Monday, November 21, 2011

My mom bought me socks. These socks are ostensibly the same size, yet the sock on my left foot persistently rides higher on my ankle, by roughly an inch, than the one on my right foot . The asymmetry here is perturbing in a "my voice sounds like that!?" kind of way. It makes me wonder if it's my feet that are bizarro reflections of each other, or if maybe my ankles are constructed at different heights. I also can't rule out that I may have one leg freakishly that outsizes the other and by some trick of my brain or complete epic fail of self-awareness never noticed it.

When I look at my feet without socks there is no discernible difference in size or shape. The flaws in their mirroring only seem to appear when outside apparatus draw attention to it.

Of course, we're all asymmetrical in some manner or another. If I stare myself down real hard in the mirror I can see one ear floating above the other. It's a real jab in the mismatched eye. I think it's less about vanity (though there's definitely some of that) than it is about missing the details. If I can look at the reflection of myself for 29 years and only maybe twice a year see the halloween-ish nature of the true me (which I figure, considering how often I look in the mirror in a year and how many opportunities I have to notice these things, probably means I'm fairly symmetrical), it makes me wonder what else I'm missing.

Saturday, November 05, 2011

"I hate broccoli, and yet in a sense, I am broccoli."

I'm reading DFW again, which seems to correspond with a compulsion to
write. Sarah's been writing too, and maybe there's some inspiration
coming from reading her daily assignments.

It seems to happen periodically that certain aspects of our
self-identity come to a head and we have to decide whether we are the
person we think we are, or whether we are something else entirely. To
wit: I am not a coffee person. I defined myself for my entire life as
someone who does not—ever—drink coffee. No. I am a dessert person. I
like delicious sucrosey treats. Coffee is bitter. It leaves an
unpleasant aftertaste. Sure, coffee is gross, some people
respond—until you add sugar and cream. This, like a cocktail, always
seemed like a copout. If you don't like something, don't have it. It's
just cheating to cover up the flavor you don't like with other flavors
just to get the chemical upside. Don't like whiskey, there are other
alcoholic options, and the same can be said for caffeinated beverages.

Coffee is a false prophet. It's for the weak-minded—those who lack the
intrinsic motivation and focus to get shit done. They need a
performance enhancer, a minor steroid for the mind—HGH, creatine,
Bawls. Coffee makes me hyperactive, gives me chest pains, and an upset
stomach. Or maybe that was my last job.

I am not a coffee drinker. Let me rephrase that: I am a coffee
drinker. Turns out.

I blame the pizza place; and also Sarah, who introduced me to the
gateway drink, the latte, last November. Fridays and Saturdays I'm
generally up and out the door by 9:15 and pretty much immediately
working once I step outside—shopping, running errands, writing mental
prep lists—and actually at Depokos by 10. If it's a slow day I have a
couple hours in the afternoon to relax between lunch and dinner (the
gap in which I'm writing now).

If I wasn't diligent in getting to bed on time on Friday night,
Saturdays especially can be long. In order to be on the ball as best I
can—to greet customers with verve and frothy banter—sometimes a little
doping is useful. There is a café conveniently located two doors down
from the pizzeria. I have graduated from the latte to the house brew.
It's cheaper and seemingly just as potent. By keeping my coffee
consumption limited to one to two days a week, I'm able to milk that
caffeine for maximum effect.

It doesn't necessarily help the feeling at the end of a long day—it
can actually make it worse, like some kind of behemoth sugar-crash
that leaves my brain a vacuum, devoid of any chemical activity—when if
it hasn't been busy can just feel draining, with the lower half of my
body—my hips and hamstrings and knees, the balls of my feet, my
calves—worn and sore from standing for 10-to-12 hours. When it is busy
that same fatigue can be eminently satisfying, knowing that I have put
all my energy into creating something that I take pride in and that
customers have (hopefully) enjoyed.

And so I drink coffee to help me make it there. It's acrid and
astringent, but also earthy and invigorating.

Friday, July 29, 2011


Dear Everyone I Have Ever Met (more-or-less),

I've bought a pizza place.

Thank you for your time.


"The two strange men who just now wanted to shoot us to death were eaten by a cow and that almost makes sense to me."—the Tick

Saturday, June 25, 2011

At Emiko's Wedding

Today I am in the hills of Santa Barbara. Not to be confused with Hanna Barbera. The house we're staying at for Emiko's wedding is the most ridiculously large house I've ever been in. The kitchen/living room is this size of my regular residence's entire first floor. There's a second living room, a guest house, a dining room, a pool, two hot tubs (apparently, though I've yet to see either), an avocado orchard, a game room with a pool table and separate poker and black jack tables, lovely views of the surrounding Pacific coast landscape, and blah blah blah, etc. I pity the cleaning ladies.

Emiko's wedding is this evening. Then it's back to LA tomorrow where I plan to do some pizza-ing and catch up with some folks.

More changes are afoot at Portobello. I'll keep you posted.

Tuesday, June 07, 2011

a friendly warning

If anyone's planning on going to see X-Men: First Class, I strongly encourage you to change those plans. Remember X-Men 3? It's that caliber of cringe-inducing, cheddar-covered cornball, logic-defying embarrassment of a film. They actually managed to make a less ridiculous movie out of Thor than X-Men.

If only they'd based the film solely on the content and tone of this image:

... they would've had something worth watching.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011


Tripod Plank
Backstage Plank
Camel Hump Plank
Vagina Rock Plank

Supermarket CCTV Plank
Dinner Plank


So maybe ya'll have heard of this and I'm just behind on my internet fads. Normally I'm not one for completely inane webby fads (and I mean truly, in every facet, stupid, e.g., the majority of LoLcats), but there's something to the deadpan delivery of planking—stone-faced people in exhibiting themselves in a ridiculous, stiff-as-a-board horizontal posture—that I can't help but enjoy.

Rules of Planking:

When performing a Plank:
  1. You must always lay face down, ensuring your face remains expressionless for the duration of the Plank.
  2. Your legs must remain straight, and together with toes pointed.
  3. Your arms must be placed by your side, held straight and fingers pointed.
  4. You must make it known that you are Planking. Saying 'I am Planking' usually get this across. Sternly announcing it will ensure a good result.
  5. Your safety should always be considered. Properly thought through Planking procedures should always go to plan. Never put your self at undue risk.
  6. Every Plank that is captured must be named.

Not saying I would really ever do this though...

Thursday, May 19, 2011

I realize probably a lot of people who used to check this thing regularly don't anymore and that's okay. It's nice to keep it around for times when I feel like rapping at the ol' qwerty. In considering the reasons this here doesn't get the regular attention it used to, I've come up with a few explanations:

1. I live a relatively drama-free life. Most of my concerns are domestic. And while I'm sure some of you are interested in how often the cat wakes me up at 8 am by batting me in the face, I'm not too interested in writing about it. And for the drama that isn't domestic—it generally isn't suitable for broadcasting over the intertubes.

2. I'm pretty stationary. I'm not traipsing about the Earth's underside or ricocheting around New York, doing all the fun and exciting things one does in New York—visits to the Met, MoMA, or dozens of other museums; seeing shows at the Lincoln Center; attending debates between the Economist and the Nation; sampling the goods of any of the dozens and dozens of quality pizzerias; even wandering around Central Park somehow seems significant. Really everything in New York seems significant while you're there... probably because it's a point of reference for everyone. There just isn't a lot of novelty to life in Portland.

3. Social networking. Need to know something? Facebook pro'ly has it covered at this point in pithier statements, or I've posted a link as my gchat away message.

So what news? Well, in the past few weeks I've started taking some hip-hop dance classes. It's a drop-in class, so I show up when I'm able and make an ass out of myself trying to learn a routine that other people seem to have pretty much already mastered.

I broke page 1000 in the Instructions. Only 100-ish pages to go and I can finally read something else (Maps & Legends by Chabon is on my list).

My dad sent me Papa Max's—my great grandfather's—fedora. It's a really nice hat. Facebookers can now see a photo of me in it. It needs a some repairs on the inner band, but otherwise, it seems to be in very good shape. It should go well with the suit I'm getting tailored from Duchess Clothier.

In addition to the hat, I also received a audio recordings of interviews he did with Papa Max and Grandma Ida in the late 70's. I'm learning some pretty interesting stuff about where at least part of my family came from. If I understand the tapes right, Papa Max came to the US from what's now Belarus via England and came through Ellis Island. It wasn't long before he owned a delicatessen and a purveyor of things like pickles, then became a farmer even though he knew nothing about farming. I haven't quite absorbed all the details, but it seems to have all the elements of a classic Jewish immigrant tale.