Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Approaching Tumwater's past fate

Images from the City of Tumwater:

Being in Steilacoom for a few hours yesterday got me thinking about that old saw about Tumwater: that even though Tumwater city fathers invited I-5 into town to roll right over the old Tumwater downtown, it was a short sighted decision and ending up "killing the town."

Steilacoom struck me as what Tumwater could have ended up like if I-5 had gone around the old town. Slow, a few old commercial buildings tucked neatly into a mostly residential town. Probably smaller than it is now, depending of course on how close I-5 got to town. Probably what saved what we now know as Steilacoom is that Pierce County gave the outskirts of town to the Army to build Fort Lewis.

Anyway, first off, I took a look at what the most basic impact I-5 had on Tumwater. In short, did the city father's gamble in the 1950s, to raze the old Deschutes-side downtown for an interstate, work out?

So, here's a spreadsheet that puts together two basic measures, structures (which I stumbled upon months ago) and population.

There was an early surge in structures from Tumwater after the highway went in, but Olympia quickly took the lead.

In terms of population, there also was a surge, and Tumwater is still leading in growth, but their lead is shrinking.

So, in short, yes the gamble worked. By the raw numbers, I-5 coming through certainly had an impact and seemingly surged Tumwaters growth (and in my opinion) made it the town it is today. But, that surge is subsiding, and I'd even venture to say that along with Lacey being created out of nearly nothing, Tumwater's post I-5 growth advantage is now gone, and all the communities are on the same playing field.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Green River Pop in Steilacoom

Bair Bistro, via flickr, by Suburban Times

Green River Pop has been around for years, and its one of those kid memories I have that I try to make my way back to. Usually I can find it in a random gas station, but for the past ten years, its been harder and harder to find.

Even harder (well impossible) has been the mythical hand mixed Green River pop, which I've hear of, but never actually seen in the wild. Until today at lunch when I drug my family up to Steilacoom to the Bair Bistro (former Bair Drug) where they've been serving hand mixed Green River pop since Christmas:
There’s an old/new item on the menu at the Bair Bistro in Steilacoom.

It’s called “Green River” (not to be confused with the coffee-colored liquid that meanders through Auburn), and the refreshing, green beverage conjures up a bit of nostalgia for those who remember “the good old days.”

A few days before Christmas, a handful of regular customers had an opportunity to taste-test this old-fashioned liquid while Bistro proprietor Sarah Cannon experimented with the recipe to replicate the perfect “Green River.”

After several patrons had sampled the mixture, Jane Bair Light, granddaughter of Bair Store founder, W. L. Bair, added her straw into the sample blend…sipped deeply, paused …and pronounced, “no, it needs a bit more syrup.”

The syrup/soda proportions, Cannon vowed, will be perfected by the time patrons flock to the Steilacoom Historical Museum’s “Living Museum” to order the renowned soda fountain drink.

Here is my photographic evidence. One with the carbonated water and syrup before mixing.

And, one immediately after.

When we arrived, we were informed that they were out of C02, so my Green River pop had to be mixed with regular soda water. My overall impression is that in terms of taste its very close to what Green River tastes like out of a bottle, possibly just a little less sugary.

And, of course Green River (soft drink) has a wikipedia entry.

Is there any place in Olympia that does hand mixed pop?

Thursday, December 23, 2010

What the hell is wrong with Nikki McClure's "Speedy the Geoduck?"

Evergreen is looking for a new Geoduck logo. Nothing wrong with that, but what's wrong with the great logo they've already used? And, from what I remember, its designed by Evergreen Grad and all around great Olympian Nikki McClure.

I remember talking to then athletic director Dave Weber when they (the athletic department) rolled out the new geoduck, which must have been maybe 10 years ago or so. He said it was drawn by McClure and that it would be a logo for the sports teams. I assume since then, its use has faded away, since its almost impossible to find online, especially on the Evergreen website.

Great logo though, they should really consider resurrecting it.

Well duh update: I couldn't remember where I'd seen the logo recently, and it turns out it was on an Evergreen website, at the bookstore. They're already using on hats!

On Karen Rogers public forums and the need for another organization

This week, a city councilmember's forums became the topic of conversation. Since being elected last year, Karen Rogers has been holding formal meetings with citizens to gather input. Summaries of the meetings are posted on the city's website. Sometimes city staff are requested to attend, and the impact on staff time on one city councilmembers effort to reach out to citizens.

Before I get to my point, here are some tweets by Lakewood City Councilmember Walter Neary (and two) and open government leader Sarah Schacht. Both Walter and Sarah seem to point to a more formalized additional way for the city to encourage input from citizens.

I think Roger's has hit on something important, but she might be going about it wrong. Granted, I haven actually attended one of these meetings, I've only read summaries and of course the coverage in the Olympian. But, they seem to point to the need for more input in city matters. Or, just public matters in general.

By the way, I've pointed out in the past that Rogers has a decent time getting public input.

So, the city might just use the model created by Rogers and formalize it. Rotate the city councilmembers that attend, but with no more than three at a time (to prevent a quorum). Councilmembers already have several regional intergovernmental commitments that mean they attend meetings above and beyond regular business. One more meeting a quarter with citizens, with a mix between citizen and city generated topics, wouldn't be that hard.

What they also might think about doing is formalizing a new so-called "blog policy" (like the one Seattle has) to ease the process of city councilmembers posting on the city's website.

But, that isn't really what I am interested in seeing, I think there needs to be a whole new organization focussed on putting on public forums of general civic interest. Something like a city club. Boy, I like this topic, don't I?

Anyway, there are a lot of example out there locally, Tacoma, Portland, Eugene, Lakewood United, and North Mason (County) Voice. Each of these organizations have a central role of holding forums on generally civic topics. Some, like the Seattle City Club, also have other projects like a living Voters Guide.

So, why haven't these sort of efforts taken hold in Olympia?

I would say because most of the positive political force in Olympia is focussed for or against a particular issue. Oly2012, Olympia Capitol Park, and other organizations are focussed on their own goals, not necessarily providing an open forum. As they should be.

It also might be, since we are a capital city, that people with this sort of thing in their DNA and who live locally are focussed on statewide issues, not necessarily on the local civic landscape.

But, there seems to be the pieces you could put together to organize a city club like organization. The League of Women Voters has a local chapter, but I honestly don't hear much from them (I have to make an effort to hear anything from them). There is also SPEECH, which seems to have a general forum role, at least in the environmental sense.

I could could also see how other tangential organizations like the Coalition of Neighborhoods and the Friends of the Olympia Library could play a role.

So, what is standing in the way? 

What can we do to get this done?

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

What will Washington State do with the congressional seat we're getting from New Jersey?

In the data release today, New Jersey is losing and Washington has gained (you know, among other states).

I'm hoping that Dave Bradlee updates his very useful tool soon with the new data, but in my first go round, it really looks to me like the new district will be centered on Olympia, and bring in mostly Democratic coastal and rural counties like Mason, Grays Harbor and Pacific.

And, if you aren't satisfied with the online tool, there's a boardgame for you and your nerdy friends to help redistrict Washington State (via @epersonae)

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Olympia Time #1: Welcome to Olympia

And, its about metonymic use of the term Olympia to mean "Washington State government." Wow, big surprise, bet you can't wait to read this one.

Elaine Nelson was kind enough to write a short introduction, basically so I could say at least one other person shares by pet peeve enough to claim it in print.

And, yes, a lot of what's in there is already here on my blog under the metonymy of Olympia tag.

You can download the file here and print your own copy or just read it in the window below. I'm trying to find an easy way for folks to order their own printed copy, but I'm having some technical issues.

And, please, if you see any dumb typos, just let me know. I'll correct them and post a new version.

In preparation for later tonight, some metonymy of Olympia tweets

Its getting to be that time of year when the metonymy returns to Olympia.

And, if you were wondering, down below where I reply to a tweet about a post by Sarah Schacht about the budget bill over the weekend and how it appeared out nowhere? That post is simply brilliant. Sarah's exactly the right type of person we need blogging, her stuff certainly needs more attention.

And, my little snarky exchange with her is exactly the reason why I sometimes go overboard caring about how people use the term "Olympia." Christ almighty, Emmett, get some perspective. There are bigger fish to fry, you know?

  • Arg @seattletimes "Olympia knew the lucrative rip-off was going on, and said nothing" and its because we don't like you #metonymy
  • MLAS: Pension Games, Seeds of Revolt #WA #Olympia #tcot #taxpayers #publicsector #p2
emettoconnell: @mlas seeds of revolt just in Olympia or across the entire state of Washington? I'm confused #metonymy
emmettoconnell: @SarahSchacht no offense but don't peg #Olympia for a lack of sunshine in Washington state govt #metonymy
 SarahSchacht: @emmettoconnell I don't think you read my blog post; I documented a lack of public access to the budget bill, not transparency across WA.
emmettoconnell: @SarahSchacht I did, great post, I was replying to an earlier tweet of yours in which you used #Olympia in a metonymic fashion
  • pnwlocalnews: @GovGregoire proposes health care, pension modernization in biennium budget reform #wabudget #olympia
emmettoconnell: @PNWLocalNews how about a hashtag for state politics that isn't about just one town? #metonymy

Wednesday, December 08, 2010

Letting people know about whats going on with construction (City of Olympia vs. Thurston County)

It isn't that the construction on Henderson Boulevard is taking too long, which it is. I understand that big public works projects hit humps and need delays.

Its how I learned about it that bothers me. I learned about it from the daily newspaper. I live right in the middle road construction hell right now. Between the Yelm Highway project (county), the Henderson sanitary sewer (city) and an apartment project, I'm surrounded.

But, I'm not in mystery with what's going on with the Yelm Highway project, because between an active twitter account and blog, they've been doing a great job keeping folks up to date on developments: when its a good idea to brave the road, progress, and cool videos.

The City of Olympia, not so much. Southbound traffic is pretty much stopped during the day, and the work schedule is in constant flux (not always stopping at 4p as advertized on the web and reader boards). And, the worst part is, if you had been paying attention and checking their project webpage, you wouldn't have learned any sooner that the project is going over the limit.

Its well passed time that local governments need to depend on the only paper in town to let people know about news. They have the ability now to create micro-channels on the neighborhood level to inform people about construction updates or crime in their neightborhood, or anything else really.

And, most importantly, it doesn't need to be all that fancy. Free blogs and twitter are about as easy as it gets.

Look at this cool thing, you can embed city of Olympia council meetings now

I'm mostly posting this because I think its exciting that the city of Olympia's vendor finally caught up and now allows you to not only embed city council videos, but choose where you want the video to start. This is something little old TVW has been doing for a couple of years now, but I'm glad the vendor folks have caught up.

For some reason, this embedding thing seems to be working here and not over at Olyblog, which is a shame, because I think there will be more people interested in watching these clips over there.

And, if you're really interested in this particular topic, read Janine Gate's blog. She's good.

Get Microsoft Silverlight

Sunday, December 05, 2010

Washington historic districts that have crossed the Cascade Curtain

Yesterday, I took a look at "Historical Atlas of United States Congressional Districts" at the Olympia Timberland Library and answered a question I had last time I thought about congressional districts.

As far as I can tell, there aren't any online digital historic congressional district maps online, so the 24 year old atlas is the best resource I could find.

So, in the past hundred years or so, since Washington gave up on at-large districts, there have been three instances where a congressional district spanned the Cascade Curtain:
  • In 1909 the 2nd CD
  • 1969, the 3rd CD
  • 1973, the 4 CD
All three crossed the Cascades along the Columbia, so there is no historic parallel what I do with the 8th CD (link above). Both the 1909 and 1969, it was the historic parrelell of the current 3rd crossing over, taking in a couple of east side counties. The 1973, an east side district came west and took in Vancouver.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

I redraw your congressional districts so you don't have to (Olympia is the center of the universe, no?)

I know I said I'd avoid politics on this blog from now on, but this really isn't politics as much as its playing around with cool maps. It all starts with this cool tool by Dave Bradlee that lets you manually redraw congressional lines. Its a bit clunky at first, but as soon as you get a handle on how it works, it is pretty awesome.

First, consensus is that Washington is getting an additional district after the census is done.  Dick Morrill up at the UW makes a pretty good argument that the new district would be centered on Olympia (hey, have to be happy about that, right?).

What he doesn't really do is show you how that Olympia-centric district would shift all the other districts around. So, after about an hour or so of tinkering, here's what I came up with.


Puget Sound detail

New 10th detail

Where I fudged the most, between Yakima and the Tri-Cities, using the population out there to balance out three districts.

A handful of thoughts on the work the redistricting commission has to undertake to actually redraw the districts next year.

Also, the here's the actual file that you can upload to the tool above to really see the detail of the work I did. Its certainly not perfect, there are some unassigned areas still and likely some islands.

1. Morrill understates the impact the new district will have on the west side of the state. I used up all of Mason, Grays and Pacific counties, including all of Thurston and a lot of Pierce to get the new district.

I did take his advice and moved the 3rd across the Cascade Curtain towards Yakima and the Tri-Cities. But, I didn't really need to take up much of those urban areas to balance out the 3rd. 

The real impact came when I started balancing out impacts to the 6th and 9th made by the new 10th. I made up most of those eventually with the 8th, which in turn I made up by again crossing the Cascade Curtain into the Cle Elum and Ellensburg areas.

2. So, in the end, I solidified Republican seats in the 8th and 3rd by crossing over the cascades. Both east side districts were way over, so taking from them was easy. But, what I'm not sure of is whether a Washington congressional district has ever crossed the Cascades.

Will having two members of the federal caucus working for both sides of the Cascade Curtain help bring that division down?

3. On the other hand, I think I created a pretty safe Democratic 10th. Even though it seems pretty rural, except for Pierce and Thurston counties, the three rural counties mostly elect Democrats to the state legislature.

4. And, yes, I balanced this out by playing fast and loose with the area between Yakima and the Tri-Cities. Since I have the 9th CD currently breathing down my neck a few miles away, I don't feel too bad about the crowded Interstate 82 corridor.

Friday, November 26, 2010

Notes and links for "Olympia Journalism Club"

Over at Olyblog, a question from Chad Akins seemed to have reignited the hyperlocal journalism fire with some of us. At least to the point of some folks getting together next Sunday afternoon.

I've been pondering the creation of something like this proto-group for a few months now, thinking about the examples from Clay Shirky's "Cognitive Surplus," about how local groups (Dogtown for example) can help sharpen skills and projects.

Not sure I can make the actual meeting yet, but I at least wanted to put together some thoughts and notes:

  • Thad Curtz has always talked about putting together a wiki on local issues. This core group would seem like a natural starting point for a project like that. It would take a long while to get going, but I think we'd eventually fill it out and keep it updated.
  • The Leeds Community News hub seems like an interesting project to emulated. Interesting, though, they seem to have some institutional support from the Guardian. 
  • Lakewood United and North Mason County Voice are groups that bring speakers in to talk about local issues. Seems like an interesting model to emulate, if we could do it. Especially if we made it a podcast as well.
  • Here's my old list of "beats" that I posted on Olyblog almost three years ago (three years to the day this group will be meeting). Still pretty relevant, should be adding things to the list.
  • Here's a small side project I've been working on, the Briggs Villager, a neighborhood based project for where I live now. Haven't really launched it yet, but I'm getting there and just thought I'd share the link.

Skills, skills, skills. The more I think about it, the more I think that this group should be about sharing tips and tricks for people who want to do this sort of thing, but don't have the chops. Little trainings on how to record and set up a podcast, how to find the information you're looking for, how to conduct an interview or write a decent post.

So, in my mind, the group would have two purposes: teach skills and provide a place for collaboration and sharing.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Couple of thoughts on finding ourselves in Centralia on Veterans (Armistice) Day

Based on that I've never been to Berry Fields (love their blueberry jam, favorite jam ever) and that we had an open morning Thursday, we found ourselves in Centralia.

It was on purpose that we went, but it was accidently that we found ourselves on that particular day, 91 years after the Centralia Massacre, when six people died in a riot between American Legionaries and Wobblies.

The events leading up to and following the massacre (riot) are well documented, the UW library even has an extensive digital library, so I'm not going to recount the larger universe around 1919 in Centralia

But, just a couple of thoughts:

1. Less than 8,000 people lived in Centralia at the time, a pretty small town. Funny note, Olympia was about the same size at the time.

Anyway, everyone who participated in the massacre knew each other and had some history between them. The two main characters of the massacre were lawyers who apparently had a decent personal relationship.

Even though there were meta-issues at play (radical labor unions vs. conservative veterans), it was the personal relationships that I think color the history. This made me think about the current debate inside the Olympia Co-op community over divestment.

2. One of my weirdest experiences as a reporter was running into a lady that was in Montesano to research one of her relatives that had (apparently) either participated in or died in the massacre. She hung out at the newspaper office for an afternoon looking through our archives and then showed up at a city council meeting in Elma later that night. The police chief realized she was a transient and gave her a bus pass to Olympia.

I hadn't realized until she showed up at the meeting that she had no place to go and was literally living out of a backpack. She was originally from the Southwest (Arizona?) and traveled up here to simply research her relative's connection to the Centralia massacre.

Its a pretty big thing that would drag someone up with no money from Arizona to Grays Harbor County.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

What should Evergreen do with its athletic program?

Thanks to @downwithpants for the conversation to kick this off.
Dave Weber's seat was barely cold before his successor, Sarah Works is also heading out the door.

Weber left after eight years, because when push came to shove, the vision above him wasn't the same as his vision for the program:

"It came to a point where my boss’ vision wasn’t mine,” Weber said.
There is a push toward recreation sports, intramural sports and outdoor recreation at Evergreen. Yet there are no regrets, just differences of opinion.


“We had good support in the sense that most faculty and staff want the teams to do well,” Weber said. “But when it came to stepping to the forefront and truly advocating for a more prominent role for our department, most of that does come from within the athletics and rec staff."

Weber's resignation and Works appointment and eventual resignation seems to indicate a flux in terms of what athletics at Evergreen are supposed to be. I remember growing up, when there were no varsity sports at Evergreen. My uncle played for the Geoducks soccer team, but at that point was a glorified club team playing locally.

Bounce that against the Quincy Wilder led Geoducks, packing the gym seemingly every night. If Evergreen wasn't a good place for competitive intercollegiate athletics, why did it seem that that team (plus any other successful Geoduck team) was popular at the school?

The tin-pot band (anyone remember that?) made up of male 19 year old students came to the basketball games back then because the team was good and fun to watch.

Even though (we know the old tale of why the Geoduck was chosen) Evergreen was founded as a school that would never embrace big time college athletics, playing in the NAIA seems to be a way to a nice middle territory between Seattle University-esque small college striving and just not trying at all.

Weber did a great job for years towing this middle ground between "Undefeated since 1967" attitude and trading in being a college for being a sports franchise. I don't think the Geoducks will ever sell out the way some schools have, but there is something to be said for putting some effort into it.

Another note: There is another model out there, just not one that many have used. The BYU Mens soccer team is essentially a club team and does not participate at the collegiate level. But, they've found a way to still participate at a higher level:

Paralleling their efforts to increase the level of competition , Brigham Young University Soccer left the Collegiate Club division of soccer, and purchased a Premier Development League franchise, where they began play in May of 2003. Part of the United Soccer Leagues, this league provides the year round competition necessary to develop individual and team skills that in hand will better prepare them for success in their international travels. We are the only University sponsored soccer program to ever purchase a franchise and that competes at a level considered higher than NCAA soccer in the pyramid of U.S. soccer development.

Is there some future in that model for Evergreen? Creating a side non-profit organization that receives grants from the school to offer athletic opportunities for students. But, can be separate from the school and be able to raise its own funds as well. And, by looking for opportunities to compete at a high level in non-college venues (PDL, WCCL or IBL), it could still play at a high level.

And, just another thing: Don't you think an institution with its own blog farm could put up a simple RSS feed for its athletic department?

Monday, November 01, 2010

Olympia Time reborn! (and, did you notice the new header??)

Well, maybe not so strong as that. But, back to blogging on a regular basis here at my home blog.

I'll try not to take such a long break next time, but 2010 has been sort of busy, and its not like I haven't been blogging, just not over here so much.

The time off did help me refocus on what I want to do over here. In short, here is how I'll refocus myself:

1. Politics, eh, not so much. Unless something is really interesting, I'll not write about politics much here.

2. Deep map of Olympia. PrairyErth is one of my favorite books. Not because of the particular topic (Kansas, eh...) but of how the topic is treated. Williams Least Heat Moon drills down into each little portion of a Kansas County, exploring it from the inside out. That kind of treatment of a particular place interests me, so I'm going to try to write more history here.

By the way, the new header is a detail from a Sanborn Map of Olympia in the late 1800s. The detail is of a gulch that used to stab deep into the current capitol campus. The old greenhouse and sunken gardens are now on top of that now filled gulch.

Sanborn maps are pretty cool, and you usually have to pay to see them. But, the Timberland Regional Library grants you access to all of the maps for Washington.

3. A zine. Olympia Time, the Zine. This is more of a promise to myself than a goal, but since I've been getting involved with the library, I've fallen in love with the zine format. So, I'm going to start doing four zines a year based on things I've written about on this blog. Promise. I have an editorial schedule and everything. So, hopefully the first one will come out within a month.

4. Local sports. I have this concept inside my own head called "real sports," which is the shadow land of competitive sports in between youth (including high school) and the kind of stuff you see on television (including affiliated minor league baseball). So, anything like small college sports, independent minor league baseball, or high level amateur soccer. So, now there are two examples of this (beyond the local colleges) around her: the Puget Sound Collegiate League and Capitol City FC. Hopefully, I'll try to write more about these organizations.

Thursday, March 04, 2010

Olympia Time, where did it die?

It didn't, but I thought I'd give myself the same treatment I gave Olyforums here.

I haven't been blogging recently and I never explained why, so if anyone was worried, I apologize. But, I'm going to assume that most of the people who read this blog either also follow my twitter feed or are friends on facebook, so they know I'm not totally gone.

But, I have been blogging, but in another capacity. I started up Informed Community, a blog that I will hopefully carry forward in the role of a trustee of the Timberland Regional Library. I've applied for the position (I don't know yet when the Thurston County commissioners will appoint someone), but I've decided to put my blogging where my mouth was.

Since I've started talking to elected officials in person, I've always berated them on their lack of social media presence. So, hopefully, in my new role as a (not elected, but still) public official, I'll be able to show what I've been babbling about for years.

Which if all goes well, will also mean less time blogging here and at other places. But, feel free to email me, follow me on twitter (which I'll hope I can keep up) and read my library stuff.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Dems keeping Hyer on the list

Unless someone makes a move for a vote among the PCOs tomorrow night, it looks like the Thurston County Dems are leaving Joe Hyer on the list for Thurston County Treasurer:
For immediate release
2/21/2010 7:00 PM

From: Jim Cooper, Chair, Thurston County Democrats
Contact info: 360-451-xxxx or

We support Councilmember Joe Hyer as a friend and political colleague. Joe is an integral part of the “citizen corps” that makes Olympia and Thurston County tick. Until we have seen specific charges and evidence against him it is the position of the Thurston County Democrats' (TCD) Executive Committee that Joe Hyer is innocent until proven guilty and only he, the County Commissioners, or the Judicial System can make the choice as to whether he is qualified to serve as County Treasurer.

Should Joe, or any other candidate, become unfit to serve (through withdrawal of their own name or a statement by the County Commissioners or the Courts) TCD will be constitutionally obligated to rescind our entire list of nominees for the interim appointment of County Treasurer and open the process again in order to refresh the list to three qualified applicants.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Anti-Tim Sheldon bill would make Joe Hyer choose a position

While SB 6588 (pdf warning is aimed at Mason County commissioner/State Senator Tim Sheldon, it would also force Joe Hyer to choose to be a city council member or county treasurer.

Hyer, who sits on the Olympia city council, is also running for county treasurer. He also might be applying to temporarily fill the position that is already being vacated by the sitting treasurer.

The proposed bill does have some built in wiggle room:

Any elected official holding two positions prior to this bill's effective date may continue to serve out the remainder of each term. At the expiration of each term, that elected official may subsequently only hold one elected office at a time.

So, if the law becomes effective this summer, Hyer is appointed to fill out the remainder of the open treasurer term and is elected in November, it sounds like he'd need to resign the city council soon after that.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

New Timberland non-fiction tweeting and twitter level tech support

If you follow my twitter feed, you noticed earlier this week that I've been featuring a book a day from Timberland's recent non-fiction RSS feed. This is in a way to try to publicize that Timberland gets a lot of new books, and indirectly publicize the feed, but to also try to do something innovative to support the library.

I'm also assuming there are non-fiction nerds out there that might appreciate it.

Not sure how innovative it actually is, but no one else was doing it and that's enough of me patting me on the back.

Here's the really funny part. When I first started posting the updates earlier this week @epersonae noticed that my links weren't actually going to the book, but rather just to some "you're lost dude" page at TRL's online database. For some reason, when you get a link to a particular book via Timberland, it isn't a permanent one. Sucks for sharing.

Then, @ahniwa came along and found a couple of solutions (the second seems way easier to me).

This is going to be a some what typical story of someone coming along in twitter and helping you out with something. I've gotten help like this before, but its always beautiful and nice when it happens, and very much worth mentioning.

Worth mentioning most is that @ahniwa is a library employee, but not for the library that I was trying to link to. He works for the state library. Anyway, good twitter y'all.

Friday, January 08, 2010

One county commissioner, 10 city council-members, three school board members (and some more) come out for Stew Henderson

The list is long and deep and it looks like local Dems are lining up behind Stew Henderson for the 22nd LD:

The full list of endorsements announced today include:
• Karen Valenzuela, Thurston County Commissioner
• Doug Mah, Olympia Mayor
• Karen Rogers, Olympia City Council
• Joe Hyer, Mayor pro tem, Olympia City Council
• Cynthia Pratt, Lacey City Council
• Andy Ryder, Lacey City Council
• Mary Dean, Lacey City Council
• Ron Lawson, Lacey City Council
• Joan Cathey, Tumwater City Council
• Betsy Murphy, Tumwater City Council
• Ed Stanley, Tumwater City Council
• Eileen Thomson, Olympia School Board
• Mark Campeau, Olympia School Board
• Allen Miller, Olympia School Board
• George Barner, Olympia Port Commissioner
• Chris Stearns, Public Utility Commissioner
• Jay Manning, Chief of Staff to Gov. Chris Gregoire and former Director of Ecology
• Karen Messmer, former Olympia City Council Member
• John Cusick, immediate past Chair, Thurston County Democratic Party
• Debby Pattin, WA State Democratic Party Committeewoman for Thurston County
• Roger Erskine, WA State Democratic Party Committeeman for Thurston County

Here's what Jay Manning has to say:

"I've known Stew for years, both personally and professionally. He will be an outstanding legislator, bringing excellent judgment, honesty and a great work ethic to the table,” said Jay Manning, former Director of the state Department of Ecology and current Chief of Staff to Governor Chris Gregoire.

Here's his full list of endorsements.

Tuesday, January 05, 2010

How a newspaper works

It may seem as simple as interesting text and sells ads around it to support you writing interesting things, but Alec Clayton's post on how he became a newspaper man shows there's something deeper and something harder about it.

His description of Everything for Everybody, which was less a newspaper and more a representation of a larger community:

It was 1973, New York. I had recently joined a crazy kind of hippy employment agency/apartment finder/social network called Everything for Everybody and teamed up with a band of handymen who called themselves, variously, The Midnight Carpenters, Uncle John’s Band, and TANSTAAFL (an acronym for There Ain’t No Such Thing As A Free Lunch), and moved in with two of the TANSTAAFL guys, Sam and Mike, in an apartment on 165th Street.


An explanation about Everything for Everybody is in order. It was an organization that claimed to do just what the name boasted—everything for everybody. For a five dollar monthly membership fee you could list jobs wanted, services offered, apartments for rent, or if you were looking for a mate or friend or wanted to start a book club or learn yoga. No limits on what you could list or how many listings. The listings were all kept on index cards in a storefront on 8th Avenue and 10th Street. Members had free access to all listings, so if, for instance, you needed someone to walk your dog you could find a listing for a dog walker and give him or her a call. It was as simple as that. All of the listings were also published in the organization’s monthly newspaper, which Mike and Sam put together. Sam was nominally the editor, but Mike did all the work.

Everything for Everybody is a drastic example, but a good newspaper should be for its community what the E4E newspaper was for its community, a representation of the social network between people. A newspaper should speak to the people within a community in a much different sense than how it would seem to an outsider.

In that sense, a newspaper can now be in a real sense, obviously not even printed. A tight online social network can serve much the same purpose E4E did.

It should also be hard to put together, because there's a need to do it right:

We worked for a couple of hours until we discovered that there were many more listings than there was space for them. “They won’t fit,” Mike said. “We’ve got to leave a few out.”

He decided which ones to leave out. He cut out half the older listings.


We ended up eliminating about 50 listings that in Mike’s judgment were repetitious and unnecessary. We finished the newspaper about midnight, put the sheets in a big flat box and hopped in the A Train to take it to Jack in his apartment on Bank Street in the Village. We used to do a thing we called surfing the A Train, standing up and trying to hold balance with the swaying and lurching of the train without holding on. We did that all the way from 165th Street to 14th Street. We got to Jack’s apartment, handed him the sheets to look over, and Sam let out that we’d eliminated a lot of the listings. Jack went ballistic. He told us that the members paid for those listings and they could not be left out—as if he had to tell us that. He told us to go back and add four pages (for people who don’t know, you can’t add a single page; they’re sheet fed through the printer with four pages per sheet).

So we surfed the train back home and added four more pages. Now we needed filler. Mike wrote an article, and I think I wrote one too. I designed a big ad for TANSTAAFL, creating a logo on the spot and hand lettering the acronym with a felt tip pen, and we found a cartoon and a poem that had been submitted by other people but never used. We worked all night and delivered the finished newspaper to Jack at seven o’clock the next morning. He said it was the best looking edition yet—which was not saying much; I’d seen earlier editions and they were not much to brag about.

Monday, January 04, 2010

Olyforum, where did it die?

This hilarious ONN report reminded me of a dead local online civilisation, the once vaunted (by me) Olyforums:

So, what happened to Olyforums?

The folks that I understand to have been the main moderators over there, S6, Christie, Rummy, and Just Plain Onry (I can spell that one out) haven't signed on to their forums since late last summer. The drop off in posting seemed to occur in late spring, but the dead rot didn't seem to really set in until September.

Anyway, what happened over there? Here are some possibilities:

1. Summer is a hard time to blog. Lots of sunshine, lots of travelling, people just get bored with it and sometimes it just drops away. And, sometimes everyone drops away at the same time.

2. Twitter and FB done killed it. I noticed a trend the year that my attention was being sucked up by my other social media accounts and I had less energy to blog. I am a lot less active at Olyblog and the blogging I have been doing has been over here. I can expect that other users at OF have experienced the same thing and just don't have time to put up with a forum where they can hear from people they don't particularly like. Moderating is a headache too, as we've learned.

3. Just a bit too caustic to live? Since the beginning, Olyforums was supposed to a be a place where everyone could hate on each other without being afraid of being banned. That doesn't mean there wasn't moderation, but the invention of invisible in you're just browsing subforums (The Basement and the War Zone) was supposed to give more freedom to people who just wanted to yell at each other online.

Maybe a bit of history is needed. My understanding is that the founder of Olyforum, S6, started it up in reaction to moderation policies at another local blog, Olyblog. The core idea was that Olyforum would be friendlier place for conservatives who chafed at the apparent liberal bent of moderation policies at Olyblog.

Anyway, what could have happened is that when you found an online forum based on the core principal that everyone is allowed to be a shit head to each other, eventually, people get tired of going to a place full of shit heads. Rather than asking people to better their discourse, the place eventually falls apart.

I think this late thread in the deep dungeon of Olyforum points to that. In the thread which is housed in the War Zone subforum, apparently a really weird and threatening PM from one member to another causes the messaged member to drop out of the forum. Apparently, a lot of people were experiencing that.