Monday/ quelle belle journée!

It was a fine day here in the city: eighty (27°C) and sunny.
My English-French illustrated dictionary has landed on my porch.
It is illustrated with panels from Belgian cartoonist Hergé’s Tintin characters, which is why I had to have it, of course.

From Harrap’s Tintin Illustrated Dictionary, published 1989. The panels are from ‘The Castafiore Emerald’ (first appearance in newspapers: 1961-1962).
The top panel has Tintin, Captain Haddock, and Snowy (French name: Milou).
The traffic officer is apologizing to the Milanese opera diva Bianca Castafiore, for daring to write her a ticket for a fine.

Saturday/ go Slow

 

The Slow Mo 02 with its Apple-esque square face, all silver stainless steel, with a black dial, $300.
How to read the time. Love that last one .. would it be drama if ‘12.23’ is actually 12.24?

 

 

Is this the perfect watch for the pandemic? It’s a Swiss-made watch with one hand that rolls around the dial once every 24 hours. 12 noon at the top, of course, and midnight at the bottom.

 

Tuesday/ ‘escaping’ to space

How two Americans managed to escape the chaos of their country just in time …
‘We lucked out!’  ‘That was close!’
[Cartoonist Klaus Stuttmann in Der Tagespiegel newspaper].
NASA astronauts Robert Behnken and Douglas Hurley, on SpaceX’s Crew Dragon spacecraft bound for the International Space Station, lifted off on a Falcon 9 rocket at 3:22 p.m. EDT May 30, from Launch Complex 39A in Florida.

They will stay for an extended time at the Space Station for the Demo-2 mission. The specific duration of the mission is to be determined.

Friday/ stay away from downtown

The streets were all quiet around Capitol Hill tonight as I walked down to Broadway at around 7.

Later on tonight, protesters squared off with police in downtown Seattle, though .. same as in many cities in the US tonight: Atlanta*, Dallas, Los Angeles, Minneapolis-St Paul (of course), New York City, Washington DC.

*Where CNN’s headquarters is being attacked by the very protesters (turned rioters) that they had supported as noble & just.

‘Hello Sir! Are you from the Seattle Times?’ inquired the young people on the rooftop of the Broadway Market building. I was taking pictures below with my journalist-grade camera. Oh, no, nooo, I said, shaking my head. Do you want me to take a picture of you? Yes, yes, they said. (I don’t have any of their names).
Artwork on the outside of the Urban Outfitters store in the Broadway Market building. I guess time will tell if this clothing store will survive the pandemic.
The side of the Broadway Market building. It was built in 1928 as a 25,000 sq ft complex of food markets. Condominiums were added at the back in the 1990s, and today there are several businesses housed in the building besides the QFC grocery store.

 

Wednesday/ the blue hour

‘After a dinner party in 1892, the guests went from Krøyer’s home down to the beach to enjoy the summer’s evening, and Anna Ancher and Marie Krøyer went for a walk together along the beach. This is where he first got the idea for this motif. During the 1890’s in particular and until he died in 1909, Krøyer painted several works from Skagen, in which he depicted the twilight hour, the so-called ‘blue hour’, when the sky and the sea seem to merge into each other in the same shade of blue. Krøyer was far from the only artist to paint evocative, blue-tone paintings’. [From Google Arts & Culture]

Summer evening on Skagen Sønderstrand | Peder Severin Krøyer 1893 | Oil on canvas | Skagens Museum, Skagen, Denmark | Depicted Location: Skagen Sønderstrand, Skagen, Denmark | Depicted Person: Anna Ancher, Marie Krøyer

Tuesday/ the Doon Drive House, completed

Here’s the Doon Drive house, now replete with Chev truck by the front door, back yard, tennis court, swing set, swimming pool, trees and flower beds.

Did I go a little overboard? Well no – this is really not going overboard, given all the crazy things LEGO builders have come up with!
I will let it occupy my dining room table for a bit, and then decide what to do! Maybe I will put the bricks for just the house, in a shoebox, with pictures, so that it can be rebuilt again.

Here’s a bird’s eye view of the estate. The roof tile colors worked out great, and I replaced the original white wall bricks with a tan color for the house. I patched together several gray and green baseplates to create enough ‘real estate’ to work with.
This is the driveway paved with brick, with an early 80s Chevrolet K10 Custom truck parked by the front door.
The garage doors can swing open (but yes, the door openings are too tight to accommodate the truck).
The swimming pool was created with a white base plate, so that the translucent light blue & dark blue tiles could show their true colors. That’s a bore hole in the foreground, with a little froggie looking for some water. There’s a grey bird sitting in the thorn tree with the yellow blossoms.
The tennis court and swing set were challenging, but I am happy with the result. The ‘chains’ holding the tire for the swing are the only non-LEGO pieces in the entire set (wires covered with plastic).
The ladies are enjoying refreshments by the tennis court.
Check out the white bed sheets on the laundry line in the courtyard.
The roof can be removed to reveal the rooms and furnishings inside the house. Main bedroom on the far left with its en suite bathroom, and then a long hallway lined with bedrooms in the front, and additional bath rooms across from them. Front door and entrance hall on the far right.
Here’s the kitchen, on the left, the lounge on the right, and the dining room and little patio leading to the swimming pool.
Another view of the lounge, kitchen, dining room and patio.
Trees and flower beds in the back of the garden.

Wednesday/ Pike & Pine street art

Many more works of art have appeared in the last month or so, on the boarded-up storefronts that line Pike and Pine St here in Capitol Hill, Seattle.
Here are a few.

Friday/ my replacement dinner plate

I broke one of my Noritake (Japanese porcelain) dinner plates last week in spectacular fashion: I made it explode on my gas cooktop with a loud bang!
(I accidentally turned on the gas burner underneath the plate for a few minutes).

Lucky for me, there were no flying pieces of porcelain, just the broken pieces on the cooktop to clean up.

This pattern is Royal Orchard by Noritake. Beautiful, not? Its production has stopped long ago (1989- 2002), but the Replacements.com warehouse in North Carolina still has these brand new ones in stock. Porcelain is said to be at the top of the list of heirlooms that millennials really do not want, and I am completely OK with that. That way there will be so much more left for me.

Tuesday/ Stockholm’s arty subway

Stockholm is near the top of my list, for when we can travel again.
I want to go to the ABBA museum, and I want to stop at each and every one of the subway stations that David Alrath had photographed for Wired magazine.  I copied the captions for the photos from the Wired article, as well.

As its name suggests, T-Centralen is the central stop in Stockholm’s metro system and connects its red, green, and blue lines. When it initially opened in 1957, the city had never seen anything like it. Its blue line platform (pictured) was designed in the early 1970s by artist Per Olof Ultvedt, who didn’t have to look much further than its name for inspiration. PHOTOGRAPH: DAVID ALTRATH
The Tekniska Högskolan station takes its name from the aboveground school, the Royal Institute of Technology. Artist Lennart Mörk paid it homage by decorating the walls with scientific imagery and themes, like Copernican heliocentrism and Newton’s third law of motion. PHOTOGRAPH: DAVID ALTRATH
The Solna Centrum station opened in 1975, in an era when the environmental movement was drawing attention around the world. Karl-Olov Björk and Anders Åberg’s mural is very much of its time—and this one. It’s a paean to nature, with the lower half depicting a forest and the upper half a red sunset. Sweden hosted the UN’s first conference on the environment in 1972. PHOTOGRAPH: DAVID ALTRATH
The Solna Centrum station opened in 1975, in an era when the environmental movement was drawing attention around the world. Karl-Olov Björk and Anders Åberg’s mural is very much of its time—and this one. It’s a paean to nature, with the lower half depicting a forest and the upper half a red sunset. Sweden hosted the UN’s first conference on the environment in 1972. PHOTOGRAPH: DAVID ALTRATH
After Björk and Åberg finished their initial work at Solna Centrum Station, they felt like it was missing something. So they went back and painted in details, from a prop plane coasting the treetops to a musical bar depicting notes from Woody Guthrie’s song “Better World.” PHOTOGRAPH: DAVID ALTRATH
Inaugurated in 1977, the Kungsträdgården (“King’s Garden”) station takes its name from the baroque garden outside the 17th-century Makalös Palace, which burned down in 1825. Artist Ulrik Samuelson created a ghost garden studded with replicas of the statues that once belonged to the palace … and also, spiders. It’s the only place in Northern Europe where the Lessertia dentichelis species can be found. Creepy. PHOTOGRAPH: DAVID ALTRATH
Thorildsplan station was built in 1952, a couple decades before the invention of the 8-bit aesthetic that now adorns its walls. Lars Arrhenius created the tilework in 2008. The artist wanted to immerse passengers in a videogame version of the metro, with pixelated sidewalks, stairs, and elevators. PHOTOGRAPH: DAVID ALTRATH
As Stockholm extends the metro, artists continue decorating it. The Citybanan-Odenplan stop on the green line, opened in 2017, features work by 14 different artists, including David Svensson. His Life Line sculpture features more than 1,300 feet of LED lights zigzagging below the ceiling like lightning beneath the clouds. PHOTOGRAPH: DAVID ALTRATH
At a glance, the Mörby Centrum Station looks like an ice cave decorated by elves at the North Pole. But it’s also an optical illusion. When painting the tunnel, artists Gösta Wessel and Karin Ek placed a spotlight at one end of the room and painted the shadowy areas of the blasted rock wall gray, then repeated the process from the other end, this time painting the recesses pink. The room’s color changes depending on where you stand. PHOTOGRAPH: DAVID ALTRATH

Saturday/ once upon a time on Doon Drive

Here’s a sneak peek at my current LEGO project.
I call it ‘The Doon Drive House’. It’s a replica of the house that I grew up in, in South Africa — in a town called Vereeniging, and on Doon Drive, of course.

I had photos of the outside of the house to help me with the dimensions. As for the inside: I still recall every nook and cranny, down to the furniture and appliances that were installed.

So it’s quite a trip down memory lane for me, with the little bricks from Denmark. I used to play with them in that very house, all of 6 years old.

It’s all still very rough, but getting there. I’m using old-fashioned little red doors and windows, to keep the scale of the house down to a reasonable size (about 1:100). LEGO stopped making those doors & windows way back in 1976. The roof bricks have a 33° slope; the 45° ones would make the roof way too tall. I ordered more roof bricks from a seller in Norway & other bricks from Germany (from BrickLink). Yes: nothing is going to stop me now from completing the house!
Here are the door sizes that a LEGO house builder can choose from (dimensions in LEGO studs): the 1d x 2w x 3h, the 1x3x4 or the 1x4x6. The yellow one is FOUR times the size of the red one, and as a consequence a house built with it will be roughly four times as large, as well. Maybe I will try using the middle one for a next iteration of the Doon Drive House.

Thursday/ Stay At Home extended

Washington State’s Stay At Home order has been extended to May 4.

About 1/4 of the reported Covid-19 cases in the world are now from the United States (245k out of a million), with fatalities now approaching 6,000 in the USA, and more than 53,000 worldwide. (Information from the dashboard from the Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins University).

‘Yes, this is exactly what I feel like right now’, I thought as I walked by the mural at 10th Ave & Pine today. I was making my way to the pharmacy on Madison St, navigating the desolate street blocks of First Hill.

Saturday/ Perth Cultural Centre

Here are a few pictures from my walkabout in Perth’s Cultural Centre on Friday.

An eye-catching mural on the corner of Aberdeen Street and Museum Street.
I love the colorful triangles on the sidewalk. This is right by the New Museum for Western Australia, scheduled to open in November of this year.
And here is the New Museum of Western Australia (WA). Its lines remind me just a little bit of Seattle’s Public Library. It was designed by a collaboration of Australian architecture firm Hassell and Dutch architectural firm OMA. Here are pictures, of the inside. 
This gorgeous building at 27 Museum Street is the only surviving residential building in the area. It was built in 1897, and is a pair of two-story semi-detached houses in the Federation Queen Anne style. The building now serves as offices for a Perth college.

Sunday/ a twilight cruise

On Sunday, we went on a twilight cruise on the upper Swan River ⁠— just a slow round trip at 5 knots, on the wide swath of river by downtown Perth.
Here’s where we went, and a few of the sights along the way.

We boarded the cruise boat at Barrack St Jetty, went by Heirisson Island, and up to The Royal at the Waterfront (upmarket condos on the water). We came back the same way, but the captain steered us by Mends St Jetty, and then on the Elizabeth Quay for a look at the city skyline, before finishing up at the Barrack St Jetty.
This is Barrack Square, close to the starting point at Barrack Street jetty. The Bell Tower (built in 1999) is now crowded a little bit by its new neighbors: two luxury condominium towers on the right, and a Ritz-Carlton Hotel on the left.
Across from the Bell Tower, a Double Tree Hotel is going up, with pressed metal plates creating a pattern on the outside.
These flood lights are standing like sentries at the stadium of the Western Australia Cricket Association. The burn rate is AUS$ 2,000 (US$ 1,400) per hour, when the lights are on.
Here’s a new suspension pedestrian bridge coming up, the Matagarup Bridge, spanning the Swan River. It opened Jul. 2018 at a cost of US$ 90 million. Its form symbolizes a white swan and a black swan.
Passing under the Matagarup Bridge. It looks like the bridge designers borrowed elements from the design of roller coaster frames.
The high points of the bridge frame stand at 72 m (236 ft).
Our cruise boat had mostly covered seats inside, with a small outside seating & standing area in the bow. The low profile of our vessel allowed it to go underneath all of the bridges on our tour. Here we were approaching the little Trafalgar pedestrian bridge by The Royal At The Waterfront condominiums. Prices range from AUS $1- $5m; that’s US$700k- $US3.5m.
This collared lizard artwork is at the Mends St Jetty. The Perth Zoo is nearby.
The national flag in David Carr Memorial Park (with its Union Jack and Southern Cross star constellation, of course). Australia Day is coming up: Jan. 26 every year. It marks the anniversary of the 1788 arrival of the First Fleet of British ships at Port Jackson, New South Wales, and the raising of the Flag of Great Britain at Sydney Cove by Governor Arthur Phillip.
Here is a little bit of the city skyline by Elizabeth Quay. The towers are the headquarters of mining giants BHP Billion (on the left) and Rio Tinto (middle).
Here is another pedestrian bridge that mimics a swan, the Elizabeth Quay pedestrian bridge. It is approached by a Transperth ferry, that will cross over to the other side of the Swan River.

Thursday/ the pink and grey

Here’s a galah (cockatoo) depicted on a wall at the Stockland shopping center here in Bull Creek, Perth. I have seen them around, but have not gotten close enough to one, to take a picture.

The galah /ɡəˈlɑː/ (Eolophus roseicapilla), also known as the pink and grey, is one of the most common and widespread cockatoos, and it can be found in open country in almost all parts of mainland Australia. [Source: Wikipedia].

Wednesday/ the Pike Motorworks Building

Wow .. the new Pike Motorworks Building looks quite nice, I thought as I walked by on Tuesday.

The black lettering used to say ‘BMW SEATTLE’, and it was a single-level BMW dealership and garage until 2013 or so, when BMW moved out. The property was then developed into one of the largest apartment buildings on Capitol Hill, with an acclaimed microbrewery called Redhook Brewlab in the old BMW garage space. The Pike Motorworks Building is now owned by Boston-based TA Realty.
Artwork on the apartment. Hmm. Let’s see. Yes, smelling a rose (top right), would send (intoxicatingly pleasant) electrical signals to the brain, as would biting into an apple (bottom right). And the brain and heart (middle right) are both part of the central nervous system. Does the brain send electrical impulses to the heart to make it beat? No. Hearts get their impulses from the sinus node, a small mass of specialized tissue located in the right upper chamber (atrium) of the heart.

Friday/ another Grimm for my book shelf

I saw this Grimm’s Fairy Tales book in Hamburg and loved the pictures in it .. but it was so heavy, and a little pricey.
Luckily, Amazon had a used one for me that I could order (from a book dealer in England; shipping only $4), and earlier this week, it landed on my porch.

Childrens’ and Household Tales, from the Brothers Grimm. The book has been around a long time (gold medal award from 1965 on the cover). The stories inside, much longer. The Brothers Grimm, Jacob (1785–1863) and Wilhelm (1786–1859), were scholars best known for their lifelong dedication to collecting and publishing ancient German folk tales. Their groundbreaking books with these tales were published in seven different editions, between 1812 and 1857, and immortalized such unforgettable characters as Cinderella, Hansel & Gretel, Rapunzel, and Snow White.
Some of the Grimm’s tales start with beautiful double page color prints (that tell the whole story). The illustrator is Werner Klemke. I love the dark forest with the little bird, and the wily wolf, in Rotkäppchen (Little Red Riding Hood).
The Two Brothers. Once upon a time there were two brothers, one rich and one poor. The rich one was a goldsmith and black of heart, the poor subsisted by binding brooms, and was good and honest. The poor brother had two children, two twin brothers that looked as similar as two drops of water. The two boys would go to the rich brother’s house now and then, and sometimes got something to eat from the garbage.  ..
.. and much later in the story, there is a bear and a lion. I still have to get to this page! and besides, I don’t want to spoil the story for anyone.

Monday/ First Light’s art installation

Here is another picture from Sunday, of the art installation on the corner of 3rd Ave. and Virginia St. at the sales office of the future First Light condominium tower.

The artwork is a demonstration of the ‘curtain’ of cords and discs that will be installed around the lower floors of the First Light condominium building. The condo tower is only slated to open in the summer of 2022, though. A sign nearby says 60% of the units have been sold to date.

Wednesday/ last day in Oslo

Today was my last day in Oslo.
I will return to Amsterdam tomorrow, and then go home on Friday.
I made it to the Munch Museet (museum) today, and hey! I found the Tintin book I was looking for in a great bookstore called Tronsmo.

This colorful passageway is on the way to the platform of the Stortinget T-bane station.
Man! A sight for sore eyes: just about every Tintin book on display in Tronsmo bookstore, and yes, all in Norwegian. When I find Tintin books in a foreign language, I try to buy ‘King Ottokar’s Scepter’, and they had one. Norwegian is a Germanic language, and a Germanic language speaker can definitely recognize some of the titles.
Eeeee! Here’s The Scream (one of them*), the famous work from Expressionist artist and Norwegian, Edvard Munch, a pastel done in 1893. The original Norwegian title: Skrik. It seems to me The Shriek or Fright would be a better translation than The Scream. The pastel was dimly lit, and I did not retouch this picture from my iPhone. *There are two pastels (1893 and 1895), and two paintings, of The Scream (1893 and 1910).
I like this one from Munch, called Erotikk i sommekveld Eng. ‘Eroticism on a Summer Evening’ (1893).
One more: Høysommer Eng. Midsummer (1915). Munch was a prolific painter, and bequeathed a large collection of his paintings to the Norwegian government upon his death.
This is one of many large sculptures from Norwegian sculptor Gustav Vigeland in Vigeland Park.
Norwegians need their milk and bread like all the rest of us.

Sunday/ the Deichtorhallen

There was a persistent rain today, that made walking around without an umbrella, and not getting really wet, impossible. So I checked into the Deichtorhallen (“the levee gate halls”) art & photography museum.
These halls were built from 1911 to 1914 as market halls, on the grounds of the former Berliner Bahnhof railway station (Hamburg’s counterpart to Berlin’s Hamburger Bahnhof). Wikipedia says they ‘constitute one of the few surviving examples of industrial architecture from the transitional period between Art Nouveau and 20th century styles’.

This is a side view of the Deichtorhalle (‘levee gate hall’) that houses the art collection ..
.. and a view of the Deichtorhalle that houses the photography collection.
The ceiling of the art collection hall is in itself a work of art (as it should be, right?).
‘Freundinnen (Friends)’ (1965/1966) by Sigmar Polke, large oil on canvas made with raster scan dots. The artist used a paint pistol and a template to create the overlapping dots in different colors. This results in moiré patterns: large-scale interference patterns produced when an opaque ruled pattern with transparent gaps is overlaid on another similar pattern.
This giant work of mixed media on paper covers an entire wall in a small room. It is also by Sigmar Polke (1968-1971) with the strange title ‘Die Fahrt Auf Die Undendlichkeits-acht (Der Motorfahrrader)’ Eng. The Ride On the Eight of Infinity (The Motorcyclist)‘.
I thought the photography hall’s pictures were weird. (Should they be?). It had a lot of interesting/ ugly human face photos, and new-born babies, and other strange, strange pictures. I liked this scary hare staring down the camera, though. The artist was not noted, only that it is a gelatin print on paper, of a hare, made in 2000.