Not quite West Seattle — but close

July 26, 2006 6:39 pm
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 |   Not WS but we're mentioning it anyway

Pending our nightly cruise-for-news around WS, we have to get in this pitch, since Seafair comes but once a year.

If you have never watched the Blue Angels take off from and return to the Museum of Flight (which is just over the ridge from the east side of WS), it’s a must-see. More like must-feel, since the takeoff thunder gets right down into your bones, if you’re anywhere near the MOF runway.

We are MOF members almost solely for the purpose of having in-and-out Museum privileges during that joyful four-day weekend every summer. Aside from Seafair “Free” Friday (when you can go sit on the Lake Washington shore and watch the airshow and hydro practice for free), our vantage point for the rest of the Angels’ three runs (for rehearsal & for real) is at the MOF, along the fences. From the walkdown to the start-up to the takeoff, it’s tons of fun — and you do get to see a few fly-bys, plus several cool maneuvers when the sky is clear enough for the “high show.”

Just a week from tomorrow, it all begins!!!!

Midweek miscellany

July 26, 2006 5:35 am
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 |   Pets | West Seattle schools | WS breaking news | WS miscellaneous

-Not only is West Seattle home to the mayor, we’re also now home to Miss Seafair! (Official coverage and photo on the Seafair home page, here.) So now if you’re joining us at the Torchlight Parade downtown on Saturday night, you can cheer crazily for her as well as for the fine folks on the Hi-Yu float.

-Haven’t heard a lot of noise on the school-closure issue lately, but the final School Board vote is set for tonight. There’s been a lot of excellent, thought-provoking discussion for the past few months — including issues beyond the closures/consolidations — on the “Saving Seattle Public Schools” blog, whose main contributor will be a Pathfinder parent next year.

-Lost/found dog/cat notices are sadly common on poles and windows — but last night while out and about, we spotted a “found rabbit” notice. It’s in the window of Pet Elements on the south end of Morgan Junction, and pretty vague, mentioning only that a “small domestic rabbit” was found “on California Avenue” and suggesting a call to the Seattle Animal Shelter if it might be yours.

All about sports, sort of

BASKETBALL: Full details on the Chief Sealth ruling, from the P-I here, and from the Times here.

BASEBALL: I hate the Mariners. They’ve ruined my commute for three nights straight.

SOCCER: In two weeks, David Beckham’s going to ruin my commute.

VOLLEYBALL: This Sunday, on Alki, concurrent with the Art Fair, and there’s something of a baseball tie-in.

FOOTBALL: I got nothin’.

Chief Sealth loses, off the court

July 25, 2006 12:53 pm
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 |   WS breaking news | WS miscellaneous

The ruling’s in, according to a short post on the Seattle Times’ home page, which says regulators have pulled the school’s two titles because of the girls-recruiting scandal.

Viaduct report update

Looks like the big news further into the report is the latest on how long construction would take. Ouch.

Fool yourself into coolness

July 24, 2006 9:06 pm
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 |   Fauntleroy | Seen around town

The experts insist the heat wave is finally ending. Still — if it’s still sweltery tomorrow night — here’s a different way to try to keep cool by pretending to feel wintry: Cruise past Canine Casa in Fauntleroy (just south of Endolyne Joe’s) and check out the red-and-green holidayish lights. Bonus: Tuesday happens to be exactly five months till Christmas.

The saga continues

July 24, 2006 6:36 pm
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 |   Transportation

Got home from another tough commute to find out we’re inching closer to Decision Time regarding the (cue ominous music) Future of the Viaduct. Another thick new report has appeared, the Supplemental Draft Environmental Impact Statement. (All 8 chapters available here.) Wait, wait, don’t fall asleep yet … this is important stuff. Haven’t seen any impartial analyses yet (guess the reporters are still reading those 8 chapters) but among many other things, this report reminds us the official “deciders” (to borrow the President’s term) are only really considering two options: the tunnel and the replacement. Nothing more, nothing less. Wish they’d quit calling the tunnel “cut-and-cover”; sounds too much to my ears like the dread old phrase “duck-and-cover,” which is what I keep fearing we’ll have to do on the Viaduct sometime anyway.

So now the question remains: When will City Councilmembers decide if they have the you-know-whats to make a decision themselves, or if they’ll just “let” us decide — till somebody starts trying to force a re-vote till they get the results they want?

Parks a-plenty

July 24, 2006 5:56 am
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 |   Seen around town | West Seattle parks

Took a closer look at the in-the-works Dakota Place Park, north of the Junction, on Sunday morning. Cool way to honor a chunk of West Seattle history (instead of, oh, say, turning it into more condos). The official city info page is here; citizen organizers have a site here. Several other park projects are under way on our peninsula too, including the ex-monorail site in Morgan Junction — where butcher paper just appeared on the windows of the ex-Video Vault building, to become the new home of Beveridge Place Pub as part of a deal with the city.

Coolness

Most of today has been spent in pursuit of ways not to roast. We’ve guzzled gallons of ice water. We’ve run up our SPU bill by running the hose on the car, the plants, each other. We oohed and aahed over the air conditioning at Target, while in search of summer-specific merchandise that of course is no longer available, since that type of store has now turned its marketing attention to “BACK-TO-SCHOOL SEASON!” (despite the fact we’re not even midway through the miserably short summer break). Now it’s time to make a nice cool salad with lettuce procured at the Farmers’ Market earlier today, and think warmly (?) about the lower temperatures allegedly on the way.

Also time to look ahead to next weekend … looks like one of the marquee events on our side of the bay will be the Alki Art Fair, Saturday & Sunday.

Complete notes from The Parade

Maybe next year we’ll live-blog it (or live-vlog it?) just for fun. Sadly, we’re not wireless-Internet-enabled just yet. Here are the highlights from our analog notes:

Read More

Next best thing to the drive-in

July 22, 2006 11:34 pm
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 |   WS culture/arts

If you’re old enough to remember the heyday of the drive-in movie, you’ll adore the Sidewalk Cinema movie series this summer. We decided at the near-last-minute to go to tonight’s kickoff — good turnout, looked like a couple hundred people, all gathered in the courtyard/parking area just east of Hotwire Coffeehouse. Not only was “Wallace and Gromit: Curse of the Were-Rabbit” a howling good time (our second viewing), the WWII-era Bugs Bunny cartoon and JFK-era school “instructional filmstrip” video provided some laughs too.

A few things we weren’t prepared for: would have brought $ if we’d known each of these showings has a benefit charity; tonight it was Furry Faces Foundation, announced as “West Seattle’s newest nonprofit” (can’t find a website for them, darn). A hat was passed twice to collect donations, and two items were auctioned at “intermission” — a $40 Hotwire prepaid coffee card (went for $30) and something from the “flamingo flocking” folks who also had appeared in the parade earlier (went for $17). Plus, West Seattle Christian School is presenting concessions — popcorn and candy, on the east side of the courtyard (Hotwire was open before the movie too; yummy drinks).

Next Saturday night, same place, same time (excellent screen/DVD video and audio quality, if you’re picky about those things) — movie will be Jumanji. We’ll be at the Seafair Torchlight Parade downtown instead (cheering for the Hi-Yu float! and anything else West Seattle-related, including Hizzoner) but if you’re not going, Sidewalk Cinema is a great time. (Especially after a hot day … on our way out, we overheard a guy complaining he’d be going home to the “hottest house in West Seattle.” I always thought ours was. Love the western exposure, except for those two or three scorchers every year …)

The coolest two people at The Parade

July 22, 2006 7:40 pm
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 |   West Seattle festivals | West Seattle Grand Parade

Not going to get to the Mega-Post till the dead o’night. So here’s one more thing:

A lovely senior-citizen couple in their military uniforms, with a banner on their car, “ART AND GLORIA/WWII AND KOREA/STILL MARRIED!” and a smaller banner, “ART’S 80 TODAY!”

Don’t know their backstory but they got lots of applause. And deserved it.

First 5 parade highlights

More to come later … gotta head back out to the next Big Summer Thing to Do …in no particular order, here are five of the things we noticed:

-Fine parade, as always. Ran almost exactly two hours, at least from our vantage point near the heart of The Junction (first sighting of the Seattle motorcycles up the street @ 11:19, last vehicle passing with the “Th-Th-That’s All Folks, See You Next Year” banner — new, and a nice touch, for the folks who are never quite sure “is this the end” — around 1:15).

-A little odd that the Rainbow City Band was followed immediately by a Scouts group. Perhaps in the spirit of “can’t we all just get along”?

-Also WRT placement, the giant Henry Weinhard’s beer bottle would have been a particularly special touch if it had immediately preceded the Seafair Pirates.

-The Pirates handed out souvenir silver coins advertising “Iron Horse Casino, Auburn and Everett” on the back. Just made sense somehow.

-The Vancouver Police motorcycle team TOTALLY ROCKED as usual. I would love to know how parade organizers manage to get them to come to the WS parade year after year when as far as I can tell, they don’t appear in any other area parade. It was quite fun to watch the Seattle PD motorcycle team members, who performed right before Vancouver, standing on the sidelines applauding, high-fiving, and exchanging salutes with their compatriots from the north.

Countdown concludes: Reason #1 to love The Parade

July 22, 2006 8:00 am
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 |   West Seattle festivals | West Seattle Grand Parade

YOUR FELLOW WEST SEATTLEITES!!!!

OK, this will sound treacly, but it’s true. The parade is all about people: The folks who volunteer their time to plan and stage it; the folks who participate in it (you’ll even get a chance to cheer for our local legislators if you are so inclined); and the folks on the sidelines. Every year we meet somebody interesting; you never know who’s going to wind up in the chairs (or on the blanket next to yours).

So here it is parade time — starting at California & Lander, on the south side of Lafayette Elementary, and rolling all the way down to California & Edmunds on the south side of the Junction, with a “kids’ parade” a little while before the big show. Things will probably be hopping till 1 pm or so; after that, you’ll probably see participants all around WS — usually the Last Resort antique fire trucks turn up down along Beach Drive, and the Seafair Pirates are seen wandering around in search of a tavern (things haven’t been the same since the Admiral Benbow shut down). Check it out; have a blast.

Notes from here and there

Wandered around for a while tonight just south of Admiral Junction — spotted three things to share, including one sighted as we passed through The (Alaska) Junction en route home:

-Yet another thing to do this weekend: Free outdoor movie in the Junction! “Wallace & Gromit: Curse of the Were-Rabbit,” which won the Oscar this year for Best Animated Feature. Good thing we bought new chairs-in-a-bag for the parade — they should work for this too!

-Another good cause to lend your $ to this weekend, besides “Stuff the Bus” on Sunday (we bought our diaper donations at PCC tonight): I didn’t even know the West Seattle Thunder girls’ fastpitch softball team existed till I saw the posters on numerous south-of-Admiral businesses, touting a fundraising car wash this weekend (they’re trying to get to a big game out of state). Sorry to say I didn’t note the exact location and time, and it’s not on the Thunder website, but take a peek at windows including Spiro’s and Megawatt, and you’ll see the poster.

-New (or at least, we just noticed it) business on the south edge of the Junction, on the southeast corner of the multi-points intersection that also features Ovio, Uptown, and 7-11: a criminal-defense law firm. Or at least, a banner for it (its website claims it’s located downtown; then again, we seem to be awash in sites that lag). Seems to be one of those “we specialize in DUI” types. I know everyone is entitled to representation and all that, but still … permit me my soapbox … it’s a senseless crime that should be punished vastly more harshly than it is now.

OK, that’s it for tonight … tomorrow morning, the #1 reason to love the parade (and to join us on the sidelines!) …

Countdown continues: RTLTP #2 (and an unrelated vent)

July 21, 2006 6:05 pm
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 |   Transportation | West Seattle festivals | West Seattle Grand Parade

PIRATES! In a double dose … the Seafair Pirates and the Caribbean Pirates (no relation to Cap’n Jack & company), both in tomorrow’s parade. Viewing tip: The east side of the street starts in shade. Just save us a spot over near Petco.

**unrelated vent**

Unrelated but I gotta say it … ONE HOUR to get through downtown en route home tonight, before I could get onto the Viaduct. ONE HOUR IN 96-DEGREE AIR, NO AIR CONDITIONING IN THE MODEST WSB-MOBILE. Once I finally got onto the Elevated Freeway of Doom and past the Mariners backup in the left lane, it didn’t even take 10 minutes to get home. I’m sure somebody out there went through something similar, so I’m mentioning it here for virtual commiseration. MY, the air coming off the bay felt great … once the jammed traffic was past …

Countdown continues: Reason #3 to love The Parade

July 20, 2006 9:12 pm
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 |   West Seattle festivals | West Seattle Grand Parade

J.P. PATCHES!

A team of local real-estate agents has brought him along in their parade car for a few years now, and they’re all scheduled to show up again this Saturday. We weren’t here back when he was a TV fixture, but in order for us (or anyone else) to even remotely pretend to be semi-natives, it’s vital that you know who J.P. is, AND cheer him wildly any time you happen onto one of his public appearances. (As for my REAL childhood TV memories, I’m partial to Checkers & Pogo …)

2 departures

One is good news, the other sad (at least for many of us old-timers).

Sad first: Just found out via the West Seattle Herald (in a letter to the editor from last week; we’ll admit we’re behind in our reading), the Charlestown Street Cafe has lost its lease. We went there a lot in our early years here; not too many WS restaurants back then, plus we enjoyed their breakfasts. Then along came Easy Street, and Endolyne Joe’s, and our tastes shifted. But CSC has given ample warning, so we’ll go back for another round of Montana Potatoes (if they’re still on the menu!) at least once before they go …

Now, happy: The long-awaited Alki Statue of Liberty super-spruce-up is finally under way. As promised, the statue was trucked away this afternoon; read more here about what happens next. And check out a slideshow of what the future might look like when the all-new Liberty 2 arrives.

What else to do this weekend

July 20, 2006 6:01 am
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 |   How to help | WS culture/arts | WS miscellaneous

How about Shakespeare in the park … Lincoln Park!

And we’ll mention Sunday’s Farmers Market side event once more — Westside Baby’s “Stuff the Bus (with diapers)” drive (even though they’ve got big bright banners on both sides of the Fauntleroy walkover so they probably don’t need the plug)!

Whatever you do, keep cool

Countdown continues: Reason #4 to love The Parade

TWO-WHEELERS AND ONE-WHEELERS!

In the day-plus since I posted Reason #5, I’ve been provided with the top-secret scoop on who’s in Saturday’s big annual parade down Cali Ave. So I can tell you, the motorcycle representation includes not only the incredible daredevils from Vancouver, B.C. (making their ONLY stop in this area), and their more-reserved rivals from our fair city, but also the “Apple Dumpling Gang Motorcycle Club” and the Nile Mini Bike Unit. And on one wheel, without motors, with incredible coordination, it’ll be the Pathfinder Unicycle Team (ready to pop wheelies … or something … over the “No Boren” victory).

Tomorrow: Reason #3!

Ahead of their time?

A WS Blog visitor forwarded us this e-mail overnight … won’t get to head out and independently verify it till later, but it looks like the garden shop on the north edge of the Junction is pulling up stakes:

Farewell from In Bloom

When we first opened the store in November 2003 it was with the dream of creating a welcoming environment to showcase and sell the things we loved: garden accessories, house plants, vintage pottery, home decor, and local crafts.

In Bloom has lived up to many of our dreams, providing us the opportunity to meet many wonderful customers and artists, as well as giving us an outlet to showcase fine products and creative ideas. Unfortunately the demands of running a store have taken their toll on our health, happiness, and well-being. And so, with our hearts full of warm feelings and our heads full of happy memories, we are closing the store in August 2006.

Sorry to hear it. That’s a tough location, right at the edge of the business district, but one that we think will be a boom zone within a few years — these nice folks may just have been ahead of their time.

Bright lights, big neighborhood

July 18, 2006 11:07 pm
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 |   Seen around town

The intersection at the heart of The Junction suddenly has enough neon to resemble a corner of the Las Vegas Strip. Try driving through at night — the big new Cupcake Royale/Verite Coffee sign anchors the northeast corner, the relatively new Super Supplements sign glows on the face of the ex-Urban Fitness storefront on the southeast side, and on the northwest corner, there’s the Easy Street Records sign that started it all. Missing in this equation: Key Bank, on the fourth corner of the fabled “Walk All Ways With Walk” intersection. C’mon, guys, how about at least a red neon key like the one on your much-maligned arena?

Countdown: Reason #5 to love The Parade

July 18, 2006 8:28 am
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 |   West Seattle Grand Parade | WS culture/arts

MUSIC!
I have no inside info on who’s confirmed for this Saturday’s parade, but online calendars confirm two regulars: the spectacular All-City Marching Band and the lively Rainbow City Band. One of the local Christian churches usually has a combo on a truck playing some sort of gospel-rock. Bagpipers have turned up most years. Tomorrow: Reason #4!