Frozen Liquor

A frozen pumpkin pie arrived via UPS today! The tracking history showed that it spent 36h enroute between Salt Lake City and Seattle. It survived this journey by being packed in an impressive styrofoam cooler, with plenty of dry ice to provide cooling.

Wondering what to do with the dry ice, I tried cooling some Bundaberg Rum. Typical 80-proof liquor solidifies at around -30°C, far colder than our freezer. Solid CO2 sublimes at -78°C, allowing for real freezing to occur. Indeed, a rum rime started forming around the dry ice pieces. Agitating the mixture led to a viscous but uniform rum sorbet!

Titan I Missile Silo

This is the launch silo for an early 1960s Titan I ICBM, delivering a 3.75 megaton nuclear warhead. It is part of an underground complex of three missile silos plus all the supporting infrastructure: propellant, water, control equipment, power generation, fuel, and living space for the operators.

The underground structures were mostly flooded, and I was not sufficiently educated on the site layout in order to gain access to the lower levels. Nonetheless, it was a rewarding visit.

Alleyway Art

I miss the alleyway art of Melbourne. Much of what is found in the central alleys is amateur graffiti and stencil art. Additionally, the city puts aside annual grants for Laneway Commissions. These are temporary installations of urban art, and some are pretty good.

I stumbled upon this piece in Seattle, called Waste Not. It's in the alley bounded by Jackson, King, 1st, and Occidental. The 2L bottles were quite playful as they swung in the wind.

Oklahoma City Memorial

The Oklahoma City National Memorial is a serene spot just north of the downtown business core. It reminds visitors of the 1995 bombing of the federal building that once stood there.

The bombing was the only US domestic terrorist attack ever to kill >100 people.

I90 Towards Vantage

This is the I90 eastbound, somewhere on this stretch between Ellensburg and Vantage. The land is shrub-steppe grassland, and is too hilly to be useful for agriculture.

There's an abandoned railway trestle from the Milwaukee Road that crosses the freeway nearby, but the minimal detour to inspect it takes 16 miles!

Window Daffodils

I guess somewhere it's already daffodil season in January! I was looking for a way to fill a set of gifted vases, and these cheery and early daffodils worked just perfectly.

Bubble Tea

Bubble tea is a beverage to be consumed with either an oversized straw, or with a long spoon.

This one was prepared at home, with the tapioca pearls bought at an asian grocery store. They're cooked for ten minutes or so to soften them. A bit of Bundaberg rum improves it nicely!

MSP Night Landing

Here are four planes around Minneapolis, including the one overhead coming in for a landing on 30L.
My hotel didn't offer roof access, so I had to settle for an outward-facing view.

Abandoned Airport - Harrington WA

This is a disused airport, just northeast of Harrington, WA. It is simply shown on USGS topo maps as "Landing Strip", and is not significant enough to find its way onto any published airport listings.

The placard on one of the hangar buildings confirms the elevation noted on the USGS map (2209ft MSL).

I considered doing some Top Gear-style runway driving, but the condition of the paved surface did not allow high speeds.

Boeing 747-400

This looming beast is N107UA, one of United's 25 active Boeing 747-400s.

She's parked in ORD at Concourse C gate C18, and is being viewed from the adjacent Red Carpet Club.

Minneapolis RollerGirls

I recently attended Bout 4, an extravaganza hosted by the Minneapolis RollerGirls. Not having been to a roller derby before, I didn't know what to expect.

It was excellent entertainment, and I will be investigating events by the Rat City Rollergirls for similar fun closer to home.

Snoqualmie Pass First Light

A New Year's Eve front through the Cascades caused travel advisories to show up on the WSDOT pass information site. I hadn't traversed Snoqualmie Pass in winter before, so I allowed an extra couple of hours for the journey.

The conditions weren't that bad, so I had time to pause at the summit to try out my new pair of snowshoes. They are marvellous, and I look forward to future trips!


The addition of bubbles considerably improved our New Year's Eve.

Although we didn't stay up until midnight (due to an early drive planned for New Year's Day), we did watch Terry Pratchett's Hogfather instead. It was silly, and excellent, as promised.

SR520 Winter Dawn II

Wait a couple of weeks, and the morning commute on SR520 just gets even more spectacular. Last time it was earlier and cloudier.