Otter update, trick or treat expectations, high stakes | Notes on the Valley | Monith Ilavarasan | |

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Notes on the Valley

By Monith Ilavarasan

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About this blog: My parents, brother, and I moved to Pleasanton when I was in the seventh grade. I then graduated from Amador Valley High School, went to college at UC Davis and started out a career in tech. After several years working in large co...  (More)

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Otter update, trick or treat expectations, high stakes

Uploaded: Nov 1, 2023
Otter update:
My role model, Otter 841, has resurfaced once again in the waves of Santa Cruz. She initially rose to prominence after videos spread of her aggressively stealing surfers’ boards and taking them for a joyride. This time she brought along an apprentice.

According to reporting by the East Bay Times, San Jose State University environmental studies professor and Santa Cruz resident Dustin Mulvaney began to notice a change in the otter. The otter's belly had grown indicating she was possibly pregnant. Experts hypothesized that her aggressive behavior toward humans may have resulted from pregnancy-related hormonal changes, but they couldn’t confirm she was pregnant.

I will say when I originally heard the story I immediately knew what was up. Four months into her pregnancy my partner insisted we drive down to Cowell Beach. When we reached the beach she immediately swam out.

I watched, proud and aghast, as she ripped boards away from experienced surfers and demonstrated the gnarliest hang tens I’d ever seen. She then paused and started gnawing on the actual boards. As a supportive partner I cheered her on while fighting off the confused surfers.

Anyways, I was glad to hear news of a recent baby otter with Otter 841 and that they were doing well. The otter and this ongoing saga continues to bring me joy. I hope to see them on the next Tudor Nazaré Tow Surfing Challenge.

Trick or treat expectations:
When I was a kid the rumor was that trick or treating at Ruby Hill was the place to go. Houses would be handing out full candy bars left and right. I finally got into a Ruby Hill trick or treating group only to realize that the houses were so far apart from each other. The real metric one should optimize on is candy per minute walked. This experience spurred me to get my major in applied statistics.

For the last few years my partner and I had a second story apartment. The first year we moved in we got a bunch of candy in anticipation of kids stopping by. We didn’t get a single one, kids these days don’t have any hustle. There is nothing sadder than eating a whole Almond Joy candy bar three days in a row.

The next few years we didn’t have any expectations of kids showing by. We ended up spending halloween night inside watching old rom coms. My partner does not like scary movies.

This year we moved to a location that has a first floor and a bunch of families around. We prepared by buying candy gummies from Trader Joes. We were hopeful, but expectations were tempered. We ended up getting wave after wave of trick or treaters, who politely each took one pack.

Towards the end of our evening our supplies were slowly dwindling, however we made it out with a couple packs to spare. It didn’t help that between each wave my partner and I would crack open a fresh pack. Our back up plan was to give out apple slices, which would cement our status as the worst house on the block. We’ll have to get adjusted to this new normal moving forward.

High stakes:
With the new season of basketball starting my degenerate friends and I have already started placing bets. One of our favorite beginning of season bets is to pick who is going to be the “best of the worst” at the end of the season. The winner of the bet selects a team that has the best record who also does not make the playoffs. If one selects a team that makes the playoffs, you are automatically a loser.

We constructed this bet so that we could watch random games and still have a stake in who wins or loses. Without this, a low scoring Magic - Rockets game would be absolutely meaningless. With this bet, we can turn on nearly any game and have some investment until the end.

Unfortunately, no money is at stake. It’s unfortunate because we would frankly all rather empty our bank accounts than face the actual consequences of losing the bet. The loser, or losers, all have to treat the others to an expensive dinner. The kicker is all the losers have to wear a jersey of the winners choosing to the dinner.

This season we went to a Michelin star restaurant where the sole loser had to wear a Dillon Brooks jersey signed by all the winners. Frankly, I’m surprised they even let us in.

What is it worth to you?


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