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

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

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

But I’m pretty sure it happened.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

It was a rather startling and surreal experience over all.

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

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

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

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

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

– Mia V.

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

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

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


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

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



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

Oh well.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

– Mia V.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

– Mia V.

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

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)?


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

– Mia V.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

– Mia V.

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

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
Borracho Tacos & Tequileria
Thai Bamboo