Friday, July 29, 2011


Troy's Work Table participated in another Frost Park Chalk Off and won!

"Octopus Rides a Bike" celebrated cephalopods and cycling. Octopus loves his horn. "Honk honk!" Watch out!

Thursday, July 28, 2011


One of the many Gig Harbor marinas, as viewed from a canoe.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Monday, July 25, 2011


Hiking through Lava Canyon. This is a suspension bridge over Muddy River, on the south side of Mount St. Helens.

Sunday, July 24, 2011


A fist-sized frog in Silver Lake, near Castle Rock, Washington and Toutle, Washington.

Saturday, July 23, 2011


Leaping over the Wall of one's high school hallway was much easier when one was in high school.

Friday, July 22, 2011



Today, the Spectrum Squid appeared on the sidewalk of Tacoma's 9th Avenue, spraying its distinctive ink cloud.

The squid allowed Troy a third place ranking in this week's Frost Park Chalk Off competition, which while flattering, isn't the point of going and chalking. It's simply one of the best forms of therapy; it's a way to make the rest of the world's cares disappear for an hour in the company of like-minded individuals.

Monday, July 18, 2011


"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 close the sea over his head or the jaws on his throat. Always I pulled him back, unwilling to let him escape into death."
—page 151, The Lost Books of the Odyssey by Zachary Mason.

The conceit of The Lost Books of the Odyssey is that these are collected stories of the Odyssey that are non-canonical. The most conservative and least offensive bits were what were collected into what we think of as Homer's Odyssey. This brilliant notion allows Mason to play with Odysseus and the other actors of the Iliad and the Odyssey, opening up the texts to new interpretations and readings, and allows characters to chart their own courses. Odysseus takes a turn as teller of his own tales, but in a role more author, more Homer, than actor or character. Polyphemus the Cyclops even gets a chapter to explore his turn as the bard.

My favorite chapters are those where Odysseus finds a text or tales of the Iliad and the Odyssey, and settles in for a bit of reading. Are they Homer's works, those contained within the novel in hand, or a third (or fourth (or more)) set of stories? We never really know. Nevertheless, these funhouse mirrors and the problems they pose intrigue me.

Some tales are more favorable to Odysseus than others, but all are tinged with tears. There is a sorrow that hangs over these stories, just as in the "original."

These stories continue to sing to me, even after a few weeks distance from reading them. I know that the melodies will slowly fade, but my guess is that I will still remember a note or two, even without reading it again. (Although I will definitely read this book again. I highly recommend you do the same.)

"Eventually, memory is subsumed in white noise."
—page 144, The Lost Books of the Odyssey by Zachary Mason.

Friday, July 15, 2011


Troy's Work Table participated in another Frost Park Chalk Off challenge. This time, he sketched a lollipop-fixated Captain K'nuckles, while suffering through his own sugar withdrawals. It was fun and turned out to be an okay drawing, although the Captain's torso was too short; K'nuckles needed more blue between that tongue and shirt. Oh well. The original pencil sketch was a better likeness.

He was also no competition for the winning work of Monlux.* It was four times as large, intricately and geometrically patterned, and played with the somewhat theme of the day: billboards.

*Or the work of many of the others present, for that matter!

Tuesday, July 12, 2011


Clockwise from upper left: [1] the June 2011 issue (eighty-first issue: lissome) of The Believer; [2] the June 2011 issue (13:2) of Leviathan: A Journal of Melville Studies; [3] the inaugural issue (Summer 2011) of Lucky Peach; and [4] the July/August 2011 issue of Poetry.


[1] The Believer

The Believer is something I look forward to each month. It's quirky. It contains new poems, interviews with figures of literary and artistic merit, long articles about books and culture, reviews of many things (including books), comics, oddities, and intriguing ephemera.

I never read it in order. I skip around. Eventually, I end up reading all of it, interspersed between readings of other journals, poems, and books.


[2] Leviathan

This issue of Leviathan has some great articles. My favorite is Zachary Hutchins on "Moby Dick as Third Testament." He examines the religious elements of Melville's magnum opus and posits that while Melville may have insisted that he wrote "a wicked book," there is enough evidence to show that he is in fact extending the imagery, ritual, and narrative themes of the Old and New Testament. I'm not enough of a Melville or biblical scholar to know if all of his hypothesis works, but it is nonetheless very interesting and compelling.


[3] Lucky Peach

Lucky Peach is the latest offering from McSweeney's. They teamed up with chef David Chang of Momofuku; Peter Meehan, former food reviewer for the New York Times; and the production team of Zero Point Zero Productions to produce both a magazine and an iPad app. The magazine is focused on food, but is more about the experience of eating and the philosophy of eating than it is about recipes, although those are also present. This inaugural issue is all about ramen. It's great to have a smart magazine about food that explores a style of food or concept with its readers. This is truly of celebration of food (and in this case, ramen).


[4] Poetry

The most recent issue of Poetry also has a gastronomical section. "He Digesteth Harde Yron" is the ruminations of six poets—Nikki Giovanni, Ange Mlinko, Michael Hofmann, A.E. Stallings, W.S. Di Piero, and Kristin Naca—on food memories or food desires. It is as interesting as last month's translation issue, which is my favorite issue each year.

Monday, July 11, 2011


Dear Reader:

Troy's Work Table provided some much needed maintenance work on sidebar links—removing those that were broken, outdated, or stagnant; changing those that had shifted to their new addresses; and adding some new discoveries. Please enjoy!


Friday, July 08, 2011


A recent article in The News Tribune focused on a gray whale skeleton being assembled in Tacoma. Last week, The Child and I set off to find it. Unfortunately, I had the address wrong and we ended up wandering around the wrong part of town. Today, I had the correct street and block but wasn't sure we would find it. An eavesdropping passenger on the Link light rail assured me that he had just passed the skeleton and its crew earlier in the morning. (Thank you for overhearing our conversation and speaking up!)

We found it! We poked our head in the doorway and were invited in. Next thing we know, we are being encouraged to touch and lift bones. Some of the students and scientists showed The Child the finger bones of the flippers while I took some pictures, which they also encouraged. The Wife was outside discussing some of the details of the flensing of the whale's corpse with one of the marine biologists.

It was an absolutely awesome experience.

[1] Vertebrae and ribs, recently bleached and inventoried.

[2] Arroyo gray whale skull.

[3] Spine, ribs, and diagram of flipper bones layout.


1,300 pounds of bones—for a beast that weighed 40,000 pounds overall—were scattered throughout a small Tacoma storefront. The bones were rather light for their size. The Child was easily able to lift a rib bone that one of the scientists placed in The Child's hands.


The bones are tough yet somewhat hollow, similar in structure to those of a bird. (At least in my imagination. The truth may slightly different.)

These large creatures can truly "fly" through the sea.


At today's Frost Park Chalk Off, Troy's Work Table decided to replicate the "One World, Many Stories" Summer Reading bird on the sidewalk. TWT was somewhat pleased with it.


Summer reading at Puyallup Public Library.

Summer reading at Pierce County Library System.

Summer reading at Tacoma Public Library.

Monday, July 04, 2011


Happy Fourth of July!
"Happy 4th of July! Everybody Gets a Tank!" by Mark Monlux, Frost Park Chalk Off 07-01-11.

Happy Independence Day!
"Heart of America" by Ariel & Rebecca, Frost Park Chalk Off 07-01-11.

Friday, July 01, 2011

This tiny hermit crab and his buddies were lounging in the shallows of the shoreline of Tacoma's Thea Park.


The Child and I headed down to Tacoma's Frost Park for another round of sidewalk chalk art. The Child drew a plate of breakfast—eggs, bacon, toast—alongside a fork and glass of orange juice. TWT drew a bottle of IPA, snifter of the same, and bottle cap. It was okay, but a long way from being any sort of competition for the artists and cartoonists that were present.

Troy's IPA: from bottle to snifter.