Liralen Li (liralen) wrote,
Liralen Li

Tommy's, OAS, and A High School Friend

We had a bunch of things planned for the 2nd of June, but whittled it down to a more manageable size when I was going a little insane trying to fit it all in.

Part of the problem was that my parents had given us two wonderful addresses in Montarey Park for Chinese bookstores that would have good painting supplies and books.  But we started in Ventura, there was OAS down in Huntington Beach, and we really, really, really HAD to go to the Original Tommy's in Hollywood. Plus, just two days ago, I remembered that a high school friend of mine, Sharon, was now living in Long Beach and I contacted her and it turned out that we could visit.

Okay... and the real thing all three of us desperately needed and wanted was to just stay at writeanya's for breakfast. *laughs* She has chickens in her backyard, and they lay these gorgeous eggs, and Jet was craving his usual "baked pancake", which is just 2 eggs, 1/2 cup milk, and 1/2 cup of flour all mixed together. Take a Pyrex pie pan, put it into a 425 degree oven, and let it get good and hot, put half a tablespoon of butter into the hot pan, leave it in the oven until the butter browns. Take it out, pour in the batter, and bake 15 minutes.

And you have Jet's baked pancake in all its brown glory. John made three of the things, and between writeanya, Maeve, John, Jet, and I we ate them all with jam, lemon juice from lemon wedges from their tree, and soy sauce. *laughs* It was all good with laughter, talking, and plenty of coffee, and well worth just sitting and enjoying for most of the morning. By the time we got rolling again it was nearly 11am and we were good and full.

So I cut it down to just Tommy's, OAS, and then getting to Long Beach in time to get a hotel and then meet up with Sharon and her family.

Tommy's is an old Caltech institution from when John and I were students there. At 2 am, when everyone was doing their homework or studying or whatever, someone would go trolling through the dorm with a piece of paper going, "Tommy's Run!" And everyone would give their orders and money, a bit more so the drivers could have a free burger, and then half an hour later they'd be back with huge boxes of greasy, chili burgers in their paper wrappers and we'd all fall to.

The chili on at Tommy's chili burger isn't like the chili anywhere else. Back when we used to buy it in the gallon mustard jars, a whole gallon of the hot stuff in plastic that we'd throw into a freezer and then fly back home for afternoon cookouts. *laughs* NOW they actually sell the stuff in official looking cardboard containers.

But it was best at the original Hollywood site, with the Caddies and the Mercedes rubbing shoulders with the pickups and Impalas, and the ladies in heels and dresses next to the night shift nurses and construction workers. We were there at 2pm and there was a line for the stand and the restrooms. *laughs* The ladies in front of me were from Arizona, and the lady driving was thrilled to find out that we were from Colorado, come here just for the chili burger. She confessed that she hadn't had a burger in probably the last year as she had high cholesterol, but was going to indulge today as she just couldn't pass up the chance.

And it was good. Good like I remembered and then some. I like my chili cheeseburger with nothing but chili, cheese, and the slab of tomato. No pickles, no onions, and god forbid, no ketchup or mustard for me. Just the Stuff. *laughs* No fries neither, just a pop on the side (though they recently changed to CUPs instead of the coolers and coolers of recyclable cans... I was sad about that a little), and plenty of paper "napkins" from the paper towel dispensers dispersed through the eating counters.

*sighs* I miss this place.

Jet eschewed the chili on his hot dog. John thought about a second burger, but he figured out he was full and it had to just be Good Enough.

From there we headed to Huntington Beach and Oriental Art Supplies. I buy a lot of stuff from them, and knew what I wanted to look at and look for. The wonderful thing was that by going into the store I was actually able to try out all the papers I'd been wondering about, and ask direct questions that I can't online. The lady there was nice enough to tell me that the Chinese-style backing paper was actually exactly the same paper as their Practice Roll, just cut larger to back larger paintings. That was really good for me to know, as up to this point I haven't painted anything larger than what could be backed on the Practice Paper. So I just bought another roll of that. The 600 inches of paper I'd bought last time has lasted me nearly five years, and while I go through it a lot faster when I'm backing a lot of paintings, it's seven dollar price tag was awfully good.

I also got all the traditional Chinese color chips and some ceramic dishes to put them into. The chips are small enough and light enough that the shipping cost on them often exceeds their cost, so it was nice to be able to buy them without having to ship them at all. The interesting thing though is that they really kind of need to stay damp. So I might have paint every other day or even every day to keep them usable shape.

The funny thing was that while I was looking at all the books, trying out all the papers, the boys found a stash of German vehicles across the alley in the little industrial park. It was a collection of German military vehicles, motorcycles, and a Unimog with a flatbed that could actually touch the ground. That was pretty amazing for them, and the first thing I knew about it was John running into OAS going, "Where is she?"

I was the only customer in there, so that was funny, and he grabbed my camera and took a bunch of pictures of the collection that was there.

So go ahead to the flickr site if you like, to see Jet and John amid lovely rare vehicle of all types. I'll wait for you here.

Anyway... from that point we headed to Long Beach, found a nice Super 8 with a pool, and checked in and used said pool to swim in for a while. The hot tub was good and hot, and the shower afterward even nicer. And we made it to my friend's house within minutes of when we said we'd be there.

Sharon and David Kumagai got married back about the same time John and I got married. They had two boys well before we did, and Gene's now a Junior in high school, and Brian's in 8th grade. I haven't ever seen the boys before, and it was nice to get to meet them finally. Gene said that he'd heard a lot about me. *laughs*

Sharon was my Maid of Honor, and I was her Matron of Honor, and it worked out very nicely for us. I'll admit that she had her Maids make far, far more useful dresses than I had for my maids at my wedding. *laughs* But she was the seamstress, and I just wanted to get married and didn't give a hoot as to the how of it, really.

The fun thing was that the minute we got in the house, it was pretty much like how it used to be, as Sharon and I actually got to be much better friends after high school and when we were both in college. Still, the conversational styles were much the same, we're both quite sharp, and it was fun to watch how she's turned her effectiveness towards motherhood and being an independent business woman. Brian was fun to meet and he was very polite and good with Jet.

We all had fish tacos from Green Burrito, and then went to see Gene's film presentation amid four other film presentations at his math and sciences high school. It was cool to see him in his element as well, and we all sprawled any which way on the concrete steps and ramps off a building to watch the films being shown on a sheet on the side of a wall.

They were quite cool to see, and made me think about what kind of films Jet could do now if he wished.

When we were done, though it was pretty late for Jet . *laughs* He ended up caroling "Are we there yet?" all the way back to their house, with encouragement and some fun phrases from his dad, David, Gene, and Gene's friend who was going home with us.

We got back to the hotel room by 9:40, and Jet finally got sleep around 10.

It was all worth the doing, though, and I'm glad we got in what we could. We're now in good shape for a pretty straight shot down to San Diego and might even go to the beach in the morning, depending on the weather and how we feel.
Tags: painting, travel

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