Thursday, December 31, 2009

2009 Movie Favorites

Up In the Air

Pirate Radio

The Reader

Cold Souls

Yes Man


Broken Flowers

Wooly Boys

Open Range

King of New York

Around the Bend


Gran Torino

Double Happiness

2009 Reading List

The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian, Sherman Alexie

The Chistman Train, David Baldacci

Rough Weather, Robt. B. Parker

Outliers, Malcom Gladwell

A Short History of Nearly Everything, Bill Bryson

Dog On It, Spencer Quinn

Broken Prey, John Sandford

Cracker Queen, Lauretta Hannon

Lovesick Blues, Paul Hemphill

The Axman's Jazz, Julie Smith

The Murder Manual, Steve Womak

Long Time Gone, J.A. Jance

Just How Stupid Are We? Facing the Truth About the American Voter, Rick Shenkmen

Death Song, Michael McGarrity

The King of Torts, John Grisham

Phantom Prey, John Sandford

' T ' is for trespass, Sue Grafton

Double Cross, James Patterson

Blown Away, G.M. Ford

Edge of Evil, J.A. Jance

Lean Mean Thirteen, Janet Evanovich

The Last Juror, By John Grisham

Early Bird, Rodney Rothman

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Remember the Days

Remember the Days
By Joe Leeak

(Am)Remember the days when the lights burned bright
(Dm)Forget the times when we feared the night
(E7)Remember the days when life would never (Am)end

(Dm)Remember the times when we (Am)danced all night
(Dm)Never walked (Am)away from a fight
(Dm)Remember the days when (Am)life would (E7)never (Am)end
(E7)Never (Am)end

Remember the days when the air was clean
The skies the bluest we'd ever seen
Remember the days when life would never end


Remember the nights when the moon was high
And we stood and howled at the sky
Remember the days when life would never end


1st verse


The original idea, and the chorus, for this song came to me after the deaths of my parents, Don and Marjorie Leeak, in 2007.  They lived good lives, made a lot of good decisions throughout their lives, and were always honest and caring people.  You can read more about them at:

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Wednesday, December 9, 2009

'Deed I Do

Here's a video I put together of my friend Phil and I playing the song 'Deed I Do.
(warning: it probably won't sound very good on teeny little laptop speakers)

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Friday, September 18, 2009

D-I-Y Quality Construction

For the last couple of weeks I've been working on putting together a new blog called D-I-Y Quality Construction .  It's a collection of articles that I've put together to help home builders and designers learn about the building permit process.

The best way to use the website:

You will find there a series of checklists-- see the Table of Contents-- similar to what a building permit plan reviewer will use when reviewing house plans submitted for a proposed building project. Submitted plans should provide all of the applicable construction details and information described in the checklists. These checklists are actually written as plan corrections that a permit applicant might get from a building official in response to a permit application.

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Monday, September 14, 2009

Seattle - Bremerton - Ilahee State Park Bike Ride

It's starting to feel like the end of summer is near here in Seattle so on Thursday afternoon I left for a fast overnight bike ride to Illahee State Park north of Bremerton. I didn't leave home until a little after 1pm for the ride downtown to catch the Bremerton ferry. Assuming that there would be a ferry leaving at least every hour I hadn't check the ferry schedule ahead of time-- big mistake. The last ferry left downtown at 12:30 pm so I had to wait until 3pm for the next one-- rats foiled again.

A classic view of downtown Seattle and the Space Needle upon leaving the ferry dock.

Somehow this view from the ferry window looked almost tropical to me even though it's mid-September and in Puget Sound.

And here are all of the dirty bikers-- both motorized and pedal variety-- congregating to blast off of the ferry when it gets to the Bremerton ferry dock.

In the evening just before sunset I headed down to the dock to hang out for awhile. While I was there a fisherman on the dock caught a small shark and a boatload of drunks tied up long enough to go take a pee-- things were jumping at Illahee State Park.

So am I looking maybe a little grumpy here? I guess it's because I'd just gotten up. Anyhow it was a great place to camp and seemed a little expensive at $19. But I kind of brow-beat the ranger into letting me stay at one of the "fancy" table campsites for $12 which is the price for the hike-biker campsites. Right... you come in here on a bike or hiking and they give you a campsite with no table or fire ring for $12 instead of one of the "bigboy" sites with a table for $19.

On the ride from the state park back to Bremerton to catch the ferry I rode over the Port Washington Narrows Manette Bridge shown here. It's a pretty old bridge-- constructed using rivets which haven't been used for many decades.

So I made it home in one piece and ready to think about the bike trips I'll take next year.

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Wednesday, August 26, 2009


This is a music slide show/video of my friend Phil and I playing Moonglow.

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Saturday, August 15, 2009

Bicycling on Vashon Island and Kitsap Penninsula

Monday morning I left for a four day bicycle trip to Vashon Island and the Kitsap Penninsula across Puget Sound from Seattle. The Vashon Island ferry landing at Fauntleroy is about a ten mile bike ride from where I live. Then after a short ferry ride it's about a six mile ride from the ferry landing on Vashon to the Vashon Ranch Hostel where I stayed for three nights. You can read more about the Ranch Hostel at: Vashon Ranch Hostel .

Since I was planning to camp at the Manchester State Park on the Kitsap Penninsula after leaving Vashon I had brought camping gear with me. But at the last minute I decided to stay in a covered wagon at the hostel since there was one available instead of camping.


This log cabin houses a communal kitchen and three separate single rooms for people to stay in.

The community kitchen in the log cabin.

This building has another community kitchen and a couple of separate common rooms to hang out in.

There's a nature preserve with a large pond, Fisher Pond, and some hiking trails next to the hostel property.

On Tuesday, after a late start due to rain, I rode up around the north end of the island. Even though I only rode 18 miles there were a lot of hills that were so steep I had to push the bike up on foot... it was a lot of work and slowed me down quite a bit. Whew!

On Wednesday I got an early start-- for me that is-- and headed out of the hostel at 10am for the ferry to Tacoma at the south end of the island. It had rained again on Tuesday night and looked pretty threatening Wednesday morning. But fortunately the weather got a lot better than what you see here at the ferry landing where I caught the ferry to Tacoma and the Point Defiance Zoo.


After seeing a few episodes of Animal Planet's Meerkat Manor on DVD I was happy to find out that they had a family of meerkats on the Point Defiance Zoo. They were pretty busy little guys and were constantly digging. You can see a Meerkat Manor video clip at:

Meerkats on YouTube


There was a very scruffy looking polar bear that looked bored to death...

...and a very bored looking walrus that did laps around the pool like this on his back.
On Thursday I caught the ferry at the north end of Vashon Island...
... for a ten minute ferry ride to Southworth on the Kitsap Penninsula from where I biked about eight miles to Manchester State Park.
The hiker/biker campsites, costing a mere $14/night, were just a semi-flat spot in the woods without either a fire ring or a picnic table. So I paid for a campsite then took up residence in one of the picnic shelters. After pouring down rain for a couple of hours I went back to my campsite to find it flooded out. I figured I'd just stay in the picnic shelter and deal with the washout in the morning-- unfortunately "the man" didn't agree. The ranger came around at 9pm and booted me out of the picnic shelter. So I went back and bailed out my tent and spent a soggy night waiting for daylight.
On Friday morning I rode just a few miles over to Port Orchard...

...where I caught a passenger-only ferry to Bremerton that allows bikes, and from there caught the Bremerton to Seattle car ferry and then a short bike ride home.

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Sunday, August 9, 2009

Pacific Crest Trail - Wild Flowers at Chinook Pass

These are a few pictures taken on a day hike along the Pacific Crest Trail in July near Mt. Ranier. The trail was mostly clear of snow except for the heavily wooded sections going in to Sheep Lake. There were also some great butterflies but they were a bit camera shy.
Pacific Crest Trail.

Spreading Phlox (Phlox diffusa)

Broadleaf lupine(Lupinus latifolius)

Small-flowered Penstemon (Penstemon procerus)

Indian Paintbrush, left; Lupine, right

Yellow columbine, and Lupine

Chinook pass looking east with the highway on the slope to the left.

Sheep Lake

"Enough with the flowers already!"

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Friday, July 31, 2009

Denny Creek Backpacking

I left on Wednesday for a short overnight backpack trip to Denny Creek about 50 miles east of Seattle on I-90. The weather was great and this gave me a chance to escape Seattle's forecast for 100 degree plus temps. So I missed the heat but had to tolerate a major attack of black-flies-- there's always a price.

The trail head is actually between the east and west bound I-90 roadways. In this picture I'm going under the west bound lanes of I-90-- it's a treetop highway at this point.

At about a mile from the trail head the trail crosses Denny Creek for a second time. Here you can see the bridge that was there LAST year. Then after a major flood event in January of this year...

...this is what remains of the bridge-- nothing. Debris from the old bridge was found in the campground a mile downstream this spring. Compared to last year it looked like someone had run a bulldozer down the stream bed.

The place where I camp is just up the creek bank a 100 yards upstream from the bridge. This picture from last year shows the under growth that was between my campsight and Denny Creek-- it's all gone now.

I ran into a ranger on the hike out and asked her what the plan was to replace the bridge. She said it was complicated since the bridge is just inside the Alpine Wilderness boundary and power tools are not allowed for construction inside wilderness areas. The bottom line is nothing will happen this year.

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Monday, July 20, 2009

Riding Seattle's new light-rail train...

Here's a video I put together after riding Seattle's new light-rail train today. The music was recorded awhile ago and was played by my friends Patrick , Bruce, and me.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Whidbey Island Bike Ride

This week I took a two day bicycle trip, about 70 miles round trip, to the small town of Langley on Whidbey Island north of Seattle. A big part of the rout that I used going north to the ferry that would take me to Whidbey Island was along the reclaimed right-of-way originally used by the Seattle-Everett Interurban Railway from 1910 to 1939.
As chance would have it this is also the week that Seattle's new light-rail system from downtown to the airport will begin service.
You can read more about the Seattle-Everett Interurban Railway at:

Some of the art along the trail.

On the ferry to Whidbey Island.

The waterfront park in Langley.

I camped overnight at the Island County Fairgrounds in Langley.

Leaving Whidbey Island on the ferry.

Arriving at the Mukilteo ferry dock.

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