Category Archives: Random Stuff

Bremerton? Bleak? Have You Ever Been To Ohio?

Photo Credit

This month’s issue of Landscape Architecture features a cover story on Bremerton.

Although the cover photo is really quite awesome (see above), you get the feeling from reading the first page of the story that Bremerton had gone the way of Dresden, with mutants staggering the streets looking for brrraiiinnns.

They aren’t the first to jump on the Bremerton bandwagon, and they aren’t the first to hammer home how God awful depressing they think this city used to be.

However, I must say, it’s getting a little tired.

Here’s the lede from the first page of the story:

Only a few years ago, the future of Bremerton, Washington, seemed pretty bleak.

Later on the writer relays some helpful details that give the whole Land of the Lost imaginary some context: Bremerton was an anomaly as a shrinking city in a region of exploding populations.

That’s a valid point, something missing from other Bremerton-Has-Come-Around stories. And those who have worked tirelessly to improve our city deserve recognition.

But as someone who has lived in Centralia, Renton, Hermiston, Ore. and Columbus, Ohio, and spent time in the Tenderloin of San Francisco and Brooklyn, New York, I’m going to have to object: no matter how bad it was, Bremerton still had a view of the Olympics, the Puget Sound and those magnificent aircraft carriers. You want bleak? Go to the east side of Columbus and drink beer with a guy named Big Ray. At least when I lived there it looked like a nuclear bomb test zone. Or how about walking down Hyde Street in San Francisco at 11 p.m. on a Friday night? That’s bleak, my friends.

I would preview the article for you, dear Bremerton Beat readers, and provide a link so you could read it yourself. But I received word from the magazine that they charge $10 to actually read the story.

My reaction was likely the same as yours would have been.

Manette Guerilla Artist Strikes Again

Armed with an X-Acto knife, spray paint, a quirky sense of humor and a marginal respect for private property unusual for the world of guerrilla art, the Bremerton Banksy has struck again.

(See earlier Bremerton Beat posting about The Fonz giving us Bremertonians a thumbs up)

These photos, taken Thursday evening by Sun Local News Editor David Nelson, show three pieces easily seen near the intersection of Perry and 11th.

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In the first, we see a stencil rendering of Angus Young, legendary guitar player for the Australian rock band AC/DC. Notice the canons featured on the cover of “For Those About To Rock,” the follow-up to “Back In Black,” which was the first record after lead singer Bon Scott drank himself to death. (More info than needed). This painting was done on a vinyl LP, which is a popular medium among stencil artists, for some reason. David said this one was lying on the ground.

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In the second we see Jesus Christ, wearing sunglasses, and flanked by Jake and Elwood Blues of Blues Brothers fame. As anyone who has seen the Blues Brothers movie knows, the boys were on a mission from God. Perhaps this is a complex, post-modern statement. Perhaps it’s just a bunch of stuff thrown together.

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In the third, my favorite, is a portrait of Jeff “The Dude” Lebowski, the hero of “The Big Lebowski,” the greatest story ever told.

Although technically this could be considered vandalism, as it is uninvited decoration and could possibly earn the stenciler a third-degree malicious mischief charge, it lacks the destructive, anti-property edge of many of the other Banksy acolytes that have swept the world. It’s sort of soft-core guerrilla art, more concerned with getting a smile than confronting people with anti-corporate propaganda.

If you’re out there, El Barto of Bremerton, drop us a line.

Art Doesn’t Save Lives, Vague Warnings Do

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Beauty is in the eye of the attorney

Public art can stir the soul, and it can also infuse a person with an irresistible urge to climb.

This sculpture outside of the administration building at Olympic College does both, showing that risk management might be the newest, most relevant art form of the 21st century. (Behind, of course, novels composed on cell phones, classic car restoration and knitting)

Instead of going all “fascist China” and threatening potential climbers with jail time or expulsion, four rather artless signs are posted around a sculpture (that is begging to be climbed on) making the rather existential point that “Metal can be dangerous.”

This warning can be taken a few different ways. First, if the actual material used to make this sculpture is dangerous, why is it on a college campus, sitting unguarded with a backhanded invitation for someone to climb on it? Isn’t that like placing a loaded gun in a circle and telling everybody it’s against the rules to pick up the gun and use it?

Maybe the sign is just poorly worded, and doesn’t intend to nag adult students with the fact that, yes, you could get hurt playing on this sculpture in the same way you can get hurt driving drunk or sticking a fork into an electrical socket.

Metal can be dangerous, it’s true. Bullets are made out of metal, and so are swords. Some arrows have metal tips, so do darts. In fact, a person could be seriously hurt mishandling toenail clippers. How many of us have stepped on rusty nails?

What’s most interesting to me, however, is that the sign has provoked more thought than the actual work of art. In fact, it wasn’t the artwork that even caught my eye.

Is the Kitsap Peninsula Part of the Olympic Peninsula?


Is it, or isn’t it?

Is the Kitsap Peninsula (KP) part of the Olympic Peninsula (OP)? Or is the KP it’s own separate thing?

I’m of the mind that the KP is a subdivision of the OP, but I’ve done some looking, and to tell you the truth, I can see why somebody would think either way.

In the end, just like most geographic distinctions, it’s arbitrary. A construct. Without any evidence to tell us one way or the other, we just decide.

Consider the case of Greenland. It is part of North America, technically. Culturally it’s more Scandinavian – and is a self-governing Danish state – which makes it more European. Yet, to spite us all, mapmakers continue to consider it part of North America. But, then again, what do mapmakers know? They’ve been telling us Europe is a separate and distinct landmass from Asia for years.

Greenland has more in common with Iceland, which is considered part of Europe. But Greenland is closer to North America, and Iceland is closer to Europe.

But at some point we have to draw a line. In the sand. A line that you do not cross.

We can look at a map and see clearly that the KP springs from the side of the OP, much like the Quimper Peninsula (QP) and the Long Beach Peninsula (LBP), just to name a few.

Is that enough to make it the same?

The KP is bigger than the other peninsulas, it’s more intricate, and its connection to the OP is a small strip of land near the OP’s base. Not much.

On the other end the KP and the OP are connected by the Hood Canal Bridge.

Is that enough to make it different?

Let’s complicate it further.

The National Weather Service actually divides Kitsap between east and west, including Bremerton/Silverdale et al with Seattle. Shelton, Seabeck, and Hoodsport are in the “Hood Canal Zone”

Jeff Michalski, a meteorologist with the service, said the weather between the two zones is different enough to give them two distinctions. So Is the KP part of the OP?

“It’s kind of split in-between the two,” he said.

What about government agencies that serve the area? What do they think?

The Washington State Patrol lumps them all in together in a subdivision called District 8, which includes the OP, the KP, and coastal Washington down to Oregon. It’s headquarters is in Bremerton.

But start looking around and you’ll find various opinions.

At this site, a hiking guide author states unequivocally they are different. We don’t know if this is the author’s attempt to distinguish the two for would-be hikers, to reduce confusion, or as a statement of fact.

The Seattle P-I’s former Kitsap blogger, Jean Boyle, wrote (I believe) the Wiki entry that I cited earlier. Here is the whole thing.

“The Kitsap Peninsula is an arm of land that is part of the larger Olympic Peninsula in Washington state (U.S.) that lies west of Seattle across Puget Sound. Hood Canal separates Kitsap Peninsula from the rest of the Olympic Peninsula. It encompasses all of Kitsap County except Bainbridge and Blake Islands, as well as the northeastern part of Mason County and the northwestern part of Pierce County.”

I have no problem with this, and knowing now that it was created by somebody with honest intentions (not trying to win a bet by meddling with Wiki) I’m in agreement.

What do you think?

Yard Waste Taken For Free (Limited Time Only)


Spring Is In the Air

Spring is almost here, and with it comes spring cleaning and the city-sponsored 2008 Spring Clean-up. (Click here for the notice from City Hall)

City residents are invited to bring their yard waste materials (leaves branches, brush and grass clippings) to 100 Oyster Bay Avenue N. The site will accept yard waste free of charge from Monday, April 21 through Saturday April 26, from 8 a.m. to 6:30 p.m.

City workers will be on hand and may reject loads that contain non-yard waste material. “Any items over 8 feet in length with a diameter of (more than) 6 inches will NOT be accepted,” said a statement from the city.

Nothing larger than a pickup truck load, or small trailer, will be accepted and the offer is open to Bremerton residents only.

“Another benefit of living in the city,” said Councilman Nick Wofford.

Questions? Call the Public Works & Utilities Operations Center at (360) 473-5920.

Beautiful Bremerton

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Photo Credit: meta474

In addition to the stunning photographs this young man posts to his blog, which you can access here, he favorably compared Bremerton to New Jersey.

Well, all right.

He goes by meta474, and is planning a hike along the Pacific Crest Trail, all of it, and will post photos on his blog.

Above is a photo he posted recently. Yesterday, I think. I’m not sure where he took it, but he said “Bremerton.”

On his site he also features some super-postcard shots of the Olympic National Forest and scenes from Seattle.

He’s an aspiring professional photographer, so if you have the chance, check out his stuff and give him his rightful props.

And thank him for noticing how beautiful our town can be.

You Don’t Have To Take It, Bremerton!

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Ever think the people who post anonymously after Kitsap Sun stories are too high-

Ever wonder if that person you cut off in the Wal-Mart parking lot ever got over it?

Ever think you’ve figured it all out and everybody else is just stupid?

Have I got the spot for you.

Craigslist hosts a message board for rants and raves from Kitsap County, and if you’re not shy about some racist/sexist/cruel/profane/violent language and a whole lotta angry, powerless people futilely lashing out at a world that has cast them aside, your cup runneth over. With bile.

Click here to behold the creepy glory.

It’s more mindless than prime time television and about as intellectually stimulating as standing in line at the Department of Licensing. In other words, it’s a fun place to waste time that should be spent sleeping/reading/eating/working/living a meaningful life.

There are other interesting Kitsap niches on Craigslist. But I might have to let you figure them out for yourself. This is a family newspaper, er, blog.

Yeah, You Get Props Over Here


This month’s Seattle Magazine featured the get-a-away potential for Bremerton, heralding the city that Bremer built as a destination for day-tripping Seattleites. The story is also accompanied by six photos.

“The community’s tenacity in lifting Bremerton from a sleepy fate has helped it draw luxury waterfront condos, tony wine and martini bars, corner coffee shops, gift emporiums and a bustling art scene,” the story says. Included are nods to many local faves, such as The Manette, Kate’s Jersey Subs and The Amy Burnett Gallery.
Read the full story here.

“Is Bremerton becoming the Sausalito of Puget Sound?” asked Mayor Cary Bozeman.

A Drive-Through Statistic

So this morning I decide to grab breakfast at a local fast-food joint, something I’m sure you’re not surprised I’m wont to do. It’s kind of a regular thing for me, ordering some embryonic inspiration (translation: something with eggs in it) and eating it in the car.

If you’re a regular at the drive-through you’ll know that occasionally the staff at these places will ask you to either pull around and park out front or drive to a space designated for drive-through patrons. Usually you’re led to believe it’s because your order will take longer than the person or persons behind you and that you moving will allow them to get their orders and yours won’t take any longer than it would anyway. So you’re left to watch longingly as people pass you and mock you because they got there later but you’re still waiting for your greasy grub. They get to spill on their shirts long before you do.

I never like being asked to do it, but I appreciate it when they tell someone in front of me to wait somewhere else, so always when they request it of me I oblige. This morning the nice young woman (Seriously, she’s always a paragon of courtesy, a real peach.) asked if I would drive around front and they’d deliver my meal.

Two things were odd, though. For one, she said it would be in about 30 seconds. Secondly, there was no one behind me. If it was going to be so quick and no one was going to be inconvenienced, why the request? I didn’t think about that, though, until I was away from the window and could see there were no cars in my rearview mirror. I knew in that moment I had to raise the issue here.

I thought I might just let the incident pass, take my food, be on my way and ask a question in this forum. Instead, as the young server made her way out the restaurant less than a minute after I put the car in park, I decided I’d ask why I’d been sent away from the window when no one was behind me.

Essentially, she confided, it’s a game of “Beat the Clock” in there. I took her answer to mean that there is more money forthcoming to the employees, or at least one of them, when they can get people away from the window quickly. She said they’d been doing well that morning and wanted to keep the good thing going.

I understood the answer, but also felt like my short stay in the window was artificial. Do you remember years ago there was a women’s college basketball game in which a team let one of the opponent’s players, a woman who had broken her leg in the previous game, sink a layup uncontested just so she could become the top scorer ever? I felt like I was the team that allowed enabled the hobbling woman, only I was kind of duped into it.

Granted I understand that it’s kind of silly for me to quibble about a few extra turns I had to take to get my food. I wasn’t angry about it. It didn’t really inconvenience me. It just felt weird, fake, contrived and unnecessary. I’m glad they get paid more, though. Maybe it makes them like their job a bit more. Maybe next time I buy a cheeseburger pickles only for my daughter they won’t forget the meat and the cheese like they did that one time.