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‘The Killing’ Version of Seattle vs. the Real Seattle

The Seattle from the AMC television show “The Killing”

The Killing Seattle

The real Seattle

Seattle rain

This short blog post brought to you by the Yeah, It Rains Here but Really I’m Posting This to Keep Others from Falling in Love with Seattle So They Stay Away Association.

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Via Sustainablog: My guest blog post “5 Ways the Pacific Northwest Is Pushing Green Forward”

January 20, 2012 Leave a comment

Portland, Oregon

Make no mistake about it – the Pacific Northwest of the US has long been a frontrunner in the green movement. Then again, this isn’t a huge surprise. The area features majestic mountain ranges, lush forests and continually evolving eco-friendly towns and cities. Many residents make sustainability a priority, and the following demonstrates five ways the Pacific Northwest keeps pushing green forward… To keep reading, just follow this link to Sustainablog.

Rant: Celebrity Deaths

We live in a celebrity culture. It’s as simple as that.

Like anyone else, a “star” is born — whether it’s a new teen heartthrob in a box-office smash, an athlete that seems to defy the laws of nature or a musician that manages to send chills down your spine with that perfect song.

And, like anyone else, that same star will die. Not just their fame, but the actual person. It happened this past weekend to actors Gary Coleman and Dennis Hopper.

With the way the news spread of their deaths, from CNN to Twitter to Facebook, you would have thought it was because of a slow news day — as if BP actually cleaned up its mess a month ago and Sarah Palin never existed. Regrettably, neither of these things is true.

The hype that surrounds celebrity deaths has become unbearable. No offense to the memories and families of Coleman or Hopper, but I’m sure plenty of people who have done more good in this world died on the same day as the two of them. Hey, maybe those people got an obituary that some small number of people will read. On the other hand, according to Google News, Gary Coleman’s death was covered by almost 1,500 sources at the height of its publicity (no pun intended, seriously).

My point is this: Celebrities are people and people die. And to the media: Let’s put out the information and move on. There’s no need to fuel the fire with the type of garbage that Us Weekly puts out, which I’ll get to in a bit. Let’s remember these people for the work they did, whether that was making us laugh, cheer, cry or making us do a little of each. For the most part with celebrities, like Coleman and Hopper, we didn’t connect with them on a personal level outside of their work. We never knew them personally. There was never any need to obsess over the fact that we lost two mildly famous men.

Let me put it this way, somehow, someway, Us Weekly is going to make money from this headline: “EXCLUSIVE: Ron Jeremy: Gary Coleman hated saying ‘whatchu talkin’ bout’ line.” Plenty is wrong with that, but one thing especially screams ridiculous: Gary Coleman would have not mattered in nearly any way imaginable without that phrase. So who the four-letter word cares? Apparently, plenty of people do. Because this is the same type of junk we get with every celebrity death.

As for Dennis Hopper, in terms of art, this is obviously a larger loss. He’s given us terrific films and performances, many of which I have yet to see (unfortunately, my best memory of Hopper, if you can call it that, is his performance as King Koopa in 1993’s Super Mario Bros.). Indeed, the man is a Hollywood legend. However, only about 500 sources covered his death at the height of its publicity, again, according to Google News. When compared to Coleman, it’s more proof that we really might just be living in a VH1 celebrity culture.

Of course, there are celebrities that transcend their peers. Michael Jackson’s death, for instance, comes to mind. The media might have led us to believe millions felt a connection to the pop-music star. Yet, I wonder how many people actually did feel a connection to the mysterious, freakish personality Jackson had become. Rather, the connection resides in his music, as it did with Ronnie James Dio’s death on May 16 (thus, the rule of celebrities dying in three’s remains intact).

I’m doubtful my plea will do much good, but please, when it comes to celebrity deaths, let’s take a break from the blogosphere and gossip rags. Want to remember Coleman? Throw on an old episode of Diff’rent Strokes. How about Hopper? For someone my age, I suppose it’s a good time for a history lesson. Maybe I’ll finally watch the so-called 1969 classic Easy Rider. And as for Dio, my ears are a little overdue for a few Rainbow or Black Sabbath tunes, anyway.

The fact of the matter is that these people brought characters to life and great music into our lives. For most of us, that’s the only reason we knew who they were in the first place. Remember the good times and leave the obsession behind.

After all, they’re not coming back.

The Search for Seattle’s Best Cupcake

My first thought when my name came up to do a restaurant review was that I don’t know a whole lot about food. Luckily, I do know a lot about dessert! So I mixed it up a little and went all around Seattle to try and find the best cupcake the city has to offer.

All the places I visited were charming, but Trophy’s cupcakes were the clear winner. I’d say Cupcake Royale and the Sugar Rush Baking Company weren’t too far behind and I’m looking forward to going back to Wink Cupcakes and trying some of their other creations.

Album review: The Futureheads (plus other stuff)

COM495: Multimedia Critique

These projects are supposed to show some elements of photo/audio slideshows, though I strayed a bit.

First up is The Denver Post’s outstanding feature on the journey of Ian Fisher, an American soldier. Template? Awesome, eye-catching, and fun. Photography? Terrific. Extras? Really cool to have.

But the best part is “The Story” section (below). While you can choose a scrollable text page, you can flip through the pages just like a book or magazine. One of my favorite journalism pieces I’ve read/seen/watched/clicked all year.

Next I decided to compare and contrast two graffiti projects I found. In my opinion, while they’re both great ideas, one definitely works a lot better than the other.

1. This is from back in May of 2008, but it’s a panorama of some graffiti underneath the Las Vegas Strip. It’s from The Las Vegas Sun, which produces some great interactive projects (like this one other one I found, on the history of The Strip). However, this panorama doesn’t work for me. It gets boring fast and the images aren’t striking enough.


2. On the other hand, this thing is amazing. From cities like San Francisco, Los Angeles, and New York, you can see graffiti over several of years (the layering is such a great idea). I could easily spend hours just looking through it all.

And lastly, this interactive map from The L.A. Times shows chronology of gay marriage in the United States. Easy to use and it’s really nice how you can roll over states and see information.

Album review: Aqualung

Dull and all his friends: Aqualung’s extremely disappointing sixth studio album, Magnetic North.

Also, last week three writers (including myself) weighed in on Conan O’Brien’s move to TBS.