Still here. But mostly in 140 characters.
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Friday, February 13, 2004
 
Design Poorly Like a Hurricane

If you're designing a professional website for an amusement attraction of some sort, it really helps to do two things: 1) Present important information such as operating hours and prices in concise language in an easily-accessible location of the site and 2) Make the website easy to load and navigate. If your information can be readily gleaned by people who aren't full of rage over the fact that your site took two hours to load and then failed to provide them with useful facts, they might actually come and give you money. Maybe lots of it.

The website for the Hurricane roller coaster in Dania Beach, Florida, offers an interesting contrast in its effectiveness at tackling both of these points. As far as presenting important information, we're all set. Visitors can locate prices, special deals, and operating hours right there on the front page. Now, as for the "easy to load and navigate" part...uh......

Can we suggest that amusement parks stop hiring web designers who like to put every single trick on the front page, making it all sparkly and bright and wacky at the expense of legibility and functionality? Why does the front page of this website need all those pictures, animated files, rotating letters, and even a random sound clip? It's full of sound and fury, signifying nothing.

All the excess party tricks and trinkets on this website make it our Site O' the Weak, but since one can actually find useful information amongst all this mess (unlike, say, that atrocious Six Flags website), it's only going to end up having the dubious honor for a few days.

--JCK

Posted at 12:30 AM | Link |

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Thursday, February 12, 2004
 
Comcast Makes Unsolicited Bid for NASA, Kazakhstan

Declaring that this would be the week that an incompetent cable company with a strong hatred for its customers would make an effort to greatly expand the scope of its business drastically outside its all-too-limited capabilities, Comcast Cable today announced that it would make unsolicited bids to purchase NASA and the former Soviet republic of Kazakhstan. The announcement came on the heels of Comcast's $66 billion offer for Disney.

"We've been not satisfying our customers in the relatively straightforward business of connecting televisions to wires for years now, and we've decided it's time to not satisfy customers in other business areas where we have absolutely no relevant experience!" declared Brian L. Roberts, Comcast's CEO. "If you think you've been insulted and ignored by Comcast's customer service representatives, wait until we get that same can't-do attitude instilled in Disneyland employees! I look forward to a day where not only will Mickey Mouse refuse to pose for a picture with your kids, but will send you bills for the picture for months afterwards. Mickey might take a leak on your pants-leg, too."

On today's bids for NASA and Kazakhstan, Roberts was similarly enthusiastic. "All NASA really needs is to learn from the efficiency of our cable installers. If we just told Congress that we would launch a mission to Mars sometime between 10 a.m. on January 1, 2009, and 3:00 p.m. on December 31, 2056, I'd say the pressure would be off and the funding would keep on coming!"

"And what can I say about Kazakhstan? Actually, you know, I can't say anything about Kazakhstan. We just had some more money and thought it'd be fun to own a country. I don't even know where it is."

Sources indicate that Comcast may also seek to purchase the University of Texas and most of the national park system.

Posted at 8:10 AM | Link | 0 comment(s)

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Wednesday, February 11, 2004
 
Hello to That Guy Who Recognized Our Shirt

A special hello goes out today to that guy at Islands of Adventure who noticed one of our writers wearing an ARN&R t-shirt and said "Love the shirt!" as the two passed at Hulk Monday afternoon. The writer was unfortunately so dumbfounded by the fact that someone recognized what the heck the shirt meant that he failed to engage the guy in an enthusiastic chat about why on earth he had bothered to read our website. Instead, he mumbled out something like, and we quote, "Huh? Really?" This unwittingly thwarted the chance for the writer to be offered praise for articles, or perhaps slugged in the gut, if it turned out he had dissed a favorite park or the guy who passed by near Hulk. Sorry.

Anyway, Guy Near Hulk, we appreciate your kind words. Although we are amused by the enthusiastic and incomprehensible hate mail we receive, we also are quite fond of people knowing and enjoying our product. And don't forget, you too can have one of those lovely and seductive t-shirts at our online store!

--JCK

Posted at 7:46 AM | Link | 0 comment(s)

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Tuesday, February 10, 2004
 
Enthusiast Reads Book

In an event that experts call unprecedented, coaster enthusiast Jon Danky read a book earlier this month. Moreover, the book's title contained neither "thrill" nor "coaster" nor "ride" nor "amusement."

The shocking event occurred when Danky found himself bored on a Thursday afternoon after checking CoasterBuzz, Thrillride, Thrillnetwork, Westcoaster, Rec.Roller-Coaster, Screamscape, and Ultimate Rollercoaster four times each consecutively for updates. Finding none, his eyes wandered his room and settled on something he hadn't thought of in over a month -- a book, The Price of Loyalty, written by Ron Suskind based on extensive interviews with former Treasury Secretary Paul O'Neill. The book, a gift from Danky's aunt and uncle, provides O'Neill's recollections of his time in the Bush White House.

Danky, having exhausted his amusement park-related options, read the book over the next three days. "It was okay, I guess," said Danky. "But it's no The Haunted Park (RollerCoaster Tycoon, No. 5)," he added, referring to the fifth in a lenghty series of novelizations based on the popular RollerCoaster Tycoon videogame. "Jake, Carlos, and Hanna -- now those are some great characters, and the way they hung out in the haunted amusement park was so exciting."

Posted at 10:26 AM | Link | 0 comment(s)

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Sunday, February 08, 2004
 
HersheyPark to Offer Head Injuries, Lobotomies as Part of Storm Runner Theme

HersheyPark announced yesterday that in addition to the extensive Wild West theming that has pervaded its promotion of the new Intamin rocket coaster "Storm Runner," it's going to do all it can to help its guests get into the spirit of the ride.

Along with props and theme-appropriate music throughout the area surrounding Storm Runner, park officials plan to provide serious head injuries and/or partial lobotomies so that patrons will be able to fully appreciate the wacky stylings of "that Western dude with the huge moustache," as the character is thus far known. "We may also forcibly place chaw in the mouths of our guests and urge them to drink a lot of Lone Star, but we're still working on the legalities of that."

ACErs getting a tour of the construction site were among the first to undergo the head injury/lobotomy features. Among the relatively few members who showed any change in behavior, the effort was considered a success. "Hee haw, that was a rollickin' good time, pardner!" exclaimed James Kierkly, a formerly suave and sophisticated resident of Connecticut. "It was better 'n' a barn full of fresh-cut hay. Or somethin' like that -- I'm not up on the Wild West metaphors."

HersheyPark is presently hiring both former bouncers and neurosurgeons to provide the head injuries and lobotomies. A decision about which approach will be used is expected before the start of the season.

Posted at 8:39 PM | Link | 0 comment(s)

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