Friday, August 03, 2018

A Day Off

The kids arrived at the villa early and we started our Fun Day with breakfast in a Perkins.

The Stevieling said they needed to pick up their cat in the afternoon, so we decided to hang out in their locale, about 40 minutes drive from Kissimmee.

We tooled around a couple of malls, and ended up in a different Coliseum of Comics, where we had a good look at all the different stuff and my hunt for a particular pattern of dice came up empty (discontinued line, impossible to find) and then I bought some D&D books for the kids as they have of late gotten into the RPG habit with some friends but were finding the cost of acquisition a tad high for their current resources.

We decided to have ice-cream and drove around until we found a local parlor where we enjoyed a very pleasant interlude with some rather nice home-made ice-cream. The day was progressing at a leisurely pace, and it was early afternoon now.

We nipped round the vet's place and picked up their loony cat. She is a rescue moggy and is seriously deranged. I suspect they will end up having to take her to a farm in the country when she gets older. A less pussycat-like cat I only saw once before - the one my father-in-law bought some years ago. It put my mother-in-law in hospital twice before it was sent farmwards.

Then we raced for Disney Springs, where we had an appointment to once again take part in the Star Wars VR thing they have there. Sadly, we were crowding the clock all the way, then just as we got to the turn off for the car park I somehow got confused by the roadworks and ended up going the wrong way down a bus-only road.

I turned around, but then was driving in a bus-only lane where the traffic lights are bizarre. I was familiar with the red-amber-green sort, along with such refinements as English red-and-amber cueing the clutch and arrows and flashing lights. I have a passing acquaintance with French eye-level mini-lights.

But these were special signals for busses that obviously conveyed arcane stuff like permissive red semantics (you can go if you have a clear road). They weren't even the right color for the vertical position. Sadly I had not been to Disney Bus Driver Training School and so had no idea what these lights meant. I made a best guess based on what the busses were doing and the semiotics of Traffic Lights in the Western World. No-one got crashed into or run over but it was terrifying.

Eventually I found the car park, parked the car and we ran to The Void1 and, after signing endless releases and waivers we suited up in the odd VR rig and waded into battle.

This experience is about the best fun you can have wearing several pounds of electro-mechanical clothing. When you look around, your fellow "rebels" look like stormtroopers (a cunning disguise). You have a blaster that fires the slower-than-light laser bolts at anything to dumb to get out of the way. When the bad guys shoot you, you get a small kick in the torso. You stride over unfeasible bridges and ride elevator platforms, none of which have safety rails2 while in reality walking a small pattern in a jet-black room full of other teams of people having the same experience.

We'd done it last winter, but this time we didn't rush it and shoot up the consoles. The Stevieling solved the color-based puzzle that would win us the game while the rest of us shot at stormtroopers, monsters and, in the case of Mrs Stevie, me. She would rapid fire at moving targets and walk her fire onto my back every time. I finally turned around and shot her to get the point across, before returning to my trademark Ranging Shot, Crotch shot, Head Shot response to any stormtrooper running into theater.

And I don't even like Star Wars.

Afterwards The Stevieling demanded Poutine3 which apparently one can now obtain in Disney Springs. Who Knew? But on the way we got sidetracked and ended up in The Earl of Sandwich, a sort of Quiznos on steroids. Really good ingredients and they toast the sandwiches. Delicious and not overly pricey. We never did go on and get poutine.

We then wandered into the art shop next door and I spent a good 45 minutes entranced by the work of one particular artist, who was capturing various elements of the Disney experience in watercolors and a really nifty style. I can't really explain the attraction for me but I looked at it, realized what it was after a second (the style could make deciphering the subject not straightforward in some and I started with one of the harder ones) and I was hooked. If I'd had anywhere to hang one I'd have bought a print. I did end up buying a plaque advertising a long-gone attraction, but to explain why I did I'll have to digress into the past. A long way into the past, when I was thin and Mrs Stevie had a dancer's body and legs that wouldn't quit4.

About a year after Mrs Stevie and I got married we holidayed in Florida. At that time part of what is now Disney Springs shopping and dining mall was a collection of nightclubs called Pleasure Island.

I'm not a big nightclub fan, but Mrs Stevie expressed a burning desire to spend a night clubbing in Pleasure Island so earlier in the day I took her out and we toured the boutiques in what was then Downtown Disney, where I kitted her out in a leather miniskirt c/w chain belt, low-cut frilly blouse with puffy sleeves and asymmetric shades. She looked like she had just walked off the set of a Robert Palmer video. Hot doesn't begin to come close to the effect.

We agreed there was no point tarting me up as I would never carry off 80s clubbing attire. Slacks and a nice shirt. Done.

When we arrived in theater that night Mrs Stevie, striding along in true model fashion and cooly ignoring everyone in her shades, was the center of attention wherever she went, and young men kept trying to insert themselves between us so they could impress her. We decided to try a place called The Adventurer's Club, which had half a dozen different rooms, most of them standard humorous Disney clutter and animatronic displays, but one was a small library-like room (might have been the "Mask Room" but I don't remember that detail) where people could sit while an actor dressed in Great White Hunter drag wold tell tall tales of his adventures. When we walked in he immediately insisted Mrs Stevie sit next to him, asking if she had been attacked by a lion and lost her clothes. Then he started to tell his tale, looking for a short time at each person sitting around him. Every time his gaze came anywhere near Mrs Stevie, he lost his place in the story (for real, not an act). It was hysterical.

That's the story.

So I was about to leave the art shop when I saw a replica of the plaque that hung over the door of The Adventurer's Club, and of course I had to have it. It's hanging on the wall as I type, between a fantasy print we got at I-con and a framed commemorative Sojourner Mars Rover postage stamp.

And then it was time to say goodbye to the kids and wend our way back to the villa. It had been, all said and done, and excellent waste of time.

And so to bed.

  1. The VR place is called The Void
  2. In space no-one can spell OSHA
  3. A bowl of french fries covered in melted cheese and gravy, which The Stevieling had encountered in Canada where it is considered a delicacy and not just whatever was left in the pantry slung in the microwave.
  4. Wouldn't quit attracting pests who would behave boorishly until they were chased off

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