Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Sprechen Sie Deutsch?

I'm off to Germany (Munich as the hub) for 8 days, traveling with roomie AS for 6 of those! I'm pretty excited, especially now that I'm done packing. Hopefully I'll be diligent and post interesting photos from the trip in a timely fashion when I get back!

Auf Wiedersehen!

Thursday, February 22, 2007

Valentine's Cactus?

After three years of careful watering (well, most of the time), a bit of fertilizer every now and then, and not much else, my Christmas cactus really came into its own this year. Last year it bloomed with just one flower. This year I came home from the holidays to find it chock-full of beautiful pink flowers. Then, a week or so later, another flower bloomed. I should explain that my plant has two different types of "Christmas cactus" in the same pot. The second type has a much redder and more dramatic bloom. Then, lo and behold, just the other day, I got yet another bloom! Perhaps it should be called a Valentine's cactus or a President's Day cactus?

Actually, it looks like the one that bloomed first is a "Christmas cactus" and the one that bloomed a bit later is a "Thanksgiving cactus" - backwards! The main thing to getting them to flower (besides overall age) is to make sure they're exposed to increasing darkness in the winter (no problem here in Seattle), and I think colder temperatures help too. In some climates this can be achieved by placing the plant outside, but my kitchen windowsill seems to work just fine. My plant was made by taking cuttings from other mature plants - one from a coworker, and the other from (I'm a bit ashamed to admit) the floor of the garden center at Home Depot (I asked if it was ok to take it). Now I guess I just need to add an "Easter cactus" to the mix and I'll be all set!

Thursday, February 08, 2007

Seattle Symphony goes high tech

I went to Benaroya Hall this evening to hear the Seattle Symphony perform Grieg's Piano Concerto and Bruckner's unfinished 9th Symphony. I liked the latter more than the former, perhaps due to my partiality towards wind instruments, which were much more prominently featured in the second piece. The audience, on the other hand, disagreed with me and preferred the former piece. Having not been to the symphony since the end of their amazing 100th anniversary season in 2003-2004, I was amused to see their new way of reminding people to turn off their noisy electronic devices. I snapped this picture right before I complied. I've been so spoiled with Seattle Symphony's Campus Club tickets ($10 for a ticket right before the show, best available seats in the house, for currently registered university students) that I worry I might not want to pay full price when I become a non-student someday. Tonight I was in the Founder's Tier, where the tickets normally go for $75 each. Had it not been for the fact that I wanted to sit on the left side of the hall so I could see the pianist, I could have had a seat in the Founder's Tier Box section, which is normally $99 a seat. 90% off... not bad!

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Update... Amante is already open

Well, it turns out Amante is already open, and has been for 3 weeks. I stopped by tonight to find out when they'd be opening and was greeted by a bright neon open sign. Stopped in and decided to order a salad to go for dinner, since my rations at home have been dwindling. The people were very nice, but I was the only customer. I think that location tends not to do well - it's right next to the Greenlake Bar and Grill, but you can't even see it or tell that there's a restaurant right next door. On the other side is Super Jock and Jill, and beyond that there's no more retail. The space has recently been occupied by a noodle restaurant and later a teriyaki place, neither of which did well (obviously).

As I waited for my salad, I looked around the interior. I really liked their light fixtures, though you can't see them in this crappy camera phone picture. The fake tree in the middle was a little weird. Otherwise, though, it was nice enough. Took my salad home to eat it, and it was pretty good! I only had half of the half-size salad, so I'll be eating the rest for lunch today. Next time maybe I'll get the full-size salad and make it into three meals...

Those of you who know me know that I tend to keep things, things that don't seem to be keep-worthy, for reasons only known to me (and sometimes not even me). Some people call me a pack-rat. I don't disagree. Anyway, so funny story. A few years ago I was house-sitting, and I wanted dinner, but didn't feel comfortable trying to cook in the kitchen there. I was tired of pizza, so I found a flier for a place that delivered and ordered some tortellini alfredo and a salad. I liked the meal so much that I kept the receipt, thinking that I'd call them again someday. I never did call them again, but I happened to look at the receipt last night and realized it was actually Amante! I guess I can shred the receipt now.

Update 02/08/07:
I forgot to post the picture of my Crispy Chicken Salad - it was quite tasty! (The lettuce is hidden underneath the chicken pieces... :)

Coming soon... new restaurant in town

Spotted this sign the other day down on E Greenlake Dr, near the Greenlake Bar and Grill. I'll have to check it out when it opens and report back! The pizza prices seem to be on the higher end, but it is nice that it's within walking distance. Back when current roomie kc and I lived two blocks away from each other in Wallingford/Fremont, we'd sometimes walk down to the Pagliacci on 40th and Stone and pick up pizza for dinner. Of course, if we still lived there, we could go to Tutta Bella on Stone and 43rd as well, which would be even closer. But apparently proximity of restaurants has not encouraged me to frequent them - there are several decent places near my current apartment and I almost never go to any of them. Well, maybe trying out this new place will motivate me to change that. Stay tuned!

Sunday, February 04, 2007


Originally uploaded by gecko_12.
Went out to my car today and noticed that the water from the recent rain had beaded up on the newly waxed surface. It was the only car on the street that still had visible water on it - kind of eerie. I like how the water droplets magnify the sparkles in the paint in this one.

Friday, February 02, 2007

Ferries and Grey's Anatomy

Apparently the next 2 episodes of Grey's Anatomy will feature the WA state ferry system prominently [psbj]. I am a big fan of the ferries (much like the show's characters, I guess), so I'm pretty excited about this. In case you didn't know, Washington has the largest car ferry system in the US and the third largest in the world [wikipedia]. You drive your car onto the car deck, and then you can go upstairs to enjoy the ride. They used to serve warm food in a small cafeteria, but they discontinued that service back in 2003 [p-i]. Ironically, I remember reading a story not too much later saying that the ferries were making more money from the vending machines than they did from the cafeterias. Lower overhead, I suppose. Anyway, I love going to the front or back deck of the ferry and watching the mountains and water from the middle of Puget Sound. One of the most interesting routes is the Seattle-Bremerton ferry, which takes you into the channels of the Kitsap Peninsula. I'm excited to watch Grey's to see how they portray the ferries in these episodes!