(Note: These questions were for the time when I was employed at HRL Laboratories)
1) Do you live in Malibu?
A: I work in Malibu. I don't live there. Very few people at the labs can afford to live in Malibu. Malibu Colony and Carbon Beach, for example, are some of the most expensive real estate on the planet. Besides, with all the natural disasters this area is subject to, one should question why you would even want to live here. To paraphrase what a city official once said, "Malibu has a natural firebreak. Unfortunately it is the Pacific Ocean." Also see question #7.
2) Do you surf?
A: Sure. I surf the web.
3) Do you go down to the beach?
A: Yes, but only when we go running there. One of the routes our local running group uses takes us about a mile on the beach, right in front of Malibu Colony, where we admire the multimillion dollar beach homes that we'll never be able to afford.
4) Have you seen Baywatch (or put in a name of another show) being filmed?
A: No, although Baywatch did film along the beach closer to Topanga. It is not unusual to see film shoots along PCH or at Pepperdine University (where we do most of our running). You know you've become used to Los Angeles when you say "Oh, a film shoot" and just continue on your way...
5) Have you been to the MTV beach house (or other party houses)?
6) Have you seen (fill in name of celebrity who lives in Malibu)
A: Probably not. I have seen some celebrities in Los Angeles. It took thirteen years before I saw a celebrity in Malibu (Pamela Anderson, at Taverna Tony) where I was absolutely certain I correctly recognized the celebrity. If Angelyne counts, I have spotted her pink Corvette in Malibu several times.
7) Were you affected by the fires / floods / earthquakes?
A: For the ones that occurred after 1995, the answer is yes. On my first day of work a multi-ton boulder fell onto Malibu Canyon Road, blocking my normal commute route for days. The labs have been closed due to mudslides once while I've been here. (Block three roads and Malibu is cut off from the rest of the world -- even more than normal, that is.) And I was affected by the October 1996 fire. Heavy rains in early 2005 caused a lot of problems. The wildfires in Oct. 2007 closed the labs for one week and destroyed nearby Castle Kashan and the Malibu Presbyterian Church.
8) Do you have a view of the beach from your office?
A: I have an oceanside office with a spectacular view of Malibu, the beach, and the Pacific Ocean. On a clear day I can see the L.A. coastline, Santa Catalina and San Nicholas islands, and Pt. Dume. If my office were a hotel room they'd charge big bucks for a view like this.
9) How do you get any work done with such a view?
A: Believe it or not, you get used to it. There is a significant psychological benefit to working in a place with a nice view, instead of in the middle of a city or an office park. However, we learn to absorb it in small doses. I actually keep the shades most of the way down to cut the glare on the monitors. Besides, there's too much work to be done to get distracted for long.
10) I'm jealous. How do I get to work there?
A: Click on the HRL web page to see if there are any openings.
* Last revised: Sun Oct 19, 2008