Wednesday, July 26, 2017

A Game of Thrones Evening

Clint has made me promise to begin by explaining that we are not usually big fans of sci-fi or fantasy. We don't play Dungeons and Dragons, we are not comic book collectors, and we've never been to a Star Trek convention or a Comi-Con, pinky swear. But last summer, when we were stuck in our tiny little apartment during our renovation, we were desperate for entertainment. Game of Thrones is so wildly popular, it seemed like everyone I asked for a TV show recommendation insisted that we needed to get on board, and so we did. The show moves at an amazingly fast pace, it's exciting, and we binge-watched six seasons in just a few weeks. Still, I wasn't even going to blog about our Game of Thrones evening, but several people asked for details, and I am a woman of the people, so here we go.

Discovery Place museum here in Charlotte does something they call Science on the Rocks the third Friday of each month. Each event features a different theme, activities, cash bar, and music. It's adults only and it is wildly popular. This was our first time trying it and I can see why people love it: Discovery Place does not fool around. They fully commit to a theme, and we all know how much I love a good theme.

I was surprised when we arrived to see the line stretching down the block...and back again! Science on the Rocks lasts from 5:00 until 9:00 p.m. and we got there just a few minutes after 5:00, along with a huge crowd. Luckily, the line moved quickly and please believe me when I tell you that the people watching did not disappoint.

Far and away the most popular wardrobe choice for the night was this t-shirt, with a quote from everyone's favorite imp, Tyrion Lannister:

I think we can all relate, Tyrion. 

In addition to all the witty t-shirts, I should mention that there was also a costume contest as part of the evening. Needless to say, people went all out for their costumes. I saw someone in full knight's armor, about a half dozen Daenerys lookalikes, a few wanderers who may have recycled their Renaissance Festival garb, and even a grown man dressed as a dragon.

Presenting Brienne of Tarth and Daenerys Targaryen, complete with baby dragon.

Last, but certainly not least, I don't want to leave out these iron throne stilettos.

There were so many more that I think I became numb to it and stopped taking pictures! I'm not sure who won the contest, but I will cast my vote for the full body dragon costume. It was a steamy 92 degrees that afternoon, and dedication of that sort deserves reward.

One of the first things we saw when we came in was a catapult game where two players use catapults to launch bean bags at images of Game of Thrones characters to see who can knock the most down. Not that I'm competitive or anything, but I beat Clint (twice).

The catapult competition.

Next, we wandered to a station where we were each handed a small cup of very cold popcorn. It turns out, it had been frozen with liquid nitrogen (more of that later), and when you crunched down on it, smoke came out your nose, a la dragon's breath! It was a highly entertaining little snack, but try as I might, I just could not capture the smoke coming out of Clint's nose. Dragon's breath is quite elusive to capture on film, and even my good sport husband quickly got tired of me taking close-up shots of his nostrils with my iPhone.

Never one to pass on concessions of any kind, our next stop was the bar where we picked up one of the signature cocktails to enjoy, the Kingslayer.

Just like Jaime Lannister, we drank these with one hand.

Sure, a Lannister always pays his debt,
 but you did you know about their chili cheese fries?

After we quenched our thirst, we waiting in a never ending line for archery, then decided to double back to that attraction later (which turned out to be a mistake since the line was twice as long later in the night). Naturally, a tiara-loving girl like myself was drawn like a moth to a flame to the crown souvenirs table. You chose which style of crown you preferred, and if you liked, they had rhinestones and feathers to embellish. I'm not typically one to bypass any type of sparkle, but sometimes simpler is best (i.e., Clint had no interest and we had other sights to see). Off we went.

I never met a crown I didn't like.

In the midst of all the activities, Discovery Place also had a puppeteer making his rounds with a rather large dragon puppet. It moved, it roared, it scared the bejeezus out of so, so many unsuspecting people throughout the course of the night.

Sword fights and archery and dragons, oh my!

Another attraction that had everyone's attention was the liquid nitrogen wine slushie station. Apparently, they do this at all of the Science on the Rocks events, and it was really showy and fun to watch. Plus, you know, wine slushie.

Adding the liquid nitrogen to freeze the wine for slushies. Ah, science.

One of the longest lines of the night, inexplicably, was for the make-your-own Hand of the King pin. I'm always a fan of accessories, but once I saw what the finished product was, we decided to move on. After all, we had places to go and dinner to eat (and NOT Lannister's newly famous chili cheese fries).

Tah dah! (Someone else's) Hand of the King custom pin.

We tried to be patient as we stood in line for the direwolf exhibit; naturally, having an adult wolf and a wolf puppy draws a crowd, and the poor wolves were hot and tired, but we finally made our way to the front of the line and got to pet the wolf puppy. As you can see, he was a fierce, wild, untamed creature:

We're clearly wolf whisperers.

After all that excitement, we were a little "Throned" out. We made one last stop at the photo booth and then called it a night. If you live in Charlotte, I would highly recommend trying Science on the Rocks one Friday evening, and if you don't...Game of Thrones will be back on Sunday night, so hang in there until then. Valar morghulis, and all of that.

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Red, White, and Man, That Was a Long Holiday Weekend

I apologize that this post is a week late, but has taken me a few days to recover from all that holiday time we just enjoyed. Since Independence Day fell on a Tuesday this year, and since Mr. Fix-It had some household projects he was itching to work on, we had ourselves a full five days of staycationing. Five glorious days of quality time, which is fine when we are together in places like the Bahamas, but becomes a bit tedious here in the confines of home sweet home.

To be festive, I bought us star spangled cups, plates, and napkins. We shoved as much summer as we could think of into that loooooong weekend: we grilled out sirloin kabobs one night, hamburgers another evening. We made waffles for sleep-late breakfasts, tomato sandwiches on fresh white bread for lunch, and I stocked us up on plenty of junk food snacks since we all know that holiday calories don't count.

Cotton, chilling while we were grilling. And don't worry: that's not his beer.

We spent time on our deck, sunning ourselves and enjoying mindless reading material, we walked the dog (and stopped for ice cream along the way), we watched lots and lots of television. In our couch potato mode, we blazed through several of what we consider all-American movies: Jaws, Revenge of the Nerds, and Independence Day, to name a few.

Does it get more American?

On July 4th, we ate our sink sandwiches in front of the TV, mesmerized by the annual Nathan's Hot Dog Eating Competition in Atlantic City (in case you were left in suspense, past winner and crowd favorite Joey "Jaws" Chestnut once again took home the win, managing 72 hot dogs in 10 minutes). Then, we donned our super tacky but ultra-American t-shirts we bought just for the occasion and went to see the USA Baseball National Collegiate team play Cuba. And just to really make it a festive occasion, we stopped and ate some delicious gourmet hot dogs for dinner on our way to the ballpark.

Patriotic wardrobe for the ball game, all ready to wear. We practically reek of class.

Our July 4th dinner at JJ's Red Hots, as seen on Food Network's Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives.

Clint's meal. Our apologies in advance to his doctor as this was a slight breech
from his low-sodium diet plan.

We wrapped up our five day fete with a win over Cuba and (but of course) a fireworks display. To recap, that was sun, fun, hamburgers, hot dogs, grilling out, stars and stripes, tacky t-shirts, watermelon, tomato sandwiches, ice cream, baseball, fireworks, movies, television, gossip magazines, and a dash of home improvement. If it gets more 'Merica than that, I'm afraid I don't have the energy.

Stars, stripes, and headed to the ball game. 

I hope everyone had a fun and fabulous fourth! Maybe I'll be rested and recovered by the time Labor Day weekend rolls around!