Trippy Seattle - Pictures

Okay, I promised PICTURES. I just didn't feel like meshing them into the other texts and mucking up the compact "flow" that allows said texts to read more like lists. You may notice a preponderance of gray in the photos. That's called REALITY. Most shots you'll see of Seattle have sunny skies where the green glistens. RARELY true. We generally spend our time huddled around oil barrels set on fire for warmth, even though it really never gets that cold here. Local folklore has legends of heat and balm, orally-transmitted diseases - I mean tales! - passed from generation to generation regarding that hinted-at orb in the sky. Some call it the sun, but most of us refer to it as the FLAMING GOD OF BENEVOLENCE. On the other hand, snow is a once-a-year or once-every-coupla-years thing here. You get what you gits. Okay, okay, here are the pics, complete with captions to boot:

CHIEF SEATTLE So there's this nifty statue and fountain dedicated to Chief Seattle at 5th and Denny in Belltown (Tillicum/Tilikum Place, not to be confused with Tillicum Village way out there on Blake Island across the Sound). What's he saying, though? Perhaps he's uttering "Take my land!" Maybe, instead, it's "Go the hell away of here!" You decide, but the side of the statue bears the inscription "Friend To The Whites". I'm kinda wondering if this chief of the Duwamish people was - just POSSIBLY - an enemy to anyone else. Just speculating... In any event, it would've proved hard to find him to get all sassy about it, mainly since no one really knew or knows how to spell his name: Sealth, Seattle, Seattl, etc. I'm guessing folks didn't do a bang-up job pronouncing it, either. However, he DID get a city named after him! That's more than something and, certainly - sniff, honk - more than I'll ever achieve.

ON THE WATERFRONT Ah, iconic Seattle ferries racing in to the dock. There actually used to be so many of them that they were considered like swarming mosquitoes - The Mosquito Fleet of Seattle's yore and lore. Now they are the Washington State Ferries and do the job quite ably. One has to imagine how things used to be, however, down below on the waterfront. Back in the day, it was a crisscrossed network of tressles and railways to service the port. Think of an elevated spaghetti of wood and steel jutting out over mudflats and the stinky waters that come with that. Nowadays it's mostly a buncha piers and wharves consisting of former port buildings, each serving up a menu of coffee, fish, and kitsch. Oh, and now, a freakin' Ferris Wheel (as of 2012).

IN THE MARKET If you've managed to make it past the massed throngs outside listening to buskers, buying fruit, or just standing around and staring, you can actually ENTER Pike Public Market. There IS - believe it or not - a bunch of interesting stuff inside, from a magic shop to an old movie poster store to a by-the-weight spice shop. You just have to make it past the clusterfart of people standing around the fishmongers watching them do their spiel of pitching fish over counters and heads - duck! In the meantime don't forget about the cool places on more-or-less parallel Post Alley, where you can get your Russian belly on, pick up some fancy-wancy chocolates, or have a beer at the Irish pub (Kell's) or The Pink Door. As for the public bathroom tilework, with XX and XY denoted female and male? Don't say ya ain't been edumatated for the time otherwise spent shopping. Oh yes, the original Starbucks Cafe (sort of) is here as well, usually with the obligatory buskers out front. Some are even pretty good, but apparently no wind instruments are allowed: Boo on that! (This is, after all!) Here's a weird factoid: Almost all of the flowers sold in the market are by women of Hmong ethnicity, transplants from during the Viet Nam war. Once I saw one of them drive by me on I-5, heading north while driving in traditional garb a white van full of flowers, one that dwarfed her in every sense to make for an incongruous, if fascinating, visual.

DISCOVERY PARK LIGHTHOUSE, BEACH Can't beat this with a stick. A beach, tidepools, views of Mt. Rainier (look closely - fortunately it appears MUCH larger in real life) and The Olympic Mountains (still so named regardless of IOC lawsuits on any other uses of the name, which PREDATE the modern Olympics). Oh yes, there's a lighthouse, too! Plus numerous trails in the city's largest park (in Magnolia neighborhood NW of Downtown). And people seem to find no end of things to construct with driftwood on a seemingly daily basis.

ALASKAN FISHING FLEET Plenty of the boats that ply the waters of the Bering Sea and the waters around Alaska in general hail from Seattle. When not yanking fish and crabs out of the sea, you'll find them over by The Fisherman's Terminal on the west side of the Ballard Bridge in Magnolia. The Terminal is a great place to get a bite, too, when otherwise not trying to muscle out the slips for the commercial guys in favor of the wine-dine set who covet the spots for their trophy yachts.

GOLDEN GARDENS The more staid, commercial-free version of its counterpart Alki Beach, Golden Gardens sports a bit more nature and a lot more cookouts. You can even try to SCUBA dive here if you want to seriously freeze your buns right off year-round. In Ballard/Sunset Hill NW of Downtown.

CARKEEK PARK The even more staid and completely commercial-free version of even Golden Gardens, Carkeek Park is just a bit further north past 100th in Richmond Beach. Cross over the train tracks using the high pedestrian bridge to access the beach, or picnic from the bluffs with a view. A small hike is even available.

FLOATPLANE! Perhaps you've already seen them coming in to or going out from Lake Union. Kenmore Air provides service to the San Juan Islands and overflights of the city. Not shabby at all, and not necessarily a bad deal either. In Vancouver you can do the same with Harbour Air. (An Argosy Cruises office/departure point can also be found at this Lake Union location.)

SLUT! No you're not! Sorry! But what exactly were they thinking when they named this the South Lake Union Trolley? The powers that be have moved away from this for obvious reasons, but considering what a sop this tiny rail line is to moneyed interests, SLUT it is.

SOUTH LAKE UNION PARK It's new and, as stated, at the South End of Lake Union. The geese have already found it, so good luck spreading the picnic blanket on prodigious amounts of goose s**t (just like at Gas Works across the lake, but worse since there is no hill to escape on). Accessible by the otherwise-useless SLUT (see above), you can also find the Wooden Boat Center and a number of historic ships to walk aboard or even jump aboard for a short cruise. What you won't find is the hulking remains of the Wawona or the Kalakala any longer nearby. Sniff.

FLOATING BRIDGES Technological marvels, the two bridges to the Eastside are really floating chunks of hollow concrete blocks. What else can you do to cross an alpine lake about 500ft. deep? It's so deep that there are logs and ships way below that haven't rotted since there is no oxygen. So - of course - the fighting has more than begun over who gets salvage rights. That's a good thing to think about to forget that one of these suckers sunk once...

WHAT LIES UNDER THE PIERS Quite a lot, actually. The Puget Sound is home to more octopii and sea anemones than anywhere else in the world, apparently. Of the latter I can attest to seeing zillions (in addition to orange and purple starfish) when I used to sea kayak up and down the Sound. The piers along Elliott Bay are a particularly good place to 'yak along and under to find examples. Just watch it when you get near the Washington State Ferries docks - unless you want to spin like a top or get chewed into octobait by the propellers of them thar beasts.

YES IT DOES It's worth remembering that the storm drains head to Puget Sound in general. Be nice and think about that while I eventually get the real picture I want - a manhole cover in Downtown Seattle with the city map on it.

GRAIN ELEVATOR Oh yeah - Seattle is a city with a port... and thus has workers who don't sit behind computers! Sometimes this is easy to forget, but the Port Of Seattle would love to remind you that it is one of the biggest in the ol' U.S. of A. Nevertheless, to some this monstrous grain elevator on the north end of Elliott Bay (in Myrtle Edwards Park a bit north of the Olympic Sculpture Park) is an eyesore. I like to think of it as a reminder, however. I used to bike under this thing every day on my way to work... at a computer. Sigh. Check out the nearby rose garden in the park while you're at it.

GONE FISHIN' And not necessarily catching much. But the Puget Sound is a lot cleaner than it used to be, even if I'd still question anything caught close to the city. In Myrtle Edwards Park lies this fishing pier near the grain elevator, fortunately accompanied by a bait shop called The Happy Hooker. Hope you catch something here or at the other isolated spots set up for fishing in the area. Just run any fish snagged through an x-ray machine first. As for the nearby fish pen, it's probably best to just not think about it too much.

ICONIC RAINIER Sometimes you turn around and - there it is. Something like 14,500ft tall, Seattle's very own volcano beast overlooks the burg at various turns. One day it will blow - AND HOW. Fortunately for Seattle, its mess will likely head into Tacoma or Olympia, with ash probably making a mess of the entire state. Like the BIG ONE earthquake, Mt. Rainier is due... like any day now. Margins of error and average, however, especially ones measured in hundreds of years, have a way of making us complacent. But just you wait...

RELIC RAILROAD TRESSLE Okay, it's not a relic at all - it just looks like one. This sucker gets a hell of a lot of use, too. Located near the Chittenden Locks, it's not a bad thing to gaze at when it lifts for larger ships entering/leaving the locks or when a train passes over it. Just sit with a warm cup of joe in your lap and drool into it while bemusedly looking on.

FREEWAY PARK As you drive north or south through Downtown Seattle on I-5, you'll probably notice when you go under a massive concrete overpass with draping greenery. That's Freeway Park, m'friend! What's there? Well, not a lot. But there are plenty of places to sit and read, good things to do while otherwise listening to the busiest highway in the west below. Oh yes, it's adjacent to the Washington State Convention Center, so dodge the hordes of walking badges and people sneaking out of bo-ring meetings for a smoke. Yes, that IS George Washington's head.

JAPANESE GARDEN AT THE ARBORETUM An oasis of tranquility in the Seattle Arboretum. Well, it would be if there wasn't a busy road right next to it that never seems to shut up. Still, the Garden is beautiful and well worth a look, a nap, or a read. Coy koi fish inhabit the ponds and there are numerous angles to play photo professional if that's your speed.

KUBOTA JAPANESE GARDEN A quieter, but probably less convenient Japanese garden is way down south in South Seattle. This is a tidy city park devoted entirely to the concept, also a bit larger and more rustic than the one seen in the Arboretum.

PIONEER SQUARE It's a triangle, so what gives? I guess the crooks that founded the city were too busy with money-grubbing to stew over a slight geometrical detail. On one side of it is the original Skid Row - then Skid Road, the former appellation for Yesler Way (or thereabouts) back in lumbering days. They were literally slid down the road. Nowadays Pioneer Square houses the greatest collection of "old" architecture in Seattle (much by the same architect, Elmer Fisher). It's also not a bad place for a bite to eat and a beer. Try Cafe Paloma, The New Orleans, or the Grand Central Bakery for eats, Temple Billiards or the Central for a brew.

PIKE PUBLIC MARKET Since no one can get enough of the market, on I go. Fer instance: Why is the pig named Rachel? I have a rail-thin sister of same name who might take issue with it, but there you have it all the same. Get fruit, flowers, magic tricks, fish, old movie posters, and everything else SOMEWHERE within the hallowed walls. Those very bricks and mortar were supposed to have been torn down, yet here they still stand as testimony to tourism and kitsch everywhere for time immemorial!

PIKE MARKET FRUIT There, I've saved you from the fifty shots you are going to take there.

MONORAIL Yes, there it goes! In fact, if the City Council and the mayor had actually listened to the voters (three *&%^ times! - see "stadium fiascos voted down", too), we'd have a monorail system running throughout the city. Instead we have a far more expensive lightrail system that only now connects the downtown to the airport (and nothing else until 2016).

MONORAIL UNDER SPACE NEEDLE Take the Seattle Monorial from Westlake in Downtown to the Seattle Center. Or walk somewhere under near the mile of rail to get this shot. Or just steal this one off of the net. Permission... granted!

OLYMPIC SCULPTURE PARK My favorite is the metallic tree, here seen over newly mown grass. It looked like a weedlot 15 minutes prior. Just for you, I include a couple more (also see The Eraser, in the Arts Picture Annex).

MAGNOLIA BLUFFS A view to the sea, gray as it often is. Islands galore over the way beckon ye. Get on the ferry and go to them!

MAGNOLIA BLUFFS PART TWO The view to the city. Yes, it's over an industrial wasteland of sorts known as part of the Port of Seattle (Working For You!). But it's still a nice view, and you can make your way through the industrial area from Magnolia to Downtown. This viewpoint used to be an off-limits spot, private property and all, but now it's officially the Ursula Judkins Viewpoint. Wonder who owned the land before? (There's another interesting viewpoint at 28th & Ruffner, also nearby in Magnolia.)

IT'S IN THE P-I Not anymore, it ain't. The Seattle Post-Intelligencer is now essentially defunct as a newspaper (online only now), leaving only its evil twin brother The Seattle Times behind. Not that I care - they both kinda suck(ed), a bit heavy on the light news. Do yourself a favor and instead just pick up the New York Times or The New Yorker. In any event, local rags The Seattle Weekly and The Stranger cover enough of the goings-on for free, anyway, each in their own patented (and smug, in the Stranger's case) way.

INTERNATIONAL FOUNTAIN Holy crap, the city did something right! Yes, this fountain rocks and is every kid's summer wet dream, literally and figuratively. The jets shoot skyward, the rest follows to the music, and everybody's happy. I watched this thing take forever to get built as I lived two blocks away then. But it was worth it. At the Seattle Center.

COMETH THE CHILHULY I don't know to what Seattle owes the pleasure of this new museum/gallery dedicated to Dale Chihuly, what with Tacoma nearby hosting the Museum of Glass in his hometown, but apparently Seattle needed its pile of colorful glass forms as well. And using up space in the Seattle Center too boot. Granted, the Fun Forest of small town amusement rides that it replaced was no great shakes, but this rather soulless and private tribute to all that is Chihuly and glass right next to the Space Needle is probably not the most community-building of edifices.

HEMPFEST Your very own crew putting together HempFest. You never woulda guessed. Gonna burn one down!

SHIP CANAL Yes, you can go from Puget Sound straight through to Lake Washington. You'll have to wait in the locks and dodge kayaks, rowboats, speedboats, fishing trawlers, tugboats, and the odd scientific ship of great size, but it can be done. I'd suggest a kayak to cover the nooks and crannies.

SALMON LADDER At the Chittenden locks you can watch the salmon struggle past the Locks up close and personal. I'd recommend leaving off the flashbulbs for the poor bastards - they're not long for the Earth at this point, anyway. Different batches come through in heavy numbers and at different times, primarily in summer.

FREMONT MARKET One of the older and larger of the farmers' markets in Seattle, it's also one of the best. I'm a bit partial to the Ballard market, but they're all good for organic produce, arts and crafts, and the odd bite to eat. And street musicians like me (sometimes)!

WAITING IN THE LOCKS To get from Puget Sound to Lake Union and beyond via the waterways, you have to spend some time in the Locks. They open and shut when full, but pedestrians always have a way to cross them to get between Ballard and Magnolia (on whose side the Fish Ladder resides).

A THREE HOUR CRUISE Or something like that. Argosy Cruises offers a number of ways to rubberneck around Elliott Bay, The Locks, Lake Union and Lake Washington and more. Not a bad way to get your drink on and let someone else do the driving. You might even learn something about the area beyond where exactly the Bill Gates Bunker is (just south of the 520 bridge on the east side of it).

INSIDE PASSAGE CRUISING When I moved to Seattle, I don't remember any cruise ships coming to town, like ever. But now it seems there are at least two or three sitting in port any day of the summer. Most if not all drop anchor in Seattle before or after making the Inside Passage (protected waterway) to Alaska, running between Vancouver Island and the mainland as it goes through British Columbia. On the waterfront you'll know if the sucker has just pulled up or is ready to pull out by the multitudes lingering and the taxis all lined up.

GAS WORKS PARK On the north end of Lake Union, the former gas works for the city still stands in decrepit, yet interesting, form. Not a bad place to watch the boats go by, snap shots of the city skyline, and dodge goose/duck poop while looking for a place to picnic. Just off the Burke-Gilman Trail, so take a bike or hike to get there.

KITES AT GAS WORKS One of the more popular things at Gas Works to do or watch are kites flying. Go there on a moderately breezy day to check them out, or rent one nearby and do it yourself. Then clamber on the ruins of Gas Works that are open to the public.

FREMONT AND BALLARD BRIDGES Two of the bridges on the Ship Canal on the north side of downtown, each opens up from time to time to cause minor traffic jams for the odd yachtsman whom they serve. Why they don't just open up on the hour, or have a schedule during rush hour, is anyone's guess, especially as they are a known summer nightmare (see also Montlake Bridge and University Bridge.)

CHITTENDEN LOCKS Concerts in the summer on Sundays by jazz groups, some flower gardens, terraces to watch the boats go by - the Locks are a rare gem courtesy of the Army Corps of Engineers. For those on foot or bicycle they are the quick way to get from Magnolia to Ballard or vice versa. Hordes of tourists will have to be dealt with in summer in doing so, however - hundreds will line the narrow bridges to photograph and video the s-low thrill of water (and boats) being released.

BIG LOCK This is the bigger of the locks at Chittenden Locks. Not used as much, but more interesting when it is, chiefly due to the size of the vessels you'll find inside.

BIG LOCK Another view of the big lock and the drop/lift of water needed to get the job done.

LIGHT RAIL TUNNEL Woo Hoo! Seattle has a light rail system... consisting of one line. Which now goes from downtown to the airport - which is something, anyway. Next, in like a zillion years, there might be a network of one (somewhat longer) line that costs 4577 BILLION dollars... probably paid by the great grandchildren of the child denizens of the city today. We voted for the monorail not so long ago - which would have been much cheaper and not intersected with existing traffic - three times. But the powers that be decided that a light rail system, one which either stops at stoplights or forces others to stop for it instead, was what we really wanted. You don't even want to know about the tunnel that the grandchildren of the great grandchildren will be paying for - or endlessly arguing over its necessity or lack thereof. Welcome to Seattle, the City By Committee. Genius.

VIEW OF DOWNTOWN FROM SOUTH A nice and different perspective of downtown from near Union Station and then even further south along 4th. Much better in person, you'll never see this angle on a brochure because there's no ferry or Space Needle.

CHINATOWN GATE, PARK, AND MORE It seems like every Chinatown has its gate to make things official, and Seattle is no different. Just that in Seattle we call Chinatown the International District even if it's still basically Chinatown. Yes, other Asian nations are represented in the quadrant, but they're better represented in their own clusters just outside of it (Japanese to the north of the ID, Vietnamese to the East, Filipino up on Beacon Hill, and so on). Want Chinese grub that's good and different? Try Shanghai Garden's homemade green barley pasta. There are some pocket-sized parks to also take advantage to just sit and read while taking in several languages a good distance away from English.

BLACKBERRIES Yes, blackberries are everywhere in the burg, ripe come late August or so. Take as many as you want, then throw away your shredded shirt and dump a jug of disinfectant over your bleeding arms and hands. You might want to think twice about where you pick them from, too. Many handy patches lie along roads with vehicles spewing diesel dust and other fumes. If you're willing to just deal with Seattle's omnipresent pollution, the parks are a better bet. Almost ALL of them have no shortage of the stuff. Seriously, those thorns will tear you to pieces. Enjoy.

WALL OF DEATH Depending on where and when you cross, the Burke-Gilman Trail could at least be termed a bikeway of death, anyway. Used by people at cross-purposes, strolling or training for their next -athalon, the Burke-Gilman Trail serves two pissed-off masters while covering a lot of territory. You can even connect trails to circle all 50-some miles around Lake Washington. Meanwhile, good luck connecting the MISSING LINK in Ballard, source of never-ending contention between local businesses and local citizens. There, watch out for a very-possible spill on the parallel train tracks - that'll hurt! (Meanwhile, find the aforementioned Wall under the north side of the University Bridge.)

MORE BRIDGES Along with the Fremont and Ballard Bridges, the Montlake and University Bridges also draw up at what often seems the worst of times. From a kayak below, however, it's all rather amusing. And using a kayak is a great way to check out the Alaskan Fishing Fleet, houseboats, the Ship Canal, the Arboretum, etc. The Montlake Bridge is heavy on cute and quaint like the Fremont Bridge, as you can see, but the University Bridge (like the Ballard Bridge) is lacking.

ALKI BEACH LIBERTY This is where the original Seattle folks stepped ashore. Not sure why there is a Statue of Liberty here, exactly, but Alki Beach is the see-and-be-seen beach for the city, so I guess she had some thoughts of her own. Unlike its more laidback counterpart Golden Gardens, Alki Beach has restaurants just across the street to get your grub and booze on - if you don't get hit by a rollerblader zooming by at high speed in the process.

ADMIRAL WAY VIEW TO A KILL This is probably the best view of the city, outside of being on the ferry. From on high off Admiral Way, just after you cross the West Seattle Bridge (SW of Downtown). Oh, and by the way, there's a STORY POLE next to it. It's basically a TOTEM POLE that tells a story. It says so right on the placard, so believe you me!

FREAKIN' DUCK! Yes, the amphibious beasts are here, too. And they do go a-watering, last I checked. Might want to wear that life vest if ya cain'ts swims. I'm sure they have oodles of information, but just for once I'd like to take one of those kazoos, the jabbering driver, and... anyway, that's all.

A PIONEER SQUARE MYSTERY No, I have no idea what those are for, but this is one cool-looking, old-school, industrial-age building. Now THAT is a smokestack!

WESTLAKE PARK To be honest, the temptation is greater to NOT show this so-called park in the center of downtown. That's called spite. The road that splits it (more or less) enjoyed a short respite (more spite!) from traffic back in the '90s, but the powers that be decided it needed cars again. There's a perfect, soulless metaphor in here somewhere. Still, it's the goofy kind of place where one might see some young Native Americans beating drums and singing for tribal pride on the most commerce-driven site in the entire city. Or blue trees. Shop till you... walk away.

KERRY PARK Now this is actually a little more like a park... barely. What it IS good for is a great view of the city from Upper Queen Anne's South Slope. Follow 1st Ave North north from downtown, shift a block to the west to continue north on Queen Anne Avenue, then get your heart attack in order as you climb up to Highland to take a left. It's worth it - and the ambulances are actually VERY close by. Keel over and hit 911 as you go down - trust me!

ENDANGERED SPECIES It should be. This is NOT where you want to be when THE BIG ONE strikes: Think of the bridge in San Francisco that squashed like a pancake. Believe me, anyone in Seattle does when they're scooting through the middle of this thing. The theory is that it will be replaced... which I've been hearing since like 2000 or so. Will it be a tunnel, a broad boulevard, moving sidewalks, or a fleet of jet-propelled land-speeder shuttles that replace it? I haven't a clue - and no one else does, either.

FERRY! FERRY! FERRY! Well, here she is. And with possibly the best view of the city when you get on one and leave it. Wait - come back!

OLDTOWN GEORGETOWN Formerly off the radar as an adjunct to Boeing Field (or King County Airport as far fewer locals might say), this is where some of Belltown's artists went to escape the (price of) condominium-ania that hit in the big dotcom greed-rush. So expect some galleries, good coffee and eats while being vigilantly beware of growing hipsterism (and its counterpart, a sure-to-be ensuing gentrification) that'll soon be pushing these guys out to Renton or, heaven forfend, Federal Way. Hell, they're probably already there - hiding!

OH, BELLTOWN... Well, this was a funky neighborhood - like back in the 80s or early 90s. Nowaday it's the condo sleeping chambers for folks who work downtown or can afford a pied-à-terre right in the heart of the city. It seems that everything new that gets built here seems really, well, new. Not necessarily ugly, just lacking in character somehow. Perhaps the re-visioning of Bell Street, shown here, gives an idea...

SOUTH LAKE UNION NEIGHBORHOOD This used to be a light industrial 'hood, technically called the Cascade Neighborhood. Now it's one high or bio tech campus after another with high end shopping and eateries to match the salaries. It's build, build, build, and it won't stop until there is none left with such a desirable location. It'll all be shaken out by 2020, if not sooner, and you might not want to enter the area unless you have the proper amount of gold- or platinum-colored plastic.

ON BELAY! This town can be insufferable with its sheer, awe-inspiring number of fitness nuts. If they aren't checking themselves out, in sheer awe of their latest ironman or sea-to-ski competitions, their neighbors probably are busy doing so. True enough, this is a fantastic place to enjoy the great outdoors, but it's worth reminding that it can be done without a stopwatch and altimeter. For what it's worth, though, Stone Gardens in Ballard is a temple to those who just can't get enough when the weather (or work schedule) doesn't cooperate - might I encourage you to stroll on in and develop your own Tourette's version of "On belay!" and watch the fun ensue? Of course.

SOUNDING THE SOUNDERS Normally I'm not the biggest fan of pro sports, but it does seem like the teams that are here do pretty well with their attendance if not their on-field product. The Seahawks in 2013 are more popular than ever with their SuperBowl win, and the Sounders through 2014 have sold out pretty much every game since returning to play in the Emerald City in 2010 or whatever. I have yet to buy a ticket outside of a coupla Sonics games when the stadium was two weeks from my apartment, but it's nice to have friends with busy lives and season Sounders tickets - 's'all I'm sayin'.

GRUNGE Yes, it was grungy here, all woolen caps and flannel shirts. I remember it well, even if I was hardly a massive fan (although a fan nonetheless). Nowadays, however, almost all of the venues are gone except for the venerable Crocodile, still on 2nd in Belltown and getting regular crowds even after a short period of time when it looked like it would go as extinct as the American Crocodile is likely to soon be.

FOLKLIFE One of the two big festivals of the Seattle Summer that literally bookend said season. Folklife gets Memorial Weekend while Bumbershoot gets Labor Day Weekend, but the latter is far from free these days while Folklife still technically is. More the lowkey cousin to the wackiness that is Bumbershoot and its full panoply of the arts, Folklife nevertheless often has quite a few musical gems from around the globe.

CINERAMA Local Seattlites - and I'm not officially not one such individual, having arrived in 1994 - look to this theater as a landmark of blockbusters gone by (think Star Wars in '77). More recently (i.e., since my arrival) it's more like the warning shot of the new development that began when folks started getting really rich off of software. The restoration of this theater back to state of the art was Paul Allen's (of Microsoft founding fame) first salvo. Still a good place to take in a Lord of the Rings, but the lines for such events are no fun anymore.

That's all, folks! More pictures are on the way as I get off of my ass and take them. Or send them to me at and I might throw them up for the price of free. But you, dear reader, will enjoy the (so I hear) great benefits of immortality while saving me from shuttling about the city from here to kingdom come on my bike. Of course you want more pictures, you spoiled thing, but I haven't any more of our beloved, soggy city. Use the picture annexes below to possibly resume your drip-feed of visual stimulation, or read on for any upcoming captions for pictures that currently are only in my head (or in print from back in the pre-digital era)...

(waiting to shoot another pic) RESTORED! King Station is where you catch Amtrak, most likely to Portland or Vancouver on the nice Cascades train. Comfy and not much slower than by car, this beats I-5 any day and makes ecogreenies like me smile benignly while we sip on our coffee imported from far-away Africa.

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