Sunday/ Happy Halloween

It’s Halloween and I’m posting Google’s home page pictures .. it’s a whole cartoon strip featuring Scooby Doo.   From Wikipedia : Scooby-Doo is a media franchise based around several animated television series which were produced from 1969 to the present.  All versions of the show feature a talking dog named Scooby Doo; the original series included four teenagers or young adults: Fred “Freddie” Jones, Daphne Blake, Velma Dinkley, and Norville “Shaggy” Rogers. These five characters (officially collectively known as “Mystery, Inc.”, but never referred to as such in the original series) drive around in the Mystery Machine van solving mysteries by exposing seemingly otherworldly ghosts and monsters as flesh and blood crooks.

P.S.  Gelukkige Verjaarsdag, Pa!  Ek sien geweldig daarna uit om almal te sien.

Saturday/ All Saints Spitalfields

What on earth are those things in that storefront window?, I thought- and discovered it was a huge collection of vintage sewing machines for the new AllSaints Spitalfields clothing store in downtown Seattle – a British ‘High Street’ retailer which produces clothing aimed towards a younger clientele. (I didn’t go into the store tonight but I want to go back and take a look).  AllSaints name refers in part to 60’s TV icon Simon Templar, aka The Saint – and in part to All Saints Road, in Nottinghill, notorious for its artistic and musical associations.

Friday/ leaves and lizards

The three pictures were all taken within a few blocks around my house around 5 pm today.  The interlocking lizard pavement is at the St Joseph School close by.  It is no doubt inspired by the drawing called ‘Reptiles (1943)’ of the Dutch graphic artist M.C. Escher.  (It’s a coincidence that I had to post more of his artwork, so soon after the one called ‘Three Worlds’ from a few days ago).

Thursday/ Rebecca (1940)

Yes, a movie that I stumbled on to tonight the way I sometimes do on TV, and I had to watch it to the end : about a woman who marries a widower but fears she lives in the shadow of her predecessor.  It is one of the first Alfred Hitchcock masterpieces with two very handsome romantic leads in Laurence Olivier and Joan Fontaine, and it garnered the Best Picture statue at the 1941 Academy Awards.  It’s black and white and I’d consider buying it for my fledgling Blu-ray collection of movies, but it’s not yet out on Blu-ray.     I saw Blu-ray movies for $10 at the grocery store on Tuesday.  A young woman checking them out as well asked ‘What is Blu-ray?’ It’s a new format and you need a special player for them, I said.  (And thought : you evidently never ever go to the video store to rent movies).

Wednesday/ new furniture

This is a library cabinet from a store called Crate& Barrel that I bought and that was delivered today.  It’s solid walnut (read : not cheap) with traditional Chinese joinery – interlocking joinery without any screws or nails.  The two glass-paned doors open to three fixed shelves, with glass paned sides opening up the view.  No sooner had it landed, when I stuffed it full of items!.. I will rearrange them in good time.  The uploaded picture is actually very large.  Click on it once, and then one more time to take a closer look at the items inside the cabinet : ).

Tuesday/ Honest Tea and honesty

I stopped at the gas station last night after going to the gym. The Honest Tea iced tea-lemonade drink was the one I picked from the 300+ drinks on offer.  Some time ago on TV there was a business profile of the entrepreneur that started up Honest Tea.  At that point Snapple and Lipton manufactured iced tea with tea ‘dust’ – the inferior left-overs from the leaves.  Hence, Honest Tea that was brewed from tea leaves.  (Snapple and Lipton now offer full leaf iced teas).   And since I mentioned television, at this point there is no escape from all the political ads for the election on Tue Nov 2.  Now that’s I’ve taken the time to brush up on the propositions on the Washington State ballot, all the ads look like half-truths, partial truths or twisted ‘truths’ presented to favor the sponsor’s viewpoint.   Yes, the truth is hard to find – and maybe hardest of all in TV ads and TV commercials.

Monday/ Greek yogurt is it

I read about Greek yogurt being all the rage, so I thought I would try it.  Very nice! Thick and smoooth.  ‘Ridiculously thick’ says the Fage (say ‘fa-yeh’) yogurt brand’s website (www.fageusa.com).  It is basically yogurt that has been strained in a cloth or filter to remove some of the whey.  So the protein content is higher than that of normal yogurt.   In addition this yogurt has no added sugar or the dreaded high-fructose corn syrup that shows up in so many sweet products here in the USA.

Sunday/ Halloween is coming

Is Frankenstein afraid of the spider, or is he too big to stand up straight on the porch?   The picture is of a house a few blocks from mine that I took on a walk tonight when there was a break in the rain.   It was chilly enough for me to wear my scarf!  Soon I will have to dig up my gloves as well.

Saturday/ Three Worlds

(The picture was taken Sunday morning.  Saturday morning the deck was dry and clean as a whistle).   I will have to scrub the deck soon .. there’s black moss on it that makes it slippery when it’s wet.  And as I looked at the deck this morning, it reminded me of the Three Worlds lithograph print by the Dutch artist M. C. Escher (see http://www.mcescher.com) which was first printed in December, 1955.  Of course, the three worlds are the one for the fish in the water, the one that is the surface on which the leaves float, and the one outside with the trees.

Friday/ Hansel and Gretel

Hansel and Gretel is the name of the beer I had last night at The Elysian Brewhouse.  It is of course a Brothers Grimm fairy tale as well, with Hansel and Gretel left in the woods by their parents that could not care for them, after which they arrive at the witch’s house built from bread and with a cake roof.

Knupper, knapper, kneischen, wer knuppert an meinem Häuschen? (who is knocking on my house?) asks the witch.

The pictures are from a German version of a Brothers Grimm fairy tale book I bought in Vienna two years ago.   I had to buy it : I still remember many of the watercolor pictures (done by Janusz Grabianski – is that a Polish name?)  vividly from when I started reading !

Thursday/ US Government finances

I like to save articles from magazines or newspapers with interesting pictures or graphics .. this one is from a TIME magazine earlier this year and shows some statistics about the finances of the US federal government.  (Click the picture to make it bigger).

P.S. Typhoon Megi went north into mainland China, away from Hong Kong and Daya Bay.

Wednesday/ downtown Seattle

I went out for a walk-about over lunch, walked over to the King County Administration building to make a property tax payment (ouch! it dented my bank account).  The next picture is the Seattle Library, and then the Columbia tower from the corner of Cherry St and 5th Ave.   ‘A Christmas Story’ is showing at 5th Avenue Theatre (is not a little early?).

The last picture was taken from the 19th floor of my office building just before I left, showing the ferry from Bainbridge Island steaming in.

 

Tuesday/ super typhoon Megi

It was another beautiful day in Seattle.   But on the other side of the world super typhoon Megi is approaching Hong Kong – the equivalent of a Category 5 hurricane and is packing maximum sustained winds of 185 kmh (115 mph), according to the Hong Kong observatory.  This one does look like it will hit Hong Kong dead on in the next day or two, says my colleagues out in Daya Bay.  (They will stay away from going to work tomorrow).

Monday/ let the votes fall where they may

There it goes – my ballot for the 2010 Washington State Mid-term Elections – into the security envelope and into the mailing envelope.  It’s a paper ballot* and the marks get counted by an optical scanner.   *In spite of it being the year 2010.  Paper ballots will only go away when paper money goes away, I believe.

We will see if Washington State gets a State Income Tax (we’re one of 7 hold-out states in the union).  The net income from the tax is intended for education (70%) and health care (30%) .. it’s just that state legislatures are notorious for applying funds raised this way for different purposes.

We will also see on Nov 2 if California voters pass Proposition 19 to legalize marijuana!  (But it may be a storm in a teacup since there is still a federal law in place that makes owning it illegal, and federal law trumps state law per the US Constitution).

Sunday/ remodeled Starbucks

The remodeled Starbucks on Olive Way opens at 5 am Monday morning.  I like the red-brick and black color scheme.   I will not be there at 5am! (yikes), but I will go there later.  It was another clear and cool day and the night temperature will dip down to 42 F (5 C).

Saturday/ ready to vote

I have my mail-in ballot, my voters’ pamphlet and my post card urging me to vote.  Here in Washington state we have a record number of initiatives on the ballot and I will dedicate another post to what they are.     One of our incumbent senators is up against a Republican in a close race, too.

Friday/ pumpkin beer

Bryan, Gary and I had beers and dinner at the Elysian the way we usually do on Fridays.   There is a pumpkin beer festival on this weekend, but the pumpkin beer was available already. (Yes, it’s real pumpkin that is used to brew the beer.  There are pumpkins everywhere this time of year with Halloween approaching).   I like the beer! .. mine was a beer with a little ginger in as well.

Thursday/ ‘Die Antwoord’ in Seattle

I stumbled on a print ad for ‘Die Antwoord’ (Afr. for ‘The Answer’) in the newspaper here .. oh! what do you know, I thought – a South African band.  Well, it’s more of a hip-hop crew.  They did pick Seattle as the first city for their North American tour.   But 1. I hardly ever go to musical performances (yes, I should try harder to go), and 2. it appears to me their white trash “zef” aesthetic, crudeness and gimmickry will NOT appeal to me.   But maybe I am not open-minded enough, because here is what Jonathan Zwickel wrote in the Seattle Times : Gimmickry is only one facet of the group’s art-school conceptualism and culturally-plundering spectacle. Husband-and-wife duo Ninja and Yo-landi Vi$$er — backed last night by tour DJ Fishsticks — are one of the most nuanced developments in hip-hop this year. Their videos demonstrate a jarringly grotesque visual aesthetic; their major label debut “$O$,” released earlier this week, obsesses about miscegenation and deviant sexuality.   And Wednesday night’s 50-minute performance revealed undeniable star power.

Wednesday/ Bryan Bros. in Shanghai

A colleague alerted me to this picture posted on the Bryan Bros.’* website.  His wife happened to bring their baby in for a routine check-up to the hospital in Shanghai, and ran into them.  I love the giant tennis ball.

*Twin brothers Robert Charles Bryan (Bob) and Michael Carl Bryan (Mike) are American professional tennis players.   At one point they were the World No. 1 doubles team for 201 weeks.   Between 2005 and 2006, they set an Open Era record by competing in seven consecutive men’s doubles Grand Slam finals, three of which they won.   On February 26, 2010, they recorded their Open Era record 600th match win by defeating Taylor Dent and Ryan Harrison in the semi-finals of the Delray Beach ATP 250 tournament.

Tuesday

The skyline is of our twin city Bellevue on the ‘east side’ of Lake Washington.  We in the city of Seattle just say ‘on the east side’ for any city or neighborhood that is east of Lake Washington.   I took the picture from Bellevue Square, a nice shopping mall.    Hard to day if mall traffic is light or not given that I don’t go there regularly and it was a week night.  A new Microsoft store is about to open there – almost right next to the Apple store, no less.     And I’m posting a picture of the old logo for The Gap (on the left), a casual wear clothing store, and the new logo (on the right).   Management unveiled the new logo to such a storm of protest from customers that they ditched it and stuck with the old one.

P.S. Very heartwarming to see the Chilean miners coming out from 700m below ground, one by one.