Arizona State Capitol

A Winged Victory of Samothrace adorns the original Arizona State Capitol.  This building is just a museum, as the Capitol is now a trio of ugly administrative buildings, one of which looms behind the polished copper dome.

Facts gleaned from the museum included the identity of the State Reptile (the Arizona Ridge-nosed Rattlesnake), and model of the State Gun (the Colt Single Action Army Revolver).


San Francisco International Airport as seen from the west.  It suffers terribly from delays induced by coastal fog, much more frequently than nearby OAK and SJC.  It handles perhaps 2/3rds of the passenger traffic of LAX, and has only just recovered passenger traffic levels at those preceding 9/11.

Soleri's Bells

Paolo Soleri is a prolific sculptor, urban planner, and theorist.  He spent time with Frank Lloyd Wright, and lives in Scottsdale, not far from Taliesin West.  His most recognizable art consists of cast bronze and ceramic wind-chime bells like this one.

Barrel Cactus

A flowering Barrel Cactus transmits the light of sunset. It was excessively hot on our visit to Phoenix, with a high temperature of 106° F one day, so we saved the early mornings and late evenings as times for hiking and outdoor exploration.

Sunset Eclipse

Here's the final stage of the same eclipse, setting over western Phoenix. The sun reflects off the Arizona Canal to the lower left, perhaps 25mi from its source at the Granite Creek Diversion Dam.

Projected Eclipse

The annular solar eclipse of May 20th was viewed well off its central line, but remained a spectacular sight.  From our vantage point, the magnitude of the eclipse managed to cover 89% of the sun's surface.  The partial eclipse remained through sunset.

This excellent projection was through the portable telescope of another spectator.  Plenty of others were in on the event, and it was a convivial atmosphere.

Montlake Cut Rowing

Multiple concurrent races are run down the Montlake Cut on Windermere Cup regatta day.

As the channel under the Montlake Bridge is only 100ft wide, oars are over 11ft long, and teams are sent down 5 abreast, the races rely on the field spreading out a bit by the time they reach that point.

Snohomish Rail Bridge

This abandoned rail bridge over the Snohomish River, in Snohomish WA, used to be a swing bridge allowing very tall river traffic to pass.  In the overhead view, the closest concrete pier is the point of rotation, and there was a house for the bridge operator set under the tracks.

It was built by the American Bridge Company of New York in 1911.  The swing span was welded shut some time ago, as the current tracks were laid without a gap.  And then the track was abandoned to its present state.

Foster Island Canoeing

The UW Waterfront Activities Center rents canoes (and other waterborne vehicles) for use on Lake Washington.  On a warm early spring afternoon, the marshes and inlets around Foster Island are fun to explore.  Red winged blackbirds called through the cattails, and turtles sunned themselves on logs.

New Portland

Portland is no longer a place of bronze plaques, and you'd have a hard time finding any unclothed natives to pose with their papoose and salmon catch.

Portland is now a place where you can pay $62 for half a square foot of Pakistani mined salt in slab form.  The Meadow specializes in expensive and weird salt.  Allegedly, one could heat these directly on a range, imparting both heat and salt on any food placed on top.  As the melting point of salt is over 800 °C, direct application of flame is not a problem.

Old Portland

Lots going on in this panel on the door to the original headquarters of the United States National Bank (now U.S. Bancorp) in central Portland.

Avard Fairbanks sculpted these panels representing scenes of settlement, industry, and progress in the American west.  The train is of the Oregon Railroad and Navigation Company; when this panel was cast in 1927, the company was already a subsidiary of Union Pacific.  OR&N's original route along the south side of the Columbia remains an important mainline route for Union Pacific today, though it remains single-track in places.

Stop Light Pit Bull

This pit bull was enjoying the sights and smells of the city from the prime vantage point of the back seat of a big truck.  It was sighted alongside our vehicle as we waited at a stop light in Portland.

Rhizobia/Legume Symbiosis

This pea root was busy fixing nitrogen into its roots all winter, preparing my soil for a growing season for other vegetables.  The light colored nodules along the roots are infections of a rhizobia bacteria.  Though the bacteria consumes carbohydrates and proteins provided by the pea, it supplies ammonia (otherwise known as a chemical fertilizer!) that the legume benefits from.  Both the pea and the bacteria benefit from this symbiosis.

I've since turned under the peas and their nitrogen-rich roots, so my carrots and beets and chard will get to benefit from the fertilized soil.

Mount Hood

Mount Hood is the most perfectly pointed fairy-tale mountaintop.  It lies east of Portland, and is hard to miss on a flight along the west coast, at least if you are paying attention.

At 11,239ft high, it's not difficult to hike up, so someday, I should!

Metropolis II

Chris Burden has done all sorts of crazy performance art, most of it more controversial than good.  But at the excellent Los Angeles County Museum of Art, he's installed a frenetic Hot Wheels track featuring 1100 cars across 18 lanes.  It is mesmerizing and very loud.  "Metropolis II" requires an operator present when running; Mr. Burden employs engineers for this task rather than maintaining it himself.

Mariachi Plaza, East LA

A clutch of mariachi musicians seek gigs in Mariachi Plaza, in the Boyle Heights neighborhood of East Los Angeles.  If you need to set the right ambiance for a birthday party, you could easily hire the right mood here.

Walt Disney Concert Hall

This is a set of stainless steel panels of the Walt Disney Concert Hall in Los Angeles.  It was looking glorious in changing light as clouds came and went.

The Sultan's Harem

These fancy eaves decorate one of the many buildings of the Imperial Harem in Topkapı Palace, the residence of the Ottoman Sultans in Istanbul.  The Sultan's mother, wives, and concubines lived here, and it was guarded by black eunuchs.