Tuesday, May 31, 2011

CARTOON LINKS

Some links to cartoon sites that I've been returning to on a regular basis:

Tacomic by R.R. Anderson.
It's political. It's funny. It's Tacomic!

Argh! Central by Paul Sundstrom
Parodies and/or reviews of movies and more.

The Cartoonists' League of Absurd Washingtonians.

Saturday, May 28, 2011

CHANG



11.15 ounce bottle (330ml), served in a pilsner glass.

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Before the beer notes begin, two things made me happy about the way this beer was served. First, the restaurant brought me the glass and opened bottle, in order that I was able to pour my own beer. Second, the glass wasn't chilled, which meant that additional cold didn't mask any of the aroma or flavor. Kudos to Thai Bistro of Federal Way, Washington for allowing me the pleasure of a full sensory experience.

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The pour delivered a clear straw yellow body with one-quarter inch of white head.

The aroma was a slightly funky vine scent, what I think of as "classic beer flavor," which was to be expected from a pale lager. (I assumed Chang was the Budweiser of Thailand.)

The flavor was floral and papery. It was rather mild, but enjoyable. I kept expecting a corn flavor to creep in, but it never did.

For a pale lager, this was a rather enjoyable beer. The floral notes played well against the curry and light spice of my gai yang, rice, and fried spring rolls.

This isn't something that I would seek out, but I wouldn't turn down a bottle if offered one.

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Chang Beer is one of the 1001 Beers You Must Taste Before You Die.

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Chang also has its own website.

Friday, May 27, 2011

CHICAGO DOG


I've been searching for a decent and inexpensive Chicago-style hot dog within a couple of miles of my home. I think I finally found one.

Sonic carries a reasonably priced Chicaco-style hotdog with all the fixin's—100% beef dog, yellow mustard, relish, tomato wedges, pickle spear, sport peppers, onions, celery salt, and poppy seed bun. It wasn't the best Chicago dog I've ever had, and it had a touch too much celery salt on it, but for the price and the proximity it worked well.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

SHADOW COUNTRY


I am slowly making my way through Peter Matthiessen's Shadow Country, a birthday gift from the friend D.

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It is one of those lengthy and weighty books to be savored, to be read and reflected upon, to be engaged and digested slowly. So far, I have done just that.

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Shadow Country is a revisitation and revision of three previous related novels by Matthiessen—Killing Mr. Watson, Lost Man's River, and Bone by Bone—each concerning the life and murder of one Edgar Watson. The novel is sectioned into three books, each one corresponding to one of the reworked novels.

I have now completed books one and two. I am finding it difficult to move into book three, primarily due to the power of the second book.

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Book one concerns the killing of Edgar Watson as seen through brief narratives of his neighbors and family members. His life and the fear that he instills in those who eventually kill him are cleanly sketched.

Book two shifts the consideration of the same material, the same mythologies, the same stories and legends as seen through the eyes of his many children, primarily that of his son Lucius. Lucius is interviewing those involved in the murder of his father as he attempts to figure out who his father was from the distance of many years.

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I have read a few reviews of Lost Man's River and of book two of Shadow Country that consider it the weak link in the three novels of the Watson trilogy and in the three books of Shadow Country. I can't speak to the the power of the third novel/book because I have yet to encounter any of its material. And, while I honor the opinion of those who consider book two a mere bridge, I wholeheartedly disagree.

Book two felt like a reworking in its own right of the material that preceded it in book one. I found the heartache and longing of Lucius to be more powerful, more poignant, than the stories of the murderous neighbors of Edgar Watson. I also get the sense that it is going to resonate stronger for me than the tale of Edgar Watson from his own point of view in book three.

Which leaves me sitting in the words and thoughts and memories of Lucius, and which leaves me listening to his story, his song, stuck for the moment, unable to move forward, unable to engage the words of his father.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

BEER & D'OH-NUTS



99 Bottles is having a tasting event almost every day of Seattle Beer Week this year. This morning’s tasting was a pairing of donuts from The Donut & Muffin Factory of Auburn, Washington with three different ales. The working idea was orange juice, bacon, and coffee to accompany the most blessed of breakfast foods.

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Rogue Somer Orange Honey Ale

First up turned out to be my least favorite. Hazy yellow-white body smelled of wheat and paper and perhaps a hint of honey. The same flavors were there, but I couldn’t quite find the eponymous orange. This was far too subtle to match the sugar donut I selected.

Tiffany of 99 Bottles said that it was a substitute for a tangerine wheat ale that didn’t arrive from the distributor in time. Having had a flavorful and satisfying tangerine wheat in the past, I can see where it would have worked better than Rogue’s offering.

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Three Skulls Buccaneer Bacon Beer

The second beer was intriguing, but as another taster stated (and I whole-heartedly concur), “This has to be paired with some sort of food. It is not a standalone beer.”

It appeared as though a pale ale in coloring. The nose and tongue rectified that notion, however. The nose was all cooked bacon, with a bit of “classic” beer aromas in the background. The primary flavor was definitely bacon. The finish lingered for a long time, which meant that the bacon did as well.

The sugar donut was actually a good pairing, tending to diminish the overall effect of bacon (and not much else), smoothing it out some, which was welcomed. I can also imagine it on a hot summer night with some ribs and barbecued baked beans.

Don’t get me wrong, I love bacon, but this was a better concept than experience. Perhaps some imagined creatures shouldn’t come into being.

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Laurelwood Portland Espresso Stout

The third and final beer was the best of the three, although I’m not a big fan of coffee, let alone espresso. As Tiffany stated, this would be one beer you could carry around in your coffee mug at work and no one be the wiser.

This stout looks like espresso with a tan head, smells like espresso, and tastes like espresso. The finish that lingers is espresso coffee until it finally fades away. It was a good accompaniment to the sugar donut.

If I enjoyed coffee, then this would be my breakfast beer of choice out of the three that I tried.

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As always, 99 Bottles offered another interesting food-and-beer tasting. They continue to reward their customers and lovers of craft beer with wonderful and well-planned events.

(For the record, the sugar donut was a great specimen of such.)

Friday, May 20, 2011

PUYALLUP VALLEY COMMUNITY BAND

The Family spent some time listening to the Puyallup Valley Community Band perform thirteen different numbers as part of their Spring Benefit Concert. Pieces included movements from larger pieces—”Farandole” from Bizet’s L'Arlésienne, “Sabre Dance” from Khachaturian’s Gayne Ballet—along with shorter pieces, such as “A String of Pearls” by Jerry Gray, “The League of Composers March” by Edwin Franko Goldman, and “Hail to the Spirit of Liberty March” by John Philip Sousa. The highlight of the evening, though, belonged to award-winning soloist Braden Waddell, who played the lead trumpet part in Mendez’s “La Virgen de la Macarena.” It was a wonderful, well-executed song that played to the strengths of both soloist and band.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

GLORY HOLE

No, not that kind of glory hole! I speak of the secondary furnace used in glassblowing to reheat the glass for forming and ensuring that it doesn’t break during handling.

The Wife, The Child, and TWT spent quite a bit of time watching the glassblowing students of Hilltop Artists create various vessels and containers in the hot shop of the Museum of Glass. That glory hole saw a lot of activity.

The photographic evidence...


(1) Reheating the "blob" of glass.


(2) Adding details.


(3) Additional flame and forming.


(4) Adding another feature.


(5) Giving shape to the glass.


(6) Heating the base.


(7) The iconic hot shop chimney.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

POWERHOUSE SAISON

Powerhouse Spring Saison, a Saison by Powerhouse Restaurant & Brewery.

Served on tap in a Unibroue tulip glass.

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I love a good saison. The Powerhouse delivers a good saison.

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This saison arrives with an opaque yellow body, tinted with orange. The head is a thin, brilliant white.

The nose is spicy. I smell cloves and cardamom and wet paper pulp.

The tongue is likewise spicy. I taste cardamom and cloves and pepper. Lurking behind these primary flavors is a sweet grass and what I can only describe as raw egg white. Wrapped around all of these flavors is a yeast that has a hint of and old leather jacket.

This is an enjoyable ale.

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There is almost an antiseptic tone in both aroma and flavor that increases as it warms. I think of it as similar to the smell of Sea Breeze Astringent face cleaner, only milder and smoother and more pleasant. This quality intrigues me.

When I arrive home, it is time to raid The Wife's spice cabinet and see if I can "recreate" some of the aromas and flavors. The "Sea Breeze" is definitely the cardamom and cloves.

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As per the beer board over the Powerhouse bar, this saison highlights cardamom and black pepper flavors, has an alcohol by volume content of 7.2%, and and original gravity of 1.062.

Good stuff. Highly recommended.

FLORAL LANDSCAPES


This bumblebee was as thick as my thumb and half as long. She stumbled drunkenly about these rhododendron blossoms, coated in pollen, unconcerned about the proximity of the camera and hand to her person.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

PARK LANDSCAPES

The Child and TWT wandered up to Puyallup's Bradley Lake Park to enjoy some spring sunshine and warm weather.


A great blue heron rests in the upper branches of a fir tree...


...before flying off once the pestering crows have left the area.


Walking around the lake.


Skunk cabbage!


Shadows getting ready to throw a Frisbee around.


An exaggerated catch!

Monday, May 16, 2011

ORANGE BLOSSOM


The Wife made pineapple chicken curry. I accompanied it with a Buffalo Bill's Orange Blossom Cream Ale. The orange and Trix cereal flavors of the beer nicely complimented the pineapple, curry, and rice flavors of the dish, while cutting some of the spiciness of the cayenne pepper I sprinkled over it.

Friday, May 13, 2011

FLOWER BED


Bluebells, azalea, bleeding heart.

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Monday, May 09, 2011

NATIONAL FREE COMIC BOOK DAY


It's National Free Comic Book Day (Saturday 07 May 2011).

Before we enter the Puyallup Public Library, I deliver a short speech to The Child. "If you want a particular comic book and someone tries to give you something you don't want, then you let them know what you would really like to have."

We enter.

Seated at a table are four teenagers—two male, two female. "Happy Free Comic Book Day!" they greet us. We smile and nod at them.

One of the young women points at twenty-five or so stacks of different comic books. "The ones at this end are for kids and the ones at this end are geared more toward adults." We glance at the different titles. Thor. Darkwing Duck. Spider-Man. Betty and Veronica. Green Lantern. Star Wars: The Clone Wars.

Star Wars! The gravitational pull of the adult side of the table is strong. The allure of mature knowledge titillates. The Force beckons. "Dad!" "I'll have to check it out first."

As I begin to thumb through it, to ensure that the material isn't too graphic, the young woman who spoke to us earlier holds out a Mickey Mouse comic book to The Child. "We've got Mickey Mouse," she entices as she waves it gently about. The Child looks at me, at the Star Wars comic book, at the young woman and the comic book in her hand, and back to me, with a bit of fear that Mickey Mouse will end up as the choice, the free comic. The Child whispers, "Dad, I really want the Star Wars comic book." "Then tell her," I whisper back.

"No, thank you."

The young woman looks at me and says, "It's okay, you can pick up to three free comic books." I shake my hand as though a head signaling "no" while I mouth, "It's okay."

"No, thank you," The Child repeats. "I'd really like the Star Wars comic book."

"Okay," says the young woman, seemingly somewhat deflated.

The Child takes the Star Wars comic book from my hand, beaming. I grab a copy of Jim Woodring's Weathercraft and Other Unusual Tales. We thank the four young adults and wander off to look at books.


Saturday, May 07, 2011

LOS ANGELES

"Los Angeles never gives the impression of being turned toward the open sea, as coastal cities usually are. For all that, it doesn't seem to turn its gaze inland either. In fact, the city appears to look at its self, to feed its own image. It's perhaps for this reason that some of the biggest movie studios are found here."
—page 337, "American Diary" by Eric Laurrent, as found in Best European Fiction 2011

Tuesday, May 03, 2011

A DAY IN THE LIFE OF PUYALLUP:
GENERAL WANDERINGS

Saturday 30 April 2011 was a day in the life of the city of Puyallup for Troy's Work Table. In addition to attending two events, The Child and TWT wandered about the city for a bit.


The sun made an appearance for some 60ºF weather.


Yellow and blue balloons lost to the ceiling of the Puyallup Public Library.


A Honda Civic covered in 5¼" floppy discs.


Old computer keyboard keys border the windows.


A side view of a car covered in colored floppy discs, which are glued to its body.


Fruit tree blossoms.


Wild cherry tree and blue sky.

Monday, May 02, 2011

A DAY IN THE LIFE OF PUYALLUP:
EL DÍA DE LOS NIÑOS, EL DÍA DE LOS LIBROS

Saturday 30 April 2011 was a day in the life of the city of Puyallup for Troy's Work Table. The second main event was "El día de los niños/El día de los libros (Day of the Children/Day of the Books)" at the Puyallup Public Library. It was a day that celebrated the cultural contributions of our Hispanic citizens to our wonderful city. This annual event included Latin American dancing, the live music of Grupo Indomable, a feast of various ethnic foods, crafts, and a free bilingual book for each child that attended (provided by the Friends of the Library). It was loud and crowded and a lot of fun.


The check-in table with free books for kids.


Dancing.


The brilliant colors of celebration and fiesta.


Circles.


More dresses as circles.


Still more dresses as circles. I believe I was hypnotized by the colors and motion from my perch on the Library's second floor walkway.


Enchiladas, rice and beans, pizza, donuts and cookies, juice, nachos—all provided by local businesses.


Grupo Indomable.


Bilingual storytime.


Balloons as far as the eye can see.

Sunday, May 01, 2011

A DAY IN THE LIFE OF PUYALLUP:
FAMILIES IN MOTION

Saturday 30 April 2011 was a day in the life of the city of Puyallup for Troy's Work Table. The first event was "Families in Motion on the Riverwalk Trail." It was sponsored by Friends of the Puyallup Riverwalk, with its main focus to get citizens of Puyallup and surrounding communities out on our local trail for fun and exercise. The event had a central location with booths, fire trucks, and food, as well as various self-paced events on the Riverwalk Trail itself. The latter included a scavenger hunt, a 3.2 kilometer run with or against our local state senator, and 5K and 10K Volksmarches.


Friends of the Riverwalk supporting Families in Motion on the Riverwalk Trail.


Walk this way.


TWT takes the big rig for a spin.


Firetruck hose controls/gauges then.


Firetruck hose controls/gauges now.


Booths of event participants in the Puyallup Goodwill parking lot.


This bird's nest was one of the Riverwalk Trail scavenger hunt items.


Pierce County Foothills Trail Map.


The 1 kilometer mile marker for the Volksmarchers.


Puyallup Kiwanis Foundation: another Riverwalk Trail scavenger hunt item is located.