October 2008

I am such a stereotype.

A couple of weeks ago I caught the cats snuggled together for a nap and got a picture of them. The flash woke and annoyed Didi, however, leaving him looking freaky.

So cute.

Sunday evening The Boyf and I went to the State Fair. Right away I need to tell you that deep-fried pecan pie is fantastically good. It is reason #587 why I can never own a deep fryer.

Second, there is a pretty stunning thing that has been done to an apple.

There’s a competition in which kids have made various bits of art out of apples. One made dinosaur eggs by painting it, etc. One of the winners on display is an apple that has been, by means of a dowel rod and some other bits, turned into a vaguely dinosaur shape. It has a sign in front of it with its name. I swear to the gods that’s really what was sitting there. The Boyf and I had to stare for a long while before we could say anything and then finally he asked, “You’re going to take a picture, right?” I did – though I was giggling so hard I couldn’t hold the phone steady – then stood back up, looked at him and we both silently mouthed the word, “Wow.”

As we walked away two young women approached and one said, in her best Valley Girl, “Oh, look, those are soooooo cute.” We snickered a little at the incongruity of the reaction, waited a couple of seconds and then heard with tremendous satisfaction the same voice shrilly cry, “Oh my God, does that say ‘raping?!’.”

This weekend I had an almost ridiculously good time attending ESCAPISM at the Carolina Theatre of Durham. In addition to seeing some excellent movies I also got to do some pretty sweet shopping at the Sci-Fi Genre booth. Some quick thoughts on some of the films:

Friday night I got to see They Live on Fletcher Hall’s enormous screen. The print was crystal clear and the sound flawless. I don’t know if it was a new print or one that had been sealed away for twenty years but it was an utterly unique experience. I hadn’t watched it in several years and had forgotten a lot of it. It remains a ridiculous B movie but in our current climate its anti-authoritarian message about the evils of conquest-for-profit are pretty startlingly relevant. Damn but that was some sweet watching and the crowd was very into it.

I also got to see Sukiyaki Western Django, the new film by Takashi Miike, maker of Audition, Gozu and The Happiness of the Katakuris. Sakiyuki Western Django is an incredibly stylized and cartoonishly Americanized film about warfare between Japanese clans, half spaghetti western and half Japanese historical drama. I loved it. It is not a film for the faint of heart, as anyone who’s seen Audition or Gozu would surely already expect, but it is very, very, very good. It is… it’s hard to describe, actually. I think “hott” is probably the best word for it. I highly recommend it and recommend seeing it on the big screen rather than Netflixing it at some later date. It’s being held over and will play at the Carolina twice nightly for the rest of this week.

The last movie I had a chance to see was The Punisher and I do mean the 1989 version with Dolph Lundgren. The director, Mark Goldblatt, was on hand to tell stories before the movie and it was his personal print the theatre got to show. This was, in fact, the North American premiere of that film as it went straight to video here after the US distributor went under before release. Dolph is kind of disturbingly hot in this movie and the movie itself is completely over-the-top in every regard. It is far more comic-booky than any of the comic adaptations made today in that regard. It is also extraordinarily violent to the point that the violence just becomes funny after a while. This was an even more unique opportunity than seeing They Live. This was something that will probably never happen again and I’m really glad I got to be there for it.

Once again, many thanks to the Carolina Theatre of Durham for the chance to see something no one else will ever get to see.

Last night The Boyf and I went around the corner to Tokyo Fun, the new sushi place on NC 55 in Durham. It’s in the building vacated a few months ago when China One closed up shop. We had originally loved China One but a serious decline in its quality before it entirely fell by the wayside made us wary of anything new that opened up there. I read a couple of reviews on Yelp, though, and decided it was worth a shot. I am extremely glad that I did.

Tokyo Fun’s food is easily on-par with that of Shiki Sushi, just up the road, but here’s the thing: like the reviewers on Yelp said, Tokyo Fun is not packed. Specific to The Boyf’s and my experience of Shiki Sushi, Tokyo Fun is not packed with recent Duke grads screeching at one another. Whereas Shiki Sushi has gone from quiet-awesome-sushi-bar to enormous-trendy-noise-factory, Tokyo Fun is simply fantastic food, attentive service and relaxation. While the redesign of Shiki Sushi made it a very attractive place, it is the least acoustically friendly storefront anywhere this side of the now-defunct Caffe Trio or possibly The (much loved but ear-splitting) Borough in Raleigh. That place is, and there is no other way to say it, hell of loud inside. Add to that a frequent wait of 20 or 30 minutes for a table and a clientele consisting largely of die-cast frat cheese and I think it’s plain why I haven’t been there in a while. With Tokyo Fun now within shouting distance of my house – and with a drive-through service lane around the back corner of the building! – I don’t need to.

Right now, at least, they’re running a 2-for-1 dinner special on sushi rolls and at lunch they’re running an introductory 30% off discount. I would imagine the place is a lot busier during the weeday, given its RTP location, but for a late dinner on a Sunday night we had the place entirely to ourselves. We also spotted a little raised section with rice-paper walls and low, traditional tables. We’re considering trying to organize an outing to reserve one of those tables sometime.

This weekend I drove from Durham to Asheville and back. Along the way, counting only cars with NC tags and not counting my own, Obama cars were winning 8 (four sedans, two mini-vans and two pickups) to 4 (two sedans and two mini-vans). Counting cars with in-state and out-of-state tags, Obama was winning 8 to 6 (two ginormous RVs towing SUVs behind them, both with Texas plates).