We discovered on the way that we had a place to stay with a music/computer industry friend of long standing. Mark is currently making Media Folio, a product which is basically a database, except with some bells and whistles and keywords that make it useful for large companies doing worldwide private things. I can imagine using it to manage our web pictures, to the exent to which I can imagine it. We walked out to the coast of the Magnolia District at sunset with Ralphie, his dachshund/schnauzer mix, and then to a nice Indian restaurant called “Roti”. The Magnolia district has a bit of everything you need, which is good, because if you are going anywhere in Seattle besides straight downtown, you will die of dysentery on the way.
Back at Mark’s house he demoed his perfect audio system, with uncompressed 96K 24-bit audio files (a Steely Dan album from 2000 which we hadn’t heard) playing through a tube amplifier which he built himself from scratch, through some old speakers which had ribbon tweeters and conventional woofers. I suppose changing either the speakers or the amp or using MP3 files would have made it sound worse.
Friday, August 25: Today I Learned, if you are using Google Maps in Seattle, double all the time estimates. Google Maps has never been particularly strong on estimating left turns, and they certainly do not know about driving across town in an urban area which only affords north-south traffic. Dave and Mark stayed at Mark’s house and worked a little at their respective companies, and then decided to walk in Discovery Park, which was previously owned by the army and hence saved from becoming condominiums during the condominium plague of the late twentieth century. Now it has giant big leaf maples and firs and trails. It takes a while to walk in it, though, and my estimate that I could, after our walk in Discovery Park, drive to see my friend Flake on 110th Street near the lake in 20 minutes (while Dave and Mark continued working at their respective jobs), visit for an hour, and drive back in 20 minutes, actually became drive 40 minutes, visit 40 minutes, and return 40 minutes. Longtime students of Babylonian arithmetic will notice that the sum of these two scenarios is not the same. The additional 20 minutes was taken out of the time we spent visiting Dave’s college friend Jeff and his companion Dana. Except the deduction had become an hour by then, even though I decided it would be far too time-consuming to drive back to the Magnolia neighborhood about the time the drawbridge came down and told Dave to take an Uber. But he got my text that I was at the Arco on Dravus two blocks before he passed that very spot, and he bailed on the Uber which still charged him $10 for four minutes (I thought they were supposed to be price competitive.)
Jeff took us to an institution called College Club. Apparently it used to be a club with cigars and overstuffed chairs and men, and then they ran out of money and men didn’t want to be stuffed around only each other so they became — I don’t know what they became. It’s a barn on the shores of Lake Union with a ton of sculls and a variety of people on the floating dock looking at their smart phones and eating and drinking. The most interesting iPhone gesture was by a young guy who was sunbathing with his friend. He set up a plastic stool, placed his friend’s shoe on top of it, and very carefully propped up his iPhone inside the shoe — then returned to his sunbathing station fifteen feet in front, facing away from the telephone, and did nothing in particular. It stayed that way for a long time. I took a picture, especially since the persons were about 16 and not wearing shirts, but it won’t tell you anything I haven’t written here.
After that it was time to go to a Maceo Parker concert at Jazz Alley with 6 others. This idea had developed suddenly in the morning when I heard that Steve, the main Sunriver perp, was taking his son Chris to the concert, and I decided to tag along, and invite others, and we were 8 people at two tables. Dinner there is OK. Maceo Parker is OK but he wasn’t playing any notes he hadn’t played before — he’s nearly 80 years old which does not show at all on stage, that datum is from Wikipedia, and there aren’t that many new notes coming out of the walls of an upscale dinner theater space when you are 80. He put on sunglasses to cue the audience he was referencing Ray Charles. I was hoping for Stevie Wonder. The trombonist honored the venue of the tour by playing some measures from Nirvana. I was thinking just then, where are the blind white musicians? The neo-Nazis need to get on this.
It was fun introducing Mark to Ray’s college friends Steve and Dean; they knew all the same people. We also met Doug and Matt, musician friends they’d brought along.
Saturday we packed up, and headed to the Seattle Art Museum where we had 11am tickets to Yasoi Kusama’s Infinity Mirrors exhibition, and where we met up with Steve’s son James and his companion Victoria. Allow fifteen minutes to find your way out of the parking lot next door and into the museum. It’s not obvious. Once in the show at our appointed time, we would stand in a line for 15 minutes or so, and then enter a room, the two of us, for 20 or 30 seconds. Very Disneyland. There were about six different rooms. In each, some interesting decoration would be reflected in mirrors, for infinity. You were forbidden to take photos in only one room, the Pumpkin Room, and a guard who was the exact opposite of the Boise prison museum fellow stood in the room with you, to make sure you didn’t. You could not engage her. On exiting the Pumpkin Room, I asked one of the friendly guards how come she was so dour. He said that when he was the guard in the pumpkin room, he was that way, too. Company orders. It’s all performance.
About two thirds of the way through, I became aware that a much smaller percentage of people in the museum had tattoos, than in the general population. I told James and Victoria, and they started watching, and observed the same. We came up with various hypotheses, and rejected them. First of all, the crowd was young enough. Their art, had there been any, was not shaded by Pendletons. When was the last time you were standing in line in Seattle, any place other than an old folks’ home, and you could see exactly one sleeve on maybe 40 people, mostly under 35?
Was it the early hour, noon on Saturday? Was it the persistence required to buy the tickets on line, camping out all morning on redial? The cost? All of these explanations posit a theory of who-gets-tattoos, which was maybe valid during the Carter Administration.
So, I don’t know. But it was happening, sure as shadow bands.
We had a delightful little lunch at Le Pichet. Charcuterie. Corn Soup. On the way back to the car, two men jumped out at us and said, “You dropped something!” and I thought, oh great, we are about to be robbed in front of Pike Place Market in broad daylight. But they were only flyering some hip hop show. Why they thought we were their audience, I don’t know. “Do you really get a lot of customers by pretending to be pickpockets or initiating a pigeon drop?” I asked them. “We just want to show white people there’s nothing to be afraid of,” said one, disregarding that I was in full fight-or-flight adrenal dudgeon and if we had been policemen they would by now have both been prone on the sidewalk in a sticky pool of spreading controversy.
A trip to Google suggests that acting like a Gypsy con artist on the streets of Bucharest is in fact an accepted way of publicizing your concert. Go figure.
After another puzzling entry sequence to the parking lot, we drove to Tacoma, where our Opcode coworker friend Kord’s son Christian was playing in his rock band for a sports fundraiser for a prep school. It was nice to see Kord and Pam and express our condolences for the recent tragic loss of their 19-year-old daughter Caitlin, as a passenger in a DUI crash.
Obvioiusly we didn’t know anybody at the fundraiser, nor were we likely to meet any. It was clear to the parents and old alums that we were NOKD, and the preppie athletes have learned very early in life, to avoid eye contact with anyone who can’t get them founder’s stock. But our names were on the band’s guest list, so noblesse fuckin’ oblige. I took photos of Christan and his pals on the stage, and chatted with some of the caterers. Scallop and bacon tamales. bottomless guacamole.
Grieving is where you find it.
Then it was a four-hour drive back to Eugene where we will leave the car for Kent to drive back to our house, as we fly Monday morning to Iceland.