I’m writing this on the

I’m writing this on the ferry to Bainbridge Island, on the way to visit Bridget and Tony (“King of the Olympic Peninsula.”) I had an exciting day yesterday: after posting the last Blog entry from the lobby of the Meany, I drove north on I-5 until I saw the giant glass box enclosing REI’s 65-foot climbing wall. I circled the block for 15 minutes, looking for parking, and finally got a sweet spot right across from the entrance (and, incidentally, across the street from REI’s massive underground parking garage, which I hadn’t noticed, d’oh!)

The entrance to REI is long, winding, and — like the myriad steps on an Incan Ziggurat — designed to instil a proper sense of occasion on the visitor. Which worked on me; by the time I’d made three turns around the redwood stairs, passing the Mountain Bike Test Trail, the Hiking Boot Test Trail, and the Binocular lookout station, I was as keyed up as the Griswolds.

And boy, oh boy, did Wally Moose deliver. I pulled open the redwood doors to reveal a cavernous indoor space filled with freestanding fireplaces, thousands of tents hanging from the ceiling, and battalions of perky, pile-vested attendants ready to help you ooh and aah over the latest Whisperlite stove.

After a profound religious/gore-tex/primaloft experience, I thought I’d explore the city some, so I drove around down by the ferry docks. A couple of wrong turns later, I was down on the docks, rolling slowly through deep canyons of shipping containers. I even recognized some of the buildings as places where I’ve stood with a sniper rifle in Grand Theft Auto III and picked off Columbian Cartel soldiers as my Mafia buddies planted explosives, so that was a fun Baudrillard moment.

Next, I spent a good couple of hours getting stuck, extricated, and re-stuck in Seahawks traffic. I’m not very good at finding my way around. Seattle is a big motorcycle town, it turns out. That’s kind of surprising, considering the weather, but I guess it’s a big bonus in getting around.

After that, Chineses food and baby-watching. I’m having a great time, and so is Kate.

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