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Café Racer shootings -- a day-after analysis

Yesterday the Café Racer shootings occurred.


Mentally ill guy, off his medication, walks into café, opens fire on people inside.

Word around the neighborhood is that the guy had been to Racer previously, apparently being creepy. He'd been 86'd once or twice.

What was going thru his head? Will it make sense to a person who isn't mentally ill?

Possibly he wanted retribution for being treated as less than a good customer. Maybe he saw his 86ing as an injustice.

Possibly he perceived everyone in Racer as his enemies, everyone against him, and he wanted to end their lives.

Some guy was in his own little world, deep inside his head, slaughtering people who, outside his head, were innocent café regulars. The rage burning behind his eyes was probably too much for him to turn off.

The Racer customers were probably having a good time just hanging out, laughing and talking and consuming delicious drinks and pastries, enjoying the atmosphere. Our gunman was probably jealous that he couldn't do that himself.

One man's malfunctioning brain was the death of five people yesterday.

     How it affected me

This is my neighborhood--the Roosevelt district. The Ravenna district is further west, towards the Rav Tav.

See the two yellow stars near the middle of the picture? Café Racer is the one on the bottom, with the "A" marker. My house is on 12th, just above NE 62nd St.

It was way too close to home. I started getting really scared. There was a gunman on the loose. Not only that, but he fled north from Racer.

He could have been anywhere around my house. I was home with my kids,  effectively trapped inside.

I was afraid for a good deal of the day. The fight-or-flight instinct was kicking in. It was sunny and warm outside; dark inside.

I was vigilant in keeping my eyes and ears out for strangers coming up my stairs. Any random noise outside was suspicious. Like a fool, I went downstairs and checked my basement, to see if there was anyone hiding out down there. If the gunman was down there, I might be dead now. Next time there's a gunman on the loose in my neighborhood, remind me not to leave my kids alone in the house for even one second.

The gunman looked just like a Seattle hipster--white dude, unkempt mop of brown hair, and brown beard. He could have been any one of the many dudes around our Roosevelt neighborhood here who fit that exact description.

So the day is dragging by, and I'm sorta glued to the computer for any updates on the situation. Megan came home from work at four, and I went to school. I had three papers due last night by seven--I finished two, and got an extension on the other.

Before I could even start writing, however, I had to follow the news a little more and do some Tweeting and Facebooking of the unfolding details. It was an exciting time, though disturbing, terrifying, and sad.

My bus ride to school was not the normal kind, cause I sat in the forward-facing seat nearest the front. This middle-aged black dude with beanie and a fucked up tooth or two was right in front of me. He was having an adamant but civil conversation with a slightly older middle-aged black dude, thickly and tastefully bearded with a ball cap, sitting directly across the aisle and facing him.

Dude in front of me was saying that if Mt. Ranier blows, there's no way the city would be evacuated in time. It would take about 15 days, he estimated, for everyone to leave the city. Other dude was saying he'd take his truck on the back roads to get outta town. 

They start looking at me as they talk, I start reacting and soon I'm part of the conversation. Neither of them had heard about Café Racer yet, so I told them about it. The whole time dude in front of me was talking about natural disasters, all I could thing was that that's far down the road, and the murder going down that very day was far more pressing.

Another middle-aged white man with this cool goatee, curly, previously-blonde dyed hair and business attire, who sat across the aisle from me sometime during the conversation. He joined in the conversation as soon as I told the two black dudes about Racer, mentioning the carjacking at 8th and Seneca.

Everyone on the bus behind us got real quiet, too. They heard our whole conversation. It was an almost-full bus. We were all joined in solidarity on the issue--all siblings in fear, so to speak. A few more people joined in the conversation. The issue right then was whether or not the police had procured a photo of the guy.

Seriously--when shit like this happens, people really come together. It's beautiful to experience, yet sad, because tragedy is often the catalyst.

I got to school. My nervousness about leaving Megan home alone with the kids was dispelled as soon as I opened my computer, in a lone classroom, after I'd gotten food.

For an hour or more, I was further glued to my computer. The killer was caught; killed himself; the downtown and the Racer killings were linked, tentatively, then definitely.

I calmed down and got to work.

     Resuming normal life

When class started, Florangela gave a little speech, from the bottom of her heart, about the shittiness of the day's events. She spoke about how, on a day like yesterday, everything else can feel less important; useless, even.

But the silver lining in all of this is that there are many, many people doing nice, beautiful, artistic things. The world is not full of people doing terrible things, though it can seem that way on such a shitty day.

And telling stories about people is an important part of keeping terrible things at bay. People knowing about other people helps keep us grounded and relatable with one another. Love pervades in this way, which hinders hatred.

I gave my presentation in class. I mentioned how I had interviewed my subject at Café Racer, and there was a band setting up at the time and making music in the background, and that we could have been hearing a ghost in the recording. 

The whole class gets heavy faces. My presentation was marred by the Racer shootings, even.

It was our last class together. I sort of bolted out of there--some people, I could tell, wished I would have stayed. They were giving me forlorn glances as I walked out.

Riding the bus home, I got off a couple stops early. I walked to Café Racer, without knowing if anything was going on.

First, I saw news vans with antennas reaching high into the sky. Slowly the mass of people materialized as I turned the corner from Ravenna onto Roosevelt. It was a full-on vigil, son. A beautiful, though saddening thing.

I stayed for a while. The flowers in front of the place were beautiful. It was an altar of life, given to the dead. I didn't know anybody there, and yet they were all my friends. 

So many people were affected. Everyone living in the Roosevelt and Ravenna neighborhoods either knew directly, or was one or two degrees from them.

And, of course, it was like Café Racer had died a little itself, that day. It was up to the vigilant to breathe new life into it, by sharing in their sorrows and mourning together.

Here are a couple photo galleries of the vigil that I found this morning, from The Seattle Post-Intelligencer and Time.

The real show was across the street from Racer, down NE 59th St. Check my map above for a reference. The street was full of people, young and old, hipster, punk, normal, abnormal, all races. I slowly mulled through the crowd until I got to the middle, where there was this big circle of people singing some sort of traditional Jewish song of praise.

A guy I used to work with at Pies and Pints, Gus Clark, was leading the song, holding his accordion, face to the sky. Feeling it.

Two people that died yesterday were in God's Favorite Beefcake, of which Gus is a member.

Though I have a grudge against Gus, because we didn't get along, and I got fired over writing harsh notes to him, calling him out for his sloppy bullshit and how he's a shit cook... I have to respect what he went through. Loss of life is devastating when it comes too quickly; too suddenly.

Reanne was there, too. Crying and hugging desperately on somebody, which she is want to do in tragic times, or when she drinks too much. I was with her at Pies when Vincent Gallapaga died. She wouldn't look at me after I caught her eyes.

I walked away. I wished someone would walk after me and ask me to stay, but I also knew it wouldn't happen. The reason I left was selfish. I wish I would have stayed longer. I'm kicking myself for that. I might have been able to make someone feel better, and that should have been enough for me. I owed it to my neighborhood to show solidarity, but I left for a personal, long-standing, deep grudge.

Call it what you want.

However, it was good to go home to Megan. We spent much of the rest of the night talking about it. We were both freaked out, and needed to get a lot of stuff off our chests.

Everything was fucked yesterday. 

However, my family is safe, and my neighborhood is effectively stronger. I'm planning on going to Racer tonight after class too.

Thanks for reading. My sorrow runs deep and I'm glad I got this story off my chest. I hope I get the chance to read others' personal stories of what happened yesterday.


Toilet training headway achieved

Lucybeans levels up

Well, the older kid's sleeping till 7:30 these days, which is bloody perfect.

The other kid's waking up at 6:30, religiously, dans poo. Effectively, every morning it's like, "Hey, wake up! Here's some shit."

You wake up changing a poopy diaper, you're gonna get Mr. Hankey the Christmas Poo stuck in your head. It's a given. And though that song is funny, it loses its appeal the 11th time it runs through your head, antes de las siete en la mañana, sin café.

In other news, they're both beautiful little girls. Muy bonitas y tan inteligente. They make me endlessly happy.

Meanwhile, Lucy has peed in the toilet twice since I wrote last.

I'm very proud of The Beans for progressing in this Potty Training quest. The quest marker has disappeared from her compass and the world map.

A few days ago, I sat her on the toilet sometime in the afternoon. Twice, pants around ankles, she got and walked out of the bathroom, telling me she peed. Both times it was just a drop--a spot on the bottom of that little, plastic, lime-green, half-sphere.

I sat her back down on the little toilet a third time.

A minute passed. She came out of the bathroom a third time, pants around ankles, but this time she wasn't full of beans. She totally had a full pee.

Never before have I been so excited to see a golden pool.

High-fives all around. I was happy, and Lucy was happy that I was happy. I dare say she was proud of herself.

Yesterday, I sat her down on the toilet again. There was a lot of crying and protesting on the way to the bathroom. At one point I was dragging her by her hand across the kitchen floor as she cried sorrowful antijubilations.

A half hour later, she totally peed. Easiest one yet. I think this is the beginning of an uphill climb.


Sometime this past month, for about a week, I was letting Lucy play video games right after waking. She would sometimes even skip her graham crackers and milk routine, vegetating on the couch for like, as long as I'd let her. Some days, two hours would go by.

It made my job easier, but for the wrong reason. I could see her mind melting out her ears. I knew it wasn't right.

Then one day at school last week, I was confiding in a Noble friend about the toilet training issues I'm having. She said that if it were her, she'd just take all tv away.

It took a minute for that to sink in. I must have given her a weird look, cause she followed that with, "But that's coming from someone who doesn't have kids."

Thank you, Noble. It worked. I was tired that day.

Megan and I needed to solidify our toilet-training plan. We started with just taking away her favorite tv show, Go Diego Go! That show in particular became the reward we'd promise her, along with a cookie to sweeten the deal. During the day, we'd let her watch other tv shows--Blue's Clues, Curious George, Strawberry Shortcake and the like.

It wasn't enough. She wasn't learning any faster that atop-toilet-defecation is an unstoppable part of life. I think we were giving her a mixed message, but I can't specifically narrow down what it may have been. That's delving too far into the psychology of kids, a field in which I am not educated.

After taking all tv away and making the viewing of it conditional on toilet success, combined with daily sits on the toilet, Lucy began making headway in just a few days.

And gol'darnit, my sensitive reader, if something awesome didn't just happen when I was in the bathroom with Lucy just today, typing this. She was on the toilet, and she peed right in front of me. And she was totally ok with it---talking to me mid-stream, saying,

"I can get Diego! And a cookie. Mama's gonna bring some cookies home! Mama's gonna stay in the house, and yer gon' go to school, but mama will be home very soon, when I go to bed. 'Cause it's a GREEN toilet!"

So here we are now, on the couch in the living room. Diego's on, and she already played some Zelda. I'm listening to video game cover music in jazz form on headphones. BB's sleeping. The coffee seeps thru my veins.

Life is gooooooood. Seriously, I feel great right now.

Tonight, I've got a date to meet with the dudes from Bukkake Bloodbath.

I know, I know. Here's how it went down--a guy named David, with a thick Spanish accent, calls me and says he loves my ad in The Stranger, where I say that I want to bring black metal back to Seattle. He sounded way down, but also didn't sound very committal on starting up a serious project.

But he did want to network, and just talk and play and jam and see what happens. And he sounds totally metal. So we'll see what happens.

It's going down tonight sometime, if he gets back to me. I'll have to text him soon. Since I get up earlier than virtually EVERY PERSON IN ANY BAND EVER, I always have to wait till like noon to text band friends.

So that's cool. Also, I finished my final project for Digital Storytelling. Here it is.

Not the best work ever, but it was my first of this sort. So it's not going to be that great. Novice work never is. But I plan on pursuing this medium further come summer, independently.


Glenn argues a case for women

Probably puts foot in mouth

Ladies, you don't have to doll yourselves up.

Just thought I'd express that--you're people, not objects.

No matter how many glamour models the world throws at you on tv and online, you don't have to emulate them. You're not required to wear makeup. You don't have to please people. You don't have to worry about what anyone thinks.

No matter what anyone says, you're perfect.

No one needs to look glamourous. Not on tv, not anywhere. I wish there was less of an emphasis on beauty among the realm of women.

Although, I'm not a woman, so I don't know exactly what I'm talking about. However, I have a pretty good idea. Don't make me get out my textbooks from my Gender in Society class to prove my point.

Don't be afraid to gain some pounds. Fat women are underrated. There's nothing wrong with being fat--in my mind, it makes the woman more attractive.

Viva la mujer, in all her forms.

But--there's body image issues every woman faces. And no one exactly wants to be fat, for health reasons. So I feel for you ladies. The world wants of you what is most difficult--to act against your natural biology.

I will offer this: women are built to hold more fat than men. Women are the stronger sex, able to survive outdoors and without food longer than men. Women have the harder time simply living, what with having those ovaries, wombs and menstrual cycles. That's gotta suck.

Also men are trying to ask you out just to get a chance to fuck you all the time. And married men are trying to fuck you. And men everywhere are horny monkeys, thinking with their dicks. And men are the rapists and criminals, not women. I'd look up statistics if I wasn't mostly sure I'm right.

Prove me wrong! Seriously, if I'm speaking out of turn here, let me know.

I just want to stand up for the woman in all of us.

As you'll remember, boys, we're all born as women--the default sex. Our penises are enlarged clitorises. Women might feel more free to show their emotions than us, and talk more than us, and empathize more than us, and work harder than us, and have to birth the kids, and be degraded at almost every turn in modern media and when political policy regarding their reproductive rights are concerned, but... but nothing.

Let the gays marry and let women abort babies they don't want to have -- FOR ANY REASON.

There are enough people in the world anyway, no one's losing out there.

No one wants to have an abortion--it's not a decision made lightly, and women don't just go fucking around and having abortions like it's candy. To my knowledge.

The Bible says gay marriage and abortion are wrong, sure, but the Bible instructs us to do a lot of stuff we don't do as an enlightened society. The Bible is no book to hold as an example of how to live today.

Interesting article from the Harvard University -- Why Women Live Longer than Men by William J. Cromie (1998).

... I will say this. When women do look glamourous, and it's tasteful and done well, like on the cover of certain Joss Stone and Tina Turner albums I just saw on Spotify, well...

They look awesome, and I want to follow them around and take orders from them and kiss their feet.

A woman will be President one day, I can feel it coming. The world is not ready yet, which is sad, but the writing is on the wall.


Birthday Sneakup

I'm laying in bed and I'm tired and I may not edit this correctly but here goes:

My baby Beatrix has lived outside her mother's womb for 365 days today. And the occasion flew right past us--our whole family.

My quarter in school is just wrapping up, which means studying is getting intense. Megan's working full time, as per usual. Neither of us are sleeping enough. Lucy is terrified of pooping and peeing in the toilet, and it's miserable for us parents.

All of this comes with the territory of having kids, I know, and it's no reason to forget a birthday.

Well, we didn't forget, per se, but it snuck up on us. Megan's gonna make a chocolate cake this weekend, though. I'm sure that will make up for the loss.

I've been such a space cadet lately. When a box of AWESOME PRESENTS for BB came in the mail from my mom a few days ago, I decided to shoot a video of her, Lu and I opening it and discovering what was inside. And in the video, I go, "Now why would my mom send us a box of presents for BB?" And I wasn't even joking.

Then I go, "Oooh, it's her birthday! A little late, but good anyway."

My brain was telling me that her birthday had already passed. I need to get some more sleep.

Today I got an important big project completed for skool, and now it's just tomorrow, then my 3-day weekend from skool, the Memorial Day makes it a 4-day-er, and for good reason, and then one more week. Just one more week.

My senior friends all say their minds are somewhere else now. Sniff, I wish I was graduating. Sad emoticon.


Nothing is going right today

Yesterday I spent all day preparing for an interview.

When I did the interview, it went really well. My subjects talked about some great stuff, there were great quotes, I was getting excited, they were getting excited, and we all were looking forward to the final product (2-min audio slideshow for class).

This morning, I go to transfer the audio from the recorder to my computer.

It's not there.

My face gets hot as my blood begins to boil.

I fucked up. Somehow. I don't know exactly how. But I fucked up.

My deadline is in two days.

I want to scream and punch a hole in a wall, but my kids are around. So I'm bottling it up and trying not to act like a dick, while my insides tremble with anger and fear.

See, last night was a re-interview. The first time I interviewed my subjects, I kept interjecting my own voice in there. I had no idea how not to be conversational, and as a result the audio was unusable. There was too much of me in there, laughing like a fool and saying, "Yeah," "Uh huh," "No kidding!" "Ha ha ha," "Really? No way!"

So I asked my subjects if I could re-do the interview. They said yes, and were gracious enough to let me into their home a second time, taking time out of their day to allow me to polish what I'd fucked up.

The interview was stellar! Some new stuff came up. I was quiet, and I let them talk. I came home glowing, confident, at ease, feeling accomplished and that I'd done well.

This morning, all in the space of a minute, it comes crashing down. As good as I felt last night, I feel the opposite now.

My dumb ass can't even make sure the recorder I rented is recording properly.

My dumb ass can't even figure out that you don't plug the mic into the headphone jack--I remember I did that yesterday.

My dumb ass can't figure out that the button labeled 'PLUG-IN POWER' has to be pressed to let the external mic pick up a signal.

I figured all this out this morning, as I'm searching thru the recorder's memory card over and over. Nothing. I begin experimenting to see what I might have done last night to let the audio from the interview slip out into thin air, lost forever.

I think I'll do better next time. The only problem is there won't be a next time--this is the final week of classes, and this whole interview project is the final project, due Wednesday.

As I'm typing this, Lucy is throwing herself on the floor right beside me because I won't put her clothes on for her. I'm not responding. It's the best I can do right now.

I had to change two poopy diapers before 7:30 a.m. today.

BB woke me up at 6:30 a.m. for the first one.

Blue's Clues is like razors in my ears.

I need to calm down. I'm very scared. And very disappointed in myself. Like, royally disappointed. I royally fucked up. I can't believe how stupid I was. Hurried, rushed, and inconsistent.

I didn't even get ambi.

Then I think about it for a minute, and call it beginner's bad luck. It doesn't help, but I'm trying to tell myself something.

I despise myself. It does not feel good. I slapped my face with both my hands, twice. I felt the hardness of my ring on my forehead. It made Beatrix cry.

I don't want to ask my subjects to do it a third time. That is not professional. I'm resigning myself to working with my shitty audio. My final project will be less than the awesome thing I intended it to be, but at least I'll have something.

Maybe I'll get by with a B in the class.
After I've kind of taken all this in, about an hour ago, I get a call from a prize sweepstakes thing. Turns out an online survey I completed last night, in order to get a $100 gift card for Gamestop, was, uh, successful.

They called me this morning, telling me I'd won! They were all like, "Congratulations!"

I was thinking, 'This should make today a little better.'

Then what happens? My phone drops the call. No signal. I try to call back, but an automated voice says, "Bye!" and it hangs up.

They haven't called back.

Nothing is going right today.


Kids and Video Games: Yay or Nay?

Video games and kids--what's healthy and what's unhealthy about it?

I ask because my oldest, Lucy, has taken to playing The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword.

Her first video game love is Super Mario 64. Mario's voice and movements cracked. her. up. when I first showed the game to her. She'd start mimicking the sound effects and stuff too, funny stuff.

Simply moving Mario in the direction she wanted him to go was the hardest part to learn for her. She came close to mastering it, but then Megan bought me Skyward Sword for my birthday. Showed that game to her, let her play it, and like a fish to water, Lucy was immediately interested.

It was playing this game that honed her directional skillz on the controller. She doesn't hold the nunchuck ("unchuck") and the Wiimote ("the black fing") at the same time, opting instead to hold one at a time with two hands, switching off periodically.

This shit is awesome!
Playing video games has replaced tv for her! "Can I play Zelda?" was her first request today, and she played over an hour. She was sedentary, on the couch, laying there just like a fat lazy gamer. Like her old man.

Segueing perfectly into my next point, I put this question to my readers:

How healthy or unhealthy are video games for kids?

Here are some pros, in my mind:
It's been teaching Lucy how to multitask, respond to stimuli, take action when something bad is happening, and steer. Basically.

Here are some cons, in my mind:
She's just sitting there on the couch for hours.

Here's an argument to that point: she does that with tv too.

Oh, she also likes to play Super Street Fighter IV, which is probably way less healthy than Skyward Sword, just for the sake of the violence. It's really cartoon-y and there's no blood, but still those characters are punching and kicking and being mean to each other.

I don't think it's gonna encourage Lucy go hitting and kicking other kids, but I still don't think it's good to make her used to the idea. The damage has probably already been done with the time she's already spent with the game. I'm just thankful she's more interested in Zelda now. There's so much more freedom with that game! Any mature gamer would choose Zelda over Street Fighter.

Next question: Is playing video games, for a 3-year-old, less or more healthy than tv?

I'm inclined to say yes, but I don't have scientific or pediatric data on the subject. So if anyone out there, parents or teachers especially, has had experience with this issue, tell me your story and how you handled it.

Seems like the same rule our pediatrician gives us for tv, which is to limit consumption to 2 hours per day, would apply to video games.

Here's another thought: tv is non-responsive. It essentially teaches kids not to interact, but to take everything in. At least with games, you have interaction, challenge and reward.

And with Zelda, you need to be albe to read too. When she's watching me play, I try, as much as she can stomach without leaving the room, to read her what the characters are saying to me, and the little messages the game gives when you pick up a big shiny rupee or cool bug.

You know what? I think I've answered my own question. Good talk, see ya.

Just kidding. I still want advice. Got any, humble reader?


Crime & Bee & Class


Well, I suppose I should first say that I am not SO worried about crime anymore, and I'm sleeping better (but not last night--more on that later). 

The effect of "The Bravest Woman in Seattle" on me has diminished. I'm not totally terrified of waking up to a naked, knife-wielding sex offender standing over me. What I'm still afraid of is someone breaking in through Lucy's bedroom window at night.

But since that day last week, I do sleep with my car key (to set off the alarm) and phone next to my bed. And before turning in, I check the locks several times, open the bedroom doors, and turn the fans down so I can hear bumps in the night if they occur.

It sucks to be afraid to sleep. My kids' safety is my biggest concern. If I didn't have kids, I'd totally be keeping a bigass knife concealed right by my bed. I might even purchase a firearm, and I can't believe I just said that.

Burglars don't fuck around, so neither can I. They case my neighborhood and strike during the late night/early morning hours. I mean, if you're a burglar, you want to strike when your prey is most vulnerable, right? Shameful.

People who work hard to keep their lives crime- and (hard-) drug-free and legitimate get raided by assholes who are probably trying to feed social-disease-creating drug addictions. Thieves.

But since having a deadly weapon in the house puts my kids in danger, and since we have a small apartment, we're kind of against a wall. All Megan and I can do is keep our defenses up, without building up offenses.

Hopefully the cops get here soon enough if I do need to call 911.

Let me shift gears real quick--BEES! (bee picture)

Last night, all Skyrim-ed out and ready for bed, I came into the kitchen to rinse out my beer bottle and fill my water bottle.

I turn on the light above the sink, and the water. Right then, really close to me, a black dot rises up, up, up, smoothly, like a bee.

Dirty beer bottle and empty water bottle still in hand, I bolt for the door and step outside. Sure enough, it was this big-ass yellow jacket, and it was pissed. Sticking to the light, it would fly into it, bounce off the wall, and repeat, sometimes making really loud, angry buzzing sounds.

There I was, on my back porch, looking in through the door window, essentially keeping the bee IN my house. The water was still running. I was too scared to go in there when that fucker was flying around. So I waited for it to calm down and land, which took a few minutes.

Creeping in, I managed to rinse out my beer bottle and turn off the water, right underneath the thing. It started flying around again, so I backed off, again out the door. And again, the bee resumed its angry wall bouncing.

You know, it may have been a hornet. They look like yellow jackets, but bigger, right?

Another minute goes by, and the bee seems a little tuckered out. It lands on the side of the light, and was facing away from me. Gathering my wits and all my courage, I creep ever. so. slowly into the kitchen.

I look around for a towel or something--BB's bib. "Royal Stuff," lying dirty on the kitchen table. It was the best thing I could grab between the bee and I.

As I'm creeping up, my fear starts to take hold, and it takes more energy to push it down. I remain calm, and slow, and I see the thing is trying to burrow itself between the light and the wall, where there's like a millimeter of space.

Poor bee. But it was bedtime, and that angry fucker had to go.

Smash. The sound of breaking cartilage.

Bee story over.

Then I went to bed, but I couldn't sleep. I mean, I really couldn't sleep--till about 2:30 or 3. Really weird.

I'm thinking it was the tall americano I sucked down at 3 or 4 p.m., combined with the excitement of the class I'd had earlier that evening. It got me really pumped up!

We had a guest speaker - John Lok of the Seattle Times. Here's a page of links to his works--it's all photography, so there's not much to read. Look at his photos, they're good!

He played a slideshow of his best photos and talked about each one. We asked him lots of questions, to which he was very receptive and cordial about answering. 

I found his work to be inspired, and his passion for photography and photojournalism was fully apparent. I came away from the class with several notions about The Seattle Times:
  1. They tell stories about people. It's a story if it's a person doing something. That's beautiful--not self-serving, but community-serving.
  2. The collectors of these stories, before they're handed off to editors, are artists. They're PAID TO BE ARTISTS.
So basically I really want to work there now. The difference is I feel that I now actually have the chops necessary to be a functioning member of their team. I can collect and manipulate audio. I can interview people and put their words into news-format stories. I can capture still and moving pictures that are both aesthetically pleasing and telling a story.

Time to write a resume, right? Groan...

After Lok's presentation, I gave my pitch to the class about what I'm going to make my final project about. (2-min. audio slideshow about a person) Standing up there in front of everyone, nervous yet comfortable, and feeling them be comfortable with me, was good for my psyche. 

It seemed everyone had a suggestion for me, which was good, cause I asked. I was unsure at what angle to go for an interview with this Guitar Center employee. There's no inherent struggle involved, but they were all like, "It doesn't need a struggle--just have fun with guitars."

Now I'm confident that my project will take an appropriate shape, as I have a renewed focus on how to approach it. and it's time to stop writing and get ahold of this guy.



Lately, people, I've been very nervous about crime.

My neighborhood has seen a rise in instances of breaking and entering and vandalism in the past few weeks, it doesn't look like it's going to let up.

Two weeks ago, my neighbor's car was stolen from right in front of their house while they were away on vacation.

Two days later, my car window was broken and the breaker took my cd book.

They'll fucking break car windows just for a book of cds. I hope they sleep well at night. I wonder if they noticed the kids' car seats in the backseat before, or after they broke the window.

A few days ago I read "The Bravest Woman in Seattle" by Eli Sanders. If you've read the piece, you know what I'm talking about. That shit has stuck with me and I have a hard time not thinking about it.

Yesterday, an email came thru the neighborhood email group I recently joined. It's from a neighbor down the block, who was telling us all that her neighbor got broken into the previous night. A husband and wife live there, I don't know if they have kids. The wife was home alone. The burglars got in through a locked window.

This neighborhood vandalism is getting ridiculous and out of control. In addition to that, I have a vision of this knife-wielding rapist standing over me when I'm in bed, having snuck up on me while I was sleeping. It's what happened to the subjects of the Sanders story. It happened in Seattle.

When Megan goes to work early in the morning sometimes, she sees cars slowly driving around, creeping. She's got a co-worker who works even earlier than her, in our neighborhood--he's seen the same thing.

Vandals are casing us, and striking when we're asleep, in the middle of the night.

Last night, I slept maybe four hours. I couldn't fall asleep because I was stressing out about all this shit, and thinking, "What if, next time, it's us? What would I do? What if they come through Lucy's window and I'm asleep and I don't hear them?"

How's a dad supposed to fucking sleep with all this going on?!

I'm thinking of new things, too--like signing up with a home security company, investing in some kind of weapon to store concealed near my bed, upgrading the locks on our doors, and that this 100-year-old house needs a guard-dog.

Our landlord has been incommunicado about us switching apartments for a month or more now. In December, he said he planned to have it ready for us in March. Hmph. I wonder if he knows about any of the crime in going on at all. Suppose it's time to ask him, huh?

Jeez, gotta call the landlord and have a semi-awkward, mostly stressful talk about crime and hurrying him along. Wonderful. Maybe after I catch a few winks while the kids play in our walk-in closet..... man I'm tired.

I'm taking this summer off of school. I fucking need it. As my dad recently said on the phone to me, I've been burning the candle at both ends for too long. I need a break.

My classmates sometimes comment on how haggard I look. The bags under my eyes grow more permanent every day. I'm aging well past my 30 years already--need some time to let that melt away and age a little slower for a while. (not for three more years at least, dad...) Shut up , bra

Megan came home for her lunch break today, and I fell asleep on Lucy's bed. It was strange. Lucy let me sleep while Megan put Yellow Submarine played.

I slept for two hours. Now I'm at school and talking with a friend about how scared that Sanders story made us. It's good to talk about this stuff.