Saturday, December 17, 2011

The last activities!

I'm doing the last 5 things together. Four of them are food-related. Yay!

26: Natto
I went back to first-tier sushi with my orchestra stand partner because we went to an LA Phil concert again and he said that tuna should be the freshest right now. Last time he suggested I try natto, since his friends claim that the restaurant served the best natto. I didn't try it last time. I figured I'd do it this time.

They gave me a hand roll so I could have the joy of eating it all by myself. Natto with thin slices of green onion wrapped in rice and seaweed. The act of eating it wasn't so much of What did I just eat? so much as it was WHAT JUST HAPPENED????. Even now I can't describe it. The texture was so soft and masked by the texture of everything around it that I felt almost as if I'd bit into nothing except for a slight aftertaste. I certainly didn't enjoy it, but I felt like I ought to finish it. "You might be one of those natto-lovers" my stand partner commented. "Otherwise you would've stopped eating it by now."

27: Waffle Sandwiches
One of my closest childhood friends came and visited, so I took the opportunity to spend a weekend with a group of them in the area. On the bright side, we're all foodies. This meant that my friend came with a list of all the best restaurants in the area. We then picked which ones we were going to go to and then planned what activities we'd do around them. One of them was this place called Bruxie, which serves gourmet waffle sandwiches. What is a waffle sandwich, I asked. It's a sandwich with waffles instead of bread. Mind blown.

We got friend chicken waffle sandwiches in honor of chicken and waffles. I got extra maple syrup and a dessert waffle with lemon curd and fresh berries. The waffles were extra crispy and light, so on the downside, they get soggy really quickly. On the upside, we ate the sandwiches so quickly we didn't notice. There's a combination of sweet and salty to the waffles that enhances both types of sandwiches. The fried chicken inside was really juicy, but also cut thin, so the ratio of breading to meat was ideal. The lemon curd and berries was amazing, definitely the favorite. Unfortunately, they don't keep well, despite being available for take-out as well.

28: Gay Club
After the waffle sandwiches, I got taken to a gay club for the first time (by a taxi! First time I've ridden a cab on the West Coast). Apparently all straight people who are being taken to gay clubs for the time will ask "Will gay people hit on me?" And the answer is NO. Gay people also have a gaydar. And it is probably more accurate than straight people's gaydar. After I asked the question and was told the above facts, I tried asking something more unique: "So if I start hitting on lesbians, do you think they'll flirt back?" Blank stares.

It's weird going into a bar and knowing that no one will be attracted to you. Or at least, not realistically. Given my poor dating record and social life, you'd figure I'd be used to that by now. We people-watched most of the night, and it was interesting to see what types of people were there. There were also a lot of girls who looked like guys, and I started to be able to differentiate an hour into our adventure.

I ended up dancing under a speaker and spent the rest of the night with ringing ears and the next day with plugged ears. Overall, it was a fun experience, and definitely something new for me.

29: Iberico Ham
The food trip continued! By the next two days, we'd tried special fruit teas, taiwanese food, cuban pastries, and a pub bar with probably the best burger I'd had in my entire life. And while I'd entered the bar with the express purpose of eating said burger, we saw the appetizers and perhaps overreacted. I got iberico ham and my friend ordered bone marrow.

Iberico ham is made from pigs who have a diet consisting large of acorns, giving it a nuttier flavor. For some odd reason it weirds me out to no end that your flesh takes on the flavor of whatever you eat. For some odd reason, it's always intrigued me since then, to the point that my co-worker suggested that I run into Spain and cry out "Jamon Iberico!!! Dinero!! *mimes throwing out money in exchange for ham* Mas jamon iberico!!! Mas dinero!!!! *more miming*"

They served their jamon iberico with olive oil, mint, and persimmons. It was like a prosciutto and melon. Fantastic! There was a nuttiness, although I easily could've thought it was regular ham if they hadn't told me. I was quite in love with it. The bone marrow came still in the bones, with 4 crostinis and an acidic salad on the side to cut the fat. It spreads kind of like a butter, but with an umami, meaty flavor to it.

On a side note, we ordered so much food the waiters freaked out whenever they had to deliver more to our table. We did the number system and had two numbers, and they kept delivering dishes and then being like "I'll just take this number..." and we'd respond with "Actually, there's still another dish we're expecting..."

30: Tetris Cake
It's a friend's birthday and I offered to bake a cake. She has this awesome etsy store called My Geeky Boyfriend which sells pacman, Batman, Superman, Star Trek, etc.-themed gear. I originally wanted a completely geeky cake with all of the themes, but my cake started to dry out and my frosting was really gross. I had to throw it out and start a buttercream frosting (which is disgusting in concept if you know what goes into it, although the name itself should give a hint). In the end, I cut out tetris pieces from the cake, frosted them individually, and then put pacman characters I cut out of airheads. I love seeing what I can make from scratch. Gingerbread cookie and house decorating is something I take very seriously, to the point that I ruined my friend's rolling pin to crush jolly ranchers to make stained-glass windows for the gingerbread house. At any rate, the cake was crumbly and a little dry, so it crumbled off into the frosting when I iced the cake. However, after I assembled it and put it all together, I felt really proud. It wasn't beautiful, or perhaps even good-tasting, but I felt like it was very me.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Activity 25: Breakdancing

I feel strangely like going on a dating website has been good for trying new activities instead of meeting new people. Because I learned breakdancing on another first date. I've realized that I don't like date-y first dates. I like fun first dates.

Anyway, I asked someone to teach me how to breakdance, and he came up with a couple tricks he thought I could do. I've learned a few moves before, but I've never learned a routine, or even how to do the tricks properly, seeing as I once did a six-step for a friend who acted as if I'd thrown acid into his eyes.

My teacher got a couple moves together for a routine. I mostly wanted to work on toprocking, so he taught me those as basics. Then he did a bunch of floorwork: six-step, seven-step, four-step, cee-cee's (I'm not sure how you spell it...).

The part I had the most trouble with was actually the ending pose. This is particularly relevant in battles, where you have to be creative, you have to bring your own style, and apparently there's a format where you pose at the end. I don't have any swag, so I'd do the routines, stand back up, and announce "and then I pose" instead of just doing it. My teacher seemed rather baffled.

"Anything can be a pose!" He showed me all sorts of things people have done, and we laughed over a lot of them, but I wasn't really sure what to do. He showed me lots of things, and I felt like I could do them if I was just standing off to the side, but not incorporate them into the routine.

I feel like part of it is this fear of doing something "for reals." As long as you're not chasing something 100%, you never have to face the fact that you could suck at it. You just know that you have potential. If I don't do a move for reals, you have that excuse for if it sucks. There's a strength and a dedication for people who watch themselves to improve themselves. My supervisor used to make fun of me for listening to myself play violin. He said it was very ego-driven. I think he wouldn't say that if he realized how much I criticize myself while listening to myself.

I'm thinking of recording myself dancing, just to force myself to really look at it. For reals.