It feels like Vegas today. Ninety five degrees beneath a cloudless sky, the air thin, parched, and smoky. Though the billboards that line Pico Boulevard proclaim that Pechanga is the shortcut to Vegas, one deep breath outside today was all that was necessary to transport my mind up I-15. That, and the Party Poker Bad Beat Jackpot hitting $575K while I stopped home at lunch to play a quick hour session.
You know, I felt sorry for all my orthodox Jewish neighbors walking around in that heat in their black synagogue garb yesterday-- talk about a day of atonement. Plus all that davening. Sheesh. The all-white clad Kabbalah crowd heading toward Robertson seemed to be doing better than their conservative counterparts sweltering while queing up on La Cienega. But lemme tell you, this Shiksa loves nothing more than some good Jewish holidays. Yom Kippur-- that's a sublime day off from work. Passover-- that's some kickass brisket and an excuse to get drunk. So what's next. That's right kids. Stop... Sukkah time!
The Sukkah Depot just opened at the end of my block. Either there, or at any of the other roadside Sukkah stands that are sprouting up along Pico like Christmas tree lots in December , you can purchase a white canvas tent-like structure held up by large poles for about $99. According to Showcase, a certified Bar Mitzvahed Jew, people put these things up in their backyards to celebrate some sort of harvest festival. When I pressed him further, he said "look, I have important office busywork to do here in order to justify my existence! Look it up on Wikipedia!"
Well Wikipedia tells me that the Sukkot is indeed a harvest festival, specifically one remembering the time when the Jews were on their journey to the Promised Land, so they slept in these huts called Sukkahs on the way there. Ergo, once a year immediately after Yom Kippur, some Jews put these huts up in their yards and essentially live in them for eight days and nights.
Point is, all our neighbors have sukkahs. The ones immediately on our right started setting one up today and, as they did last year, plan to run The Godfather on a big screen inside the sukkah. And, being Jews, that means LOTS of free food. Seriously, last year we couldn't stop by for ten minutes without having half a dozen tupperware containers thrust into our arms.
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Yesterday, I tried eating some of that macrobiotic Cyndy Violette crap. A new heath food joint called Solar Harvest opened up not far from my office and I decided to give it a whirl. I had never eaten half the shit on the menu. I mean, what the fuck is hijiki? And I wasn't really into an entree based around the "bean of the day." The "Mediterranean Platter" sounded inoffensive enough, so I ordered it, along with a side of lentil salad. I took it to go, went back home and fired up Party Poker as I spread out my healthy feast. The pita and hummus were good, the tomatoes fresh and the whole grain tabouli didn't taste too much like parsley. The lentil salad was pretty tasty if not a little heavy on the vinegar. However, to the side of this meal's colorful components was this heap of greyish glop. It almost looked like oatmeal, but had a more runny consistency. I grabbed the takeout menu to see what the offending substance might be. Baba Ghanoush? Wasn't that made of eggplant? This didn't look like eggplant. Was it tofu eggplant? No, an eggplant is a vegetable. There is no need to tofu-ize it.
I leaned in and sniffed the grey heap. It didn't smell like eggplant, then again, it didn't really smell like anything. My laptop beeped at me and I looked up at my table and folded a Jack-four offsuit. Then I googled "baba ghanoush." Sure enough, I was right about it's basis in eggplant! I like eggplant. So I took a piece of the pita and scooped up a big mouthful of baba ghanoush. You know that feeling when you taste something you clearly don't like but are in a position where it would really be a mess to spit it out? Well, that's how I felt as I winced at the distinctly non-egglplant taste of the alleged baba ghanoush hitting my taste buds. Just then, my table beeped at me again. Pocket kings. I clicked raise and scrambled for a napkin. No napkins in the bag! Fuck. My face screwed up at the runny, dull non-eggplant eggplant glop still on my tounge as my opponent three-bet back at me. I capped and made a break for the kitchen. No paper towels! There was no choice but to swallow. I nearly gagged and tried to concentrate on the pita part of the taste as I forced it down. What the fuck part of the eggplant WAS that? I chugged water and sat back down as the flop came out K-8-2. At least I won a nice pot, though my appetite for macrobiotic cuisine had definitely waned.
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Right now, I'm loving the Elizabethtown Soundtrack. Tom Petty, Ryan Adams, Patty Griffin, Elton John, and other goodness. There's something about the song choices Cameron Crowe makes that just let you taste the themes of his films through music. They're also, more often than not, the actual songs he listened to while writing the scenes. Those who know my favorite films know that I'm wild about Cameron Crowe, but somehow, I just wasn't wild about Elizabethtown when I read the script about 2 years back. Crowe's films have a way of lifting me up and reminding me why I'm in the movie business, but this one didn't do it for me on paper. I'm hoping hoping hoping that the onscreen finished product changes my mind, but I have a feeling that I'm gonna walk out the theatre even more in love with the songs but frustrated by the picture.
At least if that sucks, there's great football this weekend. And someone's gotta hit that freakin' jackpot!