"Wooohoo! Here we go Charlie! Don't touch my beer. I can still see it, Charlie!"
I don't realize that I am, in fact, Charlie, until my new drunk friend starts petting my fleece from the seat behind me. We're hanging upside down on "Kamikaze", a fair ride that doesn't quite live up to its name.
It occurs to me that a carnival may not be the most Tynan-friendly environment. Every single food available is either deep fried, dipped in some sugary coating, or both.
The people are so drunk that even as they hang upside down on a crazy ride, their number one concern is the beer that the carnie made them leave down below.
Well, that and petting my fleece.
And there are the carnival games, a full on assault on my minimalist sensibilities. The prizes are defined by their uselessness and the games are set up so that you always pay more for the prize than it's worth.
But then we have the rides. I love rides, but there's one ride in particular that we came for.
I'll never forget riding The Zipper at the Vermont state fair as a kid. It was by far the most clever and fun ride at the fair. The others were predictable, but The Zipper is different every time you ride it.
Its beam rotates around an axle, a track runs around the beam like a tank tread, and free spinning cages move along the track. Pure unpredictable chaos.
Todd and I ride The Zipper over and over again, laughing out loud the whole time, half because of the absurdity of us being at a carnival populated otherwise with couples and children, and half out of sheer joy for being randomly tossed around in the metal cage.
Next we go to the petting zoo. It might sound juvenile, but I LOVE petting zoos.
I have a philosophy that, whenever possible, things should be experienced rather than seen. Instead of just visiting the temples in Japan, Todd and I did the traditional pilgrimage between them. Learning how to paint from a good painter is more fun than looking at the painting of a great painter. Feeding and petting and hugging animals is a lot more engaging than watching them behind glass.
That's not to say that there isn't a lot of value in seeing things too, I just find that experiencing them is more satisfying.
And so we crouch on the cedar chips and feed the animals. They have tons of goats, baby cows, deer, wallabies, a kangaroo, ponies, sheep, and even a llama. It's amazing.
Other groups come and go but Todd and I stay for at least half an hour in the main pen feeding and petting the animals. They're all so adorable that it's hard to stick to my resolution of not feeding the ones that headbutt me and bite my fleece.
Finally once our cups of food are gone and our hands are thoroughly coated in mixed animal saliva, we leave. It's hard to imagine that anyone who spends any amount of time around animals wouldn't be an animal lover.
Now I have to figure out some way to get a zoo to let me pet tigers and polar bears. When Annie and I were at the aquarium in Mandalay Bay in Vegas we got to pet stingrays, which was pretty neat.
I remember when I was younger, my sister used to work at the Coney Island Aquarium in Brooklyn, NY. I used to visit her, and she'd tell me all about the Penguins in her exhibit. Then she would take me around and show me the other exhibits. She took me to pet the stingrays and I really had a blast doing it.
I'd want to pet a tiger too, but a little baby kitten sized tiger... not the one that can eat me =)
I went to Cayman and they took us out in a boat to a sand bar in the middle of the ocean and we petted stingrays. I caught a huge one and picked it up. It was pretty rad. :)
Speaking of experiencing rather than just seeing...that reminds me of the time I went to a Kosovo Liberation Army training camp in Pec, Kosovo. Not the safest thing I've done, but definitely fun.
PickUp Podcast & The Art of Charm
I'm going to the British School of Falconry in Manchester, VT next weekend with some buddies. I found out that we don't actually fly falcons, but Harris Hawks instead. Either way it is going to be awesome. There's also a Falconry School in Amherst, MA.
If you'd made it off the cruise ship at grand cayman, you could've swum with the stingrays and fed them underwater with me.
Definitely check it out next time you're there!
It's too bad we didn't get a chance to do more hiking together.. there are some great areas around Austin.
I NEED to find a way to be able to hang out with/take care of/play with PANDA's! Those little guys are adorable, and, short of stealing one from the zoo, I need to figure out how to get close to one!
At SeaWorld you can pet and feed stringrays and dolphins. If you go to Discovery Cove across the street you can swim with the dolphins.
I have no idea where you would be able to pet a Polar Bear.
Yesterday I spent all day putting my new solar panel on the RV. Two weeks ago I got the panel in the mail and I called Crestview RV (a local RV place in Austin) to get it installed. They said it would be about $200, but that they were backed up and it would have to be left there for two weeks. I told them I couldn't go without it that long, so he made an appointment for two weeks later and said to come first thing in the morning.
Those of you who know me know that I hate waking up early.
Still, I want my solar power so I woke up early yesterday and my fantastic sister, Kelsey, drove me 15 miles to bring it in. When I got there they told me they were backed up and I would need to leave it there for two weeks. Forget it. I'll do it myself.
I just wanted to let you all know that I am doing an Artist Recap to review the Artists of the Month that I've featured since December of 2007. Since then, I've featured the photographer Todd Adams, the painter Jessica Hill, the knitter Lullette Magalei, the painter Gretel Parker, and the poet Kathy Skaggs. They are all incredibly talented in their own right. Check out the recap here.
If you happen to really like the work they do, there are links to their websites. They could certainly use all the support they can get.
There will be a brand new artist featured in June 2008, and so, please stay tuned!!!