It took us less than an hour to discuss the evidence and find cause for reasonable doubt that AG was
innocent of the assault charges because he was acting in self-defense. I don't think either the
judge or the prosecuting attorney was surprised. We wondered why the state had chosen to prosecute
the case in the first place. I suspect the case would not have been prosecuted had the police interviewed
the two Hispanic witnesses. Realizing he had a weak case, the prosecutor had attempted to get AG to
settle for lesser charges but he'd refused so the case went to trial. We felt that the prosecutor
handled the trial fairly and competently but just didn't have much to work with.
I talked with the prosecutor after the trial. I gave him some feedback on how the jury responded to
various aspects of the proceedings and he shared his perspective on the trial. We had a good laugh
about one of the expert witnesses, an audio analyst who looked like a minor Mafia thug and was so
biased for the defense in his testimony that he pretty much destroyed his credibility with the jury.
The other expert witness for the defense was a UW professor who studies memory and makes more money
(300K or so a year) testifying in trials than he does teaching. He explained how memories derive not
just from our perceptions of a situation but also from our pre-existing assumptions about the situation
and from information we subsequent receive about the situation. The several components blend together
so seamlessly that we often can't tell which details in the memory come from which sources and therefore
assume that we actually witnessed everything in our recollection, which typically isn't the case. It
was easy to see how his ideas applied to the testimony of the various eyewitnesses who testified during
the trial. Witnesses appeared to remember what they'd expected to see in the first place, whether they
were testifying for the prosecution or for the defense.
While I was deliberating with the jury, Susan drove to Seattle and met Ali, who was skipping the final
day of her philosophy conference to see a bit of Washington with us. Unfortunately the first bit she
saw was just the Southcenter mall, where she and Susan waited for me to finish at the courthouse. We
set out for Mount Vernon and the tulip fields around 2PM. We were a bit early for tulips but the daffodils
were spectacular. We walked around Roozengaarde for an hour. Susan and Ali talked while I took pictures.
From Roozengaarde we drove to Bowman Beach, just north Deception Pass, and hiked over to Rosario Beach.
Again Susan and Ali talked and I took pictures. We found a few birds
including Ali's first ever Bald Eagle. The late afternoon light was
beautiful as we were heading back to the car. We stopped at Skagit River Brewery in Mount Vernon
for supper and a beer sampler, both respectable, and delivered Ali to the airport in time for her redeye
back to the East Coast.
04/16/2012 Boston Marathon
Boston this year was hot! I stayed with Mom & John and Sarah & Roger at the Harvard Club again this
year. Susan stayed home to attend David's art show opening and Luau dance performance. Walking
down Commonwealth Avenue to catch the marathon buses by the Common, I was comfortable in just my
shorts and singlet. The magnolias were mostly gone by and White-throated Sparrows were singing in
the bushes. A Maniac from Bellingham whom I didn't know sat with me on the bus. I hung out in the
village with Rikki B, at Boston for the first time. Eighteen months ago I tried to pace her to a BQ
at Skagit Flats but she slowed down after mile 23. Nine months later, after losing 10 pounds, she
ran Foot Traffic Flat and beat her qualifying time by almost 20 minutes, putting her with me in the
last corral of the second wave. I thought I'd submitted my CIM time of 3:24:48 but apparently not
because corral 2:9 times were in the neighborhood of 3:42. Just as well, since I haven't run much
this winter and wouldn't be running fast today either. I'll use the CIM time next year, and perhaps
train through the winter to prepare.
When not in Porta-potty lines, we sat comfortably in the shade of the Medical tent and watched people
go by. Rikki posed with a woman carrying a "Sweat is Sexy" sign. I looked for Jeff P, with whom we
Sweat is Sexy
had dinner at Petit Robert last night, but couldn't find him. He would start in the corral behind us
and finish about 15 minutes behind me due to the gap between waves. We also looked for Diana R, whom
I'd met by chance in the Public Garden. She was admiring the tulips with the Rev. I embarrassed myself
by failing to recognize either of them but they apparently forgave me. Nonetheless, we never found
Diana despite our prearranged plan to meet on the line between the two corrals.
I kept up with Rikki, even ran a little ahead of her, for the first four miles. Even then I was
feeling the heat and when she pulled ahead of me, I didn't try to match her pace. She went on to
run a near-perfect race and finished half an hour before I did, though ten or fifteen minutes slower
than she would have liked. I finished in 4:26 with a level of effort that would normally have earned
me 3:50 or so. In an attempt to keep cool I dumped a cup of water on my head at every aid station and
put a cube or two of ice under my hat whenever it was offered. The ice really helped, but a good deal
of the water ended up in my shoes. My Green Silence shoes don't have much of a footbed so my feet slid
forward in my shoes on the downhills and I ended up jamming my left big toe pretty badly in the first
half. I'd also forgotten to lube my toes before the start so the balls of my feet began to get tender
from all the sliding. In the second half I applied lube at mile 14 and ran as flat-footed as I could.
Though they hurt, my feet didn't get any worse. My toe was pretty tender for several days afterwards
and I'll probably lose the nail.
The Wellesley girls weren't kissing this year, at least while I was running by. They had the usual
"Kiss Me..." signs but no other runners were taking their offer at face value so I didn't either.
Maybe it was the heat, or maybe someone just needed to break the ice and nobody was willing to be
the first. I kissed just one girl at the very end of the line, five fewer than I'd planned. Ali and
Donna were waiting at the usual spot just before the light. I stopped for a minute or so. Donna had
crushed ice so I filled my hat. We made tentative plans to get together later in the week since I
didn't have much opportunity to visit with them at Petit Robert.
Somewhere around mile 22 I caught up to Prez and another Maniac and walked with them for a mile or
so before running in to the finish. A temperature sign near mile 24 read 86F and that might have been
a degree or two low. It was tough for running but very comfortable after crossing the finish line.
I met everyone on Newbury Street but didn't get back to the Harvard Club before the gym closed. I
was able to take a quick shower upstairs before we headed north to New Hampshire.
04/17/2012 Tunnel Marathon is full
The Light at the End of the Tunnel Marathon
filled up today, as far as I can tell, four weeks and a day after we opened registration in March.
We reached the limit of 350 online entries around 11:00AM Eastern time. The mail-in form is
available through the end of the day today but according to Susan, we've received close to 50
entries to put us at our total of 400. Last year it took about three months to reach 300 entries.
About a quarter of last year's runners signed up again this year. Three-quarters of this year's
runners are new, that is, they haven't run any previous Tunnel marathons. Approximately 140 of
the 400 runners are coming from more than three hours away so we're bringing quite a few people
into the area for a night or two. Perhaps we should try to get sponsors next year.
Spruce from the lower field
Painted Lady on Sarah's cherry tree
The warm weather persisted for several days with temperatures in the mid-70's. That was good for
my sore toe since I could only wear flipflops for the first couple of days after the race. I was
pretty sore too, though managed to get out walking with Mom and John both days. We kept the doors
open and ate lunch on the deck upstairs - it felt almost like summertime.
Yellow-rumped (Myrtle) Warbler
I spent quite a bit of time birding and trying for bird photos in the woods, both around the
property and over by the Sawyer River Road. There's a beaver pond down by the river across the
highway from the entrance to the Sawyer River road. The map shows it as the town of Harts Location,
and indeed a few chimneys are still standing in the woods, remnants from a CCC camp there in the
30's. I found Canada Geese and Wood Ducks in the pond and a Palm Warbler in the woods - here's
from a couple hours over there while John was bicycling up towards Crawford Notch. He
bicycled every day down in Florida but this was the first time he'd encountered hills and he wasn't
sure how it would go. Fortunately it went fine, particularly on the way back down.
Blue-headed Vireos seemed more common than later in the summer, and were much easier to see without
leaves on the trees. I often heard two singing at once around the house and saw them at Sarah's and
over at the Sawyer River road as well. I was surprised when I first heard them singing but
apparently they're an early migrant. They were somewhat difficult to photograph since they stayed
mostly in the treetops.
Yellow-rumps were warbler species I saw and heard most frequently; their numbers seemed
to increase suddenly this afternoon. At one point a brightly colored male landed right at my feet to
grab a moth. I was too startled, and perhaps too close as well, to get a photo but fortunately it
landed on a nearby branch. They tend to be easy than some to photograph because they're common and
they occasionally forage low in the understorey.
Male Eastern Bluebird
Female Eastern Bluebird
Eastern Bluebirds were taking up residence in one of John's nest boxes. The female bluebird was
gathering dry grass and stuffing it in the nest box while the male looked on, often perching on the
post above the box to deter the Tree Swallows. Eric puts up the boxes in pairs to minimize nest box
competition. Once a pair of Tree Swallows selects one of the boxes, they prevent other Tree
Swallows from settling in the other box but tolerate the bluebirds.
In the pines and hardwoods of the small wooded triangle between Sarah's house, the brook and the
river, I was surprised to find a Pine Warbler singing; I'd never seen them in Jackson before. I
tried several times to photograph it but with only fair results. I did find two territories though,
one which ranged from the third hole of the golf course throughout the triangular woodlot and over
to the old stream valley behind Sarah's house, and another along the fourth fairway below Cameron
Drive. I can't distinguish their songs from either juncos or Chipping Sparrows so I've probably
dismissed them as one of those two species in the past.
Down in the lower field as well as up at the house, Tree Swallows were investigating nest boxes. I
photographed them around an elm snag in the brushy area between the lower field and the river. That's
generally a good area for birds and this time was no exception - from the ditch between the fields
I flushed the first Wilson's Snipe I've seen on the property. A Northern Cardinal has claimed that
area for his territory though I usually heard him singing on the other side of the river. Normally
skittish, he came in quite close when I imitated his call but uncooperatively stayed on the far
side of a bush from me. Last November I also saw Wood Ducks in that area so looked for them this time
but saw them only once, briefly when I flushed them from the river along the second fairway.
North of Winthrop
Susan and I drove over to Winthrop for a couple of days so I could run the Sun Mountain 50K, a beautiful
trail run in the hills around Patterson Lake a few miles west of town. The run was yesterday. We spent
last night at the River Run Inn in a very nice room just a couple hundred feet from the river and ate
dinner with Matt and Betsy at the Duck Brand restaurant, a reasonably good choice. This morning I was
happy to get out birding
for several hours along the road from Pearrygin Lake about two miles NE of town. The Methow Valley
around Winthrop is a patchwork of pine forest, aspen groves and riparian habitat, bunchgrass meadows,
pastures and bitterbrush/sagebrush covered hillsides, a nice variety of habitats which support lots
of different birds. I counted about 60 species during the run yesterday and 81 altogether for the
Yellow-rumped (Audubon's) Warbler
Susan came out with me in the afternoon after lunch in town. We hiked around a mudflow which washed
out the FR100 road a few months ago, stopped along Bear Creek road in several places to photograph
Western Bluebirds and other birds and wrapped up our outing with a short hike at the edge of the
pine forest farther up Bear Creek and NF-200 roads.
Elegant Cat's Ear
Apple trees, perhaps the remnants of an old orchard, were flowering there, as were the Ponderosa
Pines. The Elegant Cat's Ear, a cumbersome name for such a beautiful flower, was growing among
sagebrush on a steep hillside above the mudflow.
Susan with Lilacs
We drove down to the Twisp River pub for dinner. Both the beer and the food were very good. We left
late, delayed by a tour of some new condos next door. Susan met the owner at the table next to us and
invited him to join us for a drink. He'd spared no expense on the condos but the location next to the
pub wasn't particularly appealing and the rusting sheet metal exterior siding of the building seemed
at odds with the elegance within. I drove first and made it, with some difficulty staying awake, as
far as Cashmere before Susan had to take over. We'd originally planned to go home but made it only
about up hwy 97 from Cashmere, where we found a quiet pullout a short distance up the old hwy 97 and
slept in the van.
Our camping spot
Pink flowering currant
In the morning I woke up before Susan and hiked up the steep hillside next to our camping spot
looking for bird photos. Lots of Townsend's Warblers singing in the beetle-ravaged Douglas Firs. I
didn't get much in the way of photos. I took a few of two singing Cassin's Vireos but never got
them in good light and missed a closeup of a Townsend's Warbler in snowbrush because I didn't expect
it to be so close to the ground. Here's
for the morning. After breakfast and some poking around in the sunshine we continued
Male Townsend's Warbler
Female Townsend's Warbler
up the road and over the old Blewett Pass. The creek was lined with gold claims, several of which
were occupied by campers getting a head start on the long weekend ahead. Both sides of Blewett Pass
are known for gold but my impression has been that the area never produced much.
Ponderosa Pine, Bitterbrush and Balsamroot near Blewett Pass
Not far past the Liberty turn-off we spotted the Liberty Cafe and Susan decided she wanted a little
more breakfast so we pulled in and sat down at the counter next to an old guy wearing camo. He was
apparently a regular there; as we ate our breakfast we listened in on his conversation with the
waitresses behind the counter. He spoke slowly with random pauses, as if his thoughts were little
children dawdling behind him, but after a while his story began to take shape. It turned out that
one of the waitresses had saved his life a year or two back. He'd not showed up for a couple of
days so she went to investigate and found him where he'd fallen in his bathtub, naked and
hypothermic and unable to get up. She'd called an ambulance and they'd come and rescued him. More
recently she'd helped him out again, retrieving him from jail just yesterday after he'd been
arrested for an altercation with several men in a pickup who were attempting to drive away with a
load of gold ore from his claim. Brandishing a shotgun, he'd blocked their way and pepper-sprayed
their ringleader but they'd called the police first and had him arrested while they drove off with
his ore. Gratified by our indignation on his behalf he offered to show us some of the gold from his
claim. He pulled out a rounded nugget of gold mixed with quartz; it was only an inch or two across
but was remarkably heavy. I asked if he'd mind if I photographed it and he said that was fine but
that he had some nicer pieces out in his truck. I went out with him while he rummaged around behind
the driver's seat and pulled out a small plastic container stuffed with tissue paper. Inside the
cafe he carefully unwrapped three specimens of bright yellow gold in wire and crystalline forms
partially embedded in a matrix of calcite. I photographed them on the formica counter of the cafe.
He told us they'd come from his claim in Liberty, from a vein which bisected the town. Gold wasn't
his only treasure; he also pulled several spectacular pieces of fiery blue opal out of his pocket
and handed them around to the waitresses and to us. Originally from the opal beds in Australia,
he'd purchased them at the rock show in Tucson though he wasn't clear just how much he'd paid for
them. We left worried about the old man; he'd had a stroke at some point and one arm hung useless
by his side. Despite what he said about having friends who looked out for him, he seemed way
too trusting of strangers particularly given the unsavory characters who tend to be attracted to
even modern-day gold camps.
Northern Pacific ponds
In Cle Ellum we stopped at the Northern Pacific ponds, a slough off the Yakima River on the south
side of town, for a couple hours of birding. Despite the intermittent rain I managed to find
and to get a fair number of photos as well, including flight photos of all six swallow species present.
Northern Rough-winged Swallow
Susan read and took a nap in the car while I hid from the rain under the roof of an informational
kiosk and photographed swallows. Unfortunately all of the photos I took while it was raining came
out blurred. I'd set the camera on auto-ISO with a limit of 800 and the clouds were so thick that
even on ISO 800 the shutter speed was only about 1/20 of a second.
When the rain let up we drove down to the end of the road. It doesn't go through, and the slough
eventually peters out just above where a branch of the river enters from the south. We found a few
more birds including a pair of Cassin's Vireos. Having begun the day by photographing Cassin's
Vireos, it seemed fitting to wrap up the day the same way. At the time I thought maybe we were
watching a young one begging from an adult but in the photos they appear to both be adults, probably
a pair. They allowed relatively close approach but they'd moved into thicker cover by the time I
got in position for photos.