2013.06 minutiae

  • Lizzie and I went on a short road trip that included a stop in Sacramento to tour the state capitol building.  We were amused to discover that gilt letters spelling out the word TELEPHONES now beckon passersby into a pointless, empty room.

  • Happened across some mixed messages in San Francisco town:

  • Seven years after buying my car, I finally figured out how to engage the Auto Stop feature.  I've engaged it many times over the years, of course — it's just that I've finally figured out how to engage it on purpose.

  • The MP3 player in my car is pretty much permanently set to shuffle mode, and when I first set out on a drive, I often end up clicking through about twenty songs before I hit one I feel like listening to.  But once that song is over, I rarely veto the next one.  It's like my brain has acquired "listening momentum" or something like that.

  • Saw a piece about Weezer's "Buddy Holly" video and realized that it was a '10s article commenting on the primitive CGI in a '90s music video that pays homage to a '70s sitcom about the '50s.

  • I have mentioned that I live next door to a young girl who is fond of swordfighting.  I often see her dressed in actual armor and a cape, swordfighting with another girl around her age.  One evening this month she was taking on two younger boys.  She blocked their swings with her shield and then drew her sword, announcing, "You killed my father. Prepare to die. That's a quote from a samurai movie!"

  • Also in the "Kids Say the Most Goddamned Things" department: my friend Mandy's young daughter inquires, "How old do I have to be before I can clone myself?"

  • One evening I went to the Berkeley Bowl and saw several pairs of young boy/girl siblings who were being uncommonly affectionate with each other.  Holding hands, draping arms over each other's shoulders, hugging, etc.  MDMA in the free pineapple samples, you figure?

  • Speaking of fruit, if you live somewhere like the Bay Area where you can find out the cultivars of the fruit you're buying, permit me to make the following endorsements: Index cherries, Earliglo nectarines.  (Of course, it's too late for these now, but remember them next spring!)

  • At the Temescal farmers' market there was a booth that had slashed its blackberry prices from $4/basket to three baskets for $5, so I bought three baskets.  Then the question was what to do with them.  I decided to make blackberry claufoutis.  Initially, they were awful!  The cooked blackberries were horrible — they tasted like burning, to bust out one of my generation's Simpsons quotes.  I had sprinkled some powdered sugar on top as the recipe suggested, but in an attempt to cover up the bad flavor, I dumped a lot more on there, hoping the result would be at least somewhat palatable.  As it turned out, the claufoutis now tasted fine!  It wasn't that the powdered sugar hid the flavor — it actually brought out the flavor, made the blackberries taste like I remembered blackberries tasting like.  Sort of the way that I used to think that if your soup tasted like water, adding salt would just make it taste like saltwater, when instead it makes it taste like soup.  I guess sugar is the dessert equivalent?  In any case, apparently the big lesson is that all this time I thought I'd been eating blackberries I had actually been eating blackberry-tinged sugar concoctions.

  • Wikipedia lede of the month: "Irish potato candy is a traditional Philadelphia confection that, despite its name, is not from Ireland, nor does it usually contain any potato."

    Wikipedia body sentence of the month: "The 18th century was indeed the golden age of the chair."

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