Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Dan Savage

Maybe I'm giving away too much with an endorsement of Savage Love, but I must. I luckily don't have need for much of his advice, but if you haven't heard/read his column, you're missing out.

Check him out at and don't miss his podcast, the Savage Lovacast, available on Itunes, and from the Stranger's website.

Also, if you're in Portland, check out my friend Aspen's 48 hour film project movie this Thursday, August 14th at the Hollywood theater. He's got large tractorloads of talent, and you'd be lucky to say you know him.

Saturday, May 17, 2008


I'm watching the Preakness while my kids sleep. It's amazing that a 90 second horse race can merit a two hour preview. 

We're having an unseasonably hot day today, high 80's in mid March. 

I've been getting into Geocaching lately and considering placing my first cache. I have what I think is a great idea. I'll link to the cache once it's placed.

That's an update. 

Friday, March 14, 2008

Friday, October 26, 2007

Voting by Mail, the Downside

Seattle's Vote by Mail was a long time coming, it was sped up by a heated election between current Governor Christine Gregoire, and her opponent Dino Rossi. We now have a majority of ballots cast by mail, and I'm a fan of this. We had it down in Portland and it was a great way to vote. You have time to do some research on the races and decide without the pressure of a voting booth, what you're for and against.

What I don't like is that we have to pay to vote. The cost of mailing a ballot, while not a large expense (the price of a first class postage stamp) may be prohibitive for some voters, and that marginalizes a population; which is the last thing an election should be doing. Now I know that there are drop off locations for mail-in ballots, but that takes most of the convenience and boon for a mail in ballot away. Is someone that can't afford a stamp really likely to seek out their local drop off location? I think no.

If I recall correctly, the mail in ballots in Portland, OR were postage paid. As I understand it, postage paid envelopes are only charged when used, so there is no waste. Why can't we put the money we're saving by not having voting locations towards postage paid ballots?

Also, on the subject of voting, I'm interested in how many of you are put off by Venus Velasquez' recent drunk driving arrest. The Stranger hasn't pulled it's endorsement, but I have to say, I was surprisingly hesitant to vote for her after her recent arrest and lack of taking responsibility for the charge. I have to be true to my gut feeling here, and I sure don't give Jane Hague a break, so why Velasquez? Is it because she's a DEM that the liberal newspaper thinks she's still the candidate for them? Hypocrisy takes many forms. It doesn't mean you have to play.

Finally, I really think it's time Seattle grew a backbone and realized that we need some local activism to get things done here. I was surprised, while looking through candidates web sites for the local school board vote, that this may be the last time we get to vote for School Board members. I'm not sure whose site I read it on, but it was said that it may soon be the duty of the Mayor to appoint school board members. That sounds like a mistake to me, and no one is talking about this. But my primary beef is not with the mayor, or school board issues, but with transportation. Back to Portland, I remember moving there in the mid nineties, and the city was being torn up for light rail. The MAX was being hauled out to the airport and the suburbs to take people to huge employers like Nike and Intel. I'm not certain of the numbers, but I'm sure that Oregonians had to make some hard decisions to get this all done and they did it. The light rail system in Portland is a wonder, and it's without turnstiles and toll booths. It's run on an honor system. You buy a ticket from the vending machine (or don't) and board the train. If you get caught riding without a ticket you get a hefty fine, but most people pay willingly.

Seattle needs to bite the bullet here and fix it's transportation problems. The monorail was a disaster. The public was willing to pay for it, we were paying for it in car tabs and years into it, multiple passed measures to fund it, we were shafted and it was killed. And we put up with it. There's something wrong with Seattle, and I'm not talking about the traffic. We're a lethargic lot, we can't make a decision and see it through. And we must, if not for ourselves, than for our future. Single occupancy vehicles are quickly becoming cost prohibitive; financially and environmentally. The internal combustion engine is going the way of the laserdisc. New forms of transportation will replace it, but where will there be to go?

Thursday, October 11, 2007

The Bachelor: Seattle

Once in a great while my wife and daughter go out of town and leave me to fend for myself.

When they're home, we're all very homebodied. I come home from work and we all spend most every evening together, chasing each other around the house, giving the little one a bath, sitting down together for dinner, putting the baby to bed. Once in a while one of us goes out with friends for a few hours but for the most part we spend all of our free time together.

This week I've been by myself; temporary bachelor. My wife, before she left, reminded me to eat colorful food. Her way of telling me that macaroni and cheese, pizza, grilled cheese and tomato soup are not healthy in large doses. I've been mostly good in that regard. That's not the reason for posting today.

I'm finding that after some years of being a family-centric homebody, I complain to my wife a lot about how I'd like to get out of the house and socialize more. The past week has been a case study in the reality of that request. I managed to set up outings and visits with friends most nights this week, and at the end of the day, what I've found is that what I really want to do is go home, kiss my daughter, sing some songs, dance, play "ring around the rosie" and "airplane". The idea of another night on the town this week seems exhausting. I cancelled plans with one friend last night, and another engagement popped up in it's place.

I'm already bored of being single. I'm sorry, I don't really want to go to the bars. Let's build a fire and get out the crayons.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Seattle Attractions: The Ubiquitous Gum Wall!

Hidden down under the Pike Place Market in Seattle's Downtown area is an attraction that few visitors to this great city rarely get to see. I'm surprised to find it's in not one of the many guidebooks I've referenced for this post.

It's called the Gum Wall, well, that's what I call it, I'm not sure it has a name, it's on a forgotten part of Post Alley, you enter this section of post alley from the corner of 1st Avenue and Pike Street, near the news stand. Adventure down the cobblebrick road until you get the distinc feeling that you might be mugged and Violla! Gum Wall! It's proximity to so many other frequented tourist locations makes it even harder for me to understand why so few have made it's aquaintance.
We Start from across the alley, about eight feet away.

I believe the wall is a portion of the Pike Street Brewery, not sure if they commissioned its creation. As stated, the artist is unknown. Attempts to find a signature were met with a scolding from Mr. Sticky Fingers.

The Gum Wall appears in front of you as you exit one of Seattle's great nightclubs, the Alibi Room. On a given night, you could meet your future spouse, dance the night away to a local DJ, have a damned fine dessert (if I do say so myself), and stumble out of here, sick as the mind of M.C. Escher, and trip, face front, right into one biohazardous piece of gum right after another.
Getting Closer, can you smell the Retsin?

Don't think you have time for this little aberration? Only 72 hours in Seattle? I'll tell you what, skip the "Ride the Ducks", those things are dangerous! The Space needle? Who needs it? You want to really see Seattle, in all of it's artistic glory? The answer is simple. That's right, you guessed it, Gum Wall.

Is that a phone number up in the left hand corner? What a classy place for a singles ad!

Now that you've met your mate, had a bite of chocolate cake, cut a rug, guzzled a few mojitos and skipped the duck, move in a little closer.
Mesmerizing, isn't it?

Moving in to about two feet away, the artist's talents really start to shine through. It's actually beginning to resemble...wait, could it be? A Jackson Pollock!
(Actual Jackson Pollock for comparison)

At close range, the Gum Wall takes on it's own life, it could be a photo of grains of sand or decaying captain crunch.

In conclusion, the Gum Wall is just one of the many exciting and overlooked destinations that should be near the top of any visitor to Seattle's list. You can enjoy it here, in two dimensions, but to really get the flavor, you're going to have to step right up and take a bite.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Timeliness is next to, well you know.

I was just about to submit a big photo post about the areas on the Duwamish River that I wrote about earlier, when on the radio I heard that KUOW is getting ready to air a 5 part special on the Duwamish September 24th through the 28th. Creepy.

Now on to the photos...
Northward View from my lunchspot.
rusty torch in the rivermud

The fishing nets. As I understand it, the Duwamish tribe has no fishing rights in this river. I'm not sure who does. Despite their lack of ability to make money from the river, they have been on the forefront in it's cleanup and protection.

The monument to someone named Tim O'Brian.

The shoreline formerly known as brick wall.
An abandoned breakwater.

These river Rocks are made of brick and concrete.

South Facing View

Check out the radio special, and consider giving to the Duwamish Tribe to help build their longhouse. Their website, where donations can be made, is located here.