Archive for February, 2006

Turf: Where the locals eat?

I watch too much TV, and specifically, too much of Rachel Ray’s “$40 a day” show. How could I not? I’m all about food, and the optimism she shows every time she travels to a new place is paid back to her tenfold in the delicious food she gets to eat there. So it was only natural that I would eventually think that it would be ok to ask a local where the nearest, good, place to eat is. After all, Rachel trusts the locals.

This happened last Sunday in Pike Place Market. I already know a bunch of good places to eat, in and around the market, and I should have stuck to those. But there I was with a couple of visitors, and we were hunting for the Australian Pie Company store which, as it turns out, disappeared about four months ago. Thanks for updating that website, guys. Really. I mean it.

I turned around to the helpful guy in the store where the Pie shop used to be and in a moment of sheer folly, asked him whether he knew of a good place to eat that wasn’t too touristy. He said he liked to go to the Turf, although it wasn’t for everyone; and pointed further up the street. As we schlepped further up the street, my visitors asked if maybe he liked it because it was so close. I laughed it off, but now I wonder.

Turf, truly, has to be one of the most awful places I’ve ever been. I gave it every chance: which means I asked the waitress what was good, and she said everything, especially the egg rolls. I had an egg roll, and it was probably the best part of the experience, but as egg rolls go, I’ve had better and I’ve had much worse.

I also ordered a grilled cheese sandwich which was made from that cheese that you get in packages of individually-sliced cheese. It was served up on bread that seemed to have been painted brown on the outside to simulate toast-marks, because it for sure was not toasted in any way.

My companions ordered hamburgers. The cheeseburger was fine and good. Not as good as Wibbleys, but good, not bad. When the chili burger came out, the look on my friend (the Swiss guy)’s face was priceless. “I thought I was getting a hamburger with chopped up chilli peppers in it, not chili con carne!” he exclaimed in disgust. It just goes to show you that even when you’re fluent in a language, it still finds ways to slap you in the face. Although the chili burger patty was fine, a small bite exposed the chili as being canned, and therefore quite awful. There was a couple of slices of that individually-sliced cheese again, chopped into small pieces and scattered on top. Eventually over the course of the meal they melted on top of the untouched plate of food.

And I’m pretty sure the fries were from those huge packages of frozen Ore-Ida potatoes you get from the grocery store.

The Edge of the World

Sometimes travel decisions are as simple as character movement in 1980s videogames. For a destination last weekend, I pushed the joystick up and to the left as far as it would go, and a few hours later ended up in the north-westernmost part of the continental US.

Cape Flattery (which will get you nowhere except Tatoosh Island) is part of the territory of the qwi·qwi·diččat nation. Buying a visitor’s pass at tribal headquarters (or at Washburn’s General Store) entitles you to drive out to the trailhead, where a 3/4 mile, mostly-flat hike takes you to the view seen above. Watch for nesting bald eagles on the way — they seem to enjoy ocean-front real estate.


No Summer Nights this year

The P-I is reporting that One Reel has cancelled this year’s Summer Nights concert series.

Details are still sketchy, but apparently One Reel was prevented from moving the show to Gasworks Park as planned due to neighborhood protests. Specifically, a neighborhood organization called “Friends of Gasworks Park” apparently filed a lawsuit that prevented One Reel from finalizing arrangements, claiming they didn’t do sufficient ‘environmental impact” study.

Understandable concerns? Or classic NIMBYism?

The end of Art Squad


Art Squad, an ever-changing cadre of artists that have housed themselves on the fifth floor of the Western Building for the last couple of years, will be having its last First Thursday extravaganza this week. They’re closing down due to the usual kinds of pressures that are bound to crop up whenever you get a bunch of creative types together: flaring tempers, flaky studiomates, lack of funds, and so on.

Showing on Thursday will definitely be Russel Hay’s sailors, Caroline Colon’s shopping carts, Sarah Wright’s light fetish photos, and Janet Miller’s lovely mixed media encaustics. There has been some talk of either a jug band or a guy playing the saw, and I’ll be there as usual, playing doorgirl/bouncer.

5-Year Anniversary

While walking along a path through UW, passing Husky Stadium yesterday, I noticed that the crows were agitated, and hundreds of the cawing birds took flight, turning the sky into an Escher drawing. I started to ruminate on the strange actions of animals, and suddenly my mind was full of strong and ominous thoughts of earthquakes, since some strange animal behavior is said to foreshadow such events.

Then I realized that we are perched on the 5-year anniversary of the Nisqually earthquake, and it all came into focus. That was definitely a one-of-a-kind experience for native Northwesterners. For me, it was just a prelude for what was to come. I was working for a tech startup that was ready to tank, and that day would have been our last if the earthquake hadn’t interrupted the layoff proceedings.

Everyone was rather sobered (no pun intended) by the news of the previous night’s Mardi Gras riots in Pioneer Square. Although things were fairly quiet that morning on the top floor of a 2nd Avenue building, we were quite used to moving and shaking – large trucks often rumble down that street, rattling the windows, and our code jockeys on the floor below us were inclined to shake us up during their Nerf gun fights. But those usually happened in the afternoon when there was steam to blow.

Truth be told, by the time we realized it was an actual earthquake, it was already halfway over. But the real clue was the dust and paint that started to fall from the ceiling, and we got that rolling action that we knew couldn’t possibly have come from the guys downstairs.

Of course, we did exactly what one shouldn’t do during a tremor: we ran down the stairwell to the street. Fight or Flight doesn’t translate well in situations where your choices are Stand In A Doorway or OMGWTFRUN, especially when you’re not quite sure if this century-old building is going to stay upright. Though, I’m sure that’s a lack of experience in earthquakes speaking.

We went home, of course. We weren’t sure if our building was safe for us to return. I took a couple pictures as I walked up the Hill to Broadway. Construction workers had ceased their work near the Paramount, and were milling around on the street in their hardhats, waiting for possible aftershocks. (Clicking the photos will take you to a larger version.)

The facades of several of the older brick buildings just east of the freeway were lying in heaps of rubble on the sidewalk. I got home, and a glass vase had fallen off of its shelf, but that was the extent of the damage for me. I proceeded to round up all my friends for an “Aftershock Party.”

Our office building didn’t fall down, but we came in the next day to desks and computers covered with dust, and a bit of a cracked up ceiling. When we walked in (late, I might add), people were packing up their personal effects, and we were debriefed and given our severence checks. My life had just become a little more complicated than it had been the day before.

How was it for you?

February 28, 2001, 10:54 AM
Magnitude of 6.8
Depth of 52 km
Hypocenter 17.8 km NE of Olympia.

Links of interest:
· Nisqually Earthquake Clearinghouse
· King County Response
· Seattle Times Archive

Know any teenagers?

Seattle Metblogs loves 826 Seattle, an organization dedicated to helping young people develop their writing skills ( They’ve got some exciting workshops coming up for ages 13-14 to 18: on “found writing” (starting March 6th), on creating comic books (starting March 11th), on food reviewing (starting April 3rd), and on writing movies (starting April 8th). Check out the details here, find a teenager, and sign them up for something!

Metblogs: Now with more Nashville

That’s right, friends, we’ve expanded once again: to Nashville.

When I drove through Nashville on my way to Seattle a few years ago, my stereo broke. Nashville broke the one thing in my car that I was counting on to keep me sane through places like Iowa and South Dakota. I have held a grudge. But this Metblogs outpost might help me heal the rift, since I’ll be in Nashville for a conference in two weeks and am willing to make amends with the city.

Any day now …


Any day now, the UW Quad will be absolutely overrun with amateur shutterbugs, irresistibly drawn to the profusion of cherry blossoms like moths to flames. As always, the southernmost trees have popped first, but all of the others will soon follow to create one of Seattle’s most beloved annual photo ops. Having already gone photo-happy in the Quad myself, a couple of years ago, I now have the luxury of declaring it all just so clich├ęd … so this will be my only photo of the Quad this year. But hey, if you get any great shots this year, do share!

Grey’s Anatomy: Karma Repayment Plan (season 2, episode 19)

In this edition of Grey’s O’Malley’s Anatomy, George takes over the narration. Hey — it’s just like that episode of My So-Called Life where Brian Krakow got to narrate the episode instead of Angela. On top of that excitement, we completely forgot to assign someone to do this recap. All that you really need to know is that George and Meredith’s icky pre-hookup at the end of the last episode turned out to be even worse than you thought it would be. Tears of a non-orgasmic variety from Meredith resulted in George storming out of her bed and eventually out of the house. And, for that matter, workplace awkwardness exploded into him telling everyone about the whole top-secret hookup, falling down the stairs, and unexpected flirtation from an orthopod who still admired him due to his elevator heroics. Plus, he moves in with Chief Wannabe #2 and Sandra Oh when his plan of taking his suitcase and camping out in the alley behind Seattle Grace didn’t pan out.

And how could we forget — Addison gets a very nasty poison oak infection in a very inconvenient location. Yet, the perils of living in a trailer, taking Dog for a walk, and urinating in the great outdoors, seem to leave her more endearing, both to the audience and to Dempsey. Go figure.
Sorry for the inconvenience. Maybe we’ll give this one a fuller recap when it hits reruns.

Rest easily, Octavia Butler

Seattle-based science fiction writer Octavia Butler died Saturday of what appears to have been a stroke.

Butler, 58, was a Nebula and James Tiptree-award winner, as well as the recipient of a MacArthur Genius Grant, the first genre writer to be so honored. She was one of the first African-American women to make a real mark on the SF literary world. Butler released a new novel just last year, Fledgling, her first in several years.

Online tributes from other writers are pouring in: Steven Barnes, Neil Gaiman, and Cory Doctorow are the ones I’ve seen so far….

EDIT: The Seattle P-I ran a lovely tribute as well.

Terms of use | Privacy Policy | Content: Creative Commons | Site and Design © 2009 | Metroblogging ® and Metblogs ® are registered trademarks of Bode Media, Inc.