Thursday, October 30, 2008

Glendale's Halloween Scene

My friend James is a master craftsman (and brilliant animator) who puts up a fantastic Haunted Mansion Halloween display in his front yard every year. The most astonishing aspect of his display is that all of the props and decorations are handmade and not store bought. The attention to detail is phenomenal, and he's documented much of the building process on his blog. You can check it out tomorrow night at 1233 Moncado Dr.

Last year he helped another Glendale resident put up an amazing giant animatronic ghost ship and talking skeleton. This year, that person is putting on another large display with a crashed steam locomotive. Check out this year's display at 1665 Highland Ave, just below Cumberland. Here are some pictures from last year's incredible life size ghost ship.

There are a number of other Halloween events happening this weekend. Kendyl has a thorough list here. Notably, the cast of Wicked will be performing at the Americana on Friday at 5pm.

I'll leave you with a picture of last year's best group costume winners from the costume competition on the Disney lot. These guys were great and very much in character.

Glendeal: 33 Cent CFL Light Bulbs TODAY ONLY

Spotted in the Albertson's 8-hour sale circular: A 3 pack of energy efficient compact fluorescent light bulbs for only $1. That's 33 cents a bulb, plus the money you'll save on electricity!

Stock up now, as this deal is only available Thursday, October 30th from 1pm to 9m at your local Albertson's.

Porto's Presidential Cookie Tracking Poll

The Porto's Presidential Cookie Poll is not yet referenced on Electoral Vote or Five Thirty-Eight yet, but it does offer some insight into local political leanings. Barring some sort of October cookie surprise, the Obama cookies are dominating.

Much like campaign promises, the shortbread and frosting political cookies are far too sweet for my taste. I'm looking forward to a savory Democratic salad of fiscal and environmental responsibility come January.

The Atwater Village Newbie covered Porto's Burbank location cookie poll here.

Los Feliz Blvd Being Resurfaced

Los Feliz Boulevard is being resurfaced from Central to the border with Atwater Village. I haven't found any information on the city's website about the duration of the project. Hopefully this fixes the lumpy pavement on the south side of Los Feliz that I always have to dodge on my road bike.

Unless you really want to get filthy, you'll probably want to use Chevy Chase to Brunswick to Los Feliz or Glendale Blvd as an alternate route into Atwater Village for the next week or so.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Obama In Nevada

Here are a few photos from the highlight of my productive and exhausting weekend in Nevada.

My Dad took this one.

Friday, October 24, 2008

King Kong At The Alex This Saturday

I'm out of town this weekend, but if I was in Glendale tomorrow, I'd definitely be at the screening of King Kong at the Alex Theatre with Ray Bradbury at 2pm. More info at the Alex site here:

Alex Film Society and Carl Denham Present: King Kong

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Bus Shelter Car Crash: The Sequel

Glendale, this is why we can't have nice things: for the second time in 4 days, a car has destroyed a brand new bus shelter, this time at the northwest corner of Central and Chevy Chase. According to an officer at the scene, a northbound tan vehicle collided with a westbound Nissan Altima, sending the Nissan into the bus stop. No one was injured, although apparently a pedestrian crossing the street at the time narrowly avoided being squashed.

On a related note, last Wednesday evening a sedan jumped a curb and crashed into the Way To Happiness Foundation building at Broadway and Maryland. Way to go, Glendale drivers. Slow down and pay attention: your life and the lives of those around you depend on it. We're very fortunate that no pedestrians have been killed during this week's sidewalk demolition derby.

Scary Product: Rotten Realty Sign

I'm guessing this will be a best-seller this year. Spotted at the Spirit Halloween Store.

Scary Product: Butter Pound Cake Candles

This didn't smell very good. Spotted at Rite-Aid.

Galleria Vinyl Banners Finally Removed

The tacky vinyl banners on the side of the Glendale Galleria facing the Americana were finally removed last week.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Bus Stop Car Crash Information *UPDATED*

*5pm update: There are several eyewitness accounts in the comments that are worth reading.

I also updated the diagram to place the car making a left-hand turn onto California in the correct left-turn lane on Brand. My earlier version just roughly placed the NB car on Brand, and I didn't mean to imply that the left turning car wasn't in the proper lane. I stopped by the crash site this afternoon and added the skid marks I observed to the diagram. Remarkably, the demolished bus shelter has already been completely removed.

Here is some more information regarding the major bus stop car crash on Brand yesterday evening from Glendale PD spokesman Tom Lorenz:
A vehicle s/b Brand collided with a vehicle n/b Brand at the intersection of California. The s/b vehicle continued s/b (over 200 feet of skid marks), jumped the curb, and continued s/b on the west sidewalk of Brand. The vehicle sheared off a light post, demolished the bus stop, and sheared off a 25’ tree, then eventually came to rest as it collided with the Japanese and Argentinean restaurants. The vehicle then caught fire in the engine compartment. The fire was extinguished with a fire extinguisher retrieved from the trunk of a patrol vehicle. Both vehicles were totaled and damage spread debris in the area, to include battery acid from a vehicle battery that was broken in half. The driver of the n/b vehicle suffered a broken leg and was transported to USC in stable condition. The driver and two passengers of the s/b vehicle complained of pain; the driver was transported to a local hospital. Fortunately, no pedestrians or restaurant patrons were injured.
Thank goodness no one was waiting for a bus or leaving El Morfi. I made a map of the crash based on the new info. I'm speculating that the NB driver was turning left, I don't positively know that but it seems like the most plausible scenario. The Google Maps image is a bit outdated- the sidewalk is currently much wider, which I indicated with the dotted black line.

Car Accident Destroys New Bus Shelter On Brand

I returned home from Nevada tonight and was greeted with this horrible sight on Brand Boulevard. A Toyota jumped the curb and plowed into a bus shelter, destroying the shelter and eventually crashing into El Morfi Grill and Aoba Sushi. I hope no one was seriously injured. To do this much damage, the Toyota must've really been moving.

Glendale In the LA Weekly

There have been two Glendale specific articles in the LA Weekly worth reading over the last few weeks:

Going Carless In Glendale and Montrose

Down and Out at the Americana

Friday, October 17, 2008

Downtown Glendale Mervyn's To Close

Along with every other Mervyn's. All 149 stores will be liquidated over the holidays.

From LA Biz Observed:
Directors of the Hayward-based department store chain, now in bankruptcy protection, have determined that a going-out-of-business sale during the holiday season offers the best chance to pay up creditors. After that, the business will wind down and its 149 stores will close, including locations all over Socal.
Franklin Avenue's Mike speculated on what might become of the location several months ago (before the Glendale location was scheduled to close):
For the Glendale Galleria, that [Mervyn's closing]could be a good thing. Mervyn's doors represent the Galleria's only entrance on Brand -- and anyone interested in hitting the Galleria from the street has to go through a Mervyn's maze before finally hitting the mall. Now that the Americana has added tons of foot traffic to that part of Brand, the Galleria would be wise to construct a brand new mall opening there, coupled with new, smaller retail space, rather than attempt to find another department store to fill the void.
I absolutely agree. Here's the hard, uninviting current entrance:

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Pounding the Pavement

Glendale's own Franklin Avenue has rounded up a list of big walks that are coming up over the next few weeks.

Forthcoming walks include:
If you plan on doing any of these walks, start by doing shorter walks now and building up your endurance. When I first walked Wilshire two years ago (with no preparation), I did fine until mile 10-- after that I was really in pain, and very sore for a week afterwards. During last year's Pico walk I was in much better shape generally and better prepared, and completed the 16 mile trek without any problems.

One of the best ways to start building your endurance is to join the Sierra Club on a free night hike in Griffith Park. Multiple group hikes from beginner to advanced skill levels depart from the upper merry-go-round parking lot every Tuesday and Thursday night at 7pm.

Also, and I can't emphasize this enough: buy really nice socks. I'm partial to double-layer WrightSocks, which I buy on clearance from REI Outlet.

This weekend I'll be doing some urban walking of my own: I'm driving to Nevada to canvass for Obama. I went to Nevada in 2004 for Kerry and found that pounding the pavement is much more rewarding than sitting at home stewing in anger at the news.

Dog Sledding At the Central Library?

Two interesting posts from the (very small) Glendale oriented blogosphere:

Monday, October 13, 2008

One Coffee Break, Two Terrifying Visions

The cafe at Borders has introduced calorie counts to the dessert case, thereby providing a terrifying glimpse of the future. Governor Schwarzenegger recently signed a bill requiring calorie and fat information to be listed on the menus of large chain restaurants in California, so no more munching down on carrot cake in nutritionally ignorant bliss...970 calories in one slice!

Also spotted on Brand.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Weekend Events: Unity Fest

In addition to the car show at the Americana and the Glendale Historical Society's tour of Glendale mid-century modern homes, this Sunday is also Glendale Unity Fest(PDF), which will be taking over the 300 block of Brand Blvd. between 11am and 4pm.

Here are the features listed on the flyer.

Glendale Chamber Choir
INCA (Peruvian Musical Ensemble)
VISA Band (international/Armenian/Greek)
Japanese Taiko Drums
Azteca Dance
Chinese Lion Dragon
Kultura Philippine Folk Art
Folklorico Group
Media City Ballet Russian Nutcracker

Childrens area: bounce castle, obstacle course, pony rides, Book Mobile, Park N' Play, climbing wall, carnival games

Antiques, Collectibles, Crafts and Jewelry

The Montrose Harvest Market will also be at Unity Fest, featuring fresh produce, baked goods, flowers and plants.

Unity Fest is a free event, and free parking is available at the Orange Street garage.

Better yet, walk, bike, or drop 25 cents and take the Glendale Beeline.

Two Weird Burglaries

Two weird items reported stolen in burglaries reported to Glendale PD. From the Police Report:
 1500 block of Royal Boulevard: A 51-year-old South Pasadena man reported Tuesday that the house he was working at as a general contractor was burglarized. A garbage disposal, flat-screen TV, DVD player, sink faucet, dishes, a saxophone and flute were stolen.

 600 block of South Street: A 24-year-old Glendale woman reported Wednesday that her house was burglarized. A $6,200 ruby-encrusted cellphone, $3,000 in cash, a diamond necklace, three watches and personal documents were stolen.
The burglar in the first incident literally stole the kitchen sink...and the garbage disposal to go with! Also, note to self: do not encrust cell-phone with $6,200 in rubies.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Weekend Events: Cars & Architecture

Classic cars and classic homes. Time-wise, you should be able to do both.

From The Americana and The Petersen Museum: the annoyingly named
"Caruso Concours d’Elegance."
The Green will set the stage for over 25 classic, rare, and in many cases, priceless automobiles, with awards being presented. Come see The Americana at Brand be transformed into every car enthusiast's dream!
And, much less ostentatiously named, from the Glendale Historical Society:
Modestly Modern Glendale
Sunday, October 12th from 10am to 5pm
A self driving tour of 5 mid-20th century masterpieces you've never heard of.
More info at the Glendale Historical Society site and in this article from the Glendale News-Press.

Crumbs Bake Shop Opening In Glendale

I don't really "get" the whole gourmet cupcake trend, but Crumbs Bake Shop will soon be dishing them out at the Americana, right next to Granville Cafe.

Murder On The Freeway

Early this morning a man was shot and killed while riding a motorcycle on a connector road between the 210 and 2 freeways.

From the Daily News:

Manuel Vincent Martin, 32, of Venice Beach was shot about 2 a.m. while riding his motorcycle on the connector road linking the eastbound Foothill and southbound Glendale freeways, authorities said.

Firefighters and California Highway Patrol officers found Martin's motorcycle in the bushes along the connector and his body nearby.

Police questioned a shirtless motorcyclist with a large tattoo on his back that said "Mongols" - likely referring to the Mongols Motorcycle Club, a motorcycle gang founded in Montebello in the 1970s.

The connector roads linking the 210 and 2 freeways were shut down, along with the Foothill Boulevard on-ramp to the southbound 2, clogging roadways during the morning commute.

More coverage:
Glendale News-Press
LA Times
Google News

This is the fourth homicide in Glendale so far this year. The News-Press article summarizes the others:
The last homicide occurred May 30 on the 600 block of West Stocker Street.

Yvette Hakopian, 36, of Glendale was found strangled to death inside her home. Her ex-boyfriend, Grigor Grigoryan, was later arrested and charged in connection with her death.

On May 17, Hayk Torosyan, 30, of Glendale was stabbed to death by Avetis Barnasyan, 24, during a physical altercation in the Del Taco parking lot at 2101 W. Glenoaks Blvd.

Barnasyan was not charged with Torosyan’s death because police ruled that he had acted in self-defense. The year’s first homicide was that of 20-month-old Mikea Lim.

The baby was taken off life support in March after she was found to be brain-dead from severe head injuries allegedly sustained at her grandparents’ home in Glendale.

Her mother, Anna Regina Lim, was charged with murder.

My CNG Fill-Up Photo Shows Up In...

...the November issue of Diesel Power magazine. They saw my photo on flickr and licensed it for use in an article about CNG. Thanks, Diesel Power.

Just to torment you gasoline drivers out there-- on my way down to San Diego for the Miramar Airshow this weekend, I filled up at a station in Carlsbad for $2.33 per gallon equivalent.

Monday, October 6, 2008

Miramar Air Show

Anne and I headed to San Diego this past weekend for the Miramar Air Show. My flickr set is here: Miramar Air Show 2008.
A selection:

FourOneSix Condos Delayed Until January

Not too surprising. From the News-Press:
Beset by a distressed economy and a soaring number of city inspections, the FourOneSix mixed-use condominium project on Broadway Avenue has pushed back its opening to January and will wait until its debut to push ahead with unit sales, officials said Friday.

After the project was approved more than two years ago, officials have sold just 14 of 115 units, according to officials with the development firm Intercorp, which is overseeing the project.
Their sales office on Brand has been open for about two years. I like the location - safe (next to the police department) and equidistant between Trader Joe's/Ralphs and downtown Glendale.

Friday, October 3, 2008

Overhaul Of Fidelity Federal Building Nearly Complete

The overhaul of the W.A. Sarmiento 1956 Fidelity Federal Building at Broadway and Louise into conventional office space is nearly complete. While the groovy 50's louvers were lost in the overhaul, the building remains fairly attractive.
Here it is this week:

Here is the building before construction began, from the EIR:

For historical interest, here is a rendering of the earlier "Animation Bank" museum that was once proposed for the site:

I found this image on the website of Osborn Architects, who also designed the Park(ing) Day LA temporary park on Brand a few weeks ago.

I work in animation, so it's very disappointing that the animation museum won't be built. On the other hand, it will be a relief to see this building occupied, as it's been vacant during the four-plus years I've been working downtown.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Twinkles Finally Opens Downtown

Downtown yogurt shop Twinkles has finally opened on Brand Boulevard, on the same block as Dolci Mango. The interior is over the top, with pulsing lights, costumed employees, LCD screens, and obnoxious thumping techno music.

While the decor left me yearning for the simple comforts of a couch and a newspaper, Twinkles is now the least expensive of the downtown froyo shops at $0.30 cents an ounce with unlimited toppings. They also have a 18 or so flavors available that rotate on a daily basis. In addition to the industry standard plain flavor, a specifically "tart" yogurt option is offered, which I prefer.