255 Life

Aside from the campus bus service while I was at Purdue, I’ve never lived close to convenient public transport until I moved into our current house. All I have to do is walk up to the stop light and I can hop on the 255 bus that takes me all the way, non-stop, to downtown Seattle. It’s like the bus route was designed for us. It stops at the Kirkland waterfront and the Kirkland train store before making its way across I-90 to Pike Place Market and and Pioneer Square. We don’t use the bus a lot, but wow, that’s a pretty convenient one.

Unfortunately it sounds like that’s going to change when they redesign the bus routes. If you live on the east side, there’s a survey to fill out so you can share your thoughts on the changes.

Thankfully I already have a general ban on going into Seattle and this helps to enforce it.

Lego Old Fishing Store

My birthday was a couple weeks ago and I received a lot of nice gifts. Thank you! However, I had a little extra smile when I opened the joint gift from Tyla and Elijah because I couldn’t remember the last time that I received something that was nothing other than a toy. They got me the giant Old Fishing Store Lego set!

After putting together the Lego Diner earlier this summer, I put that fishing set on my wish list. These big sets are so much fun and it’s great to spend time with Elijah working on it. The fishing village came out a while back but it’s always stuck in my mind for the insane level of detail. After assembling it, I can say that it lived up to my expectations! And as with the diner set, I’m not going to post my own photos because plenty are available online. I also recommend that you watch the JANGBRiCKS video review.

It’s hard to say whether I like this set more or less than the diner. On the plus side, this has more detail crammed into a smaller space. On the downside, a bunch of that detail comes from specialized pieces. Both the diner and this fishing store have lots of studs-on-the-side construction to support siding on the walls but the fishing store has an interesting take on it. The whole structure is built to look old so some of the siding pieces are put on at an angle. It’s a neat effect.

When I built the diner I thought it would be a one-and-done thing. But now I have two. Hmm…

Smoke Forecast

Seattle is in the midst of some record-breaking bad air quality due to the wildfires in British Columbia, eastern Washington and California. Unless the wind is blowing form the west, it gets smokey in Seattle and an inversion layer traps the smoke down here between the mountains.

There are a couple handy sites for helping to check how bad it is right now and how it’s going to look in the future. The first is the Puget Sound Clean Air site. It shows a short timeline of the particle count in the air.

The second is an experimental forecast from NOAA that predicts where the smoke will be going. Choose your overlay on the top left and then choose the hour of the forecast on the bottom left. (Note that if you slide it all the way to the right it appears to jump back in time.) The forecast only goes out about 24 hours, but, for example, today you can at least have some hope that tomorrow will be a little better.

I found both of these links by reading Cliff Mass’s blog and he has a lot more info about the smoke there as well as an analysis of whether or not there is a trend of these fires getting worse (global warming?!)

Quick Photo Tips

I’m currently editing a bunch of photos from our last trip. While we were there, we talked about combining video from everyone’s phone for a little video montage. I’m still working on that, but I thought I’d pass along the three things I asked everyone to do for the video:

  1. Shoot at eye level. If you only remember one thing, this is it. Whether you’re doing pictures or video, you’ll get dramatically better results if you are at eye level with your subject.
  2. Hold your camera/phone in landscape mode not portrait. This is critical for video but is more of a personal preference for photos. I default to landscape photos and only use portrait when specifically required.
  3. Be still. Frame the shot and let the subject move around in it. If you’re moving around following something, it’s almost certainly going to be too uneven and jerky to use in an edit.

Lego Downtown Diner

Elijah loves Legos. (And yes, I know the plural is technically “Lego” but too bad. This is ‘merica and most people say “Legos”.) We watch JANGBRiCKS YouTube videos daily. I guess all the Legos floating around the house and the videos got to me, because I finally caved to one of my childhood dreams and bought an enormous set.

Lego has a set of modular buildings in their Creator Expert series that are extremely impression. The detail is beyond anything I’ve ever assembled and it seemed like a fun project to work on with Elijah. It was fun to see the look on his face when the 2480-piece Lego Downtown Diner arrived in the mail.

He sat with me for most of the assembly, but a lot of it was too complex. He had fun looking through all the pieces and finding the new ones that we haven’t had before. It took us 6.5 hours to assemble the whole thing.

I thought about taking pictures, but then I realized that it’s exactly the same as the one that everyone else has built. If you want to really dive in, check out the JANGBRiCKS video review. I’ve also posted some photos below.

If you stop by for a visit, remind me to show this to you! We will be leaving this one fully assembled.