Thursday, March 26, 2009

This Sunday: Happy Pear Tree Day in the CD

From the Samuelsens of E Cherry and 27th St:

The 130 year old pear tree on the corner of 27th and Cherry has been recognized as "Best in City" by the Seattle Heritage Tree Program and its co-sponsors, Plant Amnesty and the City of Seattle. The tree has been featured in numerous books and is one of the largest in Washington State. It is fruit-bearing and is actually relatively young--this species (Pyrus communis) has been know to live for up to 650 years! It flowers out magnificently with white flowers that fill the intersection with radiance.

The dedication will have a few speakers, including the city arborist, and we will unveil a stone that we have had inscribed to honor the tree. As property owners for over twenty years of this special spot, we welcome everyone to this gathering and we can make pear cider toasts to the health of the tree, the neighborhood and all of those who attend. We'll have tables set up and a tent if it is raining, so if you'd like to bring a pear dish of some sort to share then please do! Sunday, March 29, noon.

Sunday, March 29th - Happy Pear Tree Day in the Central District :)

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Pine Street on a Saturday Afternoon

I rose out of my rhinovirus-induced stupor this afternoon to accomplish a very important task - getting rid of our extraneous footwear. After two years in this apartment, the closet has collected a lot of shoes, and it was time to send some of them off to a place where someone would actually get some use out of them. Lucky for me, Z-Coil (on Pine right by the dogpark) has a Soles 4 Souls drop bin, so I could get rid of the shoes and do a good deed at the same time.

Now that the weather is better (or at least not crappy), Pine is getting pretty lively again. Pedestrians are out and about, people are sitting outside again, and all the haunts are full - Traveller's, Stumptown, Bauhaus, etc. Crocuses and daffodils are blooming, all the little birdies are chirping...there's even a Sidewalk Vintage sale on Bellevue and Pine.

Crowds, flowers, garage sales- ah, the Hill in Spring.

Friday, March 20, 2009

Olive & Denny Crosswalk Update

A little background for the uninitiated:

There will be a lot of big trucks going to and fro on the Hill once construction begins on the Capitol Hill Light Rail Station. Their route to the site is very short and very direct - up Denny to Broadway and down Olive back to I5. However, that section of those two streets is an area of heavy pedestrian cross-traffic. That section of Denny and Olive are exciting for pedestrians as it is, with the lack of crosswalks, the slope and a curve that limits visibility (sidenote: the need for crosswalks on this part of Denny and Olive is mentioned in the 1998 Capitol Hill Neighborhood Plan).

Last fall some members of the Pine-Olive Way-Howell Area Triangle (POWHat) Neighborhood Association expressed that they'd like more crosswalks on Olive and Denny between Broadway and I5 in order to ameliorate the impact of the light rail construction on pedestrian traffic. I have been communicating with SDOT's Pedestrian and Bicycle Group ever since.

I am delighted to announce that there's been some progress on the matter. Virginia Coffman of the Pedestrian and Bicycle Group at SDOT says:
Based on the data that has been collected so far I can tell you that we are focusing on Boylston Ave E [as a possible crosswalk site] where there is a preferred pedestrian crossing. However before we can provide a good decision on what sort of crossing improvement can be made a more detailed look at the intersection and adjacent roadways is required.
This is a great leap forward from the "we have no idea if we're going to do anything for pedestrians in the face of giant trucks constantly driving up and down Olive and Denny for two years" position that they've held for last few months. To SDOT's credit, they held that position because they wanted to do their homework before they made any promises; it seems they hold the philsophy that it's a bad idea to screw around with traffic flow all willy-nilly.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

From the alma mater

It seems that Seattle University will be holding a Sustainability Conference on April 2nd and 3rd:
Dear SU Alumni,

I’m writing to you about a conference that strikes at the very heart of our mission: The role of social justice in sustainability. It is being held on our campus Thursday, April 2, and Friday, April 3. The cutting edge definition of sustainability is framed in terms of environmental health, economic development, and social justice. In interviews with sustainability officers in business, government, NGOs, and faith-based organizations, the conveners of this conference heard again and again that the most neglected part of sustainability is social justice. This conference is a step in remedying that neglect.


John W. Dienhart
The Frank Shrontz Chair for Business Ethics
Director, Albers Business Ethics Initiative
Director, Northwest Ethics Network

There's a lot of green in this town, but it's only been relatively recently that all that eco has been associated with social justice (except for the Community Coaltion for Environmental Justice - I'm pretty sure they've been around since forever). I'm happy to see that SU has decided to take a hand in making up for that.

Requiem for a Newspaper, Part II

Courtesy of Wesa from Seattle Metblogs, who got it from the Seattle PI's offices:

Oh, snap.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Requiem for a Newspaper

Tomorrow is the Seattle PI's last day in print. There are farewells from The Seattle Courant, CHS Blog, Seattle Metblog and (I'm sure) many more. It's going to be really, really weird without the PI. And who knows how much time we have until the Times or even all newspapers follow.

Welcome to the journalism revolution. Please keep your hands and arms inside the vehicle at all times, and don't forget to buckle your safety belt - it's going to be a bumpy ride.

Rising Unemployment = Rising Volunteerism

I saw it in the New York Times, and then the Puget Sound Business Journal - rising unemployment has created a bumper crop of volunteers for nonprofits all over the nation (well, on both coasts anyway). Obama's call to service helped things along too - thank you El Presidente. I imagine once jobs start coming back, volunteer hours will drop, but I hope that everyone's time pitching in will stay with them for awhile. Maybe they'll get a taste for working less too.

Will he run for mayor already?

Peter Steinbrueck has a Facebook fansite about him called "Peter Steinbrueck, for the love of Seattle, RUN FOR MAYOR". When he stepped down from the Council, I kinda thought he'd run for mayor, especially if the odds looked good. But to my eternal frustration, he hasn't shown the slightest interest in running for the office even though Nickels will be practically unchallenged for re-election. Until this whole Facebook thing came up. I'm really hoping this will make him stop playing hard to get and RUN FOR OFFICE ALREADY.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Vacation for everyone

Take Back Your Time is putting together an initiative for Washington state that would require employers to give full-time employees a minimum amount of paid time off. They just did a survey last month on the subject; sixty percent of voters polled said they'd support a law that guaranteed 10 or more paid days off a year. This really isn't a revolutionary idea. As TBYT's website says:
Unlike 127 other countries, the U.S. has no minimum paid-leave law. Australians have four weeks off by law, the Europeans four and five weeks. The Japanese two weeks. We have zero. The lack of annual leave standards means many Americans never get time off, says "No Vacation Nation," a recent report by the Center for Economic Policy Research.
We're the richest damn country in the world (though that may not hold out for long). I would like to think we can afford to give ourselves some time off.

Actually, I'm not sure we can afford not to. Time away from the hustle and bustle lets you unwind and de-stress - there's some proof that taking your vacation time can bring down your risk of death and heart disease. It's also bound to reduce one's chances of other stress-related problems like reduced disease immunity, anxiety and depression. Happy and healthy workers are productive workers. So remember folks: vacation is good for profits and good for your health.

Friday, March 13, 2009

On the Cheap: Medical Care for the Uninsured

The New York Times has an article about how to bargain down your medical bills.

UPDATE: Here's my article in CHS blog listing low and no cost health care resources in the Seattle area. Seeing as a bunch more people are out of health care now, I thought it'd be useful.

Wordle to Your Mother

I followed Cap to the Hill's example and made a wordle of Life on the Hill. Mine isn't as funny as Cap's is, though.

Wordle: Life on the Hill and Other Stories

And for some reason, I could only get a thumbnail and not a full size image (pout).

UPDATE: 8 block walk has jumped on the wordle wagon.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

The End of a Keruffle

HB 1490, the (in)famous transit-oriented development bill, passed away earlier today in Olympia, Washington. HB 1490 is survived by Futurewise and the Washington Low-Income Housing Alliance. While it's demise will be celebrated by some, HB 1490 will be mourned by a host of pro-density environmentalists from all over the state.

UPDATE:Here's another eulogy for HB 1490 from the Seattle Times.

Vermillion / Unpaving Paradise Night

Good times were had by all. And there were tasty snacks for everyone.

P.S. Curious about how you can help make a park and P-Patch a reality @ John & Summit? Visit the UP blog :)

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Kids with guns

I just saw this headline in the PI: "Under 14? No hunting alone?" Wait...what?! We let little kids run around the woods with rifles by themselves? Who thought this was a good idea? Who the hell let's their kids run around by themselves with guns?

It's cool that the state legislature finally decided to do something about this, but seriously - we let little kids run around in the woods with guns. What the hell.

That is so sweet

I just got Sally Clark's e-newsletter, so I only just now found out that the City Council made the rounds of some of the gay bars on the Hill that got targeted by the Ricin Letters. They even have a blurb on their website condemning the letters. I expected they'd have a statement, but I thought it was extra nice of them to visit the targeted establishments.

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Ruggers at The Purr

The Quake Rugby guys are great - they're all really nice and they always drink in gay bars on the Hill after games. They also play "slip the cock ring into a teammate's beer glass while they're not looking", a game in which the cock ringed have to slug down their beer while the rest of the team sings a drinking song. Simple but hilarious. It was super funny today because they were drinking at The Purr - the crowd of rowdy ruggers roaring drinking songs kinda stood out.

There's nothing like a cozy gay bar full of happy rugby players to brighten up a cold and rainy day.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

I have the best roommate ever

Actual picture from my refrigerator. Best reminder notes EVER.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Shiny new green toy: GoodGuide

GoodGuide lets you search for almost any product you can think of and then gives you a rating from 1-10 dependent upon the health, environmental and social performance of the product and the company that makes it. All kinds of data goes into these ratings: the healthiness of the product itself, working conditions and benefits for employees, the company's commitment to reducing greenhouse gas emissions, their record for air and toxics pollution, etc.

I just found out that Suave has a better rating for its shampoo than Aveda: 8.7 for Suave's Balsalm and Protein versus a 5.1 for Aveda's Shampure. Unfortunately, this does not take into account the fact that Suave still makes crappy shampoo. However, Burt's Bees in first in the shampoo category with an 8.8, so maybe I do have a chance of having nicely groomed hair while still saving the planet.

The moral of the story: don't let greenwashing fool you - do your homework. Or get the Internet to do your homework for you.

My new friend, Newsvine

I have found a new reason to spend way too much time on the internet: Newsvine. You can use it like a blog, but it's primarily meant to be a news article sharing network - find a link, write your own headline and commentary, and then chose where you want to publish your "seed" to on Newsvine.

I like it because I can export all the super-local news I pick up out into the greater blogosphere/internets. Also, Newsvine has a setup something like Google Adsense, so you may be able to earn latte money from your Newsvine column if it gets popular enough. Speaking of - my Newsvine column is now in the "Longest Blogroll Ever" if you want to take a look.

PS Even cooler - Newsvine is local.

You too can breastfeed in public

One for the ladies: a law just passed in Olympia today that gives all breastfeeding Washingtonians the right to do so in public. Well, more accurately is makes discriminating against said breastfeeders illegal, so prudish patrons of public establishments can no longer harass mothers for feeding their babies the natural way.

It's sad we had to pass a law about that. Man, we're weird in America.

On the cheap: Cheap Eats Around Seattle

Courtesy of Seattle Metblog, a list of restaurants offering specials in the spirit of the present economic situation.

Go Local: Brooklyn

The NY Times had an article today on New York's newest crop of bright young things: cottage industry foodies in Brooklyn. The article makes Brooklyn sound like all the creative bits of Seattle, except with an even higher concentration of hipster entrepreneurs. Kind of makes me want to move to Brooklyn...well, except for the whole snow and East Coast thing.

The part I really like was all the bartering that went on within this organic/hyper-local food community - a chocolate maker traded chocolate bars for their convection oven, for example. Then again, I imagine Theo Chocolate could do that same here; chocolate is practically currency even in this day and age. But do they do that? I guess my point is that the NY Times article made me a little jealous - I'd like to see more of that community spirit/economy here in Seattle.

Sunday, March 1, 2009

On the Cheap: Love, the BBC

Just found a cheapie gold mind at the BBC's Good Food website: two dozen BBC-approved easy recipes for the budget-minded, which is just about everyone these days. I don't think I'd go for the toad-in-a-hole, but the easy oven frittata and the better-than-baked beans (minus bacon for the veggies) look pretty good.

Why don't we have a bag tax already?

I asked myself that question when I saw this article from the Dallas Morning News via Newsvine. Please don't tell me that Texas is going to get bag tax before Seattle does. Please.

Anti-Hate Vigil Coverage

I'm happy to write that CHS was not a douche and actually attended the Queers Unite! Anti Hate Vigil this evening. You can find his extensive coverage here.

How many closets are there?

"Coming out of the closet" has been the popular way of saying "I just told everyone I'm gay" since forever. But now another group is taking up the metaphor: atheists. The Out Campaign not only takes up the closet, the use the Scarlet Letter as their logo. Using sex plus homo coolness to sell your product...I have to give them credit, that's a better ad campaign than organized religion has these days.

This begs the question: just how many closets are there? Or is it one big undifferentiated closet for all people who have aspects to themselves they don't want to share with the public? That would be one crowded, awkward closet. I can just imagine the conversations...

A: "Why are you in here?"
B: "Well, I just found Jesus/Buddha/Mohammad/the Big Spaghetti Monster but I'm not really comfortable talking about it with the friends and family yet. They really don't do the whole religion thing"
A: "Oh...I'm an atheist living in a highly religious small town and I fear persecution if I tell everyone my beliefs"
(awkward silence)
Actual homosexual: What the hell are you people doing in my closet?

P.S. This doesn't preclude atheists from admittance into The Closet. Just straight ones.