This week the crow learns that Capitol Hill keeps you young. Learn anything?
Based on the fact that you just fed the parking meter, I guess you’re hanging out on the Hill tonight?
I am. I’m going to meet up with some friends, not exactly sure where we’re going or what we’re going to be doing—something fun, for sure.
Do you live on the Hill?
No, I live in West Seattle. But I like to come to this part of town to go out.
West Seattle seems to be having a boom of restaurants, bars, etc. Why schlep all the way over to this part of town?
I love West Seattle—it’s beautiful, very nice, many nice places to go. But it’s more quiet, more residential. Going out on Capitol Hill keeps me young!
It seems to be working—I would’ve guessed you much younger than 51. How long have you lived in Seattle?
Oh, 22 years? Maybe 24?
And before that?
I came from Mexico, from Guadalajara.
Okay, people must ask you this ALL the time, but do you have any recommendations for where to find good Mexican food around here?
On the Hill, I would say that blue triangle building…what do you call it? The Saint.
They have great margaritas, I think. Usually I’m wary of margaritas, because some places use that gross bottled mix…blech.
No, that’s no good. But yes, The Saint, they have good drinks, and the food, also very good.
What line of work are you in?
I work for the City of Seattle, in bridge maintenance.
So, you’re the one to blame for all the traffic? (Just kidding!) But, seriously, you must stay very busy.
Yes, very busy, there is always something to do. A lot of bridges in Seattle…
You’re from a warm, sunny climate that draws a lot of tourists, especially during the cold months. Do the winters here bother you?
No. I love the climate here. Love it. I was just back in Guadalajara a few weeks ago, and it was about 95 degrees, too hot. I prefer the cold weather to the very hot.
I mostly grew up in Florida, and have never gotten used to cold climates. Am I the only one who hates the winters here?
I don’t know, on a day like today, it’s hard to imagine the winter!
Yes! That’s it—I think we’ve all developed weather amnesia…
In Mexico, it’s like that, only the opposite—the summers are very hot and miserable. I wouldn’t change the weather here if I could.
Tri-Wizard—is that a Harry Potter reference?
Yes, everyone picks a Hogwarts “House”—Syltherin, Griffyndor, etc. It’s a pub crawl for charity.
Sounds like folks will need some magic Every-Flavor Hangover Cures in the morning…
Yeah, that would help!
Are you from this area?
No, I’m from Juneau, Alaska. I’m just in town for PAX.
Did you come PAX for work, or are you just really into gaming?
I’m just here for fun. I play a lot of online computer games, especially RPGs, but also board games, etc.—really games of all kinds.
I love your costume. Tell me about it.
I sewed it myself. It’s a replica of a pattern from 1868, kind of a Steampunk outfit.
What line of work are you in?
I’m an engineer on a boat, up in Alaska.
You meet a LOT of gamers in Seattle—it seems like there’s an especially high concentration on Capitol Hill, where we are now. Are there any games you’re playing at the moment that you think our readers might enjoy?
Right now, I’m playing Guild Wars 2, which just came out, and it is awesome. One of my favorite MMO RPG [Massively Multi-Player Online Role-Playing Games] ever, and I’ve been playing them for about ten years. I’m also into board games, especially Ticket to Ride—I found it a few months ago. It’s a “train game,” and a lot of fun.
Stereotypically, the Serious Gamer is male, not very social, and lives mom’s basement… You seem like the opposite of that. Is it ever hard to be a woman in the gaming world?
I’ve always felt like I wasn’t part of the normal “girl” crowd, but I think those definitions are changing. I always liked gaming, and Sci-Fi, and that sort of thing, which used to be thought of as a male-only thing. A lot of my friends were shy guys who didn’t fit in with the popular crowd. I think it’s getting less and less of an exclusive boys club, although you still hear about women and girls who have bad experiences online, etc. in gaming. But I hope women wouldn’t let a few jerks out there keep them from gaming.
Are you a Seattle native?
No, I’m originally from Los Angeles. I moved here about twelve years ago.
What brought you to Seattle?
I left a career in Hollywood because I wanted to help people, so I decided to train to be a nurse. So I did that for a little while here in Seattle, but then I got into the Visual Anthropology master’s program at the University of London, so I moved to London for a year.
Before I ask what the hell Visual Anthropology is, I have to know — what did you do in Hollywood, and did you have to take your clothes off to do it?
I worked behind the cameras, as a focus puller, riding the dolly around and–
“Riding the dolly around”? I’m sorry, my mind is going to off-color places. What kind of movies were these?
For one, I worked on a lot of Miramax horror sequels…
Is a “focus puller” anything like a “fluffer” in adult films?
Yeah, it’s like being a fluffer for the camera.
Okay, now you can tell me what Visual Anthropology is.
Nobody knows. No, actually, Anthropology is a subset of Cultural Anthropolgy, focusing on…well, the visual representations of cultures and the people who identify as part of a given culture. To give a random example, I have an exhibit at SAM called “Faces,” which are portraits of…well, faces, of people in various countries. Among other projects, I’ve also done a series on people and their hobbies, mostly taken at conventions—there was a thing about it on Wired recently.
Are you a full-time photographer?
No, I also do stories for Public Radio—This American Life, Public Radio International, Marketplace, etc.
Have you done any stories that took place on the Hill?
Mostly I do international coverage—war zones, that sort of thing—so not a lot, but there have been a few. For instance, I did a story about ghost hunters, and one of the places they went to was Hugo House.
Did they find ghosts reading maudlin poetry at Hugo House?
No maudlin poetry, but they did hear a baby crying.
Do you think it was actually a ghost baby, or something else?
Let’s just say that, as a journalist, I try to distance my opinions from the stories… I also did some other projects with the ghost hunters. There was some interest in a TV show about it, but that didn’t pan out.
What do you think draws people to ghost hunting?
It depends. Some are just thrill-seekers, but I think some people want to find out what’s haunting them; they’re trying to answer questions about themselves. Ghosts, or at least the idea of them, can be like therapists. Only they charge less by the hour.
What do you think is the sexiest spot on Capitol Hill?
The highest natural point on the Hill, which is Doc Maynard’s grave, in the cemetery behind Volunteer Park. Bruce Lee’s grave is also there.
More CHS Crow:
- Ben, Azul & Mike (& Alfred) — ‘People in Seattle are from all over the place’
- Charles, Noa & Qwo-Li — ‘You have to have another job to pay the bills’
- Puck, Kayla & Vanessa — ‘Styling is also about angles and forms and draping’
Marguerite Kennedy is a freelance writer, semi-professional thumb wrestler, and recovering New Yorker who currently resides on Capitol Hill. She blogs at www.marguerite-aville.com, and does that other thing @tweetmarguerite.