Liralen Li (liralen) wrote,
Liralen Li

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Santa Cruz

I started this morning crying. David, my original character, kicked his way into my head during a dream. He sat down and told me a story and by the end of it I was crying so hard, I had to muffle my crying with my pillows as I woke up. I tried to go back to sleep, but never managed it. Carl was great, and was cheerful about waking me up when he needed me to get up and shower, and then he stuck the croissants into the oven.

The chocolate croissants worked beautifully, and when I got out of the shower, the timer dinged, and Carl pulled out four beautifully browned croissants. I made coffee while they cooled, and we ate them to much appreciation.

We then packed stuff up to go to Santa Cruz, meet up with flit, and do a few things in town out there.

Carl was a wonderful host and let me type away into my laptop while he drove. The sunlight on the screen completely blinded me to what I was typing, so it's a good thing that I touch type really well. *laughs* But I slammed the whole of David's story into a file and he finally left me alone afterward.

We got out to Santa Cruz at noon, and it was a gorgeous day. We walked to the shop where Carl got comicbooks and I peered at various things as he bought his books. When we went to Mobo Sushi, though, it turned out that they'd stopped serving lunch on the weekends! So instead of doing sushi, we went to visit flit. The croissants had been filling enough that a late lunch was entirely feasible.

We pulled up to flit's house and the dogs started barking. *laughs* It was good to meet Jack for the first time and get reacquainted with Moose, who is a huge and very content seeming dog. We pulled flit out and headed to the Chiakhana Tea Culture shop. It's a tiny shop off one of the major streets, just a single room shop that used to be part of an old house, and they sell the most astonishing array of rare teas.

They had dozens of puerhs of varying types and forms and flavors. There were tiny cakes of it in mandarin orange peels. I had to get one of those, along with the puerh with chrysanthemum flowers. I also bought a golden Wuyi oolong, which is a favorite of mine, and another cannister of the osmanthus flowers, which I haven't found, on their own, anywhere else. I'm not as much into greens as I probably ought to be, I love the oolongs too much.

I wanted to buy a lot more stuff, but figured out that I probably shouldn't.

From there we headed for the water, and flit and I found a lovely little dog beach, and the waves were thumping the shore really hard. There were hundreds of surfers out on the water, bobbing about like a huge pack of seals, and there were clueless folks that were in the paths of the huge waves. There were even people that walked out to the point by the light house, climbed down a cliff and dropped the last five or six feet into the surf at the base of the cliff to be well out into the bay on the leading edge of the really huge waves.

The water was cold, as is to be expected. Flit dodged waves, while I splashed through them for a bit on the very, very fine sand of the beach.

We went up after a while, and just watched the dogs run, dig, and play with their owners. The ocean was beautiful from up there, the waves crashed into the cliffs, and they were so big that the tops of the spumes reached the road above. The cypress were twisted and worn by the storms on the shore and so beautiful against the cliffs, the sunny sky, and the water.

From there we went to Pink Godzilla Sushi. The daily special menu had Ankimo (Ichiban! Don't Ask) on the board, and it was funny because I knew that it was monkfish liver, eventhough the Don't Ask was the color that they'd put all the translations of all the menu items into. So I got the Ankimo, a Hawaiian roll (unagi, macadamia nuts, and other things), and a Hamachi Sunrise. The Ankimo came first and it was absolutely wonderful. Creamy, sweet, a little nutty and so fresh it had that beautifully firm texture and absolutely no fishiness at all. The richness of it was beautifully offset by the ponzu sauce and the crisp green onions thinly sliced all over it. I was so glad I got it as I can't get that in Colorado with that freshness and quality.

The eel roll was tasty, but they really outdid themselves with the Hamachi Sunrise. It had a rice base, but on it was a split slab of Hamachi (yellowtail), and on that was a bed of tobiko (the flying fish roe), and in the center of that was a quail egg yolk. An extended version of my two thousand and two egg sushi. *laughs* The firm richness of the hamachi really complimented the sweet pops of the tobiko and the creaminess of the egg yolk. They looked really huge, and I had to scoop the whole thing onto my chopsticks and stuff the whole thing into my mouth. Wow.

I was very, very happy with that.

We stopped by the Original Sin Dessert Company on the way back to the car, and I picked up a two inch pumpkin cheesecake. We then dropped flit off back at her house and headed back to Pleasanton. On the way we stopped at a Japanese book and stationary store as well as a grocery store. I bought a few origami papers for less than I could get them at home, and I was thoroughly tempted by a B2 art paper system. But I managed to escape its clutches, and only got some practice calligraphy paper, for the small character formation. I wanted something like that for learning Chinese characters anyway. So that was good.

They also had some really expensive double Shuen type paper, for far more than I would have paid OAS and some mildly expensive brushes that I couldn't quite tell the properties of. At least at Daiso, I'll be able to know what kind of brush I'm getting as I'd tested them with Stark when I was in Seattle.

At the grocery store I bought five pounds of the with-germ short grain Tamaki Gold rice. I love the extra nuttiness that the germ gives, and it might be healthier for us, or something. But it was darned expensive. Still, I don't think I can find it in our area, so I bought it because I could.

Then we headed back to Carl's home, and I managed to do the second through fourth draft edits on the David story and sent it off to Stark to see if she'll approve what I did with Chris as well. So I did some off-the-cuff writing. We'll have to see how it turns out. I'm pushing myself again with respect to writing something... affecting. We'll see if it works or just flops.

Carl showed me a really excellent article in Fortune magazine titled "Why Talent is Overrated" a quick review of Talent is Overrated by Geoff Clovin. The premise is that in order to really excel at a field people do something called "Directed Practice", which is to practice the hard things over and over until they get good at it. It's a difficult thing to do because it requires one to push at the aspects that one fails at. The things that aren't fun to do, and the work has to be done before the benefits can be appreciated. Plus, sometimes, it takes having an outside point of view to evaluate the "goodness" of the performance, which means bringing on the hard criticism.

They pointed out that the people that are good at it are ones that pick specific, attainable, yet challenging goals that can be measured. Over and over and over again, with the knowledge of what they aren't good at, yet. Most folks that are great at something had a teacher that would help set those goals to start, but then they learned and understood themselves well enough to keep at it.

It interested me in that I picked some very specific goals with respect to writing, and I'm measuring against the best I can find. It'll be fun and interesting to see how it goes.

Painting, I'm pushing also. Just pushing at the things I know that I don't do well and practicing hard at the stuff that I want to learn, the color-blending on the brush, the way the shade blend on the orchids, and I keep pushing my abilities with the brush. I know I'm not great, yet, but each aspect I learn about, I can push. And it's fun when it's obvious to people that I get better.

Dinner was at Jet's bed time, and we went to Red Tractor and each had apple, walnut, and blue cheese salads. They were absolutely enormous salads, bigger than my head, so I didn't eat all of mine, but I enjoyed mine very much. Everything was fresh, crisp, and tasty. Plus I ordered some sweet potato fries that were perfectly cooked, and we munched on them as much as we could.

Back to the apartment, and I hit yet another draft of the story and then sat down to write this, read some Nana and drink a little of my golden oolong. It is very, very fresh and very good, especially with a sweet mango mochi.

So my word total for today:
David's Fic: 2232 fifth draft words.
November Total: 15,479
Tags: tea, travel, writing
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