Friday, December 31, 2010

Thanks, KEXP!

KEXP interviewed a bunch of us re our 2011 resolutions. Fun being included with Ken Stringfellow, Matthew Caws, King County Executive, Dow Constantine and others whose work I admire and/or with whom I'm friends. Plus, an added bonus: my younger brother is actually impressed:

Special thanks to KEXP writer Jon Harthun for eliciting my answers.

May 2011 kiss all of us on the cheek. Best to you and yours!

Thursday, December 30, 2010


  • To my loved ones and colleagues who helped assuage the searing grief to manageable levels, I remain forever and deeply grateful. I've written of this before but it's worth repeating: there's so much good in the world and I was surrounded by it and that made all the difference. The shock wore off months ago and the "new normal" everyone kept referring to continues to take shape. I incorporate his memory daily and will miss him 'til I'm dead, but in incremental ways, I'm getting the hang of the second half of my life.
  • To everyone wise enough not to inject their religious or philosophical beliefs into another's grief. The most salient card I received read, "It's always too soon." Really, that's all anyone needs to say.
  • I feel he helped look after me in the early months after his death. I realize some lose a partner or close loved one and experience their total absence. I'm not disputing their accounts; merely relaying mine. And I know I might be wrong.
  • I worked with a particularly fine crop of editors and producers this year and will be working with each of them throughout 2011 and that's high-five and heel-click prompting.
  • To the five conventionally married couples who like as well as love each other: nice job. Share tips with your friends; save the rest of us the headache of listening to another conversation delineating the ways in which marriage is not a porridge of rainbows and gold-leaf crumbles.
  • I loved my rabbits boundlessly and when the last one died in May, my home started to resemble a catacomb. So it's been pretty fucking great that my puppy, Thomas, is every bit as sweet, smart, life-affirming and reflexively goofy as I'd hoped he'd be. Thomas Puppy!
  • To each citizen and administration official who worked tirelessly to pass health care reform and to repeal DADT. So much left to accomplish, but this is a damned fine start. And I'm still glad I raised money and voted for President Obama.
  • There is some good news in the offing I've shared with almost no one because I'd rather unveil it when the ink is dry. Still, it's pleasant having things to look forward to again.
  • I am profoundly lucky my family, friends and colleagues are, in fact, my family, friends and colleagues. Much love now and forever.
[I know I wrote a few days ago that I wouldn't mention him in my year-end wrap-up because a set of grief-mongers apparently has little to do but search for his name here. Well, fuck 'em.]

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Why the Jimmy Carter comparision makes no sense whatsoever:

As during the Carter years, there's a recession akin to a bloodbath; joblessness persists; house values keep plummeting and the nation's mood remains cranky as hell.

But to borrow Joe Biden's oft-quoted phrase, here's the huge fucking deal: Carter's one term held few historically notable successes. Obama's first two years contain a pair of gigantic victories: health care reform and the repeal of DADT. Also, the combat phase of the Iraq war is essentially over (not that we can breathe easy yet, but we're moving in the right direction).

No, Gitmo isn't closed and Obama hasn't devised a way to divide loaves and fishes or walk on water, but it'd be useful if my fellow compadres on the left took a sec, breathed deep and momentarily enjoyed what the administration has accomplished so far. The "to do" list still scrolls to the floor, but focusing on success builds momentum, which in turn leads to more success.

And for god's sake, media outlets, you must chill: no one is challenging him from the left in '12. With so many actual stories to cover, it's assinine to speculate where none exists.

Monday, December 27, 2010

Guy walking by absorbed by your Kindle...

...unless it contains Pakistan's nuclear codes and you've heard rumors President Asif Ali Zardari has an itchy trigger finger, you appear less intellectual, not more.

The smartest and most insightful response is usually to engage in the world surrounding you.

Saturday, December 25, 2010

All thoughts and prayers for my friend and her family, please:

I'll heading out the door soon for Part #2 of the Christmas cacophony but my thoughts are with my good friend, whose sister died yesterday after a long bout with brain cancer. She died at home surrounded by her loved ones and for the past two weeks, each of them knew this would arrive any moment.

While her sister's suffering is over, there is a tragedy and, from where I sit, a meaningless to such deaths. Randomness is as brutal a force as the tsunami that killed hundreds of thousands of individuals on this day six years ago.

I'll be seeing my friend soon and we've been there for each other through previous bouts of unfettered awfulness, but everything about this passing is spectacularly unfair and I know whatever comfort I can provide is di minimis and the whole point of this holiday seems perverse and darkly ridiculous right now.

I'm massively fortunate to have... many deeply thoughtful, extraordinarily intelligent, boundlessly talented and ridiculously super-cute friends and family members.

That said, my dear friend and colleague, Jade, just gave me an autographed first-edition Joan Didion, so unless someone wants to gift-wrap Bono and/or Jon Hamm, I think this is the gift-getting pinnacle.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

I'm going to skip year-end reflections...

...because much of them would incorporate you-know-who and I long ago opted to withhold from the grief-mongers whatever it is they think they'll find here. (Seriously, when certain individuals do searches on his name here several times a week, it's not a question of loose screws so much as the degree of looseness.)

Instead, I'll offer a holiday piece I filmed for the Seattle Channel three years ago. (He and I watched it together on my living room couch when it first aired. There--I'll throw you a grief scrap.)

Re the piece itself, about the Christmas torment my brother unleashed on my high school boyfriend, what good are the holidays if you can't needle your younger sibling and remind him that even on the cusp of fatherhood, he remains your baby bro? Ah, payback, a quarter century later. I start at a minute and 17 seconds:

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

My new interview with John Vanderslice for Paste Magazine is here:

The lauded singer-songwriter and all-around swell guy on philanthropy, Three Imaginary Girls, Teen Feed and playing Santa:

I've had a spate of interviews lately I've really enjoyed and this ranks high among them. My editor made an error, though, and one of JV's answers makes a lot less sense without the question preceding it. So here's the full exchange:

PASTE: The Three Imaginary Girls told me how thrilled they were you stepped up with little notice to play Santa at their holiday concert benefiting Teen Feed, the non-profit that provides meals for homeless youth, and that you'll perform at the event, as well. The night before Three Imaginary Girls' soiree, you're joining your frequent compadres, the Mountain Goats, to play a live show accompanying a silent film in the Castro. So you're playing an intricately involved affair in your home city, San Francisco, then immediately hopping a plane to Seattle to help hungry teens. Few artists of your stature would put themselves through the rigors of performing the shows sequentially. What compelled you to say, "Yes"?

JOHN VANDERSLICE: Well, when Three Imaginary Girls calls, you best answer, “Yes.” I'm there for Three Imaginary Girls and Teen Feed! I'll fly in that night and don my suit in the mini-van (Town car? Limo? Ha!) on the way to the show. Teen Feed is a tremendous charity doing necessary work so helping them has to be a good thing. John Darnielle [of the Mountain Goats] asked me a few days after I had accepted the invitation to come to Seattle. I would have done both shows either way. I feel lucky to have such good people who want to do things with me!

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

The Vanderslicer! Three Imaginary Girls! Teen Feed!

My new Seattle Weekly piece on Three Imaginary Girls' holiday benefit for Teen Feed, featuring the endlessly swell John Vanderslice, is online and on stands now:

Saturday, December 11, 2010

If you need a respite from holiday-induced madness, loved ones and/or deadlines:

The deeply talented and industrious Diane Mapes has a new feature on in which I'm among those interviewed. Bemused that a number of my friends recalled the person in question right away:

And Thomas was featured on Capitol Hill Blog a few months ago, but I had a bunch of deadlines and neglected to post it:

Hooray, puppydog!

The countdown to January 2nd resumes.

It was his birthday on Wednesday...

...but I'm not writing about it here.

You can stop doing word searches on his name.

Saturday, December 04, 2010

Well, yeah, that makes sense:

The American Red Cross is now forbidding people with CFIDS from donating blood:

England and Canada implemented the same measure earlier this year. I've never donated blood in the 19 years I've had CFIDS, even in the early years when my doctors said I could (they've informally advised against it for awhile now), because I figured whatever was making me this ill didn't belong in the blood supply.

Glad the Red Cross is taking this step and I hope the Centers for Disease Control and NIH follow suit.

Wednesday, December 01, 2010

It's almost too easy to deem birther Texas State Representative Leo Berman (R) a racist, clinically paranoid...

...and skull-dented withered old man, but it's accurate on all counts, so what are you going to do?

Anderson Cooper dismantles Berman's inaccuracies in an exemplary televised interview that should inspire more journalists how to remain calm while shredding totally fabricated crap: