Weekly Volcano Blogs: Walkie Talkie Blog

Posts made in: December, 2011 (129) Currently Viewing: 81 - 90 of 129

December 19, 2011 at 7:23am

MORNING SPEW: Weather chat, I-5 chat, words of the year ...

The band name "Weeknd" is a dumb name. Photo credit: Facebook


Going For The Record: We're looking at 1978's record of December dryness right in the face. (News Tribune)

Don't Run Out Of Gas: Drivers will be able to travel on widened shoulders along Interstate 5 during heavy traffic as part of the state's effort to ease congestion near Joint Base Lewis-McChord. (News Tribune)

Year-Round Mission: The Tacoma Rescue Mission comes to the rescue to many 365 days a year. (Weekly Volcano)

Kim Jong Il Is Dead: Region tense after leader's death. (CNN)

The Most Memorable Words Of 2011: "Pragmatic" ... (Flavorwire)

The Worst Band Names Of The Year: With the rise of simply monikered bands like Yuck, The Weeknd, Real Estate, Blouse ... (AVClub)

This Will Cheer You Up: A speculative list of Jay-Z's 99 problems. (Thought Catalog)

December 19, 2011 at 11:27am

Learn how to play "Jailhouse Rock" from TV Tacoma

Pianist Scott Houston


Scott Houston, the Public Television personality, piano teacher, educator and professional speaker will teach piano lessons on TV Tacoma beginning Jan. 1, 2012.

Here is the schedule:

  • Mondays - 1:30 a.m. and 1:30 p.m.
  • Tuesdays - 9:30 a.m.
  • Wednesdays - 10:30 p.m.
  • Thursdays - 12:30 p.m.
  • Fridays - 12:30 a.m., 3:30 p.m. and 8:30 p.m.
  • Saturdays - 5:30 a.m. and 9:30 a.m. and 4:30 p.m.
  • Sundays -12:30 a.m., 9 a.m., 1:30 p.m. and 10:30 p.m.

For programming information or program streaming, visit www.tvtacoma.com.

Good luck.

Filed under: Music, Screens, Tacoma,

December 19, 2011 at 10:24pm

COMMENT OF THE DAY: More sex, less Twitter


Today's Comment of the Day comes from Boy Robin (Consensual Age) in response to Santa's suggestion of giving Tacoma author Savannah Aries's book Pleasure of a Higher Calling as a gift this holiday season.

Boy Robin writes,

Holy Orgasms, Batman! This isn't your grandma's romance novel! Genuine thought went into the characters, the situations, the relationships, and yes...the sex. Keep it going Savannah. We need something to read that's more than 140 characters and has actual emotional depth to it!

December 20, 2011 at 6:40am

True Tacoman: Score free food by knowing your Mount Rainier trivia


Foodcaching is a new smart phone app alerting customers of awesome food deals at 15 restaurants in the greater Tacoma area. You may download the app for free on your iPhone and Android here.

The Weekly Volcano has teamed up with Foodcaching for the True Tacoman game. Every Tuesday and Friday right here on Spew, we post a Tacoma history trivia provided by the Washington State History Museum. If you know the answer, run to one of the 15 participating restaurants, come clean with answer and you'll receive points on your Foodcaching app, which you downloaded free here. We'll be running the True Tacoman trivia game through the end of the year.

The person will the most points on Dec. 31 will be crowned the True Tacoman and be flooded with various food prizes.

Friday's True Tacoman trivia answer

Friday we asked the sport Tacoman Dick Hannula coach for years. You spent the last four days telling the restaurants listed below it was swimming – and, thereby, you scored points on the Foodcaching app. It was an easy task – a lot easier than trying to beat his Wilson High School swim team in the 80s.

Today is Tuesday, which means we post another trivia question as part of the True Tacoman contest.

Today's True Tacoman trivia question

True or False: Skiing above Paradise on Mount Rainier was a popular sport in the 1930s and 40s?

Answer the question correctly at one of the 15 participating restaurants below and score points - besides scoring awesome food deals from the restaurants. The correct answer will be revealed Friday, Dec. 23 on Spew. Also, keep an eye on this blog for bonus game points and a special invite to the True Tacoman Game Party in early 2012.

Oh, you can download the free app here.

Participating restaurants

  • 1022 South, 1022 South J St., Tacoma, 253.627.8588, Facebook
  • Capers Cafe & Take Home, 2602 N. Proctor St., Tacoma, 253.761.4444, Facebook
  • Dirty Oscar's Annex, 2309 Sixth Ave., Tacoma, 253.572.0588, Facebook
  • Dorky's Arcade, 754 Pacfic Ave., Tacoma, 253.627.4156, Facebook
  • Harmon Brewery & Eatery, 1938 Pacific Ave., Tacoma, 253.383.2739, Facebook
  • Harmon Tap Room, 204 Saint Helens Ave., Tacoma, 253.212.2725, Facebook
  • The Hub, 203 Tacoma Ave. S., Tacoma, 253.683.4606, Facebook
  • Massimo Italian Bar & Grill, 4020 Bridgeport Way W., University Place, 253.503.1902, Facebook
  • Marrow Kitchen & Bar, 2717 Sixth Ave., Tacoma, 253.267.5299, Facebook
  • Over The Moon Cafe, 709 Court C/Opera Alley, Tacoma, 253.284.3722, Facebook
  • Pacific Grill, 1502 Pacific Ave., Tacoma, 253.627.3535, Facebook
  • The Social Bar & Grill, 1715 Dock St., Tacoma, 253.301.3835, Facebook
  • STINK Cheese & Meat, 628 St. Helens Ave., Tacoma, 253.426.1347, Facebook
  • Top of Tacoma Bar & Cafe, 3529 McKinley Ave., Tacoma, 253.272.1502, Facebook
  • TWOKOI Japanese Restaurant, 1552 Commerce St., Tacoma, 253.274.8999, Facebook

December 20, 2011 at 6:54am

5 Things To Do Today: Miniature paintings, swing dance, Christmas Revels, "Oliver!" ...

The Banned Book Club will celebrate naughty Egyptians tonight at the Tempest Lounge in Tacoma.

TUESDAY, DEC. 20, 2011 >>>

1. Some nimrod in Witchita Falls, Texas claimed Zilpha Keatley Snyder's book The Egypt Game depicts Egyptian worship ceremonies that will turn children into cult worshippers, practitioners of the art of mummifying people and possibly make them walk like Egyptian for the rest of their lives. Tacoma's Banned Book Club will discuss the book, and maybe the band The Bangles, at 7 p.m. inside the Tempest Lounge. Bonus" Jessica Spring and her Christmas ornament making machines will be in the house.

2. There's something wonderfully odd and mysterious about the mind of the miniaturist; it takes a certain kind of person to spend so much time around small things. Whether it's a simple dollhouse or a magnificent painting, creating a good miniature is a matter of scale, a fastidious craft that requires patience, an artist's eye - and lots and lots of time. Obviously, the Weekly Volcano doesn't have the patience or skill to go small, but the artists showing at Gallery Row in Gig Harbor do. A variety of original miniature paintings in watercolor, oil, acrylic and sumi ink are on display. The gallery along Harborview Drive is open 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

3. The horn-driven 7 on 7 band will pump up the swing dancers at 7:30 p.m. inside the Eagles Ballroom in Olympia. If you need a refresher, Christine Corey will be teaching swing at 7 p.m.

4. Lakewood Playhouse's production of Oliver! is a big show. It doesn't require epic production values or huge dance numbers - just bigness. Big cast, big sound. It hits the stage at 7 p.m. with $15 rush tickets. Weekly Volcano theater critic Joe Izenman has the scoop on the show here.

5. Along with music, dancing and folklore, this year's edition of The Christmas Revels features a glimpse of Santa's dark side. The Revels - an interactive holiday performance with music at its heart - is set this year in 19th-century Bavaria, where holiday traditions range from the familiar to the surprising. It seems the Bavarian Santa, Sankt Nikolaus, has an alter ego, Knecht Rupprecht, and he's a bit different. The Christmas Revels consume the Rialto Theater at 7:30 p.m. To read Molly Gilmore's full feature on the show, click here.

LINK: More arts and entertainment events in the South Sound

LINK: This week's freebies

LINK: Santa Says Blog

December 20, 2011 at 7:46am

MORNING SPEW: Prince review, payroll tax cut, Garfunkel and Oats Christmas ...


Prince At The Tacoma Dome: Flawlessly flamboyant. (Seattle Weekly)

Politics: Republicans on the House rules committee have voted to prevent a direct vote today on a Senate plan to extend the payroll tax cut for two months. (CNN)

Iraq's Sunni Vice-President Tariq al-Hashemi: He denies any wrongdoing, a day after a warrant was issued for his arrest on terrorism-related charges. (BBC)

Piers Morgan: His first name might not be the only dumb thing about him. (BBC)

The Fug Girls: Celebrities who could really use a red-carpet boost in 2012. (New York Magazine)

Another Year-end List: The 15 best single episodes of television in 2011. (Pajiba)

No Comment: MTV brings back Punk'd. (TV Guide)

Oh Course "Tiny Dancer": Cameron Crowe's best musical moments. (Spinner)

Christmas Gifts: What people wanted in 1975. (Buzz Feed)

December 20, 2011 at 10:30am

Tacomans in the doghouse

Pam Velder, Tacoma Animal Control and Compliance Officer, made it very clear to a citizen that she needed to ensure that one of her two pit bull dogs were not entangled in its chain. Photo credit: J.M. Simpson


Star wasn't about to step outside the doghouse.

I couldn't blame the black and white Great Dane.  Would you want to walk across 20 feet of wet plywood covered with feces to greet a stranger?

Then again a dog is just a dog, and leaving it to live in deplorable conditions is OK.


To some of Tacoma's citizens, the answer is yes.

"I suspect this was a ‘throwaway dog,'" Pam Velder, an animal control and compliance officer for Tacoma, told me as we walked around the back of a house in East Tacoma.

"It was cute as a puppy, but as it got bigger it was tossed outside," Velder said as we stood in the large backyard - a big ass eyesore comprised of junk and garbage.

We walked out of the landfill of a backyard and around to the front door.

Velder knocked.

A few moments later, a man appeared. He appeared to be disengaged from reality.

"You have to stay on top of your dog's condition," Velder said. "She looks better since my last visit, but she still has sores on her butt and her living area needs to be cleaned up."

The man nodded his head, muttered something about paying more attention and went back inside.

PHOTO: Tacoma Animal Control and Compliance Officer Pam Velder logs data after a investigating a complaint. Photo credit: J.M. Simpson

PHOTO: A man looks out his window during a visit by Pam Velder, Tacoma Animal Control and Compliance Officer, to check on Star, a dog who had been living in less than desirable conditions. Photo credit: J.M. Simpson

For five-and-a-half years Velder, a perfect portrait of customer service and knowledge of pets, has diligently worked to educate pet owners of their responsibilities, and monitor animal environments. Dealing mostly with dogs and cats, Velder has dealt with snakes and, on one occasion, an alligator.

"We educate; we stress public safety and animal protection; we push spaying and neutering," she said as we drove to the next call. "We're out here to help people, not to ticket them or take their pets away from them.

Control issues

Tacoma Animal Control cannot take your pet - even the animals you treat as less than garbage - away from you unless the animal is in imminent danger of dying or the officer has a search warrant to do so.

"Animals are property, and we must operate within the confines of the law," Velder added.

That said, animal compliance officers often find themselves in the crosshairs of public anger.

"We simply can't take away and give a pet to a deserving family like some of our citizens would like us to do."

When that doesn't happen, some folks get pissed at Velder.  It's common for folks to call the animal control center and read her the riot act.

"We only enforce compliance laws; we are not a rescue agency," Velder said.

During the summer months, Velder receives 50 to 60 calls daily during her eight-hour shifts. In the wintertime, she handles 10 to 15 calls per day. Calls to Tacoma's Animal Control Center are decreasing, according to Joe Hunt, lead animal control officer for Tacoma. The agency runs on a budget of $500,000 a year, which includes pet licensing.

The fear is if the budget is cut, the progress Animal Control has made will erode.

PHOTO: One of the problems facing Tacoma Animal Control and Compliance Officer Pam Velder is the feeding of feral cats. Photo credit: J.M. Simpson

This is bad

The woman of the house, which sits behind an elementary school, is a crack head. The man of the house is, well, gone.  The front yard is a cluster of plastic ornaments, children's toys, assorted junk and weeds.

Why are some people allowed to own pets when they clearly can't take care of themselves, I wondered. 

Velder told me to stay back, out on the sidewalk. I wondered if she might need to use her Taser.

The reason for the visit centered on Joker, a malnourished-looking pit bull. Apparently the dog lives tangled in its chain, barking like hell, which in turn prompted neighbor complaints to the animal control center.

Velder had been to the house before to talk to the woman.

As the two women talked, I watched Joker climb over a fence and hang herself.

"What's he doing out there?!" the woman yelled at me as I watched the dog version of Hang 'Em High. "I'm not properly attired to be photographed!" Of the 12 comments she threw my way those were the only one not loaded with expletives.

I'm happy to report the dog survived and the owner received a citation.

"The next time, it will be a $250 fine," Velder said.

PHOTO: The Humane Society in Tacoma has a large number of dogs and cats up for adoption.  If not adopted, they die. Photo credit: J.M. Simpson

Tacoma Humane Society

My last visit was to the Tacoma Humane Society, a big homeless shelter for stray animals. Most of the cages were filled with dogs and cats. Some of the pets had belonged to service members at Joint Base Lewis-McChord.

"Some on the bases just leave their pets when they leave," Velder said as she stroked a dog's ear.

Apparently the mantra of leaving no soldier behind doesn't extend to some of the soldiers' pets.

My tour over, I thanked Velder for the work she provides in making Tacoma a better place to live.  She emphasized that the Animal Control Center had made significant progress in dealing with the animal control.

Perhaps the Tacoma City Council should keep this in mind as it contemplates budget cuts.

PHOTO: Tacoma Animal Control and Compliance Officer Pam Velder writes a warning.  If the warning is ignored, then the violator will face a $250 fine.  Photo credit: J.M. Simpson

For more information on the Animal Control Center, including the phone numbers to call for animal assistance, click here.

Filed under: Crime, Tacoma,

December 20, 2011 at 10:52am

MOVIE BIZ BUZZ: Making a killing

Director Randy Sparks slates up for another take on the set of "Rose Colored Shades." Photo credit: Christopher Wood


I creep up the creaky, flame-emblazoned steps as silently as I can, not sure whether the audio guy will detect my approach through his boom mic. Director Randy Sparks has pretty much the entire floor above Tacoma's Stonegate Pizza and Rum Bar to himself this Sunday afternoon, shooting a scene from his newest picture, Rose Colored Shades.

Known up to this point for sunny comedies, Sparks has opted for something darker in this tale of cold-blooded gangsters and hit men, which he wrote with Rod Long. Today's scene summed up what viewers can expect: the not-so-angelic character Gabriel (Don MacEllis) rubbing out his latest victim as she sleeps in bed.

Too brutal for the holidays, you think? Gabriel's gravelly rendition of "Silent Night" during his kill should put you in a festive mood! (Maybe if you're Alex from A Clockwork Orange.) 

Most of the small crew I don't recognize, except folks like photographer Gerry Collen, who seems a fixture on every Sparks production. He hurries around the confined space, made to look like a bedroom, snapping photos while Sparks slates each take himself. A director should never have to do this job, but then I realize Sparks' need for a minimum of onlookers here. Besides murder, Rose doesn't blush at the sight of nudity either; I couldn't enter the set until actress Crystal Canales was (semi-)decent.

Sparks began shooting Rose Colored Shades in late August of this year, and says he has only about twenty percent of the script in the proverbial can. Used to wrapping short films in a matter of weeks, Sparks realizes, "I have to be a little more patient (on features)."

Others have had to adapt to new experiences as well. Canales, a member of the local roller derby outfit Dockyard Derby Dames, finds herself in front of the camera for the first time. She tells me she agreed to join the cast before even reading the script. Then she discovered her character appears slightly in the buff.

Canales laughs. "It was nerve-wracking."

Fortunately the breathing exercises she learned in yoga keep her calm between take after take of thrashing in terror - while a nearly all-male crew looks on. Also at her side (and on top of her) is 48-year-old veteran actor MacEllis, who plays the attacker. He based the unstable Gabriel in part on a former boss he had years ago as a bouncer at a club in San Diego.

MacEllis describes the owner like a movie cliche: "sleazy, icky, gold chain, open shirt...he was that stereotype." And wouldn't you know it, this shady cat supposedly got in too deep with the Mob and met his end by some very un-natural causes...

Stonegate has of late served as a resource for other filmmakers. Tacoma producer-director Rick Walters not only held a screening of his short Scamp at Stonegate in 2011, early last month he used the space to host a fundraiser for his upcoming horror flick, The Resolution. (Posters of both works still hang on the walls upstairs.)

Before leaving the Rose set I bump into Stonegate owner Jeff Call. What does he think about the rising cred of his place as a haven for film artists?

"I'm all about local. I'm a Tacoma boy," he says. "I just want to support these (artists) ... whatever I can do to help the community, and hopefully it helps me out."           

Filed under: Arts, Screens, Tacoma,

December 20, 2011 at 12:54pm

Nosh League: A Night of Curry Dishes & Exotic Cocktails


Anyone who has traveled to Southeast Asia knows it is a great place to expand one's culinary horizons. Even in a less exotic locale like Singapore, or a more impoverished region like Indonesia, the sheer variety of curries and rice dishes offered at one of the myriad "food courts" and open markets gives these countries an exciting culinary tinge.

Singaporean native Tony Wien's Café Banana Asian Bistro, located inside the Great American Casino in Lakewood, is modeled after such admiration for Southeast Asian flavors, with its "roots" in Malaysian, Thai and Indian cuisine. "Within the walls of Café Banana lie all the ingredients for an eating Oasis," Wien recently told us.

Wien is a bit of a historian when it comes to curry. He'll bend your ear for an hour discussing ancient curry trade routes, preparations and varieties.

Throw one of his exotic mango or sake cocktails, and five of his curry dishes, and we'll listen.

That's exactly what the next Nosh league will do at 6 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 12. We'll meet for a night of curry history, dishes and exotic cocktails. Wien is also throwing in a salmon dish. That's cool with us.

As always, the price tag for the night will be $15 a person.

If you would like to join us, RSVP on the Nosh League Facebook.

Nosh League

Thursday, Jan. 12, 6 p.m., $15
Café Banana Asian Bistro
10115 S. Tacoma Way, Lakewood

LINK: First bite at Café Banana

December 20, 2011 at 1:20pm

LIVE REVIEW: Prince at the Tacoma Dome


His name is Prince, and he's still funky.

Sure, His Purpleness has a bionic hip these days. (Hey, you try doing splits in high heels for three decades.) But the spritely, 53-year-old rocker still looked svelte, suave and more like 35 Monday night as he and his backing band, the New Power Generation, wound down their yearlong Welcome 2 tour at the Tacoma Dome.

It was the Royal Rocker's first local stop since a two-night stand in Seattle in 2004. Boa and lace-clad Gen-Xers thought it was worth the wait as they, and some of their kids, grooved to some of the most iconic pop of the Reagan Era. And the nostalgic dance party got started with a cut that helped make Prince a household name back in 1984.

"Dearly beloved, we are gathered here today, to get to this thing called life," went the dramatic, organ-drenched intro to "Let's Go Crazy," one of five cuts that made an appearance from Prince's watershed soundtrack, Purple Rain.

The theater-in-the-round configuration was a major plus. A stage, shaped like that unpronounceable glyph that used to be Prince's stage name, took up a healthy chunk of the arena floor, ensuring there wasn't a bad seat as Prince ran through the hits.

The latest incarnation of the NPG includes four backup singers - notably Shelby J, who joined Prince for a powerful duet on "Nothing Compares 2 U" - and support from legendary saxophonist Maceo Parker (James Brown, Parliament-Funkadelic.)

Prince and co' delivered epic, jazzy arrangements of familiar songs. Early on, "Let's Go Crazy" morphed into a down-tempo version of "Delirious" then back again. Among early set highlights was a killer mash-up of Michael Jackson's "Don't Stop Till You Get Enough" and "Cool," a hit for Prince's Minneapolis funk peers, the Time.

But missing were the deep album cuts and surprise covers from previous tours. Toward the end of the set, along those lines, fans were teased with the lead-in to one of Tipper Gore's favorite Prince cut, "Darling Nikki." Prince's Jehovah's Witness faith has kept his raunchiest lyrics and all the piano humping in check over the last decade, making that a surprising choice.

But it was just another tease. "I don't want to play that," Prince said, opting to take a bow with cleaner hit, "Kiss."

Prince had copped to making some musical mistakes earlier in the show. Surely not "Nikki." (Nah, he must have meant that hideous song he wrote for the Minnesota Vikings.)

There was also a sense that the show had been cut unnecessarily short. There was no opening act, in contrast to tour stops where the likes of Shiela E, Anthony Hamilton and Janelle Monae have made appearances. And two encores consisted of just one song each, the first bluesy, signature ballad "Purple Rain," the second a smoothed out version of "Controversy."

After being manipulated with a few false starts and the lights coming up between encores, thousands of fans lingered, wondering, "Was that it?"

That said, Prince is nearly AARP-eligibility. And maybe he was just saving his energy for one of those epic after parties he's known for. Last night's was, reportedly, held at Republiq in Seattle. But lacking that hot ticket, I'll have to wait for the inevitable bootleg like everyone else.

Prince & the New Power Generation set list

Dec. 19, 2011
Tacoma Dome

Let's Go Crazy
Little Red Corvette
Take Me With U
Raspberry Beret
Cream ("I wrote that song while I was lookin' in the mirror.")
Don't Stop Till You Get Enough/Cool (Michael Jackson/The Time mashup)
Nothing Compares 2 U
Solo medley feat. elements of When Doves Cry, Nasty Girl (Vanity 6),
Most Beautiful Girl in the World, Forever In My Life, Alphabet Street,
I Would Die 4 U
Hot Thing

Darling Nikki (snippet, "I don't wanna play that song")

Purple Rain

LINK: Live review of Jay Z & Kanye West The Throne Tour at the Tacoma Dome

Filed under: Concert Review, Music, Tacoma,

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

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