Saturday, June 30, 2012

Pacific Northwest Trip July 2009 Final Thoughts


This was an addendum to a series of posts dealing my fifth trip to Seattle and second of two trips that year. I’ve made minor corrections to these reports. Also, I’ve added additional thoughts with the hindsight of three years later or to add further clarification. 

I'll some up the negatives first, then the positives

The negatives:
·         Perhaps the trip was a bit too soon after my last trip, especially since i was still posting pics to Facebook and thus not really away that long.  I think the excitement I usually feel just wasn't there
·         The location of the hostel.  I didn't mind the bus ride so much as the walk to/from the hostel once I reached Ballard, especially "To" as I was usually tired at the end of the day
·         The 24-hour sickness was understandably my least favourite part of the trip
·         Finding more uphills.  Walking uphill is no fun
·         Record heats.  I'm a sun worshipper but there are limits
·         The guy who started to sell me beer but then changed his mind with no explanation
·         Not having as much time to do the stuff I like to do in Seattle in the eve because of the hostel location
[NOW: The hostel is now in Belltown, far more convenient for me.]

The positives:
·         The hostel itself; the place itself was quite nice and the people there were friendly
·         Everett and Lynnwood were still fun the second time around
·         Watching the Greenwood parade and seeing Almost Live's Pat Cashman
·         The International Fountain, especially when the dog was there
·         Visiting the Silver Platters and Easy Street Records near the fountain
·         Revisiting my favourite haunts in general
·         Visiting Olympia, especially the downtown area
·         Watching the Torchlight parade setup, which was actually more fun than the parade itself
·         Swimming in Lake Washington during the heat wave
·         Seeing downtown Puyallup
·         Seeing the baby tigers At Cougar Mountain Zoological Park
·         Seeing Seward Park
So perhaps a bit too soon after my last trip, but I still had a good time overall and faced some unique challenges. 

Friday, June 29, 2012

Pacific Northwest Trip July 2009 Day 11 Friday July 31


This is the eleventh (and, other than final thoughts, the last) of a series of posts dealing my fifth trip to Seattle and second of two trips that year. I’ve made minor corrections to these reports. Also, I’ve added additional thoughts with the hindsight of three years later or to add further clarification. 

Got up at 4:30 to try to get the first ferry back but found I misread my itinerary and the bus I needed was further away than expected.  So with my first choice gone I found  myself at the stop for my third bus choice, which would allow me to make the second of two possible ferry connections, but there was another bus I could take that would get me downtown even sooner.  I should stress that there was no real risk of my missing the next ferry at this stage.

To hedge my bets, I dashed to where my 2nd and 3rd choices intersected, though that meant for a longer walk than if I dashed the quickest way to my 2nd choice.  Regardless, I just barely got my 2nd choice so made the 2nd ferry with a little extra time to spare.  I grabbed breakfast at McDonald's (had I gone with my 3rd choice that might not have been possible) and took the ferry to Bainbridge Island.

[NOW: The bus I took was a Metro Transit one.]
 
From there it was a bus to Poulsbo (where I stayed put instead of looking at Poulsbo Village, being weighed down), Poulsbo to Four Corners (there were other travellers from the Midwest heading to Forks for hiking, not Twilight so I told them they could miss the bus to Sequim if they stayed on to Port Townsend; this also applied to myself of course).

[NOW: The bus Poulsbo was the 90/Kitsap Transit, and the bus to the Four Corners stop was the 7/Jefferson Transit. I got a daypass where boarding that bus.]

 From Four Corners I took another bus to Sequim, stayed at Sequim Transit Center, then took a final bus to Port Angeles. 

[NOW: The bus to Sequim was 8/Jefferson Transit and to Port Angeles 30/Clallum Transit.]
 
There I visited Odyssey Books, E-Z Pawn, and Port News & Books, then calculated how much I needed to declare.  I wanted a lunch buffet at China First but doubted I'd have time, so I settled for lunch at Dariy Queen.

I went with the faster/earlier Victoria Express ferry on the way back (it was right across the street from the DQ).  The ferry was a little late getting back, but for good reason: the ferry stopped so we would watch/photograph whales).  One of the straps of one of my new packs broke, but it wasn't a crucial strap.

[NOW: The Victoria Express ferry no longer runs to Victoria; it’s now a local Port Angeles tour boat/] 

At Customs I was permitted entry without being detained and walked home, sometimes carrying my large bag,, sometimes wheeling that, though that meant leaning forward.

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Pacific Northwest Trip July 2009 Day 10 Thursday July 30


This is the tenth of a series of posts dealing my fifth trip to Seattle and second of two trips that year. I’ve made minor corrections to these reports. Also, I’ve added additional thoughts with the hindsight of three years later or to add further clarification. 

I went to the Locks/Fish Ladder one more time and watched a few fish.  Then I walked to the Ballard branch of OfficeMax and got a few more of the memory cards that are on sale (photos), then walked to Fremont, buying a Slurpee from a 7-11/Jack in the Box combo along the way (hadn't realized they were affiliated).

In Fremont, took pics of the plant dinosaurs, the Fremont Rocket from a distance, the Waiting for the Interurban statue, the JP Patches & Gertrude: Late for the Interurban Statue, then the Fremont Troll statue, which was partly blocked by a truck until you got close.

I walked along Aurora, did a quick visit to Green Lake, then spent a little under 3 hours next door at Woodland Park Zoo.  The cats in particular were taking cat naps.  The grizzly bears used the water to stay cool.  Other animals I'm not sure how they dealt with the heat, though luckily there was a breeze today.

After the zoo I walked back down to Fremont proper, visiting video Isle, Jive Time Records, Ophelia’s Books (got permission to take kitty pics), Fremont Book Center, the VI Lenin statue (which is considered a temporary exhibit and can be yours to own for $250,000; I imagine the shipping would need to be negotiated), and the Rocket. I had lunch at the taco del Mar behind Lenin, visited Rain City Video, then walked to Gas Works Park.

[NOW: The Fremont Book Center and that area’s Taco del Mar and Rain Ctiy Video are now closed. Gas Works Park is in Wallingford, just east of Fremont.] 

I risked drinking the water from the water fountain there despite all the rusty pipes in the area, and watched Blue Angels (planes like the snow angels) flying around Lake Union (also float planes).

I walked up the Wallingford Steps and headed to a bus stop, where I took a bus a little south of downtown, the Pioneer District (I rode for free because the ORCA reader wasn't reading my card).  I visited Waterfall Garden Park, then walked to the International District, where I visited Hing Hay Park and Pink Godzilla (hopefully Toho won't find out about this place and sue for copyright infringement.

[NOW: The bus was Metro Transit; 26 I think.  Perhaps because of the legal matters, Pink Godzilla is now Pink Gorilla] 

To save a couple of minutes, I went down the transit tunnel in that district just in time to take a light rail one stop to the Pioneer District, where I visited Elliott Bay Book Company.

[NOW: That light rail is Sound Transit, probably starting in Tukwila International Blvd Station that year and now SeaTac Airport. Elliott Bay Book Company is now in Capitol Hill]

Back downtown I went up the 73rd story of Columbia Center and got a few shots, visited Pike Place Market and Swerve, then walked to the Queen Anne District, where I visited Underdawg Records, then the book store that used to be Twice Sold Tales (still no sign of a cat), then Easy Street Records where I bought a couple of DVDs.

[NOW: Underdawg Records is now closed. The former Mercer branch of Twice Sold Tales is Mercer Street Books.] 

I walked to Silver Platters and bought a DVD and a Jones drink, then walked to Seattle Center.  There I got another meal at the Orange Julius and took it to the International Fountain, where I found myself struggling to stay awake despite the breeze.  Guess it's just been a long trip.
 
I visited Abraxus Books and Metropolitan Grocery, then took a bus back to Ballard, got a couple of drinks at the 7-11, then walked back to the hostel a bit early to give myself time to pack (I have to get up at 4:30 am tomorrow if I want to play it safe and catch the first ferry tomorrow instead of the second.)

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

High School Combination Lock Conundrum


I learned something troubling about combination locks while at Mt. Elizabeth Secondary School in Kitimat.   Going to my lockers between classes was a bit of a challenge sometimes, because I didn’t want to be late, but there were other students who didn’t care about being late who would watch me at my locker and no matter how I stood would find ways of seeing me work the combination lock at my locker.  Unfortunately the teachers wandering the hallways seemed more concerned amount my dawdling at my locker than people watching me work my lock.  Once someone bragged that they had worked out my combination, and when I challenged them, was relived to find out at a lot of the numbers were off by one or two digits.  I was relieved… until I found out that the locks opened just fine if you were just a digit or two off; the helpful combination locks didn’t require the opener to be exactly on.  So stuff kept appearing in and disappearing from my locker, like my gym shirt being replaced by a much shorter person’s gym shirt and the like.  I don’t recall the teachers ever confronting the students about this, though some of that might have happened behind the scenes. More likely they just got away with it until the school year ended (and then of course I finally graduated). 

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

VHS Tapes in Elementary and High School



The 1980s were an interesting time for watching movies at elementary school.  While the large movie projectors had been around for a while, now schools could show movies and shows on VHS a lot more readily. In English class in particular it was pretty common to read something and then see a show/movie version of it. A common practice was for teachers at Roy Wilcox Elementary School and Mt. Elizabeth Secondary School in Kitimat to tape shows off TV and then play them in school (and it’s an easy bet this was common throughout the so-called western world).  As a student this was great fun.  Alas eventually copyright laws became crystallized and numerous tapes at the high school has to be erased because they were illegal copies.  There was still the occasional movie played, but they were less frequent.  As an adult I understand the legal reasons, but I do have to say that it was a lot more fun during that golden time when teachers showed whatever they had handy that was relevant to the course somehow.

Monday, June 25, 2012

Silly Putty and Me


Like many kids I used to play with Silly Putty. One of my favourite things to do was to pretty it against some paper like comics and capture a reverse image on the putty.  I lost the putty for quite a while near the gully in my backyard in Kitimat but actually found it again months later (maybe even a year later). I returned to my old tricks with it but gradually became disinterested as I realized that the reason for the reverse image was that the putty absorbed ink from the comics, causing the original image to fade.  I think I eventually misfiled it again and this time didn’t worry too much about its fate.