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Wi-Fi Pickins – Slim; City Museum Requires Gut Check

February 4th, 2010 · Tags:Arts · Cities · Wi-Fi

Have you seen that show “American Pickers” on The History Channel?

By the way, the first of my three trips across America was as PR guy for the The History Channel sponsored “The Great Race.”

I digress …

Back on track … Pickers, right … Two guy travel the country in a huge foreign -looking monster of a panel van/truck looking for junk that could be someone else’s treasure. It’s sort of like the Antique Road Show on foodstamps … I so covet the rusty carnival ride they found and bought in a recent episode.

Pickers Site

American Pickers is so me! You see, I am single-handedly, slowly and surely pillaging all things of rust from the family farm, 400 miles away, and transporting them to my tiny office in Fort Worth. You can barely walk through the place … and yeth my balcony runneth over with non-chiming windchimes I have constructed of tractor fly wheels, windmill parts, drill bits, etc., etc.

I digress X2 …

Well anyway, if you like Pickers … then you will love the City Museum in St. Louis. It is hours of fun, made of recycled treasures — gargoyles galore from old homes … an empty bank vault … Coca Cola freezers … antique bottles … ivory pipes that I assume are opium in origin, etc., etc.
I walked through all this random stuff, singing in my inner head … “Picker’s Paradise, that’s all she was now …” to the tune of Bob Marley’s “Pimper’s Paradise.” I really did, nerd mon.

Hear the real Bob Marley song for reference, on my Blip.fm site … PingWi-Fidelity here:

Pimper’s Paradise

Back to the museum … there is also an aquarium … but, extra admission. I shot the breeze with the guy at the front desk a bit … then pointed at the sky, through the window behind him and said, “what in the world is that?” He turned away momentarily, and I tried to sneak in … but was caught. So, you have to pay or come up with a better ploy than I did.

Also, the multiple levels of the museum are filled with spelunky caves and scary tunnels and slides and stalactites or ‘mites … whatever. So cool!

Ha … get this … in the gift shop, they sell used clothing like your local thrift store … Rats, no random t-shirts though … (I am still kicking myself for passing on all of the used, miscellaneous bourbon committee t-shirts at Goodwill, back in Kentucky … darn it …)

I’m done now … Focus … check this out:

City Museum

But best of all, four stories above the patio are two scrap heaps that once were airplanes. Just relax … but yes, they almost look as if they have crashed into the building. There are numerous junky, old, miscellaneous metal ladders up to the aircraft … IF you are feeling brave.

I was. My bud, Markus and I pretty much dared each other to climb up to the airplane perches. Did I mention the planes are “secured” by rusty old metal cables … and yes, they sway under the weight of the climbers — especially men of girth.

It is pretty hairy. I mean there were teenage boys who were freezing, not wanting to complete the climb.  The most seemingly dangerous parts of the climb are probably totally safe … but don’t seem so. You climb through a metal framework of a tube, way, way up … Don’t drop no cell phones, trust me … LOL or “yer water.”

If you do this, you are so totally enclosed, except for a foot or whatever that you might dangle through the bars … BUT .. Therein lies the problem — this metal tube. I ain’t gonna lie. I am extremely less agile than the days when I could do a 180-reverse layup on the roundball court or whatever. These days, I struggle to put on my socks.

So there I was four stories up, suspended in mid air, climbing from one junked airplane to an even higher up junked airplane. For the last 10 feet of the climb I had a decision to make. I either had to tumble out of the tube onto my head, or I had to twist and turn to make my feet exit first. I am 6-3. I think this metal log jam was about 5-10 wide.

Yes … I got stuck … way, way up.

I cannot tell you which reaction was strongest … shear terror or embarrassment. Markus was urging me onward and making fun of me to boot. I couldn’t stop laughing … and thought perhaps I would fall to my death … or even worse be that guy who has to be rescued.

Oh … and the temp was about 40 degrees … and the cold steel was a constant reminder of that.

Finally, I literally grabbed my leg and tugged on it to get it dislodged from its pretzel like predicament … pulled it until it hurt, I did … simultaneously I pulled up with my other arm and somehow twisted. I am sure this is exactly what a breech birth must be like.

Yes … shaky from the ordeal, I conquered fear and made it though this scrap heap “ropes course” somewhat unscathed and feeling good about myself for persevering.

Best of all .. After all this panic and toil … there was warmth and healthy sustenance. On cold days, the staff of City Museum fire up a few logs and let the visitors roast marshmallows down below at the fire pit — laughing at the suckers stuck in the cage above. Best snack and comradery I ever had …

Finally, I remembered my mission — Wi-Fi! Can you believe this? No Wi-Fi hotspot at City Museum! I mean, surely someone could make a transmitter or one of those Wi-Fi antennae out of a Pringle’s can — like the geeks on the Internet boast … or something. Dontchathink?  There were several networks popping up from surrounding businesses … but I didn’t poach.  I promise.

Typically, I only hand out PingWi-Fi ratings for hotspots … But am certainly willing to make an exception or two, especially to places that scare the bejeebers out of me — 6 pings on the 7-ping scale, a near perfect experience. Minor 1-point deduction … no Hershey’s chocolate to make smores.

Know what I sayin?