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Vast Vehicle Viaduct Vacated Verily for Vanishment

Posted on January 14th, 2019

Dave!The big news of this past week here in the Pacific Northwest is the closure (and eventual destruction) of Seattle's Alaskan Way Viaduct, an elevated double-decker highway that runs along the city. Built in pieces over the entire decade of the 1950's, it's long been a controversial structure because it divides Seattle from its waterfront...

Seattle's Alaskan Way Viaduct Highlighted in Pink
Photo by David Simmer II — Viaduct highlighted in pink, click image to embiggen.

   
Even though it's not solid like a wall, it's a big, clunky, ugly, double-layer structure which casts giant shadows that make it feel like a wall...

Seattle's Alaskan Way Viaduct
Photo by Waqcku — Courtesy of Wikipedia's Wikimedia Commons.

   
I've driven the viaduct many, many times when getting from my work in West Seattle to my hotel downtown. It's kinda scary at times because the lanes are a bit narrow and the exits are awkward. That being said, the views of the city and Elliott Bay could be stunning, as shown in this terrific drone video...

   
There are many reasons that removing the viaduct is a good thing. In addition to getting rid of an eyesore, it also gets rid of a major earthquake hazard. Like all cities along the Pacific Rim, Seattle is in constant danger of a major earthquake which could easily flatten the viaduct and pancake anything underneath.

To replace the viaduct, Seattle built a massive 2-mile long, $3-billion tunnel that runs the length of the city. We're told that it's far safer to be in the tunnel during an earthquake than on the viaduct, but I'm not anxious to find out first-hand if that's true. It is a really cool structure though...

Seattle's SR-99 Tunnel
Image Courtesy of WSDOT.

   
The digging began in mid-2013 using "Big Bertha," the largest tunnel-boring machine in the world at the time which cost $80-million. The construction was fraught with criticism and had its share of problems. The biggest of which was a 2-year delay that happened when Bertha broke down after less than five months of digging.

But now it's all over, the tunnel is finished, and roads are being rerouted over the next three weeks so traffic can finally use it starting February 2nd.

And while the new SR-99 Tunnel is exciting and everything, it's not a perfect solution.

For one thing, the tunnel is two lanes in each direction. The viaduct was three. This will be offset, in part, by a new surface street which runs where the viaduct used to be. But the fact remains that there is one less lane bypassing downtown Seattle, which could be highly problematic given how bad the traffic is.

Another issue is that the tunnel will be an electronic toll road to drive on. The price will vary depending on traffic and such, but it kinda sucks that you'll have to spend minimum $2 a day to get to and from work if you live north of the city and work south of the city (or vice-versa).

Another issue is the loss of an area many of Seattle homeless use as shelter.

Yet another issue? Just look at this hot mess...

Seattle's SR-99 Tunnel On/Off Ramps
Image Courtesy of WSDOT.

I hope Google Maps is ready to navigate this pretzel of a roadway.

The plans for the space once occupied by the viaduct look nice. In addition to the afore-mentioned surface street, there are plans for greenery, bike lanes, a pedestrian walkway, some parks, and other cool stuff which will completely transform Seattle's waterfront...

Seattle's Alaska Way Surface Street Project
Image Courtesy of Waterfront Seattle Program.

   
Overall, I like the plans I've seen very much. Where it falls apart for me is the proposed signage, which is trying way too hard to do way too many things. Signs should be pretty, yes, but their primary function should be to TELL PEOPLE HOW TO GET TO WHERE THEY WANT TO GO. But the "wayfinding markers" that were in the proposal kit are a jumbled mess of ideas that don't do a very good job of it...

Seattle's Waterfront Project Signage
Image Courtesy of Waterfront Seattle Program.

   
I mean, seriously, how in the hell is this ugly mess helpful? Especially from a distance. You'll have to be right on top of it to make use of the thing...

Seattle's Waterfront Project Signage
Image Courtesy of Waterfront Seattle Program.

   
The design also looks dated before they've even been built. I am hopeful that common sense will prevail and somebody will rethink things to create a more clean, simple, easy-to-read signage design which also reflects Seattle culture and its location in the Pacific Northwest.

And so...

I am anxious to see how all the plans pan out. Seattle has the potential for one of the most beautiful waterfronts in the country. But it's been buried under chunks of steel, concrete, pavement, and heavy shadows for far too long.

It will be nice to see all that change.

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Categories: News – Politics 2019Click To It: Permalink  0 Comments: Click To Add Yours!  

   

Bullet Sunday 491

Posted on December 9th, 2018

Dave!I may have been to Maine and back this week, but that just means I'm locked and loaded... because an all new Bullet Sunday starts now...

   
• Endings! Obviously the news of the week is that the Avengers 4 trailer finally dropped. It's everything it needed to be, with plenty to unpack. If you don't want to hear about it, best skip to the next bullet...

Okay, first of all, the name... Endgame is lame as shit. For months we've been told that the name was being kept secret because it revealed the plot and gave too much away. But does it really? No. Not even a little bit. LAME!

It's not much of a leap to figure that Ant-Man is going to be the key here. The Quantum Realm and its time-bending properties is an obvious way to undo what was done and bring back all those dusted characters so they can continue to print money for Marvel Studios (and Disney). I also wouldn't be surprised to find that Hawkeye (who looks like he's in his Ronin persona in the trailer) will have a major arc. Odds are his entire family was dusted and that's going to be the push to answer the question: "Why in the hell is he an Avenger?" No sign of Captain Marvel, but we know she's going to be kicking around...

Avengers 4 Sneak Peek

April seems a long, long ways away...

   
• Pet Shop Christmas! This week I received an email from The Pet Shop Boys wishing a Merry Christmas to their fans. Which is nice, I guess, but it's the way they did it that was so cool...

Pet Shop Boys Merry Christmas

Now, if you're a fan, you'll immediately "get it." But if you're not... does this help?

XXX

Seriously, how cool is that?

   
• MIB4! This week we finally learned the title of the fourth Men in Black movie... Men in Black International. It stars Chris Hemsworth as Agent H and Tessa Thompson as Agent M...

Men in Black 4

The spinoff film will not have Tommy Lee Jones (Agent K) or Will Smith (Agent J) in it, but it will have Emma Thompson reprising her role as Agent O.

   
• Outlook! As I prepare my home for winter, I ran across something interesting...

XXX

Apparently my region of the country will be "much above average" when it comes to temperature this winter. I'm not quite sure what to think about that, because the nighttime temperatures seem as though they're the same as they've been for years now (which is not as cold as it was a decade ago, I can tell you that). I took a look at weather averages for the past couple years and it reads similar to what's been recorded lately. And while we haven't had any snow yet, I'm guessing it will be on its way any day now? While I'm happy at the idea of saving on heating costs, we really need good snow pack in the mountains or else we'll end up in drought conditions in the Summer. That's something we absolutely do not want.

   
• NHL! Good news, everybody! Something I've been waiting for... for a very long time, actually... is Major League Hockey coming to Seattle! I became a hockey fan when I got into The Milwaukee Admirals while working in the Mid-West. From there it was a short hop to the Chicago Blackhawks, which has been my team ever since...

Spy Movie Poster

I've been to a couple local games here at home, but love the idea of escaping to an NHL game from time to time. Earlier this week they finally gave Seattle an expansion team, which will debut in 2021. But what will they be called? It's a big mystery. I was greatly amused to find that Bovada is running Vegas odds on it...

Bovada Book on Seattle NHL

Oh dear Lord. The odds favorite is the Totems?!? Now, I get it... that's the historic name for the team. It's a name which has emotional appeal to those who have been fighting to get a team here for a very long time. BUT COME ON! Are we really going to go down the cultural appropriation route again? My team, the Blackhawks, was named in honor of Black Hawk, a real-life Illinois historical figure. The team has kinda gotten a pass on this because it's not an offensive stereotype (like "Redskins") but it is still mired in controversy...

In 2010, for instance, Joe Podlasek stated that, "The stance is very clear. We want the Chicago Blackhawks logo to change. For us, that's one of our grandfathers. Would you do that with your grandfather's picture? Take it and throw it on a rug? Walk on it and dance on it?" John Blackhawk, Chairman of the Winnebago Tribe of Nebraska, has suggested that the change in position for the American Indian Center may be connected to contributions the Blackhawks organization has recently begun making to the center: "We all do contributions, but we don't do it for the sake of wanting to be forgiven for something we've done that's offensive."
Wikipedia

So can we please just not this time? Personally I'm really liking the Sockeyes. There's a lot of logo potential there, and it's a fish that has cultural significance to Seattle both past and presence. The Emeralds isn't bad, but what do you do with it for a logo? And tying the name to The Wizard of Oz is kinda silly. Rainiers is already tied to a crappy beer. Kraken might be fine, but it's too abstract since it's mythological and all. Renegades, Cougars, and Eagles are boring and done to death. Sea Lions, Seals, and Whales just sound silly. Evergreens would give us a frickin' TREE as a logo? I dunno. Might work in the right hands? Firebirds isn't bad, but it's within spitting distance of Totems for me.

So... can we just be the Sockeyes and be done with it? Please?

   
• So Long, Fuckers! I finally managed to transfer everything away from my previous web hosting company, Media Temple. After being a loyal customer for over a decade and putting up with their broken promises and bullshit, the last straw was the horrific way I was treated when I tried to get an issue resolved. No help, shitty service, and a bill for $38 that they wouldn't reverse. Seriously, what a bunch of assholes. If you're looking for a place to host your stuff, keep looking.

   
And that's the end of that. See you next week.

   

F-Bomb

Posted on March 21st, 2015

Dave!GAH! IT'S 3:00 IN THE MORNING! Boy I wish I could get a good night's sleep.

Anyway...

Tonight I was happy to attend University Sunrise Rotary's Debuts and Discoveries charity function with wines, brews, spirits, and food trucks...

University Sunrise Rotary Debuts and Discoveries

The event was held at an old hangar in Magnusson Park at Sand Point, which used to be a Navy air station...

University Sunrise Rotary Debuts and Discoveries

True to their word, there was an abundance of new alcohols to sample and buy...

University Sunrise Rotary Debuts and Discoveries

University Sunrise Rotary Debuts and Discoveries

University Sunrise Rotary Debuts and Discoveries

University Sunrise Rotary Debuts and Discoveries

Best of Show for me was Skunk Brothers, which had a very nice moonshine whiskey and a sublime Sweet Apple Pie spirit...

University Sunrise Rotary Debuts and Discoveries

Interestingly enough, there was also cigar rollers in attendance...

University Sunrise Rotary Debuts and Discoveries

The hangar itself is a terrific space for events like this...

University Sunrise Rotary Debuts and Discoveries

University Sunrise Rotary Debuts and Discoveries

University Sunrise Rotary Debuts and Discoveries

University Sunrise Rotary Debuts and Discoveries

I already had several shots of Jäegermeister before the event, which meant I was getting pretty trashed as we neared the end of the evening (I "sampled" all but two tables, and they had multiple products at most tables!). Not wanting to pass out on my friends, I decided to stop drinking and start shooting photos. I brought my miraculous Sony A7s camera, and Hangar 30 had plenty of opportunities to get sone nifty shots.

So there I was taking photos of cool stuff when I hear some asshole start mocking me with "LOOK AT THAT GUY TAKING A PICTURE OF A WALL!"

I am beyond sick and tired of people taking a shit on my happiness, but decided to let it go.

Or I would have if I hadn't been soaked in alcohol. Instead I said "WHAT THE FUCK DO YOU CARE?" a bit too loudly.

Oh well. I may have been taking a PICTURE OF A WALL but, in my defense, it was a pretty interesting wall...

University Sunrise Rotary Debuts and Discoveries

   
There were four food trucks and you got four sampling coupons to try each of them. Except the chicken truck didn't have a vegetarian option (boo Chick’n Fix!), so I skipped that one.

The first truck I ate at was Spicy Papaya, which had a delicious Pad Thai to try...

University Sunrise Rotary Debuts and Discoveries

Next up was Wicked Pies, which must be run by some Twin Peaks fans...

University Sunrise Rotary Debuts and Discoveries

But Best in Show for me was the El Cabrito truck, which was serving up an amazing "Beet & Pumpkin Seed Quesadilla" that rocked my world...

University Sunrise Rotary Debuts and Discoveries

It was so good that I used my last ticket to pay a return visit...

University Sunrise Rotary Debuts and Discoveries

El Cabrito can park their truck in my driveway any time! That quesadilla is absolutely worth a stop if you're ever in Seattle's International District.

And thus ends my last day in Seattle. Not too shabby!

Even if I did drop an F-bomb on an airplane hangar.

   

Kurios

Posted on March 20th, 2015

Dave!As I may have mentioned a few dozen times, I'm not a fan of Cirque du Soleil. The acrobatics are amazing, don't get me wrong... I love that stuff, but it's Cirque's packaging that drives me nuts.

LOOK AT US! WE'RE DRESSED IN WEIRD CLOTHES DOING WEIRD THINGS WITH WEIRD PROPS IN FRONT OF WEIRD SETS THAT MAKE NO SENSE WHATSOEVER! WE'RE WEEEEEIRRRD!!!

Yeah. We get it. Weird. Uh huh.

And tonight was more of the same as I went to Kurios: Cabinet des Curiosities with my sister...

Kurios: Cabinet des Curiositie

Kurios: Cabinet des Curiositie

Kurios: Cabinet des Curiositie

Ultimately, I liked it better than The Beatles: Love (even though the music wasn't as good!) because there was more of a focus on the amazing talents of the performers rather than just doing weird shit for the sake of doing weird shit...

Though, no worries, Kurios had plenty of weird shit... including traveling scientists having a bad hair day, Moebius-inspired robots, fish people, finger puppets, and a guy acting like a cat. So if weird shit is your thing, you won't be disappointed.

As if that wasn't enough, they also had a Duncan Yo-Yo Master for some reason, just because, well... yo-yos, I guess.

This is a traveling show that wraps up here in Seattle this weekend... but they're continuing onward to Calgary, Denver, Chicago, Costa Mesa, and Los Angeles... just in case you like watching mind-bogglingly talented performers doing mind-boggling stuff... while drenched in senseless weird shit.

And who wouldn't?

   

Sedaris

Posted on November 17th, 2014

Dave!David Sedaris is my favorite living author.

Not just because his wry humor, observational wit, and charming self-deprecation is about the funniest stuff I've ever read... it's because David Sedaris is an exceptional writer. His prose is so flawlessly constructed... so beautifully realized... so wonderfully clever... you don't just read it, you let it wash over your senses like a warm bath from which you never want to leave.

And, as good as an adventure as reading his work may be... it's not even the best way to experience it. Having David Sedaris read his writings to you adds an entirely new load of genius to an already brilliant work. Which is why I always buy the book and the audiobook of everything he releases...

I also try to attend his readings, so I can listen to him live and in person, which is about the best entertainment ever. Sadly, it's never easy with my crazy schedule, and I've only heard him speak once before. But there was no way I was going to miss this event given that it was a mere two-hour drive away.

Especially since I finally got to meet him up-close-and-personal to get his autograph... complete with a bloody tomahawk...

Sedaris Autograph

Benaroya Hall, which is truly a lovely space with fantastic acoustics, was completely sold out for the event...

Benaroya Hall

I couldn't have had a better seat. Right on the first level in the second balcony...

Benaroya Hall

Mr. Sedaris was, as expected, completely worth the trip.

Smart, witty, charming... and utterly brilliant in every way... it was an evening I'll not soon forget.

Oh yeah... earlier in the day I also went to go see Big Hero 6 again. Such a great film. And this time I saw it in a pretty great theater. Not for screen size or anything... but for comfort...

iPic Redmond

The iPic Theater in Redmond is more comfortable than my bed. It doesn't help that people are waiting on you hand and foot. Want a beer and some Junior Mints? Your wish is their command...

iPic Redmond

Sure it's expensive... but "expensive" means that people won't waste the money to bring their bratty kids along so you won't have to listen to their bullshit. My first time seeing Big Hero 6 was pretty much ruined by kids who would rather be playing video games than stuck in a theater for 105 minutes being quiet. Not this time, baby.

Oh... and I stuck around for the post-credit sequence of the film, which was kinda nice.

Almost as nice as my Big Hero 6 Funko POP! Baymax figure that finally arrived...

iPic Redmond

I got the "Amazon Exclusive" so he glows in the dark.

Just like a playtime pal should.

   

Y U NO?

Posted on October 28th, 2014

Dave!It never ceases to amaze me how a city known for its rain consists of a population who has no idea how to drive in the stuff.

Today my commute to work which is usually 30-40 minutes took a mind-boggling 1-hour 45-minutes... assumably because motorists lose their damn minds any time it rains more than a sprinkle.

SEATTLE! Y U NO CAN DRIVE IN RAIN?

Google's traffic map was lit up like a Christmas tree with accident reports this morning, leaving me no clear route to take. So I bit the bullet, headed to the heinous mess that is the 405, and sat in traffic for over an hour. Absurd.

Though I did get free entertainment when somebody drove clean off the road for no reason other than they were probably texting or brushing their teeth or slicing strawberries for their oatmeal, or whatever the fuck it is people do that causes them to drive off the road.

Hey! Here's an idea... maybe if people would pay attention to the damn road when weather conditions are less than optimal and allowed a little more room between cars and slowed down a bit and sliced their strawberry garnish at home... everybody could get to work only ten minutes later than usual instead of an hour plus.

Just a thought.

Tags: , ,
Categories: Travel 2014Click To It: Permalink  3 Comments: Click To Add Yours!  

   

Drenched

Posted on October 25th, 2014

Dave!Not the best of drives over the mountains, but it could be worse. Could be snowing.

Which is probably waiting for me when I have to go home.


Seattle Pass Drive

   

Such is the month of October in the Pacific Northwest.

Tags: ,
Categories: Travel 2014Click To It: Permalink  0 Comments: Click To Add Yours!  

   

Mariners

Posted on June 14th, 2014

Dave!I haven't been to a Mariners game in six years.

w00t!


Mariners at Safeco Field

Mariners at Safeco Field

Mariners at Safeco Field

Dave!

Mariners at Safeco Field

Mariners at Safeco Field

Mariners at Safeco Field

Mariners at Safeco Field

   

Would have been great if the Mariners had won. :-(

   

Traffic

Posted on June 5th, 2014

Dave!I have been a lot of places and seen a lot of horrible traffic. Every major US city has some traffic problems due to the sheer volume of cars and trucks and things that go on the roads. But there are definitely cities worse off than others. Los Angeles is pretty much the gold standard for horrible traffic. San Francisco isn't much better. Boston has ensnared me more times than I can count. Some of the worst traffic I've ever seen was spotted as I was trying to drive into Atlanta one day. New York is an obvious target but, to me, never seems to be as bad as people think.

But, in my humble opinion, none of these cities compare to Seattle.

Seattle traffic is hellaciously bad and in a league of its own.

Most of the reason is simple geography. The bulk of Seattle is surrounded on three sides by water... Lake Washington to the East, Lake Union to the North, and Puget Sound on the West. You can't add "ring roads" around Seattle to alleviate congestion because there's no place to put them. The rest of the problem is just the sheer volume of vehicles on the road. Auto density in Seattle is absurdly high, and no matter how the city tries fix the problem, people love their cars too much to give them up.

And the problem isn't limited to Seattle, as the traffic there bleeds out into surrounding areas as people do whatever they can to avoid driving in the city.

Which makes driving to SeaTac airport a real crapshoot.

Technically, the drive takes 2-1/2 hours for me if the traffic isn't horrible. But since the traffic almost always is horrible and you never know how many times you'll have to stop for road construction, I leave anywhere from 30 to 60 minutes early. Most of the time I'm glad I did. But today the traffic was merely "bad" and not horrible at all...

SeaTac Traffic

18 minutes to drive 12 miles is practically lightspeed so far as Seattle traffic is concerned.

And so here I am, sitting at the airport with two hours and 45 minutes to kill before my flight. If only I had known, I would have stayed in bed an extra hour.

But you just know the day I sleep in is the day that a truckload of fish overturns on the 405 and backs up traffic for an hour.

Stupid fish.

The good news is that I have plenty of time to eat at Qdoba for breakfast. Sure the line is always long but, unlike Seattle traffic, it moves fairly quickly.

   

Bullet Sunday 283

Posted on June 17th, 2012

Dave!Put that Father's Day barbecue on hold... because Bullet Sunday starts... now...

   
• Meh-crosoft. The big news in technology is that Microsoft will be making a major announcement tomorrow... probably some kind of tablet... and nobody cares! Tablets have been done. So unless they've got a tablet with a 3-D holographic display and free unlimited satellite internet connectivity, stop wasting our time! You want to really impress me? I'm still waiting for my flying car. Why not announce that shit tomorrow?

Microsoft Flying DeLorean

But noooooo... odds are we get yet another tablet. Which probably won't be as good as an iPad anyway. Yawn.

   
• Glass According to the Seattle PI Blog, The Space Needle is getting "glass window box" upgrades. As if it wasn't already scary enough...

Space Needle Glass Box

The glass window boxes at Chicago's Willis Tower, known as "The Ledge," were enough to make me nearly wet myself. And they were on a building. These are going to be on a frickin' tower. Guess it's still not as bad as The Grand Canyon Skywalk though.

   
• Holes The movie Prometheus was a beautiful disaster that looked stunning (especial in IMAX 3D) but, unfortunately, had so many story problems that I had a hard time enjoying it. Red Letter Media has encapsulated many of those problems in an amusing, SPOILER-FILLED, chat...

If you haven't listened to the amazing "Mr. Plinkett Reviews" of such films as the Star Wars prequels, and various Star Trek films, and other flicks like Avatar and Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull... you're really missing out. Yes, they're meant to be funny, but the insight Red Letter Media has into the art of filmmaking is brilliant.

   
• Nowalla So much for Gowalla's promises of being able to download your check-in data and stamp collection from their now-dead service... Gowalla.com is down and the domain doesn't even resolve any more. So glad that I spent huge chunks of my time adding spot data, correcting spot errors, and spending my money buying custom stamps. But, hey, they got bought out by Facebook and got paid... so screw all the people who helped build their service! You'd think they'd AT LEAST allow you to import your check-ins and stamps into Facebook or something.

   
And... I'm prematurely out of bullets. I'd be embarrassed, but I hear it happens to every guy from time to time.

   

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