Monday, August 31, 2009

Friends of Seattle Public Library: Because Even Libraries Need Friends

If I could add a subtitle to this post, it would be: "Especially when budget cuts mean that our libraries are closed for a week". While the libraries might not have been able to do much about it, the Friends of Seattle Public Library didn't take the closures sitting down. Instead, they blogged about it. (Twice!)

"Wah, wah, more blogtivism," you might say. But getting the word out, especially word that this closure is hitting disadvantaged folks hardest, is important. Turn their word into action by donating your time or your money, whichever one you have the most of...which, these days, is probably time.

A quick way to help is to fill out the Friends of SPL's "Neighborhood Survey of Library Value". If you'd like to do the survey in person, set up an interview by emailing Sarel Rowe, Advocacy Chair of the Friends of The Seattle Public Library: advocacy(at)friendsofspl(dot)org. I recommend the latter option - Sarel's really nice and a delight to talk with. If you end up having a really neat conversation with her, it just might end up on the Friends of SPL blog :D.

Friday, August 28, 2009

My Mom vs. Tom Carr: Reprise

The recurrent theme in the emails and comments I've gotten about the epic email battle between my mom and City Attorney Tom Carr is that my mom is frickin' awesome. This is absolutely true.

However, the best thing to do in this situation is not to merely admire your newfound civic hero. You should emulate her by writing or calling Tom Carr yourself in support of Faire Gallery and Cafe getting their hard liquor license. (Mr. Carr's contact information is below.) Since Seattle is filled with smart and educated folk, I'm sure you too can achieve a level of letter-writing badassery comparable to my mom's.

Again, it's not as if Faire is getting a hard liquor license because they want to corrupt the youth of Capitol Hill. Times are hard, and they need the extra money they can make from selling cocktails and spirits to stay in business. They've been responsible the last few years while serving wine and beer, so I'm sure they can manage serving the harder stuff responsibly as well.

Seattle City Attorney's Office

600 4th Ave., 4th Floor
PO Box 94769
Seattle, WA 98124-4769
Phone (206) 684-8200
TTY Phone (206) 233-7206
Fax (206) 684-8284

Thursday, August 27, 2009

My Mom vs. Tom Carr: Epilogue

Wow, my mom is such a badass at angry letter writing that she got Life on the Hill featured on The Slog. Oooh, and CHS Blog. Go Mom.

I really hope that the end product of this kerfuffle is Tom Carr leaving poor Faire alone and letting them get their hard liquor license. I like the place. I feel welcome when I come in and I feel safe when I walk by there when they're open late at night. I just want them to be able to stay in business.

My Mom vs. Tom Carr Continued

Faithful readers, it appears that the saga of My Mom vs. Tom Carr continues. I had no idea that our City Prosecutor had this much time in his schedule to go back and forth over email with a concerned citizen about a cafe's hard liquor license. But he does, and my mom continues her email salvo unabated. So the story continues...
(My Mom's emails are in white, and Tom Carr's are in blue)

I have not decided to appeal. The clerk in the department of executive administration routinely checks the appeal box to preserve our rights. The appeal deadline is September 9. I am concerned about the liquor board’s policy with respect to DUIs. We raise them as a public policy concern. What really bothers me is that the Faire Gallery’s lawyer is making this a political issue when In fact it’s a real public safety question. There is a clear effort to intimidate me. I wonder did anyone tell you the basis for our objection?


I read the story in the Stranger, about the DUI, and the circumstances of the warrant, yes. As to the Faire's attorney, I am not a local and am not influenced by local politics. I formed my opinion based on my knowlege of Faire, (from my visits) on the merits of the original objection, and the proposed appeal.

What you perceive as an attempt to intimidate is really a question of simply not agreeing with your position on the matter, and saying so. I simply do not view the Faire having a hard liquor license as a public safety threat. Nor does the liquor board, who had all the facts and made their decision accordingly.

That being said, I am happy to hear that you have decided not to appeal.

Thank you,
Elise Power


I am sorry. I am a lawyer. What I wrote was, I have not decided to appeal. That is different from I have decided not to appeal. I just received the Liquor Board decision this week. We have until September 9 to make this decision.


Ah, well, thank you for that clarification. My misread.

I do hope you do decide not to appeal. I think the liquor board made an informed decision, which the bulk of the local public, which you are seeking to keep safe, agree with.

I think that the appeal would be unnecessarily obstructive, and a less than effective use of the City attorney's time. There are far greater crime and public safety issues in Seattle that require your attention.

Faire is a dinky little cafe/gallery that the locals like. The public is in no more danger from their having a hard liquor license than they were in all the time they have been serving beer and wine, the owner's having married in May a man with an old DUI (now resolved to the liquor board's satisfaction) notwithstanding.

I hope you come to see it that way.
Elise Power

{and now the Epilogue}

Oh Snap: My Mom vs. Tom Carr

I posted about Tom Carr blocking Faire's attempt get a hard liquor license a few days ago, and I've been meaning to write a letter in support of Faire to our City Attorney ever since. Well, my mom beat me to it. And she has a lot of practice writing cranky letters to city officials (let's just say Garden Grove doesn't have the world's best city council...). She is so good that despite the fact that she lives hundreds of miles away, she got Tom Carr to write her back. The correspondence is below.
(picture courtesy of my mom :D)



My daughters live in Seattle, and I am a frequent visitor. I find your targeting of Faire distressing. They are good people, hardly the supporters of drunken louts or disruptive partying, and you are wasting your time and theirs by delaying their liquor license.

If you succeed, by your delays, in putting them out of business, you will have done no favor for the neighborhood. Cap Hill does not need, nor does its residents want, to be protected from Faire by you.

Leave them be, and let them get on with it.

Thank you for your attention,
Elise Power

We are not targeting Faire. They have a liquor license. They applied for an enhanced license to sell hard liquor. At the time of the application, one of the owners had a warrant out for his arrest in a pending DUI case. We brought this fact to the attention of the Liquor Control Board as is our duty. I don’t know where you live, but here, we are concerned about people who can’t control their own alcohol intake being responsible for serving others. I have a particular concern about someone who is told to do something by a court and needs to have an arrest warrant issued to get him to do it.

You have no idea what Faire Gallery will be like when serving hard liquor and neither do I. I do have questions about one of the owners, which it is my job to raise.

Thank you for writing.

Tom Carr
Seattle City Attorney

I read the story, I know about the DUI case, I also know about the details of the outstanding warrant and why it was issued, as do you. We here in Garden Grove CA worry as much as the next person about people who drive drunk.

Faire is a gallery, not a party venue. If a person attending such a place has a problem with drinking, they can do so on the license in place, they don't need hard liquor served to them to do so. If Faire has done just fine on the alcohol that they have been serving, they are more than likely to continue to do so.

I stand in support of them, as does most of Capitol Hill, whom I presume you are trying to protect. We are saying we don't feel the need to be protected from Faire having its hard liquor license, and want you to know.

I also presume you care what the neighborhood (and their friends and family who visit there) think, so we are here to let you know.

In re-reading your reponse, I must agree on one point. Raising the questions about one of Faire's owners was/is indeed, your job. However, having heard all of the circumstances, the Board ruled in favor of Faire's hard liquor license.

Your intent to appeal then takes on the appearance of being merely an obstructive delaying tactic, and thus punitive in nature, even spiteful.


{This post is getting long, so the saga continues here.}

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

The Blogger's Blog and 1001 Ways to be Popular on the Interwebs

Thanks to Twitter and @TheNewsChick, I just discovered EcoConsultancy's blog. Within two minutes on the site I found articles on 25 things journalists can do to future proof their careers, how to write for SEO, and the A-Z of online copywriting.

Usually when I find how-to's like this, they're boring, semi-useless, keyword-crammed search engine attractors. Instead, EcoConsultancy has created a blogger's blog, a gentlemanly club of experienced online writers sharing their knowledge with their peers and the next generation. It makes sense since it's the blog of a digital marketing company...but where's all the class coming from? Does EcoConsultancy just hire really cool people?

Any minute now, I will ease off the awe. I'm just really impressed at finding that much bloggy usefulness in one place.

PS Just found out why they're so classy - the blog's based in the UK.

PPS In case one blog is not enough to satisfy your need to know more about blogging, here are some online journalism tutorials. Not necessary for the "here's a picture of my cat" blogger, but probably useful for indy neighborhood news chasers like myself.

Pourin' out a double shot of hot jams

You know, I would say "only in Seattle", except for the fact that this weekend's Latte Art Throwdown at Victrola is a qualifying round for a West Coast Showdown between LA and the Emerald City. Amazing. Coffee Geekgasm. This Saturday.

What's in a name?

I saw this in my inbox last week, but jseattle got the scoop - a handful of Cap Hill domains are up for sale. With 40,000 people in our neighborhood and more blogs per square mile than I thought possible, any interested parties better make a bid while they're still up for grabs.

Monday, August 24, 2009

RIP Sunflowers of ROW Garden

I didn't get a chance to write this up last week because I got caught up in neighborhood stuff and Gnomedex. But I still want to take a short moment of silence to mourn the loss of most of the sunflower population at the Harvard Ave Collective/ ROW Garden. Sometime between last Sunday and last Tuesday, somebody (probably a drunken idiot somebody), callously beat most of the ROW sunflowers to death. Out of the original population, there are only three scarred survivors. I take comfort in the fact that they did their duty - our sunflowers bravely stood as bait to drunken idiots and protected their vegetable comrades to the end.

Mushroom! Mushroom!

I may be the only person on Capitol Hill who's really into mushrooms for totally non-hallucingenic purposes. So be it - our fungi friends are cool and sometimes delicious. For anybody else who thinks like I do, I'm putting the word out about EOS Alliance's Intro to Wild Mushroom Identification in Western Washington (10/30-11/1). It's kind of pricey, but you get to go camping and EOS puts on good workshops, so it's worth it.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Tom Carr Hates Small Capitol Hill Businesses

When I read this week's Stranger, I was disappointed to find that Tom Carr's anti-nightlife crusade now has Faire Gallery and Cafe in its sights. Seriously, he couldn't find a cuter business and nicer people to poop on. I will be extremely upset if a delay in receiving a liquor license puts them out of business. Mr. Carr will have Nutella Mocha fans all over the Hill to answer to if that happens.

Note: Liz Drayton of Faire said it would really help out if all the Faire/Capitol Hill nightlife fans out there could write to or call Tom Carr's office telling him what a bad idea it is to keep Faire from getting a liquor license (it'll put a great place out of business, there's no reason to delay this, etc.). Mr. Carr's contact info is below.

Seattle City Attorney's Office

600 4th Ave., 4th Floor
PO Box 94769
Seattle, WA 98124-4769
Phone (206) 684-8200
TTY Phone (206) 233-7206
Fax (206) 684-8284

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Gnomedex 9.0 - In the Room

I was on deck for Girls in Tech for most of the time I was at Gnomedex, so a lot of the experience has been a blur of networking. However, I did actually make it into the conference room for two of the presenters I really wanted to see, Mark Horvath and Amber Case. They appeal to the two very different sides of my fascination with technology: Mark covered online networking for social justice and Amber covered humans as tool-users and tool-users as cyborgs.

Mark Horvath is a former ad exec who was once homeless, is now unemployed, and is using his "time off" to scream and shout on the internet about homelessness. He has a great website, a following on Twitter, and is now equipped with a cool camera phone. But that's all he has. And with just that, he's gotten onto the front pages of newspapers spreading awareness about homelessness. The moral of the story is, you don't need money to have influence.

Amber Case is...well, let's just say she's awesome. And she knows a lot about the interface between humans and their technology. Her talk on prosthetic culture and cyborg anthropology was a really funny take on humans as tool users, tools as prostheses, and the explosion of the use of these prostheses in recent years.

When she started saying tools and prosthetic, I was thinking hammers and artificial limbs. But those terms also apply to cell phones (ear tools/prostheses), hard drives and the internet (brain t/p's), keyboards (finger t/p's) and so on. And since the definition of a cyborg is a "being to which exogenous elements have been added to aid an organism in adapting to new environments" (approx. quote!), the moral of the story is that we're all cyborgs. Neat. Well, neat until all our prosthetic bits are in the shop :(.

(Photo of Mark courtesy of and photo of Amber courtesy of Amber's Twitter profile.)

Gnomedex 9.0

Surprise Tech Conference! My friend MJ Kelly of Girls in Tech (Seattle chapter) put out a call for volunteers, so I find myself at Gnomedex 9.0 in the Bell Harbor Conference Center chatting up people who are famous on Twitter. So far I got to play with Microsoft Surface tables, watch Bre Pettis make a resin mini-replica of someone's skull with a MakerBot, and get lots and lots of swag.

Oh, and I also started by very own Twitter wave - meet Chrissa, the Girls in Tech booth mascot. Yes, that's a throwboy pillow of Chris Pirillo's face with a bow on it.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Old News is Good News

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Talking about the weather

Spine and Crown says that August was nutty, but the crazy really began in late July with The Heat Wave of Epic and Historical Proportions. And now it's raining like it's November already...and there was the Snowpocalypse this last winter....OMFGBBQ Global Warming!? Cliff Mass says "not exactly".

The unanswered question - Why didn't we come up with a witty name for THWEHP?

The answer - It was too damn hot.

(image courtesy of Dawn42)

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

This Thursday: Arbitrary Art Grant Show + Marination Mobile + 500 E Pine

Yep, I'll be there.

UPDATE: Or was raining, I had a good book, what can I say. CHS Blog did go, and here is their coverage on the event. I take some comfort in the fact that Marination Mobile didn't make it either because while I may have missed out on $500, at least I didn't miss out on their delicious tacos.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Orcas Island Vacation Slides, Part 3

Slide show starts here

While most of our time on Orcas was spent toodling around, the cutie pie and I actually did go out and do stuff. Like take the island shuttle over to Cascade Lake...

ride the ferry over to Friday Harbor on San Juan Island...

and take ourselves halfway up Mount Constitution.

PS It was only halfway up Mount Constitution because I got blisters at that point. I had entirely forgotten how long four miles is when it's entirely uphill.

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Orcas Island Vacation Slides, Part 2

Slide show starts here

Day one, we make it into East Sound. Gorgeous views, now with restaurants.

East Sound's lovely pebble beach. More shiny driftwood than you can shake a stick at (hee). Not pictured is the little island a couple hundred feet from shore you can walk out to in low tide. One of the things they say in the guidebooks is Orcas' unfortunate lack of public beaches. It's true - in our roaming around, this was pretty much it.

Saw this on a walk around town - "Here we use all parts of the driftwood".

Orcas Island's famous Crow Valley pottery, named after the valley on the island of the same name. Neat stuff, especially the little sake bottles you can see in the picture above, bottom right.

View from the front yard of the Sunflower Cafe. Good food, not too pricey, nice atmosphere. Unfortunately, only open till three in the afternoon. Still a great place to wile away the time with an iced tea and a game of Carcassone.

Even nicer was The Kitchen. The setup is a moderately sized cooking area, tiny indoor eating space, decent sized backyard with picnic tables, and an acre's worth of garden next door. Seriously - the entire neighboring lot was their garden. Freshest Thai food I've ever had - you could tell they just picked the veggies and they just made the noodles.

Besides tasty foods, the main attraction was watching all the little kids beeline it straight to the tree in the middle of the yard. If they were under ten, they wanted up that tree like nobody's business.

Next slide!

Chopped liver

Gah, the world for my digital camera! There was a foie gras protest in front of Quinn's at about 9 o'clock tonight - bullhorn, pretend corpses on the ground, the works. There were even some cops drifting around nearby. I run home to get my camera, I make it back in like fifteen minutes and WHAT DO I SEE? Nothing! The PETA-types had already wandered off. Protesters these staying power.

Friday, August 7, 2009

Orcas Island Vacation Slides, Part I

My S.O. and I went to Orcas Island last week for some R&R, and as it turned out, to beat the heat. Because this is my blog, I can inflict vacation slides on you, my faithful readers.

So, shuttle up to Anacorts, ferry to over to the San Juans til we get to Orcas Island and Orcas Village, where the ferry lands and where our B&B was located. The view from the ferry of Orcas Village looks something like this:

Picturesque, adorable, and you're seeing all of it. Deer Harbor, Olga - all the little people settlements are about this size. The only thing that can be properly called a town is West Sound. Little villages make me think little spaces. The thing is, Orcas Island is about the size of the Seattle Metro area, and it's in the shape of a horseshoe (see map below), which made it really big as the car drives.

This much space, that few people, this close to Seattle (less than an hour by Kenmore Air). Weird. Good. And a whole lot of gorgeous.

Yup, that was the view every morning - green cliffs, sparkling water, bright blue sky, adorable boyfriend. And it just gets prettier.

Next slide!

What to do?


I'm conflicted on what to do tomorrow night. Should I got to Viva VHS! at the Northwest Film Forum (which needs the money desperately, by the way) or should I attend Theater Schmeater's The Twilight Zone Live! Marathon? Decisions, decisions...

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

I Can Has Bloggers

If you've been following Capitol Hill Seattle for awhile, you know that you can earn some latte money for writing about our fine neighborhood. It turns out that Ballard Blog is starting to do the same thing, and they're recruiting. So is Queen Anne View, except they're being picky and only want journalists (us garden-variety blargers ain't good enough fer them). Three cheers for local entrepreneurship and super-local news! And latte money!

Um, it turns out that the lolcats are hiring too ... if you didn't already figure it out from the LolMariners post, I Can Has Cheezburger is based here in Seattle. They're actually looking for full-time meme-hunters, so if you like spending all day on the internet looking for stupid-cute stuff that makes you laugh, this one might be for you.

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Coming right up: Chill 'n' Grill on the Hill

The neighborhood is invited Tuesday evening, August 4th 2009 to attend the newly renamed “Chill-N-Grill on the Hill,” formerly the Fifth Annual Olive-Howell Street Block Party. The event is organized by volunteers from Unpaving Paradise (that's me!), the Capitol Hill Community Council (hey, that's me too!) as well as local residents. The Chill 'n' Grill is sponsored again this year by City Market, Metropolitain CafĂ© and the Crescent Lounge.

It will be an evening of awesome, with free hot dogs, hamburgers and soft drinks and a line-up of diverse and talented local bands including Mighty Tiger, Eagle Seagull, Norey, Viva la Villain and The Autumn Electric. Local Artists are invited to participate by bringing pieces for display.

This is an all-ages event. Set up of the stage will begin at four p.m., and the event will start at 6:00 pm and run until 10:00 pm.

The event will be held on E. Howell Street, between the intersections of East Olive Way, and Bellevue Avenue E. For more information go to:

Back in town

Hello, faithful readers - I'm officially back from an exceedingly mellow week on Orcas Island. Vacation slides are coming soon. I don't have any news of my own yet, but here's what other people are saying:

VOTE! (even if you don't lockstep it with the flaming liberals). I recommend supporting the bag fee, but you know that.

Dun da da dun da da dun da da dun da da da DAH!

The Northwest Film Forum needs YOU!