Attempt at Movie Going: I have lamented before that most of the movies I see, I see on airplanes. I made an attempt at the beginning of the month to go to an actual movie theatre. The specific motivation was the opening of a new movie theatre reasonably near me. It's the Angelika at the Mosaic, which is a real estate term to try to persuade folks that the part of Merrifield at Lee Highway and Gallows Road is something other than industrial wasteland. The theatre is nice enough and has interesting art house selections (including Butter, the movie about a butter carving contest that I was attempting to see), but they were not ready for prime time. To start with, I asked for a ticket for one movie. The clerk handed me a ticket for a different movie entirely and then had to get help (including giving me back my money) to get the correct ticket. Then I watched the concessions clerk take 20 minutes to find chips for nachos. I went into the theatre and the movie had already started - 10 minutes before its schedule show time. Someone got the manager who claimed that they had gotten a bad print and would load the new print and restart it. We waited for about 10 minutes. He came back in, told us they were having trouble loading the print and it would be another 10-15 minutes. He handed everyone a pass to make up for that. (And, indeed, it did got a long way to compensate.) We waited another 20 or so minutes. He came back in and said the projector was having trouble. He gave out more passes and told us to come back in a half hour. I went and got some lunch nearby and, when I returned, learned that they were not going to show the movie for another hour (which was when the next scheduled show was). I gave up and just asked for my money back. So I failed to see Butter but I do have two passes to the Angelika.
Celebrity Death Watch: The ones I missed noting include football player turned actor Alex Karras, actor and activist Russell Means, moderate Senator Arlen Spector, presidential candidate George McGovern, and Cambodian royal Norodom Sihanouk.
Notes to Myself: Amazingly, I figured out that a random string of letters I scribbled on one of my planner pages was a list of which Qantas fare codes earn full mileage credit on American. What I can't figure out is where on my electronic ticket I can actually find what the fare code was so I can persuade them to give me that mileage credit.
Passport Renewal: I timed my passport renewal well. I not only managed to avoid needing to pay a fee for expediting my renewal, but the regular processing by mail took only 2 weeks, not the 4-6 they claim on the website. I got the old passport back a few days later, by the way.
Dinner Out #1: I had dinner with some frequent flyer friends at Four Sisters, a Vietnamese restaurant just down the street from that new Angelika. The spiffiness in the neighborhood did the opposite to the food, alas, which was not as good as I remembered from previous visits there. (Admittedly those were to their previous location, by the Eden Center, so it is possible that it was long enough ago that my memory was being faulty.) I think I will stick to Pho Cyclo if I want Vietnamese food in that general vicinity in the future. The company and conversation were worthwhile, however.
Dinner Out @2: A far more successful dinner out was the MIT Club of Washington event last week at the Embassy of Hungary. Their chef won the best embassy chef competition last year and it was obvious why. The smoked salmon with fennel salad and a pink waldorf salad were particularly notable, but all of the food was delicious. And, again, it is always a delight to have a chance to converse with intelligent people.
Dead Products Department: I am saddened that Newsweek is going all digital. I am even sadder at the cancellation of Purex 3-in-1 laundry sheets. These were very handy for travel. They are claiming the pods are a replacement, but they are less travel friendly since they are liquid filled. And I don't see how they would fill the fabric softener role that the 3-in-1 sheets did. Sigh.
Hurricane Sandy: My first extreme weather event of the month involved my trip to Chicago, which merits its own entry. Hurricane Sandy had the decency of striking at home. The rain was quite heavy and the winds were loud, but there wasn't much impact in my neighborhood and, miraculously, my power never went out.
However, the storm hit hard up at my mother's. I have not yet been able to talk to her myself, but (thanks to facebook) a neighbor checked that she is okay. There was as much as 7 feet of water in Island Park. She is on relatively high ground, but I am sure the downstairs got flooded. (She had taken everything off the floor down there as a precaution.) There is still no power in town and phone circuits are busy. I have to say I am grateful for technology letting me at least check up on her via a neighbor, but I will be happier when I can hear her complaints directly.
Other Stuff I Need to Write About: I ran two storytelling events, both of which went reasonably well. For one of those, I adapted a familiar folk tale and the process of doing so is worth an entry in itself. I also went to another storytelling concert, one play and one ballet. No wonder I don't have time for dating, not to mention writing about dating.