Heat wave 2006 has taken over the Northwest over the past 4 days. Temperatures have been in the mid to high 90's since Friday. With pretty low humidity I wouldn't have minded how hot it's been back when I lived in Baltimre, but being out here was made me used to moderate temperatures. So over the course of the weekend, when I haven't been watching the Red Sox take on the Mariners, I've been spending time in the basement in our spare bedroom and studio. It's about 20 degrees cooler down here and the cats have taken to lounging on the concrete floor down here. One cool thing we discovered is that we have cable in the basement so we can hang out down here and still have cable tv and internet access. The only thing we're missing down here is a food source.
It's been a while since I last blogged, but during that absence I've noticed my traffic increase. Strange, but true. Also during this time, I've become addicted to a new blog, The Sartorialist. The Sartorialist is Scott Schuman and his blog shows pictures of stylish people that he finds on the streets of New York. What's refreshing about this site is that a lot of these people are just regular people walking around and they aren't necessarily wearing the most expensive clothes. It just goes to show that you don't need to have money to have great personal style.
Staying on the fashion topic, the third season of Project Runway has begun and we celebrated by having a party to watch the season premiere. We had a great turnout and there are already some early favorites. Personally, I don't think PR would be what it is without Tim Gunn. I know this is a sentiment that is shared by many Project Runway fans. My early picks are Robert Best, the Barbie designer; Kayne Gillaspie, the pageant wear designer; and Michael Knight, a fashion designer from Atlanta (and no, he doesn't have a talking car...that we know of). The villain of the show to this point is Keith Michael and it doesn't seem like that will change any time soon. I had a feeling he was no good during the road to the runway show no to our guests, "Oh, he's got two first names, you know he's going to be trouble."
To try to segue to another topic, I went to Nordstrom a while back with Kristen to check out a sale after a baseball game. I usually don't shop there because everytime I go I get treated horribly. We first went to the women's shoe department so she could scope out the sale shoes and ended up getting a sweet pair of pale blue Diesels. Since we were there I decided to check out the men's department to see what they had. I saw a pair of brown and orange Adidas that I liked and decided to try them on. Well, it took me forever to get someone to offer to get them in my size for me to try on. When I finally did, the person "helping" me couldn't care less about me and kept looking longingly at some other guy who was looking at $300 shoes. He obviously wished he was helping him and not me. In the end I got the shoes, not because of the service but because I liked the shoes. After we left Kristen said she couldn't believe how horribly I was treated and I explained it's just par for the course when I go there which is why I don't normally. I don't know why I always get this type of service there since Nordstrom is supposed to be all about the service. Because of that I choose to shop at another store, that I won't mention, but I love it there and the people that work there send you notes thanking you for visiting the store.
I did end up having a good experience, finally, a week ago when I went there during their anniversary sale to get a suit. The man who helped me was the most stylish of all the folks there. A very kind, older gentleman with a great suit and yellow socks that matched his tie and pocket square. He didn't try to push the really expensive suits on me, but don't be mistaken he did make sure to show me the Hickey Freeman and Zegna suits, and was more than happy to keep helping me when I chose the half price suit. So maybe Nordstrom isn't so bad after all, you just have to find the most effortlessly stylish person in the department to help you.
So one final thing that has come up a lot recently is the topic of racism, something I was naive enought to think I would never encounter when I was growing up. The reason this has come to mind for me as of late are some things that I've encountered and I don't think most of it was intentional. The first thing is that someone recently asked me what my nationality is. Well, the obvious answer is I'm as American as the next person. I was born here in the US and even have Benjamin Franklin on my birth certificate. Now, I knew what they were really trying to ask was what my ethnicity is since I've come across this before, so I told them. What kind of bothered me about this was not what they asked but the fact that they asked me this during a meeting at work. Now, I work at a place that is supposed to have only the best and brightest so I was shocked at the inappropriateness of this and the other person in the meeting with us exchanged a look with me that communicated that she was as horrified as I was. I let it go because I don't want to make it out to be a huge deal because I know this person didn't mean any harm and I still had to work with them but I'm a little wary around them now.
The other things that kind of surprised me happened within the last week. As many may know the Seattle Sonics were recently sold to a group in Oklahoma this past week. This delighted a group of people here who don't think the public should help finance professional sports or their arenas and would be excited to see them leave town. While reading through the message boards on some of the sites for our local newspapers I was astonished by a number of the comments that were left. Whether they were intended to be racist or not is not for me to judge, but the message did convey very racists meanings. Calling all basketball players "thugs" and saying they had illegitimate children scattered around the country and how they didn't want to have those types of people ruining their community. I don't know who these people were or where they live but I was pretty surprised that these comments were left, I'm assuming, by people here in Seattle. Then at the baseball game on Saturday, the person behind me cheered for Ichiro Suzuki by yelling, "Go you chinaman!" First of all, that term is an obvious racial slur and B, Ichiro is Japanese is not Chinese. To make matters worse, this guy spilled his beer on me, my friend Missy, and the folks in front of us. He was so classy he didn't even apologize. Finally, on the way back from the game yesterday we stopped at the Elliot Bay Bookstore so Kristen could pick up the book for her next bookclub. While she was tracking down the book I went down into the cafe to use the restroom. On the wall in the men's room, the wall was filled with writing as is common in a number of restrooms. What caught my eye was the number of swastikas that were drawn on the wall.
All of these things made me realize that hate and racism still exist, even in one of the most liberal cities in the country. It may not be overtly evident at all times, but it's still there lying beneath the surface to some degree. What surprised me was that I had never encountered any racism until after I moved to Seattle.