i woke up at noon this morning, having gone to bed last night at 3am. although it wasn't the weekend yet, i took today off and i'm taking tomorrow off as well (for lack any work in the office, although i do feel guilty for leaving alex alone by himself, fending off craig's list inquiries left and right). it feels great to go to bed without having to set my alarm clock. how many times in my life can i do this? i have to do it during the weekdays in order to get up for work, but then comes the weekends and i have social or personal plans, so i end up still having to set my alarm clock. that wasn't the case today though. i had nothing scheduled during the daytime so i indulged in some much needed sleep.
i was drawn to the living room where i watched some television before feeling hungry enough to make some food. renata called me to confirm our plans for this evening, and i drew a disbelieving chuckle when i told her i was making breakfast at 1pm in the afternoon. i went with one of my classic breakfasts, a fruit smoothie (with a dash of freshly chopped mint leaves grown from my own backyard thank you very much) and a bowl of instant biryani (from trader joe). even though i cooked it all, i ate only half of the biryani, saving the rest for another occasion. i ate while watching chungking express (1994) on dvd.
people always rave about chungking express. i've caught glimpses of it on cable a few times, but never really sat down long enough to see the whole movie until today. my life has changed. not since eternal sunshine of the spotless mind has a movie spoken to me as much as chungking express. to say i love this movie would be a gross understatement. i want to live in this movie, be a part of that world, of quirky romanticism, of lost love yet new love around the corner, where you least expect to find it. this movie is so precisely beautiful and poetic, i'm disappointed that it took me a whole decade to finally getting around to see it. they say this movie derives heavily from french new wave; i don't know enough film history to know the difference, but i do know the movie isn't really about a traditional linear storyline as it is more about the characters and the stories that naturally evolve in their lives. it's jarring at first, the pace is definitely something to get used to, but once you're settled in, it goes down smooth, and every scene evokes an emotion. my favorite character is cop 633 (tony leung). even though his stewardess girlfriend dumps him out of the blue one day, he still remains optimistic, thinking that maybe one day she'll come back. he mopes sometimes, yet he is always aware of the irony of the situation, and his demeanor is one that of someone who knows the punchline of a good joke. he goes through life with a sense of humor, even in the face of a broken heart, or when he notices the peculiarities of his changing apartment. faye wong is in this movie, and apparently she's very famous in asia (i don't keep track of hong kong pop culture). she sort of reminds me of a less pretty shannyn sossamon. three songs are repeatedly played throughout the movie: the reggae song "things in life", "california dreamin'" by the mamas and the papas, and a cantonese version of the cranberry's "dreams". i will never be able to hear those three songs without thinking about chungking express.
while waiting for my breakfast to settle before i went out for a run, i got changed and took the bike out for a quick spin (now that it wasn't raining). first stop: the motorcycle dealership in union square to get the bike inspected ($15). the guy basically honked the horn, flipped the lights a few times, then put a new sticker on the license plate. next stop: the somerville target, where i bought an armful of household cleaning products and checked out tents for my mother.
when i got back home, i changed outfits again and went out for a run around 4pm in this near 80's degrees day. the weather was warm but it wasn't very humid. i started slow and gradually built up my speed, going topless for the duration around the charles river. there was hardly anyone else running. was it the weather? or maybe the time? whatever it was, it presented less distraction and allowed me to focus entirely on my run. i could feel the intensity of the sun's rays on my naked torso, and used my shoulders to wipe the sweat from my face. i took a hot shower when i got back home again, using some of this new neutrogena deep facial cleanser i got from target.
renata called me a little bit after 6pm to let me know that she'd be late for our 6pm appointment, stuck in brookline at some self-service framing store. i waited for an hour before she showed up, finished watching the rest of chungking express. we walked to harvard square to catch her brother marsian's puppet show titled "linda carvel's first trip" at the comedy studio on the 3rd floor of the hong kong restaurant. showtime was 8pm, we didn't have time for dinner so we grabbed something quick to go from au bon pain. no outside food was allowed inside the comedy studio, so we ate our makeshift dinner outside on a sidewalk bench across the street from the restaurant. i got a creme cheese bagel with a bottle of chocolate milk. the cashier forgot to give me a plastic knife (or maybe i was supposed to get one myself), so i had to eat my bagel by dipping (as suggested by renata). earlier renata said my choice of chocolate milk was cute, but i was quick to point out that i might be flirting with lactose intolerancy and perhaps cow juice (even in its darkened chocolated form) wasn't the smartest of beverages. i told her about the cleaning products i bought today, and she told me her fears of chemicals, relying on natural cleaning solutions like soup and water or vinegar instead. chungking express was still very fresh in my mind, and all i wanted to do was to discuss the movie, even though renata had never seen it before.
upstairs in the comedy studio renata and i got in for free through some sort of "my brother's in the show" smooth talking. we met marsian and his merry crew, and got pretty good front row restaurant style seating close to the stage. the evening wasn't just about puppets though: there were other performers, masters of the supposed yuck yucks. the program was hosted by evan o'television, who did a bit where he has an intense argument with himself on television. i thought it was creative but the material wasn't very funny and i one point i got kind of scared when he worked himself into a tizzy for the sake of laughter. at one point he mentioned something about "writing a blog" and renata turned around to give me a look and i rolled my eyes. he also read from "sad clown & the gipper" which i think was a play he's currently developing, about a 5th grade child who wants to become a famous actor who meets up with this cosmopolitan greta garbo character who gives him advice delivered in a thick european accent. it was interesting, i'd go see if it was ever made into an indie film. evan also did an interpretive dance in a skeleton costume with a partner. it was awkward, i didn't think it was funny, and one of them had really bad b.o. max silvestri was a funny stand-up comedian, did a bit on being the friend of a girl who already has a boyfriend ("it's like being the vice president, i'm next in line") which i thought was pretty funny. keith bennett was the second stand-up, he was this scary metal head who only seemed funny because he had friends in the audience who would laugh at his jokes about peeing his bed and fecal terrorism. his fecal terrorism material was good though, even though i was very scared he'd put it into practice and show the audience for real. renata, sitting in front of me, would've been my human shield, but neither she nor i needed such trauma. dan hanbury was the third stand-up, he had a steven wright deadpan delivery style of comedy, and he seemed kind of nervous at first, but his stuff got funnier and funnier as he went along. his joke about PBS reality show "this old spouse" drew raucous laughter. the walsh brothers (only one) did a pantomime card trick; no magic was actually performed, the joke is he sucks as a magician, and it was a pretty funny one at that. marsian's puppet show was the most elaborate segment, as his two assistants helped him assemble the sets on the stage. the story is about linda carvel (of the carvel ice cream fame) and her acid trip, where she bites into a talking hot dog and then tries to kill it. the production was amazing and clever, the story funny and weird, but my only complaint is that it was too short, i wanted to see more. rounding out the rest of the show, there was a bit by a gay druggy leather-wearing clown (fake cocaine was blown onto people sitting in the front row seats), some political comedy from a special guest whom i didn't think was funny (it was basically an anti-bush rant, nothing that i haven't already gone through amongst my friends), and storytelling by karin webb (about children who are named the days of the week, but it had no special significance in the story, other than to demonstrate karin's remarkable ability to remember things).
we got out after 10pm, renata anxious to get to the new lollicup cafe to see if they were still opened, hoping to score some green tea smoothie. "i don't think they're opened, i have a bad feeling," renata confessed, in a surprisingly uncharacteristic twist of pessimism. i told her if it was closed, we could always go to my place where i had all the necessary ingredients to make bubble ice tea. when we arrived at lollicup and saw that it was still opened, renata raced inside like a child being released out to recess. there were two people working the store even though there were no customers. info: lollicup is opened until midnight on weekdays, as late as 1am on weekends. i had a bubble thai ice tea (two great tastes in one, why didn't i think of this earlier?) while renata naturally went with the green tea smoothie that she'd been craving since we got into harvard square. renata also pointed out they sell mochis. we walked back to my place, sharing drinks, taking a quick detour at the bank so i could get some money.
when we got back, we finished off the evening by exchanging the obligatory series of pleasantries before renata sped off in her car while i watched from the doorway of my house. i felt sad for some reason, closing the front door with a "click" of the keyturn and changing out of my clothes. a bagel doesn't make for a very satisfying dinner, so i ate the rest of my biryani leftover while watching yet another red sox game (they lost).