Regular Life

Regular Life

In three words I can sum up everything I've learned about life: it goes on. – Robert Frost

A Burning Twelve-Year-Old, a Superhero, and an Arch

(Note: This is the sixth in a series of posts about the first meeting of three online friends.)

Shadow of Itself

Did I forget to mention that Moonshot and Norah left Saturday morning, so we guys were on our own? Wouldn’t it be funny if we took advantage of that to use the cups as props in public without embarrassing a spouse?

Saturday after the City Museum we stopped at a liquor store and grabbed a bottle of 12-year-old Single Malt Scotch. As Simon and Moksha poured from the bottle of The Balvenie Doublewood, I thought maybe I was on a roll with my tastebuds, so I asked for a small taste.

My throat and my sinuses revolted. Oh, the burning. I somehow averted an embarrassing coughing fit and said, “No more for me, thanks,” or something to that effect, hoping fire didn’t shoot out of my mouth and burn off what hair was left on my buddies’ scalps.

That night we played the Zombies board game while watching Dawn of the Dead. Do you see a theme developing here? Apparently Moonshot (Moksha’s wife — remember?) has quite a thing for all things zombie-related, and Moksha shares much of that enthusiasm. I always liked a good movie on the topic, but that was about as far as my interest had led me.

We hit our respective racks sometime between two and three o’clock in the morning.

Canadian Grandmother's PancakesWe rose and ate Simon’s grandmother’s pancakes from scratch and Moksha’s eggs over medium. It was a bit late to call it brunch. We each then found a semi-private corner and called our wives and our mothers to say “Happy Mother’s Day.”

From there we ran by Moksha’s workplace and then saw a great little flick you might have noticed burning up the box office its first couple of weeks. Iron Man was a lot of fun, and the bit at the end of the credits is a nice tease for at least one sequel.

After Moksha and I showed little enthusiasm for a seafood supper, Simon changed gears and said he wanted an American cheeseburger. We landed at Ruby Tuesday’s, where Simon ordered a seafood dish to two sets of raised eyebrows.

Pod Racer ManAfter a relaxing stop back at the house, we went to Dave and Buster’s. I had been only once, in Dallas years before we moved to the area, and remembered it as a lot of fun. It still was, but I think the video game scene in large part has passed me by since my first trip. We played games you might expect from a geeky group — Pod Racer, Star Wars Trilogy. Then, following the theme set the night before, we played a few rounds of House of the Dead III.

But the big hit of the night was a bowling game. A full-size bowling ball sits in a stand, like a huge trackball. The player chooses from several scenes, including redwood forest and futuristic downtown San Francisco, and then must quickly spin the ball toward the pins, dodging obstacles along the way. It’s kind of like a mix between golf, bowling, and spinning the hell out of an oversized trackball. Click the play button below to see Moksha try to pick up a spare.

If you cannot view this in the embedded player, then download it instead.

Monday served up the best weather for our time in St. Louis. We had mentioned the famous Gateway Arch every day of the trip, but until the final day winds and rain had kept us away.

We wandered around outside the Arch while live jazz wafted over from a riverboat docked on the Mississippi. I think I successfully avoided the “me too” shots.


For the four-minute ride to the top, we crammed inside a five-seater bubble tramcar with a man and his young son. Our knees almost touched as we made ourselves small.

To keep passengers level as it ascended the curve, the tramcar tilted at regular intervals every few seconds. Click! Clack! Click! Clack! Through a small door window we watched the Arch’s innards go by.

OnlookersThe top was roomier than I had expected. “You may stay as long as you like. The tram runs every 10 minutes,” a voice informed us over the public address system. Everyone was courteous and friendly as they waited their turn at the windows, one set facing east and the other facing west. In the middle we were 630 feet above the ground.

We took up window space for several minutes, but nobody commented or complained.

Moksha joked that the “stay as long as you like” policy could provide a nice view of a Cardinals game for a cheap admission price. With a powerful set of binoculars or a good spotting scope, that is.

Lunch was at Cunetto’s House of Pasta, a restaurant on The Hill, the little Italy of St. Louis. Delicious.

Blogfather TrioWe wandered around a bit in the Mini and found ourselves back at the Grenstead in time to prepare lazily for the airport. Simon left first, and I returned to the house with Moksha and hung out with him and the ladies of the house, who had just returned from their trip. He and Moonshot have done very well with Norah, and they make a great family.

Later I boarded my plane and rode it all the way back to Texas without incident. Southwest Airlines did a great job both coming and going; neither of my flights was delayed, my gate never changed, and my luggage appeared on the conveyor belt shortly after my arrival and my return.

Next year — on to Canada, you hosers!

11 Responses to A Burning Twelve-Year-Old, a Superhero, and an Arch

  1. Sounds and looks like fun. I’m just glad no one turned out to be an axe murderer, and you all got along well.

    I’m glad you went to Cunetto’s. That’s one of my all-time favorites. The portions there are as big as any I’ve ever seen in any restaurant. I could order a bowl of pasta, eat until I was stuffed, and then probably have the waiter give it to the table next to me as a fresh dish and they wouldn’t know the difference. I couldn’t even make a dent. I miss that place, and pretty much everything on the “Hill.”

    Actually, I miss all of the St. Louis area. I’m disappointed that you didn’t go to my favorite bar ever, anywhere, which is Fast Eddies on the Bon Air in Alton, Ill. It’s also the birthplace of the world’s tallest man, but I can’t remember his name. His statue is an exact replica and it’s downright bizarre to see. I’m not going to do the research online though…sorry. I just have the hazy facts in my head as I remember them. He was like 8’6″ tall, and died young from an infection that he got from a blister on his foot, if I remember correctly.

    There’s nothing like Fast Eddies. Coldest beer, most eclectic crowd, great old-school music, and amazing food that is unbelievably cheap. Best bar EVER.

    Anyway…I digress. I’m glad it was a fun time, and I’m sure you guys will look forward to the next meeting.

  2. All your titles have been great for this series, but I’m really enjoying the “Burning Twelve-Year-Old.” Is it wrong that I find that image so humorous?

    I’ll stand by my “Cards game from the Arch” idea, but not because it would be cheaper. Actually, you could probably get seats in the stadium cheaper than the tram tickets. I’d be more about the experience of the thing, the story afterwards…a thing that (even though I’m not blogging much right now) I place a very high value on. If I were feeling like Moksha on that day, I might even bring a small set of speakers up with me so that others could listen to the game with me. The Gren would bring headphones.

    And though no one complained, we did get some very odd looks while Red Straw and Blue Straw hogged a window all to themselves. Celebrities….what are ya gonna do?

    In the end, it was a great weekend; better even than my outrageously high expectations. I truly can’t wait to do it again in Edmonton. I’ll spend the next year or so working on my stereotypical, obnoxious American persona so that I can give Simon’s friends what they expect.

    Charles – Ya know, I’ve never been to Fast Eddies. I’ve heard glowing reviews and it does seem like a cool place. But, I wouldn’t be able to eat any of the food that made them famous, and despite my love of beer, I’m not much of a bar guy. So, it didn’t make the short list of things I wanted to show my fellow Blogfathers. We didn’t do the brewery tour. I didn’t show them the Fabulous Fox Theater, the Central West End or the Delmar Loop. We didn’t catch a Cards game and we didn’t visit the Cahokia Mounds. And if ever the full blog families should make the journey, I look forward to showing off the Zoo, the Magic House, the Butterfly House and Grant’s Farm. In other words…I feel your pain, Charles, at having a favorite spot skipped. There’s just too much to pack into such a short trip. I had to pick and choose.

  3. Mark, you’ve done an outstanding job of helping me and Moksha relive the weekend. Fabulously well done. I may still make a single post about it as well, but I’ll be sure to append links to your summaries here as well, thorough as they are.

    Once I got back home I complained to Amy that my pancakes didn’t turn out nearly as well as I would have liked, and how the tops refused to brown at all. Don’t worry though, I’ve blamed it on Moksha’s grill, so once I get you guys up here I’ll know how to do it right on my own equipment. Plus, I normally put chocolate chips AND blueberries in mine, so that’ll make a difference. Not to mention the REAL maple syrup. None of that Butterworth crap. (OK, I think I’m done defending my culinary abilities now.)

    Charles, don’t get too comfortable just yet about the axe murderer thing. Most such killers prefer to do their slaying close to home so the bodies are never very far. I guess we’ll just see what next year brings up here in the Great White North, eh?

    I will have to find that bowling ball game again. That thing was just too much fun!

    One last thing: when traveling through customs (either to or from one’s destination), one of most awkward experiences you can have is truthfully answering the normally innocent question, “And how do you know this person you’re going to see?”

    Because when you reply, “Uh, I met him on the internet,” that’s going to make for one hell of an uncomfortable silence, and a very strange look.

    Trust me.

  4. Si – Film idea. Two ax-murders stalk each other online, not knowing that the other is also an ax-murderer. They meet up in Edmonton and grisly hilarity ensues. Not saying anything specifically made me think of this scenario….but that’d be funny, eh?

  5. Moksha, when you guys come up here next year, I have something really neat to show you in my backyard shed. Trust me.

  6. Si – I’ll assume that’s where the mysterious freezer with the rusty chain and strange stains that used to be in your basement went.

    Oh, unrelated question, will Canadian customs have a problem with a chainsaw in checked baggage?

  7. Charles, I have heard wonderful things about Fast Eddies, although most of them are jumbled pieced together memories of the night before. I have yet to go there.
    Simon, I want to know what is in the backyard shed. Moksha, make sure you are the first one to walk in and shut the door behind you and get some pictures. It seems harmless and awesome all at the same time. oh yeah, add me to your will first.

  8. Moksha,

    You should have NO problem taking a chainsaw in your checked luggage. In fact, you could probably even take it in your carry-on. Just leave the fuel tank empty because, you know, THAT could be considered dangerous.


    If all goes according to plan, various bits of your brother will be in my backyard shed. But don’t tell him that…

  9. You guys are killing me with this ax murdering scenario. I mean, um, slaying me. Nevermind.

    Charles – It was only my second time at Cunetto’s — the first being with you and yours several years ago (10 or more?).

    I’m with Moksha on the bar thing, but had I know I might have asked to go. The freakish tall man statue? I would have totally been there!

    Moksha – At first I had a title covering what turned into the last three posts, and it was much seedier than this one. Something like “Beer, Belly Crawls and a 12-year-old.” Just not right, that one.

    I guess I didn’t notice the odd looks because I was too so tuned in to getting decent pics of Red Straw and Blue Straw.

    Gosh, after your comment to Charles I’m starting to think Simon and I got the two-dollar tour of St. Louis. Ha!

    Simon – You know, while eating those pancakes I was thinking, “Jeez, needs blueberries and chocolate chips.”

    I forgot about that fun customs Q&A you had on the way into the US. Just hilarious, man. But, two of us know the joy of hearing you tell it in person. Great delivery.

    JET – Thanks for jumping into the fray here. Maybe next time we’ll hang out more. The only thing new I learned about you is that you have a nice, fun, beautiful fiancee who can play Demo Ball with the best of them.

  10. Wasn’t Robert Wadlow the world’s tallest man? Of course he was closer to 9′, so maybe the St. Louis guy predates him.

    Mmm, chocolate chips… and blueberries. Together? Huh.

    I think I’ve found my next vacation spot. It’s just really hard to sell family members on “scenic St. Louis”… but boy, what a barrel of fun you guys managed to roll.

  11. Well Mark, thanks for the kind words, Emily is beautful! She makes me look good.


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