Stuff That Keeps Me Busy
Seeing: There Will Be Blood. There was. I went into this movie preemptively taking 2 Advil. I heard that it was bleak and unforgiving, and P.T. Anderson and I have an interesting history. Or not. I loved 9/10 of Boogie Nights, thought Magnolia was pretentious and over the top (saved by the gorgeous Aimee Mann music) and Punch Drunk Love made me homicidally angry. This movie was an original auteur vision, but I really don't think it's the new Citizen Kane or modern masterpiece like many critics are rapturously claiming. Daniel Day Lewis acts with a capital A, and every once in a while the whole movie veered into Saturday Night Live skit territory. After I saw the film, I didn't really feel like talking; I just wanted to wrap myself up in a blanket, shower and listen to upbeat music. But overall, it's a gorgeously scored, often powerful, perfectly fine movie that I never, ever want to see again. Oh, I can't believe I am saying this, but the scene in the bowling alley when people scream about milkshakes still leaves me profoundly confused.
Reading: Blind Willow, Sleeping Woman by Haruki Murakami. This is a collection of Murakami's best short stories from throughout the past couple decades. I thought that this would be a book that I would pick up once in a while and be able to read other things after a couple of selections, but it's become completely addictive. His ability to transform quotidian detail into the extraordinary and really make you think has gotten me hooked. It's the most relaxing book I have read in quite a while. Each selection is a character study that centers on a momentary revelation, and while I normally prefer more plot-driven fiction, these stories fly by with ease. In the introduction, the author perfectly sums up how the book feels: "If writing novels is like planting a forest, then writing short stories is more like planting a garden."
Eating: Fork, 306 market Street, Philadelphia, PA. I know I am not Craig Laban, but I had a lovely dining experience there this weekend. I have a hilarious story about dining there forthcoming in which my friends and I meet the owner of the establishment, but until then I will tell you that the Hanger Steak with Chimmichurri with the Yucca Frites was delicious, if slightly overdone. I loved EJ's Porkchop with some sort of sweet sauce and honey-glazed sweet potatoes even better (and so did he). The tastes I managed to steal from JB of his 1/2 Duck Two Ways and CC's Roasted Free Range Chicken were great, as well. The drinks? Not so much. I would stick with wine over mixed drinks. The best thing I had all night there was a mix of the chef's nightly tapas: baby mozzarella with roasted peppers, Spanish meatballs and the best thing, braised pork belly with hoisin sauce. Extra bonus points are awarded for the cute waitress/Rashida Jones lookalike who sang Dan Fogleberg songs with us.
Hating: The Anti-Fois Gras protesters in Philadelphia. Please let me walk past Susannah Foo's without having to see your pictures of goose fetus or whatever it is that's supposed to make me support your cause. It's gross; it makes me look away. It makes me want to go eat more meat to perpetuate balance in the world. Also, your self-righteous grandstanding would gain probably gain a little more legitimacy in my eyes if you weren't wearing leather jackets while protesting. Even annoying people should strive for consistency.