We just got back from a great vacation. We spent a week in the Pacific Northwest- 4 days in Seattle and 3 in Portland.
Seattle feels a little unsafe as you walk around the city. I’m certainly used to cities with homeless populations, but it felt more menacing in Seattle. And it seemed like the quality of a neighborhood changed from block to block. This may have had a lot to do with the fact that I was unfamiliar with my surroundings, but I do think there’s a bit of a scary heroin induced undercurrent out there. That being said, we were able to walk everywhere and see all the sights around the city- the fish throwers at Pike Place Market, the Chihuly museum, the Space Needle. Our favorite part, though, was the EMP museum. EMP stands for Experience Music Project, but it was more than just music. It was pop culture in general- movies, tv and music.
We took Amtrak from Seattle to Portland. These are old school trains with sleeping cars and dining cars and lounges. The route is quite scenic and the lounge cars have big floor to ceiling windows. The train also had a pair of guides from the Parks Service on board, who made announcements when we passed things like Mt St Helens, notable rivers whose names I don’t remember and other sights. It was cool.
Portland is a better city than Seattle. I think its because its about 5 years behind, development-wise. It still feels like a small city. But it was great restaurants, clean streets, varied food carts, a million micro-brews and Powell’s books, which, I think, is the largest new and used book store in the world. I could have spent an entire day there, but thank god Danielle was there to pull me out of my bookstore haze.
We saw friends in both cities and had a really wonderful time. But what was our favorite activity during the entire week? It’s a two way tie.
One night, after a day spent walking around Bainbridge Island, we decided to just stay in. We ordered a pizza and watched Parks and Rec reruns on the couch. And on our second to last day in Portland, we ate breakfast at the hotel and then had a couple of hours to kill before checkout. We sat on the bed and watched old Will and Grace episodes.
I am what I am. Even after flying all the way across the country, I will always prefer doing nothing to doing anything else in the world.
First Class by Delta Airlines
We used our miles (ALL of our miles) to make the trip in first class. But, in order to use those miles we had to make connecting flights in Detroit (no joke-great airport) and fly late at night. This means no fancy first class meals. But, there were plenty of drinks and snacks. And plenty of room in our seats. But, the thing that really makes flying first class worth it is being able to board first. No waiting, no worries about fitting our bags in the overhead, no fuss, no muss. Totally worth it. And in 20 years we will have once again accumulated enough miles to do it again.
Deadpool by Tim Miller
I watched four movies during the two long flights between Detroit and Seattle and then Portland and Detroit. The first was Deadpool, which was funny. I liked how self reverential it was to both action movies in general and the Marvel universe specifically. There wasn’t much plot but, since I don’t generally care about the ongoing Marvel movie series, that was fine with me.
Sing Street by John Carney
I really liked this movie, about a kid in Ireland starting a band with his friends during the 80’s. It’s a small, simple independent movie that I never would have thought twice about if my brother hadn’t suggested it. But, its really good. Watch it.
Hello, My Name is Doris by Michael Showalter
Another smallish movie, this one directed by former member of the State and Stella, Michael Showalter and starring Sally Field, Max Greenfield and Tyne Daly, playing my favorite character in the film. Its about Field falling for a much younger man and how that impacts both of their lives. Good movie.
Sisters by Paula Pell
Tina Fey, Amy Poehler, Ike Barinholdtz, Maya Rudolph, John Cena (!) So, it’s funny. It’s not earth shattering funny. Its not an all time classic, which that cast could have been, but it’s worth watching.
Stranger Things by the Duffer Brothers
I have only binge watched two things in my life. I watched the first season of Homeland in one 9 hour blur. And Danielle and I watched this Netflix series in two days. We had read a lot about it beforehand. And most of that was about how it included visual homages to any number of 1980’s movies. Well, I figured out pretty quick that, if you spend your time looking for those, you’ll end up getting distracted from the plot. And that’s too bad, because its a good plot. I don’t usually like sci-fi/horror stuff, but I really liked this. Also, why doesn’t Winona Ryder age?
Footloose by Herbert Ross
This is the original from 1984 with Kevin Bacon, John Lithgow and Diane Wiest. Turns out, I had never seen it. This should not be shocking, as the list of movies I have never seen is vast and varied. But, it came on IFC yesterday and Danielle stopped to watch it. I was surprised by the fact that the Lithgow character was more nuanced than I expected from a stupid 80’s movie. He wasn’t entirely bad. Just misguided. Also, the whole town is scared about the dangers of kids dancing, yet no one bats an eye when every teenager in town rides motorcycles with no helmets. Anyway, that’s my review of a movie that came out 32 years ago. Thank you for reading.