downtown

Seattle Webcam

When I imagined myself living downtown with a sweeping view of the city, I figured I would share that view with the world by planting a webcam in my window because that’s what you did 10 years ago when that dream was conceived. Now it’s 2012 and the still-image webcam isn’t exactly cutting-edge, but publishing my slice of the city to the world was somehow still the icing on the cake of my downtown-living goal and the experience just wasn’t complete for me without it. So here it is, updated every 15 mins and featured in the sidebar.

I’m also archiving every image on SmugMug so I can build some cool time lapses later. Here’s a first attempt, capturing a week’s worth of images during a January snowstorm:

Seafair Weekend – August 2010

My awesome parents spent the week in Seattle, and as Danielle is in Toronto for the weekend with Jordan I had them all to myself for the past few days. They are two of my best friends and I am so lucky to have the relationship with them that I do. I know it’s a rare arrangement between parents and children that we have and I cherish it; I soak up every day and appreciate every chance I have to know them better as friends, confidants, mentors and equals. I also love to spoil them now that they are enjoying their retirement, and especially when they are in my town and I can show them the best of it. What better week to do that than Seafair week? It’s the height of Seattle summer (sun sometimes optional) and one of my favorite times to be a Seattleite. .

We raced up to the Smith Tower observation level Thursday afternoon, hoping to catch the Navy’s Blue Angels practice laps over the city. While we missed the aeronautics show the view from the 35th floor was pretty great, and I can never get enough urban aerial photography. Friday we took a picnic to Madison Park to catch some Blue Angel fly-overs and people-watch, and Saturday we joined the crowds of raingear-covered fans in Genesee Park for another, much closer look at the air show, the hydro races and the general mayhem that is Seafair. Someday I’ll get them on the lake for the truly authentic experience, and hopefully that someday will be soon and a little sunnier than today, but Mom and Dad are great sports – game for anything and easy to please – and we had an awesome adventure together. I took a few marginal pictures of the air show through the binoculars that I posted, along with a lot of Seattle’s streets from 35 floors above Yesler Wy, and a few shots of the two greatest people I’ve been blessed to share this life with. Thanks for a great weekend, you two!

Gallery is here – slideshow button is at the top-right corner.

Seattle Streets Photoshoot – June 2009

A walk around Seattle’s central shopping district and the Pike Place Market neighborhood with my buddy and fellow photographer Alex early on a Friday morning in June. We didn’t have a particular agenda, just to get on the street, feel the pulse of the city, and hopefully capture a few meaningful moments on (digital) film. Like the inefficient digital photographer I am, I shot several hundred frames and culled them down to the 41 shots in this gallery.

Gallery slideshow here.

Gnomes on line 1.

warning labelI’m sure there are still some blue tongues at the office today – although i haven’t interrogated anyone about it to confirm – and i have already seen some of the pictures circulating of us all from saturday, dressed to the nines in black, red and gold, sipping martinis dyed to company-logo-blue and clanking our glasses together in merriment. One of the best company christmas parties i’ve been to, themed after Casino Royale, replete with tuxedo-clad dealers, high-stakes betting into the multi-million-monopoly-dollar range (with a percentage of winnings destined for the high-roller’s charity of choice) and a c-note’s worth of engineers, developers, and sales and support personalities nearly unrecognizable in their previously-unseen glamour and panache. The only let-down was being sent home so early, likely at the bequest of corporate attorneys with visions of liability lawsuits dancing in their heads. Today, back to the grind, the weekend’s festive binge has passed the torch to the weekdays’chemical crutch and the return to denim, repetitive stress syndrome and radiation-emitting portable electronics is energetically complete.

My garage door remains immobilized today, deprived of its one remaining tensioner spring on saturday morning so the garage door gnomes can use it as a paradigm from which to fashion two fresh ones. Those gnomes called me today, or rather dispatched their human female receptionist to do so, in order to request the weight of my garage door. The weight of my garage door. As though i had recently held it in one hand, and a 10-lb sack of flour in the other, and estimated that “this hand weighs about twice as much as that hand.” She helpfully suggested i place a bathroom scale on the garage floor and lower the door onto it, so i suppose i shall have to stop at target tonight and purchase a bathroom scale in order to weigh my garage door. I’m sure i’ll find thousands of amusing uses for a bathroom scale once i’m in possession of one, the least of which will involve finding a place to store it in my already-overcrowded 4-square-foot bathroom. I supposed it also wouldn’t hurt to weigh myself at least once, as the weight on my driver’s license probably hasn’t been updated since it was issued in 1994.

John was released from the hospital yesterday afternoon and is home on Vashon now, likely alternating between sleeping and driving his mother crazy with sarcastic answers to valid medical questions. I stopped at the hospital yesterday morning on my way to the gym but he was sleeping soundly so i read the two pages of comics from his sunday times and departed as stealthily as i had come. I did not, in fact, make it to the gym afterward as all the other cheap bastards visiting downtown on a sunday morning had scarfed up the entire allotment of free street parking and the municipal tower garage was either closed, non-functioning or woefully understaffed, with no amount of punishment levied at the “print ticket” button able to remedy the infuriating situation. After several dozen maddening circles in a steadily larger radius around the building, i had my fill of the whole ordeal and bitterly headed home, begrudging the gym, the muni tower garage and the “consul-only” parking spaces with their deceptive emptiness that resulted only in cruel, exclusionary condescension. Still annoyed (and possibly tired and lazy, as well) i didn’t go to the gym this morning either. That’ll show them.

Merry Christmas, from Home Depot

I’ve been putting a lot of miles on my feet this week, and feeling very healthy doing it. In a stroke of genius timing, i’ve chosen the coldest week so far all year during which to make my attempt at a more european/manhattan lifestyle, and i keep running into obstacles – like where are all the delis and street vendors? What are all these people eating? Also, our public transit really is awful, and that’s not just my bitterness about the monorail talking. Without the bus tunnel’s modicum of sanity, moving around downtown is hideous and not worth the trouble, even when the alternative is trudging through the wind and drizzle. And has Seattle always been so full of hills?

Part of all this footwork has been trips up and down the hill to harborview, visiting my friend John. He was in a motorcycle accident (vs. a car) on wednesday, but i didn’t hear until i returned to work monday. I’ve been making a visit or two every day, and a good deal of my idle thoughts during the day involve racking my brain for things i can do that would be of help to either him, or his mother Jill, who i’ve been spending equally as much time with this week – and who officially adopted me as her fourth child this morning. 🙂 He was in rough shape – broken bones up the left side, internal organ damage, concussion – but is recovering well already. He had regained his dexterity in at least one hand yesterday, so i’ve got a stack of car, ski and computer magazines in my bag today if he feels up for that. I’m waiting for the green light from Leslie the cute nursing student before i make a trip to starbucks for him.

In an effort to fortify my holiday cheer against all that’s wrong in the world – bright, 21-year-old guys getting struck down in intersections; exciting job offers that find every excuse to be delayed – i spent last nite listening to House Arrest and erecting my green plastic expression of seasonal joy and showering it with glitz and baubles. decorated christmas tree Somehow – i’m blaming the grinch – my tree’s stand disappeared since last year, so i took Danielle’s suggestion monday and fashioned a sturdy replacement out of some pvc pipe, a terra cotta pot and quick-set concrete. My tree is much less tippy and significantly more pet-proof now, so if i had any pets that would be really good news. Unlike rabbits, door dings and credit card offers which seem to multiply when you’re not looking, my tinsel seems to dwindle with each passing year and looking at that picture i’m thinking this may be the year i need to adopt some more. I started some shopping before tgiving so there are even a few wrapped gifts under there, and the whole thing looks very festive, despite the scantily-draped silver garland.

From the snippet of tv news i caught in the waiting room yesterday, all this icy gloom in the city has been translating into winter wonderland in the mountains, and if it continues i might have a chance to make use of that ski pass very soon, which would give me one more reason to be “decking the halls” this week.

I was hoping it would be sunnier

I drove my car to work today, mostly because i’m headed to bellevue after work to meet up with Eric and we always seem to do things that make me wish i’d driven my car. Like the time we went to Park Place Auto to look at luxury exotics and i had to park my Pathfinder around the corner at the deli so they wouldn’t think i’m some punk kid coming to gawk at their cars (which is entirely true, but still).

There’s no way i’d park it in my usual spot, at the gravel lot 5 blocks from the office. Even if the cops do frequently park their cruisers, donuts and starbucks cups in hand, at the end of that street for “reconnaissance”, i still wouldn’t feel safe parking there. I wouldn’t be able to sit still worrying about stray rocks, sloppy parkers, and the full bladders of drunken vagrants. So i spent the $10 (eek) to park for a day at the lot outside my window, so i can watch my car directly from my desk – the first real perk of this new chair, unless you count being able to gaze longingly at the nice part of downtown and wish that i worked up there somewhere, away from the panhandling and parking lot urination of the ID. I was hoping it would be sunnier today, so’s i might enjoy some topless driving (the car being the topless one, not me, you pervs) and further enhance the contrast between my increasingly tan forearms and the pale white rest of me. But alas, it is the sort of dreary day that marks spring in Seattle, even though it is supposed to be (officially, even) summer by now.

So i’m sticking close to my desk today, keeping a close eye on the window and eyeing my office area for instruments with bludgeoning potential should i need to run downstairs and enforce the no-touching rule. Maybe i should have taken that job with the publishing company in Bothell; except the baristas are so much cuter down here.

Big plans for saturday? Yeah, me too.

Just trying to keep myself entertained here… if i accidentally waste some of your time, too, well, bonus for you! Yes, it’s another exciting saturday at work; 12 hours of talking to myself, clicking reload on Gmail and my RSS feeds, and otherwise suffering from social withdrawal. The busy days go by pretty quickly, but busy saturdays are really not that frequent, and since i do this every week i’m at least getting better at finding things to amuse myself.

Sometimes the best way to deal with something is to look at it in a different way. It gets very claustrophobic in here sometimes, in a room saturated with white noise and lacking even reflected sunlight, much less a live window to the rest of the world. As i can’t really leave the building, either, it becomes quite a steel-and-carpet prison. Today i decided to explore my cage and focus not on the walls and key-card doors that hold me in, but on the vantage those 5 floors of cinderblocks provide me over the byways below. As such, i’ve composed a small photo gallery of a sunny saturday afternoon as seen out the (apparently infrequently cleaned) windows of my office building, at least from the vantage points i could negotiate via conference rooms, hallways, and the like. [Edit: Additional photos added to this gallery on later dates, as well.]

I am not always in the mood to approach things so poetically. Sometimes it’s nice just to throw money at your problems and see if that makes them go away. Enter, the GBA. ‘Member, we talked about this last week? Well, ebay is both my deliverance and my defeat… one impulse buy and 7 days later, and i’m holding a blue Game Boy Advanced SP. Used, of course – my powers of rationalization have their limits. My first impressions are that it’s awesome, and that it’s teeny-tiny and so very portable. It’s going to fit right in with the other toys that find themselves crammed in my pockets. A small selection of used games will keep me happy for awhile (notice my classy game case there, too?) and so far it has eased the passing of time quite remarkably today, and will – i predict – earn a permanent spot on my top-ten-things-to-pack for trips of pretty much any length, be they cross-continent or simply to ghetto Albertsons for cookies.

As is nearly always the case, the camera-to-computer data offload produced a few images i’d forgotten about, so here’s a bonus shot from monday the 14th of snow falling out my front door. I was all excited, hoping it marked the beginning of a major weather pattern change. Perhaps it was a Valentines Day present from mother nature? Alas, it was a cruel tease; it melted faster than Micheal Jackson’s nose in a tanning booth. Any affections i may have held for mother nature are completely withdrawn; we are so totally on a break.

A day spent in pajamas is a day victorious

What an incredible weekend! Happy Thanksgiving to everyone! I had a great long weekend, hope you all did, too.

Started my day early thursday, driving John to the airport at 6am. Got home, made a couple pies, a loaf of bread, started on candied yams and made sure the meat was thawed ok. Steph arrived around 10 and we dove headfirst into dinner – turkey and ham in the oven, garlic mashed potatoes under the mixer, and of course the orange-cranberry salad! The rest of the gang came in just after noon, Libby and Annie, and Josh and Kristen all the way from Bozeman (via Portland!). Dinner was great (if i do say so myself). After a few bottles of wine and a great meal, we dozed off for a bit on the couch before tackling dessert. A bit more resting, and it was in the car to Libby’s where Josh climbed into her cupboard for a quick photo shoot, and then a stop at Kerry park to enjoy the view. A low-key evening at home, and then it was up in the morning for breakfast on Alki beach followed by a day of touristishness with Josh and Kristen. Met Tiff, Toni and Sara for clam chowder on the waterfront and a cruise through the market. Josh and Kristen hit the road for Portland that afternoon – it was great to see them, hopefully next time for longer! I managed to take a few pix of the weekend’s adventures, check ’em out (click the photo – new thing i’m doing, giving you photo links to the gallery if there’s pix of what i’m talking about. neato, huh?).

What else? Stayed up until 6am last night hanging out with Gabe – great to catch up with him! It’d been way too long since we’d had some quality time. Of course, i spent much time on the phone with the family, not just on turkey day but also sunday while they decorated the tree (i was on speakerphone, listening to their craziness). A thanksgiving call from Aunt Carol was a welcome surprise, too – great to hear that their holiday was a merry one! Went shopping downtown with Lindsay and Adam saturday where we had a full taste of the city, everything from street corner santas to jazz musicians to anti-war rallys to tiffanys. Off to the airport saturday nite to pick up Jason and Julia as they returned from their Boston-NYC thanksgiving adventure. And i’m headed to seatac again tonite, as John returns from arizona. Before that, tho, i’m going to squeeze in some coffee with Gabe before he jets tomorrow. On that subject, i should hit it, cause i’m still not dressed for public appearance and i haven’t had breakfast yet and it’s past 5pm… and if that doesn’t tell you what kind of a great weekend i’ve had, nothing will! 🙂

Moonlighting’s small rewards

Only three more months until Christmas! Um, okay, yeah. It’s really foggy today – got to try out my new fog lights, they’re super neato. I’ve got tonite off, finally, and i’m heading downtown with my first thriftway paycheck to do some shopping and be downtown-y. I haven’t been anywhere near downtown (except for work) since Danielle was here (of course, that’s because i’ve been broke). Now, before you think i’m going to go blow a bunch of money, i’m not. Not that i don’t want to, mind you… I’d love to go lay down some plastic at kenneth cole. But not this time; i need some khakis for work, it’s totally a legit venture. Gap emailed me to say they’re on sale (isn’t direct marketing neat?) and i might check out the sale sweaters, too (hey, it’s fall, i’ve gotta keep warm – it’s an investment in my health!) Besides, i already spent my fun-money monday at home depot… 😀 You know, as much as i try to not let money run my life, it sure seems determined to do so. Maybe that’s just because i never seem to have enough of it… grrr. Guess it’s time to start “investing” in the lottery…