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November 24, 2007

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I'd been inside all day staring at a screen, occasionally looking up at the clear skies visible through our office window. It was time to get out and enjoy what little was left of the setting sun on this already short day in a shortening season. I'd just stepped into the alley when I heard a jet screaming louder than I'd ever heard one here atop our ridge right in the flight path of Sea-Tac. I unpocketed my camera quick as on old west gunslinger and had it pointed towards the sound even before I could see the plane, half expecting to witness an airliner crashing into our neighborhood. As the noise crescendoed, it emerged directly above our house, lower--or maybe just larger--than any of the many jets which have flown over us before: a B52, streaming heavy black exhaust smoke from its 8 enormous engines as it hauled ass west, then north, perhaps on its way to the other side of the world, carrying who knows what, designed and built right here in the Seattle-Tacoma corridor. It was a chilling sight, the first time in 9 years living here that I've seen the likes of it. As large and loud as it was, it disappeared and Dopplered into silence very quickly. I went to the end of the alley to watch the sunset. A dog smaller than a bread box barked at me, running out its retractable leash as it reached halfway across the Fremont View apartment building parking lot before it had to stop. I asked its owner (who delighted in her dog's attempts to be scary), "Did you see that B52?" "Yeah!" she replied, intrigued but untroubled. I said, "That was eerie"--which put an end to our conversation. The earth kept spinning. Later, Sarah and I went to Nectar to check out Clinton Fearon; I'd just booked him to play a New Year's party and figured it'd be smart to hear him live. The band sounded great--nothing at all like war.