Seattle Photologger Meet

Did you see a dozen or more people wandering around downtown Seattle and waving cameras around. Or did you see different views of the same subject on several photologs? That would have been the first Seattle Photologgers Summit and Field Trip. Manuel has a list of the participants and here’s a list of the postings that I’ve seen:, Gingerly, Leep, Tandoku, burning paper, Flipdingo

Update 6/18/03 – More photos: inscrutable burrito, Throwing More Than Shapes, Jerry Kindall, More at Flipdingo,

Original Sin

The guy at the bike shop had been unenthusiastic about giving my circa 1985 Schwinn a tune-up right from the start. The tires needed to be replaced, he pointed out. The outdated steel rims made braking unsafe. A more recent used bike wouldn’t cost much more than the tune-up and the tires.

But I wanted to keep the bike in rideable condition. It really belonged to my brother, Chris. I had “borrowed” it five or six years ago. Chris was storing it at our parents’ house during one of his longer stay in Russia. He didn’t reclaim it after he got back; there were never any convenient circumstances for him to pick it up. Now so much time has passed that I’m sure he wouldn’t be interested. I didn’t have sentimental reasons for maintaining the bike; I had a guilty conscious.

A few days later, back at the bike shop, I was given the bad news. The man I’d talked to before was showing me a big hole in the front piece of the bike frame. “The fork was cracked under the head tube. It’s been like that for quite a while: see how the metal has been rubbed away? I’ve actually never seen damage quite like this.”

Chris got into an accident on the very day he bought the bike in 1985 or 1986. I don’t know the details, but the accident was bad enough that he had to have dental work done afterward.

This is uninformed speculation, but maybe the fork was damaged on that first day – a hairline fracture that remained relatively stable through the years of infrequent use, until this week, when it gave way and clogged up the works. (Update: Or maybe not, see comments.)


Overheard. A man in Westlake Center, talking on a cell phone: “Uh huh . . . Right. Actually, at the moment I’m in Los Angeles, so . . .”

Reservoir . . .

The track around the reservoir is gone and the joggers are gone with it. A chainlink fence was installed at the bottom of the little embankment. The shady canopy of trees is still standing for the moment, and they’re the main concern of this paragraph. With the branches hanging out over the sidewalk to discourage foot traffic, and no one using the path above it, the place is bustling with busy chirping bird life.

Homeless kids used to hang out there. They’ve been displaced to the baseball diamonds. During the day there’s usually several people sleeping on the right-field sidelines. A tall fence creates a bit of a buffer between the grass and the sidewalk. There’s a port-a-potty nearby, and a few trees for shade.

There’s one group hunkered down in the low bleachers behind the backstop. The street corner behind them is enveloped by a choking aerosol cloud. I guess they’re sniffing Scotch-Guard or something like it.

The baseball diamond is a patchwork – evenly trimmed dark grass, patches of fragile newly-planted grass, and recently cut-out blocks of dirt cut out around the bases.

Recently, tennis players have been out-numbered at the group of tennis courts just beyond left-field. There might be a pair practicing on court closest to Pine Street. But the last couple of times I’ve been by, the second court was being used as a skate park. (I imagine the skaters would move on if another game of tennis broke out.) The third court has been annexed by the city as a playground. A basketball hoop holds down one end. The other end has been covered with a soft surface and there’s a small selection of playground equipment – a merry-go-round and one of those colorful jungle gym/slide combos. It’s a stop-gap measure until the reservoir is covered and the other end of the park is reopened.

Limburger Cheese

These are the things that happened this afternoon as the heat wave started to fade and I sat in the shade outside Bauhaus Coffee.

A nervous-looking man walked by and said, “I feel like Limburger cheese.” His tone and posture left those within earshot unsure whether he meant that he’d like to eat Limburger cheese or that he felt the way Limburger cheese feels.

A girl sat on the edge of a big planter staring blankly up the street. Her long purple hair was held back with a red bandanna. One loose strand was hooked over a branch on the shrub in the planter behind her and she didn’t notice.

Anita wandered across me and sat down for a minute with a Diet Coke. As I asked her questions, I realized that I already knew the answers from reading her recent blog entries.

I dug around for my camera to take a photo of an old man standing on the sidewalk beside a little beagle. They’d both moved on by the time I had the camera ready. A woman stepped out from the clothing store next door, untied the dog, and the two of them headed down the street. The man followed a bit behind them, but he and the dog weren’t together; they only happened to be standing there at the same time.

A Russian man squeezed into line in front of me when I went back in for more hot water for my tea. He had a concerned look on his face when he asked the cashier if the coffee shop had any spare chessboards. A guy wearing a Reagan-busters t-shirt waited out of the way for his espresso, flipping through one of the less read free papers.

Finally, a little black dog, who had just hopped out of a Yellow Cab beside a man carrying a rolled up carpet, ran off, first in the wrong direction and then up the hill. His four tiny legs raced to set the pace. He hobbled, off-balance, but unfazed by the stiff gray bandage that bound his left front leg.

Seattle, on business

Pier 59

  • There’s a girl sitting at a table stirring her tan-colored iced coffee drink continuously so that the ice cubes rattle against the glass. Her friends arrive, and she gets up to talk to them, the ice cubes and glass continue to rattle as she continues stirring. Her friends head in different directions to find seats and coffees, and she sets the glass back down on her table, letting go of her stirring spoon. An ice cube leaps from the glass as if it were escaping.
  • One tourist tells another what there is to do in Seattle. Each of his suggestions involve leaving: Spend a day in Vancouver. Drive east for two or three hours until you’re tired of driving, then get out of the car and look around.

    He verifies that I’m a local and tells me, “You live in a wonderful city. Over the years, I’ve probably spent twelve days total in Seattle, on business; . . .” (He always qualifies the word “Seattle” by appending “on business.”) ” . . . and I’ve seen it rain maybe once.”

  • I misremembered this. The anecdote at the beginning wasn’t Fiona’s, it was Tracy’s. The rest of it happened just as I wrote. Tracy pointed it out a couple of weeks ago and I have only just remembered to correct it.
  • Many restaurants in Seattle have simplified their menus by eliminating one soft drink size. At most places, you can only order a medium or a large soda. The Fifth Avenue Cafe is an exception, they discontinued the large size, and now offer only small or medium sodas.
  • The waitress offers fresh ground pepper and I accept. She grinds the pepper over the plate. I watch the pepper’s progress closely, but it’s only an affectation. I stop her when I think that enough time has passed.

Pier 62/63