Tag Archives: fun

National Taco Day 2011

I just heard that today is National Taco Day! Wow…who knew? I mean, I consider myself somewhat of an expert on the subject of tacos and I have never heard of this wondrous day. But, now that I have, you can bet your sweet ass our family will be celebrating National Taco Day 2011 in high style tonight!

Yep, we might even bypass our usual Taco Tuesday fiesta at Del Taco and go somewhere a little more authentically Mexican…you know, where they sell real street tacos like the lovelies pictured below. Yum!

But wherever we end up tonight, here’s hoping the rest of you find time to celebrate the magic of a truly tasty taco on this happiest of days as well. Happy National Taco Day, amigos!

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Voodoo Doughnut, Portland, OR

There are two reasons I’ve put off blogging about the now-legendary Voodoo Doughnut in Portland for so long. One is because, well, they are kind of legendary now and it seems like everyone blogs about them. And two is because I knew the minute I started writing about them, I’d want to eat donuts (or doughnuts, whatever!). And guess what I’m craving right now…Voodoo’s finest, the Maple Bacon bar. Mmm…

I know it’s been covered on TV and everything, but, trust me, there is a reason this delicious maple bar topped with two thick-ass strips of crispy bacon is famous. And that’s because it is seriously, out-of-this-world amazing. You never had such yumminess in your mouth at the same time…wow!

Another favorite were the various cereal-covered donuts. We sampled the Captain Crunch, which was a bit odd. The cereal itself was kinda moist, from being exposed to the air I suppose, but the thing that really made the donut work for me was the fact that the white icing tasted exactly like milk. Yep, you got it, milk and cereal on a donut. I don’t know how they did it, but it worked.

Also very good was the devil’s food cake donut with the pentagram frosting, but for sheer drama, I think my favorite donut of the day was the one shaped like a tiny Voodoo doll. Covered in chocolate frosting, each little Voodoo man has a tiny pretzel stake jammed into his heart and actually bleeds red berry filling when you remove the stake. So weird and awesome!!

The decor is also totally rad, with all sorts of funky Voodoo, pop-culture and movie references everywhere you look. I don’t know the significance of the giant velvet Kenny Roger’s portrait over the register area, but, it seemed to be important. And, hey, who doesn’t love, Kenny?

Oh, speaking of old-ass Kenny Rogers, they even had a shrine to recently departed celebrities by the rear side door, complete with Voodoo donuts prayer candles. As you can see from the pic, Peter Falk had just died when we were there. R.I.P. Detective Columbo.

Oh, and if you’re really hungry, an order of three dozen donuts and $100 will buy you a tiny wooden casket donut delivery box. I didn’t get one, but, man alive, if I lived in Portland, that would be the first thing I’d order for my next big birthday party gathering. Donuts in a coffin for everyone…so cool!

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Odd Obsession Movie Rentals, Chicago

In case you hadn’t noticed, I started up another blog recently, but that doesn’t mean I love this one any less. On the contrary, I have been itching to share some of our recent adventures in Chicago (where we were in May) and Portland, OR (where we were in July) before launching into a whole other round of adventures we’re bound to experience in NYC, where we will be next week.

Trust me, it sounds a lot more glamorous than it really is. Hell, anyone who has traveled with a two-year-old can tell you that the going can get pretty damn rough sometimes. And that’s why you need the mellow, “let’s casually explore the city” kind of days in between the sightseeing.

It was on one of those days this past May, when we encountered the staggeringly-well-stocked, totally old-school video store known as Odd Obsession Movie Rentals in Chicago.

Located in the gritty heart of the suddenly-trendy Bucktown/Wicker Park area, Odd Obsession is the kind of classic, deep-catalog video store every great city should have. You know, the type of place you can call up with just a vague notion of the obscure DVD title you’re looking for, and not only do they know the movie, but they carry it too! So cool…

And I swear to God, walking inside that joint was like stepping into a time machine. They don’t carry many actual VHS titles anymore, but, the whole place smelled, looked like, and even felt like your favorite, musty childhood video store. I say felt because those shelves were so packed with super cool titles that you could hardly turn around without bumping into something amazing. Literally. Next time I go, I’m leaving the stroller outside.

We didn’t rent anything, of course, but, just being there and sensing the true love of movies inside every nook and cranny of that place really filled my heart with glee. I’m not kidding, it was like church for film geeks, and best of all, they even had a store cat. You know, the big old, fat kind that sits on the register when you’re trying to pay. I didn’t ask, but, I’ll bet he’s named “Rosebud”.

Anyway, someday very soon (like, next week) video stores will be a thing of the past, something we joke about: “OMG, remember when you used to have to leave your house to rent movies?” and when that day comes, I’ll be glad to know I visited one of the greatest video stores ever…and took lots of cool pictures.

Rock on, Odd Obsession Movie Rentals, rock on!

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Oscar Nominee Luncheon (2011)

OK, I’ll totally admit it…aside from actually attending the Cannes Film Festival, one of my dreams is to attend the Academy’s annual Oscar Nominee Luncheon. And, I ain’t picky, I don’t need to attend as a nominee. No way. Hell..I’d wait tables or, you know, make lattes for them if it got me in the door!

I mean…check out these pics and tell me this does not look like the coolest event of the entire award season. No pressure to win, no live-television audience, just all the free food, drink and movie star snapshots you can stomach. So awesome!

Oooo, hey, come to think of it, I made scads of lattes for Ms. Bening when I worked at Peet’s, so, who knows…maybe she’ll give me a recommendation for next year. Either way, sign me up!

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Google celebrates Pac-Man’s 30th

Wow, today was really a big day for 30th anniversaries…who knew that video game legend Pac-Man was celebrating a monumental birthday today as well? Google knew, that’s who!

And in honor of the big yellow dude’s 30th birthday, the crazy-cool folks at the Googleplex are featuring a fully playable Pac-Man game where their logo should be on their home page. Wocka wocka yeah!

Better yet, if you double click the “insert coin” button on said home page, you can play a two player version of the game with Mrs. Pac-Man, who, as everyone knows, was always way cooler than her husband. I mean, hello, she had a bow on her head and shit. How cool is that?

And even though I can’t figure out how to insert a fully playable version of Pac-Man into my blog, I can share with you one of the best songs ever written about a video game. I’m talking, of course, about Buckner and Garcia’s cheese-tastic “Pac Man Fever”!

My brother and I practically burned a hole in our 12-inch single of this song back in the day and now you can too. Click here to celebrate thirty years of the sweet yellow fever. Happy 30th, Pac-Man!

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Halloween Harvest Festival @ Pierce College

Every year around this time, Christine and I head out in search of cool amateur haunted houses in the valley to explore. But this year, with our own little pumpkin on the way, Christine opted out of our tradition for fear of being bumped, pushed or just plain scared to high heaven along the way.

So, instead of going the local, down and dirty haunted house route, we decided to explore something a little more organized and fair-like this year. That way Christine could chill with some cotton candy while Ryan, Laura, our friends Patty and Mike and I screamed our lungs out in the haunted house.

And after many years of hearing about it, we finally schlepped out to Woodland Hills for the annual Halloween Harvest Festival at Pierce College. We had heard before that this place had one of the scariest “pay” haunted houses in the area, but when we learned that they also have a haunted corn maze on the premises, well, we were sold!

I’d never been to Pierce College before, but that place is way out of the way…I’m talking barely in L.A. county. And the campus is positively massive, with acres of corn fields, pumpkin patches and other assorted growing spaces dedicated to the school’s renowned Agricultural Department. I gotta say, the sheer volume of land out there was insane, you kinda felt like you were in another state or something…

But the coolest part is that if you park in the far lot, you get to enjoy a free tractor-pulled hayride through the fields to the festival grounds! Cool, huh? Even Christine, a hayride aficionado from way back, was impressed…although she was quick to point out that the bales we were sitting on were comprised of straw, not hay as we first surmised. They don’t call her Farmer’s Daughter for nothing, yo!

Anyway, aside from tons of what we think were free pumpkins and a petting zoo — which is only open during the day — the Harvest Festival is also home to some of the finest fair food we’ve had since, well, last year’s visit to the L.A. County Fair. Giant turkey legs, kettle corn, funnel cakes, you name it, they had it.

Of course, being the girlie man that I am, I wanted to hit the haunted house and corn maze before eating, you know, just in case I threw up or something. So, while Christine chilled with her cotton candy, Ryan, Laura, Mike, Patty and myself headed into the daunting haunted house.

And…Oh. My. God. Was it scary!! I clung to Ryan’s jacket with my eyes closed almost the entire time, and halfway through, as we passed an emergency exit, Patty got so scared that she actually burst into tears and left. I wasn’t crying, but man, how I wanted to! So, I took off with Patty and Laura while Ryan and Mike finished the tour alone. Yes, I left with the girls…sue me.

For anyone out there keeping track, I should also note that this haunted house is not nearly as scary as the bone-chilling “Shipwrecked” event they have every year at the Queen Mary, but it was a pretty close second.

It’s not that the scares were that original or anything, but the looks on some of the people’s faces in there were downright murderous. These are not your garden variety haunted house workers, amigos…even without their make-up, these carnie folks looked and acted, well, dangerous. Seriously…we checked our wallets when we came out!

And then, since we had paid for both the house and the corn maze (and I am loathe to ever not get my money’s worth!) we hit the haunted corn maze out front. That horrifying winged beast in the picture above acts as kind of the maze’s gatekeeper, and when he is moving and screeching, well…you kinda want to wet yourself. I’m not kidding, he was freaky!

But the maze itself was actually quite cool. Instead of picking on me — as the ghosts and goblins did in the haunted house — they fixated on Ryan this time, so my journey on his coattails was actually pretty scare-free. Don’t get me wrong, the maze was still very creepy and totally long — someone said it winds almost a mile and a half through that dark-ass corn field! — but it was more cool creepy than, you know, crap your pants creepy.

So, if you opt for the Multi-Pass Ticket, which is $20 (versus $13 for just one haunted area) I’d suggest you hit the haunted house first, then catch your breath in the corn maze. And then, and only then, hit the fair food!

Like I said before, they have all kinds of crazy-good food and all of it was awesome and totally cheap, but I think the highlight of the Festival were the fresh-cooked donuts pictured below. Fried to order, they were freaking amazing…and when you added a healthy dusting of powdered sugar, well, these were some donuts for the ages, man. Spectacular!

So, for those of you in the L.A. area who wanna get your scare on, or even just get your fried food on, head out to Pierce College tonight because the Halloween Harvest Festival ends Sunday, November 2nd.

And for the love of God, make sure and wear something grubby…we’re still scraping mud and straw off our damn shoes!

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It’s gonna be a girl!

Christine and I went in for our 21 week ultrasound today and were delighted to learn that we are expecting a little girl. Yay! As you can imagine, we are both pretty stoked, especially since we share a fondness for all things Barbie and Hello Kitty…and who better to pass that giddy fondness on to than a little tiny version of us, right?

Of course, we would have been just as happy with a boy, but as I have gathered from the enthusiasm from our families, a little girl offers them much cooler stuff to shop for. And speaking of, we made our first parental purchase today in the form of the super cute Baby Gap onesie shown below.

Yep, we went right from the doctor’s office to the mall. Crazy, huh? But, wow, how fun to buy little tiny clothes for your own baby! And to do it all at the store — not literally the same store, but the same chain, Gap Kids — where Christine and I met back in 1990, well, talk about coming full circle. Whoa…

So, while I must admit I was a tad disappointed at not being able to score the more boyish “Star Wars” and “Superman” onesies for our little one, I think once I get my hands on a girly Princess Leia or Queen Amidala onesie, all will be right with the world!

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