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The Literary Exhibitionist
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02262017-02


Last night featured arguably the most shocking moment in Academy Awards history, and it happened at the very end.

For several years Shobhit and I hosted Oscar Parties, and between 2005 and 2010 the smallest number in attendance was 4 (2010) and the largest in attendance was 11 (2007). I wish I could still do that, but it just stopped happening. Of course, it was in 2010 that both Shobhit and Barbara moved away, and no matter how hard I tried, after that I could rarely get more than even just one other person to come over to watch -- in 2015 we had three, counting myself, just because both Gabriel and Kornelija came over to watch. I had no roommate at the time, as I was between Ivan and Tommy then; last year Tommy and I watched alone together at home and I didn't take any pictures at all.

This year Ivan was back, but Ivan had zero interest: when he asked if anything exciting was happening and I mentioned the Oscars, he said, "So, nothing exciting." Excuse me? Also: of all the years for someone to make such an assertion!

Anyway, I knew Ivan would not be interested in anything Oscars. The last time we hung out with Evan and Elden, we did talk about them joining us at Central Cinema for the live viewing yesterday, but they said they had other plans for the day and may not be able to make it. And, clearly, they did not. There was a brief window of hope that Gabriel might come, but that didn't happen either. So, it was just Shobhit and me.

I have no idea how long Central Cinema -- which Barbara used to work at and is all of one block from her old apartment building, in the Central District but a mere six blocks or so from our home -- has been hosting an Academy Awards viewing, but I'm sure glad we went. Even if it was just Shobhit and me in our group, I much prefer being in a crowd of people who are also movie and Oscar enthusiasts. Indeed, it made that shocker at the end all the more palpable. Every one of us was like, What is happening? Is this really happening?

Shobhit and I have watched the Oscars in a public venue once before, five years ago -- at Revolver in West Hollywood. The thing that sucked there was that the crowd was super loud and the venue did not increase the volume on their TV monitors, so I could hear almost nothing being said.

Central Cinema handled it way better, with increased volume during the telecast so it was always easy to hear, and always lowering the volume during commercials, with just a minimum of banter by the host holding a microphone. They handed out a few cornball prizes at the end. I had a great time, and fully intend to go back there again for next year's telecast. Free entry! That's way different from, say, the party at The Egyptian, with $25 general admission. (On the other hand, it sounds like their food was included in the admission price, plus a cash bar; given that I spent $59 on food and drinks at Central Cinema, I suppose the comparison is kind of a wash. Provided they offer enough vegetarian food, maybe I should look into The Egyptian next year after all?)

In any case, just a few thoughts about the telecast this year:

*Mahershala Ali's well-deserved win for Best Supporting Actor as the first award given out appropriately set the tone, before Moonlight went on to win both Best Adapted Screenplay and Best Picture. La La Land, long the front-runner for Best Picture, actually won twice as many Oscars, with a total of six, including Best Director -- a disparity that was a repeat of last year, when Alejandro González Iñárritu won Best Director for The Revenant yet Spotlight (itself winning only two Oscars) won Best Picture. I guess the Best Picture / Best Director break may be more of an increasing trend than I realized; aside from the 2006 Crash over Brokeback Mountain upset, in the past a Best Director win was a pretty reliable predictor of the Best Picture win. In any event, given La La Land tying for the record number of 14 nominations, it was nice to see the love get spread around, after all the talk about Academy members voting "down the ballot" for it -- which, in retrospect, did not give Academy members enough credit.

*The two least predictable wins of the night were Emma Stone for Best Actress in La La Land and Viola Davis for Best Supporting Actress in Fences. Everyone knew both of these things would happen. Then again, everyone "knew" La La Land would win Best Picture too, and we all know how that turned out. Moonlight's win would have been the biggest shock of the night even without the envelope mix-up. Every once in a while the Academy gets the biggest award right (The Departed, 12 Years a Slave), but I can't remember any example of it happening with an independent film that made only a few million dollars at the box office.

*Viola Davis's acceptance speech, predictable win or not, was perhaps the night's best.

*Shobhit was certain Denzel Washington would win Best Actor for Fences, mostly because of his surprise win at the SAG Awards, as actors have by far the most crossover voting body between SAG-AFTRA and the Academy. (Shobhit voted for Denzel himself.) But! Casey Affleck's win was hardly a surprise, given the SAG Awards were the one anomaly in an awards season where Casey Affleck won every other award. I was still disappointed. It turns out Casey Affleck is a sexually predatory douche and it was a kind of tough pill to swallow to see him getting rewarded. Not that it's anything new: look at the likes of Roman Polanski and Woody Allen.

*That was the only real disappointment of the evening, though, especially with Jimmy Kimmel hosting. He turned out to be an inspired choice, making it one of the most entertaining Oscars telecasts in recent memory. I loved his bits, even the snacks parachuting down from the rafters onto the audience three different times. Shobhit was sure the tour bus tourists bit was fake and with hired extras. He was wrong. I told him so last night; they would not do something that sneaky -- or if they did, they would have made it clear the tourists were actors. I could tell just watching them they were not. (The divided reaction to the bit, in which some people found it to be "classist and exploitative," was interesting. I found it delightful.)

*What more can be said of that stunning shocker of an ending? La La Land never deserved Best Picture (people insisting both it and Moonlight were equally deserving notwithstanding: that is objectively wrong), but I feel genuinely bad for its producers and cast and crew. They really thought they had won Best Picture, and even got up on the stage and had time to get in a couple of acceptance speeches before the truth came out. They were exceedingly gracious about it all. Also, it's too bad Moonlight's group got a bit of short shrift in the end, cutting into their time to give their sincere thanks onstage. Regardless, though -- and even though it was the result of an unprecedented, easily preventable snafu -- that was a moment for the ages.

real winner


I just had lunch with Jennifer and Eric! I found out yesterday, when Jennifer messaged me, that apparently her middle child, 12-year-old Chase, has Crohn's Disease. I guess her dad (Uncle Paul) has the same thing. And anyway, it meant they had to bring Chase up to Seattle Children's Hospital for some appointments today. They had two appointments with a huge gap in between, giving them plenty of time to come and meet for lunch.

Turns out the walk straight up to Mercer Street is only a couple of minutes more than the walk to the Edgewater Hotel, in the opposite direction. I didn't realize how easy it is for me to get to lunch places up there. I'll have to keep that in mind.

Eric likely would have said it didn't matter at all, but I chose a place up there so they wouldn't have to drive to far down into downtown. This cut their drive time to lunch from Seattle Children's. Also, I suggested they take an alternate route because there was this big tanker accident that literally closed a section of I-5 both directions downtown, causing huge traffic backups. I sent them the address of the restaurant I chose -- a Thai place I'd never been to called Tim Tum Thai -- but their GPS interpreted 1st Ave W as 1st Ave N, and, even though the street address was Mercer, it had them stopping two blocks away on the east side of Queen Anne Avenue instead of on the west side. (They don't often drive in Seattle and are from Shelton. Having 1st Avenue be one block on both sides of Queen Anne -- one "North" and one "West" -- would be understandably confusing.)

We got on the phone and finally figured out how close they actually were, and they finally made it over to where I was. And then we had a very nice lunch. I actually asked for a separate check, but when I tried to pay with my American Express and they said they don't accept that -- of course -- I was making to exchange it with my debit card when Eric said, "Oh let me get that." So, Jennifer and Eric bought me lunch. Both today and tomorrow, actually! Because even though I could easily have eaten that entire plate, I saved half of it. I ate way too much yesterday and was back above 146 lbs this morning. Damn it! Now I'm about to have a couple of bites of chocolate. That'll help!

They also offered me a ride back. I offered to show them the office but they declined. Jennifer said she does want to see it another time, though. "I see the pictures you post all the time." I love showing this place off. Now it's time to get back to work though.

LA Times photo

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positive energy please

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positive energy please
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Quick update!

Friday: to my genuine surprise, when I got home from work on Friday, Shobhit suggested we go out to eat rather than dining in. He suggested Bimbo's Cantina, the Mexican joint that used to be on Pine and was called Bimbo's Bitchin Burrito Kitchen. I liked that name better. Anyway, now it's Bimbo's Cantina and it's on Pike now. When did that move take place, anyway? Oh: 2007, apparently.

Anyway! Shobhit just wants to rack up his Social Review points. But! He also found a Groupon that was a $20 value for $12 -- 40% off. And there was a weekend promotion on Groupon for an additional 20% off all purchases, which took our $20 value down to $9.60. Well, even I have to admit that's a deal that can't be passed up.

We had drinks at home before leaving because we're cheapskates like that. Our waitress probably didn't appreciate that much. But at least we were cognizant of how busy and understaffed they were and Shobhit left a 25% tip. We're not monsters!

Their food is just average, I must say. I'd go back for that deal again though. Also I love that they offer vegan "chicken" as an ingredient option, which I had in the taco salad but not, at Shobhit's request, in the burrito. Their burrito was surprisingly good, with its odd inclusion of sesame seeds. It lent a nice consistency. The taco salad, on the other hand, was below par, save for the bites of veggie chicken, which I quite liked.

Saturday: I went to see Get Out with Ivan at the Egyptian Theatre at 4:00. A horror movie! It was his suggestion, and he even pointed out that it has that all-too-rare rating of 100% on Rotten Tomatoes. As always, that's misleading -- it just means no no critic hated it, not that any critic thought it was perfect. MetaCritic's 83/100 rating is much more realistic -- yet still incredibly impressive: anything above 80 they list as "universal acclaim". I was also impressed with it enough to give it a rare A- grade. Ivan quite liked it as well.

Shobhit wasn't interested, although I actually think he would have enjoyed it had he given it a chance. He did, however, choose to join us for dinner. Ivan has been hankering -- like, for real -- to try this Moroccan restaurant downtown called The Marrakesh for weeks now, but things keep getting in the way of it happening. Like they did last night: Shobhit also wants to try Moroccan food, and so he met Ivan and me at the Egyptian at 6:00, and we all walked downtown. Shobhit insisted on calling the restaurant to see if reservations were needed, and we were about halfway there when we found out it would be another two hours before they'd be able to get us in. Shit!

So Ivan announced we should eat somewhere else. Shobhit suggested Il Fornaio at Pacific Place, which we were all of half a block away from, and that had been one of the two possibilities we had looked at for Valentine's Day (and we had chosen Palomino that day). Ivan was all for Italian food, so that's where we went. There was a 45 minute wait on the upper level where Shobhit wanted to sit, but only a 15 minute wait downstairs, so down we went. And I got online on my phone and made reservations for 3 at the Marrakesh next Saturday. (I can only do dinner with Ivan on weekends because he works swing shift on weekdays.)

And we proceeded to have a lovely Italian dinner, Shobhit and me splitting a large minestrone soup, a delicious pizza, and way too much of their stellar, incredibly soft and absorbent potato bread with which Shobhit is understandably obsessed. Even Ivan conceded it was delicious. He and Shobhit both had wine -- Ivan kept complaining about how a "full glass" should actually fill the glass to the rim, as if restaurants ever actually do that -- and I had a White Russian with Bailey's instead of Kahlua. Ivan, who is obsessed with Russian culture and hot Russian guys (he loves to irritate us by saying what a great man Vladimir Putin is), heard the phrase "White Russian" and said, "Sounds good to me!"

Then we wall walked home, Ivan bouncing ahead like a puppy with too much energy as usual. He broke away from us at a place where he wanted to get himself some bubble tea and Shobhit and I walked the rest of the way home, stopping at Mud Bay for some pet stuff on the way. Exciting stuff!

It's been a perfectly pleasant weekend so far, though. And now Shobhit and I are going to have a drink before we head over to Central Cinema to watch the Academy Awards there for the first time. A new tradition, maybe!
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positive energy please

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positive energy please
  • Fri, 5:39: And they are understandably terrified right now, thanks to President Fuckwit's willfully ignorant administration. https://t.co/EGF0l8Jj1W
  • Fri, 9:13: Email from @BankofAmerica: "We've got your back on fraud protection" Me: Where the fuck were you in November?
  • Fri, 12:48: Tortilla chip, or bikini briefs? OR IS IT BOTH? https://t.co/Xzo0Eb3Mjd
  • Fri, 15:37: Out of context alert! I literally just thought to myself, "I'm taking another hippo."
  • Fri, 16:34: Holy shit. I've always been a proud native Washingtonian but I had no idea we'd so quickly move to the forefront of the resistance. https://t.co/negrMhChwq
  • Fri, 21:23: RT @saladinahmed: donald trump has sexually assaulted more women than all the trans people in all the public restrooms in america

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positive energy please
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07222016-22


-- चार हजार और छियालीस --


I want to say first off that I am fully aware of how ridiculous and idiotic the supposed politics of "friending" or "unfriending" on Facebook is. But, here we are.

I finally unfriended a family member. An uncle, actually. I've been ignoring his directly insulting comments for some time, and I finally had enough of it. I've wanted so badly to insult him right back, but have resisted. I struggled with the idea of unfriending him mostly because his daughter is one of my closest relatives and I just don't want to have to get into it with her. (She actually defended me to him once, years ago, after he sent me a snail mail letter that was a litany of insults, including the suggestion, as I recall, that I wanted to fuck his sheep. He told her it was all just a joke, which I suspect is what he would say now. And it's entirely possible that she would be sympathetic to me now, but given the current political climate and the fact that she's made it pretty clear she voted for President Fuckwit, I think it best to avoid any conversation with her about it at all.)

I do think there should be a line, though. I've tried to see this from his ultraconservative perspective, riddled with double standards as it is: I do regularly insult not just President Fuckwit, but the entire party he clearly supports. But you know what? For him to be responding in kind, he'd merely insult the party and politicians I support. But that's not what he's doing. He regularly leaves comments on my posts that insult me directly and personally, which I have never once done to him.

The latest example would seem pretty minor. When I posted, "Happy #PresidentsDay to everyone except President Fuckwit!", he responded, "When did you become president." Clever. (Actually this was more clever than he's been in years, so I suppose I'll give him credit for that.) Taken on its own, it's relatively meaningless. But this was just the latest example of a clear trend.

When I quipped, "My STD screening results are always so negative," he responded, "Stupid turd day?"

You get the idea. I can't find earlier examples because Facebook won't go back in notifications history more than about two weeks for some reason. But the comments are always like this, they are insanely dumb, and they are regular.

I mean, his responses are reliably pointless and idiotic. And it's not like they're ruining my day, and it's not like they come at me constantly either. But I would be lying if I said they didn't bother me at all. What annoys me about them is that the one thing his responses always have in common is they are designed as personal put downs, as direct disrespect. He thinks he's just being funny, I am certain. Conversely, I think he's a fucking moron. I've never said so on any of his objectively moronic Facebook posts, though, and he is literally the one single person doing exactly that on mine. I've actively ignored him -- because any kind of engagement only feeds the fire -- for months now. And as little effort as that actually takes, I'm still tired of doing it.

I still want to keep my account public, and I do not want to block him and make it easily identifiable to him that he's gotten to me. This makes finding a way to deny him access to my posts tricky. Anyone can follow -- and comment on -- my posts even if they are not Facebook friends with me; thanks to a few posts I've made that gained some traction in Facebook groups with large numbers of members, I currently have 113 non-friend followers. I haven't blocked any of them -- not even another cousin, this same uncle's son, whom I abhor more than any other family member. But my attitude is, whatever; he can read what I post as long as he leaves me alone. And he does -- that guy never comments on anything I post, which makes it very easy to live my life as though he doesn't exist. (This guy is so extensively shunned that he did not even appear at Grandma and Grandpa's memorial service in September.)

Apparently there was a time when a Facebook friend defaulted to following you even after you unfriended them, but apparently not anymore: I unfriended this uncle, and when I view the list of the few accounts he follows (rather than his friends list), I am not on it. This means that all I wanted to have happened has effectively occurred: my posts should no longer show up in his Facebook feed. He's still free to directly to my page to see my posts, and would thus still have the ability to post comments that way. But I don't think he has even that level of initiative. He just posts these annoyingly idiotic comments because he sees my posts in his feed. And now he won't, and these moronic comments will hopefully taper off.

Anyway. This kind of stupid shit is understandably why some people avoid Facebook altogether. To be fair, I've actually had a somewhat similar experience on Twitter with an ex-boyfriend of my sister's, who has a history of surprisingly ignorant replies to my tweets. Mercifully, I've had no further interaction with him since last June (and I am now amused by the last thing I said to him: "I am done with this conversation."). Comparatively speaking, though Facebook is known far more than Twitter to be the place where family and/or old school classmates reconnect, and plenty of them may be people you don't particularly want to connect with.

I never particularly connected with this specific uncle. I suppose I came close once, when he gave me a ride on the back of his motorcycle, just him and me. I was somewhere around preteen age. I've never been on a motorcycle since and I don't want to be; I wasn't terrified of them then but I didn't know any better. Anyway, he took me to get a root beer float at A&W and he asked me not to tell any of my cousins we went without them. I really don't remember how all this came about. Even back then, this uncle was always goofy, to the point of eliciting eye rolls from the youngest of us grandkids/cousins. But it was all still more fun back then. The shtick got old ages ago. He still acts the same way in his old age and doesn't seem to realize how bad it makes him look. Or if he does, he sure as shit doesn't care. I can actually respect that, in and of itself. It doesn't mean I have to like it myself or endure his very specific brand of idiocy.

-- चार हजार और छियालीस --


07222016-31


-- चार हजार और छियालीस --


I went to see a 5:20 showing of a movie at Sundance Cinemas with Sara W from work last night -- our first movie outing together since June 22 of last year, well before our office move on August 1. She came to me on Wednesday this week lamenting how the move has made it more difficult for us to see movies together, because the traffic messes prevent her from ever staying downtown right after work if she can help it; she only stays if she has to for work. Otherwise it just takes too long for her to get home, which was never the case at the old location -- both the office and her home back then were north of the canals; the move made her commute both longer and, because we are now downtown, more complicated.

What this means is the only viable way for us to see a movie after work together is if it means getting out of downtown first -- and, therefore, seeing a movie in the U District or Wallingford. That ostensibly gives us four theatres to choose from, but she also never wants to wait until 7 pm to see a movie on a weeknight, and only Sundance Cinemas reliably has showtimes before 6:00.

Well, the Oscar-nominated animated feature, The Red Turtle, which conveniently also has a short run time (80 minutes), happened to be playing at Sundance Cinemas this week at 5:20. I was going to see it on Wednesday but Sara said she had an appointment she couldn't break. But, after some logistical catching up with contact information in our respective phones now that hers is no longer an iPhone, we made plans to see it together last night instead.

And, how's this for strange synchronicity? When looking at my contact page in my phone for her, I found this very odd photo I had taken of my hand with popcorn in it, which I had apparently texted to her. I found in my text archives that I had texted it to her on April 2, 2015 -- after coming home from a Thursday 5:20 showing of a movie at Sundance! (I texted it to her because the popcorn had fallen out of my jacket when I took it off at home.)

It would have been truly amazing if that text had been sent on February 23. I was almost disappointed it hadn't been.

Anyway! The movie was very good, if a little mystifying. Sara and I talked about it for a few minutes outside the theatre after the movie ended, and then I walked over to catch a #44 bus to the Light Rail station, which I then had to wait 10 minutes at before the train left for Capitol Hill, the station I then walked half a mile home from. At my request, Shobhit heated up the butternut squash soup I'd had for months and we've now finally consumed. I wrote the movie review and then we watched an episode each of Modern Family and The Big Bang Theory before I went to bed.

-- चार हजार और छियालीस --


One of my favorite brokers just dropped off a whole box of goodies for me. "There's no booze in it," she said (I had actually asked her to send me booze), "but there are mixers!" Yay! Now Shobhit has another bottle of tonic water for his truly disgusting gin. There's also a four-pack of bottled ginger beer, so I've got plenty more Moscow Mules in my future. That's kind of a new favorite drink, a very simple one I can make at home.

There are also several bags of chips and several chocolates. And a 4-pack of grapefruit flavored sparkling beverage that I would never actively choose -- grapefruit is not my favorite -- but whatever, I'll take it. It was very generous. The broker joked that it was partially to make up for the many new items they'll be submitting soon which I will wind up entering. This always cracks me up because it's not like I need to be bribed to do what's the job I was hired to do anyway. But that doesn't mean I won't accept all these treats regardless!

-- चार हजार और छियालीस --


07222016-12

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positive energy please
  • Thu, 7:54: “Why are you so quiet?” a young lady asked me once, in college, at a table in the campus cafeteria nearest to my residence hall. “I know you’re just sitting there judging everyone.”

    Isn’t it funny how people’s assumptions about you can be so far from the truth? The opposite, in fact: being quiet, in my early twenties, was my last best line of defense against crippling insecurity.

    The irony is that it was only once I really started to come out of my shell that I began to unleash a tidal wave of judgmentalism. But that’s always how it is with floodgates, I guess.

    #throwbackthursday

  • Thu, 16:41: "If anyone reads this when I have passed to the big bad beyond I shall be posthumously embarrassed. I shall spend my entire afterlife blushing." -- @CarriefFisher, THE PRINCESS DIARIST
  • Thu, 21:10: This one's for the turtle fuckers! https://t.co/o5J37zDN0w

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positive energy please
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07042016-61


-- चार हजार और पैंतालीस --


For some reason I often forget that I started this LiveJouranl the same year I started working for PCC: 2002. The first entry I posted came first, though, by a little over five months. I've been thinking a lot lately about how 2017 will be my 15th anniversary at PCC -- specifically, on August 5 -- but I just remembered this morning that today is the 15th anniversary of my first LiveJournal post. As that post indicates, I was in the midst of my post-Seattle Gay Standard unemployment at the time, and even still held out hope of getting some kind of writing gig as my next job. Ha ha ha ha! Shows what I knew.

And, holy shit, was my life different then. The job at PCC alone meant my life was radically different only one year later. Actually, come to think of it, February 2003 was when Stephanie nearly fired me.

I suppose I could separate the past 15 years in just five-year segments and my life was pretty radically altered at each point. At the starting point, 2002, I lived alone in a 550-square-foot studio in Belltown and was unemployed. By 2007, I'd had a full-time job at PCC for nearly five years, and after a bit of a rough start with both of them, Grocery Merchandiser Stephanie and Director of Merchandising Jennifer both loved me. (Stephanie has since taken a job elsewhere and Jennifer has since retired -- both of those within the past five years.) In 2007 I had also been with Shobhit for three years; we had lived in two different apartments together; and we had even exchanged engagement rings. (Mine: purchased in India; never taken off my finger. His: a simple gold band purchased in downtown Seattle, later lost in Los Angeles.)

Fast-forward another five years! And, holy shit. Purchase and move into a condo, by the end of 2007 -- so that happened at the beginning of the middle five-year period. At the end of it, so by February 2012, Shobhit and I were just one month shy of doing a long-distance relationship for two full years, a year and a half of which had him in New York, and by this point he had been living in Los Angeles for five months. Even Barbara had been gone, having moved back to Virginia in the greater D.C. area to be closer to her daughter and grandchildren, for two years. Also, Shobhit became a U.S. citizen in 2010.

Within the past five years, Shobhit and I got married in 2013 -- legally!, though only at the state level at first; federal recognition came in 2015. And just last year, Shobhit moved back to Seattle again. My home life now actually resembles what it was in February 2007 far more than it did in 2010, although we didn't move into the condo until October in 2007. Other key differences include different cats, and the fact that currently we are living together with a roommate, which we never did before Shobhit moved away in 2010.

The one truly consistent thing through all of these 15 years, aside from my writing almost daily in livejournal, is my employment at PCC. And even that went through a truly dramatic change just last year, with our August 2016 move from the U District office location, where it had been for 27 years, to this dream of a location on the waterfront, in the northwest corner of the Belltown neighborhood I once lived in, at the beginning of all this. Full circle! Sort of!

In February 2002, I was still in my twenties. I was 25. Granted, I would be 26 only two months later, but hey -- I'll be 41 two months from now. To say I am a different person now than I was then would be an understatement to such a degree as to be genuinely comical.

And, consider LiveJournal's own history: launched in 1999, it was pretty young when I started with it, only about three years old. Sold to a company called Six Apart in 2005, which licensed the brand to a Russian company in 2006. It's been many years now that I have long been uncomfortable with this being a Russian-owned company, but my history here is far too deeply intertwined to make leaving it very easy at all. This is, quite literally, the written documentation of nearly every detail of my entire life for the past fifteen years. If there were any way to transfer it all over to some other, American-owned company, with the history of posts and all the links contained therein remaining intact, I would do it. Maybe one day someone will make that possible. I am not currently aware of it being possible.

The way most people use Facebook and, to a lesser degree, Twitter, was how I and a host of friends from the Seattle Lesbian and Gay Chorus -- which I left in 2004, and which disbanded within a couple of years after -- used LiveJournal in 2002. Even I have long since stopped even looking at my LiveJournal friends list. I can think of only two or three active LiveJournal users still on my friends list even now who themselves regularly read what I post here. I know I have a few active but silent readers, but I am mostly ignorant of them or anything about them. Of course, everything in this paragraph I have already mentioned before, multiple times.

It's just that fifteen years is such a long time. Comparing my life in 2002 to today is quite the contrast. Hell, now I'm wondering how different my life will be not just when I'm 55, but even when I'm forty-five. Clearly it's likely a whole lot will be different even five years from now.

The upside is this: the changes have tended to be exciting. I can only presume they will continue to be.

-- चार हजार और पैंतालीस --


06252016-24


-- चार हजार और पैंतालीस --


I just had lunch with Karen down at Six-Seven at the Edgewater Hotel. We skipped the truffle macaroni & cheese this time! Even though it's still on the specials menu. Will it just be on that indefinitely? I hope so. But, I was happy to skip it this time. We split the gyro sandwich instead, which I've had before, have always thought was super tasty, and already comes in two halves anyway. Just like they used to at Portage Bay in the U District, they brought it out to us on two separate plates.

And, we updated each other on the latest news -- mostly in our respective families, actually. I told her a fair amount about my brother. She told me about a niece who got engaged on Christmas day because her boyfriend put a ring in a box for her under the Christmas Tree. Aww, how sweet. She actually lives in Nicaragua with her husband and that, apparently, is where the wedding is set to take place, possibly at the end of the year. And I'll possibly be in India at the same time. That is, if Shobhit can land a job sooner than later.

I mentioned to Karen when we were leaving that Shobhit was at a job fair in Bellevue right now -- which, to me, is happy news. I mean, anything that gets him out of the house. And if it has to do with networking for jobs, all the better!

I guess I'll get back to work now.

-- चार हजार और पैंतालीस --


06182016-16

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positive energy please

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positive energy please
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07232016-14


-- चार हजार और चवालीस --


I'm coming down with a cold. Scratch in my throat started yesterday. I'm combatting it with all the natural remedies at my disposal. Placebo effect or not: whatever works. I feel like it's working.

I walked home from work last night in light rain, listening to Tracy Chapman's 1989 album Crossroads. Shobhit made rice and potatoes and lentils for dinner, which I dished up to have with one of the garlic naans we got from QFC. Shobhit was having Sachin over to visit -- and also feed -- and he gave up on Girls on HBO after the first season, so I took dinner to my desk in the bedroom to watch the two episodes of season six that are currently available, on my computer. They were very good episodes. I thought season five was the best and so far this season looks just as promising.

Later in the evening, before I went to bed, I spent some time scanning documents Shobhit needed pdfs of to send to banks in India for tax purposes. Something he has to do every couple of years, apparently. I have far less clear a picture of his individual finances than I probably should. It's the opposite of his interest in mine, as he's constantly wanting to be all up in my business about how much I am spending and on what. I have far fewer accounts of any kind than he does: a 401(k); an IRA; a checking account and a savings account. Shobhit has stuff all over the place, in both the U.S. and in India. It massively complicates the tax filing process, which is why I happily leave that up to him. I suspect it's also why he doesn't get his panties in as much of a twist when I make charitable donations, because those are tax deductible.

-- चार हजार और चवालीस --


06152016-06


-- चार हजार और चवालीस --


Before the document scanning, I finally decided to call Mom. I knew Christopher -- my brother -- had gone to stay with them, but had no idea if he was still there. I don't think I had even talked to Mom on the phone since Christmas Day. (Just checked my latest bill, which appears to confirm that. And I only talked with her for seven minutes that day.)

Knowing that Christopher had been there and maybe still was, I started the conversation by playfully saying, "So what's going on? Anything new?"

Mom chuckled. "Well, Christopher's here." Well, there's that question answered. Both she and Christopher said he may be there a while, whatever "a while" might turn out to mean. It could mean him still being there in May, when I intend to visit for Mom and Bill's 20th anniversary, in which case Mom would have both her sons with her at the same time for the first time in more than a decade and a half. I'm thinking seventeen years, but don't know for sure. I may be able to find out by looking though some of my archives of letters to Barbara. (The broader implications of an unemployed semi-suicidal depressed 44-year-old living with his long-unemployed disability-supported post-stroke mother is, I suppose, a conversation for another time and place.)

Talking to Mom was somewhat more of a challenge than usual. She mentioned a specific linguistic struggle that may be cause for concern: in the past, she couldn't remember words. She says now she can remember words, and knows them in her head, but often can't pronounce them. This, after years of experience with Sherri's late mother, strikes me as a classic stroke symptom. Mom's stroke was in July 2014, and within a year she was roughly 80% recovered, from being nearly unable to speak any words at all, to being able to hold conversations nearly as well as she could before, although Danielle, ever the pragmatist, warned me from day one not to expect Mom ever to be fully recovered.

But once she was recovered as well as it seemed she ever would, her only real struggle seemed to be being unable to recall words here and there. Now she says she can recall words but just can't say them. Then she said on the phone to me last night, "I think I might be getting dementia. Ha ha ha ha!" Actually the symptoms of a stroke and getting dementia are not the same thing. I think even Shobhit needs that clarification, because this was causing him concern last night to the point that he was encouraging me to start playing "brain games" to help ward off Alzheimer's. Strengthening brain capacity is not a bad idea regardless, but his motivations are likely a tad misplaced. Either way, Shobhit is afraid of me inheriting some of these afflictions.

At least I'm neither diabetic nor depressed. When it comes to depression, I'm practically clinically the opposite.

I have to say, though, that Mom did seem to struggle with speech a bit more than she has in a while. I wonder how much stress this whole thing with Christopher has caused her? At the moment, she and Bill -- neither of whom have jobs either -- are supporting him. These people aren't exactly in optimum shape themselves, either physically or psychologically. To be fair, Christopher ran out of options. I'm still not sure it was the best idea for him to take the family van and skip off to Wallace a hundred miles from home, but given that I'm not part of all these problems (nor do I want to be), neither am I sure that it wasn't his best and/or only option.

I asked Mom if she knew in advance that Christopher would be coming. She said yes, that he called her from the recovery facility he'd gone to immediately after the suicide attempt in September (or just "the attempt," as Christopher kept euphemistically referring to it) and had returned to last month after separating from Katina. He then drove out to them a week later, and has now been there a couple of weeks. He'd driven back into Spokane just yesterday for a court hearing regarding the restraining order Katina filed against him, but when I asked Mom, she said he was back, and was actually in the living room right then. She and Bill were back in their bedroom.

So, Mom asked if I wanted to talk to Christopher. I won't like, I had mixed feelings about that for a multitude of reasons, but I said, "Sure." So then my brother and I talked for maybe 15 or 20 minutes, and it was a pretty somber affair. Until a judge makes a decision about his custody or visitation rights, he's not allowed to communicate with the boys, all three of whom still live with their mother. "I even blocked them all on Facebook," he said, "so I wouldn't get into trouble." This was easily one of the saddest things I had heard in some time.

Katina had a statement prepared, detailing her justification for filing the restraining order, which when Christopher was talking to me about it he declared "all lies and slander." She listed questionable behavior of Christopher's which, ridiculously, reached all the way back to when they were in high school. Who gives a shit what stupid things he did 25 years ago? That said, there was another allegation listed that Christopher basically characterized as half-true, but which to my mind sounded legally like an admission. All I could think, which I chose not to tell him, was, This is not going to help you.

Nor, likely, is the fact that he attempted suicide six months ago. All I can hope for -- or, more importantly, all he can hope for -- is that they wind up in front of a judge who can cut through all the bullshit, of which there is a lot. Obviously neither of them have lawyers; they can't afford that. If just one of them could, it would be all over for the other. It's all going to come down to how well they each defend themselves -- and given who they both are, that's going to be tricky indeed.

Apparently everything is on hold until the next court date, now March 6, because unbeknownst to Christopher (although I suspect he could have known had he had the wherewithal to do some research, rather than just expecting that someone should have told him), he was supposed to provide Katina a copy of his counter statement, which had not happened prior to yesterday's hearing. So: no communication at all with his boys at least until then. During which, of course, Katina will have ample opportunity to mold their impressionable minds on the matter.

The girls, Nikki and Becca, are a different story. They are both landing squarely on the defense of their father, being out on their own and old enough to come to their own conclusions.

I just keep hoping this will all blow over in a few months in one way or another, so that I can keep civil lines of communication open with Katina, who I think we can safely assume will retain custody no matter what. (The real question will just be Christopher's visitation rights.) The way all this potentially affects me directly is how easy it may or may not be to have the boys come visit me for their requisite weekends again this summer. I do not want to make an enemy of their mother, who will almost certainly have the tightest reins on her sons' travel opportunities.

When I was still on the phone with Mom, she asked if I was still Facebook friends with Katina. I made a mistake and just a few minutes ago actually had to go into one of our phone rooms at work to call Mom real quick and correct myself. I am still Facebook friends with Katina, but last night it looked like she had unfriended Mom, and that's what I told her. But I guess I had some kind of filter on when I looked and didn't realize it, because when I look today at Mom's and my "mutual friends," both of Katina's Facebook accounts (only one of which am I friends with) come up -- so Katina has not unfriended Mom, or Bill for that matter. I had to make sure Mom did not go on thinking she had, and Mom seemed kind of relieved and certainly glad that I called to let her know.

Katina is not, of course, still Facebook friends with Christopher -- who, as it happens, a few weeks ago created a new account of his own and re-friended a bunch of people, including me, there.

Hmm. I just checked Tristen's account. Looks like he's now got . . . three of them?? What the shit. Anyway, I'm still friends with one of them. Nice to know, since well before all this current shit, he would friend and unfriend me frequently, which I always suspected was a parent telling him he should not be Facebook friends with me, until he later friended me again. I've received friend requests from the other boys too but they are under the age you are supposed to be even to have a Facebook account, and I don't really feel comfortable accepting friend requests from kids who are too young, even if they are related to me. Given some of the stuff I post, even at age 13 it seems iffy at best. (When Hope, Jennifer's daughter, first sent a request, I brought it up to Jennifer, and she was just like, "I'm okay with it if you are.") Tristen is 16, and will be 17 in May.

Anyway! Drama, drama, drama. None of it mine, thank God. The only thing else I can think of to say about it is this: if Christopher is still there when I visit in May, and especially if Shobhit also comes, it's going to be . . . interesting. But a really nice thing for Mom, if nothing else. It's obviously not worth all the troubles, but I'm choosing to see the possibility of Mom finally having both her sons together with her again as at least one silver lining in all this. But, that's me -- always finding the silver lining.

-- चार हजार और चवालीस --


06202016-08

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Tags:

positive energy please
  • Tue, 14:07:
    Allergen notice of the week:
    Undeclared Milk in Plastic Heart Tubes with Chocolate Lentils

    ...what?

Tags:

positive energy please
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05212016-09


-- चार हजार और चालीस-तीन --


I've got to say, I miss the DLU Roman numerals. I mean, using Hindi is a workable replacement, but I still wish I could continue using the Roman numerals. But they just made it too complicated to count past four thousand. Did they not ever have anything that numbered higher than four thousand? Apparently the imperial city of Rome during the Roman Empire is estimated to have a population between half a million and a million people, and that is clearly more than four thousand! Did they not do censuses back then or what? And if they knew the population at the time, how the fuck did they write it down?

I suppose I still need to get over this. I'm just annoyed that every day, I have to highlight and copy the previous DLU's Hindi, then plug it into Google Translate to make sure I'm remember what number it's spelling out correctly, then swap the language boxes so it's English to Hindi rather than the other way around, then write out the next number (spelled out rather than in numerals) so I can get the new Hindi script to use in the day's Daily Lunch Entry.

Granted, I went through a similar process even with the Roman numerals. I just had fewer steps. So now it's a bit more tedious. Not that tediousness has ever stopped me. I have been collating a quarterly Social Review since 2002, after all. I guess I should stop complaining.

-- चार हजार और चालीस-तीन --


I started two new TV shows last night, after we went out right after work and then did not get home until around 8:00. The first is the HBO minieries Big Little Lies, which is actually a seven-part miniseries. I've been seeing commercials for it literally for months now, before all the other HBO shows I watch. I really liked it. Shobhit wasn't interested and spent the rest of the evening watching his own shows on his laptop in the bedroom.

The other is created by and stars comedian Pete Holmes, who I am familiar with exclusively because of his guest spots on the Doug Loves Movies podcast, called Crashing. It was okay. It has potential.

I got into bed and read more of Carrie Fisher's The Princess Diarist, which is truly a delightful read. It's a rare thing indeed for a book to be the one form of entertainment I most look forward to partaking in every day.

-- चार हजार और चालीस-तीन --


07232016-10


-- चार हजार और चालीस-तीन --


I finally went back to Veggie Grill last night to try the new Beyond Burger Evan (previously known as Ev, actually by somewhat of a minority of people -- including me -- which I'll get to in a minute) has been raving about. And here is a very, very new thing: I did not respond as positively to this burger as I expected -- and why? Because it was too much like a real burger.

I guess, now that nearly two decades have passed -- I became a vegetarian in 1998 -- I've finally been a vegetarian long enough that I don't actually want my veggie meat substitutes to taste and feel too much like real meat. This in spite of the fact that, much to Shobhit's consternation, I still love my veggie hot dogs and veggie burgers. But these products have evolved and advanced a great deal over the years, and there are products on the market (particularly by brands like Tofurky and especially Field Roast) that have immeasurably more flavor to them than any veggie meat substitute on the market in the nineties. What can easily be lost in this point is that "more flavor" does not exactly mean "more like real meat." After all, smelling real bacon on a grill these days literally makes me nauseated, and has for a while. And I love veggie bacon, one of the few meat substitutes that even now fails spectacularly at being anything even remotely like the real thing, regardless of brand.

The selling point of the Beyond Burger is how it has the potential to convert modern carnivores. It does good to note that both Evan and Elden eat meat, and Evan is particularly impressed with this burger. Elden was having it for the first time and he found it to be a reasonable facsimile of an actual burger as well.

It wasn't bad. But my complaint about it was simple: it was quite literally pink, and had the very same consistency of ground hamburger shaped into a patty -- and then cooked rare. Blech! Evan conceded she prefers her burgers rare, with pink in it. I always cook my patties to a crisp. So, I could change my tune about this product, should I go back and ask them to cook it longer so it's got a crispy outer shell. We'll see if Veggie Grill will do well at accommodating this request. I do feel compelled to note that last night's patty did not look like the one in this Veggie Grill photo, for which they clearly cooked it longer. My Beyond Burger patty was pink all around, and soft in consistency. So: if I am a vegetarian, why the fuck would I want my patty to taste not only like actual meat, but raw meat? No thanks.

Shobhit did not have the same complaints. He merely found it flavorless. We each ordered our own dish to pay separately so we could each take advantage of the $5 credit offered to "new" users of the Veggie Grill app -- part of a membership program we both were in and used frequently in L.A., but it had been so long since we last went that we both had to sign up all over again. This worked out for us anyway, since now we could each save five bucks. The Beyond Burger is surprisingly expensive, at $12.95, so with the discount mine came ot $8.71. Shobhit ordered the Mondo Nachos, which are far less expensive at $7.95 regular price, so he got his for just a few bucks. And the Mondo Nachos, as it happens, pack far more flavor. The veggie meat on that one, mostly due to both the consistency and especially the marinade all over it, was much tastier.

While we waited for the food to arrive, I kind of fucked up with Evan regarding her name. I can blame my shitty memory, which was really why it happened, but I still should have known better. For some reason I lost sight of how little desire she had to discuss the specific details I brought up, which had once been discussed between us two alone and now there were two more people with us. At one point she just said, "Matthew!" and I finally got the hint. "All right, I'll drop it," I said. And then she was uncharacteristically quiet for several minutes, until she came around again, but later in the evening I sent her a sincere apology via Facebook Messenger. She and I have never had any real interpersonal conflict or gotten all that deep into intimately emotional areas with each other, so I can only hope it helped salve whatever I may have damaged. She never responded, but I see no reason to read too much into that; it may just be that she doesn't want to continue discussing it.

And that wasn't even about the change itself from "Ev" to "Evan," which I brought up soon after I arrived because she changed her first name on Facebook, which until recently was "Ev," to just "E." She changed her last name on Facebook as well, which never was her real name either. She explained that she doesn't actually want people to find her on Facebook (we've been Facebook friends for enough years now that I honestly don't remember if she friended me or the other way around -- she hasn't unfriended me, at least). "I don't use it the way most people do," she said, and just uses it to read posts by pages she likes that adhere to her interests.

I met Evan through Laney, when Laney invited her to some of our movie nights. Evan was part of the Seattle Women's Chorus, where she had been listed in one of their programs as "Ev," and just because she didn't have the energy to correct 200 women who then knew her that way (I totally would have, but whatever), she just allowed them to call her that. And therefore, because that's how Laney introduced her to me, that's what I've always called her. She never bothered to ask me directly to change how I addressed her, so I never did. But when I asked why the change on Facebook, she finally said, "Because I got sick of everyone calling me Ev!" Well okay, then. This is kind of the opposite of the direct approach, but whatever. Evan it is, from now on. I changed her name in my contacts. Now if she ever texts me, it'll actually say "Evan." (Facebook Messenger lists her now as "E" for a first name, and the two last names, now slightly altered -- whatever it used to be had an apostrophe in it but no longer does -- is still Hawaiian in nature. So it won't be hard to recognize immediately who is sending me messages.)

We have had conversations in the past and I have asked her specifically if she doesn't want me to call her Ev, and she said it was okay. But if she's changing the name on Facebook because she's so tired of it, then that makes it clear enough to me. It's not like it's a hard transition to make -- the first syllable is still the same, after all.

And I must not have pissed her off too badly with my subsequent misstep that didn’t even have to do specifically with the Ev/Evan change, since we all moved on after that, at Evan's own invitation, to get a drink at Unicorn on Capitol Hill, and it was there that we discussed the possibility of them bringing absynthe to share on Sunday before we all go watch the Academy Awards together at Central Cinema. This plan is all very tentative at this point because of other plans they also have on Sunday so we'll have to play it by ear. I intend to go with Shobhit to Central Cinema to watch -- which he already expressed being open to -- regardless. I had been thinking about inviting Gabriel as well, although the likelihood of that happening is also very much up in the air. I still want to extend the invitation.

Evan mentioned she had not been to Unicorn since she went there with me a couple of years ago; I've been back a few times with Laney. I warned them that their drinks are tasty but weak, and Elden agreed once he had his cocktail. I now knew from experience to get one of their $9 shot drinks (put in a rather large shot glass, to be fair) that are far stronger. So I had the "Snickerdoodle," which I love in spite of espresso being one of the ingredients -- it's a minor ingredient because it does not taste like coffee. It's just a nice, smooth, hazelnut-milky drink. Shobhit had a beer.

If we have the absynthe as tentatively planned this weekend, though, that will definitely be stronger.

-- चार हजार और चालीस-तीन --


07222016-11

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positive energy please

Tags:

positive energy please
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08212016-05


-- चार हजार और चालीस-दो --


Oops! I did it again . . . : A full weekend went by and I did not post any entries, aside from my Twitter digests. And even those were rather sparse, which was unusual. I actually tweeted nothing yesterday except for my review of the Oscar-nominated animated shorts. Furthermore, one of the only two things I tweeted on Saturday was my review of the Oscar-nominated live action shorts, and those ones were excellent.

I was going to go to two more movies even than those two showings over the weekend, two films as part of the Film Noir festival put on by SIFF at the Egyptian, but I wound up skipping them both.

Two reasons for that. The first, on Saturday, was because I was going to see the original The Ladykillers in the afternoon, but then I got a call from Gabriel -- no, actually, it was a call from Tess, who told me Gabriel told her to call me. They were on their way to Seattle and wanted to know if I wanted to join them for lunch.

This was not an opportunity I could stand to miss. Not only had I not seen Gabriel since Shobhit and I went to dinner on Bainbridge Island with him, Kornelija, and Kornelija's parents on New Year's Day, but I literally hadn't even had a conversation with Gabriel since then. This was hardly a surprise; Gabriel's life was about to have a serious shake-up, which I had known to expect for a few months.

We exchanged a few texts on January 4 and 5. Several texts on January 8, when the expected shake-up evidently went down -- literally moments before we began the text exchange. I told him to try to stay sane, he said thanks, and then -- radio silence until 1/22. I said, Sooo how are things, and he provided a four-word answer that basically qualified as a non-answer (which was fine). I texted him again on 1/31. Then again just this past Thursday.

I'm only going to say this: I'm rooting for him. That's what I told him. I don't think enough people root for him. Gabriel can be difficult, sure, I know that as well as anybody. That doesn't mean he doesn't deserve anyone in his corner. It doesn't mean he deserves anything that is on the face of it clearly objective bullshit. He's not perfect and neither is anyone, and he needs more people in his corner. I'm going to be one of those people, now and always. I have little patience for people characterizing two clear sides and then taking one of them. Interpret it however you want, I don't think of this as taking a side. I think of it as being a friend. A friend that he needs and deserves. That movie I was going to see on Saturday afternoon was hardly vital; I can get a copy of it mailed to me from Netflix. Deciding almost spontaneously to have lunch with him and Tess was not a hard decision to make. It wasn't even a decision. It had been too long since I had seen or spoken to him and I missed him.

On the face of things, lunch on Saturday was nothing more than that: lunch on Saturday. We didn't get into much detail even then, although I did learn a couple of details when Tess went to the bathroom. Maybe it meant something to Gabriel and maybe it didn't. It meant something to me. There's a huge amount left for me to get caught up on and it will happen in due time. I was just happy to see him again. And also Tess, who is a spectacular little human. She's nine years old now. She'll be ten this year. She'll be a spectacular human of regular size before we know what hit us.

I can't remember how it came up, but at one point Gabriel said to Tess, "Quick, list three things you know I like!" Tess's first said what was also what first came to mind for me: Star Wars. She was also quick to list the other two things, although I've already forgotten the second thing she said. The third thing was the best: "And remembering to do what you ask me to in the morning." Maybe you had to be there but this was fucking hilarious. I bet you anything that was the biggest laugh any of us got that entire day.

The lunch location was a place Tess chose called Japonessa. To me that sounds like a Anglican-feminized version of the word "Japenese," but then again maybe I'm just an ignorant fuck. Gabriel had given Tess the choice of lunch location and she chose sushi. Apparently this place is considered Latin/Japanese "fusion," although Gabriel could see no obviously Latin influence on the menu, and neither could I. Shobhit and I shared a few vegetarian plates that were not bad. Decent. They have Happy Hour from opening until 6:30 so we had dishes with stunningly reasonable prices -- that's what Shobhit liked the most, and he was the one who said he'd definitely go back to order off the Happy Hour menu. When we first arrived and saw the menu posted at the entrance we thought we were going to have to spend a lot more. Also, we got there first and were told there would be a 30-40 minute wait, and then they seated us in less than half that time. Gabriel and Tess arrived shortly thereafter.

Gabriel and Tess had sushi dishes with seafood in them, stuff Shobhit and I would never eat. Gabriel practically fell in love with what they ate. He was very impressed.

My favorite part was how accommodating and attentive the wait staff was. Also, by all appearances they only hire male wait staff who are young, thin, and gorgeous. I'd go back just to ogle the young mean on display among the staff. Is that creepy?

Shobhit and I had already been going downtown to get his phone screen repaired, since it stopped working (for the second time in two years), at a phone repair shop in Belltown. I texted Gabriel to tell him we'd be down there for a short while, and then he texted back with the suggestion of Japonessa, which was about a mile south of there.

We were only at lunch for roughly an hour, but it sure was nice to see Gabriel again after a month and a half. Hopefully it won't be that long before I see him again. When we left the restaurant, we were across the street from Fran's Chocolates, where Shobhit knew they pass out free samples to anyone who walks in. Shobhit worked the most effective angle and leaned down to Tess: "You want some free chocolate?" Gabriel hesitantly agreed to go across the street for this apparent purpose, but was genuinely embarrassed by what we were doing. He was the only one.

In fact, it all happened far more immediately and effectively than Shobhit or I could even have hoped: The four of us had literally taken two or three steps inside the entrance and a lady walked right up to us with a tray of sea salt covered confections. We each took one and then immediately did an about-face and left. Gabriel was like, "Never again!" Whatever. He did it! I like to think Shobhit and I are a bad influence. Also, Fran's Chocolates are rather expensive (we sell 3-pack boxes of confections at PCC that work out to a cost of $2.26 each; selling as individuals would naturally be even more), and most people who go in there buy plenty. They're not hurting for business. Gabriel would never consider that a legitimate justification, but oh well. He still went along this one time and he's going to have to live with himself!

Since Shobhit had his car, he offered to drive me from there to Wallingford, where the Oscar-nominated shorts are playing at the Guild 45th theatre. We got there roughly an hour before I felt I should need to get in line, so he had me luck up coffee shop deals on my Chinook Book app, and I found a spectacular one: 50% off any drink or snack order (not just off one item), for an up to $5 savings. He got a coffee and I got a chai latte that might seriously be the best chai latte in town, with its perfect blend of spices that unlike many other places did not come on too strong, and we also got two chocolate confections to share. We sat at a table and he read news on his phone while I read from my library book for a while. Then I walked over to the Guild 45 and he went home.

It turns out this year I was over-cautious about the timing of getting in line for the Oscar-nominated shorts: in years past, I made the mistake of arriving too late and the showings were sold out. This year I prevented that by buying my tickets online -- sucking it up and dealing with the ridiculous $1 (and therefore 12.5% in this case) online service charge -- and still getting in line roughly an hour early to get a decent seat. I think maybe the sold out shows in years past were on the weekend the shows opened; this time they had been running for a week, and neither the show on Saturday nor the one yesterday was anywhere near sold out. But whatever, I got the seat I wanted.

I took transit home on Saturday night, wrote my review, and had dinner with Shobhit. The final act of the evening was having Ivan out to join us in the living room and watch my all-time favorite movie, Batman Returns. He literally looked at his phone 90% of the time, occasionally glancing over at the screen. I found this annoying. When I said at the movie's close, "You clearly weren't as into this one," he said, "I was rapt with attention. I can multi-task." Whatever! That movie is packed with spectacular visual design, and he missed almost all of it, with his eyes instead focused on his phone screen. But, clearly I had to let it go. This is not most people's favorite movie. That said, I like seeing movies with him much better in theatres, because he can't spend all his time looking at his phone there. Granted, he did check the time on his phone several times when we saw La La Land but whatever. That was far different than spending nearly all of his time with it.

Shobhit, by the way, was a much different story. He was rapt with attention, which does not happen often and usually surprises me when it does (memorable films that kept his undivided attention in the past: Laurence of Arabia; Charlie and the Chocolate Factory). Shobhit was totally into both Batman, which we all watched the previous weekend -- and Ivan paid slightly more attention to -- and Batman Returns. Maybe I should watch Batman Forever with him and not bother seeing if Ivan wants to. It's nowhere near as good as the previous two, has Val Kilmer as Batman instead of Michael Keaton (who was the best one ever, case closed), and wasn't even directed by Tim Burton -- but, I have still always found it entertaining, and it retains at least remnants of Burton visual influence as that one, at least, he stayed on as Producer. Also, Shobhit might find at least one thing about it semi-interesting: we just finished watching the Netflix original series Santa Clarita Diet, starring Drew Barrymore, who has a small supporting part in Batman Forever as one of Harvey "Two Face" Dent's two henchwomen. She's two decades younger in that (and a decade older than she was in E.T.). She's a year older than I am, actually.

-- चार हजार और चालीस-दो --


07052016-02


-- चार हजार और चालीस-दो --


As is so often the case on Monday mornings, I couldn't remember what I did on Friday evening. Thank God for membership records anyone could hack into and easily figure out my every move on any given day! Just a quick peak at my "viewing activity" on my Netflix account, and now I can recall: I walked home and then Shobhit and I watched two episodes of The People v O.J. Simpson and three episodes of Santa Clarita Diet. I was done with both seasons by the end of the weekend. In any case, that was my Friday evening: streaming television on Netflix.

And yesterday? I already told you I went to see the animated shorts. I took transit both to and from that one, and the showing was at 2:30. So that sucked up my afternoon. Shobhit and I had pancakes for brunch in the morning. Ivan watched a little bit of the TV we watched for a bit while he had his own lunch, but that was all we saw of him; he took an extra shift yesterday. By the time the evening rolled around, I decided to skip the showing of The Taking of Pelham 123 at the Egyptian in the evening -- because, again, I could just get the disc from Netflix and it didn't seem like the type of movie that begs to be seen on the big screen. Also, skipping that movie helped mitigate the last-minute cost of the new plan to have dinner with Ev and Elden after work this evening.

I happened to run into them on the Capitol Hill Light Rail station platform on my way to the afternoon movie. Ev has been telling me over and over that I need to try the new Beyond Burger at Veggie Grill. So I asked when she was available, and she said Monday. So we're having dinner today.

And last night I went home -- after (TMI alert!) a surprisingly brief but eminently satisfying visit at my local bathhouse -- and had veggie burgers for dinner with Shobhit and watched more TV, finishing both the aforementioned TV show seasons.

-- चार हजार और चालीस-दो --


You'll never guess what I've already done today! I spilled curry right inside my bag! Neat!

Granted, it was only about 1/4 cup worth, and I saved the vast majority of today's lunch -- leftover from the pakoras in curry that Shobhit made, fantastically and for the very first time, also on Friday evening. This turned out way better than I expected. I ordered curry at an Indian restaurant not too long ago and was massively disappointed to find it way too soupy/liquidy -- something Shobhit loves. But, he also made rice to combine with it. His pakoras were really just deep fried breaded vegetables (not put into tight balls like you usually find them at restaurants), but whatever -- it worked, and it was delicious. Tasty enough, even, to put into two containers for lunches this week. It wasn't even remotely spicy. I dare say, Shobhit did everything right with this dish. And that's especially impressive since a) he never measures anything when cooking; and b) it was the first time he ever made it.

But then, this morning, probably while running to catch the #24 bus on 3rd at Pine, the lid on the container got dislodged, and I happened to see the spill inside my bag at just the right moment. Early detection, my friends: it's important! I even had a library book I am really enjoying in there (Carrie Fisher's The Princess Diarist), and it emerged unscathed. I mean, there was a couple dots of curry on the cover, but it's covered in plastic by the library and was easily licked off. The pages themselves were untouched.

So, yeah: I did find myself literally licking my things while on the bus. I don't know how many people noticed. What else was I supposed to do? I had to take the container out of the bag and it had drips around the sides of it, and I had no napkins. Lick, lick. I also had to pull out a couple pieces of junk mail, my sunglasses in their case, a bag of Ricola cough drops, and an emergency bottle of Aleve I always carry with me. I had to leave the chapstick, an eraser, and a condom (still packaged, sheesh) in there because they were all too covered in curry. But everything else, miraculously taken out without too much curry-contamination, went into my coat pockets. So I then rode the bus for the last mile of my commute, allowing the curry that spilled to coat the entire bottom of the bag. At least it's made of vinyl. Okay, the inside of the fabric is slightly more absorbent but that's only on the sides; the bottom is still straight plastic.

And I'm sure glad the thing is not made of cloth. It's the purple sparkly shoulder bag I bought myself at Pike Place Market with Christmas money I got from Dad and Sherri in 2014 (inspired by Ivan when he lived with me the first time, as I always loved the bags he was carrying, and he told me about the vendor at Pike Place he bought them from). It's also the bag I forgot on the ferry on New Year's Day, and miraculously got back when I went to Lost and Found the next day. I'm very attached. It's one of a kind and cost eighty bucks. I do not want to have to part with it. When I told Kibby about the spill this morning she commented on how long it will smell like curry, but a) not too much of it spilled; and b) I don't smell anything now.

It was a slight challenge to get it cleaned, but clean it I did. It could have been way worse, so I should consider myself lucky. I had to carry my book and the lunch box in my hands from the bus stop to the office, and then I took the bag into the office kitchen, where I first wiped the curry out with paper towels. I also wiped off the chapstick and the eraser and even the condom, doing that last one carefully inside the bag so neither of the other couple of people in the kitchen at the time would see. I put that in a side pocket so I could then do the most challenging part: turn the whole thing inside out so I could wipe it off, and then wipe it with disinfectant wipes I found in the cupboard under the sink. I was very thorough, which means, silver lining: the bag is now much cleaner than it was before the spill. I turned the bag outside-in again and put all my stuff back in it.

Clearly I need to make sure tomorrow's lunch is much more secure.

-- चार हजार और चालीस-दो --


09162016-63

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Tags:

positive energy please

Tags:

positive energy please

Tags:

positive energy please

Tags:

positive energy please
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08202016-85


-- चार हजार और चालीस-एक के --


Just another evening filled with too much television! Whatever, it was great television: three fantastic episodes of The People v OJ Simpson on Netflix streaming. Then Shobhit and I watched an episode of Santa Clarita Diet. I'm enjoying that show, but even I can't stomach the idea of binge-watching it. Even though they are only half-hour-long episodes, one episode on any given day is plenty. Or maybe two episodes, sometimes. But I had just had three hours of that other show.

-- चार हजार और चालीस-एक के --


07062016-02


-- चार हजार और चालीस-एक के --


There's nothing else to tell you today, really. I could comment on the latest in President Fuckwit's cabinet, but why bother? Patton Oswalt did tweet that he hopes President Fuckwit lasts at least until April 15 -- and realistically, why wouldn't he? -- just because he knows the Tax Marches are going to drive him "SCREAMING BUGFUCK." And I kind of agree. That is the next organized demonstration I will absolutely be participating in. As with the Women's March, numbers matter, and President Fuckwit, who keeps insisting no one cares about his tax returns, needs to get reality shoved in his face.

-- चार हजार और चालीस-एक के --


08202016-58

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positive energy please
  • Thu, 5:38: This is a very bad case for convincing me this show did not become way too dumb for me to keep watching. https://t.co/We06ehZnEU
  • Thu, 7:49: This podcast episode, in addition to being generally fun and entertaining, was surprisingly eye opening. https://t.co/RBpOSJzjYf
  • Thu, 9:12: My STD screening results are always so negative
  • Thu, 9:41: @nwfoodette @onemorebitener Hahaha https://t.co/mM34N67QzG
  • Thu, 10:02: PROTIP: Do not ever bring anything labeled "chia pudding" anywhere close to your mouth. Or nose. Or face. Or the city you live in.
  • Thu, 12:42: If any vegetable deserves to be aborted it's baby corn.
  • Thu, 17:06: One of those CD peddlers at Westlake Center approached me passing with my book and said "Use it as a book marker!"
  • Thu, 21:36: I swear to God my cat turned her head completely around just like Linda Blair in THE EXORCIST. Then she yelled "Your mother sucks cocks in hell you faithless slime!" which was very rude.

Tags:

positive energy please
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04292016-26


-- चार हजार और चालीस --


Blah blah blah. Blah blah. Blah blah, blah blah blah. Blah. Blah blah blah. Blah, blah blah. Blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah. Sheeeeit. Blah blah. Bleh. Blah.

Glad we got that covered!

-- चार हजार और चालीस --


The sun is shining longer these days. I mean, when there are no clouds. Yesterday it rained. I listened to a podcast while walking after work, not quite to home at first because I stopped off at Pacific Place for a 5:10 screening of John Wick Chapter 2, which was . . . about as good as the first one. Take from that what you will. I gave both movies a solid B. My my standards, that's good enough for me, but not good enough to recommend. Unless you're super into that sort of thing, of course. I'm still a little mystified by the critical acclaim heaped on both of those movies. Sure, they're better than most movies of their type, but that's not saying much, is it? But whatever, there was nothing else to see and I wanted to go to a movie.

I actually plan to go to a rather unusually high number of movies on Saturday and Sunday this weekend. I intend to go to two separate theatres on both days. This is because the Oscar Nominated Shorts, the live action ones and the animated ones, are playing exclusively at the Guild 45 in Wallingford. That location alone makes going to it on weeknights more of a hassle, and beyond that, the live action ones in particular have only totally unworkable showtimes on weekdays. So, Live Action on Saturday and Animation on Sunday it is.

Those will each get written reviews. The same is not the case for the other movies I plan to go to on both days at The Egyptian, as part of the festival of film noir. The two movies I want to see have both had modern remakes (only one of which I ever saw, the Coen Brothers' take on The Ladykillers -- which, actually, turned out to be one of their weakest offerings) and I have never seen the originals. Saturday I'll see The Ladykillers, and Sunday The Taking of Pelham 123, which I read over and over was notably better than the remake (as they tend to be).

In the middle of all that, it appears likely I'll have dinner with Ivan again on Saturday evening. He sent me a barrage of Facebook messages on Monday evening while he was at work about how he was thinking about having dinner at a Moroccan restaurant. Um, okay. At first I tried to push it back to two weekends from now to ease up on my budget, but then he told me he's making other plans for the 25th, and if you think I'm missing the Oscars on the 26th for anything (okay, maybe a death in the family) you're crazy. So, I did some budgetary projections based on expected spending for the next week, and decided I could fit that dinner in this coming weekend after all. It'll have to be later than I prefer, at around 8 pm, but I'll live.

I walked home after the movie, and it was raining surprisingly hard. check this out: all of halfway through the month, Seattle has already received more than twice the average rainfall for the entirety of February. Weather keeps just getting weirder and weirder around here. Not that any of us with any brains expected anything different.

Shobhit had dinner made when I got home. Too spicy, as usual. But, unlike the previous dish I made, at least I could get it down. The spiciness completely eliminated any actual flavor but whatever. I should still appreciate that he made the dinner at all. I think he actually tried to make it tolerable for me, but he has a hard time distinguishing the line because his tongue can't even register anything unless the spice level is like taking his mouth to the burning flames of hell.

-- चार हजार और चालीस --


07312016-03


-- चार हजार और चालीस --


I didn't watch any TV last night! Of course, I watched a movie instead but whatever. I walked to and from the theatre! I'm not a total vegetable.

I sure enjoyed this episode of Moshe Kasher's monthly Hound Tall podcast. I really like the comedian guests (Kumail Nanjiani is one of my favorites) and the scientist guest was pretty fascinating. And he made a point that kind of blew my mind: when people talk about how humans lived an average of ~30 years in pre-agricultural times, they are including infant mortality in the average -- which, for some reason, they do not do for modern numbers when comparing to current life expectancy. What the shit? That's a clear false equivalency, creating what the guy kept calling "fallacious" notions of civilized society being somehow better for the human species.

And that's when it hit me in a way that it perhaps never has before that nearly anything we have been conditioned to believe all our lives may very well have been due simply to manipulated data. I find this very annoying, but it does teach me to be open minded about having my mind changed.

And this is, to my way of thinking, yet another strong argument against religion -- because people think of religious teaching as immutable. Evidence? Who cares about evidence?

The problem on the scientific side is the manner in which the evidence is presented. Something tells me none of us knows the whole story about anything we hold to be true at all. Not even President Fuckwit. The thing about him, of course, is that we've watched that man lie through his teeth repeatedly on live television, so I still feel pretty comfortable in regarding him as an astonishingly incompetent fuckwit. I still operate in probabilities.

And another thing! At one point the guy on the podcast mentioned that the most common metric for what makes people happy is "feeling embedded in a community of people who care about them." Things like money have no real factor there, except that money can make people rather unhappy rather than the other way around. And I realized: feeling embedded in a community of people who care about me -- I absolutely have that. I have it in spades, in my family life, my social life, and even my work life. No wonder I'm so fucking happy! (Yes, I get angry with Shobhit frequently. That's different. I'm still generally very happy, on average, with my relationship and marriage.)

The weird thing to me is this: I know people who I can clearly see are themselves surrounded by people who care about them, but for some reason they fail to see it, and thus remain unhappy. That I have no capacity to understand at all. Unless, of course, they have a clinical issue. And those are common. My experience is the opposite -- I am in a good mood so often it defies logic, and makes me wonder if I have my own chemical imbalance, just in the inverse of those who are clinically depressed. Whatever, I'll take it! I have not felt anything even remotely close to genuine despair since I was a teenager. Right now, especially with all the shit in the news, I feel surrounded by people who despair. It hasn't affected my own capacity for happiness and contentment.

I guess I just get back to that clarifier: feeling embedded in a community of people who care about me. I especially feel this at work, as it applies to the people who work in my immediate physical vicinity, people who work in other departments, countless work contacts, and even the company I work for on a broad policy level. To say I feel embedded in such a community would actually be an understatement. How could I not just feel gratitude on an almost constant basis?

-- चार हजार और चालीस --


Anyway. I walked home from the movie, had the spicy dinner, wrote my review. I thought the review would be a short one but nope. You just can't shut me up when I get my fingers going. I was in bed not long after.

-- चार हजार और चालीस --


07232016-11

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positive energy please