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30 October, 2007

The Port and a request for aid

I spent some time reflecting upon the Port of Tacoma.

The port will celebrate its 89th anniversary on November 5. A mere 6 days away. When it was built, commerce was based in timber. Shortly before the vote, which passed by a 5:1 margin, farmers had lost many crops as they rotted on the docks due to the lack of decent storage facilities. The initial bond was for 2.4 million dollars for planning and some initial construction.

Wow. And think that was in 1918. That would be equivalent of a 32 million dollar bond today.

The port, from what I understand, provides many jobs to the people of Pierce County. Gnomes have found that being paid well for good, hard work is good for a community.

Can anyone help me with this photo? I really enjoyed this view, but am having a hard time identifying it. I appreciate any ideas posted in the comments.

Thank you for your help.

Until Next Time,

Update/clarification: CS, thank you for the insight to what the structure is. In my early morning post, left out that I'm looking for the name of this location.

29 October, 2007

University of Wasington Tacoma

When I first arrived in Tacoma, I had only my suitcase and hopes of finding a few places to visit.

I told the folks back home that I would return when I had seen all one could see.

I'm by no means in a rush to return, especially after I learned there is an entire four-year university downtown.

As Gnomes, we figure that an educated community is a solid community, and there are so many options in Tacoma.

Imagine my surprise when I received a phone call from . Mr. Fry lectures at this fine University on topics related to computers, working with computers and living with computers.

Apparently he found my site to be, um, "hyper-local", (I believe that it means I'm excited about a local area). So he invited me to speak at the front of his class.

I had a great time answering intelligent questions from him and his students. Mr. Fry was very hospitable, and gave me a brief tour of campus, as well as a brief history about the land upon which it lives. His students have quite a collections of blogs, which can be found on his blog as well: Living and Working in a Virtual World.

Quite a beautiful view, even with the overcast sky.

One of the other guest lectures that day was a person who only goes by the name tacomachickadee. She, too, is one of these "hyper-local" bloggers. I enjoyed her presence and the conversations we had about blogging without using our real names. I, for one, have been quite open (since a conversation over on a Tacoma discussion board) that I am from Norway, my name is Gadsby Glasrud.

Oh, I digress.

This is a surprising spot on campus where if you stand a bit to the left or right of the "X" and speak towards the "Tacoma cone", then step upon the "X" and speak, you will be quite surprised.

Thank you, Mr. Fry, for being a gracious host. I sincerely enjoyed speaking with your class and sharing lunch. I have never had Japanese food before, and I certainly enjoyed the soup and, soo-shi. Quite tasty, and it was nice to not catch the fish myself. My children will be surprised that I ate raw fish from a foreign land in a foreign land.

And, a big thank you to Jenny at You are an excellent hostess, and I appreciated getting to meet you and your wonderful husband. Imagine my surprise yesterday when he was in the newspaper!

I must run, so many more places to see ...

Until Next Time,

25 October, 2007

Sweet treats and corn that is popped

Only a few doors down from UrbanExchange lies perhaps the sweetest shop in this downtown stretch.

Great Northwest Popcorn doesn't have a website, but you will easily find it near this HUGE sign.

Inside there is a whole display case of hand made chocolate goodness. I was able to try the marshmallow dipped in caramel dipped in chocolate. Oh sweet heaven. It was like eating honey fresh from the hive in the early summer. There was also the 'chocolate puddles'. Hand made chocolate poured over nuts ... peanuts, cashews or almonds.

I picked a few of these up to send to the Misses. She wrote back that they were wonderful. Being the generous soul she is, she shared some with the neighbors. Their only complaint was the supply wasn't ample enough.

Finally, there was an interesting treat. "Popped corn" or something. They take dried kernels of corn and heat them up until they pop! It was a fun noise to here. After it is popped, they pour a sweet mixture that is flavored over the "popped corn".

I would have never thought of drying corn to heat it up and pop it. Let alone flavoring it with thing so sweet and tasty.

There is also some saltwater candy available. It was hardly salty, but very sweet and tasty. And flavorful. My favorite is certainly the sour apple flavor.

I hope you are doing well.

Until Next Time,

24 October, 2007

A brief post

With yesterday's glorious sun, I spent some time downtown and explored a bustling business along St. Helen's.

I will develop the photographs and post them here as soon as I am able.

Thank you for your hospitality, dear mystery business, it was fun to meet Hume.

Until Next Time,

22 October, 2007


I've hear rumors about a nice little shop along Pacific Avenue that attracts all sorts of people: Tacomans and famous out of towners.

So I hopped aboard the LINK light rail at the Tacoma Dome Station to get off at the University of Washington, Tacoma and Union station. The LINK website says that best of all it is free, but the time saved not having to look for parking with my handler was worth the effort!

Julie, owner of UrbanXchange, greeted me with a welcoming smile and showed me around her shop. Most of the merchandise was too large for me and the misses. However, it is a wonderful selection of clothing, shoes and handbags.

I did, however, convince Julie to sell me the largest drinking vessel I have ever seen. It certainly will come in handy during next year's harvest fest. Nothing like a good meade after working.

Julie was kind enough to take a photo of me outside her 1934 Pacific Avenue shop. As you can see, it is a busy place.

I found this album cover to be fitting for our adventures. And to answer Mr. Rex's question: I don't know where we'll go next. But after these six weeks of Tacoma, we'll be sure it will be another treasure in the fine city.

Until Next Time,

PS UrbanXchange has a space that is theirs online. I'm not too familiar with these "MySpaces", though it seems to be common, but you can find her here, too.

19 October, 2007

Sweet Suite 133

The other day I had the opportunity to visit Suite 133 and interview one of its masterminds, Mr. Derek Young.

I post it here to inform you of their exciting project.

TG: Mr. Young, thank you for having me here today.

DY: I don’t really think we had a choice. Your entourage is quite an intimidating bunch... Ouch. Did you have to kick me? I mean, it’s great to have you in the space. I’ve wanted to meet you ever since that E! True Hollywood Story expose a few weeks back.

TG: You seem tall. Why is that?

DY: I grew rather suddenly after joining a high stepping marching band in the eighties. I’m still waiting for the scientific study that links perfectly timed steps and a propensity for brass with height. I may never know... I’m still trying to forget a few of those memories actually.

TG: Wow. What is Suite 133?

DY: Suite133 is a shared office / Coworking space for telecommuters, start-up entrepreneurs, creative professionals, and anyone craving the creative energy that comes from working alongside other people. We opened the space as a way to provide offices for our own companies – Exit133 & Gridwork Design specifically. However, the goal is to provide a space for other small independent businesspeople could arrive, find WiFi, a desk, conference rooms, and get some work done. We have no assigned desks so where one sits from day-to-day often changes. It’s a great building - as you can see - with natural light, wood floors, and a loft-style interior in a historic building. We’re located above Capers - near Fireman’s Park, Old City Hall, the Link Light Rail, and plenty of good bars and restaurants.

TG: I find it amazing that as you talk, I can see the links to other projects. Sorry, I digress ... Can woodland creatures rent as well?

DY: Absolutely. What’s important is personality.

TG: Oh, I see, are you actively seeking tenants for the space?

DY: Actively? No. Passively? Yes. We’re still waiting on a bit of furniture and some trim still needs to be hung. But once that’s done in the next few weeks, we’ll begin looking for more folks. At this point we have six companies represented in the space ranging from individual consultants to Exit133. It’s already becoming a great mix of people.

TG: May I see the boardroom?

DY: ...there are two conference rooms. Each seats eight people comfortably.

TG: Does this map of Tacoma have a story?

DY: I’m sure it has a lot more stories than I would know about.... It’s a seven foot square map of the City of Tacoma from 1905. The cool thing is that it shows tremendous details like the ownership of the old waterfront warehouses, individual streetcar tracks, log flumes, and detailed plat information. It came up for sale at a local auction house last year. I ended up in a bidding war with County Councilman Tim Farrell over it... After telling him I wouldn’t bid on it. You can see who won.

TG: Will you be utilizing the map to take over the city in the future?

DY: The future?

TG: Huh. Well, I might stop by with a small Gnome Army in the future to show Tacoma that we are a rather serious bunch at times.

DY: What are your handlers doing to my whiteboard?

TG: Oh, yeah, nevermind about that plan. Do you have any coffee?

DY: Of course. One of the subscribers to our space is the owner of Blackwater Cafe. She wouldn’t allow us to drink bad coffee.

TG: Wow. That is a tasty brew. Strong enough to make my beard curl a bit. Anything else you'd like to add?

DY: Do you not have rolling desk chairs in Norway?!? Be careful... What are you... @#**!% that hurt!

TG: I appreciate the time. I'm sorry about your toe ... though riding the chairs with wheels on the fine clear fir floors is a marvelously fun activity. I never thought that chairs would or could have wheels!

I certainly hope this idea of shared workspace takes off! I remember my cousin had a desk in the same office as Immanuel Nobel. Apparently, my cousin helped to collaborate on plywood, given his extensive knowledge of wood strength.

Until next time,

Update: Thank you to GritCity for taking some time to talk the other day.

18 October, 2007

Savi Day Spa

On my last morning, Mr. Rush had one last place for me to visit.

He took me from the elevator to the Savi Day Spa. Their themes of celebration and fun certainly showed through.

As you can imagine, appearing at the spa would surprise the people behind the counter, and this was no exception.

There was a wide variety of services offered on their menu ... from pedicures and other basic care services. To full body wraps and sea foam cocoons. I was in a wee bit of a rush to get to an appointment, but they convinced me that I should at least have a brief massage.

Oh MY! A simple 30 minute massage made an excellent end to my stay.

Thank you to the talented staff for a wonderful visit.

And one last thank you to Mr. Rush and the Hotel Murano security entourage who escorted me around the Hotel. It is a visit I will remember.

Until Next Time,

16 October, 2007

Altezzo, Vertigo and the view

Two things come to mind when dining at the top of the Hotel Murano: Excellent food, views that are equal to the food. Even with the unfortunate cloudy skies, I could see much of east Tacoma, including (my favorite) the Tacoma Dome.

Altezzo has an excellent selection of wines, from both Washington and California. I tried some of their fresh breads and salad ... a nice light dinner.

From there, I went across the way to Vertigo, the bar with the best view in Tacoma. I hear that from time to time politicos hang out up here.

I absolutely HAD to step out onto the deck to see how far I could view. Marvelous.

Until next time,


PS: Thank you for reading the blog! Please share with others in Tacoma and around the country. Oh, and to the Misses, I do miss you, and the adventures keep coming. I'll send you some regional smoked salmon from the Pacific Northwest Shop later this week. Kisses.

What comfort!

I exited out the elevator to be greeted by a marvelous display of words on the wall and beautiful glass artwork!

Imagine my surprise to learn that the Hotel Murano will be inviting world-renowned glass artists! Comforts and glass on a world-class scale. Here in the gem called Tacoma, I am won over.

I was equally surprised by the European-styled comforts found in the room. The couch, brightly colored, yet passionately cozy ... the clock radio had a port for an "eye-pod". Which is interesting, these portable music players. I tried to hook my Lute up to it, but there was no amplification of its sound. I shall attempt to locate one of the "eye-pods" in the future.

And the television was surprisingly like a live piece of artwork on the wall. Thin and nothing like I've seen in my host home.

Oh, my ... the bed! What comfort. I slept better than a baby fawn after nursing in the late spring.

The bell captain arranged for some other comforts, I'll wrap up my visit tomorrow telling you about those.

Until Next Time,

15 October, 2007

Checking in

I had a pleasant weekend, and am relaxed enough to share with you my adventure.

Shortly after I arrived to Tacoma, a very kind gentleman contacted me. He's in the business of Tacoma hospitality and wanted me to visit 1320 Broadway Plaza.

I'd been intrigued by its exterior look, and was excited to be invited inside.

I was greeted by the Bell Capitan, Dale Rush. He is a fountain of information about everything Tacoma. Part of his exclusive service was to help me get around the lobby on the luggage cart.

Our first stop was to check in at the front desk. The pleasant attitude of the check-in lady could not be matched anywhere in my travels around Norway and California. It only took a few moments and I had my key.

Then I was off to find my room. If the service by Mr. Rush and the kind lady at the desk are any indication of what the rooms are like, I'm certainly in for a wonderful stay.

More to come from the Hotel Murano ...

13 October, 2007


Interesting find today, there are kiosks all about downtown with information upon them.

I enjoyed the brilliant, attractive colors and the artistic bird on top.

Though, it is sort of scary looking at this photo, and I must assure the misses that it is NOT the eagle from our home area. (though I'm friends with many fine talon-bearing birds, this one is still in a snit from me rescuing a rabbit he had his eyes on a few years back).

It's actually some sort of fowl.

I certainly wouldn't call fowl on these great upcoming events.

Until next time,

PS I had a great tour yesterday, and as I develop the photos this weekend, I'll share with you a most amazing adventure.

09 October, 2007

A spot for lunch

I had the pleasure of traveling along Pacific Avenue, when I happened across a fine eatery at the very end.

It is located on the first floor of a building that won numerous awards in the 1960s for its innovative design.

Capers is a small bistro, with a great selection of fresh foods.

I've heard about their place in Proctor, which is mainly a take-away place, and am impressed with this location's beauty and menu.

04 October, 2007

Totem Pole

A silent little park is perched above Interstate 705 at the very end of A Street. It's a nice little oasis with spectacular views.

The park has two pieces of artwork. I was able to get a shot of me looking at one of them ... a totem pole carved by Alaskan Indians in 1903.

Interestingly, according to Metro Parks, removal of totem poles from a tribe is prohibited, so in the tradition of Tacomans being crafty and able to make solutions, the natives were brought to Tacoma to carve the pole here out of a 105 foot cedar tree.

It's a fine piece of work, though having it placed in the ground and lifting it must have been quite a task.

Uff da!

Until next time,

PS This afternoon I get my first tour of a local business. I look forward to sharing the photos and information with you.

03 October, 2007

Funny story

In my quest for interesting photos, I thought it would be a great idea to take a shot of me infront of the Russell Investment Group building. More history can be found here.

I had a photo of it in the background of the fountain picture here. And, yes, to those of you who requested it, I will try to imagine a more creative positioning when the time comes for another fountain shot.

The waterfall offers a zen-like state along this street that buzzes with investment managers, salespeople and support staff.

I've heard rumors of the firm, and am surprised that such a powerful company would have a humble home here in Tacoma.

I had barely gotten my footing on the ledge next to this building, and the photo was snapped from across the street when a nice young man approached me. As he came down the stairs he asked me if I worked for a travel company. I had to explain that I did not, and was just sightseeing.

He informed my photographer that photos couldn't be taken of the building. Which was rather peculiar, as the building can be seen from all around the town.

I wonder if they've talked with any fairies about an invisibility spell for photographs. After all, that's what I use at home to hide from not Julius the cat.

Until next time,

02 October, 2007

Gnome and Dome

It's been a bit raining these past few days. So, I've been enjoying your Click! networks and cable ... I've been learning much about your city council on channel 12.

I hope you're keeping your toes dry.

Until next time,