Elevating in the Smith Tower…

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The other day, I had the pleasure of visiting the oldest skyscraper in Seattle, the Smith Tower. Completed in 1914, this was the tallest building west of the Mississippi River, for its time. It was also the highest building in Seattle until the Space Needle came along in 1962 (completed in 1961). So, the Smith Tower needed an elevator…

And that it got, a lovely manual operated system of seven elevators. Each operated by a human who would push the buttons, turn things, slide the doors, and give some amusing small talk in transition. this would go on for 103 years.

Now six of the seven doors are to be automated, in an effort to keep up with modern fire and safety standards. One elevator will remain with a human operator, probably the one that leads to the observation deck…a classy tourist destination for those looking to enjoy a bit of the old city with its remains of an interesting history.

Going up, this was my first time. The elevator had see-through windows, and a vintage wobbling and mechanical nature, reminding me of an old apartment elevator in my childhood home in San Francisco. Except this one had the operator, who told me a humorous anecdote of the Smith Tower history.

Here are a few pics I took of the doors, inside panel, and elevator serviceman:

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Overall, a pleasant experience leading to another, being the observation room and outside deck on the 35th floor. That will be shared in another post in the near future….promise.

-Orion T

Picture of Today 10/7/2017 II, Seattle before the Rise

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The Seattle downtown area before the full sunrise., around 6:30 pm. This view came from Pier 66, where I was also taking shots of the Harvest Moon (see the previous post).

I loved every second of this moment.

– Orion T

Picture of Today 10/6/2017, Late Harvest Moon in the Early Morn

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I went for a walk this morning walk before the sunrise, after taking on a small errand delivery. Seeing the Moon shining bright and illuminated partially in the clouds, I remember it’s the Harvest Moon!

Yes indeed, this Harvest Moon was glorious with its heavy moonlight, enhanced by thinning clouds. Almanac.com best puts it, “The Harvest Moon is the full Moon nearest the start of fall or the autumnal equinox. This usually means it coincides with the September full Moon, though it can also fall nearer to the October full Moon, occurring anywhere from two weeks before to two weeks after the equinox.”

Because This Moon rises and sets close to the sun cycles, there is more moonlight. This helps the farmers with changes made during the Summer and Fall Seasons. Hence, the Harvest Moon name. The last Harvest Moon was in 2009. The next will be in 2020.

Overall, an awesome sight and reward for waking up earlier than usual. I took the above shot from Pier 66 on the Seattle Waterfront, overlooking Elliot Bay. the sunrise was also beautiful, of which I will feature in my next posting…

– Orion T

Do Androids Dream of Living Computers?

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I’m much excited for the new Blade Runner 2049 movie coming out soon, but also a bit worried it may not live up to the grandeur of the original, a cinematography and storytelling work of art.

With that in mind, I attended the “Do Androids Dream of Living Computers?” event at the awesome Living Computers: Museum + Labs in the SoDo area of Seattle, last weekend. the event was an homage to the classic 1984 Blade Runner classic movie with its influence on tech, AI, and cyberpunk culture. With that were live performances, Voight-Kampff tests, cosplay, origami foldings, cosplay, AI developments examples, and much more. I had a good time and took a few pics…

 

Also, big thanks to the Living Computers: Museum + Labs for putting this on. The entire place is super great, with many preserved computer machines and new innovations on display. Much of which I plan to focus on with another write-up someday with another visit to the awesome museum. Visit www.livingcomputers.org for more information.

– Orion T

 

Reflecting on Star Trek: The Next Generation, 30th Anniversary…

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30 years ago on this day, Star Trek: The Next Generation premiered with its two-part pilot episode, “Encounter At Farpoint.” And ever since, the show has had a profound effect on my journey through life.

I was lucky enough to catch it on its premiere night, not quite as eager in the beginning. But something drew me, being a mixed cast of characters on a big starship, seeking out new life, new civilizations, and boldly going…. On this new starship, the NCC-1701 Enterprise D, held an android seeking humanity in itself, a mighty alien warrior eager for new challenges, a blind engineer expanding his self in science and technological advancement, a ship doctor balancing her work with the challenges of single motherhood, a ship counselor with empathic abilities often not very helpful, a charming first officer, and a captain who seeks the peaceful, diplomatic, humanitarian solutions to every problem.

This would go on for seven years, and four movies. Star Trek: The Next Generation became a show I grew up with, identifying with much of the crew on their journeys and moral dilemmas. To me, the show was about finding self in seeing what’s out there. For the crew and the journey, establishing humanity’s place in the Alpha Quadrant as a member of the Federation; ever-exploring and spreading peace along the way while interacting with new alien species. Each crew member had an ongoing quest to reaffirm their place on the bridge as an individual and team. Through them as inspiration and admiration, I often dealt better with relatable challenges in school, social explorations, and direction in life.

So, I love Star Trek: The Next Generation. Here are my top five favorite episodes in no particular order:

  • Darmok – Picard is trapped on a planet with an alien with a very complex language system. The challenge puts Picard’s communication skills to a great test, with the solution being finding common ground and learning about each other.
  • Q Who – The omnipotent Q throws the Enterprise into a distant uncharted space, where they meet the Borg. The experience is a lesson in humility for humanity, with new and iconic challenges to come.
  • Yesterday’s Enterprise – An awesome episode with much of everything packed in; time travel, an alternate reality, epic ship on ship battles, revealing history connecting the classic series with the new, crew members put in new roles, moral dilemmas, high stakes.
  • Chain of Command Part II – a gut-wrenching episode where Picard is held prisoner and tortured, physically and mentally. The acting between Picard and his Cardassian captor is intense, with an unforgettable ending. How many lights are there?
  • “The Offspring” – Data creates an android daughter for him, in a continual effort to be “human.” This raises dilemmas and challenges on multiple levels, in a new role he must take on as a father and protector. A mix of emotions results with twists and turns, leaving me as a viewer feeling sad in the end for a fictional character whose existence didn’t last.

Overall, I love Star Trek: The Next Generation for what it was to myself, and what it gave to its growing audience – a vision of the future for a possible destiny in the stars, where the exploring and bonding with the universe and ourselves will never stop. With that, I best recall that epic last line of Captain Picard from its very first episode, that still remains a most important marker for us all…

– Orion T

Pictures of Today 9/27/2017, Waiting for the Night

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Today was nice, especially the evening.

I took the above picture on a spur of the moment while working out some plans and enjoying the continuous breath of fresh air. Location is Myrtle Edwards Park, with West Seattle in the distance.

– Orion T

Picture of Today 9/25/2017, Early Risings..

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Dropped by the friendly neighborhood thrift shops in search of some cords and things today. I see the Halloween decorations and costumes are early up, and ready for the shopping. I enjoy the sights of things most at thrift stores, especially those in Capitol Hill, Seattle.

Above are some masks fitting better for those in spirit for the Mexican holiday, Día de Muertos or Day of the Dead. Its history is traced back further than the popular All Saint’s Eve or Halloween, with its roots reaching back 3,000 years ago in Aztec culture. It’s modern take is the result of many twists and turns through intersecting cultures and religions. Reading up on this, I felt a bit fascinated and curious towards anything locally going on for this coming Day of the Dead, which coincides with Halloween.

Until then, it’s nice to see local shops are prepping early for these interesting spooky days ahead.