Pumpkin Bars

It’s fall. That means Halloween, Thanksgiving, and maybe it might rain like two days in a row in southern California.



pumpkin bars

Gosh that looks so good.

Here’s the recipe:

4 eggs, 1 2/3 cups sugar, 1 cup oil (or butter), 1 can pumpkin.

Add: 2 cups flour, 2 tsp baking powder, 2 tsp cinnamon, 1 tsp salt, 1 tsp baking soda.

Mix thoroughly.

Put in oven @ 350 F. (Until a toothpick comes out clean after sticking it in.)

I suggest a standard brownie baking sheet. Just mix the first line of ingredients, then add in the second line of ingredients.

This is for the frosting:

1 package cream cheese, 1/2 cup butter, 1 tsp vanilla, 2 cups powdered sugar.

Again, just mix all the ingredients. Melt the butter.


Oh, consider pairing the pumpkin bars with the KBC Pumpkin Ale from Trader Joe’s. It’s also good.

Writing at Night

It’s tough for me.

Wind the clock back

My first year at UCSD there was some essay due. I procrastinated, stayed up late the night before kind of working on it, and at a certain point pulled out the syllabus to see the penalties for turning in an essay late.

Then I went to sleep. Because I was tired.


Strawberry Fields Forever

This section title has nothing to do with this post, other than to illustrate how nonsensical I get when sleep is calling.

I feel it around my eyes, heavy. My chest and upper body are going, “Hey, Andy, we think you should sleep.” My mind thinks that I shouldn’t write this because it’s late but also thinks I should write it because it is late, because I want to write something, because I haven’t lately…

backbone trail day two rough path

…and the other post I have open on a segment of the Backbone Trail and another on my Half Dome and Yosemite experience, well, I’m not gonna work on those right now.

Screen Shot 2014-07-29 at 11.44.21 PM

Most essays I’ve worked on in the past ten years are intertwined with procrastination, fatigue, alarms and snooze buttons, and early mornings. A decent amount of hurried paces to get to class on time, and a decent amount of relaxed paces because I won’t get to class on time.

Sleep, just do it


At the moment, classes aren’t a thing in my life. Writing, creative works, commitments to other people, backpacking, resting, healing—all these things are.

It’s almost midnight.

Good night.

Fireworks Ventura County 2014

Happy Almost Independence Day!

I’ve been getting a few texts, some group texts (okay, one), and (maybe) some Facebook messages, about what I’m doing for the Fourth. I know what I’m doing on the third (BBQ) and on the fifth (hike to the peak of Mt. Baldy, 10,064 ft.)—not on the Fourth.

Fireworks Shows!

But I’ll probably see fireworks! You’re on this page—so you want to see them, too!!! Let’s break down what’s going on.


There are ten shows around the County, parades and street fairs, and a couple 5K/10Ks.

July 3rd

Why do a fireworks show not on the Fourth? Because it’s cheaper—firefighters and others who work the shows won’t get holiday pay rates. And people won’t have the excuse that they’re going to a different one, because who does it on the third!?

Moorpark (9 p.m. $5)

Moorpark is the only city in the County that does it on the third! Gates open at 3:45 p.m. with $5 admission. Fireworks go off at 9 p.m. Check it out at Arroyo Vista Park, 4550 Tierra Rejada Road, Moorpark.

July 4th

July 4th is the most reasonable date to have fireworks for the Fourth of July, right!? Especially if it’s on a Friday!

Thousand Oaks (9 p.m. FREE)

TO has the Fireworks Spectacular, with the show going off at 9 p.m. They will be launched from the hill behind the Sears and the Hillcrest Center for the Arts. Both the Janss Marketplace and The Oaks parking lots are available for viewing, and both malls will have activities. KCLU 88.3 FM will simulcast patriotic music with the show at 9 p.m., starting with local updates at 7 p.m. until 9:45 p.m. Consider visiting Knoll Park (Rabbit Hill) in Newbury Park for some solid views with fewer people.

Camarillo (9 p.m. $2)

Fireworks will be at Adolfo Camarillo High School football stadium at 9 p.m. The stadium will open at 4 p.m. with live entertainment, booths, food, and the like. Tickets are $2. Shuttles will run every 15 minutes from the Metrolink station at Lewis and Ventura Boulevard, and the Semtech parking lot at Flynn and Mission Oaks.

This year is the “50th birthday” of Camarillo, which brings a more happening show with, according to the Conejo Valley Guide, “bonus aerial fireworks and a special opening ground display.” The ground display can only be seen from the stadium.

Simi Valley (9:20 p.m. FREE)

Gates at the Rancho Santa Susana Park open at 2 p.m. and the show doesn’t happen until 9:20 p.m. Live music, booths, etc. will happen before. 5005 Los Angeles Ave., Simi Valley.

Westlake Village (9 p.m. FREE)

This is Westlake’s first fireworks show. The fireworks will be fired from the Westlake Village Golf Course, 4812 Lakeview Canyon Road, Westlake Village, at 9 p.m. for an 18 minute show with altitudes up to 500 feet.

The Westlake Village Golf Course Driving Range viewing area opens at 5 p.m. Calvary Community Church is offering its parking lot and grounds to viewers, opening at 6 p.m., and Bennett Park is another option. (Along with the former hospital property???)

You can also try getting around Westlake Village using the Village Trolley, which starts service on the Fourth at 4 p.m. until 11 p.m.

Santa Paula (9 p.m. FREE)

Harding Park, 1300 E. Harvard Blvd, Santa Paula. 9 p.m.

Fillmore (9:15 p.m. FREE)

Fillmore Middle School at 543 A Street, Fillmore. 9:15 p.m. (Roughly a 25 minute show.)

Go earlier to buy some fireworks and check out the Fillmore Car Show from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.

You can also have dinner on and ride the Firecracker Train, $72 adults, boards at 6 p.m. departs at 6:30 p.m. and returns at 9:45 p.m. after the fireworks.

Ojai (9:15 p.m. $10)

10 a.m. parade through downtown (on the 150) from Country Club Road to Park Road.

At 5:30 p.m. the Nordhoff Community Stadium opens, with fireworks at 9:15 p.m. Tickets at the gate are $10 (adults).

Scratch food truck will be at Nordhoff for the show! Scratch is bomb. Check the Ojai Fourth of July FB Page for more updates.



There are a couple things going on in Ventura on the Fourth!

Ventura Street Fair (10 to 4)

The first is the Ventura Street Fair, downtown on Main Street from Fir to Ventura, spilling over onto the Chestnut, Oaks, and California side streets. There’s a free shuttle running between the Ventura County Government Center (on Victoria) and the street fair, which runs from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., with the last shuttle from downtown to the center at 5 p.m.

The City of Ventura site has more info, including a line up of performers and the following map.

StreetFairMapNoInstructions web

Ventura College Fireworks (9 p.m. $8)

The second thing, with fireworks, is at Ventura College. Specifically the Ventura College Athletic Field at 4667 Telegraph Road, Ventura. Gates open at 5 p.m. Fireworks at 9 p.m. $8 tickets at the gate. The Ventura Fireworks site says it’s going for a “hometown picnic style” vibe and there will be food trucks! Specifically World Famous Franks, It’s in the Sauce, PizzaMan Dan’s, and Himalaya Restaurant. I can attest that World Famous Franks and Himalaya are both DELICIOUS.

Channel Islands Harbor (9 p.m. FREE)

So the Channel Islands Harbor fireworks show counts for both Oxnard and Port Hueneme. Hopefully there isn’t a strong marine layer!

There is a morning parade on Harbor Boulevard from Albacore to Cabezone Circle at 10:30 a.m. Things will be going on all day until 10 p.m.

Fireworks will be launched at 9 p.m. from 3900 Pelican Way and can be seen from any location along the harbor. The Marine Emporium Landing watching location is at 3600 South Harbor Boulevard. I recommend just driving to the harbor (search for Channel Islands Harbor) and finding a spot for parking—or just go elsewhere if there’s a strong marine layer.

5K/10K Runs (NP, $45, 7:30a; CI Harbor, $40, 8a)

Newbury Park Miller Family YMCA 5K/10K: Race day registration is $45. Starting location is at the YMCA in Dos Vientos, 320 Via Las Brisas, Newbury Park. The race starts at 7:30 a.m. but if you’re signing up day-of, arrive at least at 6:30 a.m.

Channel Islands 4th of July 5K/10K: Race day registration is $40, $35 if you don’t want a T-shirt. Registration and packet pickup starts at 7 a.m.; the race starts at 8 a.m. Starting line is on west side of Channel Islands Harbor, just north of the Whales Tail Restaurant, 3950 Bluefin Circle, Oxnard. This course is like 100% flat.

Pet Safety

Be sure to keep your pets safe! Here are a few tips from the Ventura County Animal Services:

animal shelters busy on the fifth

  1. Do not take your pet to fireworks displays.
  2. Do not leave your pet alone in the car.
  3. Make sure your pets are properly licensed and wearing identification tags. Make sure that tags have current phone numbers and VCAS has current owner contact information on file.
  4. Get your pet microchipped or, if it already is, make sure the microchip company has your current contact information.
  5. Animals found running at-large should be taken to a VCAS animal adoption center, where they will have the best chance of being reunited with their owners.
  6. Keep your pets in a comfortable and quiet area during Fourth of July festivities. If your pet is crate trained, then their crate is a great choice.
  7. If your pet seeks comfort in a bath tub, under a bed or other small space, let them. Do not try to lure them out. If the space is safe and it makes them feel more secure, leave them there.
  8. Never leave pets outside unattended, even in a fenced yard or on a chain. In their fear, pets who normally wouldn’t leave the yard may escape and become lost, or become entangled in their chain, risking injury or death.
  9. If you know that your pet is seriously distressed by loud noises like thunder or fireworks, consult with your veterinarian before July 4th for ways to help alleviate the fear and anxiety he or she will experience during fireworks displays.

Happy Independence Day!


Enjoy the day. I’m grateful for the country and the county I live in; and for the freedoms and liberties that come with a life largely free of violence or want.

Watch some fireworks, spend time with family and friends, and be safe.

Fillmore Fireworks 2014

Are you in Ventura County wondering where to get fireworks? Do you want to light things on fire instead of just letting the pros do it?

Well, you should head to Fillmore! (Specifically Thursday July 3 from 6am to 10pm, and Friday July 4 from 6am to 9pm.) Just roll into town on the 126 and you will see dozens of “FIREWORKS!” stands.

Fireworks Stand McDonalds Fillmore

Juris—I want to responsibly burn things—dictions

An aside about state law: California State law permits the sale and use of only “Safe and Sane” fireworks, which are generally fireworks that neither fly nor explode. ALL other fireworks are illegal, ANYWHERE in the state. Safe and Sane fireworks are marked with the following seal:

safe and sane California symbol

Back to Ventura County!

The City of Fillmore is the only jurisdiction in Ventura County that sells fireworks, and the only jurisdiction that allows their use.

Fillmore has kinda tiny limits.

Fillmore has kinda tiny limits.

Since the City of Fillmore has its own fire department—as opposed to, say, Camarillo, which uses the Ventura County Fire Department and thus abides by county firework codes—it can choose to permit these activities, and does.

But why? In such a fire-prone region, in the driest time of the year, what does Fillmore get from allowing this?

Explosive Fundraising!

The sale of fireworks is (apparently) often tied to fundraising for non-profit organizations. There are two dozen groups licensed by the City of Fillmore to sell this year. The groups must meet in Fillmore, benefit the local community, and have been established as such for at least three years. (The application process is $400 and the 2014 fireworks booth packet is on the Fillmore website.)

According to the Ventura County Star, last year the sales brought in “net revenues of $308,099.”

Use ’em if you got ’em

four colors fireworks fillmore

Okay, great! You purchased fireworks legally, presumably you’re still within city limits and haven’t illegally transported them yet, and now you’re wondering “How can I set off these Morning Glories SO LEGALLY as a way of expressing civic pride, the beauties and complications of democracy, and fuck yeah fireworks amirite?!”

Until July 5th, safe and sane fireworks can be used on private property in the City of Fillmore, or in any of Fillmore’s public parks (saw the park thing in the Star’s article). Fillmore’s public parks include Shiell Park, Main Street Park, Meadowlark Park, Central Park, and Delores Day Park; they do not include Kenny Grove Park and Two Rivers Park, both outside city limits.

out of focus fireworks in fillmore


YES! Booths are in the McDonald’s parking lot at 900 Ventura Street, Fillmore, CA. (At least according to their website; really, the stands are literally everywhere off the 126 in Fillmore. Go ham.) The remaining hours are Thursday July 3 from 6am to 10pm, and Friday July 4 from 6am to 9pm. Get a $10 off a purchase of $50 or more coupon from TNT Fireworks.

Retro McDonalds Sign Fillmore

Safety First!

The Ventura County Fire Department’s Mike Lindbery recommends “staying away from all fireworks unless they’re part of a licensed, professional show.”

Always have water on hand, always douse used fireworks in water, only use “safe and sane” fireworks, and keep children away from them.

The Fillmore Car Show page should have the most updated info on this year’s fireworks sales.

Have a fun, safe, and awesome Fourth of July! Yeah, freedom!

Time keeps on slippin’…

I thought the “time keeps on slippin’ slippin’ slippin’ into the future” song was a Donald Byrd song. Nope. It’s Steve Miller Band!

(Donald Byrd is awesome, tho.)

…into the future

Dozens of friends graduated this weekend. It was a great time seeing them, celebrating, connecting.

One friend asked for advice, which I gave, but I think my more concrete advice was to his younger brother: “Don’t flip off the wrong person.”

Which in more positive words is just, “Be kind.”

You never know what will affect others

More than anything in the past year I’ve tried to be kinder. Not only to friends and family, but to myself, to strangers, to other people’s creative endeavors. Even to the idea of a business. To corporations that should do more right by their workers, and to politicians I completely disagree with.

It’s beyond the “Don’t be evil” à la Google, and more about being more active in reaching out and expressing gratitude.

Not where I expected this post to go!

(But I’m going to publish anyway, like Bill O’Reilly did that one time.)

Screenshot of old draft posts.

The oldest draft on the blog database is almost a year old.

I don’t know what I’ve done over the past year, but I do have concrete evidence of things I haven’t done. Things I have done that I haven’t yet shared. Like my impromptu trip to Guasti, California, inspired by a copy of Boom: A Journal of California found in the racks at Barnes & Noble.

Share stories

Okay, okay! I’ve done things. Not all all the things, but I know this much: Things I have done and will do. Things I know and create, stories I’ve heard.

I want to share them with you.

Surfers with Santa Cruz Island on the Horizon

Share things like this!

And I want to hear your stories, see things you create. Beyond a +1, Facebook post, or RT, I want to move toward…

…a Solidarity in Life

My favorite parting with good friends as of late is: “Solidarity in life.”

I like to say I was talking with someone, or asking “Can I talk with you?” as opposed to using “to.” There are YouTube videos out there about how to leave a more optimum voicemail, or to have the best voicemail greeting. When I answer the phone I say, “Hi, this is Andy,” to stem off confusion and the small amount of stress that comes from one voice trying to find another.


Hopefully there are enough transitions, segues, and words for you to connect what I’m thinking. I am hungry right now and about to take a shower. Yesterday I didn’t write a poem for the first time in almost half a year. My refrigerator ought to be stocked and I’ll make sure this time to remember the reusable bags.

Solidarity in life, reader.