Earlier this month I had the chance to visit my college pal Judy in Seattle. Right around this time last year, I went to Seattle for AWP and saw Judy all too briefly. This time, we got to hang out for a whole long weekend.
Rain, Softies, and fry bread
The great thing about Seattle is that the flight from San Francisco is so short: just two hours. Even better when you have an aisle seat in the exit row with no one in the middle (except for my seatmate’s jacket and backapck, go right ahead) and on Virgin. Aw yeah!
I spent the whole time listening to downloads of my new obsession, the Stuff You Should Know podcast (which deserves its own post), and playing Shanghai Mahjong, and before I knew it we were there.
Of course it was raining, but not too much, and Judy was kind enough to pick me up at the airport. The moment we met up, it was non-stop talking. We had a lot to catch up on. Back at her lovely house, we snacked and chatted some more before heading out to nearby Kirkland.
I should say Judy doesn’t live in Seattle itself but a suburb highly populated by “Softies,” or people who work for Microsoft. In my short visit there, I found that Seattle and the surrounding area had a very different tech feeling than the Bay Area. Less start-uppy and more old-school Big Tech. But I could be totally wrong.
It was drizzling as we walked around, but again not too bad. It wasn’t even worth the effort to use an umbrella. Kirkland has a lovely lakefront that was still lovely even in the cloudiness and mist.
For dinner we ended up at a Mexican place, where I tried Native American fry bread for the first time. However, there was so much stuff on it, I couldn’t really tell what it was like. My drink was definitely yummy: a combo of some kind of liquor, ginger beer, and lime.
I can’t remember when we got back. No later than 10, but I had gotten up early that morning, and between the flying and the drink, I was ready to conk out.
The search for Mr. Pointy
We spent the next day walking around downtown Seattle. We did a tiny bit of shopping, then for lunch we had delicious pho, which was perfect for the damp and chilly day. Unfortunately I can’t remember the name of the restaurant. I know: I’m useless.
Then we were off to the EMP/Science Fiction Museum. I’ve been there before but that first time somehow missed the whole science fiction part of it. Needless to say, this time around I was nerding out pretty hard, especially because of the Star Wars costumes exhibit.
But before that there was the “fantasy” section, which included stuff from The Wizard of Oz, The Lord of the Rings, and The Game of Thrones:
And of course the Star Wars exhibit was great.
But what I was really on the search for was Mr. Pointy. I saw it advertised outside, along with other “horror artifacts.” Obviously the vampire-killing stake Buffy inherited from Kendra wasn’t going to be in the Star Wars section. I walked around the fantasy section twice before poking my head out and asking the young hipster guard, “Is it in here that I would find Mr. Pointy?”
He stared at me blankly.
“You know from Buffy,” I said. Then it hit me. “You have no idea what I’m talking about do you?”
He admitted that he didn’t, and that he had only seen the movie. Then he said that besides the music section, there was just fantasy and Star Wars, and I have to say I was a wee bit disappointed.
Judy and I were walking out when I saw the sign again about the horror exhibit. I had seen signs for it inside too, but for the life of me couldn’t find it.
Judy was kind enough to accompany my obsessed ass back in (although she opted for the museum store instead), and the guard was kind enough to believe me when I said I had just left (having the receipt helped) but completely missed the horror. He gave me a new sticker and pointed me in the right direction.
I love fantasy and SF, but I love horror even more. When I saw that the exhibit was rated PG-13, I was even happier.
I saw the alien from Aliens —
— this guy —
and — duh duh duh duuuh! — Mr. Pointy:
Yup, it’s a stick. But Buffy fans will get the importance of this stick.
I also enjoyed a short video about Ringu and The Exorcist. Eli Roth talked about how when he was six, he was about to watch some scary movie (I forget which), and his father said, “You want to see a scary movie?” and showed him The Exorcist.
“That messed me up for years,” Roth said.
When I was nine, I had a similar experience, which I’ve tried writing about before but not yet to my satisfaction. Maybe it’s time to try it again.
After I was done, I found Judy in the cafe, and after downing a refreshing apple soda, we headed back.
That night we had dinner at home, then checked out a winery not too far away. We thought it was going to be a wine tasting, but it wasn’t. It was just wine, bad music, and worse dancing.
I kind of wished I had Mr. Pointy then.
The next day we went hiking, which was super-fun.
The last time I went hiking was in college or high school. We were on a family trip in Yosemite. It was me, my dad, and my brother (my mother wisely decided to opt out), and it was August. In other words, hot. For some reason Greg had all the water, and since he was on cross country, effortlessly jogged all the way up to the top. He met me and my father — sweating and huffing and puffing — on the way down, and at that point we gave up.
This hike was much easier, partly because I’m in better shape but also because it was cloudy and cool, and I had plenty of water and snacks.
The hike was about four miles total, and was actually easier than my walk back from the grocery store at home. In that case I’m carrying up to 10 pounds of groceries uphill in the sun. Doing that a few times a month for several months has been good practice.
After our hike, we had a delicious barbecue lunch at a place nearby called Rhodies Smoking BBQ.
After we got back, we pretty much just bummed around for the rest of the day. Had leftovers for dinner, then started to watch a movie. But neither of us were too into it, and I was pretty tired. The next morning I flew back to San Francisco.
I may visit Seattle again before my move back to the east coast. It’s so close and the flight prices don’t seem to change much. Plus I’d love to go hiking — and eat barbecue — again.