Saturday, July 26, 2014

Restaurant Review: Basil Rice

My first Social Saturday was touch-and-go in that I almost didn't do anything with anyone, but I succeeded in the end!  I was much overdue for some girl talk with my friend JM, so I invited her to try a new restaurant* with me:  Basil Rice Asian Street Food.

Located at 479 Harvard Street in Brookline, Basil Rice occupies the spot left vacant by the now-closed Pita Pit.**  You almost wouldn't even notice that it was there, but people should take notice.  We went in at 5:30, and it wasn't crowded at all.  The staff was wonderfully friendly and seemed very excited to serve us.  The menu is mostly Thai-style food (there's a lot of Basil and Rice on the menu...go figure), but there's a wide variety of dishes to choose from.  JM ordered the Pork Wonton Noodle Soup (8) and I ordered the Beef Basil Fried Rice (9).  Both dishes came out in a reasonable amount of time.  Also, the server brought us both big cups of water, which I certainly appreciated., as the rice was quite spicy.  It was almost too spicy for my taste, but I powered through because it was delicious.  It was garnished with fresh cucumber, which offset the spiciness quite well.  The portion was quite large, and I'm looking forward to eating my leftovers tomorrow.  JM was very satisfied with her choice of soup, as well.  After dinner I got myself an order of Mango Sticky Rice (6) to go, and it was heavenly--and I don't even like mangoes all that much.

This place is great and it's in a super convenient location near Coolidge Corner.  Moreover, it's cheap (they're doing a 20% discount until August 14th) and they deliver!  So give this place your business (and feel free to invite me to come with you)!    

*This is the first time I ever went to a restaurant during its opening weekend.  I felt very sophisticated.
**I regret never going to Pita Pit before it closed.  It would have been some good Provo nostalgia.  Hence my jumping on Basil Rice opening weekend--can't miss out on these opportunities.  

Sunday, July 20, 2014

A New Experiment: Social Saturdays

So...this might come as a shock, but I'm an introvert.

Okay, fine, it's not a shock.
This was actually something that I didn't realize for a long time.  I would start feeling really miserable at social activities and just think "oh, I'm shy," or "everyone here is just clearly beneath me and that's why I'm not having any fun," but then I actually realized what introversion meant and all of a sudden, everything started making so much sense.

One of the things that sucks about being an introvert is that church on Sundays is EXHAUSTING.  Sometimes its so bad that after church I have to lock myself away in my room and not talk to anyone for hours.

I think I figured out why (or at least part of why) Sundays are so hard.  It's because on Saturdays I don't do anything.  I mean, I do things; I wake up too early, clean a bunch of crap, maybe run some errands, and then go for a long walk before watching Hulu and going to bed too early.  So other than a phone call to my mom and maybe some small talk with a store clerk, I really have no human contact, so talking to people on Sundays is the equivalent of running a marathon after several weeks of sitting on the couch and doing nothing.

However, I did notice that on Sundays following a Saturday where I actually did stuff, it was not so bad.  So I'm going to put this to the test.  I will test the central hypothesis that socializing on Saturdays makes socializing on Sundays less exhausting.  The rationale for this is that, should my hypothesis be proven correct, I will become happier and more pleasant to be around because I will learn how to condition myself to social situations.*  So what I'm going to do is this:  do something with someone or a small group of someones every Saturday and see how it makes Sundays feel.  

On a related note, anyone want to do anything fun next Saturday?

*Okay, clearly grant-writing has started to seep into my blogging.

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Dating Post #4: It Takes a Village...Actually, No, It Does Not.

After a number of posts in which I claimed to be a firm authority on all things related to Mormon dating, I had a minor freak-out when I suspected that I might, in fact, be a huge fraud.  I had this entire thesis that dating is not a difficult or stressful thing, and yet...  Would I have to retract all of my dating posts?  Make a public statement that I actually knew nothing and we were all up a creek and it was anyone's guess whether we'd just die alone?

But I took a second to think it over.  Why is dating, which has been happening forever, and Mormon dating, which has been happening since that one day Joseph Smith made eyes at Emma Hale while he was carrying a shovel* so stressful?  I think I figured out the reason:  Other Humans.

Other people, especially single Mormons, love to talk about couples--who's dating, who went on a date, who just broke up.  Gossip is no virtue, to be sure, but if it just ended at the gossip, it might be fine, but it continues to meddling.  From the giving of unsolicited (and often poorly-founded) advice to people on the verge of relationships to the hounding of the newly-broken-up, people have this desire to involve themselves in other people's love lives.

I've been reading a lot of Jane Austen lately.  My favorite Austen is Emma.  I think it's very relatable to Mormons because Highbury is basically one big singles' ward full of busybodies.  Think about it:
  • Emma gives bad relationship advice to Harriet, leading Harriet to get heartbroken.  Multiple times.
  • Mrs. Weston and the Coles speculate whether Mr. Knightley and Jane are an item.
  • Emma and Frank gossip about the relationship between Jane and Mr. Dixon
Clearly, Frank and Jane had the right idea with the secret dating.  Sure, everyone talked about it afterwards, and maybe Frank wasn't the best secret boyfriend, but at least their relationship had a chance to develop before all of England had to throw in their tuppence.**  I love this line from Mr. Knightley's response to the speculation about him and Jane:  "[Cole] gave me a quiet hint; I told him he was mistaken; he asked my pardon, and said no more.  Cole does not want to be wiser or wittier than his neighbours."

Let us not want to be wiser or wittier than our neighbors.  Here are my helpful hints on how to do this:
  • On giving advice:  Don't.  Okay, that's hasty.  No, actually, it's not.  Don't give advice.  Because really, why are you doing it?  In twenty years, will whether or not two people decided to date each other matter to you?  Are you really that concerned with the happiness of two random people in your ward?  Probably not, which means you're probably doing it so you can take some of the credit for whatever happens.  But what if someone asks for your advice?***  Then, sure, give it.  But realize that you are not one of the two people involved, and therefore you don't know everything.
  • On people getting together:  Did you see two people holding hands once?  Yes?  Was it in public?  No?  Could there be a chance that the entire world doesn't know about it yet?  Yes?  Could there be a chance that that is on purpose?  Yes?  Should you tell other people about it?  (Say it with me, now,) NO!!!!  At the very least, wait for the official press release (aka, when they sit together in church).  
  • On existing couples:  Unless you're have some sort with a couple, you are not part of that couple.  By all means, like them, think they're cute when you see them together, invite them to fun little brunches, but don't keep track of them like they're mating pairs of endangered bull trout or something.****  Like I said before, people have been dating forever.  It's not really that interesting.  Now, if every time they kissed one of them turned neon green and started levitating, that would be interesting, and please, write a report for Nature or something.*****  
  • On people breaking up:  See above, re: you don't know everything.  But I liked X and Y together so much and they need to get back together and I want to make it happen and let everyone know that it was all because of meeeeeeeeeee!  No.  Stop.  Maybe there's a tiny, tiny chance that if you meddled they'd get back together and everything would be fine, but the more likely outcome is that, for whatever reason, one or both members of the former couple will end up feeling even worse about things than they did in the first place.  So console, eat ice cream, have angry dance parties, but don't meddle.       
Maybe this is one of my harsher dating posts, but really, the meddling and the gossip has got to stop.  It's making something which should be fun and wonderful and simple a lot harder and terrifying than it should be.  If you won't hearken to my words, listen to the Fresh Prince:

*That's what happened in the movie, at least.
**Because it's Britain.
***By reading this blog, I'm assuming that you're asking me for advice.
****This is not a hypothetical thing.  People actually have lists.
*****Because this is just the kind of crap that Nature is into.  That and Machiavellian yeast and stuff.

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Life as of Late: July 2014

This should really be called a Boring Life Update Post, but as I said before, I don't want to make people automatically assume I'm going to be boring.  But sweet heck, it's been pretty boring.
  • I'll start with the least boring thing first.  I went to the wedding of one of my best friends a few weeks ago.  It was beautiful.  It was also the first wedding I've ever gone to.  Turns out, I cry at weddings.
  • I crocheted a giant afghan as a wedding gift for this friend.  Crocheting giant afghans in the summer is not super fun.  Also, I strained my rhomboid because I'm the type of person that gets shoulder injuries from yarn crafts.
  • I also picked up a date at that wedding!  Not in a trashy "Wedding Crashers" kind of way, but in the way that the groom's little brother needed to be entertained for the weekend so we went kayaking and ate pizza.  I'm still going to count it as a Hallmark Twenty-Something Experience.  Also, it puts me ahead of schedule on my Twelve Dates per Year goal.
  • This is where it stops being interesting.  Much of my life has been dominated by writing an NIH Individual Predoctoral Award.  Grant-writing is really fun, if you're the type of person who doesn't understand English and therefore doesn't know what "fun" means.  It's due at the end of this month, but it's actually starting to look like a real grant, and therefore I am optimistic that it will go well.  And even if it doesn't, there are always more funding cycles in the sea.
  • I'm auditing a Functional Anatomy class in the Physical Therapy department at school.  It's kind of weird to be in a class and not have to worry about a grade.  Although I fully expect to have nightmares about the fact that there was an exam today that I didn't take.
  • When I'm not grant-writing or attending classes for fun and not credit, I am at the gym, because I've turned into one of those people who exercises all the time and actually enjoys it.  Even planks are becoming fun and not at all hard (unlike my abs, which are like steel).
  • The Fourth of July happened.  I celebrated my independence by renting a Rug Doctor and cleaning my couch.  I also defrosted my freezer.  I am awesome and not at all lame.
I think that's about everything.  As I said, it's been a pretty boring July.  I hope that once August happens and my grant is turned in I will start doing fun things again.  Perhaps I'll even write another dating post.