Highlights from the Avenue of the Roses Parade

Friends Mark & Amanda live at the end of the Avenue of Roses Parade route and host a party. I love a good parade, especially a good small parade, so I went. Here are some highlights.

While 82nd Avenue does have problems with prostitution and I certainly support this group’s efforts, I kept imagining the questions posed along the parade route, “Mommy, why don’t real men buy sex?”

Who doesn’t love a good scary dragon?

I was intrigued by these characters, and unfortunately, missed capturing the group’s name.

Gotta love returned Peace Corps volunteers.

I also loved this cool holder for the saint carried by this Catholic church. It allowed for smooth carrying and left room for waving.

These puffy air-filled dinosaurs were delightful. I’d never seen puffy characters before.

Some cool parade goers make some noise and wave the flag.

It became apparent that the classic cars were turning right off of 82nd, and we were to the left, so we missed them, but we did get to see a lot of the parade. Thanks to Mark & Amanda for hosting.

We try Thai Rolled Ice Cream

My first encounter with Thai Rolled Ice Cream was at the Minnesota State Fair. I did not stand in line to have some–the line was long–but I did get a good overview of the situation because they were stationed right below an escalator so I got a birds-eye view as I was headed down.

There’s a shop now in Portland, so I was excited to try this and avoid the line.  We failed at avoiding the line–it was a very sunny and warm spring day and the shop was full.  But we did get ample opportunity to watch our treat being made.

Liquid is ladled onto a very cold disk and things are added in.  I got the Oreo one, so mine had a crushed up Oreo. Then the mixture is spread into a square and carefully rolled into five rolls, which are placed in the cup.

You can then add three toppings, a sauce, and some whipped cream.

Matt opted to skip the whipped cream, and so you can see his banana and Nutella ice cream rolls much better.

While it was fun to watch the creation of this dessert, I didn’t love the flavor of the lactose-free “ice cream.”

Lizzy Acker is my new favorite reporter for the Oregonian

I initially took this picture because I’m pretty sure when that couple on the right married 75 years ago, they had no idea that their long marriage would someday be featured in the newspaper next to a workout involving pole dancing.

The story about the married couple was great, and also so was the article about pole dancing as exercise. Check out Lizzy Acker’s first three paragraphs.

And also the last four paragraphs.

Aside from general reporting, which she also seems to do, Lizzy Acker does oddball series. This is part of her week of weird workouts series. She’s also done an extensive review of black leggings; seven days of living like a kid in Oregon; and going dancing every night for a week in Portland.

In all these articles she brings a fun zing and some thoughtful weight to her words. I look forward to reading more from her.

New game: The Fog of Love

Matt has purchased a new game in which a two people play a couple in love faced with challenges and difficulties. The goal is to navigate through the difficulties and win by finding true love.

Overall, I found this game fun, though I really hated the blue/pink color scheme. Any other two colors would have worked well. For the first game, I was Ken, a TV Star with a booming voice. Matt and I did not find true love and lost the game, but we are willing to try again. Though Matt will never repeat the mistake of giving me the Booming Voice card. My voice can be quite loud.

One of the best things about this game was that the tutorial was built into the first game. The game designers gave you enough information to understand the part that you were on, and then as game play progressed, another tutorial card would appear explaining what was going to happen next.

As someone who has sat through a lot of really bad explanations of how to play games, I found this to be one of the greatest board game developments since Lizzie Magie invented the game that would become Monopoly.

We watch the Oscars

Laurie, Kelly and I assembled at Laurie’s house to watch the Academy Awards. Kelly wrote up a BINGO game, which I won.

I created a new game called the Happiest Oscar Viewer wherein you pick all the people/movies you WANT to win. This is different from picking who you think will win. As the winners are called, you highlight any of your picks that the academy agreed with, and the person with the most highlights is the Happiest Oscar Viewer.

Laurie won that contest.

Overall, it was snoozer of a ceremony. And I have pretty high tolerance for Oscar ceremonies.

Spiraling is fun

I won a drawing and the prize was a $50 Visa gift card. I spent it on a spiralizer and my goodness, but that is a fun, superfluous kitchen item.

I’ve made pasta from scratch before, and it’s a so-so endeavor. The pasta wants to break a lot as you are rolling it out, and my memories of it are that it doesn’t taste as good as dried pasta.

But vegetables?  They don’t break!  If the surface being spiralized is big enough, the strands just keep getting longer. It’s very satisfying.

80’s Love Song Sing Along @the Hollywood Theatre

I found the promise of singing along to 80s music videos hard to resist and so Kelly and I headed over to the Hollwood Theatre. (Our group was supposed to be bigger. One person backed out due to illness and one person didn’t show up due to date confusion.)

We received our kazoos, so as to play along with the sexy saxophone solos, (!!!!!) and lustily sang along.

Some highlights:

  • Our host pointed out that he loved 80s videos because some of them are bat-shit crazy. Indeed.
  • The best sexy saxophone solo came with our first song, “Careless Whisper.” Let me say that the narrative established in the video leaves me not feeling sorry for two-timing George Michael.
  • The screams–actual screams–that came from the females of the audience with the opening chords of Rick Springfield’s “Jessie’s Girl.”  While I appreciate that song, it’s not on such a visceral level. “Oh my god, he had such good hair!” Kelly exclaimed breathlessly. I’ve concluded that when the song was released, I was still pre-pubescent, and did not have that potent cocktail of hormones coursing through my system that people slightly older than me experienced.
  • I did, however, scream at the first notes of “Never Tear us Apart” by INXS. Man, Michael Hutchence. And that band in general.
  • Some of the videos did not translate well to the current decade. “Tainted Love” was particularly icky, as the lead singer is singing to a young girl. We’re talking an eight year old young girl. Gross.
  • Some of those videos I had never seen because we didn’t have cable when they were originally in rotation and had fallen out of favor by the time we did have cable.
  • The host pointed out that people often ask him why there are not more videos of heavy metal bands. He then said that it was because metal sucks. That got a very loud “boo!” from me. He then played one (1) song: Bon Jovi’s “You Give Love a Bad Name” which was awesome for viewing the trappings of being a 1980s heavy metal band, but is one of two songs of Bon Jovi’s that are always played. A better choice would have been “Born to be my Baby.” (Released November 24, 1988 and peaked at #3 on Billboard’s Hot 100, yet I never hear it played on classic rock radio, but that’s a topic for another day.)
  • The host encouraged us to dance from the get-go, but it was Erasure’s “A Little Respect” that got people out of their seats and dancing.
  • The original video for Berlin’s “Take My Breath Away” is a hilarious unintentional (?) homoerotic love fest featuring Tom Cruise and Val Kilmer.
  • We got Rickrolled!  The host introduced the ultimate 80’s love song, we heard the first few bars, and then! Record scratch and a detour to Rick Astley’s “Never Gonna Give You Up.” That was one of the first 45s I bought as an adolescent.
  • The ultimate 80’s love song, “Total Eclipse of the Heart” has perhaps the craziest video ever. I had never seen it, and ho-boy. It has everything.

Tiny House Expo

For my birthday, Matt bought me a ticket to the Tiny House Expo.  This was a very good present, as I love tiny houses. At the expo, people had a chance to tour several tiny houses as well as visit vendors.

I went early, which was a very good move. Tiny houses don’t hold very many people, which meant even at 9:30 in the morning, there were lines to get into each tiny house.

I loved the curved roof on this model.

Apologies for the blurry picture.  This model had just sold.  It cost $150,000.  (Yeesh!)

This person apologized because he forgot to bring his step.  This was fine by me, as I could easily take the big step up into the house.

Inside the step-less house.  I loved how the kitchen was not skimpy.

I liked the shed roof design of this house.  Plus, this company, Tiny Smart House, has a very fun Build-it-Yourself Program where you can build your tiny house on-site and take advantage of workshops, discounted group material buying.  So smart!

Here’s a tiny house camp trailer, which you can follow on Instagram @tinyhousecamptrailer.  They had a lot packed into a small space.

Here is a tiny house made out of a shipping container. It was very sleek.

I really liked how open and airy these big windows made this house feel.

Here’s the floor plan

A lot of houses were using this water system.

The teardrop camper people were there too.  I love me a good teardrop camper, especially one as nice as this one.

Hiddenbed of Oregon had a very good design.  During the day: desk.
At night: bed.  Nicely done. The desk stays flat, so you don’t have to disassemble and reassemble every night. Cost for a double bed? $2100.

You could also have your own geodesic dome.  I have affection for domes, as they were not uncommon in the landscape of my 80s childhood.

Overall, I had a great time.  Thanks Matt.

Also! The square lights at the Convention Center! So fun!  And my mind boggles at how all those things got into this building.  Convention center logistics must be no joke.

John & Hank Green, on tour.

Thanks to Kelly, I got to experience John and Hank Green on John’s book tour for Turtles All the Way Down. (When you are a successful YouTuber with your brother, you BOTH go on book tour, even if only one of you wrote the book.)

Here’s John reading from the book.  When I read the book later, I realized he read from two different sections.
We had a visit from Hank disguised as Dr. Lawrence Turtleman. He taught us about tuataras, which are reptiles from New Zealand which are NOT lizards.  Unfortunately, Dr. Turtleman’s PowerPoint wasn’t working, so the good doctor did the PowerPoint from memory.  We had partially obstructed seats which gave us a view of the various people working backstage to try and get the PowerPoint to work.

Hank did some singing and we got our own personal Dear Hank and John Podcast (parts of which made it on the Dear Hank & John episode #114 that compiled this segment from several cities).  We finished the night with a lusty rendition of the Mountain Goats’ “This Year” as sung by the crowd, John, and played and sung by Hank.

Last time, when Matt and I saw John and Hank on book tour, they had a van.  Things have changed.

Here we are, fourth from the end.
It was a fun night. Thanks, Kelly.