Archive for November, 2005

Best radio station ever!

Now that we’ve moved to Seattle, we’re lucky enough to be able to just turn on the radio in the car and get C895 over the air. I had always enjoyed listening to this radio station when I was up here to visit, but never found listening on the Internet to be nearly as convenient as turning on the radio.

C895 is one of only about 3 or 4 almost-entirely techno/dance/whatever-you-want-to-call-it radio stations I’ve found in the US. I know there’s on in Miami, and I think there’s one in Dallas. Maybe one in DC too? Anyways, as I’ve traveled around a few days at a time so much these last few years, I typically lock in on whatever is the “best” radio station in the area pretty quickly and I haven’t found too many truely great ones.

But here in Seattle, I ran into C895 probably within minutes of gettting off the plane the very first time. It’s just one of those sort of stations where as you spin the tuning dial past 89.5FM, you’re almost guaranteed to say — “wait just a second, I’ve only ever hear that song on BBC Radio1” or something to that effect. Just awesome.

They’re even one of just eight stations that make up the “Billboard Dance” chart.

But here’s the kicker. It’s a high-school radio station. Seriously.

I remember my high school radio station… and to be fair, I was never involved in my radio station in high-school, I just remember it… and it was nothing like C895!

Heck, I remember my college radio station (WUSC) at USC, where Jodi was actually quite involved (she ran a show there for a couple of years). I set up the first internet stream at WUSC back in 1998 or 1999ish, so it was pretty cool for the time (although by far not the first to do so). But the broadcast range and the shows hosted at WUSC paled in comparison to C895 (KNHC).

Wow. A high school radio station. With no commercials. And 90%+ great dance music shows.

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Kite Runner

Finished “Kite Runner” about 2 weeks ago and just realized I never wrote up anything on it. Whoops!

Anyway, this was a pretty interesting book. I had seen a few people reading it and it was on the Audible.com recommendation list, so I figured I’d give it a try. It was actually quite good and interesting. I really liked the author as the narrator (if you do the audible book) and he added to the ethnic feel of the story with his easily understandable accent. This is not always the case when an author reads his own book, so it’s a fortunate bit of luck here.

It’s one of those books where I started to make plot assumptions early on, and I was surprised to find that very few of my (negative) assumptions were borne out. Hopefully this won’t give away too much of the plot, but I assumed that one of the main characters would “turn evil” and it didn’t happen. And I assumed that another of the main characters would “have something horrible happen to him”, and that was only partially correct.

The story really picked up when we jumped ahead 25 years and find the story resuming again in Afghanistan. There was a great deal of tension at that point, and the main character has an opportunity to “make things right”. Will he – for the first time in his life – make the right decisions?

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Lou Dobbs polls

Jodi and I have taken to watching “Lou Dobbs Tonight” over the last few months. It’s an interesting show, if for no other reason than because he and his staff cover lots of stories that never get picked up by the other outlets.

One thing that’s been a bit droning to me in watching the program is the relentless focus on the “broken borders” (ie – illegal immigration). It’s an interesting topic, and certainly the appalling handling of it currently is something to be quite concerned about. They spend a significant part of each show talking about this one issue.

Clearly this is because it resonates with a large part of the shows regular viewers. This is regularly borne out by the poll results at the end of the show, but this one from last Wednesday was so funny (scary?) that I had to snap a screenshot of it:

DobbsPoll

I mean, come on… no surprise that the average Lou Dobbs viewer is against additional spending for the war in Iraq. But a 5:1 result against both “Medical Research” and “Rebuilding the Gulf Coast”??

Fixing the “broken borders” is very important, but it’s clear that the (admittedly small sampling of) 3040 voters at the time I snapped this view are living in a fantasy world!

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Rent – the movie

Jodi and I went to see the movie version of Rent tonight. I had read some early reviews, and wasn’t sure what to expect.

Quick disclaimer – Rent is, I think, the only musical stage production I’ve seen more than once since I used to do theatre work back in high school. It is, unquestionably, my favorite musical theatre production. I clearly have a bias.

Ok, that out of the way, the movie was SPECTACULAR! The acting was great. The music and singing were great. The story was spot on. A definite 4–star production!

I was particularly impressed that they brought a huge chunk of the cast in from the original Broadway musical production to reprise their roles. I was also particularly impressed that Jesse L. Martin was actually in the original cast. Now THAT I had no idea from watching Law and Order.

In any event – If you’ve seen the musical and liked it, go see it. The movie is in many ways even more forceful (more solid visualizations in the sets, you can see their facial expressions up close, etc). Even if you’ve not seen the musical, you’ll still enjoy the movie.

I sure did!

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Last weekend

Last weekend Jodi and I tried two cool new things:

  • We went skiing at Summit West (@Snoqualmie Pass). Both Jodi and I had been skiing before, but it’d been 10 or more years for each of us. I got off to a rocky start, but was doing ok by the end of the day. We got the special EZ Ski/Ride 1,2,3 package for beginners (lift ticket, rentals, and lessons for 3 days) so we’ll be back at least twice more this season.
  • We tried out a new pizza restaurant near our condo — All Purpose Pizza at 29th and Jackson. Jodi and I and our neighbors Dennis and Beth all went over the six blocks and were pleased to see it was quite hopping. Jodi and I both liked the pizza, so I’m sure we’ll be back.

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Wanton destruction

I just noticed this out the window. It appears that sometime during the last 24 hours, someone decided it would be fun to ride a motorbike all through the grass over at Washington Middle School.

They tore up the landscaping but good and made a muddy mess. Hopefully someone saw them do it and reported a good description to the police!

DSC_0574

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Upfront with Robert Mak

Today being Sunday, I’m reminded once again of a post I’ve been meaning to make for a while:

Robert Mak is awesome!

During the summer and the early-fall “pre-election” season, at some point I saw a promo for Robert’s “Upfront” show (KING5 – Sunday at 4:30pm, plus other times it’s rebroadcast). Anyways, long story short I was hooked. It’s a great local politics show, covering city, county, and state issues in much more depth than you’ll see in a 2 minute segment on the news. Interviews with candidates, short and informal debates, review and dissection of ads for the various ballot initiatives… if it’s important to Seattle politics, he’s got it on that show!

So bravo Robert Mak! You’re on my weekly “must watch” list and I really appreciate what you do for Seattle political awareness!

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Steven Sinofsky blogs about Seattle

Steven Sinofsky (senior vice president of the MS Office group) with a great post about Seattle. He hits the nail on the head, and actually mirrors some of the points I was saving up for a similar post at some point.

Short version: Seattle is a great place to live!

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UVTN plan for 23rd-24th Ave corridor

Reading through the transit plan to figure out where our neighborhood lands in the Urban Village Transit Network (UVTN) strategy, I was pleased to see that for the North/South connections we actually end up in the 2007 plan!

From: http://www.cityofseattle.net/transportation/transitnetwork.htm (page 59), we’re item #15! Phase 1 – 2007, baby! I’m super glad we’re right directly between the UW hub and the McClellen LRT hub.

Here’s the most important part of the Phase 1 map (click for the whole thing in PDF):

2007plan

This is great, most particularly because of the cool new QoS work they’re focusing on in the targeted corridors:

  • Frequency – At most 15–minute service intervals
  • Span of Service – They run the high frequency service for lots of hours (at least 6am-6pm, potentially as late as midnight depending on the line!)
  • Reliability – Bus is running on time (ie – No more than 1–3 mins late… not 3 buses that could be connected by tow-lines to save on fuel, followed by 40 minutes of no buses).
  • Passenger Loading – Buses 86–100% of rated capacity, not packed like sardines (which makes the bus late due to time spent loading/unloading at each stop).

I’m also excited that they’re considering express bus service on this corridor too. I’ve always found it frustrating that >50% of my travel time from the house to work is spend on the 3 miles up to Montlake, while the other 40–50% is spent waiting for and then riding the 545 express bus the other 10 miles out to Overlake. The 48 bus makes too many stops, which makes it late. There should be a “only stops at key points” express route on this corridor. I’m holding out hope we may someday see this.

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SDOT’s updated Seattle Transit Plan

Updated as of November 7, 2005 – http://www.cityofseattle.net/transportation/transitnetwork.htm

This has some great info for transit diehards. Maps, graphs, tables. You name it!

Key interesting stuff for me was the focus on the Urban Village transit connections and the service levels they hope to provide on some of these corridors as early as 2007!

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