Wednesday, November 29, 2017

First post since March

AAAAHHH new post new post. Japan! Smiller and I were there from Oct 20th-Nov 4th.
 We got a bullet train pass for two weeks. That's 400 bucks each, it was hard to decide on the two week vs. one week, but I just hoped I didn't end up spending more in the end. Not having to deal with buying tickets for any JR (Japan Railroad) train is pretty sweet. You just flash the pass. The train stations all have sick bento box shops. The bento range from maybe 5 bucks to less than 15 max, for special seasonal ones. Above is the packaging for one. Japan must be heaven for train nerds. More after the jump

Wednesday, March 15, 2017


Went to see Colson Whitehead at Placer High in Auburn on Monday night, LM was driving and let me know about it. He was super funny and rad. Beth Ruyak interviewed him and I was cringing a bit, ok that's an understatement, I was dying from secondhand embarrassment, due to the racial nature of some of the questions and her wide-eyed naivete. He handled it all with grace. He also revealed that Barry Jenkins (of Moonlight) will be directing a miniseries based on Underground Railroad. I started reading it last night. It's brutal, of course. He did say all of the brutality in it was based on true accounts. Insane.
 Me and SM went to Journey to the Dumpling last night in Elk Grove. We had concluded that it was too far and were going to go to Quan Nem, but then I realized that by the time we got to 47th ave we were about halfway there so why not? It was in the midst of blocks of massive strip malls and kind of hard to find. These are pan fried pork dumplings with corn. They stayed hot forever, we were warned about the possibilities of hot soup squirts. They were ok. The wrapper was too much like bread.
 Beef roll. It was ok. Not as good as Yang's and had the odd touch of lots of strong, raw red onion.
Soup dumplings. Really good. Best I've had around here. I liked the really malty vinegar that came with. I will probably go back to get these, and try the wontons. The menu was pretty boring besides the dumplings, but promised more kinds of dumplings will be coming soon.
I saw the move Toni Erdmann with CH at Tower. I was dreading an almost 3 hour German movie, since the preview looked terrible, but every critic was going so apeshit over it! I'm very glad I saw it in the theater. Unique and the female protagonist gives an incredible performance. There is a lot of stuff about corporate culture, and since CH and I are both enmired in it (spellcheck is telling me that is not a word), she more than I, it was stressing us out thinking of the week to come, prepping for meetings, etc. That made it more interesting, but more relevant. If you aren't in any type of  corporate culture that might make a lot of it boring.

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

stock image fun

I'm doing some mandatory online trainings, and of course there are some pretty good stock images.
This one is about difficult people. There is a lot of truth in there. Good thing I am never difficult, ha. They strongly delineate between whining and complaining.
That sweater should be gripe #1
Huh, they say complainers can be useful when you need critical thinking. I'm more of a whiner. According to this course, they are never useful.
"Blamers have the worst quality of whiners and complainers". So blaming is the worst of all!
"Complainers may become blamers when they think they are being ignored" I'm getting confused!

Thursday, March 02, 2017

Columbus scene report

So, if you follow me on the Gram you know I went to Columbus for work. Columbus has a pop of 820,000 in the last US census (#fakenews), and Sac has 480,000. I bring this up because Columbus has an area, which stretches between Downtown and Ohio State (a mile and a half?) called "Short North", which has a lot going on. What struck me is how much retail there was, including small clothing boutiques, chain ones like Anthropologie (and I got to shop at a discount at another dying American Apparel), and furniture. We really have so little retail downtown, and it's all in little pockets here and there. Short North wasn't the be-all end-all, it just made me realize that we don't have any concentrated district like that. And its also the arts district.  At the end near the college there was an art house/mainstream theater way better than anything we have. I saw Get Out, and I Am Not Your Negro and The Salesman were both playing there. They also were playing Fire Walk With Me the night I was there, and regularly do cult films and sci-fi marathons. And had good beer on draft.
 I took a cab to the cobbled area called German Town on my last night, didn't get to stroll around, and Schmidt's Fudge Haus was closed, unfortunately (I love a good fudge haus). Schmidt's was a charming spot, open since 1886. I got a good German pils on draft and this excellent chicken schnitzel and tangy red cabbage. That other side dish is green beans and spaetzle.
 This is the Hyatt I stayed in, totally Brutalist and weird and awesome looking. No filter on this!
 The convention center is way way bigger than ours, probably due to the centralized location to so many other states, and it has this Arnold statue. Turns out he has a bodybuilding invitation thingy there. It's actually happening right now and brings a million visitors (or that's what my Lyft driver said)
 This was the view from the hotel, and this doesn't even show all the windows. They ran along two sides of the room. The hotel actually ruled for this reason. Columbus has a lot of good old buildings and neon signs. I got to watch a violent thunderstorm on the last night
Here's the outside of Schmidt's. Columbus has some things as good as us, other things not so good. The end.

Wednesday, February 22, 2017


My friend Aaron Gilbreath (the guy who wrote the lengthy Tiki Men arcticle) loves traveling in Japan, and I urged him to go to Ganja/Acid in Osaka. He did and wrote this piece, which captures the vibe quite well. I almost wonder if the same guy was at the bar when we were there, except that my recollection is that that guy didn't know English very well. He knew it well enough to translate, but this guy sounds more fluent. I feel like I would have figured out he took photos for a host bar, too, but who knows?
Man, I really want to go back to Japan. We might go this fall. We are weighing a couple of ideas, but it's always so fun there.

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

I'm in it for free mochi

I did indeed make all three events, after a fashion. If the fashion is that I stayed at the last one for maybe 15 minutes. It seemed pretty windy-downy at that point.
There is a new proposed UCD Chancellor, if the regents vote to approve. Gary May. He received Obama's presidential award for excellence in STEM mentoring, has instituted many programs for STEM students of color, AND he credits Star Trek for sparking his interest in engineering, so that sounds pretty, pretty good to me! The fact that they are going for another person from the field of engineering (after Katehi) makes it seem like UCD would still like to be a big player in that scene. That's the direction Katehi was going.
Made it to the Crocker for the Day of Remembrance event. I got free mochi and sake. People were definitely tearing up during Doris Matsui's speech. Her parents met, married, and she was born in a camp in Arizona. Watched the taiko drumming but couldn't see the photo exhibit or Japanese ceramics because it was too crowded. Quite a successful event. The orange specter was hanging over everything, and was mentioned, but not by name.

Friday, February 17, 2017

Three events?!?!

I really don't want to work today. I am, but I don't want to, so I need lots of breaks. I actually started a writing exercise that isn't due until March 6th today, so I feel very proud of myself.
Has anyone noticed how Alley Katz has a jank plastic sign on it now that says "The Bunker" and that it's open, but that the "grand opening" is in a couple of weeks. Perhaps the owner got too much feedback that calling it "The Brig" was too similar to calling it "The Bolt" or "The Stud" or something. It's military-themed. Whatever that means. Whatever is going on there I want to check it out. And now it has wings! The real shocker is that Alley Katz did not have wings.
I found out there is a third thing going on Saturday, in addition to a bday party and Ganglians, and a DJ from Frankfurt, Philip Lauer, who I'm guessing is probably good. Mike C. is somehow behind it so that seems like a good bet. I guess theoretically one could attend three events in one night.