Archive for February, 2007

Ballard-filter: Stubborn Scandinavian explorer defies title, stays put




photo by cornicell [flickr]

I really didn’t want to post this but it’s been gnawing at me most of the evening. The unbelievable amount of puns, dumb ethnic jokes, and Almost Live-inspired satire made available by this story makes my head spin. For the sake of respecting myself in the morning, I’ll try my best to avoid all of the above.

For those who don’t read the newspaper or watch television (do you people exist?), yesterday a 17-foot bronze statue of Leif Erikson [wiki] was scheduled to be removed from its perch above Shilshole Marina to be refurbished and installed in a new memorial to Scandinavian immigration sponsored by the Ballard-based Leif Erikson International Foundation [#]. For the past two days, crews have worked in vain to lift Leif from his pedestal. It turns out the obstinate Norwegian’s legs are full of concrete which is secured to the base with rebar. Crews are hopeful that at noon tomorrow the statue will let loose from its moors. The Erikson Foundation has invited the public to attend to witness what they are calling the “wow moment”.

The statue was first erected in conjuction with the 1962 World’s Fair (with $42,000 in private funds) to the protests of the Seattle Parks Department “on the grounds it might set a precedent for other ethnic groups” [col].

Update: Day 3 and still no “wow moment”. A much more circumspect Kristine Leander, president of the Leif Erickson International Foundation, refused to predict when said moment will occur. It could be Friday or it could be the weekend. “He just keeps surprising us,” said Leander [times]. That he does, Kristine.

in other blogs: legos, web, zondervan, nerd, robots

Viaductkids Flickr
photo by Matt Westervelt [flickr], via our public group pool [flickr]

  • Legos as social engineering in the classroom enrages free-marketer [tcsdaily]
  • Adobe taking photoshop to the web? [cnet]
  • Zondervan brings emerging church leaders to Mars Hill [radicalcongruency]
  • Capitol Hill gets too pricey for one nerd [nerdseyeview]
  • Robots take over the highways [times]

I Guess Seattle is a World Class City

345093753_94a53a3e99_m.jpgAppearing along side world class cities such as New York, Copenhagen, Hong Kong, Tokyo, and Paris, Seattle has been featured by the Project for Public Spaces as being one of the worst waterfront cities.

Seattle residents adore their scenic mountain vistas. But increasingly they are seeing them through windshields while stuck in gridlock on the Alaskan Way Viaduct, an elevated highway that divides downtown Seattle from the waterfront. The Viaduct’s future is now the subject of intense debate, due to doubts about its structural integrity. The road may require extensive reconstruction or be replaced with a tunnel. Over 100,000 cars use the Viaduct each day, and deciding its future will be far from easy, since some solutions involve shutting down sections of the central Seattle waterfront for as long as five years.

The situation is quite similar to what San Francisco faced in the aftermath of the 1989 Loma Prieta earthquake, which finally led the city to demolish the elevated Embarcadero Freeway. San Francisco made a difficult decision: They did not rebuild this busy artery. Today they are reaping the dividends with the greatest waterfront renaissance in the United States. Seattle could also make huge gains by taking down the Viaduct along the waterfront, and investing in transit service instead. The waterfront now feels disconnected from downtown, but the removal of the viaduct would open up new links between people and Puget Sound. Public destinations that are floundering today would flourish.

There. World. Class. I’m glad that’s settled.

Photo courtesy of croctommy.

Went to a Buttrock Suites party last Saturday night

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photo of Nick Garrison, swiped from Samantha’s flickr

If you weren’t in the crazy hopped up on goofballs crowd last Saturday night, you really need to start listening to me. I know what I’m talking about (most of the time). Buttrock Suites was just as advertised (read: pretty damn awesome). It could only have been better if I were a bit taller, so I could have seen over the dickdude in front of me who had the uncanny ability to always put his head in front of mine. But that’s not Buttrock Suites’ fault, it’s his and probably my short mother’s.

Despite the high quality of the entire production, — hello Mr. Roger’s neighborhood version of Welcome to the Jungle, a so-ridiculous-I-want-one “godzilla” costume, and a grade-school version of Run to the Hills — I do have a favorite. Do you know that horrible song Kiss Me Deadly by one Lita Ford [youtube, wiki]? You know the one that once you hear that first line you can’t get it out of your head? Well, prior to last Saturday night, a friend and I would always use that song to enact terrible revenge for any and all slights. A mere mention of going to a party last Saturday night would wreck havoc on the victim for hours only to be relieved by listening to the excruciating warblings of said Metal Queen. But after last Saturday night? Well, I have to tell you, Nick Garrison fucking KILLED that song. So much so that I completely love it now. I WISH I had a video of it to link, but alas I do not, I only have my memories…which I will cherish forever.

I won’t go so far as to say that Buttrock Suites are my people, but I do so love them. If you get a chance, shower with themto see them again, do so, it’s a mind scramble.

Harlan Ellison v. Fantographics

Brinkman's Beast
From Beasts!: Chenoo, by M. Brinkman

Just when you thought Fantagraphics was breaking into the mainstream – what with the new Georgetown store front and great new publications, Beasts! anyone? – the local comics store/archiver is again under attack…or still, I guess.

The facts are thus: Harlan Ellison, a well-known, award-winning author, is suing Fantagraphics for libel. For Fantagraphic’s version of events, check out today’s Flog post [#, tcj]. However, I highly recommend also checking out the court documents posted up on Harlan Ellison’s site [#]. It’s totally ripped from the hallowed halls of the People’s Court! Featuring gems like the following:

“Unfortunately, Groth revealed himself to be a scheming pathological liar and little more than an obsessively vindictive and petty man trying to be a mover and shaker. The phrase ‘no deed goes unpunished’ speaks volumes in this instance.”

Ouch! And replete with unintentional (perhaps) irony:

“These offhanded if provocative remarks were quite clearly non-actionable ‘opinions’ about Fleisher’s writing and its laudable literary origins, and not slanderous statements suggesting the speaker’s actual knowledge of Fleisher’s mental state. But there was no reasoning with or apologizing to the temperamental Fleisher; he was determined to sue and in fact he did.

Emphasis mine, of course. I’m not going to speculate on the veracity of the complaint – I’m too chicken someone would want to sue me or, maybe, go so far as to grope me on stage (!) [wiki]. You know, if I were ever to be famous enough to be speaking at the Hugo Awards…ahem. All I’m going to say is now might be an ideal time to do some shopping for your favorite comic/graphic novel lover.

Wednesday Agenda: Big Heads and Motels

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image via New West Motels

Who knew that Big Head Todd and the Monsters were still touring? I swear that it was Big Head Todd that wrote the fantastically weird song “Moose in My House,” although it doesn’t seem to have made it onto a record. Can’t imagine why. Anyway, they’re playing tonight at the Showbox, with Reckless Kelly. Tickets are $25.

I have a little crush on the New West Motels, who are playing tonight at the Crocodile with Lions in the Street. Maybe it’s because they sing songs that are quiet and sweet and want to be played during rainstorms and leave-takings and handholdings. Maybe it’s because Rob Sharp is a cutie. Either way, they’re perfect for your Wednesday night. Seattle Powerpop even has an interview with Rob so that you’re all prepared.

CompUSA BSoDs its Seattle stores

CompUSA is BSoD'edTry this: Go here. Under state, choose “Washington”, “all locations”, and “Go!” How many CompUSA locations are in the state? And weren’t there three or four in the Seattle metro area just yesterday?

Well, there were, before CompUSA decided to dump 126 stores, moving their focus onto stores in medium sized markets. In the West, “medium sized market” is defined as “not having a Fry’s.” (Personally, it’s a bit annoying, because CompUSA, for all their overpricedness and someone dimwitted staff, was 25 miles closer to me than Fry’s, and Best Buy doesn’t carry all that many CPU power supplies.)

So, if you remember where the CompUSA locations used to be in town, you might swing by there in the next week or two and see what bargains the liquidators are putting out there. Or, wait a couple more weeks and see if they’re going to take off more than 10%.

Hail Midwest Airlines!

Back in the day, if you had to fly anywhere in the Midwest, the hidden secret was to fly Midwest Express. Long after all the airlines had switched to seats that crunched all your joints into new shapes, Midwest Express was still seating people in coach in nice, roomy seats, where they served your food with full-sized metal silverware and your drinks in actual glasses, and gave you a warm chocolate chip cookie with every meal. It was like flying in first class, without the whole paying-first-class-prices and ending-up-next-to-an-overpaid-exec-yacking-on-his-cell-phone problem.

Why all the creature comforts? Well, Midwest Express started life as a corporate airline for Kimberly-Clark execs. Customer service was more than just a mantra they spouted at company meetings.

9/11 and the subsequent airline bust screwed up a lot of the fun: the seats are narrower now, though the legroom is just as good, and I don’t think you can get metal silverware for your in-flight meals any more. But, by God, your knees are still relatively safe, and Midwest Express–now called Midwest Airlines–still serves their chocolate chip cookies.

The good news: Midwest Airlines is now inaugurating non-stop service to Seattle!

The bad news: You have to fly to Milwaukee.

Except actually that’s not as bad as it sounds. Ever tried to fly through Chicago O’Hare to get somewhere in the Midwest? After you’ve gotten stuck on the O’Hare taxiway for forty-five minutes for the fifth time, it gets old. Milwaukee’s General Mitchell Field is a lot quieter than O’Hare and a lot easier to fly in and out of. Plus, Milwaukee is the only airport I’ve ever heard of with an utterly cool used bookstore in the main terminal.

Thanks, Seattlest!

Around the Metblog globe: Elevated expressway woes

I haven’t had anything to say about the Viaduct that hasn’t already been said and more than once, but reading around the Metblog empire I learned that Seattle’s not the only city dealing with transport woes: the city of Karachi (Pakistan) is considering an elevated expressway of their own. [Karachi mb].

Sadly, it doesn’t appear that they also get the joy of a meaningless and resource wasting mail-in ballot on the issue.

More Music at the Moore

Friday, March 2 local teen musicians mash up sounds ranging from bluegrass to glam metal with all points inbetween, featuring J’Nai Bridges, Nick Dumas, Alexa Jarvis, Peter Johnson, Rob Lusk-Fauquert, Sam Shrieve, Shpilkes, Theme for Murder, Julia Winn and dancer Taylor Romar with live visuals by The Now Device. Tickets are $15 adults/ $12 students if bought in advance through Ticketmaster [link], or $17/$14 DOS. Show starts 11:00 am for the school matinee and 7:30 pm for the evening performance. MoreMusic-01.jpg
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