Monday, June 29, 2009

It's official - We're fabulous

Hong and I in the Pride Parade, picture courtesy of Andrew Taylor. Thanks again to Dizzy and the SeaGoths for inviting us on the float and for making us our spectacular official officer sashes.

Friday, June 26, 2009

Happy Pride Weekend!

It looks likes it's going to be absolutely nuts on the Hill, which is exactly as it should be.

My plans are for Saturday are sleeping in, playing Calvinball in the Park and strolling by the various Hill Pride parties. Sunday is my first official appearance as Cap Hill Council Prez.(!) on the Goth Float in the Pride Parade (#71). So exciting!

Saunatina Goes to Washington

Saunatina Sanchez is going to start her protest for LGBTQ rights outside the White House next Wednesday. Now is the perfect time to visit her new website and donate via the convenient PayPal link. Or even better, sign up to join her.

Keep an eye out for the lady herself and her associates at Pride this weekend - I heard talk of flyer distribution and shameless self-promotion for the cause.

"Madame President"

You are now reading the blog of the President of the Capitol Hill Community Council. I get to start tackling the Light Rail transit-oriented development and the Neighborhood Plan Status Updates with all the new officers next week. These are the days that neighborhood nerds dream of.

Thursday, June 25, 2009


I haven't said anything here about the uprising in Iran because, frankly, other bloggers are doing a much better job than I could ever do (Andrew Sullivan at The Atlantic is my favorite). Even more important than the bloggers are the Twitterers, the on-the-ground primary sources that supply immediate information that is often unavailable anywhere else. While the news is often raw and painful, it is still wonderful to see the refashioning of Twitter from something amusing and modestly useful to a necessary tool of the activist-on-the-street.

What made me think of writing today was Dan Savage's post about protesters armed only with rocks being shot at by the police. Since a US citizen sending armaments to the protesters would be a diplomatic faux-pas at best, I'm sending money to The Tehran Bureau instead. Andrew Sullivan and The Boston Globe have said good things about the one-woman-edited news site, plus they have a PayPal account and they're asking for donations.
(photo courtesy of daylife)

Neighborhood Plan Status Update Meeting Recap

I wrote up a summary of what I saw at the meeting on CHS blog. The comments on the article are definitely worth reading.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Here it comes: Cap Hill Community Council Elections are this TODAY

TONIGHT (6/25) from 7-9pm at the Cal Anderson Shelterhouse, the Capitol Hill Community Council will hold its second election since the re-forming of the Council. You should go to meet your friendly neighborhood activists, participate in your community, and to enjoy some free ice cream courtesy of Molly Moon. I also happen to think that you should vote for me (Jen Power!) and my running-mate Hong Chhuor (we're running for President and Vice-President respectively), but that's optional.

UPDATE: ROW Garden/ Harvard Ave. Collective is donating a tasty super-local salad. Also, I heard rumor of cookies.

You don't need a yard to have a garden

The Right of Way/ Harvard Ave. Collective Garden just got some attention from the local blogs. I hope these articles motivate some more neighborhood green thumbs to repeat ROW's success, especially because it isn't terribly hard to get something like this started. ROW started with a Craigslist post in February and five months later we've got an abundance of salad greens with squash, potatoes, peas, etc. in the making.

You too can find a neglected parking strip or traffic circle, test the soil inexpensively (University of Massachusetts Lab, BTW), get some seeds and get started. The main challenge with ROW, and I think it will be the same with most guerilla gardens on the Hill, is watering during the summer. And this can be solved with a wagon and gallon milk jugs (or your strong shoulders, whichever you prefer).

Locavores, organic vegetable lovers, green thumbs - you do not need a yard to have a garden. Start your guerilla/victory garden today.

Monday, June 22, 2009

BRRAIINS at the Fremont Solstice Parade

Here's our fearless zombie leader Cara, looking like a colossal badass. There are more pictures to come, but in the meantime you can find them all here.

Friday, June 19, 2009

Attention DIY and Artist Types: Salvagepunk

China Mieville should blog more often. Among the "five movements to watch out for" in his post, the one below is my favorite (then again, I'm a sucker for the bridge scenes in William Gibson's Virtual Light) . I hope to see plenty of it soon in our own fair city.

v) Salvagepunk

As Steampunk wheezes and clanks exhausted into the buffers, dragging an increasingly huge load of books behind it, the hunt for the next great somethingpunk is over. The orgy of para-Victoriana has been impressively tenacious, but it has its limits, and rather than yet another reclamation of an earlier mode of production--steam, dust, stone, diesel--the punk aesthetic of DIY, cobbling-together, contrariness, discordance and disrespect for the past will go meta. It will investigate not imaginary branchline points in a timeline (an understandable if rather plaintive discomfort with the idea that such a line was actually teleological, and ended with this bloody mess) but history itself as always-already a bricolage, and what we do about that.

Though this might look like apocalypse fiction, it will in fact be not about any implied catastrophe, but about scobbing together of culture from the refuse (and implying that all culture is and always has been so scobbed). An art of making-do, tool-use and ingenuity. A fiction infused with a militant amnesiac uninterest about cultural memes' origins and 'pure' 'original' 'purposes' - which chimeras its adherents will derisively and polysemically render 'pUr(e)poses' - this will be literature that celebrates reclamation, and/but forgets that prefix 're-': so, clamation fiction, ignoring the fact that ruins are ruined, were ever anything else.

If Benjamin warns that history is a buffeted angel staring at a giant pile of debris, Salvagepunk ignores the angel and roots around in the debris looking for a car to hotwire.

Salvagepunk is the most developed of these schools so far: its bards and theorists already exist, and have brilliantly started the job of delineating its contours, and making notes for a manifesto. More than any other of these incipient movements, it will have a recent history of precursors on which to draw, Salvagepunk avant la lettre. These influences include the Mad Max films, The Bed Sitting Room, Charles Platt's Garbage World, Steptoe and Son and the entire musical history of sampling, at all.

What to say: 'All art is an act of radical forgetting.'

What not to say: 'You finally did it! Damn you all to hell!'

Thursday, June 18, 2009

SDOT Light Rail Construction Noise Meeting Recap

First, this is all a crib from CHS Blog. Justin is the man with the well-written scoop. I recruited people for the Fremont Solstice Paradise Zombie Walk last night instead.

Second of all, the main reason I'm writing this post is not noise concerns. They're important, mind you, because there are a lot of people living near the construction site and I really don't to see what happens if they all become sleep deprived because of SDOT all-night drilling parties. The reason I'm writing this post is because....


After nine months of emails with the SDOT Bicycle Pedestrian Group, after the same old question in multiple SDOT public meetings, SDOT unveiled their plans to make Denny and Olive safer to cross between Broadway and the freeway. You know, that part of I5 Shores will all the pedestrians and the slope and the almost blind curve and no crosswalks.

This became SDOT's problem when they proposed to add very large trucks at a high rate of frequency to the mix. I am delighted to hear that SDOT is planning to counteract this with a curb bulb at Denny and Boylston and a crosswalk with signage at Denny and Summit. Plans for Olive are TBA, and I await them breathlessly.

Basics Rights for the Re-Animated Integrating Into Normal Society!

A communique from zombie rights activists planning to march in the Fremont Solstice Parade:

Zombie Rights March at the Fremont Solstice Parade
Date: Saturday, June 20, 2009
Time: 9:45am - 3:00pm
Location: Fremont Solstice Parade Staging Grounds
Street: Leary Way NW and NW 3th St., Fremont

The time for Zombie Rights is NOW!!!! No longer will we be classified as second-class citizens! We refuse to be thought as as shuffling, desiring only brains or blood. We are just as capable of living relatively normal lives as the rest of the lobotomized masses.

We demand Basics Rights for the Re Animated Integrating Into Normal Society!

If you would like to help us, please come shuffle with us in the Solstice Parade. Last year we made the effort to meet up to get dressed and then transported ourselves from there to the parade. This year we're going to try something a little different. We will instead be meeting at the parade site (location and map link below). If you plan on having a particularly elaborate costume (say, with things sticking out of your skin, or half your face peeling off) please show up already dressed, otherwise come prepared to get bloody.

Please be sure to wear clothes you are willing to throw away. Fake blood stains, and you'll look better when your clothes are all torn, anyway. If possible, bring your own make up. We will have a limited supply of white make up and probably 16 oz of blood, but it won't be enough for every one. If you are very tan, you'll need a lot of make up.

Please bring at least two bags of small candies (and a bag to carry them in), such as suckers, jolly ranchers, or fun sized m&ms. Remember, we're trying to win over the masses by showing them we care. If you'd like to bring other stuff to hand out, that's cool too.

More information can be found at our website. Zombie Rights!

Would you like goggles with that?

Sometimes you find the most unexpected things on the interwebs. Like a Steampunk Swapmeet in the basement of All Pilgrim's on July 11th.

On Saturday July 11th at the All Pilgrim’s Church (lower level) we will be holding a Steampunk swapmeet/jumble/garage sale/ flea market thingy. It is the unifying theme for this event, but not a strict parameter. We are sort of time traveling sales folk, which also fits the genre, don’t you think?

All Pilgrim’s Church (lower level), 500 Broadway E, Seattle, WA 98102. Set up will be from 10:00 AM to noon.

Noon to 6:00 PM.

Admission is free.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Contented at the Protest

I really want to do this sometime. Maybe when Fred Phelps and the Haters come back into town?

Terrible Things I Found on the Internet

First off, a sci-fi operatic classic - Le Wrath di Khan.

This one is Robot's fault - Like a Boss.

If you thought that "Dick in a Box" was funny - "Motherlover".

And finally, a mystery solved by the briliant minds at XKCD.

Spine and Crown

I have been frequenting Spine and Crown since not long after they opened, lured in by window displays that are a mix of luridly bad paperbacks from the 60s and books that I might actually be interested in reading. I did indeed find many books that I read and enjoyed, and got to know a great conversationalist in Kris, the keeper of the store.

What I did not get to know until recently was their excellent blog. Thanks to Keith of People's Parking Lot, I now know the joys of Kris' entertaining and effervescent writings about philosophy, life, and most of all, books.

The Street Food Cometh


A fine way to spend a vacation

Saunatina Sanchez, a friend and fellow community organizer, has admirable vacation plans and she's inviting interested parties to join her:

As some of you may know, I scheduled a vacation for June 30-July 5 to visit my brother for his birthday (Happy B-day Padro!) and to visit family over the fourth. While I would still like to do this, I have decided that this time could be better spent petitioning our government for equal rights for gay and lesbian citizens.

I have decided to change my itinerary and fly to DC for that week and stand outside the White House gates from sun-up to sun-down, peacefully holding banners with quotes of the president's expressing his support for gay rights. It would be nice if I could recruit others into this, and I'm gonna try, but I'm willing to be there by myself for the week.

Of course, this means my trip is gonna cost me more than the trip to LA was gonna, and I was hoping some of you, my friends and family, would be willing to support me in this cause. I'm not asking for a lot- maybe $10 or $20 for food and to pay for a hostel (if I can't get a couch to crash on). And everything I don't use for the trip, I would donate to Lambda Legal to continue the fight. I'm tired of being dismissed as a wedge issue by the Democratic party who are supposed to be on our side. I am ready to stand up and challenge our government. Please stand with me.

Anyone interested in joining or sponsoring Sauntina's trip can contact her at saunatina(at)gmail(dot)com.

Fun with Sound Transit: Upcoming Info Meetings

A reminder to neighborhood transit wonks: tonight is the Capitol Hill Construction Open House, 6 to 8pm (presentation begins at 6:30pm) at the Century Ballroom (915 E Pine, 2nd Floor). Sound Transit will present the latest in U-link/ Broadway Light Rail Station news.

Also, a heads up from neighborhood transit wonk Tony Russo: on Wednesday, June 24, at 6 p.m. Sound Transit is hosting their second of four quarterly forums about the Transit Oriented Development to be built above the Capitol Hill station. The meeting will be held at the Seattle Central Community College in Room 4106 (1701 Broadway). Tony says that this meeting should be fairly heavy on community input, so if you have something to say it's worth coming.


My friend who's starting the Seattle Chapter of the International Calvinball League (no registration fee!) tells me that the first game of the season has been rescheduled to Saturday, June 27th. The rest of the meeting conditions are still the same - 1pm by the Cal Anderson Fountain, look for the lithe young lady with the red mohawk.

What a fine way to start the Pride weekend. A suggestion to the players - find a way to include rainbows.

Zombies on Parade

Last year, a group of my friends and I were zombies in the Fremont Solstice Parade. Not only were we zombies, we were zombies marching for zombie rights. It's a point that's kind of hard to get across when you can't have words on your signs and all you can do is groan, but I think we managed.

Anyway, we're doing it again this year. It's a lot of fun, but not for the faint of heart - we use a lot of fake blood and the Parade course makes you walk at least a mile in the hot sun. If you'd like to join us this weekend, all the info you need is here.

PS The LOL zombies you see to your left were actual participants in last year's Zombie Rights March. (LOL Zombies courtesy of Evil Couch).

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

This Should Be Interesting - Neighborhood Status Report Updates

The Prologue: My faithful readers might know that the Neighborhood Plan Updates are supposed to be coming to a neighborhood near you in the next few years. Three southern neighborhoods (Othello, Mount Baker, Beacon Hill) got the quick-start version of the NPU because their Light Rail Stations were opening this year and the City wanted to have a Plan in place before developers started in on the juicy, juicy transit-oriented development.

While I love the idea of Neighborhood Plans and their Updates, what I've been hearing the City's relationship with the our southern neighbors and with the Neighborhood Planning Advisory Committee (made up of neighborhoody activist types) hasn't been good. I think the word "railroading" would apply. This is unfortunate, but not entirely surprising given that the Dept. of Neighborhoods, the City Dept. in charge of this process, has Mayor Nickels for its boss.

The Announcement: Before all this fun can start on the Hill, or any other neighborhood, the Dept. of Neighborhoods first has to conduct a Neighborhood Status Report Update. The Status Report Update is supposed to find out, through a series of metrics, what has changed in the neighborhood over the past ten years since the Neighborhood Plans were created.

For the Hill, the Neighborhood Status Report Update process begins at a meeting on June 22nd from 6-8pm at the South Lake Union Armory (860 Terry Ave. N). I think it's basically a public comment meeting; the press release says
Please join members of the Seattle Planning Commission and the Neighborhood Planning Advisory Committee in the first of a series of two important community meetings. These two citizen groups want to hear your thoughts. Come and tell us how your neighborhood has changed since your neighborhood plan was adopted. Your comments and input at this meeting will help the City of Seattle complete a status report that will look at how well your neighborhood plan is achieving its goals and strategies.
Since this is the first step for the neighborhood in the Neighborhood Plan Update Process, it's a pretty important meeting. The Capitol Hill Stewardship Council and the Capitol Hill Housing Improvement Project (among others) will be discussing their approach to this meeting and what metrics of change they think are the most important very soon. I'll keep you (my faithful readers) updated as soon as I find out anything interesting.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Amazing! Mysterious! Successful! Cap Hill Community Garage Sale!

I hung out at the Unpaving Paradise spot at the Cap Hill Community Garage Sale Community Lot for almost all of the day Saturday. It was nice - Panache donated fabulous umbrellas and a big canopy so we had shade (see left), Sadboy Tacos came by with free vegan snacks, and the whole atmosphere was very laid back. So while I technically was working all day making sales and talking up the park-to-be at John and Summit, it didn't really feel like work for most of the time I was there (exception: setup and takedown - that is always work).

PS I made some of the on-site signage for the community lot of the Garage Sale, and I had a lot of fun with it. There was glitter. There were many adjectives and exclamation points. Judging from today's title, I still haven't quite worked it out of my system.

PPS There are plenty more Garage Sale pictures at the UP site and CHS Blog.

Friday, June 12, 2009

Google Analytics Update

After reinstalling the code, Google Analytics started reporting visitors to the site again. I've had 70 people by this week, which is nice to see when you're running a teeny tiny micro-blog like this one. Thanks also to my loyal readers who left me encouraging comments assuring me that yes, they were still visiting the site.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

UPDATED Extremely Timely Announcement: Capitol Hill Community Garage Sale This Saturday, 9am-4pm

UPDATE: The Community Garage Sale Map is up and running. You can see a blurb about each sale by clicking on its marker on the map.

It is going to be HUGE! There are 78 sales thus far, and 34 of them will be at the community lot on Pine and Belmont. That is a mind-blowing amount of cheap stuff in one place, if I might say so myself. There are a handful of benefit sales in the mix - Unpaving Paradise, Friends of Belize, and Sustainable Capitol Hill are fundraising at the community lot, and there are a number of "please buy my stuff, I'm unemployed" sales all around the Hill. So this sale isn't just about finding crazy bargains steps away from your shabby chic apartment or condo. It's about supporting your local community (awwww).

Belated Announcement: Noise for the Needy

Never going to shows is no excuse for not talking up a charity music event for a great cause (in this case, mental health care services via Transitional Resources). Noise for the Needy started yesterday, and the shows will continue all over Seattle through the weekend. Do not be afraid - there are plenty of shows on the Hill for those who do not wish to leave their beloved neighborhood.

I Lawn Chair NY (We Lawn Chair Seattle?)

After closing off Times Square to cars this summer, The Times Square Alliance realized that they wouldn't have permanent furniture installations ready until the fall. What to do for weary tourists in the meantime? Their answer was classic, campy, and in the end, perfect: lawn chairs.

This would be a really fun idea to import, but the question is, where?

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

June 14th: Seattle OUTProtest vs. Fred Phelps and The Haters

If you've got the time this Sunday, this is a worthwhile event to attend. The church that hates everyone is going to come to Seattle this on June 14th to protest at Mt. Zion Church and St. James Cathedral because they're anti-African American and anti-Catholic (respectively) along with being anti-gay. Seattle OUTprotest will be there to peacefully respond and celebrate being a decent person and not a bigot. They look serious about the celebrate part - there's going to be music and free food. OUTprotest will be at Mt. Zion (19th and Madison) from 10 - 10:45am, and then they'll be at St. James (9th and Columbia) from 11am-noon.

The more I think about it, the more I like this idea. Let's all show up and be happy - that'll show 'em.

UPDATE: Here's a full listing of The Haters Grand Seattle Tour, in case you have time on Sunday to have a party in front of them every step of the way. I definitely recommend the celebratory aspect - being angry and traditionally counter-protesty at people like this fuels their fire and just stresses you out. Having a party with other open-minded folks is a good way to spend a Sunday and a much more powerful statement against a cranky hate protest.

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Google Analytics bums me out

I just checked my Google Analytics account for the first time in awhile only to find out that nobody's visited Life on the Hill since March. Is that true? Geez, I hope not. But if it isn't, why the hell isn't Google Analytics working? Any ideas, my (real or imaginary) readers?

Calvinball at Cal Anderson

With a name match-up like that, I kind of feel like it was only a matter of time. The first game of the Seattle International Calvinball League is this Sunday, June 13th at 1pm. Players should meet up at the Cal Anderson Fountain and look for the small, slender young woman with the bright red mohawk. For those unfamiliar with Calvinball, click here to read a surprisingly thorough guide to an amazingly arbitrary game.

Friday, June 5, 2009

Supporting Local Businesses, One Blog Post at a Time

I finally got a chance to visit Gamma Ray Games with my boyfriend tonight. Since it was ten at night and pretty quiet, we had a chance to talk for awhile with the owner, Eric. It sounds like the store's going to get even more exciting over the next few months: Scrabble Nights, Leif Erickson Day (Columbus was so not here first), and they're going to be a PAX satellite location in August. Not to mention more inventory is soon to come, and maybe even snacks (!).

Another awesome thing Eric mentioned: they got a ton of survey traffic and first day foot traffic due to none other than CHS blog! Before the post - three survey hits. After the post - 1,650. Apparently we really are that geeky, jseattle. Sometimes all it takes to give the local economy a boost is some good new-fashioned information sharing - three cheers for the blogs! (hup hup huzzah!)

In the spirit of encouraging local business by writing a blog post, allow me to direct your attention to the greatest little gym on the Hill that nobody knows about - Urban-Fit on Boylston near Pine. They moved up the hill a few months ago from Belltown. When they first came into the neighborhood I got to talk to the owner Osiris. Very cool guy (he's the one in the picture on the website).

His vision for the gym is to be membership based, a small pool of about 200 members. Along with a convenient location and exercise machines for every muscle group in your body, the first three months of membership also come with free sessions with one of the gym's physical trainers. (That plus no giant windows for everyone on the street to stare at you through makes it a very attractive gym for newbies like me) I think the monthly fee was $45, but I heard that he may have reduced the price to $30 for a limited time only.

So, the moral of the story is "read local (blogs) - buy local (stuff)".

Thursday, June 4, 2009

I am so done with showering twice a day

Cliff Mass says that temperatures will drop TONIGHT, winds will rise, and life will be considerably less sweaty for the next few days. Oh thank God. I'm crossing my fingers for some decent precipitation tonight - all this sun has been great, but after enough dry days I have to start hauling water to my super-secret guerilla gardening locations. In this heat I had to haul water. Come on weather gods, make with the rain!

Something to cheer you up on a hot afternoon

Capitol Hill Garage Sale + People's Parking Lot =

AWESOME! Keith Harris of People's Parking Lot just secured the empty Pine and Summit/Belmont lot as community space for the Capitol Hill Garage Sale on June 13th. I'm delighted that the space will be used for such a neat community event, and I'm happily surprised to hear that MurrayFranklyn is willing to let the space be used. May this be a harbinger for many amazing community events to come at Pine and Belmont.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Blog of the Day: Goths in Hot Weather

Very amusing on long hot summer afternoons when one is hiding out in relative coolness with iced beverages. One can think, "Ah look, some poor fellow who's a great deal hotter than I am. I feel cooler already!"

PS This post is a nice contrast to the one directly before it. Subliminal marketing?

Coming soon to Capitol Hill: Ice Cream vs. Custard

In one corner: Molly Moon, already an established neighborhood favorite, known for high quality frozen desserts in funky flavors. In the other: neighborhood newcomer Old School Custard, rival purveyors of frozen creamy treats. FIGHT!

PS I think The Slog is on a roll today.

In the news: UP and Me

Kery Murakami sez Capitol Hill to get P-Patch. Yes indeedy.

It's hard to believe, but...

The National Weather Service may be more excited about the Seattle heat wave than we are.

Art Grant as Art

It's an art grant that's really a performance piece encouraging other artists to create performance pieces. Delightful - thank you Vital 5 Productions.

Monday, June 1, 2009

"Trust Women"

What I learned at tonight's candlelight vigil at Cal Anderson Park for slain abortion physician George Tiller:

Dr. Tiller was a really nice guy. A gentle, caring man who would put in hours of personal time with patients. He wasn't there to do a procedure and then send the women on their way - he'd sit with them, talk with them, and hold them while they cried while they made one of the most difficult decisions of their lives.

He helped women who had found out late in their pregnancies that their baby had a fatal disease or disorder or that late in their term, their own life was at risk. He helped little girls who had been raped and had hidden their pregnancies until they were too far along to have abortions in most states. All these women travelled far and braved hostile crowds to make a very hard decision; Dr. Tiller was there to help them and provide a haven.

He didn't start out doing abortions. When he took over his father's practice (after his parent's died in a plane crash), women would come to him and ask if he could do the procedure "like his father did". He said yes, and then ended up taking this on as a full-time practice. He did this for thirty-some years while being endlessly threatened and harassed by pro-lifers who thought of him as an evil babykiller.

He wanted to retire when he was sixty. When he was asked why he didn't retire, he said he couldn't leave the women. Now that he's gone, there's hardly anywhere for them to go - maybe two other doctors in the U.S. do late-term abortions, because of the technical and emotional difficulty of the procedure, because of restrictive state laws, and because of violent crowds that are all too willing to harass and even kill late-term abortion physicians. Who will help these women now?


For much better articles about George Tiller than this one, see In Memory of Dr. George Tiller, Kansas Stories and Where Will Women Go Now?. Thanks to Erica Barnett for posting about the candlelight vigil - I'm sure she did a great deal to contribute to the 100+ crowd that made it to the event on very short notice.

12th Ave. Community Meeting Update

Thanks to Kate Stinebeck for a great rundown of the 12th Ave Stewardship Council meeting for those who were too caught up in SIFF to attend (coughtsorrythatwasmecough). It's good to hear that CHHIP is going forward with at least one of their planned 12th Ave developments (the one on Jefferson). I hope that SPD will stop being greedy about parking spaces already so CHHIP can start up the development they have planned for 12th and Pine.

(You can read the minutes for the meeting here.)