The Shining Path

“The path is dim only to the uncommitted”Somedude

Tonight I took the dogs back down to the canyon.  I left the leashes in the car using only my voice to keep the dogs heeled. It was dark and cold so only a couple mountain bikers were on the trail and about a quarter mile in just over the bridge, the coast seemed clear so I  told the dogs to go.

It’s been about 3 months since they moved me into the office and  I’ve gained a few pounds back so I jog a little then walk alot behind the dogs keeping them in sight with my voice.  Murphy, the Cattle Dog is old now and not as fast as Kayla, a sweet five year old Pitbull. We have small LEDs on their collars so I can keep track of them in the dark and tonight it’s real dark.  Another storm is headed our way (thank you Jesus!) so there’s no moon or stars but the clouds reflect the streetlights from the neighborhoods that rim the canyon so it’s not pitch black.

I remember back about a year ago to the first time I was out here at night alone with the dogs and coyotes, deer and skunks and maybe even a cougar or two.  Deep back in the preserve, a flashlight and a pistol were comforting.  After a few trips you realize they are really more of an encumbrance. Good shoes, sweats, a hoodie and a car key, that’s all you need.

After awhile your eyes adjust and the dirt path you’re on almost glows in contrast to the sage. We reach our destination and turn back. A few hundred yds. south, over in the creek bed, the frogs and crickets are going off. They sound like some kind of high pitched alien engine and then suddenly they stop.  Quiet.  

Just the sound of my shoes on the trail and the dogs panting when they circle back to check on me.  Something is over there so I keep the dogs close again for the mile or so to the car.   


The 3 Fs: Family, Friends and Food


Yesterday was so nice. I got up early and helped Jeanie with the turkey.  She did the butter under the skin trick, some sage and rosemary in cheesecloth in the cavity and a bunch of carrots, onions and celery in the roasting pan.  About an hour later the place started smelling real good.  Jeanie doesn’t cook much but puts alot of stock in family and traditions so she was kind of anxious. I think she stepped up and hit it out of the park.

We carted the bird and the good china 20 minutes north to Kevin and Jessie’s new home in Escondido where the rest of the Pope’s clan had gathered.  It’s always good catching up with family and friends, meeting people you have only seen on facebook.  Like  the Facebook Twins here.  On my computer it’s “awww those are some cute kids.”  In person? The cuteness is searing. 

Chloe and Carrie

After the passing of his parents, my friend the Pope of Peñasquitos has become the patriarch of his tribe but their presence was very much with us in the form of Sour Cream Cake, Watergate Salad and the quiet way the family shows their affection. The Pope has one rule NO DRAMA which I think he probably got from his dad and there wasn’t any.  The kids all respect their elders and the elders don’t betray that respect.

Until desert time that is.  Everybody heads back to Peñasquitos where deserts, musical instruments, PA and a fog machine are waiting and ready to go.  Then things get a little out of hand when we all fall into a loose karaoke, jam session and the adults betray a bit of respect but the kids all love it and most can’t wait for their turn at the mic or the drums.

Yes there will be Eagles songs along with the obligatory Lebowski denouncement but everybody knows the words to the Eagles songs and the Beatles, Tom Petty and Led Zeppelin songs so that’s what we play.

Shelter Island Fishing Pier

PLUM2G In California you don’t need a fishing license to fish off of the municipal piers hence they are pretty crowded on the weekends.  I like to go to Shelter Island with my wife because it’s a bit more upscale that the IB pier. There is a nice little park nearby and there always seems to be an Islander family set up over there with their BBQ and Hawaiian music.  It sort of sets the vibe for the day.  And of course there is the Fathom Bistro where the Soup of The Day is always beer.  Really good local and not-so-local beer. Pier fishing is real laid back. It’s not a high-tech arms race like you run into offshore.  On a pier, the old Filipino lady with two crusty old Ugly Stick rigs is likely to be the hot hand. If you can get by her mean-ass little dog and are polite, she just might give you one of the ghost shrimp she siphons up out of Mission Bay at low tide.   The thing I like about fishing Saltwater is you never know what you (or the person next to you) is going to catch.  At this pier I’ve caught Yellowfin Croaker, Sculpin, tiny Halibuts and Bat Rays and of course those delightfully suicidal Greenback Mackerels. All great sport on my old six and a half foot trout rod and a small spinning real. 


A Day Without Sunshine


SculpinI heard about today’s Sculpin ban and kind of panicked for a minute.   If there is an official beer of San Diego,  Ballast  Point’s flagship brew is it.  It’s so popular here, the hipsters in North Park turn their noses up at it.

Luckily  we only have to quit killing a small, bottom dwelling fish for a few months and can go on enjoying our favorite IPA year round.

Postmodern Musashi

Being a hard-ass  never looked so easy

                                      Being a hard-ass never looked so easy

Over the past decade, Denzel Washington has built a sizable and soulful body of work as an action hero. He has fleshed out a singular character who is aged and wounded but… well, still in the game is an understatement.

From Glockslinger extraordinaire John Creasy (Man on Fire) to the latest incarnation as Robert McCall (The Equalizer) Denzel plays American men who have received vaguely referenced government training or as in The Book of Eli, Divine gifts that have rendered them nigh on invincible.  However their unique skills and life experience have left them haunted and alone.

As I was watching The Equalizer yesterday in an upscale La Jolla theater, I kept asking myself what is it that makes this guy and these films so satisfying? Could it be an aged, wounded American male psyche is thirsting for things like competence, moral certainty, restraint and discipline? Well at least my American male psyche.  Probably something like that. I can’t put my finger fully on it.

Whatever it is, Denzel Washington brings it.