November 17, 1997

gripe warning. go to gripe's to skip.

Did mostly a most-recently-input dream last night, mostly dreamed of working with the three Tech geeks of X-Files on some systems. Hacking and sliding into systems. It was fun. Though, in the dream, I at least got the arpanet addressing correct, no damned url's in '89 and no darned / notations in addresses, stupid gits. Bugged the heck out of me that they did that episode without *asking* anyone that was around during the arpa-only era about what a meaningful address actually was. And if they wanted to be obscure they should have used bang notation, which was still in use at that time, but less obviously so, as all the @ addresses were in place and in more general usage.

gripe gripe gripe

The funny part, though, was that I was working on this tape system, looking at it on how to either bypass it or work with it and get what I wanted from it, and it was only after waking up and thinking about it that I realized that the tape system had Scotch tape for it's tape!! I laughed myself silly, figuring that out.

Yesterday was the day of Rest. John and I have finally learned that the difference between a seven day week and a six day week is nigh unto infinite, so we take a day. Saturday morning we even actually washed the dog in the morning, then got breakfast and then got to work around 9:30, and also stocked the pop fridge while we had lunch at Costco. Chicken bake, yum. Dinner was a small celebration at Cuchina!Cuchina! as John had gift certificates from the boys on his soccer team, so we celebrated well.

Sunday was sleep in, and then read the newspaper for a bit. Then putz about for the day, listen to music, write a little, play silly games, paint. What I realized, though, was that I didn't have the drive, anymore to be creating something, anything, while I had some time. I was no longer driven by Mark's values. I even listened to the Eurhythmic's "True Blue" and felt nothing. That was pretty keen. Then in the late afternoon, Jon Singer toddled over to do tea.

Part of the occassion was the fact that he'd made John one of his lovely small tasting cups, from a blue porcelain mix with cobalt in it. For some odd reason, the clear glaze he had fired *grey* on the outside of the cup but clear on the inside. It's just really odd and we haven't really figured out a way or reason for it to have done that. The other reason was because Jon needed to Do Tea.

As Jon put it, he was really only going to buy some Yunnan Green from Imperial Tea Court, which is one of the finest suppliers of rare teas that I know of. He really was going to just buy the one thing, but then, as he put it, "Bad things happened."

We tried out about seven different teas. Starting with a very light green, then the Yunnan green, a Jade Fire, the Junshan Yinxhen, a Golden Yunnan, a blend of a black Yunnan with the gold (lots of gold tips), and ending with the Mao Feng Keemen. For a quick briefing, greens are usually steeped at a lower temperature of water, with a shorter steep time of about three minutes, to keep tannins down and get the multiple gradients of perfume and taste from them. Blacks usually yield everything they have to a water that's just off a roiling boil with a five minute steep.

I think I put too little tea for the first, but the taste was clear and clean and bright and far too weak. The Yunnan green was perfume for the first cup, the second a bit more green tasting with a lighter perfume and a slightly bitter aftertaste, which Jon noted hadn't been in the first batch he'd ever tasted; but then he'd never tasted any green that could match that first Yunnan Green he'd ever had, which was all perfume. The Jade Fire was surprising, it didn't smell of much, but the taste was very, very strong, citrus and hay and sharp green grass taste that was very strong in the cup and it died completely away with the second. Greens usually take multiple infusions much better than that.

Junshan Yinxhen is a silver needle tea that's classified by the Imperial Tea Court as a green, but it has silver needle look to it. We brewed it as an unknown because the scent of it was nearly like a Lapsong Suchong, which is very smoky in character. It was the favorite tea of Mao, so is very popular and very rare, which is why Imperial Tea Court only serves it in single serving packets. The tea that was in the packet was about enough for a strong 4 ounces of tea, as we only put four ounces of hot water into it. It was strong and smoky and complex and marvelous. We got two good pots out of it. The second fell off enough that a third didn't seem worth it, and what was really interesting was that a sniff at the leaves after the second cup yielded no scent at all, when the leaves had been strong enough to invoke gasps beforehand. For $3, it was worth trying at least the one time, and all three of us got to try it, which was very keen.

The Golden Yunnan yielded a liquor that was rich, deep, dark gold. The leaves were gold in color when they were put into the pot and we treated it as if it were a black tea, steeping it for about 5 mintues and using a full rolling boil. The tea itself was rich and with the charcteristic Yunnan perfume, remeniscent of merrigolds and autumn warmth to the depth of the flavor. I really, really enjoyed it, and Jon mentioned that it would probably make a great gift to someone that knew teas, as a normal person would just go, "Wierd, it's yellow!"

The Yunnan blend was just gorgeous. We did the black tea steep with it, of course, and it was just astonishingly deep. Reminded me of all the best blacks I'd ever had and took just a step beyond, mostly because of that Yunnan scent and partially because there enough complexity to support it. So I instantly thought of giving Jon, with that tea, one of the bittersweet brandied cherries that Bernard C. makes just for Thanksgiving and Christmas. They take cherries, soak them in brandy for several months, and then dip them in bittersweet chocolate.

So we had them. I really, really love giving Jon Singer something marvelous because he reacts so well. Afterwards, he said that he has eaten various objects, several of them quite good, that have all only been pale imitations of the Bernard C. cherries.

Then we sipped the tea with the aftermath of the cherry, and it worked out massively well. The taste of the tea picked out the fruit sweetness and the bittersweet chocolate really, really well, contrasting and blending so well, it just made both Jon's and my eyes bug out some, all of which amused John no end. It's *fun* to share things with Singer.

The keemen was a solid red tea. Nice and great for breakfast and strong enough to support milk. A good breather for the last tea.

Well satisfied, Jon toddled off, then, to go to a party somewhere City-side, and John and I got on with our evening, which was John putting in lights over our new desk in the kitchen and my making red enchilada cassarole with the corn tortillas we'd bought from Trader Joes earlier.

Fezzik was given a donut shaped rawhide, and I spent a very confusing fifteen minutes convincing him that while I would let him out, I wouldn't let him out with the rawhide, as much as he wanted it. It was good to hear him crunching away on it and not lick himself as much.

Dinner was good. X-files was influencive and amusing, and filled in some background information that was interesting to fit into everything else. So the night was contenting on the most part...

Today was pretty interesting, all in all. Did coding, did training, did learning and had a nice lunch. Serendipidous. Some things are simply kinda working out oddly. Like Data I/O wanting my machine of the machines that Synario had. It's a Compaq Deskpro, which has blown up it's hard disk, had mysterious crashes and memory problems under Windows 95, and for all it's purported speed, has been out performed be nearly every machine here. So I'm not all that sad to see it go.

Also, Data I/O stuck it's finger in the air and said a ridiculous amount of money for all the at least two year old machines that we have, so we, as a new company, may just tell them to keep the legacy hardware and we'll go lease our own. Odd, sometimes, how greed can make one stupid.

I'm kinda looking forward to soccer tonight and kinda not. I had two bad collisions in the game last Wednesday that kinda bloomed over the weekend, and, as John put it, "You look like you tried to trap an elephant!!" The insides of both knees are blue black, and were swollen for a few days, but have finally settled down again. I'm kinda glad. Sadly, the game tonight is another of those 9:15 late puppies and we're just going to be trashed tomorrow.

One keen thing today was that John and I opened the gingerbread and white chocolate biscotti that we bought a while ago, and it's just lovely, nice balance of spicyness with the creaminess of the white chocolate. Yum.

© 1997 by Liralen Li

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