Well, it seems that Washington state is actually getting the message that it’s summer. Kind of. Last Saturday, the second official day of summer, I attended Meeker Days in Puyallup to capture the sights and sounds for Patch readers. Not only were my ears practically blown out by the Battle of the Bands contest, I returned home quite sunburnt. This was completely my mistake – I always get cocky and think I’m not going to get sunburnt. So wrong. The sun was out all day, and temperatures were in at least the high 70s. Plus I parked my car what must have been 2 miles away from the festival itself, so that was a lot of extra walking in the heat. I did get good footage, and I used the Patch iPhone app to post stuff as I saw it. That’s something I’m working on: producing content at a faster pace, which means you can’t spend a ton of time editing. In a print newspaper, you have more time to gather content, take notes, and write the stories, then the editors place them on the pages and the copy editors look it over. Not so at Patch. I wasn’t sure about it at first, but now I think it’s fun. Meeker Days provided a great chance to grow at those skills.
I saw some other interesting things down in Puyallup. For one, they have volcano evacuation route signs along the streets and a siren to alert citizens of an eruption. If Mount Rainier were to erupt, Puyallup would be in the path of the lava/landslides. Scary thought. I usually don’t think of seeing sirens in Washington like I see tornado sirens in the Midwest. Also, when I was making that long trek back to my car, I saw a very old dog wandering up the street. From afar, I thought it was a raccoon. Clearly it was very old and probably sick. I hope it didn’t get hit by a car or wander too far from home… and that its owners figured out it was gone. On that same street, I saw a dead dog as well. It smelled awful, especially in the heat. Roadkill happens everywhere, I guess. But enough of that random stuff. My trip to Meeker Days was really all about men in high heels, teenage rock stars, and girls in pink dresses. I’m beginning to like that town very much after doing three stories there.
I took Sunday and Monday off before picking up again yesterday, when I made my first trip to Gig Harbor. I hadn’t been across the Tacoma Narrows Bridge in years and had forgotten how beautiful it was over there. The LE for GH, Brent, says the city is like the Mercer Island of Pierce County. Unfortunately, you have to pay a toll to get back over the bridge to Tacoma. So I guess I’ll deal with that. I wrote the police blotter there and visited a neat little treasure gallery shop to do a story on it. The owners, a husband-wife team, talked my ear off about all the treasures they’ve got. They asked me what I consider to be treasure, and I talked with them about my love of music and the written word. So the husband said that if he ever got some old string instruments, he might invite me down to demonstrate. Isn’t it great to make connections like this?
After that I headed over to University Place to get work done. While I wrote and edited video in a coffee shop there, the weather raged outside. Washington was getting a set of rare thunderstorms! Knowing it would screw up the already bad traffic, I waited it out until the shop closed at 8:00. I missed the worst traffic, but not the intermittent squalls along Interstate 5. The Minnesota-like rain made the highway quite an adventure, and I passed a couple accidents along the way. It continued to rain through the night, and I hit more of these squalls today. It’s why it never fully seems like summer in Seattle… the rain never disappears.
Today I spent the first half of the day in Renton, the closest Patch location to my house. (If only there were a bridge from the south end of MI to Renton… it would make life so much easier.) I went to the fire station and filmed a demonstration of some illegal explosives, showing what not to do on the Fourth of July. This was purely designed for members of the media, so I was there among cameramen from KIRO 7, KOMO 4, and Q13 FOX. A little intimidating as I stood there with just my iPhone. I had to switch to my digital camera partway through because I ran out of hard disk space again. Also, the loud explosions set off nearby car alarms. I don’t think mine went off. But I was always so startled by the explosions that I flinched violently at them, and that messed with my video. (Yes, I know I need a tripod.) I think it turned out all right. Later, I went to a vintage furniture shop that opened just about a month ago. The owner was busy so I have to go back tomorrow and talk with him. Then I’ll have a meeting via Google Hangouts with the other South editors, followed by an evening spent in University Place again. I have a lot more stories to do this week – the news is definitely not slowing down. Those who don’t report the news, are the news.