Capitol Hill Social


-- चार हजार दो सौ और चालीस --

Relatively social weekend to catch up on, although Saturday was the exception. Shobhit and I did our regular grocery shopping late Saturday morning as usual for the day after when I get paid, and we went all over town as Shobhit is wont to do, in search of what he feels are the best values: Northgate to get toothpaste and mouthwash and floss -- and all "tooth care" products were buy one, get second one half off (or in other words, get two for 25% off); PCC Greenlake Village for a pretty large purchase using the month's member coupon that gets my discount to -- again -- 25% off; then back south of downtown again to Beacon Hill for Shobhit's new produce stand, Macpherson's Produce. We were going to go after that to one of the Asian grocery stores in the International District, but for some reason Shobhit decided to give me the choice, and I was like, let's skip it. So we went home. We actually didn't go to Costco this week, as we did just a week ago.

And then we spent the rest of the day watching TV or movies. I did read a little. I got two versions of Little Women from Netflix on DVD, the first and the last of what I now know are four film adaptations of that novel: 1933 starring Katharine Hepburne and 1994 starring Winona Ryder. We watched the 1933 version Saturday evening, and Ivan, who seemed to have really nothing at all going on all weekend, came out of his bedroom to hang out with us on the love seat while we watched that. "Is this the old Little Women? " he asked, and then he proceeded just to look at his phone the phone time. But whatever, I enjoy his company regardless.

I did do some reading over the weekend, and on Saturday itself I finished the Caitlin Doughty book about death and burial around the world, called From Here to Eternity: Traveling the World In Search of the Good Death. Later that evening I finally started the novel My Cat Yugoslavia, which I found out about when I asked Ivan a few weeks ago what book he was reading that he was clearly really into. It's set in his beloved Balkans and, the parts that very much piqued my interest, features a talking cat as well as a main character who is gay. I'm about four chapters in and the cat has yet to appear, but it's still pretty engaging so far. The guy has gotten a snake. I don't think the snake ever talks.

-- चार हजार दो सौ और चालीस --

Friday evening was spent at Laney's, to watch episodes 8, 9 and 10 of the first season of Mad Men -- the fourth time I've gone over to re-watch episodes with her, and every single time we talk about how impressed we are with how well it holds up.

I usually walk straight to her place from work, but I had forgotten there was a lunch packed for me at home and I did not bring it to work, and when Shobhit texted me about it, I decided I'd come home and get it. I also packed a small thermos full of Zevia Cherry Cola with a few shots of spiced rum in it. Laney's doctor still has her on a very strict diet that is very effectively taking stress off her joints, and she can no longer eat a whole bunch of things (at least for now) including dairy, so for example, no more sharing crackers with a cheese log. So I just nuked my beans and rice with cheese in that and had my cocktail -- Laney drank sparkling water out of a wine glass -- and that was that.

We did chat for a while before starting the first episode, and although I kind of assumed we'd only watch two, we wound up going ahead with three. Since we're only meeting once a month for this, we can burn through the seasons more quickly that way. I remember Gabriel talking about how he loved that show so much that he couldn't stomach watching more than one episode at a time, that he needed to take time to savor each one. I keep wanting to move forward, though. It's also really interesting to watch these early episodes, knowing where the show goes from there.

Laney let me know over the weekend that her doctor is allowing her Happy Hour drinks, if nothing more -- as well as certain foods, as long as it's just that one day each month. Seems reasonable to me. So, unlike what happened in January, when at first the Happy Hour scheduled this month was going to switch to another Mad Men evening since Laney could not drink but was then still canceled due to another commitment anyway, our Happy Hour scheduled for February 9 still stands. It will have been so long since she's had a drink that she'll probably stick with beer and still be a lightweight. We plan to go back to Queer / Bar for that.

Friday was quite the TV evening, too, because even after watching three episodes of Mad Men at Laney's, I came home and started watching more of Fargo with Shobhit -- and we watched three of those as well! There were only three episodes left, and I could not stop watching, even though it meant being up way past my usual bedtime, even on a weekend. Ivan got home from work about half an hour later than usual, I think in the middle of the penultimate episode, and at first when that one ended, I said I didn't think I was going to make it. But then I was like, "fuck it," let's watch the seasonal finale! And we did, and it actually kept me awake. Season 2 of Fargo was really great, even though the whole UFO element was really odd -- there's a scene with an acual flying saucer, but the characters are too wrapped up in their own business to pay it much attention. The whole season has references to alien visitors, and then that's all it amounts to. It's really weird, but in a way I kind of liked. I even remember Tommy once retweeting someone who had posted a screenshot, which I can't find now on his own timeline because it was too long ago (late 2015), but I did find this one, when Ed says "Are you seeing this?" and Peggy just replies, "It's just a flying saucer, Ed. We gotta go!" Shobhit and I both laughed pretty hard at that.

Anyway, the appearance of the flying saucer plays a significant part in altering the course of events for all the characters, but beyond that, the saucer disappears again, and nothing more is shown about it, and it's barely even talked about. Weirdly, both Shobhit and I remembered the part in season 1 where the elder Lou Solverson mentions how he sat outside on a porch once before, back in 1979, all night, and when his granddaughter asks who he was protecting the house from, he says something like "more like what" -- a clear reference to the possibility of being scared of aliens. So we spent all of season 2 waiting to see the younger Lou, played by Patrick Wilson, sitting all night on a porch with his gun -- and then it never happened. That part in particular was rather odd, but whatever. I still loved the show, and am eager for season 3 to become available on Hulu as well.

-- चार हजार दो सौ और चालीस --


-- चार हजार दो सौ और चालीस --

I spent time with Laney again yesterday morning, leaving home at about 10:00 because for some reason I misremembered Laney saying we'd meet at Light Rail at 10:30, but actually it was 10:45. I walked all the way to the library to drop off that book I had finished, which happens to be right across the street from Laney's apartment, but I decided just to walk back to the Light Rail station and wait for her there -- which I wound up doing for 15 minutes. She's usually rather early when we meet there, and wasn't there yet at 10:45. So I texted her, What time did we say we'd meet at Light Rail? She replied. Now, and moments later could finally be seen riding the down elevator.

We went to Pacific Place to see the cheap, pre-noon showing (less than seven bucks!) of Phantom Thread, for two reasons: I actually wanted to see it again since the first time kind of threw me for a loop, and there was nothing else new worth seeing this week; and also I really wanted Laney's take on it. She really, really liked it. As did I; I stand by the A- I gave it.

Our discussion was interrupted a bit afterward by a phone call with Gabriel, as we had been exchanging texts about whether I would come down to hang out with him in Tacoma in the afternoon. Shobhit got a call Saturday evening and accepted the offer to take a 9-5 shift on Sunday, so I had most of the day yesterday without him. In the end my coming to hang out did not work out, for detailed reasons there is no reason to get into here. He did tell me, though, that he had watched The Shape of Water (he initially tried to get me to come down and watch that with him on Saturday -- "Come watch fish sex" -- but I had just had a drink and 1/4 of an edible), and predictably since I kind of hated it, he loved it. He doesn't think my inability to get past a woman fucking a man-fish is a good enough reason not to like it, which is no surprise at all, but whatever. The movie's plot itself also got super dumb, which he even conceded, so there's that.

-- चार हजार दो सौ और चालीस --

Ivan had asked on Saturday what my plans were for the rest of the weekend, and I told him that aside from the movie with Laney, I had none. I asked him the same question, and he said he had no plans either, so right before I went to bed, I asked him if, since he had no plans, he wanted to get some lunch. At Honey Hole?? he replied -- he sure likes that place -- and I said Sure!

I told him it would be around 2:00, as I expected the movie to get out around 1:30. The movie actually got out at 1:50, so I messaged him that I would likely get home closer to 2:15. But, then Laney and I barely missed a northbound Light Rail, and I got off the train right at 2:15. I messaged him again asking if he just wanted to meet there, and he said yes, so I went straight to Honey Hole on Pike Street. He arrived within minutes -- he left very quickly and is a fast walker. (Much like Gabriel, who is also much taller than I am, he can walk without even rushing and his longer legs just make him faster than me.)

They had a new menu of three veggie burgers, all with Field Roast patties, so I could not resist. Ivan himself pointed them out and mentioned how good they sounded, but wound up still getting his regular favorite sandwich. I was going to do the same and get my beloved "El Guapo," since last time I tried something different and it just did not stack up -- but one of the burgers, with blue cheese crumbles, just sounded too irresistible. I got that, and, for once, trying a different sandwich actually did stack up. The burger was amazing.

We chatted a fair amount over lunch, at one point Ivan saying, "I'm pretty excited about my trip." I said, "I bet you are." Who wouldn't be? A two-week train trip from Barcelona to Morocco, followed by two months in the Balkans?

Then he said, "Are you gonna miss me?" -- which was dumb. "Why would you even ask me that?" I asked, and he giggled. "I've told you over and over and over again how much I'll miss you." In fact I've been thinking about when I'll go to Vancouver to visit him once he moves there, perhaps without Shobhit. I'd like to take a weekend trip traveling on my own sometime, which I have never done and would like to experience, and Vancouver seems like the ideal destination for that. (Shobhit, for his part, even though he has no particular dislike for him, won't miss Ivan at all, which is fine. And I do look forward to having the condo to ourselves permanently for the first time in eight years. I think it will be good for us.)

Anyway. Honestly the biggest reason I was pretty happy to get out to lunch with Ivan yesterday was that it brings his Social Review points for the winter up to 5, essentially cementing his position at #3, per the usual (behind Shobhit and Laney), on the next rankings. Granted, three of those points were semi-manufactured when it was time spent at home, but I stand by the reasoning: in one case it was scheduled socializing that otherwise would have been out at a movie theatre, but we had a screener of I, Tonya to watch at home instead; one included Drew at home watching TV with us; and one was another deliberate scheduling, when we made plans to watch Lady Bird at home as well. If a person's schedule is cleared for doing something together, even at home, I'll count it as socializing. That said, this is only our second time actually going out to do something together -- but whatever, it's still five points! And with two and a half weeks left before he leaves, including two full weekends and at least two weeknights after his last day on the 11th before he leaves on the 14th, in all likelihood he'll wind up with at least six points before he goes, if not more.

Ivan's weekend this past couple of days was evidently so uneventful, he even asked while we were at lunch if there was anything on Netflix that I wanted to watch. I looked up "My List" and showed him The End of the Fucking World, which I added to my list after hearing several good things about it -- he said he also heard good things about it and liked that idea. So, after stopping for frozen custard at Old School Frozen Custard on our way home, I almost immediately put the show on.

It's one season, eight episodes, each of them lasting only about twenty minutes -- so, the whole season ran all of about two hours and forty minutes. Ivan did not find himself as engaged as he perhaps thought he might, and as is typical, he spent the majority of the time just looking at his phone. Somewhat to my surprise, he still stayed out in the living room with me, sitting on the love seat, for all eight episodes. Shobhit got home from work when I was just staring the penultimate episode. The series did not have as much action, nor was it very fast-paced, as I might have expected, but I still rather enjoyed it, and will likely watch with interest if and when another season becomes available.

I then helped Shobhit make some pasta for dinner, which yielded five boxes of leftovers for lunches this week. And then we watched the 1994 version of Little Women. Shobhit remarked that he liked the old version better, but I can't say I agree. The 1933 version features too much of the over-acting typical of the era. The one thing I would agree with is that Katharine Hepburne made a far better Jo than Winona Ryder did. That said, the 1994 version was much more overt in its feminist themes, which I liked, and just overall seemed to have more detail and depth in its script.

That ended around 9:30 and then I was off to get ready for bed.

-- चार हजार दो सौ और चालीस --


[posted 12:27 pm]