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March 2010 Trail Head

Posted in Features on March 1, 2010
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We're moving. That's right; we're packin' up and heading out of the building that Jp magazine has infested for more than 11 years. We're saying goodbye to the fancy latté, quiche, and caviar high-rise on Wilshire Boulevard in Los Angeles, California, for a single-story cubicle farm a few miles from the beach in El Segundo. I say fancy high-rise, but the truth is that the old Petersen building has been looking pretty run-down and in need of a serious makeover for some time. Sometimes I wonder if it ever looked all that great to begin with. I think someone must have received a discount on turd-brown building materials when it was remodeled in the 1980s. Or perhaps brown shades were selected to better camouflage the monster 3-inch cockroaches I've wrestled with while wandering the halls and bathrooms. Somehow even ants have found their way to the 11th floor. But as much as I hate how everything in and around the building was brown (including the insects), I'm gonna miss it and my corner office with an awesome view of the city and of the ocean on the rare clear days in LA. The view of the purple sunrise sky and uncluttered empty streets made coming in early more bearable. Working late wasn't bad either, since I could watch awesome sunsets. The smoggy summer and wildfire smoke-filled evenings would cause the horizon to glow especially orange.

We all knew this day would come when Mr. Petersen first sold the publishing company in 1996. The deal came with a clause that required the new owner to stay and lease the space in the Petersen building (which Mr. Petersen still owned of course) for a number of years. Pretty smart businessman if you ask me. We've gone through four or five (I can't remember anymore) different publishing company owners since the sale, but the lease is finally up. It's time to move to some more reasonably-priced digs, and maybe something a little more accessible. For years the Petersen building has been known as the Death Star since it was so far away from any of the main Los Angeles freeways. Pretty much half of my 30-mile commute time was spent on surface streets. Being closer to the beach and some real freeways may not be so bad.

In late March of 2007, Mr. Petersen passed away and the building was sold. The new Petersen building owners are currently in mid-remodel. They started with the exterior. So while the jackhammers and wood chippers pound the bricks and grind up the vegetation outside, I've been busy boxing up over 13 years of Jp history. We've got old photo slides, unprinted stories, catalogs, reader letters, photo-filled CDs, and press releases. We at Jp don't even have it all that bad. Many of the magazines in our building have numerous decades of material that needs to be sorted through, and in some cases thrown out. I'm hanging onto as many old Jp photos as possible. Other magazines in our building won't be as fortunate. I've seen lots of vintage wheeling and 4x4 photo history go into the trash daily. It's kind of a bummer when you think about 30- to 40-year-old images and catalogs full of products no longer manufactured by companies that are no longer in business at the bottom of a dumpster. Who else will save this stuff? But maybe the question more often asked is why save it?

I'm ready for a change. It will be nice to have new desks, carpet, paint, and so on. However, at this point I'm still not sure if I'll be huddled-in with a cube partner or pimping in one of the few viewless offices, and we're moving at the end of the week. Our emails will remain the same (,, and, but our phone numbers and obviously our address will be different. Maybe I've gotten a little spoiled over the years. Actually yes, I have. Oh well, by the time you read this I should have enough doughnut crumbs accumulated on the floor to attract some new office buddies. Come to think of it, maybe I'll leave a trail of crumbs so my pals at the old building can follow me to our new place. John Cappa Editor, Jp Magazine 831 S. Douglas Street El Segundo, CA 90245

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