February 17th, 2007


The Joy of Nails

Being male and chronically single has stunted my education. I've had weak, ridged, split-prone fingernails for almost as long as I can remember. 15 minutes of pistachio eating would rip my thumbnails all to pieces. My ring fingers would catch on clothing and rip the clothing and themselves. I tried every over the counter drug store hardener there was, gelatin diets and B vitamins. Nothing helped.

Finally I went to a dermatologist and she said there was probably nothing medical science could do for me - I should go to a beauty parlor that specialized in nails and get a "silk wrap".

Had I been female, I'll bet I would have known that answer or something like it 20 years ago.

Being male didn't keep me from going into the female-centric nails place - I've done a lot of theater and have bought and done my own stage makeup since I was 16 so hanging out in the women's cosmetics departments doesn't faze me.

Turns out nobody around here does a silk wrap correctly, so it turned out to only be a step in the right direction. After a week the coating would start to crack and peel, because it was just multiple layers of superglue holding a thin piece of silk (actually it looked more like a synthetic) with a thin coating of acrylic, also dissolved in superglue.

After varying levels of failures with three different nail places, Capri Spa suggested gel would be a better idea. And it has been. Gel is an epoxy which cures to a hard, clear finish under a UV lamp. It's similar to what dentists use for fillings these days. It dries clear, and looks natural. And it's hard and waterproof and lasts two weeks on my hands. It would last longer if I didn't mess with hardware all the time.

If it had not worked, I would have asked them to do a real silk wrap - using real silk (I happen to have a yard of it) and the gel instead of superglue. The silk would reinforce the gel, and help bind it to my nails. Same idea as steel reinforced concrete, only more attractive and much more shiny.

In other fashion news, I picked up my silk shirts and pants from the cleaners. She scolded me - told me she had to go over every inch with a lint roller to get the cat hair off. She suggested I get a black cat so it doesn't show on the dark blue clothes.

I also dropped off my Mexican leather jacket for cleaning and a new zipper. It's going to take 2 weeks and cost $100 or more. But there's no such thing as a heavy leather jacket like that one for less than $300. And I've only had it for about 10 years.
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Tarragon of Virtue

Went to Tarragon in Sunnyvale and had dinner there while cousin Renee and her jazz group By EAR played. I chose a table where she would not see me but I could hear them just fine. Finished dinner at about a quarter to 10, and went to the bar area to hear the last few tunes where she could see I was there. They play music I enjoy, mostly upbeat arrangements of jazz and 40's pop standards. Frank Sinatra stuff. I could easily be their vocalist.

The second to last song they did was Funny Valentine which was lovely because I had brought Renee just that. After they were done playing I gave her a heart-shaped metal container which was too heavy to be candy or cookies. She listened to hear if it was ticking. I told her to put it on a flat surface to open it, and she prized the cover up just enough to see what was inside and nearly fell over laughing.

Inside was a container of curry and rice - her "doggie bag" from last weekend which she had left in my car. And I'd also packed a ziplock bag with a quart of my home made green curried beef. She was thrilled. She loves curry, especially beef curry.

Mini review of Tarragon:
Over-priced, undercooked. Service was okay for a busy Friday night but could have been faster. The wait staff is not particularly articulate or attractive, My waiter has one of those disgusting velcro strip quasi-pseudo goatees. They wear all black. The place is ambiance central, unless you look at the ceiling and notice the shoddy paint job in a shade of puke I could not identify. Large paper place mats covered the linen tablecloth - tacky.

They only have about 8 entrees, plus four or five pasta dishes.

I had the Greek Salad, which had almost no greens, only a few olives and way too much bell pepper. Lots of feta, though. Main course was pan-seared Ahi. When he delivered it, the waited said "it looks like they nailed it perfectly". I'm not sure what they had nailed it to, but whatever it was made the inside cold and the outside tepid. And the only spice they used apparently was salt. The carmelized onion mashed potatos were good, but the broccolitos were soggy. The iced tea was Lipton's made pretty strong. Before the meal they brought bread, probably sourdough, but it was not fresh so I didn't have any. Dessert was Milk Chocolate Bread Pudding. Too much granular white sugar, no fruit (raisins, currants, apricot bits are usual). Only a hint of chocolate, and the hard sauce was non-alcoholic and kind of caramel tasting. Didn't hold a candle to what I had in New Orleans. The meal came in at $37 including tax.
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