Sunday, January 27, 2013

The Killers take Portlandia!


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As of tomorrow my current blogging hiatus will enjoy it's first birthday, an event that I simply can't let happen.  Over the last few weeks I've been doing a bit of guest blogging on my sister-in-laws site (see "Nathen and Jennifer" in the Liked Links list on the right), and it has rekindled my past posting passion.  Now I'm faced with the insurmountable task of blogging an entire year's worth of adventures in the action-packed life of my wee little family.  Where do I start?  I believe I'll take the customary approach and begin with the loudest event, then work my way down in decibels.

Fourth quarter 2012 was a crazy busy time for us, yet we were able to fit a bit o' fun in the mix.  The best of it all was that my little sister, Staycia, was staying with us for nearly three months, and we had a blast.  Staycia's got the world's best personality and it was tons of fun to have her here.  There will be a lot more posts about the Fall of Staycia...wait, I don't mean "Fall" like the Fall of Rome, I mean the season.  Yeah.

Sara and I are legs of a very complicated love triangle with the world's greatest current Rock'n'Roll band, The Killers.  If you're not familiar with The Killers, I recommend you locate a cool person and query them for more information.  After over a year off, our band finally came out with a new album, Battle Born, so we hopped online and discovered that the promotional tour included Vancouver and Portland!  What poor excuses of fans we'd be if we didn't go see the concert, plus we'd have a chance to show Staycia what a real rock concert is like.  My passport is a little expired, so we bought tickets the day they went on sale for the concert at the Portland Rose Quarter and spent a few months in great anticipation.

Man was that concert amazing!  Tegan & Sara and M83 were the opening bands, which were awesome enough, then The Killers took the stage and an audio/visual sensation was released that flew up into our lofty stadium seats and transformed us into glorified rock'n'roll demi-gods.  This is the great power that can be harnessed by uber-talented musicians armed with laser lights, pyrotechnics and towering Marshall stacks.  Every minute of the concert lived up to my very high expectations.

We left the Rose Quarter that night totally hyped up and much closer as a group.  I like the occasional reminder that my wife knows how to dance, scream and shout at a rock concert, and it was really cool to see my little sister shouting along with my favorite band.  Plus, look how hot Sara is in her Killers T-shirt!  Now you see how complicated our love triangle is...Sara and I love each other and we love The Killers.  They love us, as witnessed by the great gift of rock they bestowed upon us, yet we just can't be together all the time.  Our night with The Killers in Portland eventually came to an end, but our hearts still beat in time with Brandon, Dave, Mark and Ronnie.

Here's a must-see link about The Killers' lead singer, Brandon Flowers, who is a card-carrying Mormon:  http://mormon.org/brandon.  I love this link and all the other profiles on Mormon.org.  You can check out my profile not too far away from Brother Flowers'; here:  http://mormon.org/me/690S/Kason

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Update on The Zoe!

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Zoe just turned 4 1/2 and has already planned age 5 through 18. She's not completely clear about how long a year is compared to a day, but back last day when she was a baby, there was a big party with all of her friends and we're all invited, so you have to come so we could all have cake and pink ice cream with all the glitter princesses! Never has a little girl had so much to say, probably because she's learning stuff at the rate of like a million concepts an hour, and she just has to discuss each of them. Especially in the car. Zoe has the distinct honor of being able to claim Waukesha, Wisconsin, the hometown of the great Les Paul, as her birthplace. Even though she comes from the middle of the country, and has heritage in the deserts of the west, she can definitely identify with the beach bum crowd. She likes the beach so much that she's got nick names for each one that we go to. This is a picture of me having just buried her at "the Far Beach" (Cannon Beach). This was the only way I could get her to stay in one place long enough for us to get a decent picture. Zoe has also learned to love sea creatures since we moved to the North West, and actually does a spectacular Sea Lion impersonation. Notice all the super cool purple and orange star fish on the bottom of the rock behind Zoe in the picture below.
A few Christmases back we made one of the biggest mistakes that parents can commit; we bought her a little girl drum set. I've yet to regret this decision, even though it has resulted in a lot of rock and/or roll...at least as much as can be produced by a drum kit with Elmo on the bass drum. Many a times we've put on little concerts with Zoe on her drums and me on the guitar. I love it when she raises the orange drumsticks over her head and bangs them together to count off the tempo of the song, usually getting all the way to seven or eight. Then she starts bangin' the drums and makes up lyrics as she goes. I've exposed little Zoe to a lot of Beatles music, as a matter of fact, her first night home from the hospital she and I walked around
our apartment listening to the Beatles Lullabies CD that I had put together. She is now able to sing most of "
Drive My Car" and "Eight Days a Week". I couldn't be more proud. It makes me really happy when she shouts "Beep Beep, Beep Beep Yeah!" when we're driving about. Maybe she likes "cool" music (as she calls it) because we drag her to countless concerts in the park all summer. Here she is enjoying an Elvis impersonator. She was thrilled that her shirt matched Mr. Presley's car.

It's not just Zoe that has big plans for her future, Sara and I have also made a few goals for her. Sara has been very successful in accomplishing their mutual goal of transforming Zoe into a beautiful princess.
I can't think of many times that we've left the house without Zoe and Sara spending first spending several minutes primping and curling so they can look their very best.
The latest beautifying weapons are her Sunday morning curlers, which she's not afraid to show off with a classic glamour pose. I'm so lucky to have such a great wife to raise such a great daughter.

My big hopes for Zoe's future mostly involve her menu choices. Currently she still demands a very limited cuisine of orange foods including ronis and cheese, cheetos, fishy crackers, corn on the cob and ramen noodles.
I'd like to mold her into a lover of seafood and international cuisine, as I am still the only one in the household (beside the cat) that ventures into these gastronomical genres. Maybe I can build on her love of sea creatures to create a shrimp eater out of her. She still refuses to eat any candy except for the occasional M&M. Weird kid.

I love my little Zoe, she is such a special little person to me. I can't believe that a day will come when we'll sit with her as adults and have great conversations with about religion, politics and child rearing. Until then, we'll try to listen as intently as possible to never-ending stories about castles, weddings, purple bikes and pet ducks
(which usually end up being boiled and eaten for some reason). Zoe couldn't have been much past two when she first sang from the backseat of the car, "Daddeeee-a-leeeee-a-leeeeee-a-leeee", and my heart was officially melted. I'll do anything to keep that little girl safe and happy. Her daddy must be her favorite person always and forever. What a lucky daddy I am!

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Update on The Olivia!

In review of my recent posts I noticed that I've only posted a few pictures of Olivia! My blog is meant to be little sketches about the places we've gone and things we've done, so I try my hardest to not clutter it up with cuteness, but now that the little tyke is walking about, the time has definitely come. In that vein, here's a little featurette on my favorite little eleven month old!

Just like her sister before her, it is very hard to get a picture of Olivia without a giant smile on her face. She has so much practice smiling that she's managed to come up with several different kinds. I'm a big fan of the open-mouthed grin she's modeling in this picture taken at that really awesome park with the zip line and the merry-go-round in Ballard. Unless she's really tired, or truly needs something, Olivia just sits there happy as a clam, thinking of new ways to smile. It's been kinda sad to watch her get bigger and more independent. She won't let us hold her with a bottle until she falls asleep anymore, so I'm missing a lot of quality T.V. time with her. At bed time she just wants to be tossed into her crib with a drink. That's alright though, because when we put her in there she smiles, flops around like a beached fish and giggles a bit as she gets comfy. I do the same when I finally go to bed.

As the daddy, I get the great honor of being greeted like a rock star when I walk in the door after work. This has been a great way for me to see Livy's progress in the mobility arena. After rolling to me at 5 months, scooting at 6, crawling like a little beetle from 8-10 months, this week she's finally mastered the frozen-legged walk. Olivia is still in her "taste everything" stage, which is a horrible mixture with walking, as she has now been converted to a high-speed germ detector. By the time I clean the plant dirt out of her mouth and off the floor, she's already toddled her way over to the open dishwasher. We just can't have nice things! I love that whenever she stands up or walks on her own, she has to clap her hands, as was taught to her by her adoring and congratulatory parents. Yeah Olivia!!

Perhaps the leading factor in Livy's cuteness is that her mommy goes to a lot of work to nudge her into the adorable category. I take on the rough task of being the parent in charge of Olivia's hair. I wonder how long it will be until I finally have a medium to work in? Until then, my toughest job is searching the house for the bow of Sara's choosing (nearly always in my suit coat pocket). The consequence of the cuteness may be a few more minutes to get out the door when we've got a place to go, but no matter what the place is, Sara teaches our little girls how dress in a presentable way. It's a good thing they've got such a classy mommy. This is a great example of Olivia dressed to the nines at Snoqualmie Falls last weekend. People can't help but notice Olivia's cuteness and throw some ridiculous noises at her. And what's the first thing they always ask us after their cooing? "Oh my goodness, how old is she?" To which we always respond with the appropriate age, calibrated in months. Next time someone asks me how old I am I think I'll say that I'm 353 months.

Here's The Olivia in the wagon during one of our summer evening walks around the vacant cul-de-sac in front of our house. We hope that some houses finally get built in these fields with nice little kids Zoe and Olivia's age that they can play with. Until then, Sara and I will continue to be their best friends...and maybe afterwards too. I hope it's not very soon that I have to start putting this innocent little girl into time out and reminding her to behave. I love my little Olivia a lot, and I hope she knows that I do. She needs me so bad, and I'm sure I can handle the needs...it's the "wants" that I worry about. We're a happy little family, and though she doesn't contribute a lot in cleanliness or finances, Olivia makes the family happy with those little smiles. Yeah, she loves us too, I can tell when she tries so hard to beat her sister into my arms when I get home from work. There's no better feeling than being on the daddy end of outreached eleven-month old arms.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Hat 'n' Boots

Sometimes I sit back and count my lucky stars to be able to live in the same metropolitan area that houses the world's largest hat and cowboy boots. It's a cryin' shame that the majority of my friends and co-workers who have lived in western Washington their entire lives aren't even aware that such whoppers of western wardrobe have been one bus ride away for over 57 years.
Our little family moseyed on over to Oxbow Park in the Georgetown neighborhood of Seattle only a few months after we moved into town. This little trip was absolutely necessary to retain our status as fans of America's favorite comedy, National Lampoon's Vacation. Sara's mom had tipped us off that Hat 'n' Boots is featured in one of the slides during the opening sequence of the movie. Actually I'm not doing this particular slide any justice, it may be the single most important one that flashes by in the opening credits, as it is the one that has "And Introducing Christie Brinkley" written across it. The Hat 'n' Boots have undergone a few changes since they were shown in the movie. These important pieces of our national history were originally constructed in 1954 as giant advertisements at a western-themed gas station. Everyone knows that gas stations must have themes in order to be successful, and I think a western motiff is very appropriate. I'd much prefer giant boots and hats over the more standard service station focus on bacteria and stench. Surprisingly the giant orange hat and glamour boots didn't rustle up sufficient clientele to keep the joint in business, so the station was closed and scheduled for demolition. That's when the City of Seattle came riding over horizon like true fronteir heroes and rescued the legends, moving them down the street to Oxbow Park where they stand today.
I'm not sure why the orange construction barrel and netting were installed underneath the hat. I can only assume that the ne'er-do-well teenagers that live in the area had been messing about below and on the hat, and this netting was a sure fire way to keep them out. Or perhaps the city had to make the under-hat less appealing to the local transients seeking shelter from the rain. And what a glorious shelter that would be! I'm very glad they kept the construction eyesores the exact same color as the giant western eyesores.
Aside from being raised in the semi-rural west, I'm not a person of cowboy heritage, so I'm not sure if wearing such colorful cowboy boots would result in a colorful cowboy pummeling. I'd really like to get a pair...which is exactly what the local bullies would probably tell me to do if I actually wore this style of boot. Beware to all that may visit us up here in Seattle, the "Hat 'n' Boots" have now been added to the required itinerary.

Friday, August 12, 2011

Comes Bob Bob Bobbin' Into My Belly!

I really like hamburgers a lot. I consider eating burgers one of my sworn civic duties as an American, and I've spent a lot of time in my adult life being patriotic in a culinary way. Our family's favorite burger place is Red Robin, partly because of the gourmetness of the burgers (as measured in dripiness), but mostly because of the bottomlessness of the fries. It's sort of an oxymoron that those fabulous steak fries are called "bottomless" when they truly are the cause of much more bottom...especially after they've been dipped! I know there's about a million other classier places to dine here in suburbia, but I've never met a Red Robin burger I didn't like, so we're kinda hooked. I proudly tout myself as the 21st century Wimpy.
Now, I don't bring all of this up because of my perpetual hamburger hunger, rather, I wanted everyone to know how important it was for us to go the world's first Red Robin before it closed on March 21, 2010. Fortunately, the cradle of burger civilization was just up the road in Eastlake, so no long trek was necessary. Sam's Tavern opened up in 1940 at the far south end of the University District. Sam must have known the direct link between college students and alcohol. He also knew how to sing, and did so in a local Barbershop quartet, as well as behind the counter. He fell in love with the song "When the Red Red Robin" so much that he changed the name of the dive to Sam's Red Robin. The place was bought out and turned into a burger joint in 1969, and eventually became the mother of 450 franchise children. We'd have come to this location more often if we'd known about the great view of Portage Bay out the window! I'm not really sure why the original location closed down, I didn't want to know. I can only assume that it had something to do with red bird droppings.
Our culinary mecca was well worth it when I saw the picture of Red the Robin from back in his college days (below). I'm really glad he cleaned up and got his life back together. I'm also really glad that we moved away from the Red Robin desolation of Wisconsin (we only found one location within driving range from our house) into the land of Red Robin bounty. Thanks for being a shining beacon of hope, Red, I owe you big time! I'm sure I'll eventually pay you back, so long as you continue to fill up the fry basket.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Hangin' with the 27 Club

Unfortunately, the famous "27 Club" just claimed a new inductee, and it got me to thinking about its seven main members. The 27 Club is a group of musicians who found overwhelming fame early in life, but whose future was cut short due to their death at the age of 27. It may be a result of my odd fascination in the graves of the famous, or it could be a strange coincidence, but I've seen the final resting place of 4 of the 7 main members of the club. Well, one of them is sort of a stretch, but I'm still going to count it. Here's my list:

Jim Morrison - France has national holidays almost weekly over the summer, and during one of them (Saint Somebody's day) my good friend Bruno and I hopped onto line 3 of the world's best subway and headed to nearly the end of the line. Pere Lachaise cemetery is a fascinating place full of fascinating dead people, including the lead singer of The Doors. The stories behind his death and burial are very interesting and worth a few minutes at Wikipedia, or perhaps a few minutes in Paris. Yet another good reason to go back to France.

Jimi Hendrix - Before I said yes to the job offer in Seattle, I considered how awesome it would be to live in the very city that spawned the world's greatest guitarist. Needless to say, there were very few days between our move to Seattle and our pilgrimage to Jimi's final resting place in Renton, Washington. Don't worry, this shoddy paragraph is only a preview of an upcoming post that will have some tacky title like "Jammin' with Jimi", or "Cold as Love". Our Jimi Hendrix grave experience was pretty groovy and you'll hear all the electric details, in full swirling color, once I finally get around to it.

Kurt Cobain - I'd say Kurt Cobain had more influence on post 80's music than any other person. Western Washington is chuck-full of Cobain history, as he was born and raised in Aberdeen, died just south of Seattle on the coast of Lake Washington, and is currently floating about in ash form through the creeks and rivers of Olympia, Washington. Since we've driven through Aberdeen, Olympia and Seattle loads of times over the last two years, I'm considering this 27 Club member as officially visited. One of these days I'll make my way to the house in which he "commit suicide" just so I can say I've been there.

Janis Joplin - Shamefully, I really don't know much about Janis Joplin, except that she died at the age of 27 only 16 days after Jimi Hendrix. Her ashes were scattered from an airplane into the Pacific Ocean, and I've been to the Pacific Ocean, so I'm counting it. It looks like its time to go put a Janis Joplin CD on hold at the library.

My 27 Club grave count will likely stay at four, as I'm not enough of a fan of the remaining members to visit the graves of Brian Jones and Amy Winehouse in England. Sara and I are dreaming of a nice little drive through the South, during which I think it would be cool to stop and see what's left of Robert Johnson in Mississippi. It would be super cool to write a book about famous gravesites. It would be just macabre enough to grab a reader's attention, and historical enough to hook the nerds. Maybe it would end up getting produced into a super famous cable television show, which I would be able to exploit as host in order to get a lot of free trips to the middle of nowhere. At the rate I'm blogging, I could easily get that written by the time I retire.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

The American Drum Horse

After we watched Drummer strut about the Arena, Marlan came up into the stands to ask if we wanted to come take a ride on the cart. We didn't hesitate a moment to clean up our Cheetos mess, fish the dirt out of Olivia's mouth, and head out toward the barns. Now, we had previously learned that the small horses at the show are not to be called ponies, rather, they are miniature horses. Turns out that the owners of these tiny equines are a little touchy about semantics, and I can't blame them because when people refer to me as an accountant I get pretty huffy, too (I'm a miniature actuary darn it!). The reason I bring it up is that watching my little Sara trying to get in that wagon made me wonder if I had married a miniature human. Fortunately, Marlan showed her how to hoist herself up there. If there's anything a horseman must be good at, it's hoisting himself up into things.

Zoe and Sara did four or five laps around the horse trailers behind the barns, and during the last couple times around Marlan handed over the reigns, and my girls got to do some pleasure driving of a world champion pinto. Sara says she was pretty nervous, "but fortunately the horse is a lot smarter than me". The pictures don't really show it, but Zoe was having a ball up there, and tried to mimic the whistle noises that Marlan made to get the horse moving. Marlan's been training horses for decades, and he has a very special way of communicating with them. It took a lot of coaxing to get the two of them off that cart. That was super nice of Marlan to let them take a ride and drive the horse, that's the kind of thing a little girl never forgets (and neither do mommies).
While my girls were out trit-trotting through the parking lot, Olivia and I had a good conversation with Linda, the owner of the horses. We learned all about where Drummer came from and what he was bred for. It was absolutely fascinating, and I can't quit reading about drum horses on all the websites I can find! The way I see it, these horses are pretty much British royalty. The drum horse was originally bred for it's very specific ability to carry the heavy steel drums during royal processions in England, including the yearly Trooping of the Colours, and Royal parades. They have to be strong enough to carry the fully-uniformed rider and the giant drums for long distances. They must also have a very good temperament so as not to be spooked while the drums are being played as loudly as possible. Drum horses must also be very well trained so they can respond to the commands of the rider as he guides the horse through the streets using reigns tied to his feet. He can't use his hands to steer the horse because he's playing the drums!

The Queen's Band of the Guards has but a few drum horses among it's ranks, but you'll notice in all the pictures online that they look just like Drummer and Trooper. In the picture above, the rider of the drum horse is holding up his drumsticks in an "X" as a salute as he passes by the Queen. If you click on the picture, it will enbiggen and you can see the reigns tied to the drummer's feet. Linda's horses are the spittin' image of the drum horse in this picture. I'd never heard of such a neat thing as this...a horse specially bred to play music! I think if I had a pair of English drum horses I would name them John Henry and Keith, after my two favorite British drummers. Linda was telling me that there's a pretty big movement now to bring the thoroughbred drum horse to America. In fact, Drummer and Trooper are officially classified as American Drum horses, as their mum is American and their daddy is British. This was accomplished via a method they refer to as "stud in a box". Let's just say that if those Fed-Ex guys new what was in that box, they probably would have asked for hazard pay.

If I had a pair of American drum horses I would have to name them Don and Dusty after Don Henley and Dusty Hill. Those are some good horse names inspired by some good drummers. Notice I'm not naming either of them Phil! If they were mares, they'd be Meg and Karen. What a great Saturday it turned out to be, getting back in touch with our western roots. There's something really special about being around horses. I truly consider it a spiritual occasion whenever I watch horses, and horsemen, do what they do.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Meeting a World Champion

Our little family shuffled off our city-slicker coils today by paying a visit to the Big Six Pinto Show of Western Washington. Sara's blood is one quarter horse wrangler (Quarter Horse?), as her mom was raised by professional race horse raisers. It's really cool to think that Diane (Sara's mom) spent a lot of her youth working with, and playing with, these majestic animals. It was that same blood line that led us to Spanaway, Washington this afternoon to drop in on Sara's uncle Marlan, as he showed his World Champion American Drum Horse. I've always been amazed by horses, and this animal was breathtaking. You could tell he was a World Champion at first glance. Needless to say, Sara has grown tired of my constant requests for a horse of our own.

"But Sara," I say, "it will be an inside horse, and I promise I'll braid his tail every day." To which she replies, "Grrrr".
The people at the horse show were all so friendly. They'd let Zoe and Olivia pet the horses and they'd tell us all about what they'd won and how the horses had behaved. Zoe was a big fan of Fernando, the miniature pinto, who had been brave enough to be shown among his standard-sized counterparts. Fernando was just as friendly as his handlers, but nowhere near as kind-hearted as Marlan's horses, Drummer and Trooper. It seemed to me that Drummer acted differently towards the little girls than he did to myself or Marlan. When we first got to the stalls Sara and I were talking to the people there and then I looked over to see Marlan and Zoe petting Drummer. Before I knew it, Marlan had effortlessly hoisted Zoe up on top of the gentle giant, the whole time Zoe giggled like it was the best day of her little life. My daughter has ridden a World Champion horse!
Eventually it was time to get Drummer ready for his big show, so we made our way back up toward the main arena and set Olivia down to graze in the grass while the tractor drug the chain around inside to smooth out the dirt. We watched as the Showmanship class came in and out of the arena, and both Sara and I were very curious where those girls found jeans the exact same color as their sparkly shirts.

We really enjoyed watching Drummer trot around in the arena with three other horses while the judges made their marks. Marlan's cart was the only one with real wagon wheels, probably because it had to be tall enough to fit comfortably on Drummer. We weren't surprised that Drummer won first place. I felt like he was my horse, which is good since Sara still refuses to get me one of my own (I just asked her again).

Friday, July 22, 2011

Woohoo!



It's my 500th post! I should have some kind of free prize giveaway, but all you're getting is this picture of fireworks, and a cool slug that we found in the Hoh Rain Forest. That should be good enough. Hopefully cyber technology will have advanced far enough by the time I get to the thousandth post that your computer will spit out a celebratory peanut butter cup. Thanks for being my blog friends over the last 500 posts.


Sunday, June 26, 2011

Gas Works Park

As if the Puget Sound didn't make the place wet enough already, Seattle also has a couple of gigantic lakes within its limits. Lake Union is just north of downtown, and is most famous for being the body of water upon which Tom Hanks' floating house became the set of a movie whose title has been quoted on far too many Seattle pajama pant and coffee mug souvenirs. Lake Union went down in local pop culture history when it lent it's name to the South Lake Union Trolley, whose actual inaugural motto was "Come ride the S.L.U.T". I swear I'm not making that up.
There's a big park on the northern bank of Lake Union that is just oozing with Seattle history. I should use the word "ooze" with a little more disgression, seeing how the history of the park has to do with gas and some mysterious process called "gasification", which I can only assume has to do with something very smelly. Aside from the sweet smelling smoke coming out of the lungs of some of the park-going youth, the smell has subsided, and all that's left is the huge factory chunks which have been relabeled as "art" thus being rendered completely safe and ultra attractive.
And speaking of things that are attractive and don't stink, how 'bout my wife, daughter, and the cityscape behind them! Don't worry, I'll eventually post a more sunny version of this same picture, we've been back to the park many times. This is the same view that we enjoyed last 4th of July as we watched the Seattle Family Fireworks, which are shot off of a barge in the middle of Lake Union. When I was a fledling firework fan I was always told that the best show in the country was at Logan Utah's Romney Stadium. Yeah, I was very misinformed. The Seattle fireworks make the Logan fireworks look like a bunch of sparklers on a football field. "But Kason", you say, "the Logan fireworks always feature patriotic songs like Man, I Feel Like A Woman, and You Can't Touch This...I bet the Seattle fireworks don't have that!" You're right, they don't. Which proves my point. I've never seen such an amazing pyro display! We're definitely going again next week. I'll tell you all about it when I catch up with my blog postings. Seeing how this Gas Works Park visit was in October of 2009, it might be a while.
Oh and a few more things I gotta mention about the park. For all you Amazing Race fans, this was the starting line of Season 10. And the giant hill in the middle of the park with the big sun dial on top is actually a bunch of the old factory pieces stacked up and covered with dirt and grass. I'm planning to follow the same landscaping scheme when finishing my yard, which is why I haven't put the garbage on the curb for the last three months.

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Trip Trap Trip Trap

A fierce volkswagen-eating troll has been terrorizing the hills above Lake Union for the last 21 years. From a few rare photos we know that at least one Volkswagen, with California plates, has fallen victim to his monstrous appetite. While walking through the area engaging in some innocent tourism activities, my family has often been attacked by said troll, but each time we have been able to thwart him due to his being a gigantic piece of public art.

Our good friend Donny, told us about the Fremont Troll long before either of us had ever been to Seattle. He hadn't come to Jet City on a troll crusade, rather, he happened upon the beast while touring the city after running the Seattle marathon. A few days before Donny told us his tail of troll tourism we had made the three-hour drive to Wisconsin's Mt. Horeb to visit the legendary trollway (and the National Mustard Museum). We must have still been in some kind of troll trance because I remember thinking, "I must see the giant troll as soon as we roll into town!" And we did. The troll tried to eat me twice, probably because I still had the faint scent of National Mustard on me.

The internet claims that the Fremont troll was born in 1990 due to the city's desire to rid 36th street of ne'er-do-wells, who had apparently began to congregate under the Aurora bridge to do 1990-style criminal activities such as recreating Ninja Turtle moves and listening to Sinead O'Connor. Something had to be done, so the city turned to it's most exemplary citizens, the public artists. The winning idea was to build an eighteen-foot cement troll below the bridge to frighten away the loiterers. This genius idea worked just long enough for the bad guys to take the bus to Bartel's and back with brand new cans of spray paint. Soon thereafter big spotlights were installed, and everything came up roses. Problem solved.

This is exactly what the internet wants you to believe. The real reason that the troll was built was a result of Seattle's horrible blackberry bush infestation. The non-Northwesterner is usually not aware of the great problem Seattlites have trying to rid their city of the wild blackberry bushes that show up from nowhere every summer offering to work for food and wash your windshield. Each year the city of Seattle rents hundreds of goats to lounge about the city eating away the problem (I'm totally serious about this one, http://www.seattlepi.com/default/article/Goats-make-quick-work-of-weeds-1215680.php). The goat population got larger and larger until 1990 when something simply had to be done. The obvious answer was to bring in something to eat the excess goats. As we all do when faced with goat consumption problems, the City Council turned to Scandinavian folk lore, one thing led to another, trip trap trip trap, and now there's a giant troll under the Aurora Bridge.

Here's a troll's eye view (his eye is actually a hub cap) of the Aurora Bridge. Does anyone else think it's strange that the Fremont Troll isn't under the Fremont Bridge? I bet it's because he's in the Fremont neighborhood. I remember the first time we went a'hunting for the troll and spent a long time looking under the wrong bridge.