Thursday, Feb. 8 Landed in Seattle in a light rain and snow. It IS cold up here and I quickly took a room in a motel only a few blocks from the airport. Ate at Denny's next door and quickly learned which bus would take me to downtown Seattle to see the art museum. I thought that would be first thing I do to keep me focused. At the museum I saw various works from Asia, Africa that mixed ancient works with contemporary. There were a few video installations and one exceptional room sized exhibit called THE MIND GARDEN. It was entirely constructed of glass, metal and rose petals made to look like a mythical garden. An effort to stimulate your creative mind. Afterwards, I started walking around downtown Seattle but quickly realized one doesn't walk around Seattle for very long because the chill starts cutting through your clothes and into your skin in about 15 minutes. So I would walk for about 15 minutes, hop into a bar for a drink, then continue walking for another 15 minutes. This fun and effective ritual led me to an establishment called THE COMEDY UNDERGROUND. The place was dank, the crowd was small, but the waitress was cute and I thought I'd let her serve me:) There were two comedy acts and both comics had there moments. I enjoyed it and went back home thinking too much about useless things.
Friday, Feb. 9 Returned to downtown Seattle with my camera and played tourist all day. Frankly, the Space Needle and the "famous" 90 second ride on the monorail were a complete waste of time and money. The weather did clear and I could make out Mt.Rainier in the distance. Took photos and got the hell out of that preposterous tourist trap. Walked along the waterfront (ala my 15 minute anti-chill ritual). At sunday, the lighting seemed very nice then and took a few photos. I finally ended up at an Irish pub which was hidden in one of the back alleys. The food and service were excellent and I mulled away the time figuring out my itinerary of the next few weeks. I think I've seen enough of Seattle and plan to rent a car this weekend to see Mt. Rainier. I'll return Monday and probably take one of the Washington State Ferrys to Vancouver.
Saturday, Feb. 10 Felt ill. Rested.
Sunday, Feb. 11 Rented a car and headed to Mt. Rainier. The day was beautiful and I drove around taking in the fabulous views. I tried to drive this one icy road that takes you as close as you could get to the mountain by car. However, my economy rental car became stuck in the hard snow around dusk. In short, I was lucky someone came along to help otherwise I could have had really big problems. Joel was the name of the guy who bailed me out. Rings of good karma for that guy. I pulled into a Motel 6 in Tacoma. I'll try Mt. Rainier again tomorrow, driving as far (and as safely) as I could go, then hiking the rest to the main camp. Wish me luck...
Monday, Feb. 12 Headed back to Mt. Rainier early in the morning but became frustrated as all my attempts to get CLOSE to the mountain were thwarted by signs reading "Road closed for the winter" and "Permits required to enter". I simply wanted to get close enough to feel the mountain. But after the previous nights' problems, I realized it is unadvisable (read: dumb) to go to Rainier alone because it can be dangerous particularly in the winter. Not that those things would frighten me of course but I had to contend with inadequate transportation not meant for off-roading. Tackling Mt. Rainier does requires some group participation and advance preparation. Anything less is a death wish. Nonetheless, I enjoyed Mt. Rainier national park and I've gotten a good sense of what kind of preparation is needed for the Machu Picchu and Mt. Everest excursions. So then what did I do? I decided to drive on highway 90 East towards the Columbia River. This turned out to be an incredible drive through the most beautiful mountain scenery I've ever seen. I drove through North Bend and Lake Easton all the way to the Columbia river and you could see why it's called this is called "The Great Northwest". I stopped constantly to take pictures of the snow capped mountains amid vast stretches of green, green forests and blue, blue skies. Once past the mountains, the world opened up into an alien world of barren, rolling hills and empty, empty horizons. If you like to take scenic drives, 90 East from Seattle to the Columbia river is a treat without compare. Yes, I got emotional at some of the more special visual moments. Moments so good I didn't even remember to take out my camera. It soon got dark and I drove back to downtown Seattle looking for a place to stay for a few days to work on my art. I ended up in an artiste section of town called BELLTOWN and found the Moore Hotel and thought it a good sign.
Tuesday, Feb. 13 Another bright, clear AND extremely chilly day in Seattle. I learned I was only a few blocks from the SPEAKEASY CAFE which used to feature Cinepoems from the NPA archive. I walked in and it literally took 15 minutes to get a class of Merlot. I even had to open the bottle myself because the lady behind the counter couldn't do it! (Don't I sound like a spoiled snob?) Anyway, they have a small screening area in the back and, as it so happened, a press screening was going on for the D.FILM festival. I walked in, introduced myself to the person at the door who happened to be Joel Bachar, founder of Independent Exposure. He knew my name and invited me to watch the press screening. The rest of the day was dedicated to working on a couple of Cinepoems and updating this site. Tomorrow is Valentine's Day and my plan is to smile at every girl (not just the pretty ones) I see.
Wednesday, Feb. 14 Very, very cold day here in Seattle and very overcast. Good day to work on a cinepoem over at the Speakeasy Cafe. I'm making my first cinepoem which combines live action digital video with animation. Actually went out of my way to say hi to several people since, afterall, it is Valentine's Day! Going out tonight. Wish me luck! One more day in Seattle and then heading up to Vancouver. I haven't heard back from Jennifer McLennan yet about when I could drop by and say hi. All in all, the first week was uneventful except for nearly being left on Mt. Rainier one night by my own absolute stupidity.