Monday, November 30, 2009

After Hours

Fabrika. My takiye razniye (We're so different)

Here are the girls from Fabrika being tacky and entertaining at the same time. I'm not sure that I can add any insight to this clip. I can only tell you that most of the people in the video aren't Russians. How can I tell? Well, the guys are a little too fit and non-creepy and the girls...well, there aren't any besides the group. And hey, what's up with the blue eye shadow on the blond one? It seems a bit excessive, no?

As Predicted...

Folks, I'm no mad street prophet. I merely predicted the future based on my past experience in Belltown. I knew that if the Cristalla did nothing about the horrid graffiti on their unattractive south wall, more horrid graffiti would follow. The prophesy has been fulfilled. Here's the wall a bit over a month ago:

Yes, lovely, isn't it? Well here's what it looked like as of this morning:

Even lovelier, no? Here's what the entire south wall of this multi-multi-million dollar condo building looks like:

It doesn't exactly exude class.

Let me reiterate the point of my first post: terrible graffiti accumulates. If you wipe it out quickly, dumbass taggers will eventually find another spot for their dumbass tags. Now, if I was a tenant of the Cristalla, I'd be all over maintenance to get rid of those tags. After all, the building charges maintenance fees, so why aren't they maintaining the appearance of the building? Yeah, I'd be kind of pissed off at them about now. I mean, what's next, panhandlers in the lobby? And like I previously said, even my old, creaky, perpetually-broke building is better at taking care of these problems than a big, rich, gleaming condo tower is. But hey, I don't live there. And thank God for that, because I'd totally be in major debt with condo payments and all. I just expect better things from more expensive places.

The Not-So-Great Seattle Fire

Ladies and gents inspect the damage in the upper photo. The Galbraith Bacon dock survived the fire only to become the Edgewater Inn in later decades. The lower photo is Wall Street today, or, more precisely, yesterday.

On June 10, 1910, a little over 21 years to the day after the Great Seattle Fire of 1889, Belltown was hit with a destructive blaze of its own. It started, as many things did in those days, along the waterfront. Its exact cause remains a mystery, but thanks to strong 40mph winds, it was soon consuming entire city blocks and moving steadily uphill along Wall Street towards the heart of Belltown. The fire gave the newly-mechanized Seattle Fire Department a chance to do battle with their shiny equipment. Unfortunately, it had little to no effect on the blaze. The winds were too strong and too many buildings were on fire. It burned so ferociously that most who watched from above were certain that the entire neighborhood would be consumed. At that moment, all seemed lost.

But then it began to rain. Not only that, but the winds suddenly calmed, as well. The fire department eventually gained the upper hand and brought the once-desperate situation under control. By morning, all that remained of the fire was smoldering rubble.

Wall Street immediately afterwards and today. Notice all the gawkers in the upper photo? "Smoldering ruin viewing" seems to have been a very popular public pastime back then. Well, people also turned out in droves to see public hangings. What can I say? It was before radio and TV; people had to do something.

In all, the fire destroyed 17 blocks of the waterfront and lower Belltown from Alaskan Way to Western Avenue. There was no mention of casualties, but there were definitely no fatalities. In comparison, the 1889 fire destroyed 25 blocks (and killed one), but at the time, the Pioneer Square area was Seattle's primary business district. Even by 1910, Belltown was still something of a suburb, so we can confidently say that the 1889 fire had a far more profound impact on the city. But nevertheless, the destruction was extensive. Among the structures lost were the Glenorchy Hotel, four apartment buildings, two restaurants, a hardware store, several stables, a few warehouses and dozens of houses. The cost of the blaze was certainly in the millions, but not nearly as much as the 1889 fire's $20,000,000 price tag.

The aftermath of the fire.

Well, I'm happy to say that the area was quickly rebuilt. Unlike reconstruction in Pioneer Square, there is almost nothing to indicate that it was ever the scene of such widespread devastation. But it happened almost 100 years ago.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Your Sunday Squirrel

It's getting easier to recognize Denny Park squirrels. Even though I grew up in the burbs with squirrels all over the neighborhood, I could never tell them apart. Well, I've recently figured out that you can tell them apart by their noses. Squirrels have unique noses. This little guy's nose is dark. His Denny Park friends are all different. This fellow is really very friendly and he doesn't mind occasionally holding still for the camera.

Of course, it's pretty tough differentiating squirrels when they look like this:

This is merely a reminder that there are black squirrels up in British Columbia (and possibly in Bellingham), but none here in Seattle.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

How About an Arty Photo with Metophorical Possibilities?

As luck would have it, I've got one right here:

Possible metaphors: loneliness, longing, fruitless anticipation and rainy weather. By the way this is up by 2nd & Virginia in the old Bushell's Auction House. It has since become offices that don't look out at anything. I would kind of hate working in that kind of environment. See outside is important, even if it means looking out at the crappiest part of 2nd Avenue on the crappiest day of the year with the crappiest people imaginable milling around. That's just how I roll. But I've heard that the office is really quite pleasantly furnished. It's just not for Igor.


The other day, I saw these guys painting something on the 2nd Ave. side of the Crocodile. It looked like some kind of mural. Observe:

In case you can't see, there's Santa Claus in a boat and the words "do you still care" across it. It's a statement, not a question, because there's no question mark. Marketing genius alert! This who thing confused me at first, but it turns out that it's an ad for Adult Swim on Cartoon Network. Even I know what that is, although I possess no cable. Right now, I'm in the middle of season one of the Venture Brothers. It's kind of totally hilarious at times. I have no idea what specifically the mural-thing is referring to, but I'm sure it can't be as bad as its own advertisement.

Friday, November 27, 2009

After Hours

Gerry Mulligan. Walkin' Shoes

Here's Gerry and his band on Italian TV in 1956, playing his very own ultra-swell tune. The other guys are tenor sax giant Zoot Sims on, uh, tenor sax, borderline genius Bob Brookmeyer on valve trombone, the dependable Jon Eardley on trumpet, Crow 'n' Bailey on bass 'n' drums and of course, Gerry on the bari. This tune was originally performed by Mulligan's forward-thinking piano-less quartet at the beginning of the fifties. You know, that was the one with Chet Baker in it. By the mid-fifties, he had replace Chet, who was a really bad junkie, with Brookmeyer, who was an agreeable drunk. Gerry himself migrated between booze and smack for the longest time. In addition, he brought aboard the wonderful Zoot Sims, who couldn't play well unless he was completely shitfaced and Eardley, about whom I know nothing. Anyhow, this tune pretty much speaks for itself. It's just that I can't figure out what purpose all those other musicians are serving in the background. Any ideas?

Shopping and Parading

I apologize for the bad cell phone picture here, but I forgot my trusty Sony and I wanted to capture what Pine Street looked like on the day after Thanksgiving just shy of 8:30 in the morning. In case you can't tell, there are several thousand people lined up on the sidewalks to see the so-called "Holiday Parade." I was a little surprised at how many fellow humans were out this morning. I ran into scads of them on my way to/from Old Navy and the Bon - er, I mean Macy's. Apparently Old Navy opened at 3am this morning. Who the hell goes shopping at three in the morning? The Bon - er, I mean Macy's - opened at a more merciful 5am. I found clothes, paid for them and left. I didn't get in on the "Holiday Parade" action. I just figured it would be televised, like in previous years. It's generally broadcast on KING and, without fail, it's completely ridiculous. But alas, unless I totally missed it, there was no TV coverage. Maybe there was. I dunno. The only thing unique about this parade is that it doesn't start or finish in Belltown. It's totally a downtown affair. And that's just fine and dandy. Belltown already has a large enough share of Gay Pride and the Seafair Torchlight. We don't want to step on downtown's toes just to have a piece of Santa Claus. Really, it's OK.

McGuire Scaffold-Watch! Week: ???? + 32

The dwarf army was going great guns this week at the ruins of the McGuire. You could practically hear their little tools scraping away here at 2nd & Blanchard, such was the conundrum. All this activity means nothing as far as the scaffold is concerned. It will still be standing when our grandchildren graduate from college. OK, I exaggerate, but it will be there at least till spring. And then we can celebrate it one-year anniversary. The only problem is that I don't know exactly when it went up. And initially, it stood on only two sides of the building. Now, as you've seen week after week, the entire building is encased - and in a very unattractive way, too. To sum up: the scaffold hasn't gone anywhere (why should it?) and the dwarf army is quite noisy. That's all I've got for you.

Security House Scaffold-Watch: Week 7

Still wrapped in plastic and be-scaffolded. If there is to be a puppet show, it probably won't happen this week, because everybody's eating turkey and shopping. Many do those two things at the same time. But in case you were wondering whether the scaffold was still up at the Security House and didn't want to go near 4th & Bell to check on it yourself, the answer is yes.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

After Hours

Les Surfs. Scandale dans la famille

The last time we saw les Surfs they were on the losing end of a French version of "I Only Want to Be with You." Well, today they're in a much better state, doing a proto-ska number for our enjoyment. Aren't they such little, cute people? I'm pretty sure the tallest among them is about 5'2". This clip features them sitting around, because, y'know, that's all they do in the Caribbean. And then they dance. Les Surfs taught me all I need to know about island life.


Well, the last time we checked, not much was happening - or so it seemed. But things have really taken off these last few weeks. Let's have a look at the Recovery Cafe at 2nd & Bell. It's always first, because it is the way of things:

See? A whole new floor and no more potato chip truck! Yes, things are going very fast. But it's all very measured in comparison to the A.L. Humphrey at 1st & Cedar. Here's what's going on there:

Apologies once again for that tilted first shot. I was shooting into the sun. I haven't had that problem for quite a while. In fact, I haven't seen the sun for days. Well, that's non-summer in Seattle, sweet people. Anyhow, as you can see, A.L. Humphrey's got another floor and all sorts of other jazz. Ain't that spectacular. I originally predicted that they'd be done by Christmas, but now I'm gonna revise that back to Presidents' Day. Or possibly the first rainy day of spring. They have three more floors to go. Let's wish them plenty of luck.

And now let us close as we usually do, with a look up at the A.L. Humphrey's crane. You know, the Recovery Cafe also has a crane, but it's far less impressive, so I don't include it. Come to think of it, the A.L. Humphrey's crane isn't that compelling either - especially compared to what used to tower over Belltown. But it's the best we've got, so let's love it:

Trivia: Nothin' To See Here, Folks

Usually, when my efforts at trivia are less than triumphant, I don't report them. But the outcome was so close to brilliance that it requires some reportage. Last night, it was Schultzy's, part 2. This time we had a bigger team, more drinks and everybody (except me) was eating salad and meat. If you'll recall, three of us ventured there in October and won the whole shebang. And, as tradition and practice dictated, we won nothing - not even the admiration of our peers. Yesterday evening, we were six and there was no reason for us not to win. We finished fourth - but we were only three points away from first place. I blame three things:

1. The way, way fucked up music portion of the quiz. It was a name-that-tune, finish-the-lyrics type deal all rolled into one. It was totally confusing. We did poorly.

2. The quizmasters who, for the musical instrument visual round, accepted the response of xylophone for vibraphone. The two are not interchangeable. Yes, they're both mallet instruments, but it's like calling a clarinet a saxophone. We chose correctly, but all those ahead of us identified it as a xylophone and were given credit for it. So it simply wasn't enough that we won a point; it was more important others should lose their points. That didn't happen.

3. Back in the old country, whenever anything goes bad on any sort of level - national, local or personal - my sturdy Ukrainian relatives always blame it on "Russian meddling." That's kind of what happened with one of the answers. The question was about whose quarterback got punched by a fan at the end of a game this weekend after leading his team to a mediocre 6-5 record. I hadn't heard of the incident, but I was strongly favoring Notre Dame. Teammate Yuri suggested UCLA. There was something I didn't like about it, but we went with it anyway. I should have insisted, but the Russian meddling had achieved its desired effort. The answer was indeed Notre Dame. But I would have Yuri on my team any day. He's a nice guy with a well-developed sense of irony. I just have to be aware of the meddling.

And because of those three things we didn't win. Drat.

But I'm really overjoyed that we ran two whole categories (movie lines and musical instruments). I'm also glad that Dr. Al remembered who formulated penicillin. It was a guy named Fleming. So yeah, in case something goes wrong with my throat, I'll go see Dr. Al about it, because he knows his medical pioneers. It was a little disappointing that we didn't know Canada's highest mountain, Mt. Logan. We said Mt. Yukon, because why not? I think I might be done with Schultzy's. It's a fun place and they have excellent pimento cheese fries, but I'm looking for some fiercer opponents and more competent quizmasters. Our outing at the Kangaroo & Kiwi was satisfying (except for all the cheating that the other teams were doing) and fun. There's also a Monday night quiz at Belltown Pizza. That's a possibility, too. I'll try to steer us in those directions in the future.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

After Hours

Serge Gainsbourg. Ce mortel ennui

Poor Serge, no matter where he goes, women with very non-aerodynamic hair follow. He just can't get away from them. It must be his Gallic good looks. Snort! Yeah, Serge was one person who wasn't burdened with good looks, but his intriguing ugliness made him quite the icon. This tune comes near the end of his jazz phase in 1964. From around '65 on, he was all about le rock et roll. Both the jazz and rock phases were pretty wonderful. Then along came the seventies and eighties. Those were not marked by a lot of memorable stuff from Serge. It didn't really matter; he was already a legend. This freed him up to do all kinds of stuff - like burn money on TV:

When I first saw this, I was kind of shocked. Here he is, setting fire to around $100 and I was dirt poor at the time. I thought he was a total jerk for doing that. But now I understand a little bit better. I guess he doesn't like paying 74% taxes. If any American knows about Serge, it's either him burning money or when he asked Whitney Houston to have sex with him. Yeah, that Serge, he was a real character.

I Was A Workin' Man. Oh, Yeah.

Hey, yesterday was pretty unusual for me. I actually worked! And it happened right here in Belltown at this very building:

Let's see, what's a good nickname for this place? I mean, anything beats the "Fourth & Battery Building," which is its official moniker. OK, it's owned by Martin Selig and it's vaguely modern. How about "Selig's Space Station?" Urgh, I give up! For years and years, I've had no opinion about this building. It was merely there. It always reminds me of the alpha building in a suburban office park. God knows it's just that charming. Anyhow, I worked here yesterday. It's been quite a while since I've labored and guess what? It hasn't changed a bit! Since I've been out of the workforce, nobody's figured out a way to hook into a computer network via mental telepathy or anything cool like that. No, office work is still office work. But this place was pretty super-nice and they're having me back next week. And once again, I shall be a workin' man.

Fixing a Hole

Even though the dead project formerly known as the 1 at 2nd & Stewart isn't in Belltown, it's close enough to be a source of fascination. I walk past it every day on my way to the gym, and for months and months, it languished in a state of abandonment and neglect. Here you had big plans to build a large hotel and condo complex on the site of a perfectly serviceable parking lot. Well, things didn't get past the hole-digging stage when the developers ran out of money, shut down operations and possibly left town in the dead of night. I was really beginning to believe that the hole would be there forever, but recently they've brought in heavy equipment and much dirt. Observe:

It looks like the site will become a parking lot once more. It's about 2/3 filled now. All they need is more dirt. Although its reversion to a parking lot is probably not the most desirable path for the property, it's still a much, much better alternative to the large hole.

Coming Soon to the Moore!

Last week it was international cabaret, now it's international comedy. Will this spirit of world cooperation never cease? In this case, "international" means that there's one guy from North Carolina. And it's a competition, so I'd expect that at least somebody will have their hair extensions sabotaged at some point. I'm totally looking forward to things getting catty during the swimsuit portion of the show. The important thing is that after 23 gigs over 26 days, everything will get decided here. The lucky "winner" will get money, booze, guns and hookers. And if he - and indeed, it's all guys, unless Paul Hooper from Charlotte is really a woman - already has a lot of those items, he'll get even more and they'll be of better quality. Past "winners" include Patton Oswalt, the pre-dead version of Mitch Hedberg and - God help us all - Ross Shafer.

Monday, November 23, 2009

After Hours

VIA Gra. Biologiya

Mere words cannot describe this video. You just have to watch it to believe that human beings actually created this intentionally for other human beings. Apparently, this group is Ukrainian, but does it really matter? Being absolutely bimbo-tastic is a universal thing. If there was any justice in this world, "bimbo" would be a nationality or maybe even an ethnicity. I really thought that t.a.T.u. was the last word in trashiness, but VIA Gra leaves them far behind. Just the name (get it??) should alert you to serious trash ahead. But this video goes way beyond Zhanna Friske's slutty tennis or t.a.T.u.'s fake lesbi-antics. Like I said, watch this video. Among many other things, it's about science. And old guys losing control. And singers writhing in slow-mo. Enjoy.

Time For Something Blurry!

Because why not? I have no idea what this is. My camera seems to have taken this picture on its own. Ooh, machines running amok! Anyhow, if you stare at it long enough, it turns into something. You have my word on that, sweet people.

Squirrels Return to Belltown!

The 3rd & Vine Building, squirrel residence.

OK, it's not exactly the swallows coming back to Capistrano, but what I initially thought of as an anomaly is becoming a trend. It's not quite a tradition, but it's getting there. Those of us living in Belltown know how devoid of wildlife it is. We have birds. Sure, there are the usual urban birds: pigeons, crows, seagulls, sparrows and the occasional misguided robin. But as far as animals go, there are mice and rats, but not much else. For me, squirrels represent real, honest-to-goodness wildlife.

First off, anyone remotely familiar with this blog will know that I like squirrels. They're amusing little creatures. Some consider them pests, others consider them dinner, but I just like to watch them run around. The closest place to watch our little bushy-tailed friends in action is Denny Park, which actually isn't in Belltown. However, last winter there were squirrels all over the neighborhood, including one camped out in the tree outside my window here at 2nd & Blanchard. As spring came, the squirrel sightings became more infrequent until I dismissed them all as hallucinations. The squirrel population seemed quite content at Denny Park for the summer. But just last week, as I was walking near 3rd & Vine, I spotted this little fellow:

This is where last winter's squirrels were based, and since there's no such thing as just one squirrel, I'm thinking there must be others. I don't know whether they're in the actual building or just hanging out around it, but they're definitely back. Most squirrels are naturally twitchy and tentative customers, but this guy in the picture makes them all look calm by comparison. It's quite understandable. I mean, he's in a completely hostile world with cars and pavement and swift death around every corner. Even for Denny Park squirrels, prospects are pretty grim. But the Belltown population has it a whole lot tougher. Maybe if you're in the area and you happen to have a few peanuts handy, stop by 3rd & Vine to say hello to the agile rodents. If they're not around at the moment, leave those few peanuts for them in a spot where their sworn enemies, the crows, can't get at them. So yes, I'm urging you to feed the squirrels. This time of the year, they can use a little help.

(Cross-posted at Inside Belltown)

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Coming Soon to the Moore!

OK, this is the so-called Consider Concert (I haven't ever heard of it either), a benefit whose proceeds go to foundations for underprivileged youth in the name of Kim Evanger Raney, who died at 26. I have no idea what the connection is between this person and underprivileged youth and I've never heard of the people on the bill. It includes a group named Ruth. I was expecting some sort of Sweet Honey in the Rock experience as one would when confronted with such a name, but this band is all indie-looking guys. So yeah, terrible name. They'll also be joined by Shawn McDonald and Phillip LaRue. I don't know what they sound like. All I call you is that they like to stare into cameras and look sort of brooding.

High Winds or Strong Drunks?

Another day, another wind storm. That's the way it's been around here lately. And just a few days ago I was saying how Belltown never loses trees when it storms. I might have spoken too soon. As I was walking downt he street yesterday, I saw this:

And I'm thinking, that another branch has blown down and that I'll soon be using the headline "We Can Haz Wind Damage, Part Deux" or something similar. But no, it was actually the whole dang tree. Observe:

Poor tree, that pear tree. A moment of silence, please. Of course, I'm wondering who or what is responsible. It takes a lot to break a tree off at the base like that. I'm just thinking that it could have been a a bunch of brawny drunks. Why would they do it? Why not? Drunks don't need a reason. Neither does the wind. It's anybody's guess. So OK, if it was the wind, I take back my assertion that we never lose trees. If not, well, allow me to reassert my previous assertion.

Your Sunday Squirrel

Here's a classic pose from one of the friendlier Denny Park residents. I see this little guy around from time to time. He used to be quite skittish, but now he befriends both bum and non-bum alike. He's perched here at the base of the Mark Matthews bust. It stands at the south end of the park. Apparently, this Matthews was a clergyman and friend to all. This includes squirrels, who enjoy snacking next to his monument.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Coming Soon to the Moore!

You remember the TV show. Now you can experience the whole shebang onstage - minus Colin Mochrie, Wayne Brady and Drew Carey, among many others. Of course, the absence of Drew Carey would be more of a selling point, but I always thought that in order for the show to work, it needed the Mochrie. (Incidentally, I always thought his last name was spelled "Mockery," which I deemed the greatest comedy last name ever. But alas, it's not. Foolish, misspelling me.) OK, maybe Ryan Stiles will be there and that's fine, he's a funny guy, but the Mochrie would make it worth seeing. Here's something kind of alarming: this live Whose Line show could tour year-round for the next two decades and fewer people would see it than would view it on one dreary Wednesday night in February of 1999. Isn't that unbelievable? Yeah, they talk about all these great actors, for instance, Edmund Keane, and they always emphasize how comparatively few people ever saw him act - only like 60-70,000. He spent a lifetime on the stage and all we have are the glowing accounts of those very few who saw him. These days, some ordinary person can get 70,000 views a day on YouTube for crying about Britney Spears - I'm not gonna link; no way. And you don't even have to be human. The dramatic hamster has millions and millions of views. But all this is no guarantee that if he were alive today, Edmund Keane would be some sort of big star. It's just that the nature of fame changes every generation. And it differs from country to country. Lord Byron was famous for writing poetry. In Russia, chess champions are worshiped by the public. If Keane were alive now, you might find that his brand of Shakespeare verged on the hilariously melodramatic - and it might possibly fail a community theater audition. OK, so what does this have to do with tonight's show at the Moore? Nothing at all. I just launched off on a tangent and totally ran with it. Thanks for staying with me.

Friday, November 20, 2009

After Hours

Gerry Mulligan & Ben Webster. Who's Got Rhythm?

Here's something special from 1963. I have no idea why the band is so gussied up. It's probably because they knew that someday they'd be playing for you. Sure, why not? That seems as good a reason as any. OK, it's Gerry, Ben, drummer Mel Lewis, a bass player I don't recognize (it ain't Ray Brown) and an invisible pianist making their way through a tune that Gerry probably wrote. It's a pretty basic take on "Rhythm" changes, but, like the blues, it all depends on what you do with it. Both sax guys are pretty formidable on this one. And yes, it's just a tiny bit disturbing to see Gerry shakin' it around onstage. He usually wasn't that animated. He must have been high or something. Anyhow, this is a real nice example of contrasting jazz styles; Webster's got the big, rough sound (that had fallen out of fashion circa 1950) on the tenor and Mulligan chugs away without the growl or vibrato. I've always liked how he plays his horn like it's a great, big alto sax. Altogether it's a wonderful performance.

The Trivia Triumphs Continue!

I can't believe I haven't written about this till now. It should have been my first post, fer Pete's sake! I guess I was in such a state of bliss that clean forgot about it or something. OK, so last night I was again playing the part of alternating sub at Jillian's trivia when, by the time the final bonus round was upon us, I became the ringer sub. The category was the Simpsons, more specifically, celebrities who voiced themselves on the show through the years. They would put a picture up on the video screen and you had to identify it. It being the 21-point bonus round, if you answered wrong, they would deduct from the team's score. It was completely easy. We ran the category and took the contest by a single point. That earned us a whopping $55. Not only that, but the team secured a top-four playoff berth - it's actually a trivia series, not just a one night stand. So that happened. It was really gratifying, especially since I had done little to aid the team up until that point. But the categories were pretty tough: TV series anagrams, random indie rock songs from 25 years ago till present and things like that. OK, I did do pretty well on the Seattle sports stars category. Yes, I know what Warren Moon looks like. Good for me. The only one we missed was Gus Williams, and he totally looked different from his playing days. I'm pretty sure everybody missed it. It doesn't matter. We won. Ah, sweet victory!

My career stats with these guys (who really have a terrible team name, but for certain reasons will not change it to the Christ Punchers) is 8th place (my first time out with them), 5th place, 1st place, 3rd place, 1st place. Not too bad. I think they're wheeling in the really big guns for the playoffs. I don't mind. This particular quiz is really quite difficult, which is why it's so cool to win. If I could find pop music, movie and puzzle nerds I could field my own team. But that's something for the future file. At present, I can't even round up enough people to compete at Buckley's.

Here's a Random Thing!

So I'm just out walking the other day and I see this sight in the alley on Cedar, between 3rd & 4th:

Sure, it's a run-down armchair; its upholstery is worn out and its spring are most likely shot and it is sitting next to a garbage can, but isn't there something inviting about this? Yes, it's a shame that it's being tossed out after no doubt years of faithful service. But don't you just want to go sit down and relax right there? I sure did. I had to tell myself that it was too bum-like of a move. At present, I'm already just a little to close to that lifestyle choice, so why steer heedlessly towards those rock by taking a rest on a discarded chair? I only paused long enough to take a picture, but I couldn't help wondering for the rest of the day whether the chair was comfortable or not. In fact, I still ask myself that question.

Eye Guy x 5

This work has been up for a while at 4th & Battery, but I thought I'd share it. Here's what it looks like from across the street:

Doesn't look like anything, right? Well, when you get closer, you see the trademark eye on every single Zip Car spot:

That's five total. Question: what kind of animal has five eyes? Beats me! I prefer the minimalist approach; less is more. Drawing five eyes on five signs just because they're there doesn't make any kind of statement. It doesn't provide any context. It's just five eyes on five signs. Eye guy, if it was your goal to impress with lots of eyes, you have failed. Show me something better, OK?

Thursday, November 19, 2009

After Hours

Anne Renée. Un amour d'adolescent

Yes, this is exactly what you think it is: a French-language version of Paul Anka's "Puppy Love." You know that tune, right? It's about puppies. And everybody tells them that they have to wait till they're dogs to fall in love. Actually, it's not really about that at all. In fact, it's just a very dumb novelty tune. But since yesterday's installment pushed the envelope for weirdness in a translated tune, I thought that Anne could help bring us back to normal. She seems nice. A few years later she had a few disco hits, but they're very polite. So yes, I think this is the perfect antidote to Les Excentriques. Enjoy.

We Haz A Wind Damage!

You know, another fine thing about living in Belltown is that during windstorms we never lose power. All the electrical lines are underground. So take that, places that aren't Belltown! Well, we did actually lose power about 10 years ago, but that was due to an underground fire at 1st & Lenora that City Light accidentally set themselves. It took them about 8 hours to fix. In addition, our sparse greenery tends not to blow down. This isn't true around the rest of Seattle. Trees blow down everywhere else and there is great weeping and consternation to accompany the loss of power. But sometimes, one of our precious tree-residents loses a limb. This was the scene at 3rd & Blanchard:

Walk it off, big guy! You'll be fine!

So for those of you keeping score at home, here's how it adds up:

Places with lush greenery and verdant forests - 0
Barren, crack-saturated urban war zone - 2

Hooray for us!

Coming Soon to the Moore!

These guys are a sketch comedy troupe who have become known around some parts for making terrible comedy films. Well, actually Beerfest wasn't completely awful, but that was thanks to Will Forte's performance alone. Without him, it would have been the most wretched piece of entertainment imaginable. What's this show gonna be like? Who knows? I expect that these guys might be a lot funnier live than they are in films, because when they're onstage they don't have to worry about things like plot and characters. They can just act crazy and swear a lot - which, as everybody knows, is totally hilarious all the time.

Say Hello to Your Newest Parking Lot, Belltown!

It's a new parking lot! Or, as my deaf great aunt used to say, "packin' lat." Funny thing, she was actually from Chicago, lived in Washington DC, but spoke with a New England accent. For years, I thought that was how deaf people talked. She lost her hearing in her forties after they gave her morphine at the hospital and she had an allergic reaction. Apparently, that's when she started sounding like she was from central Boston. Now you know the full story. OK, so less great aunt, more parking lot, you're probably saying about now.

I'm pretty sure that Martin Selig owns the whole block between 3rd & 4th and Battery & Wall. It was probably his decision to bulldoze the one-story complex, formerly used by the Free Sheep Foundation, so he could make a few bucks as a parking merchant. Here is what Belltown's newest parking lot looks like:

Pardon all the water, it was raining really hard. There it is, folks! Sure, it's not a very creative way to use the land, but creativity costs money. If it was my call, I'd build a roller coaster on that and the adjoining lot and keep it open 24 hours a day. That's what I'd do. Nobody has yet to compliment me on my business acumen. Enjoy your newest parking lot, everybody!