Monday, October 29, 2007

So, Frank, How Was Your Anniversary

It was Good. The Best Anniversary Celebration I've Ever Had...

'Cept fer the Darn Sharks.

We went to the Tennessee Aquarium, in Chattanooga. After a Beautiful, Scenic drive up Highway 41, (during which we listened to a podcast of some guys discussing why they are afraid of going in the water because of sharks,) We went to the Ticket booth and got our tickets to Both the Aquarium and the IMAX 3D show.

The Tennessee Aquarium is comprised of two buildings The Original building is called "River Journey" and the new Expansion is "Ocean Journey". We had been to the original building nearly a decade ago, but hadn't seen the three major acquisitions since then, namely Seahorses, (in a basement expansion of the "River Journey" building, even though they live in the ocean.) Penguins, and Sharks! The Seahorse exhibit, the first one you see upon entering the Main Building, was pretty awesome. I took a picture of the most unbelievable creature in that exhibit, the Australian Sea Dragon. That is not its official name, but it is a sea dragon, and it lives in Australia. There was also a Tasmanian Sea Dragon, which was slightly less awesome. This one, which lives in kelp beds, looks just like kelp, making it the aquatic version of the terrestrial Bug-that-looks-like-a stick. (also not an official name.)

Yep, that's a fish, not a plant. The pic on the right has three of them. You can't tell scale in these photos, so I'll tell you; these dudes are about 10-12 inches long.

Anyway that is the only critter I photographed, because I started noticing all the other tourists looking at every single exhibit through a camera, and realized that they looked like jerks, and then I remembered that John Mayer song, "3X5", and I realized that if I insisted on photographing every single interesting thing in a museum full of interesting things, I was going to be giving myself a really long and tiring day. So if you want to see the rest of the Tennessee Aquarium Critters, Go to Choo-Choo City and buy yourself a ticket. It's worth it, I promise.

The Rest of the aquarium was awesome, Except for two things. The Penguins, located over in the New Ocean Building, were disappointing for me. There was ONE room full of penguins. About 40 (maybe more) of the little guys all in a room smaller than my garage. That was on their side of the glass. On the warmer, human, side of the glass, were an even larger number of children who had all recently seen the movies "Surf's Up" and "Happy Feet". The room was packed, on both sides of the glass, and I, who felt a need to leave, felt really bad for the penguins, who could not.

As soon as I left the penguins, there were the sharks. And about 900 other varieties of very edible looking smaller fish. We had the really good fortune of showing up at feeding time, when about 20 reeeaallly long handled shovels, full of what I have to assume was Romaine lettuce, were lowered into the Enormous Saltwater Tank. The tank was built to duplicate the living conditions of a coral reef. There might have actually been some living coral, I don't know. But there were 11 foot long Sandtiger Sharks! Maybe half a dozen, maybe less, maybe more. Upon seeing these large beasties, I was ever more eager to see their Greater, Whiter cousins for a comparison.

Next stop - Wonderful invertebrates. Jellyfish that illuminated, cuttlefish that flickered, man-o-war type critters with really long, lazy tendrils, and ...HOLY $#@%! what are those things!

Those things were Giant Spider Crabs, and they looked like the bad guys from Starship Troopers. Did I mention this section of the museum was in very low light, to simulate the dim conditions where the various deep-water creatures live? In the dark (Okay... dim), when you have just been gazing at beautiful Sea Nettles, drifting like clouds across the black water, the last thing you want to turn around to see is a giant spider crab two feet away from you. These things looked the size of Dobermans, and were clicking up against the glass like they couldn't wait to escape and have their vengeance on the puny humans in the room.
<--crabs-- --aliens-->

After regaining my composure (and a quick check-up in the men's room), we moved on to..

A different view of the big coral reef tank again. OK, been there done that, where are the Great Whites? I want to see Jaws, Dangit! So we moved on, downstairs to...

The UNDERNEATH view of the same gigantic coral reef tank. That was pretty cool, I have to admit, but I kind of hurried through it, eager to get on to...

The EXIT? Wait, where are the Great White Sharks! Where's Jaws, and the Cello Music, and.. the Exit? The Gift Shop and the Exit? After seeing all that awesomeness, I felt a little ripped off. I don't know if they HAD great whites, on temporary loan, at some point in the past, or if maybe they never had them but they just advertised Big, Dangerous, Man-eating Sharks!, and I just assumed Great Whites. But they don't have any Great White Sharks in Chattanooga, Just FYI. Sandtiger sharks were cool, but would it kill you to put some fricking LASER beams on their fricking heads, would it? I mean, come on, throw me a bone here, People!

After The Aquarium, and the IMAX 3D show, and Lunch at the Mellow Mushroom, Becca and I secured our hotel room (A nice one, at the Hampton Inn, Because I am picky about hotel rooms nowadays) and went to the Comedy Catch. The opening act was a juggler/comic with an immensely long beard, who was pretty funny, but also pretty annoying at the same time. Right at the beginning he asked who could juggle, and pulled me up onto the stage to prove it to everyone. I made several drops before finally getting them going, and after making fun of me for about 5 or 6 minutes, he offered to buy me a drink for being a good sport.
"What are you drinking tonight?" He asked as I walked back to my seat.
"Water, So far!" I said.
"Aw, You don't even have any excuse, then!"

The Headliner was funny, but still doing the exact same routine she was doing 4 years ago. And rushing through it like she had somewhere more important to be. We had a good time though, I I got this picture before the show started.

So later on we were making use of the Free Cable that came with the hotel room, and we'd had a busy day, so we were both really tired, when Becca flipped past Fox Sports Network, and I heard the Dulcet tones of Terry Crisp and Pete Weber announcing a Predators Game was on the Air! The Predators were playing in San Jose against the ...


We caught the broadcast as it broke for commercials, and I asked if Becca would mind leaving it on that channel until I could check the score. When they came back from the break, the puck dropped and the game began. Becca tossed the remote to me, rolled over and turned out the lamp. She was out like a light 10 minutes later.

I on the other hand stayed awake to the bitter end. And I do mean Bitter. The Preds didn't score at all the whole game, and then with 6 seconds left to go, down 2-0, they allowed a final goal on their empty net. It was embarrassing. Although not nearly as embarrassing as the next game they played, against the Los Angeles Kings, a couple of days later.

So having slept not much, the next day I was a little cranky, and when we got home to find Becca's Parents (The Drywall Fairies) still at our house, I walked straight in to my bedroom and unceremoniously (and probably rather rudely, now that I think about it) dropped off to sleep until the late afternoon.

So, except for the Shark-based disappointments, The 6th Anniversary was the best one yet!
I love my wife, and I'm ready for 6 more years. After that, of course, the contract will be up for re-negotiation ;)

You may remember me talking about how wasteful Aquariums (or Aquaria? Aquarii? Darn Latin Correspondence Course!) are in the past, in my post entitled "Beyond the Shadow of a Drought" well it turns out I made some large Factual blunders in that post. To find out what they are, check out Post-A-Palooza Entry Numero Dos, entitled: Frank Cannot Read a Map (and has no sense of scale)

1 comment:

Liz said...

The sad thing about Great Whites is that they litteraly cannot be kept in captivity. Even when put in huge tanks, they beat their heads against the walls. Scientists haven't been able to figure out if being enclosed messes up their sense of navigation (which is based on electrical impulses given out by moving fish), or if they literally become suicidal.

But, there are about 3 or four other sharks that are considered to be "man-eaters" - tiger sharks and sand sharks fall into that category, and I wanna say that the others may be lemon sharks and/or makos.