Saturday, December 28, 2013

Tuesday, December 24, 2013


"He stood there. He felt with his thumb in the painted wood of the mantle the pinholes from tacks that had held stockings forty years ago. This is where we used to have Christmas when I was a boy. He turned and looked out at the waste of the yard. A tangle of dead lilac. The shape of a hedge. On cold winter nights when the electricity was out in a storm we would sit at the fire here, me and my sisters, doing our homework. The boy watched him. Watched shapes claiming him he could not see. We should go, Papa, he said. Yes, the man said. But he didn't."

—page 22, The Road by Cormac McCarthy.


"It's snowing, the boy said. He looked at the sky. A single gray flake sifting down. He caught it in his hand and watched it expire there like the last host of christendom."

—page 13, The Road by Cormac McCarthy.

Saturday, December 21, 2013


Sunset on the North Hill of Puyallup.

The longest night has me in its clutches. It is on the back side of two nights of insomnia. I am worn thin—physically, mentally, emotionally, spiritually.

The darkness of the season strips me. Soon, I am only wounded flesh, aching bones.

The cold of the snow that came and went in a few hours still lingers. I feel it in my body. I feel it in my mind, it being conjured up in my recent reading of Peter Verhelt's Tonguecat at the recent Post Defiance Winter Reading, as well as it reaching for me from this night in 2007. I feel it in the anger that it is quick to surface as people crowd around me (and from this night in 2012). I feel it in my soul as the loneliness of Advent waiting shifts from anticipation to apathy. I feel the need to hibernate.

I just want to curl up with a pint of winter warmer and a good book. I want to take a few sips and read a few pages and drift into a nap, short or long. But I want to rest, to sleep, to dream.

Sunday, December 15, 2013


Tonight, I attended the second annual Winter Reading of Post Defiance, an online magazine based in the real world of Tacoma (physically, figuratively, thematically).

It was a time to sit together in someone's living room and snack on food and drink beer and wine and read winter- and Christmas-themed poems and essays and stories to one another. The readings included many animals under the canopy of the "winter" tent. Some were traditional—a poem by Robert Frost and a short story by Pearl Buck. Some were humorous—a chapter from The New York Regional Mormon Singles Halloween Dance by Elna Baker, chapters from two different Augusten Burroughs books, an excerpt from The Rebel Angels by Robertson Davies, and a poem by E.B. White. Some were apocalyptic—excerpts from World War Z by Max Brooks and Tonguecat by Peter Verhelst (the latter read by me). Some were horror-laden—"The Festival" by H.P. Lovecraft. Some were written for children, although we enjoyed them as adults—a (first printing) picture book (from the 1960s) of A Charlie Brown Christmas by Charles Schulz and Part 3 of a story being serialized* on Post Defiance, the latter read by its author. And there were a few more.

It was great to find a group of other people for whom literature is serious business, both as writers and (perhaps even more importantly) as readers, and to sit in their midst and to hear their voices and to hear the stories that they selected to share. It was a bit of winter magic in the midst of the dark and damp of the Pacific Northwest in December. It was beautiful.


Read The Holly and the Ivy, Part 1 by Timothy Thomas McNealy.
Read The Holly and the Ivy, Part 2 by Timothy Thomas McNealy.
(Part 3 will be released at Post Defiance on Monday 16 December 2013.)

Saturday, December 14, 2013


How like a winter hath my absence been
From thee, the pleasure of the fleeting year!
What freezings have I felt, what dark days seen!
What old December’s bareness everywhere!

—from "Sonnet 97" by William Shakespeare.

Friday, December 13, 2013


Detail of a "gingerbread house" nutcracker friend that TWT made at The Child's school event.

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Saturday, December 07, 2013


The Christmas lights were hung...

Friday, December 06, 2013


Troy's Work Table visited 99 Bottles this morning and indulged in this week's Flight of Four while he browsed the shelves and coolers.


Dogfish Head Kvasir

The pour is a clear orange body with a tinge of pink at the edges.

The nose is mostly tart berries, with a hint of yeast.

The tongue is a tart berry bite, which leads into a licorice and honey middle (almost like a "high-end" herbal cough drop), and is followed by a dry finish. Wheat and bark notes lurk in the background.

This beer is an excellent surprise. The tart isn't too tart; even those who don't particularly care for sour beers should be able to handle this one.

One of the 99 Bottles clerks asked me what I thought of it. After I gave him my assessment, he told me that he thought it would be a perfect beer for Thanksgiving dinner. He's right.

This beer was my favorite of the four. Highly recommended.


Wingman Brewers Miss-B-Haven

The pour is a hazy straw yellow with a fuzzy white rim.

The nose is funky, yeasty, and a bit antiseptic.

The tongue is more of the same with a bit more of (Seabreeze) antiseptic, cloves, and grapefruit peel.

It's a good representation of the Tripel style. Very drinkable.


Ballast Point Big Eye IPA

The pour is clear yellow-orange.

The nose is butterscotch and orange.

The tongue is bitter leaves, butterscotch, orange, orange peel, grapefruit, and more bitterness. The initial jolt of bitterness somewhat smooths a bit, but not as much as I expected. The finish is quite long, remaining as bitters and butterscotch.

This is a bold IPA, although just a bit too much of bitterness presents on the front. Otherwise, this could easily stand alongside some of the "classic" and much coveted IPAs and/or IIPAs (Russian River Pliny the Elder or Dogfish Head 90-Minute Imperial IPA, for example).


Widmer Brothers Raspberry Russian Imperial Stout

The pour is dark brown to black.

The nose is faint cough syrup, freshly turned mulch and/or soil, black licorice, and dark chocolate.

The tongue is raspberries and dark chocolate bar, with hints of coffee, bark, black licorice, and mulch.

Essentially, this is like drinking a raspberry chocolate bar, although it has what I consider to be a strong medicinal finish.

This was my least favorite of the four, although it could have been better if there was less of a medicinal flavor. I'm sure plenty others will find this satisfying.

(Part of the Widmer Brothers Reserve Series.)

Tuesday, December 03, 2013


"As long as society was united in its religious faith and its view of the universe, as long as the way in which people lived changed slowly, audience and artists alike tended to have much the same interests and to see much the same things."

"It is not until the great social and ideological upheavals of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries that difficult poetry appears, some of Shakespeare, Donne, Milton, and others. The example of these poets should warn us against condemning poetry because it is difficult."

—W.H. Auden on "Light Verse," as found in The English Auden: Poems, Essays and Dramatic Writings, 1927-1939.

Saturday, November 30, 2013


The main floor of the Book Fair at Short Run 2013. 

Short Run is one of those gifts of the gods that appear every so often. It's a wonderful thing bestowed upon us humans, and we didn't even know we needed it until it descends from divine regions into our midst.

Short Run is a small press festival focused on zines, comics, small presses, independent publishers, and homemade animation. Last year, Short Run was located at Vera Project at Seattle Center. This year, it moved to Washington Hall near the Seattle University campus. The main room of the Book Fair seemed to be a much better space overall. It was still too crowded, though, which is a good problem to have for all of these artists, illustrators, and writers. But I didn't like having to fight to move from table to table.


I made a couple new discoveries.

One of my favorite artists there was Kinoko. I purchased her The Epic of Gilgamesh, both volumes #1 and #2. These comics loosely follow tales of Gilgamesh with a fresh updating of the stories. The artwork is filled with bold lines and Mesopotamian flavors. The look of the characters reminds me of illustrations I encountered somewhere in my childhood, but can't quite figure out in what book or from what illustrator. But that's okay because these works speak for themselves. See more of Kinoko's work HERE.

One of my favorite small publishers there was Little Otsu. Their stable of authors, artists, and illustrators have an aesthetic that feels shared. The works are magical and soft, filled with flora and fauna that inhabit a world perhaps known as Otsu. I like the childlike atmosphere that this world has, even though the works themselves don't feel childlike. See some of what Little Otsu has to offer HERE.


I'm looking forward to next year. I think I need to get writing and perhaps be an exhibitor.


Dusk walk on the River Walk Trail with The Dog. Saturday 30 November 2013.

Friday, November 29, 2013


Morning walk with The Dog. River Walk Trail. Friday 29 November 2013.

Tuesday, November 19, 2013


Seagulls on roof. North Hill of Puyallup. Tuesday 19 November 2013.

I like the way that the horizon of roof feels like shore or sea against the slate sky.


BNSF freight train at Valley Avenue crossing, Puyallup, Washington. Evening of Monday 18 November 2013.

Saturday, November 16, 2013


Maple leaves on the sidewalk. Puyallup Public Library. Saturday 16 November 2013.

Friday, November 15, 2013


"Chorus" by Troy's Work Table. Winter Chalk #2. Friday 15 November 2013.


Miley Cyrus meets The Iliad.

Miley Cyrus, Jimmy Fallon, and The Roots inspiration HERE.

Achilles and The Iliad inspiration HERE.

Thursday, November 14, 2013


"All round and round does the world lie as in a sharpshooter's ambush, to pick off the beautiful illusions of youth, by the pitiless cracking rifles of the realities of age."

—page 311, Pierre, or the Ambiguities (the Kraken Edition) by Herman Melville.


(Happy 162nd birthday to the publication of the American edition of Melville's Moby-Dick, or, the Whale.)

Friday, November 08, 2013


"Exile" by Troy's Work Table. Winter Chalk #1. Friday 08 November 2013.


The Frost Park Chalk Off Challenge has gone on hiatus due to winter and weather (rain). It won't be back until April.

What is a guy to do when the urge to chalk is still there?

Obviously, take the chalk to the carport for one's own Winter Chalk series.


This piece owes a debt of gratitude to "Cabeza" by Jean-Michel Basquiat and "Rising Sun" by Paul Klee, whose paintings inspired the imagery. My favorite part, though, is the underworld "chorus" of shades who peek up at the man in exile. Those three are all mine, although they share features with the man above them.

Thursday, November 07, 2013


Belgo Pumpkin, a Sour Pumpkin Ale by Justice Brewing Company.

22 ounce bottle served in Sam Adams glass.

6.0% alcohol by volume


The pour is hazy, hazy orange. A few streams of bubbles can be seen. A thick head of off-white forms, easily three fingers thick. It dissipates into a finger-thick foam head.

The nose is of berries and faint spices, with faint undertones of sour leather.

The tongue is sour—lemony, sour berry tart. As the sour calms down, there may be a bit of pumpkin there but it is hard to tell.

The mouthfeel is medium. Whatever sweetness is there (and I think it’s there) is quickly dried out by the sour.

After the looooooooong finish, there is some pumpkin flesh, a hint of spice, some Belgian funkiness.


After the initial “sour shock” wears off, there may be some pumpkin there, but this isn’t going to give me the pumpkin pie I seek. It’s not bad; in fact I quite rather like it; but it’s not at all what I imagined.

I need to let it warm up a bit and see what happens…


As it warms, it becomes more sour Belgian with hints of pumpkin flesh and ginger than the “sour shock” it was prior. Sour is still there and prominent (and somewhat dominant), but as it warms it increases in complexity.

I like this ale quite a bit. It’s still not what I expected and bit strange, but a good and welcome strange. It's an adventurous and playful beer; not for the faint of heart.

Recommended if you like sour ales.

Wednesday, November 06, 2013


The Great Pumpkin, an Imperial Pumpkin Ale by Elysian Brewing Company.

22 ounce bottle served in Sam Adams glass.

8.1% alcohol by volume.


Lightly hazy orange to orange-yellow body on the pour. Thin bright white head. A lot of light streams of bubbles.

Nose is pumpkin pie, with a bit more spice than Night Owl. Perhaps I detect a bit of pear?

Taste follows the nose—pumpkin pie, with a bit more spice than Night Owl. Cloves and cinnamon are prominent. Also a bit of ginger. It’s heavier on the spice and drier than Night Owl.

This is less pumpkin pie and more spice.


Excellent.  I used to think of The Great Pumpkin as Night Owl on steroids, but no longer. I like this very much, but I actually prefer Night Owl. Night Owl is pumpkin pie in a bottle; The Great Pumpkin has higher alcohol content, but lacks some of the balance that Night Owl has.

I recommend it if you like pumpkin pie spices. 

Tuesday, November 05, 2013


"His thoughts were very dark and wild; for a space there was rebellion and horrid anarchy and infidelity in his soul." 

—page 293, Pierre, or the Ambiguities (the Kraken Edition) by Herman Melville.


Each year, the black walnut tree decides to lose the majority of its leaves in one day. Usually it follows upon the first hard frost in late October or early November. This year, it was during autumn's first windstorm.

The green of the grass disappears beneath a layer of yellow and brown leaves... the tree "gives up the ghost."

The Dog wanted to be in the midst of the cleanup. That is, until the wind would start to howl again. Then, The Dog would hide behind the wheelbarrow, using it as a windbreak and shivering until I came and picked her up. I would tell her that she was fine and put her back on the ground once the current gust subsided. Soon, the wind would start to increase, more leaves would loosen from the tree and swirl down, The Dog would hide and shake, and the rake would stop its work as I once again went to comfort The Dog.

Thursday, October 31, 2013


Last night, The Child sketched out a few faces for a jack-o'-lantern. Many of them were of cats, but one was the face of a dragon, with very feline qualities. And thus Dragon O' Lantern was born.

It may not look much like a dragon when lit, but in full lighting the eyes, smile, and horns are more apparent. Then, you had best watch out for this friendly dragon.

Wednesday, October 30, 2013


The heavens shimmer at sunrise. Wednesday 30 October 2013. Edgewood, Washington.

Tuesday, October 29, 2013



The Child wanted an Angry Birds birthday. So, we did what we do at Troy's Work Table and got out our Sharpie markers and made our own Angry Birds balloons. All those pictured were made by The Child and are much better than any of those created by TWT.

We had a room full of these crazy balloon birds, which were soon flying through the room, with sound effects and such, once people started to arrive.

Clockwise from upper left: Yellow Bird; Moustache Pig; Red Bird; Blue Bird (or, as The Child called it later, Zombie Bird).

Friday, October 25, 2013


Most of "Ship of Fools" by Troy's Work Table. Frost Park Chalk Off Challenge 6:30. Friday 25 October 2013.

Captain America steers our course.

One of the Octoballoons attached to the rigging of the ship.

The parade of fools.


The sixth season of Frost Park Chalk Off Challenge comes to a close. I learned a lot this year by watching how others chalk. I also learned a lot by studying master artists, especially those working in engraving and woodcutting—Goya, Posada, Bruegel, Bosch.

"Ship of Fools" was my favorite piece to chalk this year, especially on the heels of "Woodcut Demons." I loved seeing these works fill up my own "corner" of Frost Park, albeit temporarily, before the rains came and cleaned the canvas.

Now I have a fall and winter to sketch and dream and draw and study, preparing myself for another season of chalking in April.

Thursday, October 24, 2013


Orb-weaver spider web + heavy fog = strands of dew drops. Morning, Thursday 24 October 2013. North Hill of Puyallup, Washington.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013


Struva, a Scandinavian cookie, also known as a rosette. Homemade by a little old white-haired woman of Norwegian descent. Edgewood, Washington. Wednesday 23 October 2013.

There was a gathering of quilting ladies and they included me in the partaking of desserts!

Sunday, October 20, 2013


Echoes, for me at least...

"I woke up early, my arms around the shadowgirl; an innocent gesture, for an innocent night. The ledger was still glowing, throwing a blue shade over our shapes. I turned it off and went into the living room."
Vurt by Jeff Noon, "Sleepless" chapter.

"Upon waking next morning about daylight, I found Queequeg's arm thrown over me in the most loving and affectionate manner. You had almost thought I had been his wife. The counterpane was of patchwork, full of odd little parti-colored squares and triangles; and this arm of his tattooed all over with an interminable Cretan labyrinth of a figure, no two parts of which were of one precise shade—owing I suppose to his keeping his arm at sea unmethodically in sun and shade, his shirt sleeves irregularly rolled up at various times—this same arm of his, I say, looked for all the world like a strip of that same patchwork quilt. Indeed, partly lying on it as the arm did when I first awoke, I could hardly tell it from the quilt, they so blended their hues together; and it was only by the sense of weight and pressure that I could tell that Queequeg was hugging me."
Moby-Dick by Herman Melville, "The Counterpane" chapter (IV).

Friday, October 18, 2013


"Woodcut Demons (After Posada and Goya)" by Troy's Work Table. Frost Park Chalk Off Challenge 6:29. Friday 18 October 2013.

"Extra Demons" by Troy's Work Table. Frost Park Chalk Off Challenge 6:29. Friday 18 October 2013.

I've been studying the woodcut work of José Guadalupe Posada and the engraving work of Francisco Goya (especially his Los desastres de la guerre series). Each contains demons, and I found compelling pieces within the work of each artist that I thought I would be able to translate into chalk. "Woodcut Demons" contains two plays on Posada demons and one play on a Goya demon. "Extra Demons" are based upon pencil sketches of my own imagining.

These pieces came fast upon the concrete and were fun to draw. Now that these demons have been exorcised from my mind and exercised upon the walls of Frost Park, I can move onto something else. Or so I hope...


From left to right: Puyallup River Chocolate-Vanilla-Pumpkin Milk Stout; Puyallup River Gourdy Wow! Spiced Pumpkin Saison Regal; Puyallup River Black Pumpkin Saison; Puyallup River Imperial Pumpkin Cream.


I stopped by the Puyallup River Alehouse for a Chicago-style hot dog and a flight of pumpkin ales. Puyallup River has twenty-four taps, eight to twelve of which they reserve for their own beers. Tonight, I enjoyed four different Puyallup River Brewing ales, each of which includes pumpkin as an ingredient. Tasting notes follow.


Imperial Pumpkin Cream, a Pumpkin Cream Ale by Puyallup River Brewing.

5 ounce taster glass on tap.

8.5% alcohol by volume.

The body is clear, clear, light yellow with a bright white head.

The nose is cream, vanilla, and pumpkin.

The tongue is pumpkin and spices (ginger? sage? nutmeg?) and vanilla cream.

The mouthfeel is warm and creamy, lightly sweet from the cream. This is really good.

This was my favorite of the evening. The pumpkin and the cream worked well together; it wasn't quite like a pumpkin pie topped with whipped cream, but it was close.

I recommend it if you like cream ales or vanilla.


Black Pumpkin Saison, a Pumpkin Saison Ale by Puyallup River Brewing.

5 ounce taster glass on tap.

5.75% alcohol by volume.

The body is black with a hint of red aura and an ivory/off-white head.

The nose is shoe polish and Magic Marker.

The tongue is Magic Marker, dark chocolate, pumpkin flesh, funky yeast, and sage.

This is drier than I expected and bitter from the marker flavor.

It's a bit strange, but drinkable. I liked it, but both the Cream and the Gourdy were better and more satisfying ales for me.

I recommend it if you like to sniff Magic Markers, which I do.


Chocolate-Vanilla-Pumpkin Milk Stout, a Pumpkin Milk Stout Ale by Puyallup River Brewing.

5 ounce taster glass on tap.

7.0% alcohol by volume.

The body is black with a tan head.

The nose is coffee and dark chocolate, like chocolate-covered espresso beans, with a bit of cardboard cereal box in the background.

The tongue is bitter dark chocolate, coffee, milk, a hint of vanilla beans, and a very faint hint of pumpkin as it finishes.

This is not as sweet as I thought it would be, since it's a milk stout. Instead, it is rather dry and bitter, but good. It's a bit light on the pumpkin for my tastes, but it's a solid milk stout.

This was my least favorite ale of the night, but that is mostly due to the relative strength of the other ales in the flight.

I recommend it if you like milk stouts.


Gourdy Wow! Spiced Pumpkin Saison Regal, a Pumpkin Saison Ale by Puyallup River Brewing.

5 ounce taster glass on tap.

9.0% alcohol by volume.

The body is a hazy blood red with an off-white head.

The nose is medicinal, herbal, saison yeast, cloves, nutmeg, and pumpkin pie.

The tongue is pumpkin pie spices, some pumpkin, saison herbs (sage and the like), a bit of medicine, and pomegranate and/or berries.

The mouthfeel is medium, a bit weighty, with a long, spicy finish.

This is pumpkin pie, saison-style. It's also my second favorite ale of the flight.

I recommend it if you like the idea of pumpkin pie and a saison/farmhouse ale meeting.


All in all, this was a great flight. It was interesting to see what Eric Akeson of Puyallup River does with pumpkin in his beers. I know that he makes some spectacular saisons and farmhouse ales. It seems that he also makes some great pumpkin beers.


Dew-laden double orb-weaver spider webs. Morning in Puyallup. Friday 18 October 2013.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013


Bumblebee on autumn chrysanthemum. Afternoon. North Hill of Puyallup, Washington. Tuesday 15 October 2013.

This bee was so still for so long that I thought she had died. She moved a bit after I took her picture, but she may have been at the end of her life.

Sunday, October 13, 2013


Orb-weaver spider web, hung with dew drops. Morning, Sunday 13 October 2013. Edgewood, Washington.

Saturday, October 12, 2013


Night Owl Pumpkin Ale, a Pumpkin Ale by Elysian Brewing Company.

12 ounce bottle served in Sam Adams glass.

5.9% alcohol by volume.


2013 tasting notes

The color of the body is lightly hazy orange to orange-yellow on the pour, accompanied by a thin bright-white head. There are also a lot of light streams of bubbles.

The nose is pumpkin pie, plain and simple—crust, flesh, spices.

The taste is the same—pumpkin pie. It really is pumpkin pie in a bottle. The flavors are well-balanced and work together—once again: crust, flesh, spices.

The mouthfeel is medium. I wish it were a bit heavier, but that is my only complaint, and it is a minor one.

If I had to sum up this pumpkin ale in one word, it would be "Awesome!"

I recommended it if you like pumpkin pie.


2010 tasting notes

Clear orange body. This white head. Light streams of bubbles.

Nose is pumpkin and spice, cloves.

Flavors are pumpkin and spices—allspice, nutmeg, cinnamon, cloves, ginger.

There is some creaminess on the finish.

Pumpkin pie in a bottle.

Excellent stuff.

This is a beer that is complete "truth in advertising"—read the label and drink what you read there.


2007 RateBeer review, based on 2007 tasting notes

22 ounce bottle. The pour is a mostly opaque orange ale, with a thin white head that quickly dissipates. The aroma is a rich earthiness bolstered by the smell of pumpkin flesh and whiffs of spices—perhaps cloves, cinnamon, and nutmeg. I drank this cold, fresh from the refrigerator. The flavors were from most to least intense: earthiness, pumpkin, dark green vegetation (spinach, collard greens), and light spices. Initially, the flavors didn’t seem to work for me. However, I really enjoyed the mouthfeel. The ale sat heavy on my palate and tongue in a good, solid way. As the ale warmed, more flavors became apparent and the previous flavors became more balanced. A touch of carmel was apparent, which worked well with the earthiness and pumpkin flavors. The spices, although still subtle, came to the forefront a little bit and worked very well with the flavor of the dark greens. My previous experience with pumpkin ale has been Buffalo Bill’s Pumpkin Ale, which I definitely enjoy, even though it is a little over-the-top in sweetness. Elysian’s Night Owl is even better, especially since it is more restrained and complex. I recommend it, but after warming for a few minutes, in order to fully appreciate its flavors.


I find it interesting to see how this beer, and, perhaps more importantly, my relationship to it, has changed (or not) over the past six years. Six years ago, I was still able to drink Buffalo Bill's Pumpkin Ale; now I cannot because my tastes have evolved. But I can still enjoy a Night Owl because it truly is one of my favorite pumpkin ales, being well-balanced in flavor and complexity, as well as being "pumpkin pie in a bottle."

Friday, October 11, 2013


Punk'n Harvest Pumpkin Ale, a Pumpkin Ale by Uinta Brewing Company.

12 ounce bottle served in Sam Adams glass.

4.0% alcohol by volume.


The pour is a clear orange to orange-yellow body with a finger-thick head that mostly dissipates. There is very little visible carbonation.

The nose is sweet pumpkin flesh and faint spices. A spice check of the The Wife's spice cabinet tells me these hints are nutmeg and cinnamon.

The taste is disappointingly absent. There is a bit of nuttiness and a very faint earthiness, but not much more than that. The spices on the nose don’t register on the tongue; neither does the pumpkin, really.


This would be fine if it were a mild brown ale, but it’s not. As it warms, the slightest bit of pumpkin sneaks in, as well as a bit of brown sugar “crust,” but it isn’t enough to save it.

I recommend it if you want a hint of pumpkin but not too much.

Monday, October 07, 2013


Fall Hornin' Pumpkin Ale, a Pumpkin Ale by Anderson Valley Brewing Company.

12 ounce bottle served in Sam Adams glass.

6.0% alcohol by volume.


The pour is a clear reddish-brown body with a finger-thick ivory head. The head sticks around for the most part. There are steady streams of carbonation.

The nose is pumpkin, earthiness, twigs, some light spices. Checking The Wife’s spice rack against the beer shows me allspice and faint cloves. Cinnamon and nutmeg may be present, but they aren’t present enough to catch my nose.

The taste is spice forward. Cinnamon and allspice are at the forefront, although more like licking cinnamon bark than a sprinkling of ground cinnamon, and the same with the allspice (more like licking whole allspice than ground). A big of twig in the middle ground. The pumpkin is very light on the tongue and somewhat hidden away.

This ale is much drier than I expected. The mouthfeel is medium.


This is a good beer. I’m a bit disappointed in it, but that is because my expectations are high and this falls a bit short in the pumpkin department. The pumpkin is too far in the background and too subtle. I wanted more pumpkin.


As it warms, a bit more pumpkin creeps in, but this is still mostly twig and spice bark. It's a good solid ale.

I recommend it if you like tree bark (which I do) and some spice to accompany it.

Saturday, October 05, 2013


Members of Garrison Titan of the 501st (Imperial) Legion and Alpha Base of the Rebel Legion pose for a picture during Star Wars Reads Day on the Southcenter Barnes & Noble children's stage.

I know the heavy artillery Stormtrooper and his two sons (the Jawa and GNK (gonk) droid). He made their three costumes, as well as many others that are not pictured.

Friday, October 04, 2013


"Anatomy, Geography" by Troy's Work Table. Frost Park Chalk Off Challenge 6:27. Friday 04 October 2013.

The piece was four panels long and I couldn't get a decent photograph of all four together, so you get them in pairs.

Panels one and two: "Color bled from clouds / leaving silver and slate."

Panels three and four: "In that same moment / my bones sang!"

The pink "halo" in panel three consists of seven giant Pacific octopuses swimming around my head. In panel four they become either (a) absences since octopuses are invertebrates, or (b) ink clouds as the octopuses flee. You decide which you like best and stick with that.

Friday, September 27, 2013


"Unacceptable (After Goya)" by Troy's Work Table. Frost Park Chalk Off 6:26. Friday 27 September 2013.

The Earl of Lemongrab (from Adventure Time with Finn and Jake) poses in the manner of Goya's Self-Portrait of 1815.

Wednesday, September 18, 2013


Fall means pumpkins. Pumpkins mean one of my favorite beer styles hits the store shelves: pumpkin ales. I headed down to my independent and local beer store, 99 Bottles, and stocked up to get me through fall (or at least the first part of it).

Here is what I picked up…


Elysian Night Owl Pumpkin Ale
Once my standard pumpkin ale (and perhaps more my “gateway” pumpkin ale) was Buffalo Bill’s Pumpkin Ale. Then I had Night Owl and I find I can no longer drink the former. Buffalo Bill’s is now too sweet for my palate and too heavy on the cinnamon, almost as though they brewed pumpkin ale with Red Hots cinnamon candies. Night Owl has a good solid pumpkin flavor as its base.

Uinta Punk’n Pumpkin Ale 
This pumpkin ale is another solid pumpkin ale. I know I liked it, but can’t quite remember how it fared against Night Owl, which is one of the main reasons I picked it up. I think Uinta has a strong stable of beers and want to compare Punk’n against Night Owl.


Elysian The Great Pumpkin Imperial Pumpkin Ale
If my memory serves me, The Great Pumpkin is Night Owl exponentially expressed. It may be too much for me. I will have to drink it and jog my memory.

Southern Tier Pumking Imperial Pumpkin Ale
Likewise, Pumking. I remember it as heavy-laden with pumpkin and spices, but without being overbearing; I hope I remembered correctly. As with Night Owl and Punk’n, the plan is to compare and contrast The Great Pumpkin and Pumking to notice similarities and differences.


Elysian Dark O’The Moon Pumpkin Stout 
This is one of my all-time favorite beers. It is chocolate cheesecake pumpkin pie, with a spectacular graham cracker crust flavor. I am looking forward to this bottle perhaps more than any of the others.

OakShire Big Black Jack Imperial Chocolate Pumpkin Porter 
I’ve never had this, but I’m hoping that it is a comparable companion to Dark O’The Moon.


Anderson Valley Fall Hornin’ Pumpkin Ale
I chose this one to have another inexpensive “regular” pumpkin ale in the mix. I’m interested to see how it fares against Night Owl and Punk’n.

Justice Brewing Belgo Pumpkin
This is the beer that I am most looking forward to exploring. I know what Dark O’ the Moon tastes like simply by writing about it. I’m having trouble even imagining what this Belgo Pumpkin tastes like. Is it a sour pumpkin saison? Is it a Belgian dubbel or tripel with a hint of pumpkin, spice, and tartness for good measure? We will soon see.

Two Beers Pumpkin Spice Ale
Two Beers has been making some great ales, and I expect that this will be another solid offering from them.

The plan is to post tasting notes of each of these over the next few weeks. Get ready for the pumpkin parade!

Tuesday, August 20, 2013


Sun through leaves, early dusk, Tuesday 20 August 2013. Wildwood Park, Puyallup, Washington.

Monday, August 19, 2013


Cumulus cloud, afternoon, Monday 19 August 2013. Edgewood, Washington.

Saturday, August 17, 2013


"Octopus" by Troy's Work Table. The first place winner at Puyallup's Chalk the Walk, sponsored by Valley Arts United.

This one was really fun to chalk. I hadn't chalked an octopus for quite some time.

There was no time limit. (There really was, but it was far enough off to be irrelevant.) The sun was warm. People were milling about and watching and stopping and making their own chalk art. A mariachi band played nearby. It was a rather relaxing and somewhat sublime moment.

And the chalk adhered like butter to a warm griddle. Smooooooth!

Wednesday, August 14, 2013


"The reason that I unalterably oppose nuclear power is so obvious to me that I remain astounded that everybody on earth is not likewise against it: Dangerously radioactive nuclear wastes must be stored and guarded for periods insanely in excess of any civilization's frame of reference." 

—page 21, Into the Forbidden Zone: A Trip Through Hell and High Water in Post-Earthquake Japan by William T. Vollmann.

Read an excerpt from the book HERE.

Friday, August 09, 2013


"Sleestak Test Pattern" by Troy's Work Table. Frost Park Chalk Off Challenge 6:19. Friday 09 August 2013.

Sleestak, Sleestak, Enik (the Altrusian).
Time portal crystal control pedestal panel.

Thursday, August 08, 2013


"Boys and men like Huck [Finn] don't write, they're too busy satiated by life itself, a life in which one fishes not for whales but for catfish in the river that splits the United States in two, to the east the dawn, the civilization, everything that strives desperately to be history and to be storied, and to the west the clarity of blindness and myth, everything that lies beyond books and history, everything that we fear in our innermost selves."

 —page 297, from "Our Guide to the Abyss," as found in Between Parentheses: Essays, Articles, and Speeches, 1998-2003 by Roberto Bolaño.

Friday, July 19, 2013


"Handwritten notes line a drawer of eggs from a donated private collection. One note, written in a deliberate script in faded brown ink, reads: 'Collected under a clump of grass approximately 3 feet from a pasture road. A.S. Wilson, 1919.' This in a curving, fountain-pen script nobody has anymore. What now of the pasture road? Is it there still; is it a superhighway? The egg, so fragile, and its clump of grass remain after the man and the world he noted so carefully have vanished."

—page 5, from "The Wet Collection," as found in The Wet Collection by Joni Tevis.


Detail of "You're on Fire (Combustible Head)" by Troy's Work Table. Frost Park Chalk Off Challenge 6:16. Friday 19 July 2013.

See the full meal deal HERE.

Friday, May 17, 2013


"They're All Going to Laugh at You" by Troy's Work Table.

Frost Park Chalk Off 6:7 was once again without theme.

TWT decided to play on Stephen King's Carrie (book and movie), as well as the Adam Sandler comedy routine (and comedy album), They're All Gonna Laugh at You. Plus, it never hurts to sneak an octopus into one's work.