Archive for the ‘Random moments of (fill in the blank)’ Category
First off – last night was the third episode of Top Chef Season 3. So far, this is shaping up to be a great season – way, way, WAY better than Season 2.
Last night, the challenge was taking traditional home-style recipes and reworking them to make them low-cholesterol and healthier. The reworked dishes were then sprung on some senior-citizenly Miami Beach Elks club members.
Well. You should have seen the look on the contestants faces when they viewed these dishes. Tuna casserole? UGH. Meatloaf? YICK. Fish & Chips? HOW CAN I POSSIBLY LOWER MYSELF TO THIS. While I am thinking, I absolutely love to cook, and eat, all that white trash stuff.
OK, this is the one bad thing about having all these uber-experienced contestants. (Well, more experienced than in the past, anyway.) Sorry, but franks and beans ROCK, especially when you have a hangover – just ask any British punk rocker. Wait – maybe they only eat the beans. Whatever, you get the drift. Chicken and dumplings, mac and cheese, these are the foods I would pay extra for if they were done well. What were the contestants thinking?
As it was, they couldn’t cope with it. I guess it could be the absence of fat that turned them all into a bunch of lame-asses. This challenge turned them all into Season 2 type chefs when up till now they were looking very Season 1.
Amuse-Biatch has an absolutely brilliant piece about last night’s quickfire challenge, which involved sea creatures and quotes like “I don’t dick around with conch.” I wish I could write that well.
In other news, Wilco are coming to San Diego! August 29 at the San Diego State Open Air Theatre and I have KILLER seats, thanks to Mark. And Arcade Fire is coming to the Hollywood Bowl on September 20, so I’ll be heading up for that. Tickets go on sale this Saturday… I scored a decent seat on the presale somehow. This is making up for me missing not one but TWO Spoon shows when I am in France in September.
So, it’s good that I am finally feeling better, because there is a lot of stuff about to happen.
I’ve been sick. Laid out, hot and cold, sweating. Unable to breathe or lift anything.
I love living alone but I’ll say this: being sick alone? Beyond horrible. It’s the only time I wish I had someone around to take care of me. I’m getting better now, thanks god.
Anyway. The “big news” is not so crazy; I guess it might have sounded that way because my sister-in-law Carrie called me to admonish me that she should be told of big news before my blog readers! Sorry Carrie. I’m not pregnant, getting married or divorced, I did not get fired or get a promotion, and I am pretty sure my cholesterol is the same as it’s always been.
The big news then.
I’ve been a part of the slowtrav community for over five years as an active member. This is a group of people that have become like a family to me. Like, it is a HUGE part of my life.
Last week, Pauline, founder and “Queen,” as we call her, asked me if I wanted to become a moderator and head up my own forum on Spain! After about five seconds of deliberation I said yes.
My job as a moderator will be to get people in there, so if have been to Spain, want to go to Spain, or, well, just like Rioja, please stop by. Just be nice, ’cause I have the power to whup your butt if you aren’t. Just kidding, I won’t whup anybody’s butt. I don’t think.
This is a cool new chapter in my life and I am really excited about it. So, onward! HERE is a link to the Spain and Portugal forum. As moderator, I command you to check it out! Just kidding. Maybe.
I’m not going to write too much about Sunday’s Independence Jam. It wasn’t a very good day – Miller Lite and White Trash Assholes equals Recipe for Disaster.
Spoon was OK. They were great, actually, but it’s nothing I’ve not seen before. They only played one new song, Britt appeared to be wearing the same outfit I saw him in at their show here almost a year ago… not that this matters, really. But I was, between the assholes and the repetition, not only unmoved but unhappy. Could it be I am falling out of love?
Whatever. The rest of the show was fine, Interpol was good, but it was all pretty bland.
Thankfully, last night made up for a hundred shitty shows. Wife Hannah and daughter Emma being in Wisconsin for a few days, Brian asked me to join him for an early meal at The Vine. We met there and proceeded – with the help of the staff – to drink many fantastic bottles of wine. It was just a perfect Monday evening at The Vine, with a lot of comraderie and a killer dish of pasta with pancetta, broccoli rabe, and Boschetta al Tartufo – a cheese with bits of white truffle. That pasta, with the Nebbiolo and then the Barolo we drank, was really incredible.
It’s always fun to hang out with Brian but to hang out with him on my side of the bar, instead of him waiting on me and everyone else at The Vine, was awesome. There was another dude in there too, John, who looks like the last real OBcian with a beard down to his navel, who instructed me about Permaculture. So not only did I eat some killer food and drink some unbelievable wine but I also learned something completely new.
Eventually Brian and I went to John’s house and this is where the evening got trippy. John lives in a house that I have walked by a million times and I always loved the way it looked. It looks, well, like a house in OB should look – hippiesque, unkempt, welcoming, funky. So we go in and then to the backyard where there are a series of lean-to type structures and dudes are back there, living in them! It’s like a jungle, like the treehouse at Disneyland but real, like some kind of crazy dream. Maybe it was the wine, I dunno, but it was intriguing.
Anyhow. For every bad day, a great night. Right?
It was only a matter of time; I’ve always known that Britt Daniel will eventually be a very famous rock star.
Now he’s on the cover of Spin. It’s started. Actually, he is not really On The Cover; unless you fold it out. The company he is keeping there is pretty impressive.
Well, (heavy sigh), life changes. I knew it would happen and I guess in the future I won’t get to see Britt at smallish clubs like Canes anymore. I’ll be forced to go to SOMA and wait on the friggen’ pavement of a strip mall for four hours and then I won’t even be able to pee all the wine I consume without fear of not getting back on the floor. Or I’ll be sitting in row H at the Greek Theatre in Hollywood. I’m not so sure I like this chain of events. It really sucks, for me!
But it is good for Britt Daniel so I suppose I should be happy for him. Sniff.
Speaking of change, yesterday I took a long walk around my own neighborhood. I don’t usually get much past the Vine, but yesterday I had a special hankering for fried seafood or some other kind of pub grub. I had heard about a new Irish pub on Newport called Gallagher’s, but they don’t seem to be open for business yet – though they look to be almost there. So I kept walking around the corner to Tower Two – a sort of fish taco/breakfast/cheap wine and good beer sort of place. Unfortunately for me, the three server chicks completely ignored me for about twenty minutes despite my meaningful glances. Guess it was a mistake to sit inside by the door (huh?) So finally I got up and left. Yesterday I did not have the energy to scream out “YO CAN I GET A PINOT GRIGIO AND A FISH TACO IN THIS PLACE OR WHAT?” Oh well. On my way out, I looked up and noticed that the OB location of Nick’s at the Beach, after what seems like two years of getting it together, is about to open. Those chicks at Tower Two had better get their shit together.
Finally in a sort of I’ve Got to Eat Now or I Will Pass Out state of being, I wandered over to what used to be Ortegas but is now the Blue Parrot Cafe. I hadn’t been back there since I got an extremely violent case of food poisoning there about a year ago, and it was with major trepidation that I ate my cheese enchilada. But I seem to be OK today (though the food wasn’t so good.)
People were out in force, though it was not exactly warm, and everything was packed. I don’t like Newport Street on the weekend so much. I definitely prefer it on my morning walks when there is hardly anyone out and when I sometimes see three or four people I know, because we actually live here.
Anyway. The Vine might be opening for lunch soon and then I won’t have to bother with these other places at all. Now that is one change for the good!
You might be wondering where I have been. Well, I was traveling, and then I got home and I have been haunted these past few days by dreams and imaginations of bad, bad things. It hasn’t been a good week what with the worries and the cold sweats. I will not bore you with details… after all I have a reputation to protect.
BUT…. big news and that news is, a new season of Top Chef is starting June 6. I think the REAL season actually starts June 13, but there is some stand-off episode between the winners of seasons one and two on the 6th. (I think.)
At any rate the contestants of next season are up on bravotv.com and in the very near future I will give you my run-down on all of them. I didn’t do so good on my last season’s preshow predictions; I did, however, do quite excellently on my predictions after the first episode.
Of course, I did not predict how I would end up rooting for Marcel in the end. By the time that came around, the show was so boring I didn’t even write about it anymore. Let’s hope they handle it all a little better this time.
What with all the concerts coming up – Arcade Fire, Raveonettes and THEN Spoon (whoo hoo!) AND Interpol in the first ten days of June alone, it’s already looking like a crazy summer. So, it would be in my best interest to not think about identity theft or pole shift for a while. There are better things to obsess about.
I am back and promise to post more soon. In the meantime ya’all have a look at my beautiful nephew.
I am home. I got home yesterday, and I feel very, very lucky that American was kind enough to get me out of Houston on a Continental flight. Lots of people were stranded. Maybe I would still be there, I don’t know. All I know is I am very thankful I didn’t get stranded for very long.
Yesterday was my first Continental Airlines flight in, I think, something approaching twenty years. I’m scrunching up my forehead now, trying to remember if I have flown them in the near or even not so near past, and I don’t think so. The last time I flew on Continental was so crazy and out of control weird and so completely impossible in the world we live in now, that I feel compelled to write about it. In twenty years, everything has completely changed.
In 1987 and 1988 I lived in New Jersey for a time – I moved there for love, but it was a sick and twisted love. Fucked up, alcoholic, kicked in the face kind of love. About halfway through my ten month sentence I decided I was going home for a couple of weeks, and when I say I decided, I mean I decided. I drank a few coconut margaritas and the next thing I knew I was at Newark airport. I had no ticket, and to make matters worse I had no cash. All I had was something like two hundred bucks in the bank and my checkbook. Who the hell was I kidding? I wasn’t going to get out of New Jersey and back to California on that. Not on an airplane, anyway.
So me and my boyfriend are at Newark airport, and even though he is an asshole in general he sees the desperation and wants to help me get home for a while. At the counter, we are told by the agent that we are trippin’. Airlines don’t book tickets at the last minute for $200, and they don’t take checks. The fare is something like $350 in cash. (I had no credit in those days, I’d already crashed and burned as a college student with a Visa card.)
I was not surprised to find my hopes dashed. But as we walked away the agent called out my boyfriends name. Turns out, they went to high school together and while my boyfriend was currently a total dick, in high school I guess he was something of a legend. That was all it took – within minutes I had a ticket for a flight for San Francisco that I had purchased with the dregs of my checking account. As impossible as this seems in 1987, now it is just, well, Totally Impossible.
It gets better. On this Continental aircraft flying from Newark to San Francisco, they had a BAR. One you could go up and stand at! Sit at! Drink at! Have conversations with other passengers and flight attendents at! They were trying to make flying fun, so they put a bar in on the friggen plane. The thought of being able to get up and go hang out at a bar on an airplane is so weird and random and impossible now that if I had not experienced it once myself, I am not sure I would believe it really existed.
Our flight was delayed three hours, so drinks were free. DRINKS WERE FREE, AT A BAR, ON A PLANE. It’s true, I swear it. I drank heavily with a bunch of surfers and it was really fun, but then things got a little out of control and they made us go back to our seats. I can still see all those mini bottles of Chivas and Stoli rolling around on that bar – it was insane. Insane, and fun. What happened? Flying is definitely not fun anymore.
So thank you, Continental Airlines, twice – once for the memory of the way life used to be, and again for getting me safely home yesterday. Now, if you could just hook up some San Diego to Europe non-stops, we’d be set. But even if that never happens, it’s all cool for now.
The other night, I was in the Vine and started talking to one of the other regulars about my upcoming trip to Berlin.
“Know any German yet?” He asked.
“Entshuldigung Zie! Bitte! Guten Tag! Weiss Wine! Rot Wein! Uh… uh….” I tried to remember something else. How are you… how are you… vie… vie… “uh… uh…”
“Rot Wein. That’s a good one to know.” Whew.
It is a good one to know, and I have been meaning to put together this list for some time. It’s a work in progress, so feel free to comment if you have anything to add. I, for one, am dying to know how to say red wine in Polish, just in case.
HOW TO SAY RED WINE IN MANY LANGUAGES.
rot wein – German
vino rosso – Italian
vino tinto – Spanish
vin rouge – French
voros bor – Magyar (Hungarian)
sheraaz – Australian
rode wijn – Dutch
rodvin – Danish
vinho tinto – Portuguese
czerwony wino – Polish (Thanks Angie!)
As for any more, uh… uh….
Is where the heart is.