Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Ha ha ha HA ha!

Coming home from errand walking, I heard a very loud drilling from up high on a light pole;  too loud for a flicker. It turned out to be a nice large Pileated Woodpecker, the likes of which I have only seen once in a nearby park, several times in Icicle Creek Canyon, and out on Orcas Island on the Camp Orkila property, all years ago.  Very exciting, and it is welcome to live in any of our trees.

Thursday, March 13, 2014


Despite a glitchy start to spring, the local avian denizens have been busy.  A few weeks ago I witnessed what appeared to be two hummingbirds involved in a mating dance, mid-air.  I have never seen this behavior, usually if they're near one another, they're embattled.  These two seemed to be blissfully twirling around one another.  Then there are the flickers; I love them, all their percussive drilling on metal chimney parts to attract mates, their liquid trilling calls, their strange "ooka ookas!" as they bob before prospective brides.  The bald eagles glide around one another above Green Lake and elsewhere, and there is even an occasional golden eagle hanging around by the lake.  Amazing that there is any wild life left at all in this paved over and built up area...

Monday, February 17, 2014


Saturday evening we braved the dark and stormy night to go hear the Seattle Symphony Orchestra perform.  We had front row third tier seats, which while fabulous for sound are vertiginously terrifying, as one is seperated from an untimely plunge onto patrons below by a not very high railing.  Gives a je ne sais quoi frisson to the whole experience.  We heard a piece by a French composer, Chabrier, a cello concerto by Schumann, and Symphonie Fantastique by Hector Berlioz.  The SSO conductor, one M. Ludovic Morlot - unforgettably renamed Ludicrous Merlot by one M. Beloved Spouse - has introduced several French composers to Seattle symphony goers, Chabrier among them, along with Varese, Dutillieux, and others.  The cellist playing the Shumann was wonderful, but I didn't much like the piece. Perhaps Schumann is an acquired taste.  The second half of the concert, however, was wonderful.  Berlioz, according to the program notes, was obsessed with a young actress he saw perform the role of Ophelia in Hamlet, and wrote this symphony as a result.  It was... bizarre, but amazing.  The final movement, called The Witches' Sabbath  - not sure why - was about the most rousing finale I've ever witnessed.  FOUR bassoons, nine violas, two harps, seven basses, the usual raft of violins, lots of brass, and several "skin beaters," as the beloved spouse calls percussionists. Many loaded guns, so to speak, and all went off. Absolutely gorgeous.  I feel so lucky to be able to hear such music.

Saturday, February 08, 2014

On the bus

Been taking a nearby bus up to visit my mother when I don't have a car.  The 358 runs up Aurora Avenue North to the Shoreline area. "Aurora Avenue" is a poetic-sounding moniker for a really hideous drag that goes on up to the Canadian border; it is in fact Highway 99, and runs south into California as well.  There may be more scenic stretches of 99 elsewhere. The particular stretch I have come to know rather more intimately than I would have liked serves a very desperate, vulnerable and needy population of human beings; also a goodly number of dirtbags and scoundrels, which I have no problem mentioning.  The needy range from handicapped people in wheelchairs, to elderly folks I cannot imagine managing the logistics of getting to and from the bus stops on a regular basis.  Sometimes there are parents with kids.  Often there are drunk and/or drugged out people, carrying on, transacting drug deals, menacing one another, or just generally talking shit.  One young woman was discoursing loudly the other day about a band she liked: "They're an Aryan Nation German metal band!  I just don't listen to the words, their music rocks!"  I had to get a glimpse of who would say such a thing; she was a brown-skinned Asian-looking woman wearing a furry cheetah hat.  Only in America?!
Ah, such dialog I hear on this bus;  Tarantino would be envious...

Sunday, January 05, 2014

Recovered from a pile of dead leaves

This space has been sorely neglected, left untended in a corner.  Maybe like some strange plant specimen whose dried up bulb can be re animated by a little light and water, it will shoot up out of oblivion.

Thursday, August 01, 2013

Not quite a vacant lot...

Two siblings, older sister about six years old and a younger brother maybe four, were out shooting baskets at a small portable hoop in front of their house.
"Let's play SPIDER!" cried he.

Tuesday, June 04, 2013

La galeria de los cacahuetes

There's a little Spanish immersion daycare/school near our workout place. The teachers get the little ones out regularly for airings, walking them to the nearby playground at Green Lake if it's not pouring.  Today there were a couple of age groups out and about, ranging from 2-4 years. They travel by hanging on to a safety cord, escorted fore and aft by adults, who talk with them in Spanish and English. Mostly they are cooperative, with an occasional outlier who needs to be separated and on the other side of a grown up.  One such group was coming along, chatting away and spreading all over the sidewalk. The teachers told them to scoot over and put their hands down to make room for passersby. "We don't have hands!" the little crazies shouted, and the cry echoed down the line. To the barricades!
Later there was another group passing an outdoor basketball court.  Some guy shooting hoops made a basket, and the little peanut gallery yelled joyously, " Hooray!"  They insisted on watching the court action for a bit, and every time someone sunk a shot, the cheers rang out. No Disney film maker could have created a better image.