They're working hard creating the pump pit for our new Hyena Falls.
They're pouring the concrete quite carefully, so that it's even and cures properly.
So who's at the top end of the long chute?
Why, it's Gary! He's in charge of watching for "clinkers."
Basically, a clinker is a chunk of already-cured concrete which has clung to one of the fins inside the cement mixer.
As a totally unenlightened female, what comes to mind is my KitchenAid mixer – and how I have to stop it mid-mix to scrape the brownie batter off the beaters. (Oh, and to have a taste as well.)
A clinker can be far more serious than a simple lump in the brownie pan. So if Gary misses one of the cured clumps, he hollers, "Clinker!" to warn the crew below to fish out the clump and toss it in the reject pile.
Okay, so now that we're talking about brownies, I just have to share my recipe for Voyage Extreme Brownies (they're every bit as extreme as The Voyage!). This recipe will never be called a clinker – promise!
We receive hundreds and hundreds of emails each day.
Most can be answered by one person or another without much trouble.
But once in a while, there's a group effort involved.
Yesterday, for example. we received the following message from a mom in New Braunfels, Texas:
My name is Emily and I am hoping you can help me. My son, Bennett, was at Holiday World about seven years ago and won a stuffed penguin at the game where you knock down the milk bottles with a ball. He then gave the penguin to his sister, Cecelia, after she was born and it quickly became her FAVORITE sleep pal.
She would carry it everywhere and I have even had to sew the wings on several times. She had terrible ear infections and would put the tip of the wing in her ear to help soothe the pain. So I am asking if there is any way you would have any of these penguins left? What we won’t do for our children. I have attached a picture of my daughter with her penguin. Thank you so much!
My heart sinks when I read this sort of email, since I know how we change the prizes at our games from year to year, and even mid-season.
And doesn't that well-loved penguin look just a little like The Velveteen Rabbit? Oh, Cecelia, we'll sure take a look for you!
After a quick check with Erin, our games director, I had to email Emily back with the disappointing news that all of the penguins had flown the coop years ago.
A quick Google search netted thousands of "plush penguin" opportunities and, happily, Emily headed over to eBay and found, among the 1,700 plush penguins listed, an exact match.
We had a similar situation last fall, when a mom named Tammy emailed the following: This summer my three year old, Christopher, was at your park (and LOVED it of course), and won a stuffed monkey at one of the midway games. He named that monkey Crum and carried it with him everywhere.
On a trip to Illinois, poor Crum was lost and never seen again. I was won- dering if there is any way possible to buy another one of these blue mon- keys? I know it’s a long shot but what a lovely Christ- mas gift it would be for him to get Crum or Crum’s identical twin in his arms again. Here is a pic – you think there is any chance? I appreciate your time and help.
Well, by the time we'd received Tammy's email, all of Crum's brothers and sisters had gone home with other happy children.
So again we Googled, this time "blue monkey plush."
I heard back from Tammy the other day with the happy news that Crum had been found! Apparently that rascal was hanging out at Grandma and Grandpa's house. Crum and Christopher were happily reunited.
It really is the little things that count, isn't it? It's the funny blue monkeys named Crum and penguins with wings that make a small child's ear infection feel a little less ouchy that are important; that are real.
As the Skin Horse in The Velveteen Rabbit explained, Generally, by the time you are Real, most of your hair has been loved off, and your eyes drop out and you get loose in the joints and very shabby. But these things don't matter at all, because once you are Real you can't be ugly, except to people who don't understand.
Update: Congrats to our winner – Tammy L. from Keavy, Kentucky. Her caption was short and sweet – and made us laugh out loud: "For a good time … call 1-812-937-4401." (That's the park's phone number.) Congrats to Tammy, who wins two one-day tickets. Thanks to all who entered!
It's time for another caption contest!
While leafing through Nathan's latest construction photos from Hyena Falls, this one made me laugh.
What in the world is a Sharpie doing in a construction zone? And more importantly – what the heck is he writing?
Judging by the looks on their faces, it's pretty important.
Here's my feeble crack at it: Tic … tac … wait! I can't remember – am I "x" or "o" this time around?
Now it's your turn – what's he getting ready to write with that Sharpie? Or, what are they discussing so earnestly?
Make us laugh out loud and you could win two one-day tickets to Holiday World & Splashin' Safari!
A few rules:
1. Must be 13 or older to enter.
2. Must not be an employee of Holiday World & Splashin' Safari (or that employee's immediate family member).
3. Yes, you may enter more than once. Because you're just that witty, right? But five times per person is the limit. Really. And only one caption per posted Comment, please.
4. If you've won tickets from one of our contests within the past six months, you're not elegible to win. If it's been more than six months – have at it!
5. Judges' decision is final. It always is.
6. Deadline is next Monday at noon. That's 2/25/13 at 12 noon CST. We'll notify the winner by email by that Wednesday.
How to enter? Post your hilarious caption to the above photo as a "Comment" here on this HoliBlog post (we moderate our Comments, so don't get all worked up when it doesn't show up right away, okay? As long as you don't go all naughty on us, we'll post your caption).