Drum Lesson

My friend Daisy came to visit a couple of weeks ago. Before she arrived, she searched for goings-on for Saturday night and discovered that a taiko drumming workshop was being offered in my neighborhood. She asked if I was interested.

But of course!

This beginner’s workshop was being taught by a mother and daughter who are members of a local pan-Asian American women’s art and advocacy organization called Genki Spark. Kumiko and Mayuko were amazing teachers. So fun, kind, and patient.

There were nine of us taking the class, and we rotated among five taiko drums and four drums fashioned out of garbage cans.










As Kumiko mimed our first hits to the drum, “Right, left, right,” I thought, “Shit.”

Here was yet another activity in which my left-handedness is a bit of a hindrance. I hit the drum using my right hand first = awkward! I ended up playing in a left-handed/right-handed hybrid for the rest of the workshop. I tried to listen to her verbal directions, but I found that when I stopped fully concentrating, I would slip into using my left hand first.

Although I was having trouble finding the “flow” of the drumming, I was still enjoying myself. We learned different rhythms until we were able to play five of them in succession. Then the group split into two, with one group playing a steady beat and the other playing the melody.

It was a fun way to spend a Saturday night, and I am glad to have learned about Genki Spark. See Genki Spark in action here!

New Foods and an Aborted Mission

I tried a couple of new foods recently at restaurants that were new to me as well. But it seems like cheating to count them as four separate items…am I being too strict? 😛

Allen and I went to the Watertown Diner for brunch a couple of weeks ago. There was a cornucopia of international sausage on offer. I tried locanico [this was the spelling used in the menu]. Locanico is a Greek sausage flavored with orange peel and various herbs. I did enjoy the flavor very much, but the texture of the sausage was way too chewy for this girl.








Boar paté was on the menu the other day. My friend Daisy came to visit and told me about a neighborhood restaurant that I had never heard of. The Glenville Stops might become a place where everyone knows my name. Great beer and food menu. The boar paté was lovely and came with delectable accoutrements…but it didn’t taste…like…boar? That makes no sense to say as I had never tried boar before. I guess what I am trying to say is that it didn’t taste wildly different than other meat I’ve had.










And here’s the part where I confess that I aborted a mission. Who is to blame? Henry James.

…No, I am the one to blame, of course. I am not smart enough to read Henry James. Or to give myself more credit: I am not smart enough to read Henry James right before going to bed.

I really tried with this one. I gave up on James Joyce pretty quickly (he has the #1 and #3 best novels according to the Modern Library). But I struggled through 100+ pages of The Ambassadors. It almost felt as though I were reading in a foreign language. All I can tell you after reading 100+ pages are the characters’ names. I can’t even fully explain their relationship to each other.

Henry James has two other novels on the list. Maybe I will find the gumption to try another one next year…

She Has Moxie

I live near an awesome movie theater. It’s so awesome that living legends such as Meryl Streep have paid it a visit to accept its annual award.

None other than Jane Fonda was this year’s award recipient. My friend and I were in attendance a couple of weeks ago when she introduced a screening of her latest film, Youth, (in which she plays a minor role)* and did a Q and A afterward.

Introducing the film
Introducing the film











She was witty, gracious, and so youthful! She could pass for someone decades younger…seriously. I felt blessed to be in the same room with her. Add her to list of people whose autobiographies I want to read.

Jane has “moxie.”

Did you know that there is a 100+-year-old drink called Moxie? I didn’t…until I saw it on a grocery store shelf. I knew of the word “moxie,” believing it to mean “vivacious,” someone who has “nerve,” etc.










Well, I bought a bottle and looked it up when I got home from the grocery store. It turns out that it’s a local drink, founded in New England. I quite enjoyed reading about its history…its story is told in a cheeky tone that made me chuckle.

It has a fan club of Moxie lovers and Moxie haters…yes, it’s one of those products that one either loves or hates. It’s an “acquired taste.”

Gentian root is what gives it its taste (I think). I find it slightly medicinal in taste but not enough that it’s totally off-putting. At first slug, it tastes like a Coke…but then, suddenly, it’s not a Coke. Will I buy it regularly? No…but I would buy it again on impulse someday.

So that brings us to 29 list items left…almost a third of the way there.



* Short film review: Visually stunning, intellectual, quiet, haunting, brings one to tears at the closing scene. Paolo Sorrentino’s other film, The Great Beauty, had the same exact effect on me.

It Got Hot in There

I tried an infrared sauna the other day. This is my kind of sauna! I was a lot more comfortable than I usually am in a traditional sauna; I learned afterward that it was because an infrared sauna is set at a lower temperature than a traditional sauna. The benefit of an infrared sauna is that the heat is absorbed deeper into your body tissue, underneath the skin. This allows for the release of more toxins. If I had the money, I would revisit this sauna!










I had another hot night at Crashfest, a world music festival put on by World Music/CrashArts. This was the festival’s first year, and I really hope it returns next year.

There were three stages throughout the House of Blues, which meant that I saw the venue’s members-only VIP Foundation Room. I wish I could live there! The decor was all oriental rugs, Buddha statues, chic couches. The lighting was low and there was a fire in the fireplace. So cozy and intimate. And I saw my high school friend’s band, Red Baraat, perform there = so sweet.

Red Baraat
Red Baraat









We also enjoyed performances by local band Debo Band, Dhol Foundation, and Kishi Bashi. To top it all off, I had another first experience that night—I bought a T-shirt and watched it get printed, courtesy of Drive by Press.










All in all, it was a festive occasion on an otherwise dreary January evening.



My Fair Lady

My Fair Lady won eight Oscars in 1964 and placed #91 on the AFI’s top 100 film list.

I wanted to love it because I enjoy musicals and I like Audrey Hepburn. But I didn’t love it. Although the acting was first rate, I found Eliza Doolittle’s (Audrey Hepburn) Cockney accent offensive. I physically cringed when she yelled. And Professor Higgins (Rex Harrison) treated Eliza like a lab rat, if you ask me. Ugh.

That being said, the sets and the costumes were great. The songs were fine but I didn’t fall in love with any of them either. After watching the movie, I learned that not only was it based on the stage musical My Fair Lady, but it was also based on the film adaptation of the stage play Pygmalion by George Bernard Shaw.

Wow! That’s a lot of adaptations.

Have you seen it? What did you think?

My Fair Lady
Courtesy of posterwire.com