Thursday April 17, 2003 11:06 PM
Wednesday Out West

Wednesday started a little late. Vacationing is hard work and we were all tired so we slept in a little. I don't think the three of us were all up and dressed till after 10 am. Like I said, vacationing is hard work.

By the time I (the last to get up as I continue to start the day off with an episode of the Bob Newhart show- it's cool having TVLand in the bedroom) joined everybody out in the courtyard, Sherry's daughter Dawn had shown up with bagels. Isaiah, of course, was running around having the kind of fun outside he's been overdosing on the past three days except this time he was doing it with a cinnamon raisin bagel in his hand.

The plans for the day were simple. Ruth had heard Sherry talking about a discount store and shopping mall not too far away and she wanted to see it. Sherry had also mentioned that there was a game shop at the mall which had caught my attention, but in the end I decided that I didn't want to go to the mall with three women to see just one single shop because I knew I'd check it out and then be ready to go while they continued to leisurely peruse whatever women see in shopping malls.

They left with Isaiah, who was feeling the desire to blow some of the spending money he'd been given from relatives back home, and it didn't take Dad and I long to find our way into his office to tinker with computers again. We were far more successfull this time, though. We installed the CD burner I'd brought with me on the old 586 his scanner is installed on. He's been working on scanning all the old pictures he's got and wanted to move them to a more archival media. We were both amazed at how easy it was to take a brand new piece of hardware and graft it right onto a 5+ year old Frankenstien's monster of an old workhorse PC, but once we found the right IDE connector to plug it into, it worked perfectly and in mere moments several months worth of scanning work was permanently recorded on a CD.

After we accomplished that, we started talking about digitizing audio. My dad has quite a collection of music, much of it on vinyl and cassette tapes. which would be difficult if not impossible to replace. We've talked a number of times on the phone about ways to convert the sounds to less ephemeral media, but now that he's seen right in front of him how easy it can be to digitize audio directly to a computer, he's more actively interested in making it happen. Then, once he gets a CD burner of his own, he'll be able to put the old LPs into permanent retirement for preservation.

Just about the time we were wrapping up our tinkering and talking, the rest of the gang got back from the mall. Isaiah had found a red Power Ranger on clearance at Kay Bee and now it's replaced the other robot's never-out-of-hand status.

That afternoon, considering the plans and schedule for the rest of the week, we decided that that night would be the best time to visit the one place Isaiah was talking about for weeks before the trip: Organ Stop Pizza. We've got a big postcard of it at home that we'd bought the last time we went there with Dad and Sherry when we were in Arizona five years ago and we'd shown it to Isaiah and described the place to him.

Organ Stop, of course, is a pizza restaurant, but they offer a unique form of entertainment for diners in the form of The Mighty Wurlitzer, a pipe organ which boasts over 5500 pipes including a massive and rare set of 32 foot tall diaphones. We had told Isaiah before we went that it was like the airplane ride- loud but fun and NOT scary. And that is exactly what it was... In the beginning.

Our pizza was ready just as the organist and the four rank manual of the organ rose up out of the dias and began playing. Isaiah enjoyed the music, which wasn't tool loud, and the light show that highlighted all the pipes and remote controlled instruments arrayed in the auditorium/main dining area. I'd requested what is probably Isaiah's favorite piece of music, "Linus & Lucy", or as he refers to it "the Peanuts music" and the organist played it as the third or fourth request of the evening. The mile wide smile and delight on Isaiah's face was priceless. He had a tremendously wonderful time at Organ Stop until the inevitable happened. Some joker had requested the theme from "The Phantom of the Opera". I must admit, I knew it was just a matter of time. You can't get out of that place without somebody requesting that particular piece, but I had hoped it wouldn't happen until later in the set. I think it was only one or two songs after our request that the ominous, minor openings crashed Isaiah's glee and had him uncertainly fearful and unheedful of our reassurances. Then when the lights started strobing with the spooky music, that was all she wrote. He and I went outside for a tour of the exterior of the building.

We came back in and he enjoyed another number or two, but what had been just plain fun and totally non-threatening was now scary unless the number being played was thouroughly happy and upbeat, and even then just a little too loud for his taste. When the set ended, he decided it was time for us to GO, but even with his change in attitude, he told us he had a great time.

As he and I were walking back in after the (first) walk we'd taken around the building he looked up at me smiling and said "When they started playing Peanuts I thought I would pop out of my skin!"