Boom. Headshot.

Well, I’m in sunny San Diego, though it’s currently late in the evening so the sun… well, you get the idea.

Yesterday JAEF and I and special guest Musan went to Sea World, which is self explanatory:




We opted to sit in on the cringingly saccharine orca and dolphin shows, as the lameness of the music and general crassness of the spectacle as a whole was somewhat counteracted by the fact these guys were surfing killer whales. It was good fun if you just watched the animals, basically. And the other exhibits were pretty interesting, including an awesome penguin habitat and a giant walrus that blubbered its way across the massive tank to mooch around in his cave.

That was yesterday. We didn’t do much else as I had only arrived at half two in the morning due to more Greyhound shenanigans that nearly saw me stranded in Los Angeles (upon rescue, JAEF stuffed me with fruit and homemade cookies, for which he attains the rank of Distinguished Gentleman). To be honest, though, after a nonstop three weeks, I needed the rest.

Today, however, we did a great deal!

Firstly, here’s a picture for almost all of you who know me from Penny Arcade.


Oh yes. Turns out I like scoped rifles just as much in real life! Well, okay, on the sixth bullet I forgot to keep fully clear of the kickback and the recoiling scope imprinted a neat little cut on my forehead, but it’s only small. I’ve collected a fair deal of bruises, scrapes and other little afflictions as I’ve been going, so one more can’t hurt. Figuratively speaking.

The three of us met up with Wavecutter, a giant ex-serviceman with a beard to make other men green with envy. He knows his stuff about guns, of course, and under his supervision I quickly got to grips with the glock .30 and another pistol, a .45 (I think). I was pretty proud of myself for a first-timer, hitting centre mass with every single bullet except my second, which whizzed past the left ear of the silhouette. ‘It’s okay,’ Wave said as his paw patted me on the shoulder, leaving trace bruises. ‘You probably just deafened him’. Then we moved on to the bigger stuff, including the scoped rifle pictured – I’ll leave it to the gun nuts around here to identify it – and a stonking great Remington shotgun with both buckshot and the more terrifying solid slugs. Our guide clearly was a shotgun man, but I think you already know what I gravitated to – not to mention that upon firing the shotgun I was nearly blown off my featherweight feet. I had an awful lot of fun with the rifle, though, and got all ten bullets right in the head at fifteen yards (14m). And this time I didn’t even have a dot drawn on my monitor!

What was weird, though, is just how natural it all felt. I’ve seen it done so many times, and played so many games especially as a sniper, that it all just made sense and seemed like I had done it a thousand times before. Which I suppose I had. So you heard it here first, folks: Jack Thompson was right.

We ate at a great Japanese place just around the corner. There’s a sizeable east asian populace here, so there’s a lot of little Chinese, Japanese, Vietnamese etc. restaurants. I had a wonderfully tender beef dish marinaded in a rich, tangy sauce, and it cost me exactly one dollar more than the burgers from Burger King across the road. Go figure.

Afterwards, we (minus Wavecutter, who had to go pick up his wife) headed to the scenic Balboa park, named after the Spanish explorer. It’s a nice little place, well-tended, sporting a cluster of museums and an atrium, hosted in some of the oldest and most beautiful buildings I’ve seen so far in the USA. As usual, pictures are best:








After this, we ventured down to a tourist trap area I’d heard of called Seaport Village, which was, you know, nice, but touristy. We weren’t there for the overpriced smoothies ($7.80. No, I’m not kidding) or the dinky wooden carvings, though. The place is right by the bay, and the three of us spent some time staring out to sea in a very manly and Grecian manner. San Diego as a city is a bright and breezy place with pleasantly warm days and cool evenings, tempered by that constant ocean-coloured zephyr that sweeps through the bustling streets. It’s not a place that seems to be trying too hard, content as it is in its refreshing climate to sit back and unwind at its own pace. It’s clean and generally pretty attractive, and seems like it would be a nice place to live for a while. It does, however, suffer from the same massive congestion as the rest of California, when all the cars drain from the almost inscrutably mammoth suburbs on to the same few highways. Beautiful as they are, its greenery protected by legislation enacted by Teddy ‘Badass’ Roosevelt, I suspect the daily one-hour-plus grind must get old.

In short, it’s a town pleasingly free of gimmickry and possesses an air of multicultural refinement that I suspect might come to characterize my experience of the west coast.

I’ll leave you with just a couple of pictures of the city in the late afternoon light.



6 Responses to “Boom. Headshot.”

  1. 1 Arminas 19/08/2009 at 7:30 am

    Man, I miss California. 😦

    Also, I’m surprised that you were allowed to aim at the head at the shooting range. Most of the ranges I’ve been to explicitly state that its patrons are not to aim at the head. Mostly so they can avoid liability and claim that they are not training the next nation-wide headline. I’m glad you got a _kick_ out of the shotgun, ho ho ho!

  2. 2 Dennis 19/08/2009 at 8:39 am

    Hey Phil,

    You’re evidently seeing a different side of San Diego than I did. I can’t believe I missed Balboa Park, given its size and proximity to the hotel I was staying in; that said there is one big mother of a freeway in the middle that crossing on foot would have been dicey.

    Keep up the blogging! All this talk about San Diego though is reminding me that I need to photoshop my photos there from two years ago. hmmm.


    PS. Check out the Karl Strauss brewery on Colombia Street near the W hotel. Food is good but typical, but the beers are outstanding.

  3. 3 rayofash 19/08/2009 at 9:00 am

    Tidbit: There are over 100 different languages spoke in San Diego.

  4. 4 SwashbuckerXX 19/08/2009 at 9:28 am

    Mmm, San Diego. It’s a great town; we used to drive over the hills from El Centro (where I grew up) to escape the desert and experience such opulant luxuries as book stores, escalators, and plants that aren’t spiny.

    The crazy congestion and lack of public transit is one of the main reasons I left SoCal behind, though. The problem with such a pleasant place is that everyone wants to live there. 🙂

  5. 5 Renée 19/08/2009 at 2:11 pm

    I am envious. Also, moderately frightened of you with a rifle. Just saying. hahaha

    TR was a total badass.

  6. 6 Kitsune 28/08/2009 at 4:18 am

    I have to say I did flinch a little when I saw you with that rifle.

    God forbid you ever hold one outside somewhere with strict control, psycho!

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