Monthly Archives: February 2006

my vaporcloud valentine

romantic lighting

valentine’s day is traditionally a night at home for us. we eschew the crowds and the reservation wars, and cook for each other. this year was especially exciting for a few reasons:

  • we tried a new recipe (Coconut & Brown Sugar Brined Pork Tenderloin with Broken Fried Rice & Pickled Baby Bok Choy)
  • it was the one-year anniversary of my proposal to elaine
  • the universe did as much as it could to make it difficult to achieve our state of domestic bliss

the day started out reasonably well. i had to make one trip to the store to get cinnamon sticks (to put in the brine, which i had already set out the previous night). this constituted my fourth grocery store trip for this v-day venture (drewes meats for the pork tenderloin, 99 ranch for many asian ingredients, local Good Life for other non-asian ingredients, then Good Life part 2 for the cinnamon sticks, which i forgot the first time). on my way, i stopped at the flower store to order flowers for the evening (thinking ahead, i sez to myself). and then i popped home, hopped in my car, and bopped to work, thinking said vehicle would convey me home fast and furious when the time came.
i was wrong on several counts.

  1. it took me 40 minutes to drive the 5.8 miles from work to home
  2. the flowers were not ready when i stopped to pick them up (despite 8 hours notice)
  3. when the florist called me (after coming home) to say the flowers were ready, i went and they were not. as a side note, the store was packed with middle-aged men, each with a somewhat bewildered look, approaching the flower-store register like zombies. they all had a similar story: " yeah….ummmm…i need a bouquet. my wife likes flowers. you know, pretty ones? uhhhh. <cough> yeah. can you help?"
  4. when carrying the flowers home, the wind kicked up to gale-force proportions, wreaking havoc with the three bouquets i was carrying. tissue paper blew away, flowers broke, hearts broke. it wasn’t pretty.
  5. when i started cooking, i realized that the stock of vinegar in my cabinet did not include enough white vinegar for the pickled baby bok choy. grocery-store-trip number five, thank you very much. as side note number two, the (straight male) iranian clerk at the store gave me a chocolate heart and said "happy valentine’s day!!" this made me very happy.

other than that, everything went great. elaine loved the meal i cooked (see below) and cried when i gave her a set of home-made valentine’s day gift certificates (you know – one nice massage, one dinner at the slanted door, two falafels at my favorite place in paris, etc.).

yummy food

and then there was the creme brulee. this was a first for both of us, and elaine had purchased one of those little torches from sur la table to caramelize our tasty dessert treat. suffice it to say that neither of us was exactly a pro when it came to these mini torches. first, we struggled to fill it with butane (it kept overflowing despite not being full). then, when trying to light the flame, nothing really happened. or, rather, nothing happened at first.

elaine was flipping switches and pushing buttons, and high-pressure butane was squirting out the nozzle (unlit) into the sink. after a couple of attempts in a similar vein, with no ignition, the flame finally lit, with one rather dramatic effect: it ignited the vapor cloud of butane that had been collecting over the sink from all of the liquid butane we had been squirting into it. said vaporcloud of flame covered both sinks, burned half the hair off elaine’s right arm, singed her sweater, and nearly gave me a heart attack.

near disaster

dessert anyone?

happy valentine’s day. i think we’ll go to mcdonalds next year. ;-)

the da vinci code

the da vinci code

i’ve been wanting to read the da vinci code for a long, long time. my general boycott of hardcover books has made this difficult; da vinci is only just being released in paperback, after about 400 years on the best-seller list. fortunately, i have wonderful friends like andrew, who, after reading the novel, rush over and drop it off on my doorstep (thank you, andrew!!!).

and now to my review…

Continue reading

you know, for fun

<crotchety old man>
i was coming home on the bus today, as i usually do. it was a little earlier than normal, which meant there were school-age kids on the bus, presumably going home (or not). the mission bus is usually crowded with latinos and the odd indie denizen or bernal heights yuppie (aka me). today there was a group of asian kids behind me, laughing, joking, having a good time. ah, the energy of youth!!

the time came for them to get off the bus, and they piled off in a cloud of high-tops, shouts, and immortality. the last man out reached up and stuck his hand inside a mysterious hole above the door – the loud pssst of hydraulics followed his laugh (ha!) out the door, and they were off down the street.

the doors they left through stayed open, oddly enough.

we waited.

after a minute or two, the bus driver got out of the bus, walked around outside, forcibly closed the doors, then walked back to the front.

again, we waited.

the doors were still screwed up. some sort of interlock mechanism on these buses exists such that if the doors aren’t closed properly, or if there is a malfunction, the bus won’t move.

another nearby bus driver came to the doors (again on the outside of the bus), and kept trying to push the doors shut.
"hey…there were some kids who pulled this thing and…", i suggested. the bus driver ignored me. the other bus driver came back through the bus this time, and i told him about the kids, the sound, the apparent crime. he looked up, reached through the same hole the kid had violated, and flipped a red hydraulic switch. again the hiss and the doors closed. mystery solved, bus mobile, crowd pleased.

call me weird.. call me old-fashioned. call me prank-illiterate. in what world is it actually funny to make a whole bus of people sit and wait, anxious to get home, or to wherever they’re going? it takes no creativity to do what that kid did…no brain cells were harmed in the creation of that prank, if you could even call it that. i like to think i have a sense of humor and can appreciate the things kids do, but i just didn’t get the joke.

i hope my kids never do crap like that.

</crotchety old man>

my dinner with andrew

i had dinner with my friend andrew last night, and it was even more fun than the famous film of a somewhat similar name (my dinner with andre). no comparison, actually.

there…i blogged again.

it’s been a long time, and i needed to break the silence. many movies and books on the brain, but will have to write about them later. oh yeah, and remind me to talk about trying to fold fitted sheets.