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Seattle Trip #2: Days Five, Six, and… beyond?

November 10, 2017 Leave a comment

Day four was jam-packed with excitement, so sleeping was super easy. Woke up hours later and noticed fairly deep sheet marks on my chest, which means I slept harder than I have in a considerable amount of time. I would love for that to become a regular occurrence. I lounged around, had my breakfast kit-kat, and wondered what the weather was like outside.

(above: snow!)

I looked out the window and saw actual snow falling. In Southern California there have been a handful of times where this has happened, but it falls more like sloppy slush, and it’s already dirty when it lands, then quickly melts away. This show looked like actual flakes, but was melting on contact. Still, having never been to actual snow, I enjoyed looking at it fall.

Lish was up a bit later and we were going to go to Von’s, but she is consistently cold and the idea of dragging her through snowy rain seemed like it would be really selfish of me. But she said we should go, she just needed to gear up for the weather. This involved hauling out a large thick coat and a hood that she modified for maximum utility. Got bundled up and out we went, down to the light rail. The snow was still falling when we got out, but luckily Von’s isn’t too far from there.

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(above: the beloved salmon fish and chips)

I debated ordering something else, just to try a new item. But we agreed that after I’d talked about this one repeatedly, it would be wrong not to get it. So I did, and it was wonderful. Lish had a salad with salmon that also looked delicious. After a bit, we left the warm restaurant and ventured back out into the elements. Hit the light rail and found ourselves a few blocks away from Uwajimaya. I’d gone here alone during my last trip and lost a couple of hours to it. This time, the goal in mind was weird kit-kat flavors. We took what was basically a full lap through the store, and only green tea kit-kats seemed to be there. I didn’t buy any because they taste like grass. Lish got a bunch of various snacks and I got a Meiji bar, then we had a brief trip through the Kinokuniya. It’s really not the kind of place to take someone who has little to no interest in manga, after all.

After getting back home, Rick and Morty was introduced to me, and it’s amusing so we watched a few episodes. Then we tried to find some two-player games to fiddle with. I think the one we spent the most time with was Bubble Bath Babes on the NES, which isn’t great, but you can see what they were going for with it. A little while later, Lish’s friend James showed up and we all chatted for a bit. Then we watched a movie called Happiness, which, I expected something unusual given the tone of how they were presenting it to me. It’s unusual, all right. Pretty good movie, but most of all I’m surprised that I hadn’t heard of it prior to this, especially after spending years in the anime shop and being introduced to all kinds of obscure things through working there.

When the movie was done, James left and I talked a bit longer with Lish before it was bedtime. I was glad she had gone out into the cold with me to do things, but I still felt somewhat guilty about it. Told her to stay extra warm tonight, said goodnight, and promptly passed out hard on the couch, bringing day five to an end.

Day six saw me wake up early yet again, but the sleep was so good that it didn’t matter, because I felt well-rested. Today was basically a bonus day. When I was booking the flights, Lish said she would like a day or two after I left, to just have to herself. Leaving on Friday would’ve been an additional $49, while leaving Saturday was an additional $.07. How does that work? So while I was already sad about leaving, I had to keep in mind that I could’ve been back a whole day earlier. Didn’t stop me from tearing up, on a total Pavlovian level. Felt slightly embarrassed about it, but then again, I didn’t.

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(above: Americana, good eats)

I had my Meiji bar for breakfast before Lish was up, then we went to a place called Americana for actual breakfast food. I’d never had french toast up to that point, so that was the main point of the visit. As it turns out, that stuff is pretty great, though I forgot to take a picture of it. The stuff in the photo above was also good. I did the “orange slice over the teeth” thing because I can’t not do it. Then Lish did it and it was just about the cutest thing ever. Have I mentioned that she’s cute? Alarmingly so, even? Yeah. Still is.

Went back to her place for the last little bit of visiting and it’s such a strange feeling to be in a place and just… be good. To think that I started posting stuff on YT to kill time so I didn’t have to dwell on being my myself all the time, and through that, meeting someone that’s really great and intelligent and insightful and fun and all these other things, to the point that I would go get on a plane to be around them. Multiple times, even? Well worth it. Lish is and continues to be one of the best people I’ve come to know and I feel like I’m better off for having known her. But that just makes leaving that much harder. Sure enough, the time came to get to the airport and she did avoid the carpool lane so we’d have a little bit longer together, but it was still sad to watch her pull away and see the car disappear. I walked into the airport and wondered, “what if something happened and I had to stay here?”

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(above: I’m interested in a later flight scheduled for never, yes)

The airport was fairly busy, but I got through TSA, took a shuttle to another part of the building, then found my gate and hung out. This part of the trip is the worst. The time crawls and then no one knows how to get on a plane, and we actually took off late. I sat quietly and the wi-fi wasn’t allowing me to view any web pages this time, so I just read through old text message conversations to pass the time.

(above: Lish sent me back with a friend, boo CA airport boooo)

Landed on time, but just like no one knows how to get on a plane, getting off the plane seems to be even harder for them. I didn’t pick my seat, and being in the back is okay, but they should really have you pass a physical challenge before you board the plane. If you perform well, you can get a sticker that says, “I’m a fan of efficiency” and you’re given preferential treatment for exiting the plane. Like an express lane for people who have things to do. Finally got off the plane, found my bag, found my father there waiting for me, and we headed down the road. Bought him dinner and found myself home not long after, and while there’s a certain good feeling about being back in your own bed and using your own shower, I still wished I was up there hanging out with Lish and exchanging stories about anything and everything. She sent me home with a pothos plant, which is currently sitting in water and I’m waiting for it to show roots. It isn’t the same as being there, but at least it’s a small piece to take back with me.

Overall, it was a great trip that I enjoyed. I walked way too long because I’m stubborn about seeing things on foot, I twisted my ankle, I got violated by Dick’s, I dropped a 45-second fart all up in her living room, and it all felt super minor in comparison to the fun and excitement over the course of those days. Even something as basic as walking down a street becomes a fun adventure when she’s there. So now the question is, when can I go back again?

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Epilogue: So I got back on Saturday, and Sunday morning I’m sitting here pouting hard. The phone rings and I don’t answer it because I don’t recognize the number. They leave a voicemail, and it’s the hiring manager lady at the first location I went to. Calling on a Sunday, what the hell? I call back and we start talking transfer. She wants to make it happen. I went back to work Tuesday night, so Wednesday morning I hit my boss up about it. He says most of the work will be on their end, but he gives me a transfer form and says if I fill it out, he’ll fax it along. I get home Wednesday and call the lady in Seattle, who says that I don’t even need to fill it out, that she’ll let her HR person know to try and push it through. We discuss a pay rate and a starting date, so while none of this is in any way concrete yet, if everything goes smoothly, I could be relocating in the very near future. This is scary as shit, because what do I know about moving to a different state and having it actually work? But it’s also super exciting, and knowing I already have a terrific friend there makes me look forward to the future up there.

What a big adventure!

Categories: Misc.

Seattle Trip #2: Day Four

November 10, 2017 Leave a comment

Day four started by waking up early, getting ready, then lounging around until Lish was up and ready to roll. We headed out and some man in her building said hello, and commented that he was, “happier’n a gopher in soft dirt.” My grandfather’s equivalent was “shittin’ in tall cotton.” No idea why either is a good thing, but no one ever said sayings have to make sense. We got into the car and headed out on a wonderfully grey morning.

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(above: water!)

I don’t know the geography, but we were heading out of town, and crossing over water was neat. Plus I just feel better physically when I’m near open bodies of water, zero clue as to why that is. We drove a bit and exchanged stories, then she took me to a Chick-fil-A, which I’d never been to before. There’s one near where I live, but after reading her journal and seeing this place given such good marks, I wanted my first time to be with her. As expected, if it’s something she praises, it’s tasty. I think it’s the kind of place where I could potentially get myself in trouble while ordering, as I tend to have eyes larger than my stomach. Would go again, for sure.

The original plan was to go there, then to a movie, but there was a chunk of time between the two. Lish was debating what to do with said time, and I’m kind of up for anything since I know so little about the area, even just driving around is okay with me. Then her eyes lit up and she goes, “do you want to go to the reptile zoo?” I said sure, and we headed down the highway until we got there.

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(above: the name pretty much speaks for itself, yes?)

So, the reptile zoo is really cool. When I hear the word “zoo,” my brain immediately thinks of news stories that either cover mistreatment of animals, or idiots climbing into tiger cages and being eaten. Neither of those are applicable here. The people running the show seem legitimately glad to be there and enjoy taking good care of every living thing inside. Everything looked to be clean and as far as I could tell, all of the animals were happy and healthy. Nothing to complain about there, which was good to see.

(above: leaf insects, albino alligator, caiman lizard)

(above: huge alligator, king cobra, two-headed turtle)

Going to this place with Lish was a good thing. I would look at some animal and she would tell me about it, then a glance at the little information sign on the tank would confirm everything she’d just said. It’s cool to look at these creatures just doing their thing, but I feel like if I had been here alone, I wouldn’t have gotten nearly as much out of it. Plus, I admire Lish’s knowledge on so many subjects, so getting to see her flex that kept me smiling the whole time.

They have the ten most venomous snakes in the world, a bunch of other cool snakes, giant lizards, various insects like the cool leaf insects, and then this humongous-ass alligator. It just hung out under the heat lamps and we looked for a moment, then walked on. It jumped down into the portion of the tank with water in it, and I thought something had crashed into the building, from the noise it made. I feel bad for anything that tries to escape one of those guys in the wild. It was fun to just go through and try to spot each tank’s inhabitant, because sometimes they go into hiding spots or blend into the scenery quite well. After about an hour, we had seen everything except for an anaconda that was sleeping off in the corner, but its tank was huge and I can only guess it was the largest snake there.

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(above: d-box is pretty dumb!)

We left the reptile zoo and headed for the movie theater. Lish had mentioned going to an IMAX and I’ve never been, but I asked if she’d seen a movie in D-Box and neither of us had, so that was today’s moviegoing goal. Once inside, we found the D-Box seats, which are in a normal theater but make up two full rows and the rest of the seats are just regular ones. The D-Box seats are fewer per row, due to what’s involved in each seat: actuators and an adjustable rumble meter. So while you’re watching a movie, the seat will rumble when things happen, but will also lean in all directions depending on what’s happening on-screen. A car drives by, it leans in that direction. A person looks up or down, the seat cranes to give that sense of being there. All told, it’s a really silly gimmick that doesn’t *really* add much to the experience, but it was pretty fun to try once. Oh, and we saw Jigsaw, which I found entertaining despite having only watched the first Saw movie previously. Lish liked it more than she had expected to as well, so between the goofy factor of these movie seats and the movie itself turning out nicely, that was a thumbs-up theater experience.

From there, we headed back into Seattle and caught a bit of the afternoon traffic. Having driven from Orange County to Riverside County in the afternoons before, Seattle traffic is kind of nothing in comparison. I’m sure it has its days and its trouble spots like any traffic system, but it felt smooth and we made good time getting back into the city. Stopped off at a place called Rancho Bravo for some Mexican food, where Lish had a taco (I think chicken?) and I had a beef burrito with black beans that hit the spot. A well-made burrito can fill you up for an entire day, and I think that place makes a great one. Got back home and dropped the car off, then hopped on the light rail and made our way downtown.

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(above: Seattle underground, not my photo)

The night’s destination was the Seattle Underworld tour; it’s similar to the normal Underground tour, but plays a little more blue. We got a little turned around on the way there for a minute and had to recalculate directions, but made it with time to spare. The tour guide was pretty funny and Lish was chiming in with some pretty good one-liners that the guy said he might add to his future tours. It was interesting to see what is essentially a similar tour to the one we’d taken last time, but the different presentation and subject matter made it feel new despite walking the same underground paths again. The whole concept of how the city was built is fascinating and listening to it is fun. Of course, being there with Lish was extra fun because she is quick and witty anyway, but her and the tour guide playing off each other was just great. I think the tour was around an hour, but it felt like it flew by. We found ourselves back outside after the tour and I was tasked with finding the rail station, which we did with only being in minimal rain. Seattle rain doesn’t seem to fall as fast or hard as it does in Southern California, so even though you’re getting wet, it isn’t instantly annoying. Made it back to our home station, hopped through the QFC so I could get some sugar (a kit-kat) and then it was back home.

(above: T.G.I.F. rubber match)

Since we were currently tied 1-1 in T.G.I.F., the time had arrived for the rubber match. The results were as so, placing me in a 2-1 lead. But it feels unclean since Lish got robbed on the Treasure Hunt in the second game. I added up the totals of all three games, and the score is 137,717 to 135,706. That’s barely over 2000, so I’m thinking we need to either start over clean, or do best four of seven. We shall see, but future battles will still be fun to talk smack and act like we have powers over the RNG.

Not long after this, it was time to call it a day. But what a day it was, completely full of cool things from start to finish, spent with someone that kinda just makes everything better. Went to sleep feeling tired in a good way, and happy yet again.

Last entry for this trip can be found here.

Categories: Misc.

Seattle Trip #2: Day Three

November 10, 2017 Leave a comment

Woke up on the morning of day three, and found myself far more sore than anticipated. Walking that long the day before was probably unwise, doing part of it with a twisted ankle, even less so. The original plan was to go to work with Lish and then go up and to the west from there, since that was all unexplored territory for me, and if I got too wiped out, the option was always there to go back home and rest. But the more I thought about it, the more it sounded like a better idea to just stay in and rest up. Lish said that I had accomplished a good amount the day before, and didn’t seem to disapprove of the idea of me resting up. She went on to work and I vegetated pretty hard, and enjoyed a particularly nice hot bath. I watched some videos of something I don’t remember now, and then I started to feel like I’d regret burning an entire day without leaving the house for at least a little while.

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(above: I should live on this street, it makes total sense)

I wandered to the north (I think?) for a little while, taking note of ‘for rent’ and ‘now leasing’ signs, until I noticed the road starting to go uphill. Took a right, and that road soon went uphill as well. I headed back down and just slowly looked at the restaurants and shops as I passed by. Then it occurred to me that food was a thing that should probably happen sometime soon. Lish had mentioned going for lunch with a coworker that day, so I figured she might not be hungry when she got home, so I shouldn’t be, either. “I know you worked all day and you’re tired, but I sat here like a lazy dick, let’s go walk some more so I can inhale something!” That would just be poor form, right?

(above: the undoing of one’s digestive system, pre-disaster)

Found myself at the mystery machine again, and this time I was given a soda that I had somehow missed the existence of: cherry vanilla Pepsi. It wasn’t horrible, but I doubt I’d seek it out as a main go-to soda. Then I wandered down the street a little ways to the fabled Dick’s, and I wanted to know for myself. I had been warned beforehand that this barely resembled food, but it was the perfect place to go by myself. They opened and there were multiple lines, which I didn’t understand, but then they opened multiple windows to speed things up, then it made total sense. The service was very fast, which is always nice. I’ve heard that Dick’s doesn’t do special orders, which I guess is in the name of efficiency? I got fries and a deluxe burger, and shuffled back to eat at home.

On the way back, I stopped in a QFC store for something sweet. My overall intake during this trip is like 25% of what I’d be eating at home, and I was jonesing hard for sugar. I wanted a donut but wound up going with a snickers bar and some drinks. That QFC is cool, they have an upper level for the GM and liquor, then a downstairs with various housewares. I like the multi-level buildings, like the three-story Target. It’s a neat change from the sprawling monstrosities around where I live now.

Got back home and ate, and Dick’s is not bad as far as fast food hamburgers go. At least initially. About 90 minutes later or so, I was in the throes of gastrointestinal dismay, and could only point to Dick’s as the culprit. It couldn’t be Marrakesh because that was over twelve hours since then, and so yet another case where I thought, “you should’ve just taken her word for it, you dummy.” Let that situation take its course and by the time Lish got home, I was mostly feeling better. Still sore from walking, but no longer hurting internally.

She cleaned her snake tanks and I sat on the floor with one of them as he coiled around me. Snakes are pretty interesting to watch as they move and how they react to being touched. I don’t know a great deal about snakes in general, but don’t have the “snakes are slimy/scary” mindsets that other people tend to have. From there, we watched a bunch of videos, including a batch of way-too-long videos on the mobile Crazy Taxi clicker game. Dinner was leftovers, and then we went to the frozen yogurt place but I opted to pass and take it easy on my poor insides.

Got back and watched some more stuff, then turned in early because the next day was sure to be busy. Overall, it wasn’t a bad day. I probably could’ve made more constructive use of the morning time, but I figured that this would be what an actual day would be like if I lived up there and still worked overnight. Definitely seemed like something I could be okay with, even if the idea of eventually getting off this overnight schedule is a goal as well, as I enjoy sleeping at night and not being backwards to the rest of the world.

Day four recap can be found here.

Categories: Misc.

Seattle Trip #2: Day Two

November 9, 2017 Leave a comment

Day two began by waking up early, so I could be ready and out of the way when it was time for Lish to get ready. Once she was, we headed out and she drove us to her work. The drive through town in the early morning was so cool to see; the city is still waking up, so the amount of activity is lower and it feels different somehow, but in a good way. I guess since I’m not used to busy cities, seeing it slowed down felt more familiar to the pace I’m used to? Not sure. We arrived and I went in briefly, saw some people in Halloween costumes along the way. Lish went as a jellyfish, complete with a cute side-shuffle to simulate a jellyfish swimming. She asked if I needed anything and I didn’t, so I was off on my own to explore, but with a goal in mind this time: visiting a union local office, and as many of my company’s locations as possible to ask about transfers, fully expecting to get zero good news. So I started walking. Photos incoming –

(above: it’s cold but not too cold. Let’s do this)

Hit the street, loving the weather. 40F is just about as cold as I feel okay being outside in for a long time, seeing my breath and feeling my ears sting a little. Walking through the city and watching folks through shop windows as they set up for the day, or construction workers getting large machines into place, etc.

(above: various things along the way)

As an outsider, the layout of this area is interesting because everything is dense, but still manages to feel open. A glance of a map says something is 11 blocks away, but that can be a walk of less than ten minutes depending on the blocks in question.

(above: Seattle icons)

Had no idea there was a statue for Ken Griffey Jr., but if I were to pick a Mariner to get one, it’s either him or Ichiro, so no argument here. The Starbucks building is massive, and this photo doesn’t even properly illustrate the scale. I wonder what it’s like inside? It has to either be insanely hectic, or far more relaxed than anyone might expect, with no middle ground.

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(above: autumn)

Seeing actual autumn is wonderful. The leaves fall and aren’t already brittle from being burned to death during the summer, and the city has crews that go around to handle such large amounts of cleanup. I saw multiple trucks over the course of this day, sucking up giant piles of leaves and leaving clean sidewalks behind. That’s great.

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(above: where did I start from? Am I even in Seattle any more?)

Crossed a bridge that felt like it went on forever, then turned around to see the city very small and way off in the distance. I had to be getting close, right? I was way out of downtown, and having walked through what was listed as “the industrial district,” I felt like I was in a city from a GTA game. Instead of small restaurants and cool old history, it was a lot of weed shops and places to get linoleum or windows. Also a ton of crossfit gyms. How do those make money?

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(above: your guess is as good as mine)

Made it to the union’s building, in dire need of a restroom. The scene above is what I was met with. What is the use case for a whole other chair in the restroom stall? With no time to really ponder it, I headed upstairs to the office and asked the guy at the desk for some information. He sadly didn’t have much, and the person who could help me, wasn’t in that day. From the sound of what he did say, the union has little to do with transfers, if anything; they just make sure your dues are paid up and if you get a straight transfer, there’s no initiation fee. Good to know, I guess.

Went outside and looked up store locations. Looked like there were three that could reasonably be walked to, so let’s get to the one farthest out, first. Calculate the map and start walking. Even if the industrial district is full of stuff I care zero percent about, it was still neat to walk around and see what was there. Eventually came to the street I needed, which twisted and turned as it went uphill, and looked like it would make a cool level in a Tony Hawk game. Then I came to what is possibly the steepest thing I’ve ever walked up:

These photos don’t make it look too rough, but trust me, this street was legitimately difficult to walk up. If you’re running or walking fast, being out of breath makes sense, but attempting to slowly walk up this sidewalk had the same result. The catch was that stopping meant potentially straightening up, and straightening up meant potentially falling backwards and rolling to your certain demise. The trees were handy leaning posts, and the phrase, “sweet mother of fuck, where is the top of this goddamn thing?” may or may not have been loudly uttered in this quiet neighborhood.

Upon reaching the top of this hill, my directions said to turn left. This meant “turn left and go up some more” because this street was also steep. After going to some distance and not seeing the street listed in the directions, recalculating showed that I had passed the street in question some time ago. Doubled back and went up in the same direction as the first street (I think east, not sure), and found myself in a neighborhood that looked remarkably similar to the starting point in Fallout 4. Kept walking and recalculated yet again, and was given a third entirely different set of directions. This is the first case I’ve had of the maps app not being correct on the first go. A little while later, a street is reached which was on all three versions of the directions, so I knew I was finally back on the right track.

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(above: the quietest outdoor place ever)

Continuing down the road, I’m looking at all the nature and feeling pretty good about how the air feels clean and the temperature is nice. Then all of a sudden, it’s dead quiet. No cars in either direction, no dull roar of buildings and plumbing or anything, just me and these trees. That’s when I took this photo. Then I took a step, twisted my ankle, and could only laugh at myself. About fifteen minutes later, the destination was finally reached.

Went inside and asked for a manager, who was busy. The hiring manager wound up speaking with me instead, which was probably better anyway; she took my information and noted that they’re currently hiring for the position I was looking for. When asked when I could start, I just said that once I knew there was a job in place, a search for housing could begin. Nothing I said seemed to draw a frown or bad reaction, so I took that as a good thing and started walking to the next location.

(above: “Posse Up!”, and this other thing is a high school?)

When sorting out a route to location two, I saw that 23rd was a potential way to get there, so that’s the way I headed. Did you know that 23rd doesn’t necessarily get steep, but stays consistently uphill forever? Me neither. Passed tons of actual houses, and I can only guess they’re super pricey. Saw fast food joints, so if I’m ever back and dying for that late-night Wendy’s or whatever, there’s a rough idea of where to go. A lady passed me barefoot and openly sobbing; I stopped and watched as she walked by, thinking she would ask for help, but she did not. I hope she went somewhere safe. A man pushing little dogs in a shopping cart asked me for directions and I think I sent him the right way? Passed by this impressive brick building, with zero idea what it was. It’s a high school. It would’ve been neat to go to high school in a place like that, instead of portable trailer classrooms like mine had.

Got to location two, and it’s a weird multi-story layout so I’m not sure how they do it, but it was open and operating, so there must be a method. Met the manager and told him the story. He goes, “you can start tonight.” I obviously couldn’t, so we exchange a little info and I leave with two positive responses. This is really weird to me. Encouraging, but weird. Why are these places all in need of my position? What happened to make the previous people leave, or want to leave?

Location three was only a few minutes away, and the result was similar. “They’re gonna hate to lose you, here’s the numbers you need.” So after a few hours of walking and a somewhat unhelpful trip to the union to kick it off, I have three places I could potentially find myself working. I expected to have zero, so this was quite nice.

(above: mystery machine, Ol Dirty Bastard real estate?)

From location three, I decided to find my way back home for a shower and maybe a nap. I passed the mystery machine and didn’t realize where I was; I thought it was a second mystery machine. It gave me a regular Coke, which is no real mystery. But then, maybe the chances of getting a regular Coke are exceptionally low? It is supposed to be a mystery, after all.

Got back, took a lovely hot shower, and then sat down and stretched out. Discussing dinner plans with Lish, I could either meet her at her work and take the bus over to the place we were eating at, or I could just walk to the place and meet her there. I still felt like exploring, so I hit the road and started walking again.

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(above: it’s like an open-world… world!)

Maybe it’s just because everything is so spread out from where I live now, or that I live far from anything interesting, but I look at a landscape like this and I want to just walk up and down the entire thing and see what’s there. Maybe it’s something cool, maybe it’s something boring, but the journey would be interesting either way.

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(above: I bet Silent Movie Mondays is really cool)

Walking through a city on a major holiday at the time most people get off work, you’re going to see some traffic, and I did. Probably the only time it seemed to get really bad, and mainly around the freeway entrances. I feel like, if I worked in the city anywhere near there, I’d just go eat or something to kill time, then drive home when things died down a little. Just sitting still in a car by yourself rarely feels like anything other than time wasted.

I saw this theater and Lish said we could go see Morrissey if I wanted, but everything since he came out of his brief retirement doesn’t have the same feel to it, to me. So a show that would likely be heavy with that, that’s a pass. Made my way to the restaurant and they weren’t yet open, so I hung out in front and talked to a couple of people who passed by. I taught one guy how address numbering works on streets, with one side being even numbers and the other being odd. Lish sent a text that said, “I’m around the corner” and I leaned around to see her about twenty feet away, walking up all cute. Cute bastard.

(above: Marrakesh, not my photos)

Marrakesh is Moroccan cuisine, another flavor that was new to me. The owner knew Lish right away and was incredibly friendly, coming to sit down and chat with us for a little bit as we ate. It’s a cool place, and the inside looks like a tent. The meal went like so: Lentil soup, which was warm and tasty. This was followed by a salad with eggplant, which you scooped up with the bread from these biscuits that were fairly dense and delicious. Then there was a thing I kept calling a messy pancake, but the name is “b’stilla royale” and it’s phyllo dough with meat in the middle, covered in powdered sugar. You pull parts off with your hand and eat it. The bit I did get was good, but I found it incredibly messy and dumped powdered sugar on myself multiple times. I eventually gave up, and I’m not sure if I was tired from walking all day or what, but I feel like I came across as far crankier about the mess I made than I actually was. Eaten at home, I could devour something like that, but at home I could also go change my clothes right after. Then our main courses came, and I got a dish of meat (chicken?) and rice, which was delightful and filling. Lish got lamb as that’s her favorite meat, and she looked quite happy as she got at that. There was also mint tea that tasted nice, but I’m not super high on hot drinks. Bet it’s great cold, though. I think if I went again, I’d tuck my napkin into my shirt for the b’stilla royale, because aside from my inability to stay clean, this place was also very good.

We left and Lish was going to take the bus back to her work, so she could get the car. During discussion of the traffic, I said I could probably outwalk the bus and beat her back to the car. So we walked to the bus stop, it looked like she could take everyone that was also waiting, and with the notion in mind that she was safe, I started walking. I got about a block before I realized I wasn’t exactly sure where I was. After a little “what’s down here?” kind of zigzagging, I found a place that looked familiar, then got to the car as quickly as I could. I sit down next to it, pull out my phone, and see a text that says, “are you here yet?” She had beaten me by a few minutes and gone inside to handle some work stuff.

We rode back home, and I guess I was expecting utter mayhem because of the holiday and being in a big city, but it seemed fairly quiet and traffic wasn’t bad at all. Got back and watched some YT clips of old TV shows and talked, then I think we were both out of gas, so it was bed time. I think the only low spot of the day was my reaction to the b’stilla royale, which I’d do differently if I had do-overs. But aside from that, it was a productive day where I saw a bunch of different things, got multiple potential bits of good news, had great things to eat, and shared all of that with a really awesome person. Went to sleep tired and happy.

Day three recap can be found here.

Categories: Misc.

Seattle Trip #2: Day One

November 9, 2017 Leave a comment

Seattle was too good to only go once. Recap of a second trip I took goes here:

In late September, I took a trip to visit my friend Lish up in Seattle. It was a great time, and upon returning, I was looking forward to getting back up there sometime soon. There was an upcoming vacation week during the week of Halloween, but the original plan fell through, which was to take my father to Maui as an early birthday present. The idea of going to Maui alone was entertained for a few minutes, but having been back from Seattle for less than twelve hours, it was still fresh in my mind, and a new thought materialized: what if I just went up there again? I asked Lish if she’d be okay having me crash with her again, and she said yes. Went back to work the following night, confirmed that the vacation week wouldn’t be bumped, and bought my plane tickets the following morning. The following 5 weeks or so were spent counting down the days, and being excited at having such a cool trip to look forward to.

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(above: we meet again, Gate 206)

The day of the trip comes, and my father gave me a ride to the airport. It was a fairly smooth ride out, and not having to worry about leaving the car somewhere meant one less hassle upon returning. The trip through TSA took a bit longer this time due to more travelers, but the machine didn’t detect metal in my leg, so if a longer wait means no rubdown from a stranger, that’s a fair trade. Camped an outlet until it was time to board, found the seat, then shared a row of seats with a lady who never spoke and casually tore pages from an issue of National Geographic. No idea what that was all about.

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(above: “Have you guys and gals ever seen… A TREE? No, no, no… not those shriveled black things. Brown bark, green leaves, photosynthesis, all that good stuff!”)

After a little confusion on my part concerning where arrivals go, Lish pulled up and off we went. It was great to see her again so soon, since initial figuring was that it would be next year at the earliest. We headed back to her place and talked for awhile, and it was just so nice. In this comfortable place with this interesting person, just sharing stories, I can just lean back and just feel good and glad to be there. There aren’t many places or people that have this… effect? This power. Superpower, even.

(above: the software of choice for our epic RNG-based battles)

Prior to coming up, I’d ordered a birthday gift for her, but initial details looked like it wouldn’t make it through the post until this trip was over. However, it turned up a few days early, and so I was able to bring it along. She asked if she should open it now, and did: it was this exceptionally clean, sealed copy of T.G.I.F. for the Atari, which she had as a youngster. After seeing it, the debate became whether she should unseal it, which is totally her choice. It would be neat to crack it open and have that new game smell and flawless inserts to look at, but once it is open, it’s opened. Up to her, though.

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(above: Lionhead, not my photo)

For dinner, the destination was Lionhead, which is listed as a Sichuan-inspired restaurant. We split two dishes: fried rice with maitake/yam/bacon, and La Zi Ji, which is chicken with peppers, said to make your mouth and lips tingle. I didn’t get much of a tingle sensation, but my brain equated ‘tingle’ with the sensation of eating Pop Rocks candy, so nobody’s fault there but my own. Everything was quite good and tasty. Lish tried to teach me different ways to properly hold/use chopsticks, but aside from a couple of decent grabs, it wasn’t clicking and is something I should probably practice later at home. After surrendering and requesting a fork, the utensil usage was like so: a fork in my left hand to pick up, and a chopstick in my right hand to serve as a little barricade, to keep things from scooting around the plate. When Lish questioned it, I said that I was ‘fusion eating.’ She playfully said, “I’m so mad at you right now” and made sure to tell the waiter guy, who also disapproved of my slick terminology. Overall, good restaurant, would go again.

(above: the long-awaited T.G.I.F. rematch)

We got back home, and it was time to have a rematch in T.G.I.F. Last time, Lish won by a fairly wide margin. The game is RNG-based, which means skill isn’t the key factor, but it’s still fun to talk trash about how GOOD you are at this game when you’re winning. The result is as shown, I won this time. But it is worth noting: due to the random map generation of the treasure hunts, Lish got completely blocked from the squares that would’ve given her a treasure, and possibly enough money to have won the game. So while it is my victory by the numbers shown, it’s probably better to call that one a draw.

From here, she showed me some shows I hadn’t seen, Archer and Coupling. They both seem pretty solid, and I should go through them at some point. But by this point it was fairly late and she had work the next day, so it was time to get ready for bed. This is the moment in history at which my body and subconscious decided to illustrate just how truly comfortable, safe, and ‘at home’ I feel at Lish’s place. She goes to get ready for bed, and I’m setting up my sheet and pillow on the couch. As she disappears into the bathroom, I lay on my stomach in just a t-shirt and underwear. The dark room, relative silence, and the comfort of being fully horizontal apparently all took over, and I fell asleep. I wake up, open one eye, see her standing across the room in a robe, and my groggy thought process asks me, “am I farting?” I sure was. For a long time, too. I ask if I broke all the wind, and she comes over, which is the last thing I wanted, because I like her a lot better alive. She says that it doesn’t smell (I don’t actually remember, but she doesn’t lie so I’ll take her word for it) and then says good night and I fall back asleep.

The next morning, I asked if all that had indeed happened. Lish told the story from her side, which was that she saw me zonked out and was going to turn the light off, but wondered if it would wake me, which she didn’t want to do. So she continued getting ready for bed and thought she heard snoring, but it wasn’t snoring. It was my body doing its thing down there. I later equated it to being 45-seconds long and she laughed at that multiple times, so maybe it was that long? Tough to say. Only thing I know for sure is that the first day was a whirlwind, as travel days tend to be, but it was quite a good one.

Day two recap can be found here.

Categories: Misc.