Bike Thief Gets Ambushed By Bike Thief Victim

Ever had your bike stolen? It really sucks doesn’t it. Well, one Portlander decided to not let sleeping dogs lie and went on the offensive. After tracking down his bike, which was being hawked on Craigslist in Seattle, he got a bunch of his buddies together and decided to confront the perpetrator. The resulting video is worth watching.

Road Trip to Thermopylae

Drenched in sweat and beer, we stood in a daze of fanatic euphoria. Whitecaps striker Eric Hassli had just managed to fire an absolutely spectacular shot, launched from mid-air, into the Seattle Sounder’s net. The stadium reverberated in a low moan as all 35,000 Sounders fans jammed into Q-West field (normally the home of the Seattle Seahawks) watched their 2-1 lead evaporate.

We didn’t hear much of the moan because we’d been busy chanting, singing, flag waving and generally celebrating the merits of our team. We were part of a small group of hardcore fans who’d been allowed to purchase tickets in the fan section for the historic rivalry. 500 of our white and blue clad, Bell-emblazoned, troops (200 more than the Spartans had!) stood for the past two hours attempting to beat back the chants of the Sounders’s “X-Box”-labelled fans. At first it had been easy. When we were first marshaled into the stadium by security, there was hardly a person in the seat. The drum guys set up and within no-time we were chanting our battle cries (including such delightful ditties as “We’re blue, we’re white, we’re fucking dynamite”) in a vacant stadium. We figured we’d done pretty well, though perhaps that was just the beer talking.

Ten minutes into the first half, the lower bowl of the stadium was filled to capacity. The energy in the stadium was electric. We were hoping against hope for a tie. Against a top flight team (who’d set the standard for the Whitecaps when it came to fan culture) and shortly after our team had axed their coach for the number of losses, this would be a minor miracle. Indeed, the bus ride down had been good natured revelry mixed with a healthy does of realism. There was no expectance and no one was chanting do or die (unlike the fans of another big sporting event that was coming up back home).

When we arrived in Seattle we piled out of the bus and then headed into a local pub for a pint. We had little come back for the query/chant of pub-going Sounders about how we could possibly cheer for a “1 win team”.

By 5:30 we had rallied around the Whitecaps flags. Our posse looked formidable and many of our team were already a mess (even before the game began). But it’s messy, boisterous fans that can often inspire the greatest things and we were ready to “represent”.

Once the game got underway, there was lots to cheer for. The size and scope of the stadium was humbling. The soccer played by our team was smooth and creative. When we scored on a penalty jumping ahead by one, our crowd went wild. Blue flags were wildly a flutter. The drum guys led us in chant after chant after chant. We never sat from the moment we arrived at our seats and would not throughout the game. To their credit, Seattle fans seemed equally predisposed to ignore their seats.

When the final minutes were up, our crew of revelers stood by our seats for another half hour of boisterous song and cheers. My voice by this time was starting to fade. Still jacked up on adrenaline, our crowd flocked down the empty hallways chanting for the Caps. A Sounders tie was a Whitecaps victory and our community of loyal fans was all the better for it. Next stop would be a three hour bus ride home through the darkness, past incredulous border guards and a drop off at the River Rock Casino where we’d started the trip. Amazing times and amazing community of soccer enthusiasts.

 

Beer. Funny outfits. Conquering Cancer.

My good friend and Daily Gumboot collaborator, Natasha Moore, is doing a very good thing. She’s participating in the Enbridge* Ride to Conquer Cancer, which goes from June 18-19 and involves a fairly epic route from Vancouver to Seattle. All proceeds go to the BC Cancer Foundation

Here’s what the organizers of the event have to say about it:

It is a unique fundraising event benefiting the BC Cancer Foundation, a B.C.-based charity that raises funds for the BC Cancer Agency – a province-wide, population-based cancer control organization. The funds you raise stay in B.C. and benefit cancer patients across all of British Columbia.

Funds from The Enbridge Ride to Conquer Cancer support groundbreaking cancer research at the BC Cancer Agency, focused on advancing new understanding of cancer with the goal of developing new therapies to extend and save more lives.

And here’s what Natasha has to say about it:

I’m riding for our lovely Book Club-ett, Michelle in memory of her Mum and for my friend and tri pal Sarah who also lost her Mum to cancer last year.
My team, Powered By Noie is geared up to raise $25,000 and it would be just awesome if you could help me reach my fundraising goal by sharing the link to my personal page on Facebook, Twitter and any other social media you happen to be on.

Michelle and I are grateful and appreciative of Natasha’s efforts, particularly because her recent fundraising event on Saturday night at the Greedy Pig involved a seven-hour pedal, funny outfits and delicious beer. The pictures in this post do much to tell the story.

Thanks, Natasha, for taking on this cause in honour of Michelle’s mom. If you’d like to donate to Natasha’s ride, just follow this link: Natasha’s Pledge Page.

Theo Lamb shows some support of Natasha and her funny outfits!

*Enbridge sponsoring the event makes things a bit awkward, which was recently best emphasized by a good friend of mine who grew up in Sarnia, Ontario, a town with way, way, way above-average cancer rates that are linked directly to the oil and petro-chemical refineries that make up the bulk of the city’s economy; so, I guess you need to ask yourself, first, how you feel about irony and, second, if you believe that good things can come the world of big oil before donating like I did.

Seattle’s Communities and Attractions

The Space Needle is cool, but if you really want to experience Seattle - check out the sites below.

The Space Needle is cool, but if you really want to experience Seattle - check out the sites below.

You may have noticed quite a number of posts from my dear co-editor John recently. That’s because a) he rocks; b) he’s chock full of great ideas  (like preaching the greatness of T-dot – am I being sarcastic? You’ll never know); c) because he’s capital P prolific and d) because I’ve been MIA for the past half week as my lovely partner Theo and I explore Washington and Oregon.

Now, after days of traveling, Theo and I have finally arrived at a small and lovely little rental located right on the Pacific in Cannon Beach. It has been a lovely journey, that has introduced us to a dozen new communities. Here’s the first one we’d like to talk about: Seattle!

Seattle was our first stop and we had a lovely time visiting Vancouver’s beloved American sister city. It’s certainly an interesting place. Here were some highlights, sites and mini-communities to consider checking out should you decide to visit. We would highly recommend if you have further suggestions to please add them to the comments section below!

1) The University District: Thanks to a hot tip from a friend of ours (thanks Brian) we headed to the University of Washington to get a cup a Chai tea from Trabant (1309 NE 45th St). It’s tiny hole in the wall which serves – I kid you not – some of the best flavour enthused Chai I’ve ever had the fortune of sampling. Nearby is the well know Ave. The Ave is where you go if you’re a student looking to shop, drink, eat or be merry. It’s got a smorgasboard of different places to spend your Benjamins and is well worth a visit. Later we wandered up the hill (the whole university is perched on a large hill overlooking the bridges and outside districts of the city) and checked out Red Square. It’s located in the centre of the university and surrounded by imposing stone and brick libraries and administrative buildings. The actual square is a huge open area – great for protests, performances and communist demonstrations of military might (similar to another more famous Red Square across the Pacific). Afterward, we headed back up the hill and toured Frat row. This is another must for visitors to Seattle. Each one is huge. Some are run down, others as slick as the fraternity alumni who doubtlessly contribute to them every year. Most were bedecked (in addition to their Greek Alphabet Symbols) with Christmas holly and huge fully decorated Christmas trees. Walking fraternity row made me feel like I was in a Revenge of the Nerds movie – one in which I was most definitely a nerd. The feeling was only hammered in again by streets, which were jammed with hundreds of fans wearing purple jerseys and carrying cases of Bud and Coors Light. Fortunately, there were some nerds in the crowd – equally dressed to the nines in purple. In America, everyone’s a college football fan – even the guys like me.

2) The Troll of Fremont: Sadly, I was not allowed to visit this wonder of Seattle – however I thought I’d treat you to its legend. According to folk lore He sits under the Aurora Bridge, is giant and made of stone. Legend has it, if you wait until midnight of a full moon and compare (in a negative way of course) Seattle to Vancouver, the troll of Fremont will come alive and devour you. So the story goes anyway…

3) The Sci-Fi Museum: Yeah, there’s also the Experience Music Project but most people have heard of it, and if you haven’t, you can learn about it here. The real gem is the Sci-Fi museum. The whole museum is jam packed with memorabilia, cool displays, interactive exhibits, life sized Darth Vaders and Terminators, and a huge collection of novels and stories along with a synopsis of each of their plots. It’s an amazing collection of nerdom – and one which brings out the inner nerd of anyone who’s dreamed of what it’d be like if… One of neatest things about this terrific museum is how it’s managed to connect with thousands of people who would never identify themselves as sci-fi fans.

4) The Pike Street Market: Most have heard of this area. It’s well worth checking out. Similar to Granville Market, the Pike Street Market has got also sorts of vendors selling everything from fish (where they chuck em to each other), to flowers, to nick-nacks, to comic books, to cheeses, to leather satchels, to well – everything. It’s a great place to wander, whether you’re a foodie or just a run-of-the-mill tourist because there is so much to see. It’s also right across from [shudder] the world’s first Starbucks. A half block away are a number of smaller alleys containing a mish-mash of great (and not so great) artist galleries, wine shops, restaurants, and cafes.

5) Downtown financial district: You wouldn’t think there would be an lot going on here. Theo wanted to initially check it out because there were a bunch of shops she fancied visiting (Nordstroms, Macy’s). I went along to get some fresh air. What I found was a street scene that overwhelmed. The entire core was lit up with wreathes and white Christmas lights. Thousands of people flocked about the area. A dozen street performers (including one guy who did a pretty good drumming using only pales and another fellow who was “cycling for military families” on a stationary bike) entertained crowds. It was a level of street activity that I’m not used to in Vancouver (even on Robson St and Granville St – Vancouver’s own downtown mecca). Seattle 1, Vancouver 0. Another thing noticeable in the downtown core was just how few desperate folks were panhandling. Maybe it just doesn’t fit the American creed or maybe they have a better system of social services (I’d be surprised if that were the reason), but the homelessness nation was not all that well represented compared to what we see everyday in Vancouver.

6) Monorail: Yeah, Seattle’s got one. It runs from the downtown core to the Sci-Fi Museum and the Experience Music Project. I’m not sure whether this is meant to be a commuter traffic device or just a tourist ride. Whatever it is, Vancouver’s SkyTrain (now doesn’t that just sound cooler?) beats it hands down.

7) Boeing Factory: We didn’t have a chance to tour the factory this visit, but during past trips to Seattle, it was certainly a highlight. A visit to the factory will give you an opportunity to tour the massive hangers where 747s, 777s and their like are mass produced for airlines around the world. The hangars themselves are multiple football fields wide (total volume: 13,385,378 cubic meters) making them the largest building in the world. It’s a pretty amazing experience that leaves you feeling like a Lilliputian.