Hug the Pipe

Originally posted on Olyblog by Crenshaw Sepulveda

If I had a top ten list of cool things about Olympia (wait a second I do have one) the artesian well in the Diamond parking lot downtown would be right up there near the top of the list. The fact that it even exists is amazing to me. Here is this huge company that has parking lots all over the region and they allow this well to spring forth on their property. I spend a lot of time at the well and I'll tell you that people from all walks of life make use of it. I see people drive up in BMWs drive up and fill a couple of water bottles. I see homeless people shuffle up to the spout and take a drink and wash their faces. Almost every one I've talked to at the well has a story. Some claim miracle cures to the waters. Some just like the community they find at the well. A whole set of etiquette has evolved around the filling of bottles. I've never seen such a cooperative process. Kids with body piercings cooperating with lawyers and state officials here at this one magical spot.

It is a magical place, the Olympia Artesian Well. I will not vouch for any cures the waters have, but it often cures my soul. Water is the most fundemental thing in life. Sure we have those nay sayers that will pipe up and say, yeah what about air? But let us face it, without air we ain't around very long, couple of minutes at best, and once you have been air deprived you ain't coming back. Water, however, is generally available, but in a pure form becoming scarce. Heck people actually pay for the stuff in half liter bottles that if sold by the gallon would cost more than gasoline. So here we have this Diamond Parking company, I'm sure it is a multimillion dollar concern, and they let this pipe sit in their parking lot for all to enjoy. I almost get religious about the significance of the act. To some it is just some pipe sticking is asphalt spewing out water. To me it is like holy communion. A communal sharing of a life giving resource. A true mixing of every walk of life engaging in this sacred act. Shut me up if I get to corny.

Urban layers, The Rockford Files and the Beach Boys

I was going to post this at Olyblog, but they seem to be having some major server issues, maybe they are under attack, I don't know. Any way it is called:
Urban layers, The Rockford Files and the Beach Boys and it goes a little like this:
It seems that I become involved with the local Urban Layers group here in Olympia (thank you Jade). I get in trouble when I start thinking, but thinking is what I've been doing. The urban layers concept is an easy one to describe, from their own website they say "What We Have In Mind: A collectively run mall in downtown Olympia housing local businesses and services that will fill social and economic gaps and bring more vitality to the downtown area." What a concept, right up my alley.

And I've been thinking about the Port of Olympia and what an absolute waste of space, time and money it is. So I'm thinking, like a lot of people have been thinking, that the port stop being a port and become a part of downtown, albeit the northern reach. What a location for the Urban Layer. What a location for a new Olympia library. What a location for the artesian well. What a location for a trailer park.

Huh? Trailer Park

I know that trailer parks have been given a bum rap in the past. I have often been known to make trailer parks and their residents the butts of my jokes. But then I started thinking. I don't watch much TV but I remembered the old Rockford files and the trailer on the beach where James Garner lived in the show. Turns out is a real place and a way cool place. A recent article on Paradise Cove can be found at:


Give the article a read and see how such a place could fit in what I hope is the reclaimed Port of Olympia. Imagine a snug little community of Olympians and their spin on such a place. Single wide trailers are going for a song these days as most trailer parks no longer accept them. You can own your onwn living space for the cost of hauling it away in some instances. Provide the park with the necessary public spaces and amenities and we have a way cool place with housing for the less affluent members of our community in a terrific setting. We should alway reserve some of our best places for those that occupy the lowest rungs of our society. You figure out how the Beach Boys fit in.

Crenshaw Sepulveda

Port Protests

There has been continued action at the Port this week opposing the war shipments. Many more arrests, and some pretty intense police response. Its too much for me to keep up with reporting. I recommend checking Olyblog or Olympia Indy Media for regular updates. The protests at the Port are attracting national attention!



A lot of times I think blogging and other internet past times are sort of pointless and anti-life. But something truly exciting has happened with Crenshaw's "Why Not Tables?" entry. I don't want to paraphrase it, because it is so beautiful how it unfolded in its chaotic, meandering, cooperative way. Please read what developed in the 25 responses to his original commentary.


What Residential Neighborhoods Need

I took my six-year-old daughter to Bigelow Park today. She loves that park, even though the playground equipment has recently been replaced with new equipment that is so safe the playground is rendered almost pointless. I watch kid after kid run up the graadddually staggered platforms and then get to the top and look around like, "What now?"
At least they finally got the swings put in. There is also a round cup that you can sit in and spin around. Its pretty cool, though still a far cry from the merry-go-rounds we used to have that's momentum would send children flying in all directions across the park.
The ground is covered with a mural made of colorful chewy stuff, so you can't get hurt. But its not really necessary, as there's nowhere to fall from. The slides are very slow and short, with rounded corners. I'm so glad I was a kid back in the days of the teeter-totter.
Despite these bland improvements, my kid still loves Bigelow park. That whole neighborhood is one of the best in Olympia. It has a soul. I think it is largely because of its excellent residential destinations. More neighborhoods should have places like the San Fransisco St. Bakery, where on a Sunday morning you can see everyone who lives within a 2 mile radius waiting sleepily in line for a cup of coffee and a pastry. There are also two small markets, Puget Pantry and Don's. Both good for a beer when its too late to drive to the big store, a popsicle on a too-hot summer afternoon, or for middle schoolers to buy candy on the walk home from school. I just don't understand why we zone business out of residential neighborhoods! Every good residential nighborhood has a few of these wonderful places where its possible to catch one's neighbor out before they've had a shave.
The same spirit of integration into residential life is what makes Bigelow such a great park. It is on a small hill, so you can see all the surrounding houses, but it is also distinguished by big shady trees. Its just big enough- the size of a city block, so it has no get-away places, but instead feels like a big public square. People cut through on their bicycles, and kids wander by in flip-flops looking for something to do. It has a few modest, classic amenities. The playground, basketball hoop, a few picnic tables, a small covered area, and a little baseball diamond.
There is also a small amphitheatre made of large sculptural slabs of stone. Most children prefer it to the playground. Toddlers like to step from rock to rock, testing their jumping abilities. Older children enjoy making concoctions in the bird bath that is carved into one of the rocks. Adults like to sit on the rocks and chat. Because it is such a small area, they are less nervous, and less likely to be interrupted by children demanding, "Watch me!" "Catch ME!" "Chase me!" and the like.
I like this so much better than many of the big, fancy parks I have been to. There's something so unique and so intrinsic about the small, square, city neighborhood park. I would like to see one such park in every residential neighborhood within city limits. I think the only ones we have currently that fit the bill are Lions and Bigelow.
And wouldn't it be great if there were more residential hang-outs like "The Bakery"? Westside residents ought to demand it!
If I were on city council, I'd be thinking about how we could use zoning to encourage more neighborhoods to have souls.


Why Not Tables?

[Bumped to the top by Rick -- overlooked during Port action]

I am thinking it would be great to have some permenent tables in Sylvester Park. In many parks in New York you will find the ubiquitous chess tables. They bring various gamers to the park and are quite popular. Depending on the neighborhood they are populated with chess players, checker players, or in Latino neighborhoods, domino players. I'm sure Olympia would give its own particular spin to this. Lappy users come to mind, not to mention coffee drinkers.

I guess what I'm saying is that the park needs a variety of seating opportunities and uses. To be sure, it is great to have the grass and benches, but the tables would increase the park's attractiveness and utility. The greater the seating opportunites the greater the use of the space. Sylvester park is far from being the kind of public space it should be.

I am certain there are other features that could be installed in Sylvester Park that would increase its utility. I personally would like to see some food vendor carts and opportunities for street musicians. There should be dancing in the streets, if not in the park.

» Crenshaw Sepulveda's blog | 11 comments | 1 new comment | 92 reads

What is the FBI doing here?

A number of people in Olympia have recently been questioned by the FBI in connection with some expensive acts of so-called "eco-terrorism". When the government talks about "eco-terrorism" they are not talking about acts of mass violence to the life of our eco-system, as the word sort of implies. Au contraire. They are talking about acts of destruction to property, in defense of the ecosystem.
Whether or not you think property destruction is an acceptable means of citizen action, I think that calling it terrorism is a bit extreme. In fact, I think its offensive. The concept that property has "sanctity of life" is an insult to real people who have lived through or died in horrible crimes like the bombing of the World Trade Center. The term terrorism is being hijacked (no pun intended) for political purposes because of its powerful historical connotation.
Drew Hendricks has compiled a history of the FBI's targeting of political groups for the Olympia Copwatch website. If you have any doubts that the FBI organizes against groups for political reasons, please investigate this history. You might also want to check out the Olympia Civil Liberties site, which has been set up as a response to the recent FBI surveillance and Grand Jury subpoenas.


Poll of the Week

What is the best place to work in Olympia?

The New Manium

The Manium is going under a very expensive remodel. It will have a 500 person capacity. If I understand correctly, its going to be an all-ages venue with a bar. (Cool.)

My predictions:
  • Is its going to be the next Bar Code/Thekla/Transit Center/Mario's. The Olympian and the city and everyone is going to be majorly up in arms about allowing teenagers into a place that has drinking. They will try to shut it down.
  • It will still be black.
The other news about it is that the management will do all the booking. This is the part that kind of sucks in my opinion.
I actually like the idea of having a bigger venue in Olympia. I think a lot of bigger bands would be happy to play here, but don't because there aren't many places to play. And I don't think it would compete with the local, smaller bands. In fact, it could create opportunities for them to play for more people. Not all change is bad. But I don't like that they do all the booking! I don't like it when people try to be professional concert promoters in Olympia. I think its dumb, and it takes away from the great collaborative, artsy, DIY spirit that Olympia has. If you want to be slick and make money booking shows, move to Los Angeles or something.
Does anyone remember Sunnyside Productions? Ten bucks per show. Exclusively mediocre bands from Seattle. The only people who showed up were middle class high school kids. Lame.
So, anyway. I think the new Manium is a mixed bag, but I am looking forward to watching the saga unfold.


On Courage

Sarah (on Olyblog) posts often, and I really like a lot of what she has to say. She also takes a lot of flack by conservatives that hang out on Olyblog, which she seems to be pretty good-natured about.
The NSM has targeted her because of her work with Unity in the Community. They talk a lot about her on their website. She gets regular hate mail and threats because of this. She recently posted about this on her blog, Olympia United Against Hate. Please note: this contains graphic, offensive language. It should be disturbing to anyone, but might be too much so for some people:
Pieces of the puzzle
At one point I decided to change the emphasis of my blog some, in hopes that the "other side" would also mellow out. No such luck. Time for me to do what is in my heart to do.

Read the excellent post over on Orcinus, fits into my post here handily.

So who is this man, this Matthew Ramsey, this Jim Ramm? We are able to piece together some of his journey, but what brought him here:


What brought this man to this point in his life to send this message to someone he does not even know?

Reading about various Neo-Nazis gives me some pieces of the puzzle. I've learned the lay of the land to a certain degree. Reading about and also reading and listening directly to their words has taught me more. Images can be a mind expanding addition to this learning process. The cut of a jaw, the way the features distort in mid scream, the shirt untucked, all tell us something.

But never enough. Why on earth would Mark Martin send me this:

Subject: Re: Fuck off you worthless slag! You commie whore

You say you don't hate, but you DO! You're a filthy jew-sucking, hypocrite!! DIE from AIDS you cunt!

What happened to these two men when they were children? What happened in their lives to bring them to that moment of sending hate emails to people they do not even know?

What brought them to this place of being able to easily dehumanize people, call them muds and sluts and commie scums and jews and mental deficients and you name it they say it.........why do those words trip so easily from their tongue? What brought them to this place of inciting violence, of deception, of experiencing their lives as WAR, with all the rest of us supposedly their subhuman enemies?

What the hell did this to them? Are they still able to make independent choices at all?
posted by Sarah at 5:42 PM

I wrote this to Sarah on Olyblog:

Sarah, you're our hero!


That really sucks. Those sort of words have so much power. They trigger such horrible thoughts that is a sort of a weapon. Sometimes I find myself getting wrapped up in fear. Recently I imagine things like the Nazis targeting my family- beating up my partner, harrassing my daughter, or showing up at my house. Or worse things. What helps me (though maybe its cheesy) is imagining myself as sort of a hero in the story. I think about this thing that Kevin (EGYHOP volunteer) said: that we as Americans need to reinvent heroism. We need to imagine a kind of hero that we can be. So I think of myself as a hero standing up for justice, and love, and the earth. (You can think of whatever your hero would stand up for-its probably stuff you already do.)

And I realize, wow. You don't have to be anyone pure or finished-up to be a hero. You just have to invent in your head an idea of what you think would be heroic and then do it. It really works, because if you think about it- heroism almost always has to do with being courageous, and courage is simply not being stopped by fear. So then your fear becomes like an opportunity to be heroic. Its fun.

Some great things have come out of this little thought process. Like for a while I was feeling scared about the FBI surveillence and their targeting of activists in town. I would imagine being watched, people I know getting arrested, or me getting unjustly arrested, or them murdering people and making it look like an accident, or whatever. I was scared to talk to anyone about this, because I was afraid of the FBI. I felt paralyzed. I had nightmares about a police state.I was basically peeing my pants.

And then I sort of conjured up a hero, and I realized that my hero would wear a t-shirt around town that said: "FBI:Survey This. " With a "one-finger salute" on it. So now I'm going to make that t-shirt. (I just hope they make note of it in my file.)

Most recently I've been e-mailing the NSM, politely but persistantly asking them to add me to their list of "NSM haters". This was something I was and still am afraid to do. So then I think, "Wow. I'd be so scared to do that. Oh, wait--I did. That is so cool." Anyway, that's what I do.

Another thing that inspired me was at the event tonight, a guy in the movie had Nazis throw a brick through his children's bedroom window. He was talking about how horrible it was to realize he couldn't protect his family. He was a doctor- I imagine someone very accustomed to having power. He said, "I realized that I could not protect my family. I had to let my community protect my family." And I think that is a beautiful thought. That is a really beautiful thing to imagine how many people that you don't even know, Sarah, are protecting you right now.


Not in Our Town

Tonight. 7pm at the Washington Center. Free. Hope to see you there.


Hendricks update and free gift offer!

"Drew Hendricks appeared in Thurston County Court at 3:30 pm today. He was arrested at 3:15 this morning at the Port of Olympia and is still in custody as of this writing. He is expected to be released at 7 pm. Drew is charged with 2nd degree trespass. He will be released on his own recognizance after his attorney verified his address. He is not required to pay bail. The judge restricted Drew from entering Port of Olympia property, at the request of the state. The judge did not specify how long this restriction would be in place.

Drew Hendricks is a committed Olympia CopWatch activist and host of Seeking Justice/Olympia CopWatch on Free Radio Olympia 98.5 Tuesdays at 5 pm. Drew is committed to keeping track of police activities and police violence, and CopWatch is the only organization that does so in the absence of a citizen review board in Olympia. Drew has covered many people's cases and their interactions with police, and police abuses in Olympia. Olympia, please return the favor and stand in support with Drew Hendricks now. "

posted by Sarah on Olyblog

To get your free gift: Please send me your snail mail address and I will send you a custom-made, hand-drawn "Drew for Port Commissioner" button. Great for wearing around town, to actions, and to Drew's trial!

Port Arrestees

Here is the current list:

Brendan Dunn, Drew Hendricks, Nikki Miller, Holly Carter, Josh Elliott and Glen Anderson

Brave Drew

I wrote a sort of convoluted and silly post last night at like 2:00 am on Olyblog suggesting that Drew Hendricks be elected Port Commissioner, and implying that no one else in town is quite geeky enough for the job. If you don't know Drew, he is a local citizen who moniters Olympia police activities, as well as being involved in a lot of other community issues. He is detail-oriented and full of amazing conspiracy theories that are usually true. I value him as a member of my community. He'd make a great Commissioner, though in all seriousness I think he probably gets more done as an activist. I did not know what he was up to last night.
An hour after I posted this, he was arrested on Port Property for trying to close the gate and stop a military convoy from entering to ship weapons to Iraq. Every person in this town should be down at the Port doing this in the next couple days. I really believe that these types of actions are pretty much the only area where we have power to stop the war in these times.
He is being held on charges of 2nd degree burglary. This is a class B felony and carries up to a 10 year sentence and $20,000 fine. Please show up to his hearing this afternoon at Courtroom 3, Building 3, at 3:30 pm and show your support.

Nazis Seek Speakers/Opposition for their Website

I've been dropping in on the National Socialist website more than I really want to since I made that post a few days ago.
It is a testament to the power of mere words. I mean its hard to look at that kind of stuff. I feel completely horrified, sick to my stomach, etc. And afraid. However unlikely, I am afraid that something horrible will happen in our town. I'm afraid that some wingnut will want to hurt me and my family.
They like to boast a lot about how much they scare people. In one part of their site they describe showing up at a Unity in the Community meeting:

"Justin first noticed the look of sheer terror on the faces of the commie scum. Their eyes bulged as they wondered if they were finally going to get the ass-kicking so richly earned. Of course, the NSM didn't show up to give anyone a boot party. We only retaliate legally by excerising our constitutional rights of freedom of speech and freedom of assembly.
Sarah, the leftist leader from Oly Unity, jumped up quickly to shake Justin's hand. Justin said: "It was a weak handshake and she was trembling in fear.
"... Justin then told scared Sarah that the racialists will be outside waiting. The meeting soon fell apart and they accomplished nothing. Some brave soul from the meeting walked outside to talk to justin. Justin said we will be back every month to hang with your gang regardless."

There seems to really be only one local Nazi, if that. The rest of the little handful that showed up to their rally are outsiders. Apparently the NSM has identified Olympia as being an area lacking in Nazi activity, so they are coming here to organize posing as regular local citizens.
On their website, however, you will see a growing list of "NSM haters", and "Pro-Communist Hate Groups" which includes many authentic local names of people who live here, and have lived here for years. It also has groups that have actual members and live meetings. If you send them an e-mail, they will be more than happy to add you or your group to this list. You may or may not get a lot of hate e-mail and Nazi traffic to your website. Of course, you might also get harrassed in real life. I haven't really found out yet.
They also have a section of their site dedicated to organizing the upcoming July rally in Olympia.
"We are creating a speakers list. We need all patriots who would like to speak email: Mindfelon@yahoo.com"
They said it, not me. If you feel you fit into this category, please e-mail them and let them know you would like to speak at the rally!
I'm scared. You know what feels great? Being afraid, and not being stopped.

Urban Layers: So Crazy it Just Might Work

In response to a letter to the editor suggesting we privatize our Port, I wrote this long and sort of unreasonable and insane post for Olyblog. I meant to just make a short post about how there might be a middle ground or something, but its late and I got carried away. I wonder if other revolutions have begun that way...

I think we ought to develop the bejeezus out of the Port. Zoning and private enterprise! Music to my ears. But seriously...
Let's sell the whole thing to the Urban Layers Project. Can you picture it? Truly mixed income housing: Relocated Fleetwood residents sharing a building with yuppies drawn in to the sexy, innovative, green-built cob condos. ("Cobdos?") And have some creative people renovate one of those warehouses into live/work artist's lofts.
It will also have a waterfront park with the new artesian well all finished off into a tiled wading pool, so not only can we fill our pitchers of water, but the kids can finally cool off without having to brawl 20 other kids for a spray from the interactive fountain. Maybe it will have a real outdoor pool, too. The park will also feature a basketball court, canoe and kayak rentals, and charter boats.
The Olympia Food Co-op could have a little healthy bodega. And the library will finally get that new building they've been asking for the last 15 years or whatever. We could expand the Farmer's Market to the size of the Pike Place Market. Maybe there will also finally be a downtown pharmacy, that would fill prescriptions for Plan B. Outdoor theater? Community arts center? I don't know.
All I know is that while the Port may be crumbling, we as a community are on the verge of growth. We could go the way of Seattle and many other cities. Grow like cancer and have our bottom fall out leaving us stuck with a bunch of empty overpriced condos and gentrified neighborhoods. Or we could think about what we want to grow. Unfettered private enterprise is not the answer, folks. We'll just get done the way Miller did our beloved brewery. We have to invest in enterprises with heart. People who are here for the long-haul. Heart can make money, but it won't just take the goods and skip town. Nor will it rot out the downtown core, leaving us locals stranded in neighboring communities while richer newcomers mushroom up in our place. Some people have said that Urban Layers is a pipe dream. But the Youngstown Cultural Arts Center in Seattle's Delridge neighborhood came up with 12 million dollars to do something equally ridiculous and revolutionary.Why can't we?

(This was edited slightly for clarity. Its still late.)



What This Town Needs had a small crisis of the html variety yesterday, and my internet subsequently went down so I was unable to fix it. I say it was small, but actually it was a gaping hole of blackness with floating links. It was horrifying.
Anyway, life goes on. Please do see the post that was MIA for that 36 or so hours.


Not in Our Town

I am one of the people in Olympia who did not show up to oppose the Nazi rally that happened recently. I didn't take it seriously. I thought it would be a bunch of angry teenagers running their mouths. I thought it best not to give them a grand entrance.
Then one day I visited their website nukeisrael.com and I saw the stuff they had written about people in our community. Not just racial slurs, but names, addresses, and phone numbers of individuals and groups they want to target. And I thought about Pete Bohmer and what its like for him to live in this town now. I feel so safe here. I bet he doesn't anymore.
I was wrong to write this off.
I can still remember when I was ten years old hearing of the murder of teenager Bob Buchanon in the train tunnel downtown. It really happened, and I lived here and walked by the tunnel afterwards. For me, Sylvester Park and the train tunnel are still haunted by that horrible event.
I am grateful that for so many years we haven't had much of a Nazi presence in Olympia. I'm sorry this is cropping up now. Let's never have something like what happened in 1992 happen here again. And let's show all the wonderful people like Pete Bohmer in Olympia (and the not-so-wonderful people too) that we have their backs. Unity in the Community

Not in Our Town,”
Documentary film about a community’s response to hate
Wednesday, May 24th, 7PM
Washington Center for the Performing Arts
512 Washington SE, Downtown Olympia
Sponsored by the Olympia School District Diversity Watch, the City of Olympia and Unity in the Community
Please attend the high school student led diversity forum and screening of “Not in Our Town” sponsored by the Olympia School District’s Diversity committee, the City of Olympia and Unity in the Community. This screening will take place at the Washington Center for the Performing Arts, located in downtown Olympia at 512 Washington SE.
All ages are welcome. Unity posters and stickers will be available and Unity volunteers will be collecting names to be listed in the Olympian ads. This event will offer a unique opportunity for a multi-generational dialogue on diversity and what to do when hate groups come to town.
This is the fist public screening of “Not in Our Town,” the inspiring documentary film about the residents of Billings, Montana who in 1993 responded to an upsurge in hate violence by standing together for a hate-free community. This video has being made available locally by Temple Beth Hatfiloh for educational purposes.
For more information please contact us at info@olympiaunityinthecommunity.org


Question of the Week

In honor of the Olympia Comics Festival:

If Olympia was a comic book, who'd be the superHERO?

Ok, sorry. If you wanted to vote for Oly's supervillian, I changed the poll. It just had too much potential to get ruthless and personal. Anyway, this blog is supposed to be about what we need. And what this town needs are more heroes...

City Chickens and Bad Neighbors

I want to preface this post by saying that I am not a Libertarian, nor do I want my commentary used to further the causes of unbridled capitalism and pillage of the earth.
But, that said:
I recently got this book from the library about raising chickens in the city. (In case you haven't heard, urban chickens are like oh-so-trendy now.) In this book, it listed the municipal codes for backyard chickens for every major American city. It really made our City Council look like a bunch of pansies for having this be SUCH an issue of contention, and then finally settling on a limit of 3 hens per household. That is very conservative, I found out! Many cities far larger than Olympia allow more hens than that, allow roosters, or have no limit whatsoever.
What a silly ordinance. People just love rules, don't they? There's hardly an issue that could come up between neighbors that doesn't have some city code written to settle it so that we don't have to be grown-ups. (I'm not going to expound upon that, cause I'm afraid if I think of one, pretty soon they will propose an ordinance to address it.)
Many people have large yards within the city limits of Olympia--arguably big enough for a small farm. We're talking about chickens here, not cattle! Far less noisy and smelly than most dogs. At least you don't need a permit, for God sakes.
I think there has got to be a conspiracy around this. They just don't want us producing our own food because it makes us self-reliant and happy. (Bad consumers.)
But by far the best city chicken code was in the fair city of New Orleans, where the only restriction on hen-keeping is that you obtain permission from all your neighbors. Hearing about this law really changed my world. I haven't stopped thinking about it for months.
We should get rid of all municipal code right now, and adopt this!!! "You may do whatever you choose, so long as your neighbor approves. Work it out, ya big baby."
I know, I know-you're thinking, "No way would I let my jerk neighbor decide what I can and can't do on my property."But which would you rather-let your neighbor govern your choices, or rely on the city government to make every single potentially annoying behavior illegal? Personally, I'd rather deal with the neighbors.
Order a "wherever chickens are outlawed, only outlaws will have chickens" bumper sticker.


Moratorium on Ugliness

I'm serious about this. Sometimes I drive by one of those God-awful frickin new housing sub-divisions that has replaced some lush little greenbelt, or pastoral little farm, and is indistinguishable from every other beige, squared cul-de-sac from here to the gulf coast, and someone says, "They are nice houses, though."
I stop. I look for some sign of irony in their expression, but I find nothing but a blank look. They're serious!
What exactly is "nice"? What does that mean to people?Because I thought that there was some sort of shared definition of what niceness was. To me, big trees are nice. Flower gardens are nice. Front porches are nice. Pastures and greenbelts and rivers and orchards are all nice. I thought this was something we could all get on the same page about! I thought "nice houses" were a bipartisan issue.
But to me cardboard houses are not nice. Lawns that come in rolls? Not nice. Garage vista houses? Yeah, no. I have another word for that kind of niceness: Ugly.
And I think that we need to call a full moratorium on ugliness. Stop messing around. You know as well as I do the difference between nice and ugly. Tract housing is ugly. Only nice things are nice. Let's just stop playing games, and stop building ugly, permanant structures all over our lovely county, and pretending they are nice.

Coffee & crepes 2

"Maybe the best thing to do is to set up a tax exempt non profit to set up such a facility, with the social services as the emphasis, and the buck a coffee and crepe as the funding mechanism."

Oh, anonymous genius. (sigh!) When will you reveal yourself, so I can write you in in the next mayoral election?

Bring Back Water St. Chinatown!

Hey, all you ten million undocumented people out there. Are you tired of being treated like unwanted refuse by your local community? Are the bosses trying to keep you illegal to keep your wages down? Is racism rearing its head all around you?
Come to our town. We need you here. We are suffering from a cultural famine here. Its been this way my whole life. Maybe its been this way ever since the persecution of Chinese immigrants in the 1800's that drove Olympia's Chinatown into the sea, so to speak. (Olympia's sizeable Chinese population faced such an extreme unwelcome campaign that they left their home--our home-- and moved to Seattle.)
I want to say now, (100 years too late?) that I for one welcome any immigrant in Olympia. Chinese, Vietnamese, Hmong, Mexican, Puerto Rican, Ethiopian, or anything else. Legal or not.
We're tired of Lacey having all the fun. Olympia's immigrants are lonely. People miss speaking their native language with anyone other than 3rd year foreign language students. Olympia misses what it has not yet had. A vibrant, multi-cultural community.
I can only speak for myself, but I say to American immigrants: Welcome. I will stand for you.

Homelessness Community Chat

Check out the Capitol Chat about issues of homelessness in Thurston County.


Coffee & crepes: YesYes!

So apparently the YesYes will be closing down. Olympia will be (yet again) losing a great all-ages concert venue/community space. This seems to happen every few years here. Remember the Arrowspace? The Alamo? Praxis? The Liberation Cafe? Tropicana? The list goes on.
Meanwhile we are still looking for a decent place to have a cup of coffee. Batdorf and Bronson lost all its charm when it moved across the street, and let's face it: it was never that charming to begin with.
We haven't had a really great, really Olympia coffee shop since the Smithfield. We need a place where coffee costs a dollar. Where not only is it "bus-your-own", but you can grab a bar towel and wipe up your own spills, too. Where people go to play chess with random strangers and write poetry on napkins. Where teenagers sit around playing guitar. Where crazy people spread out their wares on the formica tables and no one tells them to leave and people do weird performance art peices and people bug you for money and they have open mikes on Thursdays and AA meetings on Tuesdays. Whatever happened to those places? They used to be a dime-a-dozen. We don't need another place with Italian blown-glass light fixtures and brushed metal countertops and snotty baristas and $4.00 mochas. Enough is enough, Olympia.
Oh yeah, and you know what else it should have? Crepes.
We should have done this at the YesYes! Somebody should have opened up folding tables and chairs and broke out the air pots and a hot plate between 7AM and 7Pm and we could have paid the rent with coffee and crepes, and finally, after practically two decades, there'd be somewhere good to get a cup of coffee in Olympia!!!


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