Tuesday, July 14, 2009

zomg dinosaurs!

I owe a lot to dinosaurs. For instance, dinosaurs taught me how to read.

Well, not exactly 'taught' me, as such. I mean, they are the great pea-brains of the animal kingdom, plus they were all sort of extinct at the time. Maybe it would be more correct to say that dinosaurs were responsible for me learning how to read.

Like many children, I was gaga over dinosaurs. Like many parents, my mom got a bit tired of reading books to me that were short on storyline and long on names like "styracosaurus" and "archaeopteryx" and "rhamphorhynchus". So she bought a copy of the early-'70s equivalent of Hooked On Phonics and I've had my nose in a book ever since.

I never really lost my fascination with dinosaurs, though. Knowing that they were extinct always made me a little sad; I felt cheated knowing that I'd never get to see one up close. I'd stare at skeletons in museums or look at pictures in books and work my imagination into a lather trying to imagine what it would be like to be up close to a living, moving dinosaur.

The movie Jurassic Park was amazing for me. I was as slack-jawed and goggle-eyed as any ten-year-old in the theater when those first sauropods lumbered across the screen. Dinosaurs! Moving! Right there! But it was still only two-dimensional, trapped on a screen.

Then I saw the commercial on teevee for Walking With Dinosaurs: The Arena Experience.

Oh. My. Gawd.

Wild horses could not have kept me away.

I managed to talk Shootin' Buddy into coming to the show with me on Sunday afternoon. It was absolutely spectacular. The dinosaurs are lifelike enough that you can get a few moments of "willing suspension of disbelief", especially when the first brachiosaurus lumbers out with its head almost brushing the arena lighting array three stories above.

All your favorites make an appearance: ceratopsians, a stegasaur, a pack of raptors, an ankylosaurus the size of a panel van... You really get an appreciation for the ginormous size of these things when a t-rex is bellowing a challenge into your face from twenty or thirty feet away. I know I immediately scotched several of my "dinosaur big game hunting" fantasies as I sat there thinking "Wow, her head is bigger than I am. .405 Winchester is definitely not enough gun for therapod."

If this show is coming anywhere near you, and your kids are at all interested in dinosaurs, you need to go. I know my inner child would never have forgiven me if I hadn't taken her.

35 comments:

HTRN said...

"405 Winchester is definitely not enough gun for therapod."

That's why there's a "rule of thumb" - if you can't stick your thumb down the bore, it ain't big enough. :)

Robert Langham said...

Robots? Or do you think there are six or seven people in big rubber suits?

Looked impressive.

Anonymous said...

Damn shame human legs bend the wrong way.

Samsam

Ken said...

@Robert Langham, it's a little of both.

My wife and kids and I saw the show last year when it came through Cleveland. It was worth every penny.

I'd say .577 Tyrannosaur is the obvious choice. I've tried to identify the weapon the mercenaries in Jurassic Park III called an "Einhorn 20mm," but my gun fu is not strong enough.

Tam said...

"Robots? Or do you think there are six or seven people in big rubber suits?"

Hybrid robot/puppets.

"Damn shame human legs bend the wrong way."

It was easy to not notice the human legs under the smaller therapods, although when the baby t-rex was hopping up and down, I suddenly remembered that those suits weigh something on the order of ninety pounds and thought "Whoah, that's one athletic dude."

Andy said...

I don't think I'd want to tangle with them with anything short of a anti-tank missle. Guided. Wire is sufficient. I'm flexible on warhead options.

captcha: khago - the now dead dinosaurs now make my khago in Bahston.

falnfenix said...

you need to go to Los Angeles.

so do i, for that matter. i think i'd end up a squealing pile of giddiness if a dinosaur WALKED UP TO ME.

falnfenix said...

oh, and here's more info, with another video

the pistolero said...

I don't think I'd want to tangle with them with anything short of a anti-tank missle.

Well, I was thinking the GAU-8 Avenger would be the bee's knees for such a task, but a missile would work too. Assuming there were only one or two dinosaurs, as opposed to a pack of 'em...

Sebastian said...

Damn. They've already been through Pennsylvania. I guess I could catch the DC show in September.

Joanna said...

http://www.sheldoncomics.com/archive/070926.html

Yer welcome. >:-)

Phssthpok said...

"...I immediately scotched several of my "dinosaur big game hunting" fantasies as I sat there thinking "Wow, her head is bigger than I am. .405 Winchester is definitely not enough gun for therapod."


If you haven't already, you may want to read Time Safari by David Drake.

Some light sci-fi reading with a logical discussion of caliber choice for dino-hunting.

Originally a short story (found in the book Lacey and His Friends) it was later combined with others into a stand alone novella.

Anonymous said...

Wait. You saw Jurassic Park in the theater when you were 10? It was released on my 13th birthday. Best party ever, btw. I guess when you whine about getting old I should feel insulted.

Joanna said...

"slack-jawed and goggle-eyed as any ten-year-old in the theater"

Those prepositions (adverbs? whatever) are important, dude.

Tam said...

"If you haven't already, you may want to read Time Safari by David Drake."

Got it. Love it. (I'm a big David Drake fan, and I love dinosaurs, so how could I go wrong?)

Have you read L. Sprague DeCamp's short story "A Gun For Dinosaur"? (Later incorporated into the collection Rivers Of Time.) DeCamp was obviously both somewhat of a gun nut and a paleontology buff; it's the classic of the genre.

wolfwalker said...

If you haven't already, you may want to read Time Safari by David Drake.

See also "A Gun for Dinosaur" in Rivers of Time by L. Sprague de Camp. And a quick look at Mastodonia by Cliff Simak might be in order too.

rod said...

My son really loved dinosaurs when he was little. I can still remember him crying himself to sleep one night because he wanted so badly to be a T-Rex.

randy said...

AC-130 Gunship. Then you have a choice from 20mm to 105mm depending on the actual critter in question.

og said...

I'm thinking at least .600 overkill. The 600 overkill, with solid brass slugs,is able to penetrate 6 feet into SOLID OAK.

yeah. of course I want one.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/.600_Overkill

if a lot is good, a lot more must be better.

Captcha: nefulsfi. What your brain says, after you shoot a 600 overkill.

Tam said...

Anon 11:10,

"You saw Jurassic Park in the theater when you were 10?"

No, I was more like 25. But I was still as slack-jawed and goggle-eyed as any 10-year-old in the theater. ;)

phssthpok said...

Tam said...

"If you haven't already, you may want to read Time Safari by David Drake."

Got it. Love it. (I'm a big David Drake fan, and I love dinosaurs, so how could I go wrong?)

Snark? Check
Brains? check
Gun nut? Check

(swoon) Marry me!

Vaarok said...

Lahti.

Also, the new Ice Age movie was fucking awesome. Two words: "Pteradactyl DOGFIGHT".

Firehand said...

deCamp's book is one of the reasons I'm not too fond of his stuff. When the 'expert' informs you that you need something that will(can't remember the exact words) be 'capable of physically knocking a dinosaur off its feet', he lost me. 'Cause there ain't no such thing short of the aforementioned missiles.

Capstick noted a number of times that the biggest problem with some clients was they had a rifle they couldn't physically handle; they'd have been better off with a lighter one they could shoot well. If I had the chance/got lost in time, I'd think a .375 H&H class with solids for big stuff would do it. Or, if you practice your ass off, the .30-06 like Drake's chief character used; if you can hit the vitals, you don't need huge, if you can't hit the vitals... huge ain't gonna help.

og said...

The 375 I was shooting in Africa had been used to take Cape Buffalo, hippo, rhino, and elephant. it was a storied rifle, no doubt. Also, having seen the ribcage of an elephant, I understand why a 375 is a good choice.
I just like really big stuff. I'm sure it had to do with being confined to smallbore when I was a kid hunting.

Ken said...

Firehand, that's the Karamojo Bell argument in a nutshell.

Tam said...

Firehand,

It was believable for the character, as well as the setting. I've heard similar from plenty of experienced hunters who were in no way ballisticians. ;)

wolfwalker said...

Firehand,

When the 'expert' informs you that you need something that will(can't remember the exact words) be 'capable of physically knocking a dinosaur off its feet', he lost me.

That's the exact opposite of what the expert says. A loudmouth jerk client claims his custom-made rifle is powerful enough to "knock a tyrannosaur right on its ass." The expert takes him apart, then specifically says that caliber is not as important as bullet placement, and the most important thing is to carry a gun you can handle and shoot accurately with.

wolfwalker said...

oh ... oops, sorry, I misread Firehand's post. I thought he was talking about a different book. Mea culpa.

Jeff said...

Ken, the "Einhorn 20mm" is a Barrett M82A2, or so says imfdb

http://www.imfdb.org/index.php/Jurassic_Park_III

futureverse said...

When I was a kid in the 50's; one Christmas under the tree was a prehistoric animals set. Plastic dinosaurs, palm trees, scenery, and cavemen! Some of the cavemen were posed holding large rocks above their heads. I could place them up on the cliffs to take out any of the reptiles that threatened them.

When I brought my plastic army men into the mix the cave guys could either beat the army or save it from being eaten by using those rocks thrown down from the cliff. From that experience I can say that placement and surprise will trump caliber every time.

Tam said...

"When I was a kid in the 50's; one Christmas under the tree was a prehistoric animals set. Plastic dinosaurs, palm trees, scenery, and cavemen! Some of the cavemen were posed holding large rocks above their heads. I could place them up on the cliffs to take out any of the reptiles that threatened them."

I totally had that very same set.

og said...

"I totally had that very same set."

When I was a kid, we didn't have plastic dinosaurs, we had to play with REAL ones.

Seamus McFisticuffs said...

Speaking of guns and dinosaurs...

http://strangehorizons.com/2009/20090713/dinosaurs-f.shtml

Ken said...

Thank 'ee, Jeff.

Kevin said...

I don't think .405 Winchester would work for this either:

http://dsc.discovery.com/news/2009/07/14/sickle-claw-dinosaur.html