September 23rd, 2006


If you can't pronounce "Puyallup", you're probably not from around here.

  • You might need to get out more if... - I had any number of small and large tasks that should have been done around the house and yard, but instead of doing them, I went out to the Western Washington "Puyallup" Fair today. It's something I do when I get the chance - it reminds me that Western Washington isn't all software, jet planes, and coffee shops. There's also 4-H, FFA, arts and crafts, and funnel cake.
  • rides - I remember being a wee child, and riding on the kid's roller coaster. It must have been no longer than 50' (but we probably went around two or three times), with no significant elevation difference. From there, at some point still in my childhood, I tried out "The Octopus". I think it might have been too much for me, and these days, I appreciate a good roller coaster, but will bypass the spinny rides, whether they spin you around your vertical axis (tilt-a-whirl, the scrambler) or a horizontal axis (the zipper, the pirate ship).

    The Puyallup Fair has a wooden roller coaster, and I'm told that wooden roller coasters give a better ride. I'm not sure if I buy it, but the claim that I've heard is that a wooden superstructure flexes more than steel, so you get extra excitement. I think it's all in the riders' imaginations. I rode the coaster today, and caught air at least four times. Even though I've ridden it a bunch of times, I'm still caught off guard towards the end of the ride - all the significant ups and downs are finished, and I'm ready for the ride to be over, but there's one more loop, which is awfully fast, and brings your head very close to those wooden supports. Gets me every time. Woo!
  • animals - I saw goats and sheep and cows and, I don't know, turkeys. Something. I think Dad was in 4-H and raised rabbits at a young age. Not me, I'm afraid. You say "We'll get a cow and a sheep and raise horses", and I'm thinking of a post-apocalyptic Fiji, not some pastoral wonderland.
  • food - Fair food isn't exactly healthy food, and I've been paying attention to the bathroom scale again. That said, one has to get a scone at the fair, and somehow I find the idea of a corndog integral to the fair experience. I'm consistently disappointed, though, with fair corn dogs. I ought to watch the Good Eats Episode about Corn Dogs again, make some of my own corn dogs, and not pay upwards of $3 for a sad-morsel-of-could-be-meat-on-a-stick.
  • shows - I've been to some big and some small shows at the Fair over the years. As a youth, Mom and Dad took me to see Bill Cosby, and as I've grown older, I get some of the jokes that Mom and Dad didn't explain to me at the time. I paid my own money for tickets to see The Beach Boys when I was young enough to be forgiven for such things. More recently, I've paid to see Wierd Al. He puts on a pretty good show, if you're the sort of person who doesn't mind admitting you've seen Weird Al in concert. (Hint: if you've got your own lightsaber or stormtrooper armor, you might have a problem.) This year's concert lineup ranged (ha!) from Creedence Clearwater Revival all the way to Hilary Duff. (Tickets still on sale to see Duff.) I opted out of the big shows, but caught several smaller ones. I saw

    • Karen Quest, a cowgirl comedian. She opened for Weird Al a while ago, which was an odd decision on somebody's part.
    • Vocal Trash, a melding of "Stomp"-like percussion with a capella, or sometimes singing with instruments. They banged on trash cans, for the most part. The cute chick banged trash can lids together like cymbals. They did an adaptation of "Sing, Sing, Sing", which I'm tempted to order a CD of theirs to hear again.
    • Paul Isaak, a Canadian Juggler/Comic/Unicyclist. His act started with one ball juggling (yawn), proceeded to three ball juggling - which would also be pretty boring, except that one was a normal juggling ball, one was a slightly larger ball, and one was a 9lb bowling ball, which he balanced on his face and then flipped to the back of his neck. Towards the end of his act, he got a guy out of the audience to hold up a 6' unicycle, and then talked the guy into climbing up on it. "You're the first guy gullible enough to actually climb up there." I kinda suspect that the guy from the audience was supposed to balk and let the juggler climb up on the unicycle, but kudos to the performer - he rolled with the unexpected. Eventually he got up on the unicycle, and a kid pulled from the audience was supposed to throw his juggling balls up to him - which she proceeded to do all at once. Again, kudos to Paul Isaak, he managed to keep the act moving along. I watched this act because I had seen "The Gentlemen Jugglers" at The Fair before, but they didn't seem to be on the schedule.
    • The Gentlemen Jugglers - well, they weren't on the schedule, but I saw them going past me - they were fun to watch the first few times I'd seen them, but the same jokes begin to get old. As I was watching Paul Isaak, I wondered if The Gentlemen Jugglers hadn't been invited back to The Fair. Maybe they hadn't - I ended up stumbling across "Roberto the Magnificent"'s show, which might or might not have been done with permission from management, but it certainly wasn't a featured show. Turns out, the other half of the duo had retired to "spend time with his family", which usually means something else when a member of the White House staff says it. Indeed, if you click on the link, it takes you to "Roberto"'s web page.

  • craftsy exhibits - the craft hall always drew my attention as a kid, and as I grow older, I guess I'm still drawn there. It's vaguely interesting (creepy) to see people's collections of "I Love Lucy" and "Transformers" stuff, and there's always a couple display cases of Lego creations made for The Fair. Around 1/3 of the creations were made by adults, and there were prizes given to some (to my eye) uninspired creations.

    When I get around to it, I'll upload some pictures I took of the Lego Railroad setup - that wasn't bad. Somewhere around 200,000 bricks worth, and several distinct neighborhoods. Some of the buildings displayed some very interesting use of the bricks - some gently curving walls that I'm not sure I know how to achieve. Also, there was a drive-in movie theatre, where the movie was actually playing on a flatscreen monitor. Cute.
  • Puyallup isn't just a fair - it's an actual city, with people that live there. Including several of my friends. I met up with two of my friends, and begged them to take me to somewhere that I could get a salad after all that fair food. We went to Ruby Tuesday's (I could have sworn there weren't any of these off the Eastern Seaboard, but I'd have been wrong.) Over dinner, my friends mentioned that they got tickets to see the Pet Shop Boys concert coming up in November. I don't covet well; shortly after getting home, I also had a ticket for the concert.
  • Home again, home again, jiggedy... jog? - I've been maintaining a discipline of walking on my treadmill every day for the past almost 4 weeks now. Even though I was tired, and I had been walking all day, I didn't want to allow myself not to have something quantifiable to mark down on my exercise calendar. Yay, me - I exercised. I'm even more tired now than before. I've got to get back in the habit of exercising first thing in the morning. Over the past week, I've not had the desire to roll out of bed early.

And now, it's time to climb into bed, that I might roll out of bed sometime around when the alarm tries to wake me.