Saturday, January 05, 2008

I am so goddamn loaded it isn't funny, y'all

Let me tell you something about Alice B. Toklas. You remember that post I done did about her 'fudge' recipe?


I made that recipe. I made it as part of my Christmas Eve buffet. I put a quarter ounce of prime red-haired BC bud into that mess (my Cuisinart is still smiling.) I just ate the last five little hazelnut-sized pieces of it a couple of hours ago AND BITCH IS TOASTED.

Here, for your edification, am the recipe done did FirstNations stylee:
We're making chocolate AND date candies at the same time here. Fine, just read it first.

1 generous handfull each: shelled pecans, shelled and toasted almonds
1/4 cup each: powdered cinnamon, whole or ground nutmeg (yes, this isn't excessive at all)
1/4 oz good bud, well cleaned and very dry

Heave all of this into a cuisinart and pulverize it all until it won't get any smaller (a coffee grinder would work excellently here too, but in that case do this in small batches.)
Once combined, divide and set aside.

-1 generous handful each: raisins, pitted dates , run through the cuisinart until chopped fine, set aside
-4 (out of a package containing six) cakes of 'Ibarra' brand chocolate octagons...grated or run through the cuisinart until chopped fine, set aside

... add half the bud mixture to the dates and the other half of the bud mixture to the chocolate. Toss to combine.

melt 1 c butter
over a low fire. dissolve into this
1 cup sugar
NOTE: do not cook this mixture...simply stir the sugar into the just-melted butter and take off the fire. Cool until mixture can be handled. Dump one half of it into the chocolate mixture and the other into the date mixture.

Turn out onto a cool smooth surface and knead to combine thoroughly. Keep them separate...or mix them together at this point; I don't care, it will taste good either way. I kept the chocolate separate from the date stuff.

once each mass is well combined, roll it into a log, from which lumps may be cut and rolled into balls about the size of a filbert nut. Alice said 'a walnut' but my ganja is a hell of a lot better than what she had to work with so I went with the smaller nut, yo.
I dusted the date mixture with powdered sugar, and the chocolate mixture in powdered baking cocoa. Because sometimes you feel like a date; sometimes you don't.

Try and do your best to let these sit at least overnight so that the flavors blossom. They will firm up but never quite solidify.

fuck im' stones.

Monday, December 31, 2007

I Was (nearly ) a Teenage Hive Queen

quick note: I'll be highlighting all the things in this article that ARE EXAGGERATIONS. ok? now onward.__________________________________

Finding this picture a few days ago sure brought back some shit, lemme tell ya:

You know why? Because I came close to MARRYING this guy.

My senior year of high school was a bizarre period of time for me. On one hand I was utterly miserable. My (straight) life sucked. On the other hand I had an after-hours thing going that John Waters would have envied. Plus, I was experiencing by then a kind of strange cult popularity at school that I had no idea how to cope with-puzzling when you consider that I wasn't particularly social and had no idea who most of these people WERE.
That notwithstanding, according to my parents I was nothing but DAMAGED GOODS.
That is a quote.

My misadventures began officially at 15. Shortly thereafter, my mother found my birth control pills (the less said about which episode the better.) At that time I was informed by both of my parents, point blank, in precisely the terms put forth below, that now


Bear those words in mind. They're important to the rest of the story.

Marriage wasn't even on my agenda, of course. That's something that I gave no thought to even in passing...after eighteen years with a front row seat to my parents wedded bliss I wanted no part of that shit whatsofuckingever, thanks.

Now, in the late 70's, in my town, girls still married right out of high school. At least the 'nice' ones did. It was common practice to include a proposal of marriage in ones graduation commencement speech, in fact, which made graduation both overlong and extremely tiresome.

BILL: in his mortarboard, clutching his diploma "Oh, and....Mandy? Will you marry me?"
MANDY: and her syncophants, as one 'SQUEEEEEEEAL! OMIGODYESYESYES! (etc. hopping up and down and crying and hugging for ten fricken' minutes )

Meanwhile, my secret after school life continued CENSORED FOR THE SAKE OF THE STAINLESS STEEL AMAZON and an unemployed amputee. Other persons of momentary interest drifted in and on. Ganja and I became close acquaintances, along with speed, lsd, valium, cocaine and a vile screwtop concoction put out by Ernest and Julio Gallo called 'Ruby Chablis'. But once the sun rose I was Suzy Suburbia again, and never the twain did meet until the last time I walked out of those 'prison' doors in 1978. I figured post-high school life would simply mean 'more time to devote to CENSORED FOR THE SAKE OF THE STAINLESS STEEL AMAZON a bowl full of raw eggs. '

My parents, of course, had a completely different plan in mind for me. Some might say that it was an unbelievably insulting, stupid, outdated plan, a plan reminiscent of, say, Sharia law, or Chinese family values as they were practiced during the time of the Mandarins. Of course, I had not the vaguest whiff of a clue about any 'plan' at all until they sprung it on me. Even then it took me a couple of weeks to figure out what was going on.

My dad had a buddy named Phil. Nice guy. Nice house. Nice wife. Phil and his wife had mentioned in passing that they had a kid in Milwaukie High too, and did I know Ritchie?
Nope.I never gave it another thought.

Come the Sadie Hawkins dance my senior year, suddenly my parents are terribly interested in who I'm going to ask.
Huh? Same person I always ask; nobody.
Well.....why didn't I ask Ritchie?
Because I didn't know the guy.
Subject closed and forgotten.

Until the next football game. Was I thinking about going to the football game? It was a home game.
First of all, when have you ever known me to attend a fricken' football game?
Well....Ritchie was going.
.......well, good. Good for Ritchie.
Subject forgotten until...

You get the picture. Me, I didn't get the picture. Not the whole picture. No, the only thing I thought at this point was, if my parents were pushing him this hard, Ritchie was obviously someone I was not going to get along with AT ALL.
And I was right.
I did not know how right, though.
No, I did not.

In high school, four times a year every year we all did a pointless do-si-do from class to class for no good reason. My senior year, 1978, was the first class year that them there newfangled computin' machines were being used. As a consequence of this, and because everybody down in Administration was reduced to gibbering terror when confronted with DOS, I was mis-scheduled into Science I*.
With Ritchie.
Only, having never met the guy, I had no idea it was Ritchie at first.

What I registered primarily was the worst skin condition I'd seen up until that point in my young life-and I'd seen some doozies. He glistened. He oozed foul sebaceous oils. His blackheads were legion; he perpetually looked as though he needed a shave. He was studded with boils. Not zits, my friends. BOILS. And his boils had boils. Huge, angry, seeping boils; boils of an indescribable and horrifying purulence which swarmed across his face, neck and arms.
No, really.
The guy had boils on his ARMS.
Prior to this I'd had no idea one could develop arm-boils. But here it was.

And here he was, gangling, insectoid, overactive glands producing an ice arena of horror where feculent bacteria went curling with Satan, sniggering, hunch-shouldered, hands the size of hubcaps and feet like landing craft, sitting in the back of the class where his constant picking wouldn't distract anyone. He was a hee-hawer. He perched with his bony knees poking up on either side of the desk and his bony shoulders and elbows at random angles. Clearly, Mom cut his hair - and she used a mixing bowl. Mom also bought his clothes. Problem was, mom had failed to realize that her son was not 40 years old, or a size 'small'.

Now you'd think a guy like that would make up for it all by being Brainerd McBrainiac, right? Those are the guys who graduate high school and go on to make their first million three years later developing military software, right?
You would be wrong, in Ritchies case.

One evening my father happened to remark that his buddy said that Ritchie and I had a class together. Which one?
I had no earthly idea. I'd never met the guy, remember?
Lo and behold, a couple of evenings later, Ritchie came to our house after church. With mom and dad.

How mom and dad had produced Ritchie is still a mystery to me. You could detect a resemblance, and you could even see who probably contributed what to the was just...that....they weren't from the same....species.

There they were on our doorstep....nice mom, GIANT CARPENTER ANT**, nice dad.

My first and only thought was "Oh Lordy."

They all trooped in and a sad and obviously rehearsed little charade commenced.
Oh, what a surprise!
Well, we were just in the neiborhood!
Well come on in!
How ya doin?
You've met my wife, haven't you?
And heres my son, Rich.....

...and here's my son, Rich....

...Rich, step up here, son; shake the mans hand.

....Look up. Up, son.

My son Rich....

I'd already wandered off by this point and gone to my bedroom.
But this time I got in HUGE ENORMOUS TROUBLE. You would have thought I'd set the joint on fire or something. They had a COW. Why couldn't I be nice? Why was I so rude? Why did I have to hide in my room all the time? Same shit, true; but this shit went on for DAYS.
What the fuck?

After that, whenever I went past Ritchie in the hall at school he'd turn crimson. He'd look at the ground and grin and snigger. Once I said 'Hi!' and he took off running. I wrote that up to embarrassment and nerdliness and didn't waste another second on it. I had other things on my mind, and they have been censored, for the sake of the Stainless Steel Amazon.

Another thing that happened after that episode was that suddenly my future became an increasingly common topic around home. Out of nowhere one of my parents would suddenly come out with 'You know, I figured you'd be engaged by now, like your cousins were...." or "Don't count on living here because we'll kick you out on your fanny as soon as you graduate." Which was reassuring.

Finally one night my parents called me into the front room and made me sit down.
Your mom and I think that you should......go out.
Well I couldn't agree more; I think I should go out too. Give me 20 bucks and I'll be on my way.
And we know....your dad know Phil's son? Sure you do. You have him in class.
Yeah, I know him. I said 'hi' to him once and he ran down the hall.Oh well, you know, well, he's, hes just shy, is all, you know, a young guy, he's shy. He just has a little trouble, you know.
Actually no, I think there's something wrong with him.
No no no no no now thats not nice. There's nothing wrong with him! Him? Ho, boy, if his dad could hear you say that! There's nothing wrong with him, boy, you, you're the one who's probably scaring him half to death! There's nothing wrong with him!
I said 'hi' and he ran down the hall, dad."
No no no no no, now, that's not right, that's not true, boy, you're making that up, you gotta be! Hes, uh, a smart kid! He's a real smart kid, he is! No, boy, you're off the beam there, boy...

and so on.

The upshot was, a blind date had been arranged.
I freaked.
My parents threatened me.
I continued to freak.
My parents told me that if I didn't go out with this guy that I'd never set one foot outside their house again unless it was to go to school and come straight back, period.
I'd just spent my sophomore year that way. I knew I didn't want to go there. So, I figured, what the fuck, right? Fine. I'd go out with the guy. It would be horrifically painful and awkward and then it would be over.

Problem was, Ritchie didn't have a car.

Problem solved: they'd drop me off at his parents house and we'd walk from there to the football game a few blocks away.

As my date shambled along down the sidewalk beside me, leading each step with his head like a chicken, giant hands banging off his knees, I considered my position. The guy would not speak to me. The guy would not look at me. The guy would not respond to me even if I asked him a question. That covered the first block.
Conversation was out.

I drifted toward the center of the sidewalk. He started walking on people's lawns. Then he dropped back. I slowed down. He dropped back further. I stopped and waited for him. He caught up to me and stopped. I started to walk again. Three paces later, so did he. From this I gathered that whether or not we appeared together was obviously not an issue for him. Me either.
We were making progress.

We found a seat in the grandstand-rather, I found us a seat in the grandstand, as close to the exit as I could get and right at the very end of one of the bleacher seats. Ritchie folded himself into a sitting position, knees up around his ears, elbows stuck out on either side like rocket fins, big ol' canal boat feet flapped over at the end like a Don Martin cartoon. Actually not really but just pretend they were for the sake of the image.
And slowly, slowly, he began to slide away from me. Slooooowly. Sliiiiip. Scooooot.

OK then.

The marching band had just come onto the field. The game hadn't even started yet. I looked over at Ritchie.
Ritchie was staring straight ahead at the field, mouth gaping wide, eyes vacant.

And Ritchie was drooling.

Ritchie was DROOLING.

Ritchie had a long silver strand of drool hanging from the bottom of his lower lip. Because he was DROOLING.

I got up and walked home.

Three miles.

In heels.

My parents, of course, launched into a major enormous earth-shattering mega-cow when they saw me there. But something must have been different about me.
Yes, when I explained "Why did I leave? Because I looked over AND MY DATE WAS DROOLING, DAD," well, something seemed to register. They cut the dramatics short, and let me return to my room.

A few years later my mom was musing about how nice it would have been if I'd gotten married to that nice boy Ritchie they introduced me to. After all, he was Catholic, they knew his family and they were nice people, it had been discussed and they were all for it, and I wouldn't have had to look for work after I graduated. (Yes. Really.)
"He was slow, you know" I said.
She snorted. "There wasn't nuttin' wrong with him, Miss Picky," she replied.
I gave up.

Back in high school I'd had friends in Computer Lab. Remember, this was 1978, back when the students programmed the computers for the school district because the adults had no clue, good partying buddies who filled me in on the rest of the story.

Ritchie had been in Science I his senior year, not because of a scheduling mistake, as I had been. No, Ritchie had been in Science I because he NEEDED TO BE in Science I. And he failed that.
Ritchie was what they used to term 'educable'.


* science at about a 7-8th grade level. no caustic chemicals, nothing sharp, nothing that could catch on fire. the teacher spoke very clearly and distinctly.

**"where does this come from?" you might ask. too bad, I say; go ask your mom.
OK fine.
one day a buddy of mine was standing with me when he saw Ritchie coming down the hall. "See that guy?" he said. "One time I was sitting in class ripped on acid and he turned into a giant carpenter ant. He just sat there looking at me, chewing on his desk. I've been kind of scared of him ever since."
It was true, sadly enough. the guy really did look like a carpenter ant. he had a long round head, no chin, spindly little shoulders and a huge butt. and he was shiny. i never saw him eat a desk. i wish i had. it would have been cool.

john waters? no....maybe his sister, though.
unemployed amputee? no...lots of amputees had jobs in the 70s.where feculent bacteria went curling with Satan? pure speculation. might have been hockey.

boofay eatin' places

When I was a little kid, we went out to dinner quite a lot. Nine times out of ten, if we went out, we went to a buffet.

Two reasons for this: first, my mother was not the worlds greatest cook. Nor was she the neighborhoods' greatest cook. Or even strictly speaking a cook, unless you also count 'laundry' as it was done in the Victorian era as cooking. Mom boiled EVERYTHING. It may not have been tasty, but it was clean, and it probably included lye soap.

Second, buffet restaurants were extremely popular back then. All you could eat for one low price? Hell yes!

Oregon had been hit very, very hard by the Depression. Everyone had a clear and living memory of it. Hell, I had a clear and living memory of it - even though it happened before I was born. I'd grown up hearing so much more than I'd ever, ever cared to hear about the stupid goddamn fucking Depression that I figured that I counted as a survivor too.  The impression I'd been left with was that it was a time in American history when everyone had been really depressed because there was a war, so they were too bummed out to work, so nobody had any money which of course meant that nobody could buy enough to eat. *

Anyway, right around the end of WWII some creative individual introduced the 'classy' buffet restaurant concept to Oregon. Institutional-style service presented with 'tony' atmosphere...or at least a 'Ladies' Home Journal' interpretation of that -in the Wild West! Like a perpetual 'high society' event, only open to the public! And looking back you can see that nothing probably appealed to the ordinary people of that time like the promise 'All You Can Eat'. Throw in some real linen, a bunch of plastic flowers and one of those whirly shoeshine things by the front door and success was assured.  I remember waiting in line for AN HOUR IN THE RAIN to get into the place and not whining because I was so excited the closer we inched to the door!  Not only any boofay, noooooo Paco.  This was the king of the Oregon boofay eatin' places...Obies' on McLaughlin Boulevard.

The first thing you saw as soon as you entered the place on the red wool carpet was the buffet line *cue angelic choir*.  Surrounded with plastic flower arrangements, gleaming with stainless steel, brass, nickel and glass...the brontosaurus-sized roasts, the servers in gleaming whites bustling by with huge hotel pans filled with gravy-topped cholesterol, backed by red velvet curtains against which the clouds of fragrant steam was pure Burlesque!  It was The Food Capades!  Oh, and the lighting...!  Dark and moody punctuated with bold and dynamic! Heavenly glory piercing through the darkness to illuminate the Miracle of Beets!

In addition to the track spots, Obies' had one of those revolving colored Christmas tree lights that shone down on the line of people ahead of you. If  you were there long enough, you could watch everyone turn from blue to red to lemon yellow to green and back. And as if this weren't enough, the salad line - your first stop - was filled with clear Lucite bowls nestled in ice, and the station had a hidden lexan base that was lit from beneath so that the ice in it twinkled like blue diamonds. For a little kid this was just about the pinnacle of class.

First came the salads. This was the mid- Sixties, so a lot of what was on offer bore little resemblance to salad as we know it now, much less Earth food.

 First, an obligiaory bowl of browning vegetation with oil and vinegar. Obligation having been served, next came the "GOOD" stuff. Macaroni salad (barf.) Three bean salad (barf.) Egg salad (barf.) Potato salad jaundiced with Frenchs' mustard (barf.) Jumbled bergs of multicolored jello on silver platters wreathed with savoyed cabbage leaves (barf), celery boats (barf), radish roses (barf), carrot curls (barely acceptable), cucumbers fanned like winning hands(barf.) Sheer fantasy and Jello took over at this point.  Since I was too short at the time to read the identifying tags, I've come up with my own names.  There was Glazed Caldera of Grated Carrot Studded With Flies,  Mausoleum of Green Jello With Sheep Eyeballs, the fearsome Aztec Death Pyramid Of Red Stuff With Red Chunks...Pink Toothpaste Shaped Like a Fish For No Good Reason...Weeping Cucumbers With Chopped Fescue and Crud Sauce...Pink Christmas Wreath of This Little Piggie Went Wee Wee Wee All The Way Home, Disgusting Fruit With Sheep Eyeballs In Disgusting Sauce, and  Mayonnaisey Mystery Situation with Paprika Dumped All Over The Top. For some reason this preparation was always tastefully garnished by jabbing a dolly into one corner. Yes really. She had cream cheese piped around her in ripples, forming a dress, with a sprig of parsley at her waist for a corsage. I have no idea to this day what the point was, but I still feel sorry for her.*

Next came the sides. Piles of rolls...clovers, dinners, soft, hard, butter, Parkerhouse, and plain Wonder sandwich bread. Bowls full of icy butter pats stacked in pyramids. Mustard, ketchup, mayonnaise and tartar sauce (and you better have tartar sauce if you run a restaurant in the Northwest, bucko.) After that, the hot vegetables...corn swimming in cream or butter, carrots the same, baked beans so heavy with molasses and brown sugar they trailed strands when a spoonful was lifted, green beans, oceans of bobbing peas, Matterhorns of mashed potatoes.

As you inched along you slowly approached the carving station, a small island of drama detached from the rest of the food. The carver wore chefs whites. He presided over the giant mountains of smoking protein beneath the infrared lamps, glowing eerily in the hot orange light.

The carving station was raised up a step, so that the 'chef' looked down at you. He was equipped with a Viking longsword and a long, needle-tipped meat fork straight from Hell. Despite which it reminded me of nothing so much as taking communion a Catholic church, complete with gleaming brass rail, candles, and mysterious shadows. We all took our turns, offering our plates, as the chef murmured "One slice or two?" and we replied 'One please'. In no more than three graceful strokes the dripping slice was removed, pressed between the fork and knife and deposited on your plate with a stylish half-turn that left it bunched up like a breaking wave of deliciousness. Body of Christ? Amen.

Three steps took you from the sanctuary to the dining room beyond, separated by a half wall. The transition was a little jarring...from darkness and steam and low voices and gleaming mood-lit food to a bright and noisy auditorium filled with Formica tables, bustling waitresses, men in brown suits and women in pillbox hats.

This was the era of the huge black purse, and they lay out in the aisles beside madams' chair like huge floating mines. I could be counted on to take out a couple as we sidled along between the tables searching for an empty place.

Now oddly enough I have no memories from this time of people actually putting food into their mouths and eating it. But eat they did. The usual stay was at least an hour, and during that hour you could count on seeing the same faces surrounding you and the same people standing next to you as you filed back in towards the line for another round, simply circulating, stopping long enough to empty a plate and then rejoining the line again.

I always seemed to get stuck in line between two old ladies, and old ladies always appalled me. Not because they were old or ladies, but because of the sheer amount of food they could pack away. The smaller they were, the higher they stacked the chow, and then crammed the bare spots full of rolls. Most of them had two dinner plates on their for whatever, and another strictly for salad. In fact the salad line was perpetually two-deep in old ladies staggering beneath the weight of their trays, circling like little sharks in baggy hose. I secretly guessed it was because most of the salady things didn't really look like food so much as they simply looked pretty. Pretty food doesn't count. And thus you don't look like a pig, and it doesn't get you fat.

People had a lot of odd notions in regards to food back then. I know, I know, it had to do with the Depression and everyone not having enough so you only took a small bit of what was offered and nice people didn't gorge and wasting food was a sin and a lady only nibbled...still, that didn't stop them from loading up on the groceries. They just did it sneaky.

One person would go back to the line, but that one person had to bear in mind all the specific requests from everyone else at that table. Once they returned everyone would take a fast look around, like meerkats. Reassured that nobody was paying undue attention they then swiftly portioned out the food and made it disappear.

My parents weren't quite that goofy, but I never did leave the table for seconds without someone giving me an 'as long as you're headed back...' request. Sometimes this was used as a tactic to trick me into trying new things-'Ha! Now you eat every bit of that before you touch the rest of your plate!' but I got wise and learned to let the bottom of the serving spoon merely dab a spot on my plate, then return and exclaim 'but you didn't say how much!' It was always the same thing, too. What, I have no idea. I only remember it as being some sort of godhorrid pink crap with chunks in it. I still have no idea what it was. It could have been just about anything back then; suburban Oregon was a (sinkhole) backwater, and food coloring was used with a very liberal and 'creative' hand.

Now the only places you see food presented with anything like that kind of homespun elan are a casino, or occasionally a wedding reception. Buffet restaurants are different places these days. It's more like eating in the school cafeteria now-the only thing even slightly different is the lack of announcements over the public address system, the kind prefaced with three 'dings' on a toy xylophone. The food is the same. Exactly the same.

Our high school cafeteria was supplied by SAGA Food Services Inc. The same truck that made those deliveries also pulled up to unload Christ knows what into the kitchens of every North's Chuckwagon Buffet in town. I think the only difference was the quality of the deep-fry grease. And I could be wrong about that.

Here in Whatcom county the flagship restaurant in the Izzy's buffet chain just went stern up. An era has come to an end. What began as a dutchified 80's version of buffet dining turned quickly into a blackened, greasy free-for all complete with women crying in the restroom. See? Just like high school. And this pretty much describes any buffet place these days, at least the ones serving 'Merican food...filthy fat kids running around butt wild, half-inflated balloons stuck against the ceiling ventilation grilles, plates stacked twelve high at the end of the tables loaded with uneaten food. Desperate waitresses who come by every 2 minutes scavenging for tips, offering you beverages and asking if everything's all right. Heavily pierced meth addicts, their checkered pants held in a bunch at the waist with a shoelace, wheeling bus tubs down the aisle. People greeting friends from across the room by shouting 'hey NIGGA!'**, or throwing rolls.

Still, no place offers the kind of "FEED ME NOW DAMMIT' gratification that you get at a buffet. And this is why the casino buffet is the biker's friend.

If you're in the middle of nowhere, you're probably near a casino. And all casinos have a buffet. Oh yes....come innnnnnnnn, hungry public, but first walk through the entiiiiiire length of our colorful flashing fun gamblinnnnnnnnnnnng parlooooooooor...and waaaaaaalk....and waaaaaaaaaalk...lookee at the freeeee's fuuuuun......
This ploy probably works on rich elderly people with low blood sugar much better than it works on sunburnt fat people who've just left all their cash parked out in the 'motorcycles only' space, though.

The only thing you want around noon after a morning spent motorcycle touring is to take a whiz, offload some leather and poke some groceries down your neck NOW. Add a nice booth to sprawl out in, someone unobtrusive to keep your coffee topped up, and, most importantly, an endless supply of saturated fat, and that's called copacetic. You can get all that plus a pleasant background of hypnotic, coruscating jangling noises in a casino buffet. You also get a flashing display along one wall that enables you to play Keno at the same time you're putting away the macaroni salad, if that sounds like fun.

Is the food good? Strictly speaking? No. The food is edible for the most part, often delicious, but very, very rarely is it good. This is stuff supplied by factories, dumped out of plastic bags and cans into hotel pans, and sat over some hot water. If you want 'calories', rejoice. If you want 'good' you've come to the wrong place.

Only once have we run into anything that could be described as 'quality' food at a buffet, and it so happens that it was a casino buffet. It was a small place, somewhere smack dab in the middle of Absolutely Nothing Whatsoever, Idaho, just past...near...Idaho. Somewhere. I don't recall it's having been actually near anything. At all. Except wheat. Oh my yes, there was wheat. Lots of wheat. There had been wheat for quite some few hours by that point.


And then suddenly plop in the midst of all this fricken' wheat, there's a casino with 500 Escalades parked all around it.

We parked the Dyna and trudged through the gaming floor, past the zombies plugged into their penny slots, pulling off our leather as we went. Nobody gave us a glance. We ran our credit card, found a booth, dropped our helmets and slouched up to the line.
And it was FANTASTIC.
Huge, broiled New York steaks. Bearnaise sauce! Lobster. Wild cedar-planked salmon. Eggs Benedict! CHILLED BLUE POINT OYSTERS ON THE HALF SHELL. An omelet bar! The coffee was Starbucks and the sides were glorious. Everything was glorious.
We just sat and looked across the table at one another in silence, completely amazed. Grateful. Unbelieving. Then we fell on it like rabid javelinas.

We did the same thing later on that day in Pullman, where, after a VERY, very very, veryveryvery, very very, extremely incredibly indescribably enormous motherfucking amount of time spent traveling through what must have been the source of wheat for the entire goddamn Earth, AND Jupiter, we happened across an all-pizza buffet.
One price, all you can eat.
Free refills on the pop.

The carnage was indescribable. I think the State police took our picture .

I don't think Idaho wants us back.

* For years I thought that the 'Great Depression' was simply a time in the past when everyone was just really, really sad. I had no idea it had anything to do with economics.

*Think I'm exaggerating? Were you American in the early 60's? Then you know I'm not. I know you remember this crap. You're probably just repressing it. And who can blame you?

**Yes, I'm sorry, this is true. Hereabouts the apple-cheeked offspring of two Nederlandischer parents frequently address each other with 'Yo nigga' ...and yes, it is terribly, terribly sad.