Friday, September 16, 2011

once upon a goonie weekend.

Listening To: I Feel Like Going Home by Yo La Tengo
Line Obsession: "Why is it every other person you meet says they're an artist? A real artist doesn't need to gas on about it, he doesn't have time. He does his work and sweats it out in silence, and no one can help him at all." - from Paula McLain's The Paris Wife
Editorial Note: I'm still learning my way around the new blogger, so my apologies for any wonky formatting. Also, spell check didn't work for the second half of this post. Thanks for being patient with me while I figure out the new stuff!

So the other night I heard a kerfuffle in the vicinity of the back door. Fortunately, I have every season of Alias on DVD, so I know how to defend myself when kerfuffles arise. I snatched up my Swiffer and prepared for Plan A: poke the assailant. {Plan B: simply hold out the Swiffer and then point to the floor. Presented with the option of swiffering my vast sea of dust, I'm positive ye olde burglar would have hauled out.}

But then I realized the ruckus was merely .... The Rogue Accountant.

This is Chase showing off his first painting. I call it "Tim Burton's Corsage."
My brother snuck in, as sneaksters are prone to do. I think he nodded (or maybe not) and then he proceeded to go to the kitchen, open the freezer, and eat my very last chocolate ice cream pop. Not that I'm bitter.

This serves me right, of course, because whenever I visit my brother's apartment, I eat his strawberry Popsicles. Like, not one. But all. Because he buys the fancy ones - the thick Popsicles with real strawberry chunks inside. Don't judge me.

While eating my very last chocolate ice cream pop, Chase mentioned that I hadn't blogged about us visiting the Goonie House yet.

And I said, "Well ... I put the pictures up on Facebook ... and only like four people clicked 'like.'"

Fact: all four of those people are cooler than a polar bear's toenails, obviously, but I just realized, after posting the pics, that maybe Goonie stuff isn't for the masses. Maybe not everybody thinks that movie is a cornerstone of great American cinema, like we do. Not everybody would have worked a visit to a filming locaiton for an 80's classic into their Pacific Northwest vacation, like we did. Not everybody works a quote from Goonies into most any conversation.

Not everybody can be awesome.

(Also, most accurately, 99.9% of my Facebook Friendage probably doesn't give a hoot about anything I post on there.)

But this is my blog and since you folks are sweet enough to indulge me even when I nerdout ... I'm going to talk about my Goonie Trip. And if, like me, one of your lifelong dreams is to visit the Goonie House in Astoria, Oregon, then I hope my travel trips will help you get the most out of your vacation!

This is how it went down:

Truly, our Pacific Northwest vacation (which I documented on tumblr as Sibling Revelry) was anchored around iconic places. We ate cheeseburgers at the base of Mt. Rainier. We walked down storybook trails in the Olympic National Forest. We watched people wind sail in the Columbia River Gorge. We drank coffee at Stumptown and bought books at Powell's and ate grilled cheese sandwiches at a pub on Cannon Beach.

I don't mean to sound cliche: but it was truly one of the sweetest trips I've ever taken, and I still can't believe I got to go. I am so grateful. That part of the world is stunning. And the people who live there are funky and kind and they put coffee kiosks at every ten paces. Translation: I love Pacific Northwesterners!

But in addition to what could be considered typical tourist fare, we also drove to Astoria, Oregon. Astoria is a funky little city by the water that frequently lands on "Best City Ever!!" lists. It actually reminded me of my city - low key, easy going, laid back vibe. Seems to cater to an artsy crowd. For most people, Astoria is worth visiting because it happens to be a spiffy mix of urban, small town, and seaside.

But for the few, the brave, and the nerdy ... Astoria, Oregon is better known as The Goondocks. We drove there because The Goonies launched their adventure from there. Because Goonies was the movie that set our childhood hearts a flutter. Because, for many years into our adulthood, Chase and I had a tradition of having a junkfood night and watching Goonies (we sort of still do this but minus the junkfood) (because some things don't process like they used to ifyaknowwhatimean). For years we joked about going to the actual Goonie House. Last year, as we started planning this vacation, I said, "We should see if we can swing by Astoria!" And Chase said, "We are definitely swinging by Astoria."  Some things are meant to be.

This is the bridge into Astoria (which means this is the point when I was bouncing up and down in the seat squealing):

Thanks to the Rogue Accountant, we got to see quite a bit of this funky little town.

On foot.

Because my brother doesn't like to park anywhere remotely close to the actual places we visit.

Still walking.

Somewhere around the fifteen mile mark, I started to wonder if we would ever make it to the Goonie Museum.

< --- He was a pro! And he never made it out!

Still walking. In the movie, this is the museum where Mikey's dad works:

And FINALLY we made it. The best place to start your Goonie Vacation is at the Oregon Film Museum. This building used to be a jail. But Goonies will recognize the exterior from the first scene in the movie, when the Fratelli's bust Jake out of the slammer.

It looks so much smaller than it did in the film, don't you think?

Chase tried to tour the Winnebago parked out front but he was informed that it was not part of the museum experience.

After we reenacted that first scene on the front steps (which is not part of the experience either ... unless you are awesome), we went inside and paid a few bucks each to take the actual tour. Now. If you hear the word "museum" and "tour" and automatically think big and swank ... you might be surprised. This museum is teeny-tiny. And probably only fun for Goonie fans.

By which I mean: it was fantastic.

Also, it is a spectacle of modern technology.

First, you walk into an area where you can have your mugshot taken AND stand beside cardboard cutouts of all the characters. (See? How is this not interesting to my Facebook friends?! I don't understand people.)

(To further verify my geekery: I did not do the mugshot bit, but, if I had, I would have turned the numbers to 24601.)

I have a picture of Chase beside Cardboard Chunk (Captain Chunk!) but I can't find it. So stay tuned for that.

Chunk was the Goonie who loved to eat ice cream and wore plaid pants and a Hawaiian print shirt through the duration of the film. When Chunk's parents reunite with him in the end, they bring him a large Dominoes pizza of his own, and he nearly cries because he is so overwhelmed with happiness.

As a child, I was mostly a female version of Chunk.

This is me beside Brand, the Goonie who wore workout shorts over his sweatpants and stole a bicycle so he could save his little brother. Brand married Diane Lane when he grew up.

I had a massive crush on Brand when I was a little girl. And I still think Josh Brolin is a handsome man (please remember: I am old ... so this isn't so weird). I thought about maybe kissing the cardboard Brand so I could keep the picture forever and always. But sometimes people get weird when you make out with their cardboard cutouts. Don't ask me how I know.

And there's Sloth, down at the end of the cell block. I considered kissing him too, but he was too tall:

Too tall is not typically an issue when it comes to kissing. But I think it's only fair that a guy meets me halfway. Because I'm short and I'm not much of a jumper. Also, I prefer that the guy not smell like Phys-Ed. A girl's gotta have standards.

Baby ... Ruth?

In that same area is some sort of flowchart that I didn't read ... because flowcharts make me think of math. But beside that is a giant board with notes and stickpins for fans to leave Goonie notes. People from all over the world have tacked their memories to this wall, so the expectation is huge.

I don't know what Chase wrote, most likely something inappropriate, but my note was fairly straightforward and awesome:

I will never say die!

Next, we walked past the cells where the opening scenes were filmed. The first cell is full of memorabilia including a Goonies boardgame (!!!) and figurines and maps. Rich stuff.

The next cell contained Data's suit from the film. Actually, it might have been a replica of Data's suit. Or maybe somebody just left their uniform in there but I took a picture anyhow:

The third cell is where the opening scene with Jake was filmed. And you can totally stand in there and AND! there is a webcam. So if you know when you'll be there, people can login and watch you. In any other circumstance, this would be as creepy as all get out. But because it's Gooniestuff, it's awesome!

Across from the cells, there are more cardboard cutouts of the production crew, including Steven Spielberg and Richard Donner. You can have your picture made with them too, if you want.

Are you packing your bags yet?

Next, you get to walk in a prop room and play with cameras and pretend to be a movie star. This was, admittedly, my most favorite part of the Goonie Museum. This room had a green screen set up and you could stand in front of it. And then somebody could stand behind the camera and "direct you" and see a wintry scene on the green screen. My big break was at hand!


I was wearing a teal t-shirt. Green Screens and teal t-shirts function in much the same manner, apparently.

I think my shirt looks like one of those gas station t-shirts they sell with the howling wolves on them. You know what I mean? Or is that just a Tennessee thing?

Chase jumped in front of the green screen next. That punk looked way cuter than me:

Fun fact: when my brother was a kid, he loved pretending to be a meteorologist. He had a laminated map of the USA on his wall and, every morning, he would take a dry erase marker and map out the jet stream. (As I type this I realize he probably doesn't want that information broadcast but, alas, that's what happens when you eat the last of my chocolate ice cream pops.) I think standing in front of the green screen brought out the weather man within.

Next, we got to act out the getaway scene in Ma Fratelli's vehicle. Not only can you sit inside the truck ... but you also get to watch yourself on camera.

Note: I don't know if you're technically supposed to sit in it ... but we did and no alarm went off.

(Would you think me vain if I admit that, when I watched myself on camera ... the first thing I did was fix my hair?)

The getaway vehicle was nifty. But ... here's my thing. The signage makes you think that you are actually in the truck that Ma Fratelli drove. But. That truck in the movie star room did not look like the ORV with bullet holes. Just saying. Nevertheless! This is me doing my best scoundrel face:

Chase looks much calmer driving the getaway vehicle than I've ever seen him look while driving a vehicle for real.

A funny: I always think it's weird in movies when people drive with two hands on the top of the steering wheel. And they crank it back and forth in a quick motion. You know what I mean? Most people I know drive with one hand and the steering wheel doesn't move much at all unless you're swerving to miss a dementor or something. Right? And yet, when we got in front of the camera, we both gripped the top of the steering wheel just like they do in movies. Interesting. 

To end our museum experience, we visited the gift shop. Not much rich stuff in there. There are little statues of David (which is rather hilarious if you're familiar with that scene) and Baby Ruths and t-shirts. But none of the goods were as corny as I'd hoped. I bought a $2 map that claimed to show off the other movie sites in Astoria. But it was a waste of $2. The only real Goonies site the map listed was the Goonie House (more on that in a moment). The rest of the sites are from Short Circuit and Kindergarten Cop.

So if you go to the museum, unless you're a fan of those films (and who isn't?), maybe just use your $2 to buy a Baby Ruth instead.

The Goonie House, where Mikey and Brand lived, is very easy to find. Legions of Goonie have made pilgrimages to the Goonie House before, and have left clear directions online. (Ye intruders beware! Crushing death and grief!) There is no charge to see the house. You will need to drive from the museum to get there. You do not get to go inside, even if you do the truffle shuffle (more on that in a minute.)

We parked at the bottom of the hill (I'm guessing my bro didn't realize how close we were, or he would have parked twenty-seven blocks away as per usual), in a neighborhood with lots of signs that read: "DO NOT BLOCK MY DRIVEWAY!!!!!!" And then we saw this:

And my heart started pounding. We hiked the steep gravel road alongside some cool Goonies from Canada (it was kind of like the Canterberry Tales only slightly more nerdy).

And, behold:

The Goonie house. The Goondocks!!

The Eiffel Tower? London Bridge? Machu Picchu? A Texaco sign burned out to spell the word Taco? Perhaps those are all wonders of the world that stir your imagination. The Goonie House was like that for us. And it really does have a snazzy view, just like in the movie.

It did not have the mousetrap set-up outside that opened the gate (the chicken, the popping balloon, the bowling ball, etc.) But it was still pretty rad.

Very Girly Note: Their landscaping is absolutely gorgeous. I love clusters of flowers like this. I suppose those aren't technically wildflowers ... but they look that way! Pretty, pretty.

Now. Perhaps the most iconic scene in movies is when Chunk stands in front of the Goonie House and hollers: "Let me in!" And Mouth says: "First you gotta do the truffle shuffle." This is the original truffle shuffle:

Before we arrived, I said to Chase, "If you do the truffle shuffle ... maybe they'll let us look for a treasure map in their attic!"

And Chase said, "Oh, I'm doing the truffle shuffle ... whether they let me in or not. I've dreamed of this moment my whole life."

It's good to have dreams, you know?

And yet, I didn't know if he would actually do it. Because the truffle shuffle demands commitment. It takes guts to do the truffle shuffle. By which I mean: to properly do the truffle shuffle, one must not care about his or her reputation. Or about attracting anyone of the opposite sex while said shuffling is in progress.

Once the sweet Canada family had departed, my brother did indeed fulfill his childhood dream.

And it wasn't the truffle shuffle. It was THE TRUFFLE SHUFFLE. If you could medal in truffle shuffle, he would have won gold. Carpe Diem 100%.

Chase's Truffle Shuffle:

I think mom should send that photo out with Christmas cards this year.

This is a close up of Chase's shuffle face:

You see? Commitment!

As we made our way (quickly) back down the hill, Chase said, "I just made that family's year."


Cannon Beach was our next stop. We'd actually wanted to go to Cannon Beach just because we heard it was gorgeous, and oh mercy was it ever. Pictures don't do it justice (do they ever?). But there are a few Goonies scenes filmed there. Remember when Ma Fratelli jumps in the race to evade the cops? That's on Cannon Beach. (I think.) And do you remember when Mikey holds the doubloon up to the rocks and figures out where the rich stuff is? THe Dubbloon = Haystack Rock = Cannon Beach.

We didn't find classic "rich stuff" there: no doubloons, no string of pearls, not even One Eyed Willy's bedazzled eye patch. But we did find "rich stuff" in the way of wholesome dairy delight. Locals call it ... Tilamook Cheddar.

You know my theory about Georgia people and their sweet tea? I think Georgians keep their delicious sweet tea in vats and only share it with those they deem worthy. Same with Tilamook cheddar. The cheese is not a secret ... not exactly. And yet, I feel like we had to immerse ourselves in the culture to find it. We had to earn the cheese. By the end of the trip, we were stopping at gas stations just to buy small packaged chunks of it. Don't judge me. (My bro informed me later that they sell Tilamook Cheese at Earthfare so maybe my "earn it" theory is somewhat skewed. I bet you have to prove your merit before they let you have it though.)

At Cannon Beach, we stopped at a pub and I ordered a Grilled Tilamook Cheese Sandwich and ... happy, happy day. It was dreamy. After that, we ran across the street for coffee, and then we walked beside the water.

Well. I walked beside the water. My brother kept creeping up on this poor seagull trying to scare it:

He's such a Fratelli sometimes.

And that was our Goonie Day. I get that it's not everybody's thing. Most people probably don't consider Goonie adventures a worthy detour.

I'm convinced these people are missing out.

I don't care how old you are ...

standing on the edge of the world
and scanning the skyline for a pirate ship
is the perfect way to end a day.

We felt like such Goonies. One Eyed Willy would have been proud. 

I might do a few more posts about some vacation adventuring if you're interested? Truly, the only thing that could have made it cooler is if you'd been along for the ride. I think you would have had a blast. Provided you enjoy loud music, lots of driving, and frequent coffee + cheese stops. ; )

Okay! I'll stop pestering you now. I'm off to put the finishing touches on a weekend getaway for my sister. (I'm super excited!) I would love to hear what's new in your world!

And if you feel like getting nostalgic, let me know some of your favorite movies back when you were teeny-tiny. Is there a film location you'd love to visit someday? (I've also been to Prince Edward Island and sometimes, when I try to talk about it, I still get dorkily weepy. But I should blog about that too. Maybe we could have an Anne Appreciation Day ; )

Happy Weekending, sweet people! Thanks for making this blog so darn fun. 

(I'll end with this picture of the Goonies all grown up.)


  1. Although I'm not a huge Goonie fan, in fact I hadn't seen it all the way through till this summer. But I love that you love something that much and with so much sentiment that you chase it like that. That's how I am with The Outsiders. "Stay gold, Ponyboy. Stay gold." :)

  2. Loved your post because I really like The Goonies. :) But I do NOT like the pic of them grown up; I'm only eighteen, but lately I just feel like everyone is too old. Where are the Peter Pan days of childhood and never growing up?

  3. DUDE. why didn't your Goonie pictures show up on my newsfeed?? I didn't even know you had posted them!

    clearly, blog readers are much cooler than you facebook friends.

    I'm so freakin jealous that you got to go there. I would have given up Paris and the Eiffel Tower to see Astoria.

  4. I'm so glad you did a Goonies post! I didn't realize how awesome the museum would be. If I'm ever out in those parts, I will definitely stop by. Goonies was such a nice part of my childhood- and not just because of Brand. Other movies I was obsessed with back then: Anne of Green Gables and Anne of Avonlea, of course- would love to visit PCE someday. Troop Beverly Hills. The Princess Bride. And the cartoon version of The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe.

  5. OH MY GOSH! THIS IS SO AWESOME! I want to go there so bad!!! What an awesome post, I loved it all.

  6. oh yeah, and the david statues, that's pretty funny... and the gas station t-shirts, i know exactly what you mean, but i do live in tennessee. they're like what napeleon dynamite wears.

  7. I loved this post, and I've never even seen "The Goonies." It is in my Netflix queue, though, and now I might have to bump it closer to the top. :)

    Howling wolf t-shirts are not just a Tennessee thing- they're big in Virginia, too. I've even seen back windshield paintings devoted to howling wolves. Creepy. I laughed out loud at the dementor comment. Actually I lauged out loud a few times while reading this post, but the dementor practically earned a snort laugh. :)

    I was big on Disney movies when I was a kid (still am, to be honest). Beauty and the Beast (still my favorite Disney movie), The Little Mermaid, and Pocahontas were favorites. When I got a little older, I loved the Addams Family films and the Ernest movies. My mom found a DVD of "Ernest Scared Stupid" the other day, and I'm ridiculously excited about watching it again.

    I have a whole list of film locations I want to visit someday. Prince Edward Island and all of the filming locations of my favorite Austen adaptations are at the top of the list.


  8. "But sometimes people get weird when you make out with their cardboard cutouts. Don't ask me how I know." This sounds like a story I would have. I'm surprised I don't, but I'm really curious about yours.

    We screened The Goonies once in college and everyone, I mean EVERYONE, showed up. It was my first time seeing it, but I was definitely feeling the Goonie love and solidarity oozing through the room.

  9. The Goonies are more than just awesome. My sister and I are planning on going to Astoria before one of us gets married. There was a guy in my piano class that looked like Brand. Seriously.

    That was a great post, now I totally want to watch that movie.

    I also realize how choppy this comment is...oh well, who needs smooth transitions?

    Paper Bird

  10. Hi Natalie! Found your blog through Susie magazine. Love, love, love- great blog!! :) I also wanted to let you know that I LOVE your article every month in susie mag. I can always relate to it and it's always inspirational! God bless ya girl! :)
    -Emma @

  11. LOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOVVVVVVEEEEEDDDDD IIIIIIIITTTTTTT!!!!!!!!!!! Made me laugh quite a few times. LOL!!!!

  12. Maravilhoso, muito bom, bacana.

  13. Sounds like you had an adventure, just like the Goonies.