Saturday, November 29, 2014


Yup.  Got snow.  When I awoke at 0600, it was still dry.  But by 0730, there was this: 

Snow on the Gnome Noses:


Saturday, November 22, 2014

Spaceflight Academy!

This week's volunteer shift at the Museum of Flight was quite interesting.  I spent the shift over in the Space Gallery where I watched the final push for installation of the new Spaceflight Academy. 

First, as I arrived, I caught this interesting view of the newly delivered Boeing 787 (# 3).

I had been a bit annoyed when I heard the Christmas tree was already up.  It was still a week before Thanksgiving.  However, the previous evening, at the volunteer meeting, it was explained that the Museum will have several groups hosting their holiday parties, starting right after Thanksgiving so the tree needed to be up early.  They are also dependent upon the schedule of the volunteer group that does the set up.  This tree celebrates the 50th Anniversary of the Museum of Flight!

While watching the Spaceflight Academy final build, I met Alfred.  He's a retired Boeing engineer.  And he built the fuel tanks for the model of the Space Shuttle!  He said he began the build nearly 2 years ago, in December 2012.

He was there to watch the installation of the tanks.  The model of the shuttle was built by AeroJet Rockadyne and donated to the Museum.   I waited as long as I could.  Next week, my shift falls on Thanksgiving and the Museum of closed.  So it's likely I won't be there again until early December.  I'll have more photos then.

Dieter is a Museum docent and a real Rocket Scientist.  He is an engineer for Aerojet Rockadyne of Redmond.  He presented at the Museum's Spacefest on the rockets built for NASA Mars missions. In the second photo, he's posed holding a plastic model of one of the engines. 

I meet such interesting and accomplished people at the Museum!  There were several astronauts there for Spacefest but, this time, I didn't meet any of them. 

All the photos are here.

Sunday, November 2, 2014

Halloween 2014

The porch decor theme this year is Harry Potter.  JK is releasing a new bit of fiction on Pottermore today and AFK, the geek tavern, is celebrating Halloween with a "Death Eaters" theme. 

I dressed as  Professor McGonagall.  The thing on my face is a cat nose mini-mask.  Prof M was an Animagus who could morph into a Tabby Cat.

More photos here.

On the last day of my Michigan trip (29 Oct), I took a drive to a neighboring small town.  I saw three houses that were over the top for Halloween.

All those photos are here.

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Star Wars Reads Day

Yesterday was a good troop at the Museum of Flight.  Alpha Base & Garrison Titan helped the Museum celebrate Star Wars Reads Day. 

Amanda is missing from this photo, which was taken by Bob, the R2D2 builder

We had to have our photos made in two specific places.....
The Destiny Module (aka "Tantive IV")

Here are Amanda and me.

and in the payload bay of the Space Shuttle Full Fuselage Trainer.

The Museum staff had lots of fun things for kids to do, including "Death Star Ground School" and lots of crafts.  Yoda holds min-lightsaber building parts.

Lots of people came dressed in Star Wars costumes.  Here some kids using the Force:

All the photos are here.

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Homeland Security and the Lightsaber

As the lone Alpha Base/Rebel Legion member, I joined two from Garrison Titan/501st Legion to do a fund raising photo booth at the Combined Federal Campaign (CFC) Kick off event at the Jackson Federal Building in downtown Seattle.

The building has an airport-like screening process for entry but it's run by Homeland Security officers.  It was amusing taking my lightsaber through.  The officer pulled by bag out, asked whether it was mine and then said he had to search it.  He pulled out the sink-tube lightsaber and asked, "what's this?" I told him it was a lightsaber.  I'd intentionally brought one without any electronics in it for this reason.  Another officer was interested and wanted to see it, too.  All was fine from then on.

The GT members came through the loading dock with their bins.  These were screened in a large device.  Despite the presence of at least 3 prop weapons, Cheryl said the item about which the officers were most concerned was the aerosol can of hair spray!

We three posed for photos for a donation to the CFC charity.

Local TV and comedy personality, Pat Cashman, was there.  He's on a local show called The 206 (Seattle's area code).  While at the event, he filmed a brief segment for the show which was a fake ad for lard.  He asked the TK to pretend to eat it.  This will be on the show 18 or 25 October.
Update 20 November:  That segment finally aired a couple weeks ago and the Stormtrooper wasn't in it.  

All the photos are here.

Sunday, September 7, 2014

Back to the flute

First practice session today.  I think it's been over 30 years since I last played regularly!

I went to a music store down the hill to buy key oil and a beginning flute tutorial.  I bought 2 of them.  The one on the left looks very familiar.  It might be the one on which I learned at 9 years old!  I bought the other as it has some modern innovations, including a CD with MP3's of the little compositions.

I am hoping to be able to play at least at the intermediate level fairly soon. 

I'm going to go back to Michigan in October for a memorial concert in honor of the music teacher I had for 9 years.  He died recently at the age of 90.  Some of his former students who still live in my home town are organizing the concert.  Many of them play in the community band and some of them are professional musicians and teachers.  They have invited everyone who was taught by John Cummins to return and join the band for one piece.  I'm hoping it is a fairly simple one.

Other than my parents, John Cummins was probably the most influential person in my life.  He taught me, and all of us who paid attention, so much more than music!  I believe I owe much of my success in life to the lessons I learned from him.  The fact that I was his student for so many years made the impact greater. 

I find during this first practice session that my embouchure (lip position) muscles tire quickly.  I also don't quite remember the fingerings.  On the plus side I have no trouble reading music.  I know what notes they are just not all the fingerings.

My flute, at least, is in good shape.  I had it overhauled some years ago.  A former student of mine who went on to earn a Master's degree in Flute Performance told me many years ago that the mbouchure hole on the flute's headjoint was defective!  I had it replaced at the time of the overhaul. So now I can finally play the lowest notes easily.

Since I'm going to Michigan, I will also see friends and relatives.  I've not been back to Michigan since about 2002. 

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Sewing at the Fort

 I put in my second shift as a volunteer for Fort Nisqually today.  I spent about 3 hours doing mostly hand sewn repairs of period clothing.   Here is the very full second floor dormer where the work is done.

Just visible to the left of the yellow chair is a sewing machine.  I also did battle with it today.  I did a "growth tuck" in a little girl's dress.  That means I put a tuck in it to shorten it temporarily.  I'm told it is a period technique for hand-me-downs.  My battle was getting it threaded correctly.

I also did some research in the library for about an hour.  I have a number of things to look up on the intarwebs.   

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Getting Started at the Fort

On Monday I had my orientation to the Sewing Guild at Fort Nisqually.  Terry took me on a walk through, showed me how the clothes are organized.  Then we went upstairs to the sewing room.

I looked through the pattern cabinet and noted a few patterns I might like to use.

They have many dresses and accessories to loan.  Once I start volunteering as an Interpreter, I'll borrow something.  It gives me a chance to try some styles before I go to the effort and expense of making my own.

I will likely eventually have to make a corset.  I'll wait until the big workshop in October as the leader will be covering that.

Terry showed how the European Immigrant women's clothes includes four petticoats:  chemise, corded petticoat, flounced petticoat and over petticoat.  That's a lot of fabric!  She said that sewing with a machine is acceptable, but any stitches that will show on the outside of the garment are best done by hand. 

Then I actually did some work.  I mended two garments by hand before I had to leave for an appointment back at home.  It may be a couple weeks before I'm back but there are 3 more garments waiting for me.  Then they need men's vests so I plan to start with those for construction. 

I don't know when I'll have a chance to start as an Interpreter in period clothing.  I'm exercising patience.  However, I've already assembled a few pieces of kit for demonstrating watercolor illustration.  Some I already had.  I did buy a metal palette. 

Thursday, July 17, 2014

A real Astronaut!

During my volunteer shift at the Museum of Flight today I met a real astronaut!

Yi So-yeon is a scientist who became the first Korean to fly in space.   I posed her with the Museum's Soyuz capsule because she went to the International Space Station with the Russians rather than on the Space Shuttle.  She was at the Museum as a Volunteer with the Museum's Aerospace Camp Experience!  How cool is it for the kids to interact with a REAL astronaut during their camp?!!

Me wearing my new silk scarf with the Space Shuttle cockpit graphic

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

More Duck Hunt

Catching up on the Renton River Days Duck Hunt.

Clue #7

Clue #8

Clue #9

Monday, July 7, 2014

RRD Duck Hunt Clues 4 5 6

So far, I've found all the locations for the Duck Hunt.  Clue 5 stumped me for a while.  But I went hunting today and got it in one.  My first guess turned out to be correct.  I didn't have a conscious memory of seeing it but it must have been filed deeply away for me to have made it my first guess.

I also seem to be the only one posting them.  If anyone else is playing, maybe they are waiting until the end to post.  

clue 4

Clue 5

Clue 6

I also saw this when I was out and about.  The juxtaposition of the bumper sticker with the silhouette of the Doberman and the actual little fluffy dog made me laugh.  Wolf's comment was, "My other dog is a Doberman"

Saturday, June 28, 2014

Rubber Duck!

That item for which I mentioned I was searching was a rubber duck.  Renton River Days has a rubber duck as it's mascot/logo.  They have a Duck Hunt contest every year.  In previous years, one followed clues to find large, costumed, Rubber Ducks.  This year, they are posting location clues and then we must take a photo of ourselves (selfie) and/or a rubber duck in that location.  So I was looking for a classic yellow rubber duck.  It seemed I'd seen them everywhere but today I couldn't find one!

I did another web search and discovered the local Cost Plus has them.  They even have the huge, 8 inch tall duck that was used for the costumed duck contest in years past.   So I ran right out to get this big ducky.  I might yet make him a costume!

I got the last one on the self... see the large duck on the lowest shelf.  

Seen out & about

I was out doing some errands this morning and encountered more interesting sights than usual.

I almost never go into Toys-R-Us but I was looking for something specific (maybe more on that later today).  I saw this impressive life-sized Lego CloneTrooper.  Most impressive! 

At a stop light, I noticed the vehicle ahead of me seemed to have intentionally added a sprig of flower under the wiper.  I thought it was a nice touch and might do the same.  There are some very pretty weeds under the mailbox that would go nicely there.

My matrix between 2 Prius Models: the smallest Prius C is on the left. Our Prius is the original body style from 2002 so it might need replacing sometime soon. Just comparing the Matrix size to the others. 

Still on the subject of cars....  this fancy Corvette had what I thought was an amusing (if smug) vanity license plate.

Finally, in the "ewww, gross" department:  Seen outside Panera Bread.  When I'm going in to have a coffee, this is not what I want to see!  I'm actually going to send it to the company with a suggestion that it's in poor taste (so to speak!). 

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Digitizing project

This is definitely not the way to convert 6000+ slides to digital format.  I does seem to work well enough, though, to do a few.  I want to get 10 or so of my slides into a format I can easily print and use for doing watercolors.

Here is my make shift set up.  Two metal boxes of equal size (OK, they are German Liebkuchen tins, c 1984!), glass between them, sheet of lupo over top with the slide on top of that.  Then a lamp underneath.   I then use my G12 Canon camera with the articulated viewfinder.

The results are acceptable:

Viscountess Regina in May 1983.  This is one of my favorite photos of her and I never had it scanned.

Got a Round To it

I finally found the Round To It. I'm scanning the 60 pages of my slide log, dated 1975 to 1986. There are over 8000 slides cataloged. I've been thinking about the need to do this for a long time. And listening to Abney Park while I do it as Wolf has a podcast on speakers as he works next to me.

These slides include my time living in England and Germany, as well as photos of Drachenwald during those dates.

I'll be relieved to have a digital backup for this.  Next problem is how to digitize 8000 slides, plus the slides Wolf has which are probably just as many.    We are probably behind the power curve in buying a dedicated slide scanner.

Sunday, June 15, 2014

Seen while shopping

Seen at Michael's.  Who would buy this?  What could possibly be the marketing plan?  Really, $120 for an instant camera?  It prints a photo of questionable quality and then that's the only one you have.  How 1965!  Well, the fact that it is "credit card sized" makes it somewhat more modern.  But not much.

Then there was the pre-Father's Day line of marching grills.  Does walking by 10 of the very same item make me more likely to buy it? 

Volunteer changes

For no particular reason, I skipped the Georgetown Carnival yesterday.  I did rather want to see the Powertool drag races.  With the main street closed I had no idea about where to park and the website had no hints on that.  My motivation fizzled. 

But I have homework!  I'm planning a transition to another position at the Museum of Flight:  Living History interpreter.  I met with the program coordinator last Thursday.  I have some information to read over.  She also allowed me to rifle through the files of potential characters to portray.  I brought home a thick pile of copies on WWI nurses and Katharine Wright, sister to the Wright Brothers. 

While the Museum has a costume shop (!!), they don't have late Victorian dress.  So I'll need to make something.  I believe I already have enough in my closet with which to get started if I just wanted to do Ms. Wright.  I'm leaning in that direction. Katharine is on the right.

I've also applied to be a Living History interpreter at Fort Nisqually.  I was very inspired by my last visit and discussion with the volunteer there.  However, it's been over a week since I sent the application and no response.  I've sent a followup "did you receive this?" email.  Nadda.  Maybe the coordinator is on vacation?  If nothing in another few days, I'll send it paper snail mail.

With the thought that I might be able to demonstrate period watercolor illustration (which was suggested by the volunteer with whom I spoke), I ordered Cathy Johnson's Living History: Drawing on the Past, which was suggested by a staff member at the Fort.  "She has written several books of interest to living historians or interpreters".  I first became aware of her through Urban Sketchers but she is also involved in historical re-enactment

On a sadder note, I've been thinking of my cousin, John, whose funeral was Thursday.  I found a nice tribute from the local newspaper.  I also found his full obituary.  My gosh, I never realized he had 15 grandchildren and 11 great-grandchildren!  It has been 12 years since I last visited Michigan. 

In the course of looking through these tributes, I found this on the funeral home website.  One can "send comfort food" to the family, as well as flowers.    I guess it makes sense.  We are now so mobile that we live far away from family and friends.  In the past, one made a nice casserole and dropped by to leave it with the grieving family.  Most of the time we can't do that so easily. 

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Bird's egg

When I went out to get the newspaper early this morning, I noticed this tiny bird's egg on the sidewalk.  I think it might be a Robin's egg.  I looked above and couldn't see a likely spot from which it might have fallen.