We saw Gomez at the Fox in Oakland – my favorite Bay Area venue – Sunday night. They’re doing a 20th anniversary tour. How’s that for making you feel old. I first started listening to them around 1999 and used to get them confused with Travis. It wasn’t because they sounded the same, it’s because a lot of bands had one word name names.

It was a good show. They sounded great but only played 3 songs from “How We Operate”, my favorite album of theirs. If I were one of those guys who rated shows, I’d give it 6 out of 10. If I were a hard core Gomez fan, probably an 8.

Original Gomez lineup.

Looks like Ben Ottewell has been working out or working at a startup.

You’d think it was 1999 judging by that marquee.

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.

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

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.