Seattle postsFriday September 13, 2013
The Fourth Rule of Seattle Traffic
4. When confronted with a situation requiring either efficiency or politeness, choose politeness.
The 13th Rule of Seattle Traffic
13. A long line of cars trailing behind a Seattle driver is a sign of the driver's patience and kindness and a testament to their moral superiority. You will often see these drivers, even with a long, impatient line behind them, waving cars in front of them to “go ahead” with a smile. In Seattle, this is known as “the long tail.” Drivers with short or non-existent tails are generally recent emigres from the east coast and should be avoided.
The 17th Rule of Seattle Traffic
17. The first person in line will be the last to notice the light has turned green.
Not to get all Ferengi here.
5th and Wall
I usually bike to work but I walked this morning. It's about a 45-minute walk through downtown Seattle, and I was heading north down 5th when I had to wait for the red at 5th and Wall. I'm no Seattleitie, by the way, I'll run that red on foot (or on bike), but there was a lot of traffic heading west on Wall, so there was no opportunity. Even though most of that traffic was turning left onto 5th.
In case you don't know: Seattle's famed monorail (cue: “The Simpsons”) bisects 5th, leaving two lanes on one side and one on the other, and I noticed a lot of the traffic was turning from the middle lane of Wall into the far, single lane of 5th. I wondered if they were allowed to do this. Then I saw the straight-or-left arrow painted on the street in the middle lane. So: yes. Still, it seemed slightly dangerous. What if the car in the left lane on Wall wanted that far lane of 5th? I imagined accidents happening.
Then I nearly saw one. Just before the light turned red (for them), an SUV in the middle lane on Wall turned left ... but into the near lane, cutting off a driver in the near lane on Wall who was about to turn into the near lane of 5th. Luckily that driver was observant. He put on the brakes, and the SUV kept driving.
That's capitalism to me. Being careful, observant, respectful helps you not at all. The dick move gets you ahead.
What to See at SIFF?
Some people have asked me what looks good at the 2013 Seattle International Film Festival, which opens this week. It's a question everyone in Seattle asks about this time of year. How do you choose between the hundreds of movies offered? It's tough. You research. You look on IMDb. You ask those who know.
That's what I did anyway. The other day, I was lucky enough to run into Seattle Times' movie critic John Hartl outside SIFF Uptown, where he was busy seeing too-many movies in anticipation of the festival. He recommended two docs in particular: “We Steal Secrets: The Story of Wikileaks,” Alex Gibney's latest; and “Dirty Wars,” Richard Rowley's documentary about Jeremey Scahill's investigation into America's covert wars:
After nominal research, I also bought tickets to the following with fingers crossed:
- The Deep (Iceland): How an everyman became the sole survivor of an icy shipwreck. Based on a true story.
- Frances Ha (US): Greta Gerwig in a Noah Bambach film. It's gotten good reviews, so I'll go despite last year's “Lola Versus.”
- Out of Print (US doc): The shift from print to digitial. Jeff Bezos and company. This shift is called “an exciting journey” so I assume it's all positive. It'll be interesting to see what negative the doc talks about. If any.
- The Last Sentence (Sweden): Jan Troell's look at an anti-Fascist writer in Sweden in the 1930s
- A Hijacking (Denmark): Danish freighter, Somali pirates. Will be interesting to compare with “Captain Phillips” in a few months.
- Muscle Shoals (US doc): A documentary on the small Alabama town that is the focal point of soul, R&B, and rock 'n' roll music.
- Go Grandriders (Taiwan): Elderly dudes cruise the island where I lived in the late 1980s. A box-office smash in Taiwan.
- The Trials of Muhammad Ali (US doc): Bill Siegel's doc on the heavyweight champion's refusal to serve in the U.S. military during the Vietnam War.
So five docs, three Scandinavian movies, one each from Taiwan and the U.S. Other suggestions welcome.
If you're buying tickets on the SIFF site and know which movie you want, the search function is in the upper right. Barely visible. They don't make it easy. Plus after buying the tickets you have two options: CHECKOUT or CONTINUE SHOPPING. The latter choice will take you back to the home page, where you have to start all over again. They don't make it easy.
Twitter: @ErikLundegaardTweets by @ErikLundegaard