06 Feb

Mystery book

Today I received a book in the mail, the book pictured on the right: Vanishing Seattle by Clark Humphrey. This is a book I’ve had on my wish list for a while; it’s got a ton of great pictures of Seattle landmarks that have sadly disappeared. I’m old enough now to remember a lot of them. Some of them I didn’t realize had gone. So, anyway, I’m thrilled to have this book. But the thing is — I didn’t order it. I was going to order it but hadn’t gotten around to it yet. So it’s a mystery: who sent me the book? Thank you, whomever you are.

And by the way — if you are a Seattleite who has been here for a while, you want this book. Trust me.

02 Jan

From Altair to Google: Microsoft’s evolution, in keywords

“April 1975: altair computer
January 1984: graphical interface macintosh
May 1991: patents windows
1993: computing highway
1997: computer differently macintosh
August 1998: linux oss
November 2002: judgment middleware plaintiffs windows
October 2006: google advertising hardware competition”

Tood Bishop at the Seattle P-I collected speeches, interviews, e-mails, and other items from Microsoft’s history, then processed them with a tag cloud generator to show the words used most commonly in each document. Above, I’ve listed the 2-4 most common in a few of the them, but there are lots more, and each one in the P-I’s tag clouds includes 64 words. It’s a fascinating glimpse at the evolution of the company and the things that they have focused on over the years.

16 Dec

Rainier Avenue flooding Thursday night

This was the scene I saw on Rainier Ave just a little bit north of Lowe’s on my way to work at about 4:45pm on Thursday. There was a lot of water on the road. I pulled in to the Mc Donald’s lot, ran in and grabbed some food to go, and saw this when I came out. This was substantially more water than had been there when I came in only a few minutes earlier. It was basically a flash flood, it happened so fast. The line of cars is Rainier Ave, and I am facing northwest. The rain had just slowed way down at this point. When I went into the McDonald’s, visibility was really bad but it improved while I was inside.

The car in front was abandoned in the high water. It doesn’t look high enough to stall it yet, but who knows. Maybe they just didn’t want to drive any further in it, and I wouldn’t blame them. Who knows what kind of sinkholes could be lurking there?

I was able to get out of the lot just to the left of the part you see in this picture, where the water was a lot shallower. I watched someone else try it first and saw that it was passable. The water on Rainier itself wasn’t that deep yet — it was at intersections and side roads, like the one here where the car is abandoned, that you had to be careful. People were driving down the left turn lane quite a bit.

From this point I had to drive about 3-4 miles up to (roughly) Pier 70. This took me two hours. Yep.

This was before the windstorm started. It was actually pretty calm by the time I got to work. By that point the rain had stopped and it really was the proverbial calm before the storm.

28 Nov

The worst commute EVER.

I-405 in the ice and snow at 1:42am!

Check out this photo. This is the freeway-cam, looking at Interstate 405.

At 1:42 am this morning.

We had some snow, and the streets were very wet — and there was a rather quick temperature drop which then turned everything to ice. So I guess this is the result. I-5 was just as bad at 1am, but by 1:42 it had started to clear up a bit. I wonder if some of these folks were going home from tonight’s Seahawks game, or even worse, if they were coming home from work and were stuck there for about 5 hours. I don’t know, but it was ugly for hours and hours, at least.

11 Sep

OH NOES!! B00BIES!!!1111“1

John Keister, where are you? It’s time for some Almost Live!-style ridicule of our southern neighbor, Kent!

Starbucks is celebrating their 25th anniversary, and to celebrate, they brought back the original Starbucks logo, the one with the topless siren (well, close enough — the wording’s different, but otherwise it’s the original logo). But some folks are offended at the sight of the tiny siren’s miniature mammaries, including a school principal in Kent who has asked teachers to cover up their Starbucks cups to avoid poisoning the minds of suburban schoolchildren with the siren’s bare breasts. One imagines the masterpieces of art history that this principal has probably banned from her school as well.

A haiku on the topic:

Starbucks’ old logo
Principal says, “Cover it —
Boobs and school don’t mix.”

07 Sep

Some things are just wrong

I found this at QFC tonight: Tailgate Bagels and Tailgate Bread, from Brenner Brothers bakery. The bread and bagels come in local football team colors: Seahawks blue and green, Cougar crimson and gray (!) and Husky purple and gold.

This bread is scary. Bread is not supposed to be blue, or gray. How do you know if it’s gone moldy?

05 Aug

Seattle’s one-time “most popular sport”

I wrote a MetaFilter post today about hydroplane racing, the one-time “most popular sport in Seattle”, now a summer curiosity of sorts. This weekend is the annual Seafair hydro race on Lake Washington; it’s not what it used to be, but it still manages to draw the crowds. Sadly, I think most of the attendees these days go to see the Blue Angels, not the thunderboats.

09 May

Find a good taco truck

Los Taco Trucks Unitos reviews Seattle-area taco trucks, and posts links to their health department reports as well. (Admit it. You wonder about the cleanliness of any eating establishment based in an old bus.) Tacos El Asadero gets rave reviews from them — I really should get down there sometime, as it’s near our house. Unfortunately, the taco truck that set up shop across the street from us didn’t stay around very long, so we can’t just walk to tacos…

31 Mar

Haven’t you canceled your Times subscription yet?

Seth at Seattlest has had enough of the Seattle Times. Why? Because Times columnists (such as the ever-irritating Joni Balter) seem to think that a tougher Teen Dance Ordinance would have prevented Kyle Huff from killing seven people at a house party last weekend. Apparently if there are no all-ages dances, or if there is a curfew, no kids would ever be in a position to be victims of a senseless crime committed by a maniac. Of course, these particular kids (and they weren’t all kids, but at least a couple were underage) were in someone’s house. If there had been a curfew, they could have partied indoors all night, not violating any curfew rules — and Kyle Huff might still have snapped, for whatever reason, and the result would have been the same.

See, the thing is — a senseless crime is just that, senseless. Dancing in zombie makeup didn’t make Kyle Huff shoot people. All night parties didn’t make Kyle Huff shoot people. The fact that kids were present didn’t do it, either. And you know what? Even if those folks at the party were rude to him and made him feel excluded (and there’s no evidence that this was the case), that didn’t make him shoot people either. The responsibility for what happened rests with Kyle Huff. (Assisted by the gun culture that let a disturbed young man collect an arsenal, and keep his guns even after drunkenly shooting up street art in his home town.)

Thinking that a curfew or a teen dance ordinance will prevent anything bad from ever happening to your precious children is short-sighted. I can promise you that when the old TDO was in effect, my underage friends managed to get in plenty of trouble, some of it serious. And when I had a curfew, I didn’t always manage to get home on time, either.

But the one time when something seriously bad could have happened to me (I was the object of an attempted abduction — luckily foiled by a neighbor who came along at just the right time to frighten the abductor into letting me go), I was walking home from the corner store, in a perfectly safe and normal Seattle neighborhood. In broad daylight (I think it was a Saturday). It was spring. It was 28 years ago this spring.

If things had gone differently, would it have been the fault of my parents for letting me walk to the store in daylight? Or of the city for not having a 2pm curfew? No. It would have been senseless, and it would have been no one’s fault… except the guy who grabbed me and tried to carry me away, only half a block away from my own home.

I guess I’m ranting a bit here. Anyway, Seattle Times, Joni Balter, you should be ashamed. Assign misguided blame all you want, but I don’t know how you sleep at night, all smug in bed.

(And I wouldn’t subscribe to the Times if you paid me. I get the Sunday paper, which would be the P-I if it wasn’t for that goddamned JOA, but the Times lost me when they mistreated their employees during and after the strike a few years ago; stunts like these ridiculous editorials go a long way toward ensuring you’ll never be forgiven.)

24 Feb

I’m sort of in the newspaper today

“Temple said 66 percent of King County residents surveyed in a poll Feb. 7 want the county to buy the land and build trails adjacent to the tracks. Just 11 percent of the 10,000 people who completed his automated survey preferred converting the rail corridor to trail use only, he said, and 22 percent preferred a rail-only option. ”

This is from a story in today’s P-I about the potential sale of Railway tracks to King County, and whether the Spirit of Washington Dinner Train would then be displaced.

Anyway, I noticed this because I was one of the people who was polled on February 7. It’s nice to see the results so quickly.

(My poll response? Keep the train. But I’m a train dork of sorts. I love trains.)

01 Feb

“Wine Spodee-O-Dee, Drinkin’ Wine”

I have a post on MetaFilter today about the Pacific Northwest party beverage “spodee” (fruit and alcohol), and it’s possible relation to the old R&B song “Drinkin’ Wine Spodee-O-Dee”. Basically, I always wondered if the name of the drink was related to the song, and did as much Google research on it as I could; I couldn’t find anything directly tying the two together, but it just seems very likely that the song inspired the name. (But it’s possible it was the other way around, I guess.) I found a lot of great songs while looking, though. (From Stick McGhee to Big Joe Turner, Big Jay McNeely, Wild Bill Moore, and lots of other pre-Elvis rock and rollers, mostly found via the Rock Before Elvis website.)

The funny thing is that I generally don’t drink alcohol (only on the rarest of occasions), and I don’t think I’ve ever had spodee. But it was an interesting topic to look into.

24 Jan

What newcomers need to know about Seattle

The other day, I was asked “I’m new to Seattle. What do I need to know?”

It’s a tough question to answer. There are a lot of things that are worth knowing. But as a Seattle native, it’s hard for me to figure out what to recommend. I asked some folks on my BBS to suggest a few things, and I’m come up with a few more on my own.

So, here (in no particular order) are some things newcomers need to know about Seattle.
Read More

07 Dec

Who are these freaks who want to tear down the Monorail?

Since the monorail accident a couple of weeks ago (which so conveniently followed the electoral ass-kicking of the new monorail project), I, like Susan Paynter, have heard a few people saying “just tear the thing down.” Who are these people who think we should tear it down? I imagine they are the people who would tear down all the old Seattle bungalows and box houses, and replace them with 3-story monstrosities that take up every bit of airspace legally allowed to them; they are the people who gripe every July and August about how much Seafair sucks and how boring and lame it is and why don’t we just cancel it anyway; they are the people who cut down 80 year old trees because they block their view; they are the people who would tear down the Space Needle if they thought it would save them five bucks on taxes. They aren’t Seattleites, though. Seattleites love things like the Monorail, the Needle, Ivar’s on the waterfront and Lake Union, Dick’s Drive-In, J.P. Patches, and ferries in Elliott Bay — things that are uniquely Seattle and can’t be found in every strip mall from here to Florida.

If you want to tear down the monorail, please, just move somewhere else and make that place look like Los Angeles. Just let Seattle be.

29 Nov

Cheap Eats

I am always looking for cheap eats. Who isn’t, really? So I got a kick out of the Cheap Eats blog that I stumbled on today. Unfortunately they don’t talk about Seattle cheap eats — hey, the nearest Del Taco is probably in California — but it’s not all fast food.

Here’s a more local Cheap Eatin’ recommendation: the Tostadas de Camarones at Taqueria El Rinconsito — less than $5 and way tasty. I wish they’d open a branch up here on Beacon Hill.

24 Nov

TBT Towing lives!

A follow-up to the story that began here almost two years ago:

TBT Towing gets to stay in business for now, though they will have to pay financial penalties. They lost their towing license, but the revocation has been stayed unless they are caught in violation of the law again. Apparently TBT hasn’t generated any complaints to the DoL in over a year, and this had something to do with the leniency granted them. (This is interesting, since the thread generated by last year’s post contains quite a few complaints by folks who were towed by TBT more recently, including this comment by someone who says she contacted the DoL to file a complaint. It makes you wonder.)

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