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Thursday, January 19, 2006

Silver Linings Out The Yin Yang

It's been raining a lot lately. Cold rain, no less.

However, I firmly believe that behind every cloud is a silver lining - almost as much as I believe that behind every comet is a space ship.

Just kidding.

Yesterday, silver linings ripped and tore through this bleak weather like a piss-drunk circus clown and I for one am enjoying every minute of it. The least of which happens to be the sudden and miraculous appearance of a taco truck 2 blocks from where I work. And while the San Buenas taco truck isn't the best one I've been to (that would have to be here), at $1.50 per taco it does the trick. I can't wait to try the tortas!

As if Our Lady of Guadalupe herself was casting miracles right and left, notorious Mexican-American scam artists Anna Ayala and her husband Jaime Placencia, aka The Chili-Finger couple, were given maximum sentences yesterday for their role in the plot to bilk Wendy's out of millions of dollars.

Not like I cared that they tried to scam a big fast-food corporation, but Wendy's was but just one of the victims Ayala and Placencia had swindled over the years, including selling a house they didn't own, failing to pay child support, and using their own children in a Social Security scam.

Ayala and Placencia were sentenced to 9 and 12 years, respectively, and it pleases me to no end. In fact, I hope they fucking suffer.

Actually, I know they will, because one year in prison can be pretty damn traumatic. I'm one of those people who don't believe prison makes bad people better, only better people bad and bad people badder. I have no illusions about the so-called "rehabilitation" system. I know it's only to punish, and sometimes to torture.

Which is why I know the Chili-Finger couple will get their just desserts, and to be brutally honest, I'm looking forward to it.

Generally, I don't delight in the suffering of others. But then there are those times when I could just dance on someone's grave. Maybe this has to do with gender because, oddly enough, as soon as I read the Chili-Finger couple story, another news item caught my eye; this one regarding gender and what you and I know as "schadenfreude", or the delight in the suffering of others.


Anyway, like I said: silver linings everywhere.

I even got cruised while waiting in line at Starbucks! That almost never happens, or at least hasn't in a long time, or at least I haven't noticed if it has.

With the rain comes mushrooms and yesterday I walked to the Ferry Building in the pouring rain to buy Chanterelle mushrooms at Far West Fungi. They seem to be the only place around that has fresh chanterelles, and at $20 per pound it's hard to complain. I say that because half a pound of chanterelles is more than enough to flavor a dish.

I happen to be using them to flavor a duck breast recipe (more on that later). I find it hard to walk past Far West Fungi because, every time I do, I feel the need to spend lots of money on mushrooms, and while I love mushrooms, I just can't seem to break free and buy the ones I want. But if I were a rich man ("Ya ha deedle deedle, bubba bubba deedle deedle dum"), I'd be swimming in lobster, oyster, porcini, morel, chanterelle, and of course truffle mushrooms, all from Far West.

Being at Far West Fungi reminded me: I should stop by Frog Hollow Farms, which is a couple of doors down, to see if they have dried apricots. They did – organic, sun-dried, wholesome, of course. I couldn't resist sampling some once I bought them. They're a little harder than the ones I've tried before, but very flavorful.

After I left the Ferry Building, I headed in the direction of the taco truck, which guided me past the park I call "Justin Herman Bog", or just "the bog". It's a bog because, like Sydney Walton park, it's built upon landfill where the bay use to be and, at certain locations near the center, is saturated with water constantly due to poor drainage.

As I walked by, I noticed these nice looking birds that at first I thought were pigeons (aka "City Chicken") but only less grungy and pest-like. I'm not usually a bird watcher, but sometimes I get the bug and just have to stop and admire them. In this case, I walked closer towards them and took a photo.

As I was stepping out of the park, what did I come by but a full-fledged, shaggy-mane mushroom! This one was about 8 inches long and every bit as phallic as that sounds. Take a look!

As you may or may not know, shaggy-mane mushrooms are one of the easiest edible mushrooms to identify, that is if you get to them in time. Because almost as soon as it begins to rain, they spring up quickly and forcefully, and almost as soon as they do, they begin a rapid process of decay. Often they are completely gone before the sun sets.

So did I pick this one? You bet! And was I going to take it home and eat it? Hell yeah!

Foolishly, I thought I could. I put it immediately in a plastic bag and stuck it in the refrigerator at work. By the time 3 PM rolled around, it was almost completely black and inky. Damn! The stem was still good, so grabbed me a nibble and tossed the rest in the garbage.

It reminded me of my other mushroom find this year. This one happened a month ago and I happened to find it in a wooded area outside of the building I work in. Imagine my surprise when I found two of these beauties.

Did I pick it? You bet! Was I going to take it home and eat it? Well, maybe.

I might of, but Speedball (El Gato Diablo) got to it first after we had left to go to the store. When we got back, on the floor it lay with a little strip of it torn off, and likely eaten.

Speedball, aka "El Gato Diablo"

I'm glad it didn't kill him. Or that I didn't have to call Rock Med.

That was a silver lining. And today the weather is sunny and beautiful.

Life ain't so bad sometimes.



Blogger drbiggles said...

Heh, I can't tell whether Speedball is/was happy or not. Looks like fun though.
I was so glad to hear the Chili-Finger couple got it and got it good, pinheads.


2:33 PM  

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