So Now I’m Buying Comics

Eternity GirlDuring lunch today, I read a glowing review, on Comics Grinder, of a new comic book.

I rode Link light rail home this evening, stopped into Phoenix Comics & Games, and bought Eternity Girl #1, based entirely on Comics Grinder’s review.

Eternity Girl #1 came out two days ago. There are six issues planned.

I’m looking forward to reading it.

I don’t even have the 2018 Reading Challenge planned for this. I’ll just reading it.


The E Line

This year’s Combined Fund Drive ceremony was held in the Shoreline Convention Center. I wasn’t pleased with the choice of venue.

I started thinking back on all the places the CFD ceremonies have been held since I’ve been going there with Phillip. There was the Horticultural Center at least twice. There was the UW Tower, and the Burke Museum (maybe twice). There was the Washington State Convention Center, the Swedish Club, a Lake Union yacht club, some place in the Mount Baker neighborhood, Golden Gardens Park, and a brewery near Safeco Field. There were probably other places I’ve forgotten.

(He’s been doing this for a while.)

I get that the CFD’s choice of venue is limited by availability and by their budget, and that they cover all of King County, and not just Seattle. I won’t rant on about why I didn’t like this choice, though. This is a blog post about me getting there.

Phillip left early, as he always does, with the car, to help set things up. And it was up to me to get myself there. On the plus side, it was a challenge – a puzzle to figure out.

Metro’s Trip Planner gave me this: Take a 41 bus from Pioneer Square Station to the Northgate Transit Center, then transfer to route 348, then walk about a third of a mile to the Shoreline Convention Center.

The thing that concerned me about Metro’s plan was that the 348 runs only twice per hour. I could have a long wait at Northgate.

I thought about renting a car2go or a ReachNow and driving myself there. (That thought gave me a memory of renting a Zipcar to meet Phillip at that brewery near Safeco.) The problem with that plan was the Shoreline Convention Center is well outside of both car share companies’ home area. I’d have to continue renting the car during the meeting, and then drive it home afterwards. (Which is what I did with the Zipcar, back in the pre-car2go days.) It wasn’t impossible, but I would prefer not driving out of Seattle during rush hour.

Google Maps gave me a plan even better than the previous two: Catch a RapidRide E from Downtown to 185th Street, then transfer to the 348. The transfer point is only a mile or so from the Shoreline Convention Center. If the wait for the 348 is too long, walking is possible.

Then, a question came to me: From Downtown to 185th is a two-zone trip. How do you pay for the extra fare on RapidRide’s off-bus ORCA readers? I don’t think you can – judging by what information I found. (The zone system is going away in a few months, so I gather that this isn’t a major issue for Metro.) It seemed that you have to pay inside the bus, telling the driver you’re paying for two zones.

I boarded the RapidRide E at 4:37. I told the driver that I wanted to pay for two zones. “What’s that?” “I want to pay two zones.” “Just pay one zone. I don’t have time for that.”

I hoped that any Fare Inspectors believed my story. As we made our way up 3rd Avenue, it became clear that the bus was too crowded for anyone to check fares. The bus was jam-packed all the way to Green Lake. Then it cleared out a bit.

At 5:36, I exited at Aurora and 185th. I walked around the corner, on 185th. OneBusAway told me I had a 7 minute wait for a 348. I decided to wait. The 348 arrived 7 minutes later. Including myself, and the three people who boarded with me, there were five people on the bus when it left the stop.

I accidentally exited one stop early.

I got to the event at 5:58. It started at 6:00, but everyone was running late, due to traffic and getting lost trying to find the place, so it didn’t start until 6:15.

It was a fun event, although shorter than in past years. I was the first raffle winner. I won a selection of candies.

Phillip drove us home. I-5 was moving swiftly all the way to Capitol Hill.

Poles, The Next Day

It’s actually very rare that I see a trolley bus in Seattle lose its poles. So, to be inside a bus while it loses its poles is remarkable. To be inside two buses, losing their poles, in one day, as I was yesterday – that it was blog-worthy.

Today, I experienced the opposite effect.

I caught a 1 bus up 3rd Avenue this evening. At 3rd & Union, we were stopped by a crew doing something on the overhead wires. As our driver waited for a signal to proceed, I saw a 47 bus passing through the intersection, moving up Pike. I was going to miss it.

While we waited, our driver lowered the poles from inside the bus. (That is so cool!) Just as he switched the motor over to battery power, a wire worker signaled for us to proceed.

I exited the bus and walked around the corner.

There was a 10 (a trolley bus) in the middle of the stop, with nothing ahead of it. I don’t know what was going on.

That 47 (another trolley bus) I’d seen earlier was in the center lane. It lowered its poles, and pulled around the 10. The driver got out as passengers were boarding, returned the poles to the wire, returned to his seat, the light turned green, and we proceeded.

The 10 was right behind us. Whatever it experienced didn’t last long.

A New Bus Schedule

There was a Spin bike in the rack inside the Link train this morning. I wondered if someone had picked it up a station to have transportation from their destination (not a bad idea), or if someone had dropped it off there (a bad idea).

I caught a 7 bus up 3rd Avenue this evening. The driver had an odd pattern of speeding up and slowing down – in places where trolley bus drivers don’t typically speed up or slow down. Then I remembered that Metro started a new service schedule last Saturday, and I realized that there were a lot of new drivers out there.

(There wasn’t any change to my morning 47, so I’d forgotten about the service change.)

Just as she pulled into the stop at 3rd & Pike (the last stop for the northbound 7), our driver lost the poles (pulled them off the wires) and she coasted into the stop.

I got to the stop at 4th & Pike. Just as I started to check OneBusAway, I saw a 47 bus approaching.

The 47 loaded its passengers. The traffic light turned green, the lane ahead was empty, so the driver floored it. I thought to myself: “He’s going to lose his poles speeding through the switch ahead like this.”

And he lost his poles.


I came home from Writers’ Group yesterday to an empty apartment. Phillip hadn’t got home from his NorWesCon meeting yet.

I hung my coat up, took off my shoes, and sorted through the mail I’d picked up on my way in. I checked my phone for any new messages from Phillip.

I walked into the bedroom to change clothes. Oh, Phillip did get home before me. He was taking a nap.

I wrote a quick blog post. Then I went in for a nap.

I woke up. Phillip was still sleeping. I went into the living room. That’s when I first noticed the Post-It note on the bedroom door. “Get me up at 6:00 please,” it said in Phillip’s handwriting. It was 4:30, or so. I looked up the address for The Dane.

I got Phillip up at six. I was remembering that the show was at 7:30, so I was still lounging on the couch when Phillip, with his coat on, placed the car key on the table. No, he corrected me, the show’s at 7:00.

I got ready, we left the apartment, and we drove to The Dane, in Crown Hill.

We were supposed to see Cowbell’s final show last month, but, because February’s dates and March’s dates looked identical on a calendar, we got mixed up and missed it. But then, Cowbell did another final show last night.


It was a good show. I think Cowbell’s gray-haired hippie sound is better suited to a venue like Blue Moon Tavern or Bud’s backyard, but the band sounded good in The Dane. They did a couple of songs that neither Phillip nor I had heard them perform before.

Right before I sat down to write this blog post, I noticed a Post-It note on the hallway wall. “7:00 15th & 80th The Dane,” it said in Phillip’s handwriting.

A Face On A Bus

I must not have slept well last night. I woke up feeling groggy. I had a headache.

I got myself out of bed this morning, in order to get Phillip out at the right time to catch a 47 to get to Westlake Station in time to get to a NorWesCon meeting.

After he left, I considered going back to bed for a nap. I considered skipping Writers’ Group.

I wanted to go to Writers’ Group, however. Our group has achieved a new dynamic, with new members. There’s a whole new vibe to Writers’ Group on Saturday.

I started walking up the hill. I realized I was already feeling tired, and I hadn’t even reached Broadway yet. I checked OneBusAway. A 10 was due at Broadway & John in 4 minutes. I could make it.

I had a 2 minute wait for a 10. I boarded the bus, and looked around for seats. There was a face I recognized. It took me a moment to recognize her – it was a face out of context. It was Mariah.

I sat down next to Mariah. We chatted on the bus ride up to 15th, and we continued chatting on the walk to Barbara’s place.

It was Barbara, Mariah, Chris, and me at Writer’s Group. James, Russ, and Rebecca couldn’t make it.

I read a piece of a piece today – just an idea I had for steampunk Seattle.

Mariah read a variety of things, involving death, language, and other topics.

Chris and Barbara both read portions of novels-in-progress.

Afterwards, Chris and I walked to John Street together, chatting all the way. We caught buses going opposite directions.

It was a fun group today, even though we had missing members.

By the way, check out Chris’ blog here.

A Book About Or Involving A Sport

England, Their England, by A. G. Macdonell, was first published in 1933.

The first sentence is: “The events which are described in this book had their real origin in a conversation which took place between two artillery subalterns on the Western Front in the beginning of October 1917.

(The end of the Chapter II assures us that “…no one need be afraid that this is a war book.“)

England Their England

Donald Cameron meets Evan Davies in a captured German pill-box during The Great War. They strike up a conversation and form a friendship. Cameron (a Scotsman) and Davies (a Welshman) discuss and compare their impressions of the English. They agree that the English are a peculiar bunch.

This gives Donald Cameron the idea that he would like to write a book about the English, someday. It so happens that Evan Davies is a book publisher.

The battle leaves Donald Cameron shell-shocked, and he is sent to a base hospital. After a year and a half in hospital, Donald is deemed fit to return to civilian life, but not fit for military duty for the next seven years. He receives a government payment of £85 per annum, from which income tax is deducted.

Upon his discharge, Donald travels to Aberdeen, to work on his father’s farm. His father is the worst farmer around, and his father doesn’t care. Still, Donald works on the farm until his father dies.

His father’s will leaves Donald £7,000, on the condition that Donald leave Scotland, and never stay north of the River Tweed for more than a month per year, until he reaches the age of fifty. (Scotland is no place for the young, his father had insisted.)

Realizing he has no skills except farming (at which he’s only slightly better than his father was) and firing military weapons, Donald Cameron decides to try his hand at journalism. It’s the only profession Donald can think of which requires neither skill nor training. Following the advice of a librarian, Donald moves to Chelsea, in London.

After several unsuccessful inquiries, and some strange interviews with newspapers and publishers, Donald meets a man named Mr. Hodge, who introduces him to his circle of self-important poets. Without realizing what’s happening, Donald Cameron has joined Mr. Hodge’s cricket team.

One evening, Donald happens to run into Evan Davies, his old pill-box companion. Davies commissions Donald to write that book they’d talked about: a book about the English from a Scotsman’s point of view. Davies quickly warns Donald that there are two things you much never rag the English about: cricket and Lord Nelson. Davies is delighted to hear that Donald will soon be playing on a cricket team.

In order to gather material for his book, Donald begins visiting the taverns frequented by Mr. Hodge’s poets. He learns that one can’t order a half-pint of bitter, that it’s impossible to order mashed carrots after 11, and that not everyone claiming to be French is actually French.

Donald travels with Mr. Hodge and his circle of poets to a weekend retreat at a county manor, and is constantly bewildered by English politics and customs. He comes home with a notebook full of observations, but is no closer to understanding the English.

In Chapter VII, Donald Cameron plays his first cricket match. It’s an amateur match between the loosely formed team from London and the village team of Fordenden. Mr. Hodge’s London team cares more about grabbing a pint in the Three Horseshoes tavern than about being on a cricket field. Many fouls and mishaps occur, including a last-minute addition of an American who momentarily forgets that he’s playing cricket, and plays baseball. Both teams play with more enthusiasm than skill. At the end of the match, both teams celebrate together in the Three Horseshoes, and Donald has no material for his book.

In his quest for the true English character, Donald Cameron plays a round of gentleman’s golf. He takes an assignment as a private secretary for a Conservative member of Parliament. He attends football matches and the theater. He tries his hand at local politics. He goes on holiday. He travels to rural England, and to the city. He accumulates volumes of notes.

But, can Donald Cameron ever write his book? Can he ever find the essence of what it means to be English?

England, Their England is a work of satire, similar in style to Three Men in a Boat, by Jerome K. Jerome, and the series of Rupert Psmith books by P.G. Wodehouse. I’m sure that a lot of the British satire when over my head, but it made me laugh. (I especially loved the commentary on English theater.)

Wikipedia says: “The village cricket match is the most celebrated episode in the novel, and a reason cited for its enduring appeal.” For some reason, I was expecting the cricket match to be a larger part of the story. In that sense, I was disappointed that this book wasn’t a closer fit for the category. Still, the story does involve a sport (I’m not counting the round of golf), and I had spent a lot of time reading the book, so I decided to keep it for the category.

Despite the small amount of cricket, I enjoyed England, Their England a lot. It was a delight to read.

Why I chose this book:

Reading Psmith in the City for the 2017 Reading Challenge sparked my curiosity about the sport of cricket. So, when the 2018 Reading Challenge came along, with the category “A book about or involving a sport”, I decided I’d extend my curiosity by reading a book involving cricket. Another book in the “Psmith” series was an obvious choice, but I wanted to go for a less obvious choices.

After internet searches turned up several biographies of famous cricket players (not what I looking for), I found England, Their England. The Seattle Public Library didn’t have it, and neither did Project Gutenberg. (I hadn’t, at that point, acquired a King County Library card.) I then discovered a public domain eBook site named Faded Page that did, so I downloaded it from there.


The 47 bus didn’t show up this morning, again. I didn’t receive a text alert about it, again.

I walked up and over to Olive Way, and just missed a 10 bus. OneBusAway told me I had a 10 minute wait for the next 10 bus. So, I continued walking up to Capitol Hill Station, and rode Link light rail to work. I got to work on time, as always.

When I boarded Link, a guy was getting a lecture from a Fare Inspector, because the guy didn’t have a ticket. The Fare Inspector also gave the guy directions on how to get to King Street Station.

I’ve filed a complain with Metro, again, about not being alerted when the 47 doesn’t show up.

The last time I filed a compliant, Metro told me the 47 hadn’t shown up because they had no available drivers. They also advised me to sign up for text alerts. This morning, in my complaint, I referenced both of those things.

I told Metro that there were about a dozen people at my stop this morning, relying on Metro to get them to work. I asked that the next time their drivers don’t bother showing up for work, at least let us know whether we should keep waiting or seek out another route, because we want to show up for work. I told them that I want this service repaired.

I told Metro that I’ve been signed up for text alerts for years. I’ve signed up for alerts for the 8, 10, 47, 49, 60, the streetcar, and light rail, and that I receive timely alerts for all of these – except the 47. I told them I want to know why I don’t receive alerts for the 47.

(I forgot about the 43 in my compliant – I also receive text alerts about it.)

My complaint this morning was angrier in tone than my previous one, but I was in a bad mood.

Light Rail Rides

I was waiting on the platform at Westlake Station this morning when I saw a guy in a leather jacket with a cool Bela Lugosi movie poster sewn onto the back. I had an urge to photograph it, but I wasn’t sure how to go about it. I could just ask him, but how would I explain why I wanted to photograph it?

The guy in the leather jacket was among a group of people with suitcases, obviously waiting for Link light rail to take them to the airport.

I decided that he was in a public space, and I was taking a photo of the station. Besides, you don’t wear such a large decoration if you don’t want people to notice it. I figured that as long as I cropped people’s faces out, and I framed it so the jacket was part of the overall scene, it would be OK. I took the photo holding my phone vertically, so it wouldn’t be so obvious that I was taking a photo. (Later, I cropped the photo horizontally.)

The train arrived, and I went through the same door as the leather jacket guy and his friends. As we passed I said to him, “Nice jacket!” He nodded, but gave me a blank look. Either he didn’t hear what I’d said, or he didn’t speak English.

I hardly ever ride light rail home these days. Link has become more of a tool than a toy to me, and that’s a good thing. With the addition of Capitol Hill and University of Washington Stations, our light rail system has increased its usefulness, and I no long feel that I need to support it. I am pleased to see the system grow.

Link light rail gets me from Pioneer Square Station to Capitol Hill Station faster than the 47 bus gets me home, but it also gets me farther from home. I discovered, long ago, that the time it takes me to walk home from Capitol Hill Station is exactly equal to the time I spend waiting to transfer to the 47 at 4th & Pike, so I get home at the same time with either option. So, unless I need to be on Broadway, to pick up a book at the library, or food at QFC, or I have a chiropractor appointment, I’ve been opting for the shorter walk home.

Maybe when the weather becomes more pleasant, I’ll opt for a light rail ride home more often.