Monday, May 28, 2012


This afternoon, TWT, The Wife, The Child, and The Dog parked at Chinese Reconciliation Park at one end of Tacoma's Ruston Way Waterfront and lazily strolled down to Cummings Park.  We stopped at points in between—Jack Hyde Park, Dickman Mill Park, Marine Park, and a nondescript picnic table along the water for the lunch we packed along.  Our goal, however, was to see the traveling memorial to the U.S. soldiers killed during the Iraq and Afghanistan conflicts.  It is known as Arlington Northwest Memorial, is presented by Veterans for Peace, and we've seen it before when it was set up in Olympia on a larger scale.

Today's installation included more than 2,000 "headstones" representing actual soldiers killed while serving in one of the United States armed forces, most of them in Iraq, some in Afghanistan.  A few coalition forces were also represented.  Some headstones were marked with ribbons to alert viewers that they were soldiers who hailed from Washington state towns and cities or were based at Joint Base Lewis McChord.  Needless to say, it is something that caused me to pause and reflect upon those who gave their lives for our country.  Some were my age.  Some were young enough to have been my children, if I got started right away.  Many were in between.


Arlington Northwest Memorial has a different power than Arlington National Cemetery in Virginia.  They both honor war dead, but in a different way.  Arlington National Cemetery honors those who served their country, whether their death occurred as a soldier or after they died later in life.  Arlington Northwest Memorial honors those who died fighting in Iraq or Afghanistan.  It makes one question the cost of overseeing and "managing" conflicts in countries half a world away.


Many of the headstones carry information written in the handwriting of family members or friends, or messages from them.  Some of the markers were obviously visited earlier by loved ones who left flowers or flags.

1st Lt. Forrest P. Ewens of Spokane, WA died 6.16.06 in Peeh River Valley, Afghanistan—by roadside bomb, leading his men. He was well loved.

Army Sgt. 1st Class Brian A. Mack, age 36, Phoenix, Arizona died January 13, 2005, IED in Mosul. Known as Daddy Mack for his mentoring skills. Leaves a widow & teen daughter.


These soldiers died defending the values of our great nation, although even in death there is debate as to what those values look like and whether or not we should be in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Army Cpl. Donald E. Fisher, II, age 21, Tacoma, Washington, died November 11, 2006 near Kirkut, convoy vehicle collision. Committed to the American war effort.

Pfc Devon J. Gibbons, Port Orchard WA. We honor you & pray the killing will end!


So, on this day, Memorial Day 2012, we remember those who died serving their country, even as we pray for peace and an end to war.

Saturday, May 26, 2012


I hung out with my new girlfriend Ophelia today.  She's a North Pacific Giant Octopus residing in the aquarium at Highline Community College's Marine Science and Technology Center.  She "graduates" back to the waters of Puget Sound on Saturday 09 June 2012, so I had to get down and visit her.

She put on quite a display today.  She changed mantle colors many times, moving from white to tan to orange to a brilliant red and back.  She also changed the texture of her mantle, sometimes smooth, sometimes highly papillated.  She moved from one end of her tank and back, over and over, extending her tentacles and playing about her enclosure, before cramming herself into a narrow gap in some rocks at the tanks edge.  There she was almost invisible, making herself known by poking out a tentacle every so often to entice those gathered before her.

I think I may be in love!  Alas, she'll be leaving me for "new" waters.  My heart breaks.

Friday, May 25, 2012


Tacoma superhero Sonics Guy sponsored Frost Park Chalk Off 5:8, encouraging Seattle Sonics themed chalk art.

"Sonics Squid" is a cephalopod version of Sonics Guy.

Sonics Guy and TWT hanging out in Frost Park after an hour of chalking fun.

Friday, May 18, 2012


The theme for Frost Park Chalk Off 5:7 was Puget Sound Starts Here, being sponsored by the same.

Troy played with one of the suggested topics: "Pick up pet waste, bag it, throw it in the trash."  That was translated into "P4 = Pick up Pet Poop 4 Puget Sound," featuring a TWT trademarked pet octopus.

Detail of "P4" = "Feed, Eat, Wait."

Detail of "P4" = "(1) Feed, (2) Eat, (3) Wait."

Detail of "P4" = "Poop, Bag, Discard."

Detail of "P4" = "(4) Poop, (5) Bag, (6) Discard."

Friday, May 11, 2012


Frost Park Chalk Off 5:6 was somewhat without a theme, although someone suggested an homage to the recently departed Maurice Sendak.  I'm not sure why, but the Old Ones of the Cthulhu Mythos and their minions immediately came to mind.  I pictured Max running amidst and amongst them in his crown and furry white suit.

"H.P. Lovecraft's Where The Wild Things Are."

Wild Thing #1.

Wild Thing #2.


Wild Thing #3.

Wild Thing #4 (Cthulhu) and Wild Thing #5.


Random notes:

(1) Even though it doesn't look anything like the description, I imagine my Wild Thing #5 as one of the Mi-go fungi.

(2) One of the notable things for me in Maurice Sendak's illustrations for Where The Wild Things Are is the round yellow eyes of the Wild Things.  It was the one thing I wanted to make sure I conveyed in this piece.  If anything was homage, then it was the beastly, staring yellow eyes.

(3) The most enjoyable part of chalking Lovecraft's uglies is that they are amorphous and ill-defined.  It allows for a lot of interpretation and play, which is fine by me.

(4) This was my favorite piece of chalk art I've done to date.  It just felt good to draw.  I had no pencil sketch for this one.  I just let them roll out of my brain, down my arm, and through the chalk onto the wall.

Thursday, May 10, 2012


My life has been pretty crazy the past two weeks.  My writing group, Les sardines, has been working hard to get issue number five, "Lost Maps," of our literary journal Les Sar'Zine published.  Tonight was the canning of the issue, which includes the work of nine writers and one artist.  Two days from now, the members of Les sardines host a release and reading party.

Friday, May 04, 2012


My piece for the Frost Park Chalk Off 5:5 began as a colored pencil sketch.

Normally, I prefer my sketches to what actually appears on the sidewalk, but felt the opposite this time around.  The only thing I would do different on this one is switch the positions of Foofa and Toodee, so that the pink of Foofa's outline was diagonal to Muno's red outline.  But that is minor.

I'm really happy with my rendition of Brobee, with his super elongated arms.


Yo Gabba Gabba!

Wednesday, May 02, 2012


Jalapeño Weed Ale, a Spice/Vegetable/Herb Ale by Mt. Shasta Brewing Company.

22 ounce bottle served in shaker glass

?% abv


I love jalapeños.  I love their flavor.  I love their spiciness.  I love their heat.


Not every food item needs to have a "bacon" version or "chili" version or "jalapeño" version.


But, back to Jalapeño Weed Ale...

The pour is a clear yellow body, so much so that it resembles a macrobrew.  There is no head.  It is lightly bubbly.

The nose is jalapeño peppers, so much so that I am simultaneously salivating and a bit scared to taste it.  The smell reminds me of opening up a jar of jalapeños.  Exactly.

The flavor has a spicy heat to it, but less than I expected.  The initial taste is of licking newspaper, followed by a bit of dirty ashtray.  Then the jalapeño flavor kicks in, with a bit of nettles for good measure.  The heat continues on the finish, along with light jalapeño flavor.

This ale is a bit watery, especially considering the peppers and "smokiness."


The jalapeño flavor in this ale is too harsh on the front end, and not because of the peppers; it's just a bit too grossly smoky.


Not too many beers meet the dump bucket at TWT, but this one did.  I can't even recommend it to someone who likes jalapeños.


On the other hand, I was given a sample of a jalapeño pepperoni stick from a booth at the Puyallup Farmer's Market.  It tasted like a "regular" pepperoni stick for about two seconds and then the jalapeño flavor made its self known and a slight spicy heat appeared.  The jalapeño was a welcome presence here, primarily because it was understated.  I purchased a package and enjoyed a stick each night as a snack before bedtime.


The guy working the Linds Custom Meats booth explained that they only use the skins of the jalapeño peppers in their meat, which provides flavor and a bit of heat, but not the intensity that the seeds deliver.  My guess is that if similar restraint was shown in the brewing of Jalapeño Weed Ale that it might be a beer I could enjoy.