Catch, Slurp and Noodle

The weekend passes in a blur of coloured lights in sets of three
I'm still recovering from the past weekend. Goodness, the next weekend is almost upon us, and I've yet to report on what happened in the last one. It was a complete whirl of activities that left me completely undone, but it was also a very lucrative weekend too, especially when the results of last weekend's dinner are counted in. I begin to understand why there's so much interest in buying shoeboxes - in the context of real estate that is. It's not so much the thrill of speculation over potential increases in land prices, nor the safety in diversifying your investments to include land. Those are nothing as compared to the gifts - the wonderful house-warming gifts that are showered upon you when you buy and move. Why, it's quite obvious that I will have to move more often - NC will be happy to hear this - but perhaps not quite so soon.

Past laksa gatherings - the only thing that remains is the table cloth
On Friday, there was a gathering of the OCKs, and the OOOCK (formerly the SOCK) to dine on laksa. Broth had been brewing for days, and it was a mad rush to prepare the little bits and pieces of nothing which together add up to more than the sum of the whole or some such saying. All the slicing, dicing, peeling and soaking. My poor hands - if they weren't arthritic then, they are now. So fortunate that the ICBs gave me such large wine glasses. You see, they found my original glasses too small, and it hurt their feeble little wrists pouring their wine too often. With them, I've often noticed that the quality of wines make exponential leaps with the volume drunk, so in a mad sort of way, they save  money when then drink lots and lots of plonk. It's all got to do with perception.

The essence if not the spirits of New York City
Anyway, they were late. Well, at least, ONE was late, and that made the other late, so late that the other other two gave up and poured themselves into a taxi and toodled over making remarks about the drinks (fermented potato peels) the late Queen Mother drank. The OOOCK was here on the dot as is his wont and although he practically promised to bring over fine Canadian hunks, he didn't. Instead, hunks of fine Canadian cheese (I must have misunderstood his e-mail) were brought over by him, and he sat quietly slicing the cheeses (a light blue) and a lovely salty one from Creston to be had with bread from Two Matchsticks. However, the OOOCK didn't drink because he was giving his liver a chance to breathe. This happens every now and again, although I seem to notice that it happens mostly when he's back from a trip to New York City. Too many drinking establishments there, I suspect, or perhaps drinking companions.

True blue light
When DWE and ML finally arrived, I saw ML shade his eyes hurriedly and for good reason because I'd set the lights on bright and white - two things that go against ML's philosophy of light. He likes warm light, set on low. In fact he's pretty much bought out Vancouver's supply of incandescent bulbs - you know, the ones that are slated to go out of production by 2015 or something. So, I went over to him and expressed my condolences about the brightness and whiteness of the light, and before he could tell me that I really  should get dimmer switches (it took him 5 years before DWA got his switches) for my lights, I whipped out my phone, and selected "Deep Sea" from the menu of the Hue application, and we were suddenly bathed in calming, relaxing and balmy blue. He gasped, and gasped again when with the caress of a finger, I dimmed the lights, and the with another motion, turned the lights a low, warm, almost like caramel, colour - a setting I've named ML mode.

BC Place puts on its best light
How did I do this? Well, you see, the lovely Dr. Cs and RB had given me a starter pack of the new Philips Hue Lights for a house warming gift. It consists of three LED lights (hence the 80% drop in my lighting bill) which have a sensor in them that is connected to a router bridge thingy (RP knows all about it because he helped to set it up) and from there, the bulbs are linked virtually to my Galaxy Nexus phone.

What hue are hugh, Hugh?
Each bulb can be tuned to a shade chosen from a palette of 16 million colours. You can set 1, 2  or all 3 bulbs to different colours at different intensities. You can dim them all at the same time or individually. It's a wonderful system, and so much more convenient than having dimmer switches and you can do so much with it. You can even upload pictures and select colours from the picture so as to re-create the ambience of the photo - to retrieve the memory associated with the photo that is. Me, the first thing I did was to choose the pinky colours that all the 5 - star airlines use in their First Class Cabins to soothe and relax you. I fully intend to buy more bulbs as soon as they're available - the app can control up to 50 bulbs. The light show at BC Place will have competition yet.

Broth that would cut through laminate floors
In any case the late ones finally appeared and there was much slurping of noodles and going back and forth between the pot and the table. Fortunately no spills were made - not even the strongest laminate floor would resist the broth. There was much chatter and the usual rants and raves about travel, trips to Italy, and gift exchanges on Pender Island with DWA's ex, the fan. Mushrooms - the smoking kind - you see played a role in one of their Pender island visits. I'm just glad that I wasn't there to see the fan dancing for DWA. But perhaps it was a Dyson fan, not a regular one with blades - well, in that case, it might have been quite worth it.

Barista Bot is in ecstasy with his new toys.
Then on Sunday, a repeat of the dinner except that on this occasion, PJ, LL, the Shark and her consort were there to dine. And dine we did, except this particular broth had no prawns in it for the Shark, pwore thing, has been deemed allergic to prawns - fancy, a shark that can't eat prawns - and good thing too for the epi-pen was out of date. Be that as it may there were fish balls to make up for it. Dr. Shark brought desserts from Thomas Hass - lovely tarts of assorted flavours and colours. Dinner over, there were more house-warming gifts. The one from Dr. J was an attempt to rescue me from my Instant Coffee drinking habit which I got into so as to be fiscally restrained a la Mark Carney - Goodness, he looks so strict, but so deliciously just and fair. You see, the good Dr. J has recently started grinding his beans with a burr grinder - not one with blades, but one with burrs. And it's a brilliant grinder - so sleek and professional looking - and so it should, after all it's a Bodum. Barista Bot was so very excited to see it and he did a little happy dance all around it.

I got to the fusebox just in time!
In fact, the very next day, he took the grinder apart to check out the burrs. However, in doing this, he did delay the making of the coffee for the rest of the bugdroids, and Escape Ape wasn't too happy about this for if you keep coffee from the Ape, then there's hell to pay. Let's just say that it would have been all fun and games (not really) until someone lost an antennae. Fortunately, I was around and managed to trip the safety fuse just in time, or Barista would have quite the smooth dome now.

In any case, It was a lovely weekend with friends who were so kind to drop off such wonderful gifts. I'm really quite touched - you all really shouldn't have, but I'm glad you did. I'm sure there'll be many more get-togethers with big wine glasses, thin gorilla glasses, coffee made from freshly ground (to the same size) beans, and the perfect colour and intensity of lighting to make us all look younger than we really are.  Thank you once again!