austin_dern (austin_dern) wrote,
austin_dern
austin_dern

I'm not really sure how it goes

So much of the day continued in that way, bunny_hugger and I finding rides such as the Octopus --- one of those seats-spinning-on-arms-also-spinning and having an apparently deficient count of octo-limbs --- and sometimes talking about people who weren't there, like terrycloth.

The big thing, besides being together, was riding roller coasters and we certainly did that; I think I rode more in one day than I had before in one whole season, although remember I've been handicapped by not going to Great Adventure since a summer I worked there. (I understand this is a not uncommon habit among former summer hires.) And it introduced me to much of the real-world experience of riding coasters. So I got to learn that I really deep down like long drop times. And while I face loops with dread, I seem to have had enough rationalization mechanisms built in that they're the exciting kind of dread rather than the ``I'm not getting on that thing'' sort. I also learned that I'm most anxious about a ride getting onto it, as in, before the car starts moving, for the most part.

For the most part: one of the most fun rides and Cedar Point's other big wooden roller coaster is Mean Streak, and it was designed explicitly to be really tremendously large. (bunny_hugger says it ended up being made too large, and prone to shaking itself apart as originally run; it now has speed brakes at a few points to reduce the stresses but also make some of its height, effectively, wasted as far as the ride's speed and accelerations go.) This starts with a climb that takes, as I remember it, about 48 minutes and rising high enough to see the sky darken and the untwinkling light of stars shine through the thin air. You do get a very good view of the water all around the park, and the only real sense that I had of the geography of the point, and that really emphasized just how far it was going to drop once it started dropping. That was the most nervous I got while on a ride. Fortunately, Mean Streak enjoys some really long drops, and, see above comments about drops. So it was great fun once we started falling.

Another roller coaster, not the classic wooden type, was the Magnum XL-200, and it was built to iconify its 1989 origins. The train itself looks designed to split the difference between Transformers: The (Cartoon) Movie and That Movie With The Cop Thawed Out In The Future With The Three Seashells, You Know That One, and if that doesn't place the stylings sharply enough consider that the signs bearing the ride's name use the popular Next Generation, But Slanted Up And To The Left typeface for establishing the 'Magnum' part, and the signs directing you to the exits and such are done in 13-segment Fake LED typeface. I was delighting in the very specific dating of the ride and cheerily wondered in what way it fells hort of ranking as ``Magnum XL-400''. bunny_hugger patiently explained that the ride was about 200 feet tall at its tallest, and this was probably why the 200. She's most likely right. Well, this was exciting too, and I started getting nervous as we got up to the 180th foot or so climbing, but that passed in the rush of falling, rising, and diving into the tunnels along the ride, and peeking over at the swimming pool to one side and Great Lake on the other.

One of the rides that draws attention just as you enter the park is Raptor, a steel roller coaster with a really prominent roll, and of the ``inverted'' type where the seats hang from the track. The first rides we went on --- Blue Streak and Calypso --- you can't get to without walking beneath it, at least for a bit of the stretch, and bunny_hugger recommended that while it would be a great ride it would also be better to wait for later in the day, when the line would be shorter. Apparently crowds go to it early in the day, what with its prominent location near the entrance, and things are thinner later on. So this would end up one of the last rides that we took, and she was quite right about the line getting more reasonable with the advancing hour.

It did still have a bit of a line, though, and so it was the only ride other than Maverick that we had more than a token queue for. But here the timing was again impossibly wonderful. While earlier in the day the public-address music had been playing things like the Muzak version of the theme from Taxi, the speakers around this ride, now, were getting more into pop rock. As we were walking around the little maze to draw closer to the brilliant wetsuit-green ride, on came Billy Joel's Piano Man. It's woven itself into my life at many curious points, but unmistakable and memorable to both of us is that it came on the radio as we ate in a diner following the long perfect day at Seaside Heights last year. Who could have imagined such a happening?

After that coincidence the ride was almost anticlimax, but it turns out that the helices and loops and strange spaghetti-twisting of the track work pretty well for me too.

Trivia: From mid-July through mid-September 1776 Benjamin Franklin alternated between attending meetings of the Continental Congress and presiding over the convention drafting Pennsylvania's new constitution. Both parties met in the same State House. Source: The First American: The Life And Times Of Benjamin Franklin, H W Brands.

Currently Reading: Teletext: Its Promise and Demise, Leonard R Graziplene. See, here's the problem letting me wander through the university library: I'll run across this and see, oh, somebody wrote a book all about teletext, I ought to read it. Unfortunately, it's an awful history, full of passive sentences describing how things were done, and how everything was apparently done for the first time except when it shut down as a failure, and if there were any individuals doing things they're lost in a haze of organizations. I think I might actually know less about Teletext than I did going in, since I at least used Teletext about six times while in Singapore before determining there was nothing of interst on it that wasn't better-available from web sites.

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