Life in general

Hmm, time for a general-y update.

The best thing to happen lately is that the weather suddenly got much better – it stopped raining last weekend and hasn’t started again yet. Thus I managed to play tennis six days out of seven last week, which was nice (if rather tiring and, by Sunday, inducing nasty cramps in my right leg). Had one rather intense game with my nemesis, who I _still_ couldn’t manage to beat (6-7, 4-6), but I did manage not to collapse at many points (4-5, 5-6, 0-4 in the tie break, 0-4 in the second set) and served ten aces, so at least some positive stuff. I really, really need to beat him some time, though. It’s annoying. Other than that, I won just about every other game I played, which was nice.

Have been quite scarily healthy lately, as well. Yesterday night we went to a tiny Korean place just up the street for dinner – they had no other business and it felt like we’d just been invited to dinner, they kept plying us with unpaid for bonus dishes and meticulously cut oranges and things. I had a traditional mixed vegetable dish which was very nice, and Sammy had something seafood-y which was also apparently good. And the oranges were great. We’ll have to go back. Saturday night was another time we decided we wanted to go somewhere new, so after driving around for a bit (we were with a friend who has a car) we ended up at a (fake) Japanese place in Kitsilano which was unreasonably cheap (the prices were already a little cheaper than regular Japanese downtown – say $6 for a noodle dish – but after 7p.m. there’s a 40% discount!) and excellent. And tonight Sammy made vegetable chowder. If I eat any more vegetables I may actually explode. I’ve also been eating more bananas lately. If it weren’t for the 48 ginger cookies I baked the other night it’d be all healthy eating, but that’d never do…:)
Of the new music I mentioned last time, I’m definitely liking Bloc Party, the Jimmy Chamberlin Complex (best solo Pumpkins album yet, actually), Modest Mouse, and the surround-sound Yoshimi (which is just eye-popping at times). The Decemberists stuff is nice but not as good as the albums (at least not yet), Bright Eyes is also OK but really just another live album with nothing massively special on it, 29 is pretty good but I preferred the Cardinals stuff – more fleshed out, with better production – and the Dears album is pretty decent but not quite as good as the second one.

Today I bought a USB phone handset for my PC – basically it works as a second soundcard which you can configure Skype or some other voice / video program to use, then using them is just like using a regular phone and there’s no more fiddling around with the mixer settings and microphone configuration on your main soundcard. Definitely worth dropping a few bucks on, and it works perfectly with Mandriva (I just plugged it in, snd-usb-audio was loaded, and it popped up as /dev/dsp1 and ALSA soundcard #1 – reconfigured Skype and Ekiga to use the new device and everything was good. Excellent.)

We had a party for one of Sammy’s friends who was leaving Vancouver recently – I uploaded the pictures to the Gallery. The restaurant (Japanese ‘fusion’) was odd – almost no vegetarian stuff on the menu so I just got them to make me some yakisoba which was fine, but the others ordered the ten-course menu, which really didn’t add up to much food (one of the courses, I kid you not, was a leaf on a plate) but, to compensate for it, was liberally supplied with heavy ingredients (the ‘fusion’ part, I suppose) which (according to Sammy) kind of ruined the taste and left you feeling full but not satisfied. There was also an obnoxious caucasian waitress who obviously believed herself to be the only white person ever to have learned Japanese, was unreasonably proud of this, and had decided it was sensible to broadcast the fact by screaming _everything_ at the top of her lungs in fluent but rather poorly accented Japanese. (Every time someone came through the door, no matter where she was in the restaurant, or if there was already someone at the door welcoming them, she would without fail emit a piercing yodel of “O-KYAKU-SAMA DESU!!!!!” which resonated my skull perfectly. Augh.) Still, we managed to have a good time anyway.

That should be about everything, I guess. Just to fill out the final possible category, I should mention it’s only a little more than a month to the start of spring training, and this season’s Mets lineup looks like being the best for a long time. Woop. Could be an interesting season.

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