Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Are Movie Rental Trends Social Indicators?

A colleague of mine sent this NY Times story which I found very interesting.  As a GIS user/developer and land surveyor, I studied the maps and discovered what I think are social trends within certain neighborhoods.  Take for example the postal zip code 92835 as shown above in North Orange County, Ca.  This neighbor hood zip code is very conservative despite being surrounded by numerous liberal arts colleges and universities within a mile.

Compare the list shown above to zip code 90095 shown at right, which is for West Hollywood -an outspoken gay and lesbian community.  Half the movies on the 90095 list are several years old and were embraced by the Hollywood crowd as artistic and expressive while the movies listed in the 92835 zip code tend to be characterized as season blockbusters. 

I'm not sure exactly what inferences can be made by these lists but I think it is quite evident that communities differ widely even when separated by just a few miles. 

You see the same separation in movie titles in the San Francisco Bay area.  Metro SF Bay sees Milk as the most popular rental while just northwest across the bay Milk isn't even in the top 10 list!  Use the link in the title to visit the Times and see if you find some interesting trends.  Report back; I'm curious what you might be able to guess about a neighborhood or community based simply on movie titles rented.


Tuesday, January 12, 2010

To Drink Or Not To Drink - The City of Fullerton, This Economy, and The Future

Parks and Recreation: What we use to do as teens -park and recreate! 

The Orange County Register's Barbara Giasone reported yesterday that the Fullerton Parks and Recreation Commission was to hold discussions on allowing beer and wine sales at the Fullerton Sports Complex during the Summer Concert Series. Why this hasn't come up before is surprising.


Fullerton is well known for being a cultural Mecca of college partying with the vast number of bars just in the downtown area alone and the numerous institutions of higher learning. However, since the drinkers all pack up and go home for the summer, the City is loosing tax revenue from the loss of alcohol-related sales. Add to that the poor economy and you have a City struggling to continue to provide concerts and other social events. Selling beer and wine is one way to make a lot of money quickly and create a mess or two as we have seen in the downtown area for several years. At a glance, it would seem that since the concerts in the Sports Complex are family events, there will be few people actually getting drunk, vomiting, and passing out. However, something to consider is the fact that the suppressed economy has spurred an increase in alcohol consumption.

Since the Great Depression of the 1920's, 30's, and 40's alcohol producers have seen increases in demand for liquor and beer. When times get tough, consumers tend to opt for cheaper brands, choosing to spend less and drink more. Consumers are also choosing to drink at home over costly nights at the local pub.


So, if everyone is staying home to drink, how will the City of Fullerton make money? Perhaps residents will choose the concert series as their one family night out each week. Perhaps the unemployed/under-employed ±20% of Fullerton Residents will find work by then, maybe even in the alcohol sales business. The reality is that we will likely see an increase in barbeque sales, propane sales, hotdogs, hamburger patties/buns, and some backyard basics. I don't think we will see too many of the $2,000 barbeques but probably more of the $200 variety. This will allow many to feel that they are living better without spending more. They will drink by their burners and backyard fire pits. They will invite their neighbors and share their angst over education, politics, and the economy.

You will also see an increase in the birthrate. With less money to go out drinking, couples will be feeling the effects of cheap booze in the comfort of their private abode. Expect a higher demand for OB/GYN and pediatricians. Expect to see more home additions to accommodate expanding families and with that a boom in minor construction, architecture, engineering, and land surveying.

Of course I'm not much of a prophet nor am I a good fortune teller. Just look around to see that this trend started about 3 years ago. Coincidently, I have a 4-year-old and a 4-month-old as a testament to this dip and a twelve-year-old from the last big dip I felt in the 90’s. Since I regard my children as the best thing that ever happened to me, I think recessions may not be so bad.

Aint life grand!

Monday, January 11, 2010

"Professional" Only In Flori-DUH!

An article appeared in the January 2010 issue of Professional Surveyor wherein the author, David W. Gibson, applies a Florida Supreme Court ruling to ALL professions as a status qualifier.  In his article Gibson asserts that the Florida Supreme Court defined a profession as “…we hold that a ‘profession’ is any vocation requiring at a minimum a four-year college degree before licensing is possible in Florida.  There can be no equivalency exception.”  Gibson goes on to quote the Court saying because Florida surveyors were not at some point required to have a four-year degree that “…land surveyors thus are not professionals for purposes of the statute of limitations.”  There are a few key words I need to point out. 

Greg Sebourn

Orange County Bail Bonds

The Beauty of a Storm

The Beauty of a Storm
Orange County, Ca.

My Grandma - A Eulogy

LET'S TALK ABOUT 1914 FOR A MOMENT.



FOR STARTERS, GRANDMA WAS BORN TUESDAY, DECEMBER 22, 1914 IN HER FAMILY'S ATWOOD RANCH HOUSE.



IT IS WORTH NOTING THOSE ALSO BORN IN 1914:

JACK LALANNE

JOE DIMAGGIO

DANNY THOMAS



AND WHO DIED IN 1914:

JOHN MUIR, THE FAMOUS NATURALIST FOR WHICH NUMEROUS ROADS, PARKS, HOTELS, AND NATURE RESERVES ARE NAMED.



IT IS ALSO WORTH NOTING THAT IN 1914 WOODROW WILSON SIGNS MOTHER'S DAY PROCLAMATION AND BABE RUTH MAKES HIS MAJOR LEAGUE DEBUT WITH THE RED SOX. MOTHER'S DAY AND BASEBALL- TWO OF MY FAVORITES!! (PERHAPS HER NICKNAME "BABE" CAME FROM BABE RUTH???)



GRANDMA WAS BORN INTO A PERIOD OF TIME FILLED WITH TURMOIL. IN JUNE OF 1914 ARCHDUKE FRANZS FERDINAND WAS ASSASSINATED. WITHIN ONE MONTH WORLD WAR I RAGED ACROSS EUROPE. TWO DAYS AFTER HER BIRTH HOWEVER, GERMAN AND BRITISH TROOPS INTERRUPTED WWI TO CELEBRATE CHRISTMAS. (PERHAPS THEY PAUSE KNOWING THAT A GREAT WOMAN WAS BORNE) WORLD WAR I CONTINUED UNTIL THE TREATY OF VERSAILLES IN 1919.



ALTHOUGH SHE WAS ONLY 5 YEARS OLD, SHE SAW THE LEAGUE OF NATIONS CREATED AND THE 19TH AMENDMENT WAS APPROVED BY THE U.S. CONGRESS GUARANTEEING THE RIGHTS OF WOMEN TO VOTE.



SHE LIVED THROUGH MANY NOTABLE EVENTS. LIKE THE 1933 LONG BEACH EARTHQUAKE OR WHEN ATWOOD FLOODED ALONG WITH MOST OF ORANGE COUNTY IN 1938 AND THE FLOOD-WATERS CLAIMED MORE THAN 50 PEOPLE, 43 OF WHICH WERE FROM ATWOOD! ALL OF THIS DURING A TIME THAT WE READ ABOUT IN SCHOOL AND KNOWN AS "THE GREAT DEPRESSION". SOMEWHERE IN ALL OF THAT SHE FOUND THE LOVE OF HER LIFE, GRANDPA LEO, GRADUATED HIGH SCHOOL, GOT MARRIED, AND HAD KIDS!



THEN THERE WAS WORLD WAR II. FROM PEARL HARBOR TO HIROSHIMA, GRANDMA WAS RAISING MY UNCLE BOB AND MOM ARLINE. WITH AIR-RAID SIRENS AND BLACKOUTS SHE WAS A WIFE AND MOTHER. WHAT A TIME TO RAISE CHILDREN! I BET GRANDMA'S PARENTS WERE ABEL TO TELL HER A THING OR TWO ABOUT RAISING KIDS IN WARTIME.



GRANDMA WAS THERE WHEN THE BOY SCOUTS OF AMERICA HELD THEIR 3RD ANNUAL NATIONAL JAMBOREE IN 1953. SHE SAW AIRBASES OPEN IN '42 AND CLOSE IN '99. SHE WATCHED WALTER KNOTT START UP HIS BERRY FARM AND WALT DISNEY TURN ORANGE GROVES AND STRAWBERRY PATCHES INTO DISNEYLAND!



SHE SAW THE HORSE AND CARRIAGE FADE AWAY INTO HISTORY AND SPACE TRAVEL EXPLODE BEFORE HER WITH THE FIRST LUNAR LANDING. JUST IMAGINE HOW MUCH TECHNOLOGY HAS CHANGED OVER THE LAST 100 YEARS. FROM TUBE RECTIFIERS TO SUPERCONDUCTORS; FROM TRANS-ATLANTIC TELEGRAPH CABLES TO SATELLITE TV.



SHE SAW MORE IN HER 93 YEARS THAN MOST OF US WILL EVER READ ABOUT, LET ALONE LIVE THROUGH!



OF THOSE 93 YEARS IT IS MY HONOR TO HAVE BEEN HER GRANDSON FOR 35 OF THEM. SHE WAS MY MOTHER WHEN MOM HAD TO WORK. SHE WIPED MY NOSE AND PUT FOOD IN MY MOUTH. SHE LET ME PLAY WITH GRANDPA EVEN THOUGH SHE NEEDED HIM TO TAKE HER TO THE STORE. SHE WAS MY GRANDMA AND I WILL MISS HER IMMENSELY.



JUST LOOK AROUND THIS ROOM; SHE DID THIS. SHE IS RESPONSIBLE FOR BRINGING SO MANY GOOD PEOPLE INTO THIS WORLD AND TOGETHER TODAY. THIS IS HER LEGACY.



A Dedication To My Loving Wife, Stacey. Thank you for all you do for me!

Brad Paisley - I Thought I Loved You Then


I remember trying not to stare the night that I first met you
You had me mesmerized
3 weeks later in the front porch light taking 45 min to kiss you goodnight
I hadn’t told you yet but I thought I loved you then

Chorus
Now you’re my whole life now you’re my whole world
I just can’t believe the way I feel about you girl
Like a river meets the sea
Stronger than it’s ever been
We’ve come so far since that day
And I thought I loved you then.

I remember taking you back to right where I first met you
You were so surprised
There were people around
But I didn’t care I got down on one knee right there
And once again I thought I loved you then

Chorus
Now you’re my whole life now you’re my whole world
I just can’t believe the way I feel about you girl
Like a river meets the sea
Stronger than it’s ever been
We’ve come so far since that day
And I thought I loved you then.

I can just see you with a baby on the way
I can just see you when your hair is turning gray
What I can’t see is how I’m ever gonna love you more
But I’ve said that before.

Now you’re my whole life now you’re my whole world
I just can’t believe the way I feel about you girl
Well look back some day at this moment that we’re in
And I'll look at you and say I thought I loved you then
And I thought I loved you then...

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