Archive for September, 2004

South County Saturday

Days like this make you wonder how you can make lots more money, so you can stay in this place, maybe buy a house with an ocean view. I spent the afternoon sailing off the coast of Dana Point in a 34 ft racer called Pendragon. This was my first time on this boat and as the only female crew member, I was pleasantly surprised by the genial atmosphere and good natured kidding. With winds maxing out at 14 knots, sea pretty mellow and lots of fellow boaters enjoying the sea and sun, it was a sweet day for those who love the wind in their hair.

The question arose, where is there a better place than Orange County? Others may have less traffic, more open space (although if you have access to the ocean, space is not a problem!) or cheaper housing. However, where else can you sail safely 350 days a year? More to the point for the majority of land lubbers, where else can you avoid nasty hurricanes in the summer or mosquitoes the size of sea gulls, long grey days in the winter or worse yet, blizzards that eat garages for lunch, and find the triumvirat of pluses…sea, mountains and desert…all in one place?

Next question…where in Orange Country is there a more mellow, laid back harbor than Dana Pt? Dress is definitely not Newport Beach, but mostly tanks and shorts or T’s and jeans, most looking like they just got off the fishing boat…the occasional Saturday night dressup groups looked decidedly out of place. And when was the last time you spent an hour in O.C. without having to wonder whether those cell phones are detachable? Well, here at the marina, I was the only one I saw checking messages, and no ghastly multi-tasking while hanging with friends was observed.

After the cobwebs were cleared from my brain by 3 hours of sailing, I took a little tour of some of my favorite spots and decided to indulge in some Fish & Chips at Jon’s Fish Market. I know, I know…I’m supposed to be the nutrition guru (or “nurtition nazi”, depending on your perspective) but once a month or so, I deserve a treat. If you like halibut with that crispy, shiny fried shell, you’ll love this place…or if you want to be a saint, then go for the grilled fresh halibut…but eventually, you’ll have to try the fish & chips…substitute the cole slaw for fries to get some cruciferous veggies and feel more smug. Oh, and unless you’re gargantuan or aspire to get that way, go for the Fish Boat (only $6.50) for normal portions, for normal folks…otherwise, find a friend ‘cuz your gonna wanna share.

More good news…people say hello and even talk to you in Dana Pt. I observed a man in a charcoal 3-piece suit, with at least 3 dozen roses, looking for someone…blind date? I hope not, she’ll be overwhelmed, although he was quite an attractive man so I doubt he was that desparate. Anyway, my patio neighbors who were also knoshing F&Chips, noticed him too and we smiled and started chatting about dating, partying and Catalina getaways. Eating alone is not always cool unless there is a great sunset, interesting people to watch and a little chat with your patio neighbors. Then, it’s a satisfying end to another South County day!

Ford Tri-Motor crash at Fullerton Airport

tri-motor crash.JPGToday at the Fullerton Airport Day the Ford Tri-Motor that is based out of Fullerton crashed. The only two people on board were the pilot and a mechanic. Both of who survived and were transported to UCI Med Center along with one person on the ground.

I was there with my Civil Air Patrol squadron, so I will tell you what I know and have heard. Earlier in the day, the Tri-Motor was having mechanical problems. This is what I had heard from a friend who works with its mechanical crew. It had a fuel leak and water on the magnetos (hopefully I got the language right, I have little idea what this means.)

They were taking the Tri-Motor up on a shakedown flight to ensure it was working properly. On takeoff, the plane lost power to the left engine and started to veer towards the crowds and aircraft on display. The pilot gunned the engines in order to get the plane off the ground and miss the people. After leaving the ground, he was perpendicular to the runway, pointed right at the tower. He made a hard left to avoid the tower, which he only did by inches. By this point, he had a wing pointed into the air and another pointed at the ground. He lost lift, continued the arch he was on which took him into a nose down position at less then a hundred feet above the ground. He crashed into the middle of the street next to the Airport, Commonwealth. He clipped a car, and the driver was transported to the hospital.

I don’t know how the two onboard the plane survived. One was still in the wreckage and I watched as they pulled him out and got him breathing again. The other was ejected from the plane on impact. I didn’t see him, but I hear he wasn’t as badly injured as the one they pulled from the plane.

It is terrible when things happen like this. That was a beautiful aircraft, one that I have flown in before and was looking forward to flying in again today. We can only be thankful that it wasn’t a fully loaded plane and that nobody was killed. I hope the three people injured make it through, I’m sure I will be thinking of them.


Is it just me, or does anyone else think the subtitle of KOCE’s news show “Real Orange” should be subtitled, “Not from Concentrate”?

Or maybe just “Fresh squeezed news.”

Okay, maybe not.

What’s a fan to do?

Oh, my Angels. My poor, sad, beaten-hard-like-a-pony-by-last-place-Seattle Angels. They’re down to 10 games left, and have only won four of their last 10. Texas has been hot, winning seven of their last 10 (four in a row), and now it’s a three-way race for the right to play in October.

All is not lost, however. For as poorly as Anaheim’s been playing, first place Oakland’s been just as bad, and has done more to keep the Angels in the race than the Angels have. Of Anaheim’s next (and final) 10 games, six of them are against Oakland, meaning we’ve still got a good shot at winning the division. And if you’re still looking for more silver lining in all this, realize that there’s no way the Angels can lose today.

They have the day off.

Our Number One Fan

Wow, OC Weekly‘s Commie Girl loves us. She really loves us…

Ha ha ha ha! It’s the worst blog ever! Are you dying to know what it’s like to sit in line at In-N-Out? Need a link to an LA Times story on Larry Agran that followed the OC Weekly’s scoop by, oh, five weeks? How about a comment (to a post on some Kerry folk holding Honk For Kerry signs) reading thusly: “I dislike anything which brings loud noise into an environment to which I retreat for relaxation and relief of stress. The honking of car horns bothers me. I don’t like it.”? How about many, many references to the Orange Curtain?
Then oh, baby, it’s the place for you.

We love you too, Becky… Even if your blog is missing permalinks and broken in anything that’s not Internet Explorer. We accept your faults, even if you can’t accept us for ours.

If this trash talking continues, you are so not going in our blogroll.

Pho-nominal? Pho shizzle.

For the past two years or so, even on days as hot and unsoupworthy as yesterday, my belly cries out for Pho: a big bowl of beef broth, Vietnamese rice noodles, bean sprouts, basil and lean, rare beef. I drown it with hot chili sauce and spend an hour slurping it up like it’s the last meal I’ll ever eat.

My new favorite Pho spot is Pho 99 on Harbor Blvd., near Adams. It’s in a tiny, nondescript strip mall that also houses the Moscow Deli, a chirrpractor and a little flower shack (across Harbor from Target). Pho 99 is always crowded at lunchtime. The prices are good (although they charge $1.25 for a little shotglass of Diet Coke and refills aren’t free) and the food is just phonomenal.

Another great Pho spot is Tang Hoang Huong (I know I’ve masacred that name) on Chapman, near Prospect in Orange. It’s tucked away in the back of a little shopping center (also includes a Papa John’s, a dry cleaner and a dance studio).

Why Aren’t They Smiling?

Driving up El Toro Road today, I passed three cars with “W-04” bumper stickers and one with a Kerry-Edwards bumper sticker. In the heart of the Orange, this result was to be expected. But with all the alledged “good news” of last week — the polls showing the race to be “at worst” neck and neck — the Bush drivers did not strike me as happy. And at the heart of it, I knew why. They were worried about losing the frills — their Hummers, their swimming pools, etc.

At the Aliso Viejo Barnes and Noble tonight, a columnist from the Register was slated to speak. Even in this age of “conservative” dominion, he was preaching the evil of government. Excuse me? You don’t like what the government does and yet you support this undercutter of civil liberties who is the government? I’m sure that deep down they feel the pain of the contradiction. It’s inescapable. Which is why the drivers on El Toro looked so nervous.

There’s the story of a Turkish poet who was imprisoned by the Ottoman Empire and thrown in the bilges of a ship. For those of you who are not familiar with maritime construction, the bilge is the sewer, where the sailers hang from the rafters and deposit the redigestion of their daily hardtack so that the ship will not become slowly unbalanced by the loss of weight. It’s a fetid place, unchlorinated and stinking of past meals, of intestinal dross and kidney pollution. His tormentors — classic rightists who torture for words — hoped to silence him. But this poet begin to sing all the folk songs he could remember from his youth. After two or three days of his refusal to allow them to rob him of his joy, they pulled him out. They could not bear their failure.

That man was a liberal. Ready to suffer for his beliefs to demonstrate the absurdity of being punished for being alive.

So what I do is smile. I smile because I am a liberal. I smile because regardless of what material possessions they extort from me, what they do to my body, what they deny me for reasons of politics or just juggling the books, they cannot steal my exuberant love for being alive. I smile because I know that I am not a slave to their value system. I smile because all I need is the skin on my shoulders, the hair on my head, a mouth, hands, and feet.

And they don’t know how good they have it. That’s a reason to pity them.

County Rangers Authority Broadened

According to the Los Angeles Times [reg. req] Orange County’s park rangers have been given the authority to write citations and carry pepper spray.

The civil citations carry fines of $100 for a first offense, $200 for a second and $300 for a third. Supervisors asked parks officials to produce a written proposal and timeline for the citation program and suggested they consider fines of less than $100 for minor offenses such as dog-leash violations.

Supervisors said they wanted rangers to continue to build a positive relationship with park visitors and use citations only as a last resort.

“Our rangers have a great relationship with the public,” Campbell said. “I don’t want this to be a fundraiser for Harbor, Beaches and Parks.”

I’ve had no problems with rangers in the past – in fact they’ve been even handed in every situation that I’ve had to deal with them. I just hope this little dose of power doesn’t turn them into dicks.

Our Local Foehn

The first branches began to bend last night. Dust loosened by the hooves of deer, the stomp of hikers, and the scratchings of trail-bikers lifted off the sides of the hills and took flight. Here in Portola Hills, just above Cook’s Corner, the canyon belched and heaved. The season of fear, crankiness, and itching had commenced. The National Weather Service confirmed what is for Southern Californians the equivalent of the “Color Line” marching down through the maples of the Eastern seaboard: the Santa Ana Winds had begun their howl.

I don’t know who sanctified these gusts and gales. There is little saintly about them. They kick sand in your eyes, sandblast windshields, knock down trees, suffocate asthmatics, and blow windows right out of their frames. Santana — devil — suits them better and, perhaps, that is what some soldier in the Portola Expedition first called them until corrected by Padre Serra as they hoofed their way north towards the San Francisco Bay, losing a blunderbuss in these parts.

I have known them to blow with the force of hurricane in the places where the canyons narrow. When they sweep across the alluvial fans, they die down a bit. But those of us who live closest to what is left of Orange County nature, they throw themselves about brashly, overturning the occasional trailer or car.

There’s nothing much we can do about them except right what they have blown down or replace what they have broken. The winds are as old as the hills. Until we level this place into one gigantic Kansas we’re stuck with them. Though there may be some willing to pay that price as they have blissfully done away with the open grasslands, the live oak forests, and the coastal chapparal in this county that chews up the land, the mountains shall stand. And, from time to time on the backs of these gales, they shall breath fire.

Be safe when you travel in the backcountry. The season of the burning is here and our drought-starved land gladly gives itself to be food for the red mouth of Satan, the renewer of greasewood.

Mile Square Park to be renamed?

According to this LA Times article, county supervisor, Jim Silva, wants to change the name of Mile Square Regional Park to Ronald Regan Park. Chances are though, it

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