originally we were going to be all impetuous and drive down to new york city to party all night and drive back tomorrow (i use the word "party" lightly because god knows there's nothing in my body that can sustain anything that resembles a party). but after a day to mull over the idea, we decided against it, whether it was for logistical problems or financial reasons. better just to stay in town! so we kept it simple and met in chinatown at 7pm to 1) buy a birthday present for alex, and 2) go out to dinner. at the designated time i waited by the chinatown gate. i saw a bunch of people rush into hing shing pastry to buy discounted end-of-the-day bread and pastry. i waited for about 20 minutes and was just about to call amanda using the filthy street corner pay phone when she arrived.

financial district
(view from

hing shing pastry

amanda walking

we had wanted to get alex maybe something sanrioesque from one of the many shops along kneeland street, but all of them were closed by the time we got there. instead we headed towards downtown crossing. most of the places in dtx were either closed or closing as well, but we managed to hit the strawberry's for 25 minutes of shopping, where both amanda and i found weird blaxploitation/martial arts movies for good birthday presents. i got alex a movie called buddha assassinator, part of the shaolin dolemite collection (i didn't make that up).

with presents bought, it was time to feed. i was actually very hungry, having only ate a garden salad for lunch, and not even being able to finish it (the slices were too big, large chunks of lettuce and tomatoes that were so huge i had to gnaw on them like a bone). originally i had wanted to go to to chau, but i've been there a few times already this month and wanted to dine someplace else. amanda had a sushi craving so we went to the apollo grille and sushi restaurant.

this was my first time at the apollo where i wasn't having korean bbq. amanda had some vegetarian rolls, while i had the una jun barbecued eel in rice dinner which came with picked cucumbers, seaweed salad, and a bottomless bowl of miso soup. i thought maybe the eel were braised, but they were very soft, which isn't what i like in my fish. i was nevertheless able to eat it just fine because of the heavy barbecue sauce they used to cook the eel.

dinner conversation topics included: eyebrow waxing, mystery body rash, my horrible bathroom story that ended with toilet water splashing in my face, sensationless body parts, dead fish, whether a pickle has to be a cucumber or can it also be a finger, and plastic surgery.

amanda left me a slice of sushi, which i ate along with the rest of the leftover wasabi and several slices of ginger. i thought i had a good handle on it when i put it in my mouth, but seconds later the pungent aroma of the horse radish kicked me in the face and i was coughing and turning red and tearing from the pain.

after dinner, amanda asked, "where do you want to do next? the sex shop?" "let's go," i quickly replied. we took a tour of the liberty bookstore, where each purchase you make is a tribute to liberty and a direct challenge to terrorists who would want to challenge our american way of life. i won't go into much details, but suffice to say that the inside of the bookstore is actually quite large (something you don't see from looking outside). nothing there really shocked me, nothing i haven't seen before either on the web or elsewhere. the scat videos did get me to raise my eyebrows and the toys made me feel inadequate. i learned that blow-up dolls are expensive ($100), but not as expensive as life-like functional replicas of female pornstars' nether regions ($350). there are also private viewing booths that looked like animal stalls, with a few of them emitting strange noises that either sounded like seagulls cawing or a rooster crowing (but it wasn't). the clientele was almost exclusively men, with amanda being the only woman inside the store (other than the ladies working the 25¢ booths). when we left, there was a bridge over troubled waters van parked outside. for those who don't know, botw is an organization founded to help teen runaways and homeless youths living on the streets. when we walked out the store, a man in the van shot us a disapproving look.

we wandered around looking for a coffee shop, trading barrages of mother/father jokes along the way, amanda occasionally calling me by a new inappropriate nickname she coined. finally we found a place close to park street that served seattle's best coffee. i ordered a chai latte and was chastised by amanda for getting a "girl's drink." but i like it! i wonder if there's any caffeine in those things? we sat down, amanda frantically gesturing for me to take a photo of a woman wearing leggings over her socks. we were only seated for a few minutes before they closed up the place at 10pm and drove everyone out into the cold.

we parted at the dtx t station and made tentative arrangements for tomorrow to either meet beforehand or at alex's birthday gathering.