Monday, April 30, 2007

Check this comic out.

If you'd like, you can see it better at

Unfortunately, this hasn’t been my life experience. Preconceived ideas of bigness met and exceeded? Yes (The Grand Canyon, the Sequoias, etc.). Memories of forests and hills and slides retaining their epic proportions for my adult eyes? Negatory. Well, maybe the Hyland Lake Park Reserve in Bloomington, MN. That's a huge playground.

This is a photo of one corner of the park. They didn't have those crayola colored cupolas when I used to play there, but take note of the massive steel slide. That's a tamed-down version of the slide that was installed in the original playground. That thing was a beast! Kids would fire out the end of the slide like bullets from a long-barrel rifle, usually with the same amount of accuracy and spin, too; woe to the child who got up too slowly from unconciousness because there would usually be another kid, oftentimes thirty pounds heavier than you, who was hurtling down the tube like a meteor mere seconds after your ride. Not only did the slide feel like it was a mile high, but during the summer, it would get as hot as an exhaust pipe. I'd hop in there with my shorts on and my sweaty little hair-free legs would adhere to the surface like raw bacon. And then you'd feel like you were trapped - trapped! inside a sizzling hot death tube where one false move would send you careening to your doom, but to slow down meant a roasting, oven-like demise.
Most of the time, the park system would keep the entrance to the slide chained shut. They must have wondered how on earth they could have been convinced that a 50 yard, mirror-polished, steel tube slide was a good idea. Kids would crawl along the top and sides of the slide like ants after the colony's hill collapses - searching . . . searching. Hoping there was a chink in the armor that we could squeeze through.

Last time I visited that park (I think I was in college), they had removed it entirely and installed the less steep version you see in the picture. The beast has been declawed and domesticated. Oh to ride the original again!

Friday, April 13, 2007

Yet another video for your perusal. Fun with perspective!