Saturday, July 28, 2007

Downtown Acton - Friday 7/27/2007

We ventured the 2 miles to downtown Acton last night to give Wences /Acton Chinese Food another try. Sadly, overpriced and not very good food. Overcooked penne ($8.95, no sides) for me and boxed mashed potatoes and not all the way thawed vegetables with Hydra's chicken picata ($12.95). Zero atmosphere. Dang it.

When Hydra asked how the crispy chicken on the Chinese part of the menu was cooked, the waiter looked panicked and said, "Well, you know. They put it in the thing and dump it in the grease."

Trez appetizing!

But here's a shot of the Tahoe in the parking lot. This is downtown.

Standing in the same place, looking north (I think) across Smith Street, downtown Acton.

I know that more changes are coming and I feel compelled to take random seeming photographs.

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Back in the Saddle Again - Thursday 7/26/2007

The view from my usual booth, around 5:20 this morning.

The night manager who used to talk to me quit. Hmmm.

The morning waitress gave the new young night manager the most evil laugh yesterday morning when he was in for training. I think he was moved up from being a waiter. (Which never seemed like a good deal to me when I waited tables. Let's more hours, make less money, wear a different badge. Nope.)

"You don't want to get on my wrong side," she said to him, "You'll never know what hit you, honey."

Yikes. Probably true.

She's the one who scared off Grumps.

On a lighter note, three or four people said nice things to me today. It was the first time since the infamous back injury that I had my laptop with me. Working on a short story that may demand to be a novella.

And doing my small part to keep the wheels of commerce oiled.

If there really is a writer's strike and I and the crew people who come in at all hours of the day aren't around, it's going to put a big dent in the whole economy. We're all just waiting.

Wrong. And Wrong Again. - Wednesday 7/24/2007

I like this sign, which hangs outside Mo's in Toluca Lake, right across from Bob's Big Boy.

Wrong: The food is not fine.

It's overpriced and not even very tasty. Their "famous" burgers are fat little wads of ground beef that glare at you from the center of the bun. They still have a burger bar with a handful of condiments and some bean salad on it that they think is the bee's knees. Not since 1977 was this impressive.

Wrong Again: The service is not friendly.

The actors-- I mean, the waiters--don't want to be there. They are working here because producers, directors and writers from the nearby studios eat here. Sometimes you see a former waiter--er, actor-- who has hit the big time, taking a meeting. The acoustics are terrible. Maybe they feel safe talking in a place where you can't hear your lunch partner's voice, let alone whatever's going on at the next table.

I've been dragged--erm, have eaten--here at least once a year for the past 8 years I've worked in the neighborhood.

Maybe two wrongs will make a right and the next time I eat here I'll find something to like about it.

What the Heck Time Is It? - Tuesday 7/24/2007

Time to go home! I've worked my eight hours and I'm leaving.

OneL brought in this be-boppin' clock just to confuse me, I swear!

Work has become very stressful very early in the season. Waah.

Progress Report - Monday 7/23/2007

The Granny Smiths are coming along nicely.

So are these flowers, which came from wildflower seeds. I'm not sure what they are, but the goldfinches like to eat the seeds when they lose their petals.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

New Homes - Sunday 7/22/2007

Some kids make a whole new art form out of this, bopping to mp3s and flipping the sign like they're doing a high school flag corps routine. It was hot and humid Sunday as we headed home. This kid looked fairly grim and I don't blame him.

I fear for Fillmore, CA. We've been going up there for about 7 years, I guess, and for most of this time it's seemed like there wasn't a big disparity in income amongst the residents. But the times they are a'changin'.

The have-mores have moved in on the east side of town. There's a gigantic subdivision going in called The Bridges at Heritage Valley. Pretentious much?

While it's nice to see the buildings in the small downtown with their turn of the 19th-century architecture begin to fill up with businesses again, it's a little sad for the people already there. I grew up in a rural community where the few people who had money certainly didn't flaunt it. It would be hard to take some of the changes in the air, to feel that you don't really belong in a community your family has called home for generations.

Even the once-humble Von's supermarket has been overhauled. It's like shopping in a Whole Foods Market. Not that everyone shouldn't have a nice shopping environment, but you almost feel like you should dress up before you drop in for a pint of milk.

One of the common themes you hear from people who were kids during The Depression of the 1930s is that everyone was in the same boat, so they never knew they were hard up. I think people in Fillmore are going to become increasingly aware of their economic standing.


Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Living the Americone Dream - Saturday 7/21/2007

At last we scored some Stephen Colbert's Americone Dream! We've been looking for this stuff ever since we saw it debut on The Colbert Report. At last, at the Von's in Fillmore. (And yes, we have a freezer in our camper trailer.)

We bought the Willie Nelson's Country Peach Cobbler, too.

Stephen and Willie in the same bowl! A taste-off!

The Americone Dream was actually better than I expected. I usually find that the ones that have a lot of chunky stuff in them are more about the stuff than the ice cream. This is really good... but given a choice, I'd probably go with the lighter tasting Willie Nelson's Country Peach Cobbler.

Is anyone in Toronto jealous, I wonder? [rubs it in]

And just to throw a little gander in the direction of American excess.... We shared the campground with another group this weekend. There were about 10 of these behemoth RVs in the top section. They filled up the campsites completely with little space to be outside. These things are about 40 feet long and probably cost upwards of $125,000 each.

Yikes! It was a little intimidating walking down through them. "Walk of the Giants," as one friend put it.

Morning Shadows - Friday 7/20/2007

Yeah, I know. Most people's idea of going camping doesn't include Starbucks. But at home, it's a longer drive to get to one so Hydra usually goes to the one in Fillmore at least one morning. I went with him.

Most of the people we're camping with won't arrive until this evening, so there's not much of a crowd around the coffee urn at the campground on Fridays.

Life doesn't get much better. Except maybe later in the weekend when we'll sit outside our camper for hours with the birds in their cages on the picnic table, reading, writing and talking to friends who stop by to chat.

An old church in Fillmore. I think it may be used as a home now.

Produce Country - Thursday 7/19/2007

This produce stand sits at the corner where we turn off of 126 to go camping.

Part of their garden against the backdrop of the mountains. The campground is approximately behind this garden and to the right, about 2 miles maybe.

Had to work very hard (at home, thank goodness) to be able to leave for a weekend of camping with Songmakers.