Jack o' Lantern

This evening's Jack o' Lantern has a crooked toothy smile, and was wildly successful at luring youngsters up the stairs to trick or treat. The neighborhood was lively with well costumed children, including a forest elf complete with a lighting system.

Perhaps the finest outfit was a kid in a business suit with a Rick Perry nametag, who delivered the perfect line: "Watch out for my scaaaaary flat tax!"

Last Hike of the Season

The freezing level in the Cascades has been dropping for the last few weeks. Snow has been visible on the Olympics for a few weeks now, and has been creeping down the mountainsides as winter approaches.

This is Surprise Lake at 4500ft, which was marginally accessible yesterday with just trail running shoes. It won't be next week.

Nikon FE

Here's a full frame (instead of an extreme crop) from a Nikon FE. This is at f/8 on a Nikkor 50mm 1.8 AI manual-focus lens.

The exposure is about 1/180 or 1/200s. I can't tell you exactly, because when the camera is on automatic mode, it chooses the exact exposure to match what its meter reads, even if that is 4.762ms. There's no EXIF data to reveal what its choice was.

ISO 200

Enlarged detail of a scan from 35mm color negatives, developed from ISO 200 Fuji film.

As the scanned resolution (2560 dpi against the original 36x24mm frame) is somewhat greater than the underlying grain of the film, you can see the grain itself in the shadows of these maple leaves.


A ghost could scare the unwary with a perfectly delivered Boo!

Kids love being temporarily scared, and see magical powers embedded in that word. With young children, often their timing or intonation isn't quite right and they wonder why their Boo isn't appropriately frightening.

Indigenous Seeds

There are numerous seed capsules embedded in the sidewalks in the U District, containing a variety of common native seeds. It would take a very unique set of circumstances for these to be useful. Global nuclear holocaust? A rapid onset of an ice age?

The range of most plants I saw (including the pictured twinflower) extend across vast areas, and all would have to be obliterated before anyone would consider taking a jackhammer to the pavement to liberate this capsule.


Rudy's Barber Shop has seven Seattle locations and is finding its way into other regional markets. It's a simple, well-managed, and stylish place to get a haircut. Your barber introduces themselves by name with a handshake, and unlike some other shops, I've always found conversation to be natural in the chair.

It's not unlike Dr. Follicles of Fitzroy in Melbourne. Sadly, liquor licensing laws get in the way of supplying you with a beer with your haircut.

Ravenna Ave NE

There are a few public roads buried in the Seattle street grid that seem to disappear into the woods. This is the southern extent of Ravenna Ave NE, which dead-ends under the 45th St viaduct. There are a few regular houses along here, plus regular garbage and recycling collection.

Drain Pipe Garden

Seattle isn't really a place where water conservation is important, but some go to extreme lengths to make use of every last drop.

The Millionaire's Club

Three quarters of The Millionaire's Club plays at Pike Place and Stewart St. They had a lively swing and were good humored between songs.

Slim (their harmonica/washboard player) was missing in action.


Wake is a large scale sculpture erected in 2004 by Richard Serra. It is difficult to understand the exact shape of the steel while walking around it. From above, you can see a bit more, but that contradicts the different wavy shapes seen edge-on.

The first Dreamliner

ZA001 is the first Dreamliner. She was assembled in 2007 and first flew in 2009.

Since then, Boeing has logged 1304 hours of flight testing on this single airframe, and over 4700 hours in total among the six test aircraft.

The cabin of serial #1 isn't outfitted for cargo or passengers, but instead is loaded with racks of sensors and computers.

Rolls-Royce Trent 1000

This is the view peeking at the back of the right Rolls-Royce Trent 1000 turbofan fitted to the first Dreamliner. It is striking how spacious and uncluttered it is, especially as compared against older engines designs like that of the JT8D.

Rolls-Royce is busy testing the 'Package B' version of this engine, as the initial design (already delivered to All Nippon) falls short of fuel consumption promises. The first flight of a 'Package B' engine was just last month.

Cellulosic Ethanol

This is a WWII-era plant originally built to produce ethanol as an input to a synthetic rubber process. The fermentation tanks are not unlike the wooden casks at a distillery, though the scale is a bit bigger. The waste liquor from the Kraft (wood pulping) process contains 2-3.5% sugar; just add yeast, wait a bit, and the sugar becomes alcohol.

These casks fed into a four story high still. After distillation, ether was used to remove the remaining water, resulting in anhydrous alcohol that was consumed elsewhere in the plant.

Sadly, there's a current fad (driven by distorting subsidies) for trying to fuel cars based on this same process.

Screen Room, Pulp and Tissue Plant

Another visit to the Georgia Pacific site provided dramatically different light conditions. It also revealed that the Port of Bellingham has already completely demolished the steam plant, where waste bark was used as fuel to make steam to use throughout the operation.

This is a trough for pulp on its way to becoming tissue paper. It is described as a "screen room," and is on the 2nd floor.

Peace Arch

The Peace Arch has stood on the border of British Columbia and Washington State since 1921.

Besides being the site of a major border crossing for cars, it's also parkland, accessible as a provincial park from the Canadian side, and as a state park (with an entrance fee) from the US side. As there's no fencing, and visitors are welcome to wander across the border, it must be a tricky for border guards to keep track of who came from where. Park visitors are required to carry immigration documentation, unlike any other park in either country.

Container Maze

A maze of irregularly spaced 20' intermodal shipping containers provides an ideal stage for a theatrical chase scene. Jack Bauer, James Bond, and countless lesser protagonists have all tested their confined-space fighting skills among containers like this.

It's also a perfect environment for gaining surreptitious access to an underused industrial lot.

Fuzzy Crop

This may look like a bumper crop of kiwis, but it's actually a pretty lean year. The vines were heavily pruned last year, and conditions were poor for pollination earlier in the spring.

The fruit won't ripen any further on the vine, so they've been harvested and will finish ripening inside the house.

Cruising in the Evening

A party heads out into the sunset from the Everett Marina. The water was calm, and low lying fog was just starting to form.

The Port of Everett claims that this is the largest marina on the west coast.

Rainier from Tolmie Peak

A lenticular cloud caps Mount Rainier, as seen from Tolmie Peak. Eunice Lake is below.

Tolmie Peak has a Forest Service fire lookout tower on it, and inside, there's an Osborne Fire Finder. Looking the other way, you can see Tacoma and the distant high-rises of downtown Seattle.

Pacifica, CA

Pacifica is a coastal town between Half Moon Bay and San Francisco. It's known for surfing, and has very little industry; the largest private employer is Safeway. (I was fooled by a Wiki vandal into writing that a division of Electronic Arts was located here.)

Pacifica is separated from San Francisco by the San Andreas Fault, which runs into the ocean just north of this spot.