Secret Pop

Nov 26, 2006

Repetitive Motion Injury

Although it comes but once a year, it isn't lost on me that it comes every year, this Thanksgiving business. And that each new one I celebrate is piggybacked on all the rest that preceded it. And that maybe I'm getting tired of having all these milestones to mark my progress. Or regress. Or no-gress, as the case my be. Maybe it's just "gress" at that point.

Often with the hope of not being extremely redundant -- despite the fact that eating a turkey dinner every year at the same time seems prone to a redundancy that even Kurt Vonnegut couldn't dress up in disguise -- I end up reading over my previous writings on this subject. Now that I've been writing in this venue for over five years, there's more to pick through and more to tiptoe round. It wastes a bunch of time. And usually leaves me with the feeling that the thing I wrote last year or the year before was better than whatever I'm going to say now, and why didn't I ever get paid to write when I was saying clever things like that? And why doesn't it result in any palpable satisfaction to read something I've written and like it? Why isn't that ever ever enough? Anyway. I went back is my point.

I began my holiday on Wednesday, leaving town at precisely the stupidest possible time and having already been warned that there was some shitty-ass shit going on on the 405. But surprisingly, I really didn't suffer much. The big hubbub in El Segundo was still there, and many lanes were closed, but I probably had to slow down for ten or fifteen minutes, and then once I was through it, I was flying along at 75 the rest of the way. So I got to my parents' house with time to heft all my junk in the house, write my annual Thanksgiving email, feel very tired and contemplate not doing anything social, and then get myself into the car and on my way to Ono Sushi, where a typically super duper dinner was had. After sushi, I visited Nunu's, where I was treated like a princess -- as usual. I had hoped to stop by Jivewire at The Casbah, but the ranks of enthusiastic compatriots had thinned, and I guess I was tired enough that dancing would have done me in. So I'm glad that Nunu's was where we landed. My mom didn't even hassle me about not getting home until well after her Thanksgiving day preparations had begun. That's unprecedented.

Come to think of it, this year was different than previous years in a few ways. But it was also very much the same. Maybe with deliberation attached. Like my annual Thanksgiving nightcap at Nunu's. I've come to look forward to that, so I make a point of perpetuating it. This year, there were so many people there with me and other people there that I knew, it really did feel like it's own special holiday thing. And after a dinner of turkey and lobster -- yes, LOBSTER -- and more things than can be artfully put on a normal-sized plate at once without layering and overrun unless you serve your cranberry relish and yams and stuffing in tiny little tablespoonsful, like they might do at a chi chi restaurant. With like cilantro oil or a vanilla-infused truffle and balsamic vinegar reduction drizzled on the plate and a garnish of something like star fruit or caviar. That gives me an idea. Would anyone mind if I started calling poultry eggs caviar? I will serve turkey caviar at my next Thanksgiving dinner. And see if anyone notices. And if anyone wants to try and fit it on melba toast.

If I can recall properly, here was our menu:

Cheese Platter
- Aged Mimolette
- Huntsman (Stilton layered with Double Gloucester)
- Wensleydale
- one other one I didn't try
- every possible kind of cracker
Fresh Fruit
Marinated Mushrooms
Kalamata Olives
Picholine Olives
Wine: Robert Mondavi Cabernet Sauvignon

Roast Turkey (specially brined and cooked to moist perfection)
Broiled Lobster Tails with Clarified Butter
Mashed Potatoes
Jansen's Temptation (a Swedish potato casserole, apparently secretly including herring -- yum)
Chestnut Stuffing
Mashed Yams with Apricots and Almonds (?), Topped with Bruléed Marshmallows and Coconut
Cranberry Relish (a special recipe that causes all others to be deemed inferior)
Green Beans (I almost called them Haricots Verts. And I can't remember if they were Amandine.)
Corn (It wasn't fancy, but it's still my favorite.)
Gravy (duh)
Wine: Stag's Leap Merlot and Robert Mondavi Cabernet Sauvignon

Side by Side Pumpkin Pie and New York Cheesecake with Raspberries
Apéritif: Sambuca

I hope I've managed to make it sound fancy and perfectly planned and brilliantly executed. Because it was. And I noticed how proud and happy it made my mother to have everything go over so well. Big success. Big success.

Friday night, I went over to Beulah's, and we went shopping for groceries and treated ourselves to a variety of artery-clogging snacks. A lot of cheese and crackers and apples and pepperoni and stuff. But also Totino's Pizza Rolls. In case anyone was wondering if I've ever eaten poorly. Believe me. I have. And I do. We also watched The New World on pay-per-view. Essentially only because it's another flick Christian Bale is in, and Beulah is devoted as the day is long. We didn't like it. It was the slowest movie I've watched in a long time. Perhaps ever. Unbelievably slow. And the dialogue was so soft and so ickily poem-like that I often had to stop chewing and lean in to try and hear what was being said, only to find that what they were saying revealed nothing at all story-wise. The only way Beulah and I were able to enjoy it was in being so disappointed in it. We began to sarcastically wish it could just be slower. That Christian Bale and Pocahontas would just TAKE THEIR TIME. I once heard a comedian say that he was surprised that Finding Neverland had been nominated for Best Picture; he said the movie was so slow it should have been nominated for Best Photograph. I liked Finding Neverland, but I thought that joke was funny. Even funnier, however, was Beulah's exclamation during one of the sequences of inanimate objects being shot for long silent moments for no apparent reason: "This movie is a screensaver." It really is like a two-and-a-half hour poetry reading. And if you're into that, we probably shouldn't go to the movies together. Incidentally, Beulah's never seen Reign of Fire and was concerned that it, too, would suck. But I maintain that Reign of Fire is a terribly underrated film. As long as you let yourself buy into the whole dragons thing -- and as long as you can bear to watch Matthew McConaughey playing an insufferable wacko, which I further maintain is less insufferable than watching him play a love interest or a looker -- and if you allow that these kinds of grandiose fantasies might call for some grandiose acting, it's perfectly entertaining to watch. And it contains one of my more favorite Star Wars references. Which will do nothing to help Beulah want to watch it, I realize.

I performed in a couple of improv shows on Saturday night, spent the night at Beulah's place, then drove home to Los Angeles today, with not much traffic to grouse about, bookending a relatively painless travel experience. And while I was driving up today, I listened to nothing but Beatles music on the radio. First it was just Beatles Beatles Beatles, and then it was an hour-long tribute to George Harrison, the fifth anniversary of whose death is this Wednesday. Which made me sad, and made me marvel at how long it's been, because I distinctly remember when I heard he had passed. And the night it happened was an awful one for me, through no fault of George's. Golden Slumbers made me think of Tasha, which made me cry a bit. The rest of it made me think assorted things. I never give you my pillow. I only send you my invitation. And in the middle of the celebrations, I break down...Lying there and staring at the ceiling, waiting for a sleepy feeling...You and I have memories longer than the road that stretches out ahead.....Everybody had a hard year. Everybody had a good time. Everybody had a wet dream. Everybody saw the sunshine...Bang, bang, Maxwell's silver hammer came down upon her head. Bang, bang, Maxwell's silver hammer made sure that she was dead...Will I wait a lonely lifetime? If you want me to, I will...Boy, you gotta carry that weight, carry that weight a long time.

Very little Guitar Hero was played. Very little sleep was had. There was an unfortunate -- and perhaps statistically unavoidable -- falling out with my mother. She was so happy with me for two straight days. That couldn't possibly have continued without somehow triggering the onset of Armageddon. I had a lot of work to do. I squeezed that in where possible. I edited and posted photos, despite drooping eyelids and flagging spirits. I didn't get to eat Thanksgiving leftovers even once. And I didn't bring any home, which is usually the case and an unfortunate one. I drove home wondering why I allow things to matter, particularly when I am doing it alone. And I felt thankful for a sense of history. Even though it's a sense of history that most often prevents me from ever having a sense of present.

Everybody had a hard year. Everybody had a good time. Everybody had a wet dream. Everybody saw the sunshine.>

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