Cedar Point Goodness

I am an adrenaline junky. Not an extremist that base jumps or anything, but I do enjoy the more common stuff like roller coasters. So, Joe recently mentioned that Cedar Point was apparently the Roller Coaster Mecca and was a mere 2 hour drive from his house. One of the roller coasters in the park is Top Thrill Dragster which launches you at 120mph up and back down a 420 foot tower. Did I mention that it is the fastest, the tallest and has the highest drop of any coaster in the world all rolled into one? Well, it is. Very serious fuckin coaster. I decided that was a destination of mine in the immediate future.

I was discussing this plan with a good friend of mine here in Atlanta, Chris (Dego on the forums), while out to lunch with him and his wife. Amazingly, his WIFE said to him "you should go... it sounds fun". What a great wife that must be. Basically, "feel free to go have fun with the guys out of town". Finally after knowing the guy 10 years, he goes on a roadtrip with me.

We take off for Ohio after I get off work on Thursday just as hurricane Ivan is sending rain our way. It added an hour to our drive, but with laptop in tow we had movies to make the time go by. Go team.

After arriving at Joe's, we socialize and play a little Burn Out 3 on the Xbox. While it's not my turn, I pull out the laptop to confirm Cedar Point's opening time. Hrmm... 6pm. We all sorta assumed that it would be open all day even though it's not summer anymore - slight error in judgment, but still tolerable. More time for goofing off during the day.

After said goofing off on Friday, we take off for Cedar Point around 4pm figuring 2 hours to go 130 miles is much more than needed. Our destination was Sandusky, OH. For those of you wondering, it's roughly halfway between Cleveland, OH and Detroit, MI. We load up the GPS and map software on Chris' laptop and off we go. After enjoying an Office Space DVD, we start focusing on the mapping software as we are somewhat nearing the end of our trip. We are still in the middle of nowhere on a little nothing road, but the 1 Cedar Point Drive destination address we punched in is rapidly approaching. Soon, the voice says something to the effect of "Destination 2 minutes away - 1.5 miles ahead". It says this as we're passing corn fields and little else.

We immediately become concerned and note that the destination is not as close to the Lake Erie as previously thought. "I thought the pictures showed the coasters right off the lake." Hrmm... so, being so close, we decide to go to the incorrect destination that mapping software thought was right just out of morbid curiosity. It was a farmhouse with no sign of civilization anywhere nearby. heh

So, we call, get directions from the major highway we'd passed (which had no immediately available entrance onto) and adjusted course accordingly. We were only like 15 miles away, so no big loss, but it did make for a semi-interesting fuckup. The bubbled green line is the route we took :

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We arrive at Cedar Point only 15 minutes after opening and find out that a theme park right off of Lake Erie is probably a bit too windy/cold for the attire the two southerners in the group were wearing, but we soldiered on. Straight to the uber-coaster - Top Thrill Dragster. Just watching the thing launch a couple of times had me pretty excited about the project. After some 50 launches watched while waiting in the queue for the front car, I was just ready to get on the fuckin thing. Finally, the time comes. Joe has to take off his glasses - so, I am his eyes. We stage, we prep and we go.

"We go." Well, that's much like saying "an atomic bomb is a little loud". We are instantly hurtled down the track with an acceleration I've never felt in my life - probably somewhere around 3-3.5 Gs. Needless to say, the comment I was making was immediately cut off and the only thing I can muster is a breathless "whoa".

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I'm on the right getting my face mangled by the Gs along with Joe on the left squinting due to 1> not having glasses on and 2> a very sudden addition of a lot of wind thanks to some serious acceleration. As a matter of fact, the G forces are quite evident on everyone except Chris (2nd car behind Joe). God, it looks like we have to wake the guy up from his nap to enjoy the ride while Joe and I are casually shitting our pants. I guess piloting airplanes desensitizes you - bastard.

At the top of the tower is a very pleasant moment of negative Gs where insane people let go of their deathgrip on the lapbar. Not me since I'm in the first car and I am soon dangling briefly over the edge of the tower and get a solid view of our soon-to-be-decent. I then give a pathetic "oh my god" to which Joe opens his eyes only to shut them immediately as we are looking 42 stories straight down with a 270 degree twist... just for fun.

After the ride finishes we take a second to reflect. The entire process has taken about 17 seconds... 13 of which was at 120mph or rapidly accelerating to that. Wow. There's really no other word to describe it. Just "wow". I've been on about 40 or so roller coasters and nothing could have prepared me for the assault on my senses that ride was. It's probably the only thing I've experienced in my lifetime that actually scared me. So, two thumbs up from Rich.

BTW, if you want to see a video of Top Thrill Dragster, click here (13MB). Little repetitive, but it'll at least give you more than a screenshot view of it.

Sadly, a great deal of the park was closed either due to the lateness of the season, weather, or whatever. So, we only hit one more coaster called the Raptor. It was a very good suspension coaster that flipped, corkscrewed, etc. I enjoyed that a lot and was probably one of the better coasters I've been on, but after having just had my shit wrecked by TTD, it appeared tame.

The rest of the stay in Ohio consisted of playing Burn Out 3 and enjoying the "holy fuck" inducing wrecks, finally getting to see Jason (Ronald McDonald) for the first time over a year and other general merriment/hanging out.

Pretty good trip. Look forward to going back when I have a lot more time.

- Nighthawk

Alienware > Me

I have recently purchased a new computer system. Since I like to buy a cutting edge (not bleeding edge, but close) computer that won't go obsolete on me over night, that necessitates spending a bit of money. Further, I play Planetside which isn't exactly easy on weak machines, so it has to be more than a little bit gaming friendly. And finally, I'm a lazy prick and hate putting together my own system.

So, what's the answer? Alienware.

My system is an Aurora which frankly owns complete ass. Specs are (as you may have seen in the forum) :

Processor : AMD Athlon 64 FX-53
Memory : 2GB Dual Channel DDR PC-3200 SDRAM
Gfx Card : ATI RADEON X800 PRO 256MB
Sound : Creative Sound Blaster Audigy 2 ZS High Definition 7.1 Surround
Harddrive : 160GB Seagate Barracuda 7,200 RPM w/8MB Cache
Digital Media : Plextor PX-712A 12x DVD±R/W Drive and Lite-On 52x32x52x CD-RW Drive

Why did I get an AMD 64 FX-53 instead of a Pentium 4 3.2? Take a look over this article, specifically pages 6 and 7. Add on that super sexy graphics card along with 2 GB of RAM and you have a beast of a gaming machine. THX sound isn't a bad thing either. ;)

Anyhow, figured I'd toss an unsolicited hat-tip their direction since this box is so nice and really is worthy of the nod.

On a quite side note about "alien" stuff, I have recently been running the SETI@home screensaver which has your computer help sift through the massive amount of information that is collected from the radio satellite systems around the world. I'm not fan of Berkeley nor am I am fanatic that thinks that aliens will land any day now, but I figure since my computer is relatively idle while I'm afk aside from my P2P - it may as well be doing something productive.

And yes, that's three posts in three days completing the hat trick of unlikelihood. It may indeed be the 7th sign of the apocalypse. If that's the case, my apologies in advance.

- Nighthawk

Poor Floridians

Charley came through Florida the middle of last month. The cleanup was barely underway when Frances hits. But, the fun isn't over yet... Ivan is right around the corner.

When Ivan became noticed last week, all the Floridians collectively crapped their pants unable to believe their terrible luck. But wait... there's good news for them (but not for others). Ivan was on a steady westward march across Grenada, Jamaica and Cuba with signs of making it in the the gulf before coming anywhere near the mainland.

heh... Wrong! The fucker is curving from it's path specifically to hit Florida. It appears that Ivan has said to itself "holy fuck, I'm gonna miss Florida!" *takes Cuban offramp*

That's messed up.

As you can tell by that graphic, my fine state of Georgia will be catching a little bit of this hurricane. That should prove interesting as I will be up in Ohio with Jason/Joe on Thur-Sat, so I may come home to one of my god-forsaken pine trees lying through my house. Then again, maybe I'll just have some fallen branches to pick up like with Frances. I'm sure I'll get out light compared to the unfortunate folx south of me.

For those of you down there - good luck.

- Nighthawk

In Remembrance

I have a pretty horrible memory. Genuinely, just about anyone who knows me knows that I can't remember jack shit without some sort of a reminder. So, when I say that I remember every single second of the morning three years ago - it's saying something.

I was supposed to be at work, but like I had done so many times at my job at Nextel I'd called in "sick" just because I didn't want to deal with the inconvenience of going to work that day. Being unable to fall back asleep after my alarm and my phone call into work, I got up and did what any good gamer would do... I logged in and went pking. My roommate was up for some reason and he joined me for some online merriment. Close to 9am I got a call from Lisa, an ex-gf and still one of my closest friends to this day, who said "you have to turn on the TV right now, a plane just hit a world trade center building".

Well, I'm not one to just stop gaming for something that's on TV normally, but that sounded pretty catastrophic. Sure enough I tuned in and watched the nightmare unfold. A short while later a second plane hit the other tower and I couldn't move from my couch. I couldn't believe it was happening. I sat there like a slacked jaw mouth breather with my mouth agape in awe at what I saw. People jumping from 100+ stories on live television, firemen rushing INTO that hell to do what little they could against that fire so far above them, and the repeated playback of the plane impact on the second building.

Eventually, both buildings fall and I'm stupefied by the events I've seen. I'm sad beyond words, but more over I'm furious. Three years later and I can recount every event that I saw and did that morning in far more detail than I did above. I can only imagine that is the way it is for most people here in the US.

Don't ever forget what happened in New York, Washington DC and that Pennsylvania field.

- Nighthawk

Hating Team USA = Racism

According to a (black) sportwriter for ESPN, if you're an American and rooted against the Team USA basketball team, you're a racist. Someone so willing to toss a racism accusation around is probably going to get a couple of comments out of me as being told I'm something when I'm not pisses me off.

I admittedly did start hoping the Team USA would not win the gold when they took their first loss to Puerto Rico. Why? Because the whole basketball team was black? Fuck no! Because it's embarassing to send a team filled with professionals just to have them get their asses kicked by a no-name team. We sent a bunch of overpaid individuals to represent us and they couldn't play as a team and got pounded on. I love my country dearly, but seeing those egomaniacs getting an ego check was worth it.

Before the 2004 olympics, the USA basketball record was amazing. The USA were gold medalists in 12 of the 14 Olympics in which it has played with a record of 109 wins and just two losses in the olympics. That ain't bad. This go around? Four losses and a bronze medal. You want to tell me that hating a team that performed that badly is racist?

This was a pathetic attempt at playing the race card. This author needs to be fired by ESPN.

- Nighthawk

City of Zeros

After playing City of Heros for awhile I concluded that while it was little more than your run of the mill Level Quest time killer, it was at least mildly amusing. That plus if nothing else running around fighting crime with a scantily clad, obscenely breasted amazon superhero was better than watching paint dry. That was until the day I got this e-mail from NCSoft, creators of games such as Lineage which is laden with Dark Elf pr0n right on the box, and the afforementioned City of Heroes with its also afforementioned scantily clad obscenely breasted amazon superheros. It read as follows:


We would like to thank you for your understanding in our attempt to create a more friendly and positive playing environment. The character(s) listed below are inappropriate for City of Heroes and have been disabled.

Account: ******
Character Name: Wonder Ho
Server: Justice

If you wish to keep using any of these characters, you will need to reply to this message and include 3 new character names, in order of preference, for each character that you wish to keep. Please be sure to specify which names should be used for which character.

GM Bayla

Of course, I felt it only appropriate to reply...

"Thank you for allowing us to be of service to you..."
Well gee thanks... I didnt know I was in need of service but I appreciate you servicing me nonetheless!
Lets see, 3 alternate names... this is a toughie. How about:

#1. Super Slut
#2. Porno Queen
#3. The Amazing Syphilictic Avenger

Hmm, that last one might be a bit too long... How about we just rename her "GM Bayla" and I have her macro a nice fellatio routine on a random villian in the middle of Atlas Park? mmmkay? Thanks!

Needless to say, GM Bayla failed to reply and thusly, my dear Wonder Ho is no more. What ever am I to do? Guess I will have to turn to the internet for my pr0n now...

- Greybeard

Go Speedracer Go!

So as I sat in the shadows, headlights off and hearing nothing but the sound of my heart thumping in my chest as I waited for the police cruiser that had been chasing me to fly by, I couldnt help but think to myself.. "I am way too old for this shit"

The next morning when finding myself in bed and not in the county lockup I made the decision to put my hotrod Caddy onto Ebay and find a new hobby besides street racing. I took a bunch of flak for selling it from a couple friends, but I assured myself that I'd rather have to get flak from them rather than bail money. It was just a matter of time, I'd be busting ass on some misc. hotrod or ricer on the street and end up on Americas Funniest Police Ass Beatings on FOX. There will be plenty of time for me to go fast later on in life. When i'm 80 or so I will get me one of those little motorized wheelchairs and bolt a big block 502 on it and go lay patches up and down the hallway of the nursing home. At least then if I hit a wall doing 120 MPH it would probably be a good thing.

- Greybeard