Captain John Smith, reporting from Santa Cruz

The guy at the Santa Cruz bus stop introduced himself to me, twice, and each time he made the same joke (about me looking like the historical/colonial John Smith) and laughed as though it were the first time he’d ever heard such hilarity — so it came as no surprise to me when he told me that he had taken the bus to Santa Cruz (as opposed to driving) so that he “could get real fucked up.”

The first time he told the joke, the guy next to him started rattling off the top of his head all of the facts surrounding the historical Captain John Smith and Pocahontas. The guy really knew a lot, and he was still going, later, when we re-introduced ourselves, me saying my name was “Jon,” and he finishing by telling me that my last name was Smith, like the guy the English guy. Read more

Wouldn’t you know it

I probably shouldn’t have blogged about losing my chill factor, or about being attacked by acorns, even though it was largely in jest. The Universe apparently didn’t get the joke, and it jinxed me: the very next day I had a confrontation. Yes, things got tense beneath the branches of the wise old redwood trees.

I was exiting the serenity of the redwoods, my chill factor on maximum, when a German Shepherd bounded toward me, barking. It freaked me the fuck out, and not just a little freak out. For me, dogs have always triggered something deeper, especially when they appear hostile. Read more

Increasing one’s chill factor

I’m back in California for the winter. I seem to have fallen into a fairly satisfying nomadic lifestyle of working the summers in Alaska and then spending the winters in California.

California is a good place to write in the winter, especially where I’m at, here in the Santa Cruz Mountains, only a half hour bus ride to the beach. Generally speaking, it’s not too hard to find places to chill in Cali, and since I live in the middle of a Redwood forest, I can walk daily among the wise, tall old trees. You would think that such walks would exponentially help one’s odds of increasing one’s chill factor, but the other day while I was on a hike, I was attacked by acorns.

The word “attack” is really no exaggeration. They were dropping all around me with such ferocity that I spent most of the hike with my hands over my head. The acorns hurdled down and pounded the ground with enough force to leave divots in the dirt.

Here’s a pic of “Big Ben,” a Redwood at about the middle point in my hike.

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Taking a leak

McCarthy Alaska is the kind of place where pretty much no matter where you are at a given time, you can find a bush or tree to duck behind and take a leak. I generally don’t piss in town during the summer tourist season, simply for sake of preserving some small shred of professional dignity, what with my role as accountant and all. Even so, after Labor Day we start winding down, eventually bathrooms get closed down (pipes winterized), and I find myself enjoying the simple pleasure of peeing in the wild, even when I’m in town.

I’m not certain if it’s the pleasure of peeing outside or the joy in knowing that I’m remote enough to be able to do so, but either way it strikes me that this ability to pee outdoors may be something of a litmus test, some sort of (strange) criteria for me, in terms of picking a place to live. In short, the best places to be seem to be places where you can pee.

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MXY AK

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McCarthy, Alaska, 2017

This bad ass truck has a hellacool license plate: MXY AK. I’m not sure who’s truck this is (though I should probably know) but I’m wondering if I might be able to steal that plate number and put it on a California plate. I can almost guarantee that if I’m driving around Cali with an MXY AK plate, there will be someone, somewhere who will know at least a little something about McCarthy. At the very least a McCarthy license plate would help me deal with Alaska nostalgia.

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McCarthy Creek, 2017

Trump’s DOJ gears up for crackdown on marijuana | TheHill

Geez. That’s invasive. Yo, I thought the Republicans were the party of small government! Of individual rights! Let a man own a basement full of guns, but he can’t have a gram of weed? I think Jefferson is not so much rolling over in his grave as thinking, “the fuck, man?!”

But I jest.

Let’s put Republican hypocrisy aside for a moment, because there’s something even more ridiculous to what the debunked Trump administration is doing. This is what the 70-year-old Jeff Sessions (Trump’s Attorney General) says about the marijuana crackdown he’s so anxious to initiate:

“Task Force subcommittees will also undertake a review of existing policies in the areas of charging, sentencing, and marijuana to ensure consistency with the Department’s overall strategy on reducing violent crime and with Administration goals and priorities…” 

“Reducing violent crime”? If you want to reduce violent crime, dude, like, don’t take weed off the market. Alcohol, for example, leads to far more violence than weed, which from my experience only gives you the munchies, a good night’s sleep, and makes you feel slow and stoney…and may more or may not be the solution to writer’s block. 😉

Dear Jeff Sessions,

Dude, like, chill. Try smoking a bowl and watching the Big Lebowski. Then let’s talk about the link between marijuana and violent crime. Maybe we can save a few government bucks and/or use it for something that matters.

 

Source: http://thehill.com/regulation/administration/343218-trumps-doj-gears-up-for-crackdown-on-marijuana

Our conveniences are killing us | The Guardian

Winter storms battered this stretch of coastal California, blocking the sole road – but residents forced to leave their cars at home have been feeling the benefit.

“I’ll be sort of sorry to see the bridge go back up,” said Carey. “We’re all hiking that trail all the time, but next year how many will still do it?”

Source: ‘Every crisis has a silver lining’: why Big Sur’s isolation is making people fitter | US news | The Guardian