Sunday, January 31, 2016

Jong Mea Sign Sighting

June, 1982
While racking my brain for the past hour to come up with this week's blog entry, I received a few minutes ago a comment on my February 21, 2007 posting about the Jong Mea sign:

"My dad swore by the eggrolls at the Columbus Jong Mea- we would drive downtown (when I was very young) just to get them. Now get this - I live in a loft above a warehouse- The sign for Jong Mea is here!!! My landlord acquired it long ago and I couldn't believe my eyes when I saw it amongst his collection. I haven't been able to access a good picture but I will someday soon. A great piece of Columbus history I walk by every day on my way home..."

Very cool. To the person who wrote this, I look forward to the picture. For now, here's a picture of it when big sis Cindy and I graduated from Ohio State.

Sunday, January 24, 2016

Return of the X-Files

L: David Duchovny (Fox Mulder), R: Gillian Anderson (Dana Scully)
source: EW
It's been almost 14 years since the hugely popular Fox TV series The X-Files last aired. Season 10 made its return tonight. I considered myself a fan from the second season until David Duchovny left the series. When he left, so did I.

I saw both feature films in 1998 and 2008 and was extremely disappointed. I know they were written to reach a wider audience but I found them bland and unexciting, including the sexual tension between Mulder and Scully. Their chemistry was one of the main reasons why I eagerly tuned in every Sunday night.

Tonight's episode was like watching Star Wars: The Force Awakens, a reunion of old friends and great memories. Except Han and Leia are no longer together. Neither are Mulder and Scully - a disappointing development for many fans.

I'm one of the few that wasn't disappointed.

Why? It was 2008 when Mulder and Scully were together. In the real world, life happens. You can still be in love but it doesn't mean you'll always be together. Something I find achingly relatable.

And I want to see where that takes them.

Sunday, January 17, 2016

Spotlight - Thomas McCarthy

Tom McCarthy, director, screenwriter, actor
source: imdb
His face is vaguely familiar as an actor in films and TV such as "Meet The Parents" and HBO's "The Wire".

When you go to his biography on or Wikipedia, you'll mumble to yourself, "that's him?" once you read he's been a screenwriter for the Pixar film "Up" and Disney's "Million Dollar Arm".

And for those of you that are independent film buffs, you'll be in awe when you find out he directed AND wrote the screenplays for "The Station Agent", "The Visitor", "Win Win" (which I saw on HBO this weekend and prompted me to write this blog entry).

He also directed and wrote the screenplay for one of the best films I saw this year, "Spotlight", which got an Oscar nomination for Best Picture this past week.

I've been a fan and didn't know it. I've seen all but one of his directed films.

Here is the trailer for "Spotlight":

Sunday, January 10, 2016

Helping Hand to Homeless in San Francisco

Homeless woman eating lunch thanks to Tennessee Grill
Yesterday, I made my semi-monthly trek for a late breakfast at Tennessee Grill. It's an old-fashioned diner complete with counter seating and booths on Taraval Street and 22nd Avenue in San Francisco's Outer Sunset district.

As I was about to enter the restaurant, there was a homeless woman in her 40's or 50's standing outside the restaurant talking to herself. If you've lived in San Francisco long enough, this is a common sight. Most of us, including me, did the usual:  walk past the homeless person and go about your business.

I grabbed a seat at the counter and ordered my favorite, Lou's Special (an egg scramble with corned beef, spinach, onions and mushrooms). A few minutes later, the homeless woman I saw outside was inside the restaurant. She sat at a counter seat near the door, still talking to herself yet wasn't a nuisance or disrupting any customers.

The manager on duty came over shortly afterwards and started talking to her. Within a few minutes, he instructed a waitress to put in a food order for the homeless woman. When I finished my meal, I made a quick run to Walgreens across the street and saw her eating (see above picture). By the time I came out of Walgreens and headed back toward the restaurant to where my car was parked, she was gone. 

I can't remember the last time I saw a restaurant feed a homeless person on their dime. This small, but meaningful and very humane gesture didn't resolve her homelessness, nor did it provide treatment for her disturbed mental state. But it's one less day a homeless person goes hungry. 

Sunday, January 03, 2016

A New Ride - 2012 BMW 328i

2012 BMW 328i - Sport Model

New year, new ride.

After 12 years and the increasing costs to keep my beloved BMW 325i in working shape, I traded her in for a 2012 Certified Pre-Owned BMW 328i Sport Model on New Year's Day.

Certified pre-owned is like buying a used car with new car benefits. My bumper-to-bumper warranty is almost 3 years. The standard warranty on a new BMW is 4 years/50,000 miles (whichever comes first).

I'd been looking at pre-owned listings (Carfax, Carmax, True Car, Bay Area BMW) for the past 3-4 months. Like my first BMW (318ti) in 1998, finding a new BMW 3-series sedan in stick shift with a real clutch pedal were few and far between. And those I could find were limited to black, white or the occasional gray.

Finally, this past week, I found a lease return/1-owner (Carfax verified) 6-speed manual in blue and in my price range. Two days later, I made an appointment for a test drive at the same dealership where I bought my 325i. When the price was reduced another $1K, and an offer to throw in an additional $500 to the trade-in, I pulled the trigger and bought the car.

The 328i is my third blue BMW. It'll take me another week or two to get fully comfortable with the new technology (I-Drive) and features (retracting side mirrors, power controlled seats, individual climate controls, and auto dimming rearview mirror are among the few).

Can't wait to take her on my first road trip.