Departures: Larry Visits the Land of Grunge: Part 1

A few weeks ago Peter Dudley, my immediate supervisor, suggested that I take a vacation. I'd been working rather hard for a long stretch at the time, and may have been getting a little unbalanced. Each day for a while, Peter would suggest that I take a vacation. Then one day Peter made the suggestion twice in one day. I decided it was time to go on vacation.

The next question was where to go. I settled on Seattle. Probably mostly because my colleague Thomas Manshreck (to be referred to from here out as "Shreck" had vacationed up just a few weeks before, and had plenty of borrowable, current guide-books for the area. It helped that a friend, Piaw, was up there, as was the Geoworks Seattle Design Center.

So I mentioned to Joon that I was thinking of going, and it started to sound like if I went, then he'd want to go too. So I sent out some mail to a few friends at Geoworks, and Jimmy (my roommate) and Paul Du Bois (a co-op, still in school) were up for the trip. We were going to Seattle. Oboy.

I called up a travel agent. Got tickets on Alaska airlines. Later on Paul told me about Morriss (sp?) Air and their "Friends Fly Free" option, which would have saved us about fifty bucks a person. Oh well.

Then I made hotel reservations. There was one place with a great location, kitchen with the room, and low rates. When I called them up, I found out about one catch: they didn't accept guests under 21 years of age. Paul, the co-op, wouldn't be 21 until the following Wednesday. I lied through my teeth, told the people running the motel that just three of us would be staying there. If anyone asked about Paul, we would say that he was staying with Piaw. I figured we could leave a $6/night tip, since the place only had a $6/night charge for additional people in a room--rather affordable. In case you're interested, the name of the place was the University Motel. They're a good deal if you're taking a suite's worth of people to the University district, but don't tell them I referred you to them.


Wednesday morning, my friend Hans drove us to the airport. Hans was crashing at Jim/my apartment while he searched for a job and apartment of his own. We were soon ensconced in the waiting area for our flight, listening to the annoying high-pitched whines emitted by various carts going up and down the aisle, whining to warn any blind people of imminent collision. They didn't have any way to warn the deaf people. In spite of the danger I would have incurred, I would just as soon as have been deaf at the time to avoid the whine.

The flight was of course uneventful.

Got off the plane and caught a cab to the motel. With tip, the fare was $40. It took half an hour.

After some searching and stumbling amongst some back streets and car dealerships, we found University Ave, Seattle's answer to Telegraph Ave. We walked along, looking for places to eat lunch. We were in that state where everyone was too tired to decide on a place. Finally we stumbled into a place called Seoul Teriyaki. We all ended up ordering the Bi Bim Bap. It was okay. Everyone else thought it was really good. I think they were really hungry. It was okay.

Next, we decided to wander around campus for a bit. One of the things we'd wanted to do while in Seattle was visit the Geoworks Seattle Design Center, but no-one had thought to get the address. At Seoul Teriyaki I had checked the phone book, but there was no mention. So we decided that we would wander campus with a goal: visiting their co-op office to find out GeoWorks' Seattle address.

We bumped around campus, checking out the buildings and looking for maps. There were many buildings. There were few maps. The buildings were on the whole large and made of brick or stone. Probably people around there thought of them as nice and solid. I couldn't help but think of them as not being earthquake-safe. Obviously my mind is scarred (and scared) for life.

Wandering into a library, we found a map. It showed the location of all libraries on campus. But it gave no hint as to the function of other buildings. Wandering around some more, we stumbled into Schmitz hall. I don't know why, except that it looked like an administration building. Which is exactly what it turned out to be. Go figure.

Once there, we found their career center no problem. But it didn't have any mention of GeoWorks. Upon asking, we found out that UW had a special office for engineering career stuff. We asked where it was, and were told the building name. We were also given a phone number to call. Jimmy called the number. After a long conversation, he reported that the person on the other end was confused. It looked like we would have to go to the office in person, but all we had was the building name--no map. Eventually we found a campus safety brochure which included a campus map. Someone managed to find the building name on the map and we were off.

We reached the engineering career center, bumbling through another office where there were a bunch of people who were apparently trying to sign up for classes. Upon reaching the career center we found that they didn't know where to find GeoWorks either, but did direct us to the engineering internship office. They had many binders with information about specific companies, but no GeoWorks binder.

I asked at the desk, and was told that they had just received the GeoWorks info binder, and that the guy in that office over there should have it. So I went to the office over there and waited for the guy to finish his conversation on the phone. He had a Geoworks folder. I looked through it, but though there were many pamphlets showing what Geoworks had been up to recently, there was no mention of a Seattle contact address. Apparently a couple of students had walked off with that information and never returned it, and the intern office hadn't had the sense to make more copies. Sigh.

In the end, we found a phone booth and called up the Berkeley office to find out the address of the Seattle office. Turns out it was about four blocks from our motel. It was decided that we drop by.

At Geoworks Seattle, we got introduced and introduced to. I found out the names behind many faces. We were shown the Nerf Ping-pong set-up. We found out that the Seattle people are very good at Nerf Ping-pong. They could impart spin. They could volley. They could do tricks. It was amazing.

We took our leave and wandered off in search of dinner. It was a bit nippy, so we ended up getting some pho from a place called My's on University Ave. I thought it was okay, not as good as what you could get around here. Joon thought it was really good, but I don't think he has pho very often.

It was walking back towards the motel from the restaurant that we discovered the pool hall. We played pool and ping-pong. I called up Piaw, and he eventually joined us. We played until midnight. Our total bill for five people was less than what I tend to spend in a night at Chalker's, a local pool hall. It was at this point that we figured out that we should play pool every night. The trip would pay for itself at this rate.

We stopped off at Piaw's place. I was rather sleepy at the time, and don't remember much about the visit. I do remember drinking lots of water, listening to a couple of tracks from Kate Bush's new album, and that on the way back to the motel we stopped off at a safeway and stocked up on stuff for breakfast and snacks: rolls, milk, carrots, and sour patch kids.

Most of the sour patch kids were gone by the time I got to bed that night.


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