Monday, July 4, 2022

Stranger things

The Stranger, long one of Seattle's more colorful weeklies (the other one being Seattle Weekly, which was never colorful at all) started publication in September, 1991, not long before I started working at Aldus Corporation in Seattle's Pioneer Square. At the time, it was something my crüe at Aldus was enamored of, in no small part because it was produced using our software, Aldus PageMaker.

I bring up The Stranger now because it has actual relevance to my hobby. As a weekly (as of 2017, a bi-weekly), it appealed mostly to lefties, who were far less clever and cool than they assumed, and non-lefties like me, who had no illusions about being clever or cool, but who enjoyed reading an irreverent perspective on life, despite the paper's otherwise stale, predictable Maoist orthodoxy about pretty much everything. Even the irreverence grew old after a while (or maybe so doctrinaire and conformist that it was no longer irreverent), but I still grabbed a copy (sometimes two) from the box every week/other week. It was free and it made perfect fish-wrap, bird-cage liner, or, in my case, table covering for when I spray painted stuff and did other messy hobby things that involved splats and spills.

In March, 2020, The Stranger ceased producing a print copy due to the general shut down of all things because of COVID. They expected to be back and printing after a while, but it never happened. I don't know if it ever will. So much of The Stranger's revenue came from ads for all the venues in Seattle where people gathered cheek to jowl to drink, play, listen to music, etc. With all that activity stifled, there was no point in advertising. No adverts, no income. No income, no print edition. No print edition, nothing for me to spill on. Now that gathering in close proximity has returned to The Emerald City, The Stranger remains online only. 

I had a stack going back years, but I'm almost at the end of it. At one time, I was throwing out stacks of it because I went through far less than one full edition a week and I assumed the supply would never end. Silly me. In no time, assuming I'm actually busy hobbying, I'll have nothing left. I feel a bit like sitting in a toilet stall and realizing there's no bog roll.

I'm not sure what to do. I can't use my hand. I haven't really looked for alternatives. I don't know if the Seattle Weekly is even around anymore—or if they have a print edition. I should probably start saving the newsprint advert thingummies that appear in my mailbox. They typically run several pages, which may be enough to go on with. They're not as big as a two-page spread from The Stranger, but probably every bit as absorbent. They're also free. Indeed, I can't seem to stop them from showing up.


To be fair, The Stranger had more going for it than irreverence and Maoist screed. It was a pretty good place to find out what was going on in the city. For the nine years that I lived in Seattle, it was useful for planning weekend activities. Since moving up to beautiful, formerly-bucolic Lynnwood, I've been less inclined to venture into the city—at least not deep into the city; I'm all over going to The Pacific Inn and Eltana Bagels in Fremont. I don't think I've been to Pioneer Square for more than a decade, certainly not since the viaduct was torn down. I can't recall when I was last on Capitol Hill or Queen Anne. However, my neighborhood Whole Foods had a Stranger box from which I drew my supply until it was empty and then they removed it. Sic transit gloria mundi.

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