Monday, July 31, 2006

National Night Out

Tomorrow night is National Night Out. As far as I know, there are about four block parties happening around Sherman Oaks, but I won't list them since they are really for the neighbors on those specific street.

But the one public one is open at the Sherman Oaks Galleria which begins at 7 p.m. Park and go to the front of the mall where the fountains are. If you want free validated parking, LAPD Senior Lead Office, Geroge Aguilar, will have 100 or so passes. But you're going to eat dinner there anyway, right?

Sunday, July 30, 2006

Our Tree Fell Today

An olive tree got top heavy and fell from LA River property into our garden apartment's parking lot. The backlot was blocked, my car in the frontside was not. Too bad I rode my bike around anyway today.

Upon calling 311 a few times, we found out that this was happening all over the city today. But I realized I should probably call the county since it is really their deal. Being jaded about the county, I thought no one would pick up and this issue would not be resolved anytime soon.

But the county slowly is turning my head around. With around 90,000 employees, today was quite an efficient and satisfying experience. I called, they called back, they came, it was done. All within a hour.

"We do more by 9 a.m. than the city does the whole week."
~ Anonymous County Employee

Saturday, July 29, 2006

Brogin v. Kovacevich: The Basketball Hoop Story

Sherman Oaks in the spotlight over an old and obscure 1936 ordinance of no fun in the streets or parks. I'm looking more into this, but in the meantime, I wrote about this on LAist.

Photo of the actual basketball hoop taken be me

Monday, July 24, 2006

I Bought A Bike Rack For My Car Today

And it's thrilling. And it's no offense to Sherman Oaks, but sometimes I just want to ride on the beach and I rather not bike the Sepulveda Pass or deal with it on a long bus ride. One of the other main reasons I wanted to get it now was that I am itching to join the Midnight Ridazz on their next ride over the hill.

But really, shouldn't the Valley get a Midnight Ridazz event? I'll slowly start to rally for it and probably get banned in the process, hehe.

Speaking of biking, when this heat gets a little less insane, I need to check out the Orange Line Bike Trail.

Photo: "Midnight Ridazz" by PangPang

Saturday, July 22, 2006

The Light Was Beautiful Today

Despite the heat, the light reminded me of a hot summer evening in Chicago where I grew up.

Thursday, July 20, 2006

The Ghetto of Bel Air

Photographer and Bel Air resident Rebecca Fenning talks about her cul-de-sac:
Technically Bel Air, but only because it's graded higher than Mulholland Drive, or some such nonsense -- Sherman Oaks is only about 5 feet away on the opposite side of the street. This cul-de-sac is the place for illicit drug deals, sketchy backseat liasons and the setting-on-fire of stolen cars. My family lives here, in the ghetto of pseudo-Bel Air.

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Coldwater Canyon: Jay Leno's City Raceway

I had a meeting in Culver City that ended at 6:00 p.m. I was not too hip on being in rush hour 405 traffic back to the Valley, so I decided to side street it back up to Sherman Oaks via Robertson - Santa Monica - Doheny - Sunset - Rexford - Beverly Dr. - Coldwater Cyn. Dr, which turns into Coldwater Cyn. Ave after Mulholland.

Yeah, I know, it's a convoluted route. Scenic, nonetheless.

And who do I see, as usual, on Coldwater Canyon? Jay Leno. This time sporting something that looks like his tank car. I've come to the conclusion that he owns this street since he is always driving up and down, to and from work, showing off his fancy ass cars. I've even seen him race down it at 2 a.m. after my friend's driving skills one night scarred him off.

Photo: OneSecondFilm via Flickr. (side note: I was there for all of the movie's shenanigans over at CalArts and even witnessed the world premiere)

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Hate Crimes on the Rise

Fortuna Ippoliti of the Mayor's office spoke of the Tarzana Temple blaze at the last SONC meeting, but I was sketchy on some details, so I didn't feel good posting about it. LAFD's blog clarifies:

On Friday, July 7, 2006 at 8:04 AM, two Companies of Los Angeles Firefighters and four LAFD Arson Investigators responded to an Incendiary Fire at 'Temple Beith David' located at 18648 Clark Street in Tarzana.

Summoned but once by a neighbor who had grown weary of hearing alarm bells ringing at the building for more than two hours, Neighborhood Firefighters arrived quickly to discover burnt debris piled against rear doors of the Jewish Temple amidst obvious signs of criminal vandalism.

In accordance with Los Angeles Fire Department protocol, the House of Worship Arson Task Force (HOWATF) was requested as Firefighters cordoned off the area and confirmed that Fire Sprinklers located under the eaves of the recently refurbished building had indeed fully extinguished the flames.
continue reading "Sprinklers Snuff Arson Fire at Tarzana Temple" + $55,000 Reward Offered

Photo: Mean Banana

Sunday, July 16, 2006

Lindsay Lohan is in town

If you've been seeing these movie set directional signs around, it's been for Georgia Rule, directed by Gary Marshall, and stars Lindsay Lohan, Jane Fonda and Felicity Huffman.

And hey, it's Lindsay Lohan. Can we say gawker gossip?

It Didn't Feel That Hot

Despite the warning, Sherman Oaks got pretty lucky in my eyes. I went to the Emergency Preparedness Fair on Saturday and while it was hot, it was not unbearable.

My apartment is a 1950's heat trap and I did not melt as usual. Yet, it is still hot and the LAFD Blog continues to be a great source of info for the heat wave:

Wildfire Danger in Southern California

Cooling Centers Open During L.A. Heat Wave

Firefighters Warn of Heat-Wave Dangers

Children, Hot Weather & Cars = Danger!

Wildfire 101: Plan For Wildfire

Photo of illegal dumping and what looks like Valleyheart, West of Woodman, by Ian Broyles

Saturday, July 15, 2006

Be Careful in the Hills and in General

Via LAObserved (and then I looked at EDIS myself). Please protect yourself:
954 AM PDT SAT JUL 15 2006


Photo: Los Angeles Fire Department

Friday, July 14, 2006

Bizen: Neighborhood's Best Sushi

To this date, this is my favourite sushi place in Sherman Oaks. Consistent readers of this site probably have figured by now that I'm a vegetarian, but my roommate, who definitely eats meat and spent a year in Japan, considers this his favourite too. He even has a good friend who drives up from Silver Lake to eat here.

Bizen is a narrow sushi and Japanese cuisine restaurant that is easy to pass by on Ventura Blvd. (it's between Sunnyslope and Greenbush). For vegetarians, there is no inari, but they serve oshinko rolls, sweet zucchini, and one fresh and colourful vegetable roll (filled with the zucchini, tomato, finely chopped carrots, mushroom, eggplant). Drop down, the best veggie roll I've ever had. Additionally, the best vegetable tempura roll as well.

For fish eaters, make sure to ask the chef what's good and fresh today. Oh, this sushi place consistently has an A rating (well, except that one time, but that shot right back up soon after).

13447 Ventura Blvd.
Sherman Oaks, CA 91423

Vegan Plate

I've recently become obsessed with Vegan Plate in Studio City. The service is a little hard sometimes, but the food is worth it: chicken nuggets, satay tofu, thai food, curries, salads and much more. By the end of this year, I should have had every item off the extremely large menu.

Vegetarians in Paradise
Happy Cow

11943 Ventura Blvd.
Studio City, CA 91604

Phone: 818-506-9015
Hours: 11:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m. daily

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

SONC July Parks Ad Hoc Committee Meeting

Tonight was the monthly Sherman Oaks Neighborhood Council (SONC) Parks Ad Hoc Committee (which has been quite an effective committee in the community). Here are interesting factoids from tonight's meeting:

  • If you've putted around at the Sherman Oaks Castle Park lately, you may have noticed the miniature golf carpet is getting a little old. Not for long. Well, not for long in government speak that is.
  • Back in March or April, an 83 year old woman didn't see a metal gate on the Authorized Vehicles Only driveway as she slowly unhitched it with her car at 5 mph and dragged it 500 feet. She realized when she parked and went into the Parks Office going "Oops!" Thing is, here we are in July and the gate is still not fixed.
  • Supposedly, on the Fourth of July, Van Nuys/Sherman Oaks (VNSO) Park was "crazy and insane." Fireworks, overcrowding and lots of garbage.
  • VNSO is not a "reservation park." Therefore, picnic permits for large groups do not exist. But park staffing is limited and it is an uncontrollable factor.
  • 3 Weeks ago on the first day of Summer Day Camps, many of the park's buildings woke up with a lot of graffiti. The head of Day Camps (I forgot her name) got creative and covered up all the graffiti temporarily with HUGE paper signs telling where parents to go. The graffiti was not seen. Kudos to this particular staff member!

Universally Accessible Playground

Flyer Distributed:

Help Us Design a Universally Accessible Playground for Van Nuys/Sherman Oaks Park

Help create a magical, full-accessible playground for ALL the children in your community!

When: Wednesday, July 26, 2006 from 6:30 p.m. to 8:00 p.m.
Where: Van Nuys/Sherman Oaks Recreation Center

Why: Children with disabilities are routinely excluded from playgrounds - and the incredible social, physical, and emotional benefits that play provides. You have the power to change that. Help the LA Department of Recreation and Parks and Shane's Inspiration design a Universally Accessible Playground in your community. This remarkable play space will offer accessible and sensory-rich equipment that will enchant and delight children with and without disabilities.

RSVP to Marjorie Stark at 818-752-5676
Space is Limited

Photo: LeRamz

Studio City's Union 76: The Ball

In a 1,000 years, will Union 76 balls be museum items?

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

St. Francis de Sales

7/11 Celebrates Birthday

I celebrated at Fulton & Moorpark. Where did you go?

Photo of the Week: Mel's Drive-in, Ventura Blvd.

Photo by Rebecca Fenning, a.k.a. Rutabegabunny.

Mel's Drive-in (it's not really a drive-in)
4846 Ventura Blvd
Sherman Oaks, CA 91403-3453

(818) 990-6357
Cross Street: Kester Avenue

Emergency Preparedness Fair this Weekend

An e-mail forwarded to me that I give to you...

A friendly reminder of Councilman Tony Cardenas and the Los Angeles
Emergency Preparedness Department's upcoming Emergency Preparedness Fair scheduled for Saturday, July 15, 2006 at the Braude Center located at 6262 Van Nuys Boulevard from 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m.

We have included in this year's program special presentations on Pandemic Flu and Anti Terrorist Awareness. Hope that you can make it and learn how to better prepare for an emergency. We will be giving away emergency kits to the first 300 attendees. Please feel free to distribute this information to your e-mail contacts.

If you have any questions please contact Arturo Gonzalez.

Thank you

Arturo Gonzalez
District Director
Councilmember Tony Cardenas
Council District Six
14410 Sylvan St. Suite 215
Van Nuys, CA 91401
(818) 778-4999
Fax: (818) 778-4998

Photo from the LAFD Flickr Page

Monday, July 10, 2006

Pagliacci's: Pizza As Big As My Face

Does it taste like New York? I have no idea. It is a culinary delight? Not really. Is it good greasy pizza? Hell yeah.

You can add ingredients on before they warm your slice up, you can get sandwiches, have yogurt or ice cream. Not a bad place. Though on a hot summer day, it's freaking hot in there. But for a relatively quick slice of pizza before you hop on the freeway, here is your spot.

4366 Coldwater Canyon
Studio City 91604, CA

Cross Street: Moorpark St.

Want to be on the Neighborhood Council?

Sherman Oaks Neighborhood Council #1The first Candidate Information Meeting will be held on Tuesday, July 11, 2006, at the Sherman Oaks Elementary School Library (14755 Greenleaf, Sherman Oaks).

All stakeholders who may have an interest in running for a Neighborhood Council seat in Areas 1, 3, 5, or 7 in the September 11, 2006 election are encouraged to attend. For more information, including a map of the areas, please visit the SONC web site at, or call 818/503-2399.

Please attend and find out how you can be a leader in your community.

Related LAist Posts

It's time to update this blog with some posts I've done over at LAist that deal with The Valley or Sherman Oaks:
  • I always see trucks in the L.A. River, but never caught them on tape until one day.
  • I reviewed Down in the Valley starring Edward Norton, Evan Rachel Wood, David Morse & Rory Culkin.
  • Starbucks on Ventura Blvd., west of Kester, stays open really late.
  • I had a little rant about the state of cheese fries in L.A. QT's Chicago Dogs doesn't serve them....grrrr
  • My lede was terrible and this post got pretty much no attention despite some pretty interesting stuff about Planning and Transportation in the city.
  • The Bus Riders Union visited a Sherman Oaks Neighborhood Council committee meeting and I took a video that got a ton of discussion in the comments section.
  • I haven't smelled it in our water yet. Have you?
  • I'm pretty much an obsessed vegetarian. Like I have on this blog, I talk about Leaf Cuisine. This time in a little more detail.
Photo of Stansbury Ave. near Jinky's Cafe

New York Hot Bagels

So these bagels are not totally New York. However, they are hot when you ask for them toasted. Though, I once ate here with a true New Yorker who said they were pretty close, at least for L.A.

I really like this little neighborhood bagel shop and deli. The best part about the place is that there are three or four tables in the middle that are connected, so you end up eating with everyone else.

The bagel and cream cheese choices are plenty. I would say they match what Panera has to offer.

4373 Woodman Ave
Sherman Oaks 91423

Cross Street: Moorpark St

July SONC Meeting Notes

With summer comes vacation. With vacation comes council members not at tonight's meeting. No quorum tonight, but not a total waste either. Lots of learning and talk to be had. Here are some of the more fun items discussed:

  • Casa Vega, run by councilmember Ray Vega, has been in business for 50 years! Congrats Ray!
  • The Cedros/Dickens parking lot is finally getting cleaned up. Locks have been installed on the gates so it can be locked at night.
  • Wendy Greuel's annual Community Picnic will be on Saturday, September 9th at Van Nuys/Sherman Oaks Park. It goes from 11 am - 2 pm
  • Fortuna Ippoliti talked about the Mayor School takeover and compared it to the LAPD being under the Mayor. Villaraigosa knows as much about the police as he does about the schools. The department head and staff are the experts. And they are accountable up the food chain to the Mayor. I agree. Mayor should have control over the schools.
Photo of Sherman Oaks by DrBrian via Flickr

Koretz Goes Bird Flu

Sherman Oaks' Paul Koretz (42nd District) is at it again with his town hall style panels. This time the topic is the Bird Flu:
Join Assembly member Paul Koretz and state and local health care and emergency experts to answer the question:

Are you prepared if the bird flu arrives in the U.S.?

Get important information on what you should be doing to protect yourself and your family, just in case bird flu ever does come to America, and hear from key governmental agencies on the emergency response plans that will be activated
The panel takes place on Wednesday July 26th from 6 to 8 p.m. at the Beverly Garland's Holiday Inn. Of course it's free, you just have to RSVP (818-902-0521 or 310-285-5490).

Photo by peppers4 via flickr

Friday, July 07, 2006

Laurel Canyon The Book

I recently added Laurel Canyon The Book to my blog list on the right. At the same time, I added a link to Turn Here's Los Angeles homepage.

What's next? Adrienne at LAist points me towards the Laurel Canyon blog's TurnHere video. I love how things just come together like that.

I haven't read the book yet, but I am excited to learn about Frank Zappa and other 60's/70's rock stars and how they lived off Laurel Canyon.

Project Rabbit Is Upon Us

I noticed last weekend that Project Rabbit has hit Sherman Oaks. This particular photo is at the corner of Woodman and the Southbound 101 Exit. By City definition, this is graffiti. But honestly, I find this a bit more pleasant than the "public art" that is found at The Village at Sherman Oaks.

The Village has been facing a lot of increased graffiti (by that I mean, tagging... and I'm sure some street art too) and one of the tactics was to put the icons (that you see on the left hand side of various pages on their website) on traffic control boxes and whatnot. I would rather see them doing something a little more creative and engaging like this traffic control box I saw in Emeryville (outside of San Francisco) because..."uhhh... what is that" conversations can beget from it. And more importantly, I really like that shade of yellow.

Traffic Signal Box Man #1

By the way, if you see graffiti in Sherman Oaks, call 311 to report it. Or do it online.

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Open Letter to the Sherman Oaks Sun

Dear Sherman Oaks Sun,

We, the renters and tenants within apartment buildings, are missing out. The Sun does not get delivered to us and we don't always have the chance to pick it up at various locations when we are out and about on the town. PDF versions on the website are one step, but really do not suffice (because reading a PDF is really not that fun).

Please make The Sun available to all by going beyond having a website that is a holding pen for downloads. We realize the operations and human resources may not afford this or it be the most upfront economical choice, but I would like to think so in the long-term (think more advertising, e-mail marketing, blogs etc).

All the best,

in the oaks...

Monday, July 03, 2006

Sherman Oaks: 1 Mile South

This sign off of the 101 Southbound Exit onto Woodman says that Sherman Oaks is 1 mile to the right.

Problem #1: You are already in Sherman Oaks. Maybe it is referring to Ventura Blvd. as a Sherman Oaks "center," yet still that's still less than a half mile away.

Problem #2: If you go one mile from that exact intersection, where are you? In the hills. Still in Sherman Oaks, but in obscurity.

Who really cares anyway? But my dorky tendancies led me to investigate this because it seemed silly.

Saturday, July 01, 2006

Fashion Square Hummer

BloggingLA spots a hummer in four spots at Fashion Square. This is worse than when I saw Geena Davis last October at Pagliaccis on Coldwater Canyon with her yellow hummer (it might have been one of her friend's, I'm not sure.) They were at least parked within the lines as best as they could.