Beach Toy Library: Borrow a sand toy, leave a sand toy

There have been all kinds of neat alt-libraries, places where you can check out things other than books. There are ones for tools, American Girl dolls, and musical instruments (and undoubtedly lots more).

Here in Alameda, at the entrance of a charming estuary on the west end of town called Crab Cove, there's a Beach Toy Library. You can "check out" a sand-friendly toy to play with out of the wooden box, or leave one that you found. I love the spirit of this but given the condition of the toys in the box, I suggest people leave some new toys they "find" at the store.

photos by Rusty Blazenhoff

(I Love Alameda) Read the rest

A mini boat you can build yourself with zip ties and epoxy

Your dreams of captaining your own tiny-but-shiny electric boat are about two grand and a fair amount of elbow grease away.

Donald Bell (previously) of Maker Project Lab shared Rapid Whale's Mini Boat with me yesterday and I'm already sourcing a captain's hat.

The Mini Boat is a kit you can buy for $950 and then assemble with cable ties and epoxy. No, really, look...

It'll cost you another $510 to $1140 to complete it. From there, it's all smooth sailing.

photos by Rapid Whale Read the rest

Some trick-or-treaters will get a Trump University 'degree' for Halloween

Dan and Cathy Balsam of Alameda, California are putting the "trick" back in trick-or-treating by handing out fake Trump University diplomas this Halloween. You may remember this same couple is behind the "world's scariest Halloween decor." Read the rest

The world's scariest Halloween lawn decor: 'A Very Very Trump Halloween'

Tucked away in a quiet neighborhood in Alameda, California is "A Very Very Trump Halloween," a lawn display that may well be the world's scariest.

The decor is the brilliant creation of Alamedans Cathy and Dan Balsam who shared, "These decorations are the scariest thing we could possibly think of."

What makes their lawn decor so spooky?

Well, it features an all-star monstrous cast of the ghouliest of all ghouls in American politics.

Like...

Turtle man Mitch McConnell...

Putrid undead Pence...

The ever-grim Steve Bannon...

Dark puppetmaster Vladimir Putin...

(Skeleton Putin riding a horse skeleton is a nice touch on that one.)

Scary Steven Mnuchin...

The eerily-silent Sarah Huckabee Sanders...

Brainless Ben Carson...

Melancholy Melania Trump...

The resemblances are spooky, aren't they?! And, there's lots more frightening faces here.

"A Very, Very Trump Halloween," indeed.

photos by Rusty Blazenhoff

Previously: 'Fuck Trump' projected on a building in California's 'Mayberry by the Bay' Read the rest

'Fuck Trump' projected on a building in California's 'Mayberry by the Bay'

On Tuesday night, the words "FUCK TRUMP," as well as other political statements, were projected on the Odd Fellows building on Park Street in Alameda, Calfornia.

I live in Alameda, and have for many years.

It's a beautiful, quiet island suburb wedged between San Francisco and Oakland. Our public schools are highly rated and it's known as a safe place to raise kids.

In fact, my friend Sunny jokingly coined it the place "where hipsters come to breed," which is funny because it's true. That bumper sticker already exists.

We have a grand Art Deco movie theatre, a world-famous tiki lounge, and a Fourth of July parade that can make the most disaffected feel a tinge of patriotism.

Life moves a bit slower here, literally. The speed limit is 25 MPH on nearly all of the island, a throwback to when the island had a military presence.

Alameda is so quaint that it earned the apt nickname, "Mayberry by the Bay."

We have our issues, though it has felt as if our sheltered bubble had become remarkably unpoppable until the past couple of years.

Still, it was a surprise to see such powerful words broadcast publicly on our main drag. And it wasn't just "Fuck Trump" being featured, there was a whole slideshow of messages with a distinct "Resist" bent. I'm not complaining, it was simply something I'd more expect to see in one of our other, more politically-active, East Bay cities like Berkeley.

A photo and a video of the projections were posted in several closed Facebook groups created for Alameda residents, as well as in the public-facing Resistance SF Facebook page. Read the rest