Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Highlights of my Future Vacation

Roughly 4 years ago I moved from San Juan Capistrano, California to Lynden, Washington. The culture shock of moving from the ever busy and always entertaining paradise that is Orange County to the small, primarily Dutch farming town in the Pacific Northwest was jarring, to say the least. With my family remaining in California, it has afforded me the unique opportunity to spend vacations in a part of the country that I grew up in. One of these vacations is rapidly approaching and below I will list a series of vacation things that I hope to partake in. If you're ever in the area I can recommend almost all of these on first hand experience. Just a heads up, this list will primarily consist of food and will not contain Disneyland (or the beach) because Disneyland is always the best choice when visiting Southern California.

Toast Box
In Westminster California is an eclectic, yet somehow generic Thai cafe. You can get food, bubble tea, and a number of desserts. When told that the crowning culinary achievement of this small establishment was something called "Toast Box" I was skeptical. It was described as a hollowed out loaf of bread with the insides chopped up, toasted and placed back inside the empty husk and drizzled with sweetened condensed milk. At the urging of my mother and siblings I gave in and tried made the trip to Westminster, where they didn't place a loaf of bread in front of me; they placed this:
That is a far cry from some toasted crumbs soaked in milk! This thing was cream cheese frosting, ice cream, sweetened condensed milk, fresh fruit, chunks of sweet (french toast sweet) bread and topped with a scrumptious macaroon! I mean, I love my family but if this had been described to me accurately in the first place I would have spent my whole vacation in the Tebo Tebo Tea Lounge. There was so much to this dessert, and all of it complimented each other so well, it was like your taste buds are holding court to a room full of extremely polite flavors all attempting to put the others before themselves.

Korean BBQ

There are a number of places that serve Korean BBQ, and I'm not familiar with the correct term, but I'm talking about an all you can eat joint where waiters bring you whatever raw meat you want and you grill it in the middle of your table. I made the foolish mistake of ordering a rather intimidating food; shrimp. As it turns out, shrimp doesn't come to you in their perfect pink little spirals, they've got antenna, legs and scales. I had to ask my restaurant neighbors how to even begin eating the monstrosities, and by the time I was finished with them I felt like the mercenaries in District 9. I enjoyed my meal at Gen Korean BBQ in Huntington beach. It was all you can eat, but if you didn't finish something you had to pay for it. Overall the quality was well worth the price and it was a delicious meal. 
 Medieval Times

Medieval Times is about the kitschiest dinner show around, and it is absolutely fantastic. Audiences are thrust into the midst of a Medieval tournament. Seating is sectioned so each group cheers on a specific knight for the fights. The food is pretty good, but it certainly fits the theme. Within a half hour of being in the building I was tearing into half a roast chicken with my bare hands while cheering for "The Red Knight". My cheering subsided as our knight was killed in the first bout. I spent the rest of the tournament sulking and drinking pepsin from my goblet. 

Elvis!? Karaoke Studio

I cannot sing. I enjoy singing on occasion, but that will never change the fact that I cannot do it. Because of this dichotomy, I have naturally been drawn to the popular Japanese business model of rented Karaoke rooms. These are small rooms that you rent for an hour or two with a group of friends with your own private Karaoke machine. You are free to sing your heart out to absolutely any genre you want and only the people you choose need suffer through a butchered rendition of  "Pretty Woman". Elvis!? Karaoke Studio in Costa Mesa is a small establishment that offers these amenities as well as too expensive refreshments. It's not the nicest place in the world, but it's a blast with the right group of people.

End of the Line Concert

On the subject of music; a couple friends of mine have joined a band and I'm excited to get to see them in concert while I'm in town. They've thrown together a little rock band called End of the Line and they sound fantastic. Give them a listen!


Pathfinder is a Pen and Paper RPG in which the players assume the roles of various adventurers in a land of magic and adventure. If there is a token nerd character in any movie you watch it's almost guaranteed that he's into these types of games. This game is similar to Dungeons & Dragons and I can't wait to sit down and force my parents to play a session and record the audio.

Honorable Mention: Irvine Woodbridge Movies 5 is a small theater in Irvine that shows movies that are not quite on blu-ray yet for $2. It is fantastic.

I don't know how many of these I will manage to check off my list in September as I will be busy sleeping on a beach or playing board games (it's my vacation, I'll do what I want).

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Martin and the Dentist part 1

It's been a while since I've released any fiction on this blog, so I may as well start with a weird one. Bellow is a short story that may or may not become a series of connected stories about a fictional man named Martin Montgomery. I hope you enjoy the first introduction to this little personal writing exercise of mine. I would love to hear your

BONUS: Now with 2 minute sticky note cover art!

Martin and the Dentist Part 1
  The scientific, theological and metaphysical implications of a man’s emotions violently ripping themselves from his being to become sentient life forms is a disturbing and puzzling notion to comprehend, let alone see. This is especially true when those emotions choose to begin manifesting themselves the day the man in question is scheduled to have his first root canal. Curiously, this is precisely what happened to Martin Montgomery, an unassuming 27 year old young man of an utterly dull mixture European descent and a hint of Japanese ancestry. Consequently he is completely unaware of this dash of Asian flavor to his bloodline. Like a large number of young caucasian men, he simply attributes his love of Japanese animation to some sort of pretentious notion that the Japanese animation film industry is lightyears ahead of the western industry in both style and story structure. Even comparing the two industry makes him chuckle smugly. He is mistaken, he likes it because it’s in his blood.

Martin enjoys the thrill of going to the dentist as much as the next guy; which is to say he enjoys it less than the notion of playing dodgeball with an irate pufferfish, but he wouldn’t mind giving Waterboarding a go if it meant skipping a trip to Dr. Brenton. Nevertheless after foolishly reading health consequences associated with NOT getting a much needed root canal on WebMD, he opted to subject himself to one of the last legal forms of torture in America.

The morning of his appointment, Martin’s day was indistinguishable from the previous 345 days (not counting weekends, of course). It’s all the usual rabble you see in movies. Picture a montage of a man observing his disheveled self in the mirror. His hair is laughably (not to the audience, but probably to the writer of the film) messy, he yawns exaggeratedly and begins brushing his tee- no. We’re skip all this.

Martin doesn’t sit down to a nice breakfast consisting of toast and eggs with a tall glass of orange juice set next to a hot mug of coffee. This is because he’s single and he’s actually human being and not some advertisers pipedream. He goes to Mcdonald’s and gets three breakfast burritos. His impending dental procedure is going to cost him more money than he spent on his trusty Oldsmobile, so he wants to save all the money he can. This is, however, a dietary habit he unsuccessfully attempts to kick after reading the WebMD article on high cholesterol.

Martin sat in the deceptively comfortable examination chair, awkwardly facing a wall that had the nerve to exist without so much as a single optimistic poster featuring a kitten clinging to a rope. Dr. Brenton waltzed into the room, which was no real feat as the room had no back wall. each exam room consisted of three walls. Rather than erecting a fourth wall with a door in the middle, the architect must have consulted a psychiatrist who informed him that a sense of camaraderie thrives among individuals suffering similar traumatic experiences together. Now Martin could clearly hear the shrill sound of small drills boring through tooth enamel, and the sharp grunts of pain emanating from the other patients wafted through the non-existent wall and door.

Dr. Brenton was the kind of woman who knew what she wanted and when she wanted it, and she was determined to dedicate all 349 pounds of her body weight to the sole purpose of hollowing out Martin’s upper left second molar. Martin donned a pair of dark glasses in order to retain some semblance of masculinity. It was futile, the tears flowed freely. The procedure didn’t start out as bad as he had anticipated. He was less annoyed with Dr. Brenton’s thick Boston accent than he was with the frequency in which she used it to make small talk that demanded a response. Removing one's mind from a given situation is a rigorous process that takes deep, deep concentration. It becomes exponentially more difficult when your skull is in a constant state of rattling.

“You hahdly need a proerceduh this invasive” she explained, offering information that would have been far more pertinent before the drilling started. “It’s bettah to get it ovah with though. Bettah Nah than latah.” Martin would have laughed if he hadn’t been so extremely uncomfortable. The roof of his mouth was the Sahara desert, hot, dry and cracking. The lower half of his mouth however had become the Atlantic ocean, a body of water he was more than capable of drowning in. Discomfort was ok. Even drowning was fine with Martin, just so long as this professional sadist didn’t snag a nerve. Which she promptly did.

“Why is she electrocuting my head? No. Wait, she’s just lit my mouth on fire, that’s all.” Martin thought to himself as he inhaled the entirely of the ocean resting at the base of his mouth and squealed like an infant banshee who was in need of a diaper change and a good feeding. The sharp sound and sudden jolt was unexpected by poor Dr. Brenton. She had assumed that this rather masculine looking fellow in dark shades was incapable of letting out such a high pitched plea for mercy and a swift death. Because of this she, much to the relief of the furniture in question, slipped off of her stool, and drove her drill through the remainder of the nerve. Martin saw a white light, that he knew wasn’t death’s sweet embrace, but he ran to it, just in case he was mistaken.

The pain coursed through his body in a way that reminded Martin of his 4th birthday in which he did not receive “Homeward Bound” on VHS, except that had been a deep depression and this was something else. sheer, raw and unfiltered pain. Martin was screaming, Dr. Brenton was screaming- or cheering for the Red Socks, Martin wasn’t sure- and the humanoid shape emerging from Martin’s shoulder was screaming as it protruded rapidly from his body. As the pain subsided Martin’s screams grew louder, fear replacing pain. In the corner was Dr. Brenton laughing at the scene, primarily due to the large amounts of Nitrous Oxide she was forcing herself to gulp down as a coping mechanism to the horror that was unfolding.

The now fully developed being plopped onto the floor of the dental office and with it plopped the remainder of that shockingly electric feeling in Martin’s mouth. The thing was no longer humanoid, it was human, a man to be exact, fully clothed in a pair of cheap gym shorts and a rumpled T-shirt.. Martin had, for all intents and purposes, given birth to a fine young man. Martin fainted and dreamt that he was staying up late worried sick about someone that was out well past their curfew.

When he woke, Dr. Brenton was white as a sheet and in a much less talkative mood. She had apparently placed the crown and finished up the rest of the procedure with no more people emerging out of Martin. As he signed the credit card receipt Martin attempted to approach the elephant that wasn’t so much in the room as it was the room itself. “What, uh. What was-”  “STAHP!” Martin and Dr. Brenton stared at each other. The procedure was the last one for the day, and everyone else had gone home before Martin was finished. It was just the two of them as the local soft rock station began it’s late afternoon “love songs” show saturated the air.They stared deep into each others eyes. Had a fully grown man not popped out of Martin and, more importantly, had Dr. Brenton been anyone else, Martin might have felt almost obligated to kiss her. However, it WAS Dr. Brenton and, though now he wasn’t 100% sure, he at one point during the procedure thought that a man just might have popped out of his shoulder.

The silence was long and uncomfortable, but it wasn’t eternal. two seconds before the bell indicating that someone had entered the office rang, Dr. Brenton went, as impossible as it seemed, even whiter. Martin turned around to face a grimacing individual that had features strikingly similar to his own and was wearing a crumpled T-shirt and black and blue gym shorts. Two words managed to escape his racing brain: “My son.” it was a stupid thing to say, honestly Martin wasn’t even sure why he said it. What he had anticipated to be a nightmare fueled by pain and anxiety was now standing before him, hunched over and grimacing. “Oxycodone.” the grimacing man replied in a gravelly voice that oozed pain. Martin began hyperventilating. He didn’t know what that meant, he didn’t know who or what he was looking at. Dr. Brenton knew one thing at least. “Hear!” she snapped, with no hint of her trademark accent. “Oxycodone.” she tossed a crumpled up prescription at the man that had just entered. It bounced off of his head and onto the ground. The man let out an exaggerated groan as the paper lightly hit him on the head. “Pick it up, will you Marty, my knee feels like it’s about to gnaw it’s way out of me.” Martin picked up the prescription and held it out to the man, wondering just what he meant about his knee. He then bowed politely to The dentist and then the man. It was a gesture he had never used before, but it seemed appropriate. He then swiftly left the office and decided to scour webMD for illnesses that affected ones memory and how exactly to contract them.