I was at the beginning of a long-ish Dry Spell before meeting my True Love (keep the faith). New Year's Eve (along with St. Patrick's Day and Thanksgiving Eve) being Amateur Night, I had declined several party or meet-at-the-bar invitations and was at my apartment alone, reading a book, drinking Berghoff beer and looking out the windows northwards towards Evanston and the Ba'hai Temple. At midnight, the usual gunfire began, but planes did not fall from the sky as the Simpsons predicted, not did my lights flicker and go out. The fridge kept cooling the beers, and I kept reading.
But more importantly: not just where were you ten years ago, but where are you tonight and where do you think you'll be ten years from now?
Right now, I'm at Cunneen's, having finished a slow-ish bartending shift. Only had to refuse service to one drunk in a party hat without an i.d. Made enough money to justify opening the joint tonight, and will rise early in the morning to watch Northwestern play Auburn in some Chain Restaurant Bowl. It's been 2010 here for about two hours. Our all-night-long trains and buses are just a penny a ride, but I rode my bike to work.
Ten Years from now? It'll be a Tuesday night, that's all I know for sure. Peace.
Oh, and ten years ago I was in a huge condo overlooking Seattle Center watching the fireworks with my boyfriend because a nice couple with a kid the same age as our son took me and my boyfriend up on a very public offer to babysit in exchange for a view of the fireworks. We're still friends with the couple, ten years later their son Lewis is one of DJ's best buddies, and we all eventually wound up living on the same block on Capitol Hill. Funny how that shit goes down, huh?
Now go have a kirsch royal—and happy new year, all.
Ten years ago today I was in Goa, at a rave, getting hit in the face. Ten years ago today David Schmader was riding around in a cab driven by Grant Cogswell, because if the world was really going to end at the stroke of midnight on December 31, 1999, he thought it was best to keep moving. Ten years ago today Jesse Vernon was in Jamaica having a really horrible experience at an all-inclusive resort and "getting my hair braided in really fucked up ways." Ten years ago today Charles Mudede woke from deep slumber at his home: "I got up, and I looked to see what was going on in New Zealand, and I saw that nothing was wrong, and I went back to sleep." Ten years ago today Annie Wagner was skinny dipping. Ten years ago today Grant Brissey was at a loft party downtown, running around on the roof and yelling: "I'm not Y2K compliant!" Ten years ago today Dominic Holden was partying in a park with a bunch of hippies and drinking nice champagne and waiting for the Space Needle to explode. Ten years ago today Christopher Frizzelle was enjoying his first apartment on Capitol Hill. Ten years ago today Jen Graves was in Denton, Texas. Ten years ago today Eric Grandy was—well, here's what he says: "Man, we might have been having a house party at this house I was renting in Bellevue. And I might have been... uh... I can't remember. Clearly it was memorable."
And you? What were you doing at the dawn of the decade that ends tonight?
Before all of our comically violent wish-fulfillment fantasies were so thoroughly and realistically slaked by video games, we had manga-based movies like Fist of the North Star. No movie since has equaled FotNS in its post-apocalyptic building-punching, laser body-slicing, or time-delayed reverse skull-cap extruding. Seriously: the Fist of the North Star—this guy, with a beard, named Ken—punches skyscrapers in this movie and they fall down. Basically, Chuck Norris is just the shadow cast on the wall of Plato's cave by Ken. (And maybe Ice-T is somewhere in between Ken and Chuck these days.)
Now, at last, we're getting a Fist of the North Star video game, for the PS3 and Xbox 360. Honestly, the initial gameplay videos (here and here) are a little meh so far. But the game doesn't come out until March, so these are still just previews. And the meh-ness might just be in comparison to the sheer ridiculous awesomeness of the movie. If you never watched it, check out this high-comedy YouTube distillation. (And if you have watched it, no doubt Ken's trademark "yaaAHH-DIDADIDADIDADIDADIDADIDADIDADIDA!" battle cry, at about 1:49, is already seared into your hippocampus.)
The Stranger Testing Department is Rob Lightner and Paul Hughes.
Libertarians release top 10 disasters of 2009 Obama administration
Note similarities to previous administration
Top 10 disasters of the 2009 Obama administration (in no particular order):
1. Cash for Clunkers
2. War escalation in Afghanistan
3. Giant government health care expansion bill
4. Post office loses money hand over fist
5. Stimulus package
6. Expansion of "state secrets" doctrine
7. Big increase in unemployment
8. "Bailout" Geithner as Treasury Secretary
9. Skyrocketing federal spending
10. Huge federal deficits
Top 10 disasters of the 2001-2008 Bush administration:
1. Cash for Car Companies
2. War in Iraq
3. Giant Medicare expansion bill
4. Post office loses money hand over fist
5. Stimulus "rebate" checks
6. PATRIOT Act
7. Big increase in unemployment
8. "Bailout" Paulson as Treasury Secretary
9. Skyrocketing federal spending
10. Huge federal deficits
Wes Benedict, Libertarian Party Executive Director, commented, "Republicans and Democrats keep expanding government and creating more and more problems. We're encouraging as many Libertarians as possible to run for Congress in 2010. In Texas, the state with the earliest filing deadline, Libertarians have already filed for 31 of 32 Congressional seats."
For more information, or to arrange an interview, call LP executive director Wes Benedict at 202-333-0008 ext. 222.
The LP is America's third-largest political party, founded in 1971. The Libertarian Party stands for free markets and civil liberties.
Mashable is looking at certain patents that Google has recently filed and wondering: Is YouTube about to jump into online gaming?
...the Google patent seems to detail a system where the creation of video annotations can be used for gaming-like mechanics and video behavior change.
On first blush, it sounds like Dragon's Lair to me. But if YouTube does become a platform for casual games, Google could change/elevate/destroy yet another industry in 2010. Something to look forward to!
And if speculation isn't your thing, you should try playing this incredibly difficult Super Mario Bros./Tetris mashup instead.
You may recall that, on a challenge from a neighboring high school, Shorewood High School up in Shoreline recently shot a lip dub to "You Make My Dreams Come True" by Hall & Oates—but they shot it backwards. Like, totally in reverse. With 500 students. It was basically the best video ever. But last week they also released a video that shows the way it was filmed originally, in one shot, played forwards with everyone walking backwards.
Man, these kids rule.
It's my fault. I just couldn't do it. I only made it 15 minutes in. I know what the commenters will make of this—Indie snob asshole prick fuckface! You just think of what's the "contrary" thing to say and pretend that's what you think! Do your job for once! You're an asshole! You hate every movie, including Avatar, which is empirically amazing! Savage, fire him! I hope you fall off the viaduct and die! (am I forgetting anything?)—so I'll explain after the jump. But if you're looking for a review of It's Complicated on our website and you're not finding it, I am to blame.
I just found it, all five pages:
9 hours left in this godforsaken decade. Let's celebrate with a creepy song:
This morning I posted Greg Nickels’s recent comment that he voted for Mike McGinn as the next mayor. While there seemed to be zero ambiguity in Nickels’s statement—“I know he earned my vote that way”—I sent a routine email to Nickels spokesman Alex Fryer to confirm. The exchange is puzzling and requires your input:
Hi, Alex. This quote from Nickels says he voted for McGinn—is that right?
"Mayor elect (Mike) McGinn, I think, won the election when he said that he would no longer stand in the way of the deal that the Governor (Christine Gregoire) and I came to over a year ago. I know he earned my vote that way and I hope that he realizes that and was being absolutely sincere. If not, I suspect he is going to have a hell of a fight on his hands."
Alex Fryer replies:
The mayor has never confirmed who he voted for.
Really, then how do you explain the quote: "I know he earned my vote that way..."?
Read into that whatever you want. I'm just telling you what he has told people hundreds of times: he won't say who he voted for.
It seems the only way to read it is that he voted for Mike McGinn. He may have refused to tell people who he voted for hundreds of times before, but this one time—which is all it takes—he seemed to explain who he voted for. Unless there's something missing.
I really can't tell you, man. Read into it what you will.
Well, since it’s open to reading however you will—there are many ways to read it—I'll ask you, the readers of Slog, what you “read into” the mayor’s statement:
Slog tipper Gordon directs us to the news:
The murder trial of University of Washington student Amanda Knox has nixed plans to name a new Seattle park after the Italian city where she was tried and convicted.
The city on Wednesday announced the park in the Capitol Hill neighborhood would be called Perugia Park, named after Seattle's sister city.
On Thursday, the city reversed course.
Here, in case you've missed it, is Ricky Gervais's cute, funny appearance on Sesame Street:
And here is ParentDish's response to the video:
Kids need images of trustworthy grown-ups, especially as they're relaxing at bedtime. If this skit were made for adults, then maybe we'd find it funny. But as entertainment for children, it's just kind of weird.
You missed the boat on this one, Sesame Street.
Luckily, out of 148 comments, only three people agreed with ParentWire, including this one:
Vickie 12-29-2009 @ 11:31AM
I have a 2 1/2 yr. old nephew who is very sensitive to loud noises. This would have scared him, just like it did Elmo. I don't see why they needed to do the screaming when the song was sweet & got its point across just fine without it. And what was the need to continue to tell Elmo about how famous he was? Seemed better geared for SNL to me....but, that's just my opinion.
Parenting is easy. Comedy is hard.
Holy crap this is funny: Precious: Based on the Novel Push by Sapphire, as re-ennacted by two white people who LOVED IT!
God bless you, Stephanie Allynne and Allen Loeb. (Especially you, Stephanie Allynne, as you are funnier than God.)
The Building Industry Association of Washington is perhaps the biggest and most influential conservative political organization active in state politics today. According to its website, the BIAW "exists to unite those in the building industry in Washington state in their fight against a government that has made this industry among the most regulated in the nation." The group supported Republican gubernatorial candidate Dino Rossi. It called Governor Chris Gregoire "a heartless, power-hungry she-wolf who would eat her own young." It compared the Department of Ecology to the Nazis. It also engaged in some questionable electioneering during the protracted 2004 election dispute by mailing a "Home Ownership Survey" to 400 individuals, ostensibly to collect information regarding housing trends. Accompanying the survey was a check for $10, a "thank you" for completing and returning the survey. Of course, the survey was a sham, and the check was a ploy to get the signatures of absentee voters in an attempt to discredit their ballots. The attempt was ridiculed, and the BIAW cemented a reputation of being the kind of guys who play the game rough.
What makes all of this so nauseating is the fact that the BIAW's political activity is nearly entirely paid for by money the association skims off from its part in running a state-dependent cooperative. The program is called the Retrospective Rating Program, or "Retro." The state is essentially outsourcing its workers compensation program, which groups like the BIAW can use to make money. Businesses who participate in the program have a choice; they can enroll by themselves or through an association like the BIAW. The BIAW administers the program, collects the premiums, and gets to keep a percentage. They're supposed to use the refunded money from the state to increase worker safety; instead, it gets used for politics.
You would think that Democrats in Olympia would relish the chance to stick it to the BIAW by making small, common sense changes to the Retro program. The millions the BIAW spends on right-wing causes should be spent on worker safety. After all, that's the reason why the "Retro" program exists. This hasn't happened in large part because Speaker Frank Chopp, unwilling to subject his House candidates to the ire of such a powerful group, has chosen detente over reforming Retro. Democrats would be incredibly foolish not to at least try to reign in the BIAW this year, while they still are in the majority with a Democratic governor. Reforming the program would starve a nasty opponent of the cash to fund its political shenanigans and should be a top priority for state Democrats in the new year.
Just when you thought there might not be any more lapses to chronicle, it turns out that the Washington State Department of Corrections, which should have been monitoring Maurice Clemmons in the days before he shot four Lakewood police officers, didn't even know Clemmons had been released from jail.
The six days after Clemmons' release from jail represent a missed opportunity to avert tragedy, one in which he benefited from a critical lapse in DOC's oversight.
A review of records obtained by The Seattle Times under a public-disclosure request shows that Clemmons' community-corrections officer, who was new to the case, lost track of him. The Pierce County Jail didn't tell him Clemmons had been released. And an internal DOC computer system, set up to alert DOC officers when offenders under their watch get into trouble, doesn't track releases from county jails.
On December 26, just 16 hours and 39 minutes after the Christmas spirit left our fair city, Seattle police responded to the Northgate Mall after someone reported two 20-year-old women fighting at Forever 21, a clothing retailer targeting women who want to be 21 forever.
According to the police report, a woman (who we shall call "Woman #1") was shopping with her mother when she spotted an old enemy (who we will call "Woman #2"). Woman #1 then confronted Woman #2, and "began accusing [her] of theft of a bracelet."
After a short time, the women came to blows amidst approximately 100 customers—including one ill-fated customer, who we will call "Woman #3." The report continues:
As [Woman #3] attempted to separate the two females, [Woman #1] grabbed a stiletto heeled shoe off of a counter and struck [Woman #3] in the head with the heel of the shoe. [Woman #3] fell to the ground and [Woman #1] ran out of the store.
Woman #2 stayed on the scene and comforted Woman #3, who "had a visible bleeding injury to her head" from the stiletto. Woman #2 told police that "she is an old friend of [stiletto-wielding Woman #1], but they do not talk anymore."
Police detained Woman #1's mother, who did not know her daughter's whereabouts. Woman #3 got a ride with a friend to Northwest Hospital.
A store employee who witnessed part of the commotion told officers that he "intervened during the fight and was able to separate the two" and that "the shoe assault happened after he walked away." The employee attempted to show police security camera footage, but only the exit camera was working, which is a damn shame.
DENVER — Colorado's minimum wage will drop slightly in the new year — the first decrease in any state's minimum wage since the federal minimum was adopted in 1938.
Colorado's wage is falling 3 cents an hour, from $7.28 to the federal level of $7.25. That's because Colorado is one of 10 states that tie the state minimum wage to inflation. The goal is to protect low-wage workers from having unchanged paychecks as the cost of living goes up.
Crazy Bruce would like to help.
Thank you, WOW Report.
At the GSA building in South Seattle, where many of the city's leading artists have had cut-rate studio spaces for almost a decade, today is closing time. All the artists, and there are about 40 at this point, have to be out by 4:30 pm.
I went by yesterday to see them. The emptied rooms—which will be demolished to make way for the stimulus-money reburfishment (the new space to be used by federal agencies) that's going to happen on the site—are beautiful. Painter Jeffrey Simmons had been there making photographs of them. (See all of the images here; it's well worth looking.)
This was Claude Zervas's studio, looking out on the Duwamish River. By the time I got there, Zervas was picking the last bits off the walls and carting off the barbecue.
Zervas, Dan Webb, Leo Berk, and a few other artists have established a new building together in Georgetown, but other artists are scattering—Deb Baxter to Ballard, Ben Hirschkoff to the Bemis building, others to basements or garages if they have them.
Everybody is paying more for less space. Ironically, these artists came by this largesse thanks to George W. Bush, as I wrote a few years ago—well, by way of a Bush appointee: the marvelous Jon Kvistad. I asked Kvistad if he would go with me yesterday, but he's out of town, and anyway, he wrote, it would be too sad. This back-channel artist support system—he's also a contemporary collector—was his baby.
In more pressing news, the artists at 1723 First Avenue are also losing their spaces—and these spaces have been home to artists including Fay Jones, Claudia Fitch, and Ruth Marie Tomlinson for more than 14 years. I also stopped by here last night, where on the front door a sign advertises a closing sale happening Saturday, January 2, 12-5 pm.
"This place has a legacy," said Deborah F. Lawrence, one of two holders of the current five-year lease, which is not yet halfway up. The other leaseholder is photographer Les Sterling—but since the fire that gutted the adjoining bar Hooverville in February, and a rent increase that came after that, artists have been abandoning the historically full studio building en masse. A year ago the nine studio spaces had 14 tenants; now there are 4. That leaves Lawrence and Sterling on the hook for most of the about $4,000 in rent per month for the more than two years left on their lease with Ederer Investment Company.
They've retained a lawyer through Washington Lawyers for the Arts and are hoping to negotiate with Ederer, but so far, no dice, Lawrence says. The artists are looking for any option "that isn't just debt for the rest of our lives," she said, including finding more tenants quickly—but things don't look good. The historic art spot looks like it will be disappearing after the sale on Saturday.
That sale will include art and books and paraphernalia, including Fay Jones's awesome turquoise-with-pink-porcelain-interior fridge (pictured). The address again is 1723 First Avenue.
A gallery from the final days of the GSA and 1723 First Ave on the jump.
Slog tipper Dan Savage called the office from a noisy place in response to this morning's quote from Mayor Greg Nickels, who said he voted for Mike McGinn because McGinn vowed not to block the deep-bore tunnel project. Nickels said, "I hope that he... was being absolutely sincere."
Savage responds, "I hope that McGinn was as sincere about building the tunnel as Nickels was sincere about building the fucking monorail."
As you may recall from November 2002, Greg Nickels said, "Let’s build it!" and "The debate is over, the vote counting is done. Let’s begin." Three years later, however, Nickels announced he was withdrawing street permits for the monorail and renewing the debate by calling for a fifth vote on the project.
My last philosophical problem for 2009: We know that Virno's concept of the general intellect resolves "the one" as conceptualized by Hegel. It resolves it by reversing it. Meaning, in Hegel all is becoming one, becoming unified, becoming the absolute, which for Hegel is the only truth—a part of the all is, according to this system, incomplete, false, inadequate (in the Spinozistic sense—Spinoza being Hegel without history, or Hegel being the solution of Spinoza and Vico). With Virno, the all, or the one, precedes the individual. And so the one is something like Simondon's pre-individual elements—or, the one can be seen as the common, what is common to all: language, genetic materials, biosemotics, air, matter, culture. What I would like to do is to think of this pre-individual stuff, the base of the individuating process, in the terms of Leibniz's fantastic theory of compossibility. The one is composed of competing compossibles (I picture it as a kind of quantum foam), and what becomes an individual is nothing else than an alliance of a set of compossibles, and this set is made up of pre-individual elements. That is my last philosophical thought of the year.
Rick Warren loves you. And, totally coincidentally, I'm sure, he needs a lot of money from you, too. Is it un-Christian of me to say that I hope he doesn't get it?
“Dear Saddleback Family,” begins today’s missive from Warren. “THIS IS AN URGENT LETTER unlike any I’ve written in 30 years. Please read all of it and get back to me in the next 48 hours.
“I have thrilling news to share with you below but first some seriously bad news: With 10% of our church family out of work due to the recession, our expenses in caring for our community in 2009 rose dramatically while our income stagnated. Still, with wise management, we’ve stayed close to our budget all year. Then… this last weekend the bottom dropped out.
"On the last weekend of 2009, our total offerings were less than half of what we normally receive - leaving us $900,000 in the red for the year, unless you help make up the difference today and tomorrow.”
...YOU CAN HELP SAVE THE DAY 3 WAYS BEFORE JAN 1.
1. Click HERE right now to and give as large an end-of-the-year gift as you can to help avert this crisis. If we all do what God leads us to do, we’ll all be a part of a miracle.
2. Mail in your gift today. Gifts must be postmarked in 2009 to be posted as 2009 gifts for tax purposes. Mail to: 1 Saddleback Parkway, Lake Forest, CA 92630.
3. Drop your gift in the box at the front door of the Ministry Center at 1 Saddleback Parkway so you know for certain we get it TODAY or Thursday….
I love you so much. It is a deep privilege to be your pastor….
In other news, I just found this video:
Tears on the keyboard. I'm 27, female, had two boyfriends in the past 12 years. I'm so lonely, and I'm so sad, and it's so so hard for me to continue facing the world when I"m just a cum dumpster.
It's the same thing—I meet a guy, he thinks I'm sexy, he finds out I don't sleep with guys unless we're dating so we date long enough for him to sleep with me and then I get the ol' "I'm not looking for anything serious" speech. But—we spent a whole two months before you slept with me saying that you cared about me, that you got that if we slept together it meant something serious was happening. I feel like I'm just a warm vagina to these men. I know I'm sexy, but there are lots of sexy women in the city who are looking for NSA- why not go for an honest fuck if that's all you want? Is lying part of the male mating call now. I though canadians were supposed to be fucking nice.
I'm pretty, fine. But I'm also very smart, and funny, and open-minded. I'm responsible, I have a great place, I'm not jealous or needy. I give men a lot of space, I wait until I've calmed down to discuss things that have upset me. I give wicked blowjobs, I cook. I live in Toronto—how is it that I'm alone every night? How is it that everybody wants to just drink and fuck me? I'm bawling right now, and I don't know how much more of this heartache I can take.
Question—are the traits which I think are 'good' actually bad? How is it that emotionally manipulative or mean women have ltr's, and I'm over here on my netbook at the crack of dawn? Should I hide the smart and funny? Start being jealous? How - how do I do this? I'm not meeting these men at bars, or at clubs—I'm meeting them at coffee shops and conferences. Where do I go to meet a guy who wants to be respected and will respect me too?
I can't sleep, I can't eat—I'm so broken up. I need to get on with things, do stuff with my life but I'm so fucking lonely it makes me sick. I know you usually give sexual advice, but I don't know where else to turn. I'm willing to accept that I'm doing something wrong—so be brutal, dan. What the fuck is wrong with me? Am I too much or am I just too old?
Stupid Hurt In Toronto
My response after the jump...
Over at his blog, Third Place's resident book-printer, Vladimir Verano, has written about a couple of interesting books he's found and printed in the last few weeks. One is a sci-fi adventure from the 1890s in which someone gets a tour of Hollow Earth from "a being that is completely hairless, eyeless, sexless." Another is D'Orcy's Airship Manual: An International Register of Airships With a Compendium of the Airship's Elementary Mechanics, by Ladislas D'Orcy, a guide to experimental airships from 1917.
The variety of books available for publication is mind-boggling. You can look up titles and authors on Third Place Press's website, and get them for 20% off tomorrow. It'd be a great time to introduce yourself to the possibilities of the Espresso Book Machine and how, as I said last week, it "takes the greatest retail weapon in the world—convenience—out of the hands of the internet and chain stores, and places it squarely in the hands of small business."
But he is well-placed as one more bit on the mountain of evidence of Ellen Forney's awesomeness...
Happy holidays, people.
Joni Balter this morning on McGinn's approach to the press:
McGinn, who was very accessible to the media during the campaign, employed an East German state media approach during the six weeks of transition. No one-on-one interviews unless he really likes you.
He did tell a group gathering of Seattle Times staff he believes his election represents a generational shift, and a move toward equal rights, the environment and urbanism.
Never mind that McGinn granted an interview to the Seattle Times' Emily Heffter during the transition. Or that he hosted "a group gathering of Seattle Times staff." But because he wouldn't grant Joni Balter a personal interview in the six-week transition—after an exhaustive campaign, establishing a new staff for city hall, a long holiday, and a set of town halls that anyone could attend to talk to McGinn—he's now the politburo. Please make a note of it.
Does this make anyone else want to stop living?
Plush velour soaked in barbecue sauce is so distressing. I'm sure it's someone's fetish, but it makes me queasy and sad. This commercial also feels like a new pinnacle in the world of Suicide Food. Read Lindy West's exploration of it here!
Thank you, AdFreak.com.