Tower? Oh.

So this is like a review I posted on Goodreads and I’m reposting here, but with spoilers.

Tower? Oh.

Once upon a time…a few years ago I came across a book called the James Deans and I read this book that was not about a boy band with a 1950s theme.  This was my first introduction to Reed Farrel Coleman and he’s on my list of “mystery genre authors I will read.”  Sadly, that’s a small list but what you can do with a finite amount of life to read with.  I think the only other authors on the list are Don Winslow and Charlie Huston.

Tower is a book that was written by Ken Bruen and Reed Farrel Coleman about Nicky and Todd, two young men from Brooklyn and their lives and stuff.  Nicky is a violent sort filled with rage.  Todd loves Nicky but isn’t in love with Nicky, it’s not that kind of a book where two boys have their hearts broken by each other.  Nah, there’s women for that. Continue reading “Tower? Oh.”

Free Bag! Food Trucks! Big ‘Cap Day at Santa Anita

I received a text from my friend Jason that the Lobsta Truck was at Santa Anita and he was coming out so I ended up going as well.  The weather today was unbelievably lovely and it would have been a terrible shame to stay indoors.  Doing what I had thought I’d do.  Laundry and internet.  Some general reading.

Here we have a lovely sunny day in the mid 80s and people are walking about in shorts and whatnot.  And Chicago? I believe your high was 30.  New York’s high was 45.  Baltimore 43.  But enough about you, let’s talk about ladies in hats and white people who are dressed like … white people.

I was standing in line for Kogi behind these lovely white people dressed in pastels.  I had to share with everyone the way this guy was dressed because ordinarily I would have assumed it was done ironically in costume but he didn’t seem to be putting on an affectation of any sort.  Apparently it’s perfectly normal for him to wear pastels.  There were the docksiders on his feet.  A blue polo shirt, ray bans and what amused me to no end….yellow shorts with tiny sailboats on them.  Sir, if by some random fortune you manage to read this I don’t mean this post as a critique, it’s just been so long since I’ve seen anyone dress like you.

Perhaps this gentlemen attended a prep school and summered on the cape and belongs in one of my favorite Edward Hopper paintings (Ground Swell)

Back to food trucks.

I did not go to the Grilled Cheese Truck but I always like the Grilled Cheese Truck.  I’m trying to eat better and fatty melty dairy between two bits of carb that’s been buttered…not the best meal.  But if you ever find yourselves where the Grilled Cheese Truck is an option, I recommend trying them.  Don’t forget the tater tots!

Can you believe this was my first time at a Kogi BBQ Truck?  I know there’s like four trucks that roam around and I always credit them with being behind the LA Food Truck scene.  Just somehow I’ve never found myself at the same place as a Kogi Truck or if I was, I was actually there for another truck and didn’t get around to trying it.  Since I was hoping to eat at more than just one truck I limited my order to just a short rib taco and a chicken taco.  You know the kind, a small little soft tortilla with a bunch of chopped meat and lettuce on top.  I probably could have eaten five?  Maybe more?  I’m going to recommend you try Kogi.

The Lobsta Truck was there and I had a lobsta roll with mayo and it was good as always.  The Lobsta Truck is reliable for having good lobster and I have to stay true to my vow:  I will not go out of my way to go to the Lobsta Truck.  I never want to get to the point where I have it so much it becomes less magical.  The Lobsta Truck is my absolute favorite source of lobster rolls and as I like to say they often are better than seafood I get at restaurants.

Now I did get a sample from the nice man at the Ragin’ Cajun truck.  Tried the garlic sauce.  Was pretty good, but I was still getting a feel for what was out there and I didn’t really want to fill my stomach with a helping of gumbolaya.  And I don’t think I could stop from ordering a fried shrimp po boy… and I just have this weakness for cajun and it would have ended up with me at the gym trying to work it all off.  Instead I see on their website that not only are they looking to open a new restaurant out in Hermosa Beach but they also are going to launch a quickserve restaurant.  Hopefully that will be closer to me.  Because really the only restaurant I drive out that far for is Lahaina…

Also I had a black cherry sorbetto at Palazzolo’s Artisan Gelato & Sorbetto truck.  Yes, it contained bits of cherry.  No it wasn’t creamy … because I’m lactose intolerant and I can choose food that doesn’t lead to regret.  It was nice on this very sunny Saturday.

I will also mention the My Delight CupCakery truck. I did not try this, but I do want to try their breakfast cupcake.  It’s like a pancake cupcake with bacon.  Bacon inside of it and bacon on top and it kinda sounds brilliant so hopefully at some point I will get the chance to try this.

And then I also saw Nonna’s Kitchenette and I didn’t try it but heaven knows I have a fondness for italian food.  Something tells me the hand rolled risotta balls are great.  And I’m not sure but a peanut butter, raspberry and prosciutto sandwich sounds like something I have to try.  Afterwards I will either herald it as a revelation or …not.

Lastly I want to say it was nice seeing Youngblood Hawke there.  I managed to go hours without mentioning to anyone that the band is named after a Herman Wouk book that I started but is very thick and unavailable on my Sony Reader (well I haven’t checked this month).  Soon they’re going to hear the sound the sound as we come running….

tote_bagI got a free bag with admission.  I left it in the trunk of my car.  I came to the realization that even though I don’t really need a bag, sometimes I do.  I live in Pasadena where stores don’t give out plastic bags and I never remember to have sufficient bags with me when I go to the market.  I’m hoping that I will be able to use this for groceries and it will be helpful and useful and I don’t forget to bring it with me.  If wishes were horses…


The Legend of Zelda 25th Anniversary Special Orchestra CD

Last night I was on the elliptical machine when my iPod nano shuffled to Gerudo Valley, track 4 of The Legend of Zelda 25th Anniversary Special Orchestra CD.  The CD was a special pack in with The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword which I regrettably didn’t play as much as I have played the soundtrack.

I don’t think of myself as a super video game nerd, and my friends who do play video games can vouch for my lack of game playing ability.  But this collection of music I think stands out as good music, exceeding what I would have expected from a video game soundtrack or a television or cinema score.  Of course there are little moments when musical cues provide a thrill associated with memories of gameplay; if at anytime in real life I were to hear the secret notification and a key falls out of the sky I think it would be the best thing ever.  (Main Theme Medley, 0:48)


Track Listing for The Legend of Zelda 25th Anniversary Special Orchestra CD

  1. The Legend of Zelda 25th Anniversary Medley
  2. Kariko Village – Twilight Princess Theme
  3. The Wind Waker Symphonic Movement
  4. Gerudo Valley
  5. Great Fairy’s Fountain Theme
  6. Twilight Princess Symphonic Movement
  7. The Legend of Zelda Main Theme Medley
  8. Ballad of the Goddess from Skyward Sword

Yesterday I found out that Viz (VizKids) published a translation of the Legend of Zelda manga series and I may have purchased all ten volumes.  I was reviewing one for Edelweiss but didn’t realize there was a whole series.  I had finished Ocarina of Time Part 1 and wanted to continue on so I checked at the bookstore I was in and on the shelf I found all ten of them sitting there, waiting for me.  I immediately looked online and read about the ten volumes — hopefully soon to be more than ten with the upcoming release(s) for Skyward Sword — and perhaps as a rash impulse buy I grabbed all of them.

As a confession, I haven’t finished most of the games.  This is one of the reasons people give me grief about video games; that and lack of skill.  However the manga are helping me fill in the plot holes.  It’s a little better than reading spoilers online…Plus, if I don’t buy books, bookstores may cease to exist as we know them. :-/

Anyhow:  positive review, both for the CD and the Legend of Zelda Ocarina of Time Part 1.  One jar containing a fairy out of one jar slot.

Edit:  I forgot to mention that Koji Kondo is responsible for much of the Legend of Zelda music.

Trader Joe’s Espresso Pillows


I found a tin of amazing awesome delicious crack at Trader Joe’s.  Espresso Pillows which are self-described as “crunchy toffee espresso bits covered in dark chocolate.”  I describe them as an amazing taste explosion of tasty bits.  I like chocolate covered espresso beans but the addition of toffee makes it even better.

Serving size about 22 pieces (15g), 70 calories.

This is a positive review. One super happy face.

Trader Joe's
467 N Rosemead Blvd
Pasadena, CA 91107

Jekyll & Hyde, the worst musical I’ve ever endured

I realize that by titling this post “Jekyll & Hyde, the worst musical I’ve ever endured” I will have to back that up with justification for what otherwise sounds like hyperbole.  And I don’t really want to do that so I accept that you may reject my statement due to rhetoric and a lack of substantiation.

Today I went with my mother to the Pantages theatre to see Jekyll & Hyde.  I was originally schedule to see it last weekend but I had to reschedule.  It’s nice that subscribers are allowed to change shows up to 48 hours before the performance which I had to do.

Frank Wildhorn wrote the music for Jekyll & Hyde and also did the music for The Scarlet Pimpernel.  I really liked Scarlet Pimpernel so I was looking forward to Jekyll & Hyde.  I’ve never seen it, but I’ve heard songs before like “This is the Moment.”  According to wikipedia, the musical originally ran for 1,543 performances from 1997 through 2001.  The article also noted that the the musical lost $1.5 million and was not well reviewed.

This production features Constantine Maroulis as Jekyll (and Hyde).  Deborah Cox is also in it.  Constantine Maroulis you may remember from American Idol.  This isn’t the first time I’ve encountered former American Idol contestants in musicals.

He can’t sing. His accent was bad. The acting I’d consider hammy.  The only good bits in the show is Deborah Cox’s Lucy.  She plays the role that was previously done by Linda Eder, Frank Wildhorn’s wife.

The plot is bad, the play ends with a whimper, and the music is uneven.  The best songs are given to Lucy, perhaps because Linda Eder is Frank Wildhorn’s wife.  Lucy has some fairly marketable pop tunes and the rest of the cast suffers with dissonant songs that they struggle with.

I would suggest that instead of seeing Jekyll & Hyde you read a book. Or watch netflix. Or do your laundry.  Any of those three would probably provide you with more pleasure.  This has been a negative review, one frowny face and no smiley faces.  I refused to clap for Constantine; even when he was taking bows with the cast.  Some members of the audience were on their feet and I can’t tell you why.

I preferred Russell Crowe in Les Miserables.  Really.

Jammie Dodgers

I was at Cost Plus when I came across some Jammie Dodgers and of course I’ve heard about Jammie Dodgers because I watch Doctor Who.  Of course, being American means not having first hand experience with things like the Cheeky Chicken of Nandos (WHY IS NANDOS CHEEKY? Or rather, how) and of course the Jammy Dodger.

 Jammie Dodgers


And then I didn’t buy any because I thought oh my, it’s a pack of biscuits (cookies) and I’ll just eat them all and get fat.  I have so many containers of foodstuffs I’ve purchased and I haven’t eaten because I don’t want to open it because an unopened container of sweets doesn’t hurt anyone.  Well…I guess theoretically someone who needs to eat the sweets to survive but I refuse to acknowledge the existence of sugar vampires.

Look at me rambling on…

I made my purchases and went out to the car and sat for a bit considering and then I looked at the picture I had taken inside the store and then came to the conclusion that it was only $1.99 and I could probably distribute them to others.  So yes, I went back in and purchased them.

Taste wise, it reminded me of a mild shortbread and … swedish fish.  I like swedish fish, but I expected it to be more jammy.  I guess I could include a picture of the biscuit but they’re in another room now and if I open the bag again I might just eat another.

It gets one smiley face out of one smiley face.  This is a positive review.

Cost Plus World Market
3655 E Colorado Blvd
Pasadena, CA 91107

The Pantages 2013-14 Season

I haven’t been making it out to New York as often as I’d like.  Perhaps I’m getting old and it’s hard to muster up the enthusiasm my youth had or perhaps I’m familiar with New York and the thrill of exploration has lessened.  One of the reasons why I visit New York is for the shows as I do enjoy musical theatre.

I’ve been subscribing to both the seasons from the Center Theatre Group and the Pantages.  The Pantages sent me an email today (Friday) that contained their upcoming season announcement.  They seem very excited about it because the subject said:

Your 2013-2014 Season Renewal—Announcing a history-making season

 Their big news?  Old shows are coming back.

  • The Book of Mormon – I saw this last year. While I enjoyed it and I’m kinda glad it’s back, I have no intention to see it.  This is one of the problems that Los Angeles faces because we have few Broadway-caliber theatres.  We can’t let shows run until demand has been satisfied because first these are touring companies and second we wouldn’t get any other shows in town.
  • The Lion King – I saw this a few years ago at the Pantages.  Again, this is a good show and I’m glad that people have a chance to see it, but I don’t really want to spend hundreds of dollars to see the same shows repeatedly.
  • Once – I was going to say mean things about this but the email assures me that this musical that is based on the movie I never saw because the trailer looked too saccharine is quite good as it “swept the Tony Awards with an astounding 8 wins” including Best Musical.
  • The Wizard of Oz – Andrew Lloyd Webber’s lush and lavish spectacular touring production from the West End!  My fondest memories of Wizard of Oz involves my high school doing productions of it.  This could be good.  This could be great!  Who doesn’t love flying monkeys and oh right it’s reminding me of Wicked which I saw multiple times at the Pantages.
  • Evita – More Andrew Lloyd Webber.  I like the show, I like the music, but I doubt Patti LuPone will be performing so I don’t feel that I absolutely have to go.
  • Ghost the Musical – I’m not going to make a joke about Patrick Swayze.  I know nothing about this show, so that means I should give it a chance.
  • The Music of Andrew Lloyd Webber featuring the US Premiere of Selections from Love Never Dies – no seriously, I would like you to know that I find this selection particularly offensive.  I didn’t really feel like he needed to make a sequel to Phantom of the Opera and I haven’t heard anything that convinced me that the sequel was well received.  Perhaps Love Never Dies is so awful that they figure the only way they can salvage their investment is as a marketing gimmick to unsuspecting theatergoers.

There are two optional add-on shows:

  • War Horse – I saw this at the Ahmanson and it’s a puppet show with a really unrealistic plot.  When I learned that the original story was a children’s book it made sense.  There is a certain immaturity about the plot that could only have become from a children’s book.
  • American Idiot – Again, this was at the Ahmanson previously.  Plus I’ve seen it an absurd amount of times both in New York and out here.

So it looks like I’ll be saving some money.