Seattle Part 5

I realize it’s been a few weeks since I last posted and I know you have all been waiting on pins and needles. Let us begin!

Bagpipes

Let’s start with bagpiping. I’m still at it….still taking an hour lesson once a week from Neil. Still enjoying it, although the eagerness is somewhat wearing off. It seems as of late that the hour has been remedial training of what I’ve already learned, so it’s been a tad frustrating. It’s made me ensure that I am reviewing everything I’ve learned before the lesson so I can spend the hour learning new stuff. And as for this past week, he pulled out a new tune to teach me! It’s called “Scots Wha Ha’e”. Not “Scots, Wha HUH?” like you might do if you didn’t know any better. It’s an unofficial Scottish national anthem. The lyrics were also written in “the form of a speech given by Robert the Bruce before the Battle of Bannockburn in 1314, where Scotland maintained its sovereignty from the Kingdom of England.” (thanks, Wikipedia). Cool, eh? But I was JUST introduced to that one, so I won’t be entertaining you with that particular diddy. Instead, take a listen to my “Suo Gan”. Sue who? No, it is not a song about a side dish of Chinese food. I actually don’t know the history of this one, although I suppose I could Wikipedia it in 2 snaps, but I don’t feel like it, so look it up yourself. Suo Gan is the second toot I learned to play (I now refer to my tunes as toots…so much cooler). See the video below for my first public performance. I am playing on a chanter, which very obviously isn’t bagpipes….I don’t actually pick those up for a few more months. If you close your eyes and use your imagination, you can kind of picture how it would sound on pipes, only better, clearer, with better timing, and about 80 decibels louder. Not too shabby for someone who couldn’t read music before 2.5 months ago and has zero musical background, eh? Also, I’m doing it with my eyes closed. Aren’t you impressed? 

 

 

If this tune sounds vaguely familiar, you might remember it from here:

 

Now you remember it! I plan on keeping the lessons up and hopefully graduate to big boy pipes soon and also find a living situation where the neighbors can’t hear them being played.

Job Search

I’m still on the job hunt. I have some very good leads with the likes of Amazon and Blue Origin, and some other leads with General Dynamics and Lufthansa Technik. I won’t go into detail here, but I will be posting in the next few weeks on God’s goodness and provision and how He has orchestrated the events of the past year for my move down here. He is good!

Weather

The winter here consists of a daily 50ish degrees and overcast/rain. People here complain about it, but for those of us from Alaska, it’s practically the tropics. I love not having to deal with snow or subfreezing temperatures.

Pearl Jam

No Eddie Vedder sightings yet (he lives in West Seattle). I am continually on the lookout.

Church

The Lord has provided me a great church to go to. The people are pretty friendly and the teaching is solid. I’ve recently gotten involved in a small group and the members seem authentic and they are most assuredly welcoming. I look forward to getting to know them more. More about church/small group when I post about God’s goodness!

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Seattle Part 4

Boeing

As mentioned previously, I spent 10 days in Kansas. I didn’t do too much, but my mom, Dale, and I took a day trip which was fun. I also had fully intended to work out, but the Tuesday after I got there, I sat down wrong and threw my back out and was basically handicapped the rest of the time. It was a good reminder I need to get back into working out as this body ain’t getting any younger. All in all, it was good to see family and the weather was very pleasant. I also ate way too much Taco Tico. Somehow they insert a magic ingredient in their meat and it keeps the meat from making the taco shell soggy even after 15 minutes. Mind = blown.

As for this past week, I shall entitle it Aviation Week. From a young age, I have been enchanted by commercial aviation. I think it started when I was in 4th grade and my mom, brother, and I were to fly from Anchorage to Seattle to meet my dad for a move to Michigan. I remember drawing pictures of planes, probably checking out books in the library, and overall getting super stoked about the flight. Ever since then, I’ve had a keen interest in all things commercial aviation. So, this week was about getting my airplane fix. Seattle, is, after all, one of the aviation hubs of the world due to Boeing having their largest plant in Everett.

The week started with my upstairs friend/landlord Dan and I making the trip to Everett on Tuesday to tour Boeing’s factory. I used to live in the Wichita area in middle/high school where Boeing’s second largest plant was and I never took a tour. Why? Who knows. But this was it, journeying to where the magic happens. Unfortunately, they were very strict about no cameras (phones even!) on the tour, so I got zilch-o photos (the photo at the top is copied from the internet. Thanks internet.), but the tour was cool. We arrived at the visitor’s center and they loaded about 40 of us on a motorcoach and bused us over to the largest building in the world by volume (yes, I’m referencing Wikipedia. Get over it.). We stopped at one entrance, walked underground to a service elevator where we went up 5 stories to an overlook of the factory floor. This was repeated a second time further on down the building. By the end we saw the production lines of the 747, 767, 777, and 787. It’s quite amazing to see how these planes are manufactured. It’s not quite amazing because other than viewing the production lines, that’s essentially it. But for anyone with an interest in aviation, I do recommend it. Quite the operation they have going!

Aviation Week continued on Friday when I went to the Museum of Flight at Boeing Field (south of downtown). While the Boeing tour might not be a showstopper, this museum most definitely is. There is a massive covered pavilion containing 19 fully assembled planes to look at and some to walk through! The walk through planes include a Concorde (A CONCORDE!!! A really for real real truly real Concorde!), the first Air Force One, the first 727 and 747 built, and the third 787 built. As soon as I got there, that was the first stop and then I walked through all the exhibits non-stop for the next 2 hours. It’s that huge of a museum. There’s a space section with a mock-up trainer of the Space Shuttle, a whole floor full of WWII planes, a whole floor full of WWI planes, Boeing’s first building (filled with exhibits), and then a main showroom with a bunch more full size planes including an SR-71!  To say the museum is mind-blowing is an understatement. I give it 5 out of 5 stars. Here are a few pics:

What else happened this week? Bagpipe lesson on Wed, hung out with Sally and Aaron last night, and I have finally started my job search. If you know anyone who wants to give me an awesome job, let me know.

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Seattle Part 3

ikea

Neighborhood

As mentioned in a previous entry, I live very near the Vashon ferry in the Fauntleroy area of West Seattle. I heard the ferry’s fog horn today while in my house. It is quite loud and I expect sometimes it’ll startle me. Not quite wet-your-pants loud, but more of a scare-a-fart-out loud.  10/21/17 revision: It is not that loud. I’m a dork. I expect to be hearing a lot more of it soon since it appears the rain and fog are about to set in, but since the ferry schedule is frequent, I think the sound will quickly fade into the background.

Looking out the window today, I realized that when the rainy season finally arrives, I will be living in the town from the Goonies. Remember how picturesque it was? Beautiful houses built into the hills, mist rolling over the treetops, and everything descending right to the ocean front. This stock picture is actually from my neighborhood. Gorgeous, eh?

fauntleroy

The architecture in the area is beautiful and the sheer variety of it is outstanding. I already see myself taking a stroll on a drizzly morning, walking down to the beach, sitting on a log, pondering life, occasionally scared $hitless by the sudden blast of a fog horn, and then walking back up the hill to get coffee and a donut here. I really do hope I am able to fully appreciate it all, especially while I’m not working and have time to take things easy.

Below is a better view of my neighborhood. The wooded area with the pool is Lincoln Park. My house is at the top of the picture (see arrow). I’ve really been blessed with a great first abode in Seattle. I am very thankful Jesus saw fit to provide me a primo location and cool landlord so near awesome friends.

Lincoln Park pool

 

IKEA

Sally and I went to IKEA today. It’s the second time I’ve been. Funny thing, the first time I went was also with Sally on the east coast when her and Aaron lived in Connecticut. I decided I like IKEA. So much affordable furniture in a gargantuan warehouse! It would make the best ever venue for playing hide-and-seek, hands down. You would never find anyone. For the ‘it’ person to have any chance at all, you’d have to start with 1000 people and even then, hope is small they’d ever find one person. Not sure where I would hide…maybe in the shower of a bathroom mock up? For those of you who have been, where would you hide? Best hiding place gets a shout out! But I digress…. Yes, IKEA is awesome. As I am jobless, I unfortunately couldn’t spend that much money, but I sure would have liked to. And those mock-ups of whole apartments! It’s amazing how they make 374 square feet work so well. Kudos to you, IKEA people who make the magic happen. I’ll be back when I actually have a paycheck. To all my current and future friends, I hope you like IKEA furnishings.

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Seattle Part 2 of ?

Job Search

I decided before leaving Alaska that I was going to take the rest of the year off because…why not? I have some money in savings and figured when else am I going to have the opportunity to have a sabbatical before retirement? Well, as the days have turned into weeks and the weeks into a month, I’ve decided to go ahead and start looking for a job, but at a leisurely pace. That way, I can pick and choose from the hundreds of job offers I will receive (a bit too optimistic?). I figure starting the applications now will give me time to find a job that’s a great fit as opposed to just taking something in a few months because I have to. I will be revising my resume and (finally) creating a LinkedIn profile shortly. I’ve been told by some friends that headhunters will reach out once my profile is up and running. What do I want to do? Not exactly sure yet. My specialty is construction procurement and logistics, but I have a pretty wide skill set when it comes to supply chain management. I’d love to do something in aviation as I’ve always enjoyed airports and everything commercial aviation. I’m not thinking piloting or being a customer service rep or something like that. I actually don’t even know what I could/want to do, but would love to be around planes. There are also countless other industries in the area. Everything from tech (Microsoft) to supply chain (Amazon) to space travel (Space X, Blue Origin) to who knows what else. I’m pretty excited to see where I land.

Time-Fillers/Killers

I’ve spent my time here getting settled, running errands, hanging out with my good friends Sally and Aaron (just a couple miles away), and watching too much TV. But I am also taking bagpipe lessons. Yes, that is right. Soon (a few months?) I’ll be squeezing those pipes and making the most horrendous/beautiful sound you’ve ever heard. I’ve taken 5 or 6 lessons so far, but won’t actually play pipes until Feb or March. Everyone starts on a practice chanter (think elementary school recorder but longer and thinner with more holes) to get the finger work down and then graduate to the pipes. I’ve been taking 1-2 lessons per week and am making good progress. I can even play a tune from memory (and NO it’s not hot cross buns. It’s at least 1.5 times more difficult than that). Taking the pipe lessons allows for something to look forward to during the week and it gets me out of the house for a drive across town to Bellevue (20 miles away). I know you are all looking forward to seeing me in a kilt. I AM part Scottish after all. Here’s my teacher’s site. As you can see, he’s more than just a little accomplished. 

On the topic of time-fillers, I’ve also taken the bus downtown to the main library (how can a building so big have not so many books?). My landlord (he’s a really cool guy) and I are going to tour the Boeing plant in Everett next week. I will take a visit to the Museum of Flight sometime soon too. I know there are tons of things to do and I need to make myself do more of them. I am looking forward to meeting some more friends via church (or other means) quickly as doing some things is easier/more fun when there are multiple people. For those of you who have spent time in the area, do you have suggestions?

Also, may I add that Eddie Vedder (Pearl Jam) lives a mile from my house? In fact, Sally saw him one winter’s day as he was going sledding with his daughter.  Sally also knows the lady who used to be engaged to the lead singer of Mother Love Bone before he OD’d in 1990. I feel I am very with the grunge scene here due to proximity of acquaintance.

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Seattle – On to a New Adventure!

My official one month anniversary (Oct 9) living in Seattle has come and gone. I’ve decided to re-start my blog (at least temporarily) to provide updates on my move in case you are curious what I’ve been up to. I’ll also be posting multiple entries so as to avoid a 30,000 word post. Think of it as an adventure series where every new post will be better than the last. Actually, don’t think of it that way…you’ll be let down. Think of it as a mildly entertaining way to spend 10 minutes.

Housing
I signed a 6 month lease on a 1 br/1 bath apartment in the Fauntleroy area of West Seattle that I found via NextDoor. My awesome friend Sally posted an ad and my landlord Dan replied. He converted the downstairs of his split level into separate housing. For those of you who know the area, the Vashon ferry is literally right around the corner from where I am living. Lincoln Park and the beach is about a 10 minute walk one direction; a brew pub, sandwich shop, and a bakery (that makes the best donuts I’ve ever tasted) is a 2 minute walk the other direction. The apartment itself is approx. 500 sqft and modern. Unfortunately, it doesn’t have an oven, full size fridge, or dishwasher (#firstworldproblems). I purchased a small chest freezer to make up for the lack of freezer space and also an Instant Pot to act as a substitute for the oven. There is no sub for the dishwasher other than good ‘ole fashioned elbow grease. All things considered, it’s a sweet place!

As you’ve probably heard, housing everywhere in Seattle is ridiculously expensive. My place is $1800/mo (which includes all utilities, cable, internet). Yep, it’s nuts. The rent in the newer apt complexes can go for $2000 for 1br/1 baths and that’s before utilities. I am really hoping and praying the Lord provides me with a good paying job so I don’t have to be house poor or (God forbid) have to get a roommate.

I’ll most likely be moving after my lease is up to a place nearer wherever I find a job. One thing I learned my first week is that I don’t want to be commuting for an hour (or more) each direction. I don’t expect to be able to purchase a house here anytime soon (if ever) which leaves renting as the only viable option. I’ll see what Jesus provides.

Transportation
A bus line runs right in front of my house to downtown. I can be smack in the middle of downtown in 30-40 minutes without having to be concerned about traffic or parking (vs 20 mins in car when it’s not rush hour). It’s also a great bargain at $5 roundtrip. Using public transport here is more of a normal thing and makes more sense to use on a regular basis (as opposed to Anchorage where everything is so spread out and buses so infrequent, it makes traveling a major inconvenience). I haven’t taken the ferries or light rail yet, but will at some point.

As mentioned above, commuting is interesting. I’ve never lived in a place with traffic like this. There is a permanent slowdown on I-5 that runs through downtown from the hours of 5am-7pm. A couple weeks ago I met some Alaska friends in north Seattle for dinner. It took me an hour to go 16 miles during rush hour. Nuts, eh? Something else for me to get used to…

This is all for now. More to come over the next few days including such engaging topics as job search, travels, and bagpipes. Stay tuned!

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The Grossglockner High Alpine Road

Here’s a video I took of my descent down the north side of the Grossglockner. A friend loaned me a GoPro camera which I attached via a suction cup to the windshield.

Note all the traffic ascending…cars, motorcycles, bicycles, old cars…even motorcoaches! Quite the busy (and narrow) road. Also notice that the “guardrails” consist of small stone pillars. I don’t think they’d stop anything from going over the edge. But it was a beautiful drive.

 

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Europe 2013 photos

Here’s the link to my Europe 2013 photos.

https://plus.google.com/photos/118234166307261161620/albums/5910967714101977537?authkey=CLSSzbamy8vo9gE

 

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