Monday, February 27, 2006

The Meme of Four

Edited on 5/30 to correct a misspelling which I discovered when I followed a reference to my blog which came about because the person doing the search misspelled what they were looking for. I find this embarrasing.

Last month, just before I fell into blogging silence, Susan Kitchens of 2020 Hindsight (and a former neighbor) "tagged" me with the "Four Things" meme that had been bouncing around the internets for most of the past year. Now that I'm waking again, here are mine:

Four Jobs I've Had:
- Fireworks delivery truck driver
- Baskin Robbins ice cream scooper (2 days!)
- Track Starter (I was packin' a real .38)
- Van's shoe seller (during the first Off the Wall craze)

Four Movies I Can Watch Over and Over
- Local Hero
- Monty Python and the Holy Grail
- Chariots of Fire
- Pulp Fiction

Four Books I Have Read Over and Over
(This is from Susan. Does not include books you've read to your children when they were small).
- Gaudy Night - Dorothy Sayers (Me, too, Susan)
- Wonder Boys - Michael Chabon
- High Fidelity - Nick Hornby
- The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe - C.S. Lewis

Four Places I've Lived
(Pretty lame list)
- Denair, CA
- San Dimas, CA (where Bill and Ted are from)
- Pasadena, CA
- Azusa, CA

Four Places I've Vacationed
(again, pretty tame, pretty lame)
- Yosemite
- So. Utah, Denver, Santa Fe, Phoenix - all in four days
- Kern River (caught a fish when I was five)
- San Franciso

Four TV Shows I Love
- The Daily Show
- The West Wing
- Law & Order
- Gilmore Girls (But only the secondary characters. I'm sick of Lorelai and Rory)

Four Favorite Dishes

- Penne Arrabiata (cooked by me)
- Special Pizza at Casa Bianca
- Oki Burrito at Manuel's El Tepeyac
- La Lasagna de Tutte Lasagne (cooked by me)

Four Websites I Visit Daily

- L.A. Riot Squad's discussion board
- Talking Points Memo
- Slate
- Soccernet

Four Places I'd Rather Be Right Now

- Traveling, almost anywhere (that's more than four, but whatever...)

(My addition) Four Things That Make Me Warmly Happy
- People being nice to my kids
- Watching our pet guinea pig walk around and hearing her "sing"
- Watching the sun come up (on some days)
- Meeting wild rabbits

Four People I'm Tagging with This
- Robert - Through a Glass Darkly
- Jeff - Evil Twin of William Jennings Bryan
- Gregg - Gregg's Gambles
- Johann - Can you believe?

Friday, February 24, 2006

Multiple Discoveries

Here's a few things I've encountered/discovered during my blogging silence:

Urban Red Bull We went on a mini-vacation this past weekend. We were supposed to go to San Francisco but the rain and cold scared us off. (Good thing - there was snow on Mt. Tam Friday). So instead, we visited SoCal like tourists and got a cheap room via in Long Beach. On Sunday morning, we had breakfast at Roscoe's House of Chicken and Waffles, and the menu featured a new energy drink: Pit Bull. We ordered one and shared it. I can't vouch for the jolt (I'd already had about six cups of coffee), but it tasted pretty good, lacking that chemical taste of Red Bull or Monster. You can get it at Von's and Albertson's here in SoCal, and show people that your down.

Guinea Pigs! On Saturday, we went to the Getty Museum. We were a little disappointed that more of the garden was not in bloom. I was also a little bummed that their Classical and Ancient Near Eastern collections are now at the new/old site in Malibu. But that aside, the views from the site on a stormy day were absolutely stunning, and the art was amazing as always. We did have one wonderful discovery. Our daughter Katie has a pet guinea pig, and I was commenting to her that it is a shame that guinea pigs have not featured more prominently in the Western artistic tradition. About five minutes later, she excitedly came up to me and said, "Dad! We've found the guinea pigs!" She led me to a large seventeenth century painting by Rubens and Brueghel, "The Return from War: Mars Disarmed by Venus", and sure enough, there were two guinea pigs sharing a lettuce leaf in the foreground of the painting. Go take a look for yourself.

Random Sightings Also at the Getty, Katie thought we saw K-Fed, Britney Spears (estranged?) husband. I guess if she cut off the credit cards he can't afford to run with strippers in Vegas any more, or perhaps all the haterzz of his hip-hop joints have prompted him to look beyond Brazilian thong wearer's for inspiration for his work... On Sunday afternoon, we walked around the uber-mall of LA - the Beverly Center. We saw the usual suspects: packs of wealthy Beverly Hills Persian girls, cruising gay men, suburban gawkers (whenever we walked by a reflective surface) and a number of purse dogs. But then completely unexpectedly, we saw a hyperstylish couple conveying their purse dog around in a baby stroller!... On Sunday night, we had dinner at The Stand (which I reviewed here). Great dogs, and we sat next to a father/son duo of character actors - you know, the kind you vaguely recognize but can't pin down. I had a knish for the first time, and I'll just say that a knish ain't no empanada.

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Yikes! It's Been Over a Month...

First, apologies to the loyal readers of this site. I should have said something.

Two factors have conspired to create this blogging break. First, as I've said before, I'm sick of ranting. Actually, I still like ranting, and over the past month I've begun each morning by briefing my family on the latest atrocity from our government. Today it was the report in this week's New Yorker of how the Administration lied to their own politically appointed lawyers in approving torture. Of course, I won't get to read that article in the actual magazine until some time next week since the New Yorker rarely gets to my house any more before the following Monday. Rant, rant, rant.

But I didn't and don't want this blog to be about ranting, and that was all I could come up with. I don't have time to do something substantive on the issues that have me ranting, and every time I've tried, I find that Glenn Greenwald has already said it better than I.

Second, I have been busy with "real" pursuits and writing. You see, blog ranting and trivia are easy because they're done in the moment. The more important kinds of writing that I would like to do here take more time and reflection, and those projects keep losing out to my other work.

So, this adds up to a month without blogging. I'm hoping to find another rhythm for blogging, and have written a few quality pieces, but I'm gonna save them up until I'm at the place where I could do it with some regularity. I may arrive at that place as early as next week, so please check back from time to time, but I'm not there yet.