September 2023 in Review

Around & About

✍️ 🕑 September 2023 • Series: Month in Review • Tags: Google Hatesunsetsferriesautomotive foibleskayakingfelaketfilm photography • Places: t̓uʔəlaltxʷ (toolalt) Village Park and Shoreline Habitat Terminal (formerly Terminal 105 Park) həʔapus Village Park & Shoreline Habitat Emma Schmitz Memorial Overlook Rattlesnake Lake

One might think that after moving out of my apartment, I might take a breath, relax for a minute, and get situated.

Of course, if one thought that, they probably don’t know me very well. And, they probably don’t know my proclivity for running around like a chicken with my head cut off.😉

This Halloween display, which I saw mid-way through September in a small town in Oregon <em>really</em> caught my eye.
This Halloween display, which I saw mid-way through September in a small town in Oregon really caught my eye. open_in_full   info
I mean, you can't help but love the positivity.
I mean, you can't help but love the positivity. open_in_full   info

In short: September was a good, hectic month marred by a few unfortunate events.

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Where I’ve Been

The month started with a Labor Day weekend trip to Sitka, Alaska, mainly because round trip tickets there were cheap. Unfortunately, everything else wasn’t.

But, the sleepy, historic town, once home to Russian settlements, was an interesting place to visit.

More on this later!

As soon as we returned to Seattle, we visited her Uncle Bob in the hospital. He passed the following morning. He was 94 years old.

Chelsea was very close with her uncle, who was the reason she moved to Seattle. Though I unfortunately never got to know him that well, his sharp wit and sense of humor left a strong impression on me.

Shortly after receiving the tragic news, and after returning from Sitka, our friend Jim visited. We had plans to visit Mt. St. Helens, since I couldn’t cancel the hotel reservation I rescheduled from earlier in the year when I was ill.

And so, the three of us went and had a nice lil time together.

Last, but not least, I squeezed in some solo travel. I’ve long since harbored a desire to go back to Crater Lake. And, since visiting some of California’s Redwoods in early 2022, I’ve been interested in hitting up more of northern California.

And partway through the trip, the month ended, and I returned to Seattle for the funeral.

Seattle Delights

In the delight category: Chelsea in her first day of school outfit.
In the delight category: Chelsea in her first day of school outfit. open_in_full   info

West Seattle Sunset

You might have already seen some of September’s shots in my recent post on Film Washi A. Here’s a couple more from Emma Schmitz. You have to finish a roll somewhere, and it may as well be somewhere beautiful.

A glorious West Seattle sunset
A glorious West Seattle sunset open_in_full   info

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Rattlesnake Lake

Rattlesnake Ledge is one of those hiking trails that’s too popular for its own good. it overlooks Rattlesnake lake, where H. & H.H. were interested in getting up to some watercraft escapades.

Rattlesnake lake is small and easily explored, but it was a lovely place to chill on the water. And, apparently, also a lovely place for some mass baptism.

I tried a paddle board for the first time, and discovered that my friend and colleague H.H. never once realized that I’m taller than him.

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Duwamish Area Parks

Together with Chelsea, I explored a few of the parks along the Duwamish, taking along the Ricoh 35 ZF and a bit of higher ISO black and white film.

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The parks had a weird vibe to them, not just because of the nearby industry, but because they felt rather empty with some strange visitors. Some poorly maintained depictions of indigenous culture. Lots of fishing.

I hear the soil is more polluted than the water nowadays.

Things I Found Loathsome

If you’ve read enough of my ramblings, you’ve probably heard me complain about Google in the past, both for poor device customer service, and discontinuing services that I use.

Both of these reared their ugly heads once again.

Yet Another Dead Phone

My Pixel 5a motherboard spontaneously died, and so I lost a fair amount of photos and so on. The problem is widespread enough that it was covered under a mysterious extended warranty, but getting an official replacement required a customer service chat, visit to a phone repair shop, and a follow up customer service chat, after which I was granted a free shipping label.

Hilariously, when I initially shipped the phone to their customer service via FedEx, it was returned to me with a label stating that a styrofoam cooler was an inappropriate container for shipping dry ice.

When the dust settled, I did not get a replacement phone from Google until the following month.

Yet Another Discontinued Service

Google has long since been in the habit of canning perfectly good products for no reason once the novelty of developing them has worn off. See, for example, all the entries on this list.

This year marks the ten year anniversary of the then controversial death of Google Reader, which used to be my RSS feed aggregator of choice. More recently, they discontinued a mechanism for subscribing to email updates for RSS feeds, leaving me to scramble and hack together my own replacement.

At my friend Mick’s recommendation, I had decided I was totally OK with using Google Domains as my registrar when I registered ´´ back in 2019. In June, they decided to close this service and sell their user base to Squarespace, a registrar known for paying a bazillion Youtubers to shill for their products, and generally focusing on expensive bespoke web services that I do not need.

So, I decided to search around for a reasonable alternative and port my own DNS records before Google punted me for me. So, this site’s domain is now managed by Portland-based startup Porkbun. I’m pleased to report that renewing my domain and transferring the records was painless and seamless.

The only feature I miss is wildcard email-forwarding. With Google domains, I used to get all emails sent to ANYTHING at where-is-steve forwarded to me, but with Porkbun, I need to manually create entries for up to 20 for free. I can live with that.

Yet Another Car Dealership Trip

As soon as I handed over the keys to my Capitol Hill apartment, I returned to my car only to find its exhaust pipe hanging suspiciously low. Something was wrong, and I needed to take it to a Volkswagen Dealership.

So far, every dealership I have visited in the Seattle area has done something to earn my disrespect and make me never want to visit them again. When I needed work done in the past, I remembered having a decent conversation with a dealer near Bremerton, and getting a reasonable estimate. So, I figured I’d take my car there.

Bremerton, of course, is a lovely ferry ride from West Seattle.
Bremerton, of course, is a lovely ferry ride from West Seattle. open_in_full   info

There isn’t much for me to write about. I arrived only to need to clarify with the techs that my problem was not a “check engine light” but in fact, that my exhaust pipe wasn’t attached properly.

After waiting for a while, I was of course, informed that my engine valves definitely ought to be cleaned. Once I refused the unnecessary service, it turned out that my car was done, and I was presented with a bill for over $200.

For replacing a bolt.

At this point, I asked salesman if this was covered under warranty. “I don’t know whether a bolt is included in the vehicle’s warranty,” he said and went off to check. Apparently, the bolt had just snapped in half under the car. Cool.

Anyway, when he came back it turned out… that a bolt… is covered by warranty. So, I was free to go.

I got a boat ride for my troubles, but I don't plan to return.
I got a boat ride for my troubles, but I don't plan to return. open_in_full   info


Three Songs

Chelsea is a fan of Big Brother, which naturally reminded me of the whole “half 1984-themed concept album” that David Bowie did years ago (you know “Rebel Rebel”? that’s on it). Re-listening to those songs was enough to really, really get me back on the David Bowie bandwagon.

And of the albums I revisited, the first one that grabbed me strongly was Station to Station, the one where David Bowie did a lot of cocaine and got into a pretty cool experimental groove.

“Stay” is a song that stuck out to me on re-listen. Groovy, and emotionally desparate.

1. David Bowie - "Stay" (1976)
Youtube Spotify

Somewhere else on the list of favorite tunes from eons and eons ago that popped back into my head was “Keep the Customer Satisfied,” a really infectuous little ditty about how Paul Simon was sick of being on tour.

2. Simon and Garfunkel - "Keep the Customer Satisfied" (1970)
Youtube Spotify

Sitting around with Chelsea, talking about someone who seems to disappear into relationships, reminded me of this classic number:

3. The Dismemberment Plan - "Ellen and Ben" (2001)
Youtube Spotify
Check out the playlist page for all the songs I've highlighted in one place!

There’s something so honest about Travis Morrison’s lyrics and delivery. I find it relatable.

Articles of Note

Want to hear about zoning in Seattle? Check this article out! Ray Dubicki covers the quirks and shortcomings of our city’s zoning laws, which delineate a whopping 285 separate types of zone.

Laura Ng asks the important question, “did i catch feelings, or did i just spend six days with a stranger in the mountains? ” Read on for a nice lil travelogue about hiking in the Pamirs. And, y’know, *feelings’.

Back in the December 2022 Month in Review post, I wrote a little about the Azerbaijani blockade of Artsakh/Nagorno-Karabagh that began that month, and effectively starved the breakaway republic’s population and denied them medical supplies. The situation continued unchanged, and with limited action until September 19th, when Azerbaijan launched a full-scale invasion. The following day, the Artsakh Republic surrendered. The disputed region is fully under Azerbaijani control, with the Armenian population fleeing.

The New York Times claimed that “almost no one saw it coming,” which was an absolutely ludicrous statement. Azerbaijan knows its strategic importance to Europe, serving as a “non-Russian” source of natural gas, whilst simultaneously enjoying an ever-tightening relationship with Russia, as well as strong relationships with Turkey and Israel. I cannot think of a single foreign power with skin in the game for Armenia. Azerbaijan received some feckless statements for previous conflicts in the region, as well as the blockade, so why not de facto control of the region?

The population basically left. At OC Media, Ani Avetisyan tells the stories of some who fled.

What’s Next

I’m hoping to fill in the Mt. St. Helens and Sitka blanks sooner than a lot of the other “more on this soon” posts I’ve done on this blog.

And, if I manage to get the October post out soon, I might actually catch up on this “month in review” thing…

Cross your fingers for me!

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