October 29, 2021

At Lilley Hall in L.A.'s Toluca Lake, a.k.a. the Pumpkin Blow Mold House, It's 'Go Big or Gourd Home'

In the Los Angeles neighborhood of Toluca Lake, just on the other side of the Hollywood Hills in the San Fernando Valley, there's a two-story Tudor Revival home built in 1927 called Lilley Hall. 


October 27, 2021

Photo Essay: A Mountaintop Religious Enclave Founded By Hindu-Born Christian Yogi, Prince Mozumdar

I'd been wanting to visit the Pillars of God (below) and Mozumdar Temple for years now—but I'd been wary of just driving up there, as I'd heard that it's fiercely guarded by its private owner and that I'd need a 4WD to get to it. 


October 25, 2021

An Alpaca Sleepover

I almost didn't go to the Central Coast Railroad Festival this year. 

My trip had been bumped by one year because of pandemic cancellations—and I wasn't sure whether the COVID-era festival would be worth attending, or if I should wait. 

But it was my birthday weekend, and I thought at least my overnight accommodations would be worth the trip. 

After all, I was booked to stay two nights on an alpaca ranch. 

October 24, 2021

A Surprise Sneak Preview of the Not-Yet-Completed Norgrove Gardens Railway, A Private Narrow Gauge Through A Central Coast Vineyard

Early on in 2020, I'd booked a trip to attend the Central Coast Railroad Festival in October of that year. I was hoping for a chance to ride the Bitter Creek Western Railroad in Arroyo Grande and the Pacific Coast Railroad on Santa Margarita Ranch

But the festival, like nearly everything else last year, was cancelled for COVID-19

Fortunately, the festival resumed on the first weekend of October 2021, and I was able to bump my overnight stay by a year. 
But as the festival approached, it seemed as though I wouldn't be able to ride any of those trains—or any trains for that matter. 
I considered canceling my trip many times—but I'm glad I didn't. 

October 19, 2021

Icons of Darkness Descends onto Hollywood Boulevard With Horror-ible Movie Memorabilia

The latest addition to Hollywood’s horror-themed attractions is Icons of Darkness... exhibition of a privately-owned collection of movie artifacts, just in time for Halloween. 

October 18, 2021

Photo Essay: A Last Oktoberfest at The Phoenix Club's Current Anaheim Home (Since 1992)

In 1960, a group of 15 German immigrant families formed The Phoenix Club in Anaheim to help promote interest in German-American culture and built its original clubhouse along the Santa Ana River near Katella Avenue. 
That was over 100 years after the first 50 pioneering German families had relocated from San Francisco and formed the Los Angeles Vineyard Society—but clearly, the Deutsch presence was still strong in their home by the Santa Ana River ("Ana" "heim").

October 13, 2021

I'd Like to Thank the Academy For Finally Opening Its Long-Awaited Museum on L.A.'s Miracle Mile

The long-anticipated Academy Museum—in the works at least since 2012—opened to the public on my birthday this year, after about a decade of waiting. Not having any other plans, I figured that was a good way to spend the day.

October 11, 2021

Photo Essay: Barris Kustoms Prepares to Depart Its Home of 60+ Years (And Take the Batmobile With It)

By the time I first got to visiting Barris Kustoms in North Hollywood, California, its founder and namesake George Barris had already passed nearly three years before.

I think I had a sense back then that his car customizing shop—long known as "Barris Kustom City," long before Pimp My Ride—might not be long for this world once he was gone.

October 10, 2021

Photo Essay: Ascending to the Ancient and Honorable Order of Squirrels at Strawberry Peak

While in Lake Arrowhead in August, I had a little bit of extra time before heading home—and my top priority was to visit the Strawberry Peak Fire Lookout.