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Month: September 2014



When Sam and I came home from a weekend in La Jolla we were greeted with this scary figure lurking in our patio:

It turns out the upstairs neighbors had put a Buddha statue on their balcony and then turned on the ceiling lights… but man… creepy, right?  That fence is almost six feet high so it’s perfectly the size of a spooky shadow ghost.  Because those are real things.

Snorkeling La Jolla Shores

Snorkeling La Jolla Shores

On Saturday night Sam was able to snag a room at a hotel for “friends and family” rate through a coworker’s connection. When we got up we went and had a massive American diner style breakfast before heading to the beach to meet with some of the same friends of the day before.

Over the course of the day we became acquainted with the reefs south of the main beach, where lots of interesting creatures live. The visibility is better in the earlier part of the day, before the rougher waves start churning up the sand. By 3:30 it’s almost impossible to see anything other than some rays burying themselves in the sand.

Sam and our friend came out once, but I went in three separate times, spending maybe a total of four hours in the water.

I saw probably hundreds of leopard sharks, another kind of shark, a lobster, all sizes of sting rays, and even a bat ray.

Snorkeling La Jolla Cove

Snorkeling La Jolla Cove

On Saturday Sam and I headed down the 5 to La Jolla.  We met some friends at the Cove and slipped on our wetsuits.

Sam and I headed over to the big cave to the south of the cove.  There were a few braying sea lions inside that were perturbed by all the kayakers.  People outside the cave (the kayak guides) were warning snorkelers that it was dangerous to go in the cave.  After going in, we found that the only danger was the constant stream of kayakers oblivious to their surroundings.

We went back and explored various parts of the little cove.  There was a lot of churned up seaweed and plant life from the recent choppy waters from the last month of hurricanes off the coast.

Multiple times sea lions breezed by, crossing the cove between the rocks on either side.

I followed a young sea lion north once, and when I had lost track of it, a much bigger (older?) one swam right in front of me and lumbered all the way to the other side, not seeming to mind me swimming right next to him.

I also saw a speckled sand daub, but couldn’t get any good pictures of it.

Blue Apron

Blue Apron

A few months ago Sam and I did a product review for a friend of ours on her health and wellness blog.  The photos were on my flickr back then, but the review has now gone live so I can post about it here.

There’s not much I can add to what we wrote in the review so I’ll implore you head on over there.


Tied to a sinking ship after the mutiny

Tied to a sinking ship after the mutiny

On Monday, labor day, I drove up to the northwest valley to check out the damage my latest tenants had left behind.  The management company had already warned me that the carpet would need replacing, but I wanted to see for myself.

If you’ve ever seen one of those HGTV shows where they open the door of the auctioned home and show “oh my god!” before cutting to commercial… yeah, it was like that.

I felt like a forensics investigator in one of those CSI offshoots.  I heard water running somewhere in the unit and half expected to find someone drowned in the bathtub… on this week’s episode of CSI Winnetka.

Bugs, multiple kinds, swarmed on every surface.  Open the fridge -BUGS!  Open the dishwasher – BUGS!  Look in the bathtub – BUGS!

The list of things that were broken, bent, stained or otherwise somehow mistreated would be impossible to name.  Not because I couldn’t remember them all, but because I probably couldn’t even FIND everything in my two visits that day.

Here are some of the more bizarre things I found:

– cigarette burns all over the balcony carpet, as if they’d just used the carpet as an ashtray

– every square centimeter of floor was covered in stains and dirt and grime and muck, as if they’d been raising animals for a year in the apartment. But wait, what animal poops in bright pink or blue?

– light bulbs in the ceiling fans still in sockets but with the glass broken

– a bathroom shower faucet so badly mistreated that it was still somehow running and couldn’t be turned off (the plumber was called shortly after I arrived).  No dead body though, guess that’s the silver lining.

(did I mention the bugs?)

– missing drip pans and grates from the stove (hey, if you’re moving out, why not steal random appliance pieces – never know when you might need them at the new dump!)

– random giant box of old clothes completely filling the coat closet

– apparently the master bathroom sinks made a great paint mixer.  The black sinks.  And white paint.

– random holes going all the way through the drywall that clearly held something… but only going up two feet from the floor.  Did they need to bolt their coffee table to the wall?

(there were bugs everywhere, I wanted to get a Silkwood scrubdown when I left)

– fire alarm beeping for new batteries

– random pictures of children left behind

– thermostat nonfunctioning because of dead battery (it was over 100 degrees in the valley when these people were living here… yet they couldn’t buy two AA batteries to get the AC running… what?!)

– rips in the bug screen on the bedroom windows higher up than I can reach

But perhaps the most random and strange thing of all was what I found at the wetbar:  Multiple photographs of the tenant with a big self-satisfied smile on casino trophies proclaiming first place victories and five figure sums of money as his prizes.  Yes, the asshole that completely trashed his apartment (why?!) was smiling right back at me with his hands behind his head and his feet up, with evidence of more money in casino wins than I make in a year.

Never mind that I’m losing money on this place every year, sometimes losing as much by keeping the condo as he makes by playing poker.

To complete this masterpiece…   A copy of the Training Day DVD signed by Denzel himself “All the Best.”   Yes, nothing but the best for this guy.  Nothing but the best.



Luckily I didn’t have to end the day like that, a friend invited Sam and I to come have (more) BBQ dinner at their house, and wine, and grilled corn, and hot dogs, and mochi.  And something called Mio, which is the only kind of Saki you’ll ever see me drink.

Shaw’s Cove Part II

Shaw’s Cove Part II

On Sunday Sam and I returned to Shaw’s Cove with a few friends.

The Sunday before we’d encouraged everyone to come and snorkel in Malibu, but were stuck on the beach because of 10+ foot waves generated by a tropical storm way out in the Pacific Ocean.  For the entire week the local news blabbered endlessly about how these waves were dangerous and hadn’t been seen this high for decades.

Unfortunately the storm was still affecting the coastline a week later in Laguna Beach.  Unlike the pleasant and peaceful beach we’d visited nearly a month before, the surf at Shaw’s Cove was now pushing beachgoers back to the rocks at the periphery of the sand.

Despite this, most of us didn’t come all this way to not try.  The waves were too rough for most of the girls to swim through, but the few of us that did make it through found ourselves in clear water maybe 100 yards from shore.  The water was much warmer than last time and the wetsuits we bought were really not necessary, but the water by the reef rocks was too choppy to do more than just swim around the edges.

However, a little closer to shore, where the underwater grass fields begin, the water was much calmer and plenty of fish could be seen.

Afterwards we visited a friend’s BBQ in Chino Hills.