Sun-Phobic's Summer

Make new friends, find new hobbies, and hide from the that awful, hot orb.

Unless you're into the whole skin-cancer and premature-aging bit, summer is best enjoyed inside, with a Netflix account and an Internet connection. Albinos, agoraphobes, heliophobes, and anyone with a general distrust of the potential hazards of fresh air, unite!

You know how you're supposed to start dieting in spring in order to get that bikini-ready body? Common sense says that, likewise, those who get started on their autumn activities now are already a step ahead of the game. Plenty of activities that seem more applicable to the days of falling leaves are actually perfectly suited to the summer. Can you say candle-making?

Pourette Candle and Soap–Making Supplies (1418 N.W. 53rd St., 789-3188) bills itself as "the First in Candle & Soap Making Supplies in Ballard." And you can't really blame them. Whether it's wicks, scents, or just a way to further your Fight Club–induced fantasies, it's also a great way to pretend to engage in a quirky anachronism while actively soothing your apocalyptic fears and preparing for Armageddon.

Another autumn-cum-Armageddon activity? Knitting! When the last power grids run out and winter comes around, only the knitters of the world will emerge unscathed. Try taking a knitting class from a place like So Much Yarn(2302 First Ave., 443-0727, www.somuchyarn.com) or Stitches (711 E. Pike St., 709-0707, www.stitchesseattle.com). Once you've mastered the fine arts of both knitting and purling, join the Seattle Knitters Guild (seattleknittersguild.org) and get to know who you'll be hanging out with for the rest of eternity.

If you want to appreciate cool crafts but aren't in a particularly creative mood, try getting into someone else's minutiae by appreciating all of the offbeat museums in Seattle. Seattle Metaphysical Library (2220 N.W. Market St., 329-1794, www.seattlemetaphysicallibrary.org/events.html) and the Seattle Museum of Mysteries (623 Broadway E., 328-6499, www.seattlechatclub.org/museum.html) are good places to start.

Don't put a Band-Aid on those festering relationship woes by going outside; a hike is just a metaphor for a need for tons of psychological space. Nothing says "summer fun" like an intimacy workshop! Face them head-on this June 8–10; for more information, visit www.cuddleparty.com/training. (Other therapists are available at therapists.psychologytoday.com.)

Those interested in going the more cerebral route to uncovering their inability to communicate with other members of the human race don't even need to see another member of said race. Just take the online version of Intro to Communication at UW Extension. Don't you want to know what the "four core principles that undergird the study and practice of communication" are? And don't you want someone named Taso G. Lagos, Ph.D., to tell you for $1,000? Yes and yes. (Ten assignments, one examination; enroll anytime: www.extension.washington.edu/ol/courses/com/com201.asp.)

If you're feeling gutsy enough to see others, try crashing a conference. (Don't knock it till you've done it!) From July 29 to Aug. 1, the Washington State Trade and Convention Center will be home to the 17th Annual Meeting of the ISSTDR. Your friends may be getting laid in San Juan, but when they return, you'll be able to tell them what you learned from the International Society for Sexually Transmitted Diseases Research. They'll brag about convincing a coed from Ft. Lauderdale to do that fourth shot of Jägermeister—but you'll get to tell them about all of the shots and penicillin you won't need, and which of your body parts will still be fully functional in a few months!

The really big convention this summer means that you should try to avoid any knitting classes from Aug. 24–26. That's the date of PAX, a three-day festival of tournaments, panel discussions, and nerdcore concerts, hosted by Gabe and Tycho, the heroes of Seattle gamer-comic Penny Arcade. It's just $30 a day at the door; three-day passes are $50 at www.penny-arcadeexpo.com). With the demise of E3, it's the largest gaming convention in North America, with well over 12,000 geeks expected to attend. All 130,000 square feet of exhibition space sold out. Wil Wheaton—yes, of Star Trek: The Next Generation fame—is giving the keynote speech.

While film-based cameras are going the way of the corded phone and legal 46-degree-bend freak dance, learning the lost art of the darkroom is a great way to regain the tactility missing in today's increasingly digitized world, while also inhaling legal, noxious fumes. Photographic Center Northwest (900 12th Ave., 720-7222, www.pcnw.org), Rainier Photographic Supply (15421 First Ave. S., Burien, 244-1108), Photo Closet (1216 10th Ave., 323-0557), Black Lab Gallery (4216 Sixth Ave. N.W., 706-7017), and Cascades Academy of Photography (82 Front St. S., Issaquah, 425-427-2600) are all great places to go.

Finally, go outside and learn your city while avoiding the sun. It's called the Seattle Underground Tour (608 First Ave., 682-4646, www.undergroundtour.com), and it's not just for dumb tourists. It's for your inner goth, too.

kstarr@seattleweekly.com

 
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