STRANGER THAN FICTION… Squid’s social calendar is overflowing now that in-person events are back. Were we this busy in the Before Times? This weekend Squid plans on oozing around Pacific Grove to check out Butterfly Days, the town’s ode to its wintering monarch guests (see Hot Picks). This year’s theme is out of John Steinbeck‘s 1954 novel Sweet Thursdayin which he describes the fictional “Pacific Grove Butterfly Festival.”
It’s perhaps not a great comparison to draw. In Steinbeck’s telling, the residents create a pageant based on a fake story with a princess (sound familiar?), in which people wear long brown underwear to portray Native Americans. That PG just came off of ending Feast of Lanternsa cultural appropriation of Chinese people, gives Squid pause.
Butterfly Days also features a croquet tournament, based on Chapter 8, “The Great Roque War,” in which Steinbeck chronicles how the citizens get into an angry, bloody war over the sport of roque, akin to croquet. Also maybe not a great comparison as the town today is erupting in major discord over the location of a skatepark. Prime example: On Sept. 19 a man verbally attacked skatepark advocates at the farmers market (see Spin article).
Fiction often reveals greater truths about humans than nonfiction, but some Pagrovians seem bent on following fantasy over truth.
POWER PLAY… Squid has been saving Squid’s pennies for years to upgrade the old jalopy to an electric car. Squid’s on board – it’s the way of the future. But especially as two supersized battery storage facilities in Moss Landing face overheating dramas, Squid is watching carefully to see how safe battery technology really is.
After a Sept. 20 four that PG&E‘s Elkhorn plant, which uses Tesla batteries, Squid got curious about Tesla’s history in the area, so Squid started asking around. The company at one point was setting batteries on fire – a smart idea for testing, given that we now see that yes, these batteries can go up in flames and firefighters need to know what to do. The company set up its battery-burning project on a remote ranch near Hollister, back in the 2000s. But as far back as 2010, firefighters got calls about smoke at the site.
Tesla did apply for a permit from the Monterey Bay Air Resource District, which granted them one. But after a complaint from Cal Fire, MBARD told Tesla they’d have to take steps to control their emissions. Tesla responded to MBARD with a thanks but no thanks; the company decided to leave California and instead set batteries on fire in Texas.
Squid’s colleague tried to ask Tesla if they had any regrets about ditching the area for the Lone Star State – and whether they have any insight into what happened in Moss Landing – but got no response.