vertical graphic

small yellow square Yesterday morning I drove over to Milpitas to have Dim Sum at the larger Ranch 99 supermarket there - this Asian supermarket anchors a big rectangular strip mall. I got my usual; tasted different there in contrast to the Sunnyvale Ranch 99, their sesame balls were downright weird. But the store itself was a treat, seafood section even more vast, and better ambience: one can sit at a counter facing out a window while eating, surrounded by jabbering Chinese; and the background music's good - that mellotron-sounding ballad stuff I hear often in these environments, but without the usual lilting vocals. Then, as I left, a wailing smooth-jazz saxophone version of Elvis' "Are You Lonesome Tonight?" This mall's a good find, freeway close via the 237 with a promising mechanical sushi bar (Fujisan) and another Tung Kee Noodle. Other establishments observed: Pepper Lunch, the Universal Cafe, Friday Shirt (women's clothes), the brutally high-tech (and according to a poster on, To Be Avoided) Hot Pot City, a filipino fast food place (will have to try their chicken adobo sometime), a mostly-Japanese toy store called Action Hero, and many others identified only by kanji (ideograms). A hand-lettered sign in the window said Action Hero has the new Princess Diana Beanie Baby - my brain implodes at that concept. Then up & over the freeway to inspect the hardly-at-all interesting mega-complex of strip malls and "big-box" stores (like Wal-Mart & Borders Books) there, called McCarthy Ranch. All the usual suspects: Ross, Applebees's, etc. But I had a mission up north - after some browsing at Borders, it's back to the freeway.

small purple square For lunch I paused at a Mexican place at 20th & Geary. The tables were dark brown irregular slabs; closer examination revealed them to be thick slices of redwood tree, made plastic-y by the application of innumerable layers of marine varnish. I had two chicken tacos, once again eating up against the window, facing out on the active San Francisco street scene. Finished, in order to tidy up I ventured through the door with the crude hand-lettered sign taped on: "For Paying Customers Only". Behind me the door swing shut, and I was enveloped in near-total darkness - I could've been anywhere. A rhythmic pinging, I realized, was the chain I'd glimpsed briefly in the outside light, slapping against a wall. This I located after some wild arm-waving - pulling it I had light again, revealing two doors inside this very small anteroom. I went into "Men". No soap, no towels, and the hot water faucet had no effect - it annoys me when I encounter this cheapness in restaurant bathrooms - how much can they possibly save by depriving the clientele of warm water? Exiting, I tried the "Women" - aha! Soap, and one last paper towel. Then back to my car and across the bridge to T's.

small red square After some preliminary computer fun, we decided to deal with our exterior activity before tackling the software - so into his car to drive over to a firing range named "Bullseye". He had his two handguns in a discrete gray case; I rented a Smith & Wesson .38 revolver and, in addition, to check it out, T rented a 9mm Glock semi-automatic. Previously I'd only fired rifles, decades ago in Boy Scouts on just a few occaisions, outdoors at camp - I wanted some exposure to pistols. The recoil was minimal, almost nonexistent - not what I expected. The sound was very loud, and the muffling ear-pieces effective. (May have to get a pair of these earmuffs for easier, distraction-free reading in restaurants.) After a short time the novelty was gone; it had become tiresome. To exhaust my ammo I borrowed T's .357 magnum (also a revolver), and with a gun in each hand I alternated in drilling the paper target. His assessment was: precision is better with a revolver (with him, anyway) but the Glock's action was "smooth as silk". I found the semi-automatics' tangential, horizontal discharge of the spent shell casings rather annoying.

small cyan square Back at T's apartment, for my main task of tightening up his Windows 95 desktop and a lot of tips & training - he's had this new Gateway PC and attendant Internet connectivity for just a few weeks and had innumerable questions. (Thinking I could maybe do this newbie training gig professionally.) He cooked up a tasty meal of burgers on the balcony grill and also, in the kitchen, beets - his current food fascination. As advised, they tinted today's waste emissions a frightening red. Motoring back across the Golden Gate bridge & through the city to the freeway I had that exuberant feeling: I'm a lucky guy to be here!

<<Previous | Next>>
Email to Home