Sci-Fi Landscape – Sunday 7/29/2007

Apparently, the people who built our neighborhood dumped excess concrete up on the hillside. It adds to the alien look of the post-wildfire landscape.

Looking back toward our house through the remains of a juniper tree. This will be an easy spot to find and photograph again as the hillside recovers, hopefully next winter.

Burned out yucca heart. Pretty in it’s own way.


Farmer’s Market Adventure- Saturday 7/28/2007

My first objective upon arriving at the Farmer’s Market was lunch at Monsieur Marcel. Hydra was meeting an old friend for lunch in Culver City and dropped me off on the way. The food’s good here, unpretentious and not badly priced especially for French food.

They really should break loose some of the salt and pepper grinders they sell in the gourmet shop, though, don’t you think? The flowers are nice, but otherwise it’s a diner set up!

I had a hard time deciding. I had a wonderful salmon salad when Mom and I were here last October. Thought about the Charcueterie Francaise, which include duck rillettes (my oh my…duck meat in reduced duck fat which is heaven on French bread), but it was a hot day, and all those meats seemed like a bad call.

They bring you a tiny bowl of assorted olives and a basket of breads. House chardonnay was refreshing.

It seems only fitting, after all those photos I took of meals in France, I should take a photo of the first French meal I had back in the States. Croque Marcel and fresh greens…there’s turkey and goat cheese inside. I hardly ever let the restaurant dress the salad, but this was nice and light.

After the meal, into Monsieur Marcel’s gourmet shop, where I sampled olives (and brought some home), found the same brand of mustard I’d bought in France, and bought an Egyptian dipping spice mix. Fun just wandering around in there.

I roamed around the market for about an hour, just snapping photos of people and things that caught my eye. Fun, for me!

If you weren’t eating ice cream, you were probably thinking about it. The market’s a jumble of old stands with awnings. It was uncharacteristically humid in L.A. Whew.

I was going for a photograph of this Todd Goldman painting at Jack Gallery, but I like the way the other painting in the background looks like it’s printed on the reflection of the guy in the right’s polo shirt.

On the way home, we missed a couple of freeway entrances and decided to check out our first L.A. neighborhood, which was near LA City College. Along the way, I saw this sign outside a Jolibee restaurant.

While I’m interested in expanding my meager experience of the cuisine of the Philippines, I have to admit that neither of these items sounds enticing.

Downtown Acton – Friday 7/27/2007

We ventured the 2 miles to downtown Acton last night to give Wences /Acton Chinese Food another try. Sadly, overpriced and not very good food. Overcooked penne ($8.95, no sides) for me and boxed mashed potatoes and not all the way thawed vegetables with Hydra’s chicken picata ($12.95). Zero atmosphere. Dang it.

When Hydra asked how the crispy chicken on the Chinese part of the menu was cooked, the waiter looked panicked and said, “Well, you know. They put it in the thing and dump it in the grease.”

Trez appetizing!

But here’s a shot of the Tahoe in the parking lot. This is downtown.

Standing in the same place, looking north (I think) across Smith Street, downtown Acton.

I know that more changes are coming and I feel compelled to take random seeming photographs.

Back in the Saddle Again – Thursday 7/26/2007

The view from my usual booth, around 5:20 this morning.

The night manager who used to talk to me quit. Hmmm.

The morning waitress gave the new young night manager the most evil laugh yesterday morning when he was in for training. I think he was moved up from being a waiter. (Which never seemed like a good deal to me when I waited tables. Let’s see…work more hours, make less money, wear a different badge. Nope.)

“You don’t want to get on my wrong side,” she said to him, “You’ll never know what hit you, honey.”

Yikes. Probably true.

She’s the one who scared off Grumps.

On a lighter note, three or four people said nice things to me today. It was the first time since the infamous back injury that I had my laptop with me. Working on a short story that may demand to be a novella.

And doing my small part to keep the wheels of commerce oiled.

If there really is a writer’s strike and I and the crew people who come in at all hours of the day aren’t around, it’s going to put a big dent in the whole economy. We’re all just waiting.

Wrong. And Wrong Again. – Wednesday 7/24/2007

I like this sign, which hangs outside Mo’s in Toluca Lake, right across from Bob’s Big Boy.

Wrong: The food is not fine.

It’s overpriced and not even very tasty. Their “famous” burgers are fat little wads of ground beef that glare at you from the center of the bun. They still have a burger bar with a handful of condiments and some bean salad on it that they think is the bee’s knees. Not since 1977 was this impressive.

Wrong Again: The service is not friendly.

The actors– I mean, the waiters–don’t want to be there. They are working here because producers, directors and writers from the nearby studios eat here. Sometimes you see a former waiter–er, actor– who has hit the big time, taking a meeting. The acoustics are terrible. Maybe they feel safe talking in a place where you can’t hear your lunch partner’s voice, let alone whatever’s going on at the next table.

I’ve been dragged–erm, have eaten–here at least once a year for the past 8 years I’ve worked in the neighborhood.

Maybe two wrongs will make a right and the next time I eat here I’ll find something to like about it.