Sunday, June 22, 2008

A Great Post - Urban Inner City Storytime - The Freakonomics Blog

Go read this new blog by Sudhir Venkatesh - this is what members of the police force think - I suspect Norm Stamper, former chief of the Seattle Police force who may be quoted there, hates drinking and driving like nobodies business (but for someone such as me and my family - lost my sister as the result of a drunken driver.)

How Cops Really Want to Police
By Sudhir Venkatesh

Definately Tales from the Dark Side - how the police really police.


The story seems a little provocative but perhaps that's the point of writing over the Web.

pink argument between clowns

Amazon to launch streaming video service

This was one of the projects I worked on designing recently ... a precurser to this product - "the Amazon Unbox download client and video player only supports Windows XP and Vista" "Bezos also announced a new, for-pay, streaming video-on-demand service for Amazon, which will be released in the next couple of weeks. The video should start playing "instantly," but we don't have any further details (like number of titles, library, price, etc.)"

See details at:

Photo Fine Art - 8 Stands Alone, Looking the Other Way

8 Stands Alone, Looking the Other Way

How I created this image - I found stones laying around on the ground at the University of Washington during one of those great impromptu outdoor lunches this early spring where all the cherry trees begin to blossom down the main walkway between the Art and Music Schools.

I stacked the broken stone in the U of the horseshoe-shaped courtyard on the east side of the UW Art School Building.

Later I combined a photo of the stacked stone with a crane and streetlight in front of the Microsoft construction shot out of the top of my car (while working at Microsoft recently on a great project.)

Using Photoshop I merged the two images and gave the background a light and dark effect.

When using Photoshop to create fine art I feel much like someone who becomes one with art -- like someone who drives a racecar and feels to be one with the car.

Best viewed larger so one can see the itaglio print type texture - click on the image to go to Flickr.

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Dhaka, Bangladesh, Dude! Don't sit here you could be beaten

Dhaka, Bangladesh, Don't sit here you could be beaten.

I stopped a fight between 15 men at 3 am in the Dhaka Airport, over one man wanting to sit here. These were the only comfortable seats left in the room, where one could concievably have a nap. The puffed up official guy had some kind of strap stick thing I didn't want to see what he was going to do with it.

When the fight broke out it was obviously stupid, so I picked up my stuff and walked very close to the combatants. They stopped fighting almost immediately. A number of other men in the airport trailed behind me in support of my gesture.

When I returned to Dhaka 5 weeks later, and forgot about the fight, I went to sit here and was told "Madam you may not sit here" even though no body else was, and as you see above the rest of the airport was full of men going to be labor in other countries. It's kind of like slave labor. Globalization, who would ah thunk it.

It is slave labor.

Since they have so little control over their lives they have to control others even when it is completely ridiculous. As you see there is no sign or any indication that sitting here could be a problem.

So I threw my bags on the floor and laid down on the nice white marble floors for about 45 minutes right where I was. I was actually quite angry because I was so exhausted but trying to calm down.

Men from the other rooms came in to watch me, I guess it was better than the TV blaring along in Hindi (not Bengali)in the other room - "Hey great first act - what does she do next?"

I was not a happy camper. It was very difficult to get pure drinking water. I went to a guard in a clear plastic booth and showed him my passport, and I read it to him in English the part where it is printed in the front asking representatives of foreign nations to render aid. I pointed out that I needed some aid in getting water, because I could not drink from the sink or fountain, and with no local currency I could not even pay to get water.

20 mins later I had been escorted to the money changers - and bought some very expensive bottled water from the restaurant. The money changers saw how respectfully the soldiers were treating me and asked - are you a reporter? I assured them that I definately was a reporter. (A Web reporter that is).

Good luck going through Dhaka or Dacca or whatever. I have to say the children in town treated me like a queen - which is another story!

Here is Peacekeeper Shamsur of Dhaka, Bangladesh, award winning Peace Officer, currently with Immigration, who befriended me in hopes of getting a better report for his country -

Peacekeeper Shamsur of Dhaka, Bangladesh, award winning Peace Officer, currently with Immigration

And behind the nearby desk is the argumentative official who chased me away from the open comfortable seating -

I believe that it is not always possible to understand what is going on in a foreign country, but violence is never good.

Agile workplace configuration at Microsoft

Agile workplace configuration at Microsoft, Redmond, Washington

Working as a development product manager at Microsoft at the time I had no idea what scrum or agile development was, but this configuration of tables and chairs in the hallway of the 3rd floor of Microsoft's Building 114 just made sense to me.

I found these tables abandoned or stuck in hallways from other floors and dragged them here with my new team members. Then I ordered comfortable chairs from Microsoft's internal portal. We were set and took off and developed like mad.

The person, my friend, in the foreground found our environment to her liking, quiet, convenient yet friendly and joined us; as many travelers or consultants did from time to time. This worked for many reasons and gave MS full-timers the ability to find and interact with us without having to search around much.

Due to the location, our rules were straight forward, low tones, quiet, leave nothing in the room when leaving, push in your chair, and police your area. As you see in this photograph we had one phone for 18 + people. It rarely rang. The person being sought was nearly always there.

Twice in several months there was a slight disagreement about how open or closed the blinds should be but that environment worked very well for the team. We launched our project on time of course.

I absolutely loved working with them.

After I studied and worked with Agile development I came to understand that the techniques I had developed on my own, such as short daily meetings (scrum), worked for others.

French Country Hobbit Makeover

Renovation: Dining room into main room with cat, Tibetan carpets and Thai bench

French Country Hobbit with traditional Tibetan and French influences for renovating and staging of a Hobbit sized Crown Hill house in Seattle built in the 1930s.

Renovation: 1930's kitchen Crown Hill Seattle Washington USA Renovation: dining room Renovation: New 1930's style mirror and mirrored lights, with fresh coat of paper bag brown paint, Seattle, Washington, USA
The best part of the renovation was probably the kitchen because we kept the period pieces. The whole interior became a little jewel - the bathroom did not require much work - wallpapering the uneven walls of an upstairs hallway made a huge difference.

upstairs hallway Renovation: wallpaper texture on ceiling with handblown lamp Renovation: Crown Hill house, upstairs north bedroom detail, Seattle, Washington, USA

Hallway upstairs facing north. New doors hung on new hinges and varnished three times. New knewl posts and wall paper to the left and covering ceiling. New oatmeal Berber carpet throughout second floor.

New handblown glass lamp from Home Depot lights Anne Geddes photo in gold frame. Looking down the hall at Modern Furniture custom made in Arlington Washington.

Hand tinted and custom blended paint to match.

Peggy's fireplace repainted stone texture

Peggy's fireplace repainted stone texture

Here's the technique I used to renovate a terrible looking, but functional, old fireplace. First we cleaned the dirty red stone, and repainted the existing dingy old broken looking fireplace white base coat, then with a lovely brown paper bag wall color adding a second. This treatment cost less than $20 for materials. Cracks patched with fireplace stone fill. This is a very easy technique and we did it in about an hour and 1/2.

1. First thoroughly clean the stone or brick - it should have no grease, it should feel dry.
2. Then spackle and fill with heat resistant spackle. Let dry. Touch up.
3. Prime with paint. Paint the base coat a color such as the paper bag brown used here.
4. While that is still a little tacky, using an old brush, dry brush on another color of paint and work it into the high peaks of the stone or brickwork. We used a darker, red brown to achieve this effect. We also used old rags and newpapers to do the uneven blending.

The same colors were used on the walls of this room.

This is a very easy technique in two steps that completely transformed this fireplace, gives great results and is cheap cheap cheap!

Here's the rest of the room, the fireplace is out of the frame to the left before we installed the hearth slate embedded in the floor ...

Peggy's livingroom renovation

View more details on this makeover here -

Historic House, The Doctor's Place, Anchorage, Alaska

The Doctor's House, Anchorage, Alaska
As a child under the age of 5 I was stung by hornets or bees nesting in the ground behind this now historic house above the slope near Elderberry Park. Another child tricked us into walking on the path, and the bees stung all of us.

Hearing our screams adults ran to us from all directions. They laid us down on the grass out front to treat us there were maybe 6-10 or so kids bitten. At first I wasn't sure but it finally did hurt. I have been increasingly alergic to bee or hornet stings ever since.

That was probably in 1959 or 1960.

The doctor drove a "Woody" a green truck with wood panels. I always thought he was the oldest person in the world as there were so few elders in Anchorage.

This historic house is near the house my grandparents built on the corner of 3rd and L Street in the old downtown section of Anchorage, near the statue of Captain Cook, which is just across the street from the empty lot were our house once stood.

Lynne's livingroom nook makeover

Lynne's livingroom nook makeover

In progress - Interior design by Linda Lane with West Seattle couple. Complete renovation, walls, floor, windows, trim done by family members. Custom sofas and pillows. Prints from existing collection.

Enlarged Tibetan Afganistan carpet pattern, from New Zealand Wool. This room is still in realization phase. Jewel tones to be added, and art. The cats scattered as I started photography of this room. I want to find a great green silk curtain set, and use a combination of the curtain color and style of the pillows and carpet style to create a thin washed wall painting on the inset wall.

Right now the space is a little too formal and needs brighter colors and shapes to warm it up. This is just one section of this room and I am looking forward to having the entire thing complete.

Lynn's husband did an amazing job of stripping this room down to the supports and building new walls, and installing new windows and a beautimous new floor.

Really pretty!!!

Bathroom Art -- Hillary Swank Running with Japanese Doll 3d art, bunnyrabbit doorstop, cotton balls, Q-tips, Keenex, Perfume

Leap Year Day 2008 - Bathroom Shelf Art Hillary Swank Running with Japanese Doll 3d art, bunnyrabbit doorstop, cotton balls, Q-tips, Keenex, Perfume, glasses, pennies

I've been creating what I call "bathroom art" for a long time. Something to look at while you sit, or stand or whatever you do. It has to be lively and engaging, generally colorful and interesting. My mom invented the idea when she had a gross of well-crafted flowers attached to her bathroom ceiling so she could enjoy them while she bathed.

As it turned out I am allergic to the jarden clos perfume, so I just spritz it in my shoes; here the bottle is helping to support the torn out page from Vanity Fair magazine.

So I shot this on Leap Year Day 2008 - seems appropriate.

I feel that paper is one of the most fragile forms of displaying art, and common, inexpensive now. It is a sensative medium. Coated paper shines.

This photo was altered. And let's admit it, the portrait of Hillary Swank is what makes this piece run.

The Christmas gift - Woolly Mammoth Sign, The U District, Seattle

Woolly Mammoth Sign, The U District, Seattle, Washington USA I painted this woolly mammoth sign for Andre the owner in 1979, at Christmas time for $50 - he tipped me a pair of new shoes. It was my first job after I arrived "Outside" in Seattle from Alaska.

After someone carved their initials in it he put a piece of plastic over it to protect it. Andre had it mounted outside already for 3 years when I arrived. An artisan Andre knew made it for him by drilling into wood. He got a good deal both times.

Andre was generous because of being poor himself. He confessed to me that sometimes he slept in the store. Andre married for love, and died later of cancer at an early age. I have fond memories of him.

During the Christmas break the residence halls were closed at the University of Washington, and as a result there was nothing to eat. I had not planned on this in my budget. With the dorm kitchens closed and very little money, well, it was bare cupboard time. So I went looking for work and offered to paint it for him.

With that $50 Andre provided me with enough money to live for two weeks. As I painted standing in the rain in my sneakers it was obvious that I was unprepared for the drizzle and mild weather.

He gave me the shoes as a tip - but I think it was also because I was not used to rain - it felt perenially warm to me in Seattle as compared to Alaska. I was actually sick at the time because Seattle was warm all the time I stopped wearing my coat and caught a cold.

Andre really helped me survive and feel like I could survive on my own.

Formerly Haunted * 4001 Whitman Ave NE Seattle WA 98103

Still footage from video camera. This is the Whitman house in 2001 as it appeared before, yes, unbelievably we renovated it for free (5-6 months overall) and the owner then sold it. Why? Right before the dotcom bust it was the only place I could find to live in Seattle. At all. No matter what the condition was.

There had just been a wind storm which knocked down the flowering trees from the front yard. The white sofa Julie is laying on was the prior renter's and they just left it on the walk out front of the house. She's on the left on the front sidewalk.

formerly haunted * 4001 Whitman Ave NE Seattle WA 98103

It took a crew of up to 6 people, 3 working nearly full time 3 months to make it livable. Then I worked on it with help for another three months until it was finished about the same time I found work at Premera Blue Cross building their first Web application.

I spoke to the owner's wife and suggested he sell it because it would never look better, I guess that wasn't so wise. He still had the audacity to complain.

Nicole surveys the plastic floor covering - to make sure it's complete -


It was a lovely place in bad condition with dog food, poo, and fur crammed into the heating and old carpets. So it smelled funny. First we cleaned it , including the forced air heating, and removed the wall to wall carpets, and hauled them away. Worse yet there was evidence of animal cruelty with the appearance of a dog kept locked up in a second bedroom - urine stains that came from the same source. The animal tried to claw its way out of the room.

The upstairs neighbor said his asthma stopped - he really never had that - he was allergic to all the fur and poo in the heating system!

We nailed back in all the nailheads of the wood floors and put an oil rub and very very light varnish on each floor's rooms. On the most damaged wood we filled the wood. This place was really big inside. Huge.

We reworked the bathroom - here's a photo of my artist friend Mark helping me with some remodeling.

Linda Lane and artist friend Mark renovating the Whitman House near Aurora in Seattle

Then we painted it, including 3 colors in some rooms (cream and white trim with a very light orange creme). We completely made over the bathroom adding a new sink, faucet and mirror. A new faucet for the kitchen and the water flowed freely at last.

Due to the age of most things we found around it appeared that no one had cared for the place since the 1970's. There was alot of garbage, and decrepid stuff like the rotten wood picnic table in the small back yard covered in spiders, you know broken desks, and big cans, and old mirrors. We cleaned it. We found this friendly ball - Wilson, of course with a nod to Tom Hanks.

Julie finds Wilson

Same with the kitchen. We added lighting throughout, and new curtains, and blinds tailored to fit.

Jim Chase - as the DR. FIXALL gets ready in the kitchen -
026Dr_Jim 026Dr_Jimb

Also removed tons of junk from the basement and backyard and planted flowers and grass. Spent days trimming the trees in front and bushes. Planted two types of flowering bushes, lilacs. We also put up the brass house numbers out front.

Until we filled all the holes in the house I had bad dreams and nightmares no matter where I placed my bed. Once we completely filled in everything, all the cracks, then things were better. Once completely painted and refurbished, these bad dreams vanished. One exception was the ghost cat Julie said would brush up against her leg.

Julie starts spackling the walls - as she painted I drove roundtrip Seattle to Folsom -

I had a little video camera that I captured these images from - hauling my homestead
from the trees and sun of Folsom - and back to Seattle - on 5 in the pouring rain -
Leaving Folsom California Road Hi 5 Rain Crossed Oregon to Washington

My favorite ghost was the one that would jump over my bed at night mounted on a horse. I was unimpressed and just rolled over and went back to sleep.

Generally I charge to do this kind of work but I was so desperate to have a place to live - the landlord made a profit of course, and I had to move out. Right then the market fell.

My friend Nicole enjoying a ciggy on the west side of The Whitman House.

Nicole smokes whitman

Myself I was just grateful to my friends that I could spend so much time with them and that they helped me so much for such a little reward as just friendship. When we were done the place looked fantasic!

Here is an after shot -

formerly haunted * 4001 Whitman Ave N, Seattle, Washington, USA

Unfortunately I did not record the process which was almost all done inside the house.

Besides the scary stalking ghost, there was a cat ghost, a mounted on horseback ghost, and even a prostitute ghost. There was a strong owner ghost concerned about her garden. After asking the dearly departed residents to find new homes I believe that helped rid the place of ghosts but not completely.

Eco project managers in Colima, Mexico

eco project managers in Colima Mexico
Eco tour guides sipping ice tea at the Colima Best Western Hotel in Mexico (prior to the 2005 volcanic eruption which occurred not far away) discussing their plans for the upcoming season.

I was so dying for something to drink in the hot weather, and craving black tea - tea' negro which surprisingly is not popular in Mexico - probably because they have coffee.

When I spotted the Best Western in the colonial architecture and green umbrellas, I followed the fine scent for tea. Begging my friend Ariel (on your left) to come we walked with his friend on the baking hot pavement over to sit in the shade. I must have drank several of these babies, I just could not get enough.

Tea how refreshing. My friends company -- also very fine!

Holy Bible Donated to Church in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico

Holy Bible, held together with dental floss 120 year old Bible binding held together with dental floss, rusted metal clasps. This bible was originally used in a Protestant church in Oklahoma, from a private family there. The page style is gothic.

We donated this Bible back to the church in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico. A 92 year old Seattle woman gave it to a friend who gave it immediately to me in West Seattle. She has family but no one is Christian.

As soon as it came into my posession I felt, despite the fine illustrations, unusually fine binding with metal claps and so forth, that it was to be returned to a church on the West Coast. Armed with the Web I went shopping for the right church. Someone paid a lot of money for this bible, and it should have a proper home, restoration, and care. It was too fragile, too fine, and too valuable when restored to be in my collection: I couldn't keep it, shouldn't and didn't.
Puerto Vallarta church tower from below Iglesia de Nuestra Señora de Guadalupe
Searching in Google Image Search over fast internet connection on "Churches + West Coast" when I saw a photo of the Catholic Church in Puerto Vallarta with it's crown of angels - I knew that was the place. Flying from Seattle to Guadalajara Mexico, I took the large old heavy Bible wrapped up in a clean white sheet in my suitcase. I stayed for a week with friends for my first visit to Mexico - Guadalajara is an old city and very beautiful - people took their time making beautiful architecture from stone.

From there with one of my friends I took a cosy and posh regular night bus from Guadalajara to Puerto Vallarta, Mexico, and rolled it in the suitcase down the long walkway from the oldest hotel in the city Rosita, to the church, several blocks away.

Photo of the Catholic Priest -
Holy Bible and Catholic Priest, Puerto Vallarta, Mexico

The friend with me was resistant to entering the Catholic Church as she is a different religion however I pursuaded her that I needed her help - which I did as it turned out because I do not speak Spanish. After holding Mass the prime priest's handler agreed that the lead priest would speak to us about the treasure we wished to donate.

However he just zipped right by us without a glance. So we asked again. The kindest sweetheart of a priest with just the kindest eyes accepted the treasure which he said could be repaired. As a priest, he has seen it all in Puerto Vallarta. He was delighted to have it, and treated it with great respect and reverance. He thanked us profusely as my friend translated.

This shot was photographed on a sheet at our hotel room, laid out on a plastic table, photographed on the deck of the room right next to the sea. With the wind blowing I had to swiftly shoot the images and not many turned out.
120 year old Bible title page (as of 2005) American

The right to freedom of religion is sacred. Freedom of religion means any religion. But you gotta believe in it.

Relaxing in a hammock high above Puerto Vallarta, Mexico

Builder Puerto Vallarta top of Hillside
This builder was taking a break while building the largest private house on the top of the ridge which overlooks Puerto Vallarta, Mexico when I walked up and asked to take his photograph.

The owner deferred having his photo taken but what a great looking old man he was, with personality written on his face -- the same bright brown and rose red color as his assistant. I just instantly loved these people - just thought their work was great!

Check out that wonderful stone wall behind him. They had done several like that, and had plans to make the house multiple stories with several feature walls.

While they spoke no English and I very little Spanish we still communicated as they showed me all three stories of the mammoth place. Maybe I can take some pictures of the completed building when I find my way back there. This time I hope to have or rent a bike.