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Jul. 7th, 2010 05:06 pm
bigmacbear: Me in a leather jacket and Hockey Night in Canada ball cap, on a ferry with Puget Sound in background (Default)

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bigmacbear: Me in a leather jacket and Hockey Night in Canada ball cap, on a ferry with Puget Sound in background (Default)
Canadian airlines think new TSA program violates privacy law
Canada's airlines fear violating privacy under new U.S. rules

All I have to say is "same shit, different day." See this post for more information.

This needs to stop. We're already chasing away business and tourism alike with this crap.
bigmacbear: Me in a white dinner jacket, no shirt, gold chains around my neck, in front of the RGMC (disco)
I'm not sure if I posted much about this at the time of the event, but something [ profile] danlmarmot mentioned about his trip to Montreal, combined with some difficulties individual SMC members are having with memorization of foreign languages for our upcoming concert, reminded me of this story.

For the GALA VIIe event in Montreal in 2004, I was planning to set a smattering of "menu French" (soup du jour, boeuf Robespierre, etc.) to a possibly recognizable tune, after the fashion of "Insalata Italiana" with Italian musical directions. [ profile] gmjambear suggested instead that I set all of the names of the Metro stops to music. So with the help of Dennis, the Rochester Gay Men's Chorus' composer-in-residence, and Steve, a teacher of French and Spanish in the chorus (who, incidentally, resembles Stephen Harper, only younger and cuter), we set all the Metro stops to the "Soldiers' Chorus" from Faust by Gounod.

Steve pointed out that Papineau (the namesake of the Metro stop closest to the heart of the gay village along Boul. Ste-Catherine) was a major military figure in the early history of Quebec, and as such is even today a revered name among Quebecers. So we made sure to repeat "Papineau" a few times, usually in the combination "Beaudry, Papineau, Henri-Bourassa".

Handy household hints for singers of foreign languages... )

By the way, SMC is presenting "Unplugged" this evening at 7:30 PM at McIntyre Hall, on the campus of Skagit Valley College in Mt. Vernon, WA. We won't have our special guests m-pact with us but it should be a fun show nevertheless.


May. 31st, 2009 09:43 am
bigmacbear: Me in a leather jacket and Hockey Night in Canada ball cap, on a ferry with Puget Sound in background (Default)
Last weekend [ profile] gmjambear and I went to visit our friends Mike and Pat in Portland. Gary has detailed much of the weekend in his journal but I thought I should at least post some highlights.

We left Saturday morning on the local (Everett Transit) bus, changed buses at Everett Station for Seattle, and caught the Amtrak Coast Starlight train from King Street Station. We traded seats with two young women who were part of a bachelorette party of six, and they were chatting behind us for most of the trip.

When we arrived in Portland, Pat met us at the station. Since Mike was at work, the three of us headed over to the Saturday Market nearby, which spilled over into the Rose Festival going on at the waterfront park. After an hour or so we went on to Mike and Pat's home, where we loaded up the truck with a number of things before heading out for the afternoon's cookout, at some friends' apartment in Vancouver, WA across the river.

We met Jana and Chuck, who are great friends with Pat and Mike and who hosted the barbecue; Crystal and Mel, and Jake and his wife or girlfriend whose name I don't recall, along with their children ranging from two to eighteen. Pat brought along his "Romulan Ale" (a mix of Everclear grain alcohol and blue Curacao, which he doled out from a shotglass). Mike arrived later in the evening after work. After dinner most of those assembled went to Jana and Chuck's apartment to play Dungeons and Dragons while we caught up with Mike outside on the front porch. Mike decided he needed to get some sleep so we said our goodbyes and bundled into Mike's truck, and since he was exhausted I drove.

Sunday we went on a winery tour in southern Washington across from Hood River. We visited three wineries. At the first we were treated to a sample of pork barbecue and live music, where I bought a couple of sweet wines. As we were getting ready to go I noticed what I thought was a Shetland sheepdog puppy, but its owner mentioned it was full-grown and just the runt of the litter. The second winery was rather busy, they made their own red wines but their whites mostly came from the "Naked Winery", with names like "Foreplay" and "Tease". Mike picked up one and it came with a red stocking bag around the bottle. The third and by far the largest winery also had live music, with an amphitheater for large concerts (but this day it wasn't in use). They had a very nice sweet white wine that came in small bottles so I got two. I was tempted to get T-shirts with a couple of bears saying "No, red wine goes with hunter, white wine with fisherman!" But Gary didn't want one and so I decided not to.

After the winery tour we visited the Stonehenge war memorial, a replica of the original in England dedicated to the memory of the local dead of World War I, and had a picnic lunch. Then we returned to the Oregon side of the river and stopped at Multnomah Falls and Vista House before going home.

Monday (Memorial Day) we caught the Cascades train back to Seattle. Originally the plan was for me to stay in Seattle for rehearsal while Gary caught the bus back to Everett, but since the train arrived early we went home and I drove to rehearsal instead.

Photos to be posted later.
bigmacbear: Me in a leather jacket and Hockey Night in Canada ball cap, on a ferry with Puget Sound in background (Default)
Yesterday it occurred to me that it would be my last free Saturday for a very long while. So we decided to go for a drive. I stopped in at "Gotta Lube!" for an oil change, did some shopping, and after lunch we headed to the Museum of Glass in Tacoma.

Overhead display on the Chihuly Glass Bridge

More pictures here. We parked the car at the Tacoma Dome station and caught the light rail into town.

We got the opportunity to see the very end of the day's demonstration as a finished piece of glass art was delivered into the heavily gloved hands of one of the glassmaking crew. I was struck by how little space is actually available for exhibits.

Afterwards we took some pictures on the plaza between the museum itself and the Thea Foss Waterway, and some more from the plaza on top of the museum where the Chihuly Glass Bridge connects the museum with downtown Tacoma over the rail corridor and I-705.

While waiting for the light rail train to return us to our car, [ profile] gmjambear noticed a succession of people taking their time entering or leaving the diagonal parking spaces across the street from the station, and recorded the resulting traffic backup with the camera.

On our return trip we took WA 509 over the cable-stay bridge featured in the pictures and followed it around the edge of Commencement Bay and up onto the high bluffs overlooking Puget Sound at Dash Point. The road leads to the home of our friends in Federal Way, where we joined them for dinner and a pleasant conversation before heading back to Everett.

All in all, a good way to spend a Saturday.
bigmacbear: Me in a leather jacket and Hockey Night in Canada ball cap, on a ferry with Puget Sound in background (Default)

Wednesday evening [ profile] gmjambear and I had dinner and a nice chat with [ profile] dakoopst on his way to the airport after his whirlwind tour of Seattle and Portland. A good time was had by all.
bigmacbear: Me in a leather jacket and Hockey Night in Canada ball cap, on a ferry with Puget Sound in background (Default)
In which we return to Seattle. )
bigmacbear: Me in a leather jacket and Hockey Night in Canada ball cap, on a ferry with Puget Sound in background (Default)
In which we hunt for a post office, root for the local ensembles, and visit South Beach. )
bigmacbear: Me in a leather jacket and Hockey Night in Canada ball cap, on a ferry with Puget Sound in background (Default)
In which Bear Soup gets inundated and SMC performs to rave reviews. )
bigmacbear: Me in a leather jacket and Hockey Night in Canada ball cap, on a ferry with Puget Sound in background (Default)
[ profile] gmjambear and I are headed off to GALA Festival 8 in Miami on the red-eye tonight. Hope to see all of my GALA LJ peeps there.

I'll be sure to take notes to enter when we get back. (We're not bringing the laptop.)

L8r, all... ;-)


May. 25th, 2008 03:10 pm
bigmacbear: Me in a leather jacket and Hockey Night in Canada ball cap, on a ferry with Puget Sound in background (Default)
Right after completing my last post I went with [ profile] gmjambear to the Bear Brunch at Martin's Off Madison. We had an interesting discussion about current events over brunch. Our waiter was a fellow who had sung with SMC my first two concerts with the chorus but hadn't been much seen in those parts since; he had a duet with long-time chorister Thatcher on "He Was a Friend Of Mine" from Brokeback Mountain.

After brunch as we were wrapping up our discussion, a couple of guys who looked vaguely familiar came in for lunch. Turns out they were [ profile] bukephalus and his friend Bruce. I got up to introduce myself and Gary stayed seated where he was and waved when I introduced him to them. I made an attempt to sell [ profile] bukephalus on our upcoming concert and we parted with a "See you online."

I mentioned to Gary on the way to brunch that we should take a look around the University District, Ravenna, and Lake City, specifically the route of the express buses I would take to work should we decide to move there. The basic idea is that we would like to move someplace convenient to a bus line to downtown Seattle as well as to my office in Bothell. There are many buses that connect the University and downtown, so from a transportation standpoint, the neighborhoods along the way between Bothell and the U District would be ideal, barring any showstoppers like major gang activity and other crime. So off we went, taking a drive north along 25th Avenue to Ravenna Way and Lake City Way, then turning around just short of Ballinger Road and heading back along 125th Street to I-5 south. No property jumped out and said "Buy me" though.

From I-5 we headed to Bellevue on Route 520 and Gary gave me an impromptu tour of the Bellevue Community College campus. He's taking a class through BCC but it is completely online: no lectures or labs on campus, so really the only reason he has to visit is to register or visit his instructor or a counselor. The campus is a very late-1960s design, with a lot of elevated walkways connecting the core buildings, a style of architecture I find fascinating even if a bit utilitarian.


May. 25th, 2008 11:15 am
bigmacbear: Me in a leather jacket and Hockey Night in Canada ball cap, on a ferry with Puget Sound in background (Default)
[ profile] gmjambear and I decided to spend the afternoon looking at the Olympic Sculpture Park on the edge of downtown Seattle by the waterfront. We began with a drive to Mercer Island to park at the Park and Ride and catch one of the express buses into town.

We got off the express bus at the International District and waited for the Waterfront Streetcar bus line (a free bus route which replaced the actual Waterfront Streetcar when, ironically enough, its car barn was demolished to make way for the Olympic Sculpture Park). While we waited, an older Asian man lectured some Asian youths who were waiting for the bus, then boarded one himself. A fellow who appeared to be taking his family on a tour of Seattle remarked that alcohol fumes preceded the older Asian man wherever he went. Later, another man, black and approaching our age, began doing tightrope walks and tap steps on and off the curb at the bus stop. Gary remarked, "It isn't just 9:30 on a Monday night" that brings out the interesting people at bus stops. "It reminds me of New York," he concluded.

Once we boarded the bus and arrived at the Sculpture Park, we saw three cruise ships making their way from the Port of Seattle: the Norwegian Star, a Holland America ship (as my dad put it after cruising on one, "some -dam ship or other"), and another which was too far away to make out her name or company.

After viewing the sculptures we were rather hungry so we stopped in a nearby Subway for lunch. Afterward we walked back to catch the Waterfront Shuttle bus again. A fellow wearing only an olive Utilikilt and shoes with a guitar slung upside-down over his back caught my eye. Gary suspected he got a lot of different reactions from people as he passed, and remarked that he himself wouldn't be comfortable going shirtless in public even if he had a body worth showing off. On our return to the International District, Gary took some pictures of the new Chinatown gate while we waited for the bus back to Mercer Island.

When we returned to the car, Gary suggested we drive over to the edge of Lid Park and find the sidewalk that goes over the floating bridge back to Seattle. We got some interesting pictures from the middle of Lake Washington. I wanted to get a picture of this incredible expanse of green lawn (and not incidentally, the shirtless young man lying on that lawn) from the bridge, but Gary nixed that idea. Afterward, we sat in the park for a few minutes and I chatted with my folks, then we went for ice cream at Cold Stone Creamery in Factoria.
bigmacbear: Me in a leather jacket and Hockey Night in Canada ball cap, on a ferry with Puget Sound in background (closeup)
[ profile] gmjambear was up all night again so he needed to sleep. I decided it was too nice of a day to hang out at the house, so I drove up to Eastgate Park & Ride in Bellevue and caught the bus into downtown Seattle.

Got out at Pike Street and headed for the market. Went up to [ profile] badrobot68's shop and said hi to Nick, then walked down to the other end of the market to pick up some totem shirts: bear T-shirts for myself, Gary, and my dad; and a Pike Place Market emblem with fish sweatshirt for Mom. I'll be sending the latter to her this week as I will be away for Mothers' Day weekend.

From the Market I took the elevator down the 10 stories or so to the waterfront. Walking south I found that Ivar's Acres of Clams was having a Sunday brunch so I stopped in and ate. The prawns and shellfish (mixed clams and mussels) were quite tasty as were the salmon (poached and lox) and cod. The desserts were also rather impressive. I could see seagulls outside the windows begging for breadcrumbs and the occasional French fry.

After a fine meal I headed down to the Elliott Bay Water Taxi at the Argosy dock. A couple of nice-looking gentlemen, one in a wheelchair, boarded first. I started to try to strike up a conversation, but they weren't interested so I didn't pursue.

When we arrived in West Seattle I boarded the shuttle van to Alki Beach. It didn't take long for the van to reach standing room only. An elderly Asian couple boarded and another gentleman and I gave them our seats. On arrival at the beach I headed to a likely spot, removed my socks and shoes and headed into the water, just deep enough to get my feet wet. I got some pictures from that vantage point with my phone.

On the way back I noticed three biker looking dudes in leather jackets walking into the Alki Bakery, and suddenly realized the one in the middle was my friend Tony from the Chorus and the Bearatones. I will have to chat with him at rehearsal tomorrow evening.

On the boat on its return trip, I noticed a young man who rather resembles a cute cubbish chorus member from Rochester, but he had a wife and kids in tow. When we reached the dock I ended up waiting for the free Waterfront Streetcar shuttle-bus line with some folks who were looking for a bus tour on the cheap, and that line certainly fills the bill. I pointed out a few of the local sights along the way, until I got out at the International District stop to head back to Bellevue and my car. They seemed to appreciate it.

On returning to the park and ride in Bellevue I took pictures from three corners of the roof parking deck, which offer panoramic views of downtown Seattle, downtown Bellevue, and the Cascades respectively. Then I headed home, picking up dinner along the way.
bigmacbear: Me in a leather jacket and Hockey Night in Canada ball cap, on a ferry with Puget Sound in background (Default)
Idly surfing, I found a link to and followed it to see if the old Toolbox site might still be lurking somewhere. Instead, it led to one of those cybersquatter sites that gobbles up every expired domain on the Net. Notice the picture, and contrast it with the lovable old rooms of Muther's Guesthouse. ;-)

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