Weekly Volcano Blogs: Walkie Talkie Blog

Posts made in: July, 2014 (93) Currently Viewing: 31 - 40 of 93

July 11, 2014 at 10:53am

A Ruck, Bricks and You: TRVLSQD offers Special Forces inspired challenges

Members of the Tacoma/Seattle Travel Squad train for a GORUCK Challenge at Thea's Park in Tacoma. Photo credit: J.M. Simpson

Two months ago a group calling itself the Travel Squad began a workout at Thea's Park on Tacoma's Foss Waterway.

A few more than a half dozen assault packs, an American flag on a short pole and a log lay on the ground.

The small group ran through a number of intensive calisthenics, threw on their packs, secured the flag and picked up the log and headed out of the park.

The squad - sometimes identified with the letters TRVLSQD and the motto "Team First, Beer Always" - headed out toward Ruston Way.

Begun by former soldier Fergus Hyke in 2011, TRVLSQD works with those individuals to develop training methods to complete the Special Forces inspired GORUCK Challenge.

"It's a good way to maintain the camaraderie of having served," Hyke's said at the time.  "It's also a good way to remain in great shape."

So what is the GORUCK (verb go + verb ruck) challenge?

The idea behind the challenge belongs to Jason McCarthy and Jack Barley, it is a variety of training scenarios designed to facilitate teamwork and communication.

The challenge offers a slice of Special Operations training.  The foundation of all GORUCK events is the wartime experience of the cadre, veterans of Special Operations who are now tasked with building a team based on unity of purpose.

GORUCK's signature events require bricks, a ruck and an attitude to work with others in order to prevail.

Part of that attitude gets you very long ruck marches with a group of about 30 people, a telephone pole in the midst of some very uncomfortable and miserable conditions.

You will be pushed past your limits.

If successful, you walk away with a GORUCK patch and more knowledge about yourself than you realized.

For example, if you weight less than 150 pounds, you carry 20 pounds of bricks in your ruck.  If you weigh over 150 pounds, you carry 40 pounds. 

"Life isn't fair," GORUCK's website proclaims.

Pretty black and weight - no questions, no excuses.  It's all about attitude.

The events - from the most introductory to one that is a very realistic 48 hours of the selection process faced by SEALs and Special Operators - bridge the gap between all walks of life: military/non-military, men/women and young/old.

Comprised of former special operations personnel, the cadre teaches teamwork and communication.

The events are held nationwide throughout the year.

For more information about the Travel Squad, visit www.trvlsqd.com.  For more information about GORUCK, visit www.goruck.com.

Filed under: Sports, Special Forces,

July 11, 2014 at 12:58pm

UNITE US connects veterans online

There are two types of connections that UNITE US, an emerging technology platform aimed at enabling the military community, is focused on: peer to peer and peer to organization.

"We wanted to create something that helped connect the dots - to connect the demand side with the supply side," explained UNITE US co-founder Taylor Justice.

Justice, who graduated from West Point in 2006 and served for a few years before being medically retired, created Unite US with two other veterans, Dan Brillman and Kareem Elsirafy, as well as a civilian partner, Andrew Price.

The four men began work in 2012 and after raising seed money, cultivating relationships and building their virtual platform, UNITE US went live in November 2013.


Filed under: Veterans, Community, Web/Tech,

July 11, 2014 at 1:21pm

Foster Farms recalls chicken products at McChord Commissary at Joint Base Lewis-McChord

California chicken producer Foster Farms is recalling an unspecified amount of its chicken products because the products may be contaminated with a strain of salmonella Heidelberg, according to a Department of Defense All Food and Drug Activity message sent July 9.

The U.S. Department of Food and Agriculture said Thursday it has found evidence directly linking Foster Farms boneless-skinless chicken breast to a case of Salmonella Heidelberg, an antibiotic-resistant strain of the disease that has sickened more than 500 people in the past 16 months and led to pressure from food safety advocates for federal action against the company.

As a result, Foster Farms issued a recall for 170 different chicken products that came from its Fresno facilities in March.

The Defense Commissary Agency has publicized this recall to all its stores. Whenever a commissary has a recalled or withdrawn product in its inventory, the product is immediately removed from store shelves.


July 11, 2014 at 7:50pm

Getting Lucky with Nicky and Adam: Sixth Avenue Edition

The limited series "Getting Lucky" will find awkward socialites Nicky and Adam hitting club after club, wingman-ing each other.

ADAM: All right, so here's the deal. My friend Nicky and I are - in our estimation - Tacoma's foremost eligible bachelor and bachelorette (respectively). There are few people in the South Sound who so consistently succeed at remaining single and awkward in bars. So, it was determined that we'd start a little column where we'd tour the meat markets of our fine city and wingman each other. This column will end when we get laid, or when the summer ends. In other words, it'll end when the summer ends. I think it's no secret that we were trepidatious about hitting up Jazzbones for this inaugural edition. Nicky, what was our game plan?

NICKY: I figured first we'd have to get a drink in us to calm the jitters. Then, make a list of things and situations to avoid when the attempted swooning begins. I thought at some point we should try and properly buy someone a drink, although in a different fashion than movies have taught us. After we ordered some vodka and Red Bull, we perused the karaoke book and started scoping out the room. Another aspect to our plan was karaoke choice. We tried to stay away from self-deprecating tunes, and I tried to personally pick something modern, or at least well known. What song did you go with?

ADAM: First off, "a drink" is being kind. I was on my way to "three sheets to the wind" territory by the time we showed up. As far as songs go, I decidedly did not go with something modern: The Pixies' "Here Comes Your Man," which garnered blank stares last time I tore it up at Jazzbones. Meanwhile, you did pretty well with "Seven Nation Army," although now's as good a time to mention this as any: the pickings were pretty sparse at Jazzbones this Monday night; everyone was coupled up, except for the table of bros feverishly texting in the table next to us. I'm going to chalk our failure up to everybody recuperating from the holiday weekend, and not to our lack of macking skills. Personally, I was a little relieved to not jump into the deep end right off the bat, because we have some pretty nasty clubs we're heading to in the next few weeks. Despite encouragement to the contrary, I will not be sporting an Ed Hardy shirt in the near future. Where did we go after Jazzbones?

NICKY: We were off to O'Malley's, after I doused my liver in one more Vodka and Red Bull. That, in turn, gave me a little boost in my morale. I refused to let us accept defeat so quickly (even though it was after midnight, on a Monday night/Tuesday morning), so we shared a PBR and racked up a game of pool. After about fifteen minutes of making "slop" shots, it became clear that the only thing worse than our social skills, were our billiards skills. Still, I ended the night hanging out with the only woman that really matters: Dr. Beverly Crusher, of the U.S.S. Enterprise.

ADAM: Well, good for you. I can't remember who I ended the night with, but I'm willing to bet myself $5,000 that it was just me and a burrito from Memo's. So, all in all, not the most successful night on the town. Although, it could have been worse; that burrito could've rejected me. But, as you know, Nicky, I'm never one to let misfortune with the ladies make me do anything drastic like, say, start going to intensive therapy and whining about my penis size. All that matters, now, is that we don't let a bro-y hiccup like Jazzbones on a Monday night stand in the way of us meeting some ladies with low standards. I have my eye on the Encore Boutique Nightclub. Bottle service! Think we'll pass their dress code?

NICKY: Adam, we are some dapper motherfuckers. Let's get our club face on.


Tips and warnings for online Tacoma dating

Filed under: Sex, Tacoma,

July 12, 2014 at 6:54am

Saturday Morning Joe: Ukraine bombards, Sunni dirty bombs, historic Navy sail, Ventura vs Kyle, trick shots ...

General Support Motor Transport Company, Combat Logistics Regiment 3, 3rd Marine Logistics Group, III Marine Expeditionary Force fire coffee during a training exercise at the Central Training Area near Camp Hansen. Original photo by Lance Cpl. Jose D. Luj


U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry scrambles to produce a deal today to end Afghanistan's election crisis, meeting for the second day with the country's two presidential candidates and incumbent President Hamid Karzai.

Ukrainian war planes bombarded separatists along a broad front today, inflicting huge losses.

The top U.S. commander in Europe said the DoD must reconsider the drawdown of forces following Russia's provocative actions.

Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel said Iran and Russia were helping Iraq battle a Sunni extremist insurgency but that the U.S. was not coordinating its own assistance with either country.

Rep. Peter King (R-N.Y.) warned Thursday that Sunni militants in Iraq could build a dirty bomb with uranium seized during their march on Baghdad.

Kurdish security forces took over two major oil fields outside the disputed northern city of Kirkuk before dawn Friday.

The Senate passed a bipartisan resolution aimed at altering China's behavior toward U.S. allies in the Asia-Pacific region.

Why the next great war won't happen on China's doorstep.

Two of the four U.S. deaths in Benghazi might have been prevented, military leaders say.

Hundreds of Marines set sail when the Navy's newest amphibious assault ship departed from the shipyard in Mississippi on Friday, their historic transit taking them around South America to the ship's home port in the Pacific.

12 Outstanding Airmen of the Year for 2014

Army on the hunt for new weapons.

The Selective Service System mistakenly sent notices to more than 14,000 Pennsylvania men born between 1893 and 1897.

Former Minnesota Gov. Jesse Ventura has testified he doesn't remember any confrontation with the American Sniper author who claimed to have punched out Ventura in a bar.

The Budweiser ad "Hero's Welcome," featuring a surprise homecoming parade for an Army lieutenant, has been nominated for an Emmy award for outstanding television commercial.

LeBron James has announced his decision to return to the Cleveland Cavaliers.

Angelina Jolie's newest film looks unbearably cheesy.

The worst pop culture moments in 2014 (so far).

If Google was a real guy, part 3.

Here's every Transformers robot fight scene in one video.

Clever golf trick shots activate a fun Rube Goldberg machine.

It's OK, there's no need to call PETA. The elephants are not real.

LINK: Original photo by Lance Cpl. Jose D. Lujano

July 12, 2014 at 7:38am

5 Things To Do Today: Tacoma Old Town R&B Festival, Lakewood Summerfest, Out in the Park, World Cup Finale Party ...

Steve Stefanowicz will kick-off the Tacoma Old Town Rhythm and Blues Festival free park shows with a bang at noon, Saturday, July 12. Photo courtesy of Facebook

SATURDAY, JULY 12 2013 >>>

1. The Tacoma Old Town Rhythm and Blues Festival will add more rhythm to the annual beloved blues festival. From 9:30 a.m. to midnight you'll find the festival back for the pancake breakfast at the Slavonian Hall, free all-day outdoor music stage (with beer garden) in Old Town Park and night headlining shows. Here's the Tacoma Old Town Rhythm and Blues Festival schedule.

2. Love Rhubarb? Sumner hosts Rhubarb Days from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. loaded with a pancake breakfast, kids' games in Heritage Park, tractor display, petting zoo, pie-eating contest, entertainment and more rhubarb than you have seen in your life. There will also be a community bake-off at 11 a.m. Here's the Sumner Rhubarb Day's schedule.

3. Free stuff is good. Better yet, let's talk about free stuff for the entire family - Lakewood Summerfest 2014 at Fort Steilacoom Park. Tons of food, craft and nonprofit vendors will be on hand. (Read: more glass jewelry, organic food petitioners, and meat on a stick than your mom could ever dream of.) If you don't feel like indulging in drippy foods and knitted caps, then there's also going to be pain on triathletes faces to watch, Army Strong vehicles, a kids zone, and an outdoor cinema featuring Jurassic Park. Sound good? We're not done. There's also our favorite part of any event - the live entertainment! Expect country, blues, New Wave, Southern rock and more. And remember: Minus the angioplasty you're going to need after all the funnel cakes, most of it is free. Here's the Lakewood SummerFest schedule.

4. Tacoma's annual, awesome LGBTQ Pride celebration, Out in the Park, will be fabulous from noon to 5 p.m. on Broadway between Ninth and 11th streets. Afterward, until 4 a.m., The Mix throws one helluva block party. Here's the full Tacoma Pride week schedule.

5. After throwing the largest and longest World Cup party in the, er, world, Doyle's Public House will party even more hosting a world Cup Finale Party with The Staxx Brothers and Mighty High at 8 p.m.

LINK: Saturday, July 12 arts and entertainment events in the greater Tacoma and Olympia area

July 12, 2014 at 4:54pm

Words & Photos: Lakewood Summerfest 2014

Thousands of individuals from around the area and the City of Lakewood enjoyed SummerFest. Photo credit: J.M. Simpson


Nothing brings people out like a well-organized event, and Lakewood's third annual SummerFest did just that.

"This is just a great, great event," Mel Smith, a Lakewood resident, said as he cleaned his 1955 Martin alto saxophone.

"The citizens of this city cannot ask for a better event."

Thousands of area residents converged on Fort Steilacoom Park to enjoy a public market, a beer garden, tasty foods, live music performances, a colorful classic car show and an outdoor screening of Jurassic Park at dusk.

>>> Mel Smith cleans his 1955 Martin alto saxophone after performing at SummerFest. Photo credit: J.M. Simpson

The weather certainly cooperated with blue skies, fair winds and a warm temperature.

Earlier in the morning, the SummerFest's Triathlon - featuring a half-mile swim at American Lake Park, a 14-mile bike ride through Lakewood, Steilacoom, Joint Base Lewis-McChord, and a 3.1 mile run in Fort Steilacoom Park - ended as the festivities began.

>>> The cty of Lakewood's third annual SummerFest featured food, entertainment, a first class triathlon and some of the coolest cars in the area. Photo credit: J.M. Simpson

Marty Owens and Bill Sullivan captured the spirit of the event perfectly.

"This event is very good; it's awesome," said Owens, a Tacoma resident and classic car judge.

"Lakewood should be proud of itself."

>>> One of the biggest attractions at SummerFest was the West Pierce Fire Department with its trucks, equipment and information booths. Photo credit: J.M. Simpson

Filed under: Community, Events, Lakewood,

July 13, 2014 at 7:07am

5 Things To do Today: Art on the Ave, Best of the Northwest, the Riffbrokers, Forbidden 12th Night ...

Art on the Ave music includes Rust on the Rails, Nolan Garrett, the Breaklites, Cannabis Droids, Deathbed Confessions, Heavy Hammer, Mirrorgloss and more.

SUNDAY, JULY 13 2014 >>>

1. If you're accustomed to thinking of art as esoteric - or, for that matter, if you regard it as material to enliven the walls over sofas - then prepare to have your mind ba-lown. Tacoma's Art on the Ave community celebration includes Live bands, Grub Crawl, carnival rides, art projects, giant puzzles, local beer and wine lounge, tons of art and more from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Tacoma's sixth Avenue. Read Christian Carvajal's full feature on Art on the Ave in our Music and Culture section.

2. At the Best of the Northwest Free Community Festival from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., visitors to the Tacoma Art Museum will get to see up close and personal just what it takes to make a bronze sculpture and take part in a hands-on sculpture project making your own three-dimensional art. At noon the bronze World War II Marine memorial sculpture "Soul of the Forward and Faithful" by Mardie Rees will debut in an unveiling. It will be on view at TAM until July 27 when it will travel to its new permanent home at the National Museum of the Marine Corps in Quantico, Va. The festival will feature artists, fabricators and curators talking about the process of creating bronze sculpture. "Rarely do you witness sculptures taking shape," said museum director Stephanie A. Stebich. "We're giving visitors a close-up look into the sculpture process that most people don't get to see." Admission to the museum will be free all day. 

3. The Social Bar and Grill's patio is a lovely spot to while away a weekend afternoon, sipping cocktails and old world red wine and watching condo residents walk their dogs. Come Sunday afternoon, resident DJ Mr. Melanin and rotating guests spin an eclectic and extremely tasteful selection of lounge, bossa nova and electro soul music 2-6 p.m. This triple threat of delicious happy hour specials, sun and hip tunes is known as Tacoma's only daytime summer party, "Dayclub."

4. The Riffbrokers' Nick Millward has a voice that resembles a more nimble version of Elvis Costello's nasal croon, draws you in, sonically, before you have a chance to really appreciate the beauty of his lyrics. With the rest of the band consisting of Nick's wife Heather Millward (bass), as well as Chris Cline (guitar) and Ryan Maxwell (drums), the Riffbrokers like to refer to themselves as "powerpop twang," which works just as well as anything else. They sound like what would happen if Tom Petty earned his stripes in the indie punk underground. Read Rev. Adam McKinney's full feature on the Riffbrokers in the Music & Culture section, then catch the band with the Dignitaries and the Oly Electric at 5 p.m. in The Swiss Restaurant and Pub.

5. For some of us, karaoke is all about either watching or being drink-sodden disasters - specifically the kind poorly belting out ballads to a hooting crowd of strangers. For the non-voyeurs and the non-exhibitionists, the song's the thing, and Harlequin Productions "Forbidden 12 Night" karaoke party should be a song-centric affair. Harlequin's A Rock ‘n' Roll Twelfth Night cast and crew will be singing each other's songs from the show karaoke style, with the live band, beginning at 6:30 p.m. The $40 ticket is good for a catered buffet dinner and a cocktail as the cast, crew, and band from the musical present an evening of unscripted musical mayhem.

LINK: Sunday, July 13 arts and entertainment events in the greater Tacoma and Olympia area

July 13, 2014 at 9:44am

253 Weekend: Scenes from Saturday, July 12

Everyone enjoyed the 7 Seas Brewing 5th Anniversary Bash Saturday, July 12. Photo credit: Pappi Swarner

Moving a little slow today? My guess it's because of all the dancing you did yesterday.

Day one of 253 Weekend, at least that's what I'm calling it, is in the books. Too many events and activities to enjoy in the 253; I witnessed a few. Somebody stole toilet paper from one of the Out in the Park port-o-potties! I don't even want to think about the karmic payback the thief incurred for that one.

The music? Awesome. From a marching band playing the "Star-Spangled Banner" followed by Steve Stefanowicz cranking Jimi Hendrix's version opening the Tacoma Old Town Rhythm and Blues Festival to Stephanie Anne Johnson getting her freak flag on at Out in the Park to the raucous one-two punch of C-Leb & the Kettle Black and Perry Acker moving the entire population of Gig Harbor at the 7 Seas Brewing anniversary party, it was an epic day.

Below are a few snapshot from the Old Town Rhythm and Blues Festival, Out in the Park, Harmon Brewing's putt-putt golf tournament and 7 Seas Brewing's fifth anniversary bash. I left the camera at home during The Mix's street party because of ... you know ... dancing.

Tell us what you saw, tell us what you heard yesterday. Tell us what you'll be ripping down doors to catch today.


Weekly Volcano photographer J.M. Simpson dropped by yesterday's Lakewood SummerFest

July 14, 2014 at 7:13am

Monday Morning Joe: Rand Paul vs Rick Perry, America and the A-10, F-35 report, crazy music videos ...

Charlie Company, Battalion Landing Team 1st Battalion, 2nd Marine Regiment, 24th Marine Expeditionary Unit, fires a training round from an M203 coffee launcher during Exercise Eager Lion 12. Original photo by Sgt. Richard Blumenstein


Ukraine accused Russian army officers of fighting alongside separatists in the east of the country and said Moscow was once more building up its troops on the joint border.

Rand Paul to Rick Perry on Iraq: Get some new glasses.

America and the A-10: It's complicated.

F-35 investigation finds no fleet-wide design flaw.

Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl could return to active duty as soon as today after finishing therapy and counseling at a medical center in San Antonio.

The U.S. Air Force released its Long Range Strike Bomber request for proposal to industry with a contract award expected in spring 2015.

The $10B next generation jammer on track.

Air Force office puts all military aircraft names through the wringer.

Reports: Taiwan starts using drones to spy on China.

The U.S. Coast Guard is facing a dilemma at the North Pole.

Chief of Staff of the Army Gen. Ray Odierno taps captains for talent-management ideas.

Col. Chris Toner is taking the helm of a Warrior Transition Command that is reorganizing to better serve a somewhat smaller population of wounded, ill and injured soldiers.

Keeping up with the Kardashians stars Kim, Kourtney and Khloé gave back to the Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst community during an Operation Shower event.

Why the British don't refrigerate eggs.

Biggest dome ever built.

It's so hot in Yellowstone that a road literally melted.

Every episode of South Park is streaming for free on Hulu right now.

Sounds like the next season of True Detective will have four lead roles.

Watch the trailer for Are You Here, which stars Zach Galifianakis, Amy Poehler and Owen Wilson.

"Weird Al" Yankovic is releasing one new music video every day this week.

The Flaming Lips made a crazy video with Moby and Miley Cyrus.

Finally: Star Wars-themed video featuring Neko Case, KellyHogan and Ellie Kemper

Here's your soundtrack for today ...

LINK: Original photo by Sgt. Richard Blumenstein

About this blog

News and entertainment from Joint Base Lewis-McChord’s most awesome weekly newspapers - The Ranger, Northwest Airlifter and Weekly Volcano.

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