Tuesday, July 5, 2016

Seattle for the Fourth - Legos!

When we went to bed after the fireworks on the 4th of July, I told my parents that we didn't have any fixed itinerary for the next day, so they were free to take all the time they wanted in the morning and we'd figure out what to do with the rest of the day before they needed to be at the train station.

They took me at my word!

We left for breakfast at noon.  Or, rather, we skipped breakfast altogether and went straight to lunch.  We opted for a quick pizza from MOD Pizza at the Seattle Center Armory, because that put us only a few steps away from the Pacific Science Center and their very cool exhibition of Lego art.

Apparently this guy went to NYU Law School, practiced corporate law for a few years in a big New York law firm, and then decided one day that he could make a living playing with Legos instead.  Not just playing, making legit art!

The exhibition began with a passage through art history.  Here legos were used two-dimensionally to recreate other two-dimensional works of art.

The lego blocks gave a strangely pixellated effect to the artworks, evoking both the original subject as well as other art-historical movements such as impressionism, pointillism and whatever you call Chuck Close's technique.

By the time we got to the actual impressionists, we had moved beyond 2D into 3D.  Which is interesting because part of what made Van Gogh's works so exciting was the feeling of movement that came from the 3D effect of all those heavy brush strokes on the canvas.  Oddly, though, this rendering in legos was less effective for me, as it started to feel like cross-stitch.

Progressing onward, we started blowing out the famous paintings into fully formed vignettes.  Whistler's Mother is a little terrifying in this format.

And if you had any doubts about the ability of Lego to take on actual 3D sculpture, you shouldn't:  The "marbles" were super impressive.

The terra cotta warriors made into the show, too.  (And the enthusiastic docent informed us that the real things would be coming to Seattle later in the year.)

Once our tour of art history was complete, we moved into the artist's own contemporary world.  He was clearly fascinated with the human form, and with the ability that legos have to build and unbuild the world.

Dad's favorite
My favorite
The international art scene's favorite
We even got to take our picture with this "Green Guy" on our way out.

By the time we were done with the Lego exhibit, we had just enough time to walk down to the Olympic Sculpture Park for a quick walk along the water before heading to the train station.

It was a fun visit, and I hope we'll be able to do it again soon!

Monday, July 4, 2016

Seattle for the Fourth - Independence Day

The Fourth of July last year was blazing hot.  This year?  Not so much:  Chilly and grey, with patches of rain.  Apparently this is how the Pacific Northwest "does summer."  But being the good Americans we are, we celebrated our independence -- weather be damned!

We caught a late-morning ferry to Bainbridge Island, where Justin's parents had saved curb-side seats to watch the Bainbridge village parade.  

It was a classic small-town parade with old cars, a couple of marching bands, and a smattering of local celebrities.

Every parade needs a good drumlins
I missed the point of this group -- pies on bikes?

Partway through the parade we became famished and took advantage of the sidewalk grilling operation at the pub behind us.

The hearty burger helped me last through the rest of the parade.

Not so intense after all
They left the political marchers to the end.  Probably the right call, since not every candidate got a good reception.
Once the parade had ended, we walked around to the parking lots where all the old cars were on display.  The dads loved it.

From old cars to tasty food -- no trip to Bainbridge is complete without a stop at Mora's ice cream shop.

"Mora" means blackberry in Spanish
I got a coconut milk shake.  Dad got something chocolate, and Greg got the classic mora (blackberry)
Lady and Pam were entrapped by the siren song of Nutella-filled crepes

We got back to the mainland in a shower of rain and headed upstairs to the roof for dinner.

The boats already were gathering on the lake for the fireworks show
Grilling!  Pretending it's summer!
Everything was delicious:  pork chops, asparagus, salad, local cherries, local potato chips
and a handful of local sodas
(ack, I can't believe I just wrote "local" so many times -- I'm turning into a Seattle-ite!)
Getting darker!
And now the piece de resistance:  grilled peaches with honey and ice cream
Few things are better than this
Shortly after finishing our peaches, the fireworks spectacle began:  A helicopter swung by trailing an enormous American flag; we heard the national anthem blaring through the speakers at the lakeside park.  Then the fireworks . . . .

Happy Fourth of July!

Sunday, July 3, 2016

Seattle for the Fourth - Lunch in Victoria

Victoria, BC, is normally a quick boat ride from Seattle -- in under 3 hours you can go from downtown Seattle to the Inner Harbor in the most British of Canadian cities.  Three hours on a good day, that is.  Shortly after boarding our captain announced that we'd be taking a "weather route" due to high winds, and as a result would be arriving "a couple hours late".  

When you've already planned a tight day trip with only 4 hours between arrival and departure, a two-hour delay is unfortunate news.  We had barely enough time to get off the boat, find a place for lunch, and get back to the boat!  But travel without crosswinds does not interesting stories make -- and now we officially belong to that glamorous set who flits up to Victoria for a quick lunch and back in time for dinner on the roof... 

Eagerly planning our afternoon (pre-weather route announcement)
Nap time!  I think we were about 30 minutes into the ride.
The upside of all that wind was a gorgeous sunny day -- no dreary clouds here!

White caps...
The Empress Hotel, the iconic anchor to the entire inner harbor of Victoria
Parliament building
Sun, flowers and food -- all the things we needed for lunch!
Surprisingly delicious fish and chips -- the cod was flaky and fresh
Fortunately Lady remembered her nautical stripes for the outing
Rogers Chocolates was the logical next step
Orca topiaries (well, topiary isn't the right word, I think -- maybe living sculpture?)
China shop inside the Empress Hotel.  Lady and I debated the merits of the blue background versus the pink
Either way, that's a lot of floral...
A lot less frilly and hoity-toity -- the totem poles of Thunderbird Park
Last time I was here was in high school - strange how the park was at
once familiar and yet totally not how I remembered it
Parliament building
The style is grand but the scale approachable, and at night it's all lit up with white christmas lights
Deception Pass, linking Whidby Island to the mainland.
By this time the winds had died down, so they let us out on the deck to take in the beautiful view,