The Invictus Games are underway in Toronto, as are the German elections, the continuing weather/climate turmoil in the Caribbean Islands, the post-quake trauma in several regions of Mexico...and on it goes. This world continues to be a busy place, defying anyone's ability to fully understand it at any one moment. I can still live with that.
The Big Event for me as a science fiction fan tonight is Star Trek: Discovery's opening episode, "The Vulcan Hello". I can't say that I'm pleased with the idea of the series being available by subscription-streaming over the Net everywhere else on the planet, but at least Canada's managed to avoid that for now via Space Channel.
Also, I'm still getting used to this being the first Trek branch-series filmed on soundstages outside the USA. In Toronto, of all places. Just over four hours away from me by passenger train. This wasn't a thing I'd ever really expected to happen. Sure, I'd imagined branch series created for every language in which Trek is watched these days in the places where those languages were most presently in use. Which was probably less than practical, even nowadays.
Not sure yet about the design aesthetics of the series, but we'll see how it goes. Looking forward to those maps they've been talking about in Lorca's ready room...
So I don't think I've ever evaporated at a concert before. It was like dancing in soup. But anyway I guess that is good for depression 'cause I'm feeling slightly less shit about life this morning.
They played songs from "Empires" and "Automatic" only, which are two of their best albums. Some folks brought glowsticks and were quite generous in handing them out, so it had the ambiance of a 90s rave and Ronan seem very much amused by this.
So what we absolutely expected to see at Story Book Land were little houses for the Three Bears, with or without Goldilocks. Beehive mailboxes outside that. Pack of squealing kids running up to them before we could get in. Good, spirited stuff. And they had animatronics. The bears would look around, forever discovering their porridge bowls empty and their chairs tampered with. These were in good shape, too. The bears might have looked a little like they were off from the Chuck E Cheese line, but they looked like they were fresh off that. I don't know how recently Story Book Land's had renovations, or whether they just keep stuff in rather good shape all the time. They were looking in great shape, though.
They also had a building that was nothing but model trains. It put me in mind of Roadside America, which as a kid I thought was the most fantastic place to be ever, and which I'm still surprised I haven't taken bunny_hugger to. Maybe when we get to Hershey Park and Dutch Wonderland next, since as Stuff In Eastern-ish Pennsylvania they're surely all close together, right? Anyway, this was several tables, at different heights, filling up what used to be a post office it looks like. And there were so many buttons to press, to make some part of a loop or a shuttle track start running. If I were ever taken here as a seven-year-old I would never have left.
Not a surprise: they have a Santa's Home, with elf statues out front and a house all decorated for Christmas. This was maybe the most Holiday World moment of the park. More of a surprise: they didn't have a Santa there. They only have Santa when the park is open for the Christmas season (something they've been doing since the late 70s) and for one Christmas-in-July event. I understand not having him around all the time, but one busy month and then one extra day seems like under-using the character. They do have some other buildings, not adjacent to Santa's Home. One is a reindeer stall with again button-activated reindeer animatronics. Another is the Workshop, featuring elves assembling toys and a reindeer animatronic that's trying to work the old-fashioned adding machine or write a letter with a pen. I guess good on Santa for not letting physical limitations keep people from jobs they like, but they don't seem like the workspace otherwise accommodates that, like, pens are gonna slip out of hooves.
Surprising, although in that way that afterwards yeah, this does seem like the sort of place that would happen: they had a chapel. It was, says the plaque and the book about the park's history that I bought, a private chapel built in the area and moved to the park in the Like 70s. They've had at least one wedding performed there. It was someone who'd had a career with the park. Whether they'd be open to letting anyone rent the park for a wedding ceremony is, to me, a mystery.
Of neutral surprise content: they've got a garage with a bunch of vintage cars and even old fire trucks, used for parades and other publicity events. Yes, they've got statues of Dalmatian fire fighters
Near all this is a fine little building, a cylindrical tower in the middle of a pond, named Goosey Gander's Castle. And there are a couple geese penned into it. This is, according to that book I got, a return to form. For years they had kept ducks there. I have no explanation for the duck interregnum. But this did serve as a warning that the park keeps live animals. That isn't by itself a bad thing; many parks do, especially ones that aim for appeal to kids. But the park did have some larger enclosures, near the back of the park, and as we approached those we would start to worry that they might keep something way beyond the ability of a small family-owned amusement park to keep well.
Utterly baffling: one of the non-animatronic statues up front is Moby Dick. He's been there for decades and is beloved by longtime parkgoers, says the history book, none of whom seem concerned by how Moby Dick isn't a fairy tale and is really nothing fairy-tale-like, in fact. I would've thought they'd at least have used the Whale From Pinocchio. It's got the air of an idiosyncratic choice that, by long exposure, has become impossible to even question. So be it. What's the point of a park like this that hasn't got odd choices in it?
Trivia: The British government declared the Continental Navy's privateers were pirates and criminals in the Pirate Act of 1777. Source: Smuggler Nation: How Illicit Trade Made America, Peter Andreas.
Currently Reading: Binary Fusion and the Millennium Bug, Beth Bridgman. This is one of the more genially dopey science fiction novels I've read in a long, long while.
PS: Halloweekends Friday after Cedar Point closed!
View from the Hotel Breakers of the park by night. The Power Tower is at the center; to the right, Corkscrew, and to the left, ValRavn.
Old stained-glass window that's been set up in the Hotel Breakers, near the new entrance and somewhere that it can attract appreciation.
Main lobby of the Hotel Breakers, decorated with skeletons and decrepit-looking fake horses, some of which shudder when approached. We don't know what the hotel looks like during the summer when it isn't trying to be spooky.
I had been intending to make a speedometer cable adapter for the Spitfire next, but I think I'll put that off until later.
There seem to be three different groups:
1) Republican Senators who can see that Obamacare is actually about as right-wing a way to have universal healthcare as you can get**, and don't actually want to get rid of it.
2) Republican Senators who may or may not be in favour of Obamacare, but can see that their constituents are now attached to their healthcare, will be furious if they lose it, and only have a slim majority which they are terrified of losing at the next election.
3) Republican Senators who really are against Obamacare.
The problem here is that all three groups need to pretend that they're in category (3), because they've spent the last decade telling their supporters how terrible Obamacare is, to the point where there are voters who support all of the individual parts of the bill, and even the "Affordable Care Act" but will be will be against Obamacare.
And the longer the ACA exists, and the more that voters understand about it (as is happening the more Republicans talk about it) the more popular it gets. To the point where a majority of the public are now in favour of it***. But the Republican Party now has a central point of belief that "Obamacare is bad".
Which means that in order to be against it, but not actually remove it, we're left with a few Republican Senators taking it in turns to vote against repeal, on various largely spurious grounds. Being very careful to say "Oh no, I hate Obamacare as much as the next person. But I can't vote to repeal it this time, because of a minor provision. Maybe next time." - and then the next time a _different_ Republican Senator can do exactly the same thing.
None of which means that Obamacare is safe. It's balanced on a bunch of senators believing that if they repeal it they'll lose their jobs. So every time a repeal bill is put forward they have to be persuaded _again_ that the public still cares. And I am very grateful for my US friends who are involved in getting people to phone their representatives every time it comes up.
But I am moderately hopeful that we'll make it through to the mid-terms without it being repealed. Because I don't think that a majority of the senate actually wants it to be.****
*There were over 50 of these between 2011 and 2014, goodness knows how many we're up to now
**Not surprising, as it's very similar to RomneyCare.
***But only 17% of registered Republicans. It's the swing voters who have moved.
****But don't trust me. This is just my impression from what I've read from, frankly, a long way away.
This winter really kicked my arse. I had colds and flu three times (April, July, and August). And generally struggled with energy and motivation.
As of today I am taking a week of annual leave, and the only thing I need to do today is be awake and at home during the hour my groceries are scheduled to get delivered. This is a good amount of responsibility to have.
Over the next 9 days I want to do the following 3 things:
1. Take laptop in for repairs
2. Book and have an appointment with osteopath
3. Spend a night at my dad's.
Also do some chores around the house, but not to spend more than 2 hours a day on them.
Also finish The Stone Sky and start on The Shepard's Crown.
Also some Ingressing if the weather is nice.
Also lots of naps.