Thursday, June 27, 2013

Camlinn Medieval Village near Carnation

Last weekend I ventured east towards Carnation, which is a small town in the foothill area out there. I decided to check out the Camlinn Medieval Village that I read about online, after doing a search of "places to go outside of Seattle."

Tucked in the woods and off the road, slightly, was a reinvention of a medieval village. When one thinks of the term "medieval" they might consider Renaissance Faires as a go-to reference. However, as I soon discovered, Camlinn was more into the real reenactment end of historical arenas. Before entering a noble man greeted me telling me about the village, it's people and the small faire one needs to pay to enter ($5).

The village was set up with these old time structures and a few shops with skilled people inside. When you do meet one of the village people they don't just eschew knowledge of their craft but talk to you in a tongue from the medieval time. "Yes" became "Yay" and so on. It's a little odd at first to encounter but then you get use to it and find yourself repeating some of the expressions.

On site were also a black smith (working away at something) and an archery field. Unfortunately one could only take part in the archery during festival time (next month) since that's when the ye-olde insurance kicks in. Also I missed out on the minstrels and knights which show up during that festival.

All together it was a small setting amongst the lovely greenery of the woods with a babbling creek nearby. Along with sheep and their fuzzy wool...

I'm sure this place gets packed during festival time, so I actually enjoyed the atmosphere with its lack of people. Below a view of what I assumed an area for pottery making.

The village does have a "restaurant" called Bors Hede which had an actual stuffed bor over the mantle. Here I dined on a fruit plate, honey mead (delicious!) and pottage made with local herbs and vegetables.

A nice finish to an enjoyable time at the village, however I found myself out of coinage and had to go down the hill and rob the bank to pay for my meal. Otherwise, I might have had to clean the dishes or perhaps sheer the sheep!

Anyways, it was a quick little getaway and one that was highly enjoyable.

Sunday, June 23, 2013

School's Back for Summer

The summer quarter starts tomorrow and I suppose I enjoyed my one week off. As you can see I took some time to get out and explore the area, while soaking in the warmer weather. However, my break was stopped short due to professors emailing out the class instructions to get ahead in the reading. I'm pretty sure most of my peers ignored that request, but I couldn't. So I hit the books last week and am all caught up now. Also, I'm trying to get ahead in the reading, since summer quarter is shorter than other sessions.

I'm actually excited for one of the courses I'll be taking, which is the second version of Linguistics. Here we're going to cover discourse analysis and already I find myself interested in the subject. Basically one will analyse written or spoken English looking for certain criteria.

"Discourse Analysis (DA) is a modern discipline of the social sciences that covers a wide variety of different sociolinguistic approaches. It aims to study and analyse the use of discourse in at least one of the three ways stated above, and more often than not, all of them at once. Analysis of discourse looks not only at the basic level of what is said, but takes into consideration the surrounding social and historical contexts"
 Our first assignment will be to select a spoken transcription and analyze it. I've been thinking about what to do and so far feel comfortable finding an interview of Bruce Lee where he talked about water. It inspired me long ago to consider Buddhist and Zen teaching, so I think I would feel some connection analyzing it. However, I'm still a little fuzzy on how to go about the assignment, which I hope will become clear during class.

The other class I'm taking is called "Educational Research", which basically is a cursor to graduate studies and how to do research. As you can tell this isn't going to be the most exciting course I will take. Already the book is a doozy to read, but nonetheless is actually helping me remember research methods and can help me with future projects.

I can sense that Seattle's real summer is around the corner, and I hope I don't miss it while in school. I really want to head out to a river or lake to get in some swimming this season.

Tom's been enjoying the warm weather, especially when I take him out on the porch for a walk around.

An old photo from Korea... (Do you miss the sound of the cicadas Tom?)

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Lake Boren and a Sun Halo

After the hike I headed to a nearby park that sported open grassy areas and a lake, called Lake Boren. Here I laid down on the grass and just tried to relax and take a deep breath to let go of all the hard work from the previous quarter. Then a passerby asked, "Did you see the ring around the sun yet?" While pointing up at the sky, and so I looked up and saw this:

It's called a Sun Halo and occurs when ice crystals in cirrus clouds refract the light at a certain angle. It happens around the world but you have to be in the right spot at the right time. Turns out you could see it all over Seattle, so it was special at first...

But certainly was neat to look at and talk about with strangers. In black and white...

I think it shed quite an interesting light over the landscape...

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Coal Creek Trail

One can only stand the concrete urban jungle for so long. This was my case this weekend as I really felt the need to get out and go for a walk or hike, whatever just to get me away from city life. After a quick Google search of local trails I picked the Coal Creek Trail near Lancaster, which is east of Seattle by 20 minutes. It turned out to be a really good decision and the weather provided me with clear skies and good weather.

This trail is through a historical coal meaning area which has some relics left over from the past. However, due to dense overgrowth I couldn't really spot any mine shafts or other structures. I really mostly enjoyed being in the forest, hearing the birds and smelling the scents of nature.

Not too far from the entrance path is a waterfall with benches nearby to enjoy the scene. Indeed, I stopped here to soak it all in.

For the rest of my trek I mostly took it slow and enjoyed the company of trees and wildlife. I gave myself the time to just let go and enjoy the moment. Yet, I couldn't help but look back at my time in Korea and where I was now, thinking about the good times I spent over there. As I walked, I would stop now and then to look up at the canopy of the forest, admiring the sun shining in.

I did spot this concrete structure which might have been from the mining past, but not sure.

I'm not sure if these were blackberries or another berry, perhaps it's still early in the season to tell.

The trail clears out at one point and forks, where you could head uphill or downhill. I chose downhill and went into another wooded path, where I found a bench to sit on. There I rested and took in the whole journey.

I'm discovering that there are many trekking options around Seattle, and since I have a car it's not too hard to get out to them. I also liked that there weren't too many people on the trail and actually it was kind of nice to be by myself at times. As things warm up I hope to get out to some natural rivers or lakes to take a swim. :)

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Pagdiriwang Philippine Festival at Seattle Center

After visiting the Mini Maker Faire I headed over to the Armory section of the Seattle Center to visit the Pagdiriwang Philippine Festival. The above picture is of a sketch gallery, where several artists were available to sketch you, if desired.

But mostly I came in during dance performances which varied from colonial style to peasant variations.

I was told that their shirts were transparent because during certain colonial times the ruling government mandated that they couldn't carry weapons. So they made transparent shirts to accommodate this kind of security check.

Overall the dances were lively, colorful and fun to watch. I've never really seen Philippine dancing before so it was nice to see it.

For most of the dances it seemed that they were displaying men courting women, which was humorous.

Meanwhile, there were a few tables out with merchandise and things for sale, including one with historical books on it.

Then came some dances involving glass cups on their heads, which was interesting. 

It was a two day festival and I was told on the second day I could have seen renowned martial artists perform, but I guess I'll have to catch that next year. Anyways, it was a packed crowd and full of food, culture and art.

Saturday, June 8, 2013

Seattle Mini Maker Faire

Today I visited the Seattle Center and took a look around the Seattle Mini Maker Faire. What is the "Mini Maker Faire" you might ask? Well it was like a science faire, but instead of learning about how bubbles are made or what happens when you mix one thing with another, this was about electronics and the world of gadgetry.

For the most part it was about seeing 3D printers in action, making all sorts of plastic niceties. I have to say I'm intrigued about these 3D printers. For one it seems the people behind them really want to get their products made perfectly, which is fine but does this mean they're making art? Is the machine the artist? ....Otherwise the faire was a lot of hands on and exploring with things that light up, come together and move.

There you could talk to different engineers about their "kits" and projects. There was a robotic Ouija board, where it scanned a card with a written question and then proceeded to spell out it's answer. I was too amazed too follow along with the answer to my question, "Will I succeed?"

I'm seeing now that 3D printing is the plastic wave of the future as a lot of the production of these things were versatile, and the kids loved it. Not just the kids who got to geek out but I saw many adults, of varying ages, enjoy the different booths.

I liked one "kit" a person was demonstrating of a cardboard movie-box kit, that you can use to make movies off your iPhone or iPad (of which I have none).

I thought this incredibly useful for the classroom and enjoyed seeing kids come up and get into it.

If you didn't quite understand what you were looking at, the people behind the gizmos were eager to tell you all about it. Even though I didn't really understand much of what they said I put two and two together, somehow. There seems to be a lot going on with circuit boards that can do all sorts of things.

It's hard to tell but the above picture is of a little robot arm holding a marker that is wired by a circuit board. It's drawing out some kind of picture, but with only just one line. Cool!?

Remember those contraptions that made "Spin Art"? Well here was the same thing but you used a hand crank to power the spinning while a friend painted their paper. This brought back memories and gave it all a new spin. ;)

Here, you can do the same thing but a person needs to use the bicycle to get the thing spinning.

Overall, there was a lot to look at and discover as you walked around. I really found it endearing to see children getting hands on experience with electronics and this side of the sciences. Although I'm not teaching children anymore I felt inspired if I ever end up in that kind of classroom again.

There was a soldering table for folks and kids to learn the tool. I think I've used it before...but in a much larger scale in sculpture class. Then near my way out was a piano made out of bananas hooked up to someones laptop. The future is now, people!

Who knows what will be showing at this kind of faire in 5 or 10 years, one could only imagine. :)