Tuesday, September 04, 2012

On the road again

Another summer swing calling Mariners games. This one took me to Seattle, Chicago, and Minneapolis. Proving I’m the king of great timing, I arrived in Seattle the day after Felix Hernandez threw his perfect game. But I was there for Hempfest so it’s kind of a push.  This is part one of my travelogue.  The Chicago & Minnesota portions follows tomorrow.  And additional photos were posted yesterday.

My arrival to the Emerald City also brought with it a record heat wave. It reached 95 on August 17th. I think the previous record high for that day was 74. Other than in cars, there’s maybe three air conditioning units and eighteen fans in the entire city. People were plotzing, but none more so than that poor troupe of actors who did Shakespeare in a local park complete with costumes of thick wool and felt. “Heat not a furnace for your foe so hot that it do singe yourself.”

Ironically, the scheduled Mariner giveaway on the hottest night of the year: fleece blankets. Fortunately, by the next night it was 60.

Stayed at the Silver Cloud, which I just assumed was an Indian Casino. Imagine my disappointment when Tony Orlando and Dawn were not headlining. It’s a nice hotel directly across the street from the ballpark. But it’s also near railroad tracks. And by “near” I mean the trains go right through your room. Every night from midnight to two it was like the opening scene of SUPER 8. I tried to take an Ambien but the room shook so hard the pills all flew out of the bottle.

Lots of TV ads of mothers advocating the legalization of marijuana in Washington. Somehow I can’t picture June Cleaver doing those ads. For one thing she’d put Eddie Haskell out of business.

But that was just a small part of Hempfest – a three-day celebration of pot that attracted 150,000 Cheech & Chongs. There were “Legalize Marijuana” rallies, concerts, bong sales, and by the end of the weekend not a bag of Oreos could be found on any market shelf.

My wife Debby joined me for the first weekend. We immediately made a beeline for Japanessa. Their sushi is so awesome and innovative that God Himself uses them to cater His anime festival viewing parties.

Skipped the new Ferris Wheel down by the waterfront. Rides cost $13. For that money you better see Hawaii.

Went to a funky little neighborhood on Lake Union called Fremont that bills itself “the center of the universe.” Their annual Solstice parade features nude cyclists. The town motto is "De Libertas Quirkas" - or, "Free to be Peculiar". The bikini wax shop had a stuffed beaver in the window holding the OPEN sign. Other goofy attractions include “The troll under the bridge” – a large statue of an ogre crushing a Volkswagen (Detroit porn), a chocolate factory – tons of orgasmic free samples (“Fifty Shades of Brown”), a 1950’s cold war rocket, statue of Vladimir Lenin, and a portion of the eleven-foot high Berlin Wall (reminding us of a time when the East-West was sharply divided and taggers were shot).

Lunched at a little bistro that proclaimed: “we believe in animal compassion.” Not sure what that means but the steak was delicious and Debby enjoyed her chicken.

Seattle’s famous Space Needle is fifty years old. Overheard during a tour:  Guide: “It was constructed in less than a year.” Tourist: “Really?  Isn't that a little quick?” Guide: “Well, there were no safety regulations then.”

Big excitement the day Felix Hernandez pitched following his perfect game. 39,000 fans all decked out in King Felix T-shirts. The entire stadium was a sea of yellow although a number of Hempfest attendees thought they were trapped in a giant poppy field. Could Felix do it again? Could he throw a second perfect game in a row? I’d really be on hand for history then! The first batter in the first inning singled to right.

I also used this stint with the M’s to promote my new book, THE ME GENERATION… BY ME (GROWING UP IN THE ‘60s). In Seattle I had a signing at the Mariners’ Team Store, and without sounding too immodest, more books were sold than broken bats.

The next night two nimrods broke into the Team Store and stole sixteen Ichiro jerseys that were on sale for half-price. Thank God they didn’t get any of my books! I’m sure it will not be hard for authorities to round up these heinous criminals. Just look for sixteen cretins all wearing Ichiro jerseys with the price tags still attached.

The Mariners swept the Twins and the Indians. We flew to Chicago with an 8-game winning streak. I said on the air that the team’s new slogan should be: “Mariners baseball – where anything can happen and actually DOES.”

On to Chicago...

Note:  My book of travelogues -- WHERE THE HELL AM I?  TRIPS I HAVE SURVIVED -- is still available on Amazon.  Kindle version is only $3.99.  Don't leave home without it.  


Mike said...

I tried to take an Ambien but the room shook so hard the pills all flew out of the bottle.
Speaking of Special Guest Appearances.

John said...

The hotel story reminds me of about 25 years ago, in Wilcox, Ariz. Stayed in a Super 8 right by the Southern Pacific Railroad tracks, and they didn't stop running their trains at 2 a.m. I learned don't stay in interstate towns out west were all the motels are on the old highway next to the tracks, and you could actually get Joe Franklin on WWOR at 2 in the morning at a Super 8 in Wilcox, Ariz.

I think the Space Needle's tour guide meant to say it was constructed in less than a year because they didn't have tort lawyers back in 1961. I believe they were created in the late 1960s to fill the commercial spots on the morning syndicated talk shows.

Paul Duca said...

How often does the L on the "PUBLIC MARKET" sign burn out?20

Mike Barer said...

Next time, maybe a book signing in the Crossroads Barnes and Nobles in Bellevue. I would definitely see you then!

By Ken Levine said...

I LOVE that bookstore. Spent many hours there when I lived in Bellvue. Glad to see it's still around.

Breadbaker said...

Fremont is the neighborhood next to ours. When my parents were celebrating their 65th anniversary, we took pictures of ourselves in front of all those statues wearing t-shirts commemorating their anniversary, plus we clad both the Waiting for the Interurban sculpture and the Dave Niehaus statue at Safeco with them, and had an announcement on the DiamondVision in their honor.

Paul B said...

Never mind Oreos sold out, the Malomars never even made it on to the shelves!

Phillip B said...

An enviable summer....