Tuesday, March 31, 2009

20 Miles of Snow

Clearing the North Cascades Highway, the east and west crews are 20 miles apart now.

It's like the transcontinental railroad! Where will they meet? When will they meet? It's so exciting! (And not in the "watching-the-stock-market, what's it doing today, OMG!" meaning of the word "exciting," thankfully.)

Monday, March 30, 2009

Heybrook Lookout

Through extenuating circumstances, we managed to arrive at the trailhead around 4 p.m., just a few minutes before it stopped raining. The trees dripped on us, though, as we climbed up the muddy, slushy trail.

But if you look up, you don't notice the mud.

1 - Heybrook Ridge Trees

By the top of the ridge, a foot of snow covered the ground -- but only a couple muddy inches on the trail. Just when we thought we'd never get there (after about 45 minutes), the tower appeared through the trees.

3 - Heybrook Lookout

And the clouds parted, even though it was snowing lightly.

8 - Mt Index Skykomish Valley

13 - Palmer Mtn

Just don't look down. . .

14 - Heybrook Lookout Down

More photos on flickr.

Sunday, March 29, 2009

The Tale of Zhaké

Today is the Holy Day of Zhaké, God of Rivers, the wisest and greatest god of Them all! And this time I mean it, really!

He is spectacular. He is magnificent. He is Zhaké!

29-Snoqulamie Falls Top

Since the early days of the universe, Zhaké lived high in the mountains, sculpting and nurturing the very rock to build the mountains high and huge. He had the form of a goat with horns like crab claws, leaping from peak to peak. Zhaké made the mountains as tall as possible, the better to capture the rain and snow to feed His rivers. He enjoys the solitude, but keeps a close watch on all of us mortals.

Far back before humanity existed, however, when only gods walked the earth, Zhaké was one of the new gods. The eldest gods, Kérasa, High Goddess of Water, and Hívo, God of Clean Water, didn't much like the new gods running around, being noisy, and actually doing stuff. Hívo grew so incensed that He vowed the destruction of all the gods -- except Kérasa and Him, of course. Hívo started by attacking Rékaré, God of Rock and the noisiest of Them all.

Hívo had rage on His side, which fueled Him well, but Rékaré had skill. The rock god deflected every blow, but Hívo never stopped. Eventually, Zhaké decided He had to do something. Rékaré was losing ground and Hívo’s rage was not abating. Soon He would kill Rékaré and then attack the others.

Bounding down from His mountains, Zhaké grabbed Hívo from behind and quickly through Him deep underground. There, far beneath the mountains, Zhaké trapped the water god, confining Him in solid rock. All the gods thanked Zhaké profusely for saving Them, but Zhaké realized that, with Hívo gone, clean waters were uncontrolled. Zhaké immediately took over these responsibilities, caring for the water from its source in the clouds, down the streams and rivers, to the salty sea.

Along with acquiring Hívo’s duties, Zhaké also took part of His form, now having a serpent's scaly tail instead of hind legs. Now Zhaké could not only leap from mountain to mountain, but swim the lengths of His magnificent rivers. In fact, He also swam out into the sea, taming the wild waves and transforming the chaos into the great ocean river encircling the world.

Soon thereafter, Zhaké married Ríhíví, Goddess of Hot Springs and Mother to the Gods. As one would expect from the husband of a great mother, Zhaké was a prolific father. Besides fathering all the rivers and a variety of gods and demigods, Zhaké also had one fathering experience that no one -- especially the river god -- will soon forget.

While Zhaké slept, His son Névazhíno, God of Animals, thought up an intriguing idea that appeared good on the surface. Unfortunately, Névazhíno is as foolish as His father is wise. Névazhíno crept up to Zhaké in His bed and stole some of His fathering fluid from His body. Zhaké did not wake. His son took the seed water over to the nearest river and planted it along the banks, assuming great things would grow.

Great things did indeed grow. Wondrous trees erupted from the soil, bearing the most marvelous fruits that one ever did see. As tart as an apple yet as sweet as a huckleberry, and as juicy as a flowing river, and yet Névazhíno did not allow anyone eat them till His father arrived.

When Zhaké awoke and spotted the new fruit trees, He thanked His son and ate heartily. In fact, He devoured the trees' supply completely. Thus satisfied, Zhaké retired to a mountaintop to contemplate the universe. Up on the peak, Zhaké noticed a swelling in His jaw. At first, He thought He had eaten too fast and hurt a tooth, but then He began swelling elsewhere on His body: His shoulder, His hand, His chest, His forehead, His back, His legs.

Shocked and dismayed, Zhaké hurried to His wife, Who was a skilled healer. Ríhíví studied the strange growths, stroked Her chin in contemplation, but could not figure it out. Zhaké considered what He had done differently recently and soon thought about His foolish son, Névazhíno. Gifts from fools are seldom as good as they first appear.

Zhaké cornered His son and demanded to know the origin of the fruits. Névazhíno crumbled easily and told Him what He had done. Wise Zhaké quickly made the connections: the fruits contained Zhaké’s own seeds and thus He had impregnated Himself! Since He didn't have a womb, the seeds had grown in His body anywhere and everywhere they could find.

After smacking Névazhíno over the head, Zhaké had Ríhíví transfer the growths to Her womb, so the seeds could grow and develop. She did this and soon Ríhíví gave birth to a whole passel of demigoddesses, one from each swelling in Zhaké’s body. To this very day, these demigoddesses assist Ríhíví as She heals others, each of them specializing in the part of the body from which she came: the one who grew in Zhaké’s jaw is highly skilled in jaw injuries; the one who grew in Zhaké’s back is well-versed in healing backs; and so on. When next you pray to Ríhíví for you health, ask also for the help of one of Zhaké’s daughters and she will gladly aid you, for you worship her father.

While Zhaké and Ríhíví spent Their time on peaceful ventures such as this, the other gods fought for dominance. After Zhaké had saved Them from Hívo, generation after generation overthrew Their elders and took over control of the universe. As long as They did not threaten others, however, Zhaké remained separate and apart.

After Sozho, High God of Air, conquered the universe from His father, He granted the sea to His brother, Vasataté, God of Oceans. Zhaké gladly let the younger god take responsibility of the navigable seas, for Zhaké much preferred the rivers and the great ocean river beyond the horizon. The tame seas were never as intriguing to Him as the distant, exotic waters around the world.

It was round about this time that Zhaké released Hívo from below the mountains, for the ancient god had finally calmed down significantly and was no longer a threat to the other gods. Also not long after Sozho’s ascension -- at least it wasn’t much time for the gods -- mankind was created by Zhíanoso, High God of Fire.

With fewer water-related responsibilities, Zhaké took an interest in the mortals. Zhíanoso graciously let Zhaké help His creations, for Zhíanoso was soon to become Zhaké’s son-in-law. Zhaké did not abuse this relationship, of course, but treated the mortals with utmost respect.

Zhaké taught the human beings crafts such as woodwork, pottery, and metalwork. He taught them trade, farming, and architecture. He encouraged creativity and intelligence, of which He dared to see more in mankind than other gods cared to look for. With Zhaké’s help, mankind flourished. We spread across the landscape, cultivating fields and building cities. Humanity prospered under Zhaké’s tutelage. Civilization was formed.

The King of the Gods, however, didn’t like it. Sozho thought man was too noisy and prolific -- and He would never appreciate anything created by Zhíanoso -- so He set about to destroy us. Much as Zhaké had protected His fellow gods from the rampaging Hívo, Zhaké defended mankind.

Sozho sent Hérazha, Goddess of Wind, to blow man from the face of the earth, but Zhaké easily deflected Her hurricanes with His high mountains. Sozho then sent Huro, God of Thunder, but Zhaké caught His lightning on His peaks and collected all of Huro’s rain into His rivers. Next came Sívorí, Goddess of Stars, Who pelted the cities with meteors. Zhaké saved as many as He could in His mountain caves, but countless mortals died from the fiery falling stars.

Both saddened and enraged at the destruction, Zhaké was not entirely prepared when Pétíso, God of Death, arrived at the scene. Mortals were falling dead left and right with just a glance from Pétíso. Zhaké had no defense against this attack. Soon only one large family remained, shielded from Pétíso by Zhaké’s body.

While Zhaké blocked the God of Death, He directed the family build an enclosed boat and all climb in. Before Pétíso could tear the boat apart to get at the last of mankind, Zhaké pushed the boat into the river and carried them swiftly away. Pétíso couldn’t keep up with the flow of the river as Zhaké swam behind the boat, propelling it downstream on the crest of a giant wave. Zhaké carried the surge all the way across the ocean to a distant land where humanity could once again flourish, away from the destructive wrath of the other gods.

Carried on the giant wave, the boat settled atop a high mountain. When the family opened the door and peered out upon the new land, Zhaké greeted them, told the bad news about the rest of humanity, and set about teaching them to build another civilization. By the time the mortals once again attracted the attention of Sozho, Zhaké had calmed Him down. A constant, scheduled supply of nubile young demigoddesses worked wonders to satisfy the high god’s sexual appetite.

While Sozho was busy, Zhaké continued to teach the mortals the ways of the universe. He also taught them of their own mortality, something which was a new concept to Him, a god. Zhaké would measure their lifespans and, for those who would listen, told them of their coming personal demise. Because of this, the human beings began to refer to Zhaké as the Piercer, for He seemed to pierce their hearts with His prophecies of their deaths. But it is not Zhaké who kills us. Our deaths are preordained by fate. He merely informs us of our future, if we care to hear.

So listen to Zhaké and learn your fate. Trust in His wisdom and He will show you great things. Trust in His strength and He will defend you. He is the Protector of Mankind, the wisest god of all, the magnificent Zhaké.

Friday, March 27, 2009

North Cascades Highway

WSDOT says: "Weather dependent, the spring reopening effort will begin the 30th of March."

From their February visit:

The largest slides that close the highway every winter are below the Liberty Bell avalanche chutes, just east of Washington Pass. The highway passes directly beneath them, and then loops back to the east around what’s called Spiral Gulch.

The snow is 40 feet deep and stretches 1,200 feet across the pavement below Liberty Bell chutes 2 and 3. These slides came down with such force that they covered the highway on the opposite side of the gulch with snow that’s 25 feet deep and 1,200 feet wide.

Further east, the avalanche chutes along the Cutthroat Ridge zone had snow slides that were as much as 20 feet deep and 1,200 to 1,500 feet wide.

An anomaly for this season is a 40-foot deep slide near Bridge Creek, between Rainy and Washington passes. Our avalanche technician said he's never seen a slide there before.
How long will it take to dig out the 40'-deep avalanches? Will they be done in five days? Can I drive Highway 20 next weekend?

Can I?


Thursday, March 26, 2009

No Time Like the Present Company Excluded


The Tale of Sozho

All hail Sozho, King of the Gods, Ruler of the Universe, the Magnificent One! Today is His holy day!

Y'all be good now, okay? He is watching!


Sozho’s father was Korutuzho, God of Agriculture and King of the Gods. Since Korutuzho was afraid that His children would overthrow Him the same way He overthrew His own father, Korutuzho swallowed His children when They were infants. Korutuzho’s mother, however, saved Sozho from this fate and raised Him in secrecy. She was Kara, Goddess of Soil. She let Korutuzho swallow a rock wrapped in swaddling cloth.

Far off in a little valley deep in the mountains, Kara raised Sozho with the help of a nanny goat to suckle the infant god. Kara couldn’t be there very often, so as to not raise suspicion, so it fell upon the nanny goat to protect, feed, and care for Sozho throughout His youth. Much later, when Sozho was powerful and the nanny goat was about to die, Sozho turned her into a golden statue so she could live forever in His temple.

Before that, though, Sozho grew big and strong under the goat’s care. He could run so fast that He seemed to have wings on His feet. He learned the ways of war and battle from the best teachers Kara could find. They taught Him strategy and swordfighting, horse-riding and archery, and everything in between. Kara gave Him a metal cloak of scales like a snake, enchanted so it would always wrap around Sozho’s body and could never be broken.

Only then, when He was fully prepared, did Sozho confront His father. Sozho strode across Korutuzho’s throne room and, with one sudden stroke of His blade, slit Korutuzho’s belly open. Out spilled Sozho’s four siblings -- fully grown -- and the rock Kara had substituted for Sozho. Only then did Korutuzho realize Who the god before Him was. Korutuzho knew He had been tricked. Dripping divine blood from His wound, Korutuzho retreated from the throne room, calling His allies to Him.

Sozho and His siblings chased Their father outside. There, on the open field, the two sides squared off in a battle for control of the universe. Korutuzho’s army of demigods and demons was large and strong, but Sozho and His siblings quickly gained supporters, as well. Sozho loved war and the controlled chaos of battle; gods and demigods were drawn to His strength and magnificence.

With His magic shield, Sozho was undefeatable. He slaughtered Korutuzho’s demigods by the thousands. Sozho’s brother Pétíso, God of the Dead, had a helmet that turned Him invisible, so He too destroyed thousands of enemies who never even saw Him. Their other siblings -- Nuvíní, High Goddess of Earth; Vasataté, God of Oceans; and Voro, God of Hearth Fire -- all fought valiantly and successfully, as well.

Soon, Korutuzho’s army crumbled. The god Who once ruled the universe was forced to flee. Sozho strode into Korutuzho’s encampment and took hold of the Tablet of Destinies. He Who controlled the tablet, controlled the universe. Sozho was now King of the Gods.

In His first act as king, Sozho divided the universe with His siblings. Korutuzho had tried to rule everything, but that had not worked well. Instead, Sozho delegated the earth to His sister, Nuvíní; the oceans to His brother, Vasataté; fire to His brother, Voro; and the souls of mortals to His brother, Pétíso. Each gladly accepted His generosity. Sozho saved the air and the desert, and all in them, for Himself.

Furthermore, Sozho banished Korutuzho to endlessly wander the wilderness, forever out of the way. He also banished Korutuzho’s allies to the underworld, to be under Pétíso’s watchful eye, and rescued Korutuzho’s enemies from there, releasing them back to freedom. One of those ancient demigods granted Sozho with a thunderbolt in thanks. Thus the Magnificent One gained another weapon in His arsenal.

Along with identifying the Ruler of the Universe, the Tablet of Destinies also contained the entire history of every mortal and god who has lived and ever will live. Sozho read these destinies, but refused to ever tell them to anyone. He insisted that although our futures are written in stone, each one of us must have the illusion of free choice throughout life, or else we would go insane.

After settling in as King of the Gods, Sozho married Nuvíní and begat Nazhoro, God of Coldness; Rézhíní, Goddess of Plants; and Vuzhí, Goddess of Life. Since Nuvíní was so often pregnant, Sozho also begat children by other goddess. These are Vítí, Goddess of Ice; Píríuso, God of the Sun; and Tarénara, Goddess of Hunting. Sozho was an extremely prolific father and the envy of everyone.

Even when He was siring children with other goddesses, He always remained faithful to His wife, Nuvíní. Sozho made sure the other goddesses knew that She was His wife and that He would never leave Her. He mated with Them just to produce more strong offspring to help the powers of good guide the universe and defeat evil.

Sozho also fathered a unique race of yellow horses, who were so fast and light-footed that they never trammeled a single blade of grass and never left a hoofprint in the sand. They galloped across the land as if they had wings on their hooves, just like their father’s feet.

Although Sozho had given His siblings great responsibility and power, His brother Pétíso grew increasingly agitated at Sozho’s role as King of the Gods. As the days and years went by, Pétíso would occasionally challenge His brother to fight, only to have Sozho refuse.

Despite the agitations of His brother, Sozho remained focused on bringing law and justice to the world. Like an oak tree growing strong and wide, a sturdy order to the universe brings the shelter of peace to all. To better execute His duties as Ruler of the Universe, Sozho would often fly across the world on a broomstick, an eagle at His side. From high above the world, He could see the actions of all. He sees the good. He sees the evil.

One of the evils which Sozho spotted rather quickly was the action of the demigod Vétsalasíoso. Far below Sozho, in His favorite temple, Vétsalasíoso stole the golden incarnate of the goat who had raised Sozho. The King of the Gods swooped down on His broomstick, chasing Vétsalasíoso back to the demigod’s home. Sozho’s eagle dove between Vétsalasíoso and his front door, stopping the thieving demigod out in the open.

Sozho alighted in the yard as Vétsalasíoso’s wife and daughter came running outside, screaming what was the matter. In a bellowing voice, Sozho informed all the world that Vétsalasíoso had stolen Sozho’s golden goat from His temple. The demigod had no defense, since he still held the statue in his hands. He admitted his thievery and said the statue was just so beautiful that his wife should have it.

The Ruler of the Universe corrected Vétsalasíoso. The golden goat was His statue and therefore only He should have it. Vétsalasíoso begged forgiveness, but Sozho refused. Repentance is only used by those who have wronged; instead of being forgiven, they should be punished. Sozho turned Vétsalasíoso and his wife into stone statues, right where they stood, as permanent symbols of what happens when one steals from a god.

The eagle plucked the golden goat from the stone Vétsalasíoso’s grasp and flew with Sozho back to the temple to place Sozho’s dear goat where she belonged. Thinking the matter settled, Sozho resumed traversing the world, bringing law and order to all.

When Sozho next returned to His castle, though, Pétíso accosted Him once more. Pétíso claimed that turning Vétsalasíoso and his wife to stone was excessive punishment for their crime. Although Sozho knew that Pétíso was merely upset that He would never be receiving the demigods’ souls, Pétíso claimed that this incident was definitive and clinching proof that Sozho was an unfit king.

Pétíso drew His sword and pointed it at His brother, challenging Him so insistently that Sozho could no longer ignore Him. Reluctantly, Sozho stood from His throne and descended the dais steps to the floor of the great hall. He gave a grave sigh and unsheathed His own blade.

The two brother gods faced off, preparing for battle. Pétíso put upon His head the Helm of Darkness, rendering Himself invisible, even to Sozho. Sozho wrapped his magic cloak around His body and was instantly thwacked in the back by Pétíso’s sword. Sozho spun around and tossed a lightning bolt where His brother had stood. The lightning exploded against the stone wall, missing Pétíso completely.

Pétíso struck Sozho again in the back, doing the King of the Gods no damage. Sozho quickly slashed His sword through the air behind Him. His blade received no resistance, and yet it must have nicked His invisible brother. Small drops of blood spattered on the floor, leaving a path wherever Pétíso moved.

Sozho watched the trail of crimson drops as His brother tried to get behind Him again. Pétíso kept moving, but didn’t strike since Sozho always faced Him. Deciding to end the duel and the challenge to His power, Sozho shot another lightning bolt. This one didn’t miss. The lightning slammed into the invisible god, blowing His helmet to the ceiling and completely obliterating Pétíso’s chest. The God of the Dead collapsed to the floor, He Himself now dead.

Sheathing His sword, Sozho returned to His throne. No one else would dare challenge Him for control of the universe. Sozho’s wife, Nuvíní, reconstructed and resurrected Their brother, Who shamefully retreated to His underworld castle, never to be seen by the living again.

Once that unpleasant situation was finished, Sozho and His eagle resumed soaring through the skies, watching over all. Far away in a desert kingdom, Sozho discovered a good and prosperous people. They were governed by King Vélasívésé, a wise man who had ruled for many years. Sozho landed His broomstick near the castle and spoke to King Vélasívésé in private.

As a symbol of the peace and order that Vélasívésé brought to his subjects, Sozho planted a fully grown oak tree in the middle of castle’s yard. He explained to the king that the tree would never need watering, but would remain strong and healthy as long as justice prevailed in the kingdom. Vélasívésé thanked the Magnificent One and promised to continue ruling well.

Many years later, King Vélasívésé lay on his deathbed. The oak tree was thicker and stronger than ever, with nary a rotten limb. Sozho returned to pay the king a visit. Upon seeing the healthy tree, Sozho knew that Vélasívésé had remained righteous and just. He offered to reward Vélasívésé by transforming him into an eagle upon his death. The king gladly accepted, becoming the king of the birds. To further the reward, Sozho transformed King Vélasívésé’s wife into a vulture, to forever be a good omen to the mortals of the desert.

To this day, Vélasívésé flies beside Sozho and His other eagle wherever He travels, offering his wisdom whenever Sozho wants it. If you ever see two eagles fly overhead, look for the glimmer of a god between them. Sozho is always watching you, whether you see Him or not. If you are good and righteous, He will reward you as He rewarded King Vélasívésé. If you are evil and degenerate, He will punish you as harshly as He punished the demigod Vétsalasíoso. Whatever you do in life, be sure you never cross the Magnificent One!

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Pun Intended

Which do you prefer?

"Hair today, gun tomorrow"
"Ear today, gun tomorrow"
"Ear today, gong tomorrow"
"Heir today, gun tomorrow"
"Heir today, goon tomorrow"

Climb Stairs, then Look Back Down

King County Courthouse 3

Go climb some stairs. It's good for you.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009


eugama beugama.

That is all.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Goat-Serpent with Crab-Claw Horns

If you see this creature, do not run away. Do not scream. Do not try to kill it. He is not here to destroy you. He is here to help you and guide you.

He is the wise and powerful Zhaké, God of Rivers.

Pray to Him.

Friday, March 20, 2009


In the Detroit airport, the souvenir store is called "Michigania". . .

This is my first time in Michigan, as far as I know. It looks a lot like Ohio.

It looks a lot like an airport.

I got an earlier flight back home, by two hours, but instead of through the twin cities, here I am. I have a long flight ahead of me. Cleveland to Detroit was a shorter flight than Seattle to Portland. I think we spent more time taxiing than actually flying. Seriously.

Food time now. Hockey is on all five televisions in this restaurant, and no basketball.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

That Flag at the Top Right

I have numerous flags, from Bavaria to Wales with stops in Bhutan and Papua New Guinea. In fact, I have so many flags that I can't display them all at home. Instead, I rotate them through the year.

A thought came through my head that if I had a flagpole outside (and a house on a street!), I could raise a different flag every day, depending on any holidays upcoming.

Well, that would take a lot of effort every day, putting a flag up in the morning and taking it down at night, and what if I'm away? Knowing I wouldn't want to spend so much time on this silly venture each and every day, I instead put in many hours today, and today only.

(I think) I've successfully added a little program to my blog that will show an image that corresponds to the flag I would be raising on a flagpole that day, if I were to waste my time on such trivialities. Today, March 18, it shows the flag of Naraka (which I ordered custom as a birthday present from Mom), since today is the Holy Day of Hérazha. March 19 should trigger the flag of Greece (which I bought in Athens), since Greek Independence Day is just around the corner on March 25.

So much easier! . . . (But javascript is a real headache. I couldn't get if-then statements to nest properly -- but maybe that's because I had a hard time typing the puncuation correctly!)


According to Mamurd, there's a souvenir shop in Seattle called "Simply Seattle". When she told me, I tried to think of what the souvenir shop in the Minneapolis-St. Paul airport is called, but I couldn't remember.

Now I'm here in the twin cities. The local-stuff store is called "Minnesota!"

The Tale of Hérazha

Watch that wind blow those cherry blossoms around. Hooray for wind! Hooray for Hérazha! She's the most beautiful, wise, and good of all the goddesses and today's Her holy day! Hooray!


The wise and beautiful goddess Hérazha lived Her early years racing back and forth across time, flowing wherever and whenever in the universe Her heart desired. She rode Her magnificent horse through time like the wind through a field. She was the horse. She was the wind.

Eventually, Hérazha’s wanderlust dissipated slightly. She decided to settle down, and yet Her heart remained drawn to the ride throughout the rest of Her life. Her heart was also drawn to Voro, God of Hearth Fire. He was full of goodness, light, and warmth.

Together They created a race of human beings, rekindling the flame of humanity after Kérasa, High Goddess of Water, had nearly wiped mankind from the face of the earth with Her floods. Kérasa had done so to spite Zhíanoso, High God of Fire, Who had created human beings, but Kérasa had since retreated to Her mountain and was no threat to the Children of Hérazha.

Hérazha’s creations did face danger, however, in the form of the Children of Kara, Goddess of Soil. Kara was one of the ancient gods, Who dealt with primordial magic and evil powers. Her children were a dark and malevolent race of demons. The Children of Kara lived deep in the ground, creeping forth -- usually at night -- to cause endless troubles to the Children of Hérazha. Murder, rape, theft, and vandalism were their handiwork.

One day, the Children of Hérazha called out to their mother. Their queen had fallen ill and had not yet produced an heir. Both maladies were certainly caused by the Children of Kara. Hérazha took a look at the queen, but there was nothing obviously wrong with her. Thus at a loss, Hérazha transformed Her appearance to match Kara’s demons and dove into the earth to discover their diabolical plans.

Deep under Kara’s soil, there is nary a gust of wind. Hérazha felt completely out of place. She entered the demons’ lair, an entire labyrinth of a city twisting with tunnels and caverns. She made Her way to the demon king’s castle and reported to him that the human queen was ill. Hérazha, still disguised as a demon, then asked for orders on how to proceed.

The king of the Children of Kara huffed a cloud a smoke out his nostrils and snapped that he had already ordered the human queen to die a painful death from poisoned potatoes. Seeing the king’s anger, Hérazha gusted out of the castle and up through the earth back to Her children. She promptly told the queen to stop eating potatoes, for they were from the soil and poisoned by the Children of Kara.

The queen stopped eating potatoes and quickly recovered. As winter turned to spring, she gave birth to a healthy boy, the king’s heir. The Children of Hérazha celebrated with a huge festival in Hérazha’s honor, renewing their pledge to always honor and worship Her.

And so, with Her wisdom and love, the Children of Hérazha prospered through the ages. The light and goodness of the wind continued to triumph over the dark, evil beings from the earth. With the demons failing to halt the prosperity of mankind, the earth goddess Kara decided to try a different tactic to ruin Hérazha’s life.

Kara had long known that Her grandson Sozho, High God of Air and King of the gods, lusted after Hérazha. He found Her beauty and shape-changing abilities so very alluring. Kara knew that Sozho would eventually give in to temptation and force Himself upon Hérazha. And so, to cause the wind goddess endless grief, Kara told Sozho that She had a vision that Hérazha’s children would quickly become smarter and stronger than Their father. Kara told Sozho that He had to stay away from Hérazha, lest He be supplanted as King of the Gods.

Much as everyone knew, Sozho could not stay away from Hérazha forever. One peaceful morning, while Hérazha was riding Her horse down a river canyon, Sozho swooped down and pulled Her up into the sky. Hérazha struggled to free Herself, but Sozho was the strongest of the gods. No matter what form She took -- whether bird nor horse nor the wind itself -- She was unable to break from Sozho’s grasp. With His clouds binding Her immobile, Sozho raped Hérazha.

Sated, Sozho released Her. She floated away on a breeze, shocked and powerless.

Before Hérazha could recover, Sozho recalled Kara’s warning. In order to keep His powerful position, He needed to stop Hérazha from giving birth. He quickly though of one way to do that. Sozho chased after the passive Hérazha and grabbed Her again. He shoved Her into His mouth, swallowing Her whole.

By the time Hérazha recovered from the rape, She was trapped inside Sozho’s stomach. There was nothing She could do. Several months later, still inside Sozho, Hérazha gave birth to a daughter, Vítí, Goddess of Ice. Despite Kara’s prophecy being entirely invented, it was also entirely true. Vítí was indeed both smarter and stronger than Sozho.

Hérazha taught Vítí everything She knew about weaving, leatherwork, and metalcraft. Vítí learned quickly, fabricating a full suit of armor, sword, and shield from bits of iron that Sozho had inadvertently swallowed while eating too fast. Soon, She was full grown. Vítí burst from Sozho’s head, hacking Her way out with Her sword. Blowing like the wind, Hérazha trailed right behind Her daughter.

Sozho healed His head, but not before the goddesses were gone. Neither Hérazha nor Vítí sought retribution against Sozho. They were focused on the future rather than the past. They were too wise to upset the hierarchy of power just for Their own personal advancement.

The beautiful Hérazha returned to Her horse, riding the length and breadth of the universe in time, galloping through the ages, fighting for good and light against the dark and evil Children of Kara.

We are all the Children of Hérazha. We all have the light inside us. Listen to the wind and you, too, will hear the call to arms. Defeat the demons, wherever they may lurk!

Monday, March 16, 2009


If you want to know what words I have trouble spelling, try taking this test.

I scored a pitiful 16/27.

Friday, March 13, 2009

Highly Likely is not Beyond a Reasonable Doubt

I had jury duty the past few days. The prosecution had a very thin case because the defendant hardly said a word to the police (and not a thing at trial). His "girlfriend"/"best friend" accused him of breaking into her apartment, trashing the place, and stealing $1800 she had cashed in his presence the day before (when they were friends).

The whole trial hinged on her accusation. The police testimony was solely to say that damage was done to her apartment and she said he did it. No corroborating evidence whatsover pointed the finger at him.

Since the incident, the two have been on good terms, and the day before the incident, they were on good terms, so why happened that day? Did he really go into a jealous rage because she was hanging out with his best friend that Saturday afternoon? Or did she (and the other friend) hold a grudge against him for something else and frame him?

There was talk about a motorcycle accident where the other man wrecked the defendant's new motorcycle, and somehow that tore apart the friendship, but then they were all together a month later, hanging out.

Could the other man have been jealous of the defendant and have some other guys trash the apartment while he takes the woman away for a few hours?

Could she have been trying to cover for previous damage to her apartment and get her security deposit back when she moved out the next day? Did she not realize that her accusation would get him into trouble?

Did she actually remember to lock the door to her apartment or did she forget as she said she often did? If the policeman was correct in saying that there was forced entry, why didn't he photograph a damaged door jamb? The deadbolt wasn't damaged. Only the handle latch was bent out of alignment, but without damaging the jamb, the door still wouldn't have opened. So the door had to have been unlocked when it was opened. But then why was it damaged?

The woman had said that the defendant had a general invitation to enter the apartment if the door was unlocked and he had been there numerous times without her, but she hadn't specifically allowed him to enter that day.

I'll accept, even though she was planning to move to Philadelphia the next day, that she hadn't packed yet because she was young and lazy. I'll accept that she didn't deposit the check in her bank account because she was young and forgetful (and needed the money available the next day for her long drive across the country).

But basically, the prosecution did absolutely nothing to aswage my doubts as to who had actually done the crime. When the attorney said, "The prosecution rests," I nearly gasped. I couldn't believe that that was all they had.

On the other hand, it was completely believeable that the defendant showed up at her apartment that Saturday afternoon, found the door locked, called her up, found out she was with his best friend, got angry, entered via the sliding glass door, trashed the place, (stolen the money?), and exited through the front door (opened the deadbolt, pulled the handle before turning it [thus dislodging the latchbolt], then turned the handle and slammed the door against the wall).

But the police and prosecution presented no evidence except the accusation. Hence, reasonable doubt.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Still Winter

Yesterday, it snowed, but we got zero accumulation.

After seeing last night's news reports from elsewhere, I think that's the way it should always be.

Snow, snow, snow! But keep the roads dry.

Friday, March 06, 2009

Old Teachers of Old

A coworker's son was at our office today, doing a job-shadowing project that's required for high school graduation. (He complained about another graduation requirement, the forced-labor "volunteer" community service, but that's not what I want to talk about now.)

He goes to my old high school that I graduated from fifteen years ago.

I asked him if there were any teachers he thought might have been around since my time. He mentioned a gym teacher that sounded familiar, but I never took gym, so I'm not sure.

The two of my memorable teachers who are still there are the French teacher and the orchestra teacher. The student takes Spanish, but described "Madame" as crazy. She was old and crazy when I was there, so . . .

The orchestra teacher started at the high school my junior year. I had him 9th grade in junior high before he got the high school job. He still teaches at both those two schools. I wonder if his class still has as much free time as I remember, or if he's got them buckling down now. I wonder if his orchestra will go to Gresham next week and I wonder how poorly they'll do in comparison to the Garfield orchestra. . .



Thursday, March 05, 2009

SR 509 - I-905

WSDOT has long-range plans for extending the freeway portion of SR 509 to connect to I-5 south of Sea-Tac Airport. Currently it heads south on 1st Avenue from SeaTac to connect to SR 516 in Des Moines.

The north end of SR 509 is at the 1st Avenue Bridge over the Duwamish River, where SR 99 comes in from the side and takes over 509's freeway. After a mile as a surface street on East Marginal Way, SR 99 turns back into a freeway on the Viaduct and Battery Street Tunnel.

Since the Viaduct and tunnel are going to be replaced in the next six years, I would suggest that the East Marginal Way section be turned into a freeway and frontage road combination, so that the freeway is continuous from SeaTac to the north end of the new downtown tunnel.

Once WSDOT connects that freeway to I-5 south of the airport, it would be an alternate high-speed route all the way to downtown Seattle, and thus worthy of an Interstate number. I propose 905 to keep the numbers familiar. Plus it fits the Interstate numbering requirments as a spur (non-loop) of 5.

SR 99's north segment would therefore start at the north end of I-905, north of downtown (or possibly at Green Lake?), instead of in Tukwila. 99's portion of the SR 99/599 freeway could easily be transfered to SR 599, and perhaps that junction at the south end of the 1st Avenue Bridge could be reconstructed to be a full-speed all-directions interchange (instead of its current huge backtrack loop alignment for southbound 99).

SR 99 and SR 509 both have southern segments with other oddities, but I'll discuss those later.

Wednesday, March 04, 2009

Go Stocks Go!

The good news is that the ETF I bought a couple days ago is finally back above the level I bought at. Yay.

Maybe it's because I put in a buy order that would be triggered when the DJIA got to approximately 5000. That must've scared the other traders into a mini buying frenzy.

Tuesday, March 03, 2009

Those are crackers, not cookies!

Those are cookies, not crackers!

Monday, March 02, 2009

Wall Street

Stocks are going to go back up at some point, right?

Oh. 2013. I remember now. So please remind me why I bought an S&P 500 ETF this morning?

This Month's Photo of Chunlin

It's March, which means it's time to turn the page on your calendar. At my office, I turn over the page and am greeted by this wonderful image of my beautiful wife:
22-Chunlin Swing