This morning we all got up early and went to get cruffins from Mr Holmes, a bakery in San Francisco. (I secretly hope there’s a rival joint called Dr Watson around the corner selling muissants, muffins in the shape of croissants). The muffins were gloriously ridiculous, a frankenfood combining match, strawberry jam, croissants and muffins, and well worth the wait. Afterwards, I retreated to the couch and read one of the cookbooks I bought yesterday, A Super Upsetting Cookbook About Sandwiches.
This is a wonderful book, possibly written by somebody who is very drunk. There’s a recipe for squid that’s almost completely redacted, there’s advice on veggie burgers:
Put the burgers on buns with whatever toppings make you feel badass, listen to “The Boys Are Back In Town” by Thin Lizzy, eat your super-awesome veggie burger, and flip people off from the window.
There’s an entire chapter on sandwiches that are puns based on Meat Loaf (the singer) and meatloaf (the food). There’s a sandwich called Famous Battles Of Rap History. And through it all, the recipes are neither so basic you feel you wasted your cash, nor too baroque to attempt. They’re sandwiches, after all.
At the same time, there’s political advice around not eating shrimp (sustainability concerns and potentially a food farmed by slaves), there’s a valid point of view around what to do when you have substandard ingredients, and a general no-nonsense approach to making food that makes you happy. I finished the book (incapable of getting through any chapter without reading parts of it aloud) in just over an hour, and it excited me about food in a way even cruffins struggle to do so.
Then I went out for mimosas for lunch, but as soon as I’m back in Singapore I’ll be on sandwich duty.
I had far too much coffee this morning, so I was a bleary eyed, over stimulated wreck by midday. Somehow I survived this and trundled down to REI, where they’re selling the same ice cream balls we bought at MEC earlier this summer. They also sold a wonderful sweatproof bag at REI, so I can transport my sweaty sports gear and shoes in a slightly more stylish way that a couple of old carrier bags. Having shopped, and tried on some shoes, we returned home, and I then binge watched the last three episodes of the fourth season of Breaking Bad, the first episode of the Spanish remake, and two dreadful episodes of Family Guy.
Well, two episodes of Family Guy.
I got to have two calls with my wife and children back in Singapore. The girls have been very jet lagged and as a result happily gibbering at implausible hours of the morning, but my wife is sort of holding it together in the face of La Serpiente”s madness: perhaps they’ll all survive until I get back. I hope so.
I also ate an entire bag of jujubes (this was a very bad idea) and so felt utterly noisome. It’s a good life if you don’t weaken. And so to bed.
Tonight I checked out of the Best Western and went to stay with friends in San Francisco. The Best Western is not an awful hotel; the mirrors in the bathroom are huge and everything is clean, but there is an enormous and off putting sign by the swimming pool, prohibiting anyone with diarrheoa or who has had diarrheoa in the last 14 days from swimming in the pool. I have never before seen a sign like this, which raises the upsetting question of how many incidents the Best Western had before they felt they had to erect a sign. And does the clientele still threaten to do this, with only the sign preventing them?
I apologise. It feels like there is a scatalogical bent to these posts that I just can’t escape.
Today I was in a class on language analysis, and there’s the classic problem of teaching a computer that “this is the shit” expresses a much more positive sentiment than “this is shit”. Ironically, after all this I was the one who felt like shit, as I was driven down to San Francisco in the back of the bumpiest Toyota Camry I’ve ever known. I was ready after a mile to vomit over my driver, and it was only an iron will and concentration on my part that kept him clean. I disembarked in the middle of a city-sized bit of fog and tried hard to breathe for a few minutes before going to see my friends. And yet I hear as you age, you become less susceptible to motion sickness. And swimming pools, you have to hope.
I went to the gym today before work, which may have been an ill advised course of action, because I felt dreadful. I set the treadmill for 25 minutes, felt like death after five, and hung on for 15. Then I went and dangled from a pull up bar for 30 seconds. It’s a good life if you don’t weaken.
Even this scant exercise left me worn out and so today was a little tough, and by the time the evening came round and I went to see friends in Mountain View, I could hardly string two words together. Luckily they’re new parents and so are also exhausted and struggling for conversation.
My wife and children are now returned to Singapore. Which is good as we can now talk every night. If I could talk. Crikey, it’s time for bed.
Last night we went out for dinner at a restaurant principally serving hummus, and then a long walk in search of entertainment, which culminated in a faux-English pub called the Rose and Crown, populated by people so young it felt like they were allowing unborn fetuses to drink. Palo Alto is not a party town by any measure; there are no bars full of people spilling out onto the streets, nobody is on a rager. Instead, they line up outside ice cream shops at 10pm, and I can’t work out if this is because people have the freedom to do what they want (and that turns out to be eating ice cream) or because they’re somehow infantilised and should really grow up. Or go to bed. Or get on the hard stuff.
They’re also all unfailingly happy and polite, which was why it was extra unexpected (but quite amusing) when we went into a bar this evening and instead of trying to sit five of us round a table with only four chairs, moved to a table in an adjoining room with an adequate amount of seating. The maitre d’ rushed over, glaring, and hissed with rage “I told you to go into the other room!” Funny the things that provoke people to rage.
Continue reading “Inconsistency in California and urinals”
After all my hotel silliness last night, I woke up at 5:30 this morning, a rank injustice after taking so long to get a bed. I could have at least got more than five hours" sleep, watched over by the Beatles.
Continue reading “Coffee in California”
After spending the day with friends in San Francisco and a pleasant meal at a French restaurant, I got dropped off at the hotel in Menlo Park where I had my booking for the next week. My friends drove off, back on the road to San Francisco and I went to check in. Unfortunately, I didn’t exist. Continue reading “Late checkin to the Beatles Room”