Sunday, February 21, 2010

This Weekend! Plus, Last Weekend

I am writing this to bottle up what I did this weekend, since it turned out for no apparent reason to be one of the best weekends I've had in New Haven. I tend to remember very few "best weekends" in New Haven, largely because the best parts of New Haven life fall involve comfort and satisfaction, rather than out-and-out happiness. I've taken to interpreting satisfaction and happiness as being different in kind, not just degree. So it's exciting to have a span of time where satisfaction, built out of what's basically my usual routine, actually compounds itself enough to transmute into an unusual amount of happiness. That's an encouraging sign.

Above: Dutch-Style Still-Life with Bread, Beer, and Bowl of Fruit. 2010.
DISCLAIMER: Artist only nominally Dutch.

To wit:
Friday evening. Listen to university band concert. Go to craplulent piano bar downtown (terrible, but not terrible) to join a crowd of people for Andrea's birthday. (Weekend different, OK.)

Saturday. Spend all morning making cauliflower soup from scratch, including vegetable stock, per Mark Bittman. Play two forty-minute games of chess with Alex (also eating the soup, and Italian bread from the machine), being soundly outplayed but winning both times after Alex drops major pieces late. Drive with Emily up to North Haven to watch Avatar in digital 3D, taking the drive to dispense advice to Emily re: her academic career choices from a non-academic perspective, which I'm told is very useful. Eat a quick dinner at home, then meet Stu downtown to watch the university Percussion Group's annual concert, which is predictably a blast. (Weekend extremely satisfying.)

Sunday. Wake up early-ish and eat breakfast while reading in the living room, during the one time of the day there's legitimate direct sunlight. Walk to the university's Battell Chapel to hear an ecumenical performance of Alfred Schnittke's 1970s-vintage Requiem, then chat with former manuscript-department intern who's a student deacon. Chores and errands till 3 PM, then walk to the Div School to hear a conducting student's masters recital, which includes Frank Martin's Mass for Double Choir. Get giddy enough about Mass for Double Choir to immediately change into sweatclothes and take half-hour jog around neighborhood. Reflect on current awesomeness of weekend. Shower, drink beer, stir-fry Thai chicken curry for dinner. Eat. Write about weekend to commit to memory. (Weekend happy.)

Actually, maybe the equation is more like "satisfaction + hearing obscure 20th-century choral music = happy."

This weekend hits the #2 Best Weekend in New Haven spot, after the weekend of December 14, 2008, which featured a coworker's Christmas cookie exchange party, the university Philharmonia's staggering performance of Messiaen's Turangalila, an early and thrilling Saturday night date with what's-her-name, and watching with Andrea and Stu the Steelers' 13-9 victory over the Ravens in Baltimore.

* * * * *
None of this is any knock on last weekend, when Mike visited briefly with his girlfriend Cameron. It was cool to finally meet her. Take note of Mike's awesome Valentine's Day activity of going to Connecticut to crash for a night with his brother.

We had all of about 20 hours together, Saturday evening to Sunday afternoon, which we spent in textbook New Haven style: first, getting pizza at Pepe's; then going bowling at Woodlawn Duckpin over in West Haven. This is, quite literally, the most fun you can have in New Haven on a Saturday night. Also, staying up till 1:30 AM playing Dr. Mario and drinking the bottle-fermented "Local #2" that Dad impulse-bought me when we were at the Brooklyn Brewery a couple weekends back. (Cameron, fortunately, had a party to go to with another friend while Mike and I took care of that last beer-and-Wii part.) Sunday noonish, brunch at ME-N-U over on State Street.

Which reminds me, you know what's good for brunch? A sandwich made with eggs, kielbasa, and American cheese between two pieces of French toast. I didn't really get hungry again till about lunchtime the next day. Pretty great. And pretty much a cholesterol bunker-buster too, but, look, it's Valentine's Day, you're supposed to appreciate the carnal pleasures of something that's eventually going to do terrible things to your heart.


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