Thursday, July 31, 2014

Karel Stands Up Live In Arcata Tonight!

Comedian, writer, actor and radio talk show host Karel will be doing his stand up show live on stage in Arcata Ca. tonight

Where: Jambalaya 915 H Street Arcata Ca. 95521
Call 707-822-4766 or

When: 7 pm tonight, July 31st. 2014

Why: Because we all need a laugh

Tickets at the door or at

Monday, July 21, 2014

Westhaven Blackberry Festival This Sunday

The 54th Annual Westhaven Blackberry Festival is this Sunday July 27th. The celebration of the
thorny but delicious berries that love Westhaven and most of the north coast. In fact, the Himalayan
Blackberry is as you might guess by it's name, not native to California but many other varieties are. The University of California says that of the 11 species of Rubis (blackberries) in California, 4 were introduced primarily from Eurasia.

This years festival  just south of Trinidad California, above the Pacific Ocean will take place from 10 am till 6 pm. Come earlier if you don't want to miss out on the pie. In fact this year, on Saturday July 26th, Seniors and Disabled people can pick up their pies and jams a day early between 11 am and 2 pm. Take US 101 to 6th Avenue exit and look for the crowds.

The Westhaven Blackberry Festival is a fund raiser for the Westhaven Volunteer Fire Department. There will be whole blackberry pies, blackberry ice cream sundaes, food, beer, wine, crafts and other booths and live music.

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Maruyama-US Returns To The North Coast

Over the past 15 years living on the North Coast of California, I haven worn out or destroyed close to a dozen weed wackers or brush cutters. I have used Homelite, Weed Eater, Ryobi, Craftsman,and Dr.

All of these worked fine when they were new although many of them had their limitations being that they were all normal consumer models. When  you see the professionals out there that have to use these things for a living you will see other brands like Husqvarna, Echo, Stihl, Maruyama and Redmax.

For the most part, consumer models are only warranted for up to 2 years by these manufacturers. Husqvarna and Redmax do extend their warranties for consumers but there is a catch. You have to buy their 2 stroke oil and premix gas. You have to do this when you purchase the product and include the receipts with your warranty registration card. That's not necessarily a bad thing. It turns out that
all 2 stroke oil and gasoline is not the same. This is important to know. For years I had been  using the cheapest 2 stroke oil from Craftsman and or Ace. Neither of these oils are rated and both come in a 3.2 oz. bottle when many of the weed wackers need a mix from a 2.6 ox. bottle. The idea behind the Craftsman and Ace size is that you can use it for either the 50:1 mix or the 40:1 mix. The problem is getting the measurements right. If you use the whole bottle 3.2 oz. for 1 gallon of gas, you are at a 40:1 mix and most of these machines want a 50:1 mix.

Another problem is the gas. These days ethanol is included with most of the gas we buy. This is to supposedly reduce air pollution. It is also a bonus to big agra that likes to grow acres and acres of one kind of genetically modified corn which is manufactured into the ethanol that is then added to our gasoline. While this does stretch the gasoline supply in our country, it also burns hotter and goes bad faster. When gas goes bad it gums up the carburetor and causes all sorts of problems. When using gasoline with ethanol most manufacturers recommend using a mix no stronger than E15 which is 15 % ethanol added to the gasoline. E10 which is a mixture at 10% would be better. Also the octane should not be lower than 85 in any case.

Gas with ethanol should not be stored for longer than 30 days, so if you are not using your equipment at a rate to use up the entire gallon of mixed fuel, a fuel stabilizer should be added to the fuel or you can purchase premixed fuel like TruFuel at your favorite outdoor equipment, hardware or auto parts store. This premixed fuel comes in 1 quart jugs and already has the perfect mix for your machine plus it has special lubricants and stabilizers already added. It's a little more expensive than mixing your own but if you are not going through more than a gallon a month, it might be the best choice for your needs. Where I live we can get unleaded gasoline at a few locations that does not contain ethanol and if you are doing your own gas mix, I would recommend looking for this. It is illegal to use in cars but at almost twice the price of the gas at the pump with ethanol, it is baffling to me that anyone would use it in their car anyway.

Had I known more about the information above 15 years ago, my weed trimming and wacking experiences may have been more positive. Who likes to continually yank on the starter rope before you even start to work? Weed wacking can be enough of a chore for most of us so unnecessary rope pulling exercises should and can be avoided with a little knowledge about your machine.

Below is a future project. To find the old parts car that I parked in my back yard a couple of years ago. I can still see one of it's headlights sticking out of the mass of blackberry brambles that have just about strangled the poor little Samurai.

While I now have the information to get a couple of my old weed wackers back up an running properly, I am much more excited about the one that just got delivered to me by Maruyama-US. This Japanese built trimmer is a super lightweight consumer model from the company that still warrants their bigger models for use by professionals.

This is a BT23L. While I could have gotten a bigger unit to try out, I asked for something comparable with what I had used before and a size the average home owner might purchase. That's right, I am trying this out. Maruyama provided this little blackberry bramble killer free of charge for me to assess and write about. So for those of you that have followed my blog over the years, this is my first paid endorsement. Not so much paid but heck, I got a free weed wacker for the summer.

Based on the safety requirements in the manual, I will probably need one of their brush cutters to get to the old parts car as some of these blackberry brambles are bigger in diameter than my thumb. This unit works great on smaller blackberries but  A simple trimmer isn't going to get through this stuff. Maruyama does make brush cutters with
special attachments
for their heads that can get this job done though. One of them looks like a small round circular saw blade attachment. This thing looks a bit scary but it also looks like what you need when you get into serious brush and brambles.

We'll just see if they will let me try one of these out later. For now I'm going with this light weight, super charged ( lots of horse power), well balanced, consumer model weed trimmer.

The first thing you notice when you fire it up is the lack of shaking or excess vibration. I don't know if it's just a lack of  bearings in other models or just poor design but some of them will shake and vibrate you so hard that you are worn out before you get half the job done. Not this baby. It is well balanced and feels like a precision instrument designed for extracting exactly what you want from your yard and nothing else.

The first time I ran out of trimmer line I went to the manual to see the proper way to add more line. Oops, there is nothing in the manual that shows this. Maybe Maruyama-US will add a one page supplement to the information that comes with the trimmer that could include a couple of simple diagrams of how this is properly done. For professionals, this isn't a problem but for people using one of these for the first time, it can be a bit of a challenge. I produced a short youtube video to show you the basics of this which you can see below.

Just as with any precision tool or instrument, when used properly, it just makes the job that much easier. If you would like to use discretion in what gets wacked and what doesn't, you need precision and this machine delivers that along with ample power to get the job done. 

So, all in all I love this little trimmer and I think you will too. If you follow the instructions in the manual and use a good premix fuel and store the unit properly when not in use, I would suspect you would get many years out of this well designed and superbly constructed machine. Get yours here!

Disclaimer: Maruyama-US has allowed me to use this weed trimmer at no cost to me for my opinion.
They do not necessarily agree with or condone any of my past blogging or opinions. In fact they may not even agree with everything that I have shared with you up to this point on this post.  I did furnish my own fuel and will be returning the used equipment to Maruyama upon their request this fall. I hope that they will consider allowing me to test other quality products on my Northern California property. Specifically, something to uncover that Samuari that has been eaten by large blackberry brambles. Maybe something with a solid blade on it.

Either way they say they offer the industry's longest and strongest commercial warranty at 5 years.
That means they don't make disposable stuff, they're in it for the long haul just like you and me.
Stay tuned, Maruyama says we will be hearing a lot more from them in the near future on the North Coast. 

New Bike And Pedestrian Trails Taking Shape Between Arcata And Eureka On US 101

Although it's just the beginning of improvements proposed for the US Route 101 Corridor between Arcata and Eureka, photos show that new bike and pedestrian trails are starting to become evident.

Caltrans has reduced the left lanes of the corridor from 12 feet wide to 11 feet. The additional foot is being added to the shoulder and is considered a traffic calming measure. Along with the extra foot taken from the left lane of auto traffic, a rock bed was added to the edge of the shoulder which allowed and extra foot of pavement on the very edge of the roadway. This additional 1 foot on each side means that the new bike trails will be 10 feet wide instead of only 8.

Also noticeable is the dark red color added to the trail part of the pavement which is designed to further visually distinguish the trail from the roadway and further enhance traffic calming.

Bikes and pedestrians still have to cross traffic at every intersection and perpendicular road way but that problem will be addressed in the future if both Caltrans and trail advocates have their way. The current improvements are designed to reduce traffic collisions at the intersections. The red bike lane color is absent from the intersection crossings to raise awareness for both motorized vehicles and non motorized vehicles when in and near the intersections.

In the long run, Caltrans wants to build bridges and interchanges to eliminate cross traffic in the corridor but that proposal keeps running into opposition. You can read more about the US 101 Corridor improvement projects here.

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Ring of Fire Radio Calls It quits for weekday show, KGOE to make changes.

Sam Seder
Sam Seder announced today that Ring of Fire Radio heard locally on KGOE 1480 AM will be quitting their weekday shows. Next week they will run reruns in the Noon to 3 pm time slot.

The Saturday ROF show will still be produced and airs also from Noon to 3 pm but on Saturdays. 

KGOE will replace Ring of  Fire M-F with The Leslie Marshal Show. Currently Leslie airs live 4 to 7 pm but will move her live show to Noon to 3 pm. 

Alan Colmes will be added to KGOE and air live from 3 to 6 pm weekdays, followed by the Karel Podcast from 6 to 7 pm. Karel currently airs 3 to 4 pm. 
Alan Colmes

The changes will take place on Monday, July 21st. 


US Senator Joe Liberman, WTC 7 Did Not Occur