15 Oct

1967 Seattle-area transit plan

1967 Seattle Transit Plan map image posted by afiler.

In 1968, Seattle had a chance to vote in a rapid transit system, as seen in the map here. The Forward Thrust package of propositions contained a variety of civic improvement initiatives, many of which passed (one brought us the late and not-so-lamented Kingdome), but the transit system got only 50.8% Yes votes–and required a supermajority of 60% to pass.

In 1970, it was put back in front of the voters, but failed amid “Boeing Bust”-era recession fears. The large amount of federal money ($881 million dollars) secured for the project went instead to Atlanta, where they used it to build the MARTA system.

In retrospect, of course, this was probably one of the stupidest voter decisions ever made in this region. Can you imagine how different Seattle would be today if the routes shown on the map pictured here existed? By now we could have been spending the money to expand it to Everett and Tacoma, and adding more in-city routes; instead, we are creating a minimal line, and the expansions being planned are nowhere near as useful as they ought to be. (No stops between Roosevelt and Northgate? Only one stop between downtown and the U-District? And the University station way down at Husky Stadium instead of near the Ave? We need to build this anyway, but it’s going to be decades before it’s a really good in-city system, at this rate. It’s frustrating.)

Now we have the chance to vote again to build and expand rapid transit here, and as in 1970, people fear a deepening recession. Will people vote yes, or will it fail and kill transit expansion for another 40 years? I may not live long enough to see a decent rail system here.

(Found via comments on Seattle Transit Blog.)

25 Sep

No more “friend of the family”

So, Washington Mutual is dead. (I suppose I am continuing a theme here.) I went looking on YouTube for one of the really, really old WaMu commercials I remember from childhood, the ones with the kindly banker saying “Washington Mutual. The friend of the family.” Unfortunately, that seems to be one of the few things YouTube doesn’t have.

But they do have this cringe-inducing commercial, in which we see both one of the reasons they failed, and some of the pain that this failure is about to put a lot of people through:

And then… then, there’s this one:

Um… yeah.

I wonder if WaMu was the last remaining local bank from my childhood. Seafirst, Rainier, Peoples Bank — all absorbed by larger entities. (There is another bank using the Peoples name now. Peoples Bank in the Seattle area is now U.S. Bank.) Of course, some of the old credit unions are still around. But all the local banks — gone.

25 Sep

I understand the feeling.

Hi all. I’m back. I took the summer off, and a well-needed break it was.

I upgraded WordPress while I was offline, and it’s doing some weird stuff. My categories are gone and it’s ignoring some of my formatting. But I guess I’ll ignore it for now.

I’ll restart the blogging with a tidbit I noticed in last Sunday’s Seattle Times obituary section.

The Mariners have a lot to answer for this summer.

04 Jun

Not stained glass, but reflector art

Reflector art on new light rail line

Not a lot of posts lately — sorry. I’m kind of overwhelmed with stuff lately. Anyway.

This is art along the new light rail line on MLK Way in SE Seattle. It’s all reflectors. It’s by the same artist who did the reflector art that used to be on the side of the Henry Art Gallery. I loved that installation and I love this one too. It lights up so nicely as you drive by.

I was just driving down MLK tonight and happened to have a camera with me, so I pulled over, and propped the camera up on the dashboard, and took the picture with a 10 second delay, so that any wobble would hopefully die down before the shutter opened. It worked well enough to get these pics. Not ideal (I couldn’t really position the camera at the angle I wanted), but better than nothing.

The light here is what was reflected from my headlights (I was parked at an angle, not really pointing at the reflectors) and perhaps a little bit from the nearby streetlights, but it doesn’t take much to get the reflectors to glow.

Someday I’ll get out there with a tripod and try some more interesting shots, maybe with some light painting as well.

21 Mar

Are they completely nuts?

The possible names for the new Seattle MLS team have been announced, and oh my God, do they ever suck.

I hate singular-noun team names anyway, but “Seattle Alliance” and “Seattle Republic” are stupid even for that genre. “Seattle FC” is boring, but is the best of a craptastic bunch.

Sounders. Sheesh. Would it be that difficult to show a little respect for tradition around here?

17 Mar

John Wayne Gives A Driving Tour of Seattle

John Wayne Gives A Driving Tour of Seattle is an awesome clip from the early 70s movie McQ, in which Wayne starts at the Amazon Headquarters on Beacon Hill (which was PacMed back then), drives around Chinatown and SoDo, then up to South Lake Union.

The interesting thing about it is that the path he takes is relatively logical. In a lot of movie car chases you see random things filmed here and there, and once edited together to make a single sequence, they aren’t actually following any path a real person could follow. This one is sort of real. There are a couple of things here and there that wouldn’t work, but basically he does drive Beacon Hill –> Chinatown –> SoDo –> Chinatown –> I-5 north to the Mercer exit (backed up with some traffic, as usual) –> South Lake Union. He takes the real freeway exits that one would have taken at the time (one no longer exists, on Dearborn), but occasionally drives on the wrong side of the street. And somehow managed to get a car wash (perhaps at Elephant, on 4th Ave. S.) in the middle of the car chase. 😉

It is interesting to see what I-5 looked like before the Convention Center and Freeway Park lids.

29 Feb

Roman Seattle

“It’s easy to see, as you walk around the top of Capitol Hill, the remnants of the ancient Roman city. The capital-less columns on the side of the hill are only the most obvious reminder; now they overlook the freeway, but once from that spot you could have looked west toward the colony’s busy port…”

John D. Berry wrote this fictional, yet tantalizingly believable tale in the late 1980s, and posted it on telephone poles on Capitol Hill. I don’t recall if I ever saw it then, though I was living there at the time and did see a lot of interesting and artistic flyers around the neighborhood.

Of course, the closing lines about “the plunder of ancient Seattle” and a city feeding off its past while diminishing the record of what was have a certain resonance these days, with Seattle landmarks disappearing right and left.

(Via Making Light.)

21 Feb

Seattle World’s Fair 1962 Postcards

Found via BoingBoing: a neat assortment of Seattle World’s Fair 1962 postcards. Of course, the fair was before my time, but many of the things pictured in these cards still exist, or existed for many years. (You could even buy surplus ’62 World’s Fair souvenirs in some of the Food Circus Center House shops until the late ’70s or so.)

This photo of Seattle’s skyline is freakishly sparse. I think I can see my house. No stadiums, no huge skyscrapers… something’s a little odd about the skyline, too. The sun is out but Mount Rainier isn’t there, and there’s a weird gray patch of smog or something behind Beacon Hill.

This name would not be used today.

The Food Circus! I’m not sure when it started being called the Center House. I know that when I was a kid it was pretty universally called the Food Circus. These days, if you hear someone slip and call it the Food Circus, you know they’ve lived in Seattle for a long time. The Fisher 15 cent Scones sign in this photo appears to be right where the Starbucks is these days.

I wonder if the Hawaiian Pavilion sold Dole Whip like they have at the Tiki Room in Disneyland? I have this postcard myself; I think I found it at a Value Village. For Seattleites of my generation, this isn’t the Hawaiian Pavilion — it’s the Fun Forest Video Arcade. I spent many, many hours there as a teen.

I love these Boulevards of the World! (Note that Uwajimaya had a shop there.) When I was growing up, the basement of the Food Circus was the “International Bazaar”, sort of like this. Anyone know if the Bazaar was there during the Fair too, or if it was a sort of carry-over of this concept in a different location?

OK, I haven’t really paid attention to the businesses on Fifth lately, but I know when I worked at The Rocket in the 80s, the hotel in the background of this monorail postcard still had that goofy sign. And is that the current site of Top Pot Donuts beyond it? Part of my heart breaks whenever I see the monorail these days. Sigh.

Along the same lines, I finally discovered the VintageSeattle.org blog, which I should have started reading a lot sooner. It has lots of great old pictures, postcards, and ephemera. Very, very cool.

11 Dec

Anita Rowland, R.I.P.

One of the original Seattle bloggers, Anita Rowland, lost her battle with cancer yesterday. She was the host of the Seattle Weblog Meetups, and one of those people that it seemed everyone knew, either through blogging or through her activities in SF fandom. On Metatalk, Dylan said “She was a connector. Were it not for her, I wouldn’t know at least a dozen people here in Seattle. She was the ‘den mother’ of us Seattle bloggers.” And that is the truth.

22 Nov

Emmett Watson’s Thompson Turkey

As a kid growing up in a Seattle home with a P-I subscription (and later the Times), every Thanksgiving for many years I read a familiar recipe: Emmett Watson’s Thompson Turkey. Watson printed it in his column every year, and though I’m sure it was just an easy way to slack for a column, and I’ve never actually cooked or eaten a Thompson Turkey, the recipe itself is part of the Thanksgiving ritual, right down to the closing lines: “You do not have to be a carver to eat this turkey. Speak harshly to it and it will fall apart.” Another local columnist, John Owen, had this to say about the Thompson: “A Thompson Turkey emerges from the oven neither white nor dark. It is usually charred blacker than a newspaper columnist’s soul. ” Jean Godden, another P-I columnist and now city councilperson, said “No one has ever eaten a Thompson Turkey and lived to tell about it. But that’s understandable because no one has ever actually baked one of the things either.”

So. Has anyone tried it? Anyone dare? I don’t eat turkey anymore or I would have tried it by now. Really.

03 Aug

Bloggers invade KOMO

Photo by l0ckergn0me.

Last night KOMO-TV hosted a local blogger get-together at Fisher Plaza. I was a little suspicious — after all, they promised us food, alcohol, and swag, and why would KOMO want to do that for a bunch of misfit bloggers? But it sounded interesting, and despite last minute misgivings (I am a major introvert), I attended. To my surprise, I had a pretty good time! I did not see some of the folks I expected to see there, but did run into some other familiar names. I also met a lot of really neat people I didn’t know of before, so now I’ll be adding a lot of blogs to the reading list.

The photo here is the group photo taken in the Northwest Afternoon studio. I have other photos in my Flickr stream.

Thanks to Chris Pirillo for organizing the event!

24 Apr

Kool-Aid, bronchitis, knitting, Edward Scissorhands

Well, I don’t post often enough in the best of times, but dealing with 3 weeks of bronchitis made me a lot less motivated to post. You know how it is — you do the minimum you have to do, and then your brain just shuts down for a while. And now that I am well, I keep feeling as if nothing I want to post about is important enough to post after such a long posting drought.

So, I decided I’d just post about some random stuff to get back into the posting mode.
Read More

16 Feb

Kurt Cobain vigil photos, April 1994

While I was going through photo albums looking for photos to upload to Flickr, I found a group of photos that I took on April 10, 1994, at the Seattle Center memorial vigil for Kurt Cobain. These are the photos.

I looked online for articles about that day, and surprisingly, found very little. Here’s something I wrote about it myself on Metafilter, a few years ago.

It’s hard to believe that 13 years have already gone by.

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