Thursday, June 20, 2013

Wyoming and biblical dinosaurs

Last week marked my first time performing in Wyoming. That makes 28 states in which I've done comedy.

I worked with my buddy Steve Sabo, and we started off the week in Williston, North Dakota.

Williston, North Dakota is an odd place. The show was fun, but the entire city seems sketchy to me. The population went from 12,000 to 50,000 virtually overnight because of the oil boom. So there are a lot of drifter-types, and I'm pretty sure most of then lived in the hotel where I was staying. Going to the continental breakfast marked the first time I'd been ogled by that many creepy men in pajama pants (and also the first time I was willing to put up with that many stares for some free granola). 

Not only do they still make this, but apparently it's so popular in North Dakota that it sells out at the store. Wonder if Mr. Pibb is a hot commodity as well.

Next up was Beulah, Montana. The staff at the venue were so sweet; they even made me a special not-on-the-menu vegan dish, which was delicious.

Steve after the show (oh, c'mon, your set wasn't that bad).

On Friday, we drove to Glendive, Montana (where I was stayed in 1987).
My hotel was a block away from this place. I've underlined my favorite parts. 

I was told at the gig that the museum features an exhibit with a brontosaurus on Noah's Ark.

When I spoke to the hotel's front desk clerk about the museum, she said "I heard it's worth the money." I countered with, "yes, but I've heard there are some inaccuracies."

She then asked me what that word meant.

I replied, "well, I heard they actually think people and dinosaurs were around at the same time."

She then just stared at me and everything about her face screamed  "well, yes, of course they were, you idiot."

I had a good time at the show, but it was the first time I've ever been heckled by a "God Bless You." Lots of firsts on this trip.

After Glendive, we drove through Yellowstone National Park to get to Jackson, Wyoming. I completely fell in love with Yellowstone and really want to return. These pictures don't even do it justice.

Jackson is an adorable little town, and get this: the hotel had Tom's of Maine toothpaste and cruelty-free soaps and shampoos. The housekeeper was a little upset when I asked for 27 extras, but she did slip me a few free lotions.

The show was fairly sparsely populated (never a good sign when there are more stuffed dead animal heads at a venue than audience members), but we still had fun.

There's a new sheriff in town. And by sheriff I mean person who awkwardly poses for pictures.

Monday, June 10, 2013

NKOTB and Amish country

My first weekend since returning from my 'out west fest' was amazing!  It had everything I possibly could have wanted: good company, good food, an NKOTB concert (the good goes without saying) and a good dose of information about being Amish.

Along with Bryan McCree, I performed at Rulli's Italian Restaurant in Middlebury, Indiana.  Before the show, the owner treated us to a meal, and it was fantastic!  In my experience, it's really hard to get good Italian food in the Midwest, but Rulli's pasta/bread bowl combination had me quite impressed.

Middlebury is right in the middle of Amish country, so there were a lot of formerly Amish people at our show. I had so many questions!  Thankfully, they were kind enough to answer all of them.  I heard all kinds of accounts of secret electricity and parents looking the other way during their children's rumspringa (turns out, it's quite easy to ignore your sixteen-year-old's car that suddenly shows up when s/he is helping support the family financially). 

We also got to hang out with this great cover band called Full Circle.  Their lead singer was one of the best I've ever seen, and his energy was nothing short of fantastic!  Plus, I take my hat off to any man who can pull off 4 Non-Blonde's "What's Up?"

Our hotel (allegedly) featured authentic Amish furniture.  Strangely enough, it looked exactly like the furniture at every Super 8 where I've stayed.

Drew was more impressed by the free oranges (which, apparently, double as head wear) in the lobby than the "hand-crafted" dressers.

In the morning, we packed up and headed to Cleveland, Ohio, where we saw the center of my universe (AKA New Kids on the Block).  Drew had never been to an NKOTB concert and had been promising since 2010 that he'd join me for one.

We made a quick pit stop at Meijer for the essentials.

And we reviewed Danish notecards for our upcoming trip to Denmark.

My ears got ready for the show, too.

And eventually we made it to Cleveland!  We looked for a parking spot for nearly an hour, did a few shots of the aforementioned essentials (note: after we found a parking spot), and headed into the arena. 
This is what a feminist being dragged to an NKOTB concert looks like.

Trust me, those little blobs are actually them.  We were seated in the last row at the venue.  Hey, being a comic/full-time student doesn't pay what it used to.

The New Kids played for over two hours straight and blew me away!  I've stalked them for years been to tons of their concerts, and this show was one of the best.  

Unfortunately, Drew was not nearly as impressed and didn't become the instant mega-fan I had hoped he would.  But, he powered through, and actually managed to name his favorite song ("Hangin' Tough") and remember all five of their names on the ride home.

He might have a way to go, and it might take me another three years to get him to another concert, but I'm convinced he will eventually see them for the awesomeness that they are.

Sunday, June 2, 2013

Ketchikan, Alaska

Our last stop in Alaska was Ketchikan, the southeastern most city in Alaska with a population of 8,050 (thank you, wikipedia!).

When we first exited the ship, it was raining, and we were bummed.  But, it stopped shortly after, leaving us free to wander around the town and look at totem poles in Saxman (a neighboring town).

Some shots from town:

The totem poles (which were so detailed and beautiful) in Saxman:

Each told a unique story, and we purchased a guide book to help us decode symbols.  Toward the end of our excursion, my stomach made the symbol for "we're on vacation; let's eat more" by growling.  So we got back on the ship, changed into our fancy clothes and ate dinner in the dining room.

Saying goodbye to Alaska (and to our cruise vacation in general) was tough. It's absolutely breath-taking there, and I'd really like to go back sometime (although next time, I would focus on certain locations and stay longer at those).  Plus, spending a week eating ungodly amounts of food bonding with my mom was really great.  We had so much fun, and I'm happy to draw another tally mark on my "states I've been to" list.

Saturday, June 1, 2013


We had a nice day at sea after Skagway and the Yukon, meaning we spent nearly the entire day at the buffet (it's totally acceptable to eat 7 meals per day, right?).  We did manage to take a break to look at these amazing fjords.  I was blown away by them!  If only I get get someone to construct some for me in my yard.  Of course, I guess that would first require having a yard...

Anyway, here are the pictures: