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Sloshing Around Drunk

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This weekend was the first official British Garden Party held at Pleasant Hill Park. In direct conflict with our own sovereign nation, another group had reserved the picnic area to our southeast in the name of France.

Kris: Let’s attack them!

Gene: With what. Our disturbingly bright petit-fours?

Me: Capture their flag!

Kris: And we don’t even have a flag! We will so win this Battle of Gregory!

After a determined, and sneaky, flag battle–so subtle it was like it never even happened–more people arrived and the real drinking began.

I’ve never gotten drunk in a public park in the daytime before. Let me tell you, it’s a little embarrassing. Also the post-park heat exhaustion headache and continued drunkeness for like 3 hours after I got home was a trifle ridiculous. What can you do though? Some days you just have to be British. Even in 95 degree weather.

There were two home-made drinks. One, made by Adam, was full of rum and fruit juices.

Me: So, what do you call it?

Adam: ……tea?

Me: (frowns)

Kris: …. (she’s not actually paying attention yet)

Me: Maybe like Long Island Iced Tea?

Kris: Norfolk. Surrey. Warwickshire. Avon-upon-Stratford. Aquitaine.

Me: What? That’s in France.

Kris: It was in England ONCE.

Me: Maybe Southhampton. Or Shropshire.

Kris: Something with Wold in it. Like Toad.

End result: Toad-in-the-Wold Iced Tea. Toad in the Tea for short.

The other drink, made by me, was full of gin, triple sec, mango wine, flat lemon-flavored seltzer water, and 3 cucumbers. It never got a name during the course of the party. I have now come up with Gin Coquette. Because: 1: We played Croquet but sometimes Gene calls it Croquette. And 2. It is a coquettish beast of a drink. All light and tart on the tongue and then punches you in the face 15 minutes later with fizzy pockets of drunk coursing through your veins.

We played bocce ball and croquet, sat around drinking, eating, and chatting desultorily with British mannerisms (once I stuck my pinky out while drinking from my plastic cup. No, really.) And I had a lovely time. You can see pictures here: British Garden Party.


Star Trek VI and saying good-bye


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Saying good-bye to Nuala and Garren was about what I expected. It didn’t really hit me until I was driving the streets of Benicia on my way home and the aftermath of them actually being gone is getting more depressing by the day. Although their super happy (and sleepy) faces in FaceBook photos makes it seem again like they’re just on holiday (which, admittedly, they are right now).


Enough of this maudlin crap; I bore myself.

On Nuala and Garren’s last night in town we watched the final original cast Star Trek movie–Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country.

To get an idea of my mind-set that day you should know I’d just gotten home from 4 days of drinking heavily on Lake Shasta and a 5 hour drive. So I was both exhausted and kind of punch-drunk. I get to her mom’s house and we bust out a bottle of champagne; looking suspiciously at the Netflix envelope, we read the plot in order to make up drinking game rules.

Michele: So…..”the dogs of war are unleashed.” See a dog, take a drink?

Nuala: It’s on.


Michele: Holy Shit!! That’s a dog!

Nuala: An actual dog!

Michele: Well sort of an actual dog (said nervously while looking at its ridiculously large fake teeth).

Nuala: Drink!

Garren used the “Nerd” rule pretty often. Unsurprisingly, all things considered: this is Nuala and I watching a Star Trek movie after all. We also made up a rule about them “discovering” anything based on the title. When we found out that the Undiscovered Country is actually a future of peace we were a little disappointed; but we busted into a second bottle of champagne anyway. I was making up little things they were discovering all along. I’m pretty sure Garren called Nerd on me for some of them–double drink. I also decided any time Kirk brought up the death of his beloved, known-for-about-a-day, illegitimate son we should drink. He stared longingly at a photo of David on his nightstand for many, many drinks.

It’s possible that Star Trek VI is actually my favorite movie of all the originals. I mean, the fourth whale one is excellent, but this one had a lot better cinematography and effects. Also plot. It did not have a cast member from 7th Heaven though so that was a definite drawback; on the other hand it had Kim Cattral and Captain Von Trapp.

I’m still sad that Nuala and Garren have left but I am delighted by how fabulous their last night in town was with the drinking, nerdery, and Star Trek.


Hayao Miyazaki


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It’s rare to see one of your idols in person. Even rarer when said idol is basically a Japanese National Treasure and only infrequently leaves his home country. Luckily for Long-Hai and I, Miyazaki was forced by his contract with Disney to make a scheduled number of appearances in the states and one of them was in Berkeley this weekend.


The talk at UC Berkeley was between Miyazaki and a professor from Tokyo University who didn’t ask particularly great questions. Or at least didn’t phrase them very well. A lot of the time the two of them just sat up there giggling at one another–which, don’t get me wrong, was totally awesome. Giggling Miyazaki is adorable, after all. It’s also possible that the translation from English to Japanese and Japanese to English lost a bit of meaning in the process.

Some favorite bits:

On Love:

One of the audience questions was about true love in his work and whether he believes in it. He relayed a story about his staff discussing Sosuke (the main character in his new film Ponyo) and how Sosuke will have to deal with Ponyo (a goldfish who becomes a human girl) as they grow up. His staff were debating how much trouble Ponyo will cause him and Miyazaki claimed that true love “comes at the end of all our difficulties. We find true love there.” So Sosuke, in his view, will be “all right”. Ponyo might cause problems but that is what love is to him. It is what is created when you overcome trials together. (You see why I find him adorable? He says sweet things about love! It’s not just his tiny stature and shock of white hair.)

On Live Action Films:

Miyazaki made a face of such horror and a quick, negative head shake at even the idea of making live action films. His response to the question was “You’d have to turn the landscape back 50 years and that’s a little difficult to do…even people’s faces are different now.”

I thought the idea of how his movies only reflect the past–and what he views as a better time–was interesting. His refusal to make live action is not based on using real people and sets so much as it’s a rejection of progress and the destruction of nature in pursuit of development. This is a theme which can be heavily seen in several of his films; most notable in Princess Mononoke.

On Apocalypse:

When asked about his interest in apocalyptic imagery and themes, Miyazaki said, “It would be wonderful if I could see the end of the world in my lifetime, but it doesn’t look like that’s going to happen. So I use my imagination instead to see it.”

How awesome is that? I’m kind of terrified of living through the apocalypse and seeing what comes next so to hear someone lament their inability to watch it happen is jarring to me. At the same time, I must admit that fictional visions of apocalyptic realities are one of my favorite reading/viewing topics. So he has a point, getting to experience it first hand and see what society devolves into would be amazing. Plus I think a giant part of his interest is visual–seeing how the landscape changes in the face of total annihilation would be fascinating. Still, I think I prefer just using my imagination to actually undergoing the upheaval.

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