Is everyone back? Rested? Refreshed after a few days off, an aperitivo, and
the one-time showing of Apocalypse Not?
Well, it's January and thus it's time to get back to the old new routines,
tackle all those things you put off until "After," and abandon your
resolutions; all right, maybe you'll keep one. Even if you didn't use the millennium
to completely rework your life, it's natural to feel little slate-cleaning urges
about now. Little "Okay, this year..." compulsions that are separate
from your solemn (and doomed) vow to rise at 5 a.m. for Power Yoga.
In the spirit of "noble is good; doable is better," here's a simple
resolution from the Big To Do that you can really get behind:
This means you. Girls, guys, pets, everybody. All right, we admit this may
be a teensy-weensy bit self-serving, since we're about to tell you how the Big
To Do will be indispensable in your quest... but we do mean it in the
BEST possible way. And, most importantly, it's totally doable.
The Big To Do has always brought you great ideas for getting out... and getting
"out there." BTD2K will be taking this idea to a new level ("eleven,"
actually) by giving you the bright ideas and brainstorms you'll need not only
to fill the next vacant Saturday night, but actually to transform your social
life into the mythic Giddy Whirlwind to which we all aspire.
We'll be bringing you the inside dish on the best and brightest romantic stratagems
from across the country and across the International Dateline. We'll show you
how you can apply these techniques to your own bad self for fun and... more
Naturally, we need your help for this whole interactive medium thing to work.
So be sure to let us know when you come across inventive or intriguing methods
of meeting PSOs - potentially significant others. It's been said before (not
far from here): communication is good. Thanks, by the way, to everyone who wrote
in re: Seattle. Which officially brings us to the next millennium of the Big
Starting, then -- like every good story -- in the upper left-hand corner...
Welcome to The Emerald City!
Re-Reinventing The New Northwest
by Colin Lingle
Seattle has done a lot of growing up in the last ten years. Once upon a time
it was a laid-back burg in a far-off corner of the country. For a brief hot
spell in the early 90s, Grunge
became the prime export. When the dust cleared, the city was identified as ground
zero for the Starbucks virus
and wacky Microsoft
Millionaires. Most recently, Seattle made headlines as the political flashpoint
of cultural activism -- and very
tense police officers -- during the WTO. And through it all, there's the
rain. Not a very sexy tourism video, is it?
Wherever we happen to be, it's always easy to blame the general lameness of
our dating prospects on the city itself. For example, it would be easy enough
to say of Seattle, "Oh, the music scene is dead
and the neighborhoods are completely yuppified and forget about it being a nice
town anymore." And -- to a point -- you'd be right.
In fact, amidst the SUV traffic jams and skyrocketing real estate prices (and
blamed for both), Seattle has still fostered some of the country's most quirky,
hip, and independent-minded social networks. It's simply a matter of applying
one's creativity to find, join, and (ahem) take advantage of them. Once you
start digging, you'll realize that "meeting people" isn't really the
problem you thought it was.
Action: Jet City on Film
has well-deserved reputation, among buffs and "industry people," as
a great movie town. In addition to the usual suspects, Seattle cinephiles can
choose from a number of arthouse
movie houses, festivals (classic
and cutting edge), and
what just might be the finest theater
in the world.
But you're probably not counting on running into Mr./Ms. Right waiting in line
for the 8:40 "Stuart
Little." For a more compelling venue - and a much more interesting
audience - try the monthly Independent
Exposure, a showcase of avant-garde short films from around the world. It's
anything but but your typical night at movies, so just be careful if you're
on a first date.
Or maybe you want to up the ante and get a little cinematic yourself. In Seattle,
you can get behind the camera any number of ways. Wiggly
World Studios, for example, offers technical workshops where you might meet
your smooth (camera) operator. For classes, screenings and special programs,
just call 911 Media Arts Center, the
famed center of the city's media scene. Or you can go directly to the future
of the visual image and find out what's up at Microcinema.com.
(NB: Based on the Web, this last link can be a starting point for any online
artistes of the visual variety.)
Whether in 3-D or through the wire, the most important thing is to go where
the people are. Once you've cast yourself in one of these scenes, you're almost
destined to stumble into a romantic plotline.
Get Political, Get a Phone Number
A few weeks ago, you'd have thought Seattle was having its
own mini-apocalypse. But the World Trade Organization meeting - and the
peaceful and violent protests that ensued - are over. Finally, the city can
get back to its rich tradition of local and community activism, the non-teargas-and-riot-gear
Arts is the patron saint of public arts projects in the area, and has a
storied past that includes protecting and preserving the historic Pike
Place Market. Finding an organization that's active in the community not
only gets you involved, it also gives you access to the people who make decisions
and the phone numbers that go with them.
If you really want to make a difference, it doesn't take much research to find
a group like Real Change that offers
a creative way to give homeless people a voice. And there are any number of
that need people's time, energy, and attention. Heck, some of them, like Seattle
Works, are practically singles groups wrapped up in volunteer opportunities
(clever, clever marketing).
And as if being a good person (and meeting other good people) wasn't enough,
just think: it'll make a fantastic story to tell the kids someday.
The Great Outdoors: Why Go Solo?
than any other distinguishing feature, Seattle is inextricably linked to the
beautiful land and water that surround it. With the Olympic Mountains to the
West, the mighty Cascades to the East, and majestic Mount Rainier to the South,
you get the sense that Northwesterners aren't
necessarily satisfied with just another bed-and-breakfast. They like their
adventures like they like their coffee: big,
bracing, and so beautiful it's almost scary.
The creme de la creme of local outdoor sporting resources is REI.
This hometown company is now an international name in the field and augments
its comprehensive lines of gear with some decidedly human touches. First, you
could probably take
classes for the rest of your life there and never grow tired of a) learning
stuff and b) meeting people. And, if you already have an itch to travel, they'll
you up with like-minded sojourners from anywhere in the country (and elsewhere
in the world). Or, you can you can just leave
the planning to them and see who ends up trekking through the Andes with
you. Who knows? It's called "wanderlust" for a reason, right?
It's "two if by sea" as the saying goes, so perhaps you'd rather
slip into something a little more aquatic. Seattle residents are about as apt
to own a kayak as some other (inland) folks are to own a bicycle. In typical
Northwest fashion, it's a highly social event and you can rent single or double
kayaks by the hour at locations around the city. Whether you're in
town, on a river, or taming
the open sea, you'll never lack for
guides, gear, or great scenery.
And this is just scratching the surface of Seattle. If you're not from the
Emerald City or planning a trip there, just steal one of these ideas and do
a little investigating where you live. Find out what's going on and how to get
involved behind the scenes. We guarantee that with a little ingenuity, you can
turn some of that free time into something worth writing home about.
lived in Seattle for eight years. He loves it there, and he still has rust.
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