22 Doors

We wandered up to 15th to eat at 22 Doors last night when we couldn’t get a table at Crush on Madison. Short review: The food there is fine, just fine. The appetizers (we had Lemon Prawns and Dungeness and Artichoke Dip) were yummy. The entrees at our table we okay, nothing special really. Not bad, but not worth fawning over. The dessert (Warm Chocolate Cake) was delicious. Go for appetizers and beer and give them a few more weeks to get their game on. It’s nice to have something in that space again.

Broken hearted tree hugging hippie

I missed this item in the news as it went to press just after we left for Canada. That means I found out the hard way, by walking through Volunteer Park, which I do often as it’s just over THERE from my place, and coming across a great scarred stump and a handful of shellshocked neighbors. “I used to come and play under this tree when I was a boy,” said one embittered guy who’d taken to using the broad remains of the tree as a soapbox. He tried to engage me in converstation about how the city was cashing in on the wood from this giant maple, but I wasn’t having any. I was just too sad.

RIP, grand old tree.

Seattle Quake in the news

Neither Jay nor I have been playing much rugby this year, due to being too busy at work to commit to the training schedule. But I hope to get back into it again for the fall season. Although given the fact that the team has advanced by leaps and bounds this year, including winning its first Divisional game, I doubt I’d get much time on the pitch these days! The Seattle Times has a great article on the Quake, and how it’s earned respect within the division while being an ambassador for gay men into the straight world of rugby. Good on ya, Quake, and happy Pride to all!

“There was definitely that stigma from (other players) and from clubs as a whole,” says Dan Smith of division rival Budd Bay, a predominantly straight team in Olympia. “They didn’t want to give them too much respect: ‘Come on, man, this is a gay team.’ Saying they weren’t as good as everyone else.”

The Quake has defused misunderstanding with a common love of the game, and its progress on the pitch has shown that a team can build “ruggers” from scratch and play with anyone, gay or straight. That’s what team founders had set out to prove — that people who aren’t typically exposed to rugby’s world of mauls and scrums can be coached to win.

Quake plays rugby

Taking back the weekend

“It’s too early to say whether it’s a trend, but Victrola Coffee & Art in Seattle shuts down its free Wi-Fi on Saturday and Sunday.”

Victrola has been, since opening, my favorite Cap Hill coffee house, but I admit, I’ve stopped going. It’s been nigh impossible to get in and once you’re in, it’s just as difficult to get a table. The last time we were there, the husband pointed out that every table along the north wall had one single person with one laptop at it, from the window to the back of the store, all facing the same way like passengers on a bus. We’ve been going elsewhere, to the new Fuel on 19th, the not so new but suspected Republican Europa on Prospect, the Essential Bakery in Madison, or that tiny Fargonian, also on Madison. Oh, there’s a little place on Union and 20th, they’re awfully nice there. Hell, there’s even a Tully’s on 19th and Aloha. And, of course, there’s Verite, but it’s not really on our regular route and it’s a little too far to walk. Anyhow, there’s no shortage of alternatives.

The Euro-husband loves going for “kaffee und kuchen” – it’s fairly institutional behavior where he’s from. It’s interesting to think about Victrola, full of the technorati with their iBooks and Americanos and then to imagine someplace like the Zauner in Bad Ischl on a Sunday, full of hatted ladies in church clothes with a slice of fruit tart and a cup of tea. I’m not saying that one is better than the other. I’ve been meeting a collegue at Zoka in Wallingford for coffee and project management chats regularly. There’s been many a time when I’ve thought it would be nice to go to the coffee house in Aigen (my other home in Austria) with the laptop to get a latte and read my email. And even though I don’t need the calories, I fully embrace the kaffee und kuchen excursion.

It’s cool that Victrola is looking to strike a compromise between the dominant styles of coffee house cultures. I hope it works for them.

Die Wunder der Natur

Thanks to Nonfamous Networking ™ my show is now hanging at Cafe Verite in Madrona. The opening is tomorrow night (Tuesday, May 16th) at 6:30 and of course you’re invited! Bring friends, too.

The work is collage made from early 1900s source materials – German natural history encyclopedias and Italian arts journals. If you’re thinking you need coffee and a cupcake, please head down to Cafe Verite at 1101 34th in Madrona.

Think Globally, Buy Locally

Disclosure: my company, Symantry, is in conversation with this company regarding marketing services.

As most of you are aware, I am a big supporter of local business. It is only when I can not find what I need that I venture outside of the Puget Sound to purchase goods or services. Recently, I was introduced to Judy’s Book. Not only is it a place to get references for local crafts people, restaurants and other products but you can join and recommend your favorite vendors to others in the area. Judy’s Book also serves New York and the Bay Area so you can check out recommendations before you visit those areas, too.

With more and more people going online to search for what they need, local businesses are finding it harder to compete with national brands. This community site is one more way you can help to promote your favorite local vendors.

Toto, I’ve a feeling we’re not in Kansas anymore…

Why are Tom Alberg and Bob Herbold, two huge players in the technology driven Puget Sound economy, involved with an organization that is actively trying to block teaching of science in public schools? “What kind of accusation is that?!” you are asking. Connect the dots, I say. I hope I’ve got it wrong, but here goes.

This morning, I made the mistake of reading the excellent -but terrifying – report about the Scopes (V2) trial in the Independent. After making it through that, I read this about the Discovery Institute, the Seattle based think-tank backing the “Intelligent Design” side of the case.

Then made the mistake of clicking through the Discovery Institute website, where I found the list of board members. Among them, Tom Alberg, the founder of Madrona Venture Partners. Check out his bio on the site. You’ll find he’s been involved in a number of organizations local techies will recognize right away. You’ll also see Bob Herbold, former VP and COO of Microsoft.

Dig around a little in the links and affiliations. You’ll see Metro, the Vancouver Olympics, the WA and OR DOT. What’s going on here? I ask again, “Why are Tom Alberg and Bob Herbold, two huge players in the technology driven Puget Sound economy, involved with an organization that is actively blocking the teaching of science in public schools?”Do these guys not know about the Kansas trial? Or do they think it doesn’t matter? Or am I missing something? I’m open to the idea that I’m missing something.

On a personal level, this freaks me out. I can’t say it more plainly than that. I have worked in technology in Seattle for many years. I know which side my bread is buttered on. So I’m reluctant to go poking this particular nest with a stick. But creationism masquerading as the faux science of intelligent design doesn’t belong in public schools. Church and state, people. Sturch and chate.

While I was reading the Independent story about this parody of a trial, I was thinking that there was little I could do, not being a Kansas resident, about the absurd turn the nation has taken. But look, it’s funded right here in our backyard. Right here in downtown Seattle.

Am I freaking out about nothing? Let’s hope so.

Belt and Suspenders Environmentalism

The Bush administration yesterday opened the door to logging, mining and other development on 58 million acres of roadless national forests, scrapping Clinton-era protections and ceding Western governors greater control over vast swaths of public lands.

The plan now allows governors to submit petitions within 18 months to stop road building on some of the 34.3 million acres where it would now be permitted. Governors also could request that new forest-management plans be written to allow the construction on some of the other 24.2 million acres.

That’s from this morning’s Seattle Times. My interpretation of this – which could be wrong – is that unless the Gov acts to prevent road building and logging, then road building and logging there will be. Furthermore, they have to submit a petition that state their case but I haven’t seen anything saying that just because a petition is filed, the lands will be protected. The lands appear to be open by default, you can go up there and start log building unless otherwise expressly prevented from doing so. Also, a Gov sympathetic to development can say “open my previously protected lands” and a new plan will be written to allow that. How many of those plans do you think our current national lawmakers are going to turn down?

Because I’m reading this news through the lenses of an outraged lefty, I will admit my biases and that I could be misinterpreting this. It seems like there are still National Forest level protections in place, but I don’t understand the levels of government and what their goals are as far as protection is concerned. Still, if the protection process is in the hands of the Gov, better that Gov be Christine Gregoire than Dino Rossi.

It looks, again from my badly clouded perception, that the Gov’s office isn’t sure they’re going to act, thinking that the laws in place are sufficient. I don’t feel that trusting, plus, I would like any bulldozer driving chainsaw weilding Republican governor who may take office in our state to have to fight against existing protections rather than come from the position of the lands being open for business. That’s why I wrote to the Gov’s office first thing this morning asking that they act to ensure that our wild lands stay that way. A destroyed salmon run and a clearcut old growth forest take lifetimes to recover. I don’t think you can overprotect these lands.

Here’s a link to a roadless area QA on the NRDC site.