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PCC Employee Missing

PCC Fremont employee Jeff Johnson is missing.  Jeff is one of the nicest guys you ever wanna meet.  Let’s all try to find him!

See flyer to the right >>>>>>>>>>>>

Jeff went missing Friday morning 8/26 on his way to work.  His truck was found in Carkeek Park Sunday morning, no sign of foul play.  And Jeff hasn’t accessed his bank accounts.

We’re hoping Jeff comes home safe & sound.  And soon.

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weather.com

This blog has previously touched on two vitally important topics: alcohol consumption and weather.  Today, we combine these two wonderful themes and the Jim Cantore Drinking Games are born.

I no longer live on the east coast, so when Irene threatened the US coastline, there was no need to stock my cabinets with non-perishable foods or turn off the gas lines.  We didn’t have to secure our valuable legal papers in baggies and head to higher ground.  We didn’t fill the bathtub with water or put fresh batteries in all the flashlights.  But we DID watch The Weather Channel for hours on end.  I stocked up on snack foods like I was going to watch the Super Bowl and settled in for a long weekend of, as they say in Texas, rubbernecking.

Here’s how we made the most of it:  the Jim Cantore Drinking Game.  We’ve played this game for almost a decade now.  Take a shot when… Jim warns of flying palm fronds.

See, Jim really wants people to know the dangers of storms like Irene.  But we’re stupid humans, so he has to say the same things over and over.  And he has to warn us about things that he shouldn’t have to mention.  Like live power lines and standing water.  Or palms fronds hitting you in the face.   Even though flying debris of any type is very dangerous, warning us about flying palm fronds actually sounds pretty ridiculous.  Imagine Jim having to say, “Watch out for –oooof, oh my, there’s one now… I just got hit by a palm frond.  Palm fronds are not your friends, friends.”  A great drinking game.

But Irene did not spend a lot of time in palm-infested lands. What to do, what to do?  The game must go on!   So we’ve created a solution: Jim Cantore Drinking Game Variations.  Make your own version to fit any type of storm, any time of year, any location.  For example, take a shot when Jim Cantore:

  • mentions palm fronds, leaves, or shingles.  Or, if you’re in Maine, woodchucks.
  • puts goggles on
  • walks backwards or sideways due to wind
  • says, “rapid intensification”
  • mentions Twitter or “social weather”
  • refers to your hometown
  • reminds us who Fujita was
  • gets splashed by passing vehicles or snow plows
  • warns people to stay out of the water while crazy surfers ride barrels behind him
  • forgets what town he’s in (very, very rare, if it’s ever happened at all.  Probably best as a “bonus shot” and not a game itself.)

Now that you’re well-armed to endure the next Weather Channel live storm coverage, go forth & stock they cabinet.  You’ll thank me later.

Ed.note:  Jim Cantore rocks, even though I tease him here.  I admire Jim just like my father respected Harold Taft.

Leslie Cochran

Have you ever been to Eeyore’s Birthday Party in Austin? How about Seattle’s Hempfest?  They’re pretty different, and I’ll tell you why below.

I got to go to Eeyore’s a couple of years ago when I took a road trip across the US.  It was right after college, and it was easy to make friends in new places.  One afternoon I ended up at this coffee shop on Sixth Street in Austin. I was smoking with my friend Bryon on the lawn in front of Book People and we noticed these two scantily-clad hot girls making flower wreaths & putting them in each other’s hair.  As you can imagine, we couldn’t look away.  After putting flowers in OUR hair, they invited us to follow them to Eeyore’s.  How could we resist?

Eeyore’s birthday party is in April every year, usually near 4/20.  (Heh heh)   There are drum circles and potato sack races, a donkey for the kids to pet, face painting, beer, pink cake, wood nymphs, girls dressed like faeries, and tons of people sitting in the shade smoking out while the cops look the other way.  A beautiful way to spend a day along Shoal Creek in Austin.

Now that I’m in Seattle, I had a chance to go to Hempfest and I must’ve expected something similar.  But it’s not.  Hempfest 2011 spans 3 city parks full of vendor tents.  You can get lemonade, donuts, pizza, bongs, edibles, tinctures, weed, and medical marijuana cards (in theory, medical records are required).  Cops are in the park as well as out, but don’t stop anyone from lighting up.  And there are 3 music stages, the main one hosts speakers like Dennis Kucinich and Mayor McBike.

Here are the major differences between Hempfest and Eeyore’s:

  • Hempfest:  best scenery (Olympic Mountains, Puget Sound)
  • Eeyore’s: best girl-watching
  • Hempfest: cops stand right next to smokers
  • Eeyore’s: cops hang out on the periphery with their backs turned
  • Hempfest: lots of street food but no alcohol
  • Eeyore’s:  COLD BEER
  • Hempfest: Mighty-O vegan donuts
  • Eeyore’s:  Mexican pink cake
  • Hempfest: 3 music stages
  • Eeyore’s:  a continuous, 2 day drum circle
  • Hempfest: groups of loud young guys looking for a place to smoke & hit on chicks
  • Eeyore’s: smelly people who need showers
  • Hempfest: no shade
  • Eeyore’s: lots of space to stretch out and chill under the trees
  • Hempfest: political activism
  • Eeyore’s: kid-friendly
  • Hempfest:  no Leslie Cochran

But even though they aren’t the same kind of event at all, they’ve both definitely worth going to.  So this post was pretty useless, wasn’t it?

Clearly, the word “slacker” doesn’t quite cover my ridiculous absence on this blog.  Clearly.

Last year I was distracted by my own health concerns, then my partner’s, then some crazy idea to dive into my first fiction manuscript, and finally… by slackerhood.  In the mean time, I’ve decided I’d like to do a bit more with the Felsputzer Blog than I have in the past.  And by more, I refer to quality not quantity.  Stay tuned.  I’ll be talking about things of a little more import than Kate Gosselin’s inability to dance.

But I’m going to have some help now.  My buddy Mike Black has been itching to stretch his writing hand and he’ll have the opportunity to do that here.  He’s a recent newcomer to Seattle & will share his impressions of his new home, as well as just writing what’s on his mind.  Thanks Mike, looking forward to getting to know you and your work better!

The Gay Cheat Sheet

An open letter to my newly out pal, Victoria:

When I came out in the early nineties, a kind young man from work handed me a mix tape.  “Music every dyke should have,” Ethan said.  And it was.  Jane Siberry, kd langJamie Anderson, Suzanne Vega, Michelle Shocked.  No Indigo Girls.  (He was, after all, a gay man.)  And thus began the soundtrack of my new life.

Music was just about all we had in those days.  And even then, we often had to imagine that a song might contain a cryptic message to us — a gay nod nobody else would recognize.  We had little else. Some cities had specialized gay bookstores that carried books with gay plot lines, but many of us were afraid to go inside lest we be outed.  Storefronts were smashed, people were harassed.  The public was afraid of AIDS.  We weren’t mentioned in the papers or on the radio or on the (gasp) barely functional internet unless it was to discuss how dangerous we were.

And now here were are.  2010.  We’re pretty much normal, we just happen to love differently.  We can insure our gay partners. Our employer offers FMLA benefits to gay families, even though the Feds do not.  We can adopt children.  We can hold hands in public.  We can go to church if we like.  We can go to a straight bar and not get beat up for dancing together.  We can take a date to a company event or a family gathering.  We can go to the mall with short hair.

How are you to know where we’ve been as a community?  This blog post is the 2010 version of the mixed tape:  information every dyke should have.  Welcome to the club, my friend!  Did you get your toaster yet?

  • Overview: Wikipedia’s in-depth Timeline of LBGT history
  • First major gay novel: The Well of Loneliness by Radcliffe Hall.  Published in 1928, and the best known homo novel for decades.  Friggin’ depressing (as many GLBT lives were in those days) but a real classic.
  • Pulp Fiction: Lesbian and gay pulp fiction were once the only information people could get about gay relationships or gay life.  They didn’t have Ellen Degeneres or the internet.  Or out neighbors.  They had pulp fiction.  You should check out the sub-genre lesbian prison pulp sometime to see exactly how fluid we’ve become.  Tereska Torres’ Women’s Barracks is a good place to start.  Women caught buying or owning these books were in much danger, especially during the McCarthy era paranoia.
  • Butch/Femme: The history of butch/femme identity is nicely summarized by GLBTQ.com here.  In the forties, butches were still socially forced to wear feminine clothing in public, only putting on trousers and pressed shirts for weekend bar dates or parties.  Then we decided to stop living “double lives” and butches began to “pass” as men in the big cities were there were fewer family ties.  You can see the beginning of this transition in Fried Green Tomatoes.  As the 50’s progressed, we took factory jobs that weren’t available to women, and tried not to get beat up.  More overview here.
  • 1955 Sisters of BilitisFirst lesbian rights group in the US.
  • 1969 Stonewall Riots: It should come as no surprise that queens love Judy Garland.  On June 28 1969, the day after her funeral, a bunch of morose gays were drinking their sorrows away at the Stonewall Inn in Greenwich Village NY.  The police happened to raid that gay bar that night (a not uncommon practice at the time).  As best we can tell, that night was the first time the fags fought back.  I recommend a wonderful book on the Stonewall Riots & the birth of the gay rights movement, Becoming Visible by McGarry and Wasserman. The photos are excellent too.
  • 1970 Gay Pride Marches: June 28, 1970, the Stonewall Riots were commemorated with the first gay pride parades. They were initially held in New York, LA, and Chicago.  Now they are everywhere, mostly worldwide.  This is why Seattle Gay Pride is always the week after Fremont Solstice. 😉
  • 1972 PFLAG: Parents, Families, and Friends of Lesbians and Gays.
  • 1975 Leonard Matlovich: First gay service member came out on the cover of Time in 1975.  Bless him.
  • 1978 Harvey Milk assassination: He was the first openly gay man to win a public election.  Read more about Harvey here.  Randy Shilts’ book, The Mayor of Castro Street, was turned into a documentary, The Times of Harvey Milk in 1984.  Highly recommended, though Sean Penn also made a great Harvey here.  They even used real footage from the ensuing riot.  Well done.
  • 1979 Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence: Spreading joy and charity of all types.  These nuns ROCK!
  • 1980 Alyson Books: Our own gay publisher!
  • 80’s AIDS: Read or watch Randy Shilts’ And the Band Played On.
  • 1993  Don’t Ask Don’t Tell: Sodomy is still grounds for discharge from the military.  Still, Mr. Obama.  YOU HEAR ME??  Anyway, in 1993 this was seen as a victory that might end the gay witch hunts.
  • 1993 Go Fish: It has its dialogue and production problems, but this little indi film rocked our world when it came out in 1994.  Director Rose Troche also brought us the L Word in 2004.
  • 1993 Brandon Teena: You’ve already seen the documentary. Read more here or see Boys Don’t Cry.
  • 1996 Early Embraces published: Groundbreaking lesbian anthology, including Laura Vess’ “Lover”.
  • 1997 movie explains Pink Triangle: The movie Bent will break your heart, and will explain where the pink triangle came from.  This movie is everything they never told you in history class about gays and the Nazis.  Check out Mick Jagger in the opening scenes. Beautiful film.
  • 1997 Ellen Comes Out: Ellen came out on her sitcom in 1997.  We cheered, but knew the show wasn’t quite enough.  More would come.  (Will & Grace, L Word…then Rachel Maddow and Suze Orman and countless others.  Still waiting for Anderson Cooper.)
  • 1998 Matthew Shephard: This shocked everyone.  And changed us all.  Read about Matthew’s life & death, and the resulting political shift, here.
  • 1999 Texas Governor Bush refuses gay adoption & Byrd Hate Crimes Bill: A rare piece of gay news in mainstream news here.
  • 2000 Chris becomes co-host of “Queerwaves” at KOOP Austin. We started by reading the news, but my co-host Taylor Cage thought the news was too depressing & we needed to have more fun.  So, we added music.  Our first PSA had “God Save the Queen” playing in the background.  Queerwaves theme songs included Bette Midler’s I’m Beautiful (Damn It), Meg Hengtes’ This Kind of Love.  No Indigo Girls, per Taylor (except on my birthday — such a kindness).
  • 2000 If These Walls Could Talk II: A television movie following 3 different lesbian story lines through different periods of time.  Beautifully done.  A must-see.  Seriously.  Really important.
  • 2001 James Byrd Hate Crime Bill signed: Finally signed into law by Texas Governor Rick Perry.  The previous governor, otherwise known as “Dubya” had refused to sign the bill because in its original form, it would include hate crimes against gays.
  • 2002  Chris buys Early Embraces: in the Peachtree district (holla!) of Atlanta, during Pride.   She bought it cuz she’d just met this lesbian writer named Laura…
  • 2003 Lawrence v. Texas: So the story goes like this.  Dude got dumped by his boyfriend for a younger guy.  Dude realized ex-boyfriend & younger guy are crewing in dude’s house.  Dude calls cops & claims he’s getting beat up.  Help help!  Gives cops the address & guess what — they bust down the door and catch ex-boyfriend and younger guy having anal sex.  (This story may not be accurate.  It was told often in the bars.)  Sodomy was against the law in Texas.  Off to jail they went.  All the way to the Supreme Court.
  • Gay Marriage: A very long story.  We can now marry in 5 states + DC.  We used to be able to marry in California as well.  Back in 1996 when the Defense of Marriage Act reared its ugly head, many queers thought that seeking gay marriage rights was wrong.  They thought it would mean succumbing to the hetero paradigm.  Get your feet wet here.
  • 2005 Chris & Laura (an old married couple by now) find another copy of Early Embraces at Barnes and Noble in Seattle’s U-District. Not a gay bookstore. Not a gay ghetto.  Mainstream!
  • 2008 California’s Prop 8: This is so involved.  California had judicially-approved gay marriage, then these people got a lot of money together (a bunch of it from the Mormon Church, who owns Kroger.  Just sayin’) & put a referendum before the voters who decided to revoke gay marriage in CA.
  • 2009 R-71 passes in WA State: First time in gay history, I believe, that the voters GAVE rights to gays.  Gave them, as in “not deny.”  And I got to vote for it!
  • August 4, 2010 Prop 8 Unconstitutional. Republican-appointed Justice Vaughn Walker deemed Prop 8 unconstistutional for violating both the equal protection and due process clauses of the constitution:  a major victory for gay rights.  Super major.  The best ever. Because the ruling, if it stands, means that the GLBT community can no longer be treated as second class citizens.  It’s unconstitutional to do so..  Now the appeals process in in place.  We may know more in December.  Stay tuned, and in the mean time read Walker’s verdict.  It really shows how we’ve been treated unequally & how ridiculous that is.
  • 2010 Portia di Rossi will take Ellen Degeneres’ last name.  AWWWWW!

Whew.  By now, tons of people have come out.  Ricki Martin & Lily Tomlin & Neil Patrick Harris & Anna Paquinn — and now we have Chaz Bono as well.  Too many to mention.  But this is an overview of gay history as I know it.  There are errors here and omissions, and probably typos.  I’d like to add photos.  But it’ll get you started.

P.S.  Laura misses lesbian coffee nights, lesbian brunches, and taking over karaoke night at the gay boy bars on a regular basis.  The price of normalcy.

Thanks to Cookie, Kim, Becky & L.A. for their input.  Everybody add comments and I’ll write a sequel!

For this installment of “Things That Are Wrong” :  BP.

I’d planned a long rant to go in this post, but there’s no need.  The good folks over at Upright Citizens Brigade Theatre have done a better job than I can, so we’ll let them do the work this time. Thank you UCB!

Most of the time, movie/book/restaurant reviews are simply utilitarian.  They give you just enough information to ascertain whether said movie, book or restaurant is worth the investment of your time and money.   In some rare and rather enjoyable cases, we’re also treated to an interesting history lesson or a good story that allows us to feel superior and cultured for having read it.  

Finding reviews that are entertaining in & of themselves is harder.  But this month’s Sex and the City 2 reviews are rising to the challenge.  Below are some of my faves, with quotes from each review.

Burkas and Birkins by Lindy West in The Stranger (Seattle’s only newspaper):

  • …essentially a home video of gay men playing with giant Barbie dolls.
  • Charlotte Goldsteinjewyjewsomethingsomethingblatt
  • In fact, Abu Dhabi is crawling with Muslim women—and not one of them is dressed like a super-liberated diamond-encrusted fucking clown!!! Oppression! OPPRESSION!!!
  • If this is what modern womanhood means, then just fucking veil me and sew up all my holes.

Capone Jumps on the Love Train for the awful, awful, awful Sex And the City 2 at Aint It Cool News:

  • No, this film is has no heart, no brain, and an empty soul.
  • …the portrait that SEX AND THE CITY 2 …paints of Western women makes them appear to be the most appalling, whiny, vapid, materialistic creatures on the face of the earth.
  • And Carrie (Sarah Jessica Parker) is afraid she and her jockey, I mean husband…

Sex and the City 2 review, by Sukhdev Sandhu at the Telegraph writes:

  • In one scene where the gang appears coming over a dune in the Arabian desert, they resemble a karaoke tribute act to the Village People.
  • Is it because they’re so much older and still carrying on like members of an Imelda Marcos-organised hen party?
  • Sex and the City 2 goes on for half a lifetime, brandishes enough product placements to embarrass a Formula One driver, and contains approximately three good one-liners…

How Sex and the City Sold Its Soul: Since Carrie & Co hit the big screen they’ve turned into man-obsessed morons, by Hadley Freeman at  Mail Online:

  • I just don’t want to leave the cinema feeling like I’ve paid £7.50 to be mocked, patronised, and kicked in the face.
  • It’s like being lobotomised with a pink teaspoon.
  • Sorry, I think I just burned my fingers while retrieving my bra from the fire.

As for me, I think I need to go see the movie, then re-read these reviews outloud while sipping froofy cosmos at an overpriced bar.  THAT’s entertainment!