Content for Wednesday, December 24, 2003

News & Stories

Clairemont

Asked where I live in San Diego, I always say “beautiful Clairemont,” because I’m a smartass and because it’s the truth. I might qualify (place, not beauty) by adding “North Clairemont,” to distinguish our geographical ...

Fallbrook

I often feel in downtown Fallbrook that I have walked through a door into the past, the door I have been looking for all my life. It happens at Jerry’s Barber Shop most often. Jerry’s ...

Neighborhood: Small Towns of San Diego

Monsters, vegetarians, and Eritreans fit into San Diego well. Fallbrook by Laura McNealI often feel in downtown Fallbrook that I have walked through a door into the past, the door I have been looking for ...

2003 Year-end Quiz

2003 Year-end Quiz The research elves are off making some seasonal pocket money (money to have pockets put in their little tunics). They hire out for Christmas parties, which means Grandma spends most of December ...

Savor the view from lofty Alcoholic Pass in the Anza-Borrego Desert

Centuries-old paths, forged by the footsteps of Native-Americans, crisscross the county. West of the desert, periodic fires and fast-growing chaparral have erased the obvious traces of most of these trails. Yet in the drier, more ...

Imperial Beach

IB? My friend Mark nailed it the other night. We had fallen into conversation outside Cow-A-Bunga, the ice cream and coffee place at the entrance to IB’s pier. It was getting dark. You could just ...

Encinitas

While some towns form inland and grow toward the coast, the roots of Encinitas are coastal and its heart is beachside. This is where the core of the town is, where people and their families ...

Normal Heights

Before the newlyweds across the street went on their honeymoon, they asked me to keep an eye on their house. Yesterday, a neighbor two doors down, an elderly Mexican woman, brought me a big bowl ...

Pacific Beach

Once or twice a year, I try to walk all of Garnet Avenue between Mission Boulevard and Ingraham. I like to do it on the Saturday in early May when the PB Block Party is ...

Del Dios

No one’s seen Hodgee lately. Some hoped that as Lake Hodges disappeared, the monster would have fewer places to hide. That one day they’d be watching the sunrise from their quiet porches and suddenly catch ...

Southeast San Diego

Although on any given day I don’t usually come in contact with gangs, violence, or drugs, subconsciously I am aware that they are near, and I think that most people in Southeast San Diego are ...

Mission Valley

It’s a difficult thing for a man to admit, but I’m going to have to come clean: I’m an unadventurous person. It’s unfashionable, non-PC, and virtually ensures the end of any social life I might ...

La Jolla

Which La Jolla? Old La Jolla or New La Jolla? The distinction is chronological, but also a matter of attitude. You can see the contrast along a few yards of Girard Avenue, in what used ...

Rolando

A sense of humanity pervades this little community on San Diego’s eastern fringe, a sense that beauty matters to the souls of all men, not just those who can afford La Jolla. Though the name ...

Ten Reasons Why You’d Have to Be Crazy to Live in Borrego Springs

The average temperature in July is 107. To paraphrase what Gertrude Stein once said of Oakland, there is no there there — no people (population: about 3000), no movie theater, no stoplight, no convenience store, ...

La Mesa

The doctor says, “You’re a few pounds overweight, your cholesterol’s a bit scary, and your blood pressure…” “Yeah, okay,” I grumble. “So what’s your prescription?” “You could change your diet.” “Not for the better, I ...

Mission Hills

As State Street crosses Laurel heading north, its name changes suddenly to Reynard, and a little blue street sign welcomes you to Mission Hills. Don’t be fooled. This is Baja Mission Hills, like Kensington too ...

El Cajon

Innocence of the 1950s variety still draws me once in a while to the Grinder sandwich shop on the corner of Second and Greenfield in El Cajon. Afterward, to conjure up memories of my father’s ...

Oceanside

Eight years ago at 6:30 in the morning, if you surfed the beach breaks closest to downtown Oceanside, you’d see the underworld scurrying home like cockroaches getting back to the rocks. The crystal meth/prostitute element ...

Barrio Logan

Just inside the entrance to El Mercadito Market, a dreamcatcher the size of a large gong dangles feathery tentacles toward the floor. In other neighborhoods, this yarn-threaded novelty might seem out of place in such ...

College Area

As soon as you leave the SDSU district, where College Avenue collides with El Cajon Boulevard, libraries and frat houses give way to liquor stores, check-cashing places, 99-cent emporiums, and plenty more clear signposts that ...

Coronado

A well-known fact about Coronado is that it tends to sink a few inches each summer. The weight of tourists from inland cities, of college students returned home, of Navy families back for the Fourth ...

Ocean Beach

I’ll take the charming anachronism over the “in thing” any day. Just give me the Flat Earth Society, Elizabethan countesses surfing the Internet, and long-haired hippies on Wall Street. Grant me Kodachromes and unicorns, abaci ...

Lakeside

It seems as if a hundred kids have been trying to sell you a program. Grudgingly, you finally buy one — not to read, but to carry around, hoping the annoyance will decrease. Now that ...

Little Italy

Date & IndiaFriday night Tight-jeaned girl pays attendant, strolls sideways, spots her pal. Redhead descends from SUV, looks back to lock (beep-beep), and long-legs a diagonal to Princess Pub’s pint-swilling lads, who posture by stools ...

South Mission Hills

First the guy was dead, and then he was not, a significant detail that changed during the telling of the story. But dead or alive, said my neighbor Matt, there was a body in the ...

Mira Mesa

I’ve lived in Mira Mesa all but 6 of my 34 years. I watched it grow from a community with one gas station, one grocery store, and the main street, Mira Mesa Boulevard, ending at ...

San Marcos

Looking for a representative cross-section of San Marcos residents? Try the 24 Hour Fitness in the Vons center at San Marcos Boulevard and Rancho Santa Fe Road any weekday morning around 6:30. As you walk ...

Point Loma

Point Loma’s essence is found in a blur of military installations, dilapidated restaurants that have been around so long they are considered classy, million-dollar ocean-view homes, and lampposts placed directly in the middle of streets ...

Hillcrest

I’ve watched a great many changes take place in Hillcrest over the years. At this point in my life it’s a neighborhood of ghosts. I’ve been through a few relationships there, and each had certain ...

Downtown

A tarnished little plaque is embedded in the sidewalk at the corner of Fifth Avenue and J Street. It bears a small legend: “Shirley Bernard, Gaslamp Pioneer.” Thousands of extravagantly attired feet heading for bars, ...

Bonita

Bucolic Bonita first bloomed in my experience during a 1965 visit to the shallow valley scooped out across millennia by the Sweetwater River on its run to the Pacific. Even in the mid-’60s the lemon ...

Solana Beach

I discovered Solana Beach because of a pig — well, two pigs, actually — Sporky and Frances Bacon. Frances (name variation because she was female) lived on the middle Barbara in Solana Beach. Before I ...

Poway

Poway: “The City in the Country.” I was born and raised in Poway, and I can tell you that the slogan has never been accurate. At the time of Poway’s incorporation in 1980, any passer-by ...

Chula Vista

Have you ever focused your camera so that you captured the beautiful and cut out the ugly? Seated at a wooden table, at sunset, with your glass of crisp chardonnay beaded with condensation and your ...

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