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31 October 2002 @ 02:21 am
Catchup and Knott's Scary Farm  
Computers do not like me, this is why i was happy with my old machine and wasn't happy with the idea of an upgrade, i thought for the first few weeks that i'd escaped the curse, but i guess not.

I got into work tuesday and started my computer like normal. Well, almost like normal, i noticed when i got there that the computer was still on despite having told it to shut down the night before, but the the monitor was black. I resest the computer and everything seemed fine for a little bit. Then various programs started crashing.

I decided to reboot the computer to see if that would fix things, however when it finished rebooting it said that it had lost my profile. I rebooted again, and same problem, and then other things started crashing. I went and got the IT person, and he did a virus scan to see if my computer had gotten infected with anything, but Norton crashed halfway through. He then suggested that i uninstall Logitech Mouseware, since that had been the last thing i installed. The uninstall for that failed. We rebooted to Safe Mode and tried again, but it locked up. After that we couldn't even log in anymore, it would get to the login screen, but hitting ctrl-alt-del or anything else did nothing.

We then tried doing a repair with the Windows 2000 install disk, but that kept failing, and then the setup program started crashing. We finally decided the hard drive might be the problem, so he got me a new hard drive and i did a new install of windows onto that and started reinstalling all the software i needed.

So today i continued the installation process, but then things started crashing again. Repeat of yesterday's performance with some minor variations. This time we decided that either something was overheating or the problem was with the memory. He gave me some new memory and we left the case off the computer and things seem to be going better, of course we'll have to see how it goes tomorrow.


I left Rahvina and Sarisa's friend's place about s or 6:15 and headed off to Knott's Scary Farm. I ran into a lot of traffic, but i still got to the area about 7:15 or so. However then i saw one of the electronic construction type signs on the side of the freeway that said "Knott's Event: Take Next Exit." Usually when they put up such signs, they know what they're talking about, so even though it seemed a little early to be getting off the freeway. However when i took the offramp there were no signs telling me where to go next, i made a quick guess and went right, however after going a few miles and not seeing anything i pulled over and checked my Thomas Guide and figured out i was going the wrong way.

I headed back in the other direction, and when passing the offramp i'd taken i _still_ didn't see any signs. A couple blocks later i saw a green paper sign on one of the poles at the side of the road, but i couldn't see what it said except i thought i made out the word parking on the bottom. However i saw several cars turning right at the next intersection, so i figured that was probably what it was telling people. I took the right at the next intersection after that, and traffic almost immediatly slowed to a crawl. After a long time working my way through that traffic i saw another sign, and this one said something about parking and left. I couldn't tell parking for _what_ but i figured given the traffic and the location that it must be for Knott's Scary Farm.

Here's a hint guys, black ink on green paper doesn't show up well. Especially not the cursive or whatever it was writing you were using for the top half of the sign. And add to that the fact that most of the signs weren't well lit at all, and they're almost bloody useless!!!

So i got back into the even slower moving left lane, and at the next intersection a _lot_ of people were turning left. and a lot of cars from the other direction were turning right, and a lot of cars from the right were going straight. So big mess. I managed to turn left, and then got stuck in more traffic. After awhile i noticed some cars way far ahead turning right into a entrance type thing, and saw another unreadable green sign, which made me guess parking was too the right. I managed to make it over into the right lane, and about three or four cars ahead of me a cop started putting cones across the entrance and waving people past =P

I got to the next major intersection, and we weren't allowed to turn right there either. However i noticed a lot of cars turning in a little bit past the intersection, so i followed them. Someone had decided to start apropriating the parking spots behind the strip mall, and others had followed suit. At this point it had been almost an _hour_ since i got off the freeway, so i wasn't going to buck the trend. I grabbed one of the spots, and followed the line of people who were walking in the car exit for the knott's berry farm parking lot, which was right next to the strip mall, just seperated from us by a chain link fence.

Some of the other people were grumbling about the parking situation two, so i spent most of the long walk to the gates talking with a couple who were also annoyed by the lack of signs and planning on the part of the management. When we got to the gates there was again a lack of signs, but i figured out which line to get in, and found that everyone was being patted down. I don't know if they've had problems before, or if this was just post 9-11 trauma, but in either case, they didn't like my pocket knife. Either i could walk back to my car and store it there (haha, how funny, ten minute round trip to dump a swiss army knife) or i could give it to them and get a claim ticket it and get it when i left. I went with option b.

So once inside the park i wandered around a little bit. They had nice maps of the park that had all the rides and haunted areas marked with flourescent ink, so the map would glow whenever you went near one of the many black lights in the park. There were a lot of for machines, mostly concentrated in the haunted areas. about 1/4th of the park was marked as haunted, which meant that along with the dim lighting and lots of fog machines, there were park atendents dressed up as monsters that would pop out at people.

There were also a _lot_ of people walking around with various glow things and light things of various formats attached to themselves. Before at least two of the stage shows they played a fair bit of techno music. And except for the beer garden back in a corner of the park i don't think any alcohol was being served. Knott's Berry Farm better watch out, they're getting really close to being illegal under the RAVE act :)

So along with the traffic getting into the parking spaces, the other scariest thing about the park was the lines for the attractions, most of them were at least two hours long. I was getting kind of hungry when i first got there, so i got in line for some BBQ ribs. While i was waiting in that line, the aforementioned techno music started up as a precursor to the show on the stage in that same clearing. I got the ribs, and then decided to stick around for the show, which was kind of hokey. It was called "An Old Fashioned Hanging" or something like that. Theoretically it started out as a witch trial, but quickly devolved into a morass of movie character and actor and pop star cameos, usually ending with the people getting killed, often by the Freddy character who showed up early on. The duel between Harry Potter and Gandalf was vaguely funny, except for all the really bad puns/inuendo.

After that show ended i decided to wander around for awhile until one of the other shows started. I was hoping that if i wated long enough the lines would go down a bit. I wandered over to the fair section of the park and got some dipping dots. Then i went to find a glowstick stand that carried the blinking light things i saw people wearing. All of these activities were greatly impeded of course by the thick crowds wandering about everywhere.

I finally found a stand that had the blinking lights in the blue and red variety, and i bought two of them. At $4 they were kind of expensive for little blinking lights, but given that they were bought at an amusement park _and_ they're reusable they're not that bad. They're basically your own little epileptic fit inducing kit. They're about a half inch long, with a plastic lens covering one of the ends which has two little lights in it, one red and one blue. When you screw that end in (it starts out mostly unscrewed with a plastic tab to keep the batteries from connecting) the lights start strobing back and forth.

At the other end is a two or so millimeter thick magnetic plate. You can pry that off and stick it under something and then put the light on the other side and have it stick. The interesting thing that i saw a lot of people doing was putting the plate inside their mouths and attaching the light to their lower lips. Some others had them attached to their ears. The _really+ distracting version was girls who stuck the light on their shirt right in the middle of their chest.

I tried out the lip thing, and it felt kind of weird. After a half hour or so it started to, well, not hurt, but something weird, so it took it off periodically to give my lip a break. I wandered around the various haunted sections of the park for awhile after that, and noticed some interesting properties about red and blue light. I could see the blue light reflecting off of the people in front of me, however i didn't see any red at all unless i was holding something close to my face (trying to read the map with that thing going was kind of difficult) However when i took the light off and put it behind my fingers, is could see the red light shining through, but almost none of the blue light.

I went to another stage show at about midnight, and it was kind of blah. The lines had gotten a bit shorter at that point, so i decided to go on one of the rides, the Mine Cart one, retitled to "Army of the Underworld." Ended up waiting in line about a half hour for it. I also got to witness a brand new marketing idea, putting concesion stands inside the line of the ride. I didn't get anything at the first two because the cash register was a little bit back, and i would have had to get out of line to get anything (groups with multiple people didn't have that problem of course) but the third one had a person standing in front selling the stuff, so i got two of the giant pixie stix :)

The ride itself was kind of cool. Not as good as the Nightmare Before Christmas Haunted House at Disneyland, but still okay. There was lots of fog and fake skeletons added into the ride. The interesting bit was that some of the monsters were actually more atendants in costumes, and they would jump out and scare people in the ride. I'd gotten good enough over the night at spotting the people ahead of time that i managed not to be suprised at all, but the other passengers screamed ocasionally. Some of the attendants were _really_ good at holding absolutely still so you coulden't tell if they were a model or real.

By the time i got out of the ride it was about 1 am. The park was open till 2, but i didn't feel like sticking around any longer. I was a little tired, and it's just not as fun when you're there by yourself. I went home and stayed up till about five or six in the morning playing Romance of the Three Kingdoms 7 and reading.

Overall Knott's Scary Farm was a kind of mediocre experience. Like i said, having company along would improve it a lot, and being able to avoid the parking problem at the begining would also help a lot. Oh, and not having your stuff confiscated when you go in =P