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January 05, 2023

Photo Essay: The Making Of Burbank's Gravity-Defying 2023 Rose Parade Float

After freelancing for our local LA public media station KCET since 2015, in July of last year I took an inhouse position there—one that may or may not be temporary. While working as a digital producer there, I've gotten to write, edit, and even help produce a digital short video. This is the story of the making of that video.

As I posted earlier this week, I started the year off right by attending the Rose Parade in person—and I hinted that I had more to say about the Burbank Tournament of Roses float.

 
If you saw the parade, it was the float that kind of looked like Utah—with a guy hang-gliding off of a red-rocked cliff.

January 04, 2023

Photo Essay: The First Monday of 2023 at the Pasadena Rose Parade

The last time I'd gone to the Rose Parade, it was 2020—and the year had already started off weird, even before the COVID-19 pandemic had taken hold. 


In 2021, it was canceled because of the pandemic. And in 2022, I'd had such a good time celebrating New Year's Eve the night before, I couldn't bear to get up early enough to make it to the parade on time. 
 
 Parade sponsor, Honda

But this year, New Year's Day once again fell on a Sunday—as it did in 2017—so the Rose Parade took place on Monday, January 2, giving me a one-day buffer/recovery day. 

December 30, 2022

Photo Essay: What People Were Reading in 2022

I know that the most popular things in life aren't necessarily the best things.

But I also know that some people only really pay attention to what other people already like. 

And if you don't have enough time to read everything on my blog, you might appreciate knowing what other people have been reading.

So once again, here's my ranking of the top posts on Avoiding Regret in 2022, in descending order from most views. 


 

December 27, 2022

How I Wandered SoCal for KCET in 2022

I haven't often reposted the articles I've written for KCET here—often because much of the content that has gotten published here first has eventually made its way into my KCET guides.

But as time has gone on, I've created more and more original content for my SoCal Wanderer column on KCET.org. In fact, probably more in the year 2022 than in any other years prior.

SoCal Wanderer articles are on a little bit of a hiatus—at least, compared to what they've been—since I was hired to work in-house at KCET in actually a different capacity. They may not resume anytime soon. 

So in the meantime, here's a recap of the articles I did contribute over the past year, in case you missed any of them. Click on the titles to open the articles in a new tab/window.

 

December 26, 2022

Year In Review: 2022 Updates to Past Posts

I wish that all this blog was for was to brag about cool stuff I do. 

But I sense a greater purpose in my documenting these places and experiences. It all feels like they'll be gone one day. 

And I feel a duty to report back when they unfortunately do go away. 

It happens more and more every year. 

But thank goodness it's not all bad news. Because sometimes I get to update on a historic place being saved from demolition, rehabilitated, or even reopened. 

I think it's important to keep these entries current with the present condition of the places I've visited. That means sometimes I have to keep going back to check on them. Or to say goodbye. And then share what I've seen (or what can no longer be seen).

So, for the third year in a row, here's a recap of all the updates I made to my Avoiding Regret entries from SoCal and Vegas over the last year—the good, the bad, the ugly, and the complicated.

Closures/Losses/Deaths/Preservation Threats


Chili Bowl 
1. Photo Essay: The Cloistered Nuns of Hollywood and Their Stately Home (Closed—Updated for 2022)
2. Adventures on Pico: From a Chili Bowl to An Oil Well (Updated for 2022)

December 20, 2022

Photo Essay: Nightflying the Skies In the D-Day Doll, a WWII-Era DC-3 Warbird

I typically prefer cars and trains to boats and planes—but I can't resist a good historic excursion on any of 'em.


So I was excited when my friend Charity texted me asking if I'd heard of or done the nighttime DC-3 flights over the city of Riverside, California offered during the Christmas season. My answer? No and no!

December 12, 2022

Photo Essay: The Architectural Jewels of South Coast Plaza, A Mid-Century Modern Mall With a Bright Future

If you were to drive by South Coast Plaza in Costa Mesa, California—or even wheel around its parking lot, looking for a nearby restaurant, as I have—you might think that it's just another mall. 

But this shopping center is a little different. 


Not only is it the largest indoor shopping mall on the West Coast, but it was also one of our first. And it's one of the most successful malls in a country where most shoppers seem to be staying home to make their purchases online.

December 01, 2022

Photo Essay: Julia Morgan-Designed Home of Hearst's Examiner Gets a Facelift For a New Generation of Journalists

The Herald Examiner Building on Broadway in Downtown Los Angeles had always been somewhat of a mystery to me.

circa 1937 (Photo: Works Progress Administration Photo Collection, LAPL)

After all, the Los Angeles Herald Examiner ceased its publishing operations 33 years ago, in November 1989.

November 27, 2022

Photo Essay: The Most Vegas-y Football Stadium Ever Is Now Home to the Raiders (And the 2024 Super Bowl)

Once again, football season has rolled around—and although I took the tour of Allegiant Stadium in Las Vegas back in May 2022, I waited until now to post about it.

 
It was purpose-built (on land that's always been a vacant lot, according to HistoricAerials.com) as the National Football League stadium of the Las Vegas Raiders—formerly the Oakland Raiders (1960–1981 and 1995–2019) and, when I was growing up and watching American football with my dad, the LA Raiders (1982–1994). They relocated to Vegas in 2020, although that year they played to an empty stadium because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

November 25, 2022

A Turkey-Free Thanksgiving at a Storied Mountain Lodge Outside of LA

When I was working as a field agent for Atlas Obscura a few years ago, I really wanted to host a dinner at Saddle Peak Lodge—specifically, a game meat dinner. 

I was fascinated with intimidating foods and thought that a communal experience would create a comfort level that I, and others, might not have alone. 

I couldn't get that event approved, so I finally went to Saddle Peak Lodge on my own a few years ago—but I wimped out both gastronomically and financially and just went to brunch. I don't remember the meal, but I'm pretty sure I had eggs (and not, like, ostrich eggs).

So, I've felt like I hadn't really experienced the restaurant—and when the 2018 Woolsey Fire swept through the area, fortunately sparing it, the urgency to return intensified.


I finally made it back yesterday, for Thanksgiving dinner—not because this colonial holiday is important to me (it's not), but because I felt like I needed the excuse of a special occasion to splurge on it. And since it's a Michelin star-receiving establishment, it also charges Michelin star-level prices.