I've always found amusement parks very unamusing, for it's hard to justify standing in a hot, 40-minute roller-coaster line so I can promptly lose my car keys and barf up a churro.
That's what whiskey is for.
But lots of people dig this kind of entertainment. And it seems all the theme parks around the world try to out-amuse each other with technologically advanced new rides promising wild and exciting fun.
"Hey kids! Come try The Agonizer! It willliterally give you second-degree steam burns to the face!"
You see, when it comes to roller coasters these days, they have to be super-über extreme to stand out. And, right now, thrill seekers on the Web are all talking about in Southern California.
The ride opened last weekend to rave reviews, and it's being touted as the "world's tallest and fastestlooping coaster." Which sounds pretty amazing, save for the part about it being tall and fast and looping. My ideal roller coaster is a hammock.
Nevertheless, this thing goes up to 70 mph, reaches a height of 160 feet and uses something called a linear synchronous-motor magnetic launch system.
I don't know what that means, but I'm fairly certain it causes diarrhea.
"Did anybody else just ...?"
"Yes. Get the kids. We're going home."
Full Throttle also prides itself on having the world's first ever "top hat" loop, allowing riders to fly across the outer rail of the circle as well as the inside. Everything I've read suggests that this is actually a rather big deal when it comes to roller-coaster engineering.
Though, to be fair, I'm still trying to figure out button-fly jeans. So, in my book, pretty much anything more sophisticated than a ballpoint pen counts as an major scientific accomplishment.
Hell, my ceiling fan is certifiably magic.
Anyway, never mind all the wild technology. Just know that Full Throttle is really big and really fast, and if the train ever flies off the rails, there's a pretty good chance you'll end up somewhere near Pittsburgh.
"Ha-ha. Now that's what I call being thrown for a loop!"
"Shut up, Dave."
And if the overall speed and height weren't wild enough, Full Throttle also minimizes the protective harnessing that prevents you from dropping painfully to your death. Which, to some, might be slightly concerning.
Here, there's nothing covering your chest -- just a simple lap bar to keep you and your bladder snugly in position. But it's said to be very advanced, and the limited upper-body protection totally enhances the fear factor when, at one point during the ride, you apparently almost slow to a stop along a curve.
It's a terrifying pause that lasts just long enough to make a deathbed confession to the stranger sitting next to you.
These are the dirty secrets we share when roller-coaster technology rises to the next level.
Tim Burkhart, director of maintenance, construction and engineering for Six Flags Magic Mountain, was the project lead for creating Full Throttle, and told that, "Anyone can take a track and flip it. I've done it a million times -- it's easy to do. But to build an actual loop, with all the supporting structure, and the dynamics you have to do to be at 160 feet, that is a much (more) difficult thing."
If this all sounds completely amazing, it is. Roller-coaster engineering continues to test the limits of your lunch, and Six Flags Magic Mountain has quite literally raised the bar.
So, if you're an adrenaline junkie and you make it out to California, make sure you head over to Six Flags to give this thing a shot. Do it for me.
Because I'll be in my hammock, confidently eating a churro.