Wednesday, August 24

Rachel Moves in Today

Today is a pretty big day for me. I've been going out with Rachel Henderson for over a year and a half (been engaged for more than a year) and today she's arriving in Washington via train (Amtrak). She started her journey in Wisconsin and it has taken her a little under 48 hours to get to Washington. She's had a great trip so far but it's been tiring for her. She's traveled through North Dakota, seen a bit of Glacier National Park, and had a Washington Park Ranger act like a tour guide on the train and explain the scenery and history while she travels through our great state.

Before she got here I made sure to clean up our new place, I also took some pictures so for those of you who haven't visited (I'm looking at you mom) so you can see what the place looks like, cleaned and furnished.

Now that Rachel is on her final leg of the trip, I'm getting more and more nervous and excited. Not that I'm scared, in fact I'm very confident about our future together, I'm nervous because I don't want to be accidentally late! It's going to be an exciting year for us as we live our life together. I expect that we'll step on each other's toes and we'll get into tiffs from time to time but what makes our relationship special to me is our ability to communicate and work out issues rationally.

I'm excited for Rachel's new life in Seattle!

Monday, August 22

Stories of a Transit Rider Part 2

Finally decided to pick this series up again!

So this was a really interesting night. I had just finished watching Troll hunter, a super awesome fake documentary about some college kids following a hinter of trolls in Norway, for the Seattle International Film Festival.
I had to hurry to catch a bus if I wanted to get home to Rainier Beach (I've since moved to the U District) and I was trying to run and look at Google Maps, One Bus Away, all while trying to deal with a dying phone battery. It ended up the bus I wanted to get never showed (phantom bus?), so I decided to head downtown hoping I could catch a bus like the 106 or the 8 or the 7. So I catch a bus heading downtown and when I board I see a man lying across the seats in one of the most awkward poses I had ever seen. He was sprawled across the seats and tapping his foot with a newspaper across his face. I decided to tip toe past him since I was expecting him to be trouble... boy was I right.
Like this but with 93% more night

As the bus approached the convention center the man wakes up in a slightly drunken stooper. He looks out the window and realizes that he must have missed his stop. He pulls the "stop" cord and stomps up to the front of the bus in a panic. Then it gets bad...
He begins yelling at the bus driver. "DIDN'T YOU HEAR THE BELL. STOP NOW. STOP HERE!" The bus driver ignoring him (it was past 2am and I'm sure he's used to this sort of abuse) just agitated him more. "WHAT THE F*** ARE YOU DOING MAN!? STOP THE F***IN' BUS!" When the bus driver does finally gets to the next stop (~2 min. since the man started yelling) the doors open and the man continues to yell... not even getting off. The driver just says, "you should get off" and points to the open doors. "F*** THIS YOU SHOULD HAVE LET ME OFF WHEN I..." etc. When he does get off the driver closes the doors as soon as the drunken man is clear of the doors. We drive off into the night while the guy continues to ramble and berate the bus from the outside.

But it gets better. So after dealing with Mr. inebriation I get off and grab my phone (<10% battery) and hope to grab a bus. Uh oh. Google Maps says I missed the bus home by 4 minutes - the next one is in an hour and a half. So I make my way to the bus stop and I sit down in a slightly sketchy part of downtown where the night begins to become colder and I'm alone and thermally unprepared for the next hour and a half.
Then it begins drizzling. I huddle under a local shop's awning and I sit and wait. As the time passes I get colder and I tuck my sweatshirt into my pants and I recede my arms into the hoody. After what seemed like 4 hours, my bus finally arrived. Let me tell you, when I got home from my 2.5 hour journey, my bed never felt so good.

Friday, June 24

Falling dreams

Just had a crazy dream : I had finished a test I did poorly on with a teacher who used my sheet as an example of a poor grade. After class he feels horrible and offers to drive me home. We get in his car and begin going uphill. He then accelerates as fast as he can up this steep hill and we go flying up and off at an almost vertical angle. Gravity comes into effect and we begin looking down this steep hill mid-fall. I scream. We begin falling towards the hill and end up landing on the top instead. I'm panicked and yet relieved things turned the way they did.
Flying to falling dreams are my least favorite ones. Those are the dreams I never want to have. I'm always afraid of the falling part.

Saturday, June 18

Stories of a Transit Rider Part 1

I commute to the University of Washington from Rainier Beach (i.e. south Seattle) just about everyday during the school year. If you can't imagine the distance, here's an idea...
It's a journey that takes anywhere from 50 minutes to an hour and a half. I often take the Sound Transit Light Rail to downtown to help speed things up. But the real story here is an experience I had when taking the light rail one day.

I was walking to the Rainier Beach Light Rail station when a fellow patron was at one of the ticket dispensing machines, he turned around with sad eyes and said "I'm short a dollar, could you help me out?" Seeing that the guy was just trying to buy a ticket rather than pan handle I thought I'd give the man with a silly toothless grin the benefit of the doubt. That is until I realized I wasn't carrying any coin or cash. I politely declined and walked away with a feeling of guilt. I could have helped him out, I would ask the same of anyone, sure he looks like he just wants to panhandle but he was going to buy a ticket for the train. I couldn't help but have thoughts like this fill my mind for the rest of the day.
I thought that was the end of my experience until a couple of days later, taking the same train to downtown early in the morning, I spot this guy again. He was standing by the ticket machines minding his own business. That was until a little old asian lady was going to walk by him. He quickly turned to the machine holding a crumpled dollar in his hand and with that same grin asked if she could help him out b sparing a dollar. It was at this moment that I knew this guy had come up with an ingenious scheme. I was determined to foil this guy's plan so I casually walked up to the woman and tapped her on the shoulder, "Excuse me, can I borrow you for a second?" Both the lady and the grinning man look at me with a puzzled expression. She replied, "sure what is it?" I wrap my arm around her and lead her to the platform, "That man isn't really getting a train ticket, he's just asking form money." "Oh! thank you for helping." The man, realizing we weren't coming back yelled "Hey!" but we kept walking and eventually boarded the train.

Despite my determined attitude of this guy's intentions, I still felt that guilt wallowing up inside me. Maybe I made a mistake, maybe this guy really is just down on his luck. That was until I came home on the train about 6 hours later, and he was still there. If he really just wanted a train ticket, he should be gone by now, what's he still doing here? It was then I realized this was all just a part of his way to panhandle on Seattle's new light rail system. This is my city, my route home, and I wasn't going to have any of this. As I approached him with other departing passengers from the train, he turned to the machine with crumpled dollar in hand and asked for help. This time it was a taller gentleman who decided he'd be kind enough to assist the rider. I pulled the same routine, "Pardon me? Can I borrow you for a moment?" The tall gentleman walked with me. The toothless grinning man's face turned to a scowl and yelled "Hey! Stop that, what are you doing!?"
I turned around to face him with my heart racing and my face stern. "You've been out here all day asking people for money for a train ticket. You've been doing this all week! This is my neighborhood and your on private property panhandling. You need to leave now before I call Sound Transit Security who'd be more than happy to escort you off."
"Well I live here and this is my neighborhood too!" said the now frightened toothless man.
"Then you'll understand why I'm letting you walk away with a warning. Next time I see you do this... I won't hesitate to call."
As the gentleman and I cross the street the upset toothless man yells some obscenities. The gentleman seeing my unnerved look says "Thanks, you did the right thing." Some kind words to help ease my stomach. That was the last time I saw the toothless man at the station.

A couple of weeks later I was returning home around 6 or 7pm and as I was sitting at the front of the train (facing the rear of the car) I saw the toothless man board at the International District. Crap, he's going to see me and yell at me! I sunk into my chair and put my textbook in front of my face. He looked around with a sneer on his face and sat down in the closet seat, thank goodness he didn't notice me. Now I was afraid that eventually he would lift his head up and notice me right in front of him, but before he could realize that I was even on board. The Sound Transit Security hopped aboard the very next stop and asked him what he was doing on the train. Why are they stopping him? I realized this wasn't his first time getting in trouble with them. They asked him if he had fare and an ID, he said he had neither, they escorted the unwilling toothless man off the train all the while he was yelling "I didn't do nothing!" My eyes lit up, I felt safe again and I knew from that moment that the toothless man had been trying to pull the wool over my eyes.
I've never seen him again since that last incident but regardless the most disturbing part of the entire ordeal was his ability to play off of peoples emotions. If he were to keep up his act who knows how many real struggling patrons that need a dollar, or a quarter, would be dismissed as pan handlers. But now that he's been taken care of, I'm hoping the next time someone's in need, they're genuine, and I will do my best to help.

Sunday, May 22

WOW! Finally I have some time to breathe

Yup, this seems like the first weekend in a couple months I felt like I haven't been too busy to write a blog post.

Let me get you caught up!

Winter Quarter at UW (Jan.-Mar.) was super easy, I went to classes twice a week and I did fairly well in all of them. I played some video games, got into the hobby of electrical engineering and programming my Arduino, and just plain had a good winter (despite the cold and gloomy weather).

This quarter (Apr.-June) was quite the opposite. School every day and intense homework (no thanks to my Computer Science class) every week. Project after project I was either at school or at home doing school work. However, now that we near the end of the quarter, and the sun has decided to peek it's bright face from behind the clouds, the weather has improved and my homework load has lightened. I'm excited and ready for summer. As a good way to mark the nearing of the summer, the University District holds a Street Fair! The smells were delicious and the clamor of happy pedestrians was everywhere.

Quite possibly one of my favorite parts of the entire fair was Captain Unicorn! Kids were so excited to play the "Unicorn video game" where the captain would put on a puppet show involving aliens, tornadoes and victory for every child who upon winning the game would get "thumbsies" and a salute by the captain himself. Not only did it bring smiles to the timid kids, but it brought smiles to every adult witnessing the magic of this crazy character.
So what's in store for me next? Getting ready for a light class load during the summer, working, and getting ready to move in with Rachel (who plans to move to Seattle in September).

Thanks for reading everyone!