To use up the rest of the ground turkey after making the burgers that I mentioned in the previous post, I whipped up a meat loaf with bacon on top for lunch a week ago Saturday. That Monday, we had the leftovers, heated up in a pan with more crisped bacon and canned tomatoes. On the side were roasted chioggia beets with micro beet greens and spinach sauteed with garlic.
The anemones I also mentioned in the previous post froze overnight in the greenhouse last Tuesday into Wednesday. The water in their vase was completely solid ice. After I brought them in and the water thawed, they bounced back for a while, but I had to throw them out after a few days. Today, a day off, I got some more at the Union Square Greenmarket, in a pinkish-purple.
On Thursday morning, Rudy threw his leg over me when I was preparing to get up, as if to say "Just 5 more minutes, Dad."
The 'phews visited us on Saturday and Sunday. They wanted to go to temple for Tu B'Shevat (also spelled Tu Bishvat) on Friday evening, so Tracey brought them into the city on Saturday morning. Matt said he knew what the pomelo, one of the fruits presented by the rabbi, was thanks to Uncle Bill.
On Friday night, Tony and I went to the Skirball Center to catch a screening of The Magistrate put on by London's National Theatre. We enjoyed seeing John Lithgow on (a distant) stage, and the play was a winner. Like the reviewer in The Guardian, I thought the musical interludes were unnecessary, but I don't think they by any means ruined the show. The ice-cold theater was ridiculous, though. Everyone seated fairly close to the stage had no choice but to wear his or her coat.
On Saturday night, a friend of ours who's a member of an entertainment organization that gives him DVDs of movies that are up for its awards came to dinner. He lent us The Life of Pi and some other movies Tony and/or I were interested in seeing. I don't think he would want me to name him, because the organization wants only him to watch these movies for free, which is why I haven't written about the previous times we've watched current, awards-bait movies with him.
The most memorable of those movies was Blue Valentine, which I had selected from a bunch of candidates and which everyone except me really didn't like that much, including our friend Mark M., who had joined Tony, this friend, and me that night at my old place on Charles Street. I found a poignancy in BV that everyone else thought was lacking. They mostly found it to be a huge downer, which it indeed ultimately was. Some months later, when I was talking to my Dad on the phone, he asked whether I'd ever seen Blue Valentine. I said I had and explained the circumstances. He said he'd picked it out, and Jean hated it. And if I remember correctly, he didn't like it very much either.
Anyhow, the nephews and I most wanted to see The Life of Pi, so that's the flick we watched that night after dinner and after our friend, who'd already seen it, left for home. Tony wasn't enthused about seeing it. I think that's because he knew more about it than the guys and I did. The three of us basically knew it as that movie with a boy on a boat with a tiger.
As I've noted on Hawleyblog before, Tony is great at sussing out the deeper meaning in works of literature, film, and theater. SPOILERS AHEAD: The movie is basically an Indian man, who goes by the name Pi, telling the amazing story of how he survived for a long time at sea to some white guy, who's a writer. After the Japanese ship that he and his brother, mother, and father were traveling on from India to Canada takes on water, Pi ends up in a life boat with a zebra. And then, later, an orangutan. And a hyena. And that Bengal tiger. The animals had been on the ship because Pi's father had owned a zoo in India, and he was transporting them to their new home.
Pi is on his own with the tiger for a long time. At one point, he ends up on an island that proves so dangerous, he and the tiger go back on their boat.
Ultimately, Pi lands in Mexico, and he tells the story we've been watching to Japanese government officials. They find his story hard to swallow, so he tells them one involving the asshole cook whom we'd seen insult his family earlier in the movie, a sailor, and his mother together with him on the life boat. This story should be more believable to them, seeing as how it doesn't involve a mystical island and a weekslong détente between a human and a carnivore on a small boat.
Tony explained that in the long-ass story we saw acted out in CGI, Pi was the tiger, because he had had to kill the evil cook, who was the hyena, who had killed the sailor (the zebra) and Pi's mother (the orangutan) and partially eaten them. Pi struggled with his animalistic self while trying to survive out on the open water. He clearly was able to supress that part of himself because he ended up an apparently well-adjusted guy.
The true story wasn't acted out, so it didn't seem important at all. The story that Pi made up was supposed to be so amazing that, he said, it would make the writer believe in God. Yeah? The religious aspects of his journey that are clearly meant to be important to the novel really didn't come across for me in the movie. Of course, as an agnostic, I'm not inclined to receive them.
I really enjoyed some scenes in the film, particularly the one in which a school of flying fish soars around and into the boat and the one in which Pi enjoys running around the freighter in a storm—until he realizes it's taken on water and is going to sink. But I don't see how this story would affirm your faith in God—as it did for Barack Obama. Pi seemed like a silly kid when he chose to simultaneously believe in Hinduism, Catholicism, and Islam. And even though it had some lovely and amazing moments, I think it's silly to believe in the magic of The Life of Pi.
I do believe in the magic of the dinner Tony and I prepared with M&M's help, though. Tony remade his Lemon-Sage Chicken Cutlets, which I also mentioned in the previous post. (This post is just one flashback after the other.) And he made our classic dish from this summer: green beans and shallot. I contributed mashed potatoes and celery root. And for dessert, we had a no-cooking-necessary Chia Seed Pudding from a recipe in Details. Our mystery guest called it "interesting." He ate his entire serving, so "interesting" apparently wasn't a euphemism for "nasty." The guys and Tony didn't eat much of their bowls. I thought it was fine, but, like Tony said, it needed more sugar. I hadn't thought to adjust for the fact that we were using unsweetened almond milk.
Here are the guys putting together the pudding.
Mike still has a sling from when he broke his arm on the day after Christmas. He was pushing down on a plunger to open an unusual bottle of Japanese soda at a Thai-Japanese restaurant. It turns out, he had a cyst in his arm that caused the breakage when he applied pressure using that arm. He'll need surgery to remove the cyst in a few weeks.