I'm sitting here knowing that I want to paint something, I'm just not sure what I want to paint. Finding the subject matter often takes me more time than the painting itself. I've been going through my art books studying the works of Klimt, Freud, Toulouse-Lautrec, Van Gogh, and others. This seems to have a paradoxical effect. While I feel inspired by their talent, I also come away deflated, wondering if I'll obtain the level of seeing and technical mastery that they have. Something to shoot for, I guess.
Kim flew into San Diego Thursday night and departed a few days ago. We had an amazing time.
Thursday night we went down to Moondoggies in Pacific Beach to enjoy a beer and their chicken finger appetizers. We then meandered half a block over to the ocean. While it's rare that the weather in San Diego isn't lovely, this evening it was perfect. A man juggling sticks doused in kerosene and lit on fire stood nearby. I wondered if he would catch on fire. Maybe it was a secret wish so that I could push him into the ocean. That would make for an easy, yet dynamic, life saving rescue. I'm not sure if God weighs the dangerous risk or relative ease of saving a life, or like football, a win is considered a win, regardless of how close or far the score was. I'm hoping it's the latter. Either way it's good to build up the karma. Especially when doubling down on a twenty dollar hand of blackjack in Vegas.
Friday morning we went down to eat breakfast at the Eggery. Kim and I walked along the beach, the cold ocean water collapsing around our ankles. After making a loop beneath the Garnet Street pier, we hopped in the car and headed over to Point Loma. Although the Hopper-esque lighthouse was undergoing repairs, the unique view of the city is enough to occupy you for a long time. We crossed to the other side of the peninsula's tip and peered across the ocean. Upon absorbing the views, we descenced down into Ocean Beach. We ventured along Newport Avenue and plopped down in Hodad's. Enjoyed a great burger and shake. In the evening we stayed in and watched Y Tu Mama, Tambien. A wonderful movie. There's something so romantic about road trips. It's all about freedom.
Saturday afternoon, Kim and I explored Hillcrest. Grabbed lunch, peered into a few bookstores and then took the Mustang down Park until pulling into Balboa Park. We meandered by the museums, and dipped into the SD Museum of Art for a gander. We walked to the beginning of the Prado Bridge that arches gracefully over Highway 163. And for the first time I noticed signs below that warned visitors that they were entering an archery range. How cool would you be if you returned from your summer vacation in San Diego with an arrow wound? You would have campfire stories galore. Especially if they were accompanied by having rescued a man on fire. In the evening, we got dressed up and drove to Coronado, eating dinner at Chez Loma. Being in San Diego, we both had to go with fish main courses. Kim went with the salmon and I opted for the halibut. Why did I go with that selection? I did it just for the halibut. The dessert was amazing. I had the fallen chocolate souffle which made me want to light up a cigarette after eating it. For the evening's entertainment, we went to see Anya Marina perform at Mission Beach's Cannibal Bar. Anya gave a fantastic show.
Sunday was our beach day. We ate at The Mission, a small cafe bordering the Pacific Beach boardwalk. After breakfast, we crossed the seawall threshold and took refuge in the sand, laying down our towels and kicking off the sandals. Kim talked me into playing in the waves, so we walked out into the water and as each wave approached, decided on whether to avoid the break by diving under or jumping over (I was a diver and Kim was a jumper). A full breakfast, the sun shining, and playing in the waves made for a refreshing morning.
I've had a season pass to the zoo since I first moved to San Diego over two years ago. But I had never been to their summer season highlight -- the Night-time Zoo. During the summer, they stay open until 10pm. As Monday evening was their closing night for this season, Kim and I went to talk to the animals. It was a lot of fun. The nocturnal animals appear lazy during the day, so it was cool to see these animals doing calisthenics, having disco parties and limbo contests. While I have my favorite animals at the zoo, I am completely fascinated by one. It's called the fishing cat. Next to their display, is a large sign that has drawn pictures of the fishing cat diving in the water after a fish. It shows their webbed feet. Their fierce wild eyes. Their teeth and claws. But what have I seen in the dozen times I've been to the zoo? The fierce fishing cat laying in the exact same place on an elevated perch, looking like it's snorted three lines of catnip and done a beer bong the night before. I've never seen it move. Kim and I arrived at their exhibit this time, and it's dark, with the exception of some light entering enough so that you can see their pool of water and crossing logs. We sat there for a minute and saw nothing. Kim then points. I look and the fishing cats are moving along the logs. They pause and look like they're hunting. I saw movement! It was a small victory. We stood there for ten minutes, mesmerized by the fishing cats and their behaviors. Before the zoo closed we made our way to the Alaskan brown bear exhibit and one of the bears was very active. It stood at the edge of its habitat, and stared at the visitors. A few people threw popcorn at it. They would raise their arms and the bear would get up and raise his arms. Perhaps it was a former circus bear. It would just look at us. The zoo wasn't crowded either. It was a great environment to see the animals, and different ones emerge at night than during the day. Also during the summer season, Sea World launches fireworks every night at a quarter till ten. Since I've lived here I've only caught the show once. When we left the zoo it was around 9:30pm so I crossed a bridge and pulled onto a Mission Bay island facing Sea World and we watched the final night of fireworks.
Tuesday afternoon became a relatively idle day, but more so because of our lunch time meal than any intention. We ate a large Mexican meal in Old Town, and between the sangria and pound of cheese in each of our stomachs, we took it easy the rest of the day. We had an amazing six days.