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douglas firs

rugged bark reaches from the ground

from where its roots built a mound

wind sweeps its limbs in a loud breeze

towering above all other trees

maples alders and cedars

bow to the mighty douglas firs

high above birds find their nests to lay

and a place to swoop down from upon their pray

lining up trunk to trunk like the needles on their branches

from the sky they billow deep green ranches

from below forming pitch dark jungles of moss

yet when lightning strikes the whole jungle can be lost

roars of pine fashioning a forest of fire

leaving all below in an endless ash mire

 

 

now you’ve seen it snow, you can call yourself a local

it always seems like it never snows in seattle, but it actually does almost every year, for like a day, or at least an overnight dusting.

we homegrown seattleites know folks from eastern washington, eastern oregon, idaho, and montana laugh at us and say, “that’s not snow.”

like when you meet those folks at work in the morning, the ones that get in earlier when it snows, laughing to themselves, getting to work early just to greet you, when you walk in the office wet, breathing fog, just to be able to say to you “what took you so long?” …. as you pregnant pause, then finally give in, and admit the snowy roads made you a little extra cautious, and the commute took longer than you expected (of course it did, because YOU don’t know how to drive in the snow).

well, when i was a kid (over 3 and a half decades ago, ugh), it seemed to snow here pretty hard and consistently every year.  not as much as the eastern part of the northwest, but enough to get me stoked, when in the AM (right after starblazers on channel 11), the AM radio announcer would do the role call through the list of schools who got out of school because the roads WERE ACTUALLY TOO DANGEROUS to drive on back then. especially the windy ones down to issaquah from pine lake, where the suburban sprawl was farmland.

the poor kids in the banana belt never caught a break back then, like some of the seattle kids did this year. yeah seattle kids, i might be an old ass man, but i noticed you got a snow day already this year, before christmas. i secretly got stoked for you, even though i can still pretend to roll and role with the other oldies, and hate on snow for its dangerous annoyance in the streets.

if you’ve been feeling like an immigrant, or a refugee, at your home in seattle, and are sick of being an outsider, AND saw the snow on the ground yesterday (1/1/2017), well now you can finally call yourself a local. that’s what it takes to call yourself a local in seattle: one good snow story.  and now there’s new meaning to the “seattle freeze.”

(another thing, besides being part of the seattle snow witnesses, that makes you a local: remembering what something used to be, like a condo in ballard where a denny’s and bowling alley used to be).

yes, even if you’re from california or new york, and everyone blames you for mean people and shitty traffic. you can call yourself a local if you get mail here, or live on your girlfriend’s couch, and have witnessed snow on the ground. bonus points for actually going out in it. double bonus points for going out and having fun in it. triple points for commuting to work in it.

yes, even if you’re an east indian who keeps getting blamed for amazon campus, and suburban district condo sprawl. if this is your first sight of snow, you are most definitely a local now.  if not, double points for being able to quote snow from a previous year. triple points for a backhand sarcastic comment like, “ever hear of the ganges or the himalayas?”

the snow storm of 1991 was probably one of my favorites.  i was well quipped in driving my first car, a white, 1983 subaru brat (go figure), and lived on the 7th floor of the Bay Vista Tower (2nd and Broad). although, that fun quickly ended when i was doing doughnuts in the tower records parking lot (now qfc tower), and hit a curb hiding in the SUPER SUPER DEEPEST SNOW EVVERRR.

after that ordeal, messing up my 4×4 brat in snowmageddon ’91 (quit laughing eastern northwest), i had to walk around seattle to get my kicks. good thing too… for i got to witness and take part in sledding down denny avenue on box spring mattresses, cardboard, and whatever else was laying around curbside pickup. someone was smart enough to pull one of those mattresses out (it was probably some san franciscan punk rocker with experience (capitol hill before amazon wasn’t so “little bellevue,” just old money, punks and gays back in the day)). i was too chicken to ride that, but it struck me as hella cool (i’m not worthy). those dudes were hauling ass down denny ave on capitol hill, and by the time they hit the I5 overpass, they hauled ass even moreso, as they descended to cross stewart st..

not a fear in the world on that racing, screaming box spring mattress, because there were no cars on the roads; they were caked with snow and ice. that was before snow plows were really a thing in downtown seattle. i think we had one or two, but they were probably too busy cleaning up counterbalance on queen anne hill.

happy snow day, yesterday. go hawks!

that reminds me, speaking of snow, like snow on astroturf… one other thing that makes you a local: when you get really excited about the seahawks or mariners doing really well the whole season, then choking right at the end.  a choke that keeps them out of the playoffs, or right before the end of the playoffs, for some off reason… like not utilizing beastmode when it could’ve won the superbowl.

now THAT’s a plain as day, normal, local seattleite experience.  THAT’S what being a seattlelite is all about. not just guilt, regret, and embarassment, but major disappointment that gets you tail spun in a good hard depression to match the clouds in the sky, and the tailpipe smog laden snow on the side of the road.

North Star Diner

YES!! ANOTHER 24 HOUR DINER IN SEATTLE: The North Star Diner!! (87th and Greenwood, next to Safeway) You can never have too many 24 Hour diners. This one is the newest gem. These guys took a run down sketchy Chinese Karaoke Restaurant, and turned it into a 24 Hour diner for all ages on one side, and a Bar with Awesome karaoke on the other side. I had the Little Dipper, but promise to get the Steak and Prawns next time.

North Star Diner Karaoke
North Star Diner Karaoke Bar

North Star Diner Sign
Sign on the north side of the North Star Diner

North Star Diner Drink Booze
Drink Booze at the North Star Diner

ATS Indoor – Fremont Updates

When ATS first opened, the old guys griped about there not being a mini in the layout. Now there is! Winter shred sessions are a go!

ATS Indoor Mini
Relatively new mini ramp at ATS indoor, under EVO in Seattle Washington

The funny story is I was one of those old guys, but could not resist going to ATS, despite the fact there was only street skating to be had. There aren’t a lot of dry, lit places in Seattle during the Winter months… let alone warm. Anyway, after hitting mini-less ATS for a while, and moving right down the street from Roxhill skatepark last Summer, I like the street more than the mini, and don’t care so much anymore.

Mt. Ranier

Nearly everywhere in Seattle there’s a great view of Mt. Rainier towering over the southern horizon. And every time you fly into or out of Seattle, you get a breath taking birds eye view of it. Here are a couple shots I took from a recent flight.

 

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An even better view, if you’re into snow sports, is the view from Crystal Mountain Ski Resort, which is butted up pretty much right next to the volcano.  Sometimes it’s hard to catch it on a sunny day though.

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Melvins – Showbox – 10/18/2014

Melvins played the Showbox last night for their “Hold it In” tour.

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It was Buzz, Dale, and Butthole Surfers bassist JD Pinkus. Power trio. They lit the place up. Unfortunately no encore, but killer set. They did the Butthole Surfers tune Moving to Florida with Buzz singing. So good. Other tunes I recognized from the Melvins: Night Goat, Youth of America, The Bit, Sweet Willy Rollbar and a few others.

World Extreme Pencil Fighting League

EXTREME PENCIL FIGHTING RULES (Official WXPFL Blog):

Two challengers face off, each armed with a regulation wooden pencil taken from a factory-sealed pack.

The only recognized regulation competition pencil is the Dixon/Ticonderoga #2 yellow – graphite core, cedar shaft, latex eraser with aluminum stay.

The pencil may not be sharpened or altered in any way prior to initial combat.

A Pink Pearl Eraser flip determines which fighter strikes first.

The loser of the eraser flip becomes the “Defender” and holds his or her pencil between both hands in a horizontal position.

The winner of the eraser flip becomes the “Striker”, holding their pencil vertically and bringing the pencil down in a strike across the opponent’s pencil with full force, attempting to break it in two.

If the Defender’s pencil does not break from the Striker’s attempt, then it becomes the Defender’s turn to strike.
This repeats until one player’s pencil breaks in two and cannot continue.

If a pencil is cracked, but not fully broken in two, referee determines whether said pencil can continue.

If both pencils break during a strike, victory goes to the striker.

TIME LIMIT RULE – If neither competitor’s pencil breaks before the announcers get bored, the announcers will impose an arbitrary number of strikes before the end of the round. At the end of the round, each player will get one penalty shot with the penalty pencil of their choice, with a pink pearl eraser flip to determine who strikes first.
If by this point neither competition pencil is broken, the referees will declare a winner based on style, aggression and pencil control.

STRIKING RULES:

The striker may position their striking hand as they like, and may hold the eraser end up or down, but the exposed striking area of the pencil must be a minimum of 2 1/2 inches.

(Ex: If the eraser end is pointed up, the striking hand must not cover past the “A” in Ticonderoga.)

Striker must not have more than one hand on their pencil at point of contact. Using more than one hand during a strike is a major penalty (see Offensive Bracing).

The striking pencil must be swung or flicked in an attempt to be horizontal at point of contact. Holding the pencil vertically and pounding, attempting to make contact with the flat of the eraser or unsharpened end (aka “The Piledriver”), may result in major penalty or disqualification.

FOULS:

PENALTY STRIKES – If either player commits a FOUL (whether a Major Penalty or a Minor Penalty) during a turn the referee may award a free PENALTY STRIKE.

PENALTY PENCILS: The free strike may be taken with ANY pencil from the striker’s pencil bag.
These pencils are known as “Penalty Pencils” and are allowed to have ANY alteration the competitor deems necessary, but MUST have originally been and continue to be some manner of working wooden pencil. No pens, mechanical pencils, rubber or plastic-fused pencils allowed.

MAJOR PENALTIES:
Penalty strikes may be awarded for the following fouls at the referee’s discretion:

Dropping the pencil – either defending or striking, don’t ever drop your pencil.

Dipping – Lowering or dropping one end of the defending pencil during the striker’s swing.

Defensive Bracing aka “Bridging” – Using the fingers or thumbs to support the defending pencil within the exposed strike zone during the strike.

Offensive Bracing aka “Chopping” – Using the fingers or thumb to excessively support the attacking pencil during the strike. (see Striking Grip)

Stalling – Only 30 seconds are allowed between strikes.

Grip Shifting – Using the hands to reduce the potential strike zone is allowed, but the strike zone may not be smaller than three pencil widths (approx. 1 inch). You can change your grip from strike to strike, but changing your grip during the upswing of the opponent’s strike is a major penalty.

Illegal use of hands – Touching the opponent’s body in any way other than striking the hands with a pencil during regular match play is a major penalty.

MINOR PENALTIES:

Cumulative Minor Penalties aka The Bloody Knuckle Rule – A fighter can accumulate up to FIVE minor penalties, one for each knuckle. The FIFTH minor penalty triggers an automatic major penalty and a free penalty strike for the opponent. If the penalized fighter’s pencil survives the penalty strike, his bloody knuckle count restarts at zero and the fight continues.

Knuckle Strikes – The most common minor penalty is the deliberate or accidental striking of the opponent’s knuckles or hand. If the referee feels the knuckle strike was deliberate or egregious, they may call it a major penalty and assign an automatic penalty strike.

Missing outright aka “Whiffing” – Managing to miss your opponent’s pencil with your strike is a minor penalty, and is added to your cumulative minors.

TOURNAMENT PLAY RULES:

All rules of regular Extreme Pencil Fighting are observed. The pencil the fighter chooses at the start of his first match MUST be the same pencil that is used throughout the entire tournament.

The tournament may contain any number of competitors or rules variations. As of 1/19/2012, the contendership for the WXPFL Championship is determined by The Lottery of Lead Tournament.

Lottery of Lead Match Rules: Two fighters begin the match, each drawing a new pencil from an unopened pack of 24. When one fighter is beaten, a new fighter comes in, until 12 fighters have battled it out. Audience members will compete, as well as eligible stars of the full roster of WXPFL Pro Gra-Fighters. Entry order is determined by random drawing during the match.

Double-break tournament rule: In case of a double break during a strike, victory goes to the striker. However, the victor may only advance in the tournament if their pencil is 3/4 intact or greater, with final decision of pencil’s fighting condition resting with the referee’s discretion.

The Championship Belt: Winner is declared WXPFL Pencil Fighting Champion, the winner’s pencil is placed in the belt, and the belt is kept by the WXPFL champion until his next defense. The same championship pencil stored in the belt must be used to defend the title.

Pencilmania Open Audience Tournament: The Open Audience Tournament contains 8 amateur Gra-Fighters. If competitors don’t bring their own penalty pencil, an arsenal of penalty pencils will be provided to choose from.

All competitors choose a pencil at the start of play and must use the same pencil throughout the tournament. If you win your matches, you advance through the tournament to the finals. Winner of the tournament wins a tournament trophy, prizes from WXPFL sponsors, cash prize, and a contract to become a WXPFL Pro Gra-Fighting Megastar and be featured in future WXPFL events.

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