Friday, July 24, 2009


It's almost time for me to go on vacation, and it's starting to show. The excitement is making me sillier than usual. Which is why I feel the need to introduce you to a new emoticon I discovered: o_@. I like to call him Mr. Monocle. I'd also like to introduce you to his half-brother, Mr. Goggles: @_@. Thank you, Wesa, for making my day.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Referendum 1 - Bag Fee Fun

The debate on the bag fee has been going around the city for a while now, mostly prodded on by the Seattle Green Bag Campaign's appearances at big events like the Solstice Parade with their infamous mascot, the Bag Monster. On one side: eco-studs, the ever feisty People for Puget Sound and the Seattle City Council. On the other: 7-11 Inc., the American Chemistry Council (whose members include Dow Chemical and ExxonMobil), people who like using plastic bags to pick up dog doo, and those who think yet another nanny-state style fee is stupid.

Even with a line-up like this, a lean, green writing machine like myself has to sit back and think - would this fee really do what it's supposed to do, or will it be yet another token attempt at sustainability?

The thing that's been tipping the issue for me has been the bag fee's opposition. Namely, the the amount of money the American Chemistry Council has been willing to pour into opposing a fee that is sponsored by the itty-bitty Seattle Green Bag Campaign and their wee $65,000 fundraised thus far. The ACC threw in $500,000 last Friday, bringing their anti-bag fee contributions to a grand total of $740,000.

What this suggests to me is that the ACC sees the bigger picture. Even if the projected 70% drop in bag use by Seattle residents isn't enough to bother them, something else is. Maybe it's that they think initiatives pioneered in Seattle gets spread across the country. Maybe they see this as a sign of things to come, a turning against our current disposable way of life. Either way, if Big Oil and Big Chemical are willing to spend this much money to oppose it, the bag fee's probably worth supporting.

UPDATE: The ACC's contributions to the anti-bag fee campaign now come to over $1 million. Wowzers.

Seattle Police Department's Drug Market Initiative

No, really, not a shop local campaign.

I'm not a fan of the war on drugs and all the criminalizing of addicts and spending money putting potheads into prison. I am a tentative fan of this new approach, especially because it involves intervention and community programs for the small time, non-violent drug dealers as an alternative for throwing them in prison. Street drug markets are notoriously bad for the neighborhoods in which they're located...I really hope this works.

Local Business Love - Two Openings in One Week

It starts with the cupcakes, which is pretty much a great way to start anything. Cupcakes Royale opens its Cap Hill location at Pike and 11th tomorrow morning at 6am (so early, gah!). They'll be giving away a free babycake to everyone who knows the secret password, but only while supplies last. I've got bets on the babycakes only holding out till ten - we Hillites can be motivated when it comes to our sugar. (Pic courtesy of the delectable Cupcakes Royale blog)

Envy will be making its move to the Hill on Friday, hopefully. Envy is that plant store in the CD that outgrew (hee hee) its space and found it had a powerful need for more foot traffic. I have a feeling it'll do just fine at 15th and Madison. If you say you heard about them on CHS on opening day, you can get five bucks off any plant/pot combination that suits your fancy. If you also mention you heard about them on Life on the Hill, you will have my eternal gratitude.

Now, I know these moves and openings have been in the works for a while, but they still make me feel better about how our neighborhood is coping with the present economic situation. Take that, recession!

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

High Summer

It is too goddamned hot again, and I'll be locked out of my apartment all tomorrow afternoon. So I'm trying to think cool. After hearing about that weird event at the Fountain tonight, this is what comes to mind:

(Thanks to Wesa for the pic)

A good old-fashioned Rubber Ducky Regatta sounds just my style right about now. Unfortunately, I haven't heard about this event happening again this year. Maybe I missed it. Maybe Mr. Corprew Reed isn't planning to host it again. I hope this is not the case. Let the duckies sail again!

Monday, July 20, 2009

What are they UP TO?

Sneaky pastries....WHAT DO THEY WANT?

PS Well, probably for us to buy more of their stuff, but really, it's much more entertaining when I leave it hanging.

In Local News

+ Don't you just love Light Rail? The Stranger does, you can guess what the Seattle Transit Blog thinks of it (hint: I'm surprised none of them got arrested for indecent activities with public transit property in public), and the aforementioned both say that Seattle Times is being too mean to their sweet baby. All in all, it looks like the public is siding with The Stranger and STB, big surprise there. Three cheers for public transit!

+ Follow the District 5 (that's us!) School Board Forum online, cuz it's a little bit late to attend it now.

+ The Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence - saving you from STDs since 1979 and ATM robberies on Capitol Hill since this weekend.

+ It's that time of year again, boys and girls - The Stranger is accepting submissions (emissions? transmissions?) for Hump! 5, the world's largest amateur porn film festival! You have until September 21st to create your five minutes of sweet, sweet amateur lovin'.

+ Ice Cream Party for Great City Seattle at Molly Moon's on Friday - sustainability and tasty dairy treats, hurray!

+ Coming right up: the Fairness Teach-in this Saturday at the Cap Hill Library, bright and early from 10 to noon. Unite for equality and learn more about legislation that affects the LGBTQ community.

+ It's cooommmiinnnnng....

$10K + 500 Pine = Big Ass Block Party

I read this three times before I could believe it: those crazy mofos at Cap to the Hill are going to have a $10,000 party resurrecting the lost 500 block of Pine on what is now the empty 500 block of Pine. And they want your help to do it.

What is amazing is not just what they want to do, but how they got the money to do it. I can't believe they have contests/grants for this kind of thing. I can totally believe they won, though. Massive street party and neighborhood revitalization all rolled into one... it is genius.

Man, the uses of that empty lot just keeps getting better and better. First the Capitol Hill Garage Sale, then the Park(ing) Day bonanza coming up in September, and now this.

Our neighborhood mantra: Have space, will party.

* 500 Pine - RIP *

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Night Sports and A Wolf in Sheep's Clothing

I was tooling around Cal Anderson when I thought I saw the dodgeball kids starting up another raucous game in the tennis courts. Alas, it was bike polo - still nifty, but I'm not good enough on a bike to play. Walking on I saw a bunch of folks playing kickball on the playfield...ah, full utilization of public spaces is such a delight to see.

There's something great about night sports in Cal Anderson Park. I know there's lots of people who play 'normal' sports and don't keep score, and there must be someone out there who's obsessive about winning at dodgeball. But as someone who used to be that kid who was picked last in P.E. because of utter lack of athletic ability, it's nice to be able to play games where it's patently obvious everyone's here to screw around and have fun with the space we got.

This talk of the repurposing brings to mind something completely different - the Sbux-in-an-indy-tee remodel of the Starbucks store on 15th. I know that the sucessful indy trends move to the mainstream, and that rebranding is part of the life of a company. But this is just weird. It's not like Hillites aren't going to know that's it's still a Starbucks' store. And it's certainly not like Victrola and Vivace devotees are going to discover this new "indy" shop and come in droves. What are you trying to do, Sbux?

PS Things aren't off to a good start between ex-Sbux and the neighborhood...Linda Derschang is pissed that the 15th Ave Coffee and Tea-to-be totally ripped off her decorating scheme.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Happy Bastille Day, assuming you're not a monarchist

There's not much to do on the Hill that's Bastille-oriented, except for Faire's Bastille Day Party: free cake at 5 or 6pm, free jazz starting at 6. Seattle Metblogs has a good listing of all things liberty-democracy-fraternity today around the city.

(picture courtesy of the Seattle Bastille Day site)

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Busy weekend

I caught a car crash while I was gardening at ROW, spent a pleasant afternoon with anachronistic crafters in a church basement, and made it to the Annex's Theatre's All-Holiday Party in time for Halloween. And on Sunday, I mostly took a nap.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Did you just see that?

About 45 minutes ago, a Bronco was coming up Denny too fast, lost control on the curve and ran into the Abonita Apts./Twice Sold Tales Building. Weirdest part - the driver just got out of the truck and walked away like nothing happened.

The things they think up...

From ThinkGeek, the people who brought you the Wee Ninja and Dismember-Me Plush Zombie...yep, that's what you think it is. Now you too can have your very own colloquial phrase.

Friday, July 10, 2009

UPDATED Belated Happy Friday Tidings

It looks like we have another entertaining Cap Hill summer weekend in store. Besides the Steampunk Swampmeet (SO AMAZING-TOTALLY GOING), the most amusing thing I've seen so far is this Saturday's possible convergence of nakey cyclists and Shakespeare in the Park. Am I intrigued by the possible collision of new theater and old theatre? Or do I just find it funny that classical theater-goers may be in for some nudity out of left field (literally)?

Speaking of entertaining happenings in Volunteer Park - just read The Stranger's bit on Waterlines, a performance piece by Stokley Towes about drinking water. It's staged in an office trailer behind the Seattle Asian Art Museum. It sounds like good performance art: creative, evocative, playful, relevant. Since I missed this week's performances (it runs Wed. - Fri., 7pm), I'll just have to wander for the second run next week. I'll tell you how it goes.

ONE MORE THING I JUST FOUND OUT ABOUT RIGHT NOW: Home Alive is having a benefit concert tomorrow. If you don't mind heffing over to West Seattle, and you have some free time, you should go. Home Alive is good people and they could use the money.

Summer Fun Photo Album

Zombies on Parade

The gang's all here...well, sort of.

But what on earth does it want? Oh wait...

Up with Dead People!

I think this is what they refer to as a zombie money shot.

Zombies in their natural habitat - if you look closely, you can see one eating a bit of brain.

CHCC Pride

The devilishly debonair duo dare to bare!

Dizzy, the fearless Goth Float leader

Our neighbors, the boyishly handsome Quake Rugby Team

The ravishing view from the float

Happy America Day!

In Seattle, it is customary to show one's patriotism by creating and wearing tie-dyed articles of clothing. Here is Web (Cap Hill Community Council At-Large Rep.) being very patriotic at the Cal Anderson 4th of July Community Celebration.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Brilliant and Adorable

David Eggers is a freaking genius: It took me a little while to connect 826 Seattle to the Greenwood Space Travel Company. But when I did, it made total sense - use a whimsical concept gift store to raise money for a nonprofit writing center for kids? Brilliant! What I totally did not know until yesterday was that 826 is nationwide and each tutoring center has a partnering whimsical concept gift store: LA has the Echo Park Time Travel Mart, New York has The Brooklyn Superhero Supply Company, etc. This is possibly the coolest franchise idea I have ever seen in my life. I'm not usually big on chains, but rarely does one see a chain of stores that are this kooky and for such a good cause.

Now who could you say no to a face like that: Tweenbots is something that I wish we had a sister project of in Seattle. Kacie Kinzer of the Tisch School of the Arts at NYU did/ is doing a project on people's interaction with the pedestrian-level cityscape and is using the world's cutest cardboard robot to do it. This little guy can only roll straight ahead - if he's ever to get to his destination (written on a flag attached to his back), someone has to point him in the right direction. Literally.

Here's the best part - people actually do it. They see a little innocent cardboard box with only a motorized wheelbase and a smiley face to its name and say "Damn, that thing is adorable. Let's send it on its way."

Is this because we're programmed to love cute things so that we are convinced to put up with our young until they're old enough to take care of themselves? Is it because we pride ourselves in knowing our cityscape so much that we want to share this knowledge with others? Is it because we can empathize with vulnerability and being in situations where one cannot accomplish tasks by oneself? All of the above. It could also be because Kacie secretly placed a mind control ray in the robot and is testing it out under cover of a student art project. You never know.

Win quote from the artist herself:
The journey the Tweenbots take each time they are released in the city becomes a story of people's willingness to engage with a creature that mirrors human characteristics of vulnerability, of being lost, and of having intention without the means of achieving its goal alone. As each encounter with a helpful pedestrian takes the robot one step closer to attaining its destination, the significance of our random discoveries and individual actions accumulates into a story about a vast space made small by an even smaller robot.

And sometimes we get migraines

I have lovely pictures from the weekend that I was meaning to post this afternoon. And then I had a 5 hour migraine delay. Since that's the sort of event that doesn't tend to repeat itself (at least not for me), my faithful readers should have their pretty, pretty pictures by tomorrow afternoon.

Monday, July 6, 2009

Hip hip hurray, we have a Pike/Pine Overlay!

CHS Blog scooped it, The Stranger weighed in on it, and now Life on the Hill is officially a fan of it - the new Pike/Pine Overlay District.

So convenient: Seattle’s Cultural Overlay District Advisory Committee (CODAC) is doing a brownbag lunch at GGLO's offices this Thursday. I'm sure they'll touch on the new Pike/Pine Overlay, but I'm hoping they'll focus on the more important topic of how we export this planning tool to other neighborhoods in the city. I'll tell you how it goes.

Economy Blues

Around July 17th, I'm going to have my hours cut to 24 a week. The benefit to my readers: now I'll have plenty of time to dig up news and update the blog and no money to do anything else.

Blatant self-plug: If you anyone who needs an ace community organizer, please send them my way.

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Starting your weekend off right

Because the kind people at cap to the hill believe that the sooner you're drinking, the better. And you have Friday off anyway, right?

After the long and neighborhood-filled week I've had, with any luck I will be asleep most of Friday. Especially since Saturday's the neighborhood boogie at Cal Anderson Park - I'll be there at the Cap Hill Community Council booth helping with the tie-dye. And Sunday I'll be kicking it with the organic produce and Unpaving Paradise at the CHCC table in the Farmer's Market. I'm sure I'll see you all somewhere along the way. Just not on Friday.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

And now in news that has nothing to do with Capitol Hill

A Democratic Super-Majority! Hurray! Here's hoping they don't waste it by being weinies!

Union Square (big two building campus downtown) is going to start a composting program for all its tenants! Hurray! Composting for commercial institutions is becoming all the rage, and I guess the study they had done that told them they could divert 45% of their waste stream turned their heads.