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

Valerie Power’s Birthday Party At Victory Theater

June 14, 2012 by · 1 Comment 

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The Core Of Technomania Circus

    In San Diego we have our own circus; Technomania Circus. Victory Theater is the place where they chart a monthly course of comedy, acrobatics and music. Their theater was a Christian church in a former life and the Technomaniacs have done a wonderful job of incorporating their own style over and above what the original church goers had going on. Usually the décor & ambience are for the benefit of the adoring fans but on this night, everything was done up for one of their own. I was honored and privileged to attend the 40th birthday party of the magnificently talented Valerie Power.

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Nick – A Welderman and Technomaniac

    Every party needs a campfire for roasting, warming and gathering. This one got started early and was just the perfect thing. Yes, there is an outdoor experience as well as the theater. Technomania Circus has much more room at Victory Theater than they had at their old place allowing for much more freedom, artistic creation and bigger audiences.

Richard on Piano and Dr. Techno on Drums

Music Is The Heart and Soul of Technomania Circus

    Music played continuously throughout the evening and at one point I even jammed on a drum set, which turned out to be just as fun as I thought it would be. The group that is Technomania Circus is one of those groups of ridiculously talented people that are changing the world one audience member at a time. They all play instruments, they all perform and they always want the people around them to smile, laugh and have a bang-up great time.

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Valerie Powers Celebrating Her 40th Birthday

    Singing “Happy Birthday” and watching someone blow out the candles as they make a wish on their birthday is just about the best thing to be a part of and I was glad to be able to take some photos of the occasion. I’ve known Dr. Techno and his Technomania Circus for 3 years and they have only gotten better with age.

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Bring On The Candy!

    The piñata was taken care of in short order, with Nick being the one that actually busted the thing apart.

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The Pinata Comes Alive!

    Anything can happen at Technomania Circus. For example, have you ever seen a piñata come to life, sprout legs and then have to be beaten down by the birthday girl? I didn’t think so.

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Happy Birthday, Valerie!

    The next Technomania Circus show is at 8pm this Saturday at Victory Theater and it’s called, “The Western Show.” The theater is located at 2558 Imperial Ave., in the Logan Heights area of San Diego; easily accessible by car, bus or trolley. Head down there and be ready to have the best night of live theater comedy you will have seen in a long time. Cheers to all the readers and Happy Birthday to Valerie!

Ben Lavender At Spanish Village In Balboa Park

May 6, 2012 by · 1 Comment 

    I am fortunate enough to have cousins that always know what there is to do in San Diego so when I was bored yesterday I gave them a call. Before I knew it we were enjoying delicious burgers from Hodad’s followed by a movie in their art and dog filled home. After that we headed up to Balboa Park for a showing of artists sponsored by the San Diego Sculptors Guild.

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Benjamin Lavender Sculptures Always Make A Statement

    Benjamin Lavender, the sculptor responsible for the piece above and many others at the show was our reason for going to this celebration of sculpture. I’d seen his work at a show at the Oceanside Museum of Art last year and was very impressed by his work.

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Golden Art In Balboa Park

    Even the art on the wall found a way to be off the wall. There is an amazing amount of talent contained within these artists and most of the pieces are most obviously labors of love. We are very lucky to be living in a time and place where artists are allowed to create whatever their minds have whipped up.

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Ornate Victorian & Steampunk Flavored Sculpture

    The Steampunk styled viewing contraption above is a great example of what an artist can do with some welding equipment and forty pounds of metal. I am happy with my medium of photography; sculpting with metal has never been a creative outlet for me.

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Larger Pieces Shown In The San Diego Setting Sun

    Since we live in San Diego, we get to enjoy an outdoor showcase of beautiful sculptures in lovely Balboa Park. This show was in the Spanish Village area of the park, so it was a very quick and easy outing for a pleasant Saturday afternoon.

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Ken & Chris Callaway Turn Up Ace Of Spades

    As the sun began to set our attention shifted from fine art to fine food. Our burger filled lunch was quickly wearing off and so, after seeing all the sculptures in the wonderful garden we took our leave. Dinner would turn out to be some great Mexican food from Don Panchos, my neighborhood taco shop. It was a good day, just what I needed. Cheers!

Another Night In Las Vegas

April 2, 2012 by · 1 Comment 

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Nightclub & Bar Convention 2012

    Last year I went to the Nightclub & Bar Convention in Las Vegas as a patron of spirits and member of a group of old friends. This year I went as a member of the press and I was only in town for 1 night with 1 friend, so I packed light and hoped for the best.

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Shawn Barnes In Las Vegas

    The imposing fellow above is one of my best friends and has been so for almost 20 years. He’s a friend that’s always on my side, no matter how abrasive my personality happens to be on any particular day. Together we have cut a swath of mayhem from Hawaii to Mexico and from Dallas to Denver.

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Las Vegas International Airport

    Las Vegas Airport, also known as McCarran International Airport is quite vast, which gives you something to do if you have to kill 3 hours like I did. You can wonder through the terminals without having to go back through security, which is very convenient.

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Slots Inside Las Vegas Airport

    If you want to get any last minute gambling in, Las Vegas Airport will accommodate you. It’s all been arranged to get your money, make no mistake about that. Go ahead and hit the ATM a few more times, you’ll get it all back, I promise.

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Rob Hurlbut In A Las Vegas Elevator

    I’m really starting to get into self portrait photography while in Las Vegas. Mirrors and other reflective surfaces abound if you look around. I can’t wait for the days when DSLR quality photo capabilities are implanted somewhere behind our eyeballs because in a place like Las Vegas, carrying around a camera can be a real drag. Until then, carry your camera with you everywhere all the time. Cheers!

Halloween 2011 House Party!

November 18, 2011 by · 1 Comment 

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Green Army Man & Miss Pan Am

    Halloween is a fun time, no matter how old you are or whether or not you have a costume. As you get older, the candy we seek is of the liquid variety and the costumes lean towards sexy & clever rather than scary & traditional. That’s just awesome isn’t it?

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Puss ‘n Boots

    At a Halloween house party, couples will match up their costumes for twice the fun and twice the laughs. Above we see Puss n’ Boots out by the pool, enjoying the party and the San Diego weather. Not shown in the photo is the great pair of black leather boots, complete with a flared cuff at the top. Little details like that really bring a costume together.

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The Wal-Mart Couple with Poke-a-Hottie and our Local Sherrif

    This was no ordinary Halloween house party; there was a costume contest and prizes, not to mention a complete buffet with some scrumptious food along with a bar that was very complete and free flowing. The couple on the left is The Wal-Mart Couple and they were the big winners of the night. On the right are Poke-a-Hottie (Barb) and our local sheriff (Tim), the gracious hosts for the evening.

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The Backyard of the Halloween Party

    Tim & Barb’s house is a great house to hold a party; plenty of room, wide open floor plan and speakers placed everywhere, so the music was everywhere. The decorations, the catered buffet and the effort put into the costumes made this a very fun party indeed. As I said my good-byes, Barb said this party is held every other year, so my 2013 Halloween costume is going to rock and it might be water-themed in some way, do I have an excuse to end up in their clear-as-glass pool!

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Me As A Monk, Holding A Rifle

    The best shot of the night was taken by Chris Callaway. Above we see a monk with a rifle, his shadowed eyes hide his gaze, but that smirk and chin are unmistakable. I was picked up at San Diego Airport and brought more or less directly to the party, so my borrowed costume was hasty and easy, yet perfect for me. I can’t explain why I’m holding the rifle like a breadstick other than I must have been in character and monks don’t know how to use rifles. Happy Halloween!

How To Solve The Case Of Rebecca Zahau

October 5, 2011 by · 4 Comments 

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In Front Of Coronado Spreckels Mansion

    Some amateur crime solvers at WebSleuths.com referenced my blog post, photos & video taken at Coronado Spreckels Mansion on the morning of Rebecca Zahau’s death. They are also using my timing on the scene to help themselves along with their theories, so I’m posting some new photos to help them and everyone else formulate answers to any questions about how and why Rebecca Zahau died. Above is my first shot of the morning, taken at 11:34am on July 13, 2011.

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Law Enforcement On The Scene Of Rebecca Zahau’s Death

    Less than a minute later I shot the photo above. The man & boy with bicycles are off frame to the right. The front door of the mansion is wide open at this point, which prompted me to shift to my left to get a look inside Spreckels Mansion.

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San Diego Sheriff & Coronado Police In Front Of Spreckels Mansion

    From here you can see the white banister for the grand staircase. This is the same banister that Max Shaknai fell from 2 days before.

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Civilians Inside Spreckels Mansion Police Tape?

    At 11:40am, I snapped the photo above. I don’t know who the kid or the man in the grey polo shirt are, but the man seemed to have a bit of sway with the police. It also seemed like they may have been interested in the puddle on the curb.

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What’s In The Puddle?

    The same photo, cropped to show how the man in grey and the police seemed to be interested in the puddle, or perhaps the pieces of paper in the puddle. They lady detective in the center watched from afar, preferring to gaze into my lens instead.

    So there you have it, that’s what was going on at 1043 Ocean Blvd during the first 5 minutes of my arrival on the morning Rebecca Zahau died. I have a murder by suicide theory because I believe she committed the physical part of suicide, but I also believe she was under duress when she did it. I think someone murdered her by forcing her to commit suicide.

Coronado Spreckels Mansion Death: Murder By Suicide

September 2, 2011 by · 4 Comments 

Spreckels Mansion In Coronado

Spreckels Mansion On The Morning Of Rebecca Zahau’s Suicide

    Now that police have determined that Rebecca Zahau committed suicide inside the Spreckels Mansion of Coronado, we can finally talk about why she would have killed herself. Back on July 13, 2011 I stated on my blog that I thought the Spreckels Mansion death was a suicide, but I really didn’t go into the details of my theory. Since the San Diego Sheriff and other police investigators are announcing complete results of the investigation later this morning, I thought I’d float my theory, just to see I close I was.

    The short version is: I think Zahau was forced to kill herself because of her peripheral involvement in the death of Max Shaknai.

    The long version of my theory makes perfect sense from a human standpoint: There is something that connects Zahau to Shaknai’s accident inside the mansion that allows the family members of Max to point the finger of blame at Rebecca. That finger was the duress Zahau was under when she killed herself.

    If she were made an offer she couldn’t refuse and resigned herself to accepting it, she could try to make her suicide look like murder. That would explain the improbability of the physical nature of her suicide. A naked body hanging from a balcony by electrical cord seems impromptu and mean, like an unplanned crime of passion. For some reason, Zahau wanted her suicide to look and feel like murder. Whatever it is she wanted to accomplish with this final act was something she couldn’t write down. She knew she couldn’t write it down.

    So there it is. Someone made her do it. I think her own hand committed the act but I also think someone was pulling the strings. She said something without talking; she was telling us to look somewhere or at someone. That’s what I think. Below is the video I shot in front of the Spreckels Mansion on day of Rebecca Zahau’s suicide which includes San Diego Sheriff Homicide Capt. Tim Curran speaking about the Coronado death.

Imperial Beach Amputee

August 18, 2011 by · Leave a Comment 

Imperial Beach Amputee Woman With Amputated Arm

A Woman With An Amputated Arm

    Somewhere between acrotomophilia, sexual attraction to amputees and apotemnophilia, the desire to become an amputee, live people that like to collect and look at amputee photography.  I suppose I could have guessed there are specific names for those activities and loads of people that engage in them but, until I included the above photo of an Imperial Beach amputee in a blog post, never acknowledged any of it.

    The photo above was taken by me and posted with my Imperial Beach 4th of July Fireworks article.  The woman and her amputated arm grabbed my attention for a number of reasons; her leathery beach skin, her green star sheriff tattoo or her wild dress by themselves were cause enough to snap a photo, but it was the way her amputated arm contrasted with her other good arm that made it gold for me.  I cropped her legs at the knees to enhance the amputated feel of the photo.

    This morning, a month and a half later, I posted my amputee photo on Twitpic and then tweeted about it, trying to give it some new life because even though I like the photo, I did feel it was out of place in the 4th of July post.  In the course of doing this, I found my photo on a Flickr stream that seems to be for people that like to look at, feel sexually attracted to or want to become an amputee.  My photo has hit the acrotomophilia & apotemnophilia big time! Cheers!

How To Photograph Celebrities At Comic-Con

August 14, 2011 by · 2 Comments 

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The Cast Of Fox TV’s “Fringe”

     You don’t have to stand in lines at San Diego Comic-Con to see celebrities and you don’t need to use a flash when you take their picture either. What you do need are comfortable shoes and patience. I very much prefer a spontaneous style of human photography over posed and static, smiling portraits. Leonardo Da Vinci did such a great job with the Mona Lisa that photographers have forced every woman in the world since then to stop what they are doing, look at the camera and smile in a way that says something without talking. I prefer the moments that happen before and after the party starts, like cast of the Fox TV show “Fringe working out seating assignments just before a signing.

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Adam Hughes

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David Finch

     I don’t collect SWAG or autographs and I prefer to watch movies at home on DVD so movie screenings aren’t my thing either. I collect photographs at Comic-Con, mostly for use on my blog here. What that means is that I spend my time on the move, constantly. It’s exhausting, and on Saturday this year my body forced me to rest for about an hour, which was torture for my mind because it hates not to be in charge.

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Emilia Clarke

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Matt Smith - Dr. Who

     I don’t live under a rock but I don’t command a starship either so I really have to pay attention to the crowd and Twitter to find out where things are happening and who people are. Many of the photos I take, successfully or not, were taken not because I knew the subject but because of the stir around them grabbing my attention. Comic-Con is a crowded and noisy place so it’s not exactly easy to notice every single thing happening right in front of you, which is why the photo of Matt Smith of “Dr. Who” is mostly of the back of his head. I don’t watch Dr. Who so I didn’t know who he was. He had a clamor of people and a film crew following him around, but I lost a few precious seconds trying to figure out who he was or if he was famous, so I missed what would have been a great shot. Shoot first and ask questions later, especially at Comic-Con.

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Kit Harington and R.R. Martin, Writer – “Game of Thrones”

     The celebs do have the ability to put themselves in a bubble, which is a big help for me. Take Kit Harington and R.R. Martin for example, pictured above during a signing for “Game Of Thrones.” There were hundreds of people clamoring in front of them but they managed to ignore all of them, and that’s when I took the shot.

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Danny Devito at San Diego Comic-Con

     I have some ideas that should bring a whole new level of excitement to my photos and posts during Comic-Con next year. Since I roam around the entire time, I think I’d like to be a roving line reporter, bringing updates for all the lines with video, photos and tweets. Since I never have an agenda during Comic-Con, I think it would be an amazing story to embed myself with people that live their lives by the panel and screening schedules. I think the world is finally ready to see the seedy underworld Comic-Con, don’t you? I think back door deals, black market SWAG vouchers and organized line cutters are just the tip of the iceberg, just wait and see. Cheers!

Silver Strand Campfire Program On Coronado

August 6, 2011 by · 4 Comments 

Silver Strand State Beach Campfire Program

Golden Hour Approaches

        Silver Strand State Beach Campfire Program is something I stumbled across yesterday as I strolled along the beach. It turned out to be exactly what the name implies. About 45 minutes before sunset, Park Ranger Heather lit the fire and assembled people into the waiting rows of chairs. This is an educational type thing with a different topic each week. Think of it as a neat, free way to enjoy a sunset campfire and learn something on Coronado’s southern most beach.

Silver Strand State Beach Campfire Program

Silver Strand Beach Campfire Program About To Begin

        The whole thing just sort of happened out of thin air, because earlier I wondered why all those empty chairs were around a barren campfire. What the triangle dinner bell is to a ranch, a campfire is to the beach; people just come running. Once the fire was going and the people were seated I saw it was a good set up for a sunset photo which had me wanting to stick around. Once the sun set, it got chilly so bring a hoodie. The first five minutes of my bike ride home, until my blood got pumping, were not pleasant. I hadn’t planned to stay until sunset, so it goes to show that you need to be prepared and think ahead even in sunny San Diego and even when you are just a few miles from home.

Silver Strand State Beach Campfire Program

Golden Hour At Silver Strand

        I am lucky enough to have Silver Strand State Beach as my backyard, which is just about the greatest thing anyone can say. If you were to look at Coronado on a map and imagine it as a balloon, Silver Strand is the string of land that hangs below. I recommend riding a bicycle to get there because you won’t have to pay an entry fee and the massive length of the park is much more fun to navigate with a bike. So, jump onto Bayshore Bikeway and join in the fun!

Coronado Sandman Street Art

August 2, 2011 by · Leave a Comment 

Coronado-Sandman

Coronado Sandman At Spreckels Park

        There is a man that decorates the land of Coronado with sand; Coronado Sandman. I met him at on a Sunday afternoon, just before the start of a free Rockola concert in Spreckels Park. Sometimes I see his work as I cruise around on my bike and I’ve seen videos of him on the net but I’d never even seen him in person, not even from afar. I guess it was meant to be because I was looking for something interesting to photograph when I ran into him creating some street art with, wait for it: Dirt. A spoon is not a fork, so if you are expecting one but receive the other you’ll probably ask why, which is what I did. It turned out that white sand doesn’t pop very well on the gray of concrete & cement so he opted for dirt, which is darker for these pieces of art. I joked with him saying that he couldn’t be Coronado Sandman if he didn’t have any sand, man.

Coronado Sandman Creating Street Art

        That turned out to be my segue to chatting with him for a few minutes so he told me all about his recent history and a few of his philosophies on life. He wrapped up with a one liner and a question. He said, “There are three people in the world, God, the Devil and Coronado Sandman. Do you know who you friend is?” I answered him very specifically and then he told me I was right. So, I have that going for me, which is nice.

Coronado Concert – Rockola In Spreckels Park

August 1, 2011 by · Leave a Comment 

Rockola-Concert-Spreckels-Park-Coronado

Rockola At Spreckels Park

        I always knew Coronado was a great place with great people but since I don’t live there, I’ve never been able to say exactly why it’s so great. Yeah, I know tourist guidebooks will give you the dictionary definition of what makes Coronado awesome but I’m talking about other, intangible things that just make you feel good for some reason. Yesterday, I got to experience that intangible thing and its energetic buzz. Spreckels Park was the specific location and Rockola was the specific band that absolutely rocked the house for a free two hour sunset concert under the beautiful Coronado sky.

Coronado Rocking Out In Spreckels Park

        It was more or less impossible for me to concentrate on taking photos so the video mode on my camera got a workout as I cruised around the park, trying to rock out and hold the camera steady at the same time. There is a rule that many people abide by when they dance: Dance like no one’s watching. In that spirit, that’s how I edited the video above. I just found the good parts with great soundtracks, stitched them together and pressed play. As of right now, no one can ever say people on Coronado don’t know how to have a good time!

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Dancing In Spreckels Park

        It was such a good time that I wished I had left my camera at home (not really) because as a person whose parents raised him properly on a diet of classic rock ‘n roll, it was a straight up transport back to a time before digital, before blogs and before me. High school students fortunate enough to see the Beatles last concert in 1966 are in their 60’s now, yet it’s that crowd’s music, 45 years later that packed Spreckels Park with families, in some cases, four generations of a family, all enjoying the same great time together. So, my challenge to all who read this is simple: Do whatever you have to do so you can visit Coronado, and then try to find a reason to leave when you’re here. Cheers!

Children’s Hospital Cast At Comic-Con

July 30, 2011 by · Leave a Comment 

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Ken Marino & Lake Bell At Comic-Con

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Megan Mullally At Comic-Con

        The cast of Children’s Hospital was at Comic-Con for a signing at the WB booth, so I grabbed a few photos of them. Comic-Con is really growing and it seems like every year at Comic-Con there are more and more TV shows full of actors I’ve never heard of. I can’t help but wonder what it’s like to be an actor in Hollywood today, knowing that actors used to be iconic, world renown, royal demi-gods that have devolved into the performing millionaire monkeys of today. Do you know why there are so many channels on TV now, yet the golden age of TV had only three? They only needed three! What? Do you think all of a sudden the networks had too much talent to handle so they NEEDED 300 other channels? Of course not, that’s why now, 300 channels later, there’s nothing good on TV!

        Aside from their salaries, which are a slap in the face to middle class Americans, I would not want to be an actor, not in Hollywood anyway. I’d rather be an independent star, via photography on my website or videos I post on YouTube. All of the celebrities and stars doing signings at Comic-Con didn’t happen to be there all at the same time. They were there, performing and smiling for strangers, their kids and their kid’s cameras because their boss told them to do it. Sound familiar? It does to me! I’ve had to do TONS of stuff for jobs I didn’t want to do, but I did it anyway. The difference is the salary and the slap to the face.

        Why are people shown on TV paid so much money? Why do people have to pay so much money to watch other people on TV? I suppose my not understanding why our system allows us to value a day’s work based on the person doing the work, rather than the work being done has jaded my opinion but, come on! Flipping burgers for real pays $50 a day out here in California, but, flipping burgers in a MOVIE pays tens of thousands of dollars per day. Hmm, now that I think about it, that must be why I like cartoons so much, but then those voice actors are overpaid too. Bloody Hell! I guess I should just turn the TV off and get some fresh air, eh? Ok, I’ll do that but remember this: You are not any better than a celebrity, but any celebrity is better paid than you! Below are Rob Corddry and Erinn Hayes with some fans. I have many more photos and posts from this year’s Comic-Con as well as photos from Comic-Con 2010 that you may like to see, so be sure to check them out. Cheers!

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Rob Corddry And Erinn Hayes At San Diego Comic-Con

Kevin Smith At Comic-Con

July 28, 2011 by · Leave a Comment 

Kevin Smith At Comic-Con 2011

Kevin Smith At San Diego Comic-Con

        Comic-Con was a catalyst for me taking a trip down memory lane; all good memories and all good things. Besides being able to catch some candid photos of John Cusack, I was also able to see Kevin Smith, who pulled a J.D. Salinger on our asses by introducing himself to the world by writing, financing and directing the movie, “Clerks.” I was a 19 year sailor in the United States Navy the first I saw that movie and like most people I thought it was brilliantly executed and watching people my age languish in a job they hated while the world seemed to pass them by resonated with me as well.

        Back then (in 1993) I was stationed on the USS Fletcher DD-992, home ported in Pearl Harbor, HI which was a dream location and the setting of countless tales of reckless military youth that will never be told. The problem was that all those fun times, all those adventures that will one day be presented to the world as a movie took place amidst days of chipping & painting and nights of standing watch, and that was while we were in port. Out at sea I had to do those things AND do general quarters & firefighting drills at all hours. In the movie version, all those good times take place over two hours so it would seem like it was a nonstop, party time enlistment. Wrong! Those good times were spread out like a razor thin coating of jelly over a FOUR YEAR slice of toast; that’s not enough jelly for some people, like me.

        Kevin Smith, by writing “Clerks” and bringing it to the world when he did helped me see one more thing, and that was how humor can make a shitty job more fun. If you don’t work at a funny place then bring it to work with you, just like Dante & Randall did in the movie. “I’m not even supposed to be here today” can be the start of a terrible day or the beginning of a mantra where you make the best of being at work, despite the grumps all around you and your constant odor of shoe polish. Cheers!

Cosplay At Comic-Con

July 27, 2011 by · 4 Comments 

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The Zen Of Homemade Costumes

        There is nothing that allows for a greater form expression of your own personal individuality than a homemade costume for Comic-Con. I really like to see what people can create from scratch and present to 130,000 people that all have cameras, blogs, TV shows and opinions. It takes a lot of sand to do that and in my opinion is infinitely superior to buying or renting costume in a store. The homemade costumes we all saw at Comic-Con started out long ago in a dream or from the love of a fan for a character or a creator. These cosplayers are among the elite inventors of the world that actually get to see their inventions conceived, planned & executed to realization. They get to see their creations loved, viewed and used by the public before their very eyes. It is so ridiculously fantastic to support the creative community in that way that I think Comic-Con should be awarded some sort of Nobel Prize for being such a catalyst for pulling in support of the arts. If you haven’t seen my photos and posts from Comic-Con last year, take a look at them and you’ll see that year after year the cosplayers bring just as much to the table as the movie studios.

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Boba Phat At Comic-Con

        Of course, extra credit is always given for Star Wars or any type of hot girl themed costume and you would think that would tip the scales unfairly in their favor but extra credit is also given for originality and attention to detail. Between those four things you will discover that Comic-Con is a location for some of the most advanced cosplay in the world. Cosplay is short for “costume play” and it’s nothing like what you do on Halloween or at a football game. Boba Phat handed me his business card which turned me onto his website, which will direct you to his Facebook profile: BobaPhat.com. I would suggest sending him a friend request because Boba Phat is not a person to trifle with. Besides, if people know Boba Phat is your friend, I’m sure that comes with perks.

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Steampunk Explorer Captures Predator

        A Steampunk explorer with a captured predator was a great idea as were a trio of medieval men that cosplayed as the coconut clacking crusaders from Monty Python & the Holy Grail. Tiny details in the costumes are what make them stand out. The instantly recognizable sound of the coconuts could be heard from 50 feet away, so people were actually being drawn to them. I can’t believe that in all this time I have never “heard” a costume at Comic-Con before. It was a brilliant idea and the highlight of the con for me.

monty-python-holy-grail-comic-con-2011

Monty Python Cosplayers at Comic-Con

        A Steampunk explorer with a captured predator was a great idea as were a trio of medieval men that cosplayed as the coconut clacking crusaders from Monty Python & the Holy Grail. Tiny details in the costumes are what make them stand out. The instantly recognizable sound of the coconuts could be heard from 50 feet away, so people were actually being drawn to them. I can’t believe that in all this time I have never “heard” a costume at Comic-Con before. It was a brilliant idea and the highlight of the con for me. Comic-Con is one of those events that you can’t see everything at. There are so many things going on at the same time that no matter how you plan it, things will have to be sacrificed and missed. It’s tough to deal with at first but you find out really quick that there’s plenty to go around for everyone (unless you want to get into Hall H) and the forced moderation will prevent your brain from exploding. Just take a look at my photos from last year’s Comic-Con and then look through my photos of Comic-Con this year and you’ll see there’s no repetition because the event is just that grand. What a great problem to have, eh? Cheers!

John Cusack and Alice Eve At Comic-Con

July 26, 2011 by · Leave a Comment 

John Cusack-and-Alice-Eve-comic-con-2011

John Cusack and Alice Eve at Comic Con

Alice Eve At Comic-Con 2011

Alice Eve At Comic-Con 2011

John Cusack at Comic-Con 2011

John Cusack at Comic-Con 2011

        John Cusack and Alice Eve were at Comic-Con this year, in support of their new movie, The Raven, in which Cusack plays the brooding poet, Edgar Allen Poe. It was during the ‘80s that I entered manhood, high school and took my first photography class so the early movies of John Cusack were around during my own youthful adventures. Back then when I left the theater, I couldn’t wait to have my own crazy summer, in the spirit of those awesome flicks.

        Edgar Allen Poe was introduced to me during this period as well, thanks to high school teacher. As a person that became a teenager during the twilight of the Reagan “Just Say No” era, it was amazing and outright fucking radical to me that a man became famous, revered and wrote and accomplished amazing things while being an alcoholic that was also addicted to hard drugs. I was being shown movies in gym during first period (yes, I had first period gym) with all the president’s men telling me my brain would fry like an egg and why I’d end up in jail for doing terrible things if I was on drugs. After lunch, during language arts, we were learning the opposite. We were learning that you could pen, create and craft wonderful, poetic works of literary art with the words formed inside a brain that was train wrecked by drugs. I’m pretty sure that’s when the word “irony” really hit home with me. I was watching John Cusack in those adventurous, coming of age movies at the same time as all this so it was ironically weird to see him in person and to learn that he’s portraying a man whose drug influenced work influenced me over 20 years ago. Cusack was there with his lovely co-star Alice Eve.

Roaming Around San Diego Comic-Con

July 25, 2011 by · Leave a Comment 

zombie-in-san-diego-gaslamp comic-con-2011

San Diego’s Gaslamp District During Comic-Con

        This Comic-Con I was a roamer, always on the move between the streets of Downtown San Diego and the convention center. I walked so much over the 5 day span that my feet, on this day rest are straight up sore. For the second year in a row I didn’t wait in any lines because I didn’t go to any panels, movie premiers or after-hours parties. I much prefer the crowded confines of the Gaslamp District streets and the mass of humanity that flows like a clogged artery on the exhibit hall floor. I have sadly accepted that you just can’t see everything at Comic-Con but I really do feel that you see more if you roam instead of wait in lines for panels and premiers. I you haven’t seen them, check out my posts and photos from last year’s Comic-Con.

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Power Rangers & Fans

        Of course, I’m not knocking panel and premier goers at all, not one bit. In fact, it’s an amazingly awesome experience to walk amongst people that are gods among fans. The people in those lines arrive in San Diego from farther away and sacrifice more to get to Comic-Con than anyone else so they can sit in the same room with people they admire, love and adore. Since I’m not the star struck type I think the best things I can do for everyone at Comic-Con are not take up precious seats and instead take their picture at what might be their only time in San Diego or at Comic-Con.

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Monty Python Cosplayers at Comic-Con

        I did have a favorite moment during Comic-Con and that was when I came across three dudes with a dead-on balls accurate cosplay of King Arthur and his coconut clacking men from the movie Monty Python and the Holy Grail. I followed them around the convention floor for a few minutes, which is harder than it sounds because it’s always so crowded. These guys were able to navigate well, drawing attention long before they were seen thanks to the banging together of two empty halves of coconut. Something I will say about my own preference of what makes for good cosplay is that the costume be homemade. These guys made their duds from scratch and won my vote for best in show! I’ll have many more post and photos in the coming days. This year, I decided not to do daily posts and instead do posts that are a little more off the cuff and spontaneous. That way I can spread the photos and posts over a greater period of time, prolonging the afterglow from that magnificent event that was San Diego Comic-Con 2011. So, what would you like to see next? Celebrities, more costumes, the crazy streets of San Diego during Comic-Con? Let me know in the comments. Cheers!

Comic-Con 2011 Preview Night

July 21, 2011 by · Leave a Comment 

san-diego-convention-center-from-pedestrian-bridge

San Diego Convention Center During Comic-Con 2011

        Here we go again! Comic-Con 2011 has officially rolled into San Diego and I was there with my press pass in hand, to bring you all the photos and insight from preview night you could possibly desire. The view you see above was taken from the new pedestrian bridge that spans over Harbor Drive. This new bridge offers people a second option across Harbor Drive besides the Gaslamp Trolley station to get to the Convention Center. The white tents you see (on the left) provide shade for the people in line for Hall H screenings. Yes, people had already been camping under them for over a day!

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The Crowds Gather

        They started handing out badges at 3 p.m. but the doors didn’t open until 6 p.m. which meant every security person in the building had the job of keeping 100,000 people out of the exhibit hall… For the next 3 hours! Here’s the thing about Comic-Con, it creates a mob mentality at every turn. Look at the scene above. If the people in front can’t talk their way in, do you think the people in the back will be able to? Of course not, yet the mob has now formed. Meanwhile, about 100 feet away…

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A Better Way To Enter The Exhibit Hall

        I joked with these two security guards about how people were already acting crazy. They agreed and then let me into the exhibit hall. The lesson here is that you will be able to see and do more things at Comic-Con if you DON’T do what everyone else is doing. If there’s a crowd, there will be a line and that means you have now been demoted to “sheep.” Wander around and look for doors that are guarded but don’t have a crowd, like the one above. I did so I got to roam around Comic-Con, practically all alone for about 30 minutes. Until the crowds finally came crashing in.

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Sail Pavilion At San Diego Convention Center

        The Sail Pavilion is the main area where autograph signings take place. I would imagine this area has more celebrities per square foot that any other part of Comic-Con. There can be upwards of 20 signings going on at a time, and they go on all day for four days! This is really the place for great, candid shots of your favorite Hollywood stars. Of course, you won’t be alone when you attempt to do this. The chaotic scene above is what the Sail Pavilion looked like last night, and the celebs were not even in the building yet!

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andrew-wk-san-diego-comic-con-2011

        Comic-Con is not just for fans, it’s for the celebrities and those who will become celebrities as well. The Winner Twins (above) are sisters that have, at the age of 16, become award winning novelists and created the Strand Series of books. They have a youthful enthusiasm about their lives and their work that is very inspiring. Most people are still trying to bang out their first novel when they’re old & grey, so I can only imagine what these two will have done by the time they reach their golden years. Andrew WK (above right) was in The Cartoon Network booth doing TV promos and generally just being cool!

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slave-leias-san-diego-comic-con-2011

        Slave Leias are an overplayed, overused and very welcome part of Comic-Con. I’m serious; keep ‘em comin’ ladies and encourage your friends to cosplay as slave Leia too because it’s hot and you just can’t get too much of sci-fi’s greatest fantasy. The dude in the photo above was trying to record an intro bit where the slave Leia seductively slides her chain over to him while he’s talking. I think it was the highlight of his night! Spiderman, in many different shapes, styles and sizes can always be seen hanging around Comic-Con. It was Spiderman that introduced me to comics back in 1990.

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Actual Car From The Movie “Back To The Future III”

        That wraps it up for preview night. There are two Back To The Future cars on display. The car in the photo above is the actual car used in the third film. At that booth they have a lot of other props too like Bif’s cane, Mr. Fusion and the hoverboards. Elsewhere in the exhibit hall is a replica of the car from the first movie. I hope this post gets you excited for Comic-Con because this was just the preview night… We still have four days to go! Be sure to look at my posts and photos from Comic-Con 2010 for pics of celbs and costumes. Cheers!

Death In Coronado Spreckels Mansion

July 13, 2011 by · 2 Comments 

Spreckels Mansion In Coronado Where Rebecca Zahau Died

Spreckels Mansion On Coronado Sealed Off With Police Tape

        Update – September 2, 2011: Her death has been ruled a suicide. See my new blog post with my murder-by-suicide theory.

        Across the street from the Hotel Del Coronado at 1043 Ocean Boulevard, is Spreckels Mansion where earlier today I caught an impromptu press conference of San Diego Sheriff Homicide Capt. Tim Curran speaking about a woman that died in the mansion earlier in the day. The woman turned out to be Rebecca Zahau, the girlfriend of the owner, Jonah Shaknai.

        He described how paramedics and firefighters responded to a 911 call at Spreckels Mansion to find a woman in distress, attempt life saving measures with the help of firefighters and ultimately pronounce her dead. He went on to say, “The scene indicated a suspicious type of death.” This gave Coronado police cause to contact the San Diego Sheriff to investigate the scene as a homicide, which is normal procedure since Coronado PD has no standing homicide unit. He would not say what “in distress” was but he did say, “Right now I’m not going to go into details but suffice it to say it appears to be some kind of a violent death.” and later on added, “Obviously she had been injured.” He also added that whoever made the 911 call knew the deceased, that no one reported hearing anything such as screaming or gunfire and that police had no subjects of interest or suspects.

        When I take all this in and it leads me to believe that Rebecca Zahau, the dead woman inside Spreckels Mansion committed suicide. You heard it here first. The sheriff didn’t say we have to worry about a murderer running around Coronado and they have not arrested anyone, including the reporting party. That means anyone else in the mansion at the time has been cleared. Capt. Curran actually seemed to indicate that the reporting party was the only other person present anyway. I wish I would have had the presence of mind to ask Capt. Curran if there was a weapon found near the deceased.

Coronado Beach In Front Of Spreckels Mansion

The Scene In Front Of The Spreckels Mansion

        When I arrived, at about 11:30 a.m., there was still a great view of the mansion since the Coronado Police and San Diego Sheriff’s command center RV’s were parked slightly up Ocean Boulevard, as you can see in the first photo for this post. While I was there, the police filled in that space with large Coronado PD SUVs. The photo above shows the police moving their yellow tape to allow for their vehicles to park, as well as beautiful Coronado beach right across the street and Point Loma in the distance.

The Zen Of Wearing Sunglasses

June 25, 2011 by · 1 Comment 

woman in red lipstick sunglasses beret

Modern Day Holly Golightly

        I like to wear shades, not just for style and UV protection, also to hide my eyes, so you can’t see what I’m looking at. Usually I want the actual function of sunglasses because it’s a bright world out there but in certain places, like while riding a public transportation bus, I want the tinted cover of perceived anonymity that sun glasses give me. I’m saying this as a bit of advice: If you get on any public transportation without shades in front of your eyes and earbuds IN your ear, you will be inviting all manner of unwanted things. Yes, shades and earbuds are how to tell everyone on the bus, the trolley and at the bus stop that you are off the clock and not open for business.

        I took these photos some months ago when I was planning some sort of “sunglasses on the bus” themed post but that never panned out because I’ve been riding my bike everywhere, mostly on Bayshore Bikeway instead of using public transportation. Summer has definitely arrived in San Diego!

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Sunglasses On The Bus

        The thing is I really like to wear shades because I feel they somehow give me an edge. Sunglasses are such an amazingly simple thing but they have the power to turn down the sun AND hide your eyes from your neighbors; that’s a lot of power. I was on a San Diego city bus when I snapped both photos for this post and in both instances, I’m not sure if the women behind the shades were looking at me or not, due to the mighty power of the sun glasses.

        The woman directly above began passing out as soon as she boarded the bus. Her man friend passed out next to her, hugging his guitar case yet still managing to always be tilting forward, precariously close to the edge of falling out of his seat. I’ll admit I was rooting for that because it would have been proof that he was really that out of it and not just entertaining himself with an impromptu Charlie Chaplin routine.

Coronado Village Theater

June 24, 2011 by · 1 Comment 

Coronado Village Theater Panorama

Coronado Village Theater Main Screen

        I attended the grand opening of Coronado Village Theater last night and I was very impressed. I’d never been in a theater like this before, one that pays homage to vintage theaters from long ago. The theater originally opened in 1947 but has been closed since 2000 so this is really a big deal for Coronado. This is the theater where an entire generation of baby boomers AND their kids saw their first movie. This is a piece of post WWII Americana that has been brought back to life and everyone gets to enjoy it! Village Theater is located at 820 Orange Ave. Coronado, CA 91228 and the phone number for showtimes & dates is 619.437.6161

Coronado Village Theater Box Office Grand Opening

Theater Box Office

        The original marquee has been restored and, just like back in the day there is only one ticket box office. If you want to buy a ticket to see a movie here, you MUST stand in line right here. This is a change from the uber-efficiency we are all used to, but it adds to the buzz around the theater because it forces a line to be formed which will in turn attract more people to the theater.

Coronado Village Theater Hotel Del Coronado Mural

Hotel Del Coronado Mural

        The inside of the theater is very elegant, with art deco eye candy all over the place. This is not your average cinema, this is Coronado Village Theater and it has murals of the San Diego skyline and Hotel Del Coronado on the walls. This theater is adorned with one of a kind art, carpet and fixtures that will require travel guides everywhere to be updated immediately.

Coronado Village Theater San Diego Skyline Mural

San Diego Skyline Mural In Coronado Village Theater

        The elegant feel of the theater didn’t stop with the décor. The seats are well padded with a high back and they even rock back a little bit. The aisles are much wider than normal, so moving to and from your seat is no problem, even with a full house. In addition to complimentary popcorn and soda, we were given 3D glasses and ultimately treated to 3D previews of Captain America and the new Transformers movie. I hadn’t seen a 3D movie for 30 years, so this was really something neat to see.

Lance Alspaugh and Will Graham Coronado Village Theater

Lance Alspaugh & Will Graham

        Lance Alspaugh is the man whose integral involvement kept things together during this decade long project and Will Graham is the ten year old kid that convinced his dad to invest in the theater, resulting in an infusion of cash that finally brought the project to fruition. Funny how things work out isn’t?

Coronado Village Theater Screening Room Mural

Screening Room

        The décor and murals adorn the walls of the screening rooms as well the drinking fountain area and the restrooms. I imagine that if the HMS Titanic had its own cinema, it would have looked like this one.

Will Graham and Father At Coronado Village Theater

Will Graham & His Father At Coronado Village Theater

        The grand re-opening of Coronado Village Theater ended with a showing of a short film that covers the first 100 years of cinema. It was during this time that I snapped the photo above. Standing at the sides of the door are Will Graham and his father. I can only imagine the joy the two of them must have been feeling right at that moment. Below is a video from the evening, cheers!

2011 Grand Re-Opening Of Coronado Village Theater

Coronado Low Tide Ride & Stride

June 19, 2011 by · Leave a Comment 

Low Tide Ride Stride Coronado Rotary

Silver Strand Beach As Seen From Camp Surf

        This morning I came across a charity fun run & bike ride on Silver Strand beach called, “Low Tide Ride & Stride” put together by Coronado Rotary Club. The course is the 8 mile stretch of beach between Camp Surf and Sunset Park in Coronado. What makes the event extra special is the United States Navy being gracious enough to open up their section of the beach to all runners, walkers and bike riders of the event. That section is normally off limits because that is where Navy SEALs train.

         How’s that for something awesome that should fill you with American pride? The guys that took out Osama Bin Laden got their start as Navy SEALs right here in Coronado, so by participating in this event you get to touch sand that is normally reserved for our most elite military personnel. This is an exciting event that only happens once a year and this year, it started with a bang.

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Mouseover Image Above To See Before & After The Boom

        The person tasked with firing the cannon fired when the countdown reached two, instead of zero which had the effect of scaring everyone, including me. If you tell me you’re going to pull the band-aid off on the count of three, pulling it off on anything OTHER than three is not cool! Anyway, I was not a participant in the event so after the exciting start I continued my morning bike ride. You can mouseover the image above to see the moment right before everyone flinched. Cheers!

Powwow By The Sea

June 19, 2011 by · Leave a Comment 

Imperial Beach Powwow By The Sea

Imperial Beach – Powwow By The Sea

        Imperial Beach is hosting a Native American “Powwow by the Sea” this weekend at IB pier plaza. I happened to catch the beginning, which was a grand entrance of all the dancers rhythmically making their way into the circle. This event enables the local population of Native American Indians to honor their ancestors by spending the weekend dressing, eating, worshiping and thinking as their cultural ancestors did.

Imperial Beach Powwow By The Sea

Color Guard Leads Things Off At IB Pier Plaza

        It was a very colorful entrance as the Powwow officially got underway. The steady beat of the drums always seems to go perfectly with whatever is going on.

Imperial Beach Powwow By The Sea

Native American Dancer

        There are so many things to do in San Diego County and now that summer is in full swing we remember the weather is one of the best reasons for living here. You know that every activity you have planned for the summer will work out because in San Diego, it never rains on a parade and all summer long, the temperature is in the 70’s or 80’s at any time of the day or night.

Imperial Beach Powwow By The Sea

Capturing Motion

        For those of you wondering about my photographic technique, I very much wanted to capture and portray a powerful sense of movement in the photos, so I shot mostly at 1/60th & 1/90th of a second and made sure to hold the camera still.

Imperial Beach Powwow By The Sea

Flower, Shadow, Sunlight, Bee, Blue Sky

        Later on today, they’re having another powwow at the same place, Imperial Beach Pier Plaza that will last until around dusk. There are also many food vendors and people selling all manner of items & enlightening everyone about all things Native American. There are enough food vendors and local restaurants that you might as well arrive hungry. Start out with some fry bread, some sweet, delicious fry bread. After that you’re on your own, but I will recommend that you save $2 so you can wrap up your visit to IB pier with a single scoop of ice cream on a plain cone at Cowabunga Ice Cream Shop. Below is a video montage from the powwow with one of their songs as the soundtrack. Cheers!

Video Of Imperial Beach Powwow By The Sea

SlutWalk San Diego 2011

June 12, 2011 by · Leave a Comment 

SlutWalk San Diego 2011

SlutWalk San Diego 2011

        The San Diego satellite of SlutWalk marched through the streets of downtown yesterday in a very colorful and vocal display, informing the world that victims of sexual assault should never be blamed and are never at fault, without exception. In late January of this year, a Toronto police officer stated that women should avoid dressing like sluts in order not to be victimized. There is enough stupidity in that statement to make it stand up on its own, but just below the surface, it also says something else: Why do we ask about HOW and WHY a person becomes a victim of sexual assault, rather than asking why a person becomes a perpetrator of sexual assault? That question was explored during speeches and chants at SlutWalk San Diego.

SlutWalk Rally San Diego Civic Center Plaza 2011

SlutWalk Rally At San Diego Civic Center Plaza

        Slutwalk San Diego brought light to an area that is usually cloaked in darkness and ignorance. If a woman dresses in a sexually suggestive way, it doesn’t mean she’s suggesting she wants to have sex. I remember my parents teaching me not to judge a book by its cover. I wasn’t old enough to read when I learned that but I was still old enough to understand that this was a metaphor for people: You can’t know what someone wants just by looking at them. It’s impossible. You have to talk, ask questions, listen to answers and interact with someone in order to find out what they will and will NOT allow you to do to their body. It doesn’t matter what a person wears, how they dance, what they drink or what they did last night… A person must look you in the eye and say the word, “Yes.”

SlutWalk San Diego 2011

These Sluts Are Made For Walking

        A group of 5 women founded SlutWalk, after hearing about what that Toronto policeman said, and decided they’d had enough. It was time to put a face to the voice that claimed victims of sexual assault invited it or even WANTED it to happen. It was time to let the world know it’s not OK to blame clothing and sexuality for sexual assaults. What they came up with is brilliant because it highlights the hypocrisy of the, “She dressed like a slut so she invited it” mentality. These 5 women realized that a group of slutty looking women, walking en masse through a city center would NEVER be blamed if a mass rape ensued. Hmm… A sexy woman alone invites assault but a GROUP of sexy women get a police escort in order to PREVENT assault. Do you get it now? Why would a group of sluts, walking down the street need police protection, unless the police thought the women were inviting trouble? SlutWalk San Diego, as it proceeded through downtown vocalized this question to the people over and over.

SlutWalk San Diego 2011

Slut Power In San Diego

SlutWalk San Diego 2011

SlutWalk San Diego 2011

SlutWalk San Diego 2011

Leaving Civic Center Plaza

SlutWalk San Diego 2011

Slutwalk San Diego Marches On Broadway

SlutWalk San Diego 2011

SlutWalk San Diego 2011 Rally At Civic Center Plaza

        So, what did I take away from Slutwalk San Diego? People just won’t take shit anymore. Law enforcement and government are being made to account for not only what they do, but what they say as well, and people will organize to call them out and to make change. I think I knew that before I arrived, but had never seen it performed so passionately before. If you would like to get involved, there is a list of SlutWalk satellite cities and rally dates on their website.

Mickie’s Bar & Grill Honors Maxine Cummings

May 22, 2011 by · 1 Comment 

Mickie's Bar & Grill Maxine Cummings Memorial Balloons

Balloons In Honor Of Maxine Cumming At Mickie’s Bar & Grill

        Maxine “Mickie” Cummings passed away on April 16, 2011 so, to honor her, an all day musical celebration was held at her joint, Mickie’s Bar & Grill. I spent some time there, watching Teagan Taylor Trio play and talking with people. The bar is at 2nd & Palm Ave. in Imperial Beach, an easy bike ride for me, I cruise past it every time I go to the beach but I had never been inside until today. It turned out to be a great bar with lots of room, a pool table a patio and 2 full bars. Mickie liked jazz so that’s what was played in the background as new and old friends came together to remember Mickie, and there was no better placed than the very bar she had owned since 1982.

Judith Jeannotte At Mickie's Bar & Grill

Judith Jeannotte Talks About The Finer Things

        The bar actually reached capacity by around 3 o’clock, which I found out when I tried to get back in after stepping outside to use my phone. The dude let me back in but I was very surprised that a bar in Imperial Beach was at capacity on a Saturday afternoon. Mickie was a much loved woman and the steady flow of people that streamed in all day is testament to that. She has some great friends and Mickie’s had some great people. Everyone I talked with was friendly and out to have a good time which is something we all need right now.

mickies-bar-maxine-cummings-memorial

Eileen And Virginia At Mickie’s Bar & Grill

        This turned out to be a great Saturday afternoon in Imperial Beach, but I really didn’t plan it that way. I had other things on my agenda but they all fell by the wayside once I started meeting and talking with people. Eileen and Virginia, seen above are two of the people I met that made the event a success and helped everyone to have a good time. Mickie’s Bar & Grill in Imperial Beach, give it try, it’s only two blocks from the beach so it would be a great place to start and/or finish a trip to IB. Cheers!

Leopard Sharks & Guitar Fish Around Imperial Beach Pier

May 4, 2011 by · 1 Comment 

Leopard Shark Caught On Imperial Beach Pier

        Recently I came across an article, or maybe it was a photo-essay in IB Patch about fishermen on the Imperial Beach pier. After reading the article, my first thought was; what a boring, poorly photographed article. There was no action, no substance and no grit, just people standing on the IB pier with fishing rods & reels. I felt I could do better, so I headed down to IB pier to check out the action.

imperial-beach-pier-fishing-sharks

Guitar Fish On Imperial Beach

        As I walked onto Imperial Beach pier, there was a fisherman that had a guitar fish on his line. The shark was much too heavy to reel 30 feet onto the pier so the angler had his friend hold the rod so he could go down to the beach to unhook and then release the shark, with everyone looking on.

Guitar Fish On Imperial Beach

Guitar Fish Held Over Imperial Beach

        There is something very ugly about pulling life from the ocean for nothing more than sport. We are the only species that allows something as weird as “catch and release.” Just imagine there was a restaurant where, if you take a bite of food you’ll get dragged away from the table, pulled under the nearest body of water, photographed and then thrown back onto land. Do you think any human would tolerate that?

Guitar Fish Held Over Imperial Beach

Guitar Fish Have Eyes & Feelings Too

        The guitar fish you see above was a victim of some guy just having fun. I see eyes, a mouth, gills and a body so that tells me this shark can see, eat, breathe and feel. It’s very hard for me to watch people hurt animals in situations like what you see above and not do anything about it. If you want to be cruel and unusual, you get a free pass if you do it to any form of aquatic life, unless you do it in front of me. I’m just letting you know.

Guitar Fish On Imperial Beach

Guitar Fish About To Be Thrown Back Into The Pacific Ocean

        I know there was never a point in history when it all of a sudden became OK to use this planet and other life forms on it like a commodity or as a form of recreation. What I do not know is if there will ever be a point in time when it’s not OK to do that anymore. Think about this… It’s illegal to physically harm another human (unless you’re a cop) and sometimes it’s even illegal to say hurtful words to another human. Why is it then we can do unto others what we don’t allow to be done to ourselves?

Leopard Shark On IB Imperial Beach Pier

Leopard Shark On Imperial Beach Pier

        Above is a small leopard shark, caught while fishing off Imperial Beach pier. Sharks are one of those survivors that outlived the dinosaurs and hopefully will outlive us as well. Our amazing intellect allows us to buy everything we need at Wal-Mart to end a shark’s life while that same intellect turns a blind eye towards what we are actually doing. Anyway, a crappy article with crappy photographs, along with a sunny San Diego day is what led me to the beach, the fishermen of Imperial Beach pier and this introspective article. I suppose it’s just one more example of the weird way things just work out.

Sharks Swarming Around Imperial Beach Pier

        In the video above you’ll see the photos from this post as well as footage of dozens of sharks swimming around Imperial Beach pier. As you’ll see in the video, the sharks were everywhere, looking for food so the fisherman took advantage by merely dipping their lines in the sea below the pier. Standing on a pier holding a length of mono-filament line with food in front of hungry sea animals is a sport? OK, sure.

Eden In Hillcrest With Constantine Bautista

May 2, 2011 by · Leave a Comment 

Constantine-Bautista-eden-art-show

The Art Of Constantine Bautista

        I recently attended an art show and charity auction held at Eden, one of the newest clubs on the Hillcrest nightlife scene. Local artist, Michele Jones produced this charity event, which raised over $10,000 for The Lois Merrill Foundation, which helps cancer patients with their medical bills. I was impressed with the layout and the amount of space the place has. Even with all the people, tables of charity auction items set up in the middle of the dance floor, 100 or so pieces of art of from world renowned artists adorning the walls and clustered mingling the art world is known for, there was a nice flow and it never felt too crowded. It never occurred to me that a nightclub would be a good venue for an art show but after being there I can say that it makes perfect sense. Actual art galleries are boxy, usually small and always have areas where congregating people will completely block the walking path of everyone, bringing all foot traffic in the building to a halt. Nightclubs, especially new ones are designed to allow people to walk around, which is what you want people to be able to do at an art show. Brilliant!

eden-art-show-Hillcrest

Chris, Donna & Constantine Bautista

        It was while having this revelation that I met modern artist and painter, Constantine Bautista. It was my cousin that invited me to this event, Constantine being her boss from back in the days when Mr. Bautista had a day job and was not the full on artist he is today. The photo above was taken towards the end of the evening and in it we see my cousin on the left, her colleague and new friend of mine, Donna in the center and Constantine himself on the right. I didn’t hear anyone bring it up during the show so I’ll say it now; Constantine is a damn cool name to have.

eden-art-show-Hillcrest

Who Brings A Baby To A Club On Saturday Night?

        Bear in mind this show took place on a Saturday evening which meant the art crowd folks were in a place they probably had never been before and the nightclub regulars were wondering why there was a woman, crouched over an infant, sweeping the floor with her hand. I would like to point out that if you bring a kid into an adult environment and your kid does something that necessitates cleaning a hardwood floor, everyone will flee the area, turn their backs on you and start a conversation that wonders why the Hell someone brought an infant into a nightclub on a Saturday night. It just got worse for this lady; she walked past me later on carrying the kid, who was now screaming while she herself was screaming even louder, “I need to get him some pants!” What? Sure enough, for some reason, the kid wasn’t wearing his pants.

eden-art-show-Hillcrest

The Art Of Sean Dietrich At Eden

        The art presented were mostly paintings and drawings and a few photographs as well. The venue, Eden has three distinctly separate areas; inside, outside and a restaurant. The show was inside, and as the evening wore on, the outside patio area began to fill up with Saturday night Hillcrest party people, patiently waiting for the charity event to end so their party could begin.

eden-art-show-Hillcrest

Painting Inside Eden

        Art was not just presented; it was created at the show as well. The artist above was working in front of a bank of mirrors, mostly oblivious to the scores of people watching, including me. The mirrors made for an interesting photo and I was even able to include myself in the reflection.

eden-art-show-Hillcrest

More Art From Charity Auction At Eden

        I’d taken a lot of art, drawing, writing, sketching and sculpting classes in school and they always turned out to be the hardest classes for me. Creating art was something that did not come naturally for me so when I was starting out, every time I held a pencil, paintbrush, chisel or piece of charcoal in my hand I never felt like I knew what I was doing. Then I took my first photography class and guess what? I understood it, right away. Everything from the mechanics of a camera, to the science of the darkroom, photography made perfect sense to me. Game on!

eden-art-show-Hillcrest

Chris Callaway Reflects On Modern Art

        So, what is my take on the evening, the venue and the art? All three were awesome. Hillcrest is a great place, Eden turned out to be a great venue for a charity art auction and all the art presented was first rate. Afterwards, my party & I walked along University Ave. until we found a suitable place to eat… But that’s another story. Cheers!

Imperial Beach Farmers Market

April 23, 2011 by · Leave a Comment 

Imperial Beach farmers market flowers

People Looking At Flowers At Imperial Beach Farmers Market

        After wrapping up my third trip to the Imperial Beach Farmers Market, I’m ready to talk about it and post some photographs from my time spent there. The farmers market happens every Friday on Seacoast Dr. at the edge of the Imperial Beach Pier from 2pm – 7:30pm. The vendors at the farmers market are ever changing, which makes for both good and bad things. A good thing was that last week I had an amazing chorizo, potato and cheese tamale with jalapeño cream sauce… The bad thing was that the tamale selling vendor wasn’t around this week. That is the ever present rub with markets like this; it’s lighting in a bottle one week, amazing tamales the next and avocados on special the week after that. If you are at Imperial Beach Farmers Market and see something you want to eat or take home with you then you best buy it right then & there because next week it might not be there.

Imperial Beach farmers market people

Girls At Imperial Beach Farmers Market

        Imperial Beach Farmers Market is not big; you can walk through it in less than five minutes if you don’t stop to smell the roses. Realistically, you’ll need to spend about 20 minutes in the market, looking at what vendors are selling, tasting samples and just chatting with people. This is one of those uber-friendly events where sauntering, meandering and slow conversations are the norm so don’t be afraid to smile at or talk to anyone at the market.

Imperial Beach farmers market man

A Lurking Man At IB Farmers Market

        This market is not an outdoor version of your grocery store’s produce aisle; this is a gathering of people at the most southwestern beach in the United States with the common goals of buying & selling locally grown & created products. What does that mean to the layperson? Imperial Beach Farmers Market is a place to hang out and to see and be seen while eating some great local food, not necessarily in that order. The man above is a guy I see by the IB pier all the time, just watching people go by. Why is he here? I’ll tell you why; the wild women and the rippin’ & the tearin’.

Imperial Beach Pier

Girls On The Imperial Beach Pier

        Imperial Beach (IB) pier is the centerline thoroughfare for the farmers market, so if you go to the market, you should walk west, to the end of IB pier because it is the western most point of the continental United States. The women above were returning from this geographic Valhalla when I took this picture.

Imperial Beach Farmers Market Kermit Brown

Kermit “Froggy” Brown – Wagon Man At IB Farmers Market

        Kermit “Froggy” Brown is a disabled veteran that makes daily trips, back and forth (east to west) along Palm Ave. in an electric wheelchair. I’ve seen him on the news and all over Imperial Beach so it was really no surprise to find him at the farmers market with his wagons in tow, holding a munched on corn on the cob. This is a great farmers market!

A Happy Newlywed Couple

April 4, 2011 by · Leave a Comment 

Newlyweds David and Traci Laugh on the Beach

Newlyweds Laugh At Mission Beach In San Diego

        Laughter and happiness are very contagious, so it’s always nice to get a shot of two people sharing a laugh together. I take the photo so I smile and laugh a little, then I show the photo on the blog so people that see it there will smile and laugh and so on. David and Traci, seen above were newlyweds that allowed me take their photo while they were walking along Mission Bay. They were so happy and fun to be around and acted very natural while I was clicking away.

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