It Caught My Eye (And Burned My Retinas): Shine

Just in case you’re ever up at Tongva Peak in the Verdugos at 12:36 p.m. on the 31st of a future January (this one being far more beautiful than the picture below demonstrates), be careful where you look because at that very minute the sun hits some big ass building west of downtown and boy shit howdy does it catch the sun and bounce it right back at you (click to enlargify):

Any clue what the structure is — or who might be operating an unlicensed death ray?

Gelato jones leads to discovery

You know that scene near the beginning of Woody Allen’s Stardust Memories, where he gazes, alone, from inside an empty, quiet train across the tracks at another train wherein a raucous party is taking place, its cacophony absolutely silent to him? That’s what I thought of last night, but in reverse, during a late night run to quell a gelato craving.

We started out at Pazzo Gelato, in Silver Lake on Sunset Junction, where I declared their mascarpone, orange and fudge swirl flavor the absolute pinnacle achievement of Modern Dessert Science. (I had it two days in a row.) Continue reading Gelato jones leads to discovery

Wildlife incursions into suburbia warrants MPD “robo-dial”

With the extended drought in the foothills the critters are coming down in larger numbers looking for food.  Today Monrovia PD issued another warning on the coyotes in the area.  Paraphrasing as I never learned shorthand or dictation:

” Good afternoon, this is a Public Safety Announcement from the Monrovia Police Department.  Monrovia Animal Control has identified 2 coyotes that have lost their natural fear of humans.  They are found around the Grand Avenue Park and wander several blocks in all directions.

Monrovia Police Department asks that you watch your surroundings at all time.  MPD asks that you watch your small children and animals at all times when they are outdoors.

Monrovia Police Department and the California Department of Fish and Game are working together for a resolution.

If you have any additional questions or concerns please contact the Monrovia Police Department at: 626-256-8000″ Continue reading Wildlife incursions into suburbia warrants MPD “robo-dial”

Found on Road Alive : MG MGB GT named “freckles”

I spotted this well used 1966 MG MGB GT in Arcadia this morning.  The Union 76 service station at Foothill moved it around so I could get my wife’s car smogged.  Wow…what a surprise to see that lovely old relic of the British auto industry be pulled out.  To learn more about “freckles” you will need to make the jump.

Continue reading Found on Road Alive : MG MGB GT named “freckles”

A Week With TAP

I have been using the new Metro TAP card for a week now.  For the most part, I like it.  But, as with anything new and untested, I already have a list of areas that could use some improvement.

It isn’t always clear or convenient to TAP in when transferring from one line to the next.  At first, I figured it didn’t matter because I had paid for the entire week.  But I soon discovered by reading other people’s blogs about the whole system that the Metro can fine a rider for evasion of paying the fare if they fail to TAP in during a leg of their journey.  There’s a massive disconnect for me there.  How am I evading paying a fare when I’ve paid for the entire week?  It makes no sense.

The next bit of frustration I experienced was when I tried to register my TAP card so I could refill it via the internet.  I had already set up an account on a previous date.  But when I went to register my card, I couldn’t get it to work with that account.  Further, it seems that only monthly pass refills are available online.  As a fully jacked in participant of the digital world who relies upon the internet to function in many ways, being able to do such transactions would be ideal.  Yes, I understand that we can do it at any Metro station or the stores where the TAP cards are purchased but being able to fill my card on a Sunday night before a crazy week is far more convenient.

I think the TAP card has potential.  I still like it better than having tons of little pieces of paper filling my purse and pockets every week.

Overall, I’m starting to understand how illogical the entire Metro system is after listening to my New York City boyfriend talk about his experience in Gotham.  There is simply no way to cheat on fares without putting in some serious effort.  Everything is laid out in a practical, obvious fashion.  But many things in Los Angeles suffer from flash and style over substance.  It’s just how we do things here.  Unfortunately, in the case of public transportation, it doesn’t serve us well.

Putting The “Go” In Verdugo

Those mountains between Griffith Park and the San Gabriel range — the ones rising up north of Glendale and Burbank, were historically my favorite place to go get a little mountainbiking in large part because of their proximity to where I live and because mountainbiking isn’t a crime there like it is in Griffith and Elysian parks. I say historically, because until last weekend as evidenced in the following timelapse of my uphill ride Sunday along the Beaudry North fireroad to Tongva Peak, it had been more than three years since I’d put my mountainbike’s treads to the Verdugos’ trails.


Despite not being the most wildnernessy and scenic place in the county, the Verdugos are home to a notable array of wildlife including bobcats, coyotes, mule deer, rabbits, skunks, raccoons, opossums, along with various reptiles, amphibians, birds and bugs, most of which I’ve encountered. I even had the pleasure of coming across a rare coastal horned lizard during one trek way back in 2003.

So why the hiatus? Well, all the bike commuting I’ve been doing is largely to blame for my extended dearth of dirt riding, but I’m in the beginning stages of reversing that trend with morning rides every week or two either there or in the not-much-further-away Angeles National Forest above Altadena. And as something of an offshoot to our notorious IAAL•MAF bike gang infamous for any variety of group rides, I’d like to extend an invite to anyone with a mountainbike (or a set of knobby tires that’ll fit on their hybrid/commuter) and an interest in getting above it all to join me one of them there weekend mornings.

So stay hear and listen to the crickets chirping or go for more info after the jump.

Continue reading Putting The “Go” In Verdugo

Which Wine Goes With Kimchi?

Photo by Eric Shin, used with permission
Photo by Eric Shin, used with permission

I’ve been AWOL here for about a week as I prep to move just a little bit further west, but I had to take a break from packing to tell you about this great upcoming event…

Kogi BBQ, the hottest restaurant in L.A. without a fixed address, is going to be joining Colorado Wine Company to create a fantastic food & wine tasting.

This is going to be a hot ticket, so follow me past the jump to get all the details you’ll need…

Continue reading Which Wine Goes With Kimchi?

All quiet and peaceful at Griffith Observatory

Despite re-opening in late 2006 after nearly five years of renovations and additions, Griffith Observatory remains one of LA’s relatively off-the-radar attractions, even though parking and admission is free. (The planetarium shows charge admission but they aren’t essential for an enjoyable visit.) I ride my bike up Vermont Canyon a few times a week (as part of my perpetual “health kick,” as the bf calls it) and the sparse crowds there always surprise me, especially on weekends.

Built in the early 1930s as a gift from silver mine magnate Griffith J. Griffith, the facility opened in 1935. The surrounding park was also given to the city of Los Angeles by Griffith. He was clear about it being a gift to the public, saying, “I consider it my obligation to make Los Angeles a happy, cleaner, and finer city. I wish to pay my debt of duty in this way to the community in which I have prospered.” Good words to ponder in this age of corporate jets and million-dollar office renovations by the banking sector.  Continue reading All quiet and peaceful at Griffith Observatory

Congrats Intelligentsia!

award winning

I completely forgot to mention this, but the top spots at the 2009 Western Regional Barista Championship all went to coffee folks from the Silver Lake Intelligentsia. Nick Griffith took first, Devin Pedde second, and Ryan Willbur completed the shut out with third. If you keep hearing about the amazing coffee making talent we have in LA but have yet to try it, now would be a good time to go order a cup. It’ll will be worth it. Trust me.

Pre-Edwardian Ball Festivities At Ruin

Image Courtesy of LA Dead
Image Courtesy of LA Dead

If you’d like a little warm up to the ultra glam of the Edwardian Ball taking place this Saturday night, have no fear as DJ Xian is offering up an evening of noir elegance with Shadow Play at Ruin.

Held in the newly redecorated Monte Cristo (3100 Wilshire Blvd), Ruin is allowing free entry to anyone with Ball tickets.  You can also try your luck at winning tickets to the event if you don’t already have them.

Come mingle among the dangerous dames and vintage vixens for an evening of dance, absinthe and edgy conversation.  Themed costuming is highly encouraged.  Upscale attire is absolutely compulsory.

Ruin takes place every Friday from 10 pm to 2:30 am.  Tickets are $10 at the door ($5 before 11 pm).  The Monte Cristo has its own parking ($5).

Archiving Angeles (AA): Beautiful Apes

Gary Owens was an on-air personality at KMPC who was known for making things up. Mainly, words. This, however, was real.

Gary was hosting the most Beautiful Ape Contest for the release of Battle for the Planet of the Apes. Dominique Green, contestant No. 2, was the big winner that day in Century City.

The year was 1972.

Photo from UCLA Library Digital Collections

Another brilliant Thomas Kuntz creation

You’ve heard the one about the ten-inch pianist? Well check out the twelve-inch alchemist!

Made by one of LA’s most mind-blowing artists, this is just the latest video of Thomas’s unbelievable work. Stay til the end to see Thomas operating the machine and marvel at how tiny it is to have such incredible detail.

I don’t know how to embed the video, so you’re going to have to dig around in his YouTube stuff because you won’t believe what you’re seeing.

Toluca Lake Restaurants Offering Recession Discounts

When economic times are tough, dining out is one of the first “luxuries” a lot of people cut out. Back in September, the L.A. Times reported on the sudden hit local major chains were taking. More expensive specialty establishments in Los Angeles and across the country are suffering as well.  It seems in bleak financial times, fast food joints are the only ones experiencing an increase in business.

Even though I’ve been trying to eat in more, I’m really not one for cooking and do go out or get take out several times a week. I was picking up a pizza the other night and noticed what seems to be a growing trend among restaurants in Toluca Lake, and possibly L.A. in general.

Robano’s, at 10057 Riverside Drive, is offering discounts on all food and yes, even alcohol every day of the week. Mo’s, at 4301 Riverside Drive, has special prices for certain menu items on Mondays after 5pm. This is great news to me and others who aren’t too interested in staying in every night and preparing meals. Hopefully we’ll see more of this around Los Angeles, which might also help the restaurants stay afloat.

Celebs in public and on twitter, how will it end?

Happy dogs on leashes at intelligentsiaThis morning I went to Intelligentsia to grab some espresso, which if you follow me on twitter you know is part of my daily routine. When I got there I noticed that a guy at the counter had a cute dog with him, and since my wife Tara has a thing for cute dogs in coffee shops I snapped a photo for her and quickly posted it to flickr. As the pic was sending I looked back up from my iPhone and saw the guy with the dog looking at me, he looked disappointed, but also vaguely familiar. As he put on his sunglasses and walked out I realized he was famous and probably thought I was taking a photo of him. I felt like an ass, but it was too late. I told a friend I was with about my faux pas and he, not being from LA, pointed out that in any other city the guy would have been mobbed for autographs and I shouldn’t feel too bad about it. It’s a good point, and one of the things I love about LA, but I still felt like a dick.

Skip ahead a few hours and Tara points me to a virtual throwdown happening on twitter between Ashton Kutcher and Perez Hilton. Not so much because of what they were saying, but because of how people were reacting and how she thought they might keep on reacting. She tweeted about it and said “I really hope that Twitter is still accessible to real people conversing and not just watching Celebs chat with each other.” Her fear, and a very valid one, is that suddenly her stream would be filled with normal people @replying to celebs trying to become “friends” with them, rather than just being themselves and talking to their real friends. If you want to see what I mean, just look at how many people are replying to Ashton or Demi. Soleil Moon Frye only joined twitter 13 hours ago and look at this!. This got me thinking about how that relates to my coffee shop experience earlier in the day.

Continue reading Celebs in public and on twitter, how will it end?