At Home He's a Tourist

He fills his head with culture/ He gives himself an ulcer.

Saturday, January 08, 2005

Christmas Lists

Mediocre Romantic Comedies Watched With My Sister:

  • About a Boy
  • Sweet Home Alabama
  • Notting Hill
  • Forces of Nature

Experiments in New Urbanism Visited:

  • Village of Providence, Hunstville, AL. (A few blocks of new houses in classic Americana style, a school, and a small shopping center.)
  • Legacy, Plano, TX. (Came here to see A Very Long Engagement at the Angelika, a gleaming glass and chrome art house movie theater. The area is more upscale and urban in atmosphere than the above, like a little slice of Manhattan: 1920's style stone facade multistory apartments, brick streets, some office buildings, boutiques.)

Ethnic Eateries Patronized:

  • My Big Fat Greek Buffet, Bedford, TX. Good food but BYOB, so no Retsina to go with it.
  • Todai, Plano, TX. Sushi buffet. Damn expensive but excellent selection. (I had never heard of a "Dallas roll.")
  • Vinny's (?) Indian Restaurant, Huntsville, AL. Recently opened. Not highly recommended; try Sitar across the street.
  • La Madeleine, Fort Worth. The usual Quiche Florentine and French Roast coffee, while discussing nerdy sci-fi with Felix and Pablo.

Grouses from Felix

  • American Airlines losing his luggage
  • Car wreck in Ann Arbor
  • Phone interview he felt went badly
  • Hectic work schedule

Grouses from Pablo

  • Loss of appetite
  • Outrageously expensive utilities bill in his new old home
  • Lack of classes being offered for his degree program

Grouses from Carlos

  • No social life
  • No prospects for getting out of west Texas

Beverages Consumed:

  • Sake (Nasty.)
  • Various Scotches I can't remember the name of, one of which tasted like campfire smoke
  • Hungarian (I think) apricot (I think) brandy
  • Coconut Rum Punch (two of these really snuck up on me)
  • Champagne (of course)
  • Dos Equis
  • Spaten Oktoberfest
  • Ecco Domani Chianti
  • Louis Jadot Beaujolais

New Acquaintances Made:

  • Pot bellied thirty-something in a loud shirt, a coworker of Pablo's, who beat us all at Settlers of Catan, and his second wife, a svelte young Peruvian with an accent I mistook for Slavic.
  • Middle aged Hungarian American, named, believe it or not, Attila, an former coworker of Pablo's, who drove on his motorcycle to meet us for lunch at a trendily retro standing-room only burger joint and then invited us to his neighborhood for a New Year's Eve mass presided over by a frail, fidgety young priest who looked like he was just hitting puberty (great voice though for singing the ordinary), and then to Attila's home to bring in the new year by drinking from his extremely well-stocked bar and playing with chiropractic devices.)
  • Assorted Friends. Sitting in silence for sixty minutes was surprisingly pleasant. Too bad the walls of the Methodist Student Center where the meeting took place was covered with left-wing propaganda.

Tuesday, January 04, 2005

Christmas booty:

  • New suitcase (much needed)
  • Sweater
  • Thelonious Monk, "Brilliant Corners"
  • Wind-up radio/flashlight for camping
  • Collected Letters of C. S. Lewis, vv. 1-2 (a precocious little booger, using words like "convulsed" and "pacified" at the age of seven)
  • Slippers
  • Guitar One magazine
  • Weird U.S.
  • Rubik's Cube (?)

No booze this year, although I still haven't finished that bottle of Maker's Mark from last Christmas.

More details of my vacation are forthcoming. Happy new year!