Slog - The Stranger's Blog

Line Out

The Music Blog

« Shortbus Unloads at Toronto In... | Dirtier than HUMP! »

Friday, September 8, 2006

And Now… Laptops

Posted by on September 8 at 14:46 PM

Last week I wrote a few Slog posts about the traffic circle at14th & Howell on Capitol Hill. It had become home to a growing number of computer monitors and I was intrigued. Every time I stopped to take a look someone passing by would ask, “Is this supposed to be art or something?” My post upset some folks, who angrily pointed out that a computer monitor contains certain environmental toxins and if they were left there to rot, well, no one would be able to drink from the stream that runs through the traffic circle at 14th & Howell.

Eventually someone hauled off the six monitors—excuse me, someone hauled off the six highly toxic monitors—and the traffic circle at 14th & Howell was once again a pristine wilderness.

Riding by today, I noticed a chair sitting in the traffic circle.


I got a little closer and noticed a laptop sitting on the chair. I flipped open the laptop and noticed a message on the laptop’s screen, spelled out with keys popped off a computer keyboard.


Whoever left this laptop—this toxic laptop—in the traffic cirlce at 14th & Howell didn’t want their to be any confusion about whether it was art or not. The message read…


Duly noted.

CommentsRSS icon

No, the TV Graveyard in the vacant lot next to the Fremont Library was art.

This was trash.

Will, this was art.

Out of curiousity, does the city actually recycle any of this stuff? If not, maybe we should be forced to look at it on the corner of every neighborhood until we set up a program to do so.

That is really fucking creepy.

If trash is art, then South Park and Georgetown are now officially the most artsy, yuppie neighborhoods now, right? Right?


I know you're trying to be funny, Dan, but the whole point is that the proliferation of toxins in the environment eventually trickles down everywhere.

It might be interesting if you used this creative energy to also promote how to dispose of lead/toxin-containing stuff safely.

Yes, a monitor sitting on a traffic circle doesn't leach lead or what have you. At that moment. But it gets busted up. The glasses (which is mixed with lead) is broken down. It runs off with the rain. Kills the fish, poisons our children.

When you joke about this stuff, I get all righteous lefty environmentalist about it, because you're giving hipsters a way to be stupid about a public health problem.

Hey Glenn
I know you and you ARE a hipster. 100%

Agreed, Glenn. But here's why I think the freaking out about the monitors was a little... misplaced. The monitors were not abandoned in some ravine somewhere, or along some dirt road in a national forest. They were in a traffic circle in the middle of the city, in perhaps the most environmentally conscious corner of the state. The odds that they would sit there until they “busted up” and the glass was all “broken down,” leeching
lead always seemed… unlikely. However long they sat there, they wouldn’t sit there that long. Someone would come along and take them away—the city, say. So the real question wasn’t “what about the salmon and the children?” but “what will the city do with them? or will someone else take them away and dispose of them properly?”

while we're on the topic of civic responsibility and environmentalism.

what's up with requiring recycling, but not require apt. managers/owners to provide recycling service?

how do i recycle when i'm a car-less, urbanite in a recycling-less apt. complex?

fucking loopholes.

What are the odds!?! A message just for Dan.

Here is the deal.

Debate about the toxins aside.

The idea that someone will"come along and take them away...from the city" is wrong.

Now if the monitors were a car that someone left parked for 72 hours on Capitol Hill during a parking enforcement binge the city would "come along and take" it away.

Why? Money.

C'mon folks we've all seen it. Couches, baby chairs and all manner of crap all over the right of way. The city won't come along and take it because there is no money to be made.

Its always been a pet peeve that they will tow away an operating working vehicle because its been in the same spot for 72 hours.

On the other hand now I don't drive....

Dan, looks like your SLOG coverage is encouraging this "vigilarte". The dumping of our tech trash is a big problem in poor corners of the globe:

Seems to me that the makers of these products should take a more active role in the disposal of them. I don't know to what extent they currently partake, but seems like it's not enough. The European Union passed a directive in 2000 that deals with the end-of-life of vehicles, and requires the makers to take part in the recycling/disposal, including sharing costs.

At the very least, I hope all this attention will rally the fine neighbors of this sad little Charlie Brown traffic circle to beautify it a bit? hmmm? perhaps a bit less atomic test zone, and a bit more able to support life as we know it-ish?

I would've been paranoid that a sniper were waiting for my arrival near the roundabout (or in this ghetto one's case, the driveover).

Also, Glenn, it begs the question: why didn't someone (like, ahem, YOU) then pick them up and dispose of them if people are so fucking worried about them sitting there?

Ever hear of being proactive instead of bitching?

Dan, the city won't pick up monitors when we leave them next to our trash cans or dumpsters— hell, the city won't even accept a monitor if you drive it down to the transfer station yourself. So why do you keep assuming the city will pick up monitors left in traffic circles?

If that's an even remotely reasonable assumption, then why shouldn't we all just dump them there, for free, instead of paying $20 a pop to third parties to get rid of the damned things? For that matter, as a journalist, why haven't you called the city to ask them what they do about monitors dumped on city land, and, you know, reported back with what you learned?

Also, dear laptop artist:

The laptop art would have been quite a bit better if the message "DAN THIS IS ART" had been spelled out in some material widely regarded as noisesome waste.

Now, if I had enough dog poop to recreate the message in letters large enough to catch Dan's attention as he rode by...

I'm not sure why you think that monitors are less likely to be broken up by passersby in the middle of a city than in a quiet ravine or national forest dirt road. I've seen more than a few smashed monitors and television sitting on the sidewalk. They usually start out fine, and within a day someone has broken them. Even in an environmentally conscious district (that also celebrates litter art), there are a few people who delight in the fun of breaking glass.

Yes, seriously what is this all about? I'm in the same boat, I want to recycle, and thought it was now law in the city for mandatory recycling. I don't drive and there are no recycling facilities in my vicinity to take my paper, bottles, and cans to. What is this loophole, and can it be closed?

while we're on the topic of civic responsibility and environmentalism.

what's up with requiring recycling, but not require apt. managers/owners to provide recycling service?

how do i recycle when i'm a car-less, urbanite in a recycling-less apt. complex?

fucking loopholes.

My degenerate landlord would rather have a spot to park his car on the off chance he's visiting slum-tenancy #who-knows-which, than have a recycling dumpster.

A few people have hit on this point already, but what I found so stupid about dan's antagonistic snark about the monitors is that it implies that "cleaning up" after the kiddies who dump their trash and call it art is someone else's responsibility.

thats the same mentality that lazy sacks of shit use to rationalize pretty much every environmentally irresponsible habit from driving SUVs, not recycling, or whatever.

it easy to be a dick and then rationalize it away by saying that some "Other" responsible party will magically take care of the rest. thats just retarded, and calling someone out on it doesn't make them some hysterical granola freak. its just common sense.

Ohhhhhhhh man. All I can think about now is that Simpsons episode where Homer wins the election to be Sanitation Commissioner. His whole campaign centred on the slogan "can't someone else do it?" The town ends up such a cesspool that they move everything five miles down the road...hilarious.

So there we have it - Plan B.

Gomez, your post raises (not begs) the question, are you so civic-minded yourself? Do you pick up litter on your block, even if you didn't pitch it there? Or do you just pass it by?

People in Seattle love to feel upset and morally superior. Who cares about monitors anyway? Only hair shirt environmental types who feel holier than thou.

Well, I'm not the one freaking out about it.

Comments Closed

In order to combat spam, we are no longer accepting comments on this post (or any post more than 45 days old).