The “New Normal” Edition :: Rusty’s Electric Dreams, Issue #168

“Don’t loaf and invite inspiration; light out after it with a club, and if you don’t get it you will nonetheless get something that looks remarkably like it.” — Jack London on writing (1905)

Rusty's Electric Dreams

Rusty’s Electric Dreams, an inbox zine from the curious mind of Rusty Blazenhoff
Issue #168 :: The “New Normal” Edition :: 2:28:2018

The new normal…

A little after 9 AM Monday, I got a series of texts from my kid starting with, “Someone threatened to shoot up the school.”

Um, yeah

The scare started when one student’s Instagram story started spreading through the school. It warned that another kid was “threatening to shoot up our school” and that “he showed off his gun and everything.”

The screenshot of that story started getting passed around first thing Monday morning by the middle schoolers.

Naturally, it caused some upset. When I pulled up to the school to pick up SJ, there were already three news crews stationed on the sidewalk. A police SUV was parked in front and parents were rushing into the office to pick up their kids. It was chaos and they hadn’t yet made an official announcement. Parents were simply getting texts from their kids telling them that they were scared.

Everything turned out fine, at least for our community. There was a mix up. It wasn’t Lincoln Middle School in Alameda under direct threat, it was Lincoln High School in Tacoma, Washington.

Um, yeah

It’s 2018 and this is the new normal.

I am not happy. None of this is not ok, and never has been.

On March 14 at 10 AM, there will be a 17-minute-long National School Walkout to “to protest Congress” inaction to do more than tweet thoughts and prayers in response to the gun violence plaguing our schools and neighborhoods.”

I’m in. SJ’s in. You?

–Rusty Blazenhoff
P.S. Don’t worry, the rest of the issue is lighthearted as usual. 

This space intentionally left not normal

As seen on the Internets


Neptune Beach, Alameda, California

How it was done: Food & Wine recently published a set of historic food photos, which they report “changed the way we eat.” This behind-the-scenes (under-the-counter?) one of Julia Childwas included. Her husband took the photo in 1963 on the set of her then-new TV show, The French Chef. According to F & W, it “poked fun at the amount of work it took to produce the show.”

:: The formula behind late-night talk show jokes

:: How not to be an asshole client Thanks, Kimberly!

:: Twenty years ago, jazz musician Billy Tipton died and the world learned “he” was a “she”

:: Learn about the first time Groucho Marx dropped acid

:: Just-released: A song demo by a 17-year-old Amy Winehouse (which was thought to be destroyed)

:: What it’s like to be a Highly Sensitive Person (HSP): “You have a vibrant inner life”

:: Upload your own photo to see how color blind folks see Thanks, D!

:: The Archie McPhee backstory is just as crazy and cool as you’d expect it to be


:: John Waters on the audacity of Cy Twombly: “Your art can keep away assholes from you.”

:: Tell the children: Being a YouTube star probably means you’re destined for poverty

:: Using Tetris to treat PTSD

:: My friend Clint creates really beautiful publications. His latest essay, Armchair Demonology: The Magical Benefits of Cultivating Bad Habits, is no exception:

Real things you can’t actually buy: hey!


Fake Girl Scout cookies by Obvious Plant

Not Actually Trefoils: I hope you can read these faux Girl Scout cookie boxes by Obvious Plant, ’cause they’re pretty funny (you might have to click through to really read them all).

Neptune Beach: “Coney Island of the West”
Popsicles, high-divers, and well-to-do San Franciscans: A lot of folks don’t realize that right here on the island of Alameda, California (my home for the last 12+ years) there was once a bayside amusement park hailed as the “Coney Island of the West.” Not only was the popsicle invented here but MGM’s Tarzan, Olympic swimmer Johnny Weissmuller, performed at the popular beach resort, as did Jack LaLanne. There was a high-diving tower, giant salt-water pools, dance halls, a midway, a carousel, a rollercoaster, and a Ferris wheel (and lots more).

Now, the beach areas of Alameda’s West End had already been a popular staycation destination for wealthy San Francisco Victorians starting in the late 1880s. When Alameda’s Strehlow family opened Neptune Beach in 1917, weekenders made it an instant success and it ran for 22 years. However, once the Bay Bridge opened in 1936, San Franciscans no longer used the train or ferry service to Alameda. Cars made it easy for rich Bay Area folks to travel further away. So, crowds thinned and the once-great park went bankrupt in 1939 (which was the same year the World’s Fair opened on Treasure Island).

Now, if you go to the end of Webster Street and take a right to get to Crab Cove, you’ll be on the old site of Neptune Beach. There’s not much to look at anymore, unfortunately. Really the only remaining structure that I’m aware of specifically from the Neptune Beach era are the Neptune Court Apartments, some charming 1920s cottages which are now rented as year-round housing.

Some great images of the park in its heyday can be found starting here. Even better, here’s some footage of it, narrated by the late Alameda historian Andy Pagano

Alameda beaches: cold then, cold now

Featured events


 San Francisco Ghost Sign Mapping Project at SF History Days

This weekend: On March 3 and 4, as part of San Francisco History Days, artist Kasey Smith will be giving tours focused on the location and history of San Francisco’s ghost signs. The tours start at 11 AM each day at the San Francisco Mint. RSVP

Los Angeles
[3/17] It won’t be long now! The first Rusty’s Electric Dream meetup in LA

[3/5] Heather Gold’s Yarn, a comedy storytelling show especially for women who are ‘Hollywood old’ (age 29) at Homestead, 7 PM doors, 7:30 PM show

New York City
[4/1] 33rd Annual April Fools’ Day Parade, led by Joey Skaggs, Noon, begins at 5th Avenue and 59th Street



Chasing the luminous: Grant Snider’s “The Specter of Failure” is a poignant comic inspired by Joyce Carol Oates’ essay, Notes on Failure. A poster of the comic is available for $18.

Rusty’s Electric Dreams is a weekly inbox zine from the curious mind of Rusty Blazenhoff.

Described as, “One of the most inspiring, weird and off-kilter collections of curated kitschy ephemera for the big-brained.”

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