Thursday, May 29, 2008

Airborne Poetry

On the first part of the flight, I wrote a poem:

Here we go to Míníhotı
Flying over Kràơz
Deep inside a great white dragon
Far above the clouds

The Kràơz below will never see us
Or else they'd force a fight
Once we get to Míníhotı
Things will be all right

After Kràơz are the rebels of Hu
Kinder than you'd think
About the same as the Míníhotese
They'd smile as soon as blink

Míníhépamí was struck down by the gods
Thunder, wind, and hail
Our dragon is going to help them out
From nose to tip of tail

When we get to Míníhotı
Temple bells will all ring
Fresh-cut flowers fall from the sky
After all, I am a king

A few hours later, things changed a bit:

Míníhotı is wracked by storms
Our dragon cannot land
Which is really too bad
Because I need to get out of here

Lightning flashes off the wing
Huro shows his might
Please, Sozho, let our dragon land safe
I'm ready for bed tonight

Thank Sozho, we did land safe and the guy sitting beside me didn't puke in the vomit bag he had open and ready.

A bit of a bumpy ride.

Copalis Beach

So, last Sunday, we went for a hike on the beach.

13-Copalis Beach Chunlin

Don't worry. At least one of us had a backpack. . .

We went to a stretch of beach north of Ocean Shores, north of the city of Copalis Beach, just there at the Roosevelt Beach Access Road, and then south to Copalis Rock and Copalis Airport.

Yes, I said airport.

28-Copalis Airport Sign

Nothing more than a windsock and a few signs.

Copalis Rock was more photogenic.

26-Copalis Rock Beach Rocks
16-Copalis Rock
19-Copalis Rocks
35-Copalis Rock Dog

We had to cross Boone Creek along the way.

9-Boone Creek Iron Springs

On the way there, we hopped over the delta channels.

11-Boone Creek Delta Channel

But on the way back, the tide had come in, so we had to wade.

38-Chunlin Boone Creek

The water wasn't cold. Nah.

And shortly we're back at the "trailhead."

42-Car Chunlin Roosevelt Beach

Many more photos on flickr. . .

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Subdivision, part 7

Things are moving quickly now. First the sign last week, and now a corrections notice via email.

It's a zoning-review corrections notice, which implies I'll receive others, from different departments. But I guess that's a question for the planner.

The zoning reviewer's only comment is:

Please identify how parking requirements for Parcel A will be met. It appears that the existing 3 bay garage on Parcel B previously provided the required parking for the house on Parcel A. If so, parking for Parcel A will need to be re-established, as parking for single family residences is required to be provided on-site per SMC 23.44.016.

You may re-establish parking with a "Subject to Field Inspection" (STFI) permit. Please refer to Client Assistance Memo 316 (available online at for additional STFI information.
Those of you who have seen the house (or at least photos of it) will realize that the house on Parcel A has a basement garage. There is no parking to be re-established, with a STFI permit or without. The house has parking!

So how am I supposed to make the correction?

Business Traveling

In the next seven days, I will visit the follow states, in order:

North Carolina

I'll be coming home sometime in the middle. There are no repeats. Guess which states are destinations and which are layovers.

Friday, May 23, 2008

Rough Draft

The last sentence I wrote yesterday for my novel was the start of a new scene:

Vata’s heart raced as she swatted the cow’s rump.
I think I'll rewrite it. . .

Coffee Can Taste Good Sometimes

With a bit of cocoa mixed in, coffee actually tastes all right.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Subdivision, part 6

They posted the sign already! At my last meeting with DPD, it seemed like it would take longer, or that I would at least get notification before they posted it.

Pinehurst House Notice

Pinehurst Notice

Instead, I didn't find out until our renter called me up and said he came home to find some guy sticking a sign in his front yard. Very odd, I'm sure.

I explained about the subdivision process and selling the yard or building a house. He was originally afraid bulldozers would arrive tomorrow, but I told him any construction wouldn't be till next summer. Since they're using the yard for parking their cars, we probably can't take it away from them until after their lease is up next spring. If only they had a small car that fit in the garage. . .

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Crop Circle Photos

Here are photos of our backyard crop circle.

Crop Circle
Note the garden hose and the path cutting left to right across the formation. Those are my traces. I tried to use the hose to create similar crop circles, but the grass sprang back up.

Crop Circle Path
The formation was created a couple nights ago and is still quite evident.

Path Start
Right beside the planter below the deck, the formation begins without warning. No plants in the planter are knocked aside at all.

So what caused it? Did a mini-UFO drop from the sky, roll around a bit, and then regain its flying capability?

Plan Ahead!

There's only eighteen more weekends before the end of summer!

Hurry! Plan now before all the good times are gone!

Backyard Crop Circle

We have a crop circle in our back yard. A path of beaten-down grass, three feet wide, starts suddenly near our porch, angles to the left, then makes a ten-foot diameter circle. And then it stops just as suddenly as it started.

I haven't mowed the lawn so far this year, so the grass is about three feet tall. The path I've walked to the back garden to water the new irises doesn't stay beat down anything nearly like this crop circle. It's been a couple days. The grass stalks are lying flat on the ground, like someone (or something) rolled a heavy object over them.

But where did the heavy object come from? Where did it go?

Maybe it was a giant snowball and it melted. . .

Monday, May 19, 2008


It was a good, long weekend.

Now, though, I'm going through Chunlin withdrawals.

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Yesterday's Bike Ride Today

This morning, Chunlin and I took a bike ride up the Interurban Trail (more or less) to Scriber Lake in Lynnwood. Yesterday was too hot to go riding.

Without a map, we weren't always able to find the trail when it jogged back and forth, but we made it to my goal anyway. None of the various cities on the route were very good at signage. In Mountlake Terrace, for instance, they turned us off 76th Avenue, but didn't tell us where to turn back north. We made it up the big hill southeastward almost back to to I-5 before we decided to turn around. Just a mile extra . . .

The city of Shoreline has done some work, with a couple bridges at Aurora.
2-Shoreline Aurora Bridge Chunlin
Chunlin didn't like them (we need to take the baskets off her pedals so she can make sharp turns), so on the way back, we just headed down Meridian to home.

4-Shoreline Interurban Trail
Here's another bit of trail we skipped on the way back. I just charged up the hill on Meridian Avenue after crossing the county line. This trail was too narrow and curvy to get a good head of steam going up or down.

In Lynnwood, just near Scriber Lake, we stopped for lunch at Espresso Buono. Good coffee.
7-Chunlin Espresso Buono

And here's Scriber Lake:
8-Scriber Lake

Ducks live there.
12-Ducklings Scriber Lake

13-Mark Scriber Lake Ch

Twice as many photos on flickr, if you'd like to see.

24 in 26

Friday and Saturday, we watched the entirety of 24, Season 6, in 26 hours.

Actually, I slept through a few episodes, but Chunlin watched them all.

It was too hot to go out on Saturday, anyhow.

Friday, May 16, 2008

Is It Summer Yet?

It's days like today that make me think it might be okay to take the tire chains out of the trunk of my car. . .


Today, instead of the usual Friday donuts, we have bagels, which always bring to my mind the following scene from Homicide: Life on the Street:

Pembleton: (Holding coffee pot) Who-who finished the last of the...uh...bagel?
Lewis: Bagel?
Pembleton: Bagel. Bagel. BAY-GUL! Hot. Round. Liquid? Bagel.
Lewis: Oh, sure. Bagel.
Kellerman: You mean "coffee," Frank.
Pembleton: Th-that's what I said, isn't it?
Kellerman: Right, uh, the bagel.
Pembleton: (yelling) Who finished the last of the bagel, huh?
Lewis: (quietly) Kellerman.
Pembleton: (to Kellerman) You-you-you make the next pot, huh?
(Pembleton had a stroke, by the way.)


Tuesday, May 13, 2008

The Trip to Portland Was All Right

Business trips to Portland aren't nearly as scenic as trips to Spokane. Car, not plane.

But I did get to stand on a roof eleven stories up in downtown Portland. A fairly nice view from there, even it was drizzling.

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Shot from the Plane

Business trips to Spokane have their perks in the form of scenery:

Mt Stuart

Recognize these places?

The Enchantments

Is it time to go hiking yet?

Friday, May 09, 2008

Semi-Connected Thoughts

Why don't we just annex Mexico and Canada, already? We can fit 92 stars on our flag without too much difficulty.

We're too content within our borders. Just like the fall of the Roman Empire, we're doomed unless we shrug off the shackles of contentment. Bread and circuses, remember?

China is the new America. They have the fastest growing car culture in the world. They have the fastest growing Christian population in the world.

If the USA wants to remain the biggest, baddest, best country in the world, we need to kick ourselves into high gear. What have you done lately to save our civilization?

At least we'll have the fall of Europe as a wake-up call. I fear it may be too late, however.

Oh, and let's colonize Mars. Send the Marines now! They're begging to go.

Tuesday, May 06, 2008

Subdivision, part 5

Today, I had my intake appointment that I scheduled a few weeks ago.

It went quickly, actually. When you schedule an appointment at DPD, it's not quite torture to be there.

For the 75-80 rule (I'll explain if you really want me to*), I had to give them a copy of the county assessor's map of the block. Also required were calculations (simple arithmetic). I had done the calculations beforehand, but figured there was a form to fill out. No form. I did the calculations in hand in the margin of the assessor's map.

I gave them eight copies of the survey. She made me date-stamp them for her.

They warned me that the garage may have to get torn down before the lots can be subdivided. You see, the garage can't be on a parcel by itself because then the land use would be parking rather than residential -- and that's just not allowed. Or maybe it will be, if the planner says it's okay. Or maybe we can draw in a "future residence" and it will be all right. As I said, it will be up to the planner.

But if we have to tear down the garage, that will be a tremendous waste. What more do you expect from government?

*Each of the new lots must be at least 75% of the minimum lot size for the land-use zone and at least 80% of the average of the rest of the lots on the block face.

Saturday, May 03, 2008

Merry Christmas!

May Christmas
Methinks my Christmas cactus has been confused by the cold weather we've been having of late.

Friday, May 02, 2008

Quivira and Anian

Puget Sound was one of the last bits of sub-arctic coastline to be filled in on the world maps. No Europeans came this way till 1789 or so (Juan De Fuca was probably lying about his 1592 visit).

But until it was all mapped, the mappers needed to fill in the void, so they just made stuff up.

The northernmost point located by reliable sources in the 1600s and 1700s was Cape Mendocino, so anything north of that was imaginary, to say the least. But that didn't stop mapmakers from copying these imaginary places from one map to the next over the centuries. They usually kept the names in roughly the same locations, with the occasional wandering bay or river, but never mind that.

North of a major river near 50 degrees latitude was the Kingdom of Anian. South of that, but north of California was the Kingdom of Quivira.

The coastline itself was drawn wildly inaccurate, as well, but in the map below, I've tried my best to match their placenames with the true coastline.

And so, without further ado, I present to you the true and accurate map of Quivira and Anian:

(If you want to see it larger, just click on it.)

Thursday, May 01, 2008

This Month's Photo of Chunlin

From the shoulder of Mt. Luxmore in New Zealand's Fiordland National Park, it's my very relaxed-looking, beautiful wife:

Where Our Time Has Gone

As one of you requested, here are some pictures of the refurbished basement, complete with a concrete floor, new plywood on the walls, and a couple extra lights.
Pinehurst Basement

Compare with the old:
Pinehurst Basement

I had to saw six or seven inches off the bottom of the stairs so they'd fit on top of the concrete. The landing, too.
Pinehurst Stairs

Do you like the stripy plywood? It's a bit more expensive, but we think it adds a nice touch.
Pinehurst Basement Out

And finally, here's the room under the porch. I never got a good look at it before, since it didn't have a light. Even the insulating and plywood installation was done in the dark.
Pinehurst Storage Room

But today, we can't go barging back in there to fix stuff up. The rental begins now!