Tuesday, 31 July 2012

Heavy Metal Tour

Mouth of the Serpent at Stage Bar on 7/29

Having survived and even thrived with a toddler as a house guest for two weeks, my husband and I didn't think twice about inviting Andrew's band (Mouth of the Serpent) to stay with us during the first leg of their three-week cross-country tour.

He thanked us politely and insisted that he couldn't put us out as he was also traveling with another Los Angeles band, Polarization, an instrumental trio.

Well, what's a few more people, right?

So this past weekend, eight heavy metal musicians arrived on our doorstep late Saturday (technically Sunday morning) after an exciting night of music, signing autographs and kicking off their Altered States Tour at The Vault in Temecula.

The four that crashed in the living room.
We bonded.

Admired their tattoos.

Found out that the 'screamer' and I had something in common.

No, not piercings or colorful slang or the fact that I am also loud. 

We both attract mosquitoes. I contributed a can of Cutter's bug spray to his stash of road supplies and he tried to school me on the differences in the genre that is heavy metal. I am still confused but it was interesting.

On Sunday night, my friends and I watched both bands perform at Stage Bar in downtown San Diego. It was loud, screaming, growl-y, head-banging fun and they looked and sounded great on stage.

This might not be my music of choice, but I admire people that are passionate about what they do.

And these bands are passionate!

Steve, Prashant, Tom, Luis, Mikey, Andrew, Max, Justin

As I waved good-bye to the guys on Monday, before they drove off in Amanda and Dolores, their affectionately-named vans, filled with band equipment, merchandise, laptops and their smart phones, I was glad to have had a small look into their world.

I enjoyed my exposure to heavy progressive death metal.

And they in turn got a big kick out of the fact that I still have a land line.

Wednesday, 25 July 2012

Battery, Mustang, Ding

How was your Tuesday?

We had quite the day.

And it all started with a battery. That died. In our car.

No worries, my husband took it out, put it on a charger before he left for work and told me I was quite capable of putting it back in the car to drive to the repair shop (just in case something else was wrong).


"Black cable goes to negative, red cable goes to positive, use a wrench to tighten. Oh, be careful."

So I alerted my house guests that I was heading to the garage to pretend I was a mechanic and if I were to get electrocuted, please dial 9-1-1 for assistance. They are from Finland. Wasn't sure if they knew about the United States emergency system.

Ok, accomplished the task (with a very small spark, nothing to get excited about).

Started the car up and headed 30 minutes south to our auto repair center. Ten minutes into the drive, the air conditioning conked out. Ok. I guess I should also turn off the radio and cross my fingers and hope that the car doesn't quit altogether. It doesn't. But dies as soon as I stop at the repair place.

After taking care of paperwork and dropping off key, I jump into a rental car.

A bright blue Mustang convertible with so many bells and whistles that I was awestruck. Headed north to join my house guests for lunch and a swim at Del Mar Beach.

Not a care in the world.

And no, I am not done with the story.

As we are lounging next to the surf and watching the toddler in his bright yellow beach shoes...

I receive a text message.

>Car has been dinged<


Apparently, while our car was sitting in line waiting to be pulled into the service center, a man backed into the passenger door of our parked, unoccupied, minding-its-own-business car and then tried to speed away.

Luckily for us, he was stopped by a mechanic and information was exchanged.

I assumed that this incident was rare. Odd. Possibly blog-worthy.

So I asked the service manager if this was the most unusual thing that ever happened onsite. He was quick to respond.

"No, it happened to someone else the day before yesterday."

Update:  The appraiser estimates the damage at $568.73, a relatively minor repair.

Monday, 23 July 2012

Stairs in Santa Monica

We took our visitors up to Santa Monica for the weekend.

So naturally they had to try the famous 'stairs'.

After strolling by million dollar houses with views of the Pacific Ocean, we came upon the two sets (one wooden, one concrete).

They are narrow, steep and breathtaking.

Word to the wise, do not chug a can of cold soda before this endeavor.

Just ask my 12-year old nephew, who turned green when he got to the top.

And then spewed.

Thursday, 19 July 2012

Historic Carousel

$2 for a ride at Seaport Village.

You can sit. You can stand. You can choose a stationary horse or one that goes up and down.

This is the famous 1895 carousel hand-carved by Charles Looff, a master carver, responsible for the first carousel at Coney Island in 1876 and the amusement pier in Santa Monica.

Tuesday, 17 July 2012

Zoo Animals

Yesterday at the San Diego Zoo.

Upper body workout.

Need to fill up my droopy hump.

Trainer and zebra hanging out.

Just a baby but looking so regal.

Friday, 13 July 2012

Helsinki Toddler!

He is here in San Diego.

No longer a baby.

And his energy is boundless.

Careening down a slide at the park is a major source of entertainment.

But flying high in a swing captures him best.

Thursday, 12 July 2012

Little Houseguest

When we get ready for company, it is usually a matter of cleaning the house, putting fresh sheets on the bed in the guest room, stocking the fridge, setting up the blender and formulating a plan for keeping everyone entertained.

Most of our guests are adults.

Tonight we are expecting a two-year old (well almost two, his birthday is in October).

I met him when he was a month old. We hugged. We cooed. We bonded. I passed him to his parents when he got fussy.

Now he walks. Talks in Finnish. Climbs. Is nicknamed 'the locksmith' at his daycare center. Apparently he can get into anything.

It will be a two-week visit.

We are excited and slightly nervous.

Baby furniture has been borrowed, a travel bed and a bright pink high chair. A blow-up wading pool and beach ball are ready to be inflated. There is milk in the fridge. The breakables are hidden.

We are ready.

I think.

Wednesday, 11 July 2012

If Statues Could Talk

Corner of Cedros and Rosa

"Dude, it's July. It's noon. Where's the sun?"

"Behind the marine layer."

"I'm lookin' kinda pasty."

"Should we get a bottle of spray tan?"

"Nah, we live at the beach. That just seems wrong."

Thursday, 5 July 2012


I am a sucker for coconut gelato.

Have been known to walk into a shop, scan the flavors in the case, become momentarily tempted by tiramisu or berry, but walk right out, empty-handed, if they don't have coconut.

Imagine my delight when we took a little side trip to Coronado on Saturday.

Parked further than we planned from the main drag due to the heavy backed-up traffic on Orange.

Walked by some gorgeous architecture.

And ended up in front of Bottega Italiano on C Avenue.

Ottimo gelato!

Tuesday, 3 July 2012

Kirk House

There is a beautiful Victorian Queen Anne Revival-style residence that serves as an office and home for the pastor of a nearby Presbyterian church.

It is a historical landmark in Coronado.

At 959 C Avenue.

Can you imagine living in such an exquisite home?

Monday, 2 July 2012

Woodworking at the Fair

An unusual piece of furniture.

Built from sawdust and scraps.

Environmentally friendly, but can you actually sit down?

A pretty piece that just used wood.

Picture of a supervising woodworker made from maple, redwood and sapele.

Love this!

Tools of the trade on display.

Sunday, 1 July 2012

San Diego County Fair 2012

The theme this year was OUT of this WORLD.

It was evident in the exhibits.

The landscaping.

And the friendly aliens that chattered indecipherably.

But knew how to drive and pose for pictures!