Tuesday, June 28, 2011

ZINNIA


The new office plant.

Monday, June 27, 2011

READ


This sticker was seen on the side of a newspaper box in Tacoma.

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The Child: "What did that sticker say?"

TWT: "Move along."

The Child: "Yeah, but it said something about reading."

TWT: "It said, 'Read books all day long.'"

The Child: "Awesome."

TWT: "Indeed."

Sunday, June 26, 2011

THE BEST FRIED SHRIMP YOU'VE EVER HAD

"I'm like, can't you just make one thing well instead of making all these mediocre things? I was always impressed with how you go to another kind of restaurant and the only thing they serve is fried shrimp, but they're the best fried shrimp you've ever had. And when you really feel like having fried shrimp, you go over there with your friend and it's a sublime experience every time."
—Ivan Orkin of Ivan Ramen, page 38, Lucky Peach, Issue 1: "Ramen," Summer 2011.

Saturday, June 25, 2011

DORKY'S

After chalk art, it was off for some old school video games at Dorky's Barcade of Tacoma. (And kids are welcome until 9:00 p.m.)

The Child and I played some Tempest, Joust, Indy 500, and pinball machines.


It was awesome, except for (1) I never was very good at arcade video games or pinball; and (2) I stayed true to form. Nevertheless, it was a ton of fun. The Child wanted to return immediately.

Friday, June 24, 2011

FROST PARK CHALK OFF

TWT and The Child headed down to Tacoma's Frost Park for the Frost Park Chalk Off. It consisted primarily of members of the Cartoonists' League of Absurd Washingtonians (C.L.A.W.) but was open to the public. The Child went up against the heavyweights and fared rather well.


[1] Chalk artists stake out their area of sidewalk in Frost Park and get to work.


[2] The Child adds some details.


[3] "Octopus" by The Child. (The black is ink, released after being surprised.)


[4] RR_Anderson at work.


[5] "Adam Alien Bot" by RR_Anderson.


[6] James Stowe at work.


[7] "Portal" by James Stowe.


[8] Mark Monlux at work.


[9] "Groovy Tiki" by Mark Monlux.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

ESCAPE into DEATH

"I invented perils for his trip home—horrors rising up from the deep sea, the endless asphodel fields of the dead, sweetly singing witches to gull and bind him—but I could never quite bring myself to finally close the sea over his head or the jaws on his throat. Always I pulled him back, unwilling to let him escape into death."
—Polyphemus (the storyteller) on Odysseus, page 131, The Lost Books of the Odyssey by Zachary Mason.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

PAN DULCE


Various Mexican pan dulce pastries—conchas, chilindrina, ojos de toro, chocolate-glazed donut—from a local panaderia made for the best part of a Father's Day breakfast.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

GRANGER


[1] Granger, Washington seems a place hit especially hard by the economic downturn. This automotive repair shop has been shuttered by the Great Recession.

[2] Granger has been building lifesize dinosaur replicas in its various parks and public places. Here, a brontosaurus reaches for a bite of tree.

[3] Park and lake near the Yakima River.

[4] Dinosaur stereotypes: a scarred Tyrannosaurus Rex and a volcano (which houses the park's restrooms).

[5] "Tacos tortas y burritos" sign in front of two local businesses: an "authentic Mexican" restaurante and a panaderia (bakery).

Friday, June 17, 2011

BOX CAR BURGERS


The wife, the child, and I took a little road trip to Eastern Washington. En route to our final destination, we stopped by Box Car Burgers of Ellensburg for dinner.


This trip, I made sure that I ordered the 1/3 pound of beef Train Master instead of the 2/3 pound of beef Locomotive.

A little bit of burger heaven—bun, 1/3 pound beef, cheddar cheese, lettuce, tomato, red onion, Box Car Burger Sauce. The only thing missing, and it was my omission, was added bacon.

VALUE of an IMMORTALITY

"[Achilles] therefore intended to win what glory he could in his span of days. I questioned the value of an immortality that lasted exactly until one died but his fatalism was impregnable and he laughed at me and called me a sophist."
—Odysseus on Achilles, page 93, The Lost Books of the Odyssey by Zachary Mason.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

TOP CHEF

One of the few television shows that The Wife and I sit down and watch together is Top Chef (and its various spin-offs). Tonight, The Wife was inspired by last week's winning Quickfire Challenge and recreated the dish for dinner. On my plate was Halibut with Asparagus in Brown Butter Balsamic Vinaigrette by Chef Traci Des Jardins. Accompanied by a Caprese salad, rolls, and the saison I chose (Great Divide Brewing's Colette Farmhouse Ale), it was a really good, yet simple, gourmet meal.


The plating for The Wife and I.


The plating for The Child. "I don't like asparagus." "You have to try it." "I don't like the sauce on the fish." "There isn't any sauce on your fish. You have to try it."

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

FORT STEILACOOM


[1] The tiniest bee: 1/4" long.


[2] Hill Ward Memorial, former ward of Western State Mental Hospital.


[3] Trees, clouds, sunshine, sky.


[4] Great blue heron.


[5] Mallard duck and duckling on Waughop Lake.


[6] Prairie grass and trees.


[7] Damselfly at rest.


[8] Flowers and grass.


[9] Old poultry barn.

VERMIN

"Where great, wild creatures ranged, the vermin prosper."
—page 21, Wildlife in America by Peter Matthiessen.

Monday, June 13, 2011

BLUR

"We all stretch the truth and tell lies by omission. Just getting along with people involves both. Humans are hardwired to deceive. We deceive when we're competing with other members of the same sex; we deceive when we're trying to attract the other sex. Deception is more the state of nature than not deceiving. In the animal kingdom, virtually every species deceives all the time. Why don't we lie even more? It helps our reputation for people to know they can believe us."
–page 67, aphorism 197, Reality Hunger by David Shields.

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Aphorism 197 from Reality Hunger, Remixed HERE.

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Emphasis last line: "It helps our reputation for people to know they can believe us."

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Saturday, June 11, 2011

MOTHERS COOKING

"Dawn is cracking, and Mama's fingering flour in a bowl. / ... / Now she's working the lard in —and dribbling clabber from a jug."

—page 17, from "Skin," Romey's Order by Atsuro Riley.

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"Halves of a turnip. / A mother in the kitchen, a lifetime of cuts. / A cabbage cut into mountains and rivers,..."

—from "Mother, Kitchen" by Ouyang Jianghe, as found in the June 2011 issue of Poetry.

Friday, June 10, 2011

NOODLE BOWL


My second prepackaged noodle bowl was Pad Thai. It was pretty good for what it was. At first, it seemed as though they included too many peanuts, but I think it was the right amount. If some scrambled egg and shrimp had been included, I could almost have imagined it to be The Wife's homemade pad thai. Almost.

Thursday, June 09, 2011

NOODLE BOWL

I've had many recent reasons to be thinking about noodles. First, I recently watched Blade Runner again and was amazed how many shot there are of Deckard (Harrison Ford) sitting at noodle stands in the rain-drenched dystopic Los Angeles of 2019, fiddling with chopsticks and slurping up noodles. Second, I subscribed to the the new Lucky Peach food journal, whose inaugural issue will focus on ramen. Third, friends were recently telling me of their own love of noodles and the opening of a nearby noodle house. Fourth, The Wife has been watching Jamie Oliver's Food Revolution and encouraging the entire household to eat healthier.

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Prepackaged noodles probably aren't exactly what The Wife had in mind, but I figured moving from Cup O Noodles to firing up a wok at work for my lunch needed one or two intermediary steps. Therefore, I found myself perusing the natural food section of our local grocery store. I stumbled upon the noodle bowls and bought a couple to try.

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I assumed the noodles would be dehydrated, but instead they were vaccum-sealed. This allowed them to be softer and to need less cooking, which meant that they were closer to what I would get in a restaurant or from The Wife.

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The Korean sweet chili noodle bowl was very good. The Hokkien noodles were pliable yet firm. The gochujang red chili paste reminded me of one of my favorite sriracha sauces. It was much healthier than what I often eat for lunch, although I noted that it was still high in sodium. However, it felt like progress. Plus, I was able to play with chopsticks, which I realized I am not very adept at using.

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[1] Korean Sweet Chili Noodle Bowl by Annie Chun's All Natural Asian Cuisine.


[2] Cardboard removed reveals the lid.


[3] Lid removed reveals vacuum-packaged Hokkien noodles, dry topping packet, and sauce packet.


[4] One cup of water added, heated, and drained leaves behind a wonderful lunch.

Wednesday, June 08, 2011

EVENING GROSBEAK (in the MORNING)


This guy and his lady friend have been showing up to our bird feeder the past few days. Although not quite as brilliantly yellow as the gold finches that normally visit, this grosbeak is stunning due to his yellow plumage, stunning blue-green beak, and his large (for a member of the finch family) size. He works hard at eating seeds and keeping the feeder free of smaller birds—house finches, purple finches, chickadees, and others—in order that he and his lady can enjoy their feast alone.

Wednesday, June 01, 2011

DOGFISH HEAD LIMITEDS



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99 Bottles is having a tasting event almost every day of Seattle Beer Week this year. The evening of Saturday 28 June's tasting was five Dogfish Head limited edition or rare beers. The place was full. It was the busiest I've ever seen it for a tasting. We formed a large circle that winded its way counterclockwise through the store, picking up a beer and tasting it as we moved along, until we once again made our way to the counter and another beer to view and smell and taste.

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Namaste, a Belgian-style White Ale

This ale was a hazy light yellow with a white head. It smelled of leather jacket and coriander. The same flavors were present, with the addition of wet paper and twigs.

Normally I like a paper taste in some of the drier ales I try. Sometimes that paper reminds me of a nice parchment or a favorite book, which is good. Other times that paper reminds me of cardboard or a sheet of 20 lb. copy and/or bond paper, which is neutral. And then, on occasion, that paper reminds me of wet newspaper, which is bad.

Namaste's paper flavor was the latter. There was something "off" about this white ale. I'm not quite sure what it was, but would be better able to determine such with a few more sips and a bit more time. However, I don't want to put that much energy and time into exploring it. I would give it another try if offered, but I wouldn't seek it out.

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Black & Blue, a Belgian-style Golden Ale

As the line snaked through for the second time, and picked up a few new people, I came upon tasting number two. It's body was yellow with a hint of orange and capped with a thin white head. It smelled of blueberry pancakes. It tasted of blueberry pancakes with a hint of blackberry jam.

I find that fruit beers, such as this cleverly named Black & Blue, tend to be rather fizzy. This one, however, was less so, and that was welcomed. This was an enjoyable fruit ale. In fact, I kept thinking that this would have been a good addition to last week's beer and donut pairing.

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My Antonia, an Imperial Pilsner

The third time through the throng, I was met with a clear clear clear straw colored ale with a full finger of white head. (Other tasters' pours looked the same. It was impressive for the small tasting glasses we had!) The nose and tongue were of parchment (good paper) with a hint of vine and leaves. I also sensed some tobacco leaf lurking in the background.

This isn't what I think of when I see the words "pilsner" or "lager," but it definitely lived up to the term "imperial." The flavors were bold, with an accompanying alcohol warmth that filled the entire mouth. This was excellent.

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Hellhound on My Ale, an Imperial IPA

Trip number four gave me what was my favorite beer of the tasting. Hellhound on My Ale, a beer brewed as a tribute to blues musician Robert Johnson on the centennial of his birth, was layered and complex. It smelled of flowers and citrus and alcohol. The mouthfeel was exceptionally smooth, which countered the bitterness of the flavor profile. Caramel and orange and orange peel and resin bitterness and hints of Belgian ales, along with a whole host of flavors that were fleeting and kaleidoscopic, left me somewhat stunned.

I was literally standing there thinking, "Oh my God, this is good. Why didn't I pick up a bottle of this before they were all claimed? Oh well."

Too bad there won't be another run for this one-time homage...

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World Wide Stout, an Imperial Stout

The final pass by the counter, through crowds that were now almost too packed to allow me to pass, delivered another gem of a beer. This 18% alcohol-by-volume stout was accompanied by a small block of Dove dark chocolate with almond nibs.

In my notebook I wrote, "Oh, sweet Jesus." I know that I meant it because the other notes are somewhat lacking. "Smooth. Chocolate. Alcohol." "I can feel the alcohol rather than taste it." Although I could taste it. It just wasn't overpowering. It was more like a fine liqueur than an ale. It finished with what I described as "damp brown sugar."

The chunk of chocolate was a great match for the beer, but I didn't write anything about such. I'm just trying to remember it that way. I'm nearly certain the memory is true, even though I was somewhat stunned at the time by three powerful and complex beers on the back of a great fruit ale.

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"Analog beer for the digital age."