May 2011

Sasquatch 10 is the closest we will ever get to Woodstock

We are never going to have our own Woodstock.  We’ve fragmented our musical tastes, we’re too interested in gasoline and Blackberries to pay attention to daisies, we don’t like rolling in mud unless there’s free beer and a child’s swimming pool involved. 

But the closest we’re probably going to get in the Pacific Northwest is this year’s Sasquatch musical festival.  It’s the tenth one, so you know it’s going to be good. There will be camping—so probably also muddy people, electronically karaoked songs around the campfire and a lack of iPhone connectivity, so that’s probably as ‘60’s we’re going to get.  Aside from Jenny and Johnny, that is. 

Ban the leaf blower.

I just started working for a landscaper, well really it's yard work. As a resident alien (from this planet) it has given me more insight into the culture of the American Dream. Aside from that there are numerous hazards in this employ not just to the worker but to the public. The most ridiculous implement is the leaf blower. It's purpose to the landscaper is not just to blow leaves somewhere else, eg the neighbor's yard or the street, but to break up the clumps of cut grass after mowing with a mulching mower and give the newly cut lawn that clean manicured look.

Noc Noc: Seattle After-Hours

Noc Noc… no I’m not attempting to start telling a lame joke, I’m talking about a club in Seattle. What makes this club so special? A local would tell you it’s the ultimate after-hours hang out spot on the weekends. I would have to agree.

Last weekend, my date and I decided to crash this venue for some after-hours action. When the bars are closed and you’ve still got that itch to dance to music that’s well produced, this is where you go.

Noc Noc is open until 9am Friday and Saturday and 10am on Sunday. The bar stops serving alcohol at last call, but the party doesn’t stop when the alcohol runs dry. The bar reopens again at 6am. The after-hours crowd and bartenders at Noc Noc are in a word: hardcore.

Seattle's Ballard Neighborhood Mixes Hip with Old

Fogies with Hipsters

Yesterday in Seattle’s Ballard neighborhood there was Norwegian pride parade.  Not a parade for Norwegian gays—Seattle isn't that flush with homos—but a parade for Norwegian people to display symbols of their heritage.

The whole thing was weird. 

First, I haven’t seen anything so Midwestern since I left the Midwest.  People were dressed in those big sweaters with grandma patterns and carried miniature Norwegian flags on sticks.  Cheerleading squads choreographed routines to match the marching band’s songs and paraded through the streets.  Everybody ate hot dogs and members of various clubs waved like they were celebrities.

Second, it was Tuesday nights. Everybody knows parades are supposed to be on Saturdays. This is self-explanatory.

Honkfest! West

Are you a fan of music that starts right on the street? I’m sure you know what I’m talking about. Imagine… you’re in a city, walking around, you’re right in the heart of downtown. You witness tourists, ambling on the sidewalk, their sweaty hands plastered to the button on the cameras around their necks. You’ll see lots of shoppers, you’ll of course see the yuppies on their cellphones, and then you’ll see the occasional busker or street performer. Some are good with genuine talent, some not so good.

Capitol Hill's Bauhaus is a willing departure from the "real"


Nearly every morning and some nights, my roommate and I go into Bauhaus books & coffee in Seattle’s Capitol Hill. It’s very well established in the neighborhood—people give directions to their apartments based on it, the books are old and gold-backed, the black paint on the wrought iron exterior and curling between the chairs and tables inside is delightfully chipped. 

The folks in the International District could care less if you come there or not


I spend quite a bit of time in Seattle’s International District. It seems to me that the food there is authentic because it’s hanging, whole and deep-fried, in the window of a shop with no English writing on its sign.  Call me crazy. Housing Malaysian, Thai, Japanese, Chinese and even Cambodian cuisines, the International district is awash with Asian flavors, unique delicacies, a lot of nasty birds picking from the dumpsters, and dusty and dimly-lit grocers.  But the best part is that none of it seems to be there for white people to gawk at, so you don't really feel like a tourist because they don't want you there anyway.

Cedar River Education Center

Rattlesnake Lake is a beautiful manmade lake just past the town of North Bend, Washington. It is located just below the Cedar River/Lake Washington Watershed and education center. The center—nestled on a ridge overlooking the lake serves to teach young and old visitors about the local ecology system, here in the Northwest. The water shed is a collection of melted snow and rain and about 78% filters through, from the Cedar River to the Ballard Locks.

The center’s goal was to not stand out starkly amongst the background of dense wooded forest, but rather blend in. This was achieved by using recycled materials. The education center features covered walkways with roofs composed of sod that connect to the building. The building itself, is LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) certified.

Weekend Hike--Rattlesnake Ledge

Spring time is here, the sun is shining intermittently through the clouds, flowers are blooming and people are starting to emerge on the streets. They’re rubbing their bleary eyes and coming out of their winter caves. Now is a great time to get in shape for summer. Rather than slaving away at the gym, I suggest getting out in nature. Why? Because you can!

Are you looking for an easy conditioning hike? Or maybe you’ve been on the couch all winter and want to go on a hike that’s easy on your ticker. If you live in Seattle or surrounding area, I have just what the doctor ordered. No, I’m not talking about an apple. Though I might suggest packing one for this adventure!

Little Si--A Great Conditioning Hike

Little Si is a great conditioning hike; a great way to prepare your body for a climb up Mt Si. If you were to hike up Mt Si having not hiked all winter, it would definitely be a shock to your system.

Located in the city of North Bend, Washington (about half an hour east of Seattle) Mt Si has dramatic (snow-covered in the winter) peaks that reach far into the sky—4,167 feet to be exact. The mountain appears to guard over the city. The distance from the parking lot and trailhead spans 4 miles to the summit and those illusive peaks. When hiking up Mt Si you’ll gain a dramatic 3,700 feet in pure elevation. This is an 8 mile hike, round trip.

Is the Seattle Freeze Just a Myth?

Are Seattlleites Unfriendly Beneath their Smiles?

As Julia Sommerfield writes in an article in Pacific Northwest, Seattleites are friendly on the surface, but underneath their friendliness lies what the author terms “The Seattle Freeze.” The writer describes a scene in which someone moves to Seattle and waits and falls in love with Seattle and her open smile. But the romance doesn’t go any further. Whenever co-workers or other Seattle natives seem on the verge of asking the new resident to do something, nothing happens and thus, the newcomer is a victim of the Seattle Freeze.

Hiking the Summits of Tiger Mountain

Tiger Mountain is located east of Seattle off exit 20 on I-90, just outside the border of the city of Issaquah, Washington. Tiger Mountain is a popular spot for mountain bikers who like to get dirty. It’s also a great spot for beginning or out-of-shape hikers. Tiger Mountain has five summits (Middle, East, West-1, West-2, and West-3) and if you’re in shape or a seasoned hiker, you would probably delight in summiting all five within one day. The roughly 14 mile through hike will lead you in and out of many varying forest ecology systems. Your eyes will be treated to lots of visual examples of flora and fauna that grow predominantly in the northwest. As far as wildlife goes, caterpillars and the occasional Garter snake are the norm.