Thursday, July 30, 2009

Record City

Record City is the fourth and final record shop I hit on my digging trip in San Diego. The selection here is flat out amazing--especially the dollar bins, which are one of my favorite places to dig in a record store. The dollar bins here are organized alphabetically instead of just randomly tossed in boxes like most other shops, and there's like 20+ crates of 'em. You could spend days just in the dollar bins alone.

The icing on the cake for me was in the very back corner of the store--four creates of records marked "Dollar Soul"...and it was jam packed full of great stuff. I filled my bag up with as much as I could carry.

Record City has great organization, both by genre and alphabetical, and every record (excluding the dollar bins of course) is in a protective poly sleeve. I even found my favorite Red Hot Chili Peppers album, the George Clinton produced Freaky Styley, on vinyl LP.

Recommended for all vinyl enthusiasts and collectors--and highly recommend for those inclined to dig in the dusty dollar bins.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Thirsty Moon Records

Thirsty Moon Records was the third record shop I hit in San Diego. I was actually on my way to a different record shop, but I saw a sign that said "Records & CDs" on it so I followed the arrow to a tiny little record shop--possibly the best record shop I've ever been to.

The shop is tiny and they don't have a ton of records, but it seems like every album they have is awesome. As I dug through the soul section, I literally thought "every single one of these is a classic", which is so unusual--typically at any other record store, you dig through tons of crap in hopes of finding a gem. Granted, a lot of that's due to the fact that they carry a lot of reissues, but for listening purposes that's meaningless--bad for hardcore collectors, but otherwise they're great because they're new and fresh and clean.

Thirsty Moon caters to my vinyl music tastes almost perfectly. I love the place!

Highly recommend for vinyl music fans who like Soul, Funk, Reggae, Jazz, Psychedelic, Punk, Garage, and even some Metal--but not necessarily for hardcore vinyl collectors looking for original pressings.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

United Records

United Records is the second record shop I hit in San Diego--and it's gotta be the most diversified record store business I've ever seen. Besides just selling the vinyl, CDs, and t-shirts, they also sell DJ equipment--turntables, mixers, headphones, stylii & cartridges--and also rent out that same kind of equipment. In fact while I was in there, some dudes came in and rented a pair of 1200s and a mixer for a show. On top of that, United also has a DJ booth setup in a little recording studio if you want to make your own professional mixes. Seriously, I can't believe there aren't places here in Dallas that have their business setup like this.

Unfortunately, while their business is diverse, their music selection isn't. They're super heavy into electronica, d&b, and that sort of club music, so if you're into that this place is pretty much heaven. But for me, it was a digging letdown; I really only found 3 or 4 things I'd be willing to buy, and they were all really expensive. That's not unexpected since they don't sell the kind of music I buy tho, so it's not their fault.

I would highly recommend United Records for fans of electronic music, or for anyone in their area needing to rent or buy DJ equipment.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Off The Record

Off The Record is an awesome vinyl and CD store in the Northpark shopping district of San Diego. It was the first of four shops I hit up while I was in town on vacation and immediately I knew I was in for a good vinyl buying trip.

About 80% of the shop space is dedicated to a meticulously organized collection of vinyl. Everything is broken down by genre and then by artist, and every record was in a protective poly sleeve and clearly priced. The vast majority of the stuff is vintage, not reissues, but there are some new releases mixed in there.

While the store mostly sells rock, pop, and punk, they do have a decent selection of the stuff I typically dig for: soul, jazz, and hip hop. In fact, they have the best classic 80's hip hop stuff that I saw in San Diego. Finally, they had a healthy selection of 45s and a decent but dusty dollar bin.

I'd recommend it for collectors and diggers alike.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

KIXPO Part 2: the shoes

Continued from KIXPO Part 1: the show

KIXPO is a cool event overall, but the real star of the show are the kicks. If your idea of sneakers are some $50 New Balance, then go on an carry yourself home cause this show ain't for you. Ha ha! But if you're a true sneakerhead or just someone who can appreciate the art and design than goes into stylish kicks, then you owe it to yourself to check KIXPO out.

Most of the kicks at the show are Nike and Adidas Originals, but there's plenty of Puma, Bathing Ape, PF Flyers, Converse, Reebok and others around, but what you really won't see are athletic shoes. Sure, some are worthy of that tag, but for the most part these kicks for either collecting or chillin', not running or shooting hoops. Exception to the rule: Jordans, which of course are both athletic and collectors shoes.

Man, the show's only been over for one day now and already I can't wait till next year!

KIXPO Part 1: the show

KIXPO is an annual sneaker and streetwear expo held in Deep Ellum next to downtown Dallas. This was KIXPO's third year, and judging by the crowds I saw, it looks to be a successful event. The booths are made up of local and regional shops, brands, artists, and even collectors with their sneaker collections on display. Some of the shops I knew about, but a couple were new to me that I'll have to check out (and of course blog about).

The crowd was big, but still pretty chill. After a while tho, it got to be a little hard to really check out the displays because it was shoulder to shoulder, so plan on getting there early next year if you want a good look at the kicks.

BTW--I don't know who the opening DJ was (pictured), but mad props to him. I swear, every time he dropped a song I was like, "damn this is one of my favorite songs!" I think eventually my wife got tired of me saying that.

One more thing: I picked up an awesome shirt that I'll post about later this week. It's way cool.

Up next: KIXPO Part 2: the shoes

Thursday, July 23, 2009


I tried to hit two different sneaker shops while on vacation in San Diego, but I just ran out of time--basically, I spent too much time diggin in the dollar bins at all the record stores I went to! But hey, I did hit up this one sweet little sneaker shop called Mint in the Hillcrest district.

Mint has a huge variety of shoes, mostly sneakers, but with a pretty wide selection of boots and sandals for both men and women. Mint carries your typical big name throwback brands like Nike, Adidas Originals, Puma, and PF Flyers but I didn't see any of the popular smaller name brands like Alife or The Hundreds or things like that.

Then again, maybe they were there and I just didn't see them, because about halfway through the store, some chick came up to me and said I had to stop taking photos of their merchandise. I told her I was just posting them on my personal blog because I thought they were cool shoes, but she said that was just "creepy".

Damn. After that, I just didn't feel like sticking around, especially with the chick giving me the stink eye, so I jetted. Didn't even buy any shoes.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

My San Diego Vacation

I took a vacation to San Diego last week to chill and get out the Texas summer heat. When I left Dallas it was 105 degrees--landed in San Diego and it was only 78. Now that's some sweet vacation weather!

I was in town to hang out with a group of cigar aficionados from all over North America. I had a great time hanging out with a bunch of doods I never met before, mostly just sat by the pool drinking my single malt scotch and smoking cigars. But of course, since I was out on the West Coast, I had to check out the local vinyl record and sneaker scene. I hit up five different shops and took tons of pics. I'll be posting them over the next few days, so watch this space for more...

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Tampopo Japanese Cafe

Tampopo is a little Japanese Bento Box place on Greenville at Caruth Haven, next to the Village. Despite the crazy name (which BTW really suggests they should be a noodle bar) the food is really tasty. They happen to have one of my favorite foods on the entire planet--Tonkatsu, a battered & fried pork cutlet--in an $8.95 bento box. There's a tiny little sushi bar in the corner as well. Not a fancy or pretentious place, just an authentic Japanese hole-in-the-wall restaurant.

Friday, July 3, 2009

Favorite Beers

In honor of the 4th of July weekend, I thought I'd post my favorite beers. I'm not much of a big drinker anymore, but when I do grab a beer, I like to snag these:
  • Fat Tire
  • Saint Arnolds
  • Hoegaarden
  • Newcastle Brown Ale
  • Shiner Hefeweizen
  • Dogfish Head IPA
  • Warsteiner
  • Bass
  • Asahi

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Middle Eastern Food

So a couple of years ago, my co-worker Abe, who is of middle eastern decent, introduced me to the kind of food he grew up with. Sure, I'd eaten some of this stuff over the years, but usually only at Tapas places and the like--basically just snacking, not full-on eating. Nowadays tho, we go eat a big lunch like this about once a month or so, and I'll eat everything on the buffet/menu/whatever. Nothing scares me anymore because I've learned that everything is awesome. Some of the places we go:

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Mobile Suit Gundam

Being a child in Japan during the 1970s, I grew up watching anime. One of the most popular of all time is Mobile Suit Gundam, which began in 1979. I built all kinds of Gundam models growing up (I dunno, model builiding was a big thing for Japanese kids back then) but this takes model building to a whole new actual lifesize 1:1 scale in fact, built in Tokyo for the 30th Anniversary of Gundam. It's 59 feet tall and weighs 25 tons, lights up at night, blows smoke out exhaust vents, and turns its head from side to side. Incredible.

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