Thursday, April 30, 2009

Olympia wroughting all over your stuff

(The metonymy will not die)

As I just emailed a friend, wroughting all over Austin J's front yard turned out to be a big mistake, because, guess what guys. He freaking noticed: What hath Olympia wrought?

I guess its time to go over there and clean things up. That's what 1-day sessions are for, no?

In "what ain't metonymy," Niki Sullivan at the TVW blog does a great job pointing to some end of session resources without bringing up our local wroughting problem.

Quick Update: Dear Seattle Weekly,

Your blog is not as cool as the Strangers. I think you know that and you're ok with that. Which is cool in its own way.

So, Josh Feit (who is cooler than you) has stopped trying to ruin Oly (apparently). So don't you either.


Oh how Redmond is not like Olympia, eh Andrew?

Because you shouldn't use the metonymy when talking about oh holy Redmond, but you sure as hell can when talking about Olympia.

So, just to double check. Redmond does not equal Microsoft.

Olympia does equal state government. Gotcha.

And, bite me.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Ken Balsley forgets his Spanish Lit

Newsflash! from Ken of Lacey:
Lacey Community Church voted recently to house the homeless tent encampment called Camp Coyote sometime in July or August.
That's Camp Quixote, not Coyote. Of Cervantes.

Seriously though, information from that particular congregation and hosting Camp Quixote will be posted here.

Monday, April 27, 2009

Sounders game day experience (why ECS left early)

From GoalSeattle boards:

Yesterday, why did the ECS leave the march to the match before everyone else (i.e. the rest of the fans and the band)? Aren't we all in this together? I've been hearing that the ECS has an elitist attitude but didn't really buy it until I saw them ditch the rest of the march to the match yesterday. Why don't you guys want to march with everyone else?
And a response:
I've talked with some of the leaders of the ECS, and apparently the guy who is in charge of the band is very resistant to working with ECS, and very into trying to bend them to his will. It's a source of contention between the FO and ECS, and a source of contention within ECS (as in how do they respond to it?).

There seem to be a lot of stories of stress between ECS and the band, so read the entire thread.

If it is true that the band is deliberately leaving late, well that's the bands fault. I did notice that the band didn't leave at 6p, so if ECS members are worried about their general admission seats, the band should oblige.

From my point of view, the march needs to be one thing and both sides need to accommodate the other. If the organization wants to encourage fan support, they have to support the fan groups.

Sounders (vs. Earthquakes) gameday experience

I took in my first game of the (MLS) Soudners (FC) this weekend, and thought before hand I should shoot some video from the phone to illustrate my thoughts on the whole gameday experience.

I left Olympia at just around 2p for the 730p game, so that gave me absolutely plenty of time. I found an insanely close free spot on Occidental just south of Safeco.

My buddy (Dan), who is a Tyee member and a Seahawk season ticket holder (game day experience expert), caught up with me a few minutes later. The first item on the agenda was getting him some Sounders gear. He had a bit of heartburn about wearing something with essentially an ad on it, but realized that in the long run, it is something he'd have to get over. He settled on a scarf, but every store around Qwest was sold out.

At the Seattle Team Store they said they were sold out until the middle of May. Dan reflected that someone at Adidas should be fired for not being able to keep up with demand.

Our first stop was McCoys, one of two Emerald City Supporter Bars (Fuel, the other). We got there pretty early (about 430p) and place wasn't yet crowded. Some singing would break out every once in awhile.

After a couple of beers and burgers, we walked to get one of Dan's pre-game ritual foods, a cookie from that cookie place (forget the name) in Pioneer Square. On the way we caught a glimpse of the Soundwave Band.

Coming back to hear the band before the March to the Match, we saw a guy in a Luche Libre mask, Drew Carey (who seemed like an honestly nice guy from ten feet away) and the ECS apparently organizing separately from the people who would eventually march with the band.

I tried to film ECS leaving early. You can also hear Dan comparing this to the experience before Husky Games (I close my eyes, it could almost be October).

I still can't figure out why the ECS left the area towards the stadium before everyone else and the band did. Seems like a dick thing to do. If I was being really critical, I could imply they were doing it because we (with the band) were the newer folks and they as the real soccer fans wanted to show us up. I doubt that, but still would have been way better if we all marched together.

Speaking of the march:

Dan again: "Its like the Rose Parade!" His comparisons to college football were really on point.

For me, walking down the ramp into the stadium for the first time is an important moment.

Before the game:

After the game:

Yeah, it got a lot louder. To the point, that if I had the same seats (section 118, a few over from the ECS) I wouldn't bring my three and one year old. Just too loud. Which, on my own was awesome, but someplace a little less loud for the kids, you know?

Just some random thoughts:

1. $20 for Section 118 is a freaking steal. Best value in sports in my experience. Better than minor league baseball or anything.

2. College football is the only comparison. The fever in the stands, the before game events, the feeling between fans (there were some Earthquake fans who were joshed with along the way), the only thing to compare it too is college football. Especially the interaction between Sounder and Earthquake fans. I have never spoken to a fan of an opposing team at a Mariners game, but you had to almost say something to the people in Quakes gear walking around. Nothing mean, just to let them know where they are.

3. Media fog. Driving home, I automatically turned to AM radio, on instict listening for a post game show. I listened to the Mariners post game, and waited on other stations for the Sounders post game, which never came. That is the weirdest part of the day, having gone to a major league event, and not being able to digest it on the way home with a real deal post game discussion on AM radio.

Olympia WA (Rancid) by a band that's never been

Well, I'm just guessing that the three fellas of Fitchburg Punx have never been to Olympia. But their straight-through but not so bad rendition of Olympia, WA lacks that sort of loneliness and homesickness that really makes this song worth it.

Like I said, not bad, but with the flourish at the end especially, they miss the emotional point of the song.

Now this band is funny for me too, because the one punk rocker that I actually know personally spent a few years in Olympia is just from down the road of these guys. Joe Riot of Chanticlear is from Haverill, Mass. and I met him about 10 years back in Olympia.

Now Joe would be able to play a totally ironic version of Olympia, WA. Not that I didn't enjoy having him around, but I think he'd rather be somewhere not Olympia.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

What is not metonymy of Olympia

What, expecting only one blog post tonight about my crazy pet peave? Sorry, I have time on my hands and links to link to.

I thought I'd point out the use of Olympia in regards to state government that is not metonymy. Basically, the rule is you're safe if you are saying "in Olympia" and not "Olympia did this." So, if you're making a geographic distinction, you're fine.

For example, Sen. Steve Hobbs (of some place up north I guess):

“I fought hard to carry out the wishes of my district,” Hobbs said. “When we come to a consensus as a community, I am able to carry our message to Olympia and work for the necessary results.”

Sen. Hobbs' example is great because he even cites "my district" and "to Olympia," making the obvious point that although he works "in Olympia" for a few months a year, he is actually from somewhere else in Washington. This is often something missed or fuzzed over when Olympia is metonymized.

And, an update from Rep.Reuven Carlyle in MyBallard. The headline states "from Olympia." The report itself says things like "in Olympia" and "visitors to Olympia."

Of course the trains leaves the tracks in the comment thread below when a commenter says "people in Ballard are compassionate and will enjoy giving their money to Olympia." God, don't I wish.

And, of course, I can't leave without one more bad example from homefront media. From the Sammamish Reporter: "Help for carers under threat from Olympia." I hate helping you and I hate your career, so this is a convenient one for me.

Worst metonymizer of Olympia digest

Rich Roesler was top of the table, many points clear as they say in the soccer world in the race for worst metonymizer of Olympia. Even Rich's blog name and url were metonymy. But, in the last few days, Steven Gardener of the Bremerton Sun's Kitsap Caucus blog has grabbed the title.

1. Champion Gardener: "Last Minute Olympia Gamesmanship." We got game, we are Olympia. And, you should see our manship too, its pretty good.

2. Again, champ Gardener: "Olympia’s Deadline Looms and We’re Here to Watch". Damn right I have a deadline. You have until Monday morning, you all better be out of town or I'm calling your own towns and they're going to have to drive down here to take you back.

3. And, last week weird progressive metonymy: Chad Shue with "Hello Olympia, it's time for the tax talk." Hi Chad, personally, I'm uncomfortable with that sort of conversation with you. Please, take it up with your King County state representative please.

Friday, April 24, 2009

I always knew the "Seattle chill" was bull shit

Depending on how you want to view it, Eric at Sightline's piece about the "Northwest Personality" will either reaffirm your belief in the Seattle Chill or convince you still it doesn't exist.

From Eric:

Northwest states are among the most open and least neurotic places you can find, but we are also among the least extraverted. Not surprisingly, Oregon and Washington perform almost identically on every measure. More interesting, perhaps, is that Alaska, Idaho, and Montana are also very similar in some respects (though quite different in some others).


The good news is that the Northwest is not a neurotic place. Washington is the 46th least neurotic state in the union, followed by Alaska at 47th, and Oregon at 48th. (Idaho and Montana rank 32rd and 39th, respectively.) To get any less neurotic, you'd have to move to South Dakota (49th), Colorado (50th), or Utah (51st).

The other nice thing about the Northwest is our openness. Oregon is the 3rd most open state in the nation while Washington is 5th. (Only New York, Massachusetts, and DC are comparably open.) But move away from the urban Northwest and the openness appears to fall off: Montana is 16th; Idaho is 30th; and Alaska is 49th.

What do you call a region that is neither neurotic nor extroverted? Totally sane. Yeah, say you take a state that ranks both high in neuroticism and extroversion (like Pennsylvania) I guess you could say they weren't as chill(y) as us. I'd also say they were also totally unhinged.

What outsiders say is our tendency to be on the surface nice but total dicks in action, I say we're just not as freaking crazy as you are, so can you please get a grip of our sanity?

Also, another note that Eric makes is that as a region, the Northwest flows pretty well as a group through the personality traits, except for openness. As Oregon and Washington rank pretty high the more conservative northwest states are lower down (Montana 16th, Idaho 30th and Alaska 50th). Northwest conservative, in that regard, means you are less open.

High time for metonymy (can't wait for Sunday baby)

When the legislature folds up the tents on Sunday, I have hope my terror will end. But, as the engine of democracy begins its high pitch squeal towards sine die, the metonymy is getting way out of hand.

1. #olympia misuse on twitter continues.

2. From Seattle Courant: Olympia Says Seattle Property Owners Should Pay for Cost Overruns to Replace Viaduct. Boy, don't you wish we could tell Seattle what to do.

3. Seattle PI gets it both wrong and right. You have to read the rss feed to find it but, it reads: "Legislative Democrats let Washingtonians down" and "Olympia's disappointing Democrats: Minorities get rights, but state programs get the shaft."

4. Washington Policy Blog (finally a conservative misuse): "For a while there Seattle Times' top Olympia reporter Andrew Garber..." Boy, don't I wish the Seattle Times actually had a "top" Olympia reporter. Or, if anyone else other than the Olympian covered Olympia. In my sense, not everyone elses.

5. Sightline Instutue (via Seattle dirt): "With Olympia locked in a power struggle over plans to replace the Alaskan Way Viaduct and the 520 floating bridge..." If only. Man, what I would do with a floating bridge in Olympia.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Driving the local in civic dialogue

Walter Neary, Lakewood's blogging city councilman, conducted an experiment via twitter and facebook and got no comments from the locals:

The news was that the city of Lakewood's collection of traffic fines is up 40 percent for the first three months of 2009 compared with the first three months of 2008, for total of about $200,000 more. I have to say, I didn't get a lot of feedback, but what I got was very high quality.\


I have to tell you ... I was very impressed with the points of view.


and there's a BUT

Not a single one of these folks lives in Lakewood.

So ... great views. Great Internet exchanges. Zip interaction with Lakewood.

A simple solution could be to create a facebook account for "city councilman" Walter Neary and only accept relationships with your constituents. It could be made semi-public so anyone could see your information and what is going on on your wall, but only friends could comment. It would also be separate from a personal account, which would make it easy to divide from personal stuff.

Or, in the long term, I wonder if something like this would work:

I've been toying around with an idea in my mind, a sort of super public comment tool for state government on down. Each level of government in Washington at some point has a need for public comment. It would be interesting to create a system online where a citizen could create a user profile using their voter registration (or some stand in for folks who aren't registered) and then see open public comment processes in the jurisdictions they reside in.

So, in my case, I'd see public comment for the city of Olympia, Thurston County, the local PUD and port and the state of Washington.

I'd be able to post comment to any of the open processes and either have it archived for whatever public official will review the comment or immediately accessible to other users so they could comment back on my comment.

Of course, normal rules like not being able to overuse the system (three comments a week, for example), not being rude and not using particular language, would apply.

For this system, the important thing would be to segregate people into public comment processes that they actually are involved in. So, keeping Kitsap residents from commeting on an interesting issue in Renton would be a priority.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Rediscovering Archie Binns

Dan in Bremerton:

I was in 8th grade and was becoming interested in sailing. This book told a story of six teenagers from two families on a voyage around the San Juan Islands in a thirty two foot ketch. Even though the plot is a bit corny, the description of the islands, harbors and passages were very accurate. When the author "invented" a couple of islands, he let the reader know that he did that. While reading the book the first time, I would pull out my father's charts to see where these places were. Reading that book probably was the one event that sparked my interest in cruising in the San Juan Islands and sailing to distant places. I started planning my own voyages to the San Juan Islands.


Even though "The Enchanted Islands" is considered a juvenile book, I reread it last week, but now, I can visually the descriptions of the places in the San Juans that the characters in the book visit and sail around. And his descriptions still seem accurate.

Keeping the #olympia twitter hashtag local, not metonymic

The metonymy of Olympia in twitter terms: As Mathias would say, in twitter #olympia means something that actually is about Olympia, not state government in general (as used here, ironically by a locally focused twitter feed).

Metonymy of SonraK's Lympians

As much as I assume Sondra knows her geography, I hope someone from Federal Way wouldn't be considered a Lympian.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Better to Brendan Williams than it is to rust

I'm not sure what to think about my own Rep. Williams living out his second to last year in the legislature by leaving everything he has on the field.

Calling out his own leadership in the Seattle Times and... well.. other stuff. You should read the guys facebook updates about going to work everyday. Just saying.

Shallow freedom blogging (stopping the next invisible city)

The Trent at EFF makes the development moratoriums we've been going through around here sound like a local government government sitting on top of any sort of progress across the entire county.

Of course, the actual truth is a bit more complicated than that.

First, Trent ignores Thurston County v. WWGMHB, which casts a long shadow over development policy in Thurston County.

He also ignores the several times since 2005 that the county commission has released properties from the moratorium. This you could find out if you follow the link Trent offers:
October 17, 2005 – Board of County Commissioners released pockets of unincorporated land that are within the city limits of Olympia and Tumwater from the moratorium on subdivisions.


January 31, 2006 – The Board of County Commissioners extended the moratorium on residential subdivisions for 6 months. The following were released from the moratorium: 1) Subdivisions that do not create lots less than 20 acres in size; and 2) Divisions of land which do not create any additional building sites because two or more single- or multiple family homes (not mobile homes or family member units) are already located on the parcel, consistent with Section 18.04.052 of the Thurston County Code.


January 13, 2009 ... The Board adopted Ordinance No. 14187 to renew the subdivision moratorium for another six months. This ordinance released a number of properties from the moratorium, and provided a method to be released from the moratorium if it can be demonstrated that the reason for the moratorium no longer exists. Please see the map under the section “Lands Subject to the Moratorium.
Trent also ignores the problem that is presented if you allow growth in the areas still included in the moratorium. Just like the properties above, the moratorium areas but up against a city in northern Thurston County, but are still in the county.

They represent baby "invisible cities," urban and suburban "communities" like Tanglewild and Thompson Place that were allowed to grow and develop in a pre-GMA Washington. Thurston County's own invisible city grew from the mid 50s until the early 80s and has filled in since then. Since growth management, it hasn't been annexed into an existing city or become a city on its own. It remains an urban and suburban collection of neighborhoods that is governed by a rural form of government.

Because it demands a higher level of service than a real rural county, it is sucking the county government dry. Preventing the rise of more invisible cities is just good management.

Friday, April 17, 2009

Jim Hightower, Pierce County Dems and IRV

Should be interesting to see if the topic comes up between the Texan who likes the voting system and the local political organization which isn't exactly a fan when they break bread together.

Wednesday, April 08, 2009

Unfiltering the legislative session

The response to the fewest number of credentialed reporters covering the legislative session wasn't that a blogger was eventually credentialed, but rather this.

Or, a lot of stuff like that.

This winter and spring the four caucuses (but the Dem ones the most and the Senate Dems the most most) have been rolling out social media tools that allow them to directly connect with the people that would typically read legislative coverage.

  • Sen . Lisa Brown is writing a seriously blunt blog, taking issues on in a somewhat dense, but very direct way. House Dems also have a less fun blog, but its still there.
  • Each caucus has embraced twitter (SD, HD, HR, SR), though I'm a bit unsure of how this is an advancement beyond or just the use of a tool. Here's a funny thing about caucus twitter feeds. I though I was already following the senate Republicans because I followed WASenateGOP. Turns out that is their campaign committee and the actually caucus twitters at WashingtonSRC.
  • Same thing with each caucuses use of video and audio casts. Its great to make all the stuff available, but its another thing to distill it in some form.
Does the lack of reporters covering the legislature drive the caucuses to adopt social media? Probably not, I've heard conversations around these topics for years, but everyone was getting hung up on rules (that you apparently couldn't blog during session because it was campaigning? Weirdness).

Its more likely that the ramping up of caucus based social (or at least internet) media and the nose-dive of traditional state house reporting are happening on parralel, if not slightly overlapping, tracks.

Tuesday, April 07, 2009

The bed newspapers find themselves in

If anyone really doubts that newspapers owners created the situation they're in now, you should read: The Chain Gang.

Shorter Chain Gang: Instead of being happy with an industry where even the laziest newspaper with a local monopoly could make 5 percent profit a year, newspaper chains drove out local competition (possibly with illegal tactics) and borrowed heavily to buy up even more local papers.

But, now 20 or 30 years later, the model doesn't work anymore and the pile of cards is tumbling down.

It isn't journalism that's broken, its the economic model of local monopolies owned by chains saddled with debt and unrealistic profit margins driven by public ownership.

Sunday, April 05, 2009

MxPx does Olympia, WA (accoustic)

MxPx, an old time punk band from Bremerton, and some of the Rancid guys do Olympia, WA about four years ago. Includes some of the interesting back story.

Smile... there's even a sing-along.

Recent metonymy of Olympia links (and a few thougts on liberals)

1. The Washington bus basically points out that Oly(mpia) ain't a city, but rather a collection of gray, greek-wannabe buildings.

By the way, saying "Oly" doesn't make you young and hip. I've heard 70 year olds say Oly without any irony. It makes you sound like a poser.

2. Clark Williams-Derry: "Heads up, Salem & Olympia," and then something on climate change. Once we can tell Seattle and Bellevue what to do, we'll get right on that.

3. The Seattle Courant: "Olympia: Gas Tax Revenue Down, Tolls and $4.3 Billion in New Transportation Spending." Our gas tax revenue may be down, I'm not really sure if we have a local gas tax, but so are they for every locality, I would assume.

4. Andrew: "Although the Worker Privacy Act is dead (no thanks to Olympia)..." We can't take credit or blame for what your representative does while they're inside our city. So, bite me.

That last links brings a thought together for me. You see, I read a lot of political stuff and I keep an eye out for metonnymic uses of Olympia (or people who I know do so for me now). And, I've seen a lot more liberals use Olympia to mean the state government or the state legislature than conservatives.

Might just speak to my reading list which has a lot more liberal outlets than conservative, but I don't avoid right wing blogs and sources by any means. It just surprises me any time I hear a liberal use the metonymic Olympia.

And, this is why: It gets back to the othering of government. That if your state government is "Olympia," some distant crap-ass place where crazy people make decisions for you, you really aren't to blame for what's going on.

But, if Olympia is just another town, and the state legislature is made up of locally elected folks and the governor is elected by a statewide popular election, then we're all to blame for what goes on inside our government.

Conservatives like othering government because they don't trust government and don't want it to work. You'd think liberals would be of a different mind.

Thursday, April 02, 2009

More in the Rich Nafziger bloggin' chronicles

Over at Olyblog, Russ Lehman, an old opponent of Rich Nafzigers when they were both on the Olympia School Board, takes a swipe at Nafziger and his blog:

The flap over Rich Nafziger’s blog, where he comments about the very un-Democratic way we make laws and policies in Olympia, as well as his view of the Governor as, well, somebody less than the leader we need at this time of crisis, misses the point just as the comments about our city council members who have the attention span and restraint of children missed the most important point about their egregious behavior.

The voices of disgust about certain city council member’s prurient and truly anti-Democratic impatience and intolerance, focuses on the violations of the Open Public Meetings Act instead of the true “crime” committed – an affront to our very Democracy. They validated people’s worst fears about policymaking - that politicians are interested in primarily, if not only, the interests of those who can pay to have their voice heard.

Nafziger is right about what plagues our lawmaking system. It is not truly interested in “the little guy’s” voice; responds very differently to those who make a living lobbying; is populated by many (though not all) people who seem much more interested in ego gratification then open, deliberative, courageous policymaking.

The problem is, according to those inside the Olympia beltway, not what he said, per se, it’s that he “pissed where he sleeps”. The common refrain in Olympia is that he was crazy to lambaste his political patrons (read: bosses).

Also, if you're interested in reading everything Nafziger has put on his blog and then regularly takes right back down, I've tried to share as much as I can here. The posts aren't in order of when they were posted by Rich, but rather by when I marked them in my feed reader. So, you may need to dig around a bit before you find what you are looking for. Like the one where he gives Gov. Gregoire a Hoover award.

Anyway, I'm going to ask him again in the comments of one of his blog posts why he keeps on taking his old posts down. I still wonder why