Interactive Museum of Physics and Engineering

Nothing reminds you that you’re 40 quite like a trip to Six Flags Magic Mountain. I used to go religiously, in that our church group had an annual field trip to the theme park, but that was back when Goliath was new and Viper was arguably the baddest coaster on the block. And hamburgers cost a nickel, and you had to trek to the line for Ninja uphill, both ways, barefoot, in the snow, with nothing but your own wits to guide you. The park map isn’t too big an improvement, by the way.

My younger brother was with me, whom the wife requested to take her place since she isn’t the roller coaster type. Before the trip, he popped a pill to counteract motion sickness. He offered me one and I declined because uphill, both ways, and I’ll be damned if we didn’t win The Battle of Hoth without the use of dramamine. (Um, we lost Hoth, man. Wait, which side were you on?)

First was The New Revolution, which was The Old Revolution but with VR goggles. Great concept, but I’m not sure the technology is quite there yet. The framerates were too low and caused motion sickness as it was. The motion tracking seemed a little off, and looking around in a virtual environment while The Old Revolution did its thing was already going to be a little disorienting even without a technology gap. When better VR comes in, I’m sure these types of things would be great.

Next on the list was X2. I hadn’t been on the original X and was thus concerned that I couldn’t follow the story in the sequel. Spoiler Alert: There is no story. There’s a lot of EXTREEEEEEME branding around the line, though along with a Monster drink tie-in. When we got on the ride, I turned to my brother and confessed that I was actually nervous about this one. On the second ride of the day, that great epiphany hit me – I’m nowhere near my 20’s, and all the roller coaster technology I’d become familiar with growing up will soon feel like the thrill I had when I first went down a playground slide. VR was one thing. X2 promised to hurl me through a track in angles I’d not experienced before and I honestly wasn’t sure how that was going to work out. “It Had To Be You” interrupted by Metallica’s “Enter Sandman” on the speaker system hyped the climb, as if to get one last Old Man joke in there before the drop. Then controlled turmoil and a semi-obstructed view as I tried to make sure my glasses didn’t fly off. Then it was done and I made it through.

Next was Tatsu, which, while milder than X2 (though what isn’t?), did give a great view of that large loop right before you plunge into it headfirst. At ride’s end, we waited to disembark, granting a few moments to reflect on the life choices that led me here, hanging by a harness on a culturally appropriated metal monster. Brains sufficiently rattled, we had lunch.

Afterwards, we went on the Superman ride, geeking out about Mag-Lev technology and the whoooosh as the car accelerated to 100MPH in 6 seconds. There were discussions about Elon Musk and the Hyperloop along with TV recommendations that I’ll need to catch up on.

Then the obligatory trek to the Batman ride, stopping to take a selfie near the Batmobile. The ride itself wasn’t overtly thrilling and I felt a little guilty that I did it just because I was a fan of the character. Comparing between Superman and Batman, the superhero with the dead Martha lost this day.

We sat down again and looked at Goliath. “I remember what Goliath did to me last time I was here. There’s no point going through that again.”

“Did you black out?”

“No, but I think I knew someone who did. Either way, I didn’t feel well afterwards.”

The last ride we went on was Twisted Colossus, which had been a re-imagining of the iconic wooden coaster which is now more metal than wood. The park built an entire steampunk theme around it, which was really nice. The ride was smooth, with just the right amount of “holy crap” and enough downtime to recover from the first part of the track and anticipate what the second go-round brings. It was a great coaster to end with.

I accept that I’m an old man. I’m sore from yesterday. I’m pretty sure I have bruised shoulder blades but I’m not sure which ride’s safety harness did that. I didn’t ride all the thrill rides and I was ok with that. I was satisfied knowing I could have survived them all if I wanted to, but the brain-wobbling headache wouldn’t be worth that badge of faux honor. I survived X2, it should follow that I could deal with the rest. Maybe when I turn 50, they’ll have a ride called SpaceX2 which uses Magnetic Levitation to shoot you to the edge of space and back. Maybe they’ll finally consolidate Log Jammer and Jet Stream into one extremely long, moderately exciting log flume ride called Jet Log. Maybe they’ll fix VR by then, too.

Patrick Tonner Diss Track

PC Tonner in the 909
I said PC Tonner in the 909
Yo, I need everyone to right-click your recycling bins
because PC Tonner is about to take out the trash.
You’ve got the rhyming skills of Barry Allen in a trench coat.
You’re like the Commander In Chief when he’s sounding out “My Pet Goat”
You’re not a fan of The Eagles?  What’s wrong with you?
You’ve got school kids protesting on Allen Avenue.
You wrote a book on my town from A to Z
and somehow failed to mention me?
I know, right, how could he?
Unless he’s Spadra crazy, which he could be
but does that mean he deserves the wrath of the PC?
I don’t know, maybe.

You were born on Pi Day and you took it as a sign
to try all the pies at Flo’s at the same time.
Man, you could have been Einstein
but the Frisbee pie plates weren’t far out like they were for Calvin Klein.
You write about dead people —
You’re like R.L. Stine
I mean you give people goosebumps —
You put the zero in the 909
and that would’ve been just fine then your book drops
and like Carrot Top at his funniest, you gave me no props
Now my words defy the Metrolink ’cause I’m pulling out all the stops
‘fore I get arrested for public intoxication like in that old show, Cops.
I supported both sides of the temperence fight —
I be drinking everyday and doing Molly every night
So while I’m a dead man living the life,
I can’t just sit by and let this slide —
that slight hurt my pride and now I’m dead inside
and my rhymes will cut while my voice gets loud

You use all the characters on a keyboard, colon included.
You pulled that article out of someplace secluded
“Biggest Beatdown Ever Handed” reads the headline in a giant font —
It’ll be the subject of a controversial mural during Christmas in Claremont.
Take it from me, you’ve got to be P.C. with what you do and say
and for Ganesha’s sake, don’t ever celebrate by handing out blankets on
Columbus Day.
Some of these hit below the belt — I hope you wore a cup.
I just dropped my two cents so you can pick them up.

Rap Battle: Patrick Tonner vs. Goddess Pomona

There once was a goddess Pomona
who was so hot she gave me a …
Screw it, let me step away from this limerick.
I’m gonna make this very painful and it won’t be quick.
Hi, my name is Tonner and I’m a PC but please see
that while I’m PC, I’m also a Mac
and a Mac on attack can hit like a Mack Truck
or the Union Pacific if I keep you on track —
You say you’re a goddess?  That’s absurd
’cause when I asked around,
ain’t nobody I know has heard of you.  Not one clue.
You’re Roman?  What, the Greeks outsource you too?
Nevermind that now —
would you be a sweet Senorita
and use some of that fruit and make me a margarita?

Patrick, you’re drunk.  Go home.
That’s what they should have put on your tombstone.
You’re a mortal, I’m a goddess.  I’m not worried ’cause I’ve got this.
I’ll beat you from your house on 5th to the Phillips Mansion
and shove my marble foot up your Tonner Canyon.
So you see, I’m not about to raise the alarms
for the guy on the front of a box of Lucky Charms.
You’re a lawyer, teacher, poet, realtor —
You’re not a renaissance man, you need a guidance counselor
to help you decide what you want to be when you grow up
or at least come at me with better rhymes than what you’ve thrown up.
Man, you were on both sides of prohibition, show some contrition.
Better yet, you need intercession ’cause you’ve just been dissected —
This here’s vivisection.  You don’t mess with a goddess, I’m tired of debates —
to reboot this PC, I’ve got Solomon Gates.

That retort was a disaster.  You say you’re marble but you crumble like plaster.
Speaking of Gates, did you ever pay the poor bastard?
He can’t hurt me ’cause like Jackie Chan, I’m the Drunken Master.
I can go from whimsical to satirical, from metaphorical to literal
and when I speak all metaphysical your blank stare is clearly quizzical.
The society, hysterical — my laughter, maniacal — but before we hit critical
with evidence empirical, with these words rhythmic and lyrical
I better slow this down ’cause battle rapping Goddesses is unnatural.
You’re going to kick my ass when it’s all done?
With which foot, the big one or the small one?
You’re not a flawless copy, you’ve got a glaring blunder.
Who the hell is Cipriani, the Italian Stevie Wonder?
You brought a cornucopia to a rap battle.  I brought thunder
and you’ll be deafened when an entire city is compelled to applaud
when I take down their goddess with an elephant god.

I’m not scared of you and I’m not scared of Dumbo either.
I’ve been more intimidated by a Walmart greeter.
Diss my feet, you better check your pulse
You’ll get a boot to the head from both Biggie AND Smalls
And I’ll kick your McNuggets, take my time, no need to hurry
you’re the only guy I know who puts bourbon in a McFlurry.
Are you paying attention?  Are you even conscious?
Last time I saw a beating this bad, it was sentenced by Pontious.
I want it to be known and perfectly understood
that before you got here, you got yourself kicked out of the priesthood
and I’m sure we all want to know what went on in your head
did you leave for your principles or are you like Michael and Jared?
Allegedly.  That’s not character assassination, I’m just asking
if this is the kind of stuff you like to call multi-tasking
’cause there is nowhere to hide, we’ve just watched your unmasking.

Rap Battle: Ricardo Vejar vs. Ygnacio Palomares

Ricardo Vejar:
Yo soy Don Ricardo de Clan Vejar
Anyone try to battle, te va a pagar.
Nacho, think you’re all hard when you’re stepping forth
what, now you’re like Tacho Into the Beautiful North
but ain’t nothin wrong with your rainbow connection
you just gotta quit with this land grab obsession
I’ve got a verbal gun to your head just waiting for the beat to stop
so I can pull the damn trigger and watch Iggy Pop.

Ygnacio Palomares:
Cállate Ricky, you got some splainin to do
Tischler showed me your tab, that’s a big IOU
I’ll take you up to the hills, you broke-ass Vejar
you’ll disappear from The View like your name was Joy Behar
Let’s see, there’s Santa, the Chupacabra, and the tooth fairy
Your legacy’s just like them, man, purely imaginary.
My house is historical.  My name is on a cemetery.
Your rhymes are simply comical and sick like dysentery.

Ricardo Vejar:
How are you gonna scare me with your clumsy words,
your name literally translates to a house for birds.
Your verse is perverse and I don’t fear your wrath
You’re name’s on a school where the kids suck at math.
You’ve got yourself a cemetery, that’s worth walking tall?
Let’s see how famous you are when they turn your tomb into a strip mall
We don’t have much time so let me put this to bed
We were the Dons of San Jose, you’re just the Don of the Dead

Ygnacio Palomares:
D.R.V. you so gangsta, I almost feel bad though
’cause when they ask where you from, you have to say San Diego
and seriously, man, how are you even in this battle
you’ve lost your home, your land, and all of your cattle.
Like that one guy in Upland, you’re like “where’s the beef?
We were friends a long time, now you’re comic relief.
It took me a while but I just got why you called me Nacho
here’s a couple of bucks, go get some at Del Taco.

Dungeons and Dragons Online Vignette – Two Weeks A Cleric

Estocean was less than mediocre as a human paldin.  That is, he thought it would be great to be a cross between a fighter and a cleric and ended up being horrible at both.  At level 18, he couldn’t tank, he couldn’t do enough damage, and he certainly couldn’t heal.  One day the gods bestowed upon him a second chance: a +20 Heart of Wood with which he could undo all the horrible choices he had made in life.

He didn’t want to deviate too far from his current build.  After all, he already had good armor and a few shields to choose from.  He wanted to make a difference in a group, and most of all, he wanted to be accepted.  The choice, he thought, was obvious — he was going to be a cleric.

A +20 Heart of Wood is a curious thing.  Normally, becoming a cleric took years of devoted training, a bit of book learning, and eventually a certificate of ordination from bought for a few plat and a promise not to get too much into necromancy.  With the +20 Heart of Wood, this all happens within a few minutes.  First you are a poor excuse for a paladin and three minutes with some new and improved horrible choices later, you’re a poor excuse for a cleric.

There he was, Dungeons and Dragons’ latest worst babysitter.  As a cleric, however, he found that people seemed more polite to him.  Even as he floundered through casting healing spells, resurrecting people he couldn’t save, and making numerous rookie cleric mistakes, people didn’t seem to mind.  He apologized a few times for his ineptitude and the other party members deflected blame away every single time!  Inept paladins never get that kind of break.  Maybe it was true — everyone does love a cleric!  Seriously, this sort of treatment is usually reserved only for clerics…and extremly high skilled trapmonkey rogues.

Estocean went from level 18 to level 20 in a couple of weeks with a large part of the XP gained by grouping with adventurers happy to have a cleric.  At the moment he turned 20, as if guided by a malevolent god, he walked towards the hall of heroes in the marketplace.  He was finally accepted, he thought.  People were finally happy to see the good cleric, he thought.  Why am I being led to the hall of heroes, he wondered.  He didn’t notice that his god had placed a True Druidic Heart of Wood in his backpack.

Estocean woke up on the shore of a sandy beach.  He was a level 1 Elf.  He noticed, though, that he was a little bit taller than the elves he remembered seeing.  Given a choice of weapons, he was inclined to pick a rapier but what he really wanted was a bow.