one green material
Monday, January 2 2006
setting: Silver Spring, Maryland
One of the typical rituals of a visit to Gretchen's hometown is a visit to Daedalus Books in one of the dismal office parks of Columbia, Maryland. A small retail shop at the front of its aircraft-hangar-sized warehouse is where Daedalus sells its books directly to the public. The books are deeply-discounted overstock items that would otherwise be ground into pulp to become another incarnation of best seller. Both Gretchen and her father are big fans of fiction and literature, and while they're off in those sections indulging their highbrow interests, I can be found looking for pop science tracts, practical books about household hacking, or other non-fiction. I usually get bored with Daedalus well before the others, but today I knew what I was getting into and found something interesting to read for most of the time there: a picture book full of "top ten" lists. It was a little like the Guiness Book of World Records that fascinated the nerds of my generation as children, though with this book I got to look into the records ten items deep!
As always, Gretchen's father paid for all the books we selected. It was yet another of the gifts of Chanuka season.
Just before setting out for Columbia, we'd stopped at the latest franchise to have reached Silver Spring: Baja Fresh, the Mexican chain from Los Angeles that may or may not have invented the Fish Taco. I made the mistake of ordering the "Americano" fish taco, thinking it would be easier to eat in the car than the "tradicional." Back in the day, there was no "Americano" and I should have known better than to order it. Instead of the delicious shredded cabbage of the tradicional, they've substituted in the one green material Americans are willing to put in their mouths: iceberg lettuce.
This evening Gretchen and I watched a DVD of Shaolin Soccer up in the media room with her parents. For some reason I don't often find myself watching Kung Fu movies, and (if this one was any guide) it's a shame. Mind you, there wasn't all that much actual Kung Fu in this movie; most of the oriental discipline was focused on kicking a soccer ball very hard and very precisely, with increasingly outlandish CGI depicting the time-space warps and such that accompanied such powerful mojo. The humor tended to be of the slapstick variety, though it was all much zanier than the paradigms with which I am more familiar. (I really wanted to include a link to the Christiananswers.net review of this movie, but all they have is the one for the Kung Fu Hustle, by the same filmmaker, Stephen Chow. Gretchen prefers that movie to Shaolin Soccer.)
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