A Day with Liam

Yesterday was my day to take Liam out on the town for a romp. I had purchased tickets for a special event several weeks before, but had been keeping Liam in suspense until the day of the event.

“What is it Dad?”

“Do you really want to know?”

“Yes, yes, yes, yes!”

“We’re going to go see a 60 foot robot dinosaur that eats cars and shoots fire out of its nose!”

“Daaaaaaaaad! No, really, what is it?”

“Seriously.”

Long pause to reassess whether I was pulling his leg.

“Coooooooool!”

So we embarked, heading north to Austin. We stopped at Cabela’s long enough to visit the shooting gallery and to buy matching $5 multi-tools as a memento of the day, with which I fully expect at least one of us to slice off a finger before week’s end. Once to Austin, we stopped in HEB to pick out some snacks (orange soda, peanuts, and jerky — which is why I don’t get to do the grocery shopping), and then went on to Peter Pan Mini Golf.

Peter Pan has a reputation as the best miniature golf course in Austin. We had never been before, but were taken with its funky fiberglass figures, the friendly attitude, and the nicely laid out holes. Legend has it that most of the figures are the originals, constructed sometime in the early 50’s. (Even the owners don’t remember exactly when they opened the place.) I was further impressed when the fellow running the place, seeing that I didn’t have quite enough money for us to both play a second round, waved us on through anyway. Viva Peter Pan!

From there we moseyed on down to Zilker park. Unfortunately, due to the combination of a lost ATM card, my exhausted wallet, and a “Cash Only” policy, we were unable to swim at Barton Springs and ride the Zilker Zephyr as per my original plan. Curses! Liam wasn’t excited about hiking in the 90° heat, so we went over to the Alamo Drafthouse and got our tickets.

We still had an hour to burn before we could get into the theater, so we wandered around the shopping center, visiting a Mexican restaurant to cool off, play paper and crayon games, and rehydrate. We also stopped in at a music store and an electric bike store where Liam found an electric mini-ATV that he quite liked. He also took advantage of the opportunity to tell everyone all about the giant robot dinosaur we were going to see — news that surprised nobody, as it had been taking up 80% of their parking lot all day.

5:30 finally rolled around, and we trooped into the theater to enjoy 90 minutes of the Draftouse’s delightfully eclectic pre-show footage. Featured this time were a lengthy rhapsody on the blissful life of the future as imagined by filmmakers of the 1950’s, previews for a bunch of B-Grade, MST3K-worthy films, and several cartoons. Nearly all of it was funny, though only some of it intentionally so.

The film we were there to see was Transformers. I was keen to see it because John Rogers, who writes brilliantly and whom I expect to have an opportunity to meet later this year, had a hand in writing it. Liam was keen to see it because he’s an 8 year old boy. It was almost exactly what you’d expect from Michael Bay bringing an 80’s nostalgia property to the big screen, but a notch or two better.

After the movie concluded, we trooped on out to the parking lot for the Robosaurus show. The earlier show had been rained on, dousing Robosaurus’ nostril-mounted flamethrowers, but the announcer assured us that God loved us a great deal more than the people at the earlier show as demonstrated by the fact that the weather was clement and cooperative by the time we assumed our seats. (I also want nostril-mounted flamethrowers, as I imagine they would come in handy in quite a variety of situations.) After a bit of preparation, things got underway.

Rather than bore you with an inevitably inadequate description of the event, I took video and edited it together for your viewing pleasure. Behold, Robosaurus!

After the show, we piled back in the car, pointed our noses south, set the cruise control and napped our way back to San Marcos, dreaming happy dreams of giant robot dinosaurs.