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Thank you Seattle! I had a great time!


Meeting friends is somehow easier when traveling

(Written on July 10)

One day, I was walking for about an hour through the streets of Wallingford, Seattle. Then I reached the Gasworks park – one of the most interesting spots I found yet. People my age were hanging out all over – playing frisbee, volleyball, or drums. Sitting and watching the sunset. Or, in one case, having a picnic.

I spent an hour retreated to the shade, catching up with my friend Sarah. I tell you – those inline microphone/headphones are amazing. So much more comfortable than holding up a phone to your ear. Thanks to them, I spent quite a lot of time just walking down streets and chatting with old friends.

An hour later, though, the sun had set some more, and I could venture forward into the open ground. These fine people were having a picnic. Now, I noticed that I was scared of approaching them – they looked so happy! But defeating shyness is important so off I went “Hi! I don’t know anyone here. Can I join you?”

And so I did. These were a bunch of cool kids who all did an MA program that doubled as summer nature camp.

It’s funny – these were quality people I’d’ve enjoyed being real friends with if I stayed in Seattle. But if I actually lived there, I doubt I’d would have found them. Nor could I find these people through meetup, or other online “answers” to the “I’m lonely” problem.

Maybe having adventures like this takes a certain mindset. It’s easy enough when traveling – but takes effort when sedentary.


Anarchist spaces and hackerspaces

(July 9, 2014)

After visiting Black Coffee, I strolled down the street to visit the long-standing “Left Bank Books”. Thanks to a peculiar form of rent control, it was an oasis of bookish calm surrounded by the high-rent tourist destination of the Pike Street Market.

Of course, parts of the market weren’t bad.

Like this sign:

Or this chalk-graffiti pig:

Seattle has its own AT-AT style cranes too:

But eventually I had to travel back east to hang out at a(nother) feminist makerspace – the Seattle Attic.

I took to it from the start. Mercedes Lackey is awesome!

A look into the space:

Room 1:

Room 2:

The people here were, with a few exceptions, friendly and forthcoming. They were the sort people I hung out with in late middle school / early high school – earnest. Into knitting and books. Confident in an offbeat way. I felt at home

After the Seattle Attic (which the great Sumana tipped me off to), I headed to another space in Seattle – more of a hackerspace than a makerspace.

This was a quite different space. More men, of course. Seems like everyone there had a connection to Microsoft. A guy was showing off a project he was working on for over a year – a way to use the Kinect API to mix and remix sound instantaneously through hand signals. He called it Holofunk Danceparty. It was awesome.

Two different models: Mercedes Lackey vs Holofunk. Both felt comfortable, in their own way. But neither represents me or my aspirations any more. I still haven’t found a space or community that I’m truly at ease with. Onwards to more searching!


The hip anarchist cafe in Seattle is called “Black Coffee”

It’s pretty baller!

On my second day in Seattle, a friend of mine mentioned “Black Coffee Coop”, so I looked it up. Another anarchist cafe! Cool. I went and checked it out.

The outside has a cool little stand, and also chalkings like this:

You know how its hard to tell insurrectionary anarchists apart from the houseless sometimes? A dozen people like that were milling outside. The outside also had a great wall of fliers.

The inside is even cooler, but no one is allowed to be photographed inside. Bookshelves, tons of couches and outlets, an upstairs space. It’s a bustling cafe in the heart of town. Seems like business is going well, though I was talking to a worker-owner there and he admitted that he payed himself almost nothing in order to keep the place running.

You might remember the other color-themed anarchist cafe in the pacific NW – red and black cafe. Turns out that R&B gave Black Coffee a ton of advice when they started out. Cool!

(I’m told there is a big banner from a Rochester group (Metro Justice? Red and Black?) hanging prominently there. I didn’t see it, though I wasn’t looking too hard)

You might remember the other color-themed anarchist cafe in the pacific NW – red and black cafe. Turns out that R&B gave Black Coffee a ton of advice when they started out. Cool!

Even the bathroom was rad.


A strange conversation

I spent my first full day in Seattle mostly in front of a laptop. Yeah, I know. :-/

Went to a tea house, got a really fancy setup – teapot, milk, cup, special tea strainer, tea cozy, pot of hot water. I wrote about 15 blog posts, I talked to a friend in CT for her birthday, tried to figure out what to do next. 

I was there all day. So I moved around to let people sit in my seat, said hello to strangers, met someone who writes for ReadWriteWeb. You know how I do.

THEN. A woman walks up to me – “Hey! I noticed how you were making friends and being helpful all day. I wanted to introduce myself”.

We ended up talking for an hour. About life. About boyfriends and commitment. How men in the US (in her experience) are looking for hookups instead of relationships. Her new-agey life coach business.

We ended up talking about me. How I tend to lead with the heart, and then get burned by it. Her advice was a bit hard for me to understand. As far as I can tell – “Let the haters hate. Lead from the heart and be genuine. But also make sure you trust someone before doing so.”

So which is it?

In talking to me, I suspect she was looking for long-term boyfriend material, so when it was clear that I’m not that for her (for one thing, I don’t live in Seattle), she moved on.

Weird conversation. Seattle is quirky!