Thursday, June 26, 2003

First Annual AbsolutelyReliable Con a Spectacular Success
Day One

Amid much hand wringing and flop sweating, the good folks at Absolutely Reliable News & Rumors managed to pull off their First Annual AbsolutelyReliable Con without a hitch. With the kind of success the event had in its very first try, we can almost certainly expect this to be an annual treat. ARN&R here features an exclusive report on the exciting event; due to our superb connections in the industry, and amongst websites that gleefully taunt the industry, we were easily able to have our reporters to the scoop. And to make it a double helping of Ben & Jerry’s Brownie Batter, actually.

Although most amusement industry insiders felt that ARN&R was "pretty damn stupid" to throw a big event immediately following the ACE Conference, and completely on the other side of the country, the naysayers were proven to be big poopy heads when AbsolutelyReliable Con ended up drawing over 1000 participants from all over the globe. Enthusiasts flocked from the United States, Canada, Europe, Asia, Africa, and Australia, though we were saddened to note that not a single coaster lover from Antarctica or Djibouti graced us with their presence.

AbsolutelyReliable Con kicked off with a welcoming buffet featuring the requisite buckets of meat, trowels of lard, and metric assloads of gravy required at all coaster enthusiast functions. Of course, members of the AbsolutelyReliableClub received first dibs on which whole deep-fried fowl they wished to sink their quivering jowls into. Most ARN&R Club members selected turkeys, though some members opted for a pheasant, goose, or a whole ostrich of their very own. Despite some whining from non-Club members that some ARN&R Club members were sneaking off with more than one game bird each, there ended up being plenty of dribbling, succulent flesh for all.

After the orgy of grease slurping, participants were welcomed to the event and given a schedule of wacky shenanigans for the rest of the Con. Then everyone was off for three hours of Dance Dance Revolution ERT. A few people asked why no coasters were featured, but the answer was quite simple: 1) The event was held at the Absolutely Reliable Corporate Mega-Campus in Portland, Oregon, a location that does not have any rides, and 2) An overwhelming majority of our Coasterbuzz fans stressed that they would much rather heave and ooze on the DDR machine than ride a stupid coaster or whatever. The DDR topic there lasted 28 pages, after all.

A wide variety of special activities awaited Con attendees the next day. As was the case with ACE, we didn’t succeed in obtaining Helen Hunt’s services for the Con, but at least we weren’t dumb enough to bother asking. Instead, attendees were treated to Hunt movies As Good As It Gets and The Waterdance, but not Rollercoaster. Although it seemed potentially topical to include that movie in the activities, the decision was made not to show it, primarily due to the fact that it sucks.

Afterward, attendees were treated to a surprise buffet table ERT, catered by Dollywood and featuring all those succulent treats like Deep-Fried Big Macs On A Stick With Ranch Dressing and the World-Famous All-U-Can-Eat Suet Buffet that make them true friends to ACErs everywhere. The evening was filled with seven straight marvelous hours of Enthusiass Rambling Time (ERT), which consisted of nonstop bitching and whining about how little parks do for ACE members, demanding Exclusive Ride Time and gifts from parks, rambling on about top coaster lists, and generally behaving in a way that ensured no attendee would ever be invited to another amusement park event ever again. It was truly outstanding.


[Ed. Note: Due to the volume of exclusive information about this Con, it's up in three separate posts. Read on...]
AbsolutelyReliable Con - Day Two

The next day primarily featured a slew of guest speakers. To begin the day, AbsolutelyReliable Con brought in a number of exalted guests from the hallowed halls of the American Coaster Enthusiasts. First up were a group of editors and writers for Rollercoaster Magazine. A fascinating discussion of pertinent and exciting topics ensued. The editors were happy to ignore questions about why the magazine continues to be published about five months late each issue, despite the fact that the editor is now paid and also has new assistant editors helping out ("It’s that darn cat still eating issues," claimed the editor in chief, off the record). When queried about whether the magazine would continue to include staggeringly offensive and inappropriate jokes comparing moderately uncomfortable hotels to concentration camps (RC Issue 84, p. 21) (sadly, we're serious), the staff said that they had enjoyed the response over the new issue and would strongly consider adding black jokes and perhaps some interviews with Strom Thurmond and David Duke in upcoming issues. "We're also hoping to make fun of non-native employees at U.S. parks!" exclaimed one editor.

After the rotted fruits and vegetables were cleaned from the faces of the RC Magazine staff and the surrounding area, it was time for seminar by ACE News staffers titled "How to Just Make Crap Up For Your Story." A breakdown of a particular article (ACE News May-June 2003, p. 9) showed how, in order to fulfill a bizarre sense of state pride, authors are allowed to "tweak" the facts in a story. The opinion was, if writers for the New York Times and Boston Globe can make crap up, why not just let it slide when a writer for an official ACE publication claims that California has six B&M coasters and Florida has only five? (ARN&R spies report the apparently top-secret information that Florida contains Kraken, Fire Dragon, Ice Dragon, Hulk, Montu, and Kumba, which our top staff physicists and chaos theoreticians assure us is…six coasters.) ACE News also helpfully provided a second seminar, titled "How to Maintain Credibility as a Major Industry Publication Despite Several Articles Dismissing or Complaining About Almost Universally Loved B&M Coasters in One Issue."

Finally, several members of the ACE Executive Junta gave a revealing Q&A where most of the questions focused on them forgetting to pay rent on the ACE offices and then getting booted out in the rain. The evening was spent with three hours of Following Around the Four Almost-Attractive Female Coaster Enthusiast Chicks at This Event in a Hopeless and Fairly Stalkerish Manner ERT.
AbsolutelyReliable Con - Day Three

The final day was chock full of fun and merriment. It began with group panel discussions. First off were Lee Coaster, Xfan, Roarfan, and Mrceagle, in a forum titled "How to Make Yourself Look Like a Complete Buffoon by Using Awful Grammar in Your Rabid Hate Mail and Posts About Silly Satire Sites." Then, after a nutritious all-you-can-eat lunch of Banana Splits With Krispy Kreme Donuts, attendees returned for the seminar called "Mercilessly Shredding the Coaster Preservation Organization a new @%$hole," with Coastplaya, coasterphil, and Teknoscorpion, along with special appearances from the ARN&R staff. The final session, "How to Become as Brilliant, Attractive, and Hysterically Amusing as the Staff of ARN&R," featuring writers and editors of the website, unfortunately had an audience of exactly zero persons, a puzzling occurrence.

Although ACE came up with the idea for a pajama party at CoasterCon this year, ARN&R wasn’t above stealing it. Of course, instead of featuring an onslaught of horrifying be-pajama’d enthusiast gristle all night, our pajama party featured Jessica Alba, Halle Barry, Jennifer Connelly, Kristen Kreuk, and Parker Posey. ARN&R staffers report that the organizers will be unable to hire most of these nightie-wearing hot babes next year unless the ARN&R Shoppe does especially brisk business this summer, so start forking over those dead presidents unless you want to see dozens of writhing, pasty enthusiast butts instead.

--JCK
Whitewater West Industries To Introduce Spinning Rapids Restroom Ride

Canada's Whitewater West Industries, creators of the fun and hugely popular spinning rapids flume rides showing up at some Six Flags theme parks this year, are hard at work on their next major thrill ride concept, 'The Whirling Twirling White Water Toilet Tornado Ride.'

In an effort to expand theme park fun beyond its traditional boundaries, Whitewater is focusing on raising the thrill factor in other areas of the amusement park besides the usual thrill-packed midway rides and attractions.

Surveys conducted by Whitewater found that theme park guests spend an average of thirty-three minutes per day in the park's restrooms. (It should be noted that, for reasons unknown, the same research demonstrates that guests at Six Flags parks spend a significantly higher portion of their day in the restroom than guests at other parks do.) Based on this statistic, Whitewater set out to develop an attraction to optimize that restroom time and make it just as thrilling as every other minute spent in the park. The result of Whitewater's quest for restroom thrills is 'The Whirling Twirling White Water Toilet Tornado Ride.'

Guests take their seats on what appears to be just a normal toilet. It's white, it's porcelain and it's full of water, but that is where the similarities end. As soon as guests park their rears, the real fun begins. The water starts swirling, slowly building up momentum until it becomes a raging whirl of white water rapids. Geysers shoot up in all directions soaking riders with urine-enhanced splashes, sprays and spouts. Then, for the coup de grace, the toilet starts spinning, ever so slightly at first. As the toilet accelerates, high-speed wind machines strategically hidden throughout the restroom provide a very realistic hurricane-force wind shear that sprays water and human feces out in all directions.

"It is a very climactic finish to one hell of a great ride," boasted Stuart Burns, vice president and general manager of Whitewater. "We are very confident that the Toilet Tornado will leave your guests screaming for more, or at least screaming. Trust us, they will want to ride the Toilet Tornado again and again. Expect your guests' T.S.I.B. [Ed.: time-spent-in-bathrooms] to increase dramatically."

The 'Whirling Twirling White Water Toilet Tornado Ride' prototype is currently being tested at Whitewater's corporate offices in Richmond, British Columbia, Canada. Tests are going extremely well and Whitewater plans to start installing the Toilet Tornados in parks as early as spring, 2004.

Hersheypark will be the first park to install a Toilet Tornado. It will be aptly named 'The Hershey Homesteader Hurricane' and it will be conveniently located in the Pioneer Frontier section of the park next door to the Taco Bell restaurant.

--JWS