Tuesday, April 21, 2009

The "Lose Your Bearings" Martini

Movies! Below is a short film to accompany the article I wrote for the new Canadian skateboard magazine, King Shit. Unless you're a close friend, or you live in Canada, you won't ever see this article:

I recently asked my friend Doug, who runs Autobahn wheels, “How do you clean bearings?”

“The easiest way to clean bearings,” he said, “is to call me up and say, ‘Hey, send me some bearings.’”

Oh. Yeah. Right.

But, in all the years I’ve been skating, cleaning bearings has been a bit of a mystery to me. Gasoline, W40, soak them? I’ve heard it all. So I asked Doug to humor me and tell me how I would go about cleaning my bearings if, for some odd reason, I didn’t have a free bearing hook up. Inquiring minds want to know.

Doug said you have to have bearings with removable shields. “You can pop every shield off,” he explained, “that’s not the problem. Problem is putting it back on.” So if you can pop the shield off fairly easily, you have removable shields. Pop your shields off and set them aside.

“Next, get some hi-test liquid,” he said, “like nail polish remover, gasoline, Everclear, rubbing alcohol, even vodka would work.”

“JRRRRRRT!” [That’s the record scratching sound.]

“Vodka?” I said.

I didn’t realize that cleaning my bearings was going to turn into a party. So I actually decided to clean my bearings. And make a little cocktail at the same time: a martini! That I hoped would help me lose my bearings.

The Lose Your Bearings Martini!

2 oz. vodka
1 tsp vermouth
1 peperoncini
Dirty bearings

Fill a martini glass with ice. Set aside.

Put some more ice in a shaker. You can either be like Winston Churchill and look at the bottle of vermouth on the other side of the room, or you can pour a dash of Vermouth into the shaker over the ice.

After you’ve removed the shields, place the bearings in a cup of vodka. “Swish ‘em around, poke ‘em, etc, and try to get the grime out of there,” Doug said. “The liquid will get pretty dirty pretty quickly.” Oh! A dirty martini!

After the bearings are clean, dry them, and set them aside.

Take the dirty bearing vodka, and pour it into the shaker.

They say the proper way to mix a martini is to stir it because shaking it makes the drink cloudy. Since that’s not really an issue here, feel free to stir or shake.

Discard the ice in the martini glass, and strain the vodka into the glass.

Garnish with one peperoncini.

As for the bearings, Doug says, “If you have any kind of oil (not saying olive oil would work, but I heard it does) like machine oil, put a couple of drops in there.”

Olive oil? Next issue you’ll read about my salad dressing bearing olive oil.

In the meantime, put your bearings back together and enjoy your “Lose Your Bearings Martini.” Now you’re ready to rip, ripped.

Friday, April 17, 2009

Magic Hockey Bacon

One of my other weird rituals is I have to see the puck drop. This is the setup at the beginning of the game: three slices of bacon.

It worked! Again! The Bruins beat those stupid fucking Canadians in the first game of the playoffs because I cooked bacon for them. WOOO!

I have to admit, however, that I’m a little bummed it worked. There was a tiny little part of me that was saying, “They’re going to lose at least one game in this series to the Habs, maybe it should be this one? That way you’ll finally learn that cooking bacon, wearing your Bruin ski cap a certain way, putting a Bruin cap on the Chinese good luck kitty, and all the other stupid superstitious shit you do, has no effect on the outcome of the game. The score is determined by the way the individuals, on the two teams, play on the ice, in a stadium, on the other side of the country.”

Even the Chinese Lucky Kitty got in on my insanity.

But they won. And I can’t help but conclude that the bacon I made, and so lovingly presented for them below the TV, made them win. Plus I saw Chara look at it. Just before he scored the game winning goal, he totally looked down at the plate on the TV tray and was like, “Mmmm, bacon…” It totally supercharged him. He was all, “Gimme the puck!” And Savard dished it back to him and he wound up and POW! The puck sizzled (like bacon!) through the air and hit the twine. I could read Chara’s lips as he celebrated, he was just screaming, “BAAAAAACOOOOOOOOON!”

This is the scrum after Kessel's open net goal. The Canadians have this weird new tactic of attacking players after they score. The funniest part about this is that a fan stole Kovalev's stick here. If you look at Chara on the far left, there's a guy in the stands with a white shirt on. He's pulling on the stick. Somehow Kovalev's stick went into one of the photographer's holes in the glass right there and the fans grabbed it. It was funny watching the Russian trying to negotiate with a bunch of dumb, drunk, Boston idiots. And then the game ended and I ate the last slice of bacon.

So they need me to make three slices of bacon before each game. One for each period. Although they just barely won that game, maybe six slices of bacon, two for each period? That’s a lot of bacon in these tough economic times. I wonder if this stuff would work? Go Bruins!

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

BELIZE: Marie Sharp's Hot Sauce

These are our current hot sauce lineup at the moment. On the far left, Mezzetta. We love it, Jason and Jessica love it. You can find it at the grocery store. It tastes like Taco Bell/Del Taco hot sauce, but "proper." It has a similar flavor, but the right amount of heat. Next is Nando's from South Africa. I love peri peri sauce. Wes and Heather have this amazing peri peri sauce, but they can't remember where it's from. I found this at the hot sauce shack. It's not even close. And I've been to Nando's in South Africa. It's a chicken chain. It's really good, but this isn't how I remembered it. Dawn's Grill n Go. We bought this from a street vendor in Belize. Apparently it's the only place you can get it. Very sophisticated design considering that it came from a cart on the beach. Not bad, but not great. The last five on the right are all MARIE SHARP'S! WINNER! We don't really need five bottles, though, because they all kind of taste the same. Tania reminded me of the Simpson's episode where they went to the Duff's brewery and Duff's Lite, and Duff's Ice, etc., all came out of different taps that were connected to the same vat. Yeah, that's kind of how Marie Sharp's is. Except on the far right: the green one is made with a prickly pear base (most that have tried it have found it spicier than any of the others), and the green label to its left is more mild. They're all carrot and habanero based, but the green label one is especially carroty. And slightly milder than the rest.

Before we left for Belize, Tania learned that the official hot sauce of Belize is Marie Sharp’s. I had had Mrs. Sharp’s before. “Oh that’s that shit I had at that breakfast place in San Diego.” I have a strange memory. I can’t remember what Tania told me the night before, but I can remember some random hot sauce I had at a hotel diner one morning three years ago. This would probably be an instance where the ladies can say, “Men are from Mars…”

At the beginning of this story, I started shooting photos of just about everything that came in front of me. Typical college art fag photography project. I think I was hungover. And delusional. And I like Gary Winogrand. But this is the first photo of the day. This is what Beckett looks like when I leave, "Goodbye… Papa…"

This is the meat market at the Farmer's Market. I've seen Anthony Kidas there before (that dude is TINY!). Does it make any sense to write the word "tiny" in all caps? I wish there was low, lower case. Oh there is! "That dude was tiny!"

Before we left, we visited the Farmer’s Market to get some Marie Sharp's at the hot sauce shack. I’m assuming that because the hot sauce “industry” is so popular these days, you have one of these in your town somewhere? Ours is a hut across from the bar in the middle of the Farmer’s Market on Third and Fairfax. It is a magical place. But it’s kind of like a strip club, in that Tania frowns at me for visiting it. Our fridge door is filled with hot sauces and mustards. Me and hot sauce are like women and shoes. I can’t go into our hot sauce emporium without buying half a dozen bottles and bringing them home. “You have to finish the ones you have before you buy any more,” she scolds me… at least I don’t bring anything home from the strip club! WOKKA WOKKA!

I played amateur street photographer at the Farmer's Market. This photo is actually taken at the adjacent "The Grove." It's a Vegas-like mall. So I guess that makes me an "amateur fake-street photographer?" How many baby strollers do you count in this photo?

Marie Sharp’s is a great hot sauce. It is on every table in Belize. I put it on everything. I haven’t enjoyed a hot sauce this much in a long time. It’s hot, but not too hot, and like any good hot sauce, it has flavor. It’s carrot based, actually. Sounds stupid, I know, but to me the flavor is “normal.” This is what hot sauce should taste like. We ate it everywhere in Belize and of course we brought a shit-ton back for our friends. Unfortunately we didn’t bring enough back because our special ace-in-the-hole hot sauce gift got yanked from us at the airport.

I wasn't thinking when I shot this photo, but now that I look at it, I think they're strolling a little too close together. And when your pants can't hold your shirt, or your ass, is there really any point in wearing a pair of running shoes? Silver running shoes?

At the Belize airport, where Jet’s Bar is, there’s a dozen stores selling Marie Sharp’s hot sauces, “Can You Belize It?” t-shirts, and rum. That’s what you get in Belize: hot sauce, stupid shirts, and rum. But one of the stalls had a very peculiar looking hot sauce. The ominous red sauce was packaged in a small, recycled water bottle with no label. There was a label on it, but it had obviously been sitting in a cooler full of water so long that all the ink had washed away. On one label, I could make out the faint impression of a jaguar. It was SO ghetto, it equaled GOOD. The lady at the counter told Tania, “This is what I use.” So Tania bought three bottles of it ($8 ea/US). One for us, and one each for our friends Wes and Doug; both of whom have a tendency to purchase equally sketchy food and drink products south of the border and bring them back to us. “Here! This might make you sick!” “RAD!”

But we never got to taste it.

Just cruising around the Farmer's Market grabbin' a handful of my own ass. Maybe he has to poop?

The short story is, TSA sucks so bad. Or maybe it was our airlines? Either way, everyone that bought something at the Belize airport, and carried it on the plane—which we were not only allowed, but encouraged to do—lost their shit when we landed in Dallas to change planes. Landed, went through customs, got our baggage, then rechecked our baggage on some random belt that was outside of customs—and that is where we should have put our hot sauce in our bags, but no one said anything. Plus we had landed very late and were thinking more about making our connection. So as we “reentered” the airport, we had to go through security again, and of course you’re not allowed to carry liquids on a plane. “But we just flew on a plane with this?” Nope. We could carry it on that plane, but not this plane? Totally makes sense. So we had to throw it away. As did everyone else on our flight who bought any kind of liquid gifts. So much rum got thrown away. It seemed like everyone was carrying a three-bottle caddy of rum. What a racket. Those TSA cocksuckers came up on so much shit that night. “You can go back to the airline counter and check it with your bag?” Oh, fuck you, asshole. It was after midnight and all the ticket counters were closed. He knew damn well we couldn’t check shit and we were about to miss our connection as it was. Fuckers. The terrorists win when you can’t carry a duty-free bottle of hot sauce, or a bottle of rum, on a plane. Then again, maybe I could have taken over a plane with that shit? It looked really spicy…

This fucked up our hot sauce gift plans. I had to go back to the hot sauce shack at the Farmer’s Market to get some more Marie Sharp’s to make up for the loss of the ghetto-hot, water-bottle shit we lost to TSA. I reluctantly said I’d go do it. I even pretended like I was bummed to have to drive all the way to Hollywood to visit the hot sauce shack. “Well, okay, I guess I could go to the hot sauce shack today… sigh…"

This is the hot sauce shack at the Farmer's Market. Half of it. Look at all that hot sauce. Wow. (Use your Huell Howser voice there.) With frat boys chuggin' Bud Lite. You go buddy.

I didn’t dilly-dally. When I got to the hot sauce shack, I went straight to the Marie Sharp’s corner. “Ah, Mrs. Sharp’s, which flavor should I buy?” For some reason I think that Aunt Jemima is Marie Sharp’s. Little bottle of syrup mixing up the hot sauce. By day she’s a sweet little bottle of syrup, but by night, she’s a spicy Latin dominatrix named Marie. “MISS SHARP’S TO YOU!” [whip crack] “Yesmaamsorrymaam.”

After I bought my hot sauce, I retired to the bar and ordered a beer. I like the bar at the Farmer's Market. For one, the bartenders are always very friendly. Lots of local characters lurking about as well. And the TV is on all the time. On the day I was there, they were watching Quincy M.E.. I remember Oscar Madison, but I've never heard of Quincy M.E.. The episode I watched was about a Botchulism outbreak at the Rose Bowl. I marveled at how that script got green lighted.

The controller to the TV was owned by this fella. He hated commercials. Whenever a commercial came on, he muted the TV. I was fine with that, but the dude was like 100 years old and would forget that he was watching TV so when the commercials were over he wouldn't put the sound on and I'd have to tap him... "Hey? TV?" I loved him. I tried talking to him, but if you look at that mouth, you'll understand why I couldn't understand a word he said. Side note: check out Penny Wise behind him. "What should I wear to the Farmer's Market today? MONEY SHIRT!"

I took my pile of Marie Sharp’s to the counter at the hot sauce shack, “Can I put this down here?” I wanted to shop a little bit more.

As far as I can tell, the hot sauce shack is run by a Korean husband-and-wife team. A mean old Korean husband-and-wife team. And a grandma. Mean, old Korean grandma. I’ve only been a few times, but they are very grouchy.

“Sure,” she said. Warmly even.

She seemed to be in a good mood, so I decided to take the risk. “What are you feeling these days?” I asked. “What do you like?” The place isn’t that big, but when you consider that it’s filled with tiny little bottles of hot sauce—most less than five ounces—it’s absolutely enormous. But past visits had shown me that this lady seemed to know about the contents of every bottle on her shelves.

She smiled at me and ducked under her counter. When she came up, she was holding a half-full bottle of Marie Sharp’s—her personal bottle of Marie Sharp’s. She slammed it on the counter next to my pile and smiled again. "You're done shopping," she seemed to say.