Corona Virus: Elementary School Parades Are Emotional?

One of the few fun bi-products of this nightmare that we are experiencing is a trend that elementary school staffs have started. The trend of School Parades.

The staff of an elementary school organizes a “parade” of staff cars to tour through the neighborhood that the school serves. Working best when giving a heads up to the parents, or maybe just sorta surprising the neighborhood since everyone should be home anyway.

As the staff drives through the neighborhood, they honk and have banners on the cars “Hi kids! It’s Miss Wilson!” “I miss you!”.

The kids come out to their front porch (maybe with their own banners), get to wave to the school staff and maybe their teacher as they drive by their house or apartment.

It’s a fun little break to the form of hell we currently live in.

I can tell you, as a dad of a grade-school kid who I thought would love not having to go to school… even she misses it. These kids are starving for any kind of bright light or fun change to their day. So these parades are kinda rad.

Fortunately (or unfortunately) I have a job that is “essential services” and it can not be done from home. So I’m out there in the mess almost everyday (you probably should stay away from me).

While out in the soup (The Soup is what I like to call going out in the world now – “outside the gates” if you are a Walking Dead fan) on Friday I witnessed Fresno Unified’s Olmos Elementary’s parade through the neighborhood. I choked up.

I have no tie to Olmos, no real reason to get emotional or anything, but I did.

Maybe it’s because I have not stopped to process anything going on right now and this was the first time. Maybe it was from being a dad. Maybe it was the joy the kids were experiencing and knowing how much they miss their school life. Maybe it’s because I’m a total cry-er at joyful events (please don’t look at me during weddings or while watching the 1980 U.S. Hockey Team beat the Russians).

Whatever reason it was, I had to compose myself. Here is one that FUSD’s Susan B Anthony did:

This trend is not without a little controversy though.

Not every school is into it. Feeling being, it might look bad being out there when we are telling everyone to stay home. And, well, what about large apartment complexes? That could easily spill into a gathering of kids that would not be gathering otherwise.

I get this take. I am a big believer of the staying at home model. I am not here to second guess. The school principles know better how to handle these things and adjust it to their school’s neighborhood.

I am just here to tell you, seeing one in person, it was fun. I would encourage schools that have not done it yet, to try it. Make it as big a deal (while being safe) as you can.

Speaking of fun things during this dark time, Fresno Unified Superintendent, Bob Nelson, has been awesome through this and has even gotten a little bit of national attention for his reading and ukulele videos:

Fresno On Lockdown

So this is life now, eh? Battling Fresnans at Save Mart (or for you crazy people, Costco) for bread.

Actually, I have been surprised by how nice everyone has been out there in Fresno. I guess when you go through a shared experience like this, people get nicer.

As a homebody, an introverted and awkward person, that has to push and motivate themselves to even meet up with friends that I want to be around, you would think this new world of being socially distant, not meeting up with people and staying away from groups, would be kinda awesome.

Honestly, for me, it sort of is.

WAIT WAIT, don’t hate me. If everyone else’s life was the same; healthy, their business was untouched, jobs secure, THEN this would be the life I dream of.

Stay at home with my family? Play video games? Wander around my backyard, look up at the clouds, write, binge Star Wars content, develop a playlist on Spotify, trick-out my patio? Do all the things I always want to do but never make the time for? Yes, I’m here for that content.

All while feeling like I’m “doing good” (even if I don’t actually do any of those things and put them off like I always do).

Feeling good about myself instead of my normal feeling of dread and guilt that I’m not meeting friends for a thing, or going Downtown for ArtHop or an event, or going to get my tires rotated or some crap thing that I beat myself up for not doing ALL THE FUCKING TIME.

*deep breath*

Getting takeout now feels… good? As long as places stay up and running.

I hope everyone can weather this. The number of businesses that are affected are too many to count. It’s not just the food-related industry. But what the hell am I talking about here, you don’t need me to tell you this.

Most of the places I use for beer have delivery or pickup now. I used Pine & Palm’s “drive-thru” service this week and picked up some crowlers. I’ll be trying out Tioga’s delivery service this weekend. Hopefully, Zack’s Brewing will be able to do the same soon. Most of my craft beer places are at least setting up pickup options. I plan on taking full advantage.

Here are tips on how to keep it clean and still get local takeout.

This is all we can do, right? Takeout and tip higher than normal. Save up money to hella support when we are on the other side of this. No matter if it’s a food-related business or not.

I am fortunate to have a job that is not affected by this (income-wise), at least not yet. Unfortunate that I still have to go out and do it. Props to all my new brothers and sisters in the Essential Services Industry.

Staying at home sounds better than ever, but even I will be glad to be amongst groups of Fresnans again, someday… on occasion.

For now, all we can do is support the places we use (in the safest way we can) and hope they will be there when this is over. Keep your head up gaze at the clouds and stay safe, Fresno.


Fresno’s Most Map Worthy Feature Is…

Illustration of the intersections of Buffalo (Fresno’s would be too boring, I imagine)

What would Fresno’s defining feature be? What would look cool enough and speaks to you enough to be illustrated? What jumps out at you when you look at a map of Fresno or think about Fresno in a map inspired way?

I recently came upon a website called On it are map inspired graphics (like the one above using Buffalo intersections) of a city feature, illustrated in a creative way.

There isn’t a Fresno one, as you might expect. I would love to see one though. I have some simple ideas as to what Fresno’s could be:

The Railroad Tracks (active and abandoned). That might look cool pulled off a map and featured. The Union Pacific and Santa Fe tracks (and maybe one day High-Speed Rail tracks) are very Fresno. Also, there is a track that spurs off into Southwest Fresno that I think still may be active, but I have never seen one pass through to confirm as I am only occasionally in that part of town.

Ponding Basins. I know every town has ponding basins but Fresno’s seem to be more defining. Might look cool pulled out as well.

Canals. Some of our more featured canals have been converted over into a pipe system and covered over but many remain. Enough to make a graphic with or you could include the ones covered over as if they still remain. Canals are a big reason Fresno became a city so that is defining for sure.

Swimming Pools. That would be a lot of swimming pools to feature, for sure. I have always been curious as to Fresno’s pool ratio. I would bet we have the highest pools-per-capita rate of any city outside of Phoenix, Tuscon and Las Vegas.

Freeways. We “only” have four. A well-designed poster of them could look rad.

The San Joaquin River. Our largely overlooked NW border would look sweet with everything within range of its Fresno side, featured.

Save Marts. Really, what is consistent throughout Fresno and is local? Actually, there is no Save Mart downtown or in the Edison High area or… in Southwest… well, unless you consider Sunnyside Southwest. You know what, screw those cowards.

The Grid. Nothing says Fresno more than a map grid. In fact, we could be the poster child of grids.

This one we actually can see an example of because I found a website that will let you search for a city and it will pull up a map of it the city you search for but it only features the streets, everything else is stripped away.

In fact, the website and the newsletter Snakes & Ladders is the inspiration behind this post. Check it out:

If you use the website and your smartphone, it will let you zoom into specific areas of the map (I couldn’t get it to do it on my laptop but I could on my phone).

I’d love it if a Fresno graphic artist made something up inspired by Fresno and the Barely Maps. Please share it if you do.

While we’re here, a friend sent me this drawing of Fig Garden Village at a time when Rock Bottom Brewing was still there ALONG with the movie theater. I had recently been really wishing the movie theater was still there, so this made me pause:

Stay safe out there mapping.


Best Mexican Food Breakfasts In Fresno

Fresno breakfast places can get pretty damn busy, time to expand the options. So I asked Fresno Twitter to fill in a gap in my knowledge. Hopefully, this helps you too.

I trust my Fresno Twitter folks on this. Much more than Yelp and Google anyway.

Let’s begin with the multiple vote winners. Some have a quick item reco from voters, some don’t. This is nothing definitive, just a helpful guide from Fresnans that know the best Mexican food breakfast in Fresno:

Top Four Recommends:

  • TOLEDITO’S (1704 Van Ness Ave). The breakfast burritos and Spanish omelet especially.
  • ZAMORA (850 N. Fresno St). Homemade tortillas and great chilaquiles.
  • CASTILLO’S (3659 E.Ventura). I dunno, everything?
  • LAS MANANITAS (1329 S. Hazelwood Blvd). Amazing owners. Good chilaquiles.

Next Tier Of Recos:

Other Fresno spots folks felt needed mentioning. Might be just as good as any of the above spots, just happened to be not mentioned as much:

Mi Amigo. That’s a lot of places to check out. Well done, Fresno Twitter.

A dumb guy thought: What is Chilaquiles?

Zamora’s chilaquiles – photo by Amy on Yelp.

I did not know this. Sorry, I suck. People kept bringing it up and my dumb ass is like “Should I know what the heck this is? I should, right? Do I eat this and not know what it’s even called?”

Chilaquiles is this:

Chilaquiles (pronounced “chee-lah-KEE-lays”) is a traditional dish found throughout Mexico. At its most basic, chilaquiles consists of fried tortilla strips simmered in red or green salsa or mole to soften the strips. This dish is great for using up leftovers because stale (or store-bought) tortillas can be used. It’s often served with a side of refried beans.

Ok cool. Now my dumbass knows. Good for hangovers? I like that.

Yelp Reviews To Be Taken With Many Grains Of Salt

Just something I noticed, I don’t know if this is true, but it seems that if you go by what Yelp says, Castillo’s is the place that people from out-of-town think is the best “locals” Mexican breakfast spot to check out. Not sure if some food show came through town once and told them or if this is actually the case.

Anyway, glad to have this list now that you and I can come back to reference when looking for a good Mexican food breakfast in Fresno.

We have a lot of eating to do. Time to get out there and start trying some dishes of chilaquiles!

New Fresno Music: Ultra Diamonds “Sightseer”

Trying to play catchup on some posting here on the blog and I missed posting about the new Ultra Diamond EP “Sightseer”.

If it sounds familiar, everyone in this band has been out there in Fresno’s scene for some time. From Fierce Creatures to Light Thieves to The Eighteen Hundreds, to name just a few.

I love everything about this EP. My favorite track being “Dial Tones”.

Well. I almost love everything.

My only wonder is why the vocals are buried in the mix, lending to an unfinished and disconnected feel. But I think that is the point… maybe? Part of the Ghost Surf sound coming out of Fresno, I guess.

Have a listen for yourself. Go see a show. Buy some stuff. Find them on Spotify too.

They are working on new music and will be in Boise for Treefort Music Fest coming up. Enjoy them here and now:

Livingstone’s Will Be Livingstone’s Again, but…

Behind the bar of Fresbrew

Y’all are back in Fresno tonight and, yes, Livingstone’s is back and fully operational. So you know it will be reunion time and you’ll be there trying to convince us L.A. is so fucking great (and we will know you’re full of it).

And there will be this guy too:

But if you haven’t been back to Fresno since last Thanksgiving, ya might not know Livingstone’s ’s & Strummer’s isn’t the only re-union options.

There is, of course, across the BofA parking, Goldstein’s. It will be jamming. North, down Van Ness, Full Circle Brewing took over the old Audie’s Olympic spot and Spokeasy (beer bar) is rad as always.

But the new Fresno hotness is Fresbrew. It’s a bit of a Fresno & Beer Nerd dream. Located on the South side of Olive, across from the Tower Theatre.

Located at 910 e. Olive, if you need that for your Lyft driver. Good Fresno paraphernalia on the walls, check it out.

Also, after Thanksgiving, make sure to head down to Zack’s Brewing, across Fulton, from Tioga Sequoia’s Beer Garden. Nice space and great beer.

Anyway, welcome back and enjoy the weekend!