Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Happy Day Before Christmas Eve!

Friday, December 19, 2008

Story Time!

(LOL -- And no :-) It's doesn't mean anything.)

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Dreadful Mistake

I'm starting to make the disastrous mistake of writing posts that are too long. Blog readers seem to have an attention span of one paragraph per multimedia item. :-)

Sunday, December 14, 2008

New Car

As most of you know, I have to go to Hoover Dam for three months starting sometime in January. My group at work sends new employees out to a power plant for an extended period of time as a learning experience. I'm glad I get to go to Hoover. It's actually close to somewhere unlike most of the dams that are in the middle of nowhere :-) Just think! I'll be within driving distance of Death Valley!

Since I'll be gone so long, I needed to finally buy a car. I've been putting it off as long as possible since I knew it would just be an endless money pit. First, you have to pay for the car. That's only the beginning. That initial purchase just gives you the privilege of paying for insurance, gas, maintenance, etc. (I now feel so privileged. :-)

I've only gotten to drive it three different days so far, and already, I'm beginning to think it's pretty cool and not all that bad. It must be some chemical manufacturers use in cars. Makes you forget how much it cost and how much you don't want to pay for it.

I had a rather limited time to shop, so Dad and I looked at tons of cars every weekend for the past few months while people like Steve have had to answer tons of dumb questions. We finally found something that looked good from Carflex, a little one-man outfit near DIA. I ended up with a 2002 Toyota 4runner, 78,600 miles, for $11,600. It seemed like most the other ones we saw had at least 100k miles (many had 200k+ miles) and were priced way above the KBB value.

It's in really good condition, has brand new tires, etc. When Dad went to pick it up, the guy knocked another $100 off the price because there was a dent in the passenger interior door panel (which he pretty much fixed). (I don't know why. The guy would only drop the price $200 even with a "walk-out.") The next day, the dealer called Dad again and said he'd decided to buy us new mats for it since the old ones were dirty. Yahoo! Rubber dealer mats! They fit and they're easy to clean!

I'm really starting to like the thing. It has some toys (like sunroof, rear air, etc.), but is still a "heftier" vehicle. 2002 was the last year before Toyota turned the 4runner into an ordinary car. Sure, it only has a V6 3.4L, but it's not horrible.

Here's a picture Mom took when they picked it up: (I was at Grand Coulee)

(Yeah, boring silver. I know, I know... if only it were lime green with hot pink and bright yellow accents like Lisa Frank : ) I'll have to fix that...

I took it out on the icy streets today to see how it handled and was thoroughly impressed.

First, I punched the gas on an icy stretch and started turning to try to get it to fish-tail. The traction-control kicked in and started beeping at me, telling me that I was out of control. I started to fish tale and eased up on the gas and was going straight again before I knew it. Pretty sweet.

Next, I had to do it again after shifting into 4-wheel. That was cool. I made it to 30mph up an icy hill in about 250ft. Sure beats the old '72 Chevy pickup with bald tires and "Denver Broncos" mudflaps. (Yeah, I miss it, too :'( I don't know how many times I had to find alternate routes to avoid hills with that thing. I don't miss feeling like an idiot for flooding the engine all the time, but I enjoyed it.

Now for the anti-lock breaks. I've never been all that impressed with anti-lock breaks, but I was really surprised with these. They work -- Really well. Sure, I have some good, brand new tires, but it was still pretty impressive. Hopefully this means no more sliding through the stop sign at the bottom of Quail on snowy days :-)

(LOL -- And, no, I don't normally drive like that :-)

Anyway, I'm really pleased with the thing. Yeah, it was about 30% more than I was originally going to spend, but I think I'll be happy with it for quite a while. Plus, 4-runners seem to hold their value pretty well right now. Craig's list is full of old 4runners with 120-200k miles for $8k-$10k, all in bad condition.

With the recent snow, I needed an ice scraper. A normal, every-day ice scraper wasn't good enough for me, so I opted for the telescoping scraper/snow broom, complete with a shock-absorber to make it easier on your wrist. (I.E. A Sam's Club special! YAHOO! :-P)

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Back Home

Turns out our 7hr day of travel took 10.5hrs. We drove from Grand Coulee to Spokane in our lovely Dodge minivan. Things went fairly smoothly. The rental car company didn't charge us for the dents I put in the floor of the van with my knees while moving heavy boxes. They didn't even charge for the scrapes our pelican cases left on the interior. It was rather nice of them.

We went through security and sat down to wait for our flight. Well... The plane needed a new tire and that took a while... a long while. After an hour, people with connecting flights started getting re-booked. It made 10 people from American Idol late for something, so heads were rolling. There was a guy being a complete moron while shouting all kinds of names at the ticket agents. There were a lot of angry people. Then there was the rest of us... All sitting, looking at each other, and laughing at the angry people. It was great fun.

There was a 7-month old baby, too. That was cool because it's been like forever since I've seen little kids.

Eventually, us mere mortals without connecting flights got re-booked for a United flight. With 45 minutes to make the transfer, Jill (my coworker) and I ran to get our baggage, checked it in at United, ran to the security line, were opted for the special screening, waited forever even though there was practically no line, and ran to the terminal a couple minutes before they started boarding. Somehow, Jill got a random carry-on bag check at the gate and got searched again.

I boarded the plane and sat and stared for a long time.

When I woke up, I got out of the plane, got my bag, and headed out for the bus. The government will pay for a taxi, but after taking one out there and watching the fair go up $0.25 every four seconds on I-70, I decided the bus was a better option. Plus, I was sick of calculating tips, so I was glad to get a reprieve. After sitting a while, I got on the bus and sat and stared until I got to Cold Springs. My dad picked me up there and it was all good.

I miss Elitches. Sure, the people and noise are rather annoying, but it's so relaxing to sit and watch fairly advanced electrical/mechanical machines operate. (NERD ALERT!)

Why am I posting?


That and this:

This and that:
I decided to take at least a week off around Christmas.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Coulee -- Days 7, 8, 9, and 10


We tested batteries in seven sections of Grand Coulee Dam: the Third Powerhouse, the Right Powerhouse, the Left Powerhouse, the Pump/Generator Powerhouse, the 115KV (15,000KV) Switchyard, the 220KV Switchyard, and the 500KV Switchyard. Finally... All those batteries... DONE! It felt so good to bring our 13 shipping cases to the warehouse to be shipped back to Denver. The cases averaged somewhere around 70lbs, and frankly, I was getting tired of hauling heavy equipment everywhere, setting up, cleaning up, filling out reports, standing, sitting, talking, wishing I could leave, etc. :-)

Here are some of the tasks we performed for each battery test:
1) Visually inspect the batteries. These batteries have clear containers so you can see inside to check for cracked plates, sulfur buildup, deposits, etc.

2) Take the specific gravity of each cell. This task seems to take forever. First, you have to put on PPE to protect against the horribly dangerous battery acid that doesn't hurt for a while if you get it on yourself. Then, you have to go to each cell, remove the flame-arrestor, stick the digital hydrometer tube in the cell, take a reading, yell it to the guy across the noisy room who's recording the values, and then put the flame-arrestor back on. It gets long... especially since you have to lean over the bank in an awkward position for an extended period of time.

3) Using a micro-ohm meter, measure the resistance of the connection between each cell.

4) Hook a computer up to each cell. We have a bunch of little spring clamps one must use to connect each cell to the computer. 58 cells is typical for a bank, and it takes around half an hour to connect all the cells if you're doing it by yourself.

5) Connect the battery bank to the load units. Basically, use 2/0 wire to connect the battery bank to some big heaters. These heaters put out a ton of heat and can make the work miserable.

6) Connect all the backup batteries in series. If you're lucky, a plant electrician will do this for you.

7) Wait for the electrician to hook the backup battery into the main battery panel.

8) Call an operator to come flip the main battery breaker to bring the main battery bank offline.

9) Start the test.

10) Wait

11) Wait..

12) Wait... Our tests ranged from three to twelve hours in length. (OK, ok... One test was fifteen minutes long because the bank failed almost immediately. :-)

13) Clean it all up, take the backup battery off the DC panel, etc.

Saturday and Sunday, we tested the batteries in the Pump/Generator plant:
Each pump can pump up to 500 bathtubs of water per second. They're used to bring water over to a canal for some irrigation projects.

Yesterday and today, we tested batteries in the switchyards. Here's the control room from the 500KV switchyard:

It's kind of impressive... this is JUST a switchyard with disconnects and breakers and it has that big of a control room :-) Oh, they get rattle snakes under the removable floor in the summer :-)
Here's some things I've learned:
1) I don't like restaurant food for very much anymore.
2) I don't like living in a hotel very much.
3) The casino on the nearby Indian reservation is the only place with food after 8pm.
4) The one radio station in this area is annoying... My coworkers listen to it in the car. When you get out of the car and go into a store/restaurant/some parts of the plant/etc., you'll hear the same station right where it left off.
5) I hate Lead Zeppelin. Simply put, it's thin, ugly, cheesy, and old. (They had a Lead Zeppelin Marathon for several days here.)
6) It's hard to concentrate after a while with continual radio in the background.
7) There's about 4 restaurants in the nearby 3 cities
8) I don't care for Safeway's deli sandwiches. They're kind of weird.
9) Engineers drink a lot of water during the day.
10) People in the trades make a lot with their double-pay overtime.
11) I dreamt I couldn't graduate from college because I reached the end of the last semester and realized I'd forgotten to go to one of my class all semester long.
12) I'm tired of being gone and am not looking forward to going to Hoover for three months.

I'm excited to go home, though!

Friday, December 5, 2008

Coulee -- Days 5 & 6

Hello, all! Today was really cool because we got off at 4:30!

*edit from today since the laptop battery died yesterday*
Today was even cooler because got off at 3! Short 8hr days are fun!

I came out here to Grand Coulee with Nate and Jim. (Supervisor and coworker.) They left to go home today (Friday) and Jill (another coworker) came to take their place. What's cool is she's planning on working shorter days, so I won't be as tired. Unfortunately, I forgot to bring the laptop charger from the dam, so it will be a shorter post. (Oh... Wait... That's not such a bad thing :-)

See that big, round thing? That's the core out of one of the smaller generators. They have the entire thing taken apart right now. I also borrowed a nicer camera to take a few pictures, so maybe someday I'll actually get them up :-)

Here's some pictures for you all: (Click on the picture)
Grand Coulee

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Coulee -- Day 4

MEH! That's all I have to say.

Now I'll expound:
Every *cough* muscle *cough* in my back is sore.
My feet are tired of being stood on for 11-13hr days.
The two guys with me were excited about tomorrow being the last day of work... I have to stay here for another 6 days.
I honestly couldn't figure out what day of the week it was.
I'm sick and tired of complaining.

Ok, it's not nearly that bad. I would enjoy going to bed right now, though :-)

One picture for you all:

You thought your UPS was big? Check it out! The three double-height shelves you see in the picture are the backup battery for a computer system UPS. Each of those containers is a single cell. You know your car battery? It has 6 cells inside of it. These cells aren't all that huge -- probably only 1/2 the size of a forklift battery :-)

So, is it fun? Yeah. I've gotten to see some amazing stuff... Stuff you only see in movies. I found out today that a lot of movies have been filmed in dams. Nate (my coworker) said he was at Hoover Dam and watched a movie on TV when he got back to his hotel. All of a sudden, he though, "HEY! I know this hallway!"

Battery 6 of 14 complete! (We're doing the big ones first, so it's slower right now.)

I don't know why I'm still posting. There's nothing new to say. Hope ya'll are doing ok!

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Coulee -- Day 3

I'm back... For some strange reason, I feel like it's been weeks since I got to Grand Coulee. It must have something to do with working long hours in a concrete building from dark sky to dark sky. :-)

Today we finished battery 4 of 14. I think we're on schedule, so that's a plus. So far, every battery we test is getting worse and worse. The first two were easy. Nice, big rooms, plenty of space, etc. The third and fourth batteries felt like they were in an old Sunday school room. The only thing that was missing was an old, clunky piano. The Fifth, sixth, and seventh batteries are all in a somewhat crowded room, one floor above elevator access. Guess what that means? Lots of stuff to carry up stairs. We put 1,000 amp car batteries in service when we take the main battery off-line in case something happens. Guess what that means? 30 heavy car batteries up the stairs. I can't wait until this is all over. I've eaten enormous meals for breakfast, lunch, and dinner and still get hungry between meals.

Oh, that's a new experience for me -- spending money for breakfast. I guess our Per Diem covers up to $40 in meals per day, but spending $7 for breakfast still seems like a lot. :-)

I can't think of anything too interesting that happened today. We blew up one of our meters... That was fun. I'm just glad it wasn't my fault.

OH! I finally remembered to wash my safety glasses today. We're required to wear safety shoes, FR clothing (Fire Resistant), hard hats, and safety glasses at all times in the plant, so they were getting pretty dirty.

Let's see... What other piece of worthless information can I impart to my bored readers... I washed my clothes tonight. I only have one pair of FR pants and two FR shirts. They were getting kinda dirty, so I washed tonight since we got back earlier.

Man... boring, hu? Ok, bed :-)

Maybe someday I'll get some pictures up :)

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Coulee -- Day 2

Hi! Bye! I'm going to bed. We worked 13.5hrs today and I'm tired. I know that's nothing for a lot of you out there, but I'm tired.

We tested 3 out or 14 battery banks today, so we're ahead of schedule. One of the three banks was a 125V battery that's well over 1,000 amp-hours. Each cell is almost as big as a forklift battery.

I saw some really impressive sights today. I got a short tour of some of the largest hydro units in the world and was pretty amazed. Just to give you a rough estimate, the shafts that turn these generators are around 12' in diameter. I have a lot of bad cell phone pictures, but those are going to have to wait. If I get a shorter day sometime (Sunday is supposed to be 8hrs), I'll put my bad pictures up :-)

Hope you all are doing ok!

Monday, December 1, 2008

Coulee -- Day 1

Man, that was a mistake. Don't ever say "Day 1" because that implies you'll be posting more.

There's not much to say:

1) The Spokane airport is bigger than I expected.
2) I don't like Ford SUVs. (Rental)
3) Grand Coulee Dam is about a mile long.
4) The power plants look pretty small until you go into the buildings. There's 3 power plant buildings and one pump building. We worked in the Left Powerhouse today and I was amazed at the size. I haven't gotten a tour yet, but from what I saw, it's pretty impressive. You know how the florescent lights look in Walmart? If you stand at one end of the store and look down the row, it looks really long? The Left Powerhouse looks longer than Walmart.
5) The security here is really tight. They grumbled about giving us unlimited access, including weekends. I just thought the person was grumpy... well, that's what I thought until I saw a guy patrolling the plant with a bullet-proof vest and assult rifle. Rumor has it they're training all plant personnel to carry heat. (Grand Coulee provides more power than any other plant in the U.S. 7GW), so wiping out Grand Coulee would blackout a good portion of the U.S. power grid.)
6) Although the city of Grand Coulee has around 1,000 residence, there's no cell phone reception to be had.
7) The city of Electric is close to the city of Grand Coulee.
8) There's a nice hotel here, especially for the size of the city.
9) I'm really tired and we're supposedly going to work a minimum of 12hrs tomorrow.
10) I'm going to bed.

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Sine Capitus

In case any of you are wondering what happened to me, I've been a little more busy recently, so I haven't had time to post when I'm actually in the mood to.

Here's my list of excuses for not posting:

1) The only interesting work I've been doing in the underground city is top-secret, so I can't talk about it. (Ok, it's not interesting and not secret, but I'm not supposed to publicize anything about it yet.)

2) I've been looking for a car.

3) I'm going to Grand Coulee in Washington for a few weeks, so I won't be around.

4) I'll probably be at Hoover Dam for 3 months starting mid-January. sigh. :-C

5) May Day is coming up.

6) July 27th was 4months before Thanksgiving.

7) I'm running out of excuses.

8) Today is the day after I finally got accepted for a credit card. (It's harder to get a credit card if you're male and 23 with no credit history.)

9) I saw more cash than I've ever seen in my life yesterday. Too bad it came from my bank account. (Car)

10) I'm finally to ten excuses.

See? I've been REALLY busy. A whole 10 excuses. :-)

Ok, ok. Maybe if you hang around I can put some cell phone pictures up from Grand Coulee. I think I may have internet access at the hotel, so I may have nothing better to do depending on if we work 12hr days or not.

Thursday, November 20, 2008


ery vehemently, Vincent verbalized vowels. Vincent's vernacular vocabulary voiced vocative views. "Vi-deo!" Vincent volunteered vivaciously.

Me have something to post? HA! Is this earth a cube or this post interesting? HAahhhhhh!

Me thinks me'z been a wurk'n too mawch! Tawp in zee moarnin to-uh! Eez'a feyen daye for a ride in zr turain wis Rathbone O'Brain!

Aye! Buht nowe we have the leettle mat'ter oav yoa beel?

Heeler's a leettle moovy my bru'thers made:

(And, no, none of that means anything. :-)

Monday, November 17, 2008


pon arriving at the Frisco Marina, we found the old "dangerous" playground equipment replaced with new "safe" equipment. For once, "safe" wasn't synonymous with boring. Yes, folks, believe it or not, there is such a thing as a new playground that's fun. It could have had something to do with it being more dangerous than any other playground I've ever been to, but I doubt it... Maybe it had something to do with the playground being designed for kids 12 years and younger? Nah! It was fun WITHOUT having to climb on the roof. I just hope they don't get sewed and take it out very soon.

Here it is... complete with slides that are actually fast, spinney things that make you sick after realizing there's no way to stop once you get going as fast as you can, tons of bars to bump your head on, places to fall off of at great heights, and the noble treadmill of death. (Friction is sometimes a good thing. :-) It also served as a playground for my sister's wild imagination with regards to physics.

As Mark kindly demonstrated, the main tower was pretty high. The climbing wall was one of the only ways to get up. Oh, and yeah... Those bars you slide down are actually fun at 45 degrees with a 12' drop.

The playground contained many odd, twisted ladders, and missing walls on high platforms.

I felt like a kid again!

Sunday, November 16, 2008


A post without letter! YAHOO!

Why does America get all the boring TV shows? How many variations of "recite information" can we take?


his is indeed sad. Steve brought me campaigning and I didn't get elected for president. I have some pictures of the occasion, though!

(BTW, you have to click on the picture below.)

Wednesday, November 12, 2008


ince I get more comments not posting than I do posting, I've decided to stop posting. Ok, maybe not, but still, silly sisters solicit silly sayings assuming salt is stirred into silly soup.

Monday, November 3, 2008


accoons may be smart, but they aren't smart enough to play cello! Obviously there's no way they could make it through Popper. Abbey, my friends, has. Congratulations, Abbey! (Popper, for those of you who don't know, is an etude book.)

Saturday, November 1, 2008


uick! Get the door!

Something interesting finally happened! Today, as at least one of you out there obviously knows, is the 6-month anniversary of May Day. Tomorrow marks the six-month anniversary of cleaning up from May Day. Happy anniversary, everyone!

To celebrate such a momentous occasion, an unknown party delivered goods to our house in commemoration of all the fond memories associated with May Day.

The celebration was complete... performed and executed to perfection. Of course, there were the neatly-placed goods:

In the traditional May Day style, no one was to be found:

The mysterious package was puzzling at first... What could it be? A bomb? And what are the two dots? Could they be to indicate which side is up? Wait! They are placed above a depression! Oh, and the color red... Does it signify to some purpose?

When Rebecca, the great detective, opened the package, she deduced the half-cookies were to commemorate May Day's half-birthday:

Thank you, whoever did that! It was most unexpected and appreciated by all those living here.

Friday, October 31, 2008


ast posts have not been very interesting. Perhaps this will lend some comfort to those who are board.

Here's an example of a boy soprano:

Believe it or not, a lot of boys can sing very well before their voices change. As you can see from the video, boys' voices tend to be much clearer than a girl's voice of the same age. Interesting information? Maybe. Useful? Probably not. Well... Now maybe you'll go buy pieces recorded by all-boy choirs :-)

Thursday, October 30, 2008


- mazing Grace! This is one of those times you don't want to be there.

On a side note, this was kind of interesting:
I'd be interested to see the winning video :-)


e ne ne new nee! I DID IT!

Beck and Abb were convinced I couldn't sleep through a gerbil cage containing noisy toys, and I was convinced I could. (I have very selective hearing when I'm asleep.)

A few nights ago, Abb prepared a new batch a gerbils for my enjoyment. She had just adopted a particularly active family of gerbils and decided they needed a squeaky wheel, a glass water bottle, and a large box.

The specimen was brought to the place of testing. The gerbils started performing their acts of noisome kindness -- shredding cardboard, banging the water bottle, and wearing out the already worn out wheel bearings.

True, it did take longer to go to sleep. At one point, I was wondering if all three instruments of noise were really necessary, but determined to prove my sisters wrong, I went to sleep and stayed asleep all night.

Beck and Abb were not amused but thought it great blog material, so here it is! (Thanks, BTW :-)


y, my! Not only does he skip his sister's concert, but he went to Elitches instead... on a Sunday night at that!

Yes, folks. It's true. I am evil. I skipped out on the CYS concert so I could go to Elitches. You want to hear my excuse? Yeah? Yeah? Ok... Here it is! I've been trying to go to Elitches with a guy at church for the past few months and if looked like it was going to work out. My sisters whole-heatedly gave me permission to skip the concert and go to Elitches instead. (Needless to say, I felt guilty, especially when the guy couldn't come after all and I went by myself, but hey, it was free. (Free makes anything ok... Ok, maybe not.)

ANYWAY, when I got there, I found they had a new attraction -- a free spook house... "Huh," I thought to myself. "Is the "family friendly spook house" worth the long line?" I decided to try it out. I'm glad I did. It was so cool because the place seemed to be designed by a bunch of robotic/electronic hobbyists. It was like the robotic hobbyists conventions they have in California in our own back yard. I don't have a clue what was in the actual spook house, but I can tell you they used the same kind of motion detectors I got for *cough* may day, Bimba pneumatic cylinders, fairly descent strobe lights, more expensive smoke machines, etc. It was fun to see what psychological tricks the guys came up with, the way they implemented the robotics, etc. Here's a list of things I thought were cool:

The entrance was a ramp that went through a large tube. The tube had paint splattered all over it and black-lights illuminated it. The tube rotated. Seems kinda dumb. I've seen these things before and thought it a device that might look slightly cool but not worth the effort. I, being in the back of the group, noticed the people ahead of me starting to veer off to the side of the ramp while walking through it. I though, "Oh, brother." and determined to walk through it with no problems... Oh, how wrong I was. No matter what you look at, you unconsciously walk off to the side and hit the rail with great force over and over again. It really feels like the ramp is tipping, but it's fixed. Kind of cool how your brain uses your peripheral vision as a method for balancing. (Basically, you fall over as you try to walk through the thing.)

The strobe lights were cool... Several dark hallways were pitch black between strobe flashes. After walking through a hall with a strobe light for a while, your brain starts to think you're not moving. You honestly feel like you're standing still... You know those dreams you have where you have to get away from something but for some reason, you just cannot run? These hallways gave the same effect. Pretty cool!

There was a short hallway that had a bunch of corrugated drain lines hanging in it. Just like everyone else, I thought, "Oh, brother!" and fought my way through the hoses, wondering why drain lines were supposed to be scary. What they did, though, was divert your attention from the actor standing at the side of the hallway. Fighting your way through the pipes distracted you enough to create a perfect opportunity for an actor to scare you.

Another room was so densely filled with smoke that you couldn't tell where to go. you couldn't see for more than a couple feet in front of you, and after walking for several seconds, you'd start to wonder if you were going to trip on something... Meanwhile, an actor would run around the room, seeming to come out of nowhere. Where Art thou?

Well, I'm tired of typing and if you actually read this, you're probably sick of reading :-)


ament! The fun day of pawn shopping is over!

Steve, a very kind friend of mine, spent a great deal of time taking me pawn shopping last Friday. Pawn shops have an exquisitely unique personality, and I enjoyed them immensely. True, you'll see a tile cutter, bike collection, and car audio components at every store, but you'll also see things you've never seen in your life. Whether it's an outrageously high price or an Elvis doll, pawn shops are a barrel of laughs!

(I think work is getting to me. Pawn shopping was really fun, but my writing is getting really bad.)

Here's a couple pictures:
Pawn Shopping

Wednesday, October 29, 2008


eeled over, dying of laughter! Becky got a that there blog!


Man, I'm getting tired of this blog editor. It keeps messing things up:
It lost my comments on the "Bananas" post unless if you click on it or open the blog in a second window. I have no clue why.

The HTML is kind of messy.

I have to edit each post 3 times before it's very readable with all these pictures...

Formatting randomly changes between edits...


Tuesday, October 28, 2008


ust when you thought Elitches had died...

PICTURES FIRST! http://picasaweb.google.com/Roozer/Elitches

Elitches is almost closed for the season... It's sad, but things like that tend to end. I enjoyed some visits more than others. Some visits a lot more than others. Some visits were rather disappointing. What? Oh... Closed for a private party. You mean I just got off the bus and now have to wait an hour to get back home!?! Other visits were just plain "dude-awesome." :-)

I don't know why I still enjoy it, but I do. Ok, so I'm crazy. What does that have to do with it?

Beck and I are kind of physics freaks, so here's a couple tips to make your ride more scary:

Hollywood and Vine: You can get your car spinning really fast. Ride by yourself, spread you weight out on the back of the car during fast spins and pull yourself to the center when the spin starts to slow up. If you can catch it right and get the rhythm, you'll come off not being able to walk straight. You can also let yourself out of this ride and totally confuse the operator by sitting on the right side of the car and pulling the lap bar towards yourself.

Chaos: If your a guy, you have a lot more body mass at your shoulders. Use this to your advantage and puzzle the crowd as you're almost flipping upside down when the ride stops.

Turn of the Century: Using your legs in conjunction with the undulating motion of the ride allows you to turn your swing almost completely backwards while everyone else looks on in amazement and the operator yells at you.

Tea Cups: Get sick. What more is there to say.

Spider: Go by yourself. By moving from one side of the car to the other, you can make yourself spin sick even when the ride is stopped.

Troika: I can't figure out anything rewarding enough to make it worth the effort.

Side Winder: All I can say is ride in the back. The operator tells you to "move up to the next available gate", but if you ask the line operator, they'll let you stand at the trash can and get the back car.

Mind Eraser: The front car is the only fun car anymore.

Bat Wing: It actually goes pretty high and if you think about it enough, you can make yourself scared enough that it's fun.

Ghost Blasters: If you're like me, you like it for the effects. For everyone else, concentrate on shooting the targets. The props respond when you do so. Don't concentrate too much on shooting, though, or you'll miss the fun stuff.

Boomerang: Don't ride if you're over 5'3". Look out the side of all the loops if you start to black out.

Tower of Doom: Don't tighten your harness up all the way and lean forward when the operator comes by to check your harness. Next, when you get up to the top, hold your arms and legs straight out and you'll get off wobbly from the adrenalin rush.

Dragon Swing: Only go one of the ends. Let your arms float when necessary. (Let people go around you so you'll be at the front of the line.)

Half-Pipe: Really fun if you know how to ride it. A lot of people don't like it because they don't know the secrets. First, Make sure you do not tighten your harness all the way, especially if you're a guy. (Seriously... This is practical, not scare factor.) Second, always lean forward and keep your head outside the harness.) Now for the fun: Before you put your harness down, loosen the seat belt all the way and only lower the harness just far enough to buckle the seat belt. Lean forward pretty hard when the operator comes by or he'll tighten it up. (Not intentionally, just by checking the seat belt.) Next, As soon as the ride starts, put your hands and arms straight out. Feel like you're holding on by clamping the front harness with your arms and legs. This is a lot of work and makes you tired rather quickly, but the payoff is worth it. Once the ride is going high, you can loosen your "clamp" a bit and enjoy about four seconds of weightlessness on each end. It still scares me, so it's great fun.

Disaster Canyon: Too wet and not fun.

Shipwreck Falls: If it's hot, the sun is out, and you're wearing shorts, this is the perfect ride to remove a headache or cool off. You'll be mostly dry in 15-20 minutes. Sit in the middle. The front gets you too wet and the back soaks your shoes. Hold your feet off the floor on the way up the hill or else your shoes will get soaked. Once you're at the top, put your feet under your seat. Sit up straight with your eyes open to see the big wall of water. You won't get wet till the wall starts to fall. Once it falls, lean over to keep the front of your shirt dry. Once on the other side of the bridge, you're fine. Wait one splash before you exit the loading area or you'll get soaked on the bridge. (Unless you run, but a lot of people don't realize it until it's too late.)

Shake Rattle 'n Roll: Not very fun, in my opinion. Make sure you have nothing in your pockets and your shirt tucked in.

Thunderbolt: Ride by yourself. Sit cross-legged in the middle of the car and hold onto the sides of the car. Use lots of effort and swing the car back and forth as you go over the hills. You'll feel kind of powerless most of the time because the cars seem to oscillate at a 1/3 harmonic of the hills. I.E. Keep rocking and every third hill or so, you'll be able to swing your car WAY out. So far, in fact, that it's beyond horizontal and hits the steal frame. The operator will watch you but won't yell at you.

Twister II: Simple... Sit in the back for maximum thrill and keep your hands up the whole time. Believe it or not, you won't ever hit them no matter how high you stretch. The front is fun, too because you can see a whole lot more. If it's close to closing time, sit in an undesirable seat because, depending on how crowded it is, you might get to go again and again if you ask the operator.

Indian Almond

nteresting conversations can be heard at Elitches...

As most of you know, I bought a season pass at the beginning of the year and have been going fairly often each month. I think I've gone enough that the cost is now down to around $3.50 per visit.

I heard something that cracked me up Friday as I was leaving...
Person #1: "HEY! LOOK! Let's go on Cha-aws"
Person #2: "Hu?"
Person #1: "SEE?!? Look! That one right there! Cha-aws."
Person #2: "Oh, that one. Stop trying to speak Spanish."