Posted by: scoopzone | July 6, 2010

Afternoon View

The new Microsoft store at Fashion Valley Mall in San Diego.

Funny how much that store looks like this other one located just down the walkway. But I’m sure that’s just coincidence.

Want to know how to tell them apart?

The Microsoft store only had a handful of shoppers inside. The other one was packed … as usual.

Posted by: scoopzone | July 2, 2010

Afternoon Vuew

Friday afternoon at Top of the Park in San Diego with Mitch, Tom and Tim.

Posted by: scoopzone | July 2, 2010

LSU Crawfish Boil 2010

I hosted and much smaller crew at this year’s annual LSU Alumni crawfish boil at the end of May here in San Diego. The whole thing just sort of snuck up on me during the spring, and rather than have three tables of 30 people I could only score a single 10-person table because I got the tickets late.

Apologies to anyone who wanted to go but didn’t get a ticket offer from me. I promise to be on top of things next year.

The most notable thing about this year’s event, aside from the larger-than-normal crowd of 3,500, was the size of the crawfish. Since the event happen so late in the crawfish season, we usually end up with pretty small mudbugs that get overcooked. Not so this year.

We apparently benefited from the long winter in south Louisiana and late crawfish season. This year’s crawfish were huge, and the cooks who drove the live critters here from Lafayette did their best job ever cooking them.

As usual, the boil was held on the old football practice field next to Qualcomm Stadium.

I never can remember this guy’s name, but he played for LSU in the early ’80s and he serves red beans and rice to the set up crew each year.

Click on any pic to view it larger.

These are my neighbors Mitch and Tom. They were alumini crawfish boil virgins, and they seemed to have a great time.

One of the day’s biggest highlights was the appearance of LSU football great Jacob Hester. This wasn’t his first alumni boil since joining the San Diego Chargers in 2008, but it was the first time he went on stage greeted fans.

His scrappy effort on the field and ability to create big plays already has made him a fan favorite here. But just being of the 2007 LSU national championship team was enough to send the crawfish boil crowd into a worshiping frenzy. His hunky good looks certainly don’t hurt things.

Posted by: scoopzone | July 1, 2010

My first high school reunion

About half of the JHS class of 1985 gathered last weekend in Jennings, La., to celebrate our first ever reunion.

You’re probably wondering why we waited this long to do this. It’s partly because those who still live close to our hometown gather each July for the annual high school alumni softball tournament that serves as a mini-reunion of sorts. The other reason is because our class president, Charlotte Donald, has never fulfilled her official obligation to organize a formal gathering.

Just to put last weekend’s event in perspective, here’s my graduation pic from 1985.

And if you’re wondering where Jennings is located, click on this map and look for the red marker. You can click on any of the pics in this post to view them larger.

Back to the reunion.

The class of 85 was full of comedians, and these are three our funniest chick classmates: Lanette Maggiore, Brenda Welch and Tracy Dupuis. I should point out that I’ll be using maiden names throughout this post because recalling married names is beyond my skill set.

I shared some fun times with Myna Capdeville in band and speech class. She’s still funny and sweet.

Clockwise from the bottom: Kevin Myers, Deborah Britt (sole exception to the married name rule), Brenda Welch and Sharon Gary.

These pics are from the weekend’s main event at the All-Purpose Building at the fairgrounds on the south side of Jennings.

Martin Cassidy, his wife and Stephen Ackoury.

Kendal LeJeune, the class of 85’s Mister all Everything.

Kim Spires and Lynette Ducotte. Don’t be fooled by this pic. It looks like I’m the class’ token gay.

I thought my flight from San Diego might qualify as the longest distance traveled for the event. But Dwayne Guidry, a career soldier in the Army, won that prize. He managed to get a two-week leave from his deployment in Iraq.

Going right to left, that’s David “Moose” Ringuet, Amanda Cassidy, Brenda Welch, Gretchen Gusman and Gretchen’s sister, who isn’t a classmate. David and I were born on the same day but he’s towered above me since kindergarten. Our extreme size difference prompted me to ask my parents often as a child whether I was a midget.

Here’s my first girlfriend, Rebecca LeJeune, and her husband. Rebecca and I dated my entire freshman year. I found out this weekend that she’s presumed for years that she turned me gay. I cleared that up real fast.

Brenda still can boogied the night away with the best of ’em. And I can’t explain how she ended up in so many of my pics.

It’s not overstating things to say that Brenda is a legend back in our hometown, and not just because she famously dipped our painfully straight-laced principal on stage as he handed her a diploma on graduation night.

She was an athletic standout throughout her years at JHS, particularly in basketball, and she’s one of three Jennings natives who became coaches of Division I women’s college basketball teams. Brenda currently leads the Bearcats of Sam Houston State University in Huntsville, Texas, where she played college ball.

The other coaches from Jennings are Brooks Donald Williams, (JHS class of ’96) who heads the team at McNeese State University in Lake Charles, La., and  Pam Stackhouse, (JHS class of ’79) who now serves as an assistant athletic director at the University of Kentucky.

These are two of my favorite people from high school.

Brian Presley was a fellow band member, a co-worker at McDonald’s and one of my main drinking buddies.

I always thought Rhonda Gautreaux was one the most interesting people in school, mainly because she seemed to know who she was at a time when everyone else was desperately trying to be something they weren’t. She never apologized for her authenticity, even when it got her in trouble. Thankfully, she hasn’t changed a bit.

Here’s the crew that put the weekend together. From left is Kevin Myers, Becky Hebert, Moose Ringuet, Andrea Louvier, Sharon Gary, Lanette Maggiore, Jeff Menard and Tracy Dupuis. Jeff, in the blue shirt, led the effort with his wife, Audra. They really did a great job.

Looks like Lanette enjoyed herself.

Here’s a link to all of my photos from the reunion on flickr.

And if you want to watch a short clip of members of the Class of 85 doing a Soul Train line, go to this video I posted on YouTube.

Posted by: scoopzone | June 7, 2010

Downtown Sandy Eggo

I’m fortunate to live in a city that with a beautiful central core. The area is filled with sparkling hotels, modern-design condo towers, a playful historic tourist district and a scenic waterfront that’s anchored by a professional baseball park and a massive, ever-growing convention center.

Click on any pic to view it larger.

The convention center features giant glass tubes that bring to mind the barrels of waves that crash on the city’s world-famous beaches just a few miles away.

Downtown also is home to a major port.

Posted by: scoopzone | June 7, 2010

A Mayberry Memorial Day

I had no idea when I moved to San Diego four years ago that I would end up back in small-town America. But that’s the best way to describe my neighborhood of Kensington. Of course, it’s not really small town, since it sits in the middle of a city of 1.3 million people.

Still, there are moments walking around here when I feel like I’m looking at a Normal Rockwell painting. That certainly was the case last Monday while I watched the 28th running of the Holiday at Home parade.

Click on any pic to view it larger.

Students and teachers from the Rare Hare Studio.

Now, they throw some crazy things at parades in New Orleans: painted coconuts, heads of cabbage, panties. But this was a first for me – a woman handing out free Krispy Kreme doughnuts, though most people were passing on  the offer.

What’s a parade without the mayor. The Honorable Jerry Sanders calls Kensington home, and he lives just a few blocks from the parade route.

With primary elections just a week away, there were plenty of politicians along the route including U.S. Rep. Susan Davis.

The chickens of Kensington are always a crowd pleaser.

Joining me and Tim (far right) for the parade were (from the left) neighbors Tom, Jenny, Mitch, Jeff and Charlie

Posted by: scoopzone | June 1, 2010

Baja in San Diego

Me, Tim and our friend Penni headed to Seaport Village in downtown San Diego for Baja by the Sea, an annual mini-festival put on by the Mexican state government just south of the border to promote all of the best things the Baja, California, peninsula has to offer.

The biggest lines were at booths set up by restaurants and hotels serving tons of free and generally tasty seafood.

The one pictured above was set up by FEDECOOP, a cooperative of seafood producers located in a cluster of seaside towns in central Baja. The canned yellow fin tuna was fantastic! Too bad we can’t buy this stuff here.

The cooperative also served up some of the best cerviché I’ve ever tasted. It seemed like all of the other food booths were serving the marinated seafood dish as well, but their versions weren’t nearly as good.

This was one of the more unusual dishes we came across. It’s a marinated cactus salad topped with baby crawfish, which the booth operators called river shrimp. Remember to click on any pic to view it larger.

There was wine . . .

. . . and beer.

Greyhounds? Yup.

How about a mariachi band? Check.

Weird garden art, too.

And best of all . . .

Overweight, out-of-shape lucha libre!

This guy might look like he’s having fun, but don’t let that fool you.

Posted by: scoopzone | May 28, 2010

Downtown SD

I took this nearly 365-degree shot of downtown San Diego with my wicked-cool Pano app on my iPhone from the roof of my friend Penni’s condo building.

That’s Richard (left) and Tim sipping wine on the right side of the shot. Click on the pic to view it larger. Penni and Richard dished up an impressive early evening spread of tasty cheeses, salad, steak and grilled eggplant slices topped with basil and queso fresco.

Posted by: scoopzone | May 28, 2010

Afternoon View

A jackaranda tree in full bloom  in my neighborhood of Kensington. These natives of South Africa are hugely popular here in San Diego. Their beautiful but messy (when they shed) blossoms remind me of the crape myrtles that line the streets of New Orleans.

Posted by: scoopzone | May 26, 2010

Afternoon View

Top of my friend Penni’s condo building in downtown San Diego.

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