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Everything posted by printersdevil78

  1. I've seen a few posts here and there about coaster parts and other theme/amusement park items on eBay, but I searched and didn't come up with a thread on people who have actually purchased these items. So what's your best theme/amusement park-related eBay "get"? Mine has to be an original Disneyland Band drumhead used in the mid-'80s. My dad was actually the "purchaser," and he gave it to me for Christmas several years ago. It's allowed only so many seconds of direct light per year! Anyone else?
  2. The whole rookie card phenomenon is the epitome of why I got out of baseball card collecting for the most part. When I started collecting in the late '80s/early '90s, cards were 50 cents a pack at most. Now they're, what, $5 or more? That's a higher rate of inflation than gasoline and corn combined! My dad has some great cards from his youth--original Mantles and Ted Williams-es in mint and near-mint condition. His mother was a neat freak of the highest caliber (maybe even OCD) and forced him to keep everything 100 percent spotless. As a result every comic book, baseball card and toy he ever had growing up is predominately still in mint condition--and in the case of toys, almost all in their original boxes. They'll all be mine someday (bwa-ha-ha-ha!). In the meantime, I managed to pull together some really nifty cards of my own, some from my "generation," but mostly from long before my time. My most prized pieces are a Leaf Jackie Robinson rookie in fair condition and an original Topps Satchel Paige in near-mint to mint. Still working on that Piedmont Honus Wagner.... I've managed to get some great autographed baseballs over the years, as well--Hank Aaron, Frank Robinson, Brooks Robinson and Duke Snider, to name just a few of the pros, along with a number of Negro League players.
  3. Wow, this is awesome! London is definitely on my list of places to visit in the next five years (assuming I still have a job and the U.S. dollar levels off at some point). Any cost-saving tips?
  4. ^Hey, I never thought of having speed dating in my house! That would speed things up quite considerably.... Thanks, Meteornotes! ^^I never saw "Jade," so I don't get it. But can I assume it ends badly?
  5. Yep. Al Gore invented TPR before he discovered global warming.
  6. Good luck, Xmeister! If you make it to Hollywood, be sure to get the Mummy credit.
  7. So here's a question I never thought I'd post on a roller coaster enthusiast message board.... As those who have read my other posts on the "Random" board may know, I'm president of my local Jaycees chapter this year. For those who don't know what Jaycees is, it's more or less a community service/social organization. Think Rotary, Lions Club, etc., only with a younger slant (ages 21-40). Ever since gas hit $4 a gallon, membership has been abysmal. We began 2006 with 99 members. We now have about 40, and we're still dropping. In an effort to try to get our name out to the demographic we're trying to reach, my board of directors and I have been discussing various membership recruitment event possibilities. The one we keep coming back to is a speed dating night. We've proposed an event in September, but since none of us have ever attended a speed dating session before, we're kind of iffy on the rules. Flash forward to this evening when, lo and behold, an e-mail appears in my inbox from a national dating service, advertising a local speed dating event in August. Figuring a.) at least one of us should attend a real speed dating event before ours is scheduled to make sure we're doing it right, b.) I've got nothing better to do on a Tuesday night, and c.) I currently have absolutely no prospects whatsoever on the horizon with regard to the opposite gender (ladies on the Behemoth/Ravine Flyer trip, take note!), I signed up. So now the question is, what have I gotten myself into? Has anyone on here ever been to one of these things before? I've been on some really, really, tremendously bad dates before (mostly through online dating; it's the subject of my next book, in fact), so hopefully this won't be too bad. But the whole process will be new this time around. I live in a fairly rural area (when I was a kid we had to drive an hour for groceries; now I live in the town where that grocery store is), so I really have no idea what to expect as far as turnout, especially since this is a ticketed event ($35 per person). Then again, I've always said the average lifespan of a single woman is approximately four minutes, and these "dates" are only six minutes each, so I guess that works out pretty well mathematically. I fully expect everyone else there to have at least three kids (around here if you don't have your first kid by the time you're 18, you're considered an old maid). I'm also a little uneasy because I just had a birthday last week, pushing me ever so slightly over the edge into the 27-39-year-old event instead of the 21-29-year-old event I would rather have attended. I'm really hoping I'm not stuck in a room with a dozen or more 39.9999-year-olds who have completely given up on love and instead are just praying they might find a baby daddy. I'm not entirely sure how many real, live relationships have ever actually begun with speed dating in the first place. But meeting people around here is absolutely brutal (the population is predominately a mixture of college students and retirees, and the big "hangout" is Wal-Mart--we have two, in fact), so hopefully this will at least open a door or two in that respect. At any rate, any feedback, suggestions or humorous observations anyone may have on the subject would be greatly appreciated.
  8. Yeah, they were so busy staring at your stylish mullet that they didn't even NOTICE Goofy, Tigger or Pluto!
  9. I had to look twice before I got the garbage can joke. The Big Mike Road Show never disappoints!
  10. ^I just say "No" to oysters! My grandfather spent his lifetime shucking them, and I was forced to eat more than enough as a kid to last the rest of mine. Give me some more crawfish any day, however! The closest thing I get to them is when Popeye's has a special every couple years.
  11. This looks like a really neat place. Thanks for posting it!
  12. It seems like the Hilton is trying to get out of the space business. Last time I was there, they were remodeling and had gotten rid of the slot machines patrons could operate by passing their hands through a beam of light. I guess once Star Trek is gone, all that will be left from the "futuristic" theme is the recording in the men's room that analyzes your urine and tells you you'll have good luck in their casino!
  13. ^^^My proudest achievement was not getting a single molecule of powdered sugar on me the first time I ate there. No such luck the second time... I couldn't even see the beignets under all the white stuff that time! ^^Are you kidding? I hear they've modeled entire countries after some sections of Epcot! ^So am I!
  14. Time for the second round! "I'm not a witch; I'm just seasick!" "Hi! Wanna stay for dinner?" Hey baby, how about some tongue? Gurgle! "Come play with us!" Boo! "In this town, we call home, everyone hails to the pumpkin song!" OK, now THIS was neat! As a fundraiser for police and fire departments who lost their headquarters during Hurricane Katrina and Rita, Blaine Kern began a huge Halloween party last year. This year they're adding a Halloween parade, and we got to see some of the floats and props. Doesn't this just scream "Mardi Gras" to you? Looks like the Fantastic Four have a few sequels planned.... Hmmm... I wonder how much it would cost for them to recreate this for my home. Hobbits! How many people here think Felix got his nose chopped off by a light sabre? Anyone? "I will require one miiiiiiiiiiiilion beads!" And now back to our our feature presentation: "The Little Mermaid III: Prince Eric and the Tramp." Elvis loves Lucy. ...and Sandy (or is that Tige from "Buster Brown"?). ...Daddy Warbucks... Everything in the museum/workshop/warehouse is just scattered randomly. Though I assume they were all part of the same float at one point, I had to go to three different areas of the complex to find Little Orphan Annie... So yeah, some of the earliest figures were a little off-model.... There's no place like Mardi Gras World.... There's no place like Mardi Gras World.... That polar bear has a Dharma logo on its back! OK, maybe not... but that Dino was originally supposed to be Jeorge Garcia, I swear! There's no need to fear! Underdog is here! (Right behind Bugs Bunny.) Even the politically incorrect ones. Kern Studios holds the props for the annual Mardi Gras Zulu Parade. "Good even-ing." It's the souuuuuuul train! Just a few architecturally aesthetic shots, if I may.... This is the court of the Louis Adam house, constructed in 1788 and restored in 1978. Just in case you were wondering. After the Mardi Gras World tour and a ferry ride back to Riverwalk, I spent the rest of the afternoon giving myself a self-guided tour of Disneyland's Main Street... er, the French Quarter. I want my mummy! Seriously, this is the scariest thing I've ever seen made out of Styrofoam and papier mache! Hey, it's Darth Maul! WTF? "Help... meeeee!" ...and his son. ...Dracula... The guests included Wolfman... "Hi, I'm death. Some people say I sound a lot like Dennis Miller." Frankie says "Relax!" Who says green vegetables can't kill you? Flame on! "I'm melting! Meeeelllllting!" And this would be the courtyard of the famous Court of Two Sisters restaurant. This is the entrance to the famous Court of Two Sisters restaurant. I could afford to take pictures here, but I couldn't afford to eat here.... At Pat O'Brien's you can get the wonderful miracle drink known as the Hurricane... but more about that later. So I ended up paying my own way at the hotel restaurant that night. The result: a Bayou Burger! That's a hamburger with pepper jack cheese and boiled crawfish. Yummy! And that's that. Ten hours later I was on a plane back to Baltimore. Hope you enjoyed it as much as I did! Surprise, surprise! A huge storm delayed my shuttle back to the airport, and when I got there, I found out my flight had been canceled completely, not because of the storm but because the flight wasn't full and it wasn't in USAirways' best financial interest to operate the flight that day. Thank God hospitals aren't run by the same people who run the airlines. The good news is that I didn't have any plans on Friday, which was the earliest they could send me home. They put me up in the Hilton (which my mom had me take this picture of since no one in our family has ever been able to afford the Hilton before) and gave me meal vouchers, which I thought was very nice. Until I found out from every single place I tried to cash the vouchers in that no one would accept them. Turns out that in an effort to save on costs, USAirways not only cut out free pretzels and started canceling undersold flights with just a couple hours' notice; they also decided to stop paying most of their bills altogether. At least that's the excuse most of the airport restaurants gave me for not accepting the vouchers.... Then I had one of these little delicacies for dessert. But I once again had to leave fries (and some bread) on my plate to squeeze it all in! What a treat it was! I tried a crawfish poboy, and it was tremendous! When I first walked in, I wondered if I had made a mistake; the place just looks like a greasy lunch counter. Then I noticed all the signed celebrity photos on the walls.... When the lunch crowd started in and the line stretched out the door within 15 minutes of placing my order, I knew I had made the right choice. For what I thought was going to be my last meal in New Orleans, I headed to Johnny's Po-Boys, which I had read about in a travel magazine. I had tried to go there for dinner the day before, but found out they closed at 3 p.m. Whenever I'm on vacation by myself, I always leave the "Do Not Disturb" sign on my hotel door so I can come and go without having to worry about the maids being in there during the day. There are always more than enough towels, etc. Well, this time the maids left a bagful on the doorknob just in case! Story time! I had bought beads at my local Wal-Mart in case I found a *ahem* use for them in New Orleans, especially since I read the beads in the Big Easy were typically way overpriced. By the time I finished up at Krystal, I decided I just wanted to get rid of them. You have no idea how hard it is to give away beads on Bourbon Street without asking anything in return! Most of the people I tried to give them to were--understandably, I suppose--put off. Within a half hour, I did finally manage to give away all 12 strands of beads, thanks in large part to the help of some very drunk young ladies who were in town for an LSU class reunion. And no, I didn't receive anything in return (though I probably could have). Well, I guess karma is as good as Earl says. I was still feeling a little dizzy from the Hurricanes, so right before heading back to my hotel to turn in for the night, I stopped by one of those Lucky Dog stands. As the guy was preparing my hot dog, I saw a girl pole dancing on the lamppost next to his stand, which I thought would make a funny shot for this TR. So I pulled out my camera. The girl standing immediately next to her says, "Hey, I want you to take MY picture!" So she traded places with her friend, and... well, even though there were much more risquee sights on Bourbon Street, this is the only photo from her performance that I feel comfortable posting here! I decided it would be best to get something on my stomach. I tried to go back to a restaurant I had seen that offered alligator bites (with honey mustard dipping sauce), but it was closing by the time I got to that end of Bourbon Street, so I figured now would be the best time to try those Krystal burgers I had seen the day before! Then came the Hurricanes! As I said earlier, I don't usually drink much, so after my two dinner daquaris, the mint julep and a couple of these babies, I was feeling a little lightheaded! My photos from the rest of the evening reflect that.... During the show, I decided it would be uncivilized to leave New Orleans without trying a real mint julep, so afterward I went next door to Pat O'Brien's. For those who have never had one, they don't taste anything like their Disneyland namesake! The other members included Le Blanc on banjo, Elliott Callier on sax and a guest bassist whose name I didn't get (sorry, guest bassist). No food or drinks sold here, either (though you could bring drinks in--wish I had known that). No matter, the music more than made up for the discomfort. The evening's quintet included Joe Lastie on drums and Lucien Barbarin on trombone. Lastie played his way around the stage, drumming everything from the chairs to the door frame, during the world's longest rendition of "Tiger Rag." The band leader, Carl Le Blanc, made a point of noting that this sign had hung in the hall since 1968, encouraging the audience to round up for inflation! I was amazed at the building's interior. It was dilapidated inside, with only enough seating for 24, and that on extremely uncomfortable, backless wooden benches. (I stood in line for 45 minutes to make sure I got one of those seats.) The rest was standing room, and since the whole complex was about the same size as my living room, people were packed in like sardines with more waiting outside. There was no flash photography allowed inside, but my luck held out. A documentary crew was on hand to film a web segment for some food and wine magazine. Their floodlights provided so much illumination that a flash would only have washed out the picture! Unfortunately, it also made the non-air-conditioned building excessively hot. But the most exciting part of my trip was still to come! Last year, the Preservation Hall Jazz Band put on a free show literally right next door to my office. Now, I got to see a live jazz show in the legendary Preservation Hall! At the waitress' suggestion I took a photo of the cross-section, as well. All this plus my two drinks cost... are you ready for this? Just $11 after tax and tip! And this lovely morsel would be the muffaletta! After having spent nearly $70 on food the day before, I decided today needed to be a cheap dining day. Boy, did I pick the right place for dinner! I went into this place called Maspero's because they advertised the muffaletta, a sandwich I've always wanted to try at Disneyland but never have. I made an excellent choice! I got two strawberry daiquiris for $2 (though you couldn't prove to me either of them had any alcohol in them). No pictures of the inside of this place! Actually, I didn't visit any of the fine strip clubs along Bourbon Street, but that's not to say I didn't see any strippers. Some of the clubs, classy establishments that they are, had girls out front in nothing but their underwear (and barely that), beckoning gentlemen inside. These Lucky Dog carts were all over the city. I eventually tried one of their chili dogs. Meh. I wish I was big! New Orleans was full of random artwork.
  15. Continuing my travels to "Places I Want to See Before I Die" (which may not be that far away, what with the world ending in 2012 and all, according to DBru), I spent a good chunk of last week in New Orleans. I can definitely see why Walt Disney loved this place so much! No, I didn't go to any of the hurricane-devastated places--I don't go on vacation to be depressed. And I didn't take any swamp or airboat tours--I also don't go on vacation to get eaten by alligators! My only regret is that I didn't sign up for a cemetery tour, as the ones we passed on the highway looked amazing (very Haunted Mansion), and I was advised not to venture out to them on my own, as most of them weren't in the best of neighborhoods. Regardless, I had a great time, and now I want to share (most of) it with you in this big TR of the Big Easy. Nyuk! Nyuk! Nyuk! I'm sure these two were off on the road to somewhere. ...and Charlie Chaplin! They had Groucho Marx, too, but his cigar had broken off, and he just looked... uncomfortable. It's the legends of comedy, featuring Laurel and Hardy... Only in New Orleans would you find Santa Claus posing with Andy Capp, some totem poles and a random giant red high-top sneaker. Howdy, Pilgrim. Oh wait... that's better! Look! Up on that shelf! It's a bird! It's a plane! It's... Clark Kent? "Is it true that Leviathan ate Lumiere?" And Buddy Pine? Hey, isn't that Bob Parr? Proof that King Kong actually faked his death in the Universal Studios fire! That would be me posing with a section of Leviathan, the first Mardi Gras float to include fiber optics. He's owned by Harry Connick Jr. (Really!) Leviathan! Do not eat Lumiere! Hey, that's not the real Elvis! His hips aren't moving! He had high hopes his son would grow up to succeed him on the throne. Alas, Burger King's call was stronger. The studio employs Oompa Loompas when schnozberries are out of season. This Reggie Bush figure will be part of the "Madden NFL" float during the Mardi Gras parade (can't remember which one) themed after video games in 2009. This was officially the best figure in the entire warehouse! George is all like, "Been there, done that, bought the Sunoco T-shirt." Benjamin Franklin was on his way out of the warehouse, en route to Philadelphia's Southwest Airlines July 4th Parade, held in connection with the Sunoco Welcome America! Festival 2008. Not that they want it to be too commercial or anything. And yet, not a single Olive Oyl in the whole museum. "I yam what I yam! And what I yam is covered in spiderwebs." Mmmm... cows! "Ma'am? You forgot your purse." Yes. Yes, it is. "...day!" "Here I come to save the..." Donde est Donald? If this figure could talk, it would sound JUST like Thurl Ravenscroft. Watch out for the killer Blow Pops! "Zim Zim Zalabim!" Harold? When did you escape from the Matterhorn? Then they cover it with papier mache before painting it. If it's a piece that needs to last longer than a parade, like an outdoor statue, they add a clay coat and fiberglass the final product. Building a float takes lots of hard work. First they sculpt a figure out of Styrofoam. As is the Cyclops. Marilyn's here! And dual-colored boobs! As well as a cobra. This museum has a little Captain in it.... This was the only Hurricane Katrina damage I saw during the whole trip and the only piece of Kern Studios' collection that was damaged in the hurricane. It used to be Mick Jagger's head. Now it's half of Mick Jagger's head. Alf gives Mardi Gras World his seal of approval! Moving on to the Sphinx, a buffalo and some rich dude. Third order of business: take a three-hour tour of the float museum and workshop, starting with the New Orleans Saints' mascot! Second order of business: eat a piece of ceremonial Mardi Gras World king cake! First order of business: get dressed in the ceremonial Mardi Gras World costume! Finally made it! As does the Mardi Gras World shuttle. A statue of Satchmo greets guests on the other side. Finally aboard the ferry Louis B. Porterie, I'm on my way to Algiers and Mardi Gras World. The riverboat Nachez is a fixture along the Riverwalk, featuring concerts by the famous Dukes of Dixieland during its evening cruises. I tried to make reservations for one. Sadly, there were no evening cruises during my stay. The fountain at the Spanish Plaza reminded me of the one in Chicago featured prominently in the opening of "Married with Children." From there I headed back down to the Riverwalk to catch the Algiers Ferry. This little fellow greeted me along the way. Across the street diagonally from St. Louis Cathedral, ironically enough, is the Jackson Brewery, now home to several high-fashion shops. That's progress. Another nice view from the Louisiana State Museum. Holy water goes in here. And the reverse view. Closeup of the area over the altar. And this would be what's below the ceiling. This would be the ceiling. This is what you see immediately on the inside. The whole place is as ornate and gorgeous as can be. St. Louis Cathedral is one of the square's most popular draws. The square also includes the Cabildo, now a part of the Louisiana State Museum, where the Louisiana Purchase was signed. This is a popular place for horse and buggy rides. The square includes a giant statue of its namesake, General (and later President) Andrew Jackson. You might know him from the Battle of New Orleans. And the $20 bill. From there, it was a quick hop across the street to view the sights of Jackson Square. Ah, but these babies were the real draw! Three beignets and a bottle of water all for just $4. They were so good that I repeated the process the next morning. Once again, my table had a spectacular view. This place is like something straight out of the '50s. I started the next day the way all good New Orleans tourists should, with a late breakfast at Cafe du Monde. This would be my hotel at night. My first evening in New Orleans, and after a looooong two days before, I was in bed shortly after 11 p.m. This surely would not happen again. These gentlemen told me in order to save my soul, I needed to get away from all the alcohol and strip clubs on Bourbon Street... so I went back to my hotel instead. Best. Walgreens. Ever. These kids with the Next Generation Brass Band were great! Some of the best music I heard in New Orleans. Apparently they play nightly at the corner of Bourbon and Canal streets, next to Foot Locker. I loved this guy! His eyes moved, and if you got too close, he'd speak to you. This would be the beginnings of that party! At a certain time of night, the police completely block off Bourbon Street, and it becomes one big party. The house band was great, but the terms were a little hard to swallow (literally). The club had a one-drink-per-set minimum--and the drinks were $12! The sets were a little less than a half hour each. I don't usually drink, but I ordered a hot-buttered rum and enjoyed one set. Then I quickly got out of there! For those who've never had one (I hadn't), a hot-buttered rum tastes kind of like a warm Captain Morgan's with a Werther's Original crunched up in it. Maison Bourbon, however, did not disappoint. Unfortunately, Bourbon Street (and most of the French Quarter, for that matter), tends to do more disco than Dixieland nowadays. I must have heard "I Will Survive" coming out of about a dozen different clubs. I asked the waitress if she could recommend some good places to listen to live jazz. She suggested two: the Famous Door and Maison Bourbon. When I walked into the Famous Door, there was some chick in torn jeans belting out Janis Joplin. Not exactly what I was looking for.... ...and then had a soft crab poboy. It was amazingly good and extremely massive! For the first time in my life, I left French fries on my plate. Only one complaint: I found most of the fried seafood in New Orleans to be pretty tame, spice-wise. I guess I'm just used to Old Bay. By now having been awake for 43 of the past 48 hours, I needed an extra boost at dinner to keep my energy going for the New Orleans nightlife. I started with the crawfish bisque... I ended up at Desire for dinner, with a window table offering a nice view of Bourbon Street. The restaurant and oyster bar is named after the famous streetcar. ...and Pete Fountain. Bonus points to any readers of this TR under 30 actually know who the latter two are. ...Al Hirt... And then there were the real statues. Approximately 90 percent of all bronze in New Orleans must go toward recreating likenesses of Louis Armstrong. Local Legends Park (really nothing more than a "wienie" for the Cafe Beignet) used part of the other 10 percent to depict Fats Domino... Lots of living statues and other street performers in the French Quarter. This cowboy was one of the better ones. Once the rain lifted, I set out on a more thorough self-guided tour of Bourbon Street on my way to dinner. Voodoo, anyone? On the way back to my photo to wait out the rain, I ducked into a candy store to escape the worst of the downpour. They demonstrated how to make pralines and gave out free samples, which tasted Heavenly! I wanted to go back and get some later, but I couldn't find the store again, nor did I remember the its name. I ended up buying my pralines from Aunt Sally's on Decatur Street, equally Heavenly, but pre-packaged. This fellow stands in front of the Algiers Ferry terminal. I had planned to pay an afternoon visit to Blaine Kern's Mardi Gras World on the other side, but since it was raining, finding Red Fish Grill took longer than I anticipated, and I wasn't sure how long it would take to tour the museum, I pushed it back to the next day. Given the amount of time I eventually spent in the museum, it was a good decision! Next it was on to Riverwalk, where I thought I would take a short self-guided tour. It turned out to be a lot shorter than I thought, as it started to rain just as I took this photo. First stop on the riverfront: Harrah's Casino, where I won $33! More than half of it was on a "Hee Haw" slot machine. Having toured only Bourbon Street so far, I wasn't too sure how to get around the rest of the French Quarter yet, so I took the trolley to the Mississippi Riverfront area. After I figured out how close it actually was, I ditched the trolley for future excursions here and just walked. Across the street was a Krystal. Having dined at Little Tavern, White Tower and the ubiquitous White Castle, I made a note to add this to my collection of little burger dining experiences later. The double chocolate bread pudding, on the other hand, was awesome! Not $9 awesome and not really bread pudding--it was more of a souffle--but good, nonetheless. First thing I needed to do was get some food, seeing that the airlines have cut back so much, I didn't even get a bag of peanuts/pretzels/cookies on the planes. All I was entitled to was half a can of ginger ale. Each way. Oh, and a cocktail napkin telling me how wonderful the airline's website was. I ended up at Red Fish Grill on Bourbon Street, which was recommended by a friend. I got the jambalaya pasta, seen here. Looked great. Cost $18. Had about as much taste as Styrofoam. I stayed less than half a block away from Bourbon Street! I loved that the hotel used actual keys instead of magnetic strip cards... though the key was a bit oversized, seen here in comparison to a 1973 nickel. After having stayed awake for 28 hours to get everything I needed to do done before my trip, spending seven hours in airports and on airplanes, and suffering a tire blowout on a three-lane highway in the airport shuttle van that nearly killed us all (seriously, thank God for the driver's skills and the sudden lack of traffic on that stretch of road), I made it to my hotel, seen here. It was worth the wait.
  16. ^^I was trying to figure that out at first too. Apparently the back of her shirt and the front of her shirt are held together with spaghetti straps on the side, and the light is casting a slight shadow where the straps meet with the back of the shirt, causing the appearance of a bulge where in fact none exists. Still, not exactly, um... yeah.
  17. Don't you know the official state motto? "Pennsylvania: Expect Delays"
  18. ^Garfield told me he wanted it to be called "manor." His will be done!
  19. ^^I think one of the vendors had deep-fried broccoli on a stick. Otherwise, not so much. Then again, you don't find too many vegetarians around this area. It's very much a place where "Because that's how John Wayne would have wanted it" is a valid way to end an argument.
  20. I had a quite a week last week, spending several days in New Orleans (TR coming later this week on the "Random, Random, Random" board) and then flying back to Baltimore to join some friends for a roadtrip to Kennywood. A family friend of one of the friends was hosting his company's picnic at the park on Saturday, and we attended as his guests before retiring to spend the night at his 14,000-square-foot mansion (I slept on a wrap-around sofa between the movie theater, bar and video arcade/casino). Our hosts couldn't have been more hospitable, and it truly was one of the most memorable weekends of my life thus far. It was a great day until around 7 p.m., when a powerful storm ravaged the park, blowing over trees, flooding the pavilion area and knocking out power. Upon being evacuated, we each got a free pass good for re-admittance any day after 5 p.m. this season. At any rate, I managed to get in more than 200 photos before the storm took over. Enjoy the highlights! And so we bid an early goodnight to Kennywood. And some of us secretly hoped lightning would strike Garfield's Nightmare and put it out of our misery. Sadly, it still stands. The power outage forced an evacuation of the park. Nothing from the rides to the cash registers to the escalators to the upper parking areas was operating. The storm felled a tree over the bridge, forcing most of us to take the long way out of the park. Gotta hand it to Kennywood, though. Had this been a Cedar Fair park, they would have closed the rides in May in preparation for this storm. Kennywood kept everything open until the first raindrops fell. And then the storm came. This photo was taken approximately .0000002 seconds before the sky fell out. We took cover under our picnic pavilion... which seemed like a good idea until all the lights went out and water started to pool inside the pavilion. I wish Parques Reunidos doesn't screw Kennywood up too much.... So exactly what do you think the guy who came up with the giant red mushroom fountain was on at the time? We see you, George! ...a whole armful of purple stuffed animals! And a photo that says, "I play with dolls." Paul is good at midway games. In fact, he won... Historic carousel pictures are always pretty. The Kangaroo in all its hoppin', last-of-its-kind glory. Bonzo doesn't have any teeth because he eats garbage. Take a lesson from Bonzo, kids: Don't eat garbage! He's a lumberjack... and he's OK! And a flower clock. How 1970s! Afro fountain! The train was broken down almost all day. It made only two and a half complete circuits that we saw. This was one of them. Laffing Sal is entombed in here. You can tell the train station is historic because of the extra "E" in "Olde." An historic car from that historic ride. Another historic ride. I'm much more excited than I look in this photo. Honest! In the Tiki, Tiki, Tiki, Tiki, Tiki Room.... This alien, however, does nothing but stand around the park and take pictures all day. He's a Radial Orbiting Blue Being, or R.O.B.B. for short. So does this alien. Mr. Potato Patch Man agrees. This is what angels eat. Trust me on this. Ladies and gentlemen, I give you... Heaven. In keeping with its historic tradition (note the sarcasm), Lost Kennywood also featured The Exterminator, an indoor coaster we didn't ride because the wait was 45 minutes while the wait for everything else was about 10 minutes. ...and down this one. And then it made a big splash (big splash not pictured). Lost Kennywood also featured the Pittsburgh Plunge flume ride. Boats went up this ramp... It contained several fountains. This was one of them. This is Lost Kennywood. I found it. They made me give it back. The entryway is based on the one that once greeted guests at Luna Park. And this would be the Phantom seeking his Revenge with a telephone pole in the way. This would be the Phantom seeking his Revenge. I am the Phantom. Please remain seated, keeping all hands, arms, feet and legs inside the vehicle at all times so that I may seek my Revenge upon you. Time to show the Turtle some love! And this would be our Doombuggy. Ain't no ghost followed us home from this ride. Ghostwood Manor. It'd kind of like the Buzz Lightyear rides at the Disney parks. If Buzz Lightyear lived in The Haunted Mansion. And his targets didn't register all that well. But it's still eons better than Reese's Xtreme Cup Challenge at Hershey Park. And now the orange one. Because I'm a completist, remember? Whee! Green Thunderbolt car. Signature shot No. 2. Signature shot No. 1. From left: Kenny Kangaroo, Laffing Sal, Cowboy Joe, Noah, George Washington and Laffing Sam. He's a juggler. He juggles things. Like his schedule. Do you know how tough it is for him to make it on time to his second job as a street mime and still work in five minutes for a smoke break? Lay off, people, just lay off! Um, captain? You're doing it wrong! Eh, I've seen bigger. A Noah's-eye view of the park. Well, no fiberglass monkey holding a sign in a funhouse has ever steered me wrong before.... Hello, Mr. Noah! How does it feel to be among the last of your kind in the world? Mmmm... fried Oreos! I, on the other hand, found something MUCH more appealing! Some people got Duble Heders for dessert. Mmmm... picnic food! Even the buffet at the company picnic came with an arrow! Most elaborately themed restroom ever. Kenny Kangaroo also lives in Kiddieland, though he's not a "Garfield" character. Is he? Has anyone actually even read "Garfield" in the past 20 years? Seriously, maybe Garfield and Ziggy need to consider going the reality TV route. Odie's here, too. Because little kids dream of the day they can go to Kennywood and have their picture taken with Odie. This is where Garfield lives. When he's not busy ruining classic dark rides. Next stop: Kiddieland! Um, does Sluefoot Sue know about this? Hey, maybe this is where the museum's going.... Apparently standing equals death. And not just because of the officially sanctioned Kennywood sniper standing over on top of the Jackrabbit with an itchy trigger finger. See the red cars? See the green cars? I'm pretty sure they did that just to make Holiday World jealous. Racer... yeah! OK, seriously, you can stop with the freakin' arrows now! This is Liz and Paul. They were the reason I was able to join this trip to Kennywood. Liz is smiling because Paul's 5-year-old niece convinced him to ride the Jackrabbit, his first and only coaster of the day. Paul is smiling because it's over. And the blue Jackrabbit from far away. Because I'm a completist. The blue Jackrabbit close up. The orange Jackrabbit close up. Ending sentences in prepositions, apparently. Jackrabbit... through the former trees! And speaking of fireworks (look closely; they were advertised on the sign below), this giant example was placed somewhat randomly along a park path. Yay for random odd theming! Still, this historic sign remains in front of the ride as a reminder of simpler times, left over from when gas just cost FUN per gallon instead of $4.17. The cars no longer have gas pedals. Instead, they run on an electric current furnished by the track. You just know Ed Begley Jr. wants one. OK, enough with the arrows already.... The pagoda snack bar is cool because it serves authentic Chinese food. Like Icees and soft-serve ice cream. Fortunately, at least part of the "good" Old Mill remains in the park in the form of these dragon heads at the pagoda snack bar. They used to be attached to the Old Mill boats. (I learned that from the video loop we got to see about eight times while in line for Garfield's Nightmare.) Garfield's all like, "It wasn't my idea, I swear!" ...THIS Old Mill! Cedar Fair could buy Kennywood and turn this building into a trashcan museum, and it STILL would suck less than Garfield's Nightmare. Just look at that old mill. It sure looks a lot better than... You 2008 park map. Apparently it's, like, historical or something. To all who come to this happy place, welcome! Oops, sorry... wrong park. We're finally here. Those big yellow arrows are better than GPS! Yep, definitely close now! What's that I see off in the distance? We must be getting close.... After getting a 6:30 a.m. start, we drove for a couple hours before stopping for an Elissa-approved breakfast in Breezewood, PA.
  21. Just got back from a week-long, multi-destination vacation that included New Orleans, Baltimore, Pittsburgh and Chincoteague, VA (along with layovers in Philadelphia and Charlotte, NC), and I have many, many park and non-park photos to share. However, needing to be back at work in seven hours, I'm too tired to resize and post them all tonight. Now, with all that exposition out of the way, one of the places I visited on this extended trip was Mardi Gras World in New Orleans, home of Blaine Kern Studios. During the tour, we were encouraged to take as many photos as we wanted of the floats, figures, concept art and other pieces on display in the warehouse and working studio, and one series in particular caught my eye, stamped "Kern Studios for Universal Studios Florida." They look like something that would have been for Islands of Adventure, but I could be wrong. Having not visited any Universal park in more than four years, I'm not sure if these concepts were ever used, are in production, were scrapped, etc., but I thought they were pretty interesting, and I'm hoping you will, too. The shop designs all kinds of floats and props not only for Mardi Gras, but for Disney, Universal and other parks and parades throughout the United States and occasionally abroad. According to the museum program, the studio's founder was once personally offered a job by Walt Disney (he declined, not wanting to relocate from New Orleans). Anyway, hope you enjoy this small offering. Several more (and much larger) TRs to follow in the coming days. The rest were in color, but not titled. El Dorado This is the board that caught my eye....
  22. This weekend the Jaycees embarked on our biggest fundraiser of the year, the Delmarva Chicken Festival! If you've never been to the Chicken Festival is (and most of you probably haven't), it's exactly what it sounds like it would be--a weekend-long celebration of poultry, which is the area's leading industry. We ran the barbecued chicken concession and had hoped to make about $10,000. The festival rotates to a new town each year, so we only get to do this a couple times every decade or two. We try to make it count! Due to a short rainstorm on Saturday evening that chased a lot of people away, we didn't quite reach our goal, but we still made several thousand dollars for the chapter's charitable activities. Anyway, now that you have the details, on to the photos! And finally the last chicken was pulled off the grill! Of course, we had to go back the next day for cleanup... and the grill itself won't be cool enough to dismantle until Tuesday! But all in all, I was happy to participate in the festival... and I was happy when it ended! My former high school band director ended up on stage with his oldies band as the final act of the festival. We see you, Mr. Dragon! Of course, this is the part you really came to see--the ghetto fair! Right after the 6 a.m. shift began on Saturday, I walked over and took a picture of every single ride, so enjoy! As Big Mike would say, something for my female readers.... ...while the other gave tours of its news helicopter! Which one do you think was more popular? (If you chose the children's activities, you were right.) Both local TV stations were on the scene. One sponsored children's activities, including this photo op... We felt the need to warn the women on site that Travis was on the loose! And the local sheriff's office prefers this one. It used to be the county bookmobile, recently upgraded into a mobile command unit. They let us count our money in here at the end of each shift. Buddy preferred this ride. Chicken Festival special! The Maryland agricultural organizations were out in full force. Exhibits on the grounds included this old-time incubator. Back then, farmers were excited to get coal in their stockings, as that's what kept the chicks warm. The main attraction here was the really cute chicks! Of course, some of the breaks were Elissa-friendly.... Break time! Eric and Tatiana from our Waldorf chapter showed up to help. Tatiana did the chicken dance in front of our booth and helped us drum up business for the last couple hundred dinners. That's better! Um, excuse me, but this is NOT a hot dog festival.... Our chicken was rated G for all ages. Sexiest man alive (or so I'm told). Standing over naked chickens. Shannon and Lesley were working hard as usual. Actually, Lesley co-chaired the entire festival. Which is a lot harder than just standing around cooking a few thousand barbecue chickens! Even Maryland Jaycees President Cia stopped by for a bite. Jeff! Do not strangle Christine! Double trouble! Our favorite twins from the Towson chapter came down to give us a hand (or four, to be more accurate). After awhile, I defected to the Lions Club... but only in the name of the apron. As was our secret sauce! And our free sunscreen samples were a big hit. We showed some love for Relay For Life. Of course, all this cooking takes lots of charcoal--a little over three pallets worth, to be exact. Turns out the forklift driver who delivered our third pallet at Sam's Club was a past chapter member. He wouldn't let us have the charcoal until I recited the Jaycee Creed! Final step: Save some for yourself! Tenth step: Deliver piping hot chicken dinners to all those happy people in line! Ninth step: Ring up the sale. Eighth step: Add pickles, rolls and potato chips. For the record, Jen handles pickles really well! Seventh step: Rotate the now-empty front grill to the back to load up more raw chicken. Sixth step: Throw the cooked chicken into a foil-lined cooler to maintain temperature. The chicken must be sold within two hours of hitting the cooler or else it faces the health department's wrath. Fifth step: Check the temperature so no one gets sick and calls the health department! Fourth step: Wait for those bad boys to finish cooking, flipping twice. Third step: Baste! Coincidentally, Travis is a Master Baster. Second step: Place 216 raw chicken halves on top of the 38-foot pit. So how does one cook award-winning chicken? First step: Light the pit. And why not? After all, we were serving award-winning chicken! We were in action from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. both days. This was my home for the entire festival--the barbecued chicken tent. Stats for all you frying pan enthusiasts. The giant frying pan is a staple of the Chicken Festival. The local Lions Club ran it this year. Just in case you didn't believe me!
  23. I'm not a Celtics or Bruins fan by any stretch, but I loved this TR... even if it did make me feel old.
  24. I received season one of "CHiPs" on DVD for Christmas, and it included an episode with Ponch and Jon briefly visiting Magic Mountain (for lunch, no less). "CHiPs" is the one show that always made me wish I lived in southern California. Oh, and I think I remember reading somewhere that the "Three's Company" opening mentioned at the top of this thread was filmed at Pacific Ocean Park, but I could be wrong.
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