Sunday, September 27, 2009

GCC Planetarium: The Coolest Thing I've Ever Seen In Glendale

The GCC Planetarium show is the most amazing thing I've ever seen in Glendale. If you've seen the planetarium show at the Griffith Observatory it will merely function as a warmup for the planetarium at GCC. At Griffith, an actor holding a glowing orb narrates a (pretty cool) movie about the universe, which is projected onto the dome. GCC's show is entirely different. For onething, the dome is much smaller, so the effective resolution and brightness of the projected images is much, much better than Griffith.

Most importantly, at GCC, an actual very knowledgeable astronomy professor (Paul Buehler) uses an amazing digital 3d system to literally fly you around the universe, and shows you whatever you, the audience, want to see, while very knowledgeably explaining the actual science behind why we know these things and what they mean. Nearly the entire presentation is based on the questions asked by the audience.

The first question was asked by a 4 year old girl: "Do fairies live on other planets?" Professor Buehler calmly explained that given what we now know about the number of habitable planets in the universe, statistically, its very likely that fairies DO exist out there on some other planet.

Visually, the dome is amazing. Hundreds of different datasets from satellites and probes can be loaded into the system and shown on the fly, as well as high resolution imagery from Hubble or any other source. It's way, way cool -- and a tremendous mental workout. For the first 45 minutes I was able to keep up with the staggering scale changes and conceptual leaps necessary to understand the universe, but after that I just let the narration wash over me and soaked in the imagery. My mind was blown.

"Evening With the Stars" schedule:

Friday, September 25, 2009

Video of SUV Crashing Into Movses Pastry

Unbelievable video of an SUV plowing into Movses Pastry on Glenoaks this Tuesday. The action starts a minute into the video. Their baklava is delicious, by the way. (via Vince and Harsanik)

Related story in the News-Press.

Free Zankou Wraps

Yes, a buy one wrap-get one free deal at the Zankou on Glenoaks. This coupon was in yesterdays Pennysaver that was stuffed in my mailbox - and which I usually throw out immediately. I will start paying attention to them if they have Zankou coupons!

Museum of Neon Art Coming To Glendale!

Fantastic news - the Museum of Neon Art is moving to a city owned building in downtown Glendale! The museum will be in the building on Brand that housed Rite Aid before Rite Aid moved just across the street to the Americana. This is the most exciting bit of movement downtown in a long time. How nice to have an actual attraction downtown rather than endless, boring retail. I'm also excited because the museum also hosts concerts and other cultural events, and I'm sure they will continue that in Glendale as well. Thanks to the city council, and especially John Drayman, who actively pushed to make this happen.

Next - lets get an art theater into the Mann Exchange 10 when its lease expires...

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Glendale Murder #2: Michelle Levin, 35*

Michelle Levin, 35. Here she is with her husband John, who is suspected of murdering her (and their dog) with a knife. Police found Michelle's body on Friday at their apartment in the 200 block of West Fairview Avenue. John went missing, and was apprehended by Border Protection agents at the Canadian border. Here's a picture of John from his Facebook profile.

from the News-Press:
The Los Angeles County district attorney on Monday charged John Levin with one count of murder, identifying the weapon as a knife. He was also charged with one felony count of animal cruelty, according to the complaint filed in Los Angeles Superior Court.

In an announcement from U.S. Customs, officials noted that John Levin’s wrists “were injured and oozing blood” at the time he was taken into custody.

Glendale police Sgt. Tom Lorenz said it appeared as if Michelle Levin had been dead for several days when discovered. Police officers responded to the scene after receiving a call from someone concerned about the pair’s whereabouts, he added.

“The evidence and investigation lead us to believe that there was some foul play, and because the husband was nowhere to be found . . . we put a missing-persons alert out on him,” Lorenz said.
from Customs and Border Protection:

CBP officers of the Blaine Anti-Terrorism Contraband Enforcement Team were conducting routine outbound operations at the Peace Arch port of entry when John Levin, 44, approached the officers driving his 2009 Volkswagen EOS. A query of the vehicle’s license plate resulted in an NCIC alert for a missing person. The record also stated that Levin’s wife had been found deceased under suspicious circumstances.

The CBP officers immediately removed Levin from the vehicle. When placing him in handcuffs, they noticed that his wrists were injured and oozing blood. The Glendale Police Department was contacted by CBP and they confirmed their interest in Levin as a murder suspect. After Glendale police obtained a no bail felony arrest warrant, CBP turned Levin over to the Whatcom County Sheriff’s Office to await the arrival of Glendale detectives.

Update 06/15/11:

John Levin has been found guilty -

A 46-year-old Glendale man was found guilty today of killing his wife and microwaving his Pomeranian to death before fleeing the state, officials said.

Jurors deliberated for a day and half before finding John Levin guilty of the second-degree murder of his wife, Michelle Levin, said Jane Robison, a Los Angeles County District Attorney spokeswoman.

John Levin pleaded guilty to a felony animal cruelty for microwaving his dog before jurors returned with a verdict, she added.

He is expected to be sentenced July 19 in the Los Angeles County Superior Court in Pasadena. He faces 16 years to life in prison for both counts, Robison said.

I did a quick update post here.