Sunday, October 21, 2007

Ode to Family Loompya for Snow Cat

Before we discovered ready-made lumpia in the freezer section at the neighborhood Filipino market, my family (okay, my mom), would spend the afternoon hand-wrapping lumpia at the kitchen table while I'd sneak uncooked sheets of roll for the occasional snack. Aunties and ninangs would visit and they'd talk for hours in their native Waray. Best part was how they'd spend an extra half hour saying their goodbyes, sigi! sprinkled in every five minutes.

The old Family Loompya [sic] on Reo Drive was about a mile from my mom's house, across the street from the Raymundos and an old videogame arcade, where we'd spend summers playing Asteroids, Donkey Kong and Defender. Left vacant for 20 years, the old Family Loompya building still stands today, tattered like a ghost ship from years of neglect. Its windows and doors are boarded up and gated. Its signature yellow and black storefront sign was shattered years ago, the remaining shards chipped away over time. Only its metal frame remains. As always, the north wall is still bombed, crossed out, then bombed again by rival gangs.

A couple years ago, this very stretch of Reo Drive saw the tragic end of an epic police chase and shootout.

I digress.

Master Chef Lisa and I made lumpia last night. Okay, she made the filling. I helped roll between nibbling on uncooked sheets.

You know this, man!!!

Dessert first! Lisa found this really rad port. Tastes as good as the label looks.

Separating the sheets. Snacky-snack in meh belly!

Master Chef Lisa worked her magic on the filling. Maybe she'll describe what she did in her blog. All I got to say is, this needed no dipping sauce. Straight flavor explosion on my salivary glands!



Master Chef Lisa models a perfectly executed lumpia. Side note, I've come to use the phrase "This is for Snow Cat" to describe anything of high quality. Part of it is rationalizing paying a higher price (in dollars or effort) for something better. You know, like the difference between generic mini wheats and Kashi's mini wheats? Exactly. This lumpia is for Snow Cat.

Speaking of Neva Snow Cat, a king size down comforter is for Snow Cat. Luxury.


Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets
28 Weeks Later
A Scanner Darkly

Casino Royale
The Lives of Others

Curse of the Golden Flower
The Departed
Pan's Labyrinth

Hand to Mouth, Paul Auster
Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone, J.K. Rowling
Total Chaos: The Art and Aesthetics of Hip-Hop, Jeff Chang
Positively False, Floyd Landis
From Lance to Landis, David Walsh
Ten Points, Bill Strickland

Ga Ga Ga Ga Ga, Spoon
Free, Fontella Bass
CéU, CéU
Again and Again, Destani Wolf
I'm Not Afraid of You and I Will Beat Your Ass, Yo La Tengo
Tonight I Burn Brightly, Bill Ricchini
Both Sides of the Gun (disc one), Ben Harper
Man With a Movie Camera, The Cinematic Orchestra
Languidity, Sun Ra
Sound Grammar, Ornette Coleman

Friday, October 12, 2007

Quatro de Gato & The Crash at Thunderhill

Neva is Spanish for "snow covered". We also call her Snow Cat. Or Snowie. At first I called her "Falcor" for her resemblance to the dragon in The Neverending Story.

We took her in last week. She'd been living in the complex's parking lot since at least March when we moved in. She was so grimy we thought she had gray markings. The vet thinks she's about 3-4 years old. She is FIV+.

A neighbor once described her as "nothing but skin and bones" but Neva's put on a pound since staying with us. She closes her eyes when she eats.

Sweet as a corncob, Neva really was this dirty when we brought her in. She smelled like wet dog.

After her first bath. She is a bit of a runt. Coco, our biggest cat, is twice her size. Neva mostly stays in the Safe Place room with the art and music gear. She fell asleep on my mixer once.

All prettied up after a second bath. She doesn't fuss too much while in the bath. We let her hang with the other cats when we're all loungin' downstairs. She's very chill and docile. Delicate. Our boys, though, can get get a bit rambunctious. Neva mostly watches and naps from her perch atop the couch or cat tree.


We recently returned from a few days vacation in Calistoga. It was our first anniversary. And what memories! The best was a balloon ride that was supposed to be only up to an hour long and about 4-10 miles in distance.

We wound up in the air for almost two hours and covered 51.6 miles! Put it this way, in equal distance, we would've flown all the way out to Sacramento! Or to downtown SF! Hello, work! (Actual ride was from Middleton in Napa Valley all the way out to Thunderhill raceway near Willows in the Central Valley.)

And the best part was the crash landing! It was windy. We tipped over and winds from an approaching storm dragged us 100 yards through a dirt field while the balloon deflated. My guess is that the same winds were responsible for blowing us north over the mountains instead of an expected south-east direction over valley floor.

If it weren't for a sliver of Central Valley farmland that stretched into the mountains, we could've wound up stranded on a mountainside in the middle of BFE. It took us two hours and 150 miles in the chase van to get back to Napa.

Lesson: Never take a balloon ride near mountainous terrain when a storm is coming.


Oooh! My favorite pic from Maria and Denny's wedding last week: