Family photo sparks information quest

LaMont Family Photo in front of Woodland Park Totem PoleI was looking through some old photographs recently and came across this one, taken in 1950, of my father with his mother and sisters standing in front of a Totem Pole. Dad tells me the family had driven over from Chewelah to visit his grandparents, and while they were in Seattle, they stopped at the Zoo (along with Alki Beach and Ye Old Curiousity Shop). I don’t remember ever seeing a Totem Pole on the grounds of the Zoo.  What was it’s story? Is it still there?

The library’s Northwest Index, which indexes local newspapers, magazines, and books, is a great tool for finding information about local history, so I headed up to the Seattle Room to see what I could find. Sure enough, there were a few entries of interest – Continue reading “Family photo sparks information quest”

Comics 101

image of comics extravaganza program at Seattle Public LibrarAs you may know, comics are a big deal in Seattle. We’re home to a number of nationally recognized cartoonists (Ellen Forney, Pete Bagge and Jim Woodring to name just a few), Fantagraphics Books and The Comics Journal. In honor of all the great cartoonists in our midst, The Seattle Public Library threw a Comixtravaganza this past January, with events at various branch libraries and a big finale at the Central Library featuring a cartooning workshop (pictured above) led by David Lasky and a multimedia presentation by Ellen Forney.

If you missed Comixtravaganza, or if you’re just curious about comics and want to learn more Continue reading “Comics 101”

Parallel stories

When Possession (A.S. Byatt) came out in 1990, readers of literary fiction swarmed libraries and bookstores to get copies of this story-within-a-story relating the modern day characters to famous people in the past. In Byatt’s tale, a scholar finds an old letter written by Randolph Ash, which leads him into delicious research that in turn reveals connections between that past and his present. Later Martha Cooley invented an even more intricately plotted story, The Archivist, in which a librarian at an Ivy League university guards the letters of T.S. Eliot to his lover, Emily Hale, from the eyes of the world – at least until 2020 when the letters’ owner will allow academic access to the collection. The archivist, Matthias Lane, did not anticipate the tenacity of Roberta Spire, however, and eventually the treasure trove is plundered. As a result, the relationship between Hale and Eliot comes to light, while simultaneously Lane’s past is revealed as he works through a new relationship with the much younger Roberta. The lives of those in the present mirror those under scrutiny. A trend toward this parallel story line novel yields a Continue reading “Parallel stories”

King of Kong: A Fistful of Quarters

Pciture of Video ArcadeI thought the days of video gaming on console machines were over, but it is not a lost art. King of Kong: a Fistful of Quarters is a truly entertaining documentary about an underdog challenger to the Donkey Kong high score title.  After being laid off from Boeing, Redmond resident Steve Wiebe hones his Kong skills with his free time and reaches the high score.  After sending his high score video results to Twin Galaxies, the official electronic games referee, his score is eventually disregarded due to interference from Billy Mitchell, the current Donkey Kong Champion.  Later Steve “challenges” Billy to a live arcade Donkey Kong showdown.  I won’t spoil it for you. Watch it yourself to see who wins the King of Kong title.

Hike Seattle

Happy Earth Day! All over Seattle, the flowers are blooming, the birds are singing, the sun is peeking out from behind the clouds – spring is finally here! What better time to get out on the trails and explore the beautiful landscapes of the Pacific Northwest? Whether you are a seasoned hiker or novice, there are plenty of resources to help you find the perfect destination for an hour, a day, or a weekend.

One of my favorite guides is 60 Hikes Within 60 Miles: Seattle by Andrew Weber and Bryce Stevens.  Featuring not only well-known hikes, such as Mt. Si and Wallace Falls State Park, but also lesser-known destinations such as O. O. Denny County Park Loop and the Heybrook Lookout Trail, 60 Hikes Within 60 Miles includes maps, driving directions, and trail descriptions highlighting points of interest.

Continue reading “Hike Seattle”