July 17th, 2005

Seattle

(no subject)

Man, what a day.

On my way out the door, I noticed HP6 had been delivered to me. 10:30 AM on release day, and I already had it. I love Amazon. (More on that later - I've finished the book.)

First stop: apartment. I was not impressed, and I'll be submitting my application for the other apartment tomorrow.

After that, I had some time to burn before the concert. I went to the Starbucks at the bottom of the apartment building and ordered a large hot chocolate, and continued reading Harry Potter (having started on the bus ride up). Then I walked into town, taking a few minutes to wander through the Seattle Public Library (it's a fantastic building, though I'm going to wait until I have a permanent address to get a card), and down to 1st Ave. My eventual destination was a restaurant where some Amazonians were rumored to be gathering before the concert, but I arrived more than three hours before the doors were to open, so I sat down on the Harbor Steps and read some more. I eventually met up with the Amazon people at the restaurant (nobody I knew, but pretty much everyone at Amazon is friendly, so) and eventually proceeded to the concert.

The line for the concert ran the entire length of the building, out the door, down another block, around a corner, and another block. But we all got in, and after milling about in the foyer (atrium? whatever you call the area right outside the actual theatre) for a bit and running into several coworkers and friends (including Colin and Ajit, teammates from last summer, and Miryam, Ajit's wife) before meeting up with a couple people from my current team and sitting with them.

The concert... well, it's late. I'll relate the concert tomorrow. As well as some (protected by an LJ-cut in a separate entry, I promise) thoughts on Book Six.
Seattle

The concert (and broomball)

So. The concert.

As we were taking our seats, they played a bunch of short video clips - mentions of Amazon on TV, Amazon TV commercials, and the like. (Amazon discontinued TV advertising a few years ago and chose to put that portion of their budget into their free shipping program instead.) Many of them were funny. Jeff Bezos is a nut.

Bill Maher was the host of the show, and he started off with a short standup routine. He's a very funny guy. It took him about two minutes to start in on the political jokes... big surprise. "Our president wears a cowboy hat. Cowboy hat, cowboy boots, cowboy belt, the whole deal. The thing is, cowboys don't exist anymore. There are no more cowboys. And that makes what you're wearing a costume. Why don't you dress as a pirate while you're at it?" (Somewhat misquoted, I'm sure.) Another favorite, from later in the show: "New rule. You're not allowed to talk to me about dreams you had if I'm not in them. Your dreams have a very limited audience - that's why they're only playing in your head."

After his routine, Norah Jones came on. She probably played for close to an hour. I was quite impressed... the one song of hers they keep playing on the radio over and over again doesn't do justice to the full range of her music. (This doesn't change the fact that That One Song was the only one of hers I recognized.) A lot of her music has a slight country twist to it - not enough to make me dislike it, but just a little bit in the beat and the guitars. Norah herself seemed to be a very down-to-earth person, and maybe even a little shy on stage.

Then Bill Maher had interviews with a few different authors, as well as Lawrence Kasdan, screenwriter of Star Wars V and VI (and the reason they didn't suck), talking about the DVD market and the way it's made it possible to see nearly any movie ever made. A lot of the stuff he said applied to VHS too, so it wasn't particularly enlightening, but one interesting point is that the public is in general far more knowledgeable about the moviemaking process and the industry than they were 10 years ago, in part due to the DVD features.

Along that line, the next thing we saw was a bunch of footage from the Lord of the Rings trilogy, mostly focusing on planning and shooting of the fight scenes. (A lot more of that was CG than I thought!) Nifty stuff, anyway.

There was another author, and then Daniel Handler, appearing "on behalf of Lemony Snicket" (who had apparently made a mistake and showed up on the shores of the Amazon instead). "I'll be singing the Count Olaf Song for you, and as we now have a pro-torture government, I'll be accompanying myself on the accordion." (Those of you who've heard the song before know how silly it is...)

One more interview with one more author, and then on to Bob Dylan! It was kind of cool actually seeing a live performance by someone of his legendary stature, but I have to admit I was a little underwhelmed. "Lay Lady Lay" was the only song he played that I recognized, and he did weird things with the melody. It might not be surprising, but he didn't sing parts of the song in a much smoother, higher voice like he does in the original recording - I suspect he doesn't even have that voice anymore. He only sang around five or six songs on his own, too. But at the end, Norah Jones came back onstage, and they did a duet of "I Shall Be Released". That was probably my favorite part of the concert - they actually went together really well, and it's a good song, too.

When the concert was over, I came back home. I was going to finish tonight's Scatterplot strip, but I ended up finishing off HP6 instead. (I managed to get it done today, though, and it's now up.)

Today, I went out to broomball practice in preparation for next Sunday's company picnic. I made a broom (by taking an existing broom, chopping its bristles off up to the first set of stitches (to make it more sturdy) and duct-taping them to the back of the part that was left (for added weight and stability), and covering the whole thing in black duct tape. As people completed their brooms, they started joining a half-field scrimmage. Eventually that was expanded into a full-field scrimmage, and by the end we had a pretty good idea of who was good at what (out of the nine (out of eighteen) people who showed up). We'll nail this down some more at the next practice on Wednesday.

After that, a lunch over at the bar and grill across from the field, a bus ride home (with a stop at the store), and finishing up Scatterplot. After I'd completed that, I relaxed and finished reading Dark Knight Returns. Pretty cool, very dark. What do you expect? Oh, and on my way home I got a good view through a wonderfully clear sky of Rainier with its snow faces lit up against the sky, in the afternoon sun. I still love that sight.

Now... well, it's been an exhausting weekend, and I'll be sleeping soon. Good night.