Saturday, March 29, 2008

No Country For Old Men/ Red Box

Rented from RedBox last night by the Dinnerman.

First let me applaud whomever came up with the concept of dvd box as vending machine - up the street at the Shell station on the way to pick up sushi - there's your dvd vending machine!
For a dollar plus tax per night!

No matter that it was broken when we tried again this afternoon. We all have kinks to work out of the armor.

So, the movie. I had seen it before when the man was out of town, and had been telling him how much he would enjoy it.

I don't understand all the criticism it received. I think that it's a result of the subtlety of the piece - people just can't deal with anything understated in this country. Unfortunately, it has to cluck loudly and flash bright lights for something to be lauded in this land.

I thought Javier Bardem had a brilliant performance - so disturbing. He has crazy in his eyes. I love that. The movie was just brilliant in every way.

Tommy Lee Jones was amazing. Every character fully embodied his or her roles. It is one of the best movies I or the Dinnerman have seen in a long time. I will own this one. It is fantastic.

Ok! Time for a cocktail and leftover head-on shrimp!

Lucky Garden

This place is the best authentic Chinese restaurant in RI.

It's so unassuming - in a little strip mall on Smith Street in North Providence.

You enter, and they are all business. There are 3 different menus on a Saturday or Sunday afternoon: Authentic Chinese, American-Chinese, and Dim Sum.

We ordered from the authentic Chinese menu and the Dim Sum.

We got 1 bowl of the pork and conch soup - so good! Clear dark broth with pork and conch pieces.

Then, the stir fried peapod leaves with garlic, head-on salt and pepper shrimp, ginger and scallion beef, steamed seabass with ginger and scallion, stir fried noodles with scallions, steamed beef balls, steamed pork dumplings with vinegar, and steamed rice noodle with shrimp.

Oh, so good. I am going to eat the leftovers with the Dinnerman now!

What Steph Wants From Life

Here's what I want to do:

1) Act with Hugh Laurie, Meryl Streep, Nathan Lane, Matt Damon, Renee Zellweger, Robin Williams, and Al Pacino.

2) Sing with Elton John, Billy Joel, U2, Pink, Paul Simon, and Michael Stipe.

3) Eat and travel with Anthony Bourdain, Mario Batali, and Adam Roberts.

4) Learn to be a pairs figure skater, and skate with Sergei Grinkov. Or, within the realm of possibility, with David Pelletier or Anton Sikharulidze.

5) Learn to dance the tango and ballroom with whomever is great. I don't know who's great.

6) Learn to play the guitar and piano really well. Learn to play Beethoven, Mozart and Rachmaninov.

7) Jump from a plane (with a parachute!).

8) Have a thriving vegetable garden, once again.

9) Make wine - and cheese.

10) Leave Rhode Island.

11) Develop a group of close "foodie" friends who get together for weekly or at least monthly dinners.

12) Have a baby, or at least a dog...and a cat! Definitely a cat...

Wacky Dreams

Apologies if the blog has become so focused on the political of late. Here's a post of a different color!

I had a dream last night. I guess I always dream, but this one was memorable in its disturbing nature. I dreamed that I was lying down, and my fiance was feeling my breasts and telling me that he thought I had breast cancer! He said that it had spread all throughout my body, he could tell, and it was in my lymph nodes and most likely had spread to distant recesses, sites unknown. I mean, my boobs hurt yesterday - maybe that's the explanation? (Ok, I know, TMI...)

As if that wasn't enough, we cut to me getting out of a car on a busy city street. I walked into a mall to buy toilet paper. I found a store on the end of a mall that looked like a Target or something, and I went in. I climbed stairs forever, and then came to a sort of tower type thing. It was bright and sunny outside. It was red inside - everything red. There was then a narrow ladder into a very enclosed space that made me very claustrophobic. I could not continue. I went back down the stairs to talk with the people in charge, who told me that I was so cut off from the rest of the mall that they didn't know how I would ever get there. I was just so cut off.

So isolated.

In the end, I didn't get my t.p. I ended up in a planetarium. Such are the turnings of my mind.

Sorry, folks. This is me and my crazy.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

To The Providence, RI City and State Officials Who Allowed This To Happen:

To The Providence, RI City and State Officials Who Allowed This To Happen:

I fail to understand how you could, in good conscience or otherwise, issue a smoking permit to a bar in a residential building.

Each day the smoke fills our halls, homes, and lungs because of your transgressions. You have failed us innocent, taxpaying, law-abiding citizens of Providence.

Government is supposed to look out for the interest and well being of everyone. Here, self-interest has trumped your civic duty.

I invite you to walk our halls, and come into my condo to experience just what we have to live with. This condo building is being absolutely ruined by the license you issued to the 520 Club. All of our freshly painted hallway walls, our newly installed hallway carpet that we, the condo owners, were levied a hefty special assessment to pay for have become infiltrated with the acrid stench of second hand smoke.

Our lungs are suffering in a similar fashion.

This damage cannot be undone. And yet you continue to evade any attempts to bring you to accountability to do something about this. How can you live with yourself?

I implore you to consider this situation from our perspectives, and re-evaluate the decision to grant a smoking permit to the 520 Club.



Tuesday, March 4, 2008

A Confluence of Variables

I used to believe in magic, and god, and miracles. I used to think that luck was a big factor in how things happen, and how people got where they did in life.
But I have recently been able to articulate a paradigm shift in my own thinking.
Everything can be explained by cause and effect, by action and reaction. If something looks like it's influenced by luck, more often than not that "luck" can be explained by a confluence of variables, if you pick them apart and analyze them all.
For instance, today. The primaries in RI. Nice day, sunny, warm. The Dinnerman made the comment as we left the polls this morning, "So much of it is luck. If it's snowing or raining, nobody comes out to vote."
It's not luck, it's just the way it is. It's out of anyone's control, but something caused the weather to be the way it is. Not luck.

If you don't stop at stop signs, you increase the liklihood that you will be involved in a car accident.
If you show up late for work and don't try to do your job well, you will fall out of favor with your boss.
If you smoke, you increase your risk for lung cancer.

The magical moments happen in the spaces within the concrete matrix of life; they are not the matrix itself.

I wish I had learned this 20 years ago.

(Wow - too much caffeine, not enough sleep?)

On another note, I met Seth Yurdin this morning!

Saturday, March 1, 2008

Someone Help!! Bring Us Clean Air!

This is a letter I wrote to our City Councilman, Seth Yurdin, a few weeks ago. This ongoing battle between us condo residents and the 520 Club started last October. I was immediately aware of the cigar and cigarette smoke in our building, which has been allowed to continually worsen over the past 4 months. We filed formal complaints with the DOH, which have been forwarded to the City Solicitor's office. Nothing is being done.
The bottom line is that someone issued permits to this guy allowing him to have smoking in a residential building. It was irresponsible and unfair, and nothing has been resolved, likely due to how connected the owner of the club is, and the depth of his pockets.
Meanwhile, we are under siege, being polluted against our wills.

I've spoken with people from New York, where they actually have a policy in place requiring elaborate ventilation systems to be in place before such establishments are issues such licenses. Apparently Rhode Island does not have similar concern for the health or well-being of its citizens.

Someone help!

Dear Seth,

I want to impress upon you how detrimental and wrong this is to us as residents of this building. That a man can open an establishment which causes air pollution in the homes of condo residents is wrong on so many levels - it's a failure of government policies involved in the issuing of licenses and permits, a failure of the enforcement process, and a failure of emergency measures to stop the situation.
I am quite frustrated as what seems to be happening is the old Rhode Island passing of the buck, or responsibility in this case, among the condo board, the DOH, and the city government.
The end result is that everyone is telling me that the complaints have been received and they are working on it, but the smoke continues to fill our hallways, homes, and lungs.
I have been sick for 3 weeks, and cannot shake this respiratory illness. My boyfriend was in a similar predicament but miraculously was free of any symptoms upon leaving for a business trip, where he breathed clean air.
I have spoken with other residents here and we are feeling quite powerless. It is so unfair on so many levels. How long must we endure this injustice?
Something needs to bring an end to this now. It's so unfair.

What else can we do? To whom should we turn but the government and those agencies that are supposedly acting with our best interest in mind?

I recognize I am very vocal and impassioned about this. It is a huge issue that I feel is not being given adequate attention.
Please help.


Garfield Minus Garfield

Today did not begin as the best of days. It was rainy and yucky and cold to start off, and I woke up with a sinus headache. I was kind of achey all over and tired.
I didn't do anything that really fed my soul either - laundry and cleaning were the main events.
Then I discovered my checking account was overdrawn due to an obscene error by Verizon Wireless. Just what I needed! I've been with them for years and never had any problems until a couple weeks ago when I changed the name on the account. Since then it's been a comedy of errors and misinformation. Well, not really a comedy. More like a melodrama.

I did have my way with them, though. They were very accomodating. I got them to cover any overdraft fees I will incur plus give me a $50 credit for my troubles. All it took was an hour on the phone. Grrr..

The afternoon turned a corner. Lunch at El Rancho Grande helped. Chicken enchiladas and red sangria can improve the mood of this chick every time.
The skies cleared the way for a gorgeous pink and blue watercolor sunset. And then I found this gem on the internet, which had me laughing out loud, to the consternation of the Dinnerman. More evidence that I am far from normal.