July 31, 2008

Life Costs Less Just Across the Tracks in Glendale

THE HIGH COST OF living in the Big City, from a report on LA City Council's vote to raise trash rates to $36/month:
Atwater Village resident Dennis Keene said the council is ignoring the cumulative effect of fees, charges and taxes.

Keene said he paid $639 last year in city charges on his cell phone, land-line phone, cable, natural gas, sewer service, trash collection and electric bills. The trash-fee increase will add $350 a year, he said, for a total more than the $674 he pays in property tax for the duplex he bought in 1972.
The City of Glendale, just a stroll away, collects trash and recycling for as little as $16.96/month.

July 29, 2008

My First Earthquake: The Aftermath

My First Earthquake: Aftermath
I STOPPED HOME for lunch today, checked on pets and stuff after LA's 5.4 earthquake. Everything looked OK. It was all in place. Except this book, which had slipped from a pile on our wooden bench. On the floor it landed, waiting for the aftershock: Hidden Southern California.

Page 20: "Earthquakes still rattle the region with disturbing frequency."

My First Earthquake: A Retrospective

I LOST MY earthquake virginity this morning, in the 5.8 magnitude quake that hit the greater Los Angeles area.

(Make that 5.4, or whatever they've downgraded it to.)

I was at work, in a nondescript 2-story box in northwest Glendale, about 4 miles from Atwater Village. The lights rattled, the floor shook, and a lot of us dashed under desks. (The rest wondered if they should crawl around with us, leave the building, or what.)

No injuries to report amongst our 100+ co-workers. No damage to our pens and pencils and Internet connections. Cell phone service was slow, probably from overloaded networks as everyone called to make sure everyone was OK.

And everyone is OK, it seems. Although nearly an hour later, I still feel like the earth is shaking around me.

See what happened at the USGS Los Angeles earthquake map and ongoing coverage at Curbed LA.

And even though this was my first since moving to LA about 2.5 years ago, Mrs. Newbie lost her EQV back in August 2007.

July 25, 2008

Atwater Chatter: Summer Recreation Edition

THE INTERNETS ARE full of recreational news from in and around our little canoe-shaped LA neighborhood of Atwater Village:
  • How Much to Play the Los Feliz Par-3 Golf Course: Non-resident weekday play is now $8.50, up from $4.25, and replays are now $6.00 instead of $2.50. [Tropico Station]
  • How Far Can Someone Boat Down the LA River: Los Angeles River Expedition, Day 2, July 26, 5:30 pm. Atwater Village, Yoga Park, Los Feliz Blvd. at LA River, 100 feet downriver on east side of river at Dover St. A speaker will address the crew and anyone else who wants to show up as supporters. [CJ's Blog]
  • How Much to Rent the Back Room at The Griffin: To rent the back bar/room (really nice, BTW) you'll need to have a $500 minimum bar tab, including 20% (or more) gratuity on a Saturday, and the space is yours from 8 until 11pm. [Caroline on Crack]
  • How to Get a Good Pair of Clogs: I asked Corina Weibel, chef-owner of Canele in Atwater Village - and inveterate clog-wearer - where to go shoe-shopping. She sent me to a little shop in Larchmont, where I found perhaps the coolest clogs ever. [LA Times Daily Dish]

July 24, 2008

Free Sake at Kuma Sushi (Some Hoops Apply)

THE NEWLY RE-CHRISTENED Kuma Sushi (formerly Asia Bistro) (formerly Asia Los Feliz) spammed its mailing list with an offer for "free" sake. The hoops to jump through are as follows:
  • On Monday, July 28, take a printed copy of the email to Kuma Sushi, order a minimum of $20 for your table, and the restaurant will buy the table hot sake.
  • On Tuesday, July 29, take a printed copy of the email to Kuma Sushi, order a minimum of $20 for your table, and the restaurant will buy the table Nama (cold) sake.
  • On Wednesday, July 30, take a printed copy of the email to Kuma Sushi, order a minimum of $20 for your table, and the restaurant will buy the table a Salmon Carpaccio appetizer.
I loaded a screen capture of Kuma Sushi's email to this post. (I assume just showing your server the email on a Blackberry or iPhone probably won't cut it.)

Since Kuma Sushi revealed customers' email addresses in a CC instead of hiding them in a BCC, I figure it's OK to reveal the email.

Go get some "free" sake, dear readers, at 3179 Los Feliz Blvd.

July 23, 2008

Short Shameless Admission

Spelling Manor, Holmby Hills
THE FLICKR PAGE for my aerial photograph of the Spelling mansion, "The Manor," in Holmby Hills, is the top Google result for the manor holmby hills.

Even Exchange? Atwater Village for Brooklyn

MICRO-MAGAZINE MAGNATE Jay Babcock, of off-and-on Arthur magazine, has given up the shores of the LA River for the most populous borough of NYC. "Kaput" is his fascinating Nature Trumps blog as well as his magazine's Atwater Village HQ. From Brooklyn he reports to LA Observed:
"I lived in Atwater Village, beneath the police and tv helicopters, and amidst the almost-nightly gunfire and break-ins... I don't want to live anymore in the psychic death hole that is Carusoland. And I don't want to be there when the next earthquake hits, or when Griffith Park and the Hollywood Hills finally burn."
Arthur, a publication where words like hirsute will always feel safe from those psychic death holes and burning hills, continues to publish from a part of NYC that is mysteriously whited out on Google Maps Street View.

Meantime, Babcock rips another new one in LA's ass via the LA Times: "For a long time now I’ve been going back and forth between LA and New York, and every time I got off the plane in LA I felt dumber."

Werner Herzog be damned.

July 22, 2008

Ride While It Lasts: New Bike Lane on Fletcher

Fletcher Drive DIY 'Bike Lane' Map
UNSEEN, UNOFFICIAL POWERS have drawn a bike lane across Fletcher Drive's bridge over the Los Angeles River in South Atwater Village. Metroblogging LA has pictures. Were the city to see it, like it and officially designate it with paint or something, this do-it-yourself lane could make a great connector to the LA River bike path. Then again, who needs the city? Some DIY projects stay up for years.

July 21, 2008

'Best of LA' 2008 Winner in Atwater Village

THE LIST OF this year's 152 winners in Los Angeles Magazine's Best of LA includes just one spot in Atwater Village: The Racket Doctor.
Best Tennis Shop: A technician refurbishing an expensive Volkl C-10 racket at one of the eight stringing machines at The Racket Doctor wears surgical scrubs. Clerks selling Adidas Barricade shoes and Prince tennis shirts sport shirts labeled FASHION ICU. More than just a gimmick, the staff's wardrobe testifies to the level of service it provides to rank amateurs and ranked pros. Owner Randy Kramer opened the business in 1970 after working at a shop at Griffith Park's municipal courts. He prides himself on his vast inventory (cheap balls and top-of-the-line gut string) and informed employees (who advise beginners to buy intermediate-level rackets they can grow into). 3214 Glendale Blvd., Atwater Village, 323-663-6601, racketdoctor.com
LA Mag's website posts a sampling of other Best of LA 2008 winners. See all of them in August's print edition.

July 17, 2008

Touchups for Starbucks on Glendale Blvd.

Atwater Village Mural Clean Up, originally uploaded by Luis Lopez.

LOOKS LIKE THIS corporate coffee shop isn't yet on the chopping block.

Yard Sale! (But Not on a Ski Slope)

SUNDAY! SUNDAY! SUNDAY! Friends of Glenfeliz Elementary hosts a yard sale (they call it a rummage sale) from 8:00am to noon on July 20 at 3717 Valleybrink Road. Got junk in your trunk? Donate it on Saturday before 4:00pm or call 213-200-0463.

July 15, 2008

Metrolink Killer Gets Life Without Parole

THIS JUST IN: Jury recommends life without parole for Juan Manuel Alvarez. The convicted murderer of 11 people who died in the January 2005 train crash in Atwater Village was sentenced today to life in prison without the possibility of parole. The jury reached its verdict, deciding against a possible death penalty, after less than a half-day of deliberation.

July 14, 2008

Bicyclists Have Feelings Too, AVNC Decrees

Cycling Into the Sunset II
IN A LANDSLIDE last week, the Atwater Village Neighborhood Council voted to recommend the Cyclist's Bill of Rights. Among its notable aspirations:
  • Cyclists have the right to travel safely and free of fear.
  • Cyclists have the right to the full support of our judicial system...
  • Cyclists have the right to be secure in their persons and property...
It's about time! Now, before some punk goes and smashes in more car windows in the neighborhood, what can we do to ensure the rest of us are "free of fear," "secure" in our "property" with "the full support of our judicial system"?

July 12, 2008

Newbie Endorsement: Breakfast at Baracoa

RICE AND EGGS, sunny side up. Chorizo omelette. Plantains. All good stuff available from 7:00am at Baracoa Cuban Cafe, 3175 Glendale Blvd. And they don't even complain too much if you bring your own coffee.

July 11, 2008

Under New Management: Asia Bistro is Now Kuma Sushi

IT SEEMS THE experiment failed. Just 2 months ago, the 2-year-old Asia Los Feliz changed its name to Asia Bistro and stripped sushi from the menu. Now it seems sushi's back, under a new name, Kuma Sushi, and, according to the sign above 3179 Los Feliz Blvd., under new management.

They also cut down the brown fencing around the front patio. Hey, whatever will work.

July 10, 2008

Where They Stash the Metrolink Train Wreckage

THANKS TO birds-eye views from Windows Live Local, you can see where Metrolink stores its blue-wrapped wreckage from the 2005 crash that killed 11 people. Four rail cars sit near tracks south of Western Avenue in Glendale.

Yesterday the trains were uncovered for TV choppers and jurors in the sentencing trial of Juan Manuel Alvarez, the man found guilty of causing the wreck about 3 miles south of here in Atwater Village.

July 9, 2008

Metrolink Wreckage Paraded for TV News, Jurors

NEWS HELICOPTERS circled Glendale around San Fernando Road and Western Avenue today as Metrolink displayed wreckage from the 2005 derailment caused by Juan Manuel Alvarez. Jurors in his sentencing trial are taking a field trip today to see 4 rail cars involved in the Atwater Village crash that killed 11 people. Watch the news tonight!

July 8, 2008

Crime Map Update: Someone Hates Larga Street!

Atwater Village Crime Spree 2008 Map
FROM A CONCERNED reader: "Looks like car windows are being smashed at random in Atwater. My car was hit 2x. If you could, could you alert the community via your blog?"

Done. And the Atwater Village Crime Spree 2008 map is updated with reports from the AVNC Forum. We had at least 5 car break-ins on Larga Street just below Glendale Boulevard, and something that sounded more like gunshots than fireworks at Chevy Chase Park.

Keep calling the LAPD, neighbors. It ain't over yet.

July 2, 2008

Atwater Chatter: Food and Fun Edition

TASTY NEWS from in and around the increasingly less gang-tolerant northeast LA neighborhood of Atwater Village: