Arachnid Wonder World: Cocoon Twister

Domina was moving at light speed through Arachnid Wonder World. After making ten running-steps upon exiting The Bouncy Web, I stopped dead in my tracks as Domina continued madly sprinting for the transformation shack. I realized that there was no actual point to chasing Domina down, and I couldn’t keep up with her hyped-up speed anyways. It was better to let the momentum of the moment naturally die down, there was no need to expend my energy further.   She would find out for herself that I tricked her, so I casually sauntered towards the transformation shack, enjoying the sight of children playing with balloons, along with some playful spiders. I’m quite happy with the state of the world in this regard; we’ve made lots of progress in interspecies relations as a society. Sure, our movies still don’t feature a particularly diverse cast of insects yet, they’re still heavily biased towards humans, but one step at a time! 

            At 11:00 AM, I arrived at the transformation shack. There seemed to be little to no activity going on. I waited and waited, wondering where Domina scurried off to, and wondering which attraction to ride next. Just as I began to worry for my friend, she manifested not twenty feet away from me, having exited the women’s wash room. She looked like she just woke from the world’s most unpleasant hangover. As we made eye contact, she didn’t move. I cautiously began to make my way towards her…Very cautiously indeed, as she seemed about ready to punch me to the moon, dear reader. Keeping punching-distance away from Domina, I waited for her to break the ice. When she didn’t, I simply said “Simon Didn’t Say” dryly, with little sarcasm in my voice. This seemed to really blow her fuse. “YOU LIED TO ME YOU MOTHER******, I NEARLY HAD A HEART ATTACK. YOU HAVE NO IDEA HOW TERRIFIED I WAS, I CAN’T BELIEVE-.“ Blah, blah, blah. You get the gist, dear reader. I let her vent for what at the time seemed like the next several years, before she finally stopped to catch her breath. I then merely asked if she wanted to continue with our trip in AWW, or if she wanted to go home. “Perhaps all the spiders are too much for you to handle, Domina? That’s strange, ‘cause only half-an-hour ago you seemed hell bent to mate with one.” This statement of mine seemed to put a stopper to her moment of angry catharsis. For a while she said nothing, but from her countenance I could tell she understood why I did what I did. It was in her best interest, to “scare her straight”, so to speak. “Domina?” We seemed to be idly standing there for almost ten minutes. Her wheels seemed to be turning, like she was preparing a well thought out response. But she simply said. “Let’s continue on.” Her sudden calm made me feel a bit uneasy, but upon reflection, self-awareness can turn a person 180 degrees in this world.

            We wandered in silence around AWW proper for quite some time, me pondering which attraction to choose next. I was relieved to find that Domina did not enter some kind of third bizarre phase that distracted her from her true emotions regarding the park, and namely the spiders. I was anticipating some kind of new freakish show of hers, but instead, her expressions were that of her genuine self. In this instance, expressions of fear and anxiety. She subconsciously glued herself to me, rapidly eyeballing every arachnid she could find, as if expecting them to pounce. And In AWW, there are no shortages of spiders to find. In fact, it would be an immense challenge to go three steps without spotting one. Now that Domina seemed more willing to directly confront her fear, I figured it would be best to select a very modest attraction, with limited thrills and arachnids, like some kind of merry-go-round. To my surprise, it was Domina that ended up selecting the next attraction. This attraction she selected…Let’s just say that it most certainly did not fit the criteria I was searching for.

 

 

Queue

I realize that I haven’t even described the actual attraction yet, but here’s the thing; there was literally nothing to even describe! At least relative to the queue area. Allow me to explain; Domina, seemingly out of the blue, pointed towards a large empty space and decided that we should go and ride that attraction. This left me confused…Perhaps she really had merely entered a third stage of insanity. “You want us to ride…Nothing?” But as we walked towards the space, I realized that not everything was as it appeared. It was a peculiar sight; a long line of people, zigzagging along rope barriers, surrounded the empty space in an oval. As you may have guessed, the logo wrote ‘Cocoon Twister’. I noted that the guests at the front of the line, following the supposed completion of a ride cycle, seemed to simply vanish into thin air as they walked into the vast central space. Was this the queue to the afterlife? If the visuals weren’t weird enough, then the sounds were especially disconcerting. The empty space essentially emitted a cacophony of screams, the kind of clichéd screams you would hear on any thrilling roller coaster, with seemingly no pattern. On top of that, there was a booming, pervasive laugh that accompanied the screams, of all things. It was a kind of maniacal laughter, something the Joker would only be capable of whilst on crack (give or take a few octaves.). The laughs seemed to shift in tone. All of this, combined with the ominous name, ‘Cocoon Twister’, really put me on edge. The long line surprised me. I suppose an empty space claiming to be an attraction would spike most people’s curiosity, but for me, I would have been all too happy to pretend I never saw this space and move along.

            I tried to share my reservations with Domina, that we would be better off choosing a lighter, perhaps more traditional attraction.  One that wasn’t invisible and that didn’t contain inexplicable, maniacal laughter. But she simply smirked at me and said, “Don’t be a baby!” This took me aback, and in a good way, too.  Domina was visibly fearful, and clearly held as much apprehension for the attraction as I had, if not more. Her bravery in the face of her arachnophobia was admirable, so I followed along.

            The line itself was nothing special, no fancy acrobats to be found here. The wait was long, and it would have been a drag if not for our nerves. It was the not-knowing what the attraction even was that really kept the butterflies fluttering. The screaming and laughing also kept both of us distinctly sharp; we may have waited twenty to thirty minutes, but it felt like twenty to thirty seconds. I think this is a positive? I can’t really call that a negative. A healthy dose of fear beats the blandness of boredom. During the wait, I considered asking a nearby tarantula, performing janitorial duties, what this attraction was all about, but had decided against it. Domina remained silent during the duration of the queue, but not out of shock like last time. From the fear and concentration on her face, I could tell that she was doing everything in her power to summon courage within herself. Huge progress!  

            All in all, I can’t help but admire this queue despite its relative simplicity. In fact, I admire it for its surreal simplicity. The sounds and aesthetics (and lack thereof) unify to create an effectively uneasy and tension-building wait experience. However, there was really nothing more to the queue other than what I have already described. For a twenty minute plus wait, I must fault it for that. Also, having actually ridden this attraction at the time of writing, I could confidently say that the main positive of the queue also proves to be to its detriment, if not in a direct manner. The ride itself was truly thrilling, insanely so, in fact. It was to the point that I almost view the decision to hide it from us as unethical. Almost. 

 

Score: 4 arachnids out of 5

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Main Thrill

It was finally our turn to walk into the mysterious, screaming space, along with thirty other riders. The attraction turned out to be gargantuan, but surprisingly, it wasn’t the first thing I noticed. No, the first thing I noticed was a garden, dear reader. A garden filled with vomit. It was a sight I would never forget.  Loads of people were all staggering around like zombies among a psychedelic-looking garden, fit with large sun flowers and mushrooms emitting some kind of light blue gas. This gas seemed to cause the former riders to vomit almost in poetic unison, like some kind of grotesque rehearsal. They were practically dancing, though in a clearly involuntary manner, as though hypnotized. I stared in sheer awe, tuning out the laughing, not noticing that the screaming had ceased (I came to realize later that the screaming was merely the screams of the riders.). Even for AWW, this was utterly bizarre. What on Earth was I to make of it? Domina and I didn’t have a chance to think before being promptly pushed along by a rather rude rainbow spider, definitely not reflective of the friendly vibe established by the park; he clearly just wanted to get his shift over with so he could go home to his widow. Perhaps it was for the best he pushed us along, because if he hadn’t, we may have chosen not to ride the attraction, despite the time wasted. Do you have coulrophobia, dear reader? That’s the fear of clowns. If so, than I apologize in advance. If you’re also arachnophobic, than I doubly apologize (though you got this far.). Past the garden of vomiters, where we were being led, stood three of the largest spiders I have ever seen. Real world and fictional. These towering beasts made King Kong look like an action figure, and were a solid match for Godzilla. Oh, and if that wasn’t enough, all three of the spiders were donned in over-the-top clown make-up. Colorful and crazy hair, tomato noses, the full works. Each one had a distinct appearance, and actually spoke directly to the riders during the duration of the attraction, but I won’t be focusing on them in this section of the review, as I will be covering them in greater depth in the next section. But they were impossible to ignore, as these spiders, fundamentally, were the attraction. The web-cocoon ride vehicles (you read right.) for all individual passengers were connected, by web strand, to each spider’s spinneret on their respective posteriors. Two spiders had ten strands each, or ten ride vehicles, while the central spider had eleven.

Are you still with me, dear reader? No? Well, I’m afraid the show must go on. As Domina and I were essentially forced towards one of the first arachnid’s posterior, I stole a quick glance towards Domina. She was visibly shaking. I tried holding her hand to comfort her, but to no avail. She was too clammed up. Hell, so was I, but I wasn’t the one with extreme arachnophobia. During that particular moment, I genuinely regretted bringing Domina to AWW, perhaps the “in-too-the-deep-end” logic wasn’t so logical after all. Granted, it was a moment of high-tension and emotions, it was too difficult to grasp the bigger picture. But still, the entire presentation of this attraction was frankly terrible. Park guests should be able to trust their theme park hosts not to pull stunts like this; to the wrong person, the shocking sight of these arachnids would be enough to cause psychological trauma. Domina and I weren’t one of those people, thankfully. I’m totally on board with the concept of the attraction, but the choice to hide the experience from park guests, though interesting, proved to be a horrible decision considering what was being hidden.

We entered our ride vehicles, or “cocoons”. They were open wide, like bed sheets, ready to take on a new passenger (“Get in the cocoon, my lovely, lovely prey”, said one of the humongous arachnids.). So, I laid down upon the web, and allowed the silk to tightly wrap around my body…And I do mean tightly, dear reader. The only part of my body that I was still able to move was my head. Suffice it to say, I would have preferred a more traditional ride vehicle, but it is remarkable how quickly humans can adapt to new realities. Before walking off into the distance, the surly rainbow spider said, with an almost negative amount of enthusiasm, “Enjoy the ride.” These were not comforting words.

The ride seemed to commence just as quickly as it ended. I almost feel unqualified to properly review this attraction, as up to this point I could still barely fathom what even happened. Thanks to the invisibility technology utilized by AWW, there was also no way for me to gauge the full picture as a distant non-rider. Do you remember when you were a kid, and you forced yourself to become dizzy by spinning yourself silly? Kind of like a precursor to actual drugs? Well, imagine that, and then multiply it by a trillion to the power of Graham’s number, and throw in three Godzilla-sized arachnids dressed in clown getups for good measure. If you could imagine that, then you’re about halfway there. I honestly don’t even know what to write. Every single person who rode this attraction essentially becomes the cocooned yoyos of three psychotic and terrifying, yet oddly charming, clown-spiders. Oh, I wish it was just an up-and-down motion dear reader, but we had the works. Once the ride started, I believe the arachnids began to directly grab the web strands that the riders were attached to, that’s the only way to explain all the motion. At erratic speeds and intervals, these spiders literally juggled us, swung us side to side, twirled us around at neck-breaking speeds, unraveled and re-raveled our cocoons (toying with the notion of dropping us.), spinning us at an impossible rotation speed, and then some. The disorientation I experienced was unlike anything I had ever experienced prior. Time ceased to exist. Before I knew it, like waking up from a coma, I was standing upright in the garden of vomit I described earlier; Domina and I had apparently gone through that bizarre dance routine we had witnessed earlier. It seemed the light blue gas had the effect of “purging our bodies” from the side of effects of that insane experience. So, object lesson of the day; when a scientist tells you that the human body cannot withstand over 50gs, he’s lying. At least where AWW’s concerned.

Wow, this must have come across as really negative! Well frankly, yes, my experience with this attraction was a relatively poor one. I consider the rating I’m giving Cocoon Twister to be a kindness, but a few things are stopping me from bringing it any lower; for starters, the ride actually abruptly stopped and started several times  (on an individual cocoon basis, never the ride as a whole.). This may not sound like a good thing, but it in fact these segments were the absolute highlight of the attraction, and almost brought sanity to the whole thing. These “stop” moments basically involved watching the three titanic arachnids put on their scary-clown show, and this was exceptionally entertaining. But as I’ve said, I’ll be covering that in the next section, so it’s not much of a factor. Secondly, despite my complaints, the ride was pretty fun, and in the right state of mind I could see myself genuinely loving the experience. But I would have to be in an extremely niche state of mind. This is really not the sort of attraction a popular theme park should have. It’s like in sex; some people have really unorthodox fantasies and desires, some people are turned on by toilets, for instance…But most people aren’t! That’s not to say toilet-erotica is inherently bad, but I wouldn’t enjoy it, and it probably shouldn’t be proudly on sale at Barnes and Noble. That, and I simply could not ignore the bafflingly poor marketing of this attraction. If I had known what the attraction was all about prior to boarding, I could’ve of mentally prepared myself during the wait, but because I wasn’t given that opportunity, I found myself praying for the ride to end. The fun I had on the attraction was almost on out-of-body kind of thrill, in which I wasn’t actually having fun, but recognized that if I had been more prepared for the ride, it could have been a blast.

My best guess is that this was one of the newest attractions at the park, created in the service of some kind of experiment. If that’s true, then I suppose that can be seen as admirable, but in the end, this was my worst experience at AWW. No doubt about it.

             

Score: 2 arachnids out of 5

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The Psychotic Clown-Arachnids

                  I am happy to say the main saving grace of this attraction was so exceptional and unique (or else exceptionally unique) that it warranted a section of its own. The psychotic clown-arachnids, for lack of better term, do not deserve to be lumped together with the rest of this disaster of an attraction! It may seem to be a strange decision to you, dear reader, considering that these three towering arachnids are directly responsible for all the motion of the attraction. Shouldn’t they get the majority of the blame? Well, no. They shouldn’t. They were just doing what they were trained to do. You don’t blame the spatulas or the oven; you blame the chef, the chef in this case being the creators of AWW. I won’t be focusing on their motions anyway, as I frankly can’t even recall them. I will instead be focusing on their appearance and showmanship-personalities, both of which were stellar. I shall focus on each spider on an individual basis.

We’ll start with the central the spider that held my cocoon vehicle. She was the tallest of the three spiders, by a small margin. From Fang to Spider-Leg (or Tarsus for you sophisticated readers.), this spider was covered in rainbow paint. She wore an absurdly puffy and curly purple afro wig, a “tomato nose” (as did all three of the arachnids), and garish pink mascara around all eight of her giddy-looking eyes. Her demeanor and behavior was that of “excessive cuteness”, never ceasing to smile in an overly coy kind of way. Harley Quinn in a gigantic arachnid form. We’ll call her “Bubblegum.”

Next up we have the shortest of the spiders. All eight of this dude’s legs were covered in alternating, horizontal stripes of red and orange. His torso was a solid yellow, and he wore a garish pink tie with purple smiley faces patterned throughout it. He donned an orange “sideburn hair” wig, the kind that jutted outwards at a ridiculous length, and sported that traditional, red and white clown lipstick. He also wore those classic Groucho, “nose and mustache” glasses, albeit with eight lenses, and by extension eight faux-noses and mustaches. This spider never ceased to smile in the most over the top of ways, and seemed to find everything a bit too funny. We’ll call him “Goofball.”

Finally we have what seemed to be the “evil” spider, or at least that’s how he presented himself. The entirety of his limbs and his torso/face were covered in red and black paint, with impossible-to-miss bleeding heart designs, and I’m not talking about the flower. This spider also had wicked looking horns on his head. If that wasn’t cliché enough, the design of deep crimson mascara was that of mini-tridents, the dark shade accentuating his angry, blood red eyes. Throw in his devilishly toothy smile and his doubly devilish laughter, and you have yourself a literal spider from hell. Cerberus is whimpering in the corner, the poor thing. And of course, he had a matching personality to boot, taking apparent delight in “torturing” the riders, taunting them and such. Keep in mind, dear reader, that this was all done in (relatively) good taste, all in the service of aesthetics and theming. Let’s call this one “Santa.”`

The fact that I’m able to recount these spiders at all speaks volumes about their effectiveness, considering the disorienting nature of the ride itself. I truly wish that Cocoon Twister was only a show, and not an attraction. The head-spinning twists and turns of the ride served only as an inconvenient and nauseating distraction from these Godzilla-Arachnids. It was a shameful waste of their talents. Honestly, it’s almost as if the ride itself was designed for…Well, for spiders, and not for humans, quite unlike the rest of the solid lineup that we experienced at AWW. Anyways, I’ve already ran your ear off about that, dear reader. Please enjoy reading some of the memorable quotes that I recall from these three, terrifically tall spiders, during those breaks in the ride I’ve discussed. They’re paraphrased by necessity, but I did my best to recount the statements accurately.

Bubblegum:                 

“Aww! All you guys are soooo cute! I’d like to keep you in particular, handsome…  ”   -

 She winked, and she may or may not have been looking at me.

“I keep forgetting, are we playing with dolls or real people?”        

Goofball:                

“HAHAHAHA! I heard somebody fart! Seriously, I did. I say we get him to poop before this is over, HA! ”

“What has eight legs and eight eyes? I can tell you the answer isn’t a spider. Would anyone like to venture a guess?”

He allowed the disoriented riders some time to guess.

All wrong! The real answer…? Spider! HAHAHAHA.

Santa:     

“Just so you know, precious humans, that you will not survive this attraction. Quite right, we’ll swing you humans around until all your puny heads fall off. It’ll be amusing”

The rider nearest me was shaking like a vibrator, the poor chap.

“How I wonder the subtle differences in taste between a female human and a male human…O can’t wait to find out!”

Because of the context that these spiders were presented in, I am not comfortable giving them a perfect score. Presentation matters! No matter how masterful a painting is, it should be hung in the right environment with the right lighting. Stick it in some filthy, dark attic with no attempt at conservation, and it becomes just another object that nobody will notice.

Score: 4 arachnids out of 5

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I’m relieved to say that no other attraction that we experienced on our trip to AWW held anything close to a candle to the sheer, unbridled and uncalled for intensity that Cocoon Twister provided. Make no mistake, dear reader; there is plenty of intensity yet to unfold in this trip that I’m sharing with you. However, it is the reasonable and relatively expected form of intensity to look forward to. Not the Intensity in the form of the Cocoon Twister, which marks the same difference between a raw Jalapeno and Habanero Pepper. By themselves they’re both quite spicy, but I don’t need to tell you which one is more preferable to the tongue.

You may or may not be wondering about our dearest Domina! What became of her? How did this poor arachnophobe react to this nightmare of an attraction? Surely with a few heart attacks and a half? Well, dear reader, you’ll just have to wait to find out. Stay tuned for our exciting lunch break in the next post, where I shall be reviewing a show of sorts.

Final score for Cocoon Twister: 3 arachnids out of 5

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Arachnid Wonder World: The Bouncy Web

After we disembarked from Spider Flyers, I took in the grand scope of Arachnid Wonder World, and the sheer volume of attractions this park had to offer.  Spider Flyers was a more fun attraction than I had perhaps gave it credit for, yet I realized at this point that I had barely scratched the surface of what further fun this park had to offer. That Chair Swing was child’s play, and this notion gave me a tingling exhilaration, an invigoration for the eight-legged adventure yet ahead of me. Where to begin? It was only 9:10 in the morning, so much fun left to be had! I couldn’t wait to experience the next attraction. However, one thing was dampening the experience slightly; while Domina had finally snapped out of her previously catatonic state (a blessing to be sure), she hadn’t returned to her normal self, or in other words, my true friend. As we hastened and maneuvered around the thickening crowd of park guests, trying to decide the next attraction to ride, Domina continued to babble on incoherently about her lust for spiders, as if describing her long lost lover. By the time she asked me how many spiders I would buy her for Christmas this year, I had enough. Though her inexplicable arachnophilia was initially amusing, I realized that it was some kind of twisted overcompensation for her actual arachnophobia, the likes of which I have never witnessed, dear reader. An unhealthy suppression of her true emotions... The point of her being here was not only for the joy of it, but to overcome and defeat her crippling fear of spiders, and this wasn’t helping. So, I swiftly pulled her aside, looked her dead in the eye, and calmly explained to her how irrational and insane her behavior was, reminding her of the reason for her visit, and who she truly was. I just wanted her to return to her normal, semi-sane self again. But all I got was an indignant huff, “Obviously we died and went to spider heaven, silly boy! You’re clearly delusional! Now seriously, I want a mutant tarantula for Christmas, not some stupid puppy!” This wouldn’t be easy, dear reader. Ever-worried, I scanned the park for a suitable next attraction as we continued meandering through AWW. Something that would help Domina exit this phase that she seemed to be locked in. Something lively, something that required energetic interaction from park guests. I felt purging some of her manic energy would help her move past this, and indeed, I found just the trick. It was a sizeable attraction entitled ‘The Bouncy Web’; an apt name, as this was essentially a trampoline attraction. Perfectly fitting to what I was searching for. So, here is my official review for The Bouncy Web!

Queue & Acrobatics

The exterior of The Bouncy Web resembled a castle fortress; a blue and white, compressed spider-silk, octagonal fortress, fit with four parapet-turrets. The attraction itself was out of view, blocked off by the eight, thirty-foot tall walls as well a central entrance gate, surprisingly constructed out of wood, of all things. The queue itself, whilst not brief (Twenty minute wait.), was inspiringly unique and enjoyable. Normally when you think of a queue, you think of a long wait in a snaking line, correct? Possibly themed, possibly unthemed. Spider Flyers set the expectation that that is what I would be getting on this trip to AWW. But this attraction threw that notion out the window. Spider Flyers may have had a shorter wait, but the queue itself was far more mundane. Plus, you have to consider the ratio of the wait to the attraction length, which in The Bouncy Web’s case, was far superior to Spider Flyers. Besides, I’ve already established that wait times will no longer factor in to the queue scores. That being said, the wait for The Bouncy Web did not function as a traditional line, as the embarkment and disembarkment process did not lump park guests into a single group, but instead individualistically. Or at the very most, four people at a time for those people who came to AWW in large groups.  Due to the physically interactive and ‘sandbox’ nature of this attraction, guest were allowed a maximum of one hour to spend on the attraction, but were allowed to exit any time they wished. More than enough time, dear reader. You may think this posed a problem for wait time, but rest assured, the sizeable ride capacity for The Bouncy Web prevented this from becoming an issue, as well as the trickle method of ride embarkment.

As I have mentioned, the best part about the queue was how frankly enjoyable it was. It was so entertaining, that it could’ve almost been an attraction in and of itself. First things first; before entering the queue surrounding the octagonal fortress, we had to receive something of a buzzer from a hyper, helium-infused white jumping spider near the wooden gate, laughing manically for some reason. This wrist-attached buzzer functioned a lot like those restaurant buzzers that let diners know when it was their turn to be served, preventing line-cutters and general chaos. Following that, we entered the main queue, me fully expecting a bore of a time (Domina begging us to undertake spider-transformation after this attraction.), but instead finding myself enthralled by some activity occurring in a semi-circular niche at the center of one of the gossamer walls. In fact, there were four of these vaulted recesses, one on every other exterior wall. What occurred within each niche was essentially the same, but equally mesmerizing nonetheless. We essentially got to witness a free acrobatic show prior to boarding the attraction. Each niche featured a raised stage, along with a large, and clearly well-trained blue and red jumping spider performing impressive acrobatic features, the likes of which were impressive even for a spider. The blue and red colors seemed suspiciously Spider Man-esque, and indeed, upon closer inspection I noticed they were wearing the arachnid equivalent of a unitard, their natural colors hidden underneath that.  After circling the queue to witness the four arachnid acrobats, I settled on a niche with the thinnest crowd to get a better view. I got to experience an amazing array of acrobatic feats, the likes of which I have literally never seen, considering the nature of the acrobat. From a dizzying, impossible amount of back flips performed in a row without landing (Hidden web strands, I’d imagine.), eight-legged cartwheels galore,  absurdly high jumps fit with web swinging (hint hint…), self-perpetuate web tight-rope walking, and more. The spider had begun break dancing on its back by the time our wrist buzzers signified that it was our turn to board. I found myself so engrossed in the physical display, that I was almost disappointed that the wait was over. That is the sign of an exceptional queue, dear reader. The score I’m giving may seem overblown to you, and perhaps it would be if this were the main attraction. If that were the case, I’d likely rate this as an above average show. But it wasn’t, dear reader, it was merely the queue, and that is what made it truly special.    

However, upon reflection, there was something odd about my experience watching the acrobat. It only occurred to me after the fact, but Domina had been silent the entire time. Usually this wouldn’t have been strange, but she had previously been prattling on and on about her unprecedented, alleged love for spiders. It was only when she continued her inane ramblings as we embarked upon the main attraction that I theorized the reason for this; my own enthusiasm. I had been visibly enthused during acrobatic displays. Prior to that and afterwards, I carried a natural, stoic, and mildly nervous demeanor. My enthusiasm for arachnid displays of physical prowess may have somehow put a temporary stopper to her pseudo-love for spiders. This gave me an idea…

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Score: 5 arachnids out of 5

Main trampoline

Having been granted entrance to the interior of The Bouncy Web’s fortress, I mused over how we would spend our time within the mini-complex. We had an entire hour to kill, after all, although we ended up leaving forty minutes in. Certainly not out of dissatisfaction, mind you, dear reader! Definitely not, we had an absolute blast on this attraction, it was merely a tiring affair. Anyways, I referred to The Bouncy Web as a ‘mini-complex’, and this is no exaggeration. You can almost view it as a minor theme park in and of itself, putting those urban indoor trampoline parks to shame.  The central area functioned as something of a “sandbox” trampoline, an exceedingly wide spider web for park guests to bounce on as they see fit, and that we did, dear reader. Our specialty web-attach boots that we were given at the entrance of AWW worked seamlessly within The Bouncy Web, in fact I barely even registered them. Surrounding the central trampoline were a variety of smaller trampoline segments, each one with a more specified goal for guests. However, I shall review most of those individually in the next section, but in this section of the review, I shall focus on the central web trampoline. That is where Domina and I spent the majority of time on the attraction, as it functioned as a natural “hub” area, providing the branch off exits and entrances to the miscellaneous experiences surrounding the central trampoline. The freeing nature of the main trampoline made it so we could create our own rules on the fly, in contrast to the more linear attractions. It’s utterly stunning to me how something far simpler in concept could generate far more long-term value than the most complex of creations. An interesting paradox…Anyhow, our time bouncing upon this main web-trampoline proved to be a joyous one, for both of us. Domina remained immutable in her arachnophillic state, however at this point I put aside my frustration with her, and instead began implementing my plan. Rather than directly attempting to pull Domina back to her senses, I began to reflect her insane levels of arachnid enthusiasm. As we began casually bouncing around the trampoline, circumnavigating the perimeter as a sort of tour of the complex, Domina commenced her nonsensical rambling, this time expressing her disappointment that she was born to human parents and not spider parents. Instead of shaking my head in embarrassment like my instincts told me too, I simply nodded my head in agreement. This seemed to temporarily put her off, just as I suspected. She clammed up. A minute later she was back to “normal”, but her reaction gave me the confidence to go further with my pretend-enthusiasm. While we freely bounced about, I continued to reflect her enthusiasm, agreeing that a spider transformation wasn’t a bad idea; that I could use the six extra arms for multitasking. Her words rung of approval, but her nervous body language told another story.  Indeed, by the end of our time on the attraction, Domina had finally moved passed this weird phase of hers, but I’ll explain exactly what happened in the next section of this post.

As I’ve stated, we honestly had a blast on this grand trampoline! Despite Domina’s altered state of consciousness, I could tell that she was genuinely having fun, as I was. As we played bouncy tag, “Crack the Egg”, Leap Frog, and tried and failed to do cool tricks, Domina smiled all the way. Her true personality seemed to temporarily shine through here and there; perhaps it was due to the distinct lack of spiders within the actual Bouncy Web complex. Still, it was only a glimmer; as soon as a burst of adrenaline was over with, she was back to dreaming about spider sex, or god knows what else.  Point is, the main trampoline served its recreational purpose in spades, but there really isn’t all that much to say considering the basic nature of it. I would take this trampoline over any other in the world, that’s for sure. The bird’s eye view of the streets below AWW beneath our feet was worth the price of admission alone. Not to mention the sheer size of the web, I believe I’ve understated that. Just think three football fields worth. It goes without saying that this is quite impressive, and this scale truly prevents an overly crowded bounce zone, a real annoyance in other trampoline parks. However, this scale is also to its detriment; traveling to the different miscellaneous trampoline circled around the complex wall proved to be quite a pain. The only option was to travel by foot (or rather as a kangaroo.), and in my mind, this was a cheap way to pad out the attraction time. I’m sure the creators of AWW could’ve easily provided efficient transport within the complex…The large trampoline size also minimizes the relative size of the complex, deceiving guests into imagining a greater quantity of things within the complex, when in fact the bulk of was occupied by an enormous but simplistic trampoline. Despite these gripes, I couldn’t in good conscious gives this trampoline a score any lower than four. I believe that’s fair.

             

Score: 4 arachnids out of 5

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Misc Trampolines

                  So, you may be wondering what these miscellaneous, smaller trampolines that I referred to actually are. A very good question! Because I completely forgot the answer! Regrettably, my memory draws a blank in regards to those elements of The Bouncy Web. Perhaps some mischievous spiders were having a bit too much fun with mind-erase technology (don’t put it past this park), maybe I hit my head, who knows. All you need to know is that I had a resounding blast, and Domina went back to her normal, semi-psychotic state.

 

Score: 1337 arachnids out of 5

I jest, dear reader! You’ll have to forgive me, I couldn’t help myself. Anyways, there were five extra trampoline attractions within the area, each one providing a relatively unique experience. We only experienced three of the five, and the first one we embarked on could only be referred to as a “super-high bounce” (these were given no names.). Essentially this amounted to a trick competition against other park guests, the tricks being easier to pull off due to an almost gravity-defying bounce height. Tricks weren’t required, though. I was surprised I hadn’t noticed people flying into the air outside the attraction, but upon reflection, the creators of AWW likely utilized advanced invisibility technology for aesthetic purposes. This, as it should go without saying, was exceptionally fun. Non-intrusive force fields prevented riders from escaping the cylindrical confines of their respective trampoline, so safety wasn’t an issue. The next one we went on was something of an “involuntary bounce” attraction, if that makes sense. Imagine an oversized padded room, like something you would see in an insane asylum, only larger, with bouncy spider webs instead of rubber walls. The process of this attraction was a very simple one; we entered the closed off and curious room, one of us (Domina) getting swiftly sucked out of the room by an unseen force. In the next second, I found out why. As I took a tentative first step into the darkened room, the entire space lit up in yellow lights, and I found the whole world spinning around me as I seemed to inexplicably fly around the room. Well, I wasn’t flying, dear reader, I was being bounced around the trampoline room like a ping-pong ball on Adderall. There was no pattern, just erratic bouncing at varying high velocities. The definition of blissful chaos. This insanity of a ride explained the need for individual separation…Domina seemed to have one hell of a time after she took her turn (though her hair disagreed.); It lasted for only a couple of minutes, but trust me, considering the kinetic intensity of this one, sometimes short and sweet is the only option.  Following that, the final trampoline we had the pleasure to enjoy felt like something pulled straight out of Super Mario. Indeed, it was essentially the (spider web) physical embodiment of a classic 3-d Platformer. If you’ve ever played any of those classic video games, you’ll know that the playable characters are all able to jump far higher than should be possible within their universe, almost as if they all jumped on some invisible, well…trampoline. What Domina and I partook in basically involved bouncing from one trampoline to another, less we fall to a soft landing. Each one was arranged higher than the last, the entire arrangement forming something of a spiral staircase-aesthetic. Vertigo was a definite factor to this trampoline attraction, more so than the super high bounce due to the ascending nature of the inciting jump-points. However, of the miscellaneous trampolines we experienced, I found this to be my least favorite one. It certainly wasn’t bad by any stretch of the imagination, certainly not, it was relatively enjoyable. Key word relative. The thrills I felt were just as easily felt bounding around upon the central trampoline. Putting that aside, making my way to the top of this spiral proved to be a rather uncomfortable experience. I found myself getting lightheaded and dizzy; in fact, neither Domina nor myself even managed to make our way to the very top! Perhaps this was an aspect of the challenge, but it simply wasn’t my cup of tea, dear reader. Overall, this was a very minor dent to an otherwise fantastic time, so I don’t feel the need to penalize the score more than necessary.      

Score: 4.5 arachnids out of 5

 

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Ah, but we’re not quite finished yet, are we, dear reader? You may be wondering what became of Domina…Well, as I’ve stated, I managed to push her out of her arachnophillic state, utilizing the strategy of enthusiastic reflection. As we were finally exiting The Bouncy Web, too tired of jumping to continue past forty minutes, I played a little trick on Domina. I offered her a surprise, a “gift” of sorts. None of it was true, of course. “You know Domina, I’ve been thinking about what you said, about your desire to transform into a spider…Well, I’ve decided you were right! While we were waiting in line for the trampolines, I secretly made a deal with a spider. I got us discount for arachnid transformation! I already made the payment, so we’re good to go!” That’s a direct quote, dear reader. This seemed to freeze Domina in her tracks. I then made a show of questioning her on why she was getting cold feet. Finally, a nibble of truth spilled out of Domina; “I…I don’t want tha-that…” I then claimed that it was too late, the payment had already been made, and the spider transformation would be automatic, occurring during our next sleep session. This sent her into a full-blown panic, sprinting out of The Bouncy Web faster than what I believed was possible. Clearly, she was making a dash for the transformation shack to try and reverse the process. I momentarily regretted my words, but sometimes, you have to be cruel to be kind, dear reader. Stay tuned for what happened next in my next attraction review…

 

Final score for The Bouncy Web: 4.5 arachnids out of 5

 

 

               

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Arachnid Wonder World: Spider Flyers

Walking through Arachnid Wonder World for the first time was bit like what I would imagine entering a magical storybook would be like, only a slightly twisted one with an ungodly amount of spiders. To be clear, they were non-threatening spiders. I mentioned last post how remarkably human the general behavior of all these spiders were…In fact, they were human, this is one of the first things we (or rather I…Domina was still in a state of functional paralysis.) discovered at AWW. Upon taking one of the eight paths jutting out from the central entrance area, we ran across a gossamer-built cottage of sorts. Inside the cottage was small line for a specialty, arachnid-transformation service. Apparently, some people loved Arachnid Wonder World so much that they wanted to remain there permanently. This held the stipulation of becoming a staff member, an in turn, a permanent transformation into a spider, which a surprising number of people seemed on board with. Personally, I believe those people need to set their priorities straight, but knowing that the vast amount of the creepy crawlies that surrounded us were at one point human did wonders to ease that uncanny gap between us. Those spiders were not so alien after all! Of course, I had no intentions, nor any future intentions of becoming a permanent resident of AWW. I’m quite content as an anatomically-correct human, but I can appreciate the open-mindedness required to be willing to undergo such a process.

Originally, I had planned to take a photo shoot with some of the entertainer-arachnids near the entrance perimeter, but then I considered Domina’s bizarre state of casual shock, and decided it could wait. Instead, I made headway to the first attraction I could find...Well, not quite the first attraction. You see, dear reader, AWW is truly a massive park with a massive line-up of attractions, and there are only so many hours in a day (24 if you’re wondering.). Domina and I couldn’t possibly experience every attraction the park had to offer, though I do like to think we experienced a suitable variety, suitable enough for a comprehensive review. So, Domina still fumbling along like a zombie, I made a beeline to the third attraction I could, skipping the double Ferris wheel and the Mutant Petting Zoo (Think dogs spliced with arachnid DNA. Didn’t visit this trip.), and instead headed to an attraction entitled ‘Spider Flyers’, which was essentially a chair swing. I desired an attraction to help ease us into AWW, whilst also not being too basic. Something that would help snap Domina out of her catatonic state, which was genuinely beginning to worry me. Would she permanently remain this way? No, dear reader. She wouldn’t.   Here is my review for the perfect starter attraction, Spider Flyers. Enjoy or die.  

I jest, dear reader. But please enjoy.

Queue

The logos for all of the attractions at AWW simultaneously impressed and disappointed me. Each logo in the park, such as for Spider Flyers, had been carefully spun by artisan spiders into an elegantly crafted web design. It’s ornate and beautiful signage; however, every single attraction contains the same type of signage. Perhaps this was to give the park a greater sense of unity and consistency, a sense of “one” (unlike in places like Universal Studios, this park is not arranged into themed sections, just one grand circle.) , but I would have preferred more variety, something uniquely fitting to each attraction. Don’t misunderstand me, dear reader, the signage was visually appealing and perfectly legible, I’m merely being excessively nit-picky. I only mention it as it was the first thing I noticed upon entering the queue for Spider Flyers, an impossible-to-miss visual. I’m not going to mark points off for it. Now, I will mark points off for something else; the wait was fifteen minutes long! I timed it, we got in line at 8:30, and embarked on the ride at 8:45 on the dot. This may seem like a minor gripe, this is no worse than any other theme park on the planet, so it may seem silly to complain. But this is Arachnid Wonder World, dear reader, this is the theme park, the one other theme parks could only be jealous of. Think of the precedent AWW set, with its lightning fast entrance transportation, and its awe-inspiring skyline. Not to mention the technological and biological innovation that most of today’s scientists can’t even begin to fathom. With their pool of resources and advanced technology, you would think they’d be able to resolve that age-old, egregious theme park quirk; that you spend more time waiting in line than having fun. The queue for this didn’t even have theming, just bland web fencing surrounding the ride. Unfortunately, the majority of the attractions in AWW had lines, and this was one of the shorter ones.  It would, however, be unfair for me to continually gripe about the lines, so I will be marking points off for the wait for this ride, and this ride only. Other parks have the same issue, after all. Consider this queue a martyr for the other attractions.

Ah, but I’m being a bit of a cynic, aren’t I dear reader?  That’s what happens when you set certain expectations about an experience. I suppose I was expecting queues not to even be factor in this park, but alas, I was wrong. But it’s not all doom and gloom! For starters, the queue gave a consistently stunning view of the attraction, enhancing anticipation, and the ride itself was relatively entertaining to witness. I shall describe the attraction itself in the next section of this post. But the best part of being in the queue was something that had nothing to do with the park itself, and is therefore not a factor in the score. It had to do with Domina; surprisingly, it was here where she snapped out of her stupor! I expected her to start crying, to beg for us to leave AWW, perhaps even have a panic attack. Instead, what happened was something a bit beyond what I fathomed. Suddenly acutely aware of her environment, Domina yelled, “I’m the world’s sexiest spider!” and began emulating a spider with her four limbs. Zigzagging between the legs of the various human park guests as a faux-spider, Domina leapt towards the nearest real-arachnid, outside the queue. It was a four foot tall, purple and blue spider walking his centipede, clearly just another day in the life.  “I love you spider! I’m gonna’ marry you!” Domina shrieked as she fully embraced the spider in something of a bear hug. The spider clearly felt uncomfortable, likely wanting to walk his centipede in peace.”We’re gonna’ have kids with creepy eyes and fangs, but two arms, and two legs! It’ll be amazing!” In the end, I had to drag Domina off the poor spider, and he promptly scurried off with his centipede. Fortunately we didn’t lose our spot in line, the other park guests were very understanding. Perhaps they were as amused as I was at Domina’s outburst. Sure, she was manic, borderline psychotic. But it was a relief to see her awake from her stupor, even if she wasn’t quite herself. She continued to describe her spider-kids as we waited in line. I found some of her commentary to be rather terrifying, I don’t actually feel comfortable sharing it. Let’s just say it was disturbingly detailed… Though entertaining. All things considered, I shouldn’t have been so surprised. As I mentioned in previous posts, Domina has (or had.) hyper-arachnophobia, and had always been a relatively…shall we say, loose person. That’s a nice word for it. Now, onto the actual ride!

Score: 3 arachnids out of 5

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Main attraction

 

When you imagine a Chair Swing at an amusement park, what is that you imagine?   Essentially a spinning and tilting carousel of chairs suspended on chains, yes? A fun-filled tangle of twisting chairs? Well, dear reader, take that concept, replace all the structural aesthetics with vibrantly colored white and yellow patterned web, and place an absurdly oversized  but friendly banana-yellow spider in place of where the canopy roof would usually be, and voila! You have just roughly imagined Spider flyers. The thrill one gets from an above-average Chair Swing was fully intact here, only enhanced due to a larger overall girth, as well as other unique elements of the attraction. There was a 32 single-rider “chair” capacity (I didn’t have to count; this information was available on a stand upon exiting the ride space). I only put “chair” in quotations as that is technically an inadequate description. In truth, they were specially crafted web strands that expanded towards the bottom end and wrapped around a rider’s buttocks, specially fit for that particular buttocks, creating a naturalistic chair of sorts. Perfectly comfortable and surprisingly non-sticky, despite being adhesive-based.  All the web strands responsible for seating were attached to all eight of the yellow spider legs, 4 on each. During the course of the ride time, the large spider spun around on a central axis, occasional tilting, much like a traditional Wave Swinger. The central and ornate base that the spider spun upon was tall enough to prevent any collision with the web flooring. Ordinarily, the quad-compressed seating arrangement would have been physically impossible, as that would entail inevitable chair collision. However, through means unknown to me, the web chairs always somehow just managed to miss each other whilst in the air, and were always just out of arms reach. On top of all that, the spinning spider even lifted her legs upwards and downwards on occasion, creating a new, vertical dynamic to motion. The engineering in this park was ethereal, it still blows my mind.

  This was certainly a very solid first attraction to experience at a park like this, relatable yet still quite alien. I thoroughly enjoyed the ride, and Domina certainly seemed to approve, though her mental state at that point was questionable at best. I had predicted that day that I would need to drag her onto the attractions, but instead I found being pierced by her eyes of fury, as if indignant that I wasn’t as excited as she was to get on the ride (“What do you dare have against spiders! I loved that Spider I was hugging! You don’t even seem to want to get on this ride!”). I simply rolled my eyes and told myself this was a mere phase, it would pass. I was admittedly nervous; although I managed to overcome my fear of spiders at a young age, that doesn’t mean I’m exactly an arachnophile.  That giant spider gave me the willies, but what really set my teeth on edge was a special function of Spider Flyers. This special function only affected four of the thirty-two passengers, and I’m happy to say neither me nor Domina were one of those four passengers. Upon the ornate central web post were eight small cavities, one on each side of the octagon, parallel with the large spider’s legs. Whilst waiting in the queue, I wondered what the purpose of those perforations were. I assumed they were aesthetic, though they stood out like a sore thumb. As it turns out, like a whimsically twisted game of Russian roulette, the purpose of these holes was to burst out hundreds of coin-sized arachnids at four lucky riders on one of the eight attraction sides, during a single, random point of the ride. Some people reacted in abject horror, others in fits of giggles, some seemed not to care. Domina was praying for it during the ride (“This is so much fun! Please, please rain spiders all over my body. It’s my dream experience!”) There was no lasting damage of course, but the point is, the spider swarm element seriously spiked my apprehension levels, putting them dangerously close to anxiety. As I have stated, the ride itself was phenomenally fun, far superior to your run-of-the-mill Chair Swing. The yellow spider even doubled as a narrator, urging us to raise our arms, as well as counting down to the “spider burst” moment I was dreading. She even singled riders out, complementing them on their outfit, or else making fun of their haircut (mine specifically.). This narrator added a certain comfort to the experience, reminding me that the tension I was feeling was superfluous, as there was no real danger to be had. My fear of the large spider dissipated. The good folks behind AWW had made a point of boasting its safety statistics. However, although these positive elements give a definite boon to my score, I feel the spider-swarm element, though unique and impressive, is ultimately an unnecessary and overly distracting gimmick that only took away (albeit mildly) form the actual joy I derived from the ride. The thought of hundreds of spiders crawling all over my body, potentially making their way into my mouth, was enough to take away some of the adrenaline of the moment. I’m not even arachnophobic! Imagine someone who is! Well, someone who isn’t Domina, we’ll just call her a special case. Still, I would definitely say I got my fifty cents worth, and if it weren’t for that swarm of spiders, I would call it the best Chair Swing on the planet, without a doubt.  

Score: 4 arachnids out of 5

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The final score for Spider Flyers may seem a bit unfair, as you may think I’m giving too much weight to the queue. Perhaps I am, however due the jarring nature of the disappointment, I feel that this ride should take one for the team, since it was the first one we rode that day. It could have been any other attraction, dear reader.

Join me next time for the next attraction review! It’ll be a bouncy one, I can promise you that.

 

Final score for Spider Flyers: 3.5 arachnids

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Arachnid Wonder World: Intro

                Do you remember the day the commercial for the Arachnid Wonder World first aired? To many of us, it seemed to be nothing more than absurdist satire, perhaps poking fun at the fears many people had of roller coasters and the like. A literal spider-web theme park, fit with gossamer chair swings and eight-legged park entertainers? A theme park made by spiders for spiders? All of the sudden willing to accommodate human park guests, thanks to this, out-of-the-blue, shrinking technology? Beyond preposterous. In fact, I was in the crowd of people who believed this was some form of creative marketing tactic for some new, satirical kids cartoon. It was only due to the surreal authenticity of the commercial that it garnered the attention that it did. Sure, in today’s world, virtually anything could be faked. Yet everything, from the spiders that moved, the tiny actors involved in the commercial, to the white-thread roller coaster, seem 100% genuine. CGI experts and practical effect maestros picked apart the commercial, with in-depth analysis, only to present the impossible facts that the commercial we all witnessed had not been created with either CGI or practical effects, not even in the slightest.  Still, the world moved on. Such is the stubbornness of our devotion to reality. If it wasn’t a practical or computer-generated illusion, it was some other form of elaborate hoax. The idea that humans would go to that level of trouble merely to market a cartoon no one had ever heard of seemed quite silly to some. But what other possibility was there? Well, we all know the answer to that now. Today, Arachnid Wonder World has surpassed every theme park in the world in terms of sheer success and popularity. Not even Disney could hold a candle to the power in which AWW is able to draw crowds. I’m still not sure which is more absurd; the fact that this park, fit with its shrinking technology and giant spiders, actually exists, or that it has managed to amass any visitors at all, let alone massive popularity! Hello?! Arachnophobia anyone? But that’s just it; people are attracted to their nightmares, so long as they trust that they’re in a safe space.

                Frankly, I don’t have anything to add to the conversation in regards to the implications of AWW. I cannot confirm the rumors of an intelligent underground city of spiders, nor do I have particularly strong opinion on whether or not the creators of AWW should share their incredible technology with the rest of the world. On one hand, shrinking technology, insect training systems, and gossamer engineering could undoubtedly be an enormous boon to our society. On the other hand, just turn on an episode of Black Mirror to see why some Luddite attitudes may not be so bad. None of us even know the people behind the creation of this bizarre theme park. If we could even call them people. Who’s to say the creators aren’t extra-terrestrials, or as many people theorize, a society of intelligent arachnids? The point is, I’m not smart enough to add fuel to this endless discussion.

                I’m writing this blog post for one solitary reason, which I’m sure many of you have guessed at. I’ve recently taken an all-day trip to AWW, finally having the money saved up to visit the big city, and purchase a ticket. Well, two tickets. I brought my girl-that’s-a-friend along, Domina, to the park with me. I didn’t want to go alone, but I also wanted to bring her along to help quell her fear of spiders. Domina is not one of those people with arachnophobia…No…She has crippling arachnophobia, to the point where should doesn’t enjoy her fear, even in a safe space. She’s been known to cower at photos of even the cutest of clip-art spiders. I’ve seen her punch a poor zookeeper in the face for daring to ask if she wanted to hold a tarantula. A basket-case indeed. She told me that, when she was a small girl, both of her parents had inexplicably transformed into spiders for no reason. Naturally I never believed her, but considering the course reality has taken, I suppose anything is possible. I don’t blame her for her fear, but I’m a strong believer in throwing someone into the deep end, so long as you provide floaties. AWW is perfectly safe, as safe as any other park, and she loves theme parks. How did I manage to convince her to come along with me, you may ask? Well, believe it or not, I didn’t. She was the one who insisted to come. She had recently killed someone for drawing a spider near her, and she knew it was time to make a change. Incremental steps never worked for her, I knew it, and she knew it. She agreed with my ‘into the deep end’ logic, and decided to only way to soothe her phobia was to jump in with both feet. She assured me that were she to kill anything at AWW, it would be a spider.

        I warned her that would get her arrested anyways, but alas, I can assure nobody was hurt on our excursion to AWW. In fact, it was phenomenal trip. However, AWW is surely not without its flaws, and it is my intention to provide to you, dear reader, with a comprehensive, attraction-by-attraction review of the AWW theme park as a whole, in the chronological order of which we experienced the attraction. Each post following this one shall be devoted to an attraction, from dawn ‘till dusk, fit with a five star review system. You may think of this as something of a semi-analytical trip report, only without the photographs. As some of you may know, AWW strictly forbids photographs of any kind; do a Google search to find out what happens to your smart phone if you try to take one…

                We’ll get started next week with our grand entrance to AWW! Hope to see you there, dear reader! Be sure to tell your eight-legged friends about it, as well as your two-legged ones.

 

               

 

               

 

Short Story Feature - Envision Art Show

I realize I don’t utilize this blog nearly enough. I do plan to make it a weekly thing soon enough!

I recently had the honor of being featured by the Envision Arts Magazine, I hope to exhibit with them this coming January. They cleverly paired my artwork with an intriguing short story. You should check it out!

https://www.envisionartshow.com/magazine/wake-up

Short post, but I will use this blog more in the future. Ciao Ciao for now.

Journey Through Coral Realm

I recently completed what I view as a whimsical short story. I hope you enjoy! Please consider subscribing to my blog.

Journey through Coral Realm

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       Back in the summer of 2016, I created a painting entitled ‘Welcome to Coral Realm’, displayed above. It showcases a fun-filled and colorful vision of an underwater theme park, represented as a classic park-map aesthetic. Tiny scuba divers spend a joyous day swimming through the organic yet deliberate coral environment, able to experience four different attractions at their leisure. They could ride inside bubbles, spun about by fun-loving octopuses, or race against fellow park guests while avoiding the wrath of angry crustaceans. This aquatic world meshes together the utterly surreal and magical-the impossible-with the practical application of engineering, at least in concept upon canvas. Of course, it’s simply a silly little concept, yes? The absurdity of it is laughable, an amusing imaginative romp, nothing more. Well, my presumptive one, what if I told you that ‘Coral Realm’ is far more than a mere concept? What if I told you that there specifically exists such a place, right here on planet earth?

           In my early days of painting, inspiration came from a variety of sources, least of which being a group of (quite sexy) unassuming mermaids whom I found bathing in my swimming pool. They claimed to be from a deep, unexplored region of the Atlantic, and decided to materialize in my pool every week or so for a quick wash before returning. Nothing out of the ordinary, I certainly didn’t mind their presence. Their magical nature inspired me to create ‘Welcome to Coral Realm.’  However, things began to take a turn for the bizarre as one morning, whilst I was watering plants outside the pool, the mermaids materialized, but rather than commence with their usual graceful bathing session, they lured me over for discussion. I knew enough about mermaids to remain on guard, and kept some distance; however they simply explained that they were fans of my artwork, and enjoyed browsing my online gallery from their cove in the Atlantic. This was both shocking and pleasing, as I didn’t realize I had any fans at all. They then proceeded to explain that the idea for the painting I had just completed (Welcome to Coral Realm.), had actually been telepathically sent to my brain in secret by these mermaids, upon their initial visit. It was based on an actual theme park that they had been in the process of creating, quite precisely in fact, with the help of cooperative, kidnapped scientists and engineers alike in conjunction with their own robust mermaid magic. Naturally, I was in utter disbelief. I still hadn’t processed all the information as the mermaids conveyed their desire for me to experience the park on opening day, which, not-so-coincidently, was to occur in merely ten minutes. I smiled awkwardly, and explained that I would rather allow my paintings to remain as fantasy, and stay put in the real world. I had the creeping notion, however, that “no” wouldn’t be an answer these seductresses would accept. Sure enough, just as I was about to head back to my gardening duties, I instead found myself inexplicably sauntering towards the nearest mermaid, a stunning blonde. I had entered something of a mindless trance, as all I could remember was an all-consuming attraction to this blonde goddess. She seemed to shimmer and glow in contrast with the environment, and her eyes pierced my soul. Before I knew it, I was being abruptly dragged down to the depths of my pool by surprisingly strong arms, and I remember wondering why my pool seemed so much deeper than usual as everything faded to black.

          The following that you’re about to read is a chronological transcript of my thoughts during my time in the real Coral Realm, emailed to me by our lovely mermaids. I believe my actual thoughts in the moment convey my experience in that surreal wonderland better than I could ever write in retrospective, though I do provide some context at times. I never ascertained the exact location of Coral Realm, though I assume it resides somewhere in the Atlantic. I hope you enjoy.

 

          Oh shit, I’m dead, I’m dying, I’m drowning, and I’m never gonna’ paint again. God damn mermaids! I let myself be seduced…what was I thinking? Have I no self-control? Perhaps I should start counting down from ten, make the end easier…10…9…8…Wait…I’m breathing! How is that possible? I’m…wearing a full scuba suit! I’m breathing through an oxygen mask, and this is definitely neoprene…I feel light-headed, but I’m glad I’m still alive.

          You’ll have to forgive my initial shock and naivety. Being forcefully pulled into my own swimming pool knocked me out of my senses. I assumed the mermaids had tricked me with their ‘Coral Realm’ story, but upon reflection, they would not have needed the story to lure me over.

          So where exactly am I? I can’t see the surface of the water, and the abyss below me seems ominously bottomless. I need to force myself to relax...Breathe Deeply…In…Out…Wait! My oxygen levels! Perhaps these mermaids are crueler than I imagined, and simply materialized me here with a scuba suit for false hope. Am I in the Atlantic? It’s quite cold. Whatever, I need to focus, I better start swimming upwards, slowly but surely, less I risk DCS…Wait, what on earth? There are other divers here! And they’re swimming downwards…Why do they seem so excited? Jeez, how many are there?! I’m way too curious not to follow them…

          It wasn’t just a few scuba divers, by the way, it was a massive trail of them.  Considering their leisurely swim-gait, it somehow seemed to me more prudent to follow them rather than continue upwards. As far as I knew, the surface could have been many kilometers away.

          After a slightly uncomfortable ten minutes, I finally arrived at the titular destination.

          Man, have these guys lost their mind swimming down this emptiness? I shouldn’t have followed them, what was I thinking? This is what I get for conforming, I guess I’ll just have to…Oh my good god. This can’t be real. Even with mermaid magic, this can’t be real…And yet it is. It’s as if my painting has literally come to life in the form of a vibrant theme park…A perfect physical translation. Coral Realm. Yup, there’s the racetrack…and the roller coaster. I can’t wait to experience this incredibly weird world!

          My own painting, ‘Welcome to Coral Realm’, hardly did this world justice. Structural both the real version and the version of my painting seemed relatively the same; however I couldn’t help but feel my artwork to be an artificial farce as compared to the real one. It was as if some powerful entity had taken my most radically colorful and joyous dreams, transferred them into the aquatic world, and spectacularly enhanced all the elements by a factor of infinity. I was truly blown away.

          I had never named any of the rides in my painting, but in the real ‘Coral Realm’, each one had distinct neon logos. The first ride I experienced was ‘OctoBubble Twirl’. 

          If you’ve ever ridden a spinning octopus ride at one ofthose questionably-safe carnivals, then you’ve ridden OctoBubble Twirl, assuming you rode it submerged under the ocean. Oh, and assuming you were being spun by the natural tentacle motion of an oversized, overly-happy actual octopus, whilst suspended by g-forces in a human-sized air bubble. Come to think of it, there are a few differences, but the gist remains the same. Anyways, here’s my unfiltered perspective…

          Well, this section of the park has a bubbly atmosphere! Full of yellow coral reef plants…Smiling Seaweed, whimsically wavy sea vines, LSD sponges…I can’t image how LSD could make this scenario more surreal than it already is. I just witnessed a gigantic Yellow Tang wink at me! Before French kissing a Blue Tang. I think I’ll stay clear of absorbing that LSD, this reality is cuckoo enough, thank you…On to the main attraction…OctoBubble Twirl, is it? I like the sound of that…I’ve never seen floating letter-shaped glowing bubbles used as a logo before, I should have painted that. Alright, just gotta’ weave through these lemon-yellow coral structures, wade through that patch of smiling seaweed, ignore the looks from that possibly-perverted Yellow Tang, and follow the rest of the Scuba park guests to the ride.

          Line seems to be moving fast, quite unusual for a theme park! I should buy one of those seahorse balloons. Wait, I don’t have any money! It seems I could take one for free, everyone else is. I suppose I’ll take a blue one, but how is it possible that everything is free? How is it possible that I’m questioning possibility at this moment? Why the hell are there balloons that work underwater? Argh…Mermaid magic confuses me, but I suppose I should be grateful. This is definitely the opportunity of a lifetime; I’m certainly enjoying myself so far. Although I don’t appreciate being kidnapped for this experience…The mermaids could have simply asked nicely, and well in advance as well, not ten minutes prior…Ah! My turn to board the…bubbles? Won’t they pop?  Considering that a giant yellow octopus is currently politely asking me to enter my ride bubble so she could spin me around her body, I really should cease the questions. Looks like I’ll be the last diver to board. Hope I don’t get too dizzy…

          Oh my goodness! It’s as if I’m flying! Underwater! We’re spinning super fast; I should be getting dizzy, but I’m not. I feel oddly euphoric in fact…this is quite fun! I see other riders are raising their arms, perhaps I should do the same. Normally, I’m annoyed when a person loudly shrieks “La-la-la-la-la” continuously like a child, it’s a bit obnoxious. I would usually be outright horrified when a giant Octopus does the same thing with double the effect. However, at the moment, I find it to be a positive addition to the ride! It strangely enhances this joyous effect I’m feeling! Is it magic, or my true, raw emotions? The other guests seem to be in a similar “happy-trance.” Am I being brainwashed? Who cares, just don’t let the fun end, don’t let the fun end…

          Naturally, the fun eventually did end, and I moved on to the next attraction and section. I must say, this transcript of my thoughts paints a rather embarrassing picture in regards to the state of my mind. I’m not entirely proud of the childish notions bouncing around my head, but alas, at least they’re not in your head, dear reader.

          The next attraction was entitled ‘Submarine Racers’; it’s an apt name, I imagine that I may have named it that when creating the painting, though the entire idea for Coral Realm had secretly been  transposed to my mind by virtue of sexy mermaids, so of course I would have named it that.

          The ride vehicles, though not actually what one would typically associate with a regular submarine, were actual vehicles, meaning they were fully controllable by a single rider. These were swift, sturdy, omnidirectional, and surprisingly flexible motor vehicles. Fitting to the title, this was essentially a high-speed race against the other park guests, via a twisting racetrack full of obstacles and aggressive crustaceans. This park certainly won’t be winning any safety awards… The winner of the race received a special prize, read my perspective to find out what.

          What could possibly be more fun than OctoBubble Twirl? Time to go see the race I painted come to life! This excessively orange section certainly has a competitive atmosphere…I see loads of intense and fishy spectators…I spy a clownfish munching on oversized…popcorn? I don’t even want to know what that actually is. I guess they’re eyeing the...Yeah! The race! Their speeds are mesmerizing! It’s too bad I can’t see the whole track, but this definitely seems quite fun! Time to find the line for the next race…Did I just see a seemingly steroid-infused crab break the back of one of the racers with its claw? No. No I didn’t, just like I didn’t see a giant lobster throw another scuba diver across the track…Yup, there goes his oxygen tank. How much air do I have left anyway? There isn’t a gauge on my suit, I assume there’s an endless supply. Why couldn’t the mermaids simply allow us to breathe underwater? Simply turn us into merpeople? Eh, whatever. What was I doing again? Oh right, the line! Oh yeah, I’m also terrified right now. The idea of disembowelment by crab is displeasing. Oh well. Just gotta’ find the line, haven’t seen a sign yet. I like all these nifty, trophy-shaped coral plants, I think I also spotted a few medallions attached to seaweed. Geez! Those swordfish need to watch where they’re sword fighting! They could have killed me! Anyways…there are the floating letter bubbles! I should have seen it earlier. Here we go; I just have to wait for the race to finish…  

          This feverish crowd is making this situation even more nerve-wracking than it already is. So much so that I’m not even surprised that a dainty-looking Goldfish just roared ‘Faster, you dipshit!” at one of the current racers. I’m gonna’ need specialized counseling after this…Despite my nerves though, I feel my competitive gene kicking in. I wanna’ win! There’s supposed to be a special prize for the victor. I wonder what it is?

          Alright, finally time to board! I think I’ll take…Yeah, I’ll pick the light blue one…The control-mechanism looks simple enough, a mere handle bar. Okay, looks like some carp tied to vine-tethers are pulling all the vehicles to the starting line. I hope they’re paid for that….They don’t look too pleased with their duties. Alright, any moment now, I’ll be zooming through this twisting track at breakneck speed; quite literally if the crabs have their way. At least it’s comfortable …. Uh-oh. How do I start the engine?! God, it would be embarrassing to stay stuck on the starting line whilst the other competitors fly past me. There’s not so much as a button, what am I missing? Oh…automatic, I see. Shoulda’ guessed. Surprisingly quiet motor, though I am underwater. Here we go, just got to wait for that small squid to throw down the flag. Haven’t they ever heard of a count-down? The suspense is killing me!

C’mon…Any day now…Is…Is that a Pufferfish making love to a scuba div-Shoot! I missed the start! How do I accelerate?! Oh, just gotta’ twist the throttle, like a motorcycle. Okay…I may be in last place, but I’m finding that handling this little vehicle is pretty intuitive! Light to the touch, but not too light, a balanced weight…Here comes my first turn, a right one…Yup! I’m definitely in love with this vehicle. Easy as a toy! I suppose it is a theme park, but still, it’s a theme park miles under the ocean with a high chance of a crab-related death. Alright, I don’t want to be in last place, let’s accelerate a little more. I definitely appreciate these Shellfish lights, I’d become a pancake otherwise…Yes! I passed somebody! I’ll call him yellow. One down…how many to go? I believe there were a total of ten racers, but I can’t be sure. Some of these curves are actually a bit precarious, especially considering this fluctuating verticality…Whoa! Maybe I should try not flinging myself across the coral barrier? Well, at least I can I eye some drivers bunched up straight ahead. That’s lucky…If I keep up my speed, I’ll definitely…Ooh, looks like the track splits. One seems to simply continue into a very wide curve, the other seems to…end? No, it’s a ramp! A clear shortcut. I won’t pass these guys before the track splits, and the track seems a bit narrow at the curve… Yeah, I’m gonna’ go with the suicidal option. How bad could it be? I see only one other racer decided to take the ramp with me. Up he goes, and…Enjoy becoming lobster food, purple. I thought the gap was bad enough, I should’ve known there would a pack of feral lobsters festering beneath. Too late to turn back now! Better max the throttle…Here goes nothing…Weightlessness isn’t as bad as I imagined, and I still have some control. Not sure if I’m going to make it to the other side though…Least of my concerns though, gotta’ avoid that claw…Whew! That was close. Control is certainly more challenging in the open water. Yes! I made it! Including purple, that’s six racers behind me! That’s puts me in fourth place, if I’m not mistaken. Eh, make that third place. Violet certainly isn’t coming back from that explosion…Wait, why did she explode? Goodness! There are naval mines scattered throughout the track now! These mermaid hosts are psychotic! I’ve got to slow down, I narrowly missed the last mine, and there’s a turn coming up. Alright, so far so good…Hey! Stop ramming my sub, orange! This guy certainly snuck up on me…Geez, his sub is forcing mine to graze the barrier. I’m finished! There’s a mine straight ahead! This guy plays dirty! The track seems to spiral downwards afterwards…that gives me an idea…Yes, just as I thought. He didn’t expect me to stop showing resistance, I made it all too easy for him to shove me over the barrier. I got the timing right as well, but barely. One foot more and I would have missed the spiral track…The sound of that explosion is karmic music to my ears. Oh, and eat my dust, Red…Second Place! I think I’ll avoid that off-road shortcut, I’ve had enough danger. I just have to keep up the throttle, and stick to the main track. There’s the first place racer, Green. He won’t stay first place for long…I’m catching up, and no, I don’t want to shake your claw my angry little lobster…There’s the finish line! I’ve almost caught up with Green! But I don’t think I’m gonna’ make it! Or am I? That finish line is so close…Hah! There it is! I’m the winner! By a fraction of an inch! I’m ready for my…Oh, I forgot. This is a three-lap race. Urgh…

          Second place definitely ain’t bad…Man, if I had simply avoided that off-road shortcut, it would have been a shoe-in. I guess I could of dashed straight through that maze of jellyfish, but…Well, I’m glad I didn’t. Shame about the prize though! I would have liked to have a vending machine that dispenses customizable sex robots! I would have roused envy in all the friends I don’t have, but I suppose it would have proven too much of a distraction. Oh well! An Emma Stone Model is gonna’ have to wait until the afterlife! On to the next section…

You’ll have to forgive this long-winded transcript of my thoughts (or don’t, I certainly wouldn’t.), but you must understand, dear reader, I’m simply too lazy to type out a concise summary.

Anyhow, the next section of the park delved even deeper into this mystery ocean, as in my painting. The attraction was entitled ‘Cetaceous Spirit Spin’. I’m not convinced that I would have named it that, “Cetaceous” should have simply been “Dolphin”, but that’s my un-humble opinion.

          I had always likened this ride to something of an aquatic, calming Ferris wheel, though upon experiencing this wonder of an attraction, that analogy doesn’t do the attraction justice. This was an enlightening and euphoric experience, though not in the same way OctoBubble Twirl   was. In fact, my memory of this experience is quite hazy. On one hand, I could recall the emotions and awe I felt as if experienced mere moments ago. On the other hand, the details of the experience are all a blur to me. There was this consistent feeling of eureka, though in response to what, I cannot recall. I feel as if there is this lost and vital information bursting to flow through my synapses, yet will be forever blocked from my consciousness. It’s admittedly frustrating; however I do hope you find the following thought transcript as interesting as I did, dear reader.     

It’s certainly darker in this section, as it was in the painting. But in my painting, it was ‘cause of its depth relative to the surface. I know I’m already miles deep, so this light-dim seems artificial, like some unseen force flicked on an ocean-encompassing light switch. Gotta’ say, it’s pretty spooky, but I’m digging the blue-purple color scheme this section’s got going. There’s the ride! It’d be difficult to miss, what with those long, glowing dolphin tails. Man, it’s so cool to see my visions literally brought to life! Though I guess this technically was never really my vision…Those scuba riders certainly look like they’re having…fun? They seem to be in some form of stupor. It’s as if they’re in a state of bizarre ecstasy. I could just barely hear a relaxing piano tune; I’d probably have a better time hearing it on the ride. I don’t know, all these big brain plants have me concerned; they’re distinctly human. What if this ride constitutes some sort of mind extraction? Seems unlikely, about as unlikely as anything else in this park…Still, at least there don’t seem to be any violent crustaceans trying to kill me. That’s a step up. Well, time to get in line…Ugh, this one actually looks lengthy. I guess not even mermaid magic could resolve that age-old theme park quirk.

Ten years later, much? How long is this gonna’ take? I should be more patient. I’ll probably only be here once, so maybe I should try appreciating the environment more. What more is there to see? I’ve been wading in line almost two hours now…The interconnected seaweed light bulb displays were interesting, for ten minutes. I like the representation of the natural progression of knowledge, but for some reason, I can’t help but feel boredom at the moment. It’s not simply the slow line, it can’t be…hell the water’s quite cold down here. There are too many extraordinary sights, I mean, I just witnessed a giant seahorse swing around coral structures with its tail. How I’m bored is beyond me. I’m not even excited for the ride anymore! I was before, wasn’t I? It’s as if some esoteric force is oppressing me with this feeling of overwhelming meh…Is this supposed to be the case? The other divers look similarly disinterested; I could see it in their eyes, behind their thick goggles. One even seems to be sleeping. Even I’m getting a bit tired…Too tired, in fact…What time is it? I can’t fall asleep now! I won’t be able to board, I…I…Good night.

Wha’…What’s going on? Am I still in line? No, I’m definitely spinning in a circle, so I’m on the ride…The motion’s quite soothing, maybe that unconscious state was necessary for embarking, as for why, that’s beyond me. Alpha wave activation? Urgh…I still feel rather woozy. And these light beams are becoming blindingly white…Geesh, what kind of ride is this? This is just lame, it’s too slow, I want off. I wonder if I could ask…Oh my goodness…Yes…Of course time is merely a theoretical construct…In actual reality, all logic is inherently false, regardless…It all makes sense…No true natural laws, no true mathematics…The ultimate solution to the infinite regression of existence…it’s so obvious. I should have known from birth. This wondrous orgasm I’m feeling…It’s just as real as the infinite impossible colors…I’m going to decide to live vicariously as a helicopter in 300 millions years, yes…That will be my 56th universe, sooner than I thought… Hoc mirabile est, quod universum sit secundum hoc modo prorsus huic, but one in which immortality is both abnormal and completely, 100 percent perfectly parallel to mathematical precision, yet completely different. Infinitum excedit singulari gaudens. Indeed, truly beyond extraordinary…I see it all, the infinite amount of specific infinities, infinities of nothingness, of color, of restraint, of roller coasters, of lives…I need to share this, but brain-cage limitation flesh-bags will reject it. The Universum re creator may need to be imposed by force…In the Picture-verse, anyway, irrelevant in the grand scheme of things…Shocking, utterly shocking, how teleportation and octopuses having sex constitute the same exact thing, in the end…

            Oh! Is…Is the ride over? What the hell just happened? I seem to be off the ride, new divers seem to be embarking, though I’ve gotta’ use that term lightly, all things considered. That was bizarrely amazing, but…Why? I mean, what on earth was going through my mind? For some reason, I can’t even remember the experience properly. Even by this theme park’s standards, that was beyond insanity. That ride makes the rest of this place seem positively normal by comparison…Man, that fact that I can’t remember a single detail about it makes it particularly strange…Not to mention frustrating as sin. God, it’s like immediately forgetting a wonderful dream, only worse. I have a feeling no amount of hypnosis is going to bring that incredible wealth of knowledge back to the forefront of my mind…Perhaps it’d be best if I simply let it go. I don’t seem to have any other options, anyway. Time to move on to the final section, and if it’s anything like what I had painted, which all of the sections have been thus far, then maybe I should start panicking. Eh, or I could casually swim over there. Works for me.

Rereading this thought transcript to myself certainly kept me intrigued. I can’t quite make sense of the experience I had on the Cetaceous Spirit Spin, despite the thought transcript. Do note, dear reader, that what I presented to you constitutes roughly a quarter of the full experience upon the attraction. There were many disturbing implications based on what I had read, and thought that it would be best if I left that content out. Frankly, it would have still read as nonsensical.

The final section and attraction, consisting of a unique underwater roller coaster, was quite a thrilling endpoint to my time at Coral Realm. Perhaps a bit too thrilling. It’s simply known as ‘Shark Rush’, an exceedingly fitting name, as you may be able to tell.

Aside from being the only roller coaster that I know of on the planet that requires a scuba suit to ride, this attraction is unique in regards to its method of transportation. Rather than the more traditional method of simply taking a seat in a coaster car, the brilliant engineers thought it would amusing if riders were attached loosely by a rope attached to their ankles and the ride vehicle itself. They were either sadistic, incompetent, or forced to do so by their mermaid captors. Combine this in an environment full of ravenous sharks, and I believe you have an attraction that wouldn’t quite live up to Disney Land’s safety standards. Enjoy the final thought transcript, dear reader.

Alright, so far so good…Lots of distinctly red, orange, and black coral, devil trident plants, and a freaky, black mist. It’s definitely got this evil vibe going, but it’s just theming, I can relax. Surely the mermaids responsible for this will have some mercy, and not literally…What was that? No, it couldn’t have been…I’m seeing things. Yes… I’ve been in Coral Realm for too long, I can’t wait to go home and sleep. I just gotta’ find the line. Well, there’s the bubble-title…Shark Rush? Name’s not a good sign, I just gotta’ hope it’s metaphorical. Line doesn’t seem too long, that works for me. This is a pretty unnerving area, but you know what, I’m quite excited! I’m looking forward to an adrenaline rush, and judging from the layout of this coaster, Shark Rush is sure to provide. Loops and all. Guess mermaid magic is too good for physics. Cool! I could see a car train surging past! Wait, that’s not a normal-looking car train, the riders are…They’re being chased by…Nope. Uh-uh. Not for a million. Not even for a billion. I’ve had my fun, I’ve ridden most of the rides, I don’t need to ride the last one. No adrenaline surge is worth the risk becoming a Great White’s lunch.  Vicious crabs, I could handle. At least with the Sub Race I had the agency of a fully controllable vehicle. Here, these poor divers are literally tied like sacks of meat to a cart that looks like it belongs in a derelict mining facility...Goodness! Some of them are even being banged against the coral plants! And I’ve never seen more voracious-looking sharks. Well, I’ve never seen any sharks, but still. Yet maybe, just maybe, their meant to instill fear in the riders, rather than actually attack. Yes…they’re just convincing and clever theming! It’s effective, I’ll give ‘em that! It’s just gonna’ be a fun, rough-around-the-edges roller coaster ride, nothing more. I’m gonna’ get back in li-I’m pretty positive that mist of blood isn’t a mere special effect. I’m also quite sure that the rider currently being repurposed as that shark’s chewing gum isn’t leaving this park alive. Yup, I’m outta’ here. I’ll just be weaving around those peculiarly menacing spikes, and be on my way. Alright! Glad to be away from that nightmare of a section! But where to? There’s no discernible exit…I really should of thought this through…I mean, even if I decided to ride that psycho-coaster, what in the hell am I supposed to do next? Would the mermaids’ have teleported me back to my home? Is there a proper closing time? Those other scuba diver guests dove from above, so perhaps I better swim upwards. What else am I to do?

Coral Realm is quite a fantastical sight from way up here…It’s a shame, really. This is the epitome of a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, and I chickened out on the last ride! I do think it’s justified, all things considered. Risking probable death by shark for a quick high just isn’t worth it. Still no sign of the surface…Glad to see I could swim upwards at this brisk pace, no need to worry about DCS…Compliments of mermaid magic…Hmmm…Coral Realm’s starting to become a dot now…I suppose I’ll find the mermaids on the surface. They may not be overly pleased with my early departure, but…Well, screw them. They kidnapped me, least they could do is allow me to leave at my own leisure. God, how long’s it gonna’ take for me to resurface?! Hold on…I do see a large mass up ahead, light is definitely emanating from it, multi-colored in fact. If it’s not the surface, then what is it? Just got to swim a bit closer…No freakin’ way…Those damned conniving, clever mermaids. I’ve circled back to the bottom of coral realm! From my spot, the ‘Shark Rush’ roller coaster section seems to glow more than the other sections. The message is clear; I’m riding the death coaster. Ugh…Well, I better get this over with.

If I were religious I suppose I would be praying right about now. In a just a few short moments, it will by my turn to board the roller coaster, if I could even really call it “boarding.” Would I call sitting upon an electric chair “boarding” as well? At least I have the thin solace of three other fellow divers who’ll be riding alongside me. They certainly seem frightened. Ugh, one of them just urinated. Can’t say I blame them. Let’s see, the coaster car is arriving back to the station now. Two severed ropes out of four. So I have a precisely 1/2 chance of survival, at least according to this last coaster run. Seems as likely as anything else. Here goes nothing…

Ouch! OWWWW! My leg! That’ll leave a mark…Were electric eels really necessary to tie me to the ride vehicle? They couldn’t have just gotten some octopus to do it? Urgh…Well, at least that painful zap distracted me from my writhing nerves, they were eating me alive…Soon enough it won’t just be my nerves eating me alive…And we’re off! Up the long chain lift… Why a roller coaster needs a chain lift underwater is something I can’t quite fathom, but you know what? If there’s anything I learned during my time at Coral Realm, it’s that logic is overrated, and, as I’m probably about to learn, so is fun. Geez, I’m being quite cynical, I should try and see the silver lining. Hmmmm…My leg has gone numb, that’s a plus. This bizarre boarding arrangement isn’t quite as uncomfortable as I imagined, no lightheadedness anyways…If I close my eyes I could pretend I’m sleeping in zero gravity…Almost at the top now, feels like it’s taking a lifetime. At least if I die, it would be an extraordinarily unique death. Sure there’s cancer, heart attacks, car accidents, watching political debates, the list goes on. Death is death. But how many people could put “Eaten by Great White Shark while riding a roller coaster” as their epitaph? Actually, a surprising number of people can, come to think of it. Oh god, we’re basically arriving at the top now. Soon we’ll all be rushing downwards, probably into the loving jaws of a hungry shark, unable to do anything about it. Heh, I could have sworn I saw one shark grasping at a fork and knife earlier. At least they’re content. Alright, before I plummet to near-certain doom, I need to try to stop and simply think. This will probably be one my last thoughts, might as well be something poignant, something wise…Man, I hardly have any time to think, I have literal seconds before we drop. Ummm…Turkeys? AHHHHHH! Talk about a jarring freakin’ speed! I can’t even see anything, everything is a blur. WOAH! This is awesome! I’m pretty sure my left arm is banging against some rocks, and I’m pretty sure it’s officially dislocated, but I don’t even remotely care! Come at me, shark twats! I’m not even sure if I’m being chased at the moment. The very next second could be my last, my painful last, but nonetheless, all the butterflies have flown away from my stomach. Gah! That was abrupt halt. I’m surprised my leg wasn’t torn off, like that guy to my right. Well, the sharks were definitely chasing us, then. It looks like we’re being given a slow breather…There seems to be more track left after this straight section, so I’m not done with this ride yet...Ah, my arm hurts. But alas, it’s not dislocated. I’m surprised how enjoyable that was. It should have been a nightmare, but it wasn’t, it was the wait that was hellish. So…Three riders left, myself included. Looks like this straight continues on for a bit, then it seems the ride begins twisting and turning again in cavernous area…literally swarming with sharks. Far more than reasonable, not that any amount of them could be considered reasonable. Goodness, this part was hidden when I waiting in line…How could anybody conceivably survive this next part? It’s like playing Russian roulette with five revolvers back-to-back, each revolver loaded with five bullets. Astronomical odds of survival. The butterflies decided to fly back in me…Sure, this coaster is thrilling…But once I find myself being chomped up into mush, the thrills shall come to a swift end. We’re close to the end of the straight now…Déjà Vu. I still need to ponder upon my last thoughts of wisdom, as it truly seems like the end is nigh for me. So I was thinking about turkeys…You know what, screw it. I’m not in the state to be philosophical, instead I’m just going to shut my eyelids. Puppies and rainbows, puppies and rainbows, puppies and rainbows, puppies and rainbows forever…

It’s finished. I survived the death coaster. Barely, and with more than enough of scratches and bruises. I’ll be sore for weeks, but I’m alive. That’s more than I could say for my three fellow passengers. You will be missed. Not by me, though. I’m alive! In more ways than one! That was phenomenally thrilling! If it weren’t for the sharks and the excessive roughness, I might ride it again. Time to exit this menacing section, though…Frankly, it’s my least favorite of them all. Hopefully I’ll be given a survey so I could give my opinion on the matter. That ride desperately needs some renovations. My time in Coral Realm has certainly been fascinating…. It’s been quite a lot of things. But I’m ready to go home, and snuggle in bed for hours on end, maybe playing video games. This was all just a bit too exciting for me. I’ll be happy to get back to painting, but perhaps some things are never meant to leave the canvas.  

Thus ends the transcript of my thoughts, dear reader. The departure from Coral Realm and back into the real world was a surprisingly simple and streamlined process. For a minute, I was aimlessly swimming, wondering what to do next. Then, in the next instant, the entirety of Coral Realm, along with all the other park guests, seemed to vanish out of existence before my eyes. I was then promptly surrounded by mermaids, the same ones I had discovered bathing in my swimming pool. Then, with the heart-stopping sudden speed of a whizzing bullet, I found myself propelled upwards through the great expanse of blue, the velocity accelerating at such an alarming rate that I was sure death was to follow. I was then promptly launched from the surface of the water like a discarded torpedo, before landing as a crumpled mess upon what I soon ascertained to be my flower garden. Though it was rough landing (in fact, I broke my ankle. Rabid Sharks and giant crabs posed no problem to my appendages, however.), my speed of ejection did not realistically line up with my rate of aquatic ascension. If it had, I’d be mashed pulp in outer space at the moment.

I haven’t seen the mermaids since my spectacular excursion to Coral Realm. Not once have I found them bathing in my swimming pool. I was tempted to believe the entire ordeal was some kind of extreme hallucination, that was, until I received the email of my thoughts. On some level, I simply wish that it was. How many other paintings of mine are simply the ideas of magical beings that, for whatever reason, transmitted them to my brain? The whole experience leads to a rabbit hole of disturbing implications… On the other hand, the adrenaline and sense of adventure I had equated to near nirvana. I suppose, in the end, I really don’t know what to make of it all. But from now on, barring aside future kidnappings, I’ll gladly stick to Six Flags.

Paintings by Peter Rodulfo

Today I’d like to feature an already relatively well-established artist, Peter Rodulfo. His oil paintings are very much up my alley, so I thought I would share. Hopefully you’ll make room for him in your alley, dear reader.

            In his words, Peter Rodulfo works “largely from memory and imagination”, and his work “treads the borderline between dreams and reality.” I personally find his work explorative, detailed, and fun-filled. Frankly however, I can’t really do his art (or any art, for that matter) justice with mere words, so I cherry picked a few of my favorites. Keep in mind that I barely even dipped into his ocean of art.

 Please Consider browsing his website here or else checking out his DeviantArt account here

 Click on the images to view them in full.

First up we have ‘Besides the Sea’. Makes you want to hit the pier, doesn’t it?

Next up we have ‘St. George’s Park’. Another phenomenal exploratory work, and interesting play on perspective, as was the last one.

Jelly Fish surprise’ can come across as something of a surreal drug trip, but I’m certainly not complaining.

The next invigorating LSD trip, ‘The Day the Clowns Left’, combines the exploratory work of the first two pieces, with the super-surreal nature of the third one featured.

‘Commuters’, a whimsical piece, really sheds some perspective on woes we all have with traffic. We have it easy! 

Finally, I’ll showcase one of my favorites, “Approaching the Pleasure Beach” This is a painting I’d like to enter, at least the theme park vision within in it, not  necessarily the urban skyline. That contrast of ugly urban growth and a joyful, surreal amusement park vision is interesting. With the inflatable raft full of people, I think of it as the delusions of utopia one might have when on a path to a new destination, both literally and figuratively.

I hope you’ve enjoyed today’s art feature, dear reader. There’s an endless ocean of art out there.

Aquatic Art Feature

          Good day to you, my fellow psychotic octopus! Today I’d like to share with you some aquatic themed artwork I’ve scoured across the depths of the internet.

        I’m considering doing this more often, as I enjoy viewing artwork on the internet. Never the same experience as an original, but certainly more convenient! Some of these are available as prints, which I’ve linked if you’re interested.

 

First up we have ‘Glamour Aqua Turquoise’ by LebensArt, a crisp, testudinal design piece.

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            Also by LebensArt, we have ‘Blue Turquoise Seahorse’ and ‘Octopus’. Perfect for lovers of the maritime world.

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       Next up we have ‘She’, a nicely compositioned and detailed octopus painting by Alex Gregory.

 

                Also by Alex Gregory is a wondrous, geometric yet flowing sea turtle painting, my favorite of today’s art feature. I’ve linked to his website, just click the image.

 

               

       Finally, we have lovely, or terrifying if you have galeophobia, shark shipwreck watercolor print by Katy Lipscomb.

 

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      I hope you’ve enjoyed today’s art feature, dear reader. I hope to do many more of these! There’s an endless ocean of art out there.

Poetry: Ego in the Stars (2017)

I decided I would post some of my poetry on my website, also found on Deviantart. 

            This one follows a somewhat abstract exploration of the strange nature of reality.

 

We specks of the universe,

With our superposition of choices,

Shall find peace with the quantum-verse within.

The limitation is staggering,

As are the possibilities.

Forever free, forever trapped.

We specks of the universe,

Carry boundless worlds within,

Imposing upon the boundless worlds without.

Impossibly big, impossibly small.

 

Contradictions abound,

Horrors to be found.

Paradoxes aplenty,

Perhaps one too many.

 

For what laws carry infinity?

Can math explain creativity?

How can terrors be here?

And wonders be there?

 

We specks of the universe,

With our desire for supreme control,  

Shan’t contain the quantum anarchy.

For freedom is a semblance,

For astral flow requires law.

Forever free, forever trapped.

We specks of the universe,

Must trust the unfathomable depths, 

Must embrace the great black hole.

Impossibly big, impossibly small.

 

Fundamental whys that cannot be resolved,

Fundamental hows that are easily solved.

Enlightened arrogance may be the only solution.

To all this mind-bending confusion.          

 

For what is the science of meaning?

Can formulas account for reasoning?

How can terrors be here?

And wonders be there?

 

We specks of the universe,

With our ceaseless quest for knowledge,

Must base our foundations upon sifting sand.

To overcome the frightening inevitable,

Our minds must inherit the stars

Forever free, forever trapped.

We specks of the universe,

Will overcome the logics of reality

Will find rule in infinity.

Impossibly big, impossibly small.

 

Our egos hover among the stars.

 

Poetry: Tick Tock (2017)

I decided I would post some of my poetry on my website, also found on Deviantart. 

            This one sheds a light-hearted, rhyming focus on the natural anxiety brought on by the passage of time. Enjoy!

 

 

Time ticks on, fluent as a song.

Endlessly long.

Hopelessly strong.

 

The Soul of Stress,

The Maker of a Mess,

Why time moves along is anybody’s guess.

 

The impenetrable ticks, make me sick.

This all-consuming clock, just won’t stop.

 

Time ticks on, fluent as a song.

Endlessly long.

Hopelessly strong.

 

Time’s such a scare, 

For time doesn’t care.

Hate to be a downer, but time is so unfair.

 

Now I’m getting quite mad,

Even a little sad.

For this all-consuming clock, simply can’t stop.

 

Time ticks on, fluent as a song.

Endlessly long.

Hopelessly strong.

 

Poetry: The Glass Box (2017)

         I decided I would post some of my poetry on my website, also found on Deviantart. 

            This one is a bit dark and dramatic, perhaps overly so, you'll have to forgive the seriousness, I'm usually optimistic. I decided to explore the emotional state of feeling 'trapped', essentially.

 

 

It’s the killer of my dreams. The essence of my destruction.

Invisible and insidious, it cannot, it will not be destroyed.

A trap that cannot be solved. A system of spiraling destruction.

Endless. Inhuman. Eternal.

 

I see the energy, I see the joy, I see the dream.

But these walls will not shatter.

For these walls are not real.  

 

My dreams are boundless. My passion infinite.

Creative and Courageous, I cannot, I will not be destroyed.

An impossible dream that must be fulfilled. Unyielding passion with no direction.

Endless. Inhuman. Eternal. 

 

I feel the lies, I feel the shame, I feel the doubt.

But my enemy is the truth.

For the truth hides a thousand lies.

 

Strength turned to weakness.

Hope filled with despair.

Joy into tension.

Love into hate. 

 

The Glass Box has won.

 

But so have I.