That “Malaysian Tamarind Shrimp recipe”:http://wadearmstrong.com/archives/000378.html works well with tofu too. Mmmm! Just brown the tofu a little bit before throwing it in the sauce so that the tofu is firm and substantial. Oh, and increase the chili sauce by 50% or even double it; I did.
“Good Bye, Lenin”:http://imdb.com/title/tt0301357/ goes far with a simple, but absurd, plot. Alex Kerner, his sister and mother live an idyllic existence in East Germany, until his father defects to the West. Then, hoping to keep her world together, his mother, Christiane, loses herself in ideology and becomes a big Communist Party booster. Leading the Young Pioneers and sending missives to the Party about the unsuitability of sexy underwear to the vast proletarian masses. Christiane continues in this direction with some success until, one day, she suffers a heart attack. She is in a coma for eight months. And this is the problem, for, during those eight months, Communism falls.
When Christiane wakes up, her doctor tells Alex that she is fragile and may suffer another heart attack and die if exposed to any stressors. Alex looks at the newspaper and asks the doctor, is the opening of the border with the West not a stressor? Will his mother die if she learns of the fall of Communism?
So Alex and his sister take his mother home. They make sure that her room is filled with the relics of East Bloc living and that nothing’s changed, even concealing from her his sister’s new job at Burger King. But life is filled with a million little challenges. Old, reliable products disappear from supermarket shelves and are replaced by imports from Holland. Coca-cola is everywhere. The news is filled with reports of pending reunification. Alex’s efforts to conceal the truth from his mother go from the earnest to the absurd as he tries to create a complete alternative reality. In the process, the filmmaker attempts — and even, occasionally, succeeds — in telling us that our realities are essentially what we construct.
The film itself reminded me very much of Wes Anderson’s work, not fearing the bittersweet and finding humor in absurdity in itself rather than chasing the punch lines and slapstick that is visible in so much comedy today. There are a few laugh-out-loud moments, and more moments in which you hide your eyes in fear of darkly comic disaster — a very German take on the genre.
Good Bye, Lenin is a fun film to see, but probably best rented rather than seen in the theater; there are no shots that need to be seen on the large screen so you might as well save a few bucks. Put it on your Netflix list, though, and don’t miss it.
Please make your left turn quickly, as I cannot see around your massive vehicle to determine the existence of oncoming traffic that might interfere with _my_ left turn. Surely, with all that bulk, you cannot be concerned that a tiny Honda Civic or trendy Mini will occlude your sinister progress.
Like many in todays modern fabric wall-oriented culture, I work in a small cubicle. My cube is along a main aisle, and there’s a lot of traffic past my desk during the day. Sadly, all the desk surfaces in my cube face *away* from the entrance. So my work often includes looking over my shoulder to see who’s watching me do obscene things in Quark or, God forbid, visiting espn.com to see if Baltimore’s finally found somebody to catch the ball.
So I bought a rear-view mirror from Target and stuck it above my computer monitor. Now I can watch people walk by in complete secrecy.
Since the “Malaysian Tamarind Shrimp”:http://wadearmstrong.com/archives/000378.html went so well, I decided to try another recipe from my _Best of Sunset_ magazine (I’ve always found that a cookbook that gives one good recipe is filled with other tasty ones). Spicy Mediterranean chicken with a twist? Sign me up! Did it work? Well, suffice it to say that I will be using this magazine more in the future.
I have learned that I did not get into Stanford. This is really not much of a surprise, as the school was a big reach — my GMATs and GPAs were both below their median — and not the focus of my applications activities. I’m happy with the opportunity I have at USC and hope to also hear I got into NYU (although then I’ll have to — gasp — _make a choice_).
When I first got Junior, my then-girlfriend and I used to take him and her bird out on walks with us. We’d go to Starbucks or even to the “Rancho Santa Ana Botanic Garden”:http://www.rsabg.org/. But we moved out of the Inland Empire, and eventually split up, and taking the bird for walks dropped off of activities I might plan for a weekend.
I kept the “Feather Tether”:http://www.neebs.org/giftshop/ftether.htm leash I used to walk Junior with, and one visitor after another laughed at the concept. But, for some reason, the Wonderful Girlfriend suggested we take him for a walk this weekend. After a 10-minute struggle to get the harness on, and a little bit of bleeding on my part, away we went.
At first Junior had this “and what the hell have you got going on here now?” look on his face. But, halfway through our walk, he became fascinated looking up at the butt of a mockingbird that was perched on a wire. From there, he became more adventurous; he climbed from my arm to my girlfriend’s and, eventually, back; he hunkered down and enjoyed the headwinds; he even made kissy noises at a girl who I think he thought was pretty.
This sounds bizarre, but I think I need to start taking my bird for walks.
The Stern school at NYU invited me to interview. How could I possibly pass up a chance to visit the Big Apple and catch the tail end of winter? Plus, the phone interview was “right out”:http://wadearmstrong.com/archives/000383.html. So, last weekend, I flew clear across the country and girded myself to face New York.