Sunday, August 4, 2013

Dave's Thoughts of the Day: August 5th


Welcome to Monday.  Do I have a tale for you!

This one's called, the Tale of the Juicy Roasted Pork Sandwich.  It starts in a time short short ago, in a place not too far away.   Our family congregated and carpooled to Solvang, a little hamlet North of Santa Barbara.  It's a mini-Danish getaway.  It seems that it was settled by the Danes years ago and much of its architecture reminds us of the classic Denmark.  It's gorgeous my friends!

For lunch, we went to a place called "Succulent," a cafe along one of the main drags.   They specialize in sandwiches, including the one everyone talked about, the "Roasted Pork Sandwich."  This baby was juicy to the gills... succulent as the restaurant name describes.  It's a form of pulled pork methinks, simmered in its luscious juices, then topped with some argula, cheese, and apple slices, all served on fresh ciabatta bread.  Ohh, baby, it was a dream!  What a great sandwich.

It's not kind to the wallet, but if you can -- try it.   You'll remember it.

On to the other things...

Let's see, after that?  We went to a casino called "Chumash Casino" just off the beaten path from where Solvang was all in the Santa Ynez Valley.   It's not a very large casino, but it fits the bill for a lot of things.  I've certainly seen worse.  Some pretty good musical and comedic acts perform there.  Huey Lewis and the News was there this summer!!   Anyway, most of our time was spent at slots.  I went for the Video Poker machine, put in ten bucks, was ahead five bones, then rode it out til I ran out.   I was waiting for ONE MORE big win but it didn't come, but I was at the machine for a good 20 minutes.   Not much you can really do with only ten bucks.  To win a lot of money you have to also put a lot of money on the line.  Very odd correlation with Vegas -- but that's also how the house maintains its advantage most of the time.

Sunday, the day after, we did a little tea party style party for my Grandma's birthday.  That was great!  It was a tremendous weekend.

Now on to this week.   I have a pickle on my hands -- I want to go see my swim team compete in Masters Nationals, but I can't find affordable lodging anyplace.  I wanted something really cheap, but also close by.   Costa Mesa, Newport Beach, and Irvine would all have qualified.  Cerritos, Norwalk, and Anaheim would be too far.  Anyway, doesn't seem to be working out so far.   I suppose I could just go over there and back to SM but we're talking an hour each way, and I was hoping to check out Saturday and Sunday's swims.  Bah!   Que sera sera, or something like that.  I'll keep looking.

Concurrent to this, as we all know, is the PGA Championship.  Tiger Woods just DOMINATED the Bridgestone Classic this weekend, so next weekend is set up nicely.   I doubt it carries over.  I would go so far as to think Tiger misses the cut.  I'm serious!  I can see him missing the cut at the PGA Championship next week.   Not saying it definitely happens but it wouldn't surprise me.  Anyway, glad he did well at Bridgestone though... it was fun!

I don't know what the jokers at Yahoo or Reader's Digest or this Travel Magazine were thinking voting most of our state as "Least Friendly."  Maybe these beatniks needed some kind of strict utopia, or something.   California feels so comfortable to me.  The other beatniks can yell and declare California to be a big cesspool if they want to, but I've been to other states... none other feels right like here.   In fact, I know many other people out there who would break down the door to soak it all in.   So those other beatniks in Utah or Arizona or some other barren land with two horses and a general store, listen, nothing against the low key lifestyle, I'm all for it too, and it's nice, but if you hate California so much, feel free to take off -- there's plenty others out there happy to take your place.

The key here is it's a great place to *live.*    Apparently most of these votes came from a survey of readers from a Travel Magazine.   No wonder!   To quote my friend Andy in Seattle, the clientele of this poll is a bunch of well-to-do Thurston Dinwiddies with their Yachts and Country Club Membership.  They wouldn't know vibe or culture if it hit them in the *face.*   I'm positive they'd thumb their nose at a place like Tommy's Hamburgers or the earthiness of San Francisco's Haight/Ashbury District. and-- the Dinwiddies are evaluating these places in terms of places to visit. Anaheim's a whole lot of nothing, let's be fair here.  The real beauty of OC is the areas around it.  but "unfriendly" seems a little unfair.

and, I'll be fair with this too... LA is almost impossible to get around on a day to day basis.  You really need to spend weeks, not days, in LA..  Give it a chance, it is awe inspiring -- warts and all.  Way too much to absorb in just a day or two, it's all over the place.  You also gotta know what you want -- don't just land downtown and think that everything will come to you.  I didn't do this in New York... I prepped and did lots of research before I went out there.  Any traveler would.    Yet, so many don't... it's silly.

I'll step off the subject now, and share a somewhat related story.   My buddy YOTS went to Santa Barbara last year, and really *really* enjoyed it.  His first day there, he was walking some of the streets, gorgeous streets all over, and then met me to catch up on things.  That's the first time I met him.  Anyway, the next day, he goes sight seeing, runs down to the beach, turns around and he has to do a *double take* because he saw.... mountains!!!!!

He said to me "boy was I surprised when I turned around and saw those mountains behind me."   I laughed, then said something to the effect of "that was majestic, huh?"   I forget that a lot of folks out there, including those in Connecticut, are not familiar with mountain ranges in their lives.

I had the opposite problem:  when I landed in New York, five years ago, I looked at all the tall buildings and the long streets.  I was looking for those mountains in the background but no!  Just one long endless plane stretching to the horizon.  I felt like I landed in TRON.  Maybe "Battlezone."

I still don't know why people had a problem with Sacramento.  SACRAMENTO??  Who would book a vacation to Sacramento anyway?   I'd go there to check out a Sacramento Kings game maybe on the way someplace else... something like that.  Sac'to's not so bad.

Kenny Smith, Vlade Divac, and Chris Webber could tell you all about how friendly the people of Sacramento are.   The people seem tremendous.

I heard the news about Hanley Ramirez' jammed shoulder.  I'll put it this way:  I think his season's over.  The LA Media is trying their best to sugar coat it.  He's DONE.  If he plays a lick the rest of the regular season it's a miracle.   It's too bad too -- he was killing the baseball lately.   Without Han Ram it's going to be tough for the Dodgers to keep pace.  Really tough.   I guess they'll have to round up the troops and hang on, no? 

I think a few years ago even SAN DIEGO was voted as a top ten "least friendly" city.  HUH??   San Diego is as chill as it gets.  Who had a stick up their bottom when they did that survey?

I tried a Pop Tart ice cream sandwich yesterday.  I made it myself, but all the ice cream melted off of the sandwich!  I shouldn't have toasted the pop tarts.

I'm trying to find a turntable for my little sister to listen to records on.  I said to her today "I'll get you an automatic one so you can just press 'start' and play the LP."  She said, "No!  I want to put the needle down on the record."  Wow, that's pretty cool!  She wants to take on the Vinyl Culture head on!   I'll accommodate her for sure -- go after a manual turntable that she can cue herself.

You know what, I'm going to take this a step further and call out TripAdvisor... have you read some of the reviews from the delicate genius types on TripAdvisor.  "There were only TWO MINTS on my pillows instead of three!!!  ONE STAR!!! HORRIBLE!"   Geez, pipe down will ya?  Junkie pointed to the same tendencies on Yelp... you cross up one little thing and they go nuclear on their review.  It's a scene! 

Edit: Forgot to write a closing today.  In closing, stay cool, and have a good Monday!  Til tomorrow...

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