Back when Lindsay was confined to the loft (she’s much better now, thanks!) we invested in some board games to break the indoor monotony. Neither of us are up on newer board or strategy games, having grown up with some classics, so some research was in order. We did buy a classic (Scrabble) but also bought a ten-year-old game we’d never heard of: Pandemic. And we’re hooked.
Basically you save the world from virus outbreaks, and we lose as often as we win, even on the medium-difficulty setting. Which just makes us want to play it more.
Cover photo by SciTechTrend, used under Creative Commons license
Last week, before her final work-related art event (she’d completely handed off her duties at this point, accelerated by la cheville fracturée) Lindsay and I had dinner at Aloette. Linds had been before; I had not.
I was impressed, but not surprised; I’ve been upstairs to Alo enough times to know this place wouldn’t be fucking around. The food was as expected, but there were little touches that just made the experience — the service, design elements like the under-the-seat cubbies for bags and water bottles, automated shades to keep us from roasting in the late-day sun. Just…touches.
I’m pretty late getting to this one, seeing as how TIFF wrapped up almost a week ago. After skipping The Obituary Of Tunde Johnson (tiffr) Saturday I took my solitary self to see There’s Something In The Water (imdb | tiffr), the new documentary from Ian Daniel and Ellen Page about how Nova Scotia — Page’s home province, and mine — isn’t doing enough to protect its water. It was inspired by the book There’s Something In The Water: Environmental Racism in Indigenous & Black Communities by Dalhousie professor Ingrid Waldron. [link]
Stories about dump chemicals seeping into the water in the south end of Shelburne, where descendants of black loyalists live, were new to me, but I was more than familiar with the setting for the second story — Pictou Landing, where the local pulp mill pumps chemicals into Boat Harbour. I was there thirteen years ago, and smelled the chemicals from a few miles away when the wind shifted — I seriously can’t imagine what it’s like up close. You could see Page almost gagging in the documentary when she got near it.
The third site was another body of water I know well — the Shubenacadie river, which runs through central NS and over/along which I’ve driven countless times. More importantly, it flows into the Minas Basin where I swam as a kid, and where my family members continue to swim today. A natural gas company wants to hollow out storage caverns for its natural gas, pumping the brine into the Shubenacadie. A group of local Mi’kmaq women is working to stop them, but needs help. You can learn more here, and donate to their legal fund here.
All in all, a straightforward and effective documentary, but first and foremost an important documentary.
Just over a year ago I posted about Kramer, our adopted cat / companion / son. This is how I described him at the time:
He was a feral outside cat for over a year, so he’s still pretty wary of us — we can’t touch him, or even get near him. He usually sleeps under our bottom step where we can’t reach him. But he’s started spending a little more time with us, even playing with us a bit.
While he’s still far from being a lap cat, he’s made incredible progress. He hangs out with us far more often, rarely sleeping under the stairs anymore. We bought him a stand so he can stare out the window at birds and squirrels. He shows us his belly when he sleeps. He can’t quite meow, but he squeaks at us with enthusiasm. He demands to play with us on a regular basis, and will now even hang out and play when company is over vs. just hiding behind the bed.
In the past couple months he’s been rather at war with himself too: he’s become obsessed with rubbing his face and body on whatever toy we dangle in front of him. He arches his back and puffs his tail like he’s ready to be petted, but then just can’t quite get there. He’s desperate to feel some contact, but still runs away from (or hisses at) our hands if they come too close. In a few of his playtime fugue states I’ve managed to pet him briefly, and once he even let me scratch his little face with my fingers before running away.
So it’s slow, steady progress, but when I look back at what he was like when we first got him — hiding 99% of the time, hissing constantly, sometimes peeing on our stuff — he’s a different cat.
I was in Montreal ever-so-briefly yesterday & today for work. Whilst there, however briefly, I managed to get to a restaurant I’d wanted to visit for ages: Le Club Chasse et Pêche. On top of being an absolutely stellar meal it was a good bit of fun with new work(ish) colleagues. I’ll happily go back again, but I might not eat lunch beforehand this time. Anyway, here’s what I had:
Braised piglet risotto w/ foie gras shavings (with a glass of Côtes de Beaune)
Duck magret w/ chanterelles, spelt, sea buckthorn, and hazelnuts (with a Montepulciano/Sangiovese blend)
A glass of Sauternes for dessert
I really thought “shavings” meant I’d have a bit of foie gras on the side. In fact, the whole dish was covered in it. It was so rich that at one point I said this:
I survived, though, and this morning ducked out of the hotel (Hotel Nelligan, again) to a second location of Tommy, one of my favourite Montreal coffee shops, just down the street.
This weekend really made me realize how much I miss visiting Montreal though. I’m glad I’ll be back again in October.
Lindsay had (or was supposed to have) an all-day meeting yesterday, so I thought I’d try to catch a TIFF screening from the first weekend. I grabbed a ticket for The Friend (imdb | rotten tomatoes | tiff) at the Princess Of Wales theatre, a film based on an essay published in Esquire four years ago about cancer’s brutal toll on author Matthew Teague’s wife, and his friend who stayed to help through it all.
I’m honestly not sure yet how I feel about the movie version. It pushed every emotional button — I cried, as did pretty much the entire theatre — but I felt like the movie very much wanted us to cry. It focused on the hard parts of the story, but not the hardest parts of the story — it glossed over much of the physical trauma, and added a life-is-beautiful veneer missing from the essay. So maybe Teague wanted that version? He did, after all, option the story and consult on the screenplay, so it wasn’t ripped from his hands. And the essay was written in the raw months after the author’s wife passed — maybe he wanted to capture more of her vs. more of the cancer? I don’t know.
The director addressed the difference in tone during the post-screening Q&A, saying she had to find a balance between telling the story and traumatizing the audience. Which, fine.
But as I said, I felt emotionally drained — pushed, more like — by the end. And that seemed to me like the film’s intent. So while I had a very strong reaction, I’m having trouble sorting out whether it feels like an authentic one the day after.
Season 1 of Mindhunter (imdb | rotten tomatoes) was one of my favourite shows of 2017. I reckon season 2 can count on a place in this year’s list. The subject matter was still fascinating, Wendy Carr is super bad-ass and interesting, and adding a racial element via the Atlanta child murders storyline gave it more depth.
My only gripe: why was everyone wearing so much yellow face makeup? I know David Fincher didn’t direct all the episodes, but his signature is on everything, and he’s so meticulous about detail (either while shooting or in post-production) that I find it hard to believe this wasn’t intentional.
Last week CBGB were in town, and we managed to catch up for a bit, despite Lindsay still being out of commission due to her ankle. I directed them to Wynona, near where their old house was. To be sure, this quality of restaurant was not in business at that corner when they lived there.
We shared grilled house focaccia, Albacore tuna crudo w/ mixed citrus + compressed melon + pine nuts, burrata w/ fig + ham + honey + almond + fennel pollen, a 25oz bone-in ribeye, and two desserts: a lemon posset and a meringue. All with a bottle of Fusco Mencia, and Stratus botrytis-affected Semillon for dessert. I also remember starting with a rather cloudy, tart Sperling skin contact Pinot Gris to start.
I miss them. I wish they still lived here, especially now that I’m nearby, but I’m glad they’re happy in Ottawa.