Go up to Kerry Park (78)

Kerry Park has been on my list to do once I learned I was going to graduate school in Seattle. I had seen photos taken from this picturesque location and was stunned by the great viewpoint of downtown Seattle. What brought me to Kerry Park for the first time was not actually my list, but rather another assignment. I am currently in a group where we are required to make a video, so I decided to head to Kerry Park to shoot some b-roll and watch the sunset over the sound.

My journey actually starts at a beer store in Wallingford called Bottleworks. At around 1 PM Bottleworks tweeted that they had a beer I was looking for in stock, Stone Mint Chocolate Imperial Stout, so I quickly hopped on my bike to go grab a few bottles before they were all gone. Bottleworks is a great beer store, often getting rare beer but always having a great collection of craft beer. The growler bar in the back has several beers on tap, but I had never actually sat down in the place and enjoyed a beer. When I got there, 2 guys were unloading the massive shipment of beer in the middle of the store and chatting. I entered and started to look around before talking to one of the guys about what I was looking for. I told him, and he told me that hadn’t even unboxed it yet but he would certainly grab me a few bottles. I also asked if he had any more Pliny the Elder on tap, a Californian beer ranked  #6 currently on BeerAdvocate.  He said yes, to his surprise they hadn’t sold out yet, so I sat down and enjoyed a pint of this fine beer. Pliny is often sought after by craft beer aficionados and I only had the privilege to enjoy this Imperial IPA once before, so I couldn’t pass up this opportunity to have it on tap.

As I was sitting in the store, I decided to look up the sunset times in Seattle, because it was a rare blue-sky day. 4:33- Quite early, but winter is coming. It was almost 2 o’clock and I was still drinking my beer, so I decided to finish the tasty brew and bike home. I wanted to make sure I was at Kerry Park with plenty of time to claim a spot and set up my camera, so I caught a 32 bus over to Queen Anne that would arrive at 3:30. To get to Kerry Park, I recommend you get off at the 3rd and Mercer Stop. It is a short, but intense, 5-block walk up an extremely steep hill before you reach the small cliff that is Kerry Park.

5 Blocks of this!?

Other than the view, there really isn’t much to do at he park, but it is more than enough to keep you in awe. A couple of benches, random statue, and a playground make up this park perched on the hill. But honestly, none of it matters other than the view of downtown. With the city on your left and Puget Sound on your right, this view does a great job of capturing what makes Seattle, Seattle. On a clear day you can even see Mt. Rainier behind the city, which glowed a nice pink as the sun went down.

Kerry Park

After snapping a few pictures and walking around, I set up my camera and starting recording the time lapse. I had never done a time lapse before, but knew I needed to film with a steady camera for a long period of time. There are other methods, but I decided without proper research to film then speed up, rather than take a picture every 5 seconds using a special device. I ended up filming for about an hour straight, capturing the sun going down on the city and the beginning of the lights coming on. I was the lone hold out, arriving well before everyone else and being on of the last to leave. Once the sun went down, the temperature dropped quickly and my battery died before I was able to capture a night shot, but I had got what I needed. Or at least I hoped. As my camera and phone simultaneously died, I took my frigid bones back down the steep hill and to the bus stop. Luckily the bus came a minute after I got to the stop, so I could quickly warm up and get home. It took about 30 minutes each way via bus, but driving will get you from the U-District to Kerry Park in 10 to 15 minutes.

Overall, Kerry Park is a FANTASTIC free destination in Seattle that is awesome for every age. It has a playground for kids and view that doesn’t get old for everyone else. I recommend you drive, but a bus gets you extremely close. This is a place I will definitely be back to visit when it starts to warm up and skies are clearer.

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Kerry Park

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Go to a Huskies Basketball Game (52)

College Basketball is back, and for me, it finally feels good to go to a school where making the tournament is not just something desired, but almost expected. Over the last 4 years, the Washington Huskies have either won the PAC 10 Tournament or won the conference out right, meaning the Huskies have been dancing 3 of the last 4 years (snubbed in 2012). In 2010, the Huskies even went to the Sweet 16, where they fell to West Virginia.

With their recent history and myself being a huge sports fan, it may come to no surprise that going to a game was on my to-do list. As an added bonus, it was ANOTHER free sporting event due to connections in Seattle. Thanks to Ian’s uncle, who serves on the board of regents here at Washington, we were able to get 2 free tickets to see the Huskies take on the Loyola Great Danes at the Alaskan Airlines Arena on Sunday.

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Donate (64)

Donation.

Definitely not the first word that someone on a graduate student budget thinks. But with the recent events in my home state of New Jersey, donating was something that I not only wanted to do, but I felt obligated to do. Over the past week I have had friends send me pictures and tell stories of the destruction. I have friends all over the state, thanks to Rutgers, and it is hard to find anyone unaffected. I have friends who have beach houses lost, cars destroyed, and ongoing loss of power. It seems that now more than ever, the great state of New Jersey needs my help.Donating was easy. I have been planning on donating for a while but never seemed to actually pick up the card and do it. Today, as I was in Walgreen’s, I was prompted by the credit card machine to donate money to the Red Cross for hurricane Sandy relief. I’m assuming that Walgreen’s does not keep any percentage of my donation, but that’s not the point. The point is that people out there need help. It is easy to say that others will donate or that the states will find money somewhere, but the truth is that every dollar from every person counts. Red Cross is a great organization and I have faith that my money will be put to good use.

If you want to also donate, I urge you to give what you can at www.redcross.org. Every dollar counts. For those not looking to donate, consider buying some products where proceeds go to hurricane relief, such as Jetty’s Hurricane Sandy Relief T-Shirt. Jetty is a New Jersey based clothing company that is making great efforts to help raise money to rebuild the shore towns New Jersey residents have loved for so long.

I understand if people may not want to help for this particular cause, but regardless of who you are, everyone has something they care about. I challenge you to donate anything: time, money, clothing, food, to a cause that you believe in. There are people out there who need your help.

What are you waiting for? Go HERE and donate!!!

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Go To A Concert At The Neptune Theater (23)

This year the Huskies have beaten two top ten teams at home. The first time I was stuck in class on a Thursday night as we held off the Stanford Cardinals. The second, I was at a concert at Neptune Theater while the Huskies beat Oregon State. While I do feel a bit of disappointment that I missed both, I’ve come to the conclusion it is destiny. My New Jersey blood does not add to the positive mix in the stadium to will the team to pull off the upset.

Instead, I had my first, and definitely not my last, encounter with the Neptune Theater. The theater is located on 45th street, less than 2 blocks from school and only 2 blocks up form my apartment. The commute is extremely easy, something I’ve never had my entire life and it has often factored into me skipping shows. When you live so close to a venue, its much easier to go to a show you when you don’t really know the artist. It takes all of twenty minutes to walk up the street, see if they have cheap tickets, and then either go in or walk home. Though this wasn’t the case for my first concert there, I will be implementing that strategy going forward.

Earlier on in the day of the event, I decided I didn’t want to go to the Huskies game that I had tickets for. It was cold, rainy, the game was late, far, and we were probably going to get blown out (I was wrong). Instead, I bought a ticket to a show I had been contemplating for quite some time but never pulled the trigger. Early on in the day, I uttered those magical words that make parents ears bleed, “fuck it”, and bought the ticket. I was pretty psyched, even though I would be going to a concert alone. You might ask, “but Dan, doesn’t going to a concert alone bother you? Don’t you have any friends.” Well, two things. In my life, I have gone to many concerts and sporting events by myself. I used to work on a project that had me going to over 30 sporting events and concerts by myself to survey the arena’s concessions stands. At first you feel a bit weird, but overall it is still a good time and it has become something I have gotten used to. Also, the concert I was going to see, Dan Deacon, is a very…unique, act. Certainly not everyone’s cup of latte (its Seattle, tea just wouldn’t be fitting). I decided to not even try to find a friend to go in fear they would have a bad time.

Saturday day came and went. I spent my time watching football with some friends, doing some homework, and just relaxing. At about 8:45 I decided to throw on my costume, which was a ridiculous 80’s outfit my friend Sam and I bought at the Goodwill the night before, and head up to the theater. The show started at 9, and even though I didn’t know the opening acts, I had nothing better to do. I walk up to no line, grab my ticket, which was at will call, and headed in. The Theater is medium sized, which is quite small compared to what I was used to in New York. I headed to the bar in the back because there were a total of 30 people in the venue at this time, what else was I to do. I grabbed a beer on tap and sat down for the show to start. Unfortunately I had to resort to my iPhone camera.

80’s D-bag?

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Keep In Touch With Old Friends (20)

Seattle and New Jersey are not very close. In fact, according to Google, if I were to drive home the most direct route of 2,834 miles, it would take 46 hours.  Seeing as many of my friends still live in the state commonly nicknamed “the dirty jerz”, and I have no plans to return for quite sometime, keeping in touch is a major priority of mine. Lucky for us frugal folk, keeping in touch no longer requires a run to the payphone or spending the cents on stamps.

Some buds coming in 2nd place at Bar Trivia

So far in Seattle, I have found keeping touch with my friends quite easy, even without a Facebook. It may feel overwhelming for anyone moving far away, distancing themselves from their friends, but you’ll have to quickly get over the fact you won’t be able to physically be with them.  That does not mean you aren’t part of their lives, you just have taken on a different role! There are alternative though, ranging from one to one video chats to group messages. Here’s how I have been managing :

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Start a Collection (90)

To some of you, this may just look like trash piling up in my room. I swear I am not a hoarder. Rather, these bottles are part of a collection that I recently started back in New Jersey and have decided to continue out here in Seattle.

My collection for beer bottles is a recent thing I started back in July. Since my time spent in Brussels, I have grown an amazing appreciation for beer; Specifically, craft beer. It’s rather funny that this has become such a passion of mine, because prior to my junior year of college, I hated beer. And I mean hated. I was the one who wouldn’t touch even a light beer because I couldn’t stand the taste. I can trace my repulsion back to a party at my friend’s house early on in High School where I drank too much Coors light and, well, you know how those stories usually end.

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Go to Discovery Park (79)

Friday night Ian and I were sitting around the table drinking beers discussing our weekend plans. We both agreed we wanted to do something new, so we planned to meet up at noon on Saturday to head over to Discovery Park. I had heard of Discovery Park and knew the hiking is rather mild, so it seemed like a good way to get out of the U-district and explore some of scenic Seattle.

Ian made his way down to my place by noon and we caught the bus around 1. To get to Discovery park is not the easiest without a car, requiring two bus rides through residential neighborhoods. I would recommend downloading an application that has detailed bus information, such as City Maps, if you plan to use public transit. The weather was breezy, a bit drizzly, and chilly. I only wore a flannel with a windbreaker over that so I wasn’t the most prepared for multiple weather conditions. I was comfortable at first but would later be sweating. Ian, who is used to the perfect Southern Californian weather, was wearing a thermal shirt, a sweatshirt, a winter coat, and a beanie.

After an hour bus ride we got off at the stop for Discovery Park and made our way up to the visitor center. The park is poorly labeled so we wanted to stop in the visitor center to hopefully grab a map. All we got was some poor advice from an old woman. We listened to her advice and eventually found the loop trail, but often found ourselves second-guessing the correct direction through out the trip.

The trail is 2.8 miles through all types of terrain. We started in this open meadow known as the “historic district” which had some old houses and military residence. We were able to see a sneak peak of the views over the bluff, a giant cliff overlooking the Puget Sound. In the distance were cloud-covered mountains on the other side of the sound. We knew the views would only get better so we entered the dense forest that took us down towards the beach below.

The stairs were slick, but the overall steepness was moderate. Every 100 feet or so were wooden overlooks that offered a nice break on the knees and offered a different view. We stopped at each one but eventually made our way down to the bottom and onto the rocky beach. It was windy and the water was rough, but the sun was coming out blinding us but warming us simultaneously. As we made our way down the beach we were approaching the lighthouse, the main attraction of the park. Upon reaching the lighthouse we were met by giant rocks and the point of the park leaving us standing there with nearly 270 degrees of water surrounding us. We stopped to enjoy the scenery and used it as a chance for a quick break.

At this point in the hike, Ian and I are ready to make our long journey back to the University District to watch some college football and warm up. Unfortunately, the curse of having poorly marked trails haunted us again. After making our way up the slippery stairs, we wandered for about an hour until we finally found the visitor center. I probably underestimated the ability of the hike because my legs were a bit tired at the end.

Utilizing the lovely iPhone to get our buses back, we hopped on the first one with hopes to get to Fremont with ease. Rather, we missed our connecting buys by 2 minutes. Left out in the cold by a busy, breezy street, we had twenty minutes to kill. We ended up freezing our asses off, trying to take our mind off of the chill.

We decided to stop in Fremont to get a cup of coffee before going back home because Ian had never been and it was on the way. Trusting technology again, we selected Caffe Ladro, which got fine ratings on Google and yelp. We both ordered a cup of Medici, which is a mocha drink with a hint of orange. The coffee was delicious and the barista was friendly. He even put in some pizzazz, decorating the top of our coffee using milk. You don’t get that type of service in Jersey! One negative of the place was the vibe. It was well decorated, but all the tables were filled with people sitting in silence. It was more like a library than a bustling coffee shop. We drank our coffee then ran to catch the bus so we didn’t have to stand out in the cold again. We made it home in time to watch University of Washington get destroyed by Arizona in football.

I think Discovery Park is a great place to walk and enjoy if you live in Seattle. It’s close, free, and peaceful. As for the quality of the hike, it is relatively easy and rewarding. If you want truly spectacular views though, there are plenty of places surrounding Seattle that can blow you away, if you have access to a car. I may not be back to Discovery Park right away, but I think it would be a beautiful place on a clear summer day, especially because of its affordability.

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