Thinking About La Mesa

April 1, 2014 by · Leave a Comment 

Rob Hurlbut Sleeping On The Floor In SummerSleeping On The Floor In Summer

    I lived in La Mesa, California for five years. What I remember most was that it got bloody hot in the summertime. My second floor apartment did not have AC so my place would be above 80 degrees at night. On those nights I would sleep in front of my open front door with a little desk fan blowing right on my head. It reminded me of camping but in all seriousness, there is nothing fun about sleeping in an oven baked room. La Mesa is an eastern suburb of San Diego but at more than ten miles from the ocean, the cooling marine layer just doesn’t reach.

La Mesa Steps

Steps In The Hills Of La Mesa

    La Mesa is a very hilly place with lots of hidden staircases and pedestrian paths running all around the city. It was 2006 when I moved from Denver to San Diego and I was very excited to be landing out there but La Mesa turned out not to be the quintessential San Diego experience I was hoping for. Besides the heat, it was just too far away from the ocean to really seem like I was living the San Diego dream.

Jolt n Joes La Mesa Under Full Moon October 2009

Jolt ‘N Joes In La Mesa

    La Mesa is where I was when I became a full time photographer and launched The World Is Raw. It is a pedestrian friendly city so I used to walk around at all times of the day and night taking photos of my new neighborhood. One of the main reasons I moved away from Denver was because the winter was so cold. I don’t ski or snowboard so all the lovely fresh powder and sub freezing temperatures were nothing but a nuisance for me. Once I moved to San Diego, I was able to wear shorts and flip flops every day for the next eight years. (After living in La Mesa for five years, I moved to the coastal town of Imperial Beach, where I lived for three years.) I have a friend from Texas that would visit from time to time and he very poignantly explained to me why it was so expensive to live out there. “In San Diego, you pay for the weather.”

Mount Helix In La Mesa

Mount Helix In La Mesa, CA

    I made the best of my time in La Mesa and I really did like living there but it always seemed a bit dull to me. There’s just nothing very “Southern California” about it and since part of my reason for moving to the coast was to actually be on the coast, it was never destined to be a permanent home for me, even though my place was directly across the street from a 24 hour grocery store that sold liquor.

St Martins Catholic Church

St. Martin’s Catholic Church – La Mesa, CA

    I think this nostalgic post came about because now that I live in Denver, I am very antsy for spring and summer weather to get here. There have been some very nice days this year, but it is still too cold most of the time to just go on a walk or bike ride without long pants and a jacket. The photo above is one of the last ones a shot before I moved away from La Mesa. It is a view of St. Martin’s Catholic Church at midnight on Christmas Eve, 2010. A few days later, I moved to Imperial Beach. Below is a video I shot as I was about to leave my apartment in La Mesa for the last time. Cheers!

Shooting Pool In La Mesa, CA

November 17, 2013 by · 1 Comment 

Playing Pool In La Mesa CA

Matt Lines Up A Shot

    Way back in 2011, right before my birthday I was in a pool hall in La Mesa, CA. I was there with my good friend, Matt and we were just shootin’ the shit as we shot some pool. Of course I had my camera so shooting things was on my agenda with or without pool. Both of us had been in the Navy way back when so hanging out in a hall full of pool tables is always something that brings back memories of the days when I was young and the rest of the world was old.

A Woman Plays Pool

A New Friend Joins The Game

    Cue balls used to be made exclusively from elephant tusk ivory which of course, in this day and age seems almost unbelievable. A pair of tusks from an adult male elephant would only yield eight to ten cue balls so in order to supply the demand for ivory, elephants where nearly hunted into extinction during the 19th century.

Lining Up A Pool Shot

Shooting Pool Is Not Easy!

    The funny thing about pool is that it’s not as easy or straightforward as you may think. It’s like math because there are a lot of angles to consider, it’s like chess because you need to plan four or five moves ahead and it’s like golf because you need to have a keen eye with a steady hand. All those things must come together perfectly for every shot you take in order for you to win. Trust me, it’s not easy and can be very frustrating when you miss and that happens all the time, not matter what your skill level. At the end of the day it really comes down to the fact that it’s a game than anyone can try without hurting themselves and it’s a game that allows people to hang out together and chat. Since most pool halls serve booze and most bars have a pool table, you will most likely make some new friends as you hone your skills. Cheers!

Larry Werner Is Homeless In La Mesa

November 8, 2013 by · Leave a Comment 

Larry Werner Homeless In La Mesa

Larry Werner

    Larry Werner is a homeless man that lives in La Mesa, California. La Mesa is in an area referred to as East County that is very hot in summer and sits about 12 miles from the coast. Larry lives in the doorways and storefronts of downtown La Mesa and can frequently be seen walking around or sleeping in shady or sunny spots of the city. Depending on who you ask, he is either a blight or an institute of the city.

Homeless Man In San Diego

Larry Werner Sleeping In La Mesa

Fashion Kiss In La Mesa Village

January 31, 2011 by · 3 Comments 

Michella Dresselhuys Owner Of Fashion Kiss In La Mesa, CA

Michella Dresselhuys, Owner Of Fashion Kiss Takes Care Of Business

        There is something to be said for some one that dives in to the world of an entrepreneur without looking back. At 24 years old, Michella Dresslhuys has the newest store in La Mesa Village and showed me in less then 90 minutes why her store, Fashion Kiss will be a force to be reckoned with.

Fashion Kiss In La Mesa Village

Angelina, The Star Of Fashion Kiss

        I received an email from the owner inviting me to take photos of her shop, which I did. While I was there we talked about a lot of things including her business, my photography, how to change a light bulb, social media, blogs, eBay and what older women want.

Fashion Kiss In La Mesa Village

That’s A Sick-Ass Shirt, Yo!

        That title above is what the kid said when he stopped to look at the shirt hanging on the door of Fashion Kiss.

        What impressed me the most about Michella is how she just gets things done. While I was there she demonstrated a sense of urgency and had intensity in her movements. If there is something that’s needs doing, she does it, right then and there. I didn’t ask her to climb a ladder so I could take a picture, she just decided the lights surrounding her new sign needed to be changed right then. Awesome.

Fashion Kiss In La Mesa Village

Fashion Kiss In La Mesa Village

        This is a store that sells hot, trendy, designer ladies clothes for less than retail, and it’s right here in La Mesa Village! Michella, the owner is fun to be around and her store can save you a trip all the way into downtown or to Fashion Valley. You can buy the fashions of Paris, Milan, New York and Hollywood in right here in La Mesa so by all means head down to the store and see for yourself what sort of entrepreneurial spirit resides in La Mesa.

Sunset At La Mesa Farmer’s Market

January 17, 2011 by · Leave a Comment 

Sunset At La Mesa Farmer's Market

The Sun Sets Behind The La Mesa Farmer’s Market

        Every Friday from 3-6pm La Mesa has a Farmer’s Market. During this time of year you get the benefits that go along with purchasing and eating fresh produce and being able to be at the Market when the sun goes down… Not a bad way to wrap up a week.

Griswold Family Christmas In La Mesa

December 25, 2010 by · Leave a Comment 

Christmas Lights La Mesa

The Griswolds In La Mesa

        If you don’t know who the Griswolds are then you should just turn around and walk away from my blog. Seriously, get your ass out of here until you can appreciate what I’m saying… Go watch the “Vacation” movies!

Lutheran Christmas In La Mesa

December 25, 2010 by · Leave a Comment 

Lutheran Christmas In La Mesa 2010

Christmas Eve Mass At La Mesa Christ Lutheran Church

        Christ Lutheran Church of La Mesa held a Christmas Eve mass, as all Christians do, but this particular mass spilled out to the front of the church. With candles in hand, these worshipers sang songs and then enjoyed hot chocolate and cider.

Lutheran Christmas In La Mesa 2010

Lutheran Christmas In La Mesa 2010

        It’s hard to say why these parishioners lit candles and sang songs out in front of their church instead of inside their church. Some sort of projection of faith would be my best guess, while acting on an impulse to play with fire is a distant second best guess.

Lutheran Christmas In La Mesa 2010

And The Choir Says Amen

Lutheran Christmas In La Mesa 2010

Lutheran Christmas In La Mesa 2010

Lutheran Christmas In La Mesa 2010

        For all you photographers out there, this paragraph is for you. I used a Nikon D5000 at 3200 ISO for all the shots in this post. Cranking up the ISO allowed me to keep the shutter speed at 1/30th the entire time. This is a shutter speed right on the cusp of being able to use without a tripod so I made sure to hold my breath and take my time every time I made a photo.

        Let me just come right out and say that I am so glad the large sensors on actual DSLR’s enable me to leave my tripod at home. Those of you that have read my ABOUT ME page know that I hate carrying gear around, so being able to leave the BIGGEST piece of gear (my tripod) at home means I get to do the happy dance.

        Low light photography tends to be lumped into the slow shutter speed box, so I’m here to say , “Ney!” Don’t be scared to up your ISO. I know there’s noise in these photos, but so what? Did you become a photographer to fight the noise of the world or to make great photography? For me, being a photographer is all about telling a story in spite of bad lighting, noise, motion or anything else. Great photographs transcend the digital pixels they are imprinted on.

Lutheran Christmas In La Mesa 2010

Wait A Minute, He Kinda Looks Like A Baby

        And so ends this very random collection of photos taken during the Christmas Eve mass at Christ Lutheran Church. Merry Christmas!

The Day I Met Chuck Yeager & Duncan L. Hunter

December 19, 2010 by · Leave a Comment 

Duncan L. Hunter Book-signing

Congressman Duncan L. Hunter, Author, Victory in Iraq: How America Won

        Over the last couple months I have been bringing books, two sackfuls at a time to Maxwell’s House Of Books in exchange for store credit. So far, my schlepping of about 70 books has yielded a credit of $38. Yesterday I gobbled up twenty of it so I could own a copy of Duncan L. Hunter‘s new book, Victory In Iraq: How America Won. Why? Because that’s a great title and because Hunter was going to be in La Mesa, at Maxwell’s signing copies. The photo above shows Hunter signing my actual book. After he signed it we chatted for a minute or two and then I was going to be more or less on my way.

Duncan L. Hunter Book-signing

Congressman Hunter Laughs With The People

        I scanned book titles as I slowly walked towards the door when a woman noticed my camera, which lead to a brief conversation that ended with her saying what a great photo op this is since the congressman and Chuck Yeager are here. “Yeah, it sure is,” I replied. “We’re very lucky to have… Wait. What?!?”

Chuck Yeager And Me

Photo By Ken Stone -

        Chuck Yeager, the first human being on the planet to travel faster than the speed of sound, the most famous aviator in the world for over 60 years is in this bookstore right now? What? Turns out, Chuck Yeager and Duncan L. Hunter are old friends so General Yeager just came down to the signing to show his support. Now that is really something and was the icing on the cake for a great day for me because Chuck Yeager is a quintessential American and that is exactly what I was looking for today.

        Victory In Iraq: How America Won. I saw that title and knew I had to read that book because books that have something good to say about America are rare these days. It will be refreshing to read an entire book that talks about what America is doing right because it will help me to remember that America is a great country.

        Chuck Yeager became a legend during that romanticized time when America was doing most things right and most people loved our country. I had actually been thinking about what it would take to get Americans to just… Love America again. I started that journey yesterday, first by watching La Mesa firefighters use The Jaws of Life to rescue a woman trapped in a car, then by meeting a former congressmen who’s written a book about American victory in Iraq and by seeing Chuck Yeager, the greatest aviator in the history of the world with my own two eyes. It was a good American day. The photo above shows General Yeager on the left and me on the right. Yep, that’s me in the same room, really just across the table from the true American, Chuck Yeager. also has an article and photos of this event which you may read if you click here.

La Mesa Firefighters Jaws Of Life Rescue

December 18, 2010 by · 3 Comments 

La Mesa Car Accident Jaws Of Life Rescue

Car Accident Near University Ave. & La Mesa Blvd

        I happened onto an accident scene where the car was mangled bad enough that the jaws of life had to be used by La Mesa firefighters to extract the driver from the car. It appeared to me the car above was T-boned while pulling out of the Social Security building on University Ave. This is the car’s permanent good side, as you’ll see from the photos below.

La Mesa Car Accident Jaws Of Life Rescue

Explaining What Is About To Happen

        Something I noticed was that the firefighters did what they could to help shield the driver from view as hundreds of cars drove by (and perhaps from me as well) by standing in front of the window and keeping a tight perimeter around her once she was out of the vehicle and onto the stretcher, which I thought was very thoughtful of them.

La Mesa Car Accident Jaws Of Life Rescue

The Jaws Of Life Arrive On The Scene

        The firefighters took the jaws right to the hinges of the door and then just pulled the whole thing right off the car, which made it possible to get the driver out, onto a backboard and onto the stretcher.

La Mesa Car Accident Jaws Of Life Rescue

Firefighters & Paramedics Of La Mesa, CA

        At took less than three minutes to get the door off once they started into it with the jaws of life. It’s good to see first hand just how well trained and efficient these men and women are. La Mesa residents, you can sleep soundly at night thanks to what these super heroes do. Below is a short video of the firefighters going to work on the car with the jaws of life.

Jaws Of Life Rescue By La Mesa Firefighters

Christmas In The Village – La Mesa, CA 2010

December 11, 2010 by · Leave a Comment 

Angelique Living Music Box Christmas In The Village La Mesa 2010

Angelique – The Living Music Box At Christmas In The Village – La Mesa

        I was pleasantly surprised to stumble across “Christmas in the Village” on La Mesa Blvd. last night. Tonight (December 11, 2010) is the final night of this 2 day, free event so grab your kids and bring your appetites on down to La Mesa tonight for some Victorian Era decor, fun and food. The photo above shows Zoe Tantrum performing as Angelique: The Living Music Box. This was something I’ve never seen before and was the highlight of the time I spent spent wandering around.

Food And Rides At Christmas In The Village La Mesa 2010

Food And Rides At Christmas In The Village – La Mesa

        I’ve lived 5 minutes away from the pizza joint above, but I’ve never eaten there, which is amazing considering the amount of pizza I’ve eaten since moving to La Mesa. During the Christmas festivities however, San Filippo’s Pizza is serving pizza by the slice for $2. I practically dove through the door when I saw that sign because I was very cold, I had been craving a slice of pepperoni pizza and I wanted to try out the place. They had run out of pepperoni slices when I entered though, and there was a several minute wait that I just didn’t want to hang around for, so I have a reason to return tonight so I can FINALLY sample San Filippo’s Pizza.

Dancing At Christmas In The Village La Mesa 2010

Dancing In The Village

        The troupe above were dancing and performing to Christian songs and I would say they seemed to be having the most fun of anyone else there.

Children At Christmas In The Village La Mesa 2010

Entertaining The Children

        There are about a half dozen “sit-down” things to watch like musical bands, puppet shows, buskers, etc. All of it is free and it’s fun for the whole family. Bring your appetites as well because all the restaurants are open late.

Angelique Living Music Box Christmas In The Village La Mesa 2010

Zoe Tantrum As Angelique – The Living Music Box

        Watching this performer was memorizing, like watching a whirling dervish. Oddly simple, totally original, yet requiring years of patient practice to look beautiful and graceful.

Bucket Brothers Christmas In The Village La Mesa 2010

Bucket Brothers At Christmas In The Village – La Mesa

        The Bucket Brothers are a comedy drumming sensation that will make you laugh and will probably have you singing along before you leave. So come down the Christmas in the Village in La Mesa tonight for all the Christmas cheer yo want and all the food you can eat. Below is a video of Angelique – The Living Music Box. Cheers!

Google Street View Car Spotted In La Mesa, CA

November 30, 2010 by · Leave a Comment 

Google Street View Car

Google Street View Car In La Mesa, CA on November 30, 2010

        Google is a government information collection agent that will tell law enforcement officials how you use the internet without a warrant. With cars like what you see above, they are enabling the United States government to know what you do online AND provide them with recent photos of the house that you use the internet from. The car you see above is a tool being used to usher in the police state of America, so I took a picture of it, including the license plate. Can anyone run the plate and tell me who and where it was registered?

Soap Box Derby In La Mesa, Part II

November 14, 2010 by · 2 Comments 

Soap box cars at La Mesa Kiwanis race.

La Mesa CA Soap Box Race Cars

        I found a few more photos from the La Mesa Kiwanis sponsored soap box derby I attended last weekend. If you would like to see my first post about the derby, with more photos and commentary, click here.

La Mesa Kiwanis Soap box Racer

The First Racer Of The Day

        Kiwanis really does a lot to help bring joy into the lives of kids by making things like a soap box derby race possible. My dad was in Kiwanis when I was growing up so I have fond memories of my family and I enjoying things like spaghetti dinners, Christmas parties where the kids would all get presents and even getting to march in a parade or two, all thanks to Kiwanis.

La Mesa Kiwanis Soap box Racer Steering And Brakes

The Nuts And Bolts Of A Soap box Racer

        Pulleys and cables are the mechanical method for steering and applying the brakes. The brake is a rubber tipped pole that is pressed down onto the road, very similar to how the Flintstones stop their cars.

La Mesa Kiwanis Soap box Racer

Soap Box Car Racing Down The Hill

        According to the La Mesa Kiwanis website, there will be another soap box derby in March of 2011 at the same location as this one, in front of La Mesa middle school so come on down and support the kids by cheering them on and purchasing Kiwanis provided hamburgers, hot dogs and sodas.

Kiwanis Club La Mesa California November 2010 Soap box Derby

A Very Ugly Woman

November 8, 2010 by · Leave a Comment 

A Very Ugly Woman

Who Is Uglier Than Me?

         Just imagine you had to go to grandmas late on Christmas morning, and the woman pictured above is your Grandma. I think I would be terrified of clowns AND Christmas for the rest of my natural life. Seriously. Why do old Mexican women wear make-up and paint on surly looking eyebrows that make them look like pedophile rapists? Do they think they’re still in Mexico, where brighter lipstick equals higher status?

Soap Box Derby Car Race In La Mesa, CA – 2010

November 7, 2010 by · Leave a Comment 

La Mesa Kiwanis Soap Box Derby Race 2010

La Mesa Soap Box Derby Racing 2010

        Saturday, the 6th of November, 2010 saw La Mesa Kiwanis holding a soap box derby race in La Mesa, CA this weekend, and I was there. Kids & parents from at least as far as Arizona threw their hat into the ring for this event, which I was fortunate enough to stumble across.

La Mesa Kiwanis Soap Box Derby Race 2010

Kiwanis Club Racer In La Mesa, CA 2010

        There were about 20 soap box race cars for this event, with most of them looking like dad had more than a disciplinary hand in building them. What counts is what you bring to the table, not the garage, so every form of mechanic can try their wares at this event.

La Mesa Kiwanis Soap Box Derby Race 2010

La Mesa Kiwanis Soap Box Derby Race

        Even though it’s kids that do the racing, adults are not far behind, eager for any chance to jump in a soap box derby car and roll it down the hill.

La Mesa Kiwanis Soap Box Derby Race 2010

Soap Box Derby Racing In La Mesa – 2010

        This is a two day event, with the pics for this post all coming from the first day of soap box derby racing. Kiwanis of La Mesa as well as Drew Ford sponsor the event, which eventually included $5 hot dog and hamburger meal deals.

La Mesa Kiwanis Soap Box Derby Race 2010

Science Meets The Real World

        Above we see two great examples of the styles of soap box derby racers I saw at the race. In the background above is what I would consider to be a garage-built soap box derby race car. In the foreground is a kid’s parents with more money and competitive spirits than most others… The aerodynamic situation of the soap box car in the foreground is the direct result of what happens when the parents of a soap box racing kid watch too much Discovery Channel and mistake a paved street in La Mesa, CA for the Bonneville Salt Flats of Utah.

La Mesa Kiwanis Soap Box Derby Race 2010

Racing Down The Hill

        Competing in a soapbox derby is something I have never done. I’ve competed in pinewood derbies before, which is basically the same thing, minus the excitement. There was a heavy boy scout presence at this race, so I’m sure merit badges were being earned.

La Mesa Kiwanis Soap Box Derby Race 2010

Boys & Girls Race Their Soap Box Derby Cars

        Living in a world that only glorifies and broadcasts paid athletes, I can forget what it’s like to compete and participate in an event just for fun, and just because I can win. Kiwanis helps to bring things like a soap box derby race to kids and neighborhoods for no other reason than because it’s a fun thing to do.

La Mesa Kiwanis Soap Box Derby Race 2010

Soap Box Racing Is Fun For All Ages

        Above is my favorite shot of the day. My position, relative to the racers was perfect. I think the expression on their faces says it all. This was the first day of a two day event, right in front of La Mesa middle school, so come on down and cheer on the kids while eating some Kiwanis provided hamburgers and hot dogs.

La Mesa Continues To Be Improved

October 30, 2010 by · Leave a Comment 

Construction On Allison Ave. In La Mesa, CA

La Mesa Downtown Village Streetscape Improvement Project

        Above we are on Allison Ave. facing east, in La Mesa, CA, during the La Mesa Downtown Village Streetscape Improvement Project. With almost every street in La Mesa between University and 4th Ave being torn up for the next year and a half, it will be very easy to photograph and document the progress.

Construction On Allison Ave. In La Mesa, CA

The Trolley Runs Through La Mesa

        The entire downtown La Mesa, CA area is being improved, and what you see above are the first steps towards that improvement.

Construction On Allison Ave. In La Mesa, CA

Rain Does Not Help Construction

        Right now, it’s a game of patience and tolerance. Wider sidewalks and shady trees are in the future for La Mesa, but until then we have to be patient, tolerate the noisy construction and put up with the traffic delays.

San Diego Trolley Renewal Closures For 2010

October 18, 2010 by · Leave a Comment 

la mesa blvd trolley station

15 Seconds Near La Mesa Blvd Trolley Station

        We have our first update for trolley closures that will accommodate construction for the trolley renewal project. In a nutshell, blue line southbound service will terminate at Palm Ave. on the weekends between now and the end of 2010. Shuttles will run in lieu of the trolleys between Palm Ave. and the border. There will also be an express shuttle running directly from San Ysidro to Palomar station. During the holiday weekends of Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Years there will be no construction so the blue line trolley will be running regular weekend service all the way to the border. This seems very straightforward to me: From now until the end of the year, there will be trolley service disruptions on non-holiday weekends between the Palm Avenue station and the San Ysidro/International Border station.

San Diego blue line trolley service disruptions for 2010

La Mesa Prepares To Be Improved

October 15, 2010 by · Leave a Comment 

Cutting Down Trees At La Mesa Blvd Trolley Station

Cutting Down Trees At La Mesa Blvd Trolley Station

        There is a lot of construction going on in La Mesa, CA right now, with roads being torn up, buildings being torn down and even mature eucalyptus trees falling victim to the next phase of La Mesa’s history When I first heard the chainsaw and then saw what was being cut, I questioned why these trees couldn’t be spared and built around for the La Mesa Downtown Village Streetscape Improvement Project, but ultimately thought better of it because I began to wonder about La Mesa’s past and what was going on the day the tree above was planted. I came to think about some long ago time when natural vegetation at this very spot was cleared to make way for the planting of the eucalyptus tree that I now witnessed being cut down and the road behind it. Was there some one back then standing in the same spot I was standing when I took these photos, momentarily lamenting the same thing as me until realizing that something better was probably on the way?

La Mesa Blvd Trolley Station

Preparing For Progress

        I see the La Mesa Downtown Village Streetscape Improvement Project as something better than we have now and I’m pretty sure the trees above are being cut down in preparation of the January 2011 construction start date. I’m especially excited for all the improvements that will make downtown La Mesa even more pedestrian friendly than it is now as well as all the new shade trees that will be planted. It’s progress for a purpose, not just for the sake of it, so I’m supporting it.

La Mesa Residents Complain About A Cell Phone Tower

October 10, 2010 by · Leave a Comment 

Cell Phone Tower At 7840 El Cajon Blvd., La Mesa, Ca

La Mesa Residents Complain?

        Earlier today, I came across a website that is produced by and for residents of my current hometown of La Mesa, CA, called La Mesa Patch. It’s a pretty thorough website that has a lot of info about La Mesa but I found many of the news articles to really be nothing more than complaints about unpopular things rather that actual news. One of their articles gave a one sided opinion of a cell phone tower located at 7840 El Cajon Blvd. that has been in place since 1994 and since this cell phone tower is a 5 minute walk from my house, I decided to check it out for myself. The article, which can be read here, states a few things that I think are untrue and weird, so this post is a response to the aforementioned article.

Cell Phone Tower At 7840 El Cajon Blvd., La Mesa, Ca

Cell Phone Tower At 7840 El Cajon Blvd., La Mesa, Ca

        Something I’ve learned during my journalistic career is that online and paper publications will flat-out lie to make their point. I don’t blame them because there is no accountability or regulation when it comes to printing or publishing a lie. The government won’t do shit unless the lie is directed towards them, so that leaves it to us citizens to regulate and monitor every form of media ourselves, without the blessing of, or a lick of help from the government. Any news outlet, media, blog, or paper can throw words like racist, stereotype and offensive around without defining or explaining them and, right now in 2010, all of these terms are being misused to suit to purpose of the person or organization that uses them.

Cell Phone Tower At 7840 El Cajon Blvd., La Mesa, Ca

What Exactly Is A Blight?

        The article that started me off on this Sunday afternoon mission states that La Mesa residents think the cell phone tower featured in this post is a “blight” on the skyline of La Mesa. I have two problems with this. The first is that the term “La Mesa residents” seems to encompass only two people interviewed for the article, and the second is that the word “blight” is not defined. So, two people that might have no idea what the definition of blight is think a cell phone tower is a blight. Really? Unless I’m hanging out with a gardener, I hardly never hear the word “blight” used but two different people in La Mesa used that word to describe a cell phone tower? That leads me to believe that the author of the article didn’t ask for the resident’s opinion by asking a neutral question like, “What do you think about that cell phone tower?” but instead asked something like, “I think that cell phone tower is an ugly blight, don’t you think so too?” If the article were to be accurate and honest, the SECOND question these two citizens (that apparently represent all 58,000 residents of La Mesa) should have been asked is, “How do you define the word, blight?” If they can’t define it, then they shouldn’t be quoted as saying it. My point (I think) is that having an interviewee answer a yes or no question does not count as soliciting an opinion, and I find it annoying when reporters lead their subjects like that.

Cell Phone Tower At 7840 El Cajon Blvd., La Mesa, Ca

Mickey Mouse Church FINALLY Has Mickey Mouse Ears

        The La Mesa Patch article that seemed to me to be trying to rally support for the removal of the cell phone tower states, “From one angle, the stately bell tower of St. Martin of Tours Catholic Church seems to have grown Mickey Mouse ears.” I checked that out for myself, and that is actually true… From ONE location, which happens to be the driveway of La Mesa Deluxe Trailer Court at 7624 El Cajon Blvd., the church does have Mickey Mouse ears. From the vantage point of ONE SINGLE place in the universe, the lines of a Catholic church’s bell tower are sullied. So what? What I don’t understand is why La Mesa residents don’t call for the removal of the church tower in question, considering there are 4,392 angles that depict the Catholic church as a refuge and protector of pedophiles.
        My cell phone reception and service in La Mesa is perfect, so if taking down that tower would make it less than perfect, then it should stay, because we need to be able to rely on our cell phones everywhere, everyday and I would also question just how many La Mesa residents actually want it torn down just because of what it looks like. If it turns out there are a lot of residents that decide they want it gone and actually begin to organize, will they be using their cell phones to do it?

Oktoberfest 2010 During The Day

October 3, 2010 by · Leave a Comment 

Oktoberfest, La Mesa 2010

Fun Times At Oktoberfest 2010

        My second journey through La Mesa’s 2010 Oktoberfest was during the late afternoon yesterday. I started wandering around about an hour before sunset, hoping to incorporate golden hour into the shots. I didn’t quite get the wow shot I was hoping for, but that doesn’t mean I didn’t have a good time. As I waited for the sun to reach the horizon, I snaked through the crowd to a food vendor I had seen the night before, but didn’t try. This particular vendor was advertising something called a FIRE DOG.

Oktoberfest, La Mesa 2010

Crossing Spring Street During Oktoberfest

        On Friday night, I had a bratwurst, but it just didn’t have enough kick, so something extra spicy was the main thing on my agenda this time. The fire dog did not disappoint me. It was a spicy polish sausage, served with a soft bun, with the option of grilled peppers, onions and sauerkraut as toppings. I went with a plain fire dog (I hate peppers, onions and sauerkraut) with lots of mustard and a couple dashes of ketchup and it was awesome.

Oktoberfest, La Mesa 2010

La Mesa Blvd Trolley Station During Oktoberfest

        There are a lot of people (200,000 over the course of the weekend) converging on La Mesa during Oktoberfest, but the event is very well organized and has a pretty smooth flow. Trolley security guards are all over the trolley station and police officers are very visible throughout the rest of the event. You cannot carry alcoholic beverages as you wander through Oktoberfest, you must keep the booze in one of 3 beer gardens or in the restaurant where you bought it.

Oktoberfest, La Mesa 2010

Oktoberfest, La Mesa 2010

        So far, I’ve seen only one arrest and one person that was shit-faced enough to draw the attention of the police (pictured above). I used to LOVE getting stumbling drunk in public, but not anymore, so it’s comical for me to watch those that do now, what I did 15 years ago. The police made it very clear to the guy above that if he can walk away, they’d let him go but if he continued to sit drunkenly on the curb they would arrest him. It took a few minutes, but with the help of his lady friend, he was able to leave the area. Above on the left are a couple kids enjoying one of the half dozen or so rides at Oktoberfest. There really is a little something for everyone on La Mesa Blvd during this event.

Oktoberfest, La Mesa 2010

Playing With Bubbles

        Today (October 3, 2010) is the final day of Oktoberfest and with a nice, partly cloudy day in store, the weather will be perfect so try to make it on down there. If you missed my last post with additional commentary and photos from Oktoberfest, you can view it here. Below is a short video of the crowd making their way across the La Mesa Blvd trolley station.

Oktoberfest 2010 In La Mesa, CA

Oktoberfest 2010 Invades La Mesa

October 2, 2010 by · Leave a Comment 

Oktoberfest Fun 2010

Oktoberfest 2010 In La Mesa, CA

        My original hometown, La Mesa, CA is hosting their 37th annual Oktoberfest this weekend. I think it’s just about the funnest, free thing to do every fall, and with the added benefit of it taking place down the street from my house, La Mesa’s Oktoberfest is also very easy for me to attend.

Oktoberfest Fun 2010

The Fun, People And Rides At Oktoberfest 2010

        If you have never been to Oktoberfest before, it really is worth the trip out to East County. There are hundreds of food, product and service vendors, as well as all the regular stores and restaurants that line La Mesa Blvd to browse through, shop and eat at.

Oktoberfest Food 2010

So Much Food!

        For me, it’s the food that makes me love Oktoberfest. Last night I spent an hour or so walking through the festival and trying out some food. I personally tried out some bratwurst, funnel cake and pepperoni pizza from the vendors, as well as a lemon drop pastry and hot chocolate from Jitters Coffee Shop.

Jitters Coffee Shop At Oktoberfest 2010

Oktoberfest Fun 2010

        Just to give everyone a little bit of an idea of how much money to bring, I’ll give an overview of what the food and merchandise prices were like. The restaurants that line La Mesa Blvd do not inflate their prices at all for Oktoberfest, which is exceedingly generous of them. This means that if you decide to eat at any of them, you will experience normal food and drink prices and each and every one of them will be crowded with happy people. For example, a hot chocolate made with whipped cream and whole milk and a lemon drop pastry on the side is only $2.50 at Jitters Coffee Shop. I’m local to the restaurants that line La Mesa Blvd, so I didn’t eat at any of them on this night, but you would be doing yourself a favor by trying any of them out.
        The vendor food, which is what I really look forward to has prices that are inflated to similar levels as ballgame or airport eateries. Any sort of a meat sandwich will run you $7-$9, roasted corn and plain funnel cake is $4-$5 (whipped cream and fruit is another $3), pizza is $5 for a NY sized slice, and large sodas are $3. I’m not a beer drinker, so I didn’t examine the prices in any of the 3 beer gardens. My advice is to pair up with someone on every food purchase so you can split the food and the cost. You can try more things for less money that way. So, head on down to Oktoberfest. It is very easy to reach on the San Diego Trolley’s orange line, or there is a lot of free(ish) parking around La Mesa if you feel that you just have to drive. More photos to come as the weekend unfolds… Cheers!

Oktoberfest Fun 2010

Oktoberfest 2010 In La Mesa, CA

La Mesa, CA Sunset

August 29, 2010 by · Leave a Comment 

La Mesa Sunset

Sunset, As Seen From La Mesa, CA

        All three photos in this post were taken at the same time, in the same place. I was just walking around my neighborhood at sunset, and the photos in this post is what I came up with. La Mesa is 12 miles from the coast, but the scenery is right in front of you.

La Mesa Sunset

Silhouetted Flowers Against The Setting Sun

        There are an infinite number of ways to photograph a single event, including an ordinary sunset. Above we see a typical sunset silhouette with the foreground being a clutch of flowers. Nothing special, 1/1000th, f/5.6, ISO 200. The shot below is different, but the same.

La Mesa Sunset

Sunset With Foreground Lighting

        The shot above is the same as the middle photo above except that there is more light on the foreground. The difference between the two photos is massive, even though they were taken at the same place at the same time. Pressing the shutter release button is just the first step for creating a great photograph. Photoshop is your friend after the fact. Admit it.

La Mesa Post Office Is Torn Down

August 19, 2010 by · Leave a Comment 

Demolishing La Mesa's Post Office

All That Remains Of La Mesa’s Old Post Office

        Once the new post office opened up in La Mesa last year, the old building was slowly phased out and has now been torn down. No word of what will be constructed in it’s place or what is to become of the soon to be abandoned La Mesa police department building across the street. In the background is the city hall building for La Mesa.

Demolishing La Mesa's Post Office

Demolishing La Mesa’s Old Post Office

        There is a lot of construction going on in la Mesa right now, and most of the downtown area streets will be receiving face lifts over the next year or so. It will be nice to have another opportunity to document, photographically, the process of raising a building.

Work Being Done In La Mesa, CA

Along University Ave & La Mesa Blvd

        Just down the street and around the corner from the La Mesa post office, University Ave, has been dug into regularly over the last month or so. It seems that most of the work is cable/phone line related, with most of the in charge looking people having the AT&T logo on their hardhats.

La Mesa Downtown Village Streetscape Improvement Project

August 9, 2010 by · 1 Comment 

Allison Avenue Streetscape Project

Construction Can Be Chaotic

        The La Mesa Downtown Village Streetscape Improvement Project will widen sidewalks, install new lamp posts with unique night-lighting, plant new trees, flowers and shrubs and many other things in the downtown area of La Mesa, CA.

Allison Avenue Streetscape Project

Allison Avenue Being Improved

        This is an ambitious project, with one of the goals being to solidify the downtown area’s identity as La Mesa’s city center. As we can see on this map, most of the streets and sidewalks that go through and around downtown La Mesa will be receiving a face-lift.

Allison Avenue Streetscape Project

Intersection Of Palm Ave. And Allison Ave.

        The entire project is called the “La Mesa Downtown Village Streetscape Improvement Project,” but there was a sign in the area these photos were taken that read, “Allison Avenue Streetscape Project,” so I’m guessing that each leg of the project will have it’s own designation like this one. That makes sense to me and will avoid confusion, no doubt.

Allison Avenue Streetscape Project

Guarding The Open Trench

La Mesa Police

July 14, 2010 by · Leave a Comment 

La Mesa Police Officer

La Mesa Police Officer Performing A Routine Traffic Stop

        La Mesa is an eastern suburb of San Diego and it is a great place to live. As the crow flies, La Mesa is about 13 miles from the coast so it is not a proverbial “beach town” like Pacific Beach Imperial Beach or even La Jolla, but to me that is a good thing. People don’t come to La Mesa to party their asses off, get drunk or cause trouble. People come to La Mesa to shop for antiques, play around Lake Murray, hike at Mission Trails, experience fine dining or attend our weekly classic car shows in the summer.

La Mesa Police Car Lights

Lights On A La Mesa Police Cruiser

        Besides location and demographics, La Mesa’s police officers do a great job of maintaining a general feeling of safety in the city. They are professional and are always quick to respond when called upon, whether there is an emergency or not. I think that most people living in or visiting La Mesa know that crime and bad behavior stick out like a sore thumb around here, and will immediately draw the attention of our boys in blue. All of these things make La Mesa, CA a great place to live.

Lake Murray Mission Trails Regional Park

June 25, 2010 by · Leave a Comment 

Lake Murray Panorama

Lake Murray – Mission Trails Regional Park

        Now that I have been rediscovering my inline skating roots, I am also discovering great places to skate around San Diego. Mission Trails Regional Park – Lake Murray is in La Mesa, CA and is very close to my house. There is an asphalt trail that winds its way around Lake Murray and it is for bikers, skaters and pedestrians only. Awesome! The Alvarado Water Treatment Plant sits along one edge of Lake Murray, and is a restricted area, so the trail is not a loop. That means that it is a 6 mile round trip, and it is worth every bit of it.

Alvarado Water Treatment Plant

Alvarado Water Treatment Plant

        As you approach the entrance to the Lake Murray section of the park, you will pass by the Alvarado Water Treatment Plant, which bristles with fences and warning signs. This is one side of the plant, and the other side is actually a dam that is also off limits to park-goers.

Lake Murray Mission Trails Regional Park Entrance

Lake Murray – Mission Trails Regional Park

Ducks In Lake Murray

Ducks In Lake Murray

        I had never skated this trail before, so my concentration on the terrain and skating technique, not my photography. This path is asphalt, so it will wear down your wheels, especially the front two over the course of the 6 mile skate. There are a few dips and sharp turns, but they are fun, not scary and even a beginner skater will enjoy them. There are only a few sections of the path that are lumpy, but they are short sections and don’t ruin the skate at all.

Lake Murray In Mission Trails Park

Weekend Visitors Enjoy Lake Murray

        Most of the photos for this post were taken at the far end of the trail that circles most of the way around Lake Murray. The shot above was taken from the very end of the trail, with the camera pointed back across the Lake.

Alvarado Water Treatment Plant And Dam On Lake Murray

Alvarado Water Treatment Plant And Dam On Lake Murray

        This is the view from the OTHER side of Alvarado water treatment plant and the reason for a giant NO TRESPASSING sign at the end of the trail.

Fishing In Lake Murray Mission Trails Regional Park

Fishing In Lake Murray Mission Trails Regional Park

        Mission Trails Regional Park is a great place to skate, and entry to the park is free, so if you haven’t skated the trail around Lake Murray, you really should give it a try. If you go on a weekday, you will have the park to yourself, but on the weekends, the beach areas draw crowds, and the path may have enough (walking) people on it to cause you to have to maneuver, but it’s only the skaters and cyclists that go all the way to the end, so the farther from the entrance you skate, the less people there are.

The End Or Beginning Of Lake Murray's Skate Path

The End Of Lake Murray’s Skate Path

        When you see the sign above, you have reached the end of the path. This is where you can hang out, look at the people across the lake, catch your breath and think about where in San Diego you will skate next.

UFO Flying Over San Diego

April 3, 2010 by · Leave a Comment 

Unidentified Flying Object (UFO) in San Diego, CA

UFO Shines A Light On La Mesa, CA

        This is my third close encounter I’ve experienced during my 36 years of life. The first was in 1994, just North of the Straits of Malacca, in the Indian Ocean. I didn’t get any photos of that encounter so you’ll just have to believe me when I say that it was an amazing experience for a 19 year old sailor, 8800 miles from home. The second encounter was during June of 2009. I have a photo and blog post of that encounter that you should read. This time, I have 2 images, both taken with my Nikon D5000 at 3200 ISO.

Unidentified Flying Object (UFO) in San Diego, CA

Why Do Aliens Come To America?

        Just a little camera info for you readers about these images: They were both shot with my Nikon D5000 at 1/4 of a second, f/1.8, 3200 ISO. They were also shot hand-held (no tripod), through the glass of my bedroom window, which explains the noise and general low quality of the images.

Night Photography In La Mesa With Nikon D5000

February 10, 2010 by · Leave a Comment 

San Diego Trolley At Night

Deboarding The San Diego Trolley At Night

La Mesa Public Library

La Mesa Public Library

Guess What This Is

Skater Countermeasures

La Mesa Trolley Fountain

The Fountain Adjacent To The La Mesa BLVD Trolley Station

Gypsy Treasure Costume Store In La Mesa

Gypsy Treasure Costume Store In La Mesa

        “Chasing It,” is a gambling term. Google it. I’m not going to explain it here. A few months back, some friends won the lottery in China. I didn’t buy a ticket, so I didn’t get to feel the joy that comes from winning the Celestial Lottery, only the humiliation of knowing I was wrong. Ever since then, I’ve been chasing it. I’ve been looking for my own Chinese Lottery and after all this time I’ve finally found it, and I’ve been fortunate enough to find it in two places. For me, that means I will be able to pull my brain back onto an even keel. I’m going to visit a cove in Japan, and a wasteland in Kentucky. I’m going to win the lottery in both locales.

Police, Homeland Security and Photography

July 8, 2009 by · Leave a Comment 

I returned to the scene of the crime.  As I monitored the progress of the latest Cop Condominium in my neighborhood, I was again challenged by an officer of the law.  The challenge was actually more of a wrestling match, but I had my own back-up present, so I won the challenge.

La Mesa Police Station

Taxpayer Money During A Recession: $12.3 million

What really got me was the complete lack of progress on the police station’s construction.  Maybe the cops in the area should threaten & belittle the construction workers like they do photographers, blacks, homeless people and Norwegians.

So, despite the fact that I was feeling bulletproof from standing toe-toe with a cop and emerging victorious, I wasn’t done for the night,  I found a cannon sitting nearby, so I took an image of it & the moon

Soot The Moon With A Cannon

This is a very old cannon,  What is a cannon anyway?

Maybe if I had the time to deceive people tonight, I would have PS’d a better rendition of the moon.

Hiding Behind A Truck

Hiding Behind an Industrial Truck So The Police Won’t Interrogate Me

Here is your lesson of the night people:  If you are in America and a Cop detains you, DO NOT SAY ANYTHING without an attorney present!