Monday, April 30, 2007

Just Call Me Uncle Rocket Fever

Heartiest of huzzahs go to Sarah and Chris Kirby, who've just given birth to Brianna Bailey! Ma and Joe were on their way to see the little squirt this morning.

The Kirbys are fast outpacing the Gaineses in the baby department. Time to get crackin', Sister.


More on this later, but did you know there's actual life south of the 10 freeway in Los Angeles?


More on this later too, but I was on C-SPAN's Book TV this weekend!


I basically just realized the NBA playoffs were going on.


Brady Quinn. Ha ha.


Safe journey to Karis Eklund, who's flying back across the pond today.

Thursday, April 26, 2007

Welcome to Lake Balboa. You No Longer Live In Lake Balboa

Only in Los Angeles. Some folks up in the Valley wanted to disassociate themselves from the grittiness (I assume) of Van Nuys, so they had the city slap a new label on their neighborhood. But it was never official! There is no Lake Balboa!

Kind of like there never was any Lansing.

This brings up all my favorite questions: What is a city? Who decides what is and isn't a neighborhood? What's more powerful: the will of the people, or the bureaucratic responsibilities of their elective representatives? Just because there's technically no Lake Balboa, the people "there" have been using that name for years ... so isn't it really Lake Balboa?

What's in a name?

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

I Don't Like the New Bank of America Branch in Los Feliz

Hey, you. Yeah, you.

I don't like you. That's right, new Bank of America branch at Hillhurst and Franklin avenues. I don't like you a bit.

I don't like your stupid building, your stupid colors, or your stupid huge logos. I don't like you coming into my neighborhood all big and bold, thinking that you can just shove your signage in the face of Los Feliz and get away with it. I'm not the only one who doesn't like you. There are others too.

I mean, you are ugly. It looks like you were painted with Muppet puke. And your little attempts at landscaping are pathetic. You are such a letdown. For months, we wondered what that patch of dirt was going to become. A clothing boutique no one shops at? A Pinkberry? Maybe another yoga studio? Nope. Just a boring, stupid bank branch.

And what's the deal with that stupid detail on the wall facing the alley with the dry cleaner? What's that supposed to be? It looks like a porthole to second-rate exterior designers' hell. And who's supposed to see it? The dry-cleaner owners, who just so happen to have X-ray vision?

Also, you'd better leave my Citibank branch alone. Its building is much more attractive, and it's covered in appealing bricks, not a cheesy ketchup-and-mustard motif. If anything happens to my Citibank, you're in for it. Especially that cute little Armenian teller who I have the secret crush on. If you touch so much as a hair on her head ...

So be on notice, B of A branch. You're being watched.

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Good Will

I'd like to thank all of those who contributed to my fund-raising efforts for the Hollywood Wilshire YMCA's new homeless shelter. My goal was $500, and I ended up raising $570. I know none of us is made of cash, so I truly appreciate your generosity. Here's the honor roll:

Gretchen and Joe Kirby
Eric Gaines
Ray and Joan Mellinger
Joel and Mary Mellinger family
Beth Jones and Cameron Jackson
Derek Thomas and Aya Nakajima
Virginia Fanos (Alethia Calagias' grandmother)
Sivert and Mary Glarum family
Ryan Ahrens
Joe and Katie Rexrode family
Adrian Rogers
Kate Cosgrove and Chris Tyler
Becky and Mike Hudson
Lawrence E. Forbes

You guys rock!

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Good Kids

S'newsers and others should enjoy this video taking a look at the student newspaper at Virginia Tech. If this would have happened at Michigan State back in the late 1990s, we all would have had the same response: Work on the story nonstop, do the university proud. It's getting to the point in my career where such purpose is becoming an abstraction. Thank goodness for college journalists.

Monday, April 16, 2007

Good Lord

The body count in Blacksburg is now 31. This is awful, stunning news. Southwest Virginia is such a peaceful, beautiful part of this country.

My former employer, The Roanoke Times, is doing a great job following the story.

The Monday Stretch

I'm so proud of my Ryan Ward! He had his rock 'n' roll debut during a night of film and spoken word at the Echo Park Film Center. His girl Naz Arandi also had a couple knockout film shorts. Culture!

Ward did great. Very happy to see him up there, rocking his keester off.

Video with no audio here.
Audio with no video here.


The word of the day is mechatronics.


Saw Grindhouse at a drive-in theater in City of Industry this weekend with some L.A. Weekly folks and other fine characters (thanks to Rena for driving!). Let me just say this was the most fun I've had in L.A. in quite a while. Highly recommended. Coming up, per Matt Fleischer's suggestion: A day at the tracks in Santa Anita, followed by a drive-in show in Industry.


Later this week: I take aim at the awful new Bank of America branch in the neighborhood.


AND FINALLY: When your team is winning, hot Hollywood starlets pimp your gear. Who's the boss?

Sunday, April 15, 2007

GOOD MORNING: First words heard upon turning on the radio this morning

"... while walking into the path of an oncoming Metro train."

Friday, April 13, 2007

Three-Car Accident at Hillhurst and Finley

There was a nasty car accident right outside my apartment tonight. Mike dropped me off after a trip to the Brite Spot. The crash happened before we arrived.

If there were ambulances, they were there before I got there. I only saw police.

It was a fairly laid-back scene. People crowded around, but were respectful. Everyone talked about what a mad intersection this is. And they're right. I see near misses about once a week at the intersection of Hillhurst and Finley avenues.

I don't have any solid information on injuries.

Photos at Flickr.
Videos at YouTube.

Thursday, April 12, 2007

Steve and Erin Davis!

I've been utterly delinquent in posting about the Steve and Erin Davis visit to L.A. recently. We of course had a helluva time with the first family of Greenville. Highlights included:

  • An in-studio visit to WBFK from Lynn Jepson, and an Erin Davis-voiced H&G spot that could become a classic.
  • A visit to Santa Anita, in which Steve won a cool $90.
  • Eating.
  • A Vinny Chase sighting by Steve at the Brazilian restaurant in my building.

There are no two finer people to have for a visit than Team Davis. Enjoy the TV, guys!

Too much coffee at Alcove.

Steve's shades.

My shades.

Who doesn't enjoy Yuca's?

This television traveled 2,390 miles to end up in the Davis household. Many lives were almost lost in its transport.

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Oh, hell.

It's awful to say: Bradbury can't be far behind.

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Truth, And a Good Story

It seems my City Desk piece is generating a bit of a discussion.

Monday, April 09, 2007

The Monday Stretch

Many thanks to R.J. White, who was good enough to publish my piece about a hubristic auto salesman on his must-read fiction blog The City Desk. I got the idea after reading about a scheme to transfer thousands of feet worth of "air rights" above the L.A. Convention Center to other downtown buildings to allow for more vertical construction.

I love the concept of a bureaucracy taking empty air and transferring its development potential to another place. It's a beautiful melding of mundane city politics and mastery over our intangible/tangible physical space.

(If you haven't spent any time at The City Desk, please do so. R.J. was on top of this whole fictional-city-as-protagonist deal months before we dreamed up Great Haven.)


Huzzahs are in order for the Michigan State icers, champions of the world!


Hud and I took a great hike in the Arroyo Seco watershed on Saturday. Take a look.


Saw The Lookout last night. It was aiight. Good suspense, but the ending was a bit too tidy for my taste. I have to say, though, Jeff Daniels might end up being one of my favorite actors. Yeah, there's some Michigander bias working here, but I can't think of one thing he's ever done that I've found objectionable. Often, he ends up quietly being the best thing about any movie he's in. Like a good Michigan boy should.

Friday, April 06, 2007

Starmichael in Love

Great Haven's own Jeffrey Starmichael, proprietor of gag shop Num-Num's and recovering model airplane fuel addict, has found love ... in all the wrong places? You decide!

Thursday, April 05, 2007

The Rocket Fever Wisconsin Report

  • In Kenosha, a woman gets her hand caught in the chocolate vat.
  • In Norway, a fictitious human does fairly well as a write-in candidate in a village council race.
  • And in western Racine County, a dead man wins the race to be town chairman.

Why didn't anyone tell me this place was so nutty?


I'll also have you people know I just burned my grilled-cheese sandwich to get this post out. I hope you're happy.

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Jon Brunt, Do We Have a Job for You!

Looks like the old college rag is casting about for a new editorial sage.

Link courtesy M.C. Hudson.

Sunday, April 01, 2007


Episode Fourteen of the buzzworthy
Hudson & Gaines!

This time, we tackle the thorny social issue of homelessness. Start off your work week the right way ... the Great Haven way.