|Tai Chi: Fighting Slow Invisible Ninjas|
First things first. I practice Tai Chi under Master Yijiao Hong at the Chinese Wushu And Tai Chi Accademy. About once a year or so, we're asked to make a public demonstration, usually at the Armory of the Seattle Center, and usually for a cultural festival (The one was "A Glimpse of China: Chinese Culture and Arts Festival"). This year, we performed four demonstrations - two Tai Chi forms, and two Tai Chi Sword forms (I performed in the two Tai Chi forms, while the Lovely Bride did those and one of the sword forms as well). It was enjoyable, and the other presentations over the afternoon included other martial artists, dance troupes, musicians and about thirty small children dressed up as ducklings (who were very, very cute).
This, year, in addition, we were asked to perform at the Chihuly Garden and Glass Museum next to the armory. The garden/museum is a new thing, and just celebrating its first anniversary. The entire complex is built on the site of the former Fun Forest, a small, weathered amusement complex that needed renovation, but not elimination. The museum turned this Fun Forest into an enclosed glass garden with a price tag enough to keep one at bay, unless one was a Chihuly fan, which I was not.
|Yes, I know. I look like a snowball.|
The garden is built around a glass structure used for private functions (every museum needs at least one of these in these multi-tasked, fundraising days), and it was within this oversized greenhouse, dominated by crystaline flowers overhead, that we did the second performance of the day. And we actually did pretty well at that (my personal fear is always that I will stand on one leg and, topheavy, go sprawling over backwards - much of my style can be described as "staying upright"). It was well-received (we drew a crowd) and it was in one of the places where you could swing a sword without worrying about taking out any valuable, valuable, artwork.
|Who ordered the Flying Polyp?|
Two performances in one day were a bit much for me, particularly since I overdid myself and tried to get lower for moves like "Snake Creeps Down". It left me limping back to the car, and I began a long sojourn north to celebrate another version of Cthulhu - this time in a children's book.
But let me whine a bit about traffic. To native Seattlites, the "Mercer Mess", which stretches from the I-5 to the Seattle Center, is a legendary chunk of road, famous for its congestion, renowned for its utter badness. And any attempt to fix the damned thing is going to involve some additional heartache. But to close it where Mercer meets the north-south I-99 is the equivalent of delivering a Vulcan Nerve Pitch to the city. In my case, rather than face the traffic, I tried secondary routes up Queen Anne, found the secondary routes equally clotted, and spent about 45 minutes limping back to the highway, as if my vehicle had down two sets of demos and crouched too much for "Snake Creeps Down".
North was my goal, for the AFK Tavern. The AFK is a gamer bar, board games at the ready, food items names after pop cult fantasy and science fiction, video screens showing Starcraft games in process. It is up in Everett, because apparently King County adds Bar+Games and gets Casino, and after getting lost around the Alderwood Mall, got there.
|Sort of like La Belle Epoque, but with more d20s.|
We feasted on Shoggoth's Eyes (scotch eggs) and drank local beers (a very pale beer called White 'N Nerdy"). It was a long, long drive back, and today I am paying for my city-trotting socializing with aching knees. But still, one of those Saturdays that makes me appreciate living out here in the Pacific NW, even if it means I have to deal with the Mercer Mess.
(Tai Chi pictures by Yijiao Hong, AFK picture by Rodney Thompson, Flying polyp picture by Unamit Ahazredit. Remember to make you SAN checks).