Archive for July, 2007

Just throwing it out there

Every once in a while, I get some crazy idea for something I’d like to do on Seattle Metroblogging. I think it’s brilliant, and then I get cold feet, because it seems too elaborate for an unpaid blogger to pull off on a lunch break, or it’s going to generate way more heat than light. Or both. Or all that, plus some measure of disconcerting e-mails from Josh.

I’ve had one of these crazy ideas rattling around in my head, but I’ve finally decided I’m just not going to do it. But in the interest of letting my crazy idea possibly find a home in someone else’s fever dream of a blog, I’m just going to lay it out on the table and let one of you, our 17 readers, pick it up and run with it if you wish.

In the spirit of the Bulwer-Lytton Writing Contest, a “Write Like Charles Mudede” contest.

Tolle, decurre. Have fun.

Guests? MMTyler says: Science Fiction Museum

SFMuseumArtsy2.JPG

If your friends are at all fond of science fiction, they’re going to want to see the Science Fiction Museum. As a local and a host, I think that it’ll be the most fun the first time through, but that it bears at least several return visits so you can spend extra time in the areas that caught your attention the first time.

It’s not just science fiction, but I’m perfectly fine with that … the distinction between science fiction and fantasy is very blurry.

I know the next time I go, I’ll have a notebook, so I can jot down the names of some of the books recommended in the first section. I’d hoped that somewhere there was a list of “Books Mentioned,” but I never found it.

Not-so-Common Tours for Visitors in Seattle

Hosting out-of-towners? Visiting Seattle? Take these not-so conventional tours of our Emerald City:

Savor Seattle Food Tour: Apparently, even the locals are raving about the Savor Seattle Food Tour through the Pike Place Market. [site] [site] And while you certainly can stumble from booth to booth on your own and make a lunch of it (I’ve been doing it for years as a local), why not join this organized glimpse at a little of everything the Market offers. Tours last for two hours and include a stop at an infamous Tom Douglas hot spot and tastes of local wines, cheeses, seafood, produce, donuts, etc. The tour even includes treats such as a dinning guide, seasonal recipes and “Repeat Visitor” discount card. (Offered daily rain or shine, 10 a.m. to 12 p.m., $39 per person)

Seattle Run Tours: Seattle is one of the top 10 healthiest cities in the nation, so jump on the Seattleite bandwagon and jog your way through our city! Jogging tours are offered for beginning and advanced levels and cover popular tourist destinations, including the waterfront, Seattle Art Museum, Pioneer Square, the Olympic Sculpture Park, Fremont, Gas Works Park, Experience Music Project, the Seattle Center and Space Needle, etc. The price of the running tour includes a T-shirt and water bottle, and 5 percent of proceeds are donated to Seattle Children’s Hospital. (Email to book desired tour dates, $50 per person)

See Seattle’s Walking Tours and Events’ Mystery and Scavenger Hunt: This tour challenges you to search for Seattle’s quirks, secrets and trivia, and claims it is a “quest for the famous and infamous, the historic and hysteric” of Seattle. Sound fun? Now, decide if you want to take the tour on foot or in a limo, and sign up. The contest is designed so that Seattleites do not have an advantage over Seattle visitors, and covers 16 different search areas, including places such as the Pike Place Market, and questions such as, “The Perennial Tea Room sells the blend of tea that was thrown overboard at the Boston Tea Party. What name do they sell it under?” (Two-hour tours offered year-round for $20.00 per person, $400.00 minimum plus Washington state sales tax. Limo services not included in the price.)
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in other blogs : that guy, cab logic, bagels, girl talk

Doublevision Flickr
this photo by dean forbes [flickr] is the “most interesting” creative commons licensed photo about seattle taken since 1 July [#]. Sadly, it wasn’t in our our group pool [#], but your interesting photos should be.
  • welcome to the club: this guy reacts to joining us, KUOW, Sunday Styles, and the Portland Mercury on the Slog’s list of enemies [seattle.lj]
  • City Hall gets bagels [dailyweekly]
  • People seem to believe that it is impossible (or illegal) to hail a cab in Seattle. Surely I’m not the only one who does this without incident on a regular basis? [seattletraveler]
  • awesome! 1.2 hours in 43 high-quality audio tracks of Girl Talk at the Capitol Hill Block Party for your enjoyment. [iamserio.us]

KUBE and The End, the new Swell and Slices

Last year, I got myself all worked up into a lather about my neighborhood community council and how I thought they were trying to kill my neighborhood bar. [mb, mb] The horrors! After the initial kerfuffle however, [pi, stranger] the business owners and residents backed to their respective corners and have been mostly silent.

Perhaps both sides were awaiting the results of Nickels’ nightlife ordinance, because even when I attended some meetings this spring (and was totally recognized, despite my formerly bank robber like bio photo) nothing about noise ordinances and good neighbor agreements was raised.

Even Erica C. Barnett noted in her follow-up last month that everything seemed pretty much the same as the summer before [slog]. I will note that the Seattle PD has had an increased presence at the beach this year and it may be making the difference. BUT I have had a low grade concern that once summer started that the council would start pointing fingers at businesses again.

Well, I was mostly right. Although most residents have been focused on the Statue of Liberty plaza debacle [wsb], a few have been trying to raise rile over The End’s weekend broadcast from the beach [end]. In an email to the Yahoo Group subjected: “The End of Serenity” one member lambasted the advertisements which promised to “take over the beach” and got all up in arms that there will be “LIVE MUSIC” and horror or horrors: bbq. OMG HOW DARE THEY? Another local music station KUBE has also been taken to task and some people want to throw in some street vendors for good measure as well, “All these private use on public property without proper permits have to be stopped before it gets out of control.” Oof. I guess, I should just be happy that the radio station complaints seem to be from just a few.

It doesn’t seem like this has escalated into the mess that was last summer, but I would like to know why this has to be an issue every year. How is a radio station broadcast more annoying than the throngs of squalling children that stomp past my house during the pirate invasion or the (sorry, but) totally awful “rock” bands that play at the so-called sanctioned festivals on the beach?

On a semi-related topic, I also have been wondering about why the Seattle Music Festival at Alki Beach [nwa] hasn’t happened the last couple of years. Is it fundraising or is it concerns about noise complaints as well?

Guests in Eastside, desperate for Chihuly? MMTyler says: Lincoln Center

No joke, this happened to me (the desperate for Chihuly, Eastside situation. Explanations of “That’s Tacoma, not Bothell” didn’t help.) Well, Bellevue’s Lincoln Center has a totally nifty three-story waterfall wall with Chihuly bobbles and seaweedy things, plus a massive three-piece hanging glassworks extravaganza that looks like Mardi Gras exploded upon re-entry.
Chihuli%26WaterfallWall2.JPG
It’s very calming to watch the sheeting waterfall against the bobbing bobbles. If it’s raining outside, relaxation will be total … unless, you know, you look up and see the Vengeance of New Orleans.
And did you know Lincoln center has Washington’s only Container Store? Sweet.

Iron Chef Seattle: Kitfo

When I first discovered kitfo, an Ethiopian dish involving raw ground beef, I thought I had hit food heaven. I have since been scouring the city in search of the best kitfo in Seattle, and have narrowed it down to the final two. Because dinner is not kitfo on its own, I rated each restaurant on multiple basis.

Entrant 1: Dahlak is actually an Eritrean restaurant (Eritrea being a small nation which suceeded from Ethiopia in 1993 and thus shares culinary tradition), and is located on Rainier, just south of the Oh Boy Oberto factory.

Enrant 2: Meskel is right in the heart of Seattle’s Ethiopian restaurant district at the corner of 26th and Cherry–less than 100ft from at least two other previously eliminated restaurants.

While Meskel’s ambience is quite nice, the individuality of Dahlak’s is quite noticible. Meskel is a pleasant room in what appears to be an old house, with a bar downstairs and a patio for pleasant outdoor seating outside. The rich colors of the room evoked a tribal feel, and the non-functioning fountain on the patio offered a European feel. The statue appeared to be a cross between the Mannequin Pis and Michelangelo’s David. Dahlak, on the other hand is built in an old strip club and retains a dull mustiness in the air from years of windows never being open. The air smells of the incense used in traditional coffee ceremonies. The TV constantly blares Eritrean television, which varies from pasta making to what has to have been the Horn’s version of the Telenovela. Winner here, based on originality and oddity is Dahlak.

Rest of categories after the jump.
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M’s Deal Julio Mateo, And There Was Much Rejoicing

That’s right, the Mariners dumped relief pitcher Julio Mateo on the Philadelphia Phillies for solid prospect minor-league role player warm body… you know, who cares? They took out the garbage.

If you recall, Mateo was arrested in New York back in May:

Mateo, 29, was arrested after turning himself in to police Saturday evening. Police say around 2:30 that morning, the reliever returned to the team’s hotel, where an argument ensued with his wife, Aurea. The criminal complaint says Mateo punched her in the eye, choked her and bit her lip, resulting in a cut that took five stitches to close. Three children, including the couple’s month-old son, were in the next room.

And then later we found out that on April 28:

Police were called to Mateo’s Dexter Avenue North apartment on the morning of April 28 after a dispatcher reported hearing a heated argument and two hang-up calls to 911. When two officers arrived, they found Mateo’s wife, Aurea Mateo, and her sister crying in the hallway near two broken phones. Police said Mateo’s wife put her hand on her neck and stuck out her tongue, as if she was being choked.

He’s not exactly the cute cuddly guy the Mariners like to run out there for all the children to look up to and the teenage girls to swoon over. Heck, he’s not even the cuddly sort of convict those women who write letters to prisoners swoon over. The fact the Mariners got a living, sentient lifeform (pending routine medical exam) is the shock of the day (today, of course, being the trade deadline).

Adios, Julio. And good riddance.

South of Seattle: The Ugly Buses of Portland

I realize now that I left out one very important fact about Portland buses in my last post. Portland buses are ugly.


Seriously. At least Seattle’s buses are a uniform shade of emerald green. And, you know, not decorated with strange purple and yellow solar systems. Take that, Fareless Square!

South of Seattle: The Buses of Portland

Everyone loves to complain about Seattle’s public transit, myself included [mb]. And what better way to complain than a regional rivalry? And so, Seattle’s friendly little Metro buses are always getting picked on by Portland’s Trimet system, shiny with its cute Venn-diagram-esque logo and MAX light rail. But this week I asked myself, is transit that much better for our little cousin to the south?

I first experienced Trimet as I stumbled off the Amtrak from Seattle last Wednesday (awesome train ride, by the way), directions from Portland’s neat and efficient trip planner carefully copied into my notebook. The first thing I noticed? Free. Unlike Metro’s downtown peak hours Ride Free Zone, Trimet’s Fareless Square [#] extends 24 hours and covers a generous swatch of downtown and adjacent areas. The “square” even juts out across the river to run over to the convention center and shopping area, charmingly destroying any actually squareness of the map. With the timeframe and coverage, Trimet displays a commitment to pragmatism as well as encouraging people to use transit in every sphere of life. Seattle could take a lesson here.

But always one to look a gift horse in the mouth, I have to complain about the route maps. Route maps are always a challenge: there’s just no room for detail, so how can you communicate context and major landmarks? Seattle’s maps will throw me off sometimes (especially combined ones or expresses, like that awful 70/71/72/73 schedule), but generally you have some idea where in the world you are. By the time I found the schedules on my first bus (tucked up against the ceiling in the middle of the bus, what?) and figured out the jumble of cross-streets and unmarked timepoints, I had already ended up at the route terminal–the wrong one. Shape up, Portland.

But Portland feels more, well, committed to riders than Seattle. Many bus shelters include LED signs displaying the next bus arrival time, a handy bonus that Seattle has yet to expand beyond a couple of stops on Aurora. The website is intuitive, informative, and well-designed. Schedules and signs list the ways to contact Trimet, including a 24/7 customer service line. One gets the feeling that Portland wants you to ride, whereas Seattle just want to get you the hell off 520. And of course, there is the hallowed light rail system, envy of transit fans everywhere. I’ll save my thoughts on the MAX for another time.

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