Friday/ wishing us a Happy New Year

I drove down to the Space Needle last night, to take a few pictures of it in pink. There were no crowds this year, but the monorail was still running to Westlake Park and back, with a few souls inside. Likewise, the Space Needle elevator took a few people at a time up to the viewing deck.

I had to wait until midnight to see the virtual Space Needle celebrations on TV, sponsored by T-Mobile and produced by Terry D. Morgan.

The wait was worth it. The creators used sky-mapping technology and video footage to create a spectacle accompanied by dramatic music. Below are a few stills from the video that was posted afterwards.

 

Sunday/ the St. Ingbert apartments

There were beautiful soft grays and pinks in the blue sky today at sunset.
I made my way down all along Harrison Street, towards the Interstate 5 overlook by Melrose Avenue.
The St. Ingbert apartments is right there by Harrison and Melrose.

The St. Ingbert apartment building was constructed in 1928 with Art Deco detail. The architect is not known. St. Ingbert is a reference to the hometown of the builder (Ludwig J. Hellenthal), a town named Sankt Ingbert in Saarland, Germany. Sankt Ingbert is very close to the French border.
Look for the Space Needle in the distance, and the blue spires of Saint Spiridon Orthodox Cathedral to its right, just above Interstate 5.
Art Deco detail at an entrance to the St. Ingbert apartments. I should have taken a closer picture of the very cool lettering on the glass, at the very bottom of the picture. I will do that when I walk by there again.

Friday/ Christmas Day

Here is a giraffe from the annual Johannesburg (South Africa) Zoo’s Festival of Lights exhibit.
I bet putting one in my front yard would impress the neighbors!

Source: The Star newspaper. Photographer: Timothy Bernard/ African News Agency.

Christmas Eve

There was still a little snow on the ground, in the shady areas, here in the city today.
Does that count as a White Christmas?
Merry Christmas. Geseënde Kersfees.

A nicely decorated house here on Capitol Hill’s 15th Avenue.

 

Sunday/ birds in my Christmas tree

I’m not traveling anywhere for Christmas this year.
So: no excuse for not putting up a tree.
I retrieved the one I have from the basement, and put up some of my bird figures in it, along with a few other decorations.

In the tree from the top down: bald eagle; mute swan (white swan); a sloth hiding behind some foliage, to its right; snowy owlgriffon (Cape vulture); toucan; blue-and-yellow macaw.
Bottom: African beaded art giraffereindeerllama art made with Peruvian llama wool; African wire-and-beads art reindeer.

Wednesday/ the Tillerman, reimagined

tillerman (plural tillermen)

noun
(US) A person who steers the rear wheels of a fire truck (a tiller truck) or controls its ladder


I first heard ‘Tea for the Tillerman’ by British singer-songwriter Cat Stevens from a vinyl record in 1980. A friend of mine in Stellenbosch, South Africa, played it for us in his dorm room. The record was made in 1970, and the artist changed his name to Yusuf Islam in 1977.

Fast forward 50 years from 1970, and now there is a ‘reimagined’ Tea for the Tillerman, issued on CD. There is a clarinet to accompany the piano in ‘Wild World’. In the ‘Father And Son’ remake, the young Yusuf’s voice for the son’s lyrics was left intact, but the today-Yusuf (72) sings the lines of the father. It’s very touching.

The original Tea for the Tillerman, issued in Nov. 1970, with its whimsical vinyl record cover.
And here is the 2020 Tea for the Tillerman 2. Rumor has it that Yusuf’s son convinced him to do the remake, and it was arranged and done in a farmhouse-turned-studio in Saint-Rémy-de-Provence in the south of France. I see on YouTube that the new interpretation is definitely not everyone’s cup of tea – but I like it.

Friday/ decoding street art

I walked down to the former Capitol Hill Organized Protest zone by the East Precinct police station today.

All was quiet with not much traffic on the streets – but right then three police patrol vans erupted out of the police station garage, piercing sirens going and headlights flashing.  There was an emergency somewhere that they were rushing to.

Here’s artwork on the boarded up street corner where CHOP was (Pine St & 11th Ave): a gallery of pop culture characters.
At the back, left to right: Barney Rubble from The Flintstones (first appearance 1959), Luigi from Super Mario Bros., Inspector Gadget from the namesake animated TV series (1983), Ned Flanders from The Simpsons (1989), and The Kool-Aid Man, primary mascot for Kool-Aid (1975).
In front, left to right: Rocko the wallaby from Rocko’s Modern Life (1993), Nibbler from the cartoon series Futurama (1999), Underdog from the animated movie (2007).
And this one makes one wonder what Anti-Anti-Antifa would mean. Well: Antifa is short for anti-fascist* or anti-fascism. So Anti-Antifa would presumably support a right-wing fascistic stance, and Anti-Anti-Antifa would bring us back to a reiterated Antifa. (Just as in math, where a double negative becomes a positive).
*Fascism is a form of far-right, authoritarian ultranationalism characterized by dictatorial power, forcible suppression of opposition, as well as strong regimentation of society and of the economy which came to prominence in early 20th-century Europe [Wikipedia].

Tuesday/ landed: CD from North Carolina

My CD from a warehouse in North Carolina landed in the mailbox today (from a bare-bones website called MovieMars).

None of the CD was available on Amazon, none on Discogs.com, none on Ebay. Amazon Netherlands does not ship to the United States, and I could order one from Amazon UK, but that would have cost $36 with the shipping cost. Yikes.

The CD is a 2018 compilation of 1980s songs from the BZN/ Band Zonder Naam (‘Band Without a Name’) band from the Netherlands. Very ‘meta’ (self-referential), that band name — I like it. I import my CDs into iTunes, old school. One of these days Apple will surely kill iTunes, and then I will have to find another solution for my music collection.

Saturday/ summer days

We have had a mild, average summer so far, with temperatures in the high 60s or 70s (18 to 24 °C). The sun still sets after 9 pm .. so even after dinner, there is still lots of time to go for a walk or to water the garden.

In the South and Southwest of the United States a phenomenon called a ‘heat dome*‘ has developed, which will lead to historic high temperatures the next few weeks. It is possible for Phoenix, AZ, to see 120 °F (48 °C).
*A heat dome occurs when strong, high-pressure atmospheric conditions trap hot ocean air like a lid or cap.

‘Garden Party in Wonderland’ .. postcard from Germany, circa 1930. I found it on a website called AbeBooks. 
P.S. That would be .. apple juice, that the jovial guy in the apron is serving up?

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