Friday I got a phone call from my sister, who was nearly in hysterics because of a series of phone calls she'd just received from, respectively, my nephew's school, the school's psychologist, and Social Services. All 3 are of the opinion that my nephew--who just turned 12--is potentially another Columbine shooter, another Charles Whitman, and another Freeway Sniper.

(An aside: as you may know from the national news, for the last several weeks those of us who live in central Ohio--specifically the Columbus area--have been beset by a series of freeway shootings along 1-270; the sniper, thus far uncaught, has killed one person and wounded several others; all of this has led to a rabid concern which has, as of late, turned into a very unhealthy sort of paranoia, despite the valiant efforts on the part of the authorities to nab this asshole or assholes who evidently have watched Targets one time too many. But that's another rant.)

So how did my nephew--who is frightened of violence in any form--come to find himself labeled a "potential" violent offender?

Horror stories.

I love my nephew, and he loves and respects me. He thinks it's just the greatest thing in the world that his uncle has published ten books, the majority of them in the horror field. My sister has told me more than once that I am the father figure in my nephew's life, and I have no problems with that. (Eric's biological father has been pretty much out of the picture since Eric was 3, and his stepfather doesn't much like Eric and takes every opportunity to remind him of this fact; so the role of surrogate Daddy falls to me.)

Because he thinks I'm the coolest guy walking and breathing, Eric also wants to be a horror writer--a notion I do everything in my power to encourage. But at the same time, I make damn sure that he reads stuff other than horror. (Too much of anything stifles quickly.)

So ... Eric's class was recently assigned to write Christmas stories. Being my nephew, Eric naturally chose to write a Christmas horror story. It's actualy fairly clever--a variation on Poe's "The Cask of Amontilado". It's about a disgruntled elf who, because he refuses to be fat and jolly (he's skinny and grumpy) decides to wall-up Santa one Christmas Eve just so the jolly old fat man will get off his case.

Eric's teacher, while extremely complimentary of the story, was disturbed by its content (which is darkly humorous, in the style of Roald Dahl--Eric has a surprisingly black and sarcastic sense of humor in his stories); then said teacher, who evidently has nothing else in their life to hold their interest, decided to make Eric show her what books he was currently reading for his own pleasure.

So he did.

Eric is currently reading a novel by author Nancy Etchemendy (I may have misspelled her last name, apologies if that is the case) which Nancy signed and gave to him at the last Horrorfind convention in Baltimore. Eric also showed his teacher an autographed copy of Clive barker's The Thief of Always and a copy of Neil Gaiman's wonmderful Coraline, this last being a book he's reading at my urging.

Said teacher then took these books away from him and, along with his Christmas story, marched into the principal's office and threw them on the desk, stating that she thinks Eric has "potential" problems with violence, and that he is "disturbed." The elf in the story is one who's been picked on constantly and decides to strike back. The teacher, principal, and psychologist couldn't for the life of them figure out why Eric might feel this way.

Flash back to four days ago: Eric was being picked on outside the school by some bully who decided it would be funny to trip Eric, who at the time had a handful of evil, evil books he was using to fuel his psychopathology. Eric did not have time to drop said books and shove his arms out to break his fall.

As a result, Eric hit a large rock face-first, gashed his nose, and shattered his glasses; to make it a truly memorable experience, a few shards of glass lodged in his fucking eye and resulted in his having to wear a patch over that eye while the wound heals (the damage was not permanent, thank the Fates, and he'll be seeing fine again in a few weeks).

And yet this assembly of Mensa members at Eric's school couldn't figure out why he felt like he was being picked on.

Hands were wrung, worried glances exchanged, phone calls made.

Eric's "obssession" with horror is "unhealthy" and "might" lead to "potential" violent behavior; Eric Must Be Watched Closely, lest he do the Columbine Boogie between lunch and Arts & Crafts; my nephew is a "potential threat to the safety of the other students"; and Social Services--whom I do not blame, they're only acting on what information has been made available to them, which is their job--will be sending someone to my sister's house to "...observe the home environment."

What has been made crystal clear, though, is that Eric "must" undergo some form of psychological testing to ensure that he's not going to walk into Band class with a rocket launcher and go hunting humans.

All of this because he likes to read and write horror stories.

I am so fucking angry over this I can hardly see straight. Part of it is because this poor kid gets shit from all sides and has only me and my wonderful friends to turn to (his mother tries, she really does, but with another child, two jobs, and a husband who's turned drunken bitching into an art form, she only has so much time and energy).

So beware, all of you, one 12-year-old Eric Dickey, The Threat To Society; beware, all of you, his unbalanced and dangerous uncle who planted the seeds of psychosis in a young boy's brain; but most of all, most importantly of all, beware those who read and write horror stories; our secret cabal has been revealed, our true purpose thrown into the light, out dark hidden agenda exposed.

We're out to get each and every last one of you. The revolution is coming, and we'll kill you in your sleep with our well-read copies of Ghost Story, The Stand, Tales of Mystery and Imagination, The Vampire Lestat! Charlie Manson and his family got nothing on us, and we're coming to get you.

Beware. Beware.

The horror...the horror.

So here I am in the snowy wastelands of Omaha, Nebraska (well, the snow is melting now) on holiday vacation to spend some time with my parents. With my new full-time job starting in a little over two weeks, this may be the last time I see them until December 2004. I like visiting here; I get to spend time with family, recharge my batteries in front of the big screen TV, and drive around town where nobody knows me so it doesn't matter if I sing along to the radio. I've been here for one week now and have simultaneously accomplished both lots and nothing at all.

It seems that we've spent most of the time catching up on the movie blockbusters of 2003. The three of us love a good movie, but for some reason between the three of us we missed out on a number of the year's big movies. In the past forty-eight hours I have seen The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen (again), The Matrix Reloaded, The Matrix Revolutions, and Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl. Next week we plan to see the new Steve Martin comedy Cheaper by the Dozen and the sci-fi action thriller Paycheck. Add to these any of the DVDs I have reason to believe are waiting for me under the Christmas tree and, well, you can see we spend a lot of time in front of glowing screens.

Beyond that is some physical activity. My parents recently bought a treadmill and I've been using it during my visit. As I am still recovering from surgery I am under doctor's orders not to exercise in any manner that could upset my surgical site. Treadmill walking is allowed, and getting back in shape is a wonderous feeling. I plan to buy a treadmill of my own when I return home so I can continue getting into and then staying in shape.

We've also been out into town. On Saturday my father and I drove into Iowa to throw down some serious coin at one of the local casinos. Unfortunately our time there lasted less than twenty minutes and unlike the last time we went, nobody won any money. We've also been to local stores and malls for that last minute holiday shopping, plus just some general browsing. The shopping is amazing here; there's so much competition among the stores that everything is joyously cheap. I still have fond memories of the time I bought three CDs and a DVD for just $20. I make it a point to stock up on those things I've been wanting for a long time when I visit. I must also mention the local candy factory that makes and sells delicious sweets right on the premises (I recommend the root beer float taffy).

As I now bring this entry to a close let me wish each and every one of you out there in the nodegel a happy holiday. I encourage everyone to take some time out of your lives to spend time with loved ones and, if you can manage it, drive through town while singing along to the radio.

I'm drunk.

I don't drink alcohol, normally for religious and personal reasons, but here I am, drunk. Well, drunker than I've ever been. Y'see, I only drink whiskey when I've got a cold or the flu- medicinal purposes only, which is allowed by my faith. Late last week, two Thursdays ago, the alternator bracket on my dad's Chevy Blazer (which I've been driving since the lamented death of my own vehicle last year) snapped clean in two. Broken. Decimated. A casualty of age and cold weather, I suppose. Whatever the reason, it rendered the vehicle "dead in the water." As "luck" would have it, this occurred about a block away from Cafe Coco; I was able to drive it there and park it for a temporary time until I could fix the problem. At the time I figured it was just a broken Serpentine Belt- relatively easy to fix and fairly cheap- but I had to wait until sunlight before I could really look under the hood and find out.

So I waited there all night, tired and impatient for the sun to rise, until dawn finally graced us with its presence. And that was when I discovered just how dire the situation was. I didn't have a whole lot of money to my name (and still don't), and I was expecting this to be a costly "issue." I called Dad and told him what was going on, hoping he would be able to help out. Sadly, he was about to go on a road trip (he's a music entertainer), which would take him away from home all week, so he wouldn't be able to help. He suggested that I call the dealership where he bought it to find out how much a new part would cost and how much they'd charge to do the work. I did so- they said that the new part would cost $90 and installing it would cost somewhere between $175-$250... which I didn't have.

So I was relegated to fixing it myself. The first step, however, was to remove the broken part from my vehicle. I decided to do this on Friday afternoon. This was not an easy task, I quickly found. The vehicle was parked on the street, in front of another business, so I had to hire a tow-truck to move it- kiss $30 goodbye, just for moving a vehicle less than a block. Oh, well. Then I spent the better part of that day using my roommate's tools to take out the fragment which was still stuck to the vehicle's engine block. Again, not an easy task. I had to call in a mechanic to take off one of the pulleys blocking some bolts that I needed to remove (it required a special tool)- another $40 gone, but for a good cause, and the mechanic loaned me the tool necessary to affix the pulley once I got a replacement bracket. So, on Friday I had managed to blow $70. The broken alternator bracket was finally removed from the vehicle by 9 PM Friday night. I had to miss work because of this. Oh, well. Shit happens, right?

So I went home (Saturday morning, a week ago, exhausted from not having slept in almost 48 hours) on the city bus. As soon as I got home I called around to a few junk yards to see if I could get a used part of the same make/model. One place said that they had it in stock and that I could get it for $25. I told them that I would probably be able to retrieve it from them on Thursday at the latest.

I rode the city bus all this week in order to get around town- to work, to the cafe, to eat and that's just about it. Come Thursday I was able to get my paycheck, hop a ride on the bus to a distant part of town and made it to the junk yard about an hour before they were ready to close. They were now quoting me $45 for the part in question, bastards. I had thoughtfully brought the broken bracket with me in a bag and asked to see the part first, to make sure it was the right one. Alas, it wasn't. A full day wasted. I was pissed. And, what's more, is that it was the end of the business day, which meant that the buses were about to stop running. So I gathered up my resolve and began to trudge through harsh, cold winds and a mixture of sleet and winter rain to the closest available bus stop. Three miles and thirty minutes later (I was at a full march, but not quite a run because I was also laden with two sets of my roommate's tools in my bag) I reached a bus stop and then stood there for another forty-five minutes in the freezing rain until an off-duty bus rolled by, whose driver was kind enough to take pity on me and give me a lift to the closest active bus stop.

I made it back to the cafe, cold and exhausted. Upon my arrival I found a free pass (for two) to a screening of the movie "The House of Sand and Fog." I called a friend of mine up (who is a fan of Jennifer Connelly, who stars in said movie along with Ben Kingsley) and bribed him into taking me home- admission to the movie as my bargaining price. He accepted the deal, we saw the movie, he took me home. The movie was good, by the way, but there was nothing good about the story (except that it was well-written, if a little on the slow side)- an honest-to-god tragedy of Shakespearean proportions. I got home exhausted and found that my computer's mouse was now broken. Great.

I woke up Friday and called Dad, who was back in town. He agreed to take me to another junk yard which said it might have the replacement alternator bracket I was in search of. He picked me up, we went out there and... it was a wild goose chase.

"Son, we're going to the dealership and we're going to get that part," Dad told me in no uncertain terms. I also dubiously noted the use of the word "we" rather than "you". "Maybe we can dicker with them. Maybe the part isn't $90 after all." I could see no other alternative- and had long-since learned to acquiesce to my dad's better judgement- and so we went.

The dealership did indeed have the part. It was not $90, but $20. Dad bought me my own set of tools (which saved me the trouble of having to call my roommate and ask to use his after he got off work). Then we went to a delicatessen, had some Matzoh Ball soup and sojourned to Cafe Coco, where the truck had been resting all week.

As we got there it began to snow, but this would not deter us (well, it certainly wouldn't deter me, but Dad was under no obligation to stay... even though he did, bless him- have I ever mentioned how lucky I am to have him as a dad?). We toiled over the dead behemoth for a few hours in the freezing cold and snow until the new alternator bracket was finally in place. Getting the Serpentine Belt on, however, was a far more difficult propsect than any other portion of the "operation." But we finally did it- at the cost of some bruised and scraped knuckles. It was dark, we were frozen to the core, but the truck- glory be!- revved to life, like Frankenstien's monster animated from the dead of forgotten corpses. I actually felt like shouting out, "HE'S ALIVE! ALIIIIIVE! BWAAAAHAHAHAH! ALIVE!" I didn't do that, however, because I value my dad's opinion of me as being one of the more mentally fit people in his life. But I most certainly was overjoyed to be mobile once again.

When I got home (having driven myself there- one never truly appreciates the freedom of being able to drive hither and thither until one is deprived of this luxury against their will), I was flat-out beaten. I called out of work and went to sleep.

Today, Saturday, I woke up with a sore throat, aching bones and sore muscles. Not only had my body been put through the paces with the hard labor I did on the truck yesterday, but it had finally succumbed to the age-old and all-too-common Cold. I was sick. I needed to work, so I decided to do the only thing I knew to do: buy some liquor. There is an old saying, "If you can't wait it out, burn it out." Liquid fire, whiskey to the laymen, is an exemplary remedy for laying waste to the common cold and the flu.

I got into the Blazer and headed to the closest liquor store I knew of. Bought some Black Velvet whiskey for $3 (200 milliliters) and took a swig of it in the parking lot- it burned like hell, but felt good on the throat once the burning sensation was gone. Knowing that a single swig wouldn't be enough to make me drunk, I immediately set out for the same place that Dad and I had gone yesterday to get some Matzoh Ball and Chicken Soup. I got there quickly and downed the meal just as fast. The alcohol hadn't made a dent in my sobriety yet, so I decided to get good and drunk at the cafe, amongst my friends and in a place where I could make free use of the Internet.

And, so, here I am. I am definitely drunk and I most certainly am in no condition to drive. I barely have the motor skills to type, but I have managed to write this so that I may come back to it and see just what it's like for me to write while enibriated.

I have never been drunk before in my life (I do not classify having taken two hits of LSD as "drunk", but it certainly qualifies as intoxicated). I have determined that, for me, being drunk is much like being sober except that my brain feels like it has been stuffed between two soft pillows, it is difficult to concentrate, motor skills drop to "negligible", writing on the laptop isn't a problem (except for that pesky typing thing, but I'll get over that eventually, I think) and conversation is best kept to a minimum. It's a generally pleasant experience, but not one that I would like to indulge in over-much.

So that, my friends, is my week.

And I'm still drunk, with about two sips left in the bottle and a hot toddy sitting next to me.


In these December days of Hannukah and Christmas we should be particularly pedantic
about differences and distinctions. This is why it's important to appreciate the following

difference between a Christian atheist and a Jewish atheist:

  • A Christian atheist doesn't believe that God exists.
  • A Jewish atheist believes that God doesn't exist.

Professor Georg Klein attributes these lucid definitions to professor Shmuel Eisenstadt. Sadly, neither of these learned professors have illuminated us about the beliefs of Moslem atheists. This will be left as a Yuletime exercise to the reader.

Shmuel Eisenstadt is Professor Emeritus of Sociology at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and an influential researcher of Jewish, Japanese and European cultures and of the dynamics of democratic society.

Georg Klein, in turn, is Professor Emeritus in Medicine and a researcher of Tumor Biology at the Karolinska Institutet in Stockholm, Sweden. Klein classifies himself as a Jewish atheist, according to Eisenstadt's distinction.

Submitted to The Ninjagirls Christmas Special.

Today my parents arrived from Colorado to visit us here in Las Vegas, Nevada. "And there was much rejoicing ... 'yay!'".

We did a lot today -- given my mother's handicaps (for assorted reasons, walking extended distances is difficult) we covered a lot of ground.

We started at a local cheap restaurant, hit Star Trek: The Experience (went through it twice), checked them into their hotel, rode the Race for Atlantis at Caesar's Palace, and finally toured through the classic auto show at Imperial Palace.

After that my folks got tired, so we took them back to their room, said "g'night", and then headed back to Star Trek: The Experience (you can ride it as many times as you can stand on the day you buy your ticket(s)).

It's a weird crowd later at night -- for one thing the crew is tired and it's more "relaxed", and the people riding the thing are goofy and younger.

...and apparently, the assholes come out to play. The second time through tonight (a total of four runs today through the ride; this was our last), the "experience" seemingly malfunctioned near the beginning.

Oh yeah -- spoiler alert -- don't read any further if you haven't been to Star Trek: The Experience and want to be surprised (pleasantly) when you visit.

Last chance -- quit reading if you don't want any spoilers.

Near the beginning of the experience, you're "beamed" onto the Enterprise-D's transporter pad. The effect is spiffy and neat, and really surprises you the first time you witness it. It's pretty impressive.

Only problem is -- this time through (it was a full crowd of people, 27), all the scripted events happened (the lights went out, the displays "screwed up", the staff acted "surprised"), except when the lights came back on, we were still in the "staging" room and not on the Enterprise-D's transporter pad. Heh. Whoops.

So everybody gets a good chuckle out of it, and we wait for them to restart it. A guy (presumably a shift manager or a mechanic/repairman) stepped into the room (already cramped and full of people). We all figured he was going to apologize for the goof, and either kick us all out because it was completely broken, or reassure us that it'd be back up and running in a minute.


Imagine all of this with a rather sarcastic, nasty tone. "Alright, show of hands, who here has been through the ride before?" (Everyone raises hands) "Who here wants to know how we do this special effect?" (Everyone's hands stay up) "Well stop it. If you're trying to figure out how we do it, stop. The man behind the mask is asking you nicely to quit trying to figure it out. I will take you off the ride if you keep it up. You know who you are. For the rest of you, we'll ready again in just a minute."

Apparently three of the goofier guys behind us had "leaned" against the back wall to try to glean how the effect actually works. This, in turn, apparently either tripped an automatic detection system (maybe picking up weight or pressure on the false wall so nothing will move, either for safety or for "guarding the secret"), or an infrared camera picked it up and the guy watching got pissy. Either way, a switch was thrown and we didn't get our cheap transporter effect.

Fine -- I can understand keeping people out of harm's way, and I can also understand wanting to stop a pair of jokers from ruining everyone's good time.

But this prick's attitude has just got to go. Something I've noticed about Star Trek: The Experience is Paramount's filthy stinking hands all over it. I know, I know -- "duh -- Star Trek's owned by Paramount, you dope" ... but that's not what I mean.

The scripted crud spewed at visitors before the ride, repeatedly admonishing them to turn of pagers, cell phones, and two-way radios (because of how they "interfere with the equipment inside the Experience" -- I call bullshit) and repeatedly warning that videography, photography, and audio recording are prohibited "due to Federal copyright law", and now just how fiercely the "secrets" of the show are guarded. They seem like incredibly uptight magicians miffed at anyone who even tries to discover their secrets.

We've seen lots of irritating things happen, and heard many clueless explanations of assorted things -- a guy once "dared" to sneak over and sit in the captain's chair as everyone filed onto the Enterprise bridge. They removed him from the ride entirely. When I asked "why?" they just said "oh yeah he violated copyright law -- you have to buy a license to sit in that chair." My brain explodeth. During the "ride", you're not allowed to touch anything or wander at all, but if you pay $14.95 extra to have your photo taken in the captain's chair, they let you wander around on the bridge set all you want while they transfer the picture from their digital camera to their file server. That's one hell of a "license" -- it lasts just five minutes or so, includes a picture and a color laser print of it, and a swift "get the fuck outta here" afterwards. Chalk this one up to a victory for the movie cartel, I guess.

Grrr. Time to lift the veil, then, dammit.

So, even more spoilers coming. We've been on the ride enough times to make a very good educated guess about how the damned effect works, so I'm going to spill the beans. If you've ever wondered how the transporter effect works, you're about to find out.

I'm serious -- I'm about to totally ruin the magic for you. Quit reading now if you're the kind who likes watching a magic show and hates learning how the tricks are done.

I'd like to point out that anybody with half a brain and enough free time to take a few runs through the ride can witness all this themselves.

First, I'll describe the effect.

You're ushered into a small room with a plastic floor, four doors (numbered one through four), and two screens above the numbered doors. The room is dimly lit, with just a few dim amber lights to provide most of the lighting, and some very soft blue lights mounted in the ceiling to add a bit more illumination.

The ushers make it a point to squeeze everyone together into four uniform lines, each line's members squeezed together as closely as reasonably possible. Like any good magic trick, this is the beginning of the illusion -- low light levels make it difficult to closely examine any part of the room, and with the ushers bantering constantly (either making intentionally corny jokes or rattling about safety) and establishing a clear aisle on all sides surrounding the participants, everybody is "nudged" towards thinking something special is about to happen.

It's a classic distraction and confusion tactic -- first timers don't know what's coming, and given the previous "strict" instructions doled out by the crusty staff, it can be accepted at face value that the crew really do want to avoid a lawsuit with excessive safety crap. Curiosity is high and everybody's eager to see what's coming next.

What comes next is a quip about how "thrilled" the participants appear to be, spoken into the headset worn by the front usher, followed by the start of the introductory safety video. The lighting in the room slowly fades as the video progresses. It shows the same room the participants are standing in, and warns that pregnant women shouldn't ride (a pregnant woman turns around, hugs her husband, and leaves; the husband stays behind to ride, and the ushers make a joke about what a nice guy he is). Shortly after that, the four doors are shown opening, and the people slowly start to file through.

Just when everyone is settling in to view a boring safety video, the feed suddenly scrambles, with weird video and audio distortions. The ushers act surprised, calling in to "operations" to report the malfunction. By this time, all the lights in the room have faded out completely.

A very bright flash occurs next from a set of strobe lights (a single pulse is fired from each, all at once) and then just in case those didn't hit your eyes the walls follow up with their own quick flash (not as bright). As soon as the two light pulses have stopped, lots of cold air blows down from above (very loudly) and the classic Next Generation era transporter sound is heard. A few seconds later, the wind stops, the sounds fade, and the lights come back up. Suddenly, everyone is standing on the transporter pad of the Enterprise-D. The transporter pad everyone is standing on is significantly larger than the room they'd initially stepped into (pay attention to this detail -- it's important).

From this point, the "in the future" act begins and the rest of the "experience" has no real trickery left up its sleeve.

How the trick actually works should be obvious by now, but I'll explain it anyway.

  1. Everybody's crammed into a small space, and encouraged to squeeze together to assure everyone's "safety". The small space is poorly lit (to prevent a good, detailed visual examination of the room), and the ushers' actions make it clear they don't want anyone within arm's reach of the room's walls.
  2. The displays showing the "safety video" are intentionally brighter than the rest of the lighting -- everyone is instructed to watch, so of course everyone's eyes adjust to the higher light levels of the display (starting the process of blinding everyone to the behind-the-scenes workings of the trick).
  3. The bright strobe flash finishes the job of temporarily blinding the participants; the secondary flash of light from the walls serves two purposes -- first because it's yet another light source, the eyes start closing up to adjust to the bright light, and second, because they're pinpoints and evenly spaced, the eyes focus on them (so the outer set that is soon to be revealed is out of focus just in case you actually do happen to catch a glimpse of something in the background).
  4. While everybody's being blinded, the noise in the room picks up significantly. You can just barely hear the surprised gasps of the people who haven't been on the experience before (and it's still a fun thing to hear). The transporter noise is loud, the wind being blown in is very loud, and it all serves to increase the dramatic tension and to disguise the sound of what's actually happening around the participants. The wind also serves to dry out the eyes and force people to blink. When you blink, you sometimes lose focus of what you were looking at.
  5. With everyone blinded and effectively deafened to outside sounds, and with the environment physically uncomfortable for sneaky eyeballs clever enough to be closed until after the flashes finish, the stage is set to undergo a quick transformation (Note: here comes the theory -- we cannot confirm with 100% certainty that this is exactly what happens, but our examination of what we've seen and heard does support it). The entire structure, including the surrounding walls, the displays, and the ceiling blowers and lights, are swiftly lifted up (about eight feet up) and a false ceiling (painted up to resemble the Enterprise-D's transporter room set) is quickly slid into place to hide this. This portion of the trick can be seen without any special effort -- look up as the lights come on and you'll clearly see the ceiling moving. Remember I mentioned you should remember that the transporter room is bigger than the room you start out in -- that's simply because the room you start in sits down inside the bigger room that is revealed during the transformation.

If you want to confirm this yourself, it's fairly straightforward to do so (and you don't get yelled at -- the idiots tonight who got scolded were scolded because they leaned against the wall to figure out where it goes):

  • Stand on an edge -- either the front of a line, the back of a line, or anywhere on line #1 or line #4.
  • Don't look at the screens or the lights. Try to look at the floor or a wall -- anything that's not reflecting any light. As soon as possible, close your eyes. Don't squint, just shut your eyelids. If you squint, one of the ushers will probably notice.
  • Once you hear the audio of the safety video start to go wonky, you'll soon hear the ushers acting confused. This is the time to start squeezing your lids shut tightly. Cover your eyes with a hand if you'd like -- at this point nobody will notice or care. You'll hear the "zappy" lightning sound -- once you've heard this, wait another couple of seconds (the second flash hasn't happened yet). When the wind kicks up, open your eyes. Look very closely -- you don't have much time to catch the movement, but if you get moderately lucky you'll spot the walls moving upward. Keep watching up, and you'll see the ceiling start to slide into place.

In case you're wondering why I spent the time to write this up, by the way, it's because that annoying manager guy just rubbed me the wrong way. The "secret" of how Star Trek: The Experience does its transporter effect doesn't really seem like it should be a secret. At least, not with jerks like that "guarding" it.

Uptight bungwad. Heh. Can you tell he got on my nerves? :)

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