Sunday, August 29, 2010

THE CENTER for WOODEN BOATS



The three of us were hypnotized by the sea. It called to us.

The Wife suggested that we visit The Center for Wooden Boats on our final day of vacation, something I had talked about doing as part of my year-long Moby-Dick reading project, but couldn't quite fit into my work schedule. The Wife insisted and I listened.

The skipper who was going to captain the Admirable, a sailing gillnetter, had to unexpectedly cancel at the last minute. Instead, we signed up for the free public sailing of the steam launch Puffin. It was a quaint wooden boat with a small stove smack dab in the middle of its hull. Besides the four adult passengers and The Child, there was only room for the captain to steer the small vessel and the fireman to stoke the oven of its steam engine with pieces of oak and fir.

We putted about South Lake Union for almost forty-five minutes, getting to see dry docks and houseboats up close, soaking up bits of sunshine that peeked through the clouds and bits of briny spray that jumped over the bow.

We were still hypnotized, even though I seem to lack a proper pair of sea legs. I was somewhat dizzy on the docks both before and after the boat ride. I guess I was bred for terra firma.

Friday, August 27, 2010

BEER SHIRTS ACROSS AMERICA


SHIRT:
Firehouse Brewing Company.

LOCATION:
Schrag Safety Rest Area.

CITY:
Schrag, Washington.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

BEER SHIRTS ACROSS AMERICA


SHIRT:
Powerhouse Restaurant & Brewery.

LOCATION:
Silex Spring, Lower Geyser Basin.

CITY:
Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

BEER SHIRTS ACROSS AMERICA


SHIRT:
Hopworks Urban Brewery.

LOCATION:
Near Mud Volcano.

CITY:
Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

BEER SHIRTS ACROSS AMERICA


SHIRT:
99 Bottles.

LOCATION:
Absaroka Mountain Lodge.

CITY:
Cody, Wyoming.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

BEER SHIRTS ACROSS AMERICA


SHIRT:
"Drink beer. Play disc golf. Drink more beer. Life is good."

LOCATION:
Presidents Park.

CITY:
Lead, South Dakota.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

BEER SHIRTS ACROSS AMERICA


SHIRT:
Redhook.

LOCATION:
Crazy Horse Memorial.

CITY:
Crazy Horse, South Dakota.

Friday, August 20, 2010

BEER SHIRTS ACROSS AMERICA


SHIRT:
Old Lutheran Sin Boldly Lager.

LOCATION:
Badlands National Park.

CITY:
Interior, South Dakota.

ROAD TRIP 2010: DAY FOUR



DAY FOUR: Friday 20 August 2010.

This was the day that stirred the ten-year-old boy trapped within my being. All was dinosaurs again—Dinosaur Park and then the terrain that prehistoric creatures trodded upon and slithered across, The Badlands.

I ran to Tyrannosaurus Rex when we arrived at Dinosaur Park. I clambered onto the bony plate of Triceratops to ride him like the caveman that never could perform that actual feat. I was somewhere I had been decades prior, reverting to the person that had been in the same place then.

Then, it was off to Wall Drug and its blatant consumerism and its disappointment.

Then, it was off to The Badlands. In the middle of Buffalo Gap National Grassland are huge scars of sedimentary rock, the remnants of ancient seafloor that have been weathered and sculpted over the subsequent millennia. I imagined the strange beasts that swam in the warm seas that once ebbed and flowed here as I stared at the colored soils.

We drove through this desolate land, stopping at overlooks and viewpoints to marvel at creation imagined and experienced.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

BEER SHIRTS ACROSS AMERICA


SHIRT:
Silver City Ridgetop Red Ale.

LOCATION:
Devil's Tower National Monument.

CITY:
Devil's Tower, Wyoming.

ROAD TRIP 2010: DAY THREE



DAY THREE: Thursday 19 August 2010.

We drive from Billings, Montana to Rapid City, South Dakota. It is an all-day journey. We detour from I-90 to visit Devil's Tower National Monument, which is my favorite place we visit.

We are able to walk around the base of the basalt columns. We scramble over some of the lowest rocks of the boulder field. The trees are filled with prayer bundles and prayer cloths left behind by Native Americans as acts of worship and ritual. The day is hot, but not oppressively so.

It was hard not to reference scenes from Close Encounters of the Third Kind, although the magnitude and scale of Devil's Tower create a sense of awe that cannot be captured on film. It needs to be experienced.

The day ended as many of them will: with dinner and a swim in the hotel's pool. This is The Child's favorite part of the vacation. The Child could live in the chlorine-blue waters.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

BEER SHIRTS ACROSS AMERICA


SHIRT:
Beck's.

LOCATION:
Custer National Cemetery.

CITY:
Crow Agency, Big Horn County, Montana.

ROAD TRIP 2010: DAY TWO



DAY TWO: Wednesday 18 August 2010.

Today finds us in Billings, Montana and nearby places.

We visit Custer National Cemetery and the site of Custer's Last Stand at the Battle of Little Bighorn (the Battle of Greasy Grass to the Native Americans). Dan Old Elk, the great-grandson of Curly, an Indian scout of Lieutenant Colonel George Armstrong Custer, speaks to those of us gathered to listen to the tales he heard from his great-grandfather and his other relatives regarding the battle.

We visit the Pictograph Caves.

We visit The Uncle and The Aunt and The Cousins and their families.

Today is a day of Cowboys and Indians. Today is a day of Big Sky.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

BEER SHIRTS ACROSS AMERICA


SHIRT:
Blue Moon Honey Moon Summer Ale.

LOCATION:
Muralt's Cafe. Big Sky Country mural/map.

CITY:
Missoula, Montana.

ROAD TRIP 2010 : DAY ONE



DAY ONE: Tuesday 17 August 2010.

The wife, the child, the brother, the sister, the niece, and I decide to take a road trip together. We are following a loose path that my siblings and I traversed with the parents 32 years prior. The brother vaguely remembers the previous trip; the sister has no recollection, being too young; I remember large pieces of it vividly.

The six of us leave at midnight, rather than 6:00 a.m., to fend off anticipation and excitement, as well as drive in the dark. Three states (Washington, Idaho, and Montana), many rest stops, and about fourteen hours later, we arrive in Billings, Montana.

We eat, we swim in the hotel pool, we retire early.

Road Trip 2010 has begun.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

SUPER KABOBS


Tater tot and hot dog skewers were a hit with the elementary school (and under) crowd, even though they weren't exactly healthy. Two dipping sauces* (mustard and ketchup) sent The Child and friends over the edge!

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*"Just like Fritz, dad." Yes, just like Fritz.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

IPA PARADE: VARIATIONS

The August 2010 (first Tuesday) style night at 99 Bottles was Variations of the IPA. First, I must declare that I love my IPAs—regular, Imperial and/or double, black, whatever. Second, I must also declare that 99 Bottles pulled out the stops on this tasting and had the cream of the crop present for samples.

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Wild Devil, a Belgian-style IPA by Victory Brewing Company.

Hazy orange-yellow body with a thin white "head." The nose is spicy, cloves perhaps, and leather yeast. This is like a Belgian ale with an extra bitterness to it. This is Victory's Hop Devil, brewed with Brettanomyces, the wild yeast that gives many Belgian Abbey and Trappist ales their distinct flavors. It is an interesting variation on an already great IPA.

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Piraat, a Belgian-style IPA by Brouwerij Van Steenberge.

Clear gold with a thin white "head." The nose of this Belgian-style IPA is completely different from Wild Devil. It smells of fruit punch and bubblegum, with a hint of leather in the far background. It drinks crisp and dry, with a warm bite at the opening of the throat and a clean finish. Bubblegum, fruit punch, leather, and wet paper are the prominent flavors. It may not sound like a good combination, but it was, and surprisingly so.

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Oak-Aged Un*Earthly, an IPA by Southern Tier Brewing Company.

Copper-orange with a white ring. The aromas and flavors were as though conjoined twins. The subtle hint of an orange throat lozenge sat in the middle of oak, liquor, and a warming heat. It felt like a light syrup on the tongue. The great candied orange and alcohol gave this the best aroma and overall flavor of the five samples.

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Hop in the Dark, a black IPA by Deschutes Brewery.

Rootbeer brown with a white ring. The nose is dirty twig with a blackberry background, as well as a spice I can't quite name and some whipped cream. The flavor is black coffee, wood bark, roasted malts, and hidden cream, with a good amount of bitterness for some kick. I like this black IPA, although not as much as I enjoy Laughing Dog's DogZilla Black IPA.

(Black IPAs seem to be a new sort of hybrid beer, pairing the best qualities of stouts and porters with the bitterness of IPAs. They are also sometimes referred to as Cascadian Dark Ales. The style is not yet officially recognized by the beer "powers-that-be," but that in no way diminishes their boldness or flavor.)

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Alpha Dog, an Imperial IPA by Laughing Dog Brewing.

Clear gold body with a white ring. The nose is butterscotch? Fruity? Wet cat? (The hoppiness of the previous four IPAs may have temporarily destroyed my taste buds.) The flavor is bitter orange with extra bitterness piled on top, all of which is followed by an alcohol finish.

I am the most confused by this one. I believe that means that I need to tackle a full bottle of Alpha Dog to give it its proper due.

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Oak-Aged Un*Earthly was the apparent favorite of most of those present for the tasting when I was there. Something incredible was going on in all five of the bottles, but this wood-aged IPA took the form and flavor to another level.

Wednesday, August 04, 2010

GOLDEN TICKET


It was time again for a wee bit of self-promotion to be left behind for the finding.

Tuesday, August 03, 2010

SPACEWORKS TACOMA 4


I am noticing Thunderbird, nemesis of Whale, everywhere.


Planter chalk drawing in Tollefson Plaza.


Planter chalk drawing in Tollefson Plaza. I believe this one is by local cartoonist RR Anderson.


Planter chalk drawing in Tollefson Plaza.

Monday, August 02, 2010

SPACEWORKS TACOMA 3


(Subliminal message.)

SPACEWORKS TACOMA 2

We discovered Tollefson Plaza to be littered with letters. They lay about in piles. They formed words. The most intriguing pieces were "typographic" art. The letters and words and images were in flux as citizens entered the Plaza, manipulated the letters, took pictures of themselves next to their works, and then departed.



The official word on Letters by James Sinding is: "Inspiration for this open-air installation at Tollefson Plaza comes from the "letter" magnets people place on their refrigerators—magnified to the 10th power. A pile of 5 sq. yards of 12-in. painted, wooden letters extends an open invitation to passersby to write a poem, to read the thoughts of others, or to add their own."


Beauty.

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Read more about Letters by James Sinding at the Spaceworks Tacoma blog.

View more of the work of James Sinding on his blog.

SPACEWORKS TACOMA

The child and I headed to downtown Tacoma to view, experience, and interact with the art of Spaceworks Tacoma.



The first work we saw as we approached Tollefson Plaza consisted of beautiful and bold cut-out flowers. They were attached to the wire fence next to the Link tracks, six of them in a row. They are the work of Janet Marcavage.


Later, we noticed that someone had created an homage to the work, obviously plucking flowers from the Plaza planters and placing the blossoms on the concrete step near the installation.

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Read more about Untitled by Janet Marcavage at the Spaceworks Tacoma blog.