This is the largest concrete structure in North America. It’s kind of amusing and kind of disappointing to see the conditionals people put on their superlatives: “tallest freestanding structure with largest functional structure east of the Mississippi” and such sound somewhat lame. Show me the tallest structure EVAR and I’ll be impressed. We came back up here after dinner to see the laser light show, and listened to the banter of the teenagers behind us. They seemed like quite decent kids. It was neat to think about the tiny community that built itself up here, and to be able to get up on this rock and see the whole dam town.
Archive for July, 2005
We scouted around for a good viewpoint of the dam, so we could come back at night and enjoy the laser light show. Along the way, we found a park where two groups of kids were playing red rover and hide-and-go-seek. The sky was a lovely light blue with pastel pink and yellow clouds, so I took a bunch of stupid pictures of Andrew and myself. Here he is with his extraordinary zoom lens; my camera has no zoom whatsoever.
Here’s another section of [Grand Coulee], which cuts across sixty miles of northeastern Washington. : http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Grand_coulee
Andrew and I, in anticipation of our Yosemite trip, took a one-night camping journey into northeastern Washington. Andrew’s favorite spot is this, [Dry Falls], the ancient site of the largest waterfall ever known to have exist. Of course, it’s all gone now, but you can still see the traces of the huge glaciers and imagine the natural history of the spot. I am looking forward to fully-immersive virtual reality facilities at such places, allowing someone to, say, step into a replica of what this place must have been like when covered in hundreds of feet of ice. : http://www.gonorthwest.com/Washington/northeast/Dry_Falls.htm
On the beach at Golden Gardens, there are these huge rocks which have had their surface saturated with organisms. Barnacles attach the rock, tinier barnacles live on those barnacles, little black shell things live in the shadow of the barnacles, little twisty-shell things live next to the black shell things, and so on. There are hundreds of thingies living just in this tiny world.
Andrew, Cheryl, Ananta, and I went down to Golden Gardens, a beach near my home, to wade around a bit. There I met the largest snail I’ve ever seen. This guy was quite larger than a softball. It’s boggling to me to think of all the different creatures around, mainly because I see such a small sample of them in my daily life: humans, crows, stray cats, and a few types of bugs. Then I fly in a plane or something and look at all the areas we haven’t messed with yet (the word “undeveloped” is evil) and it makes some more sense. If I ever go back to school, I think it might be for biology. :D
Soon after I got back from Japan, I flew down to California to meet up with Shishka and Rayme and some of their friends for the Electronic Entertainment Expo. Maybe I was too tired or too frayed by rubbing against advertising and consumerism in Shinjuku and Akihabara, or maybe the games that are getting pushed now just aren’t for me, but the whole thing was kind of disappointing. The advertising strategy for games in the USA seems to be Ugly Guys Yelling. Sports games, first person shooting games, crime games, they all feature an Ugly Guy Yelling, usually in conjunction with uninspired grayish gradienty floaty screen shots or demo videos, which are supposed to look revolutionary or at least state-of-the-art, but invariably leave me totally bored. I’d rather have a game that looks like Guilty Gear XX, a game where you can tell someone sat down and drew a bunch of beautiful two-dimensional pictures, than nearly any three-dee game, all of which seem to have the same dark, fakey, total lack of visual style. The whole thing felt a lot like Hollywood movies, where companies try really, really, _really_ hard to make you think that something is really, really, _really_ great, but if you ask an actual human who actually cares, they’ll admit that the stuff is crap. The most fun of the whole trip was going to the exclusive Bungie party thingo with Shishka and meeting important members of the fan community I never even knew about. I’m no Halo fan, but it sure was neat to mingle with such a group. I also got to meet the AI dude for Timesplitters 3. :D Anyway, Nintendo can always be counted on to have something nice. Here’s the only semi-worthwhile photograph I took on the whole trip.
Even in Japan, the Pacific Northwest is famous for espresso. Here they’ve pasted Mt. Rainier onto a Starbucks (“Fourbucks”) rip-off logo. I bought this because I was really craving coffee; making myself a real latte every day at work got me in the habit. It was a pretty miserable coffee.