These purely narcissistic entries are bad for readers but great for my own reminiscing. A brief list of some of this week’s pleasures:
* Melanie scolded me on my ignorance of anything Middle East. I guess that’s what I get for overusing the term “terrorist.” I was given thorough lessons on the geopolitical situation of Iraq and Iran, although I still mention Sunni and Shiite with some hesitation. I finished reading Marjane Satrapi’s Persepolis, an amazing comic book account of a young girl’s experience growing up in Iran during its period of political instability in the Eighties. For those of you who are iffy on Iranian history but don’t really feel like reading heavy text, this is a quick and fun way to at least become familiar with some of the history, and maybe even a fact or two you can use to fake your way into looking informed at a cocktail party.
* I finally bought the New Yorker DVD set (1925-2005) and have found an endless source of entertainment. My only problem is that printing from the older issues is a terrible waste of paper because you’re forced to print out all the ads with it – and the New Yorker, unlike anything today, used to sell quite a bit of ads back then! Some exciting articles I’ve read so far: Lillian Ross’s profile of Ernest Hemingway (1950), Chang-Rae Lee’s short commentary on Italian food, and Louis Menand‘s review of Tom Wolfe’s Hooking Up as well as his article on “The Iron Law of Stardom.” Hemingway was certainly fond of the bottle, and did you know that stardom can never go for more than three years?
* Started reading Waiting for the Barbarians by J.M. Coetzee – he is truly a master of haunting prose. Watched Children of Men with my sister on a weeknight – well made but nothing special. Left my home office for a matinee screening of The Queen – ate a Starbucks sandwich that I snuck in and almost cried after watching repeated clips of Princess Diana (please watch this movie if you haven’t yet). Bought another Murakami and McEwan – my bookshelf is looking very homogenized.
* Tried to spend more time than usual as a “blogger.” Wrote about “Five Must-Have Qualities of a Club Leader” although I probably lacked most of them back in school. Finally wrote about restaurants not based in Manhattan with a warm nod at Astoria on PK Eats (Mel has a sweeter Astoria mention). Thought about writing something on Top Chef after the exciting penultimate episode on Wednesday, but felt the blogosophere was too saturated with that already.
* I’ve been getting more *in tune* with sounds coming from my computer. I didn’t even have speakers on my main computer until recently. Now I listen to music on the nifty Pandora website and have heard podcasts interviews this week of Sacha Baron Cohen (as himself) on NPR and Michael Lewis, author of Moneyball and The Blind Side. Podcasts are great! I’d love to conduct an interview with someone famous and super smart, although I’m sure it’d take a lot of work on my end to prepare.
* I posted a PDF version of my holiday book Recycled Note and Other Entries. I made a few fixes, including a misspelling of “omelette” which was pointed out to me – very embarassing indeed. The American way to spell it would be “omelet,” but I think we all find it more appetizing when seeing it on the menu as omelette.
It’s often chilly in my apartment, especially in my room, but if you put on enough clothes and sit close to the radiator, then things are not so bad. As much as warm weather and beaches sound and look nice on TV, I’m very content to be in the midst of this winter weather in New York, burying myself in blankets when cold and boiling water in my microwave to make myself some hot tea. Cozy.