Northwest Military Blogs: Walkie Talkie Blog

Posts made in: February, 2015 (42) Currently Viewing: 1 - 10 of 42

February 1, 2015 at 9:56am

5 Things To Do Today: Super Bowl eats and drinks, Pearl Django, Tapmaster, "Tacomapocalype 4" ...

Go Hawks!

SUNDAY, FEB. 1 2015 >>>

1. We could have loaded today's 5 Things To Do with double entendres based on the concept of Super Bowl snacks and deflated balls. Instead, click here for several Super Bowl parties in the South Sound.

2. Pearl Django performs at 11 a.m. in the Museum of Glass. Pulling inspiration from the legendary jazz guitarist Django Reinhardt, Pearl Django has a signature Hot Club style marked by the band's expert string work, steady pulse of rhythm guitar and unmistakable swing that reaches out to audiences of all musical sensibilities.

3. These days, South Sound pubs offer more activities than a cruise ship. Tides Tavern wants to make it crystal clear its 12th Annual Tapmaster program isn't about chugging yards of beer then taking a flying leap off the dock into the harbor. Instead, the popular watering hole in Gig Harbor wants you to enjoy its 16 taps through the month of February. Get to know each beer. Ask the beers questions. Ask the bartenders questions. If by happenstance you drink all 16 beers in the 28 days, the Tides will give you a nifty T-shirt and add your name to the wall of fame.

4. We all know what it feels like to be stuck in a job we hate, where managers lead by harassment and double down on strategies that didn't work the first hundred times. Imagine you're trapped in a low-rent Chicago sales office with five alpha males, each struggling to sell Florida swampland before apathetic corporate overlords drop the axe. If you're looking to feel better about your working life, David Mamet's 1983 drama Glengarry Glen Ross is a great place to start. The Lakewood Playhouse stages the play at noon due to some big game on the tube. Read Christian Carvajal's full review of Glengarry Glen Ross in the Music & Culture section.

5. Tacoma's humorous zombie art show returns but at a new location - Destiny City Comics. "Tacomapocalype 4: Back to the Future" focuses on "Zombies Vs. 80's Time Travel Movies." Check out the local zombie art from noon to 6 p.m.

LINK: Sunday, Feb. 1 arts and entertainment events in the greater Tacoma and Olympia area

February 2, 2015 at 7:46am

5 Things To Do Today: Sister Cities Film Festival, "Underwhelmed" radio show, TV theme song night ...

Co-written and directed by Driss Chouika, "Crossed Destinies" has a beautiful beachfront setting.

MONDAY, FEB. 2 2015 >>>

1. The Tacoma Sister Cities International Film Festival kicks off tonight with Crossed Destinities, a Moroccan film in honor of sister city El Jajida, Morocco, which screens at 7 p.m. in the University of Puget Sound Rotunda. The French film set in Morocco follows Abdelkhalek and Rachida as they play host to their college friends, invited to spend the weekend at their beautiful beach house but don't know who sent the invitations bringing them all together. The group of 40-somethings begin to recall stories of their past and reveal to each other, and themselves, veiled truths and long hidden secrets with a central thread of mystery weaving through the story. A Moroccan cultural program will kicks off the night at 6:15 p.m.

2. In 2013, filmmaker Isaac Olsen (Quiet Shoes, Ich Hunger) and his friends started Strapping Young Productions, a company to promote Olsen's projects and local bands Red Hex, Trees and Timber, and the Dick Rossetti (former disc jockey at 107.7 The End) fronted Jilly Rizzo. Today, Rossetti and Olsen find themselves under a new umbrella, the online weekly radio show, "Underwhelmed." Kicking off at 6 p.m. on nwczradio.com, and every Monday from 6-7 p.m., the two will present "unshitty/shitty music played, revelry and neat segments like ‘Record Collectors Are Pretentious Assholes" and "Ten 30 Second Commercial Free Music Sweeps.'" Tonight's episode will feature an interview with The Clash, local calls bullshit on the Seahawks, NFL and all 12s in general, top tunes from Toto, The Germs, Tit Nuns, Chaka Khan and many more. ...

3. Get out your dancing shoes and join in the whimsy of a country western shuffle dance, hosted by the Evergreen Country Dancers from 6:30-8:30 p.m. at the Olympia Elks Lodge.

4. Don't stay home and watch TV - come listen to TV. Trumpeter Mike Lewis and friends are going to blow up your favorite TV theme songs in the Jazz Lab at 8 p.m. at Rhythm & Rye.

5. The Shelly Ely Band will fill The Swiss with blues at 8 p.m.

LINK: Monday, Feb. 2 arts and entertainment events in the greater Tacoma and Olympia area

February 2, 2015 at 2:00pm

BOSS Designated Driver Program at Joint Base Lewis-McChord

Sgt. Hassan M. Lovett, a BOSS Members representative with the U.S. Army Joint Base Lewis-McChord Garrison, leans against one of the BOSS designated driver vans, Jan. 29 at JBLM. Photo credit: Sgt. Sinthia Rosario

Don't drink and drive, buckle up and have a plan. These are just some of the things said to soldiers during a safety brief.

For the most part it works. However, there have been incidents where a soldier does not listen to their leadership or friends and accidents occur.

In an effort to help prevent soldiers from driving under the influence, the Better Opportunity for Single Service Members run the Designated Driver Program within a 15-mile radius of Joint Base Lewis-McChord. This is a volunteer-based service, which servicemembers give up their time to help other soldiers. It provides service members a safe ride home when drinking, instead of getting behind the wheel and causing harm to themselves or others.

Soldiers needing a ride first need to contact them at 253.208.9169 for a ride. The BOSS volunteer will then pick up the servicemember. Finally the soldier is returned safely to the barracks at no expense.

Since the program is run by servicemembers, it is only available Friday, Saturday and on training holidays from 9 p.m. to 3 a.m.

"However, we make special exceptions for New Years, Brewfest, St. Patrick's Day, Oktober Fest and other popular holidays which typically promote alcohol consumption," said Spc. Jennifer R. Helm, BOSS president with the U.S. Army JBLM Garrison.

The volunteers take their responsibilities as designated drivers very seriously in order to ensure all the soldiers are picked up and taken care.

"Many of our volunteers stay past the 3 a.m. cutoff just to ensure everyone gets home safe," added Helm.

"We love the BOSS van program," said Maj. Jay I. Cash, provost marshal, JBLM. "It's good when servicemembers on JBLM contact the BOSS for a ride because that just means the likelihood of JBLM or civilian police coming into contact with an impaired servicemember behind the wheel of a motor vehicle is significantly reduced."

"So, when it's working at its best we don't even know they're there except when they pass thru the gates." He added, "This is classic battle buddy program for which the military is known for."

Servicemembers caught on or off post drinking and driving may face legal actions, fines, have on post driving privileges suspended or possibly ruin their military career.

Cash said that on post penalties for DUIs mirror that of the state of Washington as well as a couple of mandatory DoD requirements.

In order to highlight the program Cash shared the BOSS number with local departments in the event they have impaired service members needing a ride.

"The police community thinks that this is an excellent program which saves service members lives and career ... if used," said Cash. "The decision to drive drunk is generally made while impaired. If servicemembers were to make a plan to use the program before they even leave for the night I believe it would be even more successful."

For more information on the Designated Driver Program call BOSS at 253.967.5636.

Sgt. Sinthia Rosario is with the 5th Mobile Public Affairs Detachment.

February 3, 2015 at 7:44am

5 Things To Do Today: "Food Chains," American Indian culture, edible gardens workshop, Jerry Miller ...

Americans remain all too disconnected from those who toil in grim living and working conditions to supply their food. Maybe it's about time to worry.

TUESDAY, FEB. 3 2015 >>>

1.  With all the discussion about food these days, there has been is very little interest in the hands that pick it. The documentary Food Chains draws much needed attention to the oppressive conditions faced by many farm workers in the nation's tomato industry. Food Chains exposes the human cost in our food supply and the complicity of the supermarket industry. Catch the film at 1:45 and 6:30 p.m. in The Grand Cinema.

2. Missionaries to the inland Northwest created the earliest and most substantial archives of Plateau Indian culture. Trevor J. Bond, head of Manuscripts, Archives and Special Collections at Washington State University, will examine how collectors with varied motivations amassed American Indian cultural materials at 4 p.m. on the second floor of Collins Library on the University of Puget Sound campus.

3. Pierce County residents can learn how to grow their own food during the 2015 Edible Gardens Workshop series, which runs from February through November. The free series of monthly workshops, which are sponsored by Pierce County and the Pierce Conservation District, teach beginning gardeners how to plan a garden, prepare the soil, plant seeds, and harvest the food they've grown. Each workshop is designed to help students throughout the growing season by addressing what needs to be done in the garden that month. The classes combine presentations with hands-on activities. At 6 p.m., it's all about fruit trees in the Washington State University Extension Puyallup building.

4. If hearing the sound of your own cackling voice echoing off the walls of your shower stall has you craving the sound of something a bit more harmonious, check out the local songbirds at Victory Music Open Mic in the Antique Sandwich Co. from 7-10 p.m. It's guaranteed to be jam-packed with gorgeous sounds and humbling verses, as the South Sound's greatest up-and-coming acoustic musicians bare their souls impromptu-style.

5. Moby Grape was one of the most versatile San Francisco rock bands to emerge out of the summer of love. Sadly, through a combination of inner turmoil and bad management decisions, the mighty Moby Grape broke up in 1969. However, their debut album is still considered one of the best of all time by many critics, in part because of the nimble fingers of guitarist Jerry Miller. Miller was named one of the top 100 guitarists of all time by Rolling Stone above Eddie Van Halen, Johnny Winter and Randy Rhoads. The Tacoma native has enjoyed a rich career sharing the stage with countless musicians including members of the Doobie Brothers and Carlos Santana. Miller hosts an open jam at 7 p.m. in Dave's of Milton.

February 3, 2015 at 2:06pm

Military spouses network with Washington state employers

Coyeatta Lee, a military spouse who lives in Yelm, networks during a Hiring our Heroes job fair as part of the Military Spouse Program at the American Lake Conference Center at JBLM. Photo credit: Sgt. Ryan Hallock

More than 250 military spouses and servicemembers from the Joint Base Lewis-McChord community attended the Hiring Our Heroes Military Spouse Program hiring fair at the American Lake Conference Center Jan. 29.

Employer after employer lined the conference center - Amazon, Starbucks, Uber, and more than 50 other local companies - to discuss potential career opportunities with military spouses.

"It's important that our country focus on helping veterans, especially those who have been unemployed, seek meaningful employment, but the awareness is so minimal for what (challenges) our military spouses have always faced and will continue to face because they're relocating so often," said Sarah Worley, the Military Spouse Program senior manager.

The hiring fair gave military spouses the opportunity to network with different employers, which is considered to be the most important aspect of landing a job by the Army's Service Member For Life Transition Assistance Program.

"This is the best place to network," said Neha Malhotra, a military spouse and business analyst who lives in Renton, Washington. "There is no way you can get a job just by applying online - you have to network."

In addition to local employment opportunities, the career fair offered resume building help, as well as educational specialists to network within the local area.

"It's a beautiful area with a lot of opportunities," said Malhotra. "It's not hard to find a job; it's just hard to find the best fit."

>>> Maren Nguyen, a military spouse and native of California, speaks with a Pierce County sheriff correctional officer about potential career opportunities during a Hiring our Heroes job fair as part of the Military Spouse Program at the American Lake Conference Center at JBLM, Jan. 29. Photo credit: Sgt. Ryan Hallock

Companies like Uber offer a unique opportunity to spouses who might be expecting to permanently change stations frequently. The company is in more than 260 cities, which means, as Kimberly Pine, a company driver said, spouses can "pick up and keep going," if moving to a new installation.

"They know they'll always have work," said Pine, who spent time at the hiring fair networking with spouses. "This event lets spouses know there are really a lot of opportunities for them."

Worley values the level of experience and professionalism that military spouses like Malhotra bring to their new community after a permanent change of station.

"Spouses are some of the most professional, dedicated candidates I have ever met," said Worley. "You know they want it. You know they're going to work the hardest for it, because they've been working for so many years to try and maintain a meaningful career."

>>> Karen Marie Blank, a military spouse and native of Astoria, Oregon, speaks with an employer from Washington state during a Hiring our Heroes job fair as part of the Military Spouse Program at the American Lake Conference Center. Photo credit: Sgt. Ryan Hallock

Spouses can also visit careerspark.org, a website designed to create skills-based resumes with nearly 1,000 volunteer positions preloaded. For more information on the Hiring Our Heroes Military Spouse Program visit uschamberfoundation.org/hiring-our-heroes.

Sgt. Ryan Hallock is with the 19th Public Affairs Detachment.

February 4, 2015 at 7:29am

5 Things To Do Today: Seed Swap, Medicine Creek Council, improv comedy, aerial show ...

"Dude ... need seeds?"

WEDNESDAY, FEB. 4 2015 >>>

1. The Pierce County Conservative District Seed Swap goes down from 6-8 p.m. in the Parkland/Spanaway Library. Bring excess seeds either purchased or saved, cuttings, or transplants to trade with community members. Kelda Lorax of Divine Earth Gardening Project will host a seed saving workshop. The event will also be a potluck so bring a dish to share. Top your dish with sesame seeds and watch the crowd erupt in cheer.

2. Transcendent Music Group brings in Seattle Rastafari roots reggae band Laborer for its One Love Wednesday music series at Jazzbones, beginning at 7 p.m.

3.The Medicine Creek Council took place in the Nisqually Delta Dec. 26, 1854. It brought together 62 Native American tribal leaders and a contingent of American settlers headed by territorial governor Isaac Stevens, and changed the course of Northwest history. The treaty established reservations for the Native American tribes represented and described the lands that would be ceded by the tribes to the United States Government. Historian and author Drew Crooks will discuss the event and its ramifications at 7:30 p.m. in the Olympia Timberland Library.

4. Harlequin Productions' improv troupe Something Wicked returns to the stage for a show about the beautifully absurd world of dating. Join them at 8 p.m. in the Historic State Theater as all the terror, glee, tragedy and joy of modern-day romance are whirled together into a frothy, intoxicating evening of heart-mending laughter.

5. The Brotherhood Takes Flight aerial show is back, featuring Tan Tan and others taking to the air with whimsy, strength and artful grace at 8 p.m. in The Brotherhood Lounge. The performance above the drinking crowd is just plain beautiful. A dance party with DJ Fir$t Lady follows.

February 4, 2015 at 10:43am

O grant us thy boons, Howard Stern

Audition for "America's Got Talent" at the Greater Tacoma Convention Center Monday, Feb. 9. Photo courtesy of NBC.com

I suppose it's possible you're one of those Washington weirdos who applies his or her summers to the pursuit of such ostentatious pastimes as going outside. If so, this article won't mean jack to you. My wife and I, however, are allergic to direct sunlight, plus we reserve our remaining ATP molecules of organic energy for the ordeal of digesting meatball sandwiches. We spend our summer months parked on the couch, basking in the cool blue light of an O-class supergiant star we like to call ... our TV.

It seems strange that two adults of not inconsiderable intelligence should feel they're on a first name basis with the likes of Sharon Osbourne, Howard Stern, Howie Mandel, Heidi Klum or Scary Spice. (The latter seems more of a name than "Mel B.") Thanks to terms as judges on NBC's America's Got Talent, the Teutonically bland Heidi Klum, Melanie Brown's Yorkshire-accented "uh have to sayyy" and Howie Mandel's relentless trolling for Twitter followers seem as familiar as Mariner baseball. Are we on the same wavelength, you and I? Will you feel me when I lament the year our nation expended its fickle affections on that Kentuckian "singer" whose name none of us now remember? (It was Kevin Skinner in season four. No, he was never seen again.) Are you even now wondering how that sweet little Jackie Evancho is holding up in her big-ticket limelight? Exactly. One of us.

It's ironic this show puts its skilled contestants' fates in the hands of people who clearly have nothing in the way of talent to speak of; namely, us. Time and again, Met-worthy vocalists get shunted aside in favor of that tousle-haired boy who looks cute in a hat, because squillions of teenagers are superheating their phones in a rush to call in votes. The Midwest's inexplicable fondness for softcore-racist ventriloquism comes into frequent play, as does our hereditary preference for symmetrically attractive people on TV. But that's how the tele-cookie crumbles, my friends, and it gives folks like you, by whom I mean good-looking people who can tell a few jokes or warble karaoke on camera, a shot at celebrity. That's right, you, Gentle Reader, could join the ranks of Jackie Evancho, Kevin what's-his-name, and that guy who had abs and could juggle his Chihuahua. The only catch is: first you have to audition.

Luckily, the producers of AGT make that process so easy, why, a Kentucky chicken farmer could do it. All you have to do is take the day off work (no disappointment there), drive to the Greater Tacoma Convention Center and hang out all day with other frustrated narcissists. Your spotlight awaits! Try not to make us Puget Sounders look bad. My wife and I hate to feel sorry for people as we gorge on our summer nachos.

AMERICA'S GOT TALENT SEASON 10 AUDITIONS, 8 a.m. Monday, Feb. 9, Tacoma Convention Center, 1500 Broadway, Tacoma, free, 253.830.6601

February 4, 2015 at 12:36pm

Nerd Alert! Oscar nominated shorts! Jupiter Ascending!

Pointy-eared, goateed Channing Tatum, and Mila Kunis, and Seen Beans, and INTERGALACTIC ACTION and SPACESHIPS and CYBORGS and ...

Oscar Nominated Shorts

For anyone with an Oscar pool, this weekend is as important to him or her as the Super Bowl was to gambling junkies. Yes, the time has come, once again, to learn just what exactly the Oscar nominees for Best Live Action and Animated Shorts are. These will be your edge in beating out your office mates when it comes to predicting the big winners come the Academy Awards. Because, let's be honest, we all know that Boyhood is winning Best Picture and JK Simmons is winning Best Supporting Actor (those predictions are yours for free), but the left-field awards are always relegated to the short films.

The Grand Cinema is here for you. Starting Friday, the live action and animated shorts will be compiled and shown at Tacoma's favorites theater. Short films of the past have included projects that have gone on to create great full-length films like this year's nominee, Whiplash. What's better than a three-hour nominee like Boyhood? How about a little over an hour of five nominees? The math speaks for itself.

Jupiter Ascending

The Wachowskis (now, someone regrettably, known as the Wachowski Starship) have quickly become the directing duo to most represent M. Night Shyamalan's career trajectory, with a noticeably downward trend. Bound is their best work, with The Matrix coming in second (and I will accept no arguments on this matter!). Ever since then - especially given the Matrix trilogy's unfortunate second and third acts - the Wachowskis have languished on the edges of the Hollywood blockbuster machine.

Their latest film, following their involvement in the divisive Cloud Atlas, is their much-anticipated Jupiter Ascending. For such an eye-popping blockbuster, the film's release in February should set off a million alarm bells. Its premier in 2015's movie graveyard does not portend the best for the Wachowskis' latest. Preliminary reports from the suspiciously secretive non-premier at Sundance do no bode well for this ambitious sci-fi adventure. What I can say, from my position of having seen nothing but the trailer, is that Jupiter Ascending may be a fascinating folly, which is more or less what we've come to expect from the Wachowskis.

For mainstream directors, the Wachowskis have never lacked for taking risks, including helping to adapt the un-adaptable Cloud Atlas and bringing a neon frenzy to Speed Racer. They're hit or miss, to be sure, but I'll take their gleeful pranking of the studio system over any Michael Bay franchise any day of the week.

Filed under: Nerd Alert!, Screens, Tacoma,

February 5, 2015 at 7:38am

5 Things To Do Today: Beer parties, Tacoma Green Drinks, Brian James ...

Help Puyallup River Brewing Alehouse celebrate its second anniversary tonight.

THURSDAY, FEB. 5 2015 >>>

1. If you need another excuse to drink a good beer (and who doesn't?), Puyallup River Brewing Alehouse is celebrating its 2nd anniversary beginning at 6 p.m. Puyallup River Brewing owner-brewer Eric Akeson opened the downtown Puyallup taproom less than a year after launching his South Hill garage brewery. The long, dark 2,000-square-foot alehouse showcases Akeson's talent - including Valley Farmhouse IPA, Fryingpan Cascadian Red Ale, Paradise Blonde Saison, as well as 2014 Washington Brewers Festival Silver medalist Cream Ale, Silver medalist Black Pumpkin Saison and Bronze medalist Oak Aged Point Success Porter - plus guest taps and some of the best brewer's nights and beer events in the South Sound. Puyallup loves beer and parties, at least according to those who attend Akeson's hosted events. We expect tonight's party will follow suit, with a special anniversary beer and giveaways.

2. Speaking of beer, Engine House No. 9 will host a Trinity Brewing Night with five on tap and three different brews in bottles at 6 p.m. Trinity head brewer and owner Jason Yester will be in the firehouse.

3. Tacoma Green Drinks provides a social and networking opportunity for Tacoma-Pierce County residents interested in sustainability, conservation, environmental issues and booze! Join them at 5:30 p.m. in front of The Swiss Restaurant and Pub for City of Tacoma Environmental Services' Merita Pollard's tour of the Low Impact Development aspects of the Prairie Line Trail. The Vision2Action Symposium is coming to town March 5, and this pre-event will be geared toward answering questions on the Symposium, how you can get involved and what the heck is Low Impact Development. After the tour, it's all about drinking.

4.  A night on the town turns unexpectedly poignant when four best friends convene to reminisce about the past and provide insight into relationships. Just kidding. They sing Gloria Gaynor tunes, toss back shots, and yell things like "That one made my hoohah tickle!" That doesn't stop Louise Roche's otherwise flighty karaoke-standard revue from attempting to delve into substantial topics, and things get a little awkward once the Shake Weight jokes take a hard right to marital regret and miscarriage. Catch Centerstage's version of Girls Night: The Musical at 8 p.m. in the Knutzen Theater.

5. Brian James is an accomplished singer/songwriter and instrumentalist who was hired in 2008 as the head staff writer at Sure-Fire Music Publishing in Nashville where he wrote hit songs for four years, before starting his own publishing/management company, Brick Hit House Music. He wrote the theme song for the Discovery Channel's American Farmer, as well as songs for Taylor Hicks, Donny Anderson and Tonya Kennedy. Catch him at 8 p.m. in The Swiss.

February 5, 2015 at 8:52am

USO Northwest SeaTac Airport Center before and after photographs

USO Northwest unveiled its new SeaTac Airport Center on the airport's Mezzanine level Feb. 4. Photo credit: Kevin Knodell

USO Northwest unveiled its new SeaTac Airport Center on the airport's Mezzanine level yesterday. The new center offers better food services, sleeping accommodations, showering facilities and even separate family areas and bag storage.

It will be open for servicemembers and their families Feb. 14.

Kevin Knodell covered the new SeaTac Airport Center unveiling, talked to dignitaries, interviewed volunteers and snapped photos.

The new center is nothing short of impressive. They went from a space that was roughly 3,400 square feet to a space that's around 7,000 square feet. The change has allowed them to triple their occupancy.

There are plenty of new amenities and upgrades. The new bathrooms have showers, most of which are handicap accessible for wounded veterans. Soda and drinks that once cost money are now complementary.

Read Knodell's full report here.

Knodell also took comparison photos of the old and new space. Enjoy.

>>> The Front Desk

>>>The Baggage Area

>>> The Dining Area

>>> The Lounge Area

Filed under: USO, Military, Photo Hot Spot,

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