Uh Oh!



You might remember that I noticed a few chairs gathering in Cayucos right before the 4th of July last year.

It's going to be a different scene this year:

I'm glad that I got to see the traditional bringing out of the chairs last year, anyway.

From Drought to Deluge

A few weeks ago I was in Dallas.

It was hot and steamy. It makes this apple look more like a tomato.

More important, it was raining. And raining hard. At 3am, I got to wake up because my phone was giving me flash flood alerts. I'm glad that it was able to know I was in a flash flood area, but telling an out-of-towner to move to high ground isn't quite enough info. First of all, I'm not sure what a Texan would consider high ground. And second, even so I wouldn't know where it was.

Still, I figured I was safe in the 3rd floor of the Hampton Inn.

And so I found it was important to find cover wherever I could.

I just wish I'd brought a tanker truck so I could bring the water back home with me.

Drought Effects at South Lake Tahoe

The lake is shockingly low. Here are a few pictures.

Some of the docks don't even make it to the water.

Worse, some of the boat ramps no longer make it to the water.

Things are not good.

South Lake Tahoe

I'm up at South Lake Tahoe for a conference.

I'm wiped out, so the only thing I can think of is 4th grader jokes.

Do you remember this one?


The most horrifying restroom ever is in a restaurant in Cambria.

Playing Chicken

I had to drive an hour south to get my car worked on, then I meandered back up to Arroyo Grande to have my tire fixed, and I took a little walk. I saw this sign:

I thought to myself, "Nobody does that, right? Abandon a poor chicken by the side of the road?"

Apparently they do. Apparently they do.

Oh, well, there you go. If it were me, I'd change the name to Hope Diamond Creek and see what people drop off then.

And I wouldn't go around decorating the restrooms with chickens.


So very much of my little slice of Cayucos is either wooden decking or gravel. 

There isn't much rain here, but when there is, it's often hard and heavy. It'll move the gravel down hill. 

So that migration, combined with my general neglect has left the place looking shabby. Weeds clumped into the back yard and then have died.

A couple weeks ago we were faced with a rare 100% chance of rain a few days ahead of the event.  It was not a big storm and it didn't do anything about our drought, but the plants around here are resilient. Many of them seem to survive just from the occasional fog. 

So that weekend I got out there and raked. After a half hour of raking in the back, it now looks like this:

I did the same to the front, a much bigger patch. After two hours of taking, I got about half the front redistributed and unweeded. Now I need to get some refresher gravel. 

Or build some more decking. 


Today's exciting lunch excursion is Giovanni's Fish Marker & Galley. 

Considering that this is an order-at-one-window-pick-up-at-another kind of place, 
it has a bit of ambience. Still, the thing to look at in Morro Bay is always the same thing: the smokestacks. 

Actually, it is nice outside on a sunny day watching real fisherman doing their jobs. 

In spite of the steaming seafood thing sitting right out front, there is enough on the sandwich menu to satisfy people like me who don't eat fish. 

I had a grilled cheese. 

So there's not much to say about the food. It's cheap. It's fine. 

Happy Easter

Morro Bay style

Slot Cheese?

Yeah, I don't know either. 

Dutchman's Seafood Restaurant

Today's new restaurant experience is brought to you by Zoltar. 

Does Zoltar predict a good meal? The future is murky. And so is the cell signal here.  Verizon 2 bars/1x. Not 3G, certainly not LTE. 

There are not many choices for a non-fishhead; especially since I'm stuck with the dinner menu. It looks like the lunch menu has more options.  (And fair enough, the sign doesn't imply anything else.)

So I got the burger. I asked for raw onions. I'm pretty sure the server read back to me, "grilled onions," so I repeated "raw onions." I think she said back to me, "yes, grilled onions.". We will see what happens. 

I should learn to speak Dutch.

The view is the same one all the restaurants along here have, except for those without a view at all. 

Which is why I drive here from Cayucos. I love Schooners Wharf, but I can't really eat there every day. 

Can I?

Ah, the burger came:

The fries are good and crisp. And the onions are raw. I think it's time to check my hearing. 

Avila Sea Caves

I was going to comment on the use of sharks for directional signage, but honestly the takeaway from my quick hike around Avila Sea Caves is that people are disgusting. There is trash everywhere here and some of the once-beautiful rocks are covered with graffiti.

And apparently the world is just an ashtray.

Painting Progress

I'm not a fast painter. I seem to be on a pace to make one a year. Last year's painting was the Cayucos Whirlpool. I think that took about six months, though I don't seem to have recorded the start here at the Abbey for some reason.

In early February, I started a new one. Every so often, I go out and work on the thing. As the weather has stabilized this month, I've gotten a few trips in over the last few weeks.

[Yes, "stabilized" is quite a word for weather where the high doesn't change more than 10 degrees over the whole year. Mostly, I'm talking about the fog and rain that we got -- little as it was. But, to be honest, there's a big jump between 60°F and 70°F when working outside.]

This is my first painting that I've tried to do any extensive drawing on.

I'm watering down the paint and trying to take a bunch of passes on each section.

I kind of like the idea that the pier is more defined to the right of the crane than to the left. I wish I'd thought of that and designed the painting around it.

Another Day in Morro Bay,

another Soviet luxury sailboat.

Click to make it bigger.

BEK РОССИИ does seem to translate as Age of Russia (or Russian Century).

Update: Oh, this is neat. The boat was meant to compete in the America's Cup back in '92, but the club that owned the boat ran out of money before it hit the water. According to the LA Times, it was destined to be destroyed, but this other page says it's been sailing around as a luxury yacht and it was built in the same place as Sputnik.

Well today it's hanging out in Morro Bay.

Here's a longer range picture.

Both these were taken from my iPhone in a dry bag. It was too bright for me to see the screen when I took the pictures. I'm amazed the boat's in it the pictures at all.

Seriously, Ralph's?

First Ride

A little late for a first ride.

And I'm embarrassingly out of shape.

And the wind is terrible, but the weather is lovely otherwise.

Birthday Tree 2015

Gosh, it's been a busy year. I'm run ragged.

It's almost two months late, but I finally got a birthday tree. I wish I'd gotten to it before last weekend's rain (maybe the last for a while?)

It's an olive tree. It should be good in this drought, but I've just learned that it could take up to five years for the first fruit. Which is going to be rough, since I've never lived in a house more than 5 years, and I'm already a year and two months into this house.

Last year's tree is doing well, I think.

Here's what it looked like when I planted it a year ago.

And here it is now:

This place is much better than Nevada City in this respect: my birthday trees aren't getting eaten by deer.

Everything is Stories

I had a nice lunch in Morro Bay at a place that's become somewhat regular for me, in spite of the rocky start. It's hard to beat sushi and French fries. I parked about a mile up the hill and walked down. Toward the end of my meal, a thunderstorm hit.

It wasn't loud and I never saw lightning, but it's the first thunderstorm I've listened to in years. And I love the colors when there is clear sky out at sea and a shower falling on the bay. We still haven't gotten to non-drought measures of rain, but this winter seems like it has had more storms than last winter. I am both looking forward and a little sad to look forward at the 9 or 10 months of no-rain ahead.

I ran out of podcasts, so I searched for a new one to add to my list and I got the recent episode of Everything is Stories. I'm not sure how I feel about it. It was an interesting story about a woman hooked up with a much older man and starting a commune. I'm going to give a few more episodes a try.

In the last 2 1/2 minutes, there's a separate segment that really jumped out at me. This guy gives a quick talk about meeting up at Morro Bay with a guy who then goes and drowns.

I know it's the New Car Effect*, but it's still weird to hear about your neighborhood when two years ago you'd never heard of the place yourself.

Here's a rainbow from up Los Osos Valley:

* I don't know if "New Car Effect" is the real name. It's that thing where you decide to buy a little Honda CRX and suddenly every car you notice on the road is a Honda CRX.

With Apologies to the Eagles and Cypress Hill

It has been one of those weeks. There's only one way to drown it out.


Is there really only one Google hit for "nomanomicron"?

Not any more.

Madonna Inn

When I mentioned where I lived to a colleague in Chicago, he said he still remembered staying at the Madonna Inn in the '70s, even which room. I said it was about 30 minutes from my house, but near the place I get Tubby's food. 

He told me I have to go, if only to see the bathroom. 

So on a food run tonight, I've stopped for dinner. I can't believe this place has been here and I've never bothered to stop by. The Madonna Inn is a large complex and has a steakhouse and a cafe. 

It's the night before Valentine's, so I'm at the Copper Café. It really is a copper café.

I'm sitting at the counter, but I think the booths would've awesome to bring someone for a bit of public privacy. 

The place is filled with stuff to look at, not to mention the fountains outside the building. 

The waitstaff was efficient and offered me plenty of refills in these heavy heavy glasses. 

The steakhouse menu was available even in the café, but I opted for the Monte Cristo.  

I've never had such a selection of jams for a Monte Cristo. The fries were perfectly crispy, too. This is a fun place I look forward to visiting again. 

Oh, the bathroom? The one in the café was ok, but nothing to write home about. It has interesting faucets. 

So I wandered over to the men's room under the steakhouse. The urinal is a waterfall cave: