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this party sucks
Jul 21st, 2008 by wrekehavoc

okay, i really wanted to entitle this why six flags america sucks, but as i like to keep my titles thematically consistent (hey, you hadn’t noticed by now that in 2008, they’re all song titles?) AND, well, any excuse to mention the slickee boys

anyway, for the past few years, we’ve bought annual passes to six flags. going once pretty much pays for it, and going more than once makes it more cost-effective… cost-effective until you buy items at the park, like food, water, and anything else. but that’s life in amusement park land, of course. i don’t mind when it’s a special day; and every summer, i take one day and take BC to the park alone, and i take jools to the park alone on another. we only go either on weekends early or late in the season or weekdays in the summer; this helps to combat massive crowds. this year, i have already taken both kids to the park, and i am more than underwhelmed. in fact, i can safely state that the park has gone to hell in a handcart. here’s why, in no particular order:

1. all those signs that tell people to keep it clean because employees’ families attend the park, too? how about some employees respecting MY family once in awhile? like not saying the word shit in front of my five year old? okay, so i’m a potty mouth, albeit a judicious one; i just don’t expect that sort of thing in regular conversation by a service employee who is in uniform and on the job.

2. gum. on my shoe. every time.

3. wave pool doesn’t open on time. ever. something to do with training lifeguards. hello? the pool is supposed to open at 11. it gives you a couple of hours to train them prior to park opening. oh, you mean it’s too cold to swim before then? you’re a lifeguard; get over yourself.

4. wave pool closes for 15 minutes every hour.

5. way too many unsupervised kids in wave pool, kids who don’t seem to care about whether they ride over someone on a raft. why do they even allow rafts in the wave pool?

6. way too many unsupervised kids in crocodile cal’s beach house. lifeguards circle the area, but i finally had to step in when my five year old was getting continually mowed down by other kids while waiting his turn for slides.

7. ditto for the baby pool area. there is an EXTREMELY thin yet high staircase to the top of the big slide there. it is covered in netting, which my son was able to move to a dangerous degree. and once on top, he was actually pushed around by boys and girls who were about 12. at least.

8. sylvester’s bounce and pounce? not open in the morning.

9. kiddy bumper cars? not open in the morning.

10. flume ride? not open at opening.

11. renegade rapids? not open til noon.

12. there’s one coaster that has never been open in the four or five years i have had season passes. looks like it would be fun, but i’ll never know.

13. why is the train only available to picnicking business groups? do you have any earthly idea how many little kids want to ride the choo choo?

14. 30 minutes to get two slices of cheese pizza. 30. minutes. with. a. hungry. five. year. old. boy. oh, and this wasn’t at peak time: this was at 2 pm on a monday afternoon.

15. witnessed female employee (princess was her name; and if she moved any slower, she would be moving backwards. the other lady, karouselle, lived up to her name, moving in circles) at papa johns (aforementioned pizza experience) actually give away another person’s whole pizza.

16. no manager present to discuss pizza situation.

17. at register, mentioned the issue to cashier. sorry, he said, we’re short-staffed. ultimately, he gave me a 20% discount on my two slices for my trouble. thus apparently, 30 minutes of my-special-day-with-my-boy-sucked-up-into-a-papajohns-vortex-of-doom = $2.60. whee.

18. no more pesky service staff at locker center near the front. sadly, when the computerized locker failed to work, there were no more pesky service staff to help us. nine year old daughter actually had to flag down passing employee, who radioed for help. help came 15 minutes later when daughter recognized the computer logo on a man passing by. daughter snagged said man and brought him over. (note to self: who needs assertiveness training classes for BC? send her to six flags and let her loose to find any employee who might actually help her in a situation.)

19. $1 off skill games coupon in six flags season pass coupon book apparently not applicable for the water-gun game this week. funny, it was applicable two weeks ago when BC played at the same booth, but now, water squirting is apparently no longer a skill, unlike what six flags itself says on its website:

Games

Ready for a little friendly competition? Come out to the park and show us what you’ve got. Step right up for long-range basketball, skee-ball, water gun races¬¬-real games of skill. Team up with your group or go head-to-head. You might just win a prize for someone special.

shooting basketballs and skeeball apparently is. who knew?

20. as BS pointed out, if the water gun race is not a game of skill, then it is a game of chance, which is illegal, if i am not mistaken, in prince georges county.

21. two people must play in order for someone to win a prize in aforementioned non-game-of-skill. thus, you are paying $6 for a stuffed item made in china.

22. aforementioned stuffed item made in china has a GAPING hole in it, much like the gaping hole in identical item BC won a few weeks ago. wondering whether there was a child laborer stowed away in item. hope he or she was able to find freedom here.

23. on summer weekdays, it appears that every elementary through high school aged child in the county is present without any parents, in full bling and pushing past other kids who might actually be in front of them in line for anything.

24. have the balls in the looney toons prop warehouse ever been cleaned? has the looney toons prop warehouse ever been cleaned? i had the pleasure of sitting next to an opened bottle of orange soda today, spillage and all, and we were among the first people in the place.

and, finally,

25. the bathrooms? i’ll refrain from TMI, but in a word, EWWW.

i’m not entirely sure whether this is the case in all six flags. i had thought about taking the kids to six flags great adventure next week, but after our experiences so far this year, i am wondering whether the entire corporation is going kerflooey. there are so many amusement parks that do things well — disney, of course, and hersheypark, for two — so i have to wonder whether six flags simply cannot handle things.

i think this may be our last year for season passes.

guilty pleasure monday: against all odds
Jul 21st, 2008 by wrekehavoc

when i was 19, i wanted nothing more than to look like rachel ward as she looked in the movie against all odds. i thought she was (and is!) incredibly gorgeous, with her dark swirls curving around her porcelain face. i got an ill-fated perm, a perm which haunts me to this day in family photos, a perm second only in ridiculousness to the horrific perm i had in 1988, when my then-boyfriend (now BS) announced: you look like a poodle.

(for the record, he has since learned to make criticisms comments more judiciously for fear of incurring the wrath of G-d a flood of tears.)

but in 1984, i cut my long straight hair and permed it, and i listened incessantly to phil collins’ title film track against all odds:

(ah yes. is that phil singing, or is it the aztec? or is it mayan? incan? south and central american history has never been my strength, though i’ll still take it on Jeopardy! long before i take Calculus for $200, Alex.)

ah, phil. (not to be confused with the group BS refers to as phil and the phils.) this was the point when phil went from being cool to being hot. and without calling up the spirit of Dr. Fahrenheit, there is a vast difference, musically, in being cool versus being hot. when phil was with genesis up until about 1981 or so, he was cool. he took musical chances. he wrote interesting, non-vapid songs. like this. i even liked his first two solo albums. no lie.

but then, he got very polished, and he had a musical midas touch that lasted for years. genesis got MTV-friendly. his songs became utterly obnoxious. (if i have to hear sussudio any more in my lifetime, i may spontaneously combust.) he produced everyone and their dog (Frida, Philip Bailey, Eric Clapton), showcasing his exceptional and unique gated reverb drum sound. i wanted to cheer him on; there’s something so likeable about him. but once you start writing disney soundtracks, you often become less musically interesting (though probably incredibly wealthy. old rockers never die: they either write cartoon soundtracks (billy joel, elton john), broadway musicals (billy joel, pete townshend), or go classical (billy joel, elvis costello, paul mccartney.) (note to self: what is UP with billy joel?)

the last song i can recall that he wrote that moved me to tears is against all odds. sure the movie, a remake of out of the past, is murky and convoluted, in spite of the saving grace that is rachel ward’s hair. but the song is powerful and showcases phil at his best: singing about lost love. i’d argue the best work he has ever done is when he is in searing emotional pain (see: Duke, Face Value, Hello, I Must Be Going). of course, i would never wish that on anyone, let alone someone as nice as phil; but i think once his life got in order, his music became less emotional and less gripping.

after divorce #3, phil has formally announced his retirement from music, at least from center stage. he’s going to sit back and collect memorabilia from the Alamo. i think that’s a nice euphemism, sort of like how politicians retire to spend more time with their families.

it’s against all odds that he might write another amazing classic. but i’ll never, ever count the bald guy out.


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