Friday, September 25, 2009


About the time we started to play the back nine, we could hear chains "chinging" on some of the early holes. It seems that others realized it would be perfect weather to play some disc golf—sunny and mid-60s.

Hole #10 - these stickers really were everywhere. I played this hole nicely, which gave me good position for the basket. Unfortunately, I overshot it by twenty feet, but recovered on the putt. Three throws total.

Hole #11 - the view from halfway down the fairway. It is mandatory that the trees in the center middle must be passed on the left. This is known as a mando. To not pass them on the correct side results in penalty strokes. I struggled getting around them and into a good position. Four throws total.

Hole #12 - the view from the tee. My Mirus driver curved nicely to the right on a sidearm throw from the tee. Three throws total.

Hole #13 - the view from where my first throw landed. I am about halfway between tee and basket.

Hole #13 - the view from where my second throw landed.

Hole #13 - getting ready to throw a thumber for number three. It will land twenty feet from the basket and I will putt it in for a nice recovery. Four throws total.

Hole #14 - the view from the tee. I played this hole the best that I ever have—a good straight drive, strong approach, putt it in. Three throws total.

Hole #15 - the view from the tee. My initial throw went straight down the fairway, but hit a small mound and skipped twenty feet to the left. Three throws total.

Hole #16 - the view from the tee. I had my best initial drive on this hole, which skirts the river. I struggled with some trees on throws that followed. Five throws total.

Hole #17 - the view from the tee. I threw my Valkyrie 150 gram driver too far to the left, but the farthest I have ever thrown it on any hole. Three throws total.

Hole #18 - the view from the tee. This was another hole where my disc went too far to the left on my initial drive, but farther than I usually throw. Three throws total.


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

Total - 62 (+8)


It was a beautiful fall day at White River Disc Golf Course. The child and I arrived at 10:30 a.m. to find no fog and no people, both of which seemed to be in abundance just about everywhere but at White River DGC. The course was literally deserted of disc golfers other than us during our entire front nine.

Hole #1 - the view from the tee.

Hole #1 - throw number two looks like it will be a thumber through the gap. Four throws total.

Hole #2 - throw number two needs to go over the stump and drop down and in, theoretically. Four throws total.

Hole #3 - the view from the tee. My Avenger SS (Super Straight) lived up to its name and went right down the middle of the fairway. Three throws total.

Hole #4 - getting ready for throw number two. For some reason, hole number 4 for the winter version of the course is already up, so I played it rather than summer #4 (The Devourer of Discs). Four throws total.

Hole #5 - the view from the tee. I played a nice recovery on this hole, throwing a thumber over a screen of small trees to get back onto the fairway. Four throws total.

Hole #6 - someone slapped these handmade vinyl stickers up on the pole of each basket, except for hole #18.

Hole #6 - good advice. Four throws total.

Hole #7 - preparing for throw number two from twenty-five feet away. Three throws total.

Hole #8 - the view from the tee. I sent my initial drive sailing down the fairway and hooking to the left at the end. It landed nineteen feet from the basket and I putted it in on my second throw. Two throws total.

Hole #9 - the view from the tee. My initial drive bent to the left down the fairway and around the trees, even missing trunks and branches I was sure would stop it. I just missed having back-to-back birdies from twenty-five feet away. Three throws total.


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

Total - 62 (+8)

Monday, September 21, 2009


The child and I visited Schneebeck Concert Hall at University of Puget Sound this evening to watch The Classic Greek Theatre of Oregon present The Trojan Women by Euripides. It was the child's first adult play. It was one filled with monologues and chorus, song and dance and mask work, violence and the threat of violence, mourning and lamentation, death and tragedy. The child took it all in, sitting patiently and quiet throughout the entire ninety-minute production.


"They will drop you from a great height. Your neck will break and your breath will stop."
—Andromache to her son Astyanax, as the Greeks prepare to sacrifice him

"Me without a city, you without a breath in your body."
—Hecuba lamenting over the corpse of her grandson Astyanax

Toward the end of the play, when Astyanax, grandson of Hecuba, son of Hector and Andromache, has been sacrificed and his body returned to Hecuba and the Trojan women to be dressed and prepared for burial, I looked over to see the child weeping. I assured that crying was okay and was brushed aside out of embarrassment. I reassured that the play was very sad. "He's not really dead, right?" Since the city of Troy was being burned to the ground by the Greek soldiers at that moment, and since the child had pointed out the relationship between the name of the city and my own name earlier in the evening (along with some flagrant ego fueled by my own mortality being challenged by the play), I thought the child's tears were for me, the father. I was confused, however.

It was much deeper and poignant than that. The child was weeping for the child's own mortality, represented by the seven-year-old actor lying absolutely still upon Hector's shield on stage. There were two deaths in the theater this evening—the death of Astyanax and the death, in some sense, of the child's innocence.


There were three standout performances for me—Vana O'Brien as Hecuba, ileana herrin as Hecuba's daughter Cassandra, and Jamie M. Rea as Hecuba's daughter-in-law Andromache. Each captured and portrayed the madness of war and the madness of her character in her own individual way. It was heart-wrenching watching some of the performances. I found myself on the verge of tears many times throughout the evening.


We were seated in the second-to-last row on the aisle, in case we needed to leave early or take bathroom breaks. We did not. The child was so entranced that we sat through the entire performance. The child even watched some of the action through the binoculars I brought along, although they were really unnecessary. But it allowed the child to experience the play in even more depth, more saturation of color.

Sitting in the back by an exit also meant that actors kept running up and down the aisle by us. The child was on constant alert for the next soldier that ran past us with his spear before him. The violence of the depicted war kept spilling out into the aisle right next to us, even if only in passing.


The masks designed by Sarah Gahagan were exquisite. They were worn on the backs of the heads of the Trojan women. Therefore, no matter where one of the women stood on stage, she was always "facing" the audience. This theatrical "trick" was utilized to great effect, especially during the songs of the chorus.


The evening was one well spent, as both the child and I were entertained, challenged, threatened, and cajoled. We were awakened from our slumber, our numbness. We had to look deep within ourselves at who we are as individuals and who we are as a culture. We had to see the savagery of war, the spoils of war, the death and destruction of war up close and personal. And it was all imagined by a writer who lived 2400 years ago, among a people whose problems seem very much like our own.


"Greece, your spears are sharper than your brains!"
—Hecuba as she mourns and laments

Saturday, September 19, 2009


Oktoberfest, the world's largest fair, takes place in Munich, Germany for sixteen days. It begins today and runs through Sunday 04 October 2009. I kept searching through local weekly newspapers (Weekly Volcano, The Stranger, Seattle Weekly) and beer magazines (Celebrator Beer News, Northwest Brewing News) hoping to find the perfect event to celebrate fall beers and German food without having to actually take a trip to Munich.

And then I had a revelation. Troy's Work Table would host its own Oktoberfest. It solves quite a few problems and offers a great solution.

Problem #1: The cost of these Oktoberfest events never quite makes sense. Why pay twenty or twenty-five dollars to attend? Sure, it gets you a souvenir mug, but I have all of the glassware I need. Yes, you get to try different beers, but you only get five or seven or ten tickets to sample beers from thirty or forty or fifty breweries, most of whom have brought multiple beers to sample. The samples are small. You have to buy more tickets in order to try more beers. You end up spending money that could have bought six-pack upon six-pack for home consumption.

Problem #2: There are crowds of people. I don't really want to hang out with crowds of people, especially considering that many of them are drunk, or, at the very least, buzzed. I don't want to make small talk. I want to try some new brews and eat a bratwurst.

Problem #3: The few large-scale beer events that I have attended have been disappointing.

Solution: I would have an at-home Oktoberfest celebration! (Which I just discovered that I did last year, albeit on a much smaller scale.)


So I headed off to 99 Bottles to pick up some Oktoberfest beers. I also picked up a couple of pumpkin ales, including Elysian Brewing Company's Great Pumpkin Imperial Pumpkin Ale, as well as a stray style here and there.


On the way back home, I stopped Fred Meyer to pick up a bottle of Paulaner Oktoberfest Bier. This was the beer that spurred my interest in craft beers and helped me to bid farewell to all of the bland macrobrews. Alas, Fred Meyer disappointed. I didn't even see a spot for it any longer. I decided that another Paulaner beer would have to suffice, so I picked up Paulaner Salvator, their signature doppelbock.


TWT Oktoberfest began with Smoked Bratwursts and Mozzarella Bratwursts from Blue Max Sausage Company (of Puyallup) being browned in an "expired" bottle of Samuel Adam's Brown Ale, which had resided in the refrigerator for far too long. As the brats browned, potatoes and carrots were boiled, onions and red peppers were chopped up, and sauerkraut was heated.


The Mozzarella Bratwurst was nestled into a bed of sauerkraut and brown mustard on a hoagie roll. It made a great companion for the Paulaner Salvator.


Salvator, a Doppelbock by Paulaner Brauerei

16.9 ounce bottle, served in mug, $2.59 per pint.

The pour was dramatic, with a thick ivory head building upon a clear orange body. The head diminished slowly, leaving at least half a finger worth by the time I was ready to drink.

The aroma was of caramel, lightly toasted malts, alcohol, dark fruits, and a subtle orange peel. The flavor was of graham crackers and caramel, followed by a quick alcohol "bite" and a sweet finish. The sweetness was unexpected, but nonetheless a pleasant surprise.


The first day of the TWT Oktoberfest was one of joy and celebration, with good food and good beer, in the company of two of my favorite people—the wife and the child. Prost!

Friday, September 18, 2009


My Mirus driver tries to hide behind a log on hole #4. It wouldn't be the first disc of mine this hole has tried to gobble up.


What is it about the sport of disc golf that calls me forth to wander the wooded fairways and throw plastic discs at chain baskets? I'm not quite sure. But its siren song is fairly significant, as today I find myself playing through a head cold and its accompanying body aches.

I feel terrible, and yet here I am. I throw and try to think my through the obstacles and problems of the course. I make mistakes. I make some nice recoveries. I have a couple of awesome throws.

By the end of the round, I am feeling better than when I started. By the time I return home, I am worse than when I began. Would I do it again? Absolutely.


I utilized information off of one of my disc golf round worksheets, which was especially helpful due to my thickness of thought. It took some of the guesswork out of the game. I played sixteen of the holes based on driver recommendations from other rounds on the same holes. On two holes, #10 and #14, I substituted different drivers, since it seemed appropriate at the time. All in all, considering how I was feeling, I didn't play too poorly.

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

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

Total - 64 (+10)


I had an awesome initial drive on hole #9. My Innova Champion Valkyrie (150 grams) curved to the left, just as I hoped, and skirted the trunks of many trees to land within five feet of the basket. A quick putt and I had my birdie for the day.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009


At times overwrought, always hyperviolent, often plodding, and overly long, Watchmen is a movie that was probably better left on the pages of its source graphic novel. It tries to answer the question of which is more evil or dangerous—a being that is omnipotent but only semi-omniscient (Dr. Manhattan) or a being that is (almost completely) omniscient but only semi-omnipotent (Ozymandias)? Then there is the additional problem of beings who are completely nihilistic, uncaring, and divorced of their humanity—Rorschach and The Comedian. These four characters are the most interesting, even as I find that I have nothing in common with them. I cannot relate to them because these are distant gods. Their problems are not those of "the people" in the way those of the Greek or Norse gods are, which is what makes those pantheons intriguing for me. The two superheroes of the Watchmen who are the most human—Nite Owl and Silk Spectre—are the least interesting, partly because they are following in the footsteps of predecessors and partly because they are "drawn small." They don't get nearly the attention of the other four.

The movie does have a few things that work well. First, its alternate universe doesn't seem too different from ours, although many of the same problems remain. Second, the phantom of nuclear annihilation, which was very real in the 1980s, is alive and well in the world of the Watchmen as well. The paranoia of all-out nuclear war fuels much of the storyline, raising its own questions about the good or evil of humanity, about the presence or absence of God, about the need or lack thereof for masked vigilantes to curb our desires.


I checked out the graphic novel from the library at the same time as renting the movie. I ended up watching the movie first, which I now regret. After reading the first chapter of the graphic novel before firing up the home entertainment center, I now no longer feel compelled to read the words of Alan Moore or engage the artwork of Dave Gibbons. I am sure that the graphic novel is a better piece of art than the movie, since it seems more complex and contains elements that don't work on film, but it is now soured by my experience of a movie that as I stated above was better left on the page.

Sunday, September 13, 2009


(1) The wife, the child, and I drove out near Auburn to visit one of the many Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife fish hatcheries. We were there to see how many Chinook salmon had made their way up the Green River.

(2) Chinook salmon awaiting their moment to spawn.

(3) A walkway and containment pond on Soos Creek. This setup helps WDFW keep the salmon in place in order that they can ensure a successful spawning, and, therefore, many years of salmon runs to come.

(4) On-site signage explains the hatchery operation, as well as the life-cycle and environs of various types of salmon and trout.


We also stopped on a small bridge near the hatchery to watch salmon spawning in the wild. A female salmon had found her perfect nesting spot and was preparing it by kicking up the silt as she "flopped" her body side to side. Two males were "fighting" over the right to fertilize her eggs, although it really looked more like a choreographed dance. The child (who claims to want to be a zookeeper) was quickly bored by the proceedings, while the wife and I just kept standing and watching nature in all of its wonder and beauty and mortality, finding it difficult to pull ourselves away.

Friday, September 11, 2009


(1) The Puyallup Fair opened today. The brother, his friend, the child, and I wandered down to take in the sights and enjoy the weather along with thousands of others.

(2) This is what $16.80 of fair food looks like. The Krusty Pup belongs to the child. I should have done the same, especially since the onion burger with cheese was subpar. (And to think that I might learn something...)

(3) This is how to lose your overpriced fair lunch. The brother and his friend enjoyed this ride after their fair burgers. (They didn't lose their lunch, but easily could have in the "heavy weather" of El Niño.)

(4) The child was intrigued by all of the animal barns. We visited the 4-H cats, horses, miniature horses (pictured above), cows, and the ever popular "petting zoo" of domestic farm animals.

(5) I made sure that we stopped by and saw the winners of the Puyallup Fair Wine/Beer Competition at The Puget Sound Amateur Wine and Beermaking Club's booth before we departed. It would have been fun to sample some of these award-winning lagers and ales, but instead I devoured them with my eyes. Maybe I need to become a beer judge...

Tuesday, September 08, 2009


I am going to make two somewhat contradictory statements. First, I am not a big fan of Nora Ephron. Second, I loved Julie & Julia.


Nora Ephron is responsible for two movies that I absolutely cannot stand—Sleepless in Seattle and You've Got Mail. Part of that may have to do with the fact that they both "star" (non-) actor Tom Hanks. Part of that may have to do with the fact that they are corny "romantic comedies" filled with clichés. Ephron just doesn't seem to know when to quit. Or, at least she didn't in the 1990s.


Julie & Julia avoids both of those problems. First, it doesn't "star" Tom Hanks. Rather, it stars the rather charming Meryl Streep as Julia Child. Amy Adams as Julie Powell isn't as successful in her role as I would have hoped, but she brings a fair amount of likability to the character. Second, although some of the corny, clichéd romance is still present, it is pushed to the background, which allows for the "relationship" between Julie and Julia, as well as their relationships to food, to be highlighted.


My guess is that Ephron was reined in by her source material. Since she is working from two books in adapting her screenplay—Julie & Julia by Julie Powell and My Life in France by Julia Child with Alex Prud'homme—some of her own authorial voice is curtailed by the voices of the authors that she is inspired by and borrows from. This seems to have worked well.


Another thing that works well is that Ephron allows the characters of Julie Powell and Julia Child to speak about Ephron herself. It feels similar to what Woody Allen does when he directs a film and has a male protagonist that is obviously a "stand in" for himself. There is a self-referentiality that engages the characters, the writer-director, and the audience in order that each is satisfied. There is a thread of connection that binds Ephron to Julie and Julia, and, by extension, binds us to all three.


And let's not forget about the passion for food and cooking that borders on culinary pornography. The camera allows the dishes to shine. If it hadn't been for my giant bucket of faux-buttered, semi-stale theatre popcorn, then I would have been salivating through the entire movie and attempting to quiet my rumbling stomach.


I was inspired* enough to go home and make my own flavored butters for dinner, with the help of the child (as pictured above).


*Additional inspirations for trying to make some of our own food from "scratch," such as butter from heavy cream and seasonings, included (1) "Out of the Kitchen, Onto the Couch: How American Cooking became a Spectator Sport, and What We Lost along the Way" by Michael Pollan in the Sunday 02 August 2009 issue of The New York Times Magazine; (2) my expanding waistline; and (3) my astonishment at the nutritional information concerning a hamburger I ate.**


**The A.1.® Peppercorn Burger at Red Robin was described on their menu in glowing terms:
Sizzling, hickory-smoked bacon, melted Pepper-Jack cheese, A.1.® peppercorn spread, crispy onion straws, and tomatoes on an onion bun. It's a taste explosion!
It was an awesome burger. However, Red Robin also saw fit to include a laminated nutritional information card on our table. There I discovered that this burger also contained 1433 calories (half of what I need for an entire day) and 5619 milligrams of sodium. That level of sodium, while providing much of the flavor (and probably most of my enjoyment), is two to three times the recommended daily intake, and easily twice that of any other burger that Red Robin serves.


As they say, knowledge is power. Although the A.1.® Peppercorn Burger was a spectacular burger of salt and seasoning, savory beyond compare, I don't think I will be having another one anytime soon. I would prefer to live to see another day and to see what Nora Ephron comes up with next.