Capitol Hill finally has a place to eat that is open all day and all night. After Basic Plumbing—the windowless, louche gay bathhouse on 10th and Pike—closed its clammy doors, David Meinert (5 Point/Big Mario's) and Jason Lajeunesse (Neumo's/Moe Bar/etc.) turned the space into 24-hour diner Lost Lake Cafe & Lounge (with an accidental, but hopefully cleansing, fire occurring during the process). They promise "the stiffest drinks on the Hill" (stiffest-er than the Crescent*?! Lord help us) and "no pretentious deconstructed anything, just real food for real people at great prices." The atmosphere is retro-Twin-Peaks-y, and we hear that the tuna melt is good, and there is pie.
*UPDATE: Or stiffest-er than C.C. Attle's, as commenter kittenalarm rightfully asks!?
Consumer alert: bike rack edition. Until a few weeks ago, the corner of Pine and 11th had a bike store on it, and so there's this feeling in the air that this corner might be a good place to lock up a bike, kind of a muscle-memory thing, since this corner used to be so friendly to bikes, used to be the place where you could go to fill up your tires with an automatic pump instead of having to pump the pump yourself, and buy bike lights, and flirt with Velo employees. But now that Velo has moved downtown and the former entryway to the bike store has become a face-picking station for junkies, this rack has become the worst place to lock up your bike in America. If you leave it just for a few daylight hours, you're probably okay, but if you leave it overnight? Now that there are no eyes on the street anymore? Expect it to be dismembered beyond recognition.
The Bullitt Foundation is warming up for its opening on Earth Day (Monday), and the renovations to triangular McGilvra Place (created in 1901) were finished this afternoon.
The newly transformed McGilvra Park.
While the grass is totally gone, it looks like it may turn out to be a nice spot for a lunch or coffee on some of the tree-stump furniture that's been added. That is, if the constant flow of traffic down Madison Street doesn't bother you.
Walking to lunch yesterday I met Alex, left, who was gathering signatures for a city charter amendment I've been following. After politely telling him I already knew about the campaign, thanks, and walking past, I backed up. I watched him talk to a couple people. I've worked as a street canvasser before, but never a signature-gatherer. I wanted to know more.
We chatted for a minute about his job, which is migratory. "I've worked all over the country," he told me—here in Washington, where he's from, and California and Maryland. He gets a call from an intermediary when a campaign has work, and he shuttles off to wherever he's needed. "You kind of live out of motels," he says. He'll be here for about two or three weeks, he thinks, gathering all the signatures necessary—the campaign needs more than 30,000. I asked him how much he's making. "A dollar per signature." Is that normal? That depends, says Alex. Some campaigns pay $2 or $3 a signature. Do you make a decent amount of money? It's okay, he says. He's made as much as $1,600 a week at times. But it's easier if you know the area, he said, and he's not from Seattle, so he had to find out the hard way that downtown is mostly tourists, not local voters, and up here on the Hill, everyone's wary of canvassers asking for money. Also, he said, it's a bummer that it's spring break right now: No students.
"You're not paid by the hour, so you have to make enough to live on," he says. His friend and coworker walked over and said he'd be working all day and into the night. I said thanks, and we parted ways.
For a lark, I thought I'd see if the internet had a headline generator—and guess what? It does! It promises to "Increase Your Sales Instantly By Finding A Better Headline." I spend way too many hours of my life trying to find a better headline.
So I thought I'd take it for a spin. First, I had to tell the machine what I wanted.
Then I pushed the "generate headlines" button, and... the results explain so much about headlines on the internet—especially Google ads—and pop consciousness in general. A few:
"7 Secrets To How To sadness, hope And stuff that's interesting to read."
"sadness, hope While You Sleep - Our Proven System Will Do The Work!"
"To People Who Want To sadness, hope But Can't Get Started."
"7 Moral, Ethical, & Perfectly Legal Ways To sadness, hope."
and one of my favorites:
"The Lazy Man's Way To sadness, hope."
Too true. The rest of the delightful and depressing results are below the jump.
Slog nerds, saddle up: come on out tonight to the Raygun Lounge for some beer/wine/mead and gaming (board games, card games, minis gaming...? who knows!) with Slog nerds Paul Constant, Mary Traverse, and the two of us—although Rob is feeling under the weather and doesn't want to accidentally LARP Pandemic. (If you get that, your attendance is expected.)
Feel free to bring any game you want to play or teach. E.g., Paul Constant has never played either Small World or that new game everybody is talking about, Settlers of Catan. So that ignorance of canon needs to be remedied quickly and discreetly.
And a bonus for tonight: Wizards of the Coast is loaning us Tabletop Games Developer Chris Dupuis, to demo the rerelease of "Dungeon!"—a quick-playing game for 1 to 8 players that's the much-improved evolutionary offspring of a 1975 classic.
Also, FYI, we're sharing the space tonight with the nice folks at QueerGeek! and their Ladies Gaming Night (think of it as QueerGeek!SlogCon!), so anyone looking for a measure of dudelessness should also find some tables to their liking.
The Stranger Testing Department is Rob Lightner and Paul Hughes.
Have you heard about the eight-acre sinkhole in Louisiana? Apparently, it's been "burping" up "debris"—including hydrocarbons, which are found in crude oil—and the surrounding swamp has been bubbling and smelling like gas. Local authorities have warned of explosions and evacuated hundreds of residents, who are angry that Governor Jindal, who only lives 50 miles away, hasn't visited.
Some say the sinkhole could be related to the BP Deepwater disaster and that "methane-bubble tsunami" people were talking about two years ago. Others blame a collapsed "brine storage cavern"related to closer oil-drilling operations. (It appears this salt cavern was involved with salt mining, though engineered salt caves in the region are also used for oil and gas storage.)
Either way, this apparent drilling operation across the street from Stranger HQ—at least it sounds like a drilling operation—has us all on edge:
If we disappear into a smoking crater in the near future, don't blame the smiting hand of god. Blame the oil industry.
Smith, the pub/taxidermy haven from Linda Derschang on Capitol Hill's 15th Avenue, had an unfavorable revolving-door chef situation for quite a while after it opened in 2007.
Then, finally, Eliot Guthrie started cooking there, and at last, it was good. Then he left (anyone know where he is now?).
Then Chris Howell took over, and he'd been a lead line cook with the Tom Douglas empire for a number of years, and it was good again. Now Howell is returning to T-Doug—he's going to Brave Horse Tavern, lucky for Amazon employees.
Yesterday was Howell's last day at Smith, and no one there knew who'd be taking over next. Sigh. Derschang has not yet returned an email asking what's up.
(Meanwhile, newly open today on 15th: The Wandering Goose, from Volunteer Park Cafe’s Heather Earnhardt.)
"Ooba Tooba" is an alternate spelling of Uba Tuba, which is a beach in Brazil.
Ooba Tooba's been on the Eastside for more than a decade—it's a local/family-owned mini-chain, and its fifth outlet is grand-opening at 209 Broadway near John (where 17 different Thai restaurants have been) today. While it's a "Mexican Grill" and makes five fresh salsas daily, it's also a little all over the place (or as they say, "eclectic")—from the "all American burrito" of just meat and potatoes, to the vegetarian Bollywood burrito with "grilled green beans and a sweet ancho crema." It sounds weird and possibly good, and if you're going to try it, today's the day—all day long, from now until 6 p.m., they're donating 50 percent (FIFTY PERCENT!) of sales to Lifelong AIDS Alliance. Which is very cool.
If these walls could talk, would they ruin your appetite for pancakes?
The space that once contained Basic Plumbing—the "previously windowless, perpetually terrifying gay bathhouse on 10th and Pike" near the Comet and Elliott Bay Book Co.—is going to be a 24-hour diner and lounge along the lines of the 5 Point. That's right, people—a place to eat on Capitol Hill that's open all day and all night! Why didn't any of the other 107 restaurants that have opened here in the last 17 minutes think of that?
This yet-unnamed 24-hour spot will be brought to you by David Meinert (5 Point/Big Mario's) and Jason Lajuenesse (Neumo's/Moe Bar/etc.). They are promising "the stiffest drinks on the Hill" (stiffest-er than the Crescent?! Lord help us) and "No pretentious pre-deconstructed anything, just real food for real people at great prices."
The opening of the unnamed diner/lounge (any hilarious ideas?) is set (nebulously) for spring 2013. There's also a Basic Plumbing–related joke here somewhere, but you all can take care of that.
We've been watching the war between activist group Grrl Army and Poster Giant—the promotions company that uses public spaces as its own, private advertising venues—for over a week now. This wall outside our office is ground zero and the stakes have escalated, with the rivaling sides covering each others' posters with more elaborate works with increasing frequency. In the latest salvo, even before 9:00 a.m., a man was out there this morning using a shovel to dismantle Grrl Army's installation of coat hangers (a statement about illegal abortions and preventing new posters from being put up).
Here's shovel bro:
Then Poster Giant slapped up some posters, which were up for—what—an hour? They weren't there long. A woman not affiliated with Grrl Army came by and slathered pink paint across the wall. Here's the result: