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10/07/10 - Spruce Railroad Trail Paving Update

We attended the park's open forum on the paving of the Spruce Railroad Trail. It was a pretty diverse group attending, with bicyclists, hikers, equestrians, park people, county people, and many we couldn't place by sight. The park is doing an Environmental Assessment. Those words are capitalized because it has a precise legal meaning, but it comes down to figuring out how much asphalt to pour. Right now, the trail is dirt, mud in season. The country proposes eight feet of asphalt and another two to four feet of gravel right along the lake on the little ledge carved out when the railroad was built. That doesn't leave much room for anything else.

We looked and listened to the various proposals the park is considering. These range from no changes to pouring as much asphalt as the ledge will bear, presumably a fair bit since it was designed for a working railroad. We couldn't help thinking of an article in that classic National Lampoon parody of a Sunday newspaper, the Dacron, Ohio Republican Democrat, home of a major asphalt producer.

We love their plan for Quaint Town.

Keywords: spruce railroad, art

09/28/10 - Labor Saving Design

We were walking around Seattle and noticed an excellent piece of lazy design. Instead of designing their own facade, these clever architects just copied the one across the street. Nice work!

It'll look just like the building across the street.

Keywords: art, seattle

03/21/10 - Bicycle Art

Now that they've paved the Morse Creek to Port Angeles leg of the Olympic Discovery Trail, you might think that you'd see a lot fewer bicycles with bent wheels and damaged frames, but you'd be wrong. One of the local families, with one of the prettiest gardens, has put up an art installation that can be seen as either an ironic comment or perhaps a warning against tresspassers. We'll let you judge.

Keywords: morse creek, port angeles, art

02/21/10 - Sparkling Light at Lake Crescent

It has been sunny and calm lately, so we noticed an amazing light out on Lake Crescent. We were on the Spruce Railroad Trail, and the light reflected from the gentle ripples on the lake reflected onto the trees, sparklling and twinkling. Our camera only captured this so well.

Move your mouse over the image to see the subtle change, or click to watch the movie.

Keywords: lake crescent, spruce railroad, art, science

01/05/10 - The Empire State Building

The Empire State Building was the last of the great skyscrapers of the Roaring 20s, even though it wasn't finished until 1931. As the tallest building in New York City and having opened at the start of Great Depression, it was often known as the Empty State Building. Now, it is still a building of note, though it has long been in need of a new look.

Recently, Kaleberg Construction was offered the opportunity to rebuild this landmark using more modern materials and advanced construction techniques. In fact, we were presented with a solution to the ailing building's troubles in a simple kit form. Here follow the adventures and triumphs of Kaleberg Construction from unboxing to installation, and marvel in the rebirth of a classic, just in time for our great recession.

If you aren't sure of what a prolegomenon is, see a recent posting on the classic form.

The Erector Set Empire State Building as installed on site

The classic unboxing shot - the prolegomenon.

Top down construction technology is surprisingly effective.

Work in progress

Ready for installation

Keywords: new york city, christmas, art, kale

01/01/10 - Blue Moon

This full moon we photographed on New Year's Eve is either a blue moon or the full moon after a blue moon. We aren't going to get into that argument. Instead, we are going to goggle in awe at the wonders of hand held photography. That's a pretty spectacular moon.

Keywords: science, art

Mount Baker and the moon

12/02/09 - Moon Over Mount Baker

This is a photo of Mount Baker taken from the Kaleberg Plateau in our backyard. We were out howling at the full moon.

Keywords: science, art, mount baker, kale

11/14/09 - From The Annals of Film Editing

From an article on the usefulness of subtitles in learning accents in foreign languages published by the journal Science:
"For the study, Dutch students who were fluent in English watched either a 25-minute episode of the Australian sitcom Kath & Kim, whose characters speak in broad accents from the Melbourne suburbs, or a version of Trainspotting, which was edited down to the same length by taking out the offensive parts."

According to the IMDB, Trainspotting has a 94 minute running time, so they cut out 69 minutes. That's pretty impressive.

Keywords: art, science, australia

10/23/09 - The Seattle Museum of Flight

We often fly Kenmore Air from Port Angeles to Boeing Field, but we rarely stick around the field for long. However on our latest trip our friends insisted that we head to the other side of the runway and see The Museum of Flight.

First, we stopped by the Fisherman's Terminal in Seattle and grabbed some lunch. We hadn't expected much. After all, this is supposed to be a tourist trap, so we were pleasantly surprised. The fish was fresh, as we had expected, but it and the side dishes were also well prepared. If nothing else, they used real butter, and that can make a lot of difference.

Then, we made our way the museum. It was much bigger than our friends had remembered with a veritable plethora of airplanes. We spent some time in the space exhibit. The full scale prototype module from the space station was larger than we had expected. Maybe there really is a space station orbiting up there, even if it doesn't have a cocktail lounge a la 2001.

A lot of our favorite planes were there including the Gossamer Albatross, the first man powered ultralight to cross the English Channel, the SR-71, always a crowd pleaser, an old Alaska Air DC-3, and, of course, the war planes from the first and second world wars. We didn't take too many pictures. If nothing else, the place was so chock full of aircraft it was hard to find a place to stand for a good shot.

We even crossed the road for a peek inside an old Concorde. Wow, it was cramped inside. Give us a full length, fold down bed seat, and we'll be happy even if it takes an extra hour or two to get there. We didn't get to see the old Boeing red barn and a whole lot of other things. All told, we were impressed, and we plan to come back.

The Museum of Flight

The Gossamer Albatross - one of the first successful man powered flying machines

From World War I

From World War II

High technology - The SR-71

Low technology

Keywords: seattle, art, science, kenmore, alaska

07/26/09 - Blood Bat

We saw this little fellow on our way to the blood lab at our local medical center.

Keywords: humor, art

07/23/09 - Guest Images

One of our guests at Lake Crescent Cottage did some photography during his stay. There are some fantastic photos you might want to take a look at:

Keywords: lake crescent cottage, art

Perhaps it's her ex-husband?

07/01/09 - Get Rid of It

This looks like a pretty useful outfit to have around. We have often had to get rid of things, and we usually have managed to find some local hauler to deal with them. It's also great truck art. That's a definite homage to Roy Lichtenstein and the countless comic book artists who inspired him.

Keywords: art

04/15/09 - The Game of Seven Families We recently came across an old French card game we had bought back in the 1960s, Le Jeu des 7 Familles. This is still a popular game in France, but we really like this version. The artwork is great. We've scanned in all the cards so you can get a good look at them.



Keywords: art

Apple sure makes tough computers.

03/11/09 - Seen Along Route 112

There used to be a trailer on this platform visible from route 112 out towards Joyce. The trailer has been gone for a few years. It was destroyed either by a windstorm or perhaps the county. In any event, this little Mac has outlived its home. It has been sitting along the roadside for nearly two years now. We figured that we should get a picture of it before the platform crumbles underneath it.

Keywords: art, science

02/18/09 - Upgrade Your Tribble

After the recent demonstration of cooking with triticale at the Port Angeles Farmers' Market, we decided to take a good look at our tribble. You have to be a Star Trek fan to understand, but this is a reference to one of the great comic episodes in the original series, The Trouble With Tribbles. The tribbles are organic eating machines, and Captain Kirk was assigned to protect the precious store of a newly developed grain, quadrotriticale.

In any event, we have a tribble, one of the many sold by Thinkgeek. That's our tribble above. It doesn't seem to purr, but it does chitter noisily whenever one of us sneezes. We decided it needed a new look. As chance would have it, we had just the thing, a fox fur hat suitable for a Russian princess, or a tribble. The fit was perfect. Not only is our tribble larger, indicating that it is getting all the quadrotriticale it needs, but it is also softer. It still chitters something awful when disturbed, but otherwise doesn't seem to have minded the modification.

Keywords: art, science, humor, russian easter, farmers' market

09/25/08 - Faces On The Elwha Trail

We aren't sure of who has been leaving this leaf faces on the trail, but we found a couple more on the Elwha Trail. They are kind of neat, as is the trail itself.

There is still some snow on the mountains across the river.

It's a wonderful trail.

Keywords: elwha, art

The trail on a sunny day

09/16/08 - The Leaf Faces of the Lake Angeles Trail

The Lake Angeles Trail is a pretty trail through second growth forest. It starts near the entry station on Hurricane Ridge Road and heads up nearly 2400' to Lake Angeles. We didn't it make it all the up to the lake, but we did find something curious on the trail. Well, there were the mushrooms, but there were also a number of these little leaf faces. Paraidolia? Were we just seeing faces? Maybe, but we suspect intelligent design. If nothing else, we were entertained.


A sinister face


More of the trail

Keywords: lake angeles, art

08/14/08 - Miss Shapely Loots The Safe

We finally found the Mad Magazine cartoon that inspired the series Alias. We used to love watching Jennifer Gardner crawling through airshafts to steal enemy plans while wearing a stylish tulle evening dress or rappelling down the side of a skyscraper in Hong Kong or Cairo in a silver lame pantsuit. Of course, we knew where JJ Abrams got the original idea. It was Mad Magazine, as you can see.

From Mad Magazine #80 July 1963 (George Woodbridge & Harry Purvis)

Keywords: art

07/26/08 - Trampoline Tower

Here it is, the latest addition to our K'Nex menagerie. We've finally built the last of the great "big builds", the Trampoline Tower. The balls ride up the chain in the center and come down along the various pathways, including a few leaps into one of the two hoppers. The eponymous action involves the two symmetric trampolines above the middle hopper. The balls take a big bounce right in the middle of things. We've been busy, what with the Hawaiian Luau and all, but we should have video at some point.

Keywords: science, art, k'nex

07/23/08 - Another OED Failure

We had another Oxford English Dictionary failure today. Not only does the supposedly most comprehensive dictionary of the English language have words it has no definitions for, but it also lacks definitions for perfecty reasonable words. For example, everyone has heard of ships being "clinker built", meaning that their boards overlap in construction. What is another method of construction? That's obvious; it's "cravel built". Ask any seaman. What does cravel mean? Well, don't ask the OED. It doesn't have a definition, nor does our Funk and Wagnall's. (That's a real dictionary, not just a Rowan and Martin's Laugh In punch line). What's even worse is that the jack craven are a type of game fish, though good luck finding them in any dictionary. You're more likely to find them off the coast of Guatemala. So, what's the word of the day? It's "cravel", and good luck finding out what it means.

Keywords: science, art, kale

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