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The Literary Exhibitionist
by air by sea



Nikki was predictably -- and to many, I'm sure, understandably -- nowhere near as excited about the idea of going up a skyscraper to its observation deck as I have ever been, but she did sound interested in seeing it, and so I took her. We went to the observation deck on the 73rd floor of the 76-story Bank of America Tower.

It's easily the tallest observation deck in the entire Pacific Northwest -- over 1.5 times the height of the Space Needle's. Naturally, I had to take a shit load of pictures. You're probably not as interested in these as I am either, but I don't care and I'm going to share them all anyway.


The last time I was up that tower was for the "Big Climb for Leukemia" with Danielle in March of 2002. At the time the IDX Tower was still under construction. You see it here long finished, at the center, flanked by the still taller Wells Fargo Tower on the left and Bank of California Tower on the right. IDX Tower had nevertheless been the tallest building built in Seattle since 1990 -- although that's soon to be surpassed.




North views from the observation deck. The last two of these photos demonstrate what a pain in the ass being forced to use the digital zoom instead of the optical zoom on my camera, which has inexplicably stopped working. While taking the photos I thought the digital zoom might work just as well, but as you can clearly see now -- they don't. It leaves these lines across the page as though I tried to print it out with a printer that did not have enough ink. But it's not a print, it's a digital photo! I finally went to the Konica Minolta website and sent them a question. Time will tell if it will ever get answered.

I'm wishing about now that I had a warranty on this thing. It's pissing me off.


Nikki pretended to be hiding behind a beam in between the windows.


I only used a tiny bit of digital zoom here, so thankfully it still turned out to be a lovely birds-eye shot of the Smith Tower.


At least this shot, which was also taken with a tight digital zoom, did not turn out horrible -- it didn't turn out spectacular either, by any means. If I am not mistaken, this is the condo complex where susandennis lives.


Pull out just a little, and you can see the sports stadiums she writes about so often: Qwest Field in the foreground and Safeco Field in the background. I don't know anyone in this town who thinks having two stadiums that large side by side is necessary, but the city apparently did. But then, the city leaders are notorious for finding a way around a defeated ballot initiative asking citizens to pay for the baseball stadium. They built it anyway, and are just paying for it with a hotel tax so high that people like my dad refuse to stay in hotels here anymore. Well, unless someone else (like a restaurant trade show) pays for it, anyway.


And here's the much broader view to the south of the city.




And to the southeast, due east, and northeast.



While I continued getting as slap-happy as usual with my picture taking, Nikki noticed a helicopter at one of the three hospitals on First Hill. She told me when she was little she used to call them "hellofadoctor".


This could have been such a great picture of my dream home at First Hill Plaza! Instead, I get this crap due to being forced to use the digital zoom. I think I'm going to cry.


At left here you can see the King County Jail, where that windowless skywalk takes inmates from the court house on the right. I told Nikki that and she said, "No way! Can we go visit someone in there?" I don't know where she developed her sudden interest in criminals, but it turned out to be quite brief, which I guess was a relief.





I actually kept several of the photos I took out of the overall Nikki visit 2005 gallery, knowing that neither she nor anyone else in her family who might view them would have much interest in them. I still opted to include them here because it's my journal and I can do what I want with it!

And you can't stop me!


Anyway . . .






After the Bank of America Tower, which we had to walk to twice before we could go up it because I didn't realize I forgot my wallet until we got there (and it costs $5 per person), we went back to my place to wait for Barbara and let Nikki watch the rest of Mrs. Doubtfire. She asked to watch it while I showered this morning, knowing full well by now how long I take.

Barbara arrived maybe half past 1:00, and the movie was just about to end so she stuck around to watch with Nikki while I finished packing all three of us a picnic lunch (sandwiches and Izze sodas).

The three of us then walked down to the waterfront and took the Elliott Bay Water Taxi to West Seattle. Our timing turned out to be perfect, as the water taxi left about five minutes after we got there.

The boat is much bigger now than it was the last time Barbara and I rode it, which was for the 4th of July fireworks in 2003. Barbara and I argued about whether or not the $3 we had to pay to go one way today was more than it was in 2003, and we both thought I almost certainly would have written what the cost was in my 2003 July 4 entry. Well, I just checked, and I didn't. So I guess that mystery will just have to remain unsolved.

The weather today was a tad indecisive, and it rained through most of our walk to the water taxi and drizzled through some of the boat ride. The sun breaks made for some very nice pictures, though.


Not long after we got to West Seattle, we found a picnic table in the sun and ate our late lunch, perfectly timed after the rather late breakfast of raspberry/blackberry pancakes I made Nikki and me (of which I ate way too much). Here we see the masterpiece work of art Barbara made out of the tin foil that I used to wrap her sandwich.







We then moseyed on a bit, and Barbara and Nikki looked at barnacles and then Barbara showed Nikki how to make a necklace out of flowers -- which she then put on my head as a crown.

Barbara asked Nikki which of her visits to Seattle she has liked the best, and predictably she said, "I don't know!" She did say she's been over so many times now that they are hard to keep track of. (This is her fourth visit -- she's now gone through half of the potential visits I'm willing to pay for.)

This year she got a little bit annoyed with my picture taking. I'll admit that I took a lot more than usual, and that could be why she lamented to Barbara, "He takes picture after picture!" She's bound to change fairly rapidly over the next four years, which will cover ages 14 to 17. I hope I can still offer her weekends of fun that she doesn't think seem lame by snotty teenage standards. I guess we'll see. She seems to be very interested in going roller skating again, so perhaps we will do that again next year.

She was more than happy to pose for me when she put her sweatshirt on her head and spread its arms like wings and announced, "I am the new Supergirl!" I got pictures of her flying, and that she was pretty pleased with.

I guess dealing with a teenager, hearing the words "I'm bored" kind of just goes with the territory. Nikki said while we waited at the airport -- and her plane was delayed 30 minutes, after checking her bag turned out to be astoundingly brief so we ended up just waiting around at the gate for an hour and a half -- that she had a good time this weekend, so that works for me. I'll call it another success.




Current Mood: tired tired

4 transmissions complete or positive energy please
susandennis From: susandennis Date: August 30th, 2005 02:18 pm (UTC) (Link)
3 things.

1. I'm pretty sure I said this after Becca's visit but this time it strikes me even more strongly. No matter how bored she said she was nor how fed up she was with your taking 'picture after picture', I would lay major bucks on the line that years and years and years from now, this past weekend (and any like it before and after) will stand out in her life as truly remarkable times. She and Becca are so so so very lucky to have you in their lives. That you are so welcoming and forgiving and tolerant and generous with your time and yourself with them is the greatest gift.

2. YES that is exactly my house! What great shots! May I snag one to annotate for my own LJ? I promise to give you total credit. It is a perfect one picture story of where I live, where I get the bus, what's around me... Please?!

3. I'm so sorry about your camera! I hope it gets better.
machupicchu From: machupicchu Date: August 30th, 2005 02:31 pm (UTC) (Link)
1. Thank you. I'm sure she will find the visits memorable -- and even if she can never distinguish one visit from another from memory, she can always tell people that she got to visit her uncle every summer. I'm just trying to make sure I find things that are of interest and appropriate for her age every year. She was pretty bummed last year when we were unexpectedly unable to take her to a play -- so this year I took her to two. She seemed to enjoy that.

Hopefully I'll have more saved up by next year, or maybe I can find things that are just as fun but not as expensive, as this was easily my most expensive niece visit yet, what with two tickets to Princesses ($80) and two ticktes to Wild Waves/Enchanted Village ($61) in addition to the other stuff we did. I am el-broko.

2. Of course, absolutely, snag away. I was hoping to take that picture precisely for your benefit anyway. It could have been much crisper if my damn zoom had been working properly. Which brings us to . . .

3. I really hope so too! Turns out eBay is not always the best option.
susandennis From: susandennis Date: August 30th, 2005 02:39 pm (UTC) (Link)
Thanks for the picture!!!

Honestly, I think what she's really going to remember about her visits is that an adult who is not her parent (yeah, you :)) - when he really really didn't need to - treated her like a real person. When you are a teenage person of the female persuasion, this is huge. I mean really huge.

machupicchu From: machupicchu Date: August 30th, 2005 02:43 pm (UTC) (Link)
Yeah, that makes sense. That and it gives her an opportunity to get away from the constant chaos of her home life -- she is, after all, the eldest of four, soon to be five. (She told me her mom plans to have her tubes tied during this next C-section . . . I can only say this is a good thing.)I like to give the kids a chance to have at least one weekend where they're not competing with siblings. This will likely mean more for her brothers and sister, because Nikki actually has a different dad whom she has visited by herself twice already this summer -- but I'm sure it still makes a difference. And as you said, I'm not one of her parents, and I'm sure that does make a difference too.
4 transmissions complete or positive energy please