Sunday, December 24, 2006

Holidays have arrived

We'll be off in the land of the Angles and the Gauls. Happy holidays and a joyous new year!

Black pine

When our neighborhood was laid out, it seems that Black Pine was a popular tree for landscape designers. We have lines of them alternating with flowering plum trees along the white fencing at the south entrance to our subdivision. They're nice looking trees with a dark green color and a puffy appearance. Our local evergreens tend to be pointy and lighter in color, so it's a pleasant contrast. We don't shape them as is done in Japan - they just grow freely.

Sadly, the recent windstorm was not kind to the black pines. These trees completely blocked this entrance to the neighborhood. A second entrance was partially blocked. The wind blew from the south and, as one might expect, virtually all the fallen trees point to the north.

The black pines that faced the wind without an upwind deflector didn't hold. Those in north-south rows did reasonably well, but those in east-west rows fell hard. Smaller trees were more likely to survive, but the larger, more mature trees had too much sail area.

Based on the way they fell, the black pine has a shallow, broad root system. The trees that were pulled up showed roots that rarely went deeper than a foot and were typically half that. The roots were barely deeper than the sod. The breadth of the root system wasn't enough to compensate. It's not clear if the root depth is natural or is a consequence of the soil structure. The soils around here are generally poor. The glaciers scraped off most of the soil and pushed it elsehwere. When they retreated, they left sand, gravel, and clay. The builders added just enough topsoil to allow the plants to survive. But I would think that twenty years of growth would have given the trees deeper roots. The black pines are also denser than the native trees. As I look at the firs and cedars, they have a more lacy look to them. Stands of them get very dark, but individual trees are more open than the black pine. The successful trees bend with the wind and let it pass.

There will be a faction in the neighborhood that wants to replace the fallen trees with the same type. I will lobby for native trees that have shown they can withstand our blustery days.

Saturday, December 23, 2006

Risky business

I am fascinated by the risks that we take in our daily lives. We pay extra for special bottled water to avoid the perceived risks of tap water. Driving is particularly challenging. We drive cars at high speeds without seatbelts fastened. We talk on cell phones, apply make-up, and hand things to the kids while driving in heavy traffic. A sample of the damage left by the recent windstorm is shown here. A tall tree, probably a Douglas Fir or a Western Red Cedar, is suspended above the roadway by power lines. Many people were quite happy to drive under that tree on their way to shopping or soccer. Personally, I drove over on the shoulder to avoid a chance collapse. I know the chance was remote, but I just didn't want "Zap!" to be my epitaph.

I should have taken more photos. The damage was -- is dramatic.

Thursday, December 21, 2006

What was your name?

The Seattle/Tacoma bureau of the National Weather Service wants your help naming the storm that blew some many electrons out of Seattle. The announcement page is here or you can send mail to .

Reeling in the years

It's been a while since I posted. I started to think that the content was not interesting to the audience. I have finally realized that the audience is rather small - probably just me - and I can't impress or disappoint myself, so I may as well start again. (No, I can't explain - it made sense at the time.)

We've just come out of a long, dark period. A major storm blew through the metropolitan Seattle area a week ago - Thursday night, 14 December 2006. It started with a few hours of pouring rain, almost three inches - an amount we normally get in a month. This was followed by strong winds - sustained at 50 mph. Trees started falling.

Although our home was not hit by anything falling, there were hundreds of thousands of homes without power as trees struck power lines. Ours was one of the many dark ones. We spend Friday thinking power would be restored shortly and we could resume our normal lives for the weekend. Not so. We finally had power restored Tuesday morning. Fortunately, we have a fireplace, but we had to source firewood from friends and neighbors. The furnace was inop (electric fan for circulation), but the hot water heater worked (natural gas). Washing the dishes has never been so popular. We dug out our camping gear - sleeping bags, flashlights, lanterns, and so on.

Once power was restored, we quickly forgot the hardships and returned to our normal, posh life. Lights, heat, computers, music, and garage door openers. As the Horsey cartoon (Seattle P-I) says, there's a thin line between civilization and nature.

Wednesday, September 20, 2006


It is one of the great mysteries of life: from whence come spiders and insects? What is the origin of life itself? At the beginning of the Scientific Revolution, there were theories of spontaneous generation. When I check Wikipedia, it goes back to Aristotle who believed that aphids sprang from the dew on roses, mice from dirty hay, and (one would think) fruit flies from aging fruit. Clearly from this photo, Aristotle would think that spiders sprang from unused bathtubs.

The bathtub is in our summer cottage and the spiders just appear. It's not like there are masses of webs on the ceiling, with thousands of wannabe Charlottes angling and dangling for a chance at pictorial fame on Blogger. No! The ceiling is quite finished and well maintained. So from whence come all these spiders? Inquiring minds want to know!

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

The end of summer

These floats got a lot of use this summer. Many hands and feet disturbed their quiet drifting. Shouts and laughter surrounded them. Splashes and tumbles soaked them all afternoon and into the evening. But the days have turned cooler, shortening as the sun drifts lower each day. Soon the floats will be pulled out for the season and set aside to dry. When the rainy season ends and the water warms, they will be brought out again. The feet will be larger, the hands stronger, the splashes bigger. There will even be delicate new hands and feet touching the floats for the first time. But for now, quiet and solitute in the September sun.

Wednesday, August 30, 2006


When I fly, I like to get a seat with a view. It's not easy and a peek out the window can reveal little more than the top of a wing or the back of a jet engine. For some reason, everyone seems to think business travelers like aisle seats and on personal flights, the kids tend to get first choice. This usually leaves me sitting in the middle seat, sometimes on the aisle. On a June flight, I got a window with a view.

It was a long flight that arrived in Seattle around sunset. Because we were coming in from the southeast, the view was fantastic. I don't know if the pilot planned this (thank you!) or if we were just lucky, but we flew right past the north face of Mt. Rainier on our descent. We must have been around 15,000 feet because we were only looking down slightly on the 14,410-foot mountain.

Friday, August 25, 2006

Would you like to ride in my beautiful balloon?

We live in the Sammamish Valley, carved by the Sammamish Slough. Once a naturally meandering river, the Slough is now channelized and arrow-straight for miles. A couple times a year, it rises in a fruitless attempt to reclaim its natural domain. Fortunately for those living nearby, the planners were thoughtful and they placed mostly sod farms, vegetable farms, soccer fields, and a golf course nearby. There is some housing that encroaches on the Slough, and some industry, but they seem to have well-designed dikes.

Quite a meandering introduction, eh? But you have survived to the point: the valley is scenic. The Red Hook Brewery and the Chateau Ste. Michelle Winery are at the north end of the valley. Somebody decided it would be a good place to run a balloon. The winds are generally northernly (out of the north), so they start at the north end of the valley and drift south. The balloons are surprisingly silent (except for the roar of the propane burners) so that I'm often tempted to start a conversation as the balloonists float over my backyard.

Thursday, August 24, 2006

Camp Parsons, BSA

Over here on Dabob Bay, near Quilcene, WA, is the famous Camp Parsons, BSA. One of the famous features of this famous camp is the pier. At 500 feet in length, it extends far out into the waters of the Hood Canal. There is a significant tide in the area, so they need quite a pier to get out into reliably deep waters. One need is for boating, so the boats are tied up at the end of the pier. The other need is for Pier Jumping! Pier jumping is, as the name would suggest, jumping off the pier into the water. The tide varies, of course, so the jump ranges from 15 to 20-some feet. As a friend of mine mentioned, it doesn't look all that high when you're standing in dry street clothes, but when you're out there in a swimming suit, the jump takes on a new perspective. Highly recommended, though - it's a blast.

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Mountain Flowers

The alpine flowers of Washington can be stunning. This has been a good year, at least in the early part of the summer.

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Summer sun at the beach

It seems to have Beach Week over at the London Daily Photo and at the Paris Daily Photo, so here's my contribution: fun in the summer sun. These three boys are preparing for a water-balloon fight in celebration of a 12th birthday. I can't imagine what sort of strategy they were cooking up, but they were intently debating the options and the merits. I would have thought that a water-balloon fight would lose its charm were I standing waist-deep in the ocean, but I'm no longer twelve.

Monday, August 21, 2006

They sure like their highways

I am stunned at the enormous roads they build in Texas. This intersection on the south side of Austin is an incredible spray of concrete. It's quite impressive, but one really has to wonder if this scale of road-building is necessary. I'm not going to defend the brilliant engineering of the local folks, but they clearly like things big in Texas.

Friday, August 18, 2006

Holey Roller

A rolling rock gathers... dimples?

I can't figure out where all these dimpled rocks come from. This photo is from the Pacific coast on the shores of Washington (state). Look up Cape Alava, WA in Google Maps. These rocks are pounded and rolled by the tides of the Pacific. Cape Alava is exposed to storms throughout the year, so the rocks become round. But many of them have these large dimples. The dimples are golf ball-sized and a few inches deep. What causes them?????

War of the Worlds

I was looking out my office window at a gray day in April (3-apr-2006) and I decided to use the only camera at-hand to take a photo: my camera-phone. It proudly presents itself as a 1.3 megapixel, but it's not really a camera. Snapshots, maybe, but not photographs. However, interesting things come when you're least expecting them, rather like those cheap Russian (?) cameras that people use to take creative photos. They're not accurate, but the distortion is interesting and can be artistic. So here's my entry. I had to straighten out the horizon and crop the photo down a touch, but that sort of solarization going on here - that's all in the camera.

I haven't posted in quite a while. I challenge myself to fix that.

Sunday, July 02, 2006

Lions and tigers and bears...

Lions, acutally. These are the Vancouver (BC) lions in profile. Stanley Park is the beautiful park in the heart of Vancouver. From the north end of Stanley Park, the Lions Gate Bridge launches across the mouth of Vancouver Harbor to North Vancouver. The bridge is named for the crouching lions seen in the northern distance. See if you can find the lions here.

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

By the flickering flame of Mount Olympus, Cocky, it's great to be back at the game!

On a clear day, Mount Olympus reigns over the northern suburbs of Seattle. The fog is rising but the mountains loom above, illuminated by the rising sun. The Olympic mountain range covers the northwest corner of Washington state, deflecting and blocking the worst of the Pacific weather. The surviving moisture drizzles the Puget Sound basin in the winter, giving Seattle its reputation, but the bulk of the moisture creates the great temperate rainforest that shares the Olympic name and covers the western flanks. The advancing summer season struggles with the winter snows but have not yet won the high ground, and the rivers are swollen with the casualties of warmth. It is early in the morning as the sun has not yet illuminated the nearby houses and hills.

Update: removed spurious and lurid apostrophe. (Blush)

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Heigh-ho, Nobody Home

There is a lot of construction proceeding in Kirkland, WA. This hole is to be a new hotel. I find it to be an enormously impressive hole (foundation) for a 2-3 story hotel. If you look carefully, you may be able to recognize the forms of the floor of an underground parking garage. The light blue coils are evidently cables that will be under tension, embedded in the concrete. Against the far wall, you can see the reinforcing structures that help hold the walls of the hole in place during construction. I assume that these will be removed as the building / parking structure / foundation completes.

Saturday, April 29, 2006

Raindrops keep falling on my head

That rainbow really struck me. Certainly, I've seen rainbows, but this one was unusually intense in color and nearly complete. It wasn't a full circle, but I usually think of rainbows as fading off on one side. After I resumed driving, I kept peeking at the rainbow and it started to fade. I was lucky to see it full and intense for the brief time it was there.

In reality, the rainbow was more nearly circular. This image was taken as three exposures on my cell-phone camera, then merged with Photoshop Elements 4 using a perspective merge and advanced blending. This explains the kink near the peak of the rainbow and the spreading of the curve (divergence from circular). Initial attempts to merge the images had major discontinuities in the sky and rainbow, so I kept playing with the Photoshop options.

Slip-sliding away

Our Spring weather has been unsettled and unusually violent for this area, bringing hailstorms, rainbows, and drenching rain. I was stunned by a fabulous rainbow as I was driving south of Seattle the other day, so I whipped out my cell-phone and took a picture of it. Don't be alarmed - I had pulled to the side of the road to stop and safely take the picture. It is rather interesting that a passing car gets skewed; there must be some sort of sequential scanning process in the camera exposure.

Odd, isn't it, that I take out a cell-phone to take a picture. A few years ago, that would have gotten gee-whiz responses, but now it gets yawns. Now if only someone could invent a roof that looks good and doesn't leak.

Saturday, April 15, 2006

Walking on broken glass

Hiking along the Pacific beach near Cape Alava, WA, we came across this striking display: a bleached clump of trees above a candy-striped log.

April, 2006

Wednesday, April 12, 2006


We went on a backpacking trip in the Olympic National Park. Most people think of mountains and snow in the Olympics (surrounding Mt. Olympus) but an unexpected part of the park is the rainforest and coast. These petroglyphs are south of Cape Alava, the westernmost part of the continential United States (traditional). There is a clump of rocks that cut the beach to the sea and have the name Wedding Rocks. I don't really recall, but I think the photo is in the "correct" orientation, though the rocks have probably moved since the original creation of the petroglyphs. There are a many other petroglyphs among the rocks, but I think people are starting to add modern ones. These seem to be authentic and old (1000 years, perhaps?).

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

Tiptoe Through The Tulips

Spring in Seattle comes early and lingers. We have our soggy days, but the sunny ones make up for the rest. Our tulips come out and last. I grew up in the Midwest of the U.S. and the tulips lasted for a day or two. In Seattle, we get weeks and weeks of pleasure.

I was inspired first by the London Daily Photo blog and the Paris Daily Photo blog, but I have come to understand just how challenging that can actually be. This bouquet is in honor of the reliable souls who bring us the daily photos. And a fond memory of Tiny Tim.

Sunday, March 19, 2006

I get around

We were out on a drive to see the eagles on the Skagit River. During the winter months, the eagles follow various salmon runs, and the Skagit seems to be one of the favorites; it also happens to have a road that allows easy access - Route 20, the North Cascades Highway. Our tour started near Concrete, WA, and continued east, including stops at Rockport State Park and Mile 100 (a wide spot in the road). Along the way we happened across a tour group of restored cars. As the drivers lunched nearby, the cars formed an impromptu show.

Update: Forgot to provide a title.

Saturday, March 18, 2006


The Seattle Science Center has a tropical butterfly house. Inside it's hot, humid, and bright. The visitors walk paths among tropical plants, gawking at the flowers and the butterflies. The butterflies congregate around flowers, water, and plates of food. This particular butterfly must be approaching the end of his life. His neighbors have smoothly undulating edges to their wings, but this one is tattered. He seems to be enjoying a banana.

Monday, March 13, 2006

Paths on the Mountain

We were using our snowshoes on Mount Rainier, WA. We parked by Paradise Visitor Center and started climbing. The day started out clear but clouds came in during the early afternoon. At times we were climbing through overcast and snow, but there was also plenty of sunshine. This image captures a period of change.

Update: We are standing around 6000 feet (about 1000 feet above Paradise) and looking up the 14,400 foot mountain.

Saturday, March 11, 2006

I like Paris in the Springtime

I've been visiting daily a couple of photoblogs. The first one I found was the London Daily Photo (LDP). The LDP was inspired by and introduced me to the Paris Daily Photo (PDP). These are wonderful. In honor of the first anniversary of the PDP, I offer this little snapshot of an obscure part of Paris with a wonderful name, Rue du chat qui peche. My poor abilities in French give this street the name "Avenue of the Fishing Cat".

Eric, the host of PDP, has a special listing of photos he has received in honor of his first anniversary, and I encourage you to have a look!

Tuesday, February 28, 2006

A rose by any other name

A simple sand pendulum can create complex, interesting figures as the point swings through the sand - Lissajous figures. These sand pendulums are often sold in little shops. One of the shops in Port Townsend, not far from Seattle, happened to have their pendulum swinging at the moment of the 2001 Seattle earthquake, and this image is left to us to ponder. The owner named it The Earthquake Rose.

I feel the earth move under my feet

Seattle is on the Ring of Fire, a massive curve around northern part the Pacific Ocean. As the tectonic plates move, we develop neighbors who like to party. Five years ago, 28 February 2001, Seattle had a reminder of our party-hardy neighbors: an earthquake. Everybody has their story to tell and everyone remembers exactly where they were when "it" happened.

I was in the office of my boss, having a routine 1x1 meeting with him. The first rumble hit and it was like a heavily loaded cart rolling down then hallway - just a loud rumble. A few seconds later, a louder rumble with a distinct floor motion hit. I asked Gene (my boss), "Is this an earthquake?" "No, don't be silly." By the time he got the "...lly" out of his mouth, we were both standing in the doorway of his office, looking at each other, because the third rumble hit and hit and hit. It seemed to go on forever. There was a fellow outside Gene's office, sitting at his desk and staring up at a light fixture that was swaying back and forth. "Gee, you really ought to get away from that and under your desk." "Huh? What?" he said as he watched the fixture sway. It seemed to go on forever, but it probably lasted five seconds of so.

Gene and I walked around the floor to inspect any damage and to ensure that anyone needing help or attention got it. Luckily, we were in a new building so most of the damage was to items that slid or bounced off desks to the floor, and a couple of bookcases that weren't properly secured to the walls. I waited around until the official all-clear announcement. I had to wait until the city bus lines started running again.

The bus ride was a little strange. The city was silent, nearly still. The route for the bus I needed took me into the Seattle Metro Bus Tunnel. I must say it is a bit odd to ride through a tunnel in the aftermath of an earthquake. No obvious damage - the engineers had checked it out before re-opening it, of course - but one feels like the ultimate gambler to go below the earth after an earthquake.

Next day? Back to work.

Note: it is normally a bad idea to stand in a doorway during an earthquake. Much wiser to get under a table or sturdy piece of furniture that's away from glass windows. In this case, the door was a sliding door rather than a swinging door, so the response was reasonably safe. A conventional swinging door tends to flap in harmony with the earthquake (literally), slapping you out of the way should you attempt to interfere with its path. Avoid doorways, head under a table or desk.

Monday, February 20, 2006

Where have all the flowers gone?

The Northwest Flower and Garden Show comes to Seattle like a tropical breeze each February. The floors of the Convention Center blossom with displays and booths. This display was an interesting combination of flowers and glass in the style of Dale Chihuly.

Thursday, February 16, 2006

Don't know much about history

You look at this picture and you probably think it's inane. Here's the secret: it's not inane, it's art. Yep, there's a plaque on that utility cover in the foreground. A significant plaque. Well, OK, I'll let you judge for yourself (I assume a singular readership here, and I don't mean distinctive, I mean unary).

The plaque reads as it says. Kirkland, WA.

Grazin' in the grass

What do you do with a valley floor that is also a floodplain? You might build houses or businesses there, but they would flood regularly. Here's a clever idea: build a sod farm. Yep, grow grass. Then when the fields flood, you don't lose much. If the floods recede quickly enough, you don't even lose the grass - it will recover quickly.

This is the valley of the Sammamish Slough and you're looking north from the north side of Redmond, WA. The Slough is to your left. In the distance you might be able to make out the Chateau Ste. Michelle Winery, but I rather doubt the visibility is good enough. The Columbia Winery (must be over 21) is nearby and so is the Red Hook Brewery. Yes, we have all the conveniences here.

Friday, February 10, 2006

Slip-sliding away

The good side of all that rain is: snow in the mountains. We went skiing at the Stevens Pass Ski Area on the afternoon of a recent football game. It was great. The day was sunny, as you can see to the right, the crowds were light, the snow was good, and the lift lines were brief. There was even plenty of seating and eating room (normally it's a struggle to find a place to sit).

Thursday, February 02, 2006

Rain, Rain, Go Away

It is raining again in Seattle. After a day of brief relief - it takes just one to interrupt the record string - we're back into rain. Two and a half times the average amount of rain for January and an inch short of the wettest January on record. Water is everywhere. The rivers had started to drop, but they're higher than ever. Hillsides are slumping; one stretch of a hill slid into the Oso River and blocked it. The emergency folks brought in construction equipment to dig a new river channel to save nearby houses.

This is to be someone's basement. The rain will drain, the ground will dry, the cement will pour, the foundation will harden, the house will go up, and the happy people will move in. Seattle - we can survive anything!

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

Three mountains

We've had another sunny day, but don't tell anyone - they might think there's a pattern here. But the sunny day calls for another mountain photo. This panorama is from the slopes of Mt. Rainier and looks roughly south. The tall volcano in the distance on the left is Mt. Adams; the volcano hiding in the center distance is Mt. Hood, and the volcano on the right is Mt. St. Helens.

Monday, January 23, 2006

Rainier Sighting

The rains have broken and I saw Mt. Rainier for the first time this year. It feels like a long time since Mt. Rainier was last visible; those layers and layers of clouds can weight more than one might think.

Although I saw Mt. Rainier from Redmond this afternoon, this photo is from January, 2003, and was taken in the alpenglow from Longmire.

Sunday, January 22, 2006


We went out looking for eagles today. At this time of year, bald eagles commonly come south from Alaska to roost along salmon rivers in the northwest of the US. We were looking along the Skagit River north of Seattle. This is an area where the road had previously washed out and there is a (locally) massive reconstruction project. The face of raw rock in the photo indicates the scale of the construction (see the "little" excavator in the lower-right corner). Further up to the hill one can see a valley in the mountain side that channels water into a stream. As the construction shows, the stream is powerful enough to undermine and wash out the road.

The eagles? We saw about 15. They were relatively low in number because the high water level in the river washed downstream the salmon carcasses that the eagles normally eat. A month ago, we would have seen five times as many eagles.

Saturday, January 21, 2006

I fear rivers over flowing

It's not that bad. The rains continue and the rivers are in flood, but the floods are pretty normal for this time of year. This picture shows a slough, a channelized flow that leads from the north end of Lake Sammamish in Redmond to the north end of Lake Washington in Kenmore. As you might tell from the sapling in the foreground, the slough flow is normally lower - about 1.3 meters (4 feet) lower, in fact. This picture was taken where NE 124th street crosses the slough, looking southwest (the glare in the distance is the setting sun around 4:30pm or so).

Flowing in from the left (from the east) is a small salmon stream that has been restored. The stream shows as a wiggle in the map. As you might imagine, a salmon stream has salmon in it. Salmon like wandering, cool streams so the stream was recently de-channelized: they put the bends back in, dropped some logs in the water to create snags, and planted saplings on the banks to shade and cool the water in the summer. We hope the salmon will return and prosper. They come all the way through Lake Washington.

More precisely, they come from Puget Sound into Lake Union and Portage Bay, through the Lake Washington Ship Canal, through Lake Washington, and into the slough. Pretty impressive. But these guys are stragglers compared to some of the other salmon that head up the Columbia River.

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Rainy Day People

Seattle is a rainy climate in the Winter, there's no denying it. We get a lot of rain. To be more precise, we get a normal amount of rain and it takes a long, long time to fall. Our typical rainy day is 4-8 mm (less than 1/4-inch) as measured in my backyard. Over a year, that's roughly 40 inches (102 cm). We call it our "liquid sunshine" and instead of "showers", we note the exceptions as "sun breaks".

So what does one do when the weather is not quite perfect? We go outdoors, of course! We spend a lot of time out of doors. We're not dim, we do come in out of the rain (mostly), so we find indoor-outdoor things to do -- like Dutch Oven cooking. Here's our troop running a Dutch Oven cooking contest on an iffy day in the Fall. You're looking at over a dozen ovens cooking away. The little gray spots are charcoal briquettes nicely heating everything around them. It was difficult to get a shot of the ovens without too many people in view - a lot of people spent time near the coals for the warmth.

The ovens contain entrees and desserts. Enough to feed an army. That's the only problem with a contest like this - each participant is cooking enough for about five people to eat. It's a burden that I shall bear....

Monday, January 16, 2006

For the record

Officially, we only made it to 27 sequential days of rain. According to the official record-keepers, it didn't rain in Seattle on Sunday, 15 Jan 2006, so the streak of days began anew on Monday, 16 Jan 2006. Too bad they didn't have a rain gauge in my backyard - Redmond got rain.

Sunday, January 15, 2006

Be Prepared

We went on a hike today to see the Big Four Ice Caves, about an hour away from our home. We piled two kids, four sets of snowshoes, lunches, poles, hiking gear, and winter clothing into the car and headed off. I cleverly grabbed a spare battery for my camera. We arrived, unpacked and dressed, but the snow depth was insufficient for snowshoes and we only needed hiking boots. We got to the trailhead and there was a nice view of the clouds parting over Big Four Mountain. I whipped out the camera, turned it on, and viewed the message "No Memory Card". No problem! I reached for the spare memory card that I keep in the camera bag. No Memory Card. The spares were sitting on my desk - at home. Fortunately, my new cell phone comes with a little megabit camera, so I gave that a try. Herewith is the result.

Moral of the story: take the spares with you.

Update: the image displayed in this entry looks odd, but click on it, and the "original" (?) looks fine.

Friday, January 13, 2006


Twenty-five days of rain. We have had 25 consecutive days of rain in the metropolitan Seattle area and we're heading toward the record of 33 days of rain. It will come as a surprise to many that Seattle can think of this as unusual. "It's the rainy city, the Emerald City," I hear you cry, "how can they call any amount 'too much rain'?" Well, even we have our limits! For those keeping track at home, the record for Spokane is more like 50 consecutive days.

This photo was taken in Mt. Rainier National Park in May, 2005.

Update: Oops. The record rainy city is not Spokane, but Centralia.

Sunday, January 08, 2006

Rainbow abbreviated

Here's a smudge of a rainbow, an abbreviation. I'm on a ridge overlooking a river valley with the sun setting behind me at the end of a rainy day. Somehow, physics shows me a fragment of a rainbow in the settling darkness.

Thursday, January 05, 2006

Chez Bill Gates

On the eastern shore of Lake Washington, facing west toward Seattle, is the home of a local business man. While it can only be seen from the water, the house is spacious, boasting an underground parking lot, a private beach, a movie theater, and it is rumored to have a bowling alley. Bill and family lived in a smaller house a bit to the south while the main homestead was under construction - barely a few doors down. I used to share a zip code with Bill, but now he's moved to Medina and I hardly ever see him any more.

Wednesday, January 04, 2006

Quaint American Customs - part 1

Our image today centers on a Quaint American Custom associated with ice hockey. Attendees to the Seattle Thunderbirds ice hockey games are able to buy foam pucks, each numbered uniquely, from vendors as they enter the rink. This lovely automobile has a "sunroof" - there is a window in the roof that can be opened. Between two of the hockey periods, this auto is driven out onto the center ice as shown and all the happy attendees throw their foam pucks at the car, hoping to be the first to get their puck into the car via the sunroof. The winner's name is placed into a drawing to win the car at a later date. The failing pucks are swept up as the car is driven back off the ice and play is resumed. A curious demonstration of sportsmanship in North America.

Tuesday, January 03, 2006

Solving a problem in a new way

These are upside-down jellyfish at the Monterey Bay Aquarium. They intentionally swim downward such that their pulsation pushes their prey past their tentacles. Sometimes you have to turn a problem upside-down to see the solution.

Please stand by...

We're having technical difficulties uploading a new image. It may be the client or it may be the server. I'll take the approach that a reboot and the passage of time will heal all wounds. Please stand by...

Sunday, January 01, 2006

Some pictures take themselves

This is the Yosemite Valley (California) on the afternoon of December 24th, 2005. This panorama has shown itself millions of times since the glaciers retreated from California.

Notes: El Capitan is to your left; Half Dome is visible in the center distance, and Bridalveil Falls is to your right. The Merced River runs down the middle of the valley. It's about 3pm or so in the afternoon.