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Month: September 2016

Shaw’s Cove Labor Day Weekend 2016

Shaw’s Cove Labor Day Weekend 2016

On Sunday morning Sam and I drove to Laguna Beach. Contrary to what we expected, there was very little traffic on the way down. Even the backup on the one lane road leading into Laguna was gone.

Weather reports had called for an overcast day with temperatures in the low 70s or high 60s. In other words: not a great day for the beach. However, we learned from earlier experience that the forecast is often not the reality.

At the beach the sun never wavered until late in the afternoon and the water stayed warm, much warmer than the 66 degrees of La Jolla Cove just a few weeks prior.

I stayed in the water for at least four hours of the day, and made a few new discoveries. However, the kelp forest, perhaps my favorite underwater hangout in the world (which would make it my favorite hangout overall), disappeared. This made the waves a bit choppier and the fish a bit more sparse. Still, I was able to see the largest bat ray yet, but due to it staying on the bottom far out at the edge of the rocks my photos of it are terrible.

Shaw's Cove September 2016

My luck with photos and video would continue in that manner.  Early on Sam and I got photos and videos of a few sting ray encounters and (a new find!) a halibut. However, my DSLR card ran out of space in the afternoon because I forgot to format it after the La Jolla trip. A replacement card (that I stupidly didn’t try out on the beach) said “card unreadable” once I was out in the water. Since unraveling the waterproof casing and dislodging the camera is difficult (not to mention swimming back out of the water and going back to our beach encampment in full gear) I decided to stick with the gopro. However, when I thought I was using the gopro to take cool videos of sting rays it turned out I hit the wrong button and took only photos. Thus, the video above on this post only shows maybe 15% of the cool stuff I saw that day.

When even the gopro was exhausted I saw something else I’d never seen in California before: a school of California Yellowtail! They appeared out of nowhere while I did underwater flips (I like to swim underwater facing the surface) and disappeared a minute later. From what I’ve read they usually don’t come that close to shore anyway.

However, a friend with us said he saw a baby sea turtle, which would be rarer still. I stayed in the water all afternoon looking for it but couldn’t find it.

Review of: Stay Younger Longer

Review of: Stay Younger Longer

They say to write what you know. It should surprise no one that the central character of Stay Younger Longer is a reporter, author Ryan Hyatt’s former occupation. What is surprising is how Hyatt uses this storytelling device in an antithetical fashion to deliver clues to an evolving and intriguing mystery while still paying homage to his predecessors in the genre.

In classics like Asimov’s The Caves of Steel we ride along with a plucky cop just trying to fulfill their civic obligation to the public good. Richard White, on the other hand, is owed something by society. The victim of experiments by the state and compulsory service in the wars waged by profiteers he struggles to form and break allegiances with the upper crust and underbelly of a future Los Angeles. The trick for the protagonist and the reader alike is in determining which group is working to improve the ills of a society not ready to accept the cure in lieu of ignorance’s euphoria.

Also unlike our golden age future detectives Richard is unafraid to speak in an honest and unfiltered voice little different than that of a horny and ambitious 29-year-old in today’s Venice Beach. (Trigger warning for red state conservatives: sex, drugs, and rock & roll still exist in 2046 and Jesus still hasn’t come back to do anything about it!) Unlike the narrator in Caves of Steel, who spends the entire book consciously ignoring his own bigotry against robots and the shadow it casts on his professional judgment, Richard White is honest to a fault, sometimes focused more on getting laid or getting high than getting answers. Luckily the author handles this subject matter with the appropriate succinctness and realism it requires to enhance believable world-building. Hyatt knows we’re along for the (at times rough) ride and that purity of heart is not determined by what words a character uses, but the actions taken when lives are at stake.

The world only a few decades from today that Hyatt builds is filled with the familiar and fantastic in equal measure. For every shiny sky disk or hoverboard a homeless rambler still has to be incarcerated to satisfy the wants of the powerful. California’s long anticipated big one has come and gone, and rather than treated as an opportunity for rambling action sequences to fill pages, Hyatt uses this event as it would be in real life: a shared experience that shaped the lives of all involved, sometimes in subtle and surprising ways.

The gritty reality of Venice Beach in 2046 is a welcome retreat from overly dystopian or utopian tropes rampant in other recent works of future fiction. Fancy technology exists in Hyatt’s imagining, but perfection doesn’t, and the motivations of others stay nebulous as ever. At least until Dick peels back the layers of deceit formed by the meeting of accelerated politics and technology in a California reshaped by far left wing ecological sensibilities as much as catastrophe.

Ray Kurzweil’s great hope arrived a few years ago in Dick’s world, but the potion kills just as easily as it immortalizes. We’ve been told in real life (by Ray) the cure to aging looms on the horizon, just out of reach. In Stay Younger Longer we come to understand the terrifying consequences that may accompany it and why, analogous to Big Pharma and the drug trade today, the government’s involvement might not be completely altruistic.

Stay Younger Longer is a dirty look at an uncomfortably plausible future trying to get clean. Let’s hope the real life conclusion to the issues presented is as satisfying as the one Hyatt gives us.