Pack 24

On the eve of departing for another Cub Scout camping trip near Joshua Tree, I thought I’d take a moment to reflect a simple fact: I love our Cub Scouts pack.

It took me awhile, but I came around. Being one who is, generally speaking, apprehensive with group activities, recited credos and the like, I was skeptical at first. But the boy wanted to do it, and this was about him, not me.

Tidepooling in Malibu

Tidepooling in Malibu

As with most things Topanga, I soon realized this was not a typical pack — that, despite the rules and formalities, I was among my tribe. More

A Beer is Born

I’ve written glowingly in the past about my friend, Greg, and his home brewing set up.

The soft opening at Barley Forge

The soft opening at Barley Forge

Greg is a lawyer who, I guess, got tired of lawyering and wanted to make beer instead. I’ve been drinking his delicious beers for several years, and listening to his plans to open his own brewery — first in Topanga, and that having proven an impossible-to-navigate labyrinth of permits and regulations, Culver City. When the latter also failed to pan out, he set his sights further south — to Costa Mesa in Orange County — and a brewery was born. More

Cowboy Colgin Rides Again

It was past Pioneertown, the last outpost, at the end of a long and dusty dirt road amidst the boulders and Joshua trees and outlaw cabins of the Mojave desert, that we set up camp.


Desert shadow selfie

More specifically, it was the property of our friend and Scoutmaster, Greg, and his wife Mary Ann, and an official Cub Scouts camp out. And I was designated cook for 50 or so people on Saturday night.


It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year

When the holidays arrive, beginning with Thanksgiving and its obscene American sister-tradition — Black Friday — right up through New Year’s Day, most people look forward to twinkling Christmas lights, festive holiday songs, workplace potlucks and Secret Santas, eggnog and elves.

While I’ll admit I am not immune to these seasonal pleasures, it is another arrival that I look the most forward to — the sudden and magical appearance of stacks of red and white boxes in the refrigerated section of my favorite stores. More

The Church of Nylen

Sunday morning, as my wife gathered up the children to go to church, I went to a different sort of place of worship, to a service more in keeping with my vision of the divine… I went to make beer.

Cascade hops on the vine outside

It all began last spring, at the fundraiser silent auction for the school my children attend. As I was walking around bidding on various items, I discovered the beer-making session offered by my friend — litigator, Cubmaster, Irish fiddle player, Topanga brewmaster and all around good and generous guy, Greg Nylen. More