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Stories by Siobhan Braun

San Diego Reader writers dig deep into Christmases past

The great Santa swindle came crashing down

Every Power Rangers toy known to man The exact moment the sleigh bells stopped jingling — by Chad Deal Sister Santa’s once-a-year smile I adored American Christmas — by Tam Hoang We were ruthless Christmas-letter ...

We were ruthless Christmas-letter mockers

But my husband's family wasn't

When I married my husband Aaron I was well aware of his political leanings, his thoughts on religion, and that he was a saver not a spender. What I did not know was that he ...

San Diego Reader 2017 guide to holiday fun

Bar crawl, good causes, Tijuana, Legoland, Zoo, Seaworld, Liberty Station,

A holiday tourist in my own city Tree farms, Nativity scene, gondola and trolley rides, Christmas movies by the pool. By Siobhan Braun Why not a holiday bar crawl? Bike ride, Messiah sing-along, Santacon bar ...

A holiday tourist in my own city

Tree farms, Nativity scene, gondola and trolley rides, Christmas movies by the pool

When Christmas season rolls around I like to become a tourist in my own city. My kids are out of school, my husband takes a week or two off of work, and the family and ...

Border Angels takes water out to Jacumba area for migrants

Most of plastic bottles left by volunteers are slashed

A small crowd gathers in the courtyard outside the Border Angels headquarters located at the Sherman Heights Community Center on Island Avenue four blocks south of State Route 94 and five blocks east of Interstate ...

San Diego Reader 2017 Fun issue

Eagle Mining, Bike the Bay, USS Midway, Lucha Libre

Climb the California Tower in Balboa Park Balboa Park’s California Tower at the San Diego Museum of Man was closed to the public in 1935, but after extensive construction and safety renovations it reopened for ...

For San Diego high schoolers, college is kind of scary

Middle school is not too early to think about it.

Last year, when my 16-year-old was a freshman in high school, we attended his school’s open house. I was interested in meeting his teachers and getting an idea of what his school day was like. ...

Stung on her first day

"I have been surfing the reefs trying to get used to having stuff underneath me besides the sand."

Name: Darian Alexandra Age: 23 Location: Pacific Beach Occupation: Server at Kono’s Cafe Darian Alexandra moved to Pacific Beach from northern Indiana on Christmas day 2014 with the sole purpose of learning to surf. She ...

Musicians, hippies, and travelers in Ocean Beach

Waves crash behind them

For some travelers, hope is the worst drug out there.

San Diego Reader 2016 guide to Holiday Fun

Santa run, holiday roasts, parades of lights, holiday vespers

I read somewhere that the reason you’re sad around Christmastime is because it’s a reminder of what you’ve lost since childhood: the belief that the world is a magical place that is interested in your ...

Not territorial yet

First time at Tabletops

Name: Christopher Mirendil Age: 30 Occupation: Engineer Location: Tabletops, Cardiff by the Sea On a two- to three-foot day, I find Christopher Mirendil nursing a bloody foot after a surf session at Tabletops. “Today I ...

Waves worth getting sick for

Colton Koons strengthens his immune system in the mouth of the San Diego River

Name: Colton Koons Age: 22 From: Serra Mesa Occupation: Beach Lifeguard Location: Ocean Beach Jetty Colton Koons is in the parking lot at the end of Santa Monica Avenue peeling off his wetsuit and getting ...

Swami’s with 100 guys — not so fun

The advantage of IB’s pollution

Names: Justin Mendhan, Walter Graen, and Mikial Tolmosoff Location: Tijuana Slough Mikial Tolmosoff, a visual artist, and Justin Mendhan, construction worker, both 28, have been riding waves together in Imperial Beach since they were 10 ...

Get a Costco foam board

And don't go to Windansea

Name: Nick Manverg Age: 23 Occupation: Bartender/Student at the University of St. Augustine Location: Crystal Pier Board: Firewire 5’6 Nick Manverg grew up in Temecula, an excruciating 40-minute drive to the beach. As a kid ...

PB surfer departs for Texas

“I know I am going to miss this.”

Kelsey Gonzalez Age: 25 Hometown: Point Loma Favorite Surf Spot: Old Man’s, Pacific Beach Kelsey Gonzalez is moving to Texas in one week. She is trying to get into the water as much as possible. ...

Sometimes I.B. looks like Pipeline

It’s not the cleanest, but sometimes you just go out anyway.

Name: Jake Wilsie Age: 19 Occupation: Surf Instruction Location: South Mission Favorite Surf Spot: Sunset Cliffs It’s a Tuesday afternoon, and Jake Wilse is peeling off his wetsuit after giving a private lesson to a ...

What are you doing here? I'm married!

He looked like a clean-cut guy at the stoplight.

Rachel looks like a soccer mom. On most days her minivan is cluttered with backpacks and sports gear. Leftover Goldfish and Cheerios are ground into the floorboards. When dropping her kids off at school in ...

Unforgiving Hospitals

An aggressive reef break

Name: Josh Turner Age: 20 Occupation: Valet Location: Tourmaline Surf Park, PB Favorite Surf Spot: Hospitals, La Jolla Josh Turner’s introduction to surfing came by way of a Surfari Surf School class in Mission Beach ...

San Diego's sex trade is second-largest underground economy after drugs

We need our hearts broken over this

A leopard-print sign hanging on Andrea Smith’s front door announces, “I am a luxury few can afford.” Three years ago there was heavy truth in that statement. Smith was bringing in about $2500 a night ...

San Diego Reader 2016 fun issue

A million things under the sun — we offer a few (some indoors)

County Administration Center Waterfront Park In 2014, 12 acres of former parking lots were converted into a public park facing San Diego Bay. Running both north and south of the county government headquarters established in ...

SHARK! No, dolphin

Name: Arturo Baravalle Age: 26 Occupation: tennis coach Favorite surf spot: PB Point On a foggy Tuesday morning, Arturo Baravalle suited up to surf La Jolla Shores. Baravalle moved to San Diego last June with ...

Charley don’t like 50-year-old guys acting like little girls

"I get my waves."

Name: Charley Stevens Age: 28 Occupation: Bartender Location: Sunset Cliffs Subs Charley Stevens speaks like a surfer with slow and lazy vowels. He moved to Ocean Beach four years ago. He learned to surf in ...

He kept snaking me

Blatantly frisky dolphins...only at Black’s

NAME: Jackson Lettow AGE: 15 LOCATION: Scripps Pier FAVORITE SURF SPOT: Cardiff or Scripps on a big day with no wind I distinctly remember going out one day with my dad when I was about ...

50,000 Chaldeans live in El Cajon

Most of them Trump supporters

Speaking English is eighth on their priority list.

Quick survey of San Diego primary voters

Trump is a farce, Bernie is a farce, Hillary is a farce

When a presidential election season rolls around, my husband and I make an effort to avoid voicing our opinions. Our political views have been in contrast for the past 18 years. In the beginning of ...

I know when it’s my turn

Surfing Cardiff

Sixteen-year-old Julie Schuman, a Cardiff native, ranks among the top three spots in the lady longboarders 18-and-under-category. She has been surfing since she was six years old. “There were always a bunch of kids out ...

"I don't get people being vibey."

A special board, just for El Niño

Name: Bob Thomas Age: 57 Occupation: English as a second language, San Diego Community College District Lives in: Ocean Beach Surfing: O.B. Pier “This is my favorite spot. I live down the street. My buddies ...

Slowly, the population of Grazin’ Pig Acres grew

We had no idea that our first pig was leading to this

If you make a right onto Dye Road off SR-67 north, past a sign advertising midget wrestling, tucked amidst dusty chaparral and dirt roads, you’ll find Grazin’ Pig Acres. A kitschy “Pig Lover” sign announces ...

Art in every corner of San Diego

There is so much more to San Diego than a good tan and 70 miles of coastline. We are a city overflowing with creators, dreamers, and breathtaking natural beauty. In San Diego, art is found ...

Miss USA vs. Miss America rivalry even in San Diego

Donald Trump is the enemy

“Miss USA girls want to grow up and become lingerie models. Miss America girls want to be doctors and lawyers.”

A mournful National Dog Day in Ocean Beach

Maltipoo shaken "like a chew toy," killed; attacker's owner splits scene

Regina Lovato liked to take her Maltipoo (Maltese-poodle mix), Aria, and her blue pit bull, Yates, to Ocean Beach’s Dog Beach nearly every afternoon. Since Aria was attacked and killed by a black Labrador-retriever mix ...

The Innocence Project wants to help wrongly accused

Uriah Courtney still struggles

The California Institution for Women in Chino is dusty and dilapidated. It looks like an abandoned high school outfitted with razor-wire-topped fencing and look-out towers with armed guards. At 8:00 a.m. on an overcast Saturday ...

SDSU , UCSD students, others tell worst roommate stories

Cohabitation frustration

No fun with mushroom girls and those on China time.

San Diego guitar and banjo makers

American Dream, Deering Banjos, Taylor Guitars, Go Guitars

At Sam Radding’s shop, the twang was destined to meet.

San Diego Reader 2015 Fun issue

Adobe Falls, Loma Club, Collier Park, La Mesa secret stairs, snorkel with sharks, Oasis Camel Dairy, tunnel skating in Playas

Urban Adventures Beach Town Suburban Ocean & Bay Backcountry Mexico

Combat boots storm campus

Docs, vintage style, and trendy takes on the durable classic

Fashion always recycles itself as evidenced by the proliferation of high-waisted pants and the return of stonewashed denim. It’s no surprise that the 90s grunge-girl staple — the combat boot — has resurfaced in a ...

Reader writers tell stories about Mom

High-waisted denim and pink lipstick

Wonder and Hope — Mom always convinced me it would be an adventure. By Ian Anderson The Animal Keeper— Animals spoke to my mother “in a language only she understood.” By Whitney Butler La Gringa ...

The otherness that burdened my mother

My mother first stepped foot in America in 1957 at the age of six. She was porcelain-skinned and freckle-faced with a shock of curly red hair. My grandfather waited on the tarmac as his family ...

What we hate about San Diego

America’s Finest bitch fest

A childhood friend of mine from Chicago recently admitted that she unfollowed my Facebook feed. “In February Chicago had its coldest month on record since 1875! We froze our asses off. Looking at pictures of ...

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