Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Enduring Jones

Jones Soda is such a wonderful drink. And it's such a Washington drink! Practically everyone I hang out with loves Jones, whether its for the flavors, the ever-changing and unique graphics, or the funny sayings on the caps.

This wonderful drink used to be easy to find in La Conner. Then, about two months ago, the Pioneer Market stopped buying them. When I asked cashiers I knew what was the deal, they had no idea. I presumed I lost my only source within walking distance of my work. I debated whether to go into Mount-Burlington and buy a huge case of them every couple of months.

There was a stirring rumor Jones was not extinct in La Conner: I found that the local drug store had a small supply in their cooled beverages section. This selection was only like two or three flavors, and the cashier said they were probably not going to resupply, because "Jones isn't doing so well."

I looked at her funny, and bought a Cherry Jones. And kept at it for the next several days on my lunch break. I've been doing this for a few weeks now, and the stock has grown to about seven flavors. They're making a comeback in La Conner!

This is truly a tribute to the soda's qualities of awesome.

To celebrate, I will be posting the humorous (and very accurate/appropriate) Jones soda quotes I find on the caps of the Jones I buy. These will be posted in the column to the left, and archived on a different page. I might even add in comments about how the quote fits with my day.

Enjoy, and become a fan (or "like"...but I prefer to "become a fan") of Jones Soda on Facebook!

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Impressive Finds

As a strict rule to myself, I wasn't collecting any books from the library (donation or otherwise), because space has become a problem. I finally decided to go against this principle when I discovered a copy of the graphic novel Maus by Art Spiegelman.

In freshman year, our English class was assigned the ever-popular (to assign) Anne Frank: The Diary of a Young Girl. As a supplement to this, our teacher also offered a few graphic novels related to the Holocaust and survivor stories. Of these were Persepolis: The Story of a Childhood, and Maus I and II.

I read Anne Frank, and Persepolis, but have yet to read Maus. If I like it, I'll donate it back to the library and recommend they secure the sequel, and if I really like it...I might keep it for myself.

Lately I've been doing a lot of reading of graphic novels...mainly Batman and other superheroes, I must confess...but it has still let me to believe that our local library doesn't have enough support for graphic novels. We may have one or two of them, and display a few issues of Shonen Jump, but we have yet to really get behind buying and displaying large amounts of graphic novels, in all forms.

Graphic novels usually get a bad connotation because of comic books, with their often violent and gaudy material. Peh. I say graphic novels have the capacity to be just as enthralling and "deep" as "real literature."  They should have a large support of our local library because graphic novels can be used as a very good transition into heavier reading, and getting teens interested in reading selections other than what the English teacher assigns.

Anyway, that isn't what this post was supposed to be about. The initial target of this post is about a thing of beauty that I found this weekend.

There was a community-wide garage sale on Saturday that lots of people get involved with. Rather than having our own sale though, my family and I decided to spend the day looking at other people's wares. I found one of our neighbors had an IBM Selectric in good condition, with a few font balls, too. I told our neighbor that if she didn't sell it, I might be interested--but manuals were my main focus.

About half and hour later I was walking down the street when I happened upon this sitting on a table.

It ended up being a 1950s era Smith-Corona, Skyriter. For a staggering $10! Of course, I bought it right on the spot, even when the lady selling it to me said the question mark key was broken (she found out that morning).

"You'll have to type in all sentences, you can't ask a question," she joked.
"I can just draw in the squiggle when I'm done typing," I replied.

Keep an eye out for what I'll be doing next with this fine piece of manual technology.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

La Conner needs...

For the past few weeks, I have been listening to what people have been saying, and pondering the question myself: What does La Conner need?

Lots of people will have varying answers, some of them implying big chain companies should elbow-in and erect one of their stores so people don't have to drive 20 minutes to Mount-Burlington. I don't think this is a very good idea, personally. La Conner needs, and thrives, on the small-town appeal. Although, sometimes the small-town personality is, well, a little too small. (Or at least small in a different sense than it should be).

Here are some of the ideas I have put together in a list (in no real order of importance):

Theatre/movies - Sure, there are movie theatres sprinkled all around La Conner, but La Conner needs its own venue. True, there are times when a movie is played in Pioneer Park, Maple Hall, or even the school district's auditorium, but its not as often as it should be.

I think the best venue could be the school auditorium. It is usually perfect for the school and community plays, but there would need to be a larger screen and a little better sound system in order to get a quality that is worthy of consistent community attention. Maple Hall is a close second, but again there would have to be an upgrade on the visual and audio systems, and a larger community support to fill up the extra seats. Pioneer Park gets too cold at night, even during the summer, and the mosquitoes eat people alive.

I'm not saying La Conner needs to show all the newest movies, but even a movie once a month, with the right community support will add a whole new appeal and charm to La Conner. Remember when going to the movies was a big deal, and it was a mini social event all on its own? La Conner needs that as a variation from the plays--as brilliant and excellently performed as they are, there's just a certain appeal to watching a movie on a screen.

Writer's Loft - I know a few people that have a hard time trying to find a decent place to just sit down and write when they need to. True, the coffee stops like La Crema Coffee and Next Chapter have seating (not to mention America's Energizer: caffeine), but sometimes writers really need the isolation and silence (that might not be obtainable at home).

La Conner really needs a place reserved for writers to go and just write. I imagine a large room with a good view of the town, a table in the center of the room, and maybe even a few "cubicles" (or divided spaces) for those that need the extra bit of isolation. This could also really be a place for students to go for a conducive studying environment.

If the La Conner Regional Library gets the right funding to construct or buy a new building, the writer's loft would be a perfect addition. Maybe there could even be a beverage vendor for the creative minds that crave their morning wake-up call. And just for kicks, there should be a small, sound-proof room with a table, and maybe like three manual typewriters that could be rented out in half-hour increments. It would be very interesting to see if this would catch on.

Covered Space - There has been too many times when I'm walking around town that I want to just sit down, maybe write or enjoy a sandwich, but I can't because it's either rainy, windy, or some other ill-driven weather. Gilkey Square is often a really good place to sit around and eat a sandwich, but as soon as it starts raining I'm pretty much out of options. True, there is the La Conner Fruit and Produce Market, but I'm pretty sure they'd frown upon me eating a home-made (or worse, Pioneer Market-made) sandwich in front of paying customers.

A covered space to just hang out and get away from bad weather would be an excellent addition for the town, and wouldn't be that expensive. I can see it becoming popular with kids hanging out after school, but the shelter would have to be easily monitored by any passerby--to discourage against abuse.

Green Power - La Conner has recently been gearing itself up with more alternative-power lifestyle choices. Just recently, the Giovanes installed a solar panel and solar-heated water system, and the town's own solar panels are just about up and running at the water treatment plant. Once everything is squared away with the town, there will be a public workshop to hopefully pull in more people to looking at alternative options for everyday power.

While writing on this topic, I ended up going on a very long tangent associated with all of this. Due to the length, I will save all of that for another time. For right now, let's just say I'm all for using more green options in everyday La Conner life.

Community Dances - Again, with the cultivation of the sense of community in La Conner, there needs to be a bit more of it more often. Sure, during the annual Arts Alive! weekend shops stay open later, people mill around socializing, and there's an event at Maple Hall, but this isn't enough for the other 360+ days of the year. There needs to be some type of filler that brings everyone (or most people) in our community together to have fun.

More dances (for all age groups) is a very good option, and I don't think people would mind paying around $5 every couple of weeks for a night of fun and entertainment. It might even help the younger generations from using their electronic devices so often, and encourage them to socialize with people around them, rather than on the other end of the digital-line.

As far as events where people are encouraged to mill around town later in the evening, possibly stopping in a shop or two on the way, we need another handful of weekends--and I have the perfect idea for the first one.

The Museum of Northwest Art is having a Fishtown-themed show, starting in July. I think it would be awesome if local shops worked together to stay open later, and get people walking around town a bit more. We could definitely make this like a weekend (or week-long) event that celebrates La Conner's history and community.