Obscenely Pink Magnolia

This magnolia is at the peak of showing its outrageously pink blooms, on a walk in Queen Anne.

Spring has come early this year to Seattle, and the ornamental cherries and plums are out in full force.

Omaha Airport Art

My tour of public art in airports continues at Omaha's Eppley Airfield (OMA). There's some unpleasant metalwork called "Dance of the Cranes" outside, but my eye was on the stonework inside.

This depiction of a wagon train is situated on the ground floor, at the northern landside end of the terminal building.

Jeep Grand Cherokee Limited

Our household just gained another vehicle. This 1996 Jeep Grand Cherokee Limited is a lumbering beast. It produces 220hp from a 5.2L Magnum V8, and should consume plenty of fuel.

Now all I need are some skis to put in the roof rack. And something to tow.

Cathedral of Saint Paul

The Cathedral of Saint Paul occupies a much more prominent hilltop location than the nearby State Capitol, and it overlooks much of downtown St Paul MN.

It's the twelfth-tallest building in town. If you take into account that it is sited on land 80-100ft higher than the rest of downtown, it would be #4.

Colorado Springs Mosaic

This panoramic mosaic sits at the western side of the passenger terminal building at the Colorado Springs airport (COS).

It's sufficiently notable to be specifically mentioned as an amenity by the Colorado Springs Convention & Visitors Bureau!

Transport Evolution

East of Ellensburg WA, a tresle of the Milwaukee Road crosses the I90 as a tractor-trailer heads east. Although the rail bridge predates the Interstate and was less susceptible to hazardous conditions in the winter, only the highway carries traffic today.

The railroad was electrified here, but mismanagement and poor track maintenance led to its decline and eventual abandonment.

Tukwila International Boulevard Station

The Link Light Rail running between Seattle's downtown and the airport sports a fair bit of public art.

Here at the Tukwila International Boulevard Station is the sculpture "A Drop of Sustenance" by Tad Savinar. It's marvelous, and is big enough to be spotted from SR518 by anyone driving to or from the airport.

It easily beats the unmemorable installation in the opposite (outbound) escalator well. I'd prefer if it was just titled "Milk Drop", but my income isn't based on successfully sneaking grant applications past commissioning boards, so what do I know?

94 Stewart

94 Stewart is a fancy restaurant in Seattle with decent reviews. It's on the steep bit of Stewart, the part just barely clinging on to the hill before the plunge down to Puget Sound.

The Pontiac Solstice is even parked properly. Wheels into the curb!

A Spread of Nibbles

Last night, I prepared a dinner of individual nibbles, instead of having a single big dish. It was delicious, and allowed a slow pace for chatting and sipping the bubbles.

The artichokes were maimed to allow them to fit in the steamer. Before their sides were trimmed down, the lid wouldn't fit, and the steaming would have been rather ineffective!

Also pictured are smoked oysters, Dubliner and Jarlsberg cheeses, avocadoes, and kiwifruit.

Banff Springs Snail

This wee creature is the endangered Banff Springs Snail. It's luxuriating in the spring water at the Cave and Basin springs, which is rich in hydrogen sulfide and low in oxygen.

Because of the snail, this pool is unavailable for bathing. Fortunately, the Banff Upper Hot Springs were open for an enjoyable soak.

Cars That Plug In

No, this is not a plug-in hybrid.
This is the plug for a block heater on this weekend's rental car.

Fortunately, it was not nearly cold enough to require its use.

Townley Dairy, Oklahoma City

The Townley Dairy in Oklahoma City has been abandoned since 1998. It has suffered a couple of arson-set fires, but there is still plenty to see.

Here, a bank of Sim-ply-Trol pyrometers were used to indirectly measure the temperature of some aspect of the pasteurization process.

Abandoned Bellevue Airport

Bellevue Airfield was a fully functional airport in Bellevue WA, operating from 1948 to 1983. It had a single runway (2/20), and was less prone to fog than the neighboring Renton and Boeing Fields.

Suburban encroachment led to it being overrun by office parks. This is a picture of what was the heliport, 71WA. It's now a basketball court, though the Google view hasn't yet caught up with the development.


I rambled about Granite Mountain this weekend. It was the first bit of serious terrain on my new snowshoes, and I learned quite a bit about their capabilities.

There was a geocache marked a bit off the trail, but it will have to wait for summer. The deep snow made it impossible to locate.

Arnott's Tim Tam

The Tim Tam (from Australia) is Arnott's Biscuits' contribution to culinary excellence. It provides a fine balance between crispness and chocolaty goodness, not unlike a Coffee Crisp (from Canada).

A Tim Tam Slam involves attempting to slurp hot tea or coffee through a Tim Tam. One must first nibble off the opposing corners to provide an entry point to the interior. It is challenging to succeed at this before the biscuit disintegrates.

Railway and Siphon

The East Low Canal flows through Grant County in eastern Washington State. It's a part of the federal Columbia Basin Project.

Here, a tresle carrying a spur of the Milwaukee railroad follows the East Low Canal. The railway is actively maintained, though I'm not sure of its present ownership.

The canal itself crosses this gulch, with a feature the USGS topo maps label as a "siphon". I would have thought a simple aqueduct would be the engineer's choice here. However, an enclosed tunnel carries the canal under the gulch. There is a pump mechanism in place, probably necessary only occasionally to prime the siphon.

Mazama Ash

This weekend in Edmonton, I went looking for a few geocaches. This one is on the banks of the North Saskatchewan River, and shows the Mazama Ash layer. Mt Mazama erupted around 6800 years ago in southern Oregon, leaving Crater Lake. Its ash plume extended to Alberta, and is a handy reference for geologists trying to date sedimentary layers throughout the Pacific Northwest.

Shamefully, I neglected to bring my camera on this trip, so this picture is stolen from the geocache page.

Fat Joe

Recently, I tried out being a Person Of Size.

I flew four segments on United this weekend, and presented boarding passes for two seats on each. (The cost of this was less than buying a single ticket, such were the mechanics of the deal).

I highly recommend it! There are only two differences between having two seats in Economy and having a single seat in First: you don't get addressed by name, and you don't get inundated with free alcohol.

On one segment, the gate agent noted "we are fitting 182 people on this 757 today". As I stored my backpack in the footwell of the middle seat, the adjacent passenger warned: "you know you're going to have to move that to accommodate someone yet to board; this is a full flight and they've got a long list of standbys".

My response: "oh really ... care to make it interesting?" Indeed, that full flight carried just 181 passengers.