12
Jan
12

Day 10: Me, my bike, and Pershing hill

So on Tuesday I had my Men’s Bible Study at this place in Downtown SD, about 6-7 miles from the house.  I got home from work a bit early, so i figured, hey, time to ride the bike and get my fitness on…yo…

SO i grabbed a super bright yellow jacket, my hipster golf cap, my helmet, the bike from the living room, aaaaaand….had to put air in the back tire….

There is a pinhole leak SOMEWHERE.  It takes about 4 days but sure enough by day 4 the air from the tire is COMPLETELY gone.

SO i pump the tire to 45 PSI and pick up the Helmet and put my study materials in my backpack and I am on my way!

So i turn off 32nd down Lincoln, make a left down 30th and head down Pershing.  Now going down that hill….amazing.

The wind in my face.

The roadkill on the ground.

The bike light barely illuminating cracks and obstacles ahead.

The cars zooming by me by at most a yard or 2.

Then Pershing Hill ends.

And the only way to survive is to cross a few on ramps to the 5 Freeway and make sure no one is speeding to get out of Downtown.

After crossing with thoughts of the game Frogger dancing in my head, I made it to 16th street Downtown.  I headed down to the destination, and realized that with the amazing speed i can put on my bike, I was over 30 minutes early (ok ok it wasnt my speed abilities, nor my leg agilities…it was the hill….or the downhill part at least, that led to my early arrival).

So i park the bike at the Kebab Shop and eat some bomb Lamb Doner Kebabs, while I await my buddy john to show up and partake in a meal with me.

He shows up.

We finish our food.

I look like a Traffic Patrol officer with the jacket, so I take it off

THats better.

I finish the food.

I ride back to the Warehouse and we have our study

It’s about 7pm

945 arrives.  Time to go.

The only back home, is up.

So i ride back towards the Froggerville of the 5 on ramp, and back up Pershing Hill

Pershing Hill

I dont know measurements, but I was probably going 20 mph or more down the hill.  I was probably, at some parts, going 1 mph.  It was tough.

Really tough

I pedaled hard

Very hard

My jeans began to taste the sweat.

My hipster hat absorbed what should have been pouring down my cheeks.

I heard weird noises to left and right of me (Pershing is along a small canyon and Golf Course).

I felt the calories scream as they disappeared into oblivion.

Oh, and i had Pandora running a Modest Mouse station…

So there was some motivation

As i was nearing the top of the hill, I, for some reason, made a right turn.

There, lie a shorter, yet steeper hill.

I would not get off the bike

I would not yield

I would not relent

Now, at 0.5 mph i sneaked my way up the hill, shaking, wobbling, making traffic dangerous for the parked cars…

And then the top

Smooth sailing back home

Legs, tired

Butt, tired

Breath, gone

But pride…about as swelled up as my prostate after a 30 minute uphill bike ride on a seat not meant for comfort.

And I can’t wait to do it again.

11
Jan
12

Day 9: A Fantastic Film about a Fox

Some movies are good.  Others are bad.  A there are a few that are just so randomly weird and goofy, you just want to watch it again to see what you missed the first time around.

It was getting late on Monday, and I had yet to find the new thing to do.  THen i remembered that in the mail, courtesy of Netflix and my local postman, the film The Fantastic Mr. Fox had arrived.  The film would be shown on Wednesday to my advanced video production students who were going to work on an animation within the coming weeks.  So to toggle their brains a bit, I was going to show them a stop motion film.

Last year we watched “A Town Called Panic,” a brilliant little French stop motion film.  This year, I decided to throw in something new.

In the middle of my classroom, there was a poster for this film.  Yet like many of the movie posters in my classroom, I had yet to see this film.  This would change.

poster

So back to Monday.  I put in the DVD into the Apple Desktop that I am borrowing from work (how could i resist a 27 inch screen to work on videos and lesson plans???).  ANd soon, after the many trailers, the film began.

What followed was about 85 minutes of goofy story telling, clever puns, and whimsically silly stop motion animation.  Aside from indie dramas with dramatic twists, I think goofy and random stop motions are my next favorite film genre.  Yes, I said genre.  Sue me if you don’t find “goofy and random stop motions” as an official genre.

Who cares.

The Main Character, Mr. Fox, voiced by George Clooney, and his wife Fox, voiced by Meryl Streep, as well as the cast of animals and other foxes, with familiar celebrity voices being heard here and there, brought me to a place long forgotten.  I felt as if I was 5, and as If i wasnt really watching a film, but really just listening to someone read a book while the images of the story were being created in my sub conscious.

WHen the film ended, I removed the disk and went to sleep, knowing that the kids would probably like this movie as much as I did.

At least those who would stay awake while we watched it in class.

 

10
Jan
12

Day 8: Walker, Texas Ranger?

So the day (Sunday) was coming to a close.  Most of the day I had done what I normally had done.  Woke up, watched a little football, went to church, ate some food (I think I made mac n cheese…add cilantro and avocado to that, its really good), and played some tunes on the guitar.

Nothing new.

Then my roomate Abel told me to play something I had never tried playing before.

In fact, he had been making this unusual request all day.

And since it was the end of the day and I had not really done anything new, I decided to give in.

I learned to play the Theme song from “Walker, Texas Ranger”

Why he wanted me to play this song, I had no idea.

But he did.

So I learned.

I looked up the song on Youtube (I had probably heard the song before but I had forgotten how it sounded).  I looked up the chords online.

I matched the video sounds with that from the strums of my guitar.

And I attempted to sing along as well, to little success.

Walker Texas Ranger (e-chords.com)

And when it was over, Abel laughed

And somehwere out in this world, at that very moment, Chuck Norris laughed

With his fist.

09
Jan
12

Day 7: American Breakfast, Chinese style

On the corner of Grim and North Park way sits a humble little breakfast joint with humble few hours open throughout the day.

Many times I have walked or ran past this little hidden gem.

Usually I saw one Chinese guy inside, cleaning, moving things around, and hustling about inside, even though the sign on the door said closed.

I wondered why he was working so hard in the closing hours.

ANd where the rest of his crew was.

Having intended on eating breakfast here for at least a year, I finally made my way over with my best friend Janeece.

Again, since we both live a stones throw away, the walk to and fro would be able to remove the guilt of indulging in early morning calories.

We arrived to the very unassuming building, smack on the corner, and walked in

Lucky's

We sat at diner’s counter style seating they had, next to a retired gentleman reading a news paper, and another one a few chairs further down, who occasionally quipped a comment about this or that.

As we sat down, Lucky (the Chinese man I had seen so many times before) greeted us with coffee and the menu.

As we read the menu we noticed something you do not see in most places.

Everything was under 5 bucks.

At first I was suspect.   I saw a bacon and cheese omelette for under 4 dollars.

Cheap.

So I ordered (after Janeece, of course…ladies first).

“Bacon and Cheese omelette, please.”

“Wheat toast?” asked Lucky.

Wierd.

Most people ask what kind of toast, but he asks the question almost as if we needed to get the wheat toast.  Even if I wanted sour dough, the forcefulness of that question would have changed my mind.

“Sure”

Lucky fills up out coffee and the coffee of others in the room, and heads to the kitchen.

We chatted a bit with the regulars, and before we knew it, PRESTO!

The food had arrived.

The answer to how one Chinese man, with no other employees around, could whip up a delight quicker than any other diner in the area was beyond my pay grade.

The first bite was good.  The second, good.  The third, good.  I felt like this is what it was like to eat at Lucky’s house on the days his place was closed.

Or maybe this was his home.  At least his home away from home

The walls had chinese art and statuettes.  There was Chinese music blaring from a speaker in the Kitchen.  And the soda machine hadn’t been updated in years

Soda Machine!

Of course, I eventually powered through the omelette and had the wheat toast left to try.

It seriously tasted like the kind of wheat toast you would get from someones toaster at someone’s house.  Now that’s pretty special.

In the end, with 2 meals and 2 coffees in our bellies (perfect portions too!) the final cost of it all was……

10 dollars.

After paying, we each got 2 fortune cookies each.  I dont remember what the fortune was.

But it could have easily said, “You will come back to eat here.”

And it would have been right

08
Jan
12

Day 6: 500 pushups

So for day 6 I decided to do a physical challenge.  Something that would push my body to the limits.  Or at least something that would limit my body for the next few days.  I had thought about this challenge for most the year.  Never mind the fact that the year is only a week old.

SO first I zoomed in on a challenge.

Push ups

Then I though of a number

1000.  Then someone talked some sense into me.  So i lowered the number.

500.

500 push ups throughout the day.  From the moment i woke up I would start the challenge.  And i would keep on going until i reached the magic number

So I woke up at around 545.

25.

I took a morning shower.

Then 25 more.

As i was about to exit the door, I threw out 25 more for good measure.

That 51 to 75 set was bad.  I twisted something in my neck.  It did hurt.

But I was not going to quit

Of course, with teaching high school during the day, I had to make sure I did my push ups between passing periods.  I did let the kids know what i was trying to do so they wouldn’t freak out when they saw me doing pushups in between periods.

So over the course of the next few hours, I did pushups in increments of 25.  Some on my own by myself. others with students counting, cheering, or just looking at me like I was crazy.

I was at about 300 when the final bell rang for the weekend to start.  As soon as all the kids left, I took off back home, and, as I got into my apartment, I got another 25 out of my system.  Then another set.

350.

Then i decided to go on a run.

6.6 miles.

When i got back, I hit 25 more.  Then another 15.

Then a shower.

After that, I could no longer do a full set of 25.

I did 10 here.  15 there.  Until i hit 465.

Janeece called me.   She wanted a beer.  I did too.  But i had to do 35 more.

So i showed up at her pad, and with images of craft beers in my head, I tired the last 25.

I did 20.

I took a few minutes to regain my composure, and to get enough energy for the last push

Back on the ground in her living room.

Luckily, they keep that place clean.

With the final push of energy, I powered through.  Janeece counting.

486, 487, 488, 489

Slowing down

490, 491, 492, 493

Even slower

494, 495, 496, 497,

Almost there…

498, 499…500

success!

Then a beer.

06
Jan
12

Day 5: Chinese food and 80s Vampires

Day 5 came and went with little fan fare.

I worked, I went home, I ate dinner, and I watched Lost Boys.

While dinner was not necesarily something I had never done before, I had never been to the new Chinese hot spot in North Park called Wangs.

Yep.  Wangs.

Check out that Wang!

So my best friend Janeece and I walked to the place that use to house a 2 story Big Lots, and now houses Chinese food in an almost warehouse like setting.  The inside was a cross between a Buddhist Temple, An Asian themed line at Disneyland, A dimly lit Fry’s, and a romantic setting for giants.

To to say there was a lot of headroom does not nearly capture the feeling.

Ok, so a giant Chinese restaurant in the middle of the botique shops of North Park may seem a bit out of place.  But Id give any restaurant a try!

So the hostesses were super sweet and polite and led us to our booth.

Good job.

We got our menus, and i decided to order a drink.

My drank!

This drink was called the Wangnut.  It had it think a Honey Liquor mixed with walnuts and some other concotions.  It was not half bad.

Of course, being a beer guy, I felt a little emasculated holding the Martini glass with fruity colored drink inside.

But, oh was it good

I started with egg drop soup.

Not bad.

We ordered Asparagus Mushroom Beef in Oyster sauce and Lemon Scallops.

Main course!

De-friggen-licious.

We also had white rice and brown rice on the side.

You know, for the whole Asian experience.

The scallops did melt in my mouth, and in my stomach acids.

The beef tasted very familiar.

Then i realized that it was similair to the Asian style beef that I like to conjure up.  Way to go me.  Making Asian food like the pros.

Of course, the asaparagus and the mushrooms added an element that I had yet to test.

Unlike most places in North park, I was able to finish my plate (perfect portion size, I guess).  There was, however, just enough room for dessert.

So we got the Bananas Katsu.  Not bad.  Deep friend Bananas in panko bread with some sweet cream gobs on the plate was a nice, yet unneeded, finish to my sodium filled night.

Bananaaaaaa

Afterwards, we walked past the tables out the door.

Had this placed been a smaller hole in the wall joint, it would have looked packed.   But the space was too wide and it had the feel of a dead thursday night.

We walked to Janeece’s house, where I had to work on my laptop.

She brought out her iPad and put on Netflix.

The Lost Boys

I had to stop working.

I had yet to see the vampiric answer to the 80s Karate film.

I was not disappointed with the cheesy acting of the Corys, Kiefer Sutherland’s enterance into the heel wall of fame, and the 80s anthems that blared over every establishing shot and montage sequence in the film.

Thank you Joel Schumacher, for my 80s moment of Bliss!

And thank you Wangs.  Though your name may sound phallic, your food was filling

05
Jan
12

Day 4: My Ears vs Country Music

It was January 4, 2012.  It was after work.  It began with George Strait’s “Here for a Good Time” at 5:45pm and it ended with…well I forget what the last song was…at 9pm.  All i knew if that during that time I felt like  I was listening to a jukebox from Hell…or Incahoots…both kinda are one in the same….

I am not a big fan of country music.

Let me rephrase that.

For the most part,I can’t stand country music.

My sentiments exactly...

I am not sure why.  I mean, i like blue grass.  I love me some indie folk songs that utilize harpsichords and banjos.  Maybe its the extremely slow BPMs of many of the songs, or the fact that its hard to identify with songs that sing about country fried chickens and whiskey as staples of a broken heart.  Or maybe I am just a music curmudgeon.  All I know is, ever since i was a child, when people asked me what kind of music I liked to listen to,  I would respond “Pretty much anything…except country”

So i decided that for today’s challenge, I would put my prejudices to their test and listen to non stop country for 3 hours straight.

Now a disclaimer:  SInce i was using my Android phone for the music there were about 2 three to three-minute gaps of no music.  But aside from those two gaps, it was non-stop.

So i went on the good ‘ol Pandora ap and put in “Today’s Country.”  I plugged in the headphones, and I dove into a world I had desperately tried to avoid over the course the last 3 decades

THe ol headphones

I knew things were bad when 10 minutes had passed and i felt like the drawling voices had been pounding my ears for longer.

Of course, I left my fate to Pandora, who threw in some bubbly Taylor Swift songs that were slightly easier to swallow, thanks to her more poppy/top 40 sound.

After a few hours of slide guitars and lyrics that make anything i learned in first grade sound edgy, I realized why there are so many depressed white people in East County.

But I digress

There were a few exceptions to the horrendous sounds that were streaming out the ear buds.  I did enjoy some of the soulful and folksy sounds of some of the artists, and for some reason, it seemed like the female artists had way more meaningful lyrics than most of the male artists.  I mean, one guy sung a song about camouflage as his favorite color.  I half expected to be transported to Kentucky.

At 9 o’clock, it was time to put down the ear buds and getting ready to sleep.  And while i was able to tune out the music for most of the time, there were many times where cringes replaced stasis, and where my hand was ever so close to shutting down the Pandora station labeled “Today’s Country” radio.

And yes, I know many of you out there love Country, and think that the music i may like, such as Disco House, has no place in the overcrowded music marketplace.  And yes, i did gain a new-found respect for the music i once had clearly a single dimesional viewpoint of (All Country = crappy.  Now its Most Country = crappy).

But then again, it is a rarity for city folk like myself to have a high tolerance to country, where as people who lived closer to tire yards and chicken farms definitely had more exposure to these tunes than I had.

But still, i never could pin point exactly why the drawl makes me cringe.

Maybe its the same reason that some hip hop or rap sometimes makes me cringe:

Bad annunciation




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