I guess I’m going to go all-in on this being a travel/dining blog.
It’s really refreshing walking around without a cellular connection—I was out of data for the month, so I spent most of my time in Seattle sans Internet, and just walked around and took in the sights instead. Not being able to look up restaurants and directions on the fly was a little inconvenient; I searched for places to eat and things to do beforehand, which helped. Also, I didn’t take public transit, instead just walking everywhere.
Living Computer Museum
I made a beeline for the Living Computer Museum because
I'm totally into retrocomputing and the maker movement I’m an unimaginative computer person.
They had an original Microsoft Surface on display, the research concept that was a table-sized touchscreen computer, with multitouch gestures like pinch-to-zoom. Using it now doesn’t seem in any way impressive, and the UI was definitely buggy and finicky, but at the time, it must have seemed like the future.
They had some 90’s era beige Windows PCs with MAXIS games pre-loaded, which was a throwback to my childhood. Sometimes I do miss SimFarm and SimAnt…
- The Xerox Alto: I can’t imagine what this must have felt like 50 years ago. A three-button mouse, the GUI, object-oriented programming…is there anything today like this hiding in a research lab?
It turns out I’m terrible at UNIX, since I couldn’t even figure out how to write a C program on the PDP-11 they had to try out. After trying to figure out
ed, I no longer feel like a masochist for using Emacs. (After I walked out, I realized I should’ve tried shell redirection…but was that even implemented?) On the other hand, it was impressive how many things still felt the same; they built a foundation that still holds up today.
I really like walking around grocery stores for some reason. One reason is that though New York definitely has everything you could want, it’s spread out everywhere; there just isn’t enough space for a mega-mart as there is in Phoenix or Seattle. And that means there’s far too many people in far too small a space, and I feel awkward meandering about to smell the
roses stinky tofu while there’s so many people just trying to get their shopping done. So it’s nice being home, or in Seattle, where there’s actually space for things and it’s ok to just wander around a grocery store for an hour to admire all the random things they have. A freezer full of natto, shelves full of donabe, a box full of yuzu, snail rice noodles, yogurt soju…
A complaint about NYC: it’s all wine here. I don’t drink much, but I do like cider, and there just isn’t anything…whereas Portland had a couple dedicated cider bars, and Seattle had this bar, with a long list of ciders on tap.
Din Tai Fung
A complaint I don’t have about NYC: soup dumplings. I got lukewarm, tiny soup dumplings with kind of gummy wrappers :( at Din Tai Fung in Seattle, and they were more expensive than the ones in Chinatown here!
Hong Kong Bistro
- Kizuki Ramen & Izakaya
Molly Moon’s Homemade Ice Cream
I feel really conflicted about “sweet and spicy” flavors, like the laoganma chocolate and curry banana flavors at Morganstern’s, or the spicy chocolate here. They’re generally really subtle—I’d almost rather dial the spiciness up, but maybe that’s actually too weird?
- Amandine Bakeshop
Bookstores & Parks
Elliot Bay Book Company
I spent a lot of time debating whether I wanted a book, and if so, whether I wanted a cookbook or a fiction book. I ended up with R.F. Kuang’s The Poppy War, which was a great historical/fantasy story focusing on Chinese mythology and history (though the historical parallels got a little heavy-handed). I feel these kinds of stories are rather underrepresented in English, so it’s always a joy to find stories like this. (Also see: The Paper Menagerie, Ninefox Gambit.)
I only made it out of here without manga because I had already purchased The Night is Short, Walk On Girl at Kinokuniya Portland.
Volunteer Park Conservatory
A large park with an old water tower that you can climb, offering decent views of the city.
72nd Annual Chrysanthemum Show
- Cal Anderson Park
- Olympic Sculpture Park