PAGE II: LOST AND FULL
From my hotel (on the South end of Lake Union) I got lost trying to get back to the I-5 (which was only 2,000 feet away, so says the almighty Google Maps). I stink with verbal directions, but have a sort of internal compass and almost always seem to know what direction I'm traveling in. This is a blessing as well as a curse because I get lost a lot, and when that happens I know that I'm lost, and know where I have to go (direction-wise), but can rarely get to my final destination in one attempt without detailed, printed out orders.
So I found myself up in the University of Washington (pretty damn nice campus), cruising around, looking like a perv while checking out all the co-ed honeys, and trying my damndest to get on either the I-5 South or the 520 East. I don't remember how, but after 30 more minutes I found myself on the 520 heading towards Redmond. It was after 4 (Pacific time, of course) at this point, and I was beginning to worry that I might not make it to my destination (Nintendo HQ, of course) before the end of the business day (5PM, of course... Man, you're just slow, aren't you). I had a printout of all of the addresses for all of the companies' HQs I wished to visit, but despite my lack of ability to ever find my driving objectives I never bothered to get any real directions to any of the places on my list. I figured, "How the hell hard can it be to find a 150th Avenue?" I did glance at a map before leaving home, and noticed that Redmond, WA appeared to be nothing but numbered streets. All numbered streets go from either high to low, or low to high with each one that you pass, right? It had to be easy as raping your hand to find this place, right?
Hindsight is a fucking bitch with a razor strap-on sometimes.
I got lost rather quickly in Redmond — it actually surprised me how swiftly it happened. I got off the 520 on some road and BAM! I started looking around, screaming to myself in my car, "What the FUCK!?! That was 40 Avenue... That was 41, and wait, that one was 78? What the goddamn FUCK, Washington?!" On top of the shitty streets, the drivers were still driving like utter fecal matter themselves. Cutting me off, swerving around me on my right as I tried to take a right hand turn, smiling as they tried to merge into the left side of my car because they apparently failed to see the twenty five "Lane closing, merge right" signs that we had previously passed.... Fuck Seattle drivers! They were in Redmond too!
Oh, and on top of the terrible drivers, the radio stations in the Seattle are all blow hairy goat cock. I thought Atlanta stations were bad, but at least they play some music every hour. Most Atlanta FM stations claim "50 minutes of music an hour!" Seattle stations make the same claim, but it's divided between all of them. So that's like 1 minute of music an hour per station. While dodging elderly assfucks in 1970s Buicks and boats on wheels, I'd be skimming the dial up and down praying for any sort of entertainment. At one point I stopped on a country station for half a song. Then when the DJs got on the air immediately following and started making (what they must have thought was) clever small talk for 10 minutes I actually jumped to a rap station. At least I thought it was a rap station. I came in on the last 2 seconds of what could have been a Jay-Z song, but then was subjugated to one of the same five commercials that any radio station in the city is required to play twice before going back to the "laughs too loud" DJ who has it in his contract to talk for 20 minutes before and after each song he/she ever plays.
I scanned every station in town TWICE between any small snippets of music that I may have caught on one signal or another. Oh how I longed for the repetitive, yet music FILLED, stations of the San Fran Bay area... Or my books on tape. Or a hooker in the front seat willing to keep me occupied long enough, while I drove around in apparent circles, so as to not go apeshit insane and take about 20 retarded other drivers out with me when I finally cracked and decided to just end it all and either flip my car or drive it off an overpass into rush hour traffic.
After tooling around for AN HOUR AND A GODDAMN HALF, I gave up looking for Nintendo HQ. Ironically enough (well, I guess it's not really "ironic," and mainly just "annoying") I did find all 5 square miles of Microsoft's world headquarters buildings. Pretty much every other building in Redmond has the old MS logo on it. So annoying.
After driving up and down 148th Ave for all that time (and finding 152nd Ave, 151st Ave, and even 149th Ave) I was starting to go a little crazy. It was late (8:30 Eastern time), and I was hungry (well, I did have those two crackers and fake, spreadable cheese on the plane 8 hours before... I guess I'm just a constantly fapacious, carnivorous monster), so I decided to call it quits that day and head back to my hotel. This should have been simple enough except for the bumper to bumper action on the 90 West. The radio (all channels, seeing as rush hour meant "news and traffic, and all DJs talking about their hemorrhoids for two-hour blocks at a time") told me that both bridges from Redmond to Seattle were fucked ("like usual"), and that it would "only take" 45 minutes to an hour to make it to the I-5. Something like 2 miles away. It was sunny and clear and warm, but not hot, so I rolled down my windows to chill out a bit.... But the bridge was the bridge, and there were no exits for me to get off at and relieve my hyper-extended bladder. Longest 60 minutes of my life. I vowed that next time I go to Redmond I bring a bottle or a really durable plastic bag.
I finally made it back to my hotel, but didn't even bother to try to make it to my room (the potted plants in the lobby needed nourishment, and they were at least 100 paces closer than the nearest loo). Then I asked the hotel people behind the counter what restaurants were nearby. They started naming them, and complimenting them all. "Chandler's: best salmon in the Northwest! Bluwater Bistro: anything on their menu! Duke's Chowder House: the best soups you'll ever taste..." I was getting tempted by all of them, but then the guy said the one name that let me know that everything was going to be all right.
"Oh, and if you like heavy meals with way too much food in a tacky atmosphere, there's always Buca di Beppo right around the corn-"
I didn't even let him finish before jumping into and twirling around the revolving door twice before shooting down the sidewalk to one of my favoritest chain restaurants in the world. The fancy seafood places could wait, I needed some veal and some 7.5% alcohol-filled Italian brewskies! And so that's what I got. I just kept ordering the Moretti La Rossas, and the meaty salad, and replacement bread, and enough veal to choke a fatted calf. Truly, that Hindu couple next to me on the plane would have shit a brick had they seen my plate that night. I was pretty wasted by the end of my meal (hardly bragging, I'm such a lightweight), but even inebriated I was still too old to get my picture taken with the chefs, like I did all those years ago in LA (when I first stumbled upon all that is "di Beppo"). And my handwriting... oy! (I usually write my notes of what happened each day over dinner).... While writing my daily commentary, I knew even then that I'd have trouble decoding my sloppy, drunken script in the future, when I wrote this page. Here's a direct quote from my notes, that took 2 hours to figure out what the fuck I was transcribing:
Moretti La Rossa is indeed god nipple drink, but I should have known I'd remember to state that. Stupid fit-shaced me... Anyway, I was belching like a hippo after (and during) that most awesome meal, and that little girl behind me kept getting blamed by her domineering grandma for it. Well, they started blaming the grandma for my beer farts when they appeared during my 2 pound choco-choco-chocolate cake dessert, so all's fair in love and bodily excreted gasses.
The last two things written in my notebook that night are as follows:
SMART PEOPLE THINK THEY KNOW EVERYTHING...
Thursday morning I woke up bright and early (well, at least early Seattle time) and got ready for day one of An Event Apart. I finished up the mega-chocolate cake from the previous night and then got lost two times before finding the Seattle Convention Center on the piers (only a mile and a half away). Very interesting shit being discussed and taught, but some of those guys are just way too anal retentive about the web. The speakers talking about design and fucking with the customer were a blast, but the layout and CSS proponents really had some gigantic sticks up their respective rectums.
Yes, CSS is good. It really makes things easier when used properly.... Unfortunately people seem to be going APESHIT with it and using it IMproperly all over the goddamn place. As was stated by the CSS expert at last year's AEA, "Just like 'tables' before it, CSS boxes and floats were never created to be used as ways to design and structure website layout... People simply started using them that way. CSS is useful in many ways, but each browser reads boxes and padding and margins different from every other browser. Therefore it's impractical for many strict design elements (without lines and lines and lines of hacks for each specific browser that you need to fix it for). And you'll need to fix it for at least one of the main two out there. Use tables when they're appropriate, and floats when they are." Unfortunately I didn't get that original message until AFTER I had spent two full fucking weeks trying to make my all-CSS comic site work on all the main browsers on all the main OSes... After giving up it only took me 2 hours to make it in a tables-CSS hybrid. Goddamn 1337ists...
Anyway, I met tons of new people, promptly forgot their names (sorry guys and gals, you're not uninteresting [not all of you], I'm just a moron), and then when the end of the 1st day of classes was over I was out of there like a shot out of a bat out of Hell! See, that morning I had sweet-talked the hotel person behind the counter to print me up some Mapquest directions to 150th Ave, Redmond so that I could find the land of red-clad plumbers and orange-colored, armored, dominatrixed bounty hunters for SURE that day!... It was only after I gave that concierge his requested reach-around that I found out that there was a computer lounge for guests. Oh well, I forgot to pack hair gel anyway, and I was desperate enough to not give a damn. That was just a roundabout way of saying "I was off to see Nintendo!"