Sunday, September 30, 2007

Bye-bye, Boeing Surplus Store

Gather ye air tools while ye may. The Boeing Surplus Store is closing on December 21.

That's where we got this classy-looking container, the new home of our little raspberry patch.


Extreme Makeover Crew "Super-Nice"

On Friday I talked to my friend who lives on the Extreme Makeover block in Kirkland, and I asked him what the crew was like, and he said that they're "super-nice." Yes, they applied gentle peer pressure in trying to get him to allow them to park trucks on his waterlogged front and back lawn (without offering to fix any damage afterward), but they didn't push him at all about it.

For the record, I think it's a good thing that this woman is going to get a new, safe house for her and her kids in 7 days or whatever, and that the folks who work on the show are nice, and that everyone is rooting for this good cause, and everything. I've never seen the show, but from what I've read, it does seem that Extreme Makeover: Home Edition is a very fortuitous match of product placement and charity.

I guess it's too bad that something so good also seems a little unsavory.

This Smoking Gun article from last year shows a chirpy internal ABC memo about the types of stories they're looking for on EM:HE. It says they'd love to find a kid with "little old man disease" or congenital insensitivity to pain ("There are 17 known cases in US--let me know if one is in your town!"), an "amazing" kid with muscular dystrophy, or multiple kids with Down syndrome ("either adopted or biological").

At the time, they were also looking for "MADD / Drink Driving -- Family turns tragedy into triumph after losing a child to drunk driving."

I'd bet that families who have lost a child in a drunk driving accident are no longer being sought out. A few months ago host Ty Pennington pleaded no contest to a drunk driving charge after registering a blood-alcohol level of 0.14 percent, nearly twice the legal limit.

Saturday, September 29, 2007

Pirates of the Caribeacon at Beacon Pub Tonight

















Parking Strip Planting on Beacon Hill

My future sister-in-law (hurray) planted this parking strip outside her house at one of the intersections on 15th. Thank you! I love this.


Hawthorn Tree Outside City Hall

A coworker of mine is a smoker, and I've started hanging out with her when she goes outside to smoke because I like her and I like outside. Yesterday I talked her into walking across the street to City Hall to light up, and she asked me what this tree was. I told her I didn't know but that I would take a picture so I could find out.


But then we noticed that the fine City of Seattle folks tagged it for us. English Hawthorn.


Then we went back to work.



Fall Morning in the U-District

This morning I went to the Farmers Market in the U-District, my first Seattle neighborhood.



I miss all the hippie yards.


I'm a peaceful and cowardly person, but I think if I saw a person spray-painting a tree, I'd want to kick their ass.





Doesn't "Sweetbread" mean brains? I'd never heard of this little local vineyard before. I gambled on the cheapest white and red.


Then I went to Esquin Wine Merchants and lollygagged in the Loire whites section before finally settling on Cheverny. What I really wanted was a Sancerre, but apparently Cheverny is another steel-fermented Sauvignon Blanc wine from the Loire Valley, and it was $10 cheaper than the Sancerres. Hopefully it will have that minerally taste that I love so much in Sancerre -- we'll see.

Then I suddenly decided that I also wanted a Niagara ice wine for dessert, so I grabbed one from Jackson-Triggs, a vineyard that I blogged but didn't name back in July.

Friday, September 28, 2007

No More Hangar Cafe

They were too good to be true (for long, anyway). I will miss them.

Unless one of you wants to buy it?

In other local business news, the ownership of Yoga on Beacon is changing hands. The former owner is moving to California.

Quick Rainier Cold Storage Update

Looks like the Architectural Review Committee of the Seattle Landmarks Preservation Board wants to explore the idea of having Sabey rebuild the western wall of the Stock House (an idea I dismissed as stupid a couple of days ago).

You'll probably see more details on this morning's meeting from Dan at Seattlest, who was also in attendance, before I'll get a chance to write more.

Neighbors of Extreme Makeover

Yesterday I found out that a friend of mine in Kirkland is getting a close look at how reality TV shows really operate. My friend lives by this nice Kirkland woman who's getting her house rebuilt for free on national TV.

Apparently the caterers, contractors, TV people, whoever, pressured my friend to let them park all over the lawn, with explanations like "All the other neighbors were fine with it, what's your problem?" I think my friend worked out some sort of deal with them, and I'm sure everything is fine now, and I'm sure they're all lovely people, but it is kind of funny to look at this P-I story and consider the viewpoint of close neighbors who would also have been very surprised on Wednesday to hear about their neighbor's good luck.

The Highlands Park neighborhood of north Kirkland will be the focus of some highly intensive gawking for the next few weeks. There'll even be tour buses lined up to shuttle the curious.

I don't believe they offer to "whisk" neighbors out of town:

The project, at 10203 116th Ave. N.E., began Wednesday when Chapin was informed of her good luck. She and her children were then whisked out of town so the work can begin.

I don't know. It just seems a little unfair that the people getting the free house are relaxing in some fancy hotel somewhere out of town, while the neighbors have to put up with not just the construction noise, but also tour buses full of hooters and hollerers until 9 o'clock every night.

Kirkland officials have cordoned off the area around Chapin's home, and some streets will remain closed while the project is under way.

Spectators are encouraged to hoot and holler as only a TV network can encourage a crowd. But they must use a free shuttle bus to get there, a service that doesn't begin until Friday, 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. daily through Oct. 3, from Kirkland's Everest Park, 500 Eighth St.

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Tempranillo + YouTube

And yay, new Kelly video!

Pictures of Pygmy Goats

Per Chuck's request, (stolen) pictures of pygmy goats:

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Rainier Cold Storage, Landmarks Preservation Board -- Sept. 28

As The Paper Noose recently noted, this Friday the Architectural Review Committee of the Landmarks Preservation Board will review Sabey's response to ARC's request that they estimate how much it would cost to preserve the west wall of the Stock House, or replace it brick by brick.

Sabey's estimate is $8-11 million to save the wall, and they note it may be dangerous, irritating to neighbors while work is done, and potentially impossible.

(They also came up with a figure for how much it would cost to replace the wall brick by brick. But I don't really care about that, because that's a stupid idea.)

(They also came up with a figure estimating the amount of money they would lose if they preserved/replaced the wall because the lack of windows would make it a less desirable space for tenants. But I don't really care about that, because they bought the buildings with the intent to preserve them if possible, so that particular figure does not represent any change from their original plans.)

As enamoured as I am with my own ideas about what could replace the Stock House, of course I'd rather see it preserved.

Since I work right across the street, I may try to make it to the 8:30 a.m. meeting at the Municipal Building on Friday and see what goes down in this round. Join me? Come here: Friday, September 28, at the Landmarks Preservation Board's Architectural Review Committee (ARC) at 8:30 a.m. in Room 4070 of the Seattle Municipal Tower, 700 5th Avenue, 40th Floor.

Pirates of the Caribeacon This Saturday

Guerrilla Masquerade Party will be invading Beacon Hill this Saturday night. Where will the Dread Ship GMP land -- the Red Apple, Beacon Pub, Baja Bistro, Inay's, Jefferson Park? If you know, don't tell. Pirates rely on the element of surprise.

Avast ye scurvy Guerrillas!

Shiver me timbers! September be the month fer Pirates! And unless ye want to spend eternity in Davey Jones' Locker, we urge ya to channel yer inner Pirate and get yer self aboard.

On September 1st, the month o' Pirates kicked off with a very special BaconStrip, then on Wednesday, September 19th, it be 'International Talk Like a Pirate Day' - and

And then we Guerrillas be roundin' out the month on September 29th by pillaging new territory - crashing on the beaches of little island known as Beacon Hill - for PIRATES OF THE CARIBEACON!

The Dread Ship GMP will be needin' a hearty crew of Old Salty Dogs, Peg-legged Pirates and Lusty Wenches, as well as plenty of Sharp Witted Parrots, of course. And it wouldn't hurt to have some extra Pirate Ships around. Be sure to bring your treasure chests full of booty, in case ye be needin' more grog or rum. And if you don't have yer own treasure, bring along a treasure map and we'll find some adventure.

Perhaps during our journey will run across Mermaids or Sea Monsters, Sharks or Sea Hags. Or we could just see plenty of fish, dolphins and whales swimming amongst the seaweed in the deep blue waves of the briney deep.

The exact location(s) we'll be invading will be announced when we be approaching the day o' the party, so until then get yer pirate gear gathered and practice yer 'Arrrrrr!'s. If ye be needin' some inspiration, check out the movies 'Ice Pirates', 'Pirates of Penzance', 'Peter Pan', 'Swiss Family Robinson', 'Treasure Island', 'Muppet Treasure Island', or those 'Pirates of the Carribean' flicks. Or check out photos from the GMP Pirate party, "Guerrillas at Sea!", way back in 2003.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Pygmy Goats in Seattle

Looks like the pygmy goat proposal passed at City Council yesterday--the animals have been added to the list of small animals allowed to be kept as pets.

The cranks over at Crosscut (who didn't edit out any of Jean Godden's three uses of variations of the word "wry" in her recent article about Walt Crowley, I noticed) managed to find something to complain about in the new law -- though I'm not exactly sure what exactly that something is.

Hell, as long as they don't bark or bite, who cares?

Monday, September 24, 2007

Starbucks in South Park?

KUOW's doing a series about Seattle's Duwamish area, which includes the neighborhoods of Georgetown and South Park, this week. In this morning's installment, An Immigrant's History of South Park, local residents' complaints about the area were similar to mine about Beacon Hill (though we do have banks):


But, yeah, they have it much worse. Check out this "South Park Business Association" anchor link on the "All About South Park" website. (Yep -- it's blank.)

In fact, most of the rest of the city doesn't even know that South Park exists.


WOMAN 1: "Yes."


WOMAN 1: "No."

MAN 1: "The TV Show?"


WOMAN 2: "Ummm, I don't think so."

Personally, I love Muy Macho and this cool basalt sculpture and Second Use and their pretty new library and all that, but it really is true that most of Seattle has never even heard of South Park.

So I was surprised at the end of the story to hear this quote:

"Then Starbucks is coming down here, on the corner, there's a rumor about that, and Washington Mutual. I mean, there's progress right there."

Wow. Is little South Park really going to get a Starbucks before Beacon Hill does? Will Beacon Hill be the last neighborhood in Seattle without a Starbucks? The last neighborhood in urban America?

Seriously Nau?

I consider myself an opportunistic environmentalist; I take public transit when it's reasonably pleasant and convenient. Before I moved to Beacon Hill -- when I lived in the U-District/Eastlake/Capitol Hill -- I took Metro all the time. And when I lived in Europe, I rode the subway/train/tram or hitchhiked all the time.

Even though I have a free bus pass and there's a bus stop just a few blocks from my house, I can't bring myself to deal with the 36 every day. Instead, I waste money, gas, and carbon emissions by driving north every day and paying for parking outside downtown.

The city doesn't seem to care whether I take the bus or not; they don't provide any express buses from Mid Beacon Hill. If you want to catch the bus to or from downtown, you are going to have to stop on every block in Little Saigon, which takes for-freaking-ever. In unsurprising contrast, most other neighborhoods seem well-served by express transit.

But it's not just the slowness that bothers me. The 36 just sucks. Even though I rarely take it on weekdays, when I do take it, there's usually some shit going on.

Last time I took the 36, I had to wait and wait, because the buses were so overcrowded they stopped picking up passengers. Nice.

Last winter when I took the bus home from work, some asshole harassed me. We were standing up front because, as usual, there were no seats to be had. He started talking to me, and I said some noncommital "hi" back so he wouldn't get mad. Anyway, he just kept on making rude remarks to me, and I couldn't move away (we were all jammed in the aisle). Right before he got off the bus, he put his arm around me. Eww.

And the other night I was talking to a friend of mine who has to ride the 36. She said she had been riding the bus home from work at 5:30 p.m. recently, and she managed to find a seat in the back. She said some people around her were passing around a pipe and smoking crack. They kept saying loudly, "I hope no one knows what we're doing." She said she felt really awkward and had to try to not look around. She just sat there trying not to draw any attention to herself, pretending that her iPod was on.

Hey, Metro folks -- Have you ever thought that running such clogged routes encourages people to break your "Viaje Bien" rules? (I can't think of what they're called in English because I always read the Spanish version for fun.) If the service on the 36 were a little snappier, maybe people could wait until they got home to start smoking crack!

Anyway, I know it's lame that I'm contributing to global warming by driving my car every day, but I just don't want to deal with 45-minute commutes each way (longer if the bus passes you by, of course), having strangers put their arms around me, pretending I don't notice people smoking crack, etc. It's not that I'm afraid to take the 36 every day; I just don't want to.

However, I do take the 36 on weekends. Then it's not so crowded that you have to be crushed next to perverts, and you can get downtown fairly quickly. It's too expensive to park downtown on weekends; it's just easier to take the bus (even if you have to take the 36). Plus, I get to feel like I'm doing the right thing, enivornmentally speaking.

Anyway, lately I've been noticing ads for this new clothing store called Nau, "an outdoor clothing company dedicated to challenging traditional business paradigms and creating positive change." They make a big fuss about how hard they're working to save the environment. In fact, they don't even want to sell you clothes in their store. They provide a 10% discount if you're willing to have your clothes shipped to your home because it's more ecologically efficient for them to keep their inventories in warehouses rather than shipped out to individual store locations.

Their stuff looked cool, and I wanted to check them out. But then I realized that their only store in the area is in a mall on the Eastside. (Oh, excuse me, Nau doesn't call them stores; they're "web fronts.")

If they're so gung-ho about limiting carbon emissions, why would they set up shop in a mall that encourages people to drive by providing stories and stories of free parking? Why not open a store in the public-transportation hub of the region: downtown Seattle?

Sometimes I wonder if these sorts of companies, which claim to be founded on environmental principles, end up doing as much harm as good in the end. I mean, yeah, I'm sure their packaging is totally politically correct and everything, but should people really be feeling good about themselves for driving their SUV to the mall to try on clothes at the Nau web front? They shouldn't necessarily feel bad about doing so, but I hope people don't think they're helping to save the planet by shopping at Nau, or buying carbon impact credits or whatever. (Everyone should feel guilty about their choices, like I do!)

If you're interested in lefty marketing, this is a surprisingly telling little interview with a VP at Nau, published in DowntownBellevue.Net (a "Downtown Bellevue News Blog [with] all the latest news on local construction, condos, shopping, entertainment, living and more"):

db: What type of people buy nau clothing?

JZ: Our target customers are artists, activists, and athletes. Most companies might look for accomplished athlete in each of those areas. Our heroes are those looking to be active in social and environmental change.

They want the brand to be associated with artists/activists/athletes, so people who buy Nau clothing can feel good about themselves. OK, makes sense.

And here's a question whose response seems a little more frank than VP probably intended it to be.

db: Why not put your product in a national chain?

JZ: Well, we'd lose control over our message. We like the control we have over the design and delivery over the clothing. This allows us to meet a good price point and still hit our margin.

So it's not about the philosophy of sustainability, it's really about the perception of it. Which I want to believe is a good start -- because it seems like corporate environmentalism, with stores like Wal-Mart switching to CFCs, can only be a good thing -- but I also hope no one's kidding themselves that they're saving the world by driving to an Eastside mall to shop for overpriced active-modern clothes. Because we can't save the world until we can shop for overpriced active-modern clothes right here in Seattle, damn it!

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Walking Taco

We spent the weekend with our cutest but moodiest friend. Laughs were shared, tears were shed.





We were given this beautiful painting, which I admired back in July.


And we ate Frito pie (a.k.a. "walking taco").


Want some? They serve it in Georgetown.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Two Words

Van fire.


Porter night.


Manny, Quynh.


Local drunks.


Pharmaceutical weapon.


Falafel truck.


Outdoor movie.


Fantagraphics kid.


Georgetown Records.


Calamity Jane's!


G-town Sandwich.


Cranky neighbor.


And again.