Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Rib Fest and Camera Evaluations

The lukewarm summer continues. The tomatoes lie fallow on the vine, refusing to ripen.

However, there is Rib Fest to bring us joy! Vicki and Dave put on quite the spread again this year. They made fourteen slabs of barbequed goodness. Here is the festive center piece.

Here are my good friends Kim and Jim in their square dancing regalia. Are they not lovely? They would go on to be victorious in the Best Western (Couple) clothing award.

Here are Vicki and Dave at the awards ceremony. I love the pink hat.

Anyway, it was a great evening with friends. We stayed out way too late and had too much fun.

The next day we opted for our favorite cure for too much fun, and went for a bike ride. It was a beautiful day. Half of eastern King county was out on the Tolt River.

One of the last thistles of summer.

We've been looking at a new camera. Actually I have been looking at a new camera. It occurs to me that if I had more zoom, my river picture would be better because the people would be more visible. However, the super zoom point and shoots are heavy, they could go in a fanny pack, but not a jersey pocket. The photo below was taken at a camera store, it's a Sony Powershot DSC-WS10. It's cool in that it has an internal panorama stitching software and it does HDR light. It helps with back lit scenes and night time shots. But it's only 7x zoom. The next model up is 16x and it does camcorder grade video, but it's heavy. I don't know. At this point, I believe I'll do nothing.

That is all I have to report at this time.

Friday, August 26, 2011

Fiery Catastrophe on I90

First off, let me assure you the driver is fine. This is what we saw on the other side of I90, from the RV park. We all ran out to gawk.

The fire is out now, one lane of the freeway is open. Traffic will take while to recover, given that it's rush hour on Friday afternoon.

And in other news, the Boeing 787 was certified today. The first one will be delivered to All Nippon airways in September, a mere three years late.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Third Week in August in Review

Oy! It's been awhile since I've blathered. So, here is the week in review.
Last Tuesday was the annual botoxing of the overly tight shoulders. They were bad before, and now they're still bad, but in a different modality. I think what happens is other muscles have to take over the responsibilities previously shouldered (get it? a pun there) by the now paralyzed muscles and they don't like doing the work. They'll have to grow some to lift the blow dryer and get the bag of ice out of the freezer. I think I'll discuss this here over time so next year I can decide whether the botox actually improves things or not.
Wednesday was dinner with the Waddles chez CO. We all brought fish and a side dish. The evening was delightful and so was the company. Here are the men caucusing over fish placement on the planks.

Sunday we went downtown to walk around and look at stuff. This was taken in an upscale trendy clothing store. All of the windows and most of the walls are lined with vintage sewing machines. One wonders how this many were accumulated.

An example of one of the more lovely machines.

Puget Sound with ferry, Alaskan Way Viaduct foreground. Construction on the deep bore tunnel (to replace the viaduct) will begin soon. We will stand by to be amazed.

Buskers at Pike Place Market.

A view of Seattle's sporting palaces. Football is on the left, baseball is on the right.

While walking back to the truck, it took a few minutes, but we became aware of the fact that the racket from police sirens was increasing exponentially. There were police everywhere, some were parked and others were jack rabbiting around the block.

We had fire people in addition to police on scene.

This is why. This unfortunate individual was on a bus with six family members, heading downtown for an outing. Another guy on the bus had been harassing various riders, at one point throwing a bottle of beer at a man exiting the bus at a previous stop. So, let's think about this. Beer on the bus, forbidden. Throwing glass bottle at passengers, forbidden. Why didn't the metro driver call for help? This man was stabbed in the stomach when he and his family were attempting to depart the bus. The Seattle police were irked that no one called them until after all of this had transpired. The unfortunate citizen was transported to Harborview and is expected to make a full recovery.

Today, after it stopped raining, we drove up to an old Nike missile site and walked around. One of the trails is called the Million Dollar View trail.

The blackberries are ripening, finally.

So, that's the week in review.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Political Commentary

I can't resist posting this. Margo Howard is funny.

Monday, August 15, 2011

The Locks and Shilshole

Yesterday's "nice little walkie" turned in to a 4 mile power walk up a 2 mile steep mountain bike trail. By the time we got home, my left hip was screaming at me. So today was a day of recuperation. We took the two new bicycle saddles back to Performance Bikes. I just do not have the will to test sit saddles at the moment. My current one hurts way less than it did after lowering the nose, so I'm afraid to touch it. So, we'll just see how this goes. Anyhoo, while at Performance, I saw a bunch of these in a jar. It's 1.75 inches in diameter, and about a centimeter thick.

After peeling the wrapper off, it looks like this. If you add water, it turns in to a 14 by 20 piece of thin fabric. It's pretty cool.

After lunch we drove out to the Hiram M. Chittenden locks. This is a railroad bridge. In this photo, it's up. More precisely, it's a single leaf bascule bridge.

In this photo, it's down. The thing sticking up on the right side is the counter weight that helps it move up and down. This photo is taken looking out towards Salmon Bay. The boats lined up are waiting to enter the locks.

Here are a couple of boats in the small lock. The locks fill with water from Lake Washington. Each time a lock is cycled, an average of 7.5 million gallons of fresh water are flushed. It's a miracle that Lake Washington has not been drained dry. Oh wait, this is Washington, it rains a lot here.

Here are little boats in the big lock. The small lock has floating bollards, they move up and down with the boats. In this lock the boaters must maintain proper tension on their lines as the boats move up and down. Note the railroad bridge is up again. I didn't see the bridge moving once, only after I uploaded photos did I realize it had been up, down and up.

Then it was off to look at Shilshole Bay. Jim was shocked at how much it has changed. Many of the funky little beach houses and restaurants have been torn down to make way for condos and upscale shopping. It's kind of sad, how many condos does the world need?

It was a delightful and restorative day.

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Odds and Ends From the Past Week

Currently Jim and I are in repose. Somewhere along the line, someone with a virus breathed on us and we are under the weather. Sore throat, itchy eyes, malaise; the usual. Hopefully this will not last too long.
The nasturtiums in the park are blooming. They're one of my favorite flowers, they're very cheerful.

Roger and Peggy were here for a couple days this past week. The COs hosted a dinner for all us which was just delightful. Here are Jim and Roger. Are they not cute?

We went to the Gemini fish market for crab. These are crayfish, I keep looking at them wondering what they taste like, but so far I can't get past the way they look.

Thursday the truck went in for an oil change. We wandered in to Whole Foods while we were waiting for it to be done. We saw this line of beverages, allegedly they scrub smog out of one's sinuses, and cure hangovers. Sunsweet owns the beverage line, they're looking to break into the "energy drink" market. The first 3 ingredients are water, cane sugar, and fruit extract. It's not bad for you, but it's really expensive sugar water.

This is the new Swedish Medical outpost in Issaquah. It's quite a lovely building.

The days of the (single) hospital gift shop are over. There are at least 6 boutique shopping experiences on the first floor.

Longer shot of the lobby. Very nice, very upscale. It could easily be mistaken for a hotel lobby. I read a lot of doctor blogs, many of them are just up in arms over this sort of hospital merchandising. They feel it adds to the cost of health care, and unduly influences patient selection of a facility. I kind of don't agree with part two of the previous sentence, hospital choice generally depends on where your surgeon has privileges or where your doctor has decided to practice. My neurologist is here now, so this is where I will go. It is nice that it has parking.

Other that this, I have nothing of real import to discuss.

Monday, August 8, 2011

West Seattle

It was a grizzly non-exercise inspiring day in Issaquah. The marine push stacks clouds up over the foothills, which is where the park is. So we drove west, to West Seattle. First stop was the Jack Block park, which is named after a Seattle Port Commissioner. It's pretty cool, it's in the industrial area so you get to see cranes and stuff.
This is a fuel barge, used to fuel ocean going ships. To the left of it is what's left of an old loading ramp for rail car barges. Years ago, the ramp was used to load railroad cars on to barges to be shipped to other ports on Puget Sound and to Alaska. Now that shipping is containerized, they don't do that anymore. In the case of Alaska cargo, the shipping containers on truck trailers are loaded on barges and shipped that way. When you stop and think about it, the guy that invented containerized shipping changed the world.

There is Seattle, across the water from West Seattle.

The round white dome is an ocean going radar platform. It's in being refurbished. The Matson Lines container ship in front of it will be going to the ship breakers pretty soon. It's old, and antiquated; off with its head.

A newer container ship being off loaded.

Fuzzy flowers in the park.

We went further along the drive along the beach and found a place to park so we could walk. Everyone here in Seattle always says Spud has the best fish and chips, but I must disagree with that statement. Sunfish is way better.

There was a huge group of 20 somethings enjoying the day. They had mass quantities of food, musical instruments, and were playing an enthusiastic game of volley ball.

Last stop was the Metropolitan Market. It's a terrific store. This the olive bar. For some reason we did not partake, and now I'm wishing we did. I love the Mama L'ils peppers and the garlic giant butter beans. Good!

There is much cheese, which is currently banned from the house.

It was a nice outing. Hopefully tomorrow will inspire us to once again take to the streets with the bicycles.

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Seafair Sunday

Beautiful day! Just beautiful. It's Seafair Sunday. Seafair is a multi-week Seattle tradition that begins with the pirates invading West Seattle, Torchlight Parades, foot races, hydroplane racing and the Blue Angels flying over Lake Washington. It's your basic summer celebration.
We went back out to the Carnation Valley, and I have to say the level of plant mass out there is just staggering. I think the black berry bushes are having a record season. Vine production is at an all time high.

The cows were happily grazing. This is ruminant heaven.

The water buffalo were roaming about in their field as well.

We were watching the hydros on TV, there is a woman driver this year, Kayleigh Perkins-Mallory. She caught air on a turn and flipped. Here she goes.

Landing upside down in the water.

They had her out of the boat in 90 seconds. She did an interview later and said she was starting to feel some bruising now that the adrenaline is wearing off. It was an impressive thing to see. The boats are like race cars, they are engineered to keep the driver alive.

This is a Yorkie on the other side of the RV park from us. She's 5 months old and is just so cute it hurts me.

It was a spectacular day in the neighborhood.