Wednesday, June 02, 2010

A Memorable Memorial Day Weekend

Melanie, Edison, Peter, and I spent Memorial Day weekend like most Americans do—entertaining ourselves and thinking not a whit about the soldiers who have died in the service of our Country. On Saturday, we went to the Mary Brogan Museum of Art and Science in downtown Tallahassee. Much to my ecstatic surprise, the museum was having a soft opening of its newest exhibit, Videotopia, which consists of dozens of might-as-well-call-them-vintage coin-operated video games—Ms. Pac-Man, Donkey Kong, Q*bert, Pole Position II, Joust, and many, many more. I was stoked. They even had an old Atari 2600 set up that you could play, and the museum was practically empty. I was in heaven and straightaway plopped a couple of dollars into the token machine. My giddiness was dampened a bit when I couldn’t get past level two of Donkey Kong Jr., even after multiple tries, but I was overall quite the happy boy. I think a classic coin-operated video game unit would be one of very few super splurge items that I would seriously considering buying at some point in my life. Sure, I’d love a whole line of them, à la Edward Stratton III, but even one unit—the original Mario Bros., Root Beer Tapper, Dig Dug, or something along those lines—would be super awesome.

As for the rest of the museum, I was surprisingly entertained. I hadn’t expected much, so I considered it a blast. Melanie says she thinks I had more fun than anyone else in our family. That’s probably true, but this was my first visit and their second, so my enthusiasm is at least somewhat excusable.

Here are a few photos from the day:

I did better with Q*bert than with any other game, advancing to the seventh or eighth level on my first token.

Eddie stares on in awe as his father excels at a game that doesn’t even require the pressing of buttons.

Notice the warning to parents that this game is actually suitable for children of all ages. I guess the parents need to be warned that children are apt to complain about the lack of blood and guts.

Peter concentrates as he reaches the 1,000,000-point mark on the game. Either that, or he’s pooping.

Just outside the video game display was a “game” where you can throw softballs at a target and be told with what speed you hit the target. It wasn’t working too well, but Eddie and Peter both loved throwing the softballs around.

Despite this lingering paraphernalia, there is no Roswell exhibit currently at the museum. To be fair, nothing about this claims that there is such an exhibit. They just want you to tell people that you saw such an exhibit. If it brings in the people, who cares if it’s a lie?

Peter proves he is just as alien-looking as his brother.

After the museum, we went to dinner at Sonny’s, a BBQ restaurant chain. For whatever reason, I found the meal incredibly satisfying. It helped that even Edison and Peter seemed to enjoy their food immensely and downed a good bit of it. Even by the end of the meal, they weren’t getting too restless or wild, which was amazing. It was probably the best dining out experience we’ve ever had as a family. I’m ready to go again.

On Memorial Day itself, we started the day with breakfast at McDonald’s. Eddie and Peter alternated between playing on the play land equipment and eating their pancakes while I sat tight and enjoyed the first bacon, egg, and cheese biscuit I’ve had in a long time. Melanie loved it too, which is fun because breakfast from Mickey D’s is probably one of very few fast food items that she gets excited about.

After breakfast, we drove about an hour away to Panacea, Florida, where we went to the Gulf Specimen Marine Lab. It’s a fairly low-key aquarium that, as far as those things go, doesn’t cost very much. Probably because it doesn’t have very much. Still, we had fun. There were a few “touch tanks,” so Melanie and I were able to pick up crabs and encourage Edison and Peter to pet their shells (which was about as brave as they got). Other highlights included a pair of sharks that were in an open (but non-touch) tank that you could theoretically stick your hand (or your child’s face) in if you wanted to disobey the signs; the hundreds of itty-bitty fiddler crabs that scrambled in terror whenever anyone approached their pit, even if that person wasn’t yelling out “garlic butter!” as I sometimes did just to tease them; and a big empty room that I’m assuming will one day house another exhibit but which seemed to be Eddie and Peter’s favorite part of the aquarium—they liked running around in it, screaming.

And that’s about it. A very good weekend. I didn’t do any homework, really, and that was perfect. Of course, one of the best things about a long weekend is that it’s followed by a short work week. It’s already feeling too long! Ha!


  1. If you dig the old school games, I have to suggest a "plug and play" console. It's just a little box with a joy stick and buttons that you plug directly into your tv. It'll have 4 - 12 classic games on it, just like the arcade version. I had one for a while with pacman and dig dug, but someone swiped it. Much cheaper than a video game system or a full side arcade game.

  2. Mmmmm barbecue! I'm jealous.
    Sounds like you had a fun weekend. Although I love living in Utah and I am likely to never leave I am a little jealous that your weekend was filled with some fun things we could never do here. Most of the stuff around here I've been there, done that.

  3. It's fun seeing you as your same old self. Do you remember that before you even started school...kindergarten or first grade, you could go for 30-40 minutes of Mario Bros,etc at the 7-11 or IGA. And you would screeeeam when it was time to leave. Ahhhh...memories.

  4. I think that top pic is one of my favorites ever! It's so perfect of Ben and his boys. I guess I'm with Mudderbear... memories of my cute baby brother- so brilliant!
    (My word verification is COACKFU... that doesn't look very nice!)

  5. I loved this post, especially all your captions to the pictures and teasing of the crabs.