Thursday, September 11, 2003

Model Enthusiast Tires of Picturesque Parks; Builds Replica of Riverside

Dayton, OH -- Randy Parent has been building models since he could walk. His first, constructed when he was four, was a scale replica of Six Flags Magic Mountain's Revolution coaster, made entirely out of used popsicle sticks.

Now 27, Randy has constructed everything from Kennywood's Thunderbolt (complete with a scale model of the Monogahela River and Pittsburg's steel mills) to Cedar Point's new Top Thrill Dragster (featuring a speaker mounted into the grandstand that emits cheers every twenty minutes when a train is launched).

But Randy says he's working on his biggest challenge yet. "The problem," says Randy, covered with gesso and bits of balsa wood amid the beginnings of his new project, "is that all of the parks and rides that I've built are the ones everyone else is building. I haven't found my artistic voice until now."

Randy used to post his creations at modelrollercoastergeeks.com, but it wasn't very satisfying for him when, "everybody and their brother, like, was doing the same thing, and they had more money than me and could afford a Dremel. I'm a traditionalist. I use a jacknife."

So he decided to stake out new territory. "It was kinda unrealistic how everyone's models always look so perfect. Life isn't like that. So I wanted to find a park that represented the harsh realities of real life. When I did the steel mills, man, that was it." He chose as his subject the former Riverside Park in Agawam, Massachusetts.

"I didn't have to worry about prettying this up," he said. "And I didn't have to waste my money on fake trees and flowers. Hell, I didn't even have to put any people in it!"

The main theme of the park, he said, was asphalt. So he spent half his weekly salary from RediMart to purchase a gallon of liquid asphalt patch. "I just basically dumped the whole thing on a piece of scrap wood. I couldn't believe how much it looked like the park!" ARN&R has obtained an exclusive digital photograph of the elaborate theming:



When asked if any special techniques were required for this daunting project, Randy said that he would down at least a six pack of Molson's before each modeling session. "That way I'd be so tanked, I'd be spilling paint everywhere and wrecking parts of my coaster structures. That added a lot of realism. I'm sick of those no-talent modelers who, like, make their parks look so damn clean I could eat off their fake grass. The world is a dirty place, man."

Randy expects to have his magnum opus finished "in about another fifteen minutes unless I pass out again." When asked if he was going to attempt to follow up his masterpiece, he responded between belches, "Man, if this crap, like, gets no recognition...man, I'm like...y'know...this is like the work of pure genius, and nothing'll top it."

He continued, his voice trailing off into a haze of alcohol, "I've gotta do New England, y'know. Everyone thinks it's like the best place. They think it's so pretty and everything. But I know what it really is. I can see it for what it is, y'know?" He gestured widely to his half-finished model. "I know what's underneath it all. I'm building the belly of the beast."

--JRD
ACE News Article Fails to Mention Food

The latest issue of ACE News received strong criticism this week, as the ACE Executive Junta, the American Beef Council, and the National Lard, Scrapple, Hog Brains, and Head Cheese Foundation all condemned the magazine for its failure to mention food in one article.

"This is absolutely disgraceful," announced American Coaster Enthusiasts Commander-in-Chief, Winner of the 1976 Tchaikovsky Cello Competition, and Hindu Goddess of Destruction Carole Sanderson. "The ACE Code of Conduct specifically prohibits the writing of any article for any of our publications without making reference to food. For the past seven years, each and every article, even those quick 'breaking news' updates about new coasters that everyone already knew about three months ago, featured breathless prose lauding beef, pork, or gooey breakfast treats. I don't know how it happened that this regulation was broken in the latest issue, but it'll be dealt with, believe you me."

Diligent research by a crack team of ARN&R forensic scientists and photographers located the offending article with ease. Located on the back page, and titled "Dollywood Does It," the half-page feature manages, somehow, to describe the new GCI coaster being built for the Tennessee park without referencing Krispy Kreme, country ham, or grits even once.

"I don't know how this thing slipped through," lamented editor Mark Davidson. "I think I might have been distracted by the thought of getting the annual onslaught of irritatating reviews of Phoenix Phall Phunfest that feel the need to spell everything over and over with 'ph' instead of 'f,' as if it's still remotely funny or entertaining after the eleven-billionth time. In any case, I apologize for allowing an article to run without mentioning buffets of any sort."

Davidson defended the publication, saying, "we do normally maintain a high level of professionalism in reporting news of ACE members gorging themselves to the brink of propulsive vomiting. Why, even in this issue, every other article talks mostly about food instead of other stupid crap like roller coasters or whatever. Any article dealing with conventions, of course, almost solely features exciting buffet news, and the articles in this issue were no exception. And then the blurb about Hersheypark's Rocket Coaster requests the ride be named the Chocolate Rocket. The Timberhawk review noted a complimentary lunch. And even the Coaster Media review mentions scrambled eggs. So we hope our audience will forgive this one slight of ours, and please not eat us alive and then crack open our thigh bones to suck out our tasty marrow."

The author of the article in question was not named in ACE News, but Sanderson promises a severe lashing, as well as sentencing to the back of the next CoasterCon ice cream line, to the culprit if he or she is ever located.

--JCK