No Convention, But Plenty Of Walking

Yesterday, I sent Phillip a text message saying that I was going to the Black Lives Matter march today, instead of NorWesCon. His reply was: “Awesome!”

Right before I left our apartment this afternoon, Phillip sent me another text message: “Photos or it didn’t happen”

I rode Link light rail to Westlake, where the rally started. I had a hot dog from Dog In The Park while I listened to speeches and music. I had fun reading everyone’s signs – there were many voices and groups there. The park was jammed with people, so we were constantly bumping into each other to let people pass. It was, indeed, awesome. Sakura-Con was going on nearby, so every once in a while, people in cosplay would squeeze through the crowd. It was fun and exciting.

Westlake rally


I was expecting rain, so I wore a heavy coat. I was hoping to buy a black beanie at the rally, so I didn’t wear a hat. The sun was shining, there was no rain, and I was much too hot in my coat. They were selling beanies up at the stage, but I never got up there.

When the rally ended, the march began. I hadn’t read, beforehand, what the parade route would be. I was surprised. It was the most interesting route I’d ever been a part of.

From Westlake, we marched south on 5th Avenue. Then we turned west onto Union Street. Then we marched south on 2nd Avenue. Then we turned east onto the rather steep, uphill Marion Street. Then we turned north on 4th Avenue, and marched past Westlake. Then we turned east on Virginia Street.

The marched ended on the steps of the US District Courthouse, where a second rally took place. Then the parade route made sense. If we had marched directly from Westlake to the Courthouse, the march would have been just two blocks long.

Courthouse rally

Courthouse panorama

I stayed for most of the second rally. Then I walked back to Westlake Mall. I hadn’t been there in a long time, and I was surprised to find that the entire food court was gone. I found a Taco del Mar in the mall, however, and I had a taco salad.

Then I rode light rail back to Capitol Hill, and walked home.

I am exhausted, but it’s a good kind of exhausted.

A New Way Home

Since I was coming home to an empty apartment this evening, I decided to experiment with a new commute home.

I walked south along 5th Avenue, through Pioneer Square, under Yesler Way, and into the International District. It’s a part of town I’ve never walked through before. Obviously, I saw sights I’d never seen before – government buildings and apartments, with mix of old and new architecture. It was a nice walk – not very hilly.

I was about two blocks away when I saw two streetcars arrive, and depart, at the stop at 5th & Jackson.

I got to the streetcar stop. The arrival sign said the next one was due in 10 minutes. OneBusAway agreed. They were both right.

I rode on the “Japantown” streetcar, which, until today, I thought was rather pretty. Well, I still think it’s pretty, but the problem today was that I chose the seat next to the window with the big flower on it. I’d never noticed this before, but those decals are not transparent. That big flower blocks almost all of the view. All of those inkbrush lines do, really, but that flower is the worst window blocker.

Japantown Streetcar

This photo wasn’t taken today. That’s the flower, however.

The streetcar was full when I got on. Otherwise, I would have switched to a different seat. I kept glancing back for a free seat after every stop, but I soon resigned myself to a viewless ride. Oh, I could see out, through the gaps in the design, but I wasn’t pleased with the design choice.

I glanced at my watch when I boarded the streetcar at 5th & Jackson. I glanced again when I exited at Broadway & Denny. The streetcar ride took around 20 minutes. That’s about twice what a light rail ride from Pioneer Square Station to Capitol Hill Station takes, but the views are better – when you can see through the window, that is. I didn’t factor in the time I spent walking.

I stopped off at the library, where a third hold had come in.

City Changes

On my way into work, whether I ride the 47 bus or Link light rail, I pass by three Pronto! bike sharing stations. Pronto! shut down a few days ago. The bicycles are gone, but the stations are still there – waiting to be removed. I never used the service myself, but I’m sad to see it go. I had my doubts about it, the idea of bicycle sharing in this hilly, car-centric city, but I was happy to be wrong, and to see all those Pronto! bikes on the street. But, it seems that good ideas don’t always work out.

I don’t know when it happened,  but I first noticed the return of the 47 stop at Summit & Harrison last week. That stop had been removed between the elimination and the revival of route 47. The 47 will never be as good as it was back when it was the northern end of route 14, but I’m glad to see at least part of it restored to its former usefulness.

I saw my first car2go Mercedes-Benz CLA yesterday. It was quite a paradigm shift for me, seeing a car2go badge on a luxury sedan. I see the added choice as a good thing. It’s been a very long time since I’ve used a car2go, and I have yet to use my ReachNow account. It’s been years since I used Zipcar. I just haven’t had the need to borrow a car.

Seattle used to have several great neighborhood blogs. My favorites were the Capitol Hill Blog, the University District Blog, and the Beacon Hill Blog. The best of all the neighborhood blogs has been the Capitol Hill Blog. In addition to the standard community announcements, it contains real news, and actual investigative reporting. (That morning when all the buses in the neighborhood had stopped running, the only place that told me that someone had taken a joy ride in a stolen recycling truck was the Capitol Hill Blog.) Every neighborhood blog has since run out of energy (the last post on the Beacon Hill Blog is dated November 4, 2015) – except the Capitol Hill Blog. It’s been going as strong as ever – until now. Justin, the guy behind the blog, is taking a “break”. I hope the Capitol Hill Blog comes back, someday, but there’s no guarantee.

I was searching this blog this morning, looking for something, when I stumbled upon the day I went into a Walmart with Pamela. It was my first and only visit to a Walmart. Phillip waited in the car, but I was curious about the inside of this evil place. Pamela had promised me that the massage I had scheduled with her would rid me of the bad Walmart mojo. Sigh.

A Tough Commute That Wasn’t

I received a Transit Alert text message late this afternoon. University Street Station was closed. Link light rail would be serving the other tunnel stations.

Then came another alert. Expect transit delays Downtown, due to “a police action”.

There was a police standoff of some sort that closed a block of 3th Avenue, right in the centet of Downtown.

I thought about catching the streetcar home, avoiding the tunnel and Downtown. The streets would be jammed, and Link would be crowded with people. Getting to the streetcar, even heading south to the International District, would be a challenge. Link seemed the best option. Besides, I was a little curious how they’d announce that the train would be bypassing the next stop.

I got to Pioneer Square Station just as a Link train arrived. The train was no more crowded than usual. There was no announcement about a station closure. The train stopped at University Street Station. Apparently, the police action was over.

I walked from Capitol Hill Station to the library. I returned one book and checked out another. Then I walked home.

A commute by light rail is often dull, but that’s a good thing.

Where My Heart Is

I took the 12 bus/streetcar route home today. I got to Marion Street just as a 12 bus was pulling away from the stop. I had a six minute wait for the next bus.

I exited at Broadway and rounded the corner just as a streetcar was leaving the stop. I had an eight minute wait for the next one. I took a seat on left end of the bench at the streetcar stop.

Two semi-homeless men (I guessing) sat down to my right. They started a conversation between themselves. I wasn’t listening, but I did hear some favorable thing about treatment at Harborview. They seemed like pretty nice guys.

Suddenly, I heard: “That guy has a map on the sole of his shoe.”

I looked over and the guy on the far right was smiling at me. “Addis Ababa,” he said, reading my shoe. Then he asked, “What kind of shoes are those?”

“Oliberté,” I replied, “They’re made in Ethiopia. Right there.” I touched Addis Ababa with my finger.

“Isn’t that where your heart is? In reflexology?”

I said I didn’t know, but that sounded right.

He said, “So I guess you can say your heart’s in Ethiopia.”

The three of us chuckled at that.