First day of Winter Quarter

And the homework has hit like a full cannon. Algebra is due on Friday, Manifolds due on Monday… and I’m still in denial. I think I cook more when school is in session to try to avoid doing work. Just today I made Vietnamese banh tet – small bananas wrapped in sticky rice steamed in banana leaves. And a brussels sprout gratin – to finish up the leftover brussels sprouts from the branch I got from Trader Joes during, get this, Thanksgiving. So apparently brussels sprouts can last > 1 month in the crisper. Good to know. I have no real experience cooking them except at thanksgiving where I sauteed them with bacon and then doused it in heavy cream before gratinating it with shredded gruyere and parmesan on top. Toasted a hunk of cheesy garlic bread I prepared eons ago and froze, and heated up a satchet of soup from Whole Foods which tasted horrible even though the packaging looked so nice. Well now I know.

After dinner, we headed to the Crest to catch Gone Girl, which is now out for only $4 a ticket! It was morbid and horrifying, but also a really, really good movie. Reese Witherspoon was one of the producers. When her name came up on the screen you could hear everyone around us whispering “Hey, Reese Witherspoon is one of the producers.” It’s really obvious because they have to whisper ‘Reese’ and suddenly the whole room is filled with hisses.

If you haven’t watched it, you should. It totally screws with your mind. Like inception, but without all the geeky stuff. A plain psychological thriller. Like the Page Turner. There’s a bit that’s really gory, but I just kinda shut my eyes for that. Rosamund Pike is PERFECT for the role, I can’t emphasize how perfect she was. Ben Affleck was also really good as the always-one-step-behind cliche of a professor but Pike plays the perfect writer, who’s got the whole world hanging on every last development of her story, which instead of writing a book about, she orchestrates in real life. It’s pretty Woody Allen-y. I didn’t like the casting of Neil Patrick Harris though, he strikes me as somebody waay too slick to be caught up in the protagonist’s lies. Modern film crit had better come up with more terms for key characters in movies, since there’s going to be a whole lot more of the protagonist-who’s-actually-the-antagonist-who’s-actually-the-protagonist-hah-gotcha-again-didn’t-I-she’s-actually-the-antagonist. Actually they probably already have a term for it but I’m too lazy to google it I’ve got some complex analysis reading to do. A mathematician would call it the protagonist with order n, i.e. the protagonist who plays with the audience’s feelings n times (protagonist squared = antagonist, etc. etc.) before reverting to his identity as the protagonist that everyone loves and sympathizes with in the end. If who the audience thought was the protagonist turns out to be the antagonist (does not achieve identity) as in so many Agatha Christie books, then the cast/character list would be said to be non-cyclic and that protagonist is described to have infinite order.

What I absolutely adore about the Crest is how everything has the human touch. Right before the movie this guy comes up to the front, welcomes you, tells you that the previews will start in the few minutes, and politely requests that you silence your phones. And when the movie is done and you stream out, the guys at the popcorn bar ask you how the movie went and say they want to catch it too. It must be really fun working that popcorn bar – you can decide which movies to watch based on the crowd’s reaction at the end of every movie. And not just the crowd’s reaction, but also the dressing and the general vibe of person each movie attracts; you can decide if you identify with that or not. I’ve heard that they do the best popcorn in town too – you can smell it, that buttery aroma wafting all about the lobby – but it’s pretty pricey, so we haven’t tried it yet. I’m also not a super big fan of salty popcorn (in Sg you have the option between sweet and salty, and the sweet popcorn there is crunchy because it’s usually coated with a thin layer of caramel), but I think they just might change my mind.

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