Author Archives: SwitchUp Web

Adventures in Spokane – Part Twenty: Welcome to the Holidays!

It’s that special time of year where everyone is eating and drinking and shopping and driving and complaining about lack of snow and complaining about too much snow and spending time with family and trying to avoid petty arguments and helping out those down on their luck and watching festive movies and eating and drinking more and hopefully having a grand old time.

Yep it is the holiday season and between Thanksgiving and Christmas (and New Year’s which is coming up but hasn’t quite happened yet) I’m no longer quite sure if I’m coming or going but I am pretty sure I’ll need a vacation sometime soon to get my head and body back in order from all of the end of year craziness.

In the last month or so I’ve eaten a lot of turkey, drank a lot of wine, watched several cheesy made-for-TV Christmas movies (I have a weird thing for 12 Dates of Christmas and Christmas Kiss from ABCFamily), watched some classic Christmas films (Die Hard is a must every year, just the way it is), bought gifts, wrapped gifts, and watched gifts get ripped into like someone’s very life depended on it. I’ve listened to dozens of holiday songs – from the original versions to some good and not-so-good modern covers of them. I’ve decorated trees with nerdy ornaments, watched my family lose their minds over charades, participated in a White Elephant gift exchange that included a real pair of old school dentures, and Skyped with family far away to include them in my holiday fun.

In a nutshell, I’m exhausted.

One of my wonderful and delightfully funny cousins had a birthday two days before Christmas so I helped her celebrate downtown with drinks and food at The Onion followed by drinks and social time at The Satellite. And I realized, as I pulled my tired and hungover butt out of bed the next morning that I may, in fact, be getting too old for such shenanigans on work nights.

The tiny/tall roommate and I had delicious, cheap tacos at Borracho on Taco Tuesday, yet I also took some time to chow down on cheap, not-quite-as-authentic Mexican food at Taco Bell a few days later. I saw the new Hunger Games movie (which I found to be pretty dang good – even better than the first film in the franchise) and also saw comedian Maria Bamford live at The Knitting Factory when she came to town (and let me tell you, she is one very funny, very unique, lady).

While work and home have certainly taken up a lot of my time in November and December, I did manage to get out and about town a few times. I saw Scrooged (one of my fave Christmas films of all time) at the newly-renovated Garland Theater (and those new seats are awfully nice folks), had breakfast and cocktails at Morty’s, had diner-style breakfast at Hogan’s, and forgo breakfast the last time I was at The Chalet to instead try out one of the options from their special pasta menu (tasty but not anything to really write home about).

Of course the big moments from November through December were the ones I spent in the company of my awesome, loud, rambunctious, funny, wonderful family. Thanksgiving dinner at my step-Gramma’s house led to dinner on Christmas Eve at my older sister’s house with my adorable but exhausting nephew (every gift was THE GREATEST THING EVER which was pretty cool – at least he’s easy to please so far) which led to dinner on Christmas Day at my aunt and uncle’s house. There was much hugging and laughing and singing and eating and laughing and chatting and sharing and caring and all kinds of warm mushy feeling type things that I don’t normally go on about but I am kind of now because Christmas.

I have to admit that it will be nice to see things settle down again soon, at least for a little while so I can recover from the last two months. Though I still have New Year’s Eve to make it through before that happens, and I fully intend to get my party on to celebrate the end of 2013 and the beginning of 2014.

I’ll collapse after that.

That pretty much wraps it up for this exciting (kind of?) installment in Adventures in Spokane. I’ll be back toward the end of next week to talk about anime movie marathons, New Year’s Eve, and looking forward to a brand new year.

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.

This week’s Adventures in Spokane brought to you by:
The Onion
The Satellite
Borracho
The Knitting Factory
Maria Bamford
Garland Theater
Morty’s

Let’s All Bask in the Sci-Fi Awesomeness That is Almost Human – Programming on Fox!

By now you’ve all been watching Almost Human every week and keeping up with the escapades of Detectives Kennex and Dorian as they fight crime in the future, right? If you haven’t, um really? Why not? There’s really no excuse to not be watching.

How about you go catch up on the show and we’ll wait right here for you to come back. Go ahead, we’ll be here.

Caught up now? Good job.

How can you not love this show right? I mean besides all of the sci-fi goodness going on in each episode, there is the wonderful eye candy that is Karl Urban (all rugged and growly) and Michael Ealy (all pretty and sensitive). Some of us have been fans of Karl Urban since his early days on some little cult fave fantasy shows called Hercules: The Legendary Journeys and Xena: Warrior Princess (I’ll admit he was my ultimate fantasy boyfriend for at least several years there when I went through my own Xena phase.) And some have come later to their Karl Urban love, when he started showing up in blockbuster film franchises such as Lord of the Rings and Star Trek.

However we got there, it’s all the same now. Karl Urban is a fantastic actor who does the grouchy but good-hearted hero to perfection. He also has the buddy-buddy thing down well. Like his great on-screen chemistry with Chris Pine in Star Trek, in Almost Human he and Michael Ealy shine as police partners. They don’t always see eye-to-eye, but they learn from each other and grow as people and as a unit in each progressive episode.

The main characters are not the only thing to love in Almost Human. The world they populate has an attraction all its own to lure viewers – sci-fi enthusiasts or not – in to its depths. While we can all admit that it seems to derive much of itself from other popular sci-fi worlds (Blade Runner, Minority Report, iRobot, and The Fifth Element immediately come to mind) as time goes on and the show grows into its own skin, it is becoming more and more of its own thing. By episode three at least we stop seeing it as derivative of other things and start seeing it as its own, not-quite-yet-but-soon-it-will-be fully realized world.

With a show like Almost Human, populated by people with robot parts and robots with people feelings, in a future where intimacy dolls are built to become attached to their partners and criminals kill women for their skin, many questions about what it means to be human are continuously raised. Are Dorian’s feelings real even though he was “programmed” to have them instead of being “born” to have them? Is Kennex less of a man because part of him runs on wires and computer chips instead of blood and veins? Is it inhumane to deactivate an android just because it was involved in criminal activity? In a future where technology has been created to be more human than human, where are the lines drawn?

This show isn’t perfect. It has some flaws and some things to make up for. The fact that it does remind viewers of other science fiction movies/shows/books isn’t exactly a point in its favor. But the good definitely outweighs the bad in Almost Human. It has a lot of heart and a lot of depth and it is becoming better and better with each new episode. It can make you laugh out loud one moment, and cringe in apprehension in the next moment. It makes you feel for the characters – human and android alike – and care about what will happen to them next. It gives us a hard science fiction world without overwhelming amounts of techno babble to melt the brain.

And it has wonderful-to-look-at Karl Urban and Michael Ealy taking center stage week after week.

What could possibly be wrong with that?

*Almost Human airs Monday nights from 8-9pm on KAYU Fox 28.

Special Feature! – Get Involved in Breast Cancer Awareness Month

October is a lot of things. National Adopt-a-Shelter Dog month. Halloween month. The first month that really seems to feel like Fall and remind us that Winter is coming (but not a new season of Game of Thrones on HBO yet which kind of sucks). October is also Breast Cancer Awareness Month, and whether you have been personally affected by breast cancer or not, it is still a great time to get involved in raising awareness of it as well as pushing for a cure.

Not sure exactly how to get involved with Breast Cancer Awareness month? Well lucky for you there are lots of helpful websites out there that can point you in the right direction. In fact, there is aNational Breast Cancer Awareness Month (NBCAM) website created specifically for that purpose. It not only explains the history of NBCAM, but also who is behind it, why it is important, and resources on how you (yes YOU) can learn more and help out. It has links to organizations including the American Cancer Society, The American Medical Women’s Association, Men Against Breast Cancer, Susan G Komen for the Cure, and half a dozen more.

And if just reading up on things or donating online to help with research funding isn’t enough for you (and why would it be?) you can always go out and get involved in local activities created around NBCAM. The Spokane Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure, a 5k run/walk, actually takes place in April BUT you can sign up now to participate. Just register online, join an existing team or start your own, and start collecting donations ASAP.

Like to shop? Well now might be a great time to flex those buying skills as a lot of companies “go pink” during NBCAM with special products and special versions of their regular products. Yogurt, t-shirts, shampoos, sporting goods, you name it there is probably a “pink” version of it on the shelves. When you purchase one of these special items the company donates money to breast cancer research, etc. HOWEVER, it is a very good idea before you go nuts buying every pink thing in sight to do a little research into just HOW MUCH of the purchase price will be donated to the cause. Some companies only donate a small percentage, while others donate half to all of the money from that item. I’m sure you can figure out for yourselves which is the best to look for.

There are many more ways to get involved with Breast Cancer Awareness Month, but this should give you at least a place to start. Breast cancer is a serious health issue affecting millions of women and men in this world. Take some time to get educated, be aware, and do what you can to help the cause.

National Breast Cancer Awareness Month
Spokane Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure

Adventures in Spokane – Part Eighteen: Where I Hate Snow, Stuff My Face with Tacos, and Ponder Pretty Science Fiction

*originally posted 11/5/13

Well it’s snowing outside this morning and I don’t know about all of you but I’m not partial to snow. It makes everything all wet and slick and people start sliding their cars into each other and houses. I grew up in Houston, Texas where winter lasts for minutes and so all this snow just seems unnatural to me.

Oh well. Moving on. I could complain about the snow all day but I won’t because I have more important things to do.

Like tell you about all the fun stuff I’ve been up to the last few weeks. As I’m sure many of you have noticed, we’ve had some issues going on with our website so uploading new blog posts has been tricky. There were a couple of special features in October about National Adopt-a-Shelter-Dog Month and Breast Cancer Awareness month, but at some point they were apparently sucked into the great yawning chasm blackhole that is the internet and have not been seen or heard from again.

I was a bit miffed, as any writer worth their salt would be if their content was devoured by internet demons.

But once again, oh well, and moving on to better things.

In case you don’t get downtown very often, you may not have heard that MarQuee and Ugly Betties closed down over the summer. I had never been to MarQuee but I liked Ugly Betties a lot so I had a sad when this all happened. But now something new and exciting has moved into the old Ugly Betties space, run by the old MarQuee owners – Borracho Tacos & Tequileria.

Serving up 70+ kinds of tequila as well as a menu of Mexican dishes, Borracho is trendy and new and an interesting place to spend an evening. The tiny/tall roommate and I went in on a Tuesday for taco night and it was very VERY worth it. Not only were the tacos only $1 a piece (just one measly little $1 folks!) but they were super tasty as well. The roommate had several of the Carne Asada, while I tried one each of everything except the tongue (I’ve had tongue before and didn’t care much for the texture). I had to agree that the Carne Asada were particularly delightful, as were the chicken ones (which I can’t remember the name of). They also had beer and margaritas on special which we were happy to partake in.

I haven’t been to the movies much lately, but Ender’s Game opened a week or so ago and as a fan of the book I was interested to see what the film version was like. A friend and I went up to Riverpark Square AMC on a Friday night and stuffed ourselves into a full theater with hundreds of other people curious to see this latest sci-fi spectacle.

And while I have to admit that Ender’s Game is quite wonderful to look at, I found the rest of the film to be lacking. Like many great science fiction novels, Ender’s Game has layers of science, politics, culture, philosophy, history, and more. It takes place over a span of years and includes quite a few important characters. To pare that all down to fill just two hours of screen time is a difficult task, and I think it lost something in translation. As I told my viewing companion later on, to me it seemed like a movie written by someone who didn’t fully understand the source material. I encourage you to see it for yourself and make up your own mind about it, however.

Ever since I discovered my love of Thai food I’ve pretty much kept to just two restaurants in Spokane for all of my Thai food needs – Linnie’s downtown and Linnie’s II up on the South Hill. But on a recent Sunday when my craving for Thai was almost overwhelming, I learned the sad fact that neither Linnie’s location is open on that day of the week. So I mustered my courage and went along with a friend to Thai Bamboo on 29th instead.

Besides the fact that the restaurant was way bigger on the inside than expected (like a TARDIS!), the food was pretty dang good. I ordered a lunch combo with Pad Thai, rice, soup, and Swimming Rama (seasoned chicken in peanut sauce). Also an order of potstickers to share with my friend. And I ate myself full to bursting because it was all so good. I think I still like the Pad Thai sauce from Linnie’s better than at Thai Bamboo, but overall I was very happy with the food I stuffed in my face.

When my tiny/tall roommate worked up a powerful craving for sushi last weekend, it became necessary to head over to Ginger Asian Bistro to take care of it (no powerful sushi craving should ever go ignored, it just makes it worse). This was the first time I had been to Ginger when it wasn’t Happy Hour and I had fun choosing from the regularly priced menu. There are some really interesting sounding choices they have there. I wound up with a Godzilla roll and a glass of plum sake to wash it down. Just like all of my experiences at this restaurant, the food was excellent and the atmosphere was relaxed and fun.

And now I’ve got to run and see what kinds of trouble – I mean ‘adventures’ – I can get myself into this week. I’ll be back next Monday (fingers crossed that the site is still accommodating at that point) to talk about things like sushi vs. tacos, gym abandonment, and writing the great American novel.

To pass the time until I return why don’t you head out from some adventures of your own? If you’re lucky you just might see me wandering around town (though bundled up quite heavily to combat the dang snow) while you’re out there.

This week’s Adventures in Spokane brought to you by:
Borracho Tacos & Tequileria
Riverpark Square AMC
Thai Bamboo South Hill
Ginger Asian Bistro

Adventures in Spokane – Part Nineteen: Where Chocolate Becomes a Wonderfall, Geek Girls Meet, and I Play on the Radio

It has been some weeks since I felt comfortable posting a blog on our dear, wacky website (though I’ve finally got all of the previously erased blog posts back up and running), but that doesn’t mean I’ve been laying around my house, watching bad made-for-TV Xmas movies and eating too much pizza.

I certainly haven’t been doing tons and tons of that.

Instead I’ve been out and about around town, eating cheap tacos and spending too much time at the reptile store and searching for great shopping deals on fleece-lined leggings. I’ve watched some sports (on Fox28 no less!) and celebrated birthdays (a ball pit may have been involved) and spent time with family that I don’t see very often.

It has actually been a pretty full last month or so. And I don’t have the energy or attention-span to regurgitate it all here. Instead I’ll just go back to relaying what I did in the previous week. It will keep things much shorter and more organized.

Trust me, it’s for the best.

So yeah, last Monday I was hanging with the family and we decided to go up to Golden Corral for a little buffet action. It’s been a few years since we gave them a try but it seemed like a good choice for feeding a bunch of people who wanted different things to eat. PLUS we had two kids under the age of five with us and no one was going to get particularly upset if they got a little noisy.

And once my darling little nephew (who I’ll admit was just two days away from turning five) caught sight of the Chocolate Wonderfall, he was ready to get noisy.

We stuffed ourselves on giant salads, mashed potatoes, mac and cheese, pizza slices, and egg rolls. And while it wasn’t the greatest food in the history of ever, it was all pretty tasty – EXCEPT for the cottage cheese that tasted carbonated and the red velvet cupcake that was very, VERY disappointing.

Honestly that cupcake just made me sad. And a cupcake should NEVER make you sad.

Oh well. Moving on.

Wednesday was the monthly meeting of the Spokane Geek Girls so the tiny/tall roommate and I headed to The Onion downtown to meet up with our fellow geeky ladies. Parking was a nightmare due to construction and a Gonzaga game but eventually we got the car situated and were able to enjoy the evening. I had some fruity beverage in a girly glass along with their Thai chicken pizza that was spicy and delicious. For the first time we had to meet in the main dining room, as the meeting room in the back was taken by a larger group. It was incredibly noisy and I’m sure I missed half of what was said during the meeting, but a good time was still had by all.

Though sleeping in is one of my favorite activities in the world (along with reading and sticky googly-eyes on things) I pulled myself out of bed early on Saturday to join with another of the local Modified Dolls to talk up our fave non-profit on Non-Profit Spokane, a weekly show on KYRS Thin Air Community Radio. I have some experience as a guest on a local podcast (Spokast – perhaps you’ve seen me mention them once or twice before?) and my fellow Doll is very well organized, so I think we did a pretty good job of getting the purpose of our organization across. We even got one email-in comment and one phone-in question during our hour, so I would call it a success (and if you want to hear the episode we did, you can find a link below to the podcast version).

After taking our turn as media stars, we headed across the street to Boots Bakery for something warm to drink. This was my first time in Boots and while I have to admit the decor is interesting, I found the majority of the experience kind of confusing. There was no signage or menu with the kinds of drinks available so I had to ask about chai tea and they seemed surprised I didn’t just know they had it. I ordered a cupcake cause it was pretty and I had been on the radio and CUPCAKE, but there was also no signage on that so I have no clue if it was a regular cupcake or gluten free or vegan or what (though the texture was a little strange so I’m thinking it wasn’t a regular cupcake at least). The people behind the counter were busy and running around and the ones helping us kept changing and it just made things more confusing.

I don’t want to write any place off after one not-great experience, and I know that many people in Spokane really love this shop, so I’ll probably try Boots Bakery again. But I’ll have to prepare myself first cause I’m not sure I’ll ever really understand what is going on in there.

My week ended with a quick trip to Sushi Maru for dinner on Sunday night. It was later in the evening and the end of the week so they didn’t have as much variety going around on the conveyor belt. For the first time I wound up asking for a couple of items off the menu, instead of just grabbing off the belt (orange chicken and seared salmon, in case you were curious and I’m sure you really weren’t). I also had a Sake … something or other to drink that was made from sake, lemonade, and blue curacoa. It was the color of Windex but tasted lovely.

And that pretty much wraps it up for last week. I’ll be back next Monday or Tuesday to talk about the new-and-improved Garland Theater, double Thanksgiving, and goliath face-eating (but not really) tarantulas.

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 wandering around town (possibly sticking googly-eyes on things) while you’re out there.

This week’s Adventures in Spokane brought to you by:
Golden Corral
Spokane Geek Girls
The Onion
KYRS Thin Air Community Radio
Nonprofit Spokane
The Modified Dolls WA Chapter
Boots Bakery & Lounge
Sushi Maru

*To listen to the episode of NonProfit Spokane I was a guest on, go HERE.

Special Feature! – Get Involved with Adopt-A-Shelter-Dog Month

The world would be a truly wonderful place if every dog waiting at a shelter for adoption could suddenly find their perfect forever home. If they could all be loved and taken home and treated as an important furry member of the family. Unfortunately the world isn’t quite at that place, and many dogs will have to wait a long time before getting adopted. Not everyone out there has the proper housing, time, or patience to keep a dog properly, and sometimes it seems like there are way more dogs needing homes than homes available for dogs.

If you are like me and live in an apartment with a roommate and a ‘no dogs allowed’ policy, or if you work 70 hours a week and don’t have time to devote to a canine friend, or even if you are allergic to dogs and can’t be around them without breaking out in hives, you CAN still get involved in helping out animals in shelters. You just have to take a different approach instead of trying to bring them all home to live with you.

Hold an Adoption Drive
Many times just getting homeless dogs into the public eye can go a long way toward finding them new homes. Once people see how adorable, charming, energetic, loving, or enthusiastic they are, they are more willing to consider adopting them. So gather your friends and neighbors, borrow some space at a park or retail business, call a shelter or rescue organization that would be interested in working with you, and help get those puppies out there.

Become a Foster ‘Parent’
Maybe you have the space and yard needed to own a dog, but still aren’t quite ready to make a lifetime commitment. There are some shelters and rescue organizations that ‘foster’ dogs with available families until a permanent home can be found for them. Sometimes these dogs are very young or have health issues that require them to need extra care. It isn’t necessarily easier to foster a dog than to adopt one, but if you have the time and energy for it you may find it to be a rewarding experience.

Volunteer at a Local Shelter
There is always a need for volunteer help at local animal shelters. You can help socialize and exercise dogs on a regular basis, as well as clean up after them and perform regular tasks that keep the dogs healthy and happy while at the shelter. Some volunteers will take dogs to pet stores or events for adoption drives, and some will check in with new adoptive families to make sure everything is working out well once a dog has actually been adopted.

The best way to get involved in Adopt-a-Shelter-Dog month would obviously be to take a homeless canine into your family. But if you can’t do that, there are still plenty of ways to get involved in helping them out. Take some time to research the possibilities in your area and then go out and do what you can to make a difference!

Local Spokane shelters with adoptable dogs as well as volunteer opportunities include:
Spokanimal
Spokane Humane Society
SCRAPS

Adventures in Spokane – Part Seventeen: Where I Turn Another Year Older, Try to Steal a Dragon, and Pet a Giant Tortoise

Hey there boys and girls, how are you doing this bright and beautiful day?

Personally I am doing awesome.

Why am I doing so awesome? Probably because last weekend I went to South Dakota and hugged a giant tortoise.

Have you ever hugged a giant tortoise? I highly recommend it. It can make your whole day.

Your whole week even.

Even if you aren’t a tortoise nut like myself, I still think it could do you a world of good. There is just something about getting up close and personal with something so immense, old, and completely indifferent to you that really puts things in perspective.

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Anyway, so what else did I get up to last week, aside from hugging on gigantic terrestrial chelonian reptiles (there are some science words for you folks)?

I’m so glad you asked.

See last week was my birthday. I won’t tell you what age I turned but just know that I’m older than I was but still not quite old enough for the Honored Citizen menu at Shari’s or the senior discount at the movie theater (yet AARP keeps emailing me about membership which is a little depressing as it is about 20 years too soon for all that).

The internet was very kind to me on the big day and I got loads of happy birthday wishes on Facebook, Twitter, and through text messages. Sometimes social media is kind of the greatest thing ever. The FatherFigure made me red velvet cupcakes with homemade icing and sprinkles which were divine and then took me out to dinner at Café Italiano up here on the South Hill. It has been a long standing tradition in my family to go to Olive Garden on birthdays, but we wanted to try something new and different (well not that different I guess as it was still Italian food) and went to Café Italiano instead.

Just call us the rebels of the family.

And this rebellion was awesome, cause the food at that restaurant was super tasty. I had the Chicken Parmesan with a salad and sparkling red wine, followed by Black Forest chocolate cherry-infused cake that was so light and sweet that I could have eaten an entire bakery full and not felt terribly guilty. While the meal was slightly more expensive than what something similar would have cost at Olive Garden, I think it was pretty worth it. The ambience was nice, the server was helpful and attentive, and that cake was amazing.

The next day I joined up with some friends to head over to the Spokane County Interstate Fair. We wandered about, watched some mutton-bustin’, ate some unhealthy meal options, hugged some horses (that may have just been me) and took a gander at the photos and other artwork on display. The black and white photography is my favorite but I’m fond of the color stuff as well.

If you’ve never taken the time to look at all the artwork on display you’ve been missing out. There is some pretty epic stuff floating around in there. I found a 15 foot (if I’m remembering correctly) metal dragon with light-up eyes that I was keen to try and drag home with me. Unfortunately it weighed over a ton and logistically that just wasn’t happening.

But if anyone wants to get me a belated-bday present and knows the guy who made that dragon, I’d be happy to give him a good home still.

Though I’m not sure how my tiny/tall roommate would feel about that. Hrm.

A couple days after the fair I jumped in the car and took off for four days in South Dakota. Spokane is fun and all, but it doesn’t have a reptile zoo or a geology museum or a drug store that has turned into one of the largest and wackiest tourist traps in the country.

And I wanted to see those kinds of things. So off to South Dakota I went. And it was wonderful.

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I went to Devil’s Tower in Wyoming on the way. Did not manage to see any aliens, spaceships, or Richard Dreyfuss, but the National Monument is worth checking out anyway. I also stopped at Cracker Barrel in Billings, Montana because it just isn’t right going on a road trip and NOT stopping at Cracker Barrel. Their breakfasts are what most breakfasts dream of being when they grow up. I stuffed myself so full of hashbrown casserole and biscuits I was fairly certain I’d never be hungry again.

Once I actually made it to South Dakota I made the most of my time there. I went to the Museum of Geology at the South Dakota School of Mines and Technology and saw some fossils and some rocks and some loud children who wouldn’t stop touching things. I went to Dinosaur Park and saw some wonderfully kitschy old dino statues from the 1930s.

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At Wall Drug I sat on a jackalope, ate a charburger, and looked at dozens of original paintings and drawings of John Wayne. In the Badlands I climbed up and then slid down a mountain, caught toads, poked at baby rattlesnakes, and got blown around by some epic wind. At Mount Rushmore I watched happy Germans bounce around taking pictures of the memorial, each other, and a mountain goat that had wandered by.

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And at Reptile Gardens – which I will henceforth and forthwith be calling My New Happiest Place on This Part of the Earth – I hugged a giant tortoise.

In fact I hugged TWO giant tortoises. I scratched their chins, I rubbed on their shells, I messed with their enormous elephant-type feet.

It was glorious.

I also saw hundreds of snakes, some so rare that Reptile Gardens is the only zoo in America that has them in captivity. I touched a baby alligator, stuck my tongue out at a Komodo dragon, sat in on a snake show, scolded a Russian tortoise for being a bully, whistled at a parrot, and watched lizards run around together in a jungle room.

It was the most fun a goofy little reptile-lover like me could have in a day. And it was very, VERY hard to drag myself out of there when closing time came around. I was making plans to return before the car even left the parking lot.

I’m just that kind of girl, I guess.

And that wrapped up my week pretty much. Now I’ll be napping until Spring to make up for all the running around I did. If I find any remaining energy to drag myself out and about in town then I’ll be back next week to talk about Geek Girl meetings, used book sales, and the Inlander’s Annual Manual Challenge (something I totally just made up for myself).

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 wandering around town while you’re out there.

*Photos courtesy of Blake Nelson of Spokast Podcast*

This week’s Adventures in Spokane brought to you by:
Café Italiano
Spokane County Interstate Fair
Cracker Barrel (Billings, Montana)
Devil’s Tower (Wyoming)
Museum of Geology (Rapid City, South Dakota)
Dinosaur Park (Rapid City, South Dakota)
Wall Drug (Wall, South Dakota)
Reptile Gardens (Rapid City, South Dakota)
Badlands National Park (South Dakota)
Mount Rushmore (South Dakota)

Get Ready for Some Schedule Changes – Programming on FOX28!

Our primetime lineup isn’t the only thing that will be changing this month on FOX28. We’ve got a slew of new (haha that rhymed) syndicated shows set to air throughout the daytime, evening, and nighttime hours. While some comedies and talk shows are taking a final bow, new clip-shows, talk shows, and comedies will be taking their places to keep you entertained throughout the week.

Some of the biggest changes start the week of September 9th as a second hour of Family Feud joins the afternoon schedule (from 2-3pm) as does the Bethenny Frankel show (4-5pm) and an hour of Right This Minute from noon to 1pm. Don’t worry, we aren’t losing the Steve Harvey show, he’s just moving to the 3-4pm hour. Late night is getting some new flavor starting the 9th as well, when Arsenio Hall returns to the talk show scene with a new hour-long program that will air from 11:05pm to 12:05am on weeknights.

And just in case you’re curious, Right This Minute presents all of the most current internet and television videos to you in an easy to watch format so you never feel like you’re missing out on what everyone is talking about, even if you don’t spend countless hours online every week. And Bethenny is a daytime talk show hosted by one of the Real Housewives of New York City that focuses on fashion, style, lifestyle tips, and celebrity interviews.

Starting the week of September 16th we’ll be making a bit of a change to our week day Law and Order offering. Criminal Intent will be waving goodbye and the popular SVU installment of the long-running series, staring Christopher Meloni and Mariska Hargitay, will take its place from 1-2pm. But we aren’t quite done there! One week later (the week of 9/23) we’ll be adding a new comedy to our evening and late-night schedule when Modern Family joins the FOX28 family. This hilarious and touching half-hour sitcom will air from 6:30-7pm and from 10:35-11:05pm Monday through Friday.

So get ready for a big month of changes coming at you as we shake up the early morning comedies, mix in some new daytime talk shows, rattle the evening comedy lineup, and add a dash of new to late night. It’s going to be an exciting September!

Come back Wednesdays (or Thursdays) for more programming updates, alerts, announcements, and special features!

Adventures in Spokane – Part Sixteen: Where I Go on Hiatus, Family Invades Spokane, and Nothing Goes as Planned

The thing about summer is, nothing ever seems to go as planned. I can carefully mark down everything I want to see/do/attend/eat/drink/be merry on my calendar and leave myself reminders and STILL I’ll forget something or double-book something or just plain run out of energy before something comes around. Back in the day this used to bother me but over the years I’ve learned to just kind of go with the flow. I might miss doing one thing I had planned, but something else tends to come along to make up for it. And sometimes I have to admit that sleeping in and being a lazy slug on my couch for a day is necessary to keeping my sanity. We want me to keep my sanity, trust me on this.

Over the last few weeks while I wasn’t writing blog posts I WAS hanging out around town, eating and drinking and spending time with family that had trekked into Spokane for a visit. There were dinners at Perkins (not the greatest food in the world but a restaurant that is great for large, noisy groups of people), lunches at The Chalet (for similar reasons)and many BBQs held in one backyard or another. I was chased by bees, called by my sister’s name, forced into family photos, humiliated at “Minute to Win It” games, hugged repeatedly, used as a sounding board for family drama, and obviously had an excellent time. It was great but exhausting and the world seems much quieter now that things have gone back to normal and the family has departed once again.

At one point during Fun Family Time I snuck away with my sisters for a girl’s night out. We wound up at Azteca in the Spokane Valley Mall for dinner, and can I just say their spinach queso dip is quite possibly the greatest cheesey dip in the history of EVER? Seriously, I would’ve been perfectly happy to eat nothing but a bowl of that for dinner, and washed it down with a giant Ramos Rita or two (well maybe not two, as the first one was enormous and more than enough to get me going). After stuffing our faces with cheese and actual dinners (I had the Pollo a la Crema and it was delicious as usual) we headed over to the movie theater and saw The World’s End starring Simon Pegg and Nick Frost. This might be a controversial thing to say (if you’re a nerd at any rate), but I think this was my fave of their movies. It was hilarious, fast-paced, witty, and surprising. I highly recommend it to everyone who appreciates great comedies.

After all of the eating and drinking and making merry I did with TheFamily, you’d think I’d be too tired out to stuff my face more. But Pig Out in the Park started up just days later and I certainly couldn’t miss out on THAT now could I? I headed down on Friday evening with my tiny/tall gal pal and had myself a lemon cheesecake with raspberry sauce (on a stick!) and a Philly cheese steak (not on a stick!), while she munched on her own cheese cake treat and an Indian taco. It was busy and loud and a fun time and I found myself enjoying the event at night because it wasn’t nearly as hot as my previous experiences (I’ve always gone down about lunch time in the past). On Saturday I met up with friends to do the whole thing again. This time we started with drinks at O’Doherty’s before heading to the park. We also shared foods and managed to scarf down Pad Thai, a German sandwich, garlicky “swimming” potatoes, egg rolls, a savory crepe, and chocolate-dipped cheese cake (once again on a stick!). As you can imagine, I won’t need to eat again until Pig Out in the Park returns in 2014.

It’s sad to admit with September here Summer is winding down. I didn’t manage to go parasailing or skydiving or attend any giant music festivals or nearly enough county fairs. But I did have a great time seeing movies and playing at the pool and helping out a podcast and going to conventions and traveling around the state. And Fall is now on it’s way with its own line-up of awesome events and activities to check out. I’m definitely looking forward to seeing what this new season has in store for me.

Now I’m off to see what kind of trouble I can get myself into for the rest of the week. I’ll be back next Monday or Tuesday (I promise) to talk about car shows, stand-up comedians and hanging at the fair. To pass the time til my return (next week, I really do promise) 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.

This week’s Adventures in Spokane brought to you by:
Perkin’s
Azteca
Spokane Valley Mall
Pig Out in the Park

Adventures in Spokane – Part Fifteen: Where a Donut Tries to Kill Me, I Eat to Stop the Pain, and Sharks Fall from the Sky

You know folks, I’ve eaten a lot of interesting things in my lifetime. Raw octopus. Alligator on a stick. Barbecued eel. But last week my taste buds took adventuring to new heights. I’m sure at this point pretty much everyone in town has heard of Dawn of the Donut, Spokane’s very own zombie-themed donut shop (and if you haven’t – seriously? have you been living under a rock the past couple of months?). What you may not have heard of is some of their more exciting baked options, such as the El Diablo – a delightful chocolate cake donut sprinkled with Ghost pepper flakes. Yes, ladies and gents, you read that correctly. Ghost. Pepper. Flakes. Ghost pepper flakes that I was not totally aware of on the donut until I had taken several large bites and suddenly found myself wondering a) why my mouth was on fire and b) if I opened said burning mouth would flames come out in a very dragon-like fashion?

There are a lot of exciting options available at Dawn of the Donut and from what I understand not all of them make you feel like your mouth is going to run screaming from your body and dunk itself into the deepest, coolest vat of milk possible (milk helps negate the effects of spicy foods – true story and something to keep in mind for all you spicy-food wimps out there like myself). But I urge everyone to give these guys a try, and if you are brave I’m sure the El Diablo is calling your name (by the way, in case you think I must be the biggest idiot in the planet or that I ordered something no one took the time to warn me about, we had a co-worker bring in two boxes of donuts on morning and he didn’t take the time to label them or warn anyone before eating them, so that’s how I ended up with the El Diablo; it looked like the most normal donut in the box. I have since learned my lesson about judging baked goods by their appearance).

Last week really seemed to be all about the food. I went out several nights for dinner and had myself some tasty cheap fast food at Taco Bell, immersed myself in a simple but very edible Taco salad at Senor Froggy during lunch with TheGramma, and chased down some old favorites and new experiments at Sushi Maru (turns out I still love their Godzilla and Dragon rolls, but am not terribly fond of whatever the heck it’s called with the pile of scallops on top of it). I also shared in an excellent pile of nachos at Morty’s one evening when we all gathered to say goodbye to a co-worker who was heading off to a new adventure of her own after working at the station for five years. I may have had a couple of margaritas as well, and why not? It was a party and the general manager was paying (which is always an excellent reason to have a few drinks in my book).

When I wasn’t eating I was taking some time to help some of my favorite gentlemen with one of my favorite podcasts – Spokast in case you haven’t been following along the past few months and heard me mention them a couple dozen times. And I was taking some time out to hang with my tiny/tall roommate at our awesome apartment and watch the single greatest awful film in possibly the history of the universe (so far) – Sharknado. It had everything: bad CGI effects, horrible actors, a ridiculous plot, and sharks. So many sharks. Sharks flying through windows. Sharks swimming up freeways. Sharks falling from the sky. Sharks eating everyone they could get their poorly constructed CG teeth on. If you haven’t seen the epic badness that is Sharknado yet you are truly missing out on crappy movie history.

As there is really nothing that can top watching a tornado made of sharks that is about where my week wrapped up. Don’t worry though, I’ll be back next Monday or Tuesday to talk about hanging out with FlatSimon (hopefully you’ve been paying attention to our Facebook and Twitter feeds for the story on him), Rock Band events for charity, and riffing films live. To pass the time til my 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.

This week’s Adventures in Spokane brought to you by:
Dawn of the Donut
Senor Froggy
Sushi Maru
Spokast Podcast
Morty’s Tap and Grille
Sharknado