Friday, October 31, 2008

Flat Stanley

Celeste's friend Quinn sent her a "Flat Stanley" last week.

As part of a school project, Quinn wanted to know about Carlsbad so she decided to send Flat Stanley out here via first class mail from Monona.

Celeste took Stanley to Carlsbad's best attraction - the beach.

Stanley and a Webkinz thing.

Stanley got a little sunburned.

Tricks or Treats

Celeste as a "VFD Crow", from Lemony Snickets' Series of Unfortunate Events books.

Lots of candy was brought home, we'll probably still have it come Easter...

Satanic Lunch for Allie

A Whopper, fries and a small shake - $6.66.

Keep Halloween evil!

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

When your neighbor gives you lemons...

...use 'em to make guac. Or salad dressing.

Fresh from a next door neighbor's back yard lemon tree. And out of season, how odd. Allie also snagged some persimmons.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

New Rides

I finally finished putting together the Gunnar cross bike this weekend. All I needed were a few small bits (downtube cable stops)- and I picked those up and installed 'em this afternoon.

Now all I need to do is to spend some quality time with it in the workstand getting it dialed in. The derailleurs need adjusting and the front brake is set up in a way that it's causing the fork to shudder violently. Minor issues.

I picked up an Electra Amsterdam Royal 8 for Allie about a month and a half ago.

Classic Dutch style but built on an aluminum frame with a Shimano Nexus 8-speed internal hub. She loves riding it down to the beach a few times each week.

My neighborhood bomber is an Amsterdam Balloon.

Skinny black steel tubes contrasting with cream Schwalbe Fat Frank tires. Eight speed drivetrain makes navigating the hilly terrain here much easier while Shimano roller brakes are powerful stoppers and allow the use of stylish painted and pinstriped rims.

The tires make for a super-cushy ride. 2.35" wide and pumped up only to 35 PSI. With minimal knobs, these tires roll smoothly. Very fun. Stay tuned as I'll be adding some accessories on down the line. It should make for a great grocery-getter.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Cool Swag

Chicago socks from my friend (and former Schwinn colleague) Bergie. Get 'em here.

Their Wisconsin socks are pretty weak.

Field Trip - Stu Miller's Pumpkin Patch, Encinitas

Just a mini field trip this weekend. Even though it's 82 and sunny here, the calendar tells me that Halloween is approaching. We're certainly getting used to this Eterna-summer.

Stu Miller's is a small dirt lot in east Encinitas, filled with overpriced pumpkins, a petting zoo and some kiddie rides.

Can you find Celeste in the pic? She (rightfully) insisted on wearing orange.

The pumpkins she's sitting around ran price from $10 - $18. Sure they were some nice squash, but not *that* nice. We picked up a couple at Von's a bit later.

The highlight was the petting zoo. Not just a bunch of crazy goats (there were two of 'em), but a bunch of hens, roosters and some bunnies to pick up and manhandle (kidhandle?). Here goes:




goats! (pickin' up chicks)

Celeste's favorite hen
hen party

Video time:

Predictably she had a hard time leaving the critters. Would she ever make a great farm girl. She was finally able to snatch one of the reclusive bunnies to hold, but that bunny didn't like the way Celeste was holding her and ended up laying some decent scratches on Celeste's forearms.

Next stop, bungee-trampoline. Just like in It's The Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown (1966), no trip to a pumpkin patch is complete without a turn at the bungee cord/migrant worker-equipped trampolines.

Once she was all strapped into a sturdy harness, Celeste was lifted about 7' above the trampoline.

way to go, shooting into the sun and all...

Next the Mexican guy bounced up and grabbed her by the ankles and pulled her down. Once released she soared up about 20'.

While I was expecting some of her "fun screams" (like when we visited Point Loma and the waves crashed in), she was far more reserved due to being nervous. Here's the vid...

At the end she accidentally did a flip at the upper end of the bungee. We lowered a scared kid down and headed home.


While it was fun, we prefer Schuster's Playtime Farm in Deerfiled, WI.

Another Klaus

Spotted at the local VW dealership on Saturday morning.

If any of you locals wanna roll like us. A few more miles, two years newer.


Nice rack!

Thanks again, Darren!

Maybe someday soon they'll see water again. Man I miss hanging out at Rutabaga.

Anybody want to buy a set of snow tires for a VW EuroVan? As seen at the bottom of the pic.

Things Allie misses about Madison pt I.

Woodman's Markets.
Ahh, good old Woodman's.

Where the brown tile floors in the enormous produce, meat and cheese sections make the license plate-equipped carts rattle a certain way. The flip-up style carts would be especially clangy until you had added some weight.

Where we knew not to expect good produce on the weekends.

Where we could buy virtually everything in one quick trip. No secondary trips to Target needed for toiletries.

Where the selection of ethnic foods was unparalleled compared to everything but specialty markets.

Where you didn't need a silly "rewards card".

Where we could buy turkey brats.

Where the selection of beer was amazing.

Where the selection of cheese was even more amazinger.

Where you'd shop with people from all walks of life. Woodman's was unpretentious.

And most importantly, where the prices were untouchable.

Below see what $120 (after $35 of "reward savings") bought us at Vons today. I shouldn't be able to carry $120 worth of groceries inside in one trip. And we didn't buy an exceptional amount of stuff.

We could have filled the top and bottom of a cart at Woodman's for $120.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Things I miss about Madison pt. V

Big puffy clouds.

US 51 (Stoughton Road), north of McFarland WI

Here in Carlsbad, we seem to have two types of sky. Heavy marine layer fog or clear cloudless sunshine. I guess it could be worse, it could actually rain here once in a while.

Field Trip - Cabrillo Natl Monument / Point Loma San Diego PT. 2

After we did our tidepooling at Cabrillo National Monument, we drove up the hill to the visitor's center, lighthouse and historic military sites.

Klaus the van was our dining room on wheels. Nice view of the harbor!

San Diego Bay & Naval Air Station North Island

Can you spot the two submarines in this pic?

Visitor's center, built in 1966

Statue of Cabrillo, donated by the Portugese government and delviered by its navy, 1988

We checked out the museum, learning the history of the area and Cabrillo's arrival. As I mentioned in part I, Point Loma has been an important strategic point for San Diego.

Between 1918 and 1943, the Army built searchlight bunkers, fire control stations and gun batteries. The largest guns were located just west of the park entrance, where two 16-inch guns could fire 2,300-pound shells nearly 30 miles out to sea. The militay also painted the Old Point Loma Lighthouse olive green and used it as a command post and radio station.
Celeste and Allie inside a coastal artillery control station
Exterior of control station, nicely camouflaged into cliffs

Old military thing, not sure what it is/was. Pearl Station perhaps?

Point Loma has a couple of lighthouses, with the Old Point Loma Lighthouse (1855) restored and open to the public.

Celeste checking out a fresnel lens in the museum
Old Point Loma Lighthouse

Original lamp, now residing in what was the assitant's house

Old Point Loma Lighthouse was in service from 1855 until 1891. While the lighthouse's location seems ideal, 422' above sea level, fog and low clouds often obscured the light. The next lighthouse was built much closer to the water and is located on what is now a Coast Guard station and sadly not open to the public. The old lighthouse was faithfully restored to it's 1855 appearance a few years ago and is decorated in period furnishings.

All in all, another great day exploring our new area.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

John McCain Accidentally Left On Campaign Bus Overnight

from The Onion. Remember, it's okay to make fun of old people, they don't know how to use computers.

John McCain Accidentally Left On Campaign Bus Overnight

Down On The Street

Spotted on El Camino Real, a sweet Splitty DoKa (double cab)

However it looked better than it ran, it kept stalling at the light.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Field Trip - Cabrillo Natl Monument / Point Loma San Diego PT. 1

Another weekend, another field trip. We headed south again today to visit the Cabrillo National Monument in San Diego. Since I'm tired, this posting will be split up into two with the second half coming later in the week.

Juan Rodriguez Cabrillo was the first European to set foot on the west coast of what is now the United States. On September 28th, 1542, Cabrillo's flotilla entered a harbor that he described as "a closed and very good port."

The National Monument is out on San Diego's Point Loma which shelters San Diego Bay from the Pacific Ocean. A sandstone rampart jutting out into the sea, Point Loma has been of stragetgic importance to the San Diego area since the US government first designated the peninsula a military reserve back in 1852.

Point Loma - bottom left corner. Celeste is pointing to Balboa Park, site of a previous field trip.

Our first stop was at the tidepools. While the tides were not low when we visited Sunday morning, there was still plenty to see. Dramatic views of a rugged coast and smaller tidepools with crabs, snails and other critters.

First I'll get the videos out of the way

Video one (sorry, I had the camera running vertical - that doesn't work too well in video mode!) Still the excited screams are worth it:

Video two, more screams of delight:

Video three, the wave got a bit too close for comfort for Celeste:

Video four - surfing on a rock:

Video five - We enjoyed the sound the rocks made as they clunked together when the waves receded.

Time for some stills:
San Diego's coast isn't all beach

Navigating the slick sandstone

Celeste with some feather boa kelp (yes, it's really called that)

artsy-fartsy erosion

cool yuccas

more artsy-fartsy