Saturday, October 15, 2016


It's been fun checking out my new neighborhood.
In less than a week I've been in 5 bars, a pizza place, 2 thrift stores, and a couple of galleries. And this is just the beginning, if my liver holds out.
Let's start with the bad news. The pizza place was a big disappointment. Overpriced soggy pie with a weirdly salty tomato sauce, attitudinous servers--carded twice on a Wednesday night!?--irritating soundtrack--I doubt I'll go back.
It's a competitive neighborhood, and some of the bars shone with personality.
Clever Dunnes is an Irish pub with TV's showing whatever sporting event is going on, a rock-heavy soundtrack, and a boisterous bartender who was quick with drinks, food advice, and some light kidding. Great for MLB and a veggie burger.
I've been in Redwood a couple times before. Not a fan of the taxidermied animal heads but the lighting is dim and the booths are comfy and the price was right for a couple of Olympias on tap ($3 I think?). Not a fan of the indie soundtrack but the bartender was prompt. Weirdly, the door guy was already carding people at the tender hour of 7 p.m.
Bait Shop may be my favorite of the bunch. It's busy and loud, but somehow there's always a spot to be found. The server this night was funny and cool and brought drinks quickly, even as our little group expanded. Every table around us was packed with people having a good time, and my rye Manhattan was perfect.
Corvus was new to me. I didn't love our table by the door, and the crowd was oddly diverse--a group of serious-looking Asian men in suits, couples on quiet dates, a rowdy threesome at the bar--but the server was quirkily friendly, and brought out delicious cocktails and a plate of hot salty fries to stave off impending hangover.
DeLuxe is also an old favorite, and didn't disappoint on an after-midnight stop. The bar seemed stacked with regulars, drinks came out fast, and the bartender dutifully helped a friend get over a bout of hiccups.
Kessler's was my last stop this week, when I stopped en route to art walk for a beer and some Thursday night football. This may be a go-to for sporting events--fast, efficient bartenders, hometown crowd, and low prices.

Saturday, October 8, 2016

super deluxe

I've been checking out the creative brains behind Super Deluxe lately (mostly this provocative video about the first presidential debate). There's also Super Deluxe Animation, which recently featured a bunch of very short (short as in a couple dozen seconds) videos.
This one is my fave. I can't get enough! Check out Morpha! Utila!

As a creative person, this series has made me think: How can I make my own stories shorter, brighter, more fun and engaging? I'm going to figure out how.

Friday, September 30, 2016


The meteoric, gaseous, ridiculous Seattle housing market hit home for me literally, as my rent has gone up 30% in the past 2 years. With this most recent hike, I called it quits on my neighborhood and the greedy Scrooges who own my building, and found another place. There are pluses and minuses, I guess. The new place is small, which means I've spent the past few weeks sorting through storage boxes that have been tucked away in closets for six plus years.
I found letters dating from my parents' ugly and painful split.
A Max Headroom mask.
107 chocolate wrappers (*).
A tiny chunk of the Berlin wall.
Journals and more journals.
Scraps of stories starring my longtime-protagonist-yet-still-unpublished Eugenia Farquharson.
My mom's jewelry box, with her collection of watches and earrings and heart-shaped jewelry.
You can't keep everything, and yet it's hard to know what to let go of.
A metaphor for life, probably, and yet I still find myself debating myself: do I really need that feather boa? The collection of Pee Wee Herman art?
Yes, probably.
I'm not sure.

Saturday, September 24, 2016


I remembered that I've forgotten to watch Shuga, an online series out of Lagos, Nigeria. MTV produces it so it skews young, but I enjoy the flavor of day to day life in a part of the world that most of us will never visit. Bonus: a transcendent Lupita N'yongo in what must be one of her earliest roles.

In a similar vein, here's a new-to-me show advertised as the "Sex and the City" of Accra, Ghana: An African City.

Sunday, September 18, 2016

choco holick

Perugina Luisa.
Heard of it? Better yet, tasted it?
This was my absolute favorite chocolate bar when I was a teenager. And I ate a lot of chocolate. The word chocoholic does not even come close. My sister and I were legit connoisseurs. We bought imported bars, mostly, tasted and wrote notes and kept a folder holding the wrappers. I re-discovered the folder this week, as I was cleaning out a closet.
Noted in pencil on the front: 107. We sampled 107 bars of chocolate!
And I'm not talking Hershey's, or any other American chocolate, although there are some vintage Ghirardelli wrappers in there, the label funky and with a 70's vibe, complete with phonetic pronunciation.
Perugina Luisa, tho.
Italian chocolate, smooth and round in flavor, with notes of vanilla and barky darkness. It was a thicker bar, too, a real chunk. I don't think they make it anymore (although maybe?).
I leafed through the stack and found other gems--tiny wrappers of German chocolates, telling the story of Rotkรคppchen (Red Riding Hood). One from Expo '86 in Vancouver, made in Israel. Several from Callebaut, still a favorite. Droste bars, labeled in determined fonts. I've dallied with other chocolatiers--La Maison du Chocolat, notably. A particularly luscious French bar made by Bonnat. Theo's, from just down the street, is admirable.
Chocolate was my passion, back then. A hobby that combined treats and imagination and travel. A way to escape an anxious life, to go somewhere else, if only via my tastebuds.

Saturday, September 10, 2016

So long

On Monday I said good-bye to the trailer my Mom helped me find a few years ago.
The cozy little Majorca travel trailer dwelt on my lush acres for a dozen-plus years, a shelter from rain and wind and sun, and haven for about a million ants, and the odd mouse. Lately though, the floors sagged, a pair of tires cracked and went flat; moss grew inside the window frames and after the March windstorm where four cedars toppled, I began to worry about the trailer's long-term prospects.
Over the summer, helpers and I cleaned out the interior, hauling carloads to Goodwill and recycling, and last week I posted the photos online, hoping to find a new home. Twenty-some people e-mailed me, many ignoring the details in the post (nope), some saying they'd re-hab and sell it (sorry, also nope), but one person wanted the trailer for an organic farm property north of town. We e-mailed, I made clear the Majorca's fragile condition, she reassured me she was a farm girl and could figure it out.
So on Monday, we all met up and headed out to see if the trailer could be safely removed from its home. I was nervous, worried, and sad, honestly, thinking back to the day Mom and her husband and dog brought the Majorca. A rainy, overcast day, struggles to get up the gravel driveway, a muddy bottoming-out, and finally, success, the truck's engine over-heating and the smell of burned rubber lingering. The experience Monday was much more peaceful. The farm-ers came prepared, patching the tires, raising the jacks, applying duct tape where necessary. After barely an hour of work, they snapped on the hitch, and about twenty-five turns later, were rolling down the rocky, twisty hill. I did shed some tears, but this feels right. The Majorca is off to be useful somewhere else, with people who can properly take care of it, and I have opportunity now to do something more permanent for myself, too. It feels momentous.

Saturday, September 3, 2016

Change is change is

So much is in flux at the moment, and I don't just mean the big bad world.
Preparing for big changes out on the coast, letting go of a treasured object because the object is failing and because if I don't, there will never be room for improvement.
And...I'm moving in a few weeks. Two rent increases over the past two years of 30% are kicking me out the door. I found a new spot, it's smaller but in a more vibrant, arty area, so I'm trying to be okay with it.
I've been cleaning out my closets, donating clothes and shoes to Goodwill, recycling and composting and leaving treasures in the laundry room downstairs.
Among the old mortgage documents and receipts and mementoes from past travels, I discovered documents from a painful time in my family's history--documents I'd forgotten I ever even had.
Words from the past, excuses and evasions.
I found my mother's wooden jewelry box and opened it. I touched a watch and a pair of earrings and her perfume wafted out and I breathed in deeply.
Then I closed the box up tightly, not wanting that familiar smell to fade away.