Sunday/ South Lake Union construction

It’s been awhile since I went down to South Lake Union to check out the construction there, and off I went today.

Here is the $1.8 bn expansion to the Washington State Convention Center, in a deep hole in the soil, and now in a financial hole as well. It seems as if construction is proceeding, but in May it was reported that the project was seeking a $300 million federal funds bailout to make up for lost tax revenue, due to the pandemic. Critics still say the city’s money for the project should have been used to built homes, schools and parks.
The Re-bar Seattle (bar, indie theatre & night club) is temporarily closed. It’s become an institution of sorts, so I’m rooting for it. ‘Stay Weird Seattle’ is similar to ‘Keep Austin Weird’ (Austin, Texas).
Now let’s talk about that sleek machine parked in front: a 1976 Cadillac Coup de Ville painted in a color called Calumet Cream, and with fur on the steering wheel and all. It’s 19 ft (5.8m) long. I am very sure she will refuse to be squeezed into a single parking bay anywhere in the city!
This is by the Hilton Garden Inn around the corner from the Re-bar. The shiny panels, reflecting window panes & lighting will brighten up the gray winter days that are approaching.
Yeah – that’s not going to happen, enough people deleting Facebook (market cap $719bn), or Twitter (market cap $31bn). Are Facebook and Twitter doing enough to fight lies and propaganda that may help Trump win again? Of course not. But Twitter is trying a little harder than Facebook, it seems .. now marking up Trump’s tweets that are outright lies or misleading about voting by mail, for example.
Here’s the 1200 Stewart St construction along Denny Way across from the Seattle City Light substation. These are two base buildings with 3 stories that will each get 45-story apartment towers built on top of them. In the middle is the 40-story Nexus condominium tower (completed 2019).
This 2014 Fairview Ave, another apartment tower further down Denny Way, that will have 42 stories. Check out the slight S-curve that the rounded corners of the floor slabs are making.
A little further down Fairview Avenue is the El Grito Taqueria (El Grito = The Scream). I love the turquoise-ish color that complements the red bricks.
Yes, open the windows, let some fresh air in! The Cascade apartments on Minor Avenue.

Thursday/ cleaner skies

The air quality around Seattle had improved enough by this afternoon for us to at least venture out for a walk around the block.

I watered my plants at the back and front of the house, and then went back inside. We have really had no rain in the city for September– 0.06 in (1.5 mm) at the National Weather Service’s gauge at the airport.

The delicate little flowers on my blue leadwood (Ceratostigma) are the last splotches of color that I have on my back deck, before fall sets in. The color of the leaves are already turning.

Wednesday/ still hiding away

Mr. Blue Sky please tell us why
You had to hide away for so long (so long)
Where did we go wrong?
– lyrics from Mr Blue Sky, by Electric Light Orchestra (1977)


Here’s a flock of pigeons – and yes, I’m looking directly at the sun – at 6.00 pm today.
The air quality here in Seattle has improved from ‘Hazardous’ to ‘Unhealthy’. There is a weather system moving in on Friday that should finally bring back blue skies.

Amazing satellite photo tweeted by Puget Sound Clean Air Agency (@pscleanair) on Wed. morning. All of Washington State is covered. I believe the white ridges are clouds and the flat gray lower down must be smoke.

Monday/ the smoke blanket stays

There was no good news in the weather forecast tonight.
A low-pressure system in the Pacific will continue to bring in smoke from the south, and the little bit of rain tonight is not going to clear the the foul air that is blanketing the city, either.
It’s going to be a few more days, at least.

Mr Squirrel, chewing on a little pine cone that had dropped from a Douglas fir in my yard. He didn’t seem to be bothered by the smoky air.

Saturday/ the air is orange – and poison

It’s 1.15 pm here in Seattle, and there is an eerie orange haze outside.
The sun has yet to break through the combination of marine layer fog and thick smoke from the west coast’s man-made fires. (Calling them wildfires seems like a cop-out, as if humans had no part in it).

Don’t go outside, they tell us – it’s hazardous for your health. Large swaths of Oregon have an air quality index reading of 500+ .. off the charts and beyond what is called ‘Hazardous’. [Map from airnow.gov].
Whoa .. hopefully some of this is marine layer fog. Picture from Saturday morning, I believe. [Picture Credit: Reuters/ Karen Ducey]

Tuesday/ the hellscapes of summer

There was a place in the greater Los Angeles area that hit 121°F last week. That’s 49.5 °C. And so many fires— the fires that get worse every summer— in California, in Oregon and in Washington State.

Mostly sunny & smoke haze (87 °F/ 30.5 °C) for the city of Seattle tomorrow.

476 027 acres is 743 sq miles. I asked Google how many acres get scorched by wildfires every year, in Washington State. It seems the average is around 1 million acres (1,500 sq miles). That’s 2% of Washington State (71,000 sq miles).

Friday/ school starts .. sort of

The 2020/21 school year has started here in the Seattle school district, all online.  It was a ‘soft start’, so as to allow for connectivity issues to be resolved, and for everyone to get settled in with the technology that will be used.

Friday/ new tires & old neon

My car needed new tires, so I went down to the Les Schwab tire center in Georgetown this morning.
They needed some time before they could get to my car, so I went for a walk.
By the time I got back at 11 am, there was already a line of people at the St. Vincent de Paul food bank across the street.
There was also a King County mobile medical clinic (big van) right next to the food bank building that provide a lifeline to homeless people.

The Marco Polo Bar & Grill with its 50’s neon sign is hanging in there. It’s a family-owned bar serving roasted chicken & pub grub.
A little further north I found this sign for the New La Hacienda Motel. (La Hacienda: ‘The Ranch’). The sign at the Vac Shop in the back says BLACK LIVES MATTER. Just last Sunday, there was another horrible police shooting of an unarmed black man (Jacob Blake) in Kenosha, Wisconsin. Then during the protests there on Tuesday, there was a white domestic terror attack (perpetrator: 17 yrs old with AR-15-style rifle) that left 2 people dead and one wounded. Pictures of the attacker sitting in the front row at a Trump rally surfaced soon thereafter. 

Tuesday/ a hospital in Art Deco

I made a quick stop at a clinic in Harborview Medical Center this morning. (All is well).
The hospital was founded in 1877 as King County Hospital, a six-bed welfare hospital in a two-story south Seattle building.
By 1906, it had moved into a new building in Georgetown, with room for 225 patients. Another move occurred in 1931, when the center wing of the present hospital on First Hill was completed, and the hospital’s name was changed to Harborview.

The 2005 ABC medical drama Grey’s Anatomy ‘Seattle Grace’ Hospital was based on Harborview Medical Center.

Harborview Medical Center’s Art Deco entrance on 8th Ave in Seattle’s First Hill neighborhood.

Wednesday/ a party in a pandemic

My friends were here to celebrate my birthday tonight.
We sat a social distance apart from each other for beers, and pizzas from Olympic Pizza around the corner.
I really hope by this time next year, we can let our hair down a bit when we socialize and not worry too much about the SARS-CoV-2 virus.

Wednesday/ it’s still summer

We only got  72 °F (22 °C)  here in the city today, but it looks like Sunday will be warm: 90 °F (32 °C).

Here’s a set of whimsical forest fairytale items that I found next to the sidewalk in a garden here on Capitol Hill. 

Friday/ more protesting, peacefully

There was a little crowd tonight in front of Uncle Ike’s on 15th Ave, chanting ‘Black Lives Matter!’ and ‘Defund the Police!’.
There was no visible police presence, but it seemed the organizers of the gathering designated a handful of ‘marshals’ that kept an eye out for vandals and troublemakers.

There’s Uncle Ike’s in the distance (purveyor of marijuana products). I was not about to wade into the crowd, but it did seem that just about everyone was wearing a mask.
The intersection of Republican & 15th Ave was blocked for a good 30 or 40 minutes, and I don’t know what the buses on No 10 route did to get through or around the crowd.

Thursday/ a little welcome rain

There was a little welcome rain this morning, with mild highs later on (70 °F/ 21 °C).

Pinks in the sky tonight, and in this hollyhock flower (genus Alcea). Alcea is a genus of about 60 species of flowering plants in the mallow family Malvaceae. This one is about 6 ft tall.

Wednesday/ rain on the way

There is rain on the way for Thursday, says the meteorologists.
Yes! I need it to dissolve and disperse the dry moss treatment that the gutter cleaners had left on my roof.

Sunday/ wild blackberries

These wild blackberries (Rubus fruticosus) are by the Amy Yee tennis courts where I played a little social-distance tennis today. The plant is a prickly, scrambling, woody shrub, and is actually considered an invasive species in many areas.

The dry summer weather continues here in the city (79 °F/ 26 °C today).
There were clouds and a chance of drizzle on Saturday morning, but it stayed dry.

The average number of rainfall days in July is 5, and for August it is even lower at 4.8.

Monday/ toasty

There was nary a cloud in the blue sky today, and at Seattle-Tacoma Airport a high of 94°F (34.5 °C) was recorded.

My asters (genus: Kalimeris) don’t seem to mind the heat.

Sunday/ waiting for a little rain

The white stuff on my garage roof will kill the moss that had taken hold on it, but it needs a little rain to dissolve in.
The crew that had put it on (it’s environmentally friendly, they assured me), will be back in 4 to 6 weeks to brush off the moss and clean out the gutters.
I will have to be patient: July and August are the driest months in Seattle, each with about 1 in. of total rainfall, on average.

This picture is from Wednesday. We have had clear blue skies the last few days, and that will continue for a few more. Monday’s high will reach 86°F (30 °C) here in the city.

Saturday/ more rioting & vandalism

Some 45 people were arrested here in Seattle today, and several police officers were injured in scuffles with the protestors.
We could hear the helicopters hovering, sirens that were wailing at times, and loud flash-bang explosions, a dozen times or so.

A handful of people vandalized a Starbucks on 12th Ave and set fire to construction trailers at the site of the new juvenile detention center nearby. It seems to me that the vandals are doing serious damage to the Black Lives Matter message of the peaceful protestors, as well.

Major damage at the 12th Ave & Columbia Street Starbucks. Starbucks does not deserve this and I’m not sure why they were targeted. When there was an incident at ONE of the thousands of Starbuckses a year or two ago (two African-American customers asked to leave unless they buy something), the entire company shut was down for a half-day to train baristas and managers to be more aware of their biases, and to treat everyone with respect.
One of the construction trailers at the new juvenile detention center site were still smoldering as we walked by tonight. Someone there told us that the fire brigade was on the way to come and squelch it. King County Executive Dow Constantine has committed to get all incarcerated youth out of the city’s youth jails by 2025.

Thursday/ it’s the Seattle Kraken

It’s offical: the name for Seattle’s National Hockey League team is The Kraken (rumors had been swirling for months). The kraken is a legendary cephalopod-like sea monster of gigantic proportions in Scandinavian folklore (per Wikipedia).

The official Seattle Kraken sweater looks great (it’s not for sale just yet). The website says there is deep sea blue, boundless blue, shadow blue and ice blue in it, with ‘red alert’ for the accent lines and angry Kraken eye.

Fans will have to wait until next year’s NHL season to cheer for the team in the remade Key Arena, which will be called the Climate Pledge Arena (the world’s first certified net-zero carbon arena).

An artist’s rendering of the completed new Climate Pledge Arena (Amazon secured the naming rights to the stadium). The roof structure and supporting pillars from the old Key Arena will be kept intact.

Tuesday/ my primary vote is in

I added my avatar, and a few annotations to the digital sticker from King County Elections that says ‘I voted’.

I mailed in my ballot for the Washington State primary election today. Washington uses a top-two primary system, in which all candidates appear on the same ballot, for congressional and state-level elections.

So the top two vote-getters move on to the general election in November, regardless of their party affiliation.

To any candidate that dares having ‘Prefers Republican Party’ behind his or her your name on my ballot: You are automatically disqualified.
Your party is a disgrace — as is that ‘President’ that you had foisted on us in 2016.