My name is Houston and I am a Petalunatic.  …or is it Petalumaniac?  I prefer Petaluminary but rarely do we get to pick the names we are saddled with.  I am thrilled to have been invited to blog for Petaluma360 and hope you find my posts informative and entertaining. 

When it comes to Petaluma, I love it all.  Did you know that we have at least two private museums right here in town? (Okay, one is in Penngrove, but close enough.)  Are you aware that one can indulge in bacon cheeseburgers at 40+ locations in Petaluma?  …well, okay, so I am finding that they don’t all offer bacon, but some offer other wonderfully salty meats, like prosciutto, as well as a dizzying array of patty, bun and cheese choices.  It’s these little things that brought me back to Petaluma after 15 years of absence.  If there is a parade, I am there, usually with a stick of meat in one hand and a bowl of meat in the other.  Whether it is the Butter and Eggs Days Parade, the Veteran’s Parade or the Petaluma Band Review…nothing feels more like a community than half the town lining up on the sidewalks to wave at the other half of the town marching in the parade.  If there is a street fair, a county fair, arts fair or a farmer’s market, you will likely find me there.  I enjoy the sights, sounds, people and vibes that are unique to Smalltown, USA…and if there is a hotdog and/or cupcake stand it is quite possible that I will stop in to make a donation. 

I grew up in Penngrove, graduated from Petaluma High School and then spent several years at the SRJC before moving to San Francisco to continue my education both in academia and in the real world.  I graduated with a degree in economics and international business from S.F.S.U. and after fifteen years in San Francisco and Rockridge I returned to the North Bay several years ago.  I enjoyed my time in other parts of the Bay Area but always knew I would return home to “the country.” 

I have had many careers, from retail management to research analyst, real estate investor to security lead for The Burning Man Project.  I have an eye for detail, thirst for knowledge, and passion for new experiences.  I have no reservations or hesitations about speaking my mind, and am not afraid to be on the unpopular side of an issue if I think the cause is just.

As with most people, I run the gamut of dichotomies and contradictions.  You are just as likely to find me at the skeet range as you are to find me talking veggies at the local nursery or taking my nephew to a play.  I like cooking gourmet meals and eating at fancy restaurants but also have a freezer full of frozen dinners and have been known to crave gas station sandwiches. 

I hope this blog will help to highlight Petaluma’s eccentric culture, history, cuisine, and people.  I look forward to learning more and encourage you to contact me with concerns, comments, or suggestions.  If you know of a new restaurant, out-of-the-way festival, book signing, event or charity, I would love to know about it.  I revel in seeing others learn and experience new things and like to spread the word about Petaluma’s unique charm to everyone I meet, whether they are locals, visitors or potential future visitors. 

I will try my best to keep my blog interesting and informative.  As a big fan of food, a large part of my writing will revolve around the Petaluma area food establishments and events, which are often isolated from the rest of the county.  But, you are just as likely to read about how to fight a traffic ticket, local political issues, and the myths of expiration dates, as you are about food.  I am not afraid to admit when I am wrong, but at the same time, am also not afraid to stand up for what I believe in.

I look forward to serving the community of Petaluma through my Petaluma 360 blog, “Above the Brim – Rivertown rants, raves and reviews from a man of many hats.”