austin_dern (austin_dern) wrote,
austin_dern
austin_dern

You slowly near the magic sight

To the extent we had any specific objectives this trip it was to go to the Great Adventure amusement park. We didn't want to go on a weekend because do you know what amusement parks are like on the weekends? So that left the question what to do on the actual weekend. We picked miniature golf.

Here we went to the Swing-Time miniature golf course, the one near a White Castle and also near an ice cream stand which my father noticed, in traffic one day, was on fire. (It was the sign burning down.) My father said this to my mother, who was driving, and she said that couldn't be; he must have been distracted by an animated neon sign. The local paper the next day had the report of the sign's burning down, and he left the article where she couldn't help reading it. He had a similar quiet moment of triumph about a decade ago when I checked old Weather Service records and found that yes, there was too snow on the ground on his college's graduation day. (He went to college in Loudonville, New York, which being just outside Albany starts getting snow around Columbus Day and never stops.)

We'd been there before, taking on the ``Raccoon Hollow'' path, and it was one of those wondefully us experiences where we kept finding it was more pleasant to sit with each other rather than make any particular effort to get through the actual miniature golfing. On this time we took the other trail, ``Mountain View'', which includes a part going up and down their little hill in the center used to produce an artificial waterfall.

This trail also has something of a confusing aspect in that after about the third hole the natural next green seems to be just past the hole. This next one is a particularly challenging hole, with quite some rises and falls --- this is one of those miniature golf courses which does its mischief entirely in topography and not in props or gimmicks other than simulated rocks --- and which gave me a feeling of great familiarity as we worked up a count of, I think, five strokes for me (and two for bunny_hugger) without my getting anywhere near the hole. Then I realized this was from the ``Raccoon Hollow'' trail, onto which we had jumped by accident. ``Mountain View'' goes off in a different direction, from the start of the third hole, in a direction kind of clearly labelled, roughly, by a signpost that's hidden by a bush. We weren't the only people who made this mistake; the party in front of us did too (and helped us make that mistake). I think the people behind us were on the brink of the same mistake too.

Neither bunny_hugger nor I are in danger of breaking the world record for this kind of miniature golf anytime soon; we counted ourselves fortunate for every hole which had a three par, and wondered for each of the par-twos how that could possibly be. (Well, there were a couple that seemed like par twos.) But we came through without doing too badly, even despite one really vicious hole in which every shot, no matter what, ended up going to the same impossible depression. Without exaggeration, both of our tee shots managed to roll to the same spot, so the twin golf balls were touching. And the first attempts hitting away returned there too.

After this we got something to drink and discovered curious little decorations around the arcade and refreshments stand, including a small statue of a golfing bunny tucked behind the counter, and various kites with dragon motifs to them. Also I noticed that one snack --- I think it was pretzels --- cost 93 cents, which seems like a reasonable thing assuming sales tax applies so as to make the real price an even dollar; but then another --- I'm going to say popcorn, but that might be wrong --- was 94 cents. For this I have no explanation.

After we felt refreshed we ventured into the arcade, which among other things had a Dance Dance Revolution game in it; I think it was Dance Dance Revolution Extreme, but I admit I wouldn't know the difference. bunny_hugger plays at home as part of her exercise and had what looked like rather good fun playing in the arcade, except for the way the difference in sensitivity between her own pad and the arcade's messed up some of her beats. She invited me to play, and I was game for trying it although I'm rather sure the pad was not taking some of my steps. I grant I can't possibly be that skilled in Dance Dance Revolution considering the closest I've gotten to playing it is doing the Rhythm Dance on WiiFit, and that not too often; and I was trying to follow the directions more than I was looking at what my feet were hitting, but I can't have missed the up arrow as consistently as the machine claimed.

Though I was having fun, I bowed out from competition play when a teenaged girl asked if she could play, and she and bunny_hugger went through a quartet of dancing rounds. bunny_hugger made out very well, despite playing on a higher difficulty level, and she managed at one point to go 153 moves without a misstep. In contrast I think I managed to get ten steps in a row. Once.

Afterwards I'd had the thought that a bit of ice cream would be great, and if I were really slick I'd have thought of that while at the golf course as the no-longer-burning ice cream stand was just up the highway from it. (Well, it'd be inconvenient in that we'd either have to walk or do a nearly complete circle as it'd be going back a little bit against the flow of traffic, but not bad.) Instead I thought of it as we were driving home, so we stopped at an ice cream parlor in the strip mall nearest home.

Incidentally ice cream flavors have really exploded in recent years. We were left befuddled by the array of options and I ended up settling on cookie dough, I believe it was, with crumbled Heath bars on top because some kind of topping is nice and I like Heath bars so feel like they should be encouraged somehow.

The timing there worked great, though, because by then we were having cups in the later afternoon sun, towards and into the setting sun, with the heat of the day fading away and the ice cream being beautifully cold and refreshing and the sky cycling through all the colors as the night wrapped around us. We wouldn't have had nearly as good a sunset view if we'd gone to the no-longer-burning stand.

Trivia: During his descent on the Lunar Module ladder, Neil Armstrong appears to have been tethered to Buzz Aldrin by the Lunar Equipment Conveyor ``clothesline'', intended for moving equipment down and samples up; however, Armstrong does not remember well enough whether he was so tethered. Source: First Man: The Life Of Neil A Armstrong, James R Hansen.

Currently Reading: The American Circus: An Illustrated History, John Culhane.

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