The last several weeks have seen a lot of activity around both my local neighborhood and the Alameda/ San Francisco areas I visit regularly.
Weather has been mild hereabouts, and the Summer tourists and weekenders have melted away as schools got back underway.
A major sign of the changes was apparent when I recently left my house, turned the corner wandering just a few yards down to the bottom of 26th Avenue to then be greeted by a Hang-Glider drifting back and forth along the cliffs some 100 yards away.
The warm on-shore, <10 knot updraft off the Monterey Bay allowed the glider to lazily move a few hundred yards back and forth some 40 feet above the cliff-face. An easy, lazy day for the pilot and an incongruous view for my solitary self, standing directly below.
Just a few weeks before and 100 yards inland from here I had a 7-foot eucalyptus branch drop +40 feet squarely onto my head as I rode in the bike lane immediately beneath a canopy of trees.
This >2lb. cutting had remained from tree-work done earlier and chose to fall directly as I passed below. What are the odds, and what good luck! Just a knot on the head, scuff on the forehead and I was not even separated from my bike. 😊
Mid October surfing contests show up on weekends for High Schools and other participant events. Temporary canopies and Audio commentary is then set up along The Hook, which stretches along Pleasure Point from the Café down to 41st Avenue. Non-participant surfers still arrive and line up slightly away from the tournament action, either down toward the O’Neill cliff house or the opposite end of The Hook from the competitions.
Capitola recently held its massive annual fireworks display, run from off the end of the old pier. The event is always spectacular, lasts 20-30 mins and is hosted this time of year by local businesses as a Thank you to Residents for their vital ongoing support.
The show is well worth the visit. The Capitola Village is packed, and the East Cliff is lined by pedestrian-only traffic with heads thrown back admiring the creative display reflecting off the Monterey Bay waters and towering into the skies above the crowds. A true spectacular, just a short walk from home.
I ride a bike year-round and normally 5 days a week. Rides usually run about 12 miles/day, with some weeks a couple of 20-milers thrown in. Weekends I save for sailing out of Alameda on the San Francisco Bay, which is just as well as there is always more road traffic around Santa Cruz on both Saturday and Sunday.
And biking hereabouts has changed, even during the week.
Since the pandemic ended, more people ride. In the last 6 months things have evolved from sightings of e-Bikes being <1-in-5 to now being 90% electric. And those bikes fly around!
It seems folks who seldom rode have picked up electric versions. Bikes are new and custom, sporting racks, paniers, kiddy-seats and all sorts of adders, often towing or even pushing child and animal trailers. The varieties are endless, and it is uncommon to see any two alike.
Riders seem to peddle little and travel fast. >>20 mph speeds for Electrics seems common-place and users effortlessly cross the 5-10 mile stretch from East-to-West Santa Cruz in just a few 10’s of minutes.
I suppose increased accidents will soon inspire the introduction of consequential new regulations needed to accommodate this major trend. Strangely, cannot even recall when I last saw a new bike that was not electric and in truth this has all occurred in <12 months. 😉
As a warning: if you ride a manual bike for (say) just 10 miles hereabouts, you are going to need to avoid typically 3-5 risky (to yourself) actions by other travelers. Culprits are unobservant vehicle drivers, pedestrians and other cyclists, respectively. And the problem worsens greatly as your average speed increases. It seems speed somehow makes you far less visible to others; we develop a cloak of invisibility. 😉
By early September I had finished the planning for my 2023 trip to Alaska. It is a case of plan early or miss-out on the best Trips, Guides and Facilities for the next adventures. If you wonder what is available there, check out my last BLOG posted September 11th. In a related theme…
During late September, a friend from Alaska stopped by on his annual drive from his home in the Kenai Peninsula to his Summering setup in Arizona. It is a long drive with quick, regular business stops along the way; he is a great guest and welcome company who needed a break from massive daily driving schedules.
On his arrival I was treated with a delivery of bear-meat for my freezer, and we spent our brief available time running around touring my local area and haunts, ending up with evening drinks and music outside, seated by a firepit. There is so much to see and enjoy here, it was a treat for myself to have someone else appreciate what is offered locally.
Following this fun visit, we are now planning a joint Sailfish fishing trip to Southeast Florida next February / March.
Hopefully, we can make this recent stop-over a regular event. Maybe next year I will take the pilgrimage with him and provide some relief on the driving duties?
San Francisco Fleet Week occurred early October. This is truly a Family treat with ships to visit, the town bustling, street vendors everywhere along the waterfront and a unique and special aerial display on Saturday and Sunday.
The Airshow runs across the space between the Embarcadero Piers and Alcatraz. The viewing area is good from Fort Mason even down to the Ferry Building, but best North of Pier 39. Sights include a couple of jet display teams (the Blue Angels are a highlight), aerobatics and a host of one-off fly-bys from both major military and commercial aircraft.
Planes and flights come in from Golden Gate and Bay bridge directions, over Angel Island and even enter the performance area right overhead, from behind the City itself. The display has low, highspeed passes and endless acrobatics; a unique treat to watch and experience. Crowds can revel in the thrill of the event and enjoy a profound sense of pride. 😊
For myself, I have been fortunate to see this Show at least a half dozen times. Mostly from the water, where I usually motor a boat of half-a-dozen passengers about in a clockwise direction around the cordoned-off, low-fly area which runs several miles both East and West between Alcatraz and the Embarcadero. It is spectacular viewing for passengers, but when you are at the helm the heavy boat traffic often demands your complete attention elsewhere. 😉
If you have not seen this or similar displays, try to do so. And soon. I hear a City Supervisor in San Francisco is moving to ban the Blue Angels from their airspace. He is also extremely vocal in complaining about the attention outside press gives to such local issues. I wonder what his true agenda might really be. ☹
The area I live has many splendid features and opportunities. But much is changing. It is good to enjoy the numerous positives that remain available while we can. 😊
Let me now move on to summarize some of the more prominent News items occurring in the last weeks; specifically, those that have possible downstream ramifications of concern…
Over $3 Trillion has been wiped out in Retirement Accounts (401’s, IRA’s etc.) in 2022, alone. If you own such an account, you will currently have seen a >30% and perhaps as high as 40% drop in your accounts’ value. Most investors have now lost around 2.5 years of gains in the last year or so. This is a result of Market confidence in Government and consequential Outlook. Ouch.
Average folks are being abused by reported inflation running 8-9% (at 40-year highs) and constantly spiking gas prices. Retirees are additionally under the gun with Administration promises of Capital Gains Tax increases that will further establish the US as having the largest such Tax in the World.
With Fed Rate hikes already underway and more promised the Housing Market has come under pressure and the Dollar has grown abnormally strong, which severely hampers US Exports.
Dollar strength inevitably brings downward pressure on numerous smaller Currencies and Countries around the World which will consequentially economically decline further, with many not even being able to service their debt.
Fuel prices are exploding all over Europe because of the Ukraine proxy War. Europeans (esp. in places like Germany) cannot fire up Coal Plants fast enough before the colder months arrive. The UK is forecasting that over 70% of it’s restaurants are expected to fail this Winter because of energy costs. Hard to imagine the pain and pressure that will similarly fall on every household across Europe. ☹
As always, s***t rolls downhill.
The weaponization of Government in the US continues in many forms…
A Federal judge revealed that Biden ordered the raid on ex-president Trump while denying ALL current knowledge of the event. No surprise there. Blatant lies are commonplace.
Whistleblowers have confirmed the FBI is creating a false narrative by classifying the January 6th Capital incursion as separate individual nationwide Domestic Terrorism instances, to be tried in every State possible while simultaneously moving agents off child sex abuse cases. Such priorities and caring. ☹
Pelosi is legally obliged to investigate the Administration for blatantly trying to manipulate the Saudis to delay reducing oil shipments and so momentarily aid US gas pump pricing ahead of November mid-term elections. It seems the Saudis have well-documented scruples about such action which would have produced large global economic downsides downstream.
Joe Biden has personally and publicly threatened dire consequences to the Saudi’s for outing him on this matter. Wow. He may have forgotten about the essential neutralization role the Saudis play in the Middle East, having Iran as neighbors and all.
Apparently, the Administration act of soliciting in-kind actions from Foreign Sources to aid a Partisan political goal is illegal. I am sure Speaker Nancy P will give this all the attention her party requires. Sigh. 😉
On the lighter side, the BBC is reporting Hunter Biden will be charged with Tax crimes. His personal laptop has been providing corruption insight to his activities (in Ukraine and China) for a few years already. It recently additionally turned up his Swalwell-like engagement and dalliance with a new Chinese spy. So far, no charges for Hunter for anything (while Dad holds the reins). 😉
I saw some Poll or other a couple of months back that had ~70% the US General Public agreeing that Biden is both corrupt AND had likely benefitted financially from his corruption. It was implied that voters simply DO NOT CARE this is the case. Wow.
On the local home front, San Francisco was reporting a 25% Office Vacancy rate at the end of September. Looks like Covid Impacts, Out-of-State moves and Neighborhood Toxicity (prices, crime and homelessness) are all in play.
And soon to arrive will be the November Elections. Over a dozen States are on the record with reported major voting fraud issues occurring during the 2020 elections. Yet no significant prosecution, anywhere. How odd. How can this be? Sigh. ☹
France outlawed Mail-In Voting in the 1970’s as being too readily subject to voter-fraud. They conducted their last recent election entirely with a hand-count. In recent weeks Germany announced a re-vote for ~6 million people in one District because of known Polling Machine irregularities.
The US has a storied history of serious Voter Fraud issues dating back >100 years. I have seen countless Polls overwhelmingly agreeing the US simply needs Voter ID laws to have safe(r) Election Polling.
Yet Voter ID is currently politically framed as Racist, so cannot be allowed. Go figure.
And I expect there will be rampant, approved mail-in requirements and voting misdeeds in many US States and Districts come November, regardless of the outcome. Why would anything be different? 😉
On the Global front we still have Leaders who need wars (that end well) to buoy up their numerous Domestic problems. Putin is in trouble and needs a soft landing and historically corrupt Zelenskyy is spoiling daily for bigger and better action.
Biden has his proxy war and is rattling his Sabre, threatening an imminent Nuclear Armageddon to his citizenry. Despite major depletion of US Weaponry (to Ukraine) and Strategic Oil Reserves (to China and hopefully, Domestically) he has still somewhat prepared, as his HHS has stockpiled nuclear warfare treatment Nplate drugs at $1.2k each. Sadly, for you and I these only have a shelf-life of 18 months and he only bought ~250k units. If he knows something we do not, we are in trouble. 😉
Lastly is Premier, Xi. He is right now entering a new phase of Government Control which brings him unprecedented and unchallenged powers. He is already leaning in to take territories from Taiwan, Japan, the Philippines and others; even claims in the heavens (Mars and Moon colonization) are freely mentioned. China believes this now-open New Era is where they will fulfil their promised destiny and Xi is the accepted and anointed one.
NOTE: The New Era is defined as the next 30years, which is to include the successful realization of The Chinese Dream.
And all this comes when US overseas image is at a low. The UK’s Telegraph newspaper (THE major National publication) wrote an October piece referring to Biden’s weakness, endless failures and ways as being more than simple mental decline and senility, referring to him as also being historically evil. This from (a, THE?) major overseas ally and a FRIEND. Ouch.
So, what might actual ENEMIES think, say and be prepared to DO? Historically it is always the weak and inept who become inevitable active targets and victims. ☹
Well, so much for these reflections.
In all honesty they are (just some of the) things that cannot responsibly be simply, totally ignored. These are the troubling chickens in our lives that can come home to roost. Some are much more likely, serious and immediate than others.
We live in sad and dangerous times, both Locally, Nationally and around the Globe.
But nobody should dwell incessantly on such matters. It serves no purpose if no immediate action is required or yet relevant. So, time to move on, but still sleep with one eye open…
Do you track both the small AND large issues that might impinge upon your World? Should you?
It can be miserable to follow all such issues relentlessly but keeping an eye on REAL liabilities that can enter your lives is usually wise.
As for myself, I will now change my immediate focus and prepare for a trip out East to enjoy a Wedding in North Carolina with some Family friends. 😊
Here’s to wishing you similarly pleasant distractions!
Ian R. Mackintosh is the author of Empower Your Inner Manager Twitter@ianrmackintosh.