Alfalfa Patch

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Hello Adventurers!

Contrary to popular belief, Lancaster has more than sand and Joshua trees. This alfalfa farm is one of a small handful of green patches that dot the otherwise barren landscape. This sprinkler system stays on for 18 hours every day while slowly rolling back and forth throughout the field. To keep everything in perspective though, the flat horizon is filled with prickly little Joshua trees like the rest of the city!

Greene Entry

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The architectural powerhouse firm known simply as Greene and Greene (Charles Summer Greene and Henry Mather Greene) practically established the city of Pasadena all on their own. Several of their works have been listed as historical landmarks (such as the famous Gamble House). Besides their distinctive Craftsman style homes, they also helped to beautify Pasadena by building stone walls, bus stop waiting houses, and neighborhood entryway like this one. While these are not gated communities, per se, these handcrafted gates give the streets and sidewalks that extra bit of flair that can only be found in Pasadena.

Geffen at MOCA

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One of the crown jewels of the ever-evolving Little Tokyo area of Downtown LA is the Geffen Contemporary at MOCA. This warehouse that once housed police cars burst on to the scene with the controversial (yet absolutely amazing) Art in the Streets graffiti exhibit. Proudly displaying plenty of heavy hitters in the past like Banksy, Shepard Fairey, etc., this extension of MOCA consistently has beautiful artwork and great events to showcase it.

Piru Bridges

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Piru is a small town situated between the historic cities of Fillmore and Santa Paula. Farm lands line the highway on one side, and mountains block your view on the other. If you get off the 126 and drive into the tiny “downtown” area, you’ll pass by two metal bridges — one is on the side of the road, and the second is hidden behind overgrown bushes from the river below. The gorgeous green rolling hills behind it complete the fantastic view.

Ontario Airport

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One of my favorite hidden gems in Southern California is one that isn’t of much use to anyone that doesn’t live in the immediate area. Airports aren’t the type of place you go to hang around for no reason — especially if it’s a long trek down the 10 from where you live. Most Angelenos probably will never come here at all; but if you do, the sleepy little Ontario Airport has far less people (as you can see from the photo), far less stress, and the architecture is definitely more attractive than Burbank or LAX!

Gargoyle on Beverly

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Like all of us, you’ve probably been caught in traffic somewhere around The Grove. Beverly Blvd, Fairfax, all of ‘em get gridlocked. Next time you’re stuck creeping along and watching walkers pass by you, check out the “fairytale” style home across the street from the delicious BLD. Also keep an eye out for the gargoyles overhead!

First Light Fun

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The desert is a completely different world compared to LA. Yes yes, some will argue that LA itself is a desert, but I’m talking the REAL desert. The longer north you drive in Lancaster, the less buildings you’ll find. Simple right? It’s always fun to drive aimlessly down the seemingly endless and perfectly straight roads. Plus, if you’re crazy enough to get there before the sun comes up, you’ll witness a truly gorgeous first light and sunrise! Just don’t forget to bring a tripod!

Lord of the Rings

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With the increasing amount of garbage the film studios have been pushing in the faces of viewers, I’ve finally had enough. New technology is allowing the special effects and explosions to be played up, and the story line and plot to be played down. Thankfully, plenty of amazing movies have been made in the past that have stood the test of time. I’ll be slowly checking off the greatest movies of all-time from my “to watch” list. I figured there’s no better place to start than the AFI Top 100!

#50 — The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring (2001)

Carpet Genie

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If you drive north on Laurel Canyon Boulevard long enough — well past the actual “canyon” part and into the central valley — you’ll be greeted by this smiling genie. Don’t expect him to grant you any wishes though, he’s stuck promoting a carpet store for all eternity. Nonetheless, he’s a nice feature in an otherwise rather bland part of the valley!

Emmy Awards 2014

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Well, it’s that time of year again … the Emmy Awards are right around the corner! It’s been a great year for television and the nominees for Outstanding Drama and Outstanding Comedy are all fantastic! Below are all the nominated shows as well as my guess for who will take home the trophy!

OUTSTANDING COMEDY SERIES

big_bang_theory louie

modern_family orange_is_the_new_black

silicon_valley veep

…and the Emmy goes to… MODERN FAMILY!

OUTSTANDING DRAMA SERIES

breaking_bad downton_abbey

game_of_thrones house_of_cards

mad_men true_detective

…and the Emmy goes to… BREAKING BAD!

Nasty Neck Face

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Neck Face, known for his devilish sketches and quotes, has to be one of my favorite graffiti / street artists. Most of his work is fairly simple and consists of crude sketches of monsters, devils, etc. However, even this small tag in a decommissioned phone booth has some power behind it — complete, of course, with a pentagon.

Green Acres Estate

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I think we all can agree that Harold Lloyd is one of Hollywood’s most legendary comedic geniuses. His name is usually mentioned along with Charlie Chaplin, Buster Keaton, and others from the silent era. This humungous estate (appropriately named “Green Acres”), located a bit off Benedict Canyon in Beverly Hills, was the estate owned by the famous actor. It was originally over 15 acres and included a golf course, 900 foot canoe run, and a 44-room mansion with several detached buildings as well. After Lloyd’s death in 1971, the property was subdivided into multiple lots and sold off. Thankfully, the mansion itself still stands and is now on the National Register of Historic Places!

Pricey Ivy

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Beverly Hills – the land of mansions and plastic surgeons. Forget Rodeo Drive, the real attractions are these pricey plastic surgery places that scatter the streets of the entire city. If you’re around for long enough you’ll probably spot some familiar faces going in and out of the doors too. This particular office is covered in perfectly manicured ivy that extends to the parking structure next door. Those of you that saw Adam Sandler’s Just Go With It will recognize this building as Danny’s (Adam Sandler) office where he works with his assistant Katherine (Jennifer Aniston).

As seen on screen inJust Go With It (2011)

Tagging the Zoo

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The Old Zoo in Griffith Park is probably one of the best kept secrets in LA. It’s near the famous Merry Go Round, but hidden from the parking lot. There’s a small foot path that leads around a bend before opening up into a large grass area with the Old Zoo structures on the side. When the zoo closed down in the 60′s, the fences and cages came down and the park left the structures to be used as a picnic area while nature slowly starts to reclaim it. If you climb into the narrow stair wells, which were originally used to bring the animals down into the viewing areas, you’ll find graffiti on top of graffiti, some of which has been there for decades. Be warned, I’ve stumbled into some very unfriendly homeless dudes while exploring these tunnels; not to mention you’ll probably spot some tweekers shooting up in the abandoned buildings (seriously).

Lady of the Canyon

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Deep in a narrow canyon, way off the beaten path in Simi Valley, you’ll find this stone carving of a woman’s face that seems to be watching over the narrow, blind corner of the road that she faces. If you spot it quick enough, there’s a small turn-out to pull over and park before tightrope-walking the narrow shoulder of the road to snap some photos. However, if you miss it, be prepared for a long journey down the canyon before finding a safe place to bust a U. Beneath the face is also a few stone steps that act almost like a foundation for the carving!