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NEIGHBORS : Wheel Life : Six local roller-skaters will compete in a national amateur contest in Philadelphia.


Good luck, times six: Here's wishing the best to six local roller-skaters who have qualified for the United States Amateur Championships in Philadelphia next week.

There will be four competitors from Roller Garden skating rink in Oxnard: the Brucker siblings, Sara, 9; and Bo, who turns 11 Friday; Jill Moreno, 14; and Tiffany Quackenbush, 16. Tiffany won the girls sophomore division at the national competition last year.

There also will be two participants from Skating Plus in Ventura: Dezi Sales, 19, and Mia Cota, 10.

Back to the Bruckers. They will be skating both separately and as a duo. Guess there's no sibling rivalry there.

Hal Jandorf is a happy astronomer.

For those who don't remember, Jandorf is the Moorpark College professor who for 10 years had been looking forward to going to Cabo San Lucas, Mexico, to get a good look at the solar eclipse. Well, the wait was worth it.

"I've seen two solar eclipses before; this was the best. It's probably the best eclipse in recorded history," he said. "I've never seen such a corona . . . and the prominences. . . . All the photos I took of eclipses before, I may as well just throw them away."

And what did some of the other 100,000 or so people in Baja think of the event? "People said the basic things, 'Oh my God,' 'How incredible,' 'Look at this.' One guy said it must be the end of the world."

Speaking of celestial events, I thought I'd mention the lunar eclipse taking place tomorrow. What does Jandorf think about it? "I wouldn't even mention it," he said. "You can barely detect it."

OK, maybe I won't mention it.

What Jandorf is looking forward to is the meteor shower Aug. 11 and the annular solar eclipse in January. The eclipse, he said, is centered in Southern California and will be at its maximum at sunset. "You'll get a ring of sunlight around the moon," he said. "You'll see a ring of fire setting in the west. I can't believe it. . . . This has been a hell of a year."

Ventura got some international publicity earlier this year thanks to the British Broadcasting Corp.'s "Holiday 91" travel show.

Of course, the Ronald and Paula Gill family of Ventura deserves some credit too. Through a worldwide home exchange program they traded dwellings with the Martin and Angela South family of England. The BBC show dispatched a film crew to follow the Souths to see what kind of a vacation hotspot Ventura can be.

So what sights did they feature? The Queen Mary in Long Beach and Magic Mountain in Valencia. Fortunately, they did get a little closer to home with a segment on East Anacapa Island. The program also had quick shots of City Hall and the harbor, and a couple of moments with Judge Lawrence Storch.

P.S.: Janice Flippen, spokeswoman for the Ventura Visitors and Convention Bureau, said the "Holiday 91" editor had his own favorite part of Ventura. "He wanted me to take him to Vons because it was so big," she said. "He thought it was great that you could go to the store 24 hours a day."

Last week, Ventura County Life ran a story about secondhand bookstores in the county. You know, those stores where a little digging can produce a treasured book, or simply a great read at a low price. Well, the book isn't exactly closed, so to speak. Here are two establishments that weren't on our original list:

* Second Edition, 368 Thousand Oaks Blvd. (in Vogue Plaza), Thousand Oaks 497-9727. Hours: Monday to Friday, 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. and Saturday, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. The store features collections of classics, children's books, reference books, biographies, history books, popular fiction and nonfiction. However, the store's specialty is science fiction, fantasy and horror for collectors. It has about 50 first editions, many of them autographed by the authors, including quite a few by Clive Barker.

* Thistle and Spur Fine Collectible Books, 705 Lakefield Road, Suite I, Westlake Village, 495-8501. Hours beginning next Thursday: 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Tuesday to Saturday, and by appointment. Looking for books about Scottish history, wars, culture, people, commerce or education? This is the place to go. Owner Miles Davidson has books on these subjects dating as far back as the late 1700s and three by Sir Walter Scott printed in 1824. He's also stocked the place with a nice collection of first edition gumshoe books. The store isn't huge, but it is computerized, and Davidson can do quick book searches throughout the United States.

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