why you puttin’ ice cream in my coffee b?

This summer in America, McDonald’s wisely courted middle class tastes by offering decent ice coffee. Way cooler than Burger King’s “apple fries,” which were actually just sliced apples. Yesterday, trying to simultaneously defeat jet lag and the heat, I stopped in Carrefour’s McDonald’s to see if their marketing gurus hit the Chinese market in the same way.

Not so much. In China, McDonald’s ice coffee follows this equation -

chocolate sunday sauce drizzled down the sides of a plastic cup
+ ice cubes
+ hot coffee from the pot
+ a giant pile of ice cream floating around the top

Aside from the chemical taste, perhaps from scolding hot coffee burning the plastic cup, Ronald and co really fucked up on this one. They took something with literally two calories, or 342 less than the next item on the menu, and warped it into the kind of creation a high teenager devises while stumbling around the kitchen after seeing pineapple express for the fourth time.

Still not over jet lag. I wish I had control over time like that boss in Mega Man II. So I’m in my new spot on the 25th floor, languidly listening to The Replacements.

The Replacements - Favorite Thing

The Replacements - Little Mascara

The Replacements – Left of the Dial

seven percent battery post

So posting faster than the dollar’s decline. Basically soaking in small town America’s slow pace now, experiencing reverse culture shock for the first time; California’s metropolises really provided a soft landing. Now I’m seeing lots of:

a) obese people

b) parking lots

c) roads + gas stations + big cars

And though not as exorbitant as California, high prices. I miss that dollar-fifty dinner of Muslim noodles with a huge plate of dumplings, all coated in chili sauce.

So how to cope? Music

Two artists today. The first I caught at Amoeba Records in Hollywood, King Khan & His Shrines absolutely tore through a [short] set, with the King donning a Darth Vader-ish mask, wandering through the aisles at the end. Think White Stripes with an Indian frontman quite serious about his King shtick and a full backing band plus a functional cheerleader.

King Khan & His Shrines – Welfare Bread

King Khan & His Shrines – I See Lights

King Khan & His Shrines – I Wanna Be A Girl

Plus some hip hop for all the heads. I rocked Beauty and the Beat nonstop when it dropped in 2005, but I never heard Edan’s first EP Primative Plus until yesterday. Still fresh.

Edan – Key-Bored

Edan – Primitive Plus

Edan – Run That Shit

back from the tenderloin

And back in LA, lounging on the upper deck of a hotel pool, surrounded by LA yuppies and their private party below, contemplating the best method of scamming some free bbq. After spending two weeks in cramped and occasionally hostile quarters with four of my best friends, I’m basically on the solo tip. On Friday I’ll return to San Francisco for ten days on my own.

My friend and I couldn’t book a seat on the Chinatown bus, so we settled for the Vietnam bus, where we munched a free baguette and dozed until arriving at a Frenchie filled hostel in the Tenderloin. Ahhh the Tenderloin. Nice people warned me of “rough characters” who bounce around those parts. Certainly shady, but much more interesting than LA. The Tenderloin feels like a grown up Sesame Street, only instead of big talking yellow birds, there’s big tall transsexual prostitutes who slang heroin. Many Oscar the Grouch types. I still have this image burned in my mind of this shaggy-haired man in rags staggering about the sidewalk, gripping his left forearm that I assume he had just injected smack into. One time this woman ran by our hostel and threw some crumbs on the ground, screaming “check out this weed!!!!”

Finally, some music…

Perhaps I’m a bit bias, because these songs saved me from hour-long Vietnamese herbal medicine infomercials on the bus, but I can’t stop listening to Shonen Knife. Just three Japanese girls playing disturbingly catchy rock and roll songs about jelly beans, elephants, and dolls in the early 1980′s.

Shonen Knife – Watchin’ Girl (Japanese)

Shonen Knife – Twist Barbie

Shonen Knife – Elephant Pao Pao

Shonen Knife – Flying Jellie Attack (my personal favorite)

Shonen Knife – Miracles (Japanese)

Also, I know someone who would dig these kicks…