MOVIE HARDSHIPS: The heroes in the movies "The Hobbit" and "Jack Reacher" encountered many hardships, including monsters, orcs and trolls threatening Bilbo Baggins and his friends and armed thugs and a crooked cop shooting at Reacher. But moviegoers at the Regal Crow Canyon Stadium 6 theater in San Ramon faced hardships of their own in trying to see the two films on a weekend day before Christmas.

After movie fans waited in line outdoors on a chilly afternoon to get to the ticket booth, theater employees informed them that the temperature was 60 degrees inside two theatres because heaters weren't working.

People had a choice to make on the spot: Buy a ticket and hunker down in the cold to watch the action, or go somewhere else to find a heated theater.

We guess that spending two or three hours in a frosty indoor climate would have given us more sympathy for our heroes. But the Eye observed most movie fans taking the path that comfort-loving Hobbits would choose. They went somewhere else to stay warm.

After all, the full name of the movie was "The Hobbit: An Expected Journey."

Crucial bypass? There were plenty of good reasons to move quickly on restoring the Mountain View Drive overcrossing of Lafayette Creek in Lafayette, which was reopened less than three weeks after the Dec. 2 storm that helped swell the creek, washing out the road. Round-the-clock work over a nine-day stretch saved the day.


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Mayor Mike Anderson, who lives next to the creek on Mountain View, took a lot of good-natured ribbing about wielding his authority to get the work done faster so his life would be easier. On the occasion of the Dec. 21 reopening, Anderson made the valid points to the Eye that he isn't the only person directly affected, and that there also were water and sewer pipes along that street that needed to be restored tout de suite, and not sometime in the spring, as the earliest estimates had things pegged.

Anderson also said restoring Mountain View Drive returned to active service an important Mt. Diablo Boulevard bypass route, which includes Brook Street between Mountain View and Moraga Road. And that may well be true ... though events like Taste of Lafayette and the Art and Wine Festival, which do occupy parts of Mt. Diablo Boulevard, are generally the only times that bypass would be needed. But you never know.

NO MUDSLINGING: The Eye has made countless trips to Antioch City Hall over the years, but it wasn't until a recent trip that we spotted a shoe cleaner outside the entrance.

The contraption is mounted atop a raised piece of cement and has coarse brushes on both sides, with two smaller brushes on the bottom for the sole of the shoe.

Both current and city staff members are unaware of just how long the shoe cleaner has been there and why, though it is believed to have been there since around the time the building opened in 1981.

Former city engineer and public works director Stan Davis offers the best explanation for the shoe cleaner, saying that contractors securing city building permits were probably tracking dirt and mud indoors.

"Somebody from maintenance probably put it out there," he said. "I don't recall there being any discussion, it's just always been there."

NO ROSIE FAN: The Eye likes to scan Twitter for mentions of Rosie the Riveter, whose role in World War II is the inspiration for the national park in Richmond commemorating the role played by workers on the home front. Last week, we spotted the following tweet mentioning Rosie, but we don't think its author, who lives in North Carolina, will be visiting the national park any time soon: "'Rosie the Riveter' ruined this country, and we didn't even realize it! saved us from Germany/Japan & ruined our marriages in the process."

FOR THE DOGS: Residents of The Lakes community of Discovery Bay were advised in a recent newsletter not to let female dogs urinate on the lawns. It apparently leaves unsightly burn spots.

Staff writers Denis Cuff, Sam Richards, Paul Burgarino, Chris Treadway and Cindi Christie contributed to this column.