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Asleep at the Wheel

Last Wednesday and Thursday, I facilitated an Operational Leadership class. It's a class that deals with leadership, assertiveness, life skills that make you safer, ways to communicate that encourage a safe work environment, etc.

On my way home from the class, driving back to Seattle, I watched a car shoot off the road and go airborne. It was pretty surreal.

I turned around and went to help, figuring that even though I'm no longer an EMT there are Good Samaritan laws on the books that will cover me if I needed to control bleeding or something while we waited for emergency responders to show up. Fortunately, what I found was the driver standing on the side of the road, looking down at his Prius in the weeds, slightly dazed. He was seemingly fine.


I asked him what had happened. He told me he'd fallen asleep while driving through a curve. At 55mph.

I am very glad that physics threw him to the outside of the road, into verge (and no trees!), and not across the center line. I would have been in the mix had that happened.

Drowsy driving is impaired driving.

If you've had a long day, call a friend or take a nap before you get on the road. This guy (and I) got very lucky. That's the only thing that kept people from getting terribly injured or killed: luck.

... and yes, the class I'd facilitated covered fatigue and its impacts on decision making and response time. I asked the guy if I could take a photo of his car for my next class. He was all too happy to let me take the photo.

Camping Out for a Meeting at Mt Rainier

Last Wednesday, I had a meeting down at Mount Rainier National Park that I had to go to. I know, "had to go to" is really not the right phrase... Anyway, I could have just gone down for the day, but a colleague convinced me to stay a bit longer and experience the park, so as to understand it a bit more. I work closely with the managers of seven other national parks in our part of the world, and it's good for me to know what their issues are, what they're dealing with, how we can help each other out, share resources, etc. So the idea of sticking around was a practical one, and I needed a hit of being outside the city, and Sam hadn't yet seen the park at all, so I rented a car and we headed up there together last Tuesday evening, camped a couple of nights, and we both got to see a bit of the park.

We drove up Tuesday night after work, arriving at half past nine. We were both pretty wiped, so we just set up the tent in the dark and went straight to bed, having been suitably nourished by the bag of potato chips we'd split during the drive that evening (not really, but we were too tired to deal with cooking and cleanup).

The next day, I went to my meetings and Sam spent the day hiking alone along a portion of the Wonderland Trail, a ninety-mile loop he's hoping to hike in its entirety at some point while we're living in the area. That evening we played cards and just enjoyed being outside. I didn't really even dig my camera out until the next morning, on Thursday, the day I'd taken off from work to just hike and drive around the park.

Exploring Mount Rainier National ParkCollapse )
Somehow on Saturday evening I found myself discussing a trip I made to Barrow back in 2003.

This friend of mine with whom I was conversing is an avid hiker. He is visiting the United States and is understandably interested in some of our large carnivores, since he's not accustomed to having to worry about such things while hiking in Europe. So we were talking about bears, I guess, and then polar bears came up, and of course polar bears have a very limited range compared to grizzlies and black bears and live very far away and I've never lived in a place that has polar bears but I've seen polar bears while traveling, and so I suppose that's how Barrow came up.

Then he started asking about Barrow and I found myself once again trying to articulate why I like Barrow so much, and whenever I try to do this it never comes out right. It always comes out sounding as if Barrow is somewhat desolate and spooky, with whale skulls everywhere. Which I suppose is one way to look at the place, but I found those aspects of it really intriguing, and the people that I met were incredibly friendly and eager to share their way of life with people who are interested. I have been meaning to go back, hopefully with Sam in tow and hopefully at a time of year when the sea ice isn't so far off shore, because I'd like to see a walrus in the wild.

Fast forward to last night and this morning. I finally installed Lightroom and was processing photographs from a camping trip we took to Mount Rainier National Park this past week. (I should post those as well, and I will, right after I post these; after months of me not posting at all, you shall be flooded with Jacqueline photos!) I was looking through the sprawl that my photo folders have become, mulling over how best to organize these things and index them with Lightroom, and I happened upon some (but unfortunately not all) of the photographs from my trip to Barrow.

So, all of that was an unnecessarily long-winded explanation as to why I'm sharing a trip that happened nearly a decade ago with you. I'm posting these so that the friend I was playing cards with Saturday night can check them out. There were too many photos to e-mail if I was going to paint a picture of the town, and this seemed like the quickest way to post them somewhere.

Whale skulls and polar bears and other things...Collapse )

Market Ghost Tour, Images of Pike's Place

Friday evening I met up with jadeejf for a really lovely supper at the Rendezvous. That's an interesting place. I've been there twice, and while the food was fantastic both times, the ambiance sucked on the first visit and rocked on the second. The only reason I went back the second time was that I had had two Groupons (purchased blindly because the place is to close to our apartment). I'm really glad I had a reason to go back, because it would have been a shame to write the place off. I'll definitely return, and if when I poke my head in the door I'm greeted with loud music that clashes with their interior design scheme, I'll just come back another night.

After supper we took advantage of another Groupon, this time one that jadeejf had, for the Market Ghost Tour. I'd been to their late evening 'lust' tour, which still talks about ghosts but features a lot more Seattle brothel history, and had found I wanted to come back at some point for the ghost tour, because there's a lot of history there as well. Turns out there's a third tour they do as well that might be fun, where they go inside one of the buildings looking for ghosts, so maybe I'll hit that one as well at some point.

Anyway, if you're interested, I took my camera with me. There aren't any weird orbs of light or interesting anomalies in my photos, but there are some okay shots of the market, Post Alley, the gum wall, etc. Images behind the cut.Collapse )

What the heck? Another photo post!

I went back out with the camera this afternoon after that other photo post to practice some of the new skills. In case you're interested, here are some photos of the Seattle Art Museum"s Sculpture ParkCollapse )

Life, and a Photography Class

I have no excuse for not posting in forever. Well, I have some excuses, I guess, as it's been a busy winter of blessings and tragedy, high highs and low lows. But life is generally interesting, fun, filled with friends and new endeavors...

I should probably be writing about it, but I haven't really had it in me to do so for whatever reason. Sometimes it's been due to sadness, but mostly due to being more active, more creative, more social. Maybe I'll write again soon.

I mostly came by to tell you I'm okay. But so long as I'm here: among the interesting things in my life as of late, I guess, is that I took a photography class on light and metering yesterday. I took the class because I live in a city now and such things are offered in cities. (I've been in the big city for six months now, can you believe it?) Anyway, I also took the class because I was guessing a lot more with my camera than I needed to; I wanted to be more in control of the way my photographs come out.

After the class was over I was understandably in a photo-taking sort of mood. So I'll share how my very nice day went yesterday. Not so much because I feel up for writing, but because I can mostly just show you the photos I took, such as the one seen on the right.

Pictures, are, after all, worth lots and lots of words.

Hope you are doing well. More photos behind this link.Collapse )

LiveJournal purge

It's always a touchy thing, paring down my reading list on LiveJournal, but I just cut dozens of people. If you were one of the folks who was removed, it's nothing personal. Of course, I say that, and I mean that, but I also know how it feels to be removed from someone's list. Even when it's not personal it feels that way, because the facts are one thing, but then there's what we tell ourselves about those facts, and that's where the emotion comes from, right or wrong. And although no one I removed is a good friend (unless I made a huge mistake in my unchecking of boxes... if you think I did, please send me a message), even being removed by someone you don't know too well can feel like a blow.

But sincerely, I literally cut dozens from my flist. Some were people who truly won't care and some are folks I added and had hoped to get to know but for whatever reason we never really connected.

I'm sorry we didn't connect better, and I wish you the best in 2012 and beyond.

Winter Solstice Getaway 2011

If you already had your holiday, I hope it was grand.

If you celebrate Christmas, I hope you have a wonderful holiday.

As for us, Sam and I had to mix up our annual solstice tradition a bit... no winter star-gazing hot tub in Alaska this year, having (a) sold the hot tub and (b) moved from Alaska. So instead we tried to get away from it all in Olympic National Forest. We didn't succeed in getting away from much of anything (lesson learned: hike-in only cabin next year), but we saw some nice things...

Comments here or comments there or no comments at all, whichever... but if you have a preference like, "Yay photos, but just post them here, not off-site!" or "I like the way things get laid out over at Google, hooray for posting them this way!" I'm interested in knowing that. kthxbai


Anybody wanna be my friend?

Sam and I are hanging out a bit on Fitocracy. It's kinda slightly silly, but it is actually motivating us to workout. It's like a social networking game where you get points for doing stuff and you level up and have quests and get to see how your friends are doing and give 'em props when they complete quests or have a best set or whatnot.

The site is in beta (and thus does still need some work). I tried getting an account on my own only to be told that I would be notified when they were letting more people in. So then I whined to lno and he sent me an invite... VOILA! Instant access!

So, if you would like an invite, let me or Sam know and we will send you an invite. Right now it's just Sam and lno on there, and it would be fun to see how other people are doing. I like giving props to my peeps for doing good stuff.

You Are a Turkey!

If you are into interactive fiction, you have five minutes, and you want to play the game that I coded in under an hour today, it can be played online at:


Happy Thanksgiving!! ; )

My tweets


My tweets

  • Thu, 14:19: Just did week 2, day 2 of #c25k with @couch5k! Easier today, due to a lot more stretching beforehand!


Guess whose is whose...

That's one thing off today's To Do list!
Got some decluttering and bill paying done, too.
Looking forward to seeing these after dark.
Can you guess who carved which pumpkin?

(I'm not really needing you to guess.)
(I just find it amusing.)


A Visit to Sit' tlein

For some reason I'm not feeling particularly verbose this evening.

We ventured into Disenchantment Bay with my friend Lucretia... we took photos.Collapse )


The Continuing Saga of the Stand-Up Desk!

Some of you may have read the initial report on the adventure of the standing desk and be curious about where I went with that.

I'll tell you where I went: I went to work.

Take Your Standing Desk to Work! Check out the corner office!Collapse )


I've been mulling over alternative desk setups for awhile now, because I (for better or worse) spend a lot of my life at a computer, and it's starting to catch up with me, even though I've made some serious strides in ergonomics in most of my workspaces.

I considered but ultimately rejected the idea of a treadmill desk. We have recently purchased a manual (i.e. not electric) treadmill. A coworker, knowing that I'm always weighing my impacts on the environment, has gleefully placed the idea in my head of how to hack that treadmill so that it not only doesn't consume power, but also generates it. I'll let you know where that goes, if it goes anywhere.

Photo of the standing desk I"ve been usingBut what I have decided to try is a standing desk. Specifically, the one pictured here. It cost me $60, which isn't too spendy as experiments like this go.

Drawbacks on this particular desk...Collapse )


Thus far, I've used it for about five hours straight today. I like it, overall, and feel it was money well spent, even if I wish it were made of actual wood. I can move it around the house pretty easily, so for instance I've been easily monitoring ClubFloyd while doing dishes and making lunch. I can also set it in front of the dining room windows and gaze out at the St. Elias range as I type... and the view is easily changed if I grow tired of a particular spot.

Ergonomically, the desk is adjustable to the perfect height, and my arms, neck, and shoulders feel pretty good this morning. I'm shifting the weight on my feet more or less subconsciously, my feet don't hurt a bit. I'm not a fidgetter, but I find that I'm moving a lot while at this desk, and am able to stretch out the things that have been bothering me a bit while still working at things on the keyboard—my low back and hips are going to benefit a great deal from shifting from sitting to standing when at the computer. Perhaps I'm burning more (albeit not many more) calories while using this desk. And it also seems to help with inertia... it feels like less of a big deal to go make a cup of tea for whatever reason (lazy as that sounds).

An added bonus of this particular model is that there's a tiny book case in the bottom, in which I plan to keep coding references and source material for projects on which I'm working.

Anyway, if people are interested, perhaps I'll post about it again in a month or so.

ETA: I originally meant to include a link to this great blog post that finally inspired me to try out a standing desk.

ET further A: Here's my follow up: The Continuing Saga of the Stand-Up Desk!


Pretty nice northern lights last night, and for once it was actually not cloudy (I'm not complaining; I adore the rainforest in all its moods, and clouds keep things toastier in the winter, but still—it was nice to see the lights). No clouds also meant that it was below zero (F), which is super cold for us, but Sam and I took a walk anyway.

Soooo many stars, such a rich dark blue sky, and the aurora kept appearing and disappearing like ghostly blade-like sentinels standing at varying distances on an ever-shifting, sometimes rippling, but generally stable emerald horizon of light.

Thank you, Spaceweather.com, for the heads up!


Writer's Block: Into the night

How would you describe your perfect evening in six words (e.g., I stayed home and ate pasta)?

There's really no point in answering this Writer's Block question when the example given with the question is pretty much the best answer.

In other news, last night I encountered the best 404 page on the internet. Go check it out if you are either (a) a geek or (b) susceptible to cuteness. If you're both a geek *and* susceptible to cuteness, you should probably sit down and not be drinking anything you might spit at your computer screen when taken off guard.

Have a great Wednesday.

Sun and Moon, Longer Days

When I awoke yesterday before six, the first tinges of light were already on the Fairweathers. When I left yoga last night at seven, there was still a hint of dusk beside St. Elias. The days are quite noticeably longer; we're gaining over five minutes of light every day. The most striking image I hold in my memory from yesterday was the waning but still brilliant moon against a dark indigo sky. The sight stopped me in my tracks, and I took a few moments to really appreciate its beauty, but it also made me sad: we're slipping quickly toward the time of year where I'll rarely see the moon, never see it that luminous, and the stars will seemingly disappear altogether. It's one of two major reasons why I greatly prefer Alaskan winters over summers, even if I'm out and about more during the months of light.



Jacqueline A. Lott Ashwell

Apropos of Something

"If future generations are to remember us with gratitude rather than contempt, we must leave them more than the miracles of technology. We must leave them a glimpse of the world as it was in the beginning, not just after we got through with it." - L B Johnson

"One hundred years from now, as people look back on our use of this continent, we shall not be praised for our reckless use of its oil, nor the loss of our forests; we shall be mightily damned for all these things. But we may take comfort in the knowledge that we shall certainly be thanked for the national parks." - R L Wilbur, former US Interior Secretary

"If I were to name the three most precious resources of life, I should say books, friends, and nature; and the greatest of these, at least the most constant and always at hand, is nature. Nature we have always with us, an inexhaustible storehouse of that which moves the heart, appeals to the mind, and fires the imagination, -health to the body, a stimulus to the intellect, and joy to the soul." - J Burroughs


My isquiesque icons are John Allison's character Shelly Winters in all her many moods altered by me to look a bit more like me, with permission from Allison. He is wonderful, and everyone should check out his work at ScaryGoRound.com!



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