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You Occupy people are on my last god damn nerve.  Today, some guy whose name I don’t care how to spell posted this “article” on a libertarian blog.  In short, the author believes that Seattle’s particular brand of everyday activism is quaint and that we are all a bunch of excessively privileged piglets.  My favorite neigh-blog picked it up and then asked for commentary.

Be careful what you ask for.  Especially from me.  Here goes (as posted on MyGreenLake earlier tonight):

“My thoughts?  So glad you asked, because my head wants to explode over this.  Honestly, Mr. Mad . . . Mr. Mad . . . however you spell it . . . let’s just call him Mr. Mad, shall we?  Mr. Mad’s diatribe about “Greenlake [sic] social activism” is just another reason why the Occupy movement has very little relevance to me.  How arrogant.  How misguided.  How very 1% of him, as in “My activism is better than 99% of the other people’s in the world,” like mine and the rest of my Green Lake (and elsewhere) cohorts’.  Newsflash, Mr. Mad:  The people of Green Lake are the socio-economic 99% that your beloved Occupy movement is allegedly fighting for.

Here is my problem with the Occupy movement:  I don’t have the time, the resources, or the patience to participate.  I don’t have all day to camp out at Westlake in the rain and try to develop a movement by consensus.  What do I mean by that?  Read this, which is the Occupy movement’s general plan for reaching consensus on every issue that the movement stands for.  As far as I can tell, the movement is about standing around, trying to come up with a coherent message.  I have bills to pay and a job and a family and other obligations and interests (including social and political) that not only require but deserve my time.  In fact, if I might, I would like to quote Mr. Mad, because he summed up my feelings about the Occupy activists perfectly:  “There are quite a few [Occupy] folks who . . . think that they’re great supporters of social change . . . .  These actions help them feel better about themselves, [and] think that they are great people . . . despite the fact that . . . their actions have almost no impact.”

To the extent that the Occupy activists are trying to make a point about a politically powerless electorate, I am in.  I get it, and I believe in their cause.  Standing in the rain trying to reach consensus with 1, 10, 100, or 1 million other people over the breadth of the movement, however, is a waste of time.  Instead, I prefer “Greenlake [sic] social activism,” which allows me to dedicate my time, talents, experience, education and resources to real social change.  I prefer to serve as a local volunteer for a major national gay rights organization, not to mention a board member of the organization on the national level.  I prefer to spend my time raising my children to be progressive, empathic, compassionate, and socially minded contributors to society.  I prefer to support, in various ways, political candidates who have my values.  And, I prefer to keep an eye on people like Mr. Mad, who believe that they have the corner on the market of political correctness and activism.

For more on the effectiveness (or lack thereof) of the Occupy movement, please see the coverage that the Stranger has been doing on its Slog, including this great piece by Dan Savage today about how the Occupy movement will be its own downfall, complete with illustrative video.

Love Always,

horseknuckle”

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I am an angry runner.  Hell, I am an angry person.  I think we have established that in at least one or more previous blog entries.

This afternoon, I went for a run through the lovely and usually peaceful Ravenna Park.  I ran down into the creek bottom first, and then climbed the nasty hill back up through the upper park, past the playground and picnic areas, and back home around the south side of Green Lake.  It was sunny and too warm for a shirt–which is just how I like my running weather–and the sunlight had changed from summer white to end of summer golden with its dark, elongating shadows.  I felt light and lean and fast and sassy, especially for a queen who is on the cusp of a big birthday, whose  brown hair is quickly being replaced by sliver, and who has finally put his L4/L5 disc back where the bitch belongs.

The roundtrip run is almost exactly 5 miles door to door,  which means (and here we go with the angry) that I averaged one fucking freak per mile today.  Perfect. 

Freak No. 1:  Know-It-All Dog Woman.  Before I go to town on this bitch, you should know a couple of things.  First, I almost always run with one or both of my dogs tethered to my waist.  They are a breed that was born to run.  They love it, and it is their job AND their hobby.  They are four-season runners, like me.  They have run with me when it was below freezing, and they have run with me when it was scorching, blazing hot.  TONGUES-HANGING-IN-THE-DIRT HOT, people.   Rain, snow, wind, sun, hail, the Apocalypse–you name it. 

Second,  let me paint you a picture.  Let’s say that you are standing on the path, looking up Ravenna Creek.  You see a man running downhill toward you at roughly a 7 minute mile pace with a happy, healthy, 55-pound, hunting-type dog running right beside him on a leash that is slack because she has been trained not to pull or stray off course.   Because the man is wearing little, tiny running shorts; expensive, fancy running shoes; sleak, light, aerodynamic sunglasses; and no shirt whatsoever, you have to be blinder than a bat not to notice that he is  6’1″ tall, 175 pounds, lean, quite muscular for a runner, tan, perfectly manscaped, well-preserved for his age, glistening with sweat, very probably gay (I mean, what straight guy looks like . . . wait . . . where was I?).  Anyway, anyone with a pulse can easily tell that I am not a novice runner, and neither are my dogs.

Third, stopping a serious runner mid-stride to ask him or her anything except to perform life-saving techniques is strictly douchebaggery.  And yet, lately there has been an epidemic of people stopping me to ask me questions or for directions or to pet my dogs.  From their cars, on their bikes, walking toward me, standing in the path.  Please STOP IT!  Feel free to ask any one of the other 10,000 people who are bumbling around in our lovely parks and neighborhoods on any given day.

Now back to Dog Woman.  I am running full-tilt toward her, her children, and her husband, and she starts flagging me down.  By the time I stop, I have passed her, but I can hear her saying, “Your dog, your dog!”  Alarmed, I look at my sweet puppy, and much to my surprise, she is not missing a limb, bleeding profusely, or even frothing at the mouth.  She’s fine, although quite perturbed that we have stopped.  I say, “What?”  The Dog Bitch says, “It is too hot for that today, and the least you could do is let her get in the water to get a drink and cool down.”  Mind you, it was only 70 dgrees today in the sun, 65 in the cool, damp shade of Ravenna Park.  I respond, “She’s fine.  We do this all the time, even when it is much warmer than this.”  Unimpressed, Dog Bitch says, “Well, she’s panting,” to which I reply, “Of course she is.  So am I.  We are exercising.”  Now that I am irritated, to say the least, I ask, “Are you a veterinarian?”  You will not be surprised to hear that she’s not a vet.  Only one other explanation sprang to mind for her rude behavior, so I asked her one more, admittedly rhetorical, question, “Well, then, did you happen to stay at a Holiday Inn Express last night?”  Blank.  Stare.  Off I ran.

Freak No. 2: Lecherous Man on Bike.  As I am running up the hill in the park, a man on a bicycle is slowly coming down the hill toward me.  When I am about 50 yards from him, he stops completely and stares at me with an odd smirk that makes me feel, well, icky.  He stands astride his bike and watches me run toward and past him, still smirking.  ICK ICK ICK ICKY BARF!  Have you heard Ke$ha’s song Dinosaur?  Dude, do I look like the kind of guy who has to pick up men at the public park? 

Freak(s) No. 3:  Smelly Stoners.   As I crest the hill, a pack of smelly, dirty 20-somethings and their dog, which is on a leash that NO ONE IS HOLDING, are stumbling toward me.  I must be downwind from them, because YOWZA.  It smelled a lot like a hot, dirty armpit WITH A DEAD SKUNK IN IT.   My dog is doing her job, but she is interrupted by Stoner Dog, who begins to run toward us barking.  The Stoners all regain consciousness and start scrambling around to catch Stoner Dog, but not before I have to stop.  And wait.  And get a contact high.  Dear Smelly Stoners:  Hempfest is over.  Move the fuck on.

Freak No. 4:  High School Deadbeat.  I am now on the sidewalk, advancing toward Green Lake, when 3 high school deadbeats are coming toward me, 2 loser boys and a girl (I think) with a VERY unfortunate hair cut, a ring through her septum, and her older brother’s hand-me-downs.  I always keep to the very right side of the course I am running so that my darling doggie can run in the grass and not on the pavement/rocks/etc.   The girl-type thing is walking next to one loser boy, and the other is behind them.  S/he is walking directly toward me, and the little asshole doesn’t move over or budge an inch.  I have to step off the sidewalk, into the grass, all without wrapping myself or my dog around the tree planted in the grass strip.  Despite the fact that I am old enough to be these kids’ father, I take the low road and scream, “MOVE THE FUCK OVER,” as I pass them.  S/he/it turns around and acts like s/he/it’s going to chase me down and kick my ass, in its baggy, droopy, oversized jeans and flip-flops.  Good luck with that.

Freak(s) No. 5:  Shitty Drivers.  You know who you are.  I don’t care that you’re late to pick up your rugrats from Montessori or you’re racing to Whole Foods to buy an organic, vegan, free-range dinner before your lesbian lover gets home or the gas pedal on your god damn Prius is stuck to the floor.  You must stop for pedestrians at intersections and crosswalks.  I don’t mean to get all lawyerly on you, but it’s the fucking law.

Now, this freak needs to go to bed.  Moral of the story:  Leave me alone and stay out of my way.

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Resistance is futile.  Even the most jaded and cynical among us (and by that I am referring to me) simply cannot argue that Green Lake is one of the finest parks in Seattle, in Washington, in the country, and in the world.  I realize that I am in the middle of penning the glorious Green Lake User’s Guide (and by that, I mean I’m procrastinating in the worst way), which some might see as the Green Lake Hater’s Guide.  But, the devil is in the details, people, so pay attention: The GLUG is not a criticism of Green Lake.  It is a scathing commentary on the jackasses who are drawn to it. 

You know who you are.

What you do not know, however, is that huge, Fortune 500 companies also love Green Lake.  Do you know why you don’t know?  Because my favorite neighborhood bloggers have totally and completely dropped the ball on this.  Plus, there are probably some self-imposed rules about giving certain Fortune 500 companies air-time on the blog–unless certain Fortune 500 companies would do us all the kind favor of writing my favorite neighborhood blog a GIGANTIC check (hint hint).  [Confidential to my favorite neighborhood blog, which shall remain anonymous:  If I could kiss your blog on the mouth, I would.  Hard.]

I digress.  Per usual.

One of the new commercials for the Droid thingy features our little Green Lake.  No, I’m serious.  Do me a favor:  watch this video with your pointer poised anxiously on the pause button.  When you get to 14 seconds, PAUSE IT FAST!  And then weep.  Openly.  Unabashedly.  Histrionically. 

[N.B.; I would have embedded the video, but those YouTube freaks are making it increasingly difficult to actually accomplish that goal.  Or I am retarded.  Whatever.]

One more thing:  if you look really closely at the north side of the Lake, you will see two fertility-clinic moms (which I applaud) pushing two–COUNT THEM TWO–triple-wide strollers full of screaming babies, side-by-side across the path (which I loathe).  Oh, and near Woodland Park, you will see a guy walking his dog on a 67 foot leash.  And slap my ass and call me Sally, what is that on the east side?  It is a fat guy on a Huffy mountain bike riding at top speed and screaming at any pedestrian who dares step into the “bicycle” path!

Wait.  If that freaking commercial brings more of these people to Green Lake, I am going to be pissed.  Nevermind.  Don’t watch.  DON’T WATCH!

Post Script:  I should have known better.  Really, I should have.  Of course my favorite neighborhood blog covered this!  Complete with embedded video.  This is why I should leave the blogging to the bloggers.

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Background:  Signs have cropped up around the Tangletown neighborhood (a/k/a the delightful intersection of Green Lake and Wallingford, USA) that indicate visitors are being watched and their license plate numbers are being recorded.  They are homemade in the best possible sense of the word.  And they are posted by neighbors who have had it with the crime in this neighborhood.  The signs, as well as a very interesting article and follow-up article, not to mention a very respectful and dynamic conversation, are posted at Wallyhood.org.

I know.  You are busy.  You want me to summarize.  Sheesh.

The neighbors have noticed a disturbing increase in drug deals in the 5000 and subsequent blocks of Wallingford Ave. N., along with the surrounding neighborhoods.  Open and obvious deals.  They have contacted SPD, who can’t do much unless the miscreants are caught in the act.  By the SPD. 

As a resident of said neighborhood-ish area and a general big mouth, I would like to add my voice and address some of the concerns that have been raised by the posting of the signs and the recording of license numbers.  I will try to do so in a  loving and tender way, but please remember that I am a bitch by both nurture and nature.  Ok?

First, it is simply not illegal for my neighbors to keep an eye on their ‘hood or record license numbers or other identifying information.  It is not unconstitutional.  It is private action taken by private citizens from their private property. Of course, the SPD must be very careful with information gained by such measures, which is why they won’t take any action without catching the miscreants in the act.  Furthermore, I know of no Constitutional provision that protects your privacy while you are engaged in illegal activity.  No, not even in your house (see, e.g., Bowers v. Hardwick, overruled by Lawrence v. Texas).

Second, if my neighbors were just getting worked up about a few unfamiliar cars in the neighborhood, I’d probably tell them to get a hobby–one that does not involve getting all up in other peeps’ bidness.  But, lest you forget, the paranoia is not without reason.  Do you remember or know anything about the following?

Third, assuming that the drug activity is real and not imagined (and trust me, it is real), no one has the right to engage in illegal activity in any place at any time.  I reject the notion that this neighborhood and its residents are “NIMBY” types who are simply forcing the problem to move elsewhere.  The activity (along with all of the other crimes mentioned above) are not permitted anywhere, and we should all be vigilent, no matter where we are, and actively discourage such behavior wherever we find it.  The signs accomplish that objective just by their presence around the neighborhood.  How do I know?  Because my fellow neighbors are nervous about parking in their own neighborhood because of the signs, so I can only imagine that non-residents, particularly non-resident criminals, are also nervous.

Fourth, maybe you don’t agree that drug possession or dealing should be criminalized.  And maybe I don’t either.  Irrelevant.  It is currently illegal, it begets further illegality, and no one should have to suffer it gladly or otherwise.  Decriminalization, right or wrong, is an entirely different subject and cause.  Until that issue is resolved (do NOT hold your breath), all citizens have the right to expect compliance with and enforcement of the law.

Now, if you’ll excuse me, my “friend” from the “suburbs” just pulled up outside, and I need to go “talk” to him for a minute or two.

Too soon to make jokes?  Ooops.  My bad.  Sorry.

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Hello, gentle readers, and welcome to Part 1 of the Green Lake User’s Guide.  I would like to first introduce you to Green Lake’s outside loop. 

Ms. Outside Path

Ms. Outside Path

Ms. Outside Loop is a running and walking path.  She is a stunning path, even though made of dirt and gravel.  She is barely 4 feet wide, but she is 3.2 glorious miles long.  She is a beauty when the sun shines, but she’s an unbelievable mess when it rains.  Think Tammy Faye Baker/Messner (rest her sole).  She winds her way along the outer perimeter of Green Lake Park, through groves of trees, along A-roaring Ave. (also known as Aurora Ave. and Highway 99), past the bathhouse (no, not that kind of bath house mom), through Green Lake City Center (also known as malfunction junction), past grandma and grandpa, around the Par 3 golf course, and back to the rowing center.

In the introduction to this, the definitive guide to using Green Lake Park, I told you that I am a runner.  An old runner by Olympic Games standards.  Just ask my tendons and joints.  As a result, Ms. Outside Path is my mistress.  I love her.  She is gentle on me in a way that her sister, Ms. Inside Path (aka Ms. Pounding Pavement), is not.  Not to mention, she has a lot less riffraff.

And by riffraff, I probably mean you.  Let’s take you one by one, and call you out for your inconsiderate, crazy, spastic behavior.

Single walkers/runners:  Listen, Henry David Thoreau.  This isn’t Walden Pond, and YOU ARE NOT THE ONLY PERSON AT GREEN LAKE.  Welcome to city living, where we have to share.  For chrissakes, walk in a straight line.  That way, I can pass you without bracing for impact.  Stay to one side of the path.  In fact, let’s obey road rules.  And by road rules, I mean American road rules.  Keep to the right when you see anyone coming at you.  I don’t care if you are afraid that a car is going to leap over the curb and turn you into “path kill” (in which case, please up your Prozac and move you and your OCD to Ms. Inside Path).  And would someone please tell me I have nice legs or whistle at me when I pass?  Do you think I’m out here running for my health?  Uh, wait . . . .

Group runners/walkers:  God dammit.  Does this look like Hands Across America to you?  Listen to me hard: No group of twos, threes, fours or dozens has the right to stretch across the paths at Green Lake when someone is coming toward you or approaching from behind.  Especially on Ms. Outside Path, where two is a crowd and three is you picking yourself up off the ground after I run over your ass.  SINGLE FILE BITCHES!  I don’t care if you are a “team in training.”  And if you are, then someone oughta train you to stop being a douchebag.  Scoot the fuck over.  If you insist on Hands Across America and you are moving at a slower pace than I am (and you are, trust me), it is far safer for you to step into the grass at your pace than it is for me.  Uneven surfaces are the runner’s broken ankle.  And do not look at me like that, because I will shoulder-check you, Ms. Real Housewife of Seattle.

Walkers of Dogs:  I run with my dog.  I use a leash that is worn like a belt with a 3-foot lead.  He is a good boy, and he has a job to do:  to motivate me to get away from this computer, to keep me company on my run, and to keep me calm so I don’t go postal and taser you and your stupid mutt.  We are not running because we are prey.  (Oh no.  I am definitely predator.  Just ask any of my boyfriends. wink wink)  So, we don’t think it is cute when your dog growls at us, barks at us, or pretends to chase us.  Especially when you are “walking” your dog on a 100-yard lead. 

I love dogs.  My dogs.  Yours are footballs.  On the 5-yard line. After I’ve just scored a touchdown and tied the game with 3 seconds left in the 4th quarter.  AND THE CROWD GOES WILD!!!

Yuppy Assualt Vehicles (“Y.A.V.”):  Great.  You bred.  And now you, your spawn, and your Y.A.V. have found your way to Green Lake.  Your Y.A.V. is special because it is named BOB and  has big wheels and “outdoor tread.”  You’ve been stuck in the house as pregnant as an elephant or as mammorific as a dairy cow for the past year and today, by god, the world owes you.  If the world gets in your way, well then the world is going to have Y.A.V. tread marks on its face.  And you are not alone, because you have joined a parenting group.  And you and your fellow post-partums are going to storm Green Lake, and you don’t give any more of a shit than is in that brat’s diaper about anyone else at Green Lake.  You have montessoris to discuss.  You have husbands to blame.  YOU HAVE BABY WEIGHT TO LOSE!

Now, don’t get me wrong.  I love my mother and I love babies.  But baby-mama, move the fuck over.  Or strap that brat to your back (Baby Bjorn, anyone?) and walk.  Single file (see above).  Better yet, get thee to the Bravern.  Take your husband’s credit card.  After all, that sonovabitch did this to you.

Cyclists:  You know who I am talking about.  You’ve seen them on Ms. Outside Path, and you have made fun of them.  These are the people who are WAY TOO RUGGED to ride on Ms. Inside Path.  These people are “mountain bikers,” and they need terrain.  They are riding a 15-speed Huffy from Wal-Mart in a pair of board shorts, Teva’s, and a T-shirt that says, “It’s not a bald spot.  It’s a solar panel for my sex machine.”   They need to get in a workout before the tailgate party at U-DUB, dude, and you are nothing more than a speed bump with eyes, so get off the path for the fat man whose seat is too low.

Look, “cyclist.”  Give us a fuckin’ break.  In 15 minutes, some hot EMT is going pull up in an ambulance, cut that stupid t-shirt off of you, put a pair of paddles on your manboobs, and yell, “CLEAR!”  Green Lake isn’t a mountain.  Quit putting our lives and yours at risk.  

And on that happy note, we close this chapter of the Green Lake User’s Guide.  The moral of the story?  Share and share alike, or, as I like to say, “Quit hogging the path, jackass.”

Stay tuned for Part 2!

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Who doesn’t love Green Lake? 

An oasis.  Except for the people.

An oasis. Except for the people.

Green Lake Park has it all.  It has a gorgeous lake, ball fields, an indoor pool, two swimming beaches, basketball courts, tennis courts, a paved walking/running/skating/cycling path of 2.8 miles, a dirt walking/running/cycling path of 3.2 miles, a par 3 golf course, a theater, and a rowing center and club, all in the heart of the city, surrounded by restaurants, shops, cafes, and bars.  In fact, I live in the neighborhood and have for years.  I love it because of its vibrancy, its energy, and all it has to offer.  Some of my pals live here.  I shop here.  I eat here.  I drink here (usually with complete abandon). 

Now, before you get the impression that I’m gonna get all sappy and sentimental about Green Lake, let me also add that I’m a runner.  So, you can find me trotting my ass around the Lake several times each week.  Dodging the oblivious throngs like an obstacle course.  Tripping over errant children.  High jumping over dogs on leashes so long that one has to wonder why they are leashed at all.  Stepping in dog shit.  Being forced off the path by speeding cyclists and rampaging roller bladers.  And don’t even get me started about what I like to call the “land mine” of Green Lake recreation: the Yuppy Assault Stroller (particularly the double-wide).  Of course, all of that assumes that I actually reach the running path without being mowed down in the crosswalk by a wanna-be NASCAR driver or a high school girl sexting her friends with one hand, smoking a cigarette with the other, and driving with NO HANDS AT ALL. 

As a frequent user, I understand and appreciate that Green Lake Park is a multi-use recreational facility, providing something for everyone.  But I’m warning you people:  some of you are on my last fucking nerve.  Before I bring the taser and nun-chuks back from the days of the “fugger muggers,” I’ve decided to give you bitches one more chance.  Just like in human resources, this is your official notice.  You’ve been warned and you are on probation.  During your probationary period, you must read this series of informative and interesting blog posts on how not to be a Green Lake douchebag (collectively called the Green Lake User’s Guide).   Assuming you pay attention and take immediate corrective action to change your annoying, asshole-ish behavior, we’ll all be BFF.

Until then, I look forward to sharing Green Lake Park with you in the future.  Or, in the alternative, electro-chukking the sweet bejesus out of you on one of my jaunts around the Lake.

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