There’s a place in Pigeon Forge,TN (where we are this week), a magical place, where once, a long time ago, someone said, “We have a bunch goats, maybe people will come look at them.”
Then, someone else said, “But how do you make money off of that? Nobody is going to pay to just come pet some goats.”
“No, they don’t get to pet them.”
“Ok. Are they mean or diseased goats? Are people paying to not have to touch them?”
“No, we’re going to put them on the roof of a building and then inside that building we will sell stuff. And, if people want, they can buy food for the goats, perform manual labor in the blazing sun, and send the food up to the goats. We’ll also build a roller coaster thing and people can pay for buckets of sand with rocks in them, we’ll call it ‘gem mining.'”
“Sure, why not.”
And thus, Goats on the Roof was born.
The goats can have all the goat food and ice cream cones (without ice cream, that’s what they put the goat food in to send it up) they want, but there is one rule:
Personally, I would have underlined the word “not,” but I’m not an Expert, so what do I know. I took it to mean only the Skittles and sent five bucks worth of gum up to them.
Before you get your hopes up, the video below is not of me sending a bunch of gum up to the goats. It’s basically showing you slides from my vacation but there’s thousands of them and audio.
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:
I think my favorite animatronic character of all the rides is this fabulously groovy disco scientist on Spaceship Earth:
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):
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:
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.
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.
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.
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:
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:
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.
A couple of weeks ago my sister and I went to the local biannual kid’s clothes consignment sale. I bought a bunch of clothes for a baby I haven’t met or seen yet – so I don’t know how big she’ll be or get. That’s kind of weird, which means buying a lot of clothes of varying sizes and hoping for the best.
This consignment sale is a monster – racks and racks of clothes. You kind of go nutty after a while. Late in the afternoon, I found this monstrosity:
The babyfication of popular animation characters perhaps hit it’s stride with Muppet Babies and then through the nineties everyone became a baby for baby and young child-related merchandise. For instance, Elmo, who’s already supposed be like three years old anyway, is mysteriously babyfied further for baby clothes and toys. Why? I DON’T KNOW. The only logical conclusion of this trend is little sperms with popular character faces.
But, seriously, Betty Boop? Really? Just a little reminder from Wikipedia about this cartoon character developed in the 1930’s:
“Betty Boop is regarded as one of the first and most famous sex symbols on the animated screen; she is a symbol of the Depression era, and a reminder of the more carefree days of Jazz Age flappers. Her popularity was drawn largely from adult audiences, and the cartoons, while seemingly surreal, contained many sexual and psychological elements…”
Kids LOVE 1930s sex symbol black and white cartoon characters! Especially ones with either their lips on their chin or their chin completely missing. Informal poll: which do you think it is?
So, I find this thing, it’s marketed under the name “Baby Boop.” I have the following conversation with my sister:
Me: Look at this, it’s horrible. Should I buy it? It’s three dollars.
Sister: Uh, well, it has a matching bib?
She meant this as the best reason she could come up with to justify my suggesting I buy this thing because I thought it was so awful.
I ended up buying it, thinking at the very least I’ll blog about it. I showed it to Tom:
Me: Look at this, isn’t it horrible?
Tom: Why did you buy that?
Me: It’s terrible, it’s baby Betty Boop.
Tom: We’re not putting that on our child.
Me: I thought I would blog about it.
Tom: You could have just taken a picture of it.
Me: At least it’s off the streets now.
So, for the past few weeks the outfit has been hanging off or our fireplace screen, on display like some two headed pig in a jar at an oddity museum. Tom’s been throwing things like “I want that out of our house” into the ether, hoping it will come true.
Now I’m blogging about it. So there.
While at the consignment sale, I actually also saw a onesie that Baby Boop herself would probably wear, but this one I just took a picture of because I couldn’t even bring myself to have this in the house:
I guess nobody had bought it yet because all their babies were taken.