Goonies for a day

As a child of the 80s, I can’t remember a time when The Goonies wasn’t one of my favourite fillums. And frankly, I don’t want to. It has everything you could possibly need in a family movie: a great cast, comedy, suspense, a bit of fear and even a hot older brother to fancy. Despite being made in 1985, it still pops up on TV occasionally and, if you ask me, totally holds its own. Everyone loves The Goonies, it’s a universal fact, so you can imagine my excitement when I discovered that it was set in Astoria, Oregon, less than two hours from where we’re currently living. It took longer than I expected (I’m laying the blame equally between the weather and Eoin here) but we eventually made it down there this weekend with one goal: to follow the goonie trail.

After a rocky start (the kennel I had Milo booked in to cancelled at the last minute and only The Most Expensive Kennel in America would accept him at such short notice) we eventually got on the road and pointed the car towards the Oregon coast. Now, I (stupidly) hadn’t looked up the route on the map, and didn’t realise it went through the mountains, so we got a bit of a fright when said road looked like this for much of the way:

Yeah, slippy. And more than a little scary considering we didn’t even have any chains with us. If I’d been driving we’d most certainly be in one of those drifts right now but thankfully I was passenging for the weekend. Anyway, we got to Astoria safely, and even though it was a bleak and cold February weekend, it has to be noted that it’s a really pretty little town, dominated by a dramatic suspension bridge. The perfect setting for a movie.

As you can see, there was still some snow on the ground which meant wandering around outside wasn’t exactly comfortable, especially when you’re the idiot who forgot to bring socks. Luckily we were there, I’d say, 30 seconds when we spotted this place:

It turns out that loads of movies have been filmed in or around Astoria, including Free Willy, Short Circuit, Kindergarten Cop and, er, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 3. The above jail was actually in one of the opening scenes of The Goonies, where Jake Fratelli pretends to hang himself and then escapes with his terrifying mama who might put your hand in a blender if you’re not careful. They have handily illustrated it inside in case you forget.

Those other movies don’t get much of a look in at the Oregon Film Museum but The Goonies is well represented in the props department (there are only one and a half departments plus a gift shop). Remember this statue belonged to Mrs Walsh, Mikey and Brandon’s mum? Chunk knocked it over and its wiener popped off. Note here the wiener is intact.

There’s also a copy of the paper that got them all obsessed with Chester Copperpot and One Eyed Willy’s treasure in the first place.

And the infamous map. Well, a copy of it cos this one is in suspiciously good nick.

The doubloons…

And the skeleton key yoke.

They also have Data’s full costume, which I enjoyed imensley.

Entry to the museum was $4 and even though we had seen everything in under five minutes I’d call that money well spent. Directly across the street is the Flavel House Museum, a real working museum but in The Goonies it was where Mikey and Brand’s dad worked.

But the location I really wanted to see was the Walsh house where all the action kicks off. All of the scenes in the old restaurant and underground were shot in a Los Angeles studio, and the beach isn’t actually in Astoria itself, so the house was definitely the main attraction for me – and plenty of other people who visit every year. We bought a map in the museum and managed to locate it easily enough. This was our first view. Not great, as you can see. I was a bit disappointed and worried that that was it.

So I suggested that we try and get closer, which we did, thanks to Eoin’s mad navigational skillz and some cop on.

And even closer, because it turns out you’re totally allowed, if not encouraged. The house is a private residence as far as I know but the people who live in it, and their neighbours, are obviously seriously chill. I would love to know how many people they get hanging around outside annually. Lots, I bet, especially in summer.

And there it is, the real Walsh house from The Goonies as it looks today! The paint job is different, and the fence and gate are missing, but there’s no denying that’s it. I have to admit, I was embarrassingly excited to get so close. Eoin was mortified. When I was eight years old and watching the video over and over again at home I never imagined that I’d end up here. Funny where life takes you.

What an excellent way to spend a Saturday afternoon. Thank you, Astoria.


Walking in a winter wonderland

Urgh that title is going to give me nightmares. My apologies. Brain dead.

This morning I awoke to a really annoying scrapey scrapey sound outside my bedroom window. It could only mean one thing: just as the weather forecast had predicted, it had snowed! And here in America, when it snows, magic people materialise from nowhere to shovel the sidewalks and grit the roads. What a neat idea! That way life goes on as normal and the country doesn’t almost collapse.

I love snow. When everyone at home was complaining about it last November and December I didn’t even try to hide my jealousy. We were living in Arizona at the time and feeling decidedly un-Christmassy due to all the sunshine (visit to the Christmas block aside). And then we went to Mexico, which didn’t really help matters.

So today I leaped athletically from bed, grabbed my camera and Milo and went, er, walking in a winter wonderland, for want of a better description.









We took our normal route down to Orchard Park and walked around it once. Milo, who’s not a big cold or precipitation fan at the best of times, was very wary of the strange white powder but soon chilled (ha!) out and started to enjoy digging and playing around.

I love how fresh snow makes everything go so quiet and peaceful. There were a couple of people in the park but far fewer than we would normally meet. It’s 11.32 am now and already starting to thaw, but it sure was nice while it lasted.

The couple’s guide to abusing a puppy

No, not like that.

Over the past few weeks though, Eoin and I have been using Milo to give each other the occasional dig. He has become a little weapon that we share. It’s wrong and it’s really passive-aggressive but (and I shouldn’t be admitting this publically) it’s also very satisfying. Just don’t tell PETA because it’s probably a canine rights violation or something in this country.

Let me explain. Milo, for example, is not allowed to wander into the bathroom or the bedroom unattended because he will inevitably A) jump into the bath and go nuts or B) chew something belonging to me, usually a bra.

But obviously, accidents happen, and Eoin will usually leave the doors open at least once a day. I’ll more than likely find Milo eating my smalls, in which case I’ll drag him into the living room and go, in a very loud Mammyish voice, “Milo, what do you MEAN Eoin left the door open so you could ruin another bra? You’re RIGHT, he is a thicko.” Milo will stare back at me blankly and Eoin will pretend not to be listening, but my job will be done. And lest you feel sorry for him, know that Eoin does it too.

Seriously, if you have a puppy, or even a small child, give it a go. They need to earn their keep.

Picture of the Day: in Ireland they’re called Beavers

And they don’t sell you cookies. Isn’t it time for a change?

The things you do when you’re Irish and you live in America

Since moving to America I have been craving cheese and onion Tayto. Craving them bad. (I know, I’m such a cliché.) At home, unless it was Christmas and they were flowing like wine, I wouldn’t look twice at a bag of cheese and onion crisps. I like my salty snacks cheap and nasty, like Meanies or Banshee Bones. But here, I cannot stop thinking about Tayto. When I babysat a few months ago, I “borrowed” a bag from the family’s stash. Jesus, the guilt afterwards! Of course you can get Tayto in certain shops over here, and online, but it’s not cheap or easy. For Christmas, we received many, many bags in the post from friends and family at home but when you have a finite supply, every crisp is tinged with sadness and loss, which kind of ruins the whole experience.

Like the new Tayto obsession, last night I did something that I wouldn’t be caught dead at in Dublin: I went to see The Coronas. Now I’m not a music snob by any means (my fondness for Britney, 90s J-Lo and that Like A G6 song is testament to that) but I always thought The Coronas were a bit, well, shite. Still, there was a group going and I’m not in a position to turn down a night out. Plus, they’re Irish, we’re Irish, it would be rude not to.

So, after emptying Milo and sticking him in his new crate (a very worthwhile investment, thank you we headed into Portland to the Doug Fir, a really cool venue with toilets so trippy I got a little bit scared at one point. After a few Bud Lights in the bar, and getting stamped to within an inch of our lives, we headed downstairs to where an American band, aptly named The Dregs, were playing for what I assume were some close friends and family members. Now they really were shite.

And then The Coronas, who were headlining, came on. All in all I’d say there were about 80 people there which I suppose wasn’t a bad turnout since the band didn’t seem to have any relatives in the audience. Considering I only know one Coronas song (you know it too, it’s about the J1 and it goes “So we sleep all day and we drink blah blah, we are not blahing our blah”) I was surprised and impressed with their performance. The proof is that I started fancying them within minutes. They were changing guitars like it was going out of fashion, playing piano and generally being very entertaining. Nice arms, too. Their set was short but that suited me just fine. I know it’s a cliché, but I’d definitely go see them if they came back, and not just because I’m Irish and I live in America.