Wednesday, July 30, 2008

A Simple Way To Improve Pedestrian Safety

Here's an innovation that could improve Glendale's appalling pedestrian safety statistics: programming existing intersections to include an LPI, or leading pedestrian interval.

Here's an explanation from Streetsblog LA:
A leading pedestrian interval, or LPI, lights up the pedestrian signal a few seconds before vehicular traffic gets the green. This gives pedestrians a head start into the intersection and makes it less likely that they will be hit by vehicles turning into the crosswalk. LPI's are also known by their sassier nickname, Pedestrian Head Start. But in my view the best variation on what LPI stands for comes from Christine Berthet of the Hell's Kitchen Neighborhood Association, who proposes "Life Preserving Interval."
Head over to Streetsblog for a great video demonstrating the idea.

Implementing this on Brand Blvd. between Colorado and California would certainly make the near-daily walk to Porto's less stressful.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Whoa, Earthquake!*

Felt it pretty strongly here in downtown Glendale. Apparently the epicenter was near Diamond Bar.

From the Caltech Seismology site:

A moderate earthquake occurred at 11:42:15 AM (PDT) on Tuesday, July 29, 2008.
The magnitude 5.8 event occurred 7 km (4 miles) SE of Diamond Bar, CA.
The hypocentral depth is 12 km ( 8 miles).

Magnitude 5.8 - local magnitude (Ml)
Time Tuesday, July 29, 2008 at 11:42:15 AM (PDT)
Tuesday, July 29, 2008 at 18:42:15 (UTC)
Distance from Diamond Bar, CA - 7 km (4 miles) SE (131 degrees)
Chino, CA - 9 km (6 miles) SW (222 degrees)
Yorba Linda, CA - 10 km (6 miles) NE (35 degrees)
Riverside, CA - 33 km (20 miles) W (271 degrees)

*Update: Downgraded to a 5.4.

Monday, July 28, 2008

Laser Tag!

Laser tag is one of those things I always wanted to do as a kid but never really got to. Actually, I played one game at the Mall Of America, where I quickly became laser cannon fodder, but still...I have a childhood laser tag itch that has not been scratched. And now Glendale has a laser tag place, which has opened after an arduous battle over fire department permits.

From the Glendale News-Press:
On June 6, Zone Laser Tag, located at 826 N. Glendale Ave., opened without advertisement or much announcement; only a banner splayed across the face of the building heralded the grand opening as word began to spread of Glendale’s only laser tag center, Guiragusian said.

Since then, customers have streamed in — including 18 birthday parties in June — and the facility’s owners are optimistic they could soon erase the nearly $1 million both invested.

The facility is divided between a small play area for 7 and 8 year olds, a snack bar, and the main attraction: a two-tiered labyrinth cloaked in darkness where customers can chase each other through a series of corridors, up ramps and around corners.

“It’s crazy adventurous,” Gary Kemkemian, 17, said. “See all this sweat? It’s like a form of exercise.”
So if shooting invisible death rays at sweaty 17 year olds sounds like a good time to you, check it out. I find it amusing that it opened on D-Day. Or should I say, LASER D-Day.

Zone Laser Tag
826 N. Glendale Ave.
Glendale CA 91206

Cat + iPod

While I was writing the previous post, somehow my girlfriend's cat Maia managed to stand on my iPod and pressed an elaborate series of buttons that put the iPod into a secret non-responsive diagnostic mode. Look at those evil eyes!

I googled the process for manually restarting the iPod and everything seems to be working fine thanks to the cat.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Strange Encounters At DeBell Golf Course

As a supplement to my earlier post about the Los Feliz Par-3 Golf Course rate hikes, here are the rates for the DeBell Par-3 Golf Course in Burbank.

While I was playing there today an attractive woman who lives across the street lost her pet parrot, which despite having clipped wings somehow managed to fly 40 feet up one of the tall trees lining the golf course. She enlisted the help of a man who stopped his Harley nearby, and the two of them stood in the middle of the road for 30 minutes throwing limes towards the tree-bound parrot while screaming "Coconut!" Coconut was apparently the parrot's name. So between my game and watching those two, I definitely enjoyed $4 worth of entertainment.

On a somewhat unrelated note, my favorite experience at the Los Feliz Par-3 happened when I once went there by myself and joined a game with a stranger. He kept making calls on his cell phone. I heard him talking about money and "a quarter of Tom Cruise." I was thinking...Tom Cruise? He's either a super-agent or this is some sort of crazy drug deal...or both. I pondered this for several holes, and then myself and the Tom Cruise guy joined up with two other dudes. The other dudes and Tom Cruise guy made small talk about that nights Laker game, when suddenly Tom Cruise guy blurted out "Yeah, I sure am going to watch the game tonight, I'm just trying to get my DRUGS lined up for it!"

Now Open: Starbucks At Central & Acacia

For the last few days I've been meaning to type up my notes from the GPD Citizen's Academy, so today I took my laptop and walked over to the new Starbucks, which opened last week right in my backyard at Central and Acacia. It's a pleasant space, with a well-lit open circular area with nice views of Central and a shady patio. Best of all, they are open until 11pm every night.

Friday, July 25, 2008

Los Feliz Par-3 Golf Course Prices Double

Sorry, Glendale residents. Prices at the Los Feliz Par-3 Golf Course have doubled for us thanks to a new resident/non-resident pricing scheme.

Non-resident weekday play is now $8.50, up from $4.25, and replays are now $6.00 instead of $2.50. Not shockingly expensive, but it certainly makes it a less attractive course for a quick practice game. If you'd like to get some inexpensive practice, you can't beat the DeBell par-3 in Burbank, which is still $3 for 9 holes.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Cafe Inn On Broadway

For the last few weeks, I've been making frequent coffee stops at the Cafe Inn at Broadway and Isabel. A small, beautifully prepared cafe au lait from Cafe Inn costs $1.55. For comparison, a small cafe au lait at The Coffee Bean costs $2.85. I think a small at Starbucks is $2.15, and they rather demeaningly make you ask for a "misto".

Cafe Inn is cute, quiet, reasonably priced, and most importantly - the coffee is excellent.

Cafe Inn
511 1/2 E Broadway
Glendale, CA 91205

Handpainted Art Car

I haven't seen this car in Downtown Glendale before. At first glance I thought it was covered in vinyl decals, but a closer inspection revealed that the car was handpainted. Pretty cool. Except for the parking ticket.

Cheesesteak Place Coming To Brand & Broadway

Saw this sign today on Broadway between Brand and Maryland in the former skate shop spot across the street from Borders. They might want to check their spelling...unless it's Auntie's cheesesteak recipe.

Americana Attacked By Australian Blimp

Yes, a blimp bearing the logo of Outback Steakhouse invaded the Americana's airspace on Saturday evening. I wouldn't be surprised if it landed on the green and offered to ferry people across Brand Boulevard.

In unrelated news, last week the fountain was drained for maintenance and I snapped these photos. Disappointingly, the grass is still roped off on weekdays.

Crazy Cheap Glendale Apartments

Applications are now being accepted for the 43-unit affordable housing project being built at 328 Mira Loma Avenue, just south of the Metrolink station and very near Atwater Village.

Wondering how cheap the rent is? How about $591-$985 for a 3 bedroom. In Glendale. A million people will apply, but if you meet the income requirements, its worth a shot.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Suicide At Burbank Shooting Range

A 25-year old man from Glendale fatally shot himself at the Firing Line Shooting Range in Burbank on Monday. The only report of the incident I've found is a short blurb in the Burbank News-Leader. I am a member of that range and shoot there frequently. They only rent guns to parties of two, unless you're a member.

I've always found the staff there to be very safety conscious.

Suicides at shooting ranges aren't unheard of, but I couldn't find any other reports of suicides or incidents at the Burbank range.

Friday, July 11, 2008

Glitter Thief On The Loose, City Under Siege!

From the police report:
400 block of West Lomita Avenue: A Glendale man reported Wednesday that 10 boxes of nail polish, six boxes of glitter nail polish; four boxes of design glitter; three boxes of polish and two boxes of nail fungus treatment were stolen from his car.
At least the thief will be easy to spot!

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Video of Glendale PD Helicopter Take Off & Fly By

Here's a video I shot last night of the helicopter taking off from the roof of the police station.

Jewel City Photo: Air Support

Glendale PD's beautiful MD-520N. Taken during this week's very interesting Citizen's Academy. Here's a shot I took as it flew in to land...with no zoom.

Glendale On Film

What's your favorite Glendale sighting on film? I have a new favorite, from The Naked Gun.

"Terrorist Headquarters, Beirut" is actually El Miradero, the unusually styled mansion built by Leslie Brand that now serves as the Brand Library and Art Center in Brand Park.

Before this sighting, my favorite instance of Glendale on film would be from Double Indemnity, which prominently features the Glendale train station as the departure point for a murderous plot. Are there any other movies that feature Glendale prominently?

Friday, July 4, 2008

Fireworks In The Good Old Days

On this 4th of July, I remind you that fireworks are illegal within the City of Glendale, unless you really, really want them for the opening of your mall.

That didn't used to be the case, as this 1955 photograph from Glendale, 1940-2000 illustrates.

"Ten-year-old Steve Mitchell of Glendale gleefully lights a firework (left) with the full approval of Fran Turner, a Glendale policeman, as a disconsolate Richard Nye, nine, and Los Angeles deputy sheriff F. Gunnick look on (right). Fireworks are legal in Glendale but not in Los Angeles County. The white line in the center of this c. 1955 photograph divides the city from the county. (Courtesy of the Special Collections Room, Glendale Public Library.)"

More Windshield Advertisements

"38 MPG."
"SALE!" For the love of God, please make us an offer!
"35 MPG."

Another desperate windshield advertisement at the Brand Boulevard of Cars. 38 MPG for the Scion xB at left is a complete lie, by the way.

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

$2.42 A Gallon Gas In Burbank

Yes, I paid $2.42 per gallon today. Actually, it's $2.42 per GGE- gasoline gallon equivalent. That's because my car runs on compressed natural gas (CNG).

Here are some of the benefits:
  • extremely low emissions
  • crazy cheap to run
  • solo carpool access(!)
  • free parking in L.A. (not Glendale, sadly)
Possibly best of all, you can give even Prius owners a hard time about their choice of vehicle.

Actually, the best thing about a CNG vehicle is that you can OWN ONE. Its shocking that that of all of the supposed technologies that are going to save us from the evils of oil, there isn't one you can actually BUY TODAY except for the Honda Civic GX.

My car filling up with the big boys at the Burbank CNG station.

The EV1s were crushed. Ethanol is a scam. Biodiesel is cleaner than regular diesel but still pretty dirty. Hydrogen fuel-cell cars cost a million dollars each, though if you are an A-list celebrity, Honda or BMW may loan you a handbuilt prototype. I love the Tesla Roadster, but they've only built a handful and delivered about two to big-time investors in the company.

My first Civic GX at the LAX station.

On the other hand, I bought my first 1998 Civic GX in 2004 at an auction for $3400. I drove the car for several years, loved it, and when my mom needed a reliable commuter, I sold the 1998 to her and bought myself a newer 2001 Civic GX for $6500. In the last year or so, used CNG vehicle prices have risen dramatically, due to high gasoline prices and a huge spike in demand in Utah, where a $3000 tax credit on used vehicles and $0.63/GGE fuel suddenly made CNG a very viable option.

CNG vehicles are still findable though, through eBay, CNG Motors, Nationwide Auction, craigslist, and of course, Honda. Honda is the only company currently selling new CNG vehicles to the public, although used CNG Ford F150s and Crown Vics are also pretty common in the used market.

The drawbacks to CNG are range and cargo space. Since CNG is a gas, not a liquid, it is less energy-dense than gasoline. That means that most of what would be trunk space in a normal Civic is devoted to the CNG tank. However, there is plenty of room for groceries, and I take pride in the ridiculous amount of cargo I've managed to stuff into the GX on runs to Ikea.

Since CNG takes up more space than an equivalent amount of gasoline, the GX has a tank that holds the CNG equivalent to eight gallons of gasoline. Honda claims a 200 mile range, but I fill up every 150-170 miles to be safe. Stations are obviously less numerous than gasoline stations, but there are more than enough stations in Southern California to get around easily. Long road trips are out of the question, although Palm Springs, San Diego and San Francisco are do-able with some planning. The closest stations to Glendale are in Burbank (near Burbank Blvd & Victory) and Downtown L.A. (on Alameda next to Philippe's). There is a also a station in the City of San Fernando that is currently $1.99/GGE, but I did some math and figured that the extra mileage to get there would negate any savings. Also, if you own your home you can install a filling station that taps into your home natural gas line and fill your car's tank overnight.

Another traffic jam at Burbank.

It's cool technology and it's proven. My 2001 Civic has 112,000 miles on it. My mom's 1998 is still running strong at 170,000 miles. If anyone has any detailed questions please comment and I will answer.

Filling up - cheaply!

99 Cent Carnivorous Plants

Over at Franklin Avenue, Mike posted some recent deals he found (including wine!) at the 99-Cent Only store in Bellflower. Here is my favorite ever 99-Cent Only purchase:

A venus flytrap! When I saw this at the 99-Cent Store at San Fernando & Sonora about three months ago, I couldn't resist. At the time of purchase it was much smaller and looked almost dead. For weeks, I avoided killing flies in the kitchen in the hopes of giving the little guy some prey. Eventually, he sprouted more jaw things and started catching flies!

My theory is that this is some sort of impossible to kill super-flytrap, as it probably was forced to survive for months in a discount store or supermarket before finally being cleared out at the 99-Cent Store.