May 31, 2009

LA Day 3

Partially revived, I felt good enough to see the world. We went to the Huntington botanical garden. What an awesome choice. It was perfect weather to be outside and the season was right, too. Roses, jacaranda, some rhododendrons and various kinds of jasmine were all in bloom. I took pictures of pretty things.

Yes, it was Memorial Day and there were lots of fellow travelers. With so much loveliness in front of us it was easy to tune them out.

The madness in the new cafe in the Chinese gardens? Not so much. Avoid at all costs.

After the Huntington, we were off to Japantown.
Aside from signage, my favorite thing there has to be the historical references that the city has embedded into the sidewalks in front of the storefronts.

We bought some beautiful mochi.
This storefront offered elaborate warnings for loiterers:
Having sated ourselves with supermarkets and bookstores, we went home to eat more mac and cheese and play ukulele.

So ends Los Angeles.

LA Day 2

Just because I was laid low by the ostrich didn't mean we couldn't have a good time.

Mrguy and mrguy south worked on music in Man Room South while I rested.

Then they went out for provisions and mgs made us a yummy dinner of bbq chicken, asparagus and mac and cheese.

We hung out and played ukulele that evening and I turned in a little early.

May 24, 2009

Revenge of the Ostrich

What happens when you mix Donettes, ostrich and a cherimoya smoothie?

You get to spend the next day in bed writing your blog.

Oh, but what a good time we had.

I sat in this:

and then I ate this:


We bought this:

which means I can upgrade from sitting at mrguy's college drafting table. We went to Skankworld and then came home to recharge and play ukulele and look stuff up on the Intertubes.

Then to Alhambra to eat Cherimoya smoothies and whatever goes with them. In my case, this was shrimp paste and spring rolls with fried garlic.

I do not wonder at my current state, and there are worse things in the world than being confined to my vacation bed in the deep quiet of Mt. Washington.

May 15, 2009


The grand mammoo came over for Mother's Day. Mrguy made the best sweet potato silver dollar pancakes ever. And when thanked for her mothering, mom replied "As I recall, the whole process was very nice."

If you've ever wondered how I got my sense of humor, look no further.

Monday was the uke band potluck and MC mrsguy was in the house. Pictured: cocktail weenies, deep fried smelt, crab rangoon, egg rolls, baked ziti, taco casserole, salmon, inari sushi. Not pictured: turron. Yum!!

I attempted to create a run on the fried smelts, as I did on the spicy meatballs that one time, but nobody was biting.

We entertained one another and then came together to play old favorites and Auntie Spunky's cowboy songs until past my bedtime.

May 7, 2009

50 ml Beer

Tiny, like for a mouse. With handy pour spout.

O.K., it's a beaker. But it was a tremendous vessel for my friend's Belgian ale.

May 6, 2009

H5 update

Miss Wartz was present the evening Secret Agent Man was translated by our friends from Old Norse back into English. She recalls the actual Old Norse being translated that night and made the following comment:

"I read your blog today and had to remind you about "and so, Nels, that is why you wear the blue pants. So the Troll of the Nine Fells may use you as a woman 6 times a night!" or something like that."

I have always disbelieved that this statement was uttered, and I set out to disprove this story.

I summoned every bit of Old Norse and Northern European Myth knowledge into a small set of synapses and thought "Duh!"

Nels. Isn't that like Njal? Isn't Njal's saga one of the most famous of the Norse sagas?

Too lazy to get off the sofa and walk the ten feet to the bookshelf where Njal's Saga sits, unread, I looked it up on the Intertubes. Found a scanned version of Njala. Searched for every instance of the word "blue", which I don't recall coming across that often. These tales were told primarily for and about warring men, and the color red is one that comes to mind most often, as in the ending line to a Norse poem I recall:

"...I reddened the feet of the greedy eagle"

This could be interpreted as one's guts being torn out by the talons of a bird, but is more likely a reference to being run through by the sword of one's enemy.

Anyhoo...I expected to find no reference to men with blue britches, and found that I was WRONG and that Miss Wartz has a pretty fine memory. It was from Njal's Saga and I quote:

"The Skarphedinn took to himself the silken scarf, but threw a pair of blue breeks to Flosi, and said he would need them more.

'Why,' said Flosi, 'should I need these more?'

'Because,' said Skarphedinn, 'thou art the sweetheart of the Swinefell's goblin, if, as men say, he does indeed turn thee into a woman every ninth night.'"


So ends the story of burnt Njal.

May 2, 2009

Derby Day

A colleague asked me to taste his mint-infused Maker's Mark yesterday, and it reminded me of some old friends.

We'd met at the Irish bar. They were a fun bunch of curmudgeons with esoteric interests. They'd get together and translate the lyrics to Secret Agent Man into Old Norse. They would argue over points of infinite granularity and have near break-ups over things like who made the best mint julep. One of them, H5, was famous for leaving greetings on my answering machine on Einstein's birthday or the winter solstice.

Because of the Maker's Mark and the Derby today, I am reminded of their mint julep contest held on a Derby Day in the early 80's. I am sure that I had at least one of each friend's recipe. I do not recall the race.

I do recall our carrying a friend to the car to drive him home.

I do not recall ever desiring another mint julep.

I tried to find a snippet of Secret Agent Man in Old Norse that would be a fitting end to this post. It could not be found. Even in today's world of the Internet, these men's interests are enduringly esoteric.

May 1, 2009


When I was little, my Pop would tell me the story of Jumbo the elephant when I was sick. I'm not sure why a story that ends in elephant death seemed to soothe me so, but it worked. Between the Jumbo story and the animal cracker box I came to know that circuses traveled by train, but it's not something I thought about with any regularity.

Many years later, when I was too old to be told the story of Jumbo, I spent a few days working for Pop. I was stacking firewood there by the railroad tracks and looked up. Passing right by was the circus train. I could make out the animals inside, just like on the cookie box. O.K., not just like on the cookie box, but I could see them.

Today, as a train passed by really close I thought of the tigers and Jumbo and Pop.
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