-- चार हजार छह सौ पंद्रह --

I wrote so much yesterday about Angel's birthday party on Sunday (she actually turns 50 tomorrow) that I never got around to the rest of the weekend -- although, honestly, there's not a lot of other detail to be shared. But I'll try!

Friday evening I went straight to AMC Pacific Place after work for the 5:30 showing of Joker, after which I came home and then wrote my review basically declaring it garbage -- still giving it a generous C+. Why? It did have redeeming elements, most notably Joaquin Phoenix's performance, and Lawrence Sher's magnetic cinematography. The script and the direction, and arguably even the editing, however, left a lot to be desired.

Not that I had any reason to be surprised, and admittedly, my actions meeting my words in recent years regarding my exasperation with and a desire to avoid virtually all superhero/comic book movies has been spotty at best. I will admit I am now at least slightly more inclined to see certain superhero movies now than I might have been just a couple of years ago, for no greater reason than the AMC monthly subscription I have now. This allows me to see up to three movies a week at an AMC theatre, a limit I almost never meet, for only about $23 a month -- a cost that pays for itself with all of two movies in a given month (not week). In other words, in the past I would avoid a lot of superhero movies I knew would be both a waste of time and money; it is by definition no longer a waste of money, and wasting time has become my only concern.

In retrospect, I would have been just fine skipping Joker, but I was convinced to go see it just so I could speak about it with some actual authority, rather than pontificating on a movie I had never seen but had generated lots of buzz of varying degrees of positivity and negativity over several months of film festivals leading up to its release. It feels at least fairly likely Joaquin Phoenix will be nominated for an Oscar for this performance, which I actually wouldn't mind so much, although if he actually wins the Best Actor Oscar for this I'll be pulling my hair out. This movie does not deserve any Academy rewards, I don't care how good the acting is.

The movie opened huge this weekend, which is not at all a surprise; reactions seem to be varied, although it doesn't feel like very many people hated it as much as I did. I get the sense there was a lot of advanced excitement, a ton of people went to see it opening weekend, and then a surprising number of people had a reaction to it that basically amounted to "Eh." It seems that really only critics and cinema commentators like myself are spending any real time discussing the implications of the movie's thematic contents. Either way, I can certainly tell you this much: unless a miracle sequel changes things, and his very good performance notwithstanding, Juaquin Phoenix has no chance of having this role become enduringly iconic the way either Jack Nicholson or Heath Ledger did.

Shobhit worked a swing shift on Friday, so that basically sums up Friday evening. On Saturday, I took myself to another movie in the afternoon, even though Shobhit tried hard to convince me not to because of my cold (which, yes, still persists today, the cough a little more consistent but the congestion easing up), called Chained for Life. This was a film obscure enough that it played at the SIFF Film Center at Seattle Center on Saturday and Sunday last weekend only, and I was to be out of town on Sunday, making this my only chance to go see it. And then it turned out to be only sort of okay; I found myself lost as to what it was trying to say, and gave it a B-, only one step up from the C+ I had given Joker.

Just going to that movie did not really push things much in terms of my cold, but my choice to walk the nearly two miles from there to Total Wine & More perhaps did. Shobhit wanted me to meet him when he got off work so we could go produce shopping, and I probably should have taken a bus. I was coughing a little more than I might have otherwise after taking that walk. We then went shopping at MacPherson's on Beacon Hill, Shobhit asking me to drive because he was "beat" from his day at work; we came home and put groceries away before I set to writing my review for that movie. I also worked later that evening on the "50 Years 50 Angels" video I made for Angel's birthday, finishing up with that on Sunday morning right before leaving for Olympia.

There was one detail I forgot to add in yesterday's post about the party in Olympia. When Britni was talking about her apparent inability to carry children to term (that being doctors' expectations -- Dad did note that doctors once told my mom she could not have children either and then she had two; I noted that was well over forty years ago and advances since then probably make their predictions a bit more accurate), she mentioned that Brandi wants to get a photo sometime next year of the three new mothers and their newborn babies: Alex's girlfriend Caitlin, Ricky's wife Rachael, and Brandi herself. Britni said she's adopting a dog and she wants in on this picture, and plans to dress up the dog in an outfit matching those of the other babies. This cracked me up, as I thought it was a great idea, and about as Britni as it could get.

-- चार हजार छह सौ पंद्रह --


-- चार हजार छह सौ पंद्रह --

So! That brings us to last night, when we met up with Lynn and Zephyr for dinner at Kizuki Ramen in Northgate. We had originally settled on dinner Thursday last week nut then Lynn realized she had a conflict, so we moved it to Monday this week; otherwise it was not likely we could manage it for another month or more.

Shobhit was kind of all over the place with his moods through the course of the evening. We left for Northgate only at the time I suggested, and I was not stressed about it or "freaking out" about getting up there by 7:00 the way he tried to characterize it later on the way home when the conversation did not go the way he wanted.

We were there right on time at the agreed-on 7:00. And then Lynn and Zephyr were more than half an hour late. Zephyr texted me at 7:22 that they were "in traffic," and when I looked up on the Maps app the route from their place in Edmonds to Northgate -- we were basically meeting halfway -- it showed no indication of any traffic jams anywhere. They were pretty apologetic once they finally arrived, although I have to say the reason for their lateness was kind of definitively lame: Lynn had apparently gone on a run and lost track of the time, while listening to a fitness app's audio that turns it into a kind of game about running from zombies. She was over a mile away from home and got lost.

But! And this is key: I would not say this is a pattern with them, at least not yet. Although come to think of it, hold on, maybe it is. I do remember now once meeting at a place in Everett for Lynn's birthday and they arrived a while after we (and several other people) did. Okay, fine. We talked about meeting for dinner again, next time at Saffron Grill which is still in Northgate, and maybe in their case if Shobhit is still obsessed over this we can just leave home at the time we agreed we'd meet and then we'll all probably actually arrive at around the same time.

Still, for most of the time we waited, for like 35 minutes, Shobhit was surprisingly calm and collected. That is, until we came on nearly 30 minutes and he started suggesting we just leave and go home. I'd gotten the text about traffic already though and they were clearly finally on their way and, late or not, I was not going to just abandon my friends; it frankly irks me that Shobhit even suggested it. Once they arrived and we sat to eat, Shobhit and Zephyr and I had a pretty lively conversation about state politics and relations between native populations and the federal government in Hawaii, which I did not realize is a big part of his heritage: his mother is white but his father was 3/4 native Hawaiian. This clearly does make him more white than not -- and he certainly presents and passes as a regular white guy with long hair and a beard -- so his claims that he doesn't really get all the benefits of white privilege, I don't really buy. The rather specific "cultural differences" examples he managed to come up with are things easily experienced by white people dealing with white people from other white cultures. He conceded, at least, that he certainly doesn't deal with things like getting pulled over due to the color of his skin. In any case, this makes him 38% native Hawaiian and 62% white of a hodgepodge of European nationalities.

In the end, though, I did find myself pretty engaged by his pretty detailed knowledge of his Hawaiian heritage -- even though he's never actually been to the state; apparently his dad is deceased -- and I stopped kind of judging his comments as insufferable, as I found myself doing at the start. I was interested to learn that his long hair is not just a general preference to him, but is part of his cultural identity, which I can certainly respect. That said, I don't really buy that prospective employers dismissing him due to the long hair has anything whatsoever to do with his ethnicity, which he kind of suggested. Plenty of employers look down on long haired men even when said men are quite plainly white.

Anyway. The lateness notwithstanding -- and I actually will try to remember this the next time we meet up with them for dinner, and not care so much about punctuality in their case -- the dinner was lively and fun and engaging, although Shobhit spent a little too much time truly bitching about how "bland" he felt his ramen was. I found the vegetable ramen I had to be quite flavorful, even though I was disappointed the tofu was not fried. But whatever, he will definitely enjoy a return to Saffron Grill for dinner sometime in the upcoming months a lot more.

On the drive home, though, Shobhit flipped out completely pointlessly, after he honked the horn at a guy in front of us not turning right as fast as he felt they should, while I was driving. That shit really passed me off. He would try to counter that my not being more aggressive pisses him off, except that by definition, as the driver, I should be granted the control over the driving. And why does it matter so much that we get home one or two minutes later because this car did not take its free right at a red light when Shobhit felt it should? It doesn't fucking matter. Shobhit gets so angry about such incredibly small things, it's crazy making. And when I stated exactly that, that our being delayed two minutes does not matter, that was when he got really angry, and shouted at me from the passenger seat about how if I can't do what he wants here then he won't eve try to be on time meeting any of my friends with me and we'll just be half an hour late from now on (notice we went from a two minute delay there to half an hour as retribution), and on like that. It was legitimately insane, which is what Shobhit always is when he flies off the handle.

I really can't stop thinking about how Shobhit's angry outbursts are always way out of proportion to the situation at hand. He can't take a step back and acknowledge his own behavior when it is challenged in the moment; instead, he immediately doubles down -- or even triples down. And how can any rational, sane person think that is a sustainable means of interacting with someone? He tried to play the card that I "never argue like this with other people," and there is a straightforward, simple reason for that. Nobody else in my life acts this petty and irrational on such a consistent basis. So what reason would I have for those kinds of arguments with other people?

Also, it should be noted: although we're far better now and in recent years, Gabriel and I essentially made a lifetime of arguing with each other. Also, I honestly can't figure out whether or not Danielle is deliberately avoiding me right now due to something I told her in Las Vegas about her drinking. Maybe, maybe not, but I don't particularly want to bring it up for fear of opening a wound it's possible she's not even really thinking about anymore. She could be just busy with life right now, who knows? Still, we had a couple of delicate moments in Las Vegas the night she got really drunk, where I had to really choose my words carefully with her. My only point here is that much as he wants to claim otherwise, Shobhit is absolutely not the only person I have any kinds of tensions with. It's just easy for him to assume so because he's the one I spend the most time with. Obviously that will translate to more such incidents with him, the person I'm married to, than with other people. I just never have anyone else in my life for whom it would even occur to them to fly off the handle just because another car is not turning fast enough.

I did pretty well for my part of it, though, never taking the bait to shout back at him, and I remained calm without much effort. So, soon enough, we just spent the rest of the ride home in silence, which was fine with me. Shortly after getting home, once I was done putting away dishes from the dish rack, we then watched Last Week Tonight with John Oliver together before I went to bed.

-- चार हजार छह सौ पंद्रह --


[posted 12:30 pm]