Sunday, October 31, 2021

RESTORING THE TISSUES

The bus ride back was interminable. Largely because my right leg felt like a steamroller had driven over it. Precisely the Venn diagram of circulatory issues, probable long-standing tissue damage, savage arthritis, and being on my feet for eight hours.
My left leg felt fine. Like it was another person.

Fortunately, someone else on the bus was in worse shape. Although in his case it's far more mental. He has a psychological dislike of all stimuli from outside his own self, and often runs down the aisle moaning while covering his eyes when we come to his stop. This time I got to observe him while he just riding. He was covering his ears till it was there.

Yes, the booga booga is out to get him.
He is right. He should be worried.
Now that he knows, it's time.
He should panic.


I am not the most sympathetic person. I deal with special people all day.


All I want when I get home in the evening is a warm beverage and the company of my stuffed creatures, particularly the turkey vulture, who wishes I would bring back a nice juicy corpse, surely I can bash some tiresome old fossil upside the head for him?

Believe me, Little Fella, I'd love to do just that. But there might be issues if I did. For one thing, they'd be too heavy to schlepp -- quite a dead weight, as it were -- for another they might leave stains in the bus. They'd have to stop the vehicle and force the other people off to wait for a replacement, then hose the original bus down and sterilize it. Can't have other passengers slipping on old man cadaver juices and hurting themselves. It would be a liability, you know. They're very conscious of that. For a third, dragging a fresh corpse down the street might be considered suspicious, especially after night fall. There is a time and place for dead people, and the public street isn't it. Besided, there are a number of stoplights between where the bus drops me off and my front door. They're timed, and I don't know if I can get the old bastard across in time. Cars might hit him. Either the precious soft tissues would be damaged, OR the fenders of the vehicles and possibly the paint. I am not ready to argue whose fault it was as Old Dead Jones there gets stiffer and heavier by the minute, still leaking fluids.
Plus I'd have to wash my hands, and he'd contaminate the carpet.
My landlords would certainly object to that!

In short, it might be problematic.
Did I already mention the warm beverage? For me it's a crucial element. Especially when the glandered old nags in the backroom spent several hours yelling about the ballgame.
Altogether a very long day, and I was a bit frazzled afterwards.
Believe it or not, I'm a sensitive guy.



Now that I've had my caffeinated beverage, I feel considerably better. The body still aches, but the mind is wired to the tits. I'm alive again. It's time to read.




==========================================================================
NOTE: Readers may contact me directly:
LETTER BOX.
All correspondence will be kept in confidence.
==========================================================================

IT'S GREAT TO BE HERE!

I'm running out of Sriracha. And discovering, to my dismay, that I do not have a spare bottle. Sriracha has made living among the whitebread people bearable for so long I'd probably go mad without it. Or reasonable substitutes, like the library of chilipastes in the fridge.

In some ways, California is a hardship post. Good coffee has been almost entirely elbowed aside by Starbucks, and flavoured "coffees", outside of the inner city Chinese food consists of 'orange chicken' and fried wontons, bread in the supermarkets is still largely spongy poof for baloney sandwhiches, and the newspapers, after a brief period of relevance, have become messy unproofread excuses for birdcage liner.

The New York Times, pork products, and Oxford Marmalade, are flown in.

We have been taken over by refugees from Shizlandia.


Which starts, if you didn't know, at the Oakland Hills and continues all the way to Maine.
[Some might say all the way to the Urals and as far south as Zanzibar, but much of that is unexplored territory filled with space aliens and worm-people, so it's unfair to consider them part of the known world. I've heard that they subsist entirely on Royales avec Fromage, purchased from Les Arches Dorées anyway ..... ]


A friend overseas, who grew up among the slope brows in the upper-south, before emigrating, loves what he calls the "real America", and chastises me for my snobbishness and pretensions. He plays guitar, hearts the grateful dead, smokes pot like a true Murican, and thinks Texas and Florida are slices of heaven filled with honest to goodness patriots. Why shucks.

COLORFUL NATIVE COSTUME: MISSISSIPPI


He does have good points. And sometimes insight.


Despite being wrong. Even out of it.


I can't stand guitars.





==========================================================================
NOTE: Readers may contact me directly:
LETTER BOX.
All correspondence will be kept in confidence.
==========================================================================

Saturday, October 30, 2021

THEY'RE PILLARS OF THE COMMUNITY!

Is there anything else I need to know about Joe Rogan other than that he's a dickhead? Not that there's anything wrong with that. Many of the people I deal with on a professional basis are dickheads; today they made animal sounds.

One of them is convinced that the United States Government is hauling in Tik Tok users for questioning. Because they've unwittingly become communist Chinese agents.
He also believes that there are chips in the vaxxine.
It's them commies!

Sometimes conversations go South before you even know it. Sometimes you make it happen. Please try to imagine which of these possibilities it was that had me responding to someone by saying "my imaginary sister is a lesbian". And bear in mind that I have no beef with lesbians; a very good friend years ago was one, and I know several.

I also know non-lesbians. Gender-mate preferences are not a key determinant of friendship.


The main difference between lesbians and heterosexual women is that the latter are somewhat more likely to have a Hello Kitty thing going on. At least I think so, perhaps I should conduct a poll and determine the percentages. Also, lesbians may be more likely to shoot pool. Again, an unscientific generalization. Not being into pool myself there is less reason to research the matter than the Hello Kitty thing.



I fully expect the old delinquents I babysit to be just as disturbed tomorrow as they proved themselves so generously today. Perhaps less shaven and less couth.
Some people do not need to dress up for Hallowe'en.
They are complex creatures.


==========================================================================
NOTE: Readers may contact me directly:
LETTER BOX.
All correspondence will be kept in confidence.
==========================================================================

Friday, October 29, 2021

HOPE SPRINGS ETERNAL

My downstairs neighbor has entirely given up on trying to convert me. I think the documentary hypothesis and Isaac Asimov convinced her that I was going to heck no matter what. That plus my horrible habits. My apartment mate, however, is still fair game. What with being Chinese, she's just a heathen, and not a disagreeable snarky-ass Dutch cynic who reads too much.
Besides, she's kin. Chinese!

So more likely to be one of the 144,000 than I am.

Seeing as my apartment mate told her relative the born-again Presbyterian to go fly a kite with that religion crap, my guess is that despite being Chinese, and a woman and therefore by definition malleable and weak-minded (!), that ain't gonna happen.

My downstairs neighbor, being Fujianese from Jakarta, may have some unrealistic ideas.
It's like having an elderly crazy country relative living downstairs from us.
The neighbor and the Presby don't know each other.
It would be critical mass if they did.


If we had a caged bird, there would be some use for the tracts. As it is, we aren't going to save them up to make a tree, and like junkmail they go into the garbage straight away.
Christianity seems to mean cutting down a forest.



Jesus could help me stop smoking. Apparently.
A bloody puritan busibody, is Jesus.
Probably a Vegan too.



==========================================================================
NOTE: Readers may contact me directly:
LETTER BOX.
All correspondence will be kept in confidence.
==========================================================================

Thursday, October 28, 2021

IT'S A JOY FILLED MASTER PIECE!

Some movie advertised on Facebook. But it could just as well have been lunch. Leftover salt fish and chicken fried rice with mustard cabbage, chopped hot link, and green cury paste. Salt fish and chicken fried rice (鹹魚雞粒炒飯 'haam yü gai naap chaau faan') is very Hong Kong, but if you add sambal or cilies, fried rice of any kind is completely Dutch. Provided you don't forget that pinch of nutmeg to make the meat component meatier. Just call it nasi goreng.

The effect of the potent smokeables (HH Rustica) I had stuffed into my pipe earlier for a walk around the neighborhood had worn off, as had the coffee, and I was feeling it little pooped.
Very much in need of sustenance.

The left-overs from a few days ago were perfect.


When I went into my apartment mate's room to fetch the turkey vulture napping on her bed, who shares in EVERYTHING WE EAT AROUND HERE (because otherwise we'll hear about it, long into the night), it smelled extremely clean in there. Probably because the combo of salt fish and frying made the entire rest of the apartment reek like a flop house off Mabini Street, not too far from Sinagoga, or perhaps Remedios. As a comparison.
I'm expecting that aroma to disappate by early evening.
Nevertheless, I shut her door again.

It's kind of the universal South East Asian fragrance. Encountered nearly everywhere, precisely like dissatisfied Americans, Australian alcoholics, and European pederasts.
Of those four things it is the most appealing.


Heading out for tea and a pastry in Chinatown soon. It's full of white people there. They're all keenly interested in the things they see: ancient monuments, colourful trinkets, and dried fish.
And almost none of them know what masks are. They've never heard of the pandemic.


As I understand it, there is a enormous part of this country that has been unaffected by Covid: Alabama, Alaska, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Indiana, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, West Virginia, and Wyoming.

Drunken Australia and Pederastic Europe have also been unaffected.
Apparently it's just a California phenomenon.



AFTERWORD

My friend Jonathan in Israel hates it when I sneer at the "real America".
He has a peculiar affection for that part of the country.
He's a good old boy and a buttercup.
A true patriot.



==========================================================================
NOTE: Readers may contact me directly:
LETTER BOX.
All correspondence will be kept in confidence.
==========================================================================

IT'S BACK, DAMMIT!

This blogger views with trepidation the return of Outside Lands, and its pot-addled hippies stumbling back to BART through the darkness, kicking children and little old ladies out of their way. Outside lands, as locals know, is the biggest and most depraved public event of a long list of such things for which San Francisco is infamous. Marijuana. Immoral sexual escapades. Disgusting eating habits. Crowds. Deadheads. Psychedelia. To the severe Calvinist, these things regularly herald the End Times. Woe!


More to the point, and veering slightly into realism, traffic jams.

Questionable edibles and ratty tee-shirts.

It's a yearly event.


As you would expect, I haven't heard of any of the performers, have never listened to any of that crap, and have no interest in ever attending. That's something that people who fondly pretend that they're still young do.

Apparently there will be wine, beer, bubble tea, and cheese available.

I'll attend when The Doors are back together again.




==========================================================================
NOTE: Readers may contact me directly:
LETTER BOX.
All correspondence will be kept in confidence.
==========================================================================

IT'S A LIFESTYLE CHOICE

As you know I pay attention to many things on social media, and, naturally am a member of one or two pipe smoking groups. It's a way of keeping my sanity during pandemic times in a part of the world where pipe smokers are considered diseased old degenerates, and people without asking advise me to quit smoking tobacco, switch to marijuana which is grown by little green men in the Amazon rainforest who recycle and hug whales, and above all enjoy some gluten-free smoothies made with apple cider vinegar instead. It's better for me.

A change of lifestyle, which if applied, would make me spiritual, super healthy, and woke.
Enlightened and radiant with inner peace and good karma oh my golly.

I'm sorry, pilgrims, that is manifestly not the way.
Outside of the Bay Area, life is different.


"Wilkes Chocolate mixed with Stokkebye Black Coffee. Looking forward to Bible study tonight."


Wilkes and Stokkeby are pipe tobacco manufacturers (in this case: aromatics). The author of that phrase is a distinguished looking gentleman who lives in Kentucky. Bible study is what he does instead of watching Squid Game or playing marbles.

What we have in common are briars, moderate liberalism, and reading spectacles.
The enjoyment of aromatics and Bible study far, far, less so.
But I respect his lifestyle choices.


WILKE CHOCOLATE
Blended By John Brandt
Black Cavendish, Burley, Virginia
Cocoa / Chocolate

Considered a delightful variation on a popular theme, which might be enjoyable to smokers of non-aromatics. The Burley is dominant, the room note pleasant. Not a sticky goop tobacco.


STOKKEBYE BLACK COFFEE
Blended by Peter Stokkebye (Scandinavian Tobacco)
Black Cavendish, Burley, Virginia
Coffee

Just tobacco and coffee flavour. Main impression is coffee, with a very subtle hint of vanilla and sugar. Doesn't taste artificial, comes a bit dry rather than sticky and oily. A decent enough product. Not a sticky goop tobacco.


BIBLE STUDY
There are two types: Christian and Jewish. The Christian version is far less complex, much more superficial, and often goofily literalist. The Jewish version can be more intense and rewarding, requires linguistic dexterity, and an open mind (pshat, remez, moshol, drash).
If metafor is beyond you, don't even start.


I might try his tobacco. But the text studies would have to wait. You wouldn't want me sitting in a corner rolling on the floor and moaning from boredom and frustration.
It would detract from the experience.


All of these things make me sneeze.



==========================================================================
NOTE: Readers may contact me directly:
LETTER BOX.
All correspondence will be kept in confidence.
==========================================================================

Wednesday, October 27, 2021

CHINESE FAMILY RELATIONS

The sibling of a friend is heading for a messy divorce. Which I am NOT enjoying, vicariously. My divorce very many years ago, and my split-up from my long time girlfriend a decade ago, were relatively amicable and peaceful. My ex-girlfriend is still a very good friend. And we didn't fight about dividing things or whose fault it really was. It was almost certainly mine.
I am not the most likable of fellows, nor easy to always get along with.
Plus I'm rather stubborn and insensitive.

This is not like that. It's civil war, with vengeful actions.
I'm siding with the sibling. He's rather innocent.
Quite blitheringly naive in fact.

The entire situation has Aspergers (high-functioning autism) written all over it. He's certifiably a genius in his narrow field, his wife (soon to be ex) is a genius at being an opportunistic conniving bitch from a family of nasty bitches.


Both parties are Chinese American.


Three thousand years of Chinese history and tradition do NOT lead to clean resolutions. They don't even make an impact, really. As someone from a culture that tore to pieces and then ate their best political leader ever (Johan DeWit), and drove some of it's greatest poets and artists to drunkenness and suicide, I am not the person to give advice, even if that does qualify me to dispassionately view the discord. We Dutch tend to be brutally realistic at times.
Merely brutal the rest of the time.

So I will keep my big honky nose out of this, and won't get involved in any way. Except if it's necessary. I shall be studiously neutral. Hardly impartial and unbiased. But 'neutral'.



When the Chinese under the Manchus finally grew tired of rebellions in Dzungaria, they genocided it completely, with the enthusiastic assistance of the Uyghurs.
Then annexed it and settled their own people there.

That shouldn't have any bearing on this, but it's indicative of "problem solving" attitudes.


We Dutch once wiped out an entire island for strictly business purposes.
Oh, and we invented scalping and taught it to natives elsewhere.

That shouldn't have any bearing on this. But there's a match of madnesses.




==========================================================================
NOTE: Readers may contact me directly:
LETTER BOX.
All correspondence will be kept in confidence.
==========================================================================

I HAVE NO IDEA WHAT THEY EAT IN MISSISSIPPI

What did the turkey vulture currently sitting on my bed have to eat today? Chips and grapes. There was no way I was taking him over to Chinatown to have a share in my chops. No doubt the people I see there on a regular basis already think me a bit eccentric, and I don't need Mah and Pah Slobkibble from Mississippi to think I'm nuts and tell all the little Slobkibbles in Gerbildunk (Mississippi) about the loony they saw in San Francisco.
Ever-hungry turkey vulture

There will be cookies later. That's food, right? And I will need someone to help me eat them. Once the chops (番茄豬扒飯 'faan ke chü paa faan') wear off. Probably somewhere around nine or ten o'clock.

While I do not want to share my very excellent chops with a bird, I wouldn't mind doing so with another person. Or having some of the lamb stew with tofu stick over rice (枝竹羊腩飯 'ji juk yeung naam faan') I saw as one of their wall specials while she (it would have to be a she) happily plows into the chops.

Sadly, asking a woman "excuse me miss (or ma'am) would you like some chops?" while direct and to the point, would come across as weird and twisted, and might ellicit a slap and a scream. Or multiples thereof. Skeevy and goofy is NOT my customary style.


"Excuse me ma'am, would you like some chops? They're juicy!"



With my luck, it's Jocasta Slobkibble. From Gerbildunk. In Mississippi.
Anyhow, next time I'm there I'm ordering the lamb stew and rice.
They have pastries. They have Hong Kong Milk Tea.
And they're nowhere near Mississippi.
It's a good place.



==========================================================================
NOTE: Readers may contact me directly:
LETTER BOX.
All correspondence will be kept in confidence.
==========================================================================

COLD WEATHER LAMB HOT POT

Eating lamb in Autumn and Winter is warming, and helps the body deal with the cold and wet. According to the Cantonese, who do not know what cold and wet is, because they live in a temperate clime, unlike pissy Dutchmen on the internet who still remember getting drenched every day in freezing rainstorms while bicycling to school (the distance between Valkenswaard and Eindhoven is six miles) from November through March, or that one time they visited their relatives who live in the centre of Canada during the middle of winter when there was snow outside covering the shivering corpses of local residents who went out shopping without wearing their furcoats, thermal underwear, and mukluks.

Hong Kong has eighty degrees Fahrenheit right now. Which is warm. Too warm. San Francisco is at sixty Fahrenheit. The Netherlands and Canada are up near the arctic, where what might warm you is côtelette de baby harp seal with a port wine reduction.
As well as furcoats, thermal underwear, and mukluks.

Because it is more temperate in HK and Kwangchow, the Cantonese far too often do a fairly miserable rendition of one of their favourite dishes, lamb and tofu stick hotpot (枝竹羊肉煲'fu juk yeung yiuk po'), which I've learned should not be eaten at some places. I'm still looking for a restaurant that does a splendid version. Which means that I might order it sometime soon.


The best versions include carrot chunks, large black mushrooms, good dried tangerine peel (新會陳年舊陳皮 'san-wui chan-nin kau chan-pei'), and bamboo shoot (竹荀 'juk seun', in addition to juicy lamb, and tofu sticks (腐竹 'fu juk', 枝竹 'ji juk').
Ginger, garlic, chopped scallion, star anise.
Dashes soy sauce and rice wine.



All of that aside, I'm probably going to have chops for lunch mid-afternoon with a cup of milk tea. It's not cold enough for lamb, nor rainy. Pipe and a walk afterwards.
After shopping, of course.

Best Brown Flake.
In an old briar.



TOBACCO INDEX


==========================================================================
NOTE: Readers may contact me directly:
LETTER BOX.
All correspondence will be kept in confidence.
==========================================================================

HER BADLY RESTRAINED EXCITEMENT

Given all the attention she paid to the pale young woman from Hubei, which was even to this impartial observer odd and disquieting, upon reflection I now realize something that must have been obvious; the old lady may be a frustrated lesbian. It would explain why the waitress intensely dislikes her. I had not seen the woman so chattersom ever before.
Mostly she's glum and seems resentful.
I am now imagining her "putting the moves" on the waitress.
Amateurishly, and without a clue.

Oop ack react.
And ick poo.

Shan't ask any questions, and I don't want to know.
I'm just there to enjoy a tasty lunch.
And have a cup of milk tea.

I am often clueless about these matters, and comfortable about that. Other people's love lives (or lust lives) are intellectually more intriguing as concepts than the bald and straightforward facts of the matter, if I was aware of them, would possibly warrant.
And yes, that goes double or triple for my own love life.
Which does not exist at all in the real world.
It's an intellectual conceit.


The old lady's "conversation" with 'miss Hubei' was entirely in Cantonese, which the object of attention may have understood, but did not speak, as when she addressed the waitress it was in English. Calling it one sided would be an understatement van jewelste.


Chinese are romantic people. The videos accompanying the ballads on the big screen on the back wall of the restaurant made this clear. Video one: little boy gives girl flowers, gets brutally told to piss off by her father. In their late teens they are secretly dating, when her father finds out and puts a stop to it. Years later he's performing on stage, she's in the audience, their eyes lock. Video two: the feudal warlord has a prize vase and is the father of the lovely girl. The prize vase ties the two young people together, somehow it means something to both of them. They both die during a battle in the palace, while trying to save the vase from looters. Centuries later he's reincarnated and bidding on the vase at an auction of antiquities, but yields to her bid; outside the auction hall their eyes lock and they recognize each other. Video three: An old man lovingly repairs the doll which belonged to his wife, which he gave her when they were both juveniles, as the flashbacks make clear.

My Dutchness and my Aspergers (spectrum disorder) prevent me from seeing my own life in such romantic hues. Or recognizing when someone else does so. When I was still on a dating site, it seemed like every woman there wanted to hike the Andes with a sensitive version of Pierce Brosnan, or raft down the Amazon with a supernaturally wise and spiritual hunkus wearing native sandals, with a dog. I didn't bother contacting any of them.
I may have missed numerous clues there, and in real life.
Dutch and Asperger; NOT a romantic hero.
I lack the right reactions.
Herring.




==========================================================================
NOTE: Readers may contact me directly:
LETTER BOX.
All correspondence will be kept in confidence.
==========================================================================

Tuesday, October 26, 2021

THEY ARE ALMOND SHAPED

Very often I have more faith in, and affection for, the allegedly wild animals that move quietly among humans in the city. There are the parrots, of course -- a flock of about eighteen of them that come screaming overhead at around eight o'clock in the morning this time of year, heading towards the Western Addition -- and the crows with their extraordinary appetite for stale pizza at all hours; they're rather like college boys but better behaved, and rarely drunk.

There used to be raccoons in this neighborhood, when trash cans were still easy to rob. Now it's harder, they require near-human coordination and leverage. The lids don't simply slide off.

Last night, while being interviewed by the police about what I had seen (violent incident up the street), a coyote casually wandered by on the other side of the street. Five cars with flashing lights, victim howling on the pavement, people clustered in an urban area with no shrubbery, undergrowth, moorland or heath. And a coyote, just casually minding its own business.

It would have been more interested in us if we had been small house pets or little children. But as we were so obviously not suitable prey, or food scrap material, it just couldn't be bothered.

Coyotes are remarkably civilized members of society.


Two of the other witnesses were gay gentlemen, one of whom was quite as beautiful looking as Lesley Cheung. Very lovely features. His Caucasian boyfriend was also handsome, but not as nice. They live three blocks further up the hill, and had just picked up something sweet from the nearby donuttery.


I used to go to that donut place a lot. Three of the employees spoke Cantonese, but only one of them is left now, and though I've known her for years, too much sugar winds me up and knocks me out, which I do not need during daylight hours.
Strong coffee will fail to ameliorate that now.
My metabolism has gotten a bit older.
I'm not a youngster anymore.
None of this has any bearing on the amygdala, part of the limbic system. The function of which kicked in, presumably, when witnessing last night's ruckus. Decision making and emotional response, plus declarative memory and the release of adrenaline. Fight, or flight.
My amygdala were fully functional.

You cannot see my amygdalae in the picture. But trust me, they are there. Both sides. Before going in I dawdled, because I could see that events were spiraling, and being a witness is, in many ways, both a sacramental process and a duty, a necessary human function.
One cannot, must not, look away. Real life is not a movie.
I still do not know how many slasher films end.
Some things one doesn't have to see.
Other things one must.


The amygdala are located just underneath the main part of the brain, sort of centrally above the throat and behind the eyes. They react to stress hormones, which in consequence strengthens memory retention. You'd think that, given this, watching a Mike Meyers movie while swotting for an exam would be an excellent idea, but the process cannot be so finely modulated. You might instead remember how extremely uncomfortable you were at the theatre whenever German declensions are mentioned. When was the last time they cleaned that upholstery?

BTW: Nicotine is also good for short term memory. Try it sometime when studying.
Or witnessing violent incidents. Always cary a pipe with you.



==========================================================================
NOTE: Readers may contact me directly:
LETTER BOX.
All correspondence will be kept in confidence.
==========================================================================

IT TOTALLY DETOXIFIES

One of my favourite rabbis posted a link to an extensive list of pseudo sciences. Amazingly, only two people responded, one of them being myself, because I am an expert on the subject. Of pseudo science. Fake BS. Utter balderdash. The "I did my own research" stuff.
I humbly am a pseudo scientist.

I am from the planet Niburu and my tentacles glow in the dark. We invented colonic therapy, which you need. Ask me how.

One of the people I deal with fairly regularly did his own research, and completely refuses to be vaccinated. He currently believes that there are detention camps for freethinkers like him, and is keeping a low profile. Although, being a loquacious know-it-all with a big ego, he can't keep his damned mouth shut; everyone around him now knows that he's being hunted by the Bilderburgers and the New World Order.


"Dammit, we still ain't found the rebel! Zero in on the yackitty noise!"


What I need to do, obviously, is subtly plant the suggestion that if his arse itches, it's because "they" planted a tracking device within. What he needs is high saline irrigation, with a dash of witch hazel and a teaspoon of apple cider vinegar. That will get rid of it.
It's magic! Do your own research!
"Regularly!"

He's considerably older than me, and very opinionated.
Ignorant and stubborn too, incredibly so.
It's painful.


He's from Marin. A very spiritual and enlightened place.
Where some people are special and know it.
It's like Florida in a way.
But better.

The alien tracking device and the government tracking device cancel each other out.

Trust me. I'm a pseudo scientist, and I know these things.



==========================================================================
NOTE: Readers may contact me directly:
LETTER BOX.
All correspondence will be kept in confidence.
==========================================================================

Monday, October 25, 2021

THE ESSENTIAL NOODLE OF IT ALL

It's Autumn. Yesterday's weather proved that. Which leads, almost directly, to a phrase in an article on a local newsmedia site which is extraordinairy: "It's fall in the Bay Area, which means 'tis the season for soups, warming curries and as much pumpkin and squash as possible." Well, soups are a customary favourite at this time, it's ALWAYS time for curries, and pumpkin is only barely edible at best.


"It's fall in the Bay Area, which means 'tis the season for soups, warming curries and as much pumpkin and squash as possible."
------Best soups and other comfort foods [--], Madeline Wells, SFGATE


When did this happen? Not the soup or nasty gourds and cucurbits, but the curry? When I was the fierce snarling cashier/bookkeeper at a local Indian restaurant, curry was, in many people's minds, not seasonable, and certainly not customary cuisine anywhere in the Bay Area.
We were all regarded as right freaks, working there.
There has been some improvement.
Not that much.

One of the other things that glaringly stood out (!) in that article was this: "While vegan Singaporean-Chinese spot Lion Dance Cafe's seasonal pumpkin laksa is not quite back on the menu yet, you can still satisfy your laksa cravings. Try their laksa lemak, loaded with yuba, tofu puffs, rice noodles and sweet peppers in a rich coconut broth."

Yuba?!?! Tauhu pok?!?!?

Laksa is Peranakan and Indonesian seafood and chicken soup with rice noodles. There are two general kinds of laksa: coconut curry soup, and sour (tamarind broth) soup.

Either way, it should contain dried toasted ground dried shrimp, kemiri nuts pounded in the mortar and pestle, plus fresh seafood, shredded cooked chicken, and beansprouts. With rice stick noodles. A thin coconut soup, made with chicken broth, touch of shrimp paste (蝦膏 'haa gou'; pâté de crevette), and a little fried garlic. Adding a roasted tomato, skinned and chopped, and a pinch of sugar to the broth is good. A shortcut for the bumbu (home made spice paste) would be to use a spoonful yellow curry paste. Add a dash of fish sauce and a dash of a vinegar-based hot sauce. Also minced scallion or chives.

More rice noodle than chicken, more chicken than shrimp, crab, or chunked fish. Also fresh basil and a hefty squeeze of lime to finish, along with a squeeze of Sriracha sauce from Huy Fong, plus a spoonful oily sambal badjak.
My preference is far more coconut milk than tamarind.
Seafood doesn't benefit from too much acid.
But it always needs heat.


I can not recognize Lion Dance Cafe's vegetable coconut curry soup, which is probably very nice, as 'laksa'. Nothing in the description of it suggests 'laksa'. Far be it from me to mention 'stupid white people', but, nevertheless, stupid white people.

Nor will I make a trip to Oakland to try it.
Life is too short for Oakland.



==========================================================================
NOTE: Readers may contact me directly:
LETTER BOX.
All correspondence will be kept in confidence.
==========================================================================

NOT READY FOR THE RAIN

The news media locally mentions ticks (bugs, not nervous), swarming termites, a cheese crisis, and massive amounts of water. That last item is of interest, because having lived in a very wet country for several years, massive amounts of water is my natural environment. But this is California, and the local people aren't used to it. They are freaking out.

In historic times, massive amounts of water happened here.

It's well within living memory.

We are not Dune.


The reason why you should never live on the groundfloor or the top floor is insulation. It's as good as having airconditioning, and you're out of the floods. The same logic does not work when it comes to mental types, however, as living between a Fascist nutball gun owner and a communist vegetarian free spirit will see you caught in the crossfire. Centrism works best when it comes to the effects of weather on your habitation. Or food. In between bacon cheese everything and veganism lies a nice lamb chop.

It strikes me, at this early hour, after a walk for the first smoke of the day (half a pipe bowl, twenty minutes), that a nice lamb chop would be perfect for breakfast. Seared and still pink inside, a garlic peppercorn crust, plus some zippy chilipaste on the side .....

My apartment mate prefers things like oatmeal.

I think I'll go back to bed for an hour.

Not ready for California yet.



==========================================================================
NOTE: Readers may contact me directly:
LETTER BOX.
All correspondence will be kept in confidence.
==========================================================================

Sunday, October 24, 2021

CAKE AND CIGARS

It rained all day. Since before I even went out for my first smoke till after I returned from work, and continuing. So, as was to be expected, it was a slow lovely day. Inside. Soggy as all git-out outdoors, but we spent the hours in a warm cozy environment, and paused around tea-time for a slice of cake and a warm caffeinated beverage. After which my coworker fired up a cigar.

Not being overmuch into cigars, I had a pipe.
And remembered when I got this particular briar. Tiberio had asked me to clean up his Comoy Blue Ribands, and in addition to recompense for time spent gave me this item which he had owned since his college years and had almost never smoked. He went to university in the late fifties early sixties, when every scholarly young fellow at school had pipes.
It's a very good smoker. Very enjoyable.

Remarkably, my coworker had earlier experimented with same tobacco that Tiberio smoked.

I think he liked the cake more. Cake is such a happy thing.
Everybody loves cake. Cake cake cake cake!
There. Don't you feel better?


"Rigor mortis is much more bearable when you are warm and dry!"


I'm not entirely sure the grumpy walrus who had dropped by earlier appreciated my puckish attempt at joviality. Possibly because no one expects me to be that way, or perhaps because grim gothic jokes with words not often used conversationally was entirely beyond him.
Or perhaps he really needed cake and a cigar.



On a different note, I did get wet from the weather, and acid rain does remarkable things to my hair, making it shiny and ever so much softer. Silky, sexy. Ideally a nice young thing in her late twenties or early thirties would run her lovely fingers through it tomorrow, but that is extremely unlikely, and I don't know what my reaction would be. One does not expect random females to handle one's head. Not spontaneously. A sudden fit of inspiration. And here in San Francisco that would prove dramatically disturbing were it to happen. There you are, enjoying your warm beverage, when suddenly you feel small warm digits running over your scalp.
Yeah, no, on second thought .....

Besides, none of the places where I'm likely to go tomorrow are frequented by women inclined to do something like that. I would have noticed by now.



==========================================================================
NOTE: Readers may contact me directly:
LETTER BOX.
All correspondence will be kept in confidence.
==========================================================================

BE HAPPY, BE WET

A friend whom I and a few others remember banging his head on the floor and rolling from side to side during a meeting of our local organization -- because an invited 'new prospect' had such wonderful ideas which she would not stop explaining to us at very inordinate length -- became a rabbi a number of years back, married the girl of his dreams, and, this past week, became a brand spanking new father. The afternoon he became fed up at the 'new prospect' was not captured on video. Cell-phones weren't as advanced then. A very great pity.
But that's okay. We'll tell the kid all about that episode.

The kid will do all right. His father is a terrific scholar, as is his grandfather, as well as many of his kinfolk, males and females. It's a family of literate people. Not all of them express their howling frustration with idiots quite so ..... 'evocatively', however.

My friend and his father both smoke pipes.
So this will prove quite interesting.

English/Balkan blends?
Or Virginias?


After hearing the good news I headed out into the rain for the last pipe of the evening.
I had loaded a pipe with HH Rustica, but just in time I remembered that last Sunday I had a full bowl of that at work, and was by no stretch of the imagination sane the rest of the day. It's got a higher nicotine dosage than other tobaccos, and consequently can do weird things to the mind. So instead it was red Virginia flake in a different pipe. I'll save the bowl of Rustica for Monday morning, after my house mate has left for the day and I can smoke inside. Pacing myself, and controlling my intake. It seems like a good thing to do on a rainy morning.

At the intersection, a person with bare legs holding an orange tarpaulin over her head dashed by, possibly regretting her clothing choices for an evening on the town during rainy weather.
I was in a good position not to regret her choices. Though I do think her choices, in many matters not just Saturday evening habiliments, may have been somewhat iffy.

No, I do not know if she was wearing a mask.
I sure hope so.

She could've caught her death of pneumonia out there.
It had been raining heavily for several hours.
My feet felt like crap when I returned.
But I was in a happy mood.


As you can tell, I do not need an overload of nicotine to be off-kilter myself.
Going out into a downpour is not, strictly speaking, sane.
Even with the right clothes and an umbrella.
Totally worth it, though.



TOBACCO INDEX


==========================================================================
NOTE: Readers may contact me directly:
LETTER BOX.
All correspondence will be kept in confidence.
==========================================================================

Saturday, October 23, 2021

THE NOBLE EXPERIMENT

After a full day in mist-sodden Marin, the thinking man needs a backbone stiffening beverage. Coffee. The history of the Western World since the Middle Ages is quite unthinkable without caffeinated beverages. Prior to then, people drank mostly beer or wine to hydrate, because ditchwater was debilitating or deadly. They were tiddly by mid-day, drunk by teatime, and either bonkers or comatose by evening. Caffeinated beverages made water safe (by boiling it), and prevented brain damage from too much booze during their growing years. Net result: the white man went on a four century bender of conquest and despoliation that changed the world.
Not necessarily for the better. The result was the modern age.
Many Americans are, of course, tipsy by mid-afternoon, and quite plotzed by early evening. It is highly likely that on weekends many of them start drinking shortly after breakfast. Which is why almost no one works on Saturday and Sunday. It's quite unthinkable. All they are capable of on those days is sitting limply in front of the teevee eating stale pizza and crispy snacks, languidly, cow-like, with laboured mastication. The Penguins are battling the Weasels.
It's the most important game of the season.
Just like last week.


CHEESE SLUDGE

Which inevitably brings up the subject of mildly spiced cheese sludge. As goes on top of nachos. An American invention. Of which we should be justly proud, it puts us on the map ("terra incognita") culinarily, the world envies our achievements. My coworker today was bereft, desolate, and disappointed in the extreme because the stupid Punjabi dude staffing the nearest convenience store failed to refill the machine that dispenses said substance over the container of perfectly shaped tortilla chips, and, consequently, the necessary compliment of salt, protein, oleaginous substances, and very mild spicing went missing on his lunch. The one time I took the plunge, Dipshit-ji grudgingly squooze out the last few drops of casein grease for me as if he was taking revenge on the family cow, and I have never repeated the experiment.
The red powder flavoured beef spackle ("chili") was a no go.
An entirely empty dispenser, maybe filthy inside.
Probably pink slime™ in origin anyway.
America's favourite meat.


Nachos, extruded cheese product, chili. The dish to make you leave your fall-out shelter.
It fosters an addiction. Yum yum yum. This is why we had to win the war.

Mildly spiced cheese sludge is essential!
American men will starve without it!
We demand cheese sludge!
Call Tucker Carlson!



To be honest, I can survive easily without having another drop of cheese sludge ever again, and I can also happily pass on Budweiser, Coors, Michelob, and Miller.
I never watch sports. And nachos aren't a breakfast food.

The best thing I ate today in Marin was cake.
It was some darn good cake. Ooh, baby.
That's why I needed coffee.



==========================================================================
NOTE: Readers may contact me directly:
LETTER BOX.
All correspondence will be kept in confidence.
==========================================================================

Friday, October 22, 2021

BORK BORK BORK!

It is disturbing how many people have survived their childhoods. Given that their great idiocy and mahfreedums seem to trump all common sense, social consideration, and decency. On someone else's page the author said: "When everyone in the store has a mask on, I put one on, too. When I don't have a mask handy, I take off my kippa. I do this because I don't want to create bad feelings for Jews among the non Jews and I don't want it to appear to them like Jews are unconcerned about the health and well being of non Jews."
Which precisely expresses why you should ALWAYS wear a mask in a store, and, generally speaking, in public. We (I) am judging you by your behaviour, you stupid maskless white tourists in Chinatown with expendable kiddiewinkies!

Nineteen months into a pandemic that has killed many more people than the flu, and y'all still haven't figured things out. Amazing. Breathe in, pause, beathe out. Pause. Breathe in, pause, breathe out. Pause. Breathe in .......


Fortunately the eatery where I had lunch yesterday does not appeal to Caucasians in the slightest, being a bit too Hong Kong for them, and with dishes they cannot understand.

Such as 焗芝士粟米蝦飯 ('guk ji si suk mai haa faan'; baked cheese and corn kernels shrimp over egg-fried rice); it was just bubbling over with cheese. Oozy!

I am a Dutchman, so certainly I like cheese. Very much.

I doubted my own common sense afterwards.

Fried rice, white sauce, and cheese.

My doctor would be aghast.

He isn't Dutch or HK.


The Hong Kong love of cheese defies all belief. They love cheese more than life itself. Some of their cheesy dishes are hardened arteries and a heart attack on a plate. It is no wonder they've reinterpreted French and Italian food to up the ante. It would have been truly great with a pinch of nutmeg, some chives and cilantro, and garlic. Plus maybe fresh bacon bits added.

If you told a Hong Kong person " this dish has so much cholesterol that even looking at it might kill you, because of cheese, shrimp, cheese, egg, cheese, white sauce, cheese, and butter, but it's yummy", they'd attack it with clackity chopsticks while politely disagreeing as they all keeled over from massive coronary failure. Exactly like the Swedish chef in Montreal.

POUTINE!

[SOURCE: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u88th9aedKU&t=1s.]

What made it utterly enjoyable in this case was absolutely no tourists. Not a single English monolingual droodge. Nor any of their horrible beggy brats.



We need to put a Pizza and Grits restaurant right in the middle of Chinatown. So that my fellow White Anglo-Saxon Protestants have somewhere to plonk their asses and eat their own food. Someplace with very wide chairs. And ketchup.
Don't want the blighters to starve.



Dammit, why isn't there a place in Chinatown with Poutine?



"Um skidee, skidee, um skadinkidoo!"



==========================================================================
NOTE: Readers may contact me directly:
LETTER BOX.
All correspondence will be kept in confidence.
==========================================================================

Thursday, October 21, 2021

THE KNOWN WORLD

There you are, happily walking your dog along the streets of San Francisco, not a care in the world, when an awful smell assails you. No, it's not the ever-changing spectrum of sewer reeks (especially noticeable on Clay Street next to Embarcadero 3, or at the intersection of Pine and Battery), nor the hippie dry-heaving outside Macys, but something worse.
Much worse: burning nicotiniacal leaves.

Somebody is smoking! Heaven forefend!

Perhaps you should have worn a mask, and not come within two feet of him? After all, there's a pandemic going on, and your precious 'mahfreedums' might be a little impacted by common sense. Fluffy doesn't mind the smell, he's happily sniffing at my leg.
Smoking, as everyone knows, is cool and hip. A better expression of everyone's unique and creative individuality can not be found. Why, it's totally groovy!

The touristic poster above was a reaction to the horrible warnings on tobacco products in England, which take away the romance of poison entirely. Sad.


I don't need another lecture from amateur Nurse Ratched types.


On the other hand, the hipster dudes saying that it's just the poisonous chemicals they spray on cigarette tobacco that are dangerous, "smoke something pure and natural like the Native Americans, man", are out of their ever-loving minds.

Kindly both of you shut up. They way y'all go on about tobacco, you'd think it was sex.



And speaking of which, the other day I was happily smoking my pipe on Waverly when a young lady wearing ripped jeans, a black stretchy sports bra type thing, and an open flappity shirt like a sports coat, walked by. And despite her lovely navel, velvety stomach skin, and collar bones, being so well-displayed, all I could think of at that moment was "damn' girl, it's FREEZING out here". I had FOUR layers of clothing on my torso. Necesary! When I spoke to my cardiologist last year about a suspicion that my meds made me more sensitive to extremes of temperature, he opined that that was just getting old. His dad who used wander around in shorts and a tee-shirt now wears a sweater during the cooler part of the year, sometimes a coat.

I'm blaming climate change, because it can't be me.

I'm the same as I ever was.

I am not old.



Full day planned. Porkchops over rice for lunch, shopping, errands, and wandering around fully dressed irritating anti-smokers both before and after tea. I've learned not to enjoy a full bowl of Rustica by HH Macbarens, because the last time I did so I was crazy as a loon the rest of the day. I fully expect my coworker to say something about that the next time I see him.
Small half bowls only.



==========================================================================
NOTE: Readers may contact me directly:
LETTER BOX.
All correspondence will be kept in confidence.
==========================================================================

EVERYBODY DRESSED LIKE A SANDWORM!

The first rain of the season seems to do things to people's heads. As your social media feeds will show you. Someone you thought to be a stable individual is drinking wine during daylight, someone else posted a photo of himself in seventies clothes (loud colours in rayon, wide lapels and cuffs), and a third person keeps waffling on about pumpkin spice being such a perfect taste that it's a darn shame it isn't available year-round.
As you would expect, I have different things on my mind. Halloween. What will the freaks do out on Polk Street this year if it rains? Will they still be greased and naked? Or are they going to be naked under a heavy layer of rain-proof outer wear? Festive orange tarps?
Lord knows I don't want them inside. Indoor nudity is pointless.
Oh, and there really isn't enough room.
The cat would object.


Last year because of the pandemic, festivities were extremely limited. The despair was palpable. If this year rain puts a damper on things, next year will be phenomenal.


The time is right, I feel, for pumpkin spice flavoured martinis.
Pumpkin spice Fireball, and Pumpkin spice tequila.
Plus pumpkin spice everything else.
Pumpkin Jaegie.

Nothing cures depression for the average American quite as well as getting squiffo. Which is something I encourage. Having depressed freaks all around me is not a good feeling.
A distinct downer. Perhaps you can understand why I'm not very social.

If you are going to be an idiot, be drunk.

And if you're drunk, be naked.

It's the American way.

Pumpkin spice.



==========================================================================
NOTE: Readers may contact me directly:
LETTER BOX.
All correspondence will be kept in confidence.
==========================================================================

Wednesday, October 20, 2021

YOU HAVE AN UMBRELLA

Home early enough for tea. Which, as you know, is properly between three thirty and five o'clock. Ideally at exactly four o'clock. That's immutable, and given in the old testament. Although in Hong Kong, where they're somewhat skeptical of that old time religion, 下午茶時間 ('haa ng chaa si kan'; afternoon tea time) is usually assumed to be from two thirty till five thirty (下午二時半至五時半 'haa ng yi si pun ji ng si pun'), which isn't really orthodox.
In continental Europe the heathens do not observe it at all.

Normally I have my afternoon tea in Chinatown. But I was expecting rain.
By the time I had dawdled over a hot cuppa, it was coming down.
So I went out to face the elements with my pipe.

My apartment mate is a non-smoker, you understand, with some allergies/sensitivities that inflame her eczema. And her Teddy Bear should above all not smell like smoke.
Even if it is a somewhat tooty frooty tobacco like Robert McConnell's Glen Piper. Which is very Autumnal, a fine old reek. And a viable alternative for Martin N. and Tad G. when their tins of Erinmore Flake go missing.

[Pipe: a no-name bent bulldog. Tobacco tin: Robert McConnell Glen Piper. Book: Indian Tales Of The Raj.]



Today's C'town jaunt was mainly to pick up refills and have a quick lunch. People there are a bit more rushed when there is the prospect of weather, Cantonese people HATE getting wet. Which I can understand, but umbrellas are widely available, and quite easy to find.
Prospective precipitation related panic is surprisingly infectious.


The old Hang Seng Meat Market (恒生肉舖) opposite the hospital pharmacy, long shuttered, is now for rent, and the building is being painted. The New Asia Restaurant (新亞洲大酒樓) on Pacific has, in the past few days, changed into a supermarket (新亞洲超市), with noodles and stacks of bottled sauces, frozen foods, packs of snacks. Ball room dancing in the evenings is still on the banner over the entrance, but probably no longer an attraction four days a week.

The familiar chandeliers hanging from the ceiling add a nice festive air.


Tea: a strong brew, with milk and sugar. A cherry pastry, and some cookies.
Fortification for going out into the blustering gale.
Which was not particularly fierce.



==========================================================================
NOTE: Readers may contact me directly:
LETTER BOX.
All correspondence will be kept in confidence.
==========================================================================

NUT ALLERGIES

There are people with whom one associates that, while it is necessary to deal with them, and they are in the main both harmless and fairly decent, one must be careful about opening up to. And sometimes it is best to keep a smile on one's face and say bland things, like 'uh huh', 'do tell', 'that's SO interesting'.

Since 2009 there have been no e-mails inviting me to GayGuysChat and YoungFurriesPanting. Reason being that I blocked both of them. They never figured out how to NOT send those group invites to everyone in their e-mail address books.

Blocking is a crucial skill.



There are times when I'm mighty glad I started to rigorously 'block sender' OR 'FB block'. Up until 2012, because of certain grass roots activists, and Sales or Marketing Department hacks with whom I had to deal, I'd regularly receive messages informing me that Barrack HUSSEIN Obama was a secret Muslim, a graduate of a fundamentalist madrassa, a communist, a black nationalist, a radical anti-Israel terrorist supporting Arab-o-phile, a member of the illuminati, a free mason, and a satisfied purchaser of Viagra and Cyalis. Apparently he was also reputed to be the father of Brittany's love-child and a star in bestiality porn. This in addition to news articles linking him to Hamas, the Catholic Church, and a Jewish Cabal.

And he was going to take away our guns.

The other great skill is de-subscribing from mailing lists. No matter how interested one is in the subjects of their focus. Sure, it means no longer being invited to passover seders, bar and bas mitzvas, birthday parties, Surinamese picnics, Belgian pastry events, the mediaeval poetry forum, Dutch-American get-togethers, or regular meetings of the Malayo-Polynesian linguistics club, but everyone has gotten older, their children are grown up and unlikable, and people have sometimes changed from nice, decent, sensible folk to, in some cases, blistering nutballs and elderly lawyers engaged upon their second or third randy scandalous love life.
No social meetings with pastries and hot caffeine either.

So there has been considerable improvement.



Getting calls from either Rachel or Vanessa at dealer services about a soon to expire extended warranty on a vehicle I do not have -- where would I park it in my neighborhood -- is almost like revisiting those times. There is a slightly sleazy fake friends vibe about it, a frisson, if you will. Perhaps I should 'press one' on my phone and talk to a live human being. Find out what they're wearing, are they comfortable, do they have hopes and aspirations? What's bothering them, they look pale and stressed out, can I offer them a smoke?
Drinkies, or a cup of tea perhaps.



==========================================================================
NOTE: Readers may contact me directly:
LETTER BOX.
All correspondence will be kept in confidence.
==========================================================================

Search This Blog

FEEDING THE TURKEY VULTURE

One of my friends enjoyed my recent slew of Chinese sealscript stuff very much, which pleases me no end. Another one wonders at the usefulne...