Monday, August 14, 2006

Blueberry Picking

Spent part of the day picking blueberries (10#!) near Mt. Si. Then we visited Snoqualmie Falls. The berries were turned into cobble before there was chnace for pictures. They were blue. And round. Many were snacked upon before getting home.

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

I grieve for Bainbridge Island.

The pressures of urban sprawl have overtaken Bainbridge Island and sucked all the goodness out of it. If the city and the new residents do anything other than back off and lay down their development schemes, theu can kiss their souls good-bye. "Widow-makers." What a weenie. Tell you what, Paul Bunyan, we'll swap houses and I'll live in Deadfall Alley with Farmer Suyematsu and you can cower under your BMW.

Tree clearing plan at farm sparks uproar

Aug 05 2006

Vista Drive neighbors want better views, while a long-time farmer digs in.

Akio Suyematsu – at 84 years and just over 5 feet tall – isn’t going to budge if the chainsaws come.

“I’d like to see them take my trees,” Suyematsu said Thursday, after learning of a city proposal to remove and prune trees he planted nearly 60 years ago on his family’s Day Road farm. “If I’m here, I’ll kick ’em out.”

But the 15-acre farm is now city property, purchased from Suyematsu five years ago as open space while allowing Suyematsu to work the land until 2012.

Residents along neighboring Vista Drive to the east have complained that the narrow stand of approximately 80 trees blocks views and are a danger to their homes.

The City Council on Wednesday will discuss an agreement with seven Vista Drive property owners allowing an arborist to trim branches for improved west-facing views, which includes farm fields, a vineyard and the Olympic Mountains. Eight trees judged dead or dying would also get the axe as a safety measure, according to the proposal.

In return, the city would gain the right to maintain a narrow irrigation and stormwater ditch cut by Suyematsu’s family. The ditch, which helps prevent flooding in Suyematsu’s berry fields and other agricultural lands, bisects nine Vista Drive residents’ properties and is almost entirely outside of the city’s property, according to city staff.

The ditch’s location touched off a property dispute after Vista Drive was developed in the 1960s.

The city, in an effort to avoid costly litigation, crafted a proposal aimed at compromise between the city and residents.

Vista Drive residents commended the city for its work over the last year in trying to reach a compromise.

“They don’t want our seven or eight lawyers with their one lawyer,” said Vista Drive resident Walter Braswell. “The city has enough on its plate other than dealing with this.”

Braswell and other residents expressed hope that the agreement will improve safety and the aesthetic value of their properties.

“One of the branches came down on my house four years ago,” said Braswell. “It put a 4-inch hole in my roof. We want to get rid of these widow-maker trees.”

Braswell also wants additional limb trimmings to better enjoy views from his property.

“That’s the reason we came here – the quality of life,” he said. “It’s about sharing the panoramic view and the pastoral view. Many people like to look at the farm.”

But Suyematsu and other farmers on Day Road would prefer not to have a view of Braswell’s home.

“One of the values of this place is you don’t see sprawl,” said winemaker Gerard Bentryn, who owns vineyards adjacent to the Suyematsu property. “What the city’s proposing will be is a kick in the island’s scenic pants.”

Suyematsu said he planted the trees – many of which are 40 to 60-foot Douglas firs – to conceal the residential development as it cropped up next to his farm.

“When I sold the property to (the city), I said, ‘no houses, and you better not cut my trees,’” he said.

Suyematsu has allowed Vista Drive residents to trim his trees in the past. But his view of his neighbors and the city has soured.

“They’re double-crossers,” he said. “If I die tomorrow, (the city) will probably come in and build houses.”

Ann Frothingham, whose family owns two parcels bordering Vista Drive, hopes the agreement will cause no ill-will with Suyematsu or Day Road’s farmers.

“I love Akio...and I love the trees,” she said. “I wish they weren’t firs. They grow a hundred feet high. I think (replacing them) with some flowering trees would be lovely.

“But there’s no question they impact the property when you look out at a line of firs.”

Some methods prescribed by an arborist’s assessment commissioned by the city and conducted by Seattle-based Tree Solutions include the removal of some lower limbs, re-cutting the tops of trees that were lopped off in the past and removal of young alders to reduce future pruning and possible safety risks.

Island plant pathologist Olaf Ribeiro, who has consulted for the city on tree retention issues in the past, has strong doubts about the Tree Solutions’ assessment.

“It upset me,” he said. “It’s all about taking out trees and topping them and nothing about saving them or improving the vigor of the trees. Several of the trees could be treated with just mulch and fertilizer.”

Ribeiro is also concerned that tree removal could destabilize the surrounding slope and flood farmland below.

“Those are big trees and it’ll make a big difference,” he said. “You’ll definitely see flooding down there.”

While arborists, city officials and home owners may debate the future of the trees, Suyematsu says the answer is simple: he was there first.

“If I was here last, I wouldn’t say too much,” he said. “But this farm was already here. My dad came here in 1928. Now these houses come here and they have more rights than me? That’s not right.”

Monday, August 07, 2006

My head, it explodes!

"If folksonomies aren't tagged by the technorati, who or what will linkroll the mashups? The impact on the remixability of emergent systems will likely be severe."

Sunday, August 06, 2006

"Aren't you a little short for a ..."

The Toa Maiden attempts to infiltrate the Toa Squadron.

Even More Nature

Some wasps (mud-daubers?) had the bad luck to make a nest in a tube of Christmas wrapping paper in my garage. All would have been well for them if I had not heard their buzzing echoing out of the tube. I knocked the nest out of the tube: here it is. Warning! Insect ookiness!

Saturday, August 05, 2006


The webcam caught me making a funny face:

Toa Squad

The Toa Maiden finds herself at the head of a squad of Toa.

I received the free live CDs that I requested from Ubuntu yesterday and have manaed to get a basic install working on M's desktop machine that Died the Death®. Lots of details to figure out: higher screen resolution, sound, Java run-time, and so forth. It is good enough for now.

Friday, August 04, 2006


I was all prepared to go all indignant about my inability to post but it turns out that I probably ran out of space at my ISP. Oops. I deleted a bunch of old files and lo! I can post again. It's good to live within one's means although you'd think they'd up my storage at least temporarily and send me an alert. Oh, well. They are not one of the big dogs of ISPs so I am prepared to cut them some slack.

Thursday, August 03, 2006

Toa Maiden and Toa Inika

The Toa Maiden meets new Toa

20060803 afternoon

The day has been uneventful with only the usual disheartening, barely understandable and thoroughly juvenile behavior of some people in the call center: throwing their headsets in the trash when they spill soda all over it, posting sophomoric* notes on the bathroom door, moving the pool table with no regard for the unevenness of the floor**, general unattractiveness.

On the plus side, I cam across, newly acquired by Google, and was provided an invite by someone in .de. //()()t!, I guess. Nice feature is that one can post directly to Blogger from within Writely. Spiffy. Or rather, it would be spiffy if Blogger were updating correctly, which it is not at the moment.

To prove that this is a blog entry, I will now record what I plan to have for dinner: the last of the roast beef from the party. Now there will be room in the freezer for the ice cube trays. Which are from Ikea and make cubes in amusing shapes which of course means that they are not cubes at all.

Nature sighting: a raccoon with cub (joey? pup?) walked by my office window. As it is broad daylight, this is probably not a good sign. Not a really bad sign, like flaming frogs from the sky, but a sign that something is somewhat amiss. Somewhere.

* "Thanks for slamming the door. I don't think they heard you at the third gate of Hell." Uproarious.

** In a more civilized place (i.e. Poole) , they'd be beaten with cue sticks until they learned better.


This joke is not really up to Bizarro standards, but I love the look on Batman's face.

Wages of Fear

The inspiration for Sorcerer is less naturalistic (there are a few New Wave gestures here and there and stars Yves Montand after all), has fewer shadows, much more nitroglycerine, trucks that are in better repair and is by far the more relevant and superior film. Sorceror has some fantastic photography, though.

Dersu Uzala

A lovely film presents a gentle metaphor of mortality. The events are presented in double flashback: a character finds himself in the same place at different times, but little that he cares about is the same. The primary star is the taiga itself. Distributed by Roger Corman!

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Cinema Paradiso (long version)

The longer version of this festival of sentimentality is too long. Still a lovely movie, although the elder Toto's sneer of a smile almost ruins the effect.

Batman vs Dracula

I was not paying attention when this version of Batman—sorry, The Batman— was aired. The series, I gather, means to take up the tale in the early part of Batman's career. This particular effort is unfocused and noisy. Some fun stuff, but this Dracula has no wit or even much in the way of brains. His vampire powers are amped way up as is consistent with the general approach of the series.

Control Room

Interesting footage from inside Al-Jazeera. Watching the American spinmasters stutter around the stupidity of their transparent lies was painful to watch. The Americans come off as officious bozos with some brief breaks for confused naivete.

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