The Surprising Neighborhoods Of Glenns Fjord

Glenns Fjord is expanding more than I had expected it to. As the population slowly increases, and I’m able to buy more squares of land, I’m finding more and more little areas suitable for building. Still, the terrain continues to be a challenge, and I’m enjoying that.

Glenns Fjord

The population of Glenns Fjord is currently around 23,000 citizens.

It even has a football stadium. When I started this city, I didn’t think it would have room for a stadium, but I found a suitable area with easy access to the freeway. Citizens can also get to the games by roadways, a pedestrian pathway, a bus line, and a blimp line. The Stadium neighborhood is working out quite nicely.

Stadium

One of the things I think is missing in Cities: Skylines is parking lots and garages. (Maybe that’s me thinking like an American.) So, I downloaded some lots from the Steam Workshop. (I love how friendly this game is to customization. That’s aimed at you, The Sims 4.) The parking lots work great – cars actually use them – they have the happiness bonus of a park, and they add some realism to commercial, business, and tourism districts, as well as transportation hubs and stadiums.

I don’t have a lot of custom content, actually. In addition to parking lots, I have a couple of filling stations, for that same sense of realism. I’ve subscribed to some custom buses, trams, and trains – for variety, and, it some cases, greater seating capacity. As for mods, I’ve subscribed to Traffic President (absolutely essential for forcing traffic to use all lanes), First Person Camera (not very beneficial, but fun for viewing your city up close), and Crossings (for adding mid-block crosswalks – another thing missing from Cities: Skylines).

Bus

Glenns Fjord’s newest neighborhood is named Seaview. It’s on the west side of the city. It’s a mixture of high density housing, offices, and a small leisure district. It’s home to the city’s Opera House and Grand Library. It’s surrounded by mountains on two sides, and water on the other two sides. Access to Seaview is from a tunnel road (with a tram line in it) through a mountain, a cable car over the mountain, and a ferry line along the river.

Seaview Entrance

I wrote earlier that a ferry line in Glenns Fjord seemed unlikely, but it now has a ferry line, and it’s very popular.

Seaview Ferry

One funny thing about Cities: Skylines is the scale of its buildings. Realistically, would a city of 23,000 have this many skyscrapers? (23,000 is the population of Bainbridge Island, Washington. I’ve been there, and I’ve never seen a building as tall as these.) Citizens must have huge apartments. Honestly, though, I don’t worry about it. It’s a game – a game where people fly to football matches in blimps.

Seaview Buildings

I love playing Cities: Skylines.

Ferry Sunset

Espionage

The Thirty-Nine Steps, by John Buchan, was first published in 1915.

The Thirty-Nine StepsRichard Hannay is an adventurer. He is in London, after several years in Rhodesia. A Scotsman by birth, Hannay hasn’t been to England since he was six years old. He finds London exciting at first, but soon becomes bored with the city. He plans to leave for South Africa as soon as he can.

One evening, while returning home to his London flat, he is confronted by a neighbor he doesn’t know. The neighbor, an American from Kentucky, invites himself into Hannay’s flat, and locks the door behind them. The neighbor introduces himself as a dead man.

The American neighbor’s name is Franklin P. Scudder. He tells Hannay that he’s a spy, and that he’s uncovered an anarchist plot to destabilize European authority. Mr. Scudder has faked his own death in order to work without detection. Hannay agrees to let Mr. Scudder hide in his flat.

Mr. Scudder hides out in Hannay’s flat for four days. Then Hannay comes home on the fourth evening to find his guest on the floor, with a knife in his chest. Franklin P. Scudder had become an actual dead man.

In a state of panic, not quite trusting either the police or the government, and afraid of Mr. Scudder’s enemies, Hannay finds Mr. Scudder’s notebook, disguises himself, and flees to Scotland.

Life is no longer dull for Richard Hannay.

As Hannay hides out in Scotland, he uses his gift for puzzles to decipher the coded notes in Scudder’s book. He learns that he is in middle of something quite different from what Scudder had told him. There was one repeated phrase in the notebook, however, which Hanney could not make heads or tails of: “(‘Thirty-nine steps’)”.

The Thirty-Nine Steps is a classic man-on-the-run thriller. The book follows the adventures, and misadventures, of Hannay as he avoids capture in the countryside of Scotland. He pretends to be an expert on Free Trade, and gives a lecture. He pretends to be a road worker. He relies on the hospitality of farmers. He is driven by a strong sense of patriotism, for if Scudder’s notes are accurate, the future of Great Britain is at stake.

The antiquated language, and the Scottish dialog, made reading this 113-page book slow at times, but it held my interest all the way through. I enjoyed it.

  • An espionage thriller

Up And Down The City

This morning, Phillip and I drove to the U District. We picked up Cristina. Then we drove north, up 15th Avenue, to 165th, to the Crest Theater, in Ridgecrest. (Cristina had never been to the Crest before today.)

We saw The Book of Henry. Afterwards, the three of us agreed that the movie wasn’t very good, with three different degrees of terribleness.

After the movie, we discussed where to go for lunch. We agreed on Beth’s Cafe, in Green Lake. (Cristina had never been to Beth’s before today.) Beth’s Cafe was Phillip’s suggestion, and he also suggested that we should do some coloring while we were there.

So, we drove from Ridgecrest to the U District, and stopped at Cristina’s place, so she could pick up her coloring supplies.

Then we drove from the U District to Capitol Hill, so Phillip could run in to our place and pick up his coloring supplies.

Then we drove from Capitol Hill, through South Lake Union, to Green Lake, and had lunch at Beth’s Cafe – although we all ordered from the breakfast menu. And, we colored.

(I keep writing “we drove”, but I did all the driving today, and I’m proud of my ability to navigate around the city today, using only surface streets.)

After lunch, we drove to Archie McPhee, in Wallingford. (Cristina had never been in Archie McPhee before today.)

After shopping, we dropped Cristina off in the U District. Then Phillip and I drove home, and I took a nap.

Welcome To Glenns Fjord

My latest city is built on and around some rather mountainous terrain. It is requiring some engineering creativity. I’m trying to keep the terraforming to a minimum, and use the natural shape of the land. It may never become a megatropolis, and that’s OK.

As for mass transit, the city has cable cars and a tram line. A train line seems impossible, and I don’t know how I can fit in an airport. The deep fjords make  ferry lines unlikely.  Blimps are a possibility for future growth.

It’s a challenging city. Also, it rains a lot.

Welcome to Glenns Fjord.

Hilltop

Cable Cars

Twisty Highway

This Could Be Fun

I saw this book on the used-book shelf in Phillip’s office and thought, “With a title like that, there’s no way this book can be any good.” Then, in the next thought, “This could be bad enough to be fun.” So, I bought it. The money I spent went to the area’s food banks, so that’s something.

Tanner’s Twelve Swingers, by Lawrence Block, was published in 1967.

Tanner's Twelve SwingersEvan Michael Tanner is “the most unusual spy who ever lived!“, according to the book cover. He’s a freelance spy. He loves to work for lost causes. The FBI and CIA are both watching him closely. He’s been continuously awake, 24 hours per day, for seventeen years, because of a piece of North Korean shrapnel that destroyed the sleep center of his brain.

Tanner lives in an apartment in Manhattan, and earns barely enough to pay the rent by writing theses and term papers for students. He is an unusual spy.

While in Athens, Greece, Tanner gave away his passport to someone trying to escape to London. Then, with the assistance of allies, Tanner makes his way to Macedonia to visit his infant son and the boy’s mother.

Macedonia is just a stop on his way to Latvia. Tanner had made a promise to smuggle a dear friend’s girlfriend, Sofija, a member of the Soviet Women’s Gymnastic Troupe, out of Latvia. To do this, Tanner is going to have to smuggle himself into the Soviet Union, somehow.

Tanner has a network of friends across Europe, who are willing to help him, in exchange for a favor or two.

It’s a complicated journey, and it keeps getting more complicated. He is talked into bringing a defecting Yugoslav official, and his 300-page manuscript, with him into Russia and home to the USA. As he and the official make their way across Eastern Europe, sneaking across borders, Tanner accumulates more and more things to smuggle back to America: microfilm, Chinese documents, a child, Sofija, Sofija’s sister, and ten other members of their gymnastic troupe.

Getting out of Latvia is going to be a lot tougher than it was getting in.

Tanner’s Twelve Swingers was not as bad as I expected it to be. It wasn’t great, but it had its moments. It had some good action sequences, and some tense scenes. The story flowed well.

The men in the story tended to be the same comrade-in-arms types. The women tended to be same naïve farmer’s daughter types. The book wasn’t big on character development.

When I saw the word “swingers” in the title, I was picturing go-go booted sexpots. (Perhaps I was supposed to picture that.) It turned out to be a different kind of swinger.

I won’t recommend this book, but it was fun to read.

  • A book you got from a used book sale

Driving To First Hill

It is an unfortunate truth that, unless your destination in near the streetcar line, driving from Capitol Hill to First Hill is a whole lot easier than taking public transit. The down side is that, unless your destination has an off-street lot, parking on First Hill is tough to find.

Phillip and I drove to First Hill today to visit Amy. Where she’s staying has an off-street lot. Just as we pulled into the lot, an on-street spot opened up nearby. On-street parking was free today, so we moved the car.

DupleWe brought two card games with us: Borogove (which Phillip and I had played only once, and Amy never has), and Duple (which none of us have played before).

We played several games of Duple, which turned out to be a very fun game. We had a great afternoon, visiting and chatting.

We didn’t color Amy’s hair this time.

As Phillip and I walked back to our car, we discussed going somewhere for lunch. Phillip requested that we go somewhere we haven’t eaten before.

I suggested Blue Water Taco Grill, over on Madison. I’ve been there before, but Phillip hasn’t. That sounded good to Phillip. We drove to Madison Street, and discovered that Blue Water was closed today.

Phillip suggested Rhein Haus, over on 12th Avenue. German food is never my first choice in cuisine, but I agreed to it.

We found plenty of parking off of 12th. Rhein Haus was closed today, however. The Chieftain, next door, was open. I do love Irish food. So, that’s where we went for lunch.

The Chieltan

It was Taco Tuesday at The Chieftain, but I had a Guinness and beef stew. Phillip had a margarita and mac & cheese. The Irish pub was playing reggae over the speakers. It was all good, and I hope we go back there soon.

We’re staying in this evening.

 

RPZ 32

RPZ 32Last Saturday, our neighborhood became Restricted Parking Zone 32. I’m glad to see it.

We have off-street parking, but we applied for a guest permit. It was cheap, and it will come in handy when friends stop by.

We mailed in our application, rather than make a trip to the SDOT office. I was sort of expecting it in Saturday’s mail, then I was halfway expecting it in today’s mail.

We did mail it in rather late in the process, however. There’s no rush.

I’ve been glancing at windshields this morning and this evening. I haven’t seen any RPZ 32 permits at all. I haven’t seen any parking tickets, either. (I didn’t expect to see any tickets on the second day the zone took effect, actually.)

I Finally Read It

I’ve been hearing about Rabbit, Run, and what a great book it is, for ages. Now, Popsugar’s 2017 Reading Challenge has knocked this book off of my To Be Read list.

Rabbit, Run, by John Updike, was first published in 1960.

Rabbit RunAs a high school senior, Harry “Rabbit” Angstrom was a record-breaking basketball star. Now, at age twenty-six, Rabbit demonstrates kitchen gadgets in dime stores.

Rabbit’s wife, Janice, is pregnant. Their son, Nelson, is two years old. They live in a cramped apartment in Mount Judge, Pennsylvania. Rabbit would rather play basketball. He would rather have the life he had in high school.

He gets in his car, on his way to pick up Nelson, and, entirely on impulse, Rabbit runs. He has no idea where he’s going. He hasn’t thought things through. He just picks a direction and drives away.

Rabbit, Run isn’t a road trip. Rabbit doesn’t run far, but he keeps running. He lives in the moment and continues to be driven by impulses. He seeks out his old coach, who introduces him to a part-time prostitute, who provides him with a place to stay. He befriends a young Episcopal minister, who tries to talk him into returning to Janice. Rabbit doesn’t want to go back to Janice, but frequently asks how she is.

“If you have the guts to be yourself,” [Rabbit] says, “other people’ll pay your price.”

There isn’t much plot to Rabbit, Run. It’s a story driven by characters, dialog, and descriptions. It’s full of witty lines. (Rabbit, during a conversation with his former high school rival, thinks: “God, this guy is a middle-aged bore and he’s not even thirty.“) It’s my kind of book.

Harry Angstrom is the central character in the novel, but he is not the only character. The book often changes points of view. Large sections follow Jack Eccles, the Episcopal minister (from Janice’s family’s church) as he tries to figure out what to do about Harry.

Rabbit, Run is an adult novel. It contains explicit sex. It contains religious contemplation. It is funny at times, but mostly tragic. It is a complex novel. I’m sure someone could spend a lot of time analyzing its imagery. (I have no doubt that someone already has.)

Rabbit, Run is not light reading

I absolutely loved it. I’m glad I finally read it.

  • A book that’s been on your TBR list for way too long

An Afternoon At The Movies

This afternoon, Phillip and I hopped in the car, drove to the U District, and met up with Cristina at the AMC 10 (formerly the Sundance).

pear martiniThe theater still looks like the Sundance. It still has a bar and food menu. I had a pear martini again (and it was still delicious) and a bag of Peanut M&Ms. I really do hope AMC keeps the bar.

The theater still has reserved seating, which I love, even though it makes going to see a movie with friends a bit tricky.

Before the movie, the artsy short films Sundance showed were replaced by more traditional movie trailers.

The film we saw was It Comes at Night. I absolutely loved it. I went into the theater knowing nothing about the film. (Cristina and Phillip picked it out.) That lack of foreknowledge was perfect for this film. It was one of those stories that drops you right into it, and lets you pick up what’s happening as it goes along.

After the show, the three of us got into our car and drove to Veggie Grill in University Village.

Fala-FullI had a “Fala-Full” sandwich and a beer.

It was Cristina’s first visit to a Veggie Grill. I think it made a good impression on her.

I had been doing the driving up to that point. Over dinner, though, I handed the car key over to Phillip, who had had neither a martini nor a beer.

We dropped Cristina off at home, and Phillip and I drove home.

It’s been a fun afternoon.