Did you know that frogs don’t drink water? They soak it through their skin.
Or know that a frog can shred a layer of skin about once a week? The old dead skin is not wasted. The frog usually eats it.
Did you know that most frogs have teeth? Frog teeth are located in the upper jaw, which are used to hold its prey before swallowing it whole. Prey depends on the size of the frog, from insects to pocket-sized animals.
There are over 5,000 species of frog. The study of frogs is called Herpetologists.
A group of frogs is called an army.
Ranidaphobia is the fear of frogs.
Some people also have frogs as pets!
Frogs are a huge part of pop culture for every generation. Frogs are very everywhere in books, games, movies; as princes, mascots, obscure B movies, lots of mythological references. I love Kermit the Frog, who I see as the best frog.
I would love to know what your favorite frog is, fictional or not!
Top picture is taken off the Shadow Lake (not to be confused with Shadow Lake in King county, WA) trail near Sunrise Point very high up at about 6400 feet in the Mount Rainer National Park, Washington State. I recently did some hiking there, and will share more on that soon.
The days are packed for me, yet the sidewalks still seem empty during this weird pandemic time.
I recently took to the streets of Ballard, a northern district Seattle with a quiet small town feel, lined with boats and docks to the west. It’s an area often missed by visitors with little tourist draw, yet plenty for those loving the deep Pacific Northwest charm of old shops, restaurants, decades old buildings, hints of history throughout, and some cheerful little oddities.
Recently, I finished some extra work in Ballard, which took about a week of back and forth commutes, filled with sorting and paperwork. After the last hours of that assignment, I looked to the sky with plenty of daylight left, inhaled the cool summer evening breeze. With comfy shoes and a half charge phone with no messages to respond to, I went for a long pointless walk around Ballard.
Much remained closed and limited from the ongoing pandemic. Few persons were seen scattering about, probably with purposes of commuting back home, not the aimless adventuring I love. The weekday evening might as well been a Sunday morning, as most remain in their homes.
I would not go home just yet, as I held free time and a thirst for adventure has no schedule. I dive in with comfy shoes, a half-charged phone.
Here are some street sights taken then, with notes….
Here is a cool vintage car, 50’s I think. I’m not sure on further details, but it’s a nice combination of beautiful metal shapes and shines.
I love some good wheels, as none should ever go to waste. Let them inspire other working wheels along the way!
I see not a pipe, but an elephant bellhop standing before me! This was to the side of the Mox Boarding House, a highly recommended hub for tabletop gamers (next to Card Kingdom).
Not a pandemic sign. I learned this was to promote…something…by some years ago by local writer Isaac Marion. If you call the number, there’s a very cryptic and bizarre message. More on that here.
Twice Sold Tales Books store in Ballard (different than the one in Capitol Hill). It was closed, but I love the sign!!! There’s not enough signs with dinosaurs on them.
After errands in these shutdown weeks, I often take a small detour through Freeway Park in Downtown Seattle (located above Interstate 5).
Why? Because I need to, to help mentally cheered in this tough time. I must place myself in these city-developed little pockets of nature, to hear the birds chirp and peek at the squirrels. To enjoy the lush greenery and surroundings of gardens, grass, shubbery. This is my treatment of the stir-crazy confines of home.
Also lately, I check on the the cherry trees in full effect for the early Spring, reaching the end of their grand presentation. This is a show that is not cancelled, and moving on well…
The trees here are beautiful in some unique way for every season. But this round of developed silken bright blossoms is a particular show. These display a picturesque beauty, a scattered show of delicate petals tied together in the air, clustered to show an overall storybook setting. This global pandemic changing nothing for them, for the show continues.
But soon, this show will slowly end. The blossoms take a bow, slowly dropping to the ground. I look to the slow finale, feeling appreciative that this process moves on as a natural exception to the sadness of the global pandemic.
I share below, feeling somewhat lucky to have these wonderful views, with likely a bit more current freedom to walk around than other parts of the world. Hopefully, these sights will bring a smile, and reminder of some beautiful normal things still moving on…
It’s been a weird last few months, for reasons now inescapable throughout our current hours of civilization. We collectively must stay apart, stay isolated, be sanitized, lower the curve of those infected, allow and support our busy medical workers.
I’m doing my part in my tiny Seattle apartment, keeping busy with projects, working at home, supporting others. But then, usually every other day, I must go out for errands. I take the routes through downtown where people are less likely, the broader sidewalks, avoid any huddled situations.
Throughout the typically tourist-heavy area of the downtown Seattle area around Pike Place Market, there are empty spaces. The air is cleaner, quiet, calming. Voices are few, silent, reserved for essential communications. I pass by someone infrequently, remain distance but smile to spread positive vibes.
I also carry my camera often. It’s not the best, just a Canon Rebel T6…great for those with decent incomes. I have many lenses for it. My current one I often use now is the EFS 18-136mm macro lens. It’s a beauty for sure, but it also weighs a little more than I am used to when placing it in my backpack. For these big empty streets, it’s a perfect accessory to capture these surreal moments.
From this week, I share some favorite moments captured from my essential walks.
That’s all for now. Take care and be safe out there.
Stay home if you are sick, avoid crowds, use keep washing those hands.
Weeks ago, many passed off the COVID-19 strain as just another virus, something that may die out soon, and whatever else puts most of our 1st world lives feel comfortable, and at ease.
But, then comes those little alarming reports of rising cases, people affected, and the deaths, all increasing at an exponential rate. Such was local here in Seattle, but then reported in other states, and other countries, and you then you look back outside, and the magnitude of the situation becomes global.
In the downtown streets of Seattle, the streets gain an unsettling emptiness. Devoid of heavy entertainment, there is mere purpose left among visitors and locals. Local business owners and staff share in the melancholy silence, lacking participation and their future in question. I choose a few small stores to spent money on some simple things around the Pike Place Market, doing what little I can with those little ounces of morale to spare.
Recently, the World Health Organization declared COVID-19 a pandemic. Italy remains quarantined, and many significant events closed down or canceled. Some are far more affected than others, and I feel a bit fortunate not to suffer at the bottom. Yet, I am also unhappy at the slow, messy response by our national government under the current Executive Branch administration. Still, we listen together now, anxious for the unknown days ahead and hope for a bounce-back recovery soon.
I felt a wandering need between destinations. I am currently unemployed and feeling the struggle of this new emptiness. Now, there are no new friends, no new gatherings. I fight this further despair with home projects, but taking a moment infrequent to appreciate the new calm. I reflect on what will be a hard lesson for humanity, that our civilization that relies on commerce and consumption means nothing to microscopic strains of viral infections. We should be mindful of each other; help when needed. That is how we best get through and keep living.
Meanwhile, here are some recent pictures of the new quiet around the normally tourist heavy areas of downtown Seattle. I hope for a return to the usual noise soon.
That clownfish, also known as anemonefish, are born male, But, the dominant adult one of its group becomes female when the previous one dies. It’s an irreversible change, where it can then reproduce with another male, for the next generation of hermaphroditic organisms.
Clownfish are mostly found in coral reefs in south Asia, and Australia, feeding on a diet of plants and very small organisms (algae, zooplankton, tiny crustaceans). Clownfish live in harmony with sea anemones, sharing in food scraps and immune to their tentacle released toxins meant for prey. Those anemones also cover as shelter from larger predators. The clownfish pays their kindness back by removing parasites, and sometimes standing guard.
These strange factoids are just morsels of the countless grand wonders that make up of our complex planet, and build ecosystems meant to naturally create a long-lasting system of life coexistence.
I learned of such and more in a recent visit to the Seattle Aquarium on Pier 59, where I took the above pictures. Such wonderful things, I will share of more in later postings, spread out over future times. I hope you will enjoy, and be as fascinated as I was in observing, learning of these lively occurrences.
I see the going out of business signs more now, spread among the malls, department stores, big names of yesterday giving up their land. Past vibrant with the rising consumerism of societies spending addictions, now withering from the lack of capitalist sunlight focused more on the Amazons of online shopping. Or perhaps, it’s all just from unwise business practices, unpaid loans, and becoming prey for the savvy vulture capitalists who see not the products and potential, but the money to picked from the bones of these once-great behemoths.
Now, the downtown Macy’s store in downtown Seattle is next. It began as the Bon Marché store in 1890 (not to be confused with the famed Le Bon Marché in Paris, founded in 1838), which grew into a chain of its own until about the early 2000’s where a number mergers would end up with its name gone, and eventually put into the Macy’s department store chain collective, based in New York City.
Much like many other Macy’s stores closing in 2019, and more scheduled for 2020, everything must go. Here, the local Macy’s was a familiar cornerstone of Seattle’s big department store scene since its Bon Marché beginnings. The interior was much like any other grand upper-middle class catering atmosphere, with central escalators leading to the usual departments of fashion and home goods. But on the exterior was a felt presence, welcoming to spendy tourists and locals with its vintage architecture built-in 1929 designed by local architect John Graham Sr. During the holidays, its massive Holiday star light decoration would light the way outside for locals and tourists to partake in the seasonal consumerism inside
Its upper floors sold to Amazon for office space in recent years, then eventually struggled with likely expensive upkeep related to booming property values. Macy’s as a downtown Seattle store will end very soon.
I meanwhile, dropped by to scavenge for bargain deals. Not disappointing as I would buy new pants, socks, shirts, that were previously beyond my affordable range. In that venture, I was fascinated by what felt like the end of an era, not just for this Macy’s, but many department stores gone over the recent era. How many will be left by 2030?
But for now, here are some moments observed of these final days of the Bon Marché Pacific Northwest legacy, founded in 1890. At least, it had a good full century run.
Lately, I feel this city is getting that crazy reputation for rain, because that’s what’s been happening this winter season. Sure, Seattle has its overall reputation of rainfall. But, I am not impressed with the amount of rain we get in this crazy town over the years, after moving here in 2012. We get the showers a lot, but often not feeling very drenched or feeling the need for galoshes and durable umbrellas.
Yet, here we are after nearly a full month of rain in January. That’s 29/31 days with 9.23 inches average, beating the national January 2020 average at 5.57. Yep, it’s really raining, and not a drizzle.
Still, Seattle is not the rainiest city in the U.S., not even by a top ten from many studies. According to an updated report last year by worldatlas.com, the most wet action are in some cities of the deep southeast region.
But for now, it’s undeniable wet outside with a forecast of more precipitation ahead.
Hopefully by the end of winter, the showers will slow down and give us a pleasant, more walkable spring season. This wet weather also contributes to a healthy environment cycle, keeps farms going, helps small animals survive naturally, keeps everything growing. I also love looking at those wet streets, cleaned buildings, enjoy the calming sound of pitter-patter in-between.
So, for those in the area feeling a bit too drenched here from this downpour, don’t let the showers get you down. Instead, put on some happy music and let your smile be your umbrella.
– Orion T
The picture above was taken by me in the middle of this rainy season from atop the Columbia Tower. I recall being in a good mood, leading me to appreciate the momentthat rain often brings.
Within the wet winters of the Pacific Northwest, can be the best fresh air and beautiful blue skies. Gazing high, I see freshness and the gentle passing of new time, bringing light and hope to a world that can feel pretty dark sometimes.
Below, I enjoy the often quiet breaks after the bursts of wet, gloomy, rough weather. That goes double for me when out of my big city, and into a neighboring city. Because then, I find more of what I miss.
Recently, I was Portland (Oregon), enjoying some beautiful hours from the weekend. In the morning after a heavy night of heavy showers, I enjoy its calm feel under the bare trees, vintage architecture, setting upon its often quirky gluten-free option heavy atmosphere.
The streets seemed almost empty last Saturday morning, with fewer humans walking about. I stopped by one of the many food truck blocks, seeing them all mostly closed until after the noontime hits.
And you can walk around easy, aimlessly enjoy the open streets, hum a little song, because “Keep Portland Weird” is a community push. I had my usual destinations before my business to do here. I don’t come often, but I never forget my sense of direction through the the central downtown. I know all the main spots I love, especially the Courthouse Square, Cameron’s Books, Ground Kontrol Arcade, Voodoo Donuts, Multnomah County Central Library, a bunch of favorite quirky stores and restaurants through all over the city, and some great parks to let that fresh outside air sink through to the heart.
And, I can never forget Powell’s Books, a place I end up often spending an excessive amount of time indoors. It’s also here, where I easily forget how pleasant the outside is.
I will have to talk more about Powell’s Books, in a feature to its own someday. But for now, here is a picture that best represents me in the Portland moment.
Meanwhile, there is some snow here in the Emerald City, for about three days now.
But, feeling it depends on the area. In the eastern regions of Bellevue to and through the mountains, there is a white winter wonderland now. The northern areas have heavy patches as well. Closer to downtown, not so much, as I notice remains on the rooftops, cars, some around trees. I am not impressed so far…
But, I do appreciate the what the snowfall leaves to the cityscapes. They bring peaceful chill and serenity throughout. I walk and let it sink in, wishing for a little more.
– Orion T
The above pic is taken at the Cultural Landscape Foundation in Freeway Park. This is a place that is wonderful, every day of the year. But the snow changes, makes this view a different special.
I spent some hours in Downtown Los Angeles last week, sadly with two little time to explore much of this grand area.
In the past, I would check out the many awesome murals there, and explore its art galleries. This time not, as I there for other meetings, then moving on to my next destination before the sunfall. Yet, with about 15 minutes to spare, I checked out a couple large murals by the Pico public rail station.
The one from the pic above is byFabio Lopez, who goes by his street artist name Dourone, a Spanish artist from Madrid, Spain. His artwork is featured on many walls around the world, each with a different message and unique vision. Check out more his work via instagram @duourone and on his official site dourone.com
Here below is another mural, in beautiful color giving love to the Clippers and its star player, Kawhi Leonard. The surrounding is a mix of positive messages and imagery that matches the vibe of this colorful city. I could not find any info on the artist.
And that was all for my mural gazing in the downtown area for now. I shall return eventually, and hopefully have more time for urban exploring and other grand mural finds.
So, here I am late again, posting not quite timely. I lost track of time again, not quite looking back or forward. I am here, for each day trying to enjoy some moments when possible.
That’s how I left the previous year and decade, going back to how I began both, by escaping and walking distant ground, collecting my thoughts into sustainable moments of bliss. This time, to my old areas of southern California, to spend time with friends and family.
But finally, the New Year sharing part sinks in, and it’s eventually time to share in that joy, days later. Here was the glory of the first day of my new decade, upon a quite beach that is often used as a backdrop for Miami, Florida in various movies and TV shows. Here the long beach that is upon Long Beach, California.
I walked the first hours of daylight for 2020 late and midday slightly hungover from the Eve before. I embraced the warmish weather (compared to Seattle) healing, walking the local shore. The beach felt soft to my sandals with a lovely gentle breeze highlighted by a fresh blue sky, trying to ignore the bits of trash piled up from the recent firework festivities. I did well to resist the allure of social media and constant messages lighting my pocket sleeve, all Happy New Year or whatever. Rather, I stare into the calm of the larger world offered to me, and it looks back to me.
Very pleasant. This steadied for about 2 hours, taking my sweet time to stop and admire this simple moment. Occasionally, I would cross path with another human. We would smile for a moment, say a Happy New Year greeting, then move on in opposite direction. Sometimes, I would rest on the sand, occasionally taking out my notepad to scribble some thoughts and ideas in preservation of later creative productivity.
There was more to the day, of which I will share soon. And, more to this California trip, and more to the last decade and into this one. I have much fresh content, that I wish to share. But, choices were made towards giving myself time to unplug and rethink my life direction and not treat my writings and content sharing like chores. The timing is off, but the wait to those who share in my joys will find such late belated things to be timeless and worth celebrating on any day. I will post some more good stuff, soon.
The lights above are from a large tree in Central Vancouver (Canada), in a recent visit. I love my blurry shots in a time that feels very unclear yet still colorful. Now, I’m in Southern California with limited online access, feeling more festive inside than outside with family and friends.
Enjoy what the sky gives to the ground, especially after the rain.
The picture above is from the basketball courts in Cal Anderson Park, in the Capitol Hill district of central Seattle. The rain hit hard, and the gloom remains. I returned from an eye exam with my eyes freshly dilated. The world to me was a blur for about 2 hours, But walking around, I can still appreciate the beauty in it when given, and here it was…the peace of the day upon an empty space.
I took the picture in blind faith, that all would work out in the right perspective.
Here’s a big gingerbread person, dancing around at the Candytown Holiday Festival in Yaletown, Vancouver, Canada. Gotta love that!
This fresh cheer has me excited for the goofy carefree spirit of the holiday season (as long as you don’t play into the madness of the shopping season pressures including Stupid Black Friday). More egg nog, please!
I’m here for a few days, seeing old friends and away from stress. I’m also doing my holiday shopping through some cool local businesses, and having a silly blast. Lots of maple flavored things!
“Colour is uncontainable. It effortlessly reveals the limits of language and evades our best attempts to impose a rational order on it… To work with colour is to become acutely aware of the insufficiency of language and theory – which is both disturbing and pleasurable.” – David Batchelor, Scottish artist and writer currently based in London.
– Orion T,
The picture was recently taken up close in a lobby of a new building in downtown Seattle, while waiting for a friend to arrive.
I visit the Post Alley section of Seattle’s Pike Place Market often. There, is a little driveway many tourists in the area miss, paying too much attention to the main market floor. Which is sad, because a great trip to the Pike Place Market is never complete without a walk through the Post Alley to check out the Gum Wall, and the art.
I love the art in that area much more. There are visual changes often, with new papered art often covering up the faded. It’s a mix of entertainment, politics, social activism, self-promotion, humor, and advertisements. I believe the bulk of it defines the true artistic soul of Seattle, as a hub of varied culture and awareness.
So, here are some pics of my latest visit a few days ago..
And some more by the gum wall area.
That’s all for now. I will definitely return to this spot, many more times.
“Autumn is a second spring when every leaf is a flower.” ― Albert Camus, French philosopher, author, and journalist
Here are some wet, wonderful leaves from within Licton Springs Park, a small park in North Seattle. This cozy spot I recommend to wanderers, to take in deep, exciting colors after a long autumn rain. The leaves are now scattered everywhere, many still strong on the trees while others cling to the muddy ground. All are plenty across bridges and steams, connected by damp pathways through a lush mini-forest in the middle of an old neighborhood. This is a little, wondrous place worthy of adventuring for a small time.
Today, on November 11, also known as Veteran’s Day, where we remind ourselves to honor those who served.
This is the day to honor the 18.2 million veterans of the armed forces currently living in the United States. As of 2018 (according to the U.S. Census community survey), an estimated 50% of those veterans are age 65 and older, while 9.1% were younger than age 35. 1 and 12 overall, are women. About 6.3 million are Vietnam-era vets.
There’s more to all that, and most of us probably know a veteran who served, who may have been through combat duty or willing to go into that high level of danger, because they believe in our country that much. We thank them, and give share some extra treatment where we can, perhaps talk and discuss that service, share stories, be proud of them, and never forget. Others can understand, maybe be inspired, or delve more into the lives of those who served, while many among them still have there own battles to fight.
According to a recent report by the Department of Veteran Affairs, 6,139 Veterans in 2017 committed suicide, compared with 5,787 in 2005. About 5.1 are on disability. The number of Veterans with post-traumatic stress syndrome varies by their time of service, where 11-20 out of every 100 Veterans from the Iraq and Afghanistan related conflicts suffer from some form of PTSD. The last count by the VA in January 2018, estimates 37,800 living without a home on a night during that time.
So yes, there is a lot more to this day than parades and social media shout outs, because what this entails is more than the day. Don’t forget, honor, keep communications, and be kind enough to help when needed, to those who served.
The above shot was from the Columbia Tower this morning in Seattle to its Space Needle, with my decent zoom lens.
And with that, a change where the Fall season sets in as the many loosened leaves lose color while fresh chill weather ushers in, and the days become a little darker
Also, National Novel Writing Month, Banana Pudding Lovers Month, No-Shave November, National Adoption Month, Aviation History Month, and probably more special stuff. There’s the rising holiday deco in stores, peeks at Black Friday, and other overly commercialized temptations throughout. Then later, there’s Thanksgiving Day, a four day weekend for many, and probably the point of this year where many are feeling done, ready to look back at it all.
But for me, it’s just the here and now. Enjoying each day when possible, enjoying what this time of the year gives.
The picture above in Seward Park, after a long walk in this nice part of Seattle’s Columbia City area. I was testing some new settings on my camera, with this wild plant soaking in some late day sunlight.
Here, an amazing view from high up my downtown Seattle metropolis, with a mix of dark and lights cloud tones, as peek sunshine and light rain dance slowly about. Meanwhile, the vastness of Elliot Bay provides a smooth, peaceful surface. The Olympic Mountains are beyond, hidden not quite ready to share the scene. I appreciate the moment in short, observing that trancing beauty echoed into future otherworldly inspiration.
The above pic was the side of some house in the Columbia City residential area of South Seattle. Shortly after admiring this display I noticed a yard sale sign pointing to a nearby house. I’m a sucker for yard sales, and finding new use I can make of something leaving an old life.
There, I purchased a round, wooden artwork of an exploring astronaut, perfect for my kitchen. And then, I was greeted by a young girl of elementary school age co-hosting the sale, who invited me to play a little game of skill. Before me upon a driveway, a connected little lane made up of parallel wine corks lined downward. The goal here, to send a narrow roll of once full of masking tape, down but within the cork lane as far as possible. The little host offered a prize depending on skill, but contained with a plastic egg in her basket. I did not get far, but received a tiny porcelain cat, which i would later misplace.
Which is sad, because I enjoyed that little game with that little cat prize. Its place on my shelf would remind me, to perhaps have own moments of joy, maybe recreate that silly game of corks and tape-roll. However, I hold hope that someone would pick that little prize up. Probably, from either the burger restaurant or bus stop where I probably dropped it fumbling for my wallet. Then, continue this silly little story…
I spent some good time over at Alki Beach in West Seattle over this weekend, of which I needed.
During that pleasant time, I stumbled upon a good old-fashioned sidewalk car show along a block of the Alki Park area. Behold, beautiful vintage classic cars (mostly Chevies) of the 50s and 60s, all with polished chrome parts, intricate details, lavish interiors, overall high style. Much love and appreciation were put into restoring these symbols of big car Americana history.
So now, here are some pictures of this recent cultural observance.
This time, for only a couple days after the annual San Diego Comic-Con for my 25th year. I have much to share in that story on, but for now…just appreciate the peace at the end. Details later…
But for this round, I partake in the best of this wonderful piece of California, where I enjoy the amazing Mexican food, embrace the tropical warm summer weather, take a long walk on the Ocean Beach Pier, smile back at the hippy culture vibe. Such are some of the better reasons I love San Diego as one of the best California coastal experiences a visitor could have.
But even better of that experience is to surf the mighty waves, something I wish I could take time to learn (along with swimming, and getting over my fear of drowning), and engage. San Diego seems ideal for such, as Ocean Beach is one of many known for its big waves, and large sandy fronts. I shall return, again and again with a renewed dream to ride the waves.
I love these little tasty tarty things..often ignoring the slightly higher cost at the supermarkets for a good bundle. Rainer cherries are perfect for snacks, best when shared with good friends, and makes the summertime in the PNW a little more special. I also highly recommend them for any Fourth of July get-togethers.
Rainer cherries weren’t always a PNW thing, or anything at all until development in 1952 at the Washington State University by Dr. Harold Fogle, a research scientist of horticulture studies. He crossed two red cherries, the Bing and Van, to create this slightly larger variety with a fiery color blend.
They have a special sweetness and tougher skin, but very sensitive to temperature, wind, and rain. Birds also love the Rainer cherries, almost a bit too much as they pick at large portions of local orchards. Through what’s left, picking good ones can be tedious and require extra care for their soft interior texture in transport. Good results lead to high costs from that extra effort. Yet, locals do appreciate and many are sold.