Saturday, February 28, 2009

Another approach to recycled-content toilet paper, and CB recommends a product

Someone at work told me about this, but I didn't really believe it until I saw the webpage for it. I know, I know, this is remarkably similar to a diaper service, but something in me cringes at the idea of recycled butt wipes.

To be fair, WallyPop has plenty of non-cringe reusable products, like their Street Sweeper Floor Cloths: they're the reusable version of the wipes you put on a Swiffer. Actually, that's a really good product - I've like the utility of Swiffers but I was always bothered by how many wipes you had to go through to clean a decent amount of floor space.

Because I think WallyPop's Street Sweeper Floor Cloths are such a good idea, I'm making them the recommended product of the week. Congrats WallyPop, you're the first ever :)

Eat Local: Clean Greens


I just found out about this awesome local food group via the Central District News: they've got a farm in Duvall and they sell their crops out of the New Hope Church in the CD. And they've got Central Cinema as a reference - CC uses Clean Greens' farm fresh organic produce on their pizzas. They're also pitching in to help out the neighborhood by putting out the word out about a work party on March 7th for the new Spring Street P-Patch.

Only question: when you gonna make with the fresh veggies?!

Park-to-be on 12th Ave

Delighted to hear that there's a new park going in on 12th Ave at E. James Court. I wish them luck trying to raise money for Parks amenities and working with the Parks planning process - it ain't gonna be easy.

Future site of Gathering Place Park:

Well, that's just great

They just fired our crime prevention coordinator. Thanks Chief Gil Kerlikowski, Mayor Nickels: now if you could just wish of our crime away, we'd be good.

P.S. In light of the recent Cap Hill and Central District gay bashings: Does this mean that the City and SPD don't think that the community needs a liaison to talk to about what they can do to prevent hate crimes from happening in their neighborhood?

Throwdown

Tomorrow SU men's basketball will play UW men's basketball for the first time in...decades? Everybody's been working extra hard to prep for this game - even the mascot's getting into it. Too bad it's pretty much a sure bet that SU's going to get their ass handed to them.

Anyway, go Redhawks.

Not good: SU Student Mugged at 18th and Cherry

Poor kids. At least nobody got shot.

In lighter news

Has anyone else noticed that City Market now stocks vegan sammiches from Hillside Quickie?

Queers Unite

I hope lots of people went to this. I was a douche and did not go, mostly because I am very, very tired. But I'm still a douche for not going.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Easy on your butt, hard on the planet

Next on the list of things that are bad for the planet: super soft, extra plushy toilet paper. So sayeth the New York Times: not all wood pulp fiber is created equal - fibers straight from a standing tree are longer than recycled fibers, and "long fibers can be laid out and fluffed to make softer tissue." So if the public demands their TP soft-as-a-cloud, recycled content is out.

I don't know what the big deal is. It's not like the recycled content brands are tree bark; I would know because that's the kind of TP we buy (I'll take one for the planet but I do draw the line at wiping with sandpaper). I guess Charmin Ultra and co. is squishier, but does it really make that much of a difference? Is it important enough to kill more trees for? Is there a secret hemorrhoid epidemic in America!?!

Bad-ass webcomicry


Awesome. Captivating format and a story that goes from cute to super-creepy. Where is part three?

So damned happy I can walk to work

Have we been magically transported to Minnesota? I thought spring was coming!!

I work in an office where folks bus in from all over - they could drive, but parking is expensive so why not just take public transit? The repeated snow days have been screwing with this strategy. They look out the window and have to decide whether their bus is going to come this morning or not, I look out the window and decide I should wear a different pair of shoes. Heh heh heh.

P.S. Me and my boyfriend's guess was right - it did snow two inches last night.

Behold the next step in the evolution of local food

I really wish I had a garden so I could sign up for Cascadian Edible Landscapes community supported plant starts. CSPS is like community supported agriculture, but instead of paying money to get a weekly basket of tasty local produce, you get a basket of tiny, garden-ready edible plants every 4-6 weeks. O P-Patch, where art thou?

P.S. I think this makes CEL the coolest landscape company ever.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Holy crap, it's already Lent

I can't believe it's Ash Wednesday already. This means two things: absolutely no meat for 40 days (I will miss you sushi) and SPRING IS COMING! Woohoo! My sandals will be able to come out of hibernation in .... three months.

I'm a fan of giving up meat for Lent, in some form or fashion - it's old school, but the fact of the matter is that the negative impact of meat consumption on the planet is huge. If you just can't step away from the bacon, do not despair - you do not have to be left out of the weeks of self-denial and austerity. The Daily Green has been kind enough to provide the eco-minded with some suggestions of what to give up for Lent.

Tasty animal based foods are not on the list. Instead, they ask you to forgo stuff like plastic and paper bags, bottled water, and dry cleaning. The only unrealistic one is giving up your clothes dryer - this might work in Southern California, but unless you have copious amounts of indoor space, that won't really fly in Seattle.

P.S. Catholic Bishops approve!

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Orchids on a Stick

I ended up at the NW Flower and Garden Show for a few hours this Saturday. I saw some really pretty garden designs, interesting models of living walls and green roofs, and was generally boggled by the sheer amount of stuff on display. But my real takeaway - orchids on a stick. Andy's Orchids sells super tiny orchid species that they mount on pieces of wood. They're amazing - they combine my love of plants with my love of tiny portable things. I bought two.

Seven League Boots

I didn't want to write about this until I had worn them a whole day, but now that I have the verdict is in: Z-Coil shoes are ha-mazing. It's like walking around with tiny mattresses under my feet. Actually, since the heels on my new boots are a spring surrounded by foam, I guess I really am walking around on tiny mattresses. Hawesome.

I also get to run around in the most comfortable pair of bitchkicker boots known to man. Seriously, they look like Doc Martens. This is surprising considering that most of the Z-Coil models look they were inspired by the Jetsons.

Best of all, my lower back and knees and hips are no longer bitching at me at the end of the day. This is nice. It was beginning to make me feel old and cranky.

If you feel like blowing a small fortune on shoes entirely capable of saving you from needing knee surgery, there's a store on the Hill at 1201 E Pine, right before the freeway and the dog park.

M Street Grocery

I finally got to visit M Street Grocery today - I saw it go in a year or two ago, but wasn't really in the habit of buying groceries near downtown at the time. I am now since I work downtown and don't really like having to haul a week's worth of breakfast and lunch with me down the Hill. I've been visiting Pike Place and IGA Kress, but both are pricey with limited selection. And IGA Kress is in a basement.

M Street has a good selection, nice prices, really good sales (Organic Fuji Apples at 88 cents a pound!), and windows. Since the walk to M Street is a much nicer one than the one to IGA Kress - through Freeway Park and along 8th rather than through the the heart of downtown - I think I've found my new favorite actually-on-First-Hill-downtown grocery.

It's official

You can't just cut down trees on your property all willy-nilly. I heard about this tree protection ordinance when I went to the last East District Neighborhood Council meeting, so I'm happy to hear that the City Council did end up going through with it.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Erica Barnett Explains It All

It took two very long blog posts, but I think I finally understand what 50 units per acre looks like. And it doesn't look too bad, density-wise. Read Ms. Barnett's Dense Thinking for the best explanation I've found so far of what the hell HB 1490 would actually do to urban areas in which a light rail station is built.

Post two is Ms. Barnett's account of the official kerfuffle meeting, I mean HB 1490 workshop held on Feb. 18th at Langston Hughes Cultural Arts Center.

P.S. Three things that are immediately apparent from article the second:
1) Erica Barnett is a huge policy nerd (hot)
2) Erica Barnett has absolutely no patience for John Fox and friends (can't say I blame her)
3) Erica Barnett has a lot of practice explaining policy to the unwashed masses/ The Stranger's readership (also hot)

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Another meeting worth attending

The 12th Ave. Stewardship Committee is holding its first meeting of the year this Wednesday, Feb. 25th at 6pm at Watertown Cafe (formerly Coffee Animals, right across the street from SU's soccer field on 12th).

If I don't have any other meetings to go to (fingers crossed), I really want to attend: they're going to be discussing a possible/delayed new park at James Ct. and 12th and a Cap Hill/First Hill streetcar line that'll run from Jackson and 12th to Broadway and John (location of Cap Hill Light Rail Station). Capitol Hill Housing will also be debuting a shiny shiny initiative to make 12th Ave more awesome. Hmmm, sounds action-packed.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Whoo Hoo.

The Stranger has been doing "Notes from the Unemployment Line" posts - stories from Seattlites that have been recently laid-off. It puts a face on the present economic clusterfuck and brings home how much it sucks to be unemployed for extended periods of time. The latest one is more personal than usual: it's about my friend, Lissa, and how she got laid off from WaMu.

Does anybody have job leads for Lissa? The article (link above) has a pretty good description of her job skills and experience. Please put your suggestions in the comments so I can pass them on.

Maybe I should have gone to that meeting last night after all...

Transit-Oriented Development bill dies and then rises from the dead...maybe I shouldn't have skipped that workshop last night on the TOD bill after all.

The kerfuffle continues!

Why we should all work part-time

I really enjoy working 30 hours a week. I still get benefits, a regular schedule, and interesting responsibilities at my place of work. I do lose ten hours worth of money a week, but in return, I get ten more hours to do whatever the hell I want.

These days a lot of that time is taken up with community organizing (that $150K isn't going to raise itself), but when it's not I get to take naps, garden, and generally toodle around the Hill. Working part-time serves my health, my sanity, and the community to boot.

I get crap every so often from friends/relatives who think that I need to grow up and get a "real" job, i.e. work 40 hour a week. Personally, I think the schedule I have now is pretty adult - I make plenty of money to take care of myself financially and I have the time to do neat things like meet with city councilmembers about finding funding for John and Summit. On top of all that, I might also be saving the planet at the same time, according to this article at WorldChanging.

It might be particularly evil to write this post on a nice sunny day, but so be it. Sometimes you have to be a sneaky ninja to save the planet.

P.S.- If we all worked part-time, there would be more jobs. Let's say everyone at Corporation A goes from working 40-50 hours a week to working 30-35 hours a week. Assuming Corp. A gets the same work load, they'd have to hire more people to take up the hours. More jobs and more free time :D.

But let's assume that all these part-timers still got full benefits - wouldn't that make the "part-time scenario" prohibitively expensive for Corporation A? Possibly. But I keep hearing that workers tend to be more efficient when they work a six hour shift rather than an eight hour shift. Maybe that efficiency would translate into enough money to cover all the extra benefits that Corporation A now has to pay up for.

Northwest Flower and Garden Show

I think I'll end up going this Saturday. Conveniently located, sustainably themed, and there's tons and tons of plants...why wouldn't I go?

P.S. You can see my must see sustainable seminar picks here.

Picture courtesy of HeraldNet

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Will You Have a Roomate for the Rest of Your Life?

If you're a hippie like me (or an artist, barrista, non-profit worker, etc.), signs point to yes. But, as Alternet points out, it's better than living in a boarding house or with your employer. Also, if you're a really big hippie, there's the option of living in a collective of one type or another. (Sigh...I can only dream...)

Now, it's not as if I'm dreaming of a big house in the burbs, but I admit I'd like to own the place I live someday. Maybe a townhouse with a little yard, or a condo in one of those cute little bungalow developments from last century. That said, would I mind having roommates to share the mortgage with? Depends on the roommates.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

ST Roundup

Seattle Times had a good lot of local news articles today, so here's the roundup:

Leftover places at the center of things


This article from the Seattle Great City Initiative is just about Bel-Red and Interbay, but it got me thinking of all the other leftover places scattered around Seattle. Abandoned lots, weedy parking strips - do they have hope too now that our half-forgotten industrial areas are starting to get the attention they deserve?

Who's who of green/networked/local

Still unwinding from the WorldChanging Seattle meetup...there was so much information! I info-dumped at CHS blog, but I'm still sorting through everything.

Who was there:
These are just the people I talked to and got the organizational affiliations of. My only question: why didn't Cap Hill represent? Where was Sustainable Capitol Hill, or any other green Cap Hill group? Maybe they don't read WorldChanging Seattle :(.

Monday, February 16, 2009

One of these things is not like the others

Baboons And Pigeons Are Capable Of Higher-level Cognition, Behavioral Studies Show

One cognitive capacity that is vital to human intelligence is the ability to determine whether two or more items are the same or different - a skill the famous American psychologist William James called the very "backbone" of our thinking...


A recent study by Wasserman and UI graduate student Dan Brooks found that both pigeons and people can learn same-different discriminations with visual stimuli that never repeat from trial to trial, thus proving that simple memorization cannot explain this cognitive feat.

The study was designed to figure out if baboons and pigeons can play 'one of these things is not like the others'. How would they survive in the wild if they couldn't? We'd have way more extinct species if every-other-animal-but-humans couldn't figure out "same and different" on the fly. Seriously.

P.S. Same-different discriminations, superior self-recognition abilities than toddlers, remarkable adaptation skills, the ability to sense the Earth's magnetic field, and willing to eat absolutely anything...
P.P.S. Holy crap, guys - Pigeons are like the genius love-children of cockroachs and twinkies!

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Gil Kerlikowske, Drug Czar

I've been trying to figure out why President Obama :D picked Seattle's own Police Chief Gil Kerlikowske to be the new drug czar. I love Seattle, but let's be honest: we're a third-tier city at best. Not that policing Seattle is easy as peas, but we're mellow compared to LA or New York. Why not pick someone running a police force in someplace that's a little more...hard core?

Then again, President Obama :D isn't picking out a new king of police, he's appointing a (presumably) progressively-minded person to manage US drug policy.

Ok then - Seattle has plenty of drugs, so Chief Kerlikowske has had plenty of practice. Is he going to make the world a better place for all of us or will is be the same old "war on drugs" as usual? We are the city of Hempfest and needle exchanges. And there's the fact that jaywalking is a higher priority to the SPD than an adult smoking marijuana.

Dominic Holden of The Stranger thinks Kerlikowske's cool, and the PI says that drug-law reformers are cautiously optimistic about him. Our drug-czar-to-be isn't a radical reformer, nor is he terribly vocal on the subject of drug law, but he did let a whole lot of reforms go forward under his watch. Which is probably just what Obama is looking for: quietly and intelligently progressive. Here's hoping it works out that way on the national level.

Groundbreaking at Spring St. P-Patch

Yay! New P-Patch in the CD!

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Unacceptable

I was tooling around the Hill news sites when I found a bit on how not all organic foods are created equal on the Cap Hill Times site. It said that both PCC and Whole Foods had lists of unacceptable ingredients, i.e. if one of these ingredients is in a product, they won't stock it. The lists for both sites are huge (but PCC's is more useful, so you should check it out), and it's all stuff you see all the time in processed foods. So creepy.

The birds and the bees

The Sierra Club sent this quiz to me earlier this week: How Green is Your Love Life? That gave me the giggles for a couple of minutes. The quiz itself is pretty tame - I got a 77, which is mostly due to the fact that I take long showers and don't have enough money for a shiny new eco mattress. What about you?

I am such a nerd

I went to the East District Neighborhood Council meeting last night and I had a really good time. Hong and I presented on Unpaving Paradise, I learned all kinds of nifty things about what's going on in local government right now, and I was introduced to the phrase "snap their garters". I believe "snapping someone's garters" means "to forcefully get someone's attention". Good times.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

So old it's new again

What's black and white and green all over?

Gregoire gives 56 boards and commissions the axe, wants to cut over 100 more

I found this story thanks to The Seattle Courant. It's great that Gregoire is finding new ways to balance the budget, but after a look at the list of doomed boards and commissions, I'm not so sure how I feel about this move. Out of 192 boards and commissions that will be eliminated, are scheduled to be eliminated on 6/30/2010, or are under review to possibly be eliminated:
  • 31 are environmentally oriented
  • 39 are for Public Health
  • 14 are Special Needs or Disabilities focused
  • 18 are focused on Education
  • 7 are for Families and/or Children and
  • 22 are concerned with Public Safety or Justice (The counts and the headings are my own)

I really don't know what this means for public health or the environment in the State of Washington or any of the other subjects I've listed. Maybe all these commissions are as useless as the governor says they are and they should be cut. If not, we're going to lose a lot of useful information on education, special needs and disabilities, etc. that could have informed decision-makers in Olympia.

Do you have any idea what the consequences will be, if any? Give me a holler in the comments.

Again with the snowglobe

Why do I have this feeling of deja vu? Oh yes, now I remember - it's because I feel like I'm trapped in a giant snowglobe.

Argh, I thought we were done with this! At least it's not sticking...for now.

{Dun dun dun!}

One Union on WC

My One Union Square Green Building Interview is up at WorldChanging Seattle :D

Monday, February 9, 2009

On the Cheap: Green Building Edition

The Wall Street Journal has a great bit in their business section today about how to go green in hard financial times...like right now. The article focuses on improvements that have relatively quick payback and will save money on energy bills over time - the kind of stuff you want to do anyway in the name of good building/home maintenance.

This is exactly the kind of thing Rick Mock, head of facilities for One and Two Union Square, talked about when I interviewed him about the Union Square campus' effort to make LEED certification. I'll give you a heads up when it gets posted on WorldChanging.

The cool thing about both these articles is the emphasis on the affordability and the smart financial sense of green improvements. If you have a bunch of money for capital investment, make big money improvements and replace expensive equipment; if you don't, go for the low-hanging fruit. Focus on what will get you rebates or save you money in the long run so the improvements will pay for themselves (this works out really well for energy efficiency improvements). This is light years ahead of the school of thought that says when times are tough, green is the first thing to go.

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Kerfuffle: Transit-Oriented Development

There's been a bit of a kerfuffle about HB 1490, a bill that would require that zoning a half mile around light rail station areas to allow 50 homes per acre. Some say that's far too dense to be livable, and others don't see what the fuss is all about. I have to admit that I'm not sure how to judge what 50 units would look like, or if that's too much density or not.

For me, and the rest of us in doubt of what that much density means, there's a workshop coming up : Andrew Taylor will tell you about it here.

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Friday, February 6, 2009

Thursday, February 5, 2009

PSA: Light Rail Updates

More exciting meetings for the Broadway Light Rail Station are coming right up. CHS blog has a full listing of all the tentative dates and times and general agendas. This set of meetings is all about further design details and what's going to be built on top of the station...you know, all the right-on-Broadway prime real estate. These are meetings worth attending.

Tonight there's going to be a public hearing about University Link (the bit of the Light Rail that includes us) fare structure and pricing. You can see all the details here, and the meeting info is below:
PUBLIC HEARING on Feb. 5, 2009
Noon to 12:30 p.m.
Sound Transit, Union Station, Ruth Fisher Board Room, 401 S. Jackson St. Seattle, WA 98104.


The public’s comments will be presented to the Sound Transit Board in February 2009 for consideration in setting Link’s fare structure and pricing. The Board’s decision is expected in spring 2009.


We want to hear your comments and suggestions! It’s easy:
Attend the public hearing
E-mail us: linkfares@soundtransit.org
Phone: Sarah Lovell, Project Manager, 206-398-5404
Write: Sarah Lovell, Sound Transit Office of Policy and Planning 410 S. Jackson Street. Seattle, WA 98104

On the Cheap: Faire Gallery and Cafe

I go to Faire so often that I forget how awesome the place is. Tasty foods, decent prices, great space, and the owners (Liz and Matt) are really cool. I once asked Matt if my roommate and I could hold a haiku insult slam at the cafe, and his reply was, "Ok, when do you want to do it?" Pure awesome.

Ok, to the penny-pinching point: Faire has some sweet deals on tasty foods and drinks.
  • Dollar Americano Mondays - Espresso for $1. Eat that McDonald's.
  • The most important meal of the day - 12 oz. latte and breakfast sammich for $5
  • Every day there's a combo special and a lovely happy hour
  • There are free live music and DJ performances all the time - for a current listing, see the calendar in Faire's window. Also, the Joketellers Union performs on the last(?) Friday of every month. Free and really fuckin' funny.
Conclusion: Yay!

Today is...


Hells yes.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

On the Cheap: Roanoake Tavern

I wish I could say that I found this on my own. But, no, this comes straight from the Slog: not only is Wednesday $1 taco night at the Roanoke Tavern, it's also $1 PBR night.

Put on your dress honey, we're going out!

Police blockade: 5th and Union

The police have blocked off 5th (between University and Pike) and Union (between 4th and 6th). Traffic's a mess for a three block radius around the intersection. The police weren't saying anything, but I saw a KOMO 4 van, so let's see what they say....

Holy crap! Larry the Real Change vendor was right! It was a bank robbery! KOMO says someone robbed the 5th and Union WAMU branch. That was at 3:30 - the streets are still blocked off because Mr. Bank Robber left a bag and said it was "a device".

BB assassin

One of my neighbors lost it and has been shooting at passersby with a BB gun.

Native Plant Salvage on WorldChanging Seattle

The King County Native Plant Salvage is so cool WorldChanging Seattle posted up an article about it. (That I wrote! :D) It is so amazing that you should go the salvage event this weekend and save the little native plants from bulldozers so they can go to a new home in a restoration project. Or maybe even your yard.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

So goddamned cute

Why is a webcomic about little paper cutouts so damned cute?

Money Shot


Yay, a mock up of my write-in vote! Thanks jseattle!

Monday, February 2, 2009

Write-in Candidate

Capitol Hill currency, after a fashion, has officially debuted on the Capitol Hill Community Council Wiki and CHS blog.

How it works: Cap Hill notes would act as 10% coupons at participating businesses: all a biz would have to do is post a bill in the window to advertise that they accepted the discount. Anyone could reproduce the bills, so local stores and restaurants and organizations could make them to bring business to the Hill.

Simple, local, self-replicating. What more do you need? An iconic image to put on the bill.

CHS blog has put it out for a vote, but I think the options presented are only so-so. So here's my suggestion for a write-in candidate: the Black Sun Sculpture in Volunteer Park. Otherwise known as the Volunteer Park Donut. Added bonus: if you have the right angle on a good day, you can get the Space Needle and the Olympics in the same shot (see above, thank you Traveler-Photo Digital)

The picture above is just to give you an idea of what Black Sun could look like on our Cap Hill notes: elegant, timeless, symbolic of the neighborhood.

Too much time on the internet


You might have noticed an addition to The Longest Blogroll Ever: Sockington's Twitter. Who's Sockington, you ask? The adorable white and grey cat above.

That's right. I'm now following a cat on Twitter. That's what you get when you spend too much time on the Internet.

I can't blame this entirely on the lolcats this time either. My boyfriend discovered Rocketboom's Know Your Meme while he was looking for All Your Base to show his brother. One thing led to another, and now I'm following a cat's updates about how the stairs still don't taste like bacon.

~

About the wonder that is Know Your Meme - Do you know what's even better than looking at persistant viral images and videos on the internet? Watching someone else analyze them for you.