So much fun

screamin_eagle_coaster

You know you’ve had a fun day when you need the entire next day to recuperate.

Honey, Liz, Shauna, and I got up early yesterday and headed for Six Flags in St. Louis. The weather forecast showed a 40% chance of rain during the day with a lot more moving in around dark, but we figured that we would be on our way home before we ran into any trouble with the wet stuff. No such luck.

About halfway there, we got caught in a downpour that made driving nearly impossible. Several drivers pulled over on the side of the highway, while the rest of us drove at a snail’s pace with our hazard lights on. We were beginning to think that we had picked the worst day possible to visit an amusement park, but after calling Dad for a check of the radar, we decided to journey on.

The day turned out to be absolutely perfect. It was hot, but there was a nice breeze and lots of beautiful sunshine in St. Louis. It was the perfect weather for enjoying water rides, and choosing a weekday meant that the park wasn’t full. The longest we had to wait for a ride was around 20 minutes, but most were much shorter.

We started with the Evel Knievel ride, a brand-new wooden coaster with lots of twists, banks, and turns. We loved it and also thoroughly enjoyed hearing Honey scream, “Oh, Lord!” the entire time. Liz said that he “prayed through” on that one.

We rode every coaster (except the kiddie coasters) and I yelled and hollered so much that I could barely talk on the way home. We enjoyed all of the rides immensely, except for The Boss, which beat us half to death.

It seems a little funny that one of the oldest rides, the Screamin’ Eagle (photo above), was our favorite. We rode it twice in a row and had the front car both times. One of the reasons that I enjoyed it so much was what happened on our second trip down the track. Shauna had gotten soaked on a previous water ride and had changed into a mini-dress that looked as if it were made out of white terry cloth. It was strapless and only fitted through the bust line, but she had a bikini on underneath. As we flew up and down the hills at over 60 mph screaming our heads off, Shauna punched me and pointed to her chest. All of the motion had bounced her rather voluptuous bosoms completely out of her dress and they were jiggling in her bikini top like two enormous bowls of jello. I laughed until I cried.

We tried to get by as cheaply as possible while in the park, so we grabbed a bite to eat just before we arrived and didn’t eat anything except for a turkey leg that we all shared (yum). We were ravenous by the time we left the park around 8 o’clock, so we found our way to a Pizza Hut where we scarfed down some of the best-tasting food I’ve had in a while. I know it was only because I was so hungry, but it was a nice way to end an absolutely fabulous day.

Someday

Someday
When my body is tired and frail
And when it doesn’t respond to the commands
That my brain sends it
I’ll look back on my youth
And remember the hours I spent online
And in front of the television
And I’ll think,
“My God,
I threw it all away.”

Impersonating Michael Jackson

me_mjMost of you know that I love me some Michael Jackson, so when the opportunity arose a few years back to dress up for Halloween, I decided to do my best to create a mirror image of the pop star.

The event was Cher’s “final” concert of the Living Proof Tour. After performing for around two years, she announced that she was going to wrap things up in Toronto with a Halloween extravaganza. She invited her fans to dress up for the occasion, promising a party-like atmosphere. I knew this was my chance to go all out, so I started working on my costume weeks in advance.

I already had the black fedora and had been growing my hair to the point that it nearly reached my shoulders. After finding and purchasing a satin “Thriller”-inspired jacket, I created and handstitched a silk surgical mask and beaded glove. I completed my look with black pants, white socks, black loafers, and a shiny metal belt.

Size wasn’t much of a problem, since I was a few pounds lighter back then. I was also almost the exact same height as MJ, so the illusion seemed to have worked out pretty well all around.

The evening started with a search for lipstick, since I decided that the color I had brought on the trip with me just wasn’t going to cut it. I walked around downtown Toronto until I found a drugstore, where I went in and picked out just the perfect shade of red, feeling very “Michael” the whole time. I figured this was just like something he might have done, even if I didn’t have legions of bodyguards, press, and fans in tow.

The real fun started at the concert’s venue. Everyone was in great spirits and many were in costume. People almost immediately began approaching me with their mouths agape, saying things like, “Oh, my God!” and asking to pose for pictures. One security guard asked me to pull up my pant leg so he could make sure I had on the trademark white socks.

I had a great seat on the floor near the front of the stage and thoroughly enjoyed my fifteen minutes of fame as I strolled through the arena and saw the hundreds of people pointing and staring in my direction. I did my best to imitate Michael’s walk, hoping to fool the crowd into believing that Mr. Jackson had actually come to see Cher’s final performance.

Cher arrived on the scene in an unbelievable witch costume that had been designed by Bob Mackie, and the next two hours went by in a flash of dancing, music, lights, and screaming.

The whole night was so wonderful and enjoyable, save for one incident when a drunken young man started yelling at me about being a pedophile and liking “little boys.” It only gave me more sympathy for the musician, knowing that there must surely be a person like that in every crowd – one bold enough to say what so many are thinking.

I walked several blocks from the venue back to my hotel, basking in the adoration of those along the way. People would drive by and hang out their car windows screaming “Michael” and I felt like a true pop star, even if a little melancholy knowing that the fantasy would end when the costume came off.

Just a few weeks after returning home from the concert, I learned that Cher had added a couple of more dates in Vegas. Then she added another whole leg of the tour, finally ending it in May of 2005, almost two years after her “final” performance in Toronto.

I had no regrets, though. It was a night I will always remember.

Room for error

I work with some incredibly tight tolerances at my place of employment, sometimes within .0002 of an inch. When you consider that a human hair measures only .003, then you can see that there is literally no room for error. It is rather nerve-wracking to know that even the slightest mistake can ruin an entire day’s work, so I find myself praying quite a bit.

Imagine living life as if there were no room for error, like every decision and choice could potentially destroy everything you’ve worked for. The stress alone would probably kill you.

Thankfully, we don’t have to live that way. God forgives us when we make mistakes and He loves us in spite of our many flaws. Knowing that gives me a sense of peace in an otherwise stressful world.

So I think I’ll try to approach life in the same manner that I perform my daily tasks. I’m going to keep concentrating on making the right choices, trusting in God’s forgiveness when I mess up, and praying… alot.

‘As Good as it Gets’

A few nights ago we watched the film As Good As It Gets, which stars Jack Nicholson as an author battling OCD. I’ve seen it several times, but always thoroughly enjoy it.

During one scene, Nicholson stands in the waiting room of his psychiatrist’s office, looks around at those suffering from unknown ills and disorders, and asks the pertinent question, “What if this is as good as it gets?”

That made me think a bit. I’m always looking for something better, banking on someday. Someday we’ll have the house we want, someday we’ll be out of debt, someday we’ll be able to get married.

Even though I don’t think there’s anything wrong with having dreams of a better tomorrow, I do think it’s sad that I can’t live in the moment and be satisfied with what I am currently blessed with.

With the cost of living skyrocketing while the economy goes down the tubes, it is quite possible that this is as good as it gets, so I’m going to try to be a little more thankful and content with all that God has given me.