Monday, August 18, 2003

The Blog Goes Ever On and On

So, I'm slowly expanding the reach of this blog, and with it the number of people that I am letting in on it. Most recently, its my brother Scott, who apparently entertains his fellow workers with news from the Left Coast. Hi Scott!

So as the group changes and expands, so too will my mental concept of who I'm writing for. Right now its 1) Friends and family back east who want to check in without having to stage a phone conversation 2) Local friends who want to be entertained without having to buy me a beer, and 3) Random strangers who wander in. If this changes, I'll post an update.

On The Road Again

The worst part of my job is the commute from Renton to Bellevue. An hour out of my life, every day. Seattle has a rep for horrible traffic. Horrible is, of course, in the mind of the driver. My most perilous high-speed trips have been in the Chicago area (where its 70 MPH bumper to bumper and its seems like all the drivers are telepathic EXCEPT YOU). My most nerve-wracking trips are in Pittsburgh (where major roads have people's driveways opening out on them, and people think that turn signals are an invasion of privacy).

Seattle is by comparison, not bad at all. Its a 15 mile trip and takes me about 30-40 minutes to make (meaning I'm going an average of 30 miles an hour - oh, the horror!). I snake my way off the East Hill, going down Benson, with a great view of the Olympics (now almost shorn of snow) in the western distance. I jog around the east side of downtown Renton, and dodge down Park Avenue, which plunges through the heart of Renton's ever-shrinking Boeing operation (One part of its parking lots has become a Frye's Electronic Store, while the Cirque Du Soliel has set up its tents in another part).

At this point in the trip I get an idea of how the traffic is on 405 North, the main north/south highway on the eastern side of the lake. Usually its heavy but smooth, but if its completely clotted, I take a left onto Lake Washington Drive. Its a slow (25 mph) drive with a wonderful view of the Lake, with the spires of the Emerald City on the far side. In the spring, before the leaves come in, you can see bald eagles in the trees.

Lake Washington crosses back over 405 for another check of how heavy the traffic is. If its still heavy, I loop up through Newport before rejoining 405 (it is pretty much impossible to get to Bellevue without using 405, unless you take a BIG loop eastwards). The highway is usually thick through to the I90 interchange. Then I get off before the main Bellevue exits (which are heavily under construction right now), and overland it to the WizKids, which is on Main Street next to the Lexus dealership, with a view of 405 south so I know how bad traffic is for going home.

Its really not bad at all - I hardly even need to car pool, since most of the trip is off the highway. Most of the complaints about Seattle traffic usually revolve around trying to get into town over one of the main bridges, but even that's not horrible if you have books on tape (and yes, I do). The only weird thing is that it has helped turn me into a morning person, to beat the worst of the rush. As a result, I'm usually turning on the lights in our department. And thats one of the weirder things I've been doing since starting the new job.

More later,