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.