Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Book Club: Under the Dome

Have I mentioned that I'm obsessed with the Zombie Apocalypse / Armageddon?
Super volcanoes, asteroids, nuclear fallout, bio terrorism... basically any global catastrophic event that could severely damage human civilization or threaten the survival of intelligent life on Earth... 
I'm a little obsessed.
Plus, all the best movies about these events are filled with super hot actors.
Seriously, tell me you don't wish that an asteroid would come hurtling toward Earth, just so guys like Ben Affleck, Bruce Willis, and Billy Bob Thornton could come running to your rescue. We'll talk about my eclectic taste in men later...
And can we just give 1998 a nod for its amazing taste in disaster movies? Deep Impact
But I digress...

When I saw the previews for Under the Dome start airing on CBS, I knew I had to read the book before the summer miniseries started airing. Always read a book before you see the movie. Stephen King wrote this science fiction novel in 2009, and I've been wanting to tackle its 1100 pages for quite some time, but it always seemed too daunting. And I was also too busy with Christian Grey and his red room of pain. So this was the push I needed!

At 11:44 AM on Saturday October 21 of an unspecified year after 2012, the small Maine town of Chester's Mill is abruptly and gruesomely separated from the outside world by an invisible, semipermeable barrier of unknown origin. The immediate appearance of the barrier causes a number of injuries and fatalities, and traps former Army Captain Dale "Barbie" Barbara inside the town.
Barbie teams with a few other intrepid citizens against the town politician who will stop at nothing -- even murder -- to hold the reins of power, and his son, who is keeping a horrible secret in a dark pantry. But their main adversary is the Dome itself, because time is running out. Burning ants under a magnifying glass.
I haven't read anything by Stephen King since The Shining back in high school (recurring nightmares) but conquering my fear of paper and ink to tackle Under the Dome was an awesome decision.
Best freaking book I've read all summer.
Fantastic cast of well-written characters. Extremely realistic portrayal of irrational panic during emergencies. Intriguing inquiries into the roots of human nature and capacity for cruelty. Super descriptive but fast-paced.
Bravo, Mr. King.
Unfortunately the TV series was meh, and I didn't get past the first few episodes (although Mike Vogel is pretty hot).
Did anyone else get into Under the Dome this summer?

Monday, July 29, 2013

And so it begins...

It seems like just the other day that I was wondering what the heck we were going to do until football season rolled around again... and then just like that, here we are!
Just 10 days until preseason games start...
We hit the sold out Seahawks official Training Camp this weekend to watch the boys practice for a few hours and had so much fun... the perfect way to get pumped up for the season.

Russell Wilson... love him!!
 Are you a football fan, or is it just me who's happier than a pig in crap right now?

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Summer Vacation Part 3 - The Ocean

I took an entire week off work for our family trip this summer, and I wasn't going to let a stupid wildfire ruin my vacation.

Stew and I have been wanting to hit the coast for a while now, and the forecast at Ocean Shores was sunny in the upper 60s. So a little bit of sleep, laundry and a few phone calls later, we were back on the road and headed toward the Pacific.

The 50 degree temperature drop was a bit of a shock, and we never did see anything but overcast, gray skies during our time at the coast, but we put on our big kid pants and made the best of it.

Yes, I am wearing the same clothes the whole time, but that's what happens when you pack for the desert and end up at the freezing ocean. But anyway, you don't really need to be that stylish to ride mopeds, play arcade games and miniature golf, ride horses on the beach, and drink beer in your motel room (because the pool was so nasty I wouldn't even let my dog swim in it).

And we finally made it to the casino! Stew and I won a little money at Black Jack and even convinced Mom to play, and she came out ahead as well!

Oh, and we had some of the most amazing food I've tasted in a while at Bennett's Fish Shack. If you're ever in Ocean Shores do not miss eating here.

It definitely wasn't the family vacation we envisioned or had been planning for a year, but I think we did a pretty good job at making the best of things. And really, I have fun with my fam doing pretty much any old thing, so it's not so much the location that matters, but the people.

I wonder if we can anticipate some sort of refund from Kah-Nee-Ta? Maybe I'll call Carlos and ask. He is Head Pool Boy after all... maybe he can pull some strings.

Monday, July 22, 2013

Summer Vacation Part 2 - The Fire

Goodness gracious, great balls of fire!

As if it wasn't already hot enough at Kah-Nee-Ta.

You know, we were willing to forgive Carlos for kicking us out of the pool.
We were ready to forget the fact that the "on site" casino was really 13 miles away.
We were even going to accept the silly rule that we weren't allowed to swim in the river.
And even when the kitchen up at the lodge caught on fire and almost burned the place down, we still stayed positive (it didn't impact the camp ground or the pool, after all).

But ultimately, we just couldn't catch a break on this vacation.

Because over the weekend the whole freaking place caught on fire.
We even had our own personal firefighter with us (hi Stew), but sadly it wasn't enough.

Here's what happened...

 That afternoon at the pool, we noticed a ton of white smoke on the horizon; obviously a distant wildfire. By the time the sun went down, we realized that the orange glow below the smoke was actually fire, not remnants of the beautiful sunset.

It was at about that time that the fire department showed up. But they didn't seem too concerned, so neither were we.

So Mom, Nancy and I did what anyone would do... we hiked back up the mountain hill to check out the situation (of course the boys stayed back at camp so the beer bong wouldn't get lonely). We couldn't believe what we saw! But the fire was burning in a relatively straight line, so we figured it was a controlled back burn (we're wildfire experts, after all). Honestly though, it was extremely windy on the hill, and very scary to watch that fire creeping toward the campground. 

Back at camp, a park ranger assured us that the campground would not be evacuated. And a park ranger is more of a wildfire expert than I am, so we decided to trust him (even though the fire was slowly getting brighter up on the hill). Everyone drank extra Coors Lights in case we had to pee on the fire to put it out, and we headed to bed.

At around 2:30 Sunday morning Stew and I looked out the window and saw that the fire had come over the top of the hill and was coming directly toward us. This seemed to contradict Ranger Rick's instructions. In addition, people were frantically throwing things into their trailers and high tailing it out of there. Hmmm... I decided to wake up my dad.

In the meantime, police officers had begun pounding on people's doors, urging them to evacuate as quickly as possible up to the lodge, which was about a quarter mile up the road and across the river in the "green zone." They insisted the evacuation was simply a precaution due to smoke; we could even leave our only mode of transportation motor home if we wanted. Our trust in authority was waning, so we decided to take it with us. We threw everything in as quickly as possible and took off as the fire burned quickly toward us.

The view from the hill up at the lodge was absolutely awesome. The fire was burning out of control for miles and miles. I told everyone I was sure it would jump the river, but since we had been assured we were safe at the lodge, we went ahead and checked into our rooms. Ten minutes later, the power went out. Soon after, urgent employees were pounding on our doors, shouting about immediate evacuation. The fire had jumped the river and was coming straight for the lodge. Told ya.

Stew, Mom and I wandered through the smoke-filled lodge, trying to find Dad and AJ, who had gone back to the motor home for a couple things. Frantic employees with bobbing flashlights were yelling and pounding on doors, and the fire was obviously even more out of control. I started to wonder if perhaps we should have been evacuated earlier, as well as question my faith in park rangers and minimum wage hotel employees.

Eventually, we found the rest of the family and made our way through the smoke to the motor home. Somehow we managed to be the absolute dead last people out of the parking lot. I felt like we were in the middle of the Apocalypse.
I later learned that at this point 12,000 acres were burning, and the fire was only 10 percent contained.

I am so, so bummed that it didn't occur to me to take a video as we pealed out of the parking lot (I was too busy staring in my own action adventure movie), but I did manage to snap this photo, which shows the way out and fire right up alongside the road. Ash rained down on us as we sped through the smoke and away from the fire.

It was four in the morning and we had no idea what to do next. The motor home was a disaster, filled haphazardly with chairs, bicycles, coolers, and every other random camping item we had thrown in. Everything reeked of smoke.

Screw. This.

We headed home. My dad drove the four hours straight to Olympia, where we crawled straight into bed.

Not cool, Kah-Nee-Ta, not cool.

Hang around for Part 3 - The Ocean.

Saturday, July 20, 2013

Summer Vacation Part 1 - The Resort

Oh my goodness, I have missed you guys so much!

But I must admit, taking a little hiatus from the real world was exactly what the doctor ordered.
We've had some pretty exciting adventures... Let's start with the fun stuff!

The drive to Kah-Nee-Ta was absolutely beautiful.

The RV camping area ended up being much nicer than we expected! The sites were large and clean, and there was a huge grassy area in the center; perfect for lawn games.

Upon getting out of the air conditioned motor home, we were immediately blasted by the 100 degree heat. Time to put on bathing suits, drink some beers (yay, welcome to vacation!) and head to the double Olympic-sized hot springs mineral pool!

Unfortunately, we got a little too caught up in the excitement... apparently arriving with a beer in your hands (albeit covered with a coozie) gets your entire group banned from the pool for the day (by a 15-year-old pool boy named Carlos). We quickly learned that the entire Warm Springs Reservation is dry! Who ever heard of an alcohol-free Indian Reservation?

No matter, we found ways to entertain ourselves...

And the next day they were not going to keep us out of that swimming pool!
(Years of underage drinking has taught me many tricks of stealthy alcohol consumption...)

An entertaining exchange between Stewart and Carlos that morning:

Stew: "Hey Carlos, remember me? You kicked me out of the pool yesterday."
Carlos, serious and importantly: "Yes, I remember."
Stew: "I complained to management about you, and they said you should have just given me a warning."
(Carlos awkwardly continues to attach Stew's day-use bracelet)
Stew: "But I disagree. You don't become Head Pool Boy at Kah-Nee-Ta by bending the rules. Well done, buddy."
Carlos, unsure and uncomfortable about what is happening, or whether he is being complimented or insulted: "Well, have a nice day."

I love my husband.

Here are some other fun highlights from our trip...

The river was right behind our camp site!
Unfortunately, we soon found out it's expressly forboden to swim in the river. Of course it is.

Outdoor Movie Night!
Dazed and Confused was showing at the Davis Camp... a classic!

Aaron, Nichole, and the girls arrive...
So much fun playing with them for the day!

Climbing a mountain!
Or hiking to the top of a hill... whatev.

And of course delicious, frosty cold drinks.
Courtesy of Stewart.

Apart from Carlos and all his rules, as well as the fact that we learned the casino had been moved 13 miles off site and no alcohol was allowed there (dreams of winning big at Black Jack flushed down the toilet), we were having a really fantastic time at Kah-nee-ta.

However, those of you who follow me on Instagram and Facebook already know that just a few hours after this photo was taken, sh*t hit the fan.

Stay tuned for Part 2 - The Fire.