Friday 5: Vive la Différence

From here.

  1. What’s a food that tastes completely unlike anything else you can think of?
    I suspect that one reason truffles are so dang expensive is that nothing tastes anything like them.  There aren’t any cheaper taste-alikes, so if you want that flavor, you have to pay whatever they’re asking.  I don’t even know if I really like them: all I taste is expensive, you know?
  2. What’s a movie that’s completely unlike any movie you can think of?
    Bubba Ho-Tep, a movie I hate.  Bruce Campbell is Elvis Presley living in a nursing home.  I know people who are crazy about this movie, and they’re the kind of people who would normally make me want to reconsider my response, but that would mean watching this again and I simply can’t imagine myself doing so.
  3. Who’s a musician or band you consider completely unoriginal but whom you still like?
    Well, I’m a big fan of 80s hair metal, so that’s almost a whole genre of unoriginal bands.  For me, the most emblematic of the talented no-talent bands is Poison, whom I really dig.
  4. Who or what are two people or things you keep mixing up with one another?
    For the longest time, despite having seen a bunch of each of their films, I couldn’t keep Ryan Reynolds, Ryan Gosling, and Bradley Cooper straight.  Now I’ve sorta got Reynolds separated out, but I don’t think I can say with any confidence which of Gosling and Cooper I’m looking at if I haven’t looked at the credits first.
  5. What’s something you’ll do this weekend that’s different from your normal weekend activity?
    I might see a movie in a theater, something I think I’ve done once in the past three years or so.  I’m annoyed that I haven’t made time to see more films this year, but I’ve been so danged busy.  I’m even planning to put myself to bed before 10:30 this evening so I might be able to sleep in AND catch an early matinee.

6 Replies to “Friday 5: Vive la Différence”

  1. 1. What’s a food that tastes completely unlike anything else you can think of?
    My favorite scent is Guerlain Vetiver (which is a men’s eau de toilette but I wear it anyway, sometimes layering it with an Aqua Allegoria). One day, while researching vetiver, I came across woven vetiver shades from India. On hot days, the shades are misted with water and the vetiver perfumes the whole house. Then I discovered something life changing. Another hot weather use is drinking vetiver by diluting khus syrup. So I went to a nearby Indian grocery store and bought every single bottle of syrup which in hindsight was kind of dumb because what if I didn’t like the taste of vetiver? Turns out I didn’t like it. I loved it! I even bought a CO2 tank to make vetiver soda water. Deep, woody, smoky, earthy.

    2. What’s a movie that’s completely unlike any movie you can think of?
    「狂った一頁 / Kurutta Ippeji / A Page of Madness 」1926, Japan, B&W, silent. Should be accompanied by small orchestra, a benshi (narrator) and possibly sound effects and seiyou (voice actors). Should not be accompanied by modern weird echoey music or a theremin.

    3. Who’s a musician or band you consider completely unoriginal but whom you still like?
    My favorite bands are The Rolling Stones and SCANDAL. I would consider them pretty original. I’m going to go with Goose House because I think they only do covers.

    4. Who or what are two people or things you keep mixing up with one another?
    Haruka and Haruna. Identical twins.

    5. What’s something you’ll do this weekend that’s different from your normal weekend activity?
    Went to a baseball game. Usually we have a tailgate party in the parking lot but it’s still a little too early or spring is a little too late – we recently got six inches of snow – so my friends and I met at a bar and took their free shuttle bus to the ballpark. Instead of drinking soda water as I am typically a designated driver, I had a Reuben sandwich with french fries and a martini – a double – with two olives. They even had Heinz 57 ketchup, Beefeater 24 gin, Noilly Prat Extra Dry vermouth and Mezzetta Super Colossal Spanish Queen olives! It was like heaven. I should have stayed at the bar and watched the game on TV.

  2. Hm. The Wikipedia article on vetiver says, “The syrup is used to flavor milkshakes and yogurt drinks like lassi, but can be used in ice creams, mixed beverages such as Shirley Temples and as a dessert topping. Khus syrup does not need to be refrigerated, although khus flavored products may need to be.” I’m intrigued. Going to check out the Indian market this week. Will report back, as long as it doesn’t cost whatever truffles cost nowadays.

  3. My “American name” is Veronica and my internet nom de plume is Vetiveronica. Hoping you find khus syrup and enjoy it.

    4. Who or what are two people or things you keep mixing up with one another?

    So. After deliberation, I believe I have found the “correct” answer and it’s not the Yamamoto twins.

    I own a Hello Kitty pink bicycle, a Hello Kitty pink coaster wagon, a motorcycle, a roadster, a winter beater and a Chrysler minivan. This may be confusing because when I take a different “vehicle” to neighborhood association parties, they think I am different people. For example, if I drive the minivan loaded up with sheets of plywood and sawhorses to make temporary tables for a picnic, I am addressed as Veronica and asked how my husband and children are my children doing. What? I am not even married. No children. If I have my Hello Kitty pink coaster wagon or bicycle and accessorize with matching Hello Kitty scrunchies (one for ponytail, one for wrist), I am Ronnie. If motorcycle, then Ron. If roadster, Cat. I suppose this is why you shouldn’t invite your mother to parties. Stay in your own neighborhood, mom! My real name is Katsumi. Can be a male or female name depending on with which kanji it is spelt with but pronounced the same. Kah as the sound a crow makes, tsu as in tsunami and mi, a name I call myself. Not cat – su – mee. Cat doesn’t even make sense. To add insult to injury, I am the only minority person in the hood. I am also the poor people.

    There is only one of me. I don’t know if the world could handle two. Or three. But that’s on them.

    My problem is that on the roadster, the gas tank filler is on the passenger side. On the minivan, the driver’s side. My current winter beater is a beautiful golden Chrysler Pacifica which is spending the summer hiding behind the dumpster in the parking lot where I work. It’s already been there for a month and I think the gas filler is on the driver’s side. And that’s my point. I can never remember which side the filler is on so I am always pulling up to the wrong side at the gasoline dispensing island. You are thinking, “Jeepers, Ron Ron. You don’t seem like a dumb bunny.” Oh, yeah? That is the same reason I have to make out a super detailed shopping list otherwise I get the wrong things. Unleash me in real life at the Pick ‘N’ Save and suddenly I have problems with sweet pickle relish vs dill pickle relish so I end up buying both when I actually needed neon green pickle relish for hot dogs. Grrrr. And don’t even get me started on flour.

    There is supposed to be a little illuminated gas pump emoji thingy on the dashboard with an arrow indicating the gas filler side but that would require me to wear my eyeglasses in public and that ain’t gonna happen.

    In conclusion, everyone in the world should drive on the same side of the road. Especially United States Virgin Islands. Everyone thinks Americans drive on the right. No. Technically, we drive on both sides of the road.

    What do we want? GAS TANK FILLER UNIFORMITY!
    When do we want it? NOW!

    1. The local Indian grocery didn’t have khus syrup. The woman who answered the phone seemed not to know what I was talking about when I asked. Amazon has two retailers who have it in 750ml bottles (which amuses me). One won’t ship to Hawaii and the other has an astronomical asking price.

      However, I did find recipes for khus syrup, and Amazon does have a few suppliers of vetiver at what seems like reasonable prices, considering it’s a handful of grass. I haven’t pulled the trigger yet, but there are items in my cart.

      This essay is full of very funny stuff, but my favorite is, “Stay in your own neighborhood, mom!” You’ve mentioned that you don’t have an online journal but if this is a good example of your writing, you really should. 🙂

  4. Thanks.

    I took the liberty of checking Hawaiian kakigori vendors. Uh uh. Every flavor imaginable except vetiver. And nectar. For nectar you have to visit New Orleans.

    At one point I drank so much khus that my body scent – which is naturally very pleasant (or so I’ve been told because princesses don’t perspire – we glow) – changed to vetiver.

    FUN FACT: A rose candy was introduced which perfumes one’s skin.


    A year ago I began having difficulty sourcing khus syrup. I toyed with the idea of renting a shipping container and buying khus syrup directly from India. That involves brokers and permits and licences and so much rigmarole I’d be jumping through hoops ’til the Second Coming. Maybe longer. This is not your ordinary DMV-style red tape.

    I believe I found a USA government document that limited or stopped importation of khus syrup because vetiver hadn’t been tested by the FDA for human consumption or something. I am not fluent in Legalese so I didn’t totally comprehend things. And to tell you the truth, it was kind of boring and I don’t mean in a Silas Marner: The Weaver Of Raveloe way. I would rather be subjected to the Chinese Water Torture. I would say bamboo under my fingernails but I’m going to the salon tomorrow. By page two my eyes were glazing over. All that party of the first part fol de rol was reminiscent of A Night At The Opera with Chico and Groucho “discussing” the contract. Came across the document while researching khus. Whatever you do, don’t quote me on that. I am, as they say in the business, an unreliable witness.

    Ohayo. Just as Chalkdust Octopus said, there are recipes for khus syrup not involving enfleurage or distilling. Soaking vetiver roots and simple sugar syrup. Who da thunk? And it’s not even St Patrick’s Day green!

    Or maybe no simple sugar syrup.

    Oooh. I’m getting one of my good ideas. Okie dokie, then. A martini is London dry gin, dry vermouth and an olive. Period. No vodka, no cocktail onion. Or as of lately, chocolate or Luxardo for some kind of frou frou “martini” which gets my goat. James Bond has to specify vodka martini and besides a martini is supposed to be stirred, you uncouth barbarian. Something tells me I’m going to have to come up with a name for a vetiver martini. Normally I’d say Veronica, natch, but that is already the name of my deep-fried Reuben sandwich invention (and Ronettes – the appetizer size) although it would be kind of cool to walk into a bar and order a Veronica™ and a Veronica®.

    Substitute a black olive for the green olive with pimento, add a drop or two of khus water and a misting of cephalopod ink. Voilà! Ladies and gentlemen, I give you …. The Chalkdust Octopus!

    Now we just have to figure out a way to stuff black olives with caviar.

    Kampai, y’all!

  5. I invented a drink called the Tangerinitini. It’s pretty yummy but not as manly as your idea. I’ve had squid ink pasta, but am a bit hesitant to put it in a drink.

    Still thinking about the khus syrup problem. Think I will order the vetiver grass and see what happens.

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