November 2003


A pretty decent Italian place in North Beach — standard fare and south Italian, but flavorful and filling. I wouldn’t call it authentic Italian, but it’s a good Italian-American restaurant, for what it’s worth. Many many tables for two, so I suppose that it’s a popular romantic spot. But no dessert!

I had the ravioli with the house red sauce — they were smaller ravioli, not the huge pillows you sometimes get, and the sauce was a bit thickly spread. But they were nicely al dente, which is better than many places I’ve been in North Beach. Ann had the gnocchi with pesto, which I found to be too creamy. All in all, a good hearty dinner, the best I’ve had in North Beach, and pretty inexpensive for a meal there as well.

Witch Hunter Robin — terrible anime series. It’s like My So Called Witch Hunting Life. One of the character’s special power must be “acts like an asshole, but everyone wants to be liked by him anyway.” Of course, that makes it more like reality, right? Ugh. The first scene of the first episode is pretty good though.

The Skin of Our Teeth — With Rue McClanahan, from Golden Girls. This was pretty good, actually. A filmed stage performance, a la Great Performances. Quite entertaining, and I got a lot more out of the play this time versus the time I saw it when I was 10.

A Streetcar Named Desire — STELLA! Ok, I had to get that out of my system. No, wait… STELLA! Ahh, there we go. That hit the spot. Marlon Brando is amazing.

Tokyo Story — a film by Yasujiro Ozu about elderly parents visiting their grown-up children in the big city. Depressing, slow, and very good. Although it makes you wonder why people have children when they are all going to turn into self-centered neglectful jerks.

The Station Agent — one of the most entertaining films I’ve seen lately. It restored my faith in humanity, made me think that many people are fundamentally decent, even though they are assholes some of the time.

… and finally, if you have any bad liquor leftover from a party, liquor that you wouldn’t normally drink or have no idea how to use, PubDrinks or My Bar has the answer. At least you can educate yourself.

Gilbert and Sullivan is like brain-candy to me, although watching my friend Davie’s production of Pirates down at Stanford gave me a few new ideas on how to do a more modern staging, a sort of play-within-a-play idea. It would require quite a bit of acting, and might end up sort of Brechtian, with placards and scene announcements and everything, but it could be a really interesting way to look at said brain candy.

And now on to:

SANGRIA:

2 gallons Zinfandel
1 cup brandy
1/2 cup Cointreau
2 quarts orange juice
2 cups lemon juice
1 cup superfine sugar
12 to 16 ice cubes
2 quarts chilled club soda
3 oranges, thinly sliced
3 lemons, thinly sliced

Thoroughly chill all ingredients. Pour the wine, brandy and Cointreau into a large punch bowl. Stir orange and lemon juice with the sugar until sugar has dissolved. Then add to bowl and stir to blend. Add ice cubes and soda and garnish with fruit slices. Serve in 4-ounce punch glasses or wineglasses. Makes 100 servings.

I’m not making 100 servings. Where are you supposed to mix all this stuff anyway? Who has a punch bowl that large? I’d need a garbage can.

I live, surrounded by text. When I’m not reading a book, I’m reading a paper. When I’m not reading a paper, I’m reading the web. I swim, nay drown, in a sea of text, with little hope of respite or solace of shore. My existence is circumscribed by glyphs, punctuated by symbols, and death I think is no parenthesis. And what do I have to show for it? Deteriorating eyesight, collapsing memory, and back problems from hauling the text around. I wonder what it is to exist in a world devoid of these strange markings, obscure and oft inscrutable.

“The white of the paper is an artifice that’s replaced the translucency of parchment and the ochre surface of clay tablets; both the ochre and the translucency and the whiteness may posess more reality than the signs that mar them.” – Jean Genet

Deep thoughts for a not-deep evening.

Another day, another battle with IRQD_NOT_LESS_THAN_OR_EQUAL. I’m really curious as to why windows machines are just so much less stable than Unix or MacOS. I mean, getting Unix machines to work at all in the first place is difficult, and getting MacOS to run things you want it to run is difficult, but once you’re going, you’re going, and there’s none of this worthless “somehow we corrupted your NFS driver thingie, we have no idea. So you should just reinstall the operating system.” This is a worthwhile consumer product? Maybe I will hang myself if my laptop stops working.

I saw The Bicycle Thief yesterday — quite good, and quite depressing. Whenever I see an old movie that won an Oscar, I’m curious as to what the competition was. Perhaps I should just arrange my own private Academy screenings, a la Tarantino. Only he just screens action flicks, from what I’ve heard.

KALX rocks, most of the time. Sometimes it kind of sucks, but not most of the time I’m listening. That is all.

Punch Drunk Love is a fabulous movie. It manages to have enough of the surreality of real life that I just sat there last night goggling at it, and not even noticing the time. Of course, it is a short movie, but I think it’s compactness makes it even better. It manages to be so economical with the material. Bene.

I’m going to sing “La Bataille De Marignan” in a concert this afternoon, and then work on martingales for much of the evening. I dont know why I find this so amusing. It’s not even decent wordplay, they just share a few letters. Kind of like “collodion” and “colloquium.” Though a colloquium on collodion would be pretty funny. “Advances in stage imitation of scar tissue: the collodion collision and its corollaries.”

I spent a good portion of the evening watching two guys waiting for someone who stood them up. I must have been bored, but frankly, the guys were pretty funny, and it was a lot better than doing my homework. I didn’t even need any more coffee to stay awake, which is surprising, given the 3 hours of sleep I got the previous night. Maybe this says something about my personality, but I got a big kick out of their frustration. I guess I’m just a sick bastard. Tomorrow I’ll hang myself.

Apparently the Saudi’s fear a sand shortage. I don’t know how to break it to them, but I don’t think their in much danger of running out. Of course, I’ve never been there, so I don’t really know, but from what I’ve read, they’re pretty full up on sand.

I am up far too early, trying to make my real brain work so I can make the simulated brain in MATLAB that I’ve been working on work, and frankly, I think they’re both completely fucked.

Went to see a reading of Denis Johnson’s new play at Intersection on Monday. The first half was hilarious, almost George F. Walker-esque in its absurdity and level of violence. The second half was much much slower. Some funny lines:

“You were diggin’ that hole like China had a hold of your balls.”

“He was lovin’ her like a monkey on a motor scooter.”

“Poison is undetectable in raw, unpasteurized milk.”

“Want some coffee? It has tequila in it.” “I see the coffee, but not the tequila.” “Oh, curses!”

There was a lot of stuff on mercury poisoning in the play, which is interesting. I think my knowledge of mercury poisoning begins and ends at the Mad Hatter. Who I strangely sympathize with now.

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