Snow, Here Or There

It started snowing on Capitol Hill last night. It wasn’t enough to cover much more than the grass, the tops of trees, and the tops of parked cars. Neither one of us seemed motivated to go outside and play in the snow. I don’t know if it was the measly amount of snow, or a feeling that the season was over, or what.

We woke up this morning to the same amount of snow. There wasn’t any more accumulation, nor had much melted away.

My office tends to close down in “inclement weather”. The same goes for Phillip’s office. I couldn’t imagine the amount of snow on Capitol Hill could close either office down, but Seattle is known for its microclimates. It could be snowing there, but not snowing here.

I went to the SDOT traffic web site – the “SDOT Travelers Home Page”, they call it. Traffic cameras showed bare streets in both Downtown and the U District. (Isn’t the internet wonderful?) Our offices would be open.

A coworker sent me a text message, asking if I’d heard whether our office would be open. Apparently, they had an inch or two of snow, south of Seattle. I sent them a screen shot of a traffic camera a few blocks from our office. Our office would be open, and we’d both be coming in on light rail. Neither one of us would be getting a snow day today.

Phillip left for work, heading up the hill to catch the 49. I left a few minutes later.

I didn’t trust the 47 to show up. (I can’t shake the feeling that Metro is still trying to kill that route, and will use any excuse to disrupt it.) So I walked up the hill, taking the less steep hills since sidewalks had patches of ice here and there, to Capitol Hill Station, and rode light rail to Downtown.

The streets were oddly empty when I left work this evening. I kept looking at my watch, checking to see if I was actually leaving work at the right time. I guessed that a lot of people had taken a snow day today.

I caught a 70 bus up 3rd Avenue, to the stop at 4th & Pike. OneBusAway told me a 47 was due in 2 minutes.

A trolley bus turned the corner from 3rd, into the bus stop. Its sign read “To Terminal”. The only time I see buses turn from 3rd like that, they turn out to be a 43. Except those 43 buses are always diesels.

The driver of that mystery bus sat at the stop, behind a 10, with the doors open. He was studying the schedule card intently.

Then he changed the bus signs to read: “47 To Summit”.

Obviously, that driver had come directly from the bus station as a last-minute addition to the 47 route. So, maybe, Metro cares about the 47 after all.

Sunday Blizzard

The weather forecasts called for snow in Seattle today. This morning, friends in the Everett area posted pictures of snow-covered yards. Every time I’d look out the window of our Capitol Hill apartment, I saw bare streets, sidewalks and trees.

We bought tickets to see Black Panther at the Regal Meridian 16, Downtown. We decided on the 2:15 showing, in 3D. At 9:00, the showing was sold out, except for the entire front row, exactly half of the second row, and one lone seat toward the back. We reserved two seats in the second row. The internet is wonderful.

We stepped out of our apartment this afternoon, and were greeted by a blizzard. Well, it was a blizzard in the sense that strong winds were blowing the snow sideways. And, it wasn’t a blizzard, since the snow wasn’t sticking to anything.

Around here, weather forecasts are usually correct.

We caught a 47 bus. When we reached Downtown, the snow had stopped, but it was bitterly cold.

Black Panther was amazing, thrilling, and wonderful.

After the movie, we browsed around All Saints (where we were sad to discover that they’d closed off their bottom floor) and Westlake Mall (where we were sad to discover that the entire top floor, where the food court used to be, is now a Saks 5th Avenue outlet store). Then we walked toward Veggie Grill for dinner.

I miss the Westlake Mall food court.

Before we got to Veggie Grill, we spotted a place named Yard House. We decided to give it a try.

Yard House was delicious and fun (150 beers on tap!), but a bit expensive for regular visits. It could be a nice treat every once in a while.

Yard House was less than a half-block from the bus stop at 4th & Pike. We’d just missed a 10 and a 49, but a 47 arrived in a couple of minutes. I don’t think I could have survived the cold and wind much longer than that.

It was a fun day.

Nordic Noir

Solstorm, by Åsa Larsson, was published in Sweden in 2003. In 2006, it was published in the USA, translated by Marlaine Delargy, as Sun Storm. In 2007, it was published in the UK as The Savage Altar.

The first sentence is: “When Viktor Strandgård dies it is not, in fact, for the first time.

Sun StormRebecka Martinsson is a newly qualified tax attorney, working for Meijer & Ditinger, in Stockholm. She and her colleague Maria Taube are listening to the news on the radio. A well-known religious leader, aged thirty, had been found murdered in his church in Kiruna. The police have no suspects, and the murder weapon has not been found.

Maria notices that Rebecka seems especially upset by this news. The phone rings, and Maria answers it. The caller is from Kiruna, and is asking for Rebecka Martinsson.

Inspector Anna-Maria Mella is called in to investigate the murder of Viktor Strandgård, whose mutilated body was found in The Source of All Our Strength church.

Inspector Mella is in the final days of her pregnancy. She’s supposed to be on desk duty.

Viktor Strandgård had become a religious celebrity after he died in a hospital, following an automobile accident. When he came back to life, he told his followers that he’d been to Heaven, where he met Jesus. His miracle united the area’s churches and formed The Source of All Our Strength church.

Sanna Strandgård had been the first to find her brother’s body in her church. Now she’s hiding out, and has called her friend Rebecka for help.

Returning to Kiruna is not going to be easy for Rebecka Martinsson. There is a lot of history there which she would rather not relive.

Rebecka’s boss, Måns Wenngren, grants her a few days off to visit her friend. Then he wonders what the hell is going on when he sees a news report that Sanna Strandgård had gone to the police station to be interviewed, accompanied by her lawyer, Rebecka Martinsson.

Sun Storm constantly switches point of view and locations. There’s the domestic life in northern Sweden, where Rebecka cares for Sanna’s children, and, as a tax attorney, tries to act as a criminal lawyer. There’s the law firm in Stockholm, trying to figure out what to do about a newly qualified tax attorney who has apparently overstepped her job description. There’s Anna-Maria and her team of Kiruna police officers, running an official investigation. And there’s The Source of All Our Strength church, protecting itself from the evils of the outside world. For a while, I wondered if Rebecka Martinsson actually was the protagonist of this novel. But the story always returns to Rebecka and her journey into her past.

Sun Storm is a classic noir story. It’s a gloomy mystery, centered around a grisly murder, where everyone has something they’d like to hide. It’s a fascinating double-investigation, with Anna-Maria and Rebecka working independently, and often in opposition, trying to solve the same case from two different angles.

The murderer is revealed abruptly – a little too abruptly, I thought. The mystery is solved a little too conveniently. But I enjoyed Sun Storm, and I’d be interested in reading the next book in the Rebecka Martinsson series.

Sun Storm has a strange “About the author” section, in the back of the book, which devotes more words to plugging the book I just read than to telling me about the author: “Åsa Larsson was born in 1966 and lives in the country outside Kyköping. Sun Storm, her debut novel, is a tense thriller with considerable literary merit. Even before publication in Sweden, translation rights had been sold to several countries, including Norway, Denmark and Germany.

Why I chose this book:

I did an internet search for “Nordic noir” and found a list of books, including The Man Who Went Up in Smoke (which I used for “A book by two authors”), and Sun Storm. I did a little research on Sun Storm, and learned that it was written by a former tax attorney from Kiruna, and that the novel is about a tax attorney from Kiruna. I chose this book for two reasons: The protagonist of this crime drama is not a detective (which sounded refreshing), and the author set a crime drama in her home town (which sounded like it could contain some local color).

Next Stop

A northbound Link train pulled into Pioneer Square Station this evening. Its destination sign read “Angle Lake” (which is what southbound trains display).

As I rode north, I posted a “Randomness” photo to my blog. There was a time, not too long ago, when I wouldn’t have been able to do that, for two reasons I can think of at the moment.

As we approached University Street Station, the LED display, and the voice, announced: “Next stop, SeaTac/Airport Station.”

As we approached Westlake Station, the LED display, and the voice, announced: “Next stop, SeaTac/Airport Station.”

As we approached Capitol Hill Station, the LED display, and the voice, announced: “Next stop, SeaTac/Airport Station.”

I walked to the Capitol Hill Library, where Phillip was waiting for me. Then we walked to Roosters for our Valentine’s Day dinner (my treat). I gave him his other Valentine’s Day gift: a mug from the Central Library gift shop.

We walked to QFC, where Phillip bought me a jumbo filled sandwich cookie.

Then we walked home, and Phillip gave me my other Valentine’s Day gift: a gift card to Steam. I used it to buy Lumino City, which had been on my wish list for years.

A Book With A LBGTQ+ Protagonist

Kevin Keller: Welcome to Riverdale, by Dan Parent, Rich Koslowski, and Jack Morelli, was published in 2012.

It is a graphic novel, in the sense that it is a collection of Kevin Keller comics. It’s like a collection of short stories tied together with a central theme.

The first line of dialog is: “Wow! It seems like I just moved to Riverdale!

Kevin Keller Wecome to RiverdaleKevin Keller is an army brat. He was born in England, and has lived all over the world. He has a big, loving family. He plans to follow in his father’s footsteps someday, and have a military career. The Keller family is now living in Riverdale.

Kevin goes to Riverdale High, where he has been elected Class President. He’s active in the ROTC and the Chess Club. He hangs out with his friends Archie Andrews, Jughead Jones, Veronica Lodge, and Betty Cooper.

Kevin and Veronica are best friends. Veronica has a crush on Kevin. She looks at him with her chin resting in her hands, while little hearts orbit her head. However, Veronica has (mostly) accepted that she and Kevin are never going to be anything more than pals. Kevin Keller is openly gay.

In Chapter 1, Kevin speaks directly to the readers, breaking that fourth wall. He tells us that this story contains a lot of firsts for him: It’s his first week as Class President, his first article has been printed in The Riverdale Times, and he’s won his first journalism award. He’s also “freakin’ out”. He’s been asked out on his first date. Hilarity ensues.

In Chapter 2, Kevin and Veronica plan the prom together. They decide, with the help of Kevin’s family, on a 1970s disco theme. Conflict arises. Who should Archie ask to the prom: Betty or Veronica? Should Kevin ask Veronica, or the secret admirer who’s been leaving notes in his locker?

In Chapter 3, the school year has ended and the Riverdale gang heads for the beach. Kevin needs to save some money for college, so he’s landed a job as a life guard. (At least he’ll be near his friends while he works.) All the girls swoon over Kevin, the dreamy new life guard. Suddenly, the snobs from Pembrooke show up. Their private beach is closed, and they want to use Riverdale’s beach. There’s not enough room for everyone, so Kevin suggests a winner-take-all surfing competition. The kids from Riverdale and Pembrooke prepare for a friendly competition. However, Sloan, the jerk from Pembrooke, is not above using some homophobic taunting, and outright cheating, to win.

In Chapter 4, the Riverdale gang is hanging out in Pop’s, watching an ad for the 2012 Olympic Games in London. Kevin announces to his friends that he’ll be there, in London, because his father will be a torchbearer. Veronica asks to go along, and the Keller family is thrilled to have her join them. In London, Kevin shows Veronica his old neighborhood, and introduces her to his longtime friends. The Olympic torch run doesn’t go as planned, however. Mishaps include a stuck tube train, Veronica’s new dress, and a cup of water.

I started reading Kevin Keller: Welcome to Riverdale, knowing that I wasn’t going be getting into complex stories with deep, philosophical allegories. I knew the artwork wasn’t going to be especially inventive. I got what I was expecting, and that was fine with me. There are times that I enjoy silly entertainment just for the sake of entertainment.

There isn’t much drama, aside from a sabotaged surfboard, or many surprises.

The Riverdale gang acted pretty much like I expected them to act – just like they’ve probably been acting since the 1940s. Betty gives Kevin dating advice and immediately realizes that her advice has yet to help her land Archie. Jughead loves enormous hamburgers, which is something he and Kevin have in common. Reggie is his typical sarcastic, bad boy self. Veronica is lovely and glamorous, and fully aware that she is. Archie, however, doesn’t do a whole lot in any of the four stories. (He can’t be the center of attention when the stories are about Kevin Keller.)

I enjoyed this collection of comics. It was a fun read.

Why I chose this book:

Kevin Keller: Welcome to Riverdale was in the same Humble Bundle folder as The Infinite Loop. I’d heard of Kevin Keller, Riverdale’s first openly gay citizen, but I knew nothing about The Infinite Loop.

I started reading The Infinite Loop, and chose it as my “book with a LBGTQ+ protagonist”. I was almost finished with it when I remembered that there was also a category named “a book about time travel”. So The Infinite Loop changed categories. Sorry, Kevin, but you were the runner-up who got picked because the winner dropped out.

There Are Things You Won’t Find On This Blog

Last night, Phillip and I watched the movie Scott Pilgrim vs the World. It was the second time we’d seen it, and it still makes us laugh. We had both read the Scott Pilgrim comics, and loved them, before we saw the movie adaptation.

As we watched the movie last night, Phillip asked me how we discovered the comics. I didn’t remember.

I vaguely remember us reading the comics together. I’m fairly sure we borrowed them from the library. I’m also sure we read them in the original black & white. Did we read the six volumes separately, or as a collection? Did one of us borrow it, and the other read that copy? Getting back to Phillip’s question, how did we learn about the comics in the first place?

After the movie, I went to this blog. A search for “Scott Pilgrim vs the World” yielded no results. A search for “Pilgrim” showed me posts about us going to steampunk sales at All Pilgrims Church. I did searches for “Scott Pilgrim” and “comics” and “black & white”, until finally concluding that there are some things I don’t think are important enough to blog about, yet later become important.

Now, once this post is published, there will be at least one search result for “Scott Pilgrim vs the World”.