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Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Yesterday The Stranger DIDN'T Suggest: Doing Whatever I Damn Well Please

Posted by on Tue, Mar 2, 2010 at 2:02 PM

Meet Matthew Cooke, a Stranger reader who vowed to do everything The Stranger suggested over the month of February. This is his last post.—Eds.

What did I do with my first night off, you ask? Whatever I damn well pleased, that’s what. Actually, I went to Tavern Law for dinner with a friend, but that’s not what I’m going to write about. I had my topics force-fed to me for 28 straight days, so for my last entry, I will write about whatever the fuck I want. How you like that, Stranger beeyatches??

First, some advice for anyone who wants to take this assignment on (and I see Savage has already selected somebody for March, so hopefully she has some of these qualities):

Be unemployed/underemployed. Or be ready to use some vacation. You will need it.

Have an understanding spouse, an absent spouse, or no spouse. Mine was understanding the first half of the month, absent the second. But here’s a little secret: This would be a good gig for single folk. You have a date activity every day, and a +1 to use as bait. How long until there’s a “Yesterday” entry that involves getting laid?

Careful with the drink. Hangovers are deadly.

Cultivate your friends. Everything is more fun with good company.

Be open-minded and flexible. I’m old; I know what I like. But the more I let go of that, the more fun I had.

Be young. Related to “be open-minded and flexible,” but also an advantage in dealing with the sheer bodily strain.

Live on or near Cap Hill. Up until the last day of the month, every event was somewhere on Cap Hill (including Central Cinema), Downtown, or at the Varsity or Grand Illusion. I intend to spend a lot of time in Ballard, Fremont and Wallingford in March.

Finally, and most importantly:

Have thick skin. Most of the Slog commenters were fair to me, and some were downright awesome. You know who you are, and I love you for it. You reaffirmed my belief in the wisdom of crowds… even if there were a few dickwads in the mix who acted as if my month of volunteer commentary was some kind of fucking blood oath.

Moving on:

5 things I learned about Seattle:

1) The best seat at Grand Illusion: third row, left side, aisle. Dead center, unobstructed view of the screen.
2) 50th and University is the most delicious corner in the city.
3) There are two theaters at the Rep (including the Leo K), and the only way into the building is through the Center, even though the sign and the address are on Mercer.
4) Where to park near the Pike/Pine corridor: It’s a non-descript strip that looks illegal, but it’s not. It’s right across the street from… oh, please. Of course I’m not going to tell you.
5) If people think you write for The Stranger, they will introduce themselves to you with little provocation, let you into shows without being on the list, and hand you demo tapes for their bands.

And finally, the awards:

Best Recommendation: My Dear Lewis, 2/9

I saw some unbelievably cool shit in February. But Kyle Loven’s surreal blend of puppets and pathos stuck with me more than anything. A big part of the entire “Suggests” endeavor, in my view, is to champion the new, and this is exactly the kind of thing that would have flown completely under my radar ordinarily. Thanks for exposing me to such a thoughtful, creative artist.

Best (Worst) Comment: After posting my Defriending Cancer piece, commenters were outraged that I left early. Some very silly things were said, but my favorite—I can’t stop marveling at it—was this: “If your wife needs to go (to) the airport in the morning, stick her in a cab.” I see. So on the night before my wife leaves town for 3 weeks, I should “stick her in a cab” so I can stay at the event longer? This person has never been married, is divorced, or is going to be divorced soon.

Honorable mention (in the David Shields post): “Mr Cooke's writing makes me want to cut off my dick and eat it raw.”

Now that’s what I call constructive criticism!

Thanks to all for keeping me honest, propping me up, reading my posts, and being a part of this fantastic city.


Comments (10) RSS

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Dee 2
Ahahaha. Well done. I'd be very proud of the raw-dick-eating comment if I were you. Eliciting such a vehement reaction is quite a feat for any writer.

Thank you for your great write-ups over the past month, you're a pleasure to read.
Posted by Dee on March 2, 2010 at 2:18 PM · Report this
Canadian Nurse 4
The David Shields post was my favourite post of yours this month. I think it'd be great if you read his book eventually and gave us a book review with reference to your earlier thoughts.

Thanks for a great month! Get some sleep.
Posted by Canadian Nurse on March 2, 2010 at 2:39 PM · Report this
Packeteer 5
@2 You are right. Getting that kind of emotional response just goes to show your writing is good. Really crappy writing will just get dismissed. It's the well written pieces that people just don't agree with that drives 'em crazy.
Posted by Packeteer on March 2, 2010 at 2:45 PM · Report this
kitschnsync 6
Never been married. Happy to help, Matt.
Posted by kitschnsync on March 2, 2010 at 2:55 PM · Report this
Will in Seattle 7
Great work!

Good observation on the Capitol Hill bias of The Stranger. We keep mentioning there's a whole city out there, but it's like pulling teeth ...
Posted by Will in Seattle on March 2, 2010 at 3:05 PM · Report this
There's something to be said for having a few years under your belt for this kind of gig. Not everyone in Seattle - not even everyone who reads the Stranger!! - is under 30. You revealed some deeper truths in your reviews, and provided insights we just wouldn't have gotten from your average twentysomething. Nice work.
Posted by greenmom on March 2, 2010 at 4:03 PM · Report this
T 9
Nicely done, Matt. Thanks for a fun month, but a bit of advice...don't feed the trolls.
Posted by T on March 2, 2010 at 4:21 PM · Report this
kim in portland 10
Thank you for a fun month, Matt.
Posted by kim in portland on March 2, 2010 at 4:45 PM · Report this
faithvsfear 11
I thought you did a fantastic job. Your posts made me want to do way more of the things the Stranger suggests. Alas, I am not unemployed/underemployed and in fact don't even get off work at a normal hour that would allow for doing most of the after-work things. But I really enjoyed reading your descriptions this month of what having a life must be like.
Posted by faithvsfear on March 2, 2010 at 6:51 PM · Report this
Partly Cloudy 12
Kudos, Matt. I'm amazed you made it through the entire month. Hell, I didn't make it to a single "Stranger suggests" this month. And I'm single. And live on the Hill.
Posted by Partly Cloudy on March 2, 2010 at 8:13 PM · Report this

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