Pike Place Brewery

With a spare half hour downtown, I enjoyed a Pike Place IPA. The Pike Place Brewery sits underneath the Economy Market Atrium, to the south of the main market.

The beer was delicious, and was poured one-handed.

DHS FOIA Request

In October, I made a Freedom of Information Act request of the Department of Homeland Security, to ask for records referencing me in DHS databases.

The response took a bit over three months to come back, and included 83 pages. Many pages were simple records of my comings and goings. Some pages offer a paragraph of detail that explains the result of a secondary immigration screening.

This page is the APIS data that Northwest Airlines sent to the DHS in advance of a commercial flight from Kitchener-Waterloo to Detroit.

The Christmas Story

Dick Bruna's illustrated Christmas story is read each year prior to my family's Christmas Eve dinner. (This year's dinner was held a week early to accommodate a celebration with my other family.)

The hardcover, originally published in 1964, has significantly appreciated in value.

Columbian Lime Flask

This is a fancy flask for lime (calcium hydroxide), seen at the Gold Museum in Bogota. Coca leaves are usually chewed with lime, as its basic pH aids in liberating the alkaloids from the leaf.

Modern betel nut consumers use lime for the same purpose, though they haven't yet crafted such a fine container for their lime.

SR520 Winter Dawn

A few minutes earlier, the sunrise looked completely different. Sadly, I was queued on Montlake Blvd then.

The resident bald eagle chose to pick the artwork on the north side of the bridge for his roost, and so evaded this picture.

LAX Qantas Dawn Arrival

VH-OEB is a Qantas 747-400 called Phillip Island. Here she is after landing at dawn into LAX, likely from either Melbourne (via Auckland) or Sydney.

She's headed east on taxiway E, and headed for a gate at the Tom Bradley International Terminal.

Mt Si in Winter

Mt. Si manages to miss much of the snow of the Cascades due to geography; most moist air can find its way further eastward before being forced out as snowfall.

It is a brisk 3200ft climb, and offers spectacular views west to Seattle. Mt. Si featured prominently in Twin Peaks, as it looms over North Bend, where many scenes were filmed (including the title screen).

Driftwood Fort

Growing up involved numerous glorious trips to the beach. West coast beaches frequently offer a generous assortment of construction materials, and on many occasions I found myself constructing a driftwood fort.

Walking along the beach in Discovery Park, I found a particularly plush fort awaiting my exploration. This driftwood fort featured floorboards, room enough for an adult to get inside, and a superior west-facing view. The craftsmanship was superb.

Why Hello Mr Jefferson

I love the US $2 bill.

When a temporary Bing Cashback rate of 15% allowed the purchase on eBay of uncirculated and sequential notes for less than face value, I jumped at the chance. These bills haven't seen much daylight since being turned out by the Bureau of Engraving and Printing, and still bear the original straps around bundles of 100 notes.

This is a nice variation of the US Mint Direct Ship scheme for earning frequent flyer miles, but with the subsidy being borne by eBay and Microsoft (instead of the Treasury).

Christmas Lights

The weekend after (US) Thanksgiving is the time to start arranging Christmas decorations. With a few strings handed down from my parents (who have gone all-LED this year), I chose to decorate an azalea and the cottoneaster by the steps. Across the bottom is the light reflecting off the roof of my car.

Winter Is Coming

Time to scrape the ice off the car.

This camellia in the front yard will have no trouble through the winter. However, the Norfolk Pine Christmas tree I picked up recently advised "for indoors only," and for good reason. It has no tolerance for frost, and will have to stay a houseplant.

Fernando Botero, Bogota

Fernando Botero is a Columbian artist, notable for sculpting and painting fat people and animals. If you think that a sparrow must be by nature skinny and frail, take a look at Botero's sculptures.

This 1998 painting, "Guerillas de Eliseo Velásquez", is in the fantastic Museo Botero in Bogota, Columbia. My photo shows color a bit more richly than the museum's collection listing.

Camp Pendleton

Camp Pendleton is a Marine Corps base, stuck between the I5 along the Pacific ocean, and the coastal mountain range. It has a huge cache of military helicopters sitting out in the California sun.

It's also a strategic site for locating the San Clemente Border Patrol interior checkpoint, which is cheerfully documented for all in a GAO report (p55-62). Northbound traffic on the I5 is profiled and questioned for immigration violations.

Illegal immigrants must appreciate the detail when planning a strategy to evade the enforcement!