer park on the campus of UC Irvine, where my father was charter faculty in 1965. The University, being college administrators, needed a new parking lot, so off it went. But not after some spirited student resistance from ornery and inventive graduate students!

A film has been made of the last days of Irvine Meadows West: http://trailerparkfilm.com/

I recommend seeing the trailer. It’s a bit hippiebongoburningman but gives a good idea of the scene. One of my college friends from the 80s, Maggie Sullivan, was involved in this scene but I don’t see her in the trailer. I mean the movie trailer, not the actual trailers in the movie about trailers.

Welcome to the Hotel North Korea

thenulldevice just alerted me to the existence of the Ryugyong Hotel, which is one of the world’s weirdest buildings.

According to the Wikipedia article and a fascinating blog post about it, the hotel is over 1000 feet tall, has 105 stories, and is windowless. It is completely unoccupied. It’s a sharp and pointy pyramid at a 75 degree angle; Lovecraft would have made it Cthulhu’s headquarters. The thing sits glowering over Pyongyang like an Aztec temple. You have to wonder if it has decorative blood gutters on it the way the Mexicans did theirs back in the day. Now there’s a culture that understood official architecture!

It has seven revolving restaurants. Begun in 1987 to get back at the South Koreans for building another big hotel quickly, it was supposed to open in 1989, but construction stopped in 1992. It may well be completely unsound because of the concrete used to build it. I want to see it SO BAD! A tantalizing hint of some fun to be had: an Italian magazine is sponsoring a contest for completing the thing. I bug-me-not’d through their registration to peek at it, and they have photo survey and plan documents to download.

Now if they could just somehow move the thing to Las Vegas. Or sell it to Robert Schuller for a new church…