You’ll have to excuse my excesses, but I’m a wee bit drunk. Doolies and I went to a new Asian restaurant where a friendly waitress recommended sake. I’ve never drank sake that wasn’t warm. The warmth helps kill the terrible alcoholic aftertaste of bad (i.e., cheap) sake. What I learned tonight was that good sake is chilled because it doesn’t need the warmth to kill the taste. (I think most alcohols would taste better warmed—especially the terrible vodkas and scotches.) Sake wants to be drunk in its natural cooled state. There are three levels of sake. I won’t try to remember the name of those three levels because I have problems remembering words in languages other than English—when I think about it, the truth is I have problems remembering words in all languages including English. It’s not just words, but directions, places, faces, and names, oh, and dates. That should cover most of my memory problems. Getting back to dinner, we ordered second-level sake, which was quite smooth, almost water tasting, and left a nice taste in my mouth when I finished. Toward the end of the bottle, the alcoholic aftertaste kicked in and it was difficult to finish, but I’m thinking the top-level sake—which I plan on drinking next time to test its smoothness—will be better. The waitress claimed that the higher-quality sake was so smooth it was dangerous. My middle name is danger. (Wow, even in my drunken state I realize that wasn’t funny.)
We also decided that we weren’t going to sit around this entire weekend and shop and eat (which describes most of our weekend up to now). We went to REI to buy hiking gear to head out to a hill tomorrow and resume our hiking ways. When I was working with Doug in Houston, I hiked often and became a member of REI. For those of you who have never frequented (or heard of) REI, you’re missing out. It is a sporting goods store weighed heavily toward outdoor activities such as camping, hiking, snowboarding, and biking. It’s run as a non-profit organization, or coop, where you buy a lifetime membership and share in REI’s profits to the tune of a refund of ten percent of your purchases at the end of the year (all depending on REI’s profits; or some such system as that—I’ve never actually seen any money back, though). It’s very complicated. The thing that makes the “owners” of REI brilliant is how you can never go to REI and spend less than $300. I’ve shopped there before for my various hikes, and each time I’ve bought too much equipment. Even if my tendency was not to buy the highest quality—which it regrettably is—there is no way of escaping without spending significant money. We both bought hiking shoes, socks, and a backpack for tomorrow’s excursion. Our plan is to try a light hike, knowing that I’m in terrible shape and can handle only so much walking before falling over.
That wasn’t our only shopping. Doolies bought me another painting for the Castle, a belated birthday gift (very belated!). It’s a beautiful print by a French artist, and I’ll post a picture of it hanging in my bedroom or living room (depending on where it looks best) when it arrives in a few weeks.
I’m reluctant to mention our other trip. As I mentioned yesterday, I purchased a new smartphone, and one of the features of this coolest of cool phones/PDA/all-around-great-device is the built-in music and video player, and camera. To accommodate the large memory requirements, there is room under the battery for a small, mini-SD card. I bought a 512 MB card at Fry’s, the Wal-Mart of electronic stores, which they decorate with fake ancient Greek statutes. Okay, I should admit up front that I ended up buying two cards, but I’ll get to that in a moment.
The card costs around $60, and when we returned to Doolies’s fancy car, I ripped open the plastic box. They usually make the plastic boxes difficult to open to stop would-be-shoplifters from removing the memory cards and sticking them in their pockets. This plastic box was surprisingly easy to open. As we’re driving off, I fumbled with the memory card while opening the back cover of my phone to insert the card. Mini-SDs cards are tiny. The one I bought came with a sleeve that turned the Mini-SD card into a regular SD, which is about the size of a postage stamp. The Mini-SD card is about half the size and thickness of the regular SD card. As I tried to remove the battery from the phone, the Mini-SD card and SD sleeve slipped from my grasp and fell into the left side of the passenger seat. After fishing out the SD sleeve, Doolies and I spent twenty-minutes trying to locate the Mini-SD card. As I said, the Mini-SD card is tiny, and where it fell, it was impossible to see or get your hand near. We gave up and Doolies drove me back to Fry’s where I bought another memory card. After concentrating to avoid another spasm, I successfully installed the memory card into the phone. My total cost of clumsiness (or retarded-ness, as Doolies called it): $60.
We rented a few movies for tonight, and I’m off to watch them now.