Friday, April 08, 2005

Madison links

Life is curious. As my friend sits in his office up Bascom hill, groaning about being cooped up late on a gorgeous Friday evening as whiffs of beer make their way through his corridors, I am half-way down Bascom hill working away in mine, about to take a break, to see if other Madisonians are having a better time of it.

What ties the day together for me, therefore, is work, sunshine, the colors of spring, and a Corona beer truck. Here's how the day meanders between the greens and yellows, finishing with the blue waters of Lake Mendota.:
In the early afternoon, I have a meeting at this coffee shop. As I wait in line for my latte, I look up and see the spring colors of the Corona truck, on its way to make a delivery. Posted by Hello
On State Street, the stores let their dresses out to tempt the winter-weary strollers. Posted by Hello
At six, I take a break, walk down the hill and witness a Terrace moment: late afternoon sun, a dreamy gaze, a cup of beer. Posted by Hello
Hey dude, lost your table? Here's my cup, pour me one! Posted by Hello
She's trying so hard to concentrate, but the Corona (thanks to the timely delivery) works its magic... Posted by Hello
Are these guys having a better time of it? untouched by the sun, oblivious to any Corona trucks, as the sailboats drift in the background. Posted by Hello

Lights out in Poland in honor of the Pope? You've got to be kidding.

Let it not be said that Poles march silently and obediently in any solemn procession, even if it is to honor their fallen hero. Always the mavericks, they like nothing more than to be obstinate when asked to get in line behind some else’s idea.

I read this morning the appeal made through the media:
let Poland grow dark for five minutes tonight at 21:37 as we mourn the loss of our Pope.

Here are some responses (again crudely translated by me), from the
Gazeta Wyborcza’s chat room:

That’s a very dangerous thing to do! Unplug your computers because our electrical system will not withstand the sudden down-surge and the upsurge in use!

This is sheer lunacy! Such an absence of restraint in mourning helps no one.

I’m not turning out any light! I’m going to be reading a prayer for John Paul II.

Okay. I understand. We’ll light candles and stand by the window. Only what does sitting in darkness have to do with giving respect to John Paul the Great? It’s a little sick…

This is absurd! I called the electrical company! Nothing will happen!

People are expressing their respect just for show. All we need is to tape us doing it. What good will turning out the lights do anyone... We should carry him in our hearts – much better than doing something for show, just like everything else that we do in our country.
... ...

The comments go on. And on. And on. And now I really do want to check back in an hour to see who, if anyone, has complied.

Clearly stated?

Where my knowledge of Polish helps propel me to knew heights of verbal perspicuity

Morning email exchange:

You don’t think [known to us person] is kind of [equivalent of cool]?
A little phlegmatic, but otherwise okay.

Just to be certain, I had to look that word up in the dictionary. Here's the definition: Not easily excited to action or passion; cold; dull; sluggish; heavy; as, a phlegmatic person.
Precisely. It's because the Polish counterpart, "flegmatyczny," is more commonplace than phlegmatic is here, that I feel so comfortable in flinging it around, labeling those who are indeed cold dull & sluggish as phlegmatic. [XX] is phlegmatic.

On how I have once again agreed (sort of) to hunt, slash and burn (literally) food in a restaurant

Morning phone exchange:

So how come you're not hanging out at [name of Madison’s great restaurant] these days?
Busy. Gone a lot. But hey! Congratulations on your new proprietorship! And Chef, all in one!

Thanks. So how come you’re not saying you’ll hang out in our kitchen?
I did not say that. I said I’m busy and gone a lot.

Come and help anyway. Any Saturday any time. I’ll give you some comps.
Is that a job offer?


It is the most undefined offer with the most noncommittal response I have ever articulated. Perfect. I’ll see you soon. Maybe.

New Ocean game, part 2

By the time I turned on the laptop this morning, two brilliant responses (to the challenge posted below) demonstrated how knowledgeable we are about our local eating places (or, how paltry the selections – thus all easily identifiable).

But I will stump you one day, surely I will! [Again, for out-of-towners: you are allowed to limit your guessing to the plated foods. Dimly lit you say? But of course! What, I suppose you want the menu next to it with highlighted selections? Gotta make it a little tough, no?]

Here is the first prize winning response:

that place next to cafe continental, no name on the blasted door, i always miss it, it's japanese fusion (?), new york atmosphere and sadly new york snotty service too. but the fish is awesome, looks like you had fried squid. they have lots of small dishes and you have to have a couple to make up a real meal, it'll cost you but it's worth it. sorry, i have no idea what the restaurant's name is, we call it "That new japanese place on the square."

Yup. It’s calamari, with a sushi roll in the background.

Runner up:

I like your new game, but have little idea where it is -- I see chopsticks and a bottle of Macon-Villages, so I doubt it's someplace I've been. Is it Muramoto (still haven't been there yet)? Could there be another upscale Asian place answering to "delicious" that I don't even know of?

Correct! And brownie points for noticing the finer detail – of a friend holding chopsticks, of the wine…mmm…so good. All the more so since (in response to first reader’s concerns) I wasn’t paying.