Monday, September 27, 2010

Night, pre-raid

Me: ARGH! I need to go the store, but I don't really have time before raid.

Adam: You should go to the store.

Me (suspiciously): Why?

Adam: To get the stuff.

Me: What stuff?
(thinking he knows of something we need)

Adam: Uhhh whatever the stuff is you need to get..

Me: HA! Maybe I don't NEED stuff! Maybe I just want to go to the store and walk around!

Adam: Well that would be... weird.. I don't think you're THAT weird... are.. you?? *trails off*

Me: *glare*

Monday, September 20, 2010

The Fair

Whenever I think of going to the Fair, I always get the song from Charlotte's Web (the original cartoon, not that hack remake) that Templeton the rat sings about the fair.. "A fair is a veritable smorgasbord orgasbord orgasbord, after the crowds have ceased... Each night when the lights go out, it can be found on the ground all around..Oh, what a ratly feast!" Because as we all know, one of the main reasons to go to the fair is the yummy, horribly unhealthy food!! So bear with me because a lot of this rambling will be about fair food. Yuuuuum!! I'm probably describing events out of order somewhat, but it was a couple weeks ago so cut me some slack.

Two weekends ago we went to the Puyallup Fair with our kids and in-laws. This being Washington, the weather cooperated with alternating torrential downpours and sunny skies, often changing within minutes. What is this.. Ohio with the psycho weather mood changes?!! Geesh! Dummy me of course left my sunglasses in the car because it was grey and yucky and rainy when we arrived, only to bemoan the fact later when the beaming sun came out.

We arrived early, and squished into the fairgrounds. We of course had to hit up the obligatory and traditional Fisher Scones vendor and get scones for breakfast. This is something so weird to me.. in Ohio you don't find scones at a fair.. well to be honest I don't think you really find them anywhere. Apparently Fisher has been making scones and been part of northwest fairs since 1915. o.O

They are hot, light and crumbly and almost-biscuit-like, triangular and pre-sliced and slathered inside with honey-whipped butter and rasberry jam. They are utterly delicious.

Once fortified, we headed for the first vendor building (mainly to get out of the rain!) Inside were all the vendors you normally see at the fair, that would be repeated tenfold throughout all the other fair buildings. Mattresses, massaging chairs, candles, beanie babies, and more. We found an odd little booth setup with a boardgame called "The Tower of Mystery" (, and discovered the salesman that was waxing enthusiastic about it was in fact the inventor. It sounded intriguing, and we're all about the boardgames, so we made a note to ourselves to head back and buy it before we left so we wouldn't have to tote it around the fair or run out to the car. Megan also found a beanbag animal seller that had various lizards and stuff so we knew we'd need to head back there to get an addition to her beanbag lizard collection.

After that we wandered through the rain, looking at chainsaw-made wood sculptures and benches, the working blacksmith (with their fancy tiny natural gas forge, at 1800-2300 degrees. Back in MY day, we used WOOD for our forges, none of them fancy gas jets! ..I digress)

We wandered through the draft horse barn, the show horse barn, they had signs up *everywhere* asking you not to touch the animals "for their health and yours" which sucked because EVERYONE knows how utterly irrestible a soft horse nose stuck through stall bars can be. We were all VERY good though it was agonizing and didn't succomb to the temptation. The coolest horses imo were the Norwegian Fjord that looked like it had stepped off a cave wall with it's prehistoric back stripe and short, spiky mane, and the huge black percheron that apparently someone was using as a riding horse, which freakin ROCKS.

We alternated walking through more vendor buildings, and more animal buildings. When we were wandering through the cows (not dairy) every huge steer I saw made me drool.. steeaaak. I'm a carnivore and not ashamed of it. We wandered through the agriculture building and saw vegetable competition entries made to look like things, designs, and freaky huge pumpkins. All this made us hungry!

We ate some lunch, shared a huge rack of BBQ ribs, mediocre cornbread, and freshly cut string french fries with lots of malt vinegar and ketchup. And.. Roast Corn!!! If you have never tried fair roast corn, you are missing out. Make sure it's a place that actually roasts it in husk, and then once it's done pulls down the husks, and holds them to dip it in butter before handing to you. DELICIOUS. If I could have gotten away with it I would have eaten a dozen of these alone for lunch.

We checked out the retro farming area where they have an old-time washing tub with crank ringer, a fake shaving straight razor with lather and mirror, and other pioneer-esk stuff. It was rather soggy underfoot but the sun finally came out so we split up and took our kids to do the rides.

I went on a little coaster with Meg (fun!) and then the kids went on the big wooden roller coaster, then again on the one we had gone on first, and then spent the rest of their tickets on carnival games. Pro-tip parents: No matter how you explain the science of how carnival games are rigged so they are extremely difficult to win, your kids will want to try them, and probably not win. Make sure you do a sure-win thing like the dart balloon throw. Meg was proud as punch that she popped a couple balloons and won a tiny ugly little stuffed purple cat. We bought the obligatory cotton candy (NOMNOM, blue is the best flavor), and headed back to meet up.

We hit up more buildings of cows, goats, pigs, chickens, rabbits, lions, tigers and bears Oh My! (ok maybe not those). When we were in the Dairy Cow barn there was a mamma cow apparently giving birth so they had part of it sectioned off, and it was late and we were tired so didn't stay to try to crowd with others. We did however go to the other part of the building where they were giving out free samples of Darigold Chocolate milk, the BEST chocolate milk you can buy (and most expensive -- boo!) It tastes like melted chocolate ice cream.

We remembered just in time about the Beatles tribute band "Imagine" that was playing so ran in and got some seats under partial cover (that almost kept us from getting rained on). They didn't really look like the Beatles, were dressed in Sgt. Pepper sort-of uniforms, and 2 were from California and 2 from Utah! But, they sounded pretty good, and hey, free Beatles music YAY!! Lem ran to the bathroom mid-way through and brought me back some Darigold chocolate milk <3.

Megan wanted to stay forever in the little petting zoo petting the pygmy goats and the little 8-week old baby bunnies, but eventually we got hungry again and since it was pouring rain once more headed to the big food court building. Unfortunately, a skrillion other fair-goers had the same idea so it was rather packed. We eventually found seats and ate our various foods, I had a rather good chicken caeser salad and stole some of Adam's fair fries w/malt vinegar and ketchup.

We walked through more buildings with a zillion vendors, managing to resist most of them. Had to get some Seattle Fudge, and some fresh honeycombs dripping with honey for the kids to eat. Delicious! It was getting late, so we stopped to get Elephant ears for everyone to eat, and then ran back to get our board game and Meg's lizard (just as they were closing shop - whew!).

Very footsore and exhausted, we headed back to the van and homeward. A great day for all, and totally worth the big blister I got on my toe from walking around all day with wet socks!

How'd They Do That?

I'm constantly amazed as I go through my life at how crazy smart and inventive people are in this world. Did you ever use a neat gadget or gizmo, or enjoy the convenience of our modern world, and think, "How'd they even THINK of that??"

Like, the sewing machine. I know how to use a sewing machine, and I understand the basics that it has two threads, the main spool and the bobbin, and it intertwines those two threads in a way that keeps them from unraveling through the fabric. What I never knew was how COMPLEX this process is:

I mean REALLY, I can't even imagine just sitting there fiddling around bits and bobbles, and trying to make some mechanism that could do that.

Another thing that amazes me is flight. Not that it's possible, or how it even works.. that people were brave enough to just TRY it, no parachutes, no inflateable safety chutes.. check this out:

1908?!! And do you see how high they fly at one point.. they're just sitting in basically an antique ultralight aircraft I would hope with some form of seatbelt, but even so.. yikes!!

I am really thankful to all the people that have preceded me that have come up with all the amazingly cool stuff that I almost always take for granted in my life. It's not only the big stuff, even little stuff like staplers, and nerf guns.. those every day things you use.

I am perpetually fascinated by history and how people lived and survived in a world without modern medicine and technology. If I had access to a time machine it would be so neat to go back and visit the past, but I sure as hell know I wouldn't want to live back then. Give me flushing toilets and computers ANY day.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

I Almost Got Into A Nerd Fight At Gamestop

Halo Reach came out today for Xbox 360. Yet another installment in the Halo franchise, that to me looks exactly like every other installment, but my son really wanted it, and pre-ordered it with his own money.

He reminded me about 30 times in the last three days that it was coming out, and I happily failed to inform him that there was actually a midnight release date Monday night, since frankly it was a school night so it would have just been torture for him to get it and not be able to play it anyway.

On the way home from work today, I in fact ALMOST forgot to swing by Gamestop and pick it up. A quick detour into the turn lane at the light past that and I circled back and parked to head into the store. I figured since I missed the midnight launch, all the screaming fanboys would have been and gone and I'd be right in and out. HAHAHAH! The line stretched the entire length of the store and started curving back in on itself.

I dutifully took my place at the end of the line, and more people were coming in every minute to get behind me. The 20-something guy in front of me starts explaining to me that he *was* here for the midnight launch, there were about 150 people outside waiting, and it was chaos. So glad I missed that. He then goes on to explain he lost the receipt on the way home that apparently has the code printed on it for the special in-game armor you can activate. Suuucks.. so he's back to get a reprint.

Apparently he's friends with the three 20-something guys BEHIND me, because they start Nerd talking about various games that are displayed around us. I vaguely pay attention as they are discussing Halo Vanquish, for which a big poster is on the wall above us. "What's that?," I ask..
This opens the FLOODGATES OF HALO NERDTALK... and after about 10 minutes of being peppered with information (much like pepper-spray, this made my eyes burn. Or that could have been their unwashedness). I find out essentially it's another Halo expansion coming out in a few months, but THIS time it's made by Sega and not Bungie.. so, yeah.. you know. *blank look from me* "It's basically the same Halo, but set on a different world, you know, it's like Star Trek vs. Star Wars."

WOAH. Wait a second. You did NOT just start something, did you Nerdboy?! His friend behind me even says, "Weellllll.. I was going to have to address that, but, now that I think about it.."
The guy in front of me then goes on to start his Star Trek vs. Star Wars comparisons, on how they really are the same (The Force = Q, for example, and how they both just want to find new places and kill people, except that Kirk would first sleep with everything before killing it, etc.). I was ready to go all Jedi on him, but then his friend chimes in with, "Yeah but I always liked Picard better." I turned around and actually high-fived him*, and the crisis was averted.

I finally make it up to the counter after having to endure them debate Dead Rising 2 and if in fact you could realistically swing around a pole with 2-chainsaws tied to the ends in a Darth Maul-type fashion (consensus: no, but the game will probably still let you), and the fact that The Gig game that is coming out will let you use a REAL guitar when you play boy band music so you're not gay at all (ok I might have thought that in my head as they debated real guitar vs. controller guitar).

I show my ID, and the guy brings out the Halo Legendary that my son reserved. Holy SHIT.. the box is ginormous. I'm literally embarrassed to reach over the counter and heft it away as other people are walking away with their little slim game cases. I asked the guy if it came with a dead puppy in it, since obviously there were no air holes for it. He said probably at that price.

That's my minivan in the background. I'm pretty sure you could hide a small child in this box.

It came with a bunch of extras, including a "statue" of "action figures":

Isn't Lem's computer chair sad looking? My son informs me that the blue guy in the front middle USED to be gender ambivalent, you could choose male or female, but NOW they've made the chick on the left of him in blue so that there's no confusion, because, as he says, "You can see they made her curvy and feminimmem." *blink*

Is Cataclysm out yet?

*and unsurprisingly, his hand is warm and sweaty. Ew.