Kenney’s been doing contests like mad, with decent prizes (sketches, watercolors0. I really ought to submit an entry. I want a watercolor!
Just bought a painting from my pal Kenney Mencher, who has a store on Etsy.com. I know how much Kenney’s paintings usually sell for, and believe me, these prices are a steal. Are these his harder-to-move paintings? I don’t know. All I know is, I found the one I wanted.
There are others I like, most notably this one and this one (which has the great title, Cohen Boybarian), but none that Karen and I could both agree on. Perhaps I’ll buy Cohen Boybarian for my office. I’ll have to sleep on it.
Artist Kenney Mencher is hosting a flash fiction writing contest: a 1000-word story based on one of his oils could win you one of his drawings. Details here.
Should be fun.
How’s everyone’s three-day weekend going? Except you Canadians, you don’t get a three-day weekend, do you? Nyah-nyah. And where IS everyone? I realize I never get comments on my game-related posts, but you folks have been quiet for several days now.
Yesterday, we took a drive down to LA to go on an eating binge. This is what we do for entertainment. If LA had the equivalent of a Roman vomitorium, we’d be there. Instead, we’ll indulge in anything from tasty holes-in-the-wall to snooty upscale eateries. Last night was more the latter than the former. Folks with long memories will recall that I’ve been jonesing for Ipswich clams, and Jar looked like a decent place to wallow in clamminess, so that’s what we did.
The group was: my wife and son, my sister, and my friend Mike. My family all liked Mike, which was great, since it’s never a given that your family will think your friend is as cool as you think he is. But he’s basically one of us (same age, not too dissimilar upbringing) which helps.
The food: yes, we had the clams. Two orders. Sadly, they didn’t bring enough; even two orders left us unsatisfied. My sister and I (the resident Ipswich clam experts) agreed that these were superior to every other west coast fried clam you might encounter, but still not up to 7E’s standards (a fried clam joint in New England). No bellies.
Karen and I had the soft shell crab special. Karen liked hers, but I thought it was a little disappointing. Soft shell crab is tricky; if they’re a little too old, the shell isn’t quite soft enough to crisp up in the deep fryer. We had some tasty French fries with it and some pea greens that were also very good.
My sister had sole, and while I thought it was excellent, I think it was a little undercooked for her taste. Jake had coq au vin (really, really good . . . in fact, I’m wishing we had taken home his leftovers) and Mike had a leg of lamb dish that also looked great. And we all did dessert. And we all lived to tell about it.
Come on, folks, chime in. You can’t ALL be doing fun stuff with families this weekend. I know some of you are on the ‘net.
Tonight was special.
I’ve been in touch with Mike for a few years now, and we had spoken on the phone once or twice, which was an experience all by itself. It’s uncanny, to say the least, to talk to someone who was pre-pubertal the last time you spoke. Things are familiar but different.
We were really good friends in junior high and ninth grade, but in tenth grade I switched to another high school, and I lost touch with my old friends. In general, I’m pretty crappy when it comes to keeping in touch with friends. (Thank heavens for the Internet, though.) I’m not sure how Mike and I found each other again, but I think I might have googled him one day and found his blog. We’ve been emailing off and on, but this is the first chance we’ve had to get together in person.
He tells me that the GenXers are so into texting that they don’t know how to conduct conversations anymore. Fortunately, we haven’t forgotten how to talk. I suppose these sorts of reunions could completely flop — how much is there to talk about after you’ve had the “who have you kept in touch with” conversation? Turns out, a lot. We had a great time, and I only broke it off because I wanted to get to my hotel before 11 to have some time to unwind, and blog, and check my email . . .
So yeah I’m down in LA for a Kaiser affair. (Sorry, Sis, but I got here too late in the evening to do dinner with you. Next time I’m down here, I promise. It’ll be in about one month.) Jake has his Freshman Retreat tomorrow and I suspect we’re going to be doing the same thing, my son and I: breaking into small groups and discussing relationships. How can you spend a whole day doing this? I guess I’m going to find out (Jake and I both). And I have not just one day of this, but THREE, blessedly scattered one month apart.
Back to Mike: we had a great time. So much fun to see someone I haven’t seen since 1976. 1976! Can you imagine? Back then, 1984 still sounded like the distant future, and don’t even mention the Millennium. We would be pushing forty then. We would be old.
But if growing old means more pleasures like these, I guess it won’t be so bad.
Karen and I want to give a shout-out to our mortgage broker, Michael Zoretich. He’s been our broker for the last 7 or 8 years and has helped us — a lot. Many times. Anyway, the mortgage biz is a mess right now, so Michael has developed a sideline in mortgage consultancy. He’s offering advice on mortgages and refinancing deals. You give him your financial details and the quotes you’ve received, and he’ll figure out if you’re being screwed. Simple!
Michael is respected in his field. He’s the kind of guy you check in with if you’re going to write a “Should you refinance your mortgage?” column. He even got quoted on MSNBC back in 2007. Karen, a woman who knows her stuff, vouches that Michael knows his stuff, too. So if you need mortgage advice from a guy who knows his stuff, check Michael out.
In other news, I dyed my beard today and now I look like Evil Spock . . .
. . . only I can’t make my eyebrows do that.
Here’s the damage:
The body shop owner said, “Well, that’s undriveable.”
I thought he meant the car was totaled. Visions of a 2009 Camry danced in my head, but I knew it was too good to be true. No, it wasn’t totaled, just undriveable. He explained: “If you had to open the hood, you’d never get her shut again.”
So they put me into a PT Cruiser, which my insurance will pay for. They’re curious-looking cars, sort of like VW bugs that have been stretched on The Rack. Roomy for a small car, but the turning radius sux and the damn car loves to blare it’s alarm. I think I’ve finally figured it out: it wants me to open it via the remote. If I get anywhere close to it with a key, God forbid, the alarm kicks in. Weird.
Below the cut: Stephen Colbert has nothing on me!
Today (Tuesday, that is) was the last day of the meeting. Once again, the educational quality was high, and the company was outstanding:
. . . or maybe I just think it was outstanding company because they paid for my drinks and my dinner. Thanks, guys! That’s Bruce and Sandy on the right, Eli and Kathy on the left. Bruce, Eli, and I trained together at LA County Hospital.
I don’t pretend to understand what folks who serve together in wartime feel for one another, but I think it’s safe to say that we “County veterans” possess a faint shadow of that same feeling. We served together in stressful circumstances. No one was shooting at us, no one was trying to blow our asses off with IEDs, but hey, when your chief repeatedly screams at you that he’s going to rip off your head and shit down your neck, you feel at least a twinge of threat —
Okay, okay. It’s a reach. They’re pals of mine, the kind of pals who will still be pals even if I don’t see them for ANOTHER ten years, but hey guys let’s try not to let it go that long, hmm? Especially not now that I’m living in wine country and you have a perfectly good excuse to come visit.
PS What funky photos these cell phones take . . .
PPS I do believe that’s my finger at the bottom of Bruce & Sandy’s photo.
A rural doctor takes his leave.
We saw a cute bird over near Pike’s Market. Me, I don’t know birds. I can distinguish crows from herons, vultures from pigeons, and that’s about it. To me, anything small and brown like this is a sparrow. If anyone wishes to correct me, go right ahead.
During lunch, we had an entertaining view.
More photos below the fold.