Monday/ at the airport

I made it to the airport. Both escalators at the light rail’s airport stop were out of service, so we all had to use the elevator to get downstairs – a little bit of a delay.

Delta flies out of South Terminal, which is still undergoing renovations.

Here is the view from my gate at South Terminal.  Delta’s Boeing 767 bird in the front has an extended range and is shortly flying out to Beijing (11 hrs). My airplane looks similar, and is the one with the tail on the far left of the picture.
A billboard from Cathay Pacific at South Terminal. They now fly non-stop from Seattle to Hong Kong, and back, four times a week. It’s a 13 hr flight.


Saturday/ thunder and lightning

There was a big storm with thunder and spectacular lightning, that moved over the city on Saturday night. Some flights to Seattle-Tacoma airport had to be diverted to Vancouver.

These are iPhone pictures that I took from my friends’ house, of the city skyline, looking westward to Puget Sound.

A compound lightning bolt behind the US Bank Center (pyramid top) building in the city skyline. On the far left is the Columbia Center (the city’s tallest) and to the right of the lightning bolt, the Rainier Square Tower building that is still under construction.
Here’s a longer cloud-to-cloud bolt that streaked across the skyline.
On the left, a lightning bolt in the distance. On the right is the exact same scene (some time later), lit up as bright as broad daylight, with the overhead lightning flashes.

Friday/ drive like a sloth .. or maybe not

School has started, and drivers (me*) have to look for those flashing lights that indicate school zone speed limits are in force: generally 20 mph instead of 30 or 35 mph.

*In April, moi got caught, whizzing by a 20 mph sign & flashing light, at the regularly allowed 35 mph. I did not see the sign or light until it was way too late! – honest. $234 fine, which I paid. Ouch.

This sign was up by Meany Middle School today. Yes, slow down and take it slow, but definitely DO NOT go as slow as a sloth. The sloth is the world’s slowest mammal, and moves at a top speed of 0.15 mph.

Thursday/ under ‘surveillance’

There has been ‘suspicious’ activities going on at a house across the street from mine. There was a moving truck last week, and this week a staging truck was parked in front of it for three days.
So now I take a look every day out the window, to see if that classic white sign post with the ‘For Sale’ sign on the sidewalk, is up yet.

The house that I have ‘under surveillance’. It has been pressure washed outside, and a contractor is cleaning the windows. There’s the staging truck in front of it (picture from Tuesday). The house was built in 1902, and its online history says it was last sold in July of 1999: 20 years ago. The Seattle housing market is still very competitive, but much more balanced between buyers and sellers compared to just a year ago.


Here is the Space Needle, against a clear blue sky today.
It has now been open for a year since its 2017-18 renovation. I still have to go up to the viewing deck to check out the new glass floors that were put in.

If ever we have a hurricane here in Seattle ( ! ), the structure should be able to hold its own. It was built to withstand wind speeds of 200 mph (320 km/h), double the requirements in the building code of 1962.

Friday/ the Rainier Square Tower has topped out

The construction of the Rainier Square Tower has topped out at its designated 58 stories. At 850 ft (260 m) tall, it is now the city’s second tallest tower ⁠— bested only by the 1982 Columbia Center at 937 ft (285 m).

I walked around Rainier Square Tower today and took these pictures.

Looking north from the corner of 4th Ave and University St. Now there is a real 1977 Rainier Tower and a virtual 1977 Rainier Tower (reflection of it on the new Rainier Square Tower)! The architect of the 1977 Rainier Tower is Minoru Yamasaki, who also designed the original 1973 World Trade Center twin towers in New York City.
Walking towards 5th Ave on University St ..
.. and seen from 5th Ave. The 1977 Rainier Tower with its pedestal is on the left.
The view from Fifth Ave while walking towards Union St ..
.. and the view from the corner of Fifth Ave and Union St.
The view towards the south, from Pike St and Third Ave.

Wednesday/ (we want) the most beer for our buck

We gathered at one of our regular watering holes for beers and something to eat tonight: The Chieftain Irish pub on 12th Avenue.
Should we have a pitcher of beer, or a beer for everyone? we asked the waitress.
She was new and did not know right away, but came back and said five beers (pints) at $4 each was probably the better choice – which is what we did.
A pitcher was $16, but five glasses of beer from it would be much less than a pint each.

The Chieftain Irish pub logo is on the beer glass. The beer inside is a Northwest American-Style IPA from 10 Barrel Brewing Co. in Bend, Oregon.

Tuesday/ the last of summer

We will get to 88°F (31°C) here in the city tomorrow, possibly the last hot weather, in what has really been a mild summer.
The days are getting shorter and our sun sits lower in the sky, every day now.

A bee making the best of what’s still out there, on a ‘black and bloom’ anise or Brazilian Sage (Salvia guaranitica) that I found in Seattle’s University District. The sage flowers nearly continuously from spring until winter.

Sunday/ take me to the Space ‘Neevle’

I spotted the Apple Maps car on Sunday here on Capitol Hill, presumably upgrading its survey of my neighborhood.

I see (online) that Apple Maps has improved vastly in recent years, and is ready to challenge Google Maps. Hmm. I have them both on my phone, so maybe if one leads me into a dead end somewhere in a new country or city, I can switch to the other app, and give it another try.

Just for fun, I asked for directions to the Space Needle on Apple Maps, and it really, really sounds as if the voice says Starting Route to Space Neevle. Proceed to .. ‘. That’s OK, though. Space Neevle/ Space Needle – close enough.

Here is the little Apple Maps car with its high-definition 360° cameras in the white dome, and that must be the LIDAR equipment (Light Detection and Ranging), in the gray cylinders below. The radars scan a terrain up to 80m all around, and collect a detailed cloud of points at some 700 000 points per second.

Friday/ a dystopian Seattle

Tintin pursues a gang of counterfeiters in The Black Island (it’s in Scotland, hence his Scottish garb). It was originally published in French as L’Île Noire in 1937 by Belgian cartoonist Hergé.

Check out Tintin’s gangster look, and Snowy’s spiked collar! Here’s my effort at cataloging the Seattle icons in the mural. Clockwise from bottom left: pink ‘Toe Truck’ from Lincoln Towing Co., now on display in Washington State Museum of History and Industry | I don’t know the upside down blue boat or its driver | to its left a Route 8/48 bus stop sign | and a purple starfish trying to survive (Puget Sound has had a massive starfish die-off tied to global warming) | the Kalakala ferry that operated on Puget Sound from 1935 until her retirement in 1967 | red container cranes from Port of Seattle | building of Rainier Brewing Company (operated 1878–1999) at south end of town, next to I-5 | Chubby & Tubby (operated 1946–2003) was a Seattle institution, offering bargains in hardware, housewares & garden supplies | Coca-cola vending machine from John St | skeleton biker is prob. from Bethel Saloon, a popular biker bar in Port Orchard | Dick’s Drive-in burgers & milkshakes (founded 1954), has three popular locations in the Seattle area | George Washington Memorial Bridge, commonly known as the Aurora Bridge, opened in 1932 | Deano’s 24-hour grocery store on Madison St closed in 2007 | endangered Puget Sound orca below the bridge | the iconic Pink Elephant Car Wash sign off Denny Way | not sure where the Sink or Swim bottle & buoy is from | sea lion eating clams could be from Elliott Bay. [Mural by Ton Chan & Lawrence Genette].
The newest incarnation of the restaurant & bar space at 1407 14th Ave is called Bar Sue. The mural in front of the bar is definitely an homage to the seventh volume of the Adventures of Tintin, called The Black Island.

The mural shows several Seattle iconic signs and objects awash in seawater. I guess it could be seawater that had swept over the city from a tsunami .. or the elevated sea levels from Earth’s melting ice caps.

Some signs are from beloved businesses that had closed years ago, and others are from places that are very much still around.


Tuesday/ the Douglass-Truth branch library

I checked out the Douglass-Truth branch library today, on the corner of 23rd Ave and Yesler Way.

Frederick Douglass (1818-1895) became a national leader of the abolitionist movement in Massachusetts and New York after he escaped from slavery in Maryland. Sojourner Truth (1797-1883) was similarly an abolitionist and women’s rights activist who had escaped from slavery.

The ornate entrance of the Douglass-Truth branch of the Seattle Public Library. The building opened in 1914. The library houses the largest collection of African American literature and history on the West Coast.

Saturday/ celebrating another birthday

Another birthday is rushing up to me, and we celebrated it on Saturday night at my house.
It did not take long to lose the helium balloon I was given for my birthday, though. (Aw. It became unmoored from where it was tied to the porch rail and floated up, up and away).
While we were outside on the deck, we spent a little time tracking the overhead incoming flights to Seattle-Tacoma airport (just 12 miles to the south of my house as the crow flies).
The nicest of them all was the new Airbus A350-900 (with its quiet twin jet engines) from Cathay Pacific Airlines, directly from Hong Kong, that flew over shortly after 8 pm.

Picture from Sunday morning: flowers & cards from my friends for my birthday .. looking great in my kitchen.

Sunday/ Amazon’s Block 20 & Block 21 buildings

My Sunday afternoon walk in the Denny Triangle was thwarted a little by a rain shower.  I did get a few pictures of the newest Amazon buildings that are almost completed, though.

The brown building with 8 storeys is Amazon Block 20, seen from the corner of 8th Ave and Blanchard.
This water feature is on the other side of the Block 20 building, on 7th Avenue.  It was designed by local sculptor Gerry Tsutakawa and is part of the public plaza there.
Here is Amazon Block 21 (2200 7th Ave), seen from the corner of 7th Ave and Blanchard St. It is part of Amazon’s expanding headquarters. The office tower on the left is 24 stories tall, and the building in the foreground 8 stories.  The oval building in the back is the McKenzie Apartments building, 40 stories tall. It was completed last year, and has 450 apartments.

Saturday/ two have gotten the axe

We are getting new disabled accessible ramps on the pavements here at Republican Street and 16th Avenue .. but at the price of two big trees that have been taken out.

Two big trees have been taken out on the corner area of Republican Street and 16th Avenue: one right on the corner and one further back.
This picture is from Monday Aug 12. The tree’s roots were just too big and too close to the surface for the city workers to save it, so it had to be taken out.

Sunday/ warm and sunny

We got up to 89°F/ 32°C today.
So: toasty, and about as warm as we get here in the city.
(Ten years ago on July 29, 2009, though, Seattle saw a high of 103°F/ 39.5°C, but so far, we have been spared from a repeat of that).

Here’s the corner of Pine and 12th Ave, under blue sunny skies. The crow artwork has been there for some 4 years, but the blueberry snack bar ad is new.

Friday/ the Blue Angels are here

It is the peak of summer festivities here in the Pacific Northwest, and the start of Seafair Weekend. Highlights are the Blue Angels airshow, and the hydroplane race on Lake Washington.

Here is my quickie iPhone picture of the Blue Angels as they tore through the sky above Seattle today. They are very, very— ear-splittingly LOUD

The six Blue Angels flying in a delta formation today. The Angels are McDonnell Douglas-made F/A-18 Hornets: twin-engine, supersonic, all-weather, carrier-capable, multirole combat jets. They were first used in combat (bombing raids) in Libya, in 1986.

Thursday/ more tennis

I have run out to the tennis at Seattle Tennis Club every day this week to watch the tennis there.
It’s a great way to enjoy the sunny weather.

Here is the little jetty on the shore of Lake Washington by the Seattle Tennis Club. Hobie Cats (like the one with the yellow, white and orange sail) were wildly popular in Plettenberg Bay in South Africa back in the day when my family went there in summer, and they probably still are. 
These are yellow and pink coneflowers (Rudbeckia), also called black-eyed Susans, basking in the sun by the tennis courts.

Monday/ action at the Seattle Tennis Club

The Washington State Open tennis tournament started at the Seattle Tennis Club today⁠— for the week, and I went out today to go and take a look. The facility is not even 2 miles from my house, but I have never been there. All other times of the year it is members only and very exclusive.

It was $30,000 to join the Club in 2015 (a figure almost certainly higher by now), plus annual dues. The wait list time is said to be 8 years or so. Rumor has it that Bill Gates wanted to become a member, but now has to wait his turn, as well.

The Seattle Tennis Club on the shore of Lake Washington. That’s the city of Bellevue in the distance. There are 19 tennis courts on the roughly 8 acres of real estate. As it turned out, the guy in red is the No 5 seed in the Men’s Open section, and I watched him play a match just a little later.
A little bit of history, from a banner put up on one of the fences. The first tournament here, was held in 1890, only 13 years after London hosted its first Wimbledon tennis tournament in 1877.
The Washington State Open logo, done in flowers and greenery.
Here’s No 5 seed Riley Smith (22 yrs old, from Long Beach, California). He’s 6’7″ tall, and makes full use of it to smack his serves down into the opposite court. Bam!
His opponent was Jesse Schouten from Mill Creek WA (north of Seattle). Shouten is a good player, but lost in straight sets against Smith.

Sunday/ a few ‘very fine’ people, marching

I encountered a small group of ‘very fine’* Trump supporters on Broadway today, flanked by a large contingent of police officers (to protect them from a much larger group of protesters, I suppose).

From where I was standing, a much larger group of people followed along on the opposite sidewalk, all the time yelling loudly ‘FASCISTS, GO HOME! FASCISTS, GO HOME!

*Trump’s characterization of the Charlottesville white nationalist protesters, made when he talked to the press on Aug. 15, 2017.

The little group of ‘very fine’ Trump supporters were all of 7 or 8 people. That’s the yellow Gadsden flag with the rattlesnake on, and the words ‘Don’t Tread On Me’ (so are you all snakes?). Two Trumpsters carried Stars & Stripes flags, and two had Trump flags.

Saturday/ the new apartments at Cap.Hill train station

The construction crews are making good progress on the three new apartment buildings by the Capitol Hill train station.

The three new buildings called A, B and C, from a draft proposal that I found online. The buildings are 7 stories tall and will offer a total of some new 350 apartments. I believe the assumption is that these apartment dwellers will NOT own cars. They have trains and buses (and Uber drivers) on their doorstep to take them anywhere in the city, after all.
The view from Denny Way, looking northeast. This is as tall as the new apartment buildings will go. The open space between the A building (left edge of the picture) and the B buildings (right) will be a public plaza.
This is a late afternoon picture, looking north on 10th Avenue with the B buildings on the left.  The homeowners on the right are getting some shade from the warm sun in summer, but they have lost a lot of sunlight that they used to have in winter!