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Wednesday, February 20, 2008

The Sandpoint, Idaho, Men's Room Caucus

posted by on February 20 at 7:17 PM


According to the graffiti over the urinal, it looks like Hillary took it.

Monday, February 18, 2008

Flaunting Your Wifestyle

posted by on February 18 at 3:25 PM

One of the anonymously-submitted questions I got last week when I spoke at University of Idaho--a question I frequently get when I speak at universities--was this:

Why do gays have to flaunt their lifestyle?

I'm sorry to say that I didn't get around to answering that question during the talk. Ther were other, more pressing questions. But if it's not too late I'd like to submit the cover of this week's Columbia Valley Pioneer as my answer to the big why-do-gays-have-to-flaunt-our-lifestyle question:


From the paper's top story:

Kent Kebe offers his hand in marriage

This week we have an exciting announcment--Kent Kebe of Radium Hot Springs has chosen to propose to his beloved, Lydia Helmer, on our front page.

Saturday, February 16, 2008


posted by on February 16 at 4:32 PM

More creepiness. From the Vancouver, BC, tab the Province:

Human right foot found on Valdes

A third severed foot has washed up on a Gulf Island. All three are right feet, and all were in sneakers.

"It is unusual," RCMP Const. Annie Linteau said yesterday. "We are in the preliminary stages of this particular investigation, and, of course, we will not enter into speculation."

The latest foot was found Friday on the east side of Valdes Island, south of Gabriola Island.

The RCMP can't speculate. But you can, Sloggers.

Friday, February 15, 2008

Rope, Knives, Duct Tape, Gloves

posted by on February 15 at 10:03 PM


The gas station in Cheney, Washington, offers convenient one-stop shopping for area serial killers.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

This Is Our Youth

posted by on February 13 at 11:04 AM


I spoke last night at the University of Idaho in Moscow, Idaho. Here's a few of the questions submitted to me by UI students--seen above--before the talk:

Are there any consequences in coming a girl's mouth?
I've had three periods in one month. What's my problem?
If I'm in a relationship, is it okay for me to still want to look at porn? Is it normal for my girlfriend to get so upset about it?
Is it okay to be into M and S?
How do you find out if your roommate is gay?
If I'm "barebacking" a girl and I feel myself start to come but then I pull out without semen, is there still a chance of pregnancy from my pre-jac?
Two Girls, One Cup shocked the nation. Does this type of sex act occur often?

The answers, respectively, are: Yes; Dunno; Yes and yes; Yes; Ask, Yes; and Hope Not.

Monday, February 11, 2008

The View From My Window

posted by on February 11 at 2:42 PM


It's freaking cold in Chicago. When I got in last night, though, the Chicago River wasn't frozen. Now it is--the surface, at least--and it's snowing, and the snow is sticking. To the river. That's why it appears to be dusty white in this photo. It would be beautiful if I didn't have to leave my hotel room.

Your Early Morning Appetite Suppressant, Mr. Savage

posted by on February 11 at 7:31 AM

So.... Tony Orlando is doing commercials for a weight-loss program now, and the first thing I see this AM is a "before" picture of Mr. Orlando shirtless, 63, and 103 pounds overweight. Cancel my room service order, please.

Friday, February 8, 2008

The Wooster Group in LA

posted by on February 8 at 12:07 PM

Sorry I've not been slogging much—I'm in Los Angeles, at an NEA theater critics' conference, which is fine and all, but involves a lot of sitting in rooms, watching things or talking about things, when all anyone wants to do is stroll around in the sunshine.

The good news: those of you who are hacked off about not being able to see the Wooster Group's Hamlet aren't missing much. They perform the show against a backdrop of Richard Burton's 1964 production, but don't do terribly much with it. They all seem shackled inside it instead of playing with it. An odd formal experiment, but not revelatory. One wants more matter, as Gertrude says, with less art.

(The Burton production has a good story. Apparently he and Peter O'Toole proposed a coin toss when they were filming Becket. The deal was that one of them would play Hamlet in London, directed by Laurence Olivier, and one would play Hamlet in New York, directed by John Gielgud. They were probably wasted. They flipped, Burton went to New York, and performed what would become the American Hamlet.)


That's Scott Shepherd, as Hamlet, the same guy who played Nick Carraway in Gatz at On the Boards. That seven-hour word-for-word performance of The Great Gatsby was also a funny formal experiment, but was richer, more elegant, more rewarding.

Oprah Winfrey Presents the Color Purple: The Musical About Love is as long and dumb as its title: a cavalcade of brutality set to adult-contemporary music. Consider yourselves lucky.

Theater: I watch it so you don't have to.

Thursday, February 7, 2008

The Stranger Sent Charles Mudede to Italy...

posted by on February 7 at 7:50 AM


...and all we got out of it was a beautiful, fascinating piece of writing.

DISCUSSED: the fog in Perugia; American women versus Italian women ("More than a full head of gray hair is needed for a Perugian woman to lose her erotic grip"); nights that spin out of control; the murder that Italian authorities allege 20-year-old Amanda Knox (of West Seattle) played a role in; the prison where Knox and two other suspects are being held; the stew of international students and immigrants in an unreal setting.

Plus, all the unanswered stuff:

In the absence of stable answers, the imagination does its work. Were the three waiting for her? Did they plot an attack? Were they caught by surprise in the middle of a threesome and forced Kercher to join in? Did Knox pin Kercher's head to the floor as Guede sexually assaulted her from behind? Was Sollecito fucking Knox as Guede raped Kercher? Did Guede and Sollecito fuck Knox as Kercher watched with dying eyes? Or was Kercher into it? Was she playing along? Was the violence simulated or real? Were the three stabs in Kercher's neck intentional or accidental? Was it rape or consensual? Was this an act of revenge or did it just happen all of a sudden, like a wild storm that appeared, erupted, and cleared?

The whole thing's here.

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Overheard at the Airport

posted by on February 6 at 5:56 AM

"Attention. There will be mass and ashes in the chapel at 10:00 AM. All are welcome. Ass and mashes in the chapel. I'm sorry, mass and ashes. Mass and ashes in the chapel at 10:00 AM."

Monday, February 4, 2008


posted by on February 4 at 1:27 PM

I'm in the air most of the day today... so no ability to Slog. I'd wish I had the time to get something up explaining the difference between dislike and intolerance to Joel Connelly, but my layover's too brief. I'll post something tonight when I arrive in Pittsburgh. Anyone so motivated as to spell out the difference for Joel in some manner that might catch his attention--perhaps in Jelly donuts arranged on the sidewalk outside the PI's building?--is more than welcome to do so in the meantime.

The War on Drugs Is...

posted by on February 4 at 11:36 AM


Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Morbid Thoughts As The Flight Crew Closes the Cabin Door

posted by on January 23 at 12:45 PM


The only interesting/beautiful thing about LAX--that space ship held aloft by soaring concrete arches--is covered in scaffolding right now. And it actually makes the thing more beautiful, particularly when you drive under it.

Anyway, sitting on the plane, bracing myself for my flight home from LA last Saturday, a recurring morbid thought tormented me as we taxied to the runway: The takeoff and landing are the deadliest and most dangerous moments of a flight. Takeoffs and landings: that's when the overwhelming majority of plane crashes occur. So if the plane I was on was fated to crash and I was going to die on this flight... would I prefer die during the take off or landing? Everyone agrees that flying is thoroughly miserable... so why endure the misery of the flight itself if you're just going to die on landing? Better to die on takeoff. But everyone also agrees that every single moment of life a precious, precious gift and a few extra hours of life--spent reading, thinking, sipping a ginger ale, and wishing the two people behind you would shut up so you could sleep--are worth savoring even if you're doomed to spend them on an old, filthy Alaska Airlines jet. Better to die on landing.

I go back and forth when I white-knuckle my way through this entertaining little debate. Sometimes I decided it would be better to die during takeoff, sometimes I decide it would be better to die during landing. I'd like to settle this debate once and for all, though, so I'm putting it to a vote. Die on takeoff or die on landing? It's up to you, Sloggers....

Meanwhile in Jackson, Michigan...

posted by on January 23 at 9:29 AM


Um... I'm not sure what this message is driving at or what I'm missing exactly--besides an apostrophe, of course--but I can't quite see how this message moves soft-serve ice cream. Would it make more sense if there was "but" before that "were"? Or maybe you have to be from Michigan to get it? Kelly O? Care to translate?

Thanks to Slog tipper Matthew.

Monday, January 21, 2008

Speaking of the Writers' Strike

posted by on January 21 at 12:15 PM

Don't wanna watch crap reality shows or rebroadcasts of crap scripted programs you've already suffered through? Powell's Books in Portland, Oregon, has a suggestion...


Friday, January 18, 2008

Airport by Hieronymus Bosch

posted by on January 18 at 2:19 PM


Gawd, LAX is the ugliest, most depressing airport on earth. Here's something I never got around to mentioning on my trip to Vegas with Kelly O: The Luxor's nightclub used to be called Ra, which makes thematic sense. They changed the name, for some inexplicable reason, to LAX--and, yes, after the airport. The slogan is "take off for glamor" or some such bullshit.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Is Anyone Safe?

posted by on January 15 at 12:21 PM

Breaking news from Fort Mills, South Carolina...


Waiting for Mike

posted by on January 15 at 10:46 AM


I'm in Rock Hill, South Carolina, at the swank great room of a mega-house/mini-mansion housing development, waiting for Mike Huckabee to arrive and give a speech. We've been hanging out with the nicest bunch of evangelical Christians you could ever want to meet. A Newsweek reporter and a reporter from the Los Angeles Times showed up, hadn't had lunch, and there's nothing to eat. They're leaving with Huckabee on the press bus after his speech and they were stressing out about not having anything eat. So exterminator and Huckabee volunteer we drove over here with gave them the keys to his car--without asking their names--and directions to a restaurant.

The exterminator--who I've been hanging with for two days--doesn't believe in evolution, the gays, or that there was a budget surplus under Bill Clinton. He's utterly charming and he's trying to talk me into supporting Huckabee. He says he's worried about Obama getting the Democratic nomination because he doesn't trust him. Not sure if it's "the Muslim thing," but he's convinced something will come out that destroys Obama.

He also doesn't think I should be allowed to adopt or marry--but he loved watching the video of my kid snowboarding that I posted to Slog.

While in Perugia...

posted by on January 15 at 7:58 AM

I finally found something that can do a bit of the afro pick trick.
The existence of the monster comb would have remained in the dark had I not been looking for an air freshener (every toilet in Italy has a twin--I do not trust this open and opposite twin). The comb was near the corner of a very small shop (near the closed Le Chic) that sold disinfectants, detergents, dishwashing soap, and air fresheners.

How you like me now?

Monday, January 14, 2008

5 Days is 5 Days Too Long in Vegas, and 10 Things I Learned at the Porn Convention

posted by on January 14 at 7:30 PM

I'm back! I had to buy an extra suitcase just to haul all the porn schwag and freebies. When I got home, there was one of those airport inspection slips inside the bag. How I wish I could've seen the inspector's face when he cracked this baby open...


I'm very tired - and feel a bit crazy. Five days is way too long to spend in Las Vegas. For anything or anyone. It hurts your brain. All in all, though, this years' convention and the AVN Awards - "The Oscars of Porn"- was a frickin' wild ride. One of the highlights, for me, was meeting a bunch of folks that write for FLESHBOT. What a bunch of super-smart sassy-pants. Their coverage of the AVN is the BEST out there. I love them.

Another (unfortunate) highlight was seeing a glimpse of Jenna Jameson, and not even recognizing her. She officially retired from porn, hopefully just in time to eat a damn sandwich. Jenna is becoming Tara Reid. A stick-thin popsicle stick, with no curves anywhere. It's sad to see.

(photo from

Let's see, what else did I learn... 10 things, and a ton of photos, after the jump.

Continue reading "5 Days is 5 Days Too Long in Vegas, and 10 Things I Learned at the Porn Convention" »

No Afro Picks

posted by on January 14 at 9:40 AM

In the rush to catch a flight, I forgot my afro picks in Seattle.
Photo-0048.jpg I've failed to find a shop that sells even one pick in Perugia. Rome might have picks, but it's over two hours away. I have not combed my hair in a week. It's been nappy everyday in Perugia.

Saturday, January 12, 2008

Hawks Losing? Kelly O is Here to Help

posted by on January 12 at 4:32 PM

Kelly O sent some more pics from Vegas--to help get your minds off the game, guys.





More Vegas Pics

posted by on January 12 at 2:00 PM

A furry makes the scene...

Kelly O cabs it with Aurora Snow...

Hey, it's Pauly Shore--and that guy with the maniacal grin again!

Lube is a good thing...

Something for everyone...

He's hooked...

Hitchhiked Her Way Across The USA, Plucked Her Eyebrows On The Way...

posted by on January 12 at 12:08 PM


These ads for some strip show or other are plastered on every available surface at the Luxor. Now check out the lovely lady on the left. Hm... kinda masculine facial bone structure... no real curves to speak of... rather slim hipped... and a spangly collar covering up a possibly incriminating Adam's apple? Kelly O and I have been arguing about this poster all weekend. Boy? Girl? Ex-boy? Real girl?

Guess who else is currently playing the Luxor...

Some Vegas Pics

posted by on January 12 at 9:59 AM

Kelly O can't make her computer go, so she asked me to post these pics for her...

Marketing the Fleshlight...

The, er, duct tape demo...

Kelly O with porn stars Belladonna and Sasha Gray...

Two gay boys walk the floor...

T-shirts for sale...

A lucky boy hits the big time...

More later...

Friday, January 11, 2008

Not You, Faggot

posted by on January 11 at 5:22 PM


Wheel of Fortune!

posted by on January 11 at 4:28 PM


I'm going to say something nice about Las Vegas. Brace yourselves. The casinos are lot quieter--at least at the Luxor and the Venetian. Either I'm going deaf or they've actually cranked down the volume down on the slot machines. It used to be that you couldn't go anywhere in a hotel--in the casino, outside it--without hearing "bloop-doodle-bee-bee-boop-ding-dong-Wheel of Fortune!" over and over and over again. On day one you would think, "This is what a casino sounds like! How exciting!" On day two you would think, "Man, that 'bloop-doodle-bee-bee-boop-ding-dong-Wheel of Fortune!' crap is getting on my nerves." On day three you would think, "Get me the fuck out of here."

At first Kelly and I didn't notice the absence of the "bloop-doodle-bee-bee-boop-ding-dong-Wheel of Fortune!" But yesterday we looked at each other and said, practically simultaneously, "They turned down the slot machines, didn't they?" They did. (Maybe they were disturbing all the new poker players?) Even better: the casinos on the strip--okay, the Luxor and the Venetian--have gotten rid of those God awful "Wheel of Fortune!" slot machines. I once spent a week in Vegas gambling--for a book--and hearing "Wheel of Fortune!" in my sleep for a month. You don't hear it anymore.

But you can still find the Wheel of Fortune slots in Vegas--at the airport. In Terminal C, waiting for my return flight, I spotted this pilot passing the time. Better than spotting a pilot in the bar, I guess.

Oh, and you're probably wondering where all the pictures are of half-naked porn stars. Kelly O is taking those pictures. She has a computer. She has the ability to post stuff to Slog. If you're going to yell at someone about the lack of porn-related smut on Slog despite the presence of two Sloggers are this porn convention, yell at Kelly O.

Monorail! Monorail!

posted by on January 11 at 2:21 PM

It glides as softly as a cloud...


It took some doing but we finally found the Las Vegas Monorail. It's behind the hotels--way behind 'em--where no one can see it and think of actually taking it. But there it is, sailing over the cab I was taking back to my hotel.

And speaking of cabs in Las Vegas: Is there anything more inefficient than the taxi lines outside these fucking hotels? There's a huge line of cabs, idling, waiting to pick fares up. There's a long line of people waiting to get picked up. One at a time a douchebag hotel employee gives a little wave, a cab pulls up, he asks the next person in line where he/she/they're going, the douchebag opens the door to the cab, tells the cab driver where the fare is going, the fare get in, the douchebag shuts the door. We're forced to line up for this elaborate ritual so that we'll feel obligated to give the douchebag a dollar for opening the door of our cab, something we could do for ourselves, and telling the cab driver where we're going, ditto.

People need to line up for cabs in Vegas, of course. Wouldn't want the front of every hotel to look like 5th Avenue in New York City during a thunderstorm, with people competing for cabs, racing each other into the street. But there's no reason why folks couldn't be loaded into a line of cabs--seven or eight, all at once, just like at the airport--and slowly loaded into cabs one at a fucking time. No wait, there is a reason: Because then we wouldn't feel obligated to give the douchebag a dollar. So to make us feel obligated to give the douchebag a dollar, we have to stand in a cab line for 45 minutes instead of five or ten minutes.

Sorry. Just needed to get that off my chest.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

To Live and Buy in Las Vegas

posted by on January 10 at 2:38 PM

Holy crap--there's a bookstore in the passageway between the Luxor and Mandalay Bay. A bookstore. In Las Vegas.


They even had a book I wanted: The Portable Atheist: Essential Readings for the Nonbeliever, edited by Christopher Hitchens. I bought it this morning a few hours after I woke up at 6:00 a.m. and started totally stressing out because Kelly Fuckin' O never came back to our room last night, didn't call, and wasn't answering her phone. Since I am, deep down inside, not just my mother's son, but my mother herself, I was convinced that Kelly O was dead and by 11:00 a.m. this morning I was walking around desperately trying to remember of the name of the porn starlet Kelly O crawled into a cab with at 1:00 a.m. at the Venetian, preparing my statement for the police, and trying not conjure up any mental images of shit I've seen on CSI: Las Vegas or whatever, when I happened upon this bookstore. I bought The Portable Atheist to take my mind off Kelly's decapitation.

Kelly O is fine. She met a nice boy, they took a bubble bath at the Casino Royale. And the rest is, I hope, another birth-control success story.

The porn starlet's name? Aurora Snow. And you know what? People smoke in elevators in Las Vegas. In elevators. In Las Vegas.

Las Vegas is the Most Depressing Place on Earth

posted by on January 10 at 9:20 AM

And for so many varied reasons...


On the brighter side, I met Buck Angel at a party last night. We had a nice talk about his pussy, his politics, and his workout routine. If Kelly O ever returns from the late-night party she went to last night with the porn stahs--I had to crash, images of Buck's pussy dancing in my head--we're going to head to the trade show and videotape an interview Buck for Slog.

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Glimpsed from the Car Window

posted by on January 9 at 10:15 AM

I don't know who is more excited about the light rail line opening in 2009--me or my boyfriend, who is so looking forward to never having to drive my ass to the airport again.


Off to Vegas with Kelly O to mix it up with porn stars. Wish me luck.

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Live-Blogging the 2007 Holiday Travel Nightmare

posted by on December 22 at 8:32 AM

This ABC News story lays it out more clearly than any onsite airline professional managed to:

Dense fog and a low cloud ceiling forced airlines to cancel more than 200 flights at Chicago's O'Hare International Airport on Friday at the start of the busy holiday travel season.

All I was told last night, after standing in an hour-long line with a hundred other bleary-eyed grumps, was that my Friday-night flight from Chicago to Norfolk (home of my brother and his family, Christmas destination for me and my fella Jake and the parents) had been cancelled and the next available flight was 36 hours later, on Sunday morning.

Cruel twist: This Chicago cancellation affected only me, as Jake took separate, uncancelled flights to Norfolk, where he's now getting to spend some quality time with my extended family while wearing underpants borrowed from my brother. (He travelled with the suitcase packed with gifts, I have the one packed with clothes.) Meanwhile, I'm getting to spend some quality time with airport-concourse carpet.

Last night I built a small hobo camp around a power outlet in a semi-abandoned hallway and watched Once Upon a Time in the West on my laptop. (The airport had set up hundreds and hundreds of cots, each with a pillow and a blanket, but I'm afraid of public cots and addicted to electricity.) This morning I'm continuing the western theme, watching Red River while drinking some breakfast beers and awaiting my newly hatched two-point escape: This afternoon, I fly to Charlotte, NC, and this evening, I land in Norfolk. Knock virtual wood.

Despite the inherent crappiness of the situation, the O'Hare Airport isn't that bad a place. They let you walk around with beers, and the johns are rigged with auto-forwarding plastic seat covers.

Less appealing: The instrumental Christmas music that's been playing over the intercom for the past 18 hours. I now officially hate Jesus.

Friday, December 14, 2007

If I Had Wi-Fi (And Wasn't On Vacation)

posted by on December 14 at 10:57 AM

I'm still on vacation in Barcelona, and unfortunately, very few places have wifi, so I haven't been able to Slog compulsively or keep up with the news the way I'd like to. (Did you know they still don't have iPhones in Spain? It's literally the only thing I've been able to do to impress the Spanish. Butchering their language just hasn't made them love me the way I thought it would). Anyway! A few things, briefly, from afar:

1. Right fucking on, Gov. Gregoire. (And, OK, Mayor Nickels, too--although his main viaduct web page still says the city is "committed to replacing the ailing Alaskan Way Viaduct and Seawall.") But do you think you might give your former gubernatorial opponent Ron Sims a little credit for pushing for a surface/transit alternative for replacing the viaduct? Sims was speaking up in support of surface/transit nearly a year before Gregoire got on the bandwagon--and everyone, including Mayor Greg Nickels and Gregoire, treated him like he was crazy. Props or none, I'm glad to see the city, state and county are finally moving toward a solution that's environmentally sustainable--and that we can actually pay for.

2. Jonah noted in an email a few days ago that the family of Bryce Lewis, the 19-year-old cyclist who was struck by a dump truck and killed in September, along with Caleb Hall, a cyclist who survived the accident, are suing the driver and his company, Nelson & Sons Construction Co. According to their attorney, as quoted in the P-I, "The primary duty is on the vehicle turning right to make sure there aren't people in the bike lane or in the crosswalk." The truck turned right into the cyclists' path, striking both of them. I haven't seen anything on Slog about it; my apologies if I overlooked a post.

3. To Jonathan's taxonomy of Slog commenters, I would like to add:

Assholus Sexistis

Distinguishing Characteristics:
Has nothing relevant to contribute. Attempts to make author feel bad specifically because she is a woman, usually by commenting on her appearance and/or speculating about her sex life.

Sample Comment

Dumbass, I can't wait to see you when you are 40, still single and hanging around other lonely women at a stitch and bitch complaining about how there aren't "Any good men out there"

Posted by ecce homo | December 11, 2007 12:52 PM.

Cautions:Best deleted or ignored entirely. May overlap with Compulsivaris Insightfulian Crankus.

3. This is the art in my new hotel room (less blurry in real life). They knew I was coming!:


That is all.

Saturday, December 8, 2007

Re: Seattle, Pg. 138

posted by on December 8 at 8:37 AM



On the other hand: A resident I met last night told me that after one of the Metro lines broke down a few months ago, city transit officials shut down the whole system, causing total chaos. Half-hour train rides turned into three-hour trips by bus or car, and some commuters even stayed with friends in the city rather than go through the commute. This lasted two weeks. Yikes!

Thursday, December 6, 2007

Drug Czar of the World

posted by on December 6 at 2:10 PM

Environmentalists are tree-scaling shrill seekers; the drug reform movement is run by a bunch of Jewish men. Thus far, the international drug policy reform conference in New Orleans has dispelled neither myth.

Ethan Nadelmann, Executive Director of the Drug Policy Alliance, kicked off the opening reception last night by announcing it was the second day of Hannukah, and like the eight days of the miracle, this conference was our four-day miracle of the struggle against oppression—an awkward analogy for everyone. This morning Jewish turned to Jewisher as we listened to opening plenary remarks from former head of the ACLU, Ira Glasser, and munched on standard-issue bagels. I fully expected a luncheon address from Woody Allen.

But instead we got an earful from the Executive Director of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, Antonio Maria Costa—the drug czar of the world.


Once folks deciphered his Italian accent, he earned a few boos from the crowd—like when he compared the unruly black market for drugs with human trafficking. “It is hard to stop human trafficking, a multi-billion dollar business next to drugs,” he said. “So would you legalize human trafficking?” Um, where to even begin responding to that…

He later won over the ballroom of academics and shrill radicals, however, partly by being an absolutely adorable little man in huge glasses, and partly by his conclusion:

Join me as an extremist of the center. If you want to break the vicious cycle, then not only fight disease associated with drug use. Be more radical…. Reach out. Our people need more treatment. Promote alternatives to prison for drug addicts and treat all forms of addiction.

As if the US Drug Czar had cued a disruption, a fire alarm drowned out Mr. Costa and strobes began flashing like the paparazzi. After an uncomfortable pause, a loudspeaker piped in with the voice of God: “This is not an emergency. Please resume your activities.”

Hellelujah, err, Halleluyah.

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Hey, Seattle Exceptionalists

posted by on December 5 at 11:47 AM

So you know how Seattle is totally different than any other city anywhere ever, and nothing that works in any city other than Seattle can ever work here, because of weather/hills/culture? (See: Mass transit, sidewalks, free bikes, etc.) Surely none of you would have an objection to street escalators, right?


Because they have them in Barcelona (which does, despite what some commenters believe, have hills), and they work great. So there.

Monday, December 3, 2007

Bicing in Barcelona

posted by on December 3 at 12:34 AM

It's nine in the morning in Barcelona. I've been here for four days, and while I'm definitely bummed to be missing some of the week's big events (the snow; Josh busting Tim Ceis on the Vulcan giveaway), it's always great to be reminded that there are still places in the world where density, public transit, and awesome public spaces peacefully coexist. Plus, there's cool architecture, like this:


And weird graffiti everywhere:


But what I really want to talk about is this:


These people are riding bicycles provided by Bicing, a nine-month-old service that bills itself as "your new public transport in Barcelona!" (I'm sure it sounds better in Spanish or Catalan; I'm reading the translated web site). Here's how it works: Once you register with the service (you have to be a resident of Barcelona, and it costs 24 euros) and get your swipe card, you can use any one of 1,500 Bicing bikes around the city. The first 30 minutes of every trip are free, and you can return your bike to any Bicing location around the city (there are at least 100). Every half-hour over the initial free half-hour is 30 eurocents. You can keep any one bike for up to two hours, and you can always return a bike, run your errand, and grab another for no charge. The bikes seem to be very well-maintained, and everyone uses them--old people, little kids, hipsters on cell phones, everyone.

According to the web site, "Bicing has to be understood as a way of public transport , so that you move from one place to another."

Don't you love that? How cool would it be to have 1,500 free bikes around the city, to be used by citizens, as intensively or minimally as you wanted? Even if some people rode the bikes downhill only (from Capitol Hill to the U District, say) and took the bus or a cab back, that would be a huge improvement over driving both ways, right? And even if the company (or city, or county) had to pick up some bikes every day and drive them back uphill, wouldn't that one trip be vastly better than all those downhill bikers getting in their cars and driving instead?

Yes, Seattle isn't in Europe, and no, we don't have the same culture of cycling that cities like Barcelona cultivate. But you've got to start somewhere. Why not a free bike program?

As a side note: I sat in on a bit of this conference on urbanism two days ago at the city's Center for Contemporary Culture, and one woman asked the panel I was watching (on cities and environmentalism), exasperatedly, how she was supposed to use the free bike service when the bikes were all the same size. Which just goes to show you that no matter how awesome a city has it, someone, somewhere, will find something to complain about.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Thanks for the Free Art, Seattle

posted by on November 29 at 11:37 AM

Seen on my walk to work this morning:




And also this, which I saw a few weeks ago, but noticed is gone now:


But I do so miss Little Bird, the anonymous person who'd hang his/her drawings on the poles in front of Bauhaus and the neighboring area... I have a great drawing of a camera at home. And there were others I liked too, but I never thought to grab them at the time. I haven't seen Little Bird in awhile. Come back, Little Bird, I miss your pictures.

Monday, November 26, 2007

Overheard in the Nordstrom Women's Shoe Department

posted by on November 26 at 12:46 PM

"Under no circumstances should you ever buy Nikes. They're a terrible company, and they make a terrible product."


Monday, November 19, 2007

Postcard from Costa Rica

posted by on November 19 at 9:01 AM

(Ok, I got back from Costa Rica a week ago, but you know how slow the mail is from these lesser countries.)




And the rest!