Archive for the ‘metroblogging7gifts’ Category

Seattle’s Gift to the World the Seventh: a mixtape of sorts

Among others, Berlin [#] and Vienna [#] have both tried to give electronic music; Montreal tried to pass off Celine Dion [#]; Philadelphia threw American Bandstand and Pink into the mix [#]; New York celebrated their music & theater [#]; DC handed off Sousa [#]; so we couldn’t let the 7 days of Metroblogging Gifts to the World pass without mentioning Seattle’s vibrant music scene, in this admittedly non-representative final entry in the series:

Everything All the Time from Band of Horses just might be the best album out of Seattle this year. Rising from the ashes of the incomparable chamber pop of Carissa’s Wierd, Ben Bridwell, Mat Brooke, and an ever changing cast of the usual suspects came up with a simultaneously new and retro americana. The album calls to mind driving along a dusty empty highway, conversations in crowded bars with impeccably curated jukeboxes, long summer days with baseball games in public parks that end with the sun hanging low on the horizon as its light bounces off the water and tumbles up the hills like gold. There is nostalgia for skipped days of school and tenuous stages of a budding romance. It has resilience of surviving a particularly rough half-decade. It wears its heart of its sleeve and includes lovely square postcards along with the liner notes.

Impossibly bright and fuzzy guitars explode out of nowhere [mp3], a tentative pedal steel melody allows itself to be devoured so the song can turn into something entirely different at the midpoint, and there is a quiet harmony about Florida. Mat isn’t in the band anymore and Ben and the rest of the gang are leaving us for one of the Carolinas. But even when it’s reminding me of something else, Everything All the Time will remind me of Seattle.

The reason that I mention all of this is that Band of Horses is just one of many signed to Sub Pop, our friendly neighborhood label that, for better or worse, brought you grunge and put Seattle on the map in the 1990s. Although they started in Olympia (which is also home to the state’s capitol as well as giftworthy record labels Kill Rock Stars and K Records. And Sleater-Kinney! But this is not, is it?), they eventually moved and claimed Seattle as their home base for spreading the word about the music scene by way of a singles club. Imagine Netflix, but on limited edition seven inch discs made of vinyl that you got to keep. Now recall that the party started with a thousand copies of the first single from a little band out of Aberdeen called Nirvana. You probably know how things turned out from here. In case you’ve forgotten, recall that the interest in flannel snowballed to such rabid frevor that a sales rep (who still works at Sub Pop) was able to convince the New York Times that Seattle had its very own lingo called grunge speak [wiki] without much effort.

Seattle’s Gift to the World the Sixth: The Great Outdoors

DSC01513.JPG“Ah, the great outdoors.” The spectrum from which Seattleites can honestly utter that phrase is simply astounding. Whether you’ve gazed over a steamy latte at the snow-capped Olympic Mountains with the Puget Sound’s briny air filling your lungs or tossed your 40 pound pack to the ground after your sixth day of hiking around Mount Rainier to down a Nalgene of Tang and gnaw on some beef jerky, you’ve had a taste of Seattle’s great outdoors.

Seattle’s location makes it an ideal haven for outdoor enthusiasts of all stripes. Boaters, sailers, jet skiers, canoeists, kayakers, fishermen, and other water sportsmen get their fix any of Seattle’s many bodies of water including the Puget Sound, Lake Union, Lake Washington, and Green Lake. Cyclists have their choice of several urban bike trails including the Burke-Gillman Trail and Lake Washington Boulevard. Runners often take advantage of the trails at Green Lake and Seward Park. Plant and animal lovers can examine hundreds of species at Discovery Park, the Arboretum, Volunteer Park and its conservatory, and Lincoln Park.

DSC02052.JPGAnd that’s all within the city limits. Allow yourself a few hours on the road and the possibilities are limitless.

To the west is Olympic National Park, home to magnificent peaks, the Ho Rainforest, and the Olympic Coast (one of the largest wilderness beaches in the world). To the north are the San Juan Islands, a perfect place to bike, fish, run, boat, or go whale watching. To the east are the Cascade Mountains, home of North Cascade National Park and other state and national parks and forests (my favorite being the Enchantment Lakes). Finally, to the south is Mount Rainier National Park, our crown jewel. It is full of bright flora and fauna, cascading streams, frosty blue glaciers, and the sweetest air you’ve ever breathed. I have few memories better than of staring at Rainier’s peak while laying in a meadow of wildflowers on a bright sunny day.

And that, frankly, is just the surface. I failed to mention the numerous state parks and forests that dot the state. I neglected to address the best places to go rock climbing (ahem, Exit 38, ahem). I didn’t even mention skiing, snowboarding, or snowshoeing. And then there’s REI, a Seatle original since 1938 and the only retail store that makes me giddy. We’ve got it all. And to you, world, we give this gift. Ah, the great outdoors.

See also: Gift the First, Gift the Second, Gift the Third, Gift the Fourth, and Gift the Fifth.

Read about gifts from around the metroblogging world with this updated guide [la.metblogs] or follow some of these technorati tags being used across the metroblogging network: Metblogs7Gifts, 7Gifts, Metroblogging7Gifts.

Seattle’s Gift to the World the Fifth: Five Gold Rings

via tamu

The first thing most non-Seattleites think of when our fair city is mentioned is rain. However, a truer, more accurate, association should be, dare I say, greatness. Yes, greatness.

You see, what Samantha was saying in regards to our art scene [mb] is true across all industries/genres. There is a laissez-faire mentality present here that encourages open-mindedness and creativity and allows people to take chances. No matter what it is – medicine, information technology, transportation, food and beverage, entertainment – a person can come to mother Seattle and be nurtured, be given the opportunity to grow into beauuutiful butterflies all they can be ah, screw it, superstars.

So on this, the fifth day of city gifts, my true love gave to me – and the world – 5 gold rings1. That is to say, 5 people who have emerged from Seattle’s chrysalis and ascended to the top of their fields2.

#1 Dr. William Hutchinson
Surgeon turned founder of the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, [#] one of the foremost cancer research centers in the world and home to no less than 3 Nobel laureates.
#2 & 3 Bill Gates and Paul Allen
College dropouts turned co-founders of Microsoft. [#] (I don’t need to write this explanation, do I?) After creating Microsoft and driving it to be the biggest software company in the world, in true Seattle fashion both have gone on to create their own philanthropic organizations [gates, pgallen] that fund a significant number of worthy causes worldwide.
#4 Jeff Bezos
Rocket geek turned founder of [#] When you’re sitting at home ordering holiday presents for your loved ones instead of being crushed at the mall you can thank Jeff. In addition, Bezos’ new project, Blue Origin [#], is working on making “an enduring human presence in space” a reality.
#5 Dan Savage
Former video store clerk turned nationally syndicated writer of Savage Love [#] and pioneer in bringing sex/dating advice into the mainstream. Without Dan we’d all still be reading Playboy Advisor and wondering how to best slam a U.S. Senator [wiki]. He’s also got a soft side and has written at least two books about parenting and is a contributor to NPR’s This American Life [#].
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