Vacationing In Everett

Phillip and I both took Friday off. My coworkers asked me if I was going somewhere fun, and I answered, “Yes, Everett.”

We left Seattle mid-morning and drove north. We stopped at Judi’s place, in Everett, and took her out to lunch. Judi wanted to try a Mexican restaurant named Avocado, on Everett Mall Way.

Along the way, we passed a Popeyes. Judi mentioned that she had never been to a Popeyes (and neither had we). She said she’d like to try it. So, we turned around and had a nice lunch at Popeyes. I had chicken, while Judi and Phillip had shrimp.

After lunch, we took Judi back home. Kelly had an errand to run after work, so Phillip and I had an hour and a half to kill before meeting up with her.

We drove to Downtown Everett, parked, and started walking at random. Street parking is limited to 90 minutes on weekdays, which was amazingly convenient and coincidental. We realized we were close to Everett Comics, and we decided to take an indirect, around the block, path to get there.

We rounded the corner and happened upon the new Funko store. (See Friday’s “Randomness” photo post.) I didn’t know what it was, but Phillip recognized it as the pop culture bobble-head company. We went in.

Phillip was right: It was that pop culture bobble-head company.

Funko girls

Life sized figures, sort of

Funko was an amazing experience. The shop was more of a theme park than a store. Huge rooms were devoted to Harry Potter, Star Wars, DC Comics, and anime. Each room had three-dimensional sculptured decorations. In the Harry Potter room, you could look through shop windows. In the DC Comics room, you could walk into the Bat Cave, and sit in the Batmobile next to Batman. I was amazed that the space taken up by the decorations was so much more than the merchandise shelf space.

Saturday was Phillip’s birthday, but I hadn’t figured out what to get him, and Phillip hadn’t figured out what he wanted. Then, last week, Phillip made a decision: We’d go shopping, somewhere in Everett, on Saturday, and when he spotted something he wanted, I’d buy it for him.

Friday, in Funko, Phillip bought himself a Stitch figure and a Maleficent figure, but didn’t ask me to buy him either one for his birthday.

Funko train

Godzilla attack detail

Meanwhile, Phillip was having trouble with his phone. It was doing some strange and troubling things. Between Funko and Everett Comics, we stopped and we both tried to fixed his phone. We couldn’t, so we decided to find a Cricket store and ask for help, after the comic book store.

We had fun browsing around Everett Comics, but I think we were both too distracted by the phone trouble to truly enjoy it.

I went to Google Maps, and found a Cricket store at the south end of Everett. (In other words, I used a smart phone to find help for trouble with a smart phone.)

The guy at Cricket was very helpful. It wasn’t actually a problem with the phone, but just a setting or two we weren’t understanding. With his help, Phillip’s phone was soon back to acting the way it should.

As we walked out of the Cricket store, I received a text message from Kelly: She was 5 minutes from home.

We drove back north, through Friday afternoon Boeing traffic. It wasn’t bad – it just took us a lot more than 5 minutes to get to Kelly’s house.

We unpacked our bags and got settled in at Kelly’s house. After visiting for a while, it was time to think about where we wanted to go out for dinner.

We decided on a restaurant named Prohibition Grill. None of us had been there, but it had been featured on some reality show – one of those “fix up a failing restaurant” shows. I called to see if we needed reservations. Prohibition Grill had gone out of business.

We then agreed on a Mexican restaurant named El Paradiso. None of us had been there. It was around the corner from Junko. When we walked in, we were offered a handmade, hot-off-the-griddle tortilla with a little salsa. That was a nice touch I’d never seen in any other restaurant.

Our dinners at El Paradiso were very good.

At the end of our meal, Phillip got the full “tacky sombrero, and free desert, while the restaurant staff sang ‘Happy Birthday to You’ in Spanish” treatment. Apparently, Kelly had spoken to our server on her alleged trip to the bathroom. I was as surprised as Phillip was.

After dinner, we went back to Kelly’s house and watched the movie Wonder Woman.

Phillip and I spent Friday night at Kelly’s house.

On Saturday morning, Phillip and Kelly and I rushed out the door. There was somewhere we needed to be by nine o’clock. Only Phillip and Kelly knew where we were going. It was a place I would enjoy, they told me.

I was confused. It was Phillip’s birthday, so why were they taking me someplace special?

Bricks n Minifigs openingIt turned out to be the grand opening of Bricks & Minifigs. The first 100 people through the door would receive a free minifig. We were, I think, the eighth, ninth, and tenth people in line. We wondered if any of our Everett geek friends were also in line.

The store put on a grand show, with people dressed a Star Wars characters, a cardboard cutout of a minifig for a photo opportunity, and lollipops for  people waiting in the checkout line. The staff was helpful, friendly, and knowledgeable. It was a perfect grand opening.

While we were browsing through the newly opened store, we ran into Brian and Kathi.

I bought myself a The Beatles Yellow Submarine Lego kit, and a book named Steampunk Lego. But I still hadn’t bought Phillip a birthday present.

Yellow Submarine

After Bricks & Minifigs, Kelly and Phillip and I had breakfast at IHOP, around the corner from the Cricket store. We were joined by Kelly’s boyfriend, Louie. I enjoyed talking with Louie about coffee and guns. Unfortunately, Louie couldn’t stay long.

After breakfast, the three of us went shopping at the Spirit Halloween store. Halloween is Phillip’s favorite holiday. That guy looks forward to Halloween, all year long. Phillip browsed through every inch of that store while Kelly and I hung out and talked. Phillip bought some Halloween decorations for work. I still hadn’t bought him a birthday present.

Kelly had to stop off at the bank, and buy gas at Costco. Phillip wanted to go into Costco to find some Halloween candy.

Phillip didn’t find the candy we were looking for, but he did find a raincoat. He told me that’s what he wanted for his birthday.

So I bought Phillip a green, winter raincoat from Costco for his birthday.

We went down the street to Winco, where Phillip found his Halloween candy.

Next, we returned to Downtown Everett, where Phillip helped Kelly find some hair product at an Aveda salon. (Outside the shop, I took that photo for Saturday’s “Randomness” post.)

Then we went back to Kelly’s house and relaxed.

Before we’d left Seattle, Phillip had wanted to go out to a gay bar on Saturday night. The question was: Is there a gay bar in Everett? Kelly didn’t know of any. We found the web site of a bar that seemed, at least, gay friendly. We then learned that it had gone out of business. As a substitute, Phillip wanted to out to AFK on Saturday night.

Kelly’s mom (whom we all call “Mom”) went out with us to AFK on Saturday night.

There was a wait for a table at AFK, but they couldn’t tell us how long. We waited. Phillip, at one point, considered going somewhere else, but couldn’t think of another place he’d consider “fun”. Phillip was in charge. It was his birthday. We waited nearly two hours, and then we were seated. We were told that there would be a long wait for food, as well.

Fortunately, AFK has games, so the four of us had fun playing Yahtzee.

I had the beer and bacon mac & cheese, which is made from whatever microbrew they had on hand, so it tastes different every time you order it. To go with it, I had a Polyjuice Potion, which is a random drink every time you order it. (I don’t know what I was drinking. It was delicious, whatever it was.)

Mac n Cheese

I think everyone had a good time at AFK, but the amount of time it took pretty much killed any thoughts of a movie or snacks when we got home. We all went to bed soon after getting back to Kelly’s house.

Phillip and I spent Saturday night at Kelly’s house.

Now it’s Sunday, and we’re back in Seattle. I’m exhausted, in a good way. Phillip’s taking tomorrow off, as well. I wish I’d thought of that.

Welcome To Dos Patos

Dos Patos is a city situated between hills and water.

Dos Platos

Shoreline

Its timber industry provides sustainable income and employment for Dos Patos, while the gleaming towers of the city’s tech companies keep the office workers busy.

Timber

The remote farming community of Klondike Fields was struggling, until its business owners got together and made a commitment to organic, locally produced goods. Now there is such a high demand for farm workers that Klondike Fields must make a decision for its housing: sprawl or high-density?

Klondike Fields

Dos Patos is a green city. It produces power from wind, geothermal, and solar plants. It has several neighborhoods of self-sustaining housing and eco-friendly buildings. Many of its citizens travel in biodiesel buses or electric cars. Its network of trains, monorails, and trolleys run on sustainable electricity.

Green Neighborhood

Green Building

Dos Patos is growing into a major metropolis. Its skyline is constantly changing.

Skyline

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.

Fare Dodger

I boarded a Link train at Westlake Station this morning, as usual. At the next stop, University Street Station, two Fare Inspectors boarded our car. That was unusual, to have fares inspected that early in the morning. (Which is the point, I suppose. Fare inspections shouldn’t be predicted.)

The train left the station, and one Fare Inspector started at the back of the car, three rows behind me. The thought came to me that he’d get to me just as we reached Pioneer Square Station, and I’d get up to leave, and I’d look like a fare dodger. It wasn’t a serious concern, of course. It was just an amusing thought.

The Fare Inspector did reach me before we reached the station, and scanned my ORCA card. In fact, both Inspectors checked the whole car – including the one tourist who had to find her ticket in her purse – and exited with me at Pioneer Square.

Those Fare Inspectors are efficient.

What Really Happened

There were a few things I wanted to accomplish this past weekend, but I was knocked down by some illness. I slept through most of it. I don’t blame the flu shot I had on Wednesday – I’d been feeling under the weather before I got the shot – but I think it might have weakened me.

I had the apartment to myself for long stretches of time – Phillip went to a NorWesCon meeting on Saturday, and he went to go see a movie on Sunday. That made the sensation of drifting in and out of sleep, and not being able to figure out what I’d experienced or what I’d dreamed, all the stranger.

There was a time this weekend when I was seriously wondering if our apartment is haunted.

The alarm woke me up for work this morning, and I had a vague sensation that I was missing something. There was something I needed to do, or some change I needed to make in my routine, but I couldn’t figure out what it was. I suspect that it was the remnant of some not-remembered dream.

It may be a coincidence, or maybe not, but I’ve been thinking a lot about the works of Haruki Murakami, and specifically Kafka on the Shore. Parts of it are making sense. Things are fitting together. I’m forming a theory. I can’t figure out how to write specifics without spoiling plot points. I really do love that novel.