Sunday, April 23, 2006

Has it been 2 years already?

My cousin threw a birthday party for their youngest last Sunday. There was food and cake and kids!! It was a lot of fun seeing all these kids playing together and having a lot of fun. I just couldn't get over the fact that 2 years have passed since she was born.
These two were born months apart and seeing them together is loads of fun.

More pictures can be seen at:

Friday, April 21, 2006

Rachel in Action

I went to Rachel's first competition since being promoted to a higher competition level.Iwas very impressed on how well she did. Still amazes me what she can do. Here she is on the balance beam. I have a hard enough time walking straight.

This part still trips me out. When she does the thing where she goes all out and does a series of flips! And without wires! hahaha
She rocks!

And she sticks the landing!

Saturday, April 15, 2006

Chica of Chica Customs

I went to the Quick Throttle Motorcycle Show today and dragged James along. I wanted to be able to get a good look at all the bikes on display, so I got there fairly early (before noon). After going through half of the first building, I was starting to get pretty disappointed. I was expecting a bigger show. Just as I got to the end of the first building, I saw one of my favorite motorcycle designer/builders. Chica of Chica Customs was just sitting around looking pretty bored.
I looked around wondering if there was some reason why people are keeping their distance. Seeing no reason no to, I went up to him and asked him a few questions about some of the bikes he's built. Wouldn't you know it, as soon as I started talking to him a bunch of people started milling around. So, I asked him if he wouldn't mind taking a picture then left him to the rest of the crowd.
Chica of Chica Custom Cycles

Thursday, April 13, 2006

Club 86 and Cole's

On March 31, two awesome guys and great friends, Ali and Adam hosted another Blood Drive in memory of my sister, Laura Esguerra Adams, who passed away September 3, 2005. We are also announced the formation of the Laura Esguerra Adams Foundation, LEAF.
We would like to thanks everyone who donated their time and blood. At last year's blood drive, there were a number of people that were disqualified from donating (86'd). From what I understand just by showing up and filling in the forms, they still count as referrals so just by showing up they were still able to help out. We had a special drawing for those who were 86'd. Here are a few of the people who became part of Club 86I am taking so much medication for my heart that there just isn't enough blood content to make it worth their while...My sister, Celia was told that her blood pressure was too high. I think getting engaged recently might have something to do with it.This is Jim, now is he smiling because he had a cold and was disqualified or because Celia said yes?Even my brother James got rejected. I don't know... it looks like he's done this before...

After the Blood Drive wrapped up, everyone replenished their liquids at Cole's for the "Thank You" Party. Once again I See Hawks In LA played to a packed room.

The event was mentioned in an article by Times Staff Writer Margaret Wappler, who was writing a story on Downtown Los Angeles' oldest restaurant and bar managed by none other than our friend Ali.
You can catch the whole article in Today's LA Times.

It's social security
Everybody knows your name at
L.A.'s oldest restaurant and bar.
By Margaret Wappler, Times Staff WriterApril 13, 2006

IN the swampy back room of Cole's P.E. Buffet, L.A.'s oldest restaurant and bar, the downtown dive feels like a small-town church. Lights beam through stained glass while the audience sings "amen" with the ragtag country band I See Hawks in L.A., some with their eyes closed, some holding hands.

It's the kind of moment that defines Cole's, a welcoming beacon occupying a stretch of 6th Street, an area jaunty with downtown hucksters by day and spookily desolate by night.

On this particular cold and drizzly Friday night, everyone's wearing peacoats and sweaters. But despite the New England wear and weather, this is definitely L.A. When the Hawks' Rob Waller and Paul Lacques harmonize about an SUV flipped over on the 405, the crowd whoops in knowing, ironic tones.

The dimly lighted Cole's, ratty and elegant with its old-fashioned signs advertising buttermilk for 15 cents and tiled floor covered in wood shavings, has many identities. But most of all it's a downtown institution embraced for its cheap beer, easy conversation and family-like ambience. Forget the Standard and its ilk, with prickly doormen, VIP rooms and overpriced martinis du jour, or hipster hangouts such as Pete's or the Golden Gopher, which feel more like annexes of Silver Lake. Cole's, open since 1908 and famous for its French Dip sandwiches, is where a discerning drinker can find authenticity in all its junky splendor.

Scrappy, young and fiercely tightknit, the Cole's Friday night crowd is drawn to roots, blues, country and folk-rock with retro style but modern bite. Amy Farris, Kenny Edwards and Mike Stinson have played here, plus Carlos Guitarlos, tonight content to observe in a sozzled haze from the sidelines.

I See Hawks in L.A. have played nearly every Friday without amps and only one microphone since 2003, letting the starch acoustics and attentive room carry their golden-hued music.

"Cole's is full of ghosts and history," singer and guitarist Waller says, pointing to a booth where, according to legend, Mickey Cohen and Bugsy Siegel bet on cards.

"We've played in a lot of clubs and here it's so real. We get to choose who we play with, there's no sound man messing things up, no cover. We just pass a bucket around and we do all right. It's just turned into something magical.

"Many of the Hawks' fans feel the same. Rye Baerg, a UCLA student who lives in West L.A., has been coming to see the band play at Cole's for a few years. "To me there's something very honest about their music. And something very L.A.," he says. "Whenever I listen to them outside the city, it makes me think of here."

Outside of the back room, the rest of Cole's is content to listen to night manager Ali Mazarei's iTunes with its head-scratching mix of Turkish dance music, Guns N' Roses and Coldplay. For the first time, someone has hooked up the TV to a live feed of the Hawks' performance in the back, but no one pays it any mind. Patrons buzzed on Chimay, the de facto house beer, crowd into red leather booths and chatter aimlessly about work, friends and lovers, while barflies ages 20 to 50 cling to the mahogany bar or each other.

Chuck Dedeu, the bartender from Spain who calls Cole's his home away from home, has a bandage wrapped around his elbow from the blood drive Cole's hosted earlier in the day in memory of Laura Esguerra Adams, a bartender who died last year.

Mazarei has reluctantly managed Cole's for nine years as a favor to his aunt and uncle, Gitti and Marty Benishti, who bought the bar 27 years ago. But he's also had the biggest hand in rebuilding Cole's. In the mid-'90s, Cole's didn't have the customer base to stay open past 8 p.m. Though Mazarei was smart enough not to change its comfort food-heavy menu with most items priced around $5, he brought in some bands, a first for the bar.

Steadily, as downtown gentrified and the Pacific Electric building that houses Cole's rented out lofts, the establishment's fan base grew. Now it stays open every night until 10 p.m. and often later, if there's a party or a show.

THOUGH Mazarei regularly greets orders with a grunt, there's no denying his affection for many of the regulars. He knows all about them: Allan eats the same meal everyday, a turkey plate with a side of broccoli. Celia writes about downtown on her blog. The USC guys play poker with Mazarei. Cole's has become his social life.

"It's a community help-out kind of bar," he says. "It goes past employees and customers. If I'm busy, people help me out and step behind the bar."

He also admits it has its drawbacks. "This place is worse than Cheers," he groans. "Everyone knows everyone's business. I went on a date on Sunday and some of the regulars tried to meet me at the place. I had to change my plans at the last minute to throw them off my path."

But while he's in Cole's, Mazarei belongs to the customers and they belong to him. Mona Shah, a 30-year-old regular who lives in one of the Pacific Electric lofts, finds comfort in the bar's cast of characters.

"We're all living here, this weird place," Shah says about downtown L.A. "Cole's has been here for ages and ages but none of us has. These cast members are like my family. I feel safe here."

Margaret Wappler may be reached at weekend

Monday, April 10, 2006


So, I've been having some problems with my knee the past week. In my "I don't want to see a doctor" and "it's not that bad, it's just strained" mentality, I held off seeing a doctor. Yesterday afternoon, I heard a couple of clicks/snaps as I was putting on a pair of pants. With this old body of mine, it's not unusual to hear creaks and moans, but I also felt those particular snap. I immediately lunged for the bed, better the bed than the floor, because the searing pain I felt is usually followed by blacking out.
No blackout this time around but the pain sure stayed. No more fooling around... off to the hospital.
The doctor said the X-ray showed no fractures or dislocations, but judging from his manipulation of my leg and yes he gave me the "does this hurt?" series of examination, he said that he is very sure that it was my meniscus.
In my head, I was thinking"Aw c'mon you made that word up!" Then he followed it up with MRI, arthroscopic surgery and a bunch of other medical terminologies. All I heard was "surgery".

Not again!!!

If it doesn't get any better by the end of the Wednesday, I should see a specialist.... WEDNESDAY?!!! Hose that! I called my doctor today and and asked for a referral. I hope to hear from him by tomorrow.

Now I gotta look up what the hell a meniscus is and where in the knee it's at...

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

Stupid Drivers

As if driving on the freeway was dangerous enough with shootings, car chases (fast and slow). We still have to deal with these people. This was not during rush hour traffic, where speeds are in the single digits, though that is still not an excuse. This was taken in the late morning hours, around 10 am or so, on the 5 north by the Citadel.
I saw this potential accident in the corner of my eye when he passed me the first time. I wasn't sure what I saw.
Then his lane slowed enough for me to see what he was doing!

I was on the way to a funeral and NO I was not driving so keep your pointing fingers down. I was trying to be very obvious and not hiding the fact that I was taking his picture. He took no notice of me snapping away and he even turned the page a couple of times!
I hear stories of people doing strange things while driving on the freeway, make-up, eating a bowl of cereal, etc. but I have never seen someone so oblivious of everything else that they would not notice someone taking their picture from the car right next to them.

Be careful out there folks!

Saturday, April 01, 2006


The Family and friends of Laura Esguerra Adams formed the Laura Esguerra Adams Foundation last week and we kicked it off with a Blood Drive.
I am still amazed at the people whose lives my sister has touched. I would listen to their stories of Laura. The stories ranged from the incredible things to the little things she did. Every now and again I would get a "that's right!" when someone mentions something that someone else remembers her doing.
I want to thank everyone took part in the blood drive.

We are excited about the formation of LEAF. More information and news of upcoming events can be found at the Foundation's website at