in a perfect world of yancies: December 2008

25 December 2008

Merry Xmas!

Xmas in STC, IL
Hope you're warm this morning!
-3 here in St Charles, IL, but the friends and family make it cozy so far.

(And at least people here own things like shovels and plows!)

23 December 2008

Before We Go: Three More Things I Believe In

First of all, I really think you should drive less. (Or not at all, if possible.*)

One way to encourage that would be a national gas tax.

I know, I know, but a) it's totally for a good cause, b) gas is so cheap right now that you'd hardly notice it (at least as compared to those crazy prices from last summer--what was it, like $4/gallon, or $16? something like that), and c) the hilarious guys on Car Talk agree:

Good and funny!

I also believe that it's fun to take photos of myself.
This work?
I don't, however, believe that it's necessary to share every one of those on this blog.

If you would nevertheless like to keep an eye on them, I've created a set on flickr, called vanity.

It's almost like I have my own fashion blog, with only my own nearly-fashionable self as subject . . .

That brings me to my third: the fourth estate.

I love journalism. If there's one career I'd aspire to (besides being a real professor (haha)), it's journalism. I love, for example, the New Yorker--what a magazine! and now their entire archive--every page of every issue, going back to 1925--is available online! Wonderful!

I love citizen journalism, too. And I think it's exciting that my hack reporting on those goats caught the eye of someone involved on the other end of that story. (I do fear, though, for the future, since I'm not sure that a teacher out xmas shopping during winter break is really where you'd want your news coming from . . .)

And I love public radio. That's why I was awfully sad to hear that the layoffs at NPR were affecting even their top reporters.

Damn stupid recession. What's the most annoying is that their listenership is actually growing!

Not growing, alas, is newspaper readership.

I say alas because of all the media in all the world what I truly love most of all is the daily newspaper.

Now I could say those things we say about newspapers--it feels good to hold a paper, in a way that no laptop or Kindle could ever replace; local journalism thrives when you pay good reporters to do real work; bloggers (duh!) are primarily parasitic on real journalists and therefore cannot replace them--but I assume most of that goes without saying. . . .

Here instead, then, is just a tiny sampling of what I love about papers (mostly, yes, the Times, but all from the past week):

  • Top-notch film critic A. O. Scott explaining his affection for a nice Scotch this time of year.

  • "Rachel Getting Married" writer Jenny Lumet talking about her devotion to diet soda.

  • Even "Gossip Girl" author Cecily von Ziegesar recollecting some of her experiences with the yearly production of the Nutcracker.

  • There was also Manohla Dargis' discussion of some of the films she liked the best this year. I'd never even heard of like half of them, and I absolutely love that about her.

  • Speaking of movies, has it ever occurred to you that in "It's A Wonderful Life" not only is Pottersville, the town what would have been had Jimmy Stewart's character never been born "cooler and more fun than Bedford Falls, it also would have had a much, much stronger future"?

    It occurred to Wendell Jamieson, who goes on to elaborate in his fascinating essay:

    "Think about it: In one scene George helps bring manufacturing to Bedford Falls. But since the era of “It’s a Wonderful Life” manufacturing in upstate New York has suffered terribly.
    On the other hand, Pottersville, with its nightclubs and gambling halls, would almost certainly be in much better financial shape today. It might well be thriving."

  • Holidays and writers named Jamieson brings us to Robert Jamieson (no relation to Wendell, as far as I know), who wrote in Monday's Seattle P-I about Santarchy:

    ""Santa" plus "anarchy" -- which could be described as equal parts pub crawl, equal parts holiday celebration and a whole lot of fun."

    It involves hundreds of folks dressed up as Santas storming all over downtown, and Jamieson's write-up is (from where I sit) perhaps the best, and safest way to enjoy it. He's a dependably good local writer, and I try never to miss a column.

  • I want to end by quoting a bit from Dan Barry, who I'm not quite so into. He's usually a bit too far on the treacly, cheesy side for me, but his recent piece on the immanent demise of the Bristol Press, a small daily in Connecticut, is a must-read.

    "Last month the newspaper’s financially troubled owner, the Journal Register Company, announced that The Bristol Press and a sister newspaper, The New Britain Herald, would cease to publish if not sold — cheaply, by the way — by mid-January. Given the dire state of newspapers, Mr. Sarno and his hard-news colleagues are steeling themselves for an outcome that would make one helluva story if it weren’t so personal.

    The Press, after all, has been covering Bristol since 1871."

If you follow only one link from this post, I'd ask that you follow that one.

Well, that was all a little heavy-handed. Sorry.
What was the title of my self-portrait set again?

One thing that we should all acknowledge, though: I love newspapers, and I hope you'll love them too.

How about closing with a slightly lighter item?

Here's the scene I passed Monday afternoon at 14th and Harrison:
Skiing 14th and Harrison

For comparison, here's what that intersection normally looks like:

View Larger Map

Cheers, reader, and Happy Holidays!

*I know that for many (most?) of you it's presently not possible to stop driving. But maybe a good goal for the new year?

22 December 2008

What a Week!

champagne cocktail at Oddfellows
Grades are in, next quarter's syllabus is in progress, and I'm in the thick of writing book reviews (if you write book reviews, you get free books!) . . .

But a fella's gotta have some fun, right?
We did our best this past week to find as much as we could.

In no particular order, then:

Not only did I get a new haircut (at Scream of course) and some product, I also got this lovely little CHS pin, thanks in part to Emerson Salon:
Nice new button
Product? Yes. I asked E if it was okay, and she said "yes, I'm glad that you're taking an interest in your hair."

Back on the home front, we made some fabulous lamb burgers the other day.
lamb burgers!
On delicious brioche buns, purchased at Madison Market.

("Are you a member?" "No." [sigh: you're just like four blocks too far--we can't seem to drag ourselves here more than once a month . . .])

Across Madison is a neighborhood called the Central District. And in the Central District there's a place called Central Cinema, where they'll serve you beer, wine, pizza, sandwiches, popcorn, and more while you watch fun (mostly old) movies.
announcements before Auntie Mame at Central Cinema
We braved the ice, missed one bus, and then finally made it there for a screening of Auntie Mame sponsored by Three Dollar Bill Cinema.

waiting for Auntie Mame
Listening to pre-show announcements.

If you haven't seen Auntie Mame, you so should. It is such a hoot! Here's a trailer:

May not be as fun without the crowd, but the movie can be watched at, and also on Netflix.

in the Central Cinema lobby
In the lobby: cute hair! (Got it trimmed a couple of days later, but whatever. And don't worry, it's still cute!)

And then on Friday, a new restaurant opened in the neighborhood.
Emily and a champagne cocktail!
Emily, enjoying a champagne cocktail at Oddfellows.

Oddfellows postcard

Emily and Linda!
Now Oddfellows is owned, in part at least, by Linda Derschang, pictured here with Emily.

Linda also owns Smith, King's, and (of course) Linda's, one of my favorite spots in Seattle.

Finally, I tried my hand at a little on-site reporting for CHS. Got a note about some filming in the dog park at Pine and Boren, so we went to check it out. Here's what we found:
goats on the Hill
Goats! From Rent-a-Ruminant. Who? Rent-a-Ruminant:

"We bring goats to your location to eat a wide range of vegetation, such as blackberries, ivy, and other invasive species."

cutest of the goats on Capitol Hill?
Guess the goats were starring in an ad for Pemco Insurance (?). Cute anyway, so I guess it's a win.

Well, back to work.
Cheers, reader.

And if I don't see you in the next few days, have a great holiday!

19 December 2008

More Snow Stories

berried in snow
Got another round of winter here on Thursday.

miniature snow folk
Was lovely, and Emily was able to take a snow day & enjoy some of the sights, like this miniature snow family . . .

Ladro on 15th or a ski lodge?
We weren't the only ones treating Capitol Hill like a resort community . . .

For (lots) more about the weather, including pictures, sledding videos, a cute post about little kids loving the snowball fight they had with some local hipsters, look (of course) to

Scariest part of the weather? Definitely the two charter buses that slid down a steep, icy Capitol Hill side-street and almost landed on I5:

Pictures from KOMO News.

Thankfully, everyone is fine.

Update, 23:16 19 December:
Great pic from flickr:

Update, 16:32 20 December:
(Last one, I promise!)
Nice photo from the Seattle P-I:

And what about Emily?
Well, she went in to work today (Friday). And she's fine, of course (those were charter buses, not Metro Transit buses! As if!) Did take her an extra 80 minutes getting there, but she made it!

Missed her company xmas party yesterday, though.

Here's a report from a neutral observer:

"As for the Party, it was still held although there were very few attendees [30 out of an expected 700, I heard]. The food was wonderful, a couple of the band members were involved in a minor accident on the way to Renton so we didn't have music. they will return next year."


Well, I'm off to grab some food (keep your eye on the Twitter feed to find out where! I know I will!)
Will try to do a post about something besides weather soon.

Thanks for reading.
Stay warm!

15 December 2008

Record-Breaking Beauty

Record lows in Seattle this week.

But it did snow, so at least there's that . . .
snow flakes on Broadway in Capitol Hill, Seattle
Can you see those flakes? This photo was taken just as it started to come down, before things got too easy to photograph.

Here's from a little later:
Really coming down

Much better pictures over on the CHS snow picture post. A couple of favorites:
Loveless Building sent in by neighbor Leslie

Manuel W.'s Cal Anderson snow palace

14 December 2008

Lights and Music

The other day we got the tree up and decorated.

I like Christmas time; it's pretty . . .

Also did a little decorating for passersby.

It's so beautiful, isn't it? That's why I put it up on the Capitol Hill holiday awesomeness map.

In other news, I gave the last of my exams, worried about job security, and (finally) enjoyed a wonderful and relaxing night at Neumos.

The Dutchess and the Duke performing at the KEXP Yule Benefit.

Their set was maybe my favorite part of the show: I had only heard a song or two before, but I really enjoyed it. Was just the thing.

Have a listen:

Armageddon Song - The Dutchess & The Duke

Shearwater also performed.

A little on the arty side for my taste, but they were entertaining.

Most entertaining was the drummer, Thor, pictured here playing some sort of homemade dulcimer.

Grand Archives headlined the show. Here they are with a guest vocalist named Jen Ghetto.

Here's a favorite track:

The Crime Window (Album) - Grand Archives

Jingling bells, even!

13 December 2008

Music in a Different Key

Hi reader.

So in between running around trying to enjoy some of the wonderful fun times here on Capitol Hill, grading exams, and getting ready for the holidays, I have been working (a little) on a new post . . .

But it's not ready, so instead please enjoy this piece from Funny Or Die:

Prop 8--The Musical

08 December 2008

With the Kids Jingle-Belling

Heard a fabulous bit of choral music Sunday at St Joseph Church, right here in Capitol Hill, thanks to the SU choirs.

Great stuff. The started off by singing Benjamin Britten's "Hodie Christus Natus Est" from the loft and it was just awesome. . .

Here's a version that may not be quite as good, but it'll let you know what the song sounds like:
Procession - The Christ Church Cathedral Choir, Indianapolis

They also did O Holy Night.
Who was Adolphe Adam, and why is that song so good? No idea. But here's a beautiful version in Swedish:
Julsång (Cantique de Noël) (1997 Digital Remaster) - Jussi Björling/Kungliga Hovkapellet Orkester, Stockholm/Nils Grevillius
Thanks for telling us about that one, Nathan.

Speaking of Capitol Hill, here's an unrelated neighborhood note:
As you can see over on CHS, our neighborhood really went for Obama. In our precint (43-1851), it was like 94%!

Okay, to close, here are three more of my favorite seasonal songs, some of which I've mentioned before, and some that are new to me:

Still can't believe Jim Nabors sings so pretty.
Go Tell It On The Mountain - Jim Nabors

Gina told us about this one the other day. Warning: it's awful cute, and it'll likely get stuck in your head.

Finally, some folks we know are headed to Hawaii for the holidays, and every time I think about that I start humming this song:
Christmas Island (1997 Digital Remaster) - The Dinning Sisters & Bob Atcher

How about y'all? Any favorites you'd like to share? Maybe we can all get together for some caroling . . .

06 December 2008

Tweets, Frams, and More

Look at the too-cute pre-xmas gift Emily got me. Better get that tree up soon!

Speaking of things that tweet, I've recently started putting posts up on Twitter. (It's like blogging, but you can only type like 140 characters, including spaces.) Mostly just curiosity . . .

Anyway, in case you want more frequent updates, I've added a feed over on the side there.

Oh, so Eric and Christy did make it; you can see photos of their t-day over on, including this gentleman offering his "Fram Fram" to the world:

As Emily explained in the comments, "it is part of the motto of St. Olaf College (the complete motto is "Fram! Fram! Kristmennn, Krossmenn" which means: "Forward! Forward! Men of Christ, Men of the Cross")."

She goes on, "For better or worse, "Fram! Fram!" is overshadowed, at least in my experience, by "Um Yah Yah." I learned on Wikipedia that "Um Yah Yah" is the only college fight song in 3/4 meter!"

Good to know.

What, more photos of me by the mirror in the morning? Sure:

Was getting ready for my super-fun last day of classes. Took my students out for coffee at Vivace, where they make the best coffee I've ever had. And they have a study room you can reserve to talk about Aristotle! Works best if your employer picks up the tab.

Yeah, I love my job.

02 December 2008

Classic Photos

Well, more photos have been promised, but in the meantime, how about some older shots for your viewing pleasure?

(Hope you made it out okay, Eric and Christy!)

That's Magen on the left and Emily on the right

And here's a Hughes family thanksgiving from way back:

Grandpa Larry, Thelma, Fran, and Dave

Thanks to Scott Hughes for sending those pics!

And so well we made some turkey curry--


Thought I'd close with an unrelated look at day-to-day life around here.

Your typical morning involves a little NPR, a little snooze alarm, some coffee making (we're strictly a stove-top espresso household, just to be clear), and then Emily goes to catch a bus.

After paging through some newspapers I get dressed . . .

and then I send the inevitable email. "Will this tie work with this shirt?"

Then I pack the laptop, make a sandwich and hope my clothes look good to someone besides myself . . .