Video: Naked bicyclists!

My favorite part of the Fremont Solstice Parade is always the naked bicyclists. Some people go the route of pure nudity, but most come up with elaborate body-paint costumes. Here’s a video I took today of the bicyclists, with dorky commentary about costumes I particularly liked. Highlights include X-men, Ninja Turtles, Rubic’s cubes, Care Bears.

Warning: Contains full nudity. Lots o’ penis and boobs.

This is post 20 of 49 of Blogathon. Donate to the Secular Student Alliance here.

Lunch time!

I built up enough post buffer that I was actually able to go out and get lunch! Sean and I went to Dot’s Delicatessen, which I can safely say is my favorite place to eat in Seattle.

Look at my adorable…eating establishment?

Every one of their sandwiches is mindblowingly delicious. The first time I had the BLT, Sean got a little jealous of the noises I was making. It’s just that good. Today I had their cheesesteak special, which was a delicious mess:

Most of their stuff isn’t quite that messy, but that’s what I was craving today. Sean got something a little prettier, a chicken-pasta-pesto-bacon soup that he said was delicious:

Mmmm, food porn.

This is post 19 of 49 of Blogathon. Donate to the Secular Student Alliance here.

Fremont Solstice Parade photos

Warning, contains naked bike riders in body paint.

Ninja turtles!
Boyfriend: “Eh, we had enough naked people, we need some burkas to even it out.”

This is post 15 of 49 of Blogathon. Donate to the Secular Student Alliance here.

My favorite Seattle coffee spots

It’s time for a coffee break!

I wish it were intravenously. Also, I love how that cartoon looks like me! Well, as much as a stick figure can look like someone. (Can anyone let me know the source? A friend sent it along and I’d like to give proper attribution to the artist).

Anyway, I figure instead of just telling you how I’m nursing a mocha, I’d share with you my favorite Seattle coffee spots around the city. Seriously though, this city really is the country’s coffee capital, there is no disputing it! Every cup I drink just makes me dream about opening a shop someday myself. Who knows, maybe one day, I’ll be a franchise owner! Although, there’s something to be said about cozying up at home around a hot mug after pouring your own coffee in the kitchen using a good old coffee maker.

1. Bauhaus (Capitol Hill): This is definitely number one. I almost always get mochas, and they make the best. They have the perfect creamy texture, a delicious coffee taste, and not an overwhelming amount of chocolate. I love working and blogging there, since it’s the coziest environment with great music (and is conveniently by my apartment). Living in Seattle and the surrounding areas, you’ll come to know your local coffee spots very intimately. I have some friends who have just moved into Hyde Square luxury apartments in Bellvue and they’ve scoped out their local haunts very quickly. Speaking of their apartments, I am rather jealous as the contemporary development looks quite stunning from what they’ve shown me.

Photo from here.

2. Cafe Vita (Fremont): Also delicious and cozy. One of their shops is conveniently by my boyfriend’s place (though they have more around the city), so that’s where I currently refueled:

3. Cafe Solstice (U District): When I want good coffee while at work, this is my go-to place. I’d go there more frequently but I’m usually too lazy to walk up the Ave, so I settle for the crappy coffee that I can conveniently get in the cafe within my building. I wish our building had this coffee company as our provider. I did a lot of General Exam studying in here.

4. The Muddy Cup (Wallingford): I used to live right by this place, and spent a good chunk of last year’s Blogathon there. I love how cozy it is, and the owner is super nice. My favorite thing to get there is their Endless Iced Coffee – the ice cubes are made of coffee, so it really does last forever as it melts!

If you’re a Seattleite, what’s your go-to coffee place?

This is post 10 of 49 of Blogathon. Donate to the Secular Student Alliance here.

Seattle’s proposed solution to their gun problem: God

Seattle is brainstorming ways to deal with the recent increase in gun-related violence in the city…and I’m a little skeptical of the idea proposed by Seattle City Council member Bruce Harrell:

Harrell says he’s spoken with a number of pastors about putting together a gang outreach program that would combine clergy members with other mentoring organizations to get gang members off the streets and in work or education programs.

The program is tentatively titled, “Saving the Streets and Saving Souls” (SSS).

Harrell pictures clergy members and mentoring organizations offering at-risk youth paths to education and job training, and a spiritual safety net. He imagines setting up anonymous gun drop-offs to get firearms off the streets. “We have to have safe drop-offs where grandmothers, aunts, uncles, friends, can turn in guns without inquiries or questions,” Harrell says. “Then change the culture by messaging in all communities that we need to get these guns off the streets.”

Every pastor I’ve spoken to has absolutely loved the idea,” he continues. “Church is a huge part of neighborhood culture, especially in the south end. This is a way to help kids get back on the right track while hopefully cutting down on gang and gun violence.”

Harrell is hoping for around 500,000 (tax payer) dollars for the project.

I understand that Seattle is desperate to solve their gun problem, but I can’t support a solution that boils down to “God! Jesus! Woo!” and a bunch of hand-waiving. Meanwhile there are other more tangible ways. For example, let’s compare Washington’s concealed carry laws with another state whose laws are considered stricter like Utah’s. There you in addition to the standard background checks you have to submit fingerprints, take a certified course in firearms handling – which you have to attend in person. (Source: These are tangible criteria that can potentially weed out unresponsible gun owners as well as dissuade them from crime as their fingerprints are already on file for the police to take at any time. Gun sale laws as well could be reformed as there are a few loopholes used to game the system and get guns into the wrong hands. These are just a few starting points that already show more promise than the church has.

How exactly are clergy members in particular more qualified to offer at-risk youths the support they need? Why target clergy instead of also involving secular organizations? Why does the city give a rats ass about a “spiritual safety net” and “saving souls”? What about the 65% of Seattleites that aren’t religiously affiliated? I don’t want my money going into a program that’s only funneled into religious organizations with vague, nebulous goals. It works on the assumption that religion is inherently morally superior or helpful…which we’ve consistently seen is not the case.

Maybe we should try to actually solve the socio-economic conditions that perpetuate these problems, instead of treating religion like a cure-all bandaid we can slap on after the fact.

Creepiest pickup line ever?

Seattle buses provide ample opportunity for creepy, bizarre, and/or uncomfortable situations with strangers. The one I just witnessed is the current “winner,” as the creepy older guy managed to somehow simultaneously hit on and witness to an attractive young woman sitting behind me.

Guy: You’re so beautiful, intelligent, and spiritual.. I know because I can look into your soul through your eyes, because I’m a warrior of Christ. I’d love to have a relationship with you.
Gal: Um…no thank you
Guy: Well if you change your mind my address is (address) and you can visit whenever you like…you’re so wonderful.

He then proceeded to ask her questions about her name, age, profession, and if she would go on a date with him for the next 15 minutes…which she stupidly answered, albeit in a way that screamed “please stop talking to me.” EDIT: Hopefully she was giving fake information. When she got off the bus he started chanting all these facts to himself, including the intersection she got off because he assumed that’s where she lived. He then started groaning about how hot she was and how badly he wanted her for the rest of the bus ride, until he got off at his stop.

Lesson 1: Don’t give personal information to creepy people on the bus. Eek. WTF. I hope this guy doesn’t turn out to be a stalker. Women are socialized to be polite even in situations that make them incredibly uncomfortable. We need to feel more comfortable saying “No” or “Please stop talking to me” or even moving to another part of the bus.

Lesson 2: Women have to deal with this stupid shit all the time.  I had a similar event happen about a week ago where an older man tried to convince me to get off the bus with him to go on a coffee date, and was trying to pry all sorts of personal information out of me. Even though this time the guy wasn’t talking to me, I was incredibly uncomfortable. I was worried about the young woman (who was the same age as me) and worried that he may start talking to me next. It’s worse because a bus is a situation where you feel “trapped.” You can technically get off (if it won’t make you late for something important), but there’s the chance someone will follow you, so staying trapped on the bus with that person is actually the safer situation.

I know a lot of guys don’t understand why getting hit on by strangers can make many women so uncomfortable. I hear “I’d love random women hitting on me!” all the time. But when you can’t ride the bus in peace…when you dread sitting at a bus stop with other people because they’ll do the same…when you stop wearing nice or flattering clothes because you want to decrease your odds of receiving wolf whistles and cat calls…when you have no idea if any of these people are potentially dangerous…

“Flattery” turns into “fear” very quickly.

“Do women have too many rights?”

How I wish that question was abruptly followed by laughter or “NO.” But alas, it’s not. It’s a title of a talk being given here at the University of Washington on Thursday by anti-choicer Abby Johnson.

Yes, I do choose. I choose the answer “No.” I choose putting a woman’s right to control decisions about her own body before a clump of cells. I choose letting women make their own choices, instead of forcing my personal beliefs on them.

I guess I’ve naively been thinking that I’ve escaped this sort of stuff, but I was wrong. What’s worse is this isn’t a tiny event. That room in Kane Hall is one of the biggest venues on campus. And Abby Johnson is one of the worst anti-choicers out there. She used to work at Planned Parenthood and uses outrageous stories from her time there to explain her stance…outrageously fabricated stories. I guess her superior morals don’t cover the whole “no lying” bit.

If you’re interested, some cranky baby killing feminists will be protesting her talk. I’m not sure if my blood pressure can stand the whole thing. Anything with the trolltastic title “Do women have too many rights?” is destined to be enraging and pointless.

Sin of the week: Gluttony

My friend Mark has been visiting me in Seattle since Saturday afternoon. Mark and I have one of those weird sibling-like friendships that has lasted forever: we met in first grade and proceeded to go to the same elementary school, middle school, high school, and college. But honestly I’m a kind of mediocre tour guide in Seattle. My regular activities involve sitting on the internet, watching Netflix, and playing video games… so suffice to say, I don’t really know how to find entertainment in the city.

But the one thing I do know is where the good food is. So my main contribution to his trip has been dragging him to delicious lunches and dinners. That also means I’ve been in a perpetual food coma since Saturday, and will continue to be in one until I drive him to the airport Thursday afternoon.

Because my food addled brain cannot conceive of any other topic to write about, I’ll share where we’ve been eating. If you’re ever in Seattle, I highly recommend these places. We have hit up or are planning on hitting up:

  1. The Honey Hole
    Location: Capitol Hill
    Description: Do you want a delicious sandwich and great local beer? Yes, yes you do.
  2. The Unicorn
    Location: Capitol Hill
    Description: My favorite bar. I like to describe it as a bar designed by a 5 year old on LSD. The trippy decor is great, but the mixed drinks are great too. I devoured my Mango Drop the other night. And the Unicorn Jizz is legitimately good, and not just because I have the sense of humor of said 5 year old who designed the bar. Also, ridiculous unicorn hats:
  3. Dilettante’s
    Location: Various
    Description: Five dollar chocolate martini happy hour every day? Sign me up.
  4. Some random hot dog stand
    Location: Anywhere there are bars
    Description: If you need to satiate your drunken munchies, there’s nothing better than a Seattle dog: hot dog, cream cheese, and grilled onion on a toasted bun.
  5. Jai Thai
    Location: Fremont (NOT the shitty one in Capitol Hill)
    Description: There are a bajillion Thai places in Seattle, and a million that are awesome. Jai Thai is one of those. I’m sure you can name a better one, but Jai Thai is reasonably priced, has a diverse and consistently awesome menu, nails their Thai Iced Coffee, and is conveniently near by boyfriend’s place.
  6. Brouwer’s
    Location: Fremont
    Description: A Flemish cafe with 64 beers on tap, over 300 bottles of beer, and over 60 scotches. I don’t need to say anything more, but their fries are to die for too.
  7. The Pine Box
    Location: Capitol Hill
    Description: A mortuary that’s been converted into a pub, complete with booths constructed from church pews. It just opened and is a project from the same people behind Brouwer’s, and you can tell. Great beer selection, a randal that infuses a different beer every day with something delicious like coffee beans or cocoa nibs, and awesome pizza.
  8. Beecher’s Cheese
    Location: Pike Place Market
    Description: To paraphrase Mark’s reaction: “I don’t even really like cheese, but holy fuck.” Try the mac and cheese and the fresh cheese curds in olive oil and herbs. Those cheese curds are so fresh they were grass 24 hours ago. So goooood.
  9. La Carta de Oaxaca
    Location: Ballard
    Description: People complain that there’s no such thing as good Mexican food in Seattle, and I used to agree. Then I found La Carta. Holy fuck. This isn’t just good for Seattle, it’s good for anywhere. If you don’t try their mole, you’re missing out.
  10. Molly Moon’s
    Location: Various
    Description: Quite possibly the best ice cream I’ve ever had. It’s a close race between Molly Moon’s and Jeni’s in Columbus, OH, and I just can’t decide. My favorite flavors are the Balsamic Strawberry and the Salty Caramel, though the Theo Chocolate is probably the best chocolate ice cream I’ve had the opportunity to taste. And trust me, I’ve tried a lot of ice cream.
  11. Chiso
    Location: Fremont
    Description: I’m not a huge sushi person, but wow. The picture says it all:
  12. Dot’s Delicatessen
    Location: Fremont
    Description: This is honestly my favorite place on the list. I’ve tried dozens of different sandwiches at Dot’s, and every one is tied for “Best Sandwich I’ve Ever Had.” I never knew meat on bread could taste so divine. If you live in Seattle and aren’t a vegetarian, you need to go to Dot’s right. Now. I couldn’t decide on a single photo, so just go here and keep scrolling down.
  13. Paseo
    Location: Fremont, Ballard
    Description: This previously held the title of “Best Sandwich I’ve Ever Had” before Dot’s opened up across the street. But their Cuban Roast is still a damn delicious sandwich. You won’t need to eat for the rest of the day.
  14. Ray’s Boathouse
    Location: Ballard
    Description: Alright, I actually haven’t eaten here before, but it was universally recommended to me when I asked “Where’s a good somewhat fancy seafood place?” And after drooling over their menu, I can’t wait to try it out tomorrow. Apparently it also has a gorgeous view of the Puget Sound. This place ended up being pretty disappointingly average and way overpriced.
  15. Portage Bay Cafe
    Location: Various
    Description: Do you want a fancy brunch? Then you want this place. Everything is delicious. The french toast, the crab cakes eggs Benedict, the unlimited fresh berry topping bar…dear god

And those are just the places that I can fit into Mark’s schedule. I’d also highly recommend Marination Station (Hawaiian-Korean fusion tacos), Cantinetta (mindblowing Italian), the pupusas at Guanaco’s Tacos Pupuseria

tl;dr I will have consumed 98474387368 calories this week. Guess who’s going to hit the gym on overdrive next week…

Blackout and whiteout

This is an odd combination. While much of my usual internet distractions are shut down in protest of SOPA and PIPA, Seattle is also shut down because of the snow. School was canceled, bus routes are mostly down, and the streets are totally impenetrable. At first I was worried – how am I going to spend a snow day without reddit and Wikipedia?!

But then I remembered I have a kitten, and books, and video games. Right.

I’ve also been entertaining myself by watching all the people who are building snowmen or sledding down my street. So has Pixel:

And here’s a gratuitous beauty shot:

The snowpocalypse is nigh!

Seattle’s weather report for the weekend:

The system will develop into spotty snow showers down at sea level Sunday into Monday. Depending on where you are, accumulations could be anywhere from a trace to several inches.




…The sad thing is, I’m not joking about the chaos. If an inch of snow falls, the city will shut down completely. The streets will be as deserted as a zombie apocalypse. Optimistic/idiotic drivers will hilariously fail at driving* or buses will stop running all together. UW will call a snow day (and some professors will still expect their graduate students to brave the roads to come work). Liquor stores will close.

I begrudgingly admit that this is understandable considering the steep hills, lack of snowplows, and temperatures that turn the roads to ice. Due to all of this, the roads will be pretty much useless to most people. However, there will still be people who have to drive to work or other places. It’s so important that these people take their time on the roads and concentrate for the whole drive. When the roads are icy, there is a much higher chance of car accidents, so people really do need to drive carefully. However, some accidents will be inevitable. If anyone is involved in an accident, caused by another driver, they should really get in contact with a personal injury attorney las vegas area, if that’s where they are located. If not, they should find a lawyer in their local area to help them instead. Personal injury lawyers can help victims to receive compensation if they were involved in an accident that wasn’t caused by them. However, by driving carefully, fewer people should be experiencing car accidents.

*This was way more hilarious before I realized that’s the bus I now take to and from work every day. Gulp.

Seattle isn’t perfect

As much as I agree with the hilarious post about how “Seattle is objectively superior to the place you grew up,” I have to admit it’s not perfect. Like our main news station running a terrible piece on how Arizona sandstones prove Noah’s flood. Thanks for the uncritical support of young earth creationists, KOMO! I understand you’re busy and couldn’t get around to interviewing any legitimate researcher at the University of Washington. It’s hard picking up the phone or riding a bus for ten minutes.

Of course, Seattle is home to the Discovery Institute, so maybe it shouldn’t be so shocking when biased journalism like this springs up.

Jennifer Ouellette speaking in Seattle this Thursday

Women in Genome Sciences is hosting popular science writer and skeptic Jennifer Ouellette this Thursday. She’ll be giving a talk about popular science writing, blogging, and writing as an alternative career at 1:30pm in Foege Auditorium (room S060) at the University of Washington. Here’s a brief bio:

Jennifer Ouellete is the director of the Science & Entertainment Exchange of the National Academy of Sciences and the author of three popular science books, including The Calculus Diaries: How Math Can Help You Lose Weight, Win in Vegas, and Survive a Zombie Apocalypse. She blogs about physics and space science for Discovery News and maintains a science-and-culture blog at Scientific American called Cocktail Party Physics.”

I know the time is crappy for most people with 9 to 5 jobs, but it’s really meant for UW students and faculty. But it should be a good talk, so please spread the word!