Face Mask or Ass Face

Yes, I know the face mask debate is a tired topic. But the CDC last week released a statement saying masks may be our best protection from Coronavirus, even better than a vaccine.

What’s so annoying, is this isn’t new information. We already know masks are more effective than an a vaccine because they work on everyone. That is everyone that have it over their mouth and nose and not just around their neck while they shop at Home Depot.

It doesn’t matter whether you believe in science, or you’re a conspiracy theory QAnon nut job. You can’t have it both ways. It’s a naturally occurring airborne pathogen, or a Chinese bioweapon. Take your pick, but either way, you should be wearing a mask if you want to end this god damn pandemic and return to normal.

Return to Tomales Bay

We were back in Tomales Bay this weekend for more kayaking. This time we stayed in Dillon Beach at a little one-bedroom cottage we rented a few blocks from the beach.

We dropped the boats in where Tomales Bay meets the Pacific Ocean at a private RV park called Lawson’s Landing. This place is unique in that it’s the only place one can see rednecks and Trump supporters in Marin County.

When we arrived the night before, we got news Ruth Bader Ginsberg had died. So seeing all that trash whooping it up was all the more disappointing.

Don’t get me wrong. I love camping, and I own a camper, but RV’ing is not camping. It’s a trailer park flash mob. I admit it. I hate being around rednecks. They can’t have a good unless it’s ruining someone else’s good time. Everything they bring has a 2-cycle engine and requires gas. So they’re stinking up the place and drowning out everyone else’s music. If I didn’t give a shit about the environment, I’d invent a diesel powered Bluetooth speaker that belches black smoke to Uncle Cracker.

Back in the boats, life was good again. Low-tide was ending and all the clammers were heading back to shore. We crossed the boat channel and careened along the coves of Point Reyes before heading back against the tide and wind. It took about three times longer to cover the same distance. Still, totally worth it. All morning we were surrounded by seals and brown pelicans. No shark sightings, which was a little disappointing.

After kayaking, we packed a picnic with Caprese sandwiches and cold beers. Then we just chilled on the beach for a couple hours. You know, like a couple of boogie lib yuppies.

For dinner we drove down to Nick’s Cove. We met up with some friends and their 11-week old American Bully puppy – Bear. There was a perfect sunset, followed by just a sliver of moon. A great night to see the Milky Way. We closed Nick’s and drove back up Highway 1 in the dark. A totally different experience from driving it during the day.

AQI

I have a headache and my chest hurts this morning. I can only surmise it’s due to the poor air quality we’re currently experiencing. It’s that, or I am having a psychosomatic reaction to knowing how bad the air quality rating is. Right now, it’s at 175, which is considered pretty bad. There’s a prediction it could get up to 400, which is really really bad. Anything over 100 is unhealthy.

This is all being caused by the raging wildfires all over the west. We’re just not getting past all the fires burning in the Bay Area. Last I checked the SCU fire that was just a few miles from us is contained, but not completely out. That’s pretty crazy seeing as it started nearly a month ago. 

The current fires contributing to the poor air quality, and the orange skies earlier this week are way up north in the Mendocino National forrest. That fire, has surpassed, in size, the fires down here. The fires down here were ranked 2nd and 3rd largest in California history. It looks like one or both of those will be broken. Not anything to be proud of.

That’s just California. Washington and Oregon are suffering immensely as well. Over a half million people are under an evacuation warning in Oregon. That’s insane. I’m used to fires down here, I’ve never really seen anything like this up there. 

A couple years ago, I read a book called “The Big Burn” by Tim Egan. The book tells the story of a massive fire that destroyed forests spanning Washington, Idaho and Montana in August of 1910. Similar to this year’s fire, they were made worse by super dry conditions and strong winds. 

The book not only tells the story of the firefight, but how it influenced Teddy Roosevelt to focus more on preservation of the forests instead of caving to the industries that wanted to clear cut them. 

The fire burned over 3 million acres and killed 78 people. Here’s the link to the book if you’re interested.

It’s a really good book. I’m surprised it was never made into a movie. Give it time, I guess.

Laurie Kilmartin

Back in 2019 when live comedy was still a thing. I booked and produced a show at Crooked Vine Winery featuring comedian and writer Laurie Kilmartin. She is one of the funniest comedian around, hands down.

I had been producing comedy shows in the Bay Area for about a year, booking local comics. Once I got the hang of it, I decided to reach out to one of my favorites. I think I first saw Laurie on Conan O’Brien where she is also a writer for the show.

We couldn’t have asked for a better night for the show. The weather was terrific. We had two amazing food trucks and everyone who performed has the audience laughing their ass off.

I don’t have any video I can share, but trust me, it was awesome.

The highlight for me was getting to hang out with Laurie the next day as I gave her a ride to the airport.

  • Austin Blaylock, Me, Laurie, and Samson Koletkar
  • Laurie…murdering
  • Samson
  • Austin
  • Fans

Hi-atus

I know it’s coming up on a year since I last posted something. Not for a lack of having anything to say, as much as inertia. So here’s a big post in terms of bandwidth, not necessarily content.

August 2020 was a blur. It started out pretty low-key. We went kayaking up in Tomales Bay and stayed at Nick’s Cove. It was a great relaxing weekend, just the kind of break we needed to prepare ourselves for plagues 6 and 7 of 2020.

  • Loaded up the new Outback with the Kayaks
  • Nick’s waterfront cabins
  • All the big names
  • Boat house
  • Hog Island in the fog
  • Hog Island of oyster fame, in the morning
  • Tomales Bay

What started as an unpleasant heatwave – temps around 105-110 range became a local blackout. For us, it wasn’t a rolling blackouts like the rest of the state. The substation in our town had a massive failure. So we checked into a hotel. The next morning we woke up to a lightning storm right out of Ghostbusters.

In about an hour, there were over 12,000 lightning strikes. Many of them set off fires that are still burning, having claimed 1.6 million acres and counting.

The SCU Lightning Complex fire has the dubious distinction of being the 2nd largest fire in California history, and the one closest to where I live.

At one point we were 1 mile from the evacuation zone. I live in town, far from nature, so wildfires didn’t used to be a concern for me. Ever since Santa Rosa in 2017, all bets are off.

The skies and air quality has been improving. Today feels kind of normal. A week ago, we had one of the worst AQI scores in the world at 300. It was the worst I’ve seen, and I’ve been to Delhi, India in October.

Today a friend asked how we were doing with the fires. I told him it looks like we’re out of the woods for now, because, after all these fires, I think California is out of woods.

  • First signs of smoke from the SCU fire, 10 miles away.
  • Mount Diablo in the distance
  • Smoke from the LZU complex fire 50 miles north
  • Sunset under cloud of smoke.
  • Vineyards of Concannon
  • AQI 300+
  • 1 week of fires
  • Scorched earth at Sycamore Grove
  • Burned hill where I mountain bike weekly.

50/50

I had my annual physical last week. The doctor said everything looked pretty good. The only thing he was concerned about was my BMI score. BMI for those of you who don’t know stands for Body Mass Index. It’s what you should weigh based on your height. Mine was 31, and the doctor said he’d like to see it come down to something more normal like 22-23.

That didn’t sound too bad. So I asked him what I should do, and he said, “Based on my height, I should lose about 50 pounds.”

“Holy shit! What else have you got?”

He said, “Well, if we look at your weight, you could grow 13 inches.”

I’m not sure which path to take. I just know when I’m done, I’ll have to get new clothes anyhow.

My wife asked how did things go at my physical. When I told her what the doctor said, she was genuinely surprised and said, “Wow, but you don’t look that fat.” With a tear in my eye, I hugged her and said, “You noticed.”

She showed me an article that Rob Gronkowski lost 50 pounds in 6 months and he feels great. He doesn’t have the body aches, or heart burn anymore. It’s because he’s mostly eating a plant-based diet and drinking less. She figured, if Gronk can do it, why can’t you?

So I set a goal for myself of 50 by 50, and that’s what I’ll be doing for the next 6 months.

Since my physical, I’ve become something of a health nut and people are starting to notice. A woman I work with asked if I’ve been juicing. I thought she meant steroids, so I said, “I’m flattered, but this is all natural.” Then I flexed a little.

She said, “No, I meant doing a juice cleanse.”

“Yeah, why?”

She said, “We noticed you’ve been something of an insufferable prick lately.”

Yeah, that’s one of the side effects. They really ought to put some kind of warning label on the side of my Vitamix. Warning, use of this product will make others want to tell you to shut the hell up.

Not What I Needed

I was lurking on Twitter this morning and saw the names Ric Ocasek and Tony Bennett trending and thought uh-oh. Turns out there’s some college basketball coach named Tony Bennett who turned down a raise because he wanted more for his staff. But who cares, college coaches are obscenely overpaid and that seems like the least he could do.

Unfortunately, Ric Ocasek was trending for the very last time. He died after having an unspecified surgery. My first thought was I never saw him live, only once in concert with The Cars. If you ever saw them, you’d know what I mean.

I saw them in 1984 in Indianapolis at Market Square Arena. Lionel Richie cracked the ceiling of that stadium earlier that year. He wasn’t dancing on it either, he played too loud apparently.

They opened with “Hello Again” and just played one song after the other. There was no banter or connection with the audience. In hindsight, it was kind of dull, but I remember thinking it was a pretty good at the time. I’d only been to one other concert before, and that was Rick Springfield, in Springfield, Illinois.

Over the years, I have seen a lot of bands live, and The Cars have sunk way down the list in terms of performers. At least they weren’t as bad as Ray LaMontagne.

He was more than a great songwriter, musician, and producer. He made it socially acceptable for people like Julia Roberts and Katy Perry to marry ugly, and yet stay together.

All joking aside, I loved The Cars, they were my favorite band for a while. My brother gave me “Shake it Up” for my birthday and I played it to death. Before that, the only album I owned was “Spirits Having Flown” by the Bee Gees. I only bought it for the first two tracks on side one; “Tragedy” and “Too Much Heaven.” I never even flipped it over to side two. By the time I was 11, I was sooo over disco anyhow.

“Shake it Up” was the first album I could listen to from beginning to end. I didn’t care that every track wasn’t on the radio. I’ll always remember the way “Since Your Gone” opened up with the heal clicks, guitar strum and then the bass and drum.

A couple years later, we were in Winnipeg, Manitoba – of all places – where I bought The Cars first three albums. It was like discovering a new band for me. They were all solid, but it took me a little while to warm up to “Panorama” because it didn’t have any songs I recognized.

The Cars were always pegged as New Wave, probably because of the ham-fisted keyboards. But they were the only band in that genre who weren’t afraid to have great guitar riffs and solos. Which is why they still hold up better than a lot of other acts from that era.

As a young hipster wannabe living in cultural wastelands like rural North Dakota and Central Illinois (long story, boring story), The Cars were a great gateway band. They were popular and accessible, yet weird enough, that I could still call them my favorite band and maintain some street cred.

Falsestart

The only thing I hate more than a Kickstarter project promo video is seeing a product on Instagram and finding out, it’s not real, and just a Kickstarter project. You see something useful and go hmmmm. Click. Then…ah shit.

On another note, this has got to be one of the funniest Kickstarter images I’ve seen in a long time. They’re so sad in their lack of self-awareness, but this one takes the cake.

Get me The President of the United States of America on the phone. I have something very important to tell him.

I guess this is what happens when an entrepreneur art directs their own product.

Maybe I wasn’t so far off

I did this parody of Dilbert about 15 years ago after reading a couple interviews with Scott Adams. I figured he was just some cube-dwelling geek who loved making the same 3 observations about office life over and over again. Turns out, he’s something of a nihilistic prick whose disdain for pretty much everyone less cynical than him has no bounds.

I personally don’t find office shootings funny. I just envision Scott Adams as the kind of guy who’d make light of them, and tell everyone they should lighten up and stop being so sensitive. I also imagine, he’s incredibly thin-skinned and would most likely threaten to sue me for creating this strip.

What I learned the week of July 15, 2019

Elon Musk is coming up with more wearable technologies to make us look like geriatric nerds from outer space.


As if it didn’t already sound like the name of a 70s TV drama, The Squad could have easily been called The White Shadow.


The Donald had eyebrows on fleek all the way back in 1992.


Nobody knows how to throw an anniversary like New York.


James Bond fans will believe everything except that 007 can be a black woman.