*"I.O.U.S.A." was on CNN last weekend, but CNN messed up their listings with TiVo, and I only got an hour of the 2-hour show (broken up with punditry). jon88 had warned about this in a posting, but I didn't see it until it was too late.
*I did Seamlessweb.com for the second time, ordering yogurt chicken kebab from Turkuaz, which I've ordered before via phone. Even though the printout had the right item, they sent plain chicken kebab with rice. It came in a clear-topped container so I could see it was wrong without opening it. I'm not crazy about rice and was craving the yogurt sauce, so I called and complained. They switched me to a second person and didn't seem eager to replace the food (what they sent cost a dollar less than what I ordered, but that wasn't important - I just wanted my yogurt dish), but I asked nicely for the correct order, and the guy came again and I gave him back the wrong dish, untouched. The first time, the tip was included in the credit card, but the second time I did tip him.
I became more sensitive to tipping delivery guys after seeing the movie "Take Out," nominated for the John Cassavetes Spirit Award. Mostly in Mandarin with subtitles, it's the story of an undocumented Chinese immigrant's long day making restaurant deliveries. There was some plot which I won't spoil, but much of the movie was his trips back and forth which was oddly fascinating. I hadn't eaten, and I considered what Chinese place would still be open by the time I got home and what I would order.
There was a Q&A with filmmakers Sean Baker and Shih-Ching Tsou, and lead actor Charles Jang, who is actually Korean but speaks some Mandarin. The film was written in English and then translated. They got the "customers" through a Craig's List ad asking people to be filmed opening their doors (for a payment of $5; this was a low-budget film, costing just $3000). They filmed in a working restaurant (using one real staffer prominently) which I was trying to place, and it turned out to be near me. It's more of a take-out counter than restaurant; I've never ordered there, but have the menu so maybe soon in tribute to the movie.
The phone woke me Friday at 10:30, with the front desk guy asking if I was doing construction in my apartment since someone complained about noise. WHAT? I can't imagine what they heard (there's no construction), and I was sleeping when he called. I'm hoping the complainer was hearing someone else, since I'd hate to be evicted for noise I didn't make.
The crossword tournament is coming soon. I'm solving the usual daily puzzles and more book puzzles. One collection has 300 puzzles and I've done 98, so don't know if I'll finish it, as I'm also working on other books. I finished "The New York Times Super Saturday Crosswords: The Hardest Crossword of the Week" which includes Shortz-edited Saturdays from 1993-5 (I started proofreading in 1996).
At the NYT, there were a few books at the book giveaway shelf, so I guess it's not gone forever. There were more books on top of another cabinet which has had books in the past. At least, I hope these are giveaways since I took a few.
I gave up reading "The Everlasting Story of Nory" by Nicholson Baker,. after 10 chapters of 9-year-old musings with no plot. One review said the chapters could have been jumbled up without making a difference.
I saw more Spirit Award nominees:
"Encounters at the End of the World" - Werner Herzog's documentary about Antarctica, a land with both beautiful and unbeautiful features. We meet the scientists and adventurers who live and work in this strange and hostile environment.
"Rachel Getting Married" - I had already seen the first movie that night and arrived to find a large group waiting in the lobby. I got one of the last seats and they even turned people away. People seem to either adore or hate this movie, and I have mixed feelings. The characters aren't always sympathetic, but the story is good with some realistic dysfunctional family interaction and 12-Step scenes. I'm not sure why the wedding had an Indian theme, when no one was Indian.
"Ballast" - an extended family interacts in the Missisippi delta. Slow.
"The Secret of the Grain" - another extended family, North Africans in France. Some scenes go on too long and you want the characters to shut up, but the story keeps you interested. This movie showed before "Take Out" and also had a lot of food, making me extremely hungry by the end of the night. When I finally got home at 12:30am, I looked through my menu organizer notebook. A few restaurants were still open, but I ended up cooking instead.
People are MIT Mystery Hunting. I've never been there, but am unofficially helping a team remotely and worked on a few puzzles, despite the lack of printer.