Tuesday, May 31, 2005

Theme Park Website Announces Required Reading List

The Assistant Dean of Undergraduate Affairs at Theme Park Critic has just announced the required reading materials for any coaster enthusiasts who enroll at the website in the future, stating that "education is a year-round goal."

Those who are admitted to the website, beginning immediately, will be required to read the Concise English Handbook, Chicago Manual of Style, Strunk and White's The Elements of Style, and Eats, Shoots & Leaves: The Zero Tolerance Approach to Punctuation.

"Bad grammar is a widespread problem in our field," said the Assistant Dean. "With this reading requirement, we are hoping our new posters will be able to express themselves in a competent way. Although we frankly find much of the posting on these forums to be appalling, we feel that taking a preemptive correctional approach like this is far better than just suspending people for typos."

However, the Assistant Dean then added, "If these boneheads can't tell the difference between 'its' as a possessive and 'it's' as a contraction after all that required reading, I will not only suspend them, I will strangle them with my bare hands," although he did request that this statement be considered off the record.


Saturday, May 28, 2005

Enthusiast Told What He Already Knows

Tom Williams of Indianapolis, Indiana was recently told by Match.com that he is incompatible with their selection of individuals.

Dejected, Williams said, "Yeah. I got this e-mail that was really cheery and said 'We're sorry, but it happens that there is no one within the Match.com database that fits you at this time. We will continue to screen our hundreds of thousands of applicants and will notify you when someone fitting your likes and dislikes applies. Have a great day!' Dude, that sucked."

Williams, a 27 year-old Best Buy employee and member of the Southwest Ohio Amusement Park Historical Society isn’t quite sure why no one out there is a match. "Come on, I know I am little bit nerdy, but seriously, there have to be some women out there that enjoy talking about Revenge of the Sith and Holiday World."

Match.com representative Donna Billings said that although they try to find compatibility for everyone, for some people companionship, love, or even mere friendship just isn’t in the cards. Donna, who only agreed to speak with me off the record in order to keep a good corporate face on the online dating company, said (a bit sarcastically), "Let’s face it. There are just some real f*$#ing losers out there. Yeah, there are a lot of women into Rush, roller coasters and Play Station games where you get to be a storm trooper. The girls just melt for men like that. Hey, when does this interview begin?" At that point this ARN&R reporter left the room.

Our dejected hero has vowed to fight on, determined to find the woman of his dreams. Williams noted, "I know there has to be a woman turned on by my ability to quote the statistics of every coaster in Indiana and the fact that I can name every Sith. Ladies, lets get it on!"


Thursday, May 26, 2005

Hershey Park Announces Massive Renovations

In response to a coaster enthusiast's comment that Hershey Park has too many hills, executives announced today that the park will undergo one of the most extensive renovations ever attempted.

The comment appeared at Coasterbuzz in a trip report about the park, where the poster claimed, "I could have done without the steep hills, but the park does a good job of marking them on the maps and also with park signage."

"Hershey Park will be closed for the season as of this Monday," stated a park rep. "After that, the huge renovation will begin. First, we will remove each and every ride, especially the ones built to take advantage of that hilly terrain. Then we will bring in hundreds of gigantic earth movers and other heavy construction equipment in order to level the entirety of Hershey Park. When we finish the project, sometime around 2011, we will reopen with a new look: a flat little square of pavement with some rides on it."

The rep also announced that the park would offer rickshaws, hovercraft, and moving sidewalks that will help cart lazy-ass enthusiasts to any point they wish within the new park, preventing them from having to move their feet, legs, or buttocks in any way whatsoever.

"We have heard the complaints from the enthusiasts," said the rep in conclusion. "and we have listened."


Monday, May 23, 2005

FlatRides.com Creator Still Working On Identifying Spy Kids 2 Rides

For detailed and accurate information about flat rides, enthusiasts and other losers know there's just one place to go: FlatRides.com, also known as the Flat Joint, with the "joint" presumably referring to a product to mitigate the nausea engendered by the subject matter.

But there's still one set of flats that FlatRides.com has utterly failed to identify and catalog -- those appearing in the Spy Kids 2's opening sequence's "Troublemaker Park." ARN&R sat down for an exclusive interview with the site's reclusive and, some say, completely insane creator.

"I'm having real trouble with the Juggler in particular," said Mr. Flatty, as he insisted he be called in print. "It's got some of the ride action of the old Saturn 6s, but the tossing motion is pure Zamperla. Those restraints, though, look like the crappy work of Moser, and there's a moment at 7 minutes and 23 seconds, between frames 12 and 14 where I swear you can see a Wisdom logo."

Flatty has spent countless hours poring over screen captures from the Robert Rodriguez movie, screaming obscenities with frustration. "Rodriguez totally screwed up the background shots, so there's no way to tell what park it's at, so I can't call the park and ask. And some of these rides have got to be from the more obscure German circuits, since I've never seen them here. And Bill Paxton [who plays the park's owner] for some reason won't return my calls. Prick."

Friday, May 20, 2005

American Coaster Enthusiasts Create New "All-Star" Division

As the needs of its members and buffet tables change and grow, the American Coaster Enthusiasts continue to evolve. Among the latest of ACE's innovations is the new designation of "ACE All-Star," bestowed upon individuals who meet special criteria that places them a cut above the standard coaster enthusiast.

"We've found ways of recognizing coasters that are run in the manner they were intended to be run, with the ACE Coaster Classic plaque," said ACE President, Viceroy, and Guardian of the Sacred Skid Brake Carole Sanderson. "And we've more recently begun to acknowledge influential rides, or at least rides we've gotten some ERT on, with the Roller Coaster Landmark plaque. But we haven't done nearly enough to reward the most important cog in the theme park machine: the humble coaster enthusiast. Our new "ACE All-Star" designation is intended to rectify that situation."

"ACE All-Stars are selected each year," continued Sanderson. "Criteria will include number of total coasters ridden, number of times a single coaster has been ridden, and the number of times an enthusiast has brought shame upon the club by demanding special perks from park PR reps or tucking their shirt accidentally into their underwear."

In addition to receiving a plaque of their own, suitable for framing, winners of the new award will be featured on the new ACE All-Stars website. (Note that, during the current Beta test phase, only Alabama ACE members are being featured on the new website, although all winners will be added once the design is finalized.)

One controversy has already arisen regarding the seemingly innocuous new award. The ACE Alumni page seems to feature photos only of the club's more attractive members, leading to speculation that uglier ACE All-Stars are being left off the site unfairly. ACE denies that this is the case, merely claiming that "some of the pictures must have gotten misplaced."

What'd You Spend on That? About a Buck-Fifty?

Our new Site O' the Weak is the website of an actual professional company in the amusement park field. We feel the need to state this up front, as it would not be obvious from a quick glance that Top Fun's official site is anything more than young, fairly stupid child's personal homepage.

Ripping the poor English grammar of this site, since it's an Italian company and all, might seem like a cheap shot. But then again, if you want to sell anything in a foreign country, you should make your information comprehensible instead of just using a free online translator program or relying on what you remember from the class you failed back in high school, correct? Plus, paragraphs like the following are too amusing not to point out:

Thanks to a Worldwide organisation Top Fun is able to offer to You a large number of used rides. And not only! Each of them have been checked and guaranteed by Top Fun. Choose the one You need!

And even if one were to be nice and forgive any language issues on the site, surely no one can possibly forgive the awful web design. Lobotomized chimps could do a better job. A frickin' Tripod template would look pretty good in comparison, for the love of God!

The Top Fun website. Within it you will find a new definition of pain and suffering.


Sunday, May 15, 2005

AbsolutelyReliableConeyCon I a Rousing Success

Yes, our first-ever event has come and gone. Well, for most of us, it's come and gone, anyway, though judging from the strange phone message we received well after leaving New York, it seems quite likely that you can still catch some of the crew at some bar on the shore right this very minute, if you feel like it.

If you can't manage that, have no fear, as we'll have full coverage of AbsolutelyReliableConeyCon I in the days to come, once one of the editors gets his film developed. (Yes, film. Back in the Dark Ages, boys and girls, people used this "film" stuff to create photographs. Some crazy-ass lunatics even still use it!).

And be sure to write in and tell us where you'd like our next event to be. Of course, we probably won't actually listen to your suggestions, and, even if we did, we still wouldn't offer any perks whatsoever if another sort-of-event ever happens again, but don't let that stop you from pouring your soul out to us.


Saturday, May 14, 2005

ConeyCon Tomorrow! (Or Today, if You're Reading This Sunday)

Just a reminder that 1st annual ARN&R ConeyCon will be tomorrow, rain or shine. It's either $10.99 or $12.99 for POP at Astroland from Noon to 4:00 p.m. and we've already bought the tickets so get your soggy ass there even if it rains. If it truly downpours all day (unlikely), then we are still meeting and everyone can expect to have fun anyway on our "ye olde historical bar-hopping tour" where we will curse the fact that nothing we are looking at in Coney will be around next year.

Now, on to more serious matters. It has come to our attention that there has been some confusion, and even controversy, over the ARN&R Code of Conduct, which will be strictly enforced at all present and future events. So, here are the rules again for clarification:

  • All attendees at any event are required to wear strict business attire. Suits with tie. All women must keep their faces covered in the traditional burkha. Guys, this is a really simple rule and the reasoning for it speaks for itself. If you can't follow it, JUST DON'T COME!!!

  • When encountering an actual writer for ARN&R, please treat them like you would any senior member of ACE: genuflect and offer them money, or your first born children. Don't worry, unlike the senior ACE board, they normally decline.

  • Wearing t-shirts that say "Paul Ruben is a giant tool" is SO 2004. "Paul Ruben is a media whore" is the new 2005 shirt. Please get it right.

  • Anyone who rides the Breakdance, the Top Spin 2, or the Zipper right after Nathan's deserves what they get.

  • When dealing with the media (who will inevitably be present (SIGH!)), please remember to never, ever, threaten to assassinate a sitting president. Instead, ARN&R recommends that you may want to threaten a living ex-president instead.

  • Finally, and most importantly, remember that this is all about -- HAVING FUN. That's why we have SO MANY RULES.

See you tomorrow!


Friday, May 13, 2005

Enthusiasts Placing Wagers on Kingda Ka Break-In Problems Normal Everyday Occurrences

As the continually pushed-back opening date for Kingda Ka at Six Flags Great Adventure nears and is pushed back again, engineering experts (aka coaster enthusiasts) have been eagerly discussing the ride. Experts at CoasterBuzz, a popular online advertising website that reportedly still has coaster discussions on it, have been engaging in heated debates about what to expect from Kingda Ka during its first 3 years of operation. This early period is commonly referred to as the Break-In Period or Catastrophic Failure is Normal and Intamin is NOT at Fault for Unknown Factors Like Large Riders, Slight Winds, Engineering Flaws, and Unsecured Train Theming (CFNINFUFLLRSWEFUTT). The debate has become so intense that some casinos in Las Vegas have begun setting odds and taking wagers about which events will occur.

Vegas oddsmakers have been hard at work coming up with proxy bets of what will happen first during the normal CFNINFUFLLRSWEFUTT time.

Possible wagers, and their odds as of today, include:

  • 6:7 - Rollbacks outnumber successful launches
  • 2:1 - Cable fray injuring riders with hot shards of greasy metal
  • 9:5 - Extra structural reinforcement needed within the first year
  • 4:1 - Cable break
  • 6:1 - Track break
  • 15:1 - Wheel falls off
  • 4:1 - Someone will be caught peeing on the ride and forever memorialized in T-Shirt form
  • 8:1 - Train dispatched when transfer track not in place
  • 2:1 - Large rider/average ACE member falling out of train at end of brake run, train speed 5 mph
  • 18:1 - Seat flies off
  • 25:1 - Train flies off
  • 3:1 - Hydraulic lines burst, covering surrounding area in minty-fresh hydraulic fluid
  • 24:1 - Tower collapse, partial
  • 35:1 - Tower collapse, full
  • Even - Top Thrill Dragster’s Lost Tire launched into orbit in 2003 finally returning to earth in a fiery re-entry only to land on Paul Ruben as he is declaring Kingda Ka the best coaster on the planet

In other news, Intamin is also in the running for Outstanding Achievement in Dull Train Design. A previous winner for the unstylish box with hyper seats bolted on wooden coaster trains, Intamin is facing stiff competition from Vekoma’s new Expedition Everest trains which managed to even make the boiler in the back look uninteresting, and upstart S&S’s entry for Powder Keg trains which could be the dark horse with a Time To Crate of 0.001 seconds.

Stay tuned for more coverage of Kingda Katastrophy 2005, as well as live web cam coverage of the 2005 coaster awards from JCK’s basement.


Wednesday, May 11, 2005

Tacky Wedding Contest Winners Revealed

Back in January, Better Weddings and Receptions magazine ran a survey to determine its Tackiest Wedding Ever contest winner. For the past several months, readers of the popular magazine have sent their responses in, and a champion is ready to be crowned. ARN&R will divulge the winner momentarily, but first, as a recap, we present the original Better Weddings and Receptions descriptions of the five finalists.

1) Tom and Katie host an outdoor wedding in North Carolina. The wedding ceremony is held at a location up in the mountains that has no running water, meaning that all wedding party members and the guests are forced to use an outhouse. Additionally, the groom admits during the ceremony that he purchased his bride's ring on layaway, so he expects he'll have it "pretty soon."

2) Brad and Angelina wisely decide on an outdoor wedding in Connecticut in early April, meaning that the temperature is a highly surprising 52 degrees Fahrenheit, with rain. The ceremony, hosted by a Justice of the Peace named "Vinnie," interrupts the heavy pre-wedding drinking of the entire wedding party, the majority (but not the entirety) of whom are convinced to at least put their drinks on the ground during the actual vows. Fortunately, the ceremony itself lasts only about a minute, so the bride is still able to down the rest of her screwdriver (her sixth) before any pesky ice melts and dilutes it.

3) Charles and Camilla have a coaster wedding. The wedding party members, including some relatives too old to walk without assistance, are strapped into Kraken. At some point during the ride, the minister conducts a ceremony that only the bride, groom, and best man can hear. After dismounting the ride, allowing paying customers back on it, the wedding party adjourns to the classy Shamu's Playhouse picnic area to shove cake in each others' faces and announce their decision to name their first child "Gwazi," regardless of the baby's gender.

4) Ben and Jennifer have their reception at a wedding factory, where wedding party members are announced NBA-style, complete with thumping booty music, strobe lights, and smoke. The bride and groom themselves are announced to the Rocky theme, whereupon they run into the reception room holding their hands up like someone anointed them champs, and then mock-box each other for their first dance. Wedding presents are opened at the wedding reception.

5) Kevin and Britney get hitched. During their ceremony, the bride and groom surprisingly unleash a duet of Meatloaf's Paradise by the Dashboard Light upon the guests. After this unusual maneuver, and following a great deal of hooting and cat-calling from the guests when they are asked if anyone has just cause to protest the wedding, the groom manages to up the class of the event even more by announcing, when told to kiss the bride, "we'll be with you in a minute." Reception follows in "Forge Room," which is filled with anvils and stuffed moose heads. More hooting and cat-calling follows, but, sadly, Two Out of Three Ain't Bad and I'd Do Anything For Love (But I Won't Do That) do not.

The results of the survey, listed below as the percentage of the magazine's readership who voted for each entry as the Tackiest Wedding Ever, are quite interesting:

1) Meatloaf wedding (41%)
2) Outhouse wedding (40%)
3) Drunk wedding (11%)
4) NBA wedding (6%)
5) Coaster wedding (2%)

The narrow victory for Meatloaf over outhouses made for mildly compelling theater, but the most important story has to be the lack of votes for the coaster wedding. Apparently, when placed alongside these other trashfests, getting hitched on a coaster comes out looking pretty classy. This is certainly good news for coaster enthusiasts everywhere.

The three or four who managed to take a girl on a date last year, anyway.


ARN&R lovingly corrects errors. Indeed, it thrills us more than it likely should to correct errors.

It has come to our attention that this week's Site O' The Weak is not, in point of fact, a source of "warmed-over press releases." Rather, that function is achieved by ITPS's daily news e-mail. The ITPS blog is, rather, strictly a source for questionable-to-terrible spelling and grammar. And that horrible, horrible yellow.

ARN&R regrets the error, and will engage in even more self-flagellation than usual.

Tuesday, May 10, 2005

Severe Eye Hazard! Be Alert!

We have many gallons of horrible websites to which your attention will be directed in the coming weeks, but today, one jumped to the front of the line.

It's not the content, though we question the need for another source to see warmed-over press releases and questionable-to-terrible spelling and grammar ("Real TV with emotion , not the muck you see today like Fear Factor, andThe Batchelor, Batchelorette,Etc."). But it's that yellow.

That. Yellow.

That yellow that burns into your eyes, into your brain, into your very soul. How, if there is a just God, can there be HTML coding to permit such a yellow?

Please, make it stop.

But until it stops, or at least until next week, International Theme Park Services' new Blog will be our Site O' The Weak.

Wednesday, May 04, 2005

Enthusiast Discovers Bitching and Moaning Online Far More Fun Than Actually Visiting Parks

Maryland enthusiast Tom Randall couldn't wait for the amusement park season to start again. He had planned the path he would follow at each of the area parks that were opening, he had timed his visit to Busch Gardens Williamsburg to coincide with the opening of DorKastle, and he had purchased a digital camera to document every part of every visit. He'd even gotten the inside scoop on a new bathroom at Six Flags America, and he was positive he'd have the first high-resolution photographs of it on the web.

And then the season actually started.

"It was weird," said Randall in an exclusive ARN&R interview. "Once I got to Kings Dominion, all I could think of was how much more fun I'd be having posting on ThrillNetwork. They allow those awesome forum games, like 'Insult the person above you,' and I also have been having a lot of fun arguing about whether the Hades banked curve is 90 degrees or 91 degrees. That's good living. Actually being at the park? Ennnhh."

Undeterred, Randall visited both Six Flags America and Busch Gardens Williamsburg, and somehow found standing in line for hours for coasters he'd ridden dozens of times before to be not entirely fulfilling.

At press time, Randall had canceled a planned six-state tour of amusement parks and put the money into a high-speed internet connection. He has joined four new web forums and was, at last report, in a fiery debate about whether Valleyfair! or Worlds of Fun would be next receiving a B&M inverted coaster. (ARN&R sources indicate that each will in fact receive a used dunk tank.)