Changing View On Change

by Mary Bell

Since this publication changed its name, maybe I should comment on ‘change’. When you think of change, do you think happy thoughts or panic?  For some people, change means growth and adventure. Other people go immediately to fear and resistance. How many times have you heard people say, “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.”

In some situations, that saying works well. The problem comes when you try to define “broke.” For some people, broke means a thing or idea no longer works or performs the way you want it to. The focus is on the results. If you get the results or answer you want, then it must not be broken.

Why is this bad? Because it’s too tempting to skip to the easy solution. You want a quick fix and immediate results. All because you get immediate results does not necessarily mean that a thing is fixed and functional. (I mean no offense to duct tape. Please don’t misunderstand my point!) You tend to forget about the long-term impact of something and just go with what works in the moment.

Here’s an example, a pipe in your home bursts. One immediate way to stop the water from flooding the house is to turn off the water to the house. Problem solved. The busted pipe is no longer leaking. But it is not fixed. It’s just not leaking. You can’t live the rest of your life with the water turned off to the house. Eventually, you are going to have to find another way to deal with the problem.

Our health is the same way. You can pop a pill and make the pain go away. But this does not solve the problem of what caused the pain in the first place. Five hours later, you are going to have to deal with the cause again. If you continue to pop the pills for the immediate results, eventually you will have to deal with the damage to your liver and other organs. (Many over-the-counter drugs now come with a warning label about the damage they can cause to your organs.)

This brings us back to the idea of change. By adopting a new definition of “broken” and “fixed,” change can become our friend. Stop thinking about simply making the pain stop; change your thinking to one of solving the problem of what caused the pain. Change the way you define “fixed” and you will gain long-term health and wellness – not just four hours of relief.

If you need help with this change in how you think of change, give me a call at 559-400-1352. I’m happy to help you change your changes. 

You can also find out more about me, the services I provide and any of the products I offer by going to my website.

Escape If You Can

by Lisa Talley

The resounding and indescribable sound of a door slamming home while a lock clicks shut would have most people shuddering under an inundation of unpleasant thoughts. However, for some, it’s the sound of adrenaline rushing through their veins as their senses heighten, and their vision sharpens, preparing for a test of intellectual mettle. To them, it means being propelled into the depths of a great and exciting riddle. The riddle of an ‘escape room’.

“Escape rooms are an active form of entertainment in which teams of 2-6 players (friends, families, co-workers, etc.) are ‘locked’ into a room of varying themes, in which they have 60 minutes to make their escape,” explains Sarah Clem, co-owner of Breakout Fresno.

Located just a stone’s throw from Blackstone Ave, between Bullard and Sierra, is Breakout Fresno. Here, you can voluntarily have yourself locked into a room in which you must figure out how to escape. In this light, entertainment seems like such a far cry from the type of intensity in the aforementioned description, but it’s exactly what Breakout Fresno aims to give its patrons.

“We really pride ourselves on the experience people have from the time they walk in the door until they leave. Our favorite part is definitely [when] we see the excitement people have after playing, and the teams [are] in the parking lot talking about it long after they’re done!”, shares Clem.

The rooms come in a couple of different shapes, by way of themes and puzzles. You’ll have the option to choose between a military style operation in which you’re tasked with saving the world (no pressure) or you can try your hand in the Old West where you’re either escaping from jail, or attempting to stop a train robbery. Each of the different styles presents you not only with different experiences, but provide you with an additional option. The military style mission is available in 2 rooms, allowing you to compete with another team to see who can solve the puzzle first. With the Old West, you’re able to go through the experience twice, once as an Outlaw and another as a Cowboy.

Each room and each game have the same time limit, 60-minutes, so it goes without saying that the puzzles are fairly difficult. However, the staff understands that some help may be needed along the way. Provided with each session is a Gamekeeper, a member of the staff who not only monitors the progress of each team but who will also offer up clues to the players during their game. Although this is helpful, it’s up to the players to communicate and work together as they figure out what those clues mean to the puzzle. Teamwork, at Breakout Fresno, will be essential in achieving success within each mission.

“To be successful, it requires teamwork and utilizing all types of thinkers. We look at things through a different lens, and there are definitely areas that are easier for the analytical thinkers while there is plenty for the abstract thinkers as well,” offers Clem.

Breakout Fresno is set up to be a fun, unique and challenging adventure for just about everyone from young kids to businesses seeking out an interesting alternative to traditional team building exercises. The Fresno Grizzlies, PGE, and Starbucks are just a few of those businesses who’ve brought groups into Breakout Fresno to help strengthen their team. But it truly is anyone’s game.

“What we have really noticed is how universally appealing these games are. There is something that intrigues us all about observing our surroundings and using clues and puzzles to solve things. It’s been fun watching families with young kids, to teenagers, to first dates, to folks in their 70’s, to everyone in between really enjoy themselves,” says Clem.

Breakout Fresno is a family affair, both for guests and for the staff. The idea to open an escape room driven establishment came to Sarah Clem and her husband while they were on vacation in Philadelphia. Until their visit, Clem had only been familiar with the escape room experience as a game to be played online, not in person. The journey into a live experience had them hooked almost immediately and it inspired them to bring it home to Fresno. With the help of her parents, Clem was able to build out and decorate the rooms with careful detail to make each guest’s experience an immersive and enriched one.

Space in each room on any given day is limited. However, Breakout Fresno has a comprehensive scheduling system that you can view on their website. Their calendar, when you choose to book a room, has an up to date count of how many spots are available in each room on each day. The spots are limited to 6 total, but guests are welcome to book teams as small as 2 to play out each scenario. However, to make sure there are enough players for each game, groups of 3 or less may be grouped with another team.

To find out more information about Breakout Fresno and the experiences they offer, as well as their scheduled games visit BreakOutFresno.com.

Who knew the prospect of escaping could illicit so much excitement?

Coffee With A Mission

By Lisa Talley

It’s an early morning, and your hands wrap around a familiar warmth. The sweet, yet curt aroma wafts pleasantly from the steam rising from your cup and you breathe it in as you begin to unfold for the day. Coffee is the gift we give ourselves before the hectic rhythm of a busy day launches itself. And as we savor each sip, soaking up the oh so short-lived quiet, we think more about what’s ahead of us than the story of how that coffee came to be in our very hands.

Nestled in the heart of Downtown Fresno, Lanna Coffee Co. is always thinking about it. Since 2010, they’ve been working on how coffee can be an essential tool for bringing generations and communities out of poverty in Thailand.

“We bring the coffee in from Thailand, roast, package and deliver it to local businesses, coffee shops and homes across the valley and nation. Great coffee with a great mission,” offers Bryan Feil of Lanna Coffee Co.

The coffee Lanna roasts comes directly from the villages of Thailand, the very same ones they’re constantly making efforts to uplift. Every pound purchased here in the U.S. and by Central Valley residents is a direct contribution to those villagers who grow and harvest the coffee. It supplies them with a solid economic foundation which further allows them to not only be self-sustaining away from the drug trade, but to also maintain a certain quality of life. Lanna Coffee Co. dedicated to their mission that they’ve even taken it one step further.

“We have set up a non-profit alongside of our coffee company called the Lanna Foundation that is able to raise funds to send to the various projects that we are helping to further [such as] clean water & sanitation, education and healthcare,” says Feil.

The work in Thailand goes back 50 years and is the heart of Lanna Coffee Co., it is at the center of what drives them forward to continue to do bigger and better things.

So it goes without saying that Lanna Coffee Co. isn’t exactly a coffee shop. You won’t be able to stop in for a cup and spend a few hours writing your next screenplay. You’ll have to take their coffee home… or have it delivered right to your door, and work on your masterpiece there. Lanna Coffee Co. offers a subscription via their website (LannaCoffeeCo.com) where you can choose a biweekly or monthly delivery schedule for any of the roasts they offer. They carry a light ‘Artisan’ roast, a House roast that goes a little darker, and all the way down the line to their darkest roast expressing chocolatey notes is their French roast. And for all you hardcore coffee connoisseurs, they offer an espresso roast as well.

One of the things that put their coffee on a different tier is the quality of the roasts.

“Our beans from Thailand are really special and unique, there is less acid than many other coffees and people often comment that it is less bitter and more smooth,” explains Feil.

If you’re not sure you’ll like their style of coffee, no problem. Lanna Coffee Co. offers a free trial on their website where you can receive a 4 oz sample of a roast of your choosing. They even offer a free samples of their cold brew down at their warehouse, just go to their website for details.

They may not be a coffee shop in the traditional sense, but they do like to stay connected with their community and other coffee lovers. On September 24 they’re hosting ‘Brewer’s Cup’, an event which aims to highlight the specialty coffee world and bring together those who love brewing in a big way. This will be the first year that they’re featuring the brew method of an Aeropress, which is a somewhat updated and modified version of the French press. Those who love their press are encouraged to compete in Brewer’s Cup. And if you’re missing it this year, don’t worry, it’s planned to be an annual event. So start practicing!

Lanna Coffee Co. is making an effort to host monthly events where they fill growlers (large size bottles) of cold brew. Keep in touch with them and what they’re up to by following them on social media. You can find them on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter.

Beautiful Downtown Fresno

By Pedro Urena

Downtown Fresno is beautiful. Explore, visit, eat & get involved. Join us for the upcoming Fresno handmade/artisan sales. We will be at different venues selling handmade FRESNO SOUVENIRS, coasters, totes, bags, postcards/greeting cards, keychains, magnets, buttons, bookmarks and other goodies.

Join us for Handmade Sunday, Sunday, September 25, 2016, at Gazebo Gardens Nursery. It has been the Central Valley’s trusted source for the best horticultural supplies and advice since 1922. Located at the beginning of historic Christmas Tree Lane, in one of Fresno’s oldest neighborhoods, Gazebo Gardens has been a family tradition for generations of loyal customers for nearly a century. 3204 N Van Ness Blvd, Fresno, California, 11am-3pm.

Summer Sweat Festival Vol. 4 will be on Friday, September 30, 2016, Tioga- Sequoia Brewing Company, 5pm-12am. There will be live music, local bands, art, vendors, food, $10 all ages. The brewery was founded in 2007 with a mission to produce world-class beers that could bring awareness and resources to the preservation of the Southern Sierra Nevada Mountains in California. All Tioga-Sequoia products are brewed in downtown Fresno, California. They recently renovated their grain warehouse to become a tasting room in a Beer Garden style fashion. Located at 745 Fulton St, Fresno, California, 93721.

The Fresno High Flea will be on Saturday, October 1, 2016, 10am-2pm. A monthly market that showcases the finest handmade goods, vintage, jewelry, great treats and other goodies. The flea is every first Saturday of the month in the lot on the corner of Mckinley and Echo. The theme for this event is October Give for Treats, take gently used items, a sweatshirt drive for students at Fresno High. Located at 1839 N Echo Ave, Fresno, California, 93721.

Order Souvenirs we have made for the Fresno Grizzlies Festival, Fresno Summit Conference, Radisson Hotel, tours, celebrations, meetings and personal events. If you have questions, send a note to info. downtownfresno@gmail.com & follow @Beautiful_DowntownFresno on Instagram and Facebook for ongoing events and opportunities.

Tower District Brewfest

by Felix Muzquiz

Event photos (online & print) by JA Photography

If you’re a beer lover, the Tower District Brewfest is your chance to sample over 60 different craft beers from across California. It’s also a fantastic opportunity to see all the great changes that have been taking place in Fresno’s #1 destination for dining and entertainment – The Tower District – where you can park your car once and spend an entire day or evening visiting dozens of locally owned restaurants, bars, galleries, unique retailers and much more without ever having to get back in your car!

The Tower District Brewfest takes place on Sunday, September 18 from 1:00 to 5:00 p.m. in the parking lot behind the Tower Theatre. Five canopied pavilions will be set up throughout the parking lot to accommodate the vast number of brews represented and food and vendor booths will line the area in between. Sample lagers, ports, ales, IPAs, stouts, ciders and many other specialty brews – some that aren’t even available in our area. Each $35 ticket includes a free sampling glass to accommodate the unlimited samples offered and a meal ticket for one of four meals prepared by Tower District restaurants.

With the huge surge in popularity of craft beers, and with so many of those beers represented at the dozens of Tower District restaurants and bars, the Tower District Marketing Committee decided that hosting a Brew Festival was a perfect fit. The event is in its 7th year and attendance has grown to nearly 1,000 attendees. It’s a fun-filled, relaxing day of tasty sampling!

Fresno’s home-brew club the Worthogs, have played an integral role in the event from the beginning and again this year, several home brewers will be offering samplings of their personal craft beers. Event attendees will be able to vote for their favorite home brew and the winner will be presented with a trophy and bragging rights of being the first ever, most popular home brew at the Tower District Brewfest.

Tower Brewfest Beer Tent
Photo by: JA Photography

In addition to the brews, Bobby Salazar’s Taqueria, Zen Wok Fusion, Sequoia Brewing Company and Me-N-Ed’s Pizza will be serving up food to the crowds. Each ticket holder will receive a meal voucher for one of these offerings and additional food may be purchased as well.

 In keeping with a proper Brewfest, traditional polka and oompah music will be featured by Ed Hull’s Polkateers with Eva Scow and The Experience wrapping up the afternoon with an array of styles, ranging from R&B, to contemporary Jazz, Funk, and Pop. It will be an afternoon of tasty brews, fantastic food, great music, and lots of fun.

Tickets for the Tower District Brewfest are only $35.00 and are available at Sequoia Brewing Company, Livingstone’s, the Tower Theatre box office, Grandmarie’s Chicken Pie Shop, Irene’s Cafe, Tioga-Sequoia tasting room, or online at www.brownpapertickets.org or www.towerdistrict.org. Every ticket holder will receive a complimentary tasting glass, free tastings at every booth, and a meal ticket. $10.00 designated driver tickets will be available at the door.

The Tower District Brewfest is sponsored by Tioga-Sequoia Brewing Company, Bencomo’s Home Brew Supply and the Tower District Marketing Committee. Proceeds from the event benefit Tower District projects. For more information contact the Tower District Marketing Committee at (559) 497-8362 or visit www.towerdistrict.org.

Apocalypse Fresno

Central Valley becomes the playground for Anthony Puyo’s novel, The Compelled.

By Lisa Talley

Religious groups believed it to be a mass possession; something from a dark world we can’t see with our bare eyes, hosting onto the weak in spirit. But as time passed, we saw it was none of those things. Trapped in a world where violence supersedes compassion, and death is the fruit of man’s labor; Craig Bainy desperately searches for his family.” This is only a snippet of a description for local author, Anthony Puyo’s latest work The Compelled.

It’s a story about perseverance, devastation and the incredible will of the human spirit. An apocalyptic ride that will have you wondering just what sort of person you would be if the world began to unravel, revealing the wretched undertones of what it means to truly survive. But what will make this journey especially unique for Central Valley readers is that the landscape of the story takes place right here at home, in the city of Fresno.

“I’m really proud to give Fresno its own apocalyptic story. As they say; everyone seems to like to see their cities destroyed for some reason,” says Puyo. It was a decision that kept the story breathing seamlessly, projecting it forward without stalling the momentum by getting too reliant on the accuracy of a city Puyo may not be too familiar with. The city’s landscape and scenery are as much a part of the novel as the characters are, so knowing it like the back of the proverbial hand allows for a certain fluidity during the writing process.

And for a man who seems to really understand the darker side of human nature, he’s actually not that much of a horror fan. That title belongs to his mother. “She’s been a huge horror fan since as far back as I can remember,” offers Puyo, “I think subconsciously it rubbed off when I would play with my figures while she was watching [those types of tv shows and films].”

However, The Compelled would more adequately be described as a “dramatic, sci-fi horror” novel, with drama being first and horror being last. And even the term ‘novel’ doesn’t exactly quite mean what we’ve been so accustomed to with this particular story. Novels have long been associated as being these hefty lengths of work, littered with layered context and meaning dressed in metaphorical prose. Which avid readers do enjoy, but the audience is changing, adopting a preference and favor for quick paced, action packed entertainment. Novels are usually often threaded with one too many storylines without always exploring each one to every reader’s content. The Compelled isn’t that kind of novel.

“For a 564-page novel, it reads extremely fast,” explains Puyo. The style and pace of The Compelled is largely attributed to Puyo’s screenwriting style. Often, films are adapted from books, but it’s uncommon to find that a novel has adapted a style meant for the screen. Unnecessary descriptions are removed and all that is left is a streamlined leap through the author’s vision. This particular approach to the novel will have readers, even those who aren’t avid about it, turning page after page after page without missing a single detail.

Unsurprisingly, The Compelled, can easily be likened to blockbusters such as World War Z in terms of pace and storytelling; a pandemic sweeps through the country, bringing with it a cascade of fear, torment, and confusion quickly thereafter. A story of this magnitude begs an interesting question, “what sort of research goes into this?” Anthony Puyo’s response couldn’t be more perfect. “I think it’s very important to walk the line of ‘it could happen’.” Could being the operative word. Of course, the necessary research regarding medical facts and scientific theories were done, but it doesn’t need to encompass every aspect of imagination. The mantra of ‘could happen’ grants freedom to the author so that he/she may bring closure to big questions the reader will undoubtedly ask, and Puyo leaves no loose ends. “At the very end, if the reader still has questions, I think there’s a little bit of failure on the producer’s part… I weaved all the answers in [the story]”

The Compelled is available now, locally at Hart’s Haven Bookstore in the Tower District. The book is also available online, namely Amazon.com, but Puyo encourages any potential reader to purchase the book on Amazon’s sister company’s site, Createspace.com. The link is available on Puyo’s Facebook page along with other outlets. There’s no price difference for the readers, however, it does make a difference on how much Puyo actually receives. As a self-proclaimed independent, Puyo does not have the usual support of a publishing house like some other authors and has become his own sole source for that support. Being independent does have its perks, however, and as such are the reasons why Puyo remains so. It allows him to do his own editing, without a third party interjecting themselves into his work changing around his original creation, keeping not only the integrity of his original vision but of his passion as well.

You can find Anthony Puyo on Facebook as PuyosTheCompelled. There, readers can stay in touch with his upcoming events and future works. If you’re looking to get a taste of his style before delving into the novel, check out Misery Theater, a collection of short stories available online for about the cost of a comic book. And stay tuned, Puyo is far from done and will be releasing another title, a spin-off to The Compelled titled Devin, on November 3rd.