Wednesday, December 29, 2004

San Bruno

Pat got me this gift certificate to an obscure used book/record shop up in San Bruno, so I took the NSTL up there tonight to see if there was anything I wanted. Honestly, I think he re-gifted the certificate from that Arthur guy, since neither of us would ever have any reason to be in San Bruno, but so what. It was an excuse to get out and see someplace new. As it was, I'm pretty glad I went.

San Bruno has an underground kind of like ours, but it's closer to San Francisco and more working class and more mixed-ethnicity. I got off the NSTL and after a few minutes I realized that there were absolutely no chains of any sort: no McDonald's, no Starbucks, no major groceries, not even a major gas station. It was like the entire downtown strip was locked in 1973. I saw two Korean bbq places, innumerable Chinese joints, a big A-frame pizza place, vacuum cleaner repair shops, Mexican mercados and taquerias, a red-checker Italian place, one of those shops that rents school band instruments, a kids' furniture outlet...I need to get back there. It reminded me of the kinds of streets dad would cruise down when I was a kid, taking us to pizza at a place that I so dimly remember as to not be entirely sure it ever existed at all.

Anyhow, I went to this used book/record shop and poked around a while. It was mostly self-published leftist literature from the 60s and 70s, including a physics textbook called Physics Needs an Enema! I flipped through Physics Needs an Enema! for a bit, but it quickly revealed itself as a book about how only published physicists get listened to and how to get published you need to tell a politician what they want to hear or be from "old New England money." It seemed like pretty personal invective, like the guy was a physicist who just wouldn't "play the game" and spilled his anger into a five-figure vanity printing project. He used a lot of Crumb drawings for which I'm sure he didn't have licenses. When he needed to illustrate a principle for which he had no Crumb drawing he had drawn his own in an approximation of the Crumb style, and it made me really uncomfortable.

I got sick of the scene pretty quick and tucked the gift certificate into the breast pocket of a log-sawin' Bolshevik. The counter guy, a jawless fuzz-faced old hippie who looked like an anutritional Marx in sweatpants, looked up as I walked out, but I figured he didn't have the local pull to sic the cops on me for Non-vocal Disrespect.

I picked up a hot bowl of birria at some place called Tacos Dos Tallarines, complete with chopped cilantro and onion, and hopped back on the NSTL.

Sunday, December 19, 2004

Téodor's Temptations

Alright, I didn't actually name it something corny like that, but I did start up a craft services table at the porn set they have going next door. I'd never done anything like this before, and I didn't really know what I was doing, so I made a big pot of chili verde, which I served with spanish rice, black beans, corn tortillas, guacamole, sour cream, and flan for dessert. That went pretty well; people just ate what I had and stopped eating when I ran out of food. I cleared a couple hundred and Self Made (yes, that's what their crazy little Thai cameraman wanted me to call him) even helped me carry the pots back through the fence to our place. He works like he's cranked on speed but he's not shaky at all. I think he really just likes what he's doing. If his English was better we'd probably hang out after shoots. As it is, he makes a call on his cell phone and one of a rotating schedule of ruined 80s Nissan sedans m-m-mutters up (their mufflers are always shot; do they park in saltwater puddles?) to claim him.

I got the gig through Roar, who is kind of the main honcho at the set. I ran into him a few days ago at Trader Joe's and with nothing better to say I said "Oh hey, I think you guys just moved in next door to us. I'm Téodor." I figured he'd be personable, what with the porn gig and all, and he came through as predicted. "Oh, yeah, I been meaning to say hi," he said as he shook my hand. "Nice to meet you, T." He said it in that L.A. kind of way where you know he hadn't really been meaning to do anything, but since he immediately gave you a nickname you felt close.

I asked him if he ever needed any catering for his set next door, and mentioned that I was trained in catering and would be happy to set them up. He said to stop by sometime, and I did, and a few bowls later I had an unspoken contract for today's set. I'll be back tomorrow. They film a lot of footage every night, it seems.

Monday, December 13, 2004

Boogie Nights neighbors

Last week a little porn company moved in next door. They also rented out an office in this small-timey industrial complex around the corner, and every night all these chicks in new Mustangs show up, the kind that have the low-rise jeans and big old handlebar tattoos over their asses. They've already started filming at the house, which has a pool and hot tub, and I guess they rent the office so they can have a separate business address for when perverts stalk them. Seems like S.O.P. for a porno outfit. So far it looks like they do mainly BBW gonzo, with really skinny studs. Must be kind of a niche thing. I want to run across one of them casually one day and offer to cater the sets. It'd be a nice excuse to do some good cooking, get paid, and have a really weird afternoon.

Sunday, December 05, 2004

Rat in the garage.

I was lying in bed on the "cusp" of sleep at around 2am when all of a sudden there was this horrible gushing noise in the garage. I figured the hot water heater had burst a hose, and if that was the case then a lot of my storage boxes were going to get ruined, so I jumped up and ran in there.

Apparently some rat had jumped across the faucet of the laundry sink and pressed on the hot water lever, because hot water was shooting out of it at full tilt. Shaken but relieved, I turned it off and made a mental note to make handle-clips out of old coat hangers. If that happens again while no one's around, there could be real damage. I also got the Rat Zapper out. The Rat Zapper is this little shoebox-size thing with four double-A batteries and an electrical floor that electrocutes rats who wander in after the bait (we throw in dog kibble). It looks sort of dumb but it really works. It killed a rat the size of a corn cob last time I set it up. I prefer the Rat Zapper to traps because it's bloodless and instantaneous. Sometimes when you use traps you just snap off like half the head and they wander around for a while, spreading bad karma and jammy thick blood.

Okay, back to bed. While I was up I put some phyllo dough in the fridge to defrost. I thought that maybe tomorrow I'd bake a Napoleon of phyllo, roasted red pepper, mozzarella, and chopped kalamata.

Thursday, November 25, 2004

I'm allergic to brandy; lost hat

I went down to the Corner-Sav to get some Corn Nuts and an egg sandwich and behind the counter I saw this row of liquor bottles. Thanksgiving was here and there was a chill in the air so I thought hey, why not get some brandy. That's an autumn/winter type drink. So, I picked up a bottle and it gave me the hiccups immediately. This stinks. I've had the hiccups for almost two hours.

When I was walking down there I saw this baseball cap on the darkened sidewalk. I examined it and it said AMICI'S, the name of this local thin-crust pizza chain. I walked about ten feet past it and then thought that there might have been a dead body in the hedge along the sidewalk, you know, that belonged to the hat. I walked back and peered into the hedge but didn't see any feet or hands or anything. That's when it dawned on me: I watch too much Law & Order.

Monday, November 15, 2004

Is Thom Yorke a douchebag?

He's the guy from Radiohead. I read a big interview with him today and he sounds like kind of a wiener. "Politically active vegan," that kind of thing. Like Moby but with singles that don't rely on Gwen Stefani. I've always thought that he made pretty sweet music but now after listening to his self-indulgent whineliners he comes across more like the mope who quit high school to lose weight and work on his pallor.

My dad always said that Jay North got famous too fast. In 1959, at age eight, Jay played Dennis the Menace, and from that point on was apparently typecast and unhireable. He explored a life of drug addiction and weight gain and now works as a prison guard in Florida. Thom and Radiohead hit the big-time right out of college and apparently their mentality is suspended in the early-20s aspic: a lush death-ambrosia of emotional fear, inability to use Microsoft Excel, and terror at the prospect of waking up the next day lest they be a robot with a large black rubber differential instead of a neck.

I guess I don't need Radiohead to explore the depths of micro-personal despair any more. It's great stuff, and they're unparalleled in pulling it off, but quit being the Beastie Boys, you know. I don't want to watch a snowy-haired MCA chiki-cha'ing a mic and pronging like a land-elf. I want him to be reading about epidemiology in an upholstered chair on the upper west side. He's old enough to be my extremely young father, for christs's sake.

Wednesday, November 10, 2004

Chris did not move to Spain.

Chris didn't move to Spain, as threatened, but he has been considering taking a vacation at the cabin (his family has a place up in the gold country) soon. He grew up in that area and gets kind of nostalgic for it when it's snow season. Maybe I'll tag along and do some hiking and fishing. Or maybe I won't, and just sit around eating things out of bags and using the computer instead.

In other news...Cornelius wrote me. His big romantic adventure was kind of a flop (duh) and he's headed home in about a week. Says he's bringing me one of those big furry hats and some kind of rare vodka that we can't get here. It'll be nice to have him back around -- the place has been kind of a frat house since he left. He has this normative effect on the place, where people aren't as inclined to leave dishes and dirty magazines around. Except for Lyle. If we had the Pope coming over, Lyle wouldn't think twice about wearing his old "CHOAD MAN" t-shirt and drinking MGD out of a vase.

Tuesday, November 02, 2004

Election Night

It's pretty tense around here. It looks like Kerry's leading by a marginal amount, with four hours left in the vote. Chris is pacing around the house making all kinds of bold claims about moving to Spain if Bush wins. His thinking is that people always threaten to move to Canada if they don't like the outcome of an election, but why would you want to live in Canada? Spain has a lovely climate, a great food culture, and topless beaches. Canada's national dish is "poutine," which is french fries baked in gravy, and it's so cold there that any exposed nipples immediately harden into pebbles and fall off of the breast, leaving only a small spot of blood.

Tuesday, October 19, 2004

Brew Company Update

I spent about fifty hours pro bono making beer labels for Ray to look at. I expensed a bunch of those $3-$9 boutique beers, some domestics like Bud and Coors, and a few antique labels off eBay. I like to do a bit of research, let the ideas settle into my subconscious, and then stay up all night a few times when it's silent in the house, just letting the mouse go wherever it wants. I had some really nice vintage woodcut techniques going on, and even created a new typeface that evokes Copperplate but isn't obviously based on it. You could have seen any of my comps on any shelf in any liquor store.

I dropped them off in Ray's mail slot, since he wasn't around, and figured I'd hear from him later that night or, at the latest, the next day. I even skipped a few trips down to The Smoke with Beef (The Tenmen were the house band for a week) just because I figured he'd call and want me to come over so he could talk about getting the artwork into production. A week passed, no dice. I didn't contact him because I don't like to force people to say things about the work if they're still thinking about it. The ball was in his court.

After another week I started to worry that he hadn't gotten the package of comps, so I stopped by and knocked on his door. It swung open, so I wandered in. I heard him talking with Petey in the kitchen, so I headed that way, but then something in the living room caught my eye: huge stacks of cases of beer. Excited that he might have used my labels and just forgotten to tell me, or wanted to surprise me, I went and popped one of the boxes open.

I couldn't have been more shocked if I'd found my own disembodied head staring back at me. There they were, twenty-four gleaming brown bottles of beer, with...with the ugliest, most amateurish labels imaginable. The thing was, he and Petey had spared no expense: there was intricate die-cutting, foil embossing, even a hologram. I'll try to describe it.

In the center was a 3D hologram of a log cabin, about the size of an egg, and when you turned the bottle a little Abraham Lincoln came out and waved. On either side of the hologram were these low-res GIFs of eagles and barley that Ray had obviously gotten off the Internet and enlarged, and around these were gratuitous gold foil circles. There were typos in the copy about "authentic micro-brewwed flavor" and "rich, sophisitcated aromas." The thing that really killed me, though, was the typography of the title. Or rather, the lack of it. You know how sometimes a computer will replace a missing font with a version of Courier? That had happened to them here, so instead of whatever it was supposed to say, the text had overflowed the printable area and just said "HONEST AB."

I was so pissed off that I walked into the kitchen and glared at Ray. He acted like nothing was up and went, "Hey, Téodor! Long time no see! How you like our new bottles?"

I bit my lip, took the high road, and asked him if he'd gotten my label samples. He looked at me quizzically for a second and then said "Oh! Those other beer labels you scanned for me? Thanks, yeah! They gave us all kinds of ideas! How you like our new bottles?"

I didn't know whether to be flattered or to hit him on the head with a pan. Apparently my labels were so authentic looking that he'd assumed I had just given them to him for reference. I eyed a hefty skillet that was hanging from the ceiling rack, but felt the temper ebb. After a bit of explanation, he realized that they had all been for him, and he laughed and slapped his forehead while cutting me a check for two grand. I figure my stuff will get used after they sell out of this first batch, but the way things go with Ray, he'll probably win some sort of conceptual design award with those horrendous hackjobs and keep them in production.

Saturday, October 02, 2004

Brew Company

Just got back from Ray's. He's really got something on his hands with these incredible new concept beers he and that Oregon Petey guy have been brewing. That Belgian fig/nutmeg lambic, Meyer lemon weissbier, crisp fennel/mint ale, roasted plum/brown sugar stout, chokecherry caramel barleymead, even this incredibly subtle toasted sesame single-wort that goes amazingly well with sushi....

He showed me this horrible logo he and Petey had sketched up. First off, the name they chose for their brewery is awful: "Rayle." Like "Ray" and "Ale." That was misstep number one. Secondly, it's set in the Copperplate font. Weinhard's wore that one out about fifty World's Fairs ago. Thirdly, well...who cares. It has no legs and it's not gonna fly. I'm going to set up some billables and creatively consult for them until they have a first-class ticket to slap on their packaging. This is good stuff and it shouldn't look like first-generation hackery. Given their druthers, these guys'd probably suggest a tie-dyed label concept and approve some second cousin's shaky line drawings of a jester riding a penny-farthing.

Thursday, September 30, 2004

Jesus Philippe

Philippe managed to brush his teeth with someone's tube of K+Y jelly and needed me to get a new one before they found out. The other day he was about to wipe a rubber all over his sandwich. I need to find out where he's getting this stuff before he shows up with his head stuck in a Christy Canyon Vibrating Life Size Butt.

Tuesday, September 28, 2004


Last night Chris was making a homemade pizza with chopped clams and tons of garlic. When canned, chopped clams are cooked, they have a nice mild flavor that mixes well with a lot of things. I'm surprised we don't see things like clam salad sandwiches (like tuna salad) or clam rolls (a la lobster rolls) etc. I guess it's because so many people have horrible seafood experiences when they're kids, they get turned off to most forms of seafood for life. It's kind of a shame that we feed kids fish sticks and rancid cafeteria salmon when they're young and forming their first impressions of the stuff. I didn't like seafood until I was an adult and I could drop a few extra dollars at a nice restaurant that actually had fresh fish and knew how to cook it.

For dinner tonight I think I'm going to make a clam hash, with steamed new potatoes, scallions, garlic, chopped clams, fontina, and parsley. That'll be good with buttered toast and a poached egg.

Sunday, September 26, 2004

Thanks for the warning

It was maybe five AM last Friday and I saw Chris madly packing his bags. "Going on vacation," he yelled, running all around the house for camera batteries and suntan lotion. "You're off for a week."

It would have been nice to know this ahead of time. You'd think he could tell us this stuff, since presumably he hadn't just discovered at five AM that he was about to hop on a plane to Hawaii. I could have taken some of my golf winnings and gone to Manhattan. I could have gone to see a GBV show in whatever cloakroom they got booked in Des Moines this week. As it was, I just dorked around with my music equipment and did some cooking.

Oh, I did spend an afternoon record shopping over in the Berkeley underground. I picked up some old 45s that are probably one of a kind by this point: Rubber Rodeo, Miracle Legion, Wire's "Outdoor Miner," Multicoloured Shades, that old Ministry "Every Day is Halloween" single, even a Lime Spiders EP. I like that about Berkeley: you can find virtually any album that ever existed in the musty, creaky aisles of Amoeba, Rasputin's, etc.

What I don't like about Berkeley:

1. People who have made the decision to get tattoos on their faces

2. People who have had body art practitioners put small beads in a row under the skin of their forehead

3. People who have had their teeth sharpened to look like vampire teeth

4. People who ask you for spare change and say "fuck you, yuppie scum!" when you don't have any

5. Like San Francisco and Santa Cruz, it is OK to poop anywhere you want. I saw one guy pooping through the bench grates at the bus stop. He had really crazy eyes and a red corduroy sport coat. I didn't complain for fear of public censure by hairy-pitted vegan midwives interrupted from doing amniotic shooters and placenta poppers in People's Park.

Okay, so: no thanks to Chris, screw "liberal" communities, and I am going to listen to some old albums in my room. I'll probably walk down to Jack in the Box later.

Tuesday, September 14, 2004

Back on the links, finally.

I finally lured Ray away from his new brewery obsession for a couple hours, on the condition that we bring all his new beers and talk about them while we golfed. I have to admit, he's managed to come up with some really quality brews. Not just simple ales, but a full range of ports and lambics and pilsners. He's got this Belgian fig lambic with nutmeg that absolutely drives me crazy it's so well balanced. You see the Raspberry and Strawberry ale now and then, but fig and nutmeg? It reminds me of that Pete's Wicked Christmas ale, but it's got about ten floors more depth of character. I think it's mostly this brewmaster Petey he flew down from Oregon, but Ray probably had a hand somewhere in the brainstorming process. I could see this new line of gourmet beers getting really popular, like how food faddists are all hopped up on infused oils and other exotic permutations of the basics.

I won $2700 in nine holes (he was anxious to get back to his worts and yeasts). It wasn't too much fun since his mind wasn't really on the game and he kicked about half his putts in, but I guess $2700 is $2700.

Thursday, September 09, 2004

Peanut Sauce

We had these frozen Trader Joe's potstickers in the fridge, so I got those going at lunchtime today. While they were frying I thought "what the hell" and made a peanut sauce. The first one I made was way too salty, but in the second one I balanced the soy sauce with more honey. Here's what I used:

(all measurements are really loose)

1 tbsp peanut butter
1 tbsp honey
1/2 tsp sriracha hot chili sauce
1 tbsp soy sauce
1/2 tsp sesame oil

I microwaved that for a few seconds to get the honey and peanut butter soft, then mixed it all together. It makes a tasty, thick little sauce. Maybe this weekend I'll explore some Asian cooking, pick up some ginger and shrimp and herbs and stuff. I'm going to see if Ming Tsai has a website.

No word on Ray's new brewery yet. This means one of two things: either he forgot about it, or he's about to unveil a state-of-the-art two-story glass-walled brewing facility where his tennis court used to be.

Monday, September 06, 2004

Mr. Beer

So my dad popped into the picture again, this time sending me a plastic beer-making kit called Mr. Beer. No card or anything, as usual, just his return address on the packing list. Looks like he's living in Omaha now. Anyhow, I read the instructions and set the thing up and made some beer. You make ale when you're a beginner, nothing too complicated. It was alright, but it tasted kind of like the plastic tub it fermented in. Maybe I should have washed it first.

Naturally Ray took one look at the kit and decided that we needed to open a full-scale microbrewery. I am 100% certain that he will want to use Copperplate Gothic for our logo. He's over at his place right now "drawing up plans," by which I mean trying to draw eagles holding hops and barley in their claws. At any rate, it will result in more beer around the place, which is generally a good thing. Maybe we'll make some money.

Tuesday, August 31, 2004

Oh great

Last time I blogged I bragged about how stoned I was and how much I enjoyed eating food. Fantastic. I'm not going to delete that post, I'm going to leave it there to serve as a simmering and stinging reminder not to do it again.

Let's see...have I done anything redeeming since then...I left the front lawn sprinklers on for five hours and about fifty thousand frogs showed up. It's been a good week so far, yeah. The best I have to say for myself is that I didn't shoot any families.

Monday, August 30, 2004

oh damn so good

Alright I take back everything I ever said about Chris being a mild- to bad jerk. He just made us the fattest late night snack. Hash browns, sausages, beans, eggs, toast, it was fucking gluttony. Awesome. It completely helped that me and Beef got ripped in my room earlier. I ended up calling Beef's passed-out ass on my cell phone from the dinner table (he was laying in the middle of my carpet). He stumbled in and just put his face in the feeding pail. I don't even think he opened his eyes, he just sucked his way around the plate and took in sausages and beans and all the rest.


Friday, August 27, 2004

Email downer

You ever have one of those mornings where you wake up, find twenty emails in your inbox, and then one by one you start deleting the spams, and when you're done deleting the spams you realize that no one wrote to you? By the time I had deleted the last spam this morning, I was sort of depressed, so I went on eBay and bought a Titleist visor. I think I need to get out more, I can't wait for the Olympics to be over so that Ray will hit the links again. Bitch and moan, bitch and least it's Friday and I can go for drinks and dancing at Ray's. I wonder what theme he'll have cooked up this time. Earlier in the week he wanted to do this Donald Trump theme, which I guess meant that he would fly away in a helicopter while the party went bankrupt, but hopefully he'll have changed his mind.

Thursday, August 26, 2004


Things are kind of quiet during the Olympics. Everybody just holes up at Ray's and watches the simulcasts. Lunch each day is determined by who took the most memorable gold the night before, so today it was Greek food in honor of Greek sprinter Fani Halkia, who took gold in the Women's 400m hurdles. When Paul Hamm won the gold in the gymnastics all-around, he ordered a big baked ham with Paul's face carved into the side of it like Mt. Rushmore. It looked like a horrible burn victim, so I went home and had a bowl of chili. Who did he hire to do that? He has the strangest resources.

Wednesday, August 18, 2004

Paul the club "Pro"

Ray isn't playing any golf while the Olympics are on, so I've been hitting the course by myself. Particularly the practice trap, since as I said I'm bad out of sand. This should give me a leg up on Ray since he has like this secret sand wedge designed by the government to use against golfing terrorists or something. That course pro he's always talking about came by and made a little assessment of my form—boy, what a schmuck. It's like he's so used to giving pointless lessons to rich people who aren't listening that he just mumbles things about "opening your stance" and "right elbow like a perfect L" and all that other golf magazine crap. After a few more lame pointers he could see that I knew his trick and offered me a smoke. We shot the breeze for a bit, he handed me some pro shop gear coupon and left. He called me Ted. That always annoys me.

Saturday, August 14, 2004

Am I Blind?

How do I not see these things?

I met Shannon at Grass last night, that new nightclub with the sod floor and eleven-dollar drinks. She looked good, and she already had a cocktail, so I got an Amstel from the bar and we sat in a quietish corner to talk. She's training for a marathon, she likes that convertible Jaguar, she's looking for a bigger place, she's not much for cooking, etc. She looked great, in some new jeans and a black turtleneck sweater with fresh running shoes. I had on a Livestrong jersey and olive cargo shorts with flipflops, playing it upscale casual. Not that it mattered. All she could talk about was her law career plans and different countries she had visited that I had not visited, like France.

About two and a half Amstels in (I remember looking at the meniscus on #3 and thinking HELP) a few of her friends showed up, probably on cue. It wasn't any of her friends from Ray's, it was a bunch of Jennifer Aniston clones and even a couple guys in blue work shirts and loosened ties. It slowly dawned on me that I had no business there, particularly when the guys shook my hand with those no-contact eyes that say "I already forgot you." I went to the can, drained my beer, tipped the attendant a buck, and ducked through a thick bar crowd on my way out. My last glance was of her completely immersed in her Banana Republic set, giggling and looking healthy.

I shuffled pretty despondently over to Ray's, pitying myself for being the object of a rich girl's slumming. I was pretty sour, so I just hung out in the kitchen and had some Cookie Crisp. Later I went into the living room and tried to read a coffee table book about limousines, but just got depressed and went home.

Wednesday, August 11, 2004

We're at base camp.

The call went well. Huge relief. I called around 8:13, and she picked up after just a couple rings but the music (My Bloody Valentine!) was really loud and she had to go shut it off before saying anything. That done, it went kind of like this:

TÉODOR: My Bloody Valentine!
T: Hey, this is Téodor, from Ray's party?
S: Ray?
T: The flaming robot?
S: Oh! Téodor! Hi! I was are you?
T: Good! I've been meaning to call you, but things have been—
S: Oh, I know. This week has been ridiculous.
T: I've got this client from hell right now—
S: I know. I'm prepping all these cases for—
T: Prepping cases?
S: Oh, sorry. Yeah, I'm at my uncle's law firm this summer.
T: Wow!
S: Yeah, I finish law school this year.
T: Wow! Where at?
S: Hunter. I—
T: What branch of law are you into?
S: Oh, you know, media industry, music, that sort of stuff.
T: Nice. So, I—
S: Do you—do you want to meet for drinks on Friday? I've got a bachelorette party at 7, but maybe we could hook up at Grass at...hold on...6?
T: Sure! I'll...I'll see you there.
S: Great! Bye!
T: ...bye!
[she hangs up first]

So Grass is this trendy new nightclub in the Underground. They have an entirely new sod floor installed every night, and you sit on big picnic blankets in largeish groups. Good thing I skinned Ray this week, I read that the drinks are like eleven bucks each.

Monday, August 09, 2004

Sore and sunburned

Went for too long of a run this morning and I think I hurt my knee, but not bad enough to keep me from meeting Ray for lunch ("Burger Buddies" served in the original packaging, with shoestring curly fries, fried shrimp, and skirt steaks with mashed potatoes) and a round of golf. Due to the heat we got a cart today (I was already feeling heatstroke from earlier) ...I don't know if I could have lasted 18 in the full afternoon sun. I'm pretty woozy even now and have a wet bandana wrapped around my head.

What with the sore legs my downswing weight transfer was a little behind, and I was skulling it something awful, hitting the thinnest tee shots you ever saw. It didn't help that Ray had decided to play the entire round in traditional attire, including tasseled spikes, argyle knee socks, baggy knickers, sweater vest, and tam-o'-shanter. He was even calling his clubs his "mashies," "niblicks" and "spoons," sort of at random. He did at least manage to call his putter his "putting cleek," though, which was historically accurate for his getup. I guess he'd been trying to learn more of the history of the game as a way of lowering his score, which definitely doesn't work.

Ray insisted on driving the cart, which was fine with me, except that he kept dipping into this cooler full of icy Amstel Lights and by about the ninth hole he was pretty saucered. On the way between the 9th green and 10th tee the scorecard blew out of the cart and he said the second half of the round would just be "drinkin' golf." That was fine with me, as I was pretty parched and hadn't thought to bring any water. Plus, I was already up $580, not bad for a couple hours' work. He handed me a cracked Amstel and we clinked.

Alcohol definitely doesn't do anything for my swing. You'd think it would smooth things out but it just throws my timing off. It did wonders for Ray, though. By about the 12th hole he was swinging like Bobby Jones, and making some beautiful shots. That lasted for about one hole, at which point he started having to close one eye and stick his tongue out every time he tried to focus on the ball.

Then things got ugly. After the 13th tee there's a big downhill slope that leads into a lake, and at the top of it he looked at me and said, "Think I can jump this?" I said no, because there was no ramp, just a slope leading down into a lake.

"I think I can jump this!" he said, laughing.

Before I knew what was happening, he had floored it and we were shooting down the hill directly at the lake. There was no physical way for us to achieve loft and fly over it. We were going too fast to jump out, and pretty soon we were going too fast to turn or hit the brakes.

Needless to say, we did not manage to jump the lake. We slammed into the water and flew over the hood at about fifty miles an hour. While we were under I looked over at him—through the murky water he was looking at me with a big smile and yelling, "Let's look for some shrimps!"

After we pushed the cart out of the water and let it dry for a while, we got it started and I drove us back to the clubhouse. Next time we rent carts, I'm getting my own.

Sunday, August 08, 2004

Now for something completely stupid.

Agh, I forgot about this "waiting" part, where you don't call for a while after you get her number even though that is what you want to do. Don't want to look like there's nothing in your life but her, now do you. You want to look like you already had plans to go inner-tubing Sunday, go visit a friend's movie set Sunday night, go hiking in the desert Mon/ bullshit. I knew not to call her the day after but now it's Sunday and I'm just bumming around playing online poker and reading The Onion.

I guess it's not too much of an a-hole move to call her Tuesday evening. I think that's the logic. You want to call early enough in the week where she hasn't solidified her weekend plans, but not like 8am Monday morning, like you're standing in a glass tower with a headset mic, looking out over the Seattle skyline while putting her in your Palm. Tuesday at, say, 8pm. Okay, it's a date then! To make a contrived phone call.

What else...this morning Philippe had the hiccups so I made him a glass of sugar water, but that just made him a hyper hiccuper, so we practiced running around the yard while holding our breath (I find that can work, too). Three times while we did sprints across the lawn my shorts fell down. I'm not really a belt guy but I think it might be time. Maybe I've been eating too well lately...after winning all that money from Ray (with more on the way tomorrow) I started experimenting with all kinds of different meats. Squab, quail, Niman Ranch beef and pork, lobsters, whole baked fish, oysters, stone crab, even Kobe...yeah, looking over that grocery list I've been eating too well lately. Only, I don't feel like it. I'd better start running again, I don't want Shannon to see a big Newman coming at her next time we meet.

Saturday, August 07, 2004


I don't know that tonight could have gone any better. I showed up at nine, an hour after Ray's thing officially "starts," and Shannon was already there, sitting with some of her friends over in the gazebo. I made like I hadn't seen her yet, and set myself talking with Beef and Molly over beers. A little while later she came walking by and I caught her eye and we started chatting. She said she was sorry she hadn't made it last week (out of town at her grandma's birthday) and I said she hadn't missed much. I didn't really have it in me to play the big smoother I was last week and she wouldn't have been into that anyway, it was too early.

We made nice chitchat for a while but then her friend's boyfriend broke up with her over her cell phone and she had to go console, but we promised we'd talk more in a little bit.

I chilled with Cornelius and shot some pool. He's a wizard, and I didn't stand half a chance against him, but it was fun to watch the ways he chose to win. Some games he'd play only double-bank shots, some games he'd use heavy English on every shot. He was pretty glum though and didn't seem to be having much fun.

Maybe an hour later the festivities were going full-on and Ray got up onto this little stage he had set up, with a huge Phil Collins poster behind it, like two stories tall. He had one of those headset mics and yelled, "and now then for the main attraction! Ladies and gentlemen, please welcome...Phil Collins!" Shannon and I found each other in the crowd and stood side by side. “Can’t Hurry Love” fired up on the PA.

Then he pulled a curtain aside and this terrifying creature stumbled out. It had a suit on, Elephant Man type head and hands, and it acted like it had just been maced. It was slapping its own face like crazy, and pretty soon it fell on its side and tried to tear its head off. Then it started smoking and shooting sparks and erupted into flames. First I shielded Shannon from the sparks, and when they subsided I ran up onto the stage, tore down the curtain, and rolled the creature in it until the flames died.

It turned out to be one of those Honda robots, thankfully, but the party kind of died down after that. As Shannon’s friends were loading up to go, she kissed me on the cheek and wrote her number on my hand. I’m flying pretty high right now, and not entirely sure what my follow-up act should be.

Friday, August 06, 2004

Here we go again...

Alright, I have no idea if Shannon's going to be there tonight. I hope so, maybe she'll have some excuse about how she didn't show up last...nah, I don't need an excuse. Guys who want excuses at this stage are way too wrapped up in their own heads. She'll be there, I'll be there, it'll be cool, it'll work out. What to wear...last week's outfit was pretty perfect but if I wear that again one of her moat-dwelling friends will probably point it out and laugh until cheese comes out of her nose. Think I'll go with this old Nixon-style golf shirt and white plaid pants with white patent loafers and a Hercules-band watch. Red Sox ballcap. Should I wear the Livestrong bracelet? Is that too trendy now? I can't tell. I shouldn't wear it. Yeah, I'll skip it. I should bring a knapsack with some conversation pieces in it...iPod, books, sketchpad...I'll put some of my rough demos on the iPod in case she wants to hear any of them. Okay, I'll hide a jimmy in the secret pocket...maybe two...some Altoids...I need to go do this, not type about it.

Wednesday, August 04, 2004

Round 2

Ray called me up around noon and said we had a tee time in an hour, and that I should come over for lunch first. Not wanting to miss another round at Seven Pines, I wrapped up some tablature I'd been writing down and hoofed it over there.

Waterbury had made broiled salmon with puréed peas, which normally I wouldn't be so hot about but the fish was incredibly fresh. Apparently Ray's doing a lot of research about salmon right now: he had all these maps pinned to the wall, with different e-mail printouts connected by yarn to the maps. He also had a bunch of ichthyology books he'd just gotten from Amazon sitting around. Anyhow, lunch was great and then we headed to the course. He even gave me a nice set of head covers for my woods, which matched my bag.

We started on the back nine this time, hole #10 being a crazy 4-par that dog legs around a lake. Ten bucks was the wager, since he was feeling bold after some lessons he'd taken. There was a stiff breeze going, so I hit a nice 1-iron under it, up to the lay-up area. Ray has low irons in his bag, but he didn't even look at them. He went right for that oversized driver of his, took his stomach-turning swing, and managed to loft the thing pretty high. The wind caught it and carried it right to the middle of the lake. He instinctively went into his pocket for a mulligan, but then remembered there was money on the table, so we heaved off.

He took relief where his ball went in, and slapped a gross fairway wood about ten feet from the green. My second shot landed in a pot bunker behind the green, and I’m bad out of sand, so it looked like he might actually take the ten.

He set up with his pitching wedge and went into his pre-shot wiggle/coma routine. Then, to my surprise, he pulled the club back in slow motion, taking a full backswing. He did the downswing in slow motion too, and chipped the ball about two feet. He even followed through in slow motion, including a slow-motion “aaaaawwww craaaaaap!” He repeated the routine until he was on the green. I don’t know what he thinks his instructor is telling him to do, but it can’t be that.

We’ll go over his putting at some future date, but suffice it to say he’s doing that thing now where he puts both index fingers down the shaft. Anyhow, I was three over for the round, owing to the harsh wind, and up $1190. Waterbury made us salmon pasties with chips for dinner, and we watched Braveheart. He started to watch it again, but I wanted to get back to my tablature.

Sunday, August 01, 2004

Seven Pines

Waterbury called me today to see if I'd like to play with Ray in a twosome at Seven Pines, and I was pretty amenable to that. Seven Pines is based on courses designed by Robert Trent Jones II, and it's private, so it's about the best grass you can get onto locally. I'd never played it before. It's a links-style course, which I really enjoy (as opposed to those municipal sod farms I usually play).

Ray's one of those guys who has those graphite-shafted, perimeter-weighted, custom irons, and those grapefruit-sized titanium Big Bertha metal woods, and the high-tech putters you can only order out of like Playboy. Naturally he has one of those gi-normous white leather Ping bags that looks like it should be in low-earth orbit, and all the little plastic iron covers and the obnoxious two-tone Ping balls. My set looked pretty poor compared to his, with my simple old purple canvas bag, old Wilson Staffs (they were my dad's), and actual wooden woods. When he saw that I just had an old tube sock over my driver, he went silent for a little while, like he was worried the guys at Seven Pines wouldn't let me on the course.

I wasn't expecting him to want to bet on the round, so it was lucky I still had a little roll that Aunt Brezna had slipped into my pocket while I was visiting her. I was a little worried on the first tee, since I can't afford to lose much, and by the looks of it my annual budget was probably what he spent on lessons every week.

Anyhow, on the first tee he won the toss and set up to go (we agreed to a starting wager of five bucks). It took him maybe thirty seconds of ass wiggling, foot shuffling, and mini-knee bends to even get the driver head down to ground level. Then he stood perfectly still for what seemed like five and a half minutes. Just when I was wondering if I should go over and check his pulse, he launched into the grossest swing I have ever seen in my life. His head bobbed, his shoulders were all over the place, he didn't turn his hips, his left foot came off the ground three times...the overall effect was that of a desperate person trying to chop down a giant sequoia with one axe swing. Fortunately, the club head being the size of a shoebox, he made contact with the ball and several decades of golf club science sent it more or less straight down the fairway, a good two hundred and fifty yards.

I followed up with a slight fade on a decent two iron, and we were off. I was a little nervous heading into the green (Hole 1 at Seven Pines is a long uphill par 4), thinking that I stood to lose some big money. When he was setting up for his second shot I slyly counted the roll in my pocket and figured out what I could afford to bet each hole.

His second swing was as ugly as the first, and despite a fifty-pound divot the ball landed just a few feet off the green, about pin-high. I matched up with another long iron, about five feet from his. I didn't like how things were turning out at all.

No amount of perimeter weighting and "Sensicore" shaft technology can make up for a lack of finesse around the green, however, and Ray lacked finesse in spades. I think I watched him chip over the green three times before one beleaguered ball bounced off a bench and came to rest ten feet from the pin. My lead growing, I rolled a pitched 8-iron to within three feet and marked my ball. Seven putts later, Ray was down, for an even octuple-bogey, and I was down in par. He huffed something about "gettin' the kinks out" as we headed to the next hole and he handed me a five.

I'll spare you the abominations Ray showered over the course for the rest of the day, and observe only that the angrier he gets, the more he likes to bet. I cleared six hundred bucks off him, and a great dinner at the clubhouse besides (bacon-wrapped filets mignon with blue cheese sauce, turned potatoes, baby carrots, that sort of stuff).

Surprisingly, he wanted to play again later in the week, so I'm down. I suppose that'll give him time to take some short-game lessons.

Saturday, July 31, 2004

No show

Ah piss it, Shannon didn't even show. I tried to say hi to some of her dumpy friends but they gave me the lumpy cold shoulder. I hung out for hours, breaking my neck to see if she was about to come through the gate, but no dice. About the only good thing that happened to me tonight was that Ray's new butler Waterbury complimented my trousers and made me a drink called like Pimm's Cup or something. Not Winner's Cup, something sweeter.

Now it's gonna be a crappy week while I wait and see if Shannon will be there next Friday. Yeah, she can't live her whole life around this dumb party, maybe I shouldn't either. I'm hesitant to ask Ray to put some feelers out, though. The last thing I want is Ray intervening in my romantic life. Hell, I'd rather talk about it with Waterbury. At least he makes eye contact.

Friday, July 30, 2004

Balancing Act

Maybe typing it all out will help me decide...I want to wear something that's slick but not overly nice, so Shannon doesn't think I'm trying too hard. A more casual outfit might help me relax, too. I think I'm going to wear that Evian bicycle jersey with my new Kangol, and some full-cut tweed trousers with a tall cuff, and these really simple, waxy Doc Marten oxfords. That's a nice mix of formal and casual. Maybe I'll even wear that heavy silver bead necklace. I'm getting kind of anxious about what we're going to say...last time I played it real suave and she was into it, but I can't keep acting that do you bridge the gap between your "player" self and the you that people could live with every day? Agh. I hate this part. What am I going to do for the next four hours?

Thursday, July 29, 2004


Last week I said something about there being a new and unusual girl at Ray's lately. She was there again last Friday, and since I had set myself up as the bartender, we finally crossed paths.

Ray had told me that he was doing a "NASCAR" themed party, which I'm not into and I'm sure no women are, so I hid some bottles of gin and tonic in my backpack before I went over, thinking that if she was there I could hint at a secret stash and maybe make a connection.

I got that electric feeling in my stomach when she walked into the yard with her friends, and tried to keep it on cool. Most of them were happy to take a red cup of Natural Lite or a margarita, but when she got to the counter I could tell that she wasn't really into the selection. I leaned forward as though to tell her a secret, right close to her ear so I could smell her hair, and said "if you'd like something else, meet me in the kitchen."

She smiled, and I got that rush you get when you're decisive around women. I played it cool as I filled a few surplus cups with Natty Lite and margaritas, then I wiped my hands on the towel, looked around, and strode into the house with my pack.

She wasn't there yet so I got out some nice glasses and ice, and I trimmed some limes. I started making the drinks in case she was watching me through a window, and sure enough she came in as soon as I'd finished mixing them.

I offered her one of the tumblers and we toasted. "I'm Téodor," I said. She said her name was Shannon. I apologized for the corny bar situation but she said she had come to expect it from Ray's parties, which we laughed about.

One of her friends got really sick a little way into our chat, and she had to go help, but I got the sense that she'll be back. She gave me a really apologetic smile and looked over her shoulder at me as she left. I finished her drink and remembered the smell of her shampoo. I had mix tape pangs and I can't wait for tomorrow night.   

Tuesday, July 27, 2004

Complicated Couture

When I was shopping with Aunt Brezna I got all these "new fashion" belts that are in right now, flimsy colorful nylon things with D-ring belt buckle systems like you get on army surplus gear. I guess I don't know how to fasten them right because tonight when I was prepping some couscous ingredients for dinner my pants fell right down around my ankles. Fortunately no one saw, so I hiked them back up and now I have a safety pin keeping the belt closed just in case.

Friday, July 23, 2004

Nuts, late for Ray's

Ray busted Lyle for cutting my hair at his new taco stand yesterday, but he did manage to pitch tonight's party pretty well before he left. He has his usual stable of mall hoochies scheduled to show up around 11, and normally that's no big draw for me because I don't get off on talking about where I like to buy pants, but the last few times there's been this one friend of theirs along who's really intriguing. I haven't actually talked to her, but I know we've seen each other. It's that thing where you see a girl and you immediately fall for her, just by seeing her face. You start thinking about Thanksgiving at her parent's place. You know what I'm saying, don't act like you don't. You think I'm corny, look at yourself.

Anyhow, all I'm saying is I hope she's there. I'll ask Ray to break the ice, he's really good at that and he's absolutely never into the same kind of women I am. He'll chat her up, introduce me, and then disappear while we commiserate about what a doofus he is.

Tuesday, July 20, 2004

Visit to Aunt Brezna's

I forgot I had planned this trip since I was so caught up in that risotto thing...anyhow, I've been at my Aunt Brezna's for the last week, up in the city. I try to spend a week with her every year, enjoying the good life (her late husband, Uncle Artie, was J. Artemis Call, heir to the Call Salt empire). She's not some lonely old spinster pining away in a SoMa single-occupancy hotel; she's got a big house in Seacliff and keeps a pretty active calendar. She's on the board of the opera hall and a few museums, etc. I think all the other old-money crows like her style -- she's a no-bullshit Slav with a thick accent, but what she does say usually cuts right to the quick of things. Plus she's really funny. I remember one time she took me to Quadrillon, this coat-and-tie place on Nob Hill, and we were having dinner with some bigshot city attorney and his wife. Aunt B took a grape off the table centerpiece and stuck it in the mouth of the fox fur the woman was wearing. "He has his mouth open all night this fox, and no-one feeds him!" she laughed. I had to bite on a lambchop to keep from busting a gut.
Anyhow, she loves to dote on me (she never had any kids of her own) and we always go shopping to set me up for the year. We'll hit Nordstrom, Neiman-Marcus, Wilkes Bashford (now that I'm older) along with a nice set of old-school tailors and shoemakers she's known forever. This time we did pretty well but when I got home I realized that almost all of the casual stuff I got was EXACTLY like the stuff Jamie Oliver's wearing in that new cookbook of his! You know, the one I wrote about a couple weeks ago, which is more Jamie's modeling portfolio than it is a set of recipes.  I guess it had a pretty big influence on me. Thin white Adidas tennis shoes, dyed and sanded jeans, camouflage turtleneck with an orange safety vest, Simon & Garfunkel shoes, babbley Japanese tshirts...etc.
So I just pulled in and am catching up on email and all of that. I guess I could start doing that risotto thing to Chris again but I'm kind of over it.

Sunday, July 11, 2004

That jackass.

So Chris got up and left the house before I could even turn on the stove today. Since when does he get up at seven in the morning? Oh well, tomorrow's Monday so I'll be able to put my plan into action. Maybe I'll sandbag him with a rum and coke so he stays up kind of late tonight. I don't want this tuna to go bad, it cost ten bucks.

Iron Chef Risotto

I don't have too much going on tomorrow so I'm going to put Chris on a Total Risotto Beat-Down, putting a finale on this risotto revenge and completely breaking him. The stuff does by its very nature take a long time to cook, and it's taken a lot out of my free time lately, but it's been worth it. I've come up with a lot of new recipes, plus I've got Chris pretty sorry that he made that crack in the first place I'm sure.

Tomorrow's risotto schedule:

9AM: Wake him up with a creamy Risotto Florentine, a spinach/risotto base topped with a poached egg and Bernaise (my upgrade over the basic white/cheese sauce)

11AM: Risotto Interlude. At 11AM he'll be doodling around in his robe and coffee, looking out various windows of the house to see which plants he should have watered earlier in the week. I'll surprise him with a tuna/toasted sesame seed tartare quenelle on a large spoonfull of pancetta risotto. The richness of the egg yolk in the tartare will marry it with the crispy chunks of pancetta.

1PM: I present him with a Risotto Monsieur, a risotto with minced ham, concassé tomato, black pepper, and a sprinkling of Gruyere, broiled until the Gruyere is toasted. Champagne.

4PM: Just when he thinks it might be over, I walk in with a simple artichoke risotto, served in the heel of the Ferragamos he just paid $52.50 to have repaired. In the heel of the matching shoe: a Ziploc bag with an ounce of Sambuca in it. I spray him with seltzer water and let him draw his own conclusions.

6PM: Dinner: a photo of him in the shower, among a bed of mixed greens. It looks like he's crying/singing.

Thursday, July 08, 2004

'Mad World"

There's this new cover of Tears For Fears' old song "Mad World" going around now, sung by some trembly pussy with about 1/5 the arrangement and recording talent of the original band. He's probably half my age and sitting in his bedroom crying to pictures of Clara Bow. Anyhow, I thought I'd rant about the lame phenomenon of dudes whose greatest and only hits are cover songs, but then I decided that if everybody else can cash in on it then I can too. I'm going to buy a nice mic, hit myself in the nuts with a hammer, and do a really cookin' version of Rock the Casbah.

Wednesday, July 07, 2004

Jamie Oliver

So Chris went to this Jamie Oliver book signing at Williams-Sonoma a few months ago and picked up his latest vanity project. 330 pages, 12 recipes, 95 spreads of Jamie looking young and British and ultra-hip in front of spray-painted walls and old VW buses. I exaggerate, but come on now fella. Some really neat recipes in here, and a really nice vinaigrette ratio that I love. Maybe for dinner I'll make the sauteéd scallops wrapped in pancetta, I know Chris can never get enough of either. That'll be nice along with some provencal-style risotto; he complains that I always "fall back on risotto" but he never complains when it's on his plate. Dork.

Tuesday, July 06, 2004


I wonder what INXS are up to these days. The main guy Michael Hutchence choked his own chicken in a rock'n'roll closet like seven years ago and when your frontman goes, the rest of the band is essentially hosed. Same way with DK, Echo & The Bunnymen, etc. Imagine The Smiths carrying on with a new guy instead of Morrissey. The singer is the identity of the band and there's no use kidding yourself otherwise. I guess it's because the voice is far and away the most distinctive instrument in rock music, what with most guitars/synths/drums sounding essentially the same to the layman.

Anyhow, INXS' Listen Like Thieves was the first tape I ever bought with allowance money, and I still have it out in the shed. I can remember the smell of it, the way I sat and stared at the cool handwriting all the lyrics were written up in, marveling at how three of the guys in the band were apparently brothers (Andrew Farriss, Jon Farriss, Tim Farris), all of that.

My very *first* tape was Tears For Fears' Songs From The Big Chair, but mom bought that for me. I can name all the guys in that band too, but I'm not going to do that here, except for Manny Elias just to prove a fine point.

Alright, now I'm just talking about old tapes. I'll go.

Saturday, July 03, 2004

Dinner tonight...

Should be interesting. We have a bunch of fresh fava beans from the farmer's market, avocados, heirloom tomatoes, some basil oil that Chris picked up in Paris, white anchovies and some fresh ciabatta. I'll probably make us a nice bruschetta using all that plus some of the gorgonzola we have as a base spread. Chris'll hem and haw about the anchovies but they're pretty mild so I'm sure he'll end up liking them. He's been on this big kick about trying all sorts of food ever since he got into Anthony Bourdain. The guy's base tastes are pretty ghetto (he could eat Ore-Ida shredded hash browns three meals a day) but you've got to give him credit for trying. His big breakthrough lately was that he would eat the tentacles part of the calamari, not just the rings. He's all, "more surface area for the batter!" Great, Chris. This from a guy who owns $23,000 worth of cookbooks and enough copper cookware to re-stock the French Laundry. He even has this 12" Henckels that he uses like once a year to cut sweet potatoes. Whatever, I'm rambling.

Friday, July 02, 2004

Bizarre Love Triangle

Alright, so I didn't go to bed when I said I would and I doubt I'm going to be much help at Philippe's campaign meeting tomorrow, since I'm not going to show up. I've just told myself that it doesn't matter since the meeting isn't going to happen unless I go and remind him about it. Whoo hoo.

I found a pretty good tablature site that has all kinds of Substance-era stuff, including Bizarre Love Triangle (New Order, if you don't know it you should start with their 1987 album, it's a great jumping off point for the stuff that comes both before and after). I was picking away at that for a long time until I realized how late it was. Anyhow, I think Peter Hook gets way less credit than he should as an innovative bassist.

Oh, crap. Philippe's making some horrible noises in his room. I bet he ate too much again. Time to grab the Nature's Miracle and a trowel. Straight face, Téodor. Big brother.

These blog templates are corny

Wow, the first thing I think I'm going to do when I have some time is make a less dorky template for this thing.

Anyhow, for breakfast today: a boneless chicken thigh that I had cooked extra last night, and a Hansen's Black Cherry soda. I put the chicken thigh on some nice Olive bread from Bay Bread (farmer's market) and sprinkled it with some kosher salt and extra virgin olive oil/arugula.

Alright, I've got to go. I have a meeting with Philippe tomorrow morning to try to make some sense of his campaign. This whole thing is a total mess, but Ray's putting up a ton of money so I have this weird sense that I have to take it seriously. We're even going on a retreat in a couple weeks.