Archive for July, 2005

that old house

preservation (3)

Originally uploaded by joshc.

A few years ago, I remember hearing that the house on the corner of Harvard and Denny was on it’s way out to make room for new residential developments. It was the sort of thing where there was a vague possibility that someone would save the historic structure by buying it for a dollar and taking it elsewhere. There were rumblings of getting the house to be granted landmark status to prevent it’s destruction.

Cynic that I am, I assumed that the house didn’t stand a chance of survival. As construction on the new development started, I noticed the boarded-up house and thought that it was just a sign that demolition was imminent.

However, when I passed the corner last week I paused to look more closely at the site plan. It turns out that the house, the former home of Alexander Pantages (the man behind the most successful chain of vaudeville theaters, and the largest independently owned movie theaters and vaudeville houses in the United States!) was going to be integrated into the design for the new affordable housing project.

I was more than a little surprised to find out that much of this had been settled years ago when I looked up the history of the site. Apparently, wheels were in motion in 2002 (“House Built for Movie-House Mogul Saved!” []) to preserve the house for the ages.

news flash: more than frilly victoriana in Port Townsend!

We all may love living in this quirky city, but sometimes it’s good to just leave the urban environment. And during the summer, the entire swath of Western Washington feels like our playground.

On Monday, I went up to Port Townsend to visit a kick-ass, jazz-musician friend, who is an artist in residence for a week at this jazz festival. This is one of the better-kept secrets of the greater Seattle area. Some of the most formidable jazz musicians in the nation gather in old wooden buildings at Fort Worden and teach kids how to play. Walk around the grassy fields in the morning and you can hear fierce jazz bouncing from all the buildings. And during the week, combos of musicians huddle into fine dining establishments around town and burn through tunes together.

(When I spend time with my jazz friends, I start talking like them. They really do talk about “digging” something and refer to evenings together as “hang time.” KK often says of our time together, “That was a great hang.” And they really do close their eyes and exaggeratedly nod their heads in genuine appreciation of each other’s music.)

And Port Townsend has some of the finest dining establishments of any small town I’ve ever been in. In years past, I’ve closed my eyes in pleasure in Sentosa, and The Silverwater Cafe. At the first, I ate the most sensual sushi of my life, fresh and plunged in taste. Oh, and homemade ginger-cardamom ice cream. And last year, at the last, my friend and I shared lavender-pepper ahi tuna and gorgonzola fettucine. You would have laughed at the moans of pleasure. This year, we tried T’s Restaurant, a swanky Tuscan place with an open kitchen and wonderfully solicitous waitstaff. I have a recently discovered, dangerous food allergy, which makes eating in certain restaurants impossible. But the people at T’s were patient and informed, making my experience blissfully free of worry. On top of that, the food just rocked. Chicken saltimbocca with salty prosciutto. Caprese salad that arrived in a little stack of flavor. And blueberry panna cotta with locally grown blueberries. Yum.

And if you walk downtown during the day, yes, you’re going to see a sickening amount of frilly Victoriana in storefronts. However, Quimper Sound, on Water Street, is one of my favorite record stores in the world. Relaxed, aging hipsters with an exhaustive knowledge of music. Plus, half the store is vinyl, which I appreciate. My turntable may be broken at the moment, and most of my records in the closet, but I still prefer spacious vinyl to tinny cds. So do they.

So you should go sometime. In fact, the jazz musicians are playing through this weekend, so hop in the car and drive up to Edmonds (taking the Kingston ferry route instead of Bainbridge will save you valuable time)and ford into the great green wilds of the Olympic Peninsula for fiery food and burning tunes.

Me and my Neti Pot


So, while all of the cool kids are at the Seattle Metroblog meetup at the Elysian tonight, enjoying locally brewed beer and pub food, I’m at home moping about the fact that the head cold that ruined my weekend still hasn’t gone away. See y’all in August, I guess.

Several months ago, I started doing yoga again on a regular basis. On the weekend, I go to one of the introductory yoga classes at the Capitol Hill Eight Limbs Yoga Center. On Tuesdays and Thursdays, I go to lunchtime flow yoga classes at the downtown Allstar Fitness. After years of weight-training, I’m finding yoga equally as challenging, but a hell of a lot more enjoyable.

Eight Limbs has a nice little boutique that sells yoga clothing and gear — pricey, but good quality stuff. The boyfriend and I had been eyeing the neti pots for some time, both repulsed and intrigued by the idea of “irrigating” our nasal passages. Two weeks ago, we finally broke down and bought one, along with a bag of additive-free salt. ($5 for a little bag — but you can use good quality sea salt and that would be a lot cheaper.)

Neti pots are a common feature of traditional Asian medicine, but are only just starting to become familiar in the West. Basically a ceramic, plastic or metal pot with a longish spout, they allow you to pour warm saline solution into your sinuses, which helps to cleanse them of mucus, pollen, dust, pollution or whatever else you happen to have lurking up there.

Using a neti pot takes some getting used to. Pouring salt water into your nose is just plain freaky the first time. While you can still breathe through your mouth, there’s an unescapable sensation of drowning. I found this slightly panic inducing, but it also brought back vivid (and mostly pleasant) childhood memories of getting a nose full of sea water in the surf of oceanside Cape Cod beaches. (A good discussion of how to use a neti pot can be found on the Brown University student health services website, under the sinusitus listing.)

When I get a head cold I often get fairly severe sinus pain. When I came down with a mild cold this past Friday, I was afraid to use the neti pot at first, fearing that it would make my sore sinuses hurt even more. But after a largely sleepless Sunday night, I finally broke down and tried it. At first, it did hurt — if your sinuses are already painful from congestion, the additional pressure of the water can be uncomfortable. But I was desperate enough to persist and gradually the discomfort subsided. Afterwards, my sinuses felt wonderfully clear and the pain had gone away — I was finally able to get some sleep.

From what I hear, neti pots are also great for allergies. A friend at work told me that regular irrigation helps to keep her sinuses comfortable during allergy season. She uses a simple glass measuring cup as her neti pot, which is a great, cheap alternative. (The pretty little ceramic neti pot that I bought at Eight Limbs cost about $18.)

Loungin’ in Belltown’s burgeoning Second Avenue

image: Viceroy on 2332 2nd Avenue

I don’t know about you, but I

Left hand, right hand

Favorite fair find: E Douglas Wunder titanium dragonfly pin.

I’m really looking forward to the Bellevue Arts Fair (or whatever new name they’ve dreamed up this year), which I’ve gone to almost every year for the past 5 years. It’s usually a hot and airless weekend, but since quite a lot of the fair fits into the parking garage, I can stay out of heatstroke unless I decide to dart across the street to do the other half of the fair.

Every year it seems the same old vendors get trotted out. During the first year I went, everything was new and different, and I went around amazed by what I saw, in that sort of “I can’t believe they call this art” sort of way. It took about 4 hours of hard tromping and then we were too tired to cross the road to the other side of the fair. Last year it was old hat, and I did the fair at a breakneck pace, “saw that already,… we decided that was crap,… too overpriced,… wait up, I don’t remember this guy…” I saw the majority of the fair in under two hours, and I have to say, it was totally not worth crossing the road.

This year I’m planning to cross the road in the other direction and see if I can puzzle out why Bellevue is holding several (competing?) different art fairs in the same area. So after doing a fast jog through the main part of the main arts fair, I’ll head down to the 6th St Arts and Crafts fair and something laughably entitled “the Taste of Bellevue” (which I tend to scoff at since I know of only 3 good restaurants in downtown Bellevue, but I’ll bitch about that some other time) and check that out.

If you go: Take advantage of the free shuttles running at 15-minute intervals. Please. You can thank me later.

Best bet for first-timers: Don’t be shy. You’re out on a beautiful summer day. It’s hot but you’ve got a cool drink in your hand, and your feet are built to mosey. Take the opportunity to chat with the artists, most of whom man their own store. If you don’t see anything you like, ask if they can do up a custom piece for you. Take a business card if you can’t afford anything right then. Haggle a little — see if they’ll give you a discount for buying 2 or 3 pieces, or heck, just for having a nice smile.

bumbershoot — headliner shakeup!

staying home for the summer:Devo and Ani DiFranco

Two of Bumbershoot‘s 2005 headliners have cancelled their summer tours, leaving gaps in the schedule waiting to be filled with artists that are bound to simultaneously thrill, dissappoint, or leave you indifferent to the whole thing.

Ani DiFranco and Devo are out of the festival. According to the Bumbershoot news page [#], replacements “to be announced”. OneReel consistently puts on a great weekend; so it’s likely that they’ll come through with some interesting choices.

(via the Stranger [slog])

can you hear me?

Seattle Map []

Like most places in the universe, Seattle has its share of regions that are mysteriously resistant to cellular telephone communications. Although it won’t make it any less frustrating, you can now find out where to expect cell phone dead zones around town.

Pairing locations of cell towers with the beauty of Google Maps, CellReception.Com has a search engine that will allow residents of most cities to find out where they can pretend to be when they need an excuse for dropping an annoying phone call. (A link to the Seattle page is listed below the screengrab on the right.) In addition, each city’s page also has a section for users to report problem areas, and clicks on the individual towers bring up more information that I know how to use.

If only this could explain why I can’t ever seem to get data service for my Sidekick while waiting for the bus on 6th & Pike downtown.

Hey, that’s us!

Forbes has named metroblogging as one of its best of the web. It’s funny because, in the review they suggest a motto, that well, already is the metroblogging motto, “think globally, blog locally.” For downsides, they only come up with the as yet skinny list of european cities, which, y’know is growing all the time, and the light message board traffic or reader feedback (which, y’know, you could help us with by commenting *nudge nudge wink wink*).

So, tonight at the Elysian, in addition to Metroblogging Seattle’s birthday, we’ll have something else to raise a glass to! See you there!


The other day, my friend and I were standing on a corner on University way waiting to cross the street. I look over at the guy standing next to us, also waiting for the light, and he’s holding what appears to be a frappuccino. I can’t put my finger on it, but it just doesn’t look quite right. Clear cup, check. Domed lid, check. Nasty-looking fake whipped cream, check. Cheeseball green straw, check. So, we hit the point where I’ve looked at his drink longer than the usual polite stranger does-he-drink-what-I-drink glance. He gives me a smile, and just then, I realize what’s wrong. His frappuccino, like his straw, is GREEN.

“Um, what’re you drinking there that’s green?” I ask, as visions of Sbx’s version of the Shamrock Shake begin to rock my sense of what’s right in the world.

“It’s a green tea frappuccino,” he says and takes a sip as the little man in the walk light box turns white.

“I’ll have to be sure and try that,” I manage to say without gagging too audibly before we head in our own directions at the far side of the street.

I don’t know about you, but (a) it’s green, (b) it’s green, and (c) it’s GREEN. I can’t imagine that this thing would taste as nasty as it looks, and, therefore I will have to try one, as soon as I can get past it’s non-salady greenness. Any of you had one of these?

keeping up appearances

there goes the neighborhood

Originally uploaded by joshc.

It’s so nice when people try to maintain Seattle’s reputation as a generally polite city.

(at the corner of 12th and John)

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