Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Coming Soon to the Moore!

Ah, now here's a very good reason to change all your medical instructions to DO NOT RESUSCITATE. Yeah, since the Spice Girls, the world has fortunately been totally over girl bands. That was a terrible time, wasn't it? But this particular one is Asian. Does that make any difference? No. If anything, it should be even worse than your average girl band. There's a lot that doesn't translate. And with the backdrop of of the Moore, I don't think these poor girls are doing themselves any favors. I mean, it's old, creaky, smelly and dour. It doesn't exactly scream "girl power," does it? Well, even former American Idol champ, Jordin Sparks, is playing the much smaller Showbox, so I guess these gals should count their blessings. And what would serve as an appropriate opening band for a girl group? A boy group! They're called 2AM - and they all appear to be completely heterosexual. After surveying the bill, all I can say is this: GOD HELP US ALL!!!

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Totally Gay!

OK, so today was the Gay Pride Parade. And there was no reason to miss it since it was all happening over on 4th Avenue. Today's weather was dull and uneventful by conducive enough for all kinds of gayness. Here's an interesting thing:

This guy's name is Seattle Gay News - just like the newspaper. What are the odds of that?? I'd say astronomical! Anyhow, there were also furries:

There was a dog, but I got no good shots of him. There was a "Gay Idol" float:

I'm sure a lot of people put in many hours to build this contraption, but it looked like it was gonna collapse at any moment. There was also a gay fire engine...

...lots of rainbow balloon configurations such as, for example, this:

There was an entire truckload of sex-people with whom you'd probably never want to have sex:

There was a gay bagpipe band...

...proud leather people...

and the drag version of The Wiz:

I'm pretty sure everybody wanted to be Diana Ross. And finally, there was an outfit calling itself "The Gay Team." Get it?? If you do, that probably means you're gay:

And I left soon after that. I missed the rollerskating penis this year. But the motorcycle-riding gorilla almost made up for it:

All in all, the motorcycle display was loud and pointless, but this guy made it worthwhile. He even did tricks! Anyway, this year was just as good as last year, except the weather was worse. But be proud, gay people! That's the point of the whole weekend, isn't it?

Your Sunday Squirrel

Here's more of last week's guest-squirrel. Funny how the camera really goes out of its way to focus on the grass and not on the squirrel. Enjoy!

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Paper Sign Taped to a Light Pole Brings Peace to Community

Or so the Onion headline would read. I swear to God, the news trucks are here every day - even KIRO and they're just down the street. They don't even need a news truck; they can just use an extension cord. Yeah, there's all this talk about the "rash" of violence in Belltown. You know, if you look into the archives, you'll probably find the same thing happening to various degrees every year around this time. This year just happens to be more severe than most. Plus, with the guy getting killed across the street, this crummy neighborhood is under more scrutiny. So some drunk guy tangling with an even drunker guy is now conflated into an assault. And let's just get this out of the way: all (or almost all) this stuff that's happening is done by visitors to visitors. If you're a Belltown resident and you've been beat up/robbed/murdered by another Belltown resident, then you're bucking the statistical trend and I apologize for my gross assumption. But people treat Belltown like it's some kind of Las Vegas-esque adult playground. That's why so much crazy shit happens. Frankly, I welcome the influx of people, but it would be so much nicer if they'd behave themselves and not puke on our sidewalks, especially while the news trucks are here.

Coming Soon to the Moore!

Also from the "Recently Departed from the Moore" Department. There are lots of things wrong with Parks & Recreation, but this guy isn't one of them. Of course, the best thing about the show by far is the theme. It's simple, catchy and direct. And then there's Aziz as sleazebag Tom Haverford. Yeah, fun. The show is also good for those of us who can't get enough Rashida Jones. The rest of the time, I kind of drift in and out. Anyhow, I have no idea whether Aziz is a capable standup comic, but he seems to enjoy some popularity with the youth of our nation.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

I Went to a Baseball Match!

I haven't been to a sporting event in ages, so when I heard the Cubs were in town, I couldn't resist. Unlike the Mariners, the Cubs are widely adored for being losers. The big question of the night was which team was worse. The answer? More on that later. I was hoping for general admission, but I had to pay $27 for a 300 level seat. Averaging that out over all the years I could have gone but didn't, it's somewhat reasonable. The evening was nice. Here is what the baseball place looked like:
The city beyond it was as follows:

I still have to remind myself that the voters rejected the bond issue to build this stadium. If it wasn't for the Mariners futile run at major-league glory in 1995, we wouldn't have a stadium or a team. I'm not judging here; this would have been the outcome. It ran against the will of the people, but who cares? Anyhow, as night fell, this is what it looked like:

I often forget that baseball is tons more boring on TV. I have a very short attention span and I was alone, but I was quite entertained by the whole thing. Well, a few $8.75 beers helped, too. How did it end? Quite simply, sweet people. The Mariners got a guy on base, and the guy after him hit a home run. That was it; they didn't need anything else. They won 2-0 and I walked back to Belltown. Speaking of that, did you know that in the early nineties, they were seriously considering putting a stadium in Belltown? It would have been disastrous for the neighborhood, but very cool. Just imagine drunk guys from Redmond staggering around at all hours for six months a year. Isn't that what we already have year-round? Well, kind of. If they'd actually gone ahead and done that, I'd probably still be here.

So that was my sports night.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Coming Soon to the Moore!

I should really call this "Recently Gone from the Moore," since I'm still having trouble in the Enthusiasm-for-Belltown department. I have yet to figure out what these celebrity chefs do when they're in front of audiences. I'm pretty sure they don't cook. In Bourdain's case, he probably talks about being a drug addict. There's always a lot of mileage in that. Personally, I like him, because he's a jerk and he's not ashamed of it. On TV, he's always best when he's put in an uncomfortable situation or made to eat gross food. On the plane back to Seattle, I watched an episode of No Reservations where he went to Australia and hung out with all of his chef friends. Boring! However, when he went to Iceland, was ridiculed by bodybuilders and given fermented shark and jellied sheep's brains, now that was entertaining! So does he just tell stories or does he do a little tap dancing? Does anybody know what happens at these functions?

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Your Sunday Squirrel

I leave town for a little while and Denny Park gets a whole new crop of squirrels. This little guy is friendlier than most. The others have no idea what peanuts are. Or perhaps they don't like peanuts. Sure, that's a little like monkeys hating bananas, but I'm sure it happens. Anyhow, all this squirrel shyness makes it tough to photograph them. I'll probably have to dip into the archives for the next few Sundays.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Wait, WHAT??

I didn't realize that cars had a sexual preference. This is from the Zip Car lot at 4th & Battery. You can go and look at it for yourself. I'm just rather stunned that whoever thought this up actually got someone's approval to have it produced, as it's one of the stupidest things I can imagine having on a banner.

OK folks, I'm slowly getting re-acclimated to this crummy town, so I'll gradually start in with the blogging again. It's tremendously difficult if you had the kind of time I did. If I'd had terrible time, it would have been much easier, I imagine. OK, so I got back here, froze my ass off (I was used to 80+ degree temps) and saw that almost nothing had changed in Belltown. And then a guy got killed right across the street from the Rivoli a few days after my return. I slept through the whole thing - the eight shots, the ensuing chaos, the police response, everything. It was an unfortunate incident. The weird thing is that I felt (and still feel to a certain extent) so disconnected from Belltown that I had absolutely no desire to write about it as I would have prior to my departure. But the more time I spend here, the more likely I am to accept my circumstances and note my surroundings. This return to the neighborhood isn't a life sentence; I'm actually going back to Ukraine this fall for my cousin's wedding, so there's a good chance for more mayhem in Istanbul. I mean, Turkey is just a short plane ride from the Old Country. So that's where things stand. The blogging will continue. I'm pretty sure that it will. Just be slightly patient.


Well, this is the last Saturtle. As I warned in a previous post, this guy isn't very interesting. He's eating grass and that's all. Although I'm back in the land of squirrels, I do miss me some turtles. They're nice creatures that everyone likes.

One Fundamental Answer

Have you ever paused in the course of the day and wondered about which is more boring: the scoreless first half of a World Cup game between Japan and Cameroon or an Eminem video without any sound. I asked myself this fundamental question this last Monday when I was at the gym. The Japan-Cameroon match seemed more of a competition to see who could kick the ball out of bounds the most. The Eminem video featured him trying to look tough, knitting his brows and staring out at (what I believe to be) the Detroit skyline. You've probably asked yourself this important question many times. So which is it? The Eminem video. Even with sound, it wouldn't be much better. This is the same guy, you'll recall, who rhymed the word "me" with "me" for his hit "Controversy." You know, it's not a rhyme if it's with the same word. It's always easier to write lyrics if you just use the same words over and over again. Anyhow, congratulations, Marshall, you're more boring.

Sunday, June 13, 2010


OK, here it is. Over the last week or so, I've wondered exactly how to frame this post. Should I go into detail about Istanbul or should I sum up? I'm gonna opt for a summation. My trip, super-fabulous up until this time, became even better once I set foot in this amazing city. This is my fifth time to Istanbul, but I saw so many different sides of the wonderful metropolis, it was like I was there for the first time. Just in my first morning there, I took more pictures than I'd taken in all other places in both Ukraine and Turkey combined. Yeah, there is just that much to see and remember.

I did all of the standard tourist stuff: went to Topkapi Palace, went to the Grand Bazaar, took the Bosphorus cruise, strolled around the Hippodrome, etc., etc., but you know what? Those things are always excellent. Here's some advice: when staying in Istanbul, there's just one place to be. Here it is:

Sultanahmet is Istanbul's Belltown. But unlike Belltown, people are extremely friendly - perhaps the most welcoming in all of Turkey, I kid you not. Sure, some want to sell you carpets (more on that later), but most are just friendly. It takes a while to get used to, especially for a Seattleite coming from Ukraine. So basically, I was this even-keeled guy arriving from a very xenophobic country. I was deposited in the midst of all this friendliness. The thing is that people became even nicer as the trip wore on, culminating in the Sultanahmet experience. Sure, there are other districts where you can stay. Many prefer Taksim Square. Russians seem to flock to nearby Aksaray, but honestly, Sultanahmet is the absolute touristic bomb. If you can find a place with a roof terrace, all the better. The hostel where I was staying had a decent terrace, but by far, the best place was the Hotel Byzantium. Here's the evening versions of the Blue Mosque, Ayasofia and the Sea of Marmara:

Those views never get old. Like I said, this was my fifth time in Istanbul and I had a sensational stay.

Here are some photos from "museum day." I hit three major places in one day: Topkapi Palace, the Archaeological Museum Complex and Istanbul Modern. Unfortunately, they don't let you take photos at the last place, so you'll have to content yourselves with all this old stuff. Here goes:

And one last museum day item; this pretty much sums up Turkey's historical legacy. Here in the U.S., if a museum is lucky enough to have a shard of geometric pottery, well, that's an entire display case right there. Here's what you get at the Archaeological Museum:

Their entire mezzanine level is trays of pottery shards. I'm fairly certain that they have whole warehouses full of such items in and around Istanbul. There's so much history that they've run out of space to display it.

One thing I always do is take a Bosphorus cruise. Touristy, yes, but a wonderful way to recover from museum day. It all starts from Eminonu, which is this total chaotic jam of boats:

Ferries swoop in, linger a few minutes, then take off at full speed to other stops. The cruise that I took was actually by public ferry. It had five stops along the way. Our captain's landing technique was quite unique in that it involved ramming the dock. Well, that's one way of doing it. Here are some photos:

The place above, Anadolu Kavagi, is at the entrance to the Black Sea and exists only to serve people on the cruise lunch. If you feel so inclined, you can climb up to the castle. It was raining, so I camped out at a bar near the dock. The rain stopped and the trip back was gorgeous.

The rest of my stay was equally as tremendous. I really have to say, though, that my last day there was probably the best day I've had anywhere. Yes, among other things, I did spend an afternoon selling carpets - actually trying to sell carpets - with the owner of my hostel. He was really quite the salesman, but we didn't move any product. It was all very weird. The day actually got weirder from then on. Like I said in an earlier post, you'll just have to take my word for it, as I'll have to wait till everybody connected with all these events is dead. Yeah, it was that kind of last night there. I didn't sleep a wink and didn't need to. I had the kind of time that only one of the world's great cities can offer.

And then I came back to Seattle. More on that later.