Wednesday, July 31, 2019

Police Actions

This morning we had an early appointment at in Renton.  When we were leaving, we noticed a police action up the street.  Then we noticed that there was a big police action happening.  There were four cars in the middle of the road.

Police were everywhere.

This is a really terrible picture taken out of the back window.  There were three more cars in our doctor's office parking lot.  It's good that we did not have to go there this morning.

This is what happened this morning, as reported by KOMO.

A suspect on the run from police intentionally backed into a state trooper's car with his vehicle before fleeing on foot Wednesday morning near Valley Medical Center in Renton, the Washington State Patrol reports.
The trooper did not pursue the SUV, but saw it take the exit at 180th Street then turn right into a gravel parking lot. The trooper followed the SUV into the lot, but the suspect then backed into the trooper's cruiser and sped off, running over a curb and sidewalk in the process.
Police later found the SUV abandoned in another parking lot in the 17900 block of Talbot Road South. The vehicle was impounded and police began searching the area for the suspect.
The suspect was on foot, there were police everywhere looking for him.  It was just weird seeing that many police driving around at high speed.  They created a massive amount of traffic jams.  We were pretty happy to depart the area.

This is I405N.  Nothing is moving.  This place is just an ant hill.

So that was this morning in the GPNW.

Friday, July 26, 2019

The Week in Review

This week we've ridden to Marymoor a couple of times.  We're going out on the road instead of riding the gravel stretch.  The road is extremely noisy with fast traffic, but the shoulders are pretty good.  It gives us a hill in both directions, hills are good for us.

This is the radio controlled airplane club at Marymoor.  We were talking to one of the guys, he said most people are converting to electric motors.  They're easier to deal with and they make virtually no noise.  They're powered by lithium-ion polymer batteries.  I had never heard of such a thing.  Apparently they were pioneered by Tesla.  They're very dense.

This guy is old school.  Look at the size of that plane.  He's still using a gas power plant.

This is one of the fences that I think will be coming down with the paving of the 3.6 mile stretch.  As they pave sections of the trail, they take the corresponding bike lane signs down on the road.  This is not so good for the fast riders, it's not safe for them to be on the trail with the pink tires.  We're seeing people park cars in what are now considered to be shoulders instead of bike lane.

There was also walking in Bellevue.  A lap around the lake is a half mile.  It's very scenic there.  Many people sit on the benches with their lunch.

Today we went to West Seattle to stroll.  It was a gorgeous day.

This is Obsession.  She takes people out on tours.  Even though she's really good in light air, they were running the motor.  It was really calm.

This weekend is the Alki Arts fair.  This is the wine truck.  Those are wine spigots.  Haven't seen that before.

That water is fairly cold.  The kids are in it hanging on to floating logs, sailors call them dead heads.  They're a major hazard for sailboats.  You can't see them at night, hanging just below the surface of the water.

The beach.

The yellow building is under construction.  More old beach houses have been torn down for this.  The guy on the right of the new building has an enormous house.  It's three stories and the view will never be blocked.  To the right of the giant house is a beach house.  Alki used to be a summer place only.  It was "too far" from the city, so people would put up uninsulated houses and spend summers out there.  Now it's prime real estate.

We had lunch at El Chupacabra.  It was ok.  The Vietnamese restaurant we used to go to is now a day care.

This is sad.  This truck was delivering stuff for the Art Fair.  See the black box the white arrow is pointing at?  That's a DEF tank, and it is high centered on that drive way. 

The mountain was very out today.  I took this from a moving vehicle heading east on the I90 floating bridge.  Better shots are taken if you're going south bound, because there's less movement.  It's still pretty impressive, kinda looks like a movie backdrop.

Who watched the Tour de France today?  They had to stop the stage early due to hail and mudslides.  It was quite the stage.

Wednesday, July 24, 2019

Director Mueller Speaks

This is the best image from the day.  I don't know if Mueller's testimony will do any good, or change anyone's mind.  However, I'm glad he went, it needed to be done.

These were good words. 


So, that was today.

Monday, July 22, 2019

Another Day in Seattle

Yesterday we could not face doing the three mile walk one more time.  We need a new walk, I think.  The advantage to the three mile route we have is that it's relatively safe, there are few crosswalks in which to be killed by the crazy Issaquah drivers who really believe red lights are merely a suggestion, and certainly not for them.  So we went in to Seattle to look at the destruction of the viaduct.

On I90 we saw this car.  Look at how good the paint looks.  It's a 1958 Impala, the first Impala.  Since it's an old car, I used the 1960's filter on Picasa. He painted, "shake rattle and roll" on the back.  I just love this car.

The Seattle skyline is changing.  I took this coming down 6th Avenue.  Notice the arrows pointing at what we think are new buildings.  It's so hard to remember, every time they tear something down, we can never remember what was there.  Also of note is the fact that we're in a bus only lane.  It's effective only M-F, and that must make driving through here difficult during the week.

We visited Dog in the Park once again.  We really need to exercise a little dietary discipline.  They had a new guy cooking today, too much oil was used for cooking the cabbage and onions.  Hopefully he's not going to be a permanent fixture.  We sat next to the kids' playground, they really love this place.  It's funny to watch them running in circles shrieking.  There are many languages being spoken, but the shriek is always the same.

There was a protest of the new proposed extradition of Hong Kong citizens to mainland China.  They were not attracting much attention.

We went down to the market to go look at the remnants of the viaduct.  Look at all the dang people!

Post Alley was full of people.

Apparently they were there for chowder.  This sign was on the sidewalk just outside of the alley.  There were the usual incredibly long lines at the Starbucks and Piroshky Piroshky.  They've gotten smarter and have taken to handing out menus with pictures to the people standing in line.  That should speed up the ordering process.

That's the Norwegian Bliss, the source of all of those people.  Look to the right, you can see the supports that the viaduct used to rest on.

This is looking the other way.  You can better see the missing parts of the viaduct.

 The mountain was out, that would be Mt. Rainier.  It's usually too cloudy to see it.

Another view of the boat.  To the right is the viaduct destroying machine.

This is down by the ferry dock.  The horizontal thing is a pedestrian overpass from the ferry docks to Marion.  We're not sure if they can get the viaduct down without taking the overpass down, as well.  Losing the overpass would be bad for the commuters.

Seattle continues to encourage bicycling and public transit.  The white thing on the right is a physical barrier to keep cars away from the bikes.  Some of these stretches of barriers cost $13M a mile.  There are at least three bike share companies in Seattle, and they are almost all electric assist.  Given the hills we have from glaciation, the assist is what will make the program work.  The nine months of rain may be a problem, however.

It was a good walk.  Jim's back wasn't terrible, my feet cooperated and we enjoyed being vertical.

Sunday, July 21, 2019

A Ride to Marymoor

Yesterday we rode to Marymoor park up the East Lake Sammamish Trail.  It's a rails to trails conversion.  Yesterday's key learning is don't go to Marymoor on a weekend.  The little kids are out on their bikes riding S curves on the trail.  They're totally unpredictable, and therefore worrisome.  So, please make a note of that. 

The new underpass is much nicer than the grade crossing bikes used to have to do.  There is still a dangerous intersection to be survived.  Coming back yesterday, we had the walk signal, and someone ran a red turn signal.  If we didn't hold up for a couple of seconds, he would have hit us.  People are crazy.  Here is the underpass.  To the left is the new round about, and the elevated road over the wetlands that goes to Costco. 

The trail is still not complete.  There is a 3.6 mile stretch of hard pack with a little gravel sprinkled over it.  It's doable on skinny tires, but not really enjoyable. Why, you wonder is it not complete after all these years; it's the homeowners along the trail.  Even though their title insurance clearly stated they did not own the rail bed, they built on it.  For years they blockaded it with large concrete blocks. They have been in court for years, as well as the city of Sammamish who also hates bicyclists. There is a good summary of what's happening here.

More on the subject can be found here. This paragraph is just amazing to me.

King County won the lawsuit filed in 2015 in State Superior Court by a small group of trail side property owners seeking quiet title relief for their homes and other property that King County stated are on public land. Eight of those owners have homes either partially or completely located in the former rail corridor. On December 21, 2018, Judge Shaffer granted King County’s motion for summary judgement. She indicated that King County owns the corridor adjacent to the plaintiffs, that the plaintiffs lack standing to challenge King County’s ownership because their deeds exclude the corridor and that King County has full authority to eject encroachments. (Bold print added by me.)
Apparently they are planning to appeal this to the Supreme Court, but I would be surprised if they would take this case.  

We spent a little time watching racing at the Marymoor velodrome.  They have quite the racing schedule in the summer.  We were there for women's Keirin.  It's a track sport originated in Japan in 1948, to provide people a sport to bet on.  The Japanese version had two riders, that has increased to more riders in other venues.  Here we see the women lining up for the race.  The men are holding them up while they wait.

The woman on the front is pacing the group.  She's riding an electric mountain bike.  The riders have to stay behind her until the bell lap.  She pulls off and the pack sprints for the line.  In the past, mopeds were used as the pacing vehicle.  

There is an article on BBC Sport about it, as well as a wiki.  Track racing is so interesting, it's all tactics and fast-twitch muscle.

Thursday, July 18, 2019

Rain and Disappointing Imaging

I took this yesterday in the parking lot of Fred Meyer.  They're owned by the Kroger chain, and have positioned themselves as a low cost grocer.  Hah!  Double Hah Hah Hah!  Safeway charges $4.99 for the big box of corn flakes, Fred Meyer charges a dollar more for the same thing.  On another note, why does cereal cost so much?  It's not like there's a corn shortage.  Anyway, check out the sky, the clouds, and the obscured mountain tops.  In the bottom of the photo, we see three Teslas, plugged in to charging stations.  It was interesting, each car had someone sitting in it, working on a lap top.  I guess they needed to top off the batteries before heading home.

We went to the Renton Planet Fitness to avoid the rain.  I like the one in Tucson better, but Renton is not terrible.

The climate today was better.  After a morning spent making necessary but annoying phone calls, we headed out for the three mile walk.  It was pleasant, unlike the the poor suffering eastern half of the country.  Look at the color on this plant.  It looks fake, but it's not.  It's really red.

July 3, Jim and I had the yearly appointment with the doctors.  Then we both went and had hip x-rays.  My left hip has been more painful than usual as of late.  Jim's right thigh hurts a lot; it started about mid-May and has become steadily worse.  Our first thought was that we were both driving up on hip replacements.  Jim's pain is on the side where he pushed his femur through his acetabulum in 2006; we've always expected a hip replacement would be in the cards.  My hip has been bad for about ten years.  Nope!  No arthritis for me, and almost none for Jim. So no hip replacements.

July 12 we both had MRIs; mine on my hip and Jim's on his spine.  These were not so good.  I have a torn labrum.   Here is a link to an article about Lady Gaga's labral tear.  I knew you'd want to know.  The labrum is a rim of soft tissue or fibrocartilage that surrounds the acetabulum (hip socket). The labrum adds to the stability of the hip by deepening the socket and protects the joint surface. It can tear.  It can be repaired surgically, but the surgeons don't like to do it on people over 40, because they assume you'll just turn around and get a hip replacement.  As you can imagine, this just irritates the living snot out of me.  At present I'm limited to about four miles before the hip starts screaming.  If I can convince someone to repair this at my advanced age, I'm deferring it until we're back in Tucson.  It's been bad for awhile, it'll keep.

Jim has yet another bulging disk.  This is not nearly as dire as in 2017.  Back then he had the moving disk and the double nerve crush at L4 and L5 which required spinal fusion to fix.  This time, it's a bulge at L2/L3.  The GP thinks it can be fixed with a laminectomy.  But first there must be an epidural injection with cortisone to see if that will fix it.  I have zero hope for that, but they have an established process so we have to do this first.  We're hoping to see the surgeon shortly after the epidural so we can get on the surgery schedule so we can get this thing fixed and get out of Dodge before October.  I miss my house!  From my reading of the interwebs, this is not a trivial procedure but should not be as bad as the spinal fusion.  That was awful.  The purpose of the surgery is to remove part of the vertebra to make some space for the bulging disk so it quits pressing on the nerve.  This nerve is the one that enervates the outside of the thigh, and is currently giving Jim fits.  There will be some moving away of muscle to get to the bone, so there will be some amount of pain involved with this.

We didn't take good enough notes in 2017, so I have decided to write early and write often so that if we have need of this information in the future, we'll have it available.  There's a lot of stuff I just can not remember, and neither can Jim.  As we know, the blog functions as external storage for my terrible memory.

Sunday, July 14, 2019

The Day in Seattle

We went into Seattle to look at cameras.  Mine are getting long in the tooth.  When I bought my Canon Elph 310HS I bought three of them, broke two of them, bought two more.  It's a good camera, but they're old.  So we looked at small cameras.  The first we considered was a Canon PowerShot G9 X Mark II.  Amazon has it for $429.  That's going to make buying five of them difficult.  I do like the sensor size, I don't like the pop up flash.  My finger goes there, and it's only a matter of time before it tries to go up under my finger.  Also, it's heavy.

This is the follow on to my current camera.  Thirteen percent of reviewers don't like it.  Apparently it's difficult to get the wifi to talk to the phone (not a problem for me), and the iris frequently breaks.  It's a plastic body, which I don't know if that's bad or not. 
The worst part of all this is: point and shoot cameras are on their way out.  It used to be that every year there were scores of new models.  Not only is that not happening, no one is writing reviews of point and shoots anymore.  I don't like taking pictures with a phone.  For one thing, I have to put my reading glasses on to see anything.  With a camera, all I have to do is point in the general direction of the interesting thing and push the button.  The whole process can be done without actually seeing through the camera. So, I guess whatever I get, I better get five of them, with extra batteries.

Seattle continues its current trajectory of paving everything there is.  This is the new tunnel that's replacing the Alaskan Way Viaduct.  Note the lack of a full sized break down lane.

One of the many new apartment complexes in South Lake Union.  It's hard to see, but notice the windows are open.  These are not air conditioned.

Hydrangeas in court yards.

More hives.

As we walked on, we saw this RV parked on the street.  Some poor man was attempting to put large heavy boxes into the storage bays underneath the extended slide.  If it were me (and my back) I would have retracted the slide to improve my working conditions.

This is the door to the makeup room.  It's about four feet off the ground.  Stepping out of that could be painful.  Anyway, being the gawker that I am, I asked them who they were driving.  I thought it would be a band of some sort.  Actually, they were doing a photo shoot for plus size womens' clothing.  So there you go.

The woman in the white sweater was a study in bad manners.  First she jumped the queue for the hot dog stand.  She just walked up to the counter, in front the the six people who were waiting, and ordered two hot dogs.  THEN she tried to pay with Canadian dollars, but with no exchange rate.  The kid working the grill told her they couldn't take the money.  She got hostile.  Then an African-American man told her nicely that they could not exchange her currency.  She looked at him and said that since he was obviously unemployed, what would he know about anything?  The guy is a port worker, strong union, good wages.  He started laughing at her.  Eventually she paid using US$.

This is one of the guys that runs Dog in the Park.  If you're ever in Seattle, go there.  They also have vegan dogs.

Speaking of vegans, these are vegan activists protesting in Westlake Park.  One of them was debating a guy who was trying to mansplain her that humans MUST eat meat.  She was having none of that.

It was a good day.  Nice weather, a good walk and a hotdog with grilled cabbage and onions.  What could be better?