You know you’re in Van Nuys when… pass this building every day on my way to work and it never fails to make me smile. If you click on the images you can make them bigger and truly appreciate the spirit of the place. Note the cardboard window dressing and the crappy brickwork repair job as well as the air conditioning unit leaning out of the wall next to the paint-spattered shutter. You may not be able to see from these craptastic photos that the Financial Training Center sign is hand-painted. Mike Russ, I’m sorry to see you go. You cheer me up each morning. love the seediness of the Valley; I really do. Any place that doesn’t have auto body repair places and doughnut shops lacks a certain authenticity in my book. There are parts of LA that are just butt-ugly, and I say Lean Into It! Up with the 49 cent store. Yay for the crack hotels on Sepulveda Boulevard. While I do understand the desire to live somewhere picturesque (hell, I worked in DC’s Georgetown for years), the real joy of LA comes, I think, when you love it for its shortcomings as well as its virtues. It can’t all be about collagen-lipped beauties brushing the faux snow from their shearling as they step into L’Occitane. Or skinny, sleeved hipster boys in tight pants and Converse All Stars cycling through Silver Lake. Of course, it can’t all be about Van Nuys either, otherwise we’d be living in a real-life version of Wristcutters, which if you haven’t seen, you really should by the way.

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