We went to see the new Anthony Hopkins film The Rite this evening. When we got home we were pretty hungry. Sure, we had bought the large tub of popcorn, but only because it’s easier to carry than the paper bags, and has a stable base so you can set it on the seat next to you with no fears of an avalanche. No way were we going to eat more than 7% of the contents, nor did we, and so, upon returning to our little bungalow on Mulholland Drive, the first stop was the fridge.
Lo and behold! What did we see but the second half of the “Kung Pao Chicken Salad” we’d bought earlier at Gelson’s Deli. Did we make short work of it? And how!
You know what got us most about the salad? The bean sprouts. Yup: bean sprouts! The funny thing is, we don’t normally go for bean sprouts in a big way. They seem a little too health-foody, if you know what we mean. Like hay for cows. But tonight they seemed, instead, fresh and crunchy. Just the thing after seeing a movie about exorcism set in Rome, “the Eternal City,” and starring Anthony Hopkins, a Welsh actor. It was swell to see the great Irish actor, Ciarán Hinds, in a small role as a lecturer on demonic possession. There were many Roman cats in the movie. You’d like them.
After we had polished off the Kung Pao Chicken, we were mighty tempted to nom down on a couple of Eggo toaster waffles spread with lemon curd, but the late hour forbade.
I can call spirits from the vasty deep.
Why, so can I, or so can any man;
But will they come when you do call for them?
—— From Henry IV, Part One, Act iii, Scene 1
From Casanova’s Chinese Restaurant
…the two of them made some mutual arrangement. Then they smiled at each other, again without any sense of surprise or excitement, as if long on famiiar terms, and the waitress retired from the table. Barnby handed the stump of pencil back to Maclintick. We vacated the restaurant.
‘Like Glendower, Barnby,’ said Maclintick, ‘you can call spirits from the vasty deep. With Hotspur, I ask you, will they come?’
‘That’s to be seen,’ said Barnby. ‘By the way, what is her name? I forgot to ask.’
— Anthony Powell
Glendower Calls the Spirits
The world we touch and smell and taste,
The world we hear and see
Pays homage to the vasty deep
In which it soon will be,
But giving memory its due
(Which is to say: a lot),
The things we touch, smell, taste and hear
And see are all it’s not.
Where did you and the entire family go on Friday?
I went with the entire family to Disneyland in Anaheim, California.
How wonderful! Did you see Goofy?
Yes. He marked the floor where we parked.
Did you see Mickey Mouse?
Yes. He signed autographs on Main Street.
Where was Minnie Mouse? Was MINNIE there, too?
Minnie appeared in her balloon form.
What about Donald? Donald Duck, I mean.
I know who you meant, of course. Yes, Donald was there in multiplicity. Here an inflated Donald stretches his arms as if to embrace the throng of parade goers.
There seem to be many forms of each of the Disney characters. Was there a flower arrangement depicting the head of Mickey Mouse?
Right as you enter Disneyland the great floral Mickey Face welcomes you.
WERE there any images of Mickey Mouse that A PERSON can consume?
Oh, there are many edible items. For instance, you can eat a pretzel shaped like the head of Mickey Mouse.
Looks good, but it WAS QUITE hot FRIDAY. DID THE PARK OFFER anything colder?
Oh, sure. You can eat all manner of frozen Mickey heads.
Did you find the place in Disneyland where you wish you could live?
Right there. Above New Orleans.
We meant only to check out an Asian grocery called Marukai Market in Los Angeles’s Little Tokyo — we were in search of an pan – but by chance we arrived at the kick-off of Nisei Week, a festival of music, prizes, colors, crowds, shabu shabu, and whatever Japanese stuff you can think of. In the photo above you see tanabata decorations, marking the one time of year when the star-crossed lovers Hikoboshi (the star Altair) and Orihime (the star Vega) are ferried over the Milky Way to be together.
Yes, there were plenty of young Japanese girls dressed in semi-Harajuku fashion, but that’s not what you see in the picture above. These kids are posing as anime characters, we know not which. Hello Kitty was there, too, celebrating Sanrio’s 50th anniversary, but our photos of Hello didn’t turn out.
The deliciousness and variety of the food aromas drove us nigh unto madness. We opted for Korean BBQ in the spirit of diversity within diversity. Power Ranger episodes from the early 90s entertained us while we snarfed.
We dropped over a hundred at the wonderful Kinokuniya Bookstore without even trying; indeed, with much restraint. Then we toddled downstairs to the original goal of the journey, the Marukai grocery store, where we loaded up on Pocky and bean cakes. Then wearily home, with the siren song of geishas pleading with us to return, a temptation to which we will succumb before Hikoboshi and Orihime next cross the Milky Way.
Did you know that today is National Watermelon Day? Well, neither did we until a few minutes ago. In observation of so worthy a vegetable, we at NiceWork bring you this photo of actual bins of actual watermelons at an actual Ralph’s Fine Foods. It was snapped for no reason only yesterday, so the chances are good a quick visit to the Ralph’s at Topanga and Ventura will snag you one of these beauties.
If you prefer your melons shot to pieces with exploding rounds, you might want to CLICK HERE.
John Scalzi’s science fiction adventure book Old Man’s War or Old Men’s War was reviewed here not too long ago. This book, from a couple of years back, is the sequel to it. It’s called The Ghost Brigades.
Some people will like it, some won’t. Most won’t even know it exists, much less read it.
Me, I’m going to the grocery store to buy some steak and maybe some garlic bread. And by some crazy coincidence, what I’m having for dinner tonight is exactly as important to you as what I thought of this book.
So taken were the NiceWork mobile crew by the image of Beard Papa in Arcadia, CA, that they were compelled to arrest their northward progress on Alec Baldwin Avenue so they could bring you, the reader, a photographic record of his genial face. The signage is that of a gourmet sweet shop also known as Muginoho (麦の穂).
Evidently more than Eggos are et in Arcadia. But what? What does Beard Papa serve?
A Woman in Red, passing by at the time of the shoot, trailing an empty shopping cart, did nothing to dispel the mystery.
Pictures taken, the crew climbed back onto the NiceWorkWagon and fled the scene, leaving the Woman in Red speechless.
Total elapsed time: seven minutes, thirty-six seconds
Photo taken near the corner of Colorado Street and Michillinda Avenue (outside Coco’s Family Restaurant) in Arcadia, California. October 23, 2009, 12:30 PM. Coordinates: 34.14804, -118.067708. Click on the photo for further information.
Is it really so much to ask?
Evidently yes. Good pie, we now understand, is hard to come by.
At the conclusion of Arthur C. Clarke’s famous short science fiction story “The Nine Billlion Names of God”, the stars “without any fuss” go out one by one in the sky overhead. So it was, back in the Old Country of Illinois, except it was not stars that winked out, but Baker’s Square (née Poppin’ Fresh) Restaurants, our go-to places for pie. For a season the year before last, it seemed we had no sooner pulled into the parking lot of one of the many in the chain of franchised pie-shops, eager for key lahm pah, than a furtive hand turned the “OPEN” sign in the window around to read “CLOSED,” and, after a moment, re-emerged briefly with a Magic Marker™ to add the heart-chilling word “FOREVER.”
One by one Baker’s Square Restaurants went pfft and darkened like spent light bulbs.
But HOPE lived. We had read or heard or intuited or dreamt that out West there were “Pie Joints aplenty.” Lemon meringue was not some vague misremembered childhood fairy tale, but a present reality, shining like a yellow beacon from the direction of the setting sun.
Dupars, you say? Coco’s Family Restaurants, you shamefacedly offer. Marie Callender’s Restaurant and Bakery, you add with a glimmer of hope.
Yes, yes. By strict dictionary definition, I suppose you will find pie there.