Ka-Pow! Fireworks Time!

As mentioned here, we enjoyed the city fireworks show as Ryan and I have done since 2003. It is always a great way to celebrate the holiday season and a fun time to get together with friends. Ryan enjoys spending each year perfecting his fireworks shots and this year were some of his best! 

Here was the great finale which lit up the entire beach with the bright flashes.

While this shot is more reminiscent of Halloween than Christmas, I loved the bright moon sitting above this house and had to capture it on the walk home. Once again, another great show and another memory down in the books!



The male gender has the ability to live life without ever outgrowing their childhood pastimes. My Mom always says, “Men are just big kids with more expensive toys” and I couldn’t agree more. I hear stories of Ryan’s childhood and how he knew the name of all the Hot Wheel cars and spent hours lining them up just perfectly until he was satisfied. That little twinkle of his obsessed still lives in him except now it’s displayed in the form of life sized automobiles and 4×4 trucks and at times consumes his every thought.

Well, on Saturday, a group of friends got together for a little rivalry game of flag football San Diego v. Manhattan Beach. I love that no matter how old boys get they still know how to dig into that childhood pocket of memories and discover the enjoyment of simple play.

Commentary from Ryan:

I’ll be turning 30 this week and maybe its  old age  setting in but getting out to the park and playing some football with friends at the park was a huge deal.  In order for the game to go off the following things had to happen:

  • months of back and forth emails with lots of shit talking
  • tons of follow up calls and texts
  • a challenging team driving all the way up from San Diego
  • bottle service and “tables” reserved at Bugaloo where the winners would be celebrated and the losers would be disgraced
  • cones and flags (along with promises that we wouldn’t be playing tackle)
  • not getting too hammered on Friday night at Fitz’s party (because of course we get hang overs now)

All of that happened, a miracle, particularly the last bullet.

Saturday morning came and a very familiar group of guys came together.  The guys who were playing were literally the exact same guys who I used to play with all the time, when we were about half our current age.  The pregame activities of lacing up the cleats, joking, running patterns and throwing the ball back and forth to warm up all came and went.

But where was our challenging team from San Diego?

Well, they were late.  Why were they late? Becasue Gib and Bob had to get coffee.

Once they finally arrived we were not surprised to see that they also took the the time to put on eye black that was in the shape of little pistols.  Flag football  was played and we of course smashed them, Manhattan Beach 45 – San Diego 26.  Hopefully this will be annual tradition.  Big ups to DJ who played even though he starts professional baseball soon.   The effort was definitely worth it and the celebration at Bugaloo was glorious.

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Costa Rica | Vol. 3 | Santa Teresa

The ride from Manuel Antonio to Santa Teresa is a long one but very pretty and hugs the coastline the whole way.  We passed some very pretty towns including Jaco which stands out a bit in Costa Rica due to its few high rise buildings.  One ugly town we had to pass through was Puntareraus, the town where the ferry departed from.  We made our way through Puntareraus as quickly as we could and without incident that is until our last turn before boarding the ferry.  Standing in the middle of the road with his hand up was a weird looking dude and we had nowhere to go so we had to stop.  With the guy now standing on the running board right next to me, I gassed it a bit and he jumped off.  It was kind of a crazy experience and none of us were sure what he was after, we think he wanted to help us find the ferry and get a tip.  We knew the direction so he was just a hindrance.

With that passed us, we boarded the ferry for the first time.  The whole process stumped us initially, the tickets are sold out of store across the street. We boarded the ferry and were on our way. The boat had a full snack bar and even karaoke!! One Costa Rican sang the whole time and nobody had a problem with it because he pretty much killed it.  The four of us ate a churro, a taquito, and a beer.  About an hour later, we arrived in Paquera.

Once on the other side of the peninsula, we started our drive towards Playa Santa Teresa.  We heard the roads were bad, but we had NO idea.  The procession of cars that left ferry left me in the middle of the pack so I had to tackle the road at the same speed as the locals who had memorized the pattern of potholes.  This left me at a serious disadvantage.  Their line swerved on the left side of the road and included the shoulders on both the right and left side of the road. Flying down a road that was 40% pothole at 40-60kms per hours was definitely an experience.  It was nuts!

Finally, we arrived in Santa Teresa to find a big group of our friends having lunner at Burger Rancho.  Everybody literally jumped on our Mitsu’s running boards and bumpers as we drove a short distance down the road to where we’d spend the next week, Punta Coco.

“Punta Coco” was a gathering of jungle casitas (jung-alows) in the midst of dense trees, right on the beach.  The property came with a native family of caretakers who protected us and cooked us “Gallo Pinto” breakfast.

Here is the sign that marked our entrance, it was doubly important.  The sign was a marker for tourists as well as for “Rocko” one of the property’s dogs who would hang at the local bars into the early morning hours.

Looking north-west-ish from under the Punta Coco sign. “Super Ronny” is pictured, this is where we picked up water, beer and other snacks on a daily basis. This dirt road is the only road through town, so you can imagine how dusty it can get during peak hours!

Katrin, Kim and Alexandra hanging in our second story room during our first night in the jungalows.

Chris and Shannon enjoying a drink before we went out for a family dinner at “El Pulpo”.  El Pulpo served some of the best pizza we’ve had anywhere.  Shan has even vowed to learn to make pizza as good as El Pulpo’s because she liked it so much!  The chef/owner was European (and he had a really sweet sheep dog too).

Poosman and Toneman

From right to left, me, AC, Sten, Chris and Jaime (led the Costa Rican Pacific league with 17 goals in the summer of ’09, and great guy, we gave him a Laker’s shirt and even though he didn’t speak a word of English he fit right in).

Aside from surfing and lounging on the deserted beaches, Santa Teresa offers many opportunities for adventure.  On one of the days, about a dozen of us rented quads and headed south east-ish towards Montezuma to see one of the many waterfalls.  Quads are the way to do this as it provides a chance to ride on the back-country roads through beautiful farmland with several fun water crossings.

We sped along on this dirt road until we hit our first hold up.

Costa Rican road block!

These bulls were not happy!  The black one was scrubbing his front feet just like the cartoons so we held off and let them pass.  Fortunately no one got horned. Thanks to Fitz the photog for getting this picture of me and Shan participating in a stare down with “el torro negro”.

Soon after this bull encounter, I saw something move and before I had a chance to stop I ran over about a 4-5 ft snake.  It was red and after we hit it, it scurried very quickly into the green. I’m glad we didn’t kill it. The road paid off with this great waterfall.  We swam in the pool and did some jumps.  Fitz grabbed these shots with our Canon (underwater camera), kudos for the timing the second one.

Shan grabbed these great shots as the sun set on Punta Coco while I was out surfing.  Her first attempts with our ND filter and I’d say she did an ok job!  The fog is actually waves moving water while the shutter remains open. Nice job Shan!

Kim and Chris enjoying the view from Andy and Katie’s rehearsal dinner at Brisas Del Mar.  Incredible food and an even better view! Everybody was happy that the taxi driver didn’t kill us on the way up.  It was a close call as the driveway feels like 45 degree hill and at the very top he pitched his ten passenger van sideways and way off camber.

Early morning from Punta Coco, a few hundred yards down the way was where we surfed each day.

Alex and AC were newly engaged just before the trip so it added to the fun of traveling with them.

Really fun waves the whole week, Stenner.


Katrin was getting great waves the whole week, here is one.


Kim at our pool, where we hung out each day.

Here is one of my favorite shots of the week, Shan grabbed this after one of our afternoon sessions.

Andy and Katie’s wedding day came on a gorgeous day.  Everybody was ready to go and the cab was waiting but Sten wasn’t ready yet so it gave Shan and I some time to mess around and take some shots of each other.  I’m a lucky guy!

Shannon getting in touch with her inner-self.

The last sunset before the wedding from our pool at Punta Coco.

Stay tuned for wedding shots and more!



Sushi Night!

As a newly married couple we do adult things like go out with other married folks and couples.  Last Friday was a good example, we started the night over at Chris & Kim’s where they hosted a ridiculous spread of hors d’oeuvres, wine and beer.

Friends, great food and the HBO Larry Bird and Magic Johnson special made it near impossible to make our 9pm sushi reservation (we were 30 minutes late).   Did you know that Magic and Larry played on the USA national team before they became NBA stars?  I also didn’t realize what Larry Bird dealt with in terms of back pain, what a warrior!

Unfortunately, it’s almost never that we get to hang with our besties from Santa Barbara, and enjoy a night out. We indulged on two sushi super boats, each with about 100 pieces of sushi.  The night ended where it started, with an adult sleepover.  We all like fun.