Bumper Cars

(Sunday Paper, Volume I, Issue 12)

Earlier this summer I told you a story about bumper cars with actual cars on an actual road...that didn't turn out so good. (But Connecticut accepted my appeal and cleared me of fault! I think I'm a successful lawyer now.)

This story, about real bumper cars in a controlled bumper car setting, is better.

This week was my wife's company's summer get-together.

It's a really nice annual event that's geared towards the youngest members of the company's families.

We went to Kimball Farm, which is famous for its ice cream and its activities...and this year, they've added bumper cars.

And bumper cars and I have a bit of a history.

One time when I was younger we were on a family vacation where there were bumper cars.

Maybe somewhere in Pennsylvania...Hershey Park? I don't know. I don't remember where it was. But I remember there were bumper cars.

I haven't seen bumper cars much (before Wednesday) in the years since, but I'm going to guess there are some of these that are still around: It was one that had the pole on the back of the car that connected the car to the ceiling. Is that right? Is that how bumper cars used to look? There was kind of a grid on the ceiling and I think they navigated that way?

I think I remember being in a green one. I know I remember getting stuck in a corner and not being able to do anything. I felt like I missed out on a chance at great fun.

Anytime I heard the words "bumper car" in the years since, that memory has jumped back into my head and I felt sad. It's not a great memory. It's other people having a great time while I struggled to get out of the corner. (Maybe if you believed in experiences as metaphors you might find something here...but I don't know. That might be digging a little too deeply.)

But the 'Spin Zone' at Kimball Farm was great. (Metaphor! Things have turned around for good ol' John!) First of all, the weather on Wednesday was pretty terrible. We ate lunch while rain poured down around our tent. But then the skies cleared and we had the Kimball Farm campus basically to ourselves. We didn't have to wait in line for anything and we had a pass that allowed us unlimited access to most of the activities.

The girls fell in love with the 'Spin Zone', which is Kimball Farm's version of bumper cars. They did them multiple times. And I joined them on more than one occasion. I knew this was a chance to have a successful bumper car experience and wipe the slate clean. Mission accomplished. (For the record, we also tried the bumper boats - not bad, but I enjoyed the cars more.) (I mean the kids enjoyed the cars more.)

The only drawback to the bumper cars was getting in the car to go home. For the kids, this was because their day of fun was over.

For me, this was because my car was no longer surrounded by a rubber bumper and I needed to stay in my lane and avoid contact with the other cars, which was counter to my experience for the previous three hours.

But we made it home fine.

And now I can't wait for the next place where we can try out the bumper cars. Even if they have a pole attached to the ceiling.


*Lots of writing this week involving New York State....first, for Destinations magazine I wrote about corn mazes - which are pretty cool. There's another thing I've never done. I think I'll try to find one this fall. But I'm more excited about another piece of writing involving New York State:

*This week I spoke with my friends who have been biking cross-country. (Check that link if you're interested in reading about their progress - they expect to be home by the end of this week!) They spoke from central New York, I guess you'd call it, for an article I'm writing about them which will come out this week...I'll keep you posted about that on my Facebook page - stay tuned for updates...make sure you (and your friends!) are 'Like'ing the page.


*This past week I hosted Stand Up Break In. I know for a lot of comics hosting isn't at the top of the list of things they enjoy...but I really like hosting. I've had the chance to do it a few times, in different atmospheres. Thursday night was a small crowd, but it was fun. Next Thursday is my last as Comic Sit In; I'll be doing a longer set if you're interested in coming by. The Riot Theater is not the most glamorous place in Jamaica Plain...but Stand Up Break In is one of the shows I most enjoy being a part of - it was one of the first places to put me up when I started doing comedy and I've always enjoyed going back there. Come out and support the show on Thursday if you can.

*Oh yeah, I guess I should update you on Comix at Mohegan Sun last week...obviously I didn't advance or else you would have heard about that. It's weird - I think I did fine, but comedy contests are so subjective - the crowd didn't seem to connect with my material the way they did with others. Or the judges didn't connect. I don't know. I wish I knew...that's part of the problem. Not very transparent. Oh well. Maybe the contests just aren't my thing.

What I've Been Enjoying

*I've been catching up on some DVR'ed shows the past few weeks. Someday I'll write more about which different shows we watch (most of the TV we watch is as a couple, though there are a few I watch by myself. Today's entry is about one I watch solo.), but today we'll focus on one show where I just finished up the most recent season. It's called Turn: Washington's Spies. I'm not sure how well-known the show is - I know it's done well enough to get picked up for multiple seasons, but it's on AMC and it seems like a niche-type of show. I forget how I first learned about it, but I think it was because I was following certain historians on Twitter and they were talking about it from the beginning. And it's right up my alley because it's a Revolutionary War-era show.

I think the catch with making Revolutionary War stuff is that it's so expensive to do it right...but Turn manages to do that. As far as I can tell the show stays pretty true in terms of historical accuracy, and it is good television - it has two of the most evil bad guys of any show I've ever watched. (Which reminds me - it is awfully violent...as you might expect a show about war in the 1700s would be. I don't love gross medical/violent stuff, but it's not a deterrent to me watching the show.) A friend of mine said he didn't love the show because it was too much like a soap opera - I thought this was a good description. The first season was very much like a soap opera. Then towards the end of that season they introduced George Washington and since then it's been more war-focused than drama-focused.

This past season's major plot (maybe sub-plot, depending on your perspective) was about Benedict Arnold and his decision to turn on the Continental Army. I know a little bit about that and his relationship with John Andre, and I have a book I'm looking forward to reading that I'm hoping will go into it more in-depth...but I thought the show handled that plot pretty well - it was really fun to watch. It played out on TV pretty much the way I pictured it in my head, which is always fun. Turn is one of those weird off-season shows - I think they run some episodes in the fall and then more in the spring...if you like that period in American history I think you'd enjoy the show.


*A couple of weeks ago I told you about The Anthony Scibelli Web Series...this week another episode came out. It might be the best one yet. Again, so impressed by the work that goes into it - this one even include animation.

*The wheels have come off in Mets land. I guess, since I'm hopelessly optimistic, they have one last shot here since they're getting some key players back to health this week...but I'm no dummy. I see the writing on the wall.

*Anyone else been sick? I was under the weather early in the week and the girls have been battling a fever...stinks to be sick in the summer, but I guess at least they don't have to miss school?