North Bay Fires 2017

We rarely post personal stories on our blog, but the fires this month warrant an exception. We've finally downloaded some images & videos from that week, mostly from Tuesday, October 10, 2017 and Friday, October 13, 2017. It was a harrowing week, and we were so lucky that first responders were able to keep the Atlas Fire away from the house and the studio. Many others were not so fortunate.

For the month of November, we will be donating $15 from every bottle shot to the Napa Valley Community Disaster Relief Fund.

And one more thing - WE'RE OPEN FOR BUSINESS! A mere 2 weeks ago, the Valley looked like this, but it's been clear, smoke-free skies (granted, Karl the Fog is back now which is awesome) and Wine Country needs your visit. Eat, drink & be merry in Napa + Sonoma! Besides, this is the best time to be in wine country anyway.

Bottlerock 2017

I was honored to be given a Media pass to Bottlerock this year thanks to an awesome client. I was anxious to see Macklemore again (loved loved loved) and of course, Tom Petty has always been on the bucket list. A few others on the lineup that were must-sees for me: Warren G because obviously, and The Roots, who I haven't see since 1997. Twenty years. Twenty. 20. Two-zero. Yeah.

I didn't bring equipment with me this year - I shot Bottlerock in 2014 and it was tough. Hot, dirty, lots of people bumping into lenses - I just couldn't hang. Lucky for me, my Media pass got me fairly close to the stage. Sunday night, I did bust out my tiny little point-and-shoot, the camera that cracks me up as a photographer because it's just so small and looks so unprofessional. I have to give my little guy credit, it took some great photos!

Car Repair PSA

I own a 2004 Nissan Murano named Enrique. While it's a well-known fact that I don't like this car much, it has come in handy more times than I can count, is extremely spacious inside and has a great stereo system. My driver's side headlight went out about 3 months ago, and in an effort to save money, I bought new bulbs to replace both at the same time. I was resourceful, watching three YouTube videos on how to change the lightbulb in this car. The videos were disheartening. In each one, the person said to remove the bumper, the grill & the headlight casing in order to get to the bulb. I was appalled. In my BMW, you could pop the hood, reach in, pull out the bulb and pop a new one in. How could Nissan make it so difficult to do something so simple?

It turns out that it IS simple. If you pop the hood, you can see the bulbs on each side. One is behind the air cleaner casing (driver's side) and the other is behind the windshield wiper fluid container (passenger side.) The air cleaner casing is held in place by one bolt, the wiper fluid by two bolts. Three easy screws to undo and move those pieces out of the way. Unlock the bulb by twisting the white plastic "lock" and gently but firmly pull the bulb out. You may need to depress the tab with a flat head screwdriver.

Once the bulb has been pulled out, carefully remove the burned out bulb from the plug. Use a towel to hold onto the bulb. Even more carefully, remove the new bulb from the package, never touching the bulb with your fingers, only a towel. Plug the bulb into the socket and put the bulb back into place, locking with the white plastic lock.

Place the air cleaner & wiper fluid pieces back where they belong, screwing them into place with their washers & bolts. 

That's it. Seriously. I am not kidding. Try this before you pay Nissan $300+ to change a headlight bulb. While you're at it, the toothpaste trick on fogged headlight lenses is not a joke. I saw this on Pinterest years ago, and have been carrying around an old toothbrush and plain white toothpaste (not gel) for a year with the intention of seeing if it actually worked. With my new brighter bulbs in place, I thought I'd brush the lenses with the toothpaste and then buff them out. The toothpaste definitely worked, though it may have been too harsh, it still got 90% of the gunk off the lens and my headlights look nearly new. Plastic polish from a hardware or car parts store may work just as well and be gentler, but for $.97 (toothpaste price...old toothbrush = $0, because, well, ew), it was worth it.

All in all a great birthday celebration day. And yes, I am officially old when a great birthday means replacing a headlight bulb and cleaning headlight lenses. Cheers!