Monday/ still a long way from ‘no more nukes’

I went out to Seattle’s Green Lake on Sunday night to catch a little bit of the annual ‘From Hiroshima to Hope‘ gathering there.  It’s been 72 years since the world’s first atomic bomb was dropped on Hiroshima.  A banner at Green Lake pointed out that barely 20 miles west of Seattle, at the Kitsap-Bangor Naval Base, one finds the largest concentration of deployed nuclear weapons in the United States.  Last month, the United Nations reached its first agreement to ban nuclear weapons.  But it’s complicated : Japan, alongside the nine nuclear-armed nations*, including the United States, refused to take part in the negotiations and the vote.

*United States, United Kingdom, Russia, France, China, Pakistan, India, Israel and North Korea (!).  The entire Southern Hemisphere is free of nuclear weapons.

The scene at the ‘From Hiroshima to Hope’ gathering at Green Lake on Sunday night.

Sunday marked 72 years since the U.S. dropped one of two atomic bombs on Japan. On the eve of the anniversary, organizers of a peace event lit up torches on floats on the Motoyasu River next to the Atomic Bomb Dome in Hiroshima. Picture : Mari Yamaguchi/AP

Thursday/ hot and hazy

Source: King5 news. The haziness is smoke!

Well, we got up to 94°F (34°C) today, a new same-day record high.

There is lot of smoke is drifting down from wildfires in Canada, and the air is noticeably hazy, even at short distances.

With the haze, it’s possible to see sunspots on the sun as it rises and sets, using a telescope. (Sunspots are regions of reduced surface temperature caused by concentrations of magnetic field flux. They may last a few days or a few weeks or months, but eventually decay).

Wednesday/ König Pilsener

König Pilsner, in a 500 ml can. It comes in bottles as well. Some connoisseurs say beer in cans taste different than beer in glass bottles. (Or is it one’s imagination? Time for a blindfold test!).

The König brewery is located in the west of Germany, in Duisburg.

Thursday’s projected highs : 95 °F (35°C) in Seattle and 103 °F (39°C) around other places in Puget Sound.

We ducked into the cool inside of a restaurant called ‘Smiths’ here on 15th Avenue tonight, for our regular Wednesday-night-beer-and-bite.

My favorite beer is a pilsener, and so I had a König Pilsener – brewed in Duisburg, Germany.

I thought the beer’s name might mean ‘the king’s beer’, but no, it’s named after brewmaster Theodor König who started brewing the beer in 1858.

Today the brewery belongs to Bitburger Braugruppe GmbH.
Their tagline is ‘Bitte ein Bit’.




Tuesday/ it’s getting hot!

It’s high summer here in Seattle, and the meteorologists say we will hit 98°F (37°C) by Thursday, before it cools down a bit.  Still no rain in sight.  So after a record 44″ of rain this past winter (average is 30″), we’re now headed for a record number of dry days of no rain (measured at Seattle-Tacoma airport; there was just a smidge of rain in the city last Thursday).

A no-nonsense warning from the Suquamish Police Dept on the Kitsap Peninsula: Do NOT leave children or pets unattended in cars!  I love the eye-catching badge with all the Native American elements in it.

Sunday/ biosphere progress

Hopefully the giant ficus tree from California is settling into its new home! [Picture from ‘mabahamo’s Flickr stream].

The outer construction on Amazon’s three biospheres in downtown Seattle looked complete, as I walked by there on Sunday.

There is an artificial turf lawn on the outside. I could also see misters and lights on the inside of the sphere, but there is still work to be done to bring furnishing for humans into the spheres!


Here is part of the artificial lawn outside the spheres. I thought I’d find an on-line version of the picture on the fence, but was not successful. (Picture that super-imposes the spheres on an old Seattle picture with Denny Hill still intact). I will take a picture of it next time!


Tuesday/ 38 dry days (so far)

It’s been a great summer so far here in Seattle, with temperatures in the 70’s to low 80’s (20 to 28°C).  It’s been drier than usual though, with the blue skies now closing in on a record stretch of days with no measurable rain.

Seattle’s University District on Sunday (black Tesla Model X in the foreground). As of Tuesday July 25, the count was 38 days with no rain. There is none forecast for the next several days, either. The longest stretch on record with no rain was 1951 with 51 days.

Sunday/ disasters that start with M

King 5 (local TV station here in Seattle) is running a campaign to make residents aware of the need to be prepared for a disaster.  It could be .. a Meteor | a Missile from North Korea | a Magnitude 9.0 earthquake & tsunami.  I think the quake is most likely, given that we are way overdue, now 317 years into an estimated 243-year cycle (gulp) for the region’s recorded 9.0 earthquakes over the last 10,000 years. (The last 9.0 quake was in 1700 and there should have been another one by 1943!).

Below is King 5’s suggested check list. I highlighted the main topics in bold for myself. It’s very important for the supply kit to contain critical medicines, some bills of money, some food, and identification! Presumably it would be difficult or impossible to use one’s car to drive somewhere (traffic jams, road blocks). Some people would say what about needing guns or knives for self-defense? Oh my. That kind of thinking is very survivalist/ apocalyptic, not so? I don’t have a gun in the house. Maybe grab a sharp kitchen knife on the way out?

This is King 5’s suggested check list, reformatted and with highlighted keywords.

King 5’s starter list for a disaster kit.



Saturday/ Seattle Skyline

Here’s the Seattle skyline as seen from the Bainbridge ferry on Friday afternoon.  I stitched together three photos, and marked it up with some of the tallest and most iconic buildings.

The Seattle skyline as seen from the Bainbridge ferry on Friday.  The 76-story Columbia Center, 937 feet (286 m) tall, and completed in 1985, is still the tallest of them all.  The cruise ship in the foreground is the MS Regatta (1998), operated by Oceania Cruises.

Thursday/ take a treasure, leave a treasure

Here’s a basket with a ‘Take a treasure, leave a treasure sign’, that I saw on the steps to a house during my neighborhood walk last night.  I wanted to contribute something, but had nothing in my pockets (other than my house key and phone).    I love the idea behind the basket: that small and serendipitous items can be very interesting.


Sunday/ Yesler Way bridge

Seattle’s Yesler Way bridge was built in 1910, making it one of the oldest permanent steel roadway bridges in the city.  Its new rehabilitation project is well underway and scheduled for completion in fall of this year.   The $20 million project was funded by a ‘Bridging the Gap’ transportation levy (a property tax increase) passed by voters in 2006, together with a grant from the Federal Highway Bridge Program.

From In addition to providing a major east/west arterial connection across I-5, the Yesler Way Bridge displays unique and historic design elements which include decorative pedestrian railings, parabolic and circular features of the exterior “fascia” girders, and ornamental capitals and casings on the “fascia” girder columns, all of which will be preserved with the bridge rehabilitation.

This is at the International District train station. I like the new blue ‘Hello Washington’ train cars on the Light Rail (it’s for Kaiser Permanente healthcare, new to Washington State).

Monday/ the tennis ball says: stop

Hard to miss, the tennis ball touching the windshield saying: stop!

This cool blown-up wall picture from years gone by in Seattle is in the elevator lobby of the 37th floor in the Seattle Municipal Tower on 5th Ave (went there to get my residential zone parking permit for my car).  Unfortunately I don’t know the year or the location of the photo on the wall.


I’ve been wanting to do this for a long, long time, and now I finally did it: installed an old tennis ball on a string, dangling from a rafter in my garage.

My ‘new’ (used) Camry is bigger than the one I had, and now I do not have to wonder if I left enough room at the back for the garage door to close!


Sunday/ happy Pride!

Photo from the Wikipedia entry for Stonewall Riots.

It was LGBTQ Pride weekend in Seattle (as was the case in many other cities in North America).

June is recognized each year as LGBTQ Pride Month in the USA, not because the weather is nice! .. but to commemorate the Stonewall Inn event on the morning of June 28, 1969 in New York City’s Greenwich Village. Police raided the popular bar, not notable in itself for the late ’60s, but this time the patrons of the bar and on-lookers outside, fought back. There were riots for several nights after that in the Village, as well.   The following year, on June 28, 1970, saw the first gay pride marches in New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco and Chicago.

Fast forward to 2017, and here are a few colorful pictures from today’s march in Seattle. We have all come a long, long way. Happy Pride!

These marchers with their Canadian maple leaf are from the Consulate General of Canada’s offices.

Kaiser Permanente (hospital operator and health-care provider) is new to Seattle (they bought GroupHealth), and it was nice to see them march in the parade.

Seattle Gay Families, LGBT Parenting Social Group, says the banner .. and they all look very happy!

Saturday/ summer is here

Well, summer has arrived here in Seattle.
Saturday saw temperatures of 89 °F (32 °C) in the city – and Sunday even warmer at 96°F (36°C). On Tuesday, a giant ficus tree (transported all the way from California) was hoisted into one of the Amazon biospheres.  I see the tree is also called the rusty fig or Port Jackson fig, and it is really native to eastern Australia.

Stills from a video clip on, showing the hoisting of the Ficus tree into one of the Amazon biospheres.


Wednesday/ Whidbey Island

My brother and I went out to Whidbey Island today, to go on an easy 3.5 mi hike on the western side of the island, on the Strait of Juan de Fuca.

To get from Seattle to Whidbey Island, one has to catch the ferry at Mukilteo, and then drive up north from Clinton past Coupeville (travel time comes to about 2 hrs total). There is a lagoon at the foot of a bluff, and the trail is a circle route around the lagoon.

The (unfortunate) history of Isaac Ebey, pioneer and politician whom the trail and the preserve are named after.

Lots of driftwood on the beach. On the right is Perego’s Lagoon, and the bluff.

The view towards the south, from about halfway up the bluff. Lots of wildflowers were in bloom.

Here’s a close-up of the pretty purple wildflowers.  I will have to find out what they are called.


Wednesday/ the Federal Office building

A photo from the Great Seattle Fire of June 6, 1889. A pot of glue over a gasoline fire – in what was a woodworking shop – boiled over. That started an inferno that raged on for 12 hours, destroying 25 city blocks.

I walked by the Federal Office building on 1st Avenue in downtown Seattle today.
Whoah! I thought .. I love all the Art Deco lines and motifs at the main entrance.

I learned later that the Great Seattle Fire of June 6, 1889 actually started right there, in the basement of what was a woodworking shop.

The Federal Office Building (completed in 1933) on 1st Ave in downtown Seattle is a great example of Art Deco architecture. The facade is stepped (see insert picture), with the outer portions rising from six stories to nine stories, while the central tower reaches eleven stories in height. The tower is topped by a ziggurat (stepped pyramid) with a flagpole at its apex. [Source: Wikipedia]


Sunday/ ferry to Kingston

It is the warmest Memorial Day weekend in Seattle in decades, with temperatures up to 84 °F/ 29 °C in the city.   Late on Sunday afternoon, Bryan and I took the Edmonds-Kingston ferry out to Hansville on the Kitsap peninsula, to go and visit Paul.

Here’s where the Edmonds-Kingston ferry route is located in Puget Sound. (The blue dot on the map is our final destination Hansville, in the northern part of Kitsap County). The pictures on the right shows the ferry Walla Walla’s departure from Edmonds. The Walla Walla ferry has been in service since 1972, and was refurbished in 2005.