Thursday, April 30, 2009


It is Thursday night. I am reading Couch by Benjamin Parzybok, while I lounge upon my own couch, hoping that it will not expect a quest such as that in the novel.


I should be reading Roberto Bolaño's 2666 right now, but it has too much death in it. I have been around too much death this week. It seems to be an occupational hazard. So, I had to go for something lighter for a while.


I will be back to 2666 soon. It keeps calling to me. This is also how I read Bolaño's The Savage Detectives. Slow. Steady. Taking plenty of notes along the way. Snapshots of where I had been.


And I keep sneaking peeks into the April issue of Poetry and issue #7 of A Public Space. I find I am more distracted and less focused the older I get. I'm not complaining about it. I rather like it.


And I keep sneaking peeks into Anne Carson's Decreation and Roberto Bolaño's The Romantic Dogs. I read a few poems here and a few poems there. Then I return to one of the novels I am reading.


But, for now, it is back to the couch. And back to Couch.

Monday, April 27, 2009


Dwight Schrute - No Personal Calls by Dave Ryan
Acrylic paint on LP vinyl album, 2009

The child and I headed over to Bremerton last week to play some disc golf. We stopped by one of our favorite local restaurants, Fritz European Fry House, for lunch. The wall over the bar stools and counter was filled with vinyl albums that had been painted upon. Most of the albums depicted bands or musicians, with a few "other" celebrities thrown in for good measure—Bruce Lee, Monty Python's Flying Circus, Jack Nicholson in The Shining.

And there, staring down at me was Dwight Schrute. I decided that I needed this particular piece of art for my office wall. I had just informed the child that I was going to purchase it when in walks the artist, Dave Ryan, with a bunch of new albums to switch out and add to the wall. I told Dave that I was getting Dwight Schrute and that he could fill that space with another album, if he so desired.

Dave and I spoke for a short while. He told me how he utilizes each element of the album in the creation of his works of art. The vinyl album is the canvas. The album cover and inner sleeve are both used to create the stencils used during painting.

I let Dave get back to his work, while I finished my Belgian fries and Lazy Boy Porter ale. I purchased Dwight Schrute - No Personal Calls and headed off into the Bremerton sunshine.


Dave Ryan's painted vinyl albums can be viewed at the MySpace page for his artwork—Manticore Stencil Art.

Sunday, April 26, 2009


My sixth disc golf disc—an Innova DX Leopard fairway driver disc. Opaque orange, 170 grams. Thank you to the wife for this one. It was a birthday gift.


Troy's Work Table needed to try out a good disc golf course other than his home course of White River. So a road trip to Port Orchard and Bremerton was in order.


Van Zee Disc Golf Course is a ten-hole course that runs throughout Port Orchard's Van Zee Park. This was a fun short course that plays through different types of terrain. Some holes are on open fields; some are through the woods, with trees and ferns as obstacles; some are alongside chainlink fencing; some play uphill, some downhill, some level. The amount of variety in such a small park is rather amazing.

The entire course is well-maintained and excellently signed. It also has one of the best maps I have seen for a disc golf course—that means that it is easily readable and represents the actual terrain. (It is more than just a bunch of nonsensical scribbles that have been converted to a PDF file or a photograph with lines placed over a canopy of trees.) Much of this is due to the work of Port Orchard's Public Works department and the members of the West Sound Disc Golf Association. Both organizations have made this course a pleasant experience in the midst of a residential neighborhood.


The holes are somewhat shorter than many other courses, but they still have obstacles and difficulties to work around. You better make sure you can "stick" your disc on an uphill or downhill throw or it will roll to places you wish it didn't. You better make sure you can sneak it through a couple of thick fir branches or your disc isn't going anywhere.


Each hole at Van Zee DGC is par 3. The total course par is 30. I played 39 for the entire course. I am pretty happy with that for my first visit.

Hole 1 - 4
Hole 2 - 4
Hole 3 - 5
Hole 4 - 3
Hole 5 - 4
Hole 6 - 5
Hole 7 - 3
Hole 8 - 3
Hole 9 - 4
Hole 10 - 4
Total - 39

I thought that hole 9 would be much easier than it was, except that I hit the trees right in front of the tee on my opening shot and my second shot kept rolling down the hill and well past the basket. But that is my problem!


This was a good course to play my Leopard disc because it handled nicely on the fairways of these shorter holes, landing fairly close to where I intended on each throw.


Other amenities at Van Zee include restrooms, picnic shelters, barbecue grill, and a playground for the kids. The only drawback may be on days that baseball games are played, since holes 1 and 10 border the two baseball fields. On the morning that the child and I played, we were the only ones in the park for most of the time.

Saturday, April 25, 2009


"Party like a kid" day finished for the wife, the child, and I with a family fun night at a local activity center. Let's just say that living the "high life" takes a lot of energy. Troy's Work Table will sleep well tonight.

(1) A little Ben & Jerry's Chocolate Fudge Brownie began the evening's festivities in style.

(2) Glitterbug the Clown lies in wait for a young participant before her show begins. This is the stuff that creates coulrophobes, but also makes for great moments of comedy.

(3) Glitterbug the Clown presides over a bubblegum blowing contest that involved retrieving the piece of gum from a platter of whipped cream while wearing a mask that covered the nose and surrounded the mouth. Pure genius!

(4) A member of the audience helps Glitterbug magically create chocolate mini donuts from donut seeds (Cheerios) and powered chocolate, along with a few magic words (hocus pocus chicken bones choke us).

(5) Glitterbug creates balloon animals for the delight of the audience.

(6) Troy's Work Table received the Giant Balloon Animal Octopus from Glitterbug. Being an attentive audience member has its rewards!


"Party like a kid" day continued for the child and I with Día de los niños, día de los libros at the Puyallup Public Library. It involved music and stories and free books and much, much more.

(1) Banners at the entrance of the Puyallup Public Library for the fourth annual Día de los niños, día de los libros.

(2) A free celebration for the whole family about children, books, and language.

(3) Mariachi music by members of Grupo Indomable.

(4) Storytime/cuentos in the children's section of the library. The majority of the stories were read in both English and Spanish, with a couple read in English alone and a couple read in Spanish alone.

(5) Balloon animals galore!

(6) Craft tables included paper plate maracas and door knob hangers. There were also cookies and juice boxes as snacks.

(7) A balloon animal duck created by the clown for the child.

(8) ¡Se había divertido de todos! (It was fun for everyone!)


"Party like a kid" day began for the child and I with another session of Mr. Mario's Secret Circus at King's Books, Tacoma.

(1) Philip the Fox, today's master of ceremonies, doing his Mr. Mario impression.

(2) Philip the Fox juggling pins. He also juggled balls, a chainsaw with pins, and a rubber chicken with knives.

(3) Hilda Gabby Girl tells the tale of "Beauty and the Beast," although this isn't your grandma's version of the story.

(4) A French box, Monsieur Boîte, sings an Edith Piaf tune to the gathered children.

(5) Steve Rice on accordion and Janet Rayor on ukulele and vocals—the members of Petit Rouge. The show was a mixture of song and shenanigans that included English songs, French songs, an accordion solo, a singing box, unicycle riding, and much more. It was wonderful and magical. All of the kids seemed to be having a great time.

(6) Taking a break from the music for a moment, in order to recite Edward Lear's "The Owl and the Pussycat."

(7) Playing the ukulele just prior to a rousing audience-involved version of "Alouette."

(8) Philip the Fox performs balloon animal and magic tricks. Here is Jaguar the Poodle, who will be popped and brought back in fine form after being "blown back up" inside of a paper bag that contained absolutely nothing! Magic...

(9) A balloon animal cat created by Philip the Fox for the child.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009


O Belgian Grand Cru:
where were you my college days
when Bud & Coors reigned?


Spring Fever Belgian Grand Cru, a Belgian Ale by Snoqualmie Falls Brewing Company

22 ounce bottle, served in snifter, $2.56 per pint.

Words to describe the pour: clear, very bubbly, glorious orange-red body, finger thick ivory head.

Words to describe the aroma: fruity, berry, light citrus, bordering on candy, faint floral, spicy.

Words to describe the flavor: coriander, yeasty, banana, straw, hint of classic pink sticks of bubblegum that came in packages of trading cards.

The flavor sits high in the mouth, tickling the upper palate and the base of the nasal cavities. There is a light sweetness that ends moderately dry on the finish.

I like this quite a bit.

Sunday, April 19, 2009


This past Saturday's Mr. Mario's Secret Circus featured the music, storytelling, puppets, and interactive audience fun of Alleyoop.

(1) Mr. Mario performing equilibristics with his devil sticks. He is moving so fast that he is blurry!

(2) Hilda Gabbygirl tells the children the tale of Leaping Beauty.

(3) Hilda Gabbygirl in full story mode.

(4) Alleyoop had children, parents, and grandparents play a musical game where their fingers, toes, and noses were pointed up. It looked a little like a Pentecostal revival at times with all of the dancing and reaching.

(5) Alleyoop performed songs on guitar, ukulele, mountain dulcimer, kazoo, and dancing puppet man and wooden platform. He also told stories, brought out his puppet Billy Bear, and made a wooden horse dance on the top of each child's head.

(6) Working the crowd into a jumping, spinning frenzy!

Saturday, April 18, 2009


Three days of "mini-vacation" bliss ended with a homemade breakfast burger, which, I must inform you, was spectacularly delicious.

The three days included:
*a trip to Pacific Science Center
*tacos de pescado
*10 holes of disc golf at Van Zee Disc Golf Course, Port Orchard
*19 holes of disc golf at NAD Disc Golf Course, Bremerton
*lunch at Fritz European Fry House
*Lazy Boy Porter
*dinner with the parental units, the sister, the niece, and the child
*reading parts of Roberto Bolaño's 2666 & Charles Burns's Black Hole
*Mr. Mario's Secret Circus
*mowing the lawn without an allergic reaction
*Snoqualmie Falls Spring Fever Belgian Grand Cru

The breakfast burger included:
*sesame seed bun
*2/3 pound ground beef patty
*Tillamook medium cheddar cheese slices
*hard fried egg
*two bacon strips


Much to my surprise, the child also enjoyed a breakfast burger.

Thursday, April 16, 2009


Troy's Work Table had an extra day off this week, so the wife, the child, and I headed up to Pacific Science Center to fill our brains with empirical evidence, observed phenomena, and information galore.

(1) The arches.

(2) Allosaurus sez: "I need me some donuts!"

(3) Indeed!

(4) What happens to those donuts? The men's "Grossology" restroom at Pacific Science Center explains.

(5) Caligo memnon, the owl butterfly, with proboscis firmly inserted into ripe banana. The Tropical Butterfly House was TWT's favorite part of the day.

(6) GPS Adventures—the wife, the child, and I enjoyed learning more about geocaching, as well as testing out our "geosense" skills on an indoor "course."

(7) GPS units in abundance within the GPS Adventures maze.

(8) The Space Needle hovers over the scientific activities taking place below.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009


Anchor Steam Beer, a California Common/Steam Beer by Anchor Brewing Company

12 ounce bottle, served in lager glass, $2.24 per pint.

Anchor Steam pours a deep amber with a two finger thick white head. It leaves a fair amount of spotty lacing behind. No fancy lacing here; it is more of a workingman's lacing.

The aroma is of honey and light caramel, followed by some leafiness and brininess. The flavors from greatest to least are (1) salty, (2) earthiness, (3) lemon, and (4) light honey. The body is medium.

I kept drinking this and thinking it would probably be best accompanied with pimiento stuffed green olives. So I cracked open the jar, pulled out a few olives, and had them with the beer. I was right: this is the perfect beer to enjoy with green olives. In fact, I can't imagine not having green olives when I have this again!

Saturday, April 11, 2009


The child and I enjoyed more of the shenanigans of Mr. Mario's Secret Circus this morning. The highlight of this show was a tale acted out by marionettes. Anyone who knows Troy's Work Table well knows that TWT is especially fond of all things puppet.

(1) Mr. Mario balancing a stool on his face!

(2) Hilda T. Gabbygirl ("the T is for Trouble") regaling the audience with additional tales of the Frog Prince. Hilda and Mr. Mario even did some improvisation when bookstore cats Miko and Atticus wandered up on the stage to check out the goings-on. It involved a feline tea party, second-best China settings, and being locked in a small room—most of which took place off-stage and yet was nevertheless brilliant.

(3) The Mary Shaver Marionette Theatre set up in the middle of King's Books.

(4) Princess Aurora in "Beauty in the Sleeping Wood." Let's just say that Troy's Work Table was extremely enthralled during the entire presentation, maybe even more so than many of the kids.

(5) Puppeteer Mary Shaver explaining how a marionette works and how to care for marionettes after the show.

(6) Searching for eggs during an Easter egg hunt inside of King's Books. Plastic eggs with candy within were hidden on the lower shelves in plain sight so that the young kids attending Mr. Mario's Secret Circus could find them without disturbing books. Fun was had by all.

(7) More balloon tricks with Mr. Mario.

(8) Children waiting for balloon hearts and balloon animals.