Eddie Arana, Rick Thibodeau, & Chris Bakunas San Diego, Ca. March 2012

Eddie Arana, Rick Thibodeau, & Chris Bakunas San Diego, Ca. March 2012
Eddie Arana, Rick Thibodeau, & Chris Bakunas at Luche Libre Taco Shop in San Diego, March 2012

Thursday, April 30, 2015

Make A Wish, Blow Out The Candles

                            Scott Foreman and Mike Meyers administrate the birthday bruise

Another 365 day trip around the sun concluded for me today, and as with just about every single one of them since I marked the Golden Birthday (the birthday on which you turn as old as the date of your birth, i.e., turning 30 on the 30th), it was a grand day.

Grand if only for the reason I'm still in the game, still alive and kicking to quote my friend Mick. 

I was raised in a neighborhood that celebrated birthdays with a birthday bruise, which is what is happening to me in the photo above. That's Scott and Mike doing the honors.

My god, the hair I had back then. Man, do I miss it.

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Well, Isn't This Just A Special Little Party

Well, on the bright side it was only one firetruck, one patrol car, and one ambulance

The thing is, it just creeps up on you. One day you're 22, enjoying the nightlife of the beach area of San Diego (Pacific and Mission Beach, occasionally La Jolla), and the next you're all..."WTF! Where did my hair go!" ...or maybe, "Why are my breasts meeting at my navel?"

Relax, there's nothing to fear, it's just part of life. Though the transition from party-hardy (hearty?) teen-ish person to full-blown adult may be a bit challenging, you'll make it, just like your parents did and their parents before them.

Though without a Facebook page to remind them of how stupid they were. You think the memories of how awful you behaved as a 21-year-old are hard to deal with? Wait until you see the photographic and eyewitness evidence on Facebook - or whatever social media you choose. Heh.

Monday, April 27, 2015

A Recipe For Regret

                                    The blue quasi-Victorian house

An enterprising spirit
With inordinate procrastination
And a near total lack of self-discipline
Along with a heaping teaspoon of fear

Let stew for decades
Until one can taste only the memory of  the wishes
That sparked the desire

Hamburger stands, junk stores and antique shops
Carnival rides and myriad mom and pops

Each and every one
Being run
By a daring enough someone 
Who simply did what had to be done

Catastrophe may lurk
In the swampy, marshy murk
Horrors may wait
Behind every rusty iron gate

but never will one know if the opportunity will profit
If one doesn't get off one's ass and simply try it

It takes decisive action
In order to earn the satisfaction
Of succeeding in a chosen endeavour

Like salmon swimming upstream
With your fervent hopes and your wildest dreams
Otherwise, you'll earn the fate
Of all of those who procrastinate

Saturday, April 25, 2015

The House Of Two Rabbits

                                                              No soliciting, no flyers

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Charmed, Like A Snake

Someone needs to start pushing me a little to get a few things done, things I've been putting off for quite some time now.

And that someone is me.

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Chilly Night For A Ball Game

Had great seats for tonight's Rockies/Padres game, club-level, almost behind home plate. The Padres scored in the first off a solo homer by Yangeris Solarte, but the Rockies came right back and had a 3-1 lead by the third.

The Pads were able to get back on the board with a run in the sixth, then scored two more in the seventh to take the lead.

The wind had picked up right about the sixth, and the temperature had dropped below 50, The sparse crowd (22,000 or so) started putting on jackets or bundling up in blankets.

Colorado was able to tie it up in the eighth on Corey Dickerson's second tater of the night, and then the struggling Daniel Descalso got his 111th career RBI to win it for the Rox in the 9th.

Even though my beloved Padres lost, it was a good game, played at a fairly quick pace, and with just enough action every inning to keep the crowd into it.

This season is looking good for the Padres - heck, that was only their third loss in the last ten games. This summer could prove to be the best baseball summer for me in a long, long time.

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Sketching With A Ballpoint Pen On A Tuesday

Just Another Count Your Blessings Type Of Day

             When your car is pointed north in the southbound lanes, and the front end is smashed in...

Sunday, April 19, 2015

Goin' Down To The Replacements' Show

Tonight's Replacments' show at the Fillmore was everything a 'mats fan could ask for - at least this 'mats fan. The boys were tight, having fun belting out the hits (Minehan is just a beast the way he's ripping through solos, absolutely tore up the Ledge).

The opener was a Blink-182ish band from Wyoming that called themselves Teenage Bottlerocket, a well-rehearsed, enthusiastic neo-punk outfit, but somewhat of a one-tempo band that still found it necessary to shout "Make some fcuking noise!" at various intervals. They proclaimed themselves honored to be opening for the Replacements, and played original songs as well as a few choice covers  - Van Halen's Panama, The Ramones Blitzkrieg Bop, and even a sampling of Cheap Trick.

The 'mats took the stage to Iron Butterfly's In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida, a song with a bit of personal meaning to me - it was my intro song for wrestling matches (in my glorious misspent youth).

They are now three years into the reunion, and the practice is paying off. The energy hasn't dropped off a bit - I actually think it has increased. The boys were in much better form for this show than they were at Boston Calling last year, and the crowd knew it. Everybody was rocking out like we had all collectively reverted to our early twenties again, no easy trick for a lot of us, that.

Somewhere between three and four thousand people came out for the show. The crowd seemed to be men & women my age or better, though I did see a number of kids, you know, those under-thirties who can still pull off skinny jeans.

The set list was a loosely followed guide - the band played a number of tunes not shown on the list, as well as a countrified version of Waitress In The Sky, a sample of the drum intro for the Knack's My Sharona, a T-Rex medley consisting of 20th Century Boy and Bang A Gong (with Dave Minehan taking the vocals for 20th Century), and a shambling cover of the old doo-wop tune My Boy Lollipop.

Paul asked the band if there were any requests, and after listening to the crowd shouting out songs (I heard everything from Jumping Jack Flash to Freebird - oh wait, that was me) the band did a few seconds of a discordant mash-up that sounded like "bleagh", but with instruments.

                                                                  PDubya's set list

The new blues tune (Whole Foods on the set list, to the tune of The Thrill Is Gone) was played, and a few added treats followed - All Shook Down, Anywhere Is Better Than Here, Can't Hardly Wait with a surprise guest on the trombone for the first break (I have no idea who it was).

Paul came out solo for the first two encore numbers - Skyway and If Only You Were Lonely. Tommy, Josh, & Dave then joined him for Left Of The Dial followed by the best live version of Alex Chilton I've ever heard - an incredible blast of raw power and tangible emotional energy.

                                 Josh Freese's drum kit featured a scene from the Love Boat

With the exception of the first reunion show at Riot Fest in 2013, this was the best Replacements show I've ever experienced, and a lot of what gives the Riot Fest show the edge over this one is sentiment, as it was the first 'mats show I'd seen in 25 years.

                                                            Lights go up and it's last call...

Saturday, April 18, 2015

The 2015 Denver 4/20 Rally At Civic Center Park

Colorado decriminalized marijuana a few years ago, first for strictly "Medicinal" use, and then a few years after that, for personal recreational use.

Marijuana does not appeal to me, never has. However, I'm not about to get in the way of anyone who does find it appealing - I'm a fairly consistent "to each his own" kind of guy.

I'm also a curious guy, especially about different subcultures, and the Cannabis crowd is an extremely different subculture (to me, at least). After work today I decided to stop at the 4/20 rally being held at Denver's Civic Center Park.

Civic Center Park is where a lot of rallies and events are held in Denver. It was completed in 1919 and like most major city parks it is filled with statues, memorials, fountains, homeless people and tourists. 

The park is located in the heart of Denver, surrounded by museums, the Colorado State Capitol, Denver's City and County building, and a number of other government buildings. Bordered to the west by Bannock, to the east by Lincoln (though you do have to cross Broadway to get to that end of it), and Colfax to the north, with 14th ave to the south. 

           Security is fairly tight - three checks of your bags, person, and possessions to the entrance

The 4/20 rally is set up pretty much like The Taste of Colorado (Most cities in the US have a annual "Taste of..." event - basically a carnival of food). Booths line the paved paths that encircle and bisect the park, and there are concert stages set up at the far west and east ends that feature performances by a variety of pro-pot musicians. Didn't see Willie Nelson or Snoop Lion, though I did see a lot of guys who looked like them.

                        Somebody made a large paper-mache joint for a stage decoration

The small Greek amphitheater on the southern edge of the park, near the Denver Museum of Art, had a DJ set up in the central performance area, and people danced to the music in the large open area between the tiered seating and the stage

                                                              Get down, get funky

I arrived at Civic Center Park around 6:30 in the evening, and the crowd was fairly thin. However, I was told it had been packed for the afternoon concerts, despite the inclement weather.

            Canna Energy drinks. Because nothing says high energy quite like Weed...

The booths featured a broad range of foods and Cannabis-centric items, from handcrafted glass pipes to marijuana leaf emblazoned clothing to original works of art. 

          Many vendors came from near and far - Not Fade Away came all the way from New York

Like most subcultures there is a uniform of sorts that those who are most involved, those who make it the focal point of their lives, wear. There were plenty of vendors selling the gear here.

                                                    Get your cheap glass and T-shirts here

Some people get put off by those who are a little over-enthusiastic about the Cannabis culture, but that's how it is with most sub cultures - you have your Joe average indulger who just gets a toe wet every so often, and you have your "gotta-live-it-every-minute" indulger. Both are interesting to me from an anthropological perspective.

                                           The official 4/20 rally merchandise booth

                               The Colorado Weed Company is selling coffee mugs, 

                                   Apparently, there is a weed entertainment network

                                  Weed Shades - novelty sunglasses to shield red eyes?

                                                   Dogs and brauts galore - Yum!!

                                          More delicious food - stoners gotta eat

                                                                  Food truck alley

                                 Cinnamon rolls, coffee and cannabis. An unexpected combo

                                            Weed shirts, Get your weed shirts here!

                     Rappers entertain the crowd in front of the Denver City and County building

                                                         Weed as artistic inspiration?

Cannabis centered art was a something I had never seen before. The artist, Eric Herrmann, has quite a bit of talent and has developed his skills well. He definitely knows his market, too.

                                          Weed art and the weed artist, Eric Herrmann

             Surprising (to me, at least) there were quite a few happy couples out for a daytime date

                                                Hallelujah! A place for me at the 4/20 rally

Bus seen on the street as I left Civic Center Park

All told, it was an interesting excursion. All the people seemed to be enjoying themselves peacefully and following the laws governing use (No lighting up in public places, must be over 21, etc.,) though of course there was that distinctive odor hanging in the air...

4/20 in Colorado makes for an interesting weekend. Quite a few pot tourists came in for the rally (and others similar to it in venues across the Denver metro area), so I suppose it is no different than any other sales tax generating event, such as Comic-Con or the Great American Beer Fest.

However, I'm thinking it's just a matter of time before 4/21 becomes an event too...the Official Drug Testing Day for companies all over the country.

Friday, April 17, 2015

The Lego Americana Roadshow At The Park Meadows Mall

Ah yes, Legos, those wonderful building-block toys that provided countless hours of childhood joy. Cheap, nearly indestructible, and a great creative release (as well as child time occupier), no doubt they brought great joy to many parents, too.

My younger brother had a fairly large box of Legos, as did a number of our friends in the neighborhood. There is no doubt that we did on occasion use those plastic blocks as the Dutch intended, building houses, towers, cars, planes, etc.

However, for the most part we spent our time building tank-like things for the express purpose of bashing them into each other in a game of last-man-standing, and whoever had built the tank-like thing that could withstand the most punishment was declared the winner.

Nowadays, Legos are used to build just about everything, from a complete recreation of Hogwarts to the Eiffel Tower.

From April 11th through the 26th, Lego has brought it's Americana Roadshow to the Park Meadows Mall. The show features several large-scale reproductions of structures that are historically significant to the United States, from the Old North Church to the Capitol Building and the White House to the Statue of Liberty.

On the first level, that is. The displays on the second level are primarily scenes from last summer's Lego movie.

Legos. Every kid loves 'em, and so do quite a few adults. Go see a whole bunch of 'em at Park Meadows this week without fear of accidentally stepping on one.

Thursday, April 16, 2015

A Cold & Snowy Spring Day In Lakewood

Let's see, Lawnmower de-winterized, check. Lawn aerated, check. Hose and sprinklers brought out of storage, check. Weed killer sprayer refilled and ready for war, check.

Whoops! Maybe next week.

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

A Visit To The Morrison Natural History Museum

Morrison, Colorado is deservedly famous for Red Rocks amphitheater - it is considered the single most attractive and acoustically pleasant place to enjoy a concert. It is the standard by which all other outdoor concert venues are measured.

This has nothing to do with that, This is about the other thing Morrison is world-renown for.

Dinosaur bones.

Layers of Sedimentary rock nearly surround the small town of Morrison. In the late 1800's. dinosaur bones were discovered and subsequently, the infamous "Bone wars" ensued between two highly competitive paleontologists. You can't make this stuff up.

The site of the excavation that yielded the first fossilized bones of Apatosaurus, Dipiodocus, and the Stegosaurus, is known as Quarry no. 10. On view at the small Morrison Natural History Museum are some of the 150-million year old (give or take) bones from the original digs.

The dinosaur above was not found in Morrison - that's me. I'm standing next to a casting of a Tyrannosaurus Rex skull, the original of which was unearthed in South Dakota.

Tyrannosaurus Rex bones were first discovered in Golden, Colorado, about 10 miles from Morrison, back in 1874. Those bones reside in museums on the east coast where they were shipped during the aforementioned "Bone wars," so the MNHM has to settle for castings to represent the fossils that were found in the area.

This bad boy next to the T-Rex is an Allosaurus, which resided in the Morrison area some 150 million years ago, about 20 million years before the T-Rex. 

The vertebrae comprising half the neck of an Apatosaurus was part of a discovery made in 1877. No skull was found so artist Maureen Gottron created a representational one until the Museum Foundation can raise the money needed to purchase a research cast skull.

Fossilized plants were also found in the Morrison dig site. This slab of rock reveals a hardwood tree and palm fronds from the Cretaceous period, when Colorado's climate was more like southern Lousiana.

That tiny dinosaur track being pointed to by my host at the Museum, Paleo Tech Doug H., is from an infant Stegosaurus, and it's discovery led to the realization that adults and juvenile Stegosaurus were probably herd animals (as shown in the film Jurassic Park).

The museum has a few modern day relatives of the dinosaurs on display, such as this Dumeril's Monitor Lizard. This particular one was featured on a Discovery Channel documentary on Mosasaurs back in 2009.

This lizard is native to Vietnam and Borneo, and, as a television star, is feed a steady diet of shrimp and an occasional rodent.

The Morrison Natural History Museum also houses a lab where volunteers are slowly working on large boulders found in the area to reveal the fossilized remains hidden in the stone. Here, Kristen, who is a teacher in real-life, uses a small pneumatic chisel on what is thought to be part of a dinosaur skull. It is a tedious process - she told me she had been working on that small area on and off for two months.

The volunteer staff are all skilled Paleo Techs and will readily share their knowledge about the Morrison dig sites and the discoveries made there. They will also allow you to play Paleo Tech yourself if it's a slow enough day. Pretty damn cool, that.

Outside the museum there is a rock garden of sorts that features slabs and boulders of various stone where dinosaur fossils can be found, such as this piece of 300 million year old Arkosic Sandstone.

The rock garden is actually a working lab of sorts, as fossils are being worked out of a number of the big chunks of rock during the day, weather permitting of course.

The Museum is open daily from 10:00 am until 5:00 pm (last admission tickets are sold at 4:00).  Admission is $8.00 for adults, and it's worth every penny.