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Posts made in: 'South Sound Sidekick' (27) Currently Viewing: 11 - 20 of 27

February 15, 2013 at 2:21pm

SOUTH SOUND SIDEKICK: Exposing a clown in four questions

JUSBY THE CLOWN: He knows how to throw a pie at a face. Do you?

South Sound Sidekick series offers advice from experts living in the, well, South Sound. It posts every Friday. Today, Jusby the Clown will help you discover if you or a loved one is clown material.

Jusby the Clown writes,

If you suspect that you or a loved one might be a clown you might want to seek professional help.

First, know that clowning exists on a continuum with mutually exclusive elements, but some characteristics are shared across historical, geographical and cultural boundaries. Clowns use memorization and improvisation with their voices, bodies and props to entertain, educate and ease suffering. So ask: "Is this potential clown using one or more of these tools to achieve one of these results?"

The clown archetype has roots as ancient as the Trickster animals in origin myths, and the first human clowns were wounded healers or medicine people.  We've always needed clowns. They tell stories with lessons that can be overt or subtle. They speak truth to power. Ask: "Is this potential clown teaching others through mischief?"

In modern times a class clown may have the mad gifts that go with a diagnosis from the DSM like ADHD or Asperger's, and these clowns need to be shown how to channel their energies and insights into appropriate venues. This is their biggest challenge because one of the defining characteristics of a clown is their INAPPROPRIATENESS!  One way to discover if you're dealing with an emergent clown is to note the type and timing of ‘inappropriate' behavior such as word play, puns, rhymes, reversals, exaggerations, distortions of size and tempo, repetition, reversals, repetition, reversals, non sequitur, rubber chickens - general bizarreness both in society and in seclusion. These may indicate possession of Clown Spirit. They must exercise those skills by performing to laughter and applause to satisfy the compulsion. Temporarily. Ask: "Is this potential clown bubbling and bumbling with unregulated impulses to blurt and ‘misbehave'?"

The root of the word clown means clumsy. Clowns achieve successful engagement with their audiences by showing our human foibles, failing repeatedly until reaching an innovative solution. Another great challenge of a clown is to become graceful and at ease manipulating their bodies, voices and props.  To meet the goals of entertaining, educating or easing suffering a clown will safely transition between confident incompetence and uncertain proficiency. And back. Ask: "Does this potential clown make easy things look hard and hard things look easy?"

If you or a loved one answered YES to these questions, seek immediate professional assistance. Unsupervised emergent clowns can become a liability to themselves and their communities. A well cared for clown will improve the quality of life for the society that adopts it.

I call out to all whom self-identify as clowns (Buffoons, Comedians, Fools, Jesters, and Pranksters, et al.) to help preserve and improve the field of clowning by collaborating as mentors and mentees. As the Diet Coke is to the Mentos, so shall Elders hold sacred carbonated space and direct the natural exuberance of Young Clownlings to greater heights.

Jusby the Clown is a founding member of the Olympia Clown Collaborative, a welcoming community that provides support, encouragement and mentorship to First of Mays and evolving clowns, allowing them to progress toward their uniquely realized selves. He has pied more than 750 willing faces including Dr. "Patch" Adams.  He is also a Certified Laughter Yoga leader and graduate of the Simple Fool's Silly School of Top-Secret Esoteric Clowning. Connect with him online at jusbytheclown.com

LINK: Make film gore with household items

LINK: Parenting advice for punk rockers

LINK: How to improve your photography skills

LINK: Get fit the Dungeons and Dragons way

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LINK: Marijuana smoking advice

LINK: How to harvest geoducks

LINK: Music business advice

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February 8, 2013 at 3:14pm

SOUTH SOUND SIDEKICK: Changing the world through Wikipedia

ADAM FLETCHER: The Wikipedian (en:User:Freechild) seen here at the American Museum of Natural History. Photo courtesy of Ragesoss/Wikipedia

South Sound Sidekick series offers advice from experts living in the, well, South Sound. It posts every Friday. Today, Wikipedia expert and Olympia resident Adam Fletcher has advice and tips on how to do good work on Wikipedia.

Adam Fletcher writes,

It's a quiet night in the middle of winter when you surf Wikipedia on your favorite subject. Lately you've been obsessed. Reading the regular "blah, blah, blah" you'd expect in an encyclopedia, suddenly your eyes come across something you know is wrong, and you want to fix it.

Stumbling through the clunky interface of the world's largest online collaboration, you manage to edit one of the website's 4,000,000 English language articles. With renewed vigor, you start reading again when you notice there isn't a link to someone you know is really, really important for your subject. Using the poor search engine on the site, you figure out there's nothing for this person. Suddenly, you decide that you will write the article that Wikipedia is missing. Wikipedia wants you to.

This was my story nearly 10 years ago. Since then, I have created more than 500 articles on "the free encyclopedia," volunteering thousands of hours of my life to improve this virtual database of human knowledge. I was a younger hell raiser then, bent on sharing what I'd learned through my career as a consultant for government agencies and nonprofits. Looking specifically at youth engagement, I found a gaping hole in the fields of youth development and education, and began writing rampantly.

However, despite trying to write articles that sounded like they knew it all, I immediately got smacked down. Beautifully grandiose pieces that I knew should've won the Pulitzer were deleted, and on the back channels of Wikipedia other editors said mean things about me.

Determined, it wasn't long before I learned the form. I started reading good articles about topics I wasn't interested in just to figure out what to do, and studied my detractors' comments for insights I might need. Most importantly, I learned how to find sources to support the new topics I was introducing to Wikipedia.

I grew comfortable with the site. After a while, I began writing about anything that interested me. In the waning hours between being a fulltime dad and running my own business, I studied and wrote about the histories of New Mexico, Washington, New York and Alberta; I plumbed the depths of the micro-history of North Omaha, Neb., the neighborhood that I grew up in; and I contributed to other topics I cared most about then.

Since then, I have gained a reputation for writing about topics that are controversial, apparently inconsequential, or otherwise chagrined by other editors, and because of that I keep going. It feels good to stand up for the underdog, online and in the real world. This is how I change the world, sometimes.

What I have learned about Wikipedia is this:

Don't volunteer on Wikipedia for the recognition. On its surface, a large part about Wikipedia is the anonymity. Because of that, there isn't a lot of recognition for hard work. While editors can give each other badges and access, there's no explicit volunteer recognition program, awards or ceremonies. Don't expect anyone to wave your flag for spending days on in at the website.

Editing feels like dog-eat-dog sometimes. Because of the anonymity and the nature of the Internet, editing can get cutthroat sometimes. Editors aren't generally warm and fuzzy, or particularly supportive toward newbies and topics they don't know about. I even experienced many to be suspicious. Stay strong and committed and your work will make it through.

Wikipedia successfully raises the general public's knowledge about topics. After working in my field for more than two decades, the topics we address are more known than ever before. That's in no small part the fault of Wikipedia, and I'm confident that my contributions have helped.

I had to lose some of my ego to be a successful editor. Hidden in the harsh editing climate of Wikipedia is a desire to build a substantial contribution to the world's knowledge. Grammar, style, citations, and reputation are invaluable for that, and I may not be the absolute hottest writer to ever contribute to the project. I have learned to accept feedback and even criticism so I can write better.

Learn to work the system. Wikipedia wants to be spectacular, and in so doing has its doors wide open. Learning to work the system - including the guidelines, editing environment, and processes - can allow you to influence the world, if you work it right.

There's more than a million ways to start. Ready to do it? The biggest advice I can share is to start anywhere and go anywhere. There are a million entry points for contributing to Wikipedia, including editing existing content, creating articles, adding citations, checking verifiability, working with topic-based projects and many other ways. The most important thing is to simply start.

As my story shows, anyone can add to Wikipedia. I really think that if you want to change the world, the website is a great place to go to do some good work. There are so many opportunities there, and your contributions can have a real impact on other people, no matter how small or insignificant they might feel.

Instead of spending more time reviewing the site, I would suggest that you stop reading this and start editing. Look me up on the site if you want, and happy editing!

Learn more about Adam's editing and contact him on Wikipedia at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/User:Freechild

LINK: Make film gore with household items

LINK: Parenting advice for punk rockers

LINK: How to improve your photography skills

LINK: Get fit the Dungeons and Dragons way

LINK: Roommate advice

LINK: Marijuana smoking advice

LINK: How to harvest geoducks

LINK: Music business advice

LINK: First tattoo advice

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February 1, 2013 at 5:58pm

SOUTH SOUND SIDEKICK: Creating movie gore using common household items

FILMMAKER MATT JAISSLE: Nothing goes to waste in his refrigerator.

South Sound Sidekick series offers advice from experts living in the, well, South Sound. It posts every Friday. Today, local filmmaker Matt Jaissle has advice on how to make awesome film special effects on a low budget. Jaissle knows. He is the director of Back from Hell, The Necro Files, Legion of the Night (aka Dead City), 300 Killers and the upcoming Revolution 666.

Matt Jaissle writes,

Here are a few tips aimed at aspiring film/video makers. You know who you are. Just about anyone who's bought a video camera at Best Buy in the last five years has probably tossed around the idea of shooting a zombie movie with their buddies. Why not? Everyone is doing it. Horror seems like the obvious choice, too. It can be done cheap.  Well, I've done it cheaper than most. Even though I had to shoot my first couple of pictures on 16mm; they were still dirt-cheap.

One of the production areas I've had the privilege to explore with great detail is special makeup effects.  Part of the youthful appeal of low-budget horror is all that splashy blood and gore. Makeup is one of the few departments where quantity is just as good as quality. If you can't afford Tom Savini, you can still channel his essence.

Rule No. 1: Blood, blood and more blood! Fake blood is la filmmaker's whiteout. You can cover up your mistakes with it. Does that rubber arm look like crap?  Pour a pint of fake blood over it. Is that facial prosthetic the wrong flesh tone? Pour a gallon of fake blood over it. You get the picture.

Plus, fake blood looks cool, and easy to make. My recipe is one ounce of red food color to one-quart karo syrup. If you want to get fancy, you can add a few drops of blue and a couple teaspoons of instant coffee grinds to make it darker (dissolve the coffee grinds in a small amount of hot water first).

Underneath the river of blood you can use all kinds of things in your refrigerator to simulate guts and brains. For my film 300 Killers, I had a scene where a guy gets shot point blank in the face. I originally had no effect for the scene. Then, one night I was cutting open a frozen burrito that I'd microwaved way too long. I looked disgusting. See an opportunity, I quickly drew a pupil and retina on a ping-pong ball, stuck it in the middle, covered the whole thing with barbecue sauce (fake blood wasn't even in the budget that night), filmed a close-up of the whole mess and the shot's in the movie.

For my first film, Back from Hell, I had an effects guy who created somewhat elaborate latex wounds for our zombie actors. We even real pig guts, which can be purchase from any local slaughterhouse. They sell them in five gallon buckets.  The drawbacks are the guts are expensive, they stink to high heaven and the stomach acids will burn the hell out of your hands. I shit you not.

For my new picture, Revolution 666, I have no budget at all.  Instead of using latex appliances, I decided to make a zombie mask out of paper maché. I simply applied the dipped newspaper strips to a head-sized balloon, popped the balloon after the mask dried, then spray-painted the whole thing. For guts, I went to my local grocery store and asked the butcher if I could buy trim from his bone barrel. I eventually got what I needed for free, took it home and mixed it up with fake blood (natch). I also threw in some leftovers my mom gave me and BAM! Tom Savini would be proud.

There you go. You're ready to make picture. Head to Best Buy for equipment and get to it. Good lighting, camerawork and editing don't cost anything if you learn how to do it yourself. Your picture can even look like an effects showcase! Only you, me, and your grocer will know.

LINK: Parenting advice for punk rockers

LINK: How to improve your photography skills

LINK: Get fit the Dungeons and Dragons way

LINK: Roommate advice

LINK: Marijuana smoking advice

LINK: How to harvest geoducks

LINK: Music business advice

LINK: First tattoo advice

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January 26, 2013 at 9:27am

South Sound Sidekick: Parenting advice for punk rockers

CAMERON CLEARWATER AND KIDS: Having fun the right way. Photo credit: Opal Anderson

Parenting saves lives. Punk rock saves lives also. Combining these two forces can make for a uniquely fun and enriching experience for kids and parents alike. As part of our South Sound Sidekick series Cameron Clearwater of the band Electric Falcons, and father to two daughters and a stepson, has parenting advice for punk rockers. 

Cameron Clearwater writes,

Punk rock parents already have a leg up in the "cool" department because they are typically younger than most other parents in any given child's age group. Why this is should be somewhat obvious. This narrower gap in age often means said parents are more likely to be in tune with what's going on with the youth of today. At least we would like to think so. Here are some tips on keeping the family stoked and allowing the kids to keep THEIR cred.

Don't try and force your child to love the Melvins. By all means make underground music available to them via your normal listening routine at home or cruising around town and whatnot. Just remember that your parents' Jethro Tull or Lawrence Welk albums or whatever is partially responsible for your first mohawk. The younger ones are more impressionable and eager to please but I guarantee if you try and strongly impose Black Flag on any tween or teen you will hear nothing but Skrillex blasting from their room for months. And NEVER bombard them with your own band. Give them a nudge in the right direction and access to your music collection and they will come around. Or not. This also goes with attire and style. After all, the essence of punk rock is individual personal expression.

Prepare well-rounded nutritional meals daily and try to include at least one green vegetable per meal. Just because you can thrive living in a van for weeks, as well as getting by on a strict diet of dollar menu Taco Bell and PBR, doesn't mean your kids can. They shouldn't anyway. The kiddos need brain food for homework and strong bodies for future mosh pit stamina.

If you are musically inclined, don't try and be the fucking Punk Rock Partridge Family. Most likely your gear has already been trashed by you way harder than what any kid could do to it. Let 'em have at it. If they wanna rock, you will know. I got my oldest daughter a small acoustic guitar that was mostly a fun prop that bounced around for years. She got into cello in school and became good at teaching herself basic piano stuff. Now, at 14, she has an electric guitar and is killing it! Show them a bar chord and hope that they don't ask for more or your cover is blown.

Do your best to make it FUN for everyone and raise those kids right. They will be changing your diapers before you know it. Most likely they are also your retirement plan because we all know Punk Rock pays no bills. Now if you will excuse me, my favorite Rihanna, err, I mean Nirvana song is coming on and I have dishes and laundry to attend to.

Over and out.

GO DEEPER: Electric Falcons charged up over new projects

LINK: How to improve your photography skills

LINK: Get fit the Dungeons and Dragons way

LINK: Roommate advice

LINK: Marijuana smoking advice

LINK: How to harvest geoducks

LINK: Music business advice

LINK: First tattoo advice

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GET THE AFTERNOON DELIGHT NEWSLETTER

The Weekly Volcano’s Afternoon Delight newsletter features breaking news, stories, calendar picks and more sent directly to your inbox Monday-Friday. It’s completely free to subscribers, but costs $10,000 if you don't like it. You will like it. It's sweet and sour and makes you pucker and swoon. Sign up here:

January 18, 2013 at 3:02pm

SOUTH SOUND SIDEKICK: How to improve your photography skills

NEWSPIN PHOTO: Professional photography by Red Williamson

South Sound Sidekick series offers advice from experts living in the, well, South Sound. It posts every Friday. Today, Red Williamson of Newspin Photo has advice on how to pursue a hobby or career in creative photography.

Red Williamson writes,

If you're interested in pursuing a hobby or career in photography, it can be a challenge knowing where to begin. With the emergence of the digital age, I have watched the career field of photography make notable changes since I started my business, Newspin Photo, 9 years ago. When I am asked for photography advice, there are several points I always come back to, and now I would like to share with them you.

The first thing you should know is: You don't need a new camera! You may have heard this before but it's worth repeating. Chase Jarvis said, "The best camera is the one that's with you." This statement rings true now more than ever, since the rapid evolution of the smart phone. As for me, I have prime lenses and a professional, full-frame, 36-megapixel camera; I also have an iPhone 5. Which device do you think has taken the most pictures of my 17-month-old son? My phone. Easily. And I'm not the only one. Kevin Russ sells prints of photos he's taken all across America with his phone. Teru Kuwayama and Balazs Gardi are two war zone photographers who have captured images from Afghanistan using only iPhones.

Hopefully you see where I'm going with this. If you want to pursue a hobby or a career as a photographer, why wait another day? You don't need to buy a fancy camera. Odds are, you already have a great camera right in your pocket. Start shooting with what you have. Even a lousy camera can take beautiful pictures if you learn how to use it.

My second tip may seem like a no-brainer as well, but it's something I constantly have to remind myself. Never stop learning! There are a number of ways to learn about photography; undoubtedly, the most valuable resource we all have access to is the Internet. There are countless articles available to you, YouTube videos, tutorials and friends on Facebook that you can message. If you ever want to find out how a technique is done - just ask. I tell my mom to talk to "Lord Google" like it's a person. For example, I recently googled, "How do I get a press pass to shoot Lady Gaga at the Tacoma Dome?" The results were very informative. Then I asked a Facebook friend how he's gotten into shows, and now I have plenty of information I didn't have before. It's that simple.

And for now, my last piece of advice is: BREAK all the rules. My only formal education is a film class I took in high school. I'm so glad I learned the rules of photography, but I'm also glad I pushed back against every rule I was taught. If you are limited to what people before you have done, or what's currently "cool." or what you think will get you the most likes (duck faces, I'm looking at you) - then you've missed the boat. You have to approach photography like any form of artful expression. Show us the world how you see it, feel it, taste it and hear it. Show us something new - something true.

This may sound silly, but often times when I'm adding an image to my portfolio (or even my Instagram) I struggle with thoughts like, "Is this cool? Will I make money off this? Will this make me famous?" Instead, I choose to quiet these thoughts and remind myself that I'm doing this for me. I have to be true to that, first. Then whether the likes come or not, or whether the prints sell or not, I can ultimately say I'm at peace with the fact that I boldly shared a piece of myself with the world.

In the end, I believe that staying true to my own art and expression was one of the biggest reasons I found success in doing what I love for a living. Don't be afraid to release your creativity and think outside the box. You never know what might happen when you do.

BONUS: Red Williamson shot the Repeal Prohibition Day Celebration at the Capitol Theater

LINK: Get fit the Dungeons and Dragons way

LINK: Roommate advice

LINK: Marijuana smoking advice

LINK: How to harvest geoducks

LINK: Music business advice

LINK: First tattoo advice

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GET THE AFTERNOON DELIGHT NEWSLETTER

The Weekly Volcano’s Afternoon Delight newsletter features breaking news, stories, calendar picks and more sent directly to your inbox Monday-Friday. It’s completely free to subscribers, but costs $10,000 if you don't like it. You will like it. It's sweet and sour and makes you pucker and swoon. Sign up here:

January 11, 2013 at 1:57pm

SOUTH SOUND SIDEKICK: Sidewalks, politeness and the law in downtown Olympia

THE COUNSELOR: Jim Foley suggests you be polite and respectful on the streets of downtown Olympia.

MARIJUANA LEGALIZATION >>>

South Sound Sidekick series offers advice from experts living in the, well, the South Sound. It posts every Friday. Today, The Counselor is back with his take on the Olympia City Council's decision to restrict lying on some sidewalks in downtown Olympia.

Dear Counselor,

I am so torn about the people I see sitting and lying on the streets in downtown Olympia. Some seem so young, others old - all invoke sympathy from me. Yet, at the same time, I feel for the downtown business people and the folks who live and shop downtown. What's your take on the whole thing?

Well, this whole issue has been in the news quite a bit lately. I did some research for your question. I spoke with downtown business owners, advocates for those who live on the streets and representatives of the law enforcement community. I also spoke with social service advocates for those described below with the H-word. Then I did some legal research to get the law.

First and foremost, you will not see the H-word used in this article. You know the word that begins with H and ends with "less". No, I will not use that word. Why?  Because after speaking with the aforementioned groups it became clear to me that the people you see on the street make up less then 10 percent of the H population. In other words, only one out of 10 people you see on the street should be labeled with the H-word. Everyone wants to use the H-word because it evokes sympathy and an emotional response. It is extremely paternalistic. Better call them kittens - "Oh how cute, oh how vulnerable, let's take them home." Not.

Not only is grouping the vast majority of street people as "H" heartbreaking ignorant. It is also just plain wrong.  It also diminishes those that properly are called "H' and does nothing to improve their lot.  There are some very good organizations that are working very hard to address the H-word. The organizations are making steady progress.  Next time you are about to give a dollar to someone on the street think instead about sending a couple of dollars to:

Anyone of these organizations will make way better use of your dollar then the guy on the street. OK, enough about the H-word.

What's up with sidewalks?

OK, this can only be tackled with a mini-law class on Real Property law. The sidewalk and the ground under it belong to the property owner - not the city, not the county and not the state. The sidewalk and the ground under it belong to the property owner.

Said property owner is liable for bad things that happen on the sidewalk most of the time - although there are always exceptions when it comes to the law. Got it? I am not making this shit up.

A city, county or government can and routinely does obtain and easement over the private property of the landowner. But this only gives the public the right to travel across this piece of land. It does not grant any other use.  Cities routinely require landowners to build, pay for and maintain sidewalks.  But the ultimate ownership and liability is with the property owner.

In Washington state, the property owner owes the following to people walking on the sidewalk. ...

A possessor of land owes a common law duty to prevent artificial conditions on his land from being unreasonably dangerous to highway travelers. The duty is founded on the principle that [t]he public right of passage carries with it ... an obligation upon the occupiers of abutting land to use reasonable care to see that the passage is safe. This duty applies to those passing by on a public walk. Munger v. Union Sav. & Loan Ass'n, (1933).

Criminal acts of third parties are general not the liability of the property owner.  But still if you sit all day every day on my sidewalk and your dog bites one of my customers.  We all know who is going to get sued and it ain't no street person.

The business owners I have spoken with only want to have a clean, safe environment for their customers to shop in. Part of this is making the street view and entrance to their shop as inviting as possible. Come on you do the math. Dirty sleeping bag? Pit bull?

What about the cops? 

They want the same thing we all do: a safe, friendly tolerant world where we can all be respectful, courteous and polite. Guess what? I am not joking. If law enforcement cannot have this, then they want clear enforceable laws that allow them to do their job with the least amount of ambiguity. They would really rather educate then enforce. They would rather resolve a problem then make an arrest. But, it all comes back to politeness and respect.

So in answer to you question, let's all try and be polite, respectful and tolerant of each other. You folks on the street: That is someone else's property you are sitting on; it is someone else's livelihood you are affecting. Those of you wishing to give money to the problem: Give it to one of the groups I have listed.

Repeat this mantra: polite, respectful, polite, respectful.

Sidewalks are private property.

The Counselor

>>> Questions for The Counselor may be sent to feedback@weeklyvolcano.com.

LINK: Roommate problems

LINK: Marijuana legalization advice

LINK: Marijuana smoking advice

LINK: Speeding ticket advice

LINK: DUI advice

January 4, 2013 at 12:59pm

SOUTH SOUND SIDEKICK: Get fit the Dungeons and Dragons way

JASON HEILPERN: When he's not rolling a 20-side die, he's helping people achieve their fitness goals at Geek and Gamer Fitness. Courtesy photo

South Sound Sidekick series offers advice from experts living in the, well, South Sound. It posts every Friday. Today, Jason Heilpern - owner of Geek and Gamer Fitness in Tumwater - has advice on how to begin a fitness program.

Jason Heilpern writes,

It was April 1, 2009 when I woke up.  For the last several years I had spent my life living a life that had consumed me.  I was smoking two packs of cigarettes a day, drinking my way into alcoholism and my diet consisted of fast food and soda.  I weighed close to 300lbs, and couldn't make it up a full flight of steps without great effort.  I was in bad shape, and needed to change.

Sound familiar?  The truth is many people find themselves in similar situations every day, and like me have no idea what to do. They know they need to eat right, and lose weight, but they don't know how. This is why so many people give up and fail.  I was lucky to make it through that first year.  How did I do it you ask?  Simple, I approached fitness the same way I played Dungeons and Dragons.

Level One Character

When you play D&D everyone starts out as a level one character. This means they have no equipment, experience, or skills.  Characters gain levels as they gain experience, and so it is with you in fitness.  You have to accept that you are a level one character, and understand that it's OK to be so.  Experience, skill and strength will come in time.

Choose Your Character

In D&D players must create a character to play.  Will they play a fighter, rouge or wizard?  Each kind of character has different abilities.  So it is with you and fitness.  You need to decide what kind of a Fit Freak you are going to be.  Will you be a runner, a Crossfit athlete or yoga?  There are so many ways to get into shape - the sky is the limit.  The key is finding the type that works for you. If you try yoga and decide you don't like it, don't give up on fitness - try something else. Experiment with different classes, instructors and gyms until you find one that works for you.

Level Up

Any D&D player will tell you their favorite part of playing is leveling up their character. This is where they get new skills and abilities.  A mistake many Fit Freaks make is doing the same things over and over again.  Don't do that.  Constantly be pushing yourself to try new things in fitness.  This is how we become better. Spending 30 minutes on the treadmill everyday will never get you into the body you want.  Find a coach, trainer or classes that will always push you to become better then you are.

You are starting out on a wonderful journey of fitness.  If you stick with it, never give up, and continue to learn fitness will change your life. It took me from being overweight to a slim competitive athlete.  Even more surprising, fitness gave me a new career. In 2012 I opened my own fitness center to help others find their fitness path called Geek and Gamer Fitness.

LINK: Roommate advice

LINK: Marijuana smoking advice

LINK: Speeding ticket advice

LINK: How to harvest geoducks

LINK: Music business advice

LINK: First tattoo advice

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GET THE AFTERNOON DELIGHT NEWSLETTER

The Weekly Volcano’s Afternoon Delight newsletter features breaking news, stories, calendar picks and more sent directly to your inbox Monday-Friday. It’s completely free to subscribers, but costs $10,000 if you don't like it. You will like it. It's sweet and sour and makes you pucker and swoon. Sign up here:

December 29, 2012 at 5:17pm

SOUTH SOUND SIDEKICK: Roommate problems

THE COUNSELOR: Jim Foley suggests you put everything in writing.

MARIJUANA LEGALIZATION >>>

South Sound Sidekick series offers advice from experts living in the, well, the South Sound. It posts every Friday (sometimes on Saturday if holidays come into play). Today, The Counselor is back with the lowdown on what will happen if your roommates decide not to pay their portion of the rent.

Counselor, 

I rent a house and have two roommates, one is not paying his share of the rent; what can I do?  Can I kick them out?

Oh my, what to do. To answer this question the counselor needs a lot more information.  Is there a renter's agreement with the landlord? Maybe a lease? If there is, then who is on that agreement really controls a lot of my answer? I am going to act like you alone have made a simple verbal agreement with the landlord.  No written agreement and no lease. If such a document was signed it would control most of your choices.

So you alone have an agreement to pay say $900 per month and you also pay all the utilities. But you have two roommates who have verbally agreed to pay you $300 each and share the utilities.

Then one stops paying, right?  Now we are getting somewhere.

The very best thing you can do is not make verbal commitments with anyone about things that concern money.  WRITE IT DOWN THEN SIGN IT.  Verbal commitments to do anything are what are known in the law as an "oral contract." Write it down and it becomes a written contract. Written contracts are much easier to enforce. If you have a written contract, it is much easier to use the court system to make everyone do what he or she is supposed to do. With an oral contract, it is a messy and expensive process to get reimbursed or to make folks do what they agreed to do.

Writing it down, also reminds people of what they promised they would do.

A contract for sharing space or living together does not have to be fancy at all and many forms are sold at office supply stores.  Even just a simple written out agreement will be of some help.

Realistically, most people won't write it down, they will just believe things will be hunky dory and that their friends will be responsible until, well, until their friends run out of money.

So now what? No written agreements, friends not paying rent, still in house ... what to do? Start writing things down. Give them a three-day notice to quit the premises or pay the rent - then sign it. Give them a copy. Write them a letter. If they still won't move out you will need to take action.

You will not be able to throw them out yourself if they have been living there and paying rent. You will have to abide by the Landlord Tenant law in Washington.  Yes, you see, you have in fact become a landlord by the act of letting people live in a place that you have rented. Contact the Washington Tenants Union; they have partners in every county and can give you solid advice.

Contact your local dispute resolution center. Both Pierce and Thurston counties have pro bono legal groups that can help with this type of situation: Tacoma Pro Bono and Thurston County Volunteer Legal Services.

The bad news is that without a written agreement it is highly unlikely you will ever see a dime from this person. Technically, you could take them to small claims court over their oral agreement to pay you money.  But your chances of actually getting any money are slim to none.

Some other things you should consider when house sharing:

If the cable, electricity, water, etc is in your name then you, and you alone, are responsible for paying those. 

If you move out, I insist you physically go down to the cable office, the PUD, the city office and cancel those things in your name.  They will remain your responsible until you cancel them.

What are you going to do to prevent this from happening? You need to communicate with your roommates. You need to WRITE THINGS DOWN.

Be responsible for yourself and protect yourself. When you move out make sure to cancel the stuff in your name.

It is little stuff, it is easy stuff and it really matters when things go bad.

Happy New Year.  Be safe out there my friends.

The Counselor

>>> Questions for The Counselor may be sent to feedback@weeklyvolcano.com.

LINK: Marijuana legalization advice

LINK: Marijuana smoking advice

LINK: Speeding ticket advice

LINK: DUI advice

December 21, 2012 at 1:24pm

SOUTH SOUND SIDEKICK: How to score marijuana

TACOMA CANNABIS FARMERS MARKET: Jeremy Miller and Kitty. Photo courtesy of cannabisfarmersmarkets.com

South Sound Sidekick series offers advice from experts living in the, well, South Sound. It posts every Friday. We had legal advice from Jim Foley regarding the legalization of marijuana, and we all know the law won't get straightened out for another year, so in the meantime, where and how do we get safe access to marijuana? Pot activist Jeremy Miller weighs in on the medical end of the weed spectrum.

Jeremy Miller writes,

High, my name is Jeremy Miller. I have been a local cannabis activist/lobbyist in the Olympia area for more than 20 years. In 2003, I decided to take my activism up a notch and started the Olympia Hempfest to help raise awareness of the social injustice of cannabis prohibition. In 2007, I opened a medical cannabis information center and worked with the Olympia police department to help educate and develop policies to protect medical cannabis patients. In 2010, I ran for state representative and started the world's first Cannabis Farmers Market. Let me just say that we have come quite a long way since. I'm glad to see so many seeds that were planted long ago - by myself and many others - sprouting so rapidly here in Washington.

Here are a few questions and answers regarding medical marijuana. 

Where can I find a doctor? Try CannaHealth with clinics in Seattle, Tacoma and Olympia, or 4Evergreen in Seattle, Tacoma and Kennewick.

What are some of the qualifying conditions? The conditions are cancer, HIV/AIDS, multiple sclerosis, epilepsy/seizures, chronic pain, spasticity disorder(s), cramping/muscle spasms, migraine headaches, hepatitis C, Crohn's disease, glaucoma, arthritis, nausea, anorexia, and asthma.

What documents will I need? Bring medical records that diagnose your condition.

How much will it cost? On average, it costs about $100 for a one-year authorization.

Where can I find a community of other medical users? Stop by the Cannabis Farmers Market at 1912 Center St. in Tacoma. It's the largest source of medical cannabis in the state. It is a great place to meet others.

I'm sure that everyone still has many questions. Unfortunately I can't predict the future and the Washington State Liquor Control Board has until Dec. 13, 2013 to finish the rule-making process. At that point I will be able to have more information for you to stay safe in this new world we find ourselves living in. I hope to see everyone down at the 10-year anniversary of the Olympia Hempfest July 27 and 28. Keep an eye on www.olympiahempfest.com.

LINK: Smoking marijuana in Washington state advice

LINK: How to harvest geoducks

LINK: Speeding ticket advice

LINK: DUI advice

LINK: Music business advice

LINK: First tattoo advice

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December 15, 2012 at 12:19pm

SOUTH SOUND SIDEKICK: Domestic violence and the holidays

THE COUNSELOR: Jim Foley suggests you think before getting angry over burnt pot roast

MARIJUANA LEGALIZATION >>>

South Sound Sidekick series offers advice from experts living in the, well, the South Sound. It posts every Friday (sometimes on Saturday if tragic events happen in our nation). Today, The Counselor is back with the lowdown on what will happen if the police respond to a domestic violence report at your home.

Counselor,  

QUESTION: Last night my roommate came home drunk, we argued and the police where called. What is going to happen now?  

ANSWER: This is the season when people drink way too much, and often argue about Christmas, relatives and money. Domestic violence is as serious as it gets. The Yakima YWCA reports an increase in domestic violence calls of 50 percent over the holidays.  Nationwide, calls spike by 30 to 60 percent on New Year's Day.  These are big numbers. 

I am not going to point fingers in my response, and this article should not in anyway be considered an essay on the root causes of domestic violence, or solutions to this horrific problem. I am just going to tell what is going to happen if the police come to your house over the holidays in response to a domestic violence call. 

First and foremost, they will arrest somebody if they believe any type of criminal behavior has occurred - this would include pushing, shoving, hitting or breaking things. In fact, they are required to arrest somebody. (RCW 10.99.030). 

The person who goes to jail will be seen the next judicial court day, i.e. if you are arrested Friday night you will be in jail until Monday. The court will put in place a no-contact order - even if the parties do not want one - the court will order it.  The arrested person will have to move to a new home. They will not be allowed to live where they used to. The court will order that the arrested person have absolutely no contact with the other person involved. This no-contact order will likely be in place for at least eight weeks. The court will want proof that both parties have, and are, receiving some type of counseling for domestic violence from a state certified service provider.

So, no-contact with your boyfriend/girlfriend, roommate, husband /wife till after the holidays. The cost includes supporting two households instead of one.  Repeated court appearances and months of counseling over what? Drinking too much? Being angry?

Please, if drinking or domestic violence in your household is a problem, access many of the resources the state offers:

Wishing you happy holidays and a safe season,

The Counselor

>>> Questions for The Counselor may be sent to feedback@weeklyvolcano.com.

LINK: Marijuana smoking advice

LINK: Speeding ticket advice

LINK: DUI advice

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

GET THE AFTERNOON DELIGHT NEWSLETTER

The Weekly Volcano’s Afternoon Delight newsletter features breaking news, stories, calendar picks and more sent directly to your inbox Monday-Friday. It’s completely free to subscribers, but costs $10,000 if you don't like it. You will like it. It's sweet and sour and makes you pucker and swoon. Sign up here:

Filed under: South Sound Sidekick, Crime,

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