Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Volunteer Park, The Asian Art Museum and The Conservatory

First stop was the water tower observation deck.Volunteer Park, Built by Water Department 1906, reservoir in 1901. 107 steps to observation deck. 75 1/2’ above road pavement at base (top elevation 520;) (Space Needle top elevation 725’); pavement at elevation 444.5’ is high point of Capitol Hill. 

After climbing 107 steps you get to enjoy the free view that is pretty awesome on a clear day since the Water Tower is located on the highest elevation of Capitol Hill.

see: http://www.seattle.gov/parks/park_detail.asp?ID=399

Normally this time of year there would be snow on all the upper elevation's of the Olympics, now just a little bit of snow remains on one of the higher peaks called The Brothers in the upper right.As you can see from the lower right youo are at the level of the parks tall trees. On the Lower left is St. Marks Episcopal Cathedral. A local we talked to told us about a Men's Choir that chants Every Sunday Evening at 9:30 p m. He said it is one of Seattle's secrets that few know about  but the church is packed to capacity every Sunday Night for this event. see http://complinechoir.org/  

A Southeast View of Mt. Rainier

NO one's looking.....

Medallion on north side honors L.B. Youngs, first Superintendent of Water Department (1895-1923)


Black Sun

Burke Monument
By Herman McNeil, pedestal-bench-plaza by CF Gould, architect. Dedicated in 1930 to honor pioneer Judge Thomas Burke (1849-1925) - "patriot, jurist, orator, friend, patron of education", promoter of Pacific Rim harmony and trade; instrumental in bringing transcontinental railroad to Seattle. $50,000; memorial contributed by admirers of Judge Burke.

Volunteer Park has beauty along every path

They perfected the Bonsai Tree

The Asian Art Museums perment colluction of Buddhism is pretty remarkable

The Moment of Enlightenment was my favorite piece.

Here is a short clip of the Animation she created. This was really very incredible and the clip does not do it justice. If this exhibit comes near you go see it! https://youtu.be/jnhZdhS4QN8


Seward Sculpture and pedestal By Richard Brooks of New York. Honors William Seward who was instrumental in purchase of Alaska in 1867. Statue was a feature of the 1909 AYP Exposition held on the US grounds; moved to this location in 1910 

The Conservatory, listed on the National Register of Historic Places, is also a City landmark and one of the few remaining original Victorian public glass houses in the country. It houses an outstanding tropical plant collection

Over'Lyre see http://www.newsense-intermedium.com/INSTALLATIONS/NP/VPC06/OScore.html
Sadly it was not working when we were there.

I first thought we would be seeing mostly Pacific Northwest plants but it seems to be a cross section across the Us and beyond.

As we were leaving there were several groups gathered in the shade for a late lunch and music in the Amphitheater.

Volunteer Park, The Asian Art Museum and The Conservatory

Any of the above would be worth the travel across Seattle's traffic but if you have a day you can do all of them including the Water Tower Observation Deck. When we arrived at Volunteer Park, we drove around looking for the Water Tower. Finally we went around this circle and there were some gardeners working there, we asked them where the water tower was and they said you are here, it is in the center of the circle! Couldn't see it for the trees.
This day was low on the checklist but it was Museum Free Day for Seniors and we had the day so the Admiral got us in gear. I had no idea as I thought it was just a ride over to see the Asian Art Museum. The Water Tower was very cool with all the 360 degree views around the region We talked to a local up there who told us some of the fun activities that occur in the park. During the summer a Brass Band climbs the 107 steps  in the evening and strikes up the band. He says the acoustics are perfect and it sounds like a fine speaker system all throughout the park and the surrounding neighborhood.
Next we spent some time on the trails just seeing the beautiful areas of the park. The neighborhood that wraps around the park is very lucky to have this for walking, jogging, and biking or just a place to hang out. We spent about an hour taking pics of the park and surrounding views than made the short walk to the Asian Art Museum http://www.seattleartmuseum.org/visit/asian-art-museum , another of the Seattle Art Museums word class exhibition halls. I think there is something in the Buddhist Religion that sparks the imagination of everyone who encounters this belief system. Enlightenment is the objective whereas oppression and or control is the direction so many other religions.
The Chiho Aoshima exhibit was pretty incredible. In a very large rectangular room her animation was unigue and mesmerizing. We watched it several times and never saw all the details but she is no doubt a artist worth seeing, even if you have to make an extra effort to get there. see: http://www.seattleartmuseum.org/exhibitions/chiho and https://www.perrotin.com/artiste-Chiho_Aoshima-14.html 
Then it was time to walk about a block over to the Conservatory. I thought we would be seeing the flora of the Pacific Northwest but instead we were treated to the flora of the entire US and beyond. It's kind of like a Plant Zoo but it is so peaceful! We could have easily spent a couple of more hours here but those Larabars only go so far. At some point Food rules!

Monday, June 15, 2015

May in Seattle, or Did June Arrive Early?

I was down at Center for Wooden Boats teaching sailing and discovered it was Mariner's Day A few examples from the Boat Building Contest. They used lots of Saran Wrap to water proof their entry.

Another solution with lots of Duck Tape.

This one also had a lot of plastic wrap of some kind.

Sorry I did not ave time to see the in the water compition.

I asked the guys if the warrenty was still good for plastic wrapped boats, they said YES!

The Sea Scouts are lucky up here they always have some interesting vessels.

Just in Case.

This is definitely s PNW rowing machine.

First time I have seen a RC Destroyer at the pond.

A fair breeze for the Pond boats.

See that yellow trace of color?

Almost all the new buildings going up have a bit of that Industrial yellow color on the exterior. I have been wondering why? The color does not exactly complement or go with the color schemes of a lot of these new buildings going up.

Here is an old Belltown Building in that color.

Several of the old warehouse or industrial buildings in South Lake Union are painted that color, but they are being knocked down and replaced with huge block sized office towers for Amazon and others.

Big "D" loves the Museum of History and Industry (MOHI), especially Black Bart. He can turn a wheel and Black Bart will draw his gun.

I found my answer at MOHI, there is that color on their exterior.

Here it is again on this sign That Yellow color has a History that permeates Settle in the Work and Industry of the city.
All the new buildings pay tribute to that history.

A short downhill walk to the water front and you get a whole new sunset everyday.

A line of vessels qued up and entering the Ballard locks form Puget Sound 

Takes about takes about 30 minutes for the group to motor in, tie up and lift to the level of the Lake Washington Ship Canal.

Almost UP

They motor Eastward toward Lake Union, Portage Bay and Lake Washington.

Even the Kayak's get a lift.

A whole new set finding their own way to deal with the strong current in the canal as they wait  for 30 min to an hour to get in the locks. 

This was a tight squeeze, the skipper of the sailboat got lucky, since the crew on the police boat had a huge fender ready to prevent him from smacking their vessel.

Due to almost no snow pack this year the available water for running the locks is critically low so they are trying to save by making sure the lock is full before they proceed with the raising or lowering of the water level in the locks.

Big D likes to Swing BIG!

Our favorite park, on the top of Queen Ann Hill, just a short drive.
Queen Ann Little Howe Park

We decided to volunteer for this Earshot Jazz event. This group was in the top three of any Jazz event we have ever seen. Those attending were the Hard Core Jazz Fans and these guys pretty much blew everyone's mind! see http://earshot.org/Events/Promo_Pages/promo_2015_05_Brotzmann.html
video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xlapmnv2_pU

Shell's Polar Pioneer is towed into the Port of Seattle amid lots of Protest and environmental activism.

You can see all the tow and escort vessels around the platform on this Marine Traffic screen shot.

Here is the group as they come down Puget Sound to Elliot Bay.

It will have a large footprint in the Port of Seattle.

See the video: http://youtu.be/lYr9hfnt1Yo

Hundreds of Protesters have been staging for weeks and had a small flotilla of Kayakers, and other small craft out protesting on the water after it's arrival. The Seattle Mayor and City Council did their best to prevent the Icon of climate change from entering or staying long at the Port of Seattle, Money won the battle. 

The view from our window as it nears the Port.

I wondered if visitors to Seattle even notice it sticking up above the roof of Pikes Market in the background.

Probably Not.

The Cream Tangerine covered the Last Beatles Concert on the Hard Rock Cafe Roof Top located Downtown just a  block East of Pikes Market.

See this short clip http://youtu.be/Ks9BzfDTTM8

The Ballard Neighborhood started a book share in these little libraries.

This guy built a replica of the double hulled canoes of Hawaii and did a presentation at the Center For Wooden Boats.

Looks Pretty cool on the water.

Look at the size of that Wooden Plug, up to my waist.

The Duck Dodge is well into it's summer series.

This was one of my favorites from the Pompeii exhibit

Looking South down Alaskan Way along the Seattle waterfront.

Super long coal train heading North right through the downtown area of Seattle. These Dusty coal trains and all the Oil tanker trains that come through several times a day right through the Downtown corridor have been source of controversy and protest.

May in Seattle, or Did June Arrive Early?

May was supposed to be the last hope for snow in the Cascades but the late snow did not show up, they had one last few inches but not near enough to add up to the 30-40 feet of snow pack of a usual winter. Instead they counted the snow pack in inches, like 12-36 inches. Right away they raised the water levels of Lake Washington Two feet with the early snow melt. This hopefully would provide the Hiram M Chittenden Locks AKA Ballard Locks, with enough water to operate for a while. Even with the water in reserve the plan is to only open the locks when they are full of vessels so as not to waste any water either up or down.
The discussion of climate change comes with the arrival of the Shell Polar Explorer. An Arctic exploratory drilling platform that is using the Port of Seattle for R and R (repair and replace). A huge group of environmental activist have assembled here to protest the arrival of this symbol of fossil fuels and carbon emissions. In addition there has been a big increase in the amount of oil  and coal trains that travel every day right through the heart of Downtown Seattle and along the water front exposing a densely populated area to the dangers of a train calamity in the heart of the city. There have been a series of protest held on these tracks just two blocks from where we live.
The Irony of it all is that the Pacific Northwest gets all of it's oil products  (gasoline and diesel)  from the Arctic and Canada. King County alone are responsible for spilling 7 million metric tons of carbon into the atmosphere every 10 SECONDS. With all the trains, cars, buses, ships, boats, planes. One of  my good buddies brought up the fact that the plastic kayaks the protesters were using for their on the water demonstrations were an oil product. Then there is the whole effort of the U.S. to become independent of the middle East for oil so we do not have to get into these wars for the purpose of controlling the oil market.
It is very difficult whatever way you look at the issues that surround our American Lives. I think of the dozens of offshore rigs I have seen built on the shores of Texas and silently glide out into the Gulf of Mexico with only the sound of cameras snapping pictures of the huge structures in pure marvel at how big they are and the amazing engineering that it took to build it. There is an outfit right across Corpus Christi Bay that builds two at a time and they are always on the horizon. Not unusual at all.
Relatively few people in the world realize the number of offshore rigs that are actively pumping oil in the Gulf of Mexico. After sailing twice across this ocean, once right through the heart of the rigs and another time much farther offshore to avoid most of  the rigs did I get a pretty full picture of the scope of oil production in the Gulf. Hey, I was born in Abilene and lived 5 years in Big Spring, Texas. West Texas created Houston and Dallas, oil created almost every little town in Texas that had money to put in the bank.
Goto http://www.travelbygps.com/special/gulf/oil_gas_rig_platform.php and click on the first link "Free GPS Map" You will get a Google Earth download that has every offshore rig in the Gulf with its Coordinates. When you first open the file you just see a lot of 0's and 1's and other numbers spread across the Gulf of Mexico, they are not individual rigs, they are clusters of rigs. Zoom in and you can spend the next several days counting them for yourselves. The rigs in Deep water are like floating towns they are so huge. I used this map to plan our last trip across the Gulf of Mexico. I used the ruler tool to draw a line from St. Petersburg Fl. to Corpus Christi Texas and then transferred the coordinates to the chart plotter on our boat. We had a successful trip and never came closer than 2-3 miles from one of the behemoths. On my first trip across as crew on a 42' Passport we were dodging them all through the night and day, especially through Louisiana waters. We had to watch out for unlit abandoned platforms in Texas waters during the coastal offshore race, the Harvest Moon Regatta, between Galveston and Port Aransas. It is not uncommon to hear of a boat smacking one of the unlit platforms.
It seems those most affected by climate change are starting to agree with the scientist. Hurricane Sandy was so Bizarre that it was a wake up call all along the Eastern Seaboard. Now with record winters, ice and snow in the North East they are saying the words. California is completely convinced with a drought that threatens almost the entire state. The Midwest from Colorado all the way to the east coast and to the Great Lakes has increased tornado activity. Not sure what these communities think since we have not been there to see it firsthand. All the coastal communities we traveled along the Coast (except for Texas) were saying the words.With the recent record floods in Texas where water has never been seen so high before and killed many since they just did not think it could ever get that high, has 3 or 4 in Texans starting to think that maybe there is something to climate change. The Pacific Northwest has been way ahead of the curve and the entire region is engaged in trying to do it's part in limiting their impact on global warming. But like I said it is not easy to just all of a sudden make all those fossil burning mechanical devices go away. Mother Nature will not lose the battle but some of us might until she gets her way.