Friday/ it must be Hillary

Myimg_7926-sm lengthy November 2016 ballot has arrived in the mail.  I have to vote for 40 or so people, or propositions – at the level of the United States federal government (the vote for el presidente), for the State of Washington, for King County, and also for the City of Seattle.

Below are what appears as the (major) choices for President.  The * sub- texts are from The Stranger (weekly alternative Seattle newspaper that does not mince words), and actually describe what I see when I see the names.  Pundits call this an identity politics election : not so much about what the candidates stand for – but who they are, and who we as Americans are.

[●] Hillary Clinton* and
     Tim Kaine
Democratic Party Nominees

*A liberal workaholic who lives in the fact-based universe and has a decades-long track record of getting stuff done that has had real, tangible benefits for working families, children, and disadvantaged communities.

[  ] Donald J. Trump* and
     Micheal R. Pence
Republican Party Nominees

*A lying, racist, insecure dictator-in-waiting, women-hating sexual predator.

Finally – for ‘undecided’ voters (undecided? how is that possible?), David Frum (former speechwriter for President George W. Bush), offers the following logic.

If not Hillary, then Trump.
If not Trump, then Hillary.
Since it can’t be Trump, it must be Hillary.


Thursday/ going home

Another Thursday has rolled by, and I got to go home and sleep in my own bed.  The year we call 2016 is rapidly running out on us, all of us.  It’s crunch time on our short project with the holiday season approaching, and with even the very end of the year now in sight.


Here’s the beautiful view from my our Alaska Airlines (Boeing 737) flight in, as we were approaching Seattle.

Wednesday is over

It was a long and busy day, but it is over.   I got to watch the last half of the third and final US Presidential debate.  (Can we dispense of all these silly formalities and all go vote now and get the 2016 US Presidential Election over with, once and for all?).


This is Market Street at Powell. It LOOKS as if I took this picture standing in the middle of traffic, but I’m actually waiting at a special curb for the F Line street car in between the lanes. The street car goes up to that spec in the distance that is the Ferry Building on the Embarcadero, and then swings to the left to go about a mile to Fisherman’s Wharf.

Monday/ to San Francisco


Virgin America airplanes at San Francisco’s Terminal 2 at our arrival at 9.30 am this morning.


Check out the Buich Building at 242 California Street in downtown San Francisco. It has a dark gray facade with a black marble surround for the restaurant storefront, finished off with an ornate green cornice. Built in 1909, it’s original name was ‘New World Coffee Stand’.

Another week in San Francisco has started for me.  I took a nice walk around a block or four during my lunch break, and ‘discovered’ the beautiful Buich Building with the Tadich Grill restaurant inside, on California Street. (It’s been there since 1909).


Sunday/ got my voters’ pamphlet


The voters’ pamphlet* is a whopping 150 pages thick, with information about all the national, state and local candidates and ballot issues! *So is it still a ‘pamphlet’?

There are 22 days to go to the 2016 US Presidential election on Nov 8.  Early voting has already started in several states, actually – and I expect to cast my vote by Oct. 25 or so, as well. Washington State conduct voting by mail, so voters do not have to show up in person at the polling stations.

I see a  ‘Letter from London’ on warns the US not to get too complacent about a victory for Hillary (the latest nationwide polls has her up by some 10% over Trump).   All the pollng agencies underestimated Brexit ‘Leave’ vote, and yes : one poll had the Remain vote up by 10%.

Saturday/ stormy weather


Storm damage to a tree here on 18th Ave in Capitol Hill.

There was a second storm on Saturday here in the Puget Sound Area.  We were warned to stock up on batteries, and charge our cell phones in case of a power outage, even to stock up on water and food.   Well, while there was some damage to trees and property, the storm was not as bad as predicted.

My plan in case the power went out, was to crawl in bed and wait for it to pass!



Friday/ ‘Total Meltdown’

It is quite a spectacle (and not a pretty one), to witness the ugliness of the 2016 Presidential campaign here in the United States, up close.  As TIME magazine illustrates on their latest cover, the Trump campaign is now in ‘Total Meltdown’ mode (as opposed to just ‘Meltdown’ mode in August).  As in a nuclear reactor Level 7 meltdown*, the radiation and poison is spreading wide and will stick around a long time after the election is over.

Trump rails at senior Republican party members (!), at Hillary Clinton, and insults his accusers (of sexual assaults or harassment, and there are about a dozen so far), and insults President Obama.  He is already calling the election process ‘rigged’, threatening to put his opponent in jail, saying repeatedly ‘She should be in jail’, thereby undermining the democratic process.

But hopefully reason will prevail, Nov. 8 will come soon enough, and the acrimonious, down-in-the-gutter campaigning will be over.

*Definition of Level 7 on the International nuclear event scale : major release of radioactive material with widespread health and environmental effects requiring implementation of planned and extended countermeasures.



Thursday/ wet weather

It’s wet in Seattle .. a img_7766-smvery large system has moved in that will bring rains for Friday and the weekend, and high winds (up to 60 mph) later tonight.

Our pilot explained that there may be some turbulence on our flight, but he would fly at 24,000 ft all the way up to Seattle (usually it’s 40,000 ft).  It was wet at our arrival, but the flight was not bad at all.  I even took the train and the bus in home, got a little wet from walking the two blocks from the bus stop – but probably got in earlier than I would have, with a taxi that would have had to deal with a lot of wet weather rush hour traffic.


San Francisco airport’s International Terminal as we were pushed back at 4 pm was dry ..


.. but Seattle airport was very wet at our arrival at 6 pm.

Wednesday/ Mensho Tokyo

Here’s a peek inside the hole-in-the-wall Mensho Tokyo (676 Geary St), one of Japan’s most acclaimed ramen (noodle) bars, this being the first one outside Japan.  I read online that the place has been mobbed, ever since it had opened in February.  About 50 people were patiently waiting outside on Wednesday night to get in, when I walked by.  The text on the wall describes katsuo bushi, a stock made from dried bonito flakes.  (Bonito is a medium-sized predatory fish in the same family as tuna and mackerel).



Sunday train jaunt


There are two great bookstores withing walking distance of the University of Washington train station : the University book store and the Amazon bookstore.  There are smaller second-hand bookstores in the University District as well.

Today, I walked to the Capitol Hill station, and Bryan (friend) and I took the new light rail extension to the University of Washington. It’s a bit of a walk (a mile) to the Amazon bookstore from there, but hey, walking is good exercise, right?


This is at the Capitol Hill station, checking out the south-bound train from the University of Washington that had just arrived. ‘Don’t hang by the door’ says the monkey on the door. It really means ‘don’t be in the way, when people need to get in and out’. When the train is full, you sometimes have no choice but to stand by the door!


Cool books in the Science section at the Amazon bookstore. If you scan the barcode with the Amazon app on your smartphone, the book comes right up in your Amazon cart, and then you can choose to buy the paper book or the e-book. (It’s nice to be able to paw through the paper book first with one’s grubby hands, and see what you will be getting when you buy the e-book!).

On Monday mornings, I have to leave the house just a little too early to be able to take the train to the airport (so I take a taxi or Uber car instead) .. but when I come in to the airport on Thursdays, I can take the train all the way up to Capitol Hill.


Saturday/ tracking two storms

The main-stream media spent most of Saturday tracking the fallout from the (latest) Trump firestorm, and from real storm Matthew.  By the time Matthew made land in South Carolina, it had been downgraded to a Category 1 hurricane.  It left a lot of flooding all along the coast in its wake.  Some 10 people in the USA were killed during the storm.  The devastation of Matthew a few days earlier in Haiti was very extensive, with 300 or more deaths there attributed to the storm. Haiti is to the south and east of the Florida panhandle.


Matthew made its first US landfall Saturday morning in South Carolina.


Friday/ Trump 2016: a new low

Hard to imagine, but American presidential political discourse was forced to stoop down to a new low today.  Cable news reported for hours on a vulgar videotape from 2005 that The Washington Post had published, in which Trump brags in graphic terms about groping women and that ‘when you’re a star, you can do whatever you want (with women)’. Several words had to be bleeped out.  The New York Times editorial board met briefly to discuss if all the words should be printed verbatim.  Trump’s campaign issued a semi-apology along the lines of ‘I apologize if anyone was offended’.  Uh. Spare us, please. Don’t bother to show up for Sunday’s presidential debate. Just quit your campaign.



Thursday/ hurricane Matthew

I was a little shocked to see a convoy of military vehicles make their way along the Embarcadero in San Francisco during lunch time today, but then learned that it’s Fleet Week in San Francisco, and there will be fighter jets flying over the Bay and all that (the same Blue Angels that come to Seattle for Seafair in August every year).  The fighter jets have been a sore subject with peace protesters in San Francisco since the mid-80s.

Hurricane Matthew was projected to make landfall at West Palm Beach in Florida just as I arrived at my home in Seattle, so I immediately turned the TV on.  It seems now that the storm’s eye will stay out in the sea – but the storm surge from the ocean will still cause a lot of flooding in the low-lying areas and outer banks all along the coast.


A police-escorted military convoy that made its way along the Embarcadero today.


Hurricane Matthew is going to move up along the east side of the Florida panhandle through Friday and Saturday, and will bring 100 mph winds and 7-11 feet storm surges from the ocean. At least it now looks as if the eye of the storm might stay some 10 or 20 miles out in the ocean, which will make for lower wind speeds on land.

Wednesday/ Uber and BART

I am car-less this week andimg_7607-sm so I summoned an Uber driver to get me to San Ramon for a meeting this morning, and then another to get me to the eastern end-point of BART’s blue line in Dublin.  (Yes, there is a Dublin in California).

On the way back one of my train’s stops was Fruitvale station, the scene of tragic events on New Year’s Day in 2009 when 22-yr old Oscar Grant was fatally shot in the back while pinned down on the ground, by a BART policeman. (There is a shocking YouTube cell phone video on-line that actually shows what happened; a movie about the events was made in 2013). The officer testified at his 2010 trial that he intended to draw and fire his Taser rather than his gun.


Fruitvale Station is on the blue line on the east side of the Bay.He was sentenced to two years in prison after his involuntary manslaughter conviction – but was released after serving only 11 months.   This was 2009 .. and here we are in 2016, now looking back at a trail of numerous similar incidents.  Young black men interacting with police, with similar tragic outcomes. Is it due to racism? or due to the way the police operates? or due to ‘bad’ individual police officers? asks this article from website .

He was sentenced to two years in prison after his involuntary manslaughter conviction – but was released after serving only 11 months.

This was 2009 .. and here we are in 2016, now looking back at a trail of numerous similar incidents.  Young black men interacting with police, with similar tragic outcomes. Is it due to racism? or due to the way the police operates? or due to ‘bad’ individual police officers? asks this article from website fivethirtyeight.

It’s Monday, and so : to San Francisco

Man! I think I deserve a public transportation gold star for my extensive use of it today.  To wit: early morning, I took the bus downtown to go to the dentist; took the light rail and bus back home; an hour later ran out to the airport by bus and light rail, took Alaska Airlines to San Francisco; stopped at the office for two hours at the Embarcadero station, and then went back and took the BART train out to Walnut Creek.  (There is another convention or something going on in the city, and all the hotel rooms are double their normal expensive rates).


Twelve fashion faux pas offered by the Men’s Health magazine in the dentist’s office. (Hey, I don’t have any of those items in my closet. But now I know to steer clear).


Our Alaska Airlines plane to San Francisco was at the far end of the North Terminal. There is no jet way there; the passengers walk down a set of stairs, out onto the tarmac and onto the plane. (It’s actually nice, in a way, to go outside, feel the cool air, and step into the plane).

Sunday/ Bertha’s progress

The Alaska Way viaduct tunnel is making progress .. but still has some way to go. The tunnel dig is scheduled for completion in ‘summer 2017’ says the Wash-DOT website (I guess that means July).


Bertha has completed about half of the digging of the tunnel, but with more than 6 months of digging still ahead.


Here’s the inside of the tunnel. The yellow tube brings in fresh air to the boring machine. The red and black structure on the roof is a conveyor belt that takes the dirt out. The inside of the tunnel is made of concrete ring segments that get put in place as the machine chews its way through the earth. Eventually an upper deck (for south bound traffic) and a lower deck (north bound) will be constructed in the tunnel.


Here’s a picture I took today. The ugly Alaskan Way Viaduct will be demolished, but it will probably take two more years for the completion of the tunnel. The activity below is work that had been done to reconstruct a ‘seawall’ to protect the waterfront edge from erosion by the Puget Sound water, and to enable shore-like marine life to take hold (seaweed, crabs, mussels).