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      #Vanlife: Camping California's coast -- Morro Strand

      This is the first in a series of reviews of Federal, State and County provided campsites along California's amazing coastline.

      I started my summer of #vanlife at the Californa State Park campsite of Morro Strand. It was pretty depressing to sit there, but you can leave and see wonderful things.

      Morro Strand is a cement parking lot next to the beach along California's beautiful central coast. You can see Morro Rock, and easily drive to San Simeon, Cambria, Los Osos or Monta?a de Oro. Hearst Castle is also close by.

      The campsite has solid support by rangers, the camp host is very nice. There is no shade at most of the campsite. State-provided wifi is sufficient and will allow you to run a VPN. The site is so nestled into a residential area along the coast that it appears pizza and other forms of local food delivery are available to campers.

      There is drinking water available and there are restrooms, however no showers! If you'd like to shower however, you are allowed to take your camping pass and drive to Morro Bay State Park and use theirs. The showers at the Morro Bay Campground have long been amongst the best in the Californa system.

      Morro Bay was so crowded in late June, however, it looked like a refugee camp.

      Morro Strand was mostly RV campers, and mostly groups of 2-3 campers who situated next to one another who were throwing multi-day beach parties. The camphost and rangers kept things well under control and life was always family friendly, clean and relatively quiet. Read the rest

      'Station Eleven' is a haunting tale of the apocalypse

      I was attracted to Station Eleven by the short description,it smacked of Commedia dell'arte: a post-apocalyptic tale of new-troubadours desperate to keep music and performance alive in a time of death. I was captivated, however, by the author's format in story telling.

      Emily St. John Mandel starts this book off like almost any other book about the apocalypse. People are doing things so high-up on Maslow's hierarchy of needs to demonstrate how far or bad they are about to fall. The book opens in a theater, where stuff happens. Shortly thereafter humanity loses its shit.

      Years after the collapse, we meet the Traveling Symphony, a group of musicians and a troupe of Shakespearian actors who merged and travel the north-central former United States and Canada, entertaining folks. Star Trek gave a member of the Symphony the quotation “Because survival is insufficient.” and it has become their guiding light. Life on the road is very hard, but it is their life.

      The book temporally jumps all over the place, telling the life story of a famous Hollywood actor who died the night before the world fell apart, and following some key players in his life through their experience of the new world order. The jumps are connected, but disjointed. The story is touching, occasionally heart-rending, and utterly meaningless to the destiny of the folks who survive the actor. The interactions with him helped make them who they are, they may inform some decision-making, and perhaps even scarred one or two for life, but they mostly serve to show how everyone's concerns about everything beyond survival are either immaterial or amazingly important. Read the rest

      Trump and Epstein discuss women

      NBC shared this video.

      Back in 1992 Trump and Epstein sure seemed to know one another. Since 1992 both men have independently been accused, multiple times, with criminal behavior towards women, many of them minors. Read the rest

      Thunderdome for Democrats: Harris now leads Biden in California

      Twenty democrats entered, one will lead.

      The latest Quinnipiac run poll shows a US Senator from the Republic of California, Kamala Harris, leading the pack in the countries largest and probably most progressive state.

      Sentator Elizabeth Warren also gains ground. Old white men still hang on, however.


      The latest Quinnipiac California poll shows Harris leading among 2020 presidential hopefuls, with 23 percent of California Democratic and Democratic-leaning voters now behind her — surging six points since the last Quinnipiac survey in April. Biden, at 21 percent, has lost five points in that same period.

      Closely following are Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders, who has remained static at 18 percent, and Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren, now at 16 percent, more than doubling her 7 percent standing in April.

      Read the rest

      Colbert to Trump: "Racism is your brand"

      Comedy shows have been our source of truth for too long. Read the rest

      The children's fantasy series currently dominating my family is...

      Pretty much everyone of reading age, from grandparents to 11-year-olds, are reading Shannon Messenger's Keeper of the Lost Cities series.

      I think a 13-year-old niece discovered these books and suggested them to my sister. My sister knew I needed a book to co-read with my kid this summer because if I do not discuss books with her chapter-by-chapter she forgets everything she just read. When I told my mother about it she already had it on hold at the library. I am certain my 15-year-old niece read the entire series in about 1 day (eight books) just so she may tell us all the problems with the plot, characters and covers.


      Another branch of the family is likely to start on this once my awesome 8-year-old nephew finishes reading the most recent Star Wars: Thrawn books.

      Shannon Messenger's universe is absorbing. My daughter and I were immediately drawn into this reality where elves, goblins, and all sorts of fantasy creature are real. Evidently, ages ago, humans acted like real turds and all the magical folks decided to retreat to their own 'impossible' to find cities. Either waiting for a day when humans could be trusted or just sitting around waiting because humans never will be trustworthy, elves seem to spend all their time convincing themselves their dystopian society is a utopia. Unwilling to engage outside their slowly rotting culture, packed with class issues and bitterness, the elves fail to notice BIG TROUBLE is brewing with the humans. Read the rest

      Neo-Nazi ordered to pay $14MM in damages for anti-semitic "troll storm"

      The founders of German National Socialist fan-site "The Daily Stormer" were ordered to pay $14MM in damages for being trollish assholes.


      The founder and editor of the neo-Nazi website The Daily Stormer should be ordered to pay more than $14 million to a Montana real estate agent against whom he organized an anti-Semitic "troll storm," a federal magistrate judge found on Monday.

      The judgment was filed Monday in U.S. District Court in Missoula, Montana, against Andrew Anglin, who encouraged the online intimidation campaign against Tanya Gersh, a Jewish real estate agent in the Montana resort town of Whitefish, her husband and their 12-year-old son.

      In an opinion that must still be approved by U.S. District Judge Dana L. Christensen, the magistrate judge, Jeremiah C. Lynch, recommended a default judgment against Anglin, who failed to appear for a deposition in April.

      But Lynch went further than finding for Gersh on procedural grounds: He recommended that Christensen order Anglin, who is in his mid-30s, to pay $4,042,438 in compensatory damages and $10 million, the maximum under state law, in punitive damages for "the particularly egregious and reprehensible nature of Anglin's conduct."

      Writing about these guys the first time got me a lot of unwanted late night phonecalls. Read the rest

      $12,000,000 buys Yosemite's iconic landmarks their names back

      A few years ago bad dealmaking with the park concessionaire cost the National Parks Service the names of Yosemite's famous Ahwahnee Hotel, The Wawona Hotel and Curry Village. Restoring the historic names to the historic properties cost the American taxpayer $12,000,000 and legal fees.


      The Ahwahnee was renamed the Majestic Yosemite Hotel after the park's former concessionaire filed a lawsuit against the National Park Service in September 2015, claiming ownership of some of the park's trade names and trademarks.

      The Ahwahnee Hotel became The Majestic Yosemite Hotel. The Wawona Hotel became Big Trees Lodge. Curry Village became Half Dome Village. And Badger Pass Ski Area was renamed Yosemite Ski & Snowboard Area.

      As part of a $12 million settlement signed July 15 and paid to the park's former concessionaire, names that had been changed during the lawsuit will revert to their original names.

      Read the rest

      It feels like this GSI 30oz french press saves my life every morning

      #Vanlife would be intolerable without coffee. This GSI Glacier series 30oz 'java' press is my new best friend.

      I transition back and forth from tea to coffee and spent most of the last year pounding shots of espresso. Upon moving into my VW Vanagon camper for the summer I forgot to pack either. After one day on the road my daughter, who is a mere 12-years-old, made the observation that I am a lot meaner and less fun to be around without the caffeine.

      An exgirlfriend declared my old press "no good" and threw it away after trying to brew loose tea in it. It had been used for coffee for years and was of course, not good for tea.

      Tea is lovely but it doesn't get the job done when camping. This 30oz french press does. I'm currently drinking pre-ground Trader Joe's medium roast, but when it is gone I'm thinking Illy or Lavazza. I used to hand grind beans when camping but the fuck if I have time for that now.

      This GSI insulated press is just the right size for me to brew a pot and drink it as I get my work done in the morning. The coffee stays hot for the 3-4 hours I am working, and always seems to be empty just when I am done typing away.

      Praise the press.

      GSI Outdoors - Glacier Stainless JavaPress, 30oz Camping French Press via Amazon Read the rest

      Mountain Dew connoisseur does not like 'AMP Game Fuel'

      Mountain Dew made a place in the market by tasting like crap and having more caffeine than a handful of No-Doz. The flavors are all "SUGAR." They are nearly indistinguishable to an over 8-year-old palate. This new Dew, however, is for gamers and has a resealable lid because angry young men like to conserve!

      That said, this dude at Kotaku seems to know his Mountain Dew:

      That fancy resealable lid is a real pain in the ass to open. The directions are simple, but actually getting it to pop open was annoying and felt poorly designed for people with bigger hands or fingers. After struggling for far too long, I finally got it to pop open and my hand was covered in Game Fuel. It wasn’t a great experience. And then I finally tasted Game Fuel.

      I should say before I explain how awful this stuff tastes, that I drink a lot of energy drinks and used to drink a lot of soda. I like Mountain Dew, even if I avoid it these days to save my teeth. I even liked some of the Game Fuel flavors that existed years ago. I also have enjoyed Mountain Dew Kickstart and Black Label. I say all this to assure you that I am very well acquainted to overly sweet, sort of bitter and a little too dry sodas and soft drinks.

      Read the rest

      Gentleman rides electronic Harley-Davidson and likes it

      Electrek.co test rode the Hardly-Dangerous 'Livewire' electric bike. Read the rest

      Fortnite now has airstrikes!

      The breakneck pace of mods, changes, and additions to Fortnite did not slow over the last few weeks! There are now drum shotguns, storms-in-a-bottle, and the wildly fun airstrike!

      Call in a rain of rockets and watch people run in a panic! Read the rest

      Recycled polypropylene rug helps my dog look GOOD

      This Mad Mats rug keeps sticks, dirt, burrs and other garbage out of my dog's fur and out of my camper!

      6'x9' and awfully stylish, I've had this rug since 2013 and it looks as good as new. Excellent for throwing down just outside the door of my VW Vanagon, under our pop-up shade, or right next to the picnic table where I am cooking and working.

      When you spend a lot of time with your dogs in the outdoors, anything that helps keep them a little cleaner, and make life seem a little more luxuriant, is welcome. Like getting nice furniture in your prison cell!

      There are other styles, pick the one you love!

      Mad Mats Oriental Turkish Indoor/Outdoor Floor Mat, 6 by 9-Feet, Rust via Amazon Read the rest

      LEGO Steamboat Willie with Mickey and Minnie-figs

      The LEGO Steamboat Willie is absolutely darling.

      Based on the legendary animation that introduced us to Mickey Mouse, the Steamboat Willie can be yours!

      It also comes with black and white Mickey and Minnie minifigs. A Minnie-fig??!

      LEGO Ideas 21317 Disney Steamboat Willie Building Kit , New 2019 (751 Piece) via Amazon Read the rest

      The Pepsi Challenge: a blind taste test started an expensive war

      Much like the "War on Drugs," no one won the Cola Wars.

      In 1975 Pepsi started a blind taste test called 'The Pepsi Challenge' the idea was to show folks enjoying Pepsi far more than Coca-Cola, and thus steal Coke's customers.


      Coke abandoned its peaceful methods of attracting customers, like teaching folks to sing about the unifying joys of sweet soda, and started to play on our patriotism.

      Thus a massive escalation began, and the Cola Wars destroyed society. Many commercials were flighted, many lives were destroyed, and teeth. Those sugary drinks are bad for your teeth!

      Now look where we are:

      Read the rest

      Automotive hi-jinx from 'Trafic'

      Came for the classic BMWs, stayed for the fun.

      (Thanks, Airheads!) Read the rest

      Rest in peace, Rip Torn

      Acting legend Rip Torn always sounded like someone I'd want to hang out with.

      The Hollywood Reporter:

      Torn was an "actor's actor," but he had a reputation as a trouble-maker.

      Legend has it that he was all set for Jack Nicholson's career-making role in Easy Rider (1969) before things went awry. Dennis Hopper, the film's director, said years later on The Tonight Show that Torn had pulled a knife on him in a diner, costing him the job. Torn said it was Hopper that pulled the knife on him and sued for libel, winning $475,000 in damages.

      In an improvised fight seen in Maidstone (1970), Torn attacked actor-director Norman Mailer with a tack hammer; Mailer then bit into Torn's ear during the ensuing scrum. The Criterion Collection described the movie as being "shot over the course of five drug-fueled days in East Hampton, New York."

      An Army veteran, Torn was also an outspoken activist.

      After Torn met with Attorney General Robert F. Kennedy in an attempt to start an integrated national theater in 1963, he was targeted by the FBI and found trouble finding work in major motion pictures. "I began to see things in gossip columns, stories about me," he once said.

      In 1970, on the day after Torn spoke out against the Vietnam War on The Dick Cavett Show, a bullet was fired through the window of his Manhattan home.

      Read the rest

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