Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Earthquakes, Waves & Mother Nature

Epic winter wave overtaking the OB pier looking north towards the pier! This awesome pic was taken the week my apartment flooded back in mid-January by a San Diego UT photographer documenting the storm that hit the OB area.

Tsunami evacuation route sign on the beach looking east from the street just south of Long Branch Avenue (my street). This pic was taken (by me) on Sunday, February 28th, two days after the Chile earthquake and one day after a mild tsunami hit the SoCal coastal areas on Saturday, the 27th.

Hi Everybody,

Wow, 2010 has gotten off to a shaky start, huh? Between the destructive earthquakes in Haiti and Chile, I can tell you, I'm sure most of SoCal is on edge as to whether their quakes will trigger some major activity here as well! Back in November 2009, the San Diego/Imperial County/Northern Baja section of Mexico areas experienced a series of moderate quakes. The two that hit the area in November were strong enough to literally sway the high rises here in downtown SD; as well as cause the office doors in our suite on the 15th floor to swing to and fro and create some serious squeaking and popping of the building during the shaking...very scary!

Just when I thought that earthquakes and winter storm flooding were all that we had to put up with here in coastal SD, we got our first tsunami advisory this past weekend (in decades as to what I've learned) as a result of the Chilean earthquake. Yes, the tsunami reached SoCal shores; thankfully, not nearly as powerful as the forecasters expected. La Jolla, here in SD, Huntington Beach in Orange County, Santa Monica in L.A., and some portions of Ventura County saw some surge in the sea level and minor flooding. Again, thankfully no significant damage, except for the OB pier, which had about 100 feet of railing damaged from the weekend storm/tsunami generated waves.

Just to give you an idea of the power of the wave action, I would say the distance from the bottom of the pier to the sea surface is about 20 feet--the swells this past weekend (and the week OB flooded) were about 10-15 feet, which resulted in 12-20 foot-high waves; some of which (as you can see by the first pic) were high enough to breach the top of the pier! Needless to say, I didn't see any surfers out the day after the quake/tsunami. The pier is currently closed for repairs, but I'm sure will be back in action well before the start of the summer/tourist season.

As a SoCal native and a witness to the '71 Sylmar quake (as a sleeping baby according to my mom), the '87 Whittier quake, the '94 Northridge quake (by far the most terrifying I've ever experienced), the '07 fires in SD County, and this latest incident--my respect for the power of the earth, at it's most violent and natural at the same time, grows tremendously!

One Love.

Friday, January 29, 2010

Happy 2010 Everyone!

Part of our Department at the 2009 Christmas party (me and Darren, on the left, wore almost identical getups--not planned, of course)!

Post-flood picture of the bathroom.

Post-flood picture of the living room.

Flooded living room.

Flood behind my building looking east.

Flood behind my building looking west (we were able to glide the floating dumpster shown by just a shove away from hitting nearby cars).

Flood behind my building looking south (this is the view from my apartment window, and one of my landlords, Jeff, is the one dialing his cell phone).

I know, I know, I'm a little late with the NY greetings; but hey, the important thing is that I delivered, right? As you can see, the year started a little wet for me (the explanation's below). Here's another update from me:

November - December 2009
Unfortunately I missed Thanksgiving at the Cids' due to my car being out of service and my lost cell phone. I guess my absence at Thanksgiving dinner and calls to my cell phone and work numbers going unreturned as far as me attending raised some fear in everyone. So much so, Steve & Chuck drove all the way down from LA after dinner to check in on me. I was able to explain to them why I wasn't at dinner and why their calls went unanswered--sorry for the scare!

My car petered out on me after several major repairs on a desolate stretch of I-15 south while I was headed home after a visit to the Favero's. Rather than spend more money on another repair...I did it, bought another car, or truck that is--a 2008 Toyota Tacoma, Pre-Runner model with just over 14,000 miles on it. I love this truck!

Celebrated Ryan's b-day and Christmas at the Favero's. As always, they know how to throw a party and make sure everyone goes home with a few days worth of food. Thanks Steve, Deb and Ryan, I can always count on my grocery bill being lowered during the month of December!

Our department had it's annual Christmas luncheon at a local resort and it was nice to be able to hang out, drink some wine, beer, eat, and kick back away from the office for a day!

January 2010
Celebrated my 40th b-day on the 8th. I thought I was going to have a quiet weekend and reflect. But lo and behold, some good friends of mine came down from LA and VB and helped me celebrate. Their wives think they're safe with me because I was somewhat of a model citizen (polite, college student, kept them focused and out of trouble, etc.) when we all used to hang out; but the truth of the matter is, you would've thought my b-day party was a bachelor party and they were the one's that got me in trouble! Let's put it this way, what happens in SD, stays in SD!

During the week of the 18th, most of SoCal got drenched with some serious storms! Unfortunately, OB flooded...not once, but twice! The pics at the top of the post explain it all! They were taken in the alley directly behind my building and the trash cans you see in one of the pics were actually floating in the water! All of the downstairs units in my building flooded. As a result, before we were able to move back in to our apartments, the carpet in our units had to be removed and the units had to be dehumidified and air-dried before tile flooring was installed to replace the carpet. I actually like the tile (pics #2 and #3) better than the carpet and luckily me and the landlords were able to get all of my bachelor pad essentials: flat screen TV, stereo receiver, PS3 and major furniture out before the January 20th flood. The pics were taken on Monday, January 18th; and the second storm that hit the area on Wednesday, the 20th made Monday's flooding look like child's play!

Here's my TV debut: http://nbcsandiego.com/news/local-beat/Rain-Trashed-Ocean-Beach-Alley-82051797.html. My apartment is the lighted one behind my neighbor Mercy, during her interview with NBC 7. I was able to help Matt & Eric help with clearing the drain for a short time; and by the time the news crew arrived, the water level in the alley and my place had dropped considerably!

I have no idea how Artie and his cameraman knew about what happened...must have been a slow day in the news! Despite what some of the bloggers think about the local rep of OB being a haven for pot-fueled hippies and surfers, yes I would have to agree with that assessment; however, there's plenty of us non-pot smoking citizens of the community who enjoy the laid-back attitude of 'hood. There's even a City Attorney who I ride to work with on the bus everyday who also enjoys the laid-back lifestyle of OB! Believe it or not, us suits have the ability to kick back too!

During the raining, flooding, dehumidifying, and air-drying last week, I spent time in hotel rooms and returned this past Monday nite (the 25th). I slept the first 3 nites in a Motel 6 and the last 3 nites in a $200/nite room (which was almost the entire size of my place, had a flat screen TV, an incredible bed and private balcony) at a Marriott that one of my co-workers and her firefighter husband got me for $39/nite! It pays to have connections, let me tell ya! Fortunately, I have great landlords who worked diligently to get us back into our places. My neighbors were awesome as well 'cause they texted and e-mailed the downstairs neighbors with updates on storm damage, repairs, etc. I tell you what, I'm glad to be home!

Wishing everyone a healthy and prosperous 2010!

Friday, October 16, 2009

Technology is Amazing!

Hey All,

Remember me? I'm the dude that had the post about Lake Havasu back in July! How's everybody doing? I can't believe we're nearing the 2009 holiday season! I've been checking y'alls posts and I'm glad to hear everybody's still trucking, kids are growing, etc.

Nothing significant to report from me this time other than the fact that I treated myself and bought an LG 32" 1080p HDTV! The resolution on this thing is f*****g amazing! I decided to take advantage of a special Cox was running on an HD box and programming. So after literally 10 hours of online research on TVs this past weekend, I decided to make the plunge! I paid $449 for the TV at Costco and am going to pick up a Playstation 3 this weekend which has a built-in BluRay player, plays games and music, has internet surfing capability, and has 120G of memory all for only $299 at Best Buy. Not that I'm a gamer by any means, but why not get all this multimedia capability from something that was $399 last year? Did I use the word 'multimedia'? Oh boy, not good!

The weird thing is, I don't watch TV alot (except for sports and the show The First 48), but just wanted a form of entertainment available in case of company, a party, etc! But I do have to admit, the clarity and sharpness of the channels with HD broadcasting is unbelievable! I learned during my research that television shows are currently only broadcast with 720p resolution and the 1080p resolution is more for BluRay videos, video games (and clever marketing by TV manufacturers to get people to buy the more expensive 1080p sets). With the pics as clear as they are in 720p, I can only imagine what they'll look like when channels begin broadcasting in 1080p! For those of you in the market to make the plunge for an HDTV set too, don't spend too much money on a TV! The newest technology of LED screens and research and development for Super or Ultra HDTV (up to 8 times the resolution of 1080p) is currently underway and is expected to be commercially available around 2013-2014!

Life by the beach is good! The summer crowds have thinned out and there's much more room on the sand to watch sunsets and grab a drink at the bars! OB had it's annual Oktoberfest on the pier last weekend; although not as crowded as the Chili Fest a couple of months ago, there were lots of people, music, sausages, and beer. Aside from that, I got my eye on a used 8' epoxy surfboard and 4-session surf lesson for myself for X-mas!

To Vern, Norrie & the Norman's, I apologize for not being able to get up there this summer to check out the new pad and see what's happening in the Clovis/Fresno area...hope there's still an invitation to come!

To the Favero's, where's thxgiving going to be? And give Ryan a hearty DaDuhh from me...he'll know what that means!

To Shannyn, thank goodness you chose CSUSM, SDSU is waaay overcrowded and I read horror stories frequently in the SD Union Tribune about impacted programs and kids not being able to graduate in time because of cutbacks! Plus, I hear you guys are getting a dedicated frisbee golf course on the campus grounds! I don't think UCSD (which IMHO is one of the best amenitized university campuses in SoCal--ocean view dorms and all) has anything like that! Very cool!

Peace to all and I hope I'll be able to see everyone and catch up over the holidays!



Sunday, August 2, 2009

From Beach Bum to Desert Rat!

Wha's up folks? I'm about to tell you my 'What I Did Over the Summer' story. I took a short vaca from the grind to spend time at Lake Havasu with the peeps... Enjoy!

I tell you what, I'm sprung on the Lake! Wow, what can I say? Between the natural, untouched beauty of the Colorado River basin and the cool, laid-back vibe of the boaters in LH, I'm totally hooked and already looking forward to next year's trip! Yes, it was definitely hot...and the fact that it was 106 degrees on my first day out and around 116 degrees the next day (with nighttime lows in the low-90s), still didn't hamper the fun I had! Pretty significant, considering us San Diegans consider anything above 75 degrees hot!

According to the research I did about the area before we headed out, the Lake as well as the rest of the Colorado River basin system--which stretches north from Lake Mead, just south of Vegas, south to the Mexican border supplies a good deal of the drinking water and some electrical energy generation to SoCal, Arizona, and southern Nevada; so it serves a very practical purpose as well as a fun playground for the thirsty citizens of the desert southwest!

Day 1 - Friday, July 24th
Cindy, Dad and I arrived in LH after a 3+ hour drive from Beaumont at the home Steve, Deb and Ryan scored for the summer. Spent some time with Dave, Deena, Steve and Sam who had come earlier in the week from L.A. (Go Dodgers!) to hang out (they left early Saturday). Jeez, I can't believe how big, talkative and active Ryan has gotten! As always, it was good to see everybody and hang out. Just before dinner, Steve took the boys on a field trip to a boat showroom where we got to see some unreal and very expensive water toys!

Day 2 - Saturday, July 25th
Went out on the Favero's boat with the peeps, hung out on one of LH's many coves in the water, drank cold beer (Coors Lite seemed to be LH's choice of brew) and I was invited to and tried wakeboarding from the boat of a friend of one of Steve's buds--trust me, it's easier than it looks (although Steve 'the veterano boarder' got some serious air on his rides). Despite the hot weather, our high-speed cruising on the boat in the water and periodic stops in the Lake for a quick dips made it bearable. After cruising around for most of the afternoon and getting lunch from a floating fast-food vessel, we hung out at LH's channel area after the day on the lake--see Day 3 for details on the channel.

Day 3 - Sunday, July 26th
Boys' day out (Steve and Dad on the Favero's boat and me and one of Steve's buds on his boat). Very cool! I got some Boating 101 and LH geography tips from Steve's bud --also named Gary, jumped off a small cliff in the Copper Canyon section of the lake into the water, and after crusing around for a while, we had lunch, cruised the lake some more, and finally 'beached' our boats at the 'channel' section of the lake. Think of a water version of any city's main drag where instead of cars, people cruise their watercraft. There's music blaring from the parked boats along the river shore, people doing beer bongs, and participating in other raucous activity, etc.--which included a fight we witnessed between a few young women on one of the boats and their subsequent arrests by LHPD! The channel scene was unreal and very fun!
It really helped that the water was around 90 degrees and most spots along the channel water shore were shallow enough to just sit, stand, dunk, chat with other boat owners, chug Coors Lite, and stay cool while watching the boats go past (some of which according to Steve were valued at well in excess of $100K)! Just like the coastal surfing community, the LH boating scene has it's own set of rules, etiquette, flamboyancy, etc!

Day 4 - Monday, July 27th
Cindy, Dad and I split LH for our lives back in urban SoCal.
Day 5 - Tuesday, July 28th
Rested in OB and took advantage of the mid-week day off to get some errands done without the crowds.
Props to Steve, Deb and Ryan for having me in their summer stomping ground! This was by far one of the best 'What I Did Over the Summer' summers I've had in years!

P.S. The first pic was actually taken in Summer '08 when the Favero's, and Chuck and Cindy came down to San Diego (Solana Beach); and thanks to Chuck's photography skills for capturing our trip... Pardon the spacing problems again.

Monday, July 6, 2009


Hi Everybody,

Hope everyone had a great and safe Independence Day 2009! We had a three-day weekend (Friday off), so I took the opportunity to sleep in and be lazy. It sure was crazy at the beaches--according to media reports 1.3 million people flocked to the coast here in San Diego over the weekend for the traditional 4th of July festivities. The weather was absolutely terrific, with highs in the low 70s and pure sunshine! Due to the number of people expected at the coast, I didn't dare driving out of OB so I stayed home.

Me and a couple of my neighbors went to check out OB's annual fireworks show and it was very entertaining to say the least! In my many years of observing fireworks shows, this was the first one where a couple of the exploded patterns were in the shape of happy faces! Only in OB (maybe in Venice Beach too, but VB doesn't have it's own fireworks show)! The fireworks from OB are shot from the pier and I got another unexpected surprise: the (simultaneous) fireworks shows from Sea World, La Jolla, and Coronado were also visible from the beach where we were. I also got introduced to the tradition of people hurling marshmallows at each other after the show. It was somewhat cheesy, but very cool and good-spirited in nature!

Afterwards, the celebrations continued. We were just walking down the nearby streets headed to the bars and there were house parties all over the place and people (old and young) had music blaring, grills grilling, and just generally enjoying the night. Last Saturday, the community hosted the annual OB Street Fair/Chili Cook Off--lots of bands, beer gardens, food and art vendors, and chili samples of course. Again, just a really cool vibe--even with 70,000 people hanging out!

Other than that, I'm just workin' for a living and gearing up for my first trip to Lake Havasu in a couple of weeks to hang out with Chuck, Cindy, Steve, Deb and Ryan.

Andy, Beth and Jennah, congrats on the new house! Thanks again for keeping us a part of your experience and I can't wait to see it...

Best Regards

Sunday, May 31, 2009

Big Ups to Lucille's

Given my slowness to maintain my blog on major life events, you know when I post a blog about a restaurant it obviously made an impression. Two words--Lucille's BBQ in Temecula. Last Sunday, we (Cindy, Steve, Deb, Ryan and me) took dad out to lunch for his b-day. I was impressed with Lucille's BBQ, a decent southern BBQ, good sweet iced tea and generous-sized portions. I had heard about Lucille's from a co-worker who's been to the flagship store in Long Beach as well as another location in Rancho Cucamonga and she raved about it. She was absolutely right on about this place! They even have a huge smoker inside the restaurant!

Of course the real estate side of me was impressed by its location in the new, open-air section just adjacent to the massive (enclosed) Temecula Promenade mall. The new section has an impressive lineup of stores including Williams-Sonoma--an upscale kitchen goods store, Pottery Barn, Sephora--a line of cosmetics, and a bunch of other nationally-known retail outlets which have definitly put Temecula on the map as far as retail store selection. I assume in the next few years once the economy picks up and the Temecula/Murrieta area grows, Nordstrom or Bloomingdale's could be next to be added to the tenant roster.

Anyway, it was good to hook up with my peeps after not seeing them for a few months. Steve has invited me to hang out with everybody in Lake Havasu this summer. I think I'll take him up on it. Anybody have any suggestions on how I can prepare to party in 115-degree heat?

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Mission Accomplished!

Hello Dudes & Dudettes,
How 'bout those Lakers! Can you believe they let Houston make them play all 7 games??? Now on to Denver and hopefully another championship! I could go on; but anyway...

I apologize...I know it's been a while since my last post. And I do periodically check on you guys to see how things are going; but I told myself that I would not place another post on my blog until I had a decent pic. Now that I do, here's what's been going on with me since my last blog:
January 2009
I started a new lunchtime habit turned on to me by two co-workers: the stairs. We climb a 25-story building three times, 3-4 days a week! These 50-something women lead the typical SD active lifestyle: one used to be a lifeguard, likes to kayak and play golf and the other does marathons every year across the country! They pestered me for months to join them 'cause I kept saying I wanted to get in shape--I figured this would be a great new year's resolution.
February 2009
Got a promotion and a nice raise to go along with it.

March - April 2009
Pretty much routine days of work, home, work, home, an occasional night out, etc.
May 2009
I found a permanent place and am in the process of moving. To the beach. Try 1.5 blocks from the beach! For only $25 a month more than what I pay now! Plus it's a good deal larger (although still a studio). The place is in Ocean Beach (or OB to the locals) and it's San Diego's version of Venice Beach IMHO. Here's a link: http://www.mapquest.com/maps?city=San+Diego&state=CA&address=5053+Long+Branch

Our unit takes a day off once a year and goes on a field trip. Last year (before I got there), they went to Scripps Aquarium in La Jolla. This year we went to the flower fields, picked strawberries, and had lunch up in Carlsbad. The weather was mostly overcast, but it was still good day to be out. I wasn't to keen on looking at a bunch of flowers, but once I got there, it was actually pretty cool. The way the flowers are patterned by color are a photographer's dream and the site has a head on ocean view!! I tell you what, you ain't had no strawberries until you had vine-ripened ones straight from the field--forget Henry's, TJs or Whole Foods. These babies were the sweetest, juiciest berries I've ever tasted!!!
Here's one pic that we took--I'll post more when I get batteries for my camera so that I can access the others.
So that's pretty much it for me. Hopefully, I'll get a chance to see everyone sometime over the summer--I know I can't wait to see Andy, Beth, and Jennah's new crib once it's finished!
Oh, and yes...I'm still doing the stair routine! Until next time...
P.S. Can anyone offer advice on how to get this thing to stop the funky spacing? The preview page and post page look totally different!!!