Friday, July 28, 2006

Dress Your Family in Fosco Couture

For you, my loyal readers and occasional sexual partners, I am delighted to offer a line of Fosco-Wear! Currently, I offer four distinctive T-shirts, but the line will expand as demand increases. Needless to say, I offer these sartorial creations to you AT COST. Please take a few moments to peruse Count Fosco's Haberdashery--where you will find surprisingly understated clothing to suit your every mood. For your convenience, a link to the Fosco Store has been added to the sidebar at the right. Thank you for shopping with Fosco!

From the Annals of Humorous Misspellings 1

I tried to use the bathroom at my favorite local taqueria today. Imagine my surprise when Edith Head walked out. But then I saw the sign and it all made sense...

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Did You Know?

Dolphins are known as the "Spelunkers of the Sea" and spend most of their days toiling in their underwater kelp mines.

Pros and Cons of The Cruz...

I've been in Santa Cruz for six days and have discovered some things I like and don't like:


  • Gayle's Bakery: especially the raspberry napoleons.
  • Surfers at Pleasure Point (see above photo).
  • Dolphins. I walk down to the beach every night, and two of the last three nights, there have been large groups?/herds?/pods? of dolphins frolicking right off the shore. I'm pretty sure they were chowing down on a colony of sea monkeys, but I can't confirm that.
  • My new wetsuit booties, purchased at the Pleasure Point Billabong. (See photo below). Now I can walk the beach without stepping on jellyfish, sharp sticks, or eel-babies.
  • The Vegetarian Super Burrito: a culinary masterpiece available at almost every taqueria I have stumbled upon. I like it best with shredded cabbage.

  • PT (aka Pacific Time). I counted: in my thirty years on earth, I have been outside of the Eastern Time Zone for about 30 weeks total--the longest consecutive period was three weeks. Naturally, my body is not quite ready to give up Eastern Time for this upstart time zone. And how weird it is to find so many telecast sporting events starting in the morning--the United States clearly runs on ET. The problem of PT is driving home my Exile from the East Coast.
  • Rolling blackouts. Just kidding--we haven't had any. Even if we did, I'm not that concerned: on Sunday, San Jose was 118 degrees, while Santa Cruz was 82. Sweet!

In Santa Cruz did Kubla Khan / A stately pleasure dome decree

Finally, I have arrived in Santa Cruz! Let the Exile begin!

The song I will sing for you now is no longer of travel, but of my new life on the Pacific Coast:

"And all should cry, Beware! Beware!
His flashing eyes, his floating hair!
Weave a circle round him thrice,
And close your eyes with holy dread,
For he on honey-dew hath fed,
And drunk the milk of Paradise."

Samuel Taylor Coleridge, "Kubla Khan"

California: The Central Valley

Because I'm a Literature type, these types of things occur to me while I'm driving. I apologize in advance.

A paean to the agricultural marvel, the Central Valley of California:

"What wondrous life is this I lead!
Ripe apples drop about my head ;
The luscious clusters of the vine
Upon my mouth do crush their wine ;
The nectarine and curious peach
Into my hands themselves do reach ;
Stumbling on melons as I pass,
Insnared with flowers, I fall on grass.


Such was that happy garden-state,
While man there walked without a mate :
After a place so pure and sweet,
What other help could yet be meet!
But 'twas beyond a mortal's share
To wander solitary there :
Two paradises 'twere in one
To live in Paradise alone."

Andrew Marvell, "The Garden"

Clearly, because it was "beyond a mortal's share" to live in such a Paradise alone, the other 2.7 million people moved here.

Did You Know?

California is the only state which does not have a permanent governor's mansion. Rather, the governor of California must constantly tour the state in a motor home, never stopping for the night in the same place twice.

California: Sacramento... The Freshmaker!

Before I left, one of my friends (let's call him Little Bear) was telling me about how much fun he had on a business trip to Sacramento. He was telling me what a cool city it was and I kept rolling my eyes and thinking, "whatever." After all, Sacramento is located in the notoriously lame Central Valley--good for agriculture, clearly, but for adventure? And, secondly, how often are state capitals any fun at all? With the exceptions of Boston, Austin, and Montpelier, is there any state capital that you would want to spend more than 5 hours visiting? I think not.

So here is my official apology to Little Bear: MEA MAXIMA CULPA. Sacramento is... COOL. (Sigh).

But not literally so. When I arrived, the temperature was 106. True, it's a dry heat--but then so is sitting in an oven.

And, I don't recommend driving there during rush hour. I think Ron Artest cut me off on the freeway. I honked and gave him the finger because hey--what's he gonna do? Hit me or something?

The most enjoyable part of Sacramento was dinner at the amazing Lucca restaurant. The food was exceptional and the prices were extremely reasonable.

Mi companero for dinner was a Guatemalan named Miguel who was painting the exterior of the hotel where I stayed. He was quite dark--clearly had Indian blood--and had that beer gut that can be so attractive on Latino men. I think he was 35, but our communication wasn't very efficient.

At Lucca, I had

  • Zucchini Chips: paper thin and lightly salted. These were EXTRAORDINARY--I am not normally a zucchini fan, but I could eat buckets of these every day.
  • Golden Chicken Risotto with fontina and field mushrooms, topped with crispy pancetta.
  • Sauteed Garlicky Spinach with grilled Meyer lemon.

Miguel had the Penne topped with roasted tomatoes, green olives, capers, chili flakes, and pangriata.

I wish we had saved room for desert, but, even without, this was the most exceptional meal of the drive. I will return to Sacramento again (and may even try to look up Miguel--I did enjoy him).

Nevada: Lock Your Love

In Lovelock, Nevada, some local government official has come up with a brilliant advertising campaign to promote the city. Apparently, all this time, my love has been locked in Lovelock--or else it should have been locked there. Actually, the more I think about this sign and slogan, the less sense it makes. It's actually pretty inexplicable, really.

Maybe this has something to do with all of the prisons that one passes along I-80 in Nevada? It certainly seems to be a very penal state (giggle). And near each one, is a sign warning not to pick up hitch-hikers. Why can't the government stay out of my sex life?

Did You Know?

At the Mustang Ranch, trannies cost extra.

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Nevada: Baby Got Basque

Elko, Nevada: home of a considerable Basque immigrant population, who arrived in the late 19th century to assist in sheepherding.

Rejected titles for this post:
Basque to the Future
Basque in Baby's Arms
Taking Basque Sunday
Basque-in Robbins: 31 Flavors
Basque-ing in Reflected Glory
Jean-Michel Basque-iat
I'm Glad to See Your Basque, Elaine. (Listen to this one--you'll be glad you did.)
You Scratch My Basque, I'll Scratch Yours

Other suggestions?

I met a swarthy Basque gentleman (not a sheepherder, but a day laborer) in a local lavatory and treated him to dinner at the traditionally Basque Star Hotel. (Scroll down for picture). A traditional Basque dinner is a treat that I would definitely recommend--especially for hearty appetites. The side dishes are all served family style and you are likely to be seated at a long table with complete strangers. The meal consisted of:

  • A glass of picon punch, which really knocked me for a loop.
  • A light vegetable soup, with cabbage, leeks, and celery.
  • An iceberg salad with a creamy garlic dressing.
  • Baked lamb--crispy and well-seasoned on the outside; moist and creamy on the inside.
  • Basque red beans
  • Green Beans
  • Spaghetti
  • French fries (in the traditional French frite style).

My companion had a fried chicken, which was also exceptionally delicious.

Overheard conversation while eating: (by a girl in her early twenties) "My life dream is to live over a bar." Fosco wishes you the best of luck, my dear!

Nevada: For One Night Only... Geechy Guy!

There is no mistaking the Utah-Nevada border. Within five feet of the border, the casinos begin: the first one you pass in Wendover (rhymes with: "Grab Your Ankles and Grit Your Teeth") is the exotic Montego Bay Resort. As you can see from the picture, it makes the Rio in Vegas look classy. The picture is a bit blurry, but that's appropriate, as my vision has been in a similar state ever since walking through this casino. I think my visual cortex has been addled.

Full disclosure: I lost $5 in 30 seconds in a slut--er, slot.

At least Celine Dion is not playing here.

Buy your tickets now: Three Dog Night is coming!

Utah: It's Salty...What Is It?

It's the Bonneville Salt Flats! A vast desert of pure NaCl. But, there is still water trapped in the crystals, creating a consistency something like a salty paste. If I was trying to pick up a trick in this part of the country, I'd be like: "Hey baby, can I smear a salty paste all over your body?" That would be a totally hot pickup line, I expect.

And yes, you can stand on it without sinking.

All along the interstate, people have pulled over and collected dark rocks which they used to spell their names (or other messages) on the white salt pallet. Of course, all of these names and messages are illegible when you're going 85.

All in all, this is a pretty trippy experience--it's the coolest thing I've seen on this drive. And I felt like I was in Cremaster 2. Except, of course, my penis is not topped with a beehive.