Category: Places

A Wintery Beach

“Grab some stuff, lets hit the beach”. No bad day ever started with these words. I’m from the Caribbean, where February is just another month, but after living in California nearly 3 decades, you start to appreciate just how special it is to live a few minutes from the Pacific – it keeps us warm in winter, and cool in summer, and is always putting on a show.

The funny thing is that the beach is there every day and the sunset happens nearly every day and we kind of forget about it. The world is a beautiful place, and it’s in our nature to normalize it, to let it fade into the background. I simultaneously envy and pity folks who live on the beach.

So, “grab some stuff, lets hit the beach” we said on some random Saturday, and we did, and it was awesome.

Epic Sailing in San Diego

San Diego has always been a sailing-friendly area – it is part of the Santa Barbara ‘bubble’, which protects us from most of the gale-level winds north of Point Conception (our Cape Horn Jr.), but *occasionally* we get decent wind. Even then, it’s exceedingly well behaved decent wind :)

Here, the compression off Point Loma pushed the wind to 20+ knots, and Azulita loved it. I was able to get her to about 9.5kts, well above her hull speed. Keep an eye on the wake trailing the boat, and the bow wave we’re leaving behind (nothing compared to a motorboat, but massive for me :) )

Idling in Idyllwild

Those familiar with southern California would be forgiven for thinking that it is a mostly dry place, with scrubby brush and stubby trees. If you move here from NorCal, as we did, you soon come to miss the tall redwoods and old oaks that dot the hills and valleys.

You’d be forgiven for thinking its a dry place, but you’d still be wrong. Head up any one of the three or so mountain ranges around here and you’ll soon find yourself driving through alpine valleys bordered tall mountains which are often snow-clad even in summer, studded by pines which may not be what you are used to, but are familiar nonetheless.

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A Lazy Covid Saturday

This a quick post to my future self – something to read when the quarantine is nothing but a faint memory…

The coronavirus threw everything out the window, and devastated a lot of people’s lives. For the lucky enough to have a job easily done remotely, like me, it was chaos, but not terrifying chaos. It took a while, but eventually my family and I settled into this new, hopefully temporary, reality.

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Galapagos 2019

I was lucky enough to visit the Galapagos back in February aboard the Silver Galapagos. What an amazing trip!

This video is a distillation of about 6 hours of 4K videos (roughly 300GB!) into about 4 minutes.

ps. I’m starting up the blog again to have somewhere to post things like this, and other longer-form items that don’t fit social media’s attention-starved ecosystem. For example, there is a ton of cool footage I’m proud of, but couldn’t fit into 4 minutes.. Hi again, y’all!

Difficult Espresso is Difficult

The other day I visited a new coffee place (Avid, in Almaden Valley – highly recommended). I bought a ludicrously expensive 12oz bag of Verve beans, and had the barista make me an espresso just to see what it was supposed to taste like. Let me tell ya, it was spectacular, with all kinds of weird fruity and chocolaty overtones, and I resolved to reproduce it at home.


Easier said than done.

My first try was a complete failure, but this is expected with new beans. Each bean requires a different grind setting, and the first shot is usually way off. In this case, the grind was too coarse, resulting in a fast extraction and a sour shot. I gave it to my mother-in-law, who loved it.

I immediately tried again, this time with a much finer grind. It was still too fast, but drinkable. Unfortunately, it was nothing like the stuff I tried at Avid. I tried one more time, this time with an even finer grind. Very drinkable, but no fruit, no chocolate.

At this point it was time to give up and go to work. While there, I googled ‘verve sermon’, and found that the roaster had recommended parameters (20g of coffee, 202F, 26s pour, 1.75oz shot). Really, I had to google my fucking coffee. On the other hand, “aha”, I thought, I knew where I was going wrong (I was doing my usual 17g, and pouring my usual 2.5oz almost-lungo).

The next morning I tried again, updosing to 20g and pouring 1.5oz. Disaster, since I didn’t adjust the grind. My shot was way to fast.

This went on for a few days.

Finally, at 6am this morning, after blearily tamping 20g into my triple basket, *then* doing my cooling flush, then waiting about 15 seconds, then pulling my shot, I finally replicated Avid’s shot. It was divine, more from the sense of achievement than from the momentary pleasure of drinking a 1.75oz beverage on the way to work.

And it only took me half my precious bag of coffee. In a few days, I get to start over again with a new set of beans. Sigh.


New Author!

Please welcome Julian Morales, our resident history fanatic. He will argue the subtle differences in the meaning of ‘liberal’ across continents and time periods. Don’t get him started. Or do. Whatever.

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