Sunday, March 25, 2007


The Lounge will be closed for a week or so. Deal with it.

In the meantime, I encourage you to Netflix Michael Apted's entire "7 Up" series.

I think I may have mentioned this before, but in case I haven't, go get it. Contrary to the positive-sounding title, and while it can be brilliant and beautiful, it is a hauntingly-heartbreaking series in which we watch a dozen British seven-year-olds decline, sept-annually, toward slow inevitable obscurity, disappointment, and death.

Starting at age seven, in the mid 1960s, the same group has been filmed every seven years to find out where they are along their "journey." We started watching the latest installment tonight, "49 Up." The kids are now 49. Most are fat. Most are grandparents. I suspect at least one has died, but I haven't gotten to that part yet.

Despite distance, political boundaries and quirky turns of phrase, we see that all lives are essentially the same. We are them, and they are us. What we blame on fate is really nothing more than the predictable pattern on human existence. Pointless, really, when you come to think about it.

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Reasonably Calculated to Lead to the Discovery of Admissible Evidence

Fortunately (or unfortunately) my depositions don't go like this, although sometimes, I do make the girls cry...

Free legal advice: if you are ever giving testimony under oath, particularly in front of a camera, try not to look like a jackass...

Of course, I did almost see something like this one up in Seattle one day. There was lots of swearing and an old fat guy shook and empty water glass at a lawyer twice his size:

Room 101

"You asked me once," said O'Brien, "what was in Room 101. I told you that you knew the answer already. Everyone knows it. The thing that is in Room 101 is the worst thing in the world."


It's not that I support Obama. It's just that he has a way of saying things that I disagree with, but making me feel good about it anyway...

Sunday, March 18, 2007

Hay Rides Under the Moon

"We stick it up its ass, then we light it!" Erik said, as his brother, Mike, nodded in affirmation. "We've been doin it all day!"

I sat on my bike watching warily as Erik stood, up to his knees, in the golf course water trap with a wriggling frog in one hand and a fire cracker in the other.

I had my doubts.

There had been no explosive rapport that morning, and the golf course was conspicuously void of any frog carcasses. A frog's ass, I assumed, was simply to small; and Erik, I knew, was too stupid to accomplish anything so complicated.

As it turned out, the frog was, in fact, too smart for Erik. As it hopped away down the fairway, Erik squatted back down into the murky water to fetch another amphibious victim.

This was Church Camp. Canyon Meadows. A small green patch skirting a sandy creek bed, high up in the Angeles National Forest. Horses, hay rides, rattle snakes and Jesus. Every Memorial Day weekend the entire church would pack up and head for the hills. Everyone with camping gear, that is. Tents, campers, RVs; hell, one year I slept under a tarp on a banana lounge...

Every year I went. Usually, with my grandparents. Occasionally, with my parents. I only stopped going when we changed churches, sometime in the 8th grade. It is, in all of its simple splendor, indelibly engraved in my consciousness.

I remember the old-timey covered wagons that smelled of sweat and saw dust. I remember the shock and surprise when I touched the electric horse fence. I remember waiting to find out, each year, with horror and intrigue, who would wake up with with a snake in their sleeping bag.

I remember building dams in the creek. I remember watching the old man playing the trumpet by the fish pond each sun set, and listening to the associate pastor preaching on Sunday morning in the open air on the golf course.

I still dream about the home-made ice cream buffet. I still have the scar on my hand where I burned it making hot cocoa.

I remember where I rode the horse. I remember hearing, for the first time, about the kids in the high school camp playing spin the bottle.

I remember where I kissed the girl.

"What a great Lounge post that would make," I thought, as I Google-mapped my way around Castaic Lake looking for an aerial photo of the camp ground. I eventually found it, at least I thought I did.

The golf course, once lush, now looks dead. The horses are gone, and there is a giant fucking baseball diamond in the middle of the meadow! It doesn't even have the same name anymore. "Canyon Meadows" is now "Canyon Creek Sports Complex!" Whatever the hell that's supposed to be.

Looks like it's become a summer sports camp for loser kids. Think Bad News Bears meets Meatballs. At least the camp counselors are kinda sexy...

Ah well, one more childhood memory bites the dust.

Hey, Californians, Disneyland is still open, right??

Friday, March 16, 2007

Thursday, March 15, 2007

Since Yesterday's Math Test Was Such a Crowd Pleaser

Here are a few more:

Oh, and, here is a picture of Scarlett

Oh, and, here's a picture of a yakisoba sandwich

Math Test

Thanks to Mary in Boise!

Monday, March 12, 2007


Admittedly, I have overdosed on 9-11 conspiracy videos in the last few days. Wary and suspicious I am about the use of manipulated media by the loons and cranks. Wary and suspicious I equally am, though, about the mainstream media.

I have a pretty good feel for baseless accusations. Hyperbole is a dead give away, as are quotes from the bible. References to the Illuminati, Ruby Ridge, and the second amendment cause me to just move on.

There are those, however, that speak simply and let the photos and videos speak for themselves. The big questions are "Why did building 7 implode in New York?" and "If a plane hit the Pentagon, where is it? Where is the debris??"

Anyway, I'm not saying that there was a government conspiracy. Then again, I'm not saying there wasn't.

Then again, again, I just tread that the Chairman of Halliburton is moving the wicked company's headquarters to Dubai.

I'm going to bed.


"Have you seen strings like this in an avocado before?" I asked.

"You're a California boy," she said, "You should know your avocados..."

She was right, of course. I am, and I do. And, I had never seen a stringy avocado like that before.
It is apparently the beginning of the California avocado season, and Albertsons was running a special. Sure they were trucked 900 miles to get here, but the bumpy green Haases had that perfectly firm give.

Mrs. Gin-&-Tonic's mother was in town this weekend to help paint the new boy's room (thanks mother-in-law!) She had made a lovely roast the night before. By recycling ingredients from the very tasty roast, and adding a few new ones, an impressive Taco bar was coming together.

Everyone pitched in, and it was up to me to make the holy guacamole.

Guacamole, it's just one of those things. Basically Avocado, Garlic, Lime and Salt; most California families have their own recipe. My personal recipe involves a dash of sour cream, fresh cracked black pepper and Tabasco.

Once I got past the one bad avocado, the rest proved to be soft, yet firm, smooth, green. I scooped the firm fatty flesh into the bowl and began to attack them with the masher. Next, I splashed in the sour cream, then the garlic, then the lime. I sprinkled in the sea salt. I spooned in the salsa. I tapped-in the Tabasco.

With enough masher-damage done, I switched to the rubber spatula and continued folding in the flavors. After a few more shakes of salt and a couple cranks of the Pepper grinder, I sunk the first chip.

Needed more garlic.

Another chip. Close this time, but needed more salt.

The third taste was close to perfect, but not quite there.

See, Guacamole isn't a science. The nature and quality of the avocado is fluid, and the other flavors must be shifted to compensate. It's more of a process than a recipe. Perhaps more akin to living than cooking. I can't tell you what perfect guacamole tastes like, I just know it when I taste it, and it was getting close.

Problem was, my pallet was tainted by the fatty flesh and bite of lime. My ability to perceive variant degrees in flavor was impeded. I called the missus, and handed her the fourth chip, piled high with glistening green.

"Needs more lime."

Fortunately, I had been drinking Gin-and-Tonics, and had half a lime lying right there. The final taste test was met by unanimous approval, and the tortilla chips began to dive deep into the bowl.

Saturday, March 10, 2007

Happy Birthday!

(You know who you are...)

Attention Los Angeles

Frequent-reader Ev has asked me to announce that frequent-reader Lisa will be visiting her and occasional-reader Helly in Los Angeles this week.

She also asked me to let you know that they are planning a wicked weekend of debauchery beginning tonight, and any Loungers who plan to be out and about in tinsel town should make efforts to join them.

Here is the itinerary:

Saturday - 8:30
Amagi - Karaoke and Suishi Bar
6114 Sunset Blvd. Hollywood, CA 90028
Tel: (323) 464-2758

(Nothing says "good times" like someone called the Karaoke Ninja!)

Sunday at 7:30pm
Saddle Ranch Chop House
Universal Studios City Walk
(they validate valet parking)

Ev says:

"We will be standing by the outside electric bull. Buy us drinks and see which one of us is the first to take a ride!!! We will sign waivers ahead of time that you can forward all pictures to Brian."

Note from Brian: Please don't send pictures...

For further info, email Ev:

Monday, March 05, 2007

A little Blues. Then Silence

Just a word on the movie.

"What movie?" you may ask.

Well, I'm talking about THE movie.

I was able to get out on Saturday and see THE movie, and it didn't disappoint. At least I don't think it did.

I mean, sure, I haven't been out to see a movie in the theaters since Casino Royale, what with a two-year-old and Netflix. Sure, my tastes may have dulled a bit with time. My expectations may have diminished.

Nevertheless, I'm pretty sure this was a great movie. Just the imagery alone could carry the day: half-naked bruised-and-beaten nymphomaniac white waif chained to a radiator by the spiritual bluesman trying to save her soul. Brothers and best-friends stealing each other's women. Pimps, whores, preachers and sweaty road house dancing. All the ingredients for a grand spectacle.

Surprisingly, however, the story is sweet, with biblical overtones. Though, everyone gets their due. Black Snake Moan gets an official Gin And Tonic Lounge recommendation.

Go see it.

And with that, I'm going to take a little break. No, nothing like the Hiatus of 2006. Just a little scheduled down time.

With one Mediation and three Depositions this week, not to mention family coming to town to help paint the baby's room, I need to take a little time off.

(Not to mention the fact that the post quality has started to suffer in recent days...)

So, no posts until this Saturday, March 10.

See you all then!

Sunday, March 04, 2007

"Here's a Dead Mongoose"

Rain, while a common event in much of the world, merits breaking-news special-report status in Southern California. And while the hyped-up media over-coverage has gotten out of hand in recent years, rain in the Southland has always been a special occurrence.

In some places, 10 feet of snow would barely slow down the school buses. However, in So Cal, where schools were built with low-lying radiating satellite buildings, and large outdoor courtyards, a half inch of rain spelled disaster.

Well, Ok, not exactly a drop-and-cover disaster, but still, action had to be taken. And this action, as some of you recall, was called "Rainy Day Schedule."

Essentially, you take an elementary school with 700 children, deny them access to the sports fields, play grounds and courtyards, and shelter them from the terrible drizzle under the protective roof of the Cafetorium (all purpose lunch room, and auditorium).

Sorted, we were, by age and classroom. Little kids in front, big kids in back. The giant clickety movie projector whining away in the center of the room, screening beloved animated classics for the entire extended lunch session. Frequently the films would break, and rarely did the pictures sync with the sound.

Personally, I suspected the administration stored us away on these gray days to give the teachers extra time to snort cocaine, engage in occult-like rituals, and have orgies in the library...

As far as the movies were concerned, there were favorites, of course, like Johnny Appleseed, The Sneetches, The Red Balloon, and that strange one about the boy who lost the toy boat and it sailed down the river until it got stuck in toxic goo...

However, the most favorite of all, the one that received instant whoops of joy, the one we all crossed our fingers and hoped for, was Rikki Tikki. This was an odd little Chuck Jones creation lifted nearly in whole from the pages of Kippling's Jungle Book.

The story was simple. Snake-eating jungle rat gets washed up on the river-shore of some snooty British family's colonial Indian (dot, not feather) estate. He fights a couple of cobras, saves the sissy stocking-clad "boy's" life, and then some annoying bird sings a song. That's it. And we loved it.

Of course, the teachers knew we loved it, so they showed it over and over again to keep us occupied (only more fuel for my conspiratorial fire...)

So anyway, a friend, and frequent reader recently bought a copy of this masterpiece and we watched it over the weekend. I think this was the first time I had watched it since childhood and the experience was very odd.

Surprisingly, it held up, a tribute to Kippling more than anything. However, what was particularly surprising was the sensation of long-dormant memories flashing to life. Images and sounds from the familiar movie reawakening neural pathways. Thoughts and memories that I had not had in decades, stored silently away, shook off the dust and engaged with thrilling acuity. It was a pleasant buzz of energy in my head.

Here's a small clip from the movie.

Friday, March 02, 2007

Candy Mountain

Thanks to the anti-filler "Concerned Reader" for the following filler...