Author Archives: Mia V

Featured Pet: Annie #10598


Meet Our Pet of the Week!

Name: Annie #10598

Likes: running, playing, snuggling, long walks, big meals

Dislikes: being left alone for long periods of time, a sedentary lifestyle

What She’s Looking for in a Family: a family of adults and older children will be best; Annie is very sweet and loyal but she’s also high energy and a bit willful and will need a mature, steady family to keep her behaving well

Extra extra: Annie is a hound dog and needs proper training and regular exercise to keep her healthy and happy

Adoption Fee: $87.04 (includes spaying, micro-chipping, licensing, etc)

Featured Pet: Cleo #9887

Pet-of-the-Week-Cleo-9887--TV-1Meet Our Pet of the Week!

Name: Cleo #9887

Likes: adventure, play time, jumping up on things, cuddling, chin scratches

Dislikes: being kept from whatever adventuring she wants to be doing, interrupted nap time

What She’s Looking for in a Family: any size family will do

Extra Extra: Cleo has a beautiful long coat and will need some help keeping it maintained so she needs a family that has time to devote to brushing her on a regular basis

Adoption Fee: $40 (includes micro-chipping, spaying, and licensing)

Pinterest:Impossible – Mini Pumpkin Pies

pinterestimpossiblelogonobackgroundI am not a baker.

And when I say I’m not a baker, what I mean is that I burn cookies because I get bored (and full) after baking and eating most of the first batch, I make lopsided and sometimes gooey cakes from the box, and my brownies have a fifty-fifty shot of turning out hard as a rock.

My theory is that there is just too much math involved in baking, and math and I do not get along.

However, not being a baker aside, I have found that sometimes – if the stars align and the mood is right and the recipe actually makes sense to me – I can manage to make tasty baked goods. Tasty enough that when Thanksgiving rolled around and food items needed to be brought to family dinner, I decided to bake something. I was gonna go with pumpkin cheesecake bars, but there was a worry that no one was bringing pie (and you can’t have Thanksgiving without pie!).

Being the ever accommodating individual that I am, I changed up my baking plans and settled on Mini Pumpkin Pies instead. It seemed like a no-brainer really. I like pumpkin pie. I like bite-sized things. Combining the two was not rocket science.


Luckily for me, the recipe I selected on Pinterest wasn’t rocket science either. It included only five ingredients, two cooling racks, one electrical appliance, and one muffin pan. I could totally handle a line-up like that.

The hardest part for me in making the mini pies was dealing with the mini pie crusts. The recipe called for using refrigerated pie crusts, cut down into 4″ size by a cookie cutter. I had no cookie cutter. I tried using a glass tumbler but it was too small. Then my father, who cannot seem to stay out of the kitchen when I am cooking/baking/breathing at his house, handed me a martini glass to try instead. Turned out to be almost the perfect size. Always helps to have connections with an extensive collection of booze glassware, folks!

For once I made no substitutions on the ingredient list, but as there were only five things on it that wasn’t very surprising. My pies did turn out a bit plainer in appearance than those in the recipe, however. I didn’t have cookie cutters in the shapes of leaves and pumpkins to make decorations for the top, and I was using a glass to cut the crusts so there wasn’t decorative edges on them.

Luckily the little pies turned out tasty, so how fancy they looked wasn’t really important. None of them were burnt, none of them exploded, none of them tasted like the filling hadn’t been mixed thoroughly. Once they’d cooled off and had a chance to really firm up they were just as good as any pumpkin pie I’ve ever had from a store bakery.

I’m pretty proud of that really. I might even try to bake again sometime. Just to see if it was a fluke or if perhaps maybe my poor baking skills have finally improved. Anything is possible, right?

– Mia V.


*Be sure to check out all the great recipes we have on our Pinterest:Impossible board!

SOURCE – Mini Pumpkin Pies

Pets As Presents? Some Things to Keep in Mind

scraps logoGiving pets as presents during the holidays is an ongoing debate among animal welfare organizations. Unlike with other holiday presents, owners cannot just pop in a fresh battery or put the pet away in the closet after the novelty wears off. If you are thinking about putting a new pet under the tree this holiday season, here are a few things the Spokane County Regional Animal Protection Service (SCRAPS) would like you to consider.

“Pets are living, breathing creatures and they can live sixteen, seventeen – or more -years,” said Nancy Hill, Regional Director of SCRAPS. “If you are going to add a new member to your family, you need to make sure you have the time to train and care for it. Pets as playthings is the wrong message to send to children.”

During the holidays, families are busy shopping, baking and getting ready for visitors. This may not be the best time to begin potty training, setting up a care routine or introducing a new animal into your home. Other things to consider are:

The activities in the household might present safety hazards and increased opportunities for the pup to get in trouble or hurt. Especially when the household is not used to having a pet around and underfoot, it can be hard to keep ornaments, decorations, tinsel, wrapping, string, scissors, candles, potentially poisonous holiday plants and other dangerous items out of animals’ reach.

The holiday hubbub of guests, flashing lights, noisy toys, gift unwrapping, camera snapping, romping children, etc. can scare an animal of any age, particularly a puppy.

It is essential to always supervise when dogs and children are together. Since this is hard to do during a big holiday, the chance of a bite increases.

Puppy7Studies show that too often the gift puppy is given up within the first year, starved for training, socialization and affection. Many are brought to the shelter because they have “behavior problems” caused by a lack of training and supervision in the first few months.

One solution SCRAPS can provide is to offer gift certificates that allow a family to “adopt” a new pet but let everyone in the family actually choose the specific animal later when things quiet down. Preparing and planning for your new family member is key to making a life-long commitment to a pet.


SOURCE – SCRAPS press release, 12/10/14

Your Guide to the 28 Days of Christmas: Coeur d’Alene Cellars

Coeur d’Alene Cellars and Barrel Room No 6

It’s like this – Coeur d’Alene Cellars makes wine. They’re a winery. That’s kind of their thing. But just making great Rhone varietal wines isn’t enough. Being awarded “90 pts” by Wine Enthusiast Magazine in 2005 for their first release wasn’t enough. Earning a Double Gold in the International Eastern Wine Competition in New York and a Best of Show at The Idaho Wine Festival in Boise was still not enough.

Because Coeur d’Alene Cellars doesn’t just want to make and sell you wine. They want you to love wine as much as they do. That’s why they have a wine club  where members can receive three to six bottles a quarter of carefully selected red and white wines, as well as discounts on even more bottles, tours of the winery, and private tasting sessions.

And that’s why they have Barrel Room No 6, a “swanky” wine bar where you can try out they’re wines, paired with appetizers and light snacks, as well as listen to live music on Saturday nights. The staff know which wines work best with each food item on the menu and will happily impart their knowledge to you if you just ask.

cda cellars winery heistumanWhen:
Coeur d’Alene Cellars tasting room hours are Tuesday thru Thursday from 12pm until 7pm and Friday thru Saturday from 12pm until 8pm.

3890 N Schreiber Way, Coeur d’Alene, Idaho 83815
Find them on the web here!
You can also find them on their Facebook page!

Find all the amazing 28 Days of Christmas deals here!

Featured Pet: Bongo #10189

bongoadoptedMeet Our Pet of the Week!

Name: Bongo #10189

Likes: herding other animals, running, figuring tricky things out, games, running

Dislikes: being stuck inside for long periods of time, laziness, being left alone, not having something active to do

What He’s Looking for in a Family: any size family will do as long as they have lots of energy and time to spend with him

Extra extra: like many herding dogs, Bongo needs proper training and exercise to make sure he behaves properly

Adoption Fee: $87.04 (includes micro-chipping, licensing, neutering, etc)

Ten Tips to Keep Your Pets Safe in Winter!

scraps logoNo one wants an icicle for a pet – they’re simply not that cuddly. If your pet spends most of the time in the backyard, please change your routine and keep them indoors during the freezing months.

1. Bare naked truth
If you must keep your pet outdoors consider this: your pet’s fur coat isn’t enough protection for your pet during winter. Be a pal and provide your dog with a a warm, dry, and draft-free shelter outside. SCRAPS has free dog houses available. They also accept gently used dog houses.

2. No more frozen dinners
Because it takes more energy to stay warm when it’s cold, outdoor animals eat more during the winter. Likewise, fresh running water is vital for maintaining your pet’s health. Keep an eye on the water bowls and make sure they haven’t turned into little skating rinks. Heated dog dishes are available at most pet stores.

3. Latest fad diet
Indoor animals have different dietary needs. They conserve energy by sleeping more in the winter. Dogs and cats also exercise much less when they do go outside, so you may need to adjust the amount of food accordingly. No one wants an overweight pet.

4. Be careful with cars
Warm engines in parked cars attract cats and small wildfie, who may crawl up under the hood. To avoid injuring any hidden animals, bang on your car’s hood to scare them away before starting your engine.

315. Safety and salt
The salt and other chemicals used to melt snow and ice an irritate the pads of your pet’s feet. Wipe all paws with a damp towel before your pet licks them and irritates their mouth.

6. Avoid antifreeze
Antifreeze is a deadly poison but it has a sweet taste that may attract animals and children. Wipe up spills and store anitfreeze (and all houseful chemicals) out of reach. Better yet, use antifreeze-coolant made with propylene glycol; if swallowed in small amounts it will not hurt pets, wildlife, or your family.

7. Bone chilling
No matter what the temperature, wind chill can threaten a pet’s life. Be sure to check not only the temperature outside but the wind chill as well. The wind can lower the temperature 10 or even 20 degrees causing serious problems for your pet.

8. Season for serious concern
Regardless of the season, short-haired, very young, or old dogs and all cats should never be left outside without supervision during low temperatures. NEVER! Let your pet out to go to the bathroom and then get them inside immediately.

9. Sweater weather
Short-coated dogs may feel more comfortable wearing a sweater during walks. The SCRAPS Bow Wow Meow Market has lots of affordable sweaters and coats to keep your dog in style and comfortable.

10. Winter wellness
Has your pet had their preventative care exam (wellness exam) yet? Cold weather may worsen some medical conditions such as arthritis. Your pet should be examined by a veterinarian at least once a year and it’s as good a time as any to have them checked out to make sure they are ready and as healthy as possible for cold weather.



SOURCE – SCRAPS information sheet
SOURCE – image

Turn Your Trash in to Treasures for SCRAPS!

scraps logoThe Happy Howl-i-day Party is the annual SCRAPS Open House on December 13th from 1 – 3 p.m. at the regional facility at 6815 E. Trent in the Spokane Valley. We invite everyone down to the shelter for some cookies, cocoa and a tour of the kennels and cages. We will also have information about making treats for your pets, safety information for the holidays and special gift bags for your pets.

This year, SCRAPS has also partnered with “Clothes for the Cause” a fundraising company that collects clothes in exchange for cash. Clothing and textiles are accepted at SCRAPS throughout the day. This includes bedding, stuffed animals, drapes, purses, belts and towels – in any condition. No household items or electronics are accepted.

This “trash” is turned into treasures like dog beds, pencils and playground flooring. Donations will be accepted from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. throughout the day.

All proceeds from the collection go to the SCRAPS Animal Medical Fund.

At SCRAPS, we want to give every animal a very special gift for the holidays – a forever home. To help us achieve this holiday miracle, we’ve got some great events and super specials throughout the month.

On December 6th, Chico’s in Riverpark Square will offer 10% on all profits from 2 – 5 p.m. back to SCRAPS.

On December 6th ,13th and 20th pet parents can drop by Petco in the Spokane Valley from 11a.m. – 3 p.m and get their pictures taken with Santa. SCRAPS receives the portrait price, which will be used in our Animal Medical Fund.

Throughout the month of December, SCRAPS has two Angels for the Animals trees in our lobby. The first tree has tags with a special item that can be purchased for a shelter animal. The second tree features donors that gave to our Animal Medical Fund during the month.


About the SCRAPS Animal Medical Fund: SCRAPS is the only agency that serves the homeless, abused and abandoned animals in Spokane County. Nearly 11,000 animals come to us each year. We provide treatment, rehabilitation and rehoming to all these animals through generous donations from private individuals and business. These funds are not part of the contracts for animal protection we receive from cities.


SOURCE – SCRAPS press release, December 1st 2014

Winter Holiday Plants That Are Dangerous for Pets

Animals will often chew plants to get some roughage. For dogs this is because they are omnivores and actually enjoy plant foods. Plant roughage can be a good source of vitamins and can be helpful for passing food through the intestines. Cats are strictly carnivorous, but eating plants can benefit them by helping to bind hair in the stomach and carry it back out when they hack the hair out through their esophagus and mouth. However, animals also eat leaves for reasons we do not always understand. This is especially true for pets that are kept indoors most or all of the time, since they have not learned which plants taste bad and should be avoided, or they do not have enough access to plants and will chew on whatever is accessible.

There are some types of decorative plants that are toxic to dogs and cats. In some cases, only mild indigestion and discomfort will result, in other cases, the toxicity can lead to more severe health problems, and even fatalities. If you are planning to bring holiday foliage into your home this year this season, you will need to know which plants are safe, which should be kept out of your pet’s reach, and which should be avoided entirely.

Poinsettia Plant Basics

A lot of people have been led to believe that the poinsettia plant is deadly for pets and children, but this is actually an unlikely occurrence. The poinsettia plant’s brightly colored leaves contain a sap that is irritating to the tissues of the mouth and esophagus. If the leaves are ingested, they will often cause nausea and vomiting, but it would take a large amount of the plant’s material to cause poisoning, and most animals and children will not eat such a large enough amount because of the irritating taste and feel from the sap.

However, if the plant has been treated with a pesticide, your pet could be at risk of becoming ill from ingesting the pesticide. The size of your pet and the amount of ingested plant material will be the determining factors for the severity of the poisoning. Young animals — puppies and kittens — are at the highest risk. Severe reactions to the plant or to the pesticide it has been treated with include seizures, coma, and in some cases, death.

Holly and Mistletoe

Holly and mistletoe are also popular holiday plants. These plants, along with their berries, have a greater toxicity level than the poinsettia. Symptoms of illness form ingesting these plants include intestinal upset, such as vomiting and diarrhea, excessive drooling, and abdominal pain.

Mistletoe contains multiple substances that are toxic to both dogs and cats, including toxalbumin and pharatoxin viscumin (Lectins, Phoratoxins). Mistletoe is well known for causing severe intestinal upset, as well as a sudden and severe drop in blood pressure, breathing problems, and even hallucinations (unusual behavior). If a large enough amount of these plants are ingested, seizures and death may follow. The leaves and berries of holly and mistletoe plants, even the dried plants, should be kept well out of your pet’s reach, or kept out of the home altogether.

Lilies and Daffodils

Both popular gift items at this time of year, plants in the lily and daffodil can be toxic to pets. In cats, Lilium and Hemerocallis genera lilies are the most dangerous. Eating even a small amount of the plant will have a severe impact on a cat’s system, causing severe symptoms such as gastrointestinal issues, arrhythmia, and convulsions. Daffodils are also toxic to both dogs and cats, especially the bulbs.


The beauty of the flowering Amaryllis is matched by its toxicity. The Amaryllis contains Lycorine and other noxious substances, which cause salivation, gastrointestinal abnormalities (vomiting, diarrhea, decreased appetite, and abdominal pain), lethargy, and tremors in both cats and dogs. The bulb of the plant is reputed to be even more dangerous than the flowers and stalk.

The Amaryllis also goes by other names, including Belladonna, Saint Joseph Lily, Cape Belladonna, and Naked Lady.

Christmas Cactus

Fortunately, the Christmas Cactus (or its relative, the Easter Cactus) plant is not toxic to dogs in either its parts or flowers. The same lack of toxicity applies for cats. However, fibrous plant material can cause irritation to the stomach and intestine, leading to vomiting or diarrhea.

The Christmas Tree

There are other dangers to consider with the good ol’ Yule tree other than lights and ornaments. The oils produced by fir trees can be irritating to a pet’s mouth and stomach, causing excessive vomiting or drooling. The tree needles, meanwhile, may cause gastrointestinal irritation, obstruction and puncture.

Additionally, the water used to nourish Christmas trees can be noxious. Bacteria, molds, and fertilizers can cause your pet to become extremely sick with only a few laps.

Playing it Safe

If you do choose to bring any of these plants into the home, or place them near the entry way where your pet can reach them, be very careful about where you are placing them. Cats, especially, need to be considered, since they can jump to high shelves. If your cat is a known plant chewer, you will probably be better off choosing imitation plants over the real things. But, if your dog or cat does manage to ingest any part of these holiday plants, call your veterinarian or poison control immediately to find out what you should do to minimize the damage.



Featured Pet: Zeta #9870

Pet-of-the-Week-Zeta-9870-TVMeet Our Pet of the Week!

Name: Zeta #9870

Likes: cuddles, treats, walks, discovering new smells, back scratches

Dislikes: having no one to cuddle or play with

What She’s Looking for in a Family: any type of family will do, though because of her size she will need to be monitored with small children (she’s super affectionate, she just doesn’t always know her own strength)

Extra extra: Zeta is a senior dog, and while she has no current health issues, special attention will need to be paid to her diet and exercise

Adoption Fee: $25 (just the cost of a license!)

Your Guide to the 28 Days of Christmas: The Boiler Room

The Boiler Room Craft Pizza and Swill

When is a pizza more than just a pizza? When it’s a wood-fired craft pizza made with local ingredients from local farmers, just like what you can find at The Boiler Room.

This northside Spokane pizza joint, decorated in an industrial, modern-style, isn’t just tossing some pepperoni on a cheesy crust and calling it good. Instead they’re offering up flavor explosions such as the Spicy Islander (San Marzano tomato sauce, shaved Prosciutto, house cheese blend, pineapple, and serranos) and the Thai Me Up (peanut ginger sauce, chicken breast, house cheese blend, red bell peppers, serrano peppers, fresh basil, cilantro, toasted sesame seeds, and Sriracha). And if pepperoni really is your thing, they’ve got their own spin on that, which includes San Marzano tomato sauce, double pepperoni, and house cheese blend.

If you’re going to have great pizza you’ll want to pair it with great drink, whether that is one of the rotating beers on tap, a favorite spirit, a red or white wine, a Blood Orange Bellini or a Peach Ginger mojito. Happy Hour specials take place Monday through Friday from 2-5pm and on Sunday from 5pm to close.

The Boiler Room is open daily from 11am until late.

6501 N Cedar, Building 3, Spokane, Washington 99208
Find them on the web here!
You can also find them on Facebook here!


Find all the amazing 28 Days of Christmas deals here!

Your Guide to the 28 Days of Christmas: Coeur de Breizh Crepes

Coeur de Breizh Gourment French Crepes

If you think a crepe is just a sweet breakfast food, you haven’t been out to Coeur de Breizh. This food truck parked at the corner of Government Way and Seale Street wants to show you just how sweet or savory a crepe can be!

Looking for a treat to start your day or complete your lunch? Try the L’Americaine, with cinnamon, sugar, and butter, or La Beige with chocolate, banana, and toasted almonds. Looking for something a little nuttier? Give La Pommepadour a try! This tasty concoction includes organic apples, spices, whipped cream, toasted almonds or walnuts.

But as every crepe connoisseur knows, they can be just as delicious savory as they are sweet. Around breakfast time give La Savoyarde a try, with its eggs and Swiss cheese. When lunch time rolls around give La Cordon Bleu, full of broasted chicken breast, bacon, and Swiss cheese, a taste. And if you come to the truck on Wednesday around dinner time you can get La Polonaise, with Polish sausage, Pepperjack cheese, organic spring mix, and Dijon mustard. Gluten free versions are available for any crepe, whether savory or sweet, so if you’re cutting out the gluten you don’t have to give up the crepes!

Coeur de Breizh is open Monday thru Thursday from 7am until 2pm. They are also open on Fridays from 7am until 7pm and on Saturdays from 9am until 2pm.

3615 N Government Way, Coeur d’Alene, Idaho
You will also see them at events such as the Kootenai County Fair & Rodeo, Kootenai Farmers’ Market, Fall Harvest Festival, and Riverstone Street Fair. Check them out online to find out what events they may be appearing at next.
Find them on the web here!
You can also find them on Facebook here!


Find all the amazing 28 Days of Christmas deals here!

Your Guide to the 28 Days of Christmas: Soul – A Soup and Coffee House

Soul A Soup and Coffee House

Like coffee? REALLY like coffee? Cause Soul has locally roasted, organic, rainforest-certified coffee as well as true Italian-style espresso. They love coffee, and they want you to love it too, so they only provide the best. Don’t you want the best? And don’t you want to drink it in a warm, welcoming atmosphere with mismatched tables and wood floors, surrounded by friendly conversations and the scent of coffee in the air?

Of course a ‘soup and coffee house’ has to offer more than just great coffee to stand up to its name, so Soul ALSO offers delicious soup options like Chicken Lime Tortilla, Spicy Korean Beef, Mushroom Bisque, and Ginger Chicken Noodle. Soups change daily so it is worth it to go back over and over and over again. There is always at least one vegetarian option, often also a paleo option, and you can keep up with all of their daily options on their Facebook page. Everything is made from scratch, most is very unique, and some of it is totally surprising.

More in the mood for salad than soup (though with winter coming why would you forgo tasty warm delicious soup)? They’ve got that covered as well, with daily offerings such as Avocado Cucumber, Quinoa and Kale, Greek Pasta Salad, or Roasted Beets and Feta. And if baked goods are more up your alley, they can help you out with that, with a daily selection of fresh made oatmeal raisin cookies, low-fat lemon muffins, banana bread with chocolate chips, and paleo (gluten-free) bars.

Soul is open Monday through Friday from 8:30am until 4pm.

610 W Hubbard St, Coeur d’Alene, Idaho 83814
Find them online at their Facebook page!


Find all the amazing 28 Days of Christmas deals here!

Featured Pet: Tonya #9484


Meet Our Pet of the Week!

Name: Tonya #9484

Likes: socializing, walking, cuddling on the couch

Dislikes: being left alone for long periods of time

What She’s Looking for in a Family: any type of home will do but energetic young children might be a bit overwhelming for her

Extra extra: while she currently has no health issues, Tonya is an older dog and will need to have special attention paid to her diet and exercise

Adoption Fee: $25 (just the cost of a license!)

How to Care for Outdoor Cats in Winter

feralcatshelterShelter, food, and water are especially important to stray and feral cats in cold weather.

Who are those cats you see outside on cold days? They may be pets whose owners let (or put) them outside.

Or they could be community cats, a group that includes ferals (who are afraid of people) and strays (who’ve been lost or abandoned). No matter how resourceful these outdoor cats are, they need help surviving winter.

Follow our tips for making sure your local outdoor cats have shelter, food and water during the cold months.

Give outdoor cats shelter from the cold

Yes, their thickened winter coats help feral and stray cats weather winter’s chill, but they still need warm, dry, well-insulated and appropriate-sized shelters.

It’s cheapest to build your own shelters, and there are many plans and instructions that can help you get started.

You may find inexpensive or free materials by asking building-supply stores or contractors if they have scrap lumber. Ask friends, neighbors and coworkers for used dog houses, which can be modified to make good shelters. You can even use a storage bin from the local hardware store.

Creating a life-saving shelter for outdoor cats can be easy and inexpensive.

A shelter must trap the cats’ body heat to warm its interior. If the shelter is too large, it will be difficult for the cats’ body heat to keep the space warm.

Straw is the best material to put in a shelter because it allows cats to burrow. Pillowcases loosely stuffed with packing peanuts and shredded newspaper also work.

Keep things clean: Replace straw and newspaper if moist or dirty, and wash and re-stuff pillowcases as needed.

However, if it’s really cold where you live and you can’t check on the shelters regularly, don’t use the above insulations. Instead, “wallpaper” the shelter’s inner walls and floor with Mylar. It reflects back body heat, and it’s okay for cats to lie on it.

Don’t use blankets, towels or folded newspaper; they absorb body heat and chill cats who are lying on them. Forego hay, too, which may irritate noses and cause allergic reactions.

feralcatshelter2Where to place food and water

Protect outdoor cats from hunger and thirst this winter by keeping their food and water from freezing.

If you can do so without compromising the privacy and security of the shelter, place food and water near the shelter so the cats won’t have to travel far.

A way to protect food and water is to place two shelters—doorways facing each other—two feet apart. Then create a canopy between them by securing a wide board from one roof to the other. Then put the food and water under the canopy.

What you put food and water in can make a difference. A thick plastic water container that’s deep and wide is better-insulated than a thin plastic or ceramic container. A solar-heated water bowl can prevent or delay water and canned food from freezing.

If shelters are well-insulated, you can put bowls of dry or moist food inside them, far from the doorway. Even if the moist food freezes, the cats’ body heat will defrost it when they hunker down in their shelter.

Don’t put water bowls inside the shelter. Water is easily spilled, and a wet shelter will feel more like a refrigerator than a warm haven.


SOURCE – Humane Society of the United States
SOURCE – image 1
SOURCE – image 2

Featured Pet: Captain Louie #9722


captainlouieadoptedMeet Our Pet of the Week!

Name: Captain Louie #9722

Likes: long naps in warm sunshine, eating, scratches behind the ears, cuddling

Dislikes: loud noises and strange people before he’s gotten used to a new place, an empty food bowl

What He’s Looking for in a Family: any size family will do as he’s happy to snuggle with just about anyone

Extra extra: Captain Louie only has three legs and is a bit overweight but with a good diet and regular exercise/play time he is just like any other healthy cat

Adoption Fee: $40 (includes micro-chipping and licensing)

Featured Pet: Tasha #9565 and Tia #9566


Meet Our Pets of the Week! 

Name: Tasha #9565 and Tia #9566

Likes: snuggling, eating, napping on the couch, long grooming sessions

Dislikes: going outside, being alone for long periods of time, not being treated like the princesses that they are

What They’re Looking for in a Family: these lovely ladies would do well in any size family as long as they get a lot of attention

Extra extra: Persians have long coats that need to be brushed and maintained on a regular basis or they will easily become knotted and dirty; Tasha and Tia are declawed on all four feet so must be kept inside at all times

Adopted Fee: $40 each (includes micro-chipping and licensing)

ThisTV Movie Review: Carrie

Carrie-708938121-largeI’m not the only one that cries during the prom scene in Carrie, right?

Not during the end of the prom scene, of course, cause that isn’t a time for crying. A time for screaming and yelling and freaking out, maybe, but not for crying.

It’s earlier in the prom that I tear up a bit. When the music is all sweet and the lights are all soft and Tommy Ross’s hair is particularly poofy and Carrie’s face is particularly young and naïve and she’s talking about remembering this night forever and Tommy wants to take her out with the rest of the cool kids after the dance and it’s all so dang nice and adorable and romantic and destined to end very VERY badly.

Every time I watch my eyes tear up, my nose gets a bit sniffly, and I have to reach for the tissue. It’s that moment that all of us that got picked on in high school kind of wished for.

Of course when we realized we weren’t going to be accepted by the cool kids, it was the OTHER prom scene we wished for. The bloody, screamy, scary, nasty prom scene.

But I digress.

The plot of Carrie basically breaks down like this: Carrie (Sissy Spacek) is quiet and shy and bad at volleyball and all the kids at school treat her like garbage. After a particularly cruel event in the girls’ showers the cool chicks are all in trouble and Carrie is beginning to discover she isn’t just a timid little mouse hiding in the shadows. Soon she’s going head-to-head with her insanely religious mother, finding a poofy-headed date for the prom, and stepping out of her comfort zone in order to fit in with the rest of the crowd. Unfortunately for Carrie, the entire senior class, and the janitorial staff of the high school in charge of cleaning up the dance afterward, this is a horror film based on a Stephen King novel and events at the prom go horribly, messily wrong.

carriehairCarrie is a scary movie, so let’s talk about what’s scary about it. The horrible way the other kids treat the main character? It certainly sucks, and it’s sad that people would treat other people that way, but it’s not particularly scary. Carrie’s telekinetic powers? They’re interesting and they certainly do a lot of damage when she lets them go, but are they scary? In a day and age where superheroes are ubiquitous and telekinesis is one of the tamer super powers, it just doesn’t do much to surprise or terrify.

But Carrie’s mother … oooohhh Carrie’s mother. If there was one element of this film that could truly be considered scary, that’s the one I’d name. Played beautifully by Piper Laurie, Carrie’s mom is fanatically religious and also fanatically anti-everything in the world that might help Carrie fit in. She doesn’t explain the facts of life to her daughter, so of course when puberty happens Carrie suffers for it. She doesn’t want her daughter associating with anyone, not other girls or boys with poofy hair. The idea of Carrie going to the prom is laughable, and when Carrie refuses to see it the same way, it doesn’t end well for anyone. After watching this film I bet a lot of people would agree that no matter how strict or crazy or bizarre their parents are, they aren’t anywhere near as bad as Carrie’s mom.

Carrie-1976-21The end of the prom scene could probably be classified ‘scary’ as well. All those kids running and screaming and trying to escape the gymnasium and none of them understanding what is going on or why the door won’t open or a fire hose is spraying them or why people are dying all around them. That certainly wasn’t the freaky wild time any of them were expecting (or if they were there was something really wrong with those kids) when they put on their frilly tuxedos and pastel dresses that evening. But like so many stories by Stephen King (and the good movies based on them) it isn’t so much the big in your face stuff like Tommy and his poofy hair being killed by a bucket or sympathetic gym teacher being almost chopped in half by a falling fixture that truly scares here. It is the little things that get you. Like sweet little Carrie White, who just wanted a place to belong, now covered in animal blood and starting her classmates on fire. Like a group of teenagers huddled together trying to escape across the floor, desperately afraid to let each other go in all the chaos that surrounds them. Like those two idiots who caused the whole commotion, sitting in a window to watch their handiwork and realizing their nasty, mean prank turned into a nasty, mean, bloodbath (literally).

– Mia V.

Carrie, 1976
Starring Sissy Spacek, Piper Laurie, Amy Irving, William Katt, John Travolta, Nancy Allen
Directed by Brian De Palma
Written by Stephen King (novel), Lawrence D Cohen (screenplay)

Watch on ThisTV: Tuesday 11/4 at 1pm, Thursday 11/13 at 7pm, Friday 11/21 at 3pm, Saturday 11/22 at midnight, and/or Monday 11/24 at 3pm!

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Featured Pet: Sly #9303

slyadoptedMeet Our Pet of the Week!

Name: Sly #9303

Breed: Domestic Short Hair (may be a Bombay mix)

Likes: being sneaky, jumping out from behind stuff at people, purring, cuddling, napping in rays of sunshine

Dislikes: being left alone for long periods of time, the vacuum cleaner, a half empty food bowl

What He’s Looking for in a Family: any size family will do, as long as they have time to play with him and snuggle with him

Extra extra: Sly is a young cat with a lot of energy but he’s not a kitten anymore so while he loves to play, he loves to sleep as well

Adoption Fee: $40 (includes neutering, micro-chipping, and licensing)

Adventures in Spokane, part 38: Where I Conquer a Fear, Witness a Robbery, and Shop Til I Drop

AdventuresInSpokaneI rode a roller coaster ya’ll! And I was TERRIFIED.

So terrified in fact that I’m pretty sure I cried. My face was a bit frozen by the time the ride was done (my hands were NUMB and my legs were total jelly) so I can’t say for 100% surety that I cried.

But I’m pretty sure it happened.

Deciding to give in to the call of Halloween-time and the urge to to get my scare on, last Friday night I went out to Scarywood (my first visit to Scarywood ever and my first visit to Silverwood in about 20 years). It was an interesting experience. Theme parks are so different at night, in the dark, with mostly young-to-middle-age adults in attendance and guys dressed as foliage jumping out of the shadows at you every few minutes.

rollercoasterI wandered through Creepy Clown Town (not the actual name of that area) and laughed at the cotton candy flavored smoke and edible bubbles and human/cotton candy sacks from Killer Klowns from Outer Space. I waited in line two hours to take the zombie train ride. It was fun but kind of hokey and I’m still trying to decide if it was worth those two hours of my time. None of the lines for the four haunted houses were anywhere near that long. The Mayan Ruins (might not be the proper name) were fun. I jumped when a piece of the wall seemed to detach itself and run at me. The 3-Dementia reminded me of Batman and Robin with all the black light paint and electronica music. I’m not sure that was a good thing. Total Dark was rather claustrophobic and I I think I ran into every wall they had. And Blood Bayou was incredibly elaborate. I have to give major props to the designers of that haunted house. They put a lot of time and effort into it.

The line for Tremors (that would be a roller coaster if you’ve never been to the park) was almost non-existent and that could be why I was talked into riding it. Not a lot of time to argue myself out of it once I’d made the decision to go. ALSO, there were these two fourteen year old boys in line behind me that were completely shocked and scandalized that I’d never been on a real roller coaster before. They gave up their place in line so I could go ahead of them and then kept giving me thumbs up. There was no way I was wussing out in front of those boys.

Tremors may not be an exceptionally big or fast or twisty roller coaster, but it certainly scared the business out of me. I screamed the entire time I was on it, and grasped the bar so tightly I was worried my fingers would never unclench again by the time I was done.

And I’m pretty sure I cried. But I also got to cross “ride a roller coaster without throwing up or dying” off my bucket list, so it was worth it.

Worth it enough to get on a roller coaster again someday? Jury is still out on that one.

When I wasn’t being chased by chainsaw wielding maniacs (also at Scarywood) or considering all of my dumber life choices (while on that roller coaster) last week I was mainly stuffing my face with tasty foods and shopping for necessary (and probably unnecessary) things.

I had dinner at Thai Bamboo up on 29th and am happy to report that their dinner combo meals are just as delicious as ever. I quite like the one with pad thai, Mongolian beef, and rice. After eating I went by Hastings to see if they had any comic books that caught my fancy, and while I did manage to score a couple of Bee and Puppycat issues, I ALSO got to witness a guy running out the door with arms full of items that did not belong to him (they still had the electronic theft deterrent devices attached to them AND there was an employee trying to chase him down and stop him). He jumped in a crappy car and drove away before anyone aside from the employee seemed to realize what was going on.

It was a rather startling and surreal experience over all.

I had lunch once at Sushi Maru, which was fun as always, and managed to try two new restaurants as well. Miguel’s Mexican up on 29th (in the old Vin Rouge location which was the old Boston Market location) has an extensive menu of tequilas as well as mixed drinks, and an even more extensive menu of food items. I had chicken and veggies in a sour cream sauce that was most excellent. I also ate way too many of their fresh tortilla chips and salsa, because that is just what happens at Mexican restaurants.

My tiny/tall roommate’s mom was in town over the weekend and we took her out to brunch at Yards Bruncheon on Sunday. This was my first trip to Yards and, though it was busy, I was pleased with my overall experience. The dining area is small-ish but clean and trendy and the food was great. I tried chorizo and egg tacos that were kind of messy but very tasty. I also got to wave and make funny faces at my cheekiest cousin who happens to work there. Any opportunity to harass her is a plus in my book.

As if all that wasn’t enough last week, I also fit in two epic shopping trips. The first started at Northwest Seed and Pet (where I did not buy a giant tortoise), moved on to Petsmart (where I did buy some 100 watt basking lights), hopped over to Total Wine and More (where I got myself some tasty cherry sake), strolled on in to HobbyTown (where I considered science kits that may or may not be suitable for my six-year-old nephew), and ended at Safeway (where I bought soup because it’s been cold lately and dang it I want soup when it’s cold!).

My second big shopping excursion of the week was thrift store themed. Along with my tiny/tall roommate and her tiny/not tall mom we started at Value Village where we happily bought shirts and snarked about ugly sweaters, moved on to the Arc of Spokane store where we got blazers and scarves and marveled at the organizational methods used for the clothes, headed up to Goodwill on Third where we were disgruntled to see some other girls playing our snarky clothes game, and ended at Goodwill on 27th where we got some candles, dresses, and wind chimes (which the tiny/not tall mom may or may not have grabbed from someone else – we weren’t with her when she got them so we may never know). It was fun and super thrifty but also exhausting. I just don’t marathon shop as well as I used to back in the day.

And THAT will wrap it up for this week folks. I’ll be back in a week or so to talk about hilariously bad giant snake movies, celebrating Halloween with some laughs, and lovely live music. To pass the time until I return why don’t you head out for some adventures of your own? If you’re lucky you might see me bouncing around town while you’re out there (and if you can find me I’ll give you a prize)!

– Mia V.

This week’s Adventures in Spokane brought to you by:
Scarywood Haunted Nights (Silverwood)
Thai Bamboo
Miguel’s Mexican Restaurant
The Yards Bruncheon
Sushi Maru
Northwest Seed and Pet
Value Village
Arc of Spokane Thrift Store

Featured Pet: Percy #9041

percyadopted copyMeet Our Pet of the Week!

Name: Percy #9041

Breed: Shih Tzu

Likes: cuddling, playing, going for walks, eating dinner, kisses, lap time

Dislikes: being left alone for long periods of time, diets (even though he’s a little heavy and needs to watch what he eats more often)

What He’s Looking for in a Family: any size family is fine by him as long as everyone has time to devote to him

Extra extra: Percy is already neutered and has no current health issues BUT he is getting older and will need good food and regular vet visits (he could also use thorough bathing on a regular basis)

Adoption Fee: $87.04 (includes micro-chipping and licensing)

Frightening Statistics: Keeping Your Pets Safe This Halloween!

Classic-Jack-o-Lantern1Halloween is supposed to be fun and a little frightening, but the holiday can turn downright scary if your pet runs away.

Sudden noises and strange-looking costumes can spook your pet, causing them to bolt through the open door.  The best idea is to always adorn your pet with a collar and identification tag, along with microchipping them.

“If you haven’t already licensed and microchipped your pet, now is the time – especially your cat,” said Nancy Hill, the Regional Director of SCRAPS.  “SCRAPS reunites about 60% of dogs with their owners.  That statistic for cats is only about 3% due to the lack of licensing and microchipping in cats.”

scaredycatHere are some extra precautions to take this Halloween:

  • Gauge your pet’s typical reaction while greeting visitors and decide if putting up a baby gate or leaving your dog or cat in a back room of the house would keep them calmer throughout the evening.
  • Your pet’s Halloween garb should not constrict his movement or hearing, or impede his ability to breathe, bark or meow. Be sure to try on costumes in advance—and if your furry friend seems distressed, you’ll want to ditch the mini-pirate hat and vest.
  • That bowl of candy is for trick-or-treaters, not for Scruffy and Fluffy.  Chocolate in all forms — especially dark or baking chocolate — can be very dangerous for dogs and cats.  Candies containing the artificial sweetener xylitol can also cause problems.
  • A carved pumpkin certainly is festive, but do exercise caution if you choose to add a candle. Pets can easily knock a lit pumpkin over and cause a fire. Curious kittens especially run the risk of getting burned or singed by candle flames.


SOURCE – SCRAPS press release, October 21, 2014

Adventures in Spokane, part 37: Where I Get New Ink, Experience Crunchiness, and Stuff My Face with Korean Food

AdventuresInSpokaneI don’t know what you were up to last Saturday but I was in Post Falls at Skinny Boy getting a new tattoo.


I love new tattoo day. It’s one of my favorites, right after new tortoise day and new book day and new boots day.

grammatattooAlmost a year ago I lost my Gramma and I’ve intended all along to get a memorial tattoo around the anniversary of her passing. When the Promotions Manager told me she wanted to check out Skinny Boy Tattoo because they a) had an artist experienced in doing water color style tattoos (which she was eager to get) and 2) had a ‘name your price as long as it is reasonable’ deal going for the month of October, I was happy to tag along with her. I’ve been in the market for a new regular artist ever since moving to Spokane and while I’ve visited a couple that I liked, I’m still looking for one I trust enough to touch up my older tattoos and work on new pieces for me.



I ended up seeing Raymond, owner of Skinny Boy, who’s been tattooing for 26 years and who I’m happy to report certainly seems to know his stuff. My new tattoo is relatively simple – just some cherry blossoms in purple and green (TheGramma’s fave colors) on my foot – but I wanted it to be similar to the memorial tattoo on my other foot that I got ten years ago after my stepfather passed away. Not having a stencil to work from, Raymond had to freehand the design right on my skin, which looked a bit messy but seemed to work as the finished product is AWESOME. I’m so happy with it I can’t stop talking about it. I’m sure it’s gotten pretty obnoxious at this point.

Oh well.

The PromoManager’s tattoo also turned out excellent, in case you were wondering. Watercolor style is relatively new and I’ve seen some examples online that were less than stellar but Brittney knew what she was doing. Here’s a quick MiaTip to keep in mind if/when getting your own tattoos: RESEARCH  YOUR ARTIST BEFORE GETTING A TATTOO. ESPECIALLY if you want a very specific style or a custom design. Not all tattoo artists are created equal and if you don’t take the time to figure that out you may regret it. (For some other things to keep in mind when getting a tattoo check this out.)

Anyhoo, so moving on (because I could just sit and talk about tattoos all day but that would probably get boring after a while), what else have I been up to in the last couple of weeks? I’m so glad you asked!

chairsI hit Borracho up for meals twice. I tried their new Crunchy Wrap, which is like the Taco Bell Crunch Wrap Supreme only better and with a ‘y’. The thing was HUGE and full of beans and pork and pico and cheese and it came with salsa but I ordered queso to dip it in because QUESO. Also it had a side of chips and chips NEED queso. It’s like a thing.

I met with my fellow local Modified Dolls to plan some charity events for the next few months (including a benefit show at Underground 15 on November 29th for House of Charity and Second Harvest so BE THERE). We congregated at Chairs Public House, which was full of chairs, and in between important planning discussions I harassed the bartender a bit. He makes these awesome looking drinks based on Disney Princesses and I want to make the Maleficent but I haven’t been able to get my hands on black Vodka so I had to give him a hard time. He took it pretty well though and managed to snark back at me like a pro. I always appreciate such things in my bartenders.

kimskoreanI also hit up Uncle D’s for some Open Mic comedy for the first time in a month or so. It seemed quieter than normal and I don’t know if that is a fall related thing or what, but most of the regular Open Mic comedians were there and I was with friends so I still had a good time. Before going to the club we all stopped for dinner at Kim’s Korean up on Division. The space is tiny, there are doilies on all the chairs, and our table didn’t seem big enough to hold everything we ordered BUT the food was amazing. A friend who spent time teaching English in South Korea took responsibility for ordering and we all shared the amazingly tasty dishes.

So tasty. I can’t even remember the name of everything we ate but it was all good. We left completely stuffed and happy.

Well that seems like enough babbling today. I’m gonna wrap up this installment of Adventures in Spokane on that tasty note. I’ll be back in a week or so to talk about Halloween parties, riffing giant snakes, and comic conventions. To pass the time until I return why don’t you head out for some adventures of your own? If you’re lucky you might see me bouncing around town while you’re out there (and if you can find me I’ll give you a prize)!

– Mia V.

This week’s Adventures in Spokane brought to you by:
Skinny Boy Tattoo & Body Piercing Clinic
Borracho Tacos & Tequileria
The Modified Dolls WA Chapter
Chairs Public House
Uncle D’s Comedy Underground
Kim’s Korean Restaurant

Featured Pet: Leibchen #8827

leibchenadoptedMeet Our Pet of the Week!

Name: Leibchen #8827

Breed: German Wirehaired Pointer

Likes: lazy afternoons, hikes in nature, smelling and pointing at things, hanging with my family

Dislikes: loud noises, rough and tumble behavior, skipping meals

What She’s Looking for in a Family: a family of older adults or adults and mature children

Extra extra: Leibchen needs a diet of good food while she continues to gain back weight

Adoption Fee: $87.04 (includes micro-chipping and licensing)

ThisTV Movie Review: The Crow-Salvation

1347697681To start off I think it is important to admit that this movie was not nearly as bad as I thought it would be. While definitely not as good as the first one, it wasn’t close to as dumb as the fourth one (you can read my review of that crow-shaped turkey here). Eric Mabius was fun in the role of back-from-the-dead vengeance-seeking hero-type, and the story (while basically the same as the first film) had some good moments of its own. I’d go so far as to say I’d even watch this again voluntarily … if it was on TV and nothing else was on and I’d had a drink or three and wanted a nice eyeful of Eric Mabius.

The plot of The Crow(3)-Salvation basically breaks down like this: Alex has a date with the electric chair after being convicted of the murder of his girlfriend Lauren. He maintains he didn’t do it (and we kinda know he’s telling the truth since he’s the hero and all) but no one believes him and soon he’s off to meet his maker. Only a magical little birdy swoops in to change his destiny instead. Soon undead Alex is out to destroy the lives of those that destroyed HIS life. Turns out it was all part of a conspiracy full of crooked cops, twisted taxidermists, and … I’m out of alliterative things to say. Between flashbacks of his lost love, run-ins with his lost love’s sister, and taking the time for some art therapy (crows in glass! crows in blood! we’ve got crows in every format you can think of!), Alex eventually carves his bloody path to vengeance.

moviescrow302Remember how when I reviewed The Crow (didn’t read that review? check it out here) I said part of what helped keep it from getting campy was the sparse dialogue and lack of obvious exposition? Unfortunately I can’t say the same for Crow:Salvation. Exposition is pretty much hurled at the audience in the first few minutes of the movie, as if filmmakers were worried no one would care about anything if they didn’t shove as much back-story and explanation down your throat as possible. And the way the epic romance between Alex and Lauren is presented – in flashbacks just like the first film – is downright cheesy. Lots of spinning and swooping camera motions and kissing for long periods of time in a junkyard. You see one almost conversation, one ugly fight, and more spinny kissing, and you are supposed to believe that it is a love powerful enough to bring someone back from the dead to avenge it when it’s taken away? Hrm, not quite.

I did quite enjoy Eric Mabius’ take on Alex/The Crow (though I would never call the character that cause it sounds silly), and not just because I think the actor is adorable. Alex is a young man with a hard life who was convicted of something he’d never do. He is brutally executed (and I like the way they use his electrocution to mess up his face, instead of using more mime makeup) and comes back angry and crazed and also more than a little bit sad. He has no problem killing those that have done him and his girlfriend wrong BUT also takes time out to make a few jokes, play a little chess, and help Lauren’s sister come to grips with all the crap life has thrown at her (and boy is she gonna need therapy after finding out her dad was a crook, her sister’s boyfriend was wrongfully accused, her family friend is a psychopath, and she was horribly miscast with Kirsten Dunst).

kinopoisk.ruI did NOT enjoy the way the baddies seemed to catch on to the fact that Alex was back via crow/vengeance magic. Why would it ever occur to anyone that such a thing was even possible? Where are these myths that everyone seems to be reading that explain this stuff to them? And if that dang bird is so important and necessary to keeping the magic going, WHY does it keep hanging out where it is so easy to injure or kill? Seems like poor planning on the crow’s part. I also got a little annoyed with Alex’s swanky new super powers. At one point he pretty much flies (in the shape of the arty crow he keeps leaving all over his murder scenes) off a building and I just laughed. Why would he need super powers when he is already a walking, talking, dead guy who can bounce back from shooting himself in the head?

Anyway, so to wrap up let’s take a moment to consider who wore their soundtrack better, as the soundtrack is an important component to any film in The Crow franchise. I think the one for Crow:Salvation is pretty on par as that from the first film. Filter, Stabbing Westward, The Flys, Crystal Method, and even a little Danzig help set the tone for this graphic and violent trip through nightmare land. I especially liked Rob Zombie’s ‘Living Dead Girl’ during the car chase scene. It was fun. Dark and twisted, but fun just the same.

– Mia V.


The Crow:Salvation, 2000
Starring Eric Mabius, Kirsten Dunst, Fred Ward
Directed by Bharat Nalluri
Written by James O’Barr (original comic series), Chip Johannessen

*Watch The Crow-Salvation on ThisTV: Wednesday 10/15 at 9p and Saturday 10/25 at 7p!


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ThisTV Movie Review: TheCrow-Wicked Prayer

The-Crow-Wicked-Prayer-dvdTara Reid as a satanic priestess, ya’ll.

I am not making this up.

The Crow:Wicked Prayer has Tara Reid as a satanic priestess, and Eddie Furlong (Terminator 2 was a LONG time ago) as an ex-con named after a beer, and David Boreanaz (really Agent Booth, come on now, was it necessary to take this role?) as Death because who knows why, and Danny Trejo which should automatically make this film awesome but doesn’t.

You heard that right. Danny Trejo can not help this film.

Expository text all over the screen in the first few minutes can’t help it either. Nice try movie, but no. Just no.

The plot to the The Crow(4)-Wicked Prayer basically breaks down like this: Lily and Jimmy are in love. Lily is a shaman of her Native American tribe, Jimmy is a loser who lives in a trailer full of feathers and scorpions and talks too much to his dog. Not surprisingly they both end up dead (this is a Crow film, after all). Luc and Lola are Satanists on a mission to bring about hell on earth (or something). They steal Lily’s eyes and Jimmy’s heart and then take themselves on a murder spree full of leather pants and silly masks and lots of moments where they look a little bit unsure of their nefarious plans. Within an hour or so of being offed, Jimmy is up-and-at-em again, donning his own goth outfit to fit in with the cool kids and going on a murder spree of his own.

crowefIt’s pretty much the same plot as all the other Crow movies, though with its desert setting and magical/mystical undercurrent, it does feel different than the other movies in the series. There is sunshine – SUNSHINE – of all things, and a lot more backstory and plot development – or at least a lot more attempts at them. There is actually quite a bit less graphic violence and gore and boobs (Crow:Salvation has a lot of boobs for boobs’ sake) so I’m thinking this was a direct-to-TV flick. Not that I NEEDED to see Tara Reid cut out some chick’s eyes, but considering how bloody Crow:Salvation got, I was expecting a higher body count and a bit more blood.

I was kind of expecting a better story as well, though I don’t know why when the quality of films in this franchise has been going down since the second one (though City of Angels would be my fave of the later movies). Part of what makes the very first Crow film and story so good is the lack of excess nonsense. It’s a story about a dead guy who comes back with the help of a magic bird to wreak vengeance on those that have done him wrong. A dark fairytale and ghost story wrapped into one, by explaining things too much it loses some of (or in the case of Crow:Wicked Prayer most of) its magic. Jimmy doesn’t come back just because he lost the love of his life. He comes back because a butthole in tight pants with a chip on his shoulder literally stole his heart. He comes back because dark magic is afoot and mystical business is taking place and he didn’t have much else to do on a Friday night. I’m not saying being strung up and watching your girl killed and then being killed yourself doesn’t give you a reason to go on a vengeance kick. I’m just saying there is too much going on around it to make it seem as intense as it could have been.

crowick1And speaking of ruining the intensity of the story, now some quick thoughts on the wardrobe. David Boreanaz is not a bad lookin’ fella, but fish net shirts are flattering to no one. And Edward Furlong all tricked out as The Crow, with his long hair and delicate features and black choker, just looks like a goth chick who got lost on her way to the Hot Topic.

We’ll end with which Crow film wore the soundtrack better! This installment in The Crow franchise doesn’t seem to rely much on an actual soundtrack. The score is pretty dang good though. Lots of Latin influence, and a similar ‘love theme’ to that found in the first and third film. I dug it. At least until the end credits. The song that plays during those is just awful. I wish I could wash the memory of that right out of my ears. Almost as bad as that from Rambo:First Blood but not quite (few end themes can rival that for worst song ever to finish a movie on).

– Mia V.

The Crow:Wicked Prayer, 2005
Starring Edward Furlong, David Boreanaz, Tara Reid
Directed by Lance Muniga
Written by James O’Barr (original comic series), Norman Partridge (novel), Lance Muniga (screenplay)

*Watch The Crow-Wicked Prayer on ThisTV: Wednesday 10/15 at 11p and Saturday 10/25 at 9p!

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ThisTV Movie Review: The Crow

thecrowBack in the 90’s The Crow was THE romantic movie to beat all romantic movies. Though it was dark and bloody and violent and rainy (so rainy) and though the only really romantic stuff happened in flashbacks and visions, it still caused a generation of girls to swoon. How could they not, when the heart of the story was a man pulled from death to wreak graphically violent vengeance on those that had killed him and his one true love?

The plot of The Crow basically breaks down like this: Shelly and Eric are madly in love and going to get married on Halloween, which makes perfect sense when you see the dark gothic world they seem to live in. But not everyone is all about their happily-ever-after, and a gang of dirty thugs with stupid names take it upon themselves to leave the young couple dead dead dead before they ever get to say “I do.” One year later Eric pops out of the ground like a spring flower, only much paler and crazier. Led by a magic bird (because why not) he picks off the dirty thugs one by one, while also taking a bit of time to himself so he can play the guitar, dispense advice, hang out with a cop, and do some thematic art.


This is a film that could easily fall to campiness and silliness (the main character is running around in leather pants and electrical tape with his face painted up like a mime, after all, and spawned a billion Halloween and cosplay costumes) and what may save it is sparse dialogue with little Big Bad monologue-ing or unnecessary exposition and a great 90’s soundtrack. Nine Inch Nails, Stone Temple Pilots, Pantera, Rollins Band, and a haunting score by Graeme Revell elevate scenes (even the almost goofy ones) to more memorable and emotionally profound levels. The music matches the mood. It matches the main character’s anger and pain and longing. It matches the rainy city and the dirty buildings and the ugly people who populate this world.

thecrow2The Crow is a dark movie, and not just in content. Most of the action takes place at night, in the rain, in a city that could beat Gotham for being gritty and crime-ridden and sunless. This is not a film for happy endings or happy characters or even happy music BUT it knows that about itself and it runs with it. It doesn’t try to be anything more than what it is – a tale of love and death and vengeance. The main character is not a super hero, even though he’s a walking talking dead man who bounces back from getting shot or stabbed or blown up. He isn’t looking for redemption and he isn’t taking out the bad guys to make the world a better place. He’s in it for revenge, pure and simple, and once he gets it he’s done.

It’s really such a simple premise. It’s really such a simple film. It starts with death (and Ernie Hudson) and it ends with death (and Ernie Hudson). Maybe that’s what makes this film work. As I said before it could so easily fall to campiness. It is a love story with all of the love bits taking place in flashbacks. You know that love story is important because the film tells you it is important. You see the main character’s pain when he first comes back from the dead. You see it when he touches other characters and gets flashes of his love’s last moments. You see it when he wails on his guitar in the rain on a roof and then smashes the instrument into tiny pieces. By the time Shelley and Eric have been properly avenged and the end credits begin to roll you know you have witnessed a great love and a great romance … even if you really just spent the last hour and a half watching people die in ever more violent and creative ways.


– Mia V.

The Crow, 1994
Starring Brandon Lee, Ernie Hudson, Michael Wincott, Rochelle Davis
Directed by Alex Proyas
Written by James O’Barr (original comic book series), David J Schow (screenplay)


*Watch The Crow on ThisTV: Wednesday 10/15 at 7p and Saturday 10/25 at 5p!

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Featured Pet: Titan #8404

titanadoptedMeet Our Pet of the Week!

Name: Titan #8404

Breed: Mixed breed (hound/Pit mix)

Likes: cuddling, head scratches, long walks, big meals, playing fetch, stretching out on the couch til all available space is completely taken up

Dislikes: small couches or beds or anyplace really that isn’t big enough to hold him AND his favorite people/cuddle buddies

What He’s Looking for in a Family: any size family is fine with him, in fact the more the merrier! BUT families with small children should keep his size in mind

Extra extra: there are no special needs for this big boy!

Adoption Fee: $87.04 (includes micro-chipping and licensing)

ThisTV Movie Review: Murders in the Rue Morgue

ruemorgue3Not a fan of Edgar Allan Poe? Never read Murders in the Rue Morgue before? That may actually be for the best if you want to enjoy this film. Not that the film itself is terrible BUT its connection to the source material is rather flimsy at best.

The short story is actually a clever little mystery, with a shut-in detective and a gruesome murder and an ‘ourang-outang’ cause why the heck not. It isn’t Poe’s creepiest story (I’m going with The Pit and the Pendulum for that one) but it’s an interesting read and certainly has enough plot to make a movie.

So why does the 1971 film version of Murders in the Rue Morgue have so much else going on?

ruemorgueThe plot of Murders in the Rue Morgue basically breaks down like this: It’s Paris at the turn of the century and everything is decadent and frilly and kicky and there’s lots of wine and fishnet stockings and champagne. Cesar (Jason Robards) runs a theater troupe performing a murder play at the Rue Morgue (I see what you did there movie) and – surprise surprise – real murders start happening. Bodies start turning up with acid burned faces, a guy that looks a lot like that fella from Phantom of the Opera flits around the city, swishing his cape and causing mayhem wherever he goes, and Cesar soon comes under suspicion of offing his ex-lovers and the ex -members of his troupe. Could a dead man be behind the deaths? Could a young woman’s dreams be more than just the stressed out nightmares of a stalking victim? Could the wardrobe department have possibly found any floatier, rufflier dresses?

So the original short story had a couple of murders, and a detective, and an ape. The film version has a theater and a bunch of acid and dead people all over the place and a pissed off crazy person and some long dream sequences and an ax and a guy in a monkey suit and another guy in a monkey suit and a sinister plot twist you kind of see coming about a mile away. Obviously if you’re looking for a spot-on adaptation of Edgar Allan Poe’s story this is not the movie for you.

ruemorgue2IF, however, you’re looking for a very 70’s horror film with lots of splashy red/orange blood and poofy 70’s hair and bright colors even in dark dungeons and a hint of synthesizer music in inappropriate places, this is definitely the movie for you.

As I said before, Murders in the Rue Morgue isn’t a terrible film. It has a definite creepy vibe and a good who-dunnit undertone. It works very hard to make you believe you know who is behind all the badness and why they’re on a rampage of violent murdery destruction. If you’ve watched enough thriller/horror/mystery films you’ll have a good idea what is really going on well before you get to the end (which is definitely a good bit of horror fun) BUT you’ll still applaud the filmmakers for their effort.

– Mia V.

Murders in the Rue Morgue, 1971
Starring Jason Robards, Herbert Lom, Christine Kaufmann
Directed by Gordon Hessler
Written by Christopher Wicking (screenplay), Edgar Allan Poe (story)

*Watch Murders in the Rue Morgue on ThisTV: Tuesday 10/7 at 11am and Sunday 10/12 at 1pm!

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ThisTV Movie Review: Swamp Thing

swampthing“Not long ago, in the unexplored reaches of the unmapped swamp, the creative genius of one man collided with another’s evil dream and a monster was born.”
“Say hello to your boyfriend baby!” – famous last words from bandana wearing guy

Not all superheroes are created equal. Some can fly and turn back time and force the truth from liars and build super suits and destroy crime rings from the top down. And then some are green and rubbery and growly and spend most of their time punching and throwing guys around. They only hang out in the swamp and are only effective against very specific bad guys, BUT they can at least heal wounds with green glowy magic AND regrow their own limbs JUST LIKE A PLANT!

I’m not sure the Swamp Thing even really counts as a ‘superhero’ but as he does have a dramatic backstory that gave him his powers and he fights bad guys on a regular basis AND he has terrible relationship luck, he seems pretty superhero-ish to me. So I’m gonna go ahead and categorize him that way.

swampthing2The plot of Swamp Thing basically breaks down like this: Sexy but tough government agent Cable (Adrienne Barbeau) travels down to the swamps to help out with security on a secret government project where sexy and kind of ADHD scientist Holland (Ray Wise) is inventing … something green and glowy. Unfortunately Holland’s nemesis Arcane (Louis Jourdan) will stop at nothing to get his hands on that green glowy … whatever it is (some kind of plant/animal hybrid goo I think?) It isn’t long after Cable’s arrival that things go seriously pear-shaped. People die, science labs blow up, Holland seems to die a flame-y awful death, and Cable begins a long series of chases and getting captured and escaping and chases and getting captured and on and on. Seriously this chasing through the swamp business goes on FOREVER. Eventually Arcane gets his hands on the glowy green formula, Cable, AND the mysterious hero-monster-Holland-shaped-viney thing that has popped up and been fighting off his henchmen. The climax boils down to a less than epic battle of monster versus monster where only one silly rubbery creature can survive.

Honestly the plot of the first Swamp Thing movie is (wafer) thin. Not that the plot of the sequel film is that much better but it does have mutants and Heather Locklear and teenagers with dirty magazines and even more chasing and some kind of mysterious backstory so even though it is campy and ridiculous it still has more going for it than this movie. ALL this one has is running and driving and boating and running and getting captured and escaping and getting captured and escaping. Oh and Adrienne Barbeau’s breasts, which I believe was a pretty big draw in 1982 when this movie came out.

swampthing4Unfortunately Swamp Thing (at least in this movie adaptation) is a silly super hero and he’s fighting against a silly super villain. Arcane spends so much time hunting down Holland’s super ‘formula’ and for what? Turns out he is just looking for the secret to immortality and he thinks the green glowy stuff is going to give it to him. And by the way, can I just say that I spent a lot of years thinking scientists spent all their time on important ‘formulas’ specifically because of the importance placed on that word in this movie. He takes the ‘formula’ even after finding out the truth of how it works (which actually doesn’t make any sense AT ALL but I guess we can overlook the believability of the science involved when it is coming from a giant talking plant) and then is the only one surprised that it turns him into a rubbery, furry, man-bear-pig* kind of beast. Then he proceeds to have the most old school video game looking fight EVER with Swamp Thing and any intent to take this film seriously that may have been left just flies right out the window.

– Mia V.

Swamp Thing, 1982
Starring Ray Wise, Adrienne Barbeau, Louis Jordan
Directed by Wes Craven
Written by Wes Craven (screenplay), Len Wein (comic book)

*Watch Swamp Thing on ThisTV: Tuesday 10/21 at 3p and Saturday 10/25 at 9a!

Adventures in Spokane, part 36: Where I Become Undead, Sing for First Friday, and Celebrate Old Age

AdventuresInSpokaneIf you were wandering around downtown this last weekend you may have noticed an influx of dead people shambling about from bar to bar. Don’t worry, Spokane wasn’t suddenly hit by one of those pesky viruses that cause the dead to rise from their graves in search of tasty brains to devour. It was just the Spokane Zombie Crawl infiltrating the city for its second year.

Never one to let an opportunity to dress up in costume pass me by, I took part in this year’s zombie-themed escapades with my awesome big sister as my partner in crime. We checked in at Nyne fashionably late and then hurried down to Sapphire Lounge to have a drink, grab our first button of the evening, and get zombie makeup applied by the amazing Kelly-Lynch Chevalier. We hit up Brooklyn Nights next for zombie shots and to listen to a bit of karaoke, then hustled our way down to The Wave where Fox28’s own webmaster was serving as karaoke DJ. Though he did not have Oingo Boingo’s Dead Man’s Party available for us to sing, we gave Rob Zombie’s Living Dead Girl our best shot (and also had a few Jell-o shots while we were there).

zombiecrawl14Three bars does not a pub crawl make, so we shambled our undead selves across the street to Underground 15 (who by the way I think had the best buttons of the crawl) for a beer and a zombie shot and to listen to some live music. After that it was around the corner toward Irv’s, but first we were sidetracked by some delicious (and enormous) ‘brain’ donuts (apple fritters with raspberry) from the Dawn of the Donut truck. By the time we’d devoured our delicious treats and made it in to Club Red at Irv’s their zombie drag show was in full swing and we got to see the ever delightful Nova Kaine sing Black Velvet and shimmy herself up a fireman’s pole. The Sister and I managed to hit up Lucky’s and Bowl’z before we were ready to call it a night. Sure we were three bars short of completing the crawl BUT we had already had a lot of drinks, met a lot of very cool people, seen a lot of stuff, heard a lot of music, and eaten our weight in donuts (seriously those fritters are HUGE). We were good with calling it a night. AND we will definitely be participating again next year.

Of course zombie crawlin’ wasn’t the ONLY thing I got up to over the weekend. In case you missed it (and I don’t know how you could when we were talking it up online and on air) Friday was the first auditions for Singing In the New Year, our karaoke-style competition held on New Year’s Eve down at First Night Spokane. I went along with our Promotions Manager down to IMAX Riverfront Park to give up the Fox28 support and quite enjoyed listening to the 17 contestants belt out their favorite songs. Most of them didn’t even need to the lyrics on the screen to sing their songs, they knew them so well. There were some great costumes, some great dancers, some great audience interaction, and some really great singers. I’m looking forward to seeing what kind of talent the next two auditions present (taking place on First Friday in November and December).

singinginnyoctoberAfter the auditions I wandered through Riverfront Park and ended up at the mall where I had myself some tasty eats at Sushi Maru. It was packed and I had to wait for a table but I wasn’t really in a hurry so didn’t mind. The orange chicken, spicy California rolls, fresh Dragon rolls, and delectable seared salmon made it all worth it anyway. I could probably just sit there eating seared salmon and be perfectly content, but that would be rude to the other customers so I’ve never given in to the temptation.

And if all of that wasn’t enough this weekend, I also managed to fit in a birthday dinner for my dear ol’ dad at the Old Spaghetti Factory. I even paid, cause I’m awesome like that. The shrimp artichoke dip appetizer was very tasty on crunchy bread and my angel hair pomodora pasta was delicious. I also ordered an adult cherry limeade to go with, but wasn’t as impressed with that as the rest of my dinner. It tasted too sweet, I think, and reminded me more of cough syrup than a tasty cocktail. I think it might have been the low calorie liquor that was used in its creation that was the problem. Anyway, other than that I really enjoyed dinner. We sat back in the bar and didn’t even have to wait for a table and the food came out relatively quickly for how busy the restaurant was. That is always a plus.

So that about wraps it up for this thrilling installment of Adventures in Spokane! It’s hard to top zombies, sushi, karaoke, and birthdays, after all. I’ll be back next week (or the week after) to talk about planning meetings, tantalizing trivia, and secret horror films. To pass the time until I return why don’t you head out for some adventures of your own? If you’re lucky you might see me bouncing around town while you’re out there (and if you can find me I’ll give you a prize)!

– Mia V.

This week’s Adventures in Spokane brought to you by:
Spokane Zombie Crawl
Nyne Bar and Bistro
Sapphire Lounge
Brooklyn Nights
The Wave
Underground 15
Dawn of the Donut
Irv’s and Club Red
Bowlz Bitez and Spiritz
Singing in the New Year
IMAX Riverfront Park
Sushi Maru
Old Spaghetti Factory

Featured Pet: Tressa #7524

tressacollageMeet Our Pet of the Week!

Name: Tressa #7524

Breed: Mixed breed (Lab mix)

Likes: hugs, long walks, sniffing things, cuddling, meeting new people, exploring, did we mention cuddling and hugs?

Dislikes: being left alone for long periods of time, bad weather that keeps her from going for walks

What She’s Looking for in a Family: any size family is fine with her as she is very sweet and good-mannered

Extra extra: there are no special needs for this lovely lady, as she has adapted wonderfully after her surgery

Adoption Fee: $87.04 (includes micro-chipping and licensing)

ThisTV Movie Review: Hannibal

Hannibal_movie_posterNot all thrillers are created equal. Sometimes they just aren’t as thrilling, or scary, or complex, or dark, or thought-provoking as you hope they will be. Sometimes they are based on a book that is good, but not quite as good as the book that came before in the series, and sometimes they lose a lot from page to screen that doesn’t keep them from becoming kind of … campy. Sometimes even though the cast is awesome and trying the hardest they can to make the material better, it just doesn’t happen.

Sometimes a thriller is Hannibal, the sequel film (and book) to classic thriller/horror/drama film (and book) Silence of the Lambs.

The plot of Hannibal basically breaks down like this: It’s been a decade since the events of Silence of the Lambs and in that time a lot has changed. Clarice Starling has not only grown to be a hardened veteran of the FBI, she’s managed to transform into Julianne Moore! Hannibal Lecter is still gallivanting around the world played by Anthony Hopkins, but he’s left his asylum garb behind for swanky hats and dapper jackets, and his pre-incarceration life as a psychiatrist behind for the life of a curator to an Italian document library. Just how will these two crazy kids find each other again? Well…after some hard knocks hannibal-645-75come to Clarice’s career she finds herself back on the Lecter case and trying to hunt him down on the other side of the world. Hannibal is being chased by nosey Italian policemen who want a giant reward, as well as creepy former victims who are still smarting at the loss of their innocence – and face. Soon bloody violence, man-eating pig mayhem, and the dinner to end all dinners work to throw Clarice and Hannibal “The Cannibal” back together.

I hate to be THAT person and say a book was better than its movie, and really the Hannibal film isn’t terrible (especially compared to Hannibal Rising, which is so awful I completely forgot I paid to see it in a theater when it first came out). It’s just … not as good. So much had to be left out to make it all fit within a couple of hours. The loss is obvious. And the ending. Grrrr. The ending is completely different. I know a lot of people were angered by the ending of the book, but personally I found it a lot creepier and more fitting with the tone of the story. It is a rough ending to accept but the whole premise is rough to begin with. And maybe it seems to detract from the strength of the main character BUT I never found her to be that strong of a heroine to begin with.

Hannibal_2001_movie_picture_6Clarice Starling is a damaged individual who wants to paint the world in blacks and whites and stop bad guys because once upon a time she lost the person she loved most to a bad guy. She is broken before the story ever begins, even when she puts on her Game Face and meets Hannibal Lecter for the first time. She’s all naïve self-righteousness in Silence of the Lambs, and ten years later in Hannibal she’s hard and bitter and tired and still self-righteous but that self-righteousness is breaking down. It isn’t such a jump of logic to believe that she’d do what she ends up doing at the end of the book (which I will be good and not spoiler because I think everyone should just go out and read the book and then come back and let me know what you thought).

– Mia V.

Hannibal, 2001
Starring Julianne Moore, Anthony Hopkins, Gary Oldman, Ray Liotta
Directed by Ridley Scott
Written by David Mamet (screenplay), Thomas Harris (novel)

*Watch Hannibal on ThisTV: Saturday October 11th at 7:30pm and Friday October 31st at 9:30pm!

ThisTV Movie Review: Silence of the Lambs

MV5BMTQ2NzkzMDI4OF5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTcwMDA0NzE1NA@@._V1_SX640_SY720_“It rubs the lotion on Its skin or else It gets the hose again.” – Buffalo Bill
“Here sir, use mine.” – (famous last words) Lt. Boyle

The first time I saw Silence of the Lambs I was about 10 years old and my mother wasn’t home so I was sneaking in a viewing. The only way my little sister would let me get away with it was if I fast-forwarded through a lot of the scenes (fast forward – for all you youngins out there – is something you’d do with video tapes to skip ahead, and since I don’t have time to explain obsolete media formats for you all we are just gonna move on now).

I’ll admit, you miss a lot of the important stuff when you fast forward through a movie. And when you have to deal with a nagging younger sister who keeps threatening to tattle on you if you watch more than about five minutes of the movie at a time (I’ll also admit that it is AWESOME when said nagging sister gets grossed out because you stop fast forwarding at the exact moment someone is graphically murdered – timing is everything girls and boys!).

I could tell that Silence of the Lambs was creepy, and that people died in it, and that people in suits were very intense, but that was about the gist of what my 10-year-old brain understood. It was some years later, when I finally saw the movie in its entirety, that the full impact of the story, acting, and direction really got to me.

the_silence_of_the_lambsThe plot of Silence of the Lambs basically breaks down like this: Young comely FBI agent-in-training Clarice Starling (played by Jodi Foster) is chosen to try and weed out information on a notorious new serial killer from previous notorious serial killer Hannibal “The Cannibal” Lecter (Anthony Hopkins). She’s all fresh-faced innocence trying to be steely and tough, he’s all classy intensity with a psychotic edge. It’s basically a match made in horror movie heaven! Clarice bares her soul, Hannibal bares his teeth, the serial killer dances about in a suit made of human skin, and eventually an epic showdown in a dark and creepy basement leads to a less than happily-ever-after ending.

So what can I saw about this film that hasn’t been said a thousand times before? Well probably not a whole lot. But I’ll lay down a few thoughts anyway.

I think that Silence of the Lambs is a practically perfect thriller. And one of the main reasons I think that is because I’ve seen it at least two dozen times now and yet it never gets old. I never get bored. I try to watch it as background noise while doing something else and find myself sucked in every time. I notice new things about it every time. It is just that freaking good.

silence2Buffalo Bill is a creepy serial killer. He blew my mind the first time I saw the movie all the way through, but he blew my mind even more when I was older and had done some reading up on real-life serial killers and realized he was based on people that actually existed (Ted Bundy and Ed Gein in case you don’t have the extensive serial killer knowledge that I have somehow ended up with). That adds a whole new dimension to my emotional response to watching him. It’s one thing to watch a Big Bad safely in the knowledge that no one that awful could exist in real life. It is quite another to watch him and know that someone (two someones even!) in real life did exist and did do those horrible things.

I am a big fan of Manhunter, the first film version of Red Dragon, which also features Hannibal Lecter in all his sauve and sadistic glory. His seemingly weak and naïve foil in that story is Will Graham, a former FBI profiler with the distinct honor (if you can call it that) of being the man that caught (almost accidentally) – and was almost killed by – Hannibal Lecter. Watching Silence of the Lambs again after Manhunter it is very obvious how similar the Clarice Starling and Will Graham characters are. They are both so empathetic, both so desirous of catching Big Bads because it is the RIGHT THING TO DO. They both want to SAVE LIVES and MAKE THE WORLD A BETTER PLACE. And they are both incredibly damaged individuals who fall right into Hannibal’s eagerly waiting hands. He wants something to play with, something to pull apart and inspect under a mental microscope. Something he can build up and then damage even further than it already was. With all his cultured knowledge and air of politeness and love of beauty and art, as well as his taste for human flesh and his sudden outbreaks of extreme and graphic violence, he is a much scarier entity than crazy ol’ Buffalo Bill – even with Bill’s skin suit.

– Mia V.


Silence of the Lambs, 1991
Starring Jodie Foster, Anthony Hopkins, Scott Glenn, Ted Levine, Brooke Smith
Directed by Jonathan Demme
Written by Ted Tally (screenplay), Thomas Harris (novel)

*Watch Silence of the Lambs on ThisTV: Saturday October 11th at 5p and Friday October 31st at 7p!


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Adventures in Spokane, part 35: Where I Party for (not)Batman, Miss a Concert, and Serve as a Trophy Girl

AdventuresInSpokaneIt’s very Fall-like outside this morning. Windy and wet and cold. I’m finding it rather depressing myself. How about everyone else? Are you enjoying Autumn? Why? Give me some good reasons to change my mind and stop missing Summer so much. Please?

Anyhoo, I am well aware that it has been forever (or at least a couple of months) since my last blog update. Not, however, since my last great adventure in and around Spokane. August was busy busy busy and September was busy and not so busy and time just seemed to get away from me. I sat down to write about my exploits several times (and I’ve got the half finished posts to prove it) but something else always came up to distract me.

I’m not distracted now though (well not super distracted at any rate) and I’m ready to give a rundown of all the wacky fun I had in the last week or so.

gothamviewingpartyThe Three Rivers Convention Center in Kennewick is a lovely building with swanky couches and pretty decor and a bunch of construction off to one side. I had never been there before but suddenly last week I was there twice. First up on Monday when I helped put on a Gotham/Sleepy Hollow viewing party for Fox11 in the TriCities. The Promotions Manager and I drove over in the afternoon (after a stop at Wal-mart to play with Halloween items and look for raffle tickets and grab tasty snacks), hung out at Fox11 for a little bit, then went over to the convention center to set up.

Guests started showing up early for the party, which I think was a good sign that they were excited for the show premieres. The event itself was a lot of fun. We did a bunch of giveaways of Fox swag, guests ate tasty snacks and drank tasty beverages, and the whole Fox11 crew (including their wonderfully nice news anchor) were in attendance. If you ever get a chance to attend a Fox premiere/finale/viewing party, take it. And I’m not just saying that cause I work here. They actually are a good time.

threeriversconventionThe convention center morphed itself into a different kind of party over the weekend, when the Three Rivers Tattoo Convention took over the space. Local artists as well as some not-so-local artists set up booths and tattooed convention-goers for three days. I attended with The Modified Dolls to raise money for Boys and Girls Club of America, as well as to give out trophies for tattoo contest winners. It was an interesting experience, chatting up visitors about The Modified Dolls, comparing tattoos and tattoo artists with fellow enthusiasts, playing with funny hats in the photobooth, and dealing with con attendees who had been sampling adult beverages from the bar a bit more than they probably should’ve been.

As I get older I find myself a lot less interested in staying out all night long. Even when I’m out with friends I definitely hit a point where it feels really late and I start longing for my bed. But when a friend’s new band – Fear Not the Void – was performing their first show at The Viking on a Saturday night, I was determined to be there. My older sister (who has a kid and a dad and a job with crazy hours) and I got ourselves dressed and to the bar and were only 35 minutes late (and so missed the band we’d come to see) but were still determined to have ourselves a good time. We hung out at The Viking with the band, had some drinks and some conversation, saw some girls dressed as Disney princesses, heard several more great bands, and had ourselves a great ol’ time.

threeriversconvention2Eventually we realized we were starving to death so we headed downtown to The Satellite because it was 1:30am and that is where you go when you are starving at 1:30am on a Saturday night. The place was packed but we wiggled our way into a table and ordered ourselves some cheese fries and breakfast foods and stuffed our faces quiet happily for the next hour. What would the starving drunken Spokane masses do with themselves if The Satellite didn’t exist? Let’s all hope we never find out.

Well that’s all I’ve got time to mention today. I could go back a few more weeks and mention car shows and movie nights and birthday dinners, but my fingers would probably fall off from all the typing and that won’t do any of us any good. Instead I’ll do my very best to be back next week (or the week after) to talk about zombie flavored pub crawls, scary movies, and dinners with the senior folks. To pass the time until I return why don’t you head out for some adventures of your own? If you’re lucky you might see me bouncing around town while you’re out there (and if you can find me I’ll give you a prize)!

– Mia V.

This week’s Adventures in Spokane brought to you by:
Three Rivers Convention Center
Three Rivers Tattoo Convention
The Modified Dolls Washington Chapter
The Viking Bar and Grill
Fear Not the Void
The Satellite Diner

Rabbits, Roosters, and Billy Goats (Oh my!) – Adoption Event at SCRAPS

Animals rescued from a recent seizure in Deer Park are up for adoption at a special event on Wednesday, October 1st from 2 – 6 p.m. at the Spokane County Fairgrounds.

Adults interested in adopting any of these animals as a family pet can come to the Spokane County Fairgrounds through the Broadway entrance.

Currently available for adoption:
60 Rabbits
14 Roosters
2 Billy Goats

bunny billygoats rooster

A $25 adoption fee is requested for rabbits, $10 for roosters and $50 for the Billy goats. The adoption fee helps recover the cost of care and feeding of the animals during their holding period. Donations to the SCRAPS Animal Medical Fund are also greatly appreciated.

The other animals taken in the seizure have been adopted through SCRAPS rescue partners.

SCRAPS Animal Protection Officers executed a search warrant at 503 W. Bridges Road #10 in unincorporated north Spokane County on September 26th. A SCRAPS officer was at the location and made the following observations: Animals without water or the water provided was dirty with green algae or feces. The property was covered in garbage, hazardous debris and animal waste. Some animals had injuries and were covered with flies. Additionally, animals were in small cages with no shelter in unsanitary conditions – standing in their own waste.

Officers are investigating for violations of the Revised Code of Washington:
• Animal Cruelty in the first degree
• Animal Cruelty in the second degree
• Confinement in an Unsafe Manner

A citizen called SCRAPS and was concerned about animals that were being kept in unsanitary living conditions and that there were dead animals.

Animal Cruelty in the First degree (RWC 16.52.205) is a Class C Felony with 5 years confinement and/or a $10,000 fine. RCW 16.52.207 indicates animal cruelty in the 2nd degree and is a gross misdemeanor, which is punishable by up to 365 days in jail and/or a $5000 fine. RCW 16.52.080 indicates confinement in an unsafe manner is a misdemeanor and punishable by up to 90 days in jail and/or a $1000 fine.


SOURCE – SCRAPS press release, September 30, 2014

Pinterest:Impossible – CrockPot Vietnamese Pho Soup

pinterestimpossiblelogoI love pho.

Really I love all Vietnamese food, and I’ll devour a plate of spring rolls and fried rice and grilled meat quite happily if it is put in front of me.

But I love pho the best.

When I first started really trying to learn how to cook Asian dishes I bought myself a Vietnamese cookbook and I made chicken pho once.

Only once.

beefpho2While the soup I made turned out warm and delicious and filling, it was also incredibly time consuming and complicated to make. I found the whole process rather stressful as I was sure I was going to miss one of the dozens (at least it seemed like dozens) of ingredients or one of the hundreds (it seemed like hundreds) of important steps necessary to making the pho correctly.

I never tried making it again. I’ve been quite satisfied with going to restaurants where professional chefs make the pho for me, and I get to just sit and enjoy it.

And then I found a recipe for pho that you make in the Crockpot. Suddenly it didn’t seem like such a chore to make delicious Vietnamese soup at home by myself.

Yay! Seriously, yay!

The recipe I found called for using already made beef broth or stock, which cut at least half of the process out right off of the bat.

Once again, yay!

I do understand why stock is important and why it makes things taste so great BUT it is a pain to make and I don’t usually have the patience to do it. So I made the recipe with the pre-existing beef broth because I’m lazy and it was easy and I figured it would be almost just as nearly as good.

The only substitution I made to the recipe was using a tablespoon of ground ginger instead of a chunk of ginger. I don’t have a lot of experience using fresh ginger so I didn’t want to attempt it and possibly mess up the soup.

Of course, the difference between ground and fresh ginger is not the only thing that can mess up a recipe. On the instructions I had it used ‘t’ for amounts of spices. I’m not used to just a ‘t’ as a measurement. I tend to expect either a ‘tsp’ for teaspoon or a ‘T’ for tablespoon.

Needless to say, I got confused. I took a risk that the ‘t’ meant tablespoon since there was so much soup in the Crockpot.

It may have been the wrong choice. The first time I taste-tested the pho about an hour later it was INCREDIBLY salty. The salt and fish sauce were so very prevalent that I gagged a little bit. And then I got mad and yelled at myself a little bit because that’s the kind of person I am.

beefphoEventually, when I was done beating myself up over the salty affair, I went ahead and added two more cups of water to the broth and a little bit of mirin cooking sake because that’s what seems to soften the saltiness of soy sauce when making fried rice. I figured it couldn’t make the soup any worse, at least, so was worth a shot.

Being a grumpy coward, I had someone else try the pho when it was finally done cooking. They gave the broth a good sip or two, claimed that it really wasn’t that bad – and in fact was actually quite tasty – and so I dumped in the noodles, let them soften for about fifteen minutes, and called the whole thing done.

And it really did turn out more than edible. I had a couple of bowls of beef pho, while my friend had pretty much all the rest. It was even good as reheated leftovers the next day, which was impressive considering rice noodles get weird in soup over time.

I am definitely going to have to try this recipe again in the future, and this time use teaspoons instead of tablespoons to see how it works out. Maybe I wasn’t wrong, and the person who created the recipe just LOVES their salt.

Though I can admit that isn’t very likely.

– Mia V.


*Be sure to check out all the great recipes we have on our Recipes! and Pinterest:Impossible boards!

SOURCE – Crockpot Vietnamese Pho Soup

Featured Pet: Tosa #7629

tosaadoptedMeet Our Pet of the Week!

Name: Tosa #7629

Breed: Mixed breed (Shepherd mix)

Likes: hugs, long walks, playing in the yard, snuggling, eating treats, kind of listening to commands

Dislikes: being left alone, startlingly loud voices, empty food bowls

What She’s Looking for in a Family: any size family will do but small children should be aware of her size

Extra extra: just getting over a pryometra infection but is very healthy now

Adoption Fee: $87.04 (includes spaying, micro-chipping, and licensing)

ThisTV Movie Review: Star Trek The Motion Picture

star_trek_the_motion_pictureI have a friend who calls Star Trek The Motion Picture a ‘very long tea party in space.’ Jokes on him, though, because they don’t even DRINK tea in this movie. And jokes on me, because even with the lack of tea drinking I understand the point he’s making (in his very snarky manner).

The plot for the first Star Trek movie breaks down basically like this: Some giant space anomaly type thing comes along and starts sucking up Klingons and space stations and common sense. Starfleet gets a bit freaked out when it realizes the anomaly is headed toward Earth so they decide to send the Enterprise out to intercept it. Of course Admiral James T. Kirk HAS to lead the mission, even though he’s spent the last few years working a desk at Starfleet headquarters AND the Enterprise has been almost completely rebuilt with a new Captain at the helm. Tensions rise (very slowly) as Admiral and Captain clash, Captain is re-introduced to an old love interest, friends are re-united to less than bromance level excitement, and EVENTUALLY the Big Bad at the heart of the anomaly is revealed to be someone(thing?) no one could have really expected because wow that was kind of a cool and surprising reveal.

startrek2Star Trek The Motion Picture is a big, long, strange mess. It feels nothing like an episode of the show, and nothing like any of the other movies in the franchise. The costumes don’t look right, the characters don’t really act right, and the story just doesn’t FEEL right. It isn’t that this movie is BAD, it’s that it is so WEIRD. Long scenes with people staring at things. Crazy effects and graphics just for the sake of having crazy effects and graphics (“look guys, we have a huge budget and we’re gonna spend it ALL on computer images and models and anything else we can think up!”). The inside of V-ger’s (the Big Bad’s) ship is cool and all, but it goes on FOREVER and traveling through it is just a lot of staring and making faces and staring and gasping in wonder and on and on and ON. The thing is I actually quite like the whole V-ger thing. It’s an interesting idea. Unfortunately it’s buried in all the weirdness of the rest of the movie.

And is it just me, or does it seem like the creators/costumers on Star Trek can’t ever figure out what exactly future fashion will look like? It changes almost every film and sometimes it is way more bizarre than others. In this first film in the series they’ve settled on a future/ancient Grecian … style? … I guess? Lots of short tunics and short dresses and short sandals and, yeah, lots of shortness going on. Except when people pop up in 70’s leisure suits with swanky medallions and bushy beards (Bones was into bushy beards BEFORE they were cool).

startrekAnyway, so yeah, Star Trek The Motion Picture, kind of a mess BUT like I mentioned before, the reveal of the Big Bad is pretty cool and raises all these great questions about robots and artificial intelligence and what it means to be alive and questioning existence and who may have created that existence. And while much of the cast is left in the background, miling around and getting randomly electrocuted from their work consoles, some good depth is given to Spock (quit trying to grow out of your emotions there buddy, it never works out well in the end for you) and Admiral/Captain/WhateverHeIsToday Kirk. From the second he catches sight of the Enterprise you can see in his eyes that he will never love anyone as much as he loves that ship. He’ll never fight as hard for a human relationship as he will for his right to sit in that Captain’s chair. In an incredibly d-bag-like maneuver first thing in the movie he steals the Enterprise from the guy who he told Starfleet to hand the ship to. Poor Captain Will Decker, he never really stood a chance, in his less-than-flattering gray unitard and righteous indignation. Decker wants to be Captain because that’s the next step in his Starfleet career. Kirk wants to be Captain because he’s married to his ship and doesn’t know any other way to be.

star-trek-MP_lIn addendum, some things I noticed and kept track of in this, my dozenth (is that a word? cause I’m using it whether it is or not) viewing of this film: Dr. McCoy walks on and off the bridge of the Enterprise six times for no particularly good reason (he’s the head of medical, why is he ALWAYS up on the dang bridge? doesn’t he have medical stuff to be doing?), there are six costume changes between the main characters of the film and most of those do not seem like they need to happen (though I do find the white short sleeved shirt uniform Kirk sports for a while quite fetching), and the scene that shows off the Enterprise for the first time in the movie takes a whopping five minutes. Five minutes of nothing but showing off the ship from every conceivable angle – to a rendition of the Star Trek theme done on harp, no less. Quick sidenote on that ‘five minutes,’ however, as I think that scene used to be longer. In fact I think several scenes in this film used to be longer, so maybe I had a special edition of the movie OR someone realized along the way that all the staring and gasping and watching scenes did nothing for the flow of the film and cut them down a bit.

– Mia V.

Star Trek The Motion Picture, 1979
Starring William Shatner, Leonard Nimoy, DeForest Kelly, Stephen Collins
Directed by Robert Wise
Written by Gene Roddenberry, Harlod Livingston

*Watch Star Trek The Motion Picture on ThisTV: Tuesday September 23rd at 7pm, Thursday September 25th at 8am, Monday September 29th at 7pm!


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A Year of Cats!

scraps logoA record 355 cats and kittens have come to SCRAPS in the first two weeks of September.  Last year during the same period, SCRAPS impounded 150 cats and kittens.

“This September we have had an overwhelming number of cats brought in,” said Nancy Hill, Director of SCRAPS.  “If we adopted one cat per day, it would take almost a year to empty out our cat room.”

Unfortunately, SCRAPS doesn’t have a year to find homes for these animals.   So far this summer, over 500 kittens have been placed into the SCRAPS foster care program.  These babies are so young they must be hand-fed.  As they become available for adoption, they will continue to keep the cages full in our new facility.

All of the animals taken into SCRAPS are from the Spokane area – SCRAPS does not import animals from out of the area into our shelter.  These cats and kittens are from Spokane and need homes here in Spokane.

Please remember to spay/neuter, license and microchip your pets.

The SCRAPS cat room is nearing capacity and they need the public’s help in finding homes for all of the cats and kittens in their care. They are offering a special starting Friday, September 19th through Sunday, September 21st 2014. Owners can adopt an adult cat, young cat, or kitten for $15 – the cost of a license. This includes spay/neutering, micro-hipping, vaccinations, and exam.


SOURCE – SCRAPS press release, 9/18/2014

Featured Pet: Oreo #7414

oreoadoptedMeet Our Pet of the Week!

Name: Oreo #7414

Breed: Mixed breed (possibly some Jack Russell Terrier)

Likes: walking on a leash, sitting in a lap, eating treats, hunting for crumbs left in the couch, sniffing interesting smells

Dislikes: new people and places mixed with loud noises (needs some time to adjust to new things – a little shy but willing to get over it)

What He’s Looking for in a Family: anyone young or old who has the time to play and cuddle with him

Extra Extra: neutered

Adoption Fee: $87.04 (includes micro-chipping and licensing)

Q&A with Local Children’s Fantasy Author Jessica Rising at SpoCon!

jessicarising.JPGLast year we did a profile on local children’s fantasy author Jessica Rising. While she is just as amazing as she was back then (and it is totally worth it to check out the profile on her), lots of great things have happened to her since that time. She’s signed with a publisher and her post-apocalyptic middle-grade novel trilogy Guts and Glory, Freedom Fighters of Nil is now being released by Second Wind Publishing LLC. She’s done book readings and signings in Spokane and other areas of the Northwest AND she’s become kind of a big deal at SpoCon. Luckily even with her busy busy schedule she found time to answer some questions for us about the convention, writing, and being a nerd in this day and age.

Q. How many years have you been involved in SpoCon?
A. This was my second year at the con and my first as volunteer “staff”. I put that in quotes because I’m not currently official but I was involved in content meetings and their inevitable work this past year. That was a blast!

Q. What was your first SpoCon experience like?
A. It was pretty laid back. I had a selling and signing table which I was at most of the time. I was on two panels as well, which was so much fun that I insisted on attending a lot more this year. My first panel ever was just myself and C.J. Cherryh. That was pretty intimidating but exciting as well; she was wonderful!

Q. What has this year’s SpoCon experience been like for you?
A. Well, I can certainly say it wasn’t laid back! I attended about seven panels, taught two workshops, directed the Mad Marmot Variety Show, and spoke at C.J.’s tribute, as we have gotten to know each-other better over this past year. I was REALLY tired, REALLY busy… and had a LOT of fun! I wouldn’t change a thing about my experience this year (well… except maybe get a LITTLE more sleep).

Q. What were you most looking forward to at SpoCon this year?
A. Hands-down, my children’s writing workshop. I requested it from the SpoCon content team myself, as I really wanted to work with my actual readership one-on-one. It was a lot of fun. In the end, I think I may have learned more than they did. I was also looking forward to the panels. They’re always SO much fun!

Q. Have you been to other scifi/fantasy conventions? If so, how would you compare those conventions to SpoCon?
A. SpoCon is the only con I’ve ever attended. I know, I know. I plan on fixing that ASAP. I’m a little addicted now.

Q. Why do you think it’s important to have events like SpoCon?
A. Growing up as a nerd is not easy. At least it wasn’t when I was a kid. For an adult — especially these days — being a nerd is a little more acceptable for most people, but there are still more “normal” people out there who we work with, play with, and otherwise spend our time with. They can be great people, but they don’t understand fandom like we do. They don’t understand the obsessions we have. They can’t relate, and that can be really difficult to deal with. This is especially true for those of us who don’t have nerdy family or friends close by. To spend a whole weekend immersed in our very favorite things — with others who love them too — is invigorating. It re-energizes us, giving us the drive we need to keep going to our day jobs the rest of the year.
This year especially I felt even more than that. Surrounded by people who not only understand the things that drive my soul but also create those things AND think highly of my own work, I was revitalized to continue writing and to make it even better.

Q. What do you hope people get out of attending this event?
A. I hope people have fun, first and foremost. That’s what SpoCon is all about! Adding camaraderie, encouragement, family bonding, learning, growing, beauty, fandom, music…I could go on and on… well, that’s just icing on the cake!

Q. What are your favorite things about the convention?
A. The writing track of course. For me, networking with fellow authors at mealtimes, discussing nuances with up-in-coming authors at the panels, and teaching budding authors in the workshops is almost as great as writing. Almost. I also love the cosplay and being surrounded by my fellow nerds. It’s not just anywhere that I can begin a Monty Python quote and receive a perfectly timed finish from a bunch of people at the same time!

Q. Will you be participating again next year?
A. Yep! I also hope to continue working with the amazing content team on making next year, and every year after, better and better!

Q. What guests were you most excited to see this year, and who are your dream guests for future years and why?
A. I always love being around C.J. Cherryh so she’s definitely a number one! I was also excited to meet Scott C. Brown who I worked with on the Mad Marmot Show. The Handsome Author’s Society was a lot of fun to work and hang out with too. Roget Ratchford was also so fascinating!
As for future guests, as a bibliophile my first choices are authors. Stephen King would be AMAZING, though he’s difficult to book. I’d also love to see Terry Brooks, who calls the Inland Northwest home and even includes Spokane in some of his work. Rick Riordan would be a lot of fun, as would J.K. Rowling (also difficult to book). Outside of the book realm, I’m excited to meet just about anyone from the realms of Sci-Fi and Fantasy, though if they worked on Stargate I’d be pretty starstruck! (Pun totally intended.)

Q. Do you have anything else to add?
A. Just that SpoCon is only getting bigger and better, and I’m so excited to remain a part of it for many, many years to come!


*To keep up with Jessica Rising, her book releases, and all the random fun stuff she likes to write/talk about, find her on the web at her site or on Facebook! You can purchase books from Second Wind Publishing online (and it’s totally worth it, our blogger-gal Mia has read the first two books in the Guts and Glory trilogy and she loved them even as an adult reader). 

Featured Pet: Stuart #6924

stuartadoptedMeet Our Pet of the Week!

Name: Stuart #6924
Breed: Domestic Short Hair
Likes: cuddling, talking, playing with string and other dangly things, napping in the warm spot left on the couch after his people have been sitting there
Dislikes: outdoors (he’s declawed so needs to stay inside), an empty food dish
What He’s Looking for in a Family: kids and adults are fine as long as they are mellow and quiet and willing to give him lots of affection
Extra Extra: neutered and declawed on his front paws
Adoption Fee: $40 (includes micro-chipping and licensing)

ThisTV Movie Review: Star Trek II-Wrath of Khan

star-trek-ii-the-wrath-of-khan-poster-star-trek-movies-8475612-1707-2560“Jim Kirk was many things, but he was NEVER a boy scout.” Dr. Carol Marcus
“I don’t believe in a no-win scenario.” Admiral James T. Kirk

Once upon a time James T. Kirk was a captain. Then he was an admiral. Then he was a captain again. And then an admiral. And then he was dead, but not really. And how did all this ridiculous yo-yo-ing start?

Well …

Once upon a time there was a planet where a Big Bad with fabulous hair and a Latin accent was marooned by Captain Kirk and then forgotten. It left him feeling a bit … bitter.

Ok VERY bitter.

So when StarFleet returns to his crappy desert planet and starts poking around at things, this bitter Big Bad is quite ready to bring on an extreme level of vengeance to the universe.

And especially on James T. Kirk.

ST2_1The plot of Wrath of Khan basically breaks down like this: The Starship Reliant is tooling about the galaxy looking for a dead planet to do some science-y business on. Unfortunately the planet they come up with is less lifeless than it at first seems. Khan Noonien Singh, an old nemesis of Admiral Kirk’s from back in his original Captain-y run on television, has been living it up on this desolate wasteland and he’s ready to branch out and explore some new worlds. Within just a short period of time he’s taken control of the Reliant, stolen some swanky life-creating future-tech, and harassed the Enterprise and Kirk in an explosive and nearly life-taking way. Soon Kirk, Spock, and the rest of the jolly Enterprise crew must find a way to retake the future-tech, destroy Khan, and deal with some sudden and surprising family issues (surprise Kirk, it’s a boy!).

movies-star-trek-wrath-of-khanStar Trek 2: Wrath of Khan is not the first film in the Star Trek film series, but it is the first one many fans want to acknowledge exists. It’s the one with the great story, scene-chewing Big Bad, epically quotable dialogue, and wonderful, emotional, tragic ending. It’s the one that combines classic literature including Moby Dick, A Tale of Two Cities, and King Lear with the powered-up version of a 60’s campy scifi show. It’s the one that leads into the next one, and the next one, and the next one, where Admiral Kirk will find himself demoted, promoted, imprisoned, and sucked into a time vortex-y thing.

It’s the one where for a moment, a brief little hiccup of time, James T. Kirk admits he’s old and tired and worn out around the edges and maybe ready for all of the space adventuring to be over.

It’s a tiny little moment, a bit of quiet after Khan has stolen the life-creating future-tech and (supposedly) stranded Kirk and company inside a dead planet and Kirk has screamed Khan’s name in an iconic fashion. Kirk and his lost love interest Dr. Carol Marcus are having a heart-to-heart about life, the universe, and every secret child-shaped thing, when for just a minute – just a tiny little minute – he gives up.

Khan!!!Admiral Kirk, once the most infamous captain of the most infamous ship in StarFleet, has had enough. His ship is a mess, his crew is injured or dead, he’s stranded in a planet with his ex and his surprise son, his enemy from 15 years ago is out to get him, and he’s just had a birthday reminding him that his time in this crazy galaxy is running out.

It is such a brief moment really, and within minutes he’s off and running on another hair-brained scheme to save the day. BUT. But. That doesn’t make it any less of a profound look into the heart of this great man.

James T. Kirk is a legend. A hero. A rebel and a scoundrel and a bit of a man whore.

He’s larger than life. He’s the only one to ever beat the Kobayashi Maru no-win-scenario – because he totally cheated. He’s an idea, a concept, an ascendant point to aspire to.

But he’s also a man. A man with deep weariness who has been around the universe and back and isn’t sure he has it in himself to do it all again.

– Mia V.

Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan, PG, 1982
Starring William Shatner, Leonard Nimoy, DeForest Kelley, Ricardo Montalban
Directed by Nicholas Meyer
Written by Gene Roddenberry, Harve Bennet

*Watch Wratch of Khan on ThisTV: Friday 9/19 11:30pm, Tuesday 9/23 at 9:30pm, and Thursday 9/25 at 10:30am!


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ThisTV Movie Review: She’s Having a Baby

she_s_having_baby“People don’t mature anymore. They stay jackasses all their lives.” Grandpa Briggs

Before Kevin Bacon obsessed over horrible serial killers. Before Elizabeth McGovern was a high lady in England. Before Alec Baldwin was funny. Before any of them were famous for being serious actors, they were just a bunch of 80’s kids starring in a John Hughes movie (because that’s what kids in the 80s did).

The plot of She’s Having a Baby basically breaks down like this: Jefferson Briggs (Kevin Bacon) is young and confused and in love and adorable. He marries his sweetheart Kristie (Elizabeth McGovern) even though his handsome but somewhat skeazy bestie (Alec Baldwin) tells him not to. Jefferson wants to write novels and be happy and spends a lot of time worrying that it isn’t happening for him the way he wants it to. He lies his way into an advertising job (makes sense), buys a house, mows his lawn, tells everyone he’ll be a novelist someday, and keeps waiting for happiness to smack him in the face. Of course that isn’t how happiness in life works, but it takes him pretty much the whole film to figure that out.

She_s_Having_A_Baby_231790sPersonally I love She’s Having a Baby. It’s a very sweet, rather witty, somewhat more grown-up version of a John Hughes story. Of course even with that slightly more grown-up vibe, it is still littered liberally with John Hughes’ film fixtures: someone drives a ridiculous sporty 80’s car, parents/grandparents are bossy and clueless, dialogue is quick and pithy and a little sarcastic, Paul Gleason makes an appearance, much of the story takes place in the middle of Everywhere, Illinois, the main character spends the majority of the time questioning everything around them, and the soundtrack is rockin’ (I dare anyone to not tear up during This Woman’s Work at the end).

It’s a solid, good-natured dramedy that proves a point without being so in-your-face about it that you want to scream and throw things at the TV. Which is good, cause my roommate would be pissed if I messed up her giant swanky LED TV. It’s not as silly as Weird Science, not as overly dramatic as Pretty in Pink, but that nice middle of the road between funny and serious (it actually swings between a fully choreographed singing dancing lawnmowing number to a very intense birthing scene) like Breakfast Club.

bacon-mcgovern-shes-havingThere are, of course, some flaws. Like the great 80’s scifi features of yesteryear such as Space Mutiny and (original) Battlestar Galactica, She’s Having a Baby is extremely dated. The hair and the shoulderpads are too poofy, the walls are too pastel-washed, and the idea that a woman can get married, give up her job, and stay home with the kids forever cause the husband is working is an idea of a bygone era. It’s a perfect little time capsule of suburban, middle class, 80’s life, wrapped up in a sentimental John Hughes-shaped bow. Even the silly end credit scene, with the characters trying to figure out a baby name and lineup of big name stars of the 1980s (Wil Wheaton! Bill Murray! Dan Ackroyd!) throwing in an idea, is so dated it hurts.

Does this detract from the overall enjoyment you can experience watching this film? I don’t particularly think so BUT I am a product of those wonderful 80s and I love watching those old movies and laughing about just how much has changed – and how much has stayed the same – since then. Sure we’ve replaced typewriters with tablet computers, sweaters and long skirts with skinny jeans and hipster vests, and lifelong careers for the jobs of the moment, but deep down we want the same things now that they wanted back then – family, friends, happiness, and a sense of our place in the grand scheme of things.

– Mia V.

She’s Having a Baby, Rated PG-13, 1988
Starring Kevin Bacon, Elizabeth McGovern, Alec Baldwin
Directed by John Hughes
Written by John Hughes

*Watch She’s Having a Baby on ThisTV: Thursday 9/11 at 3pm and Tuesday 9/30 at 9am!

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Take a Walk in the Park for SCRAPS Hope Foundation!

walkintheparkIt’s time to put on your walking shoes and join SCRAPS for a fun-packed day to raise money to provide medical treatment to the homeless animals taken in by the shelter! You can walk with or without a dog, with your ‘pack’, in memory of a beloved pet, as a virtual walker, or even in honor of your cat.

A Walk in the Park on Saturday, September 27th 2014 from 10am-2pm, is a pledge walk to support the SCRAPS Hope Foundation Animal Medical Fund, which provides live-saving medical treatment, enrichment, and care to homeless dogs in our area.

Registration is free and can be done online at: (or on the date of the event). Once you have registered you can collect pledges from family, friends, and coworkers to help support animals in the care of SCRAPS Hope Foundation. Registration includes a doggie bag and a chance to win prizes for you and your pooch!

A Walk in the Park will take place at Prairie View Park on Spokane’s South Hill (61st Avenue and the Palouse Highway). It will feature a Puppy Track and a Big Dog Track for kids and adults.

Don’t let this great opportunity to get out and play with your dogs for a great cause pass you by! Register now for A Walk in the Park, start collecting pledges, and see you out there on September 27th!

Featured Pet: Allegra #6223

allegraadoptedAllegra (#6223) is a beautiful four-year-old long-haired Calico cat. She was picked up and brought in to SCRAPS and is now waiting for the perfect forever home. She’s very sweet and affectionate and does have a bit of a mischievous side to her. She’s happy to cuddle and nap with her family, but also likes to play on occasion. Allegra has a lovely long coat that she maintains fairly well on her own. But long hair can easily become tangled and matted and she’ll need to be brushed on a regular basis to keep her coat in great shape. The adoption fee for Allegra is $40 and includes spaying, micro-chipping, and licensing, among other things. If you are interested in adopting her, please head out to SCRAPS news location at 6815 E Trent, Spokane Valley, and ask for Allegra by ID number 6223!

Featured Pet: Spartacus #6597

spartacusadoptedSpartacus (#6597) is a four-year-old male Bernese Mountain Dog/Shepherd mix. He was picked up and brought in to SCRAPS and is now looking for a new forever home. He is young and full of energy and, while he wants to be a good boy, doesn’t always pay attention to what is being asked of him when he gets too excited. He would definitely benefit from some obedience classes and luckily SCRAPS offers them twice a month for FREE. He would be great with a family of adults and old kids, as his size and exuberance might be overwhelming for smaller children. The adoption fee for Spartacus is $87.04 and includes neutering, micro-chipping, and licensing, among other things. If you are interested in adopting him, please come to SCRAPS and ask for him by ID number 6597!

Featured Pet: Snookie #5821

Pet of the WeekSnookie (#5821) is a spayed two-year-old tortoiseshell tabby cat. She’s sweet and playful and loves to eat, which is evident by the extra pounds she is currently carrying around. She was brought in to SCRAPS along with 13 other cats after her previous owner passed away. While she was in a large pet family before she was taken care of very well and is now looking for a new home where she can find love – and hopefully a diet! She has no current health issues but will need to lose some weight so that she can stay healthy. She would be fine with a family of any size, with or without kids, and does well in a multiple cat household. The adoption fee for Snookie is $40 and includes micro-chipping and licensing, among other things. If you are interested in adopting her, please head out to SCRAPS new location at 6815 E Trent, Spokane Valley, and ask for Snookie by ID number 5281!

Featured Pet: Bella #6360

bellaadoptedBella (#6360) is a beautiful four-year-old Border Collie. She has a lot of energy and loves to play, run, chase frisbees, and cuddle. She isn’t a puppy any longer but even adult Border Collies need time and attention or their behavior can become destructive. While she knows basic commands such as “sit”, she could use a little more obedience training. Luckily SCRAPS offers FREE dog training classes twice a month! Bella was surrendered by her last family because they didn’t have the time to give her all of the attention and training she needed. She would do great with a new family that is active and has a lot of time to spend with her. The adoption fee for Bella is $87.04 and includes spaying, micro-chipping, and licensing, among other things. If you are interested in adopting her, please come to SCRAPS and ask for her by ID number 6360!

Adventures in Spokane, part Thirty-Four: Where I Watch Some Movies, Eat Some Food, and Get Splattered with Blood

AdventuresInSpokaneThere’s a song that comes to mind these days that I know from Blazing Saddles. I’m not going to sing it to you because A) this is a blog and B) it’s highly inappropriate BUT the gist of it is about being tired and it seems rather fitting this morning.

I’m tired, folks.

I may have over-scheduled my August just a leeeeeeetle bit.

In the last two weeks I’ve seen movies, gone to musicals, been splattered in (fake) blood, dressed in costume, eaten noodles, planned events, gotten tattooed, and pondered buying ALL the fish (an inside joke mentioned here specifically for the benefit of my awesome tiny/tall gal pal). I’ve also taunted sharknados, scolded snakes for biting teachers, worked out my poor tired body, and laughed so hard at puppets I almost started to cry.

I’ve been BUSY, folks. And now I’m kinda worn out.

But it has all been worth it because I’ve been having a blast.

And just WHAT, may you ask, has been keeping me so dang busy the last couple of weeks? Well let me go ahead and tell you!

I saw both Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas and The Goonies for $1 at the Garland Theater. It has been awhile since I’ve seen Fear and Loathing and I’d forgotten how surreal and brilliant a film it is. Hunter S. Thompson was a mad genius and Terry Gilliam is still a mad genius and with their powers combined they could certainly make one mad, genius film.

The Goonies didn’t manage to hold up quiet as well as I had hoped. I’ve seen it in the last couple of years but it’s different on the small screen. The composite shots aren’t quite as obvious when the picture is shrunk down nice and small. And the end is really REALLY hokey. BUT. I still pretty much love this movie. I’d watch it again on the big screen, though I don’t know if I’d pay more than a buck for it.

puppetnudityI got in viewings of two different musicals recently. Since I go most years without seeing ANY musicals, this is actually quite a feat for me. First I headed out to CdA to see the Lakecity Playhouse version of Avenue Q. This was the second time in life I’ve gotten a warning about puppet nudity, which still makes me giggle. The whole show made me giggle, really. And laugh. There was lots of laughing. I don’t have a lot of experience with local theater or live musicals, but I have to say that I thought Avenue Q was amazingly well done. The actors/singers were fabulous, the puppets looked great, the set was clever, and the music was catchy. I was really REALLY impressed and will be taking in another show at Lakecity sometime this season.

Evil Dead the Musical wasn’t nearly as polished and put together. The songs were kind of goofy, the audio was a little off, and sometimes the actors looked a little confused on what to do next. HOWEVER, it was still based on one of my fave movie trilogies of all time, several of the songs and dances were pretty hilarious, the punning Deadite was great, and I got totally sprayed down with fake blood during the second half. The blood splatter alone pretty much made it worth it to go.

avenueq2You can’t go out adventuring around town without hooking yourself up with some tasty eats (at least I can’t at any rate). I had a great dinner at Sushi Maru full of popcorn shrimp and crispy gyoza and excellent seared salmon (which I kind of had to fight for because people at a table right ahead of me on the conveyor belt kept trying to grab it all – not cool guys, not cool at all). Linnie’s Thai served up delicious noodles with beef and broccoli, as well as a tasty little cocktail full of tequila and other wonderful things (and called a Sassy Senorita).

During a Girl’s Night at Sapphire Lounge I wolfed down an amazing flatbread pizza topped with cheese, meat, roasted red peppers, and balsamic vinegar. My goodness it was good. I also had myself several cocktails, including one of the tastiest and most unique Amaretto Sours I’ve ever had. That was my first visit to Sapphire and I enjoyed the atmosphere as well as the food and drinks. I also had my first experience at Nudo Ramen House and promise it will not be my last. Though almost painfully hip in its decorating scheme, the food was excellent. The gyoza were steamed just like I make them at home (and yes, I make amazing gyoza at home) and my giant bowl of Miso ramen was wonderful.

I love ramen, though I’ll never be able to look at the cheap instant stuff the same way again. Sigh. Oh well.

evildeadNot every outing was just fun and games recently. I had a very important meeting with my fellow local Modified Dolls to discuss plans for upcoming charity events in the area. Of course we had our meeting at Aloha Island Grill and ate tasty food while discussing things, but that didn’t make it any less of a serious matter, though the giggling over silly personal matters might have. Whatever. We do what we want at meetings! And we came up with some awesome plans and ideas for the coming months so watch out for info about events coming up.

That wasn’t actually all I did over the last two weeks BUT this post is getting ridiculously long so I’m gonna start wrapping it up. You can hear about my experience at KuroNekoCon on our Mia Con page. There’s even pictures so give it a look! Expect some more updates on the page after this coming weekend, as the Fox28 digital media team will be heading out to SpoCon for lots of scifi/fantasy goodness. I’ll be back here in a week or so to talk about singing Mormons, riffing on Godzilla, and playing with baby reptiles. To pass the time until I return, why don’t you head out for some adventures of your own? If you’re lucky you might see me bouncing around town while you’re out there (and if you can find me I’ll give you a prize)!

– Mia V.

This week’s Adventures in Spokane brought to you by:
Lakecity Playhouse
Evil Dead the Musical
Riverside Event Center
The Garland Theater
Sushi Maru
Linnie’s Thai
Nudo Ramen House
Sapphire Lounge
Aloha Island Grill
WA Modified Dolls

Featured Pet: Violet #6175

violetadoptedViolet (#6175) is a ten-year-old spayed female long-haired Siamese mix. She’s a beautiful older lady who loves to cuddle and nap in the sunshine. She and her brother Elroy were surrendered to SCRAPS when their previous pet parent moved out of state and decided not to take them along. Many people think it’s too much trouble to move with a pet, but at SCRAPS they’ve got some helpful tips to make the process easy to handle.

Violet has no current health issues but is a senior pet and will need some special attention paid to her diet and exercise. She would also do best in a family with older kids or just adults, as she has grown to like peace and quiet in her golden years. The adoption fee for Violet is $40 and includes micro-chipping and licensing, among other things. If you are interested in adopting her (or her brother Elroy), please head out to SCRAPS new location at 6815 E Trent, Spokane Valley, and ask for Violet by ID number 6175!

Mia’s Con Blog, KuroNekoCon

In case you missed it (and I don’t know how you could have when we mentioned it daily for a few months) last weekend was KuroNekoCon, Spokane’s very own anime convention. For two days anime, gaming, fantasy, comic book, and sci fi fans converged on the Spokane Convention Center to hang out, buy stuff, wear costumes, attend panels, and dance the night away. It was a swell time with swell people and I was there, because of course – Mia and conventions go together like honey mustard and just about everything (trust me on this one).

This was my very first year at KuroNekoCon and I was excited to see what a smaller anime convention had to offer. Sakuracon was already pulling in 20,000+ people by the time I attended at first so I never knew what it was like in its smaller days. There is certainly a lot to be said for a convention with hundreds of attendees versus thousands of attendees (I’m not really sure on the numbers for that, it just seemed like hundreds of people to me). I could walk through halls without squishing past a bunch of other people. There were no lines to go up and down stairs, there was breathing room in panels, and fighting to look at items in the vendors’ hall wasn’t necessary.

It was nice. Small but nice. Intimate in a way that a larger con can’t quite manage anymore. Fox 28 was the official TV sponsor of the convention and we got our own booth in the vendors’ hall where we gave away posters, raffled off goodies, and showed episodes of The Simpsons for fans and passersby. It was fun to chat with people about our programming, which shows were their favorites, which shows they missed from our line-up (oh Almost Human, we still all miss you SO MUCH), and which shows they were excited to see coming up this Fall. Posters for Bones, House, How I Met Your Mother, and Animation Domination were snatched up like they were going out of style. And dozens of people showed up for the raffle drawing Sunday evening. It was pretty cool.

I attended a voice actor panel on Sunday with actress Natalie Hoover presiding. She was pretty dang adorable. She came bouncing in the door and immediately wanted to show us all the charms she’d bought in the vendors’ hall. Then she launched into an interesting hour of talk about her own experience in the voice acting business, her tips and recommendations for breaking into the business ourselves (if we were so inclined), and why she loves being a voice actor. I don’t have any interest in doing voice overs myself (and my vocal range is nothing to write home about) but it was cool to listen to an insider’s view of the industry and what it’s like to be a part of it.

There were some other panels I saw on the schedule that might have been cool to check out, but I really spent most of my time down in the vendors’ hall at the Fox 28 booth or wandering around looking at awesome stuff I forced myself not to buy (though I did scoop up some Mario Kart inspired keychains for myself and the tiny/tall roommate because they were super cute AND I like to support independent artists). I also hung out a bit at the Blackwolf Gaming Center booth with the owner of that fine establishment. She’s a greatly entertaining lady who shares my love of exotic pets, tattoos, and pondering the appropriateness of spandex body suits. If you’re into gaming you should probably check out her business in Spokane Valley. Just saying.

All in all I had a pretty good time at KuroNekoCon. I chatted with con staff about their thoughts on the convention, how it was going, where they saw it headed in the next few years, and why they volunteered to be a part of it. I chatted with Fox 28 viewers about programming, with gamers about being immersed in anime culture, with parents who were there with their kids and had no idea what was going on, and with kids who were excited to be surrounded by fellow fans. It may not have been quite the whirlwind weekend I’ve experienced at bigger, longer conventions, but that didn’t detract from my enjoyment of it even a little bit.

And it was fun to be dressed up in a popular cosplay costume. I attended as Louise from Bob’s Burgers (seemed fitting with the whole Fox connection) and had people stopping to talk to me, snap my picture, and tell me how much they enjoyed the show. A cosplay win like that totally makes it all worth it.


Featured Pet: Presley #5777

presleyadoptedPresley (#5777) is a two-year-old male hound dog. He was picked up and brought in to SCRAPS and is now looking for a new family who can keep up with his boundless energy! He is smart and eager to please but needs some obedience training to stay well behaved (and you’re in luck because SCRAPS offers FREE training classes!). Presley would do best with a family of active adults with no children or older children, as his size and energy could be overwhelming for small kids. The adoption fee for Presley is $87.04 and includes neutering, micro-chipping, and licensing, among other things. If you are interested in adopting him, please come to SCRAPS and ask for him by ID number 5777!

Adventures in Spokane, Part Thirty-Three: Where I Fall Down a Hobbit Hole, Enter the Promised Land, and Am Definitely Not Always in Spokane

AdventuresInSpokaneI don’t know about you, ladies and gents, but I’ve been having a busy busy summer. I just realized it will be August at the end of the week. Where the heck did July go? I woke up one morning and it was gone.

Anyhoo, so what have I been up to the last four weeks (four weeks, seriously, it’s been that long since I posted an installment of Adventures in Spokane? Shame shame shame on me for neglecting all my wonderful readers)?


I went to Vancouver (WA not Canada though that would’ve been cool too) to see my wonderful (and very tall) cousin marry his wonderful (and very tall) soulmate. It was a fun ceremony and a great reception with a Spanish theme and I had a delightful time even though I was almost the shortest person there (my niece is two so her being shorter than me doesn’t really count).

Seriously folks, I felt like a hobbit that had wandered into Rivendell by mistake. I have never seen so many tall, beautiful people in one place in my entire life. If the gorgeous tall lawyer with the Australian accent sitting across from me during the reception hadn’t been so nice, I might have knocked over his chair or something, just to remind him there are people down in the lower stratosphere.

corvallisAfter the wedding I went with my family over to Corvallis to visit my aunt and uncle who’ve been living there since forever (or at least the last 30 years or so). We stopped in Portland on the way and I finally – FINALLY PEOPLE – got to spend some time in Powell’s books.

I’ve been dreaming of Powell’s for years and yet every time I’ve been in the area something has kept me from going there. But not this time. NOT THIS TIME.

The family gave me 35 minutes in the store. It wasn’t nearly enough time but I didn’t waste it on wallowing. I bought two books and also inquired whether it would be possible to bring a tent and just live in the poetry room. They laughed like my question was funny but I was very serious. I’ll let everyone know how the move goes.

After Powell’s we walked around downtown a bit and ended up at Noodles and Company for lunch. Brilliant restaurant idea behind Noodles and Company, by the way. We thought it would be all Asian-style cuisine but it turned out to have a menu that included multiple kinds of noodle dishes. I had myself some Pad Thai, my dad had stroganoff, my niece sampled some chicken noodle soup, and my sister had whole wheat linguini. It was a fun, random way to spend lunch.

Corvallis was nice. I wasn’t there very long and spent most of the time at my aunt’s house, eating delicious food and playing in the garden. I may have also spent some time fondling my uncle’s collection of vintage hardback books and first editions. The hundred year old Mark Twains smelled particularly wonderful.

dinosaursBack in Spokane (because I always end up back here eventually) I took my six-year-old nephew on a playdate to Discover the Dinosaurs. Billed as having “40 life size dinos in their natural environment” I was a little disappointed that they had around half that actually out on display. Some of the animatronic elements didn’t work and not everything was marked with proper signage. But while I was a bit underwhelmed, my nephew had himself a grand ol’ time. At one point he even told me it was his “greatest dinosaur day EVER!”

When Rifftrax Live: Sharknado came along I was much more … whelmed? Over-whelmed? Whatever. It was awesome. That’s the important thing. Fans of the ‘so bad it’s fabulous’ SyFy movie, my tiny/tall roommate and I giggled and laughed our way through the film on the big screen, with the wonderfully snarky and hilarious addition of commentary by the Rifftrax guys (the MST3K guys in case you didn’t know). I am not too proud or ashamed to admit I’m excited for the premiere of Sharknado 2: The Second One on July 30th AND the next Rifftrax Live event – Godzilla!

swimmingWhile that seemed like plenty to keep my occupied during July that’s not all I did! I managed to squeeze in some meals at Waddell’s and Sushi Maru, as well as some movie time at the AMC Riverpark Square for 22 Jump Street (way better than expected, by the way. I really enjoyed it). I had an editorial lunch with a fabulous new young adult author, helped celebrate my cousin’s son’s first birthday with cowboy style, babysat two adorable young men who used me like a jungle gym, and attended an annual meet-up of my cousins that included much swimming, eating, s’more making, snarking, and playing of Cards Against Humanity. I’m not sure anything bonds a family quite like playing CAH together. Whether that is a good or bad thing I’ll let someone else decide.

And THAT, folks, is gonna wrap up this installment of Adventures in Spokane. I’m sure there was some other stuff that went on this month but I’m tired from typing and I’m sure you are all tired from reading. I’ll be back soon (ish?) to talk about bat country, singing puppets, and anime inundation. To pass the time until I return, why don’t you head out for some adventures of your own? If you’re lucky you might see me bouncing around town while you’re out there (and if you can find me I’ll give you a prize)!

– Mia V.

This week’s Adventures in Spokane brought to you by:
Powell’s City of Books
Noodles & Co
Rifftrax Live
Sushi Maru
AMC Riverpark Square
Cards Against Humanity

Heat Returns Along with Danger to Pets

scraps logoThis weekend the Spokane area enjoyed some relief from the soaring temperatures, but the forecast for the next few days shows escalating heat and that can be dangerous for pets left in a vehicle while the owner runs an errand.

The last day over 90 degrees in Spokane translated into 15 calls of dogs confined in hot cars for SCRAPS Animal Protection Officers. Two of those owners face charges and fines for leaving their dogs in vehicles that were both above 110 degrees.

“Despite repeated warnings, people are still taking their pet with them for a trip to the store,” said Nancy Hill, Regional Director of SCRAPS. “Those few seconds inside a car in the heat could be fatal for your pet – even if you open the window an inch or two.”

SCRAPS is asking the public to leave their pets at home during these extreme temperatures.

The signs of heat stoke include:
1. Heat stroke begins with heavy panting and difficulty breathing.
2. The tongue and mucous membranes appear bright red.
3. The saliva is thick and tenacious, and the dog often vomits.
4. The rectal temperature rises to 104° to 110°F (40° to 43.3°C).
5. The dog becomes progressively unsteady and passes bloody diarrhea.
6. As shock sets in, the lips and mucous membranes turn gray.
7. Collapse, seizures, coma, and death rapidly ensue


(SOURCE – SCRAPS press release, July 2014)

Pinterest:Impossible – Gyoza and Teriyaki Chicken

pinterestimpossiblelogonobackgroundThere’s just something about having family in town that makes me want to cook. Call me crazy (you wouldn’t be the first) but feeding a large group (at least half a dozen adults and two kids going through a picky phase) of people whose opinions actually matter to me seems like an excellent challenge. AND an excellent opportunity to try out some more recipes from Pinterest!

Last week for Family Dinner I made gyoza, Teriyaki chicken, and chicken fried rice. I pulled gyoza (or potstickers if that name works better for you) and Teriyaki chicken recipes from Pinterest and used my own tried and true fried rice recipe. I’ve spent YEARS perfecting that one and am quite proud of it.

And to be completely honest here, I’ve made gyoza before so they weren’t a huge challenge for me. The recipe I found was not exactly the same as the one I’ve used in the past, however, and two times out of every five that I make gyoza I burn them a bit, so there is still some work involved for me in making them.


Before you ask, yes, of course, I made substitutions and changes to the recipes. I can’t seem to help it. I like stuff the way I like it and that is that. The gyoza called for cabbage to be included in the filling along with the pork, but I’ve never thought it was necessary. The pork is so flavorful by itself (well with all the spices and seasonings mixed in) that cabbage seems superfluous to me. PLUS it always seems that if I buy cabbage I don’t use enough in the gyoza and there is tons left over and I don’t know what to do with it. I’m cool with cabbage but I don’t love it and I don’t want to be eating it for weeks just because it comes in giant quantities.

I also took out the shiitake mushrooms and I’m not sorry. I don’t like mushrooms and I don’t want them in my gyoza. So there.

Gyoza are wonderful and delicious and addictive, but they also take awhile to make as you have to individually fill the little wrappers and then fold them properly so they don’t fall open while cooking. THEN you have to fry them a bit til the bottoms are a light brown and then steam them a bit so the sides are nice and chewy. It is an involved process that takes more than a few minutes and so I needed the dishes that I was making along with the gyoza to be a bit simpler. That’s why I was very happy to find a Teriyaki chicken recipe that was made in the slow cooker. I set up the chicken and sauce before I left for work and by the time I got home it smelled amazing and tasted even better. The only change I made to that recipe was cutting up the chicken before adding to the slow cooker. I thought it would be easier to deal with once it was cooked if it was cut into small chunks.

The fried rice turned out to be the most complicated (and messy) dish I made, and that was mainly because I was making it in my dad’s kitchen without the use of my giant rice cooker and electric wok. Juggling different mix-ins between frying pans and big pots was not the easiest thing to do but I managed as well as I could. And the rice turned out pretty tasty, if I do say so myself (and I do!).

Between the gyoza, Teriyaki chicken, and fried rice, I’d have to say everything turned out well. My family ate lots of food and my picky five-year-old nephew even ate two gyoza, so I’m counting this Pinterest:Impossible a success!

– Mia V.


*Be sure to check out all the great recipes we have on our Fox 28 Foodies Unite! and Pinterest:Impossible boards!

**Interested in my fried rice recipe? Just let me know in the comments and I’ll be happy to share!

SOURCE – gyoza
SOURCE – crock pot teriyaki chicken



Cats Near Capacity at SCRAPS!

scraps logoFourteen cats have become the latest residents of the SCRAPS free roaming cat room after they were surrenderedThey are all adult cats that came from one home and are in good health and ready for adoption.  They joined the already near capacity number of felines, both adults and kittens, that are in the SCRAPS cat room.

“Our new facility holds almost twice the number of cats as before, but we are still almost full in our cat room,” said Nancy Hill, Regional Director of SCRAPS.  “This has been an incredibly busy kitten season and now we are seeing more and more adult cats being surrendered including this latest group.”  The pet parent of these cats passed away and the family could not find homes for them.  The limit for pets in one house-hold is four cats and four dogs in Spokane County (and just four pets total in the City of Spokane).

To ensure that each of these cats and all of the felines at the shelter can find a forever home, SCRAPS will be holding a two-day cat adoption event.  On Friday, July 25, Saturday, July 26th and Sunday, July 27th, you can adopt a cat for free with the cost of the license, which is fifteen dollars The spay/neutering, microchipping, exam and vaccinations are all free.

“We have every age, weight, size and breed available,” said Hill.  “Our facilities are really stretched to the limit and we hope the community will help us and come find a forever friend.”

SCRAPS is open seven days a week:  Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday from noon to 5:30 p.m.  Wednesday the shelter is open from  noon to 6:30 p.m. and Saturday and Sunday from 10 a.m. – 5 p.m. SCRAPS is located at 6815 E. Trent in the Spokane Valley.



(SOURCE – SCRAPS press release, 7/25/2014)

Pinterest:Impossible – Stuffed Hot Dogs

pinterestimpossiblelogonobackgroundIt’s National Hot Dog Month and what better way to celebrate than by making (and eating) hot dogs! I scoured the Pinterest boards trying to find the tastiest looking hot dog recipes out there. I’ve always been a ketchup-onions-relish kind of girl myself, but I’m pretty open-minded and it was fun seeing just how many dozens of recipes for hot dogs exist.

I actually picked two that looked interesting and delicious, but only ended up making one. Hey, it was the Fourth of July and I was drinking fun ‘lady’ beers (Mike’s Hard Lemonade) and watching RoboCop 3 (yes, seriously, I sat all the way through it and I’m still not entirely sure how I feel about that) and it was hot and cooking sounded less than fun, so I only made one recipe and that’s that.

Stuffed Hot Dogs were what I went with. They included fun toppings like crushed Doritos, cheese, ketchup, onions, and Worchestshire sauce, but instead of being placed on top of the dog, the dog was split open and had everything stuffed inside. They were not too difficult to make, though I was a little concerned while splitting the hot dogs open as I wanted to make room for all the filling but didn’t want to split the dog so far it would fall apart.


In the grand tradition of Being Me, I did change up the recipe somewhat from the listed instructions. I got Doritos instead of potato chips and sandwich rolls instead of hot dog buns. Nothing too big, but I think the Doritos added an extra flavor kick to the filling mix. The sandwich rolls were tasty but too big, so I’m thinking in the future I need to pay closer attention to how things match up size-wise.

The first hot dog I ate without any additional condiments. I figured with all the stuff squashed inside of the meat it wouldn’t need anymore flavor. While it was tasty, it was also a little dry, so for my second hot dot I added a generous dollop of honey mustard.

I love honey mustard. It’s the best condiment ever invented. I could eat it (and have eaten it) on almost anything. (Bit of friendly advice though, don’t try honey mustard on chocolate cake. It will not work out.)

Stuffed Hot Dogs are a fun twist on a classic food and this recipe was nice and easy to make. I’d definitely call this Pinterest:Impossible a WIN, even if I had to cut off the end of the sandwich rolls to make the hot dogs fit.

– Mia V.


*Be sure to check out all the great recipes we have on our Fox 28 Foodies Unite! and Pinterest:Impossible boards!

(SOURCE – stuffed hot dogs)

Top Tips for Finding a Lost Pet!

scraps logoWhen a pet goes missing it can be devastating to your family. Before you panic and give your missing pet up as gone forever, here are some tips and actions you can take that may help return to your pet to your family ASAP!

Stop by SCRAPS.
SCRAPS is the only place where a neighbor, passerby, or Animal Protection Officer will bring your lost pet. No other organization houses stray or lost animals in Spokane County. Look on our website under Impound to see if your pet has been brought to the shelter or better yet, stop by. If your pet has a license microchip, we will contact you immediately.

Begin your search right away, especially for cats.
The longer you wait to begin your search the less likely you will be reunited with your pet. Waiting for your pet to find its own way home increases the chances that your pet will travel further away or become injured.

Fill out a Lost Pet Report on the SCRAPS website.

Post a “Lost Dog/Cat” ad on the community “Lost and Found” and “Pets” section of Craigslist.
Also check for “Found” pets on Craigslist to see if your animal has been found by someone trying to find the owner. Re-post your ad every other day, since sometimes there are so any ads that yours will fall to the second page and may not be seen. WARNING: If you are contacted by someone who wants a reward for returning your pet, it may be a scam. If your pet has a license, it is considered your property. You can file a theft charge against the person holding your animal. If you are willing to pay the fee, ask for proof and meet in a public place so that you can view the animal before any money changes hands.

Ask your neighbors if they have seen your pet.
Many people place a stray animal in their garage and start looking for the owner.

Make “Lost Dog/Cat” posters and flyers.
Use bright neon paper and write “LOST DOG/LOST CAT” in large block print. Hang posters, following your town’s sign ordinances, at major intersections so that they can be seen and read by people driving by. Hand out flyers to people, hang them in store windows, and post them on bulletin boards. Hand out your flyers in a 20-block radius around your home. Flyers should have a photo of your pet, a complete description, and your phone number. “Tag” your car using a neon window marker as well. Use several bright colors and write three or four words to describe your pet.


(SOURCE – SCRAPS informational flyer)

Featured Pet: Josee #4802

josecollageadoptedJosee (#4802) is an eight-year-old female Terrier mix. She came to SCRAPS after her previous pet parent became seriously ill and couldn’t take care of her anymore. It is important when taking on the responsibility of a pet to make arrangements with family or friends to continue their care if something like serious illness or death happens. Josee is very affectionate and loves to be active and play. She’s looking for a family that has time to give her lots of exercise as well as cuddle with her on a regular basis. The adoption fee for Josee is just $25 (the cost of a license) until July 13th during the current SCRAPS sale, and includes micro-chipping and licensing among other things. If you are interested in adopting her, please come to SCRAPS and ask for her by ID number 4802!

Full House and Sale at SCRAPS!!!

scraps logoIn a one week period from July 1st through July 6th, the Spokane County Regional Animal Protection Service (SCRAPS) has taken in 89 dogs and 145 cats – a total of 234 animals. That’s thirty nine animals per day for the last six days.

“Even during this busy season, that’s an unbelievable amount of incoming animals for us,” said Nancy Hill, SCRAPS Regional Director. “These pets have no identification – no license or microchip – so we must find them homes immediately.” Last year, SCRAPS took in 43 dogs and 59 cats during the same period of time and that number is considered high.

No matter how you add it up, SCRAPS is full. Every cat cage and dog pod is almost full to capacity and we are seeking the public’s help in finding new homes for the animals in our care. To ensure that each of these animals can find a forever home, SCRAPS will be holding an adoption event here at the shelter. On Tuesday, July 8th through Sunday, July 13th, you can adopt a dog or cat for free when you purchase a license. Licenses are $15 for cats and $25 for dogs. The adoption fee and the cost of the spay/neutering, microchipping, vaccinations and exam are all free.

“If you’ve been thinking about adopting a new dog, cat or kitten, please help us find good homes for these great pets,” said Hill. “Also, please remember to license and microchip your animals. It the best way to guarantee they will find their way home.” Licensing is required by law for both dogs and cats in Spokane County.

SCRAPS is open Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday from 10:00 to 5:30 p.m., Wednesday from noon to 6:30 p.m. and Saturday and Sunday 10:00 –5:00 p.m. We are located at 6815 E. Trent in the Spokane Valley.


Spokane County Regional Animal Protection Service (SCRAPS) is a progressive municipal animal care and protection agency serving the unincorporated areas of Spokane County, the cities of Spokane, Spokane Valley, Cheney, Deer Park, Fairfield, Liberty Lake, Millwood, and Medical Lake.

SCRAPS has deputized animal protection officers extensively trained to enforce animal laws and respond to emergency situations. SCRAPS is also active in educational and community outreach programs and is dedicated to its continued investment in innovative behavioral programs.


(SOURCE – SCRAPS press release)

Adventures in Spokane, part Thirty-Two: Where I Watch Some Futbol, Eat Some Lunch, and Laugh at Comedians

AdventuresInSpokaneI saw my very first full soccer game recently, folks! I feel like I’m really growing as a person this year. First I sat through my first full Superbowl in February, now I’ve sat through an entire World Cup match. It’s practically time to slap a jersey on me and call me a sports fan!

Well maybe not quite yet. I’ll sit through an entire baseball game first and then we can talk.

genosgamedaySo anyway, I went to Geno’s to watch USA play Portugal. It was an interesting experience. Standing room only by the time we arrived (30 minutes into the match) but we managed to drag some stools over into a position where we could see the big TV. Even though it was completely packed in there when we walked in it was almost completely silent. Every person in the dining room and bar area was just riveted to the game. Of course by the end of the game when more beers and drinks had been drunk and some goals had been scored it had gotten quite a bit louder. Totally understandable, though, when everyone had to verbalize their surprise and displeasure at Portugal tying up the score in the last few seconds.

I’ve heard Geno’s has excellent food and great drinks. I’m hoping at some point I’ll get to find that out for myself. Sitting on a stool, crammed against a wall in a tightly packed restaurant where people have a tendency to suddenly jump up and dance around while screaming, is not the ideal setting to try and eat.

Luckily for me I had plenty of other opportunities to eat in the last couple of weeks. I hit up Subway for the first time in probably a year. I’ve gotten really used to ordering from Jimmy John’s since they bring the sandwiches right to my door. But since several people from work were going to Subway I went ahead and tagged along. I forgot how much I love the Sweet Onion Chicken Teriyaki sub. Also, how messy the Sweet Onion Chicken Teriyaki sub can be. I had also forgotten how busy places like Subway will be during lunch time for the next few months with all the kiddos out of school. It was a bit of a zoo in there but I managed to survive with my eardrums and nerves mostly intact.

I also hit up Borracho one afternoon to try out their new lunch/dinner menu items. I’ve got to say, their cheese enchiladas are mighty tasty. They don’t drown them in sauce which was perfect as I dumped a bunch of queso on them and didn’t want to lose that spicy cheesy flavor. Since I’m mentioning Borracho, I feel I should ALSO mention that my tequila frenemy finished the Tequila Challenge last weekend. She now has a plaque on the wall commemorating her achievement. It brings tears to my eyes, but probably not for the right reasons.

uncledscomedyTo get over my disappointment in not being the first female to win the Tequila Challenge, I hit up Uncle D’s for some open mic comedy. Ate myself some very tasty onion rings and heard some very funny comedians plying their trade. One of the Spokast Podcast boys has become a semi-regular at the Thursday night open mics and he’s just as funny on stage as he is on his show. I have to admit I’m consistently impressed with the quality of comedy that I’ve seen at Uncle D’s. I had no idea what to expect from a local open mic before attending the first time but I’ve found myself laughing more than not and it’s fun to see new comics get over their stage fright and perform the first time, and seasoned comics working through material each time they get up there.

It’s been a bit of a slow start to my summer I guess. I’ve had lots more stuff planned, but I’ve skipped some things to instead laze around on my couch, binge watching entire seasons of Downton Abbey and playing with my recently adopted Bearded Dragon I got from SCRAPS. Oh yeah, I got a new Bearded Dragon from SCRAPS the last time we went to film our video for Happy Tales. She’s adorable and sweet and so far hasn’t bitten me or hissed at me once (which is a bit of a problem with my older Bearded Dragon who hates my guts and wants me to die and everything). It was pretty random that SCRAPS had a lizard at the shelter and I’m pretty glad I was there to find her when I did.

And that about wraps up this thrilling (well not exactly) installment of Adventures in Spokane. I’ll be back in the next week (or two) to talk about dollar movie nights, discovering dinosaurs, and partying with the girls. To pass the time until I return, why don’t you head out for some adventures of your own? If you’re lucky you just might see me bouncing around town while you’re out there (and if you can find me I’ll give you a prize)!

– Mia V.

This week’s Adventures in Spokane brought to you by:
Borracho Tacos and Tequileria
Uncle D’s Comedy Underground
Spokast Podcast

The (Semi)Ultimate Guide to Stargate SG-1 – Divide and Conquer

stargateseason4Today’s very special episode: 4.5 Divide and Conquer 

“ALRIGHT if we had known ANY of this we might’ve been able to take a few more precautions!” – Col. Jack ‘With Two Ls’ O’Neill

Plot? What plot? Oh THIS one:
Act One – The Tok’ra high mucky muck is set to have a meeting with the American president (but not Michael Douglas) and plans for his visit and safety have to be worked out. This means SG-1 has to play diplomats because they are apparently the only people in the world able to handle things like that (seriously it’s ALWAYS them). Negotiations turn extremely sour when one of the non-SG-1 SG guys suddenly goes postal and starts shooting up the place (I forgot to check for a red shirt but I’m pretty sure the dude was wearing one under his SGC jacket). Luckily none of the REALLY IMPORTANT CHARACTERS die but the stage has been set for the plot of the episode.

Act Two – Anise/Freya of the Tok’ra declares that the Goa’uld have come up with some new mind control technology that is making uber-kamikazes out of people. The rest of the Tok’ra aren’t quite sure they believe in this technology but for the sake of the storyline everyone goes along with it. Eventually O’Neill and Carter are tested for brain tampering and it is discovered that something has definitely been meddled with where their memories are concerned. The Colonel and Major are quarantined and plans continue for the big meet and greet between El Presidente and Tok’ra High Councillor (because now all of a sudden they don’t need SG-1 for this kind of stuff?).

Act Three – Jack tries to sacrifice himself for the good of everyone (but mainly Sam). Sam and Martouf have a sweet moment that should be accompanied by ominous music, Sam experiences an Ah-Ha moment in the nick of time, and Jack is saved having his brain fried but must admit to some things he doesn’t really want to admit to. He then manages to help save the President and the Tok’ra head honcho from Martouf (remember my comment about the ominous music?). All is well once again in the land of aliens and snarky jokes. Only Sam is sad because Martouf is dead, Jack is sad because he’s had to realize some things that just plain suck, and Teal’c is sad because he was almost completely left out of this episode.


Best moment(s) of this episode:
O’Neill making out with a Tok’ra. That was pretty funny. And then him explaining to Daniel Jackson later that the host body likes Jack while the ‘snake’ likes Daniel. That was funny too.

The loaded look that passed between Major Carter and Colonel O’Neill when she finds out he offered to be a guinea pig in case it might save her life later. Not nearly as funny as the kissing Tok’ra bit, but still a great moment.

And DEFINITELY the moment when Sam stops Jack from getting his brain lasered because neither one wants to admit they have THE FEELINGS for each other and the alien lie detector machine thinks that means they are hiding/lying/possessed by false thoughts.

Worst moment(s) of this episode:
Martouf’s death. I mean come on. Why kill off Sam’s potential handsome love interest if you aren’t going to let JAM (that’s my awesome new Jack/Sam ‘ship name) be a thing?


Not-so-important questions raised by this episode and never answered:
Why is Freya/Anise wearing a latex (or maybe pleather?) outfit with a bustier and some kind of weird belt/strap thing going on?

Does Daniel Jackson’s forehead ever get tired from all the brow furrowing he does?

Why did Teal’c go through a blonde goatee period?

Did Stargate have to pay The Simpsons for every use of “Doh!” that O’Neill used in the show?

What the heck is up with Major Carter’s hair?


“I didn’t leave, because I’d have rather died myself than lose Carter.” – Col. Jack ‘Never Jonathon’ O’Neill

– Mia V.

*Watch two episodes of Stargate SG-1 every Sunday from 7-9p on ThisTV! ‘Divide and Conquer’ airs Sunday 7/6 at 7pm!

Furry Friends and Fireworks

independentdogTips for keeping your pets safe this Fourth of July!

As you celebrate our country’s independence this Fourth of July, make sure your pets don’t become independent from you! More pets are lost on this upcoming holiday than any other day of the year. A dogs’ hearing is ten times more sensitive than a humans and the loud noises can be especially difficult for them.

If you’re thinking of taking your dog outside to watch the fireworks with you…Think again! You and your dog will have a much more enjoyable evening if you leave the dog at home. Aside from the danger associated with your dog being in the wrong place at the wrong time, the large amount of people, loud noises and repeated flashes of light are likely to have a traumatic effect on them.

Whatever you do, don’t leave your dog in the car! Many pet owners think cracking a car window open or just running into the store for a minute is alright but it doesn’t take long for your dog to become over heated. On a 78 degree day, temperatures inside a car parked in the shade can exceed 90 degrees – a scorching 160 degrees in the sun.

Here are some tips for keeping your pets safe!

• Go for a long walk before celebrating. If you normally take your dog out for thirty minutes, take a two-hour hike instead! This way his brain will be so tired that he won’t be able to concentrate on the fireworks.

• Keep your cat in a safe place indoors like a bedroom or bathroom with the door closed.

• Distract your dog. Once the fireworks go off, ask him to do obedience behavior and them focus on something other than the noise.

• Keep your dog on a leash. This will give you more control and help prevent your dog from running off.

• Double check to make sure your pets have enough water during the hot temperatures.

• Make sure your dog has I.D. If your dog does become lost, tags, a license and microchips can get him back to you safely.


(SOURCE (text and image) – SCRAPS Hope Foundation press release, June 2014)

Featured Pet: Rosie #4093

rosieadoptedpicRosie (#4093) is a one-year-old, spayed, female black Labrador mix. Her previous family moved out of state and could not take her with them so they surrendered her to SCRAPS. She is very sweet and gentle, but also very shy and needs some time to warm up to new people. She is very smart and easy to train, and has even been used in demonstrations at SCRAPS because of this. She would do best in a home of older kids or adults who have time to not only snuggle with her but give her plenty of exercise and play time. The adoption fee for Rosie is $87.04 and includes micro-chipping and licensing among other things. If you are interested in adopting her, please come to SCRAPS and ask for her by ID number 4093!

Weekend Walkabout – Cannon’s Addition

Summer is the perfect time to get out of doors and see what your neighborhood and other local areas have to offer. Whether you are just walking a few blocks around home, or heading out to the park for the day, I guarantee there will be something interesting to see and experience while you’re out there.

Last weekend I walked up to the Rosauer’s on 14th and Lincoln from my apartment on 8th. Not a long walk, but definitely some beautiful and fun stuff to see along the way.


Apparently I live in Cannon’s Addition. Who knew? I’ve never heard the name used but it’s still cool.


One of the prettiest collections of flowers in the area. A lot of love and care went into this garden.


Flowers from the same house, front yard this time.


Our own little Rocket Bakery, nestled amongst the trees.

Great use of a broken sidewalk!

Great use of a broken sidewalk!

– Mia V.


*Do you have a great neighborhood for a Weekend Walkabout? Share with us in the comments! Or better yet, go for your own walkabout and share pics with us!

Pinterest:Impossible – Chicken Gyros and Thai Chicken Soup

pinterestimpossiblelogonobackgroundI went a little crazy with the chicken last weekend. I can see that now. But it all turned out so good, you won’t see me complaining.

I picked two slow cooker recipes to try off Pinterest this time aroundChicken Gyros with Tzatziki and Thai Chicken Soup. I love gyros and I love Thai food so they seemed like no brainers. PLUS they were slightly more complicated than most slow cooker recipes I make. It seemed like it might be time to push myself a bit


First up were the Chicken Gyros. The chicken part was actually pretty simple. I just mixed the meat with onions and herbs (dill and oregano) and a bunch of lemon juice. The recipe called for “the juice of two large lemons” but I had the little lemon-shaped squeeze bottle of juice so I had to guess on how much was equal to “two large lemons.” The chicken was edible so I must have guessed right.

There were very few alterations I made to the recipe this time around. I skipped lemon wedges, lettuce, and tomatoes ‘for serving,’ and I used regular salt instead of sea salt. But otherwise I followed the instructions exactly (well okay, there was that lemon juice thing, but whatever).

About a half an hour before the chicken was done cooking (and boy did that smell good in the slow cooker for three hours) I made the Tzatziki, which is basically the yogurt sauce stuff that goes in the gyro with the meat. The recipe included Greek yogurt and sour cream so I had a feeling it would be amazing.

The Tzatziki was the complicated bit of this recipe.  I combined yogurt and sour cream and garlic and olive oil and mixed them up. Then I had to include grated cucumber. I have never used grated cucumber before and actually watched a few YouTube videos to make sure I was doing it right. I’m glad they mentioned scooping out the seeds beforehand to keep the Tzatziki from being too runny.

The gyros came out almost a total WIN. The chicken was a little dry and I’m not sure if that was because I cooked it too long or my slow cooker just cooks too hot. I’m still learning how to use it properly so it was probably user error in this case. The next time I try this recipe I’ll do it on Low and check more often to catch it at the perfect stage of done-ness.


My second recipe was Thai Chicken Soup. It included red curry, peanut butter, coconut milk, and fish sauce. Basically a bit of every good Thai recipe EVER. I was also very particular about following the instructions on this one. I included everything in the ingredient list except cilantro (because I don’t need to garnish my soup) and cooked brown rice, because later it says to serve with white rice instead and I found that all kind of confusing. Also, I love long grain white rice so I went with it instead.

Getting everything into the pot for the soup was pretty easy. About halfway through cooking, however, I noticed that it looked like the coconut milk was separating from the rest of the broth and clumping up. In fact it looked a bit like I had dumped cottage cheese in the soup. I mixed it up thoroughly but it never completely smoothed out. I went online to see if broth separation was common with this kind of soup but wasn’t able to find anything explaining it.

Obviously I was a bit concerned with how the soup would turn out. But luckily, though it looked kind of strange, it tasted wonderful. The peanut butter was obvious in the aroma wafting off the slow cooker, but the taste in the soup itself was quite light. Overall it was a little bit sweet, a tiny bit spicy, and a tad nutty. I thoroughly enjoyed it (especially with rice), which is a good thing as the recipe made about enough for at least six people.

– Mia V.

*Be sure to check out all of the great recipes we’ve got on our Fox28 Foodies Unite and Pinterest:Impossible boards!

SOURCE – chicken gyros
SOURCE – thai chicken soup

Featured Pet: Bardo #3948

bardoadoptedBardo (#3948) is a 10-year-old, neutered, male, Black Labrador. He was found without identification and brought in to SCRAPS. He has a bit of gray hair on his snout and is a little hard of hearing but is otherwise in great shape for a senior dog. He is very sweet and likes to be with people, whether that is just hanging out on the couch or going for a walk. He would be good with a family that includes children, though because of his size might do better with older kids than younger ones. The adoption fee for Bardo is $87.04, which includes micro-chipping and licensing among other things. If you are interested in adopting him, please come to SCRAPS and ask for him by ID number 3948!

Adventures in Spokane, part Thirty-One: Where I Have a Playdate, Raffle for a Good Cause, and Gamble Someone Else’s Money

I woke up an hour late this morning because my alarm decided to take a holiday. Nothing seems to have gone quite right since. The rain isn’t helping my mood. I got to work and realized I had forgotten my umbrella.

I wish there was a way to call the day a wash, go back to bed, and try again tomorrow. Unfortunately my boss does not think that’s a great plan.

Oh well. Let’s take a look back at days that weren’t quite so frustrating instead.

mobiusdressupI had a playdate with my five-year-old nephew recently. We went to Mobius Kids at Riverpark Square. Talk about your gently controlled chaos situations. Kids were everywhere: driving ‘plasma’ cars and wearing costumes and pushing toy lawnmowers and banging on drums and splashing water and digging up gravel. We played with the Lego wall, tried on firemen and policemen outfits, staged a puppet show, raced toy boats, counted stick bugs, and giggled a lot.

Really, there was a ridiculous amount of giggling. It was awesome.

After Mobius we went upstairs to ride the escalators in the mall for a while. They are really tall, after all, and it’s actually kind of fun to just ride them up and up and then down and down for a bit. Try it sometime, you’ll see.

Once we were done with that bit of free amusement we had some ice cream from Ben and Jerry’s (note to self: five-year-old boys and chocolate ice cream cones don’t necessarily mix) and then wandered out to the park where the kid ran around in the fountain for a bit because a) it was fun and 2) I didn’t want to try cleaning off all the sticky remnants of his ice cream cone. I gotta say, that fountain is extremely effective in cleaning up dirty children. It’s also effective in ending a playdate, as we had to go home in search of dry clothes shortly after.

tmdraffleswampstompThe annual Swamp Stomp Custom Car Show rolled around last Saturday and I headed down with other local Modified Dolls to raffle off some fun prizes for charity. This year we were supporting SCRAPS Hope Foundation and it was totally worth it, even though it was about 50 degrees and drizzly out the whole time and we were dressed inappropriately for a sudden bout of Fall weather.

Seriously, it’s June. What is up with all this October-like weather we’ve been having?

Anyway, after being plied with blankets and giant hoodies from some lovely event attendees and exhibitors, we managed to raise quite a bit of money, raffle off some fun prizes (a big thanks to the station for donating an American Idol swag bag), and see some really excellent cars. Swamp Stomp is one of the best events of the summer (no matter the weather) so if you haven’t been before you need to get down there next year when it comes around again.

I’m sure you’re wondering what I did for my dad on Father’s Day, since I’m nice enough to mention him in these posts on a regular basis. Well since I totally didn’t forget that it was Father’s Day until I got a call from him on Sunday asking if I wanted to attend breakfast with him (cause that would be awful of me), I took him out to breakfast Sunday at the casino buffet.

casinokidnapOnly it wasn’t breakfast so much as lunch. Not that I heard any complaining. TheFather had steak and potatoes and bacon and dessert and seemed quite happy with it all. I had six kinds of potatoes (why stop at just one when so many are available?), two kinds of salad, and a couple of mimosas (because dang it I’ll get my brunch mimosa fix whether I’m having brunch or not).

After eating we headed out to the main area for a while to play on the slot machines. He lost some money. I won some money. We may have come out a bit even overall. I don’t know for sure, I’m bad at math.

And that’s about where I will wrap up this installment of Adventures in Spokane. I’ll be back soon to talk about social running, cheap movies, and aerial performances. To pass the time until I return, why don’t you head out for some adventures of your own? If you’re lucky you just might see me bouncing around town while you’re out there (and if you can find me I’ll give you a prize)!

– Mia V.

This week’s Adventures in Spokane brought to you by:
Mobius Kids
Riverpark Square
Riverfront Park
The Modified Dolls
SCRAPS Hope Foundation
Northern Quest Resort & Casino

ThisTV Movie Review: Short Circuit

41J58RCYG9L._SY300_I had a giant crush on Steve Guttenberg when I was younger.

Don’t judge me. He was the Man in the 80s.

Police Academy. Three Men and a Baby. Cocoon. That crazy Village People movie (watch paired with Xanadu as it was meant to be seen, and then ask yourself “why?” while curled up in the fetal position).

Steve Guttenberg was hilarious but nice and always getting one up on the buttholes of the world. He might not have been as handsome as Tom Selleck or famous as Ted Danson. But he was still adorable and I still kind of adored him.

At least until I fell madly in love with Kyle MacLachlan, but that is another story for another time.

Short Circuit is probably my favorite of the Steve Guttenberg oeuvre. Here he gets a chance to play the romantic leading man with only a robot that has achieved consciousness to rival him. It’s no wonder he ends up getting the girl in the end. How can a robot compete with all that ‘Gute’ charm, after all?

The plot basically breaks down like this: Because it’s the 80s and it is pretty much required by law, a robotics company has used a nerdy genius’s genius to create killer robots that can be shipped out to the front lines in battle scenarios. He isn’t terribly impressed by this but is going along with it anyway because plot development. A flashy twist of fate changes all that when robot Number 5 is struck by lightning and becomes self-aware. He escapes the clutches of his creators and goes on a journey of self-discovery that includes a fair amount of disco dancing, bug squashing, bad driving, Three Stooges hijinks, military shoot outs, and Ally Sheedy.

I must have seen this movie dozens of times while growing up, and I’ve seen it at least a half dozen times since reaching adulthood. It’s just so dang cute. Number Five is a messy, curious, dangerous but ultimately lovable character. Ally Sheedy is cute and maternal and willing to put up with Number Five and all the danger he brings with him. And, of course, Steve Guttenberg is adorable as an anti-social geek forced to head out into the big bad world and interact with not only a robot who is bucking his programming but a perky young lady he (almost immediately) has the hots for.

Short_Circuit_Still_08Of course as I’ve gotten older I’ve noticed the Important Messages scattered throughout this little family flick. The questions of what makes us human, where the line exists between ‘alive’ and ‘not alive,’ and how responsible we are for the beings we create that see themselves as individuals are very much apparent now that I’m focusing more on the story and less on the fact that a robot is driving a food truck (very badly).

But luckily with a great soundtrack, special effects that hold up surprisingly well, computer interfaces that are totally dated, and a healthy dose of Steve Guttenberg throughout, Short Circuit is just too dang cute to be dragged down by those Important Messages.

– Mia V.

Short Circuit, Rated PG, 1986
Starring Steve Guttenberg, Ally Sheedy, Fisher Stevens, GW Bailey
Directed by John Badham
Written by SS Wilson, Brent Maddock

*Watch Short Circuit on ThisTV: Friday 6/20 at 7p, Sunday 6/22 at 11a


(SOURCE – image)
(SOURCE – image)


Pinterest:Impossible – Slow Cooker Tikka Masala

tikkamarsalaI love my Crockpot.

It just makes things so very easy sometimes.

I throw some ingredients in the bowl, turn the pot on, and go off to do other stuff for a few hours while it simmers and cooks and makes a tasty dinner for me.

Lovely, lovely invention.

So this weekeend I tried a new Crockpot recipeChicken Tikka Masala. Confession, I have only had real Indian food once in my life, which is sad because once I tasted it I realized just how much I had been missing out. The first time I had Chicken Tikka Masala with warm naan bread and fragrant rice I was a fan for life.

Because of this I’m sure you can imagine how excited I was to find a Slow Cooker Tikka Masala recipe to try at home. It included quite a few more ingredients than I was used to cooking with – and at least one that I was totally unfamiliar with – but I was determined to try it anyway.

How bad could it turn out, after all?

I did make a few alterations to the recipes (of course). I didn’t include paprika because I forgot to see if I had any at home already and didn’t pick any up at the store. I didn’t top with cilantro because I’m not super fond of cilantro, and I skipped the cayenne pepper because I’m not used to making spicy foods and wasn’t sure I’d make it too spicy for me to eat.

It also had slightly less Greek yogurt than it was supposed to, but that was only because I’m bad at math.

Even with the intentional (and not so intentional) changes to the recipe I think my Tikka Masala turned out pretty dang tasty. It was a bit sweeter than I expected, but still had a nice spicy undertone. And it smelled AMAZING. All the cinnamon and cumin and Garam Masala (which is a blend of cinnamon and cumin among other things) combined to make an aromatic masterpiece.

My kitchen STILL smells of Indian food a day later and I’m totally okay with that.

I did find myself with a bunch of the sauce part left over, so when I try this recipe again I’ll add more chicken (or perhaps chicken in small pieces instead of large chunks). I will also be looking into either making or buying naan bread.

Tikka Masala with rice is delicious. Tikka Masala with warm naan bread is amazing.

– Mia V.

*Be sure to check out all of the great recipes we’ve got on our Fox28 Foodies Unite and Pinterest:Impossible boards!


(SOURCE – recipe)

Featured Pet: Monster #3910

monsteradoptedMonster (#3910) is an adult, male, long-haired cat. He is big in size and in love and is looking for a great forever home where he can lay on the couch, take long naps, and cuddle in warm laps. He may look a bit grumpy but he’s actually very sweet and would make a great addition to a new family. The adoption fee for Monster is $40, which includes micro-chipping and licensing, among other things. If you are interested in adopting him, please head to SCRAPS new location at: 6815 E Trent, Spokane Valley, and ask for him by ID number 3910!

Adventures in Spokane, part Thirty: Welcome to the Summer of Why Not? The Sequel!

Today as I was flipping through old blog posts I came across one done last year around this time. It had been written right after I flipped through the Inlander Summer Guide and got myself all psyched up about awesome things I was going to do during the warm months.

Dollar movie nights at The Garland. Concerts with local bands at The Knitting Factory. Margaritas at every bar in town (okay that one wasn’t really in there but it probably should have been).

I sure had some wild and crazy plans for last summer. And reading about them today, well, started that glimmer in my brain that it might be time to make some wild and crazy plans once again.

I think I’d like to finish writing my novel. One of my novels. I’ve got several I’ve been working on over the years that I wrote awesome opens and a pretty good ends for, but never quite got around to fleshing out the middles. I think I’ll attempt to do that this summer.

Speaking of writing, I’m gonna attend some poetry readings and open mics this year. And gosh dang it, I’m gonna get myself up there to read at some point. Why not, right? What’s the worst that can happen? I’ll do a terrible job and everyone will boo me off stage and I’ll end up crying and cowering in a corner overwhelmed with shame and embarressment for the rest of the night? Wait, maybe I should have stopped that train of thought back at ‘why not?’.

Moving on.

I don’t hike enough. I hear there are some excellent trails around these parts. Maybe I’ll even take a weekend trip over to Mt Rainier and do some hiking around there. It sure looks pretty off in the distance when I’m playing in Seattle. Maybe it’s time to get up close and personal with it.

Maybe I’ll join a book club. Oh! Maybe I’ll start a book club! Maybe I’ll start a Fox28 book club! What do you think, folks? Do you want to get together and read with me? I’m sure we could find some awesomely trashy summer novels to get in to!

Have you heard of the Inland NW Ale Trail? I just found out about it the other day. I’m not the hugest fan of beer in the universe BUT I do so love a good challenge (speaking of, I think finishing the Tequila Challenge at Borracho is definitely on my Summer of Why Not list of activities). AND it seems like a great way to experience new things and go places around the area I’ve never been before.

Maybe I’ll join one of the Spokane Party Trolley “social mixer pub crawls.” Maybe I’ll book the whole Trolley for myself and some friends!

I bought a new bathing suit. This year I intend to get out and wear it! I’ll go to the pool. I’ll go to the lake. I’ll run around in the fountain in Riverfront Park with my awesome nephew (he’s five and told me I’m a fun grown-up so he’s currently my favorite person EVER). I’ll go to a slumber party with some of my lovely geeky friends because I was invited and I haven’t done a slumber party in years and I think I kind of miss them.

Why not, right?

Seriously, why not?

Why not learn archery and how to scuba dive and jump out of a plane and take a pottery class and paint while drinking wine and invade my cousin’s pool and play more video games and get a tan and get a new tattoo and do some charity work and ride a motorcycle and learn to make pastries from scratch or how to take better photographs or try my hand at gardening? Why not ride more bikes and take more long lunches and hear more local bands and watch more mindlessly entertaining movies?

Summer is coming. The sun is shining, the temperature is rising, and it’s time to experience all the coming months have to offer.

It’s the Summer of Why Not, The Sequel!

Let’s all go out and see just what kind of epic adventures we can get in to!

*Got a great idea for something to be experienced this summer? Leave it in the comments below!

ThisTV Movie Review: Flash Gordon

flashgordonWhat can I say about 1980’s Flash Gordon?

It is beautifully campy.

It is full of critically acclaimed actors taking on less than critically acclaimed roles (seriously Max Von Sydow, how do you go from The Seventh Seal and The Exorcist to Flash Gordon?).

It is covered in matte paintings and spandex and glitter and laser guns that make that fabulous ‘pew pew pew’ sound.

Queen did the soundtrack. QUEEN! And dang if the main theme song isn’t catchy as all get out.

It’s got fantasy. It’s got science fiction. It’s got a super hero with absolutely no super powers except fabulous hair and the ability to get himself in some really stupid situations.

Basically Flash Gordon is just a big ol’ beautiful mess and way more fun to watch than any movie this ridiculous should be.

still-of-sam-j-jones-in-flash-gordon-1980-flash-aaa-aahh-saviour-of-the-universe-againThe plot basically breaks down like this: Ming the Merciless is being his merciless best and attacking Earth for no other reason than he’s bored (dude, seriously, that just isn’t cool). Football star Flash Gordon (Sam J. Jones) and plucky reporter Dale Arden (Melody Anderson), along with super scientist Dr. Hans Zarkov (Topol – because Fiddler on the Roof was a long time ago I guess), get sucked into Ming’s nefarious plot and the next thing you know sexy Princess Aura (Ornella Muti) is coming between the budding Flash/Dale relationship, Brian Blessed is running around in wings and leather underpants (as Prince Vultan) and Timothy Dalton is doing his best soundrel-y Robin Hood impression (as Prince Barin). Lots of yelling, running, shooting, flying, falling, fighting, and outfit changes ensue as our erstwhile heroes try to stop Ming and save the world.

Flash Gordon was released at a time when everyone seemed to be trying to get in on the Star Wars/Superman bandwagon. It was big and expensive and loud and explosive and had just about every element it could grab from the science fiction/fantasy/superhero genres stuffed inside it. The plot is all over the place as if it can’t decide where it’s going. The dialogue is awkward and clunky at best (though Max Von Sydow sure does try to make the most of his Evil Overlord speeches) and the chemistry between our titular hero and his lady love is pretty much non-existent.

Yet for all the (I’m sure unintended) silliness, this remains a film that is just so much fun to watch. Brian Blessed and Timothy Dalton chew up their scenes like no one’s business. The bright colors and shiny bedazzled costumes are almost mesmerizing in their late 70’s, early 80’s splendor. Sam J. Jones is as earnest as earnest can be while playing the part of a dumb beefcake tasked with something way out of his league.

And that Queen soundtrack is just delightful as delightful can be.

– Mia V.

Flash Gordon, Rated PG, 1980
Starring Sam J Jones, Melody Anderson, Max von Sydow, Topol
Directed by Mike Hodges
Written by Lorenzo Semple Jr (screenplay), Michael Alin (adaptation)

*Watch Flash Gordon on ThisTV, Tuesday 6/10 at 3p, Thursday 6/26 at 8:30a


(SOURCE – title image)
(SOURCE – screenshot)

Pinterest:Impossible – Breakfast Bites

Today was Birthday Breakfast in the local sales department here at Fox 28. Within a two week span four team members were celebrating birthdays and to we celebrated with dozens of donuts, fresh baked cinnamon bread, orange cranberry scones, and (the only savory dish in a pile of carb and sugar loaded goodness) Breakfast Bites.

I brought the Breakfast Bites. Hence this whole blog post.

Yesterday when I was trying to figure out what to bring, and it was sounding like the majority of people were bringing sweet treats, I floated on to Pinterest to find some ideas. These tasty egg/muffin/mini frittata things popped up immediately.

Now I have made mini frittatas before so choosing this recipe wasn’t exactly a giant risk for me. BUT I have had issues in the past with getting my mini frittats to not only retain shape when removed from the muffin pans, but also not stick with egg-y zeal to the muffin pans. Because this recipe called for starting off with hash browns instead of eggs, I thought it might work out better than normal.

In the grand tradition of me making alterations to existing recipes, I changed a few things up in this one. After a particularly painful and gruesome experience with my cheese grater (this is a food blog so I will not go further into detail) I didn’t want to make hashbrowns from scratch. I bought frozen instead and thawed them out before using. I also added in ham, cause my fellows and I like breakfast meat and ham is dang tasty in eggs.


I also made a few unintended alterations to the recipe later on. It called for cumin, nutmeg, salt and pepper to be added in a several points. I completely forgot any of those things were in the recipe, got into my cooking with the mindset that I pretty much had it all figured out, and didn’t realize I’d missed anything until the Breakfast Bites were done.

Oh well. They were delicious even without the extra spice and pizazz.

They were also really easy to make. I lined the bottom of the muffin openings with hashbrowns, poured the egg/veggie/cheese/ham mixture on top, baked the requisite time, and ta-da! Excellent looking little Breakfast Bites! They popped out of the muffin pan without sticking at all and retained their great muffin shapes.

The Bites were a big hit at the Birthday Breakfast and I already have plans to make them again in the (very) near future. As I’ll be cooking them for brunch at home, mimosas will probably be served alongside them. Because MIMOSAS.

– Mia V.

*Be sure to check out all the other great recipes we’ve got on Pinterest in our Fox Foodies Unite board!

(Source – recipe)

Checklist of a Safe Summer for Your Pets!

CarterwearingmysunglassesKeep cool. Dogs and cats can become dehydrated quickly, so give them plenty of water when it is hot outdoors. Also make sure your pet has a shady place to escape the sun if outside and when the temperature is very high, don’t let your dog linger on hot asphalt. Being so close to the ground, your dog’s body can heat up quickly and sensitive paw pads can burn.

Spot the symptoms. The symptoms of overheating in pets can include increased heart rate, drooling, excessive panting or difficulty breathing, mild weakness, seizures, and an elevated body temperature (over 104 degrees). Elderly, overweight, and pets with heart or lung diseases are more susceptible to heatstroke. Pets with short muzzles like pugs, bulldogs, and Persian cats become overheated because they cannot effectively pant. These pet should be kept in air conditioning to stay cool.

Visit the vet. A visit to the veterinarian for a spring or early summer check-up is a must. Make sure your pet is up-to-date on all necessary vaccinations. Pets should also be given a blood test for heartworm disease every year in the early spring. The deadly parasite is transmitted through the bite of an infected mosquito and it is recommended that dogs and cats be on a monthly preventative medication year round.

Keep up-to-date. Make sure your pet’s shots are up-to-date and your license and microchip information is up-to-date. In warm weather there’s more traffic in and out of your door and more chance that your pet may get out. Without updated information, SCRAPS can not help them find their way home.

Party smarts. Summertime can be perfect for backyard barbecues or parties but remember that the food and drink you serve your guests may be poisonous to pets. Keep alcoholic beverages away from pets and remember that the snacks you serve your friends should not be treats for your pet. Any change of diet – even for one meal – may give your dog or cat severe digestive ailments. Make sure to avoid raisins, grapes, onions, chocolate and products with the sweetener xylitol, since these are poisonous to pets.

Fireworks are not friendly. Leave pets at home when you head out for fireworks and don’t ignite fireworks around pets. Aside from sounding scary, exposure to lit fireworks can potentially result in severe burns or trauma to curious pets, and unused fireworks can be hazardous. Many fireworks contain potentially toxic substances such as potassium nitrate, copper, chlorates, arsenic, and other heavy metals.

Splash safely. Do no leave dogs unsupervised around a pool as not all dogs are good swimmers. Introduce your pets to water gradually and make sure they wear a flotation device on board a boat. Rinse your dog after swimming to remove chlorine or salt from fur and try to keep your dog from drinking pool water, which contains chlorine and other chemicals that could cause stomach upset. Also, make sure that your pet does not have access to the concentrated pool chemicals, as they are highly toxic to animals if ingested.

Love the leash. Warm weather can lead to longer walks and sometimes the summer is the first time pet owners have the opportunity to take their dog outside for extended periods. While this is exciting for both dog and dog owner, it is important that dogs always be kept on leash with a collar and ID tag to protect them from getting loose and injuring themselves or others.



(SOURCE text – SCRAPS Press Release, June 2014)
(SOURCE image –

Featured Pet: Roscoe #3622

roscoeadoptedyayRoscoe (#3622) is a two year old male Chow Chow mix. He was trapped and brought in to SCRAPS while out on the prowl for love. He is very healthy and mostly full grown, though he may fill out a bit more before he is done. He has a great, affectionate, and happy personality and already walks well on a leash. He is a bigger dog, however, and very strong, and will need someone to walk him that is able to maintain control if he decides he wants to go off on an adventure. He is young and full of energy and would do well with an active family that has lots of time and attention to give him.  The adoption fee for Roscoe is just $25 (the cost of a license) during the SCRAPS Moving Sale (going on until 6/8) and includes neutering as well as micro-chipping. If you are interested in adopting Roscoe, please come to SCRAPS and ask for him by ID number 3622!

Adventures in Spokane, Part Twenty-Nine: Where I Miss Comicon, Eat A Lot, and Don’t Steal a Dragon

Before anyone asks, no, I didn’t make it to Spokane Comicon this year. Go ahead and have your moment of shock and appall. I had a few moments myself on Saturday where I was saddened by the fact that I wasn’t there enjoying the con festivities. Instead I was helping my step-Gramma celebrate her 70th birthday (which you’ve gotta admit is a pretty big deal) and a friend celebrate his first (not 70th, that would be crazy) wedding. Sadly no one was dressed in a Batman or Sailor Moon costume for either one.

So while I missed out on all the comic book-y goodness this year (seriously why is Spokane Comicon only one day anyways?) I already have it on my calendar for next year, when it moves over to the Spokane Convention Center and takes on a swanky new name – Lilac City Comicon. I’d appreciate it if everyone would keep from planning conflicting events such as birthday parties and weddings and anniversaries and graduations and what have you on this day. Thank you.

Comicon was out but what was in over the last couple of weeks? Well I did manage to see this little musical called Wicked while it was in town. You may have heard of it? Just a tiny little touring Broadway show starring a whole bunch of people I don’t know, singing songs I wasn’t familiar with but have won some awards, based on a book I read and liked quite a lot (but have to admit that I liked the end of the musical better than the book).

The songs really were quite good, and I enjoyed the way they turned a rather dense fantasy novel into a two and a half hour (or so) stage musical. I also love LOVED the set decorations they used. I spent at least 30 minutes trying to plot out how to steal the giant metal dragon from the front of the stage. Unfortunately my companion at the show was less than impressed with my convoluted plot full of shimmying up scaffolding, Tarzan yells, and public nudity. I remain giant metal dragon-less.

Looking back, the last two weeks were actually pretty quiet (Wicked Witches and weddings and birthday parties (oh my!) aside). I had dinner with a friend at Sushi Maru. We actually ordered several things off the menu which was a first for me as I’ve always felt a bit strange asking for more when plenty of food goes by on the conveyor belt.

I also had dinner with my dad and a friend of his at Applebee’s one Saturday evening. I don’t actually remember what I ordered as we all ending up sharing off each other’s plates. I think macaroni and cheese was involved, and maybe shrimp. I do remember having a pomegranate perfect margarita (that I did NOT share because it was delicious and I’m just not that nice of a person).

Taco Thursday was celebrated at Borracho of course. The tiny/tall gal pal and I soaked up the sun out on the patio and stuffed our faces with tacos, burritos, and tasty drinks. I tried a Tequila Sunrise for the first time and it was very pretty. I think I also managed to get well over halfway on the Tequila Challenge, though I still might have around 25 shots to go to complete it.

And because eating at home is just apparently not for the likes of me, I also managed to squeeze in a trip to Thai Bamboo for one of their combo dinner meals. It included pad thai and Mongolian beef and rice and was absolutely delicious. Anyplace that includes pad thai with most of its combo meals is the place for me. I do love it so.

That’s where I’ll wrap up this thrilling (okay mildly amusing) installment of my adventures in Spokane. I’ll see if I can come up with something a bit more interesting to report next week (there may be indie vampire movies, Lego build days, and comic book social clubs in my future). To pass the time until I return, why don’t you head out for some adventures of your own? If you’re lucky you just might see me bouncing around town while you’re out there (and if you can find me I’ll give you a prize)!

– Mia V.

This week’s Adventures in Spokane brought to you by:
Best of Broadway
Wicked the Musical
Sushi Maru
Borracho Tacos & Tequileria
Thai Bamboo

Hot Tips to Keep Your Pet Safe!

hot dogThe official start to summer is less than a month away, but the Spokane County Regional Animal Protection Service (SCRAPS) wants to remind everyone how dangerous warm weather can be to pets.

On Thursday, June 5th at 11 a.m., SCRAPS Animal Protection Officers will demonstrate how quickly the inside of a car can become over heated and talk about summer safety tips at the south parking lot of the Spokane Valley Mall near the Regal Cinema. “Every summer, we respond to numerous calls of animals being left in cars,” said Nancy Hill, Regional Director of SCRAPS. “Inside a car, the temperature will rapidly increase and can overwhelm a pet in a very short time period – sometimes with fatal consequences.”

Many pet owners think cracking a window open or just running inside the store for a minute or two is alright but since dogs are unable to sweat, it doesn’t take long before an animal can become over heated. “The temperature outside doesn’t have to be in the 90’s or more for a problem to exist,” said Hill. “On a 78 degree day, temperatures in a car parked in the shade can exceed 90 degrees — and hit a scorching 160 degrees if parked in the sun.” Anyone leaving a pet in a vehicle during warm weather may be charged with confinement in an unsafe manner which is a misdemeanor and may additionally be charged with animal cruelty which could result in felony charges.

She also adds that if pets are outside, owners need to provide plenty of water and shelter from the sun. SCRAPS has free dog houses available for people who are in need of one. SCRAPS is asking anyone who sees an animal left in a car to call 477-2533 right away and help keep animals safe.


About SCRAPS: Spokane County Regional Animal Protection Service (SCRAPS) is a progressive municipal animal care and protection agency serving the unincorporated areas of Spokane County, the Cities of Spokane, Spokane Valley, Deer Park, Fairfield, Medical Lake, Liberty Lake, Millwood, and Cheney. SCRAPS has deputized animal protection officers extensively trained to enforce animal laws and respond to emergency situations. SCRAPS is also active in educational and community outreach programs and is dedicated to its continued investment in innovative behavioral programs.

(SOURCE – SCRAPS Press Release, 5/28/14)

ThisTV Movie Review: Christine

JohnCarpenterCHRISTINE_1024_3If you look at John Carpenter’s Christine one way, you might see a haunted house/object story. If you look at it another way, you might see all the trappings of a creature feature – minus the creature and plus an evil car. If you squint at it really hard, you may just see a cautionary tale of what happens when you don’t heed the warnings of family and friends. And if you just take a cynical glance at it, all you may see is a campy 80’s horror flick with comely young stars and a demonic old car out to murder people.

Christine is really all of those things (and maybe none of those things). The movie starts off on an assembly line where the titular vehicle tastes first blood. There is no ambiguity about this beautiful car’s demonic nature. And even when Arnie (Keith Gordon), one of our erstwhile teen protagonists, meets her for the first time he is told – very clearly to his face – that she was a car that was ‘born bad.’ He doesn’t listen, even when his best friend (John Stockwell) and parents make their objections to his purchase of her loudly and emphatically known. Angst of the bullying, dating, and family drama follow closely behind that purchase. As does dismemberment and death of course. Because Christine is a lady that doesn’t take an insult to herself or her new owner lying down (standing in park?).

The 80s were a prime period for Stephen King movie adaptations. Christine, along with Pet Semetary and Cujo, are some of the best of the films made from his books. The special effects are kept to a minimum (seriously all you need for a killer car is to black out the windshield so you can’t tell someone is driving her and BAM! – evil ghost car on the loose), the story follows the original text relatively closely, the soundtrack is stellar (in large part due to the integration of music in the novel) and the film takes itself only as seriously as it absolutely has to. It also takes the time to focus not just on the obvious Big Bad (that luscious red Plymouth Fury) but the deeper horror elements integral to the novel but easily overlooked on the big screen.

MMDCHRI EC002Killer cars are scary, sure, but what is scarier is the idea that you can know someone, like someone, LOVE someone, their whole life, and then turn around one day and realize they’ve become a total stranger to you. At the heart of Christine are two teenage boys who have been best friends forever, who have had each other’s backs over the years no matter what, and who find themselves torn apart the second that car comes into their lives. There are some metaphors for life here that we should all be aware of, but you can watch and figure them out for yourselves.

Is Christine the greatest horror film in the history of ever? Nope. Is it the greatest Stephen King adaptation in the history of adaptations? Not really. Is it still an excellent 80’s horror film with a sexy monster/haunted object/Big Bad and relatable characters and a brilliant soundtrack and some great moments of revenge? Totally. So is it worth your time to watch it? I’d say so.

– Mia V.

Christine, Rated R, 1983
Starring Keith Gordon, Dean Stockwell, Alexandra Paul
Directed by John Carpenter
Written by Stephen King, Bill Phillips


*Watch Christine on ThisTV on Tuesday, June 3rd at 3pm!



(SOURCE – images:,

Featured Pet: Abner #3191

abneradoptedAbner (#3191) is a nine year old, male Shih Tzu. He was picked up by SCRAPS and brought to the shelter where he had to be treated for lacerations and a leg wound. His coat was also heavily matted and had to be shaved. He is a very sweet, very affectionate dog, though it does take him a few minutes to warm up to new people. Once he does, however, he doesn’t want to leave their side! He is already neutered and has no health issues except for those already mentioned. Because of his small size and somewhat shy personality, he would do best in a home with adults or older children and no other dogs unless they are also quiet and reserved like him. The adoption fee for Abner is just $25 (the cost of a license) during the SCRAPS Moving Sale (5/29-6/8) and still includes micro-chipping and licensing. If you are interested in adopting Abner, please come to SCRAPS and ask for him by ID number 3191!

SCRAPS is Moving!

Spokane County Regional Animal Protection Service (SCRAPS) has begun the countdown to our move into the Regional Animal Facility at 6815 E. Trent!

Before we move, SCRAPS is looking for adopters to help us find homes for the animals in our care so we don’t have to transport them. All animals will be free with the purchase of a license; $15 for cats/kittens and $25 for dogs/puppies. The cost includes spay/neutering, vaccinations, micro chipping, license and exam. The sale starts Thursday, May 29th and runs until Sunday, June 8th.

Our current shelter at 2521 N. Flora will be closed on Tuesday, June 10th and Wednesday, June 11th in order to transport any remaining animals, office items and supplies. No licenses can be purchased nor will SCRAPS be adopting out animals. Owners can redeem their lost pets by appointment and officers will be responding to calls through our dispatch center.

On June 12th, SCRAPS will be open for business from 10 a.m. to 5: 30 p.m. at the new site at 6815 E. Trent.

On June 21st, the public is invited to our official leash cutting at 9:45 a.m. during our Band Together for the Animals. The event is a free, public open house from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.* Guests can come see the new facility with a self-guided tour, meet animal rescue groups that help us save lives, enter for the hourly door prizes, attend animal-related seminars and more:
• Guests can bring donated clothes and make money for SCRAPS
• Find out how to make pet-friendly treats at home
• Purchase lunch at the Taco Tumbras truck
• Learn how to keep your pet safe this summer
• Attend a seminar in dog training
• Find out what to do if your pet gets lost
• Enjoy free cake for people
• Learn grooming techniques from a pro
• Stop by the kids’ craft station
• Adopt a new pet
• Bid on fabulous items during our Off Leash Online Auction at


*Some of the Fox28 digital media team will be at the event so be sure to say ‘hi!’ if you attend and see them there!

About SCRAPS: Spokane County Regional Animal Protection Service (SCRAPS) is a progressive municipal animal care and protection agency serving the unincorporated areas of Spokane County, the cities of Spokane, Spokane Valley, Cheney, Fairfield, Deer Park, Liberty Lake, Medical Lake, and Millwood. SCRAPS has deputized animal protection officers extensively trained to enforce animal laws and respond to emergency situations. SCRAPS is also active in educational and community outreach programs and is dedicated to its continued investment in innovative behavioral programs.


(SOURCE – SCRAPS press release, Janet Dixon)

Oldies But Goodies – Consider Adopting an Older Pet

When it comes time to adopt, most people think about a puppy or a kitten, but that may not be the best option for you and your family. With a puppy, you are taking on a twelve to twenty year commitment in the long run and a 24/7 commitment until your youngster learns some manners. “A young puppy is cute, but it requires training and supervision,” said Kathy Keeney, the Rescue Coordinator for SCRAPS.

“Adopting an older dog means you are already passed the teething years and are getting someone who is in all likelihood house trained.” Contrary to the popular expression, older animals can be taught new tricks much faster than young ones. Older dogs in particular are calmer and more focused.

You also need to consider your traits. “If you are a couch potato it makes no sense to get a high energy puppy,” said Keeney. “With an older dog, you already know the personality, size and temperament of your new family member.”

And the most important reason to adopt an older animal? You save a life. At shelters, older dogs are often the last to be adopted and the first to be euthanized. Saving an animal’s life offers an unparalleled emotional return on your investment, and you’ll feel the rewards every day you spend together.


(Source – SCRAPS Hope Foundation “Tail Waggin’ Times” newsletter, Vol. 6-2013 Issue 2)

Featured Pet: Lucy #3121

lucyadoptedLucy (#3121) is a 14 year old, senior, German Wire Haired Pointer. She was once a bird hunting dog but has retired from the active life and is ready to settle down with a nice, quiet family. She is very friendly and outgoing and does love a good walk on the leash or a turn about the yard. She would do best with a family of adults or older children but definitely not cats and little kids. Lucy may not be as adorable as a new puppy, but as an older dog she has already benefited from behavioral training and has passed many of the more destructive phases, such as chewing on your stuff! The adoption fee for Lucy is $87.04, which includes micro-chipping and licensing (she is already spayed). If you are interested in adopting her, please come to SCRAPS and ask for her by ID number 3121!

Adventures in Spokane – Part TwentyEight: Where I’m Disappointed in Monsters, Exercise My Muscles, and Party Like It’s Cinco de Mayo

I saw Godzilla on Friday night. It was okay. I wanted to like it more but I didn’t. Godzilla himself was awesome and I loved that he looked like just an updated version of the original monster (and not…whatever the heck he was supposed to look like in that awful 1998 version). But the story kind of lost me with its terrible use of Bryan Cranston and Ken Watanabe (oh Ken Watanabe, you will always be The Chairman* to me). It also just didn’t feel like there was much of a point to anything going on. I LOVE the original Gojira because while, yes, it is a movie about a giant monster destroying Tokyo, that isn’t what it’s REALLY about. It has a much deeper and darker message to it. Without that message, I just found this update kind of ‘meh.’

mustachepartyAfter the movie I went to Rock City Grill for a bite to eat. I was already at Riverpark Square and Sushi Maru was getting ready to close, so it was eat there or go wandering downtown. It was my first Rock City experience and while the Thai Chicken pizza was very tasty (even with the shrimp which I’ve never seen on a Thai Chicken pizza before) it was a little more expensive than I had anticipated. I was glad to have a friend to share the food and check with.

So aside from seeing less than epic monster movies and eating kind of expensive pizza what else have I been up to lately? Let me think…

I’ve been working out a couple of times a week for the last month. Exercise and I will never be best friends and I usually plant myself on the elliptical machine or the stationary bike so I can read while exercising (I’m in my annual re-read of Dune right now, it’s a thing, don’t judge me). Not exactly high impact, but at least I’m there, right? I’m a member at Gold’s Gym which is right up the street from the station and I like it cause it’s small and not terribly busy in the middle of the afternoon when I drag myself in there. One of these days I might even try some of their classes! Anything is possible, right?

I’ve also had some lunches and dinners at Borracho, because I am a character in a TV drama and eat at the same place all the time apparently. I guess it makes sense since I work in TV (kinda sorta). I’ve also eaten at The Chalet (cause my dad is old and he likes it there PLUS I love their chocolate cream pie) and Hong Kong Buffet out on the Valley (because you can never have too much Chinese food stuffed in your face?). Nothing too terribly exciting to report I guess.

groupmustachesExcept, oh yeah, there was this whole ridiculous party at Borracho on Cinco de Mayo
that I attended. It was loud and chaotic and busy and fun. There was tequila and queso and mustaches and live music and old friends and new friends and selfies and more tequila and margaritas and quesadillas and pretty epic craziness. At one point I ran across the street to the Blind Buck with a group of people, but we liked the crazy festive atmosphere at Borracho better so headed back within half an hour. I had a great time but I may be getting too old for that much fun on a Monday (aka Work the Next Morning) night.

And that’s about it for now. What can I say, it’s been a slow month. But summer is right around the corner so expect some super-charged adventuring in the future. Anyway, I’ll be back in the next week or so (most likely) to talk about geek girls, lantern festivals, and comic book conventions. To pass the time until I return why don’t you head out for some adventures of your own? If you’re lucky you just might see me bouncing around town while you’re out there (and if you can find me and say ‘hi’ I’ll give you a prize)!

– Mia V.

This week’s Adventures in Spokane brought to you by:
Godzilla (2014)
Rock City Grill
Borracho Tacos & Tequileria
The Blind Buck


*Memoirs of a Geisha

SCRAPS Wants YOU! To Help Transport Animals!

scrapstransport2One of the volunteer opportunities available at SCRAPS is running a transport to the west side of the state. It’s like a road trip with nine or ten of your best friends. Nine or ten furry, fuzzy, meowing, barking, whining friends.

Nine or ten friends you are helping take to new, happy, forever homes.

SCRAPS currently has dozens of partners across the state and in Canada who take dogs and cats from our shelter when we near capacity or an animal has a special need. It’s one more of the life-saving programs SCRAPS has enacted in the last few years. “We’ve become part of a great network of animal welfare organizations,” said Stephanie Kuritz, SCRAPS Transport Coordinator. “Our goal is to double the number of transports we have as we double the intake of animals we have in the regional system.”

scrapstransportThis increase of transports has become critical as other animal agencies in the Spokane area have begun importing cats and dogs from out of the area. “Often times, we have transports taking animals to an area where another agency has just taken animals from,” said Janet Dixon, the Development and Public Relations Manager at SCRAPS. “It means that SCRAPS has to work twice as hard just to maintain the same live release rate for our animals.”

In 2013, nearly 2,000 animals were sent to partner agencies like NOAH. NOAH, the Northwest Organization for Animal Help, is located in Stanwood, Washington and has become one of the most relied upon agencies. Thanks to them and other animal welfare organizations, SCRAPS has achieved one of the highest live release rates of any municipal agency.

scrapstransport3Other ways SCRAPS increases their live release rate includes adding more permanent off-site adoption centers such as Petco and PetSmart and holding more outreach events in the area.

To volunteer with the transport program, call Stephanie Kuritz at 477-2532. To help provide funds to the transport program, send your donation (marked “transport”) to the SCRAPS Hope Foundation.



(Source – SCRAPS Hope Foundation newsletter)

Featured Pet: Heston #3043

hestonadoptedHeston (#3043) is an adult male black and white Domestic Short Hair cat. He is very friendly and likes to say “Hi!” with head bumps to your legs and loud purrs. He was found on the EWU campus and was obviously someone’s pet at one point. Each year many people move out of dorms and homes and leave their pets behind. Now Heston is looking for a new family that can devote the next decade or more to him. He has already been neutered and has no current health issues. The adoption fee for Heston is $40, which includes micro-chipping and licensing. If you are interested in adopting him, plead head to SCRAPS and ask for him by ID number #3043!

Eulogy for a Special Friend

This weekend I lost someone I loved very much. Someone who had been in my life for the last seven years, and part of my best friend’s life for the past 22 years.

This weekend I lost a pet who held a very special place in my heart. He was more than just a part of the landscape of my home, more than just another mouth to feed or another consideration to take into account when it was time to move.

Monty was a very special part of my life, even though many people couldn’t understand just why I loved him so much.

monty1You see, Monty was a Burmese python – a very large snake for those not into herpetology. He was nine feet of beautiful gold and green/brown scales who loved sleeping under heat lamps, eating large rats, and escaping to climb bookcases and create giant messes.

I suppose for people that have only ever had cats and dogs as pets it can seem strange to open your home and heart to exotic creatures. How can you love something that doesn’t seem to love you back? That doesn’t seem to care whether you are coming or going in their lives?

Of course those people have never walked up to the tortoise box and had little faces turn up in expectation of food or attention. They’ve never had a Bearded dragon snuggle down in their lap for a nap, enjoying human warmth while you get a cuddle. They’ve never enjoyed ‘snake snuggle time’ (trademark pending) which is … exactly what it sounds like actually.

monty3Perhaps my reptiles don’t show me affection the way a cat or dog will, and perhaps they don’t love me the same as another mammal might. But that doesn’t make my love for them any less. That doesn’t mean I care for them with any less of my time and energy than I would a different kind of pet.

That doesn’t make them any less special than cats or dogs I’ve met. My exotics all have their own personalities and quirks. My little Russian tortoise Nadia thinks she can climb walls and is afraid of nothing. My Bearded dragon Elliot hates me but loves some of my friends.

And Monty. Monty was amazing. Monty helped hundreds of children learn about snakes and reptiles and get over their fears of scaly creatures. He traveled to schools and pet stores and daycare centers for over two decades to help with exotic animal education. There are hundreds of people out there that will always have a memory of meeting Monty. Of petting him and holding him and learning about him.

That helps my heart a little. Knowing that even if most of those people never interact with a snake again in their lives, they did once and it was special (or weird or frightening or surprising) for them and their memory of that moment will live on.

withmonty2I loved Monty. I loved him for the hours I’d spend chattering at him while he’d coil up in my lap like he was listening (he wasn’t of course, snakes don’t have ears, but I liked to pretend anyway). I loved him for how he’d try to hide his ridiculously long body in small bags, or tiny boxes, so really just his head was hidden but the rest of him was out where I could see. I loved him for the way he’d splash water everywhere and knock over shampoo bottles and make a mess just like any dog or kid when I had to give him a bath in the bathtub (cause he was much too big for the sink).

I loved him for all of those special moments I got to spend with him. I loved him because he was gentle and amazing and fun to observe and he’d hide in my hair when I held him and because every day I’d walk into my room and there he would be. And maybe he only showed interest in what I was doing because I might have a tasty rat for him, but that didn’t matter to me

I didn’t love him any less because he didn’t love me the way I loved him. I’m just grateful that love doesn’t rely on rules and conditions like that to exist. I’m grateful I got to have him in my life for the years that I did.

– Mia V.


*The Humane Society of the United States has a great article on coping with grief after losing a pet. You can check it out here.

Featured Pet: Blue #2810

blueadoptedBlue (#2810) is an adult, female, long-haired, Lilac Point Siamese cat. She is very sweet and loves to cuddle and sit in laps. She was found and brought in to SCRAPS but does not seem terribly afraid of new people or situations. She currently has no health problems but will need to find a family that can devote time on a regular basis to brushing and maintaining her beautiful coat. The adoption fee for Blue is $40, which includes micro-chipping and licensing. If you are interested in adopting her, please head to SCRAPS and ask for her by ID number #2810!

Chewing: The Whys and Hows of Stopping a Gnawing Problem

Sooner or later every dog lover returns home to find some unexpected damage inflicted by his or her dog; or, more specifically, that dog’s teeth. Although dogs make great use of their vision and sense of smell to explore the world, one of their favorite ways to take in new information is to put their mouths to work.

Fortunately, chewing can be directed onto appropriate items so your dog isn’t destroying things you value or jeopardizing his own safety. Until he’s learned what he can and can’t chew, however, it’s your responsibility to manage the situation as much as possible, so he doesn’t have the opportunity to chew on unacceptable objects.

Why dogs chew

Puppies, like infants and toddlers, explore their world by putting objects in their mouths. And, like babies, they teethe for about 6 months, which usually creates some discomfort. Chewing not only facilitates teething, but also makes sore gums feel better.

Adult dogs may engage in destructive chewing for any number of reasons. In order to deal with the behavior, you must first determine why your dog is chewing—and remember, he’s not doing it to spite you. Possible reasons for destructive chewing include:

  • As a puppy, he wasn’t taught what to chew and what not to chew.
  • He’s bored.
  • He suffers from separation anxiety.
  • His behavior is fear-related.
  • He wants attention.

Important! You may need to consult a behavior professional for help with both separation anxiety and fear-related behaviors.

Manage the situation

Take responsibility for your own belongings. If you don’t want it in your dog’s mouth, don’t make it available. Keep clothing, shoes, books, trash, eyeglasses, and remote control devices out of your dog’s reach.

Give your dog toys that are clearly distinguishable from household goods. Don’t confuse him by offering shoes and socks as toys and then expecting him to distinguish between his shoe and yours. 

Supervise your dog until he learns the house rules. Keep him with you on his leash in the house so he can’t make a mistake out of your sight. Confine him when you’re unable to keep an eye on him. Choose a “safe place” that’s dog-proof, and provide fresh water and “safe” toys. If your dog is crate trained, you may also place him in his crate for short periods of time.

Give your dog plenty of people-time. Your dog won’t know how to behave if you don’t teach him alternatives to inappropriate behavior, and he can’t learn these when he’s in the yard by himself.

Give your dog plenty of physical and mental exercise. If your dog is bored, he’ll find something to do to amuse himself and you probably won’t like the choices he makes. On the other hand, a tired dog is a good dog, so make sure he gets lots of physical and mental activity. The amount of exercise should be based on his age, health, and breed characteristics.

If you catch your dog chewing on something he shouldn’t, interrupt the behavior with a loud noise. Offer him an acceptable chew toy instead, and praise him lavishly when he takes the toy in his mouth.

Build a toy obsession in your dog. Use his toys to feed him. At mealtimes, fill a Kong-type toy with his kibble.

If your puppy is teething, try freezing a wet washcloth for him to chew on. The cold cloth will soothe his gums. Supervise your puppy so he doesn’t chew up and swallow any pieces of the washcloth.

Make items unpleasant to your dog. Furniture and other items can be coated with a taste deterrent (such as Bitter Apple®) to make them unappealing.

Caution! Supervise your dog when you first try one of these deterrents. Some dogs will chew an object even if it’s coated with a taste deterrent. Also be aware that you must reapply some of these deterrents to maintain their effectiveness.

Offer your dog a treat in exchange for the item in his mouth. As your dog catches on to this idea, you can add the command “Give” as his cue to release the object in exchange for the yummy treat.

Don’t chase your dog if he grabs an object and runs. If you chase him, you are only giving your dog what he wants. Being chased by his human is fun! Instead call him to you or offer him a treat.

Have realistic expectations. At some point your dog will inevitably chew up something you value; this is often part of the transition to a new home. Your dog needs time to learn the house rules and you need to remember to take precautions and keep things out of his reach.

What not to do

Never discipline or punish your dog after the fact. If you discover a chewed item even minutes after he’s chewed it, you’re too late.

Animals associate punishment with what they’re doing at the time they’re being corrected. Your dog can’t reason that, “I tore up those shoes an hour ago and that’s why I’m being scolded now.” Some people believe this is what a dog is thinking because he runs and hides or because he “looks guilty.”

In reality, “guilty looks” are actually canine submissive postures that dogs show when they’re threatened. When you’re angry and upset, your dog feels threatened by your tone of voice, body postures, and/or facial expressions, so he may hide or show submissive postures. Punishment after the fact will not only fail to eliminate the undesirable behavior, but could provoke other undesirable behaviors as well.


(SOURCE – Humane Society of the United States of America)

Featured Pet: Saturn #2372

saturnadopted2Saturn (#2372) is an adult male orange Tabby cat with a very sweet nature and also a very large body. He was found and brought into SCRAPS and was so matted that his hair had to be shaved. He weighs in at a whopping 37.5 pounds and could do with a diet and exercise plan (vet approved) to help slim him down to a healthier size. Though he currently has no serious health issues, remaining at his extra-large weight could lead to issues in the future. He is already neutered and ready to go home as soon as his new family wants him! The adoption fee for Saturn is $40, which includes micro-chipping and licensing. If you are interested in adopting Saturn, please head to SCRAPS and ask for him by ID number #2372.

Adventures in Spokane – Part TwentySeven: Where I Workout, Support Animals, and Geek Out

It’s too nice outside today to be inside reading a blog post. Go out and play in the sunshine. Come back later when you’re done. Enjoy it for all of us. I’ll wait.

*hums Girl from Impanema while waiting*

Back already? Cool.

Well last week was pretty quiet for me. I was still recovering from Sakuracon over Easter weekend (read all about it on the Mia Con vlog/blog page!) and not up to a lot of craziness. I think I’m getting old or something. I did manage to make it to the gym one whole time on Wednesday afternoon. Not super effective toward getting in great shape, I’m sure, but better than I’ve managed most of this year (and last, shame shame) so I’m proud of it.

I also got some time in at Borracho, where I was sad to see I’ve still got about 40 shots to do before I complete the tequila challenge. How did I get so behind? Where did I go so wrong? I had one shot while there (Vida – smooth with a smoky aftertaste) along with a tasty pork burrito liberally smothered in queso. I so love their queso. I could just eat spoonfuls of it, but that would probably not be healthy for me. Lame.

earlydrinksLate in the week I stopped by The Ref out in the Valley with my tequila frenemy for some evening drinks. They had their martinis on special so I was sure to try all of them that I saw listed. It was only three, calm down. I also tried a shot with a filthy name, the taste of coffee, and a dollop of whip cream on top. It was interesting. I think I might have liked it.

Friday night was the annual Reigning Cats and Dogs auction and chocolate festival held by SCRAPS and SCRAPS Hope Foundation out at the Spokane County Fairgrounds. As part of the Happy Tales team and someone who very whole-heartedly supports SCRAPS and helping animals, I was in attendance. I looked at auction items, ate tasty snacks, drank some wine, joked around with co-workers, and met some very cute animals looking for new homes (and if I had a fence on my yard I’d probably have gone home with one of those adorable furry creatures I tell you what). It was a great night and a great event full of great people who were pretty much throwing money at SCRAPS which was pretty great as well.

kateetriciaSaturday I jumped in the car with one of the Spokast Podcast boys and headed over to Seattle because why the heck not? Also, we had tickets to see Katee Sackhoff and Tricia Helfer LIVE AND IN PERSON doing a showing of a Battlestar Galactica episode followed by a Q&A at Cinerama. It was part of fundraiser for Seattle Humane Society and the ladies were in the area for the annual Tulip Ride (also fundraising for Seattle Humane Society and Red Cross). As a very vocal and proud fangeek I must say the experience was AWESOME (awesome: adjective – slang definition, excellent or outstanding). Sitting in the second row I was only about 50 feet away from the ladies and could see them and clearly hear them (even without the microphones) in all their giggly, girly glory. It may have been a bit too close for viewing the BSG episode, however, as the screen was very large and I had to lean way back and the action made me a little sick. BUT IT WAS WORTH IT.

After the show we wandered down to Pike Place Market and took a stroll through the warren of shops. We found a delightful little used bookstore (Lionheart Books) where the proprietor refused to let me buy some of the campy looking science fiction books I wanted, but serenaded me and discussed Pablo Neruda with me to make up for it. We also hit up a shop with taxidermied bats, and another with giant Megaladon teeth. We couldn’t stay too long, unfortunately, but it was a fun little side trip anyway.

miasurprisedThat little out-of-town excursion wrapped up my week. I was too tired to do much of anything but lay about watching Netflix on Sunday. Sometimes you just gotta admit the laziness and revel in it.

I’ll be back in the next week or so (probably?) to talk about science fiction reboots, more trips to the gym, and mustache parties. To pass the time until I return why don’t you head out for some adventures of your own? If you’re lucky you just might see me bouncing around town while you’re out there (and if you can find me and say “hi” I’ll give you a prize)!

– Mia V.


This week’s Adventures in Spokane brought to you by:
Gold’s Gym
Borracho Tacos & Tequileria
The Ref Sports Bar
Cinerama (Seattle)
Pike Place Market (Seattle)

It Was Reigning Cats and Dogs at the Annual SCRAPS Auction!

It was a night of cats, dogs, chocolate, wine, small prizes, large prizes, fun, and excitement. It was a night when people from around the area gathered together to celebrate and support SCRAPS and SCRAPS Hope Foundation. Yep, last Friday night was the annual Reigning Cats and Dogs Auction and Chocolate Festival out at the Spokane County Fair & Expo Center and we were there – along with our awesome Happy Tales partners Paw Print Genetics – to enjoy the evening.



We arrived just after doors opened at 5:30pm and wandered about, checking out custom dog houses, nibbling on pizza and cheese and waffles topped with cherries and whipped cream, perusing the items up for silent auction, and entering some raffles for cash and prizes. We also met some dogs and cats who were happy to work the crowd in search of the perfect people to take them home.

Later when the live auction started the room really got going as attendees good-naturedly worked to outbid each other on trips to New Orleans, dog house prize packs, and dinner cruises. Our own digital sales specialist won a Seahawks-themed dog house loaded with goodies, while others in our group went home with silent auction winnings and table center pieces. It was great to see so many people and businesses there to support SCRAPS and SCRAPS Hope Foundation so they can continue doing all their great work for animals and the community!


10 Interesting Facts About Beagles

Beagles are one of the most beloved breeds of dog around the world. Snoopy, perhaps the world’s most famous dog, is a beagle. Here are some other interesting facts about beagles.

  • Beagles were originally bred as hunters, especially rabbits, so if you have small pets around, be careful if you get a beagle. He might think he’s doing you a favor by bringing you a pet hamster.
  • Beagles come in many colors, but mostly are of the tri-color variety: black, white, and tan. They are usually born black and white and they develop their tan fur as they get older.
  • Purebred beagles should always have a white tail or a white-tipped tail. This trait was bred into them by hunters to be able to see the dogs when their heads were to the ground pursuing a scent.
  • While the current Queen Elizabeth is know for her fondness of Corgis, Queen Elizabeth I was a beagle fan. Some portraits of her even included her dogs. King James I called her “his dear little beagle”.
  • President Lyndon B. Johnson had two beagles in the White House named Him and Her that he would famously (or infamously) hold up by the ears.
  • A “Beagle Brigade” was employed by the U.S. Department of Agriculture in the 1980s to sniff out airport luggage that contained food that could have pests that might be dangerous to crops. Their noses contain about 220 million smell receptors; humans have about 5 million.
  • Beagles are notorious overeaters. Their strong sense of smell enables them to find food no matter how carefully it’s stashed away. Get between a beagle and its food at your own risk. A regular amount of exercise is a must for beagles, or they will quickly become obese. Despite their penchant for food, they don’t drool like many other breeds.
  • Beagles were bred so their coats would repel water and not attract burrs or other plants while hunting. As a result, they are easy to groom and they don’t have a “dog smell”.
  • Because they were bred for hunting rabbits, beagles were often owned in packs to cover more ground. As a result, beagles seek out and enjoy the company of other dogs (and humans, if that’s the best they can find). For reasons undetermined, beagles tend to bond more strongly with women than men.
  • Beagles are well represented in our culture. Snoopy, from Charles Schulz’s Peanuts comic strip, is probably the best-known ambassador of the breed, but Odie, Garfield’s pal/nemesis in Jim Davis’s strip is also a beagle. Charles Darwin’s ship on his five-year nature voyage was called the HMS Beagle, an appropriate name for a seeking expedition. The beagle even appears in some of Shakespeare’s works, including Twelfth Night.

Read more:

Featured Pet: Roscoe (#2406)

roscoeadoptedRoscoe (#2406) is a five year old Beagle with a sweet and affectionate personality. He was surrendered by his previous family when they couldn’t keep him anymore and is now looking for a new forever home. He is already altered and has no health problems to worry about. While he has tested well with other dogs, he is not fond of small children and would do best in a home with older kids or adults only. He is curious and loves to find and follow new smells and sounds, and will need lots of exercise as well as lots of love. The adoption fee for Roscoe is $87.04, which includes micro-chipping and licensing. If you are interested in adopting Roscoe, please come to SCRAPS and ask for him by ID number 2406!

It’s Almost Time for Summer Programming on Fox28!

Summer is coming and you know what that means – time for new shows during primetime on Fox 28! As May comes around we’ve got a bunch of our evening programs ending for the season, but what will be taking their places? We’ve got some new and returning shows to pick up the slack this summer and hopefully keep us all entertained over the next few months!

In With the New

So what new programs do we have to look forward to? First up is Gang Related, a new hour-long scripted drama starring Ramon Rodriguez, Cassius Green, Terry O’Quinn, and Tae Kim . It centers around a young LA cop with ties to a powerful city gang. Created and written by Chris Morgan, Gang Related starts May 22nd at 9pm and will air on Thursday nights.

Summer is a time for less serious programming, so we’re bringing you two new unscripted series this year. Riot, based on a show called Anything Goes from French production company Satisfaction, is a comedy game show that includes singing, dancing, and navigating a set tilted at a 22 degree angle. It is produced for American television by Shine America and Steve Carrell’s Carousel Television, and will include guest comics such as Steve Carrell, Tom Green, Chris Kattan, and Mayim Bialik. It begins on May 13th at 9pm and airs Tuesday nights. I Wanna Marry “Harry” is the latest reality dating show from Fox. It includes a dozen American women who travel to England for a chance to win the heart of a young man they think is the prince of England. It begins May 27th at 8pm to air on Tuesday nights as well.

Return of the Old

Summer means sunshine, vacations, and a takeover by Gordon Ramsay on Fox. Currently we have Hell’s Kitchen and Kitchen Nightmares airing during the week. Soon they’ll be joined by a new season of Masterchef (returns May 19th at 8pm) and Hotel Hell (returns July 21st at 9pm). While Masterchef aired last year, Hotel Hell has not been seen on Fox since 2012. The new season will include more zany hotels, managers, owners, and their staffs this time around.

American Idol ends its current run on May 21st, leaving Wednesday wide open for the return of our dance competition series So You Think You Can Dance on May 28th at 8pm. Once again host Cat Deeley as well as judges Nigel Lythgoe and Mary Murphy return to see who has what it takes to make it big in the world of professional dance and who doesn’t.

Of course one of our biggest returning shows this summer has to be 24: Live Another Day. This special event series premieres May 5th at 8pm and will run for just twelve weeks on Monday evenings. It returns with Kiefer Sutherland as Jack, Mary Lynn Rajskub as Chloe, and William Devane as President James Heller.

So to sum up -

Upcoming Fox Finales:
The Following season finale April 28th
New Girl season finale May 6th
The Mindy Project season finale May 6th
Surviving Jack finale May 8th
Bones season finale May 12th
Glee Season finale May 13th
American Idol season finale May 20th and May 21st
Cosmos finale June 8th

Upcoming Fox Premieres:
24: Live Another Day premiere May 5th
Masterchef season premiere May 19th
Gang Related series premiere May 22nd
I Wanna Marry Harry series premiere May 27th
So You Think You Can Dance season premiere May 28th
Hotel Hell season premiere July 21st

Mia’s Con Blog, Sakuracon Day 3

It’s the last day of the convention and I’m already feeling sad. Last days just bum me out.

Things are slow-going around the hotel room. We laze about a bit, watching TV and packing our bags and getting ready to check out. It just isn’t as much fun as arrival was. There is a line for the elevator. A line for the check out desk. A line to get down to the parking garage. I’d probably be feeling grouchy about all the lines if I wasn’t already kind of tired and depressed.

We eventually head over for a last hour or so at the convention center. We can’t stay long as we’ve got hours of driving ahead of us and work to prepare for in the morning.

Dang work, ruining our fun.

I stop by the Art Show room to pick up the picture I won from the auction. Technically I’m not supposed to get it until 1pm but they let me in anyway. I also take a last turn through the vendors’ hall, grabbing some Pocky to snack on (if you don’t know what Pocky is you are really missing out) and a few more business cards so I can buy more art later on.

Though the convention center is still pretty busy, there are a lot fewer people in costumes running about today. Maybe even the hardcore attendees are feeling a bit run down on this last day of Sakuracon.

Soon it’s time to say goodbye to friends, Seattle, and event craziness. I leave the convention center one last time with, I’ll admit, a bit of drag to my step. I pack myself into the car with my con buddies, ready to trek on home.

I wear my convention badge just a little bit longer than necessary, even after leaving the sight of Seattle behind in the rear view mirror. I want to retain the excitement of the weekend just a little bit longer I guess.

Don’t judge me.

So long Sakuracon. Thanks for a fabulous weekend and I’ll see you next year!


*In addendum – Tasty Eats from Seattle:
Panera Bread – I really need to just give in and get a frequent buyer’s card from this place as I’m eating there every time I’m in Seattle; the cheddar broccoli soup and Frontego chicken panini are just as good as I remember

Mia’s Con Blog, Sakuracon Day 2

I think I’m finally getting the hang of this ‘sleeping in’ business. It is delightful. I manage to sleep until at least 9:30am. Eventually I get up and ready for the day. I don’t have any specific panels in mind to see yet but there is shopping to be done in the vendors’ hall.

After breakfast and some running around in the rain, my con buddies and I finally make it to the convention center. It is quite a bit busier than Friday, yet still not to the level that Emerald City Comicon managed. I’m okay with that.

Our first stop is the Art Show, where original pieces are up for sale and auction. I bid on a tiny mash-up picture of Sailor Moon and Adventure Time. I also buy some postcards because they are adorable and I’m all about supporting independent artists. There are a couple of pictures I wish I had seen on Friday as they are already purchased. Bummer.

After the Art Show we head to the vendor area and I’m delighted to find a booth selling prints of the pictures that I couldn’t buy in the Art Show. One of my buddies finds a picture of President Taft in a bathtub perched atop a dinosaur. He can’t stop giggling about it for the rest of the weekend.

We wander amidst the aisles for a while, looking at artwork, picking up business cards, and buying prints. If I had all the time and money in the world I’d probably purchase everything I see. The artwork is just that good.

Eventually we leave the vendors’ hall with our hands full and our wallets not so much. We head to the AMV (anime music video) screening room to see some comedy videos. The audio is incredibly loud and not all of the AMVs are particularly funny, but it isn’t a bad way to spend an hour. Later we head outside to the garden area of the convention center. It’s chilly but has stopped raining and the place is bustling with activity.

Cosplayers are hanging out, smoking cigarettes and chatting with each other and posing for pictures. In the largest area of the garden a giant ring of people surrounds a smaller group who are happily kicking plastic bottles around. After they kick, they follow the direction the bottle is pointing and run over to hug whoever in the giant ring it is pointing at. That person than runs into the middle to kick at bottles and the game continues. I’ve seen this game played every year but I’ve never joined it. It’s fun to watch all the players laugh and yell and skip about and hug each other though.

Once the sun goes down it gets too cool in the garden so we head back inside to attend a voice actor panel. First we sneak into a My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic panel, just to see what the hullaballoo is all about. There is a lot of singing and people in bright costumes and more singing and contests and – you guessed it – more singing. We last about ten minutes and then bail.

At the voice actor panel, all of the attending stars are there to read an original audio ‘play’ and give us a great idea of what it is like for them to do their job. Of course with so many on stage at once, sharing microphones and performing dual roles in some cases, a bit of chaos happens. It is delightful though.

We intend to attend another fanfic panel after midnight but it never happens. We head back to the hotel room for some drinks and a rousing game of Cards Against Humanity, and end up passing out early. It really does seem like we are getting too old for late night adventures.

*In addendum – Tasty Eats from Seattle:
Specialty’s Bakery – found them right across from the hotel when searching for breakfast; had myself a giant breakfast sandwich with egg and cheddar on a ciabatta roll; unfortunately for my fellow eater their breakfast fruit cup was mostly melon, which neither of us are fond of
Umi Sake House – incredibly tasty sushi in a very interesting setting (the bathrooms are hidden behind a secret door built as part of a wall); I had a sake cocktail with lemon that was excellent, along with a Dragon roll that was extremely good

Mia’s Con Blog, Sakuracon Day 1

My con buddies and I get to the convention center before 10am. There are people wandering around already but only a few dozen. At least a third of them are in costume.

The first event of the day is the opening ceremonies. They’ve upgraded since last year and included multiple large TV screens so even those in the back of the room can see what’s happening on stage. I’m sitting toward the middle.

Taiko drumming, Kabuki players, greetings from special guests freshly arrived from Japan, and a rousing bit of karaoke with full audience participation kicks-off this year’s Sakuracon – the largest anime convention in the Pacific Northwest.

I get a little teary-eyed when the Consulate General of Japan comes on stage in traditional dress. Don’t ask me why. Happens every year.

After opening ceremonies I go walkabout. I can’t help but notice how different the space looks for this convention than it did for Emerald City Comicon a few weeks ago. There are less people shoving through the hallways and squashing themselves on to escalators. The rooms have been downsized to accommodate more and smaller panels. And the exhibition hall has been condensed into one big space instead of multiple giant spaces.

I spend some time in the vendor area, looking at rare animation cells (no one has $600 on them to loan me to take one home), original artwork, costumes and costume accessories (so many wigs!), board games and expansion packs, and action figures, models, and Japanese snacks. I buy very little. I still have two days after this one to blow all my money after all.

I attend two panels, neither with celebrities. Sakuracon has way more “fan panels” created by and for fans than celebrity sessions. A group of cosplayers led by Zapp Brannigan (Futurama) and including Home Simpson, Johnny Bravo, and Jamie Lannister (Game of Thrones) does their version of ‘Loveline.’ It is sometimes funny, sometimes awkward, and sometimes really bizarre.

Later some ladies read aloud the absolute worse fanfiction they can find. I’ve attended this panel the last four years in a row and never left before laughing until I cried. My only complaint is that it happens so late at night (12:30am this time around) because it is a ‘mature’ rated panel. As I get older staying up so late isn’t as easy as it used to be.

I’m not terribly surprised that as soon as the fanfic panels ends I’m back at the hotel and crawling into bed.

*In addendum – Tasty Eats from Seattle:
Pike Brewing Company – I think I have a problem, and it’s my addiction to the pulled pork sandwich at this brewery (so yummy!)
Ohana Tiki Bar – we ended up here because the place we were actually headed was closed, but it was not a waste of our time at all; had a giant mai tai (complete with festive umbrella!) and a sushi roll I can’t recall the name of but it was full of fish and crab and lightly fried and very tasty, also their gyoza were superb and the decor was delightfully over the top
Benihana – it was one of my friend’s birthdays so we dressed up a bit and headed to the Seattle Benihana location; it was loud and busy but fun and my Teriyaki chicken was tasty