Thursday, October 28, 2004

Irritation: A Comparative Study

Irritation. It's an emotion we commonly experience, both when we read grammatically suspect Coasterbuzz posts and when we go about our daily lives. But what causes that unwelcome feeling to flare up the most violently? A day at a Six Flags park? Waiting in line at the supermarket? Or something else entirely? In the interest of science, ARN&R managed to coax one of its writers out of his home and persuaded him to visit several potentially obnoxious venues where he would be exposed to asinine, obnoxious, stupid, and annoying people in massive numbers. Below are his comments on each potentially irritating venue, in reverse order of how much being at each one pissed the hell out of him:

5. Metallica Concert

Fears of having every possible human bodily fluid falling, dripping or violently projecting itself upon me by other audience members were not realized. Expected to be trapped in group of moshers or between combatants in fistfight, but proved not to happen. Expected the absolute dregs of human evolution to be in attendance, but generally this was not the case at all. Only major issues: the fat lady with the greasy hair next to me who kept singing loud and out of tune and with wrong lyrics; tremendous amounts of smoking in blatant disregard for city ordinances (which would have been forgivable depending on whether the smoke had given me a contact buzz, but, disappointingly, was almost entirely of the Marlboro variety); and large groups of fans leaving for a beer or sitting down when Metallica performed Creeping Death or The Four Horsemen immediately after jumping around and screaming for anything written since the Black Album. Mildly vexing for sure, but, all things considered, a far better experience with throngs of humanity than expected. Shockingly, this venue definitely had the fewest assholes of any of those sampled.

4. Orchestra Concert

You'd think going to the symphony would give you some respite from all the jackasses running around the streets these days. But apparently my refuge and temple, my sanctuary from having to deal with the unwashed Plebeians, my place to experience works of culture, has been invaded by the barbarian hordes. During a single concert, I was assailed by not less than seven old ladies slowly crinkling and unwrapping hard candies, taking over three excruciating minutes each time; four screeching babies who should not have been allowed in the hall in the first place, should have been immediately taken outside even if the parents were rude enough to bring them in the first place, and which, incidentally, were obviously being stabbed with sewing needles by their parents in order to maintain that sort of volume and length of ear-piercing obnoxiousness; two people allowing cell phones to ring, then picking them up, and then carrying on full-voiced conversations for several minutes; as many as a dozen dickheads in our section alone talking with each other in voices loud enough to drown out the music from the stage; and a group of sixteen that came in twenty minutes late being allowed and helped by the ushers to plow past us on the way to their seats, distracting me from a particularly favorite moment in one piece. What was this, a f*cking football game?

3. Grocery Store

Eight different screaming, filthy children crashed into me at one point or another. Was checking overpriced item in aisle at same time as someone else was checking something else directly across from me. This old lady came up and saw the aisle blocked, and instead of waiting three seconds as I very obviously started to nicely move my cart out of the way, she rammed as hard as she could into my shins with her cart two or three times and didn't even claim to be sorry. Bitch. And then I got to wait in a line to pay. Of course, since it was Saturday afternoon, and everyone in the free world was here specifically to annoy me, we had exactly one cashier and no one bagging groceries. After about three hours, was driven completely insane by woman in front of me, who waited until the entire six hundred items she had were rung up before asking to pay one third with her credit card (which she was then unable to run through the reader on her first fourteen tries), one third with a check drawn from the First National Bank of East Finland, and one third with pennies that she counted out one by one. She also waited until after all of this transpired to produce forty-five coupons, requiring everything to be done all over. All I have in my house is ketchup, tap water, and a seven-year-old can of Spam, but I'll happily live off that for the next month if it means I don't have to go back to this hellhole.

2. Movie Theater

The two seats my girlfriend and I occupied for a 9PM flick were obviously the only oasis available in a desert of stupid f*cks. We probably actually were able to both view and clearly hear approximately seven minutes of the entire movie. I see that movie theaters are not the place to come if you want to see movies. However, if you'd like to yell on your cell phone, run up and down the aisles, make drug deals, throw ice and popcorn at other people, and scream at the top of your voice to your little asshole friends all over the theater, then you'd probably have fun at Showcase North Haven. Although one can get a smug sense of satisfaction knowing that one has an IQ greater than every other cretin in this dump and their parents combined, it's actually not that much fun to be the civilization amongst the savages I'm never going to the movies again. My DVD player and TV may not be all that great, but at least I won't have to pay ten of my hard-earned dollars to watch films in the presence of the great unwashed scum of the Earth.

1. Visit to Six Flags New England

Good Lord, this place was full of assholes. No wonder I had a season pass and still only came here four times the whole season. Loved the teenagers fighting with each other who crashed into me. Shoved them off and they threatened to "get their boys and come f*ck me up." Charming. Six rednecks drinking bottles of malt liquor in line for Cyclone yelled disgusting things at young women and then tried to grab their asses. Two ACE members spotted me and followed me around for three hours, not taking hints that I hated them. Actively insulted them, and they still refused to leave me alone. Eventually I tired of their stupid top ten lists and general braying like donkeys about reride policies and their coaster button collections and told them I had to take a big shit. They followed me into bathroom anyway. Naturally I did not need to take a shit, but I entered stall and began making tremendous and disgusting farting and splatting sounds on my arm, encouraging them to think I was incredibly ill. After one hour of this, they finally realized their need for twenty rides on Superman was in jeopardy and left. Every coaster ride featured both a disgustingly muddy seat where some jerk stepped on it when getting out and a girl screaming as piercingly as possible in attempt to piss off other passengers during the ride itself. Line breaking occurred exactly 654 times during the day, generally right in front of security. More teenagers spat on people riding on T-bolt below their hang-out spot on the ride's exit ramp. Smoking occurred in line exactly 436 times without comment from nearby security guards. More teenagers threw rocks from roller coaster while in motion. Security promised to "look into it." Kids splashed in mud puddles trying to soil everyone else nearby. Parents of kids laughed merrily instead of beating the shit out of them as they deserved. Single train operation on all rides increased exposure to loud, smoking, line-cutting assholes to extraordinary lengths of time. Halfway through day, told self "oh, f*ck this. I'm going home."

We have a winner. I have never been this irritated in my entire life. Not even when I see George Bush on TV.


[Editor's Note: The original posting of this story unfortunately implied that JCK's girlfriend was incredibly fat ("...the two seats my girlfriend occupied..."). The author, of course, meant to say "the two seats my girlfriend and I occupied..." The author also wishes to state, for the record, out of fear of having his ass kicked by said girlfriend, that said girlfriend actually is quite tiny and occupies approximately one third of one seat, not two full ones. We extend our thanks to an alert reader who made us aware of this error, and therefore assisted the author in averting a potential ass-whupping.]

Wednesday, October 27, 2004

Enthusiast Harasses Tourist Bureau

With the news of the demise of the popular “flyers” ride at Paramount’s King’s Island, reaction ranging from outrage, to tears, to bed wetting permeated the enthusiast community. Many coaster enthusiasts were moved to pick their large rear ends off the couch to call the park and beg and plead for the flyers to stay for that outside chance that their parents might drive them across 5 states to the park to ride an attraction that is available at many local parks. While most of these calls were met with stiff resistance (and gut-busting laughter) one enthusiast managed to draw the ire of an entire country.

Ken Myers has been banned from traveling to the country of Australia after incessantly calling the “King Island” tourism department, located in Tasmania, Australia. According to reports from the beleaguered tourism officials, Myers’ original call was very confusing to the clerk who had the misfortune of answering the phone.

After informing Mr. Myers that she had no idea what “flyers” were, and that this was the King Island tourism center, Linda Biron tried to deal with the situation amicably.

“Mr. Myers became enraged, screaming about BRD, or ERP, something like that. Maybe it was ERT. He kept saying he deserved extra time to ‘ride the flyers’ because of his impressive ‘track record’. I told him my boyfriend also has an impressive ‘track record’ to try and get this creep off my phone and this seemed to calm him down. But he seemed to take an odd interest in my boyfriend when I said that, and asked just how long his ‘track record’ was. At that point, I hung up on him and reported the incident to my manager.”

The King Island tourism center received no less than eight calls from Mr. Myers. According to reports, Mr. Myers became more and more belligerent with every call, threatening boycotts, vandalism and even “nasty messages on Coasterbuzz, whatever the hell that means” according to another clerk, Mr. Ted Gorfy. After the eighth call, the issue was brought up to Australian Police, as this was an international call. Mr. Myers was warned to stop calling under penalty of International Law, to never visit the country of Australia, and to possibly “get a life.”

Mr. Myers was unavailable for comment, but his mother had this to say: “All I have to say is he better get off that damnable internet and work some more hours at the convenience store to help pay this phone bill! Between the eating and now this, his father and I are about ready to kick him out of the house. It has been 32 years you know. On second thought, maybe just the eating is enough …”


Tuesday, October 26, 2004

First U.S. Installation of Screaming Squirrel Announced

An innovative S&S/Arrow family coaster will make its U. S. amusement park debut in Spring, 2005. The Screaming Squirrel, a production-model wild mouse-style ride where cars actually dive completely upside down, has previously only existed at the S&S facility in Logan, Utah, but that will change with the opening of a new installation of the compact ride at New Jersey's Bowcraft Amusement Park. Although Bowcraft is already home to a small Dragon model of junior coaster, the park has high hopes that being home to the unusual new Squirrel coaster will both bring the coveted coaster enthusiast demographic, as well as even more local guests, to its gates.

Although the Screaming Squirrel is available from S&S as a standard model, Bowcraft has decided to make its version stand out from potential copycats with extensive theming. According to park sources, park guests will approach the ride through a pine forest loaded with 6000 live and ominously chattering squirrels, which may or not pelt people on the head with acorns. Small groups of riders will next enter a preshow room where they will be subject to a simulated attack from vicious flesh-eating squirrels.

Following this simulated attack, riders board the unique four-person vehicles. Adding to the atmosphere, ride operators will wear realistic and comfortably warm squirrel fur outfits. During the ride's course of several dives and vertical switchbacks, the extensive theming continues with realistic and sudden attacks at random intervals by killer squirrels. The combination of a roller coaster ride, added to the utterly lifelike and terrifying squirrel attacks, is expected, in the words of a Bowcraft rep, to "make grown men squeal like pigs at the very sight of a common grey squirrel for the remainder of their pathetic natural lives."

The new ride will feature an advertising campaign based on the following slogan: "Bust Your Nut on the Screaming Squirrel!"

--JCK (with assistance from FMB)

Sunday, October 24, 2004

X Already Dreading Solace Aftermath

In an exclusive ARN&R interview, X, the controversial "4D" coaster at Magic Mountain, confided that he's already dreading a post-Solace Magic Mountain event that will likely involve ERT for "those fat bastards."

"Life!  Don't talk to me about life," the famously unreliable coaster reported, "Do you know how many times a day I'm vomited on?  No, of course you don't.  Why would you care about what I go through?  You just want to sit your fat, human body on my aching structure and ride me.  No one cares what I go through.  No one cares about the incredible ache down my rear structural support ever since the last ERT."

"1,547.  What?  You don't know what that means?  Of course you don't. That's the number of times I've been vomited on.  Not that you care."

"I've been peed on 36 times as well," the manically depressed coaster added, "Oh, is that too much information?  Well pardon me for breathing, which I never do anyway so I don't know why I bother to say it.  God, I'm depressed."

"It's hard enough running the two or three days a week that I bother.  At least half the load on my poorly built frame is kids and teenagers.  But enthusiast ERT, my God!  Every time I think the fattest person in the world has crammed into my restraints, another one sits down.  What are these people so enthusiastic about anyway?  Roller coasters or pork chops?"

"Oh great.  I bet enthusiasts are going to hate me for saying that now.   That's okay.  Everyone hates me.  People that ride me hate me for having a four-hour line.  People that can't ride me hate me for being closed. Magic Mountain hates me for being so expensive to maintain.  Arrow hated me for being so expensive to build and for pushing them into bankruptcy, like it was my fault they planned for the future as well as Milli Vanilli.  Even other coasters hate me.  None of them want to talk to me.  Top Thrill Dragster used to speak to me when everyone hated him, but now he won't even return my calls.  If you just ignore me I expect I shall probably go away."

At this point, X concluded the interview by breaking down.

--MOS (with just a touch of input from Douglas Adams [R.I.P. Douglas])

Tuesday, October 19, 2004

Six Flags Plots New Strategy

OKLAHOMA CITY -- Six Flags Inc (NYSE: PKS) will be overhauling its parks for 2005, stated chairman Kieran E. Burke yesterday at a meeting of stockholders.

"These are desperate times in America, and they require desperate actions on the part of forward-thinking management," he said.

Faced with sagging profits and dwindling attendance, the world's largest regional theme park operator has blamed everything from weather to terror threats for its lackluster performance. But Burke said that he had finally identified the true cause.

"I finally walked through one of our jewels, Six Flags Kentucky Kingdom. I must admit, it was a hole," he said shamefully. "The food was overpriced and unappealing, the rides were either broken down or had ridiculously long lines, there was trash everywhere on the midway and the bathrooms hadn't been cleaned since the previous season."

Burke announced a three-step plan for turning the chain around. The first step, he said, was to "not deny the tradition that Six Flags has developed in its long proud tradition." Customers, he said, flock to their parks for the unique Six Flags experience. "Rather than run from our guests' expectation, I intend to meet them head on."

Beginning in 2005, all rides will operate for only 15 minutes per day before the parks close. "This will ensure that our guests no longer have to fear rides constantly breaking down due to poor maintenance. With such a brief operating schedule, our crews will be able to keep the rides in top condition."

This practice will also turn a former deficit into an asset. "Long lines will no longer be a problem, since the rides will not be running." This will also allow the chain to cut its maintenance staff in half.

The second initiative is regarding the food service at the park. "We will turn to the masters of food service in the world, the United States Military. We have contracted with them for 2005 to provide MREs at all our parks. Our guests will enjoy the same quality food that our valued soldiers and Marines do." The advantage of this, Burke claimed, is consistency. It also will help instill patriotism in the guests, reminding them of the sacrifices our troops are making overseas.

The final change that Burke announced was in regard to the park's cleanliness. The challenge, he said, is the difficulty in finding low-wage workers who want to engage in the dirtiest jobs at the parks. So he plans to eliminate all of the park's restroom and waste reclamation facilities, along with most of the custodians.

"When I saw all the trash on the ground at Kentucky Kingdom, I realized that this was a potential gold mine waiting to be exploited." Rather than force guests to walk a few feet to throw their trash into a refuse container, Burke will encourage that guests throw their trash, and especially their food, directly onto the ground.

"We are purchasing 1500 roto-tillers, which will be used to mix the trash, which after all is fertilizer, directly into the ground throughout the day. This will not only help to nourish the thousands of dying plants in our parks, but also create much more of a quaint country fair atmosphere. It will also eliminate the costly maintenance of thousands of tons of poured concrete walkways."

Burke's novel solution to the challenge of maintaining restroom facilities follows the same idea. "Our parks are famous for their forested areas, but many of our guests never see the abundance of shade we provide. So our most-used park facility will be a deep hole in the forest serving as the park's lavatory, which will encourage our guests to commune with nature."

At the end of each day, the hole will be bulldozed and a new one dug out. "I did this all the time at home for my dog, just on a much smaller scale. If it's good enough for my dog, it's certainly good enough for Six Flags guests."

Burke is confident that his strategy will work. "We expect profits to grow by 75 percent next year, barring any more natural disasters or terrorist attacks. Or, you know, any weather that is not sunny and 72 degrees."


Wednesday, October 06, 2004

Holiday World's Plans Exposed

Holiday World today announced a large expansion of its Splashin' Safari water park, as well as a new flat ride and a second train on its acclaimed Raven roller coaster.

ARN&R, however, has learned the truth behind the park's plans, having acquired a confidential memorandum from Will Koch, head of the park, to employees. Its text is reproduced here exclusively:

TO: Staff
FR: Will Koch
RE: Rebranding the Park

You have all now received a copy of our press release announcing the significant expansion of the water park with our new wave pool called "Bahari," the new "Revolution" flat ride, and the second train on Raven. This memorandum provides you with further information about how this fits into my ultimate goal of the park being acquired and rebranded as "Six Flags Over That Empty Part Of Indiana."

In order to properly impress Six Flags corporate into purchasing the park, please note the following:

- We will consistently be running the second train on Raven, but the second train will at all times be completely empty.

- Although the water park is nearly doubling in size, we will be reducing our employee count in that area by 20% and throw away half of our tubes.

- The new flat ride will be inoperable for 75% of the time with no signage or explanation.

- Our popular "free soda" program will henceforth be limited to one two-ounce cup per day and will only include "Squirt" brand soda.

- Our popular "free sunscreen" program will provide only SPF 3 sunscreen. Additional sunscreen will cost $5 for a one-ounce bottle.

- We will immediately spend millions on an ad campaign featuring a freakish old person insisting that the park is fun while not actually doing anything to make it so.

I thank you for your cooperation in this exciting time.

I remain, very truly yours,

Will "Mr. Six" Koch

Monday, October 04, 2004

Screamscape Contributor Files Suit Against Great Adventure Employee

Jason Knobler has filed a lawsuit against Carol Lipinski, an employee of the Dippin' Dots dessert stand. The complaint, filed yesterday, alleges that Lipinski "totally lied" about Six Flags Great Adventure's new coaster plans and, in fact, "totally made lots of shit up" during the course of the 2004 season.

Apparently, Knobler’s deal with the three-hundred-pound Lipinski was for "sexual services" at prearranged meetings during the months of July and August. At the end of each session, it was arranged that Lipinski would service Knobler back with a new piece of information about Great Adventure’s planned roller coaster for 2005, information that Knobler would send via his cell phone to Screamscape, hoping to break the story.

"I worked very, very hard for that information," said Knobler in a prepared statement, "and endured acts that would break most men. In the two months that I 'serviced' Ms. Lipinski, during those encounters, and their aftermath, I questioned my identity, my sanity, and my sexuality. And for what? She told me it was a 500 foot, B&M, inverted, launched coaster that went underwater. I want restitution!"

When contacted by ARN&R, Lipinski responded that she only told Knobler "what he wanted to hear." When asked about the lawsuit, Lipinski said she felt no ill will toward Knobler and, in fact, "wished he would call her sometime."


Saturday, October 02, 2004

Fox News: Kerry "Really Likes Sky Princess, Scared of Hypers"

Following up on their amusing -- if completely fictional -- story suggesting that John Kerry declared himself a good candidate because, among other things, he gives manicures, Fox News also reported yesterday that Kerry is a "huge fan" of Sky Princess at Dutch Wonderland and that he is "pants-wettingly scared" of hypercoasters.

"In a speech given yesterday in central Pennsylvania, Kerry told the crowd that 'Sky Princess' at nearby Dutch Wonderland is as big a coaster as he can handle. He also stepped out from behind the podium and wet himself just thinking about riding Phantom's Revenge at Kennywood," wrote Fox's Carl "Honest, I'm Fair And Balanced Even Though I'm Parroting Republican Talking Points" Cameron. "Kerry then put on eyeliner and danced in a tutu before proposing to John Edwards," the story concluded.

Fox later retracted the story, reporting that Cameron "just got all fatigued again" and that "this time we told him it was a really bad thing." The Kerry campaign whimpered and accepted the apology.