Go For Launch by Jackie Nell  

Thick Flannel Shirts

Over the weekend, Jesse listed this Spring’s Seven “Must Have Or You’ll Die” Essentials. Do you know why? Because he lives in Los Angeles, and in Southern California, the four seasons are: spring, summer, summer with slightly chillier nights (but not by much), and spring with slightly chillier nights (but again, not by much). Dear readers: know that I - as your correspondent in the Bay Area - understand that we’re still solidly in winter. Here in the Bay, it’s still cold enough to need chunky sweaters, heavy coats, and the occasional pair of gloves. 

It’s also useful to have a few thick flannel shirts around. I’ve been wearing mine every once in a while with jeans and a leather jacket, and prefer ones made from heavy, coarse fabrics. My favorite sources so far include:

  • John Lofgren: A highly underrated and underappreciated workwear label. Really nice, thick fabrics made into shirts with slightly short, vintage-y cuts. Available at John Lofgren’s site directly, but also Self Edge and Bench & Loom (although the last two don’t have woven shirts right now).
  • Flat Head: A Japanese workwear label that draws a lot of inspiration from American motorcycle and hot rod subcultures. They have two lines of shirts – the mainline, which is slim and shorter fitting, and Glory Park, which is just a touch bigger. Of all my flannels, these are easily my favorite, but they’re expensive. If you don’t mind the price, they’re available at Self Edge and Rivet & Hide.
  • Five Brother: A genuine workwear label that recently started making slim fitting shirts for the fashion crowd. These are made from vividly colored fabrics with coarse weaves and a dry hand. Of all the companies on this list, Five Brother probably offers the best price to value ratio. You can find them now at Bench & Loom, but in the past, Context and Hickoree’s has also carried them (they will again this fall).
  • Nigel Cabourn: Always a favorite, but his prices are stratospherically high. If it matters, his flannel shirts are sometimes reversible, although the other side of the one I bought is perhaps too “fuzzy” to realistically use. Still, he has some nice subtle detailing that the other brands don’t offer (unique pocket designs, smoke mother-of-pearl buttons, and extra, extra thick fabrics). Available at Nigel Cabourn’s own website or any of his stockists. If you’re not able to afford those retail prices, you’ll have to trawl Yoox and eBay like me.
  • RRL: Ralph Lauren’s ranch inspired sub-label. The fabrics on RRL shirts really run the gamut, but in general, they’re typically a bit flimsier than the aforementioned brands (at least when it comes to fall/ winter shirts). On the upside, they can often be found on deep discount (I bought mine for about $75). These are available at Ralph Lauren’s website, and certain niche stockists such as Unionmade and Frans Boone.

The best part about wearing thick flannel shirts? With designers such as Daiki Suzuki and Heidi Slimane incorporating them into last year’s looks, you can simultaneously feel very “aritansal heritage workwear” and “high fashion au courant.” Plus, Rick Owens wears them! The dream of the 90s is alive in menswear. At least until spring comes for the rest of us. 

I like to work; that is a big part of who I am personally. It’s also something I learned about myself in Iowa; before I lived there, I thought of myself as someone who enjoyed writing – songs, poems – but not as a person who likes, every day, to go out find some work to do. Then I worked a harvest on a grain elevator. I was probably the least capable harvest help they ever had on that elevator, because absolutely everything about the job was new to me, and I was pretty scrawny at the time: but it was transformative work for me. Southern California, where I grew up, might as well have been Saturn by comparison, so different were the rhythms of my daily life for that season: reporting to work at seven o’clock to open up the backs or the undersides of trucks so they could dump grain onto a grate which would carry it into the chambers of the great concrete elevator, sweeping the empty chambers that gathered dust just by standing there, climbing up hills of soybeans to knock down hotspots with a shovel. I stayed on in Iowa another seven years; my wife grew up there. It is a special place.

I started writing Wolf in White Van about a week after I handed in Master of Reality; I waited a little longer after finishing Wolf, just to sort of shake the wolf-water out of my hair. A quick inbox query tells me I sent the first draft of Wolf to the amazing and wonderful Sean McDonald, my editor, on the twenty-ninth of March, 2013. 

If I CMD+i  a folder called “Nevada Iowa Video Hut” on my laptop, I can see that about six months later I had this idea to tell a horror story that would also function as a cartography of grief set within that world I’d lived in for a long spell. That story, which I’ve been working on ever since, is a book called Universal Harvester, which will be published by Farrar, Straus and Giroux on the seventh of February, 2017. There’s a more detailed writeup about the plot over at FSG’s Work in Progress page, linked at the bottom of this post, and, why not, here, if you’ve had just about enough of me talking about it and wanna get down to brass tacks just click this and some, but not all, will be revealed

To speak less announcing-new-stuff about the whole deal and just talk a little, I am really super proud of this book; I think it hits that sad/frightening axis that I’ve always found most inspiring in the writers I like best and in the work I seek out, and that I’m often aiming for in my stuff. The whole discipline of not talking about it while writing it has been both exhilarating and nerve-wracking, and I absolutely cannot wait to share it with you all. 

You can preorder it now from any place you might wanna preorder a book from! Please do, if you have a mind to! Be seeing you soon!

(via Announcing: | Work in Progress)

  • Me: It is so cold outside.
  • Girl at the bar: Yeah, I hate it.
  • Me: So why do we live here?
  • Girl at the bar: Because it's nice to experience the seasons.
  • Me: People always say this, but I think it's just some bullshit a frozen person came up with to make themselves feel better about not getting to live in Southern California.
  • Girl at the bar: Hah, maybe so.
  • Me: Think of it this way. Does anyone ever say it's nice to experience heartbreak? No. We want to find someone we can be with forever, someone who will be our eternal summer. Screw the winter that is loneliness.
  • Girl at the bar: Okay, I hear you. Let's move then.
  • Me: Well, I can't right now because my family and my job are here. But I could at least move my heart somewhere that's always warm.
  • Girl at the bar: Like where?
  • Me: I'm not sure yet. Maybe you'd like to try being my heart's Southern California?

Totally out of character for this blog but its summer and its NEVER too early to check up on your skin for skin cancer.

I’m so white that I’m see-through and I grew up in southern California getting sun 7 days a week. I had a few new mole friends show up on my arm and legs and immediately thought, well, my days of not wearing sunscreen during tennis practice finally caught up to me. But it turns out they’re just normal moley moles :)

But please especially in this season, watch your skin, aloe up, and pay attention to any new marks on your body. Your skin is your largest (and cutest!) organ. Take care of it.


Endangered SoCal Frog Species Coming Back Thanks to San Diego Zoo


The San Diego Zoo is helping save the critically endangered Southern California mountain yellow-legged frog by breeding the amphibians in Escondido and returning them to the San Bernardino National Forest.

This year, the program resulted in more than 5,600 eggs laid and the most viable embryos in a single season: nearly 1,800.

On Thursday, 200 tadpoles that hatched this year, along with 27 froglets, or metamorphs, from last year’s breeding season, were released into Fuller Mill Creek north of Idyllwild.

The frogs, which live in perennial streams in portions of the San Gabriel, San Bernardino, and San Jacinto Mountains, have been decimated by the Chytridiomycota fungus

(read more: Times of San Diego)

photographs:  USFWS and Ken Bohn, San Diego Zoo Global

Seems like El Niño’s feeling kinda crabby!

Pelagic red crabs (Pleuroncodes planipes)—also know as tuna crabs or langostilla—started washing up along Monterey Bay beaches yesterday! Typically found off of Mexico and southern California, these scarlet drifters are a favorite of tuna, whales, birds, and turtles. 

Pelagic red crabs are in the squat lobster family—a group of crustaceans midway between true lobsters and true crabs. While their “pelagic” description refers to their life in the open ocean, the largest and oldest crabs (about two years old) appear to be found only on the deep sea floor of the continental shelf.  

While these crabs do tend to mate in the winter, mass stranding events like these don’t closely correlate to the breeding season. Our recent beach parties of youngsters were simply swept up in the current.

A rare sight in our area, tuna crabs are usually associated with El Niño conditions—the last time they made their way this far was in 1983. Warmer waters building with this winter’s El Niño—coupled with “The Blob” of tepid seas hanging off the coast since last year—could mean these crabs continue their current-driven journey even further north.

For local sea life, it’s a feeding frenzy fiesta. The arrival of the crabs has also brought a few of their close associates to the area, including the first bluefin tuna to come into the Monterey Bay in a decade! So head down to the beach after your visit to the Aquarium within the next few days—you too may get a chance at wading with some crabby wanderers.


Even in the coldest months, we relish the refreshing, icy taste of peppermint — in seasonal treats like peppermint bark, peppermint schnapps, even peppermint beer.

We have the chemical menthol to thank for that deliciously cool mouth-feel of peppermint. And scientists now know that menthol actually tricks our brains and mouths into the cool sensation because menthol activates the same receptor on nerve endings that’s involved in sensing cold, says David McKemy, a neurobiologist at the University of Southern California.

As McKemy explains in a video about peppermint out this month from USC, thanks to this neat trick of nature, researchers were able to use menthol to better understand how our nervous system senses and reacts to cold. His team found a protein which is “a trigger on cold sensing nerve fibers to send an electrical signal to the brain to let you know that you’re feeling cold.”

How Peppermint Tricks Us Into Feeling (Deliciously) Cold

Video credit: USC College

Chirp chirp! Our first rescued snowy plover of the season just hatched behind the scenes! These little shorebirds nest in sandy dunes, leaving them vulnerable to unaware beachgoers and hungry predators.

Once numbering in the thousands, U.S. Pacific coast western snowy plovers were listed as threatened under the Endangered Species Act in 1993. Today it’s estimated about 2,100 plovers breed along the coast, with the largest number found from south San Francisco Bay to southern Baja California. You can help keep adult plovers from abandoning their nests by keeping your dog on a leash on beaches and staying out of areas that are blocked off as bird nesting sites.

Learn how we help these endangered birds

(Photo: Aimee Greenebaum)
Toxic algae bloom might be largest ever
Scientists onboard a NOAA research vessel are beginning a survey of what could be the largest toxic algae bloom ever recorded off the West Coast.

A team of federal biologists set out from Oregon Monday to survey what could be the largest toxic algae bloom ever recorded off the West Coast.

The effects stretch from Central California to British Columbia, and possibly as far north as Alaska. Dangerous levels of the natural toxin domoic acid have shut down recreational and commercial shellfish harvests in Washington, Oregon and California this spring, including the lucrative Dungeness crab fishery off Washington’s southern coast and the state’s popular razor-clam season.

At the same time, two other types of toxins rarely seen in combination are turning up in shellfish in Puget Sound and along the Washington coast, said Vera Trainer, manager of the Marine Microbes and Toxins Programs at the Northwest Fisheries Science Center in Seattle.

We often hear about these blooms, but what are they and why do they matter? From my perspective, they create a hostile environment for other native species. Fish are choked and smothered, having to breath the equivalent of a 500 AQI in Beijing. Fish can’t breath and they die, which sparks a cascading negative reaction along the food chain. These blooms also affect humans ,though we’re equipped to handle the effects.

Marine biotoxins

Marine biotoxins are produced by microscopic algae. Unlike the bacteria or viruses that can also contaminate shellfish, biotoxins are not destroyed by cooking or freezing. Also, harmful algal blooms usually don’t color the water.

The three biotoxins of concern in Washington are:

Paralytic shellfish poisoning. Symptoms include tingling in lips, arms and legs, followed by trouble breathing and paralysis. Can be fatal.

Domoic acid poisoning, also called amnesic shellfish poisoning. Caused by Pseudo-nitzschia diatoms, symptoms include vomiting, nausea, diarrhea and stomach cramps, which can progress to dizziness, confusion and memory loss. Can be fatal.

Diarrhetic Shellfish Poisoning, caused by the biotoxin okadaic acid. Symptoms are usually short-lived and include vomiting, diarrhea and abdominal cramps.

Southern California may not have many colorful leaves, but the sun filters through the landscape come the change of season and those warm orange and red tones still spill over the mountains. It’s the same story, just a different way of telling it.

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As many of you know, I’ve been working closely with @kittcrusaders , a NPO #rescue that saves #cats and #kittens from high kill shelters, provide much needed medical care, food, and placement in furever homes in Southern #California over the past year. We continue to work hard to get the word out and to help get more donations and it is run 100% on volunteer time, especially now that #kitten season is upon us. Please consider donating, volunteering, or even adopting a cat from us and help us save lives. Even one dollar or share helps make a difference.

You can also purchase this signed photo and 100% of the proceeds go to #kittcrusaders. GO TO THEIR LINK IN THEIR BIO or

Photo by @brandinrackley
#ivydoomkitty #model #modeling #curvygirl #curvy #curves #catsofinstagram #catstagram #rescuecat #adoptdontshop #valentines #valentinesday #happyvalentinesday #vday #boudoir #curvy #curvygirl #curves #effyourbeautystandards #bodypositive #confident #pinup #pinupgirl #vsangels #victoriassecret

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Long-Exposure Photos of California Wildfires at Night

For the past few wildfire seasons in Southern California, Los Angeles-based photographer Stuart Palley has taken his camera out into the hills to document the blazes at night. His long-exposure photographs show both the fury and the beauty of the fires. The resulting collection of images is now part of a series titled Terra Flamma.

(Continue Reading)

Mission: Second Dog

As most of you know, I’ve been trying to get a dog to me from Southern California. Because this was entirely unanticipated, saving enough money to cover shipping and a new crate will take a couple months, because the extra I have goes into emergency funds and additional supplies.

The problem? I’m a sap and I want her here by the holidays (plus, her birthday is in December). This also would mean I could avoid the crazy mess that accompanies shipping anything during the holiday season.

If anyone can help me in any way, I will love you forever and find a way to give back somehow. Here’s how you can help - 

Do you own/like bitey dogs? Get a t-shirt with this AWESOME design

(huuuge thanks to Blank’s Art/thembulldawgs for the incredible artwork)

White text t-shirts are here:

Black text t-shirts are here:

(You can select “additional styles” and pick an available style/color)


If you’d like to make a contribution through donation, here is the Go Fund Me page:

When we reach the halfway mark, I will post a photo of this mystery dog :)

*** Anyone who donates $30+ (or buys a hoodie) gets adorable digital artwork from my sister as seen here or here (anime style, people only). NaNoWriMo is coming up, and she loves coming up with character designs.

Any reblogs and sharing the links would also be greatly appreciated. Thanks!! 

As many of you know, I’ve been working closely with @kittcrusaders , a NPO #rescue that saves #cats and #kittens from high kill shelters, provide much needed medical care, food, and placement in furever homes in Southern #California over the past year. We continue to work hard to get the word out and to help get more donations and it is run 100% on volunteer time, especially now that #kitten season is upon us. Please consider donating, volunteering, or even adopting a cat from us and help us save lives.

You can also purchase this signed photo and 100% of the proceeds go to #kittcrusaders. Go to their link in bio or

Kitten pictured is my cat, #gandalf, whom I adopted right after falling in love with him at the shoot.
Photo by @brandinrackley
#ivydoomkitty #model #modeling #curvygirl #curvy #curves #catsofinstagram #catstagram #rescuecat #adoptdontshop #valentines #valentinesday #happyvalentinesday

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