Sometime between August 1st and September 1st, I thought this stuff was interesting. You might think so too!

  • The P-I error that changed Seattle history: "Occasionally, newspapers report factual errors. A well-intentioned interview subject gives bad information, a name is spelled wrong, a breaking news story is inadvertently peppered with grammatical errors. But no incorrect newspaper story has had a bigger impact on Seattle history than one published June 7, 1889."
  • 98.6 degrees is a normal body temperature, right? Not quite: “Forget everything you know about normal body temperature and fever, starting with 98.6. That’s an antiquated number based on a flawed study from 1868 (yes, 150 years ago). The facts about fever are a lot more complicated.”
  • The “I Am Steve Rogers” Joke in ‘Avengers: Infinity War’ Is the Definitive Captain America Moment: That’s who Captain America is, a man who listens to and believes in people when they tell him who they are. That’s a lesson we all should take away from that moment.
  • The Bullshit Web: “An honest web is one in which the overwhelming majority of the code and assets downloaded to a user’s computer are used in a page’s visual presentation, with nearly all the remainder used to define the semantic structure and associated metadata on the page. Bullshit — in the form of CPU-sucking surveillance, unnecessarily-interruptive elements, and behaviours that nobody responsible for a website would themselves find appealing as a visitor — is unwelcome and intolerable.”
  • Ignorant Hysteria Over 3D Printed Guns Leads To Courts Ignoring The First Amendment: "…in the last few days the hysteria [over 3D-printed guns] has returned… and much of it is misleading and wrong, and while most people probably want to talk about the 2nd Amendment implications of all of this, it's the 1st Amendment implications that are a bigger deal." Interesting. I'm not at all comfortable with wide availability of 3D-printed guns, but this analysis of the issues is worth reading.

I’ve finished uploading older photographs into my Flickr account for now. I’ve been concentrating on bigger “event” things to put into sets, rather than everyday stuff.

New sets since the previous update: The Jensonia Hotel fire, Kevin and Emily’s wedding, Bumbershoot ’03, Pride Day ’03, Bumbershoot ’02, Bumbershoot ’01, and Pride Day ’01.

And right at the end of the Pride Day ’01 set, just for Kirsten:

Seattle Gay Pride Parade, Seattle, WA

Stealing down an ally on a cold dark night
I see a halo in the rain around the street light
I stop and look, and listen to the sound
As the raindrops penetrate the silence all around
Alone, I gaze into the glistening street
The distant thunder echoing my heartbeat
Urging me on to a secret goal
Away from the light from this lamp on a pole
So I turn, slip away into the rain
Drifting like a spirit through the shadows in the lane
Clutching the tools of my trade in my hand
An old box of matches and a gasoline can
Darkness envelopes the scene like a shroud
A veil of emptiness hangs from the clouds
Filling up the cracks in this desolate place
Cradled by the night in an icy embrace

Moving to the town like a ghost in the rain
A dim reflection in a dark window pane
Blackness beckons from every side
Creeping all around like an incoming tide
A broken window in an empty house
I slip inside and begin to douse
The whole place with the fuel that will feed the fire
And push back the night, taking me higher
On out of the darkness in a defeaning roar
The match in my hand is the key to the door
A simple turn of the wrist will suffice
To open a passage to paradise
I pause, I think about the past and the gloom
The smell of gasoline permeates the room
Everyone has a little secret he keeps
I light the fires while the city sleeps

(Like the 4th of July)

The match makes a graceful arc to the floor
And time stands still as I turn for the door
Which explodes in a fireball and throws me to the street
I hit the ground running with the flames at my feet
Reaching for the night which recoils from the fire
The raindrops hiss like a devilish choir
Dying in the flames with a terrible sound
Calling all the names of the sleepers all around
But then in the arms of the night, they lay
Their dreams sprout wings and fly away
Out of the houses in a gathering flock
Swarming overhead as I hurry down the block
I make my escape with the greatest of ease
And savor the darkness, drop to my knees
And the lightless window, my hand on the latch
I reach in my pocket, and pull out a match

(Like the 4th of July)

MC 900 Ft. Jesus, “The City Sleeps

So, the big news of the moment is that we appear to have an arsonist running around North Seattle. It’s really freaky to think about — thirteen fires in the North Seattle area over the past three days, the majority of which have been definitely determined to be arson, and now there’s a reward of up to $30,000 for information leading to an arrest.

Local weblogger Danelope had a night of listening to sirens, and included links to Seattle Police scanners streaming audio (which, unfortunately, wasn’t working for me when I just tried to listen in) and a resource that I keep forgetting about, the live 911 incident list for Seattle. A little unnerving to go down the list, though, as right now there is an active “Fire in Building” listing at North 61st and Phinney with multiple units responding. While it’s a little tough to be sure, it looks like it’s at least possible that the local fire departments might have another busy night ahead of them.

It’s also a little concerning because Prairie’s sister Hope just moved into a new apartment in the North Seattle area. While so far the arsonist seems to be avoiding populated buildings, and there haven’t been any injuries, there’s always the possibility that a fire might spread to other areas. We’ll just keep our fingers crossed and hope that North Seattle’s big enough that any new fires don’t hit Hope’s area — or if they do, that everyone’s alert enough that nothing happens.

Freaky stuff.

Almost amusingly, though, it’s almost starting to seem that my time living in Seattle is going to be punctuated by fires of one sort or another. The summer I moved down here was one of the driest in Washington in a long time, actually putting the state into official drought status, and there were fires all across the state for much of the summer. When I went with some friends to see the Barenaked Ladies perform at the Gorge in central Washington, much of the weekend was scented with woodsmoke, as we were often no more than a few miles away from one of the fires.

After getting everything set up at the campsite, we packed ourselves into two cars, and headed down a quicker route back to the Gorge for the show. The way there was fascinating — currently, huge amounts of the state of Washington are on fire, and there were amazing clouds of smoke from the fires just 40 miles away or so in the sky. The smoke turned an otherwise clear night to a completely opaque murk. Just fascinating to see — and the smell of burning pine in the air was an added reminder that all this stuff wasn’t that far away.

While I can’t come up with any notable fires over the past two summers, earlier this year the Jensonia Hotel, next door to my apartment building, went up in flames three times over the course of a couple months (two of which I got pictures of, in January and in March), eventually being damaged enough that it has been permanently closed down. I still haven’t heard any word on whether or not those fires were ever determined to be arson or accidental, though.

And now we’ve got this going on right here in town. I’m quite curious is the responsible party is going to be sticking to North Seattle, or if things are going to spread. You can be sure I’ll be keeping my eyes and ears open.

Of course, all this did give me an excuse to post the lyrics to MC 900 Foot Jesus‘ “The City Sleeps“, written from the point of view of an arsonist on the prowl. This, of course, prompted Prairie to comment, “You WOULD have just the right creepy song in your collection!” :)

Benefits to being a music whore, I guess. ;)

Well, I was a bit of an idiot and walked out of the building without my bus pass today, so I’m going to be a bit late for work (which they’re okay with — when I called them, a three-alarm fire next door complete with road closures, some of which are still in effect, counted as a reasonable excuse for being a bit distracted).

Before I realized that I didn’t have my pass on me, though, I passed a TV news crew either filming a report for later or broadcasting live, and overheard the reporter say that Jensonia residents were only being let in the building to retrieve personal belongings, and that the Red Cross is going to be assisting them find places to live. Sounds like the Jensonia finally got shut down.

Now, off to find the next bus to Georgetown…

Update: According to this KOMO report, the building isn’t permanently shut down, though it is closed off for the next few days due to fire, smoke, and water damage.

My first indication that something was going on was hearing the sound of emergency vehicles from the street outside my window. Not an entirely unusual thing, but normally they’ll pass on by — hearing the blast of sirens combined with the compression of air brakes got my attention. Going to my window, I looked down the four stories to the street and saw fire trucks all over the place — one heading down the street to the west of our building (the Park Seneca apartment), another diagonally across the intersection of 8th and Seneca, a Fire Department blazer parked on the lawn of Town Hall, and I could see reflections from another set of emergency lights in the window of the building across the street.

As I looked up across the street at the people looking out their windows, I realized that one window had three women in it, waving to get my attention and pointing towards the far end of my building. Leaning out to look that direction, I saw smoke pouring around the corner of the building — not a good sign. Waving my thanks, I tossed on a pair of pants and went out into the hallway — but nothing seemed to be terribly amiss. No smoke, and none of the doors seemed warm as I pressed my hand against them working my way down the hall.

Smoke from next door

Starting to wonder if it was the Jensonia Hotel next door, I tried to slide the window at the end of the hallway up, only to have it fall off in my hands. A little startling, and I almost lost my balance, but once I set it down and looked out the window, I saw the source of the smoke. An old chimney on the Jensonia was belching out wave after wave of thick, black smoke. Obviously something had caught fire next door — not a happy thought, but happier than if it had been my building. I wedged the window back into place, came back into my apartment and sat back down.

Then the fire alarm in our building went off.

My lord those things are loud.

Quickly I pulled on socks, shoes, and a sweater, tossed my coat on, and headed back out into the hall, just in time to be passed by three of the firemen. “Where’s the fire?” they asked.

“Next door.”

“What?”

Firemen in the hall“Here — there’s smoke pouring out of the chimney next door.” I and another tenant who’d come out of his apartment showed the firemen to the window, pulling it back out of the casement again so they could see the source of the smoke. They radioed down to the rest of their crew, some of whom were already investigating the building next door, and I headed downstairs to the street.

Heading down the stairs, I had to laugh a bit. Seeing the ladder from a fire truck extended to the roof of your building outside your hallway window just isn’t an everyday sight (thank goodness)!

Fire truck with extended ladderOut on the street, I joined a small crowd of other tenants who’d also evacuated. Most of them didn’t know what was going on, so I filled them in on what little I knew while we waited. After a few minutes, the firemen were sufficiently convinced that our building was safe after all to give us all permission to head back in. Unfortunately, the fire alarm was still merrily wailing away — the switch to turn it off is behind a locked door, and our on-site property manager has a second job and wasn’t at the building, and nobody had her emergency contact number on them. We all stood around watching the firemen assigned to our building pack up and maneuver their equipment out of the street (ever seen a fire truck parallel park before?) while they decided what to do next.

Eventually, the simplest solution seemed the best, and a few of the firemen went down to the basement to force open the door to the sprinkler system. A few moments later, the alarm stopped, and we all started filtering back in.

Hose attached to the standpipeBefore going back in, another tenant and I asked the firemen just what had gone on. It turns out that there was a small (but very smoky) boiler fire next door that sent smoke right up the old chimney. Because of the rain and slight breeze, though, it sent the smoke nearly sideways over our building, so that as they were driving up the street towards us it looked like there was a huge blaze coming up right from our roof. They figure it was probably when they hooked their hose to our building’s standpipe and started pumping water into it that our alarm got triggered.

So. That was my morning. How was yours?