Sunday, May 18, 2008

heavy boots of lead

If you abhor action movies or Robert Downey Jr, you need read no further.

But really? You do not like action movies? Not ever? Is there never an occasion when you need some mindless dishoom fun? Or you dislike Robert Downey Jr? Really? Still begrudging him for Ally McBeal, perhaps? Convinced that success will just drive him back into the arms of cocaine? You can really resist his inherent zing and charisma? You're a better person than I.

I am biased because I have a soft spot for Jon Favreau, and for Robert Downey Jr, and about 30 to 45 minutes into the movie, I noticed the voice of Paul Bettany, and I was like, you had me at hello already. So, clearly, mine is not a fair, objective take on the movie.

Yet I'd be surprised to find someone who didn't at least enjoy the movie. If you did not enjoy the movie, I would have to conclude it is because you do not like action/superhero genre. Because Iron Man is definitely of that ilk. You're not going to see huge character development, you're not going to see an epic love for all ages, and you will probably see some far-fetched plotlines here and there. But it's Iron Man- I should hope you walked in with proper expectations.

As clever as Johnny Depp was as Captain Jack Sparrow, I didn't need to see him reprise the role twice more. I'll even admit that Keanu Reeves was well cast in The Matrix, but we could have all lived very happy existences had the next two movies never been made. And of course, there was the often-cited-by-me debacle of the second Indiana Jones movie. Most of the time, a hero just loses their mystique the more you see of them.

Either the marketing folks have done a fantastic job or it's the real thing, but I actually walked out of the theater hoping they make a second Iron Man movie and that they make it soon. I could watch Robert Downey Jr. deliver one-liners for several more hours. He even managed to make me believe that Gwyneth Paltrow is pleasant- that's very nearly Oscar-worthy.


This makes it seem like this movie was my entire day, when actually there was much more going on. First thing in the morning, I rushed to the local farmer's market and bought a flat of strawberries, and 5 pounds of tangelos. It may not quite yet be strawberry season though because the berries were still a bit tangy, not the small ripe wonders they become when they are truly in their prime. No worries. I hulled them and threw them in the food processor, and they are soon to become strawberry sorbet. And yes, in case you are wondering, due to the heat, basically every idea of mine ends with "and then I threw it in the ice cream maker." Let's just hope this doesn't go too far and that I'm not throwing carrots and green peppers in there next.

I am still on this odd kick so I also made makeshift theplas, which would not be anything special to anyone but me. In our family, when someone didn't know how to properly roll out a roti or chapati or puri, they would joke that it was shaped like India. I never learned how to roll things out properly. My mother just had me prepare the dough intead, and would have me cook the rotis, while she would roll them out. I think this is because she got no enjoyment out of the daily preparation, and thus did not want to prolong it with having me make misshapen rotis that she would then have to reform from scratch. I concluded that it was just one of those things I'd never quite get the hang of doing.

It's so easy to convince children of this notion, with very little intention to do so. But it's not a particularly good idea to instill. Especially when it is a really silly thing like this. Today when I was rolling out the theplas, I thought to myself that it hardly mattered what they were shaped like- only I would be eating them and what did I care if they were shaped like the moon or like India? But something weird happened while I was going about the business. It just kind of came to me, this technique of two quick strokes and then a light, nimble turn of the dough just maybe 15 degrees, and repeat and repeat and what do you know? A circle, a moon.

At first I felt a wave of annoyance about it. Really? It had been that easy all along and no one had bothered to show me? Not my mother nor my aunts? I relented though. The truth is, once I was a teenager, I avoided my mother's realm- I only did what she told me and tried not to take on any additional responsibility. I even forgot how to do some of the things I knew when I was younger, willfully flushing my mind of things that could be useful in the kitchen. And learning it this way, it's in my bones, it's in the memory of my muscles, and it's in my mind- I figured it out myself, so I know I could figure it out again.

If only the same could be said about IKEA furniture, which never fails to flummox me when I am assembling it.

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