Monday, December 31, 2007

Barefoot in the Garage # 1

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Memories - Family Trips

Some of my fondest childhood memories surround family vacations. My mom, dad, and I would take car trips each summer. In July of 1975 we drove from our house in Long Beach, California to Dowagiac Michigan and back, a total of 5,000 miles round trip in eleven driving days. I have trouble staying awake driving the 12.5 miles home from work. This gives me a new appreciation for my dad's tenacity as well as the strength of truck stop coffee.

Most trips were less ambitious, but equally as exciting. We drove to the top of Oregon to the Columbia River Gorge, Yosimite, San Francisco, Lake Tahoe, Mammoth Mountain, Monterey and Carmel - Many great memories.

I didn't have much appreciation for the scenery along the way back then, but I sure loved the Best Western hotel rooms. I was usually allowed to be the first to open the hotel room door and peer inside. While I'm sure my parents looked at each room as yet another in a series of steps to our destination, I felt as if each one WAS our destination. Perhaps only Howard Carter could relate to my exuberance as the shafts of early-evening sunlight shot from the opening door and pierced the dark chamber. "Can you see anything?" "Yes, wonderful things."

Each morning before hitting the highway my dad would have his cup of coffee and examine the route from one of a half-dozen road maps he'd carefully chosen for the trip. He'd show me points of interest that we'd pass along the way, but I was more interested in the AAA Lodging Guide which showed a single, small photo of the next hotel I'd get to explore, some 500 miles and ten cups of strong coffee down the road.

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Mel's drive-in - Seal Beach - First Impressions

Just when you thought that the nostalgia craze was over, Mel's drive-in restaurant opens in Seal Beach - just skipping distance from our doorstep. Mel's occupies the building that housed The Parasol restaurant which closed its doors 15 months ago under pressure to remodel from the folks who bought and renovated Rossmoor Town Center.

I remember The Parasol for several distinct family dining memories, but unfortunately, not for the food. Mel's serves up similar helpings of Americana fare, but adds the much needed element of flavor which was sorely missing from its predecessor.

While The Parasol held close its 1950's design and old-school charm simply due to the fact that the owners never remodeled the interior, Mel's spent significant time and money remodeling the inside to mimic a classic diner from the 1950's. "Excuse me, waitress, I'll take the Irony Burger with a side of humility please.

With such a small sampling as we had tonight it isn't fair to generalize about the quality of the food. I can say that so far, it's better than The Parasol, but, then again, such can be said about the majority of our local eateries and most, if not all, bait shops.

I had the Mel's Burger with fries, while Ema had the Santa Fe salad. Nick had a BLT and the two little ones had kids meals served up in cardboard vintage Chevy's. The burger was tasty, but not outstanding. The salad was dry, and although the chicken was cooked well, moist and tender, the iceberg lettuce bed left us wanting a greener, more flavorful lettuce variety.

Nick's BLT was very standard, but that's what people want when they come to a place like Mel's. People don't want surprises or exotic ingredients like Romaine lettuce. Mel's has taken a bold move to be. . .un-bold. Tradition is not only accepted at Mel's, but expected as well. Mel's does what any good greasy spoon should - it delivers what people expect.

We will eat at Mel's again soon, and I'll write up another quick review of that experience as well. I'm hoping it's a repeat of this one. I don't want or need any surprises.

6:53 am Target, Seal Beach

What would motivate 150 people to stand in line in 43 degrees? One half off Xmas decorations! ...My new year resolution? Get a life.

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Monday, December 24, 2007

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Finding your lucky Vegas shirt after it was missing for five months - instant gratification. Finding a twenty in the front pocket - . . . $20.

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Friday, December 21, 2007

Just got busted by Ema for burning the pizza. Merry @?!/?! Christmas!

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Sunday, sundae girl

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Thursday, December 20, 2007


Perhaps this company's translation budget was undercut by research and development? I dunno. I just don't know. . .

Friday, December 7, 2007

Sniff. . .cough. . .

"Did you say the Day Time Triaminic Thin Strips Cold & Cough were next to the Dimetapp Cold & Flu Gel Caps or the Robitussen DMX Night Time Sore Throat Losenges?"

Photo courtesy of this person on Flickr.

Sunday, December 2, 2007

I know, I know. . .


No, I haven't sold out, as my wife so eloquently put it. Call it an experiment in search engine optimization: Post the most popular YouTube video on your blog, title it with one of the most indexed phrases, and see what happens.

Now that you're in on the 'joke' you can sit back and wait for my site traffic report.

Film at 11:00.

P.S. - Thanks for tuning in :)

- Tom

Funny Cat Video