Dec 1st, 2013 by Clark Humphrey

Did the ol’ National Novel Writing Month thang again this year. Fifty thousand words in 30 days. My work, tentatively titled For One Night Only, will need a lot of work before I can show it to you all.

Also, my hosting bill is due. $120 that I haven’t got. Should I continue with the site as it is, or move it to some lesser-but-free service?

Jun 11th, 2012 by Clark Humphrey

I spent much of the past weekend at Providence Everett Medical Center. My mother, who would be 82 next month, is in a medically-assisted unconscious state following a relapse from her third heart attack. Her condition is currently stable; when it changes I’ll let you all know.

Jan 18th, 2012 by Clark Humphrey

MISCmedia isn’t “blacking out” as part of the nationwide protest against the draconian and impractical Internet censorship bills in Congress.

But you can simply not read us on Wednesday if you like.

(Goodness knows, most of the online world doesn’t read us on any particular day.)

The site, including out forthcoming special product announcement, will still be here when you come back.

Dec 15th, 2011 by Clark Humphrey

If you tried to access this site on Tuesday, you would have found an ugly, undesigned mess.

That’s because my site (and email) server company disconnected me for nonpayment, without previously bothering to tell me in any way, shape, or form that a payment was due.

The texts on the site remained up, but the WordPress-based formatting and most of the images were locked away. It took about three hours to get everything back and properly configured again.

In other news, my current contract job might finally end Friday. More regular postings should follow.

But for now, a few random linx:

  • Seattle’s about to honor the now really-really retired J.P. Patches by naming a city dump transfer station after the beloved TV clown.
  • The on-again, off-again plan to save Capitol Hill’s beloved B&O Espresso is off again, and the joint will close for good by New Year’s. It had been open during the entire time I’ve lived in Seattle.
  • The latest alleged threat to the spoken word? “Vocal fry.”
  • Conspiracy theory of the minute: Could former Alaska Sen. Ted Stevens have been one of the supposedly, mysteriously ill fated BP whistleblowers?
  • Joseph Stiglitz sees bigger long-term trends at work behind the economic blech. It’s a shift away from industry as the basis of commerce, not just in the U.S. but globally.
  • Studies show that users of tablet computers and ebook machines are using them quite a bit for long-form texts, causing The Economist to proclaim “the rebirth of reading.” I’ll have more to say (tangentally) about this next week.
Dec 11th, 2011 by Clark Humphrey

Besides my current contract job deep within the belly of the publishing beast (now on week 12 of what was to have been 7.5 weeks), I’m coming off of a horrid and still undiagnosed chest thang that had me coughing and hacking like hell.

So I’ve been spending most of my non-working hours resting, not preparing blog posts.

Here are some random links I’ve been saving up.

  • “Metronatural,” Seattle’s second dumbest tourism slogan (after “The Emerald City”), may be on the way out.
  • The 50th anniversary of the Seattle World’s Fair approaches. The Seattle Channel’s ready with a handy video retrospective.
  • Eric Scigliano goes to the once lily white suburbs of south King County to check out the ethnic variety that’s settled in there, as well as the recessionary troubles.
  • Sen. Bernie Sanders has proposed a constitutional amendment to get corporate megabucks out of American politics. Nobody expects the proposal to move an inch in the megabucks-owned Congress. The alternate route would be a new “constitutional convention,” which could put up such an amendment for passage by state legislatures (which are also more or less megabucks-owned).
  • The Wall Street banksters own so many politicians that nobody dares to officially investigate all their funny-money nonsense.
  • Local music mainstay Jesse Sykes complains there’s too much music out these days. Jake Uitti responds by accusing Sykes of having a “fold city” mentality. Uitti defines that as…

A state of being defined by lack, self-oppression and ultimately the judgment of others.

Nov 24th, 2011 by Clark Humphrey

I haven’t been posting lately because I’ve been working overtime at a contract job. It was originally to have lasted 7.5 weeks. I’m now on week 9, with perhaps two more to go.

I’ve also been fighting off a persistent bug. It’s not bad enough to lay me up, but enough that I’m staying home this holiday (rather than risk exposing my 81-year-old mother).

But back to this temp gig I’ve been doing. I’ll tell the whole story (well, that which I’m allowed to tell) at a later date. But for now, I will just say that what I’m doing involves books. They include some of the best, worst, and weirdest books available to U.S. readers.

How weird, you ask?

One of my co-workers is chronicling some of the weirdest at the blog Wet & Wilde. (It’s severely not safe for work, if your work isn’t mine.)

Jul 11th, 2011 by Clark Humphrey

Seattlest has just lauded this here MISC project’s recent 25 year anniversary (counting its assorted print and online incarnations):

…Humphrey’s voice (avuncular, humorously and gently caustic, with occasional touches of Harvey Pekar’s cynicism and observation, while remaining entirely his own) is rooted in that time and place. It generally reflects the thoughts of those who were embroiled in the DIY fervor of those early days before the dot-com boom took Seattle by storm and altered its DNA for good or ill.

Jul 11th, 2011 by Clark Humphrey

  • The city’s looking into bringing back the soda tax, repealed in a state initiative last year.
  • And our desperate-for-quarters city leaders have decided to extend paid-parking hours until 8 p.m. in just about all of greater downtown, including Belltown and the ID, plus the U District.
  • But drivers in Seattle will get $3 million worth of pothole-fixin’, funded by the city selling a vacant lot on lower Aurora Avenue to the state.
  • Another day, another 787 Dreamliner delay.
  • AddictingInfo.com has a list of popular public services that anybody who claims to hate “socialism” should detest, in order not to be hypocritical—the post office, public schools, parks, etc. The thing is, some of the purist libertarians infiltrating the GOP do overtly hate these things.
  • The Atlantic Monthly, that reliable source on all things rockin’, proclaims the new way for bands to become famous—remain as anonymous and obscure as possible.
  • Michele Bachmann’s “doctor” hubby: He’s not an MD, just an unlicensed “therapist.”
Jun 27th, 2011 by Clark Humphrey

(Note: As was the case during my earlier flirtation with morning headlines circa 2007, these won’t necessarily appear every day.)

  • Scientific American looks at scare stories claiming a pandemic of Fukushima-related infant deaths in the northwest US (i.e., here). Their conclusion: unneeded fear mongering “supported” by highly selective statistics.
  • Still want something to fear? How about the “Big One” earthquake? Some folks at some conference in Portland say there’s a 10 to 15 percent chance of it showing up in the Northwest sometime in the next 50 years.
  • Want an ultimate example of gay-related “You’re Doing It Wrong”? How about hating the commercialization of the gay pride movement, and using that as a lame excuse to trash storefronts (including many small businesses as well as chains) on Capitol Hill?
  • Emerald Downs had a “horses gone wild” episode. Four humans were hurt, one really bad. One of the two horses involved was “put down.”
  • Our ol’ pal Michael Upchurch had a SeaTimes review of a bio book about Zoe Dusanne, one of the unsung heroes of the Seattle art-gallery world. She was an African American woman entrepreneur who helped promote those 1950s “Northwest School” painters, and brought works by the NY/Europe big boys here alongside them.
  • Sometime Seattleite Timothy Egan wrote a white-boomer-centric ode in the NY Times to the recently deceased Bruce Springsteen sideman Clarence Clemons. (During Springsteen’s peak years, Clemons was the only living black musician on many “album rock” radio stations’ playlists). At the Collapse Board site run by ex-Seattleite Everett True, writer Scott Creney gently yet thoroughly demolishes Egan’s anglocentric ode:

He says well-meaning things about whites stealing rock and roll from blacks — no mention of hip-hop though. Or what Clarence might have thought about playing to arenas and stadiums filled with next-to-zero black people. (Springsteen’s audience is pretty much exclusively white.) Or, for that matter, how Timothy felt standing in a room full of white people congratulating himself on America’s ability to successfully and peacefully integrate itself, due solely to the fact that there was a black guy in the band playing saxophone.

Jun 23rd, 2011 by Clark Humphrey

I cannot allow June 2011 to fade into history without noting a personal anniversary.

Twenty five years ago this month, yr. humble scribe sat in a brick walled room at the old 66 Bell art studios. I typed up a roundup of little notes and comments on an NEC electronic typewriter for publication in a tiny monthly tabloid called ArtsFocus.

With that, the MISCadventure of my life had begun.

There was no World Wide Web at the time. There were dial-up, text-only bulletin board systems, a few of which I was on. All the sociopathic behaviors you see online today, I saw then.

Seattle then was not, as some now claim, a backwards fishing village out in the wilderness. There was a lot of business going about, a lot of culture, and a lot of livin’. The nouveau riche takeover was just getting underway, so there were still a lot of affordable housing situations and cheap DIY spaces like 66 Bell.

Sub Pop, and the acts it championed, were just barely underway.

I was then, as now, struggling to fit into a world I’d never made. Struggling to find renumerative work. Struggling to make sense of things.

I’d already developed a taste for mass media history. One of my favorite aspects of my UW communications major had been poring through the old newspapers, magazines, mass market books, catalogs, and other ephemera. Later, I’d found a store on 13th Ave. on Capitol Hill that specialized in old magazines, paperbacks, and posters. Its signage included one window placcard announcing “MISC. ITEMS.”

One of my favorite newspaper tropes was the “three dot” column. One person, multiple topics, with any one item ranging from a sentence fragment to the full 750-word space. Emmett Watson and future city councilmember Jean Godden had been doing that here, but it was a dying art form.

Everybody else in the media at the time seemed to be advocating “depth.” I was fascinated by breadth, by the interplay and hidden connections among all sorts of different things.

Thus, MISC, the column. Then the one-sheet newsletter, the Stranger feature, the spots in Tablet and the Belltown Messenger, and, since 1995, this very web presence.

Some people claim MISCmedia was “the first blog.” I certainly wasn’t that term, or anything like it, at the time. I just called it an “online column.”

Now, the blog format, in all its ever-evolving permutations and mutations, has become one of the world’s primary methods of communicating. Its offspring, the “tweet,” is reteaching the value of brevity.

And I’m again in search of a steady income.

Jun 22nd, 2011 by Clark Humphrey

In case you haven’t noticed, there are some lovely cover-art images on this page’s lower left. They depict books, CDs, and DVDs with at least a vague connection to Seattle and proximity, all of which are for sale.

The selection changes at random every time you load or reload any page on this site. So if you don’t see something you like, you probably will the next time.

I just added more than 100 additional titles to the database, so there’s plenty of variety.

Of course, if you really want to help support these verbal endeavors, you should buy one of our own lovely MISCmedia products.

At least two more of those will be up for your perusal and purchase within the next few months. Stay tuned.

Apr 27th, 2011 by Clark Humphrey

The things I do now don’t earn me a living income. But they’re the only things some of you know me for. I’m trying to find other (perhaps extremely “other”) things to do with my skills. Things that aren’t simply more of the same, because the same ain’t working for me.

This search for a new and/or improved career will be the topic of my newest category of web posts, Monetize Me!

Further details will show up over the next few days.

Jan 17th, 2011 by Clark Humphrey

…but somewhere on the first page of Flickr’s “Seattle Invitationals 2011 Pool” you can find a shot of me in my best oversize thrift store stage suit.

Jan 3rd, 2011 by Clark Humphrey

I’ve been recruited into singing at this year’s Seattle (Elvis) Invitationals. The annual impersonation (or “tribute artist”) competition takes place this Saturday evening, Jan. 8, at Club Motor, 1950 1st Ave. S.

It will be my first singing in a public, non-karaoke setting in at least a decade.

Unlike many of the Invitationals’ entrants, I’m no professional tribute artist. I don’t expect to win this thing. I’m just in it for the show-biz-ness of it all.

Be there if you dare.

Dec 6th, 2010 by Clark Humphrey

Why I haven’t been bloggin’ a lot lately:

  • Entered National Novel Writing Month again. Made the 50,000 words in 30 days quota, that entity’s standard of “winning.” Unlike the last time I did NaNoWriMo, I haven’t posted the rough draft of my story here. The reason: It’s still only two-thirds done; when I do finish it, I plan to rigorously edit and cut some of the extraneous verbiage I’d inserted in order to pad my daily word counts for NaNoWriMo purposes. (The subject, you ask? It’s the saddest town in America. No, it’s not Seattle.)
  • Started another, nonfiction, commercial book project. All I can say right now is Vanishing Seattle readers might like it.
  • Redoubled my efforts to get what I really want. That’s a job. A regular job, where I’d go somewhere, do something (and do it well), and receive a living wage in return. All suggestions welcome. (Note: By “job,” I do not mean unpaid or on-spec writing “opportunities.” I’m not looking for something fun. I’m looking for something that pays.)
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