I'm in the midst of a two-day trip to Seattle, which may or may not lay the groundwork for an eventual move up here in a few months. I know I haven't mentioned anything about this possible relocation on this here blog before, so there it is.

This is my first visit to Seattle, and my initial impressions are positive. It's a clean and more or less friendly city, at least the parts I've visited. It strikes me as an imperfect memory of San Francisco. The same basic idea in many ways, a familiar layout and general vibe, but smaller and with a slightly altered waterfront view. Looking out over Elliott Bay this morning, there were certain directions that looked just like the Oakland Hills, but there was no notorious prison, no landmark bridges, and there were snow-capped mountains poking incongruously through the clouds in the distance.

Here's what I've done so far. Last night I arrived in the city around eight o'clock, checked into my financial district hotel, and set off in search of food. Like the financial district of any large city, the area seemed to have more or less shut down in the evening hours, but I managed to find a trendy cafe-slash-tasting room a few blocks away, and ruined the bartender's evening by ordering a local beer (Scuttlebutt Blonde Ale, straight from Everett) with my chicken sandwich. I was one of the few solo diners and my attempts at engaging the bartender in conversation proved ineffective, even though I had a built-in conversation topic in that he had moved here from Southern California several years ago. There was a female solo diner to my left by I decided not to strike up a conversation wither her lest she think me a masher.

Today, I got up bright and early and had a cup of Seattle's Best(TM) coffee, which was actually really good. I had used the guidebook I found in my hotel room to work out a self-guided walking tour, so I strolled through the financial district toward Pike Marketplace. Along the way a local woman made a comment to me about the weather as I was waiting for a light to change (the weather is gorgeous today, which apparently is a big deal here in Seattle) and we had a brief talk. The woman was very nice but also very chatty, asking me several questions and then answering them immediately before I could respond ("Oh, you're a Giants fan? What do you think of Barry Bonds I think it's just a bunch of hype [forty-five second diatribe about Barry Bonds]").

I arrived at the marketplace too early for there to be anything going on, so I followed the sketchy path down to the waterfront and headed toward the Space Needle. The waterfront was also largely deserted, even though it was mid-morning. I found the waterfront to be nice in places but altogether poorly designed. There are very few spots with an unobstructed view of the bay, since everything is heavily built up down there. But the walk was nice. I strolled through Olympic Sculpture Park, which was very underwhelming, and then did a cursory exploration of the tourist maze surrounding the Space Needle before realizing that a single man with no children would be woefully out of place among these attractions. I also decided not to spend the sixteen dollars on the Space Needle elevator ride because I'm afraid of heights.

Instead, I went to the Science Fiction Museum, which was really cool. You'd think that a museum dedicated to science fiction memorabilia, a topic whose afficionados are notorious collectors and often willing to spend surprising sums of money on worthless crap, would have an extensive and impressive gift shop, but you'd be wrong. This is very much a look-but-don't-buy establishment.

After the Sci Fi Museum I hopped the monorail ("Were you sent here by the Devil? No, good sir, I'm on the level.") back to downtown. I had initially intended to get lunch back at the marketplace, but I decided that if I'm here to see what life as a Seattle lawyer would be like I may as well check out a downtown lunch spot. So I stopped at a brewery-slash-restaurant and sampled two more local beers with a very tasty cheeseburger. Again, I utterly failed to engage the bartender in conversation or to insinuate myself into the conversation taking place to my left. Throughout my time in the brewery I didn't hear a song released after 2000, and in fact heard a lot of music that could best be classified as either originating in or inspired by 90s grunge. Apparently they're really clinging to their musical legacy up here.

After lunch I went back to the marketplace and found it bustling, the city's tourists apparently having been roused during my time at the Space Needle and museum. I don't like shopping, so I didn't spend much time at the marketplace, but got the general idea. I didn't see anyone throwing fish. I did see what I believe to be the original Starbucks.

And so, at the moment I'm waiting for a high school friend to get off of work so we can hang out and I can get more of an insider's perspective on this here city. Tomorrow will be the big show, the meeting with the law firm folks, so we'll see how that goes.

Another thing I feel compelled to add is that last night while flipping through the channels in my hotel room I found a panel of lawyers and judges taped in the 1980s being shown on one of the local access stations, and one of the panelists was the judge I'm working for. I can only take that as a positive sign.


I enjoyed the Sci-Fi museum, but the adjoining Rock and Roll museum was even cooler!

Have any really good coffee?

I don't know if you are just considering Seattle b/c you have a job opportunity, but as always we advocate for Portland as the most happening place. A "big enough" city that doesn't have near the sprawl of Seattle, lower home costs, nice downtown, way more good beer, no sales tax, a shiny new ikea

... oh and rock stars

You listen to Greg. He's making good sense.

While Portland sounds like a fabulous place to live, there are lamentably few BigLaw outposts in Portland. Also, wolf spiders.

Really? Wolf spiders here? Perhaps they've been avoiding me. I hope they continue to do so.

Well, I'm basing that on the fact that you posted a comment to my post about the Hawaii spider saying that you had found a wolf spider that morning. Were you not living in Portland at the time?

I'm all confused.

It must have been in Berkeley, because I only moved to Portland a month ago. But now I'm confused and I wonder if I was lying. Are wolf spiders really big, or just sort of big? I just tried to look them up on Wikipedia and found the pictures too horrifying to concentrate on the text, so I'm not doing any more research.

Here's what you, or someone claiming to be you, had to say on August 8, 2006:

"I found a big black wolf spider in my house this morning, half-squashed between the bathroom door and doorframe, with legs sticking out in all directions. It was disgusting. I hope you're all happy."

If that was in Berkeley that's all the more reason to leave the East Bay.

you only need one right...

we do have some crazy bugs (not as bad as living in the forest in Santa Cruz) but less rough weather than Seattle. We lived in Olympia for a little while and our trips to Seattle were always such a big production, and our time actually in the city always seemed so much more stressful than our exploration of Portland ever was.

Don't listen to those haters. I just moved here (Seattle) to begin law school and I am *in love* with the place. Granted, I've only been here a week, but every day has been charmed.

i love portland AND seattle.

Seattle is great. I was born and raised here, and if you can get past a gray, though not particularly cold winter, it is beautiful. And Pike Place is interesting, but overrated.

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This page contains a single entry by hb published on August 13, 2007 3:38 PM.

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