Wildfire season in California is upon us (sigh). This year it came early and has been truly wild. We are entering our 29th day of Spare the Air, and it is getting rather tedious checking PurpleAir every few hours just to see if it is OK to walk the dog. But at least we are safe indoors. I feel for the people who have had to evacuate at a moment’s notice, unsure if they will ever see their house and belongings ever again. All this in the midst of a pandemic. 

A few days ago we woke up to an apocalyptic dark orange sky unlike anything I had seen before. The sun didn’t reach us all day, making the smoky air rather chilly. This song is the first thing that came to mind. 



After eating a quick breakfast of granola we piled into the car to go for a hike before it got too steamy. We ended up at the upper half of Wunderlich Park, which is studded with gorgeous old trees. Take a look at this Pacific Madrone! It has such cool reptilian-like bark.

By the way, I’m currently testing out the Seek app by iNaturalist. Seek is this amazing tool that immediately identifies the species you photograph on your phone. It’s automagical. I feel a new connection to the plants around me now that I can properly identify them. 

We debated how long the hike would be, and ended up going the long way, resulting in a 7.3 mile loop, but no one complained. We ran out of water before we were finished, so I will remember next time to bring more. We didn’t encounter very many people, which is nice during a pandemic. Overall it was a hot, peaceful hike. 

Upon returning to our car, we noticed how busy La Honda Road was going towards the ocean. People wanting to escape the heat were greeted with a complete standstill. Cars lined all the way near the Portola Road turnoff. We were lucky as we were going in the opposite direction. It’s a good reminder that we like to zag when everyone else is zigging. That’s how you get the quiet. 


Hi. Here’s today’s stream of consciousness: 

Inoculation Messaging: Today, while listening to a podcast, I was served an audio ad forFat Tire Brewing, that started with the question, “Would you pay $100 for a six-pack of beer?”

That certainly caught my attention, and I decided to listen to the company’s message on how it has introduced the first carbon neutral certified beer in the US as part of their efforts to combat climate change. Cool. But one line from their ad stuck out, “It’s a good start, but it’s not enough.” 

That simple sentence acknowledged the imperfection of a company’s sustainability effort. At least they are trying, but they know they can (and should) do even more. No resting on their laurels. The job is nowhere near done. It’s a refreshing communication strategy. It’s humble. 

Inoculation messaging is when you admittedly call out your faults even while celebrating your progress. It creates a sense of humility that can make someone feel more connected with you because they view you being introspective and not just beating your chest about all the good you have done. 

So often we hear companies who will excessively promote their commitment to social good programs, so they can “be a part of the conversation” with their overconfident virtue signaling. 

It’s nice to see a company openly admit that it has work to do. It’s a smart strategy. 

To Buff or Not? Yesterday I went through my pile of face coverings by the door. I pulled aside all the buffs and bandanas after being pointed to a recent study from Duke University that warns that bandanas probably aren’t great face coverings after all, and buffs may actually be worse than wearing no face covering at all.

But now people are already pointing to the flaws in that study. Science keeps moving at such a fast pace, that it is too easy to jump on a bandwagon of a pre-release study or research that yet lacks proper peer review. So the short answer to the question of Buff or not, is probably not, at least for the time being.

We’ve switched to triple layer face coverings when we head out of the house, at least for now.