Magic Cafe Grand Opening

I mentioned last week that Magic Gas is undergoing a growth from just a gas station into a gas station and a cafe. Well, today was the day. Makster and I went over there first thing this morning to check it out and get our free coffees and eats.

Magic Cafe Grand OpeningDespite some setbacks Jan(the current owner of Magic Gas) really pulled it off, and made the place into a viable operation. Coffee, espresso, eats and a nice courtyard with wireless Internet. At first I was skeptical, but now I see the appeal. You are getting gas in the morning, and the idea of crossing the street to Chango does not appeal. You can get your coffee here while you are pumping in your gasohol. Nice. I think that works.

In any case, I would encourage any Echo Park resident to go over there and at least check it out. Get a cup of coffee and say hello to Jan. She is nice.

There seemed to be a fair number of people there including Jenny Burman of Chicken Corner blog, as well as a bunch of Chango regulars. Perhaps ready for a change, or what have you. Two cafes on Chicken Corner now. Never thought I would see that.

Putting The Magic Back Into Gas

Magic Gas, by this time has become an Echo Park institution, but as Chicken Corner blog notes, some changes have been afoot since Aramis sold the place to new owners(we miss you Aramis).

Magic Gas SignPrimarily, they will be serving coffee and espresso there, and there is a new patio for seating outside. And my wife, MAKSTER, will be working there(and the quote on the Chicken Corner post is from her, btw…she has been a booster of the Magic Gas project).

It’s a strange change, and a strange thing for a gas station to do. But I guess I have my own personal image of what a gas station is(some of my friends remark that it is more like European gas stations in this sense, but that does not really make a difference to me). It will be cool if they can pull it off, it would be rather unique, and might give Chango some competition. Would it cause a bifurcation of the Changoscene? I dunno. I hardly go into Chango unless it is early in the morning when MAKSTER opens store. I guess I find the crust of hipsters that forms at around 11AM a little offputting.

The one thing that I will say is this though: no matter what you do, Magic Gas, no matter what happens…do NOT…I will repeat…DO NOT…get rid of the mechanic. Seriously. DO NOT.


Cutting Carrots In Echo Park

Carrot Cutting Ceremony At The New Echo Park Farmer's MarketThe much anticipated Echo Park Farmer’s Market happened this afternoon, and I would say that it was a success. The variety of produce, cheese, breads and tamales was just right and certainly a fine start to what I can only hope will be a lasting tradition.

I ran into a ton of people there, and met a bunch of new neighbors(Sergio, owner of Del Mor apartments) as well as seeing the key neighborhood fixtures like Eric Garcetti. What I really like about this local market is that it is walking distance, and that it does serve as a new sort of “locus” for people in the neighborhood to meet each other on a casual basis.

Mary Ann and I came out of there with like six bags of goods: juice oranges, cheese, honey, bread, spinach, fuji apples, and lots of other vegetables. It is my new weekly thing.

Echo Park Nostalgia: Toys

IMG_5244As I was preparing this post for, I began to feel a little nostalgia for the time when I moved to Echo Park, about four years ago(I am still a newbie compared to some of the real deal Echo Parkians).

When I first came here, things did seem a little different, although I could see that change was just around the corner here(perhaps it always is).

One thing that I remember fondly was that on Echo Park Blvd, just north of Montana there was a guy with two gigantic piles of toys in his front yard. You could collect a bag of weird critters and figures and dolls and generally he would charge five bucks. I have no idea where he got such a volume of strange and unique toys, but we were all the better for it.

I still have some of them on my shelves at home. Good times.

Kramer Junction, California

Kramer Junction CaliforniaKramer Junction is where state highway 58 and US 395 meet. We stopped here for food and supplies on our way back from the desert this weekend.

Personally, I have a certain affinity for small desert places like this. Five miles away is the town of Boron, where I predict that most of the people who work here at Kramer Junction actually live. Also nearby is the Kramer Junction Solar Electric Generating Station Number 3, which you might have seen in the 1997 blockbuster smash, Gattaca.

Before we got here, we did stop in Boron to ask for directions to the nearest service station as we needed some coolant and a clean bathroom. The gentleman we spoke to there seemed to be more interested in watching telenovelas rather than answering our dumb questions.

In any case, I hope to be back through there soon to investigate and photograph both Kramer Junction and Boron.

Posted by hexodus at June 16, 2006 06:07 PM

The Bridge Is Not Over

Lifeguard on DutyThey are doing work on the old red bridge in Echo Park lake. The one that crosses over the water to the bird sanctuary island in the middle. According the to the Echo Park Historical Society:

The landmark bridge at Echo Park Lake is currently being renovated as workers replace rotted wood and make other necessary repairs. The bridge’s railings will be rebuilt and repainted in a historically appropriate manner in light of the park’s new status as a city historic landmark. Officials are also looking at moving and building a new and more attractive gate that currently blocks access to the bridge and island. The new gate would be located at the end of the bridge closest to the island, allowing park visitors to once again walk across the span and enjoy the view but keeping the island (an unofficial bird sanctuary) off limits.

Cool. I have only gotten to walk on the bridge once, when for some reason the gate was open. I did actually get to walk on the island.

How We Made Our Wedding Invitations

In sticking with our “homemade wedding” script, we decided to make the invitations for our Croatian wedding ourselves, through the industrial magic of silk-screening. This after investigating a number of options such as letterpress or Crayola.

We knew from the get go that the graphic that we wanted was one of a traditional stone house from the island of Brac – circular and made from the white stone known as Bracki Kamen(literally “Brac stone” in Croatian). Luckily, we have a scale model of this, which served as a more than willing subject for our photo session.

Then I took the photograph into Photoshop and constructed a graphic from it. I made it into a flat black and white image by adjusting the brightness levels until I got just the balance that I wanted, and added some embellishments.

Separately I set the text, which would be the second of two screens that we would use to make these invites.

After that, it was time to do a little shopping. First, we needed to get the actual screens that we would use to make the invitations. Two screens – one for the text, one for the graphic – done at 160 mesh. Along with the screens we needed inks and various other supplies such as stirrers.

After getting the screens taken care of, we headed over to McManus and Morgan(I am linking to the Google cache because there site always seems to be down, sadly), a superb paper shop near MacArthur Park, where we browsed a wide variety of amazing decorative and art papers and envelopes(seriously, check em out). Ending up with a stack of white paper for the invites, and some nice brown envelopes.

After that came the screening, which is fun once you get a rhythm and a flow going where you just create them one after another, like magic. First we did the graphic in color on one side, then flipped it to do a light graphic background and the text on the other.

After that we stuffed the envelopes. One thing to note is that we made our own postage stamps using a service called Zazzle, which lets you make customized postage from your Flickr pix for a nominal fee. We were rather pleased with the results and the feedback has been great.