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6:04 p.m. - 2010-09-19
Tempura and Vintage VW

Hee! Guess I loused up this month's karma. Oh well. In the words of the fabulous Curtis Armstrong, 'Every once in a while you gotta say, "What the fuck."' And let off some steam.

Anyhoodle, it's been an otherwise decent weekend. Hondled with the ex to have the kid for the last night and into today. Mick and I had a Date Night. He hied me across the river for dinner and a movie. The dinner was a lovely meal at a new-to-us Japanese place. Definitely going back. We didn't have any sushi, though the stuff the sushi chefs were rolling looked good. Stuck with miso and tempura, my absolute favorites. Every time I think I've nailed making good tempura at home I have some real tempura and realize I ain't never gonna master it. Oh well, I do other ethnic cuisines just fine. And besides, it gives me a good excuse to keep going out for Japanese.

The movie was 'Easy A' with the fabulous Emma Stone. Like my meh homemade tempura I think most dyed red hair looks pretty good. Until I see a real redhead. 'Luminous' is the only word. Though they are nothing alike physically, Emma Stone puts me to mind of Queen Latifah. Something about both of them which is very likeable, even if playing a stinker. Certainly 'Mama' Morton was a baddie but I liked her anyhow.

'Easy A' was okay. A bit confused about just how much of a satire it wanted to be. Also I'm sure most of the film's sly references to the classic and iconic teen comedies from the 1980s shot right over the target audiences' heads. Most of the patrons in the audience weren't even born yet when Lloyd Dobler stood in the rain with that boombox, but there it was. Updated for the new millennium, of course, with an iPod and plug-in external speakers. I found it amusing. As were the other bits about 'Sixteen Candles', 'Can't Buy Me Love' and (no duh) 'The Breakfast Club'. The movie is supposedly a very casual and loose re-telling of 'The Scarlet Letter' but it was more an homage to Crowe, Heckerling, and Hughes.

Today Mick let me sleep in as late as feasible, but eventually had to wake me so we could get ready and go. Destination? HERE, the All Air Cooled Gathering. Vintage air-cooled VWs out the wazoo. In a nearly impossible to find, but nice venue in some forgotten corner of New Jersey.

Vintage Volkswagen shows are weird. Oh, they're easy enough on the psyche and there's less tie-dye than you'd think, but Perverts (the preferred nickname of VW enthusiasts) are an odd bunch. Strangely laid-back (as would be expected from a gang of graying former hippies) yet also absurdly uptight and dick-wavy about the most miniscule details. Nobody but a VW Perv gives a crap about the shape of the horn grilles on a Zwitter. But amongst the Pervs the argument rages on. As do one-uppy battles about body color vs wheel color, batwing steering wheels, badging, headlight surrounds, and whether the thumb button on the optional glove box door on the '51 is supposed to be chrome or bakelite. Elderly owner's manuals and import documents are waved around and there are a lot of fake concessions like, "Well…if you're talking about the ones made for the Saskatchewan dealers, sure, but if you're looking for the Karlsruhe edition…" Sheesh.

I think the Pervs get their man panties all bunchy about this stuff because to most everyone else a VW is a VW is a VW. (To paraphrase Gertrude Stein.) Despite all the huge changes (*snort*) the Pervs like to groove on and nitpick about, to the rest of the world the VW Beetle didn't change for 70 years. You always know one when you see one and it doesn't mean doodly if it has snowflake taillights or elephant feet ones. It's still that cute ubiquitous Bug. If you're under 40 it's the car your folks drove in college and might even be in the background of your baby pictures. The ones where your dad and his absurdly bushy sideburns held you in his arms, the both of you squinting into the sun while your mom took the pic with her Kodak Instamatic. If you're over 40 you had a Beetle of your own at least once. Bonus points if yours was a convertible.

Then like the wooly mammoth, the VWs just disappeared. Rotted out. Got too costly to keep running. Were turned into art cars and dune buggies and eventually abandoned. For a while they lived under tarps or just quietly rusted away to nothing next to the shed out back. But one day they were all gone. Except for the few which were rescued, then lovingly restored and turned into museum pieces. Trailer babies and carefully garaged beauties with historical plates and driven less than 100 miles a year. Almost always to a gathering like today's. Certainly nobody is heading for the beach in their Bug with a couple of surfboards sticking out of the sunroof. Or packing the back full of sleeping bags and clothing and taking off to see America with their best friend in the shotgun seat.

More's the pity.


Beep! Beep! ~LA

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