Wednesday, August 6
I'm not a big fan of Falun Gong's new-age goofiness, but I do support them in their passive resistance to those wicked ChiComs. So when I drive by the Chinese consulate on Montrose and see them protesting out front, I'm always tempted to beep the horn or yell something. But since they're always meditating, I'm afraid I'll break their concentration and disturb their wa.
Tuesday, August 5
You gotta love Montrose.
Yesterday's cocktail was the Negroni. The Negroni ranks right up there with the martini among the best aperitifs. The herbal and sweet components blend nicely to really pique one's appetite.
1 oz. gin
1 oz. Campari
1 oz. sweet vermouth (vermouth rosso)
Stir over ice. Serve in a highball glass and garnish with a lemon wedge. Stu prefers his up, garnished with an orange wedge.
I thought of it on my way home from work and asked Stu to make me one for me as soon as I walked in the door. A drink directly after work is a very rare indulgence, because I usually have to work out or go do something. With a free evening ahead of me, I saw no reason not to indulge myself in a drink! I also thought that the Negroni would be the perfect preprandial to accompany my dinner of Pasta Rustica.
I don't think I have had a Negroni since my girl's trip to Las Vegas in January. I managed to stump the bartender at the Royal Star Restaurant at The Venetian by ordering one! The bartender stared at me jaw agape and stupid-eyed, before asking me, "What is in that again?" And "What sort of vermouth should I use?" Gee, I guess I should have ordered a Red Bull and vodka.
Monday, August 4
I finished reading Cold Mountain last weekend. I bought it 3 years ago and it has been sitting on the shelf waiting for me to read it ever since. The book was recommended by a couple of friends, one of whom claimed almost never to read books, but thoroughly enjoyed this one. A couple of other people told me they just couldn’t get into this book and stopped reading it somewhere in the middle. It seems to be a book people either love or hate.
I really had no idea what it was about, except that it was set during the Civil War and is an award winner (perhaps that is why it has been sitting on the shelf for 3 years). I was delighted to find that it was basically The Odyssey reset during the Civil War. Fortunately, the author made no bones about that fact by mentioning The Odyssey several times. The book alternates between the stories of Inman, the male protagonist, and Ada, the woman he loves.
Inman, injured in battle, travels on foot from a Confederate hospital to his home on Cold Mountain. Along the way he encounters: all sorts of people, most of them wicked, hostile terrain, and lack of food. He is driven on by thoughts of Ada.
Ada has to create a new life for herself after the death of her beloved father leaves her with little more than the land he owned, and no knowledge of how to cultivate it. Salvation comes in the form of Ruby, a tough, self-sufficient young woman, possessed of all of the knowledge and determination Ada lacks. A classic "book smarts" vs. "street smarts" scenario.
I liked that the book was structured to alternate between the two stories, and included flash backs to fill in details and flesh out the characters' stories. I generally enjoyed the chapters about Ada a bit more, but mostly because her story was happier and moved swiftly along. Inman’s story was about suffering, his own and others, and I grew tired of all of the misery toward the book’s end. However, it all came together in a most satisfactory, if not entirely happy, conclusion!
Sunday, August 3
S: Man, my calves are really sore.
S: Yeah, I started doing my calf raises on the Smith machine instead of just with my bodyweight.
H: Smith machine?
S: You know, the thing that holds the bar and you stand under it.
H: Show me.
S (standing on edge of aerobics step and demonstrating proper calf-raise form): Like this...ouch!