On Sunday, I awoke to find two blog-related emails. The first I addressed in the preceding post. The second was from the star of The Whale, thanking me for my “kind words” here, which had just been forwarded to him. I told him they weren’t kind words, they were earned praise — that his portrayal was astonishing, reminding me all too well of a dear longtime friend who struggled all too mightily with morbid obesity.
After handling those emails and a lengthy breakfast consumed with reading two thick Sunday newspapers, I took my two younger children to play miniature golf. There is something wrong with the miniature golf course these days, because one of these children finished with a better score than mine. I’m not sure how that happened, but I’m looking into it.
After that, we went to the Bat Cade in Burbank, which is a batting cage with arcade with pizza parlor — a sort of mashup of activities geared toward my internal age (about 15). Just add comic books and it’d be paradise. There’s something wrong with the air hockey table at the Bat Cade because my son beat me and my daughter also beat me. This is not how this thing is supposed to work. Luckily, the classic arcade game Arkanoid II: Revenge of Doh was functioning perfectly well and I was unbeaten. We ate pizza to celebrate my victory, then took turns in the batting cage, where I successfully defended my head from 30 baseballs flung mercilessly at top speed.
Even though satiated with top-quality local pizza, we stopped at the nearby Ralphs (that’s the name of a supermarket — make your own joke) to stock up on comestibles. I spotted bottles of $15 chardonnay mysteriously priced down to $3.99 and snagged two; I will let you know if they were bottled in a Chinese lead factory. (If I never post here again, you’ll know what happened.) On a whim, I also picked up an 8-piece container of fried chicken because at this point I had no vision of cooking anything for dinner. Later, I discovered that the 8-piece container of chicken held only six pieces — there were no drumsticks. Which left me wondering: had it not been properly filled by the people behind the deli counter, or had someone surreptitiously slid two fingers inside and stolen the drumsticks out of the case before I bought it? Either way, I figured I’d just eat it.
Later, I watched Downton Abbey, enjoying the latest episodic effort to ennoble a landed lord with grace and human dignity, when I know he’s a pirate sucking off the desperate largesse of the lower class; the show is simultaneously entertaining and deeply infuriating (the way I imagine the new video biography of Mitt Romney will prove to be). I also watched the Grammy Awards. On DVR. So that the entire nearly four-hour enterprise, stripped down to actual content, consumed only about 22 minutes. Takeaways: How does one sing when swinging upside down from a rope? (Answer: one doesn’t — it’s lip synching.) Also, now that I’ve gleaned that Ringo’s touring show largely involves him singing, I’m glad I’ve saved my money. As a singer, he’s a passable drummer.
I also wondered how much regret the guys from Daft Punk were living in, wearing those hot robot heads for more than four hours straight, and leaving the man in the Dudley Do-Right hat to inarticulately accept every award for them.
Finally, I went to bed and dove further into a late Philip Roth novel, Indignation, that I had somehow missed when it came out. (I’ve been reading all of Roth’s new releases for years; same deal with Paul Auster and Julian Barnes — they publish it; I read it.)
Then, finally, sleep.