Thursday, April 30, 2009

Shiny Green Links

Out of the ocean, onto the farm fields - a novel solution for invasive algae in Hawaii's coral reefs

Incredible, Edible...House

Have your meat and a planet too?

PSA: Factory Farm Flu

  • I finally found the New Scientist article that talks about the factory farm origins of our present potentially-pandemic swine flu.
  • No more omelettes for breakfast, we need the eggs for flu vaccine.
  • Erica C. Barnett provides good advice on face masks, as well as a picture of the recommended model.
  • SUPER IMPORTANT UPDATE: Hot guys in flu masks
  • Another IMPORTANT UPDATE: The advantages and disadvantages to using a N95 disposable respirator (a model recommended by Erica Barnett and

    N95 respirator (filtering facepiece) $0.50-1.20
    • Reduces exposure to small inhalable particles and large droplets.• Designed to form a tight seal to the face.• Filtration efficiency certified.
    • Cannot be decontaminated, may be shortages during a pandemic.• Must be fit-tested to assure full protection.• Cannot be worn with facial hair that interferes with the seal between the face and respirator.• Harder to breathe through than a facemask.• Not designed to be used in surgery.

So that's what Kery Murakami is doing these days

From the ashes of the PI rises... The Seattle PostGlobe.

PSA: Swine Flu Goes to Washington

Photo courtesy of a friend with a really perverse sense of humor

So, swine flu might be in Seattle, but we won't know until the tests come back from the lab a few days hence. In the meantime, you can follow a few simple steps to prevent the spread of anything germy, just in case:
  • Don't lick any pigs. Seriously. The pigs don't like it.
  • WASH YOUR HANDS, especially after you've been out among the germy public. Use alcohol based hand sanitizer if you don't have a chance to get to a sink (Use the 60% alcohol stuff - anything less is less than effective).
  • Don't hang out with sick people. If you're sick, don't be a dick - stay home.
  • Try not to touch your face all the time. If you have to (something in your eye, itchy nose), use a tissue.
  • Cover your face with a tissue when you cough and sneeze, and throw away the tissue after one use. If you have super sneezes like me, use several tissues.
  • Sanitize public spaces more frequently, like common areas at your work. At home, maybe just the doorknobs and the sinks. Use actual disinfectant sprays and wipes - soap and water works for your hands, but not so much for germy hard surfaces.

Other than that, make sure you have enough food and supplies (including your meds) around the house for a week, just in case. Also, if you have mild flu-like symptoms, stay home and drinks lots of fluids. If you have severe flu-like symptoms, give your doctor (or a doctor) a call and get some advice on what to do next.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Neighborhood News Roundup

Tent City comes and goes, Capitol Hill does not put up a fuss

Tent City now at 22th and Cherry!

So that's why big tunnel projects (like the Viaduct replacement to be) always have cost overruns!

CD - Carmack House nomindated for landmark status, owner opposes

The City (ostensibly) wants to hear what you have to say about their new ideas for the Design Review of townhouses - tell them what you think on May 4th

I met the nicest folks the other day...

... when I was walking back from Sunday brunch on 15th (btw, I heart 22 Doors). A group of Hillites/ Burning Man buddies were renovating the traffic circle at 14th and Howell. Since I didn't have any better plans than helping them with gardening for the afternoon, that's just what I did.

Here's the fruit of our labor:

PS There aren't many plants around the edge for two good reasons - we put seeds in some of that area, and the rest was left empty because that's where everyone drives over the poor innocent traffic circle.

My city in spring

Monday, April 27, 2009

PSA: Swine Flu

This swine flu thing is making me paranoid. It's not even in Washington yet, but myself and many of my friends are in our early to mid twenties, a prime age bracket for H1N1. In response, I've been surfing the interwebs for useful information on prevention, prep, and news in general. The King County Pandemic Flu Preparedness site is great, the Slog's old post about Erica Barnett's article on the bird flu is mildly useful.

Grist says Smithfield Foods hog farms in Perote, Mexico (origin point of the outbreak) it to blame. I think this means we should call this Factory Farm Flu isntead swine flu. That way it would be factual and kosher.

In further news, the Slog blames the outbreak on the blogosphere's obsession with bacon, which is silly, because the bacon gods protect their own (from everything except heart attacks). However, since the flu probably started at a hog farm, does that mean Slog's claim is partially true via the capitalist paradigm of supply (dirty hog farms & cheap meats) and demand (bloggers love of bacon)? I can see the headlines now: "The Great 2009 Bacon Panic - bloggers blamed for bringing about world catatrophe".

PS About masks - you're going to want to buy the kind that block particulate matter, if you can't find straight up surgical masks. If they aren't to be found at drugstores or grocery stores, try Pacific Hardware on 12th or that funny little vacuum repair place on Madison.

Friday, April 24, 2009

Geek of the Week: What tastes like raspberries and smells like rum?

The center of the galaxy, of course.

Dearborn St. Goodwill Development Cancelled

The Central District News has the scoop. I know it's not the most mature statement of my position on development in Seattle, but I still say >:P to big box stores.

Notes from the City Council Spectacular

Some disclaimers to start: I didn't get to the event until 7:30 (it started at six), so I only heard form/talked to a handful of the candidates that were actually there. My apologies for uneven reporting (and to the candidates I didn't get to talk to), but I caught what I could.

Also, it was so loud in there it was impossible to hear anything most of the time unless you were right by someone's mouth. Why was it so loud? The place was absolutely jam-packed with people talking local politics. The only way you could pick out the candidates was by their bright orange safety vests, and ingenious idea on the part of the event organizers. Admittedly, a decent percentage of the crowd was composed of the candidates and their campaign aids, but there were plenty of young, bright-eyed Seattlites there quizzing the aforementioned.

Here's who I saw and my notes about them from last night:

  • Dorsol Plants - "I'm a real person". Also, best name ever. Big issues: neighborhoods, transportation, and ending homelessness. The phrase "adding teeth to the neighborhood plans" really made my ears perk up. His key strategy - ending the miscommunication between the City and itself and the City and the people, emphasizing outreach to non-English speaking populations.

  • Mike O'Brien - brought his "sexy voice" (i.e. getting over cold + yelling over noise), hasn't picked what position he's running for yet.

  • Sally Bagshaw - "Getting people together to solve problems". Big issues: transportation, public safety, school, and sustainability. Jim Diers (formerly of Dept. of Neighborhoods) book "Neighbor Power" is her bible. It sounds like she's been working as a lawyer in Seattle for forever. She is running for Position 4.

  • Jordan Rover - "Making Seattle livable for families", especially when it comes to housing. He emphasized the need for the City Council to work with the school district to make Seattle schools better. He also mentioned he was all for the Dearborn Street Project, which raises some alarms for me. Yes, the developers signed a community benefits contract with the Dearborn Street Coalition, but there are many residents (including minority small business owners) that did not agree to the contract and are still concerned about the development. Well, maybe that should be past tense: it looks like the development was cancelled because of the economic downturn.

  • Jessie Israel - "Walkable Communities". Big issues: the aforementioned, strategic partnerships between the City and the non-profit community, and "smart efficient investments in transportation, the environment, energy efficiency, new job training, sound living, and neighborhood betterment". I feel like that last point was a plethora of talking points crammed into one. Also, she's a native back three generations.

  • Martin Henry Kaplan - "I'm a small business owner" (architectural firm, if you're interested). Big issues: Growing local economy, strengthening City's commitment to the neighborhoods, transportation. He's running for Position 6.

  • David Ginsberg - He's running for Position 2 vs. Conlin (disclosure: I went to Conlin's Burritofest this last weekend - excellent guacamole). Big issues: relocalizing our economy, finding more money for transit by lobbying in Olympia, lobbying in Olympia for a state income tax and and to lower sales tax in order to create a fairer tax system in Washington, wants to see City Council lobbying in Olympia more often (no, really.), affordable housing through a larger supply of housing, wants to see City working closely with neighborhoods to achieve density targets in a way that's accpetable to the neighborhoods. I only talked to him for a couple of minutes - he was really good at communicating his platform fast.

Dominic Holden, unlike myself, remembered to bring a camera: you can see his pictures and comments here Erica Barnett went too (didn't see her, she must've left before I arrived), you can see what she has to say here.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

You, a beer, and every candidate for City Council

Courtesy of Washington Bus and The Stranger: City Council Spectacular, tonight at Moe Bar. 6-8pm, local issue packed, happy hour prices and absolutely free.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Massive pile of notes from CHHIP's Annual Meeting

Let's see if we can't sort through the scribbles and find some juicy neighborhood news:

  • I was right - CHHIP is planning affordable housing developments at 12th and Jefferson and at 12th and Pine (East Precinct Parking Lot). It looks like 12th and Pine will be the difficult one to pull off. CHHIP is prepared to re-create all the parking spots that the East Precinct currently has in that lot in the form of bomb-proof parking underneath the building.

    The thing is, the East Precinct wants CHHIP to build them more parking spots than they presently have. At $30K plus per underground parking spot, CHHIP can't afford to build more than EP's already got. Stalemate.

  • Why 12th Ave., why now? CHHIP got some city money to focus on developing a business corridor. They picked 12th because it's close to downtown, has undirected development popping up like mushrooms, and its characterized by a lot of "underutilized" (read empty) lots. A perfect place for planning guidance and some affordable housing developments.

  • One thing I gathered from the panel discussion was that right now, any development that going right in the neighborhood is entirely due to the will and love of individuals in the community (including some developers). Market forces give us gigantic, cheaply made and faceless developments that are geared to maximization of dollars invested rather than to fitting harmoniously into the community they are placed in. And that needs to change.

    Liz Dunn referred to the Pike/Pine Overlay District as a possible agent of that change - a strong planning document equipped with width restrictions, transfer of development rights, and bonuses for historic building preservation. At least that's what the PPOD sounded like - it's still being developed, and the last time I heard about it PPUNC was peeved that it came back to them from the city all milquetoast. We shall see.

  • Seattle University's long term development plan: 12th Ave. as the spine of the campus, including mixed use and other landowners among their parcels on 12th to encourage the vibrancy of the business corridor, and lots more student housing. The empty lot at 12th and Cherry is a future housing site for sure. The storage building at Madison and 12th - possibly, it definitely won't stay storage forever.

  • Both SU and CHHIP want to see more transit service...make that any north-south transit service on 12th Ave. SU finds it impossible to reduce staff and student car use without it. CHHIP advocates for having the ID/Cap Hill streetcar run along 12th rather than Broadway in order to ameliorate the transit gap.

  • King Co. is planning some redevelopment surrounding their Youth Detention Center on 12th - their administrative buildings are in poor shape and they'd like to better utilize the space that is presently their parking lot. Apparently they're thinking of putting up a residential building where their parking lot currently is. That seems like a rather hard sell - "Convenient location! Attractive views of detention facility!"

In case this pile of notes just isn't enough, you can go check out CHS' version of the night's events.

Guitar Hero Showdown

Speaking of benefits - there's another party for the park this weekend courtesy of UP. This time it's a Guitar Hero Showdown at Cafe Metropolitain. Pay ten bucks and become a friend of the park, get happy hour prices, and battle for Guitar Hero supremacy. Also, winner gets their likeness on a poster outside of City Market. This Saturday at 8pm - be there or abdicate your chance for Guitar Hero glory.

Save Seattle Dodgeball Benefit

Those crazy dodgeball kids are putting on a show at Motor on April 29th (8pm/$8). I have no idea why they had to do a benefit all the way down on 1st Ave., nor why I only heard of this because I saw it on a poster by Super Genius Tattoo. I can't find it anywhere on the interwebs!

And we're back

Between park stuff and my laptop being in the shop, I haven't been online as much as usual - apologies to my loyal readers (hi Mom!). Below's a round-up of interesting things I've heard about but haven't had the chance to write about:

  • Molly Moon's grand opening is this Saturday and they're giving away free ice cream. Sweet!
  • The Capitol Hill Housing Improvement Project's annual meeting is tonight at the Northwest Film Forum - reception at 5pm, meeting starts at 6. I'm interested to hear about what they're planning for 12th Ave. - I've heard rumor of CHHIP developments at 12th and Jefferson as well as the East Precinct parking lot on 12th near Pine. I think they might have something to do with the possible park at 12th and Cherry. I'll tell you what I find out.
  • Dodgeball has resumed at the Cal Anderson tennis courts, shhh, don't tell Parks. The friendly dodgeball player I talked to said that the alternate site that Parks recommended (at a school?) didn't work out as well so they've snuck back into Cal Anderson. If I remember correctly, the games are every Tuesday and Friday night and they start around 7:30 or 8, you know, just in case you feel like participating in our local subversive sport.
  • Peter Steinbrueck is definitely not running for mayor. Damn.

I have some Boylston news too, but that'll get its own post.

Friday, April 10, 2009

Murray Franklyn Gave Us a Parking Lot

Rumor utterly confirmed: Dominic Holden's post in The Slog yesterday confirms the rumors - the developer Murray Franklyn isn't building anything on the lot on Pine between Summit and Belmont anytime soon. Not only that, but the former project manager, Wade Metz, doesn't work for MF anymore and company's new point person had no idea that the project even existed. Damn. I really didn't like Murray Franklyn before this for tearing down a block of awesome on Pine and for that ugly "keystone" building at the end of Broadway. But These guys are hacks.

PS The guy that Dominic talked to hadn't ever heard of The Stranger. Not reading it, I understand. But never heard of it? Murray Franklyn is in Bellevue, not Ohio.

PPS A commenter on The Slog had a great suggestion for the space - use it for our own purposes. Picnic anyone? If you're interested in reclaiming the space, if only temporarily, email

PPS I advise writing angry emails and letters to Murray Franklyn about their terrible treatment of Capitol Hill. If you decide to make phone calls, please don't yell at the receptionist - he or she has nothing to do with this and is just trying to pay the rent.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

The contagious ideas of Charlette LeFevre

First the Capitol Hill Bill and then the Capitol Hill Gay Pride Festival (held on Saturday so as not to conflict with the Parade downtown)... our very own Cap Hill Community Council VP is on a roll. Now if we could just make Unpaving Paradise that catchy...

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Rumor somewhat confirmed

From the Seattle Weekly article "April Fool: 22 Things About Seattle That We Wish Were a Joke":

A beloved block of Pine Street was leveled to make way for . . . a mound of rubble. It's not enough that developers have license to throw up any towering, fake-brick, leakage-prone, fast-cash-out eyesore during good times. They're also free just to mow down a swath of the cityscape and leave nothing in its place when the tide turns.

One year ago, the 500 block of Pine Street was brought to the ground, and with it a half-dozen quintessential Capitol Hill businesses like Manray, Kincora Pub, and the Cha Cha (some of which were able to reopen elsewhere). This was back in those heady days when building more and more condos seemed like a really great idea. Except this time it turned out not to be.

The economy had already started to turn by the time the businesses were evicted and the buildings knocked down. With the condo market in the crapper, the developer has no intention of doing anything with the property now, and would happily sell it off—if there were anyone to buy. City zoning won't even allow the land to be converted into pay parking. So instead, the Hill has been gifted with a vacant lot. The rounded heap of gravel stands as a tribute to the principle that in density-mad Seattle, neighborhood preservation gets sacrificed to pretty much anything—including nothing.

Wow, when they put it that way, it's even more depressing than it already was. Sigh...maybe Parks will buy it and we can get some more greenspace. I wish.

Friday, April 3, 2009

Urban Garden Share: A Verdant Light in the Urban Darkness

Seattlites like gardening. We also like density. This causes a bit of a conflict when a whole bunch of green thumbs crowd into a small space - where the hell do they all garden? If they're lucky, Seattlites can garden in their own yards. For apartment dwellers, there are fewer options. Sometimes they can fit some plants on their balcony or on the roof of their building, sometimes they can get a spot in P-Patches. However, with so many tiny studios, landlords reluctant to let tenants on the roof, and P-Patch waiting lists that are one or two years long, sometimes gardeners can't garden at all. And that's sad.

Amy Pennington, Gannon Curran, Jesse Dawson and Colin Saunders thought this was sad too. And they wanted to do something about it. So they created ... Urban Garden Share. I think of it as a Craig's List especially for garden-oriented. The idea is to match garden space with helpful and knowledgeable gardeners, thus creating a harmonious union between the homeowner bewildered by the size of their latest garden project and the apartment/condo dweller longing for a chance to dig in the dirt.

Mind you, I'm still holding out for container gardening in one of the abandoned corners of my apartment building and the coming of (keep your fingers crossed kids!) the John and Summit P-Patch in 2010. But UGS is so ingenious that I just might be persuaded to participate, you know, while I'm waiting for everything else to pan out.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

On the Cheap: Green Workshops

The cherry trees are blooming, the days are getting longer, and Seattle is waking up from it's long winter's nap. (Now if only the weather would work with us...) All the eco organizations are feeling so frisky with the coming of spring that they're putting on a whole bunch of cheap and free workshops all at once.

Energy and the Built Environment Lecture Series courtesy of Shoreline Community College - April 9 / 16 / 23 / 30, Free
Four nights, nine speakers and fresh conversations about the roles of energy, technology and sustainability as they integrate with the existing and future built environments. It's free, but you should RSVP at their website to guarantee yourself a spot.

Stewardship Partners Rain Garden Workshop - April 23, Free
Learn how to grow your own run-off purifying, super absorbant rain garden.

Gigantic list of workshops and events, most of which are free or only $5 - WorldChanging Seattle
So many things to many! There was no way I could relist everything here, but I will put down a few of my favorites:

Bag Tax Vote Coming this Summer

Hey everybody, the bag tax is back!

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

PPUNC calls for a Pike/Pine Demolition Ban

I was hopeful about the new Pike/Pine Overlay. But the proposal that came back from the DPD this February is strangely milquetoast. PPUNC thinks so too, so they're asking the City Council to put a moratorium on demolition in the Pike/Pine corridor. I hope this makes the good overlay proposal come back. I miss it.

UPDATE: Hey, all the PPUNC uproar made a difference - the City's going back to the drawing board for the Pike/Pine Overlay. Hurray!

Rumors, Verified and Otherwise

April Fool's Compendium

Pho Goth and DIE

Goths, despite our anti-social reputation, like hanging out with friends just like anybody else. And we've had less of a chance to do so ever since the delightfully dark Aurafice Cafe closed and was replaced by the hipster hangout Stumptown (mind you, I'm not hatin' on Stumpy, but I miss my goth coffee).

I finally got to see the SeaGoth crowd outside the Merc last night for the first time in ages courtesy of Pho Goth and DIE*, a black clad meetup at Pho 900 arranged by the lovely Tara (who just happens to know everyone because she works at the Mercury). Around 20 people converged on the place at 7:30, and they were all still there when I showed up at 8:30. It was great - everybody was talking and laughing and making super-nerdy jokes, and there was total chaos because the staff was trying to cope with 20 different orders and bills at once.

Pho was such a smashing success that Tara's going to make it a monthly occurance on whichever Tuesday of the month works best. Hurray!

* DIE is member's night at the Merc.

Anne Bonny Moving Sale

I've seen the Anne Bonny's "Moving Sale" sign all this week, so I was relieved to hear that they're just moving over to Summit and Mercer. I have no idea why they're moving and what might be moving into their old space, but I will try to find out when they're finally open again on the 14th.