Listen To This: The Eighteen Hundreds “Moon Cults”

Ghost Surf band

I can’t review things. At least I can’t in a traditional way. Especially music. The words and descriptions needed for a good album review is something I never have been able to figure out.

I mean, hell, look at a recent review of Power Trip’s “Opening Fire” by Any O’Connor in Pitchfork:


On “Divine Apprehension,” sprightly, major-key thrash tics ride above the maelstrom. …


…They’re more blatant about their influences here, and these tracks thrive on the youthful charm of aping what you love. 

Andy O’Connor

Above the MAELSTROM? Aping what you love? What the hell is a maelstrom because it feels like I would be aping if I ever was in one.

Yeah, I can’t write this kind of stuff. This is why I stay away from review things too much, especially music.

But, I love Fresno music. I want more people listening to Fresno music. So here we are. Let’s talk a little bit about the new EP from Fresno’s Eighteen Hunderds called “Moon Cults”.

A music genre is born

The Eighteen Hundreds proclaim to be a Ghost Surf band. This is cool because I don’t believe Ghost Surf is a known genre of music and this may be the beginning of how we describe a particular sound.

A sound that does seem to run through a lot of Fresno and South Valley bands. Partly because of shared band members and partly because of local bands influencing one another.

However the Ghost Surf sound is happening, I love it and hope it becomes a thing. Lets begin listening so we can calibrate our ear for Ghost Surf.

Moon Cults

The track “Colleen” is about a ghost that haunts the basement of a Tower District house and has a new video to go along with it:

The whole album is up on the band’s Bandcamp page, which you can listen to here and download, if you so desire:

Before you go, listen to the band’s previous effort, “Sun Cults”:

For you record nerds, the band plans to press some vinyl for “Moon Cults” and their previous effort, “Sun Cults”, by the Summer.

Follow the band on social and through the website so you know when they play next. Let’s continue to make Ghost Surf a thing!

Fresno Assets

What do we have here? It feels like the time of year for list making. Let’s reestablish some Fresno stuff I think is cool.

  • Diverse as fuck.
  • Bitwise.
  • Bubba hanging out at Starbucks.
  • Basecamp for the Sierra Nevada’s, including three National Parks, one of which considered to be by some as the most beautiful place on Earth.
  • Paul George.
  • Tacos.
  • Fresno State.
  • Views of the Sierra Nevada range after it has snowed and the air is clear.
  • Old Fig.
  • Sunny days.
  • Small town vibe with city amenities.
  • Tri-tip.
  • Low levels of traffic compared to other California cities.
  • Swimming pool season.
  • Trains (except when waiting for one).
  • Underground Gardens.
  • Kopi.
  • Fresno Chaffe Zoo.
  • Cheap (by California standards).
  • Art Hop.
  • Many good sushi places.
  • Summer nights on patios.
  • Your mom’s house.
  • Fruit trees in backyards.
  • Tower District.
  • Fulton Street.
  • The Fresno Grizzlies.
  • Brilliant sunsets fueled by farm dust.
  • Mural District.
  • Solid Tappanyaki scene.
  • Fashawn.
  • Heroes Comics.
  • Tigoa Sequoia Beer Garden.

I’m sure you have some Fresno assets you’d like to share that I missed. Leave a comment with them, or on your social media with a link to this post.

The Year In Posts – 2018

I always worry these kinds of posts are too hacky, but I am doing it anyway. It’s actually kind of fun going through the posts from this year because some of them I had already totally forgotten about.

Rather than boring you and posting each one, please let me just remind you of the ones that you, the reader of The Fresnan, thought were the most popular.

I pulled the nine buzziest, starting from January and ending now. These might not have been read the most but had the most “action” (sharing/reading/comments).

9. What to know before going to Fresno’s new Chicken Shack.

One of the more significant things to happen on Fulton Street this year. I have yet to set foot in the place but that didn’t stop me from posting about it.

8. Modern Times needs to open up a taproom in Fresno.

I have been lobby two of California’s best indie breweries (that are building remote taprooms), Modern Times and Fieldwork, to come to Fresno. If they want to truly make some noise, they should. Now that Zack’s Brewing is open Downtown, this is less relevant. Still would like to see it happen though.

7. Ranch or Salsa: Which is the condiment of Fresno?

If I did this post today, I would choose Salsa. I did a poll on my Instagram and Salsa won. I personally use salsa as much as I use ranch but at the time I was ranching more so I went with it. This is a forever debate. Salsa now wins.

5. Don’t camp at popular Fresno restaurants!

There are many Fresno eatin’ holes that you have to wait to get seated. Too often, people get a table at these places and then linger while you wait impatiently, staring at these yahoos. Ya done eating? Then get the hell out.

6. I rode my bike to Pine & Palm and nobody flipped me off.

Biking needs to be more of a thing for me in 2019. I did some of it this year but not enough to talk about it, this time being the exception. I even found a “hidden” bike path.

4. How to place your garbage bins in a passive aggressive way.

It’s official. I became an old man this year. When the scavengers became too messy and started dumping my recyclables into my trash bin and on the street, I decided to take passive aggressive action.

3. The one restaurant to take someone to in Fresno.

I understand that Cuca’s was an odd choice but I hope the post explains it well enough.

2. I’m voting yes on Measure P.

While it’s true I live in the middle of Fresno. But I also live in a county island so I couldn’t actually vote for Measure P. That did not stop me from ranting about it though.

1.Dead Lot: NW Shaw & West.

Hey, I am surprised too how much play this post got. More posts to come for this series. It even prompted a response from Brandau.

Setting up the blog for 2019

No drastic changes planned to the blog. My goal is to have a new post every week, at least, usually by Wednesday mornings. But I did not follow through on that for much of the year. Hopefully, I can do that all the way in 2019.

The one change you might see involves monetizing the blog.

I have never seen cash in my hand or in my checking account, because of this blog. You would think after blogging so many damn years I would have figured out how to make money at it.

I have tinkered with being an Amazon affiliate but it doesn’t work well for the posts I write and the traffic I get. Plus, Amazon is a pretty shitty employer, so I feel dirty working with them anyway. I will likey be backing away from that.

Target has approved me to be an affiliate but I have not started messing with that yet. Yeah, I guess Target has a slightly better conscience than Amazon so I feel …okay? using them

You might see me give that a try on a post or two or a banner ad. Oh look, there is one now!:


Google Adwords is a thing but throwing a bunch of banners around to make $20 a month does not sound worth it to me.

I’m thinking hard about starting a Patreon

If you have not heard of the website called Patreon and you are a creative, you might want to check it out. It enables people that like what you produce to donate money to you.

The cool part is, the creator has the opportunity to give extra content to the person willing to give them a few bucks a month.

We do it on the Perfect Pour and it has worked out pretty well. It at least is enough that the show pays for itself, which is a victory to me.

Anyway, man, thank you for reading the Fresnan this past year and whatever year you have read it. I’ll keep posting if you keep giving a damn.

Cheers to Fresno and blogging in 2019!

Dead Lot: NW Corner of West & Shaw

Empty storefronts at Shaw & West

Part of the RETAIL APOCALYPSE, just shitty landlords or both. This place is dead. And no, Halloween Superstore does not count!

There is not one tenant at the back of West & Shaw, now that Nina’s Bakery has moved (Remember when it was a Pioneer Chicken? No? Ok. I guess I am old then).

I know nothing of the landowner other than they are not into their property.

They seem content with their tenants closer to Shaw Avenue (Starbucks, Taco Bell, Broilers and Colorado Grill). Not giving two shits about how the property looks or what a blight it is to the neighborhood.

I have not seen one improvement to that building since the long-closed Chinese buffet place was put in. And just look at the lovely landscape:

Empty planter bed at West and Shaw

It feels like we should be ripping the whole thing out and putting up a condo building, instead of another retailer that will move out in a year. This feels like the trend we should head for in Fresno. If the lot can not maintain a business, make it a residence. Infill it.

A park would be nice too but we know that ain’t happening.

Developers whine about Fresno’s Master Plan and how they want seemingly endless amounts of land to keep building track suburban houses. Yet, roaming around Fresno as I do for my Day Job, I see SO MUCH land being underused, misused, or not used at all, it makes me want to FREAKING FRESNO THE FUCK OUT!

So I started Dead Lot, a first in a hopeful series of post, in the faintest of hopes that it will spark something somewhere to improve Fresno’s lame negative space. Fresno has a lot of negative space.

Hell, I hear that Save Mart fixed their PA after my post, let’s see what other weird things we can get accomplished here.

Something Sounds Off Inside The Savemart At Bullard & West

A glitch in the Matrix is audibly happening inside the Save Mart at Bullard & West, if you want to go and check it out.

Formally it was Home to just ranking #2 on the Most Annoying Parking Lots in Fresno. But now, I am starting to believe, is taking part in a bizarre experiment to see how much the human brain can withstand.

What the hell am I talking about? 

For months (hell, maybe all year), the in-store music that plays over the PA system has been messing up. It cuts out and skips regularly. Like, a lot.

You can listen for yourself (just audio with a static picture):

Am I the crazy one? You hear how the song skips out, right? You hear it too…RIGHT!?

It’s like a wire is loose or something, bad connection somewhere.

I’m shocked at how long it has been going on because I can’t believe the employees are able to live with it. It’s super annoying and to hear it all day every day should drive you to fix it immediately or just keep it off.

But the staff has learned to ignore it, I guess.

I for one don’t go in there much unless it happens to be super convenient for me. I understand I am weird on many levels and I hope you can tell I am having some fun here, but little things can be a big deal.

If you don’t care about how annoying something like a constant drip of audio glitching could be to customer’s and especially to employees of the store, maybe I don’t care about shopping there either.

But also: Glitch in the Matrix!

My neighborhood Save Mart might very well be the portal where the computer programing running this simulation called “Life” is updated.

The store has new floors but couldn’t be bothered to fix the PA system? Interesting. 

WHAT DOES THAT TELL YOU, FRESNO!?!? WE ARE ALL IN IT!

Take the blue pill (or is it red pill?) and check it out for yourself and tell me I am crazy. Crazy right.

This is the Save Mart that Kopi and Mayor Swear Bear shop, for fucks sake! THIS CAN NO LONGER STAND!

UPDATE!: Glitch fixed. Due to a tip from a Fresnan reader and this post, the system now appears to be working normally! I can confirm as I went in there last night and the music did not skip once. Well done, Save Mart #54 – Bart and Vic P would be proud.

Best Fresno Area DMVs To Go To: I Only Know One

I am awful at doing abnormal adult tasks.

Going to the doctor? I choose no. Taking cans to the recycling center? Nevermind, dump it in the bin. Getting the car smogged? I’ll wait until it’s past due.

I need deadlines and someone twisting my arm at the same time.

This is why I waited until the last couple of days I could do it to get my driver’s license renewed.

I tried to get an appointment a month out and I was too late. All of the available times were after my birthday.

Couple that with this: the California DMV forces you to actually go into the office after you have renewed your license twice in a row online. And now I have a perfect storm of personal weakness.

I have to go into the DMV, like a normal human. The DMV is truly the great equalizer.

What Are The Best Wait Times For Fresno Area DMVs?

So then I start researching Fresno area DMVs. We have:

  • Fresno (Olive)
  • Fresno North (Blackstone & Sierra)
  • Clovis
  • Madera
  • Coalinga
  • Visalia
  • Mariposa
  • Merced

Wandering through Google it seemed, timewise, one was not significantly better than the other. The DMV closest to my house, the Fresno North location, seemed to be the worst though and had some bad reviews on Google.

TANGENT ALERT!

It is ridiculous to trust Google reviews of the DMV. Any idiot (like me) can write a review and there a lot of people out there that look for any reason to moan about the service at a place; lots of self-important people out there that have no empathy for somebody working in a service based job. Google and Yelp are filled with these.

So I don’t trust these bad “I had to wait three hours! The people there are terrible!” reviews. I just take them under advisement.

End tangent.

But there are better wait times at smaller DMV locations, right?

It feels like this is true. And most people were advising as such when I put it out to Twitter. My first thought was to go to Mariposa since it’s in the woods and such. But it was quite the drive. What about Coalinga?


Ohhh, coupling a lame task with a fun task sounds pretty damn good. Coalinga is in the lead.

Madera and Fresno (Olive) got some mentions too as places that are not that bad of a wait. But I am thinking Coalinga, yep, as crazy as it sounds:


In the morning, I will take my first drive to Coalinga.

I made a legal U-Turn on those plans.

SICK! I’m sick the morning I am planning to go. I assume it was from working out in the bad air all week, but I dunno. Anyway, it was a perfect excuse for a procrastinator like me. I’ll DMV tomorrow or something.

But later that day I was finally fed up with myself. Time to rip off the band-aid, put on my seat belt go to the very same DMV I have been trying to avoid all along: Fresno North.

I waited until 3:30. I hear that they have to process you, once you are checked in and they want you out of there by 5, so I’m thinking the longest I should be there is an hour and a half.

I went to the “Start Here” line. There were three people in that line. No people in the “Appointments Only” line. I waited maybe 5 minutes in the line. The man at that window said I need to go over to the computers and someone will help you.

Over there I walked right up, a nice woman helped me to a waiting computer. Took ten minutes tops doing the stuff I needed to do. Then the nice woman told me to go to Window 4.

The Woman At Window 4

There was a woman at Window 4 with no wait but she was helping the window next to her and I waited a few minutes while she sorted that out.

Once she got me going, filled out a couple things, found out my left eye is weaker than my right (hoped she didn’t notice), and then had to go to another window to have my picture taken.

via GIPHY

This is where I waited the longest. There was only one person ahead of me but this took still 15 minutes of waiting to get to me – they definitely could use another picture machine.

Once my face was done breaking their camera, I go back to Window 4. She signs me off and I’m done!

I think I spent roughly 45 minutes there tops. Not too shabby.

The woman at Window 4 said they were not real busy and we theorized that people might not yet realize that office was open again since a whole plumbing issue had them closed for a bit.

At any rate, my stress about it was overblown. As usual.

Pro Tips For The Fresno DMV

I can not speak to getting stuff done that relates to your car and such, this might be a whole different experience. This seemed to be what all the people waiting in the center of the office were doing. Good luck to them.

Here are a Prius size amount of DMV tips I picked up:

  • The best days are Wednesday and Thursday, first thing in the morning.
  • Don’t procrastinate. Get an appointment set early as you can. You get to move past what is usually the worst line, the “Start Here” line.
  • Be nice to the people working there. They have heard and seen it all, being a dick to them is not going to help you and is bad for your Soul.
  • A lot of car-related DMV tasks can be done at AAA, if you are a member.
  • Have your phone fully charged before going in, or bring one of them old-timey books.
  • Assume you’re going to be there an hour at least and relax, bro.

Thanks to everyone at the Fresno North DMV, I will be less likely to procrastinate next time I have to come in.