The past week and a half or so have been rather crazy, and my list of "Hey, that's kind of interesting, I want to mull over that" has gotten unmanageably long. So I've given up on individual posts, and this is a crazy mega-mcpost of postiness +5, with excessive photos and hurried notes lacking poetry and context. :)
I would also like to issue the standard "If you wrote something interesting, cool, important, or needing my input, let me know!" disclaimer, which I have never seen anyone actually respond to.
You can also skip to the end, for a random guilt trip.
All projects should start like this! This is from anodizing. Alas, it does not look like I will keep my new acid scar. However, my leatherman is now pitted in fascinating non-structural ways. The test piece of aluminum is very mildly orange, looks about like brass. We'll have to try again to get a proper orange for That Damn Robot's thrusters.
This is Hardwick's. You know there are folktales about a guy wandering into an junk shop or pawn shop with a misspelled sign and a mysterious hunched proprieter, and he buys something that turns out to be a lamp with a genie or a magic sword, and when he tries to get back to the shop, it's gone and nobody remembers it ever being there?
That shop is Hardwick's (except the proprieter has a mohawk and lots of piercings). You can't ever get into the same row twice. Sometimes the row with the hand-forged clawed Japanese gardening instruments is there, sometimes it's the row with the danish wood-carving axes with lacework blades, or the specially blunt marble-sculpting tools, or the LEDs in strange colors that don't exist anywhere else.
gfish and I went there to get a rockhammer (more on which later). I also got brand new grinding disks, fine as silk, for the calligraphed knife I want to make eisa.
I have no idea how they pass fire codes. I assume the shop just ceases to exist when the inspectors are looking for it. Hardwick's, like Boeing Surplus, is one of the Treasures of Seattle that everyone should see at least once.
I also went up to the Port Angeles Pirate Days (which thewronghands alerted me to) to see the tallships - oldstyle wooden sailing ships. Pirate days was a lot of fun. Those who've been paying attention to my scientific experiments to see exactly what I can wear to the Mercury (members-only goth club with a strict dress code) without getting kicked out will be pleased to learn that I now own a floppy-brimmed pirate hat with an enormous white ostrich feather. Bwahaha. (I'm seriously considering adding The Hat to my regular clothing - trenchcoat, opera gloves, black jeans, bare feet.)
This is the Lady Washington, the most impressive of the ships. You may've seen her elsewhere - she starred in Pirates of The Carribean.
Lady Washington looking ominous on the horizon. It was a good day for pirating.
They had something like contradancing at the festival, except it was done with swords. Sword-shaped wood bits, anyway. There was a caller, and the participants partnered up and followed his directions through a choreographed mock combat. I really want to learn this. Does anyone know what it might be called?
The Bill of Rights firing on the Lady Washington.
The sails are made of long canvas strips, overlapped at the edge, so that when the light comes through them, they look scaley - pale and translucent in the center, with solid sharp borders. It seems to beautiful to be real, somehow, sharp and shining against a foggy grey sky.
The solstice, which I watched with cow from Carkeek park. It was still light enough to read at 11PM, and when I went to California for a conference, I felt rather jetlagged when it was dark at eight.
gfish, shadowblue and I went prospecting for copper ore, up in the mountains and into the wastes. shadowblue had done some nifty GIS trick, and we had a map of where, historically, copper has been mined in the area, so we just drove there and looked for green rocks. In theory, anyway - the prospecting map didn't really show useful things like roads. :)
This river is a shimmerpale shade of green, like glaciermelt or beachglass, because it has dissolved copper oxides in it.
Words cannot express how much I love living here, the way this land has gotten into my blood.
gfish trying to get at a likely-looking bit of green rock. We found a lot of them in streams - probably more because it was easy to see their colors without the dust than any geological reason.
Moss and baby cedars, on the green side.
Ad arbora per aspera. :)
A landslide we had to wait a while to get around. The road was down to one sometimes-lane. Everyone got out of their cars and wandered around and made friendly noises. We kept seeing the same people repeatedly all along the mountain roads. My Internal Miniature Folk Singer got stuck on "eerie canal". The world is very small when it narrows to a two-lane winding pass road.
Right at the top of the pass. I think it needs some sheep, somehow. Rolling scrubby heathery green always needs some sheep, and a crazy guy building cairns.
If I saw these mountains in a painting someone had made, they would not strike me as very realistic.
More baby needly plants, but this is on the East side, the wastelands.
Sage and scrub. Dust, rock, nopale. There's some ache in me that only the scent of sage soothes - I spent long enough growing up in southern California to be warped by it, to learn that the scent of home was spicy-sweet and velvet between your fingers.
We found some of the greenest rocks here, and it was nice to rmove shoes and splash about.
My trunk is full of these! Tommorrow, we head out to Spokane to build a furnace and attempt to get molten copper, forgefire-bright, out of them.
I also went to a research conference in California and got to see both callmem and robogock, as well as, you know, computery stuff. I totally win at conferences.
callmem took me sailboat racing. The judges figured out how long each sailboat would take to complete a designated course, and then started them, slowest first, so that everyone was crossing the finish line at about the same time. I never knew sailboat racing was so Machiavellian; there was all sorts of trying to steal other people's wind, and cut people off, and shouting across to the next boat over. It was great fun, and I think we passed more people than passed us. Though I mostly just sort of hid out of the way. :)
It was misty enough to make all the islands waver and shine a bit, with kelp amber in the water, and sea lions and spiny prehistoric pelicans and heavy-winged cormorants and seagulls and the noise of the waves. The mainsail was plasticky, like tyvek (sp?), and the jibsail was about the texture of a tarpaulin, but the spinnaker was a billowing gossamer thing, like scarlet rice paper, and every time the wind creased it, all the creases caught the sun and spilled long shadows over it, like taku, the sword-edged stroke in Japanese calligraphy.
After that, I got to see callmem's labs! Squee! There's a gene sequencers and chromatography stuff and a sturdy ancient centrifuge and nifty slides under microscopes: mosaicy gramstained bacteria and the glass snowflakes of diatoms, and little glow in the dark bacterial colonies!
Conferency stuff, and then robogock drove me down to Los Angeles to catch the plane home. I have learned I still hate LA. Passionately. I've lived a lot of places since I last lived there, and developed a taste for cities, so I half-expected to find it not-so-bad. I love Managua with its pizza delivery men armed with machine guns, and Berlin's half-melted statuary, but I still think LA should be nuked to glass. It would probably be hideous greasy phlegm-colored glass, too. Godspeed to them as live there, and congratulations to them as leave. (Getting to see robogock was worth it.)
Of course, I also managed to find a tolerable apartment and sign papers and do workstuff. Which brings me to the guilt trip (for locals anyway, though I know there are a few locals with such leet guilt-skillz they can probably manage to feel bad over this):
Are you willing and available to help me move from Seattle to Olympia July 9?
What about if something goes wrong and I end up moving the weekend after?
Would you be interested in attending a very literal-minded housewarming involving torches and lots of lampwork?
And now I'm all caught up, and can spam with impunity about building a furnace/molten metal/the wastelands. :) STrangely, I feel better now.