Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Monona In California?

Check out the top street sign - yeah, it was hard to get the entire street name - Carlsbad's Paseo Monona - from my vantage point.

Thanks for the tip, Graham!

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Down on the Street - Palm Springs Edition

While cruising around Palm Springs earlier in the week, I spent plenty of time on the lookout for cool cars. With about 1.2 Mercedes Benz R107-era SLs per capita and more Bentleys than I see in an average month, I had to find something a bit unique. And this Avanti fits the bill.

Rough around the edges and faded in all it's resplendent mid-century modern glory, just like Palm Springs itself.

suche nach den Klaüs!

With its iconic design penned for the Studebaker Corporation by industrial design master Raymond Loewy back in 1962, this design still looks relatively fresh. Then again, with such an advanced design, these cars were built up through the 1990s with minimal changes made to the exteriors.
With a lack of CHMSL (mandated for 1986+ model year autos in the US) I'm guessing this one dates from the early-80s and has GM F-body underpinnings.

Unfortunately the square headlamps are nowhere near as elegant as the round sealed-beams on the original Avantis.
Looks as if the desert heat has taken its toll on the Earl Scheib-level paint job.

Monday, December 28, 2009

Field Trip - Coronado Beach

Instead of battling crowds for unsold cheesy holiday cards and ugly wrapping paper, we drove down to San Diego to bust out of our small Carlsbad home. Originally intending to visit the S.D. Zoo, we decided against once we checked out the overcrowded parking lot. Off in the distance was the Coronado Bay Bridge, so we headed westward.
Hotel Del Coronado

We were fortunate enough to find a perfect beach-front parking spot - right at the "A" in man-made dune.
And since snow is in very short supply in San Diego, Celeste had to make do with creating sand angels (sorry, I forgot that you can't video when holding the camera in un-rotatable "portrait" mode):

Once Celeste was done with the sand angels, she set her sights on the multitude of seagulls.

If we had gone to an Australian beach, our pix would look like this.

Celeste's wind break

The sun hid behind the clouds, taking any remaining warmth out of the air...

... so we headed back home. But not before I was able to snag a shot of this sweet van:
May I be so lucky as to have the owner share his customizing tips.

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Decade - Favorite Records of the Zips, Pt 7 - 2006

Looking back (as well as looking ahead at the music that came out in '07-'09), it appears that 2006 produced the largest volume of my favorite records of any year in the past decade. Not only that, but it's also presented me with a dilemma as far as selecting a favorite as there were four outstanding release by some of my all-time favorite artists.

His Name Is Alive - Detrola
HNIA released what is arguably their best album of their then sixteen year-old career in '06. Coming off a string of four decent-but-not-great records in the late-90s/early zips, Detrola nicely sums up their experimental pop sounds in eleven perfect tracks. Standout tracks: Get Your Curse, Send My Face

Band of Horses - Everything All The Time

Cat Power - The Greatest

The Decemberists - The Crane Wife
(Very close to being my favorite of '06)

Elliott Smith - New Moon

Grant-Lee Phillips - Nineteeneighties

The Hold Steady - Boys And Girls In America

(Very very close to being my favorite of '06)

Lucero - Rebels, Rogues & Sworn Brothers

The Minus 5 - The Minus Five (The Gun Album)

The Mountain Goats - Get Lonely

My Morning Jacket - Okonokos

Neko Case - Fox Confessor Brings The Flood
(Very very VERY f-ing close to being my favorite of '06)

Tom Verlaine - Around

TV On The Radio - Return To Cookie Mountain

Yo La Tengo - I Am Not Afraid Of You And Will Beat Your Ass
(hands-down the best title of the year!)

Saturday, December 26, 2009


It's the funnest holiday for kids...
...and goggies too...
Late Christmas afternoon we headed up to the top of Double Peak in San Marcos (elev. 1644').
While it wasn't the clearest of days, the view and sunset were both superb.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Field Trip - Palm Springs

Last weekend brought about the first Field Trip™ in quite a while. With Allie's parents in town for the holidays, we decided to check out Palm Springs.
We had only briefly been to Palm Springs, briefly as part of our move out west - so this would be the first time we'd spend any time exploring.

Our hotel was the groovy 7 Springs Inn and Suites, a cool and affordable mid-century modern motel close to Palm Spring's downtown.
And while the air temp was in the high-50s, the well-heated pool was all-too inviting.
It's difficult to keep my grrrl out of the water.Celeste and I had a blast in the pool while Allie lounged in the not-hot-enough hot tub.
Sunday we enjoyed a great breakfast at the Kings Highway restaurant at the oh-too-cool botique Ace Hotel...
as always, "C" is for Celeste, don't you forget it

...then dropped Allie's parents off to explore downtown PS while we checked out some of the neighborhoods of groovy homes by bicycle.
Palm Springs is a showcase for superb 1950s/60s architecture. Just about every residence there put our Monona house to shame.
Of course the property values are a bit higher in Palm Springs. The cost of entry in this 'hood was about $1m.

Some were downright modern masterpieces - like the Kaufmann House, pictured below. The same Kaufmann that commissioned Frank Lloyd Wright's Fallingwater.
Also on the agenda was a tour of the homes and neighborhoods of stars such as Frank Sinatra, Elvis, Bing Crosby, Bob Hope, Clark Gable, Barbara Streisand and the like. After spending about 90 minutes in the back of a windy Jeep on a cool day we headed back to the hotel for a respite and then off to a casual dinner.

And of course the sun finally came out - as we were departing Tuesday morning. At least we had a bold rainbow to chase on the way out of town.
We hope to return, possibly when it's a bit warmer.