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Washington State

I took a trip to Washington State around Labor Day weekend/week (Sept 4 - Sept 11), 2004. Here are some highlights from it.

Click on the thumbnail images to get larger ones (around 100-300K).

The Museum of Flight

I went to the Museum of Flight which has a lot of cool stuff, including various airliners (727, 737, 747, since it's at Boeing Field), military stuff (SR-71, Harrier), and some cool stuff on the Apollo space program. It also has a Concorde there, which is very cool.

* [under the concorde] The concorde is both big and small. It sits pretty high, but the passenger area is pretty small. Here's a view from underneath. We waited in line for about 40 minutes. Fortunately, part of the time we were under it in the shade. (Sep 2004)

* [another concorde] Here I am at the exit to the Concorde. I know it's not an Air Force One (they had one of those too, a 707), but I felt like I needed to wave to the crowd of my adoring fans. Yes, I'm a legend in my own mind. I like the effect where I'm sort of glowing and silhouetted. (Sep 2004)

* [the concorde] For reference, the plane's tail number is G-BOAG. It arrived in late November 5, 2003. (Sep 2004)

The Museum of Glass

I went to the Museum of Glass in Tacoma. It's got some cool stuff, including "The Bridge of Glass" outside of the museum that crosses the highway with work by Dale Chihuly. The museum has a "hot shop" where people can watch artists creating glass works. It's pretty neat and the studio is in a funky shape reminiscient of the furnaces the papermills used to burn the wood scraps "way back when."

* [The Museum of Glass' Hot Shop] This weird thing is the auditorium where the 'hot shop' is located, where they do live demonstrations of glass work. It's a pretty neat design and you kind of feel like you're in the Underworld, as everything is either dark or glowing orange, and there are the sounds of furnaces everwhere. The shape of it is (I believe) an homage to the furnaces that the papermills used to have around Tacoma to burn their scrap wood. (Sep 2004)

* [Crystal towers] There are two 'Crystal Towers' on the bridge over the highway. They look like rock candy. (Sep 2004)

* [Frank under a crystal tower] Here I'm standing under one of the crystal towers. It's pretty damn big and makes you kind of think while driving under the bridge, and hope nothing will drop down. (Sep 2004)

* [Seaform Pavilion] The 'Seaform Pavillion.' There are a lot of sea-shell like glass pieces sitting on the ceiling of this part of the bridge. It's pretty cool. This is a shot of one small piece of it. (Sep 2004)

Addendum (March 2005): A version of this photo made it into the State of the Art Gallery's 16th Annual Juried Phototography Show. Woo hoo!

* [Under the sea] While this shot isn't great, you can at least see how the different components fit together, specifically the pieces in the ceiling of the Seaform Pavillion and the Crystal Towers (both of them). (Sep 2004)

* [Museum of Glass and Bridge of Glass] This is across the street from the museum, after having crossed the Bridge of Glass. You can see the Hot Shop. The rest of the museum of glass is to the left of it. (Sep 2004)


Tacoma is a cool city on Puget Sound, just south of Seattle. If you're an engineer, the image of the Tacoma Narrows Bridge may come to mind, in which it oscillates back and forth, up and down, stronger and stronger, as the winds hit the natural harmonic frequency of the bridge until it was destroyed and fell into the Sound.

The waterfront area is also cool. The area used to have many papermills, but Weyerhaeuser(?) is the only one remaining. And yes, papermills have some nasty ecological impacts on the areas (by-products of making paper; not just destroying all the trees).

* [The Tacoma Narrows bridge] My undergraduate degree was in computer engineering, and while I might not be a 'true' engineer, I can appreciate one of the biggest demonstrations of why you want to consider things like harmonic frequencies and such when designing bridges. I'm talking about the Tacoma Narrows Bridge. The first one was destroyed shortly (months) after it opened and most high-school students have seen the film of the bridge violently oscillating up and down. They are starting to build a replacement for this one. (Sep 2004)

* [Tacoma driftwood] Walking by the water in Tacoma, I saw some driftwood that had a really stark white look to it, especially with the late day light. I thought it looked cool. (Sep 2004)

* [papermill oven ruins] Along the waterfront in Tacoma is the remains of a papermill that burned down 20 years ago or so. Very little remains and the city bought the land to make some public areas and walking paths, which is rather nice. One of the remnants of the mill is the circular foundation for the furnaces where they burned the scrap wood. This was not for heat and they didn't burn the slude or chemical waste from the paper making process, merely the extra wood they had left. And there was a hell of a lot of it that they burned, every day. And by the way, I like the shadow effect in this shot. (Sep 2004)

* [sunset from a parking lot] On the way back from Tacoma, we stopped at a grocery store. The sunset looked cool, so I took a picture, even though the location was rather mundane. There are two weird artifacts on the picture that I suspect were waterdrops on the negative when they printed it (one is to the right of the red colors in the cloud and the other is directly above it at the very top of the picture). (Sep 2004)

Mount Rainier National Park

Mount Rainier National Park is a pretty cool mountain. At 14,410', it's the tallest mountain in the continental United States. It's also an active volcano. ("Did he say active? It hasn't errupted in 150 years.") It is classified as a "Decade Volcano" as it is likely to errupt again in the next few decades. This could make for a bad day for a lot of people in the general area.

It's quite beautiful and the park has a lot of scenic trails for day hikers, as well as challenges for the real (insane) climbers. The main trail we saw was the Nisqually Vista Trail near the visitor center in Paradise (they named things without sarcasm, including Disappointment Cleaver).

* [River (facing left)] A view of a river, facing left. (Sep 2004)

* [River (facing right)] A view of the same river facing rihgt. (Sep 2004)

* [River (looking ahead)] And the same river looking across to the other side. (Sep 2004)

* [???overlook???] More from the park, with Mr. Rainier in the distance, poking out of the clouds. (Sep 2004)

* [somewhere in Mt. Rainier] Another shot with the top of the mountain obscured by clouds (as Pink Floyd might say) and the very peak just poking out. (Sep 2004)

* [Peggy at Rainier] My friend Peggy in the park. (Sep 2004)

* [Frank at Rainier] This is on the path to ... um ... that place with the rainbow waterfall. Again, I'm kind of glowing and have that black and white contrast thing going on. (Sep 2004)

* [Waterfall and rainbow] Some cool waterfalls. Note the rainbow at the bottom. (Sep 2004)

* [Again, waterfall and rainbow] Another view of the waterfall and rainbow. (Sep 2004)

* [More waterfall and rainbow] Yet another rainbow waterfall picture. You can see, at the top, a footbridge we crossed. (Sep 2004)

* [House in Paradise] At the start of the Nisqually Vista Trail, there's a house that's visible that looks kind of cool. (Sep 2004)

* [House in Paradise] Another view of the house from the Nisqually Vista Trail. The trail starts and ends in 'Paradise' which is where the tourist center is located. (Sep 2004)

* [Mt. Rainier (left half)] This is the left half of a view of Rainier. It's shrouded in clouds and you can see the tree line as well as a river that carries glacial debris. (Sep 2004)

* [Mt. Rainier (right half)] This is the right half of the picture of Rainier. You can see the stream that was visible in the previous picture, as well as the glacial ice. (Sep 2004)

* [Peggy in Paradise] A shot of Peggy in Paradise (hey, it's got much better alliteration and rhythm than saying Peggy on the Nisqually Vista Trail). (Sep 2004)

* [Nisqually Vista Trail] Yes there are two paths you can go by, but in the long run, there's still time to change the road you're on (Stairway to Heaven, (duh!)). The Nisqually Vista Trail in Paradise. It's a short loop with some really beautiful scenery. (Sep 2004)

Seattle of grunge and rain. It's got the Space Needle, the Pike Place (Farmer's) Market where fish vendors at Pike Place Fish throw fish around and where the original Starbucks is located (since I loathe coffee, it's merely an interesting fact but means little to me; there's a hardware store next door to it, which is about as interesting to me). I should also note that the original Starbucks logo has two breasts not covered by her hair. I thought about taking a picture of it, but if I did that, I would've had to have taken a picture of the hardware store too. I mean, it's just coffee! Anyway, Seattle also has the Science Fiction Museum, which was pretty cool. Next to that is the Experience Music Project (which I did not experience). It's a fun city.

* [The Seattle Space Needle] The Space Needle is a landmark associated with Seattle. And it's pretty damn big. (Sep 2004)

* [Art near the Space Needle] They had this funky art stuff in the parking lot by the Experience Music Project, which is next to the Science Fiction Museum. Since I had a few minutes to wait before my friend Neel picked me up, I figured I'd take a picture of it. (Sep 2004)

* [Frank and Neel at the Pike Place Market] I met Neel in grad school at Ohio State. We were catching up on things while at the Pike Place Market and were talking about a mutual friend, Pierce. So Neel gave him a call. Here is an arm's-length shot of Neel on his cell phone talking to Pierce with me looking on with a slightly disturbed expression on my face (perhaps I was afraid Pierce might fart through the phone--I put nothing beyond him). (Sep 2004)

* [Frank (and pig) at the Pike Street Market] In front of the Pike Place Fish store is a bronze pig, which I rode. No one seemed to notice nor care, including the pig. (Sep 2004)

* [The Pike Place Farmer's Market] Here's a shot of the Pike Place Market, which is right on Puget Sound. The street is on a hill and I was standing on a flower planter, which was a few feet high. There was an ambulance nearby across the street (not in the picture). I think the paramedic was waiting to see if I fell, since he already had a good parking space. (Sep 2004)


It used to be a little suburb of Seattle. Now it is known for something else, something...much more sinister.

* [A park in Redmond] Here's a nice park near Neel's house. Of course, the place has changed somewhat since the Dark Lord Gates arrived (the image is by Ted Nasmith and was floating around the web). (Sep 2004)

* [Neel's house] This is Neel's house. Pretty nice, especially considering I've seen the sort of places Neel used to live in. I won't go into futher detail, as I'd have to get Lovecraft-esque in my descriptions. (Sep 2004)

* [Neel, Smita, and Frank] Of course, the reason for the change is his wife Smita, who is quite a nice person. Here is Neel, Smita, and me in their house. They just had a baby (Praveer) about a month earlier. He had fallen asleep and it just didn't seem like it would be a good idea to wake him up for this picture. (Sep 2004)


Sitting a bit east of Tacoma, and a ways south of Seattle, Puyallup (don't even both trying to properly pronounce's pyu-AL-up) is known for hosting The Fair, put on by the Western Washington Fair Association. It's a pretty big thing there. I just want to say that I am a city boy and fairs server to increase my awareness of it.

* [The Puyallup Fair] The Puyallup Fair is a pretty big thing. It's like a state fair, but only western Washington. This is a picture of the midway area, from the 2nd floor of one of the food court areas. The fair goes for three weeks and is free the first day until noon (woo-hoo!). I got a panini sandwich; apparently I chose...poorly, as it took them 20 minutes to make the damn thing and there were only 3 people ahead of me in line. Oh well. (Sep 2004)

* [Peggy at the fair] Here's Peggy, after waiting 20 minutes for me to return with my sandwich. She was quite patient (and, fortunately, had some reading material). We didn't go on any of the rides visible in the background. Each one is like $5 or more, from the lamest tea-cup rides to the overhead cable car to the turbo-bungee-vomitron. I find that offensive. (Sep 2004)

Planes and the trip back

On the 757, after climbing out of the Seattle-Tacoma airport, I looked out the wing and saw, poking out above the clouds, Mt. Rainier. It was cool. And then there was a nice sunset while I had a layover in Detroit. In The Long, Dark, Teatime of the Soul, Douglas Adams wrote, "It can hardly be a coincidence that no language on earth has ever produced the expression 'as pretty as an airport.'" Be that as it may, it was still a cool sunset.

* [Mt. Rainier from the air] The 757 has a pretty amazingly wide wing. I mean, like, it's wider than my apartment. Once we popped above the clouds, I could see Mount Rainier, just in front of the wing, and probably a hundred miles or so away. (Sep 2004)

* [Mt. Rainier from the air] Just another shot of Mount Rainier, as it creaps towards the back of the plane. (Sep 2004)

* [Sunset at the Detroit Metro Airport] Sure, it's still just an airport, but it was pretty cool to see all the colors in the sky, along with the silhouettes of departing planes. And I had some time to kill. (Sep 2004)

This page last modified Jul 08, 2009.
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