Tattered sails on the Star of India? Must be Halloween

Not too old for a wardrobe malfunction

Not too old for a wardrobe malfunction

While driving past the Star of India this foggy morning, I thought I spied a certain laxness in sail maintenance. This couldn’t be, though, as the dedicated volunteers at the Maritime Museum of San Diego take such good care of the old girl (and besides, she just came out of dry dock). I suspect this is, in fact, her “Halloween costume,” and she is playing the part of a pirate ship.

Turns out she is dressed up for some upcoming Halloween events: lantern-led tours on the evening of Friday 10/30, and on Saturday 10/31, a carnival and costume contest, followed by more lantern-led tours.

Sounds like a good place to take your little pirates. For tickets or more information, please see the Maritime Museum’s events page.

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20th Annual AIDS Walk San Diego this Sunday

aidswalksd2009

If you like getting up early, enjoy a walk in the park, and want to support a worthy cause, you’re in luck this week. The 20th Annual AIDS Walk San Diego, the largest one-day HIV/AIDS fundraiser in San Diego County, is being held this Sunday.

The 5K walk starts at 8:05 AM, and the 10K run starts at 8:00 AM. The starting point is in Balboa Park near the corner of Sixth Avenue and Quince Street. Online registration is now closed, but you can register in person starting at 6:00 AM at the registration tent at Sixth Avenue and Olive Street.

Supporting local HIV/AIDS services is especially important this year, as state budget cuts have slashed funding by $1 million in San Diego and $83 million statewide. That’s money that won’t go to testing, prevention, education efforts, treatment for those with low incomes, or counseling for those infected and affected. The money raised at this event stays here in San Diego and supports dozens of local groups and programs which might not otherwise exist.

I’ll be walking with the Qualcomm team. Show you care and make a donation today!

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Tough Getting Ahead in Real Estate in San Diego

Dan Scott of Faith Based Community Development teaches the class

Dan Scott of Faith Based Community Development teaches the class

Real estate prices have been steadily rebounding over the past four months in San Diego, particularly for homes suitable for first-time homebuyers. An $8,000 federal rebate, which is set to expire soon, could be what has stimulated demand in this tier of the market. It’s sort of a good news-bad news thing – the good news is that you’ll get an $8,000 rebate if you qualify; the bad news is that the house is now $20,000 more than it was six months ago thanks to, well, the rebates.

OK, so how’s a first-time buyer—particularly someone who is technically a low-income individual or family—to get in the market?

I recently attended a workshop with 28 hopeful homebuyers up in Oceanside to learn about their options.

Led by Daniel Scott, executive director of Faith-Based Community Development Corporation and a banker for 15 years, the monthly workshops are mandatory for people who’d like to qualify for federal homebuyer assistance. Read more

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Brief Updates from MBHQ

You’ve no doubt by now noticed that the sites got a bit of a re-design and some things got changed around last week. We wanted to highlight two changes to make sure everyone knows what changed.

The first and biggest is COMMENTS! Registration is no longer required to post a comment on any post. Of course if you already have an account you can still login to ensure your comments are attributed to you, but those who don’t can now post a comment without any long term commitment. Also, on the right you can see some of the recent comments so you’ll always know what the active discussions are. This was the most requested thing we’ve heard from people since our last redesign and we’re excited to see where it leads.

The next change is also something that was heavily requested, and that is a change to the ADS on the sites. You’ll immediately notice fewer of them, but what might not be as obvious is those smaller square ones to the right are specific to this city only and are being sold for a flat rate for a period of time rather than a confusing CPM/traffic/network model. Depending on the city, these range from $7-$175 for a full week. If you purchase one, during that time your ad will be the only one in that spot and will show on every page. We set these up both to make it easier for smaller local businesses to get their ads on our site, and also to help us bring in ads that relate better to our local audiences. Also, keeping these sites online is expensive and every little bit helps.

There are a bunch of other things we changed but we’ll leave those to you to investigate and take advantage of. Hope you like it, and we look forward to seeing you in the comments!!

Love,
The folks at MBHQ

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Early review: Station Tavern & Burgers

stationtavern

You’re probably familiar with other bars and restaurants run by Sam Chammas: Live Wire, Whistle Stop, the Turf Club (where “grill your own steak” was invented), and Riviera Supper Club (where it was perfected). So expectations for his latest venture, the long-awaited Station Tavern & Burgers, have  been high. We got a preview recently during the Station’s two-week soft opening, and it did not disappoint.

The Station really does resemble a train station – the back wall opens up to a long, diagonal outdoor space strewn with picnic tables and colored lights overhead that look like signal lamps. The place is exceptionally kid-friendly – the outside portion has soft, playground-grade pebbles underfoot and a wooden “trolley car” to play on. The vibe is reclaimed vintage, with rich panels of horizontal finished wood and what looks like a salvaged hand-painted cigar billboard serving as a back door. Menu graphics feature an old trolley map of South Park.

Read more

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Cool As Ever Tech SD Tweetup now FREE!

del-mar-horse-races-pic

The next SD Tweetup on August 8th was already shaping up to be a doozy: the site is the Del Mar Racetrack, the entertainment is swing band Big Time Operator, and attendees will get private seating, private betting booths and tech swag galore. TechZulu is providing live streaming and will debut their show TechPunch with host Amanda Coolong there. Though the SD Tweetup had never charged for admission before, $35 seemed like a steal for such a great day at the races.

Would you believe it’s now free?

  Read more

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Proper use of Twitter, and its beneficiaries

Everyone and their mother is getting on Twitter. In droves. People are writing code which creates thousands of fake users which follow them, and serve only to artificially inflate their follower count. In this gigantic, ever-growing ocean of Twitter who are examples of folks who are NOT DOING IT WRONG? I have a couple shoutouts to give – because these organizations are doing GOOD and not just sponging up popularity. These are places to do business with – because they behave honorably.

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Secret “Alice in Wonderland” Tea Party details – *UPDATED*

The line for invitations

The line for invitations

UPDATE 7/25 – My photos from the exhibition: http://tinyurl.com/nrn55z

Okay, so it’s not so secret if I’m publishing it. But if you’d like to attend what promises to be the best Comic-Con party this year, pay attention to the following tweet from @importantdate:

Tea Party will be held at 338 7th ave, between J & K st. Invitations are required, and may be picked up at the same location, from 8-10 am

This will likely be a party for Tim Burton’s Alice in Wonderland starring Johnny Depp! So hurry on down there!

*UPDATE* (9AM)

I’m back from getting my invitation, and here’s what I found out. The “Tea Party” is actually an instance of the Alice in Wonderland Touring Exhibition, in which invitees get to see the “artistry and inspiration behind one of 2010’s most anticipated releases.”

Read more

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Has it really been 25 years since the San Ysidro Massacre?

In the summer of 1984, I had just turned 18. I remember July 18th very well. I’d been spending the day with my friend Stacy by her pool in Bonita, recovering from a party we’d been to the night before. The party had been way out in the sticks in Bonsall and the drive home had been late and long.

At that party I had carefully avoided Tasha, a friend with whom I’d had a falling out. I remembered hearing that she’d left the party early because she had to work at her job the next day.

The sun finally getting to us, Stacy and I headed inside for a cold drink. Stacy’s mom was glued to the television. “Girls, you’re not going to believe what’s happening at the McDonald’s in San Ysidro.”

My heart went cold as I looked at Stacy and said, “That’s where Tasha works.”

Read more

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San Diego, did you feel the earthquake?

See more earthquake details at http://earthquake.usgs.gov/

See more earthquake details at http://earthquake.usgs.gov/

I’m usually not awake at 7:35 AM on a Saturday, but today was an exception. While propped up reading a collection of humorous horror stories (“Blood Lite”) with Husband 1.0 snoozing beside me, I suddenly felt like our house had been lightly tapped by a semi. It lasted no more than two seconds.

“Did you feel that?” I said.

“Was that an earthquake?” my now-awake husband said.

My iPhone was in hand in a flash, I pulled up Tweetie, and there was the crowdsourced evidence: tweet after tweet that said “earthquake.”

Turns out our tiny temblor was a 4.0 centered out in the ocean just off the Channel Islands, about 23 miles west of San Diego, and 19 miles west-southwest of La Jolla. Details from the USGS are here.

From my informal Twitter survey, it was felt in downtown, Golden Hill, La Jolla, El Cajon and parts of Carmel Valley. Folks who reported they didn’t feel it were in Cardiff, Carlsbad and easterly parts of Del Mar.

I’m off to get some breakfast now, but here’s a topic for discussion: how come the news events we rely on Twitter to verify are always big, bad and widely felt?

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Meet My Invisible Friends

Los Amigos Invisibles

Los Amigos Invisibles are a fantastic band from Venezuela. They play a mélange of funk and disco flavored with Latin rhythms and put on one of the very best live shows I have seen. They’ll be at the House of Blues on Thursday August 6th.

Commercial

If you miss their show, you might want to pick up one of their albums; their latest is titled Commercial.

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Upcoming Late Night Coaster Prohibition

As I boarded my train to work this morning, I noticed a little something on all the seats:

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Next SD Tweetup will be charged up with Lights Out

new-twitter

Though it’s lain dormant since February, the next San Diego Tweetup is coming at us like a linebacker–an outside linebacker, to be exact. Expected to attend is San Diego Charger #56 Shawne Merriman, who will share his Twitter experiences in an on-site interview with SD Tweetup organizer Jenn Van Grove. It’s all happening Thursday, June 25 at 7:30PM at Stingaree in the Gaslamp.

There should be record attendance at this event. The first SD Tweetup happened in March 2008 and attracted about 30 people. The last one, held at Wine Cabana in Old Town, had over 200. As of today, more than 300 had RSVP’d at the SD Tweetup page on meetup.com.

If you want to attend, be sure to RSVP at the website above, get there early, and come armed with a Twitter account and a device to tweet from. If you don’t want to fight the crowd, consider tuning in to Jenn’s interview with Merriman on UStream.

Merriman has been giving away VIP seating near the interview. If you’re not afraid to be up close with the big guy, send a tweet with “VIP seating” and the tags #lightsout56 and #sdtweetup in it. Shawne will pick 3 winners a day until the event. More instructions are here. (Full disclosure: I won one of these seats and will be tweeting like mad from it!)

See you there, SDTweetuppers and Charger fans!

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Drought conditions force water restrictions

water

Level 2 drought conditions have forced the city of San Diego to recently impose water restrictions. You are most affected by this if you own a home or business that has landscape irrigation.

From June 1 to October 31, you must:

  • Restrict watering your yard or garden to three days a week.
  • Limit sprinkler times to 10 minutes per watering station.
  • Water before 10 AM or after 6 PM.
  • Homes with odd-numbered addresses can water Sunday, Tuesday and Thursday.
  • Homes with even-numbered addresses can water Saturday, Monday and Wednesday.
  • Apartments, condos & businesses can water Monday, Wednesday and Friday.

If you have an automatic sprinkler system, check your timer to make sure you are complying with these restrictions. For more information on saving water, please see the city’s Water Emergency Information and Resources webpage.

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Barcamp San Diego wifi post mortem!

After running 7 barcamp networks (2 in LA, 5 in SD) I’ve learned a ton:

  • ‘end user’ or ‘home’ wifi gear doesnt work. No matter how awesome you think it is. It just never ever cuts it.
  • 2.4ghz is the devil
  • you need at LEAST 5-10 megabits of connectivity, preferably with the ability to burst up higher.
  • OpenDNS = fail
  • Spend the extra money/time/etc and get mesh wireless from a reputable vendor (cisco/aruba/xirrus etc). It will make your life way way easier.

I’ve banged out a quick writeup on the BarCamp San Diego 5 wifi network over on thaumatocracy.com – so if you’re a wifidork or have any interest in how the network was run, pop on by!


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