Wednesday, November 19, 2008


First of all, happy anniversary to Sunshine, who married me two years ago today. Last night just as I was settling in to watch a DVD, I saw something strange. I'd made a sandwich. I'd unwrapped Jean Renoir's the Golden Coach. I'd plugged the headphones in. Suddenly I noticed a flash of light near the southeastern horizon line. It wasn't lightning, not last night. Welding is done at three am, but I'd actually heard this flashing too. An explosion? I peered out though the giant living room picture window, near as I could tell to where I'd seen the light. Then it happened again, but this time it was sparking over the horizon to the east, out another window. I could still hear it. I could--wait a minute... I could smell it. Then it dawned on me what I'd been doing when the whole mystery started: pressing the power button on our digital receiver--which then long and lovingly burned through its whole motherboard while I stood looking out the window at the reflection of its sparks. What a dork. Anyway, this year we're celebrating our anniversary already, having had a wonderful dinner at An Vien just a little while ago; next week, we'll be heading to Singapore for the four-day US Thanksgiving holiday weekend. An Vien serves the best Vietnamese food I've ever had; a claim which, at this late date, may actually be meaningful. I'd been there once before, with Sunshine's mother when she visited in October. It was raining that night, too. Our meal had been majestic, each dish served family style--as a full course shared by the table rather than an individual plate. Not really predicting this, we'd ordered what amounted to a five-course meal by getting one entrée apiece and appetizers. We were not complaining about it. For two full hours we sat there eating to an inspired level of discomfort. I've been fantasizing about that night's meal ever since, and was lucky enough to have a perfect excuse to go back tonight. In the rain again: Tropical Storm Noul is expected to hit central Vietnam sometime tonight, her rains and surges are already upon us, though we'll not be seeing any of her wind this far south. But about dinner: steamed fishcakes wrapped in tiny cabbage packages floating in soup; shrimp paste lightly battered and grilled around a sugar cane, wrapped in lettuce, basil and mint leaves, star fruit and lotus, tapioca. It was not a meal to be taken lightly, and I am still stuffed to the top. Sadly tonight's dinner, being an anniversary, was thirty-three percent smaller than the last one. I need an upcoming four-person special occasion, pronto. [Cavin]

Then, a 0 sided conversation ensued...

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