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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.

California King Tides 2014

King Tides are the highest tides that occur all year. They are the highest of the high tides. According to the California King Tides Initiative, King Tides “occur when the gravitational pull of the sun and the moon are in alignment.” The ones coming up at the turn of the year will probably not be as crazy as what is pictured below from a really bad storm in January 2010.

Ventura Pier in January 2010 Storm

I learned about the king tides a few days ago thanks to the California King Tide Initiative. As an organization, they have a few objectives: (1) engage Californians in dialogue about the future of coastal areas, (2) identify and catalog coastal areas that are vulnerable to tidal inundation, and (3) build an online resource of images that can be used by everyone to communicate about coastal hazards.

The objectives are in part accomplished by an annual photo initiative.

Photo Initiative

The photo initiative invites people to take photos of the King Tides wherever they live. That means you!

If you want to highlight the future impact of rising water levels, focus on where the higher tides flood roads, bump up against buildings—things like that. Pictures can then be posted to their Flickr group. Make sure to be safe when photographing!

Thank You Ocean, another organization that advocates for the ocean, produced a podcast slash YouTube video about this photo project.

Timing of the California King Tides 2014

The first King Tides in the 2013–2014 season are coming up December 30th to January 2nd. There is a repeat later in the month, January 29th–31st. In Ventura County, the high tides looks like they will be near 7 feet. Below is the tide forecast for 12/27/2013 to 1/4/2014.

Ventura California King Tides Forecast

Credit to tide-forecast

Based on NOAA information from Ventura, CA, high tide on 12/31/2013 is at 7:43 am and 6.88 feet. High tide on 1/1/2014 is at 8:30 am and 6.97 feet, followed by high tide on 1/2/2014 at 9:16 am and 6.84 feet.

Check out the California King Tide Initiative’s Frequently Asked Questions for more information.

“Don’t break the chain!”

Said Jerry Seinfeld, summing up his simple motivation technique. From a LifeHacker article:

[Jerry Seinfeld] told me to get a big wall calendar that has a whole year on one page and hang it on a prominent wall. The next step was to get a big red magic marker.

He said for each day that I do my task of writing, I get to put a big red X over that day. “After a few days you’ll have a chain. Just keep at it and the chain will grow longer every day. You’ll like seeing that chain, especially when you get a few weeks under your belt. Your only job next is to not break the chain.”

“Don’t break the chain,”1 he said again for emphasis.

Yoda had something to say on this, too (spoiler alert, Luke: “Aaaallright, I’ll give it a try.” Yoda: “No—try not. Do or do not. There is no try.”).

It makes doing your daily thing visible—red marker Xs over calendar numbers or not. There is a simple motivation—not to break the chain. And it is clear whether or not you did that thing—yes or no, X or no X.

I’ve meditated for 16 days straight, which is AWESOME. Part of my motivation in meditating is to show myself I can actually keep up with a new thing daily, along with an intent to cultivate curiosity, awareness, and mindfulness.

Don't Break the Chain app

I’d also like my dentist (and my friend Alex) to know that I’ve flossed thirteen out of the past fifteen days.

Try the technique out! There are some iPhone apps for it; I’m using the one screenshotted at the top, Don’t Break The Chain!. Might design/develop one myself, too. (Another technique in my arsenal: Pomodoro Technique, where you split tasks into 30 minute chunks, 25 of which are work—the last 5 are a break; every fourth one you take a longer break.)

  1. Reminds me of the GI Joe YouTube, Give him the stick! Don’t give him the stick! (NSFW, profanity.) 

Why photos happen

Today I’m down in Long Beach for a sales conference. The sun has just set and I am above the marina, can see a lighthouse lit up blue and the idle dock cranes in the distance.

Wedding Photo Background in Long Beach

Walking here, past the city’s convention center, there was a couple taking selfies in front of this same view. They probably wouldn’t have minded some assistance, but I didn’t want to be too forward and just walk up to say, “Want me to take your picture?” I went around a staircase, sat down on a bench, looked over and then asked, “You all want some help?”

They said, “Yes!” and were very excited about it. I took a couple shots and they liked their pose in the second one. Mark introduced himself first, then I did, then Rochelle. They are out here from Vegas, just got married, and are taking a cruise to Ensenada for a three-day weekend honeymoon.

They’ll keep that photo around awhile, I bet.

At my friend’s 21st birthday a couple weeks back, I ordered a grilled cheese and tomato bisque. About ten seconds after being served, I took my phone out and snapped a picture. IMMEDIATELY after, I looked around at my friends and told them that I’m not going to Instagram it, post it to Facebook or anywhere, nor do I plan to look at it ever again. I pocketed my phone with a tinge of shame.

There is a tension between the permanence and transience of photos and images.

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