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Electronics in the Sky

The talk of zero tolerance in Wednesday’s post (below) made me remember an incident when we were flying home from Florida a few weeks ago.

Calfgrit4 (turned 5 yesterday) was sitting next to me on the plane, and I got out his Leapster (hand-held video game) for him to occupy himself. This was while we were still on the tarmac, a couple minutes before we were to take off. (Calfgrit4 called it “blasting off.”)

A flight attendant, walking the aisle, looked over at us and told me we couldn’t use electronic devices during take off. I said, “OK,” and had CG4 turn it off. I commented to my mom, who was sitting on the other side of me, that rule of absolutely no electronics was ridiculous.

Mom said, “It’s so they don’t have to make a judgment call.”

I understand that, and I can appreciate the position having to make a judgment call would put the flight attendants in. But really, my problem with it is:

The airplane electronics should be shielded well enough that nothing in the passenger compartment could possibly interfere with them. What kind of rinky-dink set up do airplanes use that someone checking their voice mail at the back of the plane could potentially turn the craft into a lawn dart? I should be able to check my voice mail while nuking a breakfast burrito in a 2,000-watt microwave and running a World of Warcraft LAN party on half a dozen laptops without the pilots up front noticing any problems with their multi-million-dollar systems.


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Pictures from Disney

Sorry, but I’m not going to show pictures of me or my family.

Looking through our photographs of our adventure in DW, I re-affirmed that I don’t like having my picture taken. I just ain’t photogenic.

Looking at one pic of me, I commented to Cowgrit, “You know, they say a camera adds 10 pounds.”

“No,” she replied, “the cookies and cheese cake add 10 pounds.”

Hey, she’s the one that set up our vacation meal reservations — mostly at buffets.

Anyway, here are some photos from Disney World that might be interesting only to someone with a strange sense of what might make a good photo in Disney World.

This might be my next car:

Brogrit says he wants a Hummer. I found him one:

But he’ll need a regular gig to afford it. I found that for him, too:

See, little brother, I’m looking out for you.


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Mission: Space at Disney World cont.

Continued from here.

It took all my concentration to keep from vomiting, and my concentration was handicapped by spinning vision and throbbing pain. Oh God, make it stop, was all I could think. I felt like I had no blood in my body. For the remaining couple of minutes in the ride, I was sweating and quivering.

When the ride at last ended, and I could exit, I found standing and walking difficult and unsteady. My head wanted to explode, my stomach wanted to empty itself, and my bones wanted to collapse. I’m serious –- I have never experienced such distress. A couple of Disney workers in the ride gave me a look over as I passed them in the exit tunnel, but I guess they figured I was OK since I was able to walk on my own.

I made it out of the ride zone, and through the after-ride entertainment area, and through the gift shop, and finally, outside to the bright sun and fresh air. I found an empty bench and laid down. I wasn’t concerned what people might be thinking of me right then, laying down on a bench, because it took all my concentration just to stay alive.

It was an hour before I could sit upright and not feel like throwing up. A little while after sitting up, an older man sat down next to me, to wait for his wife to come off the ride.

We chatted for a while. He was from England, and he and his wife were in Disney World for his 65th birthday. They had both ridden the less intense version of Mission: Space, and then his wife wanted to ride the more intense version. I related that I had just gotten off that version (I didn’t say, “an hour ago”), and was recovering. I really didn’t feel like talking, but I think doing so helped me get over the ill feelings.

Eventually, his wife came out. The man introduced me, and we discussed the experience a bit. She said it was indeed intense, and she didn’t like it, but she was not ruined like me. I explained that I had lifted my head and looked to the side during the ride.

“The signs say not to do that,” she said, politely.

“Yeah,” I said, “and now we know why.”

They chuckled, and she added, “I don’t think I could have lifted my head. I couldn’t lift my hands to push the buttons.” They wished me a speedy recovery, and went on their way.

Half an hour later, my family returned to the park. I was able to walk properly by then, but my head was still spinning, albeit, slower. I wasn’t dizzy enough to fall down, but it was enough to keep me from fully enjoying anything for another hour. I even felt a little bit of disorientation later that evening.

It’s a shame that my first and only experience on a centrifuge turned out so badly (because I screwed up). I think I would have really enjoyed that more intense version of Mission: Space – feeling the increased Gs, especially when lifting my arms, was very cool. But wow, taking that G force hit to the inner ear totally ruined me. I was reduced to being happy that I didn’t throw up or fall down afterward.


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Mission: Space at Disney World

Way back in my post talking about the thrill rides I experienced in Disney World during our September vacation, I mentioned I’d say more about a couple of the rides.

The most horrible ride experience I have ever had was with Mission: Space in Epcot. I went to see this ride by myself, while the rest of the family went back to our resort rooms for a break (Calfgrit4’s naptime). There’re two versions of this ride: Less Intense and More Intense. I figured I should try the less intense version first, so that’s the line I got in.

At the end of the line, I waited for my “mission team” to be assembled, and then we stepped into a “preparation room” where we were given the “pre-flight briefing.” When the “ship” was ready, we were directed to the flight simulators. There are four people to each ship crew, and each person has a “job” to perform (firing the rockets, turning on the cryo-sleep system, firing the break rockets, etc.), so it’s a bit of an interactive ride as well as an experience ride.

The whole mission is blasting off from Earth, flying through space (with a sleep mode to hand wave the long distance), and landing on Mars. The mechanics of the ride are your basic flight simulator –- the sealed capsule leans back to give the feeling of blasting off, rotates about to give the feeling of steering through asteroids, and leans forward to give the feeling of breaking. The only view out of the capsule was through the “window” in front of me which showed directly out the front of the “spaceship.” The ride takes 4 or 5 minutes from blast off to crash landing, and it’s a decent experience. But it’s definitely “less intense.” When I got off, I was thinking, “Meh, it was OK.”

But since I had plenty of more time left to kill at Epcot, waiting for the family to return from their siesta, I wanted to give the more intense version a try. Everything looks pretty much exactly the same for both versions, but along the line, and in the prep room, there are signs warning about the intensity. One major warning is to keep your head against the seat back at all times.

I got on this more intense ride with two Mexican teenagers who didn’t speak much English. They asked me if the ride was really hard, and I told them that I didn’t know, as I’d only ridden the less intense version. I’m not sure they completely understood me.

Once we were strapped into our flight seats, and the ride started, it became apparent what the difference between the two versions was – the more intense ride is a centrifuge. Way cool! Blast off was much more intense, with a real feeling of increased Gs. When it came time for me to perform my crew functions (push buttons), I found my hands and arms incredibly heavy. I had never experienced anything like that before. I was excited.

About a minute into our mission, one of the Mexican boys in the capsule with me said, “Aye, mommy!” It made me chuckle, and I turned my head to look at him. The capsule seats don’t let you look directly to the sides, so I lifted my head (not easy in the centrifuge) and looked to my left.

UGH! It felt like my brain was hit with a bat (bypassing my skull). My head immediately fell back against my seat, and I was more intensely dizzy than I have ever been in my life. My vision spun, my head ached severely, and my stomach felt liquefied. My head and stomach felt more horrible than any illness has ever made me.

To be continued . . .


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