Sunday, January 27, 2008

Chinese Cultural Center - Grocery Store, anyway

Yesterday I followed through on my mental plan to go visit the Chinese Cultural Center for MuthaCam espionage. I've been slobbering to shoot pictures down there for a while. Alas, the garden grounds which encircle on 3 sides a building containing the businesses was locked up, and I didn't want to shoot thru the fence. So that will have to wait. Then I tried the shops, one by one, where I was shrilly dismissed. No pictures in the shops. WHAT?!!!!! WAAAAAAAAAAAA!!! I tortured myself in the first shop by walking through it and looking at all the wonderful things I could have taken pictures of, if only. The proprietor here, a slim elderly woman with glittering dark eyes, followed me everywhere I went inside, even though I had put the MuthaCam away in my big ass purse. Roof line. Regal & Intimidating Buddha Feline sculpture. The sharp-voiced, beautiful-eyed woman who shooed me & my MuthaCam out of her shop followed me outside. There, she explained to me, in what I suppose must have been perfect Chinese, the historical and symbolic meaning of a Buddha in Feline Form. She insisted I take 5 pictures. Five. I don't know why five, but I did it - this woman was not to be argued with, despite her being half my 5'-10" height. Then she looked them over with me in the MuthaCam screen, whereupon she made me delete 2 and re-shoot them, directing me with conviction and more perfect Chinese. This is the only shot I like, though. She wouldn't allow me to take her picture. I think I got the street Chinese response to that question, if ya know what I mean. Zoe, my Cat Posse of One, assumes the Regal-&-Initimidating Buddha Feline pose atop the spare fridge in my studio. Beneath her, the magnet telling us who to call in case she overdoes it. Or falls off the fridge.
Wall art outside the grocery store. The manager of the grocery store laughed and nodded when I asked if I could take pictures inside. Then again, he was a caucasian guy about 22 years old, or so it seemed. But what I discovered when I actually DID pull the MuthaCam out is that I made the Chinese patrons enormously uncomfortable. I'm talking covering their faces and changing aisles uncomfortable, even when the MuthaCam lens was pointed at an eggplant. I have NO wish to create that kind of energy so I tucked the camera kind of under my sweatshirt and decided to pace the less-traveled aisles. The only time the MuthaCam caused an enthusiastic gathering was when I decided to be bold, take it out, and shoot the live fish in the back. But then the cluster of folks around me were all men, pointing, laughing at the way the fish became alert and active at the light from the camera. It was a gentleman of approximately 120 years wearing the coolest damn Fedora I've ever seen who insisted I take pictures of the crabs, all the while rubbing his stomach and making happy chewing gestures and noises. I KNOW I disappointed him when I didn't purchase any. I know he disappointed ME when he wouldn't let me shoot him in the awesome hat! Subtle. Delicate. Fresh. Feminine. I'll take settings for 10, please. Actually, though, Double BB and I have agreed that when we get to the kitchen remodel, when it's all over (in the year 2057 or so), we are having all white dishes. These were cheaper and sturdier than the ones we've been watching at IKEA, and I like the shape better, too. Love the shape. They ought to do bridal registries here. Egg drop soup, anyone?
An entire shelf of an entire grocery aisle of these wrapped soaps. Oh. Toni loves beautifully wrapped soaps, yes she does.

I know I thought I was done shooting produce, but then I met these veggies and decided to re-think that notion. Don't ask - I dunno. I just like the skin markings. Unidentified Produce Item. With gorgeous skin engravings. This would be the large and small version of the same vegetable which starts with a "Y" but I lost the little slip of paper I diligently wrote all these veggie names down on so I won't be able to tell you the true identity of this one I am EVER so sorry! Should I put in a call to Anthony Bourdain? This is NOT Gilligan's Ginger. Hello, Yucca. Goddess of Mercy tea. I looked up and down the tea aisle but there was no Goddess of Disobey tea. Where do I write to complain? Lovely packaging, everywhere I turned, but in particular on the tea aisle! A very crowded tea aisle! So I kept the MuthaCam under control. Meet Godfather-Guido-the-Mafia-Crab. "Yo! I dare yas to eat me. I double dare yas." These would be Guido-the-Mafia-Crab's lieutenants, Vinny & One Claw Sol. I b'lieve these are the Tilapia. Fish tacos in the BEFORE photo. Fish piled on fish. And selling like mad, I was surprised. Fresh catfish stacks. Poor swimmers, what a way to go out! Still, my mouth watered ... I see catfish and my mind goes straight to corn meal, diced jalapenos, hot Crisco, and Double BB's iron skillet cornbread. Ok, ok, OKAAYYYYYUH. I feel guilty because I've taken your pictures and now I'm just walking away. And because I EAT catfish whenever Double BB serves it up. I do! I confess!


Veronica said...

Pretty cool pictures I like you am so dissapointed that they wouldn't let you shoot inside the store. I would have paid money to see the owners telling you no no no.
I can see you now.

Veronica said...

Hey I see my box next to

Mercedes said...

I love chinese boxes too and tea, of course !! very texture pics !

~*~ Patty said...

I'm having a happy romp on your wonderful blog, thanks to Veronica and her button fairies! I love mermaids, yours is so intricate and neat with all of those buttons! These pics are amazing too!
~*~ Patty at Magpie's Nest

Blogger said...

Searching for the Ultimate Dating Site? Join to find your perfect date.