The Smalls: Issue 1

Sometimes I have little dumb thoughts that are not worthy of a whole post or even Fresno related. So here is a new segment for the blog: “The Smalls”.

Don’t Go, Summer!

I am going to miss the hell out of Pool Season. The weekends won’t be the same. I do appreciate not having to worry about 90s or triple digits until next year sometime, though. I really think Fresno should have a name for when we are officially done with the heat for the year.

I have been racking my Fresno brain trying to come up with a name for it. A name that represents us getting through the heat. Embracing what makes Fresno unique (including the heat) is always something I’m into. If you think of a name for it, let me know.

TikTok and Space Pants

Can someone stop these TikTok dancing bro guys from appearing on social media ads all over my damn feed!? I get it, they look like guys that have been tailgating an Alabama football game for ten years and yet they can do a dance sequence for 15 seconds. Please tell me TikTok is more interesting than this. On second thought, don’t, I don’t need to know. Dance on, bros.

That rant aside, now my beer and notebook nerdness is contributing to the TikTok . Look what you have done, Dancing Bros!:

Don’t Dash Me, Bro!

I don’t like using Door Dash or any other food delivery service. It freaks me the hell out that some random dude is handling my poke bowl or cheese enchiladas. I’ll just pick it up myself, thanks. Although I do like the marketing of Postmates and I’ve seen some key places (Casa Corona, etc) around Fresno using them. Still creeps me out, I’ll continue to not.

Keep Infilling, Bro!

The new Chevron at Herndon & Brawley is nice. Super wide, so much room for so many activities. Since going back to fig orchards is apparently not an option, I’m happy to see this area finally get some infill, especially with useful things.

AMPM and a Dutch Bros will be up soon. Close by, the Mad Duck NW is still in line-out-the-door mode. I’d love to see a park right next to the new Chevron. That space is not supposed to have buildings anyway since it’s a dump-spot for planes flying into Sierra Sky Park.

I have always wanted to see a restaurant right next to Sierra Sky Park. There is a spot right on Herndon (next to the runway) that used to house small planes. Now it’s just empty space, and a restaurant with parking for planes would be rad there!

Sorta related:

When a Paragraph Is a Subtweet

I rarely find myself in NE Fresno, but recently I was on Millbrook, going North and had to turn left onto Nees. There is no turn signal and the intersection is especially large and weird and kinda dangerous as hell. I think NW Fresno needs to get themselves a Councilman that pays attention to these kinds of things instead of what “Liberals” are doing. Or I’ll just try harder to keep out of NE.

Was This Cool Enough?

This post is kinda where I think the direction my future newsletter will be taking. If you think you’d be into that being in your inbox, you can sign up below:

Top Five Hardest Fresno Street Names To Spell

Spelling is hard. Hard for me, anyway. This blog would be a disaster without spellcheck.

Not only are regular words tough, sometimes, so are Fresno street names. Here are five common Fresno streets that I always mess up spelling.

5. Ashlan. I always want to say “Ashland”.

4. Maroa. The o & a combo throws me.

3. Divisadero. It seems like the “a” should be an “i”.

2. Stanislaus. A lot of s to deal with.

1.Tuolumne. Where the hell did you even come from, “n”?!

I’m not the only Fresnan in town that sucks at spelling. Just a few of the replies on Twitter:

Continue reading “Top Five Hardest Fresno Street Names To Spell”

Mad Duck Brewing NW Fresno: Fresnan Review

A quickass review of Mad Duck Craft Brewing Co’s new brewpub in NW Fresno: It’s cool.

There. There’s a quickass review.

Alright, a little more reviewing…

So, there are many areas of Fresno that are underserved, most certainly. Sometimes it feels like Fresno is only River Park, Downtown, Fig Garden Village, Tower, and Fashion Fair. If a place isn’t in one of those areas then it doesn’t exist. Small city ways.

NW Fresno has been begging for a place like Mad Duck, even if it didn’t know it. The new location is at the NE corner of Herndon & Marks (across from Taco Bell, behind the Starbucks and new Ampersand Ice Cream.

They picked a good spot.

It’s small, or at least feels small, in comparison to the Campus Point location. Before I saw it I was bummed that it was small. Small means more waiting for tables, in my eyes. While that may be true, I like the vibe the small gives. It feels more social and neighborhood than Campus Point.

The combination of the North West Fresno crowd and the Mad Duck brewpub atmosphere, if I could pick one band that could describe the vibe it would be Fleetwood Mac.

I can take or leave Fleetwood Mac but that feeling you get when you’re in a good mood, just starting to relax and forget life, you have a couple of beers in ya and the perfect part of a song comes on and you’re like “Yeah, man, this.” That is Mad Duck NW Fresno. Classic rock in new packaging.

The patio is big enough and cool but it’s not shaded properly. I don’t understand, in Fresno, if you have the budget to build a patio but don’t shade it properly, it makes zero sense. There were two people on the patio, huddled against the wall trying to bleed any full shade they could from the building and the only reason they were out there at all was the fact that they had a dog with them. So, hey, I guess they allow dogs on the patio if you were wondering.

Shade your patios properly, Fresno. In case you have not noticed, the sun is a bastard around here.

So the food seems to be the same as the Campus Point location, along with the beer. Since this location also has brewing equipment, I hope that each location will have its own beer. Meaning, one you can only get at THAT location. That would be cool for us beer geeks.

Mad Duck beer selection

If you’re wondering what the best beer they make is, I say it’s the Citra. And The NW Fresno location’s is very solid, so far. The almond brown and the “Dog Daze” are too bad either. Hope the guest taps start getting more interesting.

Overall, solid fun neighborhood place. Fresno needs more neighborhood spots, like ALL Fresno neighborhoods, and hopefully, this proves this part of NW Fresno deserves more. See ya there.

Why Is Lettuce or Cabbage Even Put On Tacos?! Stop it.

Flavorless beasts. Lettuce and/or cabbage add nothing but sadness to tacos. So why the hell are they automatic for every damn, otherwise delicious, taco?

Before we get too far down this hole, I do want to make it clear that I prefer cabbage on a taco over lettuce. It simply holds up better. Still sucks, just holds up better. Anyway, proceeding…

I get that there would be a certain amount of people that like cabbage or lettuce on their tacos. Feels like that is a small group. That group should have the option of ADDING cabbage or lettuce.

Cabbalettuce should not automatically be on the taco. It sucks rotten lemons. Yeah, I have now put cabbage and lettuce together as one word because I am tired of saying “and/or”. Anyway, proceeding…

You get a taco for the base protein; asada, chicken, fish, or whatever. Add the salsa and lemon or lime. Done. EVERYTHING else should be options.

If I knew how to cook things, had some guts, started my own taco truck, this is how I would roll:

  • CILANTRO: No! But leave it there as an option.
  • ONIONS: Again, NO! But leave it as an option.
  • LETTUCE: No, bro. Say no to lettuce. Won’t even have it there as an option.
  • CABBAGE: Option.
  • GREEN PEPPER: On the side.

Has anyone ever EVER said “Oh man, that’s some damn good lettuce!” “Ohhhh those tacos have the BEST cabbage!”? No, of course they fucking haven’t!

They haven’t because, at the very least, a person is indifferent to cabbalettuce, but NOBODY ACTUALLY WANTS IT! No person has ever said “They don’t put enough cabbage on their tacos.” NOBODY!

Sure, you can say that cabbalettuce adds a little crispness or something. That’s cool for you. But hey, I bet you wouldn’t miss it.

I know what you’re thinking; Yes, I can and do ask to leave off the cabbage or lettuce or onion, please. But that is annoying. I need my life simpler, okay!?

Oh, and if you want to have cilantro, so be it. I don’t agree and don’t want it, it sucks like cabbalettuce. But I get that it does add a flavor component. Should be offered, not forced. Why ya gotta force your cabbalettuce agenda on me, bro?

I’m fond of the truck that shows up to Zack’s Brewing often, I believe it’s El Tapatio. They have the best setup because they give you the base taco you ordered and they have a condiment style bar that let you add the things, like cabbage or onions, yourself.

Let the world decide about Cabbalettuce

This year’s famous Taco Truck Throwdown is happening soon in Fresno. Hopefully, the one with the most cabbaletucce will lose.

Surviving A Fresno Summer With A Swamp Cooler

My AC unit went out this Summer. The first string of hot days revealed that the compressor in my 25-year-old beast died. It was not going to be worth it to replace it.

I need a new air conditioner. But it’s not always that simple.

Paying for things like a ‘crane fee’ and taking on a loan, was not something we are into this Summer. Beer Slushies at Tioga? Sure. $15,000 central air units? No.

So, we are going to have to get through a Fresno Summer without traditional air. With only a swamp cooler. Ol Swampy (pictured above). Pray for us.

Never thought I would be glad to have a swamp cooler as a backup

We are lucky to have Swampy. The previous owners had both units hooked into the vents. Use the Swamp when things are in the 80s, switch to the Central AC when things start getting ripe.

Those with evaporative cooler experience know, when the triple digits hit, swamp sucks.

Luckily, Fresno does have a good base condition that swamp coolers like: dry heat.

Joke about it all ya damn want but dry heat is hella better than humid heat, for many reasons. One of them is you can tweak your cooler for max coolness:

The best tip from that video? Starting the cooler early!

Blowing swamp when it was already warm was my biggest mistake. It is too much of a struggle for Ole Swampy to cool things down once the house is warm. Starting the cooler at 8 am as opposed to 2 pm makes a big difference.

Yeah, you have the cooler running all day and that can be an expense. But it’s still much cheaper than running an old AC unit.

The frozen bottles and soaking the pads make a small difference but not really worth it for me since my unit is up on the roof.

But what about at night?

Right? Sleeping in a hot room is the worst. I want it cold enough to need a blanket. Being warm during the day is one thing. Trying to sleep when it’s super hot feels like trying to sleep on top of Blackstone asphalt.

That’s why I broke down and bought one of these bad boys for the room:

If you love ‘hotel style’ AC, this is something to look into. It won’t work for the house, but it will keep one bedroom cool and it’s damn nice.

Go turn your swamper on now!

Keeping the cooler in good order and turning it on in the morning, that’s all ya really need to know. Ad the room unit and everything is chill.

Of course… I have not been through August yet. Check back later. In the meantime, I’m feeling like heading Downtown for a Beer Slush:

11 Fresno Places I Miss From Childhood

Here are some of my favorite spots in Fresno that are no longer around. Basically, the 80s for an NW Fresno kid.

Hopefully, it sparks your own memories, wherever the hell ya grew up.

Blackbeards would be number one on my list except it is somehow still there. Intact. Almost unchanged. Which is awesome and sad at the same time.

MALIBU GRAND PRIX FRESNO

In the same place the Costco parking lot is now, behind the shopping center at the NE corner of Blackstone & Herndon, was Malibu Grand Prix. Letting kids race little Indy-style cars seems like a bad idea, but I never heard of anyone getting seriously hurt at it.

I think I spent more time in the arcade playing Tempest than on the race track. It was always a bit intimidating to me to drive those things … There. I said it. The Malibu cars, made for children, intimidated me. Didn’t know I’d be working out childhood issues today.

“I really could get into this!” is not something I ever said though. For the record.

WOODWARD PARK DRIVE IN

We no longer have a drive-in movie theater in Fresno and it sucks. The last one we had was Woodward, which is now a Home Depot and a Costco – definitely not an upgrade.

I can still remember going to the concession stand in the center, stealing looks at the other movies playing that I was too young to watch, enjoying the perfect Fresno Summer Nights and only half paying attention to the movie we came to see.

Madera still has one in operation, if you want to try and experience that again.

VIDEO GAME CAGE AT BLACKSTONE TOYS R US

This used to be the only place (that I can remember) you could get any game you wanted. Saving up money to get the latest hot game, only to find they were sold out of it, was always a bummer.

Bringing up the paper tag that represented the game, taking it to the cage and having them hand over the actual game, is one of the more satisfying things from childhood I recall. Is that sad?

TOWER RECORDS IN THE KMART SHOPPING CENTER

I got this picture from former Tower Records (OG location) worker, Dale Stewart of Capitol Punishment fame.

Records to the left. Tapes to the right. CDs eventually taking over. Record displays in the center. 45s of the Top Twenty Songs. These are the memories.

FESTIVAL GAME PALACE

It was not easy to try and make a $5 bill last for an afternoon, but I managed somehow. Shout out to Paperboy and the manual hockey game by the snack bar.

Dear God I could watch this all day:

THE GRAPE TRAY

It was next to the original Fresno Cost Plus at the NW corner of Shaw & Fresno. A sandwich shop, deli, and wine store. The reason I remember is it had a unique upstairs eating area unlike any in Fresno. I guess there is something about sitting and looking out over the shop from up high while having a salami & swiss.

The Grape Tray is still around. But it’s now at Palm & Bullard in the Opus One shopping center. And it’s just a wine shop. No cool upstairs or sandwiches. Boring.

I think it’s even in the spot that used to have a tiny record shop I would stop into after school and rarely buy something, much to the owner’s chagrin – wish I could remember the name of it.

FIG GARDEN LIQUOR (Original)

I know it’s still there but when I was a kid, Tom Seaver’s Father-In-Law owned it. He had the best (non-card shop) baseball card selection in town. He would even hand out autographed pictures of Tom Seaver to those of us that seemed like they cared. I got one or two over the years.

ARTHUR’S TOYS ON BLACKSTONE

The place to be even after Toys R Us opened. No other place could I look at custom electric cars to add to my track. It’s now Whitie’s Pets and went in there recently and was able to conjure a tiny bit of the vibe.

This is not me but I had the exact setup. Now I feel like going out and buying one:

HONORABLE MENTIONS

The hobby shop place in Fig Garden Village that sold model airplanes and cars, Bob’s Village Hobby. (Read about owner, Bob Hansen, here). My memories of the place are faint, but it definitely inspired me to hang my model planes from my bedroom ceiling.

The Fig Garden Movie Theater. I so much wish it was still there. If you are too young to remember, it was located roughly where the Deli Delicious and noodle place is, in the back NE corner of Fig Garden Village.

Festival Cinemas. Saw all the important 80s movies there. Empire Strikes Back. Raiders of the Lost Ark. The greats.

I could go on for a while, as I’m sure you could too. Often I wonder what my kid will one day fondly remember about Fresno? It definitely won’t be a Drive-In.

[Arthur’s Toys pic taken from Miguel Diaz’s feed]