Things I Love

Angel Island isn’t exactly a hidden gem – it’s the biggest island in the middle of the San Francisco Bay – but it is definitely somewhere that most Bay Area residents “totally want to visit some day.”

mill valley

And oh my gosh, they  should. It’s hard to go anywhere in the Bay Area without running into an amazing view eventually, but Angel Island has a higher-than-average concentration of them.

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Reasons not to go to Big Sur:

1. It is too beautiful.

There is a good chance that on the way there, you will drive off a cliff because you are staring at a beach.

big sur coastline

big sur coastline

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The South Yuba River in Northern California is magical; it’s accessible and beautiful and full of things that are totally awesome. A mine shaft. Naked people. Swimming holes. Stacks of rocks.

Some are more awesome than others.

Hikers can take Hoyt’s Trail to Hoyt’s Crossing to access swimming holes, a natural granite slide, and waterfalls. Badass people can take a side trail down to the river early on and rock-hop upriver. Lazy people can park, then clamber down 50 feet to the swimming hole under the bridge. Hike to Hoyt’s Crossing on Hoyt’s Trail along the South Yuba River, and this is what you will see:


Because hippies love cairns.

They’re all over. On the riverbanks, balanced on giant boulders, and…other places. You can make your own or you can use others’ as target practice. Either way, they’re pretty fun.

Naked People

The South Yuba is frequented by nudists. Not the first swimming hole by the parking lot…but pretty much every one after that. There is a healthy mix of older people and the young, fitter ones you might actually want to see naked. Everyone at the river is friendly, but using the granite slide at Hoyt’s Crossing after the nudes is up to you.

A family trip to the Yuba might also mean you have to explain to your aunt what a Prince Albert is. Learning.

A Mineshaft

There’s an old mineshaft on river left, right below the larger of the swimming holes at Hoyt’s Crossing. When the Yuba is high, water flows through the mineshaft but probably not deeper than a few feet. At the drier end of summer, there will be some stagnant water at the entrance and the tunnel will be relatively high. The tunnel goes all the way through, but pack a headlamp if you really want to explore.

A Natural Granite Slide

If your boyfriend wears the ass of his boardshorts out on this slide, you know you’re doing something right.

Have you ever wanted to go ass sliding? Because now you can. The first question in that sentence should really be, “Have you ever seen the movie ‘Rad!‘?” So go do that and then read this post again.

Also when we were there, we made best friends with a goose. He ate en entire pumpkin bagel. And then shat on the rock we were using as a step to get out of the water.

It’s easy to find things to love and hate about living in the Bay Area. Shit. It’s easy to find things to love and hate about living anywhere. I think Northern Californians have a special struggle in this regard. Probably because I live here, but also because I’m smart. And discerning. Those are definitely different things.

So if you’re here, visit the Marin Headlands. Go to Pt. Bonita, hit up the frigid beaches, explore an old army bunker. It’s great.

But parts of the trip are not fantastic. You’ll have to battle tourists on the bridge and wait for them to take pictures in every scenic location along the trails. There will be trash too, because someone couldn’t be bothered to carry their empties back down the hill.

But maybe you’ll get to watch a turkey vulture from above, and perhaps we can all agree that makes it worthwhile.

The Bay Area has best of many worlds (like going from beach to mountains in just a few hours, good coffee, In-N-Out)…and the traffic to prove it. We have tourists and their dumb segway tours, but also we make money off them. We deal with hippies and pseudo-intellectuals and burners and hipsters on a daily basis, but we also get to complain about them. And that is some rich goddamn fodder.

Also we have fog.

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Why to go to Cafe Du Mond:

Because, New Orleans’ cafe au lait. If hot coffee can taste this good on a 90 degree day with 90% humidity, you should put it in your face.

Because, your friends will go. If they don’t, throw powdered sugar in their eyes and leave them forever. You don’t need naysayers like that in your life.

Because, “white powder on your face” jokes. You know what I’m talking about.  Really, they’re asking for it.

Because, someone else will clean up the mess.

Start with massive coffees at 4 Daughters in Manhattan Beach, CA. Make sure to slyly include your friend’s boobies in the shot. (Okay, actually start with a 7 hour drive from the Bay Area after work on a Friday afternoon. But no one wants to hear about that.)

Order the blueberry pancakes. Elbow your waiter in the crotch multiple times. It’s not your fault – it’s a small restaurant and he always seems to be behind you. But still.

Eat most of the blueberry pancakes.

Go to the pier.

Your feets like the pier.

Park your ass in the sand.

But don’t swim to the right of this sign. The lifeguards are not into it.

Merle lives with his punk rock mom and dad in NY.

He walks like a boss.

And he fucking loves corners.


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