Thursday, September 29, 2005

This is mainly to appease my wife

I recently wrote about what I’ll miss in SLO. I felt (and continue to feel) nostalgic about the place I have called home, off and on, for roughly seven years. This is a natural and, I believe, healthy emotion. It is important to never forget where you have been for this is one of the ways to appreciate where you are going.

My wife mistook my musings for a reluctance to move. I assure her and all Federal Cheese readers this is not the case. To put my wife at ease, I agreed to write about what I look forward to in our new home. Here goes:

I recently made the drive to Cayucos to bid farewell to the stretch of ocean I have been visiting for sometime now. I didn’t go surfing; I didn’t even go for a swim. I went merely to see. What I saw was a pod of dolphins coming out to say their goodbyes. Maybe they just happened to be there, maybe not, but they did look a lot like the dolphins that scared the shit out of me while I was surfing last year. See, with ocean water in you eyes, the dorsal fin of a dolphin looks strikingly similar to that of a shark. Anyway, this sight got me thinking. What am I giving up by moving?

It may seem that I am waxing nostalgic again, but seeing those dolphins made me think of all the beautiful and majestic wonders that await me in Washington. How many people can say they have seen dolphins jumping out of the water in Cayucos? I have. But what else is there out there that I haven’t seen yet? I’ve been rereading John McPhee’s “Encounters with the Archdruid” for the purpose that A) John McPhee is someone who makes me want to be a writer and B) no one describes the beauty of nature better than him.

The first part of “Encounters” chronicles the debate over copper mining in the Cascades, but also treats the reader to McPhee’s masterful prose along the way. It makes me feel fortunate that I will soon be able to visit the places he describes. I miss the mountains. I miss fishing, hiking, camping and swimming in the mountains. I’m at the point in which I am willing to give up dolphins in order to gain the mountains.

Cayucos will always have a special place in my heart. It’s where I learned (and am still learning) to surf. It’s where my first girlfriend at Cal Poly took me on one of out first dates. It’s a gorgeous place and I will visit it again someday, but the time has come for a change. I’ll always remember where I have been, because it makes me appreciate what I have yet to see.

It’s not all about the mountains. Here are some pictures of Seattle, which is a pretty cool town. The cell phones are almost set-up and that means our info is coming soon to all our friends. We hope you all visit.

The new library downtown

The skyline at night

This is the view from our new neighborhood

Saturday, September 24, 2005

a special thanks

This is a "shout out" to Amie and Evan for their continuing help with the formating of federal cheese. Your t-shirts are coming soon.

Friday, September 23, 2005

objects of my boredom

As I started packing my closet up today for the upcoming move, I came upon my baseball card collection. Needless to say, I didn't get much packed. My cat took over the box that was to become the temporary home for the cards and so I decided to review my collection before stowing them away. There will be more coming to The Story of Federalcheese on the subject of collecting baseball cards soon, but in the meantime, check out these finds:

Robin Ventura is Justin Cooley's best friend and an IPod shop all-star. Lee Tunnell represents Major League Baseball BEFORE steriods

A blast from the past. Juan Gonzalez in the minors has got to be worth something.

Friday, September 16, 2005

Typical Conservatives

Check out Texian Weblog. I found this blog by utilizing the "next blog" button during a fit of boredom. It's the usual right-wing garbage and it follows the conservative M.O.. Members only. I tried to comment, but was told I couldn't because I wasn't a "team member." Closing off all debate means you don't have to feel bad about buying that second SUV to tow the new yacht. I know, I know, but I'm pissed off.

Thursday, September 15, 2005

Once again

I don't repost stuff often, but this is worth it. Please go to and read Bill Maher's take on the Bush Presidency. FYI-Bill Maher's biggest fan. . .is my Grandma. No shit.

Wednesday, September 14, 2005

What will I miss about SLO?

Maybe it will be the slipping in vomit on the way to work on Sundays. Maybe it will be next-door neighbors and their parties that don’t move inside until 2am. It might be all the news of North County that I’ll miss without the Tribune. Or, it might just come down to the $560,000 median home price.

Actually, what I will miss is that I can go for weeks without getting in my car. That living on the creek allows me to regularly view Egrets, Blue Herons, Hawks and Drunk Homeless People. My cats love the creek for its mice, birds and SNAKES, which they proudly bring inside for my approval. The snakes make life interesting. I will miss the ocean being so close, but will enjoy the mountains being closer. The fog rolling in and cooling off the afternoon sun was always nice. The sunsets were even nicer.

The Central Coast is a beautiful place. I’ll miss camping in Big Sur and the drive out to Pozo. I’ll miss the quail on Cerro San Luis and the sharks in Cayucos. I’ll miss people falling off Bishops and getting run over on the dunes. I really wish I had taken more advantage of the six-hour drive to Vegas. But what I’ll really miss is my friends. Maybe they’ll come and visit . . .and get a hotel room. Just kidding. Sort of.


Snowy Egret


This picture has nothing to do with this post

Thursday, September 08, 2005

Hopefully no one is surprised by the news

Ginger and I are moving to Seattle. That’s right, we’re moving to the “Great Northwest.” The “Evergreen State.” The “Emerald City.” The. . . . well, you get the picture. We’re cashing in our chips and seeking our fortune in the glitz and glamour of the big city. If we can make it there, we can make it anywhere. Enough cliché; I’m gone by October 3rd and Ginger follows a week later.

Ginger and I moved to Seattle following graduation, but were not able to stay. We made some great friends and had some wonderful experiences, but reluctantly moved back to California for a myriad of reasons. We are both thankful for the new friends, as well as renewed friendships we were able to make upon our return to San Luis, but now we’re going north again. Last week we found an apartment in Queen Anne and Ginger endured six job interviews (a seventh cancelled and was subsequently fire-bombed). Is “fire-bombed” hyphenated? I will be working for Barnes and Noble in some capacity in a store to be determined. I can safely say my days of walking to work in less than seven minutes are over and after much time spent on the floor in a fetal position, I’ve come to terms with this.

“Loyal” federalcheese readers are encouraged to visit us in our new locale. “Loyal” federalcheese readers will receive our new address soon. I have included some pictures for your perusal.

The new apartment

Swimming in Skagit Bay

Man rushing Safeco Field

Adam and Sarah Wujick

Tuesday, September 06, 2005

Please Read This:

I'm really not one to post readings from other sources, but I urge all to take the time and read the following opinion piece by Robert Scheer of the LA Times. He has pretty much summed "it" all up.

Robert Scheer:
The real costs of a culture of greed
WHAT THE WORLD has witnessed this past week is an image of poverty and social disarray that tears away the affluent mask of the United States.

Instead of the much-celebrated American can-do machine that promises to bring freedom and prosperity to less fortunate people abroad, we have seen a callous official incompetence that puts even Third World rulers to shame. The well-reported litany of mistakes by the Bush administration in failing to prevent and respond to Katrina's destruction grew longer with each hour's grim revelation from the streets of an apocalyptic New Orleans.

Yet the problem is much deeper. For half a century, free-market purists have to great effect denigrated the essential role that modern government performs as some terrible liberal plot. Thus, the symbolism of New Orleans' flooding is tragically apt: Franklin Roosevelt's New Deal and Louisiana Gov. Huey Long's ambitious populist reforms in the 1930s eased Louisiana out of feudalism and toward modernity; the Reagan Revolution and the callousness of both Bush administrations have sent them back toward the abyss.

Now we have a president who wastes tax revenues in Iraq instead of protecting us at home. Levee improvements were deferred in recent years even after congressional approval, reportedly prompting EPA staffers to dub flooded New Orleans "Lake George."

None of this is an oversight, or simple incompetence. It is the result of a campaign by most Republicans and too many Democrats to systematically vilify the role of government in American life. Manipulative politicians have convinced lower- and middle-class whites that their own economic pains were caused by "quasi-socialist" government policies that aid only poor brown and black people — even as corporate profits and CEO salaries soared.

For decades we have seen social services that benefit everyone — education, community policing, public health, environmental protections and infrastructure repair, emergency services — in steady, steep decline in the face of tax cuts and rising military spending. But it is a false savings; it will certainly cost exponentially more to save New Orleans than it would have to protect it in the first place.

And, although the wealthy can soften the blow of this national decline by sending their kids to private school, building walls around their communities and checking into distant hotels in the face of approaching calamities, others, like the 150,000 people living below the poverty line in the Katrina damage area — one-third of whom are elderly — are left exposed.

Watching on television the stark vulnerability of a permanent underclass of African Americans living in New Orleans ghettos is terrifying. It should be remembered, however, that even when hurricanes are not threatening their lives and sanity, they live in rotting housing complexes, attend embarrassingly ill-equipped public schools and, lacking adequate police protection, are frequently terrorized by unemployed, uneducated young men.

In fact, rather than an anomaly, the public suffering of these desperate Americans is a symbol for a nation that is becoming progressively poorer under the leadership of the party of Big Business. As Katrina was making its devastating landfall, the U.S. Census Bureau released new figures that show that since 1999, the income of the poorest fifth of Americans has dropped 8.7% in inflation-adjusted dollars. Last year alone, 1.1 million were added to the 36 million already on the poverty rolls.

For those who have trouble with statistics, here's the shorthand: The rich have been getting richer and the poor have been getting, in the ripe populist language of Louisiana's legendary Long, the shaft.

These are people who have long since been abandoned to their fate. Despite the deep religiosity of the Gulf States and the United States in general, it is the gods of greed that seem to rule. Case in point: The crucial New Orleans marshland that absorbs excess water during storms has been greatly denuded by rampant commercial development allowed by a deregulation-crazy culture that favors a quick buck over long-term community benefits.

Given all this, it is no surprise that leaders, from the White House on down, haven't done right by the people of New Orleans and the rest of the region, before and after what insurance companies insultingly call an "act of God."

Fact is, most of them, and especially our president, just don't care about the people who can't afford to attend political fundraisers or pay for high-priced lobbyists. No, these folks are supposed to be cruising on the rising tide of a booming, unregulated economy that "floats all boats."

They were left floating all right.