Tuesday, September 4, 2007

Toiling Diurnal Course Peregrination: The Highlights

Some Labor Day weekends are forgettable. Maybe you sit around the house all weekend watching Spongebob reruns. Maybe you drive to the multiplex and catch Rob Zombie's "reimagining" of Halloween. Maybe you try for the 20th time to beat that really tough round of Spider Solitaire. But this Labor Day weekend...was not one of those weekends. At least not for your humble bloggers. Oh no, my friends. It was a California extravaganza, spanning several different regional climates in several different principalities. One night we'd find ourselves in the back of a pick-up truck, the next night we'd stumble out of an army bunker. The epic details of the event would be too exhausting to describe, so I've decided to boil it down to the highlights. The one common thread that seemed to run through the weekend: instant gratification.

(Yoggoth: feel free to edit/contribute where necessary)

1. Fennel Cake and Snow Cone

Cruising the mean streets of the Newman Fall Festival on Saturday night, Yoggoth decided to indulge in the native "fennel cake" - a strange concoction of fried batter and sugary powder. Initially I was skeptical, but after a couple of bites, I was quite impressed. 'Twas then that I spotted the snow cone hut. While standing in line, I debated with Yoggoth over whether I should go for the blueberry or the raspberry. When I finally walked up to the counter and asked if they had blueberry, they said, "How about Blue Raspberry?" Sometimes fate just steps in and smiles, folks.

2. Little Star Pizza

On the hunt for a satisfying dinner, Yoggoth and I finally sauntered into Little Star Pizza, a trendy deep dish pizza place just a few blocks from my apartment. When he began hearing My Bloody Valentine and the Pixies on the restaurant's speaker system, Yoggoth knew he couldn't possibly be anywhere else other than San Francisco. They later slipped some Beatles and Stones into the mix, going heavy on Rubber Soul. I tried to point out the glory of "Michelle"s bass line, but I'm not sure I got through. At some point Yoggoth confessed that he had decided the newest addition to his DVD collection needed to be David Lynch's Inland Empire.

3. Eminem's Greatest Hits

As we were soaking in the hallucinatory, carnivalesque atmosphere of the "games and rides" wing of the Newman Fall Festival, I gradually realized that the giant stereo in the background was blasting Eminem's Greatest Hits on repeat. Apparently this was deemed the most appropriate fairground music in Newman.

4. "Are you sleeping in your underwear?"

I was woken up Sunday morning by a 5-year-old girl and a 2-year-old boy jumping on me and asking personal questions. The boy asked me "Are you sleeping in your underwear?" Then as he proceeded to peel the sheets back, and as I tried my best to keep myself covered, he declared "You're sleeping in your underwear!" I put on a shirt and the girl said, "That looks like a woman's shirt." I said that, to the contrary, it was a rather manly shirt. She then replied, "You've got too much...you've got cleavage."

5. Set

Yoggoth's sister was in possession of a card game named "Set," which was apparently designed by Mensa to induce a stroke in its players. At first Yoggoth and I lagged behind, but once we caught on we became unstoppable. Soon I began looking at groups of three in everything and tried to see where things matched and didn't match. Sounds like the ramblings of an insane man, does it not?

6. Egyptian Rat Fuck

On Sunday night in Hayward I was treated to the sight of a drunk Yoggoth desperately slapping at pairs of Jacks in his futile attempt to beat me at Egyptian Rat Fuck.

7. Olive Garden

After having assisted Ninquelote & Wife by moving...only 20% of their stuff, we all stood in the parking lot and expressed, in unison, that we were starving. Once the Olive Garden was mentioned, there was no going back. What followed was a banquet the likes of which Caligula would never have dreamed. We started out with garlic sticks, then moved on to fried zucchini and fried mozarella triangles. I ordered Chicken Scampi with Minstrone Soup. Some cleared their plates, while others left lonely, untouched meatballs crying in the dark.

8. Yoggoth cutting himself on the top of his foot

During the card-playing, Yoggoth knocked over a bottle of beer. Ninquelote scrambled to unpack some towels to clean up the mess, but one of the towels contained a wine glass, and it shattered all over the floor. The next morning. Yoggoth emerges from the bathroom with a cut on the top of his foot. "Hey, there's still some glass around the bathroom, be careful." "Yeah, but how did you cut yourself on the top of your foot?" "I don't know."

9. Late night desperation

It's virtually impossible for me to fall sleep if I'm hungry. And if I don't eat dinner at least four hours before I go to bed, I'll definitely be hungry by bedtime. I managed to skate by on Friday night with just a banana, but on Saturday I ran out of quick fixes. Thus, at 2 in the morning I found myself desperately raiding Yoggoth's family's fridge trying to cobble together enough nutrients in my stomach to constitute a meal, without actually cooking anything. What I ended up with was cold, soggy barbecue vegetable leftovers, a pack of peach yogurt, some grapes, and a carrot. On Sunday I was very careful not to make the same mistake twice, and I purchased my "late night dinner" ahead of time.

10. Low riding by Downtown Oakland

Due to the closure of a certain local bridge, it became necessary to traverse 880 several times over the weekend. Eventually we realized that whenever we drove over the stretch parallel to Downtown Oakland, Yoggoth's car would bounce up and down like a low rider. The particular mechanics of that particular stretch of freeway are somehow perfectly conducive to low riding in Yoggoth's car.

11. Taco Bell

In one last act of indulgence, the weekend nearing its final hours, Yoggoth pulled up to a Taco Bell drive-thru. He ordered. He received the food. He ate it. He survived.

12. Berkeley

As we were driving through a heavily African-American Berkeley neighborhood, where Yoggoth's sister lives, I quietly commented, "This doesn't appear to be the most affluent neighborhood in Berkeley." After an awkward pause, Yoggoth cognizantly replied, "Yep, you can tell by all the black people."

13. "Sweet Jane"/"Chantilly Lace"

Ninquelote received a call on his cell phone, and for reasons unexplained, his ringtone revealed itself to be the Velvet Underground's "Sweet Jane." I asked him, "Hey was that a 'Sweet Jane' ringtone?" He said "Yes, yes it was." He began singing, "Sweet Jane...hey baby." I said, "'Hey baby'? 'Hey baby'? What version of 'Sweet Jane' is that? Is that like the Big Bopper version? 'Standin' on a corner...Hello baaaaaaby! Suitcase in my hand...Hello baaaaaaaby!'"

14. The hunt for the card deck

If you ever find yourself hunting around late at night for a deck of cards in a supermarket, do you know where you would look? For such was our mission on Sunday night. We tried the "stationary" isle, then the "games and toys" isle. We were about to call it quits when I finally spotted it: The Bicycle shelf. Where was it? Next to the booze, of course. The shelf presented us with more options than we would ever have been able to utilize: Hoyle Maverick, Bee Club Special - you name it. In the end, a suitably cheap deck was chosen.


herr zrbo said...

1. I believe it's called 'Funnel Cake' = cake that comes out of a funnel.

2. I heard Peter Murphy playing at Trader Joe's the other day, and one time in a McDonald's in Vienna they were playing some Sisters of Mercy, needless to say I thoroughly enjoyed my Big Mac.

12. Best reply evar!!

I went biking on the salt flats next to the bay. I also saw the classic movie 'Balls of Fury', then went to a bar and drank and watched my friends sing karaoke till it was time to go to bed. Labor Day 2007 baby!

jason said...

hey, looks like if I have gmail I'm already signed up for blogger? get ready for some witty rejoinders down the line.

- jason

Little Earl said...

Hey you can go witty rejoiner yourself buddy. Come to think of it, you've got to make up for lost time by commenting on some of the old stuff. This blog goes back to January, pal!

(Note to others: Jason was a fellow co-worker at my temp job at KGO-TV organizing old sports tapes. Oh yeah!)

yoggoth said...

Fennel is a spice. Funnel is an object. They take the batter and drip it out of a funnel into a vat of boiling oil. I don't think it would be good with fennel, as I usually associate that spice with meats. I could be wrong.

madeleine said...

oh there's fennel in Beansage
(like sausage, but with beans)