Tag Archives: Seattle

On Anti Racism

Arriving in Seattle to massive social uprising responding to police brutality allowed me to see just how poorly police treat peaceful protesters. Who are protesting police violence…

It is a strange time to travel in the American West.

Right now I’m bike touring. I started this journey in the first week of March; there was still snow on the ground (a lot of snow) in Leadville, Colorado where I live. I froze my ass off getting to Reno by April 4th for a bike race that never happened, which is about when COVID really started hitting. This engendered conversations about how to proceed, whether I could continue or if it was better to return home, and what was going on in the world; there was a lot of talk about consent, community care, and how we can keep each other safe. I decided to continue forward, practicing social distancing and always masked if interacting with workers.

I rode north through the Paiute lands around Pyramid Lake, ran out of water (but got snowed on) in the Black Rock Desert, cut through Alturas in the northwest corner of California and Roseburg in rural Oregon. I continued to Coos Bay for a night on the coast and up through Corvallis, Beaverton, on to Olympia, Washington and finally to Seattle, where I write this today.

The landscape of the American West is achingly beautiful. I have spent much of the last 7 years exploring it on foot and bicycle. Wandering the warm ridges of the Pacific Crest Trail, or the frigid passes and ice cold rivers of the Continental Divide, the scenery does not disappoint. 

What I also see is an imperialist system built on the stolen labor of Black and Brown people. I see the ongoing genocide of indigeionous populations; theft of their land, water, culture and identity. I see exploding houseless populations in every city denied access to mental and physical healthcare, even as we laud the arrival of the world’s first trillionaire. I see, as we ‘open the economy’ in the midst of a global pandemic, poor people are forced to work in unsafe conditions for poverty wages; meanwhile financially mobile Americans can’t even wear a mask as a basic acknowledgment of care or respect for their grocery checker.

I feel extremely fortunate to help Sign Savant lay out letters for BLACK LIVES MATTER on Pike street in CHAZ (then the Capitol Hill Autonomous Zone, now CHOP). This is an example of helping to amplify voices of color – we used our professional skills and access to funding to support artists of color as they filled in the letters with their designs.

This is a stark example of racial and economic injustice. Economic necessity dictates that poor folx need to work, regardless if they feel safe, while rich communities can effectively shield themselves from the COVID virus. I question if the ‘stay at home’ order really only applies to poor people, since I have seen so many affluent people out recreating with their trailers and campers, ATV’s and boats – they simply move the barricades from the closed state parks and set up. And police have been instructed not to intervene.

The people not wearing masks at the grocery store, out recreating in closed state parks, and protesting (loudly and fully armed) the stay at home orders and masks are overwhelmingly white. Yet the populations most adversely affected by COVID are Black and Brown.

The most disturbing, and perhaps most graphic example of systemic racism is in policing. As people started getting stir crazy during COVID lockdown, protesters took to the streets with AR-15s screaming at impassive police and clearly annoyed healthcare workers. These protesters were unwilling to participate in a social program to protect populations most at risk for infection by COVID. Despite the overt aggression and potential for real public harm, these predominantly white protesters were treated with respect and deference by the police. 

Compare this to protests against police brutality – protests against the literally THOUSANDS of murders committed by police in communities of color – and the tear gas comes out. In 98 American cities, police used lethal weapons disallowed in actual war against peaceful civilian protesters. Even as protests resulting from the murder of George Floyd were underway nationally and internationally, police in Atlanta murdered Rayshard Brooks, another Black man. This is what white supremacy and institutional racism looks like.

This isn’t easy to write. I’m so mad I’m grinding my teeth. This needs to stop.

I’m a cis white guy from a middle class family. My upbringing was stable, I have a college education and no debt. I travel for 4-5 months a year, sleeping outside, yet have a stable place and often a job when I return home. All of these things are a result of my white privilege.

Seattle is a beautiful place… it’ll be more beautiful when people of all colors feel safe here. When we house the houseless & feed the hungry, when communities are enabled to care for their own people, only then we will all be free.

Time and time again I have had conversations with friends about how this privilege is manifest; it’s the ability, support, knowledge and financial mobility to engage in an adventure like hiking the PCT; or access, language skills, and technology to engage with public art organizations in Seattle. 

Again and again, I hear white people around me denying they benefit from this privilege or deny that white supremacy and systemic racism exist in America. 

These white friends tell me they don’t see color, they aren’t racist, they grew up in the south, they aren’t responsible for the history of enslaved people in America, they have a black friend, that everyone is welcome, that everyone is free. This, friends, is bullshit.

We need to use our power and agency as white people in a racist society to actively combat racism. This includes doing things that make us uncomfortable as we confront racism in our everyday interactions. This also means finding ways to engage in positive conversations about race and privilege with white friends, while taking time to educate ourselves about these issues and their history in America. The hard part is it’s a long road ahead; the beautiful thing is that we’ve already begun the journey, and there is no going back.

2017 year in photos

Bye for now, Seattle…

Dear Seattle –

Over the past 15ish years of meandering your streets, you’ve been a bosom buddy, a mysterious lover, a constantly shifting schizo, and a real asshole. Your varying moods have kept things unpredictable, to say the least. I loved it, hated it, and sometimes I just put up with it. So it goes with love…

And so it feels strange to finally say farewell – Harpo and I are off to a new adventure in the high mountains of Colorado. I thought I’d never leave, but it feels like the right time – before I become an old timer myopically fixated on a nostalgic, nonexistent past.

I’ll miss the view north from the fishing spot before the Spokane street bridge, the grimy pockets of Georgetown & the smell of the Duamish. I (mostly) remember many nights spent scheming at Vermillion, doodling at the Hideout, getting vaguely creeped out at Double Header, or trying not to black out at Shorty’s. I recall running (and living in) the hype art space for 5 years and hosting the wildest parties (including that one where someone pooped in the tub & pulled the emergency shower at the biotech lab upstairs), and that one time we paid rent to the cops for a year while they secretly surveilled us.

My time in Seattle was formative as an artist and a adult human. While I proved that survival doesn’t depend on being good at either, I thank that city and the many people who helped, taught, punished, and taunted me for shaping the dirtbag I am today. I have no regrets, but I do have a bunch of great scars.

So it is with neither ambivalence nor remorse that I say BYE FOR NOW, SEATTLE. See you never? I doubt it…

People, Places, Things

Catching some shred with the homie Justin. When I’m hiking I only dream of being back on a bike… and fall riding in the Northwest is AWESOME.

I’m always photographing this spot – on the Elliott Bay Trail between Interbay and Downtown in Seattle. It’s one of my favorite urban rides, and reminds me how fortunate I am to live here.

Running with slugs. Lord Hill Regional Park is a spot I’ve returned to often since I learned to mountain bike there in the 90’s. Regional trail systems are awesome – you can wander in without a map, get a little lost & a lot dirty, & still be dry & eating vegan mac&chz by sunset.

Harpo & I did work for stay with Fred (pictured) at a small organic farm on Whidbey Island. Fred’s running his own garden now, & my friend Pol & I went to source veggies from him for a meal we’re creating for a theatre company.

Gear Shakedown: Dank Bags Backpack

Dank Bags backpack

With tons of room, straps and carry options, this is clearly the best bike equipage I’ve ever owned. Note the reflective strip on the right back pocket – visibility A+.

Dank Bags is Seattle based company specializing in messenger bags, tool rolls, coozies and other bike based accessories. I gotta say – many of the homies who are working messengers have been rockin these bags for years, so when Harpo commissioned one for my birthday I was stoked, having heard so many positive reviews. Now, after a month with it on the bike, I can confirm that the hype is justified – the Dank Bags backpack is the best bike bag I’ve owned.

Sholder straps & holster

The extra cushy shoulder straps are a lifesaver. Also note the grab handle, and load lifters (which seem excessive, but I didn’t realize how much I needed them before they were there). I also ordered a phone holster – which Corey customized with velvet & secret interior camo…

As an urban cyclist, choosing you equipage is an intimate experience… you form relationships with bags you use everyday, through thick and thin and the occasional downpour (ok – through 8 months of rain, lets be honest, it’s Seattle).

Over the years I’ve had meaningful relationships with a number of different messenger bags; a Timbukt2 purchased at REI in 1994 (actually probably my shortest relationship – this one didn’t have much to offer), an REI single strap triangle bag (mountain biking 1995-2000), a RELoad single strap bag (2004-09, traded for a painting at the Seattle shop while it was open), a Bailey Works single strap bag (2009-12, a messenger hand-me-down), and most recently, an Ortlieb Velocity backpack (2009-24). I’ve loved all of these bags for different reasons – some for their versatility (the BailyWorks), some for being lightweight (the Ortlieb – also highly visible, in shock yellow) and some for their sheer carrying capacity (the RELoad, with the extension strap, would carry six 30″x40″ silkscreens) but overall the Dank Bags backpack is king.

Many people prefer panniers or trailers for carrying cargo, thinking that it’s better to keep the weight on the bike. I prefer to carry my biz on my back – it keeps the handling of the bike nimble and allows me to split lanes and cut narrow gaps with confidence, and climbing the ever present Seattle hills seems easier. I’m also an artist and find myself carrying oddly shaped cargo than might not fit conventional pannier, and I don’t really want to hook up my BOB trailer downtown… it makes riding in traffic difficult, and is a sure target for thieves if you leave it out on the sidewalk. So although I don’t always like carrying 40# on my back, the Dank bag makes the best of a bad situation with superbly cushioned straps, pack lifters (which I never even knew I needed) and a full frame sheet which keeps the cargo from digging into your back while stabilizing the pack shape. With the absolutely brilliant double length velcro straps for the main flap, the built in extender straps, the side compression straps, and the possibility of adding an additional extender strap the carry options are virtually unlimited. This pack will fit 3 30″x40″ silkscreens, gallons of paint, 30 cans of spraypaint, a 18″x24″ sketchbook – all together if you really gotta get it in one trip.

Dank main flap detail

The extendo velcro straps are brilliant – the velcro doubles back on itself and can be unfolded to double the strap length, which gives more options to secure the main compartment flap.

The number of interior pockets and their organization is staggering – it’s actually a bit frightening, because I’m worried I’m going to lose something if I don’t set up an organizational system. There’s an interior document pocket which will easily hold a 11×17 doc or a sketchbook flat against the frame sheet, and keep it dry with your groceries in the main pocket. The extra large interior pocket is lined with light grey to make finding object easy (the black interior lining with the RELoad was my main gripe – it was a total black hole) and will fit 2 bankers’ boxes or a case of rosé with ease. The two large exterior pockets have velcro closure, each pocket sports 2 slash pockets perfect for organizing a notebook, pens, a lighter, wallet or other personals you want to keep out of the cargo zone. It’s also great for tools and other specific items you want fast when you need them, but otherwise out of the way…

Front velcro closure pockets

The front closure velcro pockets have ample room for personal effects, and two slash pockets which work great for organizing a notebook, pens, wallet, weed pipe, pint of whisky and other necessities..

The construction of the bag is also bulletproof. Other bags I’ve owned (the BailyWorks, RELoad) have exhibited similar high standards of manufacture, but I think in terms of attention to detail, economy of design and overall thoughtfulness Cory’s bag come out on top. And it always feels good to support a small local producer – these bags are made in downtown Seattle in a shop he shares with Mobius Cycles in an alley off of 1st Ave.

That said, this bag is not light (6# unloaded, almost 9# with tools, a spare tube, notebook &pens) and not cheap at $280, plus the $20 for the phone holster. But as custom luggage goes, it’s worth every cent. I ride every day, and will use this bag every day for the next 5 years minimum – until it looks way less fresh pressed than it does right now. With the full Cordura construction, heavy strap material and velcro, and solid feeling hardware I feel like I can load it up with whatever without worry. Thanks Dank for making awesome bags… I look forward to having a long relationship with this one…

Dank interior

Note the large document pocket – easily big enough to separate a a file folder or 11×17 print – and keep it flat against the plastic pack last, while keeping my receipts dry. And the interior pocket easily accommodates 2 bottles or rosé, a 6 of cider tallcans, and groceries for dinner…


Landscapes of the Northwest – Summer Sunsets ETC…

Day Glo Rose

We shared a lovely meal with our good friend Nif – the crazy sunset made these roses in her garden FLUORESCENT. No kidding…

The sky was ablaze, our hearts on fire...

The sky was ablaze, our hearts on fire…


House sitting for friends, I always read the bookshelves first…

Big Lady over Duamish

Rainier over the Duamish waterway seen from the 99 bridge headed into Southpark.

Summer of Sunsets I

A perfectly clear sky from Jefferson Park on Beacon Hill