Boeing 747 Cockpit

This is the cockpit of N194UA, a Boeing 747-400, taken shortly after my arrival into SFO. It was parked in the desert in Victorville, CA from Aug 2009 through June 2010, then brought back into service after undergoing maintenance in Korea.

Some unique features of this aircraft, and the flight I took on it:
- It is the only 747 in the fleet of 25 that remains in United's battleship gray livery, and the exterior looks pretty beat up
- It is also the only 747 that retains United's old business and first-class seating
- This aircraft is currently operating SFO-ORD-SFO once per day, and this return flight flight is the only passenger 747 scheduled domestically, on any carrier

It's available now for booking at ~$200 one way between San Francisco and Chicago, and it would not be challenging for an elite (or anyone cashing in a few miles) to be able to select an upgraded upper deck business seat.

Degraves St, Melbourne

There are those who say Seattle provides the finest coffee culture. They clearly haven't visited Melbourne, where coffee has been fantastic well before Starbucks was incorporated. The deep Italian heritage in Melbourne spilled over into the coffee custom in a way not evident in Toronto or New York.

Here on Degraves St, a flat white and cappuccino await consumption.

Art Gallery of NSW

Dadang Christanto, an Indonesian living in Australia, has had variations of this work installed in the Art Gallery of NSW for a number of years.

In "They Give Evidence", the figures are perhaps 30% larger than regular people.

Wylies Baths, Coogee

Wylies Baths include an ocean tidal pool in the suburbs of Sydney. At high tide, waves enter the pool unhindered.

I didn't have the fortitude to bathe during this visit, as it wasn't particularly warm, but I intend to in September.

Docklands, Melbourne

Residential highrises in the Docklands, Melbourne.

Caught in the fading evening light of the southern winter, around 4:30pm.

Bouncing Kangaroos

Wary kangaroos stare at me, on the plain between Werribee and Geelong in Victoria, Australia.

Matariki Maori Performance

The Maori New Year celebration is called Matariki, and falls (roughly) in early June. It is marked by the first rising of Pleiades during the southern hemisphere's winter.

These haka performers provided a vigorous form of ambiance in the LAX Koru Club.

Checkin As Far As The Eye Can See

There is no shortage of checkin desks at Denver International Airport. Finding a desk with a person behind it might be a bit more of a challenge.
Web checkin from home, and automated kiosks, both significantly reduce the need for interacting with airline staff prior to getting on the plane.


This trillium was adjacent to the path along Rattlesnake Ridge. It's probably a Trillium ovatum, as it's in the right kind of environment (under fir and hemlock) within the range of that species.

Trillium seeds are spread by ants!

Norwegian Pearl

The Norwegian Pearl is a 93,530 ton passenger cruise ship, docked here in Canada Place, a cruise terminal that defines the center of Vancouver's waterfront.

Her four MAN-B&W 12V48/60B diesel engines produce a total of 96,500 hp. Each engine has twelve cylinders, having a bore of 48cm and a stroke of 60cm. Top speed is 25kts.

Nike Missile Site, Medical Lake

These are the doors to an abandoned Nike missile silo, in Medical Lake, WA. Nikes were the first widely deployed anti-aircraft missiles in the US.

This site was operational from 1955 to 1967. Others have documented this place more extensively.

Seattle Central Library

The Central branch of the Seattle Public Library presents two halves of a contradiction.

From certain perspectives, it's a series of vast, underused, empty spaces. Other than the bottom, there is no public access to view any part of the atrium that spans eight stories. Level 4 is nothing but disorienting bright red curves.

However, the real genius of the building is the arrangement of the main stacks. It's a continuous spiral, allowing the entire range of call numbers to flow from shelf to shelf across four stories or so. Unlike most libraries, there are no gaps or discontinuities. The only similar structures I can think of are certain parking garages, where every parking space is part of an ongoing ramp.

Fierce Attack Dog

This untamed beast is busy guarding the entrance to Bradley's Guitar, in an interestingly angled building in Ballard.

The Yelp reviews are not positive. But the coffee down the street is divine...


Clearly, granny in the pink sweater presents a security risk that can only be mitigated by sending her through the Nude-o-scope. The gent about to step into the 'scope itself is horrified.

There was one of these machines among the 8 or so lanes at the DEN airport when I visited. I chose the Nude-o-scope lane, then declined to enter the machine. A thorough pat-down was my penance. It should be obvious that anyone wishing to smuggle something that would be detected by millimeter-wave scanning would choose one of the other 7 lanes.

Progress of the State

Progress of the State is a statue of a quadriga that adorns the State Capitol of Minnesota. It is covered in gold leaf, and presents the usual assortment of allegorical characters and symbols. The purpose of my visit to the Captiol was to further the progress of a geocoin.

Off to the southwest is the Cathedral of St Paul.

Pediocactus nigrispinus

This Mountain Ball Cactus is probably Pediocactus nigrispinus, though the USDA only catalogs the related species Pediocactus simpsonii. Two diagrams of its range shows only a couple of pockets of Oregon and Washington State shrub-steppe terrain.

This one was seen in the Whiskey Dick management area of the WA Dept of Fish and Wildlife. I missed the blooming season by a couple of weeks.

Minnehaha Depot

The Minnehaha Depot is another part of the Milwaukee Road that I've had a chance to visit recently. It was a modest passenger station, completed in 1875 and serving Minnehaha Park.

The railroad closed the station in 1963, and the Minneapolis Historical Society has maintained it since then.

Wild Horses Monument

The Wild Horses Monument, on the east side of the Columbia River off the I90, is actually a sculpture called Grandfather Cuts Loose the Ponies by David Govedare.

This picture was taken facing into a moonlit, overcast night. Focus was difficult, and is imperfect.