I got my first of two shots, of a new shingles vaccine called Shingrix, yesterday. My left shoulder was sore for a good day or so. I thought o-ouch! every time I lifted up my arm, but I am much better today.
The vaccine is effective, and strongly recommended for everyone over 50. Shingles can be a debilitating affliction with long-term consequences. This new vaccine has an adjuvant (agent) that will boost the body’s response to it, and it does not contain the live virus – just parts of the dead virus.
The Space Needle’s $100 million renovation project is coming to a close. Crews have started to remove the covers on the top. The paneling that is obscuring the rotating glass floor will be removed over the next four weeks as well.
Update Fri 5/18: All the construction wrap was removed by Friday morning.
We hit 85°F (29°C) on Sunday – but now we are back to normal May temperatures of around 68°F (20°C). It’s great to have daylight left after dinner (sunset is at 8.40 pm). That way I can escape from my house and the relentlessly bad Trump Administration news on cable TV. (Yes, I know: I should just turn it off).
The Seattle City Council passed a controversial ‘head’ tax on large businesses in the city today (a tax per employee, instead of a payroll tax). The tax is about half of the original proposed amount, and will sunset in 2024. It is meant to address homelessness and affordable housing.
The Downtown Seattle Association (business association) does not support it, though*, and Amazon is still not happy about it, either. However, Amazon will resume construction on a building that it had halted, to protest the much larger head tax that was originally proposed.
*Nor do residents, with only 38% in support of the tax, per a poll by a local TV station. Critics – and Amazon – point out that the City of Seattle revenues have grown dramatically from $2.8 billion in 2010 to $4.2 billion in 2017, and will be even higher in 2018. Why is this not enough?
My walkabout today was in South Lake Union, the area next to Seattle’s downtown that is a booming hub for Amazon, Google and the biotech industry. The new Denny Substation and duct banks under the streets (for power distribution) are scheduled for completion in late summer.
Bryan and I took the ferry to Bainbridge Island today, to visit our friend Paul on the Kitsap Peninsula to the north. The ferry passed by a container ship called the North Star, from the TOTE Maritime Alaska company. The ship provides twice weekly shipments to Alaska, from the Port of Tacoma.
Cruise ship season is starting up here in Seattle. We saw the Norwegian Pearl from Norwegian Cruise Lines at the pier today. She was scheduled to leave at 4 pm.
Also departing Seattle, were a line-up of yachts taking part in the Clipper Round the World race. The yachts are heading out to Panama, and will make their way up the East Coast to New York. It will take an estimated 26 days to reach Panama, and another 12 to get to New York City from there. Bon voyage!
Today marked the annual, unofficial international pot smoking day. (April 20 is written as 4/20 here in the States. 420 in all its forms, is code for smoking pot).
And where did the use of 420 (say ‘four-twenty’) come from? The term was coined in 1971 by a group of five San Rafael High School friends known as the Waldos, by virtue of their meeting time of 4:20 pm to smoke pot. Not long after that, 420 became a general code word for smoking pot.
An electronic signboard here on highway I-5 showed displayed a cheeky (rude?) ‘U SUCK’ message for some time today. Was it real? Yes, because Washington State DOT later tweeted ‘This was an inappropriate message and we apologize if anyone was offended. This was due to a training error and clearly a mistake. We are taking steps to ensure this doesn’t happen again’.
People did not seem too offended. Here are some snarky comments posted on Reddit –
It’s part of WSDOT’s new initiative to reduce traffic. The idea is to insult people who drive so they are more likely to take other forms of transportation.
It’s kind of like congestion pricing, but with emotions instead of money.
No, you are right WSDOT, I do suck and I am sorry for that.
Amateur hour. You have to try harder to insult me .. no really, try harder. Please.
It was the last day of spring break for public schools here, and the Westfield Southcenter mall here in the Seattle area was packed with visitors today. It’s a great mall, and I’m sure it will survive the mall armageddon that all the experts predict, with Amazon and all.
I bought some clothes, and while I was there I checked in on the Toys-R-Us store, to see if their Lego blocks were on sale. Not really: the stock was still only marked down 5%. So they are trying hard to get as much as they can from liquidating the inventory.
It rained steadily this morning, but cleared up enough later so that I could make my way down to the Capitol Hill public library. At the corner of Broadway and Thomas, I spotted this guy: big 3-0 balloons in one hand, and a cake box in the other. He was surely on his way to the party for the birthday boy or gal that was turning 30. I remember how I had thought my life was over, when I turned 30. Well, live and learn. I now say: it’s not over until it is over.
It was Wednesday, and so my friends and I went for a beer and a bite at one of our regular watering holes, The Chieftain.
Also: today marked the 50th anniversary of civil rights leader Dr Martin Luther King’s assassination at the Lorraine Motel in Memphis, Tennessee.
It was a brisk 44°F/ 6 °C in the University District this morning at 10 am, where I was this morning. The storm we had on Sunday night was gone. It brought down a little hail at my house, and a thunderbolt so loud, and so close, that it rattled the windows and the glasses up in my kitchen cabinet.
Happy St Patrick’s Day! Here in Seattle we had the annual 1K and 5K St Patrick’s Day Dash, ending at the Seattle Center. My mission for Saturday was to dash down to the Seattle Public Library’s Book Sale which was right there, as well.
I did pick up a few books at the huge book sale ($1 and $2 a book! Yay!) : a thick Archie Comics cartoon book; travel guides for Washington DC and Switzerland, and a few others.