Brewed up an Oatmeal Stout yesterday, and racked a Double IPA to secondary fermentation :)

10 gallons of beer chilling in the fridge is a very nice thing, especially with the holidays coming right up.

I also wrapped a couple of fishing rods in paracord, something I’ve been messing with lately. I need to get a smaller diameter line for my better poles. but this test run went very nicely.


Rasta colors on the left, and UPC (Universal Camouflage Pattern on the right. Feels awesome in the hand, can’t wait to get them on a boat.

Also had an issue with the Coronet. A thumping noise in the rear end at about 35 mph. Felt it in the brake pedal too. I have a feeling it is an axle bearing, so I took it in to the shop. I don’t have a bearing press, nor do I want to spend forever messing with it when my mechanic can turn it around in a few days, and cheap. So anyway, Here is a shot of my 68 in burnt out dark blue, with her slightly older sister in white.


One more angle. . .


It’s been fun! Lots to do, and an AZ trip in the works for Christmas as well. Great way to cap off an awesome year, especially once that beer finishes up and I can tap it for a pint.

Cheers everybody.





Busy pre-holiday weeks!

Bowtie Project, Blood Moon Eclipse, and Readings By the Campfire.

Last night I attended the Bowtie Project’s “Readings by Moonrise“, along the Los Angeles river, right next to the Glendale Narrows. The Glendale Narrows is a stretch of the river that is actual earth on the bottom, bot concrete like most of the river.

The Bowtie Project itself is run by a non-profit known as Clockshop, that is hosting some fun events along the river on an 18 acre former rail-yard that lies right next to the river. Along with California State Parks, Clockshop is hosting some really intriguing, really fun looking events. Last night, a warm Sunday night, was my first chance to come and take part in the fun.

We punched the address into Waze, and followed the directions through some streets in a part of town I had never seen before. This alone was interesting because I’ve lives not 5 minutes from the place my whole life, and it was like finding a hidden room in a house you’ve always lived in. We arrived at about 6:30 pm, with the sun beginning to set in the West, and the sky turning a beautiful rose color over the Griffith observatory in the distance.

Facing northeast from the Bowtie at about sunset time.

We parked in a large dirt lot, mostly clean and free of trash, which was nice. We walked over to the makeshift entrance, just two people sitting at a table with a list of those who had donated. We were on the list, so we were welcomed, and the people at the table pointed us over to the fun. As we walked toward a large fire pit dug into the ground, surrounded by people sitting in a ring around it. There were also some unoccupied black stools in the ring, and we took two for ourselves, along with one for the food we had brought, as the flyer for the event said to bring a picnic.

Around the campfire.

If you look closely, you can actually see the observatory in the background.

On the way to the fire pit, we passed by a few telescopes. The event was also attended by the Los Angeles Astronomical Society, and they were out letting folks peek through their lenses at Saturn, which was out, and also waiting on a rare event, a supermoon eclipse. It was still light out though, and the moon wasn’t all the way out, and was in fact, obscured by clouds, so we sat and listened to a poetry reading by Robin Coste Lewis, as the sun finally set.

The audience was captivated, and we listened to her poem for about 15 minutes. When she first started reading, a train passed by, forcing her to pause for a second, but she took it in stride and in good spirits. It seemed to add to the uniqueness of the event, and added a bit of magic to the whole thing. Another thing that was going on while she read was that Luis Rincon from California State Parks was setting up skewers in the fire to get them red-hot and clean, because after Ms. Lewis’ reading, smore supplies would be shared with the group. All this in the middle of Los Angeles.

When she was done with her reading, we took out our picnic which consisted of some Chicken Lula kebab we had made at home, along with some hummus, tabouli, pita and tzatziki, which we ate while everybody else was making smores. We had a nice dinner there, as the sky darkened and people milled about, some checking out the telescopes, and others just walking around the unique open space. After this intermission, Ben Loory sat at one edge of the ring of people, and got ready to take his turn reading.

His voice was very hoarse, but with the aid of a microphone, he told a couple of really awesome short stories. He had the crowd laughing at parts, and really engaged as they sat there listening, now in the dark, around the warm smoky fire. Toward the end of his reading, I turned around, and there, rising from the east, was the Blood Moon. When he finished reading, after a round of sincere applause, I said “Look at the moon”, and it seemed like everybody heard me because all at once the groups heads all turned around, and we all started to take in the eclipse.

The moon had taken on a reddish glow, almost the color of the desert clay, like the walls of the Grand Canyon in my opinion. The clouds were breaking up around it, and we started to get a really good look at the fullness and darkness of it. Where the moon usually beamed bright white over us, it was now dark and shadowy. It seemed to have a more 3D effect, and people began ooing and awwing over the spectacle.

After we finished our little picnic, and the reading was over, we packed up and headed over to the telescopes. We were able to look through 4 telescopes, all with different views of the moon. Some were zoomed way in onto a small section of the moon, while others framed the whole moon in the image, making for some really awesome sights. One of the astronomers had a large chunk of meteorite on her table, and we chatted and asked questions to learn more about the various setups we were stargazing through.

It was an amazing event, and I will definitely attend whatever upcoming gatherings I can. At one point, one of the organizers asked, by a show of hands, how many people were attending for the first time. It seemed like 99% of people shot their hands up. I do hope the momentum continues, and this smart, unique way of using our river space catches on. We could really use more activities like this in Los Angeles.

Little surgery on my left hand.

I had a minor procedure done on my hand the other day. I’ve missed two days of work because of it. One for the surgery, the second because I was laid out on some gnarly pain killers the doctor gave me. Today I’m back at work, and I haven’t taken a pill so I could work. My left hand is sort of throbbing, but it’s about what I would have expected, having had my hand sliced open. It’s pretty sore, but manageable. I can obviously type so it’s not that bad, however there is no way I could play guitar right now, which the doc had assured me would be no problem.

No biggie, I’ll live, but two weeks with this bandage, and taking a shower with a bag on my arm, is gonna be weird.

Makes me think of this passage from “The Old Man And The Sea”

“He decided that he could beat anyone if he wanted to badly enough and he decided that it was bad for his right hand for fishing. He had tried a few practice matches with his left hand. But his left hand had always been a traitor and would not do what he called on it to do and he did not trust it.”

And this one:

He could feel the steady hard pull of the line and his left hand was cramped. It drew up tight on the heavy cord and he looked at it in disgust.

“What kind of a hand is that,” he said. “Cramp then if you want. Make yourself into a claw. It will do you no good.”

Today though, I had to come back to work. No sense in putting off work. My hand is all swollen and tender, but I’ll live. You never really realize how much you use your left hand for typing, until someone wraps it tightly in gauze so you can barely use it.


Puerto Rico next week!

Vieques at night.

I’m living in the sweet anticipation of impending travel.

I am taking an overdue week-long vacation starting Wednesday next week, and I’m really starting to feel the excitement.

I have my airfare booked, my Airbnb is super busy with upcoming bookings, and I even have a fishing trip booked and paid for my girlfriend and I.

The Caribbean, Puerto Rico, but more importantly, Vieques and Culebra Island are my destinations. I was last in the area two years ago, and there probably hasn’t been two weeks that have gone by that I haven’t thought about going back. Now I get to go with the woman I love, and really take it all in happily.

I also have that impending travel nagging worry. Will I get caught in rain every other day like the last time I went? Will I catch the fish I want? Will I get hung over from too much Rum and waste a day lying around? Trivial things really, but the worry is there.

The rain so close to the equator is heavy, but usually brief. The times I got caught in the rain two years ago, it never rained long enough to soak me through, and a hangover is my own fault. As for fishing, at least I won’t be at work, I’ll be a quarter ways around the world from where I am now, and in a place that will be vaguely familiar to me. For the last two years, it’s only been a memory, and a big photo album of pictures from a place that seemed like a dream.

I’m also lucky enough to have booked the Vieques Culture festival for the second time, which I hope to cover in-depth here. There really isn’t a lot of coverage of the island’s events, outside a blog aimed mostly at locals. The history of the place was eye-opening for me, and made history come to life. I’d always heard about the US occupying small islands for testing, and for use as bombing ranges, but to visit one where the history and events were still palpable was magical.

Puerto Rico too, is full of a rich history, conjuring images of giant sailing vessels pulling into the harbor, laden with slaves and looking for sugar cane. When I read about slave trade, I often learn about how in the Caribbean the conditions were much worse than in the temperate US. Malaria, Dengue, heat, working to death, the area was hell for the slaves, but deemed necessary because it was such a cash cow for the rich. Now, Puerto Rico is filled with the descendants of the slaves and the traders, making for a people who are darker than any Mexicans I know, but speak a crazy fast Spanish with pride and gusto.

Also the music, oh man I can’t wait for the music. Being on the island, I was finally able to really grasp how much of an influence African drums had on Spanish music to create the driving, hip moving beats of the Salsa, Merengue, and even the reggaeton the people absolutely LOVE. It really is the heartbeat of the place, and to feel it in your bones is to know you have something in common with these people. Maybe it’s the Spanish side in me. Maybe there is some tropical Latino blood in me too, I don’t know. My grandmother on my father’s side had flaming red hair, and very dark skin. Who knows what all I’ve got mixed in there. My grandmother on my mother’s side was from central Mexico, and after trying to trace my family back as far as I could, using an ancient family tree I have, (If anyone out there can help me with this, I’d really love it! There’s a whole giant Mexican family waiting to learn more.) I was still unable to get as far back as to my European roots. I could be from anywhere! Mexican is all I’m sure of. I do fee I have a lot in common, but all these cultures have their differences too.

The food is different, the culture is different, these people are not Mexican. Growing up in Los Angeles, it’s easy to forget that there are Latinos other than Mexican or Salvadoran. It’s fascinating to me to learn about these people, born of hardship, but proud and obstinate with all the struggle they have come through. They were extremely welcoming the last time I was there, even opening a museum for me after hours so I could get a deeper sense of the history of the island and people. The curator was kind enough to walk me through all the exhibits, and made sure I had a firm understanding of all the people had gone through. Accommodating  isn’t quite strong enough a word, but it definitely applies. Not to say that Mexicans cannot be accommodating, mind you, but the people I met worked hard to make sure I understood them.

Anyway, that’s what’s coming up for me, and for my little blog. I hope to get some good coverage of the island so more people will understand just how different we are, but how much of a common thread we all carry in us.

Classic mistake when working on a car.

Man, of all the basic, dumb advice I’ve ever given, one of the most repeated has to be “Compare the parts”.

As in when you’re buying a replacement for a busted part, take the busted part in to the parts store.

I’ve told people  hundred times to always check and make sure the parts look identical, otherwise something is wrong.

Well yesterday I bought a fuel pump for my bug, and didn’t notice until I was all the way in there, fuel pump off, engine crankcase exposed, that the pump would not work on my car.

There are two little pipes coming out of a fuel pump, an inlet, and an outlet. Basically it’s a pump’s job to get gas from the tank to the carburetor, so it’s got two little nipples for connecting hose to.

Well, my old fuel pump only had one. The other had busted off. I can’t imagine how painful it would be to have a nipple blown off. Well, it happened to my pump so off she went. The pump wold have to be replaced. In a hurry I went parts store hopping, being laughed out of Pep Boys for asking for it, “No we do not have that oddly specific part for your 42 year old vehicle”, sent from my local Lincoln Heights store, over to the Cesar Chavez and State St. store. I was told they had the part.

I was tired. I’d been to Pep Boys, and one Auto Zone already, on trip # 3, I asked for the pump, and the clerk produced one that looked exactly like my old one, or so I thought.

This rebuilt one I had just purchased, had the top of it off by about 25 degrees. Rotated. So the hose coming out of it interfered with everything in sight.  I couldn’t get it in there properly. I had a defective part.

So I yanked it again, and this time compared it to my old one. It was plain as day, it would never work, the tops were at just enough of a different angle to make it a miserable defective part. I had bought a bad part. At least I knew I wasn’t crazy. Usually when a part doesn’t want to go in properly, it’s my fault. I usually come across new information and solve the problem on my own. This time it was actually the part.

Of course, this fuel pump was the last cheap one in East LA. I could buy a nice expensive one at a VW Specialty shop that will remain nameless, but I’m looking to sell this thing, so I’m bargain shopping. I might even just buy one online, and hope for the best, Amazon Prime might help there. They’ll take a return, unless I get gasoline on it, which is likely because it’s a fuel pump.

This time, when my replacement comes, you bet I’ll inspect every last millimeter of the damned thing. 

By the way, I’m still in shock from Auto Zone taking my return even though i’d tested it running gas through it. Those guys never allow straight refund returns :)  Got lucky there.