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I used to live in Castaic

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late night thoughts...

Today, Castaic is on fire. The one year I spent there was pretty much fireless. All I experienced were the 2005 rainstorms. I lived on a slanted street called Cascade. That rainy winter, it literally became that.

DR Horton built the 10-year-old tract in the Hillcrest neighborhood. I would walk down the street and recognize my rented house in various forms: inverted, inverted retrograde, one shade brown lighter, etc. My house was set against a desert looking hill that went up about 400 feet with a overhanging cliff. It was pretty damn cool. A fire’s wet dream, for sure.

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That hill was also a great place for a mudslide. And mudslide it did. Thanks to a county easement at the end of our hill backyard, we were saved. My mysterious neighbor had no such luck. This was not a neighbor that lived next door, but had some gated driveway up the hill behind us and to the side. Neighbors said he was good friends with the developer and got this special house. He used to have carnival equipment up there. When we moved in, a P.I. came by asking questions about him. It was all sort of sketch.

I liked living in Castaic. A lot. Lying in our backyard, we could see the stars clearly. Packs of coyotes would make really strange sounds when they killed a rabbit or dog late at night. I could see a bit of snow in the Grapevine from my window. Going to Ventura meant driving the 126, one of my favorite midnight drives. Everything was nice and pleasant up there.

Except one thing: I liked going to LA. It only took 15 minutes to get to city limits, but Sylmar or Granada Hills were not my destination. When I lived in Valencia during my CalArts studies, LA was "far", but not really. You could make it to Hollywood and Vine in 22-25 minutes with no traffic (i.e. Saturday night at 65-75 MPH). It was common to beat friends who were driving from Westwood. How lame is that?

The extra 10 minutes driving to LA from Castaic got a bit annoying. It was hard to give up a nice new house that we were renting for $1950. 2 car garage, weekly yard caretakers, living, dining and family rooms, kitchen, and a backyard with 4 fruit trees. We put a baby grand piano in the dining room and the living room housed the drum set and way too many microphones and amps.

Life was laid back, simple and easy.

I love living in LA now. It's much more exciting. Dining choices are endless. Hollywood and Vine is only 7 minutes away. I get to drive over the hill via canyon roads. And my bedroom window has a view of the L.A. River.

Photo by nikhilgk via Flickr

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