Thursday, December 10, 2009

The Projection Project

About this time last year, a few of us here at the lofts thought about projecting snowflakes on the buildings during the December '08 Art Walk. Unfortunately, the idea never got past a few rough concepts done in Flash, but hey, it was definitely worth trying.

Enter 2009 and two industry professionals; visual graphics guru Matik and mix-master of Free the Robots/The Crosby fame, Chris Alfaro. Together, along with the Downtown Santa Ana Management District comes a 3D projection project worthy of the pages of Gizmodo. Event info below from the Downtown OC (don't call it that) Life website:

Downtown Incorporated invites you to experience a visual journey through imagination, distorted perception, and holiday ambiance. Using unique animation modules and multiple high-powered projectors the facade of the historic Spurgeon Building will be illuminated in a spectacle of seasonal inspired extreme light and shadow morphing the existing architecture. Motion Graphics Presented by Matik Musical Accompaniments Produced by Chris Alfaro and The Definiens Project Projection performances continue Thursday – Saturday evenings from 7-9pm through December 27th.

What a great show, right? Which gets me thinking–if I can get my hands on an Epson Projector and a portable power supply, I just might have a Left 4 Dead/Modern Warfare art piece for an upcoming Art Walk!

Update: This post was partially published in the OC Register. An online version of the post can be seen here.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Off My Game

Last night shortly before 10:30PM, my "Tagger Spidey-Senses" were tingling so I popped my head outside to find two kids failing miserably trying to marker-tag a real estate sign just down the street. I guess these morons didn't realize that trying to vandalize a damp surface with a crappy marker gets you nowhere–frakin' rookies.

"HEY YOU F*CKING C*NTS! TAKE THAT SH*T SOMEWHERE ELSE!" I yelled at the top of my lungs.

The two wannabes nonchalantly glared back at me, looked at each other, then continued to walk West down Santa Ana Boulevard.

I considered chasing them down for some extra exercise (not to mention Christmas cash), but for some reason, I decided against it and just stood there.

What the hell Ben?! This is so unlike you? You didn't have the urge to give them a face full of mace?
Perhaps it was due to the fact that I was wearing flip-flops, or that I'm currently out of pepper spray, or maybe because I didn't see any additional damage around the neighborhood. Or perhaps it was the fact that my top-of-my-lungs shouting didn't stir one neighbor–causing a single light to be turned or a front door to be opened in curiosity.

Figuring I should at least call the cops to make sure these kiddies got home safely, I rushed back in to grab my cell phone (which I hadn't yet programmed SAPD as speed dial–idiot) and called SAPD dispatch.

Fumbling with my new phone, I hurried back out to the street only to find that the two hoodlums were nowhere in sight. Getting the dispatcher on the line only added more frustration to the situation as the dispatcher couldn't keep up with my well-paced and well-trained caller-to-dispatcher dialog.

"Hi, I've got two teenage taggers–both Hispanic males around 14-16 years old walking westbound down Santa Ana Boulevard, just passing Garfi....".

"WAIT WAIT WAIT–slow down sir", the dispatcher said.

"UGH! I should have just chased them down THEN called you" I said. I then began to walk down the Boulevard in hopes of seeing where these f*cktards went. As I passed Garfield Street I thought back to the last time I caught a tagger around here and that it took SAPD over thirty minutes to arrive.

It was only after wrapping up the phone call with SAPD did I realize that I had walked too far down the street without my usual post-10PM tagger-chasing accompaniments (pepper spray, Jesus Stick, etc).Even more frazzled, I gave up the search and headed back home.

The thing that's eating me is why didn't I react like I normally do? Am I getting soft? Geezus, what's happening to me? Unprepared and non-reactive just isn't my style.

Or have I finally begun to succumb to the apathy that eventually plagues everyone in Santa Ana?

I mean, why risk my life when I haven't even beaten Modern Warfare 2 yet, right?

Man, when did I stop caring or even worse, when did I come to my senses? I'm hoping what happened last night was just a glitch in the Matrix and I'll be back on track in no time.

On a side note, can anyone recommend a decent-priced paintball gun with good distance?

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Things to do in Santa Ana (Nov 09)

Is it Patchwork season already? Say What--You don't know what Patchwork is? Tsk, tsk.

This Weekend: 

Information below stolen from The Road Less Traveled Store's website.

PaTcHwOrK: 5-Santa Ana
November 15th (sun), 11AM-5PM
Our popular arts and crafts fair is making a holiday return. Over 80 vendors including music, food, DIY booths and lectures devoted to making things. Shop creative * buy local!

Check out this blog for information on current and previous Patchwork events.

Next Weekend:

Next weekend, the First Annual Santa Ana International Music Festival will be taking place in Downtown Santa Ana.

From the website:

Entertainment: various musical styles from all over the world, including world music, country, reggae, latin, african drumming, japanese, flamenco, persian, rock, hip hop, native american, colombian, brazilia and much more...

Where: Downtown Santa Ana 4th Street, Sycamore, Artist Village, Fiesta Marketplace, Yost Theater

When: Saturday November 21, 2009, Noon to 9:00 p.m

Sunday November 22, 2009, Noon to 8:00 p.m

Also, don't forget to stop by the Santiago Art District on Saturday, November 21st. Check out the website for more information and gallery openings.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Memphis Fo' Life!

If I had to eat at one restaurant everyday for the rest of my life, it would have to be Memphis at the Santora in Downtown Santa Ana, though I'm not sure how that would ultimately affect my life expectancy.

Yet with a menu as delicious as this one, I'm often baffled as to why a restaurant as amazing as Santa Ana's very own Memphis can't stay open seven days a week. But then again, we are talking about Santa Ana, where absurdity happens on a daily basis.

For the last several months, the wife and I have been religiously patronizing Memphis on Wednesday nights, taking full advantage of their $10 barbecue specials.

Just recently, Memphis has kicked it up a notch by streamlining their menu and adding specials such as the hearty Bison Burger, fantastic Shrimp Tacos, and Mrs. Dayhoe's favorite Po’ Boy Sandwich. In addition, Memphis has added an amazing BBQ Combo plate to their repertoire.

According to Memphis' General Manager David Hastie, the new sleeker menu now allows for "more options in the moderate price range. Specialties will remain the same, but we plan to switch up the seasonal section 3 to 4 times a year so we can focus on locally grown and organic seasonal produce and fresh seafood."

Click on the menu graphic below to embiggen the new dinner menu, or scroll down for a downloadable option.

You can also check out Memphis' Brunch and Lunch menus on their refreshed website, or you can download a PDF version of Memphis' new Dinner Menu here.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Hopes and Fears

After living in Santa Ana for over three years, it seems as if things are finally happening in the empty lots just West of the Santiago Lofts.

When I first told my friends and family I was moving to Santa Ana, they thought I was crazy. But to me, it made perfect sense because I believe in this city–what it is, what it was, and what it could be.

As of Monday night, the Related/Griffin team is now one step closer in becoming the master developer for these nearby lots. And after three years of watching other cities evolve while Santa Ana moved at a snail's pace, I am filled with hope with the thought of what could come to our city.

But at the same time, my hopes are equally met with trepidation and fears.

Allow me to share some of my hopes and fears:

I'm hopeful that what we build, retains the quality residents already living here while attracting new ones who are invested in this city, looking to build stronger communities.

I'm fearful that like everything else in Santa Ana, it will take too long to develop and we'll have once again missed our window of opportunity.

I'm hopeful that within these ~7 acres being developed, creative open spaces and green spaces; such as parks (ground and rooftop) gardens (community/rooftop) are implemented.

I'm fearful that the children of our neighborhoods are to continue playing in empty parking lots–such as those that do everyday at Garfield Elementary.

I'm hopeful the grand vision for the Station District is for a creative, urban renewal that activates our streets and would rival the revivals that took place in destinations such as University Heights (Park Blvd/Adams Ave) in San Diego and Abbot Kinney Boulevard in Venice.

I'm fearful that the design cues will be taken from stale city of Irvine.

I'm hopeful that when finally implemented, the streetcar is a new avenue that brings commerce to Santa Ana.

I'm fearful the streetcar will just be another way to fabulous Garden Grove.

I'm hopeful that whatever ground floor retail & restaurants planned for these lots "fit"–having something for everyone.

I'm fearful that the driving force that thought it would be okay to:

  • Allowed Ware set up shop in Logan

  • Build stucco monstrosities in the middle of French Park

  • Not develop amenities in conjunction with the Santiago Lofts at the train depot parking lot

  • Have an El Pollo Loco as the only walkable restaurant to the world famous Bowers Museum (not including Tangata which is located adjacent to the museum)
is still behind the wheel of our city.

I'm hopeful in that Santa Ana will some day become a true destination city; where new circulation is brought to our streets–where places like Downtown, The Fiesta Marketplace, 4th Street, and the Station District (including the train depot) are ventured to by people all over Southern California.

Sunday, August 9, 2009


I'm no expert in Argentinian food nor would I even know what authentic Argentinian food tastes like, but I sure know a delicious value when I sink my teeth into one.

Just like Mil Jugos (located one block uptown), Chimichurri is the embodiment of every delicious dream I had hoped my local Santa Ana would be when making the move to this city over three years ago.

In short, I moved to Santa Ana for fantastic hole-in-the-wall restaurants like this one.

The name Chimichurri comes from the green Argentinian meat sauce which is usually made from chopped parsley, minced garlic, vegetable oil or olive oil, white or red vinegar, and red pepper flakes, though there isn’t a definitive recipe from my research.

The decor of the restaurant is warm and festive, as is the man of the house who heads this family-run business. Diego, a soft-spoken Argentinian gentleman will graciously welcome you into his restaurant as if you were stepping foot into his own home–warmly referring to new customers as "friends" while addressing returning ones by their first name.

The menu is simple, yet ample with both Argentinian and Mexican items available for dine-in or to-go orders.

I decided to try the Choripanes sandwich; an Argentinian sausage snuggled nicely between two slices of Italian sandwich bread topped with cheese, lettuce and tomato.

At $4.50, this well-priced sandwich could easily fetch a steeper price if the City viewed Santa Ana's downtown as more than just a place to pay your parking tickets (or accrue new ones) and appear for jury duty.

Mrs. Dayhoe, the rebel that she is, ordered from the Mexican side of the menu choosing a $6 Torta Cubana consisting of ham, white cheese, breaded steak & marinated steak.

Flavor-wise, this sandwich was on a much milder level than the Choripanes, but was still very hearty.

The empanadas are golden, flakey and rich, as flavors are taken to a whole-nutha-level when topped with the house Chimichurri sauce. The pollo empanadas were quite tasty, but the carne ones were the pièce de résistance when topped with the house sauce.

And at a buck-fifty a pop, these empanadas are a terrific value, as you’ll soon find out how deceptively filling they truly are.

Chimichurri is located at 306 W. 4th street (Santa Ana’s someday Restaurant Row) and is open from 9AM-7PM Monday through Saturday.

*Update: Check out a real food critic's review of this place*

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Notes from E3

Life has been pretty busy these days–good, but busy (evident in my lack of blogging among other things [as if anyone really cares]). So today, I finally got a chance to have some good 'ol fashion geek fun as the wifey and I hopped on a train to L.A. for the 2009 Electronic Entertainment Expo, or E3 for short.

Here are some of the highlights from today's trip:

Those were some giant Final Fantasy ads.

Didn't get a chance to see the upcoming game, but the Ecto-1 was a nice treat.

The Arkham Asylum game had a pretty sweet booth–
I have to say the game looked like the best Batman game to date.

Is Manny Pacquiao the first Filipino to be in a video game?
And no, Ewoks don't count.

Super Mario Bros. Wii was a 4-player blast, but I think it may break up some families and end a few friendships as other players can collide with you, hindering your attacks and jumps.

Left 4 Dead 2 (360) looked pretty solid, though I was surprised they went with such a saturated color palette being that the game takes place during the daytime.

God of War 3 looked amazing–probably the only reason to buy a PS3 next year.
The line to play the demo was intense!

Only geeks think tattoos like this are hardcore, so naturally I LOVED it.

The best part about today's trip was that we spent zero time behind the wheel–one of the great things about living so close to the train depot.

I can't wait until 2010 when the Metrolink will be running with later hours and more frequent stops. Who knows, maybe we'll be able to stay in downtown L.A. for dinner after next year's E3.

Friday, May 15, 2009

Things to do This Weekend in Santa Ana

More than most work weeks, this is one I can't wait until it's over. Not because my work computer took a dump on me for a third time in less than 7 months (and yes, it's a PC), but because of the fact that there are so many great things to look forward to this weekend–all in Santa Ana!

First off, the Santiago Art District kicks it into full gear tomorrow night with what is expected to be one of the biggest Art Walks to date here at the Santiago Lofts. With the help of internet sensation Kogi Korean BBQ setting up shop, we're expecting some huge numbers and a fun new audience making a trek to scary 'ol Santa Ana.

Speaking of "Trek", anyone here see the movie yet? Did you catch the Tribble?

On Sunday, my good bud, fellow Lost fanatic and newly anointed Master Food Preserver Delilah Snell will be hosting the Patchwork Indie Arts and Crafts Festival at The Road Less Traveled/Harvey's/Craft Kitchen parking lots.

If you haven't been to a Patchwork event before, I'd highly recommend. First off, it's a free outdoor event less than 5 minutes from the lofts.

Second, if you're looking for some unique gifts or something that sings to your inner-artist, this is the place to find it. Just make sure to bring some pocket cash because I'm not sure if all the vendors will be set up for electronic purchases.

Peering outside my office window, I couldn't imagine a better weekend to support local artists and to just hang out in Santa Ana.

The Santiago Art District takes place tomorrow and every third Saturday of the month from 7-10PM-ish. Galleries at the Santiago Art District are located between Santiago and Poinsettia St, just off Santa Ana Boulevard/Civic Center Drive.

The Patchwork Indie Arts & Crafts Festival takes place this Sunday, May 17th from 11-5PM.

2202 North Main Street
Santa Ana, 92706

(Parking lot across Main Street near the 5 freeway entrance)

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Geisha Meh

So the three or four of you that follow this blog, you're probably wondering, where's the Geisha House review that was promised to us in your last post?

I have one word for you, Uninspired.

Since the dining experience, I really haven't been inspired enough to write about this restaurant until now. Perhaps it was the oversized Turkish coffee a neighbor so kindly shared with me this afternoon that's given me the extra juice to pump this one out after midnight (not to mention clean the house, do my laundry and organize my iTunes library). But I digress (though don't be surprised if I do it again).

Before heading out to Geisha House, I mentally outlined 4 categories I wanted to pay very close attention to for my amateur critique:

  1. Parking, decor, ambiance, the "poopers"

  2. Friendliness of the staff

  3. The quality of sashimi, specialty dishes and house rolls

  4. Value
Arriving just before eight o'clock, the wife and I were surprised to see the parking lot at City Place as full as it was on a Tuesday night. Nonetheless, we were still able to find parking without a problem, but like mi amigo Gustavo Arellano wrote, I don't think there will be a need for valet service anytime soon, but then again, we could be wrong. There's always a first time for everything.

The interior of the restaurant was quite hip–styled very similar to something you'd see in a restaurant in good 'ol downtown San Diego, San Francisco or Hollywood–dimly lit with a modern touch, but nothing any of you haven't seen before. Maybe it was the 3 horizontal ikea mirrors above the bar that in fact, lowered the bar.

The vibe was nice and everyone seemed happy to be there. I was surprised to see so many white and Asian folk in the mix–guess Newport Beach had already met their quota for the night so we got their overflow. I kid, I kid. Actually, I was very happy to see such a diverse crowd in Santa Ana.

We sat outside for dinner and it was quite nice–65 degrees it was, perfect for a dinner under the stars. But without any patio heaters, the scantily clad girls kept the ogling men inside with them. That is, with the exception of when they broke for a cigarette break near the entrance, unknowingly imposing their carcinogens into the patio area where we sat.

Smoking and sushi don't mix. Nuff said.

I can't really say much for the poopers being that there really wasn't much to them. Tiny white boxes with sinks and toilets, illuminated by overly bright lights that pierce your fully dilated pupils after you fumble your way down a dimly lit hallway is what they were.

It was like going to the bathroom in club sans the dude working for tips as he hands you a towel while you wash your hands and eye his vast collection of cologne and various mints.

Nice and somewhat knowledgeable of the menu. I really can't be too critical of the latter being that the place had just opened up a few days prior. But there's never an excuse to not be nice to a customer whom you have just met. Luckily, neither was an issue.

I believe this is everything we ordered that night:

Shishito Peppers
Tuna Tataki Sashimi with Ponzu
Albacore Carpaccio
Kanpachi Serrano

Geisha House Sushi Rolls
Frightened Geisha
Geisha’s Vice
Surf and Turf

Sushi & Sashimi
Hawaiian Amberjack
Spanish Mackerel

Of all the dishes we powered down that night, for me, the one that stood out the most was the Kanpachi Serrano. Hawaiian Amberjack fish with Yuzu-Lemon Ponzu Sauce, but then again, you really can't go wrong with Ponzu, can you?

Everything else we ate that night was generic, bland, and lacking inspiration–even at the grand opening price of 50% off prices, I still felt overcharged when the bill came.

As an avid sushi (wannabe) connoisseur, I'm used to paying for quality mercury poisoning. The sashimi served at Geisha House just wasn't anything worth writing home about, but if I did, it would go something like this:
Dear Mom, We went to the new sushi restaurant in Santa Ana the other night, but it was just meh. How's Dad doing? Is there a pile of mail for me to pick up? Did you watch Lost last night? I know you're not a fan of the sci-fi direction it's taken, but you have to admit it's one of the best shows on television. I really liked the Star Wars references. So what do you think "lies in the shadow of the statue"?
So how does one get sashimi wrong in the first place–it's raw fish and nothing else, right? My guess is that they have a really bad buyer, or their fish is delivered without being tasted by a qualified expert.

Probably the worst item of the night was the Surf and Turf Roll (Lobster, Filet Mignon, Green Scallion, and Sweet Sesame Miso Sauce). It sounds good, but it was dry and bland, and had it arrived earlier in the precession, it would have severely impacted my gorging rhythm.

The only value that night was the 50% off special, but like I said earlier, I still felt ripped off at those prices. It's definitely a cool place and a great fit for City Place, but Geisha House is as much of a sushi restaurant as P.F. Chang's is an authentic Chinese restaurant.

As bad as the food was, my biggest disappointment of the night was poorly designed menus. I mean seriously, who uses Arial Rounded on their menu and charges $15-$20 a dish?

Geisha House is great victory for businesses within the City Place lofts in that it will help draw in a new crowd, but as a quality sushi restaurant, there's much more room for improvement.

My recommendation, if you're planning on going big on sushi, check out Hamamori in the Crystal Court wing of South Coast Plaza (yes, mall sushi), or Sushi Murasaki on the south end of town.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Viva La Causa: This Saturday at the Yost Theatre

This Saturday, April 4, Fiesta Marketplace and the Dolores Huerta Foundation present a free showing of Viva La Causa, starting at 6PM and running until 8PM.

Here's the skinny from the back of the flyer:

On a warm evening in 1965, hundreds of Mexican farm-workers packed into a church hall in the small farming town of Delano, California. A momentous decision lay before them–should they join a strike against California grape growers started 11 days prior by their Filipino counterparts?

Would this improve their appalling working conditions in the fields and help them earn enough to feed their families?

Viva La Causa tells the story of how the powerless stood up to the powerful and gained their victory, not by violence and weapons, but by their strong will.

I love a good story when people from different races come together for a greater cause.

The Yost Theatre is located at:
307 N. Spurgeon Street
Santa Ana, 92701

It's like a 10 minute walk from our place, no need to drive folks.

When the show is over, don't forget to check out the Downtown Santa Ana Art Walk.

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Hollywood, Atlanta and now...Santa Ana???

Last night as the wife and I were heading to Mother's Market at City Place, I was surprised to see people sitting on a normally unoccupied patio. And then I saw the sign: "Geisha House Now Open.

Hey, Geisha House is open! I said.

Whatever, she scoffed as we pulled into the driveway, coming to a never before seen sign at City Place reading: Valet Parking: $5.00.

See, the reason for my shock and the wife's doubt stems from our long-running theory that (part) owner Ashton Kutcher was pulling one last Punk on the citizens of Santa Ana.

Well, not really. We just know that so many restaurants have had such a difficult time opening up shop in Santa Ana, we figured this soon-to-be hot spot would eventually give up working with the often business-unfriendly Santa Ana and set up shop elsewhere, taking their pseudo-Spider-Man/Playstation 3 font with them.

After picking up our groceries at Mother's (including the tastiest (and only) $7 jar of pasta sauce I've ever had), I peered into the restaurant and was delighted to see such a highbrow venue in our own backyard. I knew there was another location in Hollywood, but I didn't think our little 'ol city would get the same treatment in decor.

"Man, and I thought being inside The Crosby on a Saturday night made me feel uncool(er)".

Though the staff seemed a little green being that it took a while for one of them to greet me, after doing so, she was very kind to humor my dumb questions.

When did you guys open?
Last night (Friday).

Were you busy?
Yeah, kinda. We're expecting it to pick up once the word gets out.

What time are you open 'til?
We stop seating at 10:30.

Are you open Sunday nights?
Yes, but not tomorrow.

Is Ashton here?
No. Go Away.

I'm kidding about the last one, but hey–we've got another restaurant in Santa Ana that's open on Sunday nights!

Long have I thought that a good sushi restaurant would do well in Downtown Santa Ana but hey, City Place will do for now.

As for the food–stay tuned as part two of this blog post continues later this week with a complete review of Geisha House's food, decor, prices and most important, the restrooms.

In the mean time, check out their menu.

Friday, March 20, 2009

Art Walk This Saturday (03/21)

Come rain or (moonlight) shine, the galleries at the Santiago Street Lofts come alive tomorrow night to host their monthly Art Walk event, The Santiago Art District.

I'm especially excited about a particular artist named Aaron Kraten showing tomorrow night at Curbside Gallery.

I met Aaron Kraten after February's art walk and immediately took a liking to him. Not only does he produce high quality and stylized works of art, but Aaron, much like yours truly has a penchant for all things video games.

What started off as a brief discussion about the arcade game Street Fighter turned into a two hour orgy of geekiness and nerdom–and I loved every minute of it.

With that said, stop on by tomorrow night and check out the galleries at the Santiago Art District–especially if you want to be schooled by Aaron Kraten in a conversation about video games.

Friday, March 13, 2009

(Early) St. Patty's Day Pub Crawl - 03/14

Being that St. Patty's Day takes place on a Tuesday this month, we've decided to celebrate it a few days early on Saturday.

And what would St. Patrick's Day be without prizes?

Stop by any of the participating locations and pick up a fresh Pub Crawl card and a set of GREEN BEADS.

Then, keep an eye out for both "Mr. Pub Crawl" himself and Yelp as they will be out and about looking for Pub Crawlers wearing green beads.

We'll have games to play and prizes to win for Pub Crawlers wearing the beads and have at least two stamps on their Pub Crawl Cards.

Prizes include: Afro Samurai for the Xbox 360/PS3, Shirts, iTunes Gift Cards, Chipotle Gift Cards, Free Drinks, Shot Glasses and more!

Here are some of the specials this month:

Lola Gaspar
$10 special (choice of any taco plate and a sangria, margarita, or pint of beer)

Tommy Pastrami
$3 ku bombs
$2.50 domestics
Happy hour prices on our delicious food

Yummy corned beef sliders and $3 Guinness specials

Bistro 400
Irish Food, Drinks Specials and a Live DJ Spinning House and Dancefloor Oddities!

Jason's Downtown Restaurant
$3 Bud Light Bottles, $4 Beers on tap and $5 Lucky Irishman Martinis! The Latin Jazz Syndicate will be performing from 7:00pm-10:00pm and DJ Volta will take over from 10:30pm-2:00am

Friday, March 6, 2009

Weekend Events (03/07-03/08)

First Fridays. Fabulous Fun.
TGIFF. City Place retailers invite you to celebrate the first Friday of every month. Hosted from 7pm – 10pm, First Fridays are an evening for the whole family, complete with complementary appetizers, cocktails, live music, art exhibits, and plenty of great deals on one-of-a-kind buys from our eclectic collection of boutiques and shops.

Zoo Birthday
On March 7th and 8th, the Santa Ana Zoo at Prentice Park will celebrate 57 years of fun! There will be music, animal shows, and a huge model train exhibition by the Del Oro Pacific Model Train Club.

Grab a slice of the birthday cake and see Kids are Music, 5 4 U, and other great entertainment. New animals will be coming on exhibit for the occasion, so come out and check out your local Zoo and see what a long way it's come in the last 57 years.

Downtown Santa Ana Art Walk
Is always the first Saturday of every month. Come rain, shine, or holiday, the event will always take place between 7:00 p.m. and 10:00 p.m.

Parking can be found in the 'Artists Village Parking Structure' at Third Street and Broadway. Walk through the galleries and studios, see a live performance or just hang out and enjoy the music. It is FREE and you always have a great time.

All information above is recirculated through various sources. I claim no ownership–feel free to pass it along.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Sloppy Sloping

Over the long weekend, a neighbor and I headed up to the top of his building to see how the sloping roofs were holding up after the recent rain.

Neither of us are experts when it comes to roofs nor standing water, but what we saw couldn't have been good.

In the second photo from the top, we took a ruler and dropped it in at a random spot and the water was nearly 2 inches deep. Other spots looked deeper, but neither of us really wanted to get our shoes soaked.

The bottom two photos show that the sloping roof does indeed work–the problem is that the slope ends below the level of the drainage pipes on the façade.

Lennar backs our roofs with a ten year warranty, but just imagine the inconvenience should the roofs begin to leak. Dry wall repairs, mold inspections/remediation, damage to flooring, furniture or electronics are just a few things one would most likely deal with.

In the mean time, I would suggest to everyone to inspect their roofs (yeah, even though the CC&Rs restrict you from going to the roof, I think when it comes to inspecting for standing water the HOA can look the other way).

If you find that your roof does indeed suffer from poor drainage, bring a broom to the roof and sweep off any excess standing water through the drain.

Hopefully we can get Lennar to take another look at the roofs before they pack it up for good here at the Santiago Lofts and leave this potential headache to be dealt with at the homeowner's expense.

I ran into Eddie the other day and he told me that Lennar is bringing the roofing contractor back out to fix all of the drainage issues.

And that folks, is why Lennar is one of the best home builders out there.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Shoulda Woulda Coulda

First, read this article at the OC Register.

Doug Irving is one of the best reporters at the OC Register, not to mention a pretty nice and down-to-earth guy. But this article didn't sit too well with me, as well as several other individuals I spoke to about it.

Though, I wouldn't be too quick to blast Doug as he does bring up good points. Yeah, he does play up the “victim card” pretty nicely in this one but hold on, this is how I see it.

In recent years, the City seems to have developed an uncanny knack for missed opportunities, and I'm hoping that's the point Doug was trying to drive home; City, we're watching you this time.

Here are some key points from the article along with my thoughts:

  • The property owners made a nice profit from their dealings with the city–even the code enforcement-violating ones. I'm sorry if some of them have seller's remorse but let me be clear; if someone offered me a huge chunk of change for my loft, I'd sell it in a heartbeat and move downtown.

  • Calling your Ward a "slum" isn't the best choice of words, no matter how frustrated you are. Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines a slum as a densely populated usually urban area marked by crowding, dirty run-down housing, poverty, and social disorganization. This article seems to indicate that this definition could actually apply to what the Lacy neighborhood was prior to the City's intervention.

  • I wouldn't say nothing has come of the City's convoluted plan to improve the City. The Santiago Lofts were built as part of this plan and our being here has resulted in some pretty great things for the City so far (exhibit 1, exhibit 2, exhibit 3).

  • The City's plan of "buying up the crowded apartments and run-down homes that pocked the neighborhood, and replacing them with something newer, something better" does worry me. What exactly constitutes "newer and better"? More high-density apartments? No thank you. Let's not treat the people of Santa Ana like sardines please.

  • The City needs to adopt a plan and announce an end date to this project. Things are so much more exciting when you have one (that's also a Lost reference). Once the end date is in place, Santa Ana needs to take the ball and run up field for six for a change, instead of dancing side to side gaining zero, or even worse, negative yardage.

  • While I ask you to not crucify Mr. Irving for writing this article, I would like to present the fact that there is a severe dearth of positive articles written about Santa Ana in the Register; which is located less than a mile east of this so called "slum".

When and if the City does move forward with their plan, I hope they do it right. I hope whatever goes up in those lots (eh hem) causes drivers to slow down and be thankful they live/work in Santa Ana.

Monday, February 2, 2009

Giddy Like A School Girl

Things always seem to take longer to come to fruition in Santa Ana–Chipotle is no exception. About 11 months ago, I posted this article about a new Chipotle coming to a nearby shopping center.

Well, the wait is almost over. This Friday, February 6th, Seventeenth Street becomes all the more delicious as Chipotle opens their doors to the public.

If Chipotle isn't your thang because you're one of those types who feel that Chipotle is blasphemous, don't fret–there will be other restaurants joining Chipotle at the Homeplace Center including Shabu, Wings, Hawaiian and more!

Friday, January 30, 2009

Street Lake at 6th and Mortimer

Back in March of last year, a few friends and I began walking to The Gypsy Den for an early morning cup of coffee. On the way there, we stopped at the corner of 6th and Mortimer and took note of a street lake taking residence in this high-density residential neighborhood.

The next day we took the same route and lo and behold, the stagnant water was still there. "I think I found my new pet project", I said to my fellow caffeine whores.

Later that day, I headed back to take some pictures to send to Santa Ana Public Works when I encountered a gentleman by the name of Juan waiting for a bus just a few steps away from the street lake. Juan told me that he's lived in the neighborhood for over eight years and has yet to see a dry gutter.

Just then, he motioned me to turn around as a Mamacita was carefully pushing a stroller through the puddle, trying not to make too much of a splash. Juan was shaking his head in a sad, frustrated manner.

I thanked Juan for his time and told him that I'd be making some phone calls to get problem fixed.

"Thank you, and I wish you luck", Juan replied, as if he somehow knew that over the next few months, I'd be leaving several unreturned phone messages left on answering machines and operators down at Public Works.

Not until late in August did I finally have the wherewithal when placing a follow-up call to ask to speak directly with Jim Ross, the Executive Director down at Public Works.

At first, the operator seemed hesitant to connect me to him, but after briefly talking it up as if we had old business, the call was patched through.

When Jim Ross answered the call, I was immediately delighted with his "can do" attitude. It was a very refreshing experience and he assured me that he would have someone out the next day to survey the location.

Sure enough, Jim called me back the very next day and assured me that he'd have the pooling problem fixed by the end of the year.

October came and went, and November was flying by with no sign of progress. I was beginning to feel stood up. Then, one night as I was walking back from Monday Night Football down at Tommy Pastrami's, I noticed some orange cones that read "SAPW" set up around the lake. Later on that week, I headed down to the lake and snapped these photos below:

As the year came to a close, so did another one of my pet projects. Jim Ross down at Public Works did an amazing job and now this intersection is no longer a problem for those that walk, ride, or drive through this intersection.

And for once, I was actually glad to see my tax dollars being thrown down the gutter.

James G. Ross, Executive Director
20 Civic Center Plaza, M-21
Santa Ana, CA 92702
click for webpage

Emergency Repairs

General Maintenance and Repairs

Project Bid Information

Public Works Information

Friday, January 23, 2009

This Saturday: It Came From The 80's

Their last show was Peglegs & Pistols–a pirate-themed art show, so you know they know how to have a good time!

Opening Night: January 24th (This Saturday)

Phantom Gallery
2736 East Chapman Avenue
Orange, CA 92869

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Can We Bring This to Santa Ana?

A Downtown Santa Ana Luchador/Luchadora Battle Royale would be so sweet.

Friday, January 16, 2009

Art Walk This Saturday (01/17)

Tomorrow night marks the third Saturday of the month and the first Art Walk of 2009, and what better way to enjoy the unseasonably warm nights we've been experiencing than to stop on by the Santiago Art District Art Walk.

As usual, the Art Walk kicks off around 7PM and runs late into the night. Who knows, maybe Mayor Pulido might show up this time, but don't hold your breath.

Hey, it's been a while since we've done a poll. See above:

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Live Together, Die Alone

I'm sure most of you have heard by now that Adams Iron, located on the Northwest corner of Santiago Street and Civic Center Drive caught on fire yesterday around 3:30PM.

Luckily, no one was hurt and once again, the Santa Ana Fire Department hunks did an amazing job of containing the fire before it could spread to any surrounding businesses, or worse, nearby residential units, including the Logan neighborhood or the lofts.

Even though someone's business burned down, and it looks as if the employees will be out of work at this location, there is one positive thing to mention and that is our community is well looked after.

Around 3:50PM yesterday, I received a phone call from a resident telling me about the fire, then a text message from one of Santa Ana's best political bloggers, then an email from one of our fantastic new residents who posted the incident on our community's Google Group, followed up with an instant message from another resident.

It's a good feeling knowing that there are so many residents here looking out for one another. Live Together, Die Alone–as Jack would say on Lost (which comes back in less than a week). Though, I wouldn't go as far as to say Die Alone–how about ...or find out your house burned down and no one knew you well enough to save your cats.

So if you own/live here and haven't met your neighbors yet, know that we've got a great little community here at the Santiago Street Lofts–with friends all around the city who want nothing more than to see our neighborhood blossom as we lay the building blocks for a grand entrance into the heart of Orange County.

Monday, January 12, 2009

Wags to Riches (01/09)

Thank you to everyone who visits this blog (even the blog trolls) and helps raise funds for Pet Pro Life–a fantastic dog rescue program operating every weekend out of the Petsmart in Fountain Valley.

Last weekend, we stopped in for a visit and dropped off another check for $120. Just look at all of those happy volunteers in the picture.

It seems as if every organization is looking for a "bailout" these days, but in this case, I know they'll be putting the money to good use.

Monday, January 5, 2009

Danny Maika–Music Worth Sharing

A few months ago, a group of Santiago Loft residents stopped in for open mic night at the Vault located below the OC Pavilion/Ambrosia Restaurant.

After a decent amount of painful performances, Danny took the stage and wowed us all with his set and stage presence. I remember saying to the wife on the way home: "I'm sure glad we stuck around to hear that guy!"

Since that night, we've crossed paths with Danny on several occasions including an amazing performance at the Irvine Spectrum Mall on the day after Christmas, and most recently, just a few doors down while performing in a neighbor's first floor studio/workspace.

Aside from his fantastic voice, Danny just has a wonderful persona about him where you'd love nothing more than to see this guy make it.

Perhaps when the weather gets warmer and the Santiago Art District Art Walk picks up again, maybe we can get him to do a live show.

Until then, check out his website or his MySpace page for some soul-warming tunes.