Friday, January 30, 2009

A Question of Credulity

When the producers of Eagle Eye and Get Smart realized they had the same plot device at the end of their movies, who do you think got more upset?

Does anyone really think that a bomb tied to a certain musical note is a high-probability method of timing? What if someone happens across the note beforehand? What if the musicians flub the song?

What if someone comes along and stops the musicians from performing? ... Oh wait. That's what happened in both movies.

Monday, January 26, 2009

Obamicon Me

From via TigerHawk.

Happy Holidays!

My calendar from WNPS via Granddad says that today is National Seed Swap Day, so get out there and swap some seeds!

Preferably Australian seeds, for today is also Australia Day!

And how about some Australian ox seeds? Today's the Lunar New Year, of course, and the beginning of the Year of the Ox. Happy New Year!

Yesterday, we watched parts of China's five-hour New Year's variety show. The dancing and acrobatics are fun to watch, but I still don't get the comedy.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Photos from above America

38 - Lake Erie Ice River

13 - Knife River Indian Villages

7 - Ragland Bench

One of these is Montana, one is North Dakota, and one is Ohio. Can you tell which is which?

More more aerial photos from last week's trip on flickr.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Greetings from Cleveland!

Today's my first time in the grand state of Ohio. Hooray.

There's a foot of old snow on the ground, but nobody seems to notice.

It's a good thing Seattle had that cold spell last month. It prepared me well for these sub-freezing temperatures, or I'd otherwise need to put on my hat and gloves instead of just carrying them around in my pockets.

I'll be back tomorrow. Yay!

Monday, January 19, 2009

Good Luck, President Obama

Good luck, President Obama. May you exceed my expectations and fall well short of the expectations of those who voted for you.

And now a song:

The change, it had to come
We knew it all along
We were liberated from the fold, that's all
And the world looks just the same
And history ain't changed
'Cause the banners, they were all flown in the last war

I'll tip my hat to the new constitution
Take a bow for the new revolution
Smile and grin at the change all around
Pick up my guitar and play
Just like yesterday
Then I'll get on my knees and pray
We don't get fooled again

There's nothing in the streets
Looks any different to me
And the slogans are replaced, by-the-bye
And the parting on the left
Is now parting on the right
And the beards have all grown longer overnight

I'll tip my hat to the new constitution
Take a bow for the new revolution
Smile and grin at the change all around
Pick up my guitar and play
Just like yesterday
Then I'll get on my knees and pray
We don't get fooled again
Don't get fooled again

Meet the new boss
Same as the old boss
"Won't Get Fooled Again," The Who


I remember when the big sign on Highway 18 said "Kent" and they added a little sign just beyond that said "Covington."

Now the big sign says "Covington" and the little sign says "Kent."

2 - Covington SR 18

When did that happen?

. . . Probably about the same time that Costco and the roundabouts were added, or maybe back when the Fred Meyer was built, or more likely when they widened 18 from two lanes to four. But definitely after Covington became an incorporated city, right?

Friday, January 16, 2009

The Tale of Vítí

All hail Vítí, Goddess of Ice, for today is Her holy day! Spring is just around the corner (really!), so let's celebrate!


Long ago, Kara, Goddess of Soil, met Hérazha, Goddess of the Wind, for the first time and had a sudden vision. Kara prophesized that the children of Hérazha, Who at that time was childless and unmarried, would grow to be stronger and more powerful than Their father. Hérazha was shocked at this pronouncement, but soon learned to live with it. She bore Nokí, Goddess of Food, Who did indeed grow stronger than Her father, Voro, God of Hearth Fire.

Hérazha is quite beautiful, so Sozho, High God of Air, being Who He is, eventually could not control His urges. Sozho forced Himself upon Her, satisfying His lust. Only afterwards did He remember Kara’s prophecy. Out of concern for His rule of the universe and place as King of the Gods, Sozho promptly swallowed Hérazha whole.

Inside Sozho, Hérazha bore Her child, Vítí. She nursed the child goddess and taught Her well. Vítí grew strong and wise. Soon, Sozho heard strange metallic clanking sounds emanating from within His body. The noise began to drive Him insane.

The other gods soon were able to hear the sound, as well. Nazhoro, God of Coldness and son of Sozho by Nuvíní, High Goddess of Earth, realized what the sound probably was. Nazhoro convinced Sozho He could stop the racket, then took up His massive axe and split open Sozho’s head.

Out popped Vítí, fully grown and dressed with helmet, armor, leopard-skin robe, and a sword and shield which She had been banging together. Her skin was as white as snow, from all the time spent in Her father and away from the sun.

Vítí thanked Nazhoro profusely, then reached back inside Sozho’s body and pulled out Her mother. Hérazha smiled at Her daughter, then wafted away. Sozho put His head back together, then snatched up His own sword and His indestructible shield, ready for battle with His newborn child.

Vítí, however, sheathed Her sword and knelt before Her father, professing Her allegiance to Sozho for as long as She lives. Sozho, slightly stunned, also sheathed His sword. He placed His hand on Vítí’s shoulder and accepted Her allegiance. Despite how powerful Vítí has become, She has always honored Her vow, and so Sozho is and always shall be the Ruler of the Universe.

Along with Her vow to uphold Her father’s position as King of the Gods, Vítí also made a commitment to help all demigods and mortals who fought for good against evil. She soon became friends with the demigoddess Níka, Who helped mortals in their struggles against evil, as well. Níka, Who prefers the form of an owl when not in battle, is said to bring victory to all She aids.

One day, while sharpening Their swords between battles, Vítí and Níka chatted about the motherly instincts of other goddesses, such as Ríhíví, Goddess of Poisonous Water. Vítí wished that She, too, could be a mother, but decried all the gods for being unsuitable and unworthy mates. Níka suggested that Vítí could, at least, show off Her femininity around the gods and see how They reacted.

To this, Vítí agreed. First, though, They returned to battle and defeated evil legions of demons, freeing a good and honest people.

When Vítí returned to Sozho’s castle, where most of the gods gathered, She was resplendent in a blue-and-black gown of the finest thread, which She had woven, and stylish jewelry She had wrought Herself, all of which was marvelously offset by Her snow-white skin. Níka sat perched on Her shoulder, a pure white owl. All the gods and goddesses stopped Their conversations and stared, awestruck by Vítí’s beauty.

Vítí calmly walked around the great hall, greeting Ríhíví; Kérasa, High Goddess of Water; and Huro, God of Thunder. Huro gave Vítí appreciative comments on Her appearance, but nevertheless still treated Her as a comrade-in-arms rather than just a sexual object like Rana, Goddess of Clouds.

On the other hand, Píríuso, God of the Sun, and His friend Zhoro, God of Heat, did not eye Vítí respectfully. They leered lasciviously and made rude comments to Her. Vítí ignored Them as best She could, but They trailed Her around the hall, snickering like randy boys. Níka softly hooted encouragement into Vítí’s ear.

Vítí longed for a god Who would treat Her somewhere between the camaraderie of Huro and the vulgarity of Píríuso and Zhoro. Since Ríhíví was a mother, Vítí asked Ríhíví to meet Her out on the balcony to discuss these concerns. But when Vítí arrived at the balcony, She discovered that Píríuso and Zhoro had beaten Her there.

Zhoro blocked the doorway while Píríuso advanced on Vítí, grabbing at Her dress. Vítí told Them to leave, but They laughed. Níka transformed back to Her womanly form and moved toward Zhoro, leaving Píríuso for Vítí. Zhoro easily overpowered the demigoddess, however, pinning Her arms at Her sides. Píríuso laughed and took another swipe at Vítí’s dress. Vítí stepped out of the way, bumping against the balcony railing.

Although She did not have Her sword or shield and She had no further room to retreat, Vítí was far from defenseless. As soon as Píríuso got a hand on Her dress, trying to tear it off, Vítí grabbed His arm, pivoted Her body, and threw the sun god off the balcony.

In the instant it took Vítí to turn back around, Zhoro had disappeared, melting away into the aether. Thus victorious, Vítí straightened Her dress and took a deep breath of the crispy cold air. Níka shook Her shoulders with a huff and changed back to a snow owl.

Ríhíví stepped through the doorway and told Vítí that Their conversation would have to wait. Sozho announced that He would make a proclamation. The goddesses returned to the great hall in time to hear Sozho declare that no god would be allowed to participate in the current war in the kingdom of Tolo. The war had begun when the goddess Rana meddled in mortal affairs, giving a betrothed woman to an already married man. When the two enchanted lovebirds had sailed to the kingdom of Tolo, a swarm of ships from the kingdoms of their families chased after, thus starting the war.

All of the assembled gods and goddesses applauded Sozho’s pronouncement, for this was a silly war. As Vítí scanned the room, however, She noticed Rékaré, God of Rock and not-so-secret lover of Rana, slip out the door. Vítí lost time changing back into Her familiar battle armor, so when She and Níka arrived at Tolo, Rékaré was already leading the Toloan army in a rout of the aggrieved invaders, the Rakaísans.

Vítí and Níka charged to the front of the Rakaísan army, shouting Their battlecries. Rékaré spotted Vítí and hurled His spear at Her. Vítí calmly side-stepped His throw and, not even bothering to use Her sword, hurled a stone at the aggressive god. The rock hit Rékaré plum between the eyes, knocking Him unconscious.

The Rakaísans saw the god fall and promptly turned their rout into a defeat of the Toloans. Rana, Her eyes full of tears, descended upon the battlefield and began to yell and scream at Vítí for what She had done to Rékaré and Her beloved Toloans. Vítí coldly reminded Rana that Rana’s husband is Korutuzho, God of Agriculture, and not Rékaré. She then slapped Rana across Her face, silencing the crying goddess.

When Vítí and Níka returned to Sozho’s castle, the King of the Gods thanked His daughter for upholding His declaration, heralding Vítí as the greatest of the gods -- other than Himself, of course. He then decided to throw a celebration in Her honor.

During the festivities, Vítí was approached by an old woman She didn’t recognize. The woman lauded Vítí on Her quick victory over Rékaré and also praised Vítí’s beauty. As the old woman talked, Vítí realized that the hag was, in fact, Hívo, God of Clean Water, in disguise. Vítí did not let Her knowledge of His deception show, however, and allowed Hívo to lead Her to a quiet corner of the castle, away from Níka and the rest of the gathered gods and demigods.

When the disguised Hívo suggested Vítí lay down for a short rest, Vítí readily agreed. In fact, She asked the old woman to lie beside Her, for warmth. Hívo jumped at the chance. They lay down together and as soon as Vítí closed Her eyes, Hívo changed back to His usual manly form.

Quickly, They were making love, Vítí calling out Hívo’s name. As soon as They finished, Hívo scurried away. Níka found Vítí lying on the floor and asked if anything was wrong. Vítí just smiled and said everything was good. Níka understood.

Nine months later, Vítí gave birth to Zhíanoso, High God of Fire, the most powerful of all the gods. She gave Him all Her fire, Her warmth, Her heat, leaving Her only coldness and ice. She is proud of Her son, even if He has the mischievousness and trickery of His father, for Zhíanoso is strong and wise. Vítí relishes Her newfound mastery of snow and ice, using them to defeat Her enemies, casting freezes and avalanches upon all who threaten the good and peaceful peoples of the world.

Even without fire, Vítí remains the wisest of the gods, with the skill and strength of legions. The Unwearying One fights coolly and calmly, dispatching Her evil opponents with ease. Ask the Exalted One for counsel and She will never lead you astray. Let She of the Snow-White Skin guide your hands as you weave your clothes. Let She of the Gleaming Eyes guide your hands as you fashion your weapons and armor. Pray to Vítí and rely on Her wondrous wisdom, for She is the path to truth and honor.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

17 Photos

As I said, last weekend we went to . . .

5 - Granddad's Cat
The cat stayed upstairs. Too much activity and unfamiliarity downstairs. Either that, or the cat was worried there'd be another flood.

17 - Pigeon Flock Landing
We went with the cheap hotel instead of the good hotel. It seemed like the family owners were trying, but just didn't have the funds to make it a good hotel. Nice sunrise from the balcony walkway, though.

Soap Lake:
29 - Chunlin Mark Soap Lk
There's a lovely little coffee shop on the east side of Highway 17. Not only do they serve breakfast burritos, but you can also buy the furniture if you like it (and can fit it in your car).

Dry Falls:
42 - Lower Grand Coulee
The Grand Coulee is just as spectacular in the winter as it is in the summer. A bit colder, though.

53 - Lake Chelan Dock
Why is it so sunny in the mountains when it's so foggy and cloudy in the fields of the Columbia Basin? Not that I'm complaining. . .

and Leavenworth:
65 - Leavenworth Tower
The little Bavarian town is still decked out for Christmas. King Ludvig restaurant makes a good glass of hot, spiced glühweine and a wonderful Reuben. Don't expect much from the goulash.

More photos on flickr, of course.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009


I applaud Israel on their restraint in the current conflict with Hamas. It is not time to use nuclear weapons . . . yet.

Monday, January 12, 2009

Subdivision, part 17

Last week, I called DPD to ask if the final drawings we submitted a month ago had been lost (again) or what. I was told that my project was next on her list and that she'd send it around for signatures that afternoon.

That afternoon, she sent me an email requiring additional fees for time spent reviewing. I paid it and emailed her as such. She replied, "Yer wunnerful," and sent it for signatures.

Today, I see online that the Final has been Approved.

I think it's done.

I think it's official.

I think our lot is subdivided.

From a submittal of May 6 to final approval on January 12: just over eight months. Whew.

Now the real fun begins. . .

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Weekend Summary

After a lovely tour of eastern Washington (Thorp, Ellensburg, Othello, Mesa, Othello, Moses Lake, Soap Lake, Dry Falls, Chelan, Leavenworth), we're now safe and warm at home.

In other news: Go Steelers! Go Eagles!

Thursday, January 08, 2009

We Still Have Snow

Despite all the rain this week, we've now had snow at our house for twenty-two days straight!

Here's the last pile, shoveled from the driveway two weeks ago and slowly melting ever since:
Last Snow

Merry Elvismas!

On this winter's day, so many years ago, a child was born to a poor couple in a small town known as Tupelo. From this humble beginning, against all the odds, this child grew to become the King.

To honor his birth, we'll now have a few words from our reverend:

"The King saw more trouble than you and I will ever know, and yet he rose above it and raised his voice for the world to hear -- until he had to Leave the Building. . .

"A long time ago, on old Earth, there was a poor boy. A mighty poor boy -- but one with a gift, and a spirit to make the most of himself. And make the most of himself he did. Why, in a few short months, he became the most imitated man on old Earth. He was on every screen, in every printout, on every frequency -- and he was takin' in money faster than this here casino. He could have had anything he wanted. And do you know what he did? He went out and became a soldier. Not an officer, now. Not even a sergeant -- a regular soldier, carryin' a gun and marchin' and takin' orders.

"Because he never forgot what it was like to be a poor boy. . . Not even after he finished with the army, and went back to givin' folks what they wanted. He didn't want to forget what it was like to be just a regular fellow, and he made sure he had somethin' to remember it by. So he never lost his touch with the real people. The little people like he'd been when he was still a poor boy. And they never forgot him. But he never put his nose up in the air. He could have gone anywhere in the world, talked to anybody he wanted to -- presidents and governors and ladies so pretty they could make you forget your name. But he wanted to stay close to the people. And so he went to Vegas . . . and brought his gift to folks who gambled their money there, 'cause it was the only way for them to rise above their unhappy state. That's when he really became the King -- when he brought himself to where the people who really needed him could see him.

"The King knows how you feel. He's been down low, and rose up high again. He took a walk down Lonely Street, and came back to Graceland. He went into the Army and did his duty like a man. When he had hard times, he knew how to make a comeback -- and he came back in style. He went to Hollywood, he went to Vegas, and he stayed the same as when he was a poor boy. And he can help you make your comeback, yes he can!"

-Reverend Jordan Ayres, Church of the King
(Robert Asprin, A Phule and His Money)

Wednesday, January 07, 2009


I hope that yesterday wasn't the stock market's high point for the next few months. I'll feel like such a fool if I didn't sell my IYJ stock when it was within 0.4% of my pre-arranged selling price. It lost 3.58% today.


Monday, January 05, 2009

Snow's Still Here

Our house got 4" of wet snow yesterday evening, but by this morning, it had turned into 3" of very wet snow.

We've now had snow on the ground at our house for over eighteen days, starting the early morning of December 18. And some of that snow has been in untrammeled areas and not just the piles from shoveling the driveway.

Saturday, January 03, 2009

2008 Road Trips

2008 Drives

In 2008, I drove to Whistler, Victoria, Spokane Valley, Shelton, Portland, Blaine, Raymond, Ocean Shores, Sumas, Ellensburg, North Bend, Mt Baker, Silverton, Montesano, Benton City, Snoqualmie Pass, Long Beach, McMurray, Goldendale, and Bremerton!

This year, I will drive to . . . ?

Seattle Garbage Update

Our huge pile of garbage (three weeks' worth) was collected yesterday, but not the yard/food waste.

Even though there's a strong possibility that the yard/food waste won't be collected till January 15, I left it at the curb in protest. The yard/food waste hasn't been collected since December 4.

It's a good thing that vegetable matter compresses down as it composts, or else we wouldn't have any room left in that big bin o' stink.

Friday, January 02, 2009

This Month's Photo of Chunlin

I'm now at work and have hung my 2009 calendar of photographs of my beautiful wife, Chunlin. Here's the smiling face I get to look at for the next month:

4-Chunlin Tsawassen Rocks

From last January in British Columbia. That's in a foreign country!

Thursday, January 01, 2009

Seattle Garbage Removal

Our recyling got picked up today or late yesterday! Only a week late. Whadaya know?

Garbage and yard/food waste pickup should be tomorrow morning (two weeks late for both). We have quite a huge pile of garbage bags by our mailbox, dwarfing the little black tub they give us for garbage. But since they said there'd be no extra charge for extra garbage (oh, thank you, Seattle, for your generosity!), I threw out some junk that never quite fit in the little black tub before.

Happy New Year!

And it's not one of my weird New Years like Narakan or Chinese or Martian or Julian or whatever. This is the honest, internationally recognized New Year.


And 9s are much easier for me to write than 8s, so 2009 should be a good year.