January 31, 2011

trains, planes...







A gallery of some leftover shots from train stations and airports in some of my travels...

January 30, 2011

venting






A bit of an odd post here, but I'm sure someone out there can come up with a solution for this: A few days ago @MacMall tweeted this Kensington iPhone car mount as their daily deal. Since it was so cheap, I figured I'd get it and if it didn't work, I hadn't lost much. To my surprise, its a pretty substantial and easy to use holder, with a remarkably strong grip. It just slides into an air conditioner vent, but the problem is that the vents in my truck are vertical and move side to side to point air in a direction. With the phone holder in, it means when I take a turn, the weight of the phone whips the vent to one side or the other. Its strong enough to handle it, but its an annoyance. Short of slapping some ugly piece of tape across it to hold it in place - anyone have an idea to secure the vent in place so its flush with the dashboard and doesn't turn to one side or the other?

January 27, 2011

filiping out







I have a new addition to my favorites among the almost 200 gourmet food trucks in LA. @ManilaMachine is the first Filipino food truck in LA, and its actually one that comes to my part of town a fair amount, but I had still never tried it. Knowing absolutely nothing about Filipino food, the menu items seemed so unusual that I just never knew where to start. But this week at the LAX Truck Lot I decided to finally dive in. I tried a couple sliders - the longganisa and the original manila dip, whose main ingredient is chicken adobo. Their menu says Adobo is "braised in vinegar, soy sauce, garlic, bay, and black pepper." Its an unusual combination that I really loved - and oddly enough, it really reminded me of the vinegar-based barbecue I grew up with in the south. But what really took the cake was their Ube Cupcake. I had seen tweets raving about it, but never knew what the fuss was about. I didn't even know what Ube was - Google taught me that its a purple yam, common in desserts in the Philippines. The color is almost alarming, but cool to know that its natural (I think?!) And the taste is just plain amazing. Today the truck was nearby again, so I had to go back for a second round. This time I ordered a regular order of Adobo served over rice - turns out its a full piece of chicken prepared the same way, just not shredded as it was for the slider. So many people don't understand my fascination for the gourmet food trucks. New discoveries like Filipino food (who knew?) because of the Manila Machine are a perfect example why.

January 26, 2011

prostworld!






This was posted by @Marilyn_Res today on Twitter, and if you know me, you can probably guess how excited I am to discover this. A beer theme park! Even better, its in Bavaria! And geared to Weissbier! Could it be any better? Okay, it could have rollercoasters... The Kuchlbauer brewery in Abensberg revamped their tours two years ago to add animatronics, exhibitions, and some wacky architecture most personified by the Hundertwasser Tower, one of the last works of artist Friedensreich von Hundertwasser. Other features include what could be the worlds largest collection of wheat beer glasses, a mirrored staircase with a starry sky, and an interpretation of the Last Supper (I was hoping they added beer glasses, but I couldn't see any in the pics.) Regardless, sign me up! It's just north of Munich and accessible by rail, so on my next trip there, hopefully I'll be able to make a side trip. And in a sort of related note, I also discovered through this that the brewery of my favorite beer, Weihenstephan, is just north of the Munich airport. How I missed that all these years is beyond me, but at least now I know. You can read the BoingBoing article at the link below, or check out the brewery's website itself:
  • BoingBoing: Welcome to Bierwelt
  • Kuchlbauer's World of Beer
  • January 25, 2011

    fresh start





    With all the trips to LA's gourmet food trucks I post about, as well as roadside attraction type food on my travels, you might be surprised to know that I actually eat pretty healthy at home. I post recipes occasionally for special things, but figured maybe I should share some of the not-so-special things too. Of course, I eat like a bachelor, so using 'recipe' is a little generous of a description. My almost-daily habit for breakfast is pretty simple - its enough to fill you up and get you started, but also sweet enough if you need to fill a sweet craving other times. The bulk is fresh fruit - I tend to use pineapple, strawberries and grapes. Tart fruits like these or mango, kiwi, berries work best; apples, melons and other not-so-tart fruits don't work so well. Cut up a bowl of that, add a single serving container of vanilla yogurt (nonfat or lowfat), and a sprinkle of granola (a not-so-sweet type works best. The bulk of your calories are here, so only use enough to mix in and give texture.) Depending on your specific ingredients, it ends up running around 350 calories. Not necessary low-cal, but low enough and filling enough to be a good start to the day.

    January 23, 2011

    clubbin'








    After gettin' fully bit by the football/soccer bug during last years World Cup and then going to a match in Munich, I finally made it to an LA Galaxy game at the end of the season. It was such a blast that I've been anxious for the season to roll around again in March. A match between the US Mens National Team and Chile last night was just the stopgap I needed to help me make it til then. The atmosphere was not as electric, but the Chile fans passion and unity down to their legendary chant was fun to see. I was also impressed to see that the US team has two well-organized supporters groups (Sams Army and The American Outlaws) putting on an great display in large numbers, especially considering that there is no home stadium or season full of games in one place like for most soccer clubs supporters groups. (Supporters clubs are a bit of a soccer tradition everywhere, with organized songs and chants and displays that seem to go go non-stop throughout the game. At all the games I've been to, they tend to be behind one of the goal areas.) I'm definitely hoping to investigate the clubs for the Galaxy games this year. Who knows, maybe I'll even work my way into one. If you wanna join in, let me know! Two more months til the season starts...

    January 22, 2011

    2007: tres

    [note: this is a repost of my blog post originally posted April 19, 2007. Today my friend Myron posted a photo on facebook of our friend Tres in honor of his 45th birthday. That the reminder of Tres' birthday came from Myron is typically true to form as it would have been years ago for me. It seemed a good time to go back and repost this.]







    I cant begin to know where to start with this one. My thoughts have been all over the place all day, so I figure I'll just start typing and see what comes out...

    Wednesday night, I lost my friend Tres to cancer. He was diagnosed in the fall of 2005 with Testicular cancer, and after rounds of treatment found out last June that he actually had Lymphoma. Tres kept a blog of his battle - I never included it in my links column because I wasn't sure how personal he wanted it to be kept, but its a worthy read to understand the battles. If you know Tres, you may want to let some time pass before you read it. I must be a glutton for punishment, I went back to the first post and re-read it back in order today. I don't know why. Maybe guilt. Early on, Tres complained about people treating him differently and how it just reminded him of his cancer, so I always made an effort not to be any different then before. I didn't call him or email him more often than normal, I didn't bring up his health much unless he did. I'm feeling some regret about that now and feel like I should have done more. I'm sure it sounds naive, but I never doubted that he would eventually beat it. I knew how hard and tough the battle was, but I just... you know. I suppose it also allowed me to practice my own denial of the situation. I always figured we could talk about it later when it was all in the past. I could explain, and I hoped he'd say "Yeah, I knew what you were doing, and I'm glad." I hope he did.

    Tres and I met not long after I moved to Dallas. He had moved there at about the same time, so we both were at similar stages of making new friends and finding our way. We met at church, oddly enough. We would often have "heaven to hell Sundays' that began with church service and ended many hours later with 50 cent beers at a T-Dance. Maybe the longevity of our friendship came from his closeness to my friend Myron, so our connection was doubled. The three of us continued to take annual treks to Key West for New Years, and despite zero interest in rodeo, Tres would join Myron and I on our annual roadtrip to the Oklahoma City Rodeo every Memorial Day. We dubbed it "the time of your liiiiiife," the phrase I had used to persuade him to go with us the first time he agreed. I think Tres was responsible for adding the stops for fried pies and Del Rancho drive-in chicken fried steak sandwiches that have now become tradition. Tres loved fun kitschy stuff, and roadside attractions and oddities were often the best of those. His love for kitsch personifies his spirit to me. He always had that kind of sparkle and would only see the positive in everything. ("How niice!")

    His sister said he smiled just before he passed. I would have expected nothing less.

  • Tres' blog
  • January 21, 2011

    connections







    A pal of mine was doing some packing the other day and came across these plates. He decided to Google the maker of them and found out they were made in Manhattan Beach, so he sent me a couple pics. Metlox was a ceramics manufacturer near downtown Manhattan Beach from 1927 to 1988. Today its the site of a sort of strange shopping center that kept the same name in homage to the old factory. I had never seen anything Metlox made, and was surprised to see that these were such a modernist design; he said he found out these were part of a Metlox line called "California Freeform." Kinda crazy the way things connect sometimes.

    January 20, 2011

    foo treets!





    As you may have read, back before Christmas I met up with my friend Curt from Pittsburgh for a few days of decompress in a cabin in West Virginia. The first night there, we took a trip to the local Food Lion (or Foo Lion as the sign said) in Berkeley Springs to stock the kitchen. It felt a bit like time travel to me. It could just be a regional thing, and I haven't been to a supermarket here in California since then to check, but I swear I haven't seen any of these brands for years: Aim, Closeup, Schlitz? Of course that all paled compared to what I found in the cereal aisle: Berrry Treets!! That one I had never seen before, but so so many things to love about that label.

    January 18, 2011

    truck detailing










    After my posting of signs from Philly last week, @AnthonyVO suggested do a similar post of food truck signage. I thought it was a good idea, and one that will probably be repeated more in the future. Consider this the first in a series.

    January 17, 2011

    curtain call





    File this one in the 'just not thinking' file. I guess I have to admit that I never think of Orange County. period. (sorry OC peeps) So the idea of architecture being in Orange County never occurred to me. Actually I always knew that Philip Johnson designed the Crystal Cathedral, but for some reason it was never on my radar, even though he also designed a cathedral for my old church (the Cathedral of Hope) in Dallas. I don't really have much excuse for not realizing that Robert Schuller's original drive-in church that started the whole empire, designed by Richard Neutra, still exists on the complex. And I never even knew that Richard Meier had designed a third building as part of the complex in 2003. The Dallas Center for Architecture posted an article today on Twitter from The Architect's Newspaper about the possibility of these buildings being auctioned off. I guess a trip across the orange curtain is in order.
  • The Architect's Newspaper: Mega-Church Meltdown