Hunting With The Sisters

Phillip and I walked over to Cal Anderson Park this evening. We were wearing our typical summer jeans and t-shirts. I should have worn a sweater. It was downright chilly tonight. It felt good, actually, after all these days of 80+ degree weather.

We went to Cal Anderson for an event named Pokémon A-Go-Go. It was hosted by The Sisters Of Perpetual Endulgence, Abbey of Saint Joan.

For three continuous hours tonight, The Sisters placed lures at the three Pokéstops at 11th and Olive – Central Lutheran Church, Hugo House, and the park entrance. And we all sat around chatting and catching Pokémon.

Meanwhile, The Sisters sold raffle tickets, and held drawings throughtout the event. Phillip and I each won a $25 Visa card. The $50 gift certificate to a local restaurant was won by someone else.

It was a lot of fun. 

This event was a terrific idea, in my opinion.

Afterwards, Phillip and I had dinner at Lost Lake. (I had breakfast, actually- steak and eggs and coffee. And, yes, I drink coffee at 8:30 at night.) Then we caught a 49 bus home.

Smart phone shout out: OneBusAway worked fine on my old Tracfone, but the Android app works so much better. With just two taps, I was able to compare the arrival times of the 60 coming down Broadway and the 49 coming up Pine, and see that we’d have a shorter wait on Pine.

Pokemon Without The Go

Phillip and I went to a Pokémon Scavenger Hunt today. This was not Pokémon Go, however. It was something similar – it was like Pokémon Go for folks without the app.

The event was hosted by Emerald City Games and Comics, in Burien, and sponsored by several Burien businesses. Neither Phillip nor I were familiar with the Burien area, and I used the Here WeGo app on my phone to navigate us there. (See, there was a “Go” in the day after all!)

Here’s how the game worked: There were 151 Pokémon (actually, small rocks with a picture of a Pokémon glued to it) hidden throughout Burien. Each team had to walk around town for four hours, finding Pokémon. Prizes were given to the best team costume (Phillip and I didn’t have a costume, but tried to dress as alike as possible) and, of course for finding the most Pokémon. We were encouraged to photograph each Pokémon we found, and write down where we found them, just in case there was any dispute.

Each participant was given a backpack, water, snacks, a notebook, and coupons from the sponsoring businesses.

At first, it seemed that we were the only all-adult team there. There were a bunch of little kids playing. (Why didn’t we see that coming?) We were both thinking of bowing out, but then a couple more all-adult teams showed up, and we stuck with it.

Emerald City had wanted to put a map of where the Pokémon were concentrated on the Facebook event page, but wasn’t able to. What they came up with was a paper map that each team could photograph and refer to.

Unfortunately, the paper map was late in arriving, so the event started without it. We were told to go out hunting Pokémon and then check back later for the map.

The woman in Emerald City gave us a hint: The Pokémon were mostly hidden around the sponsoring businesses, so look at our coupons.

We wrote down those businesses’ addresses, and I picked out the farthest one, suggesting that we start from there and work our way back. Phillip agreed to that. The farthest one, judging by the address, seemed like it should be about five or six blocks away. (But, remember, we don’t know Burien.)

We walked and walked, and kept walking. At first, we were walking on opposite sides of street, looking at every storm drain, light pole, and bush for Pokémon. Then we agreed that those little rocks wouldn’t be dropped in residential areas, so we stopped looking and kept walking.

It seemed like we should have been there by now. I turned on the Here WeGo app to guide us there. It was actually a .9-mile walk to that business, but it felt like a lot more. We found a couple of Pokémon, and then agreed to go back to Emerald City, photograph the map, and get the car.

On our way back, we recognized another business on the list, so we went over, found a couple of more Pokémon, and found our way back to Emerald City. I was getting discouraged, and I think Phillip was, too. I’d understood this event to be a walk around a small town – not a hike.

The map was there. Areas were outlined where the Pokémon could be found, as well as number of Pokémon to be found in that area. And, it turned out, we had stated with the worst area we could. With that one exception, all the Pokémon areas were within a block or two, and all concentrated in the downtown Burien area. We regained our enthusiasm, left the car parked where it was, and set out with a photograph of the map.

The event started at 2:00, and was scheduled to last until 7:00. Around 5:30, we were both tired, and agreed to call it quits. We’d found 50 Pokémon, became familiar with Burien, met up with another team (two adults and five or six little kids), enjoyed free espresso drinks at Grand Central Bakery, and (despite a rough start) had an overall good time.

We both had our ResQwalk apps on the whole time. We’d walked between four and five miles today. (It’s a mystery why our two totals were off by almost a mile.)

When we checked back in at Emerald City, we learned that there were probably less than 151 Pokémon out there. Some non-players may have found some of the pretty little rocks and, not knowing they were part of a game, took them. (In geocaching, we call that “muggled”.) Plus, the people who hid them may have miscounted. So, we were told, finding 50 was pretty good.

We saw that two teams had checked in before us. One team had found 35 and the other 53. We didn’t stick around until 7:00.

Here’s a photograph of the map. That T-shape, with the 5, right above where the map makes the right turn, is Emerald City Games and Comics. The triangle, with the 3, is where we walked to that first business.


Disc Of Lies

Lately, DVDs have been arriving in our mailbox from Netflix that neither Phillip nor I can remember putting on our queue. Apparently, we saw a preview, thought the movie looked interesting, put it on our queue, and then, over time, forgot about it. Then a mystery disc arrives in the mail. It’s kind of fun, actually.

This was the case with The Signal, which we watched last night. The disc sleeve said it was from 2014, and this was the synopsis:

During their drive across the country, college pals Nick and Jonah — accompanied by Nick’s girlfriend — run into major trouble in the Nevada desert. Duped into a setup by an evil-minded hacker, the trio soon become the demented techie’s prisoners.

That didn’t seem familiar to either of us. We agreed that it sounded bad. But we do enjoy the occasional bad movie, so we put it into our DVD player.

The Signal starts off as a road-trip movie. Jonah and Nick are taking Haley to a new college. Nick has some degenerative disease that requires him to use crutches for mobility. He’s afraid that as the disease worsens, and he ends up in a wheelchair, Haley will lose interest in him while she’s away at college, and break up with him. Haley see this as Nick’s cowardly way of breaking up with her. Poor Jonah is stuck in the middle of this fight between his two best friends.

Before the road trip began, Jonah and Nick were at MIT, and some hacker broke into their personal server and destroyed all of their files. Since then, they’ve been receiving taunting emails. Now, on the road with Haley, they’ve found the hacker’s IP address. They’ve traced the location of that IP address, and learn that the hacker is not too far out of their way to Haley’s college. Haley agrees to the detour.

Meanwhile, it seems that the hacker has found them. They receive a photo of their car, taken from a traffic camera.

None of this was familiar to either Phillip or me. We began making guesses as to what kind of movie we were in for – suspense, mystery, horror, or torture-porn.

The trio arrive at the hacker’s location in the pitch-black night. It’s a seemingly abandoned shack in the middle of the nowhere. Nick and Jonah lock Haley in the car while they go in to investigate. Jonah brings his camera with him.

At this point, the movie turns into a Blair Witch Project clone. A shaky, handheld movie camera shows us poorly lit scenes of a creepy old shack. Someone has been living there, but it looks like they moved out long ago. In the basement, Nick and Jonah find something out of place with the rest of the shack.

They hear Haley screaming outside. Nick and Jonah rush outside and find that all of the car’s doors are open. Haley is gone.

At this point, the movie turns into something very different and unexpected. I won’t tell you what it turns into. I won’t tell you the rest of the plot. I will tell you that the rest of the movie is not at all what the DVD sleeve told us.

I like to think that the synopsis on the DVD sleeve was a deliberate lie to avoid spoiling the plot twists.

The Signal is a terrific movie. I loved it. It was well made and well acted. Its many mysteries and twists kept me guessing all along. It’s a movie that, I’m sure, could stand up to repeat viewing. I learned, afterwards, from IMDb, that there were two “clues” hidden in plain sight within what appeared, on first viewing, to be superfluous scenes. I’m sure there are more.

I’ve often wished that I could have watched Psycho without knowing anything about the movie beforehand – to fully experience the shock of that mid-story genre change. I feel like I’ve now experienced that with The Signal.

Sports Schedules

My goal for the immediate future is to pay attention to the Seattle Mariners schedule.

I walked down to the platform at Pioneer Square Station, on my way home today, and knew a game had let out. The platform was packed with people. I’d seen it before.

A two-car Link light rail train arrived and it was jammed with people. I had never seen a Link train as jammed with riders as that one. I couldn’t see the windows on the opposite side of the train – it was that packed. Somehow, a few more people managed to squeeze in. I decided to wait for the next one.

The train operator announced over the exterior speakers that another train was just a couple of minutes behind him. If you can’t get in, he suggested, wait for the next one.

The train left with still a lot of people on the platform.

A couple of 41 buses arrived and left.

Then a three-car train arrived. It, too was packed, but not as much as the previous one.

I stood from Pioneer Square to University Street. Then I found a seat. Most of the riders exited at Westlake Station. It was still crowded from there to Capitol Hill, but not as much.

It wasn’t so bad, actually. I knew I’d get home. I’m not complaining. I’m just saying that if I paid attention to the Mariners schedule (or whatever team is playing in the stadiums), I could avoid this scenario and have an easier commute.

I have options. But which one is the best? I could catch a 47 bus home, but that would mean going through Downtown, which would be generally crowded after a game. Still, it might be better than the tunnel.

I could ride a 12 bus up to First Hill, and catch the streetcar home. The First Hill Streetcar has stops near Safeco, but if Link in any indication, most of the game goers won’t be going to Capitol Hill.

It looks like the Mariners have a few away games coming up. I have time to plan it all out.


A Book I Felt I Should Read

When Phillip and I were at Hempfest last Friday, we saw the bus named Further – the actual bus featured in that book I could barely remember the name of. (“Electric something something Acid Test”) We were allowed to take one step into Further and peer inside. I knew I was looking at history, but it was a history I knew little about.

Phillip took a photograph of Further. I, for reasons unknown, did not.

I realized then that this was a book I had always heard of, but had never read. I felt it was a book I should read. It took a bit of research to find it. I remembered it was written by – or about – the author of One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, a relative of the guy who sold us a tie-dye toilet seat, there at Hempfest. But, eventually I did find it.

Electric Kool-Aid Acid TestI put The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test, by Tom Wolfe, on hold at the library. It arrived yesterday. I picked it up today. I read the first chapter this evening.

I’m imagining this book is going to be like a hippie version of On the Road. But I don’t know. I’m imagining this book is going to be non-fiction, or mostly so.

In the first chapter, Tom Wolfe has traveled from New York City to San Francisco, to interview the author Ken Kesey, who is in jail for his second marijuana offense. (This is the late 1960s, when the FBI hunted down marijuana users, and Ken Kesey was facing a five-year prison sentence for his second offense.)  All around the jail, Kesey’s followers, the Merry Pranksters, are hanging around, waiting for news. The first interview has not gone well. Tom Wolfe has had only ten minutes to talk, over the jail phone, and didn’t find out what he wanted to know.

So far, this book is flowing well.


I Guess I Needed It

Phillip woke me up and said, “So I guess we’re going to skip the wedding.”

“Why? What happened?”

“It’s one o’clock.”

The wedding wasn’t until four, but Phillip knew that the only time I sleep until the afternoon is when I’m not feeling well.

I felt fine, however. I guess I just needed the sleep.

We made it to the wedding, in Everett, on time, but we missed the Pokémon event at Scarecrow Video this morning.

Our friends Damon and Katherine and John got married this afternoon. It was a beautiful little ceremony, named “A Royal Country Wedding”. The church was decorated in a medieval theme. The bride and grooms were dressed as royalty. Many of the guests were in costume. 

Phillip and I were both in contemporary clothes. We sat with Brian, who was in costume. (Kathi had another wedding to attend.)

The ceremony included a perfect passage from Ecclesiastes 4:9-12 (NLT).

I am the type of person who cries at weddings.

Day 5: Hempfest

Here’s the reason I chose this week for my vacation: Phillip had asked me to take today off, so that we could go to Hempfest together. I had some vacation time saved up, so I decided to take the whole week off.

We loaded up on sun protection, rode an 8 bus to Uptown, and walked to the festival, in Mytle Edwards Park. We agreed on our standard rule: When one of says it’s time to leave, it’s time to leave.

Today was the 25th anniversary of Hempfest. We had a great time. There were several stages with live music and speeches. There were plenty of vendor booths, and an overall sense of camaraderie. We walked from the Thomas Street overpass to the southern end of the festival, to the northern end, then back to the southern end, then back to the Tomas Street overpass. According to my ResQwalk app, I walked 5.93 miles today. (The bunnies at Rabbit Haven, in Gig Harbor, will be happy.)


A small section of Hempfest


Hempfest has an app!

We bought lots of water, flavored shaved ice, and lemonade. We also bought some bags, tie-dyed shirts, and a tie-dyed toilet seat. (We’d planned on replacing our toilet seat this weekend, and a relative of Ken Kesey was there, with Further, the magic bus, selling tie-dyed items, including toilet seats – so why not.)

As we left the festival, heading for the 8 bus back home, Phillip started getting exhausted. He asked if we could get a car2go. I found one three blocks away, and used my smart phone to reserve it, start the rental, and unlock the doors. It was pretty nifty.

It turned out the be the most expensive car2go trip I have ever taken. Traffic was at a crawl along Mercer Street. I’m not sure if there was an accident or just the usual Friday evening Mercer Mess. We had the air conditioner on full blast, and the radio on, so it was OK.

Eventually, we reached 5th Avenue. I turned right, wound through Belltown until I could get over to Fairview. Then I took us through Cascade, up over the Lakeview overpass, to Capitol Hill.

It was a 70 minute car2go drive from Uptown to Capitol Hill. It cost a little over $24. (I think that’s reasonable. The price, I mean, not the hour+ drive from Uptown to Capitol Hill.)


Day 4: Oil Change and Recovery

I got the oil changed in our car this morning. Yes, I am on a rare vacation, and maybe there are more exciting things to do with my time off, but the oil change was almost due, I had the day off, and no plans for the day, and maybe Jiffy Lube might not be busy on a Thursday morning, so I might as well get it done.

The place was busier than I expected, but the shop worked effeciently (as always), and I was out of there in about a half hour.

As for the rest of the day, my mind kept telling me I should get out and do something. My body, meanwhile, kept saying, “Yeah, OK, maybe later.”

I was wiped out from yesterday’s adventures. I had the beginnings of a sunburn, and today’s sun did not feel good on my skin.

I spent the afternoon reading, and playing Cities: Skylines and The Sims 2. (I sent a second message to Origin this morning, since I haven’t yet received even an acknowledgement about my missing Sims 4 content.) 

I almost feel like today was a vacation from my vacation.