i was meeting james for lunch in boston, but before i could even walk to porter square, he was already calling me on the cellphone, having just got out of his interview. i arrived in chinatown in approximately 30 minutes. the day was abnormally windy with gusts in the 50+ mph range. on a cold day like today, the best food is hot and spicy, and i suggested we try shabuzen (020213 klea, 040225 julie, 040520 renata). it was pretty empty when got there, but filled up by the time we left. james and i both went with the chinese spicy hot pot (don't settle for anything less, chinese spicy will blow your mind). "you alright, dude?" james asked me as i choked on the hotness. i warned james about the potential for an upset stomach when you indulge in the shabu. later, we went to spearl cup by our old office on lincoln street and had some bubble ice tea. james returned some of my os x games. we left for south station just in time for him to catch his train ride back home south. i caught the subway back to porter square.

i made a detour to joie de vivre, and bought one of these paper-rubberband butterflies you wind up and put into a greeting card and it flies out when the card gets opened. a get-well present for renata, i wrote a card with the surprise and delivered it to her house via motorcycle, slipping it in the mailbox. despite the wind, i planned on running, but by the time i made it to my side of cambridge (a brief visit to the cafe), the day already seemed dark and i didn't want to go out again. when i got home i saw that my father had been there already, taking some of the leftover clam corn chowder i made yesterday.

by evening renata called to thank me regarding her surprise. unfortunately i put the butterfly in the wrong direction and it flew out into her face. we made plans for tomorrow night. as for this evening, i was going to go see ray with julie at harvard square.

tamarind bay interior

julie eating

rogan josh

saffron rice pudding
we had dinner at tamarind bay, this very homey seemingly-authentic indian restaurant. it was pretty crowded but we were lucky enough to get seated right away. there's a tendency with restaurants to charge more the less they give you. such was the case here: the portions were unfamiliarily small (i paid $15 for a small oily container of rogan josh). we shared a metal bowl of rice that was probably only half my daily grain intake. i also had a rice pudding ($4), which came in a little dish that would normally be used for sauces in any other restaurant. better quality food might justify higher prices, but there didn't seem to be anything special with what we had, compared to some other indian restaurants in harvard square.

the movie theatre crowd was frisky tonight, the kind of crowd that talks to the screen. perhaps cantabrigians needed a reason to celebrate after an exhausting and depressing election week. ray is the biography of legendary musician ray charles. jamie foxx plays ray, and the resemblance is sometimes so uncanny you think you were actually watching ray charles. ray charles' story is the classic american story of rags to riches, although despite overwhelming odds (being a black blind man living in segregated south), he works hard and triumphs over adversity to reach eventually success and fame. as much as the movie celebrates the musical work of ray charles, it also doesn't shy away from his demons, from the womanizing, to the drugs (a heroin addict), to bad business decisions. what you're left with is a very human portrayal of man with all his glory and his mistakes. the music is what will bring most people to see the movie. 3 times during the film i got a little choked up: "georgia on my mind" with a full orchesta/choir accompaniment, "you don't know me", and one country-influenced song (the name escapes me at the moment). his music is powerful, and you can't help but to feel it overcome you at times. speaking of power, i'd always imagined ray charles to be a frail man physically; this is not the case in muscleman jamie foxx' portrayal though, especially in one scene where ray wears a wife beater, and all i could think about was, "man, ray charles is jacked!" the movie ends rather abruptly, and perhaps too sugarcoated, although i don't know how else it could've ended (short of stretching out the movie to a few more hours, to touch upon the following decades). not wanting to give away the ending, i'll just say it involves a dream sequence that had me rolling my eyes. a very heart-stirring movie, and jamie foxx has definitely clenched an academy nomination, if not the actual win.

ray charles - "you don't know me"