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Wednesday, August 30, 2006

We <3 Honeycrisps!

posted by on August 30 at 1:55 PM

It's true. We really do.

Sean Nelson once interviewed the apple here, and one year ago I felt it was necessary to slog about how good they are (because they really are that fucking good).

With that in mind, a kind reader named Jessica just sent in the best e-mail I've gotten all week.

I don't know if you all are still obsessed with the Honeycrisp apples this year, but if you are, they are available at the Redmond Whole Foods. Fair warning, it's their opening day, and it's crazy. However, the apples are insanely delicious (I've already had two) and absolutely made up for the parking lot madhouse. QFC should be getting theirs next week.

Who wants to carpool to Redmond? I want a Honeycrisp!

$2 off Snakes on a Plane

posted by on August 30 at 1:34 PM

I don't like movies all that much, and I really hate how expensive they are. I dream of a satisfaction-based donation after the fact so one could pay $25 for the rare really amazing film and $2 for a crap one. Anyway, I just noticed that Costco has AMC (Cinerama, Pacific Place) tickets in two-packs (a $19 value) for $14. They have no restrictions and never expire. Chronic moviegoers could save a bundle. (Is this the most boring Slog post you've ever read or what? Christ.)

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Food on a Train

posted by on August 29 at 11:00 AM

Took the train to Olympia this weekend. The train is a beautiful way to travel—the way the lakes and cargo containers and small towns open up and slide by; the way you can maneuver, do work on your laptop, lay back and read, play Scrabble, do cartwheels through the cars, meet people. Passing through Tacoma afforded everyone an awesome view of the new Tacoma Narrows Bridge going up. It's a second bridge placed right next to the first one. Its caissons, towers, cables, and anchorage are all in place; all that's missing is the deck, the part of the bridge that cars will drive on. It's beautiful right now, with the cables that will one day hold up the deck just dangling in the wind. Here's a webcam from the center tower of the bridge, so you can see what I mean.

But travel on the trains of the Northwest was frustrating this weekend. On Friday, owing to a derailing near Tacoma, all the trains were hours late, and we were down to sharing one track with freight trains and other passenger trains traveling in both directions. Lots of not-going-anywhere. Eventually I got so hungry that I decided I wasn't going to wait until Olympia to eat and ventured back to the "bistro" car. Clever name. In the bistro car I ordered a chicken sandwich with mozarella and sundried tomatoes. Sounds delicious, right? Most disgusting thing I've held in my hand in days. First of all, they gave it to me microwaved to a wet, blubbery cloud (I didn't ask for it to be microwaved). Then I bit into it. What was inside smelled like chicken, but it had been processed to the point of abstraction. It was gray and glistening. Mmm. Meat-approximating chemicals!

I threw it away.

Hours later, in downtown Olympia, I had a dee-licious slice of olive and mushroom pizza at Old School Pizzeria (108 Franklin St NE). It was absolutely worth the wait.

Monday, August 28, 2006

The Photos of Alan Chin

posted by on August 28 at 6:48 PM

Given all the media attention currently being given to the one-year anniversary of Hurricane Katrina, it seems like the appropriate time to share some of the extraordinary images captured by photojournalist Alan Chin. Both heartbreaking and beautiful, his work is something I think everyone should see:

katrina 1.jpg

katrina 2.jpg

katrina 3.jpg

More of his work can be viewed here.

It's Official

posted by on August 28 at 9:42 AM

Driving a car while listening to an iPod through headphones: I've always known it's stupid (and totally fun), but as the Seattle P-I reports, it's also officially illegal:

Wearing headphones while driving is against state law, Washington State Patrol spokeswoman Courtney Stewart said. The activity falls under RCW 46.37.480 (2), which states it is illegal while driving to wear "any headset or earphones connected to any electronic device capable of receiving a radio broadcast or playing a sound recording" if the headset or earphones also muffle other sounds. The law in some form has been on the books since 1977 and has been modified through the years to fit changing technology, Stewart said. A ticket, which troopers issue when observing a violation, carries a $101 penalty.

Jesus! I'm not allowed to drive with my iPod on, not allowed to smoke pot in Cal Anderson Park, not allowed to come within 200 feet of Ken Schram--WHERE IS MY COUNTRY???

Friday, August 25, 2006

Wherever the Automobile Congregates

posted by on August 25 at 1:40 PM


An excerpt from the introduction to Bicycling the Backroads Around Puget Sound, 1973:

For the bicycling enthusiast some good things have been happening recently. For example, for the first time in over half a century, more bicycles than motor cars are being sold annually in the United States. Bicycling has suddenly become popular. Young people, particularly those with a concern for their environment, see the bicycle as practical transportation for short hauls. Adults are finding it a respectable vehicle for exercise, commuting, recreation and family fun.
The automobile in recent bouts with environmentalists and the government has not come off unscathed. A few years ago it seemed that the auto and its proponents could do no wrong. Now it is recognized universally as one of our chief polluters and major cause of degradation of our living environment.... A segment of the population...and a portion of government is questioning the utter domination of urban lives by the automobile—the ruin of the central cities, the sprawl of suburbia...the waste of fuel and other resources, the noise, smog and ugliness that follow the automobile wherever it congregates in large numbers.

It goes on in heartbreaking detail about "this hard look at the auto and the depressing future it is helping to create," and about how citizens of the Pacific Northwest are demanding a better balance of transportation, looking at alternatives, and, of course, embracing our friend the bike. The good people of 1973 are advised to look to Europe as a model for cycling-friendly planning, paths, and drivers. The cartoon bicyclists depicted wear propeller beanies or crumpled fedoras—not a helmet or mention thereof in the entire book. A couple of rides tour the scenic Southcenter area (starting "at the base of the Southcenter sign pylon near Nordstom Best"). (My favorite part so far in this book my dear aunt just gave me is the note for the "Mileage Log" section for a ride around Index, Washington: "You don't need one; you can't get lost.")

Flash Mob at Home Depot

posted by on August 25 at 1:36 PM

While the whole "flash mob" thing may be a bit played, it's obviously still wicked fun, and here's an organized group in NYC who are doing it right. 225 members of "Improv Everywhere" got together to walk in slow motion through Home Depot for five minutes, shop normally for five minutes, and then freeze wherever they were for five minutes. The result freaked out EVERYBODY in the store, and makes for really interesting (and kinda artsy) viewing.

Tip o' the hat to Wired Blog!

Thursday, August 24, 2006

Re: A Ghost Story

posted by on August 24 at 4:36 PM

I believe Charles' Gerontophobia stems from the misconception that elderly people trade in their sex lives for 20 extra rolls of skin and a hard-on for Matlock. Rest assured, Charles, just because you're old doesn't mean your sex drive withers away. My late grandfather was a very horny man. Hours after he died at the ripe age of 82 (or something), my grandmother ordered my mom into the basement to find his secret stash of porn. "Judy,” she said to my mom Katy, "go fetch Melvin's porn.” She turned to glare at me. "Go help your mother.”

I still don't know if she wanted that porn to commemorate her dead spouse or to sell on ebay. Either way, is there anything more life-affirming than an old man who likes porn? Or more horrifying than being ordered by your grieving grandmother to go ferret out your dead grandfather's stash? I think not.

Except for maybe this cat:

Speaking of cats and the elderly, a 14-year-old boy in Pennsylvania has been accused of harassing his geriatric neighbor by meowing at her.

The boy's family and [78-year-old Alexandria] Carasia do not get along. The boy's mother said the family got rid of their cat after Carasia complained to police that it used her flower garden as a litter box.

See what I mean? Growing old isn't solely about pity, medication and death. It's also about staying youthful through daily masturbation while earning the right to be senile.
When I am old, I will call the police every time the mailman comes, and play bridge and masturbate in the hours between.

Who's Drunkest?

posted by on August 24 at 3:44 PM

It is clearly time for the world's biggest drinking game: Milwaukee versus Scotland.

NY Times Fills a Critical Niche

posted by on August 24 at 2:38 PM

Apparently The Stranger needs to consider expanding the scope of its coverage to include olfactory-related news items.

A Ghost Story

posted by on August 24 at 12:59 PM

I do not dislike the old, and I definitely want to die like them--old. But, admittedly, I do hold an idea about old people, about their place in the human world, their role in the family, that they may not appreciate. This idea is best expressed in a Japanese ghost story collected and preserved by Lafcadio Hearn, a 19th century writer who was born in Europe, lived in America, and spent the last 14 years of his life turning Japanese--he moved to Japan in 1890 and found its society to be the best fit for his personality. The world remembers Hearn, whose Japanese name is Koizumi Yakumo, for Kwaidan, a book of ghost stories that was made into a beautiful film (by Masaki Kobayashi) that has an equally beautiful soundtrack (by Toru Takemitsu).

Let's get down to the story, which can be found in either In Ghostly Japan or Kwaidan: Stories and Studies of Strange Things (if I'm correct, kwaidan means weird or strange happenings--another quick note, anything by Hearn on Japanese society is worth reading for the content and not for the writing itself, which is mediocre).

The story goes like this: An old woman is dying, and sitting next to her, taking care of her, is a young woman (in her late teens). Feeling the end is near, the old woman, who is in bed, asks the young woman to take her outside to see a cherry blossom tree that's blooming. The young woman offers the support of her shoulders to the old woman, and the old woman stands, places her old hands on the young woman's shoulders, and is led to the tree in the garden. Once under the tree, with its falling pink petals, the old woman's hands suddenly let go of the shoulders, violently reach over and around the young woman, grab each of her breasts, squeezes them with the remaining energy in her long life, and dies, clinging to the breasts.

The young woman screams in horror.

Members of her family run outside, see what has happened, and attempt to remove the dead woman's old hands from her breasts. But the fingers wont separate. With the cloth, the old woman's flesh has somehow fused with the young woman's flesh. When a finger is pulled from a breast, the fused flesh tears apart and begins bleeding. At the end of the day there is only one solution left: they cut the old woman's wrists and hope the fixed hands eventually rot and drop off. But this never happens, and the young woman is forced to live with the old hands on her breasts.

And that is what comes to my mind when I think about old people. That is my image (those old hands and those young breasts), my symbol of their condition--or, more broadly, the human condition.

Elderly Weapons of Mass Destruction

posted by on August 24 at 10:33 AM


Okay. For, like, the fifth time in twelve months, an elderly driver has "accidentally" plowed down numerous bystanders at a public market.

The latest incident comes from Rochester, NY, where yesterday an SUV driven by an 83-year-old man rammed through at least eight food stalls at the Rochester Public Market, injuring eight people, one of them seriously. (Full story here.)

As usual, the carnage was blamed on the accidental slip of the oldster's foot from brake to accelerator—but do such accidents ever happen to anyone outside of the geriatric set?

Unlike Charles Mudede, I'm pro-old person. I'm fine with seeing them in pharmacies, I enjoy hearing their long rambling stories, and I wish them all the smoothest releases from this mortal coil when the time comes.

But how many innocent marketgoers must be crushed before states put tighter restrictions on septuagenarian-and-above drivers??

Independence for elders is important, but so is the ability to go to a farmer's market without being run over. Elderly driver reform now!

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Curious George: APELET!

posted by on August 23 at 3:54 PM

Curious George: monkey or ape?

P-I TV critic Melanie McFarland says "monkey." But there ain't no tail! And as one of her commentators points out,

Posted by unregistered user at 7/27/06 11:02 a.m.

Couple points about monky vs. CG the chimp: CG is seen brachiating throughout in the book. A monkey can brachiate but can not rotate the arm in a complete circle so as to brachiate. More importantly you would not see a monkey be able to hold a hand and walk because of the design difference in the shoulder. A monky does not walk on the knuckle but on the palm and CG either walks biped or on the knuckle further evidence that he is a chimp. The most obvious one is no tail but also the fact that he has great ape features in his hands and feet.

I like unregistered user! Hey unregistered user, can you come over to the Slog and post here? The trees are very swingy and grippable.

Via Metroblogging Seattle.

A sad day for China's horny-in-mourning

posted by on August 23 at 9:52 AM

Five people were recently arrested in east China for providing stripteases at funerals despite, I assume, healthy protests from all that their services are a necessary part of the grieving process.

Via Reuters:

"Striptease used to be a common practice at funerals in Donghai's rural areas to allure viewers," it said. "Local villagers believe that the more people who attend the funeral, the more the dead person is honored."

And the less clothes strippers are wearing, the more the dead are saluted.

Wealthy families often employed two troupes of performers to attract a crowd. Two hundred showed up at last week's funeral.


Now village officials must submit plans for funerals within 12 hours after a villager dies. And residents can report "funeral misdeeds" on a hotline.

Sigh. Losing a loved one and the right to bury your grief in a funeral lap dance from obliging strippers sounds like a double tragedy to me.

Tuesday, August 22, 2006


posted by on August 22 at 12:10 PM

We're coming up on the first anniversary of Hurricane Katrina and the tragedy in New Orleans, and I'm sure we'll be seeing plenty of one-year-later commemorations in the coming weeks. (If I had cable, I'd totally be watching this.)

Yesterday I caught an unusual bit of post-Katrina footage on YouTube (where I'd been directed by Towleroad). It's, uh, Celine Dion (ew) being interviewed via satellite by Larry King (ew!), and for the first minute or so I was certain the point was Celion Dion is an asshole. But then it totally turns around. By the end, or at least before the closing song, I was feeling something I'd never, ever felt before: the urge to applaud Celine Dion.

Check it out here.

Pickled Punks, Protested

posted by on August 22 at 12:00 PM

The press release begins like this: The "Seattle Museum of the Mysteries condemns Premier Exhibitions and the Seattle Theater Group's exhibit 'Bodies: The Exhibition' as a blatant exploitation of cadavers for financial gain."

I saw a different version of the same idea a few years ago in Chicago—real dead people, in action poses, some without skin, some just skeletons—and it was satisfyingly gross. And educational. Just like the marketing said.

The controversy: the dead folks in this exhibit come from Dalian, China ("the hub of the corpse-processing industry"), where poverty, corruption, human rights abuses, and a robust black market in human organs casts suspicion on the origin of the bodies. The exhibitors say they have certification from the Chinese government that the corpses (including bona fide, old timey pickled punks) died of natural causes, were not disappeared Falun Gong members, etc., etc. But, according to the Seattle Times they have refused to show the documentation.

The Museum of the Mysteries press release continues: "The directors feel the exhibit of over 21 cadavers which are displayed without consent of the deceased is a gross disrespect of the dead... The cadavers have no public verification of their origin and have a history of leaking fluids."

The recalls the Victorian-era anatomical museums and freak shows (also billed as educational). Ironically, the Museum of the Mysteries is the closest thing we have to those old-fashioned oddity emporiums—it features exhibits about crop circles, bigfoot, UFOs, an oxygen bar ("to help hangovers, headaches and allergies... ask for price and nose hoses at desk"), and their famous ghost tours. Wait a second—ghost tours? Isn't that exploitation of the dead for financial gain?

My Cat Did Not Write This

posted by on August 22 at 10:18 AM

I have a cat. A cranky old cat, who sleeps on my desk because it's warm under the lamp, and who has been known to walk across my key board. Thus, when someone sent me a link to this link, I viewed it with a flicker of interest. PawSense: Cat Proof Your Computer.
It's a software utility that recognizes "cat-like typing” and does two things. First, it plays a WAV file that (supposedly) annoys cats — the implication being that they'd then go away. Second, it freezes keyboard input and throws up this screen.
So I tested it. My cat lay on my desk next to me, snoring and occasionally batting irritably at my arm when my movement disturbed her slumbers. I turned up my speakers and played the first of the two special cat-annoying WAV files, watching her carefully.
No response. From her, that is. I myself found the discordant-harmonica noise very annoying.
Then I played the second cat-annoying sound, the hissing noise.
Nothing. She didn't so much as crack an eye. I strongly doubt she'd respond to it even if she were strolling across my keyboard. PawSense claims you can also record your own noises, but I can't believe that would do any good. Rammstein, the 1812 Overture, dogs barking, whatever, no mere WAV file would deter my cat from her chosen path. So that was pretty much a bust.
And frankly, I'm not sure my typing is always so reliably human-like. Some days it's hard enough staying confident about yourself as a writer without having some software program constantly questioning whether you have opposable thumbs.

Monday, August 21, 2006

Diary of a high quality mid-life crisis

posted by on August 21 at 5:14 PM

A Seattlite named Doug just called in to inform us that he is officially leaving Seattle and driving his motorcycle down to Tierra del Fuego, perhaps never to return. Several months ago, the vice president of the pharmaceutical company where he worked left Doug a typically long-winded voicemail message, which he was supposed forward to a co-worker. Doug forwarded the message with his own scathing rant attached... and then discovered he had accidentally replied to the message, instead of forwarding it.

This is what, according to Doug, his VP heard:

This fucking guy can go on forever without saying a goddamn fucking thing. This goddamn voicemail is going to take you fifteen minutes to listen to. After the first five minutes, you're going to want to slit your wrists! The second five minutes, you'll want to stab yourself in the fucking forehead! And the third five minutes, you're going to have to stab your eyes with fucking sticks just to stay awake long enough to listen to the FIVE SECONDS of information contained somewhere in this goddamn voicemail!!!

So Doug is a little crazy, yes. He says it had been a long week. In any case, shortly thereafter he quit his job, sold his house, bought a motorcycle ("this is the first time I'll be riding one legally," he says) and plans to escape to South America, his bags alledgedly packed with only "a digital camera, a laptop and underwear."

Yes, Doug will be making extensive digital documentation of his trip from Seattle to South America. He's hoping to write a "coffee-table-travel-adventure book" about it. His website is kind of small and weird right now, but who knows? He might even make it past Tijuana. All persons currently entrenched in Office Space-style jobs might want to take note.

The Things You Find on Flickr

posted by on August 21 at 3:38 PM

In search of aerial Seattle photos, I stumbled upon this interesting flickr page, where a kite was sent up above Cal Anderson park, right here next to our office. Kinda cool to see a new view of a park I walk through about 20 times a week.

Letter to the Art Director

posted by on August 21 at 10:31 AM


Corianton Hale, Art Director,

So, I'm picking up my weekly edition of the stranger and I turn to my girlfriend and ask if that's a picture of Alki on the cover. She looks at it and says that's Alki and you. I looked and sure enough there is my bloated self.

That got me wondering why someone would take my picture and why someone else would think it's Stranger cover worthy.

I'm progressive and a member of a local trade union, local 242. I'm an environmentalist, metaphysically inclined, and treat everyone I meet with respect regardless of race, orientation or anything else. I support local artists and music so, I'm kind of in alignment with The Stranger. Maybe that's why I'm on the cover.

But, when I really think about it, it's because I was snoring so loud that day, I was waking myself up and scaring the kids into the water. Thanks for giving myself and my friends a huge laugh.

Steve Olson,

Learn to Fly

posted by on August 21 at 10:30 AM

I drove through Vancouver, WA this weekend and came across this stunning sign:


Thursday, August 17, 2006

Black Hair; Korean Capital

posted by on August 17 at 3:12 PM

This documentary on the Korean American domination of the black American hair market has its problems--it lacks sophistication, the necessary Marxist analytic tools and moves, and a sense of humor--but the subject alone is fascinating. 111kelis.jpg Sisters are not doing it for themselves.

Smile, Fatty!

posted by on August 17 at 2:35 PM


The days of the camera "adding 20 pounds" are OVER, thanks to a new digital camera that slims people down at the touch of a button.

"[The slimcam setting] works by squeezing the picture in the middle, so the main object in focus looks thinner without distorting the surroundings," reports the, adding that the anti-fat phone is only one of the Comet company's forthcoming items designed to "appeal to women": "Other items picked out by the company's Gadget Angels include a phone that can predict when a woman will ovulate."

Full report here.

Re: Help Me Out Here

posted by on August 17 at 1:58 PM

Dan, I can't believe you didn't ask me. I know my chimps.

Here's where you can sign up to visit Washoe and the other chimps currently living in retirement at Central Washington University. Washoe knows ASL and has even been observed independently communicating with other chimps in ASL.

Any other primate questions? You know my email address.

Welcome Addition to the Office

posted by on August 17 at 11:51 AM

The people who make Sumo Urban Lounge Gear (modernized bean bags) sent us an Omni (floor pillow) and an Otto (ottoman) to try out. Verdict: We love it! It's an insane color of orange and is acting as a day-glo sun in our windowless copy department. We only wish the cover was of a softer material; it's a little too stiff and noisy (though spills wipe right off). Here's Nipper taking it for a ride:
sumo.jpgGet your own.

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

An Enigma Solves an Enigma

posted by on August 15 at 2:20 PM

His name is Grisha Perelman. He is Russian, "looks like Rasputin," likes hiking and picking mushrooms, and mathematicians think he may have solved the Poincaré conjecture, which I don't totally understand (something to do with how there isn't any difference between a rabbit and a cigar and a sphere) but it sounds elegant and important:

After posting a few short papers on the Internet and making a whirlwind lecture tour of the United States, Perelman, known as Grisha, disappeared back into the Russian woods in the spring of 2003, leaving the world's mathematicians to pick up the pieces and decide if he was right.

It appears he was. And, after rejecting offers from Princeton, Standford, and the European Mathematical Society, he has withdrawn into his beloved forests to hike and pick mushrooms. Or that's what his admirers are guessing:

Recently, Perelman is said to have resigned from Steklov. E-mail messages addressed to him and to the Steklov Institute went unanswered. In his absence, others have taken the lead in trying to verify and disseminate his work.

Monday, August 14, 2006

The Triumph of Lust

posted by on August 14 at 11:22 AM

I was a little worried for the Lusty Lady—that the new Four Seasons was going to harness the weight of its wealth (and its clients' prudishness) to crush the wee peep show next door. But now the hotel (after allegedly trying to buy out the building) is singing its praises as "a cultural icon." It's a boom-backlash success story—the hotel's happy, the Lusty's happy, even Mimi Gates is happy:

Another Lusty Lady supporter is Mimi Gates, 64, director of the art museum. She married Microsoft Corp. Chairman Bill Gates's father, William H. Gates II, in 1996. The museum has embraced its neighbor, which often uses the marquee to promote new art shows. One, for artist Chuck Close, read, ``Chuck Clothes.''
``The Lusty Lady's marquee is a Seattle landmark,'' Mimi Gates said.

Sunday, August 13, 2006

Spider Man

posted by on August 13 at 3:36 PM

Happens every year around this time. In the middle of the night. While I'm sleeping. Apparently I'm delicious.

Went to bed on Friday night and then woke up at 4:30 am thinking that something about my mouth felt funny. Got up. Looked into the mirror. My lower lip looked like two side-by-side Medjool dates. I could barely mumble. I looked like a cartoon.

And my wrist was itching. (Was I dreaming?) I found the source of the itch: a huge welt near the vein below my right thumb. I went outside to hail a cab for an emergency room. Impossible, even at Broadway and John, to hail a cab at 4:30 am, so I ended up calling one. While I was waiting for it I found another huge welt on my left elbow.

Spider bites.

The emergency room at Swedish was empty. The nurse checking me in made a crack about Angelina Jolie. She whisked me in. They put an IV in my arm—"The fastest way to get medicine into you," the doctor said—and plugged me up to heart monitor. (Was I dying?) The first thing they put into my bloodstream was some kind of adrenaline, followed by Benadryl, and since adrenaline and Benadryl have pretty much opposite effects on your body (one gives you energy, one puts you to sleep) I began twitching around on the bed. Totally normal, they said. Then they gave me what I can only describe as a bong. Don't remember what it was supposed to do, but I had to smoke it nonstop for 10 minutes. It gurlged and gave off smoke and everything.

Then I fell into a nap, and when I woke up the welts in my wrist and elbow were magically gone. My lips were slightly plumper than usual, but I could talk again. I left the emergency room shortly thereafter, stopped at Tully's for a slice of coffee cake because I was starving, thought about all the ways it could have been worse, walked home, and went back to sleep. On the couch this time. Wearing a Swedish emergency room wristband and a chunk of gauze taped to my arm.

Thursday, August 10, 2006

Text Message from Sean Nelson

posted by on August 10 at 12:48 PM

And I quote:

Note to air travelers. The security line begins in the parking garage and takes a minimum of two and a half hours to get through. If you're flying first class or have no carry-on luggage, it takes about ten minutes. I think this is a commentary on race and class in America, but I'm too cranky to parse it. Safe travels.

Today's Animal: the Invading Jellyfish

posted by on August 10 at 10:49 AM

They have an improbable, but beautiful, life cycle.

A group of jellyfish is called a smack.

You can eat them—slice and marinate the jelly bits, serve with sesame seeds and green onions—but you should know that they shit out of their mouths.

They are spineless. And brainless. And, thanks to global warming, they are infesting the Mediterranean. And clogging English canals. Some of the deadly ones are drifting around Rhode Island. And killing tourists in China. And starving sturgeon in the Caspian Sea: no more caviar.

Clearly, something must be done. Where is the president during the great jellyfish crisis? Battling crickets and cameras in Crawford.

Avoid Sea-Tac

posted by on August 10 at 9:27 AM

You may have heard something about a major terrorist plot being thwarted in Britain today. Liquid bombs? Scary shit.

It's also causing airports around the globe to run into major delays. These photos, taken at Sea-Tac, were sent to me at 8:30 a.m. The lines stretch out of the main terminal and snake all the way to the parking garage.



You Say It's Your Birthday

posted by on August 10 at 12:12 AM

Today is the 36th birthday of my partner, Monk. I'm very happy to be loved by someone who sings along to bad `80's pop songs with me, talks dirty to me in the voice of Yoda, and sometimes wears a Shriner fez or a Boy Scout uniform when he does BDSM. Happy Birthday, love.

Wednesday, August 9, 2006

Rebellion! Cars! Hamburgers!

posted by on August 9 at 5:07 PM

Ah, anarchy. I know you were co-opted long ago into Hot Topic Patches and Warped Tour bands. But recently I've noticed a local upswing in major corporations trying to market themselves as the paraphernalia of a hip, subversive youth counter-culture movement. For some reason, this is still surprising to me, if only because I can't tell if the campaigns are run by irony geniuses or woefully 50-something execs informed by Youth Culture consultants.

Example 1: The Toyota Yaris "YarisWorks" campaign that descended on Seattle this summer. In an attempt to get kids to buy the new Yaris car, Toyota has been using marketing tools usually utilized by grassroots organizations -- like canvassers on Broadway and a giant tent at Block Party offering free silk screening. They've also been handing out a pamphlet detailing different "D.I.Y. projects all made possible by the Toyota Yaris!" D.I.Y., for you old folks, is a culture based around the anarchy-offshoot idea of being a self-sufficient non consumer who creates things with one's own two hands. Those side-stapled zines you see around? From the D.I.Y. community. Stenciled graffiti designs on sidewalks? D.I.Y. art. Gutterpunk kids who sew their own clothes and publish their own vegan cookbooks? D.I.Y. for sure. Toyota gives directions for how to make a "D.I.Y. knitted cover for your flip cell phone!" Here's the buzzword-heavy explanation of the campaign on the YarisWorks website.

"Find out what happens when Yaris asks leaders of the indie arts and music communities to create rad, hand-on workshops, interactive nighttime parties and weekend celebrations of all things D.I.Y.!"
In addition to the aforementioned free silk screening, these workshops and interactive parties include a "Scarf + Button Making Class," a zine making event and a "Tofu Festival."

I called up Hazel Pine, who helps run the D.I.Y. Academy at Seattle's Zine Archive and Publishing Project, to ask how she felt about Toyota 's Block Party D.I.Y. stand. "We felt appropriated and pissed," she said, "Toyota was at one end with their huge-ass booth and we were at the other end with the cheapest table we'd begged Block Party to let us have... I think in terms of business they're being smart. People are going to be like, 'What's up with Toyota? But, hey! Free silk screening! I'm gonna do that!"

Example 2:Across Seattle, the fast food chain Jack in the Box has been closing down franchise stores and posting signs warning of the branch's "Radical Makeover!" A week or so later, the restaurants emerge with spray-painted stenciled Jacks in various "rad" poses. Look, it's Jack at a protest! Viva las hamburguesas!

J-box revolution!.JPG

The megaphone and raised fist are obviously meant to evoke the idea that Jack is leading... uh, someone... in an uppity revolution. And when will we see the first street team hired to stencil Jacks on curbs and Burger Kings? Is all this an attempt to separate themselves from the image I previously associated with the chain -- the subliminal Jesus fish formed by the O and X in their logo?


Dept. of Medicine

posted by on August 9 at 2:38 PM

I was just at the doctor's office, getting my first physical in too long, wearing one of those little gowns that opens in the back.

"Pull down your underpants," she said. "Now turn your head and cough."
"Is that a hernia-check?"
"Yes. Know why we ask you to turn your head?"
"So you don't cough on the doctor."
"Yes. Just learned that last year."

In other coughs: Scientists are hoping Monet can help them better understand smog.

Also: Dog flu!


posted by on August 9 at 12:41 PM

If you ever want to know anything, that's the number to call—the library's quick information line. Anything at all. Yes, there's always Google, but what if you don't know how to ask your question in the Google search field? What if you like a little human understanding with your research?

The question of the morning: How the hell does the water cooler in the office heat up water so quickly? I was trying to pour hot water into a cup. One or two drops. The jug on top had run out. I replaced the jug. Right away, I press the hot water spigot. Boiling hot water gushes into my cup. How?

I call 386-4636. Dave picks up. I explain my question and describe the water cooler we have. Dave:

We used to have one here. I believe it's an instant hot water thing. It could be there's a little hot water tank in there but I don't think so. Do you know what make and model it is?

Put him on hold, go turn the water cooler around, get down on my hands, find a long number under the word "model": F323HB040-RW210. No company name on the machine, no discernable logo.

Dave thinks this might be a model number combined with a serial number, does some typing, asks what company provides our water. I tell him it's All Water. He puts me on hold. A minute or so later he comes back:

OK. Thanks for waiting. I called All Water here in Seattle, and they said if you have hot and cold, the hot side is instant hot water—I don't know if you're familiar with instant hot water machines, but they heat the water in copper tubing that's surrounded by coils, which heats the water almost instantly—but the water in the cold side is held in a little refrigerated tank. If you were to run the cold water tap continuously, when that reservoir is empty, it would become room temperature. They don't use a hot water tank on the hot side because it would be more expensive to make a whole tank, and you only need a little at a time, as opposied to taking a bath.

Dave, ladies and gentlemen.

Tuesday, August 8, 2006

Peter Jennings, One Year Later

posted by on August 8 at 3:49 PM


I missed the fact that yesterday was the one year anniversary of Peter Jennings death. Recognize.

An Open Letter to Paul Allen

posted by on August 8 at 12:06 PM

Dear Paul:

As a fellow local celebrity and richie-rich, you've probably been following the controversy following Dale (known in the vernacular as "Ol'-One-Eyes”) Chihuly. I think we can agree that the man says some stupid crap. "I can sign my names 100 times a minute” and "I can't think of a good answer for that” are not the kinds of things one says when defending oneself in a public forum. And the whole lawsuit is a coup de dumbshit. But Dale isn't to blame—the rarefied air of wealth and fame has twisted his mind, like a stretch of Hubba Bubba around a dirty index finger. Dale sounds like a man who isn't used to explaining himself, a man surrounded by sycophants instead of the ungrateful, careless slobs most of us call friends.

Sound familiar, Paul?

Now there's help: me. Or, rather, a version of me, called StonerBuddy—an addition to a wealthy celebrity's retinue that, in this day of constant public exposure and the relentless pursuit of folksy cool, is as indispensable as a valet. StonerBuddy will be your everyday companion and common-man reality check, a tether to keep you from floating into the ether of celebrity hubris and delirium. He'll hang out, make nachos, ride around your private velodrome, play laser tag in your mansion. Most importantly, he'll keep you in touch with what everyday folks think and feel.

In lieu of sending samples of my previous work as StonerBuddy, I have custom-crafted a few rough examples of things StonerBuddy might say to you in the course of conversation:

You know that eight-person submarine you got? We should run an essay contest for middle schoolers and the winners get a date on it. A dinner date. With cool music. And the waiter in a combo tuxedo scuba suit thing. Yeah.
Fuck, dude, tater tots are good. Do you think aliens would like tater tots? Or would they be all robotronic and like: "These. Resemble. Human. Feces. Why. Do. You. Eat. Them.” And we'd be all like... uh... shit. I don't know. These tots are kind of grossing me out. You got any chips?
Duuuuuude! You've been keeping a giant sculpture of typewriter ribbons in storage? Are you fucking nuts? Break that shit out! Put it in fucking Westlake Plaza—no, wait. Strap it onto a car, dude. Then we can drive it around town. That'd be boss, dude.
You should get Styx to play your barbecue.

The client, of course, retains all credit for any ideas generated in conversations with StonerBuddy. StonerBuddy will remain in the background, quietly assisting the client be what he's always wanted to be—the coolest bazillionaire in the history of ever.

Here at StonerBuddy, we understand that the discreet man of distinction cannot risk opening his doors to any jibber-jabberer. Binding non-disclosure agreements are a standard part of the StonerBuddy package, as are non-asking-for-stuff contracts, assuring the client that his StonerBuddy will never, ever, ever request money, influence peddling, or assistance of any kind. The StonerBuddy stands to gain nothing except the pleasure of the client's company, a hoi polloi sidekick and readily accessible window into the soul of the rabble.

C'mon, Paul. Don't do a Dale. Let us help you help yourself.

Ordinarily yours,
Brendan Kiley

Monday, August 7, 2006

Married Couples Beware!

posted by on August 7 at 3:50 PM


Two fags got hitched in a casual, family-oriented, quietly religious ceremony in the Alki Room at Seattle Center on Saturday night.

Indeed, My great pal Jason had a commitment ceremony with his longtime beau Mike this weekend. (Maximum Mazel Tov you guys—great food & great dance party afterwards. Although, I was still recovering from the Thursday night party-bus thing).

The ceremony had been scheduled months in advance. The fact that it landed in the sickly shadow of the July 26 state Supreme Court ruling, added a poignant pitch to the evening.

Seeing all the little kids and gleeful parents and weeping sisters and single (straight) gals in foxy dresses dancing it to Britney Spears and Guns and Roses—made the supreme court's whole threat to the family/human race thing seem more comedy than bigotry.

And so it was, with a classy touch of comedy that the ceremony dealt with Madsen, Alexander, Sanders, Johnson, and Johnson. The officiant pronounced the couple "hitched" rather than married. And during his vows, Jason said: "We don't need a state supreme court decision to validate our marriage... Although, that would be nice."

But the bigotry of the Madsen, Alexander et al supreme court decision is real. And so, laugh as we all did at the "hitched" line & at Jason's impeccable quip, the comedy—as it always is—was mixed with equal parts tragedy. Why aren't Jason & Mike legal?


Another Haq

posted by on August 7 at 3:46 PM

It's surprisingly relieving to do a Google search for "Haq" and come up with stories about cricket.

(Favorite quote: "Never has a Test batsman more resembled an elephant climbing over a garden fence. The first surprise was that Inzamam toppled over in the first place: as a man built like a giant weeble, you would have thought his low centre of gravity would have saved him.")

Motorcycles are Dangerous; or, God is an Asshole

posted by on August 7 at 11:46 AM

Within the span of two hours, two brothers were killed in separate motorcycle accidents on the same stretch of road in central Pennsylvania. "One was headed to the scene of his brother's accident," reports the Associated Press.