Friday nights have an air of excitement to them; many have wrapped up a week of nine to five and look forward to spending time with family and friends in the traditional “eat, drink, and be merry” fashion. Bainbridge Island has a wide variety of restaurants and bars that offer scenic venues for gatherings, but on the first Friday of each month, the city takes things a step further by providing our community with the First Friday Art Walk, a gallery hop and dining experience.

This event features visual art on display at the many galleries and boutiques that line downtown Winslow, from oil, acrylic, and watercolor paintings to sculptures crafted from various mediums, blown glass, and textiles. Beginning at 6 PM and wrapping up at 8, the tour is designed to begin at the Bainbridge Island Museum of Art, located corner of 305 and Winslow, allowing for travelers from Seattle and beyond to jump right in after departing the ferry. Heading west from there, gallery-goers can visit places like Bainbridge Arts and Crafts, The Island Gallery, Roby King Galleries, Mesolini Glass, Millstream, and the Stephen Fey Photography Gallery. Many of these destinations feature art created by locals, including youth galleries!

Now for the “eat, drink’ part of the evening—many galleries provide refreshments, including snacks, tapas, and drinks. Akin to any other gallery opening, you can enjoy the company of your community and incredible visual art while sipping on local wine. In between galleries, enjoy a meal catered to the art walk with small plates and tapas that will get you out the door quickly yet satisfied, leaving plenty of time to enjoy more of what the First Friday Art Walk has to offer. For a quick snack, take a detour to Blackbird Bakery, Fork & Spoon, or Pegasus Coffee House and enjoy baked goods and café menu items. Otherwise, indulge in a dinner experience at Four Swallows, Harbour Public House, or Hitchcock Restaurant that includes small plates and weekend specials.

The event occurs early enough in the evening to bring the whole family along! Gather together and enjoy our finals weeks under the warm summer sun for an evening of art, food, family, and friends.

Community members of Bainbridge Island have recently come together in solidarity and opposition to the Visconsi development at the corner of High School Road and 305, directly across from Ace Hardware. The forest will be clear-cut and the land developed into yet another shopping center, equipped with yet another franchise drug store, medical building, and plenty of room for restaurants and retail. You may think to yourself, “Wait, there’s already one cattycorner to this, right across the street!” And you’d be right. Which is why, right now, and every evening from 5-7, local protestors will line the sidewalks, wielding signs that read “NO MALL SPRAWL,” “Bring Real Business,” and “Do we need more empty retail?”

While this current struggle is not new to the island, local and state-wide media have revived the story thanks to 19-year-old activist Chiara D’Angelo’s tree sit, rigged 70 feet high in a Douglas Fir. With eyes on Bainbridge Island, organizations such as Environmental Bainbridge and Islanders for Responsible Development are feverishly organizing participatory action to protest the environmental destruction and boycott the soon-to-be 62,000-square-foot shopping center.

In April of 2013, Visconsi, an Ohio-based company, filed an application for land development of forestland that provides vital habitat to many species and is a part of protected wetland. The application included a tree removal permit, which would validate the clear-cutting of 830 trees. One month later, the group Environmental Bainbridge formed, and began grassroots organization within the community to protect this space and promote local businesses over monopolistic franchises.

Months later, in November of 2013, the COBI (City of Bainbridge Island) Planning Commission announced absolutely “no support” for the development whatsoever. Simultaneously, citizens voiced unanimous opposition in public and private meetings. According to Environment Bainbridge, the development is out of scale in location and zoning, violates COBI environmental goals, makes no attempt at saving native trees, misclassifies adjacent wetland, and is not consistent with the island’s comprehensive plan, despite the lead architect’s initial assurance. Furthermore, the development is in direct violation of COBI Municipal Code 19.06.040 A., stating, “The purpose of the High School Road zones is to provide commercial uses that complement downtown Winslow.” I’ll repeat: “complements downtown Winslow”—not competes with!

The cherry on top for many islanders—aside from the aforementioned environmental and economic impacts—is the increase in traffic, particularly for those living in neighborhoods connected or close to the new development. Not only will this have an adverse effect on the island’s goal of a reduced carbon footprint, but will act as a bottleneck for the only gateway to and from the ferry, potentially causing commuter issues.

Unfortunately, the trees have fallen, the land is scarred, and development is underway. The city heard its people urge against this development and succumbed to the forces of mega-capital. This is not deterring local activists, who continue to protest, rally, write letters, make phone calls to key opposition figures, canvas neighborhoods, and engage the community by setting a goal to tell 10 other people about the logistics of the development. Many islanders have also declared a seven-year commitment to boycott all businesses in the development, and urge others to do the same. Visit the website of Environmental Bainbridge to learn more about this local issue and take action.

Buy Nothing, Bainbridge!

August 13th, 2014


Never have I lived in such a giving community. While working a shift at Pegasus Coffee House, a customer overheard that I missed out on a coffee grinder during the Rotary Auction and surprised me by bringing an extra one that she had at home a week later! Such kindness does not go unnoticed, or un-circulated. In fact, Bainbridge Island has an entire community of givers who are actively relinquishing old items to neighbors in need, or receiving items that they have a specific need for.

The project, called Buy Nothing Bainbridge, promotes random acts of kindness, all day long. With the perfect balance of technology and community, the Buy Nothing Project began a Facebook group within which members of their community could post a “give” or an “ask.” The most difficult part of the process is deciding which member to give or receive from, as so many folks are offering to help. This amazing service enables communities to commit acts of daily good together, and creates an opportunity for more introverted community members who do less socializing to create new bonds over shared interests and get to know the people living around them!

There have been many innovative ways in which the Buy Nothing Project has been utilized. Buy Nothing weddings and birthdays are a growing trend; the goal is to spend next to nothing on an event that typically costs many hundreds or thousands of dollars, and still have a beautiful, unique, and cherished day made even more special because of its incredible community support.

I have both seen and experienced many acts of kindness through this forum, particularly for folks who haven’t the money to purchase things they may want or need for their household that many, more fortunate individuals may have stacked in the garage. I received a free bed. My roommate received a free tent, and a DVD/VCR player was donated to our household! The also reduces waste, offering ways to rid your household of unwanted items that may otherwise end up in the trash, such as old binders, folders, plastic children’s toys, construction material, etc.

The Buy Nothing Project can also be quite miraculous. Often, members of the community will offer something of great value in a raffle style drawing. “Pick a number between 1 and 1000,” the caption might read, and the winner receives an espresso machine, pair of skis, lawn mower, or home cooked meal! Artists will donate beautiful pieces worth hundreds of dollars. Photographers will offer sessions for free on a weekend. Special services will be offered, such as dinner on a beautiful piece of farmland, a sailboat ride, massages, lessons of any kind—truly, the list goes on. Anything and everything that could be given, offered, needed, or wanted can be found through this project.

Other examples of ways you can participate by donating or requesting: clothing, household decorations, holiday decorations, tutoring, baby supplies, children’s toys, athletic training, books, outdoor gear, furniture, appliances, art, music, and, the best part: food! Prepared foods or farm fresh foods are often offered, as many individuals will have extra eggs from their personal coop, too many loaves of fresh bread, an over sized kombucha SCOBY that can be divvied out, tomatoes coming out of their ears, or a heaping pile of compost that’s just gotten a little too big.

To participate, type “Buy Nothing Bainbridge” in the search bar on Facebook and request to join. Once you’ve been accepted into the group (which is filtered simply to assure that members are within the community) scroll through new and old posts to get the vibe and see how members communicate. There are other Buy Nothing Projects, including one in Kitsap County. If you tell a friend about the project and they adore the idea, urge them to start one in their own community, too, by visiting and spearheading the newest and greatest thing to happen to communities in a very long time!

Triple Trivia

July 29th, 2014

Some weeks seem longer than others, and if your routine consists of commuting to and from work, arriving home, spending a few hours with family, and then doing it all again the next day, it might feel good to shake things up a bit, get out of the house, and let loose with a group of friends.

The neighborhood bar seems like a good option, but you want to do more than stare at the television across the bar. Instead, hit the town to play a stimulating round of trivia, and even walk out with extra cash in your pocket!

Trivia Time Live is a Pacific Northwest team trivia brigade that hosts trivia in Kitsap County almost nightly, with two of these events taking place on Bainbridge Island and one just across the bridge! Instead of a quiet bar and monotonous questions, these trivia games are bustling with energy, featuring good music, food and drink specials, and a rambunctious crowd ready to have a great time. The entertaining hosts (including our beloved Jane Darrah) prepare each trivia night with a roster of stimulating questions, and teams compete for a prize or pennant to stake your claim as reigning champion. You may surprise yourself with how well you play—seemingly useless information can make the difference between a team success and fueling your fire to win next week.

Jane in action

Jane in action

For a weekday getaway, head to the Bainbridge Island Brewery & Taproom on Thursday nights from 7-9 to enjoy fantastic local beer and an absolutely full house of happy trivia goers. Come alone, or play on a team at the brewery trivia events—dogs are welcome, so bring in your canine companion for some moral support! Another trivia event on Bainbridge Island takes place on Saturdays at Island Grill, starting at 8 PM. Here, you can order from a full menu and have a cocktail from the friendly bartenders behind their full bar.

Just outside the island, Suquamish’s Clearwater Casino entertains Trivia Time Live every Wednesday in the Beach Rock Lounge starting at 8 PM. Teams can have up to 10 players and compete in four rounds of trivia. At halftime, the leading team gets a round of drinks for half price, and there are cash prizes for placing in the top three teams!

Follow Team Trivia Live on Facebook to read the weekly hint that can be used as a clue to answer a bonus question, chat with other Trivia Time teams, and stay excited about spending a night out with friends sharing drinks and laughs, and maybe even a winning prize!

It’s here—the time we’ve been waiting patiently to enjoy, when the sun hangs high and long, and suddenly Bainbridge Island is exactly what it sounds like: a summer paradise. Island neighborhoods begin to resemble each other, with windows swung open, fruit trees dropping apples and plums, paddleboards strewn across front yards, multicolored chairs encircled around a fire pit, bicycles, sailboats, panting dogs, sprinklers, budding gardens, and the echoes of playful laughter as the sun sets in vibrant hues across the sky.

Fall, winter, and spring have prepared this island for three months of summer splendor. During those colder, wetter seasons, the island feels cozy and normal, a place where people live, work, and enjoy the Pacific Northwest life. But, when summer comes along, we all drink the Kool-Aid. Out come short shorts, daring wake surfers, and bronzed sea kayakers swarming the coasts while cyclists and joggers enjoy the shaded forest roads. Tourists pour from the ferry boats, with unfolded brochures stretched before them, wondering where the can travel to experience the best of Bainbridge Island—its natural beauty.

While many of us are frequenters of swimming and hiking spots on the island, some folks are new, or simply traveling and trying to enjoy every last drop of sunshine while here. So, here’s some advice on a few local (but not too local, don’t worry) spots perfect for swimming and hiking.


Swim the Sound

Although we’re on an island, much of the coastline is inaccessible. There are a handful of public beaches perfect for an afternoon in the sun, hidden away from larger channels of cold water. Manzanita Bay is a cove on the island’s northwest coast with a public beach access on Dock Street. Here, water tends to stay slightly warmer and the beach less windy with full sun exposure. During low tide, the access point has a small, sandy beach area from which you can enjoy front row seats to a spectacular view of the Olympic Mountains while swimmers travel back and forth from the floating dock in the center of the bay. Be cautious of private property while swimming at Dock Street—make sure that you’re not parking, swimming, or beach combing beyond public limits.

Point White Pier is a different swimming experience. A big hit among the crowds of youngsters on the island, this pier is located along the incredibly scenic Crystal Springs Road on the southwest end of the island. With parking across the street and well-marked signs along the way, the dock can host large groups of daring jumpers. With a wooden ladder nailed along one of the pilings, the fun is in the rush. Jump in and experience the rejuvenating, cold Puget Sound water tingling your skin. Some are tough enough to skip the ladder and swim back to the rocky shoreline. On hot summer nights, head to Point White Pier to watch the bioluminescence—tiny organisms that become phosphorescent when disturbed, like glowing glitter underwater—dance off of the pilings beneath the dock and burst into a glowing show as you swim amongst it.


Hike in the Forest

The healthy, vibrant forests on this island make for an incredible and fulfilling day of hiking. With innumerable plant and fungus species to identify, as well as old growth trees and dripping moss, it’s easy to lose track of time in the Grand Forest, located in the center of the island. Multiple trails branch from trailhead parking lots at either Mandus Olson Road NE or Fletcher Bay Road, which lead you beneath the canopies to a beautiful open field in the center of the preserve—a wonderful place to take a breath of fresh air and watch the clouds pass by.

Gazzam Lake rests on the southwest end of Bainbridge Island. This trail has a wide variety of attactions, from coastal to lake access. A trail—perfect for an evening run—winds through the healthy forest with many tree species living amongst each other. During dusk, listen carefully for the owls living in the trees. An access to Gazzam Lake provides a spectacular view of flora and fauna that thrive in freshwater ecosystems. If you’re interested in hiking down the steep coast to the water, enjoy a beach view of Port Orchard during a long and colorful sunset.

The airport flooded, the highways packed, hotels booked, and sidewalks buzzed with over 250,000 folks from around the world who had arrived in Seattle to enjoy and participate in our annual free festival, Northwest FolkLife. The independent nonprofit organization has held this event in Seattle Center over Memorial Day weekend since 1972, drawing a crowd that consists of diverse cultures and backgrounds for four jam-packed days of music, participatory dancing, cultural showcases, food, and workshops. Local artists shared stages with international names to bring four days of non-stop entertainment; if you were to attend each event to its fullest, it would take 28 days consecutive days to experience!

Gospel, bluegrass, world music, elementary school choirs, local singer/songwriters, funk, country, electronic, Native drum circles, and reggae—the list of music genres is nearly as long as the list of performers squeezed into the festival. On some stages, world dance performers featured traditional ethnic dance to the live music of their culture, while other stages hosted performers getting the dance started in the heart of the crowd until nearly everyone was on their feet. Sunday’s Mosaic Stage featured a full day of reggae, ending with Seattle’s Clinton Fearon & The Boogie Brown Band, a festival staple for more than 20 years and longtime, long-loved reggae group in Seattle.

At Northwest FolkLife, diverse music isn’t the only thing flooding your senses. The smell of funnel cake and ethnic food lingers in the air, swirling with the cool mist from the international fountain beneath the shade of the Space Needle. Children with vibrant face paint zigzagged through the crowds, cotton candy in hand. Some folks rested in the shade, watching collections of hula-hoopers and fearless dancers move to the sounds of the music from onstage. Others enjoyed each others company in the beer gardens featuring organic and gluten free options.

Vendors line the walkways with unique booths and colorful crafts reminiscent of a bohemian street fair. I watched woodworkers, jewelers, batik artists, and clothing designers charm envious customers as I strolled through, savoring the vegetarian sambusa I ordered for lunch from Portland’s Horn of Africa, which serves traditional food from the coast of Northeast Africa. As I wandered into the Fisher Pavilion, lured by the sound of strumming fiddles and tapping feet, to my surprise I caught sight of hundreds of smiling faces dancing in synch. This contra extravaganza draws many generations of contra dancers year after year to experience the folk tradition of contra dancing with a diverse crowd. Beginners are urged to dance with a drastic wave of the arm by red-faced, panting elders who are willing and eager to teach starry-eyed onlookers the ways of contra. I wasn’t brave enough to try, but I felt the energy from the sidelines and smiled along with everyone.

The greatest thing about this festival? It’s free to anyone, even if you haven’t a penny to spare. You’ll find buskers, travelers, and aspiring musicians putting it all on the line between stages, food carts, and craft stands with an instrument or two, an upside down hat with a sign that says “anything helps,” and a passion for music shared by all in attendance. In the crowds, you’ll find local legends, students, neighbors, homeless, out-of-towners, sailors, young families, artists, pockets of pre-teens, and every other walk of life. Judgment is laid to rest at the entrance, and everyone enters on the same level. It’s a wonderfully inclusive festival fueled by the donations of the able and the energy of the willing. Staffed by over 6,000 volunteer performers and 800 volunteers (yes, performers all volunteer!), this is truly a celebration of Northwest culture and togetherness.


Up until September of last year, Bainbridge Island climbers had to travel to Seattle or Bremerton to get their fix at the few climbing gyms in the area. The ferry and bus rides were enough to keep local climbers from commuting for regular training, and even worse, keep potential climbers from falling in love with and becoming committed to pulling rock. Then, along came Jason Lawson, who built the Island Rock Gym (IRG): a beautiful climbing platform nestled in the Coppertop Loop off of Sportsman Road with 40-foot walls and a bouldering garden that’ll get you horizontal, vertical, and every way in between.

The dilemma of the Bainbridge climber, be it minor, is that of commuting to access solid outdoor (and indoor) routes. Although there is fantastic climbing off of exits along I-90, as well as various locations such as Index and Vantage, these sites aren’t exactly post-work, two hour practice spots, but rather weekend warrior commitments that most are unable to pledge consistent time for. Once upon a time, Bremerton hosted a branch of the indoor climbing gym known as Vertical World, which, when closed down, cut Kitsap County off from relatively accessible indoor climbing. Things grew stagnant and the climbing limitations began stacking up. Lawson’s IRG expanded the opportunity for both new and seasoned climbers to excel while creating a hyper local climbing culture that simply hasn’t existed until now. The staff is knowledgeable, experienced, and more than willing to cheer you through the toughest routes, while the friendly gym members are eager to skillshare and offer an impromptu belay when needed.

For a new climbing gym, IRG membership rates are affordable and there’s rarely a wait to get on a wall. The aesthetic is vibrant, with color-splashed walls dotted with every hold you’ll ever need to train on. What they lack in massively horizontal overhangs they make up for with intricate routes that send your body in convoluted positions that work every muscle. If you’re like me and climb hard when you find the time, tape your hands—these routes are so addictive you’ll climb till you’re raw.

While many of the rope and bouldering routes are difficult and require advanced strength and agility, about half of them cater to beginner or young climbers. In fact, IRG has a youth program that exceeds many, with bouldering and rope trainings that even advance into route setting. Beginning ate age four, these classes and camps focus on getting youth accustomed to rock walls both on and off the rope. The IRG Climbing Team, starting at age eight and ending at 18, delves into advanced beta technique “geared towards endurance, technique, strategy, and strength,” according to their website. Their events extend to seasoned climbers as well, holding courses on anchor building that may serve as refreshers, as well as hosting presentations by professional athletes in the field.

There’s no time like springtime to get ready for a summer of outdoor adventure. Whether you need a refresher on lead climbing and anchor building or to ready your muscles for prime climbing season, IRG is the place to be. After a good climb, walk the short distance over to Bainbridge Island Brewing Company for relaxation, beer, and good company. Climb on!


Coyote Woodshop Owners Drew Reynolds & David Kotz

At the annual Bainbridge Island Chamber of Commerce Awards Banquet  held on January 25th, 2014 I made a presentation of a series of 20 photographs that were displayed for 20 seconds at a time… Pecha Kacha style. Concurrently, I read a 20 second profile of the business and other interesting facts about the industry.

This year’s presentation theme was about the often anonymous businesses that contribute to the island’s economy through manufacturing and industrial operations. The intent was to illustrate that the commercial capacity of Bainbridge Island is not just the retail storefronts that everybody is familiar with; but, there is also a vibrant entrepreneurial spirit that works, often hidden amongst the trees, if you will, that goes relatively unnoticed.

The photos were taken by Mr. Joel Sackett.

I’ve uploaded the slideshow here for you to take a look: Slideshow

For all of you with pretentious-detectors, beware: I have welcomed the identity of poet into my life. Before, I just considered myself someone who wrote occasionally. Now I think that poetry, the art of poetry, is a way that I understand the world around me. How do I explain? Take for example photography. Once you get more and more involved in photography, you are not only a photographer for the split second you snap a photo. No, you walk around, always, seeing things in terms of composition, of lighting, of placement and movement. It is by continuously remaining open that you can then relate your experience in a moment of creation. So it is with poetry, I think. You walk around wide-eyed and in love with each thing you see then write about it.

The bizarro videogame Katamari Damacy comes to mind too. The sole purpose of the game is to roll around as a sticky ball and grow bigger. You start out sticking to small objects and increasingly gather larger and larger items on your body until soon you are rolling down skyscrapers. I think that it works as a metaphor for the artistic endeavor. From the second I leave my front door and head out into the world for the day, I am a sticky glob and take note of everything I see. By the end of the day I am chock full of the ephemera of my day. To write a poem I would take each piece off of me and lay it on the page. If I do a good job, the poem should stand as a simulacrum of the concert of emotions of my day. If I do a really good job, I manage to pick off all the junk of my day and get down to my skin and, once there, pick off the flesh with renewed vigor.

Serendipitously enough there is a copy of Annie Dillard’s The Writing Life in the bookshelf in the house where I live. Ever since reading Pilgrim at Tinker Creek I have been desperately in love with Dillard. She too lived on an island in the Sound, though more isolated and further north than I am now. The Northwest, it seems, is a literary hotspot. The rain, the mountains, the forest, the countless coffee shops, all of it gestures toward the literary. So I decided to pick up her book I hadn’t (gasp) yet read. In it, she remarks upon the difficulties and impossibilities of leading a writer’s life. She tells a story of trying to chop firewood: for the longest time she was terrible at it, could never make sizable pieces of firewood for burning, only small useless chips. Eventually she learned that to do it right, you don’t aim for the wood but the chopping block beyond it. After that realization she had a high stack of wood ready to burn, hurrah hurrah! And so it is with writing, you aim, always, for the obstinately blank page, the screen of flaring pixels, and try to etch out your flawed creation despite the sea of blankness and incorrigibility.

From what I can see so far, Bainbridge is a fantastic place to be an artist. Open mics are everywhere, the art museum is free, people are warm and welcoming and willing to share their craft. Guitar players come out in droves to perform, you can’t walk down the street without bumping into a writer, and artist exhibitions pop up continuously. So it is not so hard to be young on such an island. It is quite easy to walk around and feel welcome and on the cusp of many chance encounters. And so I throw my own voice out there, in the form of a small poem, to join the artistic community of Bainbridge. The Pacific Northwest has me thinking about the incomprehensibility of city sewer systems, mountains, whales, the Pacific Ocean, and ant colonies.

Lesson from Blue

Dates, appointments, schedules,
details, all details, slide right
off me like sea trash off a lost whale
during a cataclysmic storm in the far reaches
of the Bering Sea in the icy grips of November.
That is ok because even though I cannot hold
a pen between my flippers to write you,
I am a whale and can sing-song a semblance
of a message for the whole ocean to hear:
I am late, but coming.

By Andy Butter - The lovely Christine St. Pierre (See BIMM Part 1 & 2) and I share a house, internships at YES! Magazine, and barista duties at Pegasus Coffee House. We’ve also been jointly asked to blog about our experience of being “young on Bainbridge”. I think that this will be great for you, the reader, to see how two people put in the same place can come out with two vastly different (or not?) experiences. But first, a little background info from me.

I moved to Bainbridge at the beginning of the new year to start a four-month long internship at YES! Magazine. After a grueling 40-hour Amtrak ride all the way from Minneapolis, which promptly dispelled any romantic notions I had of train travel, I found myself, still swathed in all my winter gear, in downtown Seattle. Laden with all my belongings, I waddled to the ferry and bought my first of many tickets to come.

Trains, busses, ferries, skyscrapers, taxis, business-people. All of it strange and unfamiliar to me. I grew up in Grand Marais, Minnesota, a tiny town of 1,300 people on the northern shore of Lake Superior. Grand Marais has one stoplight, two grocery stores, and three seasons: almost winter, winter, and still winter. To me, Bainbridge is not small or remote but quite a bustling place, especially considering its proximity to Seattle. Living on Bainbridge is not a tuning-down, a sinking into a bucolic dream, but instead a foray into a chaotic whirlpool of new faces and places. I can’t stand and gawk forever though, I have to get out in the world and see it, then blog about it!

An important part of integrating yourself into a new place is to meet people and make friends (duh). Sometimes that’s easier said than done. But no worries, for those less gregarious, less adept at navigating the innumerable pitfalls of social interaction, I have compiled a bullet-proof list of my way to make friends while slinging coffee at Pegasus. Godspeed ye, and good luck making friends out there, friend.

Midwestern Themed Clothing

I have a sweater that features two proud owls and the word “Wisconsin” in bold white type. I have a bright blue shirt that has the outline of the Upper Peninsula of Michigan encased in a heart. I often wear shirts that feature Northland College, my alma mater in Wisconsin. Every time I don cloth from the heartland I am always engaged in a fun conversation while I’m cashiering. Apparently, everyone on the West Coast lived in the Midwest at one point, or has a half-step-semi-second-cousin-in-law that does. Once I admit my origins the conversation turns to the weather. Once we start talking about the weather I am in the zone; I grew up in Minnesota, I could talk about the weather for days. Friendship: forthcoming.

Self-Deprecative Humor

Did you hear about the giant that threw up? Really? Because it’s all over town. How do you organize a party for the solar system? Simple, you just planet. These jokes are terrible, I’ll agree, but if you happen to chuckle, or at least show the common courtesy of chortling, then we have a starting point for rapport. After rapport, a budding acquiantanceship. Soon I’ll be your children’s godfather, just you wait.


Only to be used ironically. Results may vary.

A Sprinkling of Pop Culture References

After I take someone’s order and they fumble around for exact change I may ask them “Where’s the money Lebowski?” If they raise an eyebrow and give me the $2.17 without saying a word, I move along. But if they proudly proclaim their proclivity toward nihilism, then we have a blossoming friendship on the way. Don’t be disheartened if the references don’t start a friendly conversation right away. This method of friend-making often takes time and persistence. It also has the possibility of alienating you from those around you. Play it cool, man. If 90’s movie quotes aren’t working out, try a line from Game of Thrones. No one picking up on your amazing whistled rendition of Europe’s “The Final Countdown”? Bring it back with a hummed chorus of the Beatles’ “Penny Lane.”

Note for those that enjoy higher-brow culture: This method of making friends can work for you too! For example, I saw a young woman reading a book of poems by Elizabeth Bishop. We talked about our favorite poets. We then learned each other’s names and shook hands. Friendship!