"When I die, I'm donating my body to science fiction."
"The future isn't what it used to be."
-Arthur C. Clarke
It's my 200th post! So in honor of this rather meaningless milestone, I traveled all the way out to Washington state just to get this photo of the Space Needle. Well ok, I was forced to be in Seattle for work, but I made the best of a bad situation and toured around the city a bit, and spent some time with Jordan and Alison, friends of mine who live in the area whom I'd known from Germany. Jordan is famous for his dance moves at the Bavarian Biker Fest (and has the neck-scars to prove it!) and Alison is famous for her drunken instigation of little Danish hot dog fights. Also I got to see Emily, another friend from Germany, who was in the area on rather suspicious business one afternoon and who is famous for breaking T-bars over fellow snowboarder's heads in fits of amazing pique. Ah good times, good times.
Anyway, Seattle is a very cool city, although I must say that I'm very disappointed to not have seen one single flannel the entire time I was there! Very sad. It's almost as if, collectively, it is a city ashamed of it's grungy flash in the pan. The absolute COOLEST part of the city, without a doubt, and I'm sure you already know what I'm going to say because it's the coolest thing in the universe (that we know of) and it's in Seattle so of course you know where I'm going; is the Science Fiction Museum.
I was soooooo happy when I realized this place existed, and that I was in Seattle to experience it. This museum kicked so much butt. You weren't allowed to take photos inside, which really really frustrated me. Here I was, in the coolest museum I'd ever been in... and I was impotent. The no photo rule didn't stop me from trying to be all surreptitious of course, but the few shots I managed to sneak wound up coming out rather blurry and not worth keeping, because I was too busy looking around for the mean kling-on security guard. I did keep one or two photos, blurry and badly composed as they are. But I'll get to those in a minute. They had a ton of first edition science fiction classics in there that I would steal in a second. (Uh, if I did that sort of thing, which I don't.) By authors I had been sure that only I knew about. James Blish. Fritz Leiber. Theodore Sturgeon. Stanislaw Lem. Pierre Boulle, Robert Heinlein, Philip K. Dick. And... they were in places of honor. It was like heaven. They even had Iain M. Banks and Vernor Vinge, two of my more modern favorites, along with of course all the big easy ones. Asimov. Clarke. Niven. Anderson. A first edition of Childhood's End, (by Clarke) the first sci-fi novel to blow my mind and which made me ravenous for more. No Rudy Rucker though that I saw... a major oversight.
They had displays of movie items too, of course. Props from famous sci-fi movies and franchises; the dress that Sean Young wore in Blade Runner, a Storm Trooper armor suit, the original model of the Death Star used in Star Wars, (Where the no photo rule would have literally had me pulling out my hair, if I had any. As it was, I was in agony. The security ape would not leave! I think he was on to me.) the little talking bear from A.I., the Terminator robot, Robby the Robot. (Robby the freaking Robot!) Captain Kirk's command chair. Anybody recognize this?
Yes, that's right! It's the Pit Bull. Griff Tannen's anti-gravity skateboard from Back To The Future II. Totally. Sweet.
My favorite thing about the Sci-Fi Museum though is that, you know how in normal like, arty-farty museums, you'll see collections of snooty arty-farty junk, with little plaques next to them that say snooty stuff like "Kindly donated from the prestigious collection of Snooty McVandersnot"? Well, it's only at the Sci-Fi Museum that you'll find Star Wars action figures donated from the collection of Gus Lopez!
Yeah, it says "From the collection of Gus Lopez"... kind of hard to read, I know. But I had Had HAD to get this picture, and I was very nervous that that security clown was going to come around the corner before I got the chance. Plus the light was all dark and science fictiony. Oh well.
After the titillating thrill of the Science Fiction museum, the rest of Seattle rather paled. I re-visited Pike Place (I'd been there about 12 years ago on my way back from Alaska) and had a coffee at the original Starbuck's. I don't like Starbuck's coffee... too acidy. I like my coffee stronger and with the coffee machines having been cleaned out every once in a while. BUT, it's the very first Starbuck's coffee shop ever, it's a great success story, it was right there, and I am a traveling glory-hound, after all.
Oh sure, I did other stuff. I went up the Space Needle, rode a ferry from Bainbridge Island to Seattle, saw the world famous Giant Shoe Museum. Hell I even worked a little. But none of it is really as exciting as, well you know. That awesome genius science fiction museum, of course.
Jordan was kind enough to let me crash at his parent's house (they were on vacation) with him and Alison for a few nights, which saved me a few bucks on a hotel room. Very cool. Good to see them. When old Chiemseers get together, many tales of German hilarity along with German beer will inevitably flow. I flew out of Seattle on the 12th straight down to Fort Lauderdale Florida, where I am at the moment. Again for work. It's rather a hum-drum area... I've been here before, back in January. I just think it's neat I went from one corner of the continental US to the other. What a great job.
Oh, just in case not everybody has noticed, something else happened this past week which made me extreeeeemely happy: The military officer who arrested me in Iraq for being snotty to him found and commented on my blog! Specifically on the original post where I told that story. Nothing has made me that kind of happy for a really long time. You can read the post, his comment, and my response in the original spot, here. I really hope he comes back... unless he's going to arrest me for being snotty to him again of course. I won't be needing any more of that.
Shoes of Mystery? Sheesh.