Sunday, October 31, 2010

Lebron’s Not The Only One Who Asks Self-Centered Questions or My Version Of Rise

                What should I do?
                Should I say it was mistake to start a blog and make these thoughts, feelings, and opinions public?  (A guy has to express his written acumen when he knows it’s what he was born to do.)
                Should I remind you I’ve done this before?  (Like every day of my life in every in depth conversation I’ve ever had.)
                Should I tell you how much fun this is?  (Cut to me, eagerly refreshing the stats button to see how many pageviews I have now.)
                 Should I really believe expressing affection in the form of funny anecdotes is fraught with peril? (Nobody takes more hits in this blog than I do.)
                What should I do?  What should I do?
                Should I add a tattoo that reads honesty while playing Billy Joel in the background so you know where I’m coming from?
                Should I just hunt for pop up ads?  (Ads?  Ads?  Shiny new pop up ads?)
                Should I tell you I am not a role model?  (Are you kidding?  I’m a smart, honest, compassionate man with a great marriage and an unflinching sense of responsibility.  I’m the role model that role models find to be a role model.  ;-)
                Seriously, what should I do?
                Should I be who you want me to be?  A villain?  (It’s amazing how talking in a candid way can earn you such a moniker.) 
                Maybe I should just stop writing.

                Should I stop listening to the voices in my head?  (Dowhatyouneedtodo.  Youdon’tknowanything. Whodoyouthinkyouareanyway?  Youcandoit.  Justbecausenobodyunderstandsdoesn’tmeanit’snotright.)
                They’re my voices.  They’re me.
                Should I trust the bloggers I know?  (Cut to my Three Wise Women of blogging talking over cheesy 80’s synthesizers:   "You just gotta get people to know where your blog is; who you are and what you’re about.  Just be patient.  After a while, you’ll make connections with other bloggers, start getting exposure to your writing, and it’ll all be sweet and easy."  Confused me:  "You mean they may all come at once?"  Three Wise Women in seductive unison:  "Umm-Hmm.")
                Maybe I should read you a soulful poem:
                Here I sit, broken hearted.  Had to shi…. (Never mind)
                Maybe I should just clear the decks and start over with another blog?  (It took too long to overcome my fears and do this to begin with.)
                What should I do?  (Cue the runaway train mash up of all the thoughts expressed above.)
                Should I be who others want me to be?
                I think I’ll just listen to the famous words authored by many but followed by few.

                Eff ‘em if they can’t take a joke.
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Friday, October 29, 2010

Let’s Go Wine Tasting or Wow, Check Out All The Booze!

                They just opened a Total Wine near my home.  It represented the cherry on top of a major renovation in the city of Northridge.  To people outside the San Fernando Valley, Northridge is known as the city that completely collapsed in the epicenter of a 1994 earthquake.  To us valleyites, Northridge is the prideful centerpiece of our smog ridden home.   It doesn’t house the cornucopia of pornography found in Chatsworth and Van Nuys.  It doesn’t have that aura of undeserved self-absorption exhibited in Sherman Oaks/Toluca Lake/ Studio City.  It didn’t house the Jacksons or Phil Hartman’s death like Encino. It doesn’t pretend it’s not part of the valley like Woodland Hills. It’s far too white to have the undercurrent of danger you’d find in my hometown areas of Sylmar/San Fernando. And it’s not so underwhelming that it could be used as Daniel Larusso’s hometown in The Karate Kid (“Not that boy from Reseda!”)  It’s the perfect valley location for an up and coming wine behemoth to plant its flag.
                My wife Charger Gal and I aren’t exactly what you’d call wine connoisseurs, but we do enjoy us the vino fairly regularly.  We first got involved with the great grape alcohol during our 5th wedding anniversary dinner.  The bottle was a 2005 Stag’s Leap Petite Syrah.  It had a dark beautiful color with rich aromatics that yielded a smooth & supple taste with an earthy & spicy finish.  Now I don’t know what the Hell any of that means, but it tasted damn good.  Thus our wine odyssey began and we took a trip to Solvang with a few of our friends.  Charger Gal was incredibly excited to take notes on the plethora of wines we were about to imbibe.  She grabbed a pen and paper, tasted the first wine, gave pensive deliberation to her review, and wrote quickly.  I leaned over, eager to see what insight had been captured.
Thus marked the end of Charger Gal’s brief foray into wine critiquing.  We came home and settled into being regulars at a family owned wine bar also stationed in Northridge.   The family missed the notice that it’s the people behind the bar who listen to the problems of their customers and not vice versa.   While I basked in hearing their multitude of over the top mini dramas, I put the over/under for their existence at 12 months.  They beat me; they lasted 14. It’s now a Bob’s Big Boy. 
                Charger Gal and I watched the Total Wine go up piece by agonizing piece.  Anytime there seemed to be a pause in the process, we looked over at the faded Walgreen’s sign that had spent well over a year hanging above the space formally occupied by a Tower Records and feared the worst. (Special Note to the Tweeners who haven’t known double digit existence without a Team Edward/Team Jacob discourse: Once upon a time, if one wanted to obtain music they liked, it required a trip to a mystical place called a record store.  Bring it up to mom and dad sometime.  They might just burst into tears of pride over your knowledge of such things.)  Finally, we were informed that the store was opening in just about every way possible:  Color booklet ad in the mail, color booklet ad in the newspaper, email, sky writing, pony express, Jehovah ’s Witness at the door.  You name it, they did it.
                Now at this point, a lot of you are thinking to yourselves: “Why are you making such a big deal out of this place?  I have a Bev Mo near me.  Maybe the aisles are small and there’s about 37 different ways to break something that I’ll inevitably have to pay for, but it gets the job done and on occasion, they have certain wines that cost a nickel for a second bottle.”  Allow me an analogy:  Remember the iconic opening scene of Star Wars?  Well Bev Mo is the Rebel Spaceship and Total Wine is the Imperial Cruiser.  The place is massive. There’s room in the aisles for carts to pass each other without attempting the Malachi Crunch on an unsuspecting browser.  It’s actually a pleasant temperature and not so cold that you need your winter gear to walk around.  The bathrooms are clean.  (NEVER sell this short.  Even in a new business, the toilets go to Hell in a hand basket in no time flat. If they’re keeping the place they least wish to frequent spic and span, you know the rest of it passing the white glove test.)  8,000 different wines.  2,000 different spirits. 1,000 different beers. Dan Aykroyd alcohol!  Seriously, any place that houses booze from a Blues Brother you gotta frequent, right?
                As we walked around taking in the never ending rows of alcohol, we came across the wine tasting area.  We approached and were courteously informed that in addition to the first vendor before us, there were two other vendors in the back area, each pouring tastings from five of their wines.  The cost for this trifecta of red and white joy?  10 cents! That’s right, you could get 15 ounces of wine for even less than the 15 cents Tupac kept trying to make a dollar out of.  We dropped a dollar in the contribution bucket, decreed they could keep the change, and ventured into the tasting area.
                The rep for the first vineyard greeted us with a sheepish grin and a solemn nod.  There are 3 types of reps for visiting vineyards.  Type one, like the pleasant but silent gentlemen before us, is the actual winemaker.  They’re never rude or dismissive, but have as much charisma as the object your computer is sitting on.  We made our way through his wines, looked at each other, and made the same proclamation:
A worker kindly escorted us to the back tasting area and we came face to face with a man who was clearly the second type of rep; the salesperson for the vineyard.  They always seem to be involved in vineyards ran by brothers, possess Pat Riley hair, tanning butter tans, and talk a mile a minute in the hopes their verbal misdirection will lead you to buy a bottle of all their wines just so you get them to stop talking.  I’d like to tell you this obvious ploy didn’t work on Charger Gal and I, but the bottle I am staring at as I write this would say otherwise.  At least they offered a dollar off coupon.
We slid over and came face to face with the final type of rep.  Type three is a woman who no doubt was quite the looker in her day, but hasn’t received the memo that her time atop mount hot chick has passed.  She dresses in attire that is slightly too revealing for any age, always accentuates the word succulent, and ends each soliloquy that bestows the virtues of each wine with a wink.  I’m a big Simon and Garfunkel fan, so with Mrs. Robinson humming through my head I purchased another bottle. 
We now moved about the store, marveling at the numerous choices and impressive decor.  That’s when we saw it:  A Stag’s Leap Petite Syrah.  We approached, wondering what the cost would be in such a fancy store. We’ve never found a bottle for less than 45 bucks.  Charger Gal scanned at the price and smiled at me.  I looked down, rapt in anticipation.
Thirty dollars.
Our euphoria from discovering our most beloved wine at an Ebenezer Scrooge approved price led us to purchase a few more bottles, some exotic beer for Charger Gal, and a pack of Clint Eastwood Man With No Name style cigars for me.  We checked out and made our exit, but not before looking back at our new weekly hangout.
Welcome to the valley Total Wine. Damn glad to have ya.

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Wednesday, October 27, 2010

My A-Team or Ric Flair’s Not The Only One With Four Horseman

                Due to my tremendous number of neuroses, I sometimes forget the fortunate aspects of my life. I have a wonderful marriage with my wife Charger Gal, an incredible outlet for unconditional affection from my dog B Is Love and, as Richard Starkey once sang, I Get By With A Little Help From My Friends.  NBA legend Bill Russell once said “I have many acquaintances.  I have few friends.”  Your agreement with that statement depends upon how you define each. I prefer to think I have many friends with varying degrees of closeness.  This is mostly because being my friend is a lot like picking up VD; I never go away.  But no matter how you define it, we all have the people that we are closest to.  Our brothers and sisters in arms, our two in the morning phone call.  These are mine.
                The first member of this elite group is my younger brother, Excrement.  I bequeath him this alias not due to any simmering hostilities but rather because that description, in its far more common vernacular, represents his favorite word.  He has the capacity to use it in all parts of speech: noun, verb, pronoun, adverb, adjective, interjection, preposition, dangling participle.  He even utilized it when he proposed in front of a group of friends and family.  Myself, I had the audacity to get down on a knee and ask Charger Gal to spend her life with me.  Granted I followed that gesture by taking the wrong hand and then attempting to put the ring on the wrong finger, but dammit, I didn’t swear!
                The best part about Excrement is that our bond is not beholden to our blood ties.  I just like the guy.  Charger Gal and I watch The Amazing Race religiously and always determine how we would do and who would have to perform what challenge.  In reality, I know that Excrement and I would form a team that would blow that race away and lead us to immense popularity at TAR Conventions the world over.  And we would utter the more common word for Excrement.  A LOT.
                Next up is Only Child.  Only Child is the junior member of this group, which means he’s been around for 10 years.  He is smart, articulate and has an innate ability to blow up a bathroom, and then proclaim each time this occurs that whatever he ate didn’t agree with him.  I can’t give him too much grief about it; one time in his single days, I showed up to an event at his place with a Carl’s Jr. Double Western Cheeseburger in one hand and a Coffee Bean Large Mocha Ice Blended in the other (Suck it Starbucks). The results were not pleasant for any of us. And while I could regale you with stories like this about all of these men, this concludes the scatological humor for this piece.
Only Child is an exceptional listener.  One time in Vegas, I was a little too free with my money in an establishment frequented by women with fetishes for glitter, fruity perfume, and excessive sized glowing white heels.  The next morning he listened patiently to my tragic tale of woe and when I finished stated “I’m not going to give you any grief because you’ve already beat yourself up enough.”  That, my dear readers, is having a free shot at your disposal and choosing to take the high road.   I’d like to think I have that capability myself.  Who am I kidding?  Have you read this blog?
My oldest friend is Ponyboy.  I’ve known him longer than even Excrement, and he’s 30.  He is named such for two reasons.  One, he has maintained his 80’s heavy metal long hair for the better part of 25 years, thus requiring it to be put in a ponytail anytime he wears a baseball cap, which is often.  The other reason stems from one of the few times Ponyboy cut his luxurious WWE wrestler style locks.  On most occasions where this momentous buzz occurs, Ponyboy is a splitting image of his High School senior photo, which I personally think doubles as his Dorian Grayesque portrait.  I mean, the guy is the oldest member of this motley crew and can still look like he’s 18 on command.  It also, however, lead to jokes referencing him as "The Junior Senator from the state of California".  It’s not the best thing for a soft hearted hard rocker to absorb political comparisons so Ponyboy dyed his hair blonde.  Yep, he looked just like C. Thomas Howell in The Outsiders and as a result, we still ask him on occasion to tell Dally to watch the sunset and Stay Gold.
Ponyboy is a quiet guy.  If you meet him and get more than a few sentences out of him, you have a future in motivational speaking.  It’s nothing personal; it’s just his way.  But let me tell you something about quiet people, they see EVERYTHING.  Whenever you go to a party and you’ve knocked back a few too many or gotten in an unexpected fight with your significant other, search out the quiet guy the next day.  They’ll give you a rundown of all party related mini dramas in greater detail than Fox News after a Democratic faux paus.  One time I was at a party and ended up playing cards all night with these people I had just met.  I did pretty well for myself, but as the game broke I realized I was alone, far from home, and without a friend in the room.  At that moment, the doorbell rang and there was Ponyboy.  He came in and snatched me away like Judd Nelson saving Demi Moore from the gang bang in St. Elmo’s Fire.   That’s why I always pay for parking and beers when I get a bug up my ass to relive my own 80’s hard rock heyday.
Last, but never least, is my best friend…. a six foot, two hundred seventy pound black man with a booming laugh and lazy disposition…Cowboy Jelly.  He’s a massive Dallas Cowboys fan….but I forgive people for their indiscretions so I love him anyway.  The Jelly moniker stems from his complete and total lack of spine.  JA Adande once said about LA Laker and Kardashian husband Lamar Odom:  “Lamar likes to be liked.” Cowboy Jelly desperately likes to be liked.   When he turned 40 (something he’d been dreading since he was 28), he swore up and down that the hired DJ would only play 80’s tunes and keep the volume down.  When I drove toward his house, I heard both the thumping beats of Diddy’s “Good Mornin’” and rabid cheers of co-workers 10-15 years his junior from two blocks away.  The need to be liked may at times be to his detriment, but it also gives him a heart that would morph The Grinch’s after his excursion with the Who’s. 
 Cowboy Jelly and I are each other’s photo negative, capable of finishing each other’s sentences and reading one another’s thoughts with a look or a nod.   We share a desire for mischievous behavior; when I married Charger Gal and Cowboy Jelly finished his best man speech, we kissed Bruce Springsteen-Clarence Clemons style so as to aggravate the racists and homophobes in the room. (You’ve gotta be fair when doling out subtle F-U’s to ignorance.)   We can rip each other until the surrounding world stops in the hopes of a brutal engagement of fisticuffs, and then share a hearty laugh and warm embrace that leaves those bloodthirsty passers by in a state of eternal confusion.  He is the only person besides Charger Gal who can make me belly laugh and I can talk to him on the phone for an extended period of time about anything and everything and still feel like the conversation was never long enough.  I love him as much as I love to write; I can bestow no higher compliment to a human being.
They say you choose your friends, but what’s often overlooked is that they have to choose you too.  Maybe that’s what Bill Russell was getting at in his acquaintance/friend theory.  These guys chose me, just like the people in your life you’d describe with a mix of gentle jesting and great affection chose you.  If I may be so bold, don’t let a day go by where you fail to thank your creator of choice for them.

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Sunday, October 24, 2010

Clyde’s Sports Bar or Getting Soused With Spouse In The Church Of The NFL

                For many of us, repetition is life.  Our weeks consist of getting up, going to work, coming home, having dinner, walking the dog or playing with the kids, having a few sacred moments to share our day of monotony with our significant other, and going to bed.  Wash, rinse, repeat.   Allow me to share with you the regimen of my life every Sunday between mid-September and early February.
                The day starts between 7 and 7:30 when Charger Gal and I are awakened by the affectionate licking of our dog, B Is Love.  (No, we’re not hippies; when I said everyone gets an alias, I meant everyone)  B Is Love has no concept of time; whether the previous night consists of a quiet dinner and bottle of wine that has us crashed out by 10:30 PM or a night out with friends that brings us staggering in at 1:30 AM, this canine alarm clock commences without fail.  She does not rest until mommy and daddy have joined the waking world.
                After such an abrupt beginning to the day, there is only one action to be taken:  COFFEE!!!  A quick run to the local Coffee Bean (Suck it Starbucks) and despite my unshaven, hat in head appearance, I’m feeling somewhat among the living.  This is a good thing because it’s time to get ready for some football!!!
                Without football, Charger Gal and I would have never come to be.  We met at a Yankee Doodle’s where I was rooting for my beloved Packers and Charger Gal…I think you can figure it out.  When we subscribed to DirecTV 6 years ago, a deep affection for the role football played in our courtship led us to subscribe to the DirecTV Sunday Ticket, a service where for a fee you have access to every football game every Sunday. (To those of you yelling DUH, chillax.  Not everyone’s life revolves around the pigskin.  And yes, that admonishment came from the guy who one sentence ago assumed everyone knew what Charger Gal was indicative of.  Why do you ask?)  And if you’re going to have every game at your disposal, you might as well utilize every TV in your home, right?
                First, we move the 32” TV in our bedroom onto the dining room table.   Charger Gal helps me with this task due to the combination of the TV being an early model HD (i.e., heavy), my relatively small hands, and the high probability that my clodhopper feet will trip on the necessary monolithic strand of cable and break a multitude of extremities.  Next is the move of our 26” office TV.  We finally bought an HD TV for this room last off season and my arms and back were eternally grateful.  Moving a 26” old school boob tube style TV was nothing short of a workout unto itself and I’m not exactly slight of strength.  To my masculinities’ gratitude, I am able to accomplish this task solo; I’ve only stripped the HDMI cable in the converter box once this year!  
 I begin to plug in the TV’s and converter boxes and Charger Gal enters the living room in her Sunday garb of choice: hat, jersey, sweats.  But it’s not necessarily what you think.  There is Charger gear to be sure, but there is also Saints gear.  Yes, it’s true; Charger Gal is a sports bigamist.  This stems from her devotion to Drew Brees.  She worships him in a child of the 50’s devotion to Mickey Mantle kind of way.  I explained to Charger Gal the reality of being a sports bigamist once and what it would mean regarding a lack of respect from other sports fans.  She resoundingly stated that I and those sports fans could go intercourse ourselves.
Charger Gal’s attire is always the signal for B Is Love to admonish us with a “This again?” look before retreating outside to roll in the grass and chase squirrels up trees.   I plop myself onto the couch and lounge in the glorious scene of 3 TV’s of football minus the obnoxious, drunk before 10 AM neanderthals that frequent Sports Bars on Sundays.  Clyde’s Sports Bar is now ready for business; all that’s left to determine is which game goes on which TV.    
Our living room TV is always reserved for one of our teams.  If some combo of Packers/Chargers or Packers/Saints play at the same time the team with the best record gets the prestigious spot.  If the records are the same, the better game on paper wins (If only world issues could be handled with such well established diplomacy). When Charger Gal’s Sophie’s Choice scenario of Chargers/Saints comes to pass, I sing Torn Between Two Lovers in my head and she inevitably chooses the Chargers (There’s a reason her alias isn’t Saints Gal).  The other TV’s are turned to the most intriguing games and kickoff commences.
Charger Gal now morphs into her football persona:  Coach Clyde.  Coach Clyde is a taskmaster with the unforgiving standards usually displayed by parents in a John Hughes film.  No offensive play of less than 5 yards is acceptable.  No defensive play that results in positive yardage for the other team is tolerated.  Any deviation from the above will result in a barrage of yelling and cursing that would make a sailor who stubbed his toe blush.  I watch this display and smile knowingly.  I used to be this way, but now I’m different.  I’ve grown.  I’ve matured.  I’ve… GET HIM!  GET BRETT FAVRE!  BREAK HIS EFFEN ANKLE, TEAR HIS BICEP THROUGH HIS SKIN, AND SHOVE HIS SEXTING PICS UP HIS ASS!!!  Sorry…like I said, I’ve moved past giving a sports event such importance in my life.
Halftime of the first games arrives and with it an important moment:   The first beer of the day.  The rate at which the perspiring beverage is consumed depends upon the performance of our teams.  A good half—the beverage is to be savored.  A lousy half—it is expediently gulped and replaced by another.  Once the seal is broken, the beer flows freely the remainder of the day.    It serves to heighten the joys or drench the sorrows of our teams’ results.  It also leads to an aspect of football that I have difficulty accepting.  When Charger Gal’s teams lose, she takes it hard.  It’s a helpless feeling to watch the one you love in a saddened state, knowing there is nothing you can do to lift their spirits.  But there is always one thing that alleviates the woes of the downtrodden:  A nap.  And when that nap can take place during games that you have paid hard earned money to watch, so much the better right?
Charger Gal’s drowsiness coincides with the return of B Is Love to the house.  B Is Love scans the TV’s and stops on the sight of her sleeping mommy.  She climbs up on the couch and places her head across from her mommy’s.  I take in the sight of the two most important women in my life engaged in peaceful slumber and smile.  This is what makes life worthwhile.
Well, that and a Hell of a lot football every Sunday between September and February.

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Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Raindrops Keep Falling On My Head or Get Out Of The Rain You Fool

               I like to work out during my lunch hour.  It’s a great way to break up the day and serves to allow me to release the aggression I might otherwise utilize to commit a multitude of felonies and misdemeanors against my co-workers.  Now I know everybody has their cross to bear with regard to nimrod co-workers, but I work for the state of California.  Let me put in this way:  During Watergate, Deep Throat said to Bob Woodward “The truth is these aren’t very bright guys and things got out of hand.”  I yearn for the day where my co-workers are only incompetent enough to commit Watergate levels of ineptitude.
                I’m vigilant about my workout.  Much like the US Mail, neither rain nor sleet nor snow shall keep me from smashing plates and performing cardio to a point where I breathe in a manner usually reserved for phone sex operators or bad Darth Vader impersonations.  But living in Southern California tends to negate the snow and sleet options, thus my only potential foe in making the 7 minute walk from my job to the local 24 Hour Fitness is rain…well rain and the always looming potential of cleaning up messes made by co-workers who quite possibly couldn’t spell cat if you spotted them the C and the T…and today, the clouds they be a forming.
                We all tell ourselves things we know not to be true in the name of moving ahead with what it is we really want to do.  We call these white lies rationalizations.  Jeff Goldblum theorizes in The Big Chill that rationalizations are more important than sex.   When one of his friends’ scoffs at anything being more important than sex, Goldblum states matter of factly: “Ever gone a week without a rationalization?”  As I grip my gym bag and look out at the clouds that could only be described as nimbus, I rationalize to myself “I can make it through the workout and get back before the rain starts.”  I change in the locker room at my job and head out.  The clouds are dark.  The vibe is ominous.  But my determination (or stupidity siphoned from my co-workers) is carrying me through.
                I reach the gym bone dry.  Halfway home.  I get through my workout, huffing and puffing like I transformed into a wolf about to blow some houses down and walk outside.  Somebody cue Supertramp because It’s Raining Again.  HARD.  I take a moment to remove the middle finger shoved up my ass by the Gods of Rationalization and consider how to proceed.  I can’t stay because I do have to go back to work.  I can’t run because my body is crying out that it gave at the office.  At this point, a thought occurs to me:  “My clothes are already half wet from sweat anyway.  I’ll just walk.  It’s only water.”  (Yes, after just playing the role of a proctology patient, I’m rationalizing again.  Why do you ask?).
                I begin to walk.  The rain immediately drenches me, but because I have my trusty Muhammad Ali hat on, it’s not so terrible.  It’s almost peaceful.  That’s when the Gods of Rationalization peek in and incredulously say “Really?”  They announce this in the form of a long, booming roar of thunder that is followed by raising the intensity of the rain to a level that would make Noah look out and proclaim “No arking today.”  I am right in the middle of my walk back and I think to myself what movie would best capture my plight?  Andy raising his hands to the heavens in Shawshank?  Lt. Dan raising his fists in ire in Forrest Gump?  Carl the greenskeeper observing that he doesn’t think the heavy stuff’s coming down for a while yet in Caddyshack? This is where rationalization is kicked to the curb by rational as my mind firmly states “Who cares?  Get the eff out of the rain!”
                I double time it back to work and walk past a few co-workers who are stunned by my drenched attire before I return to the safety of the men’s locker room and a piping hot shower.   They can’t imagine someone would endure a liquid pelting in the name of mental and physical health, but it doesn’t matter to me.  Know why?
Because I’m the smart one at my job.

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Sunday, October 17, 2010

A Threesome Busting Cherry, Or How I Learned To Stop Worrying And Love The Food Truck Lines

           Call me Michael, everyone else does.  Also do so because, going forward, everyone else in this blog gets an alias.  Changing names, protecting innocents, crap like that. Thus, Michael is as close as you, beloved reader, will get to normalcy.  Welcome to my world.
My beloved wife Charger Gal had recently developed an unhealthy fascination with Food Trucks.  This fascination had metamorphisized itself via her Twittering with multiple Food Trucks (You know Twitter, the social network where stalking any person, place or thing is not just encouraged, it’s downright hoped for). One of her favorite food trucks is called The Munchie Machine.  Fans of early 70’s Saturday morning cartoons will immediately know this is an offshoot of The Mystery Machine from Scooby Doo. The Food Truck looks just like the famous vehicle and its “mascot” is a Shaggy looking type, complete with expression that screams “Cheech and Chong and Quentin Tarantino characters don’t know jack about pot compared to me “. 
Charger Gal found out The Munchie Machine was going to part of a massive Food Truck event in Valencia, a town that answers the question “Can a group of people in California really be this white?  Why yes, they can.”   She was Hell bent on fulfilling her destiny with The Munchie Machine and their one and only dessert, a S’more.  Accompanying us on this pilgrimage was Charger Gal‘s childhood friend, Dr. Dater.   I have a soft spot in my hardened heart for Dr. Dater:  She is an intelligent, sophisticated woman who uses her medical skills to help those unable to help themselves and sees me as Michael rather than Charger Gal ‘s husband (If you are male and married, you know the difference of which I speak).  Dr. Dater made her way to our place and off we went.
In conversation I discovered that Dr. Dater had never spent significant time in Valencia.  To paraphrase the description of Rebecca De Mornay’s privates in Risky Business, Valencia really is something everyone ought to experience once.  We arrived in the land of cookie cutter houses and well-manicured lawns to hear the masses singing in unison “The bigger my SUV, the smaller my penis”…or maybe it just seemed that way.   The first sign that all was not right in Denmark was the fact we had to park in the overflow area despite arriving scant minutes after the event started.  After walking a mile to the event location, there they were…the entire populace of Valencia en masse.  And despite the fact that the event housed over 15 Food trucks, the space was small enough that even a Nelson reunion tour could sell it out.
We took in the lay of the land with heads that said “Are you effen kidding me?”, and stomach’s that screamed “FEED ME!!!!”  Have you ever been around hungry women?  Enough said.  Dr. Dater is a healthy type and I was looking for something light before delving into the greasy stuff, so we made our way to Fishlips Sushi…Yes, the guy who’s been ripping Valencia for its whiteness went straight to the sushi truck, why do you ask?   We stood in line chatting for 20 minutes before it dawned on us:  Have we even moved?   We had…barely.   On the bright side, we looked about and saw our rate of speed was NASCAResque compared to other lines.  Our dreams of sampling the nectar of many of the food trucks assembled sunk like the Dallas Cowboys dream of a home Super Bowl.  A command decision was needed, but what would combine to satisfy our desires without wasting the rest of our precious time:  Italian? Korean BBQ? Border Grill? FRENCH FRIES!!!
Charger Gal gave her sushi order (Spicy tuna and Edemame, conservative and sure fire) and took off for the line.  Dr. Dater and I killed the time commiserating over what it takes to be fetching enough to convince a potential paramour to fly across country to be a companion for dinner and breakfast.  I had gotten as far as Texas in my singles days; Dr. Dater had reached multiple states that decide Presidential elections.  As we basked in her impressive accomplishments, we reached the window and placed our order.  Now Fishlips Sushi specializes in Temari Sushi, which is the same as regular sushi, except it is presented in the shape of mini balls.  Testicular sushi, who knew?
Dr. Dater and I received our orders and made our way through the huddled masses to Charger Gal.  It was time…time for us simultaneously break our food truck cherries (and really, how often do three people get to bust their cherry together?).   I held up my salmon sushi ball and bit down.
Jesus Christ, it was good!!!!  I mean, really effen good!!!  I realize the thought of Sushi emanating from a mobile kitchen being of the same quality as those found in top of the line establishments boggles the mind, but there is was.  Charger Gal and Dr. Dater wholeheartedly agreed.  We were sold of the power of the Food Truck.
Of course there was still the matter of the line…the slow….sssssslllllllloooooowwww….line.   But the joy of the sushi had propelled us to a different point of view.   Food trucks, you see, are the culinary equivalent of a roller coaster line at Magic Mountain.  The hour long wait may be exacerbating, but the payoff is exhilarating.   Our adjusted mindsets came not a moment too soon as we had found ourselves directly in front of the makeshift path people were using to move across.  I had never had a lot of common ground with Charlton Heston, but there I was, allowing this parting of the human sea to move back and forth. 
The cornucopia of people watching danced before us for 20 minutes before we finally moved past and began to examine the Fry truck.  The combination of fries and sauces boggled our minds.  We decided to mix and match so we could each partake of one another’s personal feast.  Dr. Dater went with regular fries topped with blue cheese, Charger Gal chose Sweet Potato Fries with Garlic Mayo, and I settled on Sweet Potato fries with sweet and sour sauce.  The verdict?  To quote Willy Wonka, Scrumdiddilyumpous!  Two for two on the food truck front!
Dr. Dater proclaimed she was full for the night and I concurred.  A disappointment given my expectation to sample multiple cuisines, but it was closing in on the end of the event and thus it was time…time for Charger Gal to achieve her destiny.  S’more Time.
After a quick trip to the restroom (The fastest moving line all night) we settled into the line for The Munchie Machine.  The excitement on Charger Gal’s face was palpable and contagious.  I found myself growing excited and I wasn’t even ordering anything.  We moved through the line and saw that the listing for the S’more included a choice of Marshmallow flavors:  Cinnamon, Caramel, or Coconut.  Charger Gal was nonplussed.  She’s a plain Jane marshmallow gal.  We reached the order window and the following exchange occurred:
CHARGER GAL:  Do you have plain marshmallows?
WORKER’S THOUGHTS:  White people!
                Dr. Dater made the convincing case for cinnamon and the order was placed.  An unspoken nervousness hung in the air. What if cinnamon was the wrong choice? What if the whole reason for our presence was the only thing that was not liked? The order was shouted out and Charger Gal examined it.  It looked luscious…as luscious as marshmallows, graham crackers, and chocolate could look. 
She bit down.   A slow motion usually reserved for the climax of sports films overtook us.
She swallowed.   My breath was caught in my throat.
She smiled widely.  Thank God!
Dr. Dater and I both took a bite and I believe Larry David said it best:  Prettay, Prettay good. 
Thus our virgin food truck experience came to an end.  In the end, it was somewhat equivocal to losing your sexual virginity:  Pleasure was had to be sure, but it seemed go by too fast and you couldn’t help but wonder that there must be ways for it to be better.