Archive for March, 2008

in other blogs: a lot of shopping and a few obama delegate challenges

photo by viv | seattle bon vivant [flickr], via our group pool [#]

  • Sunset Bowl has a date with the wrecking ball, buy yourself a memento before it’s gone. [myballard]
  • Coming soon to a rock festival near you? The world’s most horrible shoes. [lineout]
  • Rumination on motivations for shopping at Red Light, irony, style, and static fashion. [ohmygodseattle]
  • In search of Seattle’s best jukeboxes. [northwestmusicblog]
  • look out! another Seattle street fashion ‘blog. The photos are actually much nicer than you’d guess from Blogger’s automatic thumbnailing algorithm. [21eme]
  • District caucuses are this weekend, and many of the elected delegates might not be legit. [seattleweekly via postman (who notes that Obama delegates are disproportionately getting challenged.)]

Opening day gave me chills

…then again, it gave an awful lot of people chills. The bleacher creatures were unexpectedly showered with snow at one point during the sixth inning. Back in Ye OIde Days, the baseball season didn’t start until late April, and I think a few chilly fans wouldn’t have minded it if spring had warmed up a bit.

Ah well.

Erik Bedard proved that he’s going to be an entertaining pitcher for awhile, where “entertaining” means “giving fans ulcers.” The M’s offensive engine sputtered for most of the night, but got it going when they needed to.

But, to heck with all of that. Safeco Field is once again open for business. Cooperstown inductee-to-be Dave Niehaus got (and milked for all it was worth) a warm standing ovation before throwing out the ceremonial first pitch. A cute kid, a brain surgery survivor, got to run around the bases and yell “Play Ball!” Some of the vendors had run out of large hot dogs by the third inning. Baseball season is here.

Oh, and then there was the post-game crowd that gathered at the Royal Brougham tracks, watching a long, long southbound freight train roll slowly by. Just as the southbound train was down to its last two cars and the crowd starting to rev up, a long, long northbound train blocked the intersection from the other direction. When the second train finally ended, the crowd of a thousand people or more cheered wildly for the rear-facing locomotive. It may have been a first in recent railroading history.

New recycling to go into effect

By this time next year, Seattle residents will be able to recycle meat and dairy scraps in their yard waste containers. Residents will also be able to mix paper and glass into one container.

As an avid recycler, I welcome these changes.


Seattle Jewish Film Festival begins this week

If you’re like me, you often find yourself thinking, “Gosh, it’s been weeks since we had a film festival.”    Sure, there are always movies around this town, but there’s something extra-cool about a film festival and the Seattle Jewish Film Festival, which breaks the festival drought by opening on Thursday, April 4, is no exception.

 The SJFF is eight days of film and other performances by artists  from all over the world that explore and celebrate Jewish life, culture, identity and history, obviously appealing to people who are Jewish but open and accessible for everyone.   Festival highlights include a stand-up performance by comedian Judy Gold on Sunday, April 13, at the Cinerama which is immediately followed by Making Trouble, a film about Jewish women in comedy, an April 10 live performance by indie folk rocker Geva Alon, and a whole bunch of great movies.

Movies include Aviva, My Love, an Israeli film about a woman’s struggle to hold onto her dreams of writing, Max Minsky und Ich (Max Minsky and Me), a family-friendly film from Germany about a teen girl finding her place in a world that includes boys, basketball and her Bat Mitzvah, First Basket, a US made film about the Jewish origins of basketball, and My Mexican Shiva, a Mexican film about the seven days of mourning for a beloved relative and way, way, way more films than I could name here, all of which look interesting and engaging.

Just like all the other film festivals, the SJFF has a bunch of special events and visits by filmmakers to talk about their films, see the website for details and be sure to have a good time at the festival.

excellent series of graphs, police force and crime

Over the past few days, Public intellectual elenchos has put together a fascinating series of graphs describing the size of Seattle’s police force and correlations with the city’s crime rates. The first part in the series demonstrated that our city’s police force was “freakishly small”, yet our violent crime rate remains relatively low [denisbratland].

Today, he looks at non-violent crime rates across various cities and shows that a consequence of having a smaller police force may be a higher tolerance for non-violent offenses:

Police and violent crime, sorted by violent crime. Modified for readability at smaller scale from a graph by elnechos [denisbratland]

There’s a lot of data presented very elegantly; well worth examining more closely. He is also willing to share the compiled data for those interested in their own analyses.

Your 2008 Mariners, in short form

Safeco Field, 2007
I have way too much to do before I sit in the cold at the park to watch Erik Bedard blow out his arm or Richie Sexson flop like a dead fish at a curve ball, so let me do a really short 2008 M’s preview.

C: Kenji Jojima. He’s nails. At least until Matt Clement proves he can hit. Or he starts to suck.

1B: Richie Sexson. He’s almost my age, and he’s hitting like me, with occasional 500 foot homers. And oh, he’s making $11M more than I am.

2B: Jose Lopez. Is he ever going to get back to his 2006? Are the M’s going to trade him? Is Vidro going to play second and remind us why he’s a DH?

SS: Yuniesky Betancourt. Betancourt is a great defensive shortshop and no one knows it. Derek Jeter is an awful defensive shortstop and no one wants to admit it.

3B: Adrian Beltre: The best 3B in the American League. Memo to the American League: You have a dearth of talent at 3B.

LF: Raul Ibanez. Isn’t he pretty when he wanders around in LF looking for the ball in a way reminiscent of Billy’s path in a Family Circus Sunday comic.

CF: Ichiro. Oh, Ichiro. I hope your knees hold out considering the defensive crap that’s playing either side of you this year.

RF: Adam Jones. The future of this franchise, a solid hitter, great fielder, total five-tool… what? Oh.


RF: Brad Wilkerson. The future of the Montreal Expos, a declining hitter, slow fielder, total waste of money.

DESIGNATED “HITTER”: Jose Vidro. Vidro as DH is the baseball equivalent of towing a camper over Snoqualmie Pass with a Chevy Aveo.

Willie Bloomquist: On any other team, he’d be a league minimum bench scrub. On this team, he sells t-shirts.

Jamie Burke: The very definition of a backup catcher: Decent behind the plate, decent with the bat, not exactly someone you want to start 130 games a year.

Miguel Cairo: Just like fan super-favorite Willie Bloomquist, only older, slower, and not white. On this team, he’s designated for assignment by the end of the month.

Charlton Jimerson: Don’t know who he is? That’s OK. You probably didn’t know who Jason Ellison was either. Or Luis Ugueto. He might play about as much as they did, but only if John McLaren’s really on a bender and runs over the rest of the outfield with a bullpen cart.

Mike Morse: Proof that you can use steroids, get suspended twice, and still make the club out of spring training despite not being all that good. Can you tell the team doesn’t have enough right-handed hitting outfielders?

Erik Bedard: They traded for him. And knowing the M’s, he’ll probably blow out his arm around the fifth inning of Opening Day.

Felix Hernandez: He’s like a Ming Dynasty vase on display during the Running of the Bulls.

Carlos Silva: The M’s overpaid for him like a guy paying $30K for a 1996 Ford Contour. (Speaking of, anyone with the M’s need a ’96 Ford Contour? Only $30K!)

Jarrod Washburn: On any other team, he’d be a #4 starter. And for the first time in Seattle, he is the #4 starter, but he’s still getting paid like a #2 starter.

Miguel Batista: For right now, the #5 starter, but who knows? This spot is intensely competitive because the M’s system is chock full of #5 starters. (And that’s their problem with pitching in a nutshell, isn’t it?)

CLOSER: JJ Putz. Best closer in the American League last year. If the starting pitching holds and the bullpen holds and his ulnar collateral ligament holds and the good Lord willing and the Creek don’t rise and the Messiah comes and pigs fly, he’ll save 40 again.

Cha Seung Baek: On the roster because if he’s sent back to the minors he’d pass through waivers and another team could claim him. And we know how much the Target sales team covets soft-tossing long relievers to man the cash registers.

Eric O’Flaherty: He’s left-handed. He’ll throw to one batter a game. He’ll get $500K for doing that. Meanwhile, I’ll sit in a windowless office eight hours a day and get far less than that, and I’m left-handed.

Sean Green: The Mariners bullpen equivalent to a Star Trek redshirt.

Mark Lowe: His elbow is repaired! He can throw 97 again! The very reason the M’s traded Rafael Soriano is back in the bullpen! One week only! We don’t know how long this elbow will last!

Ryan Rowland-Smith: He’s Australian. And that’s about all I know about him.

MANAGER: John McLaren. Manages the team the way an insurance adjustor manages a political party, with all the fire of a swimming pool and the mirth of a Tully’s barista.

MY PREDICTION: The starting pitching is improved. The offense is pretty terrible. The bench is bad, but it’s not like McLaren ever uses it. I’m going to try and be optimistic: 82-80, second place in the AL West.

Bottleworks IX Deviates From the Norm


Each year, Wallingford’s beer mecca, Bottleworks, celebrates its anniversary by bringing out a limited edition beer brewed by a local/regional craft brewer. To mark the bottle shop’s ninth anniversary this year, they ventured down to Northern California for the services of Vinnie Cilurzo of Russian River Brewing. For those who have had the opportunity to drink some of Vinnie’s creations, this is exciting news. Not only does the man make some of the best IPAs around (Blind Pig, Pliny the Elder, Pliny the Younger), he’s also a master with barrel-aged Belgian-style sour beers. His …-ation line of beers (Damnation, Supplication, Sanctification, etc) rightfully have beer geeks shitting their pants in anticipation. Now we in Seattle get to thumb our noses at Northern California beer enthusiasts because Bottleworks IX is just for us. The beer is called Deviation and it’s a blend of three Russian River batches: PH1, Sonambic and Orphan Ale. It’s also bottle-conditioned with Brettanomyces, a type of yeast that gives the sour beers their distinctive qualities, described on the Russian River website as “rich aromas and flavors of earthiness, leather, smoke, barnyard, & our favorite descriptor–wet dog in a phone booth.”

All this talk of barrel-aging, weird yeasts and beer blending may sound like pretentious beer snob stuff. But trust me, if you have even a remote interest in sour beers, this is something you’ll have to try. 750 ml. bottles will be available at Bottleworks on Tuesday. I believe they’re going to cost $20 and there will be some kind of limit on how many you can buy (for me, $20 creates its own limit of just one). I’ve also heard whispers that a keg of Deviation will be on at Brouwer’s sometime this week. Not sure when, but keep that in mind. I’ve also heard a rumor that the beer for Bottleworks X in 2009 is coming into focus. Something to do with cherries and a brewery from Colorado. See you in line at Bottleworks on Tuesday.

Opening Day Jitters?

There are only four things I know about baseball. 

1)  Once a year, in Seattle, they have something called Stitch ‘N’ Pitch. This is basically when a bunch of crazy knitters like myself get to see a game whilst knitting toaster cozies and pet pretty alpaca yarn, which if you’re lucky, will be on sale.

2) Today is Opening Day.

 3) It’s a safe bet, if you’re driving anywhere near Safeco today or any baseball playing day you’ll be shit out of luck until about 10pm.

4) Last week, my boyfriend was up until 5am putting his “draft” together. I will never in my life understand what this is and why people do this.

Anyone else pumped about America’s Favorite Pastime? Shout out…

stop riding the bus, you’re making it late

Buried in an article about how increasing ridership is resulting in poorer on-time performance for Metro is a nifty bit of information about how some buses can coerce traffic lights to lend a hand:

Metro also applies other strategies to keep the buses running on time. In arrangements coordinated with city traffic engineers, some buses are equipped with devices that send a signal to traffic-light controls when nearing an intersection so that the light will stay green for an extra few seconds to let the bus through. Other bus-borne devices can trigger a red light for the curb lane to turn green a few seconds before all lanes go green, allowing a bus to pull away from the curb and merge into the travel lanes ahead of the traffic flow. [p-i]

As cool as this is, I have a feeling that bus-only lanes, requiring pre-paid fares, or having separate entrances and exits would have a much more notable effect on keeping the buses running on schedule. Maybe Orca [metrokc] will eventually bring smart cards online or the City of Seattle could issue a card for all residents that included a bus pass [shoulddothis] to alleviate some of the slowdowns.

Rather than ask you which bus is chronically late (most of them, in my experience), I’ll instead close by asking which ones are chronically on time?

I’ll have what she’s having.

My boyfriend was whining about how I don’t take him out on dates and why don’t we snuggle more, so I took that bitch out proper. When I yelped the shit out of restaurants in Ballard I discovered Madame K’s. Why hadn’t I heard of this place before? It seemed perfect for us, if we remembered to take our lactose pills, which we didn’t. But it seemed perfect nonetheless.

Inside the restaurant it looks like it should be either a brothel or drag show. I couldn’t really tell which. But there was a lingerie and feathers theme throughout. And our waitress had smudgy eyeliner on and something my grandma would call a negligee.

We came at the perfect time, which apparently is 6:45 on a Friday and got seated right away. But within the hour the place was packed. So go early.

I asked about their BYOB policy. Which they have. There is a corkage fee if you bring wine but I thought ahead and brought beer, so no corkage fee for me.

The menu is kinda a blur as I’m not a fan of curlicue fonts. I saw food, food, food, ahhhh pizza. And looked in that direction.

I got the deep-dish pizza with sausage, pesto and tomato. He got a deep-dish pizza with broccoli, spinach and garlic. Again, forgive me on the names of the actual pies but that damn font. Maybe it was the beers. Either way, we thought 2 deep-dish pizzas would take forever to make. But we were happily wrong. About 15 minutes later they came, piping hot with oozes of mozzarella cheese on top. Time to forget that lactose pill.

Pizza, pizza and cheap beer from Trader Joe's

Mine was on the greasier side of course. But the sausage was big and the cheese was chewy. His was green and garlicky. Almost too garlicky. I couldn’t decide which I liked better, but suddenly it was time for dessert and I knew right away where my vote would lie.

The Chocolate Chip Orgasm.

No faking required.

Imagine Chocolate Chip cookie dough put in a deep-dish skillet and then thrown in the oven for like two minutes so that it’s not totally cooked and then topped with a scoop of vanilla ice cream. Eating it is like when your (my) boyfriend pinches your (my) nipples while doing you (me) from behind. It’s friggin’ awesome. Gooey, warm chocolaty goodness with that not thoroughly cooked doughy texture mixed with cold ice cream which was quickly melting, causing the chocolate and vanilla to meld together, was absolute perfection in my mouth. The greasy, but good and garlicky, but good pizzas quickly became second fiddle to this cookie/ice cream heaven we (I) were devouring.

Even today, when we ate our leftover pies for lunch all I really wanted was another orgasm. Then again, don’t we all.

Madame K’s Pizza Bistro  $$$ ($18 for small pie/2 people with 2 pies, glass of wine and dessert =$60)

5237 Ballard Ave. NW, 783-9710

M-Th. 5-10pm, Fri. 5-11pm, Sa. 2-11pm, Su. 2-9pm.

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