bigmacbear: Me in a leather jacket and Hockey Night in Canada ball cap, on a ferry with Puget Sound in background (Default)
2017-08-31 04:53 pm

Kamp Kodiak 2017

FRIDAY

Left Everett just after noon. Stopped in to Freddie's in Monroe for supplies and decided to have lunch a bit later. On our way out of Monroe we were passed by about 8 or 10 bikers with Florida plates. We stopped for lunch at La Hacienda in Gold Bar. We sat in the bar where we were served by a nice-looking dude in a grey shirt. They had football on two screens, and fĂștbol on a third, far larger screen where I was reading the Spanish captions and translating aloud to Gary. I had a chile verde burrito and Gary had 2 ground beef tacos, both with beans and rice.

When we arrived at camp about three, no one was there so we sat by the river and took pictures and notes for a while before returning to our campsite to pitch the tent and set up. As soon as that was done and I had tuned in the Seahawks game on the radio, TJ stopped by and I followed him over to Mick's campsite, since he was headed home to Seattle and leaving for Mount Rainier in the morning. Mick is a baritone in SMC but is not singing the upcoming holiday show. His brown-and-white bull terrier Buster was hanging out at Stan and John's camper and winding up their rat terriers, Twister and Reggie, who were jumping at the windows.

We stopped by TJ's centrally located campsite and Jack was telling us the picnic table at his site (one of the walk-in sites by the river) had been ransacked, with his hamburgers and candy eaten and a mess everywhere. The topic of conversation had moved on to other things when suddenly we heard a scream from the other walk-in site where Adam was staying. Turned out to be a full-grown black bear, about 3-4 feet tall at the shoulder. Scott came over with his pickup truck and relocated Jack's tent and other gear to a spot in the main campsite. Adam chose to stay put. When I returned to our campsite, Gary told me he and TJ had seen the bear over in the common area and watched it turn to look at them and wander across the clearing and away.

Because of all the excitement, we didn't get to cooking dinner until after 7. Gary suggested I set up the grill in a vacant campsite across the road so there wouldn't be any smelly grease just outside our tent. I fixed the hamburgers we'd brought and we ate at our campsite, then as Scott suggested, I left the grill on high for another 15 minutes to burn off the grease. That done, we sat around the fire at TJ's campsite for a bit before Gary got tired and went to bed. Jack and I went down by the river to look at the stars with Peter and watch him take pictures with his camera rigged up to his laptop. After giving Jack a shoulder rub and Peter a quick hug, I headed to bed myself.

SATURDAY

I was rudely awakened about 3:30ish by the failure of the battery pack for my CPAP machine after about five hours. I'm going to have to have a word with Norco next week. About 4:30ish Gary needed to go water a tree and since I needed to go as well we went together. Once we got back to bed I slept fitfully until almost 7, then got up to take my morning medication and take pictures by the river. Gary got up around 8:15 and we fixed bacon and eggs for breakfast, and hung out at TJ's campsite for a bit, until most of the folks in camp left for the two-mile hike (each way) to the hot springs. I heated up some chili for our lunch, which we ate with the potato salad we'd bought on the way.

After lunch we walked around to the shower area above the river, where Gary sat at the picnic table while I climbed down into the river gorge and hung out with Harold, Scott and Kyle, drinking wine, skinny-dipping in the river, and discussing the future of the club and some more personal matters. When I climbed out, Gary had left the shower area and was reclining in the car and listening to music on his phone. I returned to the shower area to find everyone else climbing back out to freshen up before dinner. So I sat in the car with Gary for a while before heading across the road to cook some bratwurst for the club potluck dinner.

Dinner started around 7:15 at TJ's campsite. After dinner we had a lively discussion about the future of the club, followed by dessert of Drumsticks ice cream cones. While those were being handed out, a burning ember from the fire lodged between my shoe and my otherwise unprotected foot. A cold bottle of water applied directly to the burn helped reduce the damage, as did a little first aid spray and a clean pair of socks once Gary and I got back to camp. We walked over to the shower area for a little stargazing, and then he went to bed and I sat by the campfire until I started nodding off in my chair around 11 and headed for bed myself.

SUNDAY

I didn't sleep well at all without my CPAP machine. I got up about ten to four to water the tree and again at six to have a seat in the outhouse. When I got back to camp I decided to sleep in the car with my head elevated and Gary joined me later. We ended up sleeping till nine. After some minimal prep for the day and morning meds, we headed to TJ's campsite for a communal breakfast, and I brought all the bacon and sausage we had left over. We had those with some more bacon ends, scrambled eggs, and French toast. I had a nice chat with Jed, who was new to Kamp Kodiak this year and who I noticed spent a lot of time in his tent when we were in the central camp. He's based on Capitol Hill in Seattle. He's tall and scruffy, with a stubbly haircut and beard and a furry chest.

After breakfast we headed down to the shower area for its intended purpose for a change. Adam had just finished his shower, and while Stan took his, John assisted me in getting the second shower started. When I got done, I went over to the picnic bench to put clothes on and Jed ditched his shorts and leaned back on the bench beside me to sunbathe briefly in the nude. Gary finished his shower about then, so we headed back to the campsite to break camp and pack the car. We made the rounds in the car to bid folks farewell, stopping at central camp to chat with Jonathan, TJ and James before we left. By that time Jed was back in his tent so we decided not to disturb him.

On the way out of the campground we noticed the bridge that was being worked on Friday was complete with a new deck. It took a little while to make the left turn onto US 2 westbound but Gary was content to watch the woofy driver of the car turning right beside us. Around Index we hit what was described as a 45-minute construction backup, but it appeared to me that it was just sheer volume. We stopped in Gold Bar for ice and beverages, where we spotted a few bears including a young daddy bear with a man-bun. Once we got to Monroe we followed a detour around several blocks of fair traffic. (I asked if this wasn't poor traffic or even bad traffic instead; it occurred to me afterwards that I should have phrased it "If this is fair traffic, I'd hate to see what poor traffic looks like.") We got home about four, unpacked the car, checked in with our dads, and sat down to watch Sunday Night Football.
bigmacbear: Me in a leather jacket and Hockey Night in Canada ball cap, on a ferry with Puget Sound in background (Default)
2017-06-14 11:59 pm
Entry tags:

Office Commute

[Editorial note: As I've been remiss in my posting, I'm just going to do highlights back-dated to when the events occurred.]

Parked at Everett Station south (B) lot for a change. A big youngish bear with a pointy dark goatee and matching crew cut, in Packers gear, jeans and beat-up work boots, was waiting at the stop on Broadway and 34th and having a coughing fit. He sat behind the turntable. On the 106 from Canyon Park I spotted a big brown bear.

On the way home on the 532, I sat across from a sleepy red cub in vintage Mariners cap and hoodie, jeans and sneakers. At one point the cap came off to reveal sleepy cub was almost if not completely bald. Sitting on the high bench in front of the turntable was a huge young bear with long brown hair and a shorter beard, in a grey T-shirt and workout shorts. He was idly playing with his hair, which was long enough to hide his nipples should that become necessary. On the back bench was an older bear with sugar-and-cinnamon hair and beard, the latter trimmed in an unusual style, like a reverse goatee, with sideburns and a mustache that flared out over his jawline but his chin was clean shaven.
bigmacbear: Me in a leather jacket and Hockey Night in Canada ball cap, on a ferry with Puget Sound in background (Default)
2017-06-12 11:59 pm

Ottawa Day 7: Monday/Lundi

Woke up around 2:30 for just shy of 3 hours' sleep. Showered and finished packing, and got an Uber to the airport about 10 after 3. We ended up waiting around 10 minutes for the Air Canada bag drop to open, and maybe 20 minutes for the CATSA (Canadian TSA) checkpoint to open. Once we got through security we made our way to the gate and settled in for the half hour or so until our Toronto flight boarded. Gary got us aisle seats in the same row; fortunately both our seatmates were more petite so we weren't taking up much of their space. I put on the chill music and nodded off.

When we arrived in Toronto we were directed by signs to the F gates upstairs. At several points along the way we were greeted by agents and asked to show our boarding passes. We exited the secure area and walked down a long corridor we had pretty much to ourselves. I suspect not many Americans connect from domestic flights that early in the morning. Finally we reached another CATSA checkpoint where I spotted a cute agent at a monitor with a dark complexion and a nice smile. For some reason the tub containing my CPAP machine required extra screening and was automatically kicked to a second conveyor belt. While they were dealing with that, I got as combobulated as I could with the contents of the other tub, which included my suspenders but not my shoes. By the time that was settled they were finished with the extra screening. I finished getting my bag reassembled and put my shoes back on.

The next stop was US Customs preclearance. We scanned our passports at an automated kiosk, had our pictures taken, and answered a few questions before getting receipts. Then we were directed to a waiting room until our initials appeared on the screen, and then got in line to speak with a US border officer before entering the US preclearance zone, or as I like to call it, YYZ, USA. We then headed for the gate for our Seattle flight. We figured we wouldn't have time for breakfast in Toronto before the flight boarded, even though boarding was delayed a few minutes waiting for a crew member who was probably stuck in traffic (on the road, in the air, or through security).

We boarded right behind a big curly-haired cub with heavy glasses, whose beard was much redder than his hair. We got settled in our seats as we waited for 6 passengers from a connecting flight from Quebec City to arrive. When boarding was complete, the aisle seat beside me was vacant so once we were airborne I switched seats to give us both some elbow room. Gary had already fallen asleep and didn't know I had moved until the food cart came by. We both had breakfast sandwiches with back bacon (Canadians don't call it Canadian bacon). After breakfast I slept off and on the rest of the flight, with the chill music, electronica, and classical tracks in turn.

When we got to Seattle we collected our bags and went to catch the light rail downtown; as we traversed the passage through the garage I noticed they were applying an epoxy finish to half of the concrete floor. Most of the way back we sat opposite a tall, nice-looking dude seated in the other half of the car with his petite lady companion. When we caught the 512 bus to Everett I was pleasantly surprised to find out that it was a Double Tall, so we sat upstairs in the front. At Everett Station we decided to catch a taxi rather than wait 45 minutes for the Everett bus.

Once we got home and made sure nothing was out of kilter, I took Gary to Jersey Mike's to pick up lunch, which we ate at home. I had my usual club, while Gary had a hot meatball sub for a change. After lunch we took a brief nap before I had to turn around and go to rehearsal.

On the way to rehearsal I sat on the back bench. At the other end was a big red bear snoozing, who reminded me of Red Fred from Henrietta, except he was a little thicker around the middle and had a thicker beard. Traffic was horrible and I ended up leaving the bus at Stewart and 7th and taking the Convention Center escalators to Freeway Park, approaching the church via Seneca St. Apparently I wasn't the only one caught in traffic as both Evan and Eric arrived late. We got our seating assignments and I ended up in the next-to-last row between new bass Bill and the runway separating the basses from the tenors. Bill is fairly tall and bearish with white hair and a dark mustache and goatee. Rehearsal went well and I rode home with Neil and Sam as usual. I picked up dinner from Arby's as I'd missed the opportunity downtown because of the traffic. As soon as Gary got home from the grocery store, I went to bed.
bigmacbear: Me in a leather jacket and Hockey Night in Canada ball cap, on a ferry with Puget Sound in background (Default)
2017-06-11 11:59 pm

Ottawa Day 6: Sunday/Dimanche

Woke up around 5ish to go to the bathroom and found Gary awake and trying to check in for tomorrow's flight. Went back to sleep and finally got up in time to shut down the 8:30 alarm. I let Gary sleep in, so we ended up missing the hotel breakfast. Instead we had breakfast at Duff's diner where we had dinner the previous night. I had a smoked meat omelet with a bagel and Gary had a 3 cheese omelet with toast; both of us had a fruit cup as well.

After breakfast we walked through Confederation Park again but this time we followed the path by the canal under the bridges. When we arrived at the Rideau Street bridge we heard the drone of bagpipes suddenly stop, and then saw the piper among a military ceremonial guard descending the stairs to their waiting vehicles under the bridge. Just the other side of the bridge is the top of the Entrance Locks of the Rideau Canal. Gary picked up a refrigerator magnet at the Parks Canada store, and we made our way down the hill beside the locks, first by the stairs and later by the parallel walk and bike path. Just past the store was a display of a mock campsite to promote the campgrounds in Parks Canada, and at the top of the next lock down we saw a crew working the cranks and levers of the mechanism to raise a boat through the locks. We spent some time at the bottom of the locks admiring the view, then toured the Bytown Museum before returning to the top of the hill. Realizing we could not access the canal path on the other side by walking under the bridge, instead we climbed the stairs and crossed the street to take pictures from the bridge of the entire set of locks.

We then headed for the Rideau Centre food court. Neither of us was particularly hungry so we had gelato shakes (cookies and cream for Gary and hazelnut for me) in lieu of a heavy lunch. Afterwards we crossed the bridge to the Bay on the way to the bus stop so I could take a picture of the mannequin doing a handstand I saw the other day. We caught the 14 bus back to the hotel, where Gary checked us in for the flights and I nodded off watching the Canadian Grand Prix.

About three we walked over to Bank Street to catch the bus north for Bear Coffee at Swizzles, a cool basement bar on Queen Street. There we met Adam, a cute otter who is the current Mr. Ottawa Bear; Mo and his other half; as well as Alex who is a friend of Chaz from when he ran Multicom IV bulletin board. Alex, Gary and I chatted for quite some time about past experiences, current politics and long beards while Don who sat to my left kibitzed occasionally. Alex also knows Leith as they both have some connection to Prince Edward Island; he also has some impressive ink on both arms.

After 5 a group of us bears left for the 3 Brewers pub for dinner, where we met Bruce and Brian and chatted with Don. Bruce is a big curly-haired cub who hails from the Quebec side of the Ottawa River and had to catch a bus home that only runs hourly on Sundays. After dinner, we got a ride back to the hotel with Brian who is a cute pocket cub with salt-and-pepper hair and a trim goatee. Once we got back I took care of the rest of the laundry while we watched the Tony awards and packed our bags. We got to bed about 11:30.
bigmacbear: Me in a leather jacket and Hockey Night in Canada ball cap, on a ferry with Puget Sound in background (Default)
2017-06-10 11:59 pm

Ottawa Day 5: Saturday/Samedi

Woke up around 8:30 and let the alarm go off this time. Gary had been up late (4 AM, he told me later) so I let him sleep while I showered and dressed for staying in the hotel and doing laundry (in tank top and shorts). However, despite the lack of sleep, Gary had other plans for the morning: a trip to Rideau Hall, the official residence of the Governor-General. So we went downstairs for breakfast, back upstairs so I could change into jeans and a T-shirt (as it happened, I needn't have bothered) and plot a route by bus.

We caught the 5 bus to Rideau Centre and the 9 through ByWard Market to a block away from the pedestrian gate of Rideau Hall. We walked around the grounds a bit and noticed a big bearish dude with dark hair and beard, in a grey T-shirt and shorts, with lots of ink on the exposed parts of his arms, legs and even his neck. He was accompanied by his wife, and the four of us spent some time viewing the rose garden, commemorative tree plantings, and the cricket game going on at the nearby pitch. We got tickets for the 11:30 tour and found that illustrated bear and his wife would be joining us, along with two tall young dudes in tank tops and shorts.

After our tour guide, Sarah, escorted us through security, she showed us the entrance hall full of pictures of the Canadian Governors-General (1952-present), then the Tent Room with pink and white candy-striped cloth padding on the walls simulating the tent which used to roll up into the ceiling. The Tent Room has portraits of the British Governors-General (prior to 1952), including Earl Grey who created the Grey Cup, who was the grandson of the Earl Grey who created the tea that bears his name. From there we visited the Long Gallery, with blue Chinese patterned carpets, comfy furniture, and Glenn Gould's piano. Gould was offered the Order of Canada but declined it, believing he was too young and too early in his career to accept the honor. Sadly, he died young and never did receive the honor, which cannot be awarded posthumously. He bequeathed the piano to Rideau Hall on the condition it be kept tuned, which they are most happy to do. The current Governor-General's grandchildren have been known to do cartwheels in the Long Gallery (presumably after some of the furniture is moved aside). Next were the two chambers which were part of the original Hall, the second of which is the Canadian Room full of art, furniture and books created by Canadians. One of the paintings is by Emily Carr whose statue (complete with dog and monkey) we saw in Victoria. Finally we visited the ballroom with its curious Artists' Nook, with a harp (not kept tuned), a sculpted bust, and two stained-glass windows. This led us back to the reception hall and we exited the building the same way we had come in.

We explored the grounds a bit more en route to the visitors centre in the Gardener's House. There was an amusing book on heraldry (Canada is the only Commonwealth country outside Great Britain with its own heraldic authority), a small replica of the Stanley Cup (Lord Stanley was also a Governor-General) and other displays. Eventually we returned to the pedestrian gate and the nearby corner to wait for the bus. An Asian family (adult daughter and aging parents) waited around the corner where there was some shade.

As we approached ByWard Market, an older fellow boarded the bus and asked how long I had been growing my beard. He then engaged a mother and two children in conversation. The mother didn't want to tell him her age, but one of the kids did it for her. When we arrived at Rideau Centre to change buses, this dude launched into a graphic description of two pigeons copulating on the sidewalk with the strong suggestion they should do that on the roof. Thankfully he didn't board the second bus with us.

We returned to the room briefly so I could change clothes again (back to the tank top and shorts) and stopped by MacLaren's on Elgin, attached to the hotel, for a late lunch. Gary had a club sandwich and Caesar salad and I had a French dip sandwich with curly fries. We sat by the one screen showing the Mets at Atlanta. After lunch we returned to the room once again so Gary could sleep and I could do laundry.

When the laundry was done, I changed again into a fresh polo shirt and slacks while Gary contacted Mike and arranged to meet him at the venue for the evening's concert by Tone Cluster, the First Baptist Church. As it happened, we ended up meeting a couple blocks away near City Hall where he'd parked. (There was a running joke that since the French for "city hall" is "hotel de ville", that someone might say "Oh, we're staying at the Hotel de Ville tonight.") The program was shared with the Nepean High School choir, whose director is big and tall. Met up with Gianluca at intermission and Gary introduced Mike to him. Show went well, especially the closing joint number where the adult basses gave the piece what may be lacking in a high-school choir alone. Gary and I had a nice chat with Dan as we waited for Gianluca to finish his production duties.

After the concert we walked to the nearby Duff's Diner for a late dinner. Mike and I ordered the huge smoked meat sandwich which is their specialty, and I was intrigued by the option on the menu to change from fries to a latke so I ordered that. Gary had veggie lasagna which he found very good. For dessert we split an order of cheesecake 3 ways, During the meal we saw 3 big dudes on big motorcycles with the lead one blaring "Let It Go" from Frozen.

After dinner we walked to Mike's car so he could give Gary a box of family memorabilia to take home, and ended up having to walk down the ramp. Mike dropped us off at the hotel and we sat up and watched TV briefly before bed.
bigmacbear: Me in a leather jacket and Hockey Night in Canada ball cap, on a ferry with Puget Sound in background (Default)
2017-06-09 11:59 pm

Ottawa Day 4: Friday/Vendredi

Got up at 8:30ish and puttered around the room till about 9:15, then headed downstairs for breakfast. From there we checked out the laundry room and gym in the hotel, then walked a few blocks to a Sobey full-service grocery with a picnic area out front. On the way we passed an older, white-haired and muscular bear, followed by a darker-haired cub wearing a Clockwork Lemon T-shirt and chunky headphones. We picked up the Ottawa Citizen newspaper, some tea and lemon-limeade, and a tube of toothpaste. Then Gary and I returned to the room (passing Clockwork Lemon again on the way), wrote some postcards and set out to mail them en route to the National Gallery. It was a bit difficult to find the Canada Post office (which was co-located with a stationery and greeting-card store) because the front of the building where it resided was all torn up for construction and we had to find the side door.

We stopped for a break in Confederation Park, and decided to cross the Mackenzie King Bridge which has an entrance to the Rideau Centre for lunch at Michel's Bakery Cafe, of quiche and potato bacon soup. After that we headed down Sussex Drive past the Connaught Building (part of the Canadian Forces national headquarters) and sat and listened to the tail end of a performance of "Don't Worry, Be Happy" on a stage at the end of the ByWard Market Inspiration Village.

Passing the American embassy, we arrived at the National Gallery of Canada and spent a couple of hours exploring the exhibits. Most memorable were the Canadian photography exhibit, a series of drawings by a famous father and son, two skeletal whale sculptures made entirely from polypropylene lawn chairs, and full-body plaster casts of a female artist and two of her male friends.

We made our way back to the Rideau Centre to pick up a bus back to the hotel, where we chilled out for about an hour and a half before making our way to the Elgin Street Diner for dinner. Just before we got there, Mike got hold of Gary by phone and we saved him a spot at the table so he could meet us there. The waiter was a tall and nice-looking young black dude wearing a T-shirt with a poem of sorts on the back: "Roses are red/Poutine is delicious/Poems are hard/....Poutine!" Gary had a lemon-herb chicken dinner, I had a Montreal smoked meat Reuben (including the sauerkraut this time) with coleslaw and poutine (which the place is known for), and when Mike arrived he just ordered a plate of poutine with smoked meat on top. Over dinner we talked of many things. Also, a woman of a certain age, carrying a heavy bag in one hand, staggered into the street and wandered in the travel lanes for quite some time before finally making it across.

Afterwards Mike drove us out Sussex Drive and showed us an overlook at Rideau Falls and where the Prime Minister and the Governor-General live, then dropped us off in front of the hotel. We spent much of the rest of the evening watching Toronto at Seattle on the TV.
bigmacbear: Me in a leather jacket and Hockey Night in Canada ball cap, on a ferry with Puget Sound in background (Default)
2017-06-08 11:59 pm

Ottawa Day 3: Thursday/Jeudi

Woke up around 6:30 before the alarm and let Gary sleep in while I took care of some urgent business. We quickly dressed and had breakfast at the hotel. After a stop at the ATM, we caught the bus north to Parliament Hill, waiting with a cute young bear in a plaid shirt. We arrived at 90 Wellington at 8:40 and waited for the ticket office to open at nine, behind a nice couple who I later learned were conversing in Dutch. We got tickets for the 10:20 tour, and spent the hour exploring the war memorial and Tomb of the Unknown Soldier in the triangle in the middle of Elgin Street. Two soldiers in full dress uniform with rifles stood stiffly at attention, and Gary asked the Military Police officer how long they had to stand there. The MP replied they serve one-hour shifts during normal business hours. At half past, they executed a series of precision drills to ensure they didn't seize up from enforced immobility. More statuary around the corner.

Met our tour guide by the flagpole and entered Centre Block through the visitors entrance. Outside the metal detector the guard said I could keep my suspenders on but I knew they would beep and they did. The guard who gave me the once-over with the wand was cute and cubby though. It took Gary a bit longer to clear security probably because there were more people ahead of him. First stop was the Hall of Honour where two of our party held up a photo printed on cloth of the House of Commons chamber since we couldn't go in there. Next the Library of Parliament and then the Senate lobby, and surprise! the Senate chamber itself. Finally a brief gathering and then up the elevator to the top of the Peace Tower. As I left the elevator I overheard the tail end of the old joke about how Canada was named: "'C', eh? "N", eh? "D", eh?" as told to the cubbish constable. After spending some time taking pictures from the tower, we descended and visited the Hall of Remembrance before exiting the building.

Next we made arrangements to meet Gary's brother Mike at the Rogers TV studio where he works. We saw preparations for the live broadcast of "Daytime" including two cowboys from PBR (Professional bull Riding), and met many of Mike's colleagues including Ian who is a really cute father of new twins (awww...) The three of us had lunch at Clocktower Brew Pub across the street. Then Mike drove us to the Museum of Canadian History across the river in Gatineau/Hull, Quebec. Big First Peoples exhibit followed by a special exhibit on hockey. Had a nice moment watching Gary and Mike absorbed in a video of Peter Puck explaining the rules of the game, From there, walked around to a vantage point on top of the building next to the museum, overlooking FestiBiere (Beer Fest) and across the river to the locks and Parliament Hill. Then back to the hotel to change and charge phones.

Mike drove us out to Lansdowne Park for the Ottawa Redblacks vs. the Hamilton Tiger-Cats in the first preseason CFL game of the year. We sat up in the nosebleed section on the south side. There's a big rivalry between the two grandstands. Two red cubs sat at the end of our row, one with an extra long beard and the other with some interesting ink peeking out of the sleeve of his T-shirt. Dude sitting in front of Mike accompanied by two ladies in front of Gary and me has a thick black beard and wears a black ball cap and Gott #63 jersey. Almost identical dude traveling back and forth past us on the steps (no number or name on his jersey though). Flag as in penalty in French sounds like "bourgeois" (update: the word is "mouchoir" and it translates to "hanky" or "Kleenex"). It got used a lot tonight. Big young bear in the next section with a vuvuzela noticed Mike's vintage Giants Super Bowl Champion T-shirt. All of a sudden the chant went up from the next section: "Shoe Beer!" Sure enough some dude hoisted a well-worn black loafer (presumably right off his own foot) and a can of beer, ceremoniously emptied the beer into the shoe, and then tipped the shoeful of beer into his mouth. Toward the end of the 3rd quarter vuvuzela bear started trash talking with an unseen Ti-Cats fan very loudly. The contingent of maybe 8 or 10 around vuvuzela bear left with him shortly thereafter, perhaps as a result of a call to security. Spotted a dude climbing a decorative grid or trellis to get into a nearby apartment where there was a game watching party via the balcony. Final 30-27, decided in the final 2 minutes of the game.

Mike dropped us off in front of the Zesty Mart, where we bought tea and snack mix. We stayed up till 1.
bigmacbear: Me in a leather jacket and Hockey Night in Canada ball cap, on a ferry with Puget Sound in background (Default)
2017-06-07 11:59 pm

Ottawa Day 2: Wednesday/Mercredi

Woke up around 8 and headed down to breakfast around 9. Returned to the room briefly to change clothes and caught the bus to Parliament Hill. Stopped in to the ticket office and found the English language guided tour tickets were gone and the French ones were for after the ball game. Instead, we roamed the grounds of the Parliament buildings and took pictures of the statuary, the Library of Parliament, and the Ottawa River gorge at the foot of the hill.

From there we walked across the Rideau Canal bridge to Rideau Centre, spotting a thick-bearded dude with impressive ink on both arms and a jogger in a blue tank top with a more modestly decorated arm along the way. We took the bridge from the Hudson's Bay store, which had a mannequin in bright shorts and sneakers doing a handstand by the second floor landing on the escalator. We took a break in the rooftop garden, then stopped by the OC Transpo service centre to look into the Presto card. The man behind the counter suggested we continue using day passes if we're going to take 2 or 3 trips per day. That set, we explored the mall briefly and had lunch from Jimmy the Greek's in the dining hall. As we ate, a tall young dude with a long, thick blond beard passed by wearing a long-sleeved T-shirt that read "Raised by Wolves", which I think suits his overall appearance. After lunch we caught a bus back to the hotel, stopping by the corner store for iced tea on the way, and chiiled out in the room for a few hours.

Next stop was Parc RCGT Park (named after Raymond Chabot Grant Thornton, an accounting firm) for a doubleheader between the Ottawa Champions and the Rockland Boulders (Pomona, NY) in Can-Am League baseball. The first game was to make up for a rain-out the previous night; per international rules, each game of the doubleheader is 7 innings instead of 9. We caught a commuter bus to the stadium, which is connected to the VIA Rail station by an enclosed pedestrian bridge. A nice lady asked if we were going to Vars, the final destination for the bus; obviously we must have looked a little out of place. A tall father with a medium-sized thick beard, accompanied by a wife and two kids, managed to retrieve a foul ball; another landed in a deserted section of the stands and the assembled crowd had to guide a kid in a bright red cap until he found it. Cute young bear beer vendor with trim brown hair and beard in a neon yellow, form-fitting T-shirt working the stands.
bigmacbear: Me in a leather jacket and Hockey Night in Canada ball cap, on a ferry with Puget Sound in background (Default)
2017-06-06 11:59 pm

Ottawa Day 1: Tuesday/Mardi

Left the house about 6:45 to catch the 8 bus to Everett Station. On the way we passed a young girl waiting for the school bus which arrived just as we reached the next corner. Reminded me of Good Morning Baltimore from Hairspray. Quick transfer to the 510. A big cub boarded at South Everett: wavy black hair, thin beard and 'stache, thick glasses, black shirt and jeans with ripped knees. Traffic was very heavy. Caught the train where I spotted another cute ginger cublet in a blue hoodie, olive shorts and flip flops. At Sodo Station we saw the lot where the Double Tall buses park between morning and evening rush hour. White-haired bear who reminds me of Armistead Maupin boarded at Rainier Beach. Sunny and the mountain is out today.

Made it to bag drop and TSA pre-check and then out to the end of the concourse, stopping for breakfast at the Mountain Room Bar. Diagonally opposite me were two ramp dudes in hi-vis vests; the one facing me was cute with a brown mop-top haircut and matching scruffy beard. He reminded me of the model in the DXL ads. We quickly ate our breakfast sandwiches, boarded the flight and made our way to the back of the aircraft. After a few moments getting situated with the lady in the aisle seat, we were greeted by a flight attendant who suggested we change seats, since the middle and window seats across the aisle were open. She thought at first the lady and I were together but her husband or at least traveling companion was sitting on the aisle across from her. So she took the window seat with him and I took the aisle. I turned on the chill channel on the in-flight entertainment system, brought up the map, charged my phone and settled in for the flight while Gary nodded off. For a 4 1/2 hour flight it was fairly uneventful.

We arrived at Pearson International Airport, navigated the maze through border security and customs in record time, and had enough time for a burger for Gary and a Montreal smoked meat sandwich which looked remarkably like a Reuben (but no sauerkraut) for me. We were assigned seats across the aircraft, a narrow Embraer with four seats across, in consecutive rows. The cute cubby dude sitting next to me, with salt-and-pepper hair and a trim goatee to match, discovered the other half of the row was empty and moved over. I asked him to get Gary's attention so he could sit next to me but Gary politely declined. The screen in the seat in front of me was broken so I used the one facing the now vacant seat to monitor the flight on the map. I got a few nice sunset above the clouds shots. Unfortunately due to the short flight and the weather, we didn't get any drinks on this flight, but that was OK.

We claimed our checked bags and I called for an Uber to the hotel. The driver greeted us but did not engage in conversation. We got checked in and I made a run to the corner store for iced tea and snacks. I was served by a tall brown dude with a thick black beard.
bigmacbear: Me in a leather jacket and Hockey Night in Canada ball cap, on a ferry with Puget Sound in background (Default)
2017-05-28 10:41 pm

Exhuming the Pond

This weekend [personal profile] gmjambear and I have been busy exhuming the pond in the backyard. The pond was constructed of a Rubbermaid 150-gallon stock tank, a length of drain pipe that goes we know not where, a whole lot of dirt (backfilled against the fence, which is why it all has to come out) and a retaining wall. We'd gotten most of the retaining wall removed over the year or so since we made the decision to replace the fence.

Yesterday we managed to get most of the remaining bricks from the base of the retaining wall moved, and the dried mud and gravel out of the tub itself. As we worked I noticed a tall and muscular young dude at the house behind us across the alley, who was wearing a pair of really tight, stretchy gray shorts and no shirt; and also a small poodle-mix dog (perhaps a cockapoo) who left us a present in the small patch of lawn between the temporary fence and the alley.

After sifting a few wheelbarrow loads of dirt and rocks, we were done for the day and decided to have dinner at Buzz Inn on Evergreen. We saw a number of cute daddybears and their kids passing by our table as they left. Cue Gary: "aw, hell no." After dinner we finished up some laundry and surfed the net a bit before I decided to call it a night.

I woke up about quarter to six to find Gary had made an excursion downtown. When I came downstairs for breakfast around nine-thirty, I saw Gary was back, but had been up all night, so I gently encouraged him to get some sleep. After breakfast I picked up the present the dog had left, and while doing so had a nice chat with Eric, the young dude with the tight shorts, who had come to retrieve the dog (his name is Puddles) as he'd wandered into our yard. They are busy building a new back porch to go with the addition on their house.

After that I swept up the tub and sifted another wheelbarrow load of dirt, then went inside and caught up with Dad by phone. My sister Sheila's youngest son was scheduled to graduate from high school this afternoon, and my sister Colleen's youngest is preparing to move to Boston in the next month so she is managing separate parties for his friends, for our side of the family and for her husband's side. She had to work this evening so I guess I'll have to call her later tomorrow.

Once I got off the phone with Dad, I decided to pick up a few more buckets from Home Depot, grab lunch, and pick up some groceries at Costco. At Home Depot I asked a cute ginger otter if he knew of anyone who deals in bulk dirt, as we'll probably have 4 or 5 cubic yards left over when all is said and done. He suggested Craig's List because if people are desperate enough for fill dirt they'll come over and dig it up. Another possibility he suggested is the sand and gravel place a couple doors north on the same side of Highway 99. I ended up picking up three 5-gallon buckets and two 18-gallon plastic planter tubs with rope handles. I checked out beside a cute daddy bear with a wife and two girls. He had some nice ink on one arm.

Lunch was at Heaven Sent Chicken on 112th Street. I had the three-piece special with corn and an extra side of collard greens. As I ate I texted Gary to relay the results of the morning so he could read them when he got up, and he suggested I pick up some fruit at Costco as well: grapes, blackberries, and bananas. I was surprised he was awake. At Costco there were at least two cute daddybears shopping; one I kept crossing paths with was tall and dark, perhaps Native American or Hispanic, with elaborate, somewhat faded ink on both arms.

After I got home and got the groceries put away, Gary and I watched part of the Memorial Cup (Canadian Hockey League) final between the Erie Otters and the host team, the Windsor Spitfires; then we started in on the sifting and sorting. Toward the end we traced the PVC drain pipe to an elbow in the middle of the back lawn well outside the perimeter of the retaining wall, and decided we should dig no further but rather get a plumber to trace the pipe so we don't ruin the lawn unnecessarily. Then I fixed dinner: bratwurst boiled in beer (a local microbrew called Scuttlebutt) and finished off under the broiler (unfortunately, we have construction debris piled up too close to the outdoor gas grill to use it at the moment), and fresh coleslaw. After dinner we sort of vegetated in front of the TV until Gary decided he'd better get to bed and catch up on sleep.
bigmacbear: Me in a leather jacket and Hockey Night in Canada ball cap, on a ferry with Puget Sound in background (Default)
2017-05-27 12:56 pm

It is done.

I just downloaded my remaining Voice Posts and deleted my LiveJournal.
bigmacbear: Me in a leather jacket and Hockey Night in Canada ball cap, on a ferry with Puget Sound in background (Default)
2017-05-03 11:59 pm
Entry tags:

Giants, Bears, and the Scorpion (Oh, My!)

I didn't need to be in the office until 8 AM so I left a bit later for the bus than I usually do, and found the parking lot at South Everett freeway station was full. So I drove to Ash Way and managed to find a spot in the back relatively close to where I usually park. The ride in was uneventful. At the office I saw Seshu, both Matts from Cricket (the tall bearded one and his shorter, bald manager, who sound much alike), Veronica (who had an interesting proposal for me which unfortunately I don't think we'll be able to pursue), and Mike the Republican from my old days as an SA. Outside the office there was a big bucket truck parked close to the building to trim the trees.

Having gotten an early start, and guessing (rightly) that [personal profile] gmjambear would be downtown, I wrapped up about 3:30 intending to catch the 522 downtown. Having missed it by a minute or so, I caught the 535 northbound to Lynnwood to connect with the 512 there. At Canyon Park a dude who can only be described as a giant (at least 6' 7" and 400 lbs, but with no facial fur) boarded and sat on the back bench. The artic bus was fairly full but no one was standing. There were a lot of Asian kids on the bus, of high school or college age. As we crossed I-5 I noticed the northbound lanes slammed with traffic. The kid sitting across from me looked like he has potential to be a panda bear in about 10 years. He left at Alderwood (my phone's predictive typing suggested Aldershot, which is a stop on the train from Rochester to Toronto, so I found that amusing) and the giant came and sat in his place.

On the 512 I sat across from John, a chorus member who commutes from the U district to Lynnwood; he was on our bus the previous Thursday as well. At Mountlake Terrace a tall bear with long curly brown hair, in a throwback Mariners jersey with Ken Griffey Jr.'s name and number on the back, grey shorts and flip-flops boarded and sat on the turntable on the opposite side of the bus. A young dude sitting just forward of John had a long red beard and a severe haircut. By the time we hit the bulk of traffic at Northgate, I saw John nodding off; obviously it had been a long day. Downtown traffic was awful, more so than usual but not the worst I've seen. As we crossed Seventh Avenue on Stewart, we had to run circles around a #7 bus sprawled across the intersection; it was a tight fit, and I thought surely we'd snap off a rear-view mirror or something. We also had to wait at least three light cycles before we could make the left turn onto Fifth. Once we arrived at the stop at Westlake I ducked into the mall and through the lower food court, meeting Gary at the top of the steps by Wells Fargo. Someone had scrawled graffiti on the entrance doors to the bank in what looked like blue greasepaint.

We went in to BWW and were seated toward the back of the bar area. I checked the menu and noticed they were offering two different sauces in the Sauce Lab, without dates specifying when each would be available (normally they have one flavor at a time), so I asked the waiter and he said both were available. The one had a bit of a kick to it, but the other, the Scorpion with Myers' Rum in it, was on a whole new level. It wasn't all heat though; like the Mango Habañero I often order, there's a lot of flavor in it. I noticed a bit late that the new sauce came with a warning sticker not to touch your eyes, and to wash with plenty of water afterwards. ;) Still, I managed to finish the meal with vision intact and no upset stomach. And it was good.

The ride home was uneventful. We got out at Ash Way and I drove Gary to pick up his car at the far side of Everett Station.
bigmacbear: Me in a leather jacket and Hockey Night in Canada ball cap, on a ferry with Puget Sound in background (Default)
2017-05-01 11:59 pm

May Day! May Day!

Due to the anticipated chaos in downtown Seattle for May Day, I agreed to pick up Bob rather early for rehearsal, about 3:30 PM. (The usual routine is that I drive to the home Bob is sharing with Neil and Don, pick up Bob and continue to South Everett freeway station, where we board the 512 together and walk to the rehearsal space, then Bob goes in and I go off to grab dinner before returning to rehearsal.) When I arrived, Don informed me that on Friday nights, the Fireplace bar in Everett has a Bear Night which he wanted to check out. The place is normally considered a biker bar, but the owner is cool with it.

We arrived at the church about 4:30 PM, two hours early for rehearsal, so Bob suggested we enter the church through the main doors and take the elevator upstairs to the rehearsal hall as the doors at the top of the hill would be locked. That accomplished, I left through those doors and went in search of dinner. Since I needed to top up my ORCA card anyway, I walked the three blocks down the steep hill on Seneca Street to University Street Station and took care of business at the machine, then returned to Third Avenue. Since I didn't feel like climbing the hill, I walked down Third and, not seeing anything to my liking, descended to the other end of University Street Station and caught the train one stop to Westlake Center. Unfortunately, again due to the anticipated chaos, not only was the mall closed early for the day (except for Zara which has its own entrances), but also BWW where I intended to have dinner. Westlake Park was still pretty chill then, but dozens of bike cops in armor were just waiting for someone to start something.

So I decided to walk to the Pacific Place mall a couple of blocks away, reasoning that they were far enough away from the commotion that they were still functioning. In the food court on the fourth floor I selected Johnny Rockets hamburger joint, where I was served by a cute, twinkish dude with red plugs in his earlobes and a rather flirtatious manner about him, as well as a cubbier dude with a goatee behind the counter. I had a nice dinner of onion rings (served with a lion head drawn in ketchup on the bottom of a paper "monkey dish" for dipping) and a big burger. There weren't a whole lot of customers but I suppose you take what you can get under the circumstances.

Satisfied, I returned to the rehearsal space via Sixth Avenue, taking my time ascending the hill (which is longer and therefore less steep than Seneca). I suppose I could have used the escalators at the Convention Center but I didn't want to risk going out of my way and finding them closed, adding to my walk. Rehearsal went well if a bit sparsely attended. We rode home with Neil as usual.
bigmacbear: Me in a leather jacket and Hockey Night in Canada ball cap, on a ferry with Puget Sound in background (Default)
2017-04-29 12:32 pm
bigmacbear: Me in a leather jacket and Hockey Night in Canada ball cap, on a ferry with Puget Sound in background (Default)
2017-04-04 09:17 pm

Moving Day

I have just requested an import of all my posts from over at LiveJournal here on DreamWidth. I do not feel safe on LiveJournal anymore and strongly suspect that the Russian government is about to pull the plug on that particular experiment, based on the sudden change in their Terms of Service.

Folks will probably see a lot more of me on Facebook, but I need a place to archive all the stuff I've maintained on LJ over the years, and this looks like the place to do it.
bigmacbear: Me in a leather jacket and Hockey Night in Canada ball cap, on a ferry with Puget Sound in background (Default)
2017-03-30 11:59 pm

Dallas ERG Leadership Academy

Tuesday, March 28


[personal profile] gmjambear dropped me off at Sea-Tac for a 7 AM flight to Dallas for the ERG Leadership Academy. Three days in Dallas... ) It was an exhausting trip but we got a lot done.
bigmacbear: Me in a leather jacket and Hockey Night in Canada ball cap, on a ferry with Puget Sound in background (closeup)
2016-11-24 02:04 pm

Shameless Plug



Our first show under the baton of Paul Caldwell, Silver and Soul is turning out to be quite amazing. I haven't been this excited about an SMC Christmas show in years! Don't miss it!

Click on the picture for links to tickets for each of the performances below.

Benaroya Hall performances:

Sunday, December 4 - 2:00 pm* ($15 red or green tickets for age 12 and under)
Sunday, December 4 - 8:00 pm*
Sunday, December 11 - 8:00 pm (certified ASL interpretation)
Sunday, December 18 - 8:00 pm*
Wednesday, December 21 - 8:00 pm*
Thursday, December 22 - 8:00 pm*

Outreach Performances:

Everett Civic Auditorium
Saturday, December 17 - 8:00 pm*

Rialto Theater, Tacoma
Saturday, December 10 - 3:00 pm & 7:30 pm*

*artistic interpretation by Kevin Gallagher
bigmacbear: Me in a leather jacket and Hockey Night in Canada ball cap, on a ferry with Puget Sound in background (closeup)
2016-11-24 10:59 am
Entry tags:

Happy Thanksgiving!

In this year of sometimes unnecessary drama, I'm thankful for still being close to my family, for being able to make a home with [livejournal.com profile] gmjambear, for our good friends, for the gift of song, for the ability to travel widely and experience much, and for all the little things that make life such a treasure.

I wish all who read this safe travels and a happy Thanksgiving, free of the fear and anxiety that are all too present this year in particular.
bigmacbear: Me in a leather jacket and Hockey Night in Canada ball cap, on a ferry with Puget Sound in background (closeup)
2016-06-04 08:02 am
Entry tags:

Shameless Plug

Seattlites, this is your last opportunity to hear the Seattle Men's and Women's Choruses under the direction of legendary Artistic Director Dennis Coleman. Two evening performances only, June 24th and 25th at McCaw Hall. 35% off most seats (Friday only!) with discount code LULU. Be there. Aloha.

bigmacbear: Me in a leather jacket and Hockey Night in Canada ball cap, on a ferry with Puget Sound in background (closeup)
2016-05-12 07:02 am
Entry tags:

GST

Canyon Park Park and Ride.