March 25, 2008

Ninja Warrior and Mop Shoe

While watching some DVRed Ninja Warrior episodes this evening, a fabulous invention was brought to my attention - Mop Shoe!

If you aren't familiar with either, let me introduce you to both:

First, Ninja Warrior. G4 happened to be on one day at The Red Hot while Frinklin, Cassioposa, Kevin, and I were eating dinner. While the original Japanese show features men, Women of Ninja Warrior is far more entertaining for my money. The women's courses tend to focus more on agility and less on strength.

And, who doesn't need Mop Shoe?

Posted by Ensie at 05:15 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

March 20, 2008

Sound Transit Tunnel to be Graced by Ellen Forney Art

How come Seattle has Ellen Forney doing their public art and we get...this when it comes to art?


Posted by Ensie at 12:24 AM | Comments (189) | TrackBack

March 17, 2008

Free Spay/Neuter for All Puget Sound Pit Bulls

In an exciting collaboration with Seattle Purebred Dog Rescue (SPDR), the Seattle Humane Society is providing FREE spay and neuter surgeries for ALL pit bulls in the Puget Sound region for a limited time!

You can view the PDF here.

Direct from the flyer:

Pit bulls account for approximately 30% of lost, stray, and abandoned animals in our community's shelters today.


1. Your dog will live a longer, healthier life.
Spaying and neutering virtually eliminates breast and uterine cancer, testicular cancer, and prostate disease if performed before six months of age.

2. Your spayed female won't go into heat.
Females in hear vocalize, urinate, and produce a foul discharge.

3. Your male dog won't roam away from home.
Intact males are highly likely to roam, risking injury in traffic or fights with other males.

4. AND he will be much better behaved too!
Unneutered males mark their territory with urine (inside the house and out), mount your family and guests, and are more likely to develop behavior problems.

5. Spaying and neutering your pet will NOT make your dog fat or lazy.
Your pet will remain fit and trim as long as you continue to provide exercise and monitor food intake.

In addition to the FREE spay or neuter, dogs will be microchipped for FREE during surgery.

If you have an unaltered Pit bull, or know someone who does, call the Seattle Humane Society at 425-649-7560 to make an appointment.

Posted by Ensie at 08:40 AM | Comments (74) | TrackBack

March 13, 2008

In Random Michael Jackson News

Today while driving in the car I heard the following news story:

A woman claiming to be Michael Jackson's wife has been arrested for trespassing at the star's California home.

Billie Jean Jackson, 60, was detained at the singer's Neverland Ranch on Monday night, and was taken to the nearby Santa Barbara County Jail.

Doesn't she know that Billie Jean is NOT his lover? She's just a girl who claims that?

Posted by Ensie at 07:27 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

March 12, 2008

The Go Local Slippery Slope

With all the "Go Local" talk lately, I've been giving the idea a lot of thought. No one can argue that supporting your local businesses is good for your neighborhood, your community, and your city. It supports local commerce, encourages further economic growth and development, and it makes you feel good.

In some circles, it appears that "Going Local" has become more of a clique or a status symbol (some might even say a fetish) instead of something people do as part of their daily lives. When did we forget that "Going Local" is part of living? And who made the rules so freakin' strict?

In the course of living one's life it's desirable to incorporate going local into daily activities. Stop by local stores. Eat at local restaurants. Buy local art. But should you need to go to a big box store to get an item, do not be ashamed. If you need to enter the Tacoma Mall to find clothing, do not feel the need to flagellate yourself upon the trunk of your car directly afterwards.

I believe a good philosophy to follow when it comes to going local is "Do Your Best" (but don't beat up on people when they don't - or can't - go local all the time). As a vegetarian I followed this axiom for years and found it suited me well. Not sure that soup is 100% vegetarian? But the restaurant thinks it is - do your best!

There are a few specific points that come to mind that can make "Going Local" especially difficult:

-- TIME: Please show me the person who has time to run errands to all the different places that one trip to Target can fulfill? Show me the local store that carries toilet paper, hair care products, cat litter, electronics, gardening supplies, storage containers, razor blades, light bulbs, greeting cards, underwear, Vitamin Water, and detergent. All of which were on my shopping list the other day.

-- MONEY: Price is a factor for many people. It's been pointed out over and over that big box stores undercut local businesses when it comes to price. I hate WalMart as much as the next good liberal, but that doesn't change the fact that people have a need for cheap goods.

-- ACCESS: Accessibility can be an issue for those who work odd hours or weekends. Locally-owned businesses that close at 5 PM or on Sundays can be difficult to shop for many people. I know I've been thwarted more than once when trying to hit up a downtown location or local restaurant on a Sunday.

In the past few weeks while attending the Go Local or Die event and reading all the "Go Local" campaigning I've been ashamed to admit that I work for a large company. I shouldn't be as Bob's Hogs, while we've had our differences, is a pretty good company to work for. I've been with them for almost eleven years. When Frinklin and I decided to move to the Pacific Northwest they created a position for me where there was none. I'm proud of the hard work I've put in to reach the position I have and I shouldn't have to hide that fact.

So this is a coming out of sorts. I'm admitting that I work for a Fortune 500 company that has several locations all over the Puget Sound. While I enjoy shopping locally, I also will hit up the Tacoma Mall from time to time as I don't see many Tacoma clothing shops that carry a variety of clothing that cater to women who wear anything over a size 14. You can typically find Frinklin and I eating dinner in one of many locally owned eating establishments, often joined by friends. But occasionally we'll feel the need to hit up Carl's Jr. or Panda Express.

Lets be realistic and inclusive with our "Go Local" campaign going forward instead of making lists and shutting people out who may have reasons for spending their dollars outside of local businesses. If I feel uncomfortable talking about what I do for a living because it's not local enough, I'm sure there are plenty of other people who aren't bloggers who feel exactly the same.

Posted by Ensie at 12:00 PM | Comments (40) | TrackBack

March 11, 2008

Tacoma Does Deserve Economic Development

Because Natasha is wrong. And I'll tell you why.

Essentially Natasha has composed a piece telling us all that we don't deserve economic development downtown because we don't appreciate what already exists. We don't shop in the stores that already exist, we don't ride the LINK rail, and we fail to provide appropriate feedback to the business owners when unhappy with their current practices.

To start with, she specifically targets bloggers, and I'd like to start by adressing that issue.

To quote the article:

I notice people who are blogging all day long, talking crap about the businesses in Tacoma without ever trying a place out, or without providing feedback on poor experiences directly to the restaurant manager, opting to talk s*** online instead. I think all of the above is weak.

Where exactly are these blog posts with people bitching about about various local businesses that they have never patronized? Let alone people who are posting them "all day long"? I can't even find the terrible experiences that would require someone to talk to a restaurant manager or business owner. Can someone direct me?

What I have found are several posts of local bloggers organizing and meeting up to support local businesses. In fact, there was even concern that local bloggers had overrun one restaurant during their grand opening (it turned out that the restaurant was expecting the lunch rush and was very happy with the extra business).

As a local blogger, and as someone who hangs out with local bloggers, I can guarantee that we definitely eat and shop at local businesses. As my husband noted in the first comment on your post, in the last few days me and my blogger friends have spent time (and money) at local businesses the Red Hot, Herban Cafe, The Helm, Satellite Coffee, PSP, Hello Cupcake, Comic Book Ink, Sushi Revolution, BKB, Next to Nature and that's just to name a few. Not all of these are downtown, but we like to spread our dollars around. Along the way we either spent time with or ran into In-Tacoma, Tacomachickadee, jcbetty, Tacomamama, Cassioposa, Kevin Freitas, Izenmania, and Tacoma Urbanist.

Those Tacoma bloggers. Stuck in their homes, glued to their computers.

Ms. Gorbachev also points out that people need to use the public transportation systems we have in order to have them "improve[d] or extended". I'm all for extending the Link rail system, considering the fact that it travels something like 12 - 15 blocks and unless you're in a hurry walking makes far more sense. I don't mean to seem ungrateful, but lets get a workable system that doesn't just ferry homeless people around all day long. I don't think I should have to ride a relativelessly useless public transportation system in order to get a useful one.

I know Erik of Tacoma Urbanist has pointed out that he prefers to walk for exercise, and can walk across most Tacoma in 10 or 15 minutes. Walking is even better for the environment and people's bodies than public transportation. If people want to walk, I say more power to them. Sorry if that fucks up the economic development plans.

Lastly, there is the issue of crime that was discussed in the article.

I recently attended the Go Local or Die event downtown (Sorry Natasha, I did not see you in attendance). It was a fascinating speaker panel that also allowed much of the audience to talk about what they would like to do to build up their neighborhoods and community as well. One of the ideas that came out of those conversations was taking back Frost Park from drug dealers as it is scheduled to potentially have a fence put up to keep undesirables out.

Shortly after the Go Local or Die event, a takeover of Frost Park was organized online at Feed Tacoma. After putting the event off for a week due to scheduling issues, more than 30 people met up for lunch at noon in Frost Park last Friday. About one-third of those involved were bloggers. Proof that information posted on Feed Tacoma (and blogs) is not only reaching other bloggers, but community members as well.

This Friday we'll be meeting at Frost Park again at noon to take back the park. It's bring your own lunch. Pink cookies to be provided by Gretchen of Herban Cafe. After a month of meeting in Frost Park the plan is to move onto Fireman's Park, then onto another location. Everyone is invited!

My point is - people are ready for economic development now. They are working on all the areas Natasha took us to task for in her article. We're shopping and eating in downtown businesses. We're frustrated at the crappy public transportation (and we've written a lot about it as well as joined groups in order to change things). And we're working to make the crime situation better, and it's getting there. I don't believe it's unreasonable to expect the city to put plans in place right now for future development.

Don't just knock bloggers for writing about the situation. We're community members who are working in other ways too.

Posted by Ensie at 12:01 AM | Comments (7) | TrackBack

March 06, 2008

Frinklin Has The Gout

When one thinks of gout, you don't picture it being a disease that waylays modern folks in this century. Sort of like scurvy, dropsy, or even consumption. While these conditions still exist, in the Western World we just don't worry about them as they did in say, the 19th Century.

But when Frinklin began feeling stabbing pains in his right toe so painful that he was almost in tears, I suggested that we head to the doctor. He had felt something similar every 6 - 8 months that lasted for a few days, but never anywhere near this level of pain.

The doctor was busy and so we headed to Ugent Care. With a few careful prods to Frinklin's toe the doctor proclaimed, "Gout!" and sent us out the door. Frinklin was provided with a couple of prescriptions for anti-inflammation and reduction of uric acid as well as instructions on changes in diet.

I left with a smirk on my face. Why? Because one of the major causes of gout is eating too much red meat. It causes a build-up of purines in the system, which leads to too much uric acid, which causes gout; a swelling of the joints as a response to a deposit of uric acid crystals. And I've been telling my husband to eat less red meat for a very long time.

I'm not the type to lord it over someone when I'm right. But honey? I'm so right on this one.

Posted by Ensie at 10:52 AM | Comments (82) | TrackBack

March 05, 2008

Can you Blame Me?

Seriously Nordstrom. Stop sending me stuff like this! I only have so much will power!

Shoe Clearance.jpg

Posted by Ensie at 10:50 AM | Comments (40) | TrackBack

March 04, 2008

Alison Bechdel Interview

Frinkling brought a really great interview with Alison Bechdel to my attention. She discusses her bestselling work Fun Home, the experiences following that publication, as well as the upcoming graphic novel she is working on.


Posted by Ensie at 09:46 PM | Comments (310) | TrackBack

I found an interesting article in Seattle Business Montly this week on a new company called Paperspine is the startup brainchild of Microsoft employee Dustin Hubbard. The company is modeled after Netflix, but instead of sending you movies when you subscribe, Paperspine sends you books.

Subscriptions start at $9.99 for 2 books/month and top out at $25 for 5 books/month. I think they are charging about $5 a month too much per package, but that didn't stop me from subscribing to check it out. I didn't read all to carefully through the FAQ, and received a surprise when I started browsing - Paperspine only carries paperback books at this time (although the article I read mentioned audio books?), which severely limits the inventory they carry, but likely keeps their costs down significantly. Frinklin and I immediately added 10 books to our queue and should have our top three selections in 3 - 5 days.

Paperspine's website has some limitations right now. The categories have some odd definitions, and are kind of hard to search. What is "Contemporary Fiction" and how are the titles listed within? How do I find the Chick Lit, which is definitely different from Romance? Where are the Graphic Novels? The site failed a major test by not carrying Time's Book of the Year for 2007 (and one of my favorite authors), Alison Bechdel's Fun Home.

I should stress that Paperspine is currently in Beta, and that Hubbard has recently added a "Lipstick Blogger" to write about women's books. He also has plans to add a purchase option for people who love their rented books too much to send them back. If you can't find a book on the site that you want to borrow, Paperspine will order it for you. The site is actively requesting feedback at this time, so things should improve.

I'm hoping this will limit my book purchasing addiction while allowing for plenty of reading of backlist titles I've been meaning to catch up on. I love the Tacoma Public Library, but find that I'm great at racking up fees and getting my card suspended. This may be the perfect solution.

Posted by Ensie at 09:27 PM | Comments (91) | TrackBack

March 02, 2008

Overpopulation Elephant Killing

You never really think about elephant overpopulation being an issue. But the other night at dinner with a number of friends, Michael of mentioned the fact that there are now plans in place to kill off the overabundance of elephants in the world. I was incredulous at the thought of this, beliving that elephants - definitely Asian and most likely African - are endangered animals. I would be wrong.

Asian or Indian Elephants have been listed as endangered since June 14, 1976. The Asian elephant has smaller ears than the African elephant and the females never have tusks. There are approximately 34,000 to 54,000 Asian elephants left in the world today.

African Elephants are another story. African elephants are the enormous elephants that often roam for miles searching for water all over the African savannah. They have large ears and tusks and live in matriarchial groups. There are approximately 470,000 to 690,000 African elephants in the world today. There is still a significant problem in Africa with the poaching of elephants for ivory.

I've paraphrased some of the below writing from the linked article (IPS: AFRICA: Elephant Overpopulation Keeps Cull Debate Simmering):

During the 1970s and 80s elephant populations around the world were nearly destroyed due to the demand for ivory. In 1989 the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Flora and Fauna (CITES) banned ivory trade. This act allowed elephant populations to begin to recover, and has lead to elephants competing with humans for food and land in numerous countries across Africa. Nearly half of the African elephant population is crowded into the Hwange National Park in Zimbabwe.

In order to control this exploding elephant population, many regional governments believe a closely monitered legal ivory trade is the answer. The question is, would this bring the economic stimulous the regions need without threatening the African elephant species? And would it really be possible to monitor a truly legal ivory trade, or would it just be a cover-up for illegal poaching?

Zimbabwe would like to take the extra step of culling elephant herds, something that has been illegal under CITES. Namibia, Botswana, and South Africa are also pro-culling. This would allow them to trade their confiscated collections of poached ivory to fund conservation work.

CITES has thus far denied permission to all countries to trade raw ivory, but has allowed for the trade of elephant hides, hair, and some worked ivory from select countries.

It always bothers me when humans fuck something up, get animals involved, and then make the animals suffer because of it. No one can explain to the animals why we're makeing them suffer, why we're killing them, or torturing them, or doing what we're doing - we just go ahead and do it. Don't worry that the animals are sentient beings, capible of feeling pain or that they are self-aware.

Elephants are my favorite animals. They live in family groups, are matriarchal, speak in a complex language, and mourn their dead. More and more zoos are giving up their elephants to sanctuaries as we are recognizing that zoo conditions cause physical and mental damage. Circus elephants are widely acknowledged to be abused.

On the one hand, I understand that the people in Africa need to be protected, and that there is a need to get the large population of elephants under control. On the other hand, I don't like the idea of allowing the ivory market to start up again. I think that's a mistake. Once it's up and running again, it would be very difficult to ever shut down again.

I don't know how anyone could ever hunt an elephant, with all the information we know aobut how their minds work and the things they think. You know you're killing a thinking, feeling, loving being. It's sickening. And you don't eat elephant meat. It's only for a trophy.

This is a decision that CITES and the individual governments of Africa will need to undertake very carefully. I wish them intelligence, insight, and wisdom in their decision.


Posted by Ensie at 01:36 AM | Comments (585) | TrackBack