Long Week, Big Day

With New Year’s Day on Tuesday, we all experienced a bumpy transition back to work and school on Wednesday. Some of us contained our basket-casiness better than others, but I think that by Friday we all felt that the week had stretched for two, or maybe even three, regular weeks. I know for myself that even though I only worked three days, each day felt exceptionally long and slow.

Fortunately, today made up for so much! Benji started the day off right by finally losing his first top tooth, which has dangled by a mere thread for days. Continue Reading...

Land Use

Today a coworker and I went for a short (but blustery and damp) walk at lunch time. Walking for recreation downtown isn’t that enjoyable to me; you’re always stopping and having to avoid cars and such. But you do see some interesting things.

For example, the graffiti on a sign announcing the replacement of a nice old stone church with another shiny glass skyscraper.

Here’s the whole sign…

And here’s the graffiti.

Honestly… I kind of agree with the anonymous writer.

Merry Christmas

Another Christmas has come and gone, and we’re approaching the New Year. It was a tough season, with my crushing work deadlines running right up to January 1; we didn’t do all the decorating and hoo-rah that we normally do, but you know what? As the Grinch discovered,

“[Christmas] came without ribbons! It came without tags!
It came without packages, boxes, or bags!”

He puzzled and puzzed till his puzzler was sore.
Then the Grinch thought of something he hadn’t before.

Maybe Christmas, he thought, doesn’t come from a store.
Maybe Christmas, perhaps, means a little bit more!
Continue Reading...

New Look, Same Great Taste

You may notice that the look and feel of my blog has changed. I felt like it was time for a facelift.

The only real change you might see is that I’ve added a menu at the top. Not that there a lot of navigation that you might want to do, but there it is.

Hope you enjoy the updated theme, and let me know if you have any suggestions or ideas for improvements.

Cold, Dark, and Rainy

At last the weather has entered the classic Washington pattern of short, dim days, heavy cloud cover, and copious rain. Not that I prefer these conditions, but as a Washington native, it doesn’t feel like winter until the rain starts.

Well, yesterday the rain certainly started… And didn’t stop. By the time I got home, nary a square inch of me remained dry. That’s no big deal, but it was also quite windy, which I don’t care for.

Because of the wind, and the difficulty of seeing in dark, rainy conditions, I opted to take the Burke-Gilman Trail home from Seattle, rather than going across the 520 bridge and up through Kirkland. Especially lately, I’ve felt really nervous about riding down Market Street. At every intersection, cars turn right across the bike lane, and they never stop or seem to notice me. It’s very anxiety-inducing.

Plus, riding in the dark with car headlights blazing into my eyes, with raindrops refracting their light, it’s nearly impossible to see what’s ahead of me. I have super-powerful lights, but they don’t help when my vision is obscured.

So I took the Burke.

In the summer I don’t care for the Burke: too many other people, too flat, too boring, and a couple miles longer.

But in these conditions, there aren’t many other people, and flat and boring mean predictable, which is exactly what I want. Plus, with no cars, it not only feels safer, but it’s much easier to see.

When I got home, I realized something else: going across 520, I have 14 stoplights from the time I leave the UW to the time I get home. But riding on the Burke, I have only two stoplights.

Here’s a typical across-the-520-bridge commute:

Here’s the on-the-Burke around the north end route:

As a result, when I checked my times at the end, I had the odd experience of having a longer moving time (1:22 for 21.4 miles, versus 1:16 for 19.5 miles… Don’t judge me! It’s December, it’s dark, wet, windy, and nasty. You try riding faster.) but a shorter overall time (1:23 versus 1:29). I spent almost 15 minutes stopped when I went through Kirkland, compared with only one minute stopped going on the Burke.

So that’s interesting. My take-away: I may mix up my commutes more, especially on those dark, wet days when riding in traffic is extra-dangerous.