Concert Log: Neko Case & Ray Lamontagne at the Greek Theater, Berkeley, CA


I finally got a chance to see Neko Case live. It was a shortened set since she was the opening act for Ray Lamontagne. The show was at the Greek Theater in Berkeley. She sounded great, and played mostly new stuff from her latest album that coincidentally was released that day. Fortunately, she’ll be coming back on her own tour in the winter. I hope to see her then.

Neko Case by daylight.

As for Ray Lamontagne. I wasn’t there to see him but figured what the hell. I know enough of his songs and I’ve seen plenty of singer-songwriters types. I’ve been blown away by the power of a single voice and an acoustic guitar. So I was surprised to see him with a full electric band.

I know he has a reputation as a very private person, but it felt like the audience and his band were interrupting his set. We left early, so I don’t know if he ever interacted with the audience or his band. While we were there he didn’t.

Cook and the Books


No, Apple Is Not Creating 20,000 Jobs Because of the Tax Bill

No, Apple Is Not Creating 20,000 Jobs Because of the Tax Bill

The company’s press release appeared to be pandering to the White House.


I think a lot of people want to believe Tim Cook is some kind of benevolent leader because he shares many of their social values. You have to remember, he’s an operations and money guy first and foremost. That means he gets to subjectively apply reason and logic whenever it comes to paying Apple’s fair share of corporate taxes. “Hey, who’s to say what’s fair? What we did was perfectly legal.”

Never mind they’ve exploited a loophole written for multinational corporations by multinational corporation’s lobbyists.

“So technically, I guess you could say we’re doing the right thing. Besides, we can’t have the government interfering in our free-market system. THAT would be unfair.”

I think it’s pretty simple logic. Apple expects US to pay full price for their products. We should expect them to pay US full price on taxes. I guarantee you, if someone were offering their products for less than MAP (minimum advertised pricing), or counterfeiting, they’d expect the government to intervene like stink on shit.

Burningvan 2018


Yesterday, I took the Westy up to Ocean Beach in the city for Burningvan 2018. It was a gathering of 200+ Vanagons and Wetfalias from all over Norcal.

We arrived way early and secured a great spot facing the ocean. We popped the top and waited as most had arrived by 11:30am. This was my first time attending, and I have never seen so many Vanagons in one place before. I made some new friends and caught up with some folks I know from Buslab in Berkeley, CA.

I spent Saturday getting the battery replaced. Luckily I didn’t try to replace the starter. I’d be pulling my hair out if I’d gone through all that effort only to have it not start. The old battery was only a few months old. I took it back to AutoZone. They tested it, and sure enough, it wasn’t holding a charge. they replaced it no questions asked and she fired right up.

The last major work I had done was on the transmission. This was my first highway trip with her and she climbed just fine at 60mph without me having to drop it down to 2nd. I even got her up to 80mph, but that was going downhill.

Below are some shots from yesterday’s event.

Ocean Beach sea wall

Ocean Beach sea wall

Sweet spot

Blinged out


All in a line

Ocean Beach sea wall

Sadie’s first time at the beach.




All the possible upgrades

Early birds



Sadie next to a Bobo. A peek at what she might look like in the future.


Great Highway



Rise and shine

The shithole comment


Every time Trump says something scathing and ignorant his base gets even more concentrated. Surely he loses some people on the fringe of the fringe, but those that remain become even more toxic and virulent. There are people in this country whose personal brand is being an asshole, and don’t care what people think, and don’t deserve the rest of us making excuses for them.

Stupid is one thing, but ignorant is another. Stupid can be fixed, sometimes it’s too much effort, but ignorant is applied. People chose to be ignorant. Ignorant is behavior-driven, you ignore what’s counter to your beliefs and values. Stupid is just uninformed. You can definitely be both and many are. However, there are people in this country who aren’t stupid but ignorant, they are the intellectually dishonest and much worse than the garden variety stupid.

Winter Mehs


It’s foggy here today. It feels like winter is coming, not retreating. Despite that, I’ll take January in Northern California any day over Chicago.

In California, the holiday season and winter seem to end at the same time; right around 4:30 on Christmas Day. Everything is over. You’ve opened the presents and eaten a gluttonous meal. Instead of lying on the couch, you go for a hike or a walk outside – because you can.

In Chicago, it’s not like that at all. 4:30 Christmas Day is a downer. It’s like someone flips a switch. The holiday cheer peters out and the worst part of winter is just getting started. I only looked forward to snow during November and December when I lived there. After the first or second week of January, it was time to wrap it up. Instead of going outside on Christmas day, I would stare at the outdoor gear I received as gifts. They’d sit in that gift box, folded with tissue paper hanging off the side, mocking me because I couldn’t do anything until April, if I was lucky.

I used to be one of those idiots that talked about cold weather building character. Not anymore.

Westy Woes


For the past few months, I’ve been experiencing a battery drain on the Westy. Originally, I thought it was the starter, but it fires right up with a jump start. This Christmas, I received a sweet portable charging station that includes; jumper cables, power outlets, an inflator, and USB ports. It’s really handy because now I can drive places and not worry about asking for a jump.

Gotta love the easy access to the battery.

I also replaced the window handles, again! It’s been a long-time coming, but GoWesty finally came out with their own industrial strength window handles. The ones I bought before were total pieces of shit. They literally snapped off in your hand with just a little pressure. They were so cheap I bought 8 of them and kept them in van. Before that, I had a small vice grip handy.

These better be the last handles I have to buy.

Last spring, my buddy Nick broke a handle off. He didn’t want to say anything thinking I might lose my shit. I whipped out my cordless drill and one of my spare handles and we were back in business.

Hopefully these new ones last. They better, they’re $40 a piece versus $4.99 for the others.

Not to jinx it


After finishing 2017 with the double whammy of a cold followed by a sinus infection, 2018 by comparison, is off to a decent start. I have been getting out to the gym and even set up some stuff in the garage for those days I don’t feel like making the short drive.

I feel like I haven’t read a book, magazine or newspaper since we got the new dog. You can’t sit still for a second. If you do, she’ll dart off her mat at your throat or start chewing on the rug, the sofa, the coffee table. Fortunately, she’s been minimally destructive. I know it could be way worse.

One of the secondary benefits of having the dog is I’m taking more long walks. We live a few blocks from our downtown, so walking the dog is a convenient excuse to hit the coffee shop or walk around to see what’s happening. Billy loves walks, Sadie is just starting to get into them.

The Rise of the Privilege Epiphany


I’m glad to see some of those born on third base recognize the role luck has played in their life. However, a bigger problem is unsuccessful white people who feel they disprove the existence of white privilege and racism in America because it hasn’t helped them. And yet, they miss the point that having their race be a non-issue is in and of itself an advantage. It’s like Chris Rock says, “no white guy would trade places with him!”

The Rise of the Privilege Epiphany

The Rise of the Privilege Epiphany

Donald Trump made them realize their dumb luck in life. Now what?


Why can’t we have the Canadian Twitter?


In Buzzfeed years, this old post is the equivalent of the Dead Sea Scrolls, but it’s still funny.

These Canadians Had A Very Polite Argument About Politics Online And People Are Amazed

These Canadians Had A Very Polite Argument About Politics Online And People Are Amazed

“Canadians: The civilized North Americans.”


Thems the Breaks


Write about a time you broke…

A Bone

Technically, I don’t think I’ve ever broken a bone. However, I have had plenty of serious injuries. The closest thing to a broken bone is when I separated my ribs from my sternum playing rugby.

I was playing Center, instead of my usual Scrumhalf position. It was open field and instead of scooping up the ball, I squatted and got rolled. I ended up on the bottom of growing pile. My neck got hyper-extended and my chin got shoved into my chest. Then, everything went black. I thought my neck snapped. Fortunately, I could still walk, but it felt like someone had pushed my head into my chest cavity.

For the next couple weeks, my sternum would buckle in and out, like a pop can. I was on a plane to Rhode Island a couple weeks later and as descended, the pressure on my ribs knocked the wind out of me. I couldn’t get it to pop back out until we were back on the ground.

The first practice back one of my teammates asked, “what happened to you” and punched me in the chest. I folded like a house of cards and he shook his hand like a wet rag.

To this day, I still have to “reset” my ribs with a good yawn every now and then. If you listen closely, you can hear a little “crunch.”

The Law

I’m not especially proud of this, but here it goes. My college roommate had an air rifle. I was putzing around with it and pointed it out the window of our 3rd floor room. Without thinking, I just pulled the trigger. Pffffoot went the BB.It didn’t ricochet. The passenger window of car parked in front of the house just turned into a million tiny pieces and poof, it was gone.

I quietly put the gun back where I found it and left the room. That was the last I heard about that and this is the first time I ever mentioned it to anyone else.