Laika at Portland Art Museum

I talk about LAIKA a lot. It’s because I talk about my spectacularly talented wife a lot, and she happens to work at LAIKA. But every time I mention the studio to someone who isn’t an animation nerd, the conversation is exactly the same. “Laika?” they say. “Yeah, I’ve heard of Laika. She was a Russian space dog.” “No,” I say. “Well, yes, but I’m talking about the animation studio.” “She died in space, you know. Overheated and cooked to death. Did you bring her up just to bum me out? Major party foul, dude.” “I’M NOT TALKING ABOUT THE SPACE DOG,” I say inRead More →

Roloff Farm

Last weekend, Roloff Farms officially kicked off their 2017 Pumpkin Season. You may know the Roloff family from their hit TLC show, Little People, Big World. That is to say, you may know them from their hit TLC show, but I don’t. I’ve never seen the show and didn’t know anything about it, so I consulted an expert in the field of reality television: my mother. If it’s on TV and it has people cooking something, battling for a soulmate, or just yelling a lot, my mother has it on her DVR. So before I ventured to Roloff Farms, I called Mom to ask whatRead More →

Car Accident

Over the weekend I was reminded of the worst car accident I ever had. Almost. It was back when I lived in Los Angeles, which is consistently rated one of the best cities in which to be brutally killed in an automobile. Let me set the scene. It was May 2013. I was cruising down the 105 freeway. The road in that particular area was six lanes wide with a smattering of traffic spread across it, all going about seventy miles per hour. It was a glorious, sunny spring day. The kind of day when nothing can possibly go wrong. I should note, this wasRead More →

The Big Bounce America

A gaily colored inflatable monster is making its way across the USA. Its creators call it “The world’s largest bounce house.” This is a claim I believe. At 10,000 square feet and standing over thirty feet tall, this pillowy menace is approximately ten times the size of my actual house. Those who have been inside the belly of the beast call it The Big Bounce America. Over Labor Day weekend, The Big Bounce America landed in Hillsboro, Oregon’s Shute Park. Or as the organizers call it, “Portland.” When I found out this was happening, of course I was all in. Because this is the kindRead More →

Snoozebox

The other day we stumbled across one of Portland’s quirky little treasures: Caravan: The Tiny House Hotel.  It is just what it sounds like. A corner lot filled with cute little hipster houses that can be your tiny home-away-from-actual-sized home. Of course, my immediate thought was, “Pfft! Those aren’t ‘tiny.’ I’ve stayed in ‘tiny.’ I’ve slept in a Snoozebox.” It was December 2015, back when Amanda and I were exiled in London. We were planning a trip to Cardiff, and Amanda let me take care of booking the hotel. Usually she’s the one who does it, because she’s great at discovering a city’s unique characterRead More →

Honda Civic del Sol

They say you’ll never get what you want unless you have the courage to ask for it. This is a story about asking for it. It all started when we moved back to the USA after our exile in the United Kingdom. One of the first adult responsibilities I had to take care of was buying myself a car. Living in semi-rural Oregon, there were a few key things to take into account when choosing an appropriate vehicle. First, of course, is the weather. It rains here. A lot. A lot a lot. Like, for a good part of the year the roads are basicallyRead More →

Great American Eclipse

As you might possibly be aware, yesterday, on August 21, 2017, a total solar eclipse swept sea-to-shining-sea across America. The media called it a “once in a lifetime” event. To which I said, “Pfft. Whatevs, media. I’ve seen a solar eclipse before.” I was living in upstate New York at the time. It was May 10, 1994. Ace of Base was tearing up the charts with “The Sign.” At the movies, we were falling in love with a 44-year-old Martin Short playing a 10-year-old problem child in the beloved and not-at-all-nightmarish family comedy Clifford. And I was a senior in high school. As everyone knows,Read More →

Leaning Tower of Pisa

Reruns from the Vault Original airdate: April 6, 2014 Original forum: Facebook One of the first sites we visited during our European exile was the Leaning Tower of Pisa. While I was there I learned an important lesson: It’s okay to screw up. If you go big enough, you might even make a tourist attraction. Over the weekend I learned a lot about the Leaning Tower of Pisa, and about life. Construction on the tower began in 1173, but by the time they got to the third level it was already sinking into the soft ground and tilting to one side. The original architect isRead More →

One Dumb Move

Reruns from the Vault Original airdate: September 28, 2010 Original forum: LiveJournal.com It sucks when you get a song stuck in your head. It’s worse when it’s one that nobody’s ever heard of and they think you’re insane. That happened to me from 2003-2010 with an ’80s PSA called “One Dumb Move.” I rallied the support of the internet and managed to not only prove the song was real, but also obtain a recording and a video. The earworm was slain! In 2003, I asked the LiveJournal community if anyone remembered an ’80s PSA called “One Dumb Move.” At first, nobody did. But, since thereRead More →