Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Ciao 2008

I can't say I'm sorry to see this tired old year go.
Ciao ciao 2008.
Don't let the door hit you in the arse.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Cold, but pretty, but cold

More snow is coming, and now there's supposed to be wind, freezing rain, and sleet, too.
I think it's Mother Nature's way of forcing us to spend more time with each other. The malls are empty. People speak to each other as they clomp by on the street. My dog romps in the cold stuff as though it were a version of doggy heaven.
Something about the vicious weather brings out our humanity. A couple of days without power might change that.
Still, it's beautiful. Cold, but pretty. But cold.


Winter in Seattle


Seattleites are pretty unflappable when it comes to Mother Nature.

Eskimos have forty words for snow? Well, we have at least forty ways to talk about rain.

We slog through earthquakes, mudslides, 30+days of drizzle--no problem.

But snow throws us for a loop. Forecasters predicted snow yesterday and every school district in King County closed down pre-emptively. And it snowed everywhere but King County.


Today though it's been snowing. It's beautiful, but treacherous. I waited in vain for the 73 bus this afternoon, so I started walking bus stop to bus stop, and eventually walked the 40 blocks home. Others had it worse: one of my co-workers spent most of the day on Sound Transit buses.

Home, with hot chocolate and a warm dog, I turned on KING-5 and had my first real indicator of winter: Jim Forman, reporting from the bottom of an icy hill!

He's a Seattle tradition--KING-5 reporter Jim Forman, blown around by hurricane force winds, wading through two feet of water, standing on overpasses, braving the elements in his Gore-Tex and shouting into a microphone.

The calendar hasn't caught up with us yet but yup, it's winter in Seattle.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Sunday Dog Blogging


The pooch, after a slog through icy, snowy streets. Note the hillbilly missing tooth!

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Before/After?




Some member of the commentariat posted this Mike-Moore-type figure onto pedestrian signs on the Burke Gilman Trail.


Before/After?


Either/Or?


Saturday, December 6, 2008

Overheard around town, part deux

Out walking along the Burke-Gilman trail this morning, I watched a kid skateboard past. It was a rough section of pavement, coated with leaf mush, so he was zig-zagging around quite a bit. Brave kid, I thought, then heard a thud. Up ahead he had swerved to miss a bollard and somehow parted ways with his skateboard. One of his sneakers had parted ways too. He limped along in one sock foot, retrieved his shoe, and skateboarded away, dignity damaged but intact.

Last night at a bar along Roosevelt, a woman in a glittery headband and brick red lipstick waited to place her order. The bartender was busy making Jaeger bombs for a couple of pool players. Shot glass brimming with chilled Jaegermeister? Check. Tall glass 3/4 filled with energy drink? Check. "I killed a man after drinking two of those," the woman said. The pool players wordlessly downed their 'bombs. "Did they ever find the body?" the bartender said, in a tone that suggested he pretty much knew the answer already.

Monday, December 1, 2008

Why refinishing furniture is like writing

I'm an old school tightwad (thanks Gram!) and one of my favorite hobbies is refinishing furniture I pick up at thrift stores or from salvage yards, like Earthwise or Re-Use. A couple of weekends ago I found a table at Goodwill for $5. It's solid and made of hardwood, but it's also dusty and smudgy and coated with a dull shellac. So most nights, after writing and dinner, I go out to a corner of the basement, slip on a mask and work gloves, and work on the table. When I'm working on a piece of furniture, there's usually this moment where it transforms from the grubby piece with good bones to something with actual potential. With the table, the moment struck when I was working on the legs. I was sanding away, sweat dripping into my eyes, my arms getting tired, when suddenly I saw it, the grain of the wood, silky and voluptuous, emerging from beneath the thick, ugly old shellac.


Writing is like this. You have this awkward mass of words, and you know that somewhere within lurks the gem of an idea, but how to get to it? You tinker, you edit, you think and chop and put things back. And if you do this long enough, and thoughtfully enough, there is this moment where you see it, the thread, the beauty, the idea you were writing about and you didn't even know it.

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