I’m currently in the process of putting together the Halloween Kitsch Roundup post which, given the impending arrival of Halloween, should be posted by the end of the week or the whole thing is going to turn out to be a rather pointless exercise. In the meantime, here’s a few random thoughts from the past couple of weeks:
- It’s a rather odd feeling to find yourself quitting a perfectly good job after you’ve only been there for a week and a half, especially since I don’t think I’ve had the opportunity to voluntarily quit a job in quite a long time. In retrospect, there was one job that I really should have quit long before I was mercifully shown the door (the tech support job from which much of my material for Sledgehammer 1.0 and much of my cynicism toward my fellow man came) and a couple which I probably would have considered quitting if not for the fact that there weren’t a lot of better alternatives available at the time, but most of the time I would either hit the mandatory 100-day break in service Microsoft imposes on contractors or I’d be informed with little to no notice that my contract was coming to an end. You’d think after all the times I’ve had to deal with the latter situation I wouldn’t feel guilty about being the one to quit a contract (with the standard two-week notice) but to be honest it’s a situation that I’d rather avoid if possible. Nonetheless, sometimes the choice ends up being between a good thing and a better thing, and this is one of those times. I’ll discuss it in a bit more detail in a future post, but for now I’ll just say that I’ve received a very generous full-time offer that not only lets me finally get away from contracting, but also reduces my daily commute to an easy 2 1/2 block walk. I have nothing against the team or the company I’ve been working for, and would gladly remain here for some time under different circumstances, but this opportunity is just too good to pass up.
- In the meantime, I’m still on the above mentioned contract for another week and a half. As you might have seen last week, I’ve already written a previous post talking about some of the gastric misadventures I’ve encountered in the culinary Purgatory known as the Columbia Center food court. In spite of my better judgment I have attempted several more meals there over the past few days. I’m not trying to say that there’s anything particularly wrong with the place, but so far every lunch I have had there has in one way or another turned out, well… disastrous. The Chicken Tikka Masala from the Indian place seemed reasonable enough, but led to some rather interesting (for lack of a better word) gastric consequences on the opposite end. Even the chain restaurants in the building seem to just be somehow off. Fortunately there’s plenty of decent alternatives in the surrounding neighborhood, which is a good thing because if there weren’t I’d probably have to live off smoothies (the one thing I’ve had here that hasn’t been messed up yet) for the next couple of weeks.
- And it’s not just the food court that seems a little off in this building either. What you see above is another of Columbia Center’s dubious features, a little corridor that I have dubbed the Deadly Tunnel of Elevator Music. It’s a tunnel that runs under Fifth Avenue and connects Columbia Center to the Seattle Municipal Building and the Bank of America Fifth Avenue Tower across the street, and as the name implies, it’s full of blaringly loud elevator music. Well, maybe not actual elevator music (can you even get real elevator music anywhere these days?) but it’s the type of unrelentingly generic jazzlike substance that would certainly feel right at home in one of Otis’ finest. In addition to the music, the glass panels you see on the walls have lights behind them that fade on and off at pseudo-random intervals that I’m guessing are supposed to be artistic in one form or another, but mostly serve to make it look like there’s some sort of unresolved wiring issue that someone’s too lazy to bother fixing. Given the alternatives, if I had to go across to one of the other buildings I’d take my chances with the crosswalks. They’ve got to be less dangerous.
- Then there’s this painting in the portion of the building’s lobby which is occupied by the bank branch. Apparently it depicts the 43rd annual running of the world-famous Regatta of Suspiciously Identical Sailboats. Either that, or someone’s over in Bank of America’s decorating department has been buying artwork by the square yard again.
- Finally, as I’ve been commuting into downtown Seattle on a daily basis again, I’ve noticed a bit of an odd phenomenon as I ride on these escalators in and out of the Pioneer Square station of the bus tunnel. Unlike most of the escalators in the bus tunnel that can accommodate people two wide, these ones are only wide enough for one person at a time. They are also, as you can see, quite long. This means that if you just stand there and ride up it can take quite a long time to reach the top. It also means that if you do so, there’s a good chance that you’ll be holding up quite a few people behind you who might otherwise be walking up the steps to get to the top more quickly. As I’ve ridden up this escalator, I’ve noticed that quite often ifr you start walking up the stairs you can get the people who are behind you to start walking up too, regardless of what their intent might have otherwise been. By the same token, if someone starts walking up the steps in front of you, there’s a certain pressure to start walking up yourself, lest you end up being the one who’s holding everyone else (who otherwise probably wouldn’t have cared either way) up. It’s an interesting little phenomenon, but is probably of little practical use.
- Finally, since I had originally intended to turn this into a photo dump post as well before I got sidetracked, I’ll throw out this nice little pricetag fail that I saw a few weeks ago at Fry’s. Everyone’s a critic, I guess.