28 January 2008

Of liquid chocolate, Russians, and audial pleasure.

Oh, Boston. City of... things...

History? Patriotic beer? Guys named "Sully"? After work on Friday, I enjoyed some of the finer aspects of Boston area with some of the finer people of Boston area. I had dinner with Emily and Courtney, two of my senior year suitemates (the amazing Maura was sick - boo) at Border Cafe in Cambridge. The food was pretty good (awesome tortilla chips), but the margaritas were hit or miss. The strawberry one was watery and flavorless, but the traditional margarita was excellent - eliciting the universal response of "now that's a margarita." Afterwards, we hit up Burdick's, a chocolate shop(pe?) that was just featured in the NY Times, and rightfully so. The hot chocolate was intense. Thick and über chocolaty - the best stuff this side of the Atlantic. We called it an early night and I crashed at Em's, burrowing into her 15º-rated sleeping bag. Saturday morning, I caught up with Roberto (aka Rob) and we hit Diesel Cafe in Davis Square. Man, they have good coffee. I always forget how good coffee can really be. I think I'm over my twice a week Starbucks habit after drinking a caramel macchiato while waiting for the train after having had the espresso latte at Diesel. I've been spoiled. The Coffee Exchange, Roba Dolce and Diesel have ruined readily available, over-priced coffee places with their superior, fresh flavor and perfect foam...

But in short, it was a lovely evening/morning in Boston. I like my friends. I don't care if that makes me sound like a simpleton, but... they're wicked awesome.

Saturday night, I watched Eastern Promises by myself. How to best describe it... Raw? Gritty? Jarring? Then again, a film dealing with the Russian mafia and human trafficking is probably all of the above. Viggo Mortensen is absolutely amazing. His Russian mannerisms are spot-on - appropriately muted - creating a character who is all the more sinister due to his practiced restraint. He walks a fine line - he is physically and psychologically threatening, while also being completely magnetic. The rest of the cast does a wonderful job as well, but the film just feels like it was written for him.

After that heavy bit of cinema, I got a call from Eryn and we swapped stories about Italia and dogs and LIFE. I think I may have laughed for about 45 minutes straight. I need to remember to stretch my facial muscles before I have a conversation with either her or A-Town to prevent strains. In spite of the pain, I definitely went to bed with a smile on my face. Fantastico.

As for an aspect of life that isn't very fun, but I'm trying desperately to make fun, I've started a more formal search for a Boston/Boston area apartment, since this commute is killing me and there are fewer and fewer reasons for me to stay in RI. The hunt is overwhelming and frustrating to a degree (I equate craigslist with a punch in the face), but I've gotten some good advice from friends in the area that'll help me narrow my search and weed out some of the nonsense.

Back to nerdy fun. Early 2007, I assembled an iTunes playlist of all the music I acquired from late 2005 through 2006. I then whittled that list down to 52 songs (to average one song per week), based mostly on play count, but also taking into account personal significance. I know - it is extremely nerdy and obsessive - but I like to see how trends and my musical taste have evolved. It also acts as a quick reference for some of my favorite songs.

I'm working on my 2007 playlist now, and to my surprise, M. Ward had the most artist plays ("I'll Believe in Anything" by Wolf Parade is my #1 played song - surprised?) This data doesn't include songs played on my iPod, on which I listen to most of my music... but still. I am sur-prised. M. Ward just ninja'd himself into the musical collection of my heart. It all started in 2006 with "Chinese Translation" - just simple, classic folk song-writing at its finest - after that, I dug deeply into his music and struck gold. As for the 2007 list, I have it narrowed down to 66 songs - not including Josh Ritter. It just can't be done. If there's such a thing as too much good music, 2007 had it.

But the real news is this: M. Ward and Zooey Deschanel are releasing the album Volume 1 under the moniker She & Him on March 18th. Sweetness in aural form. I think it's going to be a great start to my Spring. You can listen to (and download - shh!) their cover of "You Really Got a Hold on Me" here. Zooey's voice just plumb knocked my socks off.

See? They're over there. By the end table.

1 comment:

Eryn said...

my cheeks ached too after our phone convo!!!! atown complained that i woke him up a few times from laughing. eh, oh well.

speaking of great coffee. i have experienced beyond amazing caffe twice now while being back in the states since '04.......i know. way too infrequently if you ask me. but both times were at stores sur la table and crate and barrel from the most expensive espresso maker i've ever seen.....something like $2500!!!

but both times it was the same girl serving it to me, next time she sees me i'm so not getting asked if i want an espresso!