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31 January, 2008

History Mystery

Anonymous writes in the comments:

Seeing how you know a lot about Tacoma, what do you make of the picture Here at Found Magazine today?

It was Found in a book in Seattle, but the TAC written on the picture suggests it was taken in Tacoma in 1960. I Love your Blog.

I appreciate that anonymous enjoys reading this blog. He or she is a an occasional poster in the comments section.

Honestly, dear reader, I have no clue where this might be. One of the commentators at Found hypothesized that much of Tacoma, like Seattle, is on reclaimed bay areas.

You need to only see the lack of damage and claims from the 2001 Nisqually earthquake to know that Tacoma is on solid ground. It s a distinctive difference compared to the build-then-fill of Seattle's history.

But I open this one to our readers ... is this Tacoma? Could it be part of the port? Part of Point Defiance? Could it be the original attempt at a town center for our friends in University Place?

I'd love to hear what our experts have to say.

29 January, 2008

"One Man's Junk" at the Lark

I had the chance to attend the Adam Poskie show on Third Thursday in January. It was a festive event at the Lark Gallery inside Sanford and Son.

I was greeted with wine and smiles from Gretchen, whom I found out had some neat designs featuring a gnome that never were developed. And here I am for her. We shared a few jokes and a bit of wine before she showed me the rounds in the gallery.

This is the ultimate combination of recycling and beautiful art! This one, I believe, is painted on sheet rock using leftover paints. I love the simplicity of the rectangles and the boldness of the colors. Not to mention the stroke patterns.

This piece was quite moving. It reminded me of the chaos of creation, Odin and the constant presence of order even in the chaos than surrounds us all.

Of course, I had the chance to meet Mr. Poskie myself. Quite the talented lad. From his paintings to the ascot upon his head.

Good job, my friend.

Until Next Time,

24 January, 2008

Tacoma to be featured in Washington state's national tourism ads

From my dear friend Carly at the visitor's bureau:

This year, Tacoma's Bridge of Glass was chosen as one of four rotating full-page ads for the campaign (in addition to Mount Saint Helens, Wine Country, and the Museum of Flight). The Tacoma Regional CVB has purchased space in co-op pages adjacent to this ad in Travel + Leisure, Portland Monthly, and Sunset Magazines.

To see which magazines and months Tacoma will be featured, visit this link.

and the ad:

This is certainly wonderful for the city and the visitors that will enjoy visiting due to this publicity.

Until Next Time,

18 January, 2008

Meeting the Big Boss

NineInchNachos led me through a straight maze of concrete, from the Forge to the Secret Lair.

Mr. Anderson was hanging around his office when we entered. With the help of NineInchNachos, he came down from the ceiling hooks and landed upon the floor.

We exchanged polite introductions, and he agreed to an interview. I present you with the results of the conversation:

TG: Online, you seem taller, why is that?
RR: Humbugs would automatically dismiss it as photoshop trickery; yet, they would be mistaken. I seem taller because I am taller. Am I the tallest online persona in Tacoma? Lord knows. If my tallness is more persistent, my pictures more exaggerated, my posts more glaring, my flags more patriotic and my promotions more brilliant… it is not because of fewer scruples but more energy and ingenuity (as P.T. Barnum would say).

TG: Oh, so you're from
Alaska. Have you ever visited Gnome? What was it like?
RR: Nome? Lets get real. There is no Nome. That is no Nome outside the imaginations of quack cartographers… although it would be highly amusing to contemplate a real city where people stood all day in flowerbeds collecting mildew in their plastic beards.

TG: As the owner of HFW, what are your thoughts about Tacoma today, and your master vision of Tacoma?
RR: Firstly I'm just the humble webmaster over at Holistic Forge Works. I'm not sure how it works exactly but it is the shareholders who ultimately control things. Lucky for me (and not unlike other companies) our shareholders are completely oblivious to anything happening on "The Internets" so I'm left alone most of the time to do my own trip. I cannot remember how I came to inherit this grave responsibility of HFW webmaster but it has proven a convenient vehicle for conveying instruction among the common folk. IN Tacoma what is yours is to play the assumed part well, but to choose it belongs to someone else. In the city of destiny people believe in freewill only because they have no choice. Even so, a worthy master vision would be to redeem Tacoma's creative class from the control of the wicked.

TG: Aside from your frequent madcap shenanigans associated with HFW, what can Tacoma not expect from you in the future?
RR: All I'm going to say is it will be a sad day for American capitalism when a man can't clip a newspaper article to his underpants and post photos of himself on the Tacoma Art Listserv.

TG: Have you ever thought of Tacoman as a superhero?

RR: Oh yes. Tacoman. I'm guessing that joke is why John Hathaway calls his publication "The New Takhoman" Suppose it is easier for people to take you more seriously when there aren't tacos floating in the mind's eye.

TG: Oh, and who is the ever elusive Ms. Darcy?

RR: Ms. Darcy is an elusive shape-shifter much like the animal trickster of folk tradition. Online she cannot be seen, heard, or felt… only deduced. Though almost exclusively an offline entity, she's always there in the shadows of my own projects if you know where to look for her. Sometimes I go to the website I made about her at if I'm off on adventure and lonely.

TG: Please tell me about the conspiracy that you will make up to respond to this statement.

RR: The conspiracy is REAL and is wholly consumed to steal away the SLACK innate in every free man, woman & child. The conspiracy dictates that flimsy illusions and self-serving delusions rule most people's lives. Who cares? Nobody cares. Nobody has all the answers. Nobody will defend your rights. Nobody will lower your taxes. My advice is whatever befalls you, walk on unattached. Untouched.

Some say that 'consciousness is means for the universe to know itself.' I find solace in this trope. Also it is impossible to carry the torch of truth through a crowd without singeing someone's beard.

TG: Do you at all feel you sold out to get a simple TAGRO hat?

RR: No. I feel it is a fair trade. I believe that when people expect 'something for nothing' they are sure to be cheated, and generally deserve to be.

TG: Where does the Tacomic Bible Fellowship meet?

RR: Every Tuesday morning at Feed Tacoma ... specifically

I thanked Mr. Anderson, NineInchNachos and the North American Gnomes for their help that day. As I strolled down the street I kept on thinking that he is correct ... carrying torches in crowds should probably be avoided as one could singe a beard or two. Certainly fine words to live by.

Until Next Time,

17 January, 2008

Secure as an Ex-KGB Agent

I was greeted by a rather tall man moments after knocking.

He had a relaxed voice, but was rather anxious to wisk me away to be certain that I did not have any radioactive materials in my possession.

Here my host (who had yet to introduce himself), took the time to read the radio-activity upon me with what is known as a Geiger counter. If asked, I could have given him a simple answer ... I don't carry radios, and typically when the time comes, should I have a radio, it would be far from active as I am horrible at replacing batteries.

It took a few waves of the want before he was satisfied with the results.

He introduced himself as NineInchNachos, a friend of Mr. Anderson. Aside from being office assistant, lacky, gopher and other assorted tasks assigned to him at the will and bidding of Mr. Anderson, NineInchNachos, serves as the official tour guide of the Holistic ForgeWorks and secret lair compound. He assured me that Mr. Anderson would be available for a few moments towards the end of my visit.

I hope that Mr. Anderson is up for a few questions, as I have prepared some to interview him ... I am throughly impressed with his security measures and protection thus far.

NineInchNachos helped me don the gear to approach the Forge. I can hardly imagine Surtr guarding Muspellheim with his flaming sword with such equipment. By Odin's beard, though, I suspect that he would not be laughing, but more eagerly awaiting the end of time so he might slew the gods with his mighty flaming sword.

My feet are resting upon an anvil used Mr. Anderson to shape metals. You might note that there are fresh brass clips and a new maple stump that the anvil is secured to. It brings it up to a height for NineInchNachos to do Mr. Anderson's work.

I found that last bit to be confusing, but NineInchNachos told me that Mr. Anderson, due to an unfortunate mistake with an art project, is stuck to sketching out designs on large sheets of butcher paper and presenting them to NineInchNachos so NineInchNachos can translate the two-dimensional drawing into a three-dimensional object in the forge.

Because we were indoors, we did not fire up the forge. But I kept my distance, as I did not know if it started automatically, like so many of Mr. Andersons -omatic things do.

This is the heart and soul of the forge works. NineInchNachos informed me that to destroy this would be to destroy his master, and the very existence of many, many projects around town. Including the weekly Tacomic Bible Fellowship.

I hardly believe I would want to be the one to destroy an item of reverence and worship as this.

I thanked NineInchNachos for his hospitality, and requested to finally meet Mr. Anderson. NineInchNachos examined his watch, it appeared that he spoke INTO it, asking "are you ready sir?" After this question, he put is right finger index finger to his right ear ... nodded and motioned for me to follow him further into the compound.

I gathered my gifts for Mr. Anderson and followed.

Forging my way to the Forgeworks (tm)

Inspired by the artistic side of his ventures, I took a moment to request a visit to the Holistic Forge Works International World Headquarters and Secret Lair ®.

In a mysteriously deep voice, he accepted my request.

I honestly didn't know there was a secret lair, I just thought it was a simple Forge Works operation. But, given the levels of security at the compound, it certainly was a secret location.

Much to my surprise, he had enlisted a team on North American Gnomes to secure the perimeter. I had tried to disguise myself as a common shrub by hiding in one. But that did not work at all. Gnomes can sense other gnomes, if they are prepared. Because I wasn't expecting such tight security, I was caught off guard, and was taken to the ground rather quickly.

They had jumped from the plastic boxflag declaring this location the center of the Holistic Forge Works Empire®. Now, I survived the near take over of Norway by external forces back in the 20th century, actually, we Gnomes realize that things come to pass, but in this case we were happy that the strong will of the Norwegian people prevailed.

In this case, I was rather shaken and, though it is not normal, rather scared. I explained to the North American Gnome on my chest that I meant no harm to the Empire® (map), and that I had a gift for the head of the Empire®.

Being a gracious host and a gracious guest is a key factor in all Gnome cultures, and when they learned of my guest-based hospitality, we had the opportunity for a formal conversation. Though I am unable to relate to you their names, given the secrecy of the location.

We shared tales of Odin, and how he would disguise himself as a human to find those hospitable during the cold winter nights in Norway ... assuring that people would remember they are all connected in some fashion.

The North American Gnomes went back to their sentry station, as I knocked and waited to meet the head of this secret home of the flying turtle.

15 January, 2008

Not a bad idea

To those dear fans and readers who were batting around ideas surrounding me, your humble gnome, and city awards ... please understand that I would never boast, nor would I prevent you from honoring anyone within this marvelous community.

And, to be certain, I have no plans to run for public office. Frankly, I am but a traveler, and would be barred from campaigning for anything beyond "modest traveler."

Go forth as you wish.

Until Next Time,
Tacoma Gnome

14 January, 2008

A Mysterious Package

Since I've been on the internet, I don't very much expect to receive a package nor a communication through anything besides electronic means. Especially seeing as Hanne is saving our money for her to come visit at some point during this year.

Imagine my surprise to receive a phone call from the lovely Whitney Rhodes, and an e-mail from Derek Young that there is a package for me at Suite 133.

I have never received a package from ANY world headquarters. Let alone from an online celebrity. What a joyous occasion to receive a gift from a dear, fellow blogger ... Mr. Bobble Tiki.

I am wholeheartedly honored with the fact they used your official mail service, AND made me a priority on the carrier's list. Equally impressive was their willingness to invest $4.60 into the operation and gift. I operate on less an annual budget than that, I am overwhelmed with the importance such a major publication powerhouse would place in a simple traveler to this area.

Here's the gift, all wrapped in its emeraldly goodness. Obviously it's important. In a nod to Mr. Tiki's class, the ribbon was made of worm silk, and the paper seems to be encrusted with some sort of gems. Lovely, lovely work, Mr. Tiki.

It was rather difficult breaking the magical paper bonding the wrapping paper together. But with some patience, I broke the seal of the clear adhesive.

What a generous gift! I can now use this to take notes of my adventures.

Thank you, Mr. Tiki, your generosity is appreciated.

Until Next Time,
Tacoma Gnome

10 January, 2008

Bard of The Midwest Speaks Tonight

Tonight, at the Broadway Center for Performing Arts, a good friend of Norway, radio talent and now movie star, will be spinning his tales of Norwegian immigrants and second and third generations as they go through life in Minnesota.

Garrison Keillor has been to Norway. He was there just last year. I did not get the opportunity to see nor hear from him at that time (I was getting ready to leave China to come here through Los Angeles International Airport), and will more than likely not have that opportunity today.

But I heard a story from an old timer. Mr. Keillor visited Tacoma four years ago on one of those crisp October days.
One of those days that tell you early on that fall is year, but summer desperately holds on, coaxing the sun to come out and warm old joints, and heat the asphalt once again.

It was one of those days that Mr. Keillor visited Tacoma as part of the warm up for one of your presidential candidates. (I was obviously preparing for winter in Norway at the time, as by October the chariot of Sol is preparing to set for many months, and we gnomes need to be ready. -TG)

They gathered at the Tacoma Dome parking lot, nearest East 'D' street, thousands upon thousands of supporters, many completely unprepared for the sunburns and heat that would plague them come supper time.

Mr. Keillor arrived and shared stories with the crowd. No, more like moral anecdotes about the value of community and how each of you pitch in to help, and you all own bits and pieces of it, and that it is important to 'be well and do good work'.

He reminded people back stage that there was a delicious feast of sandwich makings in a tent. And as he made himself a roast beef sandwich on wheat bread, with the mustard attempting to slowly escape in tiny, yellow drips to the asphalt below, he reminded the volunteers that it "would be rude not to" partake in such an opportunity.

Many obliged by taking a hot cup of coffee.

Towards the end of his time in Tacoma that day, he was offered to have a car come and pick him up. But he, in his red tennis shoes, khaki pants and light colored shirt, extended the handle on his suitcase, pivoted on one foot towards the exit gate, and took a step while saying, "I'll just head this way to East 'D' street and hail a cab."

Some volunteers thought that perhaps he was mistaking Tacoma for New York City, but his mind was set.

Then, with his head held high, senses taking in the atmosphere of the day, and what would surely not be his last visit to Tacoma, he strolled down the hill, past the protesters ... eventually back to St. Paul ...
If you happen to attend, I hope it is an enjoyable event for you, and please report back!

Until Next Time,

PS, Thank you Mr. Bobble Tiki for the wonderful gift! I'll share with the community as the photos come in.

04 January, 2008

Warm Gnome action

We finished the piece up, and took it to the annealer to cool.

These are very similar to ceramic kilns, but the are to cool the glass slowly. It starts at some temperature, like 482 degrees Celsius (900 degrees Fahrenheit). And cools the glass slowly to room temperature. Otherwise, it would shatter.

As you can see, I fit nicely inside. It was slightly warm, like a patch of pine needles after a bear wakes from hibernation.

Talk about hot. I had the opportunity to try on one of the protective suits. Well, actually the hood was big enough for yours truly, so we left the suit portion hanging (humans are very tall).

I was startled when Mr. Stisser put the flame on me. WOW! I have never actually been IN a flame before. I hardly felt a thing.

But there was a slight mishap. Oh, I'm okay, thanks to Mr. Stisser's fine work.

He applied some burn cream and a sterile bandage to the burn. With the expert precision that I would expect from David the Gnome.

See? No big deal, I stuck around for a bit.

Mr. Stisser gave me an excellent prognosis for recovery.

One way out I was presented with a lovely parting gift. They said it was a 'bumper' sticker. Though I have nothing that contains a bumper to put it upon. Perhaps you can give me suggestions as to what should be done with this piece of MOG propaganda (which is quite nice, actually.)

Thank you to Mrs. Newsom and the crew at the Museum of Glass for a wonderful and exciting visit.

May your artisan hands create more wonderful sculptures for your world. It certainly needs more joy.

And to speak to my earlier post it is much more exciting inside the museum, and just about better than a cup of gløgg.

Until Next Time,

03 January, 2008

Gaffer Gnome

After we sort of successfully created a glass buble, Mr. Stisser suggested that I might try being the Gaffer. So, he took the pipe back to the Glory Hole to get more molten glass.

I waited patiently, surrounded by flame and heat ... but fortunately, as you can see, there was a yellow water bottle nearby for me to maintain optimal hydration, as recommended by my doctor back home. Same way on long flights. My joints get all stiff and everything. At times, though, it is useless to to drink on an airplane as the line to the toilet seems to be endless.

This being an early morning session at the MOG, I was not worried at all about the lines. Hanne, I know you'd appreciate I'm following Ole's orders.

Here I am supervising the blowing of the glass. I was responsible to use the pliers and other tools to maintain the shape of the glass art. Those of you on Facebook will recognize this as my most recent profile picture. If you're familiar with the facebook, feel free to request a friendship ... I enjoy the tool for networking.

At one point the glass lost its firmness, but I hear it is pretty common. At least that's what Mr. Stisser said to assure me that is was perfectly normal for gravity to take over if I wasn't doing my job. We were able to get it back to a position, so we did not lose the shape we were forming.

I took him at his word.

It's a challenging art, I tell you! The heat is tough for this cold-weather tempered lad, and the amount of air that goes into creating such a simple piece is, well, HARD.

But it's well worth the effort.

Until Next Time,

02 January, 2008

Hittin' the pipe

Because the primary method of creating objects is blowing, there are special pipes that are used for the basis of this creation. I'm not accustomed to blowing through a pipe. When a gnome uses a pipe, they put in the tobacco and lazily puff on it for a few hours.

Here I am with, I think Alex Stisser, getting set up to blow. Mrs. Newsom is helping get my stool adjusted to the proper spot. Mr. Stisser is from Galva, Illinois. His family farms, so we had a great conversation between puffs about farming. He said he has a bachelor of fine arts in Glass and Sculpture. I hope to meet his bachelor friend some day to hear his take on Tacoma.

Oh, Mr. Stisser is what they call a 'gaffer'. He's been working on Glass since 1993. 14 years isn't bad, I have some friends who have been doing carpentry and other wood arts since 1854, so Mr. Stisser is well on his way.

We got me to the correct position, and practiced a few puffs. Without any molten glass on the end. At one point, puckered my lips and made a note, a horrible note, come from the end of the pipe. It startled Mrs. Newsom a bit.

I giggled. The pipe is pretty fun.

Here is another view.

Mr. Stisser took the pipe, inserted it into one of the Glory Holes to collect some molten glass. It's rather hot, between 1,149 and 1,260 degrees Celsius (2,100 and 2, 300 degrees Fahrenheit). He took the position of Gaffer, and helped to spin the pipe and shape it as I blew.

Because of the smallness of the pipe hole, it took a whole bunch of diaphragm support and breath control to get the right amount of air into the glass.

In this picture, Mr. Stisser said some humorous statement about a farming machine called a combine, which left me giggling for a few minutes. We decided that perhaps it would be best to let him finish out the creation.

Until Time,

Gnome under the cone

The e-mail came in rather quietly. It was addressed to me from a Susan Newsom.

I really didn't know what to think at first, but I soon realized her offer of me to come down to the floor of the "hot shop" meant another trip to the Museum of Glass.

But this time, I wouldn't just be outside on a beautiful day ... I would have the opportunity to assist in the blowing of some glass.


I was able to get a ride down for the 9:30 a.m. appointment. After some rather intensive security-related questions ... and some ribbing about the shape of my hat and the cone of the Hot Shop (Tacoma cone), I was able to gain admission into the amphitheater.

For those of you about ready to visit Tacoma, the cone is an impressive 90-foot tall stainless steel structure. It has a diameter of 100 feet at its base and it narrows to a 15-foot opening at the top.

I was destined to the bottom.

Before venturing to the floor, it was requested that I put on safety glasses. I obliged Mrs. Newsom. Though the glasses were a bit large, but a resourceful artist modified them so I did not need to worry about them falling off.

With my protective glasses on, I was ready to help make some glass.

I was a bit concerned about the heat. But it should prove to be an interesting time.

Until Next Time,

01 January, 2008

First Night!!!

Tacoma, you certainly know how to bring in the New Year!

I had fun this evening hob-nobbing and enjoying the First Night festivities!

Rumor has it that the event sold out of buttons (which there was about 5,000 made), and the performers were all paid. Giving NEXT year's First Night a tremendous boost. I am hopeful that Hanne would be able to attend next year.

Here I am with LeRoy jewelers owner Steph Farber and KING 5 meteorologist Rich Marriot. Rich did an incredible job of counting down to 2008. And is was wonderful for his station to carry such a lengthy story the morning before the event. Steph is a wonderful supporter of First Night, and Tacoma. He was disappointed, in a positive sense, that he was so busy he could not leave his store.

This is J. Bennett Thurmon, who is on the First Night board and was a big part of the evening's programming. I want to congratulate him. The only complaints were: that people couldn't attend everything (because there was so much great stuff to choose from), and those with video cameras ran out of tape. On my left is the famous sweet pea, the volunteer volunteer coordinator. I know that when I arrange my neighbor gnomes to help build a home or raise a barn, it is a tough, tough job. Thank you Mr. pea for your hard work and dedication to making this event a success!

These are two other board members, Kala Dralle and Alicia Lawver. They both work for the city, in different departments, but were strong drivers with their Tacoma passion to see this through. Kala arranged the different emcees, coordinated the instrument "petting zoo" and so much more. Alicia served as the secretary of the board among many other duties.

I enjoyed the fireworks at the end. In all, it bodes well to the future of Tacoma. Cheers to the supporters, volunteers and the community as a whole!