Tuesday, January 29, 2008

O Canada, Eh?

The snow tried to keep us in the U.S., but we made it to the Great North. Heavy snow at the Snohomish/Skagit County line and some hail at the Skagit/Whatcom County line. Light rain in between. . .

We caught the 3 p.m. ferry from Tsawassen to Swartz Bay. Lovely ride through the islands, through some narrow passages with towering cliffs on both sides. The hull almost scraped the rocks, we were that close.

Okay, maybe not. But it was pretty.

We're in Victoria now. Ate dinner at a Cantonese restaurant a block down the street. Eggplant is starting to grow on me.

Monday, January 28, 2008

Animal Mail Delivery

File these under "Not the Pony Express."

Two recent news items from afield:

Letter returned after 15 years - by fish

A letter that a young girl in Japan sent into the sky in a balloon some 15 years ago has been found on a fish hauled from 1,000 metres below the Pacific Ocean.

A fisherman found the still legible piece of paper sitting on a sticky flatfish in his catch on Thursday, along with a torn-off string and the fragment of a red balloon.

He opened the folded paper, discovering it was a handwritten letter from a six-year-old girl at an primary school in Kawasaki, 150 kilometres away from where the fish was caught off Choshi port.

The sender, Natsumi Shirahige, and her friends released letters as part of events to mark the school's 120th anniversary, which was in 1993.

Poland postal delivery as slow as snails

A Polish IT worker, who received a letter on January 3 that was sent on December 20 as priority mail, calculated that a snail would have made it even faster to his home than the letter.

Daily Gazeta Wyborcza said Michal Szybalski calculated that it took 294 hours for the letter to arrive at his home. He also said the distance between his home and the sender was 11.1 kilometres.

Given the distance and the time, the speed of the letter was 0.03775 kilometres per hour. Mr Szybalski calculated that a garden snail travels at around 0.048kph.

Too Much Snow

I can't stand it anymore. It snowed again! I need to go on vacation and get away from it all.

I think I'll go to Canada.


The kids in the apartment building across the street seem to be enjoying the snow, however. A brother and sister, aged about 6, are busily combing the snow on their balcony guardrail... Literally. With a comb.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Quick Brown Fox Jumps Lazy Dog!

. . . Wait a minute. Something's missing.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Iraq's New Flag

New on top, old below.

They removed the three Baathist stars and changed the style of the caligraphy. Apparently the old version was based on Saddam Hussein's handwriting.

From the dreaded New York Times:

Members of Parliament voted 110 to 50 for the flag, which was introduced in 2004 and bears the red, white and black stripes of Iraq’s original banner. The design preserves a sense of continuous national identity, while purging the flag of Baathist allusions, supporters say.

Kurdish politicians, many of whom survived the genocidal gas bombings by Hussein forces in the Anfal, or spoils of war, campaign of the 1980s, were among the fiercest critics of the old flag. In 2006, Massoud Barzani, president of the semiautonomous Kurdistan Regional Government, refused to fly the flag from government offices, prompting fear of Kurdish separatism.

On Tuesday, however, Kurdish lawmakers pushed for a compromise, dropping their insistence on yellow lettering for the Arabic inscription, for a design without Baathist references.

Zuhair Humadi, a senior adviser to the Shiite-led Iraqi government, said the Kurds sought the deal before an international conference of members of Arab Parliaments in weeks.

“They won’t come if only the Kurdish flag is flying,” Mr. Humadi said of the Arab leaders. “And Barzani wanted that meeting to be in Kurdistan, and he will not allow Saddam Hussein’s flag to be flown. So they agreed to this.” [...]

Several lawmakers said that because the flag had been changed out of Kurdish expediency, they expected it to be changed again.

When I learned my flags as a kid, there were three red-white-black flags with green stars. The one-star flag was North Yemen (the star is now gone, after unification with South Yemen). The two-star flag was and is Syria. And the three-star flag was Iraq (no script back then).

(North Yemen was in a confederation with Syria and Egypt (together the United Arab Republic) when they adopted their flag. They dropped one of the two stars from the UAR flag. When the UAR disolved, Egypt replaced the stars with a golden eagle. There are now four similar red-white-black tricolors: plain (Yemen), eagle (Egypt), script (Iraq), and two stars (Syria).)

How long do you think it will it be before the tv networks change their graphics?

(ht: Tigerhawk)

Tuesday, January 22, 2008


wrong : right
right : left
left : taken
taken : single
single : multiple

Can you continue the chain, in either direction?

Monday, January 21, 2008

Use That Brain of Yours

From the calendar that Mamurd gave us:

What is 1 5/7% of 1,225?

No cheating now. Do it in your head!

Friday, January 18, 2008

Washington State Ferries Are Highways

I bet you didn't know this! (Or at least, not all of it.)

The Anacortes / San Juan Islands ferry is part of S.R. 20 North.

The Port Townsend / Keystone ferry is part of S.R. 20.

The Mukilteo / Clinton ferry is part of S.R. 525.

The Edmonds / Kingston ferry is part of S.R. 104.

The Seattle / Bainbridge Island ferry is part of S.R. 305.

The Seattle / Bremerton ferry is part of S.R. 304.

The Seattle / Vashon (passenger-only) ferry is S.R. 339.

The Fauntleroy / Vashon / Southworth ferry is part of S.R. 160.

The Point Defiance / Talequah ferry is part of S.R. 163.

Remind me again, why do we have a state highway that doesn't allow automobiles?

Thursday, January 17, 2008

The Holy Day of Vítí Is Upon Us


Hey, Vítí, You're so nice
You're the best in snow and ice
You're so wise, You're so cunning
Everyone thinks Your beauty's stunning
Please don't kill me

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Today's Random Word for the Random Word of the Day for Today



There sure is a lot of ice on the ground (and roads) this morning, but the Holy Day of Vítí isn't till Thursday. I wonder what's going on.

Monday, January 14, 2008

Whatever happened to Global Warming?

It's snowing again!

I'm still in Seattle, aren't I? What is going on?!

Short Hair Is Easy

I cut my hair a couple weeks ago (maximum length = 1/2").

It's almost time to start combing it again.

Not that my hair will pay any attention to the comb for a few more weeks yet. . .

Saturday, January 12, 2008

Mamurd's photo

On our trip to Thorp on New Year's Day, I was driving. I caught a glimpse of Mt. Rainier, so I told my sister to get out my camera and take some pictures when we got on the floating bridge.

This was the first of her Mt. Rainier shots.
1-Lk Washington Mt Rainier Am

Whistler pics

Let's go skiing!
43-Expressway Chunlin

But first, a walk around the village.
5-Chunlin Whistler Village

Be sure to bundle up. Those chairlifts can get cold.
24-Christina Excelerator Chair

The gondolas are much nicer.
37-Chunlin Gondola

Halfway up Blackcomb:
27-Solar Coaster Express Base
Notice how empty the slope is, but how jam-packed the lift line is.

Oh, Canada.
38-Whistler Village Gondola Tree

More photos on flickr.

Friday, January 11, 2008

Um. . . Hi.

Guess what? It's Friday!

I'm sorry I haven't been posting lately. In my spare moments, I've been too busy tracking the presidential primaries, looking for good real estate deals, and attending a book launch party (in which I read a couple scenes for the author). And watching television. Mustn't forget our good ol' friend, television.

Monday, January 07, 2008


We had a two-night trip to Whistler last weekend. Photos will be coming, one of these days.

A short full day of skiing on Saturday. Quite enjoyable, but over far too soon. None of us had to ride the gondola hanging on the outside, but Chunlin did miss the first chairlift we took. . .

Plenty of snow from Squamish northward. I didn't need chains, though. Only turning into the parking garage did my tires slip at all, and that was just mild spinning.

Thursday, January 03, 2008

Pedicularis playing in the snow

Watch out, Mamurd! Pedicularis is driving!

Look at him go.

But here's what happens when Mamurd gets behind the wheel:
I had to dig it out.

Wednesday, January 02, 2008

This Month's Photo of Chunlin

Here is January's photo of my beautiful wife from the calendar I made:

"Fallacy is the new truth."

According to a Lake Superior State University panel, "perfect storm" was the most overused cliché of 2007. Also:

"Webinar" made the list as a tiresome non-word combining web and seminar that a contributor said "belongs in the same school of non-thought that brought us e-anything and i-anything."

Similarly, the list-makers complained about the absurd comparisons commonly phrased "x is the new y," as in "(age) 70 is the new 50" or "chocolate is the new sex."

"Fallacy is the new truth," commented one contributor.
Ain't that the truth?