Monday, May 27, 2013

Windy (Lake) Shitty

Up the introurbane, down perkins lane, back to the battlestar gilmanica. solo, no jeremiah, i took this photo of him sitting in a child's chair a month or so ago. blustery here on the lake, misting on aurora. there was a residential fire earlier in the u district, i could smell it.

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Ridin' Dirty - Portal to the Pacific

No rain tonight, not much wind either, surfaces were dry, it was an excellent night for a mission. Rode across Mercer Island with Jeremiah. On the Bellevue side, on Porno Bridge, we watched a beaver swim in circles, slapping its tail against the water, emphasizing a point indecipherable to humans.

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Dear Dumb Ass – The Passive Aggressive Notes of the Monarch

November, 2011

Say what you want about the people of the Monarch, most of us know how to read.

Sometimes we have difficulty getting the shit into the toilet, and not around it, and not in the hallway, and there is a hippie on the third floor who practices bongos before 10 a.m.

But when it comes to literacy rates, we are up there with Cuba. Not only can we follow basic instructions on microwavable dinners and comprehend emails from Nigerian princes, with a little help from our public defender we can read our own indictments, albeit painfully slow and only after sounding out the words.

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Interherbin' - Summer is Nigh

You fiend, give back those personal care brushes you found on a trail! somebody out there is languishing with mussed hair and stinky breath!

jeremiah and i. up north.

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Traveling Riverside Redux

Rode up from Tacoma on Thursday. Shy of 60 miles. At about mile 40 I started scheming of ways to get home other than ride my bike. But despite my laziness, I finished the ride. Pretty much the same route, in reverse, that Mr. Q and I took in October.

Here is the map.

The bus ride down to the Paris of Pierce County took about an hour and cost $3.50. Here is info on regional bus routes from Sound Transit.

Beside the stunningly beautiful weather, sun and temperatures in the 70s, it was a fairly uneventful ride.

However, while pushing up through Algona -- a little slice of Lewis County, with all the Tea Party agitprop -- I chatted with a man in a truck waiting at a stop light.

I think he might have been drunk and seeing double, because he asked, "Where are you all going today?"

"Seattle," I said.

"Seattle? There's nothing to look at in Seattle. It's ugly."

All around us was the valley sprawl, with its dumpy little houses.

"What about this place?" I said.

"Nature," he clarified. "Nature is nice to look at."

I had to ask for directions more often than I would have liked.

A little later, while poking around, looking for the Interurban Trail, I asked a woman leaving a convenience store for directions.

She pointed across the street, "The trail is right there," she said. She then took hold of my elbow and said, "Be careful out there."

Altogether the ride took about six hours.

No, thank YOU, sir - The Real Change guy and the really changed city

Have a great day, sir
Edwin McClain, the "Real Change, sir?" guy who stood sentry outside of the U District Safeway for nearly 20 years, has died. He was 69.

Here is a profile from the UW Daily on McClain.

Below is a slideshow and audio of Edwin McClain, including his signature pitch, from the UW Daily:

McClain hadn't been showing up at work to hawk his newspapers for some time. Walking into the store without him out front made me feel a little unsettled, so I would check to make sure I remembered my wallet. McClain and I both arrived in the U District in 1995, and in a way I depended on him to be there, in the same way I depend on drunken frat boys to holler on the Ave until 3 a.m. He was a part of the U District, and Seattle, that didn't change. Until it did.

If you are a man, he said, "Real Change, sir? Have a great day, sir."

If you are a woman, he said, "Real Change, madam/miss? Have a great day, madam/miss."

He said it to every person who happened past. If there was a group, he speeded his pitch. It was almost obsessive. It felt like he was shooting at targets, and couldn't let one go by without taking a shot. In a story by the UW Daily, McClain said he sold 500 papers a week. 

“This is my spot,” he told the paper. “Other people can sell papers when I’m not here, but once I come, they must leave.”

McClain had a prime location in front of Safeway -- a busy, cramped grocery store -- and was respected both by employees and the denizens of the University District. Likelier than not, he was here before you, and will remain after you leave.

It wasn't just the location that made him an icon, though, it was how he did his job: he never explicitly made you feel like a dick for not buying one of his papers, but that's how you felt. Maybe it was his directness, as we in Seattle are wary of directness. Mostly, I think, it was being called "sir" by an elderly black man.

He kept order on a chaotic strip of cement, just around the corner from Seattle's Hamsterdam. Nobody dare try to move in on that man's turf. (You wouldn't. Like hell you would.) He had a voice like a fog horn, he was big, and, again, he looked you right in the eye, something we aren't too comfortable with. McClain had a job to do, and did it. He wasn't a beggar. Sometimes he did his job wearing leather chaps and eating Chinese food out of a carton.

In his absence, a number of panhandlers have vied for the plum spot, some pathetic, some aggressive. A competitive flare up between beggars, including taunts and racial overtones, seemed to have the potential for fisticuffs. Lately it's been a soft-spoken young woman with fearless eyes who reads novels. She has excellent technique and appears to have staked out the spot.

The neighborhood won't be the same without him.

This is why we can't have nice things

Thursday, May 2, 2013

For Honeydew Homies - Interurban/North Creek/Sammamish/Burke Gilman Loop

At Filbert Road and Snow Ridge

On a ride up to Lynnwood, over to Bothel, and back to the U District via the BG, the wind was blowing in my face the whole way. How is that even possible?

Here is the map.

On a particularly daunting stretch of two-lane blacktop called Filbert Road -- no shoulder, an armada of SUVs all in a hurry, limited sight lines  -- I came across this sign.

Rob was a couple years older than me, but we went to Lindbergh together. I didn't get to know him until the summer of 1991, when we served a summer school sentence together at Honeydew in the Highlands. He used to give me a ride home most days. Since he was older, he could also buy me cigarettes.

Rob Peffley
Rob drove a Volkswagen Rabbit with wires hanging out of the dash. In my memory he is holding a Newport in one hand and shifting with the other. He had a disheveled, golf-pro coolness about him. Most days he was hungover. I asked him, you drink a lot?

"Like a fish," he said. It was the first time I had heard that expression.

Aaron told me Rob had died in a motorcycle collision in 2007. He was 33.

Here is a blotter brief about the wreck. Here is a page written by Rob's dad. It's about his motorcycles, but includes info about the wreck. His dad said Rob had not been drinking and was riding in daylight. He was a short distance from his house when a distracted motorist struck him head-on.

This route is really great, but if I do it again, an alternative to 196th St. SW/Filbert Road will have to be located. That road was scaring the hell out of me before I saw Rob's sign.

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Back to (Log) Boom

Cold spring night. J & i on the B to the G. here are some pics.