Tobold's Blog
Thursday, June 12, 2008
Gone West

I'm on a business trip to Washington (the state, not the capital), flew in today via Seattle. At first I was surprised that flying to Seattle didn't take much longer than flying to Atlanta, but then I realized that what you see on a typical world map is only the highly distorted Mercator projection. Earth being a globe, the shortest connection between two points is a great circle, not a straight line on a flat map. For the same reason California is much further away from Europe than Seattle is, although on a flat map the distance is the same. Take a globe and a piece of string to see for yourself if you don't believe me.

Anyway, as soon as I arrived I went on a shopping spree for books, DVDs, and clothing. Due to the dollar having fallen so much, the purchasing power of my Euros converted into dollars goes up a lot. It's like getting a 30%+ reduction on everything. The downside was me falling for the guy at Best Buy who said that the CSI season 7 DVD had subtitles, which turned out to be not true. Fortunately most people in that series speak relatively clearly with not much of an accent, so I'll survive. The rest of my stay is work-related and will be less fun than shopping.

I've never been so far west. And the countryside still looks like from a Wild West movie in many places, with praerie where it hasn't been built over, and mountain ranges at the horizon. Very pretty, and I'm lucky with the weather, so quite an enjoyable experience. I'll try to keep blogging via WiFi, but if there is a day without posts you know why. I'll be back Sunday.
Good luck on your trip =)
you picked an odd time, in terms of weather, to visit seattle. a hiker just died on mount rainier after he got caught up in a freak blizzard. just for the record it's june....
Welcome to my hometown! It definitely has been freakishly cold lately - Alaska has been having warmer weather.
ooh, get us some DVD's while you're there :]

i must say that most people will fly a Rhumb Line route instead, as it's easier on the navigation.

i work in the marine industry, so this kind of thing gets drummed into me :/
Ah Seattle, the home of Microsoft :) Have fun there, its a nicr city, although too much rain.

Shopping in US ... sad the new iphone isn't out yet :/
Ah, the great old pacific northwest. This entire year has been nothing but crazy, crazy weather. I live down a state in Oregon, and while I love it, there are sometimes where I just have to scowl at the sky for being far too obtuse.
CSI has tough to understand accents?
CSI has tough to understand accents?

I said fortunately they don't have tough to understand accents. Not like The Wire or some BBC series playing in Yorkshire.
"I said fortunately they don't have tough to understand accents. Not like The Wire or some BBC series playing in Yorkshire."

Whoops, sorry about that. Was a bit early and my brain decided to read it incorrectly :)
Go to a ballgame!
Enjoy Seattle Tobold. It's one of my favorite US cities. Tons of evergreen trees, mountain ranges just about everywhere you look, and on a clear day, you can see Mt. Rainier :)

Enjoy the trip. Be sure to spent a ton of money, our economy needs it!

I second going to see a ballgame, if only because the team won't be in Seattle for long.

Bring anything good in handheld gaming?
I can see the need for subtitles in some shows. I enjoy the new Dr. Who but sometimes I just have no idea what they are saying.

If you want to see the movie with the worst possible accents then you should get a copy of "Snatch".
I'm an Aussie who's been living in Los Angeles since '98, and not too long ago I watched "The Hard Word" with Guy Pearce, and I had the odd bit of trouble with their accents.

Tobold, your english is pretty good, but every now and then I catch one or two things that remind me it's not your first language, so look at this (CSI:7) as an opportunity to improve your already considerable linguistic skills.
That's quite a romantic view of the countryside. I live down in Arizona, and I always look at the undeveloped stretches of desert as barren. To be honest, it had never occurred to me to be kind of amazed at how much undeveloped land we have in areas of this country.
Welcome to the Pacific Northwest. I was born and raised in the state and work/live in the Seattle metro area. I can’t say that I have ever heard this side of the state compared to a Wild West movie, though. You need to head over to the east side of the state where they have cattle ranges and guys in cowboy hats (but mostly desert, wheat fields and orchards). I’ve been to quite a few places in the US and I would say that the most comparable city to Seattle is likely Chicago. The weather is a bit more severe in Chicago, but overall the two cities have a similar vibe.
I second going to see a ballgame, if only because the team won't be in Seattle for long.

Wrong sport (for the season) and don’t get me started about the Sonics… The court case actually starts on Monday and there is a good chance they’ll still be here for one more year.

BUT – I agree about seeing a baseball ballgame. Safeco Field is widely considered one of the most fan friendly and great places to watch baseball in the US. It’s not a historic stadium (nor is the team) but the Mariners do a great job at making it a really fun environment. In fact, the more hardcore baseball fans make the complaint that it’s too much like Disneyland. They are playing the Washington Nationals on Friday/Saturday at 7:10P. You can buy tickets here.
The 30% reduction isn't so much to do with the value of the dollar falling as it is that prices of American goods are typically cheaper in America. No import taxes and all that.

Anyway, along with the devaluing of the dollar is inflation, so while your Euro will buy more dollars, your dollars will buy less goods. It works out to be a wash despite what it feels like.
In regards to the dollar vs. euro value, "yay for you! pray for US" :) The economy sure has been doing the watoosie . I think things will get better eventually but its gonna be a rough ride and we better be prepared. (specially with food and fuel prices doing what they are) Weak US dollars hurt the european tourism industry and other industries cuz it lowers our tourism even tho it does help european tourists and consumers have a good time. Tobold I'm sure already knows this stuff back to front. I was just putting it in here for those who don't know. I like your California versus Seattle comment btw since Cali is where I live :P
We Pacific Northwesters really value the wide open spaces you mentioned. Having grown up here (in Oregon), I don't think I could ever live in a place where the coast, desert, mountains, or prairies weren't accessible in a day's drive or less.

If you get a chance, see about visiting the Pike Place Market - fun place!

I hope you enjoy your stay.
By the wild wild west, were you referring to the Starbucks that is on the bottom of every building in Seattle, lol.

When I visited that area, the most notable thing for me was how clean the streets are in seattle and how good the local pizza was.

As for DVD's, if your a euro dont you need PAL and euro region dvds :> ?

I can't believe I confused the Sonics with the Mariners... :walks away in shame:
@ Tenmohican - not if he has a multi-regional DVD player.

My wife bought me a multi-region player so I could watch all my Aussie DVDs like Mr. Bean's Holiday (had it on DVD before it was in the theatres here), Malcolm, Lano & Woodley, and Guesthouse Paradiso. Ok, I know that last one is British, but it's the Aussie release ;)

With my multi-regional capable DVD player I'm watching PAL Region 4 DVDs in the U.S. on an NTSC TV.

Just saw this mentioned over at penny arcade.
I'm watching PAL Region 4 DVDs in the U.S. on an NTSC TV.

That sounds like some perverse techno-babble internet flame. I’m going to start including that in my signature…

“I’m in your house and watching PAL Region 4 DVDs on an NTSC TV with your mom!”
Wait, you said not the capital? What am I gonna do with all these TOBOLD 08 bumper stickers?
I'm not IN Seattle, I just passed through there and went to the eastern part of the country, past the Cascade Range in the Columbia Bassin. So no ballgame, Space Needle, or other Seattle attractions.

I did reprogram my DVD player to be multiregion, so I can watch the region 1 NTSC DVDs from here without problem.

Whether the weak US dollar is bad for the US economy is a point of big discussion. Americans pay more for imported goods, like petrol. But the weak dollar also boosts exports. And America is over its head in dollar denominated debt, so now it can pay back that debt with money which is worth less.
Good ol' Washington State. I don't get to the east side of the mountains very much (haven't for a few years) but it does have a wild west feel at times.

And indeed you did get lucky with the weather. When it's nice, it's usually "nicer" over on that side. And last weekend we had snow in the passes. So good timing.
Yakima or the Tri-Cities? Columbia Basin has pretty good weather, much warmer than the west side of the Cascades, but also browner ;)

Very good wine region in the Tri-Cities area.
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