Monday, December 30, 2013

The Immortal Augustus Gladstone

Watched this last night. The Immortal Augustus Gladstone is a movie that is set in Portland but most of the scenes were shot here in Spokane. Prominently featured is Donut Parade and the Otis Hotel. Great Downtown shots of Spokane too. It's a nice story made by local Robyn Miller of Myst and Riven fame. We really enjoyed it. So, if you need a fix of some Spokane cinema, download the movie here.

On another note, if you are a Bruce Dern fan, don't miss Nebraska. It was like I was on a 70s family vacation to visit relatives there all over again!

Between these two films, I am feeling pretty inspired for a Monday morning.

Sunday, December 29, 2013

Christmas time

At Rosauers saw these nifty liquor lock stocking stuffers:

My father-in-law Jim passed on. About the best father-in-law you could ask for. He was a friendly, smart, well-read, great guy. His work ethic and acts of kindness were legend in Elk. He took a fall two years ago and never completely recovered. We all miss him.

My boys - home for the holidays.

One last union fling! We organized a Santa meals on wheels delivery day.

Baby Jack enjoying an empty pint glass on Christmas Eve. All of our family has big hands. Now you know why.

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Monday, December 16, 2013

Last school hat

I finally got around to making Kirk's hat. For some reason I thought EWU's colors were red and black. Can you figure out when I finally looked it up and discovered that they are really red and white? I graduated from Eastern, as well, and I didn't remember.

So now it looks like some kind of Rastafarian Santa cap. Well, I guess that will work for a couple of weeks. It's my first conical hat that I've made. I think I might go back to fezs for a while. Or maybe just stop.

I have taken a little break in crocheting because I am resurrecting a project that I completed and then lost back in 1997 or 1998. I think it should be ready in a couple of days. It is an endeavor of the writing variety and I have been working hard at it for the last month or so.

I have a backlog of crap that I halfway launched and never followed through on. Now that my days as part of our union's leadership are waning, I am moving ahead full steam on finishing these projects and making a list of new ones to start.

Monday, December 09, 2013

Meanwhile, back on Arrakis...

Running and cycling have been a little weird the last few days. The cold weather has made for some interesting wardrobe choices. I have been leaning a little more to the warm side of things. Sometimes, it makes for a bit of a spectacle which if you know me, is something that I never avoid.

Maria Bamford, the other night was fantastic! Her opening act, Amy Miller, was really good too. I have always been more of a sketch comedy fan, but the last few years I have been enjoying standup more. Watching somebody up on stage, doing her or his thing well, is inspiring and energizing. The Monster Hitman energy shot beforehand probably helped too.

For one of our races, Sarah and I received in the goody bag each a small bottle of this energy beverage/syrup. These have sat in the cupboard for years. I've used both within the last month. What does this mean? It means I stay awake not just for events like comedy shows, but when we get back at midnight, I am really in for some intense TV watching and popcorn throwdowns, plus my stomach hurts. I am going to buy a case of this stuff at the dollar store while it's still legal.

Tuesday, December 03, 2013

The Checkerboard

Kind of a review. 

A couple weekends ago, Sarah and I were really dressed up warm for the NCAA cross country championships. When we got home, it seemed like a real waste to have spent all that time putting on all that clothing just to shed it. So, I suggested we go down to the Checkerboard Tavern/Bar. I think I had only been there on calls of the emergency nature. As usual, our mode of travel was by walking. It's not a route we take to often, the whole Ben Burr trail and the cage over the freeway. It was a nice change of pace.

I really liked The Checkerboard (with the oldest liquor license in the state). They had Budge Brothers beer. There was just one young lady working there. She cooked the food and poured the drinks and did a great job. Thanks for the great service and awesome time. We'll be back. 

I like East Sprague Ave. I think Station 7, just a block off from its epicenter, would be a great place to be stationed. Maybe someday. You can drive up and down this section of Sprague and never really "get it" until you walk the sidewalks.  I wouldn't be surprised if Sprague winds up getting upscaled like Perry and Garland one of these days.

For the way home, we took the bus and ran into Jesse and Sebastian, our neighbors, coming home from Downtown.

Sunday, December 01, 2013

Maria Bamford coming to Spokane on December 7th!

Sarah saw on the Knitting Factory's marquee that Maria Bamford is coming. Yay! She is one of our favorites. You should go to this. Really. We had no idea she was coming to Spokane and would have really been bummed if we missed out.

Was really happy to see her on the NetFlix season of Arrested Development. She played DeBrie.

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Hat making!

I am getting pretty fast at making hats.
They have a kind of post-apocalyptic feel and look. This kind of goes for anything that I crochet, and it's not on purpose. I think Kahn would have rocked my stuff.
But with a head of hair like that, would he had even wanted to? Wish I could say that he was holding a crochet hook but Tyrell and Chekov know better.

Saturday, November 23, 2013

NCAA DIv 2 National Cross Country Championships were held in Spokane today!

GO Western!

Here's the start:

Ike and his team did really well. Twentieth in the nation (for Div2). Not quite as good as where they were ranked, but good!

Friday, November 22, 2013

Dr. Health E. Hound

This eight foot tall canine mascot for United Health Care was at Tom's Turkey Drive in the valley this morning. He has a nice bedside manner.

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Thursday, November 21, 2013

An indispensable resource

Last week, my buddy Jeff and I did the brewery walk/bus trip that Sarah, my brother Joe and I came up with this summer. Jeff and I added The Lantern to it, just to practice for when the South Perry brewery opens. It was a very rainy/snowy day and I think we wound up walking about seven miles. Sarah joined us at Budge Brothers, so we did wind up taking a ride (cheaters).

I ran by River City Brewery today and it looks like their tasting room is either ready or just about. They have hours posted. Ramblin' Road is slated to open in December.

What this means is that there will be six breweries that will be accessibly clustered in three areas of town. 1. River City and Steamplant, 2. No-Li and Ramblin Road and 3. Budge Brothers and Mountain Goat. Really, it's not a bad walk to do all six or you could bus in between the three clusters. The best will be by bike (or maybe a run). The tricky part is coalescing the limited hours the breweries are open. Saturday would probably be your best bet.

I know there are more breweries a'comin' and that I am neglecting Airway Heights, Spokane Valley and Post Falls favorites, but you could do these six in the afternoon and still ride up to Beneditos for dinner (and beer). It's a good start anyway.

And you should have a map. The Inland Northwest Ale Trail map is not only very functional but its design is enticing and makes one pine for camping in the pines. Here it is.


Saw this phenomenon on the weather channel website.

I feel bad for the people living on the corners.

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

My talented neighbor!

You can hear my neighbor, Phyllis' voice on the radio and see her sometimes on TV. A couple of weeks ago, she asked me to help her make some videos for her reel. Here is the first. Phyllis condensed Sorry, Wrong Number down to just over 3 minutes. I think she does a great job!

Monday, November 18, 2013

Thank Gawd.

My Rosauers has always had a free horse ride outside its doors. One that looked like this:
Then, a while back it broke down. They replaced it with this thing that played some inane song while kids rode in its carved out carcass. What was the song? I wish I could remember. Puff the Magic Dragon? White Rabbit? Whatever. I hadn't yet aken a picture of it, but I found this here:

I believe this is a photograph of what replaced the mechanical horse of yore. Maybe it's not a dragon. Could be a dinosaur with mumps or a tobacco-chewing Loch Ness monster. Either way, a kid gets to sit on its eviscerated spine. A bow tie and a baseball cap? Something Charles Krauthammer would wear. Happy to see that sanity again prevailed and now there's this instead:
This might be even better than the horse. I mean look at the horns on this thing. And those hooves! I haven't seen it in action. Those hooves and horns had to have messed up someone by now. I would ride it, but if it buckled under my weight,  we might end up with this:
found here.

It would still be better than the chubby-cheeked thing.

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Turkey Fight in the Neighborhood

I think I am going to have my own film style that will need a tall rectangular screen for showings.

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Spokane Hosts 2013 NCAA Division II West Regional Cross Country Championships.

Yesterday, Plante's Ferry Park was the site for the 2013 NCAA Division II West Regionals. Teams from California, Alaska, Oregon, Hawaii and just about all western states were in Spokane for this event. Ike's team, Western Washington University, took 4th. The women's team took fifth, so they both move onto Nationals which will be... in Spokane! This is two weeks from now, again at Plante's Ferry. Ike did really well, second on his team and 20th overall, putting him solidly on the All Regional Team. 

The WWU Team really enjoyed Spokane. The last time they were here, they stayed in the valley. This time they stayed downtown and took in the Spokane sights. One of their major scores was found at the clearance center at Macy's. They all found matching elflike sport coats which they rocked on the podium afterward. An opposing team said they wished they had as nice of uniform. 

Ike ran the 10k in 32:32 with a pace of 5:15 per mile. The winner from Chico State was at 4:57 per mile.  These guys and gals look like they are flying across the course. It is amazing to watch. If you like running at all, come to Plantes Ferry on November 23rd and see runners from all over the nation compete.

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

First time making pho

It turned out pretty tasty. Not quite as good as the last bowl I had in a local restaurant, but pretty close.  Paired with a New Belgium Coconut Curry Hefeweizen. And that was really good.

Saturday, October 26, 2013

Hydroponic tomato roots!

Cleaned up the experimental vertical hydroponic garden the other day. Here is a shot of the roots (over 3 feet long) from one tomato plant. I tasted some. Not bad. Might make a good substitute for pasta. Or, they might be poisonous.

Wednesday, October 09, 2013

great weekend..

Aidan was in town this weekend from UW. Good to be with him. My brother was also in town. He is getting to be a Spokane regular. Maybe he will move back. I worked on Friday and missed Terrain which was a bummer. Next year!

Sarah, my brother and I did a bus and walking tour of the local breweries on Saturday. We hit River City (tasting at The Rocket), Iron Goat, Budge Brothers, Steam Plant, and ate dinner at Benniditos. Was going to do NoLi and Ramblin' Road, but RR hasn't opened yet for tasting, according to their phone message, and we seem to go to NoLi a lot.

How about adding 12 Strings (although it's in the Valley),  and the breweries on the north side and the one up on Perry, when they are up and running? That would be epic! How about bicycles instead of the bus and walking? Even better. Still, a $3.50 all day bus pass buys you a lot of time and adventure.

The end of the weekend featured the traditional goat cheese open house in Chattaroy. I can see why Ben Stuckart wants a goat.

Opened up the first bottle of the recently brewed all grain pale ale. I think it's my best beer in years!

Tuesday, October 01, 2013

On the picket line with Deaconess workers

Deaconess workers can't get management to even talk with them about the dangerous profit-driven cuts to staffing they have made.

Friday, September 27, 2013


Bottled my pale ale this week. This is my first batch of all-grain brewed beer in about 20 years. It turned out great!
So, what's next? Well, I have a plum-infused mead/melomel that will be ready to bottle soon and I will be making some apple cider in the next week or so. But, the next beer-centric event is definitely the Inland Northwest Craft Beer Festival. I've been going to this since its inception. Back then, it was called "Oktoberfest." Yes, now it is called the "Inland NW Craft Beer Festival." Rolls off your tongue doesn't it?

Newspaper articles have been making a big deal of how this year's festival will no longer be Oktoberfestish. However, last year there was no German food or music, and worse yet, no frรคuleins in dirndls. and I think maybe the year before was like this, as well. No matter what it's called, my first move, when I go to this event, is to upgrade to the collectible mug.

Spokane's brewery scene is exploding. And having been homebrewing for about 25 years and watching the microbrewery booms and busts during this time, I think if you don't get out there and partake in what local micro (make that "craft") breweries are up to right now, you will regret it. Sarah and I were on the west side recently, trying out their offerings. Spokane's are just as good, sometimes better and the diversity of our beer and ale styles are much more pronounced.

So, come rain or shine, I plan on being at the festival tomorrow. Maybe I will see you there! If you plan on going, buy your ticket at the festival website and save $5. 

Saturday, September 21, 2013


There are seven turkeys that have been hanging out in our yard. Have had lots of families stop and take pictures. Last night, we were eating supper. Our dining room has a large open window. As friends of ours passed by with their kids after watching the flock in the yard, I yelled at Sarah to pass me more turkey.

Keeping the neighborhood edgy.

Monday, September 09, 2013

One Day Bellingham Out and Back

 A very early morning start.
 Ryegrass, our first stop. Love the windmills. Never noticed these signs before. 
 Had a very foggy drive until Moses Lake. This is starting up the Cascades.
  College Town!
 The coffee table was pretty nice. Don't know if the TVs or air hockey worked.
 Asked our son if he and his friends ever went across the street and watched the stars at night in comfort. He said, "Not yet."
 A beautiful Bellingham Bay bonus.
 We took Highway 2 home. Really fast, apparently.

Had a really good dinner in Coulee City at a place called The Last Stand. It took a really long time because they were really overwhelmed by the amount of diners there, but I would eat there again.

It's a long trip to Bellingham and back in a day, especially if you take Highway 2. But, it sure beats staying overnight unless you have something to do over there. Next trip - Seattle and then we are empty nesters.

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

First home hydroponic tomato

Have had to make a couple of adjustments to the vertical hydroponic garden. It's an interesting problem to figure out the correct slope to drain the top row into the bottom one. The slope needs changes as roots start to block exit ports and the overall weight of the green mass climbs.

Ever vigilant:

Here's the first one. Maybe a Charlie Chaplin, Early Girl? I kept a good record of the different types until I planted them. Rather daft.

There was a raiding of the conventional tomatoes, the morning of the taste test. But I dug around and found one hidden. It's the big one on the left. Charlie Chaplin or.... Never mind.

It wasn't a very fair comparison. The big conventional tomato did have slightly more flavor than the little hydroponic one. The hydroponic one still tasted great.

I have to say I am pretty pleased with the hydroponic garden. There will be some adjustments next year. Maybe some fish. Solar powered pump?

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