Sunday, May 31, 2009

Most Ridiculous Item at Coscto, 5/31/09

Tequila in a glass handgun bottle. "The way the west was won." Really? Oh, and it's $25 for a whopping 200ml.

Saturday, May 30, 2009

Outing With The Nature Girl

Living in California, Celeste sadly hasn't had as much time in nature as she did when we lived in Monona. Whether she was exploring our large back yard or paddling her kayak in Lake Monona's Sqaw Bay, she was always on the hunt for critters and finding peace in the natural world. Although we live a short distance to the beach, she's still hasn't fully warmed up to the ocean, preferring quiet and calm lakes.

This afternoon we headed out to Calavera Lake in north Carlsbad to do a little exploring. Calavera Lake is a small freshwater lake in an ex-quarry, now nature preserve. The area is also has a decent network of unmarked mountain bike trails. I rode there with a friend a few weeks back and will return to get a better lay of the land.

(crappy photos alert - all I had with me was my phone)

Bringing a small bait net, a few toy buckets and a bug net, we hit the perimeter of the lake on the search for frog, fish, tadpoles, etc.

She managed to snag a couple of *very* small fry at this spot. One pictured below at about eleven o'clock.

Being a true kid, she did manage to slip and fall into the lake up to her waist at one point. No biggie, she shrugged it off and continued her quest and found a few snails and snagged a damselfly.

All in all, a great way to spend a couple of hours with my grrrl.

Friday, May 29, 2009

Record Swap & Off The Alley

I spent just about four years during and after college working for a small independent new and used record store in the south suburbs of Chicago - Homewood's Record Swap.
I still have fond memories of my Days at the Swap. Being a music junkie it was always a thrill to be able to get first crack at the fresh trade-ins before they ended up on the store's shelves. The curled thermal paper faxes that spat out that week's latest releases from import and independent labels were carefully read (unless they ended up falling on the adjacent radiator) to ensure that I didn't miss some rare 7" or limited edition piece from one of the many bands whose music I collected as a "completeist".

While we weren't the best overall new or used or indie/import store in the Chicago area, I feel that we were the best to combine all three. Unfortunately the owner, a new father at the time, felt the urge to start carrying a large selection of children's music and toys. Relegated to the back corner of one of the store fronts, all of those stuffed animals and Raffi tapes just collected dust.

During my tenure I'm thankful that I made lasting friendships with both co-workers and some of our customers (I'm talking about you, Todd, Chris & Rob).

So what got me thinking (and typing) about Record Swap? My mom forwarded along this article about Off The Alley - the all-ages club that Record Swap created. While OTA catered to a slightly younger audience that was into alternative dance music an pop-punk, it still stirred up a bunch of memories from that place.

I left the Swap in 1993 to go work for one of the shop's vendors - Feedback, an import and indie label record distributor. Record Swap ended up being one of my accounts. Both the Swap and OTA are long gone, having gone bankrupt in 2000. However, the Swap left an indelible mark on me and my musical tastes. Maybe someday I'll write a post about some of our more interesting customers - the mumblers, Joe Crack, John Everson. Or maybe the extremely frugal owner.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

California Curiostity - Tenting for Termites

No, the circus is not in town, just a neighbor with a termite problem.
I used to see tented homes undergoing fumigation from time-to-time when flying in to LAX or John Wayne/Orange County airports. In the past eight months (has it really been eight months??) three of our neighbors have had the process done. Kind of funny seeing an enormous yellow and orange tent in a row of otherwise plain suburban stucco homes.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

You Can Say It's A Little Dry Around Here

Nice coating of red cocoa powder-like dust on the Pivot from riding the Rancho La Costa trails Friday morning before work.

Thank You, GEICO

...for sullying an otherwise cloudless Carlsbad sky this afternoon.
Never buy insurance from the stupid lizards at Government Employees Insurance Company. I have to admit that the five aircraft flying in formation to create this dot-matrix graphic was pretty cool though.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Fantasy Garage, pt 1

Those of you who have known me for more than, say, an hour, have figured out that I'm a car nerd. Always have been. From the days of pushing Hot Wheels on the rug, to reading Car and Driver at age ten, to building Lego cars and model kits, I've been a petrol-head through and through my entire life.

So, I've assembled a personal list of five dream vehicles to fill a fictional garage. I tried to keep them from overlapping - one wagon, one truck, etc. Of course this list is incredibly unrealistic - I'd have to win the lottery (aka "the stupid people tax") to even consider adding any of these to my real-world fleet. But it is fun to dream. This is part 1 - the "modern" five.

The Family Truckster - Audi RS6 Avant
With a 580 HP twin turbo V-10 putting power to all four wheels via Audi's quattro all wheel drive, the RS6 can sprint to 60 in less than 4.5 seconds. Perfect for rushing Celeste to school on the many days she is running late. Sadly not offered in the US.

The Sunday Driver - Aerial Atom
Honda-powered, street legal, open wheel race car. No doors, no roof, no windshield, just 1400 lbs of pure, elemental driving pleasure. A modern interpretation of the Lotus Seven. Perfect for carving mountain roads.

The Home Depot Runner - VW Tristar
Every fleet should have a truck, right? Well show me a cooler truck than this particular VW Tristar. Tristars were VW T3 transporters with four doors and deluxe interiors. Offered in both 2WD and 4WD variants, this 2WD example has had a Subaru Impreza STI engine transplanted and is putting out 375 horsepower. Porsche 911 turbo wheels and brakes and a nice suspension setup help keep that power well sorted. Buy it now for $35k at TheSamba.

The Vacationer - Airstream Interstate
Based on a Dodge/Freightliner Sprinter and powered by a Mercedes Benz V6 diesel, pound-for-pound it's the most efficient vehicle on this list. Luxuriously equipped for road trips. And true, it's not camping when you're puling into the National Park campground in this, but hey, it sure would be a hoot.

and finally...

The Supercar - Porsche 959
My all-time favorite car. Groundbreaking upon it's 1996 release, only 337 of these were made over a four year span. Read more about the 959 here.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Literal Videos

Great stuff, thanks for the tip Dan!

Penny Lane

Under the Bridge

more at

California Curiosity - Bee Poop

Ever since we moved out here, I've been finding little mustard yellow and brown colored spots on the cars. Figuring it was just some sort of palm sap, I really thought nothing of it.
Turns out, it's bee poop. Really. We must have a lot of bees around here, as the spots are everywhere outside.

On the car

On the bathroom skylight

On the grill

Thankfully they wash off rather easily and don't eat into the paint like bird shit can.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Field Trip - San Diego Zoo's Wild Animal Park (again)

Last Sunday (Mother's Day) we drove out to Escondido to hit the half of the Wild Animal Park that was temporarily closed when we last visited.

Just a few pix...
tawny something-or-other* from Australia

Celeste coming out of her shell

crap, I shouldn't have parked the Rover here - I'm allergic to cats...

giraffes enjoy a snack from a fake tree

eye see you

*Celeste will remind me what kind of bird this was after she reads this post

Our First Earthquake

Well, we just experienced our first SoCal earthquake. 8:41 PM here in C'Bad, my chair was rocking into the computer desk while Allie was riding the bed as the headboard gently tapped the wall. Lots of side-to-side motion for about five seconds.

5.0 on the Richter scale, just south of the greater LA area. Details here. Seems that it hit the LA area about three minutes before we felt it here. 3.1 aftershock - didn't feel that. Exciting night!

Monday, May 11, 2009

Five Perfect Things - Mountain Biking Edition

Just stealing an idea from my friend McGoo...

ODI Ruffian Lock-On Grips
Fox Incline full-finger gloves
Crank Bros Eggbeater SL pedals
Michelin tire levers
Bag Balm

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Required Listening

My good friend (fellow Green Laker and original owner of the The Dragonfly - aka The Aquafury) Bill keyed me in to a list that Amazon compiled of the 100 Greatest Indie Rock Albums of All Time.

Can't say that I disagree with a good chunk of the list - I love eight out of the top ten and own or are at least very familiar with about half of the overall list. However, there were a lot of what I feel to be some gross oversights - no Dinosaur Jr., The Clean, The Smiths, Wire, Buzzcocks, My Bloody Valentine, The Verve, Big Black, Big Star or R.E.M. (whose first five proper albums were on indie IRS). But hey no "greatest" list is going to be perfect, it's opinions after all and there's still a lot of stuff on there for me to discover.

Oh, and Bill's band Beulah landed at spot #37 with 1999's When Your Heartstrings Break. Buy it now if you don't already have it. Indie pop perfection.

Friday, May 8, 2009

Random Trinket - Green Lake rock

So for the past 19 years or so my various autos have carried this little memento of my favorite place on Earth - Green Lake, WI. Not a good luck charm or anything (I don't believe in that kind of junk anyway), but just a nice little chunk o' rock reminding me of the great times I've had up there. Oh, and for those of you in the know, it came from Horner's Landing on the SE part of the lake.


My friend and co-worker Ted just returned from Japan with every known Pocky flavor - even "Dessert Pocky". It's going fast...

Saturday, May 2, 2009

Down On The Street - 1947-48 Ford Woodie!

Ahh, I've seen so many great classic woodies since moving out here in September, but haven't always been able to catch them with the camera.

Ran to a grocery store today and came out to find this a couple of spots down from Allie's Subie.
It's a Ford woodie, either a 1947 or 48. Either way it doesn't get much better for me. A little rough around the edges but a solid car doing routine chores like running out for milk. But swing around the back and it gets even better.
No rear windows, missing some paneling AND a Mexican blanket to cover the rear seat. One perfect beach buggy.

Not Just Pocky...

...but GIANT Pocky, fresh from Japan.
Thank you Dean!