October 19th, 2005

1939 World's Fair

things you might like, too

School Bus Conversion
Lots of folks have converted old school buses into family campers, I'll grant you that, but not everybody does it in such a fabulously geeky way:
I decided to completely remove the flashing lights on the front of the bus. Some people have suggested retaining them as white "off road" lights but in Massachusetts I'd have to cover them with opaque covers on the highway and I didn't want the bother.

I cut some panels from the side of an old 486 PC tower case. This particular case used to be a Novell 2.2 file server. I remember marveling over the 64 meg DIMM memory that went into it when I built it. 32 Meg on each stick! Wow! It had two 2 Gig hard drives too!
The Antique Stove Hospital
Mostly I'm digging the pictures of the cool-ass antique stoves here, but I also enjoy how Emery Pineo, proprietor and restoration specialist, calls himself "Paleostoveologist" and "Stove Whisperer."

Souvenir of the California Midwinter International Exposition, 1894
Snap Shooting Around the Golden Gate International Exposition, 1939

Two really fascinating photo galleries of San Francisco expositions. The art deco shots of the '39 fair are absolutely beautiful (what is it about the undersides of large decorative arches that can twinge such a bit of vertigo in me?) May want to watch them thumbnails at work; there's a few pics from "Sally Rand's Nude Ranch" thrown in the mix, since we were all about expanding our minds in the dawn of the new age of progress and prosperity.

Werner Von Wallenrod's Fun Page of Novelty Rap Records
Just caught this one on the ol' MeFi. There's embedded audio and an annoying dancing jellybean background, but if you can get around that, you get a good sampling of novelty rap from the 80s on up. Thrill to the hilarious incongruity of old people rapping! Just imagine how many of these songs start with "I'm $NAMEOFPERSON and I'm here to say..." Though I do notice this list is incomplete; it's missing, for instance the classic "Big Butt" by Bobby, Jimmy and the Critters:
I got a big car cause my butt's too wide
My car's the one that leads to the side
Drivin down the street to the picture show
My butt hanging out the car window

...

Went to a game to see the LA Raiders
Couldn't get out of them little elevators
I was trying to get out, I was doing my part
And all of a sudden I think I had to--
go eat a hot dog
Trust me, when you're in fifth grade, that shit is high-quality.
Tom Lehrer is Smug

pho

I have never had a bad bowl of pho. I came close once, though. It was in a joint on Kneeland Street whose name I've never bothered to remember; it had a menu out front that said "Pho" and a European interior which was obviously inherited. The beef soup was amazingly greasy and coated my lips with a thin layer o' the sheen. Lip-smacking is one thing, constant lip-licking to the point of obsessiveness is another. I was the only one in the place at 7:00 on a weeknight, and my eating was constantly monitored by a fellow behind the bar and a half-hidden waitress who watched me like a hawk yet who came out only after I had shifted my empty water glass all the way around the table from the 12 o'clock position to the 5.

Even so, it wasn't bad, just disappointing. I ate the entire bowl and left the customary 20% tip, but I wouldn't go back there again.

The best pho is at Pho Vietnam on the corner of Kneeland/Stuart and Washington. There's a wonderful spice to the stock and when the beef bits are cooked in the soup, they turn out very flavorful. Pho Pasteur, the old stalwart (with a rival location on Washington) has never gotten its beef as tasty as Pho Vietnam has. Pho Pasteur keeps its sauces in a little tri-dish thingummy and often there are not enough thingummys for each table. Raiding the other table's thingummy is a common occurrence at Pho Pasteur. At Pho Vietnam, however, every table has a lazy susan containing large squeeze bottles of each sauce, plum and hot, along with chopsticks and spoons. I am sure the open-air presentation of the eating utensils has twinged many a germophobe. I don't mind cause I check.

The only fault I can find with Pho Vietnam is that their noodles swell up a bit too much when steeped in the soup for long. It's like an alarm, a Pointed Note to stop dicking around with your appetizer and finish your goddamn soup. Still, I don't mind too much. The last spoonfuls are still incredibly flavorful and delicious (and increasingly hotter as you pick up bits of the hot stuff from the bottom of the bowl) and I love walking back up Washington Street all happy and full of pho. In a younger mind I would have written "phull" but I think I'm past all that now.