Category Archives: Tacoma stuff

My Family Needs Your Help

My niece, Anya. John and Char's youngest.

My niece, Anya. John and Char’s youngest.

I’ve never done this before. When it comes to TacomaStories.com, the stories I post here are rarely personal. But sometimes circumstances require a personal touch.

If you’ve been reading my Twitter site, you’ll know that I have some friends who have recently become homeless. Their names are John Hodgson and Char Edson. They have two small children. John and Char are my son’s aunt and uncle.

For the last couple weeks as the weather has turned and their situation has become more desperate many of us have asked John & Char to put up a crowd funding site so that our amazing community can help them out. They had declined. They did not want charity. They are proud and willing to work, but work has been hard to come by.

Last night some friends of mine and I were talking about putting up a site for them because we know people will help if there’s an easy way to do so. Thankfully, this morning John and Char started a GoFundMe page.

This time of year is one of the most popular times to give. It’s also one of the coldest times of the year. If you’re looking for a local cause to give to this holiday season where your money will have a direct and immediate impact, I ask that you consider giving to this cause.

Below, you’ll find more about their circumstances from John himself. I’m including his story from his GoFundMe page here so that you know exactly what’s going on. Thanks.

- Jack Cameron

Here’s John: 
My name is John Hodgson. 4 years ago I was laid off of my job of 6 years as a Supervisor of Environmental Services in a hospital. This event coincided with the birth of my son Rowan and my wife Char being diagnosed with Autoimmune Disorders and severe migraines. 2 years ago I shattered my ankle after falling down a stairwell while carrying my then infant son. I now have a metal rod replacing the bone and 7 screws holding it in place. This has made it so I cannot do my previous career. It hasn’t been all bad as my daughter Anya was born soon after. After Anya’ s birth Char’s health  declined. Her Rheumatoid Arthritis makes it very painful to even get out of bed let alone chase after or pick up two little ones. Recently we have become homeless. We are now forced to rely on our vehicles more than ever .  We are utilizing all of the resources available and I am asking to raise funds  so that we can get our two vehicles in good repair with reliable tires. Thank you.

Help John, Char, Rowan, and Anya by clicking here. 

5 Question Friday With Michael Fitzgerald from Destiny City Comics

DestinyCityComics

I’ve been going to local comic book shops since I was 12 years old. Back then it was O’Leary’s Comics out in Lakewood. Later I’d go to Lady Jayne’s, then The Spider’s Web, then Comic Book Ink, then Spy Comics in Federal Way which is now Fantasium Comics. Detroit native Michael Fitzgerald is the latest entrepreneur to get into the comic book shop game. His new shop, Destiny City Comics is opening next week. He was nice enough to take some time from getting his shop ready to join me for 5 Question Friday and tell us a bit more about himself and his shop. Here’s Mike:

 1. What is Destiny City Comics?

Destiny City Comics is my new comic shop set to open October 1. I want the shop to be a destination for comic book lovers. I hope to make available a healthy variety of works by esteemed creators.

2. Why did you want to open a comic book shop?

It all just kind of came together. After seeing RR Anderson post about an upcoming informational session and deadline, I thought I’d pitch the idea to Spaceworks Tacoma and they were incredibly supportive. I wouldn’t have had the confidence to open a shop without their enterprise training. When I saw the spot next to King’s Books was open I really thought that would be a great fit for my comic shop idea that I’ve been working on for the past few months.

3. What do you think is the most misunderstood thing about comic books?

I think one of the bigger things might be the misconception that comics are just about bone-headed superheroes smashing their way through problems, but while there are plenty of those and they can be fun there’s a lot more out there. I hope to be able to connect people to comics they can really enjoy because there’s a lot of high quality stuff out there by passionate creators.

4. What is your favorite comic book story and why?

You know I’ve read a lot that I really enjoy but I think I have to go with Death: the High Cost of Living for this one. I wrote about this book for local arts and culture magazine Post Defiance when we read it for the Comics and Pizza Club at King’s Books (http://postdefiance.com/ten-things-i-learned-about-life-from-death-the-high-cost-of-living/).

5. What do you hope for the future of Destiny City Comics?

I want to ignite imaginations with some great literature and make the shop a fun place to visit. I want to encourage single issue or trade paperback subscribers for repeat business. I also hope that it will be a cultural hub for Tacoma and host unique art events.

 

I’d like to thank Mike for taking the time to join me and honestly, for opening up a comic book shop I can walk to. Destiny City Comics is located next door to King’s Books at 218 St. Helens, Tacoma, WA 98402.You can find out more information about Destiny City Comics at their website: http://destinycitycomics.com/ or at their Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/DestinyCityComics

If you or someone know is interested in joining me for 5 Question Friday, email me at jackcameronis@gmail.com

- Jack Cameron

5 Question Friday With Angela from Crescent Moon Gifts

cmgThere has been a lot of activity on 6th Ave lately. Primo Grill, Tacoma Games, and Crescent Moon Gifts have either changed locations or are in the process of changing but they’re still on 6th Ave. This Saturday (September 20th), Crescent Moon Gifts is having their 10th Anniversary Celebration that coincides with the Grand Opening of their new store. Crescent Moon Gifts’ owner, Angela was nice enough to take time out of her busy schedule to join me for 5 Question Friday. Here’s Angela:

1. What is Crescent Moon Gifts?

Crescent Moon Gifts is many things to different people. To some it is a great place to support a small business and pick up a unique gift, To others it is a place where they come to have their spirits lifted when they are having a bad day or feeling down (I have been told that when they come in and experience the music, the scent and the “vibe” they always immediately feel better), and to others it is a place where they can learn about different cultures and mythologies, or have their “woo-woo” questions answered without anyone looking at them funny.

 2. What can you tell us about the new location?

It’s HUGE! My tiny business started as a table at the Star-Lite Theater Swap & Shop 10 years ago, if someone had told me then that I’d be running a 5,400 sq. ft. “community center” in the future I would have laughed, but that is exactly what it has become. It is so much more than a gift shop now, and I love to see people come in and spend hours here. Between the Starlight (a nod to our origins) Tea Lounge, the cozy “library’ reading nook, the classes and workshops we offer, the intuitive readers and the complementary business tenants- reiki treatments and spiritual counseling on our upper level; I feel like we are offering many services and products to meet more of the communities needs. We even have an area for weddings, and ordained ministers on staff. Oh, and there is a 27 space parking lot free for our customers to use while shopping, that is definitely a perk with the limited street parking here on 6th Ave. Did I mention we have A/C…

3.  What’s the most misunderstood thing about your shop?

That it is sometimes labeled as a “New Age” store, and only appeals to that type of clientele. I don’t actually give my store a label, when people come in and ask me what “type” of store it is, I always ask them to tell me what they think. I have heard so many different answers: “the fairy store”, “the shop with great incense”, “my favorite place for tea”, etc. We have an expansive and diverse client base appealing to people of all ages, religions, and genders.

4. What’s your favorite thing about Crescent Moon Gifts?

Crescent Moon is where my imagination comes out to play. When setting up the themed areas in the store I get very in touch with my inner child. That sense of wonder, magic and playfulness that many don’t get to experience in their day to day adult life. I strive to create an atmosphere that immediately takes people off guard and transports them out of the “norm”. I want them to come in and not have to worry about the stress of everyday life, the bills they have to pay, the errands and chores they have to do, etc. I want them to relax and remember that life is here to be enjoyed, and their spirit needs to be nurtured. I just love it when people walk in and immediately their eyes get wide, they do a double take, smile and say “WOW”. Every time someone says “I just found my new favorite store!” I feel like all the hard work, and many hours put in to running a small business is all worthwhile.

5. What’s next for Crescent Moon Gifts?

Even though it’s been 10 years I feel like we are always growing and evolving, if not in size (hopefully we are now in our forever home), then in offerings to our community. We are just getting settled in now, but I do plan on hosting some of our larger events like the Spring Fairy Festival (www.springfairyfestival.com) right here on site making it a free outdoor event; partnering with the 6th Ave. business district to host more community events throughout the year to increase the foot traffic to neighboring businesses, and I plan on adding an e-commerce aspect to our business in the next year or so as it has been the #1 request from customers over the years.

You can visit Crescent Moon Gifts in their new location at the old Sunset Theater at 2502 6th Ave. Thanks to Angela for participating in 5 Question Friday. If you or someone you know is interested in joining me for 5 Question Friday, email me at jackcameronis@gmail.com.

- Jack Cameron

Morning In Tacoma

This photo is actually a combination of six photos I took from my phone yesterday morning using my phone. It was taken from the office building I work in.

This photo is actually a combination of six photos I took from my phone yesterday morning using my phone. It was taken from the office building I work in.

5 Question Friday with Creative Colloquy’s Jackie Casella

ccOne of my favorite things as a writer is the fact that I don’t have to rely on anyone else. It’s a solitary thing. So I’m not exactly known for joining or participating in writer’s groups. I prefer to sit and type away my stuff then send it out there. But recently I heard about a new local site called Creative Colloquy. It is run by an acquaintance of mine named Jackie Casella. I had a short story that didn’t have a home and so I submitted it to the site and now people can read it whenever they like. (Here’s a link.)

 

In addition to the site itself, Jackie puts on a monthly reading on the last Monday of the month. This month, I’m one of the readers. I asked Jackie to join me for 5 Question Friday but then my week got very busy and I didn’t get a chance to give her the questions until Thursday night. Jackie stepped up and got back to me right away. So I’d like to give her a special thank you for that.

Here’s Jackie to talk about Creative Colloquy:

1.What is Creative Colloquy?

The short version: Creative Colloquy is a “submission based literary site” with a focus on Tacoma and South Sound scribes paying special attention to writers of short stories, essays, and excerpts of novels. But really “colloquy” by definition means to pow-wow, or open up a dialogue so our events play an instrumental part of that. It was born from the desire to create a platform for writers to share their work and build relationships with those of like minds. Writing is typically something done as an isolated individual but connecting with those who understand the struggles or process I think can be really inspiring and necessary to the creative process. Plus it’s just plain fun.

 

2. How can someone get involved in Creative Colloquy?

The easiest way to get involved is to submit! We publish our favorite submissions every other Monday and have so far featured immensely talented and diverse content. Another great way is to attend our events. Each final Monday every month we meet at B Sharp coffee house at 7pm. Festivities begin with a line-up of 5/6 authors we’ve published on the site reading from their works immediately followed by an open mic. The dynamics of the event pretty much guarantee performances from a variety of genres and experience levels. Other events are in talks to occur over the summer and some really cool things happening by fall that we aren’t quite ready to announce.

 

3. What’s been the most interesting thing to come out of this project so far?

Any time artists gather in one place it’s interesting. The stories that are told among a group of scribes especially so. I think the most interesting thing is seeing the diverse community coming together at the events. We’ve been joined by young college level novices attending their first open mic to established published authors, playwrights, actors and so on covering so many different genres. Witnessing those interactions can be interesting. The level of support has been ridiculously amazing and leaves me feeling pretty fortunate to have begun this adventure.

 

4. What’s something you want to do with Creative Colloquy that hasn’t happened yet?

We have been in discussion of adding some texture to the site. A podcast is something we are uber excited to do and we have some fun ideas to open a dialogue and entertain our audience. I’d really love to begin doing dramatic readings with actors performing larger pieces and getting crafty with a set design that mimics a huge pop-up book too! There have been some other seeds planted that include a panel discussion at UPS and highlighting local women storytellers with a Tacoma group working towards a living women’s museum and maybe even some children themed events for the minis out there.

 

5. What would you like to see for the future of Creative Colloquy?

I’d love for CC to gain non-profit status in efforts to promote literacy. I daydream about dramatic reading events for schools and festivals and a bookmobile cruising around town. We’d really love to release a “best of” print version maybe twice yearly for distribution too. That’s more of a when not if and HOW we are going to fund the project when it’s time.

For now we are just having a great time reading local talents stories and connecting at the events. It’s been really amazing having folks turn out that aren’t necessarily in our “circle” and building those relationships based on our literary love.

 

Once again I’d like to thank Jackie for participating in 5 Question Friday. For more information about Creative Colloquy or just to check out some local writers, go to http://creativecolloquy.com.

You’re also welcome to attend this month’s Creative Colloquy reading at the B Sharp Coffee House on Monday April 28th at 7pm. The B Sharp Coffee House is in downtown Tacoma at 706 Opera Alley. Featured readers include Alec Clayton *narrated by Christian Carvajal, Titus Burley, J Anne Fullerton,
David Mucklow, and me.

-       Jack Cameron

5 Question Friday With The NEW Poison Apple’s Jooley Heaps

poisonappleThis week is a first. After three years of doing 5 Question Friday we have our first three-time participant. We’d stop asking her questions if she’d stop doing awesome stuff. Jooley Heaps once ran a wonderfully strange shop in downtown Tacoma called Poison Apple. Sadly, the location wasn’t very conducive to massive sales. Since then Jooley and Poison Apple has existed by vending at various local events. But now Jooley and Poison Apple have a new home. And their grand opening is TODAY. Here’s Jooley to tell you more about it.

1. Poison Apple is back. What can you tell us about the new location?

We are now located inside Freighthouse Square, across from Sasquatch Cinnamon Rolls. Our new neighbors at The Giving Place and Vapor Works have also been very kind to us. Past the food court is Justin Winter at American Ritual Tattoo and his girlfriend Michelle. And of course my old pal Pete Lira is moving in this summer. Everyone has been very welcoming and it is exciting to start our new retail adventure here.

 

2. What’s different about Poison Apple this time around?

What we did this time was fuse together what worked for us before- a mix of rock and roll, punk, horror, etc with pop culture and a throwback to the vintage culture I adore. We have a great selection of kitsch items, clothing, shoes and all sorts of colorful fun items that can only be found here

 

3. How can people help out Poison Apple?

Thanks to social networking sites like Facebook many people have shared our event. I believe this location will be a good fit for us because there is daily walk thru traffic which what was a major issue with Pacific Avenue.

 

4. What’s your favorite thing about running Poison Apple?

My favorite thing about Poison Apple is that it is a colorful vision that we made happen. I have a dedicated crew in Jason Emmett and Jennifer Walter, and we each bring something to the table and all complement each other. While wearing ‘handerpants’ of course. I’d definitely say that there is nothing out there in Tacoma like it, and it makes me smile because it’s hilarious and always evolving into more.

 

5. What do you hope for the future of Poison Apple?

As far as the future- aim high! We are about to also start our busy vending schedule so of course the more events the merrier:) and I’d love to have success with the shop and possibly open a second location. Like I said. Aim high:).

 

I’d like to thank Jooley Heaps for participating in 5 Question Friday and for bringing Poison Apple back to Tacoma. If you or someone you know is interested in joining me for 5 Question Friday, let me know at jackcameronis@gmail.com

-       Jack Cameron

5 Question Friday With Harmonious Wilbury from Advanced Stream Internet

AdvancedStreamI’m a big believer in letting fellow Tacomans know about great companies in our city. When I moved back to the Stadium District almost two years ago I needed an Internet provider and ended up choosing Advanced Stream.

You probably don’t know this but when it comes to phone and internet companies, we’ve never gotten along very well. Things tend to go badly as their rates increase along with decreased service and terrible customer service. So I was fully expecting an that my relationship with Advanced Stream would be one of unpleasant tolerance.

Instead what I got was an installer who came out on time, reliable internet connections for my computer, laptop, Roku, X-Box, and Kindle Fire, and customer service that makes me feel like one of my friends is running an ISP. 

I know this likely sounds like a commercial. It’s not. I’m simply talking about what I’ve experienced as a customer for Advanced Stream. Today’s 5 Question Friday is with an Advanced Stream Representative calling himself Harmonious Wilbury. He’s here to tell you a bit more about Advanced Stream.

1. What is Advanced Stream?

We are an ISP located in Tacoma WA. We offer Cable modem Internet Service, with speeds up to 100 Mbps, over the Click! Network. We also offer Telephone service and websites hosting, etc.

 

2. How is Advances Stream different from larger Internet Providers?

We are very “hands on”, customer service oriented company. If you call, you will be talking to a knowledgeable person that cares about you and your concerns. We always make it right and keep our customers happy.

 

3. What special offers are you currently running?

We are currently running our “Welcome Home” special, which is $19.95 per month for the first 6 months – with a free install and free modem.

 

4. How can people sign up for Advanced Stream if they want to?

You can get the deal here: http://www.advancedstream.com/online-signup-special

 

5. What do you see for the future of Advanced Stream?

Thanks! Well, “the future” will soon be a thing of the past; but, our customer service culture will forever last! We will continue to focus on being happy, spreading cheer, having a sense of humor and helping people with their issues. Basically, we will keep doing what we do best and let the future take care of itself. “I never think of the future, it comes soon enough.” –Albert Einstein

 

I’d like to thank Harmonious Wilbury for participating in 5 Question Friday. If you or someone you know would like to join me for a 5 Question Friday, let me know at jackcameronis@gmail.com

One last note, should you choose to use Advanced Stream, please mention my customer number 14024 . Advanced Stream is big on referrals.
- Jack Cameron