Thoughts In The Dark

Seattle got hit by a big windstorm yesterday. Even though I know tall buildings, even one as old as the one I work in, are built to withstand more than that, it was still unnerving to hear large booming against the windows all day long. Downtown never lost power, however.

I took light rail home. The walk home through the wind and rain seemed preferable to standing at a bus stop at 4th & Pike in the wind and the rain. I would have taken a coworkers’ advice and cut my walk in half by catching a bus outside of Capitol Hill Station, except that a fire truck outside of Hot Cakes had all lanes on Olive Way blocked. Buses were at a standstill. So I walked home.


We were in the red

Our microwave was blinking 12:00 when Phillip got home. Our apartment building had lost power at some time during the day. Even though the Seattle City Light web site showed most of our neighborhood without electricity, we somehow had our power.

I braved a couple of games of Cities: Skylines and The Sims 4, knowing that, at any moment, the computer could suddenly go dark. But our electricity stayed on. We had dinner and I went to bed.

There didn’t seem much to blog about. (“Today, there was a lot of wind and rain.”)

I woke up sometime around 11 o’clock last night. It’s funny how sudden silence can wake you up. Phillip was up. He had a flashlight in one hand and something glowing green in the other. It took me a while to figure out what had happened. We had lost power. That glowing green rectangle was Phillip’s cell phone.

I got up, booted up my cell phone, set an alarm for the morning, and went back to bed.

The power was still out when the alarm woke me up this morning. The apartment was dark.

When I was a child, my family had a joke that if the power went out during a hurricane, we could at least have fun watching TV by candlelight. This morning, that joke sort of came true.

I’m glad I bought a smartphone. It’s a flashlight, a phone, a clock, the internet, and a book during a power outage. (And, thanks to Pokémon Go, I have a powerful backup battery/charger so running the phone’s battery down wasn’t an issue.) This morning, I surfed the internet by candlelight. The outage map for Capitol Hill looked pretty much the same as last night. There were no outages Downtown or in the U District.

A long time ago, I used to think I was clever by using a cell phone to reset clocks after a power outage. This morning, my phone was the best tool I had during the power outage.

We have a windup lantern that would have come in handy, except that neither one of us could remember where it is. We did, however, know exactly where the candle, the solar-charged flashlight, and the phones’ battery packs were. In some way, we were prepared, and in other ways, not so much. However, as Phillip pointed out, this was the first time we’d been without power for more than three or four hours. Also, it’s not like we’re isolated in our high-density neighborhood. There’s a lot of places within walking distance, and much of it had power.

Of course, we didn’t have hot water. I don’t like taking cold showers. But I like the idea of going to work without a shower even less. I had a quick cold shower by candlelight this morning.


Looking better this morning

The sun was coming up, and the apartment was a little brighter, but still without electricity, when I left for work.

I figured that even if route 47 was running with diesel buses or the backup batteries on trolley buses, it would probably be stuck somewhere by Seattle City Light repair trucks. (Of course, I wouldn’t know if it was, since Metro never has explained to me why I never get text alerts for the 47.) I figured other routes might be sharing space with repair trucks as well. I decided to walk up the hill and ride light rail. I hadn’t received any alerts about Link and, besides, if the station was out of power, there are buses nearby. At times like this, it’s best to have options.

There were a lot of large City Light trucks, and a lot of crews, hard at work, all over the neighborhood.

Nearer to Broadway, lights were on.

The train to Downtown was crowded. I wasn’t surprised. At times like this, it’s best to travel underground.

Of course, electricity was the main topic of conversation at work this morning.



Looking For Snow

Yesterday, after hearing reports of snowfall from friends north and south, it snowed for an hour or two in Downtown Seattle. The snow got pretty heavy, but didn’t stick to anything.

(I’m not including my cousins way down south, in Birmingham, who had to turn their air conditioner on yesterday.)

Today, I kept looking for snow on Capitol Hill. Like yesterday, there was no forecast for snow, but it certainly felt like snow, and the sky had that bright, featureless look that always means snow to me.

Broadway November

But, it didn’t snow.

Phillip and I slept in today. I woke up early-ish, did some housework, started work on The Yellow Submarine. Then I went back to bed.

Yellow Submarine in progress

We woke up later. We had a slow morning.

Nearby PokemonThen we walked up to Broadway, returned some stuff to the library, and played Pokémon Go while we ate hamburgers at Blue Moon.

We went grocery shopping at QFC. I was surprised at the remodeling taking place there. Phillip told me it had been going on for a couple of weeks. I realized that, for some time now, Phillip and I have been taking different routes home, seeing different things, and going different places.

Has it really been two weeks since I’ve been shopping at QFC.

We came home and voted.

VoteI’m still waiting for snow. Maybe it will come tonight. I suppose I should be worried about it, but I’m not.

End Of A Smart Era

I found an email from car2go this morning. (It was sent to an account I don’t check every day, so the email could be a few days old.) The email informed me that car2go is phasing out its Smart fleet in Seattle, and going toward an all-Mercedes-Benz sedan fleet.

I’m paraphrasing and reading between the lines here, but it sounds like two main things are behind this change. The Smart cars are nearing the end of their fleet lifespan (car2go has been in Seattle for about four years), and Smart is no longer offering combustion engine cars in North America. (I wonder if car2go is going to continue using electric Smarts in other cities.)

I don’t remember the last time I rented a car2go. It’s been a long time since I’ve needed one, and when I’ve wanted one, there are none is my area, and when there are cars2go in my area, I haven’t wanted one.

It’s the same want-vs-availability situation with ReachNow.

I haven’t used Zipcar in so long that I’m not entirely sure that my account is still active.

I’ve really enjoyed driving those Smarts.

A Coffee Shop in Belltown

Last night, Phillip and I decided to see Blade Runner 2049 today. We’d heard the movie is visually stunning, so we wanted to see it on the huge screen at The Cinerama. With the movies as popular as it is, we knew The Cinerama would probably be sold out, and we’d probably have to settle for the AMC theater that used to be The Sundance.

We contacted Cristina, and she said she’d love to join us.

Phillip and I went online to buy our tickets. We checked with The Cinerama first. It was nearly sold out. There were single seats here and there, and a couple of double seats. We did find three seats together – B9, B10, and B11 – way in the back of balcony. They would have to do. A bad seat at The Cinerama is better than a good seat at the AMC 10. We bought them.

Phillip and I rode Link light rail to Westlake. We were early, as we knew we would be. It was cold out, however, and we agreed to go into a coffee shop somewhere. Phillip suggested the Starbucks at Westlake, but I wanted to discover some little coffee shop we’d never been to. I figured that with all the upscaling going on in Belltown, and with The Cinerama being such a hip spot, the area must be filled with hip little coffee shops.

We walked from Westlake to The Cinerama, and didn’t see a single coffee shop – not even a Starbucks. I don’t get it. We walked to Top Pot and had coffee and doughnuts. There is, at least, one coffee shop in Belltown.

Top Pot

Cristina met us at the theater. We bought snacks, and went upstairs to find our seats. Row B is not in the back of the theater, it’s in the front, on the lower level. That makes perfect sense, but Phillip and I knew we’d chosen seats in the back of the theater.  We were both looking at the seating diagram at the same time last night.

I figured out what happened. We’re used to theater seating diagrams placing the screen, or stage, at the top. The Cinerama places the screen at the bottom. (I tested this theory right before writing this post. The AMC 10, The Seattle Opera House, and Thornton Place Theaters all use screen-on-top diagrams. The Cinerama doesn’t. Of course, the diagram does say the screen’s down here, but we were looking for seats, not reading the diagram.)


Our seats, two rows back from the screen, weren’t bad.

While we had been waiting for Cristina, outside of the theater, I kept hearing the box office turn away ticket buyers – the showing was sold out. While the previews were playing, I looked around and saw a whole lot of empty seats. What was going on? Was the theater not selling some areas? Were that many people buying tickets and not showing up?

Blade Runner 2049 was wonderful. I would call it a masterpiece. It had enough cameos and nods to satisfy our nostalgia, while being a whole new story. It felt like Blade Runner, but a believable thirty years later. And yes, it is visually stunning. It is gorgeous, even when the landscape is bleak.

After the movie, Cristina and Phillip put me in charge of choosing a lunch spot. I chose Steak ‘n Shake, on Third Avenue.

Over lunch, we learned that Cristina has never seen Blade Runner. In fact, she’d never heard of it until Blade Runner 2049 came out. We don’t know why she’s our friend. (joking)

After lunch, the three of us went shopping at T.J. Maxx and Ross. I’d never been in either place, and Cristina had never been to either The Cinerama or Steak ‘n Shake. That made it a very good day.

Then we got on a 49 bus. Phillip and I exited on Broadway, and Cristina continued on to the U District.