Thursday, September 27, 2007

Fall Lineup

Autumn has definitely arrived. How do I know this, besides the fact that I've had to turn on the heat in my apartment, ride the bus home from work in the dark and use an umbrella? Because the fall television season lineup has begun! The fantastic array of prime time shows available for my viewing pleasure is more than a little overwhelming. During the summer months I am so busy doing outdoor activities that I don't really miss watching TV, but as the days begin to get shorter and the evenings colder, sitting at home on the couch after work starts to seem VERY appealing.

I can potentially see myself falling into severely addictive patterns. The fact that my boyfriend has a very large, very fancy flat screen television complete with DVR only makes the problem worse. I don't even have to worry about rushing home to watch some of my favorite shows. They are all conveniently recorded for me to watch at my leisure - even if two fantastic shows air at the same time! What a great invention. So far, here is my personal lineup of what I have deemed as "shows worth watching" so far this season.

Desperate Housewives: Welcome to season three of this prime time soap opera. I've spent my Sunday evenings watching this show for years and it never ceases to entertain me. The only disappointment has been the loss of the uber hot gardener boy. It's interesting that as an urban 20-something I am so interested in the lives of suburban housewives, but ABC always provides fantastic comedy and drama with enough gorgeous men added to the mix that I can actually almost see myself in a similar environment someday! Susan has finally married Mike, Lynette is struggling with cancer, Bree is pretending to carry her knocked up daughter's baby, Gabrielle got married but is having an affair with Carlos, who is engaged to Edie. A new family on the block has also been introduced this season and promises to provide some new drama and scandal - I can't wait!

Brothers & Sisters: I started watching this show last year since it airs right after Desperate Housewives and got pretty hooked. The show stars five adult siblings and their somewhat crazy mother who lost her husband at the beginning of the first season. The Walkers deal with all kinds of issues: romance, parenting, divorce, infidelity, addiction, war and even death while trying to maintain some semblance of normalcy. This season Sarah's husband is leaving her, Kevin's boyfriend is moving to another country, Tommy has a baby, Justin returns from serving in Iraq and continues to struggle with drug addiction and Kitty is on the presidential campaign trail with her Republican boss and fiancé. I love how Sally Field's character continues as the meddling mother trying to involve herself in her adult children's lives. There's lots of room for drama with this show and I think it will continue for subsequent seasons.

The Bachelor: And here we go again. Yet another bachelor. I don't know why I continue to watch this cheesy and unrealistic show, but I can't seem to help myself! Brad Womack, 34, is this season's eye candy. ABC calls him "sincere, sexy, successful and maybe the series' hottest guy yet." OK, he's pretty darn attractive and has a smokin' body. And, he's a self-made millionaire. Brad says he wants to settle down and find his soul mate. Obviously the way to do that is to date multiple women for six weeks, fall in love with one of them, and then propose, right? This is reality, folks. Brad is from Texas and has an identical twin, which should make for an interesting twist later in the show. Brad appears to be sincere, but you never know with these shows so I am anxious to see how things play out this season. So far I am less-than-impressed with the women who were selected. A few of them are very pretty but most are mediocre and more than a few seem downright dumb. Poor Brad, did he get shafted? We shall see...

Kid Nation: This is the show I have been most excited about watching this fall. Commercials have been airing for months and the news has featured dramatic articles about child abuse - talk about drama! Forty kids settle in a deserted New Mexico town called Bonanza City, where they are challenged to stay for 40 days with no adults and prove they can build a better world, pioneer-style, in this brand new reality series. The kids range in age from 8 to 15 and come from various backgrounds. They will confront grown-up issues while coping with classic childhood emotions of homesickness and peer pressure - and the option to do basically whatever they want, when they want. The episodes feature challenges between the four town districts and end with a town meeting where the council awards one child with a gold star worth $20,000. Considering the cast is all children, I can only imagine how entertaining and dramatic this season will get, I'm super excited to watch!

America's Next Top Model:
Oh my gosh, this show just NEVER gets old. Tyra Banks hosts this hit reality series and gives normal girls the opportunity to prove that they can make it in the high-stress world of super modeling. The show is in it's 9th season, which means there have been nine previous winners, and even though I've never really seen any of these supposed "top models" on a runway or in a magazine, I still really like the show. Super high-stress and dramatic, each week the would-be models have to learn about walking, posing, style and fashion under 24-hour surveillance. Then at the end of the show Tyra and her posse dramatically cut one girl, dashing her dreams of becoming the world's next super model. Tragic. Do you wanna be on top?

Survivor China: I've never really been a huge fan of Survivor, but have been known to watch it from time to time. In fact, I think I even watched the season finale last year although I can't remember who won. The thing I like about Survivor is that you can pick it up on any given episode and it doesn't really matter if you don't have the entire background of the show; it's still entertaining. So here we are in China, with 16 survivors are split into two tribes and expected to rough it in the jungle until asked to perform physical challenges that will send on of the two groups to Tribal Council, where they must eliminate one of their tribe-members. The challenges are always extremely entertaining, and the physical and mental strain of surviving in the wild tend to wear on the contestants, usually providing in entertaining bickering and sometimes all-out brawls. We'll see what this season has in store...

Grey's Anatomy: In my opinion, still the all-time best show in television. I have been completely obsessed with this show since day one. Fictional Seattle Grace Hospital is full of beautiful witty doctors who perform medical miracles and continue to sleep circles around each other providing constant drama and heartbreak. And with life and death in the mix everything becomes just a little more intense. This season Meredith and Derek attempt to break up but can't get over their sexual attraction, George tells Izzy he loves her and has to end his marriage with Callie (also his boss) while repeating his internship, Cristina has to deal with being left at the alter, Alex continues his adorably sexy bad boy act and we get to meet Lexie, the shows' newest character and also Meredith's estranged younger sister. This combined with the characters being surgeons in an incredibly busy hospital, this season should provide with some very entertaining and emotional drama, I absolutely cannot wait!

I've been spending a pretty good amount of time at Stewart's house, and he conveniently has a brand new flat screen that does not need to be bashed on the side every 10 minutes in order to get a clear picture. He also has expanded cable with tons of hi-definition channels, and he likes to watch a lot of TV, which means that I have been exposed to quite a few additional fall shows that I wouldn't normally be exposed to. So far, these have included The Hills, The Real World, Friday Night Lights and Deal or No Deal. Great, like I needed to add any more shows to my weekly line up. And this is in addition to the reruns of Friends I watch while eating dinner when I get home from work every night. I'm going to have to start keeping a separate day planner just to keep my TV watching straight.

I am a big commitment person: I start something - I finish it. So if you add it up I've basically committed to more than eight hours of quality staring-mindlessly-at-the-TV each week. And is that wrong? Then why does it feel so right...

Monday, September 24, 2007

Fremont Oktoberfest 2007

This weekend I was able to once again experience one of my favorite Seattle Festivals – Fremont Oktoberfest. Stewart and I rushed back from Bellingham after attending a wedding Saturday afternoon in order to meet up with some friends and head to Fremont for this completely fabulous annual event.

Once we finally made it through a zoo of traffic and parking conundrums, we made it to Oktoberfest and bought the maximum amount of tokens possible and a souvenir cup. Then we made our way through the masses to the shortest beer line possible. This year’s highlight was the Stranger Microbrew Garden with more than 70 beers – I’m pretty sure I spent most of my time in front of this tent.

Since we were already late, our strategy was simple:
  • Move to the front of the line
  • Use one token to fill up mini beer stein
  • Chug beer in one gulp
  • Use another token to fill up second beer stein
  • Move to back of line and finish second beer
  • Return to the front of the line
  • Repeat
The constant flow of great beer into my system plus hanging out with a group of friends was pretty much a completely fabulous way to spend a Saturday night. I never did make it past the initial beer tents and completely missed the main stage, although I vaguely remember hearing some pretty decent music playing in the background. The only negative aspect of Oktoberfest is that it shuts down and stops serving at midnight. Even though I was far from sober, I was nowhere near turning into a pumpkin yet, so we headed up the street to George & Dragon for more brewskies – a fabulous way to end the night.

Apparently, USA Today considers Fremont Oktoberfest one of the Top 10 Oktoberfests in the world, and although it’s the only one I’ve experienced thus far, I’m inclined to believe it. Until next year, cheers!

Friday, September 21, 2007

5th Grade Rejects

So this fall I finally realized my earlier dream of paying on an Underdog Sports League kickball team. I connected with my friend Hannah, who I knew had played on a kickball team before, and we organized some mutual friends into a team. After much deliberation we landed on the name “5th Grade Rejects” in honor of our elementary school days.

The first game was awesome! We won by two runs and I couldn’t believe how much fun I had! I used to hate kickball when I was a kid and always dreaded when my turn came to kick, but playing as an adult is so much better! First of all, you can drink beer in the dugout. Second, the entire team gets to wear matching, lime green shirts, which is obviously super rad. And finally, it’s just entirely entertaining to see how competitive people get about kickball! I personally prefer to play in the outfield and hope that if someone kicks a fly ball one of the guys playing a position near me will run over and catch it. But kicking is much more fun, because girls get to bunt, which means if you do it correctly you are almost guaranteed to get on base. And I actually scored a run the first game!

Unfortunately, our success in game one was not carried over into the rest of the season. We ended up with only two regular season wins and four losses, which somehow still put us into the semi finals, and due to the other team forfeiting halfway through the game, we made it to the finals! Where we inevitably lost 2 to 10. Oh well though – sheesh it’s just kickball! The entire season was great and I always looked forward to heading out to the fields at Greenlake after work. Our only problem was that even though our Facebook page boasted 18 members we always seemed to have a problem scrounging up enough players each week. But they players who did show up regularly often went to Leny’s Tavern after the games for beers, so I got to make some new friends and hopefully I became super popular, just like elementary school! (Of course without the poofy bangs and stretch pants).

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Lincoln Rock

This weekend I ventured back to Lincoln Rock campground on the east side of Lake Entiat in Eastern Washington. Last summer this was the destination Kelly, Jeanna and I picked for our girl's weekend camping trip, and we had such a good time I was more than happy to accept Tara and Winston's invitation to go back again this year.

I was somewhat disappointed when I realized while packing up that this would probably be my last camping trip of the summer. I think I roughed it more this year than I have in my whole prior lifetime combined. I even went so far as to purchase my own tent, camping chair and cooler. Which was definitely a good investment, because it's pretty safe to assume that if I wasn't doing something wedding related this summer, I was camping.

Although Tara and Winston's boat sustained some minor injuries which rendered it unusable for the second half of the summer, we still decided to take advantage of our dock-side campsite at Lincoln Rock. Stewart and I met up with Jeanna, Kelly, Tara and Winston on Saturday morning and after setting up camp proceeded to spend a blissful day floating on the lake drinking beer and napping. There is absolutely nothing more fantastic and relaxing than a day with nothing to do other than bask in glorious sunshine while sleeping or reading a book. I tried not to think about the fact that this would probably be my last chance of the summer.

That evening while Tara prepared another one of her famous pot roasts over the campfire the rest of us played a couple rounds of Bocce Ball. I had never played this strange version of Italian bowling before and found it fairly boring at first but was able to get the hang of it by the end of our little tournament. After filling ourselves with Tara's scrumptious dinner we spent the next several hours playing Drinking Jenga and laughing around the campfire. I was once again reminded of all the reasons why I LOVE camping. There just isn't much that beats sitting around a campfire with your friends while you drink and drink, laugh and laugh.

The next morning Tara and Winston left early, leaving Jeanna, Kelly, Stewart and I to drag the air mattresses out of our tents and fall asleep in the sun for most of the morning. I desperately tried to soak up enough Vitamin D to last me through the winter. As I packed up my tent I realized that I probably wouldn't see it again until next spring or summer - such a sad thought!

Ah well, at least I ended the summer with a completely relaxing trip at Lincoln Rock. I just hope next year we will get to take advantage of the glorious Lake Entiat weather with a boat! So I guess it's time I start thinking about my fall and winter hobbies, now that camping season has officially come to a close. I'm thinking... SNOWBOARDING!

Friday, September 14, 2007

Balls and Beers

I believe that baseball is one of the most boring sports of all time. It's a bunch of guys standing around scratching, spitting, chewing and occasionally throwing things around. The players only move every 45 seconds or so, and when they do it's usually only one person at a time. Baseball fans seem to really enjoy watching these so-called athletes stand around. What are they always cheering about anyway? Is watching someone walk up to the plate with a wooden stick in their hand really something to get on your feet and scream about?

Regardless, check it out Sports Fans. I attended three, count them... 3 Mariner's games this season! And I think I've discovered the secret to enjoying this incredibly monotonous sport: Beer. Lots and lots of beer. And maybe some greasy food to top it off. The other secret to enjoying a game? Free tickets.

The first game I attended this year was with my friend Ryan from work. His friend happened to have extra box seat tickets, so we headed down to the game after work. The great thing about box seats is they are right next to the lounge. So obviously Ryan, Bryce and I parked ourselves at the bar and ordered some beers. We then proceeded to sit and watch the game on a convenient television until we were sufficiently buzzed. Our next plan of action - get food. Around the sixth inning we finally made it to our seats with some gigantic Kid Valley burgers and fries. We stayed at our seats through the seventh inning stretch and then headed back to the bar to watch the remainder of the game. I was beginning to realize that socializing, food and beer are what make the game exciting.

For my second game of the season, I got free tickets from a former co-worker. Once again they were great seats in the Terrace Club. This time, Stewart and I bought beers and brought them to our seats. I spent the next several innings chatting with Crystal while Brett and Stewart were engrossed in the game. The only time I bothered to pay attention was when I heard the crack of the bat make contact, and that was really only because I never want to be the girl who gets hit in the face with a baseball because she wasn't paying attention. After several trips back and forth to the bar and bathroom we had reached the final inning. Once again I came to the same conclusion - the best parts of the game were hanging out with friends and those fantastic garlic fries.

I definitely must have enjoyed my first two Mariner's games this year, because I went back for more when Jeanna got a group of free tickets from her work. This time we all met up at Pyramid Alehouse before the game for some cheap beers. By the time we finally made it to the game it was already the third or fourth inning. Considering this, we figured we should head directly to the beer garden. Several beers and a couple hours later we still hadn't made it to our seats... and why should we have? The view from the beer garden is great and probably far better than the stadium seating. Plus, we didn't have to crawl across people's laps to get more beers.

Overall I don't feel like I have drawn any new conclusions this season. Even if it's your home team watching baseball is painfully boring, unless you're with a group of friends, drinking, with the potential tasty treat of garlic fries looming in the background. And if you're going to actually pay for tickets, go for the cheap seats in the center field bleachers and then spend your time in the beer garden. Just watch out for fly balls.

Monday, September 10, 2007

Do the Puyallup

I can’t really explain to you why I think the Puyallup Fair is so fabulous. In reality, it’s nothing more than a glorified shopping mall parking lot carnival – with the addition of some farm animals. However, I always get super excited around that time at the end of the summer when the Puyallup Fair commercials begin airing. Maybe it’s because of all the fond memories I have of going to the fair with my family as a little kid. In any event, this year I spent basically the entire weekend in Puyallup doing all the stereotypical things one does at a fair.
On Saturday I attended the Puyallup Pro Rodeo on Saturday night with Stewart and a bunch of his friends. The best parts, by far, were (a) the "Jack Daniels garden" and (b) the little kids riding sheep in an imitation of real bull riding – so cute! Let me tell you, I saw some interesting characters at the rodeo. Huge belt buckles, even huger cowboy hats, Wrangler jeans starched to a crisp, several mullets and uncountable handlebar mustaches were present. Super classy. Yee Haw!
After leaving the fair Stewart and I somehow ended up drunk at some random bar in Enumclaw. Where I once again saw far more cowboy hats and large belt buckles than I usually see in a year in downtown Seattle. Sick.
On Sunday I once again trekked down south to meet my family for another day of Puyallup Fair fun. After eating the largest, greasiest cheeseburger and fries of my life, we headed to my favorite part of the fair – The Expo Hall. Anyone who knows me is aware that I am obsessed with Infomercials, so the Expo Hall is basically my dream come true: a living, breathing, never-ending Infomercial for about every product you can imagine! I spent at least a couple hours wandering up and down the isles watching demonstrations of cool new products. Finally, I dragged myself away so we could catch Travis Fox’s 4 p.m. hypnotist show, which never fails to be entertaining. I still can’t figure out if the participants are faking it or not! My brother and I decided to ride at least one ride while we were there – although in hindsight I don’t think eating all that greasy food and a grape slushy before riding was such a good idea.

Before leaving we saw some more Mutton Bustin’ – the little kids on sheep. I swear this never gets old. The contestants have to be 6 years old or younger and under 60 pounds. They attempt to last six seconds on a sheep that’s as unpredictable as a bull. Sheep are released from a chute and take the rider to the other side of the arena – if they can last that long! Most of the kids fell off before six seconds but their bravery was so adorable the crowd always cheered them on.

Honestly, I don’t think two days at the fair were enough. I didn’t really get to see any of the animal exhibits, which is one of my favorite parts. There’s also tons of free entertainment at multiple stages that probably would have been cool to see if I had more time. Overall it was definitely way too expensive, but totally worth it.

You can do it at a trot, you can do it at a gallop, you can do it real slow so your heart don’t palpitate - just don’t be late, do the Puyallup!

Thursday, September 06, 2007

This is the way I live...

Well I've once again survived Labor Day Weekend with nothing more serious than a slightly burned nose and several bumps and bruises. It was everything I dreamed it would be, and more. We once again headed to Evan's cabin in Sunland, the happiest place on earth, to spend the entire weekend drinking at the most fantastic party in the state. Although Winston and Tara's boat was out of commission, we were still able to snag a ride over to the Sand Dunes with my good friend Shane. And well... we partied like rock stars. I think the photos pretty much say it all...

Stewart started off the weekend by drinking about half a bottle of tequila during the Friday night car trip over the pass.
Once we reached the cabin I quickly made some dranks, drunk 'em, and got drunk.
I then apparently started a wrestling match with Stew, which I'm pretty sure I won...
Setting up a tent in the dark, while drinking, is not the greatest idea.
But having a dance party on the deck? GREAT idea.
Booty shots!
Do you ever notice how EVERYONE is your best friend when you're drinking?
Sibling water fight in the cabin. Evan obviously has superior weapons.
This is how you hitch a ride to the Sand Dunes when you don't have a boat of your own... I'm actually kind of surprised the Party Barge made it!
I really should be paid for all the Bud Light representation I have done this summer. Stew's hat just makes the picture even more classic.
Shane and Josh basking on top of the Party Barge.
I'm telling, you it's the happiest place on earth!
"If you're not a hooker you're worthless to me." Well, duh.
Scary two-headed monster picture... is it Sarah? Is it Jeanna? The world may never know...
The night begins to become hazy...
America's Next Top Models.
Rollin' Like Cholos.
And that, my friends, is the brief recap of Labor Day Weekend 2007. If you weren't there, I can't possible explain to you how fabulous it actually was, but hopefully at some point in life you will be able to experience it for yourself.