Tuesday, September 29, 2009

The Sweet Aroma of Tacoma

It was recently brought to my attention by a long time reader that one of the more interesting aspects of my former blog Radiate Warmth was talking about day to day life in Alaska. Although I don't live there anymore, the place I live now is pretty amazing too. Just different. So in order to do more of that you should get to know the new place I habitate

Tacoma Washington. Oh you beautiful stain of the world. To most northwesterners Tacoma is just the smelley pit stop on the I-5 corridor between two infamously "Cool" towns, Seattle and Portland. The phrase "Aroma of Tacoma" is due to the fact that a very stinky paper mill used to sit right next to the freeway giving everyone who drove through a nice sulfer surprise. In this blog post I will argue that the aroma of Tacoma is much sweeter that most people will ever know. (and the paper mill is gone).
Now lets get one thing straight. Tacoma is not Seattle. And just because the airport is called Seatac (Because Tacsea would be confusing) doesn't mean they have anything in common really. Yes they both rest on the shores of the Puget Sound. Yes they both have humans living in them. But thats about it. Seattle is the Jewel of Northwest metropolis-hood. Big Business, sports teams, commerce, suburbs, universities, art, music, you name it they got it done big. They also have the University of Washington which is a breeding ground for the exact type of Seattle mentality I despise. Yuppie Scum. Enough Said.

Tacoma has a rich yuppie district, the north end. But its small and limited. The majority of the city is working class blue collar people of all races and backgrounds. Real people just trying to make it. Tacoma as a community mentality is a "Take me as I am" or buzz off. In tacoma you don't have to worry about what kind of car you drive, or your job, or what you look like. You can be yourself. Ghetto people hang with art kids and rich UPS students as well as regular people and hippies, older folks and business workers.

On top of that Tacoma has great and distinct districts/areas. Downtown is on the upswing with new shops and galleries and museums and a great farmers market. The light rail and new schools are recent additions there and its instilling a sense of pride in the community. The ghetto is still the ghetto next to the Hospital but it too is improving as Martin Luther King Avenue grows and improves with more community programs than I've seen there before. The sixth avenue district is exploding with nightclubs and restaurants providing more music opportunities and nightlife activities. You have the proctor district which is a small unique community with good grocery stores and shops. Also there is Ruston way, a long strip of parks and restaurants like west seattle but cheaper. Right off of that is Old Town Tacoma/North End with a cool little intersection of the Puget Sound and the Upperclass. The Stadium district/North Town district has little pockets of establishments and amazing old houses to rent and own.

Finally there is the Antique Ruston town that I live in. Its fighting annexation into tacoma and barely holding on to its roots. It has the famous Salmon Beach Hippie community, the antique shops downtown, the Vashon Ferry terminal and marina, and most importantly the largest urban inclosed natural habitat west of the mississippi, Point Defiance Park, Zoo and Acquarium, and 5 mile drive providing endless woodland activities.

Tacoma allows you to drive around much easier than seattle and still experience the feel of many different neighborhoods with personalities and mini cultures. The housing is cheap and affordable. The views are breathtaking, you are much closer to Olympia and the Olympic Peninsula and never more that a ten minute drive from the water.

People have "I Heart T-Town" sticker's on their cars. And they wear shirt's that say "Tacoma, 400,000 alcoholics can't be wrong." And although many people leave this little city they often come back because it feels like home.
My favorite thing about tacoma is that it is part of one of the themes of my life: "Picking the Underdog." I went to the poor other side of school town Peninsula who battled the yuppies of Gig Harbor High School. It was a school where everyone could get along rich or poor. I then went to Washington State the poor farming redneck school in eastern washington. We battled the yuppies of the University of Washington and everyone got along, building a distinct family pride in being a COUG because we all lived in the middle of nowhere and had to! Now I live in Tacoma the stinky little city with a bad reputation, where everyone can and does get along and just can be who they are.

Seattle is great, if you're a seattle person. I love to visit don't get me wrong. But me, I'm all tacoma.
So as I sit in a coffee shop in Old Town Tacoma writing this, I think about if I want to run on Ruston Way or around Point Defiance. Or maybe I'll go up to the Vegan Jamaican restaraunt on Hill Top for dinner. Or maybe just maybe I'll go play open mic at the Antique Sandwhich Company in Ruston.
Its not alaska, but its my new home. More to come...

Monday, September 28, 2009

Beyond the Bridge Cafe Success.

The show was a great success.
The Beyond The Bridge Cafe was a relaxing and hip place to play and crowd was a wide range of people from high school to some my parents age. The bands were fantastic and although I was nervous and started out shaky I quickly settled in and kicked some ass.
My friend Kyle came and recorded the whole set on digital recorder and is going to help me with a live cd.
Needless to say I had fun and think that it went really well because I got asked back next month.
Now I gotta work on some new songs.
Hopefully the Sub office will get my account figured out soon so I can get some work.

Friday, September 25, 2009

THAAAAAAATS RIGHT!!!! My Gig Is Finally Here.

The Venue:
Beyond The Bridge Cafe
13624 Valley Ave E Sumner Washington.

If You Google It On Maps it can give you directions!

The Line UP!
Fox 45
Sarah Palin's Backyard
Kale Iverson
Karina Thorpe
The Black Sails

You can also Find them on Facebook and MySpace



My Setlist for tonight.

Down the Road
Clean Fresh Brand New Start
My Little Life ==>Such A Good Feeling (Mr. Rogers Cover)==>My Little Life
Eutaw (Old Crow Medicine Show Cover)
Long Way To Go
Love Over Grown
The Otherside ==>With A Little Help From My friends.

I know may of you can't make it but I'll be playing for you too!


Friday, September 11, 2009

Hmmm...No real reason to write.

Yeah, I don't really know what to write about. But some of my best posts have started this way. I guess I have a need to exercise my brain right now.

I don't know what words can really describe how I've been feeling lately. There is a healthy dose of exhaustion from an entire summer on the road doing crazy fun adventures. There is a heaping cupful of boredom as I still have to wait two weeks to get to work. There are a few teaspoons of anxiety and nervousness about finding a cool place to live and a real job. And there is a small constant sprinkle of regret and sorrow for leaving Alaska, I hear about my kids and friends and feel sad. Maybe if things worked out like I had planned it would all be gravy. But down to a letter the plans almost certainly did not get followed.

I left Alaska mostly because I was tired of being alone and of being alone all the time. And now, I seem to find myself alone almost as much. I get to visit people a lot which is definitely an improvement. Visiting is different though. I need a COMPANION. Someone on my wavelength thats around more that just once a week. That's the kind of lonely I'm talking about. It could be a girl but I would also take a best friend. Everybody is doing their own thing. I want to be doing OUR thing. Is that so weird to just want to have a companion? To have someone that wants to be around me as much as I want to be around them plutonic or romantic, where I can say "Lets go" and they jump in and finish the sentence with "rent a movie and make Indian Food!"

Things will settle I guess. I have lots of awesome people in my life. One of them is going to step up I just know it. Its just hard right now, everyone around me seems to be in survival mode, I think we all are, everyone is moving, or starting school, or looking for jobs, or god knows what, that is why I welcome the bone numbing cold of fall and winter, its slows people down.

I am very slow today. I am so sore from running the other day that I can feel every strained muscle in my body. Thats when it dawned on me. I'm turning 27 this year. How the hell did that happen? I'm old. Old and dorky. I need to get my shit together. I was feeling very young and strong just last week till I realized this fact. I gotta get that back. I'm young still, its all in the head.

Dammit, this post isn't really going anywhere, and I'm not even talking about Good Things I'm talking about Life Things. Life just keeps on going on around me and I seem to be in some sort of vortex of not mattering much. And I'm not even throwing a pitty party for myself, I'm fine, if I learned anything in Alaska its that I can endure a lot of shit and abuse and make it through. The confounding thing is how do you deal with life when you seemingly have everything anyone would ever want and you're still not happy. I feel like a whiney baby. Probably because I am a worker bee, I like to have a purpose and a project and after three months of goofing off (which was more work that you can imagine) I'm exhausted.


oh and ...


Sorry for the mega personal probably should save this one in drafts post but GOOD THINGS wouldn't be so good if there wasn't CRAP THINGS. I just keep scratching my head at this summer and thinking about what kind of life lesson I was supposed to learn from this one. I mean I can look back on lots of things that didn't go so well in my life and extract the wisdom from it. But what will I look back and get from this humdinger of a year. Jesus 2009 I'm frightened to see what else you got in store.

Is it just me that thinks this is a weird year?

Ok, the sun is shining, my roof is calling me for a yoga session...alone...so I will go for now.

Have a great weekend with someone you love.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Fall Is Here and Life Moves On

The air is getting crisper around the Puget Sound these days. That means the legs are gonna burn a little hotter when running Five Mile Drive around Point Defiance (something I did for the first time today with out stopping go ME!) I was able to keep up with my strong little brother the whole way and once I recover I will do it again. With all the free time I've had lately I've been making a lot of time for practicing music, working out, and trying to meet new friends.

This weekend at Dave Matthews Band at the Gorge was really actually very pleasurable. Yonder Mountain String Band got skrewed and had to go on first and only played about 45 minutes which I thought was pretty lame. G. Love and the Special was very good especially during their Saturday Night set where the played to the backdrop of a double rainbow and sunset after 8 hours of rain all day. Dave Matthews was pushing his new album so he repeated like 5 songs all three nights which I thought was kind of cheap and commercial. But to his credit he let MY NEW HERO Danny Barnes from the Bad Livers and also Yonder Mountain String Band play two of his own original songs from his album "Pizza Box." The songs "Side of the Road" and "Cave Man Song" had sorority girls, fratboys and younglifers who were attendance confused and pissed which was not only comedic to me and my bluegrass friends but also very satisfying knowing that on sunday those same Danny Barnes haters left the show singing the hooks from the same songs. GO DANNY BARNES!!! DMB more like DBMB (Danny Barnes-Matthews Band).

I got to go with my friends Mark and Kelsey and we had a blast all weekend long. I made some very very cool new friends and also got to play late night ukulele for a crowd of about 25 singing my popular party hits like "I like Big Butts," "Ice Ice Baby," "Regulators," "This is How we do it," "A Little Help From My Friends," and the ever popular "Cane Toad Melody," a song that I haven't played in 2 years.

OH OH OH!!! I forgot to tell you. I got my first real gig! I'm going to be playing a bar on the 25th of September with a few other people. I don't have the details yet but as soon as I do I will let you all know about it. I know most of you won't be able to make it but its pretty cool right?

I finally got some semblence of a job today too. I got hired as a substitute teacher for Tacoma Public School District. I have orientation in a couple weeks. Its a start right? A little cashflow never hurt anybody. I am a great sub too. I know that it will lead to a job if I don't get hired for something else.

Hal got a job at Harbor Greens a local produce place and is interviewing for an elementary PE position on Monday which basically means that I have job, he has at least one job, and my friend Kyle has a job. WHICH MEANS we can start looking for a seriously awesome three bedroom place in tacoma. Our goal is to get a place with a place to set up a band practice space and recording studio and really go for it with the music.

And Cougar football has begun. Cougs lost (duh...). But get to see my first Coug game in two years this saturday at Quest field in Seattle. I'm so freaking excited!!!! Everyone's gonna be there!

So, summer festivals are over, getting in shape, substitute teacher, new place on the horizon, cougar football, and sweet sweet northwest fall.

Good things!
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