July 8, 2007

Rattouille & Brunch at Wimbledon

If I'm watching any television on Sunday morning, it tends to be Meet the Press, Face the Nation or other Sunday morning gabfests. Watching NPR commentators Juan Williams and Maura Liasson square off with Barnes and Kristol from the Weekly Standard under the watchful eye of Britt Hume on Fox News, however, was a new and not entirely unwelcome addition to the weekly spincycle.

It floors me to note that how long I stayed on Fox News -- but there it is.

Much better, however, was the epic and superlative battle between Nadal and Federer this morning. A 5-set championship battle between the two best players in the world? A++ tennis? Spellbing. Federer is, more or less, the kind of tennis player I dreamed of being growing up, before the small issues of talent and coordination kicked up. I'll always love the game but the sorts of shots he's able to make, looping around the net or located in the only four square inches over the net that would escape his opponent's racket is just mindboggling. The grace that he approaches hitting each shot with is extraordinary, reminding me of the swing of Tiger or Ted or MJ's jumpshot. Beauty.

The unexpected tennis-fest follows on a brilliant Saturday. I caught up with the remainder of the spring cleaning left by a departing housemate, primarily organizing, doing laundry & dishes, gardening, stowing gear from the sojourn to Maine and generally getting settled in again. I shaved three weeks worth of beard -- always rejuvenating for me -- and celebrated with a walk around Fresh Pond, dinner on the patio at Jose's, a fantastic local Mexican restaurant with expertly executed authentic dishes, followed by G&Ts on the back porch. I was lucky to find spectacularly good company for my summer evening, a stroke of random luck that's still sinking in.

We caught the late show of Ratatouille at Fresh Pond, walking through Dennehy Park on what can only be described as sultry summer evening.

Pixar recaptured and rekindled the same spirit that drew me in with Toy Story, raising the bar yet again for digital detail and dazzling with whirling, twirling shots that left me a bit breathless. I loved it. I loved the reflection of the streetlights in the textured granite sidewalk, the bright copper showing in the scratches on the patina of the well-used pans in the kitchen and the fur of the rats themselves, a marvel of autonomous fibers animated in an utterly realistic way. It took an artist's eye to raise my appreciation of all of those elements to another level -- I was a fortunate soul to have one next to me. Two of 'em, in fact.

Ben Bird's characteristic flair for sweet, universal humor was on display throughout.

For this cook and foodie, the theme of the movie itself was probably the biggest treat. I'm looking forward to attempting that presentation of ratatouille myself sometime soon, though the smoker and grill are calling to me more than anything else these days.

I'm about to bike out to Walden and swim, hoping to escape the load of the 90+ degree humid blanket of hot air that is suffocating Cambridge.

Ah, summer.

SUCH a happy camper this morning.

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