February 2, 2012

Southern California

In San Luis Obispo, I opened up my iPad and changed the album from This is Happening by LCD Soundsytem to Pet Sounds by The Beach Boys.  A drastic change, but it needed to happen.  As a child, my dad played the album constantly.  In the rainy northwest, the beaches and girls depicted by Brian Wilson and the rest of the Pendletones felt worlds away.   My knowledge of waves was limited to whitecaps on the Columbia River and I’d seen a few girls in bikinis in Mexico once.  My family drove old Volvos, not Thunderbirds and I had never seen a Deuce Coupes.  Regardless of my experience with the places they described, their music captured me.



Bad to the bone.

Fish Tacos.


California Street.

I heard this thing coming two blocks away.

Shooting the shit.

Billie Jean or Money for Nothing?

Sidewalk surfing.

China Town.


Swap meet.

Travels with Charlie.


As I grew, so did my appreciation of the Beach Boys.  Brian Wilson’s dark side and the duality of their music made the stories they depicted even more compelling and real.  Having spent a good amount of time in this area in the last six months, I’m still intrigued by the image of Southern California they described in their music.  Although it’s very different today,  a lot of what they captured is still alive and well.

Here are some more links,

Southern California (Facebook),



  • Trevor Dahl
    February 2 , 2012

    Where did you order the fish tacos? I’m going to drive Hwy 1 from San Fran to San Luis Obispo in early March and I’m looking for a good place to get fish tacos. I’d love any other recommendations too. Thanks.

  • randall
    February 3 , 2012

    Hey Man,

    Long time reader, first time poster (I think).

    I’m a New Englander born and raised and with the exception of 5 glorious years in San Diego I have spent the majority of my 35 years living in various places throughout New England and New York. The Beach Boys magic lies in the fact that the took the spirit of Southern California and distilled it into it’s purest form and put it to music. One of my favorite memories from the 5 years in San Diego is driving around town in December after surfing, with my board stowed in the back of my car, the windows open and the sun shining on a balmy 70 degree day when the Beach Boy’s song, “The Little St. Nick” came on the “All Christmas All the Time” radio station and seeing clearly for the first time the zeitgeist of Southern California in the 20th century and how and why it is such a marketing force.

  • February 5 , 2012

    I love your pictures, caught my attention when you said San Luis Obispo, as that is where I’m from. Love your big sur/redwoods pictures to!

  • February 6 , 2012

    I can feel the warmth of the sun in these pics. Nice shootin’

  • Mark
    February 7 , 2012

    Beautiful shots. Growing up in Wisconsin, the Beach Boys seemed to come from a fantasy world. But my friends and I tried to surf on Lake Michigan anyway.
    Have you heard SMiLE? Like Pet Sounds, it has nothing to do with sun and surf, and it’s awesome, even though unfinished.

  • February 8 , 2012

    Those fish tacos are from the pier in Ventura. they are amazing. i havent had any slo.

    Its pretty wild. they capture a lot of socal. hope winter in new england is going well.

    glad you like them even though i know you hate ca.

    i havent listened to smile. i hear good things though. it took him 30 years to make didnt it?


  • February 17 , 2012

    I love your blog! I’m a distant follower for months and I’ve mentioned about you over here: Blog Visited – A Restless Transplant

  • February 19 , 2012

    Love your blog !! Have a nice trip !!