My real 50th birthday present from Gay arrived today. It took 6 weeks from when I ordered them because they are made to order and then shipped from Denmark.
Gay intended for me to get the intriguing Beolab 90 speakers, which were made to commemorate B&O’s 90th year, but I figured that the Beolab 50 speakers are the model to commemorate my 50th year.
They have 7 separate amplifiers in each speaker, one for each driver: 3 mid-range drivers, 3 woofers and 1 tweeter. Each amplifier can be controlled independently and the tweeter has an acoustic lens to change the focal point of the sound to the room and listening position. It’s impressive technology that B&O developed first for the Beolab 90s.
Because they arrived minutes before our Boxing Day get-together, I couldn’t set them up until Friday. They are very heavy, about 140lbs, so they’re hard to move. I had to use furniture moving pads and slide them to where I wanted them. And it took me several hours to get them and the Beosound Core working after doing the B&O iOS app configuration. It’s a long story but I eventually figured that I could reset them — by holding both buttons (Network and WPL) for 15 seconds or so — and they started working. The default volume is 42, that can’t be a coincidence.
They sound fantastic. I only got an hour or so to listen to them before having to pack for Mexico tomorrow.
Gay is running the Stevens Christmas Tree Sale this year after being a volunteer and learning the ropes last year. It’s a surprisingly difficult task to put up an online order system, processing paper checks, managing the orders for all the different types of trees, ordering the trees, getting other volunteers together to work the tree sale, plus the bake sale that goes on at the same time, doing the marketing to make sure people know about it, begging for volunteers to help out with customer service, tree-cutting, tree tying to cars and the deliveries to homes.
Jon (whose kid doesn’t even go to Stevens) and I were one team of delivery drivers. He brought his pickup truck and we delivered trees, including ours, all over Capitol Hill for a few hours tonight. As I thanked the tree buyers for supporting the school, most of which were repeat customers for years, it was nice to hear how much they appreciated the school, sent their kids to the school, etc.
Last day in New Orleans. We started with a brunch at Josephine Estelle and a walk around the CBD/Downtown District, the Warehouse District, down Canal Street, through the French Quarter again and then to Herbsaint for an early dinner before we left for the airport.
The highlight of this meal was one with Fideo noodles, a toasted pasta dish with creamy mustard sauce with tomatoes. We’ve never had it before. Sounds like it wouldn’t be good but it was.
After the 5-hour flight, we got home in Seattle at 10:30pm. The kids were asleep, we let Megan go home and we went right to bed.
It was a great 72 hours. I was impressed with New Orleans when I was in my mid-20s and even moreso this time. It’s fun just walking around the city and experiencing how unique the place is and how friendly the people are. The food, which is wonderful everywhere, the culture and the history make it so special. It was hard to leave, I could have stayed another night. We can’t wait come back with the kids, but maybe we should wait until they’re 21+.
Everyone else went out again for brunch at Atchafalaya, which I’m told was amazing and had a build-your-own Bloody Mary bar. Yum.
But I’m not in New Orleans during football season on a Sunday often, so I wanted to watch a Saints game at a sports bar with locals. If I was smart and had planned ahead, I would have gone to Manning’s Sports Bar & Grill, named for famous Saints QB, Archie Manning, and father of Peyton and Eli, but there were 42+ people waiting ahead of me to get in. So I went alone to The American Sports Saloon. The place was full but a big family of Saints fans let me sit at their table. As a thanks, I bought them a “bucket of beer” (cans of Miller Lite in a bucket of ice, sadly) and nachos. The Saints beat the Buccaneers. After the game, I got a coffee and spent 3 hours walking around the French Quarter by myself enjoying the unique character of the city. Bourbon Street seemed to be cleaned up since my first visit but too touristy and still a little seedy.
Gay met up with me later and we walked home. We had made a reservation at Maison de la Luz for the night, so we packed up and left to check-in there. We had drinks in the hotel bar and then had a late 9:30pm and another great dinner by ourselves at Peche. The group of friends was a lot of fun, but I don’t get many opportunities to have dinner alone with my wife so I needed that.
11pm was too early, so we then met up with everyone else at The Elysian Bar again!
We slept in until 11am. Well, I did, Gay got up and went running. Most of everyone else went to brunch at Cane & Table (like Cain & Abel, get it?). Gay and I got ready, drank coffee and finally left by 1pm to go to the same place, who had just left, and had our own delicious brunch.
The weather was clear but chilly, similar to Seattle’s, about 50°F, thanks to a cold snap that hit the Midwest this week. Apparently, it’s normally 20°F warmer.
We walked around the French Quarter and then to Louis Armstrong Park, where a Gumbo festival was going on with a jazz concert, of course. We stayed there for a while and then walked across town to The Elysian Bar, a very stately bar for cocktails.
After a brief rest at our houses, we all went to Cochon and had a fantastic dinner.
We went back to the French Quarter and hung out on Frenchmen Street in Jazz clubs, got one of every hot dog (except the vegan one) from Dat Dog and we all ate them on the street outside the jazz clubs. Another 4am night for almost everyone.