We’re finally hitting South Lake Union – home of the SLUT (South Lake Union Trolley), Amazon and our host, ISB (The Institute for Systems Biology). For the uninitiated, the neighborhood is a newly rebuilt portion of town where Microsoft-magnate-turned-man-with-gobs-of-money, Paul Allen, has built tons of new buildings and created a hotbed of business activity in Seattle. Through his contribution, where once were creaky warehouses and funky art complexes, there are now fresh and shiny beacons of commerce.

Residing in one of the new buildings is our current host, ISB, who has been our client for the last six years. They are a bunch or really smart people (Like WAY smarter than us) that work on things like predictive medicine and global health. By comparison, we’re here working on my kids’ school auction and branding a vibrator – I’d say we’re both saving the world in our own way. ISB has be a great host, though we’d probably get along better if Justin wouldn’t be constantly pestering them to do some non-sanctioned tests on his “perfect” beer enzymes that he’s been culturing in a jar in his basement for the last three years.

Oh ya, and…

… we got kicked out of one of Amazon’s buildings on the first day here. All we were trying to do was avoid buying a Starbucks coffee by following a sign to a Cafe Vita. Apparently that coffee shop is in an Amazon building, and for Amazon employees only. (Bastards.) We set off the alarm and were asked to leave by the building’s guard. Once again, we are left with great coffee just outside our grasp.

Maybe the coolest element of working here at ISB is that, when they moved here in 2011, we created about 4,000-square-feet of environmental art for the walls. We branded the meeting space and each of the three foyers with some bright graphics to match the strong colors in the labs that surround us. It’s rare to get to work within a space you’ve created – that isn’t your office or your home. It’s been a sweet experience, I have to say, watching people interact with your art.

I’ve worn a lot less hoodies, switching to a few more button-downs, so that I fit in a little better. Those hoodies would come in handy, though, as the air conditioning here keeps the place frigid. It’s like they’re trying to suppress some microbe from multiplying by keeping it frozen. (I must admit to wearing my bike gloves on more than one occasion.)

We’ve had a hard time getting used to using a key card for the garage, elevators and doors. If we don’t leave it at home, we’ll leave it at tour desk. It’s funny, too, because they even gave us those stretchy leashes like the janitors always have for their keys. There sure are a lot more rules and regulations here – then again, I suppose that comes with scale, ISB is also the largest company that has had us, and were just happy to be had.

All things said, it is nice to look up from your desk and see a SLUT stroll by.

Cover and cafe photos by Benjamin Benschneider.