just add cheese


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So this is pretty typical: I wrote so much yesterday, about the many events over an extended weekend that were well worth writing about, that it basically precludes my writing much today. Compared to the three days that preceded it, yesterday was patently uneventful.

I suppose there is this, which I forgot to mention when writing about lunch with Karen yesterday: one of the servers, a young black lady, complimented my blue eyeliner. "I like your blue eyeliner," she said, specifically. "It's very cute." That's an unusual descriptor of my makeup, but I'll take it.

There was even a second, related moment at that lunch, though. Another server -- we had like four different people tending to us at different times -- walked up to our table and said, "Is there anything else I can get you ladies?" This used to happen way more often than it does since I've gotten older, and to be fair, this guy had been walking up from behind yet slightly to the side of me. Still, I heard that and thought, I've still got it!

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I guess I could also tell you that for lunch today I sat, by myself, out on one of those super comfy upholstered chairs on the patio, eating the leftover macaroni salad I brought to the family gathering at Mason Lake on Sunday, which was a potluck.

That pasta salad Sherri was making had meat in it, and I wanted to make sure there was something there I could eat. This was just as much my selfish motivation as was the fact of it being a potluck and I should probably bring something, even if I couldn't make it. I thought about potato salad, and realized someone else could easily bring some of that. That could have some kind of meat in it too, though, like bacon bits or something, and I also hadn't had macaroni salad in a while. When it's done well, I rather like macaroni salad.

Dad and I checked Ralph's Thriftway, the grocery store near his house, and they had none. He suggested I look for it at Cash & Carry, the wholesaler he was already planning to go to for hamburger buns. It took us a while to find it, but we finally found a gallon of macaroni salad. Dad commented on how many times Aunt Raenae has complained about this particular brand, which I don't remember the name of, not being very good. I immediately took Dad's cue and did not trust her judgment, figuring it was fine -- even after looking at the ingredients, which were packed with terrible shit like high fructose corn syrup (mentioned like three times) and other preservatives. I guess it's expected at a wholesaler where you might expect people to be storing large quantities for relatively long periods of time.

That said, I did find the salad itself a bit disappointing -- too heavy on the mayo, and no cheese, which was what I was looking forward to most; I remembered having a macaroni salad I really like with small cubed cheddar cheese in it. I felt a little bad being disappointed with it, since Dad opted to pay for it along with the buns and ice he was getting himself.

I brought most of it home, along with leftover artichoke dip Eric had made, half of which had been made with jalapeños, almost exclusively for Shobhit's benefit. I hope Shobhit can set his political differences aside and come down for the join birthday party they're talking about having in November, when Jennifer will turn 40 and Eric will turn 50 one week apart. I bet there's a good chance more of it will be made for that party. Anyway, once I had the macaroni salad home, I cut up a bunch of aged cheddar cheese from Costco, and added that along with a healthy amount of pepper. I would have added some onions and bell pepper too, but Shobhit had used up all our vegetables for a dish he made while I was gone. But the cheese and pepper on their own made all the difference in the world, improving it dramatically. It's too bad I didn't think just to buy some cheese in Olympia and mix it in before taking the dish to the picnic.

Whatever, it's feeding me lunch for three days this week.

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Shobhit had to reschedule his afternoon shift at one of his jobs because it overlapped with his morning shift at the other, which I did not find out until Monday night -- after I had already established with Ivan that we'd all be watching this week's Game of Thrones on Tuesday instead of on Wednesday as we've had to do the past few weeks. But now Shobhit was going to be gone all evening, and when I was visibly annoyed by getting this news so late, he said, "You can watch it without me." He'll watch it himself this afternoon instead. All righty, fine.

So when I got home yesterday, Ivan was sitting at the dining table, reading what looked like a book on his iPhone, something he apparently does a lot. He almost immediately asked what time we'd be watching Game of Thrones and I said I'd be ready as soon as I'd made myself a quick dinner. First he said, "What about Shobhit?", which was courteous of him. I explained the change in plans, and he said, "Well all right, let's watch it now then." And so, once I had made my hash browns and eggs with a bit of shredded cheese -- an effort at a light meal, which seems to have worked; I was down a pound this morning -- we sat down to watch this year's penultimate episode.

I'm listening to a podcast in which it's being discussed as a huge disappointment and one of the worst episodes in the series, but whatever. I liked it fine. The turn of events at the very end changes the stakes in a way Gabriel has been predicting for ages, and I actually liked that.

After that, I tried for a while to find something else to watch. First I tried a Netflix comedy special featuring identical twin comics who were not funny enough within the first ten minutes for me to want to keep watching. Netflix is taking the "special" out of comedy specials, releasing a new one every single week. I was curious about these guys also though, because they had been interesting guests on Marc Maron's podcast. But, I wasn't feeling it, so I turned it off.

Then I tried Wes Anderson's The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou, which Claudia had recommended I give another go since it's streaming on Netflix. Again, I found myself not to be in the mood for its pointedly odd tone, and I also turned that one off within ten minutes.

And then I remembered that I had been thinking about Lars von Trier's Melancholia for a while lately, and have been thinking about re-watching it. So I looked for it on Netflix: not there. I looked on HBO Go: not there. With little hope of finding it, next I checked Hulu -- and it was there! I was slightly disappointed to be reminded of how long it was, two hours and 15 minutes, but I decided to start it at 7:45 anyway.

And then, even upon second viewing, I was rapt for the entire film. As I tweeted last night, it moves from amusingly tedious to deeply unsettling. The very end, especially the very final moment, seriously creeps me out. But apparently that was the movie I was in the mood for. I found it eminently satisfying. I had thought about asking Ivan sometime if he wanted to watch it with me, and he even asked when he noticed the highly stylized pre-title credits sequence what it was, but he was otherwise listening to music with ear buds on his iPhone as he made himself dinner. He asked what it was about and all I could say was, "It's hard to describe. But a planet crashes into the Earth and destroys it by the end." Spoiler alert!

The entire first half just follows people around at a wedding reception, though, and it seemed just as well that Ivan didn't watch it. It probably would have bored him. It sure as shit would have bored Shobhit. I do remember that Gabriel was impressed with it, and even surprised me once by telling me the science in it was sound. I did give Lars von Trier's two Nymphomaniac films that he released two years later the same grade of an A-, but I think Melancholia might still qualify as his best. I get the feeling it could become the same kind of movie for me as A.I., although that one is increasingly dated -- but over the years, I still keep coming back to it every few years.

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