Wednesday, January 26, 2005

Should Lake Whatcom Connector road be built into the watershed?

How about a bicycle path?

Letter I recently sent to county council

Dear Council

To build, or not to build Lake Whatcom Connector between Lake Louise Road and Yew Street.

How about making it a bicycle path only?

I first read about this proposed road in a mailing sent out by Pro Whatcom, a group that basically wants to put the lid on growth.

On the other hand, building a new road doesn't sound totally bad for me. I am a bicyclist and I refuse to even go out South Shore Drive because it is too busy and narrow. It would be good to encourage more Sudden Valley residents to bike, but the current road situation, out that way, is awful. Maybe the new road would improve that with wider shoulders, but it would also heat up concerns about enabling growth in the Lake Whatcom watershed.

Less costly than building a road, how about just building it as a bike path? A cinder path, similar to Bellingham's South Bay Trail means less impervious surface.

Not building a new car road would address some of the anti growth watershed concerns. At the same time, building it as a bike path could encourage bicycling rather than driving.

Ironically a new road with good shoulders could encourage bicycling also, but making it a bike path would also address the issue of restricting growth in the watershed. Autos may be the worse polluters of watersheds.

Traffic thundering out Lakeway Drive in Bellingham. Much of it headed to Lake Whatcom area.

Today's Herald reported that county council decided to drop the new Lake Whatcom Connector from its plans. Too costly to build, now estimated at around $18 million plus it does go into the watershed.

Basically, the easiest out is to do nothing. No new road, just let traffic pile up on old road and save $18 million in taxpayer money. People shouldn't be moving to the Lake Whatcom area anyway.

Tuesday, January 25, 2005

Bicycle postage stamp

Bicycle stamp from Poland. Found in my jar of old stamps that are a byproduct of doing mail art over the years. This one from around 1989. Peace and bikes.

Monday, January 24, 2005

Portland Bike Ensemble, my review

You guessed it, playing their bicycles as musical instruments.

It was "interesting."

Might have been better as an acoustical, rather than amplified concert.

I went to a performance January 24 in Bellingham. It was part of a dance combolateralation.

Lots can be done with bicycles, but it seemed like missed opportunities here. Mostly it sounded like rubbing the mike across tire tread. Probably would have sounded the same rubbing mike on a rubber floor mat, carpet, jacket sleeve or what ever. Didn't really sound like it came from the bike. It was more about mike and amplifier sounds, I think.

More could have been done bringing the authentic sounds of the bike forward. Plucking spokes, freewheel clicking. There was some of that, but I think it might have worked better as an acoustical concert, or at least less reliance on the amplification.

Dancing was interesting also. The main dancer was handsome.

Being a young person, the dance was a bit into that common American energy of the "wild man."

As the sounds groaned, the dancers tossed bikes around and pounded wheels to the floor. Good thing they didn't bash each other, accidentally, on the head.

Poor wheels probably got "trashed." Someone with a truing stand will be needed unless these are "dumpster bikes."

Another missed opportunity for collaborating dance and biking is the graceful stretching that some cyclists do. Biking can evolve to stretching and then to dancing. Something they might think about experimenting with.

I enjoy riding up to Vancouver and then going dancing. The dancing makes a nice cool down from riding.

Of course it was their show, not mine.

My mind if full of "if I was doing it" ideas.

Another part of the performance was a video of interviews with Bellingham people about dance. That was very good.

All in all it was an interesting show. Maybe the performers will find this in Google and think about some of my ideas. Then again, it's their show, not mine.

Sunday, January 23, 2005

Is Bush's ownership society becoming an onerous society?

Virtues of an "ownership society" has surfaced several places including President Bush's 2005 inaugural address.

Hopefully there can be more roads to fulfillment than just ownership.

What about quality of life experience?

I don't own a home, business, car, pet, or possessive relationship. I don't even own lots of furniture!

Some people say they are owned by their possessions.

They say "We don't have time to talk because the lawn needs mowing again."

I do own a computer.

My computer cost less than 1 month's house payments for many folks.

Still, this little item opens up an entire world. An entire world on the Internet.

It's the Internet that makes my computer marvelous.

No one can own the Internet.

So far, at least.

Something like the Internet shows us the virtue of things beyond what one can own. The common tapestry of life that interconnects us all.

There are many great things we don't own; like friends and good conversations. Maybe one can "own" what one says, or, in other words, "own one's feelings."

Ownership does have some virtue, but there is too much emphasis placed on ownership in this society. Quality of life should mean something.

A friend and I crested the brow of this big hill on our bikes. As the panoramic view unfolded before us he remarked,

"Wouldn't this be a great place to build my house."

That thought hadn't occurred to me. I just thought, "what a nice place to pass through."

If I owned a house there, the view would become "old hat" after while.

Let's not create an onerous ownership society.

Saturday, January 22, 2005

This sign not far from the entrance to Whidbey Island Navel Air Station. Image taken in mid 1990s. I don't think sign is still there.

An irony that military jets are seen at the "sound of freedom." Doesn't the military mean regimentation? I bet they mean "regimentation, for a while is the price of freedom."


I have camped at Deception Pass State Park, not far from this sign. One hears jet engines most of the night. Kind of interesting to watch, by day, but hard to sleep.

Tuesday, January 18, 2005

Stainglass sculpture in stairway window at Fairhaven College

Stain glass sculpture in window of south stairway, Fairhaven College Academic Building. One of many nice things to walk past wondering around campus buildings.

Saturday, January 15, 2005

Astronomy woodcut from middle ages & congratulations to Cassini

This image was lifted from an astronomy book. It depicts a medieval wood cut about peering behind the sky to see what makes the universe tick. I changed it a bit by adding the words, "space exploration."

Congratulations to the Cassini space craft now orbiting Saturn and the Huygens probe that successfully landed on Titan. Great exploration in our day and good cooperation between USA and European Space agencies.

Visit the mission.

Thursday, January 13, 2005

Gregoire wins governorship in the state of Washington (where I live) by 129 votes out of 2.9 million counted.

That's close. Of course Republican Dino Rossi is mad and challenging the situation. Reminds one of "Bush Gore" Florida in 2000?

Beyond the surface issues, that fill newspapers with political talk, are several things which come to my mind.

Amazing that so many elections, these days, are this close! Every vote counts, I guess.

There is usually a margin of error, maybe 1% anyway.

Voting has many archaic things like the Electoral College, nantionally, that put Bush in for 2000 while Gore took the popular vote. Here in Washington State, Rossi won the Machine recount by 49? votes, but Gregoire ordered (and paid for) a hand recount. Hand count is the final say according to Washington State Constitution; another old tradition, like the Electoral College.

A big issue is the problem of "winner take all competition," especially when it is this close. If half the state wants "brand B," maybe governorships, and the US Presidency, should be shared positions.

Our system of checks and balances does take this problem into account. Often each party gets a little bit of its way when the President is of one party while the legislative majority is of another.

People will be arguing about this close race for years. Last I counted, I still had ten fingers on my hands, but still don't know if the thumb qualifies. Hand recount?

Speaking of old voting traditions, Whatcom County, where I live, has decided to go all absentee ballot. Vote by mail.

A good idea. No more polling stations, except for some handicap places, to maintain. No more need to buy new voting machines. Less worry about the advent of touch screen voting with no paper trail.

Just forget polling place voting all together. Vote by mail. The absentee ballot can still provide a paper trail.

Whatcom County has made a wise move.

Capitol steps, Olympia, WA.

Capitol Steps. Washington State Legislative Building in Olympia. I took this image on my 1992 bike tour around the northwest.

Wednesday, January 12, 2005

Where were the weapons of mass destruction? My thoughts.

Today, Bush White House just announced:

Guess what folks, there were no weapons of mass destruction to be found.

Where were the weapons of mass destruction?

Nations of the world had Iraq under the thumb for years. Sanctions, no fly zones, inspectors. Iraq got little chance to build weapons of mass destruction even though the intent may have been there.

Monday, January 10, 2005

Road up Sehome Hill in the snow. Bellingham does not get snow real often. Some years not at all, others a handful of times. Car drivers often gripe as they don't usually have snow tires in this area. When I say the snow is beautiful, people often remark, "you don't have to drive in it." I walk. A beautiful walk.

Saturday, January 08, 2005

Installing the nose driver?

I recently got an invitation to send something to a mail art show. The card had a place to put perfume. Responses were to be scanned onto the net. How will the perfume get scanned?

When I was a kid, I remember thinking "someday there might be smellevision."

Then, in the early 1980s the Seattle Times had an article about a device someone invented to create smells in the room by electronic command. It had a disk that heated up different chemicals based on some sort of code it received. Apple smell, locker room smell.

Soon after that, I found the smell making machine in a second hand store. Didn't buy it. The replacement disks are probably long not available.

Maybe someone is working on a nose protocol for the internet. So far, the internet does not offer much for the nose.

Maybe it is too primordial. We just look past it to our computer screens.

My profile picture for a while.

Tuesday, January 04, 2005

Bumper sticker on army tank should say I'd rather be sightseeing

Cartoon of army tank with bumper sticker saying, "I'd rather be sightseeing." I drew this cartoon 1991.

Monday, January 03, 2005

Labyrinth Walk In The Pentagon?

A few nights ago, I dreamed that I was in Washington, DC.

There was an open house at the Pentagon.

I walked into a lobby filled with red, white and blue balloons.

It was sort of like a labyrinth walk.

First I decided to walk straight to the courtyard in the center of the building.

As I peered out onto a cobble stoned court, I wondered, "how far into the Pentagon did that jet penetrate on 911?" It didn't make it all the way to the center court.

Just then, I heard people talking and giggling. They were rhetorically asking, "are we a target because we are in the Pentagon, or are we safer because the Pentagon is wrapped around us?" I marveled at how light hearted they were discussing these topics. Everything was so relaxed.

Then I decided to walk back out to the lobby again.

Back at the reception lobby, I decided to turn left and walk the outer hallway around the perimeter of the building. Wondered how far I would get before a security gate, or barrier stopped me.

Hallway was like some concourse at a shopping mall only lined with offices, instead of shops.

I made it all the way around and back to the lobby.

Thought, "what a public relations stunt for the Bush administration." Top White House and military officials were standing around with smiles on their faces as if to say, "the doors are open, we're not afraid anymore, we've won the war on terror."

Walking back out into the parking lot I thought, "Interesting to get a chance to see the Pentagon that way, but I sort of regret that I am out of time." "Kind of wish I had gone, instead, to NASA's Air and Space exhibits at the Smithsonian.

Then I woke up.

Saturday, January 01, 2005

Review of Wade King recreation, YMCA and rainy forests

To me, gyms are more social centers than exercise places. I get so much exercise by not owning a car, who needs the gym for that anyway?

Wade King Recreation center in Bellingham glistens, but downtown YMCA is more like a community center.

Glowing Wade King center at WWU beckons one out of the rain.

When I use a gym, I often make a beeline to the men's locker room where nudity awaits. Steam, sauna and some of the best conversation. It's better than a bar. YMCA is more likely to be sociable than Wade King.

Sometimes I go to an aerobics class, if the music is good. Like nightclubs, I rate it by music, not WORK out criteria.

My body regulates its self very well; thank you. It's on "auto pilot" and doesn't bother me with groans or aces. It just lets the music flow.

A nice byproduct of bicycling over the years.

Only folks connected to Western, such as students, staff or alumni, are allowed to use Wade King.

I qualify; as an alumni.

Bought a pass to try out the new place. It was 15 visits on a punch card.

It's nice, but for fitness, one might as well just jog from downtown Bellingham to WWU campus and save the money.

If one is into equipment, there's lots of it.

The pool is real good also. Probably the nicest pool in Bellingham.

No steam room, or sauna though. The shower consists of private cubicles. Not a big open shower. This, along with no steam or sauna makes the locker room less of a social experience. People just passing through on their way to somewhere else. It's pragmatic, basic.

There is a hot tub, out on the pool deck, but conversation tends to be buried in ambient sound. Echoing on the big pool deck.

Most people don't go the gym for social anyway, or do they?

Jogging on the track was quite interesting, the first time. It's something new.

Indoor track at Wade King Student Recreation Center, Western Washington University, Bellingham.

After a few sessions, it does become "Just running around the same circle over and over again."

I must admit, the jog up Indian Street to WWU's campus offers more variety.

One doesn't need to buy a punch card for that.

Some alumni struggle getting up to the campus, or complain that there isn't enough parking there.

I haven't succumbed to that feeling, getting around by bike even though I recently passed my 50Th birthday.

My dad used to say, "why do people drive clear across town just to run circles around the track?" "Shouldn't they just jog to the track and back?"

"Save oil."

Like biking through a magnificent forest, Wade King fits well into a diversified sphere of local recreation.

Rain Forest Sculpture by a James Fitzgereld. Stands in front of Wade King Recreation center at Western Washington University.

Why do so many of the private fitness clubs, require initiation fees? That's one nice thing about Wade King, or a place like the YMCA. No initiation fees.

One ought to be able to buy a membership with out having to tie one's self down to the farm. Wade King does require one to have ties to the university however.

People "bar hop." What about jogging through several fitness centers on the way to a healthy life?

Mix it up. Get some variety.

Happy New Year's and make your resolutions fun. "Play out" instead of "WORK out."

Another rain forest sculpture by (I think) same artist as piece in front of Western's fitness center. This one is located in my childhood home town of Pullman, WA. Near a WSU dorm complex called Regent's Hill.