Wednesday, March 29, 2006

I'm a little bit rusty

I guess more people read my blog than leave comments. One of my work colleagues (hi Richard!) made a comment about my Herbfarm post today. I actually forgot to mention the thing that ticked me off the most, so I'll vent, and then never mention the Herbfarm again.

During the long dinner, during one of many looong breaks between courses, TJ and I got up to wander through the "wine museum". We encountered a fellow diner in there, a nicely dressed older gentleman, probably in his early 60s, maybe older. He said, (and I kid you not) "I wonder what the poor people are eating tonight." My mommy raised me to be polite, so while I was thinking "You $!&^% arrogant jerk", I made some lame comment about how I felt guilty about spending that kind of money on one meal. I wanted to be sure he understood I didn't want any part of his self-satisfied, "isn't it great to be rich" conversation. Not sure if I accomplished that. But damn, what the hell kind of person would make a comment like that to total strangers? Perhaps I'm dense and misunderstood some carefully placed sarcasm. One can only hope.

My resolve about priorities melted fast last Sunday when the professor of the class I was planning to take emailed me asking why I was no longer registered, and sent me some more info about the class. And pointed out I would need it to take any of the other classes in the program. Put an academic challenge in front of me and I just can't resist. Good thing I'm not an adrenaline junkie, or else I'd be screamin' down 520 in my little car at 150mph just because someone dared me. Of course, that's also why I chose not to transfer out of Caltech when I was having a tough time sophomore year, because my adviser asked if I really was going to "wimp out" on it. Yes, I'm really that much of a geek.

So I went to the first class yesterday. Note to self: Find some other way than I-405 to get to Bothell at 5:30pm. Traffic was horrendous. I left work way early so that I could get my student ID card, buy the books for the class, and get some hot water to make the oatmeal I was going to eat for dinner. I thought I'd have plenty of time. I had only a minute to spare when I walked into class, though I did manage to get the hot water. Over 4 hours of class without dinner would have been rough. Class was ok, just a lot of the first day review sorts of stuff. C++ looks a lot different from Java so I'm still trying to get my head around some of the weird notation for pass by reference, etc.

The first assignment is a "pair programming" thing where we get a partner and have to work on it together. I always loathe group assignments. I don't think there was more than 1 or 2 times I had to do a group project at Caltech, and honestly, I really work best by myself, at my own pace. But the "writing group" thing in the last class I took worked out really well - those 3 guys really helped me improve my writing, and incidentally, helped me get a kickass grade, too.

My partner seems pretty sharp - she's one of 3 other women in the class of about 25. She's more of a full-time student than I am, so I need to get organized and get started on this stuff so she doesn't think I'm slacking. We'll see how it goes. It seems like the prof matched up the women on purpose. If so, I'm not sure how I feel about that. I guess in the end what matters is what we get done, but the idea of being singled out kind of bothers me. I guess it depends on the rationale for it. For the same reason I'm not totally comfortable with the idea of the "Women's Conference" at Microsoft. Yes, the sessions are helpful, but they'd probably help everyone, not just the women, and I don't want to be in a position where it seems like I need extra help. I have this discussion periodically with my women friends at work and I think most of them think I'm being overly sensitive about it. What do you all think, my faithful readers? Do you think participating in "women-only" activities is a good thing?

Saturday, March 25, 2006

Fallin' asleep at the wheel

My fabulous (anonymous) husband posted his first comment to my blog and reminded me I hadn't written about our trip to The Herbfarm. I do realize that this review will sound very self-indulgent as many people in this world (and even in our fine city) don't have enough to eat, let alone spend $$ on a 9 course meal, but I see this as a public service to those who are considering eating here- think about it first...

The Herbfarm is one of the "premier" restaurants in Seattle, both in terms of price and supposedly, the food. They serve only dinner, it's 9 courses, is estimated to last around 4 hours, and everyone starts at the same time. The dining room only holds about 100 people, and it's fairly difficult to get a reservation without a few weeks' advance notice. Our friends Jaz and Chris have been there a few times, and recommended it to us. Being the food snob I am, I've wanted to try it ever since we moved back to Seattle, but it took a while to convince TJ that he wanted to go to a restaurant where he wouldn't get to choose what he was going to eat. The restaurant doesn't publish its menus in advance, but they do let you know what the "theme" of the dinner is. For example: "Chambers of the Sea" or "The Great Basil Banquet".

TJ's 35th birthday was earlier this month, so I offered to take him to the Herbfarm since the theme was "Wagyu Beef: Super Cattle in Seattle". Clearly this was going to be the best opportunity to make TJ happy with a set menu. He agreed and I made our reservation for a Friday night. Note: you need to put down a $50 deposit per person, and after the Monday preceding your meal, it is nonrefundable. (Talk about annoying!) We were told to be there by 6:30 for the Garden Tour, and that dinner started at 7.

Due to my perpetual lateness problem, we got all gussied up and arrived at the restaurant around 6:45. Which turned out to be no problem, since the "Garden Tour" was still continuing, as a lecture in the entryway of the restaurant.

My first impression that this might not be what we expected was the decor of the restaurant. It's very fussy, with very traditional antiques, toile, flowery patterns and old-fashioned prints everywhere. I think the style can be done well, but in this case it just seemed to clutter up a small space.

Ok, back to the lecture. One of the staff was giving us a rundown of some herbs we'd be eating and passed little sprigs around for us to smell. It was very much like "show and tell" in elementary school. She also told us about the "history" of the place, which cracked us up (we managed to keep straight faces through this part). The history entails Mr. Bill Somebody retiring from Boeing and deciding he wanted to run a B&B, and then settling on a restaurant. The older version burned down in 1990-something, and the new one was built in Woodinville. They bought a lot of their antiques, including their large fireplace, on EBay. (I kid you not.) All the while (about 20 min at this point) we've been standing in a crowded entryway with the other 98 diners, in our nice (but uncomfortable) shoes. Not to mention the fact I was *absolutely* starving. At least give us some bread or something while we have to listen to the shtick!

The other part that I found extremely tacky was the fact that *everything* at this restaurant seemed to be for sale - there were books, little country knicknacks, wallets, bath products, wine glasses, and little signs all over the place with prices on them. If I'm paying $200 for a meal (per person, mind you!!) I don't want to be assaulted by sales opportunities.

So we're finally seated after waiting in line for a while (the lecture ends, and then 100 people rush to the dining room door to be seated). The table is fairly small and absolutely cluttered with stuff. Obviously for a fancy meal we need a lot of cutlery, and the 5 different types of wine glasses have been set out, but there was a big old lantern, and a metal bird hanging out on that table too. I felt like TJ was miles away and I was afraid to move in case I knocked over anything. The cool thing was that I had told them it was TJ's birthday, so at his place they had made him a little framed Happy Birthday sign. That was a nice touch. The tables are very close together, so it felt like we could easily join in the conversations on either side of us. Which was not exactly the quiet, romantic evening I was expecting. (More on that later.)

We were offered a glass of champagne, with a little bit of an herb in the glass. Very cool, and a great way to start this epic meal. The champagne was lovely, 1997 Argyle Brut from Oregon. Then again, I've never met a sparkling wine I didn't like - there's something so decadent and graceful about drinking it from that elegant flute, and the bubbles are too fun. Kind of makes me want to put on a fake British accent like Madonna, and call everyone "dahling".

After another 10 minutes some bread finally came around. At this point I could have eaten about 4 rolls, but I got one. It was 7:30 before the first course actually showed up - a trio of tiny little appetizers: paddlefish caviar on shallot flan, a tiny little shot of sunchoke soup with sunchoke chips, and some duck foie gras. All very precious, and tiny, and lovely. We ate it in about 4 bites. Word to the wise: don't go there hungry.

After that there was another lecture from Chef Jerry Traunfeld. They interrupted our conversations to call our attention to the front (this would never happen at Canlis!) and we listened to him talk about the food, and one of the other staff talk about the wine. That was somewhat interesting, since I love food, but again, I was huuungry and so this just seemed like more of a delay. But it was nice to see the Chef and he's clearly passionate about using locally grown food, and interesting combinations.

I won't go through each course, though I will list them:
Basilwood-Smoked Ivory King Salmon
Celery Root, Black Truffle, and Egg Yolk Ravioli (yum!)
Wagyu Beef Carpaccio
Apple and Shiso Ice
Rib Eye of Wagyu Beef
Northwest Cheeses with Tart Cherry Tricorn
Dessert (Rhubarb Cobbler w/ Lavender Ginger Ice Cream, Lemon Geranium Yogurt Ice Cream Cone, Chocolate Jasmine Pot de Creme)
Hot Tea (Phoenix Dragon Leaf thing - very cool to watch them uncurl)
Chocolate Truffles

Somewhere between the first few course, we slipped out to go visit the restaurant's "recycling system", two pot-bellied pigs. They give you a little pail to feed them scraps (dump them out into the pig bucket, don't feed them by hand because they bite!) and you can wander off into the garden to meet the pigs. Well, we got lost, and wandered behind the restaurant, and stopped at one of the kitchen windows to ask for directions, when one of the kitchen staff just looked at us and shut the window like we were some sort of criminals. Nice, for a fancy restaurant.

Eventually we found the pig pen. The pigs live with some ducks. Did you know pigs are covered with fur? I didn't know! Also, like dogs, pigs have a social hierarchy. Apparently the alpha pig gets to investigate the food bucket first and the beta pig and ducks have to wait. That was a fun field trip, and more than a little unexpected.

After the pigs, we went back in to continue our meal. Word to the wise: try to get a Saturday reservation. By 9pm I was exhausted, and we weren't even halfway through. The whole thing didn't finish until 12:30 (I kid you not.) and by then I was way too tired to enjoy it. The 5 glasses of wine didn't exactly help either. We did get to sample a 1916 Madeira, which they hyped up as a special treat and we drank it from tiny little fancy glasses. It tasted like cough syrup. Which taught me a lesson - "old fancy wine is not necessarily good wine".

The dining room was fairly loud - it had high ceilings and all the diners were in a big open space. The table of doctors adjacent to us (2 couples, I think all four were doctors) were definitely *not* a credit to their profession, and reminded me again how glad I am that I didn't go into medicine. They were loud and arrogant. Direct quote from one of them - "How dare they call an ID (infectious disease) doctor at 2:30am! How rude!" Um, well, maybe your freakin' patient is dying, or needs help?! You certainly get paid enough money to be called that late. TJ and I just sat there rolling our eyes every now and then.

This may have been a more fun meal if we went with another couple. TJ is a quiet guy and we generally don't chatter nonstop at each other. During a 5 hour meal, there just isn't *that* much conversation. No meal needs to be that long. I had reached my limit at around 2.5 hours. Which is the usual length of our meals at Canlis.

Don't get me wrong - the food at the Herbfarm was very good and innovative and the wine choices were excellent. Portions were adequate - we didn't walk out of there feeling stuffed, and the wine pourings were very generous - we both had a bit of a hangover the next day. Check out the "wine museum" - they have a very impressive collection of wines there and it's neat just to walk around and see all the different choices.

The downsides: service was way too slow, the atmosphere was somewhat tacky, and I don't know about you, but I don't go to dinner to be lectured or for a sales pitch. At one point one of the staff told us the chef's cookbook was available for purchase with our meal. For the price of that meal, they should just give us the darn thing. Don't try to sell me more stuff when I'm already signing away my firstborn!

Leading me to my final observation - If you want a swanky, romantic, good special occasion meal in Seattle, go to Canlis. If you're a dedicated foodie, want a special meal to share with some friends, and want to feel like you're at a dinner party with 100 strangers, go to the Herbfarm.

Any thoughts from those of you who have been there?

Thursday, March 23, 2006

Put the past away

Thanks to some random blog-reading, I found Pandora. This is too cool. It's a site where you create your own radio station by giving it a particular artist you like. The service then finds other songs by artists that are similar. When I put in Toad the Wet Sprocket, I got 3rd Eye Blind's "Jumper" and R.E.M.'s "Fall on Me". Very cool. When I put in Vienna Teng I got some recommendations of artists that I hadn't heard of, some of which I liked. This is probably a good way to discover new music.

TJ and I ate at Spice downtown today after wine tasting at Seattle Cellars. It was pretty good. The menu is somewhat limited, especially if you're a vegetarian, and some of the items were just trying too hard to be Indian-fusion (like duck samosas. gross!) but the swordfish TJ had and the super-spicy shrimp I had were really good. TJ's mango lemonade was pretty yummy too. The orange-chipotle naan was pretty spicy and had an interesting flavor. Wasn't the best meal I've had, but wasn't the worst either. I probably wouldn't make it a point to go back, but if you're passing by and want to try out some interesting Asian fusion food, it's not a bad choice. And it was fairly healthy, too, since we didn't get dessert and didn't order the usual deep fried yumminess.

I can't believe tomorrow is Friday!

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Goodbye Yellow Brick Road

Another elimination round on American Idol, and Chicken Little has finally left the building. Kind of a surprise since I thought the 12 year old power-voting girls liked him. Good, though, so we don't have to deal with his annoying demeanor or his love for sappy R&B ballads.

A few of us at work have been exchanging emails about the show, and it came up today that the version of "Walk the Line" Chris did is very similar to one that Live did on their Greatest Hits album. Gee, I guess that's why I thought it sounded like Live. AI made it seem like it was Chris and Barry Manilow's arrangement genius, which seems a bit duplicitous. (That's my SAT word for the day.)

Nathalie told me there will be another series of Rockstar this summer. I guess they couldn't find another band with a dead singer so they're starting a new band. Details here. The cool thing is that Tommy Lee (formerly Motley Crue) and Jason Newstead (formerly Metallica) will be in this band, so they're probably looking for a pretty hard rockin' singer. The bad news is that the airhead twins, Brooke Burke and Dave Navarro are hosting again. Once again, we will give thanks to TiVo.

Some days, secretly, I wish I lived in the 50s where a married woman wasn't expected to work and just had to have a nice dinner and a martini waiting for her husband when he returned from work. (Of course, I'd probably only last a day, especially if I had to get an "allowance" from my husband or he asked when his shirts were going to be ironed.) Today was one of those days at work. Here's to tomorrow being a better day. Ciao baby.

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

I keep a close watch on this heart of mine

Ok, now a shallow post after the last deep one about priorities and such.

I am pissed because TiVo ate the Project Runway finale while we were on vacation. When it gets full, it starts to cannibalize old shows, to make space for the new ones. So thanks to Bravo running 3 episodes from Season 1, I no longer have the Season 2 finale. Boo!!!!! I was *so* looking forward to watching it. My only hope is that Bravo will run it again. From the website, I know who won, and I'm pleased, but I really wanted to *see* the finale and the fashion show.

On a happier note, I have guessed the last 4 out of 5 losing contestants on American Idol. After tonight, I think Bucky or Lisa will go. Probably Lisa. Chris sang an absolutely chilling version of Johnny Cash's "Walk the Line". Imagine the singer of the band Live singing it, and you have a pretty good approximation. It was brilliant. I'd buy it now. Right up there with Jordis's version of "The Man Who Sold the World" from Rockstar. I wish AI put up the songs for download - I'd soooo pay for that.

Ok, teenage girl moment over. CUL8R!

The best soy latte that you ever had

Bonus points if you know where that lyric comes from!

The Great Tofu Dessert Mystery might be cleared up now thanks to you guys and Google. While a Google search in Chinese may not work so well, in English it is da bomb! I plugged in "Chinese hot tofu dessert" and one of the first results I got was from Wikipedia. Which also rocks, by the way. What a fantastic resource! At any rate, looks like this dessert can be eaten cold or hot and can come with a variety of toppings. I think I've only had it with the syrup, and no other toppings.

On a more serious note:
Today I made a conscious decision to get my priorities straight.

When I decided to go back to school to get that degree in Computer Science, part of me knew I was going back to what I do best - learning in an academic setting. When I was at Caltech, the absolute-number-one most important thing I learned was *how* to learn. I didn't figure it out until my junior year, but after that I was unstoppable. I felt like I had been let in on some great secret. I love school, love learning, and still love programming. I had signed up for a difficult course - really the first "hardcore" CS course in the program, intending to start next week. I'm already taking an online self-study statistics course at UW to fulfill a prerequisite I was missing. (Can you believe I have a B.S. from Tech and somehow didn't take a statistics class?! Two weeks ago I finally learned what standard deviation really is! Amazing.)

Aaaanyway, I did some thinking, and realized that I always seem to make work, and now school, top priority, because they're things I'm good at. I know how to succeed and of course, everyone likes to do what they're good at. That's all good, but in the meantime, my eating habits are horrendous, I'm lucky if I get to the gym twice a week, and even the dogs are getting fat. In addition, one of our biggest expenses is food because we eat out so much. Anyway, I'm not (sadly) a young 20-something anymore, and the extra goo is a huge health risk for me, plus I'm seriously sick of having clothes in my closet in (no kidding) 4 different sizes. I'm good at starting the "weight loss project" but not seeing it through. (Like you guys haven't already figured that out!!) Plus, in May, I have another customer event coming up, and can't afford to gain an extra 10 lbs like I did with the last one.

So I dropped the data structures/discrete math course from my schedule (sorry Prof. Stiber!), and will pick it up again in the fall, once I've established a better, healthier daily routine for myself. I'm keeping the stats course since I've already started, so I'm not totally idle on the school front.

I'm somewhat embarassed, since you'd think someone with a Master's degree (in biology, for cryin' out loud) would have figured out how to work the calories in/calories out thing and managed to stick with it. I will admit to being a foodie, but that doesn't excuse all of the non-gourmet garbage I've been eating.

Anyway, I know I sound like a broken record, but I'm hoping some of you out there will keep me accountable to my plan. If you're in town and want to hang out, invite me out for a walk, or for coffee. This eating out thing is really my downfall, I think. I don't want to turn food into the enemy, because I genuinely like trying food from other cultures, and TJ and I are starting to learn about wine, but I think fewer trips to the Claim Jumper would be a good start.

Thanks for reading my rants. I know most of you out there don't have to worry about this stuff so I appreciate you reading and leaving comments anyway. :)

Monday, March 20, 2006

Like a parade to usher in your life

Well, today was my last day off. Back to the usual work grind tomorrow. I've been reading my email over the last week and deleting the crap, so I won't have that to deal with, but I do have a ton of people asking me questions I need to answer. (I read the email but consciously forced myself not to reply.)

Making lasagna now - I'm slowly getting the proportions right. Since I use the recipe off the back of the pasta box, but only make it in a 9x9 pan, it's a little tricky. Today it overflowed a little bit, thanks to the ground beef, I think. I put it in there so TJ would eat some. (Apparently vegetarian lasagna does not count as real food in TJ-land.) But I also snuck in some finely grated carrots, onions and spinach, so don't tell him.

Our new goal is to eat at home all week. The post-vacation weigh-in was horrendous for me. I should have been clued in when some of my clothes felt really, really tight, but I was too annoyed to find out the real truth. Arghhh. Anyway, not eating out is an easy fix for me so I'd be stupid not to take that step first. Plus it'll help me get better at cooking, which is something I really like doing anyway.

Off to watch the TiVo'd Project Runway finale (I know, I'm a few weeks behind!). TTFN!

Tonight, tonight, I'm on my way, just set me free

Home at last after a grueling 15 hours of travel - we left the hotel this morning at 6am and got home right around 11pm. I think TJ might have bad travel karma - our flight from Hawaii left an hour late, which gave us mere minutes to make our connection, which also turned out to be an hour late. I swear in almost 4 years of working for Deloitte, I didn't have as many delayed flights as I do when I travel with him!

Picked up BeagleMan at Aunt Susie's. He's really happy there, and fortunately didn't seem to make too much of a nuisance of himself. He seems somewhat puzzled, but overall happy to be home. We've never left him for this long, so maybe he started to give up on us ever coming back. Sad! I'll pick up Peanut at "Dog Camp" tomorrow.

Got some sun and laid by the pool with fruity umbrella drinks the last day of our vacation. Totally worth it - yay. We also had breakfast with Mike and caught up on more Techer gossip/reminiscing. Fun!

I'll post a couple of pictures tomorrow. The malasadas were yummy, but only when hot. I don't recommend the chocolate ones - one is ok, but the chocolate filling is very heavy and there's too much of it. The plain cinnamon sugar malasadas were the best. (And totally worth the 50 min drive to go get them!!)

The famous "shave ice" was a bit disappointing. Way too sugary-syrupy. Now, I didn't try it with ice cream or red bean goo, so maybe those would be better. But I think I'm just not a shave ice/snow cone sort of girl. I vaguely remember getting something called "shaved ice" in Monterey Park, CA, but it had a lot more interesting stuff mixed in with the ice - red bean, possibly coconut milk, condensed milk and who knows what else. But still, not a favorite dessert of mine.

Speaking of desserts, does anyone know what the name is for the Chinese dessert that's seems like it's hot steamed soft tofu in a sugary syrup? I had it a couple of times in San Diego and it's really good - just the right amount of sweetness and yummy texture.

Thursday, March 16, 2006

You need a blue sky holiday

Reporting live from Oahu's North Shore...

Well, our fabulous tropical lay-in-the-sun-and-do-nothing vacation hasn't quite turned out as expected. We are now at the Turtle Bay Resort, whose website is much nicer than the hotel itself, unfortunately. I wouldn't care that much, except that it's been cloudy and raining like crazy. The hotel has been recently remodeled, so the paint, carpet and furniture are pretty new, but the whole place smells musty and has a very 70s vibe to it. For the cost, it's not as swanky as I had hoped.

We did go to a nearby town called Hale'iwa twice today, for breakfast and dinner. Rosie's Cantina had awesome French toast. Pizza Bob's had great garlic bread and Caesar salad, but only average pizza.

I managed to watch American Idol this week, a painful experience without TiVo to skip the commercials and inane ramblings of the "host", Ryan Seacrest. Stevie Wonder week was a bore - lots of sappy ballads and off-key singing. Apparently I missed the best performance of the night, by "rocker" Chris Daughtry, because TJ and I went downstairs to see the end of the Polynesian dancers at the fake luau at our hotel.

Tomorrow, malasadas.

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Do what you want to do

Today I had a hard time remembering what day it was, so I guess that means I have officially slipped into "vacation time". After enduring an almost 2 hour timeshare presentation this morning, thanks to TJ and his curiosity, we headed downtown to Hilo Hattie's, a huge Hawaiian souvenir store with the largest collection of Hawaiian shirts I've ever seen in one place. We got some gifts for our families, a few T-shirts for ourselves, and a cute Hawaiian sticker for Otto, and then had lunch at Sam Choy's Breakfast, Lunch, and Crab. According to my guidebook, Sam Choy graduated from the same culinary program as Alan Wong, and his restaurants are not to be missed either. This one was a brewpub, pretty casual, but had really good food - I had the kalua pork quesadilla and an amazing Hawaiian banana bread pudding for dessert.

Unfortunately the weather hasn't been the island paradise we hoped for - it's been cloudy and raining on and off for the past few days. It is nice and warm, though, so when it's not raining, it's good to be outside. Now, I'm trapped in front of the TV and watching American Idol - without TiVo it's seriously painful. They have a commercial break after every singer!

Tomorrow we're headed to the North Shore and our second hotel. I've actually managed to get some exercise, and am starting to remember what it feels like to actually *want* to exercise. There's an awesome 1.5 mile beach path by our hotel (3 mi roundtrip) that I've walked a few times - I think our next hotel will have something similar as well.

Well, back to being lazy!

Monday, March 13, 2006

How did you know just where I would be?

Hello from Hawaii! We got here yesterday, about 12 hours later than we were supposed to thanks to Alaska Airlines and some arcane policy about the ramp staff not working during a thunderstorm. We missed our connection and spent the night in a fairly crappy hotel near the LA airport. Thanks to my hissy fit about missing a night in a resort in Hawaii we were upgraded to first class for part of our return trip, and by a stroke of luck, got an amazing pair of seats on the plane from LAX to Honolulu. It was a Boeing 767, and we got seats 17A and 17B next to the galley. These seats were in coach, but had legrests, and were in their own "cubbyhole" with a wall behind and in front of them. Awesome - tons of room and I slept most of the way.

Our hotel is really nice too, on the West (leeward) side of Oahu. The room we got is more of a 1br apartment, with a full kitchen, laundry and separate sitting room and bedroom. If I had known how nice it was, I would have tried to extend it for the rest of the week, but since it was a gamble, I booked us in another hotel on the North Shore. I guess it'll be fun to see another part of the island anyway.

Last night we ate at Alan Wong's restaurant - unbelievable. We even sat at the "Chef's Counter" where we could watch the chefs prepare the meals - fascinating. The food was sort of Pacific Rim/Asian fusion, but just really good. Even picky TJ liked it! Today we stocked up at the grocery store with stuff for breakfast and lunch, trying to limit some of the meals we eat out. Both of us are a little rounder than we were when we got married - so sad.

Today we met Mike, a friend from Caltech, for dim sum with some other Caltech alums. It was really fun. Tomorrow we're going to try to see the USS Arizona. Other than that, our plan is to have no plan.

Well, back to the vacation laziness. Aloha!

Monday, March 06, 2006

Beware of the Boys

Hey y'all! I've actually done some interesting blog-worthy things lately, so I thought I should get back into the groove. It does seem somewhat self-indulgent to just spew volumes of random stuff that no one really cares about, but I guess I'll console myself with the thought that if you find this boring or stupid, don't read it! :)

As many of you know, I looove to go out dancing. I love the cheesy hip-hop/dance-ish stuff they play on Kube 93. Usher's "Yeah" will get me movin' anytime. As some of you also know, I am married to man who does not dance. This same man also hates crowded places. This, combined with the fact that many of our friends now have kids and/or hate the kind of music I like to dance to, means that I have only been out dancing once in the past 6 years, and that was for my birthday in Las Vegas this year. (Thanks Kristin!).

A few weeks ago, we went to Gameworks to hang out with our friend Jenna on her birthday. Jenna's husband John used to work with TJ at Active Voice. Now neither of them work at AV, but that's a different story for a different day. Some of you might remember Pogi from some of my first blog posts - he belongs to John and Jenna.

Aaaanyway, since most of TJ's friends from Active Voice are younger than us, and more hip, I suggested we go out dancing. Shockingly, they were into it. I have been harboring a curiosity since I moved to Seattle 3 years ago to check out "Bollywood night" at one of the local clubs. It blows my mind that there would be enough of a market for that. Then again, there are probably 10 Indian restaurants within 5 miles of my house, so maybe it shouldn't surprise me. John was really into the idea. Turns out, where he grew up in Toronto, there were a ton of Indian kids so they actually had school dances where they played the bhangra beats. Yowza - talk about a totally different environment than where I went to school!

So we went to the Baltic Room a few weekends ago. Turns out it was a Special Event, with RDB DJs visiting from the UK. And damn, was it hot! They mixed up the bhangra with hip-hop and techno. They even had a live dhol player. The club was full and about 98% brown, but I was surprised that there were a fair number of other Asians besides Indians. The music was unbelievable, and the crowd was pretty low-stress, not the usual meat market scene at clubs I've been to in the past. (I.e. no one tried to grab me, or hit on me in slimy ways, etc.)
Of course, this could be because I was sporting my wedding ring, and Jenna was sporting her actual husband...

Plus, there was definitely a high geek factor there, which always makes me comfortable. There were a lot less women there than men, so I did end up making some new "friends", most of whom started their conversation with "(insert random Hindi or Punjabi sentence here)" and then seeming sort of confused when I looked at them blankly. But we had a great time, and the club has "Bollywood night" twice a month, so I think we'll definitely go back. We might even convince TJ to go sometime since they have an upstairs balcony where you can sit with your drink and have your own personal space!

So yay! I'm happy to find friends to go dancing with and kickass music! If we get adventurous, we'll try out some of the other clubs in the area. The last time I went out dancing in Seattle was in 1998, so I'm not even sure where the good places are anymore... Any suggestions?

sharing is nice

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