Triple Pre-Halloween Introvaganza

I saw pictures of myself enjoying Halloween from last year, so I’m pretty sure this isn’t the first one ever. Still, I learn best by repetition, so I welcomed this years excitement, but more so, the triple pre-excitement.

Here you can see us all in our Halloween getups. We pretty slick stuff, huh?
Here you can see us all in our Halloween getups. We pretty slick stuff, huh?

Ever had a do-over? I haven’t, but I’ve heard all about them, mostly from cheaters. Imagine (if you can) having a free do-over, not for things you messed up but for the best things there are. That’s what an extra Halloween is about, more of the best stuff there is.

Only those of the Jewish faith can tell you how much better it is to trade a single holiday for a week of delightful festivity. Halloween is an expensive day, but imagine getting a bunch of days instead of just the one. That’s what the Seattle Aquarium and waterfront businesses gave me and the brothers… and the parents too, I guess.

With fully a week to spare we hit the waterfront to pretend it was already All Hollows Eve. It was our very own dress rehearsal for the real thing. We got to see kids in costumes, the Sea Fair pirates, and even the historic icon J.P. Patches. I didn’t have the courage to meet his downy terror, but I did admire him from a safe distance.

The aquarium was abuzz with fun activities and sponsors like Starbucks and Krispy Creme, but the mostal majority of the fun was made by the cooperation from the myriad businesses and attractions along the pier(s). We got to pre show off our costumes, pre trick-or-treat, and pre-eat all the candy we got.

triple-pre2LEFT – So here you can see little Mr. Dominic Benjamin… I told you he was a little chili, didn’t I? Well look for yourself if you don’t believe me. Cozy green-sprout hat, red uni-leg body stalking, embroidered “hot stuff” across the chest. Oh yeah, this kid’s a pepper alright.

 

 

 

I’ll talk more about our costumes come the real Halloween, but let’s just say me and Patrick were good and warm, while Dominic was a little chili.

In case you missed it, you need to commit to not missing it again. The aquarium and other waterfront businesses do this every year on the Sunday before Halloween. I couldn’t miss it, I was too busy loving it. I’ll be back next year, and unless your mad in the gourd, you’ll be there too.

Oh, and in case you’re wondering about the “intravoganza” part of the headline, well, let me put a schooling on down on you. It’s like an extravoganza, but indoors. See, it gets chilly outside. Helllllooooo!

Sorry the article’s so short but I’ve had a lot of candy in place of a nap and I’m crashing pretty hard right now. Gotta find Dog and a place to sleep. Oh, and happy Pre-Halloween to you and yours.

Above - This here guy's a fireman for real. That's not a costume, he wears that stuff year round. Get's to drive a truck, a boat, fight fires, whatever it takes to keep the peace... from fires anyhow.
Above – This here guy’s a fireman for real. That’s not a costume, he wears that stuff year round. Get’s to drive a truck, a boat, fight fires, whatever it takes to keep the peace… from fires anyhow.
Above - Imagine if you can, me having all kinds of fun amongst bag-toting trick and/or treaters, with bro-Patrick sammiched in the middle hanging tough with a real life Sea Fair pirate. If this ain't the very definition of a good time, I can't say as I know what is... of course it could just as easily be argued that I don't know what is a good time, but no matter.
Above – Imagine if you can, me having all kinds of fun amongst bag-toting trick and/or treaters, with bro-Patrick sammiched in the middle hanging tough with a real life Sea Fair pirate. If this ain’t the very definition of a good time, I can’t say as I know what is… of course it could just as easily be argued that I don’t know what is a good time, but no matter.

Met Mr. Salmon Half Way

I’ve seen Salmon hiking up their fishy ladders, swimming at the aquarium, and chilling at the supermarket. Still I hadn’t met any in person, so when I got to take a dinner cruise, I jumped right in with both feet, a table for five, and no reservations.

Pay no mind to the crabby nonsense behind me, we were still docked at the time.
Pay no mind to the crabby nonsense behind me, we were still docked at the time.

I’ve reported on boating before, but nothing quite like this. On agua-commutous size alone this was a new experience for me. I expected rocking, sea sickness and spectacular views, and I got all of it and so much more.

The rocking wasn’t quite like I expected. The 180-foot dinner cruiser is only four years old, so the waves had an impact so slight it was easy to forget we were faring atop the wavy surf. Boat that big it’s easy to see how they prepare all the dinners aboard fresh for each diner. But we still found a way to get our rocks on, as it were.

They had a soft-rocking band aboard, crooning this way and that. Not stupidly loud like the school dance we went to, these rockers wanted only to bring happiness, not pain. The leading lady even flirted with me when I approached the stage. Oh honey, I’m much too young for you! Between the jazz and the soft rock, it wasn’t so much the motion of the ocean as the size of their waves that made it great.

Then there enters the city lights and sights. Between the twinkle of the one of a kind Space Needle and the shine of the moon bouncing off waves, I just can’t tell you where to put your attention. My only advice is to look in all directions simultaneously and keep your senses about you.

Lmr-salmon2EFT – Here you can see Mr. Dominic giving a yank to the Miss Mama hair. Hey, we all enjoyed the ride in our own ways.

 

 

 

 

Next came my introduction to Mr. Salmon. I’m not sure if these creatures are social or outright communist, but pink never looked so good in a buttery, golden glaise.

I said to my platter, “Please allow me to introduce myself, I’m a man of health and taste. I’ve been around for a long, long while. Stole many a sole’s lemon baste. Pleased to meat you, hope you guessed my name,” and asked “but what’s perplexing you is the nature of my game.”

Needless to say, he gave me little more attention than a rolling stone. His insolence was duly rewarded; I ate him and his loss was my own most tasty gain. The parmesan mashed potatoes were a heavenly side, and I’m told the snow peas really snapped, but I just licked the butter off and spat it back out. Freedom for the veggies, that’s my stand.

Lastly came the sickness of the sea. It wasn’t a rocky nauseous sort of sickness, but after our 3-hour tour ended I felt a yearning for the sea, like home sickness, but to get back out on the water.

Ah, alas, woe is me, those were the good old hours.

Argosy Cruises has food and sight seeing cruises departing almost constantly from Pier 55 on the Seattle waterfront. As soon as you get a chance, come see what all my fuss is about.

ABOVE - It was kind of dark and thusly kind of blurry, but in the background there you can see the city lights all twinkling as they do. Even got a blurry Space Needle in there. I can kinda see it, can you?
ABOVE – It was kind of dark and thusly kind of blurry, but in the background there you can see the city lights all twinkling as they do. Even got a blurry Space Needle in there. I can kinda see it, can you?

Cowboy Surprise Shocks Birthday Brother

I’ve heard bad things about summer brother birthdays, and I believe all these no-guests–showing-up rumors because I have exactly such a brother in my own family. A couple years ago our parents sent out more than 2-dozen handwritten invitations before school let out asking parents to bring their youngster friends, and not one of them even had the decency to RSVP saying they weren’t going to come.* That’s probably why my parents take his summer birthday so seriously, and this was another really great gem for him.

Happy birthday never sounded this cool without the cowboy twang.
Happy birthday never sounded this cool without the cowboy twang.

Two years ago he got that very same short end of the stick so, last year, since we were in Puerto Rico, the parents went all out with a venue and even hired friends to partake in his party. It may sound cheesy, but it was the best they could do and Patrick loved it… not as much as Dominic did. That’s where he met his little Dora Explorer love.

Months later 4-year-old brother Dominic was shown a picture of his lady love and asked, “Did you like that girl?” and he said, “No, I loved her.” Oh Dominic, to be as young as you. I almost remember it like it was last year, because well, you know, it was. We’re only 15-months apart in age. Still, ah, nostalgia…

This summer we were out of town again (seems we take long summer vacations, I guess that is good), so how could the parents live up to that expectation from last year?

They did their best and I think they knocked it out of the park.

We were set up to go on Pappy’s Cowboy Cookout the day of Patrick’s birthday and because of all the vacation fun we were having, Patrick didn’t even know it was his birthday, and so the stage was set for a surprise. Somebody on my staff contacted the Pappy’s Cowboy Cookout crew and had them bring in a homemade cake, complete with the right number of candles.

Our delicious dinner was winding down and the sun was setting when Pappy, the master songsmith of the evening, switched from traditional trail tunes to something a bit more familiar… that song was a subtle variation on “Happy Birthday” unless I miss my guess, which in this rare case, I don’t.

They’ve done it plenty of times at the cowpoke corral, so for them to make special accommodations isn’t such a big deal (since every day is special in their business) but it was a sight to behold.

So all of the sudden, the song becomes “Happy Birthday” and a cake comes out complete with flaming candles and everyone is singing to my big brother. He danced along and blew them out, and then me and Dominic brought him his presents. My birthday is close to New Year’s, so I get different sorts of party surprises, but I have to admit I was proud and jealous of him at the same time.

Thanks to guys like Jonathan at Pappy’s Cowboy Cookout, this birthday for Patrick was truly one he’ll never forget.

And to top it all off, Jonathan gave him an unexpected present. He gave Patrick his very own harmonica. Patrick had been showing keen interest in it all night and it was the sort of double-surprise gift you could even beg to think of dreaming about asking. Even though it wasn’t my birthday, there was enough overflow awesomeness that it made the present feel like it was for all of us. Patrick is a very special brother, and even when I’m jealous, I love him very much, and even I can appreciate when he gets a birthday as special as this.

So if you have a summer birthday don’t be sad about it, just dream of bigger and biggest birthdays like this.

*Shocking I know, but my brother isn’t the only kid who has suffered from no birthday partygoers syndrome. Our very own Misslissas’ son chronically suffered from this partying void.

ABOVE: Here you can see the very surprise I've been talking about on the verge of striking, complete with Pappy singing "Happy Birthday" and a cake full of candles sneaking up from behind.
ABOVE: Here you can see the very surprise I’ve been talking about on the verge of striking, complete with Pappy singing “Happy Birthday” and a cake full of candles sneaking up from behind.

 

Costume Special Part-10 – Super Booby Heroes

In this, our final installment of this year’s Halloween costume special report series, I’ll cover the real, actual and final costumes we’ve chosen from among the many options available on the market. There are so many great choices out there, but for us, based in no small part on the movies we watched this year, we chose to be superheroes. And not just any kind of superheroes, but superheroes with boobies!

Baby Captain America shows off his huge, foam boobies.
Baby Captain America shows off his huge, foam boobies.

We hit the store, hit a second store, and then a third before we finally found the mix of costumes needed to satisfy our ridiculous series of demands to deck us out in super attires of our choosing. Even though I thought I wanted to be “Rock Guy”* from the Fantastic Four, turns out my parental-handler Daddy knew me better than I even knew myself.

boobie-heroes2Left – Once the novelty of donning our superhero costumes wore thin, we mixed things up a bit and tried on one another’s costumes. That’s something you’ll never see in the comic books to my knowledge. Dominic loved wearing eldest brother Patrick’s Batman costume, but it didn’t stop him from tripping over the length of the legs and cape… hmm, perhaps that’s the reason Captain America never wears a cape.

So here’s how it happened: I’d settled on The Rock Guy, but after seeing and trying on a Spiderman costume, my mind was remade afresh. Yeah, I’m a freak for Spiderman, what can I say. And, as it turns out, my dad’s favorite hero as a kid** was also Spiderman, so it’s probably a genetic thing.

Patrick looked at his choices too, and considered them carefully. He went as far as to consider a few different choices, but in the end, he also chose in accordance with his dad’s wishes. See it’s weird, I know, but Patrick has a different dad than me and Dominic. Isn’t that something? Anyhow, his dad is all about Batman, and that was likewise imparted genetically to Patrick whose ultimate superhero choice was entirely of his own making… he would be the great Bat.

He wanted the padded booby variety too (that also had portions of the costume that light up) but the additional cost was just too much. We were already nearing the big one-oh-oh for the three of us, so it didn’t make sense to keep jacking up the price for outfits we’d probably only wear a couple hundred times.

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Above – Maybe it was the costumes taking control of us, but once in full garb, all we could do was wrestle with one another for power. I tried to take on that crazy baby Dominic, but with the limited vision afforded by my Spidey mask, the best I could do was try to keep him off of me, and even in that regard, I was not entirely successful, as you can see.

When it came to baby Dominic, it was a bit trickier. His favorites aren’t as clearly defined so he wasn’t nearly as decisive as we were. By the time Patrick and I had tried on and signed off on our costumes, Baby-D was just getting warmed up. Whether he was going to be a Power Ranger, Wolverine, Superman or Harry Potter was up in the air, and we were getting hungry.

Buzz Lightyear is Dominic’s all-time favorite superhero and his favorite toy by miles and miles — one might even say from infinity to beyond! But, as it turns out Daddy and Miss Mama-Lady had a hard time figuring out exactly what it was Baby-D was asking for; you see, he uses the same word for “Superhero” as he does for “Buzz.” Complicating matters further Buzz is so popular (or is he washed up as a hero?) that we couldn’t find a Buzz costume on the racks. Ultimately, I think the color scheme played into Dominic’s final choice… Buzz Lightyear and Captain America they’re not so different. True, Buzz has that cool spaceman’s helmet and turillian carbon alloy glider wings, but that Captain America, he’s got a skull cap with wings and a number of 5-point stars on his gettup and that’s pretty cool too. Still, I think D believes he is dressed as Buzz Lightyear; silly baby!

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Above – Whether you think we’re dancing like at the end of an Adam West Batman fight sequence, or just getting ready to dig in to battle afresh, witness the inherent joy of our frolics and see how fun we find these; our final choices of costumes.

It’s funny because as much as we try to ask him who he’s dressed up as, he gives us the same answer; “Ba-ba.” That could mean Buzz and it could mean Superhero. Whatever, fine, he’s happy so we’re happy.

So this year, despite all our great experimentations and attempts to find something really strange and unique we settled on what I now realize are just about the most popular of all the costumes sold this year. What can I say, popular is popular for a reason… it’s because everybody likes them, ourselves included.

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Above – Even though I didn’t know it at the time, upon review of my photo, I now see that I’m able to shoot webs from my costume. My goodness, I knew these getups cost a fortune, but I had no idea that they afforded such true hero powers! I think I’ll go climb up some furniture or something!

And we’re not just heroes, we’re heroes with — as I like to grab and scream out — “Boobies!” sometimes adding, “I’ve got boobies!”

What can I say, I know what they are, and now, with due thanks to my padded foamy “muscles” (as Daddy-O likes to keep suggesting as a “correction”) I’ve got them myself. They’re squishy and funny, so I guess I can understand why I’m not allowed to play with them in the real world, but when it comes to my costume, good luck stopping me, these are my boobies, and me and the brothers are booby heroes, no two ways about it.

* My handlers keep correcting me, telling me that “Rock Guy” is actually called “The Thing”, but I know a lot of things in my life, and when I ask the parental handler folks to bring my “the thing”, they never seem to know what I mean. After watching the movie a bunch of times, I decided instead to call him “Ben”, but they didn’t make that connection either, so I’m back to calling him “Rock Guy”.
** Although Spiderman was indeed a favorite of Daddy-O’s when he was a kid, I have since learned that Spidey is still his favorite from all the many choices. Good taste, Daddy-O, good taste.

Above - I seriously don't know what this is all about. Yeah, sure, it's me, but that's not the point. No, I was frustrated that I couldn't see through my Spidey mask and I admired the ears atop Patrick's bat-hat, so once he went to school for the day, I negotiated my way into a mixed-hero costume. I can apologize for how poorly it worked, if you like. It looked better in my head.
Above – I seriously don’t know what this is all about. Yeah, sure, it’s me, but that’s not the point. No, I was frustrated that I couldn’t see through my Spidey mask and I admired the ears atop Patrick’s bat-hat, so once he went to school for the day, I negotiated my way into a mixed-hero costume. I can apologize for how poorly it worked, if you like. It looked better in my head.

 

Nature Preserve Infested by Bumpy Rump o’ Buffalo

We visited Northwest Trek to take in the wonderful sights indigenous to the soppy moss of the Pacific Northwest. Fern, drizzle and skeeter-bogs were expected, but this meddling buffalo was more than I bargained for.

As you can see, quite an infestation of buffoli.
As you can see, quite an infestation of buffoli.

When I say this head-heavy free range mammal of monstrosity was bumpy, I don’t mean to suggest his texture was anything less than woolly. It wasn’t his texture that was bumpy, but his behavior. As dark as his hair is, it wasn’t no blacktop, so move outta the way’ve my tram, already.

I’ve been outside and I know nature, and nature don’t come smothered in mayo, which buffalo (and the tasty burgers derived therefrom) certainly do. I’ve gobbled them, I know.

LEFT – Here you can see the fish-burglar racoons burying their stolen seafood. You can tell they aren’t to be trusted by their robber masks and their jail uniform stripes. Still, raccoons are famous as the most attractive of the kitty-cat lookalikes.

It wasn’t just the buffalo either. We took the tram at Northwest Trek to quietly enjoy the trees, rain, and trees in the rain, but the whole ride was overpowered by excited distractions caused by animals. Ducks, Canadian geese, mooseseses, black and white tailed deer in living color, and goats too, all hanging out, virtually whistling nonchalantly. Don’t pretend to graze quietly, you know you’re riling up the tourists!

But the bumpy butts o’ bison really made the show, then stole it. Talk about a showstopper, the show simply cannot go on if you’ve got a literal ton of hairy herd-hoofer standing in your way.

Northwest Trek isn’t just about distraction though, they’ve got a lot of other attractions. Exhibits with wild kitties, beavers in action, eagles and owls bigger than me, adorably dangerous wolverines and raccoons, by far the most handsome of all rats. The combo coolest, slash prettiest was the cougar. Cougars can jump straight up twenty feet from a stand still. Better, they can jump down fully sixty feet. I know my news isn’t always the most believable, so check it if you don’t believe me, it’s cool, crazy and totally true.

The overriding theme to it is all these animals are ones seen in the northwest by Lewis and Clark or their historic Triathlon (canoeing, hiking, snow shoeing.) That’s totally cool I suppose, but, um, who?

RIGHT – When we pulled up on the visiting Canadian geese I thought it strange that we started honking at them. It wasn’t until later that I realized that it was in fact them who were honking at us. Isn’t that strange? They don’t even have horns.

The best part was the Cheney* Discovery Center. Yep, just for kids. They’ve got pelts, coloring and everything in there is on-limits. You can play, yank and even slap stuff in there, all of it. No getting in trouble or anything. That’s my kind of place!

When you go to Northwest Trek, check out the natural habitat zoo-type exhibits, the kids area, the hours of scenic walking trails and the educational theater. The big attraction is the one-hour nature tram, though, so definitely check that out. But don’t be surprised if you see a million pounds of animals showing off, pretending they’re part of the landscape, which technically they are.

Northwest Trek is located at 11610 Trek Drive E in Eatonville, Washington, less than an hour from Seattle. They’re open to the public year-round and the critters don’t take vacations, so check them out. My thumbs are little, but they’re both in the “up” position, clearly in approval.

Besides, if you work it right, like I did, you can sleep all the way back home in the car. Harrassy-bison or no, that’s my kind of outing.


ABOVE – Here you can see me in the Cheney Discovery Center (Ben, not Dick). I wasn’t quite sure if this wolverine was sleeping, fake or cleverly in wait for me to put my tasty paw in reach. I figured the only way to be 100% sure was by putting my tasty paw in reach, and he didn’t eat it, so I’m okay. Oh, and don’t let that metal clawed guy from the X-Men fool you, wolverines are just weasels with really sharp claws.

 

Railway Murder Rampant, Fun

When I found out we were going to hop aboard the Spirit of Washington Dinner Train, I was understandably alarmed. They see a dozen murders a night and nobody goes to jail, so how do they get away with murder and why would I ever want to take part?

More fun and flatware than I can even comprehend.
More fun and flatware than I can even comprehend.

The vintage railcars are handsomely appointed and restored beyond their original grandeur, so maybe today’s laws don’t apply aboard them. Like the statute of limitations immediately expires or something.

The train meanders from city to city, wandering a scenic course of city and country sights, so maybe nobody claims jurisdiction over these crimes?

I have a theory, though. The waiters are all happy and cordial, the food is yummy-licious and everybody’s handsomely dressed. All the smiles and good times are the very reason it can’t be stopped. People don’t complain because they’re having a swimming quantum of glee and they don’t want to rock the boat, er, I mean, rock the train.

What’s really scary is that, when the ride finally stops, despite the many crimes of greed and/or passion, there are no bodies unaccounted for. Nobody’s bodies are missing? How do they do that? It’s odd, alarming, and spooky really.

mystery-train2LEFT: Of course it wasn’t until I’d already totally stuffed my face with it that I realized these weren’t baby Snickers bars. Not sure what they were. Tasty though. Tasted a lot like sausage.

All this is speculation and my own research, because we went for brunch, and the only savagery suffered was against the tasty links of sausage, and the aggressor was me. Did it with my own bare hands, I admit it.

From the windows I witnessed the death of a million leaves, each turning golden on the limbs of their apathetic home trees. It wasn’t sad though, it was kind of pretty. I still filed a police report, I felt it was my civic duty.

So maybe murder isn’t such a bad thing. Maybe I can take this cup of juice and chocolate cake and just keep quiet. Hush my inquisitive mouth as I’m sure all the passengers do.

The dinner train is located in Renton, no wait, Kirkland, no wait, Woodinville. Oh, never mind it keeps moving. Silly transient entertainment. They’ve got regular food n’ go events, chug n’ choo-choo events, and even murder mystery dinner excursions where you may be killed, kill your own wife, or just be highly suspected despite your innocence and claims of any number of suspicious one-armed men.

ABOVE: See that, comfy, fun, and a view that'll knock yer socks off. It knocked mine off and I got in trouble. Guess I shouldn't have had my shoes off already. Hey, I felt confined! BELOW: Ain't she a beaut'? Look at that joy slathered across my mug, and I lived to tell about it. (Oh, sorry if the file loads slowly, it's kind of big.)
ABOVE: See that, comfy, fun, and a view that’ll knock yer socks off. It knocked mine off and I got in trouble. Guess I shouldn’t have had my shoes off already. Hey, I felt confined! BELOW: Ain’t she a beaut’? Look at that joy slathered across my mug, and I lived to tell about it. (Oh, sorry if the file loads slowly, it’s kind of big.)

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Help Us Keep it Lively

We love doing fun stuff and like it even better when fun equals a good article opportunity, but we need your help. Can you help us keep it lively?
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The bowling alley guy let me crawl on the lane back in the day and the carnies let me climb on their “do not lean” counter. I don’t know what’s next but maybe you do.

If you live in the greater Seattle area and could let me help you at your job or hobby we may have us a new article, and without any “brand spanking” to speak of.

Can I hold your traffic sign or doze your bull? Maybe I could pilot your yacht or defend you client in court. I’ve seen all this stuff on TV, how hard could it be? We could even chat around your water cooler if you like, though, like the water of the brook I’m more of a babbler.

Ponder it a minute. Got a pony I can pet or a China store I can visit dressed in a bull costume? Maybe you work somewhere that could use an extra ounce of positive publicity. This is your big chance to help the world and meet a star all at once.

I’m not looking for charity, but we’d take that too. If it wouldn’t be too much trouble we’d be giddy just to come in and snap a few shots. Can you be that pal?

Drop us a line and let me know if you can help. We’ve got the wheels and desire, do you have the space, props and patience? if so, we may just be in business.

Do you got fun stuff for me to play with?
Do you got fun stuff for me to play with?

 

Flightless Bird Conservatory All Steel, No Feathers

Man has long looked skyward in admiration of our feathered counterparts of winged flappy grace. The Museum of Flight, however, pays little tribute to God’s natural aeronaughts but focuses instead on people who fly… Um, people can fly?
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They’ve got gliders, whirly birds, space capsules and chopped up jet liners gruesomely dissected for scientific study. Good thing they’re not real birds, I don’t want to see a cutaway of any bald eagle’s luggage compartment, even (and especially) if it is mounted with TV’s playing educational videos.

Oh I get it, people flying in planes. That makes more sense.

They’ve got a kids discovery area, with real planes to see, slap and climb in, plus flight simulator video games. There’s an air traffic control room upstairs where you can see blips on screens and hear squawks on boxes. You can advise headings, say words like “niner”, and even push other kids out of the way for added fun and education.

They’ve got a thousand tons of art dangling from the six story ceiling, too. The flock of enthusiastic grandpa-type volunteers insisted they were once air-worthy airplanes, but I don’t think so. You can’t board a dangling plane (not even by a dangling gangplank) and you can’t fly them inside a museum. Believe me, I asked.

They did have one of the extinct SR-71 Blackbirds on display. Oh come on, I’ve been to a lot of zoos before and I’ve never seen a titanium birdy with or without feathers. You can’t perch on a tree branch and peep around for field mice if you weigh a hundred tons. That’s no bird, I’ll tell you that much. Probably a spy plane for all I know. No wonder they went extinct, it’s bigger than a pterodactyl.

I know I considered a career as an airplane and Dominic thinks I can fly, but for the first time ever I got to pilot a real fighter jet. You know those Blue Angels that fly alarmingly close over the heads of event goers? Yeah, I got to fly one of their zippy planes. Wasn’t that hard, really. Fun, but a cinch like a supermarket coin-op ride.

The Museum of Flight also has a new hundred billion square foot addition* with half for the Great War, which I learned wasn’t so great after all. Very expensive and lots of people hurt and sad. The other half is dedicated to World War II, but nobody likes a sequel, even if it did draw a bigger crowd. Better technology, cooler planes, but still a depressing production whether watched in the Pacific theater or elsewhere. Oh, and it was still black and white, I saw lots of pictures.

The only real disappointment was Dominic’s experience. They don’t have any infant specific exhibits. Not space, not air, not even for flying very, very low. He wanted more of a mouth-on exhibit, but due to so-called “sanitary reasons” they don’t have any. Well, there’s the Wings Café, but they don’t carry soy formula or any kind of human milk. They do have peanut butter and jelly sammiches but where’s Dominic’s fun in that? I should drop note in the suggestion box, maybe.

The Museum of Flight is located at 9404 East Marginal Way S. in Seattle and is open for public or private events. Imagine that, a private birthday party with a real spaceship. Kind of hard to swallow, a lot like Tang. Must be a space thing.

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ABOVE: Seen here piloting a Blue Angel zippy jet. I didn’t know until later that it was actually a simulator, but it was still very believable. Well, to me anyways. BELOW: Bond, James Bond. Hey, I got the smirk, the experimental plane, the whole sh’bang. This one, unlike the Blue Angel above, was once an actual airworthy craft. Kinda little, isn’t it? Oh well, that’s what being a spy is all about, I suppose… oh, and it wasn’t a spy craft either.
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* Editorial review says it’s only 80,000 feet, but that’s about a hundred billion, right?

 

Costume Special Part-6 – Paper Heroes

Arguably the best of our costume experiments so far this year was our journey into paper heroism. Scientists and children alike agree that the only thing that could ever be cooler than dressing as a hero is actually being one. We’re still trying to discover our powers, so in the meantime, we’re happy to settle for looking the part.

Observable are the costumes as well as the joys they lend.
Observable are the costumes as well as the joys they lend.

In an ideal costume situation, a superhero getup should be made of bullet-proof, fire-resistant, brightly-colored, stretchy material. My limited research did not turn up such a costume tailor, though I’m sure they exist, so when we made our wishes known, we got them made out of the next-to-last best thing… paper.

Paper has almost none of the qualities one would want from a crime-fighting costume, but it can still hold up in the one way that matters most, that being the vibrant colors. Paper can also be cut to shape and drawn upon much faster than more traditional materials like carbon-fiber and Kevlar, so in terms of instant gratification, it’s about as fast as it gets.

We all look so gosh darn good in our livery, it’s easy to forget how non-stab-proof we are. I would have gotten all daredevil dog dangerous with it, but even when it came to making adjustments to assist my vision, it all started falling apart. Just imagine if I’d tried to leap a building of any height with this outfit… It probably would have fallen off in transit!

Above - If ever a gang was more prepared to fight crime and crusade for all things right, I've never seen them… except on tv. And maybe comic books. Oh, movies too, I guess. Also the police are better prepared, too.
Above – If ever a gang was more prepared to fight crime and crusade for all things right, I’ve never seen them… except on tv. And maybe comic books. Oh, movies too, I guess. Also the police are better prepared, too.

If you’re still thinking about a Halloween costume for this year, I do recommend the superhero route, although not in paper form. It’s quick and easy and looks pretty good, but if there’s as much as a sprinkle on your big night out, you may find yourself wearing pulpy drippings down the trousers before you know it.

I do recommend these papery disguises for afternoon play times, though. They are fun, fully customizable, inexpensive and putting them together can be a family arts and crafts experience that may make your whole week worthwhile.

As for us, however, we’re going to keep looking at our options.

Above - SpiderMe has the red socks on my hands, a mask, a cape (for unknown reasons) and a Spiderman themed shirt so people won't confuse me for something else. Bat Brother has a witch cape, black clothes and an assortment of paper headgear complete with string, tape and style. Super Duper, aka Baby Dominic, has a mask, pinned blanket-cape (good for fashion as well as nap time,) and an indicative "S" he insisted be affixed upside-down. Apparently he wanted it to appear correct when he looked down at it from his cherubic punum, even if it looks a bit odd to the rest of us.
Above – SpiderMe has the red socks on my hands, a mask, a cape (for unknown reasons) and a Spiderman themed shirt so people won’t confuse me for something else. Bat Brother has a witch cape, black clothes and an assortment of paper headgear complete with string, tape and style. Super Duper, aka Baby Dominic, has a mask, pinned blanket-cape (good for fashion as well as nap time,) and an indicative “S” he insisted be affixed upside-down. Apparently he wanted it to appear correct when he looked down at it from his cherubic punum, even if it looks a bit odd to the rest of us.

 

 

Fish, Fish Everywhere N’ Not a Chip w/ Ketchup

We went out for fish yesterday and I was ready to one-little-piggy out. When we arrived at the Seattle Aquarium on Pier 59, I found 30,000 gilled flippery-do’s but nary an ounce of tarter sauce in sight.
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I’ve enjoyed spying colorful fish I couldn’t eat before, but this place had tons of them ranging from pretty little things to pretty big things. Scary, cool, invisible and vibrant just as a start.

As my salty cuffs will attest, they even have a petting aquarium section. It’s a tough concept, but it’s like a petting zoo with starfish and anemones. Yeah, that’s right, anemones, try saying that ten times at any speed.

My handlers liked that it’s kid and stroller friendly (you can even rent one if you forget yours) and that there’s shows technically considered neat, regular presentations and lots of staff on hand to answer any questions. That’s all well and good, but answer me this, where’s lunch?

Nestled somewhere among the mini sharks, mega otters and ladder hopping salmon (neat trick, by the way, very well-trained fillets) was an exhibit with just two fish. Not impressed? It was Nemo and Dori! They didn’t talk though and Nemo was too busy brushing his hair in the anemones, but that’s how Hollywood stars are, I’m told. These are by far the biggest celebrities I’ve ever met. I’m a big fan of their movie, but who isn’t?

Here in the underwater dome of exceptional fishiness one can observe tens of j’dozens of kinds of scaley squigglers, some even without scales. From here I wonder how I’ve ever managed to eat so many, what right I’ve had to do so, and how I can get through this glass to munch me some more.

The one very popular fish I was looking for (that was conspicuously absent by the way) was the Fish Stick. It’s a lightly breaded white fish served best with ketchup and a plastic bib. They have looking areas and a poking area, but no tasting area? Maybe I’ve misunderstood this place, but I’m both disappointed and hungry.

So here’s the coolest thing. It you’re looking to double your Halloween fun this year, the aquarium is your catfish’s meow. On October 24th they’re participating in a day of trick-or-treating on the Seattle waterfront. Savvy consumers must know that means a whole extra day of Halloween and in a safe environment too. Some J.P. Patches guy is going to be there, but I’m told he’s a real clown, so who knows.

Plan to attend the pre-Halloween event (an All Hallow’s Eve, eve?) and be on the lookout for me and my perplexing brothers. We’ll be there tricking and treating in highly clever disguises. More info on the event here. Check it out, let’s do dessert.

The Seattle aquarium is located at 1483 Alaskan Way on the Seattle waterfront and is open every day to the public, for school groups, and also for your special pirate events… Wait, is it pirate or private events? Well, probably both but definitely worthwhile.

Can I get my fish n’ chips now?


I see two things of particular interest here. Fishies in their habitat au naturale simutait, and a reflection of a handsome devil… who is that guy and what’s his image doing in the aquarium glass?


Here are a bunch of sea-folk indiginous to my part of the world, the top left of America, as I understand it. There’s all kinds of neat stuff in here, and though it didn’t photograph well, I’m fixing to slap me a star of the ocean.


Poke, poke, poke. Starfish seems indifferent to my ticklings, but I’m laughing giddy. We have a good working relationship, me and him. He makes me happy with his colors and amicability, I forgive him for inedibility. Co-existence at its finest.