At The Movies

Today, Phillip and Cristina and I drove up to Regal Thornton Place Stadium 14 & IMAX, and saw Avengers: Infinity War, in IMAX 3D.

The movie was just about 3 hours long, but it didn’t feel like it. It was action-packed, non-stop fun, and time flew by.

(Actually, it may not have felt like 3 hours, but I’m exhausted. I’m going to bed, and I’ll finish this post tomorrow.)

So, we saw the movie yesterday. It wasn’t actually non-stop fun. I don’t think any of us saw that coming. Or that, or that. Or that, in the post-credit scene.

The movie jumped right in, assuming you’ve seen most of the previous Marvel movies. For a 3 hour movie, it didn’t waste a lot of time on backstories.

I loved this movie a lot.

The special effects were well done. (Well, there was that one scene where Bruce Banner’s head didn’t quite move in sync with the rest of his armor. He was in the background, so maybe I wasn’t supposed to notice it.)

This was twice this month I’ve been left stunned by an ending. First, it was Game of Thrones, Season 7’s ending. Now this.

Afterwards, Phillip and Cristina and I drove to Veggie Grill, in University Village, for dinner.

My Favorite Pedestrian Tunnel

Phillip and I met up after work this evening, to see A Quiet Place at the Regal 16.

Phillip rode the 49 bus from work to the theater. I walked to the theater from my office.

For me, it was an opportunity to walk through my favorite pedestrian tunnel. This tunnel goes from Rainier Tower, on 4th Avenue, to Union Square, between 6th and 7th Avenues. Along the way, there are displays of Seattle History, a food court, and one of the Cobb Building’s “Terracotta Indians”. It’s a pleasant and easy way to cover two and a half blocks of Downtown Seattle.

ped tunnel

The problem, I knew, was that there’s a skyscraper under construction next door to Rainier Tower. Most, if not all, of the Rainier Plaza shopping center is gone. It may not even be possible to get to the tunnel through Rainier Tower anymore.

I got to Rainier Tower. The entrance on 4th Avenue was gone, and so was the entrance on University Street. There were people coming down some stairs that probably led into the building, and the 5th Avenue entrance was certainly still open. But I didn’t take the time to investigate.

I knew there are ways into the tunnel from other buildings, and from at least one hotel, but I wasn’t sure where they are. Someday, I’ll investigate the tunnel more, but I didn’t this evening.

I crossed 5th Avenue, intending to walk the sidewalks to the movie theater. There, next door to The 5th Avenue Theater, I found an entrance into tunnel food court, and, of course, into the tunnel.

I got to the Regal 16 a few minutes before Phillip.

A Quiet Place was an excellent movie. It was well photographed, well directed, well acted, and scary as hell.

We decided to catch a 10 bus home, rather than wait another five minutes for the 47.

Catching the 10, and exiting on the other side of Olive Way, gave Phillip the idea to stop into Hillcrest Market to get two orders of chicken yakisobi, to go, for our dinner.

Train Delay, And Movies

Starting at 5:43 this morning, I received a series of texted Transit Alerts. First: Link light rail is interrupted by a blockage on the tracks. Then: Link is not serving the northbound platform at Othello Station. Use the southbound platform.

Then: Link is not operating between Rainier Beach and Columbia City. Alternate transportation is being provided. Then: Link is back to serving the southbound platform at Othello Station, but not the northbound platform.

Finally, at 6:38: Link light rail has resumed normal operations at all stations, with service delays.

I rode the 47 bus to Westlake Station. The southbound platform was jammed with people and suitcases. Two northbound Link trains came and went, and I remembered this morning’s text messages. Several southbound buses came and went, and I remembered that I don’t have to ride light rail – anything moving through the tunnel will take me to Pioneer Square. (I’ve become used to seamless, reliable light rail service.)

I began making my way up to the front of the platform. Then a southbound Link train arrived. It was a 2-car train, and it was packed full. I managed to find a space inside, near the door.

If I’d trusted my initial instinct, I would have had a seat on a bus rather than crammed into the aisle of a light rail train.

I don’t know what caused the delay – signal malfunction, car running a red light, or something else. Whatever it was, it wasn’t big enough to make the local news. It doesn’t really matter. It was handled swiftly, I was kept informed, and I wasn’t late for work.

Meanwhile, I’m on a Wes Anderson kick. His films are beautiful and thoughtful. He has a unique, immediately recognizable style.

At the moment, Moonrise Kingdom is my favorite Wes Anderson film, with The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou in a close second. I loved The Darjeeling Limited and The Grand Budapest Hotel.

Fantastic Mr. Fox didn’t grab me, unfortunately. It was lovely to watch, but I just didn’t get into the story.

I haven’t seen either The Royal Tenebaums and Rushmore (yet).

He’s Smarter Than Me

For years, Phillip has taken a post-convention day off. This year, I finally followed his example and took yesterday off. It was a good idea.

Yesterday, after relaxing a while, we decided to hop on a bus, go Downtown, and saw Ready Player One in 3D.

Phillip and I both read the book when it first came out, seven years ago. We both loved it. Then, about a week ago, in anticipation of the movie, Phillip read it a second time. I wish I’d followed his lead.

Obviously, yesterday, Phillip remembered the book better than I did.

Ready Player One, the movie, was awesome! I loved it. It wasn’t perfect, but it was beautiful and fun.

I don’t want a movie to be too faithful to the book it was based on. It don’t want a movie to be merely a direct copy of a book. What would be the point in that?

Was Ready Player One, the movie, faithful to the book? I don’t remember the book well enough to say.

I went back to work today, and didn’t forget any of my passwords, even though I had to change a couple of them last Wednesday.

During NorWesCon, something reminded me of Wes Anderson. (Maybe it was a mention of The Isle of Dogs somewhere.) I decided to put three DVDs on hold at the library. I picked up The Life Aquatic With Steve Zissou on my way home today. I’ve seen it before, years ago. Moonrise Kingdom is In Transit. I’ve never seen it. I’m in position 16 for 22 copies of The Fantastic Mr. Fox. I’ve never seen it, either.

Star Wars And A Beer

Phillip and I had no plans for today, until Phillip asked me if I wanted to go see The Last Jedi. I appreciated that. I know I’m more of a Star Wars fan than he is.

We went the AMC 10, in the U District. It’s the place that used to be The Sundance. So far, they haven’t gotten rid of either the kitchen or the liquor, although they’ve taken down the menu signs and replaced them with hand-written paper sheets announcing the price of drinks and referring people to the hand-held menus. The lobby signs saying “AMC Dine-In” look pretty permanent, however.

When we used to go to The Sundance, I would order a beer, just because I could. Now, when we go to the AMC 10, I always order a beer, just because I still can.

I ordered a “Left Coast Philly” to go with my beer this afternoon.

Movie Dinner

We saw The Last Jedi in 3D.

I wish the present-day Star Wars films would drop the nostalgia, and the cameos, and move forward with the story. (I liked what Rogue One did with creating a whole new self-contained story, and tying it into the saga only at the very end.) That said, I liked The Last Jedi a lot.

It had great visuals. (I loved Snoke’s throne room as an opera set!)

I recently watched a video from Mimei Land, in which Mimei and Duncan went to go see The Last Jedi. After the movie, Mimei remarked that she loved all the Pokémon. I think that’s both funny and apt. I loved all the critters in this movie.

I’ve tried to stay away from reviews and spoiler before seeing this movie. It’s been tough to do. One thing I have heard is the movie described as “divisive”. Fans either love it or hate it. That’s actually one of the main reasons I’ve wanted to see it.

If a movie gets mostly good reviews, I’ll probably want to go see it. If it gets mostly bad reviews, I’ll probably want to stay away.

But, if a movie gets very good reviews and very bad reviews, if it’s “divisive”, I definitely want to see it – right away. This is a movie that takes chances, that breaks the mold, and creates something we haven’t seen before. That’s how I felt about The Last Jedi. It wasn’t perfect, but it took chances, and I enjoyed it.

The Last Jedi is a movie worth seeing in 3D, with a beer.

Different Commutes

Today was the 10th anniversary of the Seattle Streetcar. In celebration, both streetcar lines were free all day. This didn’t mean a whole lot to me, since my employer pays the full cost of my ORCA card, so technically, the streetcars are always free for me (unless you factor in the cost of the labor I put in to get that ORCA card – which I don’t). Still, I love our streetcars, and I thought this was pretty cool.

It’s been too long since I last rode the First Hill Streetcar, and a whole long longer since I’ve had the opportunity to ride the South Lake Union Streetcar.

I left work this evening and walked down to Jackson Street, getting stopped by “Don’t Walk” signs the whole way. (I was in no hurry. As always, I’m a fan of the slow commute.) I got to Jackson just as a streetcar was pulling into the stop. (Oh well, I’ll wait for the next one.)

I stepped onto the platform as the streetcar was loading passengers. I reached the back of the streetcar as the “Doors Closing” signal started sounding. (Oh well.) But the doors stayed open. It seemed that the driver was waiting for me. I quickened my pace and stepped into the streetcar. (Thanks, driver!)

I wanted to snap a photo or two on my commute home, but I had no waiting time on the platform, it was too crowded inside the streetcar to get a photo without someone’s face in it, and it was too dark outside to get a reflection-free photo out the window. (There were empty seats here and there, but many people seemed to prefer standing.)

It was a quick ride home, but with the walk down to Jackson, I got home a little later than usual. (It was not one of the more direct ways home.)

Yesterday, Phillip and I met up at Pacific Place after work, to see a movie. I rode a Link train from Pioneer Square Station to Westlake Station. Then I went up through Nordstrom, and over the sky bridge to Pacific Place, where I found Phillip waiting for me.

It was an hour until the movie started, so we had dinner at Johnny Rockets.

Cristina met us at the theater, early enough that we could have waited dinner for her, but we didn’t know when she’d arrive. (Sorry, Cristina.) The three of us hung out in the lobby and had a nice chat.

Michael found us after we’d found seats in the theater.

The movie, by the way, was Coco. It was wonderful. I highly recommend it. I’d love to own the DVD someday. I’m pretty sure all four of us were crying by the end. (There’s a little more to the crying, which I may, or may not, expand on later.)

After the movie, we all said goodbye, and Phillip and I walked over the bus stop near The Paramount, where, we learned, Hilary Clinton was speaking. We just missed a 49 bus, and had a 13 minute wait for the next one. (It was a pleasant night out, so it was a nice wait.) Then we walked home from Broadway.

And, of course, last Friday I rode home via the U District on the 74 bus.

Maybe tomorrow, I’ll have a more typical commute home.

Returning Discs

Phillip had a NorWesCon meeting today. He’d planned on taking the car.

Season Two of Supergirl was due back at Scarecrow Video today. At first, that seemed like a logistics problem. But, I figured, there are buses in the area. I could get reasonably close to Scarecrow. Or, I could get lucky and find a car2go or ReachNow in the neighborhood. (I keep forgetting about Zipcar!)

I looked into it, and discovered that the combination of Link light rail and route 67 would work perfectly.

Meanwhile, Phillip discovered how bad traffic was predicted to be this weekend, and decided to take Link. That freed up the car for me. But I decided to still take public transit, enjoy the scenery, and maybe spend some time exploring the U District on my own.

This morning, Phillip left to walk up to Capitol Hill Station and ride Link and RapidRide A to the meeting. I took a shower and walked up the hill a little later.

Along the way to Capitol Hill Station, I dropped a DVD into the mailbox to return it to Netflix. The film was Dark Horse. We watched it last night.

Dark Horse is a wonderful, delightful documentary about a group of people in an ex-mining town in Wales who form an alliance, paying £10 per week, to breed and race a horse they name Dream Alliance. They go into this project knowing they have no hope of winning a single race. Professional horse racing is not a sport for the working poor. They don’t even have enough money to breed a horse from a quality lineage. But they try it anyway.

The story of Dark Horse is told to us by the people who were involved in the crazy project.

I got to Capitol Hill Station and had a 4 minute wait for a train to University of Washington Station.

Campus SignI exited University of Washington Station and walked over the bridge into campus. The bus stop was close by. According to my research, the 67 runs every 15 or 20 minutes. OneBusAway told me the next 67 would arrive in 11 minutes. I was in no hurry. Less than a minute later, a 67 bus arrived.

The 67 got me a block and a half from Scarecrow Video. I arrived at Scarecrow at 10:54. Scarecrow Video opened at 11:00. It hadn’t occurred to me to check their hours before I left home. Because it was a multi-disc set, Season Two of Supergirl wouldn’t fit though the “Night Drop” slot. So I read some more of Norwegian Wood on my phone while I waited outside.

At 11:00, Scarecrow Video opened, and I returned Supergirl. I browsed around a bit, and then I walked over to the bus stop on Roosevelt and 50th. OneBusAway told me a 67 was due NOW. I looked up the street, and there was a 67 a half-block away.

My plan was to exit on Campus Parkway and explore the U District for a while. Then I noticed that our 67 had turned into a 65. I decided to stay on a while, and see where the 65 goes.

I still don’t understand the reasoning behind a bus changing its route number in the middle of a route. I did some internet searching a while back, and I have yet to find a transit system in another major city that has this feature. It is a mystery.

I discovered that routes 65 and 67 are essentially one route. Having skipped the U District, I exited at University of Washington Station and rode Link back to Capitol Hill.

Here’s how the 65/67 works: Route 65 starts in Jackson Park and continues south through Lake City, through some neighborhood named Wedgwood, and into the University of Washington. At some point on the UW campus, it changes into a 67 and continues through the U District, north along 11th, and then Roosevelt, to Northgate. Then the 67 goes back south along Roosevelt, changing into a 65 somewhere in the U District, and continues on to Jackson Park. (Why is this not one route? Is there any city besides Seattle that does this? The mystery continues.) If I had studied Metro Transit’s map more closely before I left home, I wouldn’t have been surprised by this, but I’d planned by trip with Google Maps, and used Metro’s web site just to check the frequency of the 67.

I exited Capitol Hill Station and decided to have some traditional “Phillip’s at a NorWesCon meeting” phở on Broadway. I came to a new restaurant named Poke & Sushi, however, and decided to give it a try. I didn’t actually know what poke is, but the guy behind the counter was helpful and friendly.

I had tuna and white rice, with traditional poke sauce, with green onions, tofu, and edamame. I had a Fat Tire beer to go with it. It was tasty. I’d go back there.

Things Japanese

Yesterday, right before I left for work, I downloaded Norwegian Wood, by Haruki Murakami (author of 1Q84) onto my phone. I don’t have a lot of time for reading during my commute, but I’ve found that I enjoy reading a few pages along the way, and that I also enjoy reading on my phone.

The Seattle Public Library has a good selection of eBooks by Haruki Murakami, and I’d learned a little bit about his work from reviews on YouTube. I picked Norwegian Wood because it was available for immediate download.

Yesterday, at work, while listening to YouTube videos, I clicked on a “Recommended for you” video about a tiny apartment in Japan. That apartment was rented by an Australian named Emma, who goes by “Tokidoki Traveler”, who’s living in Tokyo. That lead me to Tokidoki Traveller’s channel. I watched (mostly listened to) a few of her videos. Along the way, I learned that there’s a whole genre of “ex-pats living in Japan” YouTube channels out there. My favorites, so far, are “Tokidoki Traveller” and “Rachel and Jun”. (I really miss “Texan in Tokyo“!) I’m sure there are channels by ex-pats living in countries other than Japan, but I haven’t yet figured out how to find them.

I came home from work, intending to write a blog post about my eBook download and the YouTube channel I’d discovered, but I got into Cities: Skylines and didn’t get around to blogging. In hindsight, I’m glad I didn’t get around to blogging yesterday, because last night, Phillip and I watched the latest in our Netflix queue: a Japanese anime named Tekkonkinkreet.

The film was gorgeous to look at. I wanted most of the background as a piece of artwork. Unfortunately, neither one of us liked the film. But, at least, it filled out a Japan-themed day quite nicely.

Twenty-One Dollar Movie Tickets

Last night, Phillip and I watched a film named A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night. It was the latest from our Netfix DVD queue. I loved it a lot. It’s about a vampire, but I wouldn’t call it a vampire movie. It takes place in a fictional Iranian town named Bad City. Everyone speaks Persian. It was filmed in California, and shot in gorgeous black & white. One main character is known only as the girl. She’s the vampire. The other main character is a rockabilly loner named Arash. The girl and Arash have a platonic romance going, but I wouldn’t call it a romantic movie.

Here’s the trailer, which doesn’t describe the film any better than I did:

Today, Phillip and I rode light rail to Downtown, to watch the movie Atomic Blonde. We’d planned on watching it in 2D. Because of the Seafair parade, we planned on getting there early, and just hanging around a bit.

We arrived at the theater ten minutes before the 4DX showing of Atomic Blonde would start. We decided to experience what 4DX is all about. Our tickets cost $21 each.

4dx

4DX is this new gimmick that supposedly immerses you in the whole movie experience. Your big living room style moves, rolls, and shakes with what’s going on in the movie. Air and water mist blow on you at appropriate times. Strobe lights flash.

Atomic Blonde was a great, action-packed movie. The 4DX experience wasn’t so impressive.

Midway through the movie, Phillip whispered to me: “Never again”. I agree. It was a unique experience, but not worth twenty-one bucks.

There were a few times when the 4DX worked well. A character is surprised by a sudden gunshot, and I felt air whiz past my ear. It added to the shock. During a fight scene, my chair jerked around, and punched me in the back. It was quite effective. Most of the time, however, it felt unnecessary. When a car in driving along a road, it didn’t add to anything to feel my chair vibrating.

After the movie, Phillip and I walked over to Target and did some shopping.

Then we stopped into Steak n Shake for lunch. We’d never been there before. It lived up to the hype.

Steak n Shake

Then we walked over to University Street Station, and caught light rail to International District/Chinatown Station. From there, we rode the streetcar to Capitol Hill.

Japantown

On Capitol Hill, we stopped into Phoenix Comics and Games, long enough for me to buy Volume Four of Saga.

Then we stopped into Rocket Fizz to stock up on weird candy and soda.

Then we walked home.

It’s been a fun day.