World Water Ski Racing Championship in Tacoma

by AP on March 28, 2017, no comments

On your marks! Get set for something unusual coming to Tacoma July 26, 2017. Have you ever seen water-skiers go over 100mph? I haven’t. It looks kinda like this:

WWSRC

This year the World Water Ski Racing Championship will conduct preliminary races in Commencement Bay with the final heats taking place at Seafair in Seattle. In other words, most of this exciting event will take place along the waterfront at Point Ruston here in Tacoma. The logistics are being finalized at the time of this writing, but I’m told permits have been secured and this is most definitely a go.

There will be no tickets, no admission prices, no grandstands. Just come on down and watch one of the craziest things you’ve ever seen and have a stroll along the new waterfront. You’ve been meaning to check out all the new restaurants down there anyway, so why not go when you can also view death-defying stunts going on at the same time.

Water skiers.. 100mph.. men and women..

The event puts ski racers in choppy Commencement Bay to do as many 3-mile laps as they can. FOR SIXTY (60) MINUTES STRAIGHT. When I first heard about this, I assumed it would be like drag racing, where competitors get up to their top speed for a few seconds and then it’s over. Not so. These people are literally skiing faster than I drive my car, and they don’t stop for an hour. There are currently 60 teams of MEN AND WOMEN from all over the world slated to be in Tacoma for this event.

If you’ve never heard of water ski racing, you’re certainly not alone. It appears this phenomenon heralds from Australia where they’ve been 100mph water skiing for quite some time. Just search YouTube for “water ski racing” and you’ll see some ridiculous stuff going back decades. Much like Ice Cross Downhill, the WWSRC could emerge in the U.S., seemingly out of nowhere, to sweep spectators off their feet in short order.

Electric skateboards everywhere!

by AP on August 29, 2016, no comments

It seems every day a different, new-age gadget goes rolling past me in the Proctor District. These battery-powered means of transportation are quieter and faster than before and it’s time for me to take a closer look. The high-end models are typically not available in local retail stores so we will take to the interwaves to find them.

You may have seen someone on an electric skateboard and not even known it. The remote controls are now wireless and often fit inside the palm of your hand. Without further ado, let’s take a look at some of these boards you’ve seen buzzing around the neighborhood.

HINT: If you you see someone going swiftly uphill on a skateboard while standing idle on the deck, they are riding an electric skateboard.

GT Powerboard
Off Road Electric Skateboard

$1,339.00

0-23mph in 5 seconds!
45 x 11 inches
15 mile range on flats
72 pounds with battery

Maxfind Dual Motor
Electric Skateboard

$599.00

10 mile range
38″ x 10″
60 minute run time
12.1 pounds

Time is running out for Proctor Station

by AP on August 24, 2016, no comments

Proctor Station hasn’t changed in months. A double-wide, double expensive clothing store is all we have to show for our new building. Well, that and a lot of shade and a couple parking spots in Proctor Canyon. I want to like this place. I remain open-minded. Sort of. If donuts or something of equal weight don’t appear soon, the legacy will not be good. Are the rumors of all vendors falling through or backing out true? Is the application/vetting process proving to be too much for prospective businesses interested in moving to the Proctor District’s newest address?

proctor station vacancy

From where I stand, it looks like Proctor Station’s commercial leasing department is waiting for a Walmart or McDonald’s or Macy’s or some other ‘strong’ chain with national backing to enter stage right. I’ve heard of ‘lesser’ companies being told, “you’re not good enough” for Proctor Station. I’ve seen a donut shop take several months to not show up, while “coming soon” signs age in the window. A real estate company and a barbershop have entered the “coming soon” realm as well – that means they’ve hung signs in the windows outside their empty spaces. I’ve heard of exorbitant prices at the clothing shop – clearance racks have appeared on the sidewalk out front. At this point the shuffleboard on the roof is the biggest potential draw. I’ll post an update if I ever gain access to it.

There are a few things that need to be understood about this neighborhood in the new millennium. Mom and pop shops rule the streets here. An old theater, an old bowling alley, and one-off restaurants and bars are thriving. A guy renting VHS tapes has survived for years, yet Subway failed twice in the same spot in the heart of the district. We have been up to our elbows in pricey, boutique shops, with varied outcomes. Unless you are Starbucks (already one block away) you actually have to be an interesting business to make it here. There is a level of financial clout that the commercial leasing department is looking for and I don’t know that many interesting businesses have it. All the strong financials in the world can’t support a business that nobody cares about.

Hopefully the building will settle for making their money on the upper floors, while filling the street level with businesses that serve the neighborhood first and pay hefty leases later. Unless there is a shift in perspective, prolonged vacancy and a carousel of failure may be the future of Proctor Station’s ground level.

Left turn etiquette

by AP on July 10, 2016, no comments

intersection
The traffic in Proctor doesn’t typically bother me. It gets a little thick at times but I feel like I can get around pretty good.. until I am stopped in my tracks by left turners behind a green circle. There are two distinct brands of bad left turners that we need to address.

Unnecessary use of crowded intersections
The mildest offenders in the bunch, many of you who turn left onto Proctor Street from North 30th at 5:17pm..should turn sooner. There are multiple options to turn sooner (Alder, Union, etc.) and all of them will save you and the rest of us a lot of time. I realize some of you live on Proctor, and of course you are more than entitled to your left turn onto your street. It is the folks headed for Mason Middle School or Proctor Safeway that have much better routes to consider.

Sitting through an entire green light without moving
This is the group of people for which there is no excuse. AT LEAST ONE CAR MUST TURN LEFT ON EVERY GREEN CIRCLE, even if you finish your turn after the light has turned red. I understand there are a lot of people who do not see it this way. They are wrong. There is no excuse for sitting through an entire round of lights unless the intersection is physically blocked.

As our population density increases, so will our need for new left turn lanes and green arrow signals. Until then we should all do our part to follow the new world order of left turn etiquette to reduce traffic queues. Less waiting at intersections means improvements to the following:

  • Fuel efficiency
  • Air quality
  • Pedestrian safety
  • Traffic safety
  • Drive times
  • Frustration levels
  • Road rage statistics

In other words, by being a better left turner, you can save the world time, money and good health. Follow this simple checklist and you are on your way to being a better left turner:

New world order of left turn etiquette
  1. Avoid turning left at signal-controlled intersections lacking turn lanes or green arrow signals
  2. Enter the intersection when you have the right of way and your light is green
  3. Exit the intersection when you have the right of way and your path is clear
  4. Focus on pedestrians and oncoming vehicles at intersections, NOT the color of the light

Kayak Tacoma but don’t be an idiot

by AP on June 27, 2016, one comment

Ruston Way

Idiot’s Rule. Jane’s Addiction said so. This doesn’t mean you should be an idiot.

There seems to be an epidemic of idiocy down at Owen Beach at Point Defiance. Too often, inexperienced folks wander north on Owen Beach toward the Point, on foot or in a kayak, and they have no clue what they are doing. Beach walkers wrap the corner at low tide and then get stranded by high tide before they can make it back. Greenhorn kayakers get spun out and swallowed up by a wicked convergence zone of currents that can stoke up without warning at any time.

Does the beach needs more signs? Or maybe even just more parking lot signs? Something. Anything. There is a lot of ignorance down there and it needs to be reined in. Our local firemen rescue victims of their own stupidity from the sea cliffs too often. Fishermen assist terrified and/or capsized kayakers off Point Defiance too often (it happened again yesterday). It all seems relatively preventable.

Perhaps renting kayaks to people with no experience in the water would be more appropriate along Ruston Way? A kayak newbie has no business paddling Owen Beach. You have a ferry dock on one side and deadly currents on the other. Of course, the drop-in spot seems nice and safe, leading these people to think they have it all under control. After a few minutes of doing circles in front of the family BBQ’s and sunbathers, new paddlers build up false confidence and set off on a course toward 2 potentially hazardous situations.

The ferry dock is a pretty obvious hazard. Even these people can see that. So they often head north instead, toward the scenic point. The convergence zone of currents means a couple things: there is an abundance of attractive marine life and the water is very, very, very unpredictable. All it takes is one seal or dolphin sighting and the inexperienced paddler can’t resist wrapping the corner. This is where the game of Russian Roulette begins.

First and foremost, if you’re inexperienced and paddling near Owen Beach, STAY AS CLOSE TO SHORE AS POSSIBLE AT ALL TIMES. In a kayak, this means 5 or 10 feet from shore, tops. Any further out than that could spell D-R-O-W-N-I-N-G if something goes haywire and the currents are in a mood.

Don’t be the next grown person to end up trembling in the arms of a fisherman. Know your limits and practice paddling somewhere else before you subject yourself to the temptations of Point Defiance.

Safeway Monopoly cheat sheet 2016

by AP on April 1, 2016, no comments

First, we determined that we’re all in this together. It’s all of us against the house, not unlike the roulette table. Your success or failure has no effect on my game.

Second, we wanted to improve aggregate productivity levels in the interest of bettering the local economy.

The result is this alphabetized list of all the “important” or “rare” pieces in the 2016 Safeway Monopoly game. It will save you a lot of time. Enjoy.

A-502C
A-504E
B-505A
B-506B
C-513D
D-515A
D-517C
E-524D
E-525E
F-527B
F-528C
G-531A
H-538D
I-541C
J-544B
K-549C
L-551A
M-556B
N-562D
O-565C
P-568B
Q-573C
R-575A
S-579A
T-585C
U-590D
V-592B
W-597C
X-602D
Y-603A
Z-608B
$-613C
$-618H
?-622D
?-625G

Best sandwich award: Harbor Greens

by AP on December 16, 2015, no comments

There’s a new sheriff in town. It’s not a new venue, but its footprint atop the sandwich-scape of Tacoma, quite frankly is new. Based on myriad factors, in a matrix of reasoning, Harbor Greens’ sandwiches are the new gold standard, narrowly beating out MSM and Met Market for the local crown. I will walk you through it.

Little Basil

Best single sandwich in town: Harbor Greens

The Little Basil is, indeed, the best overall sandwich in town. Chicken, pesto, mozzarella and basil, grilled on a panini is so much greater than the sum of its parts. Sure, you’re familiar with all the ingredients but you must experience the final product to truly know it. Paninis are grilled to perfection and the gluten free version is bigger than the standard. MSM’s Mike’s Deluxe and Met Market’s Prime Rib Sandwich tied for 2nd place.

Best overall sandwich lineup in town: Harbor Greens

From grilled to cold, standard bread to gluten-free, veggies to turkey, bacon and roast beef – it’s all top-notch. You bring the whole family and their dietary restrictions and Harbor Greens will have all the right sandwiches for $7 or $8 apiece. Of course, they also have an entire grocery store to back it up, which brings us to..

Best sandwich venue in town: Harbor Greens

You can’t go wrong with a sandwich shop that boasts a strong selection of drinks and side items. Harbor Greens is also a grocery store with a full produce section – additional shopping possibilities are endless.

Most convenient sandwich in town: Harbor Greens

Much like MSM (our silver medalist) Harbor Greens can only be fully appreciated when you call in your order ahead of time. As is the case with all great places, there is a good chance it will be crowded. Unlike all other finalists, Harbor Greens offers ample parking every time I visit. Fortunately it is located at 27th & Bridgeport in U.P. where there is NOT an obnoxious Meridian-esque median to navigate. If you do it right, you’ll be in and out in less than 5 minutes. Of course they also have a nice seating area where you can plop down and enjoy on site if you so desire.

Harbor Greens, 2620 Bridgeport Way W, University Place, WA, (253) 460-2901
Harbor Greens, 5225 Olympic Dr NW, Gig Harbor, WA, (253) 851-7911

Commercial tenants in Proctor Station

by AP on August 7, 2015, no comments

I’ll say this about the future tenants of Proctor Station: they better kick ass. It’s unfair and real. Everyone will stop super-disliking this building if we get something out of it. Most of us will never go above street level in this place so the street level shops are the only thing that will matter once it’s been around awhile. The building already looks not-that-tall to me, so apparently I’m getting used to it. We’ve heard rumors of the supposed search for tenants, but I will reserve painfully honest judgment until I get a look-see at what moves in. I’m difficult to please so it won’t be easy to stoke my favor. I would just assume fill the whole place with restaurants that stay open late. 

What businesses would you like to see operating in Proctor Station? Anybody have the inside track on who, if anybody, is slated to open up shop?

proctor station construction

Seattle Seahawks in Super Bowl 48

by AP on January 29, 2014, one comment

Super Bowl XLVIII

We’re back.

That’s the thought that keeps coming back to me. The Seattle Seahawks have transformed this region (again) on their way to their 2nd Super Bowl in the last 10 years. That alone sounds remarkable, but it is the effect they have had on the fans that stands out to me as we head down the final stretch and into this weekend’s epic contest. Rabid Seahawks support is everywhere you look in Tacoma and from what I understand it’s like this all over Oregon and Idaho as well. That’s where the support stops, however, as most of the country is pulling for the wrong outcome.

The best ever? Some say that’s exactly what Peyton Manning is. A much smaller population believes that the Seahawks defense might be the best ever. Funny thing is, the outcome of this game will likely cement one of these in the stone of water cooler debates for eternity. And if the Seahawks defense has their best game of the year? They will be in the discussion of best defenses ever, right alongside the ’85 Chicago Bears. Many believe this could be the first of many opportunities for this core of players to get to the Super Bowl, given their youth and low payroll. Forget the ’85 Bears. We could be staring into a kaleidoscope of future greatness.

We are up against Peyton Manning and the most potent regular season offense of all time. All the know-it-all’s have always said “defense wins championships.” It’s time to find out how the old adage holds up on the biggest stage. It’s almost laboratory perfect, this matchup. Pure offense vs. pure defense. Denver as the good guys vs. Seattle as the bad guys. Denver as America’s Team, and Seattle as the forgotten underdog. People want to witness greatness so they root for Peyton Manning. If he has a brilliant game and takes home the trophy, many will boast it to be the best single season performance of all time and they were there to see it. What they aren’t seeing yet is that the Seahawks are about to rise up and put a whooping on the Broncos – and in the process, out of nowhere, we might just be watching the best defense of all-time.

Dare to dream.

Could it be right there?

Will the drought end?

I can’t wait to look back at this in a week.

Don James dies from pancreatic cancer

by AP on October 20, 2013, no comments

Legendary Husky football coach Don James has passed away following a battle with pancreatic cancer. His diagnosis came just last month and very little has been discussed publicly since that time. He began chemotherapy after two surgeries confirmed the presence of a tumor on his pancreas.

Many people still don’t realize the gravity of this diagnosis. Resources are needed to improve diagnosis and treatment of this disease. As his final gift to us all, Don James’ legend will help bring awareness to the cause.

Dawgfather

RIP Don James “The Dawfather”