An Inconvenient Cupcake


-- चार हजार एक सौ पैंतीस --

Well, yesterday I actually posted a regular blog update in the middle of the weekend! A rare thing, like a literary unicorn. A blog unicorn. A blogicorn. Anyway, in that entry I focused exclusively on the events of Saturday -- which the three photos I'm using in today's DLU also come from.

Aside: since this is my first reference to "DLU" since shifting my blog to Squarespace rather than LiveJournal, where I wrote for 15 years: DLU = "Daily Lunch Update." I started counting them years ago, which is why the dividing lines between topics in these entries are actually numbers, currently written in Hindi. (Today's: "चार हजार एक सौ पैंतीस" = "four thousand one hundred thirty-five.") For the longest time I did them in Roman Numerals; as early as early 2003 I was just using random symbols, and started numbering them with Arabic numerals June 30, 2003 with #75. By January 20, 2004 I switched over to Roman numerals for the 201st counted DLU, with "CCI." And I stuck with Roman numerals clear until January 5 of this year, when I wrote the numbers out in Arabic script using Google Translate, two days in a row. That made Shobhit uncomfortable, and he (unreasonably, frankly) asked me not to use Arabic writing in my posts. So, ever since January 9 ("four thousand twelve"), I've been using Hindi script. I had to abandon the Roman numerals after using them for 13 years because figuring out how to write numbers that high became prohibitively difficult, both in formatting (numbers that high include a horizontal line above the characters) and in just finding the translation to Roman numeral to begin with. So, with 2017, Hindi script it is. But however the separators are written, they indicate a "DLU" -- a blog entry posted during my lunch break at work. That's the only time I use it.

Anyway, back to the task at hand, which is updating you on my weekend outside of Saturday. Shobhit was happy to hear that he was the only one who will be getting points on my next Social Review for this weekend -- I did not socialize with anyone else -- and he's getting a point each for all three days! The point he gets for yesterday is arguably the result of moderately working the system but that's okay. On Friday, though, he met me at the Meridian Theatre after I got off work, to see an early showing of An Inconvenient Sequel: Truth to Power.

I'm still not sure why he was so interested in that movie. It was rather predictable for him to feel it was largely pointless, given how easy it is -- especially after watching the movie itself -- to feel that humanity has passed the point of no return when it comes to climate change. The movie makes a somewhat valiant effort at presenting avenues of hope, but honestly not enough to overcome the defeatist feeling that comes with the devastating lack of action on the part of our government. This is especially the case with the current administration, but would not be nearly enough less the case even with Democrats in power. There are a great many ways the U.S. positioning itself as a moral leader in the world is preposterous, but the context of climate change is very near the top.

Al Gore was one of the guests on Real Time with Bill Maher Friday night, and Shobhit and I watched it yesterday. Bill Maher ended the interview talking about how Al Gore is one of the most tireless fighters for this cause out there, which is true -- but then he talked about how he "gets on a plane" constantly to spread this message. Of course there was no message about how air travel is actually one of the worst culprits of carbon emissions out there. Consider this New York Times article from 2013, which itself calls out Al Gore specifically:

For many people reading this, air travel is their most serious environmental sin. One round-trip flight from New York to Europe or to San Francisco creates a warming effect equivalent to 2 or 3 tons of carbon dioxide per person. The average American generates about 19 tons of carbon dioxide a year; the average European, 10.

So if you take five long flights a year, they may well account for three-quarters of the emissions you create. “For many people in New York City, who don’t drive much and live in apartments, this is probably going to be by far the largest part of their carbon footprint,” says Anja Kollmuss, a Zurich-based environmental consultant.

It is for me. And for people like Al Gore or Richard Branson who crisscross the world, often by private jet, proclaiming their devotion to the environment.

Though air travel emissions now account for only about 5 percent of warming, that fraction is projected to rise significantly, since the volume of air travel is increasing much faster than gains in flight fuel efficiency. (Also, emissions from most other sectors are falling.)

And this also means I should be called out personally too. While I felt proud of never owning a car, for a year and a half between 2010 and 2011 I flew cross-country between Seattle and New York twice a month (there and back); and between 2011 and 2016 I flew to L.A. and back every month. That's a lot of air travel.

I now haven't flown since last December, when I flew to Spokane on my way to visit Mom and Bill. That's just an hour-long flight; I haven't flown to L.A. since Thanksgiving. I likely won't fly again until my Christmastime visit with Mom and Bill next December; I have no idea when I might fly a longer distance again. The thing is, though, as an American in a country that continues to reap far more benefits of privileges built on the backs of other people and on historically hogging most of the world's resources, the only way I could truly stop being a hypocrite about climate change is if I literally lived off the grid in a tent in the woods somewhere. We all know that's never going to happen.

Of course, policy changes at the top levels of government really is the most important and impactful thing. But literally no one -- regardless of political affiliation -- is doing enough, while Miami is already literally going under water.

In any case, this new movie just doesn’t have a prayer of offering hope with the potential that 2006's An Inconvenient Truth had. An Inconvenient Sequel is compelling in its way, and I would say worth seeing but not exactly vital. It also feels a bit like too little too late. With each passing day I have a strengthening expectation that I may very well grow old, but I'll be doing so while watching the world crumble around me. That's not necessarily the same as expecting my own life to be bad, mind you -- for some reason I still feel very optimistic about that. It's the generations that follow me that I have essentially no hope for. I suppose that could change, but it'll take some pretty extraordinary events for it to happen. Time will tell.

-- चार हजार एक सौ पैंतीस --


-- चार हजार एक सौ पैंतीस --

Shobhit once again had two work shifts yesterday, but was home for about four hours between them, 11:30 to 4:30. Ivan had expressed interest in watching Dr. Strangelove when he saw I had it from Netflix, and when Shobhit got home -- I wanted him to see it since it came out the same year and is way better than Fail Safe -- there was barely enough time to watch it before Ivan needed to be off to work. So when I suggested watching it, he agreed.

He barely paid attention, though; he was looking at his phone almost the entire time. And to be fair, this movie isn't tailor made for someone with a short attention span. Shobhit has his own attention span issues occasionally, but he was compelled by most of this movie. It's actually not as funny as I remember. It's pretty overt in its satire from the beginning (for example, the prominently visible sign reading PEACE IS OUR PROFESSION on an army base with a gun battle raging), but that's not the same as being funny. From today's context, it barely got two or three chuckles out of me.

That doesn't mean I don't think it's an excellent film, because I do. It's just difficult to regard it as a straightforward comedy.

While Shobhit was gone on his second work shift, I took myself to see Detroit, which was very good -- enough for me to give it an A-, although it's also pretty fucking depressing when you think too much about its far reaching implications. That movie is not a fun time. Its events should be known by all of us, though, and I never knew anything about this truly despicable Algiers Motel incident -- for which, of course, none of the white cops were convicted. Sound familiar?

I'm glad I saw it, for a multitude of reasons. I did not enjoy it. It's hard to characterize how to recommend a movie like that. Does it qualify as entertainment? Art, maybe? It's a challenge, of the kind we need. Or certainly of a kind white people need.

I wasn't sure I'd have time to write the review afterward; the show time was 6:00, thankfully, but it's two hours and 23 minutes, so it was 8:30 by the time it let out, and I still had to walk half a mile home, and then make omelet sandwiches with bagels Shobhit brought home from Starbucks. This was a very tasty dinner, mind you, and I'd be happy to do it again. I've had enough of their grilled cheese sandwiches lately. Shobhit got home from work just as I was finishing up my own bagel sandwich. So I got started on my review while he ate.

But then we went out for dessert. We decided to use my Chinook Book coupon for 2-for-1 cupcakes at Cupcake Royale. Shobhit suggested we eat one there and get one to go. So, we had the Blackberry Brown Butter cupcake, splitting it at one of their tables. We were both very impressed with the cream cheese frosting surrounding a dollop of delicious blackberry jam, but not so much with the cake part itself, which was a bit crumbly and dry. Maybe the one we got to go and will split tonight, Raspberry Lemonade, will be better.

It took us all of five minutes, if that, to sit and split that one cupcake. But we did eat dessert out, so it counts on the next Social Review!

We walked back home -- Cupcake Royale is five blocks away -- and then I wrote the review. That kept me up slightly later than I would have preferred but it's fine.

-- चार हजार एक सौ पैंतीस --

Over the weekend I changed the page this site automatically loads as its home page when you just go to Now it loads to the "CinemaHolic" blog page of exclusively movie reviews, which I prefer to be the public face of it -- now, for instance, when the young woman who asked for the URL at Seward Park after the bike ride on Thursday goes there, the movie reviews, which was what she was interested, will be the first thing she sees. People will have to have the wherewithal to click the link to the "Literary Exhibitionist" blog will only then see these personal journal/blog entries.

That seems like a more sensible approach to me. It's not that I'm trying to hide the personal blog, exactly, but I do think that by and large people who don't know me well will be far more interested in the movie reviews than my overtly detailed accounts of my day to day life.

-- चार हजार एक सौ पैंतीस --