West Seattle, Washington
Two things from the public sector:
–Counterpoint to my graffiti rant earlier this weekend, a much more innocent channel for public artistic expression was available this afternoon at Southwest Pool. Kids got the chance to decorate a sea/fish-themed mural that pool managers say will eventually go up somewhere in the facility. Among the more unusual creations: An octopus with a Medusa-ish human head. (You’ll see me plug Southwest Pool a lot; I think it’s one of WS’s great underutilized gems. Even if you don’t swim, you can go sit in the hot tub for just a few bucks. Megadeal.)
–Library lovers rejoice; our branch has expanded its hours.
Tidbits from a few hours out and about:
–For my fellow avocado lovers, a price war seems to be under way. The Tony’s stand on 35th is now offering Hass avocados three for a buck; the HG Market on Ambaum in the “not White Center/not Burien” zone is touting two for that price. (Did NOT personally inspect either, so I can’t guarantee they’re not all lime-sized avos.)
–Absolute proof winter has almost run its course: The decorative purple and white cabbage plants that pass for winter garden “color” around here are starting to flower, as evidenced by the ones at the base of the Lady-Liberty-on-Alki.
–The challah French toast at Alki Cafe is still the best.French.toast.EVER.
–Just thought I’d throw this in: Apolo Anton Ohno is the best.Seattle.sports.hero.ever. Edgar, move over.
A bit earlier this winter, some vandal spray-painted two words, including the “f-word,” on an excruciatingly visible-to-the-street garage door along California Ave, just south of the Morgan Junction McDonald’s. With the proximity of Gatewood School, I wouldn’t think it an exaggeration to speculate that vulgarity assaulted thousands of young eyes (and offended age-nonspecific others).
Someone finally has covered it with white paint. Finally. But not all spray-paint vandalism is so easy to cover — for years, I’ve shuddered at the tags that have blighted our business districts, especially when the vandals have painted them onto natural-tone brickwork. And I know that in other areas of the city, some of the more creatively criminal vandals have taken to etching.
This all brings me to a CNN.com video-game review linked prominently from the site’s home page this morning. Yeah, I know games are supposedly a harmless outlet for people to engage in even worse kinds of fantasy crime. I’d made a bit of peace with that. But for some empty-brain headline writer to declare fantasy vandalism “fresh and fun” just chaps me. Just wait till the designers wake up someday to someone having engaged in this “fresh and fun” crime on their property, requiring a costly cleanup.
If Michaelangelo had painted the Sistine Chapel ceiling without permission, that still would have been vandalism, regardless of its artistic merit.
Realized this morning that I haven’t taken a ferry ride in months, even though the dock is minutes away from our neighborhood (and most parts of WS). The state ferries are a big reason why we wound up here — on my first trip to Seattle as a tourist, a guidebook entry enticed me to Anacortes, where I walked onto a San Juans-bound boat and fell in love with its utilitarian splendor during a basic 3-hour round-trip run. Other ferry rides followed before my vacation ended. And this sail down Memory (Shipping) Lane reminds me, the ferries are even the reason I discovered WS on my second Seattle trip; I saw all those oddly placed “Vashon Ferry (arrow)” signs along Alaskan Way and was determined to figure out where that mysterious run really docked … managed to make my way onto the bridge, veered over to Alki while trying to find Fauntleroy, game over, I was crazy in love, and ready to move.
So excuse me while I go look up the schedule and see about a recreational ride on the F-V-S ferry sometime before the weekend is out … just to rekindle the romance.
The fine folks of West 5 got a newspaper rave today. That’s probably why the line was out the door when I drove through the Junction around 6:40 tonight. I agree with the reviewer about the mac ‘n’ cheese. However, how can they pass right over the incredible BLT (even more incredibly edible when you get the avocado add-on)?
P.S. Very busy night in the Junction … especially around the Senior Center, which appeared to be having some sort of shindig upstairs, live music included (someone playing a bass could be seen against a window).
Third-to-last paragraph in this P-I story about the status of the monorail tax and the “monorail board” (shouldn’t we call them the non-monorail board?) dithering on when to kill it. “Take it up in his neighborhood”? And this guy expects that pulse-taking to last more than approximately .03 seconds? Let’s just save him the trouble and all yell “KILL IT NOW” simultaneously. Really, I’ve confessed this before, and I’m not the least bit ashamed of it — I was a monorail supporter. I would vote for it again tomorrow. I was excited about it, and I’m still upset about the chain of events that means we’re not likely to see non-bus mass transit in WS in my lifetime. But enough with the tax already. I’ve already paid hundreds since the death-knell vote, and perhaps you have too. I’d rather see a bailout for the remaining bills on this, than for, oh, say, another stadium renovation. (Go, Sonics! And I do mean “go” …)
For some weeks now, the Keller-Williams Realty marquee in the Junction has boasted that the office profit-shared $41,000 or so with its agents last year.
Admittedly, the only thing I know about real estate is what I learned when we bought our house more than a few years ago. But it seems to me that the whole business of real estate is about profit-sharing … the seller certainly shares his or her profits with the agents, via the commission. I remember being fairly grumped out all those years ago (pre-Internet) because I’d done all the research and used the agent for little more than paperwork assistance, yet she still got a multiple of my monthly salary out of the deal.
Not to begrudge the $ earned by the talented agents out there. I just don’t get the bit about the firm profit-sharing with its agents, and more to the point, why customers should care. Is it an attempt to sound warm, fuzzy, employee-friendly, like Costco and its Wal-Mart-beating benefits? (Which sends me on a tangent … the founder of Trader Joe’s has written a book, just spotted at the Westwood Village Barnes & Noble, and the only thing I learned from taking a quick look at it is that TJ’s is now foreign-owned! Yipes! Holy Dubai Ports, Batman!)
Don’t breathe too deeply, suggests this story about a new pollution study. The report apparently drills down to specific census tracts; I’m out of time to look that deeply into it this morning, but I’d guess the WS areas closest to port traffic are the ones with the worst air.
This morning, though, I suspect it’s safe to inhale … we’ve got double-digit wind out there and it sounds rough enough to scrub out everything but the basic ingredients!
I suppose some blog protocol somewhere would say I should make these separate entries. But it’s my blog, so phooey on protocol.
(1) Drove by the Cat’s Eye Cafe this evening. Dark, quiet, no sign suggesting when it might reopen. Hope all’s well with the reconstruction work there.
(2) The West Seattle Chamber of Commerce is updating its home page. I think I caught ’em mid-update, though, as the intriguing “speed-networking” blurb does not (as of 7:04 pm PT tonight) link to the correct info – maybe it will later.
Thanks to the Seattle Weekly for the tip — the Youngstown Cultural Arts Center celebrates its grand opening this Friday night. For people who don’t visit Delridge unless they need something from Home Depot, here’s another reason to visit one of the fastest-rising neighborhoods on this side of the Duwamish!
While down on Alki tonight, stopped by to squint at the piece of paper on the door of the ex-French restaurant/ex-Lighthouse Grill/ex-Point (THAT one, I miss). Cold hard eviction notice. Sez, call the cops if you see anybody here.
Seems so seedy, really, for our mellow little beach neighborhood. The butcher-papered window are bad enough. Will that space and the ex-Alki Market get some sign of life before summertime? All that emptiness can be contagious.
Hey, I know! How about Trader Joe’s in the Alki Market space? Probably would need some more parking … oh, I know, just tell me “dream on.”
Spent a lot of time in The Junction last weekend. At one point, while driving eastbound on Alaska with West Seattle Blogger Spouse, I noticed the new sign at Jefferson Square, digital-display time and temperature.
“When did THAT go in?” I asked WSBS.
“MONTHS ago,” replied WSBS with a mondo eye-roll. “Where have YOU been?”
OK, so I’m behind the times. Guess that’s why I was immediately hit with a tsunami-size swell of nostalgia for the old analog clock, which never seemed to run on time.
But my longing for a slower era was satisfied almost immediately, as just a few yards to the northeast, the sign on the former Burger King (was it ever REALLY “Dave’s” for more than, oh, say, a few minutes?) advertises an auction from last September.
Not only are the robins out in full force, I’ve seen the first homemade banner in weeks turn up on the pedestrian overpass atop the Fauntleroy approach to the WS Bridge.
If you headed to work that way this morning, you probably saw it too. I couldn’t read the whole thing — went by too fast since traffic was light — but it appeared to have something to do with the Muslim cartoon crisis.
Can’t wait till the birthdays, proposals, and secret messages start popping up in big numbers. And maybe this year we can get a banner up there before the July parade, since so many WS-ites seem, sadly, unaware of its existence.
The Morgan Community Association site has posted the architect’s vision of what Fauntleroy Place might look like, in advance of an “Early Design Guidance” meeting next Thursday. (I found a closer look here — click the link below the image.)
West Seattle Blogger Spouse and I both asked the same initial question: “Where’s the bowling alley?”
The bowling-alley question might sound odd to you, but it seems relevant to the issue of plopping a huge new retail/residential development into an area like this. Perhaps everything around it will fall away and/or transform in time. Right now, my mind is hung up on not just the neighboring bowling alley, but also the funeral home across the street. Does it survive, thrive, or eventually get the boot?
P.S. Found an interesting link to the floorplans for Fauntleroy Place, for anyone interested in immersing themselves in every little detail.
… at the Olympics today. (The mountains, not the Games.) Sounds like the clouds will return and the glorious peaks will go back into hiding, at least for a while.
I hear the Farmers’ Market is still open on Sundays. We might swing through to see what’s offered here in the heart of winter. Did you know that the WS Farmers’ Market is considered one of the two most successful in all of Seattle?
If you’re curious about water pipes breaking in our sub-freezing weather, keep an eye on the city’s fire dispatch as-it-happens site (look for the “water job” calls). I believe I saw part of the problem from the one listed at midmorning in the 5400 block of California — thick ice in the gutter, a couple feet wide at some points. Go get your skates!
20-something degrees at 9-something am — a crowd stood, shivering, waiting, outside a Morgan Junction business.
No, not tickets to a Barry Manilow concert. No, not one-buck gas. No, not two-for-one teriyaki.
Seems Video Vault launched its going-out-of-business sale today. Sign on the window says Feb. 18-25, “closing sale.” And more than a dozen people wanted to have first crack at it.
Well-worn copy of “Porky’s,” anyone?
A brave young lady has one of West Seattle’s worst INDOOR jobs tonight — manning the express checkstand near the front door of the Thriftway in Morgan Junction. She smiled bravely, but a shadow of a grimace passed over her face when the shopper in line in front of us remarked loudly on each opening of the automatic doors, “BRRR!”
Someone get that poor checker a pair of gloves. Or maybe hazard pay.
Funny, yet frightening — and practically plausible.
If only the people who shut down the Seattle streetcars last century had had a little more foresight, we wouldn’t be in this mess.
(When you see somebody weeping in front of the historic streetcar pix in the window of the Train Store in the Junction, it’s usually me.)
… is blowin’ in the wind. Or so the lovely old lyric goes.
So then, you may wonder, what’s the question?
I would suggest: What kind of extreme weather are we facing here in WS? Right now, nothing much is going on but a fairly strong breeze out of the north. Keep an eye on the hourly observations (hint, KBFI is Boeing Field, T is temps, S is wind speed) and see if Arctic Blast Freeze ’06 makes it across the border, or whether it got hung up celebrating Jeff Buttle‘s figure-skating medal.
Wandering through the Westwood Village Target, a cruel reminder of how the retail seasons turn … bathing suits dangling off the racks, tables full of shorts, the “seasonal” section in the back corner laden with deck, patio, garden items.
All this as we sink into the coldest cold snap of the year.
And of course you KNOW all that stuff will be long gone by the time the real warm weather arrives around Seafair time — the Christmas lights will be starting to twinkle, and coats will be hung by the “apparel” signs with care …
On a blue SUV headed down Fauntleroy toward the ferry dock, this yellow bumper sticker with red lettering:
So many ways to interpret that. I almost busted a brain gasket thinking through a dozen or so of them during the rest of the drive home.