NOT THE CASUAL ENCOUNTER HE HAD IN MIND: We’re so fortunate to live in an era when, thanks to the Internet, we can sell things without leaving our own homes. But some people still get carried away, like the local man who posted an ad on Craigslist for 15 ounces of medical pot, asking for only a “donation” of $150 per ounce. When an undercover cop showed up asking to buy all $2,250 worth, the suspect didn’t ask for the cop’s medical-marijuana card. Geez, why do we even bother to fake these things? Moral of the story: doing business when you’re high is never as fun as it sounds.

SPIDER-MAN SUCKS AND HE WILL BURGLE YOU: OK, Spider-Man walks into a bar with a gun, and a buddy in a hoodie. Sounds like the setup to a hilarious joke, but nobody was laughing when the costumed do-badder walked into the Wooden Nickel Bar in Watsonville and robbed the place. Did he need money to buy his friend a superhero outfit of his own?


CRUZPOCALYPSE: It is still unclear how we, as a community, made it through February of this year—henceforth known as “that time God punched us in the face over, and over, and over again.” First there was the tragic shooting of local martial arts instructor Pauly Silva outside the Red Restaurant and Bar. Then, over the course of two-and-a-half weeks there was an attempted murder, a grocery store robbery, a home invasion robbery and a 21-year-old UCSC student shot in the head during an attempted mugging near West Cliff. Just about every conversation around town was beginning to sound the same: “What the hell is going on in Santa Cruz right now?” Then, just when things seemed their darkest—they got darker still. We were all left in complete and utter shock after losing two longtime, good-hearted police officers, Sgt. Loran “Butch” Baker and veteran Det. Elizabeth Butler. Their memorial service packed the HP Pavilion in San Jose—there wasn’t a big enough space in Santa Cruz to accommodate everyone who wanted to attend. Locals began to suffer from a kind of PTSD, and we began to react in strange ways, including blaming “Keep Santa Cruz Weird” bumper stickers for the most violent month in memory. Or something like that. It’s all kind of a horrible, horrible blur.

WOMAN TRACKS DOWN HER OWN STOLEN CAR ON GRANT STREET LIKE A BALLER: While Santa Cruz cops had their hands full with the longest February ever, one woman decided to drive around and look for her stolen car on her own. She spotted it, and approached the driver—who jumped out of the car and ran away, saying she wasn’t going to go jail. Police arrested the suspect for auto theft, resisting arrest and violating probation after they found her hiding under a recreational vehicle a few blocks away.


WAIT, FLOWERS? THAT’S WHAT THEY’RE TAKING BACK? When local man Ken Maffei was spotted picking up a basket of flowers from the memorial for slain SCPD officers Baker and Butler, he wound up in a courtroom, in handcuffs, facing an audience of “indignant Take Back Santa Cruz Members,” as the Sentinel put it. He was held in jail for 18 days before the case was dismissed, once his attorneys explained that Maffei had purchased the flowers for “a lady friend,” and had just set them down for a few moments while he placed a box of doughnuts with the letters “RIP” onto the officers’ memorial. Which is basically the saddest, cutest thing ever.

UCSC RAPE HOAX MELTS OUR BRAINS, LEAVING US UNABLE TO FINISH THIS SENTEN: Unreported rape is one of our nation’s the most disturbing trends. The American Association of University Women reports that 95 percent of campus sexual assaults go unreported. Ninety-five percent. It’s clear that something needs to be done to make victims feel that they can speak up. Oh, and here’s one thing that won’t help: The bizarre case of 20-year-old UCSB student Morgan Triplett, who in the middle of Santa Cruz’s biggest public safety scare in decades, sent police on an 11-day, around-the-clock investigation—and the community into a panic—after claiming bruises on her head and torso came from being raped on the UCSC campus. Eventually she confessed she had falsified the report after a soliciting the attack on Craigslist in exchange for sex.  In July, she was sentenced to 60 days in jail and three months probation.

SHUNS OF ANARCHY: The county board of supervisors declined to sanction an annual motorcycle ride which ended in a 3am party bust last year—after the Ghost Mountain Riders’ permitted hours for serving alcohol. It’s too bad for Camp Krem, the summer camp in Boulder Creek for disabled kids that benefited from the charity ride. No doubt the big bearded bikers will do the event again next year on toy tricycles to see if that goes over better.

MICHELLE SHOCKED CRAZY IS THE SADDEST CRAZY: Days after Michelle Shocked publicly denounced homosexuality on stage at Yoshi’s in San Francisco, encouraging concert attendees to tweet, “Michelle Shocked said God hates faggots,” her scheduled show at Moe’s Alley in Santa Cruz was cancelled. Then she showed up anyway, dressed in a painter’s coveralls, with duct tape covering her mouth. She sat on the ground outside strumming a guitar while patrons danced happily indoors to the queer-friendly rock groups Moe’s invited in her place. We can tell you one thing: Shocked received several tips from concertgoers that night, but not in the financial sense.


FRED KEELEY ANNOUNCES RETIREMENT BECAUSE WE WERE TOO OBSESSED WITH HIM: Sure, he always warned us he would go into hiding if we didn’t stop writing about his love for the Santa Cruz Warriors, complimenting his black-and-white flame shoes and pressing our noses up against the glass during his daily lunches at Kianti’s. But now, after he announced he will not seek office again when his term as treasurer ends in 2014, county officials will likely retire his position, too, because no one can do the job like DJ Keeladelic, our own ambassador to Snoop Dog. (Okay, the official reason for possibly eliminating the county treasurer position is that technological advancements are rendering the position unnecessary—nice try, county.) Anyway, Keeley will maintain his posts as a lecturer for San Jose State University, the Warriors’ unofficial Jack Nicholson and the official spokesperson for Kianti’s.

SEA LION WASN’T NATIONALLY KNOWN, BUT IS NOW KNOWN TO ROCK A MICROPHONE: A locally made video went wicked viral when researchers at UCSC’s Long Marine Laboratory trained a sea lion named Ronan to bob her head in time with the beat of music. A study of their findings, published in the Journal of Comparative Psychology, disproved a previously accepted theory that beat keeping requires a capacity for complex vocal learning, meaning that other mammals besides humans have the potential to—AY YO, YO! RESEARCH DUDE, MAKE HER DO THE CHA CHA SLIDE! ON THE REAL THOUGH THAT WOULD BE SOO DOPE.


WHALES LOOK FUNNY, BUT YO THEY’RE MAKING MONEY: The month of May kicked off a season of non-stop humpback whale sightings. Said one local whale when spotted by tourists: “My name is Humpty, pronounced with an umpty. Yo ladies, oh how I like to funk thee. And all the rappers in the Top 10, please allow me to bump thee.” Unfortunately, mid-December was pretty much whale watchers’ last chance to do the humpty hump.


BIG GAY RULING USHERS IN ERA OF BIG GAY HAPPINESS: When the U.S. Supreme Court dismissed supporters’ appeal on Proposition 8, California finally lifted its cock-blocking ban on gay marriage, opening the floodgates for lots and lots of love and celebration. Hooray! Now, California: As a state, how about we never, ever let Iowa beat us at implementing a social justice measure ever again? OK? OK. Good talk.

HIGH-SPEED CHASE ENDS ATOP CATALYST: We all love to raise the roof, but today’s criminals are taking it too far. Santa Cruz police followed a stolen Mercedes-Benz to an Ocean Street gas station, after which the suspect fled toward downtown at speeds above 50 mph. Then the suspect cut his losses, ditched the car and played it cool—well, not really. Officers found him 45 minutes later wandering the roof of the Catalyst downtown, where he was arrested on suspicion of evading police, possession of a stolen vehicle, possession of stolen property and possession of drug paraphernalia.

WHEN YOU PLAY THE GAME OF THRONES, YOU WIN OR YOU DO 8-TO-10: A local antiques dealer called Santa Cruz Sheriff’s deputies when a man tried to sell him a trailer full of some questionable goods, leading detectives to locate the man responsible for a $100,000 Corralitos burglary weeks before that included not only cars, jewels and wine, but also a toilet and bathtub. The criminal, who had methamphetamines in his system, must have been trying to teach us all a lesson about how “value” is nothing but a capitalist construct, and we truly are all one, so what is a “luxury item,” anyway? (Merry Christmas, Mom! I’m really broke right now so I wrote you this blurb as a gift. I hope that’s okay.)


THE DAY WE CRIED TIE-DYED TEARS: When national real estate website Estately published a list of the 17 “Best U.S Cities for Hippies,” there was one glaring omission: Santa Cruz. After a flurry of comments on the article pointed out the authors’ egregious oversight, Estately issued a public apology to our fair burg, admitting we should not only have been on the list, but that we should have been in the top five. “We sincerely hope this omission didn’t harsh anyone’s mellow, nor detract from the good vibes and total bliss that are found in Santa Cruz,” they wrote. To them we say: THAT’S RIGHT, ASS CLOWNS. WE ARE THE ONE TRUE KING OF ZEN BLISS AND IF YOU EVER FORGET IT AGAIN THE 831 IS GONNA SHOW YOU THE LIST OF OUR 17 FAVORITE PLACES TO BEAT YOU SENSELESS. Peace be with you!

STABBED PLUMBER TOTALLY KNEW WHAT THAT WAS ALL ABOUT: A plumber fixing a pipe on Clifford Avenue in Watsonville finally got what was coming to him when a man walked up to him, stabbed him and ran away saying, “You know what that was all about.”  Yes, of course he knew what it was about, and we’re glad to see someone is finally taking a stand against the profession that is secretly laying a system of pipes designed to pump PG&E smart meter radiation and GMOs into our potlucks.

TOP THREE MORAL GUIDELINES: LOCATION, LOCATION, LOCATION: Steve Schlicht, a member of the Mayor Bryant-appointed Public Safety Citizen Task Force, posted on Take Back Santa Cruz’s private Facebook page that he would be “fine with junkies dying somewhere else. Outside the county is fine by me.” When asked by the Weekly if he would like to apologize, he declined, and insisted the comment was taken out of context. No word yet on the context in which it’s okay to say things like that.


OH WHAT A TANGLED SOMETHING SOMETHING: There comes a time when a theater company must ask whether ’tis nobler in the mind to suffer the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune or take arms against a sea of bureaucrats who don’t understand art. Due to fundraising shortfalls, UCSC announced this summer it will no longer fund Shakespeare Santa Cruz, leading the beloved company to (at least for now) close its doors because even in the art world, nothing’s cheap.  Or in the words of a 17th-century English playwright, “Shakespeare gots to get paid, son.”

INTENSIVE HAT RESCUE EFFORT FAILS:  “Don’t worry guys, I do this all the time. I know we’re drunk at 3 in the afternoon, but I’m just going to run down this Davenport cliff after my hat, fall 100 feet in the ocean, get swum to shore by some Good Samaritan bystanders and have a helicopter take me to Santa Clara County Hospital. Yo, pilot, what have we got on tap? My buzz is wearing off.”


WAVE DEAD PETS IN THE AIR LIKE YOU DON’T CARE: There are many different ways to influence others and get people’s attention. Writer Dale Carnegie recommended remembering people’s names and being a good listener. Jim Harbaugh prefers ripping off his headset and yelling as loud as he can. When those don’t work, we sometimes resort to swinging around a dead animal—as one local woman did while looking for a little respect. Deputies told the Santa Cruz Sentinel it was probably roadkill that had been dead “for some time.” She was arrested on suspicion of being under the influence of narcotics.


THE MUNCHIES ARE OFFICIALLY OUT OF CONTROL: A teenager robbed a taco truck at gunpoint in Watsonville—on Coward Road, no less. All he needs is a Spider-Man costume, and next time he’ll be ready to hit up a bar. Just kidding. Stay in school, kids!

OMG, OMG, NEW ‘UNDERTOW’ RIDE UNVEILED AT BOARDWALK!: Wait, has anyone actually been on this yet? Yeah, no, us neither. Yeah, it does look cool! We’ll probably try it out this summer, too. So. Yeah.

HOMELESSNESS ENJOYING HUGE GROWTH LOCALLY, HOMELESS NOT ENJOYING IT AT ALL: The homeless census, which is released every two years, revealed the homeless population in Santa Cruz County jumped 28 percent, to 3,536 people —12 percent of them children. Seventy-two percent say they lived in the county prior to becoming homeless. For Christmas, then, 814 adults in the county between the ages of 18 and 24 are homeless, 97 percent of them unsheltered.


SUSPENSE! THRILLS! SALTY PIZZA!: A late bloom of anchovies all over the Monterey Coast filled Santa Cruz waters, leading to what The New York Times called a “mammoth convocation of sea life.” All told, so many anchovies convocated in the waters around the harbor that oxygen actually ran out, leading to a major die-off. As of yet, scientists have no explanation. Lest we forget, Santa Cruz is no stranger to mystifying sea creature behavior: Hitchcock’s The Birds was based on disoriented sea birds crashing into local homes upon getting lost in the fog “fresh from a feast of anchovies,” as reported by the Sentinel in 1961. We don’t know how all this fits together, but one thing’s for sure: Alfred Hitchcock is still alive, living in Boulder Creek in secret and planning a new movie based on this anchovy madness.

SANTA CRUZ DECLARES ASS SHORTAGE AFTER DERBY GIRLS KICK SO MUCH OF IT: In a breakout season, the Boardwalk Bombshells won the Division 2 playoff tournament and advanced to the national Women’s Flat Track Derby Association Championships in Milwaukee, Wisc. While they didn’t win the championship, they clawed their way back from a 50-point deficit during the game, bringing the final score to a single point difference, and doing our town damn proud. Hell yes, ladies! Way go to! We don’t even have a joke to make about this, because we’re completely and utterly terrified of getting on your bad side!


HELLA COLD WEATHER BREAKS HELLA RECORDS: A week-long cold snap had Santa Cruz eating icicles for breakfast with lows dipping into the 20s, and freezing out records. Sure, this happens sometimes when the weather gets clear—two Decembers ago was almost as bad. What was weird was when Santa Cruz swung from a record-tying low of 27 degrees on Tuesday the 10th, to a 74 degree high less than a week later, to tie a record set in 1923. Mixed with that were overhead waves at Steamer Lane, brah—perfect in NorCal, where surfing is a perfectly reasonable December pastime. For us, Santa Claus, really? Ah, you shouldn’t have!