In the last month or so the weather in my home territory of Northern CA has seen temperatures drift from their daily mid-60’s to the lower 50’s with nights falling into the 30’s but still normally holding above freezing. This is typical Winter hereabouts.
Nights see occasional rains, sometimes heavy and persisting as much as an hour, which leaves the following days displaying steaming wood fences, rooves and roads as dampness burns off.
With this has come spectacular sunsets. Indeed, I have spent many recent fading afternoons on the Santa Cruz Pier, seated behind the steering wheel, parked facing West with beer in-hand watching the sun drop over the horizon behind the famous Steamers’ surfing waters. The gulls swirl above and the post-feeding sealions rollick in the chilly waters below, waiting for the tide to make the lower Pier joists accessible in height so they can launch themselves aboard and finally rest.
The many juveniles and fewer mature sealions return at speed each evening, leaping from the water in multiple inbound groups of 5-10, approaching their final nightly resting spots on beams and planks beneath the Pier as the seawater rises.
As temperatures drop the Dolphin Restaurant at pier’s end bustles with diners seated behind glass windows, intermingling with flaming propane heating towers. And outside, occasional groups wander about, peering through the few, through-pier viewing spots and over rails to photograph and enjoy the antics of resident sealions.
One November evening we were joined here by a rare bird only normally seen far South in Baja or much further West in Hawaii. Excited local press and media caused a stir about the sighting that later attracted interested folks from around the region wanting to see the distinctive young (with still just pinkish feet and legs), Red-footed Booby.
When I first found it fearlessly perched on a rail, it seemed almost open to being handled and posed implacably for close-up mobile-phone camera shots by occasional puzzled passers-by who wondered what it might be. It clearly was not a gull and indeed would aggressively shoo-off other such birds that approached.
It was identified and announced a few days later in local press outlets. There remains the mystery of how it had ever arrived.
Mid November (by The Hook of Pleasure Point along East Cliff Drive) provided a one-night show of rare abundance. Some 1500 Pelicans settled 100-200 yds off the cliffs, strewn over a quarter mile, with a couple of teams of some two-dozen sealions (up from the Santa Cruz Pier, 1-2 miles West) thrashing back and forwards through the same area, just aside of a flotilla of surfers working their usual spots. A shoal of small fry had surfaced and induced a feeding frenzy for diving birds and speeding sealions, alike.
As for myself, these colder days have found me binge-watching multiple TV series and enjoying audiobooks while travelling or just sitting watching the spectacular array of recent local sunsets.
Amazon Prime Video (with included Acorn and Britbox Apps) offers many options for Detective Stories and Intrigues; recently I have burned through multiple series of Red Election, No Offence and Annika (on Masterpiece). All worth watching. 😊
As for Audios, my recent indulgencies include two more detective series featuring DCI Logan by J.D. Kirk and Cormoran Strike by Rob Galbraithe (aka J.K. Rowling).
In late November I made another night boating run around the San Francisco Bay, taking friends along the Embarcadero waterfront, enjoying the crisp evening and many early displays of City Christmas lights on buildings and the Bay Bridge itself. What a great, bracing outing wrapped up with drinks and appetizers after a safe return to the dock.
On the health front I have been paying the price for being outdoorsy in California with my latest six-monthly visit to my now-regular Dermatologist.
When I met this fellow a couple of years ago, he greeted me with, “Ahh, fair hair and blue eyes. We have been waiting for you.”
It appears these Northern European qualities mean you do not belong in the California (or any generally fiercer US) Summer sun between Noon and 4.00pm, ever. And at all other times you best be bathed in high-end, zinc-based sunblock; even then, the odds you will have a Dermatologist in your later life remain extremely high.
It seems my lifestyle of Sailing and Fishing are incompatible with my genes. But we do what we must and manage the consequences. These are: Almost annual chemical facial skin scrubs and 6-monthly, freeze-offs of any precancerous, suspicious specks. These are uncomfortable and essential treatments. ☹
And be warned… no-one is immune to these specific, immutable laws of outdoor living. 😉
Thanksgiving was a different experience this year. Most friends and family were off in their different directions and with my having extensive personal European travel plans (England, Sweden, Finland and Estonia) through Christmas and the coming New Year, a more solitary celebration was in order for my wife and self. And it was a wonderful day…
The early morning temperature rose from high 50’s to 63F by Noon, so we got in a 17-mile bike ride before an early-evening dinner. It was the usual East Cliff run down to Capitola, back West along Portola Drive, around the Santa Cruz harbor and up passed Aldo’s; but then we added-in an additional run up to and around the estuary, along the Santa Cruz Boardwalk and on the Pier. Surprisingly, a few Fairground rides were operating on the Boardwalk, enticing happy squeals of delight from both young and old as we rode by.
We next stopped for beers at the Crow’s Nest Café on the return route through the Santa Cruz Harbor and enjoyed those seated outside under umbrellas, behind the Café El Palomar Restaurant, watching a few festive groups of locals play (including Brazilian-Style, no hands) beach volleyball.
Happily, the weather remained sunny, cloudless the entire day and it felt like temperatures were in the 70’s. 😊
And the traditional, early evening dinner that followed at home was as special and welcome as ever. 😊
Sadly, I lost a good friend recently after his two-year battle with Cancer and will attend his funeral service in England mid-December. He was a good person; just wish tears could wash away the grief.
The 2022 Men’s World Cup has begun with its massive Global coverage and fanaticism. Local Qatari officials angered Sponsors (esp. Budweiser) when they reneged on commitments and in the days before opening games enforced a no-alcohol-consumption rule in Stadiums. But life went on…
The US team made it out of the Group Stage competition but lost in the Round Of Sixteen and is already returned home. American Pundits and fans alike focused on the real successes the team did enjoy during their participation and run. 😊
In 2026 the World Cup is billed as a primarily US event and perhaps the historically frequent host team successes will play out for them. 😉
On December 3rd, the Annual Lighted Boat Parade was held in Santa Cruz Harbor. It is always a picturesque and happy event. Even after the parade, many docked boats carry their lighted decorations into the Christmas period; there usually remain several dozen decked-out vessels on each side of the bridge which crosses the harbor by the Yacht Club…
Each year we wander down to the harbor to enjoy these displays. This year was a chilly, wet night but as is usual it was brightened by sparkling decorated vessels scattered throughout the Harbor. The Crow’s Nest (CN) and Johnny’s restaurants were packed-out with festive customers following the Saturday Night parade. So instead, we sat away, sheltered from wind and rain sprinkles behind the (CN) Café, drinking beers, listening to Christmas music, gazing over the twinkling vessels, and surrounding decorated buildings.
The Harbor is well worth a night visit this time of year. 😊
On another sad note…
There is still a drive-thru’ food bank operating 1-2 miles from my home, at a Community Center near 17th Avenue on Portola Drive. I believe it has been there many months now, as inflation continues to run rampant and the economy withers. Each Wednesday, cars line-up around the parking lot and one-by-one gratefully seize large boxes of food stuffs and deposit them in their trunks.
It is fortunate that this service is there. It is SAD that it needs be.
And now on to the broader scope of (some) contemporary issues that affect the Nation and World alike and so warrant being recorded…
Let us begin with the elephant in the room. I like to travel, so early 2021 Covid shots and a December 2021 booster were an inevitable and easy choice for myself. I thought little of the ramifications and was not too concerned about what appeared (and was cast) as fear-mongering unproven conspiracy theories about risk tied to these vaccinations.
I was wrong and apparently foolish. There are now extensive proven and well-documented medical facts published by leading experts across the World (> one dozen Countries now have related data published) detailing the now FACTUAL, codified risks and liabilities. If you do NOT believe this and continue vaxxing and boosting yourself, you too are making a major mistake. The supported and proven facts and publications are plentiful and are ignored at your own peril…
Prominent and sough-after Oncology expert Dr Angus Dalgleish (Prof of oncology St George’s University of London) has written that Covid vaccine programs are no longer necessary especially because of known links to myocarditis, heart attacks and strokes now being well accepted. He predicted these risks in his June 2020 QRBD article. Problematic incidents especially follow Boosters, and the pattern is being seen and reported in Germany, Australia and the USA.
The USA (especially prone to NOT reporting such problems and actively still promoting Vax programs) recently published the 2021 data on the incidence of Cancers in the Military, which only began vaccinations that same year. Cancer incidence increased from 3x-8x depending on Cancer-type, relative to 2020 occurrences. This is simply not coincidence.
Medical reports (accepted by Government bodies and appropriately peer-reviewed) in prominent journals about the World have now published data showing proven Vax ties to Heart Disease, Strokes, Blood Clots, Cancers, Comas, Brain Damage, Stillbirths, Infant Deaths and more. The published (in UK Science Magazine) belief is that the result of Boosting vaccinations inherently and inevitably depletes the auto-immune system, and it is well-known Vaxed people contract Covid, anyway.
It is repeatedly stated that longer-term vaccination impacts on human DNA and immune systems have not even begun to be understood.
As a result of many folks now finding and reading these proven and accepted medical reports there has been an inevitable explosion of patients requiring blood transfusions demanding non-vax blood. Unsurprisingly, this demand is proving hard to support. ☹
Pfizer and Moderna are now just starting long-term studies to figure out of there is a link between Covid shots and Heart damage. Finally.
This fulfils my duty of at least reporting items those needing vaccination should at least now research and consider.
Next, the UK is banning Puberty Blockers for under-18’s. Pursue yourself if interested.
As regard to a couple of individual characters…
In a recent Poll it was found that 60% of Americans want Hunter Biden investigated by the incoming GOP. This includes only 30% of Democrats.
The release by Twitter of so much information regarding FBI-supported suppression of the Hunter Laptop-story in 2020 has caused quiet apologies from several media sources, who now are acknowledging an inevitability of an investigation (and the corresponding implication of associated corruption in Joe Biden). We will see if The Big Guy is ever held to account.
A pair of Trump’s minions have been Indicted for distorting Company records to feather their own nests. The push to neutralize Trump himself will continue into next year since his 2024 Presidential run has already been announced.
Inevitably, the continued release by Elon Musk at Twitter of information proving biased censorship of Conservatives (esp. the Hunter Biden Laptop Story) has brought him death threats of which he confesses to being disturbed and concerned. By default, he is upsetting both Dems and the FBI participants with these actions. And by association this may bring him into the historically efficient world of deadly Clinton Retribution.
As I write, Poland has reversed course and is now accepting the offer of a Patriot Air Defense System from Germany. If you recall, a couple of Ukrainian-fired missiles recently mistakenly landed in Poland which were maliciously, deliberately and erroneously claimed by AP to be of Russian origin.
Interestingly, in April this year I met a young Polish Hotel worker during my stay in Edinburgh. She told me that even before the Russian invasion, her relatives in Poland who live within 100-200 miles of the Ukrainian border, had already defined personal evacuation plans if any warring spilled over.
Can you spell escalation?
Another corruption and fraud scandal has exploded on the international stage. The largest scheme ever inflicted upon Investors. Namely, the collapse of the giant Cryptocurrency outfit, FTX…
What are the troubling facts and background? Consider this:
- The major Investor in FTX is the Ukrainian Government, who was known as outrageously corrupt until the day of the Russian invasion.
- The US has poured untracked money (>$91B as of Nov. 2022) into Ukraine in 2022 at a spending rate of 3X the cost of the Afghanistan war. $10B’s have gone in unknown directions.
- Ukraine poured money into FTX.
- The FTX CEO is/ was the second largest Dem Megadonor behind Soros over recent times.
- The Financial Oversight (by an actual Congressional Committee) of FTX was required and was obviously little or none. FTX Donations spilled into Dem coffers. Maxine Waters (on this Committee) is the multi-time winner of the “most corrupt congressperson” award and (again) personally received funds.
- Generals Austin and Milley (Sec. of Def. and Joint Chief of Staff, resp.) are now pushing immediately for more unregulated $10B’s from US Taxpayers into Ukraine.
- NY Prosecutors were looking into dubious practices of FTX months before the collapse and belief is that NY long-since possessed proof of same.
- It is believed that Military assistance funds to Ukraine were used to invest in FTX.
- Getting fat: Politicians and Military contractors.
- Getting shafted, citizens of: Ukraine, US (Taxpayers), Russia and power-starved Europe.
- Seriously depleted: Arsenals in US and across Europe.
This FTX collapse of Cryptocurrency is the largest loss in the history of the WORLD.
It seems this would need some serious investigation and review. Apparently, nobody wants this to occur, and the foot-dragging has begun. There are clearly a lot of dirty fingers in this pot! 😉
On the (US and Local, CA) Domestic front…
Gavin Newsome is pushing and will close on a Reparations Package that will bring each Black person in CA (who can demonstrate kin to a slave ancestor) a $233K /per head payout. This will generate an INITIAL cost to CA taxpayers of $970B in a State where there never was any slavery NOR were most of its inhabitants even IN the State until after slavery ended AND they also likely have no connection in their families TO slavery.
It is a tough sell to residents, but as its CA it will likely happen. It is believed that similar laws will be passed shortly thereafter in Oregon and Washington and (possibly) NY. Some say Biden will push for equivalence at the Federal level and make it an issue for (votes in) the 2024 elections. Likely Newsome will be carrying that flag anyway and use it to drive his own personal Presidential bid.
Gavin N. has always found new emerging trends, grabbed them by the scruff and got out in front, claiming them as his own; this is his modus operandum. Unfortunately, there is no known cause he has championed where he hasn’t worsened or destroyed the original situation… a hard reality for the wannabee President and any supporters he garners.
Now in closing let me comically mention Meghan Markle. Apparently, she took the UK and (strangely) the Argentinian Citizenship tests concurrently BEFORE she and Harry bailed on The Firm. These tests are not too challenging, defined for inclusion and to bring a simple level of awareness and familiarity with the Country to new Citizens. Meghan failed both tests. Sigh. This is moronic. 😉
That really concludes my round-up of personal activities and observations. I trust this provided an easy read, useful synopsis of recent events and an interesting diversion?
Hope you are having fulfilling experiences and finding ways to enjoy YOUR life and times.
Recommend you look for such opportunities! They are all around.
Ian R. Mackintosh is the author of Empower Your Inner Manager Twitter@ianrmackintosh.