Wednesday, April 5, 2017

Bug Bites

The Houston Museum of Natural Science has everything you want in a natural history museum.  Fossils, rocks, interactive displays, rotating exhibits...and all the dinosaurs you stare at.

But it was when we were on our way out that we discovered something truly unique.  Near the gift shop is this unassuming vending machine:

Sure, it looks like the average treat dispenser but if you take a closer look you'll see a menu of science specific snacks and borderline gross grub.  Let's start with some of the more traditional fare.  And what's more at home at a museum than dinosaurs?

Gummi bears are replaced with Gummi Dinosaurs but the real find here is the top row.  Choc-o-saurus is a combination of two museum staples: dinosaurs and freeze dried ice cream!  It's chocolate with chocolate chips and, while eating it, you have the option to pretend like you're an astronaut or a extinct predator who loves dehydrated food.

Larvets!  Wondering if these things are what they look like?  Well, here's the explanation directly from their website: "Real larva, deliciously seasoned. Offered in three flavors: BBQ, Cheddar Cheese, or Mexican Spice."  And that's not enough bugs to satisfy your appetite, then good news...

Here we've got "Crick-ettes." which are, you guessed it, real crickets.  These are Bacon & Cheese flavor but they also come in Salt N' Vinegar and Sour Cream & Onion.  And if you're still hungry for bugs, you can also grab some Ant Wafers!  It's essentially what it sounds like: "Real ants in chocolate flavored round wafers."

Have you ever eaten hard candy and thought to yourself, "I wish this had ants in it."  Then you should have picked #56 or #57 from this vending machine.  You get the option of either Cherry or Apple flavor, both with Black Ants of course.

For our final selections we head to outer space for Alien Ice Cream.  This another freeze dried ice cream and is your standard Neapolitan flavor but it's either made by or eaten by Aliens.  Or maybe there's just one on the package.  Or you can have a Moon Pie!  Get it?  "Moon"

So the next time you head out to the museum, bring some change and an adventurous appetite.

Sunday, February 28, 2016

Penny Press #11 - Caldwell Zoo



I don't ask a lot from zoos.  A good view of a couple of exotic animals, maybe a creepy reptile house and, of course, a penny smasher.  I got all of those from a recent trip to the Caldwell Zoo in Tyler, TX.   I'll talk about the animals elsewhere but of the two penny smashers (two!!! awesome!!!) available, I went to the "Big Wheel" version:

As usual we have four options.  This time we get: elephant, rhino, cheetah and giraffe.  I let my daughter pick and she chose the cheetah.  (If it was up to me it would have been the rhino...maybe next time.)

And here we have the output:

Friday, February 26, 2016

Vending to the Stars: Terminator 2 Coffe Machine

Every so often fame's spotlight shines on a vending machine and it becomes something more than an automated delivery system of goods.  It becomes a star.  Sure, they never get top billing but their screen presence is second to none.  When something like this happens it can only mean one's time for a "Vending to the Stars" entry.  Remember this beauty:

The year was 1991 and the movie was Terminator 2: Judgement Day.  In the film's pivotal scene a young vending machine gets caught up in the action.  This particular type of machine vends coffee into a poker themed cup.  Coffee has become so prevalent at gas stations and other places that you don't often see them these days.

You don't get a good look at it but in this shot you can see the generic "Guy With Coffee" picture on the front (in the background):

The cup's poker theme includes a game that seems to be played by completing the hand you're dealt on the side of the cup with the card symbol on the bottom.  In the scene, the coffee loving cop seems to think he has won.

Why aren't machines like this on every corner in every city?  I would constantly pump quarters into it.  Besides, what could possibly go wrong?

Friday, July 24, 2015

Pinballing #3 - Big Fun

There's a lot of great pinball machines out there but there's only one that can claim to be the World's Largest.  Ok, so these were commercially produced so there's technically several of them out there but we found one and faced the "Hercules":

This particular specimen was found at Pinballz Kingdom in Buda, TX (just south of Austin).  The place is full of tons of retro (and newish) pinball and arcade games but this one is the arcade's pride and joy and is positioned right in the center of the action.  Here are a couple of closer angles: 

 A little Googling also led us to this promotional poster:

Hopefully one day you'll get to experience the Hercules yourself in all its glory!

Sunday, December 28, 2014

Penny Press #10 - Bass Pro Shop in Garland, TX


The holiday shopping season brought us to the Bass Pro Shop.  And like all places should, they had a Penny Pressing Machine.  Here are the options:

It lloks like they've got a wolf and a goat which definitely goes along with the outdoor theme.  Of course they have the logo but what really stands out is the Anteater.  I assume that's an anteater.  Despite the temptation, I went with the logo:

It has the town name too which will help when I procure more Bass Pro Shop pennies from different locations.


Tuesday, February 18, 2014