Date Archives January 2017

Another Salty Adventure: Float Hunting in Lincoln City, OR

In the tourist off season, Lincoln City has figured out a way to lure some of them back: by hiding treasure on their beaches. Namely, the glass floats that are ubiquitous in the shops along the waterfront. Sure, you could buy one in the summer or you could find them for free in the winter. And the city hypes the shit out of this event. I can’t even tell you how many times I saw their “float fairies” promoted in my Facebook feed, talking about the thousands of artisan-made glass floats they’re leaving on the beach for people to find. Both Rachel and I were intrigued enough to want to book a girls’ weekend in the area that included some beachcombing. I didn’t want to get my hopes up that I’d find one, but it was hard not to get a little excited. Especially when upon check-in, our hotel* gave each of us a float as a gift for staying with them. It just stoked my float finding fires higher. Would I find another? Would I find several? Would I need an extra bag in which to carry them home? What would I do with this float-y bonanza?!

But first, I had to find ’em.

First things first: upon arriving to the beach, I took this photo just to prove that I have what it takes to become an influencing Instagram superstar…I just don’t want to.  Yeah, that’s it.

Then I opened my beady little eyes to inspect the beach for what was to be the second piece in my float hoard. I found:

A stump!

A perfectly good sea whip** abandoned by the ocean!

Several dead birds! (Not pictured here)

A large amount of foam!

More sea whips!

A tumblefoam race!

A foamy stump!

A tortilla chip!


And then, just when I was beginning to lose hope, off in the distance, I saw a glint. I sprintedhuffed over as fast as I could at a pace that could reasonably be called a “rapid shamble” and beheld this beauty waiting on the beach for me to take it home. A float of my own. I mean, in addition to that other free float, but even more special because I found it.

I’ll treasure it forever.



*We stayed at the Hallmark Resort Newport and I can’t say enough good things about them. In addition to the aforementioned free float, all the rooms have ocean views with a balcony, there’s an in-room fireplace, free movie rentals, free saltwater taffy, a 24 hour coffee/tea/cider/cocoa bar, and all of the employees were awesome. I would totally stay there again in a heartbeat.

**If you thought you were reading the kind of blog written by someone who would pass up the opportunity to whip a perfectly good sea whip no matter how covered with ocean slime it may be, you’re wrong.



Spotted on the Roadside: The 16th President Multi-Tasking


In 1849, Abraham Lincoln was offered the governership of the Oregon territory, which he declined. At that point in his life, he was disenchanted with politics and elected to temporarily return to his law practice, riding from village to village. He was a notorious bookworm, even from a young age, and thus it only made sense that he whiled away the long hours on horseback reading.


In 1965, five Oregon towns in Lincoln County consolidated to form what is now known as Lincoln City. The schoolchildren of the towns were given the honor of choosing the new city’s name, and in the fashion of children, they chose the zappy name “Surfland”, not knowing they could choose the even zappier “City McCityface”. Ultimately, the people in charge said “Screw you, children, we’re naming it Lincoln City” and Lincoln City it remains*.  In honor of the new city, the above statue was gifted to them by the sculptor, Anna Hyatt Huntington. No word on what the gift might have been for Surfland.


*At least for now. A placard at the base of the statue indicates that the statue may be removed by the governor if Lincoln City changes its name…so maybe Surfland still has a chance.

Spotted on NE 22nd St in Lincoln City, OR



Let that be a lesson to the rest of you…nuts.

I’ve been to Leavenworth several times but had never made it to the Nutcracker Museum, as it was either closed at the time or there were group protests about it being “too creepy” even though the quaint shoppes there are already packed to the gills with creepy. Too creepy, you say? Too creepy?!? What on Earth could possibly be creepy about thousands of dead eyes staring at you from every directio–I retract the question. Come with me on a creepy journey, friends!

My first stop was at the museum website to ascertain that it would actually be open during my visit, which was a more important step than one would assume: they’re only open four hours per day, seven months of the year. If you’re reading this now and want to drop everything and head over immediately, hold your horses, because they won’t be open again until May. Sorry about energizing you with Nutcracker Fever™. But rest assured, you’re not the only one with Nutcracker Fever™, as the museum website also boldly claims that “all children love nutcrackers“. Not many. Not most. ALL. I certainly vividly remember the days of my youth colored by Nutcracker Fever™. Like all children everywhere, I loved nutcrackers. I had nutcracker sheets, nutcracker pajamas, and I begged Santa for the limited edition Bob Mackie nutcracker I saw in the Sears catalog. At school, my fellow children and I learned woodworking in the hopes of training our nimble fingers in nutcracker craftsmanship so we’d be accepted at Nutcracker College. On the bus, we swapped nutcracker trading cards (my most treasured possession remains a foil Rat King). In the evening, I used my nutcracker collection to shell nuts to dot my lightbulb-warmed treats in my nutcracker emblazoned EZ Bake Oven*.

Admittance to the museum is a paltry five bucks, which is a pittance given the number of nights since I’ve bolted awake, sweating, clutching the sheets while in the grip of Nutcracker Fever™. Upon arrival, I was directed to several rows of folding chairs set up in front of a tiny TV playing a grainy video about the history of nutcrackers. This is directly next to the person taking admissions, so unfortunately any smartass joke I would have wanted to make had to be stifled for the greater good of not being kicked out of the museum.

This is Karl, named after his maker, Karl.

I knew before going in that the Nutcracker Museum contained one of the largest collections of nutcrackers in the world, but I don’t think I really knew just how many nutcrackers that entailed. After the video finished playing, I walked around a corner of nutcrackers for sale and found myself in a room filled with glass display cases with narrow walkways between them, all packed with nutcrackers. Outside this room is a small section filled with antique nutcrackers that no one is allowed to photograph for whatever reason, followed by a long hallway lined with more cases which leads to yet another room lined with still more cases. Don’t let my description fool you into believing it’s a labyrinth of nutcrackers: it’s not possible to get lost in this museum, but it is possible to become intensely claustrophobic.

“Nuts all float down here, Georgie.”

“Check out this Emperor Palpatine nutcracker,” I joked…

…before finding a grouping of Star Wars nutcrackers.

There was also a section on betel nut cutters, which is a nut that I have some familiarity with from my year in Taiwan. Often the sidewalks were splattered with red stains, which could have been blood, but was most likely betel nut juice. Chewing betel nut is supposed to have a similar effect to nicotine. A few slices of the nut are wrapped in a betel leaf, and chewing it releases a blood red juice which is expectorated wherever is most convenient (i.e. the street). At the time, these packets were sold by “betel nut beauties”: scantily clad women in small transparent booths along the street, which I believe is a practice exclusive to Taiwan although betel nut consumption is popular throughout southeast Asia. It’s not dissimilar to the bikini baristas found all over the PNW, and I wouldn’t be surprised if there’s a similar amount of angry local Facebook group posts looking for a “family friendly” alternative. Regardless, the Rotary warned us away from betel nuts, blah blah blah addictive, blah blah blah cancer…but you only live once, right? Might as well learn what it’s like to spit out a mouthful of “blood”, especially if you’re not like to be punched in the face or participate in community horror theatre.

This’ll be the photo my detractors will use when I run for office. “SHE DRINKS THE BLOOD OF THE INNOCENT, DO YOU TRUST HER WITH YOUR CHILDREN’S FUTURE?”

I don’t know why I find the name “nutting stone” to be so filthily funny, I just do.

Hey, wait, this ISN’T a nutcracker!

Why not both? All kids love nutcrackers!

Buttcrackers and smutcrackers.

To the left of the nut guillotines are some shoes called “nutcracking shoes”. I’m pretty sure you could use them to crack whatever the hell you’d please, Gene Simmons.

I also solved a personal mystery among the shelves. See that moon? I bought one exactly like it two years ago at an antique shop. When I bought it, I just thought the moon looked cool, and the man at the register exclaimed that it was a nutcracker. Over the ensuing two years, I still haven’t found a nut that it can crack–it just half-assedly spits them out of its moon mouth like some kind of low powered useless nut gun. It seemed probable that the antique store clerk had just lied to me to test the limits of my gullibility. Not so–it is indeed a nutcracker, just a terrible one. I suppose this is the Nutcracker Museum, not the Museum of Effective Nutcrackers.

Despite my Nutcracker Fever™, my eyes glazed over surprisingly quickly. “Well hey, that’s a nutcracker” turned to “Yup, still a nutcracker” turned to a vaguely amorphous nutcrackery blob. Perhaps if I’d played the nutcracker finding game, my attention would have been held for longer. What is the nutcracker finding game, you ask? The museum has different lists of nutcrackers to find, depending on one’s age and enthusiasm. For instance, one may be tasked with finding a Mickey Mouse nutcracker, an astronaut nutcracker, and a three legged man nutcracker. No word on whether they ask people to search for the Hitler nutcracker**, but he’s there if you have the fortitude to look for him.


*I’m sorry, all of this is a hideous lie. However, a nutcracker was present when I learned the horrifying nickname my grandparents had for brazil nuts.

**Hitler IS there, along with some really racist caricature nutcrackers and a whole shelf of Confederate crackers. Because, you know, it’s not like they have enough other nutcrackers to fill the gaps if they were to take out the ones that implied some of their guests were sub-human. That would just be too much work, too tough of a nut to crack.