Thursday, December 13, 2007

Ike Turner is Dead

Ike Turner died today. This fact would not even merit me reading the newspaper article, except for one thing: he lived in San Marcos, California. He is the only celebrity that I know of living in San Marcos, and a few months back I was behind a large SUV (a black Escalade, I think) with the plates IKETRNR so I'm pretty sure that was him.

I know very little about the man except for these three facts: he was married to the talented and tenacious Tina Turner, he is regarded as making the first true Rock recording in 1951, and I once read an interview with him where he described the way he cleaned his ears while touring....he did not use a Q-Tip but instead a safety pin which inadvertently punctured his ear. Ouch! Such a grotesque thought that I remember it to this day.

I did google him once and was able to determine which house was his here in San Marcos. If you're interested I can point it out, but be forwarned: it is your average, run of the mill, 1600 sf 1980s house on Viewpoint Drive.

Man, this is the second post I have spent talking about celebrities. It is coincidence, I swear. We are not starstruck here in this household.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

I Have an Addiction

I have an addiction. I love art. For most of my life, art was only available at art galleries and flea markets. Art gallery prices were beyond my wallet, and flea market art was of too poor a quality to be very appealing.

Enter the internet. All of the sudden, ebay changed everything. Sure 99% of the paintings on there are pure crap, but it's the other 1% that are about to get me into trouble. If the color, the texture, the composition are just right, I can find it almost irresistible to bid. The painting displayed to the upper left is by Sam Dolman. Oh save me, PayPal my master, before I bid again.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

24 Hours to LA

Two years ago last Labor Day, my wife and I joined 24 Hour Fitness, mainly to allow David (who was a minor at the time) to get a membership since he wanted one. As it turns out, he used his membership only two or three times, but my wife and I have used ours 3 times a week.

Since neither of us had set foot in a health club or gym since leaving high school, this was quite a drastic change for us. We had never even talked about joining until we walked in and did it. It has been wonderful. We both found machines we enjoy using and it has improved our health and physique leading to better self-images.

Talking with folks at work, I found that some of them had received better deals at 24 Hour Fitness than we had by pre-paying for 2 to 3 years. After the initial period was up, they continued to receive the lower monthly payments. I asked at the front desk a few times if we could sign up for such a deal, only to be told 'no'. This started me looking around.

Recently, an LA Fitness club opened up about 2 miles closer to our house. David had already joined and we decided to take a closer look. It is a very nice club, will save us about 30 minutes round-trip driving time each day we use the gym, and they offered us the pre-pay deal I had heard about which will save us about 35% in monthly costs.

We exercised there for the first time Friday night and, while they don't have the exact machines we loved at 24 Hour Fitness, they have equivalents that should be as good as, if not better. Shoot, the bike has a fan and most all the machines have cup holders! That may sound like a stupid thing to be excited about until you've had to put your bottled water on the ground 30 times each trip to the gym.

Take that, 24 Hour Fitness. You should have given us the better deal.

Monday, November 12, 2007

Jello, Martial Arts and Partridges

From time to time, it has struck me as strange that we have lived in Southern California for 20 years and have yet to run into a celebrity. The center of the TV and motion picture industries are just up the road a piece and we often read that celebrities love San Diego.

Well, 2007 has been pretty good to us, celebrity-wise.

While having dinner with our very close friend John this summer at the Hotel del Coronado, we discovered David Carradine, his wife and daughter having dinner just two or three tables down. It really added to the evening, though I have no idea what he has done since his Kung-Fu days.

Our son Ron works in Technical Production at Laxson Auditorium in Chico and in that capacity has met many stars, some of whom he has spent several hours with. The first one I remember him mentioning is Lilly Tomlin. This year, he has some great stories to tell about his afternoon with Bill Cosby.

And finally, my wife spent Friday night playing poker at a casino. On my way over to get a glass of wine, I noticed that the chairs next to her had just been taken by a man and woman. I leaned over to my wife and jokingly whispered "so you're playing poker with Danny Bonaduce, eh?" to which she replied "Yes, isnt that weird?" I laughed and walked over to the bar...but wait...that wasn't the reaction I had expected from her. So I got my wine and walked back. It WAS Danny Bonaduce!! And yes, he acts pretty much as one would imagine he would act.

We're not real big star followers, yet it is still a rush to run into them. Next time you see me, ask and I'll share the small glimpses we've had into the lives of David, Lilly, Bill and Danny.

Saturday, October 27, 2007

Why Am I Here?

No, I'm not talking about on this planet - I'm talking about on blogger.

As more of my friends have created blogs, I have really not had the inclination to do so. Blogs to me sometimes feel like the diaries that people used to keep in the 70s...except much more public! Nothing like posting your private thoughts for the world to see.

But I have come up with a couple of good reasons to start one.

First, I have a website where I post news and pictures of my family and events in our life. That website was meant to keep family & friends abreast of us down San Diego way. Unfortunately, history has shown I update it once maybe twice a year at most (it has been up and running since January 1997).

This blog is intended to be an easy way of getting information out quickly to those friends and family - the Witch Creek fire was the classic example of why this is needed and I think I will end up using it effectively in those types of situations.

The second reason this blog is here is that it dawned on me a few months ago that there may be friends from our past who stumble on our website but have NO WAY of contacting us! I intentionally do not put an email address on the website, since scraping tools come through and harvest them for spam purposes. I wanted to come up with another means by which we could be contacted should a long lost friend wish to do adding a blog and linking it to our website, it is simple for someone to post something to the blog to get the relationship started again.

So little Jimmy Crackleberry who used to share his Klondike bar with me in first grade, go ahead and post a comment here! (that person is fictional, btw)

Will I end up getting on a soapbox in this blog and shouting to the world *my* views on Global Warming, bad drivers, and why Britney should be flogged? I don't think so at this point, but you never know...

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

2007 Witch Creek Fire

Well Mother Nature has given me the perfect reason to start actually using this blog I created earlier this month. To all our friends and relatives, here is the story from our perspective.

My wife and I shuddered as we drove south on I-15 in Riverside on Sunday morning, October 21st. Though traffic was pretty light, it had slowed to about 40 MPH due to extremely heavy East-to-West (Santa Ana) wind gusts - I would guess 50-60 MPH gusts. It felt like the driver's side of our car was being sandblasted. On top of that, the land was so parched and barren that it was basically a dust storm so thick that at times we could not see the freeway - that is why everyone was slowing. Having been through the 2003 Cedar Fire, we knew all too well what these dry windy conditions meant for the coming week.

Upon crossing into San Diego county, the wind was light and the avocado groves on the sides of the hills glistened in the sunlight. We had arrived once again in Utopia. To get a jump on the week, I decided to go into work in Rancho Bernardo for a couple of hours. My hope turned to horror as I could see smoke on the horizon, blowing straight towards the ocean. By the time I pulled into the parking lot, the sky was a deep orangish brown, ash was falling, and the sun looked as if it were about to be extinguished. I sent an email to my employees giving them the company's emergency hotline number in case, as I feared, things got worse overnight.

Fast foward to 3:30 AM on Monday. I awoke to horrendous winds howling outside. We are remodeling the interior of our home, and our construction materials were swirling around the backyard. I gathered and secured all the items while still in my nightclothes, and turned on the TV. Seven fires were burning around the county, including one about 5 miles south of our home. I immediately called our company hotline (which said to call back at 6:30 AM) and was glued to the TV the rest of the day.

The internet and TV news sources are doing an excellent job of documenting the two major fires (the Witch Creek fire and the Harris fire), so I will bypass it here. From our home, the skies were crystal clear and blue all day Monday, though we could see heavy smoke to the east, apparently 10 to 15 miles away. We waited for that to overtake our skies (since winds were blowing westward), but they never did. They appeared to blow the smoke in a southwest direction. We watched the news carefully, mentally deciding what we would take should we have to evacuate.

Witch Creek is a little known area of the back country northeast of Ramona. The only reason my wife and I have heard of it is that it is home to the Witch Creek Winery, with tasting rooms in Carlsbad and Julian. We have a set of their wine glasses which feature Halloween-like black cats with arched backs and raised tails. This had led to my instructing my wife, when filling my wine glass, "fill it up to the cat's ass".

Tuesday, we awoke to very heavy smoke and again watched the news carefully. The San Marcos Coronado Hills fire that had started Monday morning was almost out, and the evacuees from Discovery Hills were allowed back home (Coronado Hills and San Elijo Hills remained evacuated). The winds were less on Tuesday, and by Tuesday evening the air was completely still yet still smokey.

It is now Wednesday - my wife and I are ready to return to work, though our offices are both located in a closed section of Rancho Bernardo so we are basically stuck at home. Since my wife's staff was to have finished payroll on Monday, she decided to sneak into work anyway and finish the payroll to ensure people across the country did not have their checks delayed by yet a third day.

Though we have faired extremely well in this whole situation, we are dreading the return to work because we have no doubt many of our friends have not faired so well. We have already identified two of my co-workers whose homes have burned to the ground - just through word-of-mouth before we set foot back at the company facility. Those two had flown with me to the east coast on Monday October 15th for an all-day meeting with our customer on Tuesday. Little did we know that 6 days later, all they would own would be the clothes on their back and a plot of ash-covered land.

Sunday, October 7, 2007


Welcome to my new blog.

I'm not sure how often or how much I'll put in here...feel free to make comments any time, even if it's just to say 'hi'.

Take care and hope to hear from you soon.