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Aug. 27th, 2012

A fair --- county or otherwise --- wouldn't be one without rides, of course. [ profile] bunny_hugger's parents sat out this part of the excursion, though, which I thought disappointing since even if they aren't up to the more intense rides there ought to be something. Besides, wandering around the midway is fun too. But they excused themselves to sit and perhaps look at cattle while we tried to figure out how many tickets to get.

[ profile] bunny_hugger's and my first ride was another of these things-rotating-horizontally, like a swing ride. The cars for these were valentine-heart shaped, and they pivoted fairly freely around a disc so that, if we grabbed onto them and tugged, we could change the orientation and even spin ourselves freely. Perhaps too freely: this is more nauseating than you might imagine, possibly because it's easy to end up spinning around the center of the ride at a weird angle relative to the direction of travel. Lesson learned. For the next ride we took a simpler Ferris wheel, which we had to ourselves and so had a nice, zippy time along a wheel that we estimated was maybe sixty feet tall (measuring afterwards suggests 45 feet more likely).

Then the power went out. We weren't caught on any rides --- I'm not sure anyone was, since attendance was still light and probably everything shuts down to an ``offload everybody'' condition, at least apart from the dual Ferris wheel which we didn't go on. The outage only lasted a couple minutes, long enough for them to start up a new generator in a cloud of black-blue smoke implying the new fair pope had not been elected, but the relative silence and lack of motion --- apart from the redemption games --- in the middle of the day was a strange one, like an eclipse of a park.

With the power back we found the carousel, a small and none too fast one, but since we were the first ones to arrive after power was restored it was also one we got to ourselves. And then we tried this captive-flight ride that was not taking passengers when we first went by it (before the blackout) but seemed to be going again. And going, a lot: it kept taking on passengers, another pair after another pair, to the point we wondered if it actually had a maximum capacity. We've done a lot of rides where we were just about alone, or were on around half-capacity or so. This time, we were nearly full.

The ride sounds simple enough: it spins around, and pneumatic arms raise and lower the cars. Well, it's quick, very fast, going around, and also going up and down. It's quite disorienting --- it helped that several swings would bring us right up to tree branches without actually threatening collision, and I imagine the ride is usually set where there are trees to go near --- and the ride kept going on, too. It stopped right at about the point where the ride would be too long, too, so we have to give credit to the ride operator for getting the balance of ride stuff just right. And to credit our luck for getting the best ride to finish up our tickets.

Trivia: In 1982 about five percent of grocery bags in United States supermarkets were plastic. By 1990 about 60 percent were. Source: Small Things Considered, Henry Petroski.

Currently Reading: The Artist And The Mathematician: The Story Of Nicolas Bourbaki, The Genius Mathematician Who Never Existed, Amir D Aczel.

PS: Reading the Comics, August 27, 2012, another roundup of humor with an equals sign.

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