Archive for October, 2004

Angels Loose Game One, Game Two Tomorrow

There was no joy in Mudville today. Just insert Angel Stadium and replace Mudville with Anaheim and you get the picture. The Angels, after clinching the AL West, enter the playoffs with the home field advantage but the visiting Boston Red Sox quickly roughed up Jarrod Washburn and won 9-3.

Ride a Whale

Great. Now along with sharks, jellyfish, stingrays, sewage runoff, used syringes, and Aquaman I have something else to fear when I go into the water. Recently, a surfer in San Clemente was lifted out of the water by a 15-30ft whale. He wasn’t injured, but either way, sounds scary. AP article here.

Save the Fox

The only movie I ever saw at the Fox Theater in Fullerton was Star Wars, back in 1982 or maybe early 1983–Episode IV it’s called these days, but back then it was simply Star Wars. It was a re-release, a few months prior to the opening of Return of the Jedi, and one of the biggest treats of the screening was getting to see the trailer for the new film. This was before the internet, you see, almost before computers, even, and one could not simply download trailers in the comfort of your home; you had to go to the theater to experience that particular thrill of anticipation. It was also before video, or at least before Star Wars was on video, so this was the first chance I’d had to see the movie since its original release in 1978. I was in junior high, totally in love with Mark Hamill, and ergo not paying much attention to the venue. We sat in the balcony, which was cool, but I don’t remember much else about the theater itself from that single foray within.

In latter years, as my perspective matured, I’d peer wistfully into the courtyard whenever my footsteps took me past the gated entrance, marveling at the faded elegance, the profound connection to a past era it stirred within me. Face it, historic buildings are rare in Southern California, especially ones imbued with the kind of grandeur inherent in the Fox. It was easy to imagine myself back in the glory days of Hollywood, when going to the cinema was an event you actually dressed up for. While I recognized that the one-screen theater would have a hard time competing against modern cineplexes, it certainly deserved a better fate then the long, slow slide into disrepair and decrepitude.

Now Fullerton wants to tear down the theater and put up some apartments.

If you’ve never seen the theater, you may wonder what the big deal is. Here’s some info provided to me from a friend in the foundation:

  • It was built in 1925.
  • It was built by the same architects as Graumans Chinese and Egyption theatres.
  • It has several famous murals by the famouse 1920’s firm A.T. Heinsbergen Co.
  • Tour busses come from LA so see Fullerton’s murals. The Fox murals pre-date all others in town.
  • Most of the artwork is still intact but hidden behind a 1950’s interior decoration remodel.
  • Back before the mickey mouse club was on TV they had regional chapters. The Fox was the home of the North OC chapter.

If, like me, you think the Fox Theater should be saved, not just as a historical relic but as a potential community cultural center, then you need to visit the Fullteron Historic Theater Foundation web site to find out how you can help. The foundation has raised $2 milion in donations and matching pledges, but needs to raise $1.5 million dollars by November first, and they’re still far short of their goal. And once they save the theater from demolition, they’ll need another $3.5 million to renovate the theater.

Both the Register and the Times have covered the efforts to save the Fox (you’ll have to register to read these articles but it’s free). Pass the word: send your friends and neighbors to

Bowling Deals

So this isn’t specific to Orange County, but it applies. If anyone likes to bowl recreationally and is looking for a good deal, simply sign up for bowling center (they’re no longer called alleys) mailing lists. Specifically, I am on the Brunswick mailing list and get coupons about once a month. Family deals are up to half off, including cosmic bowling, and games as low as 99 cents. So if you like bowling, but not enough to join a league, then this is definitely a great way to go.

E.G. Tonight, I went to Brunswick in Orange with two of my friends. We got a package for $24.99 which normally costs $52.99. So for a little over $8/person we got 5 games of bowling, shoe rental, and a pitcher of soda. Not too shabby at all.

Geocaching along the Santiago Trail

As an aid for my work as a reporter for Local Hikes, I recently obtained a GPS and got addicted to the sport of Geocaching. If you don’t mind trying to figure out how to follow arrows which often point straight through the middle of housing tracts, prickly pear cactus, and clumps of poison oak, you may enjoy this sport.

My wife and I planted a cache on Saturday, then went looking for three others in the vicinity of Portola Hills on Sunday. We found all three. Midnight marked the hour when we found a black-spray-painted container named “Betty Crocker’s Doom” near the intersection of — well, to be fair, let me call it N 33° 40.404, W 117° 38.216. Stuffed inside the former frosting container we found an assortment of small quarter-sized knick-knacks and crumpled CD directories on which previous visitors had written their arrival times. In went a small wooden collectable and out came a large catseye marble which I hope to place in a cache very soon. We returned it to the bush where we found it and then went to bed.

The following day, we set out along the Santiago Trail towards Vulture Crags in search of two other local caches. At the first — known as La Luna because the view of the full moon astounded the planter — we found nothing of interest but left two topographical maps of the trail. The second, called High Road to Fossil Hill, took us off the main trail to a sharp crest. This particular cache had a Guardian, a rather nasty Spanish Dagger plant poised to bayonet intruders. Lynn spotted the ammo can shoved against a large rock and, with my help, opened it. We’d struck it rich! The cache held rubber animals, toy cars, buttons, pens, beads, and a cool chameleon which stuck its tongue out when you squeezed it. Lynn took a fancy to one of the cars, so we dropped off a charm in the shape of a pair of sunglasses for it and another map of the Santiago Trail. Throughout our plunder, the Guardian slept. We signed our names in the log, listed what we’d traded and went on.

Not too far from High Road, our first cache, Seven Yuccas, waits for finders beneath the low cover of the chaparral. No one has been there yet, but I do not doubt that the legendary cachet of the Santiago Road caches will draw visitors soon. If you get there soon, there’s a signature toy rhinoceros waiting for you. Be sure to leave something good in trade.


Book country

I took my daughters, ages 3 and 7, to the Orange County Children’s Book Festival today at Orange Coast College. After getting lost along the way (partly due to me misremembering the map I’d left at home, and partly do to getting sucked into traffic for the swap meet that is also on the OCC campus), we arrived about noon and spent three hours mostly enjoying ourselves.

I’ll get the low point out of the way first: that would be when the Dippin’ Dots ice cream pouch my 3-year-old was eating started leaking out the bottom. Toddlers are messy enough without being sabatoged by defective packaging. The high point was definitely the train ride tour of the OCC campus, even if we did have to spend a half-an-hour waiting our turn. Okay, I confess — I may consider that the high point because it’s about the only time I got to sit down all afternoon.

It was a nice day for a festival, sunny but not too hot with a nice breeze that kept the free balloons dancing around merrily. The event was pretty low-key, with just enough people there so that attendance couldn’t be considered sparse, but neither were we elbowing our way through crowds every where we went.

There were not nearly as many vendors there as I’d thought there would be. Borders had the biggest, busiest booth. Everything else seemed to be small, independent publishers with, at most, a half-a-dozen titles for sale. I’ve nothing against small publishers, of course, but we didn’t see much among the meager offerings that tempted us (my 7-year-old is really hard to tempt beyond her avid devotion to Junie B. Jones anyway), so I spent less than $15 on books, far less than I was anticipating.

Aside from vendors, there was a variety of entertainment. The mainstage had a number of local performers while storytellers and magicians and so forth gathered audiences in various venues. There were some lectures for those interested in creating children’s books, too, though with the kids in tow I chose not to attend. Kid-pleasing festival standards (balloon animals, face painting, jumping tent and the train ride) were all free, and there were a small number of refreshments available, including the campus cafe which was open for business.

This is the first of what is supposed to become an annual event, and I think they’ve gotten off to a pretty good start. Sure, it’s small, and there are no big-name authors or publishers present, but it hasn’t lost sight of who the Festival is for, and you can tell the planners were keen on making the event entertaining for kids. One thing that might be nice is to provide some more book-and-reading-oriented activities for the kids, though, instead of jumping tents which can be found just about anywhere anymore. I’m sure it couldn’t be too hard to put together some ideas that would create a distinct and memorable character for the Festival, to distinguish it from all the other community events in the county Uh oh…I better stop before I end up volunteering for next year’s Festival!

Angels win the AL West!

The Anaheim Angels defeated the Oakland A’s 5-4 to clinch the AL West division title. By winning the Angels snapped Oakland’s streak of four straight AL West titles.

Coming home from the LSAT exam at Saddleback, I stopped at Angel Stadium and bought my AL West Division Champs hat. The line was starting to go out the door and the four employees at the Team Store could barely keep them in stock.

Anyone for a Freeway World Series?

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