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MISCmedia MAIL for 6/15/16: LOOKING FARTHER
Jun 14th, 2016 by Clark Humphrey

Someone (actually, the incredible shrinking Seattle Times) actually looked for answers to some of our city’s problems toward another city that isn’t San Francisco! Amazing! Also in your midweek missive: More Orlando reaction (not all of it healthy); no Seattle NHL team this year; Boeing (heart)s Iran; Rhapsody doesn’t want you to call it Rhapsody anymore; and Amazon’s $350,000 fine over a gallon of drain cleaner.

MISCmedia MAIL for 5/30/16
May 29th, 2016 by Clark Humphrey

In your Monday missive: The Mariners lose at home again; Central Washington’s wildfire season’s underway already, as seen by Sasquatch! festival-goers; Seattle’s black community’s increasingly a diaspora; a local high-school shooting becomes a streaming-TV-drama subplot; and who really sends the most anti-woman Tweets® and does it matter?

MISCmedia MAIL for 4/13/16
Apr 12th, 2016 by Clark Humphrey

Your midweek missive includes Cliff Mass really disliking KUOW’s latest move; Trident Seafoods moving some fish-processing work to Germany; Amazon getting into subscription podcasts; an eco-group giving the Duwamish river system a dubious “honor”; and someone wondering when non-corporate, non-white women can even ask for “equal pay.”

MISCmedia MAIL for 3/18/16
Mar 17th, 2016 by Clark Humphrey

We welcome spring, and the expanded local light rail, with chatter about a way to prove your Northwest-bred-ness on your vehicle; a whistleblower’s blast against Hanford’s waste-treatment project; a resource center for Af-Am entrepreneurs; a new way to keep sea lions from decimating fish stocks; and a plethora of weekend activity choices.

MISCmedia MAIL for 3/2/16
Mar 1st, 2016 by Clark Humphrey

Sooper Toosday settled nothing, and neither did the City Council committee vote on saving bike sharing. But we do know that Boeing’s planning a 100th birthday bash; a heroin treatment center’s re-opening; squatters are speaking out in favor of squatting; and one of the guys who “plundered” the Sonics is in big trouble (can you feel the schadenfreude rising?).

AIRING IT OUT
Dec 10th, 2015 by Clark Humphrey

john richards b

It’s been a long time since KEXP morning man John Richards regularly broadcast to Seattle from far-off New York, as part of a co-production deal with a station there.

On Wednesday morning at 9:03 a.m. (for 90.3 FM), he was front n’ center as he played the first song from the station’s ultra-deluxe new studios. (It was Robyn Hitchcock’s “Viva Sea-Tac.”)

gathering place a

The station now occupies 27,000 square feet of the Seattle Center Northwest Rooms. The facility includes a big open office done up in Late Dot-Com style (complete with indoor bike racks), a big “Live Room” performance space, multiple audio and video editing/mixing suites, a second DJ booth for future multiple online streams, showers, a laundry room, and a big open “Gathering Place” that will be partly subleased to a coffee house and record store.

The whole thing cost $15 million, most of which has already been raised.

A formal grand opening will occur at an unannounced future date.

As some of you know, I was a “new wave” DJ on KEXP’s precursor KCMU. It was a much wilder, more freeform outfit then, and it was all volunteer-run. It was based in a tiny space on the third floor of the UW’s Communications Building (whose code in campus documents was CMU); a DJ booth, a second booth for newscasts, and a classroom.

The early KCMU could reach amazing heights of aural beauty, and equally-amazing depths of unlistenability. But that was part of its charm.

But today’s KEXP is an empire. It’s got 40-50 regular employees plus volunteers and specialty-show DJs, and an ongoing annual budget around $6 million.

What has KEXP got that other “public” broadcast radio stations (such as the apparently doomed KPLU) haven’t? Several things, including:

1) Its own “brand.” By producing all its own programming, it’s not simply “the local NPR,” or, worse, as simply “NPR” with the local call letters (and local programming) ignored by listeners.

2) A global reach. KEXP’s both a local broadcaster and a global “streamer,” and raises donations from both audiences. So “Viva Sea-Tac,” with a Brit singer-songwriter fronting a band of Seattle music legends, is an even more appropriate choice for the first song played from the new studio.

Today’s KEXP is a big-time, ambitious operation. Its new space is a postmodern palace.

That’s even more of an achievement at a time when broadcast radio, like so many other “old media” institutions, suffers from shrinking audiences and revenues, leading to cuts and consolidations (cf. KPLU).

But damn, I still miss the old KCMU.

skin yard at kcmu benefit, 1986; posted to youtube by daniel house

skin yard at kcmu benefit, 1986; posted to youtube by daniel house

WELL THAT’S JUST A BUTT IN THE PAIN
Aug 20th, 2015 by Clark Humphrey

When I was trying to fix my WordPress theme, to try to resolve the comments crashing, I ended up making everything look wrong.

At least the site still works.

Help, somebody, help!

SUNDAY MORNING UPDATE:

The look of the site is still putrid. May need to install a totally different design “theme.”

And comments still won’t save to the site. No idea why.

I tried to fix both of these on Saturday, only to end up knocking the entire site out of commission for a couple of hours. Fortunately I knew everything I’d done and was able to undo them.

And two kind readers have offered to help me parse what might be going wrong. Thanks in advance.

MONDAY AFTERNOON UPDATE:

By re-hand-coding my “style.css” file, I’ve got the type sizes back closer to how I want them.

Still have to tweak some of the colors.

And comments STILL aren’t working.

MONDAY AFTERNOON UPDATE #2:

Turned out my “wp_comments” table file was corrupt. Got it repaired using tools at my cloud server provider.

(Oy, hard to believe there are people who actually get excited by these kinds of code-bug-stomping activities!)

THURSDAY AFTERNOON UPDATE

Made some more hand-coding changes to the WP files, and finally got the color scheme back, more or less, to what it was. May still make some tweaks.

Don’t know why the sidebar doesn’t have its own background color, or why it doesn’t “slide” in and out of view like it used to.

MISCmedia @ 20!
Jun 8th, 2015 by Clark Humphrey

BargeIcon

One of the site’s first logos, from some time in the mid 1990s.

Twenty years ago this week, it was an age of dial-up modems, Windows 95, Internet cafés, and the media hype over an alleged “Seattle Sound.”

I hate to use the old cliché “it was a simpler time.”

But in some respects it was.

The ol’ World Wide Web was a child just learning to walk. It seemed so full of possibilities. It hadn’t yet been tamed, corporatized, or commodified.

The “free”/”sharing” ideology of Grateful Dead bootleggers hadn’t yet taken completely over. There was still hope that journalists, musicians, and other “content” people might one day make a buck from this medium. (I know, crazy, right?)

I was in what turned out to be the middle of a seven-year writing stint with the Stranger. The paper itself had little interest in going online at the time, but allowed me to put my own material up on my own site.

I’d already been a regular at the Speakeasy Café in Belltown, essentially Seattle’s first Internet café. I’d been customer #23 on its then-novel home broadband service (which outlived the café, eventually becoming a business-to-business operation owned by something called MegaPath).

The Speakeasy people helped me learn rudimentary HTML and get a site up. I created some simple .JPG graphics, and reformatted (and, in some cases, retyped) columns and zine pieces I’d written over the previous nine years.

I didn’t call it a “web log” or “blog” at the time, but rather an online version of a classic “three-dot” newspaper column format. It originally wasn’t dependent on links to other websites, and it was only updated once or twice a week.

But it was one of the first sites anywhere to have a little bit of this and a little bit of that, curated and compiled from assorted info sources local and worldwide, based on an individual sensibility.

It allowed me to keep writing MISC after the Stranger fired me the first time.

For a while, it got me enough freelance work to live off of, at least until the first dot-com crash in ’01.

And I’ve kept at it ever since, more or less.

There have been times (such as most of last year) when I haven’t really felt like adding to it.

Times when I didn’t even want anyone to think of me as “a writer,” especially if that meant I was expected to gladly work for for-profit companies for free.

(I am not, nor have I ever been, independently wealthy, despite occasional rumors to the contrary.)

Even more than in the past, I’ve been obsessed with finding something, anything, that I could do specifically for money. Not for coolness, and certainly not for that dreaded term “exposure.”

And having the public image of “a writer” meant many people thought I couldn’t do, or wouldn’t want to do, anything else.

But the Seattle corporate world isn’t a fully welcoming place these days for someone who’s neither young nor a programmer.

And reinventing myself at my age (yes, it’s my own birthday today) would be possible, but perhaps more trouble than it would be worth. Especially if that reinvention involved student loan debt.

So I looked into what I could do that would exploit what I’m already known for doing.

Blog ads don’t earn a lot any more, unless you’ve got a really high readership in a national “market niche.”

And asking people to contribute money to a personal, occasional blog wasn’t much of a proposition.

But, perhaps, an information service that would contribute to people’s lives might be something people would want to support.

In 2007-8, I was involved with a group trying to start a local news site.

The project fell through for several reasons.

But the initial notion, of a single handy source for the day’s Seattle-area headlines, stayed with me.

There have been several attempts, but nothing that came close to the type of service I’d like to see.

So I’ve made my own.

It’s MISCmedia MAIL, and it starts today.

Each weekday morning, your email box will be filled with a brief, breezy summary of what’s going on around here.

It’s everything you’ve learned to love about this site, only in a much more useful form.

You can sign up for it at the handy box in the upper-left corner of this page.

Over the next few weeks and months I’ll be looking into ways to monetize it.

But for now, I’m working on building its audience.

Won’t you join us?

 

A G-G-G-G-GHOST!
Jan 25th, 2015 by Clark Humphrey

When I took an unplanned, unscheduled blog break last summer, I also neglected maintenance on the web links at the left side of this page.

I’ve gone back to some of them today.

Turns out I’m not the only one who just drifted away from writing on the Web.

Plenty of the links that had been on this page now lead to “404 Not Found” alerts, or to other enterprises altogether.

Then there were the sites that, like mine for much of last year, were neither closed nor updated.

I’ve removed most of them from the link list.

But there are a couple of more ambitious group sites that I wish would come back:

  1. ArtDish, a lively and insightful guide to major visual-arts events throughout the Northwest region. It premiered a big relaunch early last year, but hasn’t added any new content since then.
  2. Three Imaginary Girls, “Seattle’s Sparkling Pop Press,” a witty and loving chronicle of musical artists in (or touring to) our city. Its Facebook page has new posts (mot of which are links to the site’s old posts), but the site itself hasn’t had anything new up in months.

If their reasons for going away are anything like mine were, these sites’ operators simply had other lives, other things to do (or attempt to do). Continuing to send words and/or pictures out into the ether (or the cloud), with little to no compensation or hope of any, just ain’t something some people want to keep doing forever.

In other words, today’s Web 2.0 status quo isn’t just killing most of the “old media” industries.

It’s also killing creativity in its own online “space.”

ROOM AT THE IN (AND OUT) FOR ONE-FIVE
Jan 2nd, 2015 by Clark Humphrey

this year's space needle fireworks were sponsored by t-mobile and heavily emphasized the color 't-mobile magenta.'

As promised previously, MISCmedia is back for two-ought-one-five with a new commitment to try and make sense (or at least document the nonsense) of Life in the Demitasse Size City.

To start things off, and for the 29th consecutive year (really!), we proudly present the MISCmedia In/Out List, the most trusted (and only accurate) list of its kind in this and all other known media relay systems.

As always, this list operates under the premise that the future is not necessarily linear. It compiles what will become torrid and tepid in the coming year, not necessarily what’s torrid and tepid now. If you believe everything hot now will just keep getting hotter, I’ve got some RadioShack stock to sell you.

INSVILLE OUTSKI
Bratwurst Ice cream
Saving affordable housing Saving sandwich shops
Amazon as profitless, fragile giant Amazon as omnipotent leviathan
“Phablets” Apple Watch
Fully independent publishing Kindle Unlimited
Fully independent cinema Marvel Cinematic Universe
Ronan Farrow Michael Smerconish
Journalism Clickbait
Furniture Girls Taylor Swift
“Selfie sticks” Facebook food pictures
Euro-socialist revival GOP revival
Cardless payments Kardashians (still)
Dyed armpit hair Lululemon
“Black lives matter” “I’m not racist, but…”
Streaming TV Streaming music
Shoreline White Center
Cheap oil as climate threat Cheap oil as economic blessing
Forest green Taupe
Art Basel Burning Man
Compassion “Non-apologies”
Fiat Google drone car
Women Who Code “Brogrammers”
Cards Against Humanity Candy Crush
Human rights for Cuba New cars for Cuba
Tessa Thompson (Dear White People) Jessica Alba
Tiny houses Charter schools
Legalizing/protecting sex workers Banning protests
Vox Daily Currant
Tucson Austin
Four Roses Fireball
Chris Pratt Seth Rogan
Funky weirdness Soulless “luxury”
Mariners comeback UW football comeback
Insulting Russia Insulting North Korea
Treasure hunts Private “event spaces”
Fried chicken Bacon
Bakugan Minecraft
Ending the waterfront tunnel Closing movie theaters
“Sweetums” “Bae”
AN APOLOGY, A PROMISE, AND A REQUEST
Dec 24th, 2014 by Clark Humphrey

frederick & nelson christmas display, via 'patricksmercy' on flickr and sandra bolton on pinterest

I’ve not been in the mood to make blog posts for the longest time.

The mood I’ve been in has been something other than the positive, assertive persona I’ve maintained in the blog and its print precursors over the years.

Besides, the ultra luxury-obsessed, alpha-techie ruled city that is much of modern-day Seattle is, in many aspects, so different from the funky, spunky, and, yes, grungy city I had known and loved. To truly cover the “pulse” of such a place, one would need to care about hedge-fund-financed dotcoms and hundred-dollar-a-plate bistros a helluva lot more than I ever will.

And then there’s the matter of trying to convince people, even long standing acquaintances, that I need a job.

NOT an idea for something to write about, but a job.

NOT an unpaid writing “opportunity” for a commercial website, but a job.

It doesn’t have to be “writing” work, just paying work.

I’ve told this to everyone, sometimes repeatedly.

But some people I’d known for years didn’t get it.

They seemed to believe that, since they had identified me as “a writer,” all I needed was to “write” all the time.

(“Don’t worry about the money,” one dude sincerely exhorted me one evening, after I’d almost lost my second apartment in one year.)

The only way I thought I could convince these folks that I needed actual monetary income, not sub-minimum-wage (or, worse, “for the exposure”) freelance crap, was by ceasing to “be a writer.”

It didn’t really work. Either at convincing these well-meaning but ignorant folk, or at getting me a real for-the-money job. (I have gotten a long-term-temp, part-time dishwashing gig, but that’s it.)

So I’m quitting the quitting.

Actually, I have been posting on so-called “social media” sites all this time. I like the knowledge that someone’s at least reading my stuff when I post it there.

But the MISCmedia site, I promise for real this time, will be back in full force in Two Ought One Five.

I’ve got a major publishing project in the works (still), and a plan to revamp the site into a daily local news “aggregation” and commentary source (still).

But we’ll start the year, as we always have, with the mellifluous MISCmedia In/Out List, always the most accurate list of its type seen anywhere at any time.

And, as always, we need YOUR input to make it happen.

In the comments box below, please recommend what will become hotter and less-hot in the twelve months to come, in the fields of music, fashion, food/drink, the arts, architecture, socio-political trends, etc. etc.

The list’s simple rules, as always:

  1. For every OUT there has to be a corresponding IN. These two can be related directly, or simply by clever wordplay.
  2. Remember, the future isn’t always linear. What’s hot today might not keep getting hotter tomorrow.

Good luck, and good predicting.

THREE THOTS ON YOOTOOB
Jun 24th, 2014 by Clark Humphrey

  1. Last Friday evening, a long line of excited but patient teenage girls gathered outside the Showbox. They were going to something called “Digitour O2L” (Our 2nd Life). That isn’t an electronic dance music ensemble, but a package tour of hot looking young men who simply post “video diary” monologues onto YouTube. These six idols (ages 15-21) don’t sing; they don’t dance. They just talk about stuff. And, with the nurturing attention of a couple of hotshot promoters, they’re raking in the bucks.
  2. YouTube itself, and its Google masters, are trying to make monetizable sense of a big part of the streaming video site’s offerings. One tactic is a subscription-based music service, to start some time this year. The company’s reached contracts with the Big Three (formerly Big Six) record companies. Smaller labels, though, are balking at YouTube’s proposed terms. As CNet describes the situation, “the massive video site requested the smaller labels automatically give up their royalty rate if a major label agrees to something lower.” YouTube is threatening to remove all videos from its main site by musicians whose labels don’t sign on for the subscription service. This could effect affect as much as 5 percent of all the music tracks on the site. There are plenty of other streaming-clip sites out there where these acts and/or their fans can place clips; but none of them has YouTube’s recognition or market share.
  3. Those other video sites also don’t have the massive inventory of clips YouTube can offer on its “Recommended For You” page, where so many users/viewers first find so much new and/or intriguing stuff. Why, just the other day that page referred me to Two Breaths To…, an educational film produced by Hanna-Barbera for a Hanford Nuclear Reservation contractor. Hanford, Hanna-Barbera, the late beloved Casey Kasem narrating, and gruesome animated deaths—what’s not to love?

Two Breaths To…

WORDS ABOUT PICTURES SUBSTITUTING FOR WORDS
Jun 19th, 2014 by Clark Humphrey

There’s an international committee that creates standards for online typefaces. It’s called the Unicode Consortium.

It recently announced a new set of more than 250 pictographic symbols (also known by the Japanese term “emoji”). They’ll be available in a chat room or on a smartphone near you as soon as Microsoft, Apple, Google, et al. get around to adding them.

The consortium’s announcement listed some of these new symbols with verbal descriptions. They include:

  • Thermometer
  • Black Droplet
  • White Sun
  • White Sun With Small Cloud
  • White Sun Behind Cloud
  • White Sun Behind Cloud With Rain
  • Fog
  • Wind Blowing Face
  • Hot Pepper
  • Fork And Knife With Plate
  • Heart With Tip On The Left
  • Musical Keyboard With Jacks
  • Studio Microphone
  • Level Slider
  • Control Knobs
  • Beamed Ascending Musical Notes
  • Beamed Descending Musical Notes
  • Film Frames
  • Admission Tickets
  • Sports Medal
  • Weight Lifter
  • Golfer
  • Racing Motorcycle
  • Racing Car
  • Snow Capped Mountain
  • Building Construction
  • House Buildings
  • Cityscape
  • Derelict House Building
  • Classical Building
  • Desert
  • Desert Island
  • National Park
  • Stadium
  • White Pennant
  • Black Pennant
  • Waving White Flag
  • Waving Black Flag
  • Chipmunk
  • Eye
  • Camera With Flash
  • Film Projector
  • Portable Stereo
  • Lower Right Shadowed White Circle
  • Upper Right Shadowed White Circle
  • Notched Right Semicircle With Three Dots
  • Dove Of Peace
  • Right Speaker
  • Right Speaker With One Sound Wave
  • Right Speaker With Three Sound Waves
  • Bullhorn
  • Bullhorn With Sound Waves
  • Ringing Bell
  • Book
  • Candle
  • Mantelpiece Clock
  • Black Skull And Crossbones
  • No Piracy
  • Hole
  • Man In Business Suit Levitating
  • Sleuth Or Spy
  • Dark Sunglasses
  • Spider
  • Spider Web
  • Joystick
  • White Touchtone Telephone
  • Black Touchtone Telephone
  • Telephone On Top Of Modem
  • Clamshell Mobile Phone
  • Back Of Envelope
  • Stamped Envelope
  • Envelope With Lightning
  • Flying Envelope
  • Pen Over Stamped Envelope
  • Linked Paperclips
  • Black Pushpin
  • Lower Left Pencil
  • Lower Left Ballpoint Pen
  • Lower Left Fountain Pen
  • Lower Left Paintbrush
  • Lower Left Crayon
  • Left Writing Hand
  • Turned Ok Hand Sign
  • Raised Hand With Fingers Splayed
  • Reversed Raised Hand With Fingers Splayed
  • Reversed Thumbs Up Sign
  • Reversed Thumbs Down Sign
  • Reversed Victory Hand
  • Reversed Hand With Middle Finger Extended
  • Raised Hand With Part Between Middle And Ring Fingers
  • Black Hard Shell Floppy Disk
  • White Hard Shell Floppy Disk
  • Soft Shell Floppy Disk
  • Tape Cartridge
  • Wired Keyboard
  • One Button Mouse
  • Two Button Mouse
  • Three Button Mouse
  • Trackball
  • Old Personal Computer
  • Hard Disk
  • Screen
  • Printer Icon
  • Fax Icon
  • Optical Disc Icon
  • Document With Text
  • Document With Text And Picture
  • Document With Picture
  • Frame With Picture
  • Frame With Tiles
  • Frame With An X
  • Black Folder
  • Folder
  • Open Folder
  • Card Index Dividers
  • Card File Box
  • File Cabinet
  • Empty Note
  • Empty Note Page
  • Empty Note Pad
  • Note
  • Note Page
  • Note Pad
  • Empty Document
  • Empty Page
  • Empty Pages
  • Document
  • Page
  • Pages
  • Wastebasket
  • Spiral Note Pad
  • Spiral Calendar Pad
  • Desktop Window
  • Minimize
  • Maximize
  • Overlap
  • Clockwise Right And Left Semicircle Arrows
  • Cancellation X
  • Increase Font Size Symbol
  • Decrease Font Size Symbol
  • Compression
  • Old Key
  • Rolled-Up Newspaper
  • Page With Circled Text
  • Stock Chart
  • Dagger Knife
  • Lips
  • Speaking Head In Silhouette
  • Three Rays Above
  • Three Rays Below
  • Three Rays Left
  • Three Rays Right
  • Left Speech Bubble
  • Right Speech Bubble
  • Two Speech Bubbles
  • Three Speech Bubbles
  • Left Thought Bubble
  • Right Thought Bubble
  • Left Anger Bubble
  • Right Anger Bubble
  • Mood Bubble
  • Lightning Mood Bubble
  • Lightning Mood
  • Ballot Box With Ballot
  • World Map
  • Slightly Frowning Face
  • Slightly Smiling Face
  • Hollow Quilt Square Ornament
  • Solid Quilt Square Ornament
  • Leftwards Rocket
  • Upwards Rocket
  • Rightwards Rocket
  • Downwards Rocket
  • Very Heavy Solidus
  • Very Heavy Reverse Solidus
  • Checker Board
  • Reverse Checker Board
  • Triangle With Rounded Corners
  • Prohibited Sign
  • Circled Information Source
  • Boys Symbol
  • Girls Symbol
  • Couch And Lamp
  • Sleeping Accommodation
  • Shopping Bags
  • Bellhop Bell
  • Bed
  • Hammer And WrenchOil Drum
  • Motorway
  • Railways Track
  • Motor Boat
  • Up-Pointing Military Airplane
  • Up-Pointing Airplane
  • Up-Pointing Small Airplane
  • Airplane Departure
  • Airplane Arriving
  • Satellite
  • Oncoming Fire Engine
TODAY IN OWN-TAIL-EATING, INTERNET STYLE
Jun 19th, 2014 by Clark Humphrey

Apparently, there are deliberately annoying (male) online “trolls” (in the days of dial-up bulletin board systems, we called them “twits”) who have conspired to promote fake “feminist” Twitter slogans. Their idea was to make feminists as a whole appear to be just as stupid and sexist as these trolls themselves are. They (or at least many of them) got caught.

But also, apparently there are also Twitter trolls who have conspired to promote a made-up meme about “bikini bridges” (defined as an open space under the top of a bikini bottom, between the hips).

But what makes this operation even dorkier is that the same trolls, under a variety of online pseudonyms, are orchestrating fake “grassroots” comments both promoting and denouncing this supposedly “viral” hashtag obsession.

Some people, clearly, have just too much time on their hands.

RANDOM QUESTIONS
May 26th, 2014 by Clark Humphrey

sony pictures tv via wellesley.edu

I’m still not back to posting Random Links posts (at least not without re-thinking their whole format).

But today, I have some random questions:

  • If you know that advertising/media images about people like you are lying, why would you ever believe such images about anyone else?
  • Why do most “do what you love, the money will follow” books presume that everybody already has money?
  • If “not all men” are rude or violent creeps (which is true), how can those who aren’t convert (or at least disarm) those who are?
  • If “content is king,” the thing that gets and keeps people going to one website instead of another, why do so many dotcoms pay six-figure salaries to programmers but expect writers and artists to work for free?
  • Could I ever deserve to be the man of a woman as smokin’ smart as Jeopardy! champ Julia Collins?
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