First full day in Seattle (I'm not counting the day I arrived). I was up at 3am and sending emails. Apparently people find this disconcerting, but when it comes to jet lag my attitude is that if I'm going to be awake, I'd rather use the time than lie in bed feeling frustrated. It probably means I take a little longer to fully adjust, but I'm less miserable until then!
The hotel's breakfasts are impressive. I mean, it's reminded me that the American idea of what constitutes a high-end cooked breakfast is terrible - mostly due to "American bacon" - but the scrambled egg with spinach and parmesan is nice, as are the freshly-baked waffles.
I started the day with two main objectives in my quest log: "Obtain state ID", and "apply for a social security number". A necessary prerequisite was "get an Orca card". That's the equivalent to Oyster in London, except that it isn't sold in hotels... and the woman at the front desk wasn't sure how I could get one, short of paying cash to get to a single office on the opposite side of the city. Fortunately the internet knew better, and I paid cash to ride to a light rail station, where I could allegedly buy a new card from a ticket vending machine.
That turned out to be true, but buying anything from a ticket machine with a credit card required me to enter the ZIP code that the card is registered to - which was impossible as I was only allowed to enter numbers. So I started the subquest "go to an ATM and return". I did that; paid $5 for the card, $20 to put that much credit on it, and $8 for an all-day pass for that day (it functions much like Oyster, but there's no daily cap, so you have to figure out how many journeys you'll make that day and buy a pass if you want. Or, just buy a montly pass, which I'll probably do from May - it runs for calendar months, so buying mid-month is poor value).
By this time it was about 9am (jet lag, remember?), and I walked a couple of blocks to join the pre-opening queue outside the state licensing authority ("the DMV"). Such queues are infamous, and known worldwide from sitcoms, but 15 minutes before opening I was 8th in line. I got seen about half an hour later, and established that I can't get state ID until I have proof of residency in the state - and an offer letter from a federal lab in the state doesn't do this for them.
I turned to the other live quest, that for a SSN. I turned up to the federal government building a few blocks away, went through airport-style security, and took a lift to a waiting area on the 9th floor. It was much like the state licensing office except that it was fast and efficient, there were lots of large flags everywhere, and instead of the large, friendly guy called Gary who was supervising everything there was a Very Polite (and actually helpful) young woman of military bearing with a gun. I was seen in ten minutes, and a further quarter hour later my applicaton form had been dispatched and I was told to expect my SSN card within two weeks. Win! Quest completed.
It looked as though most other things that I needed to do were locked behind the gateway quest "find somewhere to live". To that end, in the evening I dosed on caffeine and went to the first viewing I had arranged. Nice people, nice house, but not available until June. They didn't mention that in the advert. Also, at the top of a MASSIVE hill but without a view ;-) I walked down the hill and back to my hotel, capturing this on phone-cam on the way:
 Not the same as a streetcar station, to my surprise, even though both of them run on streets using basically the same vehicles. It's the same "is it light rail or is it a tram" conundrum that causes nerds to argue, but in this case they seem to be operated by different companies and hence given different names. Seattle seems to have little bit of a lot of different modes of transport, almost as though the city has been testing them out.
 People have subsequently given me some suggestions on workarounds.