Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Ten Thoughts on Seattle

In case you haven't noticed (and judging by the hits, you haven't [thanks, Bob Uecker]), the posting was light over the past week or so because I was busy at work, then went to Seattle for a mini-vacation with Der Wife. Here are my thoughts:

1. First off, the weather. It really isn't as bad as people make it out to be. It does rain a lot, but the rain is never very hard and, as we were told on our "Seattle is great!" harbor cruise, Seattle gets fewer inches of rain than a number of cities, including Houston (with the added benefit that Seattle doesn't have Houston's wretched summer). A light drizzle really doesn't affect most people's ability to get outside; it certainly doesn't seem to affect people in Seattle, since they were outside a lot.

2. The tradeoff with the weather is that the scenery is spectacular. It's hard to top a city with mountain views, numerous pretty lakes, and parks everywhere. Even the suburbs are appealing. Andrea and I had dinner with a friend who lives about 20 minutes outside of Seattle and he has a lake/mountain view from one side of his house and a view of an eagle preserve on the other. He actually worried that his young dog would be captured and eaten by an eagle. To quote General Gogol, problems, problems.

Just like our view of Kennesaw Mountain, right?

3. There are Starbucks everywhere. I was expecting them every block and came away from four days there thinking that I had underestimated their frequency. And apparently, every Seattlean has a home brewery in his/her basement, because the selection of microbrews was mind-blowing and they all have cool labels. How are people in that town not wired and drunk on a constant basis?

4. The Experience Music Project was cool. I can't imagine that the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame could be any better (especially since it's in Cleveland), but the one unsatisfying aspect was that there was no discussion of drugs. Anywhere. A Jimi Hendrix exhibit that doesn't mention heroin? A Dylan exhibit that lauds his creative apex in the mid-60s without mentioning drugs? "Purple Haze" was inspired by Jimi's love of science fiction? "Mr. Tambourine Man" was inspired by a tambourine player in Greenwich Village?

5. We walked past Qwest Field and I was really taken aback by the architecture, which is unlike the other cookie-cutter stadiums that have been built for NFL teams in recent years. The roof covers most of the stands, which is more like an English soccer stadium and is a reason why Qwest is so much louder than any other stadium in the NFL. The architecturing of the roof is interesting, although I'm probably incapable of describing it, so here you go:

5a. When I got the hotel bill and saw $25 per day for city taxes, I liked Qwest Field a lot less. Between those taxes and the $26 per person that Der Wife and I spent to get into EMP and the Science Fiction Museum, which is attached to EMP, Paul Allen took a hunk of change from me over the four days.

6. Another thing I like about Seattle: book stores, everywhere.

7. Andrea and I took a walking tour of Fremont on Sunday. You have to hand it to a neighborhood whose landmarks are a Cold War-era rocket, a statue of Lenin that a resident lifted from Czecheslovakia (back when there was such a thing), and a granite statue of a troll eating a VW bug under an overpass. Little Five has a long way to go to achieve those levels of eccentricity.

8. We also took a walking tour of the University of Washington campus, which was neat. It reminded me of Ann Arbor in that it was a large campus with two perpendicular streets full of college-y restaurants, bars, and bong shops. The buildings all looked nice and new, with matching red brick exteriors. Still, if I were going to college, I'd want more of a college town feel than to be in the middle of massive Seattle. Plus, I would prefer not to spend four years with Ty Willingham as my coach.

9. This is not a Seattle complaint, but rather, one about our hometown airline: Delta didn't have meal service on the plane flights to and from Seattle. I know they're cutting costs, but this is their longest flight in the continental U.S. Remember when air lines used to try to make their patrons happy?

10. I'm still bitter that Der Wife's friends scheduled a wedding during Passover (and thus, my ability to consume all that Seattle had to offer was significantly limited) on a weekend when the Mariners were not in town. Bitch bitch bitch.


SmoothJimmyApollo said...

No big college football program should have a damn running track around the field. I feel confident I am in the right on this one.

Michael said...

You're confusing Husky Stadium, which I didn't see, with Qwest Field, which has no track. The Seahawks play at Qwest.

That reminds me of something else I like about Seattle: great restaurant/bar area in walking distance from Safeco and Qwest. This is something that Atlanta sorely lacks.

SmoothJimmyApollo said...

I actually just assumed that you hit the stadium on your tour of UDub. I of course know that no NFL team is going to double dip a stadium for football and track. They don't even make the dual use football/baseball spots anymore.

peacedog said...

The troll eating the VW statue. . .what kind of troll was it?

Tolkinien? Williamsian (Tad)? D&D (and if so, 1st, 2nd, or 3rd edition)? Shadowrun?

I'd probably have enjoyed the Sci Fi Museum. Yes.

Michael said...

The troll actually looked like a lion. I'll post the pictures when I develop them. (We forgot the digital camera and had to use a disposable.)

You'd love the Sci-Fi museum. The replica of Twiki from Battlestar Galactica (my favorite show at age seven) was a real highlight, although I missed Dr. Theopolis.

peacedog said...

Twiki was on Buck Rodgers with the good old Dr. Not on Battle Star Galactica.

God I'm a dork.

Michael said...

My bad, I meant Buck Rodgers. Erin Gray, mmmm. She's second to Lynda Carter in my pantheon of "they make me feel funny" babes from my childhood.

peacedog said...

You should probably check out the new BSG if you were a fan of the old, though.

Erin Gray. . . *homer simpson drool*

Steve said...

I visited Seattle for the first time in December. Did you happen upon the enormous REI store with the "outdoor testing" area?

Caelus said...

Glad you enjoyed your trip to Seattle. I lived and worked there for 26 years before I retired and moved back to Georgia 2 1/2 years ago. Best place to live from June through October and ok the rest of the year if you can live with the Seattle Sunshine/mist.

Chuckled about your visit to the "Socialist Republic of Fremont" as Seattleites fondly refer to it. Their Solstice Parade is one of the most interesting happenings that they have there in the PNW.

I loved Seattle and the two reasons we moved back are (1)wife is from Tennessee and wanted to be closer to home and (2)we can afford to live in a home on Lake Oconee......real estate prices are insane in Seattle. And we have always liked Atlanta and the people in Georgia.