In which Fry's helps prove Moore's Law. The weather is unreasonably cooperative with plans to see blackwingedboy and streamsandpools, and I Heart Sushi provides both excellent food and entertainment.
I woke up rather groggy from staying up a little too late the night before from writing. But I got up anyway, and was rewarded with both good, strong tea for breakfast (I broke out the Typhoo and used a tea pot's worth to get going) and the prospect of going to Fry's with John while Jet stayed at home to play marbles with George.
So after a couple of lovely, cinnamon blueberry muffins from Isabel, I got into the station wagon with John and we went to the Fry's down by parts of Boeing. There are lots of parts of Boeing around here, admittedly.
I still remember, when I was working at Data I/O, when we first got our first terabyte array for hundreds of thousands of dollars. It required multiple admins to figure out, and came with lots of vaunted error correction abilities. It was a major corporate decision to help the abilities of the engineers, and it took a huge effort for us to all switch over and use the immense new amounts of memory.
Today Fry's had a terabyte hard disk on sale for $100. There were 4 Gbyte memory sticks for $12. They had cameras that, in one photograph, used more memory than my first computer ever conceived of being able to handle. It's fun to wade around Fry's thinking in those terms.
I thought about the memory stick, but since the only thing I really transfer between all my machine is my writing, I barely use thirty meg of my old $20 256 Meg stick. Mary gave Jet half a dozen one and two gig 'sticks for nothing, and I still have one of those I could be using rather than spending money simply on the mystique of having more memory than I can remember just carrying around. *laughs*
So I didn't.
Besides, in five more years it'll be that terabyte for $12.
Instead, we bought a refurbished, programmable remote. The one we got for my birthday last year bit the dust, we must have dropped it one time too many. After I'd figured out how to program it we've been using it constantly every day. We're too used to just using one now, instead of juggling the half dozen that were necessary when there are no controls on the front of our TVs and other peripherals. They had a higher end remote for cheaper because someone had returned it and they'd repaired it or something... but that was all to the good to have that even available.
I also bought myself a $20 light touch keyboard without a number pad, so that I'd have more room on my desk, less weight in my lap, and a cleaner, lighter action than the keyboard I have right now. It was good to compare all the keyboards there, and see what it was I really wanted. The HP keyboard that came with the computer is starting to wear out, the action is deadening with time and usage and the letters are wearing off. Yeah, I know, I've only had the machine for two years, I guess I'm doing a bit of typing.
I thought about getting a tablet for drawing with, but decided that that would be a better Craig's list purchase for my first one, as I'm willing to buy one off anyone that has a used one, so I can just try it out.
On the way home I was fading. So I had lunch with John, sharing the steak and mushroom pie that I'd gotten at the British pantry, and then I went to sleep and took an hour long nap.
We'd hooked up with William enough to say that we'd meet at 3pm at the Arboretum's Japanese Tea Garden. I thought it might be closed for the winter, but I underestimated that statement rather severely. The whole entrance was torn down to nothing and they were completely rebuilding it with only bare frames up behind hurricane fences in the last of the slushy snow.
The weather cooperated unreasonably well again, and the skies were streaked with clouds but completely clear of rain. When we met up, we laughed at the fenced, barred, and closed state of the garden. William 'fessed up to hearing about an opening ceremony for the garden in the spring, so we decided that it was likely that the place was well closed for the winter. Instead of trying to storm the palace, we went over to a different part of the Arboretum, and hiked along the edges of Lake Washington.
The weather forecast was for huge wind and 50 mph gusts tonight, so we were well ahead of the weather, and it was calm but cold and clear, beautiful for a gentle walk through the park. It was wonderful to see Jo for the first time, and to see William again after two years without seeing him at all. They were both recovering from colds, just as I was, so we kept the pace to a slow walk, even as Jet bounced all over the place looking for rocks to throw into the water, sticks to throw into the water, and more water to throw things into.
At one point there was a large surface of pond that had frozen over, and the boys had a great time "skipping" rocks forever on the surface. That was really fun to watch and see. The ducks landed on the open parts of the water, and waddled onto the frozen just to see if we might have a few handouts. But Jet's buckshot approach to seeing if a pebble might fall into what looked like a hole in the ice scared them off.
There was a path out to a point well into the Channel between the Sound and the Lake, and saw the iron Bridge. The water was iron gray and calm, as there was nearly no wind. Given the forecast, that was pretty amazing. We headed out along the board walk over the water, and Jet bounced along looking for waves to get splashed by. We ended up doing a full hour and a half's worth of walking, and on the way back to the car, Jet sang about wanting to eat dinner.
It was a dinner well worth having. We ended up at I Heart Sushi on Lake Union, it's our traditional place of eating with William, we usually either end up there after a day at the Seattle Center or wandering about town, or we meet up with him there on other visits. So we went there, and they had a special seasonal menu and I only ordered off of that. I got the Copper River nigiri, a ankio "foie gras" with scallop plate, and a Dungeness crab chiwanmushi. John ordered a couple of rolls as well as the Copper River nigiri. Jet got the vegetable tempura and some tamago.
Jet ate nearly all the tempura. He had green beans, sweet potato, and zucchini as well as his tamago. He was pretty hungry, I guess, and needed a second order of dipping sauce. He'd been a little antsy before the food, and they'd given us a scrap piece of paper that had all their work orders on it. Jet and John had torn it into steadily smaller squares until Jet made a crane that was smaller then the tip of my pinky finger. It's good having small hands for some models.
The Copper River nigiri had that lovely dry, firm, rich bite that I expected it to have. It was buttery, red, meaty, lovely and complex with all the salmon sweetness and just a little dryer than the normal ruby slabs from other places. The monkfish liver rounds were layered with thin slices of sweet scallops and crisp cucumber slices, all topped with caviar, and pooled in a citrusy ponzu sauce. It was tiny, rich, and perfect for my appetite.
The chiwanmushi was a total surprise. Jo was asking what it was, when I opened it and both William and I were like, "Huh?" The whole top of the little cup was completely packed with crab meat. Not just any crab meat, either, it was the super succulent little leg meat that's really hard to extract without crushing, and they'd done a beautiful job of it as well. But when I dug in the entire length of the spoon, the savory, brothy custard was right there, and mixing the richness of the custard with the crab meat was perfect. I gave John a bite of the combination, and he smiled in appreciation.
That was sooooo good. It also had the mushrooms, shrimp with tail on, and the lotus seeds at the bottom. I got two!! So I'll be lucky for the new year. *dances about*.
I also sampled the sushi rolls that people couldn't finish, and snagged what was probably a grape leaf off of Jet's pile of tempura. I really wanted the leaf, as it was beautiful. It had been coated with tempura batter on one side only and then fried so that the leaf was presented face up on the platter. They'd done some unusual stuff on that tempura plate as well as that leaf. One of the slabs was a tempura'ed slice of avocado. Another was a shitake mushroom. Not quite the usual array of vegetables.
So dinner was really, really good. We got to talk for a long time, too, as we'd walked in at 5, and weren't out of there until nearly 6:30, giving Jet time to settle back at home, play a little, do a little origami (we're doing a die assembly for Ross tomorrow) and then have a shower before going to sleep. He has big plans to make Toad In The Hole for everyone for breakfast, so I should get to sleep soon, too, so I can actually partake.