Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Architecture Wednesday: Back To Seattle

So, after a few days in Seattle, with several days of clear sunny skies--a rarity for the Northwest--and evergreens and deep blue water, Carlos decides he must live there.
Uh huh, I say, well, howsabout this house?

The  Euclid House--which looks remarkably fresh and contemporary despite the fact that it was built nearly twenty years ago--literally towers over a 0.14-acre lot to take advantage of Lake Washington views and the surrounding forest. Generous decks and multi-paned glass walls in the great room allow close-up views of the dense woods, while 12-foot ceilings and white walls keep the interior simple and airy.
Situated on a dead-end street, it lies beside an expansive urban wilderness park, and is both close to the lake and an easy commute to downtown Seattle.
A sloping driveway leads to a 2 car garage and the owner/architect designed the home to have a splayed base to "anchor" it to its hillside setting. A cap of overhanging gable roofs mimics the distant mountain range while walls of glass set in a structural frame give the illusion that the roof hovers overhead.
The front stairs ascend to an impressive front door and open to the center of the home. The foyer has that Wow factor, looking up the column of stairs. The lighted staircase to the first level is slate with beechwood risers and stainless edges.

Aluminum-clad wood windows run from floor to ceiling, bringing in light and that amazing view. Tall, glass French doors open to the curved front wood deck overlooking the lake and the garden below. All of the windows in the house face south or east to take advantage of the light & warmth of the sun.
Who wouldn't mind being in a kitchen with this view? A wall of glass and French doors open to the large dining deck that connects with the living room deck. The granite topped island w/maple cabinetry has a rounded end to accommodate stools for having breakfast or keeping the cook company.

Rosabeta granite counters, a Dacor stainless 5 burner cook top, a Dacor stainless built-in convection oven, microwave and warming ovens, a wood faced Sub-Zero double door refrigerator, plus lake and mountains views make this the heart of the home.
The dining room, open to the kitchen and living room, is perfect for all that entertaining--I see a fabulous Cinco de Never party happening here! The dining deck has a built-in grill and more of those amazing views.
The master bedroom sits high in the tree tops, surrounded by windows to take in the view. The vaulted cedar ceiling only adds to the treehouse vibe. The top floor also holds the master bath, a large walk-in closet, laundry room, and private deck with hot tub.
The master bath has dual polished granite vanities, tons of built-in storage for your personals, windows to the view, and a glass door to the deck. The stainless walled shower has a window to the lake view.

The master bedroom's hot tub deck has wood slatted floors, vaulted ceilings, and skylights, so you can watch the lake, the trees, and the stars.
This very contemporary guest bedroom has slate floors, a deep soaking tub and something called a Toto toilet. I don't think we're in Kansas anymore.
Finally, let's end our tour on the living room deck, with its Lake Washington views, and scenes from the forest, and the Bellevue skyline.


So, Carlos, for $1.2 million, could we get a piece of Seattle?
 
source

Scenes From A Vacation

So, here's a quick photo-tour of our time in the Northwest. 
As always, you can click 'em to emBIGGERate 'em.
My father lives very near, very near, the Canadian border, in a small farming community.  I mean, it's so close that one wrong turn and the Mounties demand to see your passport. This is a view of Mount Baker rising behind one of the farms.
Speaking of Canada, with their gay marriage and health care, this is the Freedom Arch at the border, and a view of the Canadian flag, done flower style.
In the harbor of Bellingham, I found the name of this boat particularly suited to me, as I often don't give a Flying F. After spotting this, I went in search of the Asshat and the Fucktard, to no avail.
This is the City Center of Tacoma, right across the street from a delicious Mediterranean restaurant we enjoyed. Tacoma is very reminiscent of San Francisco, so it holds a special place in my heart. Old buildings, streetcars--albeit new ones--and a waterfront.
In Tacoma, we saw an exhibit of Chihuly glass--if you've never seen a Chihuly exhibit, what are you waiting for?? But I was stunned that so much of his gorgeous glass pieces could be found on the streets and on freeway overpasses.
A piece of Chihuly glass. I love the reflection  of the overhead lights and how it looks like stars.
Another Chihuly. Many of his pieces are inspired by the handwoven blankets of Native Americans.
 The Tacoma Union Station, now a US Courthouse with a lobby filled with Chihuly glass pieces.
 Mount Rainer, as seen from the Chihuly bridge overpass.
 The street art. Row upon row of Chihuly artwork on a pedestrian bridge from the City Center to the waterfront.
 These are some of the fabrics created by Chihuly and then used as inspiration for his glass pieces.
 And what's a visit to Seattle without braving the crowds, sights and smells of the Public Market.....
....or getting all touristy and going to the Space Needle.
 I loved the views from the top of the Space Needle, looking out at Seattle. I was not so fond of looking down.
 The beautiful Snoqualmie Falls are just about 45 minutes from the craziness and traffic and noise and fun of downtown Seattle.
 The town of Snoqualmie had a railroad museum. Carlos loves railroad cars and railroad travel. I, however, was more taken by the rust and decay of the rail cars and found many--and I mean many--shots I had to take of rust and ladders and numbers.

So, there's a brief tour of some of what we did and saw and smelled and tasted and touched. farmland to city, waterfalls to trains. A little bit of everything, I guess!

Perfect For the Morning After

After a few martoonis last night, I need some Adele in the AM.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

The Boy Scouts of America...Teaching Homophobia To Your Children

Denise Steele and her family.
FAMILY.
I was never a Boy Scout, but I was a Cub Scout. Oh, not because I liked camping or making knots, but because i looked cute in a kerchief and cap. I mean, who doesn't, right? But I am not fond of the Boy Scouts because of their homophobia, and now I have even more reason to find them reprehensible.

Denise Steele is a mom who has been part of her son's Boy Scout troop for the past six years. She began as a den mother for her son, Jackson, because no other parent would step up and take on being a Cub Scout troop leader.

No other parent.

And she was good, too. Jackson's troop excelled at everything, including accomplishing badges and winning the Blue and Gold Award all five years, one of the highest awards for Boy Scouts. Did she do it for the Scouts? No; she did it for her son, and those other boys, to make sure they had a good time, and because no other parent wanted the job.

No other parent.

But last June other parents did step up, and now Denise Steele’s chances to further bond with her son through scouting were dashed.

See, she was removed, removed, from her position after an assistant scoutmasters discovered that Denise Steele is a lesbian, and in a nineteen year domestic partnership with Jackie Funk. The couple lives in Potomac Falls with their two children, Jackson and Jaden, and Denise Steele’s nephew Will.

Still, Denise Steele’s homosexuality was never an issue in the past, with regards to leading her son’s Boy Scout troop. In fact, according to Denise's partner, Jackie, it may have actually opened some eyes to gay parents and gay parenting: “Some of the guys would come down and ask her advice. Being a woman, forget about the gay part, it didn’t matter. They respected her for her commitment and what she offered and how much she put into it. They respected her.”

As did the boys, all of whom stayed in Steel's troop the entire five years; except for two boys, who moved away. But that doesn't matter. it doesn't matter that she was the only parent to step up. it doesn't matter that her troop excelled. it doesn't matter that the boys loved her. What matters, according to Phil Holliday, the executive pastor at Christian Fellowship Church, and Esther Schaeffer, the charter organization representative, is "the rules".

When a chartered partner, like Christian Fellowship Church, agrees to sponsor a scouting unit, an annual charter agreement is signed. In that contract, they agree to provide a place for a meeting, select volunteer leaders and follow the policies and guidelines established by the Boy Scouts of America. Which doesn't allow homosexuals to be Scouts or leaders or involved in any way, even if they are the only way to keep a troop together.

The Boy Scouts of America organization says it believes that “open homosexuality is inconsistent with the values” and recommends that scout parents and sponsors share this belief.

Parents. Like all those parents who didn't step up when Denise Steele did. She even finished the year-long training to become an assistant scout leader in just three weeks because she wanted to do this for her sons. And she even went to the scoutmaster, Mike Tucker, and told him she was gay, and in a nearly twenty years, and he said it wasn't a problem.

Until this past June when Steele took her troop on a camping trip to Assateague Island. Since the trip lasted from a Saturday to a Monday, and Steele needed to work Monday, she asked Jackie Funk, her partner, to pick her up from the campsite.

After she left one asshatted busybody, assistant scoutmasters, Skip Inabinett, began asking questions about the woman who'd come to take Denise Steele to work.And after discovering that Denise and Jackie were a couple, asshatted busybody, assistant scoutmaster Skip Inabinett decided she should be removed as an assistant scoutmaster.

Asshatted busybody, assistant scoutmaster, Skip, Skippy, Skipper, Inabinett, sent an email to a close friend of Denise Steele's, whose son was also in the troop, saying, “If what you said about Denise Steele being an active sexual is true, do you feel comfortable talking with her about stepping down/resigning as an ASM … as her friend, this may be an opportunity for you to share with her about Christ’s love and the need to believe that as sinners we cannot get to heaven on our own and that we need a savior.”

The conversations centered around how Inabinett thought Steele’s lifestyle choice was a sin. In fact, asshatted busybody, assistant scoutmaster Skip Inabinett actually began speaking to Denise Steele about her, um, lifestyle choice, in what Jackie Funk described as an episode of bullying: "[T]his guy, who’s demonstrated very much a bullying behavior, if boys bullied other boys or girls bullied other girls to get what they wanted the way this guy has bullied her in today’s school system you’d probably get kicked out of school.”

And there is a chain of command that people follow in the Boy Scouts, but asshatted busybody, assistant scoutmaster Skip Inabinett went straight to the Boy Scouts of America with his complaint to get her removed as an assistant scoutmaster.

And it worked.

Denise Steele: “He didn’t go through those steps. He skipped over the scoutmaster, he skipped over the committee, he skipped over the district. He went straight to the highest level because that’s where he would get his answer. He went to the highest point to get me removed.”

And yet, Deron Smith, the director of public relations for the Boy Scouts of America, says Steele wasn’t removed from the national council , but that it may have been a troop decision.

How so? I mean, if asshatted busybody, assistant scoutmaster Skip Inabinett went all the way to the top, utterly ignoring the troop aspect of the process, then how is that possible that the troop, who apparently adored her, wanted her gone?

And now asshatted busybody, assistant scoutmaster Skip Inabinett is not talking. I mean, his work is done. The lesbian is gone.

I wonder if another parent will step up.
I wonder if another parent will work as hard as Denise Steele.
I wounder if the boys in that troop will learn from Denise Steele how to live ones life, or if they will get their example from asshatted busybody, assistant scoutmaster Skip Inabinett.
I wonder if the Boy Scouts will ever realize that being gay isn't a bad thing, or even a good thing, it's just a thing.

source

Design Star: It's Nate!! It's NATE!!!!!

Okay, so I was gone last week but they have this new thing called a DVR that allowed me to watch the show when I got home. Which i did, and will now recap in a few sentences:
  • Karl got all architectural and camera ready and won.
  • Mark went all woody [again!] and used some old things he found as wall art [again!].
  • Meg hoisted a 200-pound ottoman over her head, and the lifted a Toyota Prius off of a kitten, and half-designed a room with a crooked art display.
  • Kelly refused to listen to a five-year-old who wanted bunk beds and should have gone home but for some reason did not.
  • Leslie turned a two-year-old's show biz performance room into a guest room with a wonky stage from which she was cancelled.
  • Kevin went all pop of color and yappy little dog and, eventually, he went home, too.
Caught up? Good.
This week the designers are tasked with taking one of the smaller condos in their building and using $2500.00 to spruce it up, like say, the owner of the condo might do. They are given identical spaces with furniture and some accessories that they can use or discard. This is like the White Box Challenge from weeks back, but now it's a White Room.
There are no new ideas.
Let's rip:

Meg
For some reason Meg makes up a whole story about the person who lives in her space; some sort of brokedown, trust-fund baby named Graham Wilcox who used to travel but now she's poor and living in a giant loft in Brooklyn and eating Ramen and hanging baskets on the wall.
Oooooooooooookay.
She has the painter paint the room gray and then takes long strips of molding and attached them vertically to the wall. Oh yeah, she paints the molding yellow. All of the designers picked bland and boring paint colors. Did they never hear Kevin talk POP!!!
But the idea of the molding, and the floating shelves attached to each piece, was interesting. What wasn't interesting was the large silver L-bracket you could see beneath each shelf holding it up. Um, Meg? Perhaps some yellow paint on the brackets? Or, better still, get actual floating shelves and notch then around the moldings so you don't see the supports?
Just sayin'.
For her Camera Challenge, presented Live! on The Nate Show, Meg took an old coffee table, painted it gray, and then did some sort of loopy, swirly, squirrelly design on it. Seriously, she called it chic and modern, when it looked like something a seven-year-old might do. And then she goes all Beefy and The Beast and demands that the audience ooh and aah as she paints the table. Frightened, the audience submits.
But the judges loved the fact that Meg finally finished a room, on her own, and on time, and she gets the win.

Karl
He's mostly worried about the Camera Challenge since he's been a little off in that area. And he's even more afraid when he's told he'll be presenting Live! on The Nate Show. But his repurposing, or creating something a homeowner can do themselves, was a cool idea. He took store-bought, boxy shelves, stood them om end, and used actual books to make the book shelves. It was a cool ideas, and worked in his space, but would have looked better had there been more of them.
Still, his presentation, again, Live! on The Nate Show, went very smoothly and he generated oohs and aahs naturally, not through inti-Meg-ation.
His one mistake, other than more sad paint colors, was to take what looked like a bunch of paint stirrers and make them into a small dot of a clock along the biggest wall in the condo. It looked a little lonely.
But, because of his shelves and his Camera success, Karl gets a Second Place finish and some more tears.

Mark
Hottie Mark is at a loss. I so wanted to hug him, but then, i always want to snuggle a hot Latino. He gets all caught up in what to do for the Camera Challenge--to repurpose an item that a homeowner can do themselves--that he forgoes things like art. And design.
There's a lot of moving of furniture. A lot of painters painting. Some hanging of boxes all crookedy and crazy on the wall, and the purchase of some thrift store chairs that he could have painted some fabulous color and reupholstered as part of a, oh, i dunno, Camera Challenge.
Instead, he opts to silver-leaf a desk lamp because everyone can silver-leaf, right? I know.
Mark presents his Camera Challenge Live! on The Nate Show and gets all tongue-tied and nervous and calls silver-leaf tinfoil. i imagine a lot of bored housewives in some of the square states rushing to the kitchen for the Reynolds Wrap, and a hot glue gun, then cursing Mark when it doesn't turn out well.
Still, even with all his troubles--Hey! Maybe he should have gone woody and recycled wall art again!--Mark gets a save.

Kelly
She decides to create the condo space as if it were her own.
Mistake One.
I mean she's a suburban wife and mother, not your typical New Yorker. It'll be like Iowa in Brooklyn, and those two don't really mesh.
She buys rag rugs and then decides to use them to reupholster some stools. Ooh, never seen that before. Padding. Rug. Stool. Staple gun. Done. Très exciting.
Mistake Two.
And, in all her shopping, she forgets to buy window treatments for the one huge window that hits you in the face as you enter the space. So, she hangs table-cloths up there, and then places sheers behind them, and lower than them.
Mistake Three.
Her Camera Challenge, presented Live! on The Nate Show, was very clinical and dull. She must have said, two or three times, while holding up a rug, a stool a piece of foam, and a staple gun, "We've all seen these before." And we have, which made it a boring segment.
Mistake Four.
Out the door, Kelly. You've been cancelled.

Rants
I have a few.

This season is dull. Except for a few designs in the White Box Challenge there have been no Oh my god moments and no Wows. It's dull. And boring. And it's been seen before.

Genevieve Gorder is a moron with the design sense of dirt. I mean, the woman wore culottes and pumps last week, and is more high school girl giddy on TV than anything else.

Vern Yip is an annoying little queer who says things like "super interesting." The last time anyone said super interesting was in the 80s, and she was a high school girl. In fact, I think she was Genevieve Gorder.

Nate Berkus. I mean, come on, without Oprah, it's be Nate who? And his raves about Meg had me wondering: He's from Chicago. She's from Chicago. I sense a schoolyard reunion, where the bully is on a relaity show and the bullied one is a judge and too afraid the bully will take his lunch money again so he picks her as the winner.

And finally: Bring back Candice for crying out loud.

buh-bye, Kellie. You are out of this picture!

Monday, August 29, 2011

I May Have Had A Lovely Vacation, But I'm Gettin' Ready To Rant!

source

So..........What's Been Going On?

Let's see....

An earthquake in the DC area. I keep waiting for the Bachmann-Perry's to come out and say it had something to do with Obama.

A hurricane up the East Coast. And idiot weatherpeople told of big winds and rains in the Carolinas, making Carlos and I think we should cut our trip short, until we talked to our petsitter, and the Round-The-Way Gays, David and Neal, who told us it hadn't even rained in our little corner.

Rick Perry has seemingly taken over Michelle Bachmann's place in the Loony Pool. I wonder who will take his spot as more and more folks realize he's effin' nuts?

Well, at least not the people of South Carolina, who are rabidly behind Perry. Welcome home, Bob!!

Kim Kardsashian got married and sold the rights to anyone with a checkbook. How much time is left on her fifteen minutes?

Mitt Romny thinks corporations are people, too, except they don't pay no stinking taxes. And then Mitt, who likes to paint himself as aware of how hard life is these days for the American people, buys a $10 million house so he can tear it down and build a bigger house. Out of touch much? Now, to be fair, it's his money, and he has a lot of it, and if he wants to buy a perfectly good home and raze it, that's his prerogative. But don't tell me you feel my pain....because you don't.

Lady Gaga dressed as a man last night on TV. I'm waiting for the day when  she comes out in regular clothes and just sings. That would be shocking.

Michelle Bachmann says God sent the hurricane to get the attention of politicians. oh, not her, mind you, because God wants her in the White House. or the Nut House. Some kinda house.

Dick Cheney says "heads will explode" when his book comes out. Seems to me, Cheney has made quite a lot of money off exploding people's heads....figuratively and literally.

Nice to know that not much has changed.
Sigh.

Home Is Where The Dirty Laundry Is

Home.

At last.

As always, the vacation is fabulous, but coming home is just as nice.

Especially, it seems, after running around Northwest Washington for over a week, and seeing just about everything.

Let's start with air travel. Hate it/Love it. I love the actually flying part--except for the feeling of being cattle in a  boxcar--but I hate the waiting and the delays, which began instantly. Our flight out was due to leave at 10:15 AM and didn't depart until 12:45 PM. That was sort of okay, because we have a layover in DC of some three-and-a-half hours which was cut to about thirty minutes. Except that our flight out of DC was delayed 90 minutes.

Flying. Pfffft.

On the way back, our flight to Houston was delayed because that plane was coming from Newark, and some hurricane or something was causing all sorts of havoc, and we would have missed our connection in Houston. So, the ticket agent rebooked us on another flight from Seattle to Charlotte, and then from Charlotte to Columbia. Nice. Except it didn't leave for five hours.

I know.

Sad to say, the only flight arc that was on time and the least bit enjoyable was the flight from Charlotte to Columbia because it was, literally, a sixteen minute flight from, as the captain said, "wheels up to wheels down."

The poor flight attendant offered beverages as soon as we were airborne and as soon as she served them she came around to collect, them and we were down.

Headed home.

To pets who went nuts and suitcases of trinkets and dirty clothes. But I've got one more day till back to work, so that's my task.
Laundry. And making up our absence to Tuxedo.

I'll have some photos to share as the week goes on--I took about 300......Oy!--but these few are some of the high points.

High points! Get it?!?
My new favorite drink, The Lychee Cooler:
Yazi Ginger Vodka, Soho Lychee liqueur, muddled mint, fresh lime, ginger beer, ice.
Hea-ven!