Category Archives: Adventures in Spokane

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
HobbyTown
Value Village
Arc of Spokane Thrift Store
Goodwill

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.

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.

grammatattoo2

 

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

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
Lucky’s
Bowlz Bitez and Spiritz
Singing in the New Year
IMAX Riverfront Park
Sushi Maru
Old Spaghetti Factory

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

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

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)?

Well…

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
Waddell’s
Sushi Maru
AMC Riverpark Square
Cards Against Humanity

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:
Geno’s
Borracho Tacos and Tequileria
Uncle D’s Comedy Underground
Spokast Podcast
SCRAPS

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

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!

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
Applebee’s
Borracho Tacos & Tequileria
Thai Bamboo

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

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
SCRAPS
Cinerama (Seattle)
Pike Place Market (Seattle)

Adventures in Spokane – Party TwentySix: Where I Watch Movies, Eat Sushi, and Play with Science

It’s pretty outside today. I want to be out there playing in the sunshine instead of inside all day here at the station. My family in Texas is at the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo today, playing in the sunlight and having a great time. I wish I was there. Spring Fever will probably be setting in pretty soon around here. I wonder if they’d let me move my desk outside for a few months to enjoy the nice weather. I’ll let you know how the campaign for that goes.

Last week was relatively quiet for me. I hung out at home quite a bit, watching bad movies (turns out Showgirls is just as terrible now as it was when I first saw it 18 years ago) and reading books (Neil deGrasse Tyson’s autobiography is pretty fascinating folks) and Skyping with family. I did make it down to Borracho once but as I was getting over a chest cold I only partook of one tequila shot. I’m still inching ever closer to completing the Tequila Challenge, though I was a little disheartened to learn that the original winner of the challenge managed to complete it AGAIN before I even got halfway through it. What, does that guy just live there or something? Sheesh.

I made it up to The Garland Theater for a showing of The Hobbit: Desolation of Smaug on Tuesday evening. Definitely enjoyed the second movie in the trilogy way more than the first. A big part of that was due to the dragon, of course. They did an amazing job with that dragon. I was concerned at first because I have found the CG on the main orc characters to be less than stellar. I didn’t want to see a crappy CG dragon. Luckily Smaug was far from crappy. I could probably wax on poetically (or just screech with fan-girl zeal) for hours about that dragon, but I won’t. Just imagine if I went on at length extolling the many amazing things about that dragon and we’ll call it good, okay?

St. Patrick’s Saturday happened at some point last week (probably around Saturday I’m thinking). I’m sure it was lots of fun for many people who wandered downtown to partake of the drinking and merrymaking. I was not one of those people. I love to have fun as much as the next person, but I find St. Patrick’s Saturday to border a bit too much on the chaotic and so leave it up to others to enjoy instead. I was downtown very early on Sunday morning (like 6:45am), however, and saw three random shoes, one abandoned pair of pants, two puddles of someone’s regurgitated lunch (ick), and a lot of green glitter. Go St. Patrick’s Saturday!

Why was I downtown at such a ridiculously early time on a Sunday, you’re probably (hopefully) asking? Well I was joining with some of my fellow local Modified Dolls to answer phones at KYRS Community Radio for their Spring fund drive! For three hours we were there to take listener pledges and chat on the air with Sam of NonProfit Spokane. While it wasn’t their most lucrative fundraising slot, we had a good time participating in the drive and hanging out with each other and being on the radio, so it was worth getting up early for.

After a long and lovely nap Sunday afternoon it was time for my new favorite event of the week: the Cosmos viewing party at Mobius Science Center! First I had a quick bite to eat at Sushi Maru as it was right across the street. Then I headed to the Science Center to check out their planetarium show at 7pm. Unfortunately right after I arrived something came up that kept me from seeing the show, but I didn’t mind so much as I still got to hang out at Mobius. That was one of the best parts of the event this week, in my opinion. After the first planetarium show and before the guest speaker began, attendees were running around the Science Center, playing with exhibits and learning about science and having a great time.

The speaker this time was Dr. Kamesh Sankaran. He talked about asteroids and comets and the end of the world (well not exactly) and was really pretty fascinating. Some of the science went over my head (I’m more of an English/creative writing/liberal arts kind of girl) but what I basically took from the whole thing was that relying on Bruce Willis to save us if a giant asteroid heads our way is probably not the best plan of action. After all the asteroid talk it was time to watch the new episode of Cosmos, which was beautiful and lovely and all about evolution and how everything on our world is connected. I thoroughly enjoyed it.

If you are in the area and into science and space and fun and awesome, you REALLY need to come out on Sunday and watch Cosmos with us. The viewing parties are getting bigger and better each week and you’re missing out by not attending. Just saying.

That wraps it up for me this time around. I’ll be back next week to talk about geek girls, outdoor adventure shows, tequila (of course), and even more Cosmos! To pass the time until I return why don’t you head out and have some adventures of your own? If you’re lucky you just might see me bouncing around town while you’re out there!

– Mia V.

 

This week’s Adventures in Spokane brought to you by:
Borracho Tacos & Tequileria
The Garland Theater
The Hobbit: Desolation of Smaug
KYRS Community Thin-air Radio
The WA Modified Dolls
Sushi Maru
Mobius Science Center
Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey

 

Adventures in Spokane – Party TwentyFive: Where I Take a Drive, Celebrate an Anniversary, and Explore the Cosmos

Last Saturday I drove over to Seattle with the tiny/tall roommate. We visited the Comics Dungeon comic shop to pick up badges for Emerald City Comicon. It was a very nice store with wonderfully helpful people. I wish I lived closer so I could visit more often. Then we went to Panera for lunch because we were in Seattle and Panera is awesome and there isn’t one in Spokane and why don’t we have one here anyway?

paneralunch

The food was amazing. I had cheddar broccoli soup and a half chicken … something … panini and it was all warm and filling and savory and delicious. I may have been ruined for cheddar broccoli soup anywhere else. So really, we NEED a Panera in Spokane. Someone needs to get on that already.

After lunch we headed back to Spokane, because we could and we had taken care of our errand in Seattle and we are young and apparently we can just drive across the state for lunch and back if we really want to. Unfortunately it rained for 2/3rds of the drive back which got really old really fast, but at least it wasn’t snowing.

Once I arrived back in Spokane it was time to head over to The Elk to help them celebrate their 15th anniversary. The place was packed, as it usually is on Saturday nights, but I was there with one of the Spokast Podcast hosts and we were able to get a table pretty quickly. He tried the Imperial Stout Flight to drink while I had myself a margarita that was okay and an Italian Sidecar which was better. We also shared a plate of BBQ quesadillas and a hummus platter. Everything was very tasty.

Before anyone asks, yes I did got to Borracho last week. I had myself a taco salad that wasborracholunch more meat than lettuce and another couple of tequila shots. I’ve been working my way through the Silvers and Blancos on the list and am a little concerned about the time when I run out of them to drink. Turns out I really like the Silvers and Blancos. They are … mellow, I guess you could say. I like that in a tequila.

My tequila frenemy is about seven shots ahead of me at this point, which drives my competitive side crazy. BUT we have agreed to do our last shot together when the time comes (as it is $40 and we are saving that kind of expense for last) so it really doesn’t matter if she completes the rest of the list first. Of course that voice inside me that wants to WIN is having trouble accepting that.

In case you missed it (not like we’ve mentioned it a thousand times on Twitter, Facebook, MyFoxSpokane.com and on air), Sunday was the premiere of Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey, hosted by rockstar astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson. My team here at the station set up viewing parties for each episode at Mobius Science Center and our first one happened Sunday night. The very interesting and entertaining Professor Kevin Decker did a talk for the first hour, about philosophy and Carl Sagan and science and stuff. It was cool. I might have even learned something.

Then we watched the show and that was pretty cool too. Not just because Cosmos is a great show so far and Neil deGrasse Tyson does a good job filling the late, great, Carl Sagan’s shoes as host, but also because it was a bunch of us in a room together, sharing our love of science and nature and the universe. We laughed and cheered and got teary-eyed at the end and it made the experience extra special that we got to do it as a group. I can’t wait until next Sunday when we get to do it all again.

cosmosmeetupAfter the show I went to The Satellite with a friend for a bite to eat. It was late and probably not the best time to chow down on a heavy meal, but I was hungry and it sounded like a great idea at the time. I tried the Joe’s Breakfast Burrito, which was full of eggs and spinach and parmesan cheese and ground beef and red onions. So good and so filling. There may have been cinnamon raisin toast and hash browns along with it. I’m not entirely sure as I was in a food coma by the time I was done.

My week pretty much ended with that food coma. I’ll be back next week to talk about free trips to the museum, more tequila (of course), and more Cosmos (ditto). To pass the time until I return why don’t you head out and have some adventures of your own? If you’re lucky you just might see me bouncing around town while you’re out there!

– Mia V

This week’s Adventures in Spokane brought to you by:
Comics Dungeon
Panera Bread
The Elk Public House
Borracho Tacos & Tequileria
Mobius Science Center
Satellite Diner & Lounge

*Want to attend a Cosmos viewing party at Mobius Science Center? Be sure to sign-up online at the Fox28 Events page! Seating is limited so book your place early!

Adventures in Spokane – Part TwentyFour: Where I Brave the Snow, Applaud The Package, and Laugh It Up

Last week began and ended with snow and sushi. I much preferred one over the other. Snow just may be the current bane of my existence. I’m sure everyone who has had to shovel their sidewalks and driveways multiple times in the last few months can agree.

Monday while it was snowing the tiny/tall roommate and I headed over to Sushi I for lunch. I tried a roll I can’t remember the name of but it was basically a California roll on the bottom and melted mozarella cheese and fish on the top. It was excellent if different. Sunday while it was snowing I headed down to Riverpark Square and partook of sushi conveyor belt style at Sushi Maru. Their Orange chicken (not sushi, I know) was very good (Sunday when they aren’t super busy seems to be the best time for their Orange chicken), as was their spicy California roll and seared salmon. Oh seared salmon, how I adore you.

Normally I’m not one to want to venture outdoors while a snowstorm is hitting the area, but I guess for sushi I’m willing to brave the elements. Good to know that about myself I guess.

I also managed to get out and see not one but two movies in the theater last week. On Tuesday I attended the last Tubular Tuesday $1 movie night at The Garland and watched Labyrinth in a pretty much packed house. It was a great crowd of mostly fans who clapped when David Bowie popped up on screen, hands on his hips and ThePackage (if you don’t get it I’m not even gonna try and explain) proudly displayed. I’ve seen Labyrinth so many times that I can quote every line and sing every song (I may have also owned the soundtrack on CD for a while back in the day). It was fun to be in a crowd of people who knew it just as well.

Sunday night, after tasty tasty sushi, I headed up to the AMC Theater to see The Wind Rises, the last film by Japanese animation director Hayao Miyazaki (he’s retiring, he hasn’t passed on, don’t panic if you’re a fan). It was beautiful. I knew it would be, and really only worried if it was going to make me cry in the way Grave of the Fireflies did, or in the way Spirited Away did. I think it may have been a bit of both really. The film is based on the life of Japanese plane designer Jiro Horikoshi, though I’m sure quite a bit of it was changed and made up for the movie. Not that it mattered. The story was wonderful, the animation was lovely, the music was delightful. And I cried like a baby at the end. It was also totally worth braving the weather for.

As expected, there were a couple of trips to Borracho punctuating my week. They updated their menu recently and added on some fun things like soup, dessert, and taco salad. Let me tell you about that taco salad, boys and girls, as it was delicious. Lots of lettuce and beans and pico and a kind of Ranch dressing and meat. Plus I ordered a thing of queso and tossed that on there so mine was cheesy as well. What I was most impressed with though was the shell. Normally I will order taco salads and skip eating that part, but the shell on this taco salad was freshly made and light and crispy and very tasty. I ate almost the entire thing.

I also gave their bacon omelet a try last week (though not on the same visit as the taco salad, I do have some restraint after all). It was topped with queso but my tequila frenemy was also there and split another cup of queso with me so we could have extra cheese on our omelets. If you’ve tried the queso at Borracho you’ll understand why it was necessary. And because I’m sure you’re all dying to know, yes I did advance further on the tequila challenge. I’m now five shots closer to success.

I love stand-up comedy, but I’ve gotten my love of it from watching professional, usually famous, stand-up comics do their routines. I saw Joe Rogan live in Seattle last year, and Brian Posehn and Maria Bamford live here in Spokane. I’ve been curious for a long time about the comedy scene here in Spokane but never managed to venture out to one of the places around town where I could see it. Then last Thursday I had a friend who was headed up to Uncle D’s Comedy Underground for open mic night and I decided to tag along. I’ll admit I was a little skeptical at first because the idea of open mic seemed like it could just be listening to a lot of bad jokes and dealing with awkward moments where I’d want to hide in the bathroom in embarrassment for the comedians.

I was very grateful to find the comedy at Uncle D’s nothing like that. Out of 20 people who got up and did their bits, only one of them didn’t make me laugh. He was a young kid who just seemed not quite ready to really perform. But otherwise everyone was really funny and fun to listen to. Both female comedians were hysterical and I kind of wished they’d had longer than three to five minutes to show off their stuff. Some of the people I heard go just about every week, some travel around the country trying their stuff out to a variety of audiences, and a few were brand new to the stage. It was a great mix and an awesome show and I’m excited to go back in the future and see what else local comedy has in store for me.

And that wraps it up for me. Seems like going out on a laugh is the best way to go. I’ll be back next week to talk about tequila, conventions, and COSMOS most likely. To pass the time until I return why don’t you head out and have some adventures of your own? If you’re lucky you just might see me bouncing around town while you’re out there!

– Mia V.

This week’s Adventures in Spokane brought to you by:
Sushi I
Sushi Maru
AMC Riverpark Square
The Wind Rises
The Garland Theater
Labyrinth
Borracho Tacos & Tequileria
Uncle D’s Comedy Underground

Adventures in Spokane – Part TwentyThree: Where I Get Nostalgic, Celebrate Birthdays, and Hang with Geeks

Having a bit of trouble focusing this morning. It’s so sunny out! I missed the sun. Now if only it was warm as well it would be perfect! That wind outside was very unforgiving on my walk to work this morning, but I think my eyelashes have finally unfrozen from my eyebrows and the look of surprise I was sporting for no particular reason today has gone away.

Last week, before the epic snows came once again, I went out to lunch with TheDad at The Chalet. This was my first time eating there since November at least. Once upon a time it was TheGramma’s favorite lunch spot, but since she passed I’ve been feeling a little too sad to go in again. I’m glad I finally sucked it up and went back though. My Denver omelet was very good and the Chocolate Cream pie was even better. I was still a little sad, but in a good way and not so much in a “boo hoo my world has ended” kind of way.

The monthly meeting of the Spokane Geek Girls fell on Wednesday night so I headed over to The Onion downtown to see my lovely geeky friends. It was a busy night and we were in the main dining area as opposed to the back meeting room, so things got pretty loud. But it was a fun time over all. We had a couple of new girls show up and add to our eclectic mix of tech geeks, fan geeks, gaming geeks, sports geeks, and more. While it wasn’t one of our more organized meetings and we really just spent the evening chatting away about whatever we wanted to talk about, I’m pretty sure everyone enjoyed themselves. If you are a geeky lady in the Spokane area and looking for like-minded ladies to hang out with, I fully encourage you to attend a meeting of the Spokane Geek Girls sometime. I think you’ll enjoy it.

I hit up a new (to me) eating venue on Thursday when I went out to dinner at Europa for my older sister’s birthday. It’s only taken one visit for me to fall madly in love with this place. The social style seating (with softer chairs than I was expecting), the amazing Italian-ish food items on the menu (I had the Thai chicken pizza and it was delicious), the tasty adult beverages, and the beautiful atmosphere really helped make the evening special. As did the awesome company. My sister and her friends are hilarious and interesting and smart and fun to hang out with and we had an excellent time talking and laughing and eating our hearts out. Even when I had to share my dessert (a wonderfully tasty berry cheesecake) it was okay because I was having such a good time.

I’m sure you are just waiting for me to mention Borracho and tequila, and may even be surprised that I haven’t yet. Well I don’t want to disappoint. I DID make it out to Borracho last week and I DID have more shots of tequila and I NOW only have 58 (I think?) drinks to go to complete the challenge. That nameplate will be mine, OH YES. It will be mine. I also had a quesadilla even though for the first time we were offered the breakfast menu as well as the lunch/dinner menu, and it had some really interesting options on it. My tequila frenemy (she’s winning the challenge dang it) had an omelet covered in queso that she said was pretty much to die for. I might give that a try next time I’m there, though they did just release some new menu items I might have to try instead.

The weekend ended not with any epic adventuring around town, but instead a celebration of my oldest cousin’s 40th birthday. There was much drinking (it was a Drink Through the Decades Party), costume changes, trivia challenges, bestowing of new family nicknames (and I’d like to give a shout out to Dr. Ann for being such a good sport) and laughing involved.

That about wraps up last week for me. I may have also watched the pilot of COSMOS: A Spacetime Odyssey and it may have been pretty freaking amazing and I may want to heavily encourage everyone to watch it when it premieres on Sunday March 9th at 9pm. But we can talk about all of that more later on. And believe me, it will come up again later on.

I’ll be back next week (most likely) to talk about snowy sushi days, David Bowie and ThePackage, and roadtrips for nerd-dom. To pass the time until I return why don’t you head out and have some adventures of your own? If you’re lucky you just might see me bouncing around town while you’re out there!

– Mia V.

This week’s Adventures in Spokane brought to you by:
Spokane Geek Girls
The Onion
Europa Restaurant and Bakery
Borracho Tacos and Tequileria

Adventures in Spokane – Part TwentyTwo: Where I Burn My Mouth Out, Walk Down Memory Lane, And Then End Abruptly

I’d like to start off by saying I’m not addicted to tequila. It might begin to sound like that after a while since I’ve been going to Borracho at least once a week and working my way through their tequila challenge. And while I certainly enjoy tequila and have had some interesting experiences while drinking it (the Ghost pepper infused may have made my mouth hot and numb for around 10 minutes) it isn’t the drink itself that has me going back again and again.

It is the COMPETITION that has gotten to me. Not only the idea of being the second person ever to complete the challenge and get my name on the wall, but the idea of beating my friend  who started the challenge with me. Right now she is ahead of me on drinks and it is really getting under my skin. I’ve never been the most cutthroat person in the world, but this whole thing sure seems to be stoking my competitive edge.

Before we move on from Borracho and on to other things I’ve done around town in the last few weeks (I swear I’ve been doing more than shots at that bar) I’d like to mention how awesome their food is. I shared some chips and queso with friends on a girl’s night out and that cheese was dang tasty. I probably could’ve eaten a giant bowl of just that cheese, but I maintained a (tiny bit) of self-control and stuck to a more reasonable amount. I’ve also been working my way through every quesadilla combination possible from the menu. You can order with any of the meats that are also available in their tacos, and so far I’ve gone with beef, chicken, and pork. Surprisingly enough I liked the pork best. It has a fruity kind of salsa that goes with it and I really enjoyed the flavor to it.

Way back in the day when I was much younger and much sillier (probably) I partook of the kind of parties that included lots of black lights and body paint and bounce houses and foam rooms and trippy electronic music. Harking back to those days of long ago (at least it feels like long ago) I decided to attend a black light party at Studio E in Northern Quest Casino. The tiny/tall roommate and I threw on white t-shirts and (in her case) awesome hats and headed out to see what the cool kids were supposedly up to on Saturday night. We hit the casino about an hour early and wandered into one of the bars off the slot machine floor. We didn’t do any gambling but each had a drink or two. They had original Smirnoff Ice in the bottles at the bar and I was overly excited at the idea of having one.

I haven’t seen an original Smirnoff Ice in years. Ah the memories.

Once we’d finished our drinks we headed over to Studio E to see how the party was going. And while there were certainly black lights, and people in a corner painting each other up with black light paint, that was about the most exciting element of the shindig. Three people were dancing on the floor and another few were getting drinks. It just wasn’t really our scene. So off we wandered to discover if there was anything else going on at the casino that might peak our interest. We ended up at the Fireside Lounge in the hotel for another couple of drinks.

It was nice up there, peaceful though there were people all around us. Boxing championships had gone on earlier that evening and there were plenty of guys happy to show off their medals to any who would look. In the end it wasn’t exactly the night I had in mind when I decided to attend a black light party, but I had fun anyway and that’s what really matters. Maybe it’s a sign that I’ve grown up and matured some what.

Maybe (probably) not.

While the last month also included trips to Morty’s for margaritas and amazing mozzarella sticks, dinner at China Café with family visiting from out of town, meeting new friends at Shari’s for quiche and pie, and brunches with cousins that included epic games of Cards Against Humanity, I think I’ve already gone on long enough for this entry in Adventures in Spokane. I’ll be back next week (probably?) to talk about Geek Girls, birthday dinners, and Polar Plunges. To pass the time until I return why don’t you head out and have some adventures of your own? If you’re lucky you just might see me bouncing around town while you’re out there!

– Mia V.

This week’s Adventures in Spokane brought to you by:
Borracho Tacos and Tequileria
Northern Quest Casino and Resort
Morty’s Tap and Grill
China Cafe
Shari’s Restaurant

Adventures in Spokane – Part TwentyOne: Where I Challenge Tequila, Laugh at Hecklers, and Get My Geek On!

Borracho has 75 different tequilas on hand. If you manage to try all 75 of those tequilas you get a t-shirt and your name on a plaque on the wall (though not if you drink them all in one day cause that would probably just get you dead, and you could still have the shirt and plaque but you wouldn’t be able to enjoy it).

I am determined to get my name on that wall.

So far, between lunches and dinners over the last few weeks, I’ve managed to make my way through seven of the tequilas on the list. I quite enjoyed the pineapple infused. The rest tasted pretty much just like tequila to me (though the vanilla infused smelled awfully good).

I have also managed to eat several very large quesadillas (with chicken or carne asada depending on how I feel about spicy that day) and the largest pile of nachos I’ve ever seen. I pretty much had to try Jenga-ing chips and toppings out of the pile and pieces of the meal still went flying everywhere. Tasty nachos those. Lots of cheese and queso and beans and beef and jalapenos. I fully encourage you to try them, but bring a friend or three along to help you out.

Let me see, what else have I been up to lately. I saw Charlie Murphy live and in person at The Bing Crosby Theater. He and his opener, Freez Luv, were awesome. The audience, unfortunately, left a little something to be desired. There were the expected calls of “CHARLIE MURPHY!” when he first took the stage and he gave us a minute to get it out of our systems. Most of us gave it up after that. There were a few ladies and gents, however, that still felt it necessary to randomly yell stuff out during the show.

I’ve got to hand it to Mr. Murphy, he knows how to shut a heckler down. His replies were quick, funny, and – if not polite – at least not horribly obscene. That seems like one of the hardest parts of being a stand-up comedian to me – that ability to take on a rowdy crowd without losing your mind. I’ve gotta give props where they are due and Charlie Murphy totally earned them that night.

I managed to make it up to The Garland Theater for one of their Totally Tubular Tuesday $1 movies this month. Royal Tenenbaums is one of my favorite Wes Anderson films (though Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou IS my favorite Wes Anderson film) and seeing it in the theater again was a treat. Especially with those swanky new seats The Garland installed during their renovation. I have yet to partake of an adult libation while watching a film at the theater but one of these days I’ll give that a try.

Before the Royal Tenenbaums I stopped into Linnie’s and had some amazing chicken with peanut butter sauce and veggies over rice. I love Thai rice. I could just eat giant heaping bowls of that and be happy. The margarita I had with dinner probably helped though (and no it isn’t weird to have a margarita with Thai food, it was delightful, so there).

I also met up with my fellow Spokane Geek Girls at The Onion downtown for our monthly bout of nerd-tastic (that was pretty lame but I’m going with it anyway) socializing. We talked conventions, technology, Doctor Who, jewelry, clothing, pets, and more. As always it was an excellent time and something I really look forward to every month. We may not all geek out over the same things, but we all geek out over SOMETHING and that is what matters. And the somethings we geek out over usually go along with the somethings the rest of the ladies geek out over. So it works out pretty well in the end.

Well that about wraps it up for my adventures in January. Slow month I guess. But I’ll be back (hopefully sooner rather than later) to talk about more tequila, black light parties with creepers, and surviving the Super Bowl. To pass the time until I return why don’t you head out and have 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:
Borracho Tacos & Tequileria
Charlie Murphy
The Bing Crosby Theater
Linnie’s Thai
The Garland Theater
Spokane Geek Girls
The Onion

 

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

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.

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)

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

Adventures in Spokane – Part Fourteen: Where I Actually Find Snakes, See Giant Robots vs Giant Monsters, and Drink Lots of Wine

Goodness, is it a new week already? How time does seem to fly, especially when I’ve been busy busy busy. Well, kind of busy at least. Last week mostly seemed to be full of working and working and more working. I managed to get out to dinner once on Tuesday with my FatherFigure though. We went fast-food style for Asian cuisine and ate at Panda Express up on the South Hill. I had the always yummy orange chicken as well as the Surf n Turf option, which wasn’t bad at all. I would never say Panda Express is my favorite Chinese restaurant EVER but I don’t mind eating there once in a while. It’s fast and tasty enough.

It wasn’t until Saturday that I really dragged myself out of the house and went for some adventuring. Though they had technically moved from Northtown Mall into their new digs up north a few weeks ago, last weekend was the Grand Opening party for Rasmussen Reptiles at their swanky new storefront. They had some sweet discounts on animals as well as BBQ going in their backyard (not made of reptiles, before you start making those kind of jokes). One of the Spokast Podcast boys and I stopped in to look at snakes, poke at giant tortoises, play with lizards, and generally oooohhh and aaahhh over everything else (I like my creatures scaly and slither-y, what can I say). It is entirely possible that I left the store that day with a beautiful four foot female Leopard Burmese python (that may now be going by the name of Thulsa Doom because I got to pick and that name is awesome). I can’t help it, I’m just a sucker for their wonderful little faces.

After taking my new lady home and getting her set up with the Burmese already residing in my apartment (a 10-foot, 21-year-old male named Monty, in case you care and why wouldn’t you?), I realized I was starving practically to death (I’m sure) and so headed back out to find some grub. A new Vietnamese place opened up in the courtyard area across from Rite Aid downtown and I’m always in the mood for some good spring rolls so that’s where I ended up. Pho City is small and new and they don’t have an extensive menu yet, BUT the items they do have are wonderfully flavorful and the staff is incredibly friendly. I had vermicelli with grilled prawns along with my spring rolls, and while it was all great, I did find myself in a quandry over the dang shrimp. I have never been able to figure out how to eat around the tails of shrimp in sushi or get the shells off shrimp in noodle or rice dishes without making a mess and looking like a big moron. Oh well.

My dining companion and I decided during dinner that we’d like to go see a movie afterwards, but it didn’t start for an hour or so once we were finished eating, so we decided to stop in at O’Doherty’s for a drink before hitting up the theater. They were moderately busy, which wasn’t surprising considering it was a Saturday night. We grabbed a booth and enjoyed some people-watching and some fine beverages. I started off with a ‘Treat Yo Self’ (cause I’m a huge Parks and Recreation fan) and finished out with an ‘Emerald something something Rita’ (I can’t remember the full name, so sue me). Both were delightful. Eventually movie-time rolled around so we took off for the AMC theater in Riverpark Square. And that, ladies and gentleman, is about the time I saw my newest favorite Summer movie EVER (at least until something better comes along). Pacific Rim has everything a geeky girl like myself could love: giant robots, giant monsters, hot robot pilots, Ron Perlman, and nods to a hundred different scifi/fantasy/monster movies. It was a like a giant live-action mash-up of the Neon Genesis Evangelion anime, Mighty Morphin Power Rangers, Godzilla and more. If you are a fan of awesome things, I highly recommend this film (even if the end makes slightly less than a whole lot of sense – just suspend your disbelief for a spell, won’t you?).

After so much activity on Saturday you’d think I’d have to spend Sunday in a healing coma, but nope. I managed to complete a few errands in the early afternoon (off to Petco to buy lightbulbs and crickets and frozen mice as I’ve been known to do) and then later on my tiny/tall roommate and I got fancied up and went up to Ginger Asian Bistro to have ourselves some delicious sushi. Ginger has Happy Hour deals EVERY DAY from 3-5pm and they include sushi, appetizers, entrees, and even drinks. My roommate had spicy tuna because she loves it and I tried shrimp tempura and spicy dumplings because they sounded good on the menu. Neither of us was disappointed (though once again I did have some moments where I had to fight with shrimp that I couldn’t figure out how to eat without making a mess). After dinner we took ourselves out to Northern Quest Casino for Vintage Spokane, a ‘wine and food’ event with all the swankiest people in attendance. We drank some excellent beer, sampled some also excellent wines, nibbled on tasty finger foods (the huckleberry cheesecakes were awesome), chatted with exhibitors and volunteers, and chased down some co-workers in attendance to force them into spending ‘social time’ with us. It was a delightful, adult-type, evening.

After all that I bet you can’t imagine I’d have time for anything else – and you’d be right! I got home Sunday night, fell into bed, and would’ve stayed there for at least three days if work hadn’t demanded my presence on Monday morning. But don’t worry, I’ve got some more adventuring up my sleeve this week and I’ll be back next Monday or Tuesday to tell you all about it. I’m pretty awesome like that. In the meantime why don’t you head out for some adventures of your own while I’m gone? If you’re lucky you just might see me bouncing around town while you’re out there!

**In case you are interested, you can check out some pics from Vintage Spokane on our new Instagram or Tumblr!

This week’s Adventures in Spokane brought to you by:
Panda Express
Rasmussen Reptiles
Spokast Podcast
Pho City
O’Doherty’s
AMC Riverpark Square
Ginger Asian Bistro
Northern Quest Casino
Vintage Spokane

Adventures in Spokane – Part Thirteen: Searching for Creatures, Laughing It Up Live, and Dune Disappointment

Hello again lovely readers! It’s another week and another chance for me to show off what an exciting life I have while your’s – I’m sure – is incredibly boring and mundane. Poor you. If it makes you feel any better, I’ve spent more quality time at Rockwood Urgent Care fighting off infections and allergy attacks the last month than any sane individual really should. Not all adventuring is fun, boys and girls, don’t ever forget that.

Anyways, moving on from the boring squicky stuff, I spent part of last week here in good ol’ Spokane and part of it in Seattle. At some point over the last few months it occurred to me that I can adventure pretty much wherever I want to as long as I’ve got some time and a few bucks, so expect more write-ups about weekend jaunts in the future. But I’ll always return to our fair city and will continue to experience as much as possible around these parts as I can. There are still a few bars and eateries I’ve yet to discover, after all.

I began the week by doing a little creature hunting at Finch Arboretum and down around High Bridge Park. In layman’s terms that basically means I was digging through bushes for snakes and lizards. I managed to find some ants, a few grasshoppers, a couple of annoyed birds, and a swarm of dragonflies. The snakes must have seen me coming and all took to the hills (or their burrows or wherever they hide out so amateur herpetologists* like myself can’t get my grubby hands on them) cause there was ne’er a one to be found. Oh well. What I WAS able to find that day was O’Doherty’s downtown and their delicious Reuben egg rolls which made the outing less of a disappointment and more of an awesome win. Good food can do that for you. Later in the week was lunch with TheGramma at the TheChalet once again. I should really stop ordering the chicken Caesar salad and try something new, but they only have it on their menu for the summer and I want to have it as much as possible before it goes away again. Plus, creature of habit = me.

Friday dawned sunny and bright with the promise of road-trippin’ in the afternoon. Of course I had to get through a morning at work FIRST, but since I love my job ever so very much it wasn’t a big deal. At noon though I was ready to bail and joined up with a friend to head off for Seattle. The drive was easy and boring as usual (I keep thinking I need to buy some billboards along the highway and put interesting pictures or maybe write out a short story on them to make the drive more exciting but I haven’t gotten around to figuring that out yet) and we managed to hit Seattle exactly at drive time. Yay for traffic! Eventually we made it into the city and headed down to Pike Brewing Company for dinner. Their pulled pork sandwiches have to be the greatest things ever invented and I get one every time I’m in town (once again me = creature of habit).

After dinner it was off to the Moore Theater to see comedianJoe Rogan live and in person! I waited months and months and months (or something like that) for his show and I was not in the least bit disappointed. The theater was packed with fans and lacked proper air circulation but it didn’t even matter once the comedians took the stage. Voodoo Chicken and Tom Segura opened the show and had us all laughing and properly warmed up for the main act. And Joe Rogan was AWESOME. He was funny. He was intelligent. He was loud and a little obnoxious. It was great. After the show my friend and I got a picture with him cause PICTURE WITH JOE ROGAN and then headed back to our hotel to unwind a bit (what can I say, the show had us all a bit hyped up). We were staying at The Paramount which also happens to be home to Dragonfish Asian Cafe where we decided to grab drinks and a bite to eat. It was late night Happy Hour and we couldn’t seem to stop ordering cheap items from the menu. Spicy Tuna rolls, Bulgogi skirt steak, chicken satay with peanut sauce, Tempura shrimp rolls. They were all absolutely delicious.

The next morning was bright and sunny yet again (the second trip I’ve taken to Seattle this year where the sun decided to put in an appearance) and we decided to head over to the EMP + SciFi Museum to check out some wonderfully geeky exhibits. We hopped on the monorail and rode over to Seattle Center and the EMP, which was just starting to get busy. We picked a good time to visit as they had three nerd-centric galleries to check out – Icons of Science Fiction, Fantasy Worlds of Myth and Magic, and Can’t Look Away: The Lure of Horror Films. While I enjoyed seeing all three exhibits, I think the horror film one was the best of them. It was set up really well and had an interesting design theme as well as great, creepy music playing throughout. I was a bit disappointed with Icons of Science Fiction when I realized that all they had for Dune, a rather important work of scifi and literature, was one small diorama full of sand. Lame (and not just because I’m a huge Dune fan).

When we’d had our fill of nerdery to the nth degree, we took a walkabout around Seattle Center, saw some parade floats and princesses (turns out it was the day of Seattle’s Torchlight parade), watched people run around in the fountain, and then hopped back on the monorail to return to downtown. We walked from there down to the waterfront and decided to find ourselves some lunch. At the Oyster Bar we had fish and chips (or in my case smoked salmon and chips which was ever so tasty) and sodas and did a bit of people watching. After stuffing our bellies to capacity we walked over to the Seattle Great Wheel and went for a ride. It was a beautiful day and we could see boats on the water, jelly fish IN the water, and people standing around staring AT the water. When it was over we walked down to a large surplus store and poked around at old army and navy gear for a while.

Eventually it was time to head back to Spokane so we grabbed our vehicle and began the trek home. It may have taken slightly longer (okay like two hours longer) than usual because on the way we managed to stop at just about every rest area we could. Not because we have tiny bladders (in case that was what you were thinking) but because once again it was time for a little creature hunting. We poked around rocks, bushes, cement foundations, and fence lines and managed to unearth a stinky beetle, a pile of irritated ants, and some chipmunks, but once again no snakes and no lizards. Apparently I am a terrible snake finder. Guess I can’t quit the day job just yet.

Well that (finally) wraps it up for last week. I took Sunday off (except for my weekly Skyping with my sister and family in Texas – Skype, what a wonderful invention) cause I was just plain ol’ tired. But I’ll be back next week to regale you with tales of early morning gym visits, donating blood, creeping in classic cars, and epic sharknados. Why don’t you head out for some adventures of your own while I’m gone? If you’re lucky you just might see me bouncing around town while you’re out there!

*People who study reptiles and amphibians, basically.

This week’s Adventures in Spokane brought to you by:
Finch Arboretum
High Bridge Park
O’Doherty’s
Pike Brewing Company
Joe Rogan
The Moore Theater
Paramount Hotel
Dragonfish Asian Cafe
EMP + SciFi Museum
Seattle’s Great Wheel

Adventures in Spokane – Part Twelve: Rocking Out with Postal Service, Happy Happy Hour, and Going for a Ride

Hello again ladies and gents! It is a beautiful summer Tuesday morning and I’m at work, wishing desperately that I was out enjoying the sunshine at one of our awesome local lakes. Oh well. Maybe I’ll run over to Shopko and purchase one of their wading pools and set myself up beach-like in front of the television station instead. It will almost be the same thing, right?

Anyhoo, so last week The Postal Service was in town playing at The Knitting Factory and I was lucky enough to get an invite from the Spokast Podcast fellas to tag along with them to the show. And what a show it was. I have to say that (in my not-so-humble opinion) that was the best live music show I’ve seen all year. It had been some years since I’d listened much to The Postal Service but they played all of their best songs (not that they have a giant selection of songs to choose from) and the whole audience sang and danced along to them. Jenny Lewis was there and she was awesome (I’m a big Rilo Kiley fan) and even though the show was at least bordering on sold out I didn’t find myself getting stepped on or groped or run over nearly as much as I had earlier in the year at the MGMT show. I really can’t gush enough about what an excellent time I had at the show but if The Postal Service swings through Spokane again in the future you better believe I’ll be first in line to see them.

Later in the week I was set to drag my tiny/tall roommate to the monthly Spokane Geek Girls meeting at The Onion downtown, but when we arrived there didn’t seem to be any other geeky girls in attendance. After a few minutes of waiting to see if anyone would show up we decided to wander off to Zola for Happy Hour instead. While they will never be my most favorite bar in the entire world, I am more than willing to appreciate Zola’s Happy Hour specials. How can you refuse $1.50 PBRs and $3.50 well cocktails? (The answer is that you can’t really so why even bother trying.) Unfortunately my margarita was not included in the specials, which I didn’t realize until after I had drunk it and the bill showed up. Oh well. It was tasty enough and still cost less than margaritas I’ve had other places (though in defense of the premium margarita from Applebee’s that one was DELICIOUS times 10 and totally worth the high sticker price).

At some point over the last few months one of my awesome Geek Girl friends got herself a motorcycle license and a swanky red scooter she’s been tooling around the state on. Friday night she picked me up on that scooter for a little bar hopping through town and a trip down the turny-twisty parts of Government Way. We started off at Jones Radiator – once we managed to find it that is. From the outside the bar looks almost as small as The Riff, but like a Tardis* (that’s a nerd reference for you) it was much bigger on the inside. They had live bluegrass style music going on and though we tried off sitting inside at the counter we eventually had to move outside to hear ourselves talk. After a while we decided to head out to try something new and different and buzzed over to El Que in Browne’s Addition. I love The Elk and have spent quite a bit of time there, but this was my first experience with El Que. No live music in this drinkery but it was still plenty loud inside the narrow, small bar area. I had another margarita (I’m out to try them at every place in town until I have found the best ones Spokane has to offer – Nyne rates highest so far and Ugly Betties was a close second until they shut down which sucks) and we chatted until closing time rolled around. Then we just rode around for a while because SCOOTER.

The rest of the weekend I spent attempting to be as lazy as possible. My tiny/tall roommate was off having a camping adventure in the woods so I laid around the apartment, eating too much pizza (I think I managed to order from Dominos, Pizza Hut, and Pizza Pipeline all the course of three days), playing video games (Dead or Alive 5 in case anyone cares) and watching Game of Thrones, True Blood, and Rome on HBO. If I had accessed my brain at some point I would have remembered KuroNekoCon (Spokane’s own anime convention) was going on and headed down to check that out, but alas it was not to be this year. But I did make a note on my calender to get my self down to it in 2014.

Well that’s about it for this week. I’ll be back next Monday (most likely) to regale you with tales of snake hunting, Reuben egg rolls, stand up comedians, and epic nerdery. Why don’t you head out for some adventures of your own while I’m gone? If you’re lucky you just might see me bouncing around town while you’re out there!

*From Doctor Who in case you are the worst geek ever or – gasp! – not a geek at all!

This week’s Adventures in Spokane brought to you by:
The Postal Service
The Knitting Factory
Zola
Jones Radiator
El Que

Adventures in Spokane – Part Eleven: Best Granddaughter Ever, Swimming without Sharks, Backseat Driver, and Going Roadtripping

Hello lovely readers! I’m back from my brief summer hiatus. Did you miss me? I’d love to say I was off in Mexico helping baby sea turtles into the ocean or partaking of a cruise to the Virgin Islands, but my absence wasn’t based on anything quite so exciting. I just got caught up in the chaos that is moving and didn’t have the time (or energy) to go out adventuring for a few weeks. But I’m finally feeling more settled and ready to get back to my wild ways.

As you may have noticed by now if you’re a regular reader (and if you aren’t WHY NOT?), I go to lunch with TheGramma on a pretty frequent basis. Not as frequent as I’m sure she’d like right now, but enough that I still think of myself as a pretty ok grandkid. Last week we went out twice as my aunt was in town – visiting all the way from Corvallis, Oregon – so it was a special occasion. We headed over to Wendy’s up on the South Hill first and had some good ol’ French fries dipped in chocolate Frosties as well as chicken salads (mine was spicy chicken Cesar, in case you care). It was fun and casual and a bit messy which seems to happen when we go out to lunch. A couple of days later we all headed up to The Chalet where they always know us and our waitress can usually figure out what we are going to order before we even open our mouths to tell her. I had another chicken Cesar (I love them, so sue me) and TheGramma worked her way through a giant plate of shrimp and nearly a half dozen dipping sauces. She practically makes performance art out of utilizing condiments during lunch these days. It can really be a sight to see.

My tiny/tall gal pal (who is also now my tiny/tall roommate) and I took our chances on a couple of occasions and headed up to Comstock pool to beat the heat. About 500 other people had the same brilliant idea so I bet you can tell just exactly how much real swimming we were able to do (that would be none if you are too lazy to figure it out on your own). We were able to bob around in the water relatively un-harmed, however, and it certainly cooled us off when temperatures broke the 90s. The last time I was in Comstock pool was at least 20 years ago but I have fond memories of visiting back in the day and I didn’t have any problems really with visiting now. It was just busy, but what can you expect of a public pool?

Remember how a few blog posts back I decided this would be my Summer of Why Not? And I’d go out and try new things that I’d never managed to try before? Well a weekend or so ago I managed to take a break from all the dumb moving stuff (I love my new place, just not all the work it has taken to get set up there) and started to learn how to drive a manual vehicle. A friend made the offer to let me practice on his Jeep and I jumped at it. There are lots of classic cars (oh ’57 Plymouth Fury I lurve you) that I’d love to be able to drive and at this point I can’t because I’ve never learned how to drive a stick shift. I’d like to be able to say that my first real driving lesson went amazingly well and it turned out I’m preternaturally good at manual driving – but alas it wouldn’t be true. I may not have dropped the transmission in the road, crashed into any buildings or other vehicles, or broken anything, but I did kill the engine more than once and I did scare my tiny/tall gal pal (who was taking a driving lesson as well) enough to hold onto the seat as if her life depended on it. Oh well. I think it went pretty ok aside from that. I’m looking forward to my next lesson with only a little trepidation (and I’ll make sure to warn the world before I take to the actual roads – so far I’ve been learning in an abandoned Costco parking lot.)

I managed to take my adventuring a little further than normal this last weekend and roadtripped with my sister and four-year-old nephew to visit friends in Vancouver, WA. This is what I got from the weekend: children are LOUD, and dirty, and loud, and they move around a lot, and did I mention that they are loud? Vancouver is nice and sprawled out and flat, which reminded me a lot of Katy, TX where I spent some of my formative younger years. We had excellent Thai food for lunch on Saturday at a place called Arawan Thai Cuisine, then headed over to BevMo! to pick up some adult-style libations for later in the evening. BevMo! is like a grocery store only they’ve taken most of the food (aside from salty or chocolatey snacks and cheese) and replaced it all with booze. We also took a trip through a craft store because it was there and crafting can be cool sometimes. On Sunday we drove over to Portland and went for a walk through a fun neighborhood with lots of little artsy shops and eateries. We had excellent pizza at Mississippi Pizza Pub, I bought an adorable Totoro (it’s an anime thing, if you know you’re cool and if not well no one is perfect) wallet at Missing Link Toys (where the cashier was the most beautiful woman I think I’ve ever seen in real life) and then went to the park to let the children run around and scream and be loud and dirty to their little hearts’ content. I even took my turn on the swing set because SWINGS. It wasn’t what I would call a relaxing weekend but it was a whole lot of fun and it was great to see friends that live far away.

Well that about wraps it up for this week. I’ll be back next Monday to talk about rock bands, geek girls, street fairs, and maybe even gun shows (you never know where I’ll end up really). Why don’t you head out for some adventures of your own while I’m gone? 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:
Comstock Pool
Arawan Thai Cuisine (Vancouver, WA)
BevMo! (Vancouver, WA)
Mississippi Pizza Pub (Portland, WA)
Missing Link Toys (Portland, WA)

Adventures in Spokane – Part Ten: Royale with Cheese, Geeky Girls, Summer Salads, and Not-Coffee at Rocket

The first day of Summer has come and gone and I’m left feeling soggy and underwhelmed. I was hoping to be sitting lakeside last weekend with a frosty beverage in one hand and a good book in the other, but instead I spent Saturday hoping fervently it wouldn’t suddenly start raining on me while I tried to move all of my stuff from my previous abode to my new one. If it was warm and rainy I probably wouldn’t mind it (well except while I was moving cause Rain+Moving=Sucks) but the fact that it has been chilly and rainy lately just depresses me. Oh well, here’s to believing that any tomorrow now the sun will come out and stay out for the next few months.

Non-Summer-like weather not-withstanding, I still managed to get myself out of the house last week and have myself some adventures. First up I stopped by The Garland Theater on Tuesday to see Pulp Fiction for one wonderfully measly little dollar. It has probably been 10 years (at least) since I last saw Pulp Fiction and it was fun to experience it again. I was surprised to realize that it wasn’t nearly as graphic or violent as I remembered it being. I guess I’ve just seen too many Quentin Tarantino films over the years and they’ve all started to run together in my mind (Kill Bill and Django Unchained are my favorites, just in case you were wondering). After the flick I headed over to The Garland Drinkery for $2 margarita night. They were a bit watery this time around so I only had one before heading on my way.

The next night saw me meeting up with my fellow Spokane Geek Girls for our monthly meeting at The Onion downtown. Our fearless leaders were not in attendance this time around but we managed to have a pretty good time anyway. We chowed down on some tasty Onion food (Thai chicken wrap with a side of fries for moi) and talked about anything and everything we could think of. Technology – especially computer related – came up quite a bit, as did jobs and careers, working with difficult people, Doctor Who, fundraising, and dealing with smart mouthed kids. Some meetings are quite a bit more structured than this one was, but I kind of like the ones like this better. I’m there to have a good time hanging out with like-minded ladies, and this meeting was all over that.

Thursday saw me once again ensconced at The Chalet for lunchtime with TheGramma. It is summer-salad season at the restaurant and the only time I can get their chicken Cesar salad, so you can bet I was all over that. TheGramma was having a bit of a crazy day and following her conversation was an adventure in itself, but she’s 93 years old and I don’t hold her craziness against her. I’m just glad she is still around to share lunches with on a weekly basis, whether she knows what is going on at the time or not. Plus The Chalet has excellent chocolate cream pie. You should try it sometime, you won’t be disappointed.

My weekend started with moving and might have wrapped up that way if I hadn’t woken up Sunday morning and decided to be as lazy as I could possibly get away with. I slept in until almost noon and then dragged my tired and sore carcass up to have coffee with a friend. We like to meet up at Rocket Bakery, drink Italian sodas and Jet Tea instead of coffee (coffee=ewwww), and talk openly and (sometimes) loudly about anything we can think of. Though the sun had decided to come out for a bit that afternoon we ended up sitting at the counter in the windows instead of outside. That way we could get some sunshine without risking burning our chatty faces.

After coffee (I don’t know why I even call it that when I don’t drink it) I managed a few more lazy hours at home before once again dragging myself out to socialize. My funniest cousin had gotten herself married on Saturday and so Sunday evening we had a family party at Perkins to celebrate. Perkins might not be the fanciest place in town, but they have a large room that can accommodate large groups AND they don’t mind when those large groups get loud. While there I discussed Cards Against Humanity and housewarming parties with my cheekiest cousin, made plans to see the new Man of Steel movie with my snarkiest cousin, and talked life/love/school with my most adorable cousin. It was a pretty swell time. I even managed to throw some congratulations at the newlyweds before I forgot why we were all gathered together in the first place.

It was a fun but exhausting week and looking at my calendar I’m realizing I’ve got some more fun but exhausting weeks ahead of me. Woohoo! Hopefully I can handle them.

I’ll be back next week (Monday if I’m feeling industrious or Tuesday if I’m being lazy) to talk about things like girls and classic cars, running in large groups, and drinking downtown.

Why don’t you head out for some adventures of your own while I’m gone? If you’re lucky you just might see me bouncing around town while you’re out there.

This week’s Adventures in Spokane was brought to you by:
The Garland Theater
The Garland Avenue Drinkery
The Onion
Spokane Geek Girls
Rocket Bakery
Perkins Family Restaurant

Adventures in Spokane – Part Nine: Welcome to the Summer of Why Not

Last week the Inlander released their annual guide to summer, and last week ideas began brewing in my mind. Every year I grab a copy of the Summer Guide and go through it, dutifully checking off all of the activities and events I want to participate in. And every year I manage to accomplish maybe one or two of them before autumn rolls around and leaves me feeling cold and lame and despondent for not getting out and about more.

I’m not going to give in so easily this year. This year I’m going to actually get out and DO those things I want to do. I’m inspired by the summer guide as well as a silly car commercial where a pair of travelers stop and try everything they see a sign for (“We should try that.”) I’m inspired by the fact that it is FINALLY getting to be Summer time and the sun is out, the air is warm, and winter will return all too soon. I’m not going to let this brief, wonderful season pass me by without taking advantage of every moment I can.

This will be my Summer of Why Not? Why not do everything that I have time to do? The Garland Theater is playing 90’s movies on Saturday and Tuesday nights for $1, why not see them all? I’ve been invited to join an all-girls classic car club (The Miss Shifters), why not attend some meetings (even if the classic car I’ve got a stake in is far FAR from being drivable)? Geeks and nerds are descending on the city for KuroNekoCon and Spocon in the next couple of months, why not dress up as my favorite cartoon and sci-fi characters and play along?

Why not see all of the local bands that play The Knitting Factory in July and August? I may not have heard of them before but that doesn’t mean they aren’t worth checking out. Why not climb some mountains and enjoy some beer and some foam and some extreme mud at summer festivals on Mount Spokane and Silver Mountain? Why not pack a picnic and some folding chairs and head out to Riverfront Park for their outdoor film series this year? Why not eat myself ridiculously full at Pig Out in the Park, climb through brush and trees and over rocks searching for snakes at a state park during Free State Parks Day, and let myself be filled with child-like wonder during the Royal Fireworks Concert at Riverfront Park?

Why not?

Seriously, why not?

Let’s all join together to make this – if not the BEST SUMMER EVER, at least the BEST SUMMER WE’LL HAVE THIS YEAR. Let’s make this the Summer of Why Not? Grab yourself a copy of the Inlander Summer guide, or your personal bucket list, and a calendar for the next few months, and make yourself a plan. Pick the activities/events/attractions you’ve always wanted to do/attend/see and put them on your calendar. Don’t be too rigid with your planning however, and allow for new things to pop up as they will. If you are invited on an impromptu roadtrip to Portland to see a friend’s band play their first real gig ever, GO FOR IT, even if you had already planned to attend the Gun Show that weekend. Gun shows will come and go, but a band’s first show ever happens only once.

Just remember to get out there, have fun, experience new things, make friends or get closer to friends you already have. Why not? What do you have to lose from giving it a try?

Come on; join me for something new and exciting and big and different and special and frightening and bizarre and epic and hot and sweaty and real. I’ll see you out there.

Welcome to the Summer of Why Not.

I’ll be back next week (Monday if I’m feeling industrious or Tuesday if I’m being lazy) to give my first Summer of Why Not update. It will probably include geek girls, margaritas, Tarantino films, and wedding parties. I’m looking forward to it.

Why don’t you head out for some adventures of your own while I’m gone? And let me know in the comments what your own Summer of Why Not is going to include. Maybe we’ll see each other out there!

Adventures in Spokane – Part Eight: Escape of the Snake, Christine Takes a Drive, Partying on the Roof, and Fake Daft Punk Wins

Well lovely readers, here we are again at the start of another week. I had an absolutely wonderful weekend filled with cars, raffles, sun burns, beer, music, and rooftops. The weather was perfect – sunny, warm, and slightly breezy to keep it from being overwhelmingly hot. They don’t come much better than this last weekend, really, so I made sure to appreciate it while I could. Especially as the week leading up to it had a few more downs than ups to contend with.

Early on I went up to see my hair stylist at Design Studios 13 (Spokane’s very own rock n’ roll hair salon) in her swanky new location on Monroe. I had been in the chair for around 15 minutes waiting for the bleach to set in when I got an ‘emergency’ call from home that one of my slinky critters (a Ball python in case you were really wondering) had escaped and I needed to get back to take care of it. So the bleach was rinsed from my head well before it should’ve been and now I’ve got this bizarre rainbow thing going on my head. The snake who pulled a Houdini was rounded up and placed back in her house where she belonged (after a stern scolding that she couldn’t even hear cause snakes don’t have ears) and eventually I’ll get back up to the salon to finish my hair.

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To make up for the earlier excitement, later that evening I went to Pho Van Vietnamese Bistro on Division to drown my sorrows in a giant bowl of Pho soup. Boy was that a tasty way to make up for a crappy afternoon. There was so much broth and noodles and meat in that bowl, even sharing with a friend I wasn’t able to finish it. Probably didn’t help that I kept eating his chicken curry and rice as well as a large spring roll as well. Pho Van has been around for years but this was the first time I made it in to taste their yummy food. I will definitely be going back in the not-so-distant future.

There were so many events going on this last weekend there was no way I could have participated in all of them, which was a real bummer. On Saturday I headed out to the Swamp Stomp classic car show and bike swap with my ladies, the Modified Dolls. We held a raffle to raise money for World Wildlife Fund. It was a pretty successful day for us – fundraising wise – and also a great day in general. We met old friends, made new friends, saw some amazingly beautiful cars (I fell immediately in love with a Plymouth Fury that the owner would not let me take home because he obviously sucked), hung out in The Swamp a bit, ate the most delicious hot dogs ever (though they may have just seemed that way because we were starving), and listened to some interesting bands.

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Around the end of the event, my awesome tiny/tall Fox28 gal pal showed up to see if anything interesting was still going on. Unfortunately the cars were being driven away and the vendor booths packed up, but I was hungry and she was hungry so we decided to head up to Ginger Asian Bistro for some sushi fish. We arrived during daily happy hour (3-5pm if you’re interested and you should be cause it’s a good deal for great food) and she ordered her go-to Spicy Tuna roll. I decided to try something new and different and got the Shogun, which turned out to be crab and eel wrapped in cucumber instead of rice and seaweed, then drizzled in Ponzu sauce. It was really tasty but not at all what I thought I was getting. I think I need to learn to read menus more closely OR ask questions when I’m not quite sure what a description on something means.

If you are into music or pubs or festivals or hipsters or reading the Inlander or anything really you may have seen that Elkfest was going on in Browne’s Addition this last weekend (Friday through Sunday). On Sunday afternoon Spokast Podcast took over the rooftop of The Elk to record some very special (and slightly drunken) episodes of the podcast. The Elk provided them with shade, chairs, and a bucket of beer and they spent the day listening to music, performing some very colorful commentary on the crowds, and discussing just how awesome The Elk is. I hung out with the guys for most of the day, met both the owner and manager of the pub, ate an amazing mini Thai pizza, and threw in my own comments onto the podcast here and there. It was an excellent experience. People kept looking up at us on the roof, obviously trying to figure out just what the heck we were doing up there, and sometimes smiling or waving at us. I felt a bit like a rock star.

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After Elkfest I headed down to The Knitting Factory to see One More Time, a tribute to Daft Punk. I arrived a little late and missed the opening act which was a bit of a bummer. But the show was still amazing. If you are into electronic music, flashing lights, energetic crowds, and expensive drinks (hey I’m over 21, I’ll hang out at the bar if I want to), this was definitely the show for you. I sang, I danced in my chair, and I threw my hands up whenever they demanded it. It reminded me more than a little of those by-gone days when this blogger-gal used to rave it up a bit. It may not have been actual Daft Punk I was seeing, but it was close enough for me and a perfect way to end my weekend.

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Well that’s all I’ve got for today, boys and girls. I’ll be back next week (Monday if I’m feeling industrious or Tuesday if I’m being lazy) to talk about things like color runs, midnight movies, and shopping for frozen mice.

Why don’t you head out for some adventures of your own while I’m gone? If you’re lucky you just might see me bouncing around town while you’re out there.

This week’s Adventures in Spokane was brought to you by:
Design Studios 13
The Modified Dolls
Ginger Asian Bistro
The Elk
Spokast Podcast
The Knitting Factory

Adventures in Spokane – Part Seven: TheGramma Knows All, NERDS, Gone Fishing, and Drinking the Most Expensive Beer EVER

Hello all you lovely readers out there in internet-land. Here we are enjoying nice weather in the first week of June and I’m ready for some exciting new adventures. I sat most of last week out and actually cancelled a few activities because I was feeling a bit sick-y. Luckily by the weekend I was almost back to my usual bouncy self and was able to enjoy a few events before I had to call the whole week a waste (some unintentional alliteration there at the end of that sentence – fun). I did manage one lunch outing on Thursday with my million-year-old Gramma and my slightly-less-old and infinitely-more-energetic aunt. We got some family time in at China Cafe up on 57th near Regal, and between the fact that neither my aunt nor father ever seem to listen when asked questions by waitstaff, and the fact that TheGramma has a tendency to say surprising and random things on a regular basis, a good time was had by all. China Cafe isn’t the absolute best Chinese food in town BUT the prices are reasonable AND the people that run the restaurant are wonderfully friendly and accommodating so I will head there more often than not when I’m in the mood for Chinese cuisine.

Saturday was my ultra-busy day for the week. I fell out of bed around noon (I said ultra-busy, not ultra-early) and headed over to Spokane Comicon with my tiny/tall Fox28 gal pal and one of the Spokast Podcast fellas. We took some pics in a DeLorean (which one clueless young lady called the Batmobile, causing us to hang our heads in despair), cruised the comic book booths, chatted with local children’s author Jessica Rising, bought some amazing artwork from artist Travis Bundy, poked at collectible toys, experienced chair massages, and otherwise had ourselves an interesting afternoon. I thought about sitting in on a panel discussion but the room was already full up when I considered the idea and squishing myself between three Doctor Whos and a gaggle of Deadpools (cosplayers – for those who have no idea what goes on at a comic book convention) for an hour didn’t really appeal to me.

After we’d had enough of nerd-ing it up for the day we hit up Hacienda las Flores for lunch because it was close by and I love their food. I need to order something besides the Polla a la Crema sometime though. I feel like I’ve fallen into a bit of a food rut where that restaurant is concerned but it is just SO GOOD I can’t seem to help myself. This was my tiny/tall friend’s first experience at Hacienda las Flores, and though she said it looked a bit sketchy on the outside, she did have to admit the food was super tasty once she came inside.

Later that evening I met up with some friends at Sushi Maru in Riverpark Square. I was still pretty full from lunch but I’ve never been able to pass up the opportunity to cram sushi fish in my mouth hole. I managed to restrain myself to only a few plates – which I also shared! – so when the time came to be on our way I was still able to squeeze myself back out of our booth. From the restaurant we walked over to the Spokane Arena (name pending? I’m not even sure anymore what is going on with that after the last few days)to take in a little football game. My experience with any kind of football really centers around watching games when my stepbrother played high school ball, and watching movies such as Little Giants while growing up. Still, I don’t mind attending a game or two during the arena football season. It is loud and busy and the people-watching opportunities are fantastic. The only problem I really have is that the beer is so dang expensive. I was only willing to drop cash for one while I was there and even that felt ridiculously extravagant. The Shock won the game, however, and I was hanging out with people I enjoy hanging out with, so it was worth it in the end.

And that wraps it up pretty much for last week. As I said before, I took most of it off from my usual adventuring. I’m feeling better now, however, and I’m off to see what kind of trouble I can manage to get into this week. I’ll be back (Monday if I’m feeling industrious or Tuesday if I’m being lazy) to talk about things like Red Dress parties, classic car shows, and podcasting live.

Why don’t you head out for some adventures of your own while I’m gone? If you’re lucky you must might see me bouncing around town while you’re out there.

This week’s Adventures in Spokane brought to you by:
Spokane Comicon
Spokane Arena
Spokane Shock

Adventures in Spokane – Part Six: Lunch Never Gets Old, Alternative Burlesque, and Mother Boy 38

Well we’re back, lovely readers. I don’t know about you, but this blogger girl is T-I-R-E-D. I woke up very unwillingly this morning and thought about calling in to work dead, but decided to be a responsible adult instead and managed to get my butt in gear and get in to the station. It may have been difficult to explain later how I miraculously came back to life anyway. Luckily it is a short week so I think I’ll be able to manage to hold myself together.

Last week was another one that started out relatively slowly. I met up with my older sister and four-year-old nephew at Carl’s Jr on the Northside for dinner one evening. The Teriyaki burger was superb but the service was a bit below average. I also met up with TheGramma for lunch at The Chalet, because she is old and old people do so love to eat there. I think their “Seafood Spectacular” has been going on for years now, or at least I don’t remember a time when the banner proclaiming the event wasn’t attached to the front of the building. I enjoy The Chalet because the wait staff always remembers us, the pie is excellent, and I have yet to find more than two pieces of lettuce in the salad (SO MANY TOPPINGS). I also managed to convince my tiny/tall Fox28 gal pal that sushi needed to be a regular thing and so we headed over to Sushi I for lunch again (in my mind regular = weekly so we’ll see how that goes).

On Wednesday evening I was called on to help my friends at Spokast Podcast out with some mobile podcasting. Happy to oblige, first we had dinner at The Elk (their big name sponsor) and then headed over to their guest’s house to record from his basement. They made some awesome podcasting history while I sculpted people out of Play-doh, drank beer, and tried not to make too many obnoxiously loud comments in the background. As someone who has listened to just about every single episode, I think I can feel secure in saying last week’s shortcast was the funniest show they’ve done yet.

Saturday saw me trying something new and exciting – eating at The Satellite during daylight hours! Normally I’m hitting them up after a night on the town (and boy howdy do those appetizer sampler platters taste excellent after a few drinks!) but this time I was giving them a try first thing in the morning (okay it was probably more like noon but let’s not squabble over exact time frames). A friend and I shared a ham and cheese omelet as well as O’Brien potatoes and it was all excellent. Splitting the dishes in half gave us each the perfect amount so that we were full but not about ready to burst if we ate just one more wafer thin mint (that’s a Monty Python reference just for you).

That evening I got all dressed up and headed over to Club 412 with the Spoko-local Modified Dolls for a bake sale at the Pasties and Paddles Burlesque show: Cabaret Royale. We set up our delicious confections in the vendor area, right across from a steampunk jewelry table and right next to an adult novelty table. Before, during, and after the main show we smiled, chatted, and flirted our way into selling treats all in the name of a great cause – The March of Dimes. Especially once the bar opened and the drinking began it seemed like attendees couldn’t get enough of our maple bacon cupcakes, peanut butter and jelly cookies, dark chocolate cupcakes, mini pies, and salty munchy snacks.

Though a bit tuckered out from Saturday night’s fun and games, on Sunday I managed to pull myself out of bed and headed off to Rosauers to stock up on some very special snacks and drinks for a very special celebration – Arrested Development was back on television (almost kind of – really it is on Netflix but WHO CARES ARRESTED DEVELOPMENT YIPEE!!!)! Yep I was going to an Arrested Development viewing party that evening and needed to grab necessary items such as Mommy Juice boxes (that’s boxed wine for all of you not in the know), macaroni salad, banana nut bread, and vodka. The festivities were held at my tiny/tall gal pal’s apartment, where she provided hot wings, more vodka, and ice cream sandwiches (which I’ll admit I totally forgot about through the course of the evening – lame). It was an excellent evening, even if we were staying in. Good food, great friends, and brand-spanking-new episodes of a brilliant show.

So while I didn’t seem to go out as much last week as I have in the past, it was still a busy busy time and I was still ready to take a break by Monday. Now I’m off to see what kind of trouble I can manage to get into this week. I’ll be back (Monday if I’m feeling industrious or Tuesday if I’m being lazy) to talk about things like comic book conventions, white trash birthday parties, and epic season premieres of animated awesome.

Why don’t you head out for some adventures of your own while I’m gone? 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:
Carl’s Jr
The Elk
The Satellite
Spokast Podcast
Pasties and Paddles
The Modified Dolls
Rosauers

Adventures in Spokane – Part Five: No Kids for You, Nerd Alert, People Watching in Abundance, and Skipping the Parade

Good grief ya’ll – I am one tired blogger girl. It felt like last week started out slowly, but somewhere along the way it must have picked up because now I am exhausted and about ready to call a break on all of my adventuring. I probably won’t ACTUALLY take a break from my adventuring around town, but a few extra naps each week may need to be added to my schedule.

MGMT played The Knitting Factory on Tuesday night, and as a fan of at least three of their songs I decided it was a must-see show. I dragged along my tiny/tall gal pal and part of Spokast Podcast. The other part of Spokast Podcast scored a ticket last minute to the sold out show so it was pretty much a Spokast party up in there. We met up at Baby Bar where the guys had a few drinks, before heading over to The Knit and having a few drinks more. As I mentioned before, the show was sold out, so the crowd was pretty heavy in the venue. I quickly lost count of the number of times someone ran into me, stepped on my feet, pushed me, almost knocked me over, or rubbed parts of themselves against me that I would have preferred they didn’t. Luckily the music was good and I was there with awesome friends so the discomfort was worth it – even when a very drunk girl burst into my stall in the bathroom and attempted to vomit all over my lap. Fun times ya’ll!

After the concert we decided we weren’t quite ready for the night to be over so headed down to Ghibliano Brothers piano bar. The dueling pianos were already done for the night, and the bar was pretty empty, but we were okay with that after surviving the over-crowding at The Knit. We each grabbed a drink and a large, puffy chair, and spent the next hour chatting and decompressing from the show. MGMT is a fun band and their music is very catchy, though we were all a little surprised and disappointed that they didn’t play one of their most famous songs (Kids, in case you were wondering).

The rest of the week seemed to be pass by with little fanfare until Friday when suddenly I was a busy girl again. My tiny/tall friend and I headed over to Sushi I for lunch and had some amazing sushi. I’m used to small servings with basic rolls, so ordered myself both an Eel and a Philadelphia. Turns out at Sushi I they don’t believe in small servings. Those rolls were HUGE and super tasty and I stuffed every last piece in my big, fat mouth. After lunch I was invited to tag along to an outside meeting with some co-workers. We headed downtown to do a spot of work, followed by drinks and nachos at The Steelhead. I’ve only been to The Steelhead on New Year’s Eve so it was interesting checking it out on a regular day when it wasn’t quite so chaotic. I drank a margarita and stuffed my face for the second time that day. Their nachos are piled over a foot tall with cheese, jalapenos, meat, sour cream, and quacamole. Wonderful.

In case you missed it, a tiny little independent film called Star Trek Into Darkness opened up last week. Not that I was excited or anything but OH MY GOODNESS STAR TREK WOOHOO! I headed up to Riverpark Square AMC for the 9:45pm showing. It was big and loud and long and exciting and while I can’t say for sure whether I thought it was better than the 2009 Star Trek reboot, I can say that I enjoyed the heck out of it. I laughed, I cried, I cringed, I cheered. It was pretty much everything I had hoped it would be. After the movie I visited the Satellite for some late night munchings and crunchings. I had myself another margarita as well, because I’m convinced you can never have too many margaritas.

By Saturday I was a little worn out from all the fun, so I chose to watch the Lilac Festival Torchlight Parade from the comfort of my living room instead of trekking downtown to see it. A friend of mine from Army Group 1944 – a local WWII reenacting troupe – was marching in the parade as part of the Pearl Harbor Veterans group, and it was fun to see him go by the cameras carrying the American flag. I didn’t realize quite how long the Lilac Parade is until this year, but like a trooper I sat through the entire three hours. If nothing else it was fun to hear the announcer call biplanes helicopters and wax on for an extended period about how awesome she found the cupcake she was eating.

On Sunday I met up with some friends for coffee at Rocket Bakery. I don’t drink coffee but I love to say I’m “meeting someone for coffee.” For some reason my brain thinks that sounds incredibly grown up. I actually drank a pomegranate blueberry Jet Tea and it was tasty but spilled on my shirt, leaving purple blotches, and that kind of sucked. Originally we sat out on the patio and soaked up the delightful sunshine, but clouds eventually rolled in and forced us inside. We then found ourselves a window to sit in and when the sun came back out we baked ourselves a bit. It was a bit uncomfortable but better than a blizzard any day so I wasn’t complaining too much.

And that’s how my week wrapped up. Like I said, it seemed to start off slow but eventually it picked up and now I’m still recovering. However I’m sure I’ll be off soon to see what kinds of trouble I can get into this week. I’ll be back (Monday if I’m feeling industrious or Tuesday if I’m being lazy) to talk about things like lunching with senior citizens, charity bake sales, and partying like Arrested Development is back on the air.

Why don’t you head out for some adventures of your own while I’m gone? 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:
Baby Bar
The Knitting Factory
Ghibliano Brothers
Rocket Bakery

Adventures in Spokane – Part Four: More Cinco Please, Podcasting Pro, the Patio and the Party Bus, and Neverending Saturday

Welcome back wonderful readers! Here we are for another rundown of my wacky adventures in Spokane. I’m sure I spent a few evenings at home last week, but they may have just been needed to recuperate from all of the running around I did on the other days.

Monday started off with yet another celebration of Cinco de Mayo at Hacienda las Flores on the South Hill. This time I partied it up with my cheekiest cousin and awesome older sister. After a few margaritas and more food than any sane person should eat at one time, we were going to head over to Jones Radiator for some good ol’ fashioned trivia, but changed our minds when we found out it was a themed night. We didn’t feel as secure in our ability to win the day, so we headed up to The Viking instead to see if Davis was around to make us some Steve’s. Unfortunately he wasn’t tending bar but that didn’t stop us from taking a table and making the most of it. I worked my way through the Sailor Jerry specials menu and we chatted it up for the next few hours. Some of my cousin’s friends stopped by for a while, followed by one of the Spokast Podcast fellas, and finally local author Jessica Rising who had just been profiled in Spokane CDA Woman Magazine (pick up a copy around town – they’re free and full of good stuff).

Later in the week my tiny/tall Fox28 gal pal took a turn as guest on Spokast Podcast. Having nothing better to do I tagged along to play peanut gallery for her. We met up with the guys at The Elk and had a few drinks and some tasty food, before walking over to the podcasting studio. The Elk was busy, with people crowding up the patio to enjoy the beautiful sunshine and great food. We even saw the Spokane Party Trolley make a stop as we headed out for the evening. Once at the studio, I tried my very best (honest I did) to stay quiet in the background while recording was going on, but it turns out I have a big mouth and eventually had to chime in my two (or five) cents.

The weekend started with a trip to Luigi’s downtown for dinner on Friday night with a friend. I had a shiny new gift certificate in my pocket and was eager to use it. The Italian restaurant was hopping as it was not only the end of the week, but Gonzaga graduation weekend so celebrations were in order. We got a table right away but service was slower than normal. I can’t fault them though when the place was so full. And when we did get our food it was beyond excellent so I really didn’t mind the wait. Once again I ate more than any sane person really should, but if my stomach had suddenly exploded right there at the table (“One wafer thin mint? Just one? It is wafer thin!”*) it totally would have been worth it. After dinner I skipped on down the road to Ugly Betties for a meeting with the Modified Dolls. The Dolls are a non-profit organization made up of tattooed and pierced women (aka ‘modified’) who raise awareness and money for different charities. In other words, we totally rock. Because there was live music playing in the bar that night we sat out on the patio so we could (basically) hear ourselves talk. We made plans for some upcoming summer events, drank some tasty beverages, chatted about work and life, and made sure to holler back at the riders on the Spokane Party Bus when they passed by the bar and hollered at us.

Saturday I tried my very best to sleep in since it was the weekend and all, but that didn’t happen. Eventually I gave up and decided to just admit I was awake. About that time my tiny/tall gal pal texted to see if I wanted to head over to Northtown Mall for some girl-y type shopping. We started at Victoria’s Secret, hit up some clothing stores looking for dresses, made a pass through Gamestop (cause my tiny/tall friend is one of those awesome and elusive creatures known as “gamer chicks”), cooed at the baby snakes and tortoises at the reptile store, and grabbed a bite to eat from Taco Time (where an employee watched us like a hawk at the salsa bar as if afraid we’d take too much of the dipping sauces). After the mall we hit up Ross, Plato’s Closet, and Burlington Coat Factory, still on the hunt for some fun summer dresses. Turns out they all seem to be made for and by elves these days, and as I am hobbit size, they were not going to work out. Lame.

After shopping I headed to the Magic Lantern and Saranac Pub for the 50 Hour Slam Film Festival. The party had been going since late afternoon with poetry readings and live music, but I showed up in time for the second showing of the finalist films. The guys behind Spokast Podcast (wow do they get a lot of mentions in this blog, it’s like I’m their NUMBER ONE FAN or something) made an excellent short called “Fish Story” and were one of the 15 finalists. I was, of course, rooting for them to win, though there were several other great films to see. After the showing we headed up to the roof for some more live music, drinks and snacks, and the announcement of the winners in both Juried and People’s Choice categories. The Spokast guys didn’t win (THEY WERE ROBBED I TELL YOU!) but the film that took home Juried First Place I think totally deserved it (by the way you can still vote in the Viral Video competition from the Slam on their website – check it out, watch some videos, and vote on the best one!). The night wrapped up with a quick trip to the Satellite for a giant combo plate of fried food before I was ready to call it quits.

And that was about enough for me for the week. Anymore excitement and I’d need a vacation to rest up from all the fun. Now I’m off to see what kinds of trouble I can get up to this week. I’ll be back (next Monday if I’m feeling industrious or Tuesday if I’m being lazy) to talk about things like concerts at the Knitting Factory, live-tweeting finale parties, and birthday celebrations for toddlers.

Why don’t you head out for some adventures of your own while I’m gone? 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:
Hacienda las Flores
Viking Bar and Grill
Spokast Podcast
Elk Public House
Luigi’s Italian Restaurant
Ugly Betties
Northtown Mall
50 Hour Slam
Magic Lantern Theater
Saranac Public House
Satellite Diner and Lounge

*Quote from “Monty Python and the Meaning of Life”

Adventures in Spokane – Part Three: Fun with Sushi, Chatting with Strangers, and Celebrating Cinco de Mayo

Hello lovely readers! Welcome to another stirring rendition of my adventures in Spokane! Last week it seems like most of my time out and about was either spent playing in my yard with my tortoises or hunting down awesome food and drinks. So now I have the lovely beginnings of a sunburn and have probably reached Margarita saturation point.

Tuesday I met up with the most awesome and amazing owner/creator of Holly’s Handmade Goods to pick up THE GREATEST BABY SHOWER GIFT EVER! I’d tell you what it was but you’d just want to run out and copy me and I prefer to hold onto the title of CHICK WHO GAVE THE GREATEST BABY SHOWER GIFT EVER. So come up with your own ideas, folks. Anyway, we met up at Sushi Maru in Riverpark Square for some wonderful sushi and conversation. I love Sushi Maru for the atmosphere, the tasty food, and the quickness with which you can fill your belly full of sushi. It might not be the absolute best sushi in Spokane, but you don’t have to wait to start eating because you can almost immediately pull items off the conveyor belt. And the seared Salmon is most excellent.

Later that evening I headed over to Ugly Betties with one of my cheekiest cousins. It was $2 PBR night as well as karaoke, which can always lead to either a wonderful or ear-shatteringly horrible time. We arrived between Happy Hour and karaoke time so there was plenty of seating (okay the bar was completely empty when we arrived but it picked up while we were there). I had an excellent Margarita while my cousin went for the PBR deal. As we sat chatting in the window seats we apparently caught the fancy of some gentleman strolling around the area. They came in, introduced themselves (kind of), and just sort of forced their way into our conversation. They were strangers and a little exuberant, but not particularly scary. The Ugly Betties staff was kind enough to let us know if we needed any help to alert them and they’d toss the guys out, but it wasn’t necessary. They hung out for a while and then went on their merry (and rather loud) way. We stayed a bit longer to listen to some karaoke before heading out ourselves (it was a work night after all).

I ended up at Ugly Betties again the next evening with my fave Fox28 GalPal for Happy Hour. They had $2 domestic drafts and a patio full of sunshine just calling our names. Once again it wasn’t exactly standing room only around the bar, but other people did wander in and out while we had our drinks. Happy Hour ends at 6pm at Ugly Betties, which is a little early for me as I don’t get off of work until 5pm, but it was still worth it to check it out. I’m always up for a good Happy Hour (even though I totally and completely love my job so it isn’t the stress of the work day that is driving me to drink no no no). So far Zola, the Viking, and Ugly Betties have had the best beer deals. If you know anyplace else I should check out, let me know in the comments.

Sunday was technically Cinco de Mayo but I couldn’t wait until then for tasty Mexican food and more Margaritas. On Friday I went to Hacienda las Flores at the bottom of Freya and had an amazing orange-flavored Margarita in a goblet the size of my head. Seriously the thing was so heavy I couldn’t even lift it. But it had a cherry and a jaunty flag on top which totally made up for lack of ease when drinking. One of the Spokast Podcast boys tagged along to dinner (seriously these guys will do almost anything for a free meal and by the way are you listening to Spokast yet? You should be listening) and we shared some tacos and the Polla a la Crema, which is this wonderful chicken in cream sauce that I could eat every day for a month and not fall out of love with (but after that month I’d probably never want to look at it again – and I’d weigh about 500 lbs). Hacienda las Flores may look a little sketchy from the outside but the owners are super friendly and nice, the food is excellent, and the prices are pretty reasonable.

I did some other exciting and not-so-exciting things over the weekend, but they mostly involved baby showers, Star Wars, and pizza, so I’m going to skip them and head off to see what other kinds of trouble I can get up to this week. I’ll be back (next Monday if I’m feeling industrious or Tuesday if I’m being lazy) to talk about things like trivia night with cousins, non-profit bake sale meetings, and bowling for charity.

Why don’t you head out for some adventures of your own while I’m gone? 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:
Sushi Maru
Holly’s Handmade Goods
Ugly Betties
Hacienda las Flores

Adventures in Spokane – Part Two: Epic Animation, Happy Hours, and Tasting of the Sake

Hello again all you lovely people you! It is another week and time for another exciting chapter of Adventures in Spokane with your lovely (it’s my blog I can say it if I want to) blogger girl Mia.

Last week I took some time to explore some of the various activities included in Spokane’s Japan Week. First let me say I feel like a complete bonehead for not realizing Spokane even had a Japan Week. I’ve been a big fan of Japanese culture, anime, and Japanese history for years and a whole week dedicated to exploring these topics is right up my alley. You better believe I won’t be missing out on Japan Week in the future.

Anyhoo, so last week was Japan Week and events were held throughout town celebrating different aspects of Japanese culture and history. Unfortunately many of these took place during the week days and I had to work (stinking work – wait, no really, I love my job at lovely Fox28! love love love! moving on…) but there were also some evening and weekend events that I could attend. On Tuesday night I headed over to the Magic Lantern Theatre to see one of my all-time favorite anime (that’s Japanese animation for you newbs) on the (basically) big screen. Akira is a film MADE for the big screen. It is epic in size, story, length, and volume. The hand-drawn animation is still beautiful even three decades after it was first created, and the story still manages to garner excitement, adoration, and confusion.

Later in the week I headed out to Happy Hour at the Viking Bar and Grill with a fellow Fox28 gal and one of the Spokast Podcast guys (they will probably appear in this blog a lot – what can I say, as a recurring guest of their show I can’t help but adore them). This wasn’t part of Japan Week but instead a crucial part of Keeping Mia Happy during the work week. My fave bartender wasn’t in the house but there were drink specials galore to keep me satisfied. Happy Hour at the Viking is a lot more laid back than at places like Zola, with a different kind of crowd floating in and out between the hours of five and seven. But the drinks were good, the popcorn was free, and there was live music playing later in the evening so it was still a fun time.

On Saturday I decided to check out another Japan Week event and headed up to Vino! A Wine Shop for sake tasting. I love sake, and I’ve done a sake tasting before at the awesome Momokowa Sakery in Forest Grove, Oregon. So it wasn’t my first time at this rodeo, but it was still an interesting and educational experience. I fell immediately in love with Creme de Sake (the first drink we tried), a ginjo sake with a creamy texture. And though it took me a moment to get over how surprisingly bubbly it was, I also really enjoyed the sparkling sake that rounded out the tasting. The styles in the middle were not as much to my liking though I’m sure others would think the complete opposite. Sushi was available for munching and the guy running the event seemed to know his way around the drinks so it was totally worth the admittance fee.

Well once again I’m off to see what other kinds of trouble I can get up to. I’ll be back next week (on Monday if I’m feeling industrious or Tuesday if I’m being lazy) to talk about things like conveyor belt sushi, searching for the perfect happy hour, and the awesomeness of a great support group.

Why don’t you head out for some adventures of your own while I’m gone? 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 Magic Lantern Theatre
Viking Bar and Grill
Vino! A Wine Shop
Spokane Japan Week

Adventures in Spokane – Part One: Podcast Parties, 3D Dinosaurs, and Drinks Named Sven

Hello lovely readers! I’m Fox28’s regular blogger girl Mia. I like to get out and enjoy the sights, activities, and dining experiences in and around Spokane and I’m here to share it all with you. I’m just awesome like that.

Let’s jump right in with last weekend. Friday night I headed over to the Elk Public House in Browne’s Addition for a get-together with the guys from Spokast Podcast. If you aren’t listening, what’s wrong with you? These guys are funny, local, not at all safe for work, and they have a great line-up of guests including everyone’s (okay that is kind of subjective) favorite weather-man George Maupin. The place was hopping with a busy weekend crowd but we managed to get a large table to fit our large group. Those Spokast guys sure can attract a varied party. I found myself chatting throughout the evening with WWII re-eanactors, the future owner of Fleet Parts in St Maries Idaho, the current owner of Life’s Flix here in Spokane, a high school history teacher, a chemist, a recruiter for Gonzaga, an audio producer at a rival local TV station, and a hopeful future golf-pro. It was a fun time.

After a few hours we mozied on Downtown to see what kind of shenanigans were to be found elsewhere. We tried to hit up Andy’s in the Grand Coulee building but the place was packed and we just wouldn’t fit. So our group wandered down the street to Rain Lounge. Luckily there was room at this inn and we found ourselves a large table that would accommodate our whole group. Rain is a cool place, filled with art and ambient lighting and live music on Friday nights apparently. The musician looked like he walked right off a Pearl Jam album and played covers of songs like “Sweet Caroline”, which was kinda cool really. It was Happy Hour and I had a drink the color of Smurfs that tasted like fruity awesome.

Saturday I headed over to Riverpark Square AMC for an early showing of “Jurassic Park” in 3D. I remember seeing that film in the theater way back in the day when it first came out (I’m so so old). It was just as big and loud and exciting as I remember it, only this time in 3D! I was hoping to catch it on IMAX 3D, but that goofy “Oblivion” movie took over the theater just days before which was a bit of a bummer. Oh well, “Jurassic Park” is “Jurassic Park” no matter how you see it, and totally worth the extra charge for the 3D. There were some little kids in the theater experiencing it for the first time ever and I was kinda jealous. It sucks a bit that you can only see a movie for the first time once.

Later in the day, after a nice long nap because I’m getting too old for the constant partying, I went out with my older sister to catch dinner and a movie. We ended up at The Garland Theater to see “Mama”, a creepy little flick with an important message about how stupid it is to wander into dark abandoned cabins in the woods at night and without proper back up. I enjoyed it more than I expected, but the best part was the reactions of the audience. They jumped, they screamed, they freaked out. It was awesome. After the film we headed over to the Viking Bar and Grill. A friend of my sister was tending bar and when he discovered that he couldn’t make me the drink I initially ordered, he started inventing drinks especially for me. The “Steve” (as the first one will hereby be known as) had a nice peach-y tang and a bit of a sour kick, while the “Sven” (also named by me, I guess I’m just not all that clever) tasted almost exactly like red Jell-o. If you are at the Viking in the future and Ryan Davis is behind the bar, go ahead and order a Steve or a Sven. I think he’ll get a kick out of that.

Well I’m off to see what other kinds of trouble I can get into. I’ll be back next week (on Monday if I’m feeling industrious or Tuesday if I’m being lazy) to talk about things like Japan Week, roller derby, and wild and crazy trivia nights.

Why don’t you head out for some adventures of your own while I’m gone? 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 Elk Public House
Spokast Podcast
Rain Lounge
Riverpark Square AMC
The Garland Theater
Viking Bar and Grill