Exploring Sushi

I've never eaten sushi before, but I ate it for the first time yesterday. Will I ever again? Probably, but not any time soon. I always found it intriguing, but I think it was mostly from an art perspective. After all, it's pretty food.

Rachyl and Tony got hold of Sue the other day and asked her if we wanted to go out for sushi for dinner on Saturday. After some discussion it was decided that midday might be better crowd-wise, so we agreed to go for lunch yesterday. Sarah was in town so we picked her up and took her as well. She has been to sushi places several times with her friend and their family. What do you call people that like sushi? Sushi heads? Well, that's them. Anyway, I knew Sarah would like to go and I was right.

It was an interesting place. I know people that have been to sushi places will probably say "duh" when I describe the layout, but hey--It's new to me okay? The chefs were in the center of the place with a moving conveyor belt looping around them. The customers were located around the belt (for obvious reasons). They have a menu "chart" that separated the menu items into price zones, each identified by a unique color. The sushi items that were circulating on the belt thing were on plates of their price colors. Here's what I found on the web about their pricing: Yellow: $1.50, Sky Blue: $2.00, Orange: $2.50, Purple: $3.00, and Blue: $3.50. At the end of your meal, they count up your used plates to calculate your bill. I noticed the people next door had a stack of plates that were all yellow when they were all done eating, so they apparently opted to keep themselves in the cheapest price zone.

Here's how we "newbies" did it: The conveyor carries and interesting item by our booth. We say, "Ooo, what's that?" We find it on the menu, read about it, and decide we'd like to try it. By then it's long gone. Maybe another will come by. What usually happened is the same thing over and over again. By the time we were done "window shopping" and wondering about things, the belt thing had probably went completely around several times (and it's a LONG belt). Finally we started grabbing things. Sarah and Rachyl were fairly confident about what they liked and wanted. Tony just grabbed stuff--Mostly the deep-fried, common stuff. I was a little more tentative about what I grabbed. Sue didn't get a lot of stuff because her stomach wasn't feeling all that great when we first got there, but she indulged as well. By the time we were all finished, we had quite a pile of plates. I think we agreed that half were Tony's. You can click the picture for a full size, but it's kind of substandard because it was shot with my phone. Sarah is on my left just out of the picture. Rachyl and Sue were both probably asking Tony when he was going to stop (you can see his chopsticks in action):


My perception of sushi really hasn't changed much. I always saw sushi as mostly rice, seaweed, and raw fish. After yesterday's visit to the Blue Island Sushi place in Federal way, I can honestly say that sushi is rice, seaweed, and raw fish. Oh yeah--With occasional deep-fried and dessert items as well. I did manage fairly well with chopsticks, so I viewed that as a sort of a cool thing. Nothing was dropped, nor did any of my food fly into the next booth or anyone's lap.

Was it good? Yeah, what I ate was okay. See, I've never placed rice real high on my food list. It's very good in lots of things, but by itself, not much. I guess I look at it as sort of a "world hunger space filler" sort of thing. If you're going to give me a starchy space filler give me potatoes. LOTS of potatoes!

Will I go back? Yeah, but like I said--Not anytime soon. That will do me for a while. I did decide though that next time I want to sit at one of the "counter" seats that faced the conveyor instead of a booth. It looked much easier to deal with.

The Saturday Morning Report

I feel that time is just kind of marching on. It's been quite a while since I last posted a blog, and although lots of things have happened, none of them felt noteworthy at the time. But then I thought, "Do things have to be noteworthy to be blogworthy?" Of course not. I have posted some real drivel on here over the years...

The other night Suzie and I were enjoying a nice, relaxing soak in the hot tub. The wind was blowing pretty good and we were reveling in the whole sound and feel of the weather at that time, yakking away. Suddenly there was a cracking sound in the distance. It didn't register to me at first, but she knew right away--That was the sound of a tree breaking. We stared at the treeline--Frozen and on full alert. No tree ever fell, but let me tell you, it got our attention. We never really relaxed 100% after that. The night was light enough we would have no problems seeing one if it headed our way. Those are some tall trees back that direction!

I got a new crown in my mouth a few weeks ago after one of my teeth broke. It had to be trimmed and adjusted quite a bit when the dentist put it in, and I never was happy with it. It was like he got it put in there at a slight angle, because on the lower inside there was a small area where I obviously had some root exposure and would jump when my toothbrush hit it. He also had to take a lot off the opposite top side so my bite would meet correctly. Translation: Bad crown installation. I have had pain on that whole side of my face since that time, and I finally said enough is enough. I went back and told them that I was not happy with this crown and wanted a replacement. After studying the issues, it was agreed that they would make me another and alter it to make it a little longer so it extended down into the gum line a little farther. Now I have another temporary on (a nicely fitting one I might add!), and since that time my face has not throbbed at all. I was basically going to stop paying them until they got it right. Hopefully they will. I hate being at the mercy of a dentist. They hold out their hand and demand $500 (and that's after the insurance has paid some!) for services rendered. Would you pay $500 for a set of tires that didn't hold air? What about if one of them was out of round or popped off the rim? No, and we should treat dentistry the same as any other goods and services we pay for.

We had a great time up in Seattle last weekend. Suzie already posted all that in her blog, but I just thought I'd add a little "gloat" to my story. My nighttime pictures of the Seattle skyline were really good, and I have one on my computer at work as a wall paper. (this one) I got a few responses from people that basically were in awe about how pretty it is. I was eating it up. Little do they know how easy it is to take a night shot with a tripod and a remote. The camera still does all the work. It does make for a pretty dramatic desktop wallpaper though...

It's funny how much something as simple as Facebook can bring people together isn't it? You may not be together, but you are at least presented to each other as a communication option. To a somewhat dysfunctional family such as the one I come from, that is a good thing. Last night, for example, I sat and chatted on Facebook for a good half hour with my sister Denise. If we actually sat down and yakked in person (not all that likely because she lives up in Burien) we probably wouldn't yak all that much. All these relatives of different states, ages, families--We're all instantly accessible to each other. Suz has people from all over the place popping out of the woodwork. Previous marriages and families tend to create a lot of spreading family trees, and now she has almost all of them at her fingertips. Not everyone is very active on Facebook. They may not feel like talking, or know what to do or say, but that's okay. Sometimes when I don't know what to say I'll just post a picture (which is pretty simple to do) and I'll be surprised at the comments it draws out of people.

We have had unseasonably warm weather here for the last week or so. 50's and 60's in January?! Wow. The problem with that is, it almost makes it not worthwhile to start a wood fire in the stove. This morning it's back to lower 40's and rainy (our normal stuff) but I didn't start a wood fire. Why? Because when we have a blazing fire and are feeling all comfy, we tend to not want to leave. I just thought that we might want to go out and about today, and I don't want to create too nice of a home environment and cause us to sit in our robes all day.

Not that there's anything wrong with that... It is Saturday after all!

Post-Post-Christmas Post

The title of today's post is for Sue's sister, Kathy, who mentioned such a thing in her comment following my previous post. You just never know what kinda stuff you can get for the asking, do ya?

Let me back up to last weekend--The first of the year 2010. Suz didn't quite survive our private festivities and was in bed pretty early, so I welcomed in January 1st by myself. There were quite a few booms around the area. (I'm not talking "bangs" either--I'm talking BOOMS!) I'm not sure what kind of stuff people were blowing up, but I was impressed. Suzie made us some Jello shots, but they remained untouched until the following evening when we had a couple in the hot tub. The rest remained until Saturday night when we had a small (but fun!) gathering down the street at Denny & Heather's house.

With the partying behind us, Sunday was our interesting day. We set out towards the little town of Black Diamond (which is really just right up the street) with two purposes in mind: To have lunch at the Black Diamond Bakery, and to find the town cemetery to take some pictures. The Black Diamond Bakery is legendary around these parts. People know the quality of their baked goods, and make it a point to get there early for certain things when they want them knowing they'll be sold out if they don't. They also have a small restaurant attached, and that was our focus. We both had excellent sandwich meals (made with their own bread of course). They were a little pricey, but very good.

The cemetery was just down the street, and with instructions from people at the bakery we found it easily. A lot of folks may not understand our fascination with cemeteries, but we feel they are excellent for photography. They have lots of interesting textures, colors, art, and "feel" to them. There is also the added bonus of being able to "read" the stories of the people buried there. They don't actually have stories of course, but when you read the inscriptions and do the math of their births and deaths, they can tell a story of sorts. This particular cemetery was one of the best we have found to date. It was big (for a small town), it was well kept, and had lots of range to the dates. There were some graves there from the late 1800's! One thing we notice during these visits is the number of young deaths. We forget how a century ago things were very different than they are today, and I guess it was a lot more common for children to die--Maybe from medical reasons, or maybe from working in dangerous places at young ages. At any rate, we both took lots of pictures and had a good time. We're planning on going back because Sarah wants to have a crack at it too. Here's a shot I took (click for full-size). I "massaged" it with my software to try to give it a cold, Gothic look:

CAUTION! The following paragraph contains photo geek terminology that some may find completely illogical and alien to them.

Lately, we have been attempting to stretch our photographic knowledge by dabbling in the area of RAW. What is RAW? Well, most cameras take pictures and automatically convert them to JPG during the act of taking a picture. It all happens behind the scenes and automatically. The data starts out as RAW before the conversion process. Why do we (or should I say "I") want to try out RAW? Well, partly because I can--Our cameras support RAW photography. The advantage of RAW is that all the image information is still in the picture and none of it has been sacrificed during the JPG conversion process. That means that if you screw up a picture, you have an excellent chance of resurrecting it with software, and I have all the right software. The disadvantages are that the files are much bigger, and many may require post-processing. Anyway, like I said--We're learning. Keith is very interested in it, and Suzie has been watching my findings and stumblings with some interest as well.

I wouldn't be a bit surprised if we found ourselves out taking pictures again this weekend!