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Stories by Mike Madriaga

Valentino Frankenstein’s tribute to Gary Numan

Valentino Frankenstein pre-ordered the Intruder CD from Gary Numan’s site. It’ll ship on May 21. “In 2021, I still play Gary Numan CDs in my Ford minivan,” said the 6’4” musician from Escondido. Numan, a ...

February 25, 2021
Traffic circles safer, but maybe not for bikes

Word on the streets is there's an uptick in confusion between cyclists and motorists at San Diego circular intersections. The disorder is partly due to the newly developed roundabouts and traffic circles throughout the county, ...

Uninvited guests on West Country Club Lane

A loud "boom" woke up Claribel Ramirez's household about 2:45 a.m. on February 4. "When we came out of our rooms, the whole house was like in a cloud of smoke. All seven of us, ...

February 16, 2021
Rudy Serrano: Croc-verted by Post Malone

Sneaker-head Rudy Serrano was given a pair of Crocs on December 8. “My girlfriend woke up at six in the morning to buy them for me. Thank you, babe.” Serrano’s pair of black and pink ...

February 11, 2021
Nomad John Sears and mules try Poway Road, Beyer Boulevard

A feeling of déjà vu struck John Sears and perhaps his two mules when county sheriffs recently escorted them out of the Poway city limits. "It was about a week ago," Sears said to me ...

Theft from fire engine traced to Gaglione Brothers hat

On January 22, a white male climbed into a San Diego Fire-Rescue Department fire engine and took a bag from the firefighters "while they were hard at work putting out the fire," Facebooked the San ...

February 2, 2021
TikTok pushes quesadillas beyond Mexican food

Since the second week of January, San Diegans noticed a shortage of giant-sized tortillas. The anomaly is partly due to the TikTok app, and its 3 billion and counting #tortillatrend hashtagged video views. It seems ...

January 26, 2021
Hip-hop drug use explained

I see the devil in reflections of my phone screen/cause social media’s our vitamins and protein/ Addicted to the dopamine, rush from the scrolls/ Depression and anxiety from internet trolls... So goes the hook to ...

January 21, 2021
Artist Sand One gets copied in Tijuana, defaced in City Heights and North Park

On January 5, Sand One pulled into an undisclosed Tijuana strip mall where a questionable "doll" is depicted on an eyelash extension salon's signage. She activated her phone's camera, then zoomed into the doll's larger ...

San Diego firemen face fires and cancer

On January 10, SDFireBrigade posted an Instagram video of a burning truck in the "#sandiego .... airport parking garage" filmed by @OnSceneTV earlier that morning. The day before and about 30 miles east of the ...

January 15, 2021
Hip-hop artist Kahlee310 on 9-to-5 jobs

Hip-hop 9 to 5: After concert venues shuttered in March, many San Diego hip-hop artists reverted to regular jobs, following the beat of former and current Billboard charting rappers. “I have friends who were full-time ...

January 14, 2021
Breaking debuts as a sport at the 2024 Paris Olympics

Breakdancing was in the news on December 8 when the International Olympic Committee announced breaking would debut as a sport at the 2024 Paris Olympics. Breaking started as one of the four original elements of ...

January 7, 2021
What San Diego's low-riders are left with at the end of 2020

On December 12, Charger Steve jumped into his lifted Toyota, flipped on the under-chassis neon lights, and drove to meet his buddies at D’s Ribs & Wings, a block west of Highway 67 in Santee ...

January 6, 2021
San Diegans – never leave anything in your car – especially tools

At about New Year’s Eve, a south San Diego woman posted a Facebook meme warning her neighbors of a thief, or thieves, that stole nearly $8,000 worth of Milwaukee tools from her boyfriend’s truck, which ...

San Diego fruit growers use falcons as pest control

"Regarding the pest control industry as a whole, we've seen a spike in calls and workload, particularly in residential areas," said Joshua Crowl of SteadfastFalconry.com. "It's because most of the people are at home, and ...

San Diego Reader writers alone at Christmas

Christmas Jerk I managed to avoid being homeless on Christmas Eve 1979, but just barely. Unemployed since that summer, I found a cheap flophouse on 12th and Island where 70 bucks a month got me ...

December 23, 2020
Un-Boll-Weevil-ble

The South San Diego Boll Weevil is the latest casualty among San Diego original restaurants closing this month. "We had to take the condiment trays away once Covid hit," explained Alisha Russell. "To me, it ...

December 22, 2020
Needle to the groove

Since the shutdown of our venues county-wide in March, record sales are trending upwards for most of our local record vendors. One reason for the uptick in sales is that old heads are sharing the ...

December 17, 2020
Patching San Diego curbs is only a patch job

In the last 30 days, there were about 210 curb-related reports on our city's Get It Done app. Requests for reapplying red paint on pinkish-hued, faded curbs are a common request. When motorists park within ...

Señor Snoop Dogg

Ven aquí, ay, mami /Holla at me. So begins Snoop Dogg’s verse in “Qué Maldición,” a banda-rap meld that Banda MS and the Long Beach rapper dropped in May. “Snoop Dogg loves corridos, güey, especially ...

December 10, 2020
Imperial Beach helps those in Cumbres de Rubi who lost homes

On December 3, over 30 homes reportedly burned down in the Cumbres del Rubí neighborhood of Tijuana. M. García reportedly died attempting to rescue her cats. "She was a really nice lady," Ana Wooten said ...

Thrown-away fruit washes up in Imperial Beach

On Thanksgiving, Carolyn Flores saw a photo of fruits and vegetables strewn along the beach just south of the Imperial Beach Pier. "I was outraged to see that somebody can throw away food when there ...

Hip hop auctions bring vinyl and boombox boom

On September 15, Sotheby’s, the centuries-old international auction house, auctioned more than $2 million worth of hip-hop memorabilia. “I bid, but when it got past $500, I put down my paddle,” said Les Delos Santos, ...

November 26, 2020
Influencer Andrew Muse sucker-punched at secret Baja surf spot

On November 5, Andrew Muse said he was just sucker-punched in the chin by a fellow American in Baja, California. “At that point, [my cameraman] Liam and I brought him to the ground where not ...

November 24, 2020
San Diego tattoo artists pull back from Friday the 13th specials

On Friday the 13th, over 40 tattoo collectors lined up in front of Funhouse Tattoo and its neighbors in Pacific Beach for the parlor's $44 flash tattoo special. A handful couldn't bear the hours-long wait ...

November 17, 2020
BTS’s “Dynamite” reaches number one on Billboard’s Hot 100 songs chart

On September 28, “Dynamite” by K-Pop band BTS blew past Cardi B’s “WAP” and Drake’s “Laugh Now Cry Later,” reaching the number one spot on Billboard’s Hot 100 songs chart. The feat was the third ...

November 12, 2020
Trash on shore in Mission Beach mounts

"I, along with the others, are extremely angry over the lack of enforcement on Halloween; there were only two police cars at the parking lot at Belmont, and on the beach, there was a couple ...

November 10, 2020
San Diego bike owners take things into their own hands

"Detectives in northern division received a report regarding a theft near 5700 Santa Fe St.," posted the San Diego Police Department on social media on October 26. "They were able to find [a] video showing ...

Clout chasing with 50 cent

“It means buttering up to advance one’s cause,” J. Suarez said, “now the presidential candidates are clout chasin’ with hip-hop artists to sway our votes.” J. Suarez is a south San Diego hip-hop dancer and ...

October 29, 2020
Escondido police cut off scanners

Hairstylist Gregory Bloomberg has been somewhat in the dark since his police scanner apps lost its Escondido Police Department dispatch signal. "It has caused anxiety when sirens are going on, and there aren't answers such ...

October 27, 2020
Cavalcade marks the earlier U.S.-Mexican borders

On October 11, between 2:30-4 p.m., hundreds of "cowboys and cowgirls" trotted and galloped their horses across the Boulevard 2000 freeway in southern Rosarito. "There were about 700 horses documented," said Diego Knight of the ...

October 21, 2020
Tijuana 24-year-old to vie for chess championship

On October 26-30, Carlos Alfredo Hernandez Rendon will represent his Universidad Autónoma de Baja California college alumni at the 2020 World University Online Chess Championship. I reached out to the 24-year-old engineering student on October ...

October 14, 2020
IB closes skatepark

A SKATEPARK CLOSED meme was posted by the City of Imperial Beach Government’s Facebook moderator on September 18. “The skate park is closed because someone broke the security cameras there,” said Cristbel Adams. “Also, I ...

New Tijuana traffic fines: $232 for drunk driving, $388 for speeding

Tijuana cops will carry an electronic device now, kinda like an iPad linked to the U.S. information archives for vehicles,” explained Pedro Vargas from Tijuana. “You will be able to pay on the spot with ...

September 29, 2020
Not your father's Normal Heights

On September 19, video footage surfaced online of an impromptu art gallery in Normal Heights. The "mystery artist" hand-painted murals on what appeared to be dead palm tree leaves and strung them along a fence ...

September 22, 2020
Rapper Chris “KILLcRey” Reyes transitions to Twitch for performance streaming

Twitch is an internet streaming platform known for its live video game streams. Its name is based on gamers’ vernacular for the act of twitch video gaming, in which the player abruptly moves, or twitches, ...

September 17, 2020
Cheap alternative to the San Diego Zoo

In the last few days, photos and videos of snakes hissing and slithering within the confines of Mexicali vehicles have surfaced online. “The last photo was with a viper,” captioned Juan M. underneath a Facebook ...

September 15, 2020
Selena comes to Rosarito’s Baja Studios

Netflix is reportedly spending $20 million at Rosarito’s Baja Studios for the new Selena: The Series show based on the life and death of Selena Quintanilla, the late “Queen of Tex-Mex” music. “The biggest advantage ...

September 10, 2020
Most crimes in San Diego down since March

By the end of August, certain crime rates dropped while others peaked in parts of the county compared to March. “I figured burglaries would be the crime that would be most affected because everybody’s home,” ...

Papas & corona

On August 15, some reggaeton music fans and partyrs rejoiced, when the ElImparcial.com news outlet across the border posted a story reading in part: “In Rosarito, a massive event organized by the Papas & Beer ...

September 3, 2020
Baja not stopping its sports

That boy thinks he's fighting an octopus," said a spectator watching the fight in the stands seconds after 16-year-old Ashton Sylve punched Juan Magallanes in his gut dropping him to the mat. The ref counts: ...

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