Sunday, May 31, 2009

Sunday Salon

The Sunday

Something Awful's Comedy Goldmine has a page entitled "Failures of humanity witnessed at amusement parks."

My family went on an outing yesterday to Darien Lake Theme Park & Resort (formerly a Six Flags). It must've been a Field Trip Day or something, because the average age there was about 17. I went to the Guessing Game booth (a person guesses your age within two years or you get a prize) and was told I was 29! I'm 23! I guess being surrounded by so many tweens and teens warped the guy's perspective. . . But the most memorable part was a singular act of stupidity witnessed while waiting in line for the Mind Eraser, the last ride we went on. This dumb broad threw a fit because her seven-year-old son was too short to go the ride. Now I expected her to be thrown the hell outta there (security was called) but instead some pushover of a supervisor let the two of them on! Now anyone who has been on a rollercoaster will agree that they can be tough on the body. The Mind Eraser is New York State's only suspended looping coaster. It reaches a maximum speed of 49 miles an hour and a maximum height of 109 feet. Your feet are left free (they had cubbies for people to put their shoes in). I couldn't find any information about the g-forces at work, but I'm sure they were considerable.

In other words: height requirements exist for a reason. For the life of me, I cannot imagine how anyone can have such disregard for their child's safety or how any self-respecting employee can leave both himself and his place of work so open to liability. Failures of humanity indeed. "You want a portrait of America," a friend of mine once said, "go to an amusement park." Sad but true. I had heard about the obesity epidemic, but Darien Lake was the first time I actually recognized it.

But anyway.

I was too tired to begin my 2666 post last night. I am reading it as part of a challenge hosted by Claire and Steph & Tony. Roberto BolaƱo's epic work is made up of five books that he completed shortly before his death in 2003, which were meant to be published separately. They have been put out as one ginormous novel instead, and although some people would disagree with his estate's decision, having read the first one ("The Part About the Critics"), I'm not sure how it could have worked as a stand-alone. I will be posting my thoughts later today. But suffice to say: I thoroughly enjoyed it and plan to continue reading it at a faster rate than one book per month.

I am also reading Joanna Scott's Follow Me, albeit sporadically. I've gotten a little further, but my opinion thus far hasn't changed: beautiful prose, decent plot, somewhat annoying characters. My mother, however, abandoned it around page 100, citing what she perceived to be Sally's irritating stupidity. I don't know - she's only a teen, remember. And she obviously has a lot of emotional strength and self-reliance, which I find admirable, even as her immaturity leads her to make some dumb decisions. I also feel that I should make the disclaimer that Follow Me really isn't the type of book I usually read, but Joanna Scott was one of my professors in college. I know I've mentioned that several times, but it's so cool being able to read a novel by someone who taught you. But other readers more familiar with this style of fiction will probably have a different take on it than I do. I've seen it around the literary blogosphere and a lot of my fellow bloggers seem to have enjoyed it.

(Oh, and we won prizes at Darien Lake too! A stuffed clownfish, two smaller stuffed clownfish in blue and red, a stuffed pink beaver, a cloth flower, three bouncy balls, and a giant inflatable hammer. Well, winning stuff is fun, but what the heck are we supposed to do with it now???)

Coming up: I still have hundreds of pages of An American Tragedy left, as well as Herman Hesse's Demian.


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