Sunday, June 3, 2018

Pacific Northwest Trip 2017 Day 16 Monday July 31: Seattle, Poulsbo, Sequim, Port Angeles, Victoria


This is the 16th of a series of posts dealing with my 2017 trip to Portland, Seattle, and vicinity. I’ve made minor corrections to these reports (typos, bits I don’t feel like making public). Also, I’ve added additional thoughts with the hindsight of two years later or to add further clarification.  These are indicated by “NOW”.

Overlooked a couple nights ago: a woman pointed out as I was leaving the Torchlight Parade upon its end that I had nearly left behind my camera case. I thanked her and told her my house keys were in the case.

I had partial insomnia during the left. Getting up before 5, I checked out of City Hostel Seattle and took an E Rapidride bus (King County Metro Transit) to near Seattle Ferry Terminal, where I bought a ticket to Bainbridge (it's free coming over but not on the way back). After some shots leaving Seattle the blackness covering most of the lens reappeared. I finally gave up and bought a breakfast sandwich on board the ferry.

I got off the ferry and boarded the 90 bus (Kitsap Transit; no charge due to the Orca card transfer from the E bus). My camera went back to showing full image and I took the bus to North Viking Transit Center in Poulsbo. I got on a 7 Bus (Jefferson Transit), getting a daypass. In Port Hadlock the blackness reappeared. I got off the bus in Haines Park & Ride in Port Townsend. The full camera frame reappeared briefly as the bus left Port Townsend.

[NOW: Most of what I thought was full image did have some overexposure to the right. The camera proved to be irreparable.]

Sometime between Four Corners Park & Ride and Discovery Bay Village I figured out that each time the blackness appeared, I could turn my camera off, lightly whack it, and turn it back on and the image would usually be corrected for a bit. Sometimes more than one try needed. I did this for much of the rest of the trip. I got off at Sequim Transit Center in Sequim and transferred to a 30 Commuter bus (Clallam Transit) which I took to Gateway Transit Center, Port Angeles.

I got a couple Blu-rays at E-Z Pawn, partly because two years ago I was allowed to keep my bags behind the counter for a while. I asked and got permission to do this again. I walked up to 2nd Ave for the view, then walked to Jack in the Box for lunch, the same one at had lunch at the start of the trip. I visited the Rocktopus and visited the Visitor Info Center to use their computer and convert the current of my newer purchases. I recovered the bags from E-Z Pawn (they suggested I head out the back which was close to my next destination) and walked to the Black Ball Ferry Terminal. As I arrived, the camera blacking out happened one last time. No further issue. I took Black Ball's Coho ferry back to Victoria, clearing Customs & Immigration. I dropped my stuff off at my place and got caught up on a few things such as visiting my volunteer place, Pacific Peoples' Partnership and getting a couple things from Legends Comics.

[NOW: The images on the ferry ride back proved to be fairly badly exposed at right.]

I did toy with the idea of making this my last trip as I'm pretty burnt out by this one. But it's kind of like asking a James Bond actor right after making a movie: ask again after there's been time to recover. I don't have a huge desire to do one of these kinds of trips right now, but will I be working on another such trip next April-June, location unknown? Yeah, probably. Check back in a few months and see how I feel then.

[NOW: I am indeed doing another Seattle and area trip this July barring any non-trip circumstances.]

Pacific Northwest Trip 2017 Day 15 Sunday July 30: Seattle: Ballard, Fremont, Wallingford



This is the 15th of a series of posts dealing with my 2017 trip to Portland, Seattle, and vicinity. I’ve made minor corrections to these reports (typos, bits I don’t feel like making public). Also, I’ve added additional thoughts with the hindsight of two years later or to add further clarification.  These are indicated by “NOW”.

I forgot to mention: at one point in the parade the overexposure problem ceased. However that was probably a matter of available light because it was back today.

I walked along the parade route to get aftermath shots, then walked to Seattle Center and the international Fountain, which wasn't yet running. Lots of mess at the center but that could partly be a due to a free outdoor movie and not just the parade. I returned to the hostel for breakfast.

[NOW: The hostel was City Hostel Seattle.]

I visited the nearby Regrade park, an off leash park. At a nearby bus stop I overheard a couple of women who were puzzled that Trump got elected. I walked to the Downtown Transit Tunnel at Westlake Station just to have my Orca Card read so I could find out how much money I had left. I crossed through the Washington Convention Center up some escalators to Freeway Park; this time the fountains were running. I walked to Seattle Ferry  Terminal to find out if the Subway there would be open for breakfast when I needed to leave; probably not.

I visited Waterfall Garden Park, a small enclosure with artificial fountains, then Klondike Gold Rush National Park, actually a gold rush  themed free museum;  There are drawers you can open to see a few additional hidden exhibits.  I walked to Pacific place to see the scrap metal penguin again. I also visited Barnes & Noble. There were three Oz book sets of five for $8 each. Was very tempted but didn't think I had the space, plus being 700 page hardcovers they'd be added weight. I walked to Pike Place Market. I visited First & Pike News there and snapped a couple quick shots of Rachel the pig through the crowds. I also visited Lamplight Books.

I visited the Subway from last night to let them know to keep an eye on the switched sandwiches issues then had lunch to go at McDonald’s. I ate it at the International Fountain. I was going to cut through Key Arena at Seattle Center to get to the bus stop but there was a truck there and a guy reported getting yelled at when he tried that route, so I made it to the bus stop via a different route.

Using the free pass from last night, I took a D Rapidride bus (all buses today King County Metro Transit) to Ballard. I walked to Sonic Boom Records, this time finding their DVDs; I bought a Russian movie I later realized I already had, but it was cheap, and this copy was an actual Russian copy, not a North American licensed copy. I walked to the Hiram M. Chittenden Locks and crossed to the far end to visit the Fish Ladder.

[NOW: Ballard and other regions visited this day are part of Seattle.]

For people wondering when today the trip was going to so seriously wrong as it's been doing, here it is: I got over 1,000 shots, then about ¾ of the screen turned black. At Visitor info at the Locks a guy mentioned a camera place nearby that he wasn't sure was open on Sunday. It wasn't. I took a 40 bus a few blocks to OfficeMax. They didn't have any cameras but suggested a Fred Meyer nearby. Fred Meyer only had a few. I gave up taking terrible quality photos and turned my camera off. After a while, in the Fremont district, I reflexively turned by camera back on and it was working again barring the earlier issue of overexposure at right when not on sports mode. I revisited the plant dinosaurs, Fremont Rocket, Lenin statue, Center of the Universe, Jive Time Records, and Ophelia Books. This time I found the store cat Claudia resting in her cardboard box bed. I visited the Waiting for the Interurban statue. The J.P. Patches statue had a tour group so I visited the Fremont Troll and then doubled back. I  crossed over to Wallingford and visited Gas Works park for a bit. I went up the Wallingford Steps (I went down a week ago; zodiac art) and got a 32 bus back to near Seattle Center.

[NOW The full name of the J.P. Patches statue is J.P. Patches & Gertrude: Late for the Interurban.]

I went to Queen Anne to get photos of Kerry Park but en route the ¾ blackout issue arose again. I half-heartedly took some photos; due to the issue I couldn't get Mt Rainer in focus with the Space Needle very well.  I gave up taking photos again for the most part and returned to Seattle Canter. I got a few photos of the international Fountain and then had dinner at Mod Pizza. There the camera started to work again. I rested a little bit at the International Fountain when I realized I had left my backpack at Mod Pizza. I ran back and grabbed it. On the way back to the fountain, the camera issue resumed. I rested there a little bit but then gave up. I returned to the hostel to pack. The camera started working again but I decided to leave it alone so that I might get some okay shots of the trip back tomorrow. I "donated" some free duplicate papers/bus schedules etc. to the reading area of the hostel. I did a good job of packing. Since the last few days I had only been getting one or a few DVDs I was able to cram things it so it's just one of the backpack and two large suitcases; the other bags/pack are in the larger suitcase.

Saturday, June 2, 2018

Pacific Northwest Trip 2017 Day 14 Saturday July 29: Seattle: West Seattle, Torchlight Parade


This is the 14th of a series of posts dealing with my 2017 trip to Portland, Seattle, and vicinity. I’ve made minor corrections to these reports (typos, bits I don’t feel like making public). Also, I’ve added additional thoughts with the hindsight of two years later or to add further clarification.  These are indicated by “NOW”.

This is the worst Seattle trip I've been on, though hopefully it won't end as badly as 2008. As with yesterday it was okay today until later in the day. Last night I overheard that staff telling drop-ins that Green Tortoise had called and they were full as well. It is unwise to be a drop-in in Seattle or any major city in July.

[NOW: The hostel I stayed at was City Hostel Seattle.]

I got up around 5:45tish and walked along the parade route, photographing the setup. I learned that the area on the middle of the road by Westlake Center that I had been calling the VIP seating area is actually called the Grandstand. After doing this twice I returned to the hostel for breakfast and then resumed my walk around the route. At a point where I was tiring of doing this, as I'd hoped from past years, some of the floats came by6 escorted by the police. So it was kind of like getting a sneak preview, albeit going the opposite direction in daytime.

I went to Pike Place Market including Rachel the Pig and the collectables store from a few days ago, Rummage Around. I found that Lionheart Books was still there after all. 

I took a C Rapidride bus (all buses this day King County  Metro Transit) to Alaska Junction in West Seattle (West Seattle is part of Seattle, as per Ballard/Fremont/Wallingford). I bought a DVD set at Easy Street Records and also visited Pegasus Book Exchange and Merryweather Books. Back at the junction I noticed that my cell had somehow gotten seven minutes fast and so I adjusted. I took a 50 bus to Alki beach.

[NOW: Merryweather Books has now closed.]

There I visited the Birthplace of Seattle marker and the mini Statue of Liberty. There was some sort of event with tents at the beach, plus some sort of customer appreciation at Alki Bathhouse (no idea why it's called a bathhouse; no tubs etc. inside). I had lunch at Pepperdock Records, sitting outside to get a view of the beach and fresh air. A group of youths chose that spot to start talking about how unhealthy eating meat and drinking pop was, seemingly oblivious to me. I went across to the beach to lie on the hot sand, and people started to play their music too loud (if I want that I can go to Thetis Lake in Greater Victoria). Despite the music being too loud, I was pretty immobile for a little bit, likely due to the feet issue, but finally was able to move again.

I took a 775-becoming-773 bus to a spot where I transferred to a C Rapidride bus back to downtown Seattle. To my knowledge it had been around since I started doing my trips but never visited, so I finally visited Seattle Mystery Bookshop. As expected the limited range of subject meant no books for me but curiosity satisfied.

[NOW: Seattle Mystery Bookshop is now closed.]

I wandered around the parade route, passing the pool table that someone always brings to the parade.  I briefly stopped at the hostel to switch some batteries At Seattle Center, as per a few days ago (forgot to mention), Darth Vader and a Stormtrooper were there. The latter's armour was sun-yellowed. I checked out some floats' starting position there before relaxing at the International Fountain. While there I got a free blueberry fig from an Alaska airlines guy.

I did another walk along the parade route.  This time the people who bring a bunk, lamp, fridge I think, etc. were there. I again did a battery switch at the hostel. I grabbed dinner at Subway at KOMO Center. I had a feeling that the woman switched my sub with the people before me but thought I must be mistaken. I was hard to find seating where I could see the runners before the parade (apparently like me they skipped last year). There I noticed that the sandwiches had indeed been switched; still, other than the dressing (I like mine with no dressing) it wasn't bad, and I didn't want to lose my spot. I took photos of the joggers. The Repent guys were there again with the loudspeaker. The MC and the police did their part to quiet them down.

[NOW: I previously saw the Repent guys at the Greenwood Parade the previous Wednesday.]

I sensed something was off with the mother beside be so I went through great lengths to ensure her kids who were running around the road weren't in any of my shots. Despite this she complained to the police who said, "I need you to stop talking pictures of kids. Can you do that for me?" I explained that I hadn't but I don't think he believed me; I should have shown him the photos. Of course with the magic cameras that shoot in directions they're pointing away from, if a mother says it's true her accusations must be true. I moved on. while a brief away from the parade route having a meltdown a biker make a point of telling me "You're a loser." I found another spot without further incident though I remain in an agitated state to this moment.

[NOW: Keep in mind that by “to this moment” I mean when I wrote the first draft of this report last year. That is also why some of what I wrote above has some venom to it. I could have deleted/edited it but want to convey my state of mind from back then.]

The motorcycle point started the parade. There were various horses; five sets of multiple horses plus a single ride. The second set danced to music, one or two horses getting really into it.  As with two years ago, King County Metro Transit was giving out free bus passes (one ride; made sure I snagged it for tomorrow) Also saw the Lake City Western Vigilantes and later the Seattle Seafair Clowns. I got another "coin" from the Seattle Seafair Pirates, still firing their cannon from the Moby Duck. I also saw the Lincoln Toe Truck, shaped like a toe of course. Just as I was finishing this a staff member at the hostel saw I was agitated so we chatted for a bit so I feel a bit better now. Still on a scale of 1 to 10 I give this trip a 2 for both meanings of the number 2.

Pacific Northwest Trip 2017 Day 13 Friday July 28: Seattle, Olympia, Lacey, Tumwater


This is the 13th of a series of posts dealing with my 2017 trip to Portland, Seattle, and vicinity. I’ve made minor corrections to these reports (typos, bits I don’t feel like making public). Also, I’ve added additional thoughts with the hindsight of two years later or to add further clarification.  These are indicated by “NOW”.

Got up before 5 and got photos of the early morning blue sky gradually turning to daylight. I visited Rachel the Pig at Pike Place Market before taking a 594 bus (Sound Transit) to Tacoma Dome Station, Tacoma. I got on the 612 bus to near the Capitol in Olympia (all buses to/from/in Olympia Intercity Transit). I explored the Capitol before taking a winding path to Capitol Lake. I walked to and had breakfast at the McDonald's on Plum St.

I walked back to the downtown core, passing the Star Wars Mural. I crossed one bridge to the west side of Olympia and another back to the east side, then went to Olympia Transit Center and took a 62B bus to Lacey. In Lacey I visited Rite Aid (got some mini-Payday and Take 5 bars), Olympic Cards & Comics, and Boomerang Music & Videos where I got a DVD. Unless anyone buys it, Boomerang will close August 2018 when the lease runs out.

[NOW: Boomerang is now slated to close at the end of July.]

I took another 62 B bus back to Olympia Transit Center, Olympia, and a 48 bus to Capital (sic) Mall. Heading south I visited Barnes & Noble and Half Price Books Outlet; got DVDs at the latter, some 25c. Returning to Capital Mall, I took a 48 bus back downtown.

I visited Browsers' Bookshop and Danger Room Comics.  I had lunch at Jack in the Box and then visited Last Word Books, Rainy Day Records (got DVDs; store guy recognized credit cards with chips as a Canadian thing), and Orca Books. At the latter location I bought a DVD as the store cat hung out, eventually jumping up on and curling up in the New Arrivals section.

I hadn't been to Tumwater in years and was curious to find out what Tumwater Square was so I took a 13 bus there. It turned out to just be stores like Safeway etc. scattered about. I took another 13 bus back to Olympia. Early on this bus ride my backup camera quit on me, forcing me to switch back to the camera that overexposes the right side.

I got off by Sylvester Park near the Greyhound terminal and wandered around in an anxious state, eventually taking a 603 bus back to Tacoma Dome Station; long ride due to traffic. I took another 594 bus (Sound Transit) bus back to Seattle. On the bus I figured out that if you switch to sports mode it compensates for the exposure issue. Not ideal because sports mode photos aren’t as good, but the photos will look better at night in particular than the overexposed on right photos.

[NOW: I later realized I was wrong about this trick.]

Why is night an issue? I'll be seeing the Torchlight Parade tomorrow. I wandered along 4th Ave to Seattle Center, noting that people already had their chairs ready over 24 hours before the parade starts. Not unusual for this parade. At Seattle Center I realized at the International Fountain. I went to the Seattle Center Armory and got a fries concoction from The Fries Guys and walked back to the fountain. As I was distracted by my favourite fountain music, a seagull got at my dinner. I managed to salvage most of it through means I won't go into. I relaxed some more and returned to the hostel. I found my missing book.

[NOW: At the parade, as it got darker, the overexposure issue temporarily went away. The hostel I stayed at was City Hostel Seattle.]

Olympia by the way is a nice mix of shopping (many indie stores, many left wing) and scenery. I would say it's the best daytrip from Seattle.

Friday, June 1, 2018

Pacific Northwest Trip 2017 Day 12 Thursday July 27: Seattle, Tacoma, Spanaway


This is the 12th of a series of posts dealing with my 2017 trip to Portland, Seattle, and vicinity. I’ve made minor corrections to these reports (typos, bits I don’t feel like making public). Also, I’ve added additional thoughts with the hindsight of two years later or to add further clarification.  These are indicated by “NOW”.

I haven't been checking emails in the morning (this is the first time) but had to send an urgent email so just this once thought I'd do a morning report. Last night I discovered something I'd already suspected: a book I bought at Powell's is missing. I also noticed an empty DVD wrapper so am a bit concerned it was stolen, further sending my thumb downward for this trip.

[NOW: The book did turn up later.]

It's drizzling this morning. I limped to Seattle Center; en route a squirrel was eating food within touching distance. Right foot sore but so far not as bad as yesterday. Some numbing started yesterday so that's helped every so often.  I got a replacement $20 from a Bank of America ATM at the Center. International Fountain still barricaded but if things go as per usual schedule should be open later today. A seagull and some crows were fighting over a bag of food; it got nasty for a moment. Was going to go up Kerry Park for the view again but want to wait until it clears. Returned to the hostel where I sent the Portland hostel messages by email and on Facebook. Also checked and weather is supposed to improve.

Hopefully trip will get better for next few days. Definitely been giving some thought to cutting it short.

[NOW: The above was written in the morning. The rest was written in the evening.]

I walked along 2nd Ave to Target which turned out to be a good thing because I realized that a bus stop I planned to go to after breakfast was out of commission. After Target and the usual Rachel the Pig at Pike Place Market, I located where I needed to get on and returned to the hostel for breakfast.

After breakfast I took an E Rapidride bus (King County Metro Transit) one stop (up a hill); the tap machine wasn't working but the driver didn't seem concerned. I walked to the stop I found earlier and took a 590 bus (Sound Transit) to the University of Washington, Tacoma. After a brief stop in the University Bookstore I walked along the Bridge of Glass (the bridge itself isn't made of glass but there are glass displays of art, a teaser for the nearby Museum of Glass).

Around this time I noticed that my camera was overexposing to the right. I did notice that a bit yesterday but had attributed it to sundown. Unfortunately I left my backup camera at City Hostel Seattle, so it would have been a long excursion to retrieve it and come back.

[NOW: This problem got worse as the trip progressed. The camera, fortunately under extended warranty, proved damaged beyond repair. I suspect a delayed reaction to that Sunday drop at Gas Works Park.]

I took a 3 bus (all *buses* before leaving Tacoma for Seattle Pierce Transit) to Tacoma Mall Transit Center. It was harder than usual to find Half Price Books in a complex near the mall; probably in part due to being in a bad headspace. I did get a DVD then, returning to Tacoma Mall, got another DVD at f.y.e. | ran out of time to catch the 3 bus at the Transit Center but the driver let me on anyway nearby.

I got off downtown and walked to Destiny Comics. There was a doorway inside to King’s Books next door and after a minute of looking around the comic shop the bookstore's cat demanded I acknowledge him. I petted him and looked around the bookstore. I left the bookstore and looked at my itinerary to plan my next move. The cat went outside demanding more loves. I wish I had sat down outside which I think the cat wanted but was concerned out the time. I did pet the cat some more however.

I got on the 1 bus and took it to Spanaway. The bus only announced some stops again so I overshot my stop. I doubled-back and got a couple DVDs from Home Video Express. I was going to have lunch at McDonald’s but noticed a Godfather Pizza. I decided to go there for two reasons: one was I hadn't been to one in over a decade and missed it. The other reason was self-preservation: if my friend Diana found out I could have had lunch at Godfather Pizza and opted for McDonald’s instead I would have been in trouble.

I took a later 1 bus back to Tacoma than intended but it ended up barely connecting to the 13 bus I wanted anyway. A group of Asian girls (I'm using the term properly here: not adults) got off the stop before mine and I noticed one left their hand held device so I gave it to the driver upon exiting. I visited Backstage Video. Since there was time before the next bus I ended up doing a long downhill hike and then eventually catching a 1 bus back to the University of Washington where I bought a Vanilla Coke.  At the nearby Union Station I took the Tacoma Link light rail (Sound Transit; free for a few more years) one stop and got another DVD at Tacoma Transit Center.

During my Sound Transit bus rides and my 1 bus rides my mind kept wandering as I was taking photos, largely due to the latest camera issues but I was also sleepy. On the bus back I kept having to jerk myself back awake every few seconds or so. In Seattle I hit a period of slow traffic. I finally got off and took an E Rapidride bus back to the hostel.

There my trip nearly came to a premature end. I switched cameras but my backup camera kept giving me a lens error. The thought of dealing with both the bloody foot issues and the camera overexposure for a few more days was unappealing. Finally after a few tries it did turn on, so I do now have a camera with no overexposure. I walked to the International Fountain at Seattle Center; as predicted it was now on. I had dinner at McDonald's; this McDonald's had a sign rating: its food safety as Excellent; in contrast a few days ago I passed a dinner with only a Good ratting. I returned to the fountain for a bit and then returned to the hostel. Other than a placeholder response on Facebook, no word yet from the Portland hostel.

[NOW: Northwest Portland Hostel did reply to me later, but by then I had found the book.]