Saturday, July 23, 2016


The tempera paint background undercoat for "Red Octopus."

"Red Octopus" by Troy's Work Table. Chalkboard chalk art for Friday 22 July 2016.

Sidewalk chalk and chalk pastels.


Yesterday, after chalking at Frost Park, I bought two small chalkboards at Tacoma's "creative reuse center" and alternative art supply store, Tinkertopia. I laid down a layer of red and black tempera paint before dinner and later in the evening I chalked over that dried coat of paint.


"Red Octopus" was inspired by the resident red octopus at the Highline MaST Center of Des Moines, Washington.

Friday, July 22, 2016


"Chemical Weapons" by Troy's Work Table. Frost Park Chalk Off for Friday 22 July 2016.

Sidewalk chalk, charcoal, chalk pastels, water/spray bottle.

Left to right: "Agent Orange," "Mustard Gas," "Sarin," and "Chlorine Gas."


I know many people who have been exposed to chemical agents and chemical weapons and cancer-causing materials and doses of radiation, primarily due to military service and/or work for government industry.

This quadtych of images is an exploration of what these chemical agents/weapons mean to me. I knew I wanted them to be abstract landscapes, but still retain elements of their essence and/or what they do to human and animal bodies. I also knew that I wanted each panel to contain three layers that would run across all the panels—an upper "cloud" layer, an middle sky layer, and a lower land layer.


"Sarin," panel three in the quadtych "Chemical Weapons." This is the most personal panel for me, with the white "cloud" layer based upon MRIs of my spine from the early 2000s. It also represents my lung partially collapsing on the day of the Chernobyl disaster.

For me, there is a breath in this panel, but it is being squeezed out, even if ever so gently.

Monday, July 18, 2016


Clarel: A Poem and a Pilgrimage in the Holy Land by Herman Melville.


This was a wonderful find in the stacks at Powell's City of Books. It appears that Powell's is using it's print-on-demand technology to publish some books that would otherwise be unavailable to the general reading public at a decent price.

The only problem I'm having is that I can't figure out if some of the "typos" are due to (a) Melville for poetic effect (for instance, truncating words to force them in to the rhyme scheme); (b) the original printer; (c) the 1960s Hendricks House edition from which the online "public domain" versions seem to be based; or (d) OCR problems in preparing this print-on-demand version. My guess is that it is mostly a mixture of "a" and "d." I can entertain much more patience for the former than the latter.

These "typos" are complicated by Melville's use of enough archaic terms and phrases to really keep me on my toes. I'm still enjoying the read, I just wish I needed to do less "unnecessary" work and could focus more intently on the text, with less interruption.

All in all, though, I'm having fun swimming about in the lines of this book-length poem.

Saturday, July 09, 2016


I make no apologies for my love of Deschutes Brewery. I simply believe that they make some of the best and most interesting beers.

I have stated in the past (and will state again) that they have the best "stable" of basic beers. On top of that, they are constantly experimenting with styles and ingredients, all the while maintaining the quality of what they produce.

Therefore, I try to visit their Public House every time I am in Portland, Oregon.


Black Butte XXVIII, a Porter by Deschutes Brewery.

2 ounce sample, served in a Deschutes taster glass.

11.5% abv.

The nose is "powdery" cream and dark chocolate.

The tongue is dark chocolate and vanilla and orange peel, with hints of licorice and dark fruits, all followed by a cocoa powder finish.

The mouthfeel is thick and oily and pleasant upon the tongue.


The Descendant, a Flanders Oud Bruin by Deschutes Brewery.

1/3 liter, served in a Deschutes snifter glass.

11.6% abv.

The pour delivers a beautiful to behold reddish-orange body topped with a thin white ring.

The nose is tart (cranberry) + yeasty + lightly lemony.

The tongue follows the nose.

The mouthfeel is medium.

This is a beer that even The Wife could drink. I know this because I had her try it. The Wife doesn't like "beer," but she can drink lambics and other fruit-style beers. I think she could handle this "sour" beer because the tartness, while still present in The Descendant is not quite as sour as that found in its bigger brother The Dissident.


Both of these beers paired well with my entree, which was "smoked Carleton Farms pork shoulder, Armory XPA BBQ sauce, corn salad, and white cheddar cornbread with honey butter." Setting aside the pork for a moment, the corn salad nearly stole the plate! And the honey-buttered cornbread was likewise excellent.

The pork was just right. Not too dry. Not too juicy. Just right. And the flavor was perfect as well: a light tanginess that pulled particular notes forward in each beer.


After dinner, it was time for dessert (shared with The Wife and The Child) and enjoying another beer not available in a bottle.


Sagefight IPA, an American IPA by Deschutes Brewery.

1/4 liter, served in a Deschutes "mini" pint glass.

7.3% abv.

The pour is deep orange with 1/8" of bright white head.

The nose is sage and pine* and citrus galore. (*What I'm calling pine was listed as juniper in the menu.)

The tongue is Deschutes Pinedrops IPA on steroids. The sage is at the forefront, with pine backing it up, and a "buzzy bite" beneath all of that.

I find this to be spectacular. If you don't like sage, pine, or the bitterness of some IPAs, I would recommend that you avoid this. But if you like all of those (or even just 2 of the 3, and are adventurous), then I highly recommend a glass or two.


Thank you, Deschutes Brewery, for being one of the highlights of another trip to Portland!

Sunday, July 03, 2016


Strawberry Milkshake IPA, an American IPA by the Powerhouse Brewery.

On tap, served in Powerhouse pint glass.

6.2% abv.


The pour is a body of rich and hazy butterscotch yellow, with a thin skin of white head.

The nose smells of strawberry, banana, citrus.

The initial notes on the tongue are strawberry, vanilla, light citrus, lightly bitter. As it warms, more milk and cereal notes emerge. (Am I reminded of Frankenberry? Fruity Pebbles? There is some fruity, sugary cereal in my nostalgia memory banks that keeps trying to come forward, but I can't quite identify it.)

The mouthfeel is silky and smooth.

I’d be hard-pressed to describe this as an IPA if I didn’t know better.

This is excellent. It is about as close as I’ve tasted to a beer-as-milkshake in something other than a milk stout. I could drink this every day.


I had this paired with the Sriracha Burger and it cut the heat of the burger perfectly. 

Saturday, July 02, 2016


Indian taco from Gateway to India at the Puyallup Farmer's Market.

Chicken, curry, onions, cilantro, sauce, and spices on naan bread.


Nom nom nom. "Street food" doesn't get much better than this.

Friday, July 01, 2016


“All the Stars There Are” by Troy’s Work Table. Frost Park Chalk Off for Friday 01 July 2016.

Sidewalk chalk, charcoal, chalk pastels.


The Cosmic Octopus drifts between the realms, adapting to her background, transforming within the context of where she finds her Self.