Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Waiting for the Antibiotics to Kick In

As of yesterday afternoon, I have been diagnosed with otitis media in both ears, to go along with the nasty Upper Respiratory Infection that reared its' ugly head during our Denver trip. I am on a 5-day regimen of antibiotics that will hopefully bring everything back to full volume and stop the ringing and pain in my ears. To add on to this I'm really not sleepy, so I guess I'll finish up writing about the Denver trip, which while short was a rather active one.

After the hockey game in Denver on Saturday, Evan and I went to dinner at Benihana, which was good but different. I'd only been to the one in Pittsburgh before, and most (but not all) of the staff there tended to be of Asian descent. It was therefore a little surprising to hear something like: "Konichiwa. Welcome to Benihana. My name is Fernando, and I'll be cooking for you this evening".

If anything, this was one example of how all of us as Americans can come together to make things happen, even more so when you consider that those dining are seated in groups of eight. Evan and I sat with 6 members of a family that came together to celebrate
their son/grandson's 15th birthday.

Conversation followed, and the relatively simple act of sharing a table with someone resulted in the more complex task of effectively communicating with someone new. We ma
y never see these people again, but we came away knowing something that we would not have had we dined by ourselves, and even that small amount of knowledge and experience is part of the pathway to understanding our fellow man.

This was a Pittsburgh-themed weekend of sorts, and my experience at the restaurant sort of reminded me of the manner in which so many different nationalities and cultures came to this country in the early 20th Century, and who through their labor, their lives, and their service helped to build and defend this country, and on whose backs we lead a largely comfortable existence indeed. Not all of the barriers have come down (as I have learned very well), but there is still hope, and with that a chance for progress. Sounds like a pretty good segue' into next week.

Melodramatic enough for you? Well, speaking of melodrama, after dinner we went to the Cherry Creek Mall to look around for a while, and then to the Esquire, one of Denver's art/independent film houses, to see Revolutionary Road, starring Leonardo DiCaprio, Kate Winslet, and Kathy Bates.

I had picked up the book while we were at the mall, and skimmed through some of it before the movie. The film is very well acted and photographed, and although I would have liked it if I knew a little more about the couple at the center of the story and why their current life is so dissatisfying in comparison to what they had, or what they dreamed they would have.
It was otherwise a very well made and superbly acted film by all concerned.

This type of period movie and literature has a particular appeal to me, as it is similar to the work of writers such as John Cheever and films like those of Douglas Sirk that I find very interesting. This latest addition to the genre was directed by Sam Mendes, who won an Oscar for another tale of suburban angst and self-discovery that is for me the best film of the 1990's; American Beauty.

We hung around after the first film for the theater's weekend "Midnight Madness" film series, which coincidentally what my son now considers his favorite movie, the 1990's cult classic Trainspotting, starring among others Ewan McGregor in a role that George Lucas probably did not consider when he turned Mr. McGregor into Obi-Wan Kenobi for a generation.

This is a tough movie to watch, and I'm saying that as a relatively mature adult. Despite some of the grossest scenes ever shown in a non-horror film, it's very well written, riveting, hilarious and gut-wrenching, and generally gets its' point across rather well, depending upon your opinion of what that point actually is.

Late Sunday morning we went across the street to Whole Foods for brunch and some shopping, and on the way out of town I thought I would check out The Rusty Bucket, a non-descript watering hole in a strip shopping center in Lakewood. Like the cliche' goes, don't judge a book by its' cover.

We stopped by about mid-way through the 1st quarter of the Steelers' playoff game against San Diego, and found the place packed, literally, with black and gold wearing fanatics. Right after we walked in, Santonio Holmes ran a punt back for a touchdown, and the place went nuts.

Evan thought it was the greatest thing he had seen in a while. "Hey Dad, it's like being back home!", he exclaimed. Well, yeah.

It's probably no surprise that there are lots of Pittsburgh natives out west, and this place is one of their regular gathering spots, especially during football season. The food menu is peppered with Pittsburgh-area delicacies such as the "Primanti-style sandwich", and pierogies. There were a lot of familiar characteristics in the faces of the patrons, so much that I almost thought I knew many of them. Perhaps more of an echo of a place that you're proud of being from.

As it happens, there is still a distinct possibility that this following week of playoffs may produce an all-Pennsylvania Super Bowl. This will indeed be interesting.

I've been hacking steadily while writing this, but at least the cough is a productive one.

Have a great rest of your week.


Nancy McCarroll - Arts, Crafts and Favorites said...

I'll put REVOLUTIONARY ROAD on my Netflix watch! Thanks for wishing us well (Daughter Heidy is going, too) and will catch up soon! Nancy

Nancy McCarroll - Arts, Crafts and Favorites said...

PS. Use those antiseptic wipes ALL THE TIME!! Hope the cough is better.