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.

Thursday, February 16, 2017

Kings blow it

I watched the third quarter yesterday just in time to see the Kings blow it big time. The Warriors went on like a 21-0 run. The funny thing is, we watched it at Bar West and it's actually a decent place to watch a game! They had multiple good beers on, tons of TVs, and it wasn't crowded at all. I guess it's my new spot.
I went to Bar West after seeing the Pinter play at Cap Stage. I would give it a mixed rating. It's good, not great. A bit of a trifle. The acting was solid. I think the problem was really with the play, but I guess this is the only Pinter I've seen, and don't think I've read any.
The Crocker is having a day-long event on Sunday (I already posted about it) to commemorate the order that led to the internment of Japanese-Americans. I just read the SNR piece about it, and was happy to see that Kiyo Sato, who wrote a book I reviewed in maybe the first thing I ever wrote for SNR, is still alive at 95, and still talking to kids about the camps. Ha ha I see that I am always looking for a way to work "frisson" into stuff that I write, I need to quit that.
Ganglians reunion at the Starlite on Saturday as well. With The Rippers

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

I love LA

I went to LA this weekend and it was verrryyyy fun. Airbnbed in Echo Park, the airbnb was cool but we didn't hang there, just used the proximity to other areas. The family lived over the studio and there was some demon child who woke up early and seemed to be at various times: playing a stringed instrument, dragging concrete blocks across the floor, etc.
Friday was an epic drinking sesh that culminated in a hazy trip to Jumbo's Clown Room. Other spots hit up were: Cole's, Buzzed (beer store with taps), The Last Book Store (buzzed book buying), Las Perlas (a mescal bar that always gets me in trouble, they have the best cocktails tho) and then JCR. I was not a fan of Jumbo's, but one girl did dance to the Stone Roses so that was memorable. I managed to spend every single damned dollar I had, but luckily did not hit up the ATM. I didn't eat anything after Cole's French dip at 3pm (mediocre) and then had a slice of lemon meringue pie at midnight, which I sort of remember. Hilarious night, and did not feel too bad the next day, considering.
Saturday we went to coffee in Silverlake, home of the felt floppy hats for both men and women, ate breakfast at Silverlake Ramen (the tsukemen was decent but not outstanding), and then went to the Broad. The Broad is great, really good collection with tons of the hits, manageable size and free! The Jeff Koons tulips piece is irresistibly fun. I don't know how it could be resisted. There were more women represented in the collection than at the new SFMOMA space, which was nice. We had to put our name in to see the Yayoi Kusama Infinity Room and then leave and come back. You only get 45 seconds. I saw it (or some incarnation of it) at the Tate a few years back and I don't remember getting 45 seconds, but maybe that was the case. Anyway, it's worth it. I felt at one with the universe and very friendly towards myself, like I wanted to shake my own hand. That's not often a feeling I have.
Waiting 95 minutes (!) to get a table at Night Market + Song and concluded it was like Hawker Fare but not as good. But still good! But not worth waiting that long. The Kao Soy at almost any Lao place is better. Good wine list, but no good beer and to me that kind of food doesn't go very well with wine.
Blah blah, next day hit up Canter's. I probably should branch out and not always go to Canter's but I love it so much. A chopped liver/pastrami sandwich and matzoh ball soup was all I needed to eat for the day. Then home!

Thursday, February 09, 2017

Spray the Champagne

Went to see the Kings last night with some peeps and I was all bummed that Cousins was suspended but that actually made the game super fun to watch and they blew out the Celtics! The trio of Collison, Cauly-Stein and Barnes had hustle and flow. And no babyman getting T-ed up or running off the court like a little bitch. I had two good brews (Bike Dog and Fieldwork) and a vegan sausage from Lowbrau, which was pretty good. Pretty similar to what you can get there. I was going to go with the duck fat fries, because I used to love those when I would go to Low Brau, but they looked totally different so I demurred.

I watched the recent Noisey episode on Atlanta rap and some observations are that Young Thug is a total dick and Lil Yachty is an actual big nerd. Their Atlanta series from a year or so ago was really good, but I'm surprised they would have this one hosted by a different generic white guy, one who really adds nothing. Why not blow minds and have, oh, I don't know, a woman of color hosting? Too crazy, right? Migos are so cool looking and I listened to Spray the Champagne today for the first time (from a mixtape from last year that I haven't listened to) and they are really deconstructing rap in this brilliant way. The chorus is like an incantation. I love it! I have to watch the series "Atlanta", I hear it's really good.
Aw man, I think Werner Herzog is gonna be at SFMOMA tomorrow night, but I'll be in LA. Oh well, it's sold out anyway. SFMOMA is showing a ton of good films coming up, I think I might buy tickets to see "the land of silence and darkness" just in case so it won't sell out. Driving to SF on a Thursday night is rough, though. Oh crap and it's at 6? I just watched Fata Morgana recently, or should I say, I just slept through it recently.

Thursday, February 02, 2017

Lily's show

The Lilys are playing at Starlite tomorrow! Four band show (drats). I saw them in NY last year and they were super good, but that club Baby's All Right were having some kind of ventilation problem and even though it was April it was too hot for me to stand it in there. I've been to enough house shows in the summer to say that it was truly intolerable. Check out this show!

The Bananas are playing the Knockout on Saturday. I wasn't positive that was where it was, but then I found out the The List is still active. Yay for pre-Facebook resources!

SacTown Mag did a listicle for their cover story of 30 dishes in Sac you should try before you die. The cover is a squeezeburger, which is fitting, because the one time I ate one I felt like I was going to die. Overall, lists are fun, but it's too heavy on sweets and there isn't a single Vietnamese dish in there. Jimboy's taco got a great picture and a full page, though.

I like the Weeknd, but every time I hear him I think about Swifty's tweet (relayed through Smiller) that Weeknd songs are like Michael Jackson D sides and I laugh.

Wednesday, February 01, 2017

Art Street: is it a street

Last night I took a Lyft from Obo to my house, and the Lyft (yes I stopped using Uber) driver said, wait for it, "you are my first ride". Last time I took an Uber from my house to Obo (I don't like the food at all, but others I dine with do, and South had a line last night that looked to be about a half hour, although I wish we had just waited in it), the Uber driver said I was his first ride and proceeded to take a series of jawdropping moves, culminating in an illegal U-turn right in front, and when I got out of the car a woman outside said, "what was that damned fool up to?" Last night the guy was whiteknuckling it, literally sweating, and pulling moves like stopping at green lights on a turn. I was trying to reassure him that it's just a grid system. He was from Arden area, so I'm not sure why he was so stressed! Anyway, being an Uber or Lyft driver obviously sucks because people seem to try it out for a couple of days and then quit.

I'm hopefully going to Art Street Friday? I don't really know what it is. I thought it was actually a street. Is it a fake street? Not a street at all?
Aww man, Hawker Fare in Oakland is closing??? That is one of my favorite places. Scott got sick after we ate there, but since there were four in our party and we all ate the same thing it must not have been from there. I figured he would have a bad association and not want to go back. I'm gonna have to find a way to eat there one more time. I loved how they always had Faction pale on, which is great with their spicy salty fare.

Friday, January 27, 2017

it's a slumper

So guys, I'm not sure Hal Hartley movies stand up. I was reallllly into them in my teenage years/early twenties, but I watched Henry Fool the other night and thought it was terrible. Didn't even finish it. But of course that was a later one, and was never one of my favorites. I remember my house used to have a poster of it, but I doubt that I was the one who put it up. Some other Tower worker.  Has anybody watched Trust lately?  Or The Unbelievable Truth?
Tomorrow is the Lunar Flower Festival parade in South Sac, starting bright and early at 9am. Will I make it? Probably not. Then next weekend is the Tet festival. I don't know if these have always been separate, but it's kind of confusing. This press release explains the timing. I guess if I watched from Florin I wouldn't have to be there at the crack of nine, since it starts at Fruitridge and travels towards Florin.
I went to the Tet festival two years ago and it was fun. Definitely some good food, although since we can get great Vietnamese food all over South Sac at any time, it's not a must-attend like Hmong New Year. Also lacks the costume aspect. I've said it a million times, but IMHO it's events like this that make our city (fill in the blank: interesting, worthwhile, world class), not say, an arena and a terrible team led by a cry baby who nevertheless did manage to defeat the slumping Cavs the other day.
I'm judging Baconfest tomorrow. Last year I didn't get asked, after (I think) three years in a row judging. I love to judge (in general). I am kind of dreading it, though, as far as how I feel after. I might try to fast until then, but maybe that would be worse. It's like 30-some bites and dishes at minimum.

Friday, January 20, 2017

American Carnage: over

Trump is prez. Let the long national nightmare begin. Smiller and I were going to the coast but canceled due to the storm(s), so I'll be at the march tomorrow. My mom is going to a women's march in Mazatlán as well, pretty cool. You better believe they are just as bummed as we are down there!

I heard the new Migos hit yesterday, and as a long-time Migos fan (since right after Bando, although Bando has never been a favorite), I'm not quite sure why Bad and Boujee is taking off the way it is. It's pretty good, but they have so many other songs that are even catchier. Regardless, kudos to Migos, who I'm sure are faithful readers of Heckasac. I plan to watch Atlanta soon, I know they are in it in some capacity.

Tonight is some Leanord Cohen tribute show at Starlite that I've heard EC is singing in? I hope I can stay awake to make it.

Friday, January 13, 2017

gruesome twosome

I haven't checked the Halloween blog yet. The calling procedure stresses me out. I should look to see if I can get in on any bands, though. I can sort of sing and I once played a very simple keyboard part. Hire me!
Some things about the winter and my job starting really early blow, but a cool thing is how beautiful the light is on the way in over the Causeway when the sun is coming up. Today it looked like a painting, with lots of soft pastels, and an almost-full moon high in the sky still. Then I often catch the sunset when I'm in West Sac on the way home. It's nice to have a few minutes in that wide open space where I can see the whole sky, I wouldn't get that if I was already downtown.
Wow, Yianopolous and Shkreli (I refuse to look up the spelling because I don't want to read about them) at UCD this afternoon. That's a real gruesome twosome. What with these dudes and Trump's cabinet I feel like we are living in a Batman movie sometimes, with supervillains. Only no Batman to come save us.

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Don't forget about Cockeyed

This is a reminder that very funny local prank blog Cockeyed, is still at it after 17 or so years?!?! I know the guy who does it through a friend of a friend and got to participate in a prank a million years ago where he altered a sign at the downtown plaze to include a golden banana. I will dig up my picture of that. Today I was chuckling at his post of signs he added to gun show signs and it's always good for a laugh.
Oh man, and I just remembered that a year and a half ago I was walking through Old Sac and he flagged me down for his age project. So there are closeups of me, including my eye that has a little skin tag ha ha. No one is supposed to notice that. My hair looks good, though! My skin looks similar to the woman who smokes a pack a day. He concluded from his project that there was no difference. I think genetics and sun exposure are equally influential. I feel like I look pretty firmly in my age bracket, which I feel great about!

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

for MEN

Work project that I don't want to do = looking for R. Kelly Reno tickets online. It's this Saturday! His tours get scheduled in the tweakiest way. I check often enough, so I should know. I'm bummed I missed his Christmas concerts with the giant puppethead R. Kellys on stage. His Christmas album was (shockingly) phoned in. Not any classics on there. I didn't listen to his last album, Buffet, much either. I guess his daughter was on it, under the stage name "Ariiraye". Try to say that name three times fast!

The Bee had a story about local bathhouses today, mostly about Asha, and they mentioned that Korean one in Rancho that's for men only. It's come up before when I've looked for a local Korean spa. I can't tell if it's legit or sexy, which doesn't really matter since I can't go anyway, but here was an interesting Yelp review:

It is what it is. It is a place for MEN to soak in a cool tub. It is a place for MEN to soak in a hot tub. It is a place for MEN to relax in a steam sauna. It is a place for MEN to relax in a dry sauna. It is a place for MEN to exchange massages. It is a place for MEN to relax enjoying TV And free water, sodas and some sort of food. On the days I've been, one day the food was fried KFC, one day foot long hot dogs, one day sandwiches. Always have doughnuts.

Friday, January 06, 2017

That's Fukin' Nutz

I checked in on fb for the first time in about a week last night, and I can tell you that a nice side effect of the break (or maybe the main effect) is that I have a lower stress level from not constantly reading think pieces about Trump. They are impossible for me to resist, but ultimately pointless since we don't know what he is going to do and there's nothing that we can do (or little). That's not to say I am ignoring what he's up to - I read the Bee every morning and look at the NY Times and google news. I read a few of them last night and the stress was instantly back. Just sayin'
OK, can we talk about this? No. Nu-uh. No nukin' way. There is so much wrong here. We were excited because we received a chocolate peanut butter beer? That's like saying we were excited when the rash flared up on our inner thighs. This is like a restaurant critic reviewing a KFC Bowl O'Sadness. I like Carla Meyer's reviews.  A lot. My main beef is that she should be reviewing Vietnamese places AT LEAST 2-3 times a year, or do a big roundup or something. But my second beef would be that there seems to be a big hole in her knowledge surrounding beer (I recall a mention of Blue Moon and an orange slice). It's easy to pick up some basic knowledge. A certain colleague of her writes about beer almost exclusively.

Wednesday, January 04, 2017

Looks good, despite being a cartoon

 The Crocker has some February programming and exhibits to commemorate the order to intern Japanese-Americans. In addition to some ongoing exhibits and other talks, Feb 19th will be an all day "Day of Remembrance" with speakers and a free screening of Day of the Fireflies. I'm hoping I can come to that. This is an important thing to remember, especially with the fuckery going on these days, but just in general. We can never forget that we locked up our friends and neighbors without cause, and then stole their property as well. I brought this up to some older relatives the other day and they started down the path of "well, the camps weren't that bad" and even "the kids liked it". NO!
SM will be happy to read that I pitched an article about it, and got it approved before I realized that it's the kind of project that stresses me, and that I pitch because I think *someone* should write about it, but that that someone in this case is not going to be me. I enjoy writing about food/drink much more, so I need to mostly stick to that.
I still get PR releases due to my old MidMo email account. I thought you might enjoy seeing the one I got today:
Wayne’s World 25th Anniversary 
Panel Discussion & Red Carpet Event
 WHAT: Join the director and cast members for a panel taping in honor of the 25th anniversary of Wayne’s World (WW25). 
The videotaped interviews will accompany the feature film when it returns to U.S. theaters for a one-night-only celebration in February.
WHEN:  Monday January 9th, 2017 
Press Check-in – 5:45pm
Red Carpet talent arrivals – 6:15
6:15 PM: Doors Open
7:00 PM: Original Pre-show Featurette, live talent conversation, additional on-screen conversation,
followed by screening of full length Wayne's World Movie (1997) PG-13. Run Time: 1 hour 37 minutes.
WHO: Director Penelope Spheeris, Tia Carrere, Colleen Camp, others TBC live,
along with an on-screen presentation with Mike Myers, Dana Carvey, Lorne Michaels and Rob Lowe.

Tuesday, January 03, 2017

not really, but sorta

I made hoppin' John on New Year's Day. You don't come here for professional food photos, right? I do feel like it's good luck to eat certain foods on that day. No really, but sorta. I used ham hocks I got from Taylor's. There was a lot of meat in 5 bucks worth of ham hock. And collards. And andouille from Morant's, which was really just over the top. The meat on the hocks was enough. Everything tasted better the next day, and of course needed to be doused liberally with Krystal hot sauce. Speaking of Krystal, I have been craving Souths's fried chicken ever since I had it a couple of weeks ago. Will have to go again soon.

Struggling a bit into the new year, with some bad energy happening, but I think I'm clear of that now. I'm about to go on call for a week so no drinking for a week, which is a good way to start the year. I worked out four times last week! That is huge for me. Or I should say rare. It's not really even #goals, but it felt good. I also checked out the Asha bathhouse. Pretty cool. Go when the weather is cold!

Can I recommend that everyone watch Paris Is Burning (I had to get the DVD in the mail, so I'm not sure how you can access it on your various media outlets) and follow the voguehouseofnewyork Instagram account? OK, well maybe not everyone loves that as much as me. But if you ever saw Paris is Burning and liked it, and are on Instagram, check it out.