Evidently 14 hours of sleep isn’t going to get me back on track. I went to bed at 2 a.m., woke up at 4:00 a.m., and never fell back asleep. I’ve lost all sense of time – exhausted by mid-afternoon, alert at midnight, famished at 5:00 a.m. To be honest, I haven’t felt this disoriented and irritable since that time I watched Ben Stiller in Dodgeball. But I’m determined to force my body back into a west coast rhythm by resuming my pre-Asia routine. And a big part of that routine is television. As much as I enjoyed Discovery Channel International and Japanese game shows, it’ll be nice for Fondy and I to get back to more familiar programming: the shows I enjoy watching alone (Earl, The Office, Friday Night Lights), the shows we enjoy watching together (House, Boston Legal, The Amazing Race, Survivor), and the shows we just watch together (Grey’s Anatomy, Lost).

Carl calls it the fastest hour on television. He refers, of course, to The Amazing Race which aired its finale last night. As someone who makes a living writing for television, I suppose I should be boycotting reality t.v., but it‘s hard to find fault with a show that offers so much in the way of high human drama. I ask you, where else can you tune in and thrill to the sight of a grown woman reduced to tears and vitriol under a barrage of ripened tomatoes? That entertain value is hard to beat, folks. Fondy, my sister and I were catching up on the previous episodes we’d missed when I received a call from my writing partner Paul who had evidently just finished watching the finale. “Watched it?”he asked. “Not yet,”I replied. “Okay,”he said. “I’ll call you tomorrow to complain.” Right then I knew what to expect in the last episode, the one thing that so irked Paul in 2 of the past 3 seasons: those magical plane tickets that just happen to become available just when all seems lost, preventing one enterprising team from walking away with the prize and ensuring a tight two-way race for the folks at home (and the show‘s producers, natch). So it happened again and the conclusion was pretty predictable although, truth be told, I pretty much lost interest when they eliminated those lovable hillbillies. Still, the finale had one truly priceless moment when, in the midst of all the excitement, show host Phil Keoghan says to the happy winners: “But wouldn’t it be great to have your family celebrating with you?!” At which point the two winners and various fellow contestants react, overcome with emotion, eyes welling up, hands clapping over trembling lips, looking around in anticipation of a surprise appearance by their loved ones. At which point Phil pulls out a cellphone and suggests, hey, why not give ’em a call. The ensuing “live” phone conversation was exquisitely awkward and anti-climactic. But what the hell. At least they managed to squeeze in one more plug for Sprint. A true television moment.

Before settling down to a night of television, we had taken my sister out to what Fondy and I consider the best Thai restaurant in town: Montri’s. We did the pad thai (thai noodles, shrimp, egg, tofu, and peanuts in a sweet and sour sauce), garlic pork, and chicken in green curry (my favorite – chicken, eggplant, peppers, squash and basil in coconut milk and curry paste), and beef with jungle curry. Although we’d ordered all four dishes at the 3 pepper level, they weren’t all that spicy. Still, an excellent meal all around – so I was shocked to hear that Montri has sold the restaurant and that the new ownership will be taking over in January of 2007. Being the incredibly open-minded individual I am, I’m willing to reserve judgment. Until the second the new owners screw up at which point I’ll be all over them.

This morning, after seven years of driving by the constant line-ups outside Sophie’s Cosmic Café, we finally dropped in to find out what all the fuss was about. And after today’s breakfast, this place’s popularity is an even greater mystery.

Onto a better meal: let’s talk lunch/dinner and a visit to Oyama on Granville Island where we picked up some: duck prosciutto, goose prosciutto, lamb prosciutto, and, for variety’s sake, some pork cheek. The lamb was a little dry but the duck and goose were tasty, possessed of a nice smokiness. The pork cheek (granted, not your average person’s first choice when he/she is shopping for cold cuts) was delicious.

And finally, since the holidays fast approaching and because nobody asked, here is my list of the top 5 movies to get you into the Christmas spirit:

5. Bad Santa

4. Lethal Weapon

3. Die Hard

2. Trading Places

1. A Christmas Story

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Michelle
Michelle

Oh god, what is that grey/pink brain looking stuff in the last picture? It looks so vile, please don’t tell me you’re going to eat it.

I’m with you on House, The Office, and Boston Legal. If only Jack and Daniel could have had conversations like Denny and Alan’s. Sigh wink