Anyway! On Friday, Dec. 28, 2007, baphnedia came up for a visit. He didn't have much time- just Friday night and Saturday morning and afternoon, starting at the Seattle Greyhound station and ending at the Seattle Amtrak station. This provides slightly challenging logistics given that I live in Redmond, not Seattle, and I had "work" Friday. I use "work" in quotes because I was the only person on the Debugger team actually in the office, so I didn't have a whole lot to test since everything I had to do got closed out before anybody else arrived.
This turned out to be practical, because it gave me a chance to be glad I have a good text-message plan and plenty of spare cell minutes to coordinate details of transportation, things to do, and where to stay. I am surprised to discover that the Mariott where I stayed for my job interview at Microsoft is actually the cheapest place around- I'm used to thinking of that as a high-priced motel, so that seems absolutely insane, but it's either that or stay in Seattle proper- which of course has higher land costs. I guess it's only cheap because there aren't any low-price competitors in the region- at least not any I found with map services.
Anyway, there's only so much I can do after work in the evening on a Friday when my apartment is a mess and dinner is an experiment in questionable wisdom (tip of the day: no, you can't make a passable equivalent of General Tso's Chicken in a crock-pot). But there's that bookstore! I've mentioned it a few times before- Soulfood Books, a place up in Redmond; it's got free music every Friday and Saturday night. So we worked out that he'd take bus 545 right after getting off the Greyhound (nothing like going from bus to bus to bus...) and take it up to as close to the bookstore as it gets, after which he'd proceed on foot. This posed the challenge of finding somewhere to stash his luggage, given that he wouldn't be able to go to his hotel first if he wanted to see any part of the music, but Clint (the owner of the bookstore) is cool; we figured he'd be tolerant of the inconvenience and figure something out.
Serendipity: n. When the scheduled musician doesn't realize he's got two hours to fill, sets up for a one-hour show, performs it, and leaves, and (about two songs before said scheduled performer leaves) here comes this dude from Kansas, on a trip, carrying- among other things- his violin...
All things considered, I think Baph got a very good idea of what that bookstore is like. After a brief break to regroup, Clint performed, the usual procedure for when the regularly-scheduled musician cancels; there are more than a few advantages to having the owner of the bookstore more than enthusiastic to head up on stage and start playing. One of the baristas sang (sometimes along to his playing, sometimes just solo), demonstrating that people with excellent voices and ability to use it can show up anywhere, and Baph then got his turn to perform. (Clint had fun with the lightboard when he started proving that violins can indeed do a fair approximation of heavy metal.) Towards the end of the evening, he played along with Clint.
Clint later thanked me for bringing Baph; he was more than a little amused by the coincidences and timing involved himself, and they traded contact information- Baphnedia, you better plan for a full two hour performance next time you're in the area on a Friday or Saturday! Clint's cheerful and enthusiastic gratitude allows me to add "a bookstore owner" to my running list of "people who have hugged me who, without context, I probably wouldn't have expected to hug me" (along with two janitors, a library staffer, a vice president of a museum, and several others I can't really think of off the top of my head after a long day at work). That was enough for one evening.
Saturday was a trip back to Seattle- carrying, of course, all of Baphnedia's luggage (given that we didn't want to try to go back to Redmond just to go back to Amtrak Seattle). The Seattle Museum of Science Fiction is becoming a standby for me as somewhere to bring visitors, I think; it's interesting, and I get a good discount. Unfortunately, they were restructuring it, so a good 1/3 of it was closed. At least it's a double admission, leading to the Experience Music Project as a second choice- we didn't get through half of that before we decided we had to go eat and get some plans to head back to the Amtrak station. As a result of Baphnedia's memory, I now know of a good reasonably-priced place to eat in downtown Seattle, and I think I'll head back there next time I go back- not sure when that'll be, but it'll be sometime, because it's an interesting place to just walk around.
So... yeah, baphnedia, it was really cool to get to meet you, and I will have the shoulder rest for your violin sent out before the end of the week, promise. Sorry I can't do better, but it's based on when I think I can get to a shipping company by bus around my work schedule while they're open...
And on New Year's Day itself, Rakeela and I made cookies, which is probably the most practical way to spend a holiday I know.