Archive for the roadtrip Category

Crashing the Galloping Ghost, The Largest Arcade in the United States

Posted in nostalgia, personal, pop culture, roadtrip, video games with tags , , , , , on May 1, 2015 by Paxton

Cavalcade Arcade

It’s not often I get to profile an actual arcade on Cavalcade Arcade, but that is my pleasure today. While you’ve probably seen and heard that both the Nerd Lunch and Atomic Geeks podcasts united in Chicago for C2E2, a few of us broke away from the convention nuttiness to live out a boyhood dream of playing in a dedicated video arcade. And one just happened to exist in the suburbs of Chicago.  And it’s called the Galloping Ghost Arcade, reportedly the largest indoor video game arcade in America.

Galloping Ghost arcade

So, without further ado, here is a journal of my adventures with Jeeg and Christian traveling to outer Chicago to find the mythical Galloping Ghost Arcade.

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The day started off with breakfast at McDonald’s, then Jeeg, Christian and I had to hightail it to Union Station to catch a train to Brookfield. We were cutting it close, but we made it. Here’s Jeeg running for the train.

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Jeeg, Christian and me.  Train buddies. Traveling to a mythical nirvana of pixels, CRT monitors and nostalgia.

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Right off the train stop in Brookfield, there was this awesome little ice cream shop called Cock Robin. I was afraid to walk over to it because I didn’t want to ruin the illusion of a time warp to a 50s diner in perfect hibernation.

Galloping Ghost entrance
And after planes, trains and automobiles, we finally arrive. The Galloping Ghost Arcade in Brookfield, IL.  HALL-LE-LU-JAH! HALLELUJAH! HALLELUJAH! HALLELUJAH!

Walking through the door for the first time, you literally have to stand back for 5 minutes to even process everything that you’re looking at.

Galloping Ghost wide 01

Galloping Ghost wide 02

Then expect another 10-15 minutes just walking around open mouthed looking at the games. You’ll literally say over and over again in your head, “They have THAT?!” or “I haven’t seen that in YEARS!”

So you shamble over to the counter, pay a $15 cover and begin your own personal spirit walk.  Everything is set to free play.  No quarters.  No tokens.  Just bliss.

After taking stock of the situation, it was really hard to decide which game would come first.  What should start off this massive orgy of electrical consumption?  The arcade made that decision for us.  Or at least, for Jeeg and me.

Krull game

We had literally just done our Krull episode for Nerd Lunch and I discussed how 100% of my knowledge of that movie comes from this game.  We had to play it.  And play it we did.

Krull Pax Krull Jeeg

That game was a fun blast from the past.  And with that, the seal had been broken.  Before we split up after playing this game, Jeeg and I stated that our goal before we left the arcade was to play each other in Karate Champ, a very favorite of both of us growing up. Making that pact, we split up and explored the wonders that lay within The Galloping Ghost.

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The Nerd Lunch and Cult Film Club crews invade Atlanta

Posted in fast food, Kentucky Fried Chicken, roadtrip with tags , , , , , , , on March 12, 2014 by Paxton

Roadtrip

This past weekend the members of the Nerd Lunch Podcast and the Cult Film Club podcast descended on Atlanta for a meetup.  This was the first time several of us had seen each other in real life.  Here are some photos commemorating this historic nerdy and cultish event.

The first place we all went together was, of course, The World of Coke.

World of Coke entrance photobomb
Here I am at the entrance to the World of Coke getting photobombed by CT.

Nerd Lunch together
The entire Nerd Lunch podcast crew. Together again for the first time.  And on a Coke sofa.

Cult Film Club together
The entire Cult Film Club crew together in the gift shop at The World of Coke.

New Coke display
Surprisingly, the museum actually had a small display dedicated to New Coke, of which you know I’m obsessed.

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Today is the 50th Anniversary of JFK’s assassination

Posted in nostalgia, pop culture, roadtrip with tags , , , , on November 22, 2013 by Paxton

Nerdy Roadtrips

50 years ago today, JFK was killed in Dallas.  It’s up to you to interpret how or why he was killed.  There are plenty of theories to choose from.  Personally, I think here is more to the “Lee Harvey Oswald story” that we don’t know.  I don’t think Oswald planned it on his own, though he may have actually done the deed on his own.  I don’t know, a the time this occurred, I wasn’t going to be born for another 11 years. Anyway, I’m sort of fascinated by Kennedy’s assassination and the culture storm that has sort of erupted around it.  I even visited the site of the assassination.


Via Newsbusters.org

I graduated college in Summer 1997 and was sent to Dallas, TX for 7 weeks of training for my new job in IT consulting. While there, I decided to take advantage and visit Dealy Plaza and the Texas School Book Depository building.

A few friends of mine and I drove there and when we arrived we decided to drive the main street in front of Dealy where Kennedy was killed. Below is a picture out of the car window at the infamous fence on the grassy knoll (on the left) next to Dealy Plaza (white structure on the right).  Our car is approximately where Kennedy’s limousine was when the shots were fired.  Maybe even a little bit past.

Dealy Plaza

After getting out of the car and walking towards Dealy Plaza, I stood where Abraham Zapruder stood and snapped a picture of the road Kennedy traveled and the Texas School Book Depository building looming in the back (brick building far left).  In Zapruder’s footage there was a street sign on the road that blocked the view back in the early 60s.  The street lamp in the very middle of the picture is the same one that is in the above picture.

TX School book Depository

I’m not going to lie, standing in Dealy Plaza and on the grassy knoll looking back at the School Book Depository building was surreal and a bit eerie.  Lots of living history.  So much happened.  It just feels ominous standing there.  My group of friends and I probably didn’t talk for like 10 minutes as we walked around.

After looking around a little bit we walked towards the School Book Depository building to get a better look.  The Depository is no longer operating. It was bought by the state and is now run as The Sixth Floor Museum. Tours are offered. So we bought a ticket.

Sixth Floor Museum ticket

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Walking in the footsteps of Billy the Kid and other roadtrips I want to take

Posted in Americana, Billy the Kid, pop culture, roadtrip with tags , , , , , , , on August 3, 2012 by Paxton

Billy the Kid Week

Brian has given us a good assignment this week. He wants us to plan the ultimate pop culture roadtrip. I have already gone on several geeky roadtrips in my life thanks to having been a traveling IT consultant for about 8 years.  I’ll start chronicling more of those soon. I already talked about two Star Wars Roadtrips that I’ve taken (Star Wars Celebrations I and II).  But I think Brian’s idea is to plan a road trip that you want to take.

There are several I could do, but one is definitely at the top.  And I’ve discussed it before, both on the Nerd Lunch Podcast and here on the site.  I want to walk the Billy the Kid Trail in New Mexico.

Billy the Kid

I’ve been a huge fan of Billy the Kid since high school.  I’ve read a ton of books about him (and other gunslingers).  Plus, my wife is from New Mexico, so it’s totally doable.  There are several places in New Mexico pertaining to the famous outlaw.  The biggest would probably be the Lincoln State Monument in Lincoln, NM.

Lincoln Lincoln County Courthouse
(Via Jeff Arnold’s West)

The little town of Lincoln has been preserved almost exactly as it was back in Billy’s day. You can still visit the courthouse in which he was imprisoned and then famously shot his way out of, killing two deputies in the process.  There’s also the Wortley Hotel which was once owned by Pat Garrett, the man who shot Billy.  The hotel was also the final dining place of Bob Ollinger, who was one of the deputies Billy killed in his getaway.  Not only would this place be awesome for Billy the Kid buffs, but the town is almost exactly how it was in the Old West.  It would be great to see how things were back then as I’m fascinated with the time period.

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Nerd Lunch Episode 42: Scheduling the ultimate nerd weekend

Posted in podcast, roadtrip with tags , , , , , on June 19, 2012 by Paxton

Nerd Lunch Podcast

Welcome to Episode 42 of the Nerd Lunch podcast. This week the three of us ride with an empty fourth chair.

Gameworks

The topic this week is “Nerd Weekend”. The three of us have a discussion about what we would do if the three of us met up for the weekend.  We talk about places to go, games to play, movies to watch and of course, copious amounts of hossin’ to hoss.  Want to know what a Nerd Lunch Weekend would entail?  Then you’ve come to the right place.

Download this episode from iTunes or listen to it on Feedburner. And yes, we are still on the Zune Marketplace.

Or, you can listen to the episode right here:

http://player.wizzard.tv/player/o/i/x/134006790026/config/k-28fb6c171299270f/uuid/null/episode/k-7bf3f0de1d843a2a

AWESOME-tober-fest 2008!!! I survive Universal’s Halloween Horror Nights!!

Posted in AWESOME-tober-fest, Florida, Halloween, Halloween Horror Nights, holiday, Orlando, reviews, roadtrip, Universal Studios with tags , , , , , , , , on October 15, 2008 by Paxton

Awesometoberfest banner

Welcome to Week 3 of AWESOME-tober-fest!!! Hope you’ve enjoyed the first two weeks so far. I started off week 1 talking about creepy Halloween sodas. Then, on week 2, I discussed a few of my favorite scary movies. What’s on deck for this week? Well, as teased to you at the end of last week’s article, Steph and I took the plunge and went to our first Universal Studios Halloween Horror Nights this past weekend. Universal Studios theme parks hold this event annually and this year marked the 18th year they have done it. I’ve been wanting to go since we moved down to Jacksonville but we never did and thanks to some cheap, discounted tickets at work, we were able to do it this year. In case you didn’t know, ever since around 1990, during the Halloween season, Universal Studios closes its doors (along with Islands of Adventure) around 5:30 – 6pm and clears out all the people. Universal then sets up the scare zones and haunted houses and opens the doors again for people who bought Halloween Horror Nights tickets (yes, it’s a separate ticket). There are as many as 8 haunted houses that are setup in various parts of the park as well as what are called scare zones. In these scare zones are park employees who dress up in scary costumes and follow around patrons trying to creep them out or scare them. Like the haunted houses, each scare zone has a different theme, usually based around what haunted house is near it. Halloween Horror Nights usually has an overall theme each year, too. Last year, with Freddy, Jason and Leatherface it was called the Carnival of Carnage. The year before that they did a “best of” theme with all the best haunted houses and scare zones from the years prior.  This year, the overall theme was Bloody Mary; which included famous myths, legends and fairy tales.  Bloody Mary is the spririt that would appear to you in a mirror if you said her name 3 times.  She’s in the picture below on the right.

It’s a pretty cool theme if you ask me and I was very excited to see what Universal did with it.  So, after work on Friday, the wife and I took off for Orlando and our scary Halloween adventure. Continue reading

My Guide to Savannah, Georgia Part II

Posted in books, Georgia, movies, pop culture, reviews, roadtrip, Savannah on April 17, 2008 by Paxton

Okay, today is Part II of my guide to Savannah, GA. If you missed Part I then go ahead and click here to get caught up (even if you already read it, go back and relive it, trust me, it’s just as awesome during the second read through).

All done? Good, then continue reading to hear more about my schoolgirl-like crush on Savannah, GA.

Forsyth ParkSo, after reading Part I, I bet you are thinking to yourself, “Fine, Pax, we get it, you and Steph eat a lot. Wonderful. What else is cool about Savannah?” I would answer that this is a great question (although your tone was rather rude). Honestly, there’s a good mix for everyone. If you enjoy shopping, they have some of the newer stores the young kids are loving today like Gap, but the City Market has the coolest nick-nack and souvenir shops. On our first trip to Savannah we went into this souvenir shop that was having a book signing by an author that lives in the Savannah area named Murray Silver. He was promoting his book Behind the Moss Curtain which included short stories centered in and around Savannah. Steph and I got to talking to him (it wasn’t busy at all in the store) and he mentioned that he had written the book Great Balls of Fire on which the Dennis Quaid movie was based. My ears perked up and I said, “What, What?” I loved that movie. I asked him about writing the book and what it was like. He talked to me about meeting Jerry Lee Lewis and the difference between the book he wrote and the movie. It seems the studios changed the tone of the book completely when they made the movie. The movie was much more over-the-top and tongue-in-cheek whereas the book was a little bit more harsh with Jerry and the tone was a lot darker. He said he may still have a few copies of the book at his home and if he found one I could have it, if I returned the next day. I thanked him and said I’ll be back the next day to see him. Like I said, I returned the next day and *BAM* he slapped the below paperbound tome of awesomeness in front of me (click on the pic for a bigger view):

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