Charlie Hallowell on The Eastern Shore

Do yourself a favor and listen to this gem of an interview that Brock Winstead did with restauranteur Charlie Hallowell on The Eastern Shore.

Hallowell now has three successful restaurants in Oakland and spent years at Chez Panisse learning and absorbing the craft of preparing and serving food. He has a wildly curious mind, an engaging and open heart, and an incredible sense of awareness of his place in the world and what is craft means.

I can’t wait to go experience his restaurants in person!


Nice article looking back to “33”, the pilot episode for the Battlestar Galactica television series which premiered a decade ago.

I’ve seen this pilot nearly a dozen times, and its command of detail; confidence in its characters, story, and viewers; and technical execution still impresses me today.

When fancy is frustrating

Four blocks away from the house we’re renting in Santa Cruz is a New Leaf Community Market grocery store. It’s the small store chain equivalent to Whole Foods, with stores dotted up and down the central coast. It’s what you expect — emphasis on organic food, high quality hot bar, local and/or high end brands, fancy artisanal cheeses and wine, higher likelihood of finding hard to find ingredients, elaborate health vitamins and foods section.

Six blocks away is a very large, upper scale Safeway store. It has Starbucks inside. Its produce section has a fairly large organic section, a nice flower boutique, multiple ethnic food aisles, expansive wine & liquor section (though their craft beer selection is sorely lacking), and all the other generalities a nationwide chain has to offer. A comfort in familiarity.

We’ve done nearly all of our grocery shopping at the Safeway. It’s the first store we hit on the way home. The prices are great, we can find practically anything we typically want, and I know where everything is. But sometimes I feel this social pressure to patron the New Leaf. Support local! Spend your money towards good causes! So last night I make a quick stop to buy some sugar and canned dice tomatoes. I find the baking isle and stare at the sixteen types of flour they sell, then over to the eight different types of organic sugar they sell. Pure, organic brown sugar. Pure, organic powdered sugar. Pure organic whole cane sugar. Pure, organic coconut palm sugar.  Fructrose crystals. Turbinado. 12 to 16oz bags, nothing for less than $6.49. Really? I’m just looking for simple, granulated, white sugar. Does that have to be fancy too? After searching two more aisles for a more humbler sugar, I gave up and went to the Safeway.

$2.49 for two pounds of simple, white sugar, and $0.79 for a can of diced tomatoes.

They Did It!

They did it! Tommy Caldwell and Kevin Jorgeson summit El Capitan after free climbing the Dawn Wall. What a monumental, astonishing, inspiring accomplishment!

I’m already dreaming of going back to Patagonia to hike Mt. Fitz-Roy, or the south island of New Zealand to hike the Remarkables.

God how the wanderlust tugs at my heart and mind.

Dawn Wall Update

One of the most amazing sports stories of the last few years. National Geographic has a terrific article that helps put the Dawn Wall ascent into context. It also helps profile Tommy Caldwell (the lead climber) and his partner Kevin Jorgeson.

Some insane nuggets:
– In 2001, Caldwell lost his left index finger in 2001 in a table saw accident.
– In 2002, Caldwell was kidnapped by Islamic Army soldiers along with three climbing partners while on an expedition in Kyrgyzstan.

The defining moment of their kidnapping came when the four climbers found themselves alone with just one rebel soldier, and Caldwell shoved the gunman off a cliff. The climbers escaped, hiking 18 miles to freedom.

– Jorgeson has never climbed another route on El Capitan before; despite being a resident of Santa Rosa, California.
– Caldwell has been planning the Dawn Wall ascent for more than seven years. He spent two years surveying and identifying a viable route, then in 2009 Jorgeson joined him.

“For me the Dawn Wall is the perfect venue for some of the most important values I want to show [my son] Fitz,” Caldwell wrote on Instagram…”Optimism, perseverance, dedication and the importance of dreaming big.”

The California Drought

Great article with good pictures about the current state of the epically awful drought California is going through.

In order to just get back up to historical average levels, we’d need rainfall levels that are above and beyond the all-time historical highs.

Fingers crossed for more rain and snow in the coming months!


Zero Accountability: The F-35 Project

Scathing article by The Daily Beast on the despicable, shameful, and jaw-droppingly mismanaged F-35 fighter jet program:  “New U.S. Stealth Jet Can’t Fire Its Gun Until 2019“.

This program was already going to cost the US government taxpayer over $1 trillion dollars back in 2011, and Vanity Fair did an article describing just how ill-conceived and politically gerrymandered the project was back in 2013. Now software issues are preventing the jet from firing its gun for another four years. Not that the gun actually means much anyway.

The gun can shoot 3,300 rounds per minute, though the Air Force’s F-35A version can carry just 180 rounds for the gun.

That’s just over 3 seconds of action, for those of you following the math at home. And just so you know, the F-35s that have already been built are on the Do-Not-Fly list due to a dizzying array of problems and glitches.

The most amazing thing about this program to me is the attitude of zero accountability. How else is such a colossal failure allowed to reach this point and continue?

a thought, a spark