In honor of the World Cup.

Look at those legs!  This guy is so strong he spans two boxes.


Two Great Tastes

First, you look at this sign and think, "Good lord!  That is just exactly what my life is missing!  Tacos!  And Ice Cream!  Together!!"

And then you take a step back, and it gets even better.  TEXAS Taco and Ice Cream. 

What makes this even EVEN better is that we found this in Beacon, NY last fall.


Climbing Trip - El Cajon Pics

After a 2 hour approach from down at the base of the valley, we climbed a few pitches at El Cajon, and it was epic.  Epic in all the good ways.

As you can see, there is are quite a few vertical feet between where we were, and the base of the valley.  Stairmaster has got nothin' on El Cajon.

It has been raining a lot due to an El Nino year, so the grass was quite lush.  Love was in the air.

Once we got up at the base of the climbs, a fierce breeze picked up.  Hats were donned under helmets, polypro under shells.   We layer like champs.

I managed to cram my helmet on top of a warm hat.

A few pitches up, that wall below me is just a bit off vertical.

This pic was taken after I climbed past Ian and his awesome hanging belay.  It is looking down the cliff to the valley below.

Awesome hat head at the end of the day!

We were treated to a lovely sunset at the end of our adventure.


Nighttime, Daytime, and Chicken Boxes

Aquatic, marshy goodness in evening  blue hues.  Damn kids got to this one, too.

I like the simplicity and the elemental, almost guilelessness of the shapes and colours.

Similar vibe, possibly the same artist.  It is representative of local banana palms and offers the daytime partner piece to the above shown evening interlude.

Holy cow!  This is a contemporary utility box MASTERPIECE!!!  Look at the ornamental framing, the use of bright colours, the fantastic portraits of foul, the perky comb, the festive and impressive overall vibe.  Ladies and gentlemen, we have a winner.  This one takes the cake.  Well, the second cake, since the first cake will go to all the utility boxes we paint with the Texas flag.


Really Bad Public Art

This is some really bad public art, and not in the "it is so bad it is good" way.  It is just bad.

It is a fountain in the courtyard of a fancy pants hotel in downtown San Diego.

Granted, I am not the world's biggest fan of dolphins and swordfish as motifs in art, nor do I tend to adore tall plastic and metal obelisks, and I have a bit of a bias against the Tuscan La Quinta Inn style of architecture, but really.  Come on.  This is just so very bad!


Chipped Out at 115

Big news!  Huge windfall!  Astounding good luck!  No, it isn't luck.  It is skill.  It is mastery. It is awesomeness.

I chipped out with this pile in Ian's crib.

Add that up.

I am certain IQ is sharing in my delight, as rooting for each other and being thrilled with each other's successes is one of the sweet and steadfast cornerstones in our relationship.  He loves it when I win win win.


Bachelors Flat

This is where IQ will have to move if that "IQ loves HB" crap doesn't get cleaned up.  They are so cheap and crappy they don't even have an apostrophe.


Utility Boxes - I Keep 'Em Coming!

This ethnocentric/ingredientocentric box was found outside a little mom and pop Italian restaurant.  I love the cascading ravioli and the garlic heads.  I am not a fan of the graffiti.  Damn kids.

If you are wondering what kind of ingredients they use, just check out the box!

What's up, teeth?

Nice, bright designs here.  I, of course, love the peacock.  What is up with that tiger?  I think he is mad that he is placed between two things he would love to eat, but can't get at due to his confinement on the box.

This box is in Hillcrest.

This box is in Barrio Logan, a few blocks from Chicano Park, home of awesome murals, community history, and great food.  It depicts a super cool pinata, and papel picado decorations.

The damn kids got to this one, too and tagged it.  Grrrr.  I feel like the tiger in the above depicted box.

I find it interesting that this box is showing pictograph and petroglyph style images, and that the top of the box is basically a heading for the sides of the box.  What is not surprising or terribly interesting is that this box is in a super over-educated white person neighborhood.

This box shows people hanging out with dinosaurs.  I looked around the other side of the box for Pakune and Sleestacks, but they must be on another utility box that got swallowed up by an earthquake or fell over a water fall on a rafting trip.


Here's a factoid for you - I was a roller skating waitress at a diner for a little while in college.  My hair never looked as good as this waitress' hair looks.

 I don't know what these people were thinking.  Maybe it is some sort of impressionistic abstract seascape?

It doesn't seem to add to its environment.

I'm thinking of painting our own utility box.  I've studied the great masters of utility boxes.  Maybe it is time to venture forth and leave my mark on San Diego.  -On San Diego Utility Boxes.  IQ and I are thinking of painting one to look like the Texas flag.  Actually, I mislead you, my dear reader.  We are actually thinking of painting dozens and dozens and dozens of utility boxes to look like the Texas flag.

You and I both know this is a totally awesome idea.

Today! International Respect for Chickens Day!

United Poultry Concerns wants you to stick up for chickens.



IQ and HB, You Are So Busted

IQ loves HB??  OH REALLY???  There better be another IQ out there, otherwise heads are gonna roll.  


Get Your Own Hobby

In response to one of our Loyal Readers who suggested I get a hobby and quit photographing the Painted Utility Boxes of San Diego, I say this:

Get your own damn hobby.

That said, I now present you with even more of my utility box finds.

This box portrays a rather industrial-looking building with one heck of an antennae, somewhere in front of a mountain range.  While this box lives in North Park, I think it is portraying the San Diego East County government building.

I think the design would have been more strong had they incorporated the safety label into the building itself, rather than design the building around the label.

This utility box tells the story of the agrarian life on the family farm being encroached upon, divided up, and parceled out by modern life and highway culture.  What was once all pastures is now chopped up by highways stuffed bumper to bumper with cookie cutter identical vehicles.  The drivers of these vehicles are emotionally stunted by their lack of connection to the land.  This fact is symbolized in the art by the lack of any portrayal or depiction of the drivers.  The only wildlife are carrion birds.

While this isn't a utility box per se, it is a street light, and street lights are part of the overall utility infrastructure.  It is a stretch, but I'm going with it.

This very cool looking stenciled bit of art is on the base of a street light outside and Italian coffee shop in North Park where I had a really lousy chai and a really awesome pastry.  Anybody know who this is supposed to be?

The top of this utility box shows a good sized common king snake.  King snakes are common in many of San Diego's little canyons and ravines, and do a heck of job of keeping the rodent population down.  They probably also keep the lagomorph population down, but I'm not going to ponder cute little bunnies being suffocated by the constricting coils of a cold blooded predator.  That thought bums me out.

Aquatic theme, lots of eyeballs, Mac the Knife.

Adjacent box, still aquatic, still some eyeballs, and how small is that surfboard if it is the right size for a seahorse?

Wow. What a babe.  This hot utility box was photographed in IB. That 'hood is not afraid of sultry sirens.

Even the mermaids get Restylane here in SoCal.


My Census Job

To riff on this past year's theme of my bizarre employment or lack thereof, I have been in training for the past week or so for my deeply glamorous and fulfilling new work gig with the the US Census.  We all have preconceptions about what a bunch of idiots the census takers are, and I'm here to share with you just a few little gems from my training with the census.

Our census worker training sessions met in a temporary building, unironically referred to "The Outhouse", situated behind a union workers' meeting hall.  Our outhouse sported dark faux-wood paneling and metal folding chairs which created a cozy rec-room pizza party vibe.  The cool vibe almost, but not quite, cancelled out the  musty veterinarian office odor wafting up from the wall to wall indoor-outdoor carpet.  That carpet really tied the room together.

Here are a few bright and shining highlights from census training:

When covering a training module regarding personal safety, our instructor gave us the very reasonable guidance to avoid areas that are known to be dangerous or areas we feel could might even maybe possibly be dangerous.  Don't go into apartment buildings where the hall lights are burned out, don't go into condemned buildings, don't do your work after dark, don't get yourself tangled up in the fangs of a fierce attack dog.  All of these points are valid and reasonable.

One of my fellow census workers then asked, "As a census worker, can I carry my firearm?"

Two points:  1) I don't know!  CAN you?  It is  MAY I carry my firearm, little Mr. Poor Grammar Militia Guy!  2) Really??  Are you really asking that question?  Why on God's green earth would a census worker need to carry a firearm?

Seriously, we are counting people in households.  We are not on the SWAT team. The gun carry question then metastasized into this fellow informing all of us at census training of our constitutional rights, his concealed carry permit, and the California law that allows all of us to carry unloaded weapons, which we all know are really really useful.  This topic was workshopped for a good twenty minutes, handbooks and training manuals were checked and rechecked, phone calls to superiors were made, and the conclusion was reached that since the census training manual does not explicitly overrule our constitutional rights to keep and bear arms, then it looks like we are good to go on the weapons carrying.  Good to know.

My second favourite census training moment came when we were covering the training section wherein it is explained that it is not our job, as census workers, to report illegal activity and that no negative ramifications can come to an individual as the outcome of complying with the census.  The point, no matter how convoluted the presentation in training, is that all census info is confidential, census data is not used to cross reference with immigration information, no deportations will occur as a result of participating in the census, and no personal information is made public for 72 years after the gathering of said personal information. The census takers are counting how many folks are in the household, not who has a green card and who doesn't.

One of my fellow census trainees then asked, "What if you go to a door and some guy is killing some lady?"

Excellent question, to which I ask, "Do you really think if somebody is murdering somebody else they will come to the door to answer your census questions??"

Knock! Knock!  "Hi, I'm Joe from the US Census!  How many people are in your household?"

"Well, it was 2, but now we are down to 1."

"OK, thanks!  Hmm, since you are killing that lady right now, I'm wondering how many people were in your house as of April 1, 2010?"

"Oh, I see! Since I just killed this lady today, it would be 2 total in household back on April 1, 2010."

"Thanks for your participation in the US Census!  Goodbye!"

I imagine more gems will present themselves soon enough, and I"ll be sure to tell you all about them.


Tito Gaona Utility Box

Who doesn't love a circus on their box?


You Can't Hold a Good Utility Box Down

Our tour of found-art and colorful improvements of utility infrastructure continues!

While this first picture isn't really a utility box, it is a concrete pylon that has been beautifully rendered into a luscious depiction of California Poppies.  The artist's use of complementary colors in delicate, almost pastel hues lends a softness to this hard and dried up corner next to a car repair shop.  This photo was taken in North Park.

Wow.  While I do like the multi-culti depiction, this one just makes no sense to me.  Is that a piggy bank, or is it a plastic shopping bag? Or the weird love-child of a piggy bank and a plastic shopping bag?  This gets the WTF award out of this particular batch of utility boxes.

This is the backside of the same utility box.  The person's head is wrapped in an old-timey mumps scarf, and the teapot/brown paper bag seems to be the epicenter of a big red snake/sausage.

The dog playing with a ball is sporting some large and blank Special Moments eyes, while the other dog looks like he is wearing glaucoma glasses and a circus dog tutu-like collar.

I am willing to be that these 2 sides were done by the same artist who was exploring different techniques and motifs.

Adjacent to the above pictured utility box we find this other multi-culti family and earth themed utility box.  The colors are bold, and all the people portrayed have weird noses and no eyelids (with the exception of the older gentleman in the bottom left of this utility box) yet are cute and not too weird or creepy.  The overall effect is a charming and eye-catching utility box.  The  Keith-Harring-esque style works well here.

The little angel is chubby, eyelid-free, and sporting quite a leaf.

While the colours have faded and the details have flaked and weathered a bit, the spirit and joie de vivre of this utility box shines through.

The fun Vaudeville-ey pictures really spice up this corner of El Cajon Blvd.  I do love the curvy dame in front of the mic, and the jester who keeps 5 balls in the air through rain, foul weather, or 148 blearily sunny San Diego days each year.

The back side sports a grumpy looking Chaplin-like ringmaster, and a little girl with the bunny she just pulled from the top hat.  Or maybe she is trying to stuff the bunny into the top hat.  One mustn't assume.

I love this utility box.  It could be may favourite on in all of San Diego.  I am a sucker for the Vaudeville theme.  But, you know, I really love all the painted utility boxes.  They may be bush league, but they are a delight.  Who would have thought that such a conservative military town would have such an widespread and unsung cultural and artistic bounty such as this?