Though, by the time you read this, the day probably passed for 2022. Still, a positive message brought to you by the peak of pop-culture nerd fandom. This is Star Wars Day, as fans come to recognize as a play on words, being the Fourth exchangeable for the Force. It’s dorky, but whatever. There is much in our world to keep us stressed and sad, and sci-fi escapism is sometimes a necessary distraction, and to sometimes help keep us positive in tough times.
So, today among friends who love and cherish many things Star Wars, we looked back on the best ways the Force full franchise touched our lives. I realized, going through every era of its development, from the original trilogy to the Disney Plus era. Many games, books, fan films in between, I have delved into its extremely extensive lore, digged the memes, can pinpoint and recognize nearly every obscure character from the movies. I love the Star Wars, as George Luca’s vision grown, expanded, giving us much to ponder in our imaginations to further shape and dive into. Star Wars is the work of many, cultivated by its fandom.
Looking back to the beginning of my love for Star Wars, and I would like to share some memories of where it all began for me:
My first Star Wars movie is The Empire Strikes Back. I saw it on VHS as in my earliest Elementary school days at a friend’s house slumber party. Yes, I would have been shocked to learn Vader was Luke’s father in the pivotal moment, if it wasn’t spoiled by every other kid in the room. My love for space reptilian men, started with Bossk.
My first Star Wars toys were some old early Kenner figures from the early 80s. I recall first having Darth Vader, Obi Wan, Han Solo, Artoo, and Pruneface. Eventually, I would find more, and put them into a very used Millennium Falcon, Kenner brand playset with missing parts.
My first Star Wars book was a Return of the Jedi Star Wars storybook. For reasons I best not go into now, I was not able to see Return of the Jedi in theaters when it came out. So, I learned the story with great delight from the children’s text with full pictures. I reread it many times, very thrilled and satisfied at the conclusion. Boba Fett was the coolest, even though he played a small, and very sad part.
My first Star Wars video game was the super awesome video arcade machine with the 3D vector graphics. I loved the steering control, movie realistic sounds, and thrill of blowing up the Death Star three times usually, with one quarter. To this day, it’s still an awesome game!
My first Star Wars movie in theaters was the Special Edition of Episode IV in the movie theaters. Seeing this first, even with the changes, on the big screen felt right.
I would like to write more about Star Wars in good time, as the Force I feel will always be with me. I have much to share on the current stuff, my growing weird love for the prequels, and a lot of obscure stuff. In good time, I will. But for now, may the Star Wars be with you too.
I have to enjoy these fresh blossoms while they last…
And, the best place for the grandest trees in Seattle, are foremost at the Quad in the University of Washington. Here, a grand gathering of cheery cherry trees stand tall in top bloom through this week. Nearly every year, I take time out to enjoy the awesome view. But this year, it seem many were present to share in their glory.
The new spring season has finally arrived, and its new atmosphere feels absolutely great.
Slightly warmer weather, a time change giving more light to our evenings, more outside sports actions, and very notably come the fresh blooms.
My favorite visuals of this new season are the many cherry trees adorn with their brightest blooms, of which I have wrote about many times, and did a little video last year.. Yet, I can never express enough the wonders and atmosphere these sakuras bring at such a perfect time. I am often drawn to them. My imagination is brought to visions where I will someday witness see their grandest display in the Land of the Rising Sun.
But for now, I shall continue to appreciate this annual natural tradition, well appreciated in the PNW where cherry blossoms are plenty. Cherry blossom festivals are coming, with a new one this weekend at the University of Washington. I may check that out.
But if you see a cherry tree or grove, stop and enjoy what’s freshly given in the narrow time seen. Look close, and appreciate every branch, every petal whether resilient or loosely falling. Then get lost in the overall picture…
That joy was from the local annual parade here in Seattle, returning to full spirit with the marching and convoy entertainment to a cheering crowd. I think this may be the first of its kind to a regular cheering crowd since before the pandemic. I was a surprised with the huge public reception!
The event, was for the coming St. Patrick’s day. All hosted by an awesome variety of mostly local Irish culture groups, celebrating different facets of Ireland traditions, music, dance, spirited ideals, and non-profit backed charity.
Overall, a good time. I wish I brought a better camera, but still I took pictures worth sharing. Here below, are my favorite shots for your amusement.
Today, marks the last day of the 2022 Lunar New Year festivities as we welcome the Year of the Tiger. I hope many readers caught some part of this longtime 15-day tradition. I almost missed out with schedule complications and untimely weather.
But, I was fortunate to be around the Seattle Center last Sunday, getting some fresh air. I wasn’t very excited about this year’s Super Bowl this year, but did enjoy the halftime special later. This day was the only chance I had for a while to spend extensive time outside, and that’s important to me.
So, I felt rewarded in that time, for I witnessed a glorious gathering for the continued Lunar New Year celebrations with the White Lotus Dragon & Lion Dance group. These are very talented performers in colorful costumes, from Portland, Oregon. They do a variety of dances, musical numbers, sharing of Asian culture rooted from longtime traditions, for entertainment and promotions.
This stylish lion dancing dates back over a 1000 years, rooted in ancient China, backed by related folktales that add mystique to this creature rarely seen by locals. Traditions have remained steady since, with regional variations, promoting Chinese culture around the world now. Unlike Chinese Dragons who need many to animate the creature movement, Chinese Lions only unit persons per unit. Music is added, often introduced with fireworks, and stunts may be performed. To witness these lions in action, is an awesome spectacle.
I enjoyed this colorful display, of which I share further with these pics from my camera.
The White Lotus Dragon & Lion Dance group performs for many events, and remain local to the Pacific Northwest. For more info, visit www.whitelotusliondance.com.
Sadly, a recent weather report concluded to zero chance of lowland Seattle, for the coming days, and likely the rest of this month. The weather will warm up instead.
Which is too bad for those who don’t get enough snow in their life, but enjoy what it brings. Meanwhile, I do love those pics of the northeast U.S snowfall. And then I remember, that I have pics to look back on, with many I have yet to publish on travelingorion.com.
Last year here in Seattle, we received much low-land snow where in Seattle. I posted some pictures here, and here. But, I held back on many pictures of handmade snowpeople, with an intention to feature in a separate post. But sadly, the plan was set aside in favor of editing and producing a video. I was hoping to revive the theme with the recent snowfall, but didn’t quite find any more snowpersons, and also was a bit too busy to seek any out. So, I remembered last year’s adventures, and now would like to share these special pics.
What a nice bunch! Someday, I will build one of my own. That’s on my bucket list now.
I love podcasts, and will someday elaborate further with some personal favorites listened to.
But for now, surprise! I’m a special guest on Junk Food Dinner, an awesome, long-running podcast reviewing pop-culture, cult, obscure movies of the past and present. Hosts (currently Kevin Moss, Sean Byron, Parker Bowman) cover related news, share commentary, slice of life stuff with wit and fun bits of trivia. Usually each week, three movie works are chosen and discussed. For movies fans, I highly recommend you add Junk Food Dinner to your podcast list, or check out their vast 10 plus years of over 600 episodes.
For episode #604, I co-host as cover for Parker Bowman, keeping its trio formula. I have covered for Kevin Moss on Junk Food Dinner many years ago. Keep in mind though, I am not a podcasting professional. Talking with no script for public consumption with the least stress for the editor is tough work, and takes practice and skill to get that radio-quality banter and confidence. To be a guest with less experience takes bravery, but also super fun. I think I did better this latest time.
For this episode, we kick off their Junk Food Dinner’s “Sci-Fi-ebruary,” focused on science fiction movies. But this year, JFD delves into various films focused on various Afro-centric, Afro-futurism, and African American cultural themes. For #604, we cover The Last Angel of History, Welcome II the Terrordome,Attack the Block. I also share my thoughts and views on recent cult movie/TV news, having a good time with personal tidbits on my cultural background. You can give that a listen by clicking on the link on the picture below the following disclaimer, or seeking out JFD on various podcast apps and check out #604.
Disclaimer: The podcast contains some profanity, body humor, sometimes crude humor (while doing their best to keep things positive) with some subject matter that may not be family friendly. The JFD audience may differ from the Traveling Orion audience. Much of my input is a side of that I don’t share often share here.
I brought in The Last Angel of History for discussion, an amazing short film from the mid 90s. It’s a meta lined art documentary with a fictional outline, but with real life perspectives on the relation of Black contributions to science fiction, music, writing, and futurist ideals. We get a plethora of guest input from important culture contributors including George Clinton, Derrick May, Samuel R. Delany, Octavia E. Butler, Nichelle Nichols, Juan Atkins, DJ Spooky, Goldie, Ishmael Reed, Greg Tate, Bernard Harris, Kodwo Eshun, Carl Craig, and more.
Here’s a trailer. I highly recommend you check this out if such things interest you.
Overall, I had a wonderful time being a podcast co-host, and would love to do this again. But, I would definitely need to improve, taking each broadcast as an experience. If I had the time and funds to do it, I would also love to take this Traveling Orion blog on the road as a podcast (also do more filming shorts). That’s all still possible someday, so please help encourage me if you think I should!
I love a good bookstore, especially with a staircase that leads to room with more books.
One favorite staircase is from Ophelia Books in the Fremont neighborhood in Seattle, located one block north of the Fremont Bridge. It’s got a nice collection of used books at very decent prices.
But the coolest aside from the books, is that awesome staircase noticeable at entrance. It’s a narrow spiral, and important that you watch your step going down. Take it downstairs, then browse their science fiction, mystery, lots of non-fiction books of many subjects.
I was there recently, filling in time before a meeting. I found some good books on journalism history, and The Dictionary of Science Fiction Places. I would take the past and future with me, back up the spiral staircase. I will travel this way again.
And now I ask. Do you have any favorite used book stores with cool book cases? Or just favorite book stores? Please share with me in the comments!
I appreciate a surprising, grand visual moment where you stop thinking and just admire its beauty.
The above picture shot was taken a few weeks ago, between the Snoqualmie forest and Issaquah, an hour east of Seattle. At the time and depending on your direction on the 91 freeway, you will witness an amazing change 15 minutes later in continuous driving. The forest scenery either switches to damp green bareness or all covered in lush white snow. The landscape change is gasping to see witness, seeing how nature can change with the ever-changing, deeply varied Pacific Northwest weather.
That long snowline is unreal, perfectly straight at a very distinct level. I stared, trying to figure out…how? There’s a science in that somewhere, probably with the atmosphere and density. I tried to find more information online, with no immediate answers. I welcome any explanation below in the comments.
I love reading new comic books and graphic novels, which has been a constant for over three decades now. I support the sequential arts industry, its creators, the publishers, and all that moves this form of storytelling.
For my annual tradition, I share again my list of the best comic books and graphic novels, released and fresh last year. The list is on strangerworlds.com, a site I contribute too.
If you have any favorite comics, graphics novels of 2021 that I missed, or just books I should read….please tell me below (or in the link). And I would love to hear your opinions on my reads, or if you add them to your list.
But most of all, keep on the book shelves and enjoy those new reads!
Here’s a special theme for this post…walking together in the snow. Trailing through a beautiful place where snow cover is an amazing, poetic experience meant to be shared.
So, I hereby mix up today’s pictures recently taken by me, with a poem (Velvet Shoes) by Elinor Wylie, an American poet and novelist of the early 1900s. She lived an interesting yet shortened life of 43 years; married three times, wrote five novels and multiple poems. This poem is timeless, and perfect for a snow walk through the woods.
I will share more details on the pics, at the end.
“Let us walk in the white snow In a soundless space; With footsteps quiet and slow, At a tranquil pace, Under veils of white lace.
I shall go shod in silk, And you in wool, White as white cow’s milk, More beautiful Than the breast of a gull.“
“We shall walk through the still town In a windless peace; We shall step upon white down, Upon silver fleece, Upon softer than these.
We shall walk in velvet shoes: Wherever we go Silence will fall like dews On white silence below. We shall walk in the snow.“
The candid pictures were taken at Ravenna Park, a beautiful little ravine forest in north Seattle. The park is a 1/2 mile stretch where you can spend a day not admiring it enough. I can never visit there enough and will take any excuse to trail again. The recent snow here was amazing, and a lot of fun for photography. The first shot was taken above the Ravenna Bridge. The others are of the main path through the park. have more pictures, which I will share soon. These three pics with the theme of others walking though, just deserved its own special post.
I’m having fun again, with my old and slowly outdated DSLR camera.
Show me fresh shapes, crazy lights, tricky angles, strange surfaces. With the right camera, fun will will happen, as I shall go for some interesting shots.
Recently here in downtown Seattle, I took my old Canon T5 with a 24mm lens for an evening walk. The weather remained chilly, as some recent snow remained scattered through the streets. I originally looked around for some dramatic themes of cold winter weather, while also picking up some food to go. But upon checking for what remained open, I read on some “SLU After Dark” displays in the South Lake Union area. These were four light-up, interactive art installations. All of which were temporary on display until the end of 2021, and then likely moved elsewhere.
The display labeled Prismatica caught my eye the most, by RAW, a Canadian architecture firm. Prismatica is a series of prisms filled with color lights, where anyone near may give each a spin. It’s simple yet dazzling amusement with an incalculable amount of experiences in visual joy brought with variances of light, motion, position, and your reaction.
So, I took pictures with my camera. At first, very difficult to get a good angle many, while the snow also distracted in each shot. Yet, I was a surprised at some results of myself trying, but up close. Depending on what you looked through, what reflected, finding yourself in them, and different cam settings; some very interesting results. Here are some favorites through different glass layers using a combination of bouncing of colors, reflections, focus depths…
That was all good fun. I love to try this again soon, but with warmer weather.
Let’s welcome 2022 with cheerful optimism and a positive outlook. Everything we hope and should strive for should be better, right? I plan to, because I am tired of complaining about the previous years, and feeling burned out through each. 2022 has a great ring to it all, because the number and the end of many things are usually great.
I recall 1982, 1992, 2002, 2012 were all great years in my life. Great things often in 2s. The best movie sequels that surpass the first, for example – Terminator 2, Back to the Future 2, Toy Story 2, Spider-Man 2 (of the Raimi trilogy), Godfather 2, Superman 2, Star Trek 2: The Wrath of Khan. 2 also means you have the initial momentum in succession of something, breaking away from the loneliness that is associated with just 1.
So, that means we can expect better things with twice the 2.
22 is also a mathematical wonder. It’s an even composite number and a semiprime. 22 is also a pentagonal number and a centered heptagonal number. 22 divided by 7 is also Pi (π). The atomic number of titanium is 22. The Paramount Pictures logo has 22 stars. The 22nd letter of the English alphabet is a V, a shape that can symbolize victory or peace. 22 is the number on the legendary football player Emmitt Smith’s jersey of the Dallas Cowboys.
So, I foresee 22 and 2 shared in the same breathe as something that achieve greatness. With that, I have no resolutions for this year. This Calvin and Hobbes moment from Bill Watterson best sums up my plans ahead…
Happy New Year and look forward to 2022, with a smile.
It was just a weird, bothering time around the Sun. Early on, the January 6th attack on the Capitol felt very surreal. The pandemic still lingers on, ending with the rise of the Omicron variant. Anti-vaxxing movements have become mainstream. Supply chains involving mass cargo on boats have slowed down drastically. There’s still some computer chip shortage. Workplaces are in need of new workers, but a lot not wanting to return to a being underpaid and treated poorly (I am among them). Seattle received some record heat weather at around 108 degrees Fahrenheit, while having two crazy snowfalls in opposite winter seasons. Lots of brutal weather around the world, probably from climate change. Crypto currency is a super crazy thing people are into now. NFTs are huge, and the less you know about them, the better…unless you are super into them. Inflation is wacky. There is so much that we could have done without, but made the year interesting.
I’ve also been very busy with a lot of personal baggage while dealing with a mid-life crisis. There’s a lot of ups and downs, but I do my best to keep going and always find new things to smile about. Sometimes, that’s with friends new and old, in person or online. There’s a lot of mental health concerns among us. But, there’s good stuff. I have new, bigger apartment. I cook a lot more. I have an exciting project that I have been spending a lot of time on, and will hopefully reveal with satisfiable progress in the coming months ahead.
I also adopted Smokey, a 3 yr old rescue cat from Seattle Humane animal shelter.
How cute is Smokey? She demands a lot of attention sometimes, usually when I am on my computer. I have much to write on the challenges of cat ownership, which I will eventually share.
Here are some other fun things and notes that I loved about 2021:
Favorite full movie released in 2021 – The Suicide Squad, directed by James Gunn
Favorite animated movie released in 2021 – Klaus (on Netflix)
Favorite documentary released in 2021 – Life in Color with David Attenborough
Favorite standalone streaming TV series released in 2021 – WandaVision (on Disney+)
Favorite continuous or new streaming TV series in 2021 – Chucky (The TV series)
Best satire of 2021 – Don’t Look Up (movie on Netflix)
Best dumb pop culture trend of 2021 – Squid Game
Favorite short audio stories and narratives – NPR’s This American Life
Favorite YouTube channel of 2021 – Casually Comics, a look at comics past and present, with very fun commentary
Best music album of 2021 – Floating Points, Pharoah Sanders & The London Symphony Orchestra – Promises
Favorite movie soundtrack vocal of 2021 – Billie Eilish – No Time To Die (For the James Bond: No Time to Die)
Favorite fiction book I read in 2021 – Crossings by Alex Landragin (came in 2019, but I really liked it)
Favorite non-fiction book I read in 2021 – Black Journalists, White Media by Pamela Newkirk (2020 released)
Favorite graphic novel of 2021 – The Body Factory by Heloise Chochois
Favorite comic book series of 2021 – Stray Dogs by Tony Fleecs and Trish Forstner
Favorite video game I played in 2021 – Yakuza: Like a Dragon
Favorite wrestling match of 2021 – Bryan Danielson vs Kenny Omega- AEW Buy In Event
Snoqualmie Pass did not disappoint with snow over the recent Christmas weekend.
This popular Washington State mountainous area was a treat to help make up for a very quiet and otherwise dulled outlook to this holiday season peak. A spontaneous adventure was due, traveling with an old friend who worked in the area. With no New Years plans, ruined by the rising Omicron, I needed this. I never been to the Snoqualmie Pass, therefore it interests me, especially with its famed winter snowfall.
Snoqualmie Pass is a mountain passage in the Cascade Range deep in the Snoqualmie Forest, west of the Snoqualmie Valley, with an elevation of 2,726 ft (831 m). The area is named after the local indigenous Native American tribe, part of the Coast Salish peoples of the Pacific Northwest. Snoqualmie Pass was well-known and utilized by indigenous natives long before U.S settlers set foot in the early 19th century. Over time, the area was planned for a large railroad line expansion, then eventually abandoned.
The Interstate 90 is now the main highway in and out of the area, and 54 miles east of Seattle. The famed Pacific Crest Trail also crosses through the area, a long hiking route that stresses far to the south through California, almost to the Mexico border. The Snoqualmie Pass remains small, but very significant in the Pacific Northwest with a very small population, 311 according to the 2010 U.S. census. The main draw for tourists is now the cluster of four ski areas with resorts stationed throughout: Alpental, Summit West, Summit Central, and Summit East.
After a serene and slow morning drive (about an hour and a half from Seattle), I set foot on some deep and plentiful snow. There was little purpose after, other than to escape the stressful city and explore the snowy landscapes a little, work on a writing project while my driver friend does some skiing. I did some observations of skiing sport and local activity, thinking of future plans to return and gain more from the area. Someday, I would like to partake in the sport of skiing and also do some snowshoe hiking.
Here are some pics, with notes!
The lifts at the Summit at Snoqualmie, early in the morning during a light snowpour. Activity greatly rose around the noontime, for where I was inside sipping on local beer and working on a project.
Well, that’s all for now. But, I will definitely return to the Snoqualmie Pass, hopefully with ski gear!
I hope you (yes, you!) had a wonderful, warm, and safe Christmas weekend.
I did, though I would have preferred a more traditional day with many friends and family. The pandemic and rising Omicron variant have put a severe damper on that prospect. Still, thanks to the wonders of modern technology with the video conferencing and cellphones, had a lot of heartwarming talks and goofy discussions of the Matrix Resurrections movie (mini-review at the end).
Through the day of Christmas Eve, I went on a small road trip to the Snoqualmie Pass in the mid Washington State mountain region. The snowpack did not disappoint, with about 11 inches fallen in that last 72 hours. I have never been there before, as I wanted at least one small adventure for this Holiday season. So I enjoyed my time, and will write more on it soon.
On Christmas, I spent much of the day alone in my apartment with my cat, Smokey, who was extra cuddly that day. Some friends online could not visit their families that day, citing a lack of vaccination at the dinner tables. So for much of the day, we spent smiling, chatting, updated on our lives though our webcams and microphones. With that exchanging fun video bits from YouTube, and played some Jackbox.tv games online (Quiplash, Drawful 2).
And, I got to share this hilarious comedy sketch from the BBC of a Nativity production gone horribly wrong. Lots of fun, and very clever near the end.
And then the next day, we got Snowpacalypse in Seattle 2, Holiday Boogaloo!!! Lots of snowfall happened overnight and through the day. Of course, I took a long walk. This time, to somewhere different and visual stunning. I have many pictures, of which I will sort out later and share soon. The location, I will keep hidden for now.
Here are some snow pics in the meantime, from Seattle downtown and somewhere in the north of Seattle.
That’s all for now. Stay warm, safe, and cheerful out there!
– Orion T
Bonus movie review: Matrix Resurrections is a reminder that truly creative work owes us nothing, leaving more room for appreciation to be given. I had a lot more typed about that, but then it ‘s more than what I wrote above. Maybe, I will share more on this later. It’s still a great movie for it’s meta-humor, original themes reexplored, and multi-layered relationships. But, the viewer needs to free their mind of what to expect or want, and what may not be given.
Who thought of the simple, timeless recipe that for s’mores?
For those unfamiliar, s’mores are a simple stack of of two graham crackers, with a freshly roasted marshmallow and chocolate bar part in between. It’s all best enjoyed with the company of others partaking in the roasting and messy consumption.
Here is some history on s’mores, found on Wikipedia:
S’more is a contraction of the phrase “some more”. S’mores appeared in a cookbook in the early 1920s, where it was called a “Graham Cracker Sandwich”. The text indicates that the treat was already popular with both Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts. In 1927, a recipe for “Some More” was published in Tramping and Trailing with the Girl Scouts.
The contracted term “s’mores” appears in conjunction with the recipe in a 1938 publication aimed at summer camps. A 1956 recipe uses the name “S’Mores”, and lists the ingredients as “a sandwich of two graham crackers, toasted marshmallow and 1⁄2 chocolate bar”. A 1957 Betty Crocker cookbook contains a similar recipe under the name of “s’mores”.
The 1958 publication Intramural and Recreational Sports for High School and College makes reference to “marshmallow toasts” and “s’mores hikes” as does its related predecessor, Intramural and Recreational Sports for Men and Women, published in 1949.
For many years since, s’mores remain an awesome and very inexpensive treat for the coldest of days, very easy to prepare with little mess, except on the fingers.
It’s been too long and before the ongoing pandemic since I roasted a marshmallow above an open fire, prepping for this epic treat. And then yesterday on Friday, I did. Roasting the marshmallow is an authentic necessity for perfect s’mores. Such activity brought special joy, making the smores thereafter, all the more enjoyable.
This, was part of a local event in downtown Seattle event at Freeway Park. There was also cake decorating, caroling, other fun things going on in the early evening there. All was much fun, though I couldn’t stick around for too long. I had dinner plans soon after the s’more and some chatting, and then a movie theater seat for Spider-Man: No Way Home.
Anyway, love the s’mores as the yummiest part of an awesome night, as I should make time in the near future for some more.
– Orion T
I want to give a huge thanks and shoutout to Valerie for tagging me to the event on Facebook. Valerie is a local historian who posts up some fascinating bits on Seattle history at wedgwoodinseattlehistory.com…highly recommended and worth following via WordPress!
Bonus movie review: Spider-Man: No Way Home is super fun, and a special fan service to those familiar with the last two decades of Spider-Man and Marvel films. For those not, probably an odd and confusing experience. This is a film that knows its audience, and caters heavily with action, humor, and some very emotional bits. Two thwips up!!
Tis the season, from here in the Pacific Northwest…
As the air is cold, the ground is damp, and the day sky is many shades darker. Yet anew, this month of many Holidays brings light and warmth with a fresh mix of seasonal lights, cheery sounds, and activities to enjoy in this rough time.
Especially lately with the ongoing pandemic and bleak news as they can bring a heavy heart down further. This time can be difficult as not everyone has the comforting company or financial stability to help balance out the daily struggles that will not disappear. Especially in Seattle, I feel can be an especially hard city to be mentally struggling for many here dealing with growing socio-economic changes that favor the privileged. Also, the Seattle Freeze is still very real. Yet, we try our best to keep a smile and look forward. I see the Holidays time cheers as a much needed necessity to our collective well-being.
The holiday cheers much help. Every directional salutation of Happy Holidays followed by a smile from merchants, baristas, co-workers, friends, and strangers adds warmth and light to this darkest and coldest of months. There are many public events and sights to witness, especially at and around the Pike Place Market area. We share with something for everyone, leaving room to give and help those troubled and less fortunate. Come together with the best we can, to get through the Winter Solstice, wrap up the longer and eventual year, and also enjoy the Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, Rohatsu, Festivus, Life Day, etc. and more with out friends and family.
So, enjoy the holiday decor that lights up the streets and guide our shopping, as they have a universal appeal. Here are some glorious sights of lights from my local area in Seattle (Westlake Center).
“Autumn is a second spring when every leaf is a flower.”
Albert Camus – French philosopher, author, journalist, 1957 Nobel Prize winner.
You may notice these “flowers” with their varied sizes and colors, falling to the ground now, especially if you live to the far north in areas of high tree density. This is the best time to look down, admire the scatters, see massive landscapes covered. Some remain on their branches, each telling their own story, waiting for the cycle to end, so others may eventually begin.
Here are some pictures of some select leaves in various states, ready to move on as this season brings beautiful change.
Through every developed mega-metropolis, should stay a sensible guided rail system as excellent transport. On this rail, are scheduled fast-moving boxcars, stopping at main points of access, where most of the distance has been traveled in a considerably short and convenient time comparable to a rush-hour commute.
And for Seattle, there is our Light Link Rail system. An awesomely modern form of public transportation for over two decades, cutting through its narrow main stretch of land, squeezed and shaped by two large bodies of water. The city can not spread out. But, it will likely increase in population density. The city needs this system.
With this increase, so must the car traffic. Frustrations happen on where to park, getting to work on time, not missing a flight. Yet for Emerald City, the Link Light Rail is a huge boost. I rely on it often, to zoom past traffic lights and daily street inconveniences, to give myself more time and less worry. I can venture easily to and from Angie Lake, past the SeaTac Airport, past the sports arenas, through Downtown, eventually north to the University of Washington.
And now, to my delight this October, the Seattle Light Rail added three more stops to its path. Now, past its Husky Stadium, eventually to the Northgate station. But first, there is the new University District stop, which I highly recommend for local shopping and entertainment. I often treasure hunt at Al’s Music and Games, get spooked at Gargoyles Statuary, check out rare movie showings at the Grand Illusion Cinema, The Roosevelt station is next, which brings you very close to Ravenna Park, a dense mini-forest well-worth strolling through (see my previous entry). And last for now is Northgate Station, where you will find many very large and boring corporate department stores, which are sometimes needed.
The whole stretch between Angie Lake and Northgate is about 22 miles. The ride from one end to the other is 1 hour and 15 minutes. With daily rush hour traffic, the rail is the superior choice in pretty much any two areas to save money and time.
There is more to say about the subtle cheer of riding a rail system, going underground, and rising above. All gently along with the hum of its simple fixed positioning, feeling a bit more relaxed with less to worry about with more assured timing. The more stops on our rails, the more pleasant the plan.
The best way to appreciate the Fall season, is to appreciate what becomes of it.
Many people complain about the Pacific Northwest weather after the summer season. Not me, for I believe here shows a pleasant trade off to the warm weather and blue skies. A return to nature, a cycle of renewal, a time for periodic harvesting. To benefit, is to get through the minor inconveniences of darkened skies and wettened soles.
I see the refreshments of fresh Fall colors of earthly greens, oranges, yellows, browns, and much more variety between brought about by the plentiful trees and shrubbery. The season enhances, by spreading from the sky, unto the ground, mixing what was cleared, now a beautiful mess. A good rain and infrequent loosens the stems, brining leaves to the ground, and then see why the Autumn (aka as from a history of French borrowing from Latin) season became more commonly named, Fall. Because the leaves must Fall, for the seasonal cycle to make sense.
Meanwhile, here are some magnificent captures from a recent walk to Ravenna Park, a half-mile narrow ravine below two large bridges. This stretch is perfect for jogging, casual strolls, ruminating, and of appreciating the Fall season. You’ll find this park, located closely north of the University of Washington, in north Seattle.
These pictures are not all of Ravenna Park, that I intend to share. This park has much beauty, which I will features more of in future postings. In the meantime, go take a walk through your nearest park and appreciate what the Fall has given.
Today, I took a long walk in my Seattle neighborhood between errands, from the Magnolia Bridge in Interbay to Pike Place Market, mostly along the waterfront trail overlooking Elliot Bay.
The pleasant, mostly concrete path stretched about 2.3 miles (4 km). It took my feet about two hours, as I stopped often to enjoy a little moment, answer a text, eat some snacks, take a few pictures, write. The trail was narrow, with rocks separating much of the developed green and calming waters. The weather was perfect, being that last little bit of warm sunshine, stretched from the summer, mixed with the breeze of this new fall, squeezed by days of much-needed rain.
I noticed some drawn angels etched on some rocks in a few places. The artist is unknown, with an intent purpose to perhaps delight, and maybe let us know…that yes, there are angels out there in unexpected places. I don’t know, but I appreciated their presence.
Nature often plays with our imagination, leading our wandering minds to double take and circle around, checking to both look closer at details an observe the widest landscape. We notice the natural developments of trees, bushes, rocks presenting the beauty of patience, giving a long story to how its ecosystem builds itself, coexists until practical use comes to an end, then very slowly comes apart.
And even them remains stories in the shapes of old, long after life, passing on its place for some new telling. So goes forth, what you make of the enduring remains, leading to new inspirations. And like much of what I have written on this twisted resilience, is not exactly clear yet.
– Orion T
The above pictures are from a recent hike at Whatcom Falls Park, near Bellingham, Washington. Highly recommended for casual hikers and satisfyingly short-term wanderlust.
The view from Rattlesnake Ledge nearly atop Rattlesnake Mountain, is worth the medium level hike from Rattlesnake Lake.
I love the Pacific Northwest mountain areas, with its many hikes offering forest blanket views. The trail to Rattlesnake Ledge is a most popular one among visitors to the Seattle area, with easy access parking and the lovely small town of North Bend nearby.
Rattlesnake Ledge, located in the Snoqualmie Forest, takes about 2-3 hours with good pacing with 6.5 km (4 miles) total. The peak is 2078 feet high (about 1/3 of a mile). Much of the trail is stead uphill workout, a good starter for those less experienced with mountain hikes.
However, it’s not a place I best recommend on the best, sunniest days. It’s a spot that tourists hit often, and the very top can be dangerous when there’s two many people. The rocky area has no rails, no flat platforms, and no room to be reckless and stupid. It’s better to go here on a weekday, maybe more on the morning. People have slipped and fell to their death from this ridge. Take your time, have shoes with good traction, and stay cautious of where you step.
See those little dark spots through the water of Rattlesnake Lake? Those are mostly tree stumps, as that lake was a small, short-lived logging town over a century ago, eventually flooded out. When the water level is much lower, the stumps are visible and otherworldly to witness. I wrote and took pictures from a previous visit, here.
Beautiful up close texture of the the ledge’s rock side. Surely, a geologist can share stories of this spot, just from studying details here.
A little plant, growing out from the side. Alone and enjoying the view for the rest of its life.
That’s all for now. I have more pictures from more recent adventures, with some surprises. I also have some video, but need more time to sort through clips and edit. Keep adventuring in the meantime, and enjoy what nature offers you!
“Summer will end soon enough, and childhood as well.”
― Famed writer George R.R. Martin, A Game of Thrones
When I was a little one newly understanding the concepts of time and seasons, I never stopped to realize that I have only one summer a year. Every summertime from then on, such a thought has escaped me until now. I measure my time in years, when I should be measuring in this favored time of escape and letting my inner child run free under the piercing, brightest sun. Every summer enjoyed is a complete year in my growth cycle (also, my birthday happens at the end of a summer cycle).
I would love to enjoy over 100 summers, but then 10, 20, 30, and eventually 40 has been a wonderous blessing. There is a remaining inner child part of me, that finds myself wanting to play in some water and kick up some sand. Enjoy the summer as I should. Maybe someday should I get through 50, 60, 70 or eventually 80 summers and beyond, I shall build a mighty sand castle and declare myself king of the beach, being very wise yet childish to those around me.
– Orion T
The picture above is recent of Alki Beach in West Seattle, my favorite beach of the Seattle area. The Spidey-bike belonged to some little girl, learning how to ride.
108 F degrees happened in Seattle today, breaking an all-time record for hottest day in this city. Portland also broke its all-time heat record at 115 F degrees. This heat wave in the Pacific Northwest is excessive!
Yet, I kept myself cool for most of the day. I went out for a few errands around noon, finding that lemonade was a sold-out commodity in the downtown area. No lemonade seen on any shelves of some local stores I checked, nor at any Starbucks or popular eating areas (or, so I was told by a few local venders). I was craving lemonade, and settled on just making my own later.
For the rest of the day, I stayed indoors blocking out the sunlight through all my windows, and keep my oscillating fan on setting 3 and very loud. I devoured four popsicles.
I hope everyone else stuck with this weather made it through, maybe found a fun way to keep cool. I think today is the height of the rough weather, and hope we can back to usual unpredictable mix of clouds and sun at 70-85 F soon.
– Orion T
The above is picture is of Westlake Avenue, through the top of an clear sippy cup of iced water.
It’s a most excellent day, to be at Alki Beach here in West Seattle.
The temperature is perfect at about 75 Farenheit, so expected to climb to about upper 80s later on. Here, is a sweet steady breeze. It’s not overcrowded with people yet. And best of all, the day is free for me.
That means I have time to plan, to figure out future travel ideas (especially on filming!) . Hardest parts that I must ponder will be money, and time. Also, going to do some freestyle writing and light reading.
So, I must put down my phone soon, and make the best of my awesome surroundings.. I hope your day is pleasant as well, and enjoying some great summer weather.