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March 24, 2005

Garden State


Get thee to the Arboretum, pronto, before a big wind blows all the lace and splendor away.

March 11, 2005

A Desire Named Streetcar

Arts organizations aren't usually such bullies. And you'd think that an institution dedicated to things visual would appreciate that hey, we really like looking at the streetcar. It's adorable. And soon to be homeless.

Here's the crux of the matter from the Seattle Times:

...the streetcar system's maintenance facility takes up 2.5 acres of the 8.5-acre site, and museum officials have been resolute that the barnlike structure, which is integral to the operation of the streetcar system, does not fit into the park's design. The museum plans to begin constructing the sculpture park in May and figures the maintenance barn would have to be demolished by September.

Hello, you're an ARTS organization. You can't come up with a creative solution integrating the barn in to the design? Or redesigning the barn to be part of the park? What gives?

Here's History Link's form letter, though of course you can write your own.

January 15, 2005


I can't go, so you should:

It's time for UKELOOZA 4! The return of Rain City Projects' annual
fundraising cabaret!

What is Rain City Projects? It's Seattle's fourteen-year-old
playwright service organization, that publishes playscripts (almost
200 scripts to date) by playwrights from Seattle and elsewhere,
provides travel grants, produces play readings, publishes theater
journals, and many, many other things. The archive of Rain City
Projects scripts is an astonishing documentation of theater activity
in Seattle over the past fourteen years.

What is UKELOOZA? It's RCP's more-or-less-annual tropical-themed
celebration, that---for no good reason, yet the results are buoyant
and dizzyingly delightful---features ukulele music galore, as well a
live auction, a raffle, and even a few non-ukulele acts (so we don't
all go insane from excessive inhalation of ukulele fumes).

WHEN: Monday, January 17, at 7:30 pm (Doors open at 7 pm for drinks
and socializing)
(SUPA will not be performing in this)

WHERE: Re-bar, 1114 Howell St. (at the corner of Howell and Boren)

HOW MUCH: $12 (Must be over 21, with ID)

CALL: 233-9873 (reservations not required)

WHO: This year's Ukelooza features an all-new line-up of:

>> Our Hawaiian-native hostess, solo powerhouse SARAH RUDINOFF!

>> SARI BREZNAU, the alluring chanteuse of Circus Contraption!

>> Seattle storyteller without peer, MATT SMITH!

>> JOHN ACKERMANN, musical mastermind (and part of the avant-jazz
troupe "Awesome")!

>> Traditional tropical tunes from JEFFREY COOK!

>> Unusual cover songs from ERIC RAY ANDERSON!

>> Melancholy singing clown CECELIA FRYE!

>> A painting created before your eyes by SUSANNAH ANDERSON!

...and more, more, more!

On top of that, Ukelooza's live AUCTION and RAFFLE will include:

>> Two six-month passes to NORTHWEST FILM FORUM
>> Two four-show flex-passes to INTIMAN THEATRE
>> Twenty hours of rehearsal time from THEATRE PUGET SOUND
>> Two season passes to CAPITOL HILL ARTS CENTER
>> A yearlong pass for two to ANNEX THEATRE's monthly variety show,
Spin the Bottle, as well as two tickets to their upcoming show 'Pent-
>> Two tickets to a dress rehearsal at SEATTLE OPERA, accompanied by
the catty and informed Ed Hawkins
>> Two tickets to a prime MARINERS game
>> Two tickets to PRINTER'S DEVIL THEATRE's new show, 'The Chris
Schussler Incident'
>> Two tickets to a dance performance at ON THE BOARDS
>> Two tickets to a show at SEATTLE REPERTORY THEATRE
...and much, MUCH more, including dinner packages, gift baskets, more
show tickets, and the painting created by Susannah Anderson as you

And as if that weren't enough: The first fifty people to arrive will
receive one certificate good for a free hula lesson from ALOHA ISLAND

FURTHERMORE: Rain City Projects will be announcing a significant
change in its programming, including the new MANIFESTO SERIES, a
biannual compilation of great Northwest plays, edited with extreme
prejudice by nationally recognized playwrights who have a vision of
what theater can be. Also, the new ONLINE WAREHOUSE, which will work
towards providing a comprehensive collection of new plays produced in
the Pacific Northwest over the past 20 years.

So consider this your personal invitation from the Rain City Projects
board: Scot Augustson, Bret Fetzer, Andy Jensen, Darian Lindle, Brian
Neel, and Sean Ryan. We're already dreaming of your pale, sun-
deprived face lighting up from the vicarious tropicality of UKELOOZA

October 28, 2004

And in the meantime...

The election season is almost over, and I share Jay's sentiment from last week that regardless of who wins, the fight's not over, and all of the energy and enthusiasm people in this country have shown over the election needs to be harnessed and grown. It would be a terrible shame if all of this sense of civic duty and desire to fix things just crumbles on November 2.

So, in that spirit, I'd like to share a list of statistics I came across today, as a little reminder that no matter what happens on Tuesday, there's a lot of work to be done, right in our own backyard:

  • The average age of a homeless person in King County today is 9 years old
  • Over 50% of shelter requests by homeless families went unmet in 2003
  • More than 1.2 million people, a fifth of Washington residents, used food banks between July 2001 and June 2002. Washington is #2 in the nation
  • In King County, 1 out of 3 students who start high school don’t graduate
  • Kids who take part in early childhood development programs are 40% less likely to become teen parents
  • Two-thirds of students who cannot read by the fourth grade will end up in jail or on welfare
  • 484,000 people under the age of 65 were uninsured in 2000 in Washington State
  • 37% of people requesting emergency food assistance in American cities are employed
  • In King County, on any given night 8000 people are homeless. This represents a 39% increase from 2001.

I hope everyone who's been energized by the desire to make the leadership of the country better will decide to channel that energy into making better the lives of the people in our little corner of it.

September 30, 2004

I like to watch

ABCNews says that there is a 70% chance that Mt. St. Helens will erupt within days, and they should know. They'd already posted the results from tonight's debate this morning. Though they've since taken down the article, apparently they had posted something several hours ago.

Anyway, if you want to stay on top of the mounting pressure at St. Helens (which last blew its stack, by the way, on my 7th birthday), you can just bookmark the VolcanoCam page and check it between visits to the real-time traffic map site to see how the seismic activity might impact your commute.

September 08, 2004

And while I'm feeling pissed off and outraged

I'm going to say that I am sick and tired of these suburban asswipes who can't just sit back and relax and realize how lucky they are to have houses to go home to every night, instead of trying to fight the good people who run the areas tent cities to provide some level of safety and short-term shelter to people who have nowhere else to go.

So to Shane Davies, Steve Pyeatt and Ron Swicord, the three members of the Citizens' Advisory Commission on Homeless Encampments who are against the tent cities and all those they are representing, I send a big old Cheney Yourself. But I hope that when you really need someone to show some compassion to you in life, that there are people out there who aren't as selfish as you.

And I really can't wait for things to start getting better so I can go back to writing about food and wine and funny Japanese translations of signs and things that don't raise my blood pressure.

I bet you Shane Davies, Steve Pyeatt and Ron Swicord are even Bush supporters.

September 02, 2004

Lost: Brass Eye DVD

Non-local readers, please excuse this personal plea...

I've lost my Brass Eye DVD. If you don't know Brass Eye, it's an amazing satirical spoof news show that aired in the UK in the 90's. A bit like the Daily Show, but more controversial and much, much darker.

Unfortunately, it's only available as a Region 2 DVD from the UK and it's tricky to replace. I think we might have loaned it to a visitor to Casa Nonfamous a few months ago. If you've got it, I miss it. Thanks!

August 09, 2004

Fast Food Nation

On Sunday I went to see Supersize Me at the Crest. (I was pretty surprised at how entertained I was. I'd expected mostly to be grossed out, but it was a pretty good tale.) And last year in carpool/reading group we all read Fast Food Nation, a first rate read about the history and direction of the fast food industry in the America. Thus educated, I ain't buying the statement in the Seattle Times that "Subway would fit into the parks system." Fast Food nation took a pretty heavy handed swing at Subway's business practices. And one of the most heart-breaking scenes in the Supersize Me is when an overweight teenager is expressing her frustration because she can't afford to eat at Subway twice a day.

I shouldn't be surprised. After all, one of the places that's being given the Subway contract is the Weyerhaeuser King County Aquatic Center in Federal Way. I guess if Weyarhaeuser can be considered an environmental company, then Subway can be considered to be a company that "promotes healthy alternatives."

Just in case you, too, want to ask the King County Parks if they've really done their homework around this decision, here's the email address for Tom Tiegan, the enterprise manager for the parks department.

Disclaimer: Yes, of course, there are other places with MUCH worse food. And I've eaten and Subway out of road trip fueled desparation. I just don't think we should pretend that they're an excellent augumentation to the park system.

August 02, 2004

Things I Learned from the Flaming Pants

If you saw it driving around Seattle this weekend, odds are good that I was in it. But really, props go to two of my favorite people, Margot and Emily, who delivered the POFM to Seattle this weekend. We drove around handing out voter registration forms and flyers about the Bush administration’s doings.

Things I learned:

Just because someone drives a big-ass car, doesn’t mean they vote Republican. I’ve always thought that transportation choice was a highly political act, but hey, not everyone sees it that way. Huh.

The African-American population of our city REALLY HATES the President. Whew, there’s a LOT of bile there! Also, the taxi drivers, they don’t like him one bit. Dunno about where you live, but here lots of our taxi drivers are Indian and Somali. Hey, it adds up. Thank you Al Sharpton, here’s hoping you mobilized the African-American vote with that speech!

Even on the right wing, there’s pretty hefty disagreement with the GOP. A guy in a HUGE vehicle handed US a flyer about how rulers who claim they know what god wants are going straight to hell. Em said someone shouted at her, “I’m a Republican and I HATE BUSH!” And it went.

Political discourse, even dissenting, with the general public in our town is pretty civil. I can count on one hand the number of hostile remarks I heard – and still have fingers left over for the peace sign.

People in our neighborhood know how to share the love. Okay, I guess I knew that already. God, I love my neighborhood!

Hopefully, by the time you read this, I’ll have more pictures posted. But in the meantime, to learn about the Pants-on-Fire Mobile go here. And to read about our night out in the POFM, go here.

There are about 100 days until the election. Get out the vote!

July 31, 2004

Also in Seattle

Keep your eyes open for the Pants-on-Fire mobile! That's my friend Emily behind the wheel, or maybe my friend Margot. Be sure to flag them down and ask them for a sticker that features the Leader of the Free World with - you guessed it - his pants on fire. Ask them to take your picture with the 12 foot likeness of W. complete with - yes, that's right - flaming pants. And congratulate them for bringing George all the way from Spokane.

June 11, 2004

Cyclists are Sexy

Once again, I use my magic deflector ray to bring you news of this cheering event.

June 09, 2004

Seattle wasn't built in a day

But you can see it being built over the course of 95 years with this ingenious slider overlaying images of the waterfront in 1907 and 2002. Try the "Fader 1 300x4040" link.

May 23, 2004

Book 'em, Dano!

New Library_07.jpg

I've always been fond of the library, but now, my love has no bounds. It's brilliant. There are a few more pictures here, but really, you should just go downtown and see for yourself. Words fail me, all I can think of is this: it's freakin' incredible.

April 17, 2004

This is What Democracy Tastes Like


"We put away 300 dollars already, and we had to do a second shift of baking," said our neighbor at the Half-Baked Baked Sale. "One guy gave me a check for 100 dollars. So, no, I don't really know how much money we've brought in. One thing you can say for our President, he's really brought us together."

Here's hoping you found good cookies in your neighborhood. We had blueberry pound cake, handmade chocolates, and a brownie to die for. Thank you Move On!

March 19, 2004

The Small Town of Mother Love Bone

On this day in Seattle history fourteen years ago, Andrew Wood of Mother Love Bone, one of my favorite bands at the time, was found dead of a heroin overdose. Sigh. Though his death produced the great Temple of the Dog, Andy's life might've produced more enjoyable music from Mother Love Bone and prevented the inception of Pearl Jam. And Andy wouldn't be dead.

I believe that around that time, I was thinking it'd be cool if I got a Mambosok for my fairly long hair. (Actually, the product was Mambosok Headgear, I should note, since Mambosok apparently still exists and produces, now, normalish products that don't make one look as though one is wearing boxer shorts on one's head.) I am pleased now that this never happened and especially glad that there are no pictures of it.

Coincidentally, I'm having dinner tonight with some friends (at Lark), including a co-worker from the answering service where I worked for a few months (a step up from my post-Christmas sales job at the big old Sears store on north Aurora) and was working when I heard the news about Andy. John and I hadn't seen each other since 1990 until a party this last weekend... though the party last weekend was a birthday party for someone I met a few months ago at another party, and that party was at John's house—I just didn't see the host then to realize who "John" was. (More funny coincidence: John works at/for/on

I am fond of sometimes remarking that "Seattle is a small town." However, I actually think that it is, merely, not overly large. If it was truly small, I would've continued to see John here and there—even if I didn't want to—and the interesting (to me) fact that I'm seeing him after all these years on a day that I distinctly remember in relationship to something that I distinctly remember in relationship to John—the answering service—would be lost.

The last person I heard remark "Seattle is a small town"—quite amusingly, minutes after he had chided me for thinking of it as being as small as it turned out to be—was admitting that he had, in fact, had a date with someone on this blog. Someone I thought he should meet only because I thought they'd enjoy each other's literate and refined tastes (and I was hoping to be there to enjoy the confluence of urbanity and intellect). When I inquired through implication whether they might've already met, he said, "Gary, Seattle isn't that small." Heh. Maybe I'm just fortunate to be in a nexus of good people.

I wonder what other dots I can connect today?

February 18, 2004

More pictures, starting here

We're too logocentric here at nonfamous, and that's really my fault. So let's start with this nice (and reassuring, in these dangerous times) photo, courtesy of Seattle Times photog Tom Reese. seabow.jpg

Let's continue to post pictures (all work-safe, please)... I might ask David (or Paulette, who specializes at making technology easy to follow!) to post instructions as to how to do this. I would do it, but I bollixed up the process a couple of times before getting it right!

February 03, 2004

You Already HAVE My Lunch Money

There’s a certain satisfaction in seeing nerd status elevated from wallflower to fashionista, but, as a genuine nerd, I take exception to the application of the term “nerdy” to "super sexy, super fun, super slutty" clothing. Anyone who’s attended a ‘They Might Be Giants” concert knows that nerd fashion is a more a byproduct of getting dressed than a focused effort to look good. Converse High Tops, the official shoe of nerds, and a Hawaiian shirt should just about cover the basics, though a preference for black is not out of the question. Anyone who’s walked the halls of our local software companies, nesting grounds for nerds of all kinds, knows that their sloppy comfort wasn’t purchased in the alt-fashion shops on Capitol Hill.

Don’t get me wrong, there’s room for nerds to be sexy. Remember Thora Birch in Ghost World? Yeah, she was hot, but her sexiness was totally compromised by an awkward quality that epitomizes nerdiness. Seymour, the record guy played by Steve Buscemi? Now that was a nerd. Thing is, the trip from nerd to sexy usually implies some sort of transformation. The sexy librarian is a prime archetype – sort of like Michelle Pfieffer’s Catwoman. Or, Lisabella in Last Tap Dance in Springfield – “she’s not plain, she’s BEAUTIFUL.” (Nerds love the Simpsons and quote it frequently.)

What these designers are pushing is not nerd chic – it’s art school style, no question. Contrived and wacky color combinations, post modern visual references to other sources, the apparent hand of the artist – and the manifestation of those things in the desire to create a visual sensation… those all the marks of art school style. Nerds live in their heads, not in their bodies, and fashion remains a mystery mostly unconsidered by nerds, except in the “Dude, she’s hot” style of deconstruction. And, unlike fashion designers, nerds read dictionaries before they start applying names to things. This fashion is anything BUT nerdy.

We nerds know you can push us down and steal our label if you really want to. Maybe we could set up your e-commerce server for free and then you’ll give us our name back. Maybe we do secretly wish we were cool and sexy like you. Then again, the co-opting of the nerd label makes us wonder if you don’t want to be like us. We probably only think that because we’re, well, nerds.

January 13, 2004

The Leaning Condos of Lakeview Boulevard

I knew those three condos on the I-5 side of Lakeview Boulevard had been abandoned for some time, but I didn't know why until I finally noticed a couple of weeks ago that one of them was leaning quite a bit (reminding me of some of the canal houses in Amsterdam).

Here's a little story about the buildings and what seems to be an imminent permit for demolition (which I didn't realize one must have before knocking down one's own property). And cheers to the person with the beautifully dangerous existence.

October 09, 2003

Whither Paul Allen?

I can't decide how I feel about Seattle, and if this Wired News article is any indication, I'm not alone. I still begrudge him his billion dollars worth of stadiums, but I actually think the South Lake Union plan is a good one. Though Seattle does lag behind other biotech hot-spots, the UW is emerging as a major research hub and should be throwing off a lot of private sector innovation.

Lord knows we need to diversify away from software (read: Microsoft). It's kind of ironic that Allen might help us to do that.

June 19, 2003

Because Seattle could use a good mob

While this article is about a mob in Manhattan, it really seems that uptight, over-rational Seattle could use a little of this craziness. I love the "rug to play on" line. Can you imagine something like that at the Bon?

I ask you, nonstrangers, should our blog invade the meatspace with something like this? I hate to be derivative, but if we hurry it would still be cool.

June 11, 2003

This just in: I'm tired of Capitol Hill

After years of orbiting Capitol Hill, I finally drew close enough to it to say with some plausibility that I live on it. All the good reasons to be here are still here, but it no longer seems charming to me. If I could somehow turn my apartment into a house with a yard and lower rent...

Rent. Rent must be the lowest adventure-per-dollar deal one can make. Even though I can now afford rent that would have made me squeamish a few years ago, I find now that it is quite frustrating when I'm accustomed to more disposable income (and room for my feeling-based accounting methods).

I think I'm ready to share a house again. (Heh, but I have also sworn of roommates in the past.) Maybe it's time to live in the Artist's Republic. And one day, I'll say casually that I've lived in a brownstone, I've lived in the ghetto, I've lived all over this town.

Form? Who needs that?

So Pete, Julie and I did some bowling last night. I don't really know why, but I've had this urge to go lately, and so we did. None of us would claim to be experienced bowlers. Certainly none of us made enough of a showing to be asked to join a professional curcuit or anything.

So, my mom taught me to bowl, which is why I can't. Not that my mom isn't really good at bowling. It's just that I never listened to anything she tried to teach me growing up. So I vaguely remember her admonitions on form and style, where to stand when starting the approach, and what point to begin pulling the arm behind you and then forward, the importance of follow-through. But lack of practice, caring, and paying attention mean that all of her sage alley advice has been largely lost on me. So I usually score (is that the right word for this game?) under 100.

Julie, claiming not to have bowled in something like 5 years or only 5 times in her life, or something like that, scored over 100 in all of her games last night. But I noticed that her success had very little to do with the careful form that my mother taught me was so essential. No, Julie has a very different style, which is more along the lines of: walk up to the line, drop the ball on the ground, and wait for 9 pins to fall down. Sometimes all 10. But with frightening consistency, 9 would go down. Drop the ball. 9 pins fall. It was really uncanny. In 3 games, the only real variation was that the number of times all 10 went down increased a bit. Drop the ball. 9 pins fall.

Pete, on the other hand, I am thinking after last night's performance, really should do that competitive lip synching thing. Cheap Trick, Journey--whatever the hell bad mid-80s pop he was writhing on the floor to--it was worthy of American Idol, that performance.