When Melissa invited me to a Fourth of July party, she said we'd be able to see fireworks shot from four different locations. She failed to mention, however, that her fiancé would be shooting some off right over our heads, scaring everyone at the party, and pissing off the guy who owned the house. More on that later. CalTrans posted messages along the highway stating that the parking lots at the beaches and bays were full. The messages were on the same signs they use to alert the public about child abductions. More messages like this should be thrown in. And maybe they can post Padres game scores.

I showed up as the band was setting up. They told me that they call themselves "427" when they are playing covers. When they play original material, they are "Brother Jon." They mentioned that they were going to Germany to play some shows. I wondered if local bands go to other countries so they can tell people, "Oh, yeah, we're big in Germany."

The La Jolla home had a spacious back yard over three levels. The band had to bring their equipment over several stairs and hills. I asked the singer if he needed help, assuming he'd say no. He said, "Yeah, thanks," but the guitarist told me they had everything covered.

I asked the band what songs they were sick of covering. One musician said, "Rock and Roll" by Led Zeppelin. Another said, "Anything by Bon Jovi. I also hate 'Pour Some Sugar on Me.'" One guy said, "We don't care for 'Mustang Sally.'" I told him that I had loved that song ever since I saw the movie The Commitments. "Yeah, well, we have a name for certain cover bands. We call them 'Mustang Sally Bands.' In that movie, though, they were one of the better ones."

The singer was related to the guy throwing the party, and I was told by someone at the party that the band wasn't very good. I thought their Zeppelin, AC/DC, Doors, and Stones covers were great.

The band played on the the lowest level, which was all grass. There was a canopy for them to set up beneath and another canopy over tables and chairs. The biggest grill I'd ever seen was cooking hamburgers, hot dogs, ribs, and chicken. A table nearby held several condiments, chips, and side dishes.

On the second level of the back yard, there was a volleyball net. People played badminton, too.

On the top level of the back yard were a pool, Jacuzzi, and a ping pong table with a tournament going. One guy said, "I'm not playing unless there's some serious money involved."

There was a thatch hut with a bartender serving up drinks and kegs and coolers around the yard.

I brought a case of beer and store-bought red, white, and blue cupcakes. As I drove the windy roads through La Jolla Mesa, the frosting slid off half of the cupcakes. Nobody noticed, though, as I set them by the flag cake.

There was a higher level with a patio where they had a poker table, and there was a group playing cards. The older smokers hung over the patio railing, which was covered in flags and banners, and enjoyed their smokes while watching the 20-year-olds in bikinis frolicking by the pool.

It was interesting to watch the various age groups -- kids tossing balls, teens discussing what parties they'd be going to that evening. A guy who appeared to be in his 20s was explaining to his friend how he'd go home at six and take a nap so he could party the rest of the night, "...even though I have to work in the morning. It's lame. This week has two Mondays."

I overheard parents complaining about their kids and the trouble they'd get into at the parties that evening.

There was a blind guy with a cane walking around the pool. When I saw the cane touch the water, I got nervous. When kids ran by him and brushed against his legs, he'd stop walking.

There were four dogs at the party, a St. Bernard, a black Lab, and two pit bulls. (After the story about the guy who almost lost a testicle to the pit bull last week, I stayed clear of them.) The pit bulls occasionally attacked the St. Bernard, and I asked the owner if they were dangerous. "Pit bulls are good dogs. They are people dogs. They just don't get along with other animals." I wanted to say, "They must mistake babies and little kids for animals.... I read about them so often attacking children." But, best not to start trouble with a person who has a pit bull.

When the Labrador hit the blind guy's legs, I asked him how difficult it was to negotiate the turns of the pool with dogs running around him. "The pool wouldn't be a problem if it wasn't such a narrow area. There are a lot of chairs set up and other things that make it difficult."

I had horrible luck with the ladies that day. There was a teacher who was a lifeguard during the summer, and each time I tried to talk to her, she walked away.

There was a woman named Dorothy who was a hoot. She talked nonstop, but she told interesting stories. A few people in the family said she was different, but that's what they loved about her. When she showed me her red, white, and blue nail polish, I told her that I had thought her nails were dirty (since the paint only covered the top part of the nail). She pointed to the blind guy and said, "I told him I had a nice figure. He laughed. So, I don't know. Either he's not blind, or he just could tell that I didn't. It was strange."

I met an interesting woman who told me her name was Martha. I told her "Martha My Dear" was one of my favorite Beatles songs. Her son-in-law said his name was "Jack. Jack in the Box." I told him I loved his restaurants. He and his wife had a disagreement about her new tattoo. He claimed it was done wrong and left scarring. She said that was normal for a new tattoo.

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