Sunday, July 31, 2005

Here and Now and Now and Later

So what we have here is a failure to conflagrate.

There's a lot on today's docket, but none of it is "hanging in the balance" per se. A week ago tomorrow, Kaia had an accident -- not her fault -- that resulted in the totaling of her BMW, and yesterday she bought a Mercedes sedan to replace Betty, her venerable, battle-tested BMW 3-series. She was describing the italicized infinity-shape headlights and the silver-on-gray colors and she was happy, which, of course, made me happy. I knew she'd come out of her post-Betty trauma unscathed and happy, but it was nice to see I was right. More importantly, it was nice to know she's smiling.

I spoke to both her parents yesterday, and they were both relieved that Kaia is okay. They were also pleased to know that I finally booked my trip out to San Fran -- I'll be out there during the first week of September, for Labor Day -- so I have a feeling that they're as anxious, excited and looking forward to meeting me as I am them.

Today's morning excitement, while Kaia slept on the West Coast, consisted of my cleaning up the apartment and getting ready for the coming week. Nothing fancy, nothing exciting -- just a brief morning skate in the heat that led to me coming back and going through the apartment, taking out some garbage and some boxes, then watching some TV. First I sat through "A Cook's Tour" on the Food Network, which is actually among the more entertaining things a true New Yorker will see on TV, period. It's a travel show starring a grizzled New York chef by the name of Anthony Bourdain, who is the House Chef for two restaurants in Manhattan, both called Les Halles (pronounced Lay-Oll). However, the show follows Mr. Bourdain's travels to all points north, south, east and west -- not just in America, either. From the shows I've seen, Mr. Bourdain has traveled to Asia, the Middle East, LA, San Fran and parts of the midwest. The entertainment comes not from his enjoyment of the various cuisines he encounters, however; it's the fact that the ironic, Letterman-esque, Steely Dan-esque sardonic wit he embodies shines through each experience the show chronicles. That, and the 6'2 Bourdain chain-smokes and waxes sarcasmic through each of his interludes outside Manhattan. He's sort of a real-life Travis Bickle meets Emeril Lagasse; he smiles, but the irony is what really shines through, especially while he chain-smokes among organic food markets, or performs as a guest-chef at Campanile in LA (or scarfing a burger thereafter at Fred 62). And through all the New York-infused, jaded, world-weary observation, he still manages to be blown away by new and different foods. Very genuine, unscripted, and the closest thing a New York foodie who enjoys to cook -- like me -- can get to getting on a plane and going elsewhere. If it's not already evident, it's worth a look.

Of course, after that ended, I sat through the last 15 minutes of Sylvester Stallone's 1986 masterpiece, Cobra. If you haven't seen this particular film, do yourself a favor -- don't. Take Sly, his then-girlfriend Brigitte Nielson, a pathetically weak plot, and some violent special effects on par with the A-Team, and you've got 90 minutes of laughably awful cinema. Truth be told, Sly is lucky -- he's made two wonderful films -- Rocky and First Blood. However, other than those two films -- the bulk of his career he's played a cartoon character of one sort or another. Even his participation in Cop Land, with Robert DeNiro and a variety of other solid actors, didn't rescue his legacy or excuse him from publishing "Sly" magazine. Next time you're in the market, look for it -- and try as best you can not to chuckle.

The last item on the agenda today is spending some time with my other half and kicking back. It's not ideal that we need the telephone to be together, but until then, I'm looking forward to the day we won't.

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