We were having an awesome time bringing home the bacon on this boat, until the deckhand cut off a big chunk of his finger bringing up the anchor!
Fishing is a dangerous pastime, but in all the trips I’ve been on, this was the first time the blood on the deck was not fish blood. (No blood in the video, I wouldn’t do that)

Still, we had a blast kicking off the 2015 Rockfishing season.

Andrew Jarecki is the new Vincent Bugliosi.

In the process of making a bit of journalism, “The Jinx”, some say HBO’s answer to the “Serial” podcast, Andrew Jarecki unravels a decades old murder case while producing a documentary.  His methodical investigation laid out all the facts that were known, and exposed a few that lay under the surface.

They remained under the surface for 15 years, vital writing and spelling samples that led directly to Robert Durst, and for the most part make a very strong case for arresting him for murder, which apparently happened today.

In Manson’s infamous case, Benedict Canyon was also a central location, being the site of the Cielo Drive house where the Manson Family members brutally murdered a pregnant Sharon Tate, among others. In HBO’s “The Jinx”, the address was written in an enormously revealing hand, the hand of the killer, and apparently the hand of Robert Durst who has been evading prosecution for a set of crimes spanning more than 30 years. Bugliosi was a district attorney, but Jarecki was a filmmaker, it’s true. Still, he found what the detectives and police could not, and now a man is sitting in jail for things he has denied taking part in for a very long time.

Jarecki’s crew uncovered clues that should have been obvious, in hindsight, to the investigative parties 15 years ago. The same investigative powers that failed to see the connections laid bare on the show, and allowed a man who is likely responsible for the murders of three people to walk free.

Bugliosi, as district attorney in the Mansion murder case, saw a film crew, this time for a local news station, finding key evidence scattered in the hills around the Canyon, leading to valuable clues that were overlooked by police in that historic case.

In the HBO documentary mini series, “The Jinx”, Andrew Jarecki uncovers a writing sample that exactly matches a note that tipped off Beverly Hills police to the location of a body. Even Durst himself acknowledged that “Only the killer” could have written the note, as only the killer would have known of the location and state of the deceased. In this case the deceased was Susan Berman, an acquaintance of Durst’s who seems to he known too much. Durst’s own writing samples, taken from a litany of documents was matched up by a professional writing analyst, and was found to contain some very strong similarities.

As I was watching the last episode of The Jinx today, I had the spoiler moment of a lifetime. I made an internet search for the Beverly Hills address involved, and noticed news stories saying Durst had been arrested. My jaw dropped.

Here was a man who had already admitted to dismembering a body, and walked out of a murder trial acquitted, getting arrested for crimes he just admitted to on camera. Also accused of making his wife disappear, he has thus far escaped any real prison time. He has served 5 and a half months on a gun charge, but this obviously pales in what the justice system likely has in store for him now, with this new arrest.

I suppose now his defense will say that was not an admission, but I cannot imagine how they could make that fly in court.

After an interview with Jarecki, Durst enters a restroom wearing a microphone he obviously did not know was still active. The mic captures a conversation he has with himself in the privacy of the bathroom:

“There it is. You’re caught. You’re right, of course. But, you can’t imagine. Arrest him. [sink sounds.] I don’t know what’s in the house. Oh, I want this. What a disaster. He was right. I was wrong. And the burping. [Restroom noises.] I’m having difficulty with the question.”

“What the hell did I do?  Killed them all of course.”

To me, this was a chilling piece of real journalism. It was called an answer to Serial, a popular podcast about an old Baltimore murder that already had someone behind bars. I think The Jinx was much better. Serial left with an inconclusive feeling, nothing new was learned, nothing was uncovered. In this HBO Series, there was definitely movement in the real world. Talk about making an impact, this show made one that the families of the victims, and Mr. Durst will definitely feel.

Barley tea!

The following is from an email I sent a couple of friends, that I thought might be handy information here: 

So I had a sneaking suspicion that it was nothing more than unfermented beer, and it appears I’m right. Japanese call it Muchiga, apparently.


It really is nothing more than beer malt, steeped in hot (or cold) water!

I don’t know how this never occurred to me before.

Amazon has the stuff for $12  a pound!!

Beer supply stores will sell a pound of grain, for what, $1.50? And with a focus on freshness, and in any shade, or roastiness you could like. You can go as light or dark as you like, and my guess based on my brewing experience, is that most restaurants serve us barley tea in a very light crystal malt range. The “lovibond” Scale is the scale of roastiness, and darkness of the grain is directly related. This is from my local shop site:

There are HUNDREDS of types of roasted barley. Some with Peat, some like Honey malt that impart a natural sweetness, and some like biscuit malt that impart a nuttiness, etc. This is what gives beer its character.

Here’s some info on Malted barley.

The ONLY difference with beer, is that the sugar has been fermented out with yeast.

So anyway, that’s what I figured out today. I’m going to buy a few extra ounces of different Malts next time I buy a beer recipe, and try this at home. Awesome stuff.

2014 – It Was a Very Good Year.

Old Blue eyes sang a song called “It Was A Very Good Year”. The song is a reflection on his life, and how his tastes and life had changed, perhaps matured over time. I suppose that’s why I scribble away on this thing, so I can reflect later, and see how things have changed. My, how things have changed.

Of course, Sinatra didn’t write that song. Hell, he barely wrote anything. For a guy who sang about how he did things his way, he really did things the way they were written, by someone else.

That’s sort of a liberating thought, that at least what I have created, I’ve done with my own mind, my own two hands. Of course, I don’t have legions of followers, and girls framing pics of me to swoon over. That’s okay though. I can still take some solace in the knowledge that nobody is immune to the sands of time. Time changes us all, waits for no man, and this last year was no exception.

For me it was a bunch of personal stuff that is completely ordinary in the grand scheme of things, but to me life changing. I have a girlfriend as of May 2014, and with that my life changed in all the obvious ways. I deleted all the girls from my phone, blocked some completely, and just left it all behind. I made a real effort to continue living my life the same way I had, not be that guy who disappeared because of a relationship, and have done well to keep things that way since. Some people didn’t like that I became involved, but that’s their problem. I don’t work that hard on other people.

I’ve done SO MUCH with her that I used to daydream about. All the times I was out third wheeling with people, sort of wishing I had someone to share the good times with, well, now I do. All the times I wanted to share something special with somebody, now I have someone to do that with. All my weird little quirks that nobody ever seemed to relate to, are now completely understandable to her. Validating perhaps, but totally enjoyable either way.

This all sounds very corny, believe me, it’s not lost on me.  I don’t care. It’s my life, right? “I Did it My Way” right?

Then there’s the additional motivation, the enthusiasm.  I’m going back to school. As much as I love my job, I want more. Better still, I’m doing something about that “want”. Action. Movement. That fire under my ass that has been missing for a little while. Ever since the band I was in broke up, and the stage left me behind, I’ve felt a little listless. A bit like a boat without a sail.

Well, now the wind is back in the sail, and the momentum is picking back up. That’s exactly how I feel. I’m not sure where it’s going, but my hand is back on the rudder, and I can provide some direction again.

More than that though, I feel like I’ve been reinvigorated. My house looks better, completely different from what it was a year ago. My cars are all getting attention, I’ve lost one dog and gained another. I’ve actually installed a new fridge and stove in my kitchen, which used to be the ultimate bachelor kitchen. I mean, I didn’t even have a stove! Now I can cook full meals, even make beer inside. Awesomeness.

What a year though.

Seattle, Mammoth twice, San Diego a bunch of times, back to Tijuana, San Francisco three times, about 30 fishing trips, about ten camping trips, back on a snowboard, about 20 batches of beer, a triathlon (biking portion of a relay)  probably 20 loaves of bread, so many concerts and Dodger games, a freaking chicken farm, some legitimate theater, it was a very good year. I checked my horse racing account, and I’m up a total of $28 on the whole year. That’s a pretty damned good year. I’m sure I’m leaving out a ton, but it really just feels like I’ve got a renewed vigor, a renewed lust for life.

The crazy thing is I’ve only played one show, for a friend’s birthday. It was a little show out in the valley, and it felt crazy to perform in front of somebody I loved. I can’t say that I’ve ever done that before, which is insane. Maybe once or twice, with my first real girlfriend about 20 years ago. So long ago, such a different person, a completely different life.

Usually when I write out these types of retrospectives, it’s a somber feeling. Like another handful of sand out of the hourglass of my life. Like maybe the best is behind me. I don’t feel that way this year. I feel like maybe I’m right at the middle of it, and that’s okay. I have the wisdom of my years, and still have my health and strength, what more could I ask for? I can play a wicked bass, and intend to put that to some use this year. More than that though, I’m inspired to do so. It’s no longer just something I’m continuing. It feels like something new I want to do because I am motivated and really moved to express myself.

Today I heard someone say “History forgets people who don’t finish things”. It’s never felt more obvious or true. And while I don’t expect my life to be some great mile marker in the annals of time, I do expect myself to finish some things this year, whether anybody cares or not.

So happy new year everybody, and thanks for your continued support. It means very much to me that I see people reading this little blog every day. I wonder who you all are? Drop me a line sometime.

– Fred.

Chicken processing, part 1.

I processed my first chicken ever, and here’s the video of the first part, bleeding it out.

I did this to get a sense of what it takes to take a chicken from the field to the table, and also because more of my hens turned out to be roos than I expected. I also wanted to learn to do it in a way that was humane, and would not freak out the bird. It was surprisingly easy. In my opinion, much easier than a fish.