You know what looks cool?

Alder wood with Laurel Mountain Forge Cherry stain. The alder sucks up a ton of the stain, darkening it to a deep, deep maroon/black cherry color. The wood also soaks up the Watco Danish oil finish like crazy. The photo is after the first application, and it will take several more to achieve a good seal and a semi-gloss or high satin glow.

Three or four applications of Danish oil to go

Three or four applications of Danish oil to go

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Better than a walk around the neighborhood

We weren’t in the mood for an all day adventure so we found a hike that was less than 10 miles away from home and less than three miles round trip with little elevation gain. We ended up selecting Around the Lake Trail.

Lakes are generally nice so there would be a view better than just the trail and the woods, right? Well… generally that is true. But this hiked ended up being, in the words of Barb, “notably non-memorable.”

It wasn’t bad in any way. It just wasn’t anything great.

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One of the main attractions of this hike was a short branch of the trail called “Bus Trail”. This was the bus. I suspect its history is less interesting than all the bullet holes might suggest.

IMG_3684I’ve seen bigger and nicer ponds than this lake.

IMG_3692I’m sorry. This doesn’t qualify as a “lake”. This is a wet spot which should be drained and made into a meadow.

IMG_3691A fair amount of the trail was close to being a sidewalk.

IMG_3694Then there was the section of the trail that is fenced in.

IMG_3704This might be fun for kids of the appropriate age but we didn’t bother to check it out.

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We did have fun with a short game of “Where’s Barb?”

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There was some scenery that was pleasurable to look at and it was certainly better than a walk around the neighborhood.

Franklin Falls

It is very hot this weekend and Barb went looking for a hike that wasn’t too long and with very little elevation gain. Franklin Falls met our criteria.

It was crowded and it is easy to see why. The trail was mostly wide and smooth. The trail was shaded and while it was 90 F at home it was 72 F at the trail head. Only at the very end was it a little bit sketchy with a steep drop off on one side:

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The actual falls were nice too:

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The bridge you see in the upper left of the picture above is the west bound lanes of I-90 just west of Snoqualmie Pass. As Barb said, “I had no idea this was here.”

Ted Bundy: King of Hearts

Barb’s nephew, Tyler Brown, is a graduating senior at the University of Washington. As his thesis project he is making a short film about Ted Bundy. I’ve talked to him a couple times about the film. He’s been researching it for a couple years now and had some amazing stuff come together for it.

He was telling some other students about his project and one of them told him (paraphrased), “I live in the house Bundy used to live in. Would you like to film some scenes in it?”

Another person involved in the film has a VW Beetle of the correct color.

He discovered Bundy’s ex-girlfriend, who is extremely secretive, lives about a mile from where he lives. He visited her and gave her a copy of the script.

Bundy spent a lot of time at a bar in the University District and followed at least one victim from the bar. The bar is Dante’s. They still had the booth, in storage for 20 years, that Bundy frequently sat in. Tyler helped them get it out of storage and it is now back in service. Tyler will film part of the video in that booth*.

Tyler is raising money via Kickstarter to finish the film. See the trailer, learn more about the film, and donate.


* Although it was many years later Barb went to school at the U of W and spent time at Dante’s as well. She remembers the large L-shaped booth.

Summer brunch

Three kinds of lettuce, two kinds of basil, cilantro, chard, green onions, radishes and fresh raspberries, all harvested within minutes of serving, topped off with sliced eggs, some ground black pepper and a little balsamic vinegar.

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Followed with the last of a batch of home-made rhubarb ice cream.

Needs a little more rhubarb

Needs a little more rhubarb

It isn’t “OMG, yum yum”, five start restaurant quality. Not by a long shot. For one thing, one of the lettuce varieties has been attacked by insects and has a lot of little holes in it, and the radishes are starting to get slightly pithy. The tomatoes aren’t quite ripe yet, so no tomatoes either. Maybe next week. I should have added a little more rhubarb to the ice cream. Next time.

I have learned that the radishes should be planted in relatively small quantities about once per week, all season, so you always have nice, peak quality ones. I just haven’t actually done it that way yet. Similar deal with the lettuce.

So it’s nothing that would pass muster at any restaurant. It’s just good food though. Good for the body and the soul. Soul food.

Quote of the day – Roy Masters

“Liberty lives in the hearts of men and women. If it dies there, no constitution, no law and no court can save it.” — Roy Masters, June 29, 2015

To that I would add “no military and no armed citizenry” can save it.

I heard him say it while listening to his radio program on internet re-feed on the way to work. He may have been quoting someone else for all I know, so don’t hold me to the attribution. It’s the kind of thing he’d blurt out spontaneously anyway, so I figured it was his.

The engineering mindset

On Saturday Barb and I were going out for the evening. She was trying to decide what to wear and:

Barb: I don’t like anything I put on.

Joe: That’s an easy problem to solve.

Barb: ??

Joe: Take everything off.

For some reason Barb didn’t see this suggestion nearly as helpful as I did.

I think the issue is with her problem statement. I should work with her on that so that in the future we won’t have these sort of misunderstandings.

Good to know

Via Bruce Schneier.

The terrorist risk is low in the U.S. compared to the Middle East, Asia, Africa, and even Europe:

According to the index, which ranks world cities by the likelihood of a terror attack based on historic trends, 64 cities around the world are at “extreme risk” of a terror attack.

Of these, the majority are in the Middle East (27) or Asia (19).

Some 14 are in Africa, where the rise of Boko Haram and al-Shabaab as well as political instability have increased risk.

Three are in Europe – Luhansk (46) and Donetsk (56) in Ukraine, and Grozy (54) in Russia – while Colombia’s Cali (59) is the only South American city on the list.

The British city most at risk of terror attacks in Belfast (91), followed by Bristol (178), Cardiff (313), Manchester (398) and London (400).

And:

According to Verisk Maplecroft, Paris (97th and ‘high risk’) has experienced one of the steepest rises in the ranking, reflecting the severity of the terrorist attack in January 2015 that left 17 people dead. The risk level in Paris is representative of a wider trend for Western countries, including Belgium, Canada and Australia, where the level of risk in key urban centres is substantially higher than elsewhere in the country, in part due to the significant PR value attached to such high profile targets by militant Islamist groups.

I know someone leaving for South America soon and it’s good to know they probably won’t have terrorist issues on top of the high crime rate risks.

Grove of the Patriarchs

After our unexpected adventure on Saturday we took it a lot easier on Sunday morning.

We hiked the Grove of the Patriarchs Loop in the Mount Rainier National Park. It’s less than 1.5 miles and has about 50 feet of elevation gain. And the trail is wide and flat:

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The trees, while no match for Sequoias or Redwoods, were pretty cool. Some were 1000+ years old.

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As is usual in much of Western Washington there was a lot of moss:

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There was a cute little bridge to cross:

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And much of the trail was what we considered “just about our level” after the previous day of exertion:

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This was kind of interesting. A bunch of little trees growing out of an old fallen tree:

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I’m 6’ 3” so this gives you a little bit of scale for some of the trees:

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This is Barb pretending to be a starfish in the same tree:

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It was a pleasant hike with nothing particularly dramatic to see and a low probability of another “unexpected adventure”.

Mugme street news

This came out just before Boomershoot and I set it aside for when I had more time. That time has come.

I have frequently posted about what Barb named “Mugme street” in downtown Seattle. In case you ever had any doubt as to the validity of claims of this being a “bad part of town” we now have this news:

SPD, FBI Target 3rd and Pine Drug Market In Operation Crosstown Traffic

A four-month operation by the Seattle Police Department’s Major Crimes Taskforce (MCTF) and the Federal Bureau of Investigation has led authorities to 186 suspected drug dealers and thieves, who turned Seattle’s downtown core into an open-air drug market and street corner swap meet. As of Thursday morning, police have arrested 95 suspects, and local officials are now working to get some of those dealers off the streets by connecting them with a pioneering and promising diversion program, instead of sending them to prison.

Since January, MCTF detectives and West Precinct officers have been working undercover as part of Operation Crosstown Traffic, a partnership with the FBI, US Attorney’s Office, King County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office and City Attorney’s Office, aimed at identifying criminals involved in a thriving underground economy around 3rd Avenue and Pine Street. Over the last year, police have received 10,000 calls of service in the area surrounding the 1500 block of Pine Street, including frequent reports of drug dealing and property crimes, as well as violent brawls, shootings, and stabbings.

Detectives also got a good look at the area’s underground economy in action, as shoplifters sold armloads of stolen goods—like Seahawks jerseys, sunglasses and even bottles of shampoo—to crowds at bus stops and on street corners. Shoplifters took the cash from those sales, detectives say, and went straight to area drugs dealers, before heading to nearby alleyways to shoot up or smoke narcotics.

Ry and I used to work in the Century Square building. It was a very nice building on the inside and on 4th street, but one side of that building was on 3rd street from Pike to Pine. We are both glad to have escaped from there.

Seattle is extremely hostile to gun ownership and even though you can legally carry a gun on the bus and on the streets company (California based) rules didn’t allow us to carry into the office.

Barb and Joe’s unexpected adventure

It started out with a mistake on my part. I got a call from Bloodworks Northwest on Tuesday asking me to donate blood. I made an appointment for the following evening and a couple minutes after I got off the phone I remembered Barb and I were going to go hiking on Mount Rainer over the weekend. Rats! I’m going to be hiking up mountains at high altitudes while a pint low on blood. It figures. I did the same thing when we went to Yosemite a couple years ago. Continue reading

Overheard

Text messages from yesterday:

Barb: Drive safely. You must be tired. I would guess we’re staying home tonight?

Joe: I don’t feel tired or sleepy. But cognitive function is diminished. Wait and see?

Barb: Ok! Can you let me know what you’re thinking before you get home? I need to shower.

Joe: Okay.

Barb: I’ll bet your cute with impaired cognitive function. Winking smile

I didn’t find anything cute about it but she confirmed, at least to herself, I was “cute” when I made it home and tried talking to her.