Go forward in time to June 2003.
On Saturday we watched Hilary and Jackie, which Oralia had not seen before. It is a very good movie. For some reason I remembered it as being somewhat different, as if Hilary Du Pré had been unrightfully angry at her sister; now I see that this is not the case.
Oralia's mother came back from Oaxaca and she brought us some delicious and huge chicken-in-mole and hard-boiled egg tamales. She also brought cream cheese and loads of mangoes. Mmmmmmmm.
Yesterday, after riding to the UNAM campus, we saw a tow truck dragging a completely wrecked car to a junkyard. Apparently the car was totaled in front of campus, on Insurgentes avenue, where there are frequent accidents of this magnitude. I took some pictures with my film camera, so they will come up at some later time.
Today I changed the arrangement of my office's desks, and it is much nicer to work this way. I no longer get glare from sunlight reflected on my monitor, and the mess of cables is almost completely gone now.
My mother is back from her yearly conference in Orlando and she brought me a shirt that is a bit too large for me. Humpf. It has a nice pattern, though.
Today we went to the morning show of The Matrix Reloaded, and fortunately there were few people in the theater. The movie is... good. Definitely not as great as the first one. It's a shame that the story is cut in half; we'll have to wait for the third episode.
One of the good things about the first movie is that you got to know each character at least a bit; each of them had something important to say even if it was a very small part. In this movie there are way too many characters and you can't really sympathize with them — even the supposedly important ones are given too little time to say anything other than incidental chit-chat.
And somehow the first movie managed to hook you onto the minute details of the scenery and the sets; even banal locations like old buildings looked simple but fantastically interesting in their patina and decay. In this one everything seems to be overloaded with detail that moves too fast to acknowledge completely. Maybe I just need to watch the movie a few more times, which Oralia and I will certainly do.
Over the past few days we have gotten to love spaghetti carbonara. I used Ettore's recipe, or what at least I think is his recipe, because I can't really remember if it came from elsewhere. The nice thing about it is that preparation is really quick and it is so delicious.
Yesterday the dentist took yet another cast mold of my upper right molars, as the two previous ones had not come out with enough faithfulness to the teeth's shape. So this time she first put some kind of brown paste on the teeth in question, by hand, and when it hardened a bit she actually used the normal blue goo that is used to take molds. The brown stuff got glued to the blue stuff, and out came a perfect cast of my drilled teeth. That is what she will send off to the lab that makes porcelain crowns.
Previous to visiting this dentist I never paid much attention to what they did to my mouth; I treated dentists like black boxes. Now I have actually been quite interested in how they do what they do, and it is rather mechanically beautiful.
We have been riding our bicycles quite a bit, and it feels good. Oralia has not fallen down yet, but we definitely need to get helmets soon. Mexico City is not a bike-friendly place.
Stupidity is when you think you have a blank roll of film when it is actually fully used, and you shoot it again. Then you develop it and find out that you have double exposures of Xalapa, a peace march, and your great aunts. This happened because it is one of the rolls I bulk-loaded myself, and when using it for the second time I thought that the film leader had snuck back into the canister — so I took it out with a film puller and re-shot the roll. Note to self: if a roll looks spent, it is spent.
We have found out the place where the best strawberry frappe milkshakes are made. Life is good.
Stayed up late last night finishing my GUADEC paper. My DocBook setup was sucking a lot, and I luckily found JRB on IRC who had a working setup. So I kept him up, too, and he rendered my document. Now I owe him beer and good Mexican food when he comes down here.
Today in the morning while rolling in bed I had a sort of epiphany of the way I think about music. I have relative pitch and whenever I think about a particular voice in a musical piece I hear the notes in my head and also see the name of the note. I tend to think of everything relative to the key of C (or C minor, or whatever). Unconsciously there will be times when, say, a scale is going upwards but I jump to seemingly unrelated pitches in my mind. Today I figured out that it is not my relative pitch screwing up, but rather it is doing modulation in the same way the harmony changes. I noticed it with Bach's music — when a motive gets repeated not in the base key, I still think of it as being normalized to C major/whatever. Bach is making me re-learn many things I thought I knew about music; it is the same kind of experience as learning Lisp for the first time.
Two goldfish died after two visitors pressed the button. That's not art, that's bullshit. Art would be the goldfish being liquefied sometimes, the button-pusher being liquefied some other times, at random.
There's a small supermarket in Avenida Revolución called Superama, the "little store" divison of Wal-Mart here in Mexico. They have a sushi bar, and they have some of the best sushi I have had in Mexico. It is so much better than any other supermarket sushi, even better than most restaurants around here. Quality-wise I'd call it par with Miyajima, possibly the best sushi restaurant in Mexico City, but Superama's pieces are bigger. Way bigger. One of my criteria for good sushi is that the fish needs to be fresh enough to melt in your mouth with a silky texture. This one passes with honors. And the sweet eel piece was definitely the best I have ever had.
A corollary of this is that there are good and bad sushi restaurants, but all of them are out there to rape you. A dish of 8 mixed sushi pieces will cost you at least 80 pesos, more often 120 or so; the supermarket had the 8-piece dish for 50 pesos. Maki rolls go for 60 to 100 pesos; the supermarket sells them for 21 and they are pretty good. Another corollary is that most supermarket sushi is uniformly nominal but you may just get lucky and find an outstanding one. It is good that this one happens to be near our house.
I just figured out that while Amélie is watching the funeral on TV, the music that plays is Gorecki's 3rd symphony. How fitting.
In Mexico we have a saying, "anduve como calzón de puta", or I've been going around like a whore's panties, i.e. up and down. I had a dentist appointment in the morning, so I rode my bicycle there. During the session there was a long blackout; we waited for an hour and a half for power to come back, but it didn't. So I returned to the office, with my teeth half-drilled and a dangling nerve — fortunately it didn't hurt as long as I only drank water. The dentist called back about an hour later to say that power had come back, so I rode there again. She finished putting on the temporary plastic crowns on my upper right molars and used that funny paste that smells like sage, and I remembered our last dinner at the Marco Polo restaurant.
In the evening we went to my father's house, as it is my sister's 12th birthday. Oralia gave her a very pretty shoulder bag and I gave her a book that, sigh, she already had and of course had already read.
Got North, a poetry book by Seamus Heaney, so that I may have half a chance of understanding what goes on between the two Irelands. Does every single poet seem to have a poem about one of Bruegel's paintings, or what?
On Thursday we went to ride around the UNAM campus, where we later met my father, his wife, and my sister. There were very few people there, so we had all the streets for ourselves.
In the afternoon Rubén and Adriana invited us for lunch to a very good Cantonese/Mandarin restaurant, but Oralia and I only shared a bowl of soup as we had already half-lunched. When we returned home we watched Twelve Monkeys, a masterpiece as always. I hadn't noticed that some of the slides that Kathryn Railly shows during her conference are of Bruegel's paintings. Every time I watch this movie something new comes up.
Yesterday we rode to Coyoacán, had lunch consisting of flautas de barbacoa and frappe milkshakes, then rode back to the park near our house, spread a sleeping bag on the moist grass, and contemplated the beautiful afternoon when we were not distracted by our books. Oralia is reading a very well-writen biography of George Orwell. I read part of a book that Hans Petter lent us, just to avoid feeling guilty about not having returned it yet.
The day was made even more perfect by two things: we got a great letter from my brother, and we made lentil soup and hojaldras con mole, which turned out delicious. We had dinner while watching Mrs. Dalloway — good movie, but we'll have to read the book.
Go backward in time to April 2003.Federico Mena-Quintero <email@example.com> Tue 2003/Jul/01 11:35:02 CDT