Friday, April 24, 2009

Los Angeles Times Tour; Four More Tomatoes Planted

Yesterday my wife, myself and my wife's cousin's daughter (? I'm bad at determining relationship chains) went on a tour of the Los Angeles Times.

The tour was donated as a silent auction item to the Larchmont Charter School last summer. My wife made the winning bid. We finally got around to making the visit.

On the way to the LA Times building we believe we saw Sandra Oh in a slightly dirty silver Prius on the 101 near Barham, heading south.

Our tour guide was a 14 year employee named Lisa Boone. She showed us around, but because of my near obsessive interest in newspapers what perhaps may have been a 20 minute tour extended to around the 90 minute range.

At one point in the tour there was the LA Times headline dealing with the Chatsworth Metrolink train accident last September. I had mentioned earlier that I was on the front page (“A1” in newspaperspeak) and that event had pushed the article back a couple of days.

Lisa: “What was it again?”

Me: “It was a tomato article.”

Lisa: (Light bulb goes on) “Oh, you're that crazy tomato guy!”

I'll never live it down.

Actually I had no problem at all with what she said, but it did give me something to needle her. Poor Lisa kept trying to climb out of her perceived faux-pas and I kept knocking her back. To my wife: “What was that first adjective she used when she realized it was me? Loopy?” Another time: “What adjective was it again? Goofy?” and so on. You get the algorithm. “... Googly-eyed?” “... Unstable?”

Actually what had happened is that Lisa had three ideas hit at once – first, that I was the guy in that article. The second needs further explanation. There was a story in the LA Times last year about making your own mulch (using hay, I believe). I kept the article for my wife and stated that we should try this during the winter. Winter came and went and we didn't try it, but we kept the article around somewhere. Apparently, the person who came up with the “make mulch on your driveway” wanted to get in touch with me and asking some people within the LA Times how to go about it (Clearly he doesn't know about this blog!). We said of course, no problem!

The third connection was that she had just tried the cracked-egg trick in a container. I interrupted her to say it's a whole egg, not cracked, and I don't do the egg trick in container plants (I'll repost this separately).

So all three ideas hit at once and to get to the other two I believed she simply said “crazy” as shorthand to get to the other two, more important ideas.

We were surprised by the test kitchen – a large kitchen area just like you would have at home, only larger – to test the recipes that go into the Food section of the paper. Also we were surprised by the executive floor – lights on, air conditioned...but no one there, no sign of life. Slightly spooky.

We met with Chris Erskine, a columnist (My wife really likes his columns) and a very sociable guy. On our way to lunch, hey, there's Mary MacVean, the columnist for the tomato article! My wife and I said hello to Mary, who was quite surprised. As I went over to give her a hug, Chris was asking us to hop on to the elevator. I didn't even get a chance to say goodbye to Mary or to explain why we were there. A literal “hug and run”.

So after we got home we planted four tomato seedlings, two in the front and two in the back. Black Krim and Babywine in the front yard, Black Krim in the “corner office” and Babywine in the “koi pond”. In the back yard we planted Turkish Striped Monastery, took out Marz Round Green and put it in a pot (Marz Round Green doesn't look good but not bad enough to toss yet) and replaced it with Plum Tigris.

I updated my on line tomato documents with these new tomatoes.

Later on we dropped the daughter off at Downtown Disney to meet with her parents and drove back, getting home around midnight. A long day.

So we had a net gain of three tomatoes in the ground, bringing us up to a total of 51 tomatoes, I believe.

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