Weekly Volcano Blogs: Walkie Talkie Blog

Posts made in: March, 2014 (150) Currently Viewing: 11 - 20 of 150

March 3, 2014 at 11:50am

Food fight! Tacoma Slider Cook-off 2014 participants announced

Boathouse 19 won last year's Tacoma Slider Cook-off.

Organizers of the annual Slider Cook-off have announced the contestants in this year's cook-off competition, which will be held at 6:30 p.m. Saturday, March 29. And the gustatory gladiators are: BITE, Dirty Oscar's Annex, Lobster Shop South, Maxwell's, Paesan, Social and X Group Catering. Beer will be provided by Narrows Brewing Company.

Full details on the upcoming event in press release form below:


Filed under: Food & Drink, News To Us, Tacoma,

March 3, 2014 at 12:56pm

4th Support Company, 14th Engineer Battalion, 555th Engineer Brigade train in the dark

Pfc. Edward Gomez, a driver with 555th Engineer Brigade, 14th Engineer Battalion, 4th Support Company, Distribution Platoon, kneels to avoid enemy fire. Photo credit: Army Staff Sgt. Dayan Neely, 20th Public Affairs Detachment

Staff Sgt. Dayan Neely with the 20th Public Affairs Detachment files this report:

The U.S. Army owes a lot of its success in combat to the ability to operate in dark hours. Under black skies blanketed by clouds, soldiers from 4th Support Company, 14th Engineer Battalion, 555th Engineer Brigade conducted nighttime driver's training Feb. 27.

Soon, the soldiers will join 2-2 Stryker Brigade Combat Team, 7th Infantry Division at the National Training Center at Fort Irwin, Calif. The night driving was part of weeklong training designed to fine tune the platoon's capabilities.

"All of the training that we're doing out here is going to accomplish our overall (desired) training and what matters at NTC," said 2nd Lt. Shaun Cunningham, the 4th Company's distribution platoon leader.

Utilizing night vision optics, the drivers maneuvered the rocky, rolling hills of JBLM's training areas, moving the convoy through water holes and up steep grades. The purpose of the exercise was to build confidence in much less than optimal conditions.
"My intent was to get everyone out here doing something or learning something new," said Cunningham. "We also are doing a lot of cross-training."

Cunningham pointed out that his platoon is short-staffed and that his soldiers stepped up to handle extra work as a result.
"The training itself was a little tasking because of our manpower issues," stated Sgt. 1st Class Fernando Perez, the distribution platoon sergeant. "But, [the training] has still kept the squad tactics in place, and that's what we're out here for."

At the end of the road course, a simulated enemy surprised the convoy with an ambush. The drivers and passengers were met with gunfire from every direction while passing through a training village.

"I just wanted everyone to get comfortable with night driving," said Cunningham. "And getting them used to direct fire, ambushes, reacting to contact, seeing what IEDs look like, and just the overall experience of what [combat] is like."

"I thought it was great!" said Pfc. Edward Gomez, a truck driver in the distribution platoon. "I'm new. I've only been here for four months, and I'm learning a lot."

March 3, 2014 at 3:10pm

8th Brigade ROTC at Pacific Lutheran University wins MacArthur Award

Congratulations 8th Brigade ROTC at Pacific Lutheran University for winning another MacArthur Award, this time for the school year 2012-2013.

Let's read the U.S. Army Cadet Command's news release:

Fort Knox, Ky. (Feb. 28, 2014) - The U.S. Army Cadet Command announced today the eight winners of the MacArthur Awards for the school year 2012-2013.

The award recognizes the eight schools, selected from among the 275 senior Army Reserve Officers' Training Corps (ROTC) units nationwide, as the top programs in the country.

The awards, presented by Cadet Command and the Gen. Douglas MacArthur Foundation, recognize the ideals of "duty, honor and country" as advocated by MacArthur.

The award is based on a combination of the achievement of the school's commissioning mission, its cadets' performance and standing on the command's National Order of Merit List and its cadet retention rate.

Cadet Command and the MacArthur Foundation have given the awards each year since 1989.

This year's eight winners are:


March 3, 2014 at 4:45pm

4-2 SBCT inactivation: Manchu Mile and Spur Ride still on the docket

Lakewood City Councilmember, Pierce College teacher and longtime Ranger reporter John Simpson has been training long hours to ready himself for Wednesday night's 25-mile Manchu Mile foot march. He will join roughly 300 soldiers and 50 civilians for one of the 4-2 Stryker Brigade Combat team's final events before the unit's March 14 inactivation.

The 4-2 SBCT Public Affairs office just released the details of the march, as well as another huge event before the inactivation - the Spur Ride.

JOINT BASE LEWIS-MCCHORD, Wash. - Soldiers of 4-2 Stryker Brigade Combat Team, 7th Infantry Division are slated to participate in two crucible events before the unit's March 14 inactivation.

Soldiers will complete the Manchu Mile, a 25-mile foot march, March 5-6 and a Spur Ride March 4-6.

The history of the Manchu Mile dates back to 1900. Soldiers of the 9th Infantry Regiment marched 85 miles during their assault on Tientsin as part of the Boxer Rebellion and the China Relief Expedition where the regiment earned the nickname "Manchus". During the Battle of Tientsin, the regimental commander, Col. Emerson H. Liscum, was killed by Chinese fire and uttered his dying words which became the regiment's motto: "Keep up the Fire!" Those who complete the foot march will receive a Manchu belt buckle, the only authorized belt buckle in the U.S. Army.

The cavalry squadron will execute a Spur Ride, March 5-6 to validate individual task proficiency of assigned Troopers and to celebrate the history and lineage of the unit.

Soldiers will be tested on the APFT and 18 individual tasks, qualify on the M4 rifle EST and complete a 12-mile tactical road march.

See Also

4-2 Stryker Brigade headed for big changes at Joint Base Lewis-McChord

March 4, 2014 at 7:30am

Tuesday Morning Joe: Putin things straight, N. Korea fires up, blasts hurt ears, best Chinese takeout, Travoltify ...

Classic Coffee on Custer Road in Lakewood serves tasty Dillanos Coffee out of Sumner.


Russia does not want to take over Ukraine's Crimea region, President Vladimir Putin said today, but he showed no signs of backing down on Russia's presence in the region despite Western pressure.    

South Korea said North Korea fired seven suspected artillery shells into the ocean today.

The Defense Department has "put on hold" military-to-military activities with Russia.

Study: Nearby blasts may cause lasting damage without symptoms.

The U.S. military has failed to upgrade the discharges of Vietnam veterans who developed post-traumatic stress disorder, resulting in stigma and loss of benefits, according to a federal lawsuit filed Monday.

When it comes to a new round of base closures in 2017, lawmakers are split between lukewarm support, vehement opposition and general uncertainty.

The U.S. Defense Department will likely continue asking Congress for war funding separate from the Pentagon's base budget accounts and not subject to federal spending caps even if all American troops leave Afghanistan by the end of the year.

As the defense community waits to see whether the U.S. Air Force's Combat Rescue Helicopter program will be funded in the FY 2015 budget, producer Sikorsky's price proposal is set to expire by the end of March.

The Japanese military plans to create a force of about 3,000 troops modeled after the U.S. Marine Corps and capable of rapidly launching amphibious missions.

Boeing Co. won the U.S. Defense Department's biggest contract last month, a $2 billion award for more P-8 Poseidon surveillance planes.

Fred Smith served two tours in Vietnam with the Marine Corps, earning the Silver Star, Bronze Star and two Purple Heart medals.

Seriously? The Air Force Academy is investigating 40 freshmen for allegedly cheating on a Chemistry 101 lab report assignment.

He shoots - he scores! Say that a few dozen times. That will give you a sense of how many points LeBron James scored in leading the Miami Heat past the Charlotte Bobcats on Monday night.

The Daily Show has named a new correspondent.

Preview the season finale of True Detective.

VH1 is launching a Rico Suave docu-series.

List: best Chinese takeout in America.

Use this widget to Travoltify your own name.

Finally: Star Trek Captain's Chair pet bed.

Miniature maestro

March 4, 2014 at 7:49am

5 Things To Do Today: Fat Tuesday, "Sweet Dreams," book readings and more ...

Southern Comfort Promo Girls will be at the Harmon Tap Room tonight.

TUESDAY, MARCH 4 2014 >>>

1. The Harmon Tap Room hosts a Fat Tuesday party with the Southern Comfort Promo Girls, a best mask contest with $50 prize money (7 p.m.), an all-you-can-eat Southern style buffet ($15), commemorative 18-ounce chalice for $10, Jello shots, beads, prizes, swag and more from 6 p.m. to close.

2. The vibrantly filmed Sweet Dreams (the Rwandan landscape is breathtaking) is a powerful entry in the list of documentaries charting the country's rebirth, illustrating the unexpected ways the human spirit reinvents itself after enduring the unthinkable. Catch it at 1:45 and 6:40 p.m. at The Grand Cinema in Tacoma.

3. Portland, Ore. novelist Cari Luna will read from her debut novel, The Revolution of Every Day, which was named by the Oregonian as one of the Top 10 Northwest Books of 2013. D. Foy will give a sneak preview of his forthcoming debut novel, Made to Break, which recently made Flavorwire's list of 15 Most Anticipated Books of 2014. Both readings will happen at Orca Books in Olympia, which goes down at 7 p.m.

4. Hosted by Ralph Porter every Tuesday at 8:30 p.m., Ha Ha Tuesdays at Jazzbones offers a string of comedians and drink specials.

5. The 1230 Room probably has you at "$4 lemon drops," but you also may be interested in the downtown Olympia club's Tuesday deep, tech and progressive house night "Deep Tuesdays." It launches at 9 p.m. with drink specials, no cover and resident DJs Alex Bosi and Evan Mould.

LINK: Tuesday, March 4 arts and entertainment events in the greater Tacoma and Olympia area

March 4, 2014 at 9:56am

Everyone Yen Ching tonight!

Yen Ching Chicken

Before there was a Food Network or even a city of Lakewood, there was the Yen Ching Restaurant - a steadfast friend doling out exotic flavors from all corners of Asia as it watched other Lakewood International District restaurants come and go over its 30-year history.

Lakewood is now a city, and the strip of South Tacoma Way around Yen Ching has been dubbed "Korean Town," and still Yen Ching remains my go to for authentic Chinese cuisine with its wide variety of Mandarin and Szechwan dishes. 

Speaking of "go-to," Yen Ching Chicken ($12.95) is simply delicious. Tender, marinated diced chicken with sliced mushrooms and bits of green onions are evenly coated in a house "special sauce" teasing with a delicate smoky sweetness and an emphasis on sesame flavor. Don't expect bells and whistles. Do know a splash of soy sauce or sriracha is an option. Served up with white rice, the portion is easily shareable - especially if you start off with their splendid pot stickers.

With rich, worn reds, Chinese New Year placemats, a koi pond and a large Buddha greeting diners, here's hoping Yen Ching is around for another 30.

YEN CHING CHICKEN, 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. daily, Yen Ching Restaurant, 8765 South Tacoma Way, Lakewood, 253.582.3400

Filed under: Food & Drink, Lakewood,

March 4, 2014 at 2:27pm

Nerd Alert! - Mr. Peabody and Italian insanity

Mr. Peabody, the most accomplished dog in the world, and his mischievous boy Sherman, use their time machine - The WABAC - to go on the most outrageous adventures known to man or dog.


As a child, I was raised on the delightfully slapdash cartoons of old, via VHS and LaserDisc. Stuff like Beany and Cecil, Popeye, Gumby, and Rocky & Bullwinkle were huge foundational entertainments for me. Sandwiched in the middle of my Rocky & Bullwinkle tapes were these odd little shorts about a genius dog and his boy Sherman. Peabody's Improbable History followed the titular dog and his companion as they traversed through time and space in the WABAC machine.

Now, sadly, we've come to the point where Hollywood shrugs and says, "I dunno, what if Mr. Peabody planks and plays Dance Dance Revolution? Is that anything?"

Mr. Peabody and Sherman is now a Dreamworks 3D animated film, coming 14 years after its flagship program, The Adventures of Rocky & Bullwinkle, came limping onto the big screen. Playing Mr. Peabody, without the nasally know-it-all bite of the original, is Ty Burrell of Modern Family. There is autotune, there is skateboarding, there are numerous fart jokes. This is all a way of saying that Mr. Peabody is the coolest dog this side of Poochie. Think he'll die on the way to his home planet?

Really, who is this for? Are there children who grew up on DVDs of Peabody's Improbably History? Are there any baby boomers with kids young enough to take to see this movie? I'd like to get in the WABAC machine and go back a few years to convince some producers to finally make the Beany and Cecil movie. The live-action story of a sock-puppet sea serpent and his child-in-peril best friend would be straight-up terrifying.

>>> The Visitor


Speaking of psychedelic mind-fucks, this week sees the release of a long-lost bit of Italian batshit insanity called The Visitor. Released in 1979, the film now finds its re-release thanks to the geniuses at Drafthouse Films, those cinematic dumpster-divers. Starring an utterly bizarre assembly of celebrities such as filmmakers John Huston and Sam Peckinpah (!), Lance Henriksen, Shelly Winters, Glenn Ford and Libertarian talk show host Neal Boortz, The Visitor has been breathlessly described as "the Mount Everest of insane Italian '70s movies."

Briefly: an 8-year-old girl named Katy with telekinetic powers must carry on her magical genes by mating with her brother before a shadow agent can sleep with Katy's mother. Thankfully, a space Jesus known as Jerzy (John Huston) is there to intervene with the help of his child army.

Everyone on the same page? I know I sound like I had a psychotic episode while I was writing that, but that is legit what happens in The Visitor - that, and deliciously overblown visuals that are fraught with symbolic meaning. There's a reason why The Room is so much fun to watch, but stuff such as 3 Days to Kill is just unbearable. Blind, raging ambition is always fascinating, regardless of how successful it is.

The Visitor is like staring directly into the hot, glowing sun of ambition. A midnight screening is surely in order.

Filed under: Nerd Alert!, Screens,

March 5, 2014 at 7:12am

Wednesday Morning Joe: Russian threats, Pentagon budget facts and analysis, tackling sequestration again, Seinfeld's apartment

Did you mess up on Valentine's Day? Bigfoot Java on Tacoma's Sixth Avenue still has the hearts out.


The Kremlin is threatening to hit back if Western nations impose sanctions against Russia over its actions in Ukraine.

Defense leaders are telling Congress it has to tackle sequestration again.

The Pentagon started off the 2015 budget season Tuesday with a $496 billion budget that's sure to face a chorus of critics on Capitol Hill. Republican hawks say President Barack Obama's latest military spending request will embolden America's foes to take aggressive acts, while his Democratic mates offered only tepid support.

U.S. Army Plans to Cut 3 of 13 Aviation Brigades by 2019.

Army's budget plan also cuts readiness, kills the Ground Combat Vehicle and places a new priority on replacing obsolete vehicles such as the Humvee and the M113 armored personnel carrier.

Promises kept: Few surprises in U.S. Air Force budget.

How the 2015 budget cuts affect pay, BAH, per diem and Tricare.

The $22.8 billion Marine Corps budget request included funding for a major buildup of embassy security and quick reaction forces.

The Pentagon's latest Quadrennial Defense Review (has emphasized the need to protect science, technology, research and development, specifically cyber capabilities.

A senior Pentagon official said on Tuesday that, due to cuts to the defense budget, the Pentagon's plans to pivot to Asia "can't happen."

Russia has shocked the world by sendingtroops into Ukraine, and a new Defense Department long-term threat assessment proves that the U.S. military was no exception.

Fighting Afghan terrorism, without troops.

Less than a month before an Army general's trial on sexual assault charges was set to begin, the lead prosecutor broke down in tears as he told a superior he believed the primary accuser in the case had lied under oath.

The Air Force Academy to cut 99 jobs and 10 majors, including a third of the sergeants who oversee military training and cadet discipline, and 29 positions in academics.

A U.S. Navy ocean tug on Tuesday was towing a Canadian navy ship with nearly 300 crew members on board to Hawaii's Pearl Harbor after an engine fire left 20 sailors with minor injuries.

Longtime music journalist Michael Azerrad talks to Pitchfork about his influences.

See a cool model of Jerry Seinfeld's apartment.

Read Norm Macdonald's great story about Harold Ramis, which he shared on Twitter.

This is cool

March 5, 2014 at 7:38am

5 Things To Do Today: Jessica Lynne, Lunch & Learn, hoop tourney, Diane Cluck and more ...

Jessica Lynne has a new album, "Calling Me Home," about her love for the Pacific Northwest. Press photo


1. The music typically coming out of Denmark leans toward art punk, power electronics and cold synth pop. Jessica Lynne, who grew up 60 km south of Copenhagen, sings country music. Country Music Television had an effect, as did rural life, with cows outside the church windows. Whatever, Lynne relocated to the Pacific Northwest to be with family, and has struck up a relationship with local label Maurice the Fish Records. We found her Spiritual Cowgirl release on Spotify to be lyrically rich and melodically pleasing. Catch her at 8 p.m. with The Moss Brothers and Tin Man in Jazzbones.

2. Have you ever wondered what happens to your mind when you look at a piece of art? How a particular work can stir an emotional response? Artist David Andresen discusses how our perception changes in unexpected ways at 11 a.m. as part of Tacoma Art Museum's Lunch & Learn series. 

3. Basketball teams from throughout the Northwest will convene at Saint Martin's University's Marcus Pavilion as the 2014 Great Northwest Athletic Conference Basketball Tournament begins today.

4. Contemporary painter and art teacher Shaw Osha will speak about her work and show images of her art at the Olympia Timberland Library from 7:30 to 8:45 p.m. Osha's recent series, "Soul Train," freezes images of screen shots of archival Soul Train videos in loosely gestural paintings on paper. An homage to the romantic, expressive and, at times, transgressive 1970s soul culture, she uses oil paint to give a sense of collective rhythm and sensuality.

5. New York City neo-folk musician Diane Cluck released a new album, Boneset,yesterday, and will perform tunes off it at 8 p.m. in Northern. Sondra Sun-Odeon and Eleanor Murray will also be in the house.

LINK: Wednesday, March 5 arts and entertainment events in the greater Tacoma and Olympia area

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