Alaskan Way Viaduct Replacement

This substantial assembly of rebar will become a vertical column holding up a section of road replacing the existing Alaskan Way Viaduct. The southern mile of the viaduct is currently undergoing replacement, as it's falling apart and is likely to fail in even a modest earthquake.

Burke Gilman Trail

The Burke Gilman Trail is a gift to commuters, though it is not the suggested venue for those looking for an orderly weekend ride. Far too many poorly-behaved cyclists, pedestrians, and pets roam its multi-use asphalt, and sticking to the roadway is often a safer bet.

King County Water Taxi

Fine weather allowed a cycle to West Seattle, and I took the King County Water Taxi to get back downtown. This is the view out of the Rachel Marie, a pleasant 72ft catamaran that is the only vessel serving that route.

It costs the county $32,000 per month to lease this ferry from Four Seasons Marine Services. Because the lessor is based in Seward, Alaska, the Rachel Marie remains registered there.

Marginal Way Skate Park

My man with just the right amount of facial hair, black-frame glasses and tattoos hangs for a moment in the skate park at S Hanford St and Marginal Way. He was pretty skilled.

It's tucked in under the Alaskan Way Viaduct, and was built by enthusiasts. Those not actively skating were working the barbeque or enjoying a beer or two. The spot, while not exactly family-friendly, had a mellow and inclusive vibe.

River Otter

River otters are closely related to the sea otters previously noted, and even have overlapping habitats. However, river otters happily live far from the ocean, patrolling creaks, ponds, and anywhere else where there's fish.

Like many raptors, they enjoy eating out on dry land. It decreases the chances of their meal slipping away back into the freedom of the water.

Flowering Rhubarb

Here's one of our rhubarbs in flower. We're a bit sad it's spending all its energy building this towering flower stalk instead of making more delicious red leaf stalks, but at least it's happy and healthy.

On further reading, for best results cultivating rhubarb, we are advised to cut off flower stalks as they appear, and so we just did!

Hook and Ladder

A hook-and-ladder is a fire truck having an articulated bed, and with independent steering of the rear wheels. Long ladders are needed wherever there are tall buildings, and the length of the truck limits mobility in narrow city streets.

Rear steering allows a long fire truck to negotiate traffic circles and other street furniture. This hook-and-ladder parallel parked in a tight spot with ease, as the firemen rushed in for an urgent coffee stop.

Easter is Coming

Chicks and rabbits are clearly Easter fare. It's not clear which one lays chocolate eggs, nor is it clear what animal comes out of a chocolate egg. Nonetheless, it's an excuse for tasty treats.

Seen at Belle Pastry, Western Ave.

22 Miles of Fun

Today I flew from Boeing Field to Tacoma Narrows and back in this Cessna 172. It was a glorious day, and an interesting experience learning to fly. Piloting is not dissimilar to navigating a boat, in that small inputs take effect cumulatively and with some delay.

Although the single engine presents a point of failure, the operation of this aircraft is wonderfully simple. Ignition succeeds even if electrical power fails (via two magnetos), and the only thing between the wheel and the control surfaces is steel cabling.

Sea Otter

Shrimp are good to the last bit of flavor that this sea otter can wring out of them. It may look like husks and spines, but this guy is doing his best to pull out a bit more shrimpy goodness before discarding the wrapper they came in.

I think of otters as small, lithe creatures. One of the otters in this enclosure was tempted onto a scale at feeding time, and weighed in at an impressively chunky 57.5 lbs.

Kelly Lyles' Car

Kelly Lyles is an eccentric Seattle artist who decorates cars, among other pursuits. This is her Honda Odyssey that I caught parked at Alki Beach. It's Washington-registered as XSORIES!

I didn't catch that the fashion arrangement on the hood is made of detachable magnetic pieces, so you can decorate the figure like a Mr Potato Head!

S Handford St

This idyllic lane looks like the rising driveway to a country manor. The landscape is meticulously maintained, right to the edge of the road.

Surprisingly, it's a public road in Seattle: S Handford St. The house on the corner maintains the border on both sides of the road, and the city tolerates it, probably because it's beautiful.

Roberto Maestas

Here is a memorial to the founder of El Centro de la Raza, what was originally Beacon Hill School in Seattle. In 1972, after the school board had closed the school, Roberto Maestas led a band of Chicano activists in occupying the abandoned building. Attitudes of the day tolerated this, and after a few months the city legally leased the school and grounds to the activist group.

It's now mostly a community center and houses social services from a variety of local and state agencies. The annual budget is around $5M, with 83% of that coming from state, local, and federal government sources.

Mouth of the Mississippi

The mighty Mississippi empties into the Gulf of Mexico here at its estuary. There are a few oil storage tanks, but not much else but dikes and breakwaters.

Marine traffic to and from the south use this channel, but there is a more efficient way to route eastward.

The Army Corps of Engineers who maintain the Mississippi waterway are facing a losing battle against the relentless deposition of silt at the mouth of the river. The more silt arrives in the estuary, the higher the dikes need to be built. Evidence of this is readily available, for example, the recent closure of the Gulf Outlet Canal.

Speedbird 49 Heavy from London

British Airways has 57 Boeing 747-400s that it operates on longhaul routes like London-Seattle. Here's a Wednesday afternoon arrival of BA49 into Seattle.

You could spend $8132 for a round-trip for seating on the upper deck in business class (BA calls it Club World). Or you earn enough BA frequent flyer points for the same seat by applying for a single credit card. Out of pocket costs on the credit card route are around $600, as British Airways has significant fuel surcharges on award tickets, and there's no avoiding the usurious £120.00 departure tax from UK airports in premium cabins. Or you could use the miles to go east to Asia for half the cash cost...

Caped Panda Hurts His Paw

Don't be a crying transit-riding panda! Avoid getting your paw pinched in the gap when the door opens.

I'd think the cape would be a greater danger, but I'll put that down to the growing list of cultural differences between Japan and ... every other society I've learned anything about.

Hamarikyu Gardens

An older couple peacefully sips matcha tea overlooking the peaceful ponds of Hamarikyu Gardens, which have survived since Japan's feudal era. The site was founded as a villa in 1654 by the brother of the shogun Ietsuna, though it only took its current design in the early 1800s.

Unusually, the ponds are seawater, so instead of the usual carp, there can be all kinds of marine species in there. There is a lock system that allows water circulation while keeping the pools inside at a constant level.

Unicorn Princess

It's hard to get an idea of scale, but this is an adult or mostly-adult person. And yes, she's holding a unicorn. She was being professionally photographed for an uncertain purpose.

Spotted in the posh shopping district around the Meijijingumae subway stop, Tokyo.

Whale for sale

Fresh whale meat on on sale at the Tsukiji Market in Tokyo. It definitely looks tasty, though I'm not sure how the flavor would actually turn out.

Despite hassle by anti-whaling groups, Japan harvests and consumes a few thousand tonnes of whale each year.

The Strangers of Harajuku

You can be anyone you want in Tokyo, including being part of a 1950s rockabilly posse. Here are The Strangers, a group that gathers regularly in Harajuku to drink, dance, and show off their truly awesome hair.

Previous visitors caught them on video, but I only caught them smoking and drinking to warm up for their act. One of them owns a pink Bel Air convertible!

Commuting Snooze

A tired professional catches a nap on the Keisei Main Line towards Tokyo. A surprisingly large proportion of transit riders were dressed for the office this Sunday morning.

Convention in Japan requires citizens who are feeling ill to wear a surgical mask, avoiding the spread of illness to their fellow countrymen.

Two Lovers Point, Guam

Two Lovers Point is a high cliff overlooking Hagåtña, Guam. There's a complicated legend connected with the place, but the main reason to visit is the spectacular view.

Cooling Brakes, Pohnpei

This is a brake cooling apparatus, similar to that described in this 1986 patent. It's necessary for a timely turnaround here at Pohnpei, which has a 6001 ft runway that is just adequate for a full Boeing 737-800.

Sharp braking on landing raises the temperature of the brake assembly, and there's a maximum safe temperature that allows for full braking on a rejected takeoff.

Kosrae Tangerine

Kosrae is a volcanic island in the Federated States of Micronesia. It's renowned for local tangerines. They're green when ripe, peel easily, and have incredibly juicy sections with a delicate flavor.

One can buy Kosrae tangerines for export at the airport if they've been inspected to pass quarantine. The only air transport out of Micronesia is to either Hawaii or Guam, and neither allows noncommercial import of citrus. Hence these delicious tangerines are confined to the FSM.