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what's in a name - The Literary Exhibitionist
what's in a name

-- 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 --


-- 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 --


positive energy please