Earlier this week I had two days off.
A rare feat indeed at the Fabulous Fifth Ave but still they want me gone for two days I shall go for two days. This time no random puddle pump to Walla Squared to watch a set being taken down and stroll the closed up town on Easter day instead I head down to the place made famous as where young people go to retire.
And how to go but by train, of course.
Helps that I didn’t really want to drive and getting to King Street Station by bike is fairly easy and Portland is known as Bike Friendly and the weather wasn’t going to be too bad.
So I paid an extra 5 dollars each way and me and my bike took a vacation.
At some point I need to go back during summer and see what it is like there when there are loads more bikes around. Not just me and few people who decided biking during the Pacific Northwest Winter was a good idea. But it really wasn’t that bad.
Sure I got rained on.
Sure I got lost.
Sure I got a little drunk.
Sure I may have spent more than I expected.
But I had fun.
Also during the course of the trip I visited a friend’s grave and that gave some closure I might not have had otherwise. Now that was an experience as I took a long cab ride up a large hill and through some windy roads. Spending time in a graveyard as it poured rain and the wind buffeted me. Regretted not bringing a hat I will have you know. And then to Powell’s, some lunch, a bit more biking around, and then a quick drink, and a train home.
Back in Seattle there was a light rain coming down as I biked home from the station and as I approached my house I noticed the sound a metal clicking on something. Since my dirty close where in a side cage I put it a little out of my mind. But when I checked my rear wheel at home it seems I broke another spoke.
Which meant another trip to get it repaired.
And now I have that looming again. But if this wheel goes bad I hear recycled cycles does some guarantee on wheel builds so I’ll check it out.
I had difficulties sleeping this morning.
Around 4 am something woke me up and there I lay for a few hours until the desire for breakfast roused me out of my warm cocoon and into a cold kitchen for some eggs and bacon. Not my normal breakfast, mind you, but given I had a lot of time why not have something more difficult than yogurt.
As I sat down to eat NPR informed me tonight would be the 50th year A Charlie Brown Christmas has aired on network tv.
I stopped eating and began to remember my time with an ice show based on that cartoon.
And also my time at Knotts.
For three Decembers I ran an ice show that had deep inspiration from “A Charlie Brown Christmas”.
In fact near the end there was a moment where everything stopped, Linus did his speech, low fog filled the stage, and a slow version of Silent Night played as skaters began a slow flowing routine.
Despite not being Christian this hit me right in the meaning of the season. And while I did find it overly religious I enjoyed this moment and felt it was staged well without being too beat you over the head religious .
My last Ice Show was my favorite. Not the show itself and probably saying that is wrong.
From October into February when I turn in my uniform and said adieu was my favorite time there.
That show wasn’t great and ended up being scrapped and the previous Ice Show brought back a year or two later but it was fun… or rather I had fun. Adding quotes to the back of flats, playing Guitar Hero off stage, pictures, slight pranks, and all around good times.
See I knew I was leaving.
I began looking for my way out after seeing my fourth friend get a 5 year certificate and with disbelief at the time spent there and where the years had passed they accepted it. Then with almost regret they would wear their 5 year name tag while looking for a way out. I didn’t want to be there. The job had been fun, the people some of the best I had met, but when I thought about my future I couldn’t imagine being one of the long time techs. Nor could I imagine moving over to production and being of the guys. My way out was to move to Seattle and either succeed or fail there.
Yet I remember that last winter as the most fun I had at work.
That load in was a pain in my ass and the supervisor I had didn’t make it any easier.
Also I’m sure he felt I was a pain in his ass. In fact I can be sure of that as we had a yelling match one day while I was at height in a lift working on a run light. He came in demanding I finish something that was done.
We yelled back and forth then he went to my manager to complain.
Which lead to a meeting where I explained what happened and ended it by asking if I was being disciplined. When my manager couldn’t confirm that decision I said I needed to get back to work and left.
Knotts was a fun place.
And that point in time was a fun time to work there.
I have some regrets but none I would go back and try to resolve.
Still when I hear Linus and Lucy I think back to those days and what fun I had driving a cart backwards through the park as everything was shutting down.
While the past week it warmed up in Seattle.
Then last night it snowed.
Not a whole lot because this is Seattle, after all, and but a few times when the city was shut down by a couple of inches.
Being rather stupid of snow I decided to bike in.
And it was cold.
But with my wool coat and base layer I was more or less ok. Yeah my feet were cold but I think they would have been regardless.
But I was wary of ice because it was quite cold out there. And as I crossed the Fremont bridge I was warned about there being ice on the approach.
Also the counter is but one tiny sliver away from one million crosses.
That’s a hell of think.
Unfortunately I failed at completing my coffeeneur rides.
It started fine with me picking Sunday and Monday to ride. Monday being my usual day off and then Sunday seemed to be a day off for a few weeks.
And then my job ruined that idea by swapping my day off for the past two weeks.
Prior to that I took a trip to Southern California and had a good ride.
That trip was a strange affair because it started as an excuse to take the Coast Starlight down to see my family, only so briefly, and then return just in time for work. The train journey being the real reason for the trip and the family visit an added bonus. Then a friend of mine was killed.
It is still difficult to come to grips with her death. It was sudden and while we hadn’t been close for a few years there was a time and we had been in touch off and on since I moved to Washington.
Also my trip coincided with her funeral and even the SoCal memorial I was going to miss. That was when I decided to see if anyone would come out for a drink and if not no shame because I am used to getting a drink by myself at an unknown bar.
It was a bright and clear day I set out. November 9th from my parents house in Long Beach to a bar in Buena Park. Warm but not hot and while I knew how to drive to this bar I didn’t know the bike path. Still these bike route signs existed, the route was mostly flat, and if worst came to worst I could always call my folks for a lift.
It’d be a great adventure.
I took the San Gabriel River Trail to the Coyote Creek Trail to Crescent through La Palma, Cypress, and then Buena Park. Nearly straight trip without any winding loops, hills to climb, or rivers to cross. Sure it’d be over 12 miles each way but that seemed ok.
First let me say that getting to the River Trail was a pain. The cars in Long Beach aren’t as accustomed to bikes as Seattle. Sure I have issues with drivers but I rarely have a driver look at me as they pull through a stop sign as I am also going an intersection. Also other bikers didn’t seem aware of what I meant as I said, “On your left” when I passed them. I would have rang a bell but my bother feels those are for hipsters.
Light bike lights.
Yet it was a peaceful ride. Flat enough to maintain a good speed without exhaustion. Warm enough to not require a jacket and yet cool enough I wasn’t sweating or needing to stop to refill my water. A good ride.
Along the way the sun began to set.
That was a good image of the setting sun on one side of the trail with the flurry of the freeway on the other and me in the center on a thing strip of asphalt riding a bike next to a river. Was a good time. Although I gauged my time wrong and before I knew it I arrived.
Sure I had gotten a touch lost and almost took a street that wasn’t as bike friendly as others.
I ducked back onto the trail and continued onward.
Then through some cul de sacs and onto Knott.
I stopped briefly to look at Knott’s Berry Farm, my former work place, and remembered some old times.
The sushi and here is where I failed my coffeeneur.
I didn’t get a coffee, nor tea, nor coffee porter at the bar.
So close but right there I missed out.
And a coffee porter would have been fabulous but with the limited micros at the bar it would have been asking a lot. Yet I stayed longer than I expected.
I have spent many an hour at the Tom Kat, drinking, laughing, making drunk remarks with the regulars, being talked into pitchers when I should only have a pint. It was good to go back even if the circumstances weren’t great but seeing some of the people I hadn’t seen between 2 and ten years was worth it.
Then hoping on the bike past midnight and heading back to my parents house.
I really enjoy riding late at night.
The empty roads losing some of the danger from cars. Quiet besides the sound of my bike. The night air going from warm to cool with a hint of salt from an ocean breeze. The horizon a sickly yellow from light pollution but the majority of the sky black and the moon.
Since much of my riding takes place at night I have found it to be meditative experience. Even if it meant finding what lights work for me and because I knew I’d have a night ride I made sure to bring my lights.
Which my family thought odd but they hadn’t almost crashed because of poor illumination.
Yet despite their chuckles as I checked the fit of my lights I knew it would help out come night and given some of the poorly lit streets around El Dorado Park it did help.
26.6 Miles round trip
Didn’t get tea, coffee, or similar so didn’t count.
No bike racks at either Joe’s sushi or the Tom Kat. I locked my bike to a fence and a sign post.
Despite lack of parking facilities the San Gabriel River Trail and the Coyote Creek Trail were excellent. Getting to them wasn’t bad and going along Crescent was ok except when I hit the odd cul de sacs that required some side walk finesse.
Best of all I got to see old friends. Not how I would have liked to but still.
Over this weekend, normal people weekend not a weekend for me, I had a few folks remark on my look.
Began when I went to a show at the Rep.
Now understand I had already worked a full day.
A full day in a warehouse.
A full chilly, uneventful, day assembling a lighitng package in Kent, Washington.
You know the kind of thing you dream about as a child.
Still it working is better than not and while the work was a dull undertaking at least the company was good.
This all occurred Thursday and that evening I went to see a show called the Vaudevillains at the Seattle Rep. So here is where I did something a bit out the norm for many technical theatre people. I dressed up.
Here is where I could put a long winded critique of Seattle dress, or how people attend the theatre in general. Thing is this type of thing really reads as exclusionary when theatres need their audiences and while I would like others to dress for them just attending is enough. So while I would prefer people to dress better just solving the problem of getting people in the door is a bigger issue.
Any way as a friend let me into the theatre, a perk of working in the industry, she said I looked “dapper”.
Well it was what I had been going for so good on me.
Good show, of what I could hear, and wish it ran longer but that is neither here nor there. Glad I got to see it.
That night my cat and I visited the all night vet.
I don’t really want to say more than she is recovering and I had a rough night.
The next warehouse day wasn’t so good but could have been a lot worse.
On Saturday I helped out at Seattle Children’s Theatre.
I used to be on staff there and still have a few friends and helped out the best I could.
Mostly I worked on the grid doing what I will be doing on Monday.
Letting in circuits.
Yet while on a break I saw a stage manager I hadn’t seen in a while. We joked for a bit and I was leaving she says, “You look good.”
Not sure how to take this I tell her, “This isn’t for you, for me but not for you.” And I slap my butt. Everyone laughs.
Thing is I didn’t know how to accept that compliment.
Today was a restore day at the Fabulous Fifth Ave and I came ready to work.
Yet by the end of the day a fellow worker I have known almost my entire time in Seattle also tells me I am looking good. More shocked than anything this compliment coming from a straight male coworker I have less idea how to take it.
Now I don’t claim to be very attractive.
In fact for much of my life I cared little about my looks and may have even gone to lengths to show that.
Being unhappy with one’s physical appearance can do that to a person.
I never quite looked the way I thought I should believed I did.
Partially deluded and with a low self image I escaped that by any means I could.
I have many examples of odd things I did to escape some basic ridicule by not quite fitting a mold. But really I remember that for a part of my most awkward, challenging years, the only people that told me I looked good were older gay men.
Now before ideas get hatched nothing happened.
Just so happened living in Long Beach one can run into these gents and for whatever reason I would get the occasional compliment.
Not cat called, or overly close conversation, just a random sort of thing.
And looking back that helped in some fashion.
So now as I receive more and more compliments about my dress sense or looks I have little idea how to take that but with a glib remark, if dressed poorly, or a thankful response, if dressed well.
The Load out of Kinky Boots
One good thing about Seattle is that street parking is free on Sunday.
Down side is working downtown that means I have to get there pretty early to snag parking close to the theatre.
Which made me remember Pronto.
Then I get in and we dump some boxes.
Just a few not too many but enough to do about an hour and a half and get us ready to get the show out.
Box call, as we call it, are pretty easy things and give us enough info and idea of how the road crew wants to take a show out.
In this instance it was interesting that we had very few electrics boxes coming off the trunk.
Interesting thing to note but maybe it’s part of the plan.
Now after a box call I’ve been going to Lou Lay because it is delicious and nearby. Not the cheapest around but giving the long hours I’ll have it’s not a big deal and having some wonderful eggs benedict will make the day easier to get through.
Now the weather turned.
Nothing like the impending doom of rainy weather to make a load out seem so much better.
Yet we did a show and by the time the load out started the rain would be a distant memory and we would have clear chilly weather.
Which is a good thing because pushes boxes in the rain sucks.
Doing the work of a load out sucks.
And slipping while pushing a heavy box becomes all the easier when the road is slick.
Also remember when I mentioned that there were no electrics boxes? Well we needed those. some things got loaded in different boxes and in Denver things will be a touch interesting as they unload them and find things in the wrong boxes.
Now had things been in the alley during the box call some of that confusion could of been avoided Some of the waiting could have been avoided and some of the pacing up and down alley wondering where boxes were could have been avoided.
Still we got them out of the theatre just after last call.
Riding that night was a bit tougher with my tired legs and the weight of the Pronto bikes but it beat walking and it really beat paying for parking.
But I got home too a shower and went to bed.
When I woke up I knew it was time for a bit of a joy ride.
I hadn’t been to Voula’s in a while and the other day I read about their delicious breakfasts and figured I might as well.
A bit farther than Morsel but not so close that it isn’t much of a trip.
I started my trip and it was a bit chilly with a shining sun and some looming clouds but nothing ominous. Not high winds that cause me to pedal down a hill or dark clouds where I wish I wore a rain coat.
Just a slightly cold morning heading down the Burke Gilman for some breakfast.
Everything about Voula’s reeks of a Seattle I never knew but wish I had. Wonderful greasy spoon atmosphere, good prices, tasty feeling food, and a sign starting that they start serving at one time but you can have coffee until the grill is hot.
Also their Greek hobo is a thing of beauty. True it was on Diners, drive thru, and Dives but that’s not too bad. Once upon a time getting a visit from that Guy was a good thing…. or felt that way. After all Bizarros got one and they are great too.
There is one bike rack in front, and it’s a little off the Burke so either taking a hill down or going along Northlake which could go either way depending on the industrial traffic.
Nearly 8 and a half miles round trip and j got to peek in at Fremont brewing and their new expanded space.
My bike share for arrived a couple of days ago.
I had been wanting to try it out but didn’t quite feel it until yesterday.
Hell having 2 and a half hours off didn’t hurt and not really knowing what do with myself was the ultimate incentive to borrow a bike and see how it goes.
I forgot my helmet but was in luck that right now they have some helmet for use,
Downside is they are a bit small for my giant head.
I felt for a moment that I might have to cry myself to sleep on my giant pillow.
I mean I’m not going to pretend I didn’t ride for a bit only wearing my flat cap but I did ride for a bit with my flat cap as the only means of head protection.
Yet I did have a nice trip down the new Second Avenue bike lane, into Pioneer Square, just cut the edge of the International District, then down along the waterfront.
It was a good ride except I had some bike problems.
I kept having an odd slipping in the gears which made the ride less than ideal but still it was good.
Hit the repair wrench on this station and killed some time looking at scenery then I grabbed another bike and continued.
Now this second bike was good but the front tire was a little flat.
Not terrible but noticeable.
Yet as I was going through Myrtle Edwards Park I had a cyclist ride along side me for a bit.
He asked what I thought about the bikes and to be honest besides the weight, a few problems, they are nice.
Quick trips through downtown were made faster by the bike and if there was a pump at the stations it’d be really useful for flat tires.
Doesn’t hurt I got a discounted membership because of my job with the City of Seattle but that was pure luck as I had been considering joining even before that.
Yet as I took a moment to regard West Seattle I realized this was a good idea.
One thing I really like is the lights on the bike.
Having the generator is making me wonder what it would take to have that on my bike.
Might be a handy thing and it may not.
But it doesn’t matter that this was a good ride and a good use of my break.