Monday, November 02, 2015

A Quantum of History

Just so you know I know, a "quantum" is the minimum possible quantity of something. Yes, it actually does have a meaning, and isn't just a piece of word salad thrown in to sound trendy and high-tech. Let's see how long that meaning can withstand the terrible force of human stupidity.

Anyway, I was present for a quantum of history yesterday. My sons and I spent our first day down in the much-too-hot land of Orlando visiting Universal's two theme parks. (My wife wasn't feeling well and is less than excited about thrill rides to begin with.) And so, by pure luck, we were there for the last day of Twister -- Ride It Out, one of the most entertaining bad theme-park attractions known to man. We rode it, of course -- our last experience in the Universal Studios park before we took Harry Potter's choo-choo train across to the other park.

(We missed the closing of Disaster!, which we actually liked better -- that one was a mediocre-to-half-decent attraction brought up somewhere near greatness by a wonderful Christopher Walken performance. [1] But it closed a month or so ago, when we were still Up North.)

The attraction Twister stood as witness to the fact that, while Bill Paxton definitely can act, he also can refuse to act, which is what he amazingly did throughout the filming of his video inserts. No pan had ever been that dead before, nor will it ever be again. And I don't know why he and co-star Helen Hunt were resolutely separate for their video segments -- one doesn't wish to speculate about other people in public -- but there was no visible warmth or human feeling between them at any point of the Twister ride. And that made it wonderful, in a strangely amusing way.

There's a somewhat more journalistic take on the last day over at the Touring Plans blog. (Which is required reading for any theme park junkies, by the way.) But I wanted to say that, for this absolutely tiniest piece of history possible, that I Was There.

[1] Those who've seen it will always remember "Explosions are good. Slow-motion explosions are better."

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