Sunday, May 22, 2016

Your Sunday Squirrel

After the condo gig, I went to Denny Park.  I found some very friendly squirrels there.

I Helped Sell Condos Today

OK, it was a temp job at a very large development in Belltown.  I just assisted with an open house and guided people to model units.  Yeah, they were very expensive.  The views were outstanding, but yeah, super-pricey.  People actually asked me whether I lived in the building.  That kind of made me snort initially.  I don't know how many of the folks who showed up could actually afford the asking price (in the millions) of these places, but I was pretty surprised at how poorly people were dressed.  OK, so it's Sunday and all, but honestly, most folks dressed badly.  And I just automatically assume that everyone is richer than I am, because they are.  I expect more from rich people.

Anyhow, I guided people and keyed them to other floors.  One thing that struck me is that most people seemed quite unprepared for any kind of life in Belltown.  Sure, if you've got that kind of money, you can live safely and quietly far from the rabble, but you occasionally have to go outside.  It's then that those poor folks have to deal with a neighborhood that might be a little more intense than they figured.  A condo in Belltown is different from a condo in Bellevue.  A lot of the people seemed to think it was the same thing.  I didn't issue dire predictions to the uninitiated; this is just an observation.  Anyhow, the more time I spent directing people, the more I appreciated my filthy, cluttered little ratbag of a place.


First of all, so long, Spur:
They had very good drinks, but now they're gone.  I have no idea what happened.  Maybe they were too small.  Maybe the owners were focused elsewhere.  Although their location on Blanchard wasn't ideal, they seemed to be doing all right.  But alas.
And right next door to former Spur will be a weed store.  In my building.  Yeah, I'm not happy about that.  Not at all.  I think it's a terrible idea, not because there are children in the building, etc., but simply because it's a very bad idea.  I'm not one of these NIMBY jackasses, but I don't want this in my building.  I'm not a fan of weed in the least.  I hate the smell and I hate its effects.  And I'm not looking forward to having a retail operation anywhere near me.

Sunday, May 15, 2016

Your Sunday Squirrel

It was a slow week for temping, so I looked for squirrels instead.  I found some:
I also went to Mama's.  I'm gonna go there a second time before passing judgment.  

Sunday, May 8, 2016

Your Sunday Squirrel

I didn't take one good picture this week.  I took three!
There are others, but these three are the best.  Enjoy.

Sunday, May 1, 2016

Your Sunday Squirrel

OK, so there was another mini-hiatus.  But it was worth the wait.  I stumbled onto a squirrel and some favorable lighting, and this is the result.  Once again, a very skittish customer takes a really nice photo.  This is definitely a calendar candidate.

Belltown Casualties!

Like I've always said, this is not the place for breaking news.  And also, I'm not very observant.  But some things are impossible to overlook.  In the past few weeks, two fairly prominent places have closed: Branzino at 2nd & Wall and Spitfire Grill at 4th & Bell.  You'll recall that the Spitfire was in the old Sit and Spin location.  Ah yes, that was quite a venue, but it, too, went out of business - and rather quickly, too.  I think that the Spitfire lasted much longer, but does it really matter?  I never went there.  I really genuinely prefer Buckley's.  It's a sports bar where people who aren't the least bit interested in watching sports can go, except at certain days and times during football season, which is completely understandable.  So Branzino always had a good-looking menu, but I never went there either.  They were a bit out of my price range, meaning that if I had to save up to go to a place, it would generally turn out to be Shiro's.  So that's that.  The rising tide does not float all boats.  Sorry guys, I guess that's showbiz.

Sunday, April 17, 2016

Your Sunday Squirrel

OK, so this guy isn't totally perfectly in focus.  I made it to Denny Park only a few times this week and there weren't any squirrels around.  I don't know if it's because the bums are starting to pitch tents or what.  But bottom line, no squirrels.  This fellow is from a few weeks ago.  He was quite photogenic.  Last week's SS was him, too.  Enjoy!

Sunday, April 3, 2016

Your Sunday Squirrel

Since Mama's closed, I've had more time to go to Denny Park.  This is a squirrel I met today.

I Have Seen the Future...

...and it is not pleasing.  OK, so the same guy who owns Local 360, Bell+Whete and the Crocodile is taking over Mama's.  Personally, I really like Local 360; I'm just not rich enough to eat there regularly.  Plus, I find the place a bit uncomfortable, with the boxy decor and all.  So Bell and Whete has been open for a while now and I thought I'd give it a try for happy hour.

I have to tell you, first off, it's expensive.  I mean, a pint of Hilliard's, a local product, is ten bucks.  For happy hour, they give you a dollar off.  So nine bucks.  That's a lot.  Anyhow, everything else is similarly expensive.  We had four beers between us and it ended up being $41 - and yes, that's with the happy hour discount.  Without it, the total would have been $45.  This was for four ordinary, garden-variety beers.

Perhaps what was most alarming is that we were charged a mandatory 20% gratuity.  I was pretty super displeased about that.  I've heard about places that have a "no tipping" policy, but this seemed the opposite of that.  Yes, the service was fine, but I want it to be my choice how much I tip.  The restaurant shouldn't require me to pony up a certain amount.  I asked the server about the charge and she told me that this is the way that the place complies with the $15/hr. city wage.  The more I think about that, the more ridiculous it seems.  First off, it's expensive.  I know that they're in a new space, paying market-rate rent, but shouldn't the rather high drinks prices go toward the city wage?  Wages are supposed to be built into the food and drinks prices.  You don't treat them as a surcharge.  That just seems like gouging.

I'm not going back to Bell and Whete.  If I want Hilliard's, I'll take a bus to Hilliard's in Ballard.  If I want a great Belgian pub, I'll go to Brouwer's in Fremont.  To me, this is just another place that's too expensive for people who live in the neighborhood to patronize.  And the real sad thing is that this is what Mama's is going to be like when it reopens.  I'm positive that it will be chock full of locally-sourced artisanal fusion.  It will be precious, disappointing and expensive.  And I won't be able to afford it.  But you can be sure that however much your tab is, you'll be paying 20% more because having high prices just isn't enough.

NOTE: I'm very much in favor of the city's $15/hr. wage.  But this is the worst possible way to achieve it.