Sunday, July 13, 2008

Reasons To Be Cheerful: rounding out the weekend of 07/12/08

Greetings again from Mill Valley, California!

Travels continue and I'm back, as the process of relocation and moving on past married life in Boise continues as well.

Just a couple of occurrences to note from the past few days...

1. I was given a good omen early Wednesday morning as I was leaving the Boise area;
Just after turning the car south onto Route 95 to begin the ascent out of the Treasure Valley onto the high desert plateau above, I watched as a large wolf walked out of the shadows of the canyon walls and crossed the small
two-lane highway in front of me.

At first I mistook it for a deer because of it's height and lankiness, then for a moment thought it was a coyote, but as I got closer and could confirm its size and gait, I was pretty sure of who I was looking at.
When the wolf looked over at me, that clinched it.

During the first half of the 20th century, wolves were hunted to extinction in Idaho.
They were reintroduced into the state in 1995 and have done well, but are currently in danger of being legislated back into jeopardy there. - - So I felt extra lucky to have the encounter.

2. Heat and forest fire smoke ruled the trek from Idaho to California as I contemplated whether or not I had the energy to plow through the 11-hour-plus drive in one day.

Quickly acknowledging that it wouldn't happen, the question then was where to stop for the night.

When I realized that stopping over in Reno, Nevada meant I could have both dinner and then breakfast at Pneumatic Diner, the decision was made.

Since receiving a recommendation for the hipster veggie restaurant a couple of years ago from a formerly-Nevadan friend, I've stopped there every time I've passed through Reno.

Road food can lose its novelty pretty quickly when traveling, especially in those many instances when quality and diversity are in short supply. For travelers in Nevada, it's very easy to succumb to casino buffets, generic family restaurants and fast food.

In my experience, Pneumatic Diner has consistently been a great alternative, a yummy oasis of healthy, conscientiously well-prepared food, and its appeal is not restricted to vegetarians.

The menu is eclectic and entertaining, giving the opportunity to learn about the Shredder Bazuca, Faux-nards, bayards, and slabs.

My dinner on Wednesday night included the ratatouille-pesto baguette and a piece of the no-sugar blackberry pie.
Breakfast on Thursday was their version of Huevos Rancheros (which includes hummus) and a tall glass of the Klingon Blood Wine (freshly-juiced carrot, beet, and parsley, the serrano pepper is optional).

When in Reno, Pneumatic Diner is located about 5 minutes from the strip at 501 W. First Street, though the sneaky stairway entrance to the 2nd floor restaurant is on Ralston Street, up from the corner of First.

Bring your appetite.

3. After landing the car back in the bay area, checking e-mail brought the happy news that I'd been quoted in an AP article about a group of good folks I'd been hanging with back in Boise...

It showed up in several newspapers around the country, but here's a link to it on Yahoo News:

'Music lovers rediscover the timbre of turntable'

I pop up just for a sentence or two about 3/4 of the way through, in a couple of completely disjointed statements about format changes and listening to music on old Victrolas.

The Vinyl Preservation Society of Idaho started last fall, and is a concept that's sure to catch on and spawn new chapters around the globe as people continue to discover and celebrate their
'vinyl heritage'.

Part record swap, part show & tell, part DJ night, it allows collectors and enthusiasts both seasoned and novice a place to get together and spin tunes, share stories and expertise, meet new people, and maybe do a little trading.

It's great fun, and it's probably the thing I'll miss most about living in Boise.

Follow the link to find out more about VPS Idaho.

4. - - And so, back on the horse and back to ever-watchful scrying of the upcoming and cool, I was very pleased to see that there's a new US-Region 1 DVD release coming that features several films by Finnish director
Aki Kaurismäki.

'Aki Kaurismäki's Proletariat Trilogy' box set will be released in September by Criterion's Eclipse imprint (their equivalent of an affordable 'budget' label) and will feature 3 films from 1986 - '90; 'Ariel', 'The Match Factory Girl ', and 'Shadows in Paradise'.

Like many folks here in the U.S., I discovered Kaurismäki's films back in 1989 when his first international 'hit', 'Leningrad Cowboys Go America' played here.

That rock & roll road trip comedy was aptly compared to the movies of director
Jim Jarmusch, and it opened the doors for more Kaurismäki films to be shown in American art house theaters.

Over the years I've caught as many as I could, and have loved every one of his beautifully deadpan masterpieces that I've seen.

Kaurismaki releases to DVD in the U.S. have been shamefully spotty however, so it's nice to see something emerge that can eliminate (or forestall) the search for exotic and pricey imported DVDs and a suitable all-region DVD player. (America can be so backward sometimes)

2002's 'The Man Without a Past' did decent business in this country and is available (and recommended), and his more recent
'Lights in the Dusk' can be found on disc here too, so maybe the situation is slowly changing, Kaurismaki-wise...

1 comment:

John M. said...

Best of luck with the rest of your transition. Time for a new series of adventures.

Freshly-stirred links