A new chapter
So I haven’t posted in some time. Clearly a very large reason for that.
The new job in Seattle.
So it was the world’s worst secret but I officially gave my notice to KLAS on September 21st and left on October 21, just as it should be.
I’m so grateful for my time at KLAS. A truly loving, generous station, the management allowed Alex and I to be kids in a candy store with experimenting, learning and growing in ways I never expected when I started in January of 2007.
The time was right for a change, though. It was the make or break moment in a career where you decide if it’s time to continue the journey onward or settle in a market and become a fixture in the community. After the thoughtful outpouring of congrats and attaboys from so many online and in person, I felt like I really made a difference in Nevada. I was hugged and congratulated by politicians from both sides of the aisle. Folks I interviewed ages ago sent caring emails. It was humbling, sweet and totally unexpected.
My personal life has been challenging and a private matter, but it has been very difficult in ways that words fail to describe.
This job—this city—are chances to right the ship, keep stoking the fire that got me here and hopefully find a place I can settle down personally and professionally—likely forever.
Every journey begins with one mile. Or 1,207 miles.
Friends came over Thursday the 20th to get the Vegas house all packed away and the truck secure. I somehow managed to lose the key to the truck between walking from their house out to my car. Classy.
Luckily the rental company made a new one, ran it out to me and all was well.
I had an amazing evening on Friday the 21st at George Knapp’s famed east Las Vegas compound. A nice final I-Team hurrah with laughs, good food and spirits, plus amazing tales from George’s travels and upcoming adventures.
Then it was a “fun” Saturday morning on the open road.
Luckily I was missing yet another CU beatdown at the hands of a vastly superior university. Listening to a large backlog of podcasts and some music mixes helped pass the nine hours to Reno.
Had a great night with friends up in the Biggest Little City and a nice long snooze.
A very good friend and I hit the ground rolling early, stopping by Bordertown for an hilarious pitstop, fill up and cup of coffee. Nice having a co-pilot.
Having been to Northern Nevada dozens of times and Sac and San Fran, that part of country was known to me. But going through true Northern California and through the forests (where I failed to see Ewoks) and national parks, it was amazing to see the new landscapes in a part of America I’d only seen in picutres.
Oregon was completely amazing. Amazing hills, passes and views. Medford (from the highway), seemed like a great small town and I see why many many journalists start their careers there.
Nearly hit the guardrails driving through Portland at night. Looks like a beautiful city and I can’t wait to go explore and see if I can put a bird on everything.
Had a quick dinner at Panda Express (mmm, fast-casual panda beef) and onward to Seattle.
As we got closer, we turned on local radio to get a feel for the place. And who did I hear, but George Knapp on Coast to Coast, live from his basement (I don’t mean that as a dig or a joke. Dude literally does the radio show from an office on a lower level in the compound).
Made me smile to hear a good mentor so close, but so far, too. Friends aren’t ever far away.
Finally pulled in well after 11:30 and had to get some sleep.
But in a masterstroke, we decided to get movers. Made the call during the drive to get it done. Just knew it was going to be a heck of a week and for sure not feeling like hauling a house into a loft.
Monday the 24th brought a fight with Alaska Way Viaduct demolition construction. Also got lost along the way and had to deal with Seattle port traffic. Fun! Oh, and in a 16-foot Penske truck while towing a Mazda 3. Double fun!
We arrived at the building amazingly only about 10 minutes late after move-in.
Our awesome “mover dudes” loved my vintage video game collection and appreciated my lack of furniture (more on that soon), so a quick move in equaled some time up on the rooftop deck.
A nice sleep and then onto exploring. And what exploring was done. My goodness.
Luckily, the wonderful and already sweet and amazing folks at KOMO let me park the moving truck in the station lot overnight. There I saw this vintage production truck. And the cheeseball dork in me took over.
Luckily, members of the management staff and I have already discussed what a huge goober I am. They are aware of my off-camera nerd side. I made the proper legal disclosures.
Tuesday brought about the trip to Ikea. Oh my.
I know Denver recently got one and it was quite the hullabaloo. I however, have never been to one. Tourist Mode: Engage.
It actually was more of a business trip. I had sold or donated a vast majority of my furniture/goods from Las Vegas. I didn’t want to move some of it. Many were remnants of the college days and some held too many memories.
So I was pumped to see what I could find and unearth at Ikea. We drove the big ol truck, thinking we’d have to load it up to bring back to the loft.
I may have oversold my old stuff since I needed to get a couch, a bed frame, a nightstand, a side table, a kitchen table, chairs and entertainment center. A new chapter indeed. But with leftover cash from the Vegas Fire Sale (great band name) and some savings, I should be fine.
Before the final checkout though, it was a lunch break. I had heard tell of the delicious foreign treats and vittles to be found at Ikea. Well. Color me impressed. And full.
Obviously the biggest whisper among the masses revolved around the meatballs. But I also spied a local twist to the menu: coho salmon with some sort of butter/veggie sauce. So a true tasting got underway.
I also got an informative lecture from a Sacramento Ikea expert about how to properly enjoy the meat-a-ball.
I really, really enjoyed both dishes. Amazing value and impressive flavors. I’ll be back again. And maybe just for the food.
After that tasty surprise, it got closer to that winding road of check out. And it appeared to be a terrible day ahead of moving and toting three carts full of Swedish wares.
Then I saw the special. $49 same day moving. Unlimited amount of furniture. I asked them three times to make sure it was only $49 and that they would actually put them in the loft rather than just drop them at the curb. Something about asking very specific questions and holding people to it.
Then came the sightseeing the next day.
We hit up the aquarium and spent a solid number of hours exploring and essentially looking at nothing but otters.
The Seattle Aquarium is a very impressive place with a focus on local marine life with warm, helpful guides. Most places have their tide pools and “pet the starfish stuff,” but as a Coloradan, I am enchanted and even strangely in awe of water and the creatures within.
So after some coaxing and rolling up my sleeves, I decided to feed a sea urchin. One take. One moment. It happened.
But they didn’t just have sea otters. Oh no no. They had river otters as well. They had a fun preserve and were really comfortable getting close to the glass. I learned otters spend upwards of eight hours a day just rolling around and cleaning their fur. It’s adorable. But clearly it gets tiring. Even if you have a tail in your teeth.
The next day, the clouds parted once again and it was time to enjoy everything at Seattle Center. It’s the site of the 1962 World’s Fair—a place that constantly reinvents itself in the heart of the city.
Touristy, but not really. Pretty low key with a focus on natural beauty and expanding your mind and outlook. Clearly the heartbeat of Seattle.
Had to hit the Needle first. Really quick elevator ride up and boom, you’re there. Amazing views and the weather was just about perfect.
As I had mentioned on Twitter, I don’t live too far from Seattle Center and that also means I’m close to KOMO. Real close.
Since the station is literally next to the Needle, I just had to look down to see the station. Nerdy, but pretty cool.
Back on the ground level, the Pacific Science Center is part natural history, laser light showcase, IMAX theater and science-y hands on exhibit showcase that is just great. Totally cool futuristic (as seen through the eyes of 1960s designers) vibe.
Then it was across the street to the Experience Music Project/Sci-Fi Museum. Yes, two things in one. And it’s great. Probably going to have to go back.
EMP/SFM also has a pretty sizable Battlestar Galactica exhibit. It was very very impressive. Lots of great recorded interviews and artifacts from what is easily one of the best shows television has ever seen.
After a solid day of getting some learnin’ on, it was time to try a local’s legendary spot—The Five Point Cafe.
It’s got a great dive bar type feel but without being sketchy in the wrong ways. Has a playfully aggressive menu and quite literally the best happy hour deals I’ve ever seen. It’s not even fair to other places.
Explored some other spots in Belltown, the neighborhood around the loft, but right now, gonna be really tough to beat Five Point. Oh, and it’s also across the street from the station. Great quick dinner if need be. Ooo, have to see if they do to-go. Post-live shot noms.
Next day it was rainy and a little cool. A great way to acclimate to the weather. An immersion program of sorts. And it happened at the Woodland Park Zoo. If you click that link, you’ll note it takes you to “zoo.org.” They have been in the nerd web game so long they were the first to snag zoo.org. That’s some 1993 foresight right there.
This dude has foresight as well. For fish.
Spent a huge amount of time with the penguins right off the bat. It was great. Huge area for them to run around. They had a free feeding where you could hand them fishies. Awesome.
Having been called Birdman for some time and more recently Jon Humbird due to my eating habits, I have a keen interest in winged little guys. They seemed very happy and intellectually stimulated.
Here’s one guy who was stimulated but just wanted a nap. They are so much like us. It’s like looking back in time:
As if all this running around wasn’t enough, I got a wild hair to really go the full Seattle and see if I could get tickets to the Seattle Seahawks National Football League National Football Conference Western Division sporting match.
Given the team was 2-4 going in to the much (not at all) ballyhooed Bengals (The Fighting Daltons), I figured there would be some sweet tix on StubHub. And indeed I found them.
CenturyLink Field has a huge reputation for being a loud stadium, as most Pacific Northwest arenas/stadiums tend to be. And it lived up to it. Having been in Folsom Field and Mile High dozens of times, it seemed to be the loudest place I’ve ever been. Wowza. Bravo, tech kids in electric green. I am now one of your flock.
While the game was winnable, the Seahawks could not get out of their own way. Silly penalties, dropped balls, no Beast Mode to be found anywhere and an O-line that looks worse than the one at CU (I went there. Oh yeah). Maybe starting Tavaris would have helped, but it was interesting to see how a football team that operates with the same salary cap as everyone else can be so lacking in true, top-20 stars. Amazing. Pete has them hopefully on the right track, but Mr. Hollywood needs some talent in the stable to let his mastermindening (made it up) come to fruition. Luckily a sad outlook for the rest of the season (oh hai Fightin’ Harbaughs) could mean a quality O-line draft next year. We’ll see.
But it was a great atmosphere, the rain held off and also—I had a Seattle Dog.
Apparently I was out of the loop on the “Seattle” food thing. As we all know and as I’ve informed many affronted California natives, outside of the Golden State, calling something a “California” ____, like a burger, wrap, sandwich, etc, simply means you put avocado upon/within it.
But in Seattle, that means cream cheese! Which normally I love on bagels, where it belongs. Occasionally in a Philly roll at sushi. But…a hot dog? I had to investigate.
I ordered it and a local brew right on tap. They blended perfectly. Now, I never, ever expected onions (normally something I’m not a huge fan of), cream cheese and a hot dog to actually work, but it oh so did. Simply amazing and I can’t suggest it enough if you go to a game. Totally unique taste.
So: glorious food, atmosphere, and great company there with me. A happy Jon:
Oh but wait.
Oh but wait.
The Seahawks have an insane gameday promotion system.
The Broncos have the much-maligned and hilarious “Tacos for Touchdowns.”
So while no three touchdowns, three sacks or a defensive score kept me from free sweet pancakes, a Jumbo Jack and a haircut (which I needed anyway), I do get some swag. Beautiful, free swag.
But the heartiest round of applause from my tum tum (see, I do use it) goes to Marshawn Lynch. Yes, no Beast Mode (see link up the page a bit), but because of the Oberto/7-11 promotion, his short yardage touchdown gave me delicious free food and around $6.00+ in savings.
Clearly it’s been a wild and busy week.
I’ve completely fallen insanely in love with Seattle and I haven’t even started work yet.
I needed some time to *make time* for myself. I’ve always been so go go go it’s caused problems. I knew when getting the KOMO job, I wanted to take a few extra days to unpack, unwind and go get lost in my new home.
Seattle’s people have been instantly welcoming, goofy and just plain disarming. Vegas so often gets tagged with the “scumbag” stereotype—people who couldn’t hack it elsewhere and have a shifty angle and side business. Always some big score around the corner that somehow never materializes.
It’s not a wholly-fair stereotype, but it has made me put up some walls in social situations and when out and about.
But in Seattle, people seem to be goobs just like me. Each day the more I explore, learn and listen, this place resonates with me. It feels comfortable. Just simply *right.* It’s as if I’ve lived here before and feel like I’m coming home again—an echo finally returning to the point of origin.
I know it’s new guy naiveté and there will be things I don’t like, but the initial impression and gut feeling is that this is home. And may be forever.
I needed this move. For so many reasons. Now that I’m here—now that I’m home—the new chapter can begin.