le blargh : cinq

reading links let's go a-fooding
all links open in a new window


« S H O R T » « S L I D E S H O W »
The Perfectly Fried Egg
“My whole life, I have been trying to cook an egg in the right way,” he said. “It is the humbleness of the dish. Why do you need to do anything more complex?”
It’s rather involved, but hey — fine dining, y’know?


« T A L L »
The Semi-Charmed Life Of A Tech Company Chef
“Free food is now an expected perk at all the shiny new tech companies. A former Google chef says, ‘They had no budget, it was foie gras and Kobe steaks every day.’ “


« G R A N D E »
The Long History of the Espresso Machine
“A jet of hot water at 88°-93°C (190°-200°F) passes under a pressure of nine or more atmospheres through a seven-gram (.25 oz) cake-like layer of ground and tamped coffee. Done right, the result is a concentrate of not more than 30 ml (one oz) of pure sensorial pleasure.”


« T R E N T A »
Manufacturing Taste
“Tell me what you think of Kraft Dinner and I will tell you who you are.”



annoyingly appropriate buzzword

My cue was sent in for its yearly tuneup and while it was on its getaway in Florida, I had my own little session of rehab. It’s like Journey says, “everybody needs some time away”.

Due to many questionable tournament-related lapses in judgment this year, there was no funding for an exotic trip to a far-flung location. Staycation to the rescue. Here is where I went (stayed?).


the real eye in (on?) the sky
just observin’, is all

“Sometimes I think the surest sign that intelligent life exists elsewhere in the universe is that none of it has tried to contact us.”

Most large metropolitan areas have a big green space somewhere. We have one and it’s called Griffith Park. It has a golf course, a western heritage museum, some zoo, pony rides, a carousel, hikers that get lost ALL THE F#CKING TIME, mountain lions that stalk the hikers if they don’t make it out by sunset (go mountain lions!) , and an observatory.

I’m lazy, generally practical (when billiards is not involved), and not much for pony rides (but secretly I wouldn’t mind having a pony), so the observatory seemed like a good idea at the time.

red skies at night After a horrendous (even by our standards) clusterf#ck traffic maelstrom of people paying $50 to valet (high, even by our standards!) for Crosby, Stills, and Nash, we wound our way to the top of the mountain.
Naturally, the parking lot was already full so we wound our way back down the other side of the mountain, parked, and then hauled our lazy asses by foot back up the mountain.
We did have a lovely view of the sunset over the metropolis during our hike. Interestingly enough, many girls on the way up and down were wearing high-ass heels. I guess that’s normal, by our standards.


The Griffith Observatory in its Art Deco-ish glory.

I’ve come here a few times but there are always a couple of years in between trips. The Griffith Observatory was built with the bequest of land (over 3,000 acres) and funds by Colonel Griffith J. Griffith, from that era in history when having the same first and last names was A Thing (1896). Construction did not begin until 1933 and the Observatory opened to the public in 1935.

In 1978, the first suggestions for renovation were raised.

In 1990, the City of Los Angeles partnered with the Friends of the Observatory to implement their Master Plan for renovation.

The Observatory was closed in 2002 for renovation.
And that, dear reader, is the speed of progress in government.
All schnarky-schnark aside, the Griffith Observatory is a wonderful place that does not charge admission (another stipulation in Griffith2‘s will — thanks, dude!). Hence, it was a natural destination for my friend and I (broke-ass grads) when it reopened in 2006. We stood in a very long line to get in but it was worth it.
Six years after the reopening and it was as grand as ever. Even better, the skies were clear and as evening fell, we could enjoy the lights of the city.
That picture I took there on the left is one of the nicer ones. I rarely take photos when I’m on vacation because I am on vacation.
We battled legions of hipsters, Asian tourists, and hipster Asian tourists with ginormous overcompensating-for-something-else cameras and tripods in order to snag a spot to snap a few ourselves. My little point-and-shoot suffered much disdain.
Everyone hogged spots along this arch-covered walkway so it was damn near miraculous I got a hipster-free picture.

Later, I found the place was SWAAAAARMIIIIING with ants. The ants crawled everywhere, including up the tripods, cameras, and pants of the space-hogging photographers.

That made me feel much better.

Here is the lighted skyline as taken by a shaky-armed photographer with an outdated point-and-shoot.

I may have had some minor camera-envy as my photographs did not come out that well. I’ve posted some here but I wish they were print-quality. Sigh. They are only blog-quality.


Dude, I love Tesla Coils.
Although I’ve been here a few times since the reopening, I have never been able to catch the Tesla Coil in action. To operate it, an Observatory person has to insert two keys and then press a button. It’s very much like nuclear-bomb-authorization in the movies (or like that scene in Terminator 2 when they have to simultaneously turn keys to access the vault where the cyborg arm is).
But, yes — seeing the Tesla Coil in action is rare. I don’t know if there is a set schedule of when they fire it up, but I seem to miss it without fail.
Not this time…
In other Tesla news of the world, they’ve raised enough money via crowdfunding on the internet to Build a Goddamn Tesla Museum.
Tesla is not just the name of an electric car company whose vehicles’ only emission is vast, earth-smothering, regular-people-suffocating, clouds of Smug.
Nor is it only a descriptor of girls in OMD’s most excellently sing-a-long-able song “Tesla Girls”. (Oh, the 80s…)


From the crowdfunding website:

Nikola Tesla was the father of the electric age. Despite having drop-kicked humanity into a second industrial revolution, up until recently he’s been an unsung hero in history books. If you don’t know who Tesla is, go read this.

Tesla’s final laboratory is located in the sleepy town of Shoreham, New York.  It’s known as Wardenclyffe and it’s where Tesla attempted to build a tower that would provide free wireless energy to the entire earth. Unfortunately, Tesla lost his funding before the project was completed and in 1917 the Wardenclyffe tower was demolished. Subsequently, the land was sold to a film and paper manufacturer.

However, the land, laboratory, and foundation beneath the tower are still there and very recently went up for sale. And right now a non-profit is trying to buy the property and turn it into a Nikola Tesla Museum. The property is listed at $1.6 million, and this non-profit has received a matching grant from New York State of up to $850k.  This means that if we can raise $850k, New York State will match us for that same amount — putting the total raised at $1.7 million.

There is currently another offer on the table from someone who wants to purchase the property potentially tear it down or turn it into a retail establishment. There is no Tesla museum in the United States, despite Tesla’s extraordinary accomplishments.  If we can outbid this other person and buy the land it will permanently be protected as a historic site and eventually converted into a Nikola Tesla Science Center.

On an unrelated note, I hear the Tesla laboratory has the largest Tesla coils in the world. Do not doubt that I will make a pilgrimage to see those coils in action when it’s allowed.




Every sciency-astronomish place worth its metal salts has a Foucalt pendulum to illustrate that the world does not revolve around you (good luck proving that sh#t in my city) and also that time waits for no one, least of all you.
time keeps on ticking ticking ticking... into the future It also does not wait for adorable forest-spirit beanbags.

It was a good visit and I am sure I will be back with perhaps a new overcompensation camera worthy of the littlest, most irate Napolean to take more better prettier photographs for your enjoyment.

Griffith Observatory
2800 East Observatory Road
Los Angeles, CA 90027
(213) 473-0800



seriously, cat, wtf
you may NOT brush your teeth here My cat enjoys doing cat things.
Some of these cat things involve pulling up and eating the potted plants in my apartment courtyard, then puking those plants back up later. On the carpet. I cover the puke in baking soda, wait a while, scrape off the caked vomit-soaked baking soda, sprinkle fresh baking soda, scrub it into the carpet with a stiff brush, and then vacuum like I was sucking the souls of my enemies into a blender.
yep, I finally tried instagram, at the behest of my cousin Side note: I can sleep through a fair amount of noise, but wake instantly the cat starts that distinct cat-puke “houghing”. Cat owners know what I mean.
The cycle of plants, puke, and baking soda continued for two weeks. I did some Internet Research and tried a few suggestions, but none worked. I tried some pet products. Nada. I went through many boxes of baking soda. She went through eight potted plants and a good amount of their dirt.

One evening, I was making a salad. She padded over gracefully and looked at me with soulful eyes while gently placing a paw on my foot.

No, actually, she jetted over like an RPG the minute she heard the crackle of plastic and proceeded to do figure-eights around my feet while simultaneously swatting my legs and whining. I tripped and almost died. I assure you, she did not give a sh#t.

“The f#ck you want?!” (I have devolved to the point of talking to my cat, complete with cussing.)

“Raaouw. Raaouw. Raaaaaaaouw.”

“Oh, you want some spinach? It tastes like crap, you know. That weird aftertaste and sh#t that makes your tongue stick to the insides of your mouth.”


“Fine, have a piece. Don’t puke on the rug. It’s the only thing tying this room together.”

I filled her bowl with spinach leaves the way a dad, having caught his kid smoking, makes his kid smoke all the cigarettes in the pack. My approach worked as well for me as it did for that dad. She ate the spinach and whined for more.

Seriously, cat, WTF?

does have nice effects except now I feel like a hipster Now, my early mornings find me slicing spinach chiffonade (thin ribbons — to simulate grass) bleary-eyed while my demanding cat smugly lectures me on the benefits of vegetarianism while trying to trip me. Whatever. She quit eating the courtyard plants and she doesn’t puke on the rug.
The end.



this post will really tie your room together

8 Replies to “le blargh : cinq”

  1. Tesla has been a longtime hero of mine. I’m trying to remember when he first hit my radar, and I’m not 100% sure. I did some experiments in HS physics with Tesla coils and other HV generators (students quickly learned to listen for humming/buzzing before touching the doorknob of the physics lab door… just sayin’).

    I think I learned the most about him while living in Colorado Springs (’95-’04 before moving to LV). Tesla lived in Colorado Springs for quite awhile to study lightning… and they DO have friggin killar lightning there. He had a lab, built huge Tesla coils there, and at one point caused a power outage for the entire city (oops!). They had Tesla Society there, as well as an on-again, off-again museum (always struggling for funding). Another hot spot for Tesla interest is/was Telluride, CO. Tesla worked with Westinghouse there to build the world’s first commercial AC power plant. They used to have an annual Tesla event there, not sure if they still do… I went once years ago.

    Anyway, mentions of Tesla always brings back good memories 🙂

  2. Old saying, “Dogs have owners. Cats have staff.”

    Great post about the Griffith Observatory! Never been there but will make time when I’m on the Left Coast, next time.

    Big fan of Tesla, big anti-fan of Edison. First learned of Tesla from some paperback book my father had years ago called “Stranger than Truth.” Another example of the fine line between genius and insanity!

Comments are closed.