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.