“Life should not be a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside in a cloud of smoke, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and loudly proclaiming “Wow! What a Ride!”
― Hunter S. Thompson, The Proud Highway: Saga of a Desperate Southern Gentleman, 1955-1967
“Even bad coffee is better than no coffee at all.”
I had a tough winter – my allergies, despite my best efforts, knocked me out. The worst part of it was I have not been able to ride my bike as much as I wanted to and have lost a lot of fitness. So now I’m working on the long road back.
One thing that I have found is that I especially enjoy riding my bike if I have a destination. It’s no good to always be riding to a store or a restaurant or a brewery… so sometimes I create my own destination. For the three day holiday weekend I decided to get up as early as I can (which is not always particularly early), pack up what I need, and then ride out to some spot where I can stop for coffee, breakfast, read my Kindle, and maybe write a bit. I decided to ride my Xootr Swift folding bike – it is perfect for short rides.
I didn’t plan on riding very far, maybe five miles or so around the ‘hood, the weather is already getting hot, the wind hard from the south – but otherwise it was a beautiful day.
The only problem with this plan is the amount of stuff that I have to put together for such a simple thing.
- Thermos of coffee
- Bottle of iced water
- Breakfast burrito
- Fountain Pen
- Cycling Glasses with mirror
- Reading glasses (my cycling glasses aren’t bifocals)
And it goes on and on. It took a long time to get everything ready… too long… and I forgot some things. So now, I make a checklist, make a pack with what I can put some stuff together ahead of time. The best part, though, is to plan where I’m going tomorrow morning.
Welsh rarebit with a poached egg on top. Bacon. Scones, butter, cream, jam. A pot of Lapsang souchong tea…. And some sausages.
—- Reynolds Woodcock, Phantom Thread
One of the ideas that I had when we decided to Cut the Cord (eliminate cable television) is to rent movies from the library. Free and easy. Our library has a huge selection of DVDs – movies on the ground floor and instructional/educational on the third. I see people, especially families with children, checking out monstrous piles of DVDs – I don’t know how they can watch that many in the seven day allotted period. I used to check out movies, but haven’t in a decade or so.
I can’t believe that I hadn’t seen Phantom Thread yet – a variety of reasons, mostly related to sloth in its various forms. It’s been a year. But as I was at the library on the last day of 2018, returning a stack of books, I looked along the long rows of DVD offerings (shocked at how many I had already seen) until I chose Phantom Thread. It’s Paul Thomas Anderson’s latest film and Daniel Day-Lewis’ last. It was in the running for a number of Oscars – and I don’t give a shit.
I’m a big fan of Paul Thomas Anderson. His work is a gift to the world.
Phantom Thread was reviewed better than his last full film, Inherent Vice. However, I loved Inherent Vice – of course, if you didn’t like it, or you think it was a piece of crap… I won’t argue with you. Paul Thomas Anderson does not know who I am – I have never met him and never will, but somehow he made a film, Inherent Vice, for me individually. If he scanned my dusty noggin and extracted whatever is in there and then made a movie that would resonate… it would be Inherent Vice. Well, actually it would be Gravity’s Rainbow, but it’s impossible to put that on celluloid or nitrate or bits-n-bytes. Inherent Vice is as close as you can get in the real world.
So, I pulled out the DVD player, blew off the thick layer of dust and plopped the library disc in. It took some playing with the various remotes but I managed to get it to play in surprisingly good quality. Excellent film – really needs to be seen twice because, like all truly good films, the first time through you sit there going “What the fuck is this?” Once you realize it’s a twisted rom-com you can enjoy the belly laughs.
I’ll let you enjoy the humor of a persnickety and slightly effeminate dress designer of a main character with mommy issues and surrounded by women (customers, seamstresses, and his sister) lugging the name Reynolds Woodcock around London. Chekhov’s gun makes an early appearance in a book about mushrooms. And the surface beauty masks the perverse melodrama simmering underneath.
So now – a trip back to the library and the return chute and another walk along the DVD aisle. I can’t plan ahead because the films churn quite a bit. Old-School baby!
Lee and I were driving downtown yesterday, later than I had wanted to go, it was Texas nuclear hot, and nobody had eaten. Lee announced that he had to have something to eat before we went to the Nasher. When a college boy says he has to eat, he has to eat.
I threw the criteria in to my head…
-We were headed downtown (not a lot of action downtown on the weekends – shame on Dallas)
-We were in a hurry (no sit down restaurants)
-No chain-type fast food (general rule of mine, whenever given a choice, I choose local, privately owned – have to support the peeps)
I did not have much of an idea until an old, musty memory came bubbling up. I was at the Dallas Farmer’s Market, buying vegetables, and I saw a Taqueria in a run-down stand right in the middle of things. I remember wanting to eat there in the worst way, but we had other plans that day.
Tex-Mex is not my favorite, but I love Taqueria food. Incredibly unhealthy, probably not too sanitary – but fast, spicy, and good. What can be better?
“I think there’s a taco stand in the Farmer’s Market, Lee. It’s not too far from the Nasher, can you handle that?” I said to Lee.
“Go for it,” he said. So I exited on Good-Latimer and threaded my way through the giant glass canyons of downtown to the Farmer’s Market.
The place was hopping. The ragged field that serves as a parking lot was filling up – groups and families were wandering around with bags of vegetables, flats of bedding plants, and carts with Mexican clay pots and sculptures. A street musician was playing wildly inappropriate music (I have never heard Steve Miller’s Swingtown done by a busker before) and they were setting up a stage for a cooking demonstration.
I love the Dallas Farmer’s Market and am glad that it has become so popular (at least on a Saturday morning). I’ve been going there ever since I worked downtown twenty years ago and would walk over for a bag of tomatoes before taking the bus home to Lower Greenville.
It has grown quite a bit since then – the area is now surrounded by condominium urban-hipster type developments and the city has built a new air-conditioned “shed” to accommodate more retailers than the traditional farmers and wholesalers that still line up in the lines of stalls in the old open sheds.
We walked up and in front of the new “Shed Number 2” was, sure enough, a run-down, rounded, concrete building with a sign that said, “La Marketa Cafe” and a big, hand-lettered menu board.
I asked if it was still early enough for breakfast and it was. The menu was complex, but we quickly settled on tacos and burritos – corn and flour – and the options:
“Two tacos, one corn, one flour, one sausage, one beans&cheese, one burrito…, bacon and two bottles of water.”
I had to repeat it twice, but I didn’t really care if they got it right. It’s all good. They asked if I wanted “everything?” and I said, of course, “Sure.”
The food wasn’t very fast (there were a lot of people ordering and waiting), but it was very, very good. Large, full of eggs, onions. and peppers and “everything.” The best was the sauce (that’s the most important thing isn’t it?). Two paper ramekins – one with a hearty red, the other a wonderful spicy guacamole (I hate wimpy guacamole).
La Marketa Cafe (I have no idea where the Cafe come from) has now risen to the top of my extensive list of approved taquerias.
Now I want to go back, early, when there is a little cool morning air left wafting around, have some tacos, watch some people. I might even pick out a bag of tomatoes before I go back home.