Sunday, February 21, 2010

What Do You Think About the Alignment of the Planets?: Unseasonably Warm in Fredricton, New Brunswick

It was dark and cold when I arrived in the tiny Fredricton airport, walking off a little cigar-tube plane onto the tarmac. This was Thursday, about a quarter after midnight. I was tired. It had taken three plane flights and well over 12 hours to get to New Brunswick. I was excited about the conference and the days ahead-- not knowing at all what my first classics conference would be like. The power shut on an off a couple of times when I was waiting for my bag-- although the emergency lights did not go off, just the main lights. Anyway, when I finally got my bag, I got into a taxi and told them I needed to go to the Best Western. I asked if there was only one in town, and the cab driver confirmed that there was, which signaled to me how small New Brunswick was, and my first conference experience began.

In the cab on the way to the hotel, the cab driver made a little bit of conversation, asking why I was in town and that sort of thing. I explained that I was there to present at a classics conference. The cab driver did not seem to know what classics was, so explained that I studied Greek and Latin. He did not seem particularly impressed by this. After a long silence, he asked me what I thought about the planets aligning on December 12, 2012. My first reaction was, "well, I only know a little bit about Maya mythology." I remembered reading that their callender was more astronomically accurate than ours and that it predicted the world to end in 2012 and be reborn. This long cycle is known as the "great year" in many cultures and is often divided into four mythological ages. As it turns out, I'm going to do a presentation for Latin on the stoic conception of ekpyrosis, which explains that at the end of the four ages, the world will die in fire and be reborn.

Despite all of my mostly-useless and very surface-level mythological knowledge, I still had no idea what to say to the questioning cabby. He told me that astronomers have different conceptions of the phenomena. For example, some believe that it might cause more earthquakes here on earth as well as shifting tides. I remarked that this was plausible (I'm not entirely sure, but gravitational forces shifting might be reasonable). He explained that the last time that it happened was 26,000 years ago. Then he asked me if I had heard of a book series called the Earth Chronicles. When I said that I had not, he told me that he was not religious, but he found them very interesting and that I should read them. I paid, left the cab, and decided that these New Brunswick people were rather strange. Friendly, certainly, but definitely strange.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

A Very Indian Valentines

Happy Valentines Day! This morning I got up early to work on my thesis, but was side-tracked by trying to find a job in some employment postings. So depressing-- I don't seem to be qualified for anything. At 9am, I made Cerinthus a surprise breakfast: his favorite is fresh-made Belgian waffles with a whipped cream, strawberries, and a touch of butter. I pulled the whole thing off rather well, I though, except that I totally failed at making hearts out of the whipped cream and it just looked like demented ellipses. Oh well.

Last night, to celebrate Valentines Eve (yes, we're clearly desperate romantics) we went to Indian Food at a place called the Bombay Cricked Club. We ordered cheese and garlic naan and chicken tikka masala. It was wonderful. The cheese naan was especially good-- it had spices and possibly green onions in it, I couldn't be sure. The garlic naan was HUGE. I wasn't expecting it to be so large. From now on, we will just order one piece of naan. The chicken tikka masala was great, although it was dark meat instead of breast meat, which was a little disappointing. However, this may be more traditional, I do not know. Cerinthus got the medium plus, while I got the hot. Both were a little out of our league spice-wise because they use habaneros instead of jalapenos. It was great anyway. Highly recommended, although a bit pricy (but I think worth it for good Indian food).

Tonight, crazy as we are, we are going to try the India House. The reviews are mixed, but we're going to try it anyway. It's cheaper than Bombay Cricket Club. I will write a review when done.

India House was also fabulous, and Cerinthus and I had a lovely Valentines Day. I also got the Chickken Tikka Masala hot at the India House with garlic naan and paneer kulcha. The naan and kulcha were incredible and much more what I'm used to. Although I really liked the cheese naan at the Bombay cricket club, it was almost a meal unto itself. The garlic naan was much smaller at India House, but I like that it was topped with cilantro and I liked the naan dough better. I also liked the rice better at India House. My Chicken Tikka Masala was better on the whole at Bombay Cricket Club, partially because it was spiced with peppers rather than simply cayenne power and paprica, but the chicken at India House was breast meat, which was nice and was still flavorful and fabulous.

At India house, I got a glass of Oregon Pinot Noir. The glass was quite good, but the spiciness in the Pinot Noir actually intensified the spice in the food (which for India food as hot as I like it) is very hot. I tried a Syrrah with the leftovers and it was much better because it cooled my mouth down.

  • There were more leftovers from Bombay Cricket Club, quite simply because the portions are much bigger.
  • The rice from Bombay Cricket Club did not heat up very well, but the naan and the Chicken Tikka Masala did
  • I heated the leftovers from India house up in the microwave. This was a bad plan-- the oil separated from the rest of the sauce. Probably next time I will heat it up in a pan.