West Seattle, Washington
Call me asleep at the wheel. I didn’t really realize there was serious talk of making the Viaduct replacement a toll road. It’s mentioned in passing in this Times article today. In a quest for more information, I found the state’s study of Viaduct toll viability. Doesn’t sound like it would be worth the trouble (a few million bucks a year). I think I’d rather try cross-bay swim commuting than try to wade through that sort of mess.
–If you’re wondering why TV news crews are in the Admiral Junction tonight, here’s the story.
–Found out a bit more about the Ben & Jerry’s mystery in the (Alaska) Junction. Went to the Ballard B & J’s, whose owners also ran the WS B & J’s. We asked the guy behind the counter what’s up with the WS location; he told us “It’s been sold. Might stay a Ben & Jerry’s, might not, don’t know.” Then we stopped by the Junction to take a look for ourselves. You can see inside from the south side windows, which are only partly papered. Tearing it up like that wouldn’t make sense if it’s going to stay a B and J’s. There’s a permit posted by the front door but the light was too dim for us to read it (gotta go back in daylight tomorrow). Our money’s on another food franchise replacing it – Starbucks or Quizno’s.
-Ben & Jerry’s in the Junction, supposedly reopening March 1 after a winter closure, is instead undergoing some sort of remodel. Checked the phone line that its number refers callers to; still says “reopening March 1.” Will investigate further.
-Driven by La Rustica on Beach Drive a million times; haven’t been in the building since its early ’90s days as a coffee joint. Just happened onto its inside story. Who knew?
You see their vans everywhere — and they are based right here in West Seattle — the phone number starting with “93” gives that away — I’m in awe of the Botanical Designs folks. Seems like they take care of plants at every business in the city. I’ve seen their teams pulling up in front of nondescript office buildings, and parking outside plush hotels. Hard to find out much about them, though; even their Web site is mysteriously shallow. But two (green) thumbs up to them for helping make sure we don’t devolve into a plantless world.
A bit of a rant this morning:
One of our favorite takeout places has a wide selection of brochures and other marketing paraphenalia on its counter. Not sure why, but if they can spare the space, more power to ’em. One pile of brochures is from a nearby public school, intended to entice more families to enroll (not a bad strategy considering this school may face the ax otherwise). All I can say is that if I were looking for a place to teach some child of mine how to write with something resembling clarity, this wouldn’t be it. Half the brochure is taken up by mission-statement mumbo-jumbo such as “XX School is a child-centered learning center utilizing global strategies to encourage strategic child-centric learning amid a diverse community of centered learners.” Longer, actually; sorry I didn’t pick up the actual brochure and tote it home — I was a little woozy from both the convoluted language and hunger.
Discussing this with West Seattle Blogger Spouse brought memories from WSBS of a mission statement once proposed by a church that WSBS attends from time to time. As with many church mission statements these days, it included the phrase “faith-based community.” (Faith-“based”? Doesn’t “faith” just say it all? Or is it an open door toward branching into, perhaps, “faith and cuisine”? “Faith and gardening”? “Faith and bingo,” maybe.)
Please, world, I beg you, let’s just call a church a church and a school a school. Mission-statement-ese is rampant enough out in the business world; some spaces can be kept safe.
I can completely empathize with this dangerous-driver tale of woe from FairmountSprings.org. Our neighborhood includes a busy intersection where ridiculously rushing drivers routinely ignore signs and put lives at risk. We too have asked about extra city controls, only to receive some sort of foggy multilayered answer about petitions and waiting lists. Note to drivers: Stop signs are there for good reasons. Really. And they’re orders, not suggestions.
–Everyone jokes about the same telecommuters sitting at Starbucks tables day after day, but we can also report that the same consistency seems to apply to nighttime visitors at the Morgan Junction SBUX. The family with kids doing their homework; the quilters; the guy with the gray ponytail. Someday someone’s going to walk in and everyone’s going to yell, “NORM!”
–The renovation work at Subway is into its down-and-dirty-and-temporarily-closed phase. If you want a sandwich, you’re going to have to go to Jefferson Square, at least for a few days. (Aside, how come Quizno’s is yet another thing we can’t get without driving to Burien?)
–The two cats guarding Aaron’s Bicycle Repair look like critters you wouldn’t want to tangle with. One of them looks like it’s actually tough enough to ride a bike, or at least steal it.
Check this city-drawn West Seattle neighborhood map I bumped into.
I don’t live where I thought I lived.
And where’s Delridge?
Seems like this hits the newspaper traffic columns every week. And here it is again this morning — somebody beefing to the PI (last item) about the morning commuters with self-delusions that they are driving buses. Hey, I’d settle for a couple minutes of slowdown if that’s the only side effect of stationing undercover cops (cleverly disguised as roadside breakdowns, perhaps?) to bust ’em.
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.