Discolor Online

Weblog of the sweetest person you never want to piss off.


Support Piracy

Piracy of the Pirates of the Burning Sea kind, that is.

Pirates is on the front page of the New York Times art section today. The launch has gone well and though there are always haters for anything anyone does, the response to the game is strong and positive. Congrats to Pramas, John, Jess, and all the other FLS pirate crew!

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What are you cooking?

Visiting with a friend recently, he asked me what I'd been cooking. I realized that I my usual convention season cooking hiatus had extended itself through the holidays and was clinging on. I haven't been nearly my usual cooking self.

I'm turning that around and have been trying a bunch of new recipes. Here are a couple of easy, tasty salad recipes that we've given the thumbs up to:

Napa Cabbage Salad with Spicy Peanut Sauce
from Cooking Thin by Kathleen Daelemans

1 Tbsp sesame oil
3 Tbsp rice wine vinegar
1/4 cup light soy sauce
2 Tbsp sugar
1 Tbsp freshly grated ginger
1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
8 cups thinly sliced napa cabbage
1 cup loosely packed, roughly chopped cilantro leaves (or, if you're Marc, sub in parsley)
3 scallions, thinly sliced
1 medium carrot, grated
1 cup toasted peanuts (I used low salt dry roasted) roughly chopped

Whisk together sesame oil, vinegar, soy sauce, and sugar until sugar dissolves. Add ginger and red pepper flakes. Set aside.

In a large bowl, toss together cabbaqge, cilantro, scallions, and carrot. Toss in peanuts. Toss all with dressing until evenly distributed.

Spinach & Pear Salad with Dijon Mustard Vinaigrette
from Seattle and King County Public Health

2 tablespoons water
1-1/2 tablespoons orange juice
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon honey
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 pears, cored and sliced lengthwise
8 cups torn fresh spinach
1/4 cup red onion, thinly sliced

In a small bowl, whisk together the water, vinegar, olive oil, honey, Dijon mustard, and black pepper. In large bowl, add the pear slices and 2 tablespoons of the vinaigrette and toss to coat. Add remaining dressing, spinach and onion and toss to coat

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Boys From My Hood

The Blue Scholars are not only from Seattle but also from Beacon Hill. Hell, I've probably been on the 48 with Geologic at some point.

I'm currently digging this song (and the video that goes with it). Want to see what my world looks like?



Quoted for Truth

Seen on Will Hindmarch's blog:

When one book on the gaming schedule is done, two things happen: 1) nobody gives a shit, and 2) the next one is already late. So you get all the anxiety of a book with none of the payoff, plus the endless treadmill of deadlines that comes with blogging but with none of the meaningful feedback. Also, no money. I made more money, after tips, working at Starbucks.

Seriously, people, if you like a game, offer a smile or a “nice job” to the folks who made it — whether you’re a fan or a coworker.



I'm still feeling particularly shitty and I'm disinclined to blog at the moment, but here's an important message anyway.



Holy shit, that went poorly!

Ok, so today I was really pissed off about a lot of things. I decided, however, that I wasn't going to write about my frustrations. Ex-husbands, failing computer hardware, being raked over the coals for a conversation that took place and was resolved over two years ago, my daughter's stress-inducing class trip and her frustrating hippie school, politics, the situation with our HOA, the ridiculous 'community meeting' with the Seattle Housing Authority that I attended last night... I decided to let it all drift into the background and post a light-hearted little thing about my affection for stupid novelty coffee cups and my not-so-secret inner snark.

I probably should have just stuck to ranting, which everyone could have just ignored. Instead, I triggered a parade of people coming by to lecture me on the realities behind the McDonald's Coffee lawsuit. Yow. Totally not in the mood for that shit today.

Now, instead of a light-hearted post I've instead come across as a gigantic uninformed and callous asshole who is ignorantly laughing at some poor old woman who had third degree burns on her genitals, not to mention seeming to express tacit approval for McDonald's cruel policies (or the belief that anyone could even drink the stuff they sell as "coffee")!

Today was a shit pile of a day and the feedback to my "light-hearted" post was the rancid cherry on top. I think I'm going to step away from the blog for a while. Hell, maybe I'll unplug from the whole damn internet while I'm at it.



Hot Coffee is Hot

I love coffee. Even as a kid far before I ever drank the stuff I would beg my grandma for her coffee nips and thrilled over coffee flavored ice cream. I like all manner of hot beverages (cider, tea, chai, cocoa!) but coffee is my favorite, hands down.

As a coffee drinker I have acquired a surplus of coffee mugs. I wouldn't say I collect them exactly but I definitely have plenty and that doesn't stop me from occasionally picking up more. It makes me smile to choose from my assortment of mugs when I have my coffee each morning. Among my favorite mugs are my Jesse Ventura ("Minnesota's Governing Body" ha, get that wrestling reference... Jesse "The Body" Ventura?), my Goodbye Blue Monday (and all the memories of Northfield and my time as their substitute barista), and my CAUTION HOT COFFEE IS HOT (do not spill on crotch) mugs.

I'm actually on my second Hot Coffee Is Hot mug. Ages ago I saw Berin Kinsman's original Cafe Press version of this mug and snapped it up immediately. As was the case with many Cafe Press mugs from those early years, the images began to fade from being run through the dishwasher. (That's how my "Oh Jeff-list, how lemony fresh art thou" mug eventually became just a plain white mug, too.) I would have just ordered a new one but the mug had gone away in the meantime. I asked after the mug and lo, a new version was made available and delivered to me! Happy day.

Turns out I was luckier than I thought with this mug! In Googling around for images and links for this blog post, I came across this post at UncleBear.com and discovered that I'm apparently one of the few that has the version of the mug that says "Caution" on it. Seems that some guy names Jim Vitello once upon a time had this idea for scratch-and-sniff underwear and trademarked "Caution!" specifically for use as a trademark for "boxer shorts, boxer briefs, briefs, thongs, lingerie, pajamas, nightshirts, robes and swimwear". Yet somehow this guy was able to use this to demand that Cafe Press remove the coffee mug from Berin's store because it used the word "caution" on it. The mug now says "Careful" instead. (Vitello has also apparently sued Hot Topic and lost a complaint against the owners of caution.com ).

I've always liked my Hot Coffee Is Hot mug. It appeals to my snarky side, the part of me that rolls eyes and grits teeth in the face of human fuckwittery, the voice in my head that says "Gee, brainiac, maybe it's not that the coffee was too hot but that you shouldn't stick a to-go cup between your legs in a moving vehicle?" It's the same side of me that smirks when I read that someone like Jim Vitello is smacked down for his greedy, baseless, overreaching legal actions. It was my snarky side that raised a steaming mug of coffee in the general direction of Covina, CA this morning and proposed a toast: "Caution, Jim Vitello! Hot coffee is hot, do not spill on crotch!"

Mmm, coffee.

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Launch Party

Mixin' it up
Originally uploaded by Nikchick.
I roused myself from my malaise long enough to join Pramas at Seattle's Experience Music Project for the Flying Lab launch party for Pirates of the Burning Sea. PotBS is in "pre-boarding" right now, where people who bought advanced access boxes have been able to start playing and earning some special early-adopter goodies. It launches for the rest of us on Monday.

I was very responsible, drank lots of water, ate heavily from the salads and modestly from the prime rib, didn't go back for seconds and had just a small ice cream dessert. I sat a lot and talked to several Flying Labbers who I've been increasingly getting to know the last few months but didn't wear myself out and left the party at a respectable time (not too early but we didn't close the place out, either). Even took time to go through both the Sci-Fi Museum (which has changed and expanded since my one previous visit) and the majority of the EMP exhibits while we were there. Played the drums for a bit.

Realized about halfway through the party that we forgot to pay for parking after pulling into the lot we chose. Oops! Got a $25 ticket. Damn. Even so, including dinner, drinks, and access to the facility I think we still came out ahead for the evening.

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My only use for Facebook.

Playing Scrabulous (or rather, getting my ass kicked by everyone except my husband) is pretty much the only reason I check my Facebook page.

Mattel and Hasbro want to shut that down.





Malaise –noun
1. a condition of general bodily weakness or discomfort, often marking the onset of a disease.
2. a vague or unfocused feeling of mental uneasiness, lethargy, or discomfort.

I really don't know what the heck is up with me. I'm not sick enough to be sick but man, I am not "well" either. I'm not coughing, not feverish (though I guess I wouldn't swear to that), a little sore and achy with a headache that comes roaring back when I get too active, low appetite, and fatigue. Sleeping about 6 hours a night and yet feel crushing fatigue. Pramas stayed home with it yesterday and Kate came home from school and told me she fell asleep in class near the end of the day today because she wasn't feeling well (and she goes to a sweet and gentle hippie school where she didn't get in trouble for it). This has got to STOP.

Beacon Hill had some solid frost this morning but no snow and Kate's school was not disrupted at all. Pramas was trying to get out of the house a little early but didn't get out early enough to make the earlier bus. He called from the bus stop to let me know he'd forgotten his keys. I had to go out to the post office anyway (with something like six bins of mail orders going out) so I suggested that he come back, get his keys, and catch a ride with me. It's a bit out of my way to go all the way to Queen Anne but it turns his hour-long commute into something closer to 15 minutes. Usually.

Turns out Queen Anne had more than just the hard frost that hit Beacon Hill. They had actual snow and ice all over. We got off the highway and onto the arterial street leading to Queen Anne proper and sat, and sat, and sat. Inched forward a bit and sat some more. Finally things were moving and we came around the corner to see the cross street at the crazy 6-way stop was closed in two directions and there was a three (or more) car pile-up involving vehicles that had slid down sideways and into parked cars. Ouch. Then we got ourselves stuck behind first a garbage truck and then a pick-up that couldn't make it across an icy bridge. There wasn't even a slope there, just ice on the bridge and no traction. Finally made it to Flying Lab and dropped Chris off but I decided I was going to let the sun do its work on the ice before trying the return trip off the hill. Spent about an hour curled up in a cozy chair by the fireplace at the Queen Anne Tully's and by the time I left the hill everything was clear. No more ice or traffic, hooray.

Wat I thought was going to be about an hour of running errands ended up taking all morning and when I finished up I was feeling the creeping malaise on me again. It was a good day for being out on errands (cold, clear, sunny) but once was enough for me. Maybe I'll give it another shot tomorrow.

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Soup for the Sick

Thursday was kind of a hectic day. Did some running around, got caught out in the rain without my jacket, missed my turn and drove all over creation before making it to Jenny's with lunch, and just generally feeling like I was running about two beats behind all day. I blamed it on poor sleep the rest of the week and soldiered on. Made Garlic Herb Soup and garlic bread for the fellas for game night, stayed up way too late with Ray and Tim (and the great NPC debate of '08) into the wee hours of Friday morning and when I finally went to bed I had my worst night of sleep yet that week. I'm a stomach sleeper and want to roll onto my stomach whenever I'm on the verge of sleep and all night long I would roll sleepily onto my stomach only to jerk awake with acid reflux. This is not a problem I normally have but early Friday morning it was pure torture. I slept horribly, got up to take stomach meds or just get a drink to soothe the burning feeling at least half a dozen times.

Friday I was a wreck. I tried to sleep late but ringing phones and a work crew power-washing the house across the street just prolonged my agony. I would fall heavily asleep to vivid dreams for a few minutes and then be jerked awake by a ringing phone or the sound of heavy equipment or crashing ladders. When I finally gave up and got up for the day my eyes burned, my head felt throbbed, and my sinuses were radiating pain down into my teeth so that it hurt to even chew. I found no comfort in food except nibbling some sweet, mushy canned pears and the remains of the garlic soup. I wanted nothing last night but biscuits and more soup, which my sweetie kindly prepared for me. I comforted myself with the Smile Time episode of Angel ("I'm going to tear you a new puppet hole, bitch!), which is permanently saved on my TiVo for times like this.

Got some sleep last night and woke up feeling about 70% better from that alone. More soup today, though I have to resort to canned soup now because all the garlic soup is gone. I was wondering what to do for dinner because Pramas is playing Spirit of the Century and I don't feel like going out to the store but JD and Kris came to the rescue by choosing today to post Kris's Hearty Baked Potato Soup recipe. My super-stocked pantry comes to the rescue yet again, I have all these ingredients on hand. Soup for the sick, I say!

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The Wire

Pramas and I are big fans of The Wire. If they do a Homicide-style complete season box set, I'm SO IN. We watched the first episode of the new and final season the other night and one thing about the Wire that I'm sure hurts their viewership is they don't coddle the viewer. It's a huge ensemble cast with surprising overlap from season to season. It's a beautifully crafted show but I do think some of its deliciousness is lost when you have to wait a week between episodes. Watching episodes on DVD, back to back, allowed us to really put together some subtle connections (a passing glance between characters that is suddenly meaningful next episode... if you remember it by then, for example).

I can't imagine this "Four Seasons of the Wire in Four Minutes" video is any help whatsoever, to anyone who hasn't watched the show but I found it amusing nonetheless.

Also read gossip reports that some asshole bouncer wouldn't let Michael K Williams into the premier party! He wouldn't let OMAR in? OMAR? Omar makes that show. Omar gets to bring as many friends to the party as he wants, fool.


The issue of the buy-in

Phil Reed hits the nail on the head regarding the WotC $5000 Developer Kit Buy-in:
In my mind, the fee isn't the problem. In fact, I think that there should be a fee to use the D&D name and a special, new, trademarked logo.

The problem is that after a few months there is no fee.
This dynamic (how the pay-to-play-devs and the free-devs are going to interact, the ramifications of each choice) is the thing that I keep going back to as I've been thinking over what WotC's 4E plan means in the short and long terms. Robin Laws and others have pointed out that assigning a cost for early buy-in is WotC's attempt to lessen the potential bubble effect of another wave of third-party support products for D&D, which I think is true. I agree that some sort of management was necessary. Others have worried aloud if this won't just slightly delay rather than prevent another "deluge of crap" we saw after the mass embrace of the previous Open Game Licensing deal.

Yesterday I opined ...[T]he OGL goes free this summer and it will be a good six months before those would-be publishers can release their products. During that time, the rules will be actually, really final (unlike the state they're in now, where WotC admits that they expect they'll be "tweaked" right up to mid- to late-March). WotC's core books will have been out for half a year and the first third-party (open content) books almost as long. During that time, people opting for the free license will have the chance to judge the marketplace (Does 4E launch big or is it a flop? Are people excited to switch? How have the products released by the "early adopters" who paid to play been received?).

All of that is way more information than those who are buying in early have. The Phase Two companies will have had just as long (if not slightly longer) to learn the new rules before their on sale date opens up, plus all the benefits of any errata that's discovered and content/experiences from other publishers to draw on. In theory, this staggered plan could actually result in better releases come January 09. It's vastly superior to the plan that would have allowed the users of the free license to sell product starting September 1. June to September is not enough time to learn rules, put together quality products and get it on shelves! The September 1 open date would have virtually guaranteed the "flood of crap" that happened with early D20 and that many people fear for 4E.

There'll still be junk hitting the market either way but I vastly prefer this schedule to the one that was proposed during yesterday's conference call.

The question for me isn't whether or not D&D is "worth" $5,000. It absolutely is. The question I keep coming back to is whether a few short months of advanced access and a starting-gun time table that practically necessitates companies paying to buy in do everything they can to press their "advantage" before the clock runs out, whether that is worth $5,000. Is it an opportunity or a sucker's game? If the money issue was set, pay or not, in or out, all the variables about the playing field leveled, the question of where 4E and the OGL fit into our plans would be completely different.

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The news has broken


Response from the SHA

Forgot to mention that the Seattle Housing Authority is all over the issue of possible lead in the water at New Holly (which I guess is officially spelled NewHolly). January 4th they had people all over the neighborhood sticking letters on doors. I transcribed it here for future reference.

January 4, 2008

Dear NewHolly residents:

There has been news coverage over the past day or two indicating that there may be a problem a NewHolly with high levels of lead in the drinking water. I want to personally assure you that NewHolly's water has been tested, does not contain high levels of lead, and is well within acceptable standards.

When homes and rental properties in Phase I of NewHolly were constructed, a heating system that used new technology was used. This hydronic system combined hot water for heating with water used for washing, showers, etc. Beginning around 2004, problems with the heading system began to appear. One problem was that the tubing was corroded and leaked, making the system ineffective. This problematic system was used in Phase I only.

In 2006 SHA hired Pressler Forensics, Inc. to investigate why these systems were failing, so that SHA could take appropriate corrective action. During their investigation, Pressler staff tested the water in 19 rental units. Samples from one of these units showed elevated levels of lead in the water. Within one month, SHA had all of these 19 rental units re-tested by a different company, and the results showed no elevated lead levels.

We have been discussing the heating system issue with the NewHolly Homeowners Association since last spring. The Association asked for a copy of the Pressler report and we agreed to share it. Unfortunately, the Association did not receive the report until recently. I want to assure you that we did not intentionally withhold it. We did not anticipate that the issue of lead in NewHolly drinking water would rise to the current level of concern because we believed the re-testing that took place immediately established the water is safe.

Still, I understand your concerns—everyone wants to be certain that the water we are drinking is safe. In order to put this to rest, we will immediately contract with an independent testing lab to sample the water in the homes of NewHolly Phase I residents. We will ask the lab to test a statistically valid sample of homeowner units to measure lead levels in the water. As soon as these results are available, I will communicate them to you.

If you have further questions, please call General Counsel James Fearn (206-615-3570) or Communications Director Virginia Felton (206-615-3506). I am sorry that lack of complete information has caused concern for you. Thank you for your patience.

Tom Tierney
Executive Director

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Work and Play

Pramas and I tried to go to the movies this weekend but apparently so did every other person in Seattle. Juno sold out as we were in line for tickets and there was nothing else to jump into right at that moment so we headed over to Can Can for a bit. I thought I was getting in nice and early, which I would have been if they hadn't started doing an early show on the weekends! Instead of getting in early we arrived halfway through the early performance, were told it was standing room only, and found that they've also added a curtain that blocks the view from the bar... though you still have to pay the $10 cover. Well, I thought we'd stay through and catch the later show so I didn't worry too much and we just grabbed a table in the bar, occasionally peeking around the corner to see what was happening as the various acts took the stage. That plan was shot, however, as we stayed right up until "showtime" only to have the hostess chick come over to say that there was not going to be a late show because they hadn't drawn in enough of a crowd... but they would really like us to stay and drink because they're open until 2am. Um. No. I was done. We stopped off at Stellar Pizza on the way home and had a snack and a drink and called it a night.

Yesterday we got off to a lazy start but I took the opportunity to hit the Hangar Cafe with Pramas for brunch. Kate's with her dad for the first time in a month so I wanted to have as much alone time with my sweetie as I could manage and we have few chances to hit the Hangar Cafe during its Breakfast/Lunch schedule. I had a great crepe the kept me filled up for a good six hours, it was awesome. The rest of the day was lazy puttering (putting away Christmas stuff mostly).

Today I had a meeting with Evan at his house to formulate a plan for Green Ronin's new Sharepoint server. I also got a present from Zoey (and family) of an awesome new coffee grinder (my old one is older than my kid and isn't that great). Zoey was very happy to hear that I have a birthday present for her and not as happy to hear that I hadn't brought it with me because I'm saving it for her birthday. In addition to working out some general Sharepoint stuff I also got to hold a chubby happy baby, play the most hilarious game of hide and seek ever, read a book to the kids, help Zoey draw a clown, and have some apple cake (a recipe from Super Natural Cooking, another winner I think). I almost drove away and left my wallet on the table, which would have been bad as I had to stop for gas on the way home but Evan saved the day.

Tonight I satisfied my craving for queso dip (which had been relentless for a full 24 hours... too much to be ignored) and watched the first episode of the new season of The Wire. Over all my weekend was a heck of a lot more play than work and pretty much what I needed. I could use one more day of sleep but that's probably getting greedy.



Better than I thought


Cry Me A River

Apparently Glenn Beck has learned a thing or two about "the real meaning of compassion" recently. Thanks to what he refers to as a "botched surgery" and "moments that could have come out of the movie Saw". His tearful, rambling video confessional aired on YouTube and is a pretty much just a teaser for his return to broadcasting (Tune in Monday!).

I don't wish ill on the man. I'm truly sorry to hear that he had a hellacious surgery experience. It happens to people and it's awful! Shit, my friend Sean just posted about how he woke up twice during recent surgery AND might be screwed for insurance to boot. There are numerous reasons why people think the U.S. health care system is fucked up... and why you'll find the US ranked 37th, just above Slovenia by the World Health Organization.

Even not wishing ill on the man, I can't say that I'm finding more than the bare minimum of compassion for him on this issue. I mean, not even six months ago he went on this screed on the quality of health care in the United States (and how evil Michael Moore and the evil Socialists were, essentially, rigging things to unfairly paint US health care in a bad light):

As I watch this I am reminded of the other times Glenn Beck has come to my attention. This is the man who said to Minnesota's Muslim congressman "What I feel like saying is, 'Sir, prove to me that you are not working with our enemies." This is the guy who characterized the people losing their homes in California's wildfires as "a handful of people who hate America." It's hard, it's really hard, to get all choked up for a guy who can't have compassion for others until something horrible happens to him.

It's a ridiculous Republican stereotype and Beck is only further reinforcing it. Drug addicts are baaaad, until it's one of theirs. Gays are scary, until it's their child. Abortion is evil, until it's their daughter. The government is broken, until they're the ones who need help. Anyone who doesn't agree is a pinko Commie Socialist America-hater who brought their misfortunes on themselves and deserves what they get. Right?

I'd love to hear that Beck really did have an awakening of conscience. I want to believe him when he says about compassion, "I know what it means, I think I can define it now." I'll wait and see what he has to say on Monday.

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Seattle Housing Authority

The Seattle Housing Authority is "a public corporation that provides affordable housing to more than 25,500 people who earn less than 80 percent of Seattle's median income." At their website they are eager to tell you that their mission "is to enhance the Seattle community by creating and sustaining decent, safe and affordable living environments that foster stability and self-sufficiency for people with low incomes."

The Seattle Housing Authority acted as the "master builder" in the construction of the neighborhood now known as New Holly. New Holly used to be known as Holly Park, as crime-ridden and run-down a section of public housing as e'er was known in Seattle. New Holly, they're proud to trumpet to the world, is an "award winning" redevelopment project, a federally funded Hope VI project. The community is "unique" and "model for the rest of the nation to follow".

Pramas and I were among the first lucky families to buy into Phase One. When we bought in, our Home Owner's Association was controlled by members of the SHA. That continued until sometime this year. The SHA owns the housing that is side-by-side with individual homeowners and rented out to Section 8 tenants. Before we ever bought our house, the builders had in place covenants for a mandatory Home Owner's Association (the management of which I have railed on about in this blog at length in the past). The items of "concern" to the "homeowners" were laid out by the SHA (such as what colors we're allowed to paint our porch steps or how our bushes need to be maintained or the ban on clotheslines, garden sheds and dog houses). Whether those things are actually "of concern" the the majority of homeowners in this community is something I would question, especially when we have issues with graffiti, reckless youths, and brazen drug and alcohol use in the parks we've set aside and pay to maintain (in theory for the community's children). It was the SHA-controlled board that knowingly enticed people into the community by setting initial HOA dues unsustainably low and led our community into a several-year "budget shortfall" that had to be made up with a special assessment, among other things.

Of course, the number of homeowners needed to pass *any* resolution (or, indeed, to even legally vote in our homeowner-controlled board of directors) is so outrageously high that it's virtually impossible to get the community to make any changes. For the better part of this year we were ham-strung by poor homeowner voter turnout and couldn't even get the SHA's minions OFF the board! It seems that we've FINALLY gotten actual homeowners in control of the board. I was already irritated about their treatment of the neighbor who wanted to open the wine bar in the commercial building the SHA owns, which I blogged about around Christmas, and I can't say I'm unhappy to see the SHA's employees OFF the board at this stage.

One might wonder why I'm going into the entire preamble for the SHA's involvement in our community at this point. New Holly was on the news today. Thanks to a neighborhood mailing list, I was alerted to the fact (though I happened to see the mobile news van parked in the New Holly Community Center parking lot this afternoon and might have clued in that something was up anyway) and was able to tune in. What did the news have to say? Well, for starters it seems that New Holly residents are about to learn their heating systems are malfunctioning and their drinking water may be exposed to lead. Oh yeah! Woo! LEAD. Awesome! Not like we have families with small children living in these houses or anything! The new report goes on to say A June 2006 report conducted for the Seattle Housing Authority found serious problems with the heating systems of 120 units of the NewHolly Development. JUNE 2006. NINETEEN MONTHS AGO. What the news fails to draw out is that the SHA built ALL the houses in this development and sold people like me some of the houses at market price to help subsidize the rest of the development... but I'll lay money that those 120 units that were tested were all units owned by the SHA. Individual homeowners were not informed of what the SHA learned and though word is trickling out many of them still do not know!

Adding insult to injury there was a woman from the SHA who spoke to the media. Her comment? "I think they should be cautious about the systems in their homes and we will work with them through that caution." We should be cautious and they will work with us through that caution? What the fuck does that even mean?! It has no meaning whatsoever. The news mentions that the SHA is facing having to replace 120 waters systems at $20K a pop... but doesn't mention that's only the units the SHA itself owns. Each of the individual homeowners are going to be on the hook for those costs if our homes are affected by this issue. In any other circumstance, the builder who used the defective materials to build our homes would be held accountable but the SHA seems to believe that they're off the hook because, despite being the "master builder" for the project, they're a public agency and are thus somehow above responsibility. Frankly, I think they're unused to having to deal with people of means who have the contacts, money, and general wherewithal to fight back! Poverty-stricken tenants are entirely at their mercy, have to abide by "tenant obligations and responsibilities" or be thrown out. HomeOWNERS, professionals who can afford houses that cost up to $450K or more, are on much more level ground; lawyers and the media are involved now and the SHA had better get their act together soon.

I wonder what the SHA commissioners will have to say.

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Privileges Meme

After a week of heavy socializing, staying overnight with friends twice, multiple heavy (and wonderful) meals, I'm home again (this time full of deep dish pizza and ice cream) and I can barely keep myself upright. Whew. Almost glad to be going back to work tomorrow. Almost.

Meanwhile, I'm jumping on the privileges meme.

From What Privileges Do You Have?, based on an exercise about class and privilege developed by Will Barratt, Meagan Cahill, Angie Carlen, Minnette Huck, Drew Lurker, Stacy Ploskonka at Illinois State University. If you participate in this blog game, they ask that you PLEASE acknowledge their copyright.

1. Father went to college
2. Father finished college
3. Mother went to college

4. Mother finished college
5. Have any relative who is an attorney, physician, or professor (my brother is in med school now)
6. Were the same or higher class than your high school teachers.
7. Had more than 50 books in your childhood home.
8. Had more than 500 books in your childhood home.
9. Were read children's books by a parent
10. Had lessons of any kind before you turned 18 (ice skating lessons)
11. Had more than two kinds of lessons before you turned 18
12. The people in the media who dress and talk like me are portrayed positively
13. Had a credit card with your name on it before you turned 18
14. Your parents (or a trust) paid for the majority of your college costs
15. Your parents (or a trust) paid for all of your college costs
16. Went to a private high school
17. Went to summer camp (band camp, once)
18. Had a private tutor before you turned 18
19. Family vacations involved staying at hotels
20. Your clothing was all bought new before you turned 18
21. Your parents bought you a car that was not a hand-me-down from them (my dad bought me a used car for $750 when I got my license)
22. There was original art in your house when you were a child
23. You and your family lived in a single-family house (I lived in more than a dozen houses, some of them single-family rentals)
24. Your parent(s) owned their own house or apartment before you left home (owned, lost, owned again)
25. You had your own room as a child (I shared a room with my brother until I was 11)
26. You had a phone in your room before you turned 18
27. Participated in a SAT/ACT prep course
28. Had your own TV in your room in high school
29. Owned a mutual fund or IRA in high school or college
30. Flew anywhere on a commercial airline before you turned 16
31. Went on a cruise with your family
32. Went on more than one cruise with your family
33. Your parents took you to museums and art galleries as you grew up
34. You were unaware of how much heating bills were for your family

Despite not scoring as particularly privileged on this, and despite being well aware that we lacked a lot of luxuries, I did also grow up with some awareness that there were people who were worse off than we were. I never went hungry. My parents were smart, praised education, and had high expectations for me. My daughter lives a much more privileged life than I did but it's most important to me that she understand how privileged we are compared to so much of the world even if we're not so much when compared to our immediate neighbors.