Sunday, April 24, 2011

The New Seattle Manifesto

In earlier posts I've talked about the infamous "Seattle freeze" that every transplant to the area seems to experience and then starts bitching about to anyone who'll listen. You've heard the mantra before: Seattleites are tirelessly "polite" and "nice" to new people on the surface level, but instantly shut down and reject social advances the second you try to actually "befriend" one of us. We're a collection of people who move here to escape wherever it is that we're from, so we isolate ourselves from genuine social interaction as much as possible. Seattle is a place full of awkward only-children, who don't quite get how to branch out and meet new people in non-ironic ways. We're a city of the mind, a city of nerdy blogger-types who sit in Starbucks silently plugging away because we're just...that....edgy, man :) 

Well, in celebration of our city's reputation for bitchy cold-shoulderness, I dedicate this post to a very funny, very spot-on op-ed from Crosscut. I think this manifesto just about covers it!

Since I believe one good manifesto deserves another, I hereby offer my own:
David Guterson and other figures on Bainbridge Island like to talk about the countryside as being the only real place to live. We know better. These are our values:
  • We value diverse workplaces and gatherings. Upscale white men alongside upscale white women — and even upscale white gays.
  • Yet we also admire African-Americans, preferably if they are both musical and dead.
  • We champion the institution of public education, as long as our own kids can get into a private school.
  • We celebrate people's expressions of sexuality, provided they're not too, you know, sexual.
  • We strive toward progressive, inclusive laws and policies except when they would inconvenience business.
  • We take pride in our urban identity, as we build more huge edifices and monuments to desperately prove how world class we are.
  • We support the arts, particularly when that support doesn't stick us in the same room with unkempt artists.
  • We value regional planning and cooperation, even with those mouth-breathing hicks out there.
  • We protect and enhance the environment, particularly those environments we drive 40 miles or more to hike in.
  • We love a strong, vital music scene that's in someone else's neighborhood.
  • We appreciate our heritage. We moan about how everything in this town sucks; then, years later, we claim it was great back then but all sucks now.
  • We value a strong, independent news media, regularly alerting us to the city's 103 Best Podiatrists.
  • We admire innovation and original ideas, especially if they're just like something from New York or San Francisco.
  • We support locally based businesses, until they get too big.
President Barack Obama has advocated "the fierce urgency of now." Mr. President, the people of Seattle will get around to it once they've finished playing "Halo: Reach."

Via: Crosscut

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Aurora Borealis Timelapse - Part Deux

I don't know why I've had such a fascination with time lapses lately, or of the Northern Lights, for that matter. They both involve motion, clear skies, and the delights of the natural world.

Or more simply, could it be that I'm just stir-crazy and need to get away? How about to VEGAS in two days? I think so :) That extra-large mojito in the MGM Grand's lazy river sounds spectacular right about now.

This video is a time-lapse shot entirely from this dude's tripod on an Air France flight from San Francisco to Paris CDG. Watch for the Northern Lights to dance around the 1:00 mark or so. Beautiful shots all around. Enjoy!

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Solar-Powered Gas Clouds Coming to 2022 World Cup Stadium

Awhile back I wrote about the competing architectural designs for the 2022 World Cup, to be held in the tiny Persian Gulf oil-state of Qatar.

That these oil barons have money to burn is very evident in the designs themselves: each stadium seems to be begging to take the prize for outlandish and most extravagant arenas in sports. One featured a "media membrane" with live footage covering the outer stadium walls, another goes to the lengths of sheathing its roof in a continuous film of flowing water in the cooling process.

Here's probably the most bizarre idea coming from architects who clearly have their 'budget' taken care of. Engineers at Qatar University have developed a solar-powered, gas-filled cloud that supposedly will shade spectators and athletes from the 125-degree heat. The clouds can be maneuvered via remote control and run a cool $500,000 each.

I wonder how long it will take for this type of "remote-control solar-powered gas-cooling cloud" trend to trickle down to the consumer masses. It isn't too hard to imagine decades from now, people walking down the street in Phoenix, AZ using their 12G iPhones to power their own personal gas-cooling clouds, utterly oblivious to the baking heat around them. That sounds so Jetson's, doesn't it? Perhaps that is a bit like other "technologies of the future" that always will be - like hydrogen fuel cells, cold fusion, retinal scanners, and robotic prostitutes.

What do you think of this type of technology? Is it an achievement that we can now, with the click of a remote-control, create steady shade wherever we want? Or might it have more sinister consequences, like heavy greenhouse gas emissions that Arabs with deep pockets are simply too insulated to ignore?

Via: Inhabitat

Friday, April 8, 2011

VEGAS PLAYLIST! Oh yeah, baby, it's finally happening :)

So it's finally happening, after months and months of anticipation. I will FINALLY be taking my first vacation from work and heading to sunny, beautiful, debaucherous LAS VEGAS with Matt, Franny, Rachael, Prep, and Jamie.

I'll finally get to bust out my swim suit and get a weekend tan, possibly even get drunk in a swimming pool :) Now when's the last time that happened in Seattle? We will be staying at the MGM Grand Hotel right on the strip. Besides being one of the more popular hotels, their main attraction is a mile-long "Lazy River" which I'm planning on taking full advantage of.

I was talking to my grandparents a few weeks ago, because they are die-hard Vegas aficionados, albeit of the Elvis generation. There is a difference! For instance, when I told them where I was staying, the kvetching started up immediately about how far a walk it would be on the Strip. And Oh, honey, you're gonna suffocate in that heat. They wouldn't be my Jewish grandparents from St. Louis without a healthy dose of well-intended kvetching. Their recommendation for where I should stay? The Flamingo, which last time I checked hasn't been touched since the '50s. Not exactly welcoming for my friends who are Vegas vets and in their 20s. They also recommended going to see the show Jubilee, which might actually be a good idea if the tix didn't start at $90 a pop. Great, grandma. Maybe when I'm 78 I, too, will stay at the Flamingo and go see Celine Dion. Just not this time :)

This got me thinking to how I would like to see the weekend pan out. Normally when I travel anywhere (and Matt, you can attest to this), I don't like to make too many plans. This keeps you flexible and, I feel, allows you to experience wherever you are in a more authentic and less structured way. Free-wheeling travel falls within certain guidelines, of course. No sense "wandering" into sketchy after-parties or anything too illegal. But seriously, I'm pretty open to where the weekend takes us. My one restriction: no gambling - I hate the feeling of literally throwing money away. Maybe a few slots, but that's it, OK. Now that we're clear on that, the one thing I do like planning a lot is the music for the journey.

So without further adieu I give you the Las Vegas playlist for 2011. Hope you enjoy!

Kris Menace ft. Emil - Walking on the Moon:

Yelle - A Cause des Garcons (TEPR remix)

Tiesto ft. Tegan and Sara - Escape Me

Eric Prydz - Niton (The Reason)

Chromeo - Hot Mess

Maximum Balloon - Groove Me

!!! - Steady as the Sidewalk Cracks

Talking Heads - Burning Down the House

Phoenix - Fences

Miike Snow - Black and Blue

Spank Rock - Bump

Simian Mobile Disco - Hustler

Lady Gaga - Starstrcuk

Calvin Harris - I'm Not Alone

Yeasayer - ONE

Gui Boratto - No Turning Back

Modjo - Lady

Timo Maas - Shifter (a.k.a. the stripper anthem)

Felix Da Housecat - Silver Screen Shower Scene (hot)

Starkillerz - Scream

BT - Never Gonna Come Back Down

Fischerspooner - Never Win

Warren G - Regulate

Kanye West - Flashing Lights

Young MC - Bust a Move

Michael Jackson - Thriller

Michael Jackson - Wanna Be Startin' Somethin

Crystal Method ft. Matisyahu - Drown in the Now

Gorillaz - Stylo

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Beautiful Timelapse of Aurora Borealis

Are you in need of a distraction from work? God knows I am. Apologies for not blogging in over three weeks :(, work has been especially crazy these past few weeks. Between being on call for a week straight 24/7, public scoldings from both HR and the Claims Department, and twice-weekly safety trainings, I've been hasta los cojones in the workaderk life. Here's something I found via the great tech blog Gearfuse that's helped take the edge off of things.

I spent a week capturing one of the biggest aurora borealis shows in recent years.

"Shot in and around Kirkenes and Pas National Park bordering Russia, at 70 degree north and 30 degrees east. Temperatures around -25 Celsius. Good fun."

Big thanks to the guys over at for their amazing all-in-one motion control dolly.

Music is Gladiator soundtrack "Now we are free"

Via: Gearfuse