Monday/ fixing it up

Here’s a cute house on my block that is getting a little bit of a makeover. So many beautiful old houses get torn down, so it’s nice to see this one getting fixed up.

The house was built in 1906. I love the bay window. It has already gotten new roof tiles and new gutters, and a nice coat of dark gray and white highlight paint down below. I wonder if the gray paint color was picked to so closely match the roof tiles. It will be interesting to see what color is chosen for the door, for the porch stairs and for the second floor. I will post another picture when those are done.

Sunday/ Seattle Sounders: top of the heap

The Sounders MLS Cup tifo. (Tifo: a choreographed display in which fans in a sports stadium raise a large banner together or simultaneously hold up signs that together form a large images). [Picture Credit: Charles Boehm/ mlssoccer.com]
The Seattle Sounders beat out Toronto today, for the 2019 Major League Soccer Cup in front of their home crowd, 3-1. CenturyLink Field Stadium was packed with more than 69,000 spectators, the most ever for any event there.

Here is how the goals came about, as the game unfolded:
57′ Kelvin Leerdam (SEA)
76′ Víctor Rodríguez (SEA)
90′ Raúl Ruidíaz (SEA)
93′ Jozy Altidore (TOR)
Final Score: SEA 3- TOR 1

Seattle Sounders captain and midfielder Nicolás Lodeiro lifts the MLS Cup after their win today. Lodeiro is from Uruguay, and it is his third full season with the Sounders. On the right, that’s goal scorer Raúl (nickname ‘The Flea’) Ruidíaz with the red & white flag from Peru over his shoulders. To his right is Kelvin Leerdam from Suriname. Yes, it’s the ‘United Nations’ on the team, but at least there is also Jordan Morris – from Mercer Island, a stone’s throw from Seattle.  [Picture Credit: Seattle Sounders on Twitter@SoundersFC]

Friday/ light rail to U-district

I took the light rail up north to University District today, to go check in at the second-hand bookstore there. I have so many books that I have yet to read, though, that I allowed myself to buy only one book!

Shades of teal on one of the three new apartment buildings by the Capitol Hill train station. The first renters should be able to move in early in the new year.
Here’s the corner of University Way and NE 43rd Street. An entrance to the future University District light rail station can be seen, in the distance, in the middle of the picture. I will have to be patient: the station is only scheduled for opening in Sept. 2021.
The Varsity movie theater in the Meister building on University Way. The building was constructed in 1921, and designed by architect William White.
Here is the brand-new building for the storied Burke Museum of Natural History and Culture. The Burke Museum was founded in 1885 by the Young Naturalists, a group of curious teenagers inspired by seeing the young city of Seattle transform before their eyes. This building opened just last month, and I need to go and check it out.

Wednesday/ still no rain

Wednesday marked the 12th day with no rain here in the Pacific Northwest, unusual for this time of year. There is a stubborn stationary high pressure system to the north, that keeps the rain away.

Picture & text from NWS Seattle (@NWSSeattle on Twitter): Moonrise over Lake Washington, last light on Mount Rainier and Kelvin-Helmholtz wave clouds over Seattle at sunset late this afternoon. Sunset is now at 4.43 pm.

Tuesday/ election results start to come in

Today was election day in many cities and states in the United States. Here in Seattle, the early count tally has Egan Orion leading Kshama Sawant (in the contentious city council race for District 3).

It seems the measure to cut car tab fees back to $30 will pass. Boo! Boo-oo! This spells a lot of trouble for the funding of public transportation systems such as light rail & buses, and also for the Washington State ferries, and even for snow plows.

Far, far away, in the state of Kentucky, the Republican governor lost his race against his Democratic challenger. This is an almost impossible feat by the Republican: the state voted for Trump by a margin of 30% in 2016. Trump even held a rally for him in Lexington KY last night to drum up support. But that did not undo the damage done by the governor that had pushed to cut teachers off from their pensions, and threatened to kick 400,000 Kentuckians off their healthcare.

Kshama Sawant poster on a lamp post. The local elections here are officially non-partisan, but I seriously doubt we have closet Republicans on the Seattle city council.  But yes, for sure: rich Republicans use their money to support candidates. It’s legal to donate limited sums of money to political action committees, or PACs, as we call them. Then there are super PACs, that the US Supreme Court (in their infinite wisdom) allowed to collect unlimited amounts of money, with the only caveat that they are ‘not permitted to contribute to, or coordinate directly, with parties or candidates’.

Monday/ The Silvian, then and now

I walk by The Silvian apartment building on 10th Ave & Harrison every now and then. I love the lettering and the trim on the bricks at the top. Let’s see if there is an earlier photo of the building online, I thought.

It turned out that the original form of the building was much grander, right after its completion in 1912.

NOW: Here is the simple but elegant building name and trim at the top brick line, today.
THEN: The Silvian Apartments, circa 1911. (Photo Courtesy: Bill Burden). The bay windows on the front, and the overhangs at the top are no longer there. And look at the beautiful trim at the top of the brickwork. The original building had 2,3,4 & 5-room apartments, at $40/ month for a 2-room in 1929. Then the Great Depression struck, and a decade later a 2-room aptmt could be had for $22/ month. Here’s more at Seattle Now & Then by Paul Dorpat.

Sunday/ the giant red ones are here

They did come up: the giant red fly agaric mushrooms, in my backyard. Those other paler, smaller ones from earlier in October might be a different species or subspecies of mushroom. I made sure I took a few pictures before the squirrels took large bites out of it, the way they do sometimes.

Here’s a very large fly agaric (Scientific name: Amanita muscaria), the iconic ‘toadstool mushroom’, with its bright red cap and its white spots. This one is about 9 in. (23 cm) across.
A peek from below, revealing the fine white gills. Spores for propagating the mushroom are produced by specialized cells called basidia on the flat surfaces of the gills.
There he is: Mr Squirrel*, eyeing me from his perch in the Douglas fir above the mushroom. ‘Please don’t fall on me – we will both squeal like squirrels’, I thought. *Western Gray Squirrel (Scientific name: Sciurus griseus).

Sunday/ a thousand oranges and yellows

I chase myself out of the house for a walk before dinner these days. By 6.00 pm the sun is gone.

A young maple tree on my block. The shadows are already long at 5.00 o’clock. The highs these days are about 54 °F (12 °C), but it’s still nice to go outside and get some sun.

Saturday/ the District 3 race

Seattle’s City Council is about to get a big makeover, with the impending Nov. 2019 elections. Of the 7 positions, 4 have no incumbents.

In District 3 (mine), it is hard to say who will win.  Socialist Kshama Sawant is running for a third term, but garnered only 37% of the votes in the 2019 primary.

Her opponent, Egan Orion, is an events coordinator, web designer and leader of PrideFest, an annual LGBTQ celebration in Seattle. He’s fully embraced a unity message, campaigning on a message of “It’s not us vs. them. It’s just us.” (All this information about him from The Stranger weekly newspaper).

In a way, the race is a referendum on corporate citizen Amazon as well: Sawant is an outspoken critic of Amazon (tax them, and the rich, she says); Orion is backed by Amazon and other businesses.

Kshama Sawant (left) and Egan Orion (right). Picture from The Stranger’s website. KELLY O/EGAN ORION CAMPAIGN
Campaign poster for Kshama Sawant. Yes, everyone should have a home, but while rent control solves some problems, it creates others. Housing subsidies for low-income people might be better.

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.

Tuesday/ more gilled mushrooms

Another type of gilled mushroom has appeared in my backyard, and as far as I can tell, these are Amanita gemmata. (No touching! These are poisonous).

Just last week, so-called ‘death cap’ mushrooms (Amanita phalloides), were found on the campus of the University of Washington here in the city. A gardener found 40 mushrooms on the east side of Benson Hall and confirmed their identity with a campus mycologist.

This is a mature Amanita gemmata with its cap flattened out. The gills are closely spaced and the flesh is white.
The cap on this specimen is about three inches across, sticky and it has white ‘warts’. The more poisonous Amanita phalloides ‘death cap’ mushroom has a smooth flecked cap with no warts.

Monday/ more rain

More steady rain fell today. I see Seattle-Tacoma airport had measured 2.57 in. for the period from last Wednesday through this Sunday night.

We usually get a little less than the airport here in the city, so let’s say the city has gotten 2 inches or so.  (I really should get a rain gauge!). There is sunny weather on the way, but we may have to wait until Wednesday to get a lot of it.

A little sunbreak from late Saturday afternoon, here by my house. It’s great to see the sun come out for a bit when there has only been clouds and rain all day. The red leaves are from my Japanese maple tree (Acer palmatum).

Saturday/ the Elliott Bay trail

Here are some pictures I took while walking along the Elliott Bay trail. Three of us went to go check out the new beach park by the new Expedia headquarters at its north end.

It’s about a half hour walk from Olympic Sculpture Park up to the new Beach at Expedia Group on the Elliot Bay urban trail.
This railway line runs under Olympic Sculpture Park. The maintenance trucks have been fitted with rail wheels to make them run on the track. The yellow and black sign (bottom left) has numbers on that indicate speed limits: F-Freight 25 mph, P-Passenger 30 mph, T-Transit 30 mph.
Here is part of a 32′ (10 m) tall totem pole next to the trail. It was carved by Tlingit Indians (‘Thu-lin-git’ with a hard g) in 1975 for Alaska Indian Arts in Haines, Alaska.
Here is the Pier 86 Grain Terminal, in operation since 1970. I looked up this bulk vessel’s name Nasaka on https://www.vesselfinder.com. It was built in 2014 and is sailing under the flag of Malta. Its recent ports of call were Rizhao, China and Shanghai, China – so it will probably head out there again. Check out those yellow ‘dinner plates’ mounted on the mooring ropes by the stern of the ship. They stop rats from running onto the ship (to chomp on that yummy grain). And that orange emergency vessel, yikes! Bet it would be a hair-raising, stomach-churning ride, strapped in & sliding down, to go bob on the ocean chop!
Here’s the newly landscaped Beach Park at Expedia Group, at the north end of the Elliott Bay trail. Nicely done: a set of contoured cement steps with a little bit of lawn in, and with crushed gravel, greenery and logs down below. (There is no sand on this part of the Sound’s water edge).
Another shot, this one looking more or less south. Just to the right of the cargo ships in the distance, are the red container cranes of Terminal 5 of the Port of Seattle. The embankment on the right in the distance is West Seattle. 
There were even some bluebonnets (genus Lupinus) in bloom. The bluebonnet is the state flower of Texas. 
Train coming! A Burlington Northern Santa Fe (BNSF) railway train, as we were standing on the Thomas St pedestrian overpass. BNSF operates one of the largest freight railroad networks in North America.

Tuesday/ the euagarics are here

The gilled mushrooms (fancy name: euagarics) that usually pop out of the ground this time of year, have appeared again in my backyard.

The ones I have gotten so far, are not as red, nor as big, as years before. It could be because the soil has dried out these last two weeks. (That is about to change, though. The weatherman says we will get up to 2 inches of rain the next few days).

Gilled mushrooms are called euagarics by fungus aficionados. I believe these are fly agaric mushrooms (Amanita muscaria), even though they are smaller and not quite as big and red as ones I had last year.

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.

Sunday/ Alaskan Way viaduct: almost gone

I went down to the railing at the top of Pike Place Market today, to go check on the Alaskan Way viaduct demolition. Only some support beams for the now-demolished double-decker viaduct, are still there.

A few blocks away more of the new Amazon buildings are nearing completion, gleaming glass and steel on the outside.

Here’s the view looking south: no sign of the viaduct! Yay! (P.S. A pity that railway tunnel and line is still there, though. Just as I was leaving, a noisy coal train came chugging through, probably headed up north to the coal export terminal in British Columbia. We don’t like coal trains in Seattle. As the freight cars cross the roadways, motorists are backed up for blocks. And in a Nov. 2016 trial against rail company BNSF, scientists testified that a million or more coal particles per second come off of each rail car, dumping mercury, arsenic, and hundreds of other pollutants into rivers, lakes and oceans along BNSF rail lines. And then of course, somewhere all the coal will get burned, become CO and contribute to the climate change crisis).
Here are some of the remaining support beams that will be demolished, looking north from the same spot.
Here is what the corner of Blanchard St & 7th Ave looks like now. The two shiny buildings are Amazon Block 21. The oval one is McKenzie luxury apartments (1 bed, 1 bath: $3,000 pm). To the left rises Amazon Block 18, a 17-story office building. Quite a transformation .. not that many years ago, I would bring my Toyota Camry to the Toyota service station that used to be right here, in Block 21.
New bike lane, watch for bicycles as you cross, pedestrians! I wonder if the bicycle picture will eventually have to be updated to include say, electric scooters.
This is the nearby Amazon Block 20 tower that has been completed for a few months now. Amazon employees must have started to move into it.

Friday/ a tunnel of yellow frames

Here’s a tunnel of yellow frames along Broadway, as I made my way back to the Capitol Hill train station today.  I guess the scaffolding protects pedestrians from falling tools and other accidental debris, from the construction of the three new apartment buildings right there.

The figure in the distance is a woman with scarlet-red hair, clad in black with matching 6- inch platform shoes.