Let there be frozen yogurt

by AP on October 4, 2013, 2 comments

Then, let there be more frozen yogurt. Then more..

I don’t know what to make of all the frozen yogurt shops in town. I’ve never been a big frozen yogurt guy, but there is obviously a craze going on around here. Froyo is here to stay, although I doubt all these chains can coexist for very long.

Besides tasting like yogurt, this stuff is expensive! My favorite thing might be getting Cascade Bagels from Gibson’s while the daughter chows on the yogurt. Win-win. What are your thoughts, Tacoma?

Local yogurt directory

Puyallup Fair is better than Disneyland

by AP on September 23, 2013, 2 comments

Washington State Fair

I know it’s called the Washington State Fair now but I had to make sure the Puyallup Fair gets its due in the annals of written history. Since early childhood I’ve preferred a well-planned marathon in Puyallup to a plodding weekend in Anaheim. Since early childhood I’ve been verbally executed by people of all ages for harboring this opinion.

We used to go on bracelet day. Preferably early morning, midweek, in the pouring rain. There is no better scenario for maximizing your ride quotient, as most people (even Northwesterners) are at school/work or less than thrilled to hang out in the rain riding wet, greasy rides. Their loss.

You could easily bank 20 rides before lunch if you were on your game. I don’t know if I’ve ever banked 20 rides in an entire weekend at Disneyland. Space Mountain is awesome, but the crowds, lines and prices make it no match for a good day in Puyallup. We have taken our daughter to do the Puyallup the past couple years. Contrary to what I’m hearing from plenty of other parents, I find it glorious. A $27 Dizzy Pass is good for a day of unlimited rides, and you simply can’t beat that at Disneyland.

Pacific Avenue in ruins

by AP on September 17, 2013, no comments

Pacific Avenue Trees removed
Photo of old Pacific Avenue trees lining the street Dec. 2012

It’s hard to pass through the northern end of Pacific Avenue right now without feeling like excrement. After driving through earlier, I am unable to fully comprehend what is happening down there. It has been puzzling for awhile now and I’ve been doing my best to keep quiet, not judge, wait and see..

But I can’t be completely silent! It looks awful and there are a lot of missing trees and ginormous trenches in the sidewalks! Tomorrow I plan to take some pictures of the whole mess and try to figure out what I’m seeing. Immediately afterwards I plan to cheer myself up with a visit to RR at Tinkertopia. Maybe he can help me understand?

Samsung Galaxy S4 camera problems

by AP on June 15, 2013, one comment

Samsung has created a mess with their Galaxy S4 line of phones, cameras, phonecameras and cameraphones. Remember the awesome spoof video from last year about the fake iPhone5? Samsung decided to make this a reality. They’ve chosen to name this piece of garbage the Samsung Galaxy S4 Zoom, similar to my new cell phone, the Samsung Galaxy S4.

My Galaxy S4 claims an industry-leading 13MP camera that has proven to be of the same quality as the dog excrement I find in my backyard. There is clearly no image stabilization, and so all images I’ve taken over the past 2 days pale in comparison to those I take with my 2 year old 8MP LG Spectrum camera. Anyone who dabbles in photography knows image stabilization (also referred to as IS, OIS or vibration reduction) is an important feature on modern cameras and lenses. Unless you’re completely still, shooting a still subject that is close to you, your results will leave much to be desired.

Upon discovering these shortcomings immediately after picking up what is supposed to be the “highest rated” phone camera on the market, I went to the interwebz to find some answers. Upon searching major engines, I am taken to page after page about this Samsung Galaxy S4 Zoom. I honestly thought it was a joke (see link to spoof video of iPhone5 above!) until I found that I would start reading an article or forum post thinking it was about my phone only to realize that it is an article about this Zoom product. For this reason, I say “shame on you Samsung”. The web is already a congested mess of information to do with all these Galaxy devices and finding specifics on any one of them is now a challenge.

Examples of bad instagrams from the Galaxy S4 – “The Green Issue”

Samsung Galaxy S4 Instagram problem Samsung Galaxy S4 Instagram detail enhancer issue

Now we discuss the reason why most of you are here: the Instagram detail enhancer button does not work with any photo, from any source, when run through the Galaxy S4. One press of the detail enhancer button and everything goes green, as seen in above photos. I uninstalled and reinstalled Instagram three times before realizing ANY photo from any camera turns green when I try to use the detail enhancer (also known as the “sun button”).

I find virtually nothing about this online. I ran into several articles about the fabled S4 Galaxy Zoom along the way, but not too much about the green problem. People are talking about tinkering with advanced settings of the Instagram camera itself to try and fix things, but this is different than the green issue. These adjustments to the Instagram camera settings do nothing to fix the detail enhancer problems on the Galaxy S4.

To conclude, I hope many of you will join me in this conversation. I apologize for the SEO style of writing. Samsung and/or Instagram will hopefully release fixes for these things soon, but I am finding nothing to suggest that either is taking ownership of these problems. Instagram is too rooted in its dirty Apple beginnings and Samsung may be too busy making things like the Galaxy S4 Zoom to notice.

Owners set to remodel classic Tacoma restaurant

by AP on March 11, 2013, no comments

Harbor Lights Harbor Lights Harbor Lights bar

Harbor Lights has been a staple on the Tacoma waterfront for decades. Over the years very little has changed here and its patrons love the consistency. Most people were a little nervous when they heard that the classic seafood joint planned to undergo a facelift starting today, March 11, 2013. It is rumored that the bar will be expanded and reoriented to maximize the water views from the inside. The signature food (crab) and the “strong pour” in the bar are rumored to be sticking around.
It’s rare to be stagnant in today’s world and be rewarded for it, but that’s what has happened with Harbor Lights. What a luxury, to have most of your loyal patrons prefer you NOT update with the times. This update seems like a roll of the dice to me..but I’m hoping for the best. See you on the other side!

“Bring on the Slice” There’s pizza and then there’s PIZZA!

by BPW on September 26, 2012, no comments

Ah Badabing logoIf you’re from NY and missing the pizza you grew up with, or are just looking for a new adventure in Pizza, Ah Badabing is for you. Tucked away in Lakewood on 100th Street, across from McDonald’s in the little brick shopping strip, it is worth the effort to find. Owner/operator Brian D’Millo introduces the authentic NY style pizza that North Westerners have been missing out on! Hand-crafted with fresh ingredients and signature sauce created from Brain’s childhood memories, this pizza is perfect whether you are hosting the gang for Monday night football, grabbing lunch, or just enjoying a quiet “pizza and a movie” night at home. Pizza from $4.99 a slice that easily feeds two, to a 30″ multiple topping pizza that feeds 8-16 people, depending on the number of teenagers! Try it once, and Ah Badabing Pizzeria will become your “go-to” Pizzeria!

Ah Badabing Pizzeria, 6101 100th St SW, Lakewood, WA, (253) 582-2170

Brian D'Millo holding a slice of pizza Ah Badabing Storefront Brian D'Millo throwing dough

This ain’t yer grandma’s Wednesday

by AP on August 15, 2012, no comments

Wednesday on the Water is finally catching on. It’s taken many years and countless posts for this never-going-to-be-a-household-name event to catch on. At least a dozen people have now participated and there’s no telling where inertia might take us.

Wednesday on the Water in Tacoma

In Tacoma we gather on Wednesday nights half the year to paddle around Commencement Bay or the Thea Foss Waterway downtown. Sailboats flock to the East side of the bay near Browns Point for a couple hours on Wednesday nights, often traversing the bay to round buoys near Ruston Way. They provide quite a show and so we started plopping down and watching a few years back. It makes for a relaxing evening of sights and sounds. Live music even shows up in various forms where you least expect it.

Of course not everyone has a boat, kayak or paddleboard. There are ways to fix that..

The subject of kayak rentals in Tacoma has come up repeatedly over the years so I figured I should let you know what we know, as of the time of this writing, 8/15/2012. Dock Street Marina (on Dock Street!) will rent boats on the Thea Foss Waterway until approximately 9pm and a group affiliated with Metro Parks rents kayaks at Owen Beach until 7pm.

If you are looking to buy a kayak or two, and you are new to this craze, I recommend Sports Authority. They have a large selection of affordable kayaks and everything you need to get started. Costco is another place for entry-level equipment that won’t break the bank. Keep in mind you will also need a good way to transport your boat.

If you already know what you like, perhaps check out Paddling Gear at REI. They always carry really nice outdoor gear.

Finally, I wanted to let you in on a bit of an obsession we’re cultivating around here. I want to start saving pennies in a jar to help pay for what will likely be our next big purchase. When the finances and the time and the stars and the moon align, we will be acquiring a kayak kit from Pygmy Boats in Port Townsend, Washington. With their help, we will be building our own kayak or two or three.. So light, so long and so pretty, I’ll probably need to take a sedative the first time it scrapes on the beach. Pygmy ships you everything you need to make your very own luxury kayak; all you need is space, time and a little elbow grease. Oh, and $1000 or so.

See you on the water.

Snow day perfect for urban skiing

by AP on January 18, 2012, one comment

It’s been a few years since we had this much snow on the ground. Had to get the rock skis dusted off and ready for 36th hill. What a joy. There are quite a few people out playing in the snow today. Terry’s Office Tavern was bustling and the turns on the east facing slopes were… nice.. for urban skiing. Where will the big snowball fight be tonight? I hear Jane Clark Park is going off. Point Defiance never disappoints. So much to do and so little time. Have fun out there and be careful. Here’s a clip of 36th:

Tacoma’s Trevor Moawad gets 2nd national championship

by AP on January 10, 2012, 7 comments

Trevor Moawad

Trevor on Alabama sideline in 2009

(photo courtesy of IMG Academy)

Trevor Moawad grew up in Tacoma, Washington. Of course the family home sits on land now known as Lakewood, but it was still Tacoma when he lived there. Trevor’s father Bob was a nationally renowned motivational speaker and Chairman of The Edge Learning Institute in Tacoma, which continues to teach his principles on positive thought to this day. I had the opportunity to see Bob speak a couple times and he had me captivated. Bob was a storyteller. By nature his perspective is motivating. You wanted to be motivated when you listened to Bob.

The acorn does not fall far from the Garry Oak. Trevor Moawad is currently bringing the power of mental conditioning to college football’s biggest stage. He was on the sidelines in 2009 when Alabama won a national championship. And it happened again last night. The kid from Charles Wright Academy just earned his 2nd title ring in 3 years when Alabama shut out LSU 21-0. The previously unbeaten #1 team in the nation was trounced by a wave of defensive perfection. To pull off this level of performance, a team needs to do everything right. They need to execute their plays exactly the way they draw them up. That is where Trevor comes in.

Vision. That’s all it takes. Envision perfection consistently and you will be successful. It’s a relatively simple principle that is perhaps revolutionizing the way college and pro teams prepare for competition. Trevor Moawad works with athletes to visualize success and proper execution and he works with multiple teams. Just last month he was on the sidelines helping coach Florida State to a victory at the Florida Citrus Bowl. As far as I know he’s the only coach winning 2 or more division 1 bowl games in a single season.

Moawad’s personal brand of mental conditioning requires athletes to ignore all distraction and focus solely on the goal and how to achieve it. Trevor’s teaching transcends the sports arena and ultimately aims to make his athletes better people on and off the field of play. As their personal lives improve, so does their athletic performance. Trevor calls himself a coach and he works with athletes, but his real goal is to make players better people who have the tools to succeed in life, long after their playing days are behind them.

Just in case the 3 high-profile college bowl wins aren’t convincing enough, I present another example. The NFL’s Tom Coughlin brought Trevor in to work with his New York football Giants in 2007. Eli Manning was starting to take a lot of flack for living in the shadow of his brother and possibly being a bust. The Giants were said to have no shot against the seemingly invincible and also undefeated New England Patriots in the Super Bowl. Against all odds, the team that worked with Trevor came out on top. Super Bowl champs. Eli Manning happened to be voted MVP of that game. Evidence of Trevor’s effectiveness keeps piling up and will soon be undeniable. I believe more universities and professional teams will take notice before long.

For me, this is a local story. The teams he coaches may be thousands of miles away, but Trevor Moawad and the principles he’s always believed in are fruits of Tacoma, Washington. ESPN and Sports Illustrated have been following his career for years. I can’t figure out why this hasn’t become a bigger story in our local sports media. College football teams are changing the way their players prepare mentally as Bob Moawad smiles down on Trevor’s accomplishments. He always envisioned success for his son, and what do you know? It happened.

[Videos of Trevor from the IMG website.]

Polar Plaza, game, set, match

by AP on December 11, 2011, one comment

2-5-TreesThe single greatest thing to happen to downtown Tacoma in the past 5 years is Polar Plaza. Ice skating and cheap Christmas trees. That’s all it takes to transform an awkward waste of space into something magnificent. Kudos on a job well done to whoever is behind this. We cut ourselves a fresh tree out at 4A on 72nd or you can be sure we’d have been down at 2-5-Trees. Hopefully these ventures are a success and the ice will be back next year when my little one should be old enough to give it a try.

Polar Plaza in TacomaIt seems seasonal business in Tollefson Plaza should extend year-round. What are some ideas out there for spring/summer season? How about a symphony? Volleyball courts? I’m enjoying the concept of humans existing in the concrete jungle that is Tollefson. Myself, I hadn’t been down there since working on a 72-Hour film back in 08. Hope I’ll have a reason to go back sometime soon.

To those responsible for the Polar Plaza, I say “Encore!”