los angeles 2: support our tropes!

Slept late Saturday after last night’s 3 AM Xbox party, my head feeling like a pumpkin tossed off the porch by rejected trick or treaters. Greg, Kim and I head into the desert valley flatlands to Twitter-chase a couple of lunch trucks that we’re expecting will shortly pull up in front of a Vietnam memorial. The memorial is a long granite wall, tapered at each end and plopped in the middle of what looks like a dusty and barren landing strip. The place is filled with, in no particular order, veterans in Vietnam war memorabilia clothing, reservists and others in military gear, supporters of our troops (again, wearing T-shirts so you can tell), and, outside all of this memorializing, a group of supporters of BBQ, mostly Koreans.

We’re standing there now, in the shade of a lone tree just outside the memorial area, amid a passing flow of veterans and their families, awaiting the Kobe Korean BBQ taco truck and wisecracking. Us and the Korean youth brigade. It looks like we’re protesting the Vietnam memorial. We just need placards. “EAT, WE CAN!” or “SUPPORT OUR TROPES.”

Ok, truck’s here. We join the growing crowd that chases the truck around and around the parking lot until they finally get directed by the Men In Fatigues to a spot conveniently situated in the blazing LA desert sun on a dusty runway away from the lone tree where we’d been avoiding heatstroke. We huff and puff our way to a spot near the front of the line, and wait in the blazing sun. Yea, though it’s 94 degrees in the Valley, there’s no shadow of death. There’s no shadow of anything. It’s just plain hot as blazes.

The food was great. We ate under a tent where a trumpeter burped out patriotic standards, songs like America The Beautiful or You’re A Grand Old Flag, with extra notes thrown in for free. Just as we down our meal, the Hawaiian “Get Shaved” shave ice truck appears. Hawaiian shave ice is like a snow-cone in the same way that filet mignon is like a Big Mac.

It’s a very multicultural memorial. A bit of Vietnam (or rather, the complete absence of Vietnam, other than the Americans who had left some of themselves there), some Korea and a sprinkling of frozen Hawaii: a scoop of ice cream, covered in a ball of the softest, fine snow and flavored with various lovely syrups, then topped with sweet cream.

In the evening, Greg took me to Elf for vegetarian food beyond belief: spicy kale salad, a stew, and savory crepes. Everyone who worked there looked like they’d just dropped in from 70’s era Berkeley. Elves, one and all. And moments later, we were front row center to see our long-time idols, the amazing Firesign Theatre, perform bits from their classic albums of the 60’s and 70’s a few feet from us. The experience was just incredible, like having the Beatles reunite and perform 6 feet from us, only without having to bring anyone back from the dead.

To cap off the night, we went to Thai Tits for dessert. Not sure why it’s called that. Something about the Saturday night clientele. Great place for late night dessert.

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