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Stories by Geoff Bouvier

San Diego's punk music, goodbye to Lennon

Soundtrack: Notes gave pathos to clouds My father bought my first piano from the Briscoes in Sumter, South Carolina. We knew the Briscoes from church and because Brother Briscoe, as we called him, was in ...

July 5, 2020
Waiter at La Jolla's Tapenade, toilet cleaner at Spanky's

Tools of the Trade Have your friends and neighbors looked weighed down, put upon, or bent low to the ground lately? Perhaps they are! After all, many of the people we see around us tote ...

June 28, 2020
San Diego's mosquitos, ferrets, sea lions

Deadly Mosquitoes Breed in Our Urban Drool Of the 40 “sentinel chickens” used for early detection, 13 have converted to West Nile, including all 10 in Los Peñasquitos Lagoon, 2 in Oceanside, and 1 in ...

May 30, 2020
Why San Diegans dress the way they do

Men's Summer Swimsuit Issue “Now, you ask me, the male physicality wasn't built for aesthetics. Those angles and edges, the purely functional proportions: men's bods are too utilitarian, at least for my taste. (I prefer ...

April 26, 2020
Mission Beach – true character

Tiny Island Court has 31 short-timers Bayside Walk listed 121 rentals spread out between 15 blocks, with 50 rentals on just two blocks. Mission Boulevard listed 81 rentals on 17 blocks. It then dropped to ...

Opposums, rats, pigeons, plus San Diego's geologist who hates roadside landscaping

Our Panther Our fair city does have one black jaguar resident, downtown, in Cat Canyon, near Sun Bear Forest, across from the Hunte Amphitheater, in the San Diego Zoo. He was born October 1992 at ...

April 11, 2020
Best Reader stories from 2008

Tijuana is the first stop to suicide Faye Girsh, vice president of the Hemlock Society of San Diego, knows that Exit International has been publicizing the Mexico option for its members. “But we do not ...

February 23, 2020
Best Reader stories from 2007

Does Christmas offend you? Christmas has to start with the Jews, I guess, no matter where you start. It was Jews who were killed by Herod and Jews who were chased into Egypt by him, ...

February 22, 2020
Best Reader stories from 2005

Salvation Mountain The Slabs are Slab City, three miles east of Niland, between the sultry Salton Sea and the Chocolate Mountains. Years ago the concrete slabs supported the barracks of Camp Dunlap, where General George ...

February 15, 2020
Best Reader stories from 2003

The white mask On Saturday, September 6, 1958, Marilyn Monroe and the 175-person company of Some Like It Hot arrived at the Hotel del Coronado to begin location shots, after filming in Hollywood the previous ...

February 8, 2020
Ramona – a lot of stories

Was Helen Hunt Jackson's Ramona real? During late winter and early spring of every year, a bit of confusion reigns up north in the town of Ramona. The folks at the chamber of commerce there ...

Other San Diego summers

Phoenix without apologies Traveler, consider our Phoenix. An hour away by air, this flat, posh suburb of Greater L.A. is your finest summer vacation bargain. For the price of a bad weekend in a tacky ...

July 6, 2019
Geoff Bouvier and the Reader

Geoff Bouvier's first book, Living Room, (Copper Canyon Press), was selected by Heather McHugh as the winner of the 2005 APR/Honickman Prize. His writings have appeared in American Poetry Review, Barrow Street, Boston Review, Denver ...

May 12, 2019
So far in 2008, San Diego has 23 cases of human West Nile virus

A few days after an autumn picnic near Los Peñasquitos Lagoon, a local grade-schooler comes down with the flu. Fever, chills, headache, and he can’t bring himself to get out of bed. His mother worries, ...

January 21, 2009
Downtown San Diego condos – kinda like roller coasters

One Who’s Out and Wants In A man walks into the lobby of a downtown sales office on Sixth Avenue and G Street on a Sunday morning, wheeling his young son in a stroller in ...

The San Diego Symphony rebounds and swings.

It’s Friday morning, and a woman in casual clothes, with a viola case on her back, bicycles down Harbor Drive. She’s headed toward Embarcadero Park, behind the Convention Center, for a summer pops rehearsal of ...

November 5, 2008
Illegal ways to avoid the San Ysidro border wait

They’re still building roads out on Otay Mesa, about three miles north of the international border. The hot tar takes longer to set in the incredible heat. The smell hangs thick over the brown hillsides ...

Dating life of San Diego teenagers

According to a survey of 4600 teenagers (aged 12–17) conducted recently by Mediamark Research Inc., 89 percent of teens say they have been in dating relationships, 57 percent regularly date, and 33 percent have a ...

September 3, 2008
21 major repairs Balboa Park needs

If the Pacific Ocean is San Diego’s swimming pool, Balboa Park is our backyard. When we want to get out of the house, Balboa Park is where we go, 11 million times per year. And ...

July 30, 2008
Stop pushing development next to Cleveland National Forest

A lawsuit was filed in March of this year by five environmental groups — including the Center for Biological Diversity and the Sierra Club — stating that overarching land-management plans prepared by the U.S. Forest ...

Arm wrestling nation here in San Diego

On a Saturday spring morning, in a small fenced-in backyard in San Marcos, 40 or so rather dangerous-looking men (and a few women and children) have gathered to celebrate arm wrestler Harold “the Rattlesnake” Ryden’s ...

June 11, 2008
The gear heads in San Diego's Tropical Fish Society

“First of all,” says Dave Huie, “it should really be called the exotic fish hobby, not the tropical fish hobby.” Beneath his glasses, Huie’s face is scrunched into a look of bemusement. “Although, even that ...

April 23, 2008
The search in San Diego for chivalry, knot tying, writing by hand, blacksmiths, etiquette, navigation

Seemingly everything has been called a “lost art.” Spelling, conversation, keeping a secret, note taking, listening, and even (why not?) hollering. One string of online text even refers to the lost art of blogging.What constitutes ...

March 26, 2008
Samoans live and die in Oceanside

The Back Gate The area around the Oceanside pier and boardwalk glistens, picture perfect: palm trees, silver sand, blue water, and crowds of people. It’s easy to see how this town got its name. But ...

February 20, 2008
San Diego Food Bank on Distribution Drive

Near the lifeguard station in Ocean Beach, nine homeless people have gathered. One lies in the grass of Saratoga Park, legs crossed and hat tilted over his eyes. One stands nearby, smoking a cigarette. Two ...

January 30, 2008
CHP and Caltrans are watching us drive on the freeway

In Kearny Mesa, on a road called Opportunity, people in the Transportation Management Center watch over us. The operations room looks like a set from a film on NASA space travel. Designed like a theater, ...

January 2, 2008
Second Life, a 3-D world, gets people away from drudgery

As you read this, 40,000 people in the world are "in-world." This doesn't mean that these people have left our world, the real world. It means that their real bodies are sitting in front of ...

November 21, 2007
San Diego natives reflect on their lives as natives

I don't envy the native San Diegan. Being born and raised in paradise must be difficult. How do you avoid becoming hopelessly spoiled? How do you gain a sense of the great, big, messy, cold, ...

November 8, 2007
San Diego students jaded after Columbine

On April 16, 2007, on the campus of Virginia Tech University in Blacksburg, Virginia, a sullen, troubled, twisted young man killed 32 people, injured 25 more, and then took his own life in the deadliest ...

23 Reader writers describe the regime of editor Judith Moore

Busy Fingers Are Happy Fingers — Joe Deegan Mother Reader — Barbarella Build Your Writing Muscles — Ollie Let the Tape Recorder Do the Work — Matthew Lickona Faith — Abe Opincar Make Something Better ...

She Got Me to Think Out Loud

Though I never met Judith Moore, she was one of the most significant people who's ever entered my life. She believed in and nurtured my writing abilities even before I really did. She liked my ...

August 16, 2007
Pacific Beach cracks down on beach boozers

Pacific Beach. 2:00 p.m. A typical, sunny summer Saturday. The smell of spilled beer mingles with sea mist and wet wood. I'm bar-hopping, and not one establishment I enter at midday is empty. Many are ...

San Diego painter David Darrow paints Reader writer

The first time I chat with painter David Darrow on the telephone, I ask him how I might pose. I tell him that I like the highly individual stagings of Annie Leibovitz's photographs. Darrow tells ...

June 28, 2007
Faster Is better for drummer, surfer, high speed rail

What do certain animals, computers, drivers, drummers, surfers, skaters, railways, and runners have in common? They all have a need. The need for speed. We measure speed in hertz, flops, knots, machs, mph, rpm, and ...

June 6, 2007
The top chess player in San Diego is Cyrus Lakdawala

"I played Nakamura. He was 18 years old at the time, at the 2005 U.S. Championship. His name is Hikaru Nakamura. And he's the top U.S. player right now." This is the top chess player ...

May 31, 2007
San Diego massage: if you play it smart, you earn about $75 an hour

Techno music thumps and throbs and spills from the room. The "Earth Room." It's early, about 9:30 a.m. An instructor leads 30 men and women, ranging in age from 18 to maybe 60, in movement ...

May 17, 2007
There's no eye contact in San Diego

Here's my theory: I've noticed this weird "no look" policy that San Diego girls and young women — and even some San Diego boys and young men — seem to have. You pass them on ...

April 5, 2007
Jerry Schad shows me Anza Borrego Desert's Carrizo Badlands

The narrow opening of the mud cave was nothing but a slot in the rock, barely wide enough for my shoulders. If you didn't know it was there, you'd never know it was there. We're ...

The best pool players in the San Diego and the world: Filipinos

When he broke, it was hammerlike. It almost hurt my ears: a terrific crack! The colorful balls caromed and danced and spun everywhere.Nothing went in, though, lucky for me. So I lined up my first ...

March 1, 2007
San Diegans share their grocery shopping lists

Make a list. It's time to go grocery shopping. Where are we buying? How much do we spend? What do we spend it on? What are we cooking? Are we health-conscious? Diet-conscious? What are our ...

February 15, 2007
The Green Monster, Barney, and Spibs move letters at the San Diego Post Office

"It was an envelope from the bank, with four checks in it, and I was on my way to the bank." Maria Sandstrom gets four personal checks every week from four sets of parents for ...

February 1, 2007
San Diego's homogenized beach-goers

You've got to be taught To hate and fear,You've got to be taughtFrom year to year, It's got to be drummedIn your dear little ear You've got to be carefully taught. You've got to be ...

December 21, 2006
On board with the New Seaforth, the Dolphin, and the Fisherman III

A play in multiple acts. Cast, in order of appearance: Chorus, infrequent fisher and loather of boat travel Bill Poole, 85, local fishing legend, past part-owner of Poole-Chaffee Boatyard Buck Everingham, 51, heir and part-owner ...

November 30, 2006
Reader writer visits his restaurant busboy's third-world family

Every day at 7:00 a.m., Mateo (names in this article have been changed to protect the immigrants) wakes up next to Maria, his longtime girlfriend. Most mornings, he hops out of bed, throws on his ...

September 14, 2006
Black's Beach Bares tell us how to look at them

Of all the sand in San Diego, one strand wins mythic status. Most of the place is inside a state park, it runs along a length of two miles walled by 300-foot bluffs, and it ...

September 7, 2006
Economics and ego build downtown San Diego's skyline – higher and higher.

A tall building takes a sizeable square of land and transforms it into multiple cubes of habitable space — story after story rising — converting once-empty sky into a series of interior chambers and environments. ...

August 24, 2006
How tall is tall?

According to the Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat, a high-rise building is any structure over 35 meters (about 115 feet) in height that is divided into regular intervals with occupiable levels. To be ...

August 24, 2006
Women Think That Men Are Hairy Women

I was about to participate in a seminar where women spend two days learning about men. I mentioned my upcoming appointment to a few friends and acquaintances and asked them what they thought. Woman One: ...

July 27, 2006
San Diego Indians built a large cactus barricade where the 94 and 15 now intersect

“A cactus will take a bullet just like a person, because of the thickness of their skins and all the water in them.”

Reader writers tell of great wedding moments and minor disasters

At Times It Was Like Shared Music, at Times Like a Skin Graft or Root Canal — Stephen Dobyns I do at a coffin sale — Dorothy Stewart A Ben & Jerry's Ice Cream Cake ...

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4S Ranch Allied Gardens Alpine Baja Balboa Park Bankers Hill Barrio Logan Bay Ho Bay Park Black Mountain Ranch Blossom Valley Bonita Bonsall Borrego Springs Boulevard Campo Cardiff-by-the-Sea Carlsbad Carmel Mountain Carmel Valley Chollas View Chula Vista City College City Heights Clairemont College Area Coronado CSU San Marcos Cuyamaca College Del Cerro Del Mar Descanso Downtown San Diego Eastlake East Village El Cajon Emerald Hills Encanto Encinitas Escondido Fallbrook Fletcher Hills Golden Hill Grant Hill Grantville Grossmont College Guatay Harbor Island Hillcrest Imperial Beach Imperial Valley Jacumba Jamacha-Lomita Jamul Julian Kearny Mesa Kensington La Jolla Lakeside La Mesa Lemon Grove Leucadia Liberty Station Lincoln Acres Lincoln Park Linda Vista Little Italy Logan Heights Mesa College Midway District MiraCosta College Miramar Miramar College Mira Mesa Mission Beach Mission Hills Mission Valley Mountain View Mount Hope Mount Laguna National City Nestor Normal Heights North Park Oak Park Ocean Beach Oceanside Old Town Otay Mesa Pacific Beach Pala Palomar College Palomar Mountain Paradise Hills Pauma Valley Pine Valley Point Loma Point Loma Nazarene Potrero Poway Rainbow Ramona Rancho Bernardo Rancho Penasquitos Rancho San Diego Rancho Santa Fe Rolando San Carlos San Marcos San Onofre Santa Ysabel Santee San Ysidro Scripps Ranch SDSU Serra Mesa Shelltown Shelter Island Sherman Heights Skyline Solana Beach Sorrento Valley Southcrest South Park Southwestern College Spring Valley Stockton Talmadge Temecula Tierrasanta Tijuana UCSD University City University Heights USD Valencia Park Valley Center Vista Warner Springs
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