If we go missing, you’ll know who it was…

Two houses ago, when we moved into our first house in Georgia, after we’d been there a while, we found a couple of odd things in the backyard. Mainly, it was the occasional discarded  Almond Joy wrapper.

Seeing as how I do not like coconut and there’s no reason Tom would be secretly eating coconut candy in the backyard (I’m not a candy dictator), the only logical conclusion to make was that we were being stalked. Stalked by someone who like to eat Almond Joys while he watches people watch TV, apparently.

The Almond Joy Killer, we called him (or her, don’t want to make assumptions).

We were never murdered (I guess they only “kill” Almond Joys), and we eventually moved. We moved on with our lives. And we moved AGAIN, to a different state.

We lived in our naive little bubble, thinking ourselves safe from a chocolate-smeared Peeping Tom (not my Tom, a different, peeping, Tom).

All that changed last weekend when Tom came inside after mowing the lawn. What did he bring with him? THIS:

almond joy

DEAR GOD! He or she is back! I wonder if they went through a Mounds phase in the years between, and then they went back to feeling like a nut, and fell into their old ways.

Anyway, welcome back Almond Joy Killer, we’ll try and be more entertaining this time. Please don’t murder us.

Prized Possessions Vol. 3 – Super Friends Mini Planters

I was worried I had lost these. Luckily, they turned up in a box a few months ago. Needless to say I was very relieved. They’re from 1976, they’re weird, and they’re fabulous:

Super Plant2

Why do these exist? Why? To make me happy, that’s why. These are four ceramic planters, just a few inches tall, and each of the heroes is proclaiming “SUPER PLANTS” for no reason. I like to imagine the four of them brainstorming and trying to come up with something clever they’d all say and that’s the best they could come up with. Also Batman seems to have a talking armpit.

Notice that you have your three standard Super Friends/Justice League heroes: Wonder Woman, Batman, and Superman, and then you have Gomer Pyle Captain Marvel, or/and/also known as Shazam! because of weird DC/Marvel comics shiz.

Super Plant1

No Aquaman despite that fact that water, Aquaman’s realm, is one of the things plants need to survive.

Not that I would plant anything in them. The last thing I would want would be to plant some seeds, and then, OF COURSE, they would become super plants and the roots could potentially crack my beloved ceramic planters. No, no, that wouldn’t do.

I looked these up and found this interesting post (interesting if you are interested in 1970s plant-related superhero merchandising which, duh, everyone is).

I got mine about 9 years ago off of ebay, and if you search right now, you can actually buy the entire store display piece plus 3 of each of them for 70 bucks. Although if you do end up with something that powerful in your possession you must promise only to use it for good.

If Hannibal Was Hired for Window Displays at Disney World

We had a lot of fun during our trip to Disney World. I’ve gathered some terrible and stupid pictures to share with you. Here we go:

We stayed at the Polynesian, which has extremely polite trash cans:

This thing loves refuse, and wants yours inside it.

This thing loves refuse, and wants yours inside it.

I think my favorite animatronic character of all the rides is this fabulously groovy disco scientist on Spaceship Earth:

She's got it going on, both scientifically and fashion-wise.

She’s got it going on, both scientifically and fashion-wise.

On our final day we dropped by Downtown Disney (if you panic because you hadn’t been able to find any Disney Merchandise in the parks, you can come here and get some, too), where I found this disturbing scene (if you can’t tell from the glare, these are princess dresses MADE OF PRINCESSES):

dresses

Has anyone else been watching Hannibal? Doesn’t this look like something that could be on that show? In particular, the murderer who was working on a “color palette”? Can’t you just imagine someone whistling creepily to themselves while they made this, maybe repeating “my pretty dolls, my pretty dolls” to themselves over and over? Just me?

Lastly, because it’s the most natural change of subject, here’s a picture of baby as Aurora. I really don’t subscribe to “pink princess pretty girly girl” stuff. I’m not crazy about how  gender-specific specific baby items have become. However, when your five year old niece asks for a Sleeping Beauty dress from Santa Claus and hopes that Lydia has one to match, well, then, by golly:

Aurora Lydia

She’s drooling in this picture, which I think makes her more authentic character-wise because you know Sleeping Beauty’s pillow case was nasty with sleep drool.

And while I still DON’T embrace pretty pretty pink for all girls all the time, damned if she didn’t look cute. And, now that she’s being constantly mistaken for a boy, I have to steel myself to fight the power and not feel like I have to always dress her like this. Disney World does weird things to me.

Vacation Revelations

We just got back from a week at Disney World. We went with my sister’s family (mom, dad, 5 year old niece, 2 year old nephew), my sister’s mother-in-law, my sister’s sister-in-law, and my mom. Everyone but Tom, Lydia, and I flew. We drove. Why? Because I didn’t want to deal with airport security with an infant and then didn’t want an infant meltdown on a plane. Also, in order to go on vacation with an infant, you have to bring half your house.

Princess Vespa has nothing on Lydia.

Princess Vespa has nothing on Lydia.

So, we drove. We split the conservatively estimated 9.5 hour trip in to a two day trip. I know everyone knows this but it really is interesting how much easier it is to get somewhere than to come back in terms of enthusiasm. You go from “WOO HOOOO! On our way to the best place ever to have the best time ever! A couple of days of driving is nothing compared to the nice real-world-problem-free time we’re about to have” to “Why there gotta be so much fucking land between here and home? Fuck land.” But we made it there and back easily, with only one true infant meltdown, so I consider that a success.

We decided to stay at one of the nicer hotels on property (Polynesian), mainly because the monorail provides people a way to get from one place to another without having to fold the damn stroller. This meant there’s aggressively helpful bell services, which meant tipping. I’m not a fancy person. I know this shocks most of you. But, every time I have to do it, which is rarely, I astonish myself with how utterly bad I am at tipping people in person. I can sign a receipt at a restaurant, easy, but literally having to hand someone money in a suave, subtle way is not something I’m capable of, apparently. Have you seen the Seinfeld where Elaine tries to tip a restaurant host to get a table right away (it’s the Chinese Restaurant episode)? I’m only slightly less bad than that. I hold the money as if it’s a magic wand, kind of jerk it up and down and brightly declare, in a sing-songy manner, “HERE YOU GO!” Which is only a little better than the approach I’m trying hard to suppress: awkwardly laughing, “HA HA HA!” then yelling, “MONEY!” But I do know that Tipping Anxiety is suffered by many and I console myself that I’m not the only one.

Another realization has to do with the previously mentioned strollers. A stroller provides you with a power you must fight against at all times. A stroller can make the meekest, most polite people monsters. I’m surprised that a comic book supervillain hasn’t been created whose weapon is a stroller and a place he or she needs to be. If you are the one with the stroller you are a sad, suffering human trying to maneuver through the throngs with your equally suffering children.  If someone else has a stroller, what an asshole. You must resist the urge to ever so gently plow people over with the stroller, and it’s really hard because here you are with this thing that can totally plow people over.

Speaking of strollers, if you’ve been to Disney World, no doubt you’ve noticed the large number of people on scooters. You don’t have to have any kind of ailment or anything to use one of these things, just some money to rent one. At the beginning of the trip, I look at many of these people and scoff, thinking how silly and lazy it is to have one of these scooters. But mid-week I’m contemplating scooter jacking.  There’s a seat! And a basket for your things! And you just scoot around in it and don’t have to move your legs! These people I previously looked down on have become the geniuses of our time in my mind. My sister and I came very close to trying to sit in the strollers ourselves. She even wished that there were strollers big enough for adults and then realized, “oh, wait those are called wheelchairs.” I don’t think anyone caught me, but if someone on a scooter looked at me at the right/wrong time they would see me staring at them as if I were starving and they were a hamburger.

Now we’re home and I’m back to spending much of my time on my butt on a couch. Which I suppose gives me the opportunity to intensely study the art of giving a tip, but knowing me I won’t do that and just panic again like always.

Dinosort of ok I guess

This past weekend Tom, the baby, my sister, brother-in-law, niece, nephew, and I piled in a van and headed down to the local fairgrounds for a traveling dinosaur exhibit. The radio and tv ads promised lots of learning AND rides on dinosaurs – the best of both worlds.

When we got there, we learned that it costs more to earn the right to ride on the dinosaurs and play in the bouncy castle, which everyone knows has been around since the late Jurassic era. So, we passed on the rides and stuck to the exhibit.

The exhibit consisted of a bunch of animatronic dinosaurs split up and displayed in various combinations of painted backdrops and fake plants – in one giant room. They all made noise and all had hot spotlights on them. I don’t know how the real dinosaurs got any sleep – all that screeching and light.

“Oh, come on,” you’re saying, “twenty-some animatronic screeching dinosaurs in an enclosed space doesn’t seem like it’d be that loud.” Well, first, don’t go making assumptions about the level of noise robots can make in a room, and second, you didn’t give me time to mention that they were also playing a movie over all the noise, too. That movie was Dinosaur, and it was turned up to eleven.

It was sort of like if you went to a nice eight course meal, but it was all served to you in one big trough, so it’s hard to say if it was actually delicious or not.

What did we see there? Here’s the two, uh, highlights?

The huge and ferocious Spinosaurus may have been an even larger predator than the T-Rex. Impressive, huh? Well, I’ll tell you what I was impressed by: their fabulous, colorful, rainbow-striped spine decoration that looks nothing like the rest of the body:

IMG_20140223_113359_936

A dinosaur that looks like a graffiti artist got to him while he was sleeping? Awesome. Unfortunately, when I looked him up on wikipedia, none of the artist renderings include this 1980s roller skating rink-ready spine sculpture – they’re all natural looking and shit. Not only that, but even the info plaque from it’s own exhibit didn’t look the same:

IMG_20140223_113418_116

This one doesn’t look like Lisa Frank’s evolutionary ancestor like the display one does.

Now I just don’t know what to think. I suppose that’s just what comes with having to guess what dinosaurs looked like based on their bones. We’ll never know the truth.

I think the most striking image was the realism of the T-Rex. The creators of this dinobot obviously worked really hard to capture the sad, flaccid, useless little arms they had. Science and animatronics prove that they kind of depressingly moved them around, trying to figure out what they could possibly use them for, in a very rhythmic motion. This made prey feel sorry for them, and when they would go to comfort the T-Rex, SUCKAH – they got eaten.

You can see how wily they were – they even shook their heads as if to say “no, no, I have no idea what to do with these two sad twigs attached to my chest, woe is me.” It’s why they’re called Nature’s Most Guilt Trip-iest Predator.

After an afternoon of heavy learning and extremely loud noise, we headed home, my head filled with amazing facts I made up and jumped to conclusions about. You’re never too old to pay a little too much to have your senses assaulted…with information.