Up and about Portland in wintertime

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.

– Orion T

Gloomy reflections in dialation

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.

– Orion T

Tearing down the Alaskan Way Viaduct

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The former State Route 99 freeway through Seattle, also known by the waterfront as the Alaskan Way Viaduct is finally coming down. Originally, its construction began in 1949, completed its first version in 1953, then carried on until earlier this year.  In its final full year, the Alaskan Way Viaduct could carry up to 91,000 vehicles per day. But sadly, the viaduct could no longer sustain as it was considered unsafe, and prone to a heavy earthquake. So, away it must go.

In place, will be a lengthy waterfront park area, and I think some new driving lanes. The site will be an overall facelift for this changing metropolis.

– Orion T

 

The new city perspective, from higher Seattle…

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The above shot is from the Madison and 4th Building in downtown Seattle, where I currently work these days. It’s from yesterday, being the last sunny day of summer, but with wind and cold outside ushering in the new Fall Season.

In the distance are two of Seattle’s tallest buildings. To the right, being the 76-floor Columbia Tower, a familiar tower to those who lived here over the last few decades. On the left to the middle is the more recent 44-floor F5 Tower, completed in 2017. Some cool facts: its glass walls are designed to handle temperature and energy use by letting in some sun rays and reflecting others. It uses the same glass as the One World Trade Center in New York City. It also holds rainwater for reuse, has a 35-foot-tall”living wall” where plants grow and have solar energy equipment upon its roof.

On the ground, the F5 is a visually puzzling, odd building among the other skyscrapers. Not exactly straight, and appearing too modern I think. From the ground, its pattern feels a bit off…

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But rising up high in another building and seeing a different angle of the F5, there is a barely seen symmetry to it, that is brilliant and awesome (see top picture).

Maybe someday, I will go inside and see more for myself. Hopefully, up high and getting the chance to look around, and gain new perspectives.

– Orion T

 

 

Breaking down the days behind

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Here, I observe the destructiveness of change, swift and ruthless to some things our new civilization stopped caring about.

I see the dust from a crushing of metal and wood once assembled with care and love. Now, this structure once proud, crushed by monsters with mighty jaws that mash and crunch.

For many months, I walked by this empty building on Olive and Boren, next to the Convention Place Tunnel Station in downtown Seattle. It was a corner spot, two or three stories tall, with blue triming and giant painted birds upon one side. Both side, dirty glass barely reflecting the growing world outside. I know nothing of its history, but I would guess the inside space for a vehicle showtoom, or dance studio. Stuck to another side, a dreaded Notice of Proposed Land Use sign, its mark of doom. The building remained unhabited on the inside, but still a some life on the outside…

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Coming home last week, I walked down the Pine street from Capitol Hill. I could see the clearing out and tearing bits off the Convention Center Tunnel Station. No more waiting in the centered area, as my gateway to buses to the Bellevue, Kent, Lake City area have now scattered to other nearby stops. This is no longer the final stop after the long tunnel rides underneath the good stretch of old Seattle metropolis. I accepted this, as truth that change is constant and not always convenient.

But there, that little building on the corner of the once proud station center suddenly torn down is a sudden shock now. That was an unknown part to my world, a familiar marker to my daily trek, seen often from high and coming down Boren street from Pine.

Now, the building is now mashed and crunched. The monster I watched was vicious, yet precise on which parts to break first. The building is barely recognizable, and I almost looked away.

But, I should not. There is that reminder on the swiftness off a changing city, where the buildings of old are suddenly gone, with no respect towards what they brought to the past. The familiarity they brought to people’s live, are no more. And what comes next, will probably end up less exciting, as I find the new Seattle structures often boring and forgettable.

Meanwhile, cherish other mundane things that can be part of your daily life, for change may come quick, mashed and crunched.

A Present Day for Martin Luther King Jr.

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“In a real sense all life is inter-related. All men are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied in a single garment of destiny. Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly. I can never be what I ought to be until you are what you ought to be, and you can never be what you ought to be until I am what I ought to be…
This is the inter-related structure of reality.”

― Martin Luther King Jr., Letter from Birmingham Jail

Today is the 32nd third Monday of January, known as Martin Luther King Day, in celebration of the greatest civil rights activist leader of our lifetimes. We spend it as a day off for many, and in remembrance of King’s message and strive for justice, liberty, and peace for all.

Here in Seattle, there was a march and a rally held, of which I sadly missed. But the message remained on signs and shirts later on in the day. The current vibe focused on the road ahead toward the full accomplishment of Dr. King’s dream, with sentiments on social movements on civil rights for immigrants, people of color, LGBTQ persons, and others marginalized by oppressive systems.

A general theme can be seen throughout brought on by organizers to “Take a Knee for Justice” referring to the prayer actions of Martin Luther King and company during his famous march in Selma, Alabama, then recently brought back by modern civil rights activist/ NFL star Colin Kaepernick and company, overall in solidarity for wrongs in the system against people of color. Signs throughout are a reminder, there is still much to do, and more unity needed to achieve a nation where persons will not be judged by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character.

– Orion T

 

Snowy Wires Above.

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The electric transportation wires cross-crossed on Broadway and Pine in Seattle’s Capitol Hill are a mildly interesting sight to behold. Seeing them layered with snow bring a further specialness to the quiet night last Sunday, on Christmas Eve.

– Orion T

Picture of Today 5/1/2017 – May Day

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Today was a calm May Day, for nothing too troubling happened here in the Emerald City of Seattle (or so I heard). There were many small marches throughout the day, and no riots.

But, I did happen to observe heavily some evening happenings in the Westlake Center Park of Downtown Seattle. Some pro-Trump supporters arrived and verbally clashed with anti-Trump supporters. Also among them, the usual anti-capitalists, religious promoters, climate-change activists, self-made superheroes,  anti-war groups (some were war vets, I was told), anarchists, and curious tourists. From a close distance and ready, were many armored police officers standing around with batons in hand.

But, most of the local attention circulated around the various tense confrontations between the pro- and anti- Trump groups. Though I heard much childish banter and expletives being thrown about, there was some intelligent talking and debate that occurred. Such civility was strangely refreshing. If we all can’t along, then lets at least talk.

– Orion T

Picture of Today 12/21/16, Winter Begins..


First night of the new Winter,

I went to the bi-annual Punk Rock Flea Market in Cap Hill, Seattle. Always glorious, and just in time for the some last week holiday shopping. I highly recommend to those looking in the area looking to shop local, then buy DIY trinkets and art, used goodies, vintage clothes, plenty of cool odds and ends. The Punk Rock Flea Market has more more day to go, Thursday 12/22. For more info, visit punkrockfleamarketseattle.com.

Here are a few more pics from my trusty phone..


That’s all for now. 

Orion T

Rare Seasonal Snow Night in Seattle…

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Last Thursday night, much of the Seattle lowlands got about one inch of snow. Such is a rare occurrence for this grand city. For myself, the new sights are very exciting, as I have never lived or ventured out in areas with normal snowfall. Yet, there is much beauty to appreciate in the first hours of the mass landscape transformation. Though I was not feeling well from a recent slip, I did go for a stroll in the wall and take some pictures of the Downtown area.

I was not disappointed. I hope you like the following, for these sights made me smile. To share for this festive holiday season is an added joy…

Sorry, I did not get a pic of the great Seattle Space Needle in that time. I underestimated the cold, and my body needed a return to my warm apartment. Perhaps, next time.

– Orion T

 

Picture of Today 9/8/2016, Boldly Still Going..

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50 years ago on this day, a five-year mission began.

To explore strange new life and new civilizations, and you probably know as that message began the science fiction phenomenon, Star Trek. For decades, I have always been a Trekkie at heart, following all the series and all the movies with so much I wish I had the time to say about it all.

And here we are, looking back to the show that put forth some pretty crazy concepts back then (and through later reboots and spin-offs). Behold a crew exploring the final frontier, where all were welcome on a Federation spaceship with no boundaries on race, religion, gender, or non-threatening alien species

Much was already gained in that experience, centuries earlier. We have expedited the tech used in the show. I took the picture above with my phone, that can communicate at the touch of a button. We have computers that can respond to voice commands, give us endless amounts of information at any time, do video-conferences, and more. We have handheld devices that can detect heartbeats, sleep patterns, and give medical data on the fly. With simple instructions, we can produce objects through 3-D printers. Modern VR tech might as well be the earliest form of the holodeck. And if testing goes well, the NASA EM Drive will bring us much faster to the planet Mars. Who knows how far the tech will progress after that?

And, there is so much more to learn from the show about ourselves and the many interesting moral challenges we continue to face. Star Trek examines every facet of humanity to some extent, including religion, war, philosophy, politics. There are challenges to the open mind in many episodes, while there are breaks of fun and action-packed sequences.

Cheer’s to the five-year mission, that was originally televised for less than three, yet expanded and built upon itself for fifty and beyond. The legacy shall last for as long as humanity shall move, perhaps into that final frontier.

But for now, some of us have a railcar to catch. Here is are a couple more shots of the transport craft above, promoting the nearby Star Trek exhibit at the Experience Music Project (EMP) Museum.

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– Orion T

 

Picture of Today 5/15/16, Locked Up



“It’s a lot easier to be lost than found. It’s the reason we’re always searching and rarely discovered–so many locks not enough keys.” 
― Sarah Dessen, Lock and Key

..

Down by the waterfront on a bridge, with the Alaskan Way Viaduct in between.

– Orion T

Picture of Today 3/21/16, Fresh Stop

 

Arrival at the new Univerity District Link Light Rail Station..

The location is new, just opened on Saturday, March 19th. The ride takes anyone from the Univeristy of Washington to the Sea-Tac Airport in one ride; which previously took at least two bus rides, traffic through downtown and the freeway, and 2-3 times the wait. To me, it’s now a pleasant 7-8 minute rush to and from the other new station in Capitol Hill. 

Still, enough time to catch up on some reading.

– Orion T

Picture of Today 3/20/16, Spring Bern

 
The first day of Spring in the rain, near the Key Arena in Seattle.

Also significant are the 17,000+ supporters here waiting for Democratic nominee, Bernie Sanders. He is due to speak nearby, to give a speech to rally his caucus support for the state of Washignton. Some friends were present, as his message resonates with the younger city crowds. While there was much excitement among the many here, I felt a certain calmness overall. Of what, is difficult to pinpoint. Perhaps, the rain and wonderful colors of the blooms above. Maybe, it was the positive vibes of those rallied here to support a message not all may agree with; also a contrast to the gatherings of another candidate much in the news lately, heavy in protests and disruptions. Or perhaps, there are some other good things worth appreciating now and on, that are in the fine details between the big deals in life.

I’m hoping for more Spring rain, at least.

Orion T

Weekend Thoughts 11/29/15, A Needed Peace of the Season..

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Meanwhile in the Emerald City, the Holiday Season feels fresh once again.

Though this could be the same picture as what will happen during the following weeks. To the left is part of a very tall Christmas tree, which was present last year in this very spot, and probably the next. If not for some particular buildings in the backdrop, this deco could be easily mistaken for nearly any developed big city.

What makes the holiday season special is not the deco, but the people what they make of it. Not everyone may find the holiday symbolization as welcome. For example, the night before the above picture was Black Friday, a day infamous for shopping madness frenzy on “doorbuster’ deals; and also for tree lighting ceremonies and opening festivities. It was (and I think becoming) a day for civil unrest and social justice here in Seattle at least, as a massive Black Lives Matters protest developed in the midst of a crowded Westlake Center area. This was similar to last year’s Friday after Thanksgiving. There are many points of view on whether that was a good or bad outside additive to the holiday festivities, but such a happening brought this particular place and setting a somewhat distinct feel to it all.

Here was that tree in the background on that evening..

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The crowd was quite massive, with a mix of emotions on the invasive presence of the Black Lives Matters protesters with chants and signs calling for an end to police brutality, racial discrimination, and social injustice. Walking through the crowd I heard approving and disapproving voices (with dashes of racism as well). For me, my claustrophobia was developing, and thought my place was away from all this. Also, I was very hungry..

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Sadly, I missed out on the fireworks and big Christmas tree-lighting that happened shortly after. Meanwhile,  I felt reminded of recent words from Pope Francis in a recent speech to some Catholic churchgoers: “We are close to Christmas. There will be lights, there will be parties, bright trees, even Nativity scenes – all decked out – while the world continues to wage war….It’s all a charade. The world has not understood the way of peace. The whole world is at war”

And that brought me to thinking while I heard the fireworks boom in the distance, that perhaps the Holiday season does need some change. Should some consideration of what is not right in the world, have a damper on holiday festivities, or should we take time out ponder this incompleteness of our Holiday season?

I felt the reason for the BLM protest; a large group of people felt a disconnect with a dominant status quo on the long-running issues of racism and police brutality in the US, and perhaps that was reason enough to interrupt the joys of tree lighting and musical entertainment. Is it reason enough to interrupt the planned joys to the bigger crowd? That’s for the public to decide, if any change will gain support, or result in resistance. But either way, I felt what the Pope said to where we can’t quite celebrate the spirit of Christmas without considering the larger pictures outside our comfort zones (though he was referring more to the escalating war conflicts). War, injustice, starvation, and other signs of inhumanity..still out there.

So, I will be thinking of some good deeds I can do, perhaps giving and donating to the homeless and less fortunate (an issue I feel this city of Seattle needs to address more). I will read more on what else troubles humanity this Season, and consider what I can do to make a holiday season festive for those who truly need it more.

Meanwhile, we can’t all be magically happy with doorbuster deals and seasonal lights as we start the Holiday Season. I will continue to appreciate any wonderful displays of Christmas decoration, because otherwise the month is too cold. Perhaps, we people should collectively take more time to understand and show some compassion to the distraught toward the time of Christmas Day, even if their messages are not convenient to our liking. That extra warmth and additive in our traditions could go a long way, and make the next Christmas Seasons even more festive.

– Orion T

 

 

 

 

Weekend Fun in Vancouver, Canada..

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Last weekend, I decided to take a trip north past the Washington U.S. border, and visit Vancouver, British Columbia (and Canada) for the first time. The reason being, to satisfy my long-time curiosity on what that big city is like. I have heard much from passing travelers through the PNW on that city beyond the border.

By much, I only heard it was. Much on the high rises, nightlife, booze, hockey cheering, food variety, expensive living and real estate. But having visited Vancouver, I have to say it was all so much more than such simple opinions.

Vancouver is a grand city, that went beyond my expectations. The central area is not enough to explore on a mere weekend. So, I took my time and savored select things and spent time with some friends for a lunch and dinner. For the remainder time, I kept to myself and walked around.

By the end, I can not close or sum up on how wonderful I think the Vancouver central area is. This must be done through repeat visits, and excessive time spent. But for now, I share my pictures and notes below of select moments in my first (of many) Vancouver visit to come.

The first large notable structures I noticed while walking towards downtown.. The Science World Center. If I had the time, I would have went inside and checked this out, as I like big science center things. Also, the big stadium in the back looks fantastic under the bright blue sky. Science and sports, so far so good.

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I noticed many fantastic creative works of art spread about around the long walking paths along the False Creek inlet. On my next visit, I will focus on some particular works and uncover some detailed info on them.

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Enter the city, after a long walk around and across a bridge. Sorry for the lopsided picture. I was too over-excited and forgot to change the lens and settings.

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My first destination was Granville street, and lunch with an old friend. It’s a great row for shopping and browsing through random shops, as I went through many.

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An awesome favorite place I went, the Rock Shop. It’s a fantastic store for various old and new pop-culture related apparel and novelty items. I bought an awesome Hulk (classic Marvel look) cup from there.

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Inside The Factory, on Granville. A small little bar where each food item on the menu is $4.95 (Canadian dollar). I noticed other places with a similar structure. I really liked that idea, and wish more places would try that. As for this place, I liked the service and the food (had a quesadilla plate with dipping sauces).

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The front display of Golden Age Collectibles on Granville street, a highly recommended comic book and collectible store for those into that.

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Later on, I relaxed at the Vancouver Central Library Branch, while giving my phone a much needed charge. Love the architecture here..

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I was quite thrilled to find the Movieland Video Arcade on Granville street. It seemed refashioned after an adult X-rated spot. What seemed odd, was the place being still for 18 years or older. All I really noticed was this selection of game machines, many of which i enjoyed when I was a kid hanging out at old video arcades.

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The Holy Rosary Cathedral. It’s an awesome building, where I think a wedding reception took place at the time of my passing by.

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The Harbour Centre Building is the closest Vancouver has to Seattle’s Space Needle. It looks grand from afar. From up close, not so much. I think I am too used to seeing the Seattle one.

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Here is a place for all book lovers to visit in central Vancouver, Macleod’s Books. This is an amazing used bookstore, where much buried treasure is likely under the overflow stacks throughout. I took out some interesting reference books and paperbacks. I have much to say and share on this store, which I will save for a future posting.

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At the end of the day before dinner with another friend, at Crab Park..

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Later in the night, I tried some poutine; a popular dish to Canadian folk containing fries, cheese curds, and gravy. It was good.

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One last picture, before some boozing with a new friend I met earlier.

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Overall, a great trip and not nearly as expensive as I thought (considering the exchange rate between the US and Canadian dollar). The weather started sunny, ended run on my departure the next day. Next time, I plan to explore the city and surrounding areas much more, as I live about four hours driving distance away.

 – Orion T

Picture of Today 12/8/14, the 5 Point Cafe and Bar

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The 5 Point Cafe and Bar, located very close to the Space Needle of Seattle.

A nice place to eat and sit for a late rainy night, especially when you are not ready to go home just yet. They have good steak dishes, and beer.

Picture of Today 11/14/14

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I spotted this sweet Lamborghini on the way home. I am unsure on the model, betting it’s a very recent year. This dream machine was underneath Seattle’s Space Needle (notice the reflection), and quite the extra treat for passing tourists.

Here is the further away of that…

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Picture of Today 11/12/14

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This evening, life goes on for this city of Seattle. The wind picks up and the current temperature chills down to around 45 degrees Fahrenheit. Outside, most people are either coming or going to where they must. Inside, I will soon cook mash potatoes and smoked salmon.

I look back to what made this day special..

Earlier and 510 million miles away, on a comet traveling at 24,600 miles per hour; the Philae probe made its successful landing upon its surface. This journey took more than 10 years in space travel, with many risks along the way. The purpose is to collect and send data (along with the separated Rosetta spacecraft) that may give further insight to the scientific origins of life on earth. More on that at esa.int.

Cheers to this special day.

Picture of Today 11/8/14

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Just another night in Seattle.

The view is always fantastic from Pier 66. And looking toward, I admire the fresh lights renewing life in the city, preparing for each unpredictable long fall night ahead. Behind me there sets the sun again, but never quite the same in sight as the other evenings. Here was that view, from the other direction…

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More Post Alley art…

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Yesterday, I posted a small portion of some amazing wall art one could see in the Post Alley opening (located under the side of Seattle’s famous Pike Market).

Now, I share a bit more. What is now seen is only what’s here for now and certain to change over time. No two visits over an extended time period are the same. I will look forward to every revisit.

But for now, explore with your eyes..

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Picture of Today 11/7/14

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In Seattle, below the Pike Market, in Post Alley, near the Gum Wall.

The little wads are gum, previously chewed from the passing peoples. You should see the other side behind me. Both walls together is an imagery overload. I think one wall will do for now..