Thursday, August 31, 2006

One Alternative I Saw In Seattle

Posted by Picasa Shortly after I snapped this, a young mother and her small child returned to this scooter and sidecar, donned their helmets, and away they went, spare tire and all.

Thanks so much to the many of you who responded with the current price of gas in your area. Sadly, none of our friends from Asia, Africa, or the Middle East responded, so I'm still curious about those regions. If you have info, please comment today. Here is a summary of cost per gallon in US dollars from the information gleaned from yesterday's comments. I used today's conversion rate for all currencies, and converted liters to gallons (1 gal = 3.7854118 liters). This was a very informal and unscientific poll, so take it as such:

Europe: UK $7.14/gal; Italy & Portugal $6.81/gal; France $6.51; Bosnia $4.85/gal.

North America: Canada $3.07; USA mainland average is 2.85/gal (west coast $3.00/gal, mid & south $2.60/gal, east coast $2.93)

Pacific/Oceana: Hawaii $3.60/gal.; Australia $3.67/gal; New Zealand $3.97/gal

So it looks like our friends in England spend the most for fuel out of all respondents, followed by our other European friends, then our friends NZ and Australia, then Hawaii having the highest US price. Ontario Canada appears to be paying about west coast US equivalent, the highest mainland price.

Some of us ride bikes and scooters, take public transit and walk as much as we can (except folks near Luggi, of course ;^). I wonder what ideas you've tried?

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Pony-Up at the Pump

Posted by Picasa Yesterday's photo of the castaway flying red horse gas station sign from my youth reminded me of current times. I took this shot at sundown in Seattle's University District.

LEAVE YOUR COMMENT: So, here is a global survey: what is the price per gallon/liter of gas/petrol where you are? (Please state your city, country, current pump price for unleaded regular gas, and indicate your country's currency, i.e., Euros, Canadian $$, US $$, Japanese Yen, Mexican Pesos, etc. . .)

I've heard Americans bellyache for years about the price of gas, yet I know Europeans have been paying twice the price and more. In a time of record profits for oil companies, I'm curious to know the going rate for gas at the pump in different regions of the world.

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

For John Gorka

I have heard John Gorka in concert on several occasions. When I spied this former gas station sign, common in my youth, among the cast off lighted signs in a Seattle junkyard/resale lot, I thought of this oft' requested Gorka song:

Flying Red Horse by John Gorka

The flying red horse from the gasoline wars
Took off from her station in the sun
Turning her back on the pack at the pump
She jumped down from the sign to run

Full serve attendants were spilling their hoses
Self-serve was doing the same
The manager dialed the emergency numbers
Insurance man won't take the claim

The sight of a horse crossing highways is frightening
But not with the breed that can fly
She's risen up to the level of oak trees
Too low for the radar man's eye

I am not much of a joiner she says
That's not where I draw my strength
Some of them go for the depth of field
While most of them go for the length
Me I will go for the hard combination
'Cause I have some need to belong
But I'm leaving this unkind of sign life behind me
I'll take what is mine and be gone

If you see something red flash across the horizon
It's not that your eyes aren't right
She's taking her place with the red-tailed hawks
And the broadwinged birds in flight

The flying red horse from the Ruby Red North
Took off from her station to the south
And I swear to you that this story is true
I heard it right from her mouth

They think they can tame you, name you and frame you
Aim you where you don't belong
They know where you've been but not where you're going
And that is the source of the songs

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Monday, August 28, 2006

Seattle's Saint Mark's Cathedral

Posted by Picasa Yesterday's photo was from just inside, and today's is from the front interior, just to the right of the altar at Saint Mark's Episcopal Cathedral on Capitol Hill. Saint Mark's is celebrating its 75th anniversary this year. It was designed as a rather ornate building in the late 1920s, however, the stock market crash of 1929 and the ensuing Great Depression curbed much of the planned ornamentation. It is a rather plain and unadorned cavernous box. It is huge and a very visible landmark from the west and north. This shot looks up at one of its classic lighting fixtures, a true period piece. I noticed it is a circle of 12 lamps with three central lamps grouped within a cross made by the supporting structure. These pendant lamps are quite lovely (see more cathedral photos here.) You can see the arch top of one of the huge windows, the rather poor condition of the plain cement walls, and the water damaged wood of the ceiling. This is a humble cathedral, much beloved, with an interesting history. It is a vital part of the Capitol Hill community, and of Seattle as a whole. Bishop Desmond Tutu spoke there in May, and there will be a city-wide interfaith peace observation held there on the 5th anniversary of the September 11th attacks.

Sunday, August 27, 2006

Seattle's Popular Cheap Date Night Destination

Posted by Picasa It's a Seattle phenomenon. The most popular destination for a cheap date on Sunday nights in Seattle is known as "the holy box on the hill." Hundreds of young people come to the Capitol Hill neighborhood each week to hear a late evening service of worship in mediaeval plainsong. For over 50 years Seattle's Saint Mark's Episcopal Cathedral has been attracting young people in droves to its 9:30 PM Sunday Compline service. The Compline Choir is broadcast live on the radio each week, and if you'd like to listen from anywhere in the world, it is also streamed over the internet here. The service grew out of a Gregorian chant study group in 1954. It has become so influential, other choirs have grown out of the Seattle Compline experience in: Honolulu, HI; New Haven, CT; Pittsburgh, PA; Minneapolis, MN; Austin, TX; Chapel Hill, NC; Savanna, GA; Williamsburg, VA; and several other Puget Sound area choirs.

I took this photo at the cathedral's entrance. The sun through the cathedral's high circular window was reflecting in the water. A sign was nearby stating that a mentally ill person had recently vandalized the original container, and that this was a temporary one. A wish for peace and a peaceful Sunday for you all!

Saturday, August 26, 2006

Signs That Haven't Lost Their Appeal

Posted by Picasa It's nine in the morning, the Seattle Public Utilities worker is reading a water meter on 1st Ave. in the heart of the old Skid Row area of Seattle, now known as the Pioneer Square historic district. This lovely well-maintained brick building with its blue curved bay windows, interesting period detail, and bright flower cascades is typical of the "spruced up" building faces one finds all around this now charming area of town. One of the remaining indicators of the not so charming past legacy of the neighborhood is the pretty neon sign in the window announcing Henry's Bail Bonds is open for business. Henry's motto is "Get out of jail fast!" and he offers his bonding service not just to Seattlites, but to anyone anywhere in the world! (So, just in case, keep the above link handy, wherever you may be on the globe).

Henry "Fireball" Lewis' is quite well known, not only for the compassionate way his company wishes to serve those in jail and their families, but for his own bounty hunting activity, for which he has been featured on television. Now you thought bounty hunters were something from old western movies, didn't you? Well, the wild west must still have an edge. Another reminder of the hard circumstances folks face in a painful world. There are many signs of hope in this old district, but not that you would see written in neon. They are quieter, more subtle, and involve people and agencies offering assistance to others who could use encouragement in a hard spot.

Friday, August 25, 2006

Before Check Cashing Joints in Strip Malls. . .

. . .there was Barney's for the short-of-cash in the Pioneer Square area. I love this old sign with its peeling paint and bygone days feel. Barney's Jewelry and Loans is still a busy full service pawn shop in the heart of this historic neighborhood. It's just a short block from Seattle's original "Skid Row," Yesler Way, the road down to the water on which the logging skids of the 1880s were located. There were many Skid Roads on the Pacific coast back in the heyday of logging, but it was Seattle's that gave rise to the term which, during the Great Depression, came to stand for a rundown urban area populated by derelicts, vagabonds, and alcoholics. This area of town is no longer called Skid Row, but was redubbed Pioneer Square and made a national historic area. It's gone upscale a bit, but still bears witness to hard times in many lives. At Barney's one can browse the window for instruments, engagement rings, and other treasures hocked for a short loan. Each piece seems to have a sad story to tell. Posted by Picasa

Thursday, August 24, 2006

Seattle's Hidden Urban Waterfall

Seattle's nearby mountains offer many vistas of waterfalls, but locals and visitors don't have to go beyond 2nd Avenue to experience a transcendent waterfall garden hidden in the urban setting of the Pioneer Square area. If you did not know it was there, you would miss it but for the sound of the rushing waters beyond a high wall. Step through a tall gateway at the sidewalk and you are transported to a green and peaceful garden setting of Japanese maples and pots of bright flowers amidst cafe tables and chairs that beckon one to sit and enjoy the quiet, unexpected beauty. The Waterfall Garden Park was designed by Masao Kinoshita and built in 1977 by the Annie E. Casey Foundation to honor the workers of the United Parcel Service, UPS. Jim Casey of Seattle was one of the founders of UPS, originally formed as American Messenger Service in a saloon at this site on 2nd Ave. I'm told that those first foot messengers back in the day were sometimes couriers of laudanum (an opiate) to the many saloons and brothels in the area. They've come a long, long way from those days (read the interesting story by clicking the link). UPS drivers' worst infractions these days are double parking big brown delivery trucks and wearing brown shorts in all seasons while they deliver packages and the like. The lovely white noise of the cascading urban waterfall might lull one into a peaceful state of mind, and it won't cost a thing. The Waterfall Garden is free to the public. Posted by Picasa

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Red Panel & Fountain Courtyard

A shocking tomato red opaque panel extended through a glass wall from the interior of an elevator lobby to the exterior courtyard of Seattle's new (2003) City Hall, filtering morning light and separating the entrance area from the inviting splashing fountains in the courtyard on a bright, hot summer day. This was taken a few steps from yesterday's photo, but looking down and to the south this time. Posted by Picasa

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Suspended Color Disks- Mystery Artist

Posted by Picasa Since the artistic disk on the street I featured yesterday didn't offer much color, I thought I'd share with you these suspended glass disks from an art mobile housed just at the north corner of the new Seattle City Hall (2003). I've searched in vain for details about this piece and the artist who created it, so if you have info, please share it with us! What I noticed is the lovely play of color on color, making secondary hues as the circle overlapped. I also caught a building reflection (the orange and black stripes) in one of the blue disks at lower left. Notice how these are mounted together, each held by a "C" shaped metal edge and joined by a kind of turnbuckle system. They do move gently. It's a lovely sight to see, very magical, the colors iridescent. I've discovered many treasures on my own by just walking sections of the city, so I invite you to try this when you visit Seattle --you can hook up with an organized walking tour if you are short on time or prefer to be organized in your ramblings (get info by clicking the link). There is a great deal of public art in this city, almost everywhere you look. And there is always something beautiful or interesting to see at every turn.

Monday, August 21, 2006

City Light, City Bright

Posted by Picasa I backed off the curb as I was getting shots of City Hall and the surrounding area, and noticed that the man hole cover had this whimsical design. The city of Seattle's electric power company is called City Light. I suppose this is a play on the old "starlight, star bright" rhyme. As it turns out, this design is by artist Nancy Blum, and is one of the most recent in a series of artist/craftsman designed manhole covers that have been commissioned throughout the city since the 1960s. It is called "Hatchover Art" and you can read about it and the other artists and their designs by clicking the link. I will be on the lookout for other examples to show you.

Sunday, August 20, 2006

Curvilinear Meets Linear Seattle

Posted by PicasaThe variety and abundance of lines caught my eye as I gazed up from about the same spot as yesterday's shot, but looking left and up, catching some of the semi-transparent overhang of Seattle City Hall's roofline and sections of the two highrise buildings behind and to the north. City Hall was built as a "green" building and was a joint effort of Bohlin Cywinski Jackson Architects (other projects include Bill & Melinda Gates' home on Lake Washington, Pixar Studios' Emeryville campus, the Liberty Bell Center in Philadelphia) and Bassetti Architects. Have a lovely Sunday everyone!

Saturday, August 19, 2006

Yesterday's Reflection

Yesterday's photo of the Smith Tower was taken looking up at the west face of the building. Today's photo shows you a bit of the topmost east face and the distinctive cap of Smith Tower as reflected in the west windows of the new (2003) Seattle City Hall. Behind those tall windows is one of the city hall's contemporary design marvels, the "blue glass passage," (click the link to see it) so named not for the windows you see, but for the blue glass flooring of a suspended indoor walkway behind those windows.

Yesterday I mentioned the great views to be had by taking the free elevator up the Smith Tower. It takes you to the Chinese Room on the 35th floor, a charming place for small wedding receptions as well as breathtaking views of Elliott Bay, the Space Needle, skyline, and the Pioneer Square area. Click here for a 360 degree view of the Chinese Room and it's window views at sunset.

FIND YOUR FLAG! Scroll down this page on your right, and just past the links to the worldwide City Daily Photo Blogs and the City Photo Blogs you will find my fun new little page feature. Try to spot your country's flag. I appreciate all your visits, and especially your comments. As I try to visit other DP sites (over 140 now!) it's so great to see everyone's photos of so many wonderful places around the globe! Wishing you a great weekend (and a continued great holiday for those still on vacation)!Posted by Picasa

Smith+Tower Seattle+Smith+Tower Chinese+Room Seattle+City+Hall blue+glass+passage glass+walkway photo+reflection Seattle+buildings

Friday, August 18, 2006

Vertical Highrise

This is a must see if you visit Seattle: Smith Tower. Billed as the tallest office building in the world outside of New York City when it was completed in 1914, it still holds a very special place in the Seattle skyline. It is 42 stories tall, and quite elegant. There is an elevator up to an observation deck (opens at 10 AM) from which you can get a spectacular view of Seattle. AND it's a view in which the Space Needle is included, and, unlike the Space Needle, it's FREE (the Space Needle costs $12-16 to take the elevator to it's observation deck). The Smith Tower lobby and elevators are wonderful period pieces, and there is a (surprise) Starbucks attached to the lobby.

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Thursday, August 17, 2006

Elliott Bay Book Co. (by request)

Posted by Picasa As requested by a visitor, here is a streetscape view of this great independent Seattle bookstore. It is located in the Pioneer Square area, so if you've visited Seattle, there is a great chance you've ducked into Elliott Bay Book Co. for a browse, or into the cafe on the lower level (entrance is just around the corner) for a little something caffeinated. That lovely clock is one of the historic clocks that can be found around town and honors history enthusiast Earl Layman (click the link for more info and a Seattle clock walk map). My suggestion for a really lovely, lazy day would be, enjoy a good long browse at EBBC, pick a selection or two for purchase, then amble down to the ferry dock, pay for passage, walk aboard, get a cozy booth and read all the way to Bainbridge Island, get off, amble up to a lovely nearby cafe, order a little something, sit and nosh and read and sip for hours, then amble back to the ferry at dusk for a return trip to the city and enjoy the approaching Seattle skyline with all its sunset lights on to greet you again.

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

What Are You Reading This Summer?

Leave me a comment on the book(s) you are reading right this minute. We will all get a good recommendation for our end of summer reading.

Seattle is a great literary city, and Elliot Bay Books is a hub of it all. If you are a book lover, this is the place to come browsing on a rainy day or to take in a favorite author's in-store event. There is something for absolutely everyone's interests including a great children's section. Unlike Powell's Books in Portland (another must visit bookstore in the Pacific Northwest) it is a generalist's dream yet it does not take three days to peruse all the sections. Elliot Bay's used section is excellent for bargain reads (I'm just finishing a used copy of Robertson Davies' "The Cunning Man" that I picked up there. You can also find first editions and rarities that will delight you. The old wooden floors and mazes of bookcases, great signage, and helpful staff all make it so enjoyable. EBB is my favorite independent bookseller on the west coast except for Black Oak Books in Berkeley. Remember the TV show Frasier? The fictional Cafe Nervosa in which the characters on the show conversed over lattes was modeled on the Elliot Bay Cafe on the lower level of the bookstore. It's a great place to sip a little something and plunge into the opening chapter of your newest find.

Yes, that's me peeking at you in the reflection. This was my runner-up photo for the self portrait in a place you love theme day photo.Posted by Picasa

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Urban Honor System

Buddy "The Ladybug Guy" sells ladybugs to urban gardeners from a brightly painted, if rather derelict, building on Elliott Avenue. Jenny of Sharon Daily Photo posted a gorgeous shot she took last weekend of an unattended farmer's roadside veggie stand that worked on the honor system (click here to see it). It was a self-serve stand from which you could pick from the luscious tomatoes or beautiful fresh picked flowers or variety of onions and leave the asked for price for what you took. Here in Seattle we have this urban example that there is still trust in human decency even outside of small town rural America. The instructions on the door ask you to slip the specified amount under the door, then take your container of ladybugs from the basket. You've gotta love folks in any setting who encourage trust in our better natures, especially when they risk being victims of our not so better natures. To see more of the Ladybug Guy's amazingly interesting and colorful "store front" click here.Posted by Picasa

Monday, August 14, 2006

Okay, Which One of You Put Metro Up to This?

Posted by Picasa So I'm walking along and this bright poster across the street catches my eye. I cross to find someone is putting personal messages to me on government posters! Hey, I already ride my bike to work. ;^)

Looks like METRO has a campaign afoot to increase ridership of all kinds. It's easy to use the bus system in conjunction with bicycling--there is a convenient bike rack on the front of each bus.

(It's Monday, and we can all use some fun to start the work week!)

Sunday, August 13, 2006

Strip Pieced Wall at Sunrise

I photographed these tall, thick iron strips at sunrise. They comprise an award-winning sculptural wall by John Fleming next to the Gehry-designed EMP at Seattle Center. It was installed in 2002 and entitled The Grass Blades, but to my eye resembles strips of exposed film. The yellows and golds are rich and saturated, banded in black. I love the way the colors look with the silver of the EMP roof line. Each "blade" also very much reminds me of a rapid quilt construction method known as strip piecing where precision cut long strips of fabric are sewn together, then recut crosswise into segmented long strips for various design uses (click on the link and pass your mouse over the thumbnails to get a sense of how this is used). Posted by Picasa

Saturday, August 12, 2006

"First There Is a Mountain. . .

. . .then there is no mountain, then there is. " ~Donovan

Mount Rainier absolutely dominates the Seattle landscape, looming large in the skyline when its view is unobscured by rain clouds, summer haze, or the shroud of its own mists. Some visitors to Seattle don't even get a glimpse of it during their stay in the city. It has a habit of playing "peek a boo." On clear winter days when the air is pristine, the mountain's image is sharp and huge against the blue sky. On clear summer days a haze can minimize it. When I was driving in the University district at sunset one afternoon this week I noticed a clearer view than I had seen in days and snapped this shot for you from a freeway overpass. When you visit Seattle, be sure to include a visit to the mountain and the spectacular Mount Rainier National Park in your plans. Mount Rainier is in the Cascade Range and is an episodically active volcano. Unlike its southern neighbor, Mount St. Helens, it has not had any eruptions since the 1840s, and before that it is thought not to have had any for 1000 years.

Friday, August 11, 2006

Bruce Cockburn at the Moore Theatre

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I had a lovely evening out at the Moore Theatre (corner of 2nd & Virginia), which hosted Canadian performing songwriter Bruce Cockburn and opener Sarah Harmer and their bands in concert. Bruce is a musician of immense talent and great heart, noted as a virtuoso guitarist, poetic lyricist, and a world traveler who regularly incorporates reportage, social concern, and spiritual longing into his art. He has toured the world over. Perhaps you've heard him in concert where you live. His live shows are fantastic. I've been very fortunate to live on the US west coast where Bruce tours regularly, but this was my first time hearing him play this 1400 seat venue which has, I'm glad to report, a great sound system. The house was full and the audience very receptive and appreciative. I got to visit a bit with fellow longtime Cockburn fan Daniel Keebler who is ranger at Mt. Rainier National Park . He has published Gavin's Woodpile, the Bruce Cockburn Newsletter, for many years. Sarah Harmer has a superb voice, and is an excellent songwriter and performer. She came out during Bruce's set to add gorgeous harmonies to "Waiting For a Miracle," a Cockburn song Jerry Garcia once covered. Her current self-penned repertoire is featuring roots and alt country style sounds. With that voice, though, she could sing in nearly any style. She was supported by a great band featuring a guitarist/mandolinist, a stand-up bass player, and a keyboardist/vocalist. Bruce's set featured excellent drummer Gary Craig and keyboardist/vocalist Julie Wolf (who I'm familiar with from the SF Bay Area and her tours with Ani DiFranco's band, but who studied at Cornish here in Seattle and worked in the jazz scene here for many years). I very much enjoyed both artist's sets.

Someone affiliated with the venue mentioned to me that when the Moore Theatre was built in 1907 it had separate entrances and seating for "colored" and "white" people. No trace of those segregated days is left except a stair/corridor that kind of goes nowhere. All has been remodeled a couple of times, leaving intact the theater's interior ornamental charms while providing comfortable seating and great sound.

Thursday, August 10, 2006

Lewis & Clark

Last year there were Lewis and Clark expedition bicentennial celebrations and museum exhibits in Washington and Oregon. This huge lighted sign must have served its purpose and ended up in a junk yard I pass frequently. I often wonder what lies ahead where they are pointing. On my darker days this scene sometimes seems like a metaphor for the impending outcomes of the American experiment. But, enough of that. . .Quick, can you name all the (then future) US states the Lewis and Clark expedition passed through?

Seattle Daily Photo would like to welcome the newest members to the City Daily Photo family (now exceeding 140 members) and invites you to check them out by clicking on their links in the list below to the right: Santiago CHILE, Kyle TEXAS, Vantaa FINLAND, and a third Washinton DC photo blogger, John, who joins Jenni and Pasante in covering the city whose license plates read "Taxation Without Representation."Posted by Picasa

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Coming In For a Landing

I was enjoying the beauty of the veggies and flowers at the P-Patch (yesterday's photo) when this little visitor zoomed into the frame. I had no idea until I looked at the photo that some types of bees have curved nose-like probosci ? or whatever it is termed. Its little face looks like something an animator would dream up. Not a great photo (I didn't have the camera on stop action) but I loved the little guy's energy! For fun, click on the photo to enlarge or here for a much closer look. It reminded me that Seattle has a very active and dedicated beekeeping community. Many folks keep hives in their backyards to aid in urban gardening and have a source of organic honey. I know nada de particular about bees, but you can find out a little something interesting about Seattle's bees and beekeepers here. Posted by Picasa

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

P-Patch Community Gardens

There is no place quite as beautiful as a garden in Seattle in high summer. I was enjoying feasting my eyes on the abundance of flowers, veggies, and fruit in one of the 44 P-Patch community gardens that can be found throughout Seattle. They are amazing places where neighbors use city land in common to raise food and make lovely places of flowery sanctuary for those with no room to garden at home. Food raised in these gardens is donated to Seattle's food banks, supplying much needed fresh, organic veggies. This lovely tile mural, complete with cups and saucers, adorns a wall by the garden shed at the East Lake P-Patch.

Monday, August 07, 2006

Bon Voyage

Almost 200 huge cruise ships to Alaska come into port here each year. I took this photo at the Terminal 30 cruise facility which is at the southern end of Seattle's waterfront, just past the sports stadiums, near the container loading facilities for commercial freighters. That taxi nearly ran me down, he was in such a rush. There were two enormous ships docked here (click here to see the other). There is also a cruise ship terminal at Pier 66 at the foot of Bell Street in the very heart of the downtown Seattle waterfront. When a cruise ship ties up there, it absolutely towers into the skyline like another high rise building. Sales clerks at the Pine Street Nordstrom have told me they know exactly when the ships come into port and are prepared for the influx of shoppers at those times. If you click on this photo to enlarge it, you can wave to the passengers looking out from their cabin balconies. Wishing everyone lovely summer holidays!

Sunday, August 06, 2006


Rowing is a very popular activity on Seattle's waterways. I took this early morning shot from the dock of the Pocock Rowing Club.