Maybe it has something to do with the angle of the Earth to the Sun during the winter, but I’ve always loved the look of Seattle on clear days from November to February. Here are some photos I took walking North on 4th Ave in Downtown Seattle.
Maybe it has something to do with the angle of the Earth to the Sun during the winter, but I’ve always loved the look of Seattle on clear days from November to February. Here are some photos I took walking North on 4th Ave in Downtown Seattle.
This summer has been the 50th anniversary of the Space Needle, which debuted at the 1962 World’s Fair. In honor of that event, they rolled back the admission price to just $1. I think it is normally $19. Rain was expected, but it didn’t come. The views were excellent.
It has been a long time since I did a Seattle specific post. Earlier this summer on one of my urban hikes, I made my first stop to the Kurt Cobain bench. How this landmark escaped me until recently is a mystery. I must have walked past this little park twenty times. Vieretta Park is right next to the house that Kurt was living in when he killed himself. This is very beautiful neighborhood in the Denny-Blaine section of Seattle, which is south of Madison along Lake Washington.
Nirvana fans have converted the park bench into a makeshift memorial. I took some photos.
Five years ago I was playing with mashing up photos and classic art using Photoshop. These days I use the free Paint.NET for my image work. Well, it turns out with a third party plugin you can do the same mash up in Paint.NET. I posted a quick tutorial on Digital Colony called Using Paint.NET to Create Art Inspired Photographs to show you how it is done.
For this post I used four photos I took in Seattle and mashed them with the colors from a Kinkade painting.
A good snowstorm doesn’t happen in Seattle every year, so I took advantage of the day and went for an urban hike. Three years ago, I did a 16 mile hike through the snow. Today I did 20 miles. My hike took me through Ballard, Phinney Ridge, Wallingford, University, Montlake, Madison Valley, Capitol Hill, Downtown, Belltown, Queen Anne and Fremont. I saw lots of kids and many adults having fun in the snow. It was another great day in Seattle.
Today’s urban hike was 19.978 miles.
Last year I published a few photos of me and Santa. This year I located two more. These are with my sister.
I’m back in Seattle and I’ve got a list of many things I need to do. However, I ended up going on a 7 mile urban hike when I saw the sky color this morning.
I’m a lazy blogger this week. Maybe it is the caffeine detox or the nice weather or my other web projects keeping me quiet. Anyway, here is a photo of me and my sister taken many summers ago.
Yesterday I attended the Seattle Art Walk, which is always on the first Thursday of the month. One of the pieces of art was this cool night photograph of the Elephant Car Wash. Seattle has some of the most amazing late evening skies. Put some pink neon in front of it and it really pops.
Anyway, last night on my drive home I noticed the skies had that same awesome look. There are about a dozen ways I could have driven home, but unconsciously I drove right past the Elephant Car Wash. Then the light turned red and I turned to look at the sign. It was the same as the photo from the Art Walk. So I pulled out my little point and shoot camera and took 2 photos. Not as good as the gallery photo, but not bad either.
The photo below is me at 18 months. If you look behind my head, you can see a mailbox. A few summers later me and some neighbor kids would put handfuls of gravel into it. I think we did everyday for a week. Then the post office removed the mailbox from our street. I wonder if the adults ever knew the reason why.
The weather has been so nice in Seattle, that I feel more like exploring than blogging. Today a few members of the Coffee Club of Seattle walked over to the Lake View Cemetery and located the grave of Bruce Lee.
Bruce Lee’s son Brandon Lee is buried next to him.
If you go to Lake View Cemetery, the grave is at the high point of the cemetery in the center just off the road.
Today was another wonderful day in Seattle. I took some photos as I urban hiked from Upper Queen Anne to Downtown.
Upper Queen Anne looking west to Magnolia
Sculpture Park. Looks a lot different when the sun isn’t out.
Train tracks going underneath Sculpture Park
Behind Pike Place Market
I think summer is finally here, although this couple might disagree. It was 70 degrees and sunny and they walked through Queen Anne wearing winter coats and wool caps. There were others too. You know how I feel about that.
I got some ants this spring in my kitchen. I set a trap of mixing sugar, Borax and almond butter. The mixture was smeared onto a business card. It was highly effective. I took this photo as they were taking the bait. Then I went to VintageJS.com and made an Instagram-like version of the photo.
Photo taken in the Central District of Seattle.
Imagine you are driving through Seattle one morning. The skies are gray and there is a light rain. Up ahead you think you see a parking spot. There is a car coming up behind you.
You glance over to see if it is OK to park there. This is the sign you see.
I just happened to be holding my camera when the hail storm hit today in Ballard.
This morning I could see Mount Rainier and the moon from my window. Rainier is almost 66 miles away. The moon a little further.
This time with me and my sister.
This is a creative use for a bunch of beer bottle caps. This artwork is on Broadway Avenue in the Capitol Hill district of Seattle.
Here are some more photos I took of my new neighborhood of Ballard.
Here are some photos I took on my walk today. I’d love to take artistic credit for timing the first shot, but it was pure luck that the bird dove into frame at that moment.
I took a photo of this dog that climbs the fence and barks whenever another dog approaches the Ballard Post Office. He took his job very seriously.
On my first night at the new place, I squinted real hard and thought I could see the Space Needle from my apartment window. Then we had some rain and some fog and I couldn’t see anything.
Today we had was super clear skies, so I took out my camera and fired up the zoom. There it is. You can see the Space Needle and Mount Rainier from my apartment.
The Space Needle is 4 miles away from my window.
Yep. Here is the pumpkin at Teacup.
Last Saturday I got to watch 278 zombies wake up and dance to Michael Jackson’s Thriller in the Pioneer Square area of Seattle. Below is a 16 second video of what you missed.
Some cool photos are over at The Big Blog.
I discover something new every time I go downtown Seattle.
I wanted to share some of the great latte art designs that we get here in the Pacific Northwest with a wider audience. So I posted Latte Art Gallery over on INeedCoffee, which features designs from Seattle, Vancouver and Portland.
Kurt Cobain sticker located in South Lake Union.
First came the cancer. Then someone defaced his movie poster in Capitol Hill.
My failed home latte art attempt ended up looking like a Kanji symbol. I think the Chinese meaning of this particular symbol is “keep practicing” or possibly “seek medical attention“.
Maybe this place is staffed by more than one woman named Joy?
Photo taken in the Northgate area of Seattle.
This sign was taped to a bush in the Central District. Underneath it was the response.
Now that my camera has been repaired…
I think Julia Roberts is playing the piranha in this movie. Or is that a different movie I’m thinking of?
Today I will be returning my camera to Canon for repairs. I still have two days left in the warranty period, so it shouldn’t cost me anything. What is the problem? I noticed a thin white line in some of my photos. My photographer friend helped me figure out that it was a sensor problem.
Even though most of my photos are taken in daylight or using a light box, I still should have caught this problem sooner. Going back into my photo galleries I can see this problem surfaced last November when I was in Southeast Asia. Can you see the white line in the photo below?
Now for a close-up.
The white line problem got bad enough yesterday that I finally noticed.
I stumbled upon a painted figure on the boarded up window of an abandoned house in the Central District.
Photo taken in Capitol Hill.
The Starbucks at Queen Anne Ave and Boston is now sporting this fancy Doggie Pit Stop water bowl. The inside reads:
It’s Not a Double Latte, But It’ll Do…
This weekend I headed out to Sequim, Washington for the Lavender Festival. I never knew that there are so many different varietals of lavender. Each one has a slightly different smell. My friend Melissa will be pleased to know that there is a Melissa varietal and it smelled the best.
When crossing between the Olympic and Kitsap Peninsulas, be sure to take the Hood Canal Bridge. Alternate routes could be painful.
Photo taken on the Edmonds-Kingston Ferry.
Here are two photos from yesterday’s mini urban hike.
If you are in the business of selling coffee there are two words you should absolutely know how to spell. The first is espresso (not expresso) and the second is Colombian (not Columbian). This photo was taken today at the Northgate Starbucks inside the QFC.
UPDATE October 2010: The spelling is now fixed. Behold the power of the Coffee Hero!
Who needs a gym membership when you can exercise at 76?
This was my third year attending the Fremont Solstice Parade. Instead of watching the parade, I got there early and went straight to the staging area. From there I took most of my photos. I have a video of the naked bikers, but I am not sure where to upload it. Even though it is barely R-rated, I’m not sure it is YouTube safe. Ideas? Link to full gallery below.
Photo Gallery for 2010 Fremont Solstice Parade (a few NSFW)
This weekend the tide was at lowest level for the summer. It was so low, you could walk from Golden Gardens to Carkeep Park on ground that is normally covered with water. Below are some photos from the hike.
Here are the latest photos taken from my homemade light box.
And to think I was ready to drop a grand on a fancy camera. All I needed was a cardboard box, cloth, poster board and some free time. Not bad for a $149 camera.
Last week I spotted a sign for corn dogs. Now everywhere I look, I see them. Then Friday, I walked past this corn dog and Lenin sign in Capitol Hill. Corn dogs, really?
My goal is to start putting better photos up on INeedCoffee, so I decided I needed to get a lightbox. A lightbox should give me a nice clean surface with minimal shadows. They sell lightboxes, but I liked the idea of making my own. I used the tutorial How to Make An Inexpensive Light Tent – DIY by Darren Rowse for guidance.
I hope I did the box right. Below is a photo I took of my hand gripper. I’d like my photographer friends to critique my setup and photos. This is new territory for me. The box is covered with the whitest fabric I could find. It is a 60% polyester/40% cotton. The light is a 100 watt GE Reveal, which is a full spectrum bulb.
Using the auto-fix option in Windows Live Photo Gallery, the image lightened up.
Today the weather forecast for Seattle was for a 50% chance of rain. I liked those odds.
This post has been moved from Coffee Hero. It was originally written on September 18, 2009.
Time for another caffeinated trip down memory lane. Here are two photos showing off all my coffee gear from May 2001. This is sort of like a family photo of a coffee fanatic. A lot of the equipment you see was used for INeedCoffee articles and tutorials. I have no where near this much stuff anymore.
From left to right: French Press, Starbucks Barista Espresso Machine, Starbucks Barista Grinder, Utopia Electric Vac-Pot and on the end is the Hearthware Precision Coffee Roaster.
From shelf to shelf (left to right, top to bottom): Metal colander for home roasting (cooling), Westbend Popper 2, Coffee filters, Milk Frother, Bodum Vac-Pot, ???, Turkish Bean Grinder, Plastic French Press, Drip Coffee Pot, Frothing pitchers and Green coffee beans.
I have no clue what that green thing is in the bottom middle shelf. It was a gift that I never used.
The only equipment I still have from these photos are that drip pot (which I never use), the Bodum Vac-Pot and the frothing pitchers.
I went to this espresso place in Kingston, Washington on Saturday. May have been the worst espresso I’ve had in years. Seattle may be a world leader in coffee, but once you break outside city limits, things get ugly fast.
I passed by this sign today here in our nation’s espresso capital of Seattle. I have yet to see anyone walking around with a pet pig, yet apparently it is important enough to create a city ordinance and make these signs.
Photo No Pot Bellied Pigs in Seattle by Flickr user INeedCoffee / CoffeeHero
Seattle Municipal Code 9.25.084
TigerAl – Apparently, it was an issue in the early 80s.
I have to say that the sections of the code about cats/dogs in estrus and miniature goats were particularly entertaining.
Last night I attended the Gong Fu Tea Brewing Workshop at Teacup. Here is a photo a carved dragon tea scooper. The Wikipedia has a nice introduction to the Gongfu tea ceremony.
I didn’t get a great froth on this one, so the fine detail is missing. However, I think I nailed the stem. If you want to see outstanding home latte art check out Naug’s Latte Art Blog. Whenever I think I need better equipment to make latte art, I am reminded that he has the same espresso machine and grinder that I have. Practice, practice, practice!
Last Sunday the Coffee Club of Seattle went over to Kirkland to visit the Urban Coffee Lounge. Besides the great coffee drinks, our group was impressed by the wall decoration. It is a collection of different sized coffee mugs fixed to a concrete backing. Below are a few photos of the wall fixture.
Photo Gallery – INeedCoffee / CoffeeHero photos of Urban Coffee Lounge.
Urban Coffee Lounge – 9744 Northeast 119th Way Kirkland, WA
Coffee Club of Seattle – Meetup.com page.
My VW Golf TDI (the Silver Surfer) celebrated its 100,000 mile birthday last night while driving through Lower Queen Anne. Here is a breakdown of the first 100,000 miles.
|State||Days||Miles||Miles Per Day|
No wonder I like Seattle. I’m driving almost half as much as I did in San Diego.
Telling visitors where to find the salmon or telling the salmon they need to swim upstream?
My November 6th post Metal Tree had a broken image link that I just discovered. I was able to see the photo, because I was logged into my photo host site, but nobody else could. So today you are getting a rerun.
Stumptown Coffee hosted the Coffee Club of Seattle on Sunday. At the table, we had several outstanding coffees to cup, including the amazing Panama Esmeralda. Inside the training room, they brewed up four different Colombian micro-lots using the Chemex brewer.
I can’t think of a better way to spend a Sunday afternoon. Thank you Stumptown!
Coffee Club of Seattle Photos – Photo Gallery for the Coffee Club of Seattle.
Sunday at Stumptown Photos – INeedCoffee / CoffeeHero photo gallery.
Stumptown Coffee – 12th Ave, Seattle
The 2 Best Cups of Coffee I’ve Ever Had – Panama Esmeralda was one of them.
Guess the month and year this photo was taken. There are enough clues in the background that one should be able to figure it out.
Even decaf can look cool if placed on a shiny table under the nighttime glow of a red neon light.
Fremont Coffee Company – Photo taken from the table under the sign in the front room.
This post was moved from Coffee Hero.
Let me started by saying that I am not skilled when it comes to latte art. Since 99% of the drinks I make at home are straight espresso shots, I rarely get a chance to improve my pour. Today I got to try making latte art using non-homogenized half and half from Lynden, Washington’s Twin Brook Creamery.
According to their website:
Our fresh cow’s milk is gently pasteurized at a low temperature, killing harmful bacteria, but we do not homogenize our milk. Homogenization is a process which alters its natural state by forcing it through small openings at high pressure. Without homogenization, the cream is free to float to the top of the container.
The photo below isn’t great by cafe standards, but a vast improvement over anything I’ve poured in the last 6 months. Oh and it tasted better than ANY latte I’ve ever had. Super creamy.
Twin Brook Creamery – From Lynden, Washington.
The long awaited video and photos to my day of elephant training are finally ready. Enjoy my gracefulness! This highlight video was made using Windows Live Movie Maker, which I just downloaded and am still learning how to use.
This weekend I went to Microsoft’s neighborhood of Redmond, Washington. I really didn’t expect to find good coffee there, but I did. Kitanda Brazilian Espresso and Bakery made some amazing drinks for the Coffee Club of Seattle. Here are a few of their latte art etchings.
Kitanda Latte Art Photo Gallery – From INeedCoffee / CoffeeHero on Flickr. With attribution you are free to use any image for any purpose.
Kitanda – 15230 NE 24th St., Redmond, WA 98052
Here are some photos taken in Seattle today and yesterday. Got to love the clear skies.
Golden Gardens Beach in Ballard
Lake Union view from east Queen Anne
Looking at Mt. Rainier from Madrona
Kerry Park view of Seattle before sunset
Kerry Park view of Seattle at sunset
How did I end up in Cambodia when my original travel plans only included Thailand? It was me discovering what type of traveler I am. The thought of spending two weeks on the white sand beaches of Thailand may sound like paradise to many, but I got bored quickly at the beach. I needed a little more grit. Cambodia was the ideal choice.
Cambodia is much poorer than Thailand. According to the IMF, Thailand is close to Argentina in wealth, whereas Cambodia is just a little better off than Haiti. Despite the poverty, there was no evidence of crime and I never felt threatened walking at night in Siem Reap.
Cambodia has had it rough. After the Vietnam War came the genocide of the Khmer Rouge, which killed an estimated 1.7 million people. The country is still littered with land mines. Tourist revenue from those visiting Angkor Wat is one thing Cambodia has going for it, but our guide mentioned that the financial crisis and H1N1 fears have caused a 50% reduction in tourists in just the last year. I saw many restaurants that were 100% empty EVERY time I passed them.
Workers replacing a sidewalk using hand swung tools. No jack hammers.
As for food, I found Cambodia curry to be more brothy and less creamy than Thai curry. It also lacks spices. Although I liked their use of pumpkin in dishes, I found the food to be on the bland side. Even their Indian and Thai restaurants seemed to be lacking the intense flavors found in Thailand. If you find Thai food to be too spicy, give Cambodian curry a try.
The people of Cambodia were just as nice as Thailand, but with fewer smiles. Still more than a typical city, but less than Thailand. Unlike Thailand, they spoke pretty decent English and even used the US Dollar side by side with their own currency.
The engineer in me wants to fix the ills the of Cambodia, but I wouldn’t know where to start. Kids are pulled out of school to beg money from tourists. If you give them money, you are helping a family eat, but you are financially rewarding the decision to pull the kid from school. Without a more educated population, the country will stay poor. I wish Cambodia the best of luck and encourage anyone visiting Thailand to take 3 days off from the beaches and visit Siem Reap.
Angkor Wat is the expansive temple complex in Cambodia built over a few hundred years starting in the 10th century. It is an amazing place to visit. It far exceeded myexpectations. I spent 2 days and one evening going from temple to temple and I still didn’t see it all. Besides the food and my elephant training, this was the highlight of my month trip in Asia.
The photo gallery I created is quite extensive at 467 photos.The morning sun was harsh, but I was able to fix many of the photos on my PC. The last few pages of the gallery are photos taken in the late afternoon. They turned out the best.
If you find yourself in Southeast Asia, you must visit.
Here I am outside the temple door that was in the movie Laura Croft Tomb Raider.
The sad history of Cambodia involves land mines. Lots of them. I read an estimate that there may still be 2 million land mines buried in throughout the country. And no one bothered to document where they were placed. As a result, people are still being killed andmaimedtoday. While in Cambodia, I saw quite a few adults and kids with missing limbs.
In between Angkor Wat temple visits, we stopped into the Cambodian Landmine Museum.
While in Siem Reap, we had our driver take us out to the Floating Village. Unlike our Bangkok experience, this was not a tourist trap. It was the real deal. The Floating Village was a community of mostly fishermen living on the water. Many fled Vietnam during the war and were never allowed to return home.
The floating village is a working community. These people live, work and raise their kids on the water. Young kids know how to fish and navigate boats. Neighbors hang out with each other. They don’t have any of the creature comforts of the modern world, but they seemed content. This trip redefined extreme working poverty for me.
One of the themes I’ll go back to a different post is how Americans live in a culture of fear. We have every advantage, but spend our days fearing that will lose our stuff or health or job. These people have nothing but each other and they seemed fine. Despite the brutally low standard of living, it was inspiring.
Although I am very pleased with my photos, my camera battery was near dead during this portion of my trip, so I didn’t get near the number of pictures I would have liked to. When TheTailGunner posts his gallery for the the Floating Village, I will add that link to this post.
On the return flight home to Seattle, I had a 12 hour layover in Seoul, South Korea. Urban hiking in 41F rain felt a lot like Seattle. Like Kuala Lumpur, Seoul has an airport which connects right into a train/subway system. I was able to get to the heart of downtown Seoul in about an hour. For a city of 10 million people, I expected the streets to be packed, but they weren’t. Where was everyone?
My short trip did give me enough time to eat some great food and acquire some outstanding Korean green tea. Now for the photos.
I just noticed I didn’t release the Return to Bangkok photo gallery. Oops.
Today I journeyed to the north outskirts of Kuala Lumpur to see the Batu Caves. It was OK. Probably not worth the trip.
Oh yeah, there were monkeys everywhere.
The adventure continues. I arrived in Kuala Lumpur late last night.This is an awesomeairport. The KLIA Ekspreshooks right into the terminal and drops you off in the center of the city, which is a 28 minute journey. Once at the center (KL Sentral)you can takea train orget a prepaid taxi. This is the slickest arrival airport I’ve ever been through.
My first day I did what I always do: urban hike. I’ll cover my coffee adventures on Coffee Hero later. For this post I’ll stick to the city. I started the day by visiting the KL Tower, which my map calls a “lookalike of the Seattle Space Needle“. At 421 meters, the KL Tower is much taller than the 184 meter Space Needle.
From there I walked over to Petronas Twin Towers, which are the tallest twin buildings in the world. For lunch, I took TigerAl’s tip and went to Madam Kwan’s and had the Curry Laksa. It was the best meal I’ve had since Chiang Mai. The perfect amount of spices. It was so good, I came back two hours later and had the Assam Laska. It was good also, but I give the edge to the Curry.
In the evening, I took a subway back to the Towers to take some night photos. That is one cool looking building. Lots more photos in the full gallery.
My hotel is in the Little India area of Chinatown. Not my favorite area of the city, but the price is right and the upload speeds are impressive.
After escaping the hell known as Patong Beach, I headed for the quieter beach setting of the island of Ko Samui. Although the vendors were still pushy, it was far less than Patong. If you only have a few days to spend on the beaches of Thailand, I’d go to Ko Samui instead of Phuket.
One day I took a scooter around the island and another day I did a tour which included an animal show, stone garden tourand a mountain trek onthe back (and top) of a 4 WD truck.
The prime vacation destination for Thailand is probably Phuket. That should have been a warning. I did not care for Phuket. It was loud and the vendors were beyond obnoxious. It was probably my mistake for staying at Patong Beach. Once I got away from Patong, the rest of thePhuket was much better. Patong is the Daytona Beach of Thailand.
The highlight of mystay in Phuket was hiring a taxi to drive mearound the island to take photos, see stuff and do a little hiking. If you plan to visit Thailand, you can avoid Phuket. There are better places to have the Thailand beach experience.
Besides riding elephants and playing with big cats, the other cool thing I did in Chiang Mai was take an all day Thai cooking class. I’ve been cooking Thai food pretty much every week for the past 18 months. Assuming I don’t get hit on the head and forget everything I’ve learned, my Thai cooking skills will be even better when I return to Seattle.
The day started out with a trip to the market. There wemet up with our instructor and got an introudction to curry and rice. We alsoand saw a machine used to extract coconut cream and milk. Then we drove out to the Thai cooking school, whichwas on an organic farm.Our instructorwalked us around the garden and showed usthe different plants thatwe would be adding to our Thai cooking.
The Thai cooking class was a 6 course event. We made our own curry paste and then a dish using that curry. In addition, we made a soup and astir fry. The class had a choice between pad thai and spring rolls. I picked pad thai. We finished with a desert (pumpkin soup for me).
I highly recommend the Thai Cooking Class. It was fun and we got to eat our own cooking. We even had leftovers to takehome.
Photos taken with the Canon 30D by Nick
Shopping sign located in the Wallingford area of Seattle.
I was only able to upload a few photos. I’ll do a full trip run down later when I have more blogging time. The little Thai kid next to me is amazed at my pathetic typing speed.
I’m the one in front.
Romanesco broccoli is perhaps the coolest looking vegetable.
More Seattle exploring.
I’ve probably pulled close to 5,000 shots of espresso at home. What happened Saturday has never happened before. After finishing my espresso, I picked up the demitasse, looked inside and saw a heart. Some people see Jesus in a grilled cheese sandwich, I found a heart staring back at me from my empty espresso cup. This isn’t Coffee Tasseography, which involves reading coffee grounds, but perhaps a sign of true espresso love?
When I mentioned how much I loved Velton’s Bonsai Blend espresso, I had no idea it was a reciprocal relationship.
Coffee on Moving Day – The Load Out – My introduction to Velton’s Bonsai Blend Espresso.
Velton’s Coffee – Everett, Washington coffee roaster.
Coffee Mugs of Coffee Fanatics – The INeedCoffee article where I introduced my Degas espresso cup.
Woman ‘blessed by the holy toast’ – Jesus on the grilled cheese story.
Here is a little afternoon pickup for you.
This drink was made by Urban Coffee Lounge in Kirkland, Washington yesterday. For those of you outside Seattle, Kirkland is the birthplace of Costco, which uses the Kirkland name as a brand.
Urban Coffee Lounge – Kirkland (Juanita) area coffee house.
Stumptown Coffee – UCL uses Stumptown roasted coffee.
Costco Wikipedia Page – States the Kirkland brand came from having their corporate headquarters in Kirkland, Washington from 1987 to 1996.
One of the things I enjoy most about Seattle is seeing what The Lusty Lady has up on their sign. Not as good as Indiana Moans and the Temple of Poon, but pretty funny.
Yesterday was a great day to visit Vashon Island. Here are a few photos.
I did visit an interesting historical coffee site. Look for a post on CoffeeHero later this week on that.