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[personal profile] austin_dern

It is always dangerous to try going to two amusement parks in a day. It's too easy to shortchange one for the other. We'd made that mistake during the New England Parks Tour a couple years ago, but we didn't know what else to do. We had gotten away with it earlier on our Fifth Anniversary Trip; the hours of Bowcraft and Keansburg meshed well. Saturday, we were planning to try this stunt again. It would get even weirder than that.

Driving south, the hour or so to Atlantic City, we passed signs warning that the state parks were all closed. I had somehow picked up enough local news to know this was likely coming; [profile] bunny_hugger hadn't. It was part of the budget standoff between the Legislature and Chris Christie. If you can remember as far back as July you might remember the late night talk shows mocking Chris Christie for lounging on a beach closed to the public, part of the disgraced governor's efforts to establish himself as so toxic and petty and universally hated he could become a Republican health care plan. The shutdown would not hurt us directly, except that it did foreclose some Sunday options. New Jersey has a healthy number of lighthouses, but I'm not sure any are in Federally-owned parklands so they couldn't be added to [profile] bunny_hugger's lighthouse count this trip. But we had forgotten to bring her lighthouse passport book. So while we could claim credit for seeing lighthouses we would have had to get stamps on loose sheets of paper and bind them into her passport. Doable, but not ideal. We must, next trip, make sure not to repeat the oversight.

We came up to Story Book Land, established 1955, and were immediately delighted. It was, like Bowcraft, a park that looked like it was just dropped off in a strip mall, although this in a much less densely populated part of the state. (Indeed, across the street from the parking lot is an Office Concepts store and a tattoo parlor.) It started out as one of the kid's fairy-tale-lands, the way many parks in the 50s did. We've been to its spiritual counterparts at Idlewild in Ligonier, Pennsylvania, and to Story Land in Glen, New Hampshire. This one is unlike Idlewild and Story Land in that it's still owned by the originating family. And, apparently, doing pretty well for itself. It's a small park, and one only open to 5 pm the early-summer Saturday we were visiting, which is what made attempting two parks seem like a plausible idea. We also figured the place would be swarmed with packs of kids running out ahead of an exhausted parent shouting at Brandon to get back here. But we trusted we could handle that.

Its entrance is a white castle, flanked by nutcracker guards. Also temporary red traffic barriers so people walking in from the parking lot have something like safety from cars driving in off the street. The entrance is a narrow hallway by the cashier's booth, with a gate featuring some of the birds and mice from Cinderella on signs that warn to only push the gate open when the music plays. The music is ``Hail to the Chief''. We don't know what exactly the link is between Story Book Land and Disney, but they've got a bunch of Disney Depictions of characters in the park. There must be some arrangement there or else an extremely bad day once someone at Disney Master Command hears about the place.

Just past the entrance is a large circular flower 'fountain', and a signboard with a clown welcoming you to Story Book Land. To the left is a 30-foot state of Mother Goose, goose beside her, and a couple of fake books to sit on for photographs. Apparently the Mother Goose had (has?) a loudspeaker and a camera inside, for a staffer to look out on and talk to nearby kids. To the left of that is a three-layer birthday-cake-shaped pavilion, which would make [profile] bunny_hugger long to have her own birthday party at an amusement park. The cake had a sign commemorating the park's 62 years of operation. The cake used to be only a single layer; the kids of the park's owners had it expanded on their parents' anniversary. Across the path from Mother Goose is the main snack bar, the Gingerbread House, which has a couple of figures from the A & W restaurant chain on the roof for some reason. Also, off to the side of Mother Goose, they have a Big Boy state, checkered overalls and everything. This goes unexplained.

So after about ten minutes at the park we were having a great day.

Trivia: The British Military Government allowed the formation of political parties in its zone of Germany on the 15th of September, 1945, about a month after the United States allowed district-level parties in its zone, and three months before the French military government did. Source: Germany 195: From War To Peace, Richard Bessel.

Currently Reading: The Global Transformation of Time, 1870 - 1950, Vanessa Ogle.


PS: Halloweekends Friday some more!

SAM_7701.jpg

Performers for some of the haunted houses and walkthrough attractions rallied around symbols of the various venues.


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The Kiddie Carousel, sparkling as a jewel in the night.


SAM_7721.jpg

Glimpse of the Millenium Force roller coaster past the exit of the loading station. You can also see, through the door, the illuminated tower of the roller coaster's lift hill.


PPS: The Summer 2017 Mathematics A To Z: X, perhaps the last possible 'X' glossary term.

I am the one hiding under your stairs

Sep. 22nd, 2017 12:10 am
austin_dern: Inspired by Krazy Kat, of kourse. (Default)
[personal profile] austin_dern

Making my humor blog's big weekly pieces be a bunch of how-to articles this month has strangely relieved me of my deepest problem: thinking of what to write. Have you seen what I've written recently? Try this if you haven't.

Let's get back to Cedar Point Halloweekends. That's a fun time and place to be.

SAM_7645.jpg

Mean Streak, several weeks after its closure, and partly torn up for its renovation. The roller coaster train underneath is from Maverick.


SAM_7649.jpg

Old West-themed building near Maverick, which itself is at the end of the Frontier Trail. The 'White Water Coal Co' suggests to me the White Water Landing log flume ride, itself taken out a decade-plus ago to make room for Maverick. There's several bits of park decoration that have increasingly faded White Water Landing logos or references but since they're all in the Old West part of the park that just makes them fit the theme better.


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Entrance to the Frontier Trail at night on Halloweekends. For the Halloween season the trail is dressed up to this steampunk walk-through attraction and making the trees look like that is part of the show.


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Entrance gate of the Steampunk thingy on the Frontier Trail at Halloweekends. It hasn't got started quite yet, which you can tell because there's not lasers shooting out of the eyes.


SAM_7658.jpg

Brass-plated (well, painted) swan on the Frontier Trail as part of the cyberpunk thing. The swan had been part of the Swan Boats ride; others of the swans were sent to Michigan's Adventure. This one went into seasonal performances instead.


SAM_7685.jpg

Rally of the haunted-house/haunted-walkthrough-area performers at the Luminosity stage. This was new this year, with all the performers gathering for a good send-off just before the witching hour of 8 pm.


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One of the performers on the Luminosity stage, set up outside the Iron Dragon roller coaster, in a show that we were a little too far away to hear quite clearly what was going on.


Trivia: In the early 1940s Orlando Scott offered lie-detector screenings of potential employees to high-volume clients at $15 per interviewee. He pledged to test for ``integrity, intentions, loyalty, competency, intuitiveness, stability, alertness, efficiency, ambition, vocational stability, sabotage, etc''. Source: The Lie Detectors: The History of an American Obsession, Ken Alder.

Currently Reading: The Global Transformation of Time, 1870 - 1950, Vanessa Ogle.

iPods

Sep. 21st, 2017 10:53 pm
james_davis_nicoll: (Default)
[personal profile] james_davis_nicoll
Haven't been around long enough for an adult to reference the technology as something around when they were kids. That's just crazy talk -- 16 years ago, you say?
rfmcdonald: (Default)
[personal profile] rfmcdonald

  • In this unseasonably warm September, Toronto tenants need more air conditioning than some landlords provide. The Toronto Star reports.

  • NOW Toronto notes the launch of a new Kent Monkman canvas, this one depicting a Dutch-Iroquois treaty signing.

  • The bizarre story of an ISIS supporter who tried to attack people at a Canadian Tire store is getting more bizarre. The Toronto Star reports.

  • There is a possibility the Ontario minimum wage increase could hurt employment outside of well-off Toronto. The Globe and Mail reports.

rfmcdonald: (Default)
[personal profile] rfmcdonald

  • If the separatists of Catalonia are triggering a confrontation with the Spanish government to create a majority ... Open Democracy reports.

  • Speaking as someone who could be classified as a settler himself, positioning myself and my arguments is key. MacLean's notes the importance of sensitivity to First Nations issues.

  • The United Kingdom does seem likely to get the selective access to the EU's markets post-Brexit some want. Bloomberg reports.

  • Expensive avocado exports are but some of the complications that could hit North America if NAFTA gets changed. Bloomberg reports.

  • Iceland, again, is displaying particular caution towards potentially overwhelming Chinese investment projects. Bloomberg reports.

[BLOG] Some Thursday links

Sep. 21st, 2017 01:10 pm
rfmcdonald: (Default)
[personal profile] rfmcdonald

  • Centauri Dreams considers the idea of dispatching a fleet of sail-equipped probes to map the asteroid belt.

  • Crux considers the importance of the invention of zero for mathematics.

  • D-Brief notes that Scotland's oldest snow patch is set to melt imminently.

  • The Dragon's Gaze links to a paper looking at the stability of multiplanetary systems in star clusters.

  • Imageo notes the modest recovery of icecaps in the Arctic this summer.

  • Language Log notes the importance of Kazakhstan's shift to using the Latin script for the Kazakh language.

  • The LRB Blog reports on a writer's visit to Helsinki.

  • The Map Room Blog notes a giant relief map of Guatemala, built to reinforce claims to what is now Belize.

  • The NYR Daily considers the continued salience of race in the fragile liberal-democratic world, in America and Europe.

  • The Power and the Money's Noel Maurer wonders if the heavy-handed Spanish government is trying to trigger Catalonian independence.

  • Roads and Kingdoms considers the palm wine of Senegal, and its vendors.

  • Understanding Society considers the Holocaust, as an experience sociological and otherwise.

  • The Volokh Conspiracy makes a libertarian case for open borders.

  • Whatever's John Scalzi celebrates his meeting mutual fan Alison Moyet.

  • Window on Eurasia notes how Belarus' cautious Belarusianization is met by Russia's pro-Soviet nostalgia.

rfmcdonald: (photo)
[personal profile] rfmcdonald
The Cavendish Cemetery, on the southwest corner of the intersection of routes 6 and 13, is famous around the world as the place where Lucy Maud Montgomery rests in eternal peace. Alongside her are buried many of her relatives, including her mother and her maternal grandparents, MacNeills all. A sign at the entrance asks visits not to leave artificial flowers.

Approaching Cavendish Cemetery #pei #princeedwardisland #cavendish #cavendishcemetery #latergram


Graves of MacNeills #pei #princeedwardisland #cavendish #cavendishcemetery #lmmontgomery #macneill #grave #latergram


Entrance #pei #princeedwardisland #cavendish #cavendishcemetery #lmmontgomery #latergram
rfmcdonald: (photo)
[personal profile] rfmcdonald
The newly-opened Trillium Park and William G. David Trail, part of the ongoing redevelopment of Ontario Place, is superb. Though the landscaping is still raw, just three months after the parks opening, the bones are good ones. Walking along the trail on a beautiful warm evening, seeing the park full of people enjoying the grass or the concert or the views of the lake and the Toronto Islands, I knew this park is a success.

Entering Trillium Park

Looking east

Path ahead

Two routes

Trail tree

Gathered for the concert (1)

Gathered for the concert (2)

Looking at Hanlan's Point

Looking at Billy Bishop

Overlooking

Hough's Glade

Evening in the park

Walking by boats on the lake
rfmcdonald: (Default)
[personal profile] rfmcdonald
I've a brief post noting the devastation of the Caribbean this hurricane season. What will come next? And how can the peoples of the Caribbean survive in an area of the world facing such regular devastation?
austin_dern: Inspired by Krazy Kat, of kourse. (Default)
[personal profile] austin_dern

There's a lot of parking lots in Seaside Heights. Just, you know, a plot of land such as you might put a house on, only it's gravel or dirt and there's a guy out front offering to let you leave the car there until 2 am for five or ten or twenty bucks, depending on how busy it was. We saw one, a block north and west of the Casino Pier main building. He was standing in front of a metal music stand and playing the saxophone in-between (rare) customer visits. No bucket for tips or anything, and he wasn't playing any particular song. Just practicing his music while overseeing a Jersey Shore parking lot.

This lovely vignette is something we watched from the miniature golf course. Not the one atop the buildings on Casino Pier. We were tempted by that, but went instead to play the new miniature golf course that's adjacent to the water park, opposite the shore from the Casino. It's got a Privateer theme, much like the miniature golf course [profile] bunny_hugger and I went to with my father back in January. This one had some of the things you'd expect, props of buried treasure and all that. It also put up a bunch of signs about the pirate-or-privateers and their action around Toms River during the Revolutionary War. The pirate-or-privateer action along the Jersey Shore doesn't get a lot of attention, even in New Jersey histories because, you know, we've got the Battles of Trenton and Princeton and Monmouth Junction and the horrible winters at Morristown to talk about. But they were present and vicious in the sort of thing that horrified people about pre-20th-century warfare. So it was fun and I guess educational, if you pretend the signs knew the difference between it's and its.

We went back around the pier, and the Casino, and looking over merchandise and toys and looking for amusing sidelines. I spotted at an employee's door the printout of the benefits Casino Pier employees could claim, such as discount tickets to Great Adventure or to Legoland. We also stopped in another candy shop, not Berkeley's, where there was a bounty of old-time candies like liquorice pipes and Necco wafers and all. I forget if we picked up something to eat there.

We did return to Berkeley Candy, as promised, and brought that back to the car where we found we were no longer alone in the parking lot. There was one other car, parked next to ours, in the enormity of the municipal parking lot.

Candy safely stowed in the back we went back to the pier, admiring the beauty of the pier at night finally. And we bought a night ride on Hydrus, even more gorgeous in color-shifting light against the night sky, as well as the carousel again. Just magnificent.

After a lot of pondering we figured what we wanted for dinner: pizza on the shore. One of the pizza places had ricotta cheese pizza. I don't think I've had that before, because if I did, I would never have been able to eat anything else. I'm still licking my lips hoping to get a few molecules of that back again. Just magnificent.

We saw out the close of the pier, with all the lights turning off and the rides shutting down, and even the boardwalk games shuttered themselves. The day was over, and we said our goodbyes to Seaside Heights, to go back to our temporary Toms River home.

In the municipal parking lot there were two other cars.

Trivia: By the end of 1866 Dr S S Law's Gold Indicator Company had fifty subscribers to telegraphic reports of market prices in the New York Gold Exchange. Source: The Victorian Internet: The Remarkable Story of the Telegraph and the Nineteenth Century's Oline Pioneers, Tom Standage. (Standage doesn't say when the Company started, but from context it was apparently after the Civil War concluded.)


Currently Reading: The Global Transformation of Time, 1870 - 1950, Vanessa Ogle.

PS: What's looking good at Cedar Point?

SAM_7617.jpg

Evening light making Raptor (the green roller coaster) and the Casino in the distance look really, really good. Taken from the ValRavn queue.


SAM_7618.jpg

More of Raptor and the Casino looking so very good in the evening, autumn light. GateKeeper is the tiny blue pair of arches on the far right, above the horizon line.


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Turkeys who are very busy with their projects in the petting zoo and do not have time for your issues, thank you.


PPS: The Summer 2017 Mathematics A To Z: Well-Ordering Principle, which lets me do about my favorite thing in the world: start with a joke and use it to prove all numbers have prime factorizations. So I guess I understand why everyone treated me like that in middle school.

rfmcdonald: (Default)
[personal profile] rfmcdonald

  • io9 has an interesting article looking at how the success of Disney's film Moana is driving Maori pride in New Zealand.

  • New Now Next lists eight of the top LGBTQ bookstores of North America and Europe, including Toronto's Glad Day.

  • 24 hours on an artificial beach, sheltered under a hanger deep in east Germany, turns out to be quite fulfilling. VICE
rfmcdonald: (Default)
[personal profile] rfmcdonald

  • Climate change is making the famous tea of Darjeeling much more difficult to come by. VICE reports.

  • Wired notes Fitbits are useful tracking devices for scientists engaged in studies, too. (I always wear mine.)

  • I entirely approve of this new Niagara College program. Why not legalize and professionalize cannabis agriculture?

  • This VICE interview with bringing the Truvada needed for inexpensive PrEP across the border into Canada is of note.

  • A new study suggests that Planet Nine, if it exists, was likely not captured by the young sun but formed here. Universe Today reports.

rfmcdonald: (Default)
[personal profile] rfmcdonald

  • While I get why the TTC would promote its top ranking on its vehicles, the optics of significant cost for this promotion are terrible.

  • Bay and Bloor, Avenue Road and Bloor, Bay and King--these are the top intersections for condo resellers.

  • I get why Bombardier workers would want to support their employer versus Bombardier with a brief strike, and be justified in doing so. Just--well, optics.

  • Can the Centreville carousel be kept in Toronto? I suppose it would be nice if they could get the funding.

[BLOG] Some Wednesday links

Sep. 20th, 2017 02:29 pm
rfmcdonald: (Default)
[personal profile] rfmcdonald

  • Bad Astronomy's Phil Plait notes the continuing maps and naming of the Pluto system.

  • Centauri Dreams considers one method to detect photosynthesis on Earth-like worlds of red dwarf stars.

  • D-Brief notes the discovery of Octlantis, a permanent community of octopi located off the coast of Australia.

  • The Dragon's Gaze notes Earth-like world can co-exist with a Jovian in a circumstellar habitable zone.

  • Hornet Stories notes that Morrissey is now in Twitter. (This will not go well.

  • Language Log notes the kanji tattoo of one American neo-Nazi.

  • The LRB Blog notes how the English town of Tewksbury is still recovering from massive flooding a decade later.

  • Lawyers, Guns and Money notes the improbable life of Barry Sadler, he of "The Ballad of the Green Berets".

  • The Map Room Blog shares this terrifying map examining the rain footprint of Hurricane Irma.

  • Spacing reviews a fascinating dual biography of architects Frank Lloyd Wright and Philip Johnson.

  • Window on Eurasia notes an call to restore to maps the old Chinese name for former Chinese Tuva, Uryankhai.

rfmcdonald: (photo)
[personal profile] rfmcdonald
The Haunted Woods Trail is one of the major trails extending from the Green Gables house. This one extends east, into a patch of second-growth forest that has grown up on farmland abandoned since the National Park's creation in the early 20th century, on lands that--we are told, by signposts--are marked by the historic presence of Montgomery.

Haunted Woods Trail (1) #pei #princeedwardisland #cavendish #hauntedwoodstrail #greengables


Haunted Woods Trail (2) #pei #princeedwardisland #cavendish #hauntedwoodstrail #greengables


Haunted Woods Trail (3) #pei #princeedwardisland #cavendish #hauntedwoodstrail #greengables


Haunted Woods Trail (4) #pei #princeedwardisland #cavendish #hauntedwoodstrail #greengables


Haunted Woods Trail (5) #pei #princeedwardisland #cavendish #hauntedwoodstrail #greengables


Haunted Woods Trail (6) #pei #princeedwardisland #cavendish #hauntedwoodstrail #greengables


Haunted Woods Trail (7) #pei #princeedwardisland #cavendish #hauntedwoodstrail #greengables


Haunted Woods Trail (8) #pei #princeedwardisland #cavendish #hauntedwoodstrail #greengables


Haunted Woods Trail (9) #pei #princeedwardisland #cavendish #hauntedwoodstrail #greengables
rfmcdonald: (photo)
[personal profile] rfmcdonald
On my Sunday visit to Fort York, I was struck by how this fort is now a green space engulfed in city, towers nearby in South Core to the east and further away in Liberty Village to the west, girdled by the Gardiner Expressway to the south and by the rail tracks to the north. It's an anachronistic island, of sorts.

At Fort York underneath the city (1) #toronto #fortyork #skyline #tower #gardinerexpressway


At Fort York underneath the city (2) #toronto #fortyork #skyline #tower #gardinerexpressway


At Fort York underneath the city (3) #toronto #fortyork #skyline #tower #gardinerexpressway


At Fort York underneath the city (4) #toronto #fortyork #skyline #tower #gardinerexpressway


At Fort York underneath the city (5) #toronto #fortyork #skyline #tower #gardinerexpressway


At Fort York underneath the city (6) #toronto #fortyork #skyline #tower #gardinerexpressway


At Fort York underneath the city (7) #toronto #fortyork #skyline #tower #gardinerexpressway


At Fort York underneath the city (8) #toronto #fortyork #skyline #tower #gardinerexpressway


At Fort York underneath the city (9) #toronto #fortyork #skyline #tower #gardinerexpressway


At Fort York underneath the city (10) #toronto #fortyork #skyline #tower #gardinerexpressway


At Fort York underneath the city (11) #toronto #fortyork #skyline #tower #gardinerexpressway


At Fort York underneath the city (12) #toronto #fortyork #skyline #tower #gardinerexpressway

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