Tuesday, July 28, 2009


The child and I listened to the rhetoric of our politicians and public health officials and visited our local library this evening. We used it as a recommended "cooling center" and a way to escape the 99ºF heat of outdoors, the 90ºF of the house, and the 82ºF heat of the basement for a few hours.


The child played on the computer in the children's section of the library and looked at books. Troy's Work Table read articles in the Sunday 12 July 2009 issue of The New York Times Sunday Magazine; browsed music CDs in the rock and hard rock categories; looked through the new fiction and non-fiction releases; read the first couple of pages of Marcel Proust's À la recherche du temps perdu, volume 1: Swann's Way; and selected a few magazines to check out—Harper's, The New Yorker, ARTnews.


TWT also picked up some of the materials to participate in the library's adult summer reading program, Master the Art of Reading. That got him to thinking about how lazy he has been about reviewing the books he has been reading, even if they are "short reports." He isn't making any promises, but will try to be better about posting book reviews to Troy's Work Table once again.


Now it's off to read some more in Roberto Bolaño's 2666...

Sunday, July 26, 2009


The wife, child, and I escaped to the Bremerton waterfront this evening for some relief from the heat. There was a light marine breeze that kept the temperature comfortable. We ate at Fritz European Fry House, one of my all-time favorite restaurants. We sat on the outside "patio," enjoying the chatter and laughter of Bremertonians and seagulls as we ate. I had the chicken basket with Belgian fries and two dipping sauces—Spicy Curry Ketchup and Sweet Chili, each possessing a slight "kick." This was all tempered with an intriguing Diamond Knot IPA.

Afterward, wandering in the various waterfront parks and the new PSNS Memorial Plaza ensued.

(1) This isn't a very friendly way to attract business to downtown. You couldn't even move your car over a block on the same named street, unless you want a ticket. I understand this during the week when the workers of Puget Sound Naval Shipyard are looking for parking. I don't understand how this is conducive to people visiting downtown on the weekends. Maybe Bremerton is hoping to completely kill off its almost non-existent downtown businesses.

(2) The ferry Kitsap arrives at its Bremerton dock, as seen from the Louis Mentor Boardwalk.

(3) A portion of submarine "surfaces" on the sidewalk at the end of the Harborside Fountain Park next to the Puget Sound Navy Museum.

(4) "Porthole" picture sculptures at PSNS Memorial Plaza.

(5) Colors amidst the various shades of gray.

(6) "Our war record—joiner shop."

(7) A portion of ship hull at PSNS Memorial Plaza.

(8) One of the fountains at PSNS Memorial Plaza, whose shape echoes the pools of Harborside Fountain Park, one-quarter mile away.

Saturday, July 25, 2009


Saturday evening the family walked in Federal Way at the American Cancer Society's Relay for Life. A team from the wife's workplace was walking in honor of one of their coworkers who is currently battling cancer. Troy's Work Table walked in honor of his cousin who is a cancer survivor. The child walked in memory of the child's great-grandfather.

In addition to walking a few miles to help raise money and awareness, we also lit luminaries to honor cancer survivors, to honor those struggling with cancer, and to remember those who have been killed by cancer.

(1) Federal Way Relay for Life 2009.

(2) Many of the wife's coworkers link arms as they complete a lap in honor of their coworker.

(3) Still walking.

(4) Luminaries being readied for a couple hours later.

(5) Walking the "Christmas in July" laps, which included decorations, novelty antlers, and Santa riding around the track in a golf cart.

(6) Hope for a cure.

(7) "Hope" luminaries.

(8) "Cure" luminaries.

(9) Luminaries lining the track.

(10) Luminaries for our loved ones.

(11) A team's booth and luminaries.

Friday, July 24, 2009


A replacement golf disc for one gone missing—a Lightning Discs long-range driver disc. Opaque mottled orange and yellow with blue foil stamp, 172 grams.


I headed out today for my first full round of disc golf after rupturing a disc in my back. The ruptured disc actually blew out to the side opposite of the nerve that the previously bulging disc was impinging upon. So my recovery has been fairly quick. I still have some healing to do, but my physical therapist gave me her blessing on hitting the course again.

All I can say is that it was awesome to be back at White River on a Friday morning, walking the course and figuring out how to get discs from tee to basket while supposedly avoiding trees.


Preparing to tee off on hole #1. (Photograph by The Child.)

I had the best tee shot on hole #1 that I have ever had. I played my Mirus driver and it curved to the right exactly as I had planned. That set me up for an awesome approach shot and an easy putt.


Vandalism on hole #2.

I just don't understand why kids are coming in and destroying these hand-carved and hand-painted hole markers. They must feel really good about coming in and defacing great signage that was obviously a labor of love. I don't think any hole on the course now has one of these signs left intact.


Looking back toward the tee from the basket on hole #2.

The course is really green right now, although it was recently cleaned and had debris removed due to the recent White River Open tournament. All of that greenery and foliage means it is easier to lose discs, which is exactly what I did on hole #4. I threw my Lightning D-3 Prostyle driver and watched as it hit a tree, fell to the ground, and was swallowed up by shrubs. When I walked to where I thought it had landed, I couldn't find it. Ten minutes of searching didn't turn it up. Hopefully, someone else will find it and give me a call.

I loved my D-3 for dependable straight drives. I ran down to Mando's Discs after the round and picked up a Lightning #3 Flyer to take over empty slot #8 in my golf disc bag. I hope that it plays as straight as my D-3 did.


Today's round was played from the (shorter distance) red tee pads on the summer course layout. I played fairly well, although I tired out on the back nine.

Hole 1 - 3
Hole 2 - 4
Hole 3 - 3
Hole 4 - 4
Hole 5 - 4
Hole 6 - 4
Hole 7 - 3
Hole 8 - 3
Hole 9 - 3
Front nine - 31 (+4)

Hole 10 - 4
Hole 11 - 3
Hole 12 - 5
Hole 13 - 5
Hole 14 - 3
Hole 15 - 3
Hole 16 - 5
Hole 17 - 4
Hole 18 - 5
Back nine - 37 (+10)

Total - 68 (+14)


Lowlights of the day included:

*Playing the worst I ever have on hole #12 because I got stuck behind trees and didn't think through what I needed to do to get back into a good position. That meant three tree shots in a row. Ugh!

*Coming upon more vandalism to the course. Not only was a sign damaged, but someone dug up one of the posts that was sunk into the ground as tee pad marker.

*Losing my D-3 on hole #4, Swallower of Discs. (I have temporarily lost two other discs on that hole, only to have people behind me find them, call me, and give me the discs back a few holes later. I know other players who have also lost discs to #4.)


Highlights of the day included:

*Awesome playing on hole #1.

*Sticking the hill on the drive on hole #7, which meant that I skirted all of the trees. Playing down from the hill on the approach, also avoiding trees. Putting through branches on a somewhat long putt to sink the disc into the basket.

*Scoring a 5 on hole #13, considering its basket is in its longest possible position.

*Having my back loosen up after a few holes and having it feel really good for the entire round.

*Getting to pick up some new plastic.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009


Hell or High Watermelon Wheat Beer, a Fruit Beer by 21st Amendment Brewery

12 ounce can, served in Weizen glass, $1.92 per pint.

First, it must be stated that I am a sucker for fruit and vegetable beers. I am not sure why. But if a beer is brewed with apricots or asparagus, then I am most likely going to try it. Second, it must be noted that although I used to once relish wheat beers, especially hefeweizens, I am now less enamored with them. So I began this beer in conflict.

It poured from the can the hazy yellow of hay. The head was thin and white, and it didn't last.

The aromas, in descending order, were of grain, an ever so faint watermelon, vegetable greens, and light caramel. (I may have even imagined smelling the watermelon since it is part of its name.) The very mellow taste consisted of a whisper of wheat with the lightest of watermelon finishes. Neither flavor was very strong. They may have actually classified as impressions rather than flavors.

Nevertheless, this was drinkable summer fare and went well with homemade tacos. I could imagine cracking open a couple of these as I chatted with the neighbors in the back yard or mowed the lawn.


This was all going well, until the wife intervened.

"May I see the can?" she asked.


TWT hands the can to her.

"Did you agitate it before you opened it?"

"What? What are you talking about?"

"Did you agitate the can before you opened it?"

"Let me see that."

TWT grabs the can back.


At the top of the can, in a thin green band below the lip, are the following words: YEAST INSIDE. AGITATE BEFORE OPENING.



I poured the beer back into the can. Then I poured it into the glass again. It increased its haziness and slightly increased the watermelon aroma and flavor. But only slightly.


After injuring my back, Hell or High Watermelon Wheat Beer was the first beer that I had after cleansing my body of all of the medications they filled me with. My second encounter with it was similar to my first.

I did agitate the can, shaking it a few times and then letting it settle before popping the top. The agitated pour delivered a more confident head and hazier body. The watermelon was more prominent this time around, but still somewhat lackluster.


Pliny the Elder, an Imperial IPA by Russian River Brewing

16.9 ounce bottle, served in snifter, $5.20 per pint.

Pliny the Elder is one of my favorite beers. I also discovered that it contains the melon flavor that I was hoping I would find in Hell or Highwatermelon.

The pour becomes an orange that glows. It is topped by a thin skin of white head that leaves fragile washes of lacing.

The aroma is of pine resin, pine needles, melon rind, orange peel, a dash of rosemary, and perhaps a smaller dash of saffron.

The taste is similar with pine and a lightly bitter orange at the forefront. This is undergirded by nettles and needles that also provides a lengthy bitter finish. The nettle flavor is what I imagine would be an established stalk rather than the usual budding foliage and leaves that usually appears in hoppy beers. If I thought about it, this nettle flavor is very similar to the watermelon that is closest to the rind.


And there was the missing flavor of Hell or Highwatermelon. It was hijacked and included in Pliny the Elder, making an already favored beer even more enjoyable, especially in the heat and humidity of July in the Pacific Northwest.

Sunday, July 19, 2009


This afternoon I "set up shop" in the shade of a tree in Pioneer Park while the child played.

My favorite folding chair? Check.

The Sunday New York Times? Check.

Sun block? Check.

Full water bottle? Check.

A time to relax and read. I'm "getting there."

Saturday, July 18, 2009


Either HELLO my name is TROY or HELLO my name is TЯOY, as prepared by the child.

Picnic. Hamburger. Hot dog.

No BEER. Lemonade.

No WANDERING. Stationary.

But feeling rather well.

Friday, July 17, 2009


Pain. Transport. Hospital. Drugs. Haze. Doctor. Diagnostics. Review. Diagnosis. Disc, ruptured. Rest. (Overexposure? Perhaps.)

No BOOKS. Too drowsy.

No ART. Too drowsy.

No BEER. Not a good mix.

No WANDERINGS. Too drowsy.

Rest. Rest.

More rest.

Saturday, July 11, 2009


Today was a Troy's Work Table day, if there ever was one. It involved wandering about in Tacoma's Museum District viewing art in public spaces, as well as visiting both the Tacoma Art Museum and the Museum of Glass; reading a novel and visiting a bookstore; purchasing beer for the beer cellar and drinking a can of watermelon wheat ale; playing in the sun; picnicking; and throwing plastic discs in the front yard.

(1) ART: Water Forest by Howard Ben Tré, 2002, in the Museum of Glass plaza.

(2) ART: The Museum of Glass Mobile Hot Shop.

(3) ART: One of the glass artists with a vase making a visit to the glory hole.

(4) WANDERING: picnicking along the Thea Foss waterfront.

(5) ART: Fluent Steps (detail) by Martin Blank, 2008, in the Museum of Glass reflecting pool.

(6) BOOKS: The literature stacks at Tacoma Book Center.

(7) BEER: A six-pack of 21st Amendment Brewery Hell or High Watermelon Wheat Beer in cans.


Other highlights of the day included:
*the picnic lunch the child and I had at the Thea Foss waterfront
*the exhibit of work by the 2008 Neddy Artist Fellows at Tacoma Art Museum
*the exhibit of work by Preston Singletary at the Museum of Glass
*Fire Mask and Rain Mask by Preston Singletary
*Raven Steals the Sun (2008) by Preston Singletary
*picking up a bottle of Deschutes Black Butte XXI at 99 Bottles
*drinking a can of Hell or Highwatermelon along with homemade tacos
*practicing disc golf putting on the portable home basket
*reading The City and The City by China Miéville


Let's just say that Preston Singletary and China Miéville are geniuses within their various artistic realms—glass sculpture and fiction, respectively.


Clockwise from upper left: (1) Mirus; (2) Valkyrie; (3) D-3; (4) Buzzz


Empty course:
I arrive at 8:00 a.m. and I am alone. One bicyclist is placing her bike in the back of her pickup. Troy grabs his bag and heads toward the first tee.

Empty stomach:
I have skipped breakfast out of necessity. I needed to be here early. Troy closes his eyes and opens them again.

Empty arm:
My forearm is filled with pain. A brace is slid over it. Troy feels the pain move from arm into torso.

Empty mind:
I clear all thoughts. Clutter is swept away. Troy becomes tee and disc and basket.

Empty fairway:
I throw the plastic. It sings through the air. Troy watches as the disc goes where discs go.

Empty basket:
I putt. Disc dances into the basket. Troy plucks it from the chains.


White River Disc Golf Course, summer layout, red tees.

Hole 1 - 4
Hole 2 - 4
Hole 3 - 3
Hole 4 - 3
Hole 5 - 3
Hole 6 - 4
Hole 7 - 3
Hole 8 - 3
Hole 9 - 3
Front nine - 30 (+3)

Hole 10 - 4
Hole 11 - 4
Hole 12 - 3
Hole 13 - 4
Hole 14 - 3
Hole 15 - 3
Hole 16 - 5
Hole 17 - 4
Hole 18 - 3
Back nine - 33 (+6)

Total - 63 (+9)

This is my best game to date. The front nine is my best nine to date. I played with an arm brace. I began with difficulty walking. I ended with full mobility.


The Mirus was the star of the day. I have finally figured out how it wants to move. It's nature is different than many of my other discs. This doesn't make it difficult, only different. I utilized it quite often, especially on the first seven holes. It also played brilliantly on hole #12.


The D-3 played straight and true. It went where sent. It and the Mirus played the first seven holes together.


Hole #8 was the shift from white discs to yellow discs as the Valkyrie and Buzzz took over primary duties. They played the role of most favored discs with great humility and precision.


What is the sound of one chain "chinging"?


White River Disc Golf Course, hole #10: basket, trail, river, tree.

Thursday, July 09, 2009


Curve Ball Summer Seasonal, a Blonde Ale by Pyramid Breweries

22 ounce bottle, served in English pint, $1.58 per pint.

I wrote a brief review about this ale on RateBeer in December 2006. It reads, in its entirety: "12 ounce bottle. This is nothing spectacular. A small, fizzy head that quickly departed. A nice golden color. Aroma of floral hops and lightly of grain or straw. Rather mild, sweet flavor that doesn’t stay around for very long."

I would like to reassess my relationship to this beer for two primary reasons: (1) Pyramid has done its own overhaul of the ale, and (2) I am a different beer drinker than I was two-and-one-half years ago. The brewer is in a different place than they once were, as am I.


The pour provides a bright yellow body of sparkling clear beer. It is topped with a very rocky white head that departs quickly into oblivion, never to leave a trace of lacing in my pint glass. The carbonation appears lively, perhaps even a bit aggressive.

The aroma moves from a foreground of hay bale toward a background of a wee bit of lemon zest, a hint of yeast, and a whiff of coriander. I wasn't sure if coriander was the correct spice I was catching at the end, so I dug around in the wife's spice cabinet. The first bottle I opened was coriander and I found a direct match. I opened a few other bottles to check against them and found that coriander is the spice I smell in Curve Ball.

The taste was crisp, clean, and fairly dry. There is an elusive sweetness lurking about, provided by the flavor of hay. Also present are brief suggestions of lemon (zest?) and nettles. The flavor doesn't last too long, clipped short by a clean, dry finish.

I like this much better than in previous years, as far as I can remember.


Pyramid gave Curve Ball, along with most of their other beers, a makeover. The labels have different artwork. The beers seem marketed to a different crowd. They seem to be aimed at the serious beer drinker, even if only as session beers, rather than the casual beer drinker. Some of the beers have been renamed, such as their Haywire Hefeweizen, which was once simply known as Hefeweizen. Some have been recategorized, such as Curve Ball, once a Kölsch-style ale, but now a blonde ale.


Does Curve Ball taste better as a blonde? If it does, then it is probably due to semantics, since Kölsch ales and blonde ales are both essentially top-fermented golden ales with less flavor than many other styles of beer.


This is definitely a beer that needs to be drunk while cold, and fairly quickly. This is a mowing-the-lawn beer. This is a warm-summer-evening beer. This is a cheeseburger-and-hotdog beer, which is how I experienced it.

I grilled some cheeseburgers and hot dogs on the home barbecue. The wife made baked beans and her specialty coleslaw. This beer worked well the entire meal.


For what it is, this is a beer that I believe that I can finally appreciate. It is inexpensive, without lacking all flavor, or, worse, being skunky like most of the macrobrews. I still probably won't be reaching for it too often, but I will try it each summer to see if I need to reassess my memory of it again. And again.

Tuesday, July 07, 2009


Clockwise from upper left: (1) The Believer, June 2009, sixty-third issue: eye crayon; (2) A Public Space, issue 08; (3) sub-TERRAIN, #52; (4) Poetry, July/August 2009.


New issues of my four favorite literary journals are floating about my bedroom and home library, making brief stops for rest on the nightstand, the kitchen table, the reading table, or the wing back reading chair before once again taking flight. I like them because they each contain a mixture of poetry, fiction, reviews, and essays. Some are weighted more heavily toward poetry (Poetry); some more toward review and essay (The Believer); and some are a more equal mixture (A Public Space and sub-TERRAIN); yet all entertain and challenge and frustrate and enliven. And all definitely bring me joy.


My favorite piece so far in the sixty-third issue of The Believer is "Doomed Sitters: A Cultural History of Wing Chairs" by Rozalia Jovanovic. Reading this in my own wing chair after just completing Ben Parzybok's novel Couch was synchronicity at its best. I can't claim the power, corruption, and lack of manners that Jovanovic associates with the owners of wing chairs in the past, but then I have a whole life ahead of me. After reading her brief historical summary of wing chairs, I still find myself rather attached to mine, even if it may be a harbinger of doom (or "controlling" me like the eponymous furniture in Couch).


My favorite pieces in the summer issue of Poetry are the collection of poems from the Flarf and Conceptual Writing camps (or at least their disciples). These poems are self-referential and strange and force me to think about my relationship to writing as both a reader and a fellow writer. All of that is good stuff.


I haven't read as extensively in either A Public Space or sub-TERRAIN yet, but I know that there are nuggets of joy and wonder awaiting me in both. I will read and read and read until they shine forth.

Saturday, July 04, 2009


Neighborhood Potluck BBQ
[Street address]
Come meet your neighbors and
enjoy the sun
and games
Saturday July 4th
BBQ starts at 2PM
Bring your favorite dish
Meat and beverages will be furnished
Bring your lawn chair
Hosted by: [Name of host]


I didn't see the signs posted on telephone poles around our neighborhood until today. And that was only after we drove by the yard that is hosting, festooned with its multitude of American flags and sporting badminton net, table, barbecue, and coolers.

The woman sitting on the porch as we drove by waved at us. I waved back.

I don't know if we will make it over there, but I like knowing that it's happening. It makes me a little hopeful for my neighborhood, my city, and my country.


"Taking a clue from the area’s proliferation of bikini espresso joints, a stand called Nearly Naked Fireworks opened June 28 on the corner of North Meridian Street and Fifth Avenue Northeast."
—from The News Tribune, Wednesday 01 July 2009

The child and I visited the Nearly Naked Fireworks Stand in Puyallup. We visited mostly because it is close and partly to see if it was as overhyped as I expected.

Some area residents have protested on the sidewalk in front of the stand, calling the business immoral. Someone attempted to deface the stands sign on the corner of Fifth Street Northeast and Meridian Avenue by throwing a can of white paint at it (as pictured above).

It seems that the majority of people visiting the stand are guys, including the two guys that drove up from Oregon to check out the stand. (Seriously, guys, you could have saved yourself a tone of gas, money, and time if you checked out "nearly naked" women online.) However, when we were there a family showed up and a woman wanted to know where the promised bikini-clad staff were at, so the one in attendance stood up (she was seated in a lawn chair, not helping anyone) in her stars and stripes bikini and proceeded to "help" customers.

The child picked out a package of sparklers, a package of morning glory sparklers, and a package of crackling balls. Miss Bikini didn't seem to know any of the prices and relied upon the stand owner's son (who appeared to be about ten-years-old) to tell her what we owed them. (I had already figured that out in my head since everything was priced to end in dollar or half-dollar amounts. We paid our $2.50 and left, satisfied with our purchase and sorry we had wasted our time on what did indeed turn out to be a bunch of good old-fashioned hucksterism.

I would have preferred someone with clothes who knew what customer service was to someone in a bikini who was merely there thinking that there job was to be ogled. These fireworks were a dud!


The tackiness award: the "Tips for Tits" tip jar. They didn't get anything from us.


The illiterate award: the sign inside the stand. "Go ahead and stare, that's what there [sic] here for." Also, the runner-up tackiness award.


Mind you, I am no prude, but this is pure P.T. Barnum. I don't even know why people are getting upset. It just makes things like this proliferate due to unwarranted negative publicity.

Friday, July 03, 2009


Smelling the fermented brown sugar aroma that is Double Dead Guy Ale.


A bottle of Double Dead Guy in the house meant that I also needed to obtain a bottle of Dead Guy for the sake of comparison. So I did.


Dead Guy Ale, a German Maibock Style Ale by Rogue Ales

12 ounce bottle, served in Pilsner glass.

Dead Guy pours a clear golden-orange with two fingers of ivory head. The head mostly diminishes, with a half finger hanging around for a while. There is almost no lacing.

The aroma is of orange, toasted grains, flowers, and lightly sweaty yeast.

The taste is somewhere between sweet and dry, with a faint malty sweetness that dances about the edges. It opens with a light fizzy bite of toasted malts, almost an unsalted pretzel flavor. The sweatiness on the nose leads into an earthiness on the tongue. It is like the soil of a freshly dug grave, with the grassy roots exposed.


Double Dead Guy Ale, an American Strong Ale (or what Rogue calls an Imperial Maibock) by Rogue Ales

26 ounce bottle, served in snifter.

The pour of Double Dead Guy is similar to its older sibling, only hazier and with only a thin head.

The aroma is of toasted grains, flowers, an almost fermented brown sugar, and an impression of the essence of orange peel (perhaps even a lingering memory of orange peel). I went and cracked a bottle of Myers Dark Rum and got a stronger, more intense version of the brown sugar present here, so the "almost fermented brown sugar" seems like a correct assessment.

There is still a light bite and fizziness at the open, but it is a muted note—more of an echo of Dead Guy than a statement in its own right. This is followed by an orange peel bitterness riding a warm wave, which I suspect is the higher alcohol content. The finish mellows into toasted malts and unsalted pretzel. This flavor is smoother and mellower and more complex than Dead Guy, as it rightly should be.


I'm not sure how an ale is considered to be in the style of a Maibock or an Imperial Maibock, since both are lagers. I know that Rogue Ales makes something similar to how Maibocks are brewed but with their "proprietary Pacman ale yeast." Since the difference between lagers and ales is primarily due to where the yeast generally ferments (top for ales; bottom for lagers) and the fermentation temperature (65ºF for ales; 50ºF for lagers), I assume that they can make something similar in construction and attributes to a Maibock with an ale yeast that top-ferments at a warmer temperature.

I'm not complaining, just curious, because whatever Rogue is doing is quite tasty.

The final assessment is that Dead Guy, while a great ale in its own right, is vastly surpassed by its younger sibling. I would definitely drink both again, but need to find a few bottles of Double Dead Guy to bury in the cellar for a dreary autumn evening.