Booksales and DC weekend

Friday I was later than I planned getting home since I’d gone to the Reston library booksale at lunch (also hit Office Depot and Harris Teeter for a panini sandwich). We left around 6:30, planning on grabbing dinner at on the way to catch Coldplay. Traffic was horrible, even taking the back roads (turned out they’d closed 28 in both directions due to an accident, backing up many roads). We didn’t get to Manassas until close to 8. I had to get gas since I was running low, then we stopped at Tony’s NY pizza for dinner (2 huge slices of pepperoni for me, breaded chicken sub for Jill, greek salad to share). We got back on the road at 8:30, hoping that traffic had cleared out. The opening band went on at 7:30, so I figured Coldplay would go on by then, but it took us another 45 minutes to fight through traffic and park. Still, they hadn’t started – we were in our seats a good 10 minutes before they went on. Great show, all the songs were well received by the sold out crowd. It’s funny, they mentioned playing the HFStival 4 years ago and the so-so reception they got there, but I must admit the band I saw that day only (and 2 days earlier in Boston) only slightly resembles the band we saw Friday. They’ve improved in both songwriting and performing by leaps and bounds since then, and put on quite a show. The enormous yellow baloons they released during “Yellow” were cool, but the best song of the night was “Clocks”, with a really cool sped up ending. We left during the encore, a little delay getting out, but nothing like it would have been if we waited until the end. I’ve read of people taking 4.5 hours to get there and 2+ hours to leave. The night was slightly chilly, good to have jackets.

Saturday was chock full of activities. Got up around 8, walked Illa and made an omelette. At 9AM, the HOA board convened for a compliance walkthrough, and I did my assigned houses and went back for some more. Wrapped up around 10:45, I stopped and went with Jill as we took Illa for his first vet visit (in walking distance, too, so he won’t associate the car with the vet). He was supposed to get vaccinations, but the fax sent from the Malamute folks went AWOL, so he just had a checkup. The vet took some blood for a heartworm test. Illa wasn’t happy about that, but he really didn’t like what came next. The vet discovered that he had been neutered, but they’d left the sutures in. So we had to hold him down while they were removed. After that, we walked home, and I showered, then went to my neurosoma appointment at 1:15. I got to relax for a little while after that and marinated and made some steaks and green beans for dinner, then we left around 6:15 to go to West Falls Church Metro and get to the 9:30 Club and see Girlyman and Dar Williams. Great show, but we got there after Girlyman started and had to leave during the middle of Dar’s acoustic set. Good thing we’ve already made plans to catch them both when they return to the area in November at the Birchmere. We hopped back on the Metro down to Metro Center where we had tickets to see MirrorMask, the new film from Neil Gaiman and Dave McKean. The film was visually stunning, like Dave McKean’s comics brought to life, and a clever script from Neil (BTW, Neil’s going to have the number 1 spot on the NY Times fiction list next week for Anansi Boys). We were tired and bloated (from popcorn and peanut m+ms) after the movie and headed back home.

Sunday was mostly a day to relax, made french toast for breakfast and read the paper while I watched the Redskins beat the Seahawks and Jill did homework. Took Illa for a long walk at halftime, then we left around 4PM to hit the George Mason library booksale (half price Sunday, good if you’re buying hardbacks) and a computer store to get a connector for mom’s mouse (which didn’t work – stoopid Windows), then picked up Mom before meeting Dad and their friends from California for dinner at the Peking Gourmet Inn in Baileys Crossroads. Fabulous meal – I would have had the duck, but it’s best to split between two people, and 3 of us wanted it. So I had the pork with fresh leeks and some egg drop soup. Jill had the curried beef and some leek dumplings. I did get some of the duck, as well as somehting I hadn’t tried before, Szechuan Beef Proper. I found some info on it in a review (also interesting if you want to know what George W. orders):

Szechuan Beef Proper, named when Tsui told a waiter that “this is the proper way to do Szechuan beef,” is an example of why technique is so important to Chinese cooking. Strips of beef are “surf fried,” using a large quantity of oil at extreme temperatures until golden brown, then allowed to cool so it can absorb a sauce before being coated with roasted sesame seeds. “You have to use roasted sesame seeds because they give you a totally different flavor than the raw ones you buy at Giant,” he said.

Really good, and now I’ll have a challenge when we return to see what I order (this is probably the best Chinese place in the DC area). We sat around chatting for a while, then headed home around 9:30. Finally watched last week’s Alias (how could they do that?), then watched some Family Guy before going to bed.