Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Does "Al-Sha'ab" Translate as "Really Hurts Our Eyes and Ears?"

If you're planning a visit to Kuwait in the next few months (and who isn't?), you're almost certainly going to want to visit the country's top amusement zone, Al-Sha'ab Leisure Park. However, if you're looking for more information about this place, we highly recommend that you call and ask for a brochure and avoid the website at all costs. That is, unless you enjoy the following:

-Seizure-inducing colors, annoying Flash animations, and incessant, ear-crippling music.

-Even more incessant, ear-crippling music, on a page that refuses to actually go "back" when the "back" option is given on the page itself.

-Bizarre scratch ticket promotions that seem a little too good to be true.

-Roller coasters with unwise catch slogans, such as "Blow Your Brains Off."

-Spellings along the lines of "Fire Grigade."

If you do enjoy all these things, by all means girdle yourself with the splendor of our Site O' the Weak for hours at a time.

--JCK/SPS

Monday, November 28, 2005

New Coaster Design Firm Announced

The competition between roller coaster design firms has grown more fierce than ever in recent years, as drastic reductions in the number of major new projects for the world's amusement parks have continued. As if established coaster companies didn't already have enough trouble landing a coveted contract for one of these projects, yet another strong new player has just entered the crowded field.

Announcing its presence today is the coaster design firm of Bollinger & Mabillard. Combining the engineering know-how of famed designer Claude Mabillard with the modest football skills of New York Jets quarterback Brooks Bollinger, this dream team firm comes with built-in respect, and immediately has thrust itself into consideration for upcoming amusement park projects. Faced with a juggernaut such as this one, several smaller design firms are rumored to be filing for bankruptcy within the week.

Mabillard formerly was one half, with Walter Bolliger, of the successful company Bolliger & Mabillard, which revolutionized the coaster industry with innovations such as its inverted rides and smooth, organic trackwork. In recent years, the company, although still respected, had reached a point of stagnation, and Mabillard felt like he "needed to shake things up." He insisted that his decision to partner with a mediocre football player with minimal engineering experience had nothing whatsoever to do with the fact that his new company would be easy to find in Google searches, seeing as approximately 87% of all coaster enthusiasts incorrectly spell "Bolliger" as "Bollinger" anyway.

"This is not an ELP situation," Mabillard said sternly, referring to the pretentious prog-rock band that once replaced drummer Carl Palmer with Cozy Powell pretty much entirely because he was the best available option whose last initial did not require the band to alter its name.

Bollinger, who majored in sociology at Wisconsin University and occasionally completes passes to his own teammates while playing quarterback for the Jets, provides what Mabillard refers to as "near competence" and an "energetic ability to accept failure" to the roller coaster industry. Bollinger, meanwhile, has indicated that it is far more relaxing to design roller coasters than it is to play football, as evidenced by the relatively paltry number of sacks and turnovers he has suffered thus far in his new job.

After the termination of his partnership with Mabillard, Walter Bolliger will reportedly be working on some darker, more introspective acoustic material he feels was suppressed over the past two decades by the more crowd-pandering Mabillard.

--JCK

Sunday, November 27, 2005

Holiday Flashback

We're still in a bit of a food coma this weekend, so we thought it might be appropriate to commemorate that fact with a Very Special Holiday Flashback Rerun Episode of ARN&R...

ARN&R Writer Felled by Thanksgiving

According to sources, an ARN&R writer was utterly conquered by Thanksgiving dinner this year. Although many were led to believe his membership in the American Coaster Enthusiasts would enable him to survive metric assloads of stuffing, cranberry sauce, and turkey, the writer proved to me a mere mortal, managing to cram only one substantial plate of food down his gullet, and suffering greatly as a result.

"He just lay on the couch moaning and massaging his stomach for the rest of the night," said the writer's girlfriend. "I thought these enthusiast people were supposed to be able to pack down three or four tons of slop at one sitting. What a loser. Maybe I'll go find myself a real enthusiast who actually likes going backwards on rides and can help himself to a fifth plate of collard greens without having to loosen his belt and whine about how his tummy hurt."

According to one friend of the writer, his busy work schedule and lack of money led to the Thanksgiving incident. "Normally, he makes it to at least a couple enthusiast events," said a guest at the dinner. "Being amongst other enthusiasts for even just two or three buffets really keeps him in shape for pitching trowels of meat carcasses and bread into his esophagus. But this year, he wasn't able to get to a single event. If you don't practice ramming jugs of gravy and entire hams into your maw, you get out of shape at doing it."

When asked for comment, the writer allegedly grasped at his stomach, made a pained expression, and said "Uuuunnnnngggghhhhhhhhhh."

--JCK

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

King's Dominion Ride Renamed

In unexpected news, Paramount's King's Dominion announced today that it would be changing the name of its venerable Shockwave roller coaster. Although the big news at the park will be the opening of its new Italian Job roller coaster, management representatives indicated that it was important to spruce up the image of some of the classic older rides at the park in order to keep interest in them at their typically high level.

Beginning with the 2006 season, the former Shockwave, an innovative standup looping design by Japanese manufacturer TOGO, will be known as the De-Testiculator. A new paint job and signage will accompany the switch.

"When we debated a new name for this wonderful attraction, we thought carefully about what Shockwave has meant to us and our visitors over the past decades," stated a portion of the announcement. "And we realized that the thing that stands out about the ride is its majestically aggressive restraint system. The chest-crushing things you hook your arms through, the sharp, thin anal probe, and of course the signature gonad-obliterating lap bar- all of them combine to create one of the planet's sublime masterpieces."

Other names considered for De-Testiculator included Groin Master, Ball Crusher, Crotch Shredder, Scrotum Hater, and The C*ck Punch.

--JCK
Baby Experience Goes Poorly

According to witnesses, single coaster enthusiast Jeb Gado, 26, had a trying time and really pissed off several friends during a recent visit to Islands of Adventure, a theme park in Orlando. Gado was the only person in his group of seven who was not carrying a baby with him, a situation which the same witnesses felt could be a major source of the trouble incurred during the trip.

"You could tell he was terrified of kids," said a random ugly woman without a bra who was standing in line for Spiderman. "He kept making gagging sounds and spasming whenever there was talk of breast feeding or baby doo-doo, so, considering the continual topic of conversation in line for that group was almost entirely based on those subjects, he was gagging a whole bunch."

"Man, that dude went nuts when one of the kids vomited green stuff all over him," said a soaking wet man with prominent man-boobs standing near the mean fountain. "And the parents just laughed and said he did it all the time. Boy, he was spitting mad about that. It looked like he had on some sort of really nice coaster t-shirt with tremendous collector value."

The most traumatic portion of the day, and the one which annoyed his friends, was when Gado was given a small child to hold in the baby swap area of Hulk. The mother of the youngster had wished to ride the launched coaster with her husband and, according to an annoying teenager with a thong sticking out of her incredibly short jeans, "thrust" the baby at a horrified Gado, whereupon said baby immediately began screaming its head off. At this point, Gado allegedly yelled, "Oh my God! Why is it making that sound? I'm breaking it! Take it away!" According to sources, these comments did not sit well with Gado's friends, nor with the many other parents in the baby swap area.

Gado could not be reached for comment.

--JCK

Monday, November 21, 2005

Clean, Concise, and Informative

Attention amusement parks and those who design websites for them: when we come to look at your site, we have very few needs. These needs definitely include being easily able to find basic information such as price, location, discounts, nearby accommodations, and how many annoying photographers will be hanging around at the park entrance waiting to block our path and piss us off. Our needs may include wanting to see pictures of your new ride or to get a list of attractions we'd want to prioritize in case of long lines.

Our needs most certainly do not include sitting at our computer for eight hours waiting for your stupid overzealous flash animations, rollovers, bouncing figures, javascripts, banner ads, pop-ups, and MIDI renditions of Celine Dion songs to all finally load up. They also do not include spending another hour browsing through your hopelessly mangled pages looking futilely for the basic information we mentioned above.

And, while we sometimes like to peruse a park map ahead of time so as to have a plan of attack on a potentially busy day, and appreciate park websites that provide them, we'd prefer they just show us where the crap is and let us link to descriptions, instead of looking like this slow-loading monstrosity from Knott's Berry Farm.

Those who do not cater to our needs are sometimes punished by being named the Site O' the Weak. You have been warned.

--JCK

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Particularly Vicious Wedgie Administered

According to numerous witnesses, coaster enthusiast Reggie Johnson, 14, received a wedgie of staggering violence and savagery this morning in the locker room of his junior high school. Although Johnson has been the victim of a high number of pranks, taunts, and minor assaults over the past several years, onlookers described this wedgie as "particularly vicious."

"These five guys tackled him after gym," said Daniel Blair, 14. I thought maybe they were going to dunk his head in the toilet like last week, or maybe take him into the girls' bathroom and superglue him to one of the toilet seats, but they went straight for the underpants."

Blair described the event in lurid detail, including an assertion that one of the bullies had stretched Johnson's underwear a full seven feet through the locker area before it tore. He additionally reported that Johnson spent the rest of the school day with the shredded remnants of the underwear flapping out the back of his corduroy pants.

"I keep telling Reggie that he needs to quit wearing the Coaster Zombie tie-dye, the coaster pin jacket, the Absolutely Reliable hat, and the themed fanny pack to school," said Johnson's friend Tony Bush, 15. "It makes him such an easy target being this coaster dork. I keep suggesting some cool hobbies for him that would make people realize he's not a nerd and leave him alone, like running a Star Trek continuity blog, playing Hero Clicks, or dressing up like Ash for Evil Dead 2 conventions, but he's really stubborn."

--JCK

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

Visit to IAAPA a "Trip of a Lifetime"

Coaster enthusiast William Sanderson, 46, has always dreamed of attending the convention for the International Association of Amusement Parks and Attractions (IAAPA). This year, that dream became a reality.

"I've been saving up for ages so I could attend this amazing event," said Sanderson. "Wandering the floors; showing off my very best cargo pants, flip-flops, and yellow-stained Banshee t-shirt; giving B&M sorely-needed enthusiast input; riding the rides; and spilling armloads of free food everywhere...oh god, how many times to did I wet myself in my sleep thinking about it?"

Sanderson was certain that any old coaster enthusiast could just wander in the gates of the Georgia World Congress Center and receive accolades and respect from the show exhibitors as they recognized his years of intelligent and thought-provoking roller coaster riding and patch collecting. Unfortunately for him, his enthusiast organization, the Super Coaster Mofos, does not have an official arrangement to maintain a booth or tour the facilities of IAAPA during the convention, and he let his membership in ACE lapse a decade ago.

"A lot of people would see this vacation as a total failure," said Sanderson from his holding cell at a nearby jail. "I mean, some enthusiasts would be upset when they planned their entire lives around this trade show and then were told they can't come in. But I make the best of things. I sprinted in anyway. I tried six different brands of deep-fried chocolate bars; I offered my services to Gravity Group as a well-compensated ride tester; I bounced up and down on the back of that Vekoma mini-bike coaster car and went "vroom!" and I managed to grab Stan Checketts' ass, or someone's ass anyway, just before the police tackled me."

"This was still the trip of a lifetime," he added, before using his one phone call to contact Holiday World's IAAPA booth to offer his input that a "couple more" bunny hops could probably be squeezed in to the Voyage's layout.

--JCK

Saturday, November 12, 2005

Trip Report: Dream Vacation With ARN&R

From July 30th through August 1st of this year marked the first-ever Dream Vacation With ARN&R. For three days, members of the ARN&R staff rode roller coasters at the Mall of America, Valleyfair!, and the Wisconsin Dells, and received absolutely no free perks or benefits from the parks whatsoever. The event was a rousing success, as exactly no one joined us who wasn't a close friend and/or affiliated with the site.

Following is a brief trip report about the event. And for those who complain that a trip report about an event is being posted almost three months late, first of all, go back to your massive multiplayer online game where you can pretend not to have tremendous amounts of B.O. and acne, and, second of all, send us a fat check so we don't have to work and can make more frequent updates to the site. Thank you.

Day One: Mall of America

Two coasters were ridden, a crepe was eaten, a massive LEGO sculpture was quasi-admired, and the Grand Poobah and JCK rapidly escaped the dreaded hellhole that is the Mall of America. That's about it.

Day Two: Valleyfair!

While driving to the park, JCK was shocked to discover that Lake Minnetonka was not the product of Prince's fevered imagination, but an actual body of water. Sadly, JCK's driving companions refused to allow him to purify himself in its waters, resulting in much bitterness throughout the remainder of the trip. Upon arriving at the park, some of the party went straight for the Steel Venom; when JCK told them that going backward on coasters made him ill and he'd sit this one out, the Grand Poobah tastefully and kindly referred to him as a "p*ssy." More bitterness ensued. Other coasters were ridden. The members of the group were particularly fortunate in that they only had to wait fifteen minutes to be bashed into a vegetative state by the Corkscrew, an Arrow looper.

Concluding the day, JCK and the Grand Poobah received a Wild Thing ride which did not have the brakes turned off. Since no one at the park had ever mentioned anything to anyone about getting brakeless rides, and since the ARN&R staff members generally avoid harassing park staffs like your typical enthusiass, said staff failed to give the slightest shit about not receiving a stupid brakeless ride on Wild Thing. Unlike certain people.

Day Three: Wisconsin Dells

The group's longest and most jam-packed day was at the Wisconsin Dells, a noted paradise of classical restraint and good taste. Intending to drive straight to Mt. Olympus, the Grand Poobah and JCK were struck dumb (more than usual, anyway) by a massive sign commanding them to FEED & PET THE DEER. As the tone of the sign implied an order more than a suggestion, the duo naturally had to stop.



After FEEDING & PETTING THE DEER, the ARN&R staff eventually made it into Mt. Olympus. There, despite being confronted by a bizarre sign in an ice cream shop requesting that patrons not put their feet on the wall, they engaged in a pleasant day of riding very good roller coasters and gawking at haphazard safety practices.



The ARN&R staff (with ranks swollen to four on this day) enjoyed non-ERT conditions on all the rides, meaning that wait times were minimal. Hades and Cyclops were outstanding, though the go-karts were annoying to JCK, as the staff of the park had blatantly conspired to give him shitty cars and everyone else really awesome ones. Zeus was alleged by some to be have been excellent at one point, though currently passengers are given machetes at the station in the hope that, during their trip, they can clear out some of the massive jungle growth reclaiming the ride.

Heated discussions took place over whether to count Dive to Atlantis as a roller coaster; although no one really thought it technically was one, all counted it on their lists so as to receive at least some small compensation for being bored completely out of their minds and then soaked to the bone. Time was also taken to photograph a deeply disturbing statue of what was clearly a giant penis slathering something gooey on its tip.



Later in the day, a water ski show was driven past and mocked heartily, Avalanche at Timber Falls was ridden, and vast handfuls of Motrin were ingested immediately thereafter. The day concluded with a visit to Riverview Park. JCK was interested in notching a cheap coaster credit on the Galaxi at the little park, largely because he is a pathetic coaster credit slut, but also because it looked for all the world as if a used diaper was hanging over one of the ride's supports.

Tragically, neither the Poobah nor JCK had any "ticets" on them and were too embarrassed to ask what they were; therefore, they were not able to ride the coaster, a disappointing end to an otherwise amusing day.



The flights home sucked balls, incidentally.

--JCK

Friday, November 11, 2005

Site O' the Weak: An Obvious Choice

It probably seems unfair to list International Theme Park Services as our Site O' the Weak, seeing as we already revised their website to claim they would be marketing a ridiculous tourist attraction called the Purple People Bridge Cl!mb, and we already pointed it out in a taunting article.

Well, unfortunately, we aren't fair. Congratulations on the award.

--JCK

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

ARN&R Takes Over Consultants' Site

In the boldest move yet by Absolutely Reliable News & Rumors, its extensive staff of web developers and hackers staged an enormous "happening" today by completely revising the website of International Theme Park Services. In a move of satirical genius, ARN&R made it appear that the consulting group had announced a tourist attraction based entirely on climbing an enormous bridge to see the supposed delights of Cincinnati, Ohio, from the air.

"We really decided to take this over the top," said the site's editors, known as the Grand Poobah and JCK, in a prepared statement. "So first, we came up with the utterly ridiculous name of The Purple People Bridge Climb, but then we decided that wasn't quite enough. So we pushed it further and made it so it was called the Purple People Bridge Cl!mb. Yes, that's right, an exclamation point right in the middle of the word climb! And we replaced virtually every 'i' on the entire site with an exclamation point!"

The editors also noted with pride an obviously insane paragraph they included in the purported steps leading up to a climb (sorry, cl!mb):

All indemnity forms will be signed. An alcohol breath test will be taken to ensure that each Cl!mber is fit to take the Cl!mb. Cl!mbers will receive their Cl!mbing gear, placing it over their personal clothing. Communication equipment will be distributed consisting of the newest in “BONE CONDUCTION COMMUNICATIONS TECHNOLOGY.”

"'Bone conduction communications technology!' What a great line! God, we rule!" said JCK in an interview.

Another outstanding part of the spoof site, according to the editors, is the logo, in which an enormous man appears to be contempating urinating on the bridge. They also point to the theme climbs, in particular to the theme climb that would include these delights: "Cl!mbers decked out as gangsters will cross the bridge and learn the details of the 'sin city' past of the area, once known as 'Little Mexico'." ARN&R's editors pointed out that anyone doing so would obviously be dragged from the bridge by any rational human coming upon them, and that the concept of charging for such a privilege was utterly ridiculous.

Inquiries to the staff of International Theme Park Services have been unanswered; they appear as yet to be unaware of the fact that their site has been hacked so thoroughly.

Monday, November 07, 2005

Hydra Being Watched by Wildlife Management Teams

According to industry experts, Hydra: The Revenge, a floorless roller coaster desiged by Bolliger & Mabillard, has been under near-constant clandestine surveillance at Dorney Park by wildlife management teams since it opened earlier in 2005. The team, which has managed to remain hidden in Dorney Park's dense jungle foliage and tall savanna grass so as not to disturb either Hydra or the park's large number of patrons, has been carefully tracking movements and behavior patterns of the new ride.

"New, young roller coasters are always on the prowl, looking for a new area to call home," says coaster behavioral specialist Dr. Harry Wang. "When they come across a pride already in place, they will generally challenge the incumbent coaster. The result of this challenge will be that either of the combatants is killed or driven off in defeat. The unusual, and somewhat disturbing part of this scenario is that, if the new coaster is victorious, it will almost always make a prompt move to kill any of the prior coaster's offspring."

Scientists are therefore watching Hydra with great interest. After defeating Hercules, a large wood coaster created by Summers & Dinn, many are concerned that the new looper will make a move to destroy any surviving younger relatives of Hercules. Accordingly, the wildlife team is in constant contact with the owners of rides like the Georgia Cyclone, Mean Streak, and the Texas Giant to keep them alert to any aggressive moves from Hydra.

"Any and all Summers & Dinn rides from after 1989 are at risk," said Wang. "But frankly, we're most concerned about Mean Streak. As lame and weak as that ride is, it presents an incredibly easy target and would be unlikely to survive an attack of any sort."

--JCK

Friday, November 04, 2005

Enthusiasts Disgruntled With Special Features

Although the long-awaited release of the Special Tenth Anniversary Criterion Collector's Extended Edition of Cedar Point's groundbreaking roller coaster Mantis was eagerly anticipated, sales of the product are falling flat due largely to complaints from the coaster enthusiast community.

Mantis was the first of the relatively short run of major, innovative, megalooping standup coasters from B&M to hit the market. Initially popular, the ride has seen interest in it wane in the intervening years, as more exciting and less ball-cracking rides were opened at Cedar Point and elsewhere. Nonetheless, the nostalgia market for Mantis was considered very strong, which led to the special edition being prepared for release this year, along with a major television and print marketing campaign.

"This is hardly any better than the original release that just had the coaster on it," complained ACE member Drew Marshall, 50. "They have a splashy new package and paint job, they talk up how many great extra features it has, and then it's such a pathetic letdown."

"While we are disappointed in sales, we assert very strongly that the Tenth Anniversary Mantis release is a strong one, and it is nonsense that these enthusiasts are whining about it," said a Cedar Point representative. "The behind-the-scenes featurette is extremely informative and offers never-before-seen looks into the making of the ride. The Banshee retrospective, complete with poster gallery, is comprehensive. And we even incorporated new, thrilling ride sections into the main footage of the ride, complete with specially composed new music and fully integrated effects and headbanging. It's a definitive anniversary product."

"Whatever," sighed Marshall. "Sure, the incorporated footage is cool. But they have that and those two featurettes, and that's it! No deleted track sections, no commentary track from Bolliger and Mabillard, no outtakes, no easter eggs, no commemorative upstop wheel parts, not even the original trailer! And for 45 bucks? Screw that!"

Lagging sales for the Mantis anniversary package have reportedly had representatives of the New York New York Casino in Las Vegas rethinking their plans to release a monumental Ultimate Quadrilogy Collection for their Manhattan Express coaster's gala tenth anniversary celebration next year.

--JCK