Wednesday, August 15, 2007

TR5 Part II

The fourth and final installment of my blogging about my most recent business trip begins with this picture of some of the many cranes around the harbor of Seattle. I like this picture because it has the moon in it and the mountain in the background. The cranes are nice too.

Here's a closer look at the mountain. Using Google Earth, I've determined that this mountain is in the direction of Mt. Rainier. I have no idea if that is it or not. I looked for it later and didn't see it. How weird is that.

Here's another thing you can see in the harbor.

My camera was struggling with the low light. They certainly were putting a lot of water into the air.

Light's gone. The info on this picture says it was taken at 1:22 a.m. I wouldn't put it past me to be out that late wandering around, but I think I took this picture earlier and just hadn't set my camera back to Pacific time. I'm not sure what the people thought who saw me leaning up against a light post trying to steady my camera to get a clearer picture, especially if they didn't see the camera in my hand.

I diverted briefly from Seattle to the town of Springfield!

I didn't see an ATM.

The Kwik-E-Mart!

Mmm . . . forbidden donut . . . . That used to be my Windows Startup event sound, so my computer said that every time I booted it up.

Here's Homer. This isn't the encounter with the famous person you might remember me mentioning in the third installment. Or, you're reading this backwards and have no idea what I am talking about, but will shortly find out.

I didn't buy anything in the Kwik-E-Mart that night, but I am sure I would have enjoyed a Squishee.

Those who know me know if I did drink Buzz Cola, it would be from a giant mug. There is a tribute page I'm planning for my Fizzonator, which had to retire due to injury. I am not sure when I will be able to get to that. Soon, maybe.

I have a friend with this name, so I took this picture for her.

I also have a friend with this name, so I took this picture for her.

If you've got a really good memory, and you're not reading these in reverse, then you'll remember that I ate at the Oceanaire in Orlando. This is the Oceanaire in Seattle. I don't know how many there are, but I know there are two at least. The one nice dinner I had in Seattle was at Elliott's, though. I did not have time enough to get to another nice dinner while I was in Seattle. Maybe next time!

OK, so now we are technically to the point where I said the fourth installment would begin, with me killing time until I can catch my red-eye flight out of Seattle. They were having a parade the day I was leaving. I don't think that was the cause for the parade, but then again, I never did see the parade before I left to go to the airport.

I've seen pictures like this elsewhere, but I can't remember where. So I decided to take one to add to them.

See? Cranes, but no mountain. I decided to go for a closer look at these cranes.

Here's a closer look.

This is a picture of the dock where they unload the containers. And, I suppose, load them up as well.

Here's a picture of the Hanjin office building. I was starting to wonder how long I could hang around taking pictures before somebody came up to me and starting asking me questions or told me to leave. But I didn't have much time, because I had to walk back in time to get to my cruise.

This is not my cruise ship.

This is not my cruise ship, either. I actually had to hustle to make it on board, so I kind of forgot to take a picture of the boat that I was on. The name on the side of this boat says Norwegian Star. I suppose there is only one, and if that is true, this is it.

This was the name of the company which ran the cruise I went on. I think the name of the boat I was on was Goodtimes III, but don't quote me on that.

I don't have a picture of the boat, but this is the view from the boat after it just pushed away from the dock.

Not surprisingly, there were lots of marinas. I took a two-hour cruise through a canal that connects Lake Washington to Puget Sound. Lake Union is somewhere in there, too. Among the claims to fame of this stretch of waterway is that the floating house used for exterior shots in the movie Sleepless in Seattle floats in it. If you were hoping for a picture, I have bad news: I am a guy. I didn't see the movie. I have no interest in the house.

This was the first bridge I saw. There are lots of bridges on this cruise. Or at least it seemed that way. You have a good variety, anyway. If you like bridges, you are in luck.

Or tugboats.

Our tour guide said this company had the best-maitained tugboats in the area. They certainly looked clean and well-maintained. Good enough for a couple pictures, I thought!

This boat, on the other hand, was looking pretty rough. It was still floating, though, so that's a plus.

I passed under the Ballard Bridge also. Apparently, the residents of Ballard have some strange quirks. The canal was as close as I got though.

We got to see the Ballard bridge raised. The Ballard bridge is, I believe, a Bascule drawbridge. I could be wrong though. The bridge wasn't raising for the ship in the picture, and it wasn't raising for the ship I was on. What was it raising for?

Kisses, that's what. Kisses is a huge yacht, owned by a billionaire, who doesn't like to advertise he owns a huge yacht. This is one of the largest private yachts in North America. It was a big boat. I think this is what I would do if I had a billion dollars. Or at least one thing. Identifying the real owner was suprisingly difficult, but apparently it is Jim Pattison, a billionaire Canadian. He was, according to an article I found on the Internet, hosting another billionaire, TV host Oprah. So this was my second celebrity encounter. Maybe. I don't know when she got on the boat. I just know she got off of it in Alert Bay a week after I saw it, at least according to the article. The yacht is kind of a celebrity on its own, even if Oprah wasn't on it when I saw it. Maybe she went to Ballard first.

This is the visitor center at the Hiram M. Chittenden locks, which we had to pass through to get to the sound. The locks are run by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

Like I said, plenty of bridges. I believe this is a cantilever, vertical-lift drawbridge. This was down. Usually these bridges are up and only get put down when something has to cross.

More evidence that I was not on that Norwegian Cruise Lines cruise ship. Here it is setting out to somewhere. What looks like a fuzzy top on the ship is actually people standing on the decks as it sails away. You can tell it was getting a little overcast when I was taking these pictures.

Seattle is coming in to view as my cruise and this blog entry are coming to an end.

I took a picture of the Space Needle and the some of skyline.

I was able to get a better picture of the Space Needle in the daytime versus the nighttime.

More cranes.

The Space Needle looks tiny in this picture!

One last look at Seattle to close out the last part of my four part series!

Wednesday, August 15, 2007 

Category: Jobs, Work, Careers

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

TR5 Part I

The third installment begins in a familiar place--inside a room inside the Seattle Grand Hyatt. I like staying in the Hyatt. I guess that's pretty much a no-brainer. For the last night of my stay, my next door neighbor was Alison Bales, a Center for the WNBA team Indiana Fever. She's a big girl. The picture is of the hallway just inside the door to my room. You'll have to read installment four to see what other famous person I encountered. Or, if you are reading my blog entries in reverse order, you already know.

This is the couch that was in my room, and the chair. And a table. And a lamp. Getting back to Alison, the stats on her web page on the Indiana Fever site say she's six feet seven inches tall and weighs 218 pounds, which I think is both taller and heavier than I was at her age. I walked by her a couple times as she was going in and out of the hotel actually. I decided not to ask her to let me take a picture of her to put on the blog, even though I am sure it would have been a nice picture to have here.

The desk where I worked from my room, when I did that. I'm not big into sports. I didn't know who she was the first time I saw her, which was on an elevator with four or five of her teammates. It was basically them and me on the elevator. Alison was getting off on our floor and I was on my way to get ice.

This is the hall in my room between the room with the desk, the room with the bathtub, and the room with the bed. It's kind of a skinny hall, but maybe not as skinny as it looks in the picture. You can have ice delivered at the Hyatt, by the way. But I don't, I just go get it. There was an ice machine two floors above me and two floors below me.

The vanity in my room. I had hit the down elevator button to go down to the ice machine below my floor. So the elevator door opened, and I moved to get onto the elevator and one of them helpfully offered that it was going up. I backed away and then Alison got off of the elevator, and then it occurred to me that it didn't matter whether I went up or down, so I got on the elevator and told them all it didn't matter whether I went up or down.

A picture of the shower door and a bathrobe. The room had two bathrobes in it, but not nearly as many towels as my room in Orlando. The fact that I said it didn't matter whether I went up or down got me some puzzled looks. I explained on the way up that I was going after ice, but that didn't seem to help. They just stuck to their original impression that I was strange or weird for not caring whether I was going up or down on the elevator. Or at least that's the way it seemed.

I don't get a lot of use out of the bathtub, but here it is. It seems pretty big. Maybe I will try it out sometime. I got my ice and went back to my room. I am a clever sort, and when I see five tall, athletic-looking women on an elevator, I can put two and two together. So I sat down at my laptop, sitting on the desk up there, and googled "wnba seattle july" and found in short order that the Indiana Fever were in town to play the Seattle team, whose name I would know if one of their players had stayed next door to me also. But that didn't happen.

The TV in the bedroom part of my room. There was another TV by the desk, but I didn't take a picture of it specifically. You can see part of it in the picture with the desk. The Indiana Fever web site scrolls through pictures of the players on its roster, and it wasn't too long before I recognized a number of the women from my elevator trip. The Internet is a good thing.

The bed in the aforementioned bedroom, again with the pillows. If you've read my earlier blog entries, then you know what I think about all those pillows. If you haven't read my earlier blog entries, then you should. Maybe I should have referred to Alison as Ms. Bales through most of this, but we were neighbors, and I know when she was born, where she grew up, how tall she is, how much she weighs, where she went to school (high school and college), what her majors were (cultural anthropology and biology), the names of her father and mother, and her brothers and sisters. Plus I'm older than she is. So I think first names are appropriate. Sure, I didn't say word one to her and I know all of this because it's in her bio on the Fever web site, but I figure that's irrelevant. I didn't catch that one of her majors was biology on my first read through. If I had, I probably would have talked to her about that.

I was gone for a good long time on this trip, too long to pack enough to wear and still be under the weight restrictions on luggage imposed by United. When I was in Orlando, I had two floors of washing machines in my hotel. I think one of them was just one or two floors under me. So did I wash my clothes in Orlando? Nope. I waited 'til I got to Seattle. The Hyatt is great, but people who stay there pay to have laundry done. Or they do what I do, namely truck their dirty laundry in their luggage to the nearest laundromat, which is about a fifteen to twenty minute walk away, mostly uphill. There are like two laundromats in all of downtown Seattle. So now you know where the term "grunge" came from. Shirts I can get away with wearing twice, maybe, but not my undies. Here they are, tumbling away.

So I thought I would try something new, and take pictures of the view at night outside my window since there were many highrise buildings with lots of lights nearby. I don't particularly have the right kind of camera to do that, but these are some pictures out my room window at night.

If you can boost the gamma of this picture, you might just be able to make out what the menacing dark objects are in the foreground of this picture. Here's a hint: they are in other pictures here, albiet arranged differently. Stacked, as it were. If you research my earlier Hyatt blog entries, you'll find that's a dead giveaway.

This picture has the archway that covers the entrance to the convention center all lit up. It was also taken from a different window than the other two.

In this picture, the buildings actually look like tall buildings with lights lit up at night.

There is nothing better than relaxing in the evening with a nice glass of . . . well, Welch's grape soda. It seemed like kind of a shame to never use the stemware, so I figured that was close enough.

Find yourself wondering what these buildings looked like in the daytime? Then you are in luck. Here is the Sheraton, another nearby hotel.

Here is a tall building with a flag on it. The eloquence of my prose is boundless.

The street leading to the convention center. I forget which one. The street name, I mean. The convention center is the Washington State Convention and Trade Center. That I remember.

The view to the extreme left out of the window I took this picture from.

My room had a lot of windows. In the distance here you can see water, which I think is Puget Sound.

From this one you can see the Roosevelt Hotel.

The Sheraton again. And a tall shiny building. These are the buildings that turned out like buildings in the night picture up there.

Once again, looking left, but from a different window.

Looking as far left as we can look from here.

A picture of the arch covering the street. I guess it is an arch.

In spite of my not mentioning it until now, I was in Seattle for TechReady5. Even though most of my blogs are about stuff outside of work, I spend a whole lot more time working.

The registration area, where I spent most of my time in Seattle, at least while I was awake. And with that, the fourth installment waits to be written and the third installment comes to a close.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007 

Category: Jobs, Work, Careers