Monday, September 3, 2007

One Night in Bellevue and the World's Your Oyster

When I moved, I decided that a good way to keep my friends and family up to date with my goings-on would be to start a regular blog. It turns out that living on your own for the first time in an unfurnished apartment and going to college doesn't leave as much time for blogging as one might expect. Still, I valiantly tried. What follows is my first attempt at a Web Log. Though unfinished, I invite you to take a look at this... well, rough draft, really. Please join us after the blog fragment for punch, cookies, and a discussion of what works, what doesn't and how future posting will be handled as a result.

Hi, hello, welcome. Thanks for joining me here. Please, take a seat, make yourself at home. Can I get you anything to drink? No. You sure? Good, great. Sooooo...


Alright, before we get down to business, let me get a few formalities ou
t of the way. I have lots of family and friends (Way more friends than you, in fact. I am a very popular boy.) who are living very far away from me and want to keep up with how I'm doing, so, simply put, this is my way of ensuring that everyone who's interested can keep up with how I'm doing. However, "everyone" is a bit of tricky word. In this case, it means, "only the people I invite." Some people have missed the invitation simply because I don't have their e-mail addresses. If you think there's someone I might have missed who would enjoy this blog, I hope you'll invite them, but please ask me for permission before passing along the web address (which you should bookmark right now, by the way). Sorry for all the exclusivity but, as you're about to see, there may be some fairly personal information revealed here and, though any Googler could stumble upon this page, I don't want to go out of my way to contribute to Stranger Danger. I could probably avoid this mess entirely by making the page Private, in which case it would be viewable only to approved Blogger users, but that would be a needless hassle compared to simply shutting your big yap and following my advice.

I swear I'll get to the good stuff soon. Just a few last notes.

For those of you unfamiliar with the blog format, after each post you will be given a chance to leave a comment. Please do! And if you do comment, be
sure to leave your name. I am pretty sick of writing a bunch of boring, unnecessary rules. I want to write about Washington life, so this is the last thing for now. There will likely be many links integrated throughout my posts. They may be informative, they may be entertaining, but they're probably not vital to your understanding of my ramblings. If you have some time to kill, click them or come back later. Otherwise, move on.

Now I am going to tell you about my first week in Washington. Finally.


This blog is primarily about my adventures in Washington, but the fun actually began even before I had arrived. My departure marked my first time to ride on a plane all by myself like a big boy, so I was pretty excited. I'm pleased to say that I had good time, though I'll admit that for seasoned plane passengers, the ride undoubtedly would've felt completely routine. However, as a relative newbie to the world of aviation flying alone, I made a few amateurish mistakes. For instance, I thought that I'd be allowed to hold on to a carry-on bag during the flight. It turns out that you're supposed to stow them in a closed overhead compartment, which was no big deal, but I had left the books I was planning to read during the trip in a difficult to access place. An inconvenience, sure, but I'm flexible. When an overhead storage compartment door closes, I open a window. I'm a guy who's perfectly content to turn on my CD player and watch the world pass below the plane. It would've been perfectly relaxing if not for this:

The wing was partially obstructing my view! Nuts! Oh well, the music was good, I could still mostly see around the wing, and the plane was filled with all sorts of fun stuff. I got to drink apple juice! I got to read a really boring magazine! They even had a TV on the back of each headrest! Unfortunately they were charging money for the chance to watch TV and movies, but thanks to MapQuest and a number of other sponsors, the TV could be tuned to a free channel that would allow you to track the planes location, altitude, and velocity. It was a fun way to see just how far and fast I was traveling and never tired of me asking, "Are we there yet?" It was also very informative, offering me an interesting perspective on just how little time I had to live when one of the engines spontaneously combusted and we hurtled to the ground in a fiery tailspin. Nah, I'm kidding. Seriously the most exciting thing that happened was this:

Pretty uneventful, really. Dull. We landed soon enough. Oddly, though, the TV still said we had an altitude of something like 5,000 feet. This was because I had a crossover in Denver, "the mile-high city", so even though the plane had landed, I was Rocky Mountain high. Fun fact: While searching for a Website to link, I discovered that John Denver sings a song called "Please, Daddy (Don't Get Drunk On Christmas)". Weird. So, I found the gate for my next plane, which was delayed for around an hour, so I sat in the terminal, just listening to announcements about the Homeland Security threat level (orange that day) and reading a book. The next flight was about the same as the first except that I had my book (Microserfs, if you were curious, which I finished reading for what I think was about the 15th time, though I lost count many re-reads ago) and my Game Boy Advance with a copy of Pokemon Emerald. What did grab my attention was the sudden appearance of Mount Rainier. It was incredible. You're just flying along and there's nothing out the window except for and endless carpet of great, puffy clouds, pure and white and soft and then suddenly - FWOOSH! - this enormous rock just shooting up into the sky. I really wish I would've gotten a picture. It's unbelievable.

My time in the Seattle airport was a little more comical and would've been fairly stressful had I not been so excited by the prospect of simply being in Seattle. I brought an fully-loaded carry-on bag and my guitar on the plane (just in case any sick little girls needed me to cheer them up) as well as two checked suitcases. These suitcases were very big, very full, and very heavy, and one had a broken handle. I tried stacking them, I tried dragging one and pulling the other, and I tried relaying them, taking one group of things about 10 feet and then running back for the other. I got some strange looks. After about half an hour of this, I finally paid three bucks to rent a large cart, which made pushing my junk around the airport easy, but I still didn't know exactly where to push it, since every person I asked gave me different direction to the shuttle that would take me to my new home. By the way, if you every pack your bags and set out for a new life in a new setting, let a shuttle take you there. Listening to a thirty-something shuttle driver complain about being a thirty-something shuttle driver is exactly the sort of contrast that will make you feel great about leaving your old problems behind and doing what you want to do.

The driver kindly helped me carry my things to the curb and tore off to find some lunch (he only had an hour before he'd have to pick up his next passenger) while I carried everything up the stairs to my apartment. This was it. I would finallysee my home for the next year. I knocked on the door. I knocked again. And again. No answer. I went to the apartment's office where I was told that someone had already been given all of the keys for my apartment. Great. I went back to the apartment to wait, eating Airheads (thanks Nina!) and playing with my camera.

View of my door

View from my door

It was probably less than half-an-hour before someone walked up the stairs and asked if I was Jake. It was the Robert and Peter's dad and, not far behind him, Robert and Peter, two of my three roommates. He let me in, I introduced myself to the twins, who go by Bobby and Pete. and I took a look around at the new space while they sat at the kitchen table with laptops. It turns out they had rented a pickup truck and had been spending the day searching Craigslist for furniture (which, I learned, had been the source of our very nice table and chair set.

So, there you have it. Let's start with the obvious: it's very detailed. It's wordy, rambling, and lengthy, and devolves into linguistic tail-chasing rather than proceeding forthwith to the point. As much as I enjoy writing meandering prose of that sort, it requires more time than I should be spending in the blogosphere, and you probably don't have the patience to read that much about me.

So, then, what to do? Well, I'm going to write less. This was written when I first got my computer, just a week or two after I got my computer. It had been an exciting time; I had lots to say, but capturing all of it was too daunting a task in addition to everything else I had to do (plus, Washington is a nice enough place that I chose to spend my free-time doing things other than sitting on the floor in front of a computer screen - did I mention that I didn't have furniture?), and the blog fell by the wayside. That's a thing, right? Wayside? It's not just a school? Wait, what was I talking about?

I guess what I'm saying is that I'll still write way more than is necessary, just because that's the kinda guy I am, but I'm going to keep my subjects concise. I'm going to shoot for weekly updates. I'll also keep to a single subject per week, as opposed to writing about
every detail of every week. I think I can do that. If that feels reasonable, I may add more. If it's too much, I'll do less. That's adaptability!


Sian said...

Well Jake I read almost every word and was glad that by the time I got to the last line you had discovered that cure for everything- Craigslist.
Jane Brown

Benjamin said...

Wow. You really were in the Twilight Zone during your plane trip! hahahahaha The pic of the monster on the wing crakced me up. But it looks like DigiPen and Seattle surpass UT-Austin and Austin itself, well, in my opinion it does. But, eh, anyway. Hope you are reaping the day's benefits and not letting wither like youth in the dark sunlight. Take care!

Jake said...

Dark sunlight?

Anonymous said...

I zoomed in and saw the statue butt!
Clean your room!
Love, Mom

Anonymous said...

Jake, I had fun reading you blog (i'm so excited - it's my first blog!)
Be careful, I may just have to visit.
PS. Kill the pigs, first.

Jaime (the long-winded commenter) said...

On my last flight today (my fourth one in three days -- I went to Jacksonville, Florida) this guy sat in my window seat on a half-full plane.
I said, "You're in my seat, excuse me."
He said, "Oh yeah? Oops."
I said, "OK, I'd like to take my seat now."
He laughed, then said, "Just think of it his way. You won't have to step over anyone when you get up."
I said, "I don't plan to get up."
He ignored me and started drumming his belly like a bongo.
He never got up, and he snorted loudly and laughed at the SkyMall catalog the whole time.

Anyway, glad to see your blog! I'll be reading!

Mr. Woods said...

I just got finished reading all of it. Not to lengthy. Well I am glade you made it and have settled in. Your excitement is evident in your writing. This is a great way to document your first year away. In the future you will be able to look back on this and have pride in what you accomplished that first year. You are a very talented young man and have a very promising future ahead of you. Good luck and " May the force be with you"!!!!

Mr. Woods

Jake said...

Thanks a lot. How'd the first play go?