Got back from Seattle last night. It'll be a few days before I recover fully.
Some good news--the ALA Council voted against SRRT-backed resolutions on impeaching President Bush and on defunding the Iraq War, with most people apparently understanding that what you think of Bush or Iraq is irrelevant because these issues have nothing to do with American libraries. See the details at SHUSH. And the other good news is that the Council passed the resolution calling for a minimum salary of $40K for librarians. So for those few of you making below $40K, your problems are solved!
Now to the important stuff--martinis. I checked out Von's Grand City Cafe on Pine St. in Seattle. They had a neon sign in the window advertising the "best martinis in town." How could I resist? I suspect they must have bought the sign used from some other bar, though, because I was unimpressed. The martini wasn't that good. They served it in those squat martini glasses, the ones without the stems, which I don't like. A martini should also be an aesthetic experience, and the aesthetic purity of a martini glass should never be compromised. Also, their olives were the size of golf balls, and they were stuffed! I was appalled. What, are we in some third world country where they can't get regular martini olives? I grabbed a quick martini at the Westin while waiting for my date. Regular martini glasses and the drink was ok, but they used the same enormous stuffed olives.
I thought this might be some bizarre martini ritual of the Northwest, but then I went to Vessel on Fifth St., which is a newish bar in Seattle. Very Nice! Lovely place, a bit too mod for me, but the drinks and service were excellent. The waiter was very attentive and friendly, and I don't think he was just checking out my gams, though that's always a possibility. They serve martinis in small, elegant cocktail glasses, not martini glasses, but then they brought the rest of the drink in a little "sidecar" floating in a glass of ice water, with small, unstuffed olives. Civilization at last. And the polite young owner was cute in a scruffy, willowy, black-clad hipster kind of way. I had other drinks in places I can't tell you about, but none matched the quality of Vessel.
Now to food. We couldn't decide between Etta's Seafood or the Seattle Fish Club, so we ate at both. I thought Etta's was better, but perhaps I chose poorly on my main course. Both were good, though. All in all, a pleasant ALA dining experience.
Oh, and I attended some meetings and did some work and generally solidified my national reputation. Great fun.