NAACL HLT 2010 – Local Blog!
Two Weeks to Go

Everyone is pretty busy here working hard to make NAACL HLT 2010 a success. Hundreds of conference bags have been ordered; the conference handbook has been completed and sent to the printers; signs, banners, and T-shirts for our big group of student volunteers are being made; and this year's conference gifts arrived early in the morning on a pallet shipment to USC/ISI. Hundreds of metro subway and bus maps (pictured right) have arrived, and your registration forms are still trickling in.

So, what can you do to get ready? Get a sweatshirt or light jacket; our summer days are quite warm, but evenings can quickly turn chilly. Study this area map. Put the finishing touches on your slides or poster, and perhaps brush up on your California English.

Posted by Jason Riesa
Mon, May 17, 2010 – 5:54pm PDT
LA Video
USC LA Video

We like this video. A lot. It deserves its own blog post. Enjoy.

Posted by Jason Riesa
Wed, May 5, 2010 – 6:57pm PDT

Is There Good Surfing in LA?

Like, totally.

The most famous surf spot around here is Malibu ("Surfrider Beach"). It's up the coast, a beautiful drive along Pacific Coast Highway. Malibu is often crowded, because it's the most fun two-foot, right-breaking, longboarder wave in the world. There's nothing else to see or do at Surfrider Beach except surf.

To see some fun beach towns, check out Hermosa Beach and Manahattan Beach. They are good for swimming, surfing, laying out, and watching people. You can rent a surfboard on Pier Avenue close to the Hermosa pier, or just hang out.

Or check out Venice Beach: a weird town full of weird people doing weird things, and yes, they have canals. I live south of Venice pier, so I surf around there. Washington Boulevard (next to the pier) has places to rent surfboards. To get to Venice, you take the 10 freeway west to the 405 freeway, go south and take the 90 west -- yeah, LA jargon!!! -- then, right on Lincoln and left on Washington. If you accidentally take a right on Washington, no problem: stop and order a double-double at In-and-Out Burger.

Hermosa, Manhattan, and Venice are strictly beachbreak, but what the heck! You never know what you're going to get. Every day is different. It's nice when the dolphins show up to party.

Where Sunset Boulevard hits Pacific Coast Highway, there's a consistent right-break. I like to go there early mornings. The area close to shore is popular with beginners, and further out, the big waves peel like bananas. To get there, you just pull over on the dirt shoulder of Pacific Coast Highway and hop on down.

El Porto is another popular spot. It frequently roars. El Porto is at the northern tip of Manhattan Beach, and it has a nice parking lot. Last time I went there, I nearly got killed. At least I developed a pretty good tip: "a bunch professional surf photographers on the beach with telephoto lenses" equals "you might die".

Finally, Santa Monica has decent small surf. If you want to get a surf lesson (highly recommended!!), you can call ZJ Boarding House in Santa Monica, and they can hook you up. I just bought a nine-foot longboard from them. I'm in love with that board! You can tell them you know that guy who just bought a nine-foot longboard from them.

Posted by Kevin Knight
Sat, Apr 17, 2010 – 4:13pm PDT
Find a Roommate

We've had a request for a roommate matching service, similar to what was offered at ACL 2008. We are happy to be able to provide a roommate matching service through Factual this year.

If you are traveling alone and are looking for a roommate to share a hotel room with, add your information to our Find-a-roommate table. Follow the examples of our imaginary conference goers, Tommy Trojan and Lucy Laker:

  • Click on the "Add Row" button, and enter your name, email address, gender, hotel preference, arrival/check-in date, and departure/check-out date.
  • You will be prompted to sign up for a Factual account, if you don't already have one. Alternatively, you can use your login credentials from several other social networking sites.
Tommy Trojan and Lucky Laker Info

Feel free to post your information and/or contact those who have posted to make arrangements.

View and Edit the Find-a-roommate Table

Posted by Jason Riesa
Thu, Apr 15, 2010 – 9:15am PDT
Views of Downtown
We hopped on a plane the other week to bring you some aerial photos of downtown, especially for those who haven't been to LA before. Yes, our camera lens was a bit dusty for a couple of these shots. Photoshop wizards, please contact us.
Downtown in the distance Closeup of downtown LA USC on the left; Downtown on the right.
Posted by Jason Riesa
Tue, Apr 13, 2010 – 3:38pm PDT