2012.02.01

Moses and the burning bush (25/365)

20120201.01.jpg

So Marriage Equality just passed in the Washington State Senate!! It’s expected to have plenty of votes in the House and Governor Gregoire has already said she’ll sign the legislation. I’m so happy, I am literally squealing out loud. Very. Often. (Squeee!)


20120201.02.jpg

You guys. I love these earrings.


Rilakkuma Hotcake KitKats

Sometimes, I start typing an entry and all that shows up on the screen is “OMG. OMG. OMG.”

Two weeks ago, my friend Dom sent me a photo from Japan of some store’s giant KitKat display and the caption “Try to contain yourself.” He offered to get me a box of something and I honestly picked one because it looked like it had a picture of Pedobear on it.

An hour later, I got this message:

“Sweet Jesus, the hotcakes flavor is AMAZING. It might be the best candy bar I’ve had anywhere ever. I got an assortment of flavors, but I wish I’d just gotten five boxes of these. It will take every ounce of restraint I have, but I’ll make sure these survive the trip home and send you a couple.”

Bless his soul, because today the mailbox contained possibly the most adorable candy packaging I’ve ever seen. Also, not Pedobear.

20120201.03.jpg

So, Rilakkuma is a San-X character who loves hotcakes and relaxing. I imagine that means he likes Suntory whiskey too, but that’s not explicitly stated on his wikipedia entry. The box is an hexagonal solid made of corrugated cardboard, much thicker than any other KitKat box I’ve run across. Originally it contained twelve wrapped sets of two standard issue mini bars. I wonder if they’ve ever made a Tarepanda-themed KitKat flavor? Please say the answer is yes.

The entire thing is infused with cuteness. Example:

20120201.04.jpg

This picture? Totally not helping with the Pedobear thing.

Flavorwise, they’re really, really good! (Come on, they’re pancake KitKats.) Opening the foil you get a big whiff of butter and pancake syrup. I’m not sure I’d go so far as to describe it as maple, but it does have the caramelized flavor of a dark syrup. Flavor-wise, it’s spot on. The white chocolate-based coating is very sweet, as usual, but it fits with the flavor this time. I might be imagining things, but I think they’ve cut the sweetness in the wafer section, because it evokes hotcake batter very well (and contrasts nicely with the coating). Also, butter! I’ve been wanting to try a buttery KitKat for a long time, ever since reading about baked potato KitKats (omg, someone please hook a sister up!). All I can say is: I approve.

Sorry this didn’t materialize as the promised Adult Sweetness* entry. I just couldn’t wait.

Also! Yesterday was the seven year anniversary of my very first KitKat entry. Light a candle, okay?

* that will never feel less weird to type.

More Japanese KitKats.


2012.02.02

Lucid (26/365)

20120202.01.jpg

I don’t know what was in the Shrouded Roulette, made this time with Hendrick’s gin, but it was alarmingly delicious. Someday I need to go when Murray is tending bar.


2012.02.03

The Tease

The tease is here saved for posterity, because navigating Facebooks past is a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad experience.

20120203.01.jpg

Picture, caption, picture, caption seems to be what this blog is becoming, lately. I guess if you don’t join tumblr, tumblr joins you. Apparently!

I know, I know, ALL THE KITKATS!

More Japanese KitKats.


Workstation (27/365)

20120203.02.jpg

20120203.03.jpg


I totally ate this yesterday:

20120203.06.jpg

… which is to say, Marination Station (and Mobile) has a new macaroni & cheese, with panko and sesame and gochugaru (Korean red chili flakes). You can even ask them to add Spam, which — of course! — I did. It was super-tasty, and I even scooped a little bit onto my accompanying Spam slider.

This was before Canon (pictured yesterday), so overall it was lovely for a Thursday night.

20120202.02.jpg

Today, I’m slightly crushed. I made Meyer lemon bars tonight but Uwajimaya was plum out of Buddha’s hand citron. So no grand experiment this time.


Adult Sweetness KitKats

20120203.04.jpg

20120203.05.jpg

This entry is totally for David, who is constantly reminding me that he’s been waiting for me to get around to these.

Otona no amasa Dark and White KitKats

So I’ve finally found the Men’s Pocky of KitKats — now with less gender stereotyping! “Otona no amasa” means “adult sweetness,” which will probably never, ever get less awkward to type. It at least definitely takes the prize for naughtiest-sounding flavor to date. One’s got a white chocolate coating, the other dark chocolate, but the common element is that between the wafers there are layers of dark chocolate cookie. It’s actually texturally very pleasant! I don’t remember the Cookies+ flavors well enough to compare, but I seem to recall they were a similar kind of thing.

The dark variety is very nice — not as bitter as the Semisweet flavor. Just a nice dark chocolate coating, but paired with the cookie layers the effect is of a very subdued sweetness and two distinct but harmonious chocolate flavors.

The coating of the white, on the other hand, seems to be the same as the standard white chocolate KitKat. However, it also pairs well with the cookie filling to create an overall, nicely balanced sweetness. I thought it was interesting to compare this flavor with the recently-sampled Cookies & Cream; despite my expectations, the coatings really didn’t have much in common other than color. That other flavor also had cookie crumbs mixed into the coating, which was a nice effect, while this one pretty much evoked straight cocoa butter rather than something more dairy-like.

And may I just say the way that the cookie part crunches in the mouth is really satisfying? Funny how a little thing like that makes these tiny bars seem so much more substantial.

20120203.07.jpg

Nestle seems to consider these flavors to be a thing, since I’ve seen them in all sorts of packaging: a standard box containing four full-size bars, a slightly larger box containing six mini bars, and a large bag containing twenty-six mini bars (all wrapped in pairs). Maybe these flavors will stick around for the long haul? I hope so.

Maybe in a related note, you might be able to find these locally, more easily than usual. I’ve seen them at all three Uwajimaya locations in the Seattle area, which usually don’t get any interesting KitKat flavors. So keep an eye out.

Happy, David? ♥

More Japanese KitKats.


2012.02.04

The sunken city (28/365)

20120204.01.jpg


The best thing about John Hodgman’s audiobook for More Information Than You Require is when he silently shifts gears from random fake trivia to introspection, and these bits of beauty just emerge, almost in spite of his efforts. Sure, the funny stuff is amusing, but it’s when you suddenly realize he’s distilled some universal truth from a seemingly cheap anecdote that you become aware there’s something else going on entirely. And while you’re reeling from that punch in the gut, Jonathan Coulton starts singing “The Battle of Galactica.”

So, I just heard his “Slingshot” piece from This American Life (you can listen here), and if you want that entire earlier paragraph in concentrate form (minus Coulton), well, that’s that. You’re welcome.

In other news, I just logged onto my library’s web site, clicked a button and had 1Q84 beamed to my Kindle for 21 days, for free. How cool is that? And I should probably mention here that KCLS also has the More Information audiobook for digital download, too. Which, you know. Just do it already.


20120204.02.jpg


2012.02.05

Coral Blaze (29/365)

20120205.01.jpg

Oh, is something else happening today? I hope it has something to do with cupcakes.


2012.02.06

STAIR (30/365)

20120206.01.jpg

Lines and motion. But I do keep going back to those red shoes.

Sometime in the last week, I went over a million views of my photos on flickr. I’m having a hard time comprehending that.

Oh, and I updated my Adult Sweetness KitKat entry with a picture of what the inside of the bars looks like, because the people demanded it (I’m looking at you, Don and David).


Speaking of yesterday, it wasn’t about cupcakes at all. Rather, something something about BUTT MEETINGS.

That’s not to say I didn’t actually have a cupcake, because I did — specifically, this delicious thing from Trophy, which I do recommend:

20120206.02.png

Nom.


Yubari Melon KitKats

20120206.03.jpg

Yubari Melon KitKats

If you’ve ever been in South Korea or Japan, one of the surprising things you might notice is how much melons cost at supermarkets. It’s insane! And wow, do they love their melons. The Yubari King Melon is a cantaloupe variety from Hokkaido which sells for $50 - $100 in Japanese department stores, and now there’s a regional limited edition KitKat as well.

This colorful box contains four full-size bars, wrapped in pairs. I usually tend to prefer the more elegant box designs, but this one is just so warm and happy and gaudy that I can’t help but like it. Which is interesting, because you never hear about Hokkaido being warm at all. Snow, yes, and sheep. Wild sheep chases. And sheep men.

Anyway!

One thing that Nestle does really well is that first whiff of fragrance when you tear open the foil wrapping. This one is no exception, with a bright, clearly identifiable melon aroma. The color is a little strange, a rich reddish-brown, with little hints of bright orange near the corners. Texture-wise, the chocolate seems a little firmer, waxier maybe, than other Japanese KitKats I’ve had recently.

Biting in, the taste is really quite nice, an initial hit of milk chocolate giving way to a pretty spot-on cantaloupe flavor. I have to comment on the size as well: it’s been so long since I had a full-size KitKat that I’d forgotten how much bigger they are! Having that much more helped me appreciate the flavor in a way that’s hard with, say, a tiny petit-sized bar.

My only gripe was a lingering aftertaste that turned a bit unpleasant after a minute or so. You might want to chase these with a glass of water.

By the way, there was a time I would’ve thought this was the grossest thing ever. When I was young I actually used to gag on the flavor of honeydew and cataloupe. Can you imagine? Luckily, this is one of those things that has gotten better as I get older. Mmm, melons.

More Japanese KitKats.


2012.02.07

FOR SCIENCE

20120207.01.jpg

Yes, this is a Jack in the Box bacon milkshake. Yes, I bought and tasted this. For science. You monster.

It was… it was… surprisingly inoffensive! The bacon flavor (provided by Torani syrup, from what I understand) wasn’t particularly fake-tasting, and in fact the whole thing tasted exactly like a Frost smokey bacon maple bar — if said bar were liquified and sucked through a straw, that is. I threw it away after a few sips, but that was for the sake of my diet, not because I was gripped by disgust.

Speaking of disgust: no, I didn’t have a Jumbaco, although I may have had two thirds of a Jumbaco. If anything, that was the mistake of my day.

In related news, yesterday’s Bizarre Foods America was about Seattle. Seattle! I was thinking, how bizarre can you actually get in Seattle? Oh, look, he’s at Marination. Now he’s at the first Starbucks. Tasty, but not especially biz… Aaaand now he’s eating a raw cow placenta. Okay.


Lander (31/365)

20120207.02.jpg

I really don’t know how to follow up that last entry. So I won’t try. Here’s a picture!

Did I mention I’m sick? Another way in which SCIENCE was probably not a great idea. I do hope I’m better tomorrow — my throat isn’t being very encouraging at the moment.


2012.02.08

909 (32/365)

20120208.01.jpg

20120208.02.jpg

I didn’t know you could use that much glass and still create brutalist architecture, but apparently it’s possible. On the sunny side, you can get a margarita made with Tang downstairs, as well as a pretty amazing burger.

Who would have thought? Bellevue is slowly becoming a burger mecca, between John Howie, two weekly stops for Skillet, and! A couple months ago I was talking with the woman working the counter at Katsu Burger, and she said maybe a year from then we might be having that conversation in Bellevue.

Katsu. Burger. OMG! I haven’t written here about Katsu Burger yet, have I? Something for the backlog.


2012.02.09

Hopper in India (33/365)

20120209.01.jpg


Three things:

1. It is a disaster that Top Foods/Haggen was selling pints of Häagen-Dazs ice cream today at $1.13 each.

2. Häagen-Dazs’ limited edition blueberry crumble ice cream is actually really, really good.

3. Omg, the nametag on the Transylvanian Ambassador’s desk on 30 Rock says C. Cjokula!

It’s totally disrespectful of me, but I can’t stop thinking the soda coolers in today’s photo look like grills. I put this all the way down here because I didn’t want to wreck the mood.

Worst. Entry. Ever.


2012.02.10

Plume (34/365)

20120210.01.jpg

Was hoping to do a photo walk today with friends, but weather got in the way (as it has a habit of doing). Maybe next week!


Started playing Kingdoms of Amalur last night, and it seems very promising. It’s definitely beautiful, but only two hours in I’m hesitant to make any more judgments. I’ve been taking a break from video games lately (ever since I took an arrow to the knee, natch), but even if Amalur doesn’t take, I’m sure Mass Effect 3 next month will put an end to that.


Matcha Latte KitKats

20120210.04.jpg

Matcha Latte KitKats

Once upon a time, there were Matcha Green Tea KitKats, which will always be one of my all-time favorites. Then there were these. Finally, almost a year ago, I got a bag of minis at Uwajimaya that contained both Matcha and Matcha Latte KitKats, and (because I am nothing if not prompt) I’m only now getting around to writing them up.

(Sadly, I’ve completely forgotten everything about the KitKats with the reclining woman on the wrapping, so unless I find them again, that’s lost to history. However they tasted, I’m guessing they were far more glamorous, thin, and popular than me.)

The basic difference between the two flavors, which will become more relevant in a moment, is that the Latte KitKats were a whole lot sweeter than the non-Latte ones. Much too sweet for my taste*, in fact, and I do clearly remember thinking it was my least favorite of the four flavors from that day.

*As a total aside, this may come as a total surprise to you, but I’ve never really had much of a sweet tooth. Now, I’m the KitKat lady. If you can figure out how that happened, let me know — I’ll hit you up for career advice.


20120210.03.jpg

Sakura Matcha Latte KitKats

So, parallels. In January, I reported on Sakura Matcha KitKats, which I noted were “nicely balanced, but far less memorable [than plain Matcha].” Well, it wasn’t very long afterwards that I found this box of a Latte variant at Candyland in Richmond, containing six pairs of mini-mini bars (the same form factor we saw with Takagi Strawberry Tartes).

Like before, the main difference is that these are noticeably sweeter, but this time it’s not actually a disaster: something about the sweetness brings out more of the grassy matcha notes against the cherry, making the flavor more distinct and pleasant. Still, I wish it weren’t quite so sweet. Enjoyment-wise, this is probably a wash with the non-Latte flavor, but in a much more attractive box.

Shopper’s alert: I just saw these today at Bellevue Uwajimaya, along with bags of Takagi Strawberry Cake mini bars (which I promise will be next). Grab them while you can!

More Japanese KitKats.


2012.02.11

Overhead Door (35/365)

20120211.01.jpg

Just in under the wire. I don’t love it, but I didn’t actually take any other photos with my “good” camera today.


I had a totally romantic, really delicious meal at Poppy today. I can’t believe I’d never been, and I certainly will again. All I have is this terrible picture, but OMG, the duck. Maybe the best thing I’ve ever eaten.

20120211.02.jpg

(Yes, I’m probably exaggerating, and no, I don’t think that really makes a difference.)

My cocktail was also delicious. It was called a “Six Twenty-Two” and was basically a rhubarb-flavored Manhattan. Did I mention I’m totally into Manhattans lately? I blame Canon, and Gene.


2012.02.12

Lattices (36/365)

20120212.04.jpg

One tenth of the way there! Honestly can’t believe I’ve managed it every day so far.

These are from a brief photo stroll in the Central District today. I really need to do these when I have more time. Maybe when the weather’s nicer.

20120212.01.jpg

20120212.02.jpg

20120212.03.jpg


2012.02.13

C (37/365)

20120213.01.jpg

It’s just a building label in a nondescript office park, but I drive by it every day and each time I swoon a little bit over the proportions and the lines of the “C,” the striking color, and… Okay, I gave myself away a little bit there. Deep breath.

At least Jill understands.


2012.02.14

Valentine (38/365)

20120214.01.jpg

Yes, I am a cliché. No, I didn’t have any other ideas. Sorry.

I do hope you’re taking care, whomever you’re with, or without. That’s all that matters. If you need a heartbomb, let me know.


2012.02.15

Marymoor Photowalk (39/365)

20120215.01.jpg

Holy photobomb, Batman!

Today I went on my first honest-to-goodness photowalk in what seems like forever, with two friends from work. It was so much fun! We caught some unexpected sunshine at Marymoor Park, where the Cavalia tents are set up and people were enjoying the rays on the sports fields.

I’m going to keep the commentary to a minimum, but feel free to ask below about anything if you want.

Can’t wait for the next one, whatever it is!


20120215.02.jpg

20120215.03.jpg

20120215.04.jpg

20120215.05.jpg

20120215.06.jpg

20120215.07.jpg

20120215.08.jpg

… I just can’t get enough of these “1” signs.


2012.02.16

Monoliths (40/365)

20120216.01.jpg

I uploaded two more in addition today, but I’m too tired to put them here.

I’m this close to burning out, I think. It’s a scary feeling.


2012.02.17

Terminal (41/365)

20120217.01.jpg

I totally blew out the background in this photo, which makes me really unhappy. But it’s the only shot I took today, and something has to go up.

I’m feeling a little better today, even though I totally threw out my back IN THE MOST RIDICULOUS WAY POSSIBLE* last night and it hurts to sit down or stand up. Tomorrow I’m hoping to see The Secret World of Arrietty, because movie theatre seats are obviously going to be the most comfortable thing I can do for myself in this state. Afterwards, I’m thinking the rack.

Also. Mass. Effect. 3. Demo.

*which may or may not prominently feature PANTS.


Dom has a writeup of the Rilakkuma KitKats up at Skillet Doux! (My own is still here)


2012.02.18

Secret World (42/365)

20120218.01.jpg

Another only-photo-I-took-today day, a chance shot I snapped on the escalator down from seeing The Secret World of Arrietty. Deciding to take a picture on an escalator is a fun exercise in unpredictability — by the time I had my camera out and ready the shot was nothing like the one I’d started acting on.

Yes, I realize I could have just gone up and down again. Yes.


20120218.02.jpg

Arrietty was really good, I thought. It’s a placid, nostalgic film in the vein of Totoro and Whisper of the Heart, in which the conflict, such as it is, is on a decidedly personal scale (though of no less import to the characters involved). This is an ordinary world touched with magic, rather than in the other kind of Ghibli movie, in which epic adventure epic something somethings, sometimes with airships. I don’t have a problem with that kind of grandiosity, but it seems harder, somehow, to do it this way.

Miyazaki scripted this movie and didn’t direct, but like Whisper, you can very much feel his hand in it. I don’t want to take anything away from Yonebayashi, the director, because I don’t know which parts came from whom, but there’s a definite Miyazaki-ness about the movie that you don’t really get in, say, Ghibli’s Takahata films. This is a movie suffused with scenes of nature. It’s filled with ghosts of family history and past heartbreak. It’s set entirely in a place untouched by time in the middle of encroaching urban sprawl. In fact, if it weren’t for the bookend scenes of cars and travel, you might not even be able to place it in any specific where or when at all, which I love. As it is, I loved the weirdness of a film clearly set in Japan having mostly western-named characters, and not caring about that at all.

Also a Miyazaki hallmark: A great female protagonist. Though for once, she has awesome hair. I wonder if that was Yonebayashi’s influence?

(Yes, I’m ashamed for fixating on that. But seriously, her hair is awesome, although maybe second to the heroine in Disney/Pixar’s Brave trailer, which played beforehand.)

The score by Cecile Corbel was really nice. It actually was reminiscent of Joe Hisaishi’s early, charming scores for Totoro and Kiki, but with a little touch of Celtic flair. Lots of harp, which I liked. The sung music was stranger, especially at the end of the movie: “I am fourteen years old / I am pretty” — really? And the song about “Summer love with my best friend” that closed the credits was hilariously inappropriate, but I guess I understand why after discovering it was sung by Bridgit Mendler, who voiced Arrietty. She did a really superb job with the voice acting, and as someone who usually hates dubs, I figure that gives her license for at least one terrible song.

Speaking of voice acting, the biggest problem I had was continually hearing Carol Burnett’s voice coming out of the wrong face.

So! All in all, I really liked it. I’m not going to say it’s a contender for best Ghibli movie ever, but it’s worthy of the imprint. The most useful thing I can probably say is that I already want to see it again. But in Japanese this time.

Finally, a disclaimer: I admit I haven’t read The Borrowers, yet, but I hadn’t read Howl’s Moving Castle when I saw that movie either. I will get to it now, I promise.


2012.02.19

Descent (43/365)

20120219.01.jpg

A firefighter descends his ladder after a failed search and rescue operation, east of Alki Beach.

Very surreal to have inadvertently stepped into a news story — especially such a sad one — in the middle of an otherwise crisp, beautiful day. We were there to celebrate a birthday.

20120219.02.jpg

20120219.03.jpg

20120219.04.jpg


2012.02.20

Crease (44/365)

20120220.01.jpg

Not a shower curtain.


KitKat size comparison

As promised a few weeks ago, a size comparison of all kinds of KitKat bars:

20120220.02.jpg

It took a bit of doing gathering all these different sizes together, and I couldn’t actually get ahold of a Japanese Big Kat bar so I’m not sure I can call this 100% representative. I also wasn’t able to get any of the other type of “minis,” which are basically shaped like little balls. I’ve only ever had one bag of those, which were banana flavored, and I sent most of them to Loli, because she is both awesome and likes, um, balls.

Ahem.

The other problem was that I had to open them all for the picture and that meant they had to be eaten. My life sucks, right? (Right.)

As you can see, the mini mini bars are basically two petits put together, which I kind of suspected would be the case. I’m pretty sure also that the standard Japanese bars are more or less the same size as standard American bars. The standards almost seem too big to me now, after so many minis. And the Big Kat is just comically large, like a Starbucks Trente or everything in Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs.

Anyways, I hope this was educational. Mostly, though, I just wanted to use Futura for something.

More Japanese KitKats.


2012.02.22

Steve (45/365)

20120222.01.jpg

Developers!


A day in Microblogging:

Ever since I’ve started thinking of the new Battlestar Galactica as a remake of Macross things have been … different.
I’m not sure it’s even possible for The Voice to jump the shark, but “Special guest judge The Lorax” has to count for something.
Suffering from an intense headache, chills, muscle aches and nausea right now. May be regretting having had expired yogurt for breakfast.
Last night was pretty terrible. Haven’t eaten in 24 hours and still not hungry.
I’m sorry, but how fucked up is it that my first thought the morning after food poisoning was disappointment that I hadn’t lost any weight?

Finally, from West Seattle Blog, an update on Tareq Saade, the diver who was killed near Alki on Sunday.


2012.02.26

Forty-six Fifty

I don’t think I drank my blogging juice last week. Honestly, wasn’t feeling it. I was taking pictures, though! So here are #46 - #50, with commentary.

First, a couple of technological mysteries. Vanlal thought I was doing terrible things to a Dalek, and Loli and Hope were far less delicate. I just… Well, no comment.

20120226.01.jpg

20120226.02.jpg


Since we’re going to be doing thematic clumps, two days of parking garage typography. I love parking garage typography, guys, seriously. I could probably just do 365 of these, if I only had enough parking garages to invade.

20120226.03.jpg

20120226.04.jpg


But seriously, back to teh noms:

20120226.05.jpg



Powered by
Movable Type 5.2
neonepiphany dot com