Thursday, February 28, 2008

There Will Be Burritos

I was more than overwhelmed yesterday morning when I received a txt message from a friend that read: "new chipotle coming to santa ana".

No, Chipotle isn't setting up shop in the recently closed Pollo de Oro in downtown Santa Ana, but rather on Seventeenth Street in the lot adjacent to OSH. You know, the one that rarely locks the cases to the spray paint.

With L&L Hawaiian Barbecue relocating to a neighboring pad at this location from its previous spot held within the Costa Mesa Marukai market, this sleepy side of Seventeenth Street has potential that could mirror the success of the Centre on Seventeenth, the strip mall located directly across the street.

And yes, I'm giddy like a school girl with the news of a nearby Chipotle on the way.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Looking for a Great Dentist?

A trip to the dentist is one of those things that most people dread and would rather put off; that is, until things start to hurt or smell (or both).

Before moving to the Santiago Street Lofts, my dentist was a crabby, sadistic oral-violator that constantly reprimanded me for my less than stellar mouth care.

The only reason I kept going is because she had great magazines and a candy dish to die for.

It was time for a change, but who really has the time to research a dentist these days?

Enter Santiago Street Loft resident and dentist Dr. Jason Nguyen.

I met Dr. Jason Nguyen in my first week living here at the Santiago Street Lofts. Over the last year and a half, “Dr. Jason” has proven to be not only a great dentist, but also a terrific friend who continually goes out of his way to be helpful to others.

A prime example would be when my 10-year old nephew stayed over on a Saturday night when just before midnight, he woke up from a dead sleep complaining of a severe toothache. My nephew is a pretty tough kid so I knew this could be serious.

I ran over to Dr. Jason’s to get some suggestions as to what I could pick up at Walgreen’s to help alleviate the pain. But instead of simply suggesting an over-the-counter remedy, he drove us to his dental office where he took care of the little guy while at the same time, helped him get over his fear of the sinister-looking dental chair.

In keeping with his very generous nature, Dr. Jason is offering free teeth whitening trays (a $200 dollar value) to all Santiago Street Loft residents who come in for a regular check-up (cleaning, exam, x-rays).

As for all non-loft residents, sign up as a new patient and get the custom teeth whitening trays for only $50. (Be sure to mention the blog to get this special price.)

Be sure to ask Dr. Jason to explain the hilarious “Drylander” contests from his college days while you are sitting in his chair. Just try not to choke on your saliva when you burst into laughter.

Dr. Jason Nguyen is located at:

1081 N. Tustin, Suite 114
Anaheim, Ca 92807

Call (714) 630-4589 to schedule an appointment.

Friday, February 22, 2008

Saturday Night at Jason's Downtown (02/23)

Tomorrow night, my good friend and talented Jazz singer Dustin White will be taking stage for the first time at Jason's Downtown Restaurant and Wine Cellar located in downtown Santa Ana. Tickling the ivory along side Dustin is his good friend and multi-talented musician Jeff Jones.

The ensemble recalls classic American Jazz and has been influenced by greats such as: Frank Sinatra, Nat King Cole, Ella Fitzgerald, and songwriters such as George Gershwin, Cole Porter, and Jerome Kern.

If you haven't been to Jason's yet, now would be a great time to start–especially if you or a loved one happen to have a birthday in the month of February.

The show starts at 7:30PM. Come for the good music, stay for the delicious food.

You can read more about my experience at Jason's Downtown here.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Association Meeting Tonight @ 6PM

For those of you that have a bone to pick with Keystone Property Management, now is the time to sharpen your pitchforks and light your torches.

When/Where: 6PM inside the loft sales office (2nd floor).

***UPDATE***For those of you that missed the meeting:

  1. Villa Park Landscaping is on their way out after a year and a half of disappointing service

  2. Power washing (which is already in the budget) of the walkways is scheduled for a minimum of twice a year

  3. Semiannual (exterior) window cleaning will be looked into due to surplus in association funds

  4. The removal of etched graffiti on glass windows is approaching enforcement (fines)

  5. We all agree that (Lennar) Eddie is overworked and under appreciated

  6. Graffiti clean-up by the company contracted by the association needs to happen quicker and actually completely cover it up

  7. Lester Tucker, our new Association president seems to be on the ball

  8. The security guards are not to be sleeping in their cars (duh)

  9. Fines for not putting trash bins back in your garage are going to be assessed (they should have been already)

  10. The monopoly as to who can make the metal business signs will be lifted
We had a great showing tonight. Thank you everyone who came!

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Neighborhood 6

Last week, construction began on 3 new buildings at the Santiago Street Lofts. Known as Neighborhood 6, this development will consist of five adjacent "Plan 3's" in the interior building and five adjacent "Plan 5's" facing Poinsettia Street. The third building, the last to be built on the highly trafficked Santa Ana Boulevard, will consist of one "Plan 4", one "Plan 3", two "Plan 2's" and two "Plan 1's".

I'm hoping that the façade of this building will be the one with the brick stone finish. So far, the only one with this exterior is the building located on the Southwest corner of Santiago Street and Santa Ana Boulevard. Do we really need any more blue buildings?

Here are the prices from the price sheet I grabbed while at the sales office:

Plan 1 (1,584SF): From $435k
Plan 2 (1,793SF): From $460k
Plan 3 (1,886SF): From $479k
Plan 4 (2,321SF): From $656k
Plan 5 (1,563SF): From $430k

In addition, Lennar is offering $15,000 buyer incentive.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Are You Owed Money?

My sister sent me this link this past weekend to the State of California's Controller's Office. This site has a search field and database that's updated weekly of Unclaimed Property that already has been sent to the State for safekeeping.

From the website:
State law requires businesses to send to the State any property that has remained in their possession without any activity on the part of the owner, generally for three years or more.

Is today your lucky day? If not, maybe in a week.

Community Art Walk Meeting Tonight

If you are a gallery owner, considering opening a gallery, or just want to hang out with some really cool neighbors, stop by the meeting tonight.

Curbside Gallery
928 E. Santa Ana Blvd.

Meeting begins at 7PM.

Friday, February 15, 2008

February Art Walk

Although it feels early, tomorrow is in fact the third Saturday of the month—Art Walk Night!

If you haven't done so already, stop by the Santiago Street Lofts after sundown to check out some great art and meet some of the awesome people that make living here a treat.

Here's a list of the galleries that are open tomorrow night:

Curbside Gallery
928 E. Santa Ana Blvd.
Artist: Dan Rhoades

Salu Gallery
919 E. Santa Ana Blvd.
Photography by Karen Lewis

Liberty Fine Arts
921 E. Santa Ana Blvd.
Artist: David Ehlen (the heart of the matter)

Gallery 675 (grand opening)
675 Poinsettia St. (interior/south side)
Artist: Christine Eyer

J. Lewis Gallery
906 E. Santa Ana Blvd.
Fine Art by: John Lewis

712 N. Santiago St.
Art from the Hive

916 E. Santa Ana Blvd.
Photography by: Jason Nguyen/Julie Shen

UPDATE: A gallery directory can be downloaded here.

If your gallery is open tomorrow and you're not listed, please let me know.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Crime Does Pay!

If you recall a couple of weeks ago, a tagger decided to take a gamble and spray paint a unit at the Santiago Street Lofts. Well, that gamble he took paid off—me that is.

Mixed in with my usual magazine subscription renewals in yesterday's mail was this nice little "refund check" from the city of Santa Ana's Graffiti Reward Program.

I was shocked to see the reward arrive so soon after the incident. The last check from the previous tagger I caught with the help of an awesome neighbor (yes, catching taggers is now a part-time job for me) took about 9 months to process.

I'm really hoping that this was the last time a kid decides to deface someone's home in our community—but it probably won't be.

I'm tired of hearing the lame-ass excuse that they tagged our homes because they "thought our homes were businesses"—it’s vandalism and it makes no difference to me.

I wish that they would stop trying to explain to me that all they are trying to do is get some "respect", when they are blind to see that defacing someone's property is probably the worst way to achieve that goal.

You want some respect? Don't write on the walls, sidewalks, buildings or trees, and you've got my respect.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

February 13: Dinner with Dave

Looking for a free meal and something to do tonight after 10PM?
Well then, why don't cha mosey on down to the Memphis Cafe at the Santora tonight for some free food and music.

Original post about Memphis events here.

The Beginning of the End

The Renaissance Plan may be on hold right now, but that doesn't mean that the final phase of the Santiago Street Lofts is.

This week, trenching began for 3 new buildings that are scheduled for completion in about 150 days. It looks like my little bird was right about construction resuming early this year.

In addition, the sales office has also reopened after a winter hiatus.
Their hours are from: 10AM-4PM, Thursday through Sunday.

If you're looking to buy at the Santiago Street Lofts, be sure to tell them Ben sent you–I hear there's a sweet referral bonus :)

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

I Blog for the Dogs

Today marks my 100th post to the Santiago Street Loft blog and I feel that it’s an event worth celebrating–anyone up for Chipotle?

And how do I plan on celebrating?
By placing tiny ads on the blog!

Before you say that I’ve “sold out”, or worse, turned into ad-scam scum like Don Lapre, hear me out.

All of the ads on this site are present thanks to the work of Google’s AdSense program. I get to select where the ads go, and Google populates them with content.

When an ad appears on the blog, or even better, when a user clicks on one of these ads, my AdSense account generates a tiny amount of money.

From my understanding (being that this is my first time using the program), when my account reaches a certain threshold, Google will EFT (Electronic Fund Transfer) the earning into my bank account.

So now what?

As some of you may know, I’m somewhat of an animal-lover. I say somewhat because I still eat meat. But of all the things that are most important to me in this life, my doggie ranks pretty high on the list.

It has been almost a year and half since the wife and I adopted our beloved little fur-monster and still to this day I feel a debt of gratitude to the organization that helped bring her love into our loving home.

Pet Pro Life is a local non-profit volunteer organization that works to help dogs (and sometimes cats) find new loving homes when the world has turned their back on them, often rescuing animals from kill shelters or really bad situations.

As of today, all generated revenue from the ads on this blog will be donated to help Pet Pro Life continue to find good homes for great animals.

Donation updates will be posted on this blog regularly, so please continue to stop by on a regular basis and don’t be afraid to click on an ad or two.

P.S. I dare you to watch this ASPCA video and not well up–I double-dog dare you.

Sunday, February 10, 2008

While We're on the Subject of LOST...

Did you guys notice the change in the photo frames in Miles' flashback?

Before he went upstairs to perform the exorcism, the frames on the wall looked like this:

After Miles did his thang upstairs, the frames changed to this:

The attention to the photos on the wall was too deliberate, so I'm going to rule out the notion that this was just a simple prop error but rather another Easter Egg.

But then, what could this mean?
It's only a matter of time before Miles and Jacob have a little pow-wow of sorts.

Photos courtesy of lost-media.

Friday, February 8, 2008

Writer's Strike Over?

Several websites are reporting that Michael Eisner (Disney) has made an announcement saying that the strike has been resolved and the writers will be going back to work soon.

One can only hope that LOST moves back to Wednesday nights to avoid conflict with NBC's best Thursday night line-up they've had in years.

Entertainment Weekly
Cinema Blend

February Birthday Special

Do you have a February birthday? If so, then Jason Kordas of Jason's Downtown Restaurant & Wine Cellar wants to buy you dinner*.

All you need to bring in with you is your photo I.D. and your (lunch or dinner) entrée is on the house.

Jason's Downtown can accommodate large parties, so bring a bunch of your friends with you and party like a rock star.

Never been to Jason's Downtown you say? It just keeps getting better and better every time I go, and the first time was a blast!

*Birthday offer cannot be used with any other discount, you cheapskate.

Thursday, February 7, 2008


Back in November, a friend of mine was shopping at Kragen Auto Parts (Grand Avenue and Seventeenth Street) when he noticed the case for the spray paint was left unlocked.

Usually these cases are clearly labeled with signs that read something similar to, “Keep case locked at all times”–reminding employees to help keep loss at a minimum.

This past weekend while picking up a few things at OSH on Seventeenth Street, I noticed that one of the cases for the spray paint was left unlocked and unsupervised and wide open.

As I was finishing up my transaction at the register, I asked if I could speak with the (weekend) manager on duty. When she arrived at the front of the store, I notified her that the case was left unlocked and kindly asked if she could remind the employees to lock the door after the customer gets what they need from the case–you know, being that Santa Ana has somewhat of a tiny problem with graffiti.

The manager told me that the lock in question was a tricky one and that they have someone coming out this week to fix it. Hmm, it really didn’t seem all that tricky to lock when I did it with the tip of my shoe.

The next day I headed back to OSH to grab an item that somehow missed my initial list.

I walked past the aisle where the spray paint is located, stopped, turned around, and was shocked to see that a different section of the case was left wide open once again!

Again, with the tip of my shoe, I clicked the push-lock closed and secured the cabinet. I didn’t even bother asking for a manager this time.

The next day, I phoned OSH corporate headquarters where I shared my story and concerns with the representative. She notified me that this was unacceptable and that the district manager will be addressing this issue directly with the manager of the OSH on Seventeenth Street.

After reading about the graffiti problems occurring at the nearby Monterey Villas community, one can only hope that the folks at OSH remember that their carelessness affects all those around them.

OSH corporate headquarters can be reached at:
6450 Via Del Oro
San Jose, CA 95119
(408) 281-3500

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Could Be Nothing

The other day while I was out for a walk in the hood, I noticed a loader (middle of image on the right) working in a fenced parcel located just around the corner from the Santiago Street Lofts (corner of Garfield Street and Santa Ana Boulevard).

It looked as if the worker was breaking-up large clumps of asphalt and probably wasn't anything major, but it's nice to see some activity happening in those city-owned lots.

In the meantime, I'll put a call in with Ray Lirette to see if he has the skinny.

*UPDATE: Ray returned my call and informed me that no construction will be happening on those lots anytime soon, but rather they are being used as storage for other street and sewage projects. Bummer.

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Strength in Numbers

About ten days ago, an individual using a moniker of Cyrus the Virus contacted me about the Santiago Street Loft blog.

Cyrus recently moved into the Monterey Villas (located off 17th street and Cabrillo) and it just so happens that the folks over there are experiencing similar difficulties with graffiti, vandalism and theft. They even have someone stealing laundry from the community laundry room!

Communication was limited to flyers hung in the laundry room and limited face-to-face interaction with neighbors that seemingly comes paired with the southern California lifestyle in which we’ve become accustomed.

Cyrus saw an opportunity much like I did and that was to create an online voice to help raise awareness among neighbors, develop a sense of community and inspire others to help turn the city of Santa Ana around.

In a very cordial email, Cyrus asked permission to use content and ideas from this blog to help develop his. Needless to say I was honored and thrilled by this individual and his efforts to do in his community what we at the Santiago Street Lofts have established so far.

Do what you have to do for the greater good of the community my friend. Recognizing and celebrating your small victories will be key to your happiness and success.

At the Santiago Street Lofts, we are very fortunate to have passionate and active individuals living here such as: El Diablo Blanco, Dr. Jason and Urban Messiah just to namedrop a few.

They are some of the prime examples as to why this community is so great and worth fighting for. The Santa Ana Justice League is slowly forming and just you wait…

Check out the Monterey Villas blog!

Monday, February 4, 2008

Chipotle Loves You Back This Valentine's Day

For some strange reason, folks seem to think that I like Chipotle. Well, they are wrong—I LOVE CHIPOTLE.

So it comes as no surprise that this promotion was emailed to me several times today by various friends and readers (thank you by the way to all).

Get a free burrito when you buy a Chipotle Gift Card of $10 or more at any Chipotle restaurant by February 12, 2008. Redeem your free burrito on either February 13th or 14th by bringing back your gift card receipt.


View promo page here.

Friday, February 1, 2008

He Said, She Said

Back in 2005, before the completion of the first phase at the Santiago Street Lofts, I heard a lot of rumors in regards to the city, the surrounding neighborhoods, the loft development itself, and projects that were supposedly in the works to support this and future nearby developments.

Whether or not what I heard was a rumor, conjecture or simply flat-out a lie, here are some of the fairytales that I remember hearing, but have yet to (or possibly never) come to fruition.

  • Nearby restaurants and shops were in the works, scheduled for completion in early 2009

  • Well-lit streets all the way down to downtown Santa Ana

  • A streetcar or trolley line was to be installed running from the train depot to downtown

  • The CenterLine light rail project was still alive

  • A shuttle service would run on the weekends from the lofts to Proof bar

  • The trees in the SSL community courtyard would eventually grow

  • The Mayor really cares about the Santiago Street Lofts and will do anything to ensure its survival

  • The Santiago Street Loft development would be completed by early 2008

  • Taco Neza “poisons” anyone who looks non-Hispanic

  • Cable railing was going to be an option for the third-floor loft

  • The association covers any graffiti–even on the roll-up doors

  • The city will power-wash the sidewalks on a monthly basis

  • Metered parking was to be allowed on Santa Ana Blvd

  • A coffee house and (small) grocery at the NE corner of Santa Ana Boulevard and Santiago

  • A pedestrian bridge was to connect over the blvd near Poinsettia

  • It’s safe to park your car on the streets

What were you told? What do you believe?