Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Ira's Fountain

Right outside my office is Keller Auditorium - the best theater in town to catch a Broadway show, opera, or other culture event. And right across from Keller Auditorium is Keller Fountain (aka Ira's Fountain), one of the coolest little spots in this whole city.

If you look up 'urban serenity' in the dictionary, you find this picture.

I'll spare you the history lesson about the fountain - go here if you'd like to know more about it.

I love this fountain and the way it fits seamlessly in the urban community. I often get lunch from a teriyaki food cart that sets up shop in the park for a few hours each weekday; sitting down to eat, it always feels like a community gathering. If you go up a sidewalk on either side of the fountain, you'll see there's a nice park space where the fountain water is pumped into creeks that run under the sidewalks. It's a really cool effect. The way the park is set up, you can only see the actual fountains from the front end - anywhere else and it just looks like a typical park. Not to mention that the architecture is stunning...right down to the dedication plate:

But you see, there's one problem with the fountains. I took the above pics at 6:30 this morning. Because if you go there at any other time, it looks like this:

On an average summer afternoon, there are at least 100 people hangin' out at Ira's. I didn't dare take a closer picture of the park, because there are just too many bikini-clad ladies, pot-smokin' hippies, beer cans, guitar-pickin' folk-song writers, panhandlers, and unsupervised kids. It's a messy throng of humanity. And what's with that guy reading a book on that friggin' ledge!!! It's a 25-foot drop! "Don't jump bro, there are people who can help! I've got a prozac... right... here!"

All of this despite a warning at every park entrance that the fountain is NOT intended for wading. Oops. I guess the city decided they couldn't keep the crowds out, so they chlorinate the water instead.

Well, at least some people still view the hippie crowds as art:

Sketch by Jason Das from Urban Sketches

p.s. A few weeks ago, someone dumped a whole gallon of Dove soap in the fountain. As humorous and juvenile as that is (not to mention shutting off the fountain for a day) it was actually quite pretty seeing bubbles EVERYWHERE. Kind of Willy Wonka-ish.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

The Greatest Song In the World. Tribute.

IIIIIIII stepped on the bathroom scale, what did it say?


Biking has brought me such a nice surprise,


Eating vegitarian is a treat,

The pounds fly off when you eat no meat.

I'm still short of my goal, but it's good to be...


All of a sudden, I feel like popping some popcorn...or sniffing apricot blossoms.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Washington Pyros

I was invited to a 4th of July bash at my coworker's house across the Columbia in Vancouver last weekend. The sole reason he was having a party at his place is because it's the first time he's ever lived in a state that allows every type of firework...except bottle rockets because little boys are stupid sometimes.

Most dinner party hosts ask you to bring a food item. Not Steve-o; he asked us instead to buy some fireworks that had the warning "shoots flaming balls". Oh, my little pyro heart was ecstatic.

We got sparklers out of the way for the kiddies and then we got to the lighter fare. First were ground flowers...ground flowers on crack. Apparently in WA, they attach them to propellers. So you light it, watch it zoom up a good 50 feet in the air and hear it explode as the propeller floats back down. Next up were little 2-inch rockets that went far higher than we expected - somewhere around 75 feet. They shot so far up that it was hard to see it's trajectory. We did see one fly way over their house and into the backyard. Then we broke out the Roman Candles. I've always liked the candles.

Lastly, we busted out...{insert a reverent pause}...the MORTARS!!!

Back in Wisconsin, we had a great party a few years ago where the star of the show was a package of 1-inch mortars. Those make a nice boom, shoot up 20 feet and explode in a nice flower. We had a few this year, but they were far from the star...because we had...4" mortars!

After lighting the first one, we were all a little shell-shocked. It was crazy loud, shot up at least 50 feet, and made a huge flower; none of us had every lit anything that large before. And to think that we had 24 of them in many different colors and varieties! I had no idea that mortars that large were even available for the Average Joe. There were some neighbors who had even larger fireworks, so who knows how large they get. I tell ya though...Vancouver sure is a loud place on the 4th of July...imagine every household launching a city-wide display of fireworks.

The video isn't exceptional, but I knew that Cyn wouldn't believe me about the fireworks unless I had proof...