I went a couple weekends ago. It's a sanctuary in Tenino Washington, and it is excellent. Read more here. The guided walking tour is a must because you learn so much about each individual wolf. Many of them are rescued from being chained up, and nearly dead. They're having a fundraiser this weekend. And/or you can adopt a wolf, any ole day of the week. My friend, photographer Annie Musselman, has a beautiful series of photos of them on her website. A few more of my own, less beautiful photos after the jump...
...handing out copies of The Stranger. We've called wildlife animal control.
You've heard about the Mars One program, right? The ambitious mission that proposes to send a small group of humans on a one-way trip to Mars in 2023 to colonize the red planet? The deadline to apply for the mission was August 31. Mars One received over 165,000 applicants and now I cannot stop perusing the profiles of wanna-be Martians. The site reads like OKCupid for NASA LARPERs.
Anyway! The viability of the mission itself is questionable for numerous reasons, the latest of which is just how destructive it could be for its participants mental health. As the Guardian explains:
While the colonists go about their business, Earth will be watching them 24-7. We already know that surveillance can cause stress, fatigue, depression and anxiety, which will add even more weight to an already extreme mental health burden. The Mars One team has made no public comment on the effects of combining the risk factors of social isolation and confinement with surveillance, but we do know that the programme depends on the money raised by reality TV contracts. So presumably the show must go on.
What happens when the colonists get fed up with the interplanetary Truman Show and turn the cameras off? Will Mars One be forced to abandon them?
Perhaps the most worrying concern is that the colonists won't have real-time access to mental health services such as counselling and psychotherapy. Recent studies have found that simulated psychotherapy via an automated computer programme called Deprexis can yield small-to-moderate benefits in depression, but this approach is only about 50% as effective as normal psychotherapy. And given that the colonists are likely to suffer from a wider range of psychological problems than depression, automated mental health interventions simply won't cut it.
Where does all this leave us? Mars One may be audacious and media-savvy but it is built on a psychological vacuum. In addition to the issues raised here, the planners have given no visible consideration to how they will address the lack of modern medicine, sexual relationships, pregnancy, raising children, ageing and death. And that's not even considering the public trauma on Earth that would follow a televised tragedy on Mars.
God. We're nine years out from the projected launch date and this mission's already starting to echo every intergalactic horror movie I've ever seen.
Anything can happen at anytime, see? The olinguito is the littlest racoon.
UPDATE: I don't read the work of Paul Bobby Constant. Against my religion.
Last night, while Cienna was hobnobbing at Ed Murray's fundraiser, 23 stories above the city in a condo with a view she'd trade her fertility for, I was stuck in a windowless basement where tens of people had gathered on this beautifully sunny day to kickoff fundraising efforts for King County parks.
The room looked like this:
It took forever for my eyes to adjust to the "light" in the basement. There were nachos and sliders and beer if you were brave enough to grope through the shadows for them. Behind us, the precious, waning sun lit up the entrance like an emergency escape route.
The King County Parks levy is an every-six-year vote that will be on your August primary ballot. It funds maintenance and operations for park systems like Marymoor Park, the Burke Gilman Trail, Tiger Mountain, and more than 200 parks and 175 miles of trails. Outside! In the fresh air and sunlight! It accounts for about 70 percent of the county's parks and rec operating budget; the general fund started paying exactly nothing toward parks in 2011. It's a property tax that costs something like $56 a year on a $300,000 house and will raise about $60 million a year for the next six years.
The bright campaign poster had a picture of a tree and a swingset. I had never wanted to be outside in a park more.
Up front, King County Council member Larry Phillips extolled how "incredibly fortunate" we all were to live here, with so much "natural beauty" and the "great park system" that is KC parks at our fingertips. Dow Constantine was late, probably sunbathing. Organizers begged the room to turn on their headlamps and write a check. I wondered if it was deliberate: Forcing all these nice people into a small dark room with the express purpose of making them appreciate (and long for) a well-maintained park system? So I asked the organizer. It was not deliberate.
I took a moment to think: It's my job to be here. I should stay and listen to more speeches about green space, wise words by KC Executive Dow Constantine. I should wander and talk to these name-tagged, suit-wearing, nacho-eating politicians and donors.
On the other hand, holy shit was it nice out.
So I ran out the door. Seriously, vote yes on the parks levy in August. If you don't, you'll just have fewer or shittier outside spaces to gambol about in on days like yesterday and today. And that would be a damn shame.
Andrew Matson was just walking in the dark in a park when…
After twenty paces—BANG! It felt like the back of my head had been punched with scissors.
I looked for a branch that could have thwacked me. Or a teenager with a pellet gun? Or a ghost?
"Hey, is anyone in here?" I said weakly.
So I started walking again. Twenty more paces and then BANG!—straight to the back of my head, the same punch/snip. I took off running. It was something in the air, something overhead, something flying. I instinctively knew I would not be able to outrun it, so I needed to protect my head somehow while getting the hell out of the park. I had a reusable shopping bag with me, so I waved it over my head as I ran. Are you picturing this? Me, terrified out of my skull, running through the dark, waving a bag over my head…
Yeah, yeah, it sucks out there right now. But what are you gonna do the second the weather turns? Like two Sundays ago—remember that? Next day we have like that, where you gonna drive to/camp/drink/roast bacon on sticks? Intrepid Stranger correspondent Ernie Piper just did a whole bunch of driving and ferry-riding and semi-legal camping and abandoned-military-bunkers-exploring and wine-drinking and roasting bacon on sticks, and he has all these stories to prove it.
My dad spent many years of his youth hitchhiking, train hopping, and sleeping in open fields. He would occasionally impart travel advice. "Boys," he said, "when I was traveling, there were a number of bad situations where I got out of it by hitting someone very hard in the head."
"Really?" my brother asked. "How often?"
"Maybe 18 percent. Twenty."
"Yeah, one time we were sleeping on a beach with some other hoboes, and this guy was hassling my friend Pete, so I hit him in the neck with a piece of driftwood."
As you can imagine, I always daydreamed about a life in which I'd have adventure stories to rival my dad's.
So, three people were found shot to death in Idaho at a location that is both a pit bull breeding/sales location and a pot grow site. Children who survived the shootings were alone for a day. Beyond my ability to get my head around.
Or at least that's what my peripheral vision saw.
Superintendent of Mt. Rainier National Park Randy King is preparing the park for a bottled water ban, according to a March 25 press release. The International Bottled Water Association, meanwhile, supports "freedom of choice" on the issue of selling bottled water at park concession stands.
Mount Rainier Park is installing more stations where visitors can refill water bottles and working with concessions and guest services partners to sell low-cost reusable bottles. Such bottles cost as little as $1.99 at the Grand Canyon and the 14 other national parks that have already banned the sale of bottled water.
Yesterday, the IBWA came out with a statement against such a ban, since they say 63 percent of consumers will choose sugary drinks if bottled water isn't available. (This seems likelier for consumers at a middle school than folks climbing a fucking mountain, but it appears they don't make that distinction.)
The IBWA also claims to be concerned about a possible decline in recycling in the park, since sugary drink bottles are recycled less frequently than bottles of water. IBWA has an optimist outlook on the water bottle recycling rate, reporting, "The national recycling rate for single-serve PET plastic bottled water containers is now at 38.6 percent. "
Park superintendent Randy King emphasizes in his statement that the National Parks Service is all about the Three R's, and Mt. Rainier is focusing on reducing consumption in order to promote sustainability. The ban should also go a long way toward preventing the other three-fifths of those plastic bottles, which are not being recycled, from winding up strewn about mountaintop trails.
The poverty rate is at its highest in almost two decades, and now the suburbs are home (or lack thereof) to more people below the poverty line than cities. It's not just the rural areas anymore.
"The number of suburban residents living in poverty jumped by almost 64% from 2000 to 2011, which means about 16.4 million suburban residents now struggle with low incomes," Elizabeth Kneebone, a fellow at the Brookings Institute, [said]. Her research will be published in May in a book called Confronting Suburban Poverty in America."
The Median real household income is down to $62,273, and in suburbs across the country, the impoverished are retreating from their mortgages to the tenuous refuge of places like the Ramada Inn. What happens when they can't afford the week-to-week? What happens to the moral outrage over support systems when the homeless are pitching a tent along the favorite jogging trail?
That's really the only interpretation I have for these two separate scenes I stumbled across in two different wooded areas this week. The shoes were found in Woodland Park, the negligee at a rest stop off I-90. I'm currently building an elaborate tin-foil hat for protection.
If you want adventure, go to Benaroya Hall tomorrow (Saturday) night at 8. (Details.) Sit down in any seat and you will hear something historic: Seattle Symphony doing its second-ever performance of Olivier Messiaen's inordinately exuberant, sobbing, cosmic, tangled 1949 symphony Turangalila.
The first performance happened last night, and it was the occasion for that rarest thing in Seattle—a genuine standing ovation. The kind of standing ovation where you're standing before you've even had a chance to think about it, where the whole theater jumps up as if animated by a magical force—and sheer unanimity is a pretty magical force—and then everyone refuses to stop clapping even though our hands hurt and it's the third curtain call already. It was good. And weird.
Messiaen wrote it to feature an early electronic instrument called the ondes Martenot as well as the piano. In Seattle, visiting pianist Jean-Yves Thibaudet has ties to Messiaen himself. The pianist told the story from the stage last night that he'd practiced the piece on Messiaen's wife's own copy of the score, sitting in their home, with Messiaen always nearby but behind closed doors. The composer of legendarily otherworldly music was "there but not there," Thibaudet said. SSO music director Ludovic Morlot described Turangalila as "the universe spinning through time." In the program notes, Paul Schiavo wrote:
One cannot leave a discussion of the Turangalila Symphony without some consideration of its aesthetics. This is not easy, for Messiaen's music generally, and this work especially, defies nearly all accepted canons of musical propriety and good taste. Messiaen, to a degree quite unmatched in history, was unashamed of grandiloquence, lavish sonority and the inflation of transparent musical ideas through reiteration and sheer volume. Harmonies that could sound embarrassing in a Holllywood film score troubled him not at all, and he allowed the ondes Martenot [an early precursor to the theremin] to wail with abandon.
Yet these qualities cannot be dismissed as mere kitsch or naiveté. Messiaen used them too consistently and with too much conviction, forcing us to accept them as legitimate expressions of heightened emotion. Indeed, it is the immoderate quality of the Turangalila Symphony—its extreme rapture, extreme violence, and extreme lushness—that gives it authenticity.
Rather than write a reasoned, chronological accounting of my experience last night, I'll just share with you my crazy notes. My notes are not always like this. Looking at them today it seems almost like I was infected by "the immoderate quality" coming from the stage.
Is that the sound of a shooting star?
Those strings swaying and leaning—20th-century anxiety.
Super-super-super playful against big-big-big.
The orchestra just keeps breaking open over the room.
The way the piano chord hangs in the air, alone, against the wall [of the orchestra], followed by winds, thin, startling, then brass. Plus gamelan. Plus waves. Plus Copland.
Blossoming and then re-blossoming! This movement!
Calder. Air. What is the home key? Is that sound even happening? Am I hearing things?
Why is there no dancing with this? Think of the costumes!
Huge, huge bath of a climax. Thank you. Where are we?
The players still respond to him [recently appointed SSO music director Ludovic Morlot] as a new lover. The bath of the climax again! Strings. Tutti. Scatter scatter scatter rush. BEAM BEAM BEAM.
Then, I was standing before I knew it.
To give you some idea of the sounds you're in for, here's one of my favorite movements from the piece, featuring the Filarmonica della Scala and a younger Thibaudet:
This is a photograph from artist (and former Stranger photographer) Annie Musselman's book Finding Trust. Someone online once thought it was a taxidermy portrait—which is absolutely incorrect. It's a portrait of a rescued animal Annie encountered at the Sarvey Wildlife Care Center in Arlington, Washington—a coyote that's very much alive.
From Annie's artist statement, about being at Sarvey:
Located in the foothills of the beautiful Cascade Mountain Range, Sarvey is a place where injured, wild creatures come to finish their journey or start a new one. It’s a place where I’ve seen love, trust, and intuition that equals that of a mother and child; a home where a few humans have come together to save the lives of many precious creatures. I believe we must take care of each other in order to survive.
There are five more days to help Annie get Finding Trust published. I, for one, haven't donated much on Kickstarter in the past six months—but I believe in this project completely. DONATE HERE.
I do not have time to download it and give you a review, but I can tell you two facts. One, it's part of an American/Canadian database that originated in the Great Lakes Region.
Two, I went swimming at Denny Blaine this morning and I am only now getting feeling back into my fingers.
Outdoor swimming season's just about over. SADLY. See you at Medgar Evers, which is clearly the best indoor pool in Seattle. Fight me on that in comments if you need to.
From this week's review of the sixth Lo-Fi summer arts festival at Smoke Farm:
The conditions couldn't have been more accommodating for a summer arts festival at an old dairy farm 58 miles north of Seattle—sunny but not sweltering, a cool river for swimming, and the shade of an old barn where people talked about the dozens of artworks they'd seen that day. They discussed modern dancers weaving colored rags into a large nest, clotheslines with white fabric that started on top of a riverbank and disappeared into the water below, hundreds of small red flags fluttering in a grid over a slow-moving slough populated by tiny fish.
One piece dominated the conversations: a miniature house by Jordan Schwartz along the path to the Stillaguamish River. (Nearly everyone had seen it, since nearly everyone had gone swimming.) From a distance, it looked like a simple dollhouse. But as people got closer, they could hear it hum with life. Inside, the house was packed with bees—climbing over tiny chairs, swarming against tiny windows, hanging around a honeycomb suspended from the ceiling and dwarfing the house's tiny furniture. From a few steps away, the piece looked like a cute visual pun—dollhouse as beehouse. But close up, peeking through the windows, it looked like a nightmare invasion of giant stinging insects.
Some photos from the festival:
For Care Bear:
The African population in Anchorage, according to Peter Igwacho, a psychologist by training also originally from Cameroon, is now likely somewhere between 3,000-5,000 people, though no formal count has been made. Growth has been driven both by refugee resettlement, which has brought Sudanese and Somali communities to the city, as well as migrants seeking economic opportunity and a quiet place to raise a family, Igwacho said. They often come from cities in the Lower 48 to join family members already living in Alaska.Walmart has recognized the needs of the growing community and now sells plantains.
Many don't regard their stay in Alaska as temporary, Atu-Tetuh said.
"We are here to make Alaska our home."
I met this guy at the convention a couple years ago. He has lots of tattoos. Um, lots and lots. Event info after the jump...
When I visited the Woods on a Thursday night, DJ Nark was in a tree house–like booth up among the enormous exposed rafters playing the assortment of disco songs that make me love Nark. The crowd was sparse but dancing enthusiastically. I regretted the $4 tall can of Tecate I bought the moment I saw someone served a mason jar of whiskey. My disapproval of $4 tall cans would make me feel like an old man complaining that candy used to cost a nickel if I wasn't convinced Tecate is pretend beer that children made out of puddle water whose only cost should be buttons and pinecones.
Slog reader Melanie writes:
The little be-sweatered trees around the courthouse are back to being nude. Does anyone at The Stranger know why?
Dominic points out that trees are people, too, and no one wants to always wear the same sweater.
For my part, may I direct your attention to what happens to these cozy, cute sweaters applied to inanimate objects when they are left there forever by neglectful knitters? This is on the bike rack where I lock my bike every day and IT IS GROSS and THERE ARE TWO, ONE ON EACH END. Why don't I remove them myself? 1.) I didn't put them there, and 2.) DOG-LEVEL. The horror.
There is a blooming winter honeysuckle on Melrose at Republican. (It looks like this.) If you bend to smell it, it will change your day for the better. Don't be scared inside by this weather. There are winter plants to be loved out there.
Avalanches less than an hour apart claimed four lives at two separate resorts Sunday — one burying three skiers at Stevens Pass ski resort and another sweeping a snowboarder off a cliff near The Summit at Snoqualmie.
They were in out-of-bounds areas, but they are reported to be experienced skiers who had avalanche gear. Times reporter Brian M. Rosenthal is tweeting reports from Stevens Pass. His latest:
The Bull's Tooth, the bar at Stevens Pass, is full of men with swollen eyes and trembling faces. "We're shocked," said Matt Wainhouse, 23.
There's footage of both of them in the early '80s in this post. Plus links to recently unearthed VHS-converted footage of a early-'80s Seattle rock and punk bands. Fun!