Friday, November 18, 2022

First post since Valentine's one

 First post since Feb due to 1) desire to avoid whatever the hell is going on on twitter 2) in office and it's kind of a quiet day and I have many projects to avoid

This profile of the playwright Will Arbery is gorgeously written. I am excited that Capital Stage is staging the only play of his I've seen (online, early pandemic) "Heroes of the Fourth Turning". 

I recently returned to CapStage for (I think) first time since pandemic, unless I am forgetting a play. I went to see Gloria, which I knew was about a New Yorker-style workplace and I was like "right up my alley" but then there is also a workplace killing which shocked me. I had not seen the prominent "this play contains gun violence" sign at the entrance. It was an ok play, and now I have seen 2 OK plays by this same playwright at CapStage (the other being Octoroon). Octoroon featured an audience participation slave auction so that was one of the cringiest moments I've maybe ever had in live theater besides when my phone range during The Seagull.

I won't post too much about movies because that's all I ever do but I'm pretty excited about all the movies that came out today. I think I'm going to see The Menu today, but I also want to see She Said, Armageddon Time, You Resemble Me, Bardo, and Banshees of Inisheran. Of those I expect I won't like Armageddon time and Bardo, but WE SHALL SEE.

I'm excited that there's another Magic Mike next year and it's directed by Soderbergh. 

Where are we all at with remote work? While I would jump at the chance for 100% remote, I have reluctantly returned more often to the office lately and I'm adjusting. The chance of some WFH makes it more bearable, and I think my workplace is never going back to that mindset that you sit in your office from 8-5 so that people know you're working. So the flexibility that offers (for instance, working from home for a bit in the morning, then heading in) helps as well. Little things make a big difference. It is ridiculous how much satisfaction I am getting from having set up a tea area (with vintage tablecloth) and that some of the students I work with are using it. I'm still just mostly zooming from my office though, but trying to not think about how it's silly that anyone cares where I do that from.

I like to text NH when I'm up very early reading the comics. I know she will always be up before me and will appreciate anything comics-related. This comic is disgusting on (at least) 2 levels
Not dying, indeed living, if not your best life, A life, is excellent, but one consequence of longevity is that you live to see things die, fail, go away etc. And one such thing is the motherfucking print edition of Parade Magazine noooooo!!!! Where will I go for my mild celeb interviews? For the advice of the smartest women in the world (TM) Marilyn Vos Savant? Founded in 1941. I will not be seeking it out online. This is sad. 
This is the horrible creep that home-invaded a neighbor and she is still trying to bring him to justice, vigilante or otherwise. If you see him around for real call 911 and you can hit me up for more info. He deserves it, he tried to home invade her neighbor as well. Boulevard Park area. At least text me with info on his whereabouts if you don't want to call the police. His name is Jesse. Yes, that is the awesome flier I designed before we knew he had actually done the main crime. Graphic design is my passion.

Tuesday, February 15, 2022

Oakland for my Valentine

 I got a cute AirBnB in Temescal for 3 nights and smiller joined me Friday.

Started out Thursday by breaking the bank at Snail Bar, both on fancy snacks and then I took 2 bottles of wine home too. So worth it though and I don't do much at home in Sac. Snail Bar is super popular but I knew as a solo at 5 on a Thursday I'd be fine to get a spot

Started with oysters, the wine is the Mosse chenin blanc. I bought a bottle to take home and also bought a bottle of their grolleau 

As I sat I listened to what seemed like a first date where a guy told his whole life story. Quote, "having sex at burning man is actually very hard, because everyone is gross"

Then I got the snails, cuz it's snail bar and ya hafta. They were buttery of course and chewy, the best touch was the slice of lemon zest. I loved these snacks but def one of these two dishes messed my stomach up for days. I tried to blame Burgers N' Brew, where my boss dragged me for work, but since I got an Impossible Burger there, I'd say the oysters are the most likely. Are you interested in my intestines??

I schlepped from Snail Bar to Redfield cider bar on College with two bottles of wine  in my giant tote. I had a glass of Dupont cider at Redfield, and then headed to Ramen Bar. OMG their ramen is so good. This is the smoked duck and it's so smoky and maybe the best part are on the left there the slices of sunchoke. Unexpected and fucking great!!!
In the morning, since I had Friday off I knew that was my chance to try Boichik bagels with likely a minimal line. I was right. Biochik was interesting. Very firm, very glossy. I was slightly put off by the fact they recommend you order untoasted (uh, no) and I can't say it toasted up well when I got some for the second day. Also, they push whipped cream cheese on you (uh no yet again). I liked Boichik, maybe not a love affair.

Sunday I went to Beauty's Bagel, which I know is now Wise Sons. I figured since it's not cool anymore it probably wouldn't be that busy and I was right. I got the sesame to go and they are still good, not detectably different from when it was Beauty's. Perhaps they kept their recipe.

On Friday we had a res at Belotti on College. Still mostly outdoor dining so that jankness of the sidewalk and lighting of the streetlight was not the most romantic. They don't have any type of patio. It was so dark that an elderly guy tripped over the heat lamp and the table of youngs next to us turned on their cell phone flashlight and just set it face up on their table to be able to see their food.

Nevertheless, the pasta was super good. Polenta stuffed tortelli with a thyme and rabbit sauce!!

I wish I would have taken more pictures! We had a lot of fun around Lake Merritt, including at the bonsai garden area.  I am out of practice taking pics cuz of not having much to take pictures of usually.

Really good beers dranken: a dank West coast IPA at Temescal (dank beers and I are having a moment), not great brews at Wondrous Brewing company in Emeryville including a pilsner that somewhat offended me, De Garde Midi Brais at Redfield (tasted like the poor man's Cantillon Saint-Gilloise)

Oh yeah, and ate at Tacos Oscar, I got the fried egg taco that is an oily mess in the best way, dripping with salsa macha, and the chicken with guajillo. I can't wait until Tacos Oscar opens their side area back up, but I am glad they have seating in the front now. Last time I ate there I crouched on a curb.

Monday, January 31, 2022

Should I change blog title to heckamovies?

 I watched Bergman Island. I wanted to see the internet's boyfriend this Scandinavian guy who is a working doctor and also in this move and Worst Person in the World (which is supposed to come to Tower but I'm not holding my breath). He is indeed handsome. Bergman Island reminds me of a movie I love, directed by Joanna Hogg, called Archipelago, which is about privileged people vacationing in an island-type setting but still not being that happy and riding bikes around. But Bergman Island throws in lots of Bergman discourse and a movie-within-a-movie (with some sexy sexy scenes with the Dr.) and has some fuzzy ideas about art and marriage. I enjoyed it, it could have been a bit shorter (as most movies could!). I really want to visit the Bergman Island, except it's overtouristed by Bergman nerds so probably a nearby Swedish Island would be better.

I was reading about it after I watched it, and it turns out that Greta Gerwig was cast in the wife role, but dropped out, and instead it was Vicky Krieps (so memorable from Phantom Thread). I think this movie would have been terrible with Gerwig in it. I like her a lot but she doesn't exactly disappear into a role. Then I was reading what she is up to and she is writing and directing the Barbie movie with Margot Robbie and Gosling as Barbie and Ken. This sounds like a terrible idea.

I also watched A Hero, directed by Asghar Farhadi, who directed A Separation, which I've never seen but I know a lot of people like. A Hero is grueling to watch, it has shades of Bicycle Thief (I think, but I haven't seen it in 20 years so I could be wrong about that). It factors in social media in a deft way that will age well since no specific platform is mentioned. The star Amir Jadidi is so good, he does amazing things with a melting smile and duplicitous eyes. It's interesting to see home and business scenes in contemporary Iran.

Wednesday, January 26, 2022

Glengarry Glen Ross and a bad back

I threw out my back. I know, "fascinating" you think, "tell me more". I think it is funny that I did whatever I did (sprain? strain?) when I was bending over to wipe my drool up off the floor of the UC Davis gym because I was filling a tube for my COVID spit test. I've gotten like 80 tests and I've never drooled. I must have been really hydrated!

Anyway, I almost audibly heard a "sproing" in god knows what muscle, above my butt and pretty quickly it became painful and scary to sit down or stand up. Walking was fine but changing positions was hard. I went to see Parallel Mothers at the Tower after work and the getting in and out of the car sitch was tough.

I liked Parallel Mothers, I don't think I love any Almodovar movie. I just do not vibe or relate. My fave was probably that recent one with Banderas subbing in as elderly Almodovar (with back troubles!)

I had to call in sick to work the next day. Luckily, I had a million muscle relaxers from old injuries because docs give those things out like candy. After the one day I could work but not much else. It's been 8 days and I am really hoping I can go for a short run tomorrow.

I still managed to go see The Lilies play at the Starlet room (is that what it's called?) and that was fun despite being masked. It is easy for me to resist drinking when there aren't good options.

Me and Smiller watched Glengarry Glen Ross last night because he had never seen it. I think it holds up! I still love it. It came out in 92 and I'm pretty sure I saw it in the theater. It hits different after you've worked in the office. The Ed Harris character reminded me of a guy on my team who never stops complaining! It's like dude there's the door you are free to go. Even though women's stories interest me more these days I can still appreciate this movie and revel in the masculinity, swim in the testosterone, luxuriate in the hairy posturing.

The topic of GGR came up because I watched House of Games the other night. So good! I love Mantegna, and I can never not picture him as the Simpsons character he voices (also love him in Criminal Minds!) I didn't know that Lindsay Crouse is Zosia Mamet's mom, I thought it was second actress wife. No shade on short hair at all but I think that is one of the least flattering cuts of all time. It is flowbee material. I love her all beige outfits however. I have a goal to do more monochrome dressing, but I don't know how to get the tights shades matched (also I barely go anywhere so not much opportunity to work on outfits or show them off)

Thursday, January 06, 2022

 Glad I can at least crack myself up with the banner photo. Every time!

How to stay sane in the current times??? Reading (Eve Babitz, Hilton Als, Gary Shteyngart currently on rotation with New Yorker of course). No Didion read or planned to read, and I'll leave it at that....

Cooking: Japanese beef curry. All ingredients from Oto's, which was bangin' around New Year's. I used the curry roux blocks rather than making my own from S&P curry powder. Those are the traditional pickles to serve with (fukujinzuke), which of course Oto's had. I've had curry at restaurants but don't recall having the pickles before. Served with a 12 degrees from Urb, so good! A surprise to me is that most curry recipes have a grated apple in there, but it lent a really good sweetness to it. I want to make it again with chicken katsu.

I also nixtamalized and ground the last of my corn I bought from LA boutique corn vendor Masienda in early pandemic. It was a relief to finally use it all because I won't be grinding my own corn anymore until I find a better corn grinder than the La Victoria hand crank one. It just doesn't yield pliable tortillas. But I have masa flour from Bob's Red Mill and a blue corn flour from Masienda right now so I'm good. I also made handmade flour tortillas the other day. Those are easy and really good. I made the mole amarillo from the recipe from La Guelagetza but now I'm realizing that their recipe is maybe weird (it is certainly hard to follow!), nevertheless it was quite good. Hard to argue with fresh ground spices (like oregano, allspice, cumin) and dried guajilllo chiles as a base for anything. Did not snap a pic of my handmade tostadas with mole amarillo as the roughly ground corn made them kind of  ugly.

This was the best sweet thing I ate. The last couple of years Smiller's mom has been gifting me a panettone for Christmas and I've been making French toast out of it. It's insane

Monday, January 03, 2022

Final PTA post Do I Like Licorice Pizza with spoiler for the ending

M.R. had warned me that LP didn't have much of a plot: "it's a vibe" in his words, so I was prepared. Let me start with the fact that the ticket at Tower was 17 BUCKS!! Is that because it's 70 mm? Also, no previews, so we missed the first five minutes. Is there an awesome credits/title sequence? IDK.

Once I accepted that I had missed the beginning of a movie which has only happened to me once in years and then only because I had the start time wrong, I settled in for the Haim-ish ride. Get it? Haimish? (that's a Yiddish joke). I greatly enjoyed it, although it really felt like a cross between a Wes Anderson and PTA film at times, what with the precocious kids and on-screen theatricals. 

The only truly bad is the really stupid Japanese accent parts, which were very jarring and also had a dumb "payoff" punchline. PTA has said that his Japanese step-mother-in-law has had the experience of people speaking English to her in a "Japanese" accent, and well, maybe? I'm not sure I buy that but that part still should have been cut. I'm sure some far better scenes were left on the cutting room floor. In it's WTF-ness it did authentically feel like a scene from a 70s or 80s film but so what not worth it.

Alana Haim is as dynamic as everyone says and there are so many just beautifully shot scenes. Most of the cameos are really good (Sean Penn and the casting agent come to mind, could have done without the B. Cooper) and again, their randomness lends itself to the 70s shaggy filmmaking vibe. It's sweet and funny. The 10 year age gap does not bother me as it's not realistic that they would be together, so I choose to disregard any conclusion from the ending that they are going to be and think that the kiss was a fluke. 

The music was mostly apt for the scenes. Bonus for making me be like "this is a great Doors song" and props for Smiller for instantly naming it as Peace Frog. Also love to hear Barabajabal in any context. Or to have an excuse to say it, or to get it caught in my head.

I fully applaud PTA making it so that he could hang out and pay tribute to where he grew up/lives and to cast friends. I saw the budget was a surprising 40 mill (I don't really follow the movie biz so maybe that is not surprising?) and as of a couple days ago it had made 6 mill despite really wide release so I think it's not going to be considered a hit.

In conclusion, for my college application essay: I do very much like Paul Thomas Anderson.