Seattle, Husky Stadium, botanical gardens, reeds, U Dub, University of Washington

Travel Thursday Encore–How to mix pleasure with business–Seattle 05, Day 3, Part 3

Back on the ground, thankfully, I crossed the street to wait for the bus, the surroundings making me feel like I was standing at the edge of some rural town, waiting to go to the next little village. Yet another place in Seattle with a small town feel. On the ride we passed many of my old haunts, like the Washington Park Arboretum, where I took my famous shot of Husky Stadium through the reeds, and the Museum of History and Industry, where I bought a four-way chess set that I think I’ve still never used. Still had plenty of time, so I stayed on the bus till I got to the Ave on the west side and then walked through campus, always a lovely stroll, though not as awesome as the leaf-turning walk during football, or in my case, volleyball and soccer season.

Seattle, Space Needle, lake

Seattle, lake, boat

Seattle, Husky Stadium, botanical gardens, reeds, U Dub, University of Washington

Seattle, mountain, fountain, U Dub, University of Washington

I started coming to Seattle as a kid, and the first time someone mentioned “U Dub” to me, I had no idea what they were talking about. I guess in context to the rest of the sentence it’s easy to see they were referring to the university, but I still wondered why it was called that, until it finally came to me that it must be short for UW–as in “U DoubleU.” Which officially makes everyone here lazier than me, if they can’t pronounce a full letter. Did you know “The Wave” was invented here at Husky Stadium? Almost as good as the tidbit about some local PR guy inventing the “happy face” icon in the 60s.
Finally I had only Montlake to cross, and there was that bridge where I’ve had many a conversation–not exactly the Ponte Vecchio or the Rialto, but fun anyways. Going between the football and basketball–or volleyball–stadiums, I was finally at Husky Softball Stadium, hungry and anticipating a good game.
Which I didn’t get. Not only was getting any food I liked an issue, not only did the Bruins stink up the entire state, but it was more than 80 degrees of hard sunshine and there I was in a heavy jacket, with a hoodie underneath! Had one bright spot where the UCLA team spotted my jacket and waved, but other than that. . .
I always thought UCLA’s softball stadium was beautifully located, surrounded by trees in the middle of El Lay, but U Dub’s has it beat for that amazing view of Lake Washington beyond left field. There aren’t many places where you can catch a game and watch the sailboats between innings.
I understand that most of you aren’t going to be baseball/softball fans, but this game was so putrid I just need to vent. Case in point: the opposing pitcher gives up FIVE walks in a row–the only two runs UCLA scored–and up comes the best hitter, who not only swings at the first pitch but strikes out on an offering outside IN THE DIRT.
There was only one other Bruin fan in the stands, and he was wearing the exact same jacket, which should be no surprise, considering it was given to me by the father of the shortstop, who has an incredibly extended family, and the other guy was one of her numerous cousins. But to their credit the U Dub fans were a happy bunch and didn’t seem to take things too seriously; I certainly didn’t have to dodge any beer bottles. . . this time.
On to my other complaint: the nachos are only served with spiced cheese! Or whatever that yellow cheese-like substance is called. It took a while for me to get over my incredulousness, even went back to my seat to eat my peanuts–gotta have peanuts at the softball game. Finally, hungry as I was, I went back and asked if I could have the nachos without any cheese, more than willing to pay full price. Perhaps they were so happy to finally get rid of me that they took off fifty cents anyway; people in the Pacific Northwest may be closet Canadians.

Seattle, UCLA Softball, softball, U Dub, University of Washington

Seattle, UCLA Softball, softball, U Dub, University of Washington

Seattle, softball, U Dub, University of Washington

Seattle, UCLA Softball, softball, U Dub, University of Washington

Not wanting to walk all the way back up to the Ave after the game, I asked around to see if anyone knew which bus that came along Montlake could get me back downtown. No one seemed to know, so I walked south, hoping the bus signs would help me, lugging all my camera gear as well as the heavy jacket I couldn’t put up with anymore.
At this point I ran into a beautiful green-eyed blonde dwarf, whom of course I asked for directions. She was very nice, and extremely happy, perhaps that someone was talking to her and treating her like an equal, just another person. Unfortunately she couldn’t help me out either, but as you can see, I shall never forget her. . .
Once I got to the southeastern edge of campus, and there’s that fountain I shot so famously above, I decided to screw it and limped my way up the Burke-Gilman trail, converted from an abandoned railway. At least this was a gradual uphill, but I’ve been on it many times I didn’t expect to see any sights, especially without the aforementioned fall foliage.
And then I came across one of the world’s rarest and most elusive natural wonders: a beautiful redhead in a Catholic schoolgirl’s uniform! Excuse me, I have a sudden need to lie down and “remember” that vision again. . .
Okay, I’m back. And no, it wasn’t what you think. . .
Ended up climbing on the same bus I came on–same driver–except now it was rush hour, so I had plenty of time to take in my surroundings and recharge from all the walking. Landed downtown with still about a half hour to spare before my business meeting/dinner, which was far too boring to discuss here.
After that, still in explorer mode, I went down to the waterfront, wandering without destination or purpose, not expecting to find anything new from my previous jaunts through this area. I certainly wasn’t in any mood to see any more animals in the Aquarium, not after yesterday. As it turned out, apart from the cooling breeze, remembering previous jaunts was the best part of the walk, most of them involving a 6’2 babe who shall remain nameless {poor girl, going through life without a name. . . or at least not a pronounceable one, but again, that’s another story}. We walked along these same docks, then rode the merry-go-round, where her legs still reached the floor even when seated on that lucky wooden horsie. Then we ate some ice cream in forty degree weather, watched Mt. St. Helens explode in the Omnidome {since closed}, and played air hockey until we got kicked out for not letting others play. After that incredibly tiring exercise–I could barely lift my arms–we relaxed by taking the harbor cruise, sitting in the biting wind and snuggling while regaling each other with stories of air hockey games past. Doing more walking later, I asked her for a rest, and she laughed, “I don’t need to rest.” to which I of course replied, “Well, I do. Stop being so selfish.” She gasped and left, and I never saw her again. . .
There’s something about Seattle that always surprises visitors: it’s as filled with hills as San Francisco, and that’s after some leveling. Walking down to the bay it doesn’t enter your mind, but coming back up you realize just how steep these hills are. And just as you get to the top of one, you find yourself at the bottom of another.
Back to hotel to vegetate. . . I mean, cogitate on next morning’s meeting, and found my hotel room door apparently closed, but not locked! Careless maids are one thing, but this still shocks me to this day. . .

;o)

Assorted 2014 photos

Been out a lot more this month than usual, but very little of it was blog-worthy, so I just jammed them all into one.

Went to Disney Hall to see my fave violinist Hilary Hahn play the Neilsen concerto, after the Phil almost put me to sleep with the most boring composition ever. Here’s how the sky looked at intermission.

Disney Hall and clouds

Disney Hall and clouds

 

Those who know the indie music scene in El Lay will recognize the Coffee Gallery in Altadena, where my buddy Jimi Yamagashi has a showcase every third Wednesday, but also brings in a speaker every first Wednesday. This is Paul Zollo, a famous author of rock music tomes, whose interviews are legendary.

Paul Zollo

Paul Zollo

 

Let’s play two at UCLA’s Easton softball stadium, though I only got there in time to see three innings of the second game, just long enough to see a freshman named Spaulding–at Easton, get it?–hit her first collegiate home run to give the Bruins the 2-0 win. BTW, my favorite player of all time, Amanda Freed, went on twitter to announce the birth of her daughter, so fitting that I was in the place of her past glory when I got the news. . . and thank goodness the wifi reaches al the way out to the stadium!

at the ballgame

at the ballgame

 

The reason I had to leave the game so early–besides the fact softball had become as long-winded as baseball–was because there was a fundraiser for the Spirit Squad–cheerleaders, dance team, yell crew, and mascots–and I’ll already paid my $50 to attend. While waiting in line to go in I spotted a game on the intermural field that I finally figured had to be Quiddich, because they had brooms between their legs. Anyhoo, my main reason for going, though, was to see women’s soccer coach Amanda Cromwell, whom I’ve known since her playing days with the National Team, and the championship trophy, #110 in UCLA history but the first–finally!–for women’s soccer.

The championship bling

The championship bling

 

Coach, trophy, and logo

Coach, trophy, and logo

The cheerleaders and dance team look even better in person, of course, and since they got into UCLA they were smart enough for interesting conversations. One of them had a sister at my table who was even cuter, but I digress. I put in my free raffle ticket for the lifetime alumni reward, but lost out to some lady who instantly came over to my table to crow about it, damn her. On the other hand, I had no intention of participating in the silent auction. . . until I found myself winning a ridealong with the Redondo Beach PD! You can bet that’ll be a huge blog, when I get around to it. . .

So, twice in the past few weeks I’ve been in Denny’s and saw that my beloved country-fried steak was on sale, if it comes with a skillet, so let’s do it! I did not expect the damn skillet to be hissing at me when it came! Damn, that thing is hot! Of course the second time I knew better and asked for a separate plate so I could dump the steak, then the eggs, then the hash browns onto it and not burn myself or wait an hour for it to cool down.

Fun fact: the wallet that I’ve been using for about twenty years now–it was originally a gift for my uncle, but we ended up not going to his Christmas party, so I appropriated it–finally broke down, so I went over to thinkgeek.com and got myself a wallet that looks just like a bunch of bacon strips! No one has noticed yet, or been too polite to say anything, but I eagerly await the day. BTW, I reached in to pay for some new shorts, thinking it was a $20 bill, and got back a helluva lot of change. . . and then remembered I had a $100 in there. . . right before I was going to give all that change back. . .

Speaking of cute girls earlier, who would have thought that the ladies at my pharmacy and the one who drew my blood at the doctor’s would end up being even cuter than the models I shoot? I really do fall in love at least four times a day. . .

So what did I miss? I was going to see Alicia Witt’s movie at the Pasadena Film Festival, but never got there. And I regretfully did not attend the Scots festival at the Queen Mary, oh well. . .

And to end this, here’s an iconic painting at downtown’s Union Station that I keep taking for granted, forgetting to look up. Not much of a shot with the little camera, but later on I’ll take a portrait of each character. . .

IMG_0517

;o)