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Updating chezmaddie just became a mobile experience! I’m now able to post from my iPod touch. I’m grinning from ear to ear…

Let it Snow!

Here at Chez Maddie, we’re dreaming of a white christmas.

Check out the kids using the street as a toboggan run!

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The Winter Pineapple Classic

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On a surprisingly pleasant Sunday morning in mid-November, three thousand one hundred and thirty five (3135!) individuals ran a 5k race for charity. But not just any race, and not just for any charity. The Winter Pineapple Classic 5k, an annual and long-anticipated event here in Seattle, is an obstacle course in Magnuson Park raced by teams of 2-4 people to raise money for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. All of the money raised goes to cancer research and to assist the families of patients and survivors of blood cancers. There are costumes, there are the requisite pineapples (which teams must bring along with them for the entirety of the course), and there is a luau and beer garden at the finish line. All in all, the Winter Pineapple Classic is a damn good time.

 

We were Team Obamanos!, colourfully-clad advocates of our President-Elect. I had almost as much fun shopping for costume elements with fellow teammate JJW as I did actually running the race. I think the photos speak for themselves, so the only things I’ll point out are our Burger King crowns and our t-shirts that feature the face of Obama on the body of a hula girl. We may be political, but we can still be politically incorrect!

 

The race is run in heats, and we were fortunate enough to be assigned the sleep-in/hang-over starting time of 1:30pm. While this did mean that there was little food for us at the finish line, it did allow for a productive Sunday morning (as I neither slept-in nor was hung over). The course starts and ends at an old airplane hanger at the center of Magnuson Park (this is also where you’ll find the post-race the luau, complete with sand and volleyball net). Along the way, we encountered cement sewage pipes to crawl through, PVC pipe hurdles, tires, hay bales, a free-climb rock wall and several other walls of varying heights. Other than when conquering the obstacles, I am proud to say that we ran the entire course, leaving smurfs, fishheads and grass-skirted men in our dust.

 

I had a phenomenal time, and am so very grateful to the friends, family and co-workers that sponsored our team. You can still donate to the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society (we are fundraising through December 5th) by visiting this site. Go Team Obamanos! and I’ll see you there next year!

(Check out the Seattle PI’s slide show)

Update: My official time was 31 minutes, 46 seconds. I came in 880th out of a possible 3135 runners. Nice!

Keith Olbermann speaks out on Prop 8.

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Today in Seattle, as in Boise, Portland, New York, Boston and San Francisco, thousands marched to protest California’s constitutional ban on gay marriage. Proposition 8, which passed in CA this past election, overturns the state’s earlier legalization of marriage. It officially denies the queer community the right to marry, and renders obsolete the once-legal marriages between same-sex partners. Outraged at this encroachment upon civil rights (as such a vote so clearly is), 3000+ Seattle citizens came together to demonstrate peacefully against Proposition 8 and its proponents.

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I admittedly came upon this event rather indirectly, as I was downtown to meet up with my friend JJW for a long-overdue tete-a-tete. He, being much more engaged and knowledgeable than I, knew the march was on, and had several friends in the crowd. I was absolutely amazed (not to mention proud) that so many people turned out to march from Volunteer Park to Pacific Place for such an important cause. Chants rang out in waves as gays, straights, lesbians, transgenders, mothers, fathers, christians, atheists, eldery and young people came out to support the right of gay marriage. “Hey Hey, Ho Ho! Prop 8 Has Got to Go!” “What to we want – Equal Rights! When do we want it? Now!”

JJW and I joined in, clapping our hands and cheering on signs such as “Jesus had 2 Dads,” “If Brigham Young had 33 wives, why can’t I have 1?” and “We’re Gay, We Vote, We Buy.” I laughed out loud as a straight couple walked by with a banner that read “Why can’t our gay friends be as miserable as we are?” But perhaps the most provocative and important sign I saw was one bearing the 1950’s-era photograph of the segregated drinking fountains. It’s an incredibly famous image in which two fountains side-by-side are labled “White” and “Negro.” This photograph was accompanied by the phrase “Seperate but equal is so passe.” Amen. We can vote an African American into the highest national office, we can legalize death with dignity here in WA and in OR, and yet we still give allow our citizens to vote on whether certain human beings who live certain kinds of lives have the right to marry the people that they love?!?! How absoutely degrading. It is like allowing brunettes to vote on whether or not blondes can marry, but not allowing blondes to decide the same for themselves or for the brunettes. “We hold these truths to be self evident…” But only for certain individuals, and only when the voices of ignorance and bigotry and fear say that it is appropriate to do so…

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Perhaps what surprised me the most was how many Christian activists showed up to protest the march. There were large “REPENT SINNERS” signs, complete with digital hellfire and pixelated images of the burning twin towers on 9/11. Homosexuality was listed among a laundry list of sins including drunkeness and gluttony. Colourfully-clad activists tried to outshout the somber scripture-spouters, and a battle of the megaphones soon erupted. As JJW put it, it was a “media blitz.” While it remained entirely peaceful, there was certainly no common ground to be found, and I believe both sides left fully convinced that the opposition was either ignorant and outdated or destined to burn in eternal hell.

Yet all in all, I was awed and empowered by today’s march, and the numbers only prove that these times, they are a’changin’. Seattle Mayor Greg Nickels called Prop 8 “a hateful measure” and declared today as “Marriage Equality Day in Seattle.” I can only hope that the Pacific Northwest will rally to lead the way in a nationwide movement to bring maritial equality to these United States. We won the election, but so many of our biggest fights have just begun. “Hey Hey, Ho Ho. Prop 8 has got to go!”

Update: Check out the Flickr pool for more fantastic images from the march.

Where Rainer just tastes better…

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So it would seem as if there is a rumour going around that I must disperse. Despite whisperings to the contrary, I am quite fond of Targy’s Tavern here in Seattle. In fact, this tiny, non-descript hole-in-the-wall was the centerpiece of my Election Night experience.

The bar itself is quite easy to miss. Just a few blocks from Queene Anne’s bustling and trendy spots, Targy’s neither beckons nor tantalizes the would-be patron. In fact, up until a few years ago, this place didn’t even have its name on the outside of the building (now a neon sign next to the Rainer “R” will suffice as a proclamation of what waits inside the concrete walls of 600 W. Crockett Street).

l But Gene and his friends love this place. They’ve been coming here for years –  nearly a decade. The bartenders know them by name, and will open a can (or preferably, a bottle) of Rainer before they’ve even sat down at Targy’s horseshoe-shaped bar. Gene refers to this little-known gem as his “living room away from home.” And it certainly has that feel, except this living room is much more divey, and has well drinks! Friends gather to catch up over a game of pool, large tv screens cater to an audience with tastes ranging from politics to the Seahawk’s game, and the regular customers pass no judgement on those that stumble unawares through Targy’s heavy door. This is my kind of bar, make no mistake about it. Unpretentious, unadvertised and unwilling to pour a weak G & T.


Targy’s secured a warm place in my heart on November 4th, when Gene and I met some friends to watch the election night action unfold. The crowd was particularly diverse that night, as old-time Coast Guard officers cheered on Obama next to dreadlocked college girls and Converse-sporting hipsters. Every time a state turned blue, cheers echoed over the vinal bench seats. Strangers high-fived and clapped one another on the back. And when McCain took the stage to give his concession speech, the otherwise boisterous room fell silent. Perhaps it was the Obama spirit in the air that night, or perhaps Seattle lends itself to such casual political encounters , but whatever the explanation, I’m firmly in favor of many more nights at Targy’s Tavern.

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Metamorphosis

Metamorphosis: An Artist Envisions the Asanas of Yoga

Artwork by Emanuele Scanziani with text by Jennifer Abel

The Downward Facing Dog, the King Cobra. the Crane, the Plough… Metamorphosis provides an absolutely fresh perspective on the bond between body and mind, form and imagination

Yogic asanas, or poses, invoke animate and inanimate objects, the form and spirit of which give rise to the pose. Artist Emanuele Scanziani plays brilliantly with this connection, turning the human form into a lion, snake, scorpion and stone bridge, and bringing to life the transformative spirit at the heart of yoga.

Each page acts as instructive art: accompanying the images are brief descriptions of both the physical pose and the imaginative, meditative essence of the asana. A thumbnail index image associates the physical poses with the artwork they inspire.

A perfect gift for yoga novices and experts, students and teachers, or just armchair lovers of fine art.

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Yes, that’s right. I contributed to this absolutely stunning and playful visual exploration of yoga, and it is now available for sale!! You can purchase a copy of Metamorphosis here, from publisher Tara Books’ website. It’s cheaper than Amazon, you’ll be supporting an adventurous independent press, and you’ll receive mail lovingly packaged from Chennai, south India! Make sure you get one (or three) for the holidays!

And check out our first write-up in India’s Tehelka magazine.

We’ve also been mentioned in The Seattle Times and The Deccan Herald.