Easing myself back into day-to-day life now. My guide of choice is Robert Sietsema's list of NYC's 100 best cheap Asian restaurants, still--met Maura at Arunee (Thai in Jackson Heights, specializing in green papaya and green mango-based salads) tonight for dinner. The best find so far, though, has been #1 on the Sietsema list, New Asha Café, a Sri Lankan eatery in Staten Island. In more than 10 years in NYC, I'd never before been outside a car in Staten Island, and I'm glad I finally got around to it. The woman behind the counter sized me up as soon as I walked in: "Vegetarian?" Yup. "What do you want?" Do you have appam? "Oh, you know appam? I think we're out, but... [ducks into back and returns] We're out, but--oh, I'll make you some. What else?" What else is good?

Well, everything was good: she ended up making us some fried rice with what I think were cut-up pieces of paratha, and some appam (lovely lacy bowl-shaped breads) with a complicated coconut chutney, and a couple of mango lassis, and some milk candy for dessert. I think I need to go back. We followed that with a trip to see the movie of The Importance of Being Earnest. Note to anyone who's making a movie of that play in the future, as I'm sure there will be: you do not have to mess with it. At all. You don't have to put in lots of fancy scene changes or Merchant-Ivory-ize the backgrounds. All you have to do is let the actors say all the lines that were written for them, in the order they were written. I can't tell you how many good lines got left out of the script, and how many others got squelched because Oliver Parker was trying to make a Real Movie out of it. Just get good actors, stick them in front of the cameras, and let them roll.

Last night was a farewell reception for this year's NAJP Fellows, with the locals from next year's group and a few alumni invited--I got to talk to Jules Feiffer for a little while, which was a thrill. (I asked him about "Clifford," a strip he'd drawn in the late '40s and early '50s, which he was happy to talk about.) We snuck out shortly before it ended to go play loud electric rock and roll devil music at Beautyrock (a rehearsal space in a dank but well-supplied basement 2 1/2 blocks from our apartment) with Liz B., Lauren and Lauren's little sister Amy (about whom I'd heard legends for years without actually meeting her). That Milky Wimpshake song Lauren taught us sounds really good, and "He's Frank" is (as Lisa noted as we were walking home) pretty foolproof--work out the tricky bits in the first 10 seconds of the song, and you're set.