Speed dating em Tulsa

The Takers

2019.10.27 02:50 Dracola112 The Takers

“I know it’s probably, uh, unhealthy. To dwell, I guess. But I can’t stop thinking about Millie’s final day, before...”
The man sitting across from me cleared his throat, loud and pointed, struggling to hide the emotion creeping into his voice. I smiled and nodded in that way that therapists are supposed to: supportive and non-threatening but also gently prodding.
“It’s not unhealthy at all, Rick,” chirped the woman sitting adjacent to him. She rested a bony hand on his knee. Rick stiffened at that. “It’s good to process. It’s why we’re here.”
“Tana’s right,” I said. “I’d encourage you to tell us more about that day. Some people like to keep these experiences to themselves, but most of the people I’ve listened to, people who’ve shared their stories with their group, would later say that they’re glad they did.”
“What do you mean, ‘final day?’” Tana piped back in. “The last day before you knew your wife was chosen, or the last day before she was-”
“Tana. Not appropriate,” I chided. Tana was a regular, she’d attended at least two meetings a month for the last half-decade. It was nice to have a fixture, here, a familiar face to anchor me in the revolving cast of the traumatised and mourning, but she could be tactless, nosey. “You know how I feel about the word ‘chosen.’”
“Her last day before we knew. For sure that is. That she was going to get...” Rick seemed to grapple with himself for a moment. His tired, deep-set eyes fixed on his fidgeting hands for a few moments before he steeled himself. “I, uh- Are you sure I should? It’s a lot.”
“Everyone here’s been through it, Rick. You’re not alone.”
“Guess you’re right.” Rick took a steadying breath, his eyes still downcast. “Yeah, I remember that day so well, mostly because it was the first really good one we’d had in a while. Millie and me, we’d been fighting a lot. And always about the stupidest things, never anything big. Like, I think this last fight, it was all about whether our goddamn car needed new windshield wipers. We hadn’t talked in something like three days over that one. God, I wasted so much time being mad at her. For no reason.”
The man sitting next to me, a newer member who’d lost his husband a little over a year ago, made a sympathetic noise. “Isn’t that just the worst? Like, so often I want to go back and slap some sense into myself, tell past Greg to just drop it, you know?”
Rick nodded. “Exactly. It wasn’t worth it.”
“But you and your wife, you were having a good day?” I said, gently nudging the conversation back on track.
“Mm-hmm. Real good. It was the Fourth, we went to a barbecue. She was in a good mood, and I got just drunk enough to join her in it. We watched fireworks, which, you know, always reminded her of when we just got married, when we went to Disney. We parked our car in the driveway and talked for an hour that night. First time we’d done that in, I don’t know, a decade.”
“But then you walk into the house,” Tana says, with the tone of someone who’d heard a variation of this story nearly as many times as I had.
Rick smiled sardonically, nodded. “Yep.”
“Door was unlocked,” Tana continued.
“Hinge was broken. Forced open. At first, I thought, you know, robbers. I’d heard stories, like everyone, about Takers, how they usually like to, I guess, make themselves known, so I knew about that. Hell, one of my old high school buddies had lost a sister in law to one three years before this. But it wasn’t… They weren’t the first thing on my mind.”
Greg sniffed. “I remember thinking that, when it happened to me- to Geoff. And then, you know, you inevitably find out you were wrong, and you get put in that ridiculous-ass position of wishing it had been robbers.”
“Millie wanted to drive somewhere safe and call the cops, let them sweep the house first. Robbers could still be inside, you know. But I… I dunno, I had this gut feeling. So I went in myself, and, you know, living room looks fine. Hallway’s fine. Big TV, computer, they’re untouched.”
“And then you get to the bedroom,” Tana says. “What’d they leave you?”
Rick’s face went a fraction of a shade greener. “Ripped-off bird’s wing. Put right on my wife’s pillow, like one of those, those mints at a hotel.”
Tana nodded sagely. “They like the dead animal routine. They left my brother six squirrels, in a ring around his dresser. All of them headless, but there was no blood, weirdly enough. Was there blood with yours?”
“I, uh. I don’t really-”
“I’m glad I didn’t get that,” Greg said. “With Geoff, they’d just smeared all the photos we had of him with that, you know, that chalky substance they make.”
“White footsteps, all over the carpet,” the man sitting nearest me muttered. He was brand new, had shown up to the meeting ten minutes late and wordlessly taken a seat. He was the only attendee that hadn’t spoken yet today, and I made a mental note to come back to him later, see if I might get him to introduce himself.
“That’s the most common one they do,” Tana began. “There’s this Taker analysis project they’re working on at Yale, and they’ve found a correlation between the dead animal ‘omen’ and cases in which the victim would go on to be attacked two to three days aferward, whereas the chalk-”
“Tana,” I warned, my voice taking on a hint of an edge. Mercifully, she swallowed her lecture, one I’d heard her give variations of maybe a half-dozen times this year alone. “Now’s not the time. Rick, if you want to keep sharing-”
“Sure thing, I do. I just… Give me a second.”
“Take all the time you need.”
Rick took a steadying breath. A flicker of some harder emotion--frustration, maybe, or regret--played at his face before it settled back into queasy discomfort. “Everyone says that there’s nothing you can do at that point. It’s the first thing everyone knows about Takers, that once they’ve got their sights on you, it’s over, there’s no point in even… But I couldn’t just sit there. It’s stupid, I know-”
“It’s not,” I said. “Nearly everyone responds the same way you did. It’s human nature to want to fight back, even if there’s no hope. It’s admirable, in my opinion.”
“Well, maybe. I wanna make something clear, here, though. I wasn’t being brave.” Rick spat that last word out like it was an insult. His gaze finally left the floor, and he scanned the room, flitting from face to face, his jaw set. “I do n’t wanna hear about how brave I am, or was, because from the moment I saw that, what’d you call it, that omen? From that point on it was me, and my wife, and our friends feeling nothing but shit scared.”
Greg and the nameless new member nodded knowingly at this. Tana wrung her hands, wide eyes fixed intently on Rick, engrossed.
“Again, completely natural,” I said.
“I sent word out. We’re up in Ashville, don’t know if you’ve been, but it’s a small town, people know each other. A Taker, that’s huge news, that’d never happened before up there, so word spread fast. Millie, she was too distraught to make much of a decision about anything, and I wasn’t in great shape either. The stakeout, that was Hugh Lambert’s idea. He’s a neighbor of ours, bit of a gun nut.”
Tana leaned further in her seat, rapt. “You thought shooting it would work?”
“The hell’s that mean?” Rick growled, suddenly defensive. “What, were we supposed to put her out for the things on a platter? Leave her out at the curb for ‘em like Monday trash?”
“Tana,” I warned again. I briefly considered asking her to leave; she was being even sloppier than usual with the social cues. “If you could let Rick-”
“No, I get it, you’d feel impotent if you didn’t try something,” Tana said. “My brother, our dad’s a cop, so he locked himself in a maximum security jail, hoped that maybe the walls and locks would keep them out. It’s just, even the idea of trying to shoot one of them…” Tana shook her head, almost incredulous. When she spoke again her voice was soft, like she was speaking more to herself than anyone else. “How would you even hit one?”
“I had to do something,” Rick said. “So, you know, usually takes two to four days from getting that first sign for the thing to show up, that’s what most of the people on the internet said. We spent that first day driving down to her old house. Had a picnic. Saw a movie. Would’ve been a nice day if it weren’t for…”
“That was a great idea,” I said. “Many of the people who come in here say that their biggest regret was letting their panic keep them from savoring their last moments with a loved one.”
“Yeah. It was nice.” Rick’s face brightened as he said this, turned slightly nostalgic before souring again. “That night was horrible, though. Even though most of the sources we’d looked at said that nobody’d ever had a Taker come one night after the first sign, Millie was still scared out of her wits all night. It took me locking myself in the basement bathroom with her to get her to even try to get some sleep. Neither of us did, though. Then that second day rolled around and Hugh plus some of the neighbors started setting things up. Some of them thought it’d be better to take Millie somewhere more, I don’t know, secure, but she was set on staying at the house. So me and Hugh and some of the other guys started getting to barricading, and then that night we sat up in shifts with Millie, five of us at a time, me with my Magnum and the rest with these ten-gauges that Hugh lent us. I know that Takers aren’t supposed to make any noise, but I was jumping at everything that night, we all were. Neighbor’s dog barked once and I nearly shot my own foot.”
Greg chuckled politely, then turned sheepish when he realized that Rick hadn’t been trying to joke. Rick ignored him, set to chewing the inside of his cheek for nearly a full minute. It was silent for a while, other than the gentle gurgling of a nearby water cooler and the whine of the wind outside.
“Third night’s when it happened,” Rick finally said, his voice thin, strained. “Two twenty AM. I hadn’t slept a wink in days, and I was sort of in and out, you know. Head all heavy, eyes closing on their own. Millie, she was asleep. Maybe that was for the best.
“First sign that it was coming was Sasha, she’s another neighbor of ours, she was posted up outside the house. She started screaming at about two eighteen, yelling that she sees something in the trees, and all of a sudden everyone in the house is up but Millie. Never heard so many guns cock at once.”
The new guy scratched at his neck, hard and insistently enough to be faintly audible. I glanced over to see him peering out the conference room’s window, his eyes fixed on the thatch of trees that marked the edge of the building’s property outside. He’d gone pale, even moreso than he had been when he’d arrived. I considered asking Rick to pause, nearly put the session on hold to acknowledge the new face and ask him if he was comfortable hearing the rest of the story. But Rick was on a roll, and I didn’t know if I’d be able to get him talking again if I halted his momentum here.
“Sasha comes running in, shaking. I think she’d dropped her gun outside because she was empty handed. Kept saying the same thing over and over to herself, something about eyes, big eyes. That’s how I knew she’d seen it, that it wasn’t a false alarm or anything. “We waited another two or so minutes, and Millie, thank God, she stayed asleep. Those two minutes were,” Rick trailed off. Tears were welling in his red-rimmed eyes. “Those were the worst part. Have you ever listened so hard that it hurt?”
Rick looked around for validation. Greg nodded, also a good shade paler, grimacing sympathetically. Tana remained motionless, eyes glinting with unabashed interest. She was digging one hand into her forearm, though, hard enough to dye her knuckles white. The new guy was still scratching, still staring out the window.
“It was so quiet. Even when it broke the door down, even when Sasha started screaming and Hugh’s boys started shooting, it was like everything was...” Rick waved a limp hand by his ear, struggling with his wording. “Muffled, maybe. Too soft.”
“Could you hear footsteps?” Tana asked. “Some people report that, when it gets really close, they can hear its footsteps.”
“All I heard was shots through the door, and people yelling. I was in the room with Millie, so I couldn’t see what happened, but I heard later that nobody could tell if they were hitting it or not. My brother-in-law, Ray, I heard he even put... Ray’s a brave guy,” Rick chuckled wetly, tears already spilling out onto his pocked face. “Stupid, but brave. I heard he put himself between the thing and our door, and it just sort of... climbed over him.”
Greg shuddered. Someone in an adjoining room slammed a door, and the new guy jumped in his seat.
“Then before I knew what was happening our bedroom door was off its hinges and the thing was inside and I was yelling too, and my six shots were gone in a second, and the thing didn’t even flinch, didn’t even take its fucking horrible baby eyes off my wife, and it just tiptoed forward and scooped her up, picked her up by the back of her neck like, like cats do with their kids, and Millie woke up just in time to, to look at me and scream, but, but maybe because it was biting her neck, or maybe because it was because of that muffling thing it was doing, no noise came out when she screamed, just her mouth opening, and I screamed too, loud, and then it was out the window with her and Millie was gone forever.”
Rick gulped in a breath, his face red with exertion, and, after a shuddering sigh, broke into sobs. Greg leaned over and started to rub Rick’s shoulder, and Tana settled back in her chair.
“Rick,” I said, trying to exude gentle support. “Thank you so much for sharing.”
Rick’s sobbing hitched, and I gave him some time to collect himself before continuing.
“I know you don’t like to be called brave, but what you just did takes real courage. You’ve been through something intensely traumatic, and externalizing trauma is a famously tall order for anyone. Now that you’ve made this first step toward healing, or at least something resembling healing, I think you’ll find that-”
“Did it hurt her?”
All heads but Rick’s turned toward the new member. His voice was higher than I’d expected it to be, more strained. There was a manic look to him, one that I was surprised I hadn’t picked up on before.
“What?” Greg asked.
“When that Taker killed your wife,” the new guy continued, his words carefully enunciated. “Did it seem like she was in pain?”
Rick unburied his head from his hands and stared, incredulous. I turned, already preparing the kind of stern reprimand I usually reserved for Tana.
“Also,” the new member continued. “Did you see where it took her? Did you look out the window after? Were there footprints? Was there blood?”
“Sir,” I intoned. “These questions are not productive. I understand the need for context, after losing a loved one many of us find ourselves desperate for answers, but to ask a recent victim such questions is-”
“Who did you lose?” The man’s gaze turned to me, and suddenly there was something accusatory in his tone.
A dozen responses cycled through my head before I settled on a broad approach. “I’m sorry, I never got your name.”
“I’m Mitch,” he said. “Answer my question. Who’d you lose? What makes you qualified?”
“I’d say my Master’s in Counseling Psychology does. And, no, for the record, I’ve never personally lost a loved one. Not to a Taker.”
Mitch scoffed. “Have you ever even seen one? Lady, do you have the slightest, the tiniest clue about how terrifying they are? Or are you just pretending, just playing like you know what you’re talking about so you can bring home your counseling fees or whatever?”
“I’ve seen one,” I said, trying to keep my tone matter-of-fact.
“Yeah? When?”
“I was eight, so it was probably about a decade after they’d first started to show up.” I shrugged at the looks I got from Tana and Greg. “Yeah, I’m that old. My dad had taken me and my brother to a baseball game one night, and we were driving back on this old, dark road, and we nearly hit one.”
I’d told this story dozens of times before, but even now I could feel my blood chilling a bit at the recollection, even if I almost definitely managed to hide it. “It was crossing the street in front of our car, heading in the direction of town.”
“Yeah?” Mitch shot a fresh glance at the window before swiveling back to me. “What’d it look like?”
“I couldn’t see much. It was dark.” Mitch snorted at this, and despite my best efforts at professionalism that nettled me, so I continued. “It had long hair. Down to its waist, but only on its head, which was big and lumpy. It was short, maybe a little taller than I was at the time. It walked on its tiptoes, with big, careful steps, like how a cartoon character walks when it’s being sneaky.”
“What were its eyes like?”
“It never looked at us. Walked past us like we weren’t there. It ruined what was supposed to be a happy day with my dad and gave me nightmares for years.” I stared back into Mitch’s eyes, trying to project as much cool authority as I could. “Why are you so concerned with my experience? Why don’t you tell us about yours?”
Mitch cracked a fragile smile. “Oh, I haven’t had mine yet.”
Even out of the corner of my eye, I could see Greg stiffen. Tana leaned back in her seat, hands clasped even tighter than they had been before. Mitch glanced back at the window and my heart quickened as I started to put two and two together.
“Yet?” Greg asked, confrontational. “‘Yet?’ The hell does- What do you mean, ‘yet?’”
“All of you, or, I guess, all the people you’ve lost, had at least someone to go through it all with,” Mitch said. “Family or friends. Sisters and neighbors and husbands. Well, I don’t.”
Rick glanced around the room, his red-rimmed eyes finding mine, looking to me for authority. “You don’t, you can’t mean-”
Mitch gestured widely. “All my people left. Parents are gone, friends forgot me years ago. I’m nobody. So I when I came home yesterday, when I saw the steps on my carpet and the giant-ass handprints on my bedroom window, I decided I couldn’t do the rest alone. So I Googled for support groups, found this one kind of at the last second, drove forty miles over, and now I’m here.”
Greg stood from his chair, face growing paler by the minute. “Psycho. You’re a psycho.”
Tana’s voice was paper-thin. “When?”
Her eyes snapped up to meet Mitch’s. “When did your omens show up?”
Mitch returned her gaze, his smile growing wider, more sardonic. “Four days ago. Almost to the hour. You seem well-read, you know that nobody ever lasts longer than four days.”
This was enough to jostle me out of the shock that I’d settled into, and I rose from my seat, trying to summon as much authority as I could muster. “If you’re telling the truth, then you’ve endangered everyone in this room-”
“Oh, bullshit, you know as well as anyone that the things ignore everyone who isn’t their target of the day or whatever. Right?” Mitch jabbed a finger at Rick, who seemed locked in his seat, eyes fixed on the middle distance. “If Takers liked collateral damage, Larry the Cable Guy here wouldn’t be breathing. Right? His neighbors-”
“It’s not a hard and fast rule,” Tana said. “There have been cases where-”
“No, no!” Mitch’s voice was suddenly loud, ragged. “No, those were unsubstantiated, I checked.”
“You never read about the Tulsa Air Force Base stakeout? Four people died-”
“No proof of that-”
“Incidents like that in Bern, in Islamabad. Fourteen people were killed in Laos, when-”
“Tana,” I said, still too startled to sound very stern. I found myself glancing out Mitch’s window, toward the treeline, looking for movement. “Mitch, based on all officially recognized evidence, you’d be right, but I’m not talking about physical danger, okay? These people are not mentally fit to be confronted with a Taker, not after what they’ve been through.”
“You’re goddamn right,” Greg growled, slipping his coat on. The sound of genuine fury in the man’s voice managed to trouble me more; Greg had never been the confrontational type. “Go to hell.”
Greg turned and stormed out. Rick watched him leave, then stiffly, robotically, came to his feet to follow him out. Mitch reached forward for him, his cracked grin softening into a look of desperation, and Rick recoiled.
“Come on,” Mitch said. “I get- I get that it’s hard, but I can’t be alone right now, you get that-”
“These might be the single least qualified people in the world to help you right now, Mitch,” I said. “You wouldn’t bring alcohol into an AA meeting, you wouldn’t crack rape jokes at a woman’s shelter, and I would’ve assumed that anyone, any person with a shred of self-consciousness, would know not to lead a Taker to the families of Taker victims.”
“I didn’t have any other choice!” Mitch screeched. Red was creeping into his face now, coloring the bags under his eyes a bruised, gangrenous purple. “Where else was I supposed to go?! I thought, I figured, you know, you all’d know how to help-”
Rick shuffled wordlessly out the door, and Tana finally stood from her own seat. She seemed torn, her torso was angled toward the exit, but her eyes were locked on Mitch’s feet. Her mouth twitched, like she was trying to formulate a sentence. Mitch stepped toward her, beseeching.
“Come on, you’ve gotta- Right, you’re fascinated with the things, I can tell. What better research than to see one again? To watch what it does close up? Please?”
Tana’s mouth stopped moving and she blinked, hard, before turning away. Mitch stumbled toward her, one hand clapping onto her shoulder.
“Mitch, if you don’t let her-” I began.
“Come on, please, I can’t be alone right now.”
With a quiet yelp, Tana broke free of his grip and hurried out the exit. Mitch wheeled toward me, and I could see that he was crying.
Somewhere outside, a flock of birds took flight, startled en masse from the treeline.
“Please, God, please, you can at least stay! Right?! You haven’t lost anyone, you don’t have any- Any trauma. Right? Right?!”
Mitch grabbed me by my sweater, his hands gouging into the fabric, clutching at it like a security blanket. He pulled me close enough that I could smell the grease in his hair, could see the flecks of perspiration on his face.
“I- I don’t think-” My eyes kept finding the window, kept snapping to the flickering of shadows cast by the sun setting outside. I could hear my heart hammering in my ears.
“Stay with me,” Mitch pleaded. He wasn’t yelling anymore, which was somehow worse. “I’d give you money if I had any left. Anything. Please. Just don’t let it take me alone.”
I considered it. The humanitarian in me, the part of my personality that had always gravitated toward broken people, the part that took great professional and personal joy in the mending of a fractured spirit, pushed me to say yes. The man was terrified, and I knew deep down that so much of that terror would be eased by the presence of another person, even a stranger. The man knew he was going to die, had probably come to terms with that long before any gangly, claw-fingered homunculus had first left its mark in his home, but he couldn’t handle dying alone. That was obvious.
But then I remembered the night after the baseball game. The thing I saw. Its long, tangled hair. Its hydrocephalic head, its knobby hands, its perverse, cartoonish parody of a gait. How it walked in a straight line, without paying any heed to the underbrush or the darkness or the gaze of a terrified child staring at it from behind the tinted windows of her dad’s SUV.
And then I saw a shape approach the window, loping, almost prancing across the grass outside, heading directly towards us.
And I knew I wouldn’t be able to do it.
Mitch cursed me as I broke from his grip, screamed at me as I made my paltry excuses and made for the door. The last thing I could make out from him, before his words devolved into the baying gibberish of a doomed man, was:
“I hope you pay for this! I hope one day you get to learn what it’s like!”
I heard the window, almost definitely the same one Mitch had spent all of today fixating on, shatter just as I headed out into the hall. I broke into a sprint, hands flying to my ears to block the sound of Mitch’s fresh screams, and made for the parking lot, where I tumbled into my car and tore out into the road as fast as I could.
Those words were all I could think of on my drive home, a commute I spent jumping at shadows on the side of the road. I nearly crashed my car at the shock of a night-time jogger crossing the street ahead of me along the way.
Those words echoed through my dreams for weeks. They were old dreams, reruns of nightmares that had robbed me of hundreds of hours of sleep from the ages of eight to twelve, nightmares that had developed into my first ever encounters with therapists, nightmares that had inadvertently dictated the course of my career.
But I compartmentalized, and I adapted, and I moved past it. I changed the location of my meetings, so as to avoid the sight of that window. I found a new group of patients, a group that was quickly re-joined by Tana and, occasionally, Rick, though neither of them ever elected to bring the events of that night up again. I used my years of schooling and training to identify my trauma, to slice it into bite-sized pieces and pack those pieces away in as healthy a manner as I could manage. I leaned on the comfort of the statistics I usually used to calm frantic patients, people who were worried about being Taken themselves: Takers only kill around ten thousand people a year, worldwide. The average person’s more likely to get killed by a faulty furnace or a fall in the shower or a drunk driver than a Taker. Most people go their whole lives without seeing one. Years passed, and I managed to stow Mitch and his curse in the back of my mind.
Then one night, I returned home late from a conference, a three-day event that had kept me in a hotel downtown for the entirety of a long weekend, to find my front door unlocked. No, not unlocked, broken in, the deadbolt snapped cleanly in half and the door leaning useless against its frame.
I lived alone. I’d installed a cheap security camera on my porch, mostly as a deterrent to burglars. I knew, from the sight of the door and the light dusting of chalky white powder on its handle, exactly what had happened, but the analytical part of me needed specifics. And that’s why, even as my heart leapt to my throat and tears began to well in my eyes and Mitch’s voice began to ring in my ears, fresh and loud as if it had never left, I rushed to retrieve my camera without stepping foot inside my home. I pried the SD card from the camera’s base and ran, sprinted with it in hand, to my car, where my laptop was stowed. I popped the card in and scrolled through the feed to the single point labeled “disturbance,” by the camera’s software. I saw a short, black, shambling figure in the thumbnail, and I snapped the laptop shut.
I sat there in my car, sobbing, for an hour. A wasted, stupid, foolish hour, before a suspicion began to pull at my gut, acrid and cloying. I forced myself to re-open the laptop, to pull the camera feed back up, and to glance at the date and time tied to the disturbance.
The Taker had stepped onto my porch three days and twenty-two hours ago. I’d been at the conference. I hadn’t known.
Suddenly the rustling of the trees flanking the road seemed to quiet, almost as if it had been muffled.
I punched my car into drive and bolted, hoping against hope, against all I knew about how Takers operated, about how little they cared for things like distance or speed or flimsy car windshields. I peeled out onto the road, Mitch’s voice booming in my ears.
“I hope one day you get to learn what it’s like.”
My headlights catch a figure crossing the street, dozens of yards ahead. This time, its eyes are fixed on mine. This time, I’m all it sees.
And I’m alone.
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2017.09.26 16:34 JamminJay1986 Let's talk about CCI - Custom Coasters International

This is a long one...
Part 1 of this series here
Year By Year Ranking Chart on the Mitch Hawker Wood Coaster Poll - Here - A interesting resource to see how some of these rides were ranked by enthusiasts over the years.
So the genesis of Custom Coasters International, actually begins in 1979 with the construction of The Beast at Kings Island. Charlie Dinn worked at Kings Island and oversaw the design and building of The Beast. In 1983 he formed Dinn Corporation and constructed a handful of woodies in the late 80's and early 90's. Just about all of these can be seen in Part 1 linked above. Dinn Corp. closed in early 1991, but Charlie Dinn's daughter, Denise Dinn-Larrick started a new company named Custom Coasters International in late 1991 and brought over the team of designers from Dinn Corporation.
I should probably say everything in the next paragraph should be prefaced with "allegedly." I have no sources for most of this information except just being in the hobby a long time and hearing A TON of rumors about various things. None of it may be true, who knows. I'll let you guys do your own research, there is a lot of stuff out there if you know what to google. PleaseDontSueMe
CCI was known for being an.. "interesting" company. They had some questionable business practices that Denise Dinn-Larrick picked up from her dad who was known for being cheap. CCI's were insanely cheap. The average cost was between TWO AND THREE MILLION dollars. The most expensive coaster I can find from them is Boulder Dash which was $6 million. It's honestly amazing they lasted as long as they did, as it doesn't take someone with a business degree to tell you that this is not a long term sustainable model. They used the cheapest building materials possible, which is why many are seen as maintenance nightmares today. They frequently took on contracts to build new coasters, in order to pay the vendors for their old coasters. After a while PTC didn't want to make trains for their coasters unless the park specifically paid for them, as PTC were one of many vendors that CCI didn't pay on time. The company folded after Denise Dinn-Larrick had an alleged affair with one of the CCI employees, which led to a divorce with her husband (who was co-owner). They both wanted control of the company in the divorce, but an agreement couldn't be reached so it just ended up closing instead.
end please don't sue me clause
This business model was good however, for very small parks who got headline attractions for little cost to put their park on the map, and of course us the enthusiasts who get to ride so many of these incredible wooden coasters.
In 2002 CCI closed in the middle of building the New Mexico Rattler for Cliff's Amusement Park. Denise Dinn-Larrick went to S&S where she headed the Wooden Coaster division in 2004 and 2005. S&S built four wooden coasters in that span, two designed by Alan Shilke. The rest of the engineers from CCI went on to form The Gravity Group LLC. They have an impressive resume of coasters including Hades, Voyage, Ravine Flyer II, Mine Blower, Wooden Warrior, Cú Chulainn, and numerous woodies in China (all seemingly named Jungle Trailblazer).
I've been lucky enough to ride all but 5 CCI's thus far, so I'll give my opinion of the ride for each coaster I've been on. Each one of these 34 coasters has it's own unique and interesting story and it's worth researching each one on your own as my small blurbs here aren't nearly enough to cover everything.


1992 - Kingdom Coaster at Dutch Wonderland - Formerly known as Sky Princess, CCI had a very modest start with this smaller family coaster for a tiny family park in Eastern Pennsylvania. I don't remember much about this coaster as my only rides were in 2008, but it's a perfect size coaster for this size park, and not far from Hershey if you want to stop for a quick visit. POV
1993 - Outlaw at Adventureland, Iowa - If you look at pictures of Outlaw, the first drop is strangely reminiscent of a GCI coaster. There is a reason for that, because it was designed by Mike Boodley (who is a very interesting guy himself, but I'll save all those stories for a future GCI thread). Mike Boodley left CCI and went on to form Great Coasters International with his business partner Clair Hain the year after Outlaw opened. Outlaw as a ride is fun, but not very forceful at all. I like the ride, as it's kind of a history lesson about the origins of CCI and GCI, and it's very easy to see the influences that would become standard on early (and even some modern) GCI's. POV
Here's an odd story about Outlaw. In 1999 the Roller Coaster Club of Great Britain visited Adventureland, and had ERT on Outlaw. There was a disgruntled employee who wanted to get fired, but not without providing a very unique and memorable experience for the RCCGB members. He disengaged the brakes at the end of the ride and let the train go FLYING through the station and back around to the lift. After an hour of this it allegedly put an extra FIVE YEARS of wear and tear on the ride in around an hour. I think it's safe to say he was indeed fired. Video of incident
1994 - Hoosier Hurricane at Indiana Beach - Hoosier Hurricane was the first modern wooden coaster with steel structure, which makes sense given the majority of structure is in a lake. The layout is a basic out and back, but it is SO picturesque, and has some great interactions with some of the other rides and structures on the peninsula. I'm gonna say this a lot about some of the coasters here, but with a little bit of extra maintenance this would be a really terrific ride. It's not really rough, but it could definitely track a little better than it currently does. POV
1994 - Zach's Zoomer at Michigan's Adventure - Zach's Zoomer is a slightly larger clone of the Scooby Doo/Woodstock Express family woodies found at Carowinds, Kings Dominion, Kings Island, and Canada's Wonderland. It was named after park owner Roger Jourden's grandson, Zach. POV
1995 - Cannonball Run at Waterville USA - The "forgotten" CCI, as CCI didn't claim this on their website due to some legal issues. Long story short: Waterville was parking the train on the lift after the park closed, which caused some broken lift ledgers. Waterville sued CCI, CCI didn't claim responsibility and blamed Waterville. It was a mess. Waterville is a small FEC/waterpark so this coaster is a strange one since they have literally no other dry rides to speak of. It's just a small little out and back coaster over and around the parking lot, which is best in the front seat. POV
1995 - Cyclops at Mt. Olympus Theme Park - The first coaster of the "Big Chiefs Karts & Coasters" trio of CCI's. Cyclops is a very small coaster which uses the natural terrain of the park to make an interesting layout. For a long time it was home to one of the most insane moments of ejector air ever coming off the big 2nd drop, and they even had a sign in the station saying "You must be 18 or older to ride in the last car". This drop was recently reprofiled to be "smoother" (aka less airtime) and they also took the last car off the train. As you can imagine this has rendered the once-famous drop nearly void of any airtime. With the drop Cyclops was in my Top 10 wood, but honestly the reprofile has rendered the entire coaster pointless. POV
1995 - Raven at Holiday World - Before Raven, Holiday World was a sleepy little family park. After Raven, Holiday World began it's ascension as a major thrill ride destination. Raven also put CCI on the map as a company able to produce major thrill rides, instead of smaller family rides. Named for Edgar Allen Poe's poem of the same name, The Raven borrowed heavily from The Beast at Kings Island, as park president Will Koch was a big fan of The Beast and wanted something similar at his park. While it doesn't quite have the length of The Beast, it utilizes the terrain magnificently, having the largest drop in the middle of the ride. It finishes with a fast and furious race through the woods, which will leave even the most jaded enthusiasts among us breathless. For those of you who have only ridden it in the day time, book a trip to Holiwood Nights to snag a handful of night rides. It's a COMPLETELY different experience at night. When it opened the Raven received many awards and accolades, and it seemed to be on EVERY Discovery Channel special back in the day. For good reason too, even 20+ years later it's still an unbelievable ride. POV
1996 - Underground at Adventureland, Iowa - More glorified dark ride than actual roller coaster (think Black Diamond at Knoebels), this "roller coaster" just meanders around indoors at a slow speed, but doesn't have nearly enough theming elements to go along with it, so the majority of the ride you're just in darkness. I'll blame the park for that one, it's such a strange ride. POV
1996 - Pegasus at Mt. Olympus Theme Park - The 2nd CCI at what is now Mt. Olympus, this woodie is clearly geared for the younger set. It's got a really strange layout featuring hard flat turns, and very few hills. Pegasus was the source of a video a few days weeks ago and an accompanying meme. POV
1996 - Timber Terror at Silverwood - Timber Terror's original name was Grizzly, but had to change it in 1997 after being issued a cease and desist from the Paramount Parks to avoid confusion between their two wooden coasters at Kings Dominion and Great America. I like the new name as it makes the coaster a ton more unique, even if it is a simple out and back design. This is one of the few CCI's I have yet to ride, but all reports have nothing but positive reviews for this and Tremors, leading me to believe Silverwood knows how to take care of their woodies. POV
1996 - Great White at Morey's Piers - When I first think of Great White at Morey's, I don't actually think of the coaster. I think of it's amazing setting. Morey's ran out of space on the piers so they built this literally on the beach. Great White is such a beautiful coaster too. It's got those iconic sweeping turnarounds, reminiscent of the coasters of yesteryear. Luckily this would become a trademark on many of CCI's rides. It also starts with a drop out of the station that goes under the boardwalk! When it's running well, Great White is a haven for floater airtime, but the sea salt spray coming from the ocean usually isn't too friendly to the wooden track. POV
1996 - Megafobia at Oakwood Theme Park - In addition to putting Oakwood "on the map" in the UK theme park landscape, MegaFobia also brought back a wooden coaster resurgence to all of Europe. MegaFobia was also CCI's first coaster not in the United States. It sends riders on a layout that is constantly weaving in and around the structure with a ton of airtime all throughout, and is incredibly rerideable. It won the Mitch Hawker wooden poll in 1996 and 1997, and stayed in the top 5 for another 4 years after that. Another coaster with a gorgeous setting in the Welsh landscape, it's probably the only coaster out there where you can find sheep grazing underneath. POV
1997 - Tonnerre de Zeus at Parc Asterix - Tonnerre de Zeus which translated to English is Thunder of Zeus, has a very unique "T" shaped layout which is only shared by Timber Wolf at Worlds of Fun. Another one I have yet to ride, TdZ is either capable of being one of the best coasters ever (as evidenced by 3 straight #1 rankings from 1999 to 2001 in Mitch Hawker's Wooden Coaster Poll), or complete trash depending how well it's being maintained on any particular day. Disturbing fact - The large Zeus statue in front of the ride wears panties. POV
1997 - Stampida at Port Aventura - A coaster I've literally never heard anyone talk about in any capacity, Stampida was CCI's first racing woodie. The backstory for Stampida says there are two competing families that have a carriage race to determine who gets to claim the land of Penitence (which is the name of the Old West section of Port Aventura). Layout-wise, this ride is awesome. It's nice and long, has a fair amount of airtime, laterals, and a ton of side-by-side racing moments. Execution wise though, not so great. When I went in 2007, Port Aventura had just gotten rid of their PTC trains, for some awful disasters of roller coaster train design by KumbaK. (They also did the new trains for T3 at Kentucky Kingdom. Blech.) Somehow they ride worse than they look, and combined with some iffy-at-best maintenance you're left with another ride that should be so much better than it is. The Spanish version of wikipedia says this ride underwent some trackwork in 2015 and 2016, so hopefully it's riding better these days. Red Side POV, Blue side POV
1997 - Tomahawk at Port Aventura - Tomahawk is a small family coaster that weaves in and around Stampida. They were all designed together, and I love seeing all the wooden track everywhere going every which way. In 2015 the park replaced the PTC train with a Mini-llennium Flyer from GCI. It's a much better version of Pegasus at Mt. Olympus; a bunch of strange flat turns and some smaller airtime hills. The surroundings are much more impressive though. POV
1997 - Zeus at Mt. Olympus Theme Park - The last of the Mt. Olympus CCI's, it's another simple out and back design. Before the addition of Hades it had trees on both sides, making it feel somewhat of an out and back version of Raven, but half the trees have since been replaced by a giant parking lot. The straight sections of Zeus are pretty good with some great floater, but the turnaround is an unholy shaky mess. After riding all 4 (the aforementioned 3 and Gravity Group's Hades 360) of the Mt. Olympus woodies you'll be left scratching your head saying "what if?" The potential for greatness is possible in every single one of the four, but the execution by the park is so piss poor you just end up leaving sad and confused. POV
1998 - Shivering Timbers at Michigan's Adventure - The only reason ever to go to Michigan's Adventure, Shivering Timbers is without question, the most impressive looking coaster that CCI ever built. The entrance to the parking lot is on the far end of the coaster, but to get the park entrance you have to drive (probably while distracted and with your tongue hanging out) the ENTIRE LENGTH of Shivering Timbers. It's a giant coaster, so nothing encumbers your view. Park owner Rodger Jourden had a dream of having a coaster going all the way to the end of his property, and CCI delivered with the most impressive $4.5 million investment ever. The definition of "airtime machine," Shivering Timbers is one of the longest wooden coasters in the world, and by far the largest pure out and back. For the first few years of it's life it was ranked very highly by every poll and won all sorts of awards.. then Cedar Fair bought the park and neglected to maintain it leaving a slow and shaky ride. They have corrected this in recent years and are retracking and reprofiling the ride in sections, and it has definitely improved for the better. I'd love to have ridden this when it was brand new. POV
1998 - Rampage at Alabama Splash Adventure - Rampage is a much larger, much more impressive version of MegaFobia as the layouts are near identical, and Rampage sits on a hill overlooking the park. Alabama Splash Adventure has had a ton of different owners over the years, leaving Rampage to be somewhat of the red-headed stepchild that gets jerked around. Vision Land opened in 1998 as a joint effort between a bunch of local governments and the Alabama Legislature. They made it 3 years before filing bankruptcy in 2002, leaving Rampage SBNO. A new ownership group bought the park in 2003 and Rampage reopened. A lot more park name changes and changes in ownership left Rampage with seemingly always uncertain stability from 2003-2011. In 2012 the amusement park closed, and the majority of rides were sold off while the water park remained open. Rampage was SBNO for 3 years during this time. In 2014 members of the Koch family came from Holiday World to purchase the park, and re-open Rampage in 2015. If you've ever been to Holiday World you know they take care of their woodies, and Rampage is no exception as they spent hundreds of thousands of dollars retracking and refurbishing the ride. The ride is absolutely phenomenal now, but honestly Alabama Splash Adventure isn't. Rampage is the only adult ride in the dry side of the park, it's such a strange place. It's worth a visit, you never know when this place could close again without warning! POV
1998 - Excalibur at Funtown/Splashtown USA - Just by looking at it, Excalibur seems unassuming and probably just another "generic" wooden coaster. But if you take a ride, you'll see that it's anything but generic. Funtown isn't a big park, but Excalibur has it's own section off to itself, kind of setting up the magic that is about to unfold. The first drop is full of great floater, but the second drop off the turn around is flat out ejector. From there you go into a long sweeping left hand turn/hill combination which gives great airtime and laterals simultaneously. You exit that and go directly under another support for a great headchopper effect, before another fantastic airtime hill, and then another headchopper! Another turnaround and few more drops before Excalibur slows down around the figure 8 finale. This is the only "boring" part of the ride, but other than that I think it's fantastic and one of CCI's best designs for it's size. Another ride that is well taken care of and imminently rerideable as I've never heard of there ever being a line. Only thing is the operators make you get off and go around each time! LAME! POV
1998 - Twisted Twins at Kentucky Kingdom - For two unremarkable coasters, Twisted Twins sure have a lot of stories attached to it. Originally named "Double Trouble" in it's conceptual phase, the ride opened as Twisted Sisters, and was the first ever dueling coaster having 4 dueling points, beating Dueling Dragons and Gwazi by one year. The theme was centered around two crazy sisters, one named Lola and one named Stella. In 2002, Dee Snider of the hair metal band "Twisted Sister" threatened to sue the park on the grounds of copyright infringement. The park quickly complied and the ride was known as Twisted Twins for the rest of its operating days. Kentucky Kingdom has an interesting history with Six Flags/the city of Louisville/a ton of other possible park owners, all which is too detailed to go into here, but due to various situations this left Twisted Twins SBNO for an extended amount of time. Woodies left SBNO for 8+ years aren't easy to get back into working condition, so RMC came in and worked their magic to create Storm Chaser which opened in 2016.
Twisted Twins was home to the first ever Gerslauer wooden coaster trains. They were lighter than PTC's and supposed to track better for easier long term track maintenance, but man they rode terribly, especially on the wheel seats. This ride was "Meh" with a capital M. It had such an interesting concept, but nothing interesting other than the duels happened throughout the entire ride. After Six Flags closed the park, the two Gerstlauer trains were sent to Six Flags St. Louis as spare parts for The Boss. I usually hate to see wooden coasters lost, but I didn't mind the conversion to Storm Chaser as SC is a far superior ride to the Twins in every possible way. Plus it helps to accelerate the growth of Kentucky Kingdom, which is always good. POV of both sides
1998 - Ghostrider at Knott's Berry Farm - Ghostrider might be the most well known CCI, since it's at a large chain park in a large metropolitan area. It's one of the five I've yet to go on, so no personalized report here. Originally scheduled to open in the spring of 1999, Ghostrider opened in December of 1998 nearly six months ahead of schedule. It features a very classic "old west" look which fits in well with the Ghost Town area of the park. It's support structure is twice as dense as normal wooden coasters, due to earthquake regulations. This provides an insane feeling of speed as a good portion of the coaster is spent weaving in and out of this huge structure. I remember it opened to rave reviews initially, and then of course Cedar Fair's lack of maintainance led to many rough ride complaints. They finally corrected this in 2015 as the ride was shut down for 10 months so GCI could completely retrack and reprofile the coaster. Add in 2 new Millennium Flyer trains and you have essentially an entirely new ride. From all accounts it's back to it's rightful place earning rave review after rave review. I can't wait to get out there and ride this thing. POV
1999 - Silver Comet at Fantasy Island - Another underrated gem from CCI, Silver Comet is another fantastic mid-size woodie at another out of the way park. While there is a decent amount of airtime, that's clearly not the focus as this might be the most lateral heavy ride I've ever been on. It has a normal enough "out" section with airtime hills and the classic turnaround, but after that is a pretty quick succession of hard right turn, hard right turn, hard left turn, long sweeping left turn, gaining more and more speed the further you go. The rest of the park is traditional amusement park fare, but Silver Comet really stands out. If you ever find yourself near Niagara Falls, head to Fantasy Island to ride this thing. POV
1999 - Tremors at Silverwood - I remember even as a young enthusiast seeing pictures of Tremors on CCI's official website and just being in awe. Even 18 years later, that awe has not stopped as I still love looking at anything I can find on this ride, if for no other reason than it is so remote, and you rarely hear about it. To this day Tremors remains my current #1 "must ride" coaster in the world. I am sure I have built it up so much in my mind that there is no possible way it can live up to expectations when I finally make the journey to Idaho. Tremors features 4 underground tunnels, one through a gift shop, and all sorts of awesome looking airtime hills and helices. Tremors was also the first wooden coaster to receive Topper Track from RMC in 2010. POV
Gerstlauer Trains - Of the 9 coasters CCI built between 2000 and 2001, 7 opened with the god awful G-trains (Boulder Dash and Cornball got PTC's). The only reason I'm including this little blurb is to hopefully stop me from making the entire rest of this write-up about the trains. I already touched on the positives and negatives of them in the section about about Twisted Twins, but just about every single one of these rides are or were shadows of what they could have been with some decent PTC trains. I will try not to complain too much about them, but I can't even put into words how much I just HATE them. Strangely, only 2 (Boss and Cheetah) of those 7 are still operating with the Gerstlauer trains, so maybe the damn things are cursed.
2000 - Legend at Holiday World - Legend did originally open with a single Gerstlauer train, but that was sent to Raging Wolf Bobs at Geauga Lake after 2001, and in 2002 Legend opened with 2 brand new PTC trains which still run to this day. President Will Koch (RIP) took a bit of an unusual route when planning this coaster. He reached out to the enthusiast community to share their opinions on how the ride should be designed, named and themed. One of the old Discovery Channel shows has him talking about and fanning out the giant stack of letters and e-mails he received, I'll see if I can find it. It just added to the legacy of Holiday World being a favorite park of enthusiasts. As for the ride itself? It's sensational. It's got a nice long layout, plenty of airtime, and laterals so strong in the helix they'll cut circulation to your legs. The 2016 update from GCI made it even better and smoother than ever before. Legend is often forgotten since it's in the same park as Voyage, but it deserves to be in the conversation for one of the best wooden coasters on Earth. POV
2000 - Boss at Six Flags St. Louis - Boss probably has one of the most unique and original layouts I've ever come across. It skirts the traditional woodie style of endless airtime hills, by having 3 massive turnaround elements and 4 massive drops. At the bottom of all these drops are these really intense low to the ground sections, which are surrounded by trees (and wooden support structure) that I absolutely love. The first drop even has a surprise "dip" at the bottom of it, which does provide some good airtime. The helix at the end while awesome in theory, is a victim to Six Flags' maintenance budget. Regardless, I love just about everything about this coaster, and I don't think people quite understand how unique it is when they complain about the roughness or say it should be RMC'd. In a perfect world this would get the Ghostrider GCI treatment and Millennium Flyers, which would easily make it a Top 5 ride IMO. POV
2000 - Villain at Geauga Lake - One of my favorite coaster names and logos anywhere, Villain was part of the giant Six Flags Ohio rebranding which included a 4 coaster expansion in 2000. Villain was Double L-Shaped out and back, sort of like a smaller Ghostrider. This was by far my favorite coaster at the park, and I always felt like it was the most overlooked. It's somewhat special to me since it was my very first CCI. In my one visit to then Six Flags Worlds of Adventure in 2003, I managed to ride this 14 times, including something like 8 or 9 in a row at the end of the night. I don't remember much about it except it was so absurdly intense, but I loved every second. When Geauga Lake closed, I was quite upset that Villain wasn't saved like most of the other new coasters were. It didn't even get to hang around and be discussed like Big Dipper! Sure Big Dipper was historical and deserved to be saved, but Villain should have found a new home somewhere else ASAP. Surely it wouldn't have been difficult, it even had steel supports! But, no attempt was made to save it whatsoever, and it was sold for scrap for a pithy $30,000. POV
2000 - Hurricane at Myrtle Beach Pavilion - Hurricane had quite a simple layout, a smallish out and back with a big clockwise helix for the turnaround, and then a small counter clockwise helix (around the Scrambler!) to end it. But that small layout packed a big punch with airtime and laterals galore (despite the trains...). It was quite a picturesque coaster as well, situated on the South side of the city block that Myrtle Beach Pavilion occupied, with beautiful Palmetto trees underneath. Inexplicably in 2006 the owners of the Pavilion stated they were closing the park at the end of the year with intentions of "redevelopment." Well 11 years later and the only redevelopment we've gotten is a zipline over a grass field. Some of the flat rides survived and are now at the Pavilion Nostalgia Park up the road at Broadway at the Beach. The trains for Hurricane found their way to Kings Island to run on Son of Beast after the loop was removed in 2006. To this day, the Pavilion remains one of the most pointless park closures I can think of. POV
2000 - MegaZeph at Six Flags New Orleans - The only CCI I'm unlikely to ever get, (even though I have paid my respects in person a few times), MegaZeph was the star attraction at an all new park called Jazzland which opened in 2000. Jazzland wasn't profitable due to numerous factors and Six Flags bought the lease in 2002, with a rebranding in 2003. It wasn't profitable under Six Flags either, and I think we all know the story after Hurricane Katrina. MegaZeph's name came from the old Zephyr wooden coaster which was at an amusement park called Pontchartrain Beach until that park closed in 1983. MegaZeph looked like it had all the best that CCI offered with numerous airtime hills, fan turns, and a helix. The only thing it's used for now is as a backdrop on movie sets. POV
2000 - Medusa at Six Flags Mexico - Medusa was sort of like a bizarro-world version of Boss. It was nice and long with the large turnarounds, but it was compact and wrapped around itself, and was situated on a big hill instead of a valley. It was an absolutely gorgeous coaster with a great name, but like Boss wasn't the smoothest coaster due to Six Flags maintenance, Mexico City heat, and the stupid trains. I did get to ride this in it's final year in 2013, and it was actually significantly better than I anticipated, having heard the horror stories of roughness for years (but again my roughness tolerance seems to be higher than others). The oddly named Medusa Steel Coaster opened in 2014, and looks to be one of the more impressive layouts from RMC, but I haven't ridden it yet myself. POV
2000 - Boulder Dash at Lake Compounce - Boulder Dash is a master class in how to construct and integrate a roller coaster into existing terrain. It's also a master class in how to add a large coaster and remove as few trees as possible, which some large chain parks still haven't figured out yet. Since it's opening you can always find Boulder Dash at the top of any wooden coaster poll, and rightly so. It's absolute insanity from start to finish with airtime galore. Lake Compounce takes great care of Boulder Dash and it has seen 2 major retrackings in 2007-2008 and one heading before the 2017 season. The name is a very creative play on the word "balderdash", and one of the larger drops in the middle of the course flies past giant boulder. Such a great ride from start to finish. POV
2001 - Cornball Express at Indiana Beach - Cornball might be one of the most deceiving coasters out there. It's pretty small, but it used to pack a pretty big punch with awesome ejector and floater on every hill. I rode it initially in 2005 and absolutely loved it, working it's way into my top 10 easily, but after a fair amount of rides this year, that punch seems to be lacking. It's not rough at all, it just lacks the power that I remember. I'm fairly certain that Cornball has the last PTC train with buzzbars that was sold on a new ride. One of the most interesting things about Cornball is how they wedged it into a park that was completely void of any empty space. It was designed to share a lift hill structure with Hoosier Hurricane. Other than the first drop, it goes completely over and around the kiddie area, a restaurant, and the Tigrr coaster. And then it has a suspended support structure over the drop over the lake, which is one the most interesting things about this unique coaster. POV
2001 - Cheetah at Wild Adventures - Honestly one of the biggest disappointments on this list is Cheetah. I first rode it in 2012 and liked it well enough, but after another visit last December it's clear that absolutely no maintenance of any kind has ever been performed on this thing. That combined with the trains and you just have a flat out absurdly rough ride. You would think that being owned by Herschend they could put some people into the park that knew what they were doing along with some money to fix this mess, but that's unfortunately not the case. It's got a really cool out and back layout with what should be a fast figure 8 finale, but the entire ride just shuffles and jackhammers from drop to brakes. Cheetah is literally the only thing at Wild Adventures that gives the park any semblance of personality, why won't you let it be your shining star? I don't need a new shiny B&M or RMC, just one ridable coaster please. This park isn't worth visiting as it is. POV
2002 - Lost Coaster of Superstition Mountain at Indiana Beach - The closest thing we'll probably ever get to a wooden wild mouse in the United States, Lost Coaster of Superstition Mountain is one really strange ride. For 2002 Indiana Beach asked CCI to convert their existing Superstition Mountain dark ride, into a roller coaster. What resulted was one-of-a-kind ride with an elevator lift, and many turns and hills with the radius of a small pizza. The 2 car trains have netting all over them so they feel like caged mine carts, and you sit face to face with other riders. You're constantly weaving in and out of the mountain so you really don't quite ever know where you are. A good portion of this ride does take place in the dark, but there's not really enough theming elements to go with it, which sucks because you're close enough where anything you pass could have a huge impact. This ride is really really fun, but mostly due to the strange and unexpected nature of the ride. You could probably ride it a million times and still not know the layout. POV
2002 - New Mexico Rattler at Cliff's Amusement Park - The last coaster designed and constructed by CCI, as they went bankrupt literally in the middle of construction. Cliff's later personally hired the crew that was building the coaster, and put them on the park's payroll instead of leaving the ride unfinished. The park based crew took a bit longer, and it didn't open until very late September of 2002. Since Cliff's is such a small park, the layout for Rattler is really really wonky, skirting over and around a bunch of other existing rides. The ride is great, with a ton of airtime, laterals, and multiple tunnels throughout it's course, it's always turning or undulating, just like a snake. It does so many different things well, it's the perfect encapsulation of CCI's legacy. POV

--Projects that had designs but never were built--

Ravine Flyer II at Waldameer - LINK - Everybody knows about the coaster at Waldameer that opened in 2008, a ride that gets consistent rave reviews. But did you know it started in the planning stages way back in 1993? CCI formed a preliminary layout for them with a hopeful opening date of 2000. Years and years of governmental red tape delayed the construction, and CCI eventually went out of business. Gravity Group formed not long after, and the plans continued on with them. Finally it opened in 2008 with a modified layout that was to be even more intense than the original.
Six Flags Astroworld - I can't find anything more than a few forum posts about this anymore, but I remember CCI and Six Flags Astroworld announced an "L" shaped wooden coaster at IAAPA in 2000 for a 2001 opening. It was to take the place of the XLR-8 Arrow Suspended. It never ended up happening for one reason or another. There's another possible rumor that this coaster became Cheetah at Wild Adventures, which doesn't make sense as Cheetah is a smaller out and back. Astroworld was closed and subsequently demolished after the 2005 season.
Opryland - LINK - It's impossible to say how far along in the planning stage it ever got, but the Nashville, Tennessee based park had plans for a coaster that looked very similar to Silver Comet at Fantasy Island. Unfortunately Opryland was closed and demolished after the 1997 season.
Tulsa Terror at Bells Amusement Park - LINK - Another coaster that never got off the drawing board, Tulsa Terror was to be a smaller "L" shaped out and back. The proximity to the surrounding residential neighborhoods sealed it's fate in the planning process. After some sketchy maneuvers by the Tulsa State Fair, Bells was ousted from their land, closed, and demolished after the 2006 season.
Could there be more?
So what do you think about the woodies from CCI? Love em? Hate em? Find them boring? Too rough? How many have you ridden and how would you rank them? What are your favorite/least favorite features of these rides? Did they spread themselves too thin by building so many coasters in such a short amount of time? Anything else you want to say?
submitted by JamminJay1986 to rollercoasters [link] [comments]

2013.12.27 19:44 NEBRASSKICKER [35 Bowls in 17 Days] The Fight Hunger Bowl

The Fight Hunger Bowl
University of Washington vs. Brigham Young University
BYU vs Washington Record: 4-4
Bowl Information
Date: December 27th, 2013
Time: 9:30 PM EST
Channel: ESPN
Broadcast Crew: Dave Pasch, Brian Greise, Tom Luginbill
Point Spread: Washington -3
O/U: 60
Bowl History
Year Founded: 2002
Location: San Francisco, CA
Stadium: AT&T Park (Capacity 40,184)
What a
beautiful place
for a football game!
Conference Tie-ins: 6th in Pac-12 versus BYU
Payout: $1,000,000 (Washington); $850,000 (BYU)
Trophy: Fight Hunger Bowl Trophy
2012 Season Result: Arizona State 62 - Navy 28
Sophomore quarterback Taylor Kelly threw four touchdown passes and ran for a fifth score to lead Arizona State to its first bowl win in seven years, a 62-28 rout over Navy. The win put a finish to the first successful season for the Sun Devils under coach Todd Graham. Sen. John McCain, a former Navy fighter pilot who represents Arizona in Congress, handled the pre-game toss. Instead of using a coin, the game sponsored by Kraft uses an Oreo, with one side being a chocolate cookie and the other vanilla.
Full Game
Fight Hunger Bowl History:
Recognizing that the San Francisco Giants occupy AT&T Park only about 85 days each year, the Giants in 1999 established a new branch, Giants Enterprises, to develop non-baseball uses for the ballpark. During construction of the venue, the Giants discovered that the turf surface was big enough to accommodate a full sized football field, and plans were put in motion to bring the a football game to AT&T Park.
Giants Enterprises president Pat Gallagher, teamed up with John Marks (president of the SFCVB) and Gary Cavalli (a 30-year veteran of the pro and college sports industry) and launched an effort to establish a college bowl game in the City by the Bay.
After acquiring a four-year agreement with the two conferences and a seven-year commitment from ESPN, Cavalli and Gallagher appeared before the NCAA Post-season Football Committee on April 30, 2002. Two days later, the NCAA granted initial certification to the new San Francisco Bowl, culminating a two-and-a-half year effort.
The bowl has had 4 different names in it’s 12 year history including The Diamond Walnut San Francisco Bowl (2002-2003), The Emerald Bowl (2004-2009), The Kraft Fight Hunger Bowl (2010-2012), and simply The Fight Hunger Bowl (2013). Starting in 2014, the bowl will be moved to its new home at Levi’s Stadium (home of the San Francisco 49ers) where it will have a new title sponsor and host the 4th place team in the Pac-12 and the 5th or 7th place team in the Big Ten.
Historic Games:
2004 Emerald Bowl Navy 34 vs New Mexico 19
Prior to the game the New Mexico Lobos were favored by a single point. The game was highlighted by a 26-play, 14 minute-26 second drive from the Midshipmen that took just over 32 minutes in real time and set the record for the longest drive in a National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) college football game. Navy’s win lifted their record to 10-2 for the season, making it their second 10 win season in history and the first in 99 years.
2008 Emerald Bowl Miami 17 vs California 24
ESPN’s primetime telecast of the 2008 Emerald Bowl was the network’s 8th most-watched college football bowl game ever, according to ratings figures compiled by the network and rightly so. After being in and out of the top 25 rankings all season, both teams were itching for a win. The Bears jumped out to an early 14–0 lead, but true freshman QB Harris was able to lead the Hurricanes back with touchdown passes in the second and third quarter while the Miami defense was able to shut out the Cal offense in the second quarter and limited them to a field goal in the third. With 3:28 left in the game, Cal Linebacker Zack Follett forced a turnover deep in Miami territory. Anthony Miller scored the go-ahead touchdown on his first career catch 47 seconds later. The win gave California a 9-4 record and propelled them into the top 25 in the Coaches’ Poll.
Full Game
Fun Facts
  • The Fight Hunger Bowl is one of three college bowl games played in baseball-specific stadiums, alongside the Beef 'O' Brady's Bowl in St. Petersburg, Florida, played at Tropicana Field, and the Pinstripe Bowl in New York, played at Yankee Stadium.
  • The 2013 Fight Hunger Bowl will be the first FBS football game in history with two female officials..
  • Because AT&T Park is not normally used for football, the arrangement of the playing field requires both teams to be on the same sideline, separated by a barrier at the 50-yard line.
  • The bowl is one of only two bowl games this year without a title sponsor, the other being The Texas Bowl.
The Cause
  • The Bowl will donate one meal for every ticket sold to the game!
  • The Bowl has donated over 300,000 meals in three years to the Bay Area's hungry.
  • During Bowl Week, each team spent time giving back to the Bay Area. This year, Washington visited GLIDE, and BYU visited St. Anthony's. Both teams worked to prep and serve meals to San Francisco's needy on Christmas Day. By volunteering, the players not only help the Bay Area hunger crisis, but they also gain awareness and a new perspective. We hope the players are inspired to continue to give back to their own communities.
Donations can be made year round to these charities.
University of Washington Huskies
Bowl Record: 16-16-1
Season Bowl Opponent Score W/L
1923 Rose Bowl Navy 14-14 T
1925 Rose Bowl Alabama 19-20 L
1936 Rose Bowl Pittsburgh 0-21 L
1937 Poi Bowl Hawaii 53-13 W
1943 Rose Bowl USC 0-29 L
1959 Rose Bowl Wisconsin 44-8 W
1960 Rose Bowl Minnesota 17-7 W
1963 Rose Bowl Illinois 7-17 L
1977 Rose Bowl Michigan 27-20 W
1979 Sun Bowl Texas 14-7 W
1980 Rose Bowl Michigan 6-23 L
1981 Rose Bowl Iowa 28-0 W
1982 Aloha Bowl Maryland 21-20 W
1983 Aloha Bowl Penn State 10-13 L
1984 Orange Bowl Oklahoma 28-17 W
1985 Freedom Bowl Colorado 20-17 W
1986 Sun Bowl Alabama 6-28 L
1987 Independence Bowl Tulane 24-12 W
1989 Freedom Bowl Florida 34-7 W
1990 Rose Bowl Iowa 46-34 W
1991 Rose Bowl Michigan 34-14 W
1992 Rose Bowl Michigan 31-38 L
1995 Sun Bowl Iowa 18-38 L
1996 Holiday Bowl Colorado 21-33 L
1997 Aloha Bowl Michigan State 51-23 W
1998 Oahu Bowl Air Force 25-45 L
1999 Holiday Bowl Kansas State 20-24 L
2000 Rose Bowl Purdue 34-24 W
2001 Holiday Bowl Texas 43-47 L
2002 Sun Bowl Purdue 34-24 L
2010 Holiday Bowl Nebraska 19-7 W
2011 Alamo Bowl Baylor 56-67 L
2012 Las Vegas Bowl Boise State 26-28 L
2013 Fight Hunger Bowl BYU ? ?
Washington Bowl Game Posters, Programs, and Images Album
Historic Bowl Games:
1992 Rose Bowl - Washington 34 Michigan 14
Washington came into Pasadena at 10-0, and with the #1 ranking in the Coach’s Poll. The Huskies got off to a blistering start, as Napoleon Kauffman took the opening kick back to midfield. However, the game was broken open in the second half, which started with the score at 13-7. The Huskies would score 21 unanswered points on the arms of Billy Joe Hobert and Mark Brunell before allowing a touchdown late in the fourth quarter. This game solidified the University of Washington’s most recent National Championship.
2010 Holiday Bowl - Washington 19 Nebraska 7
Having not played in a bowl game since 2002, and with the stigma of the winless 2008 season still fresh, the Huskies beat Washington State in the 2010 Apple Cup to become bowl-eligible. The Huskies had also been beaten demolished by the Huskers at home earlier that season, so the Holiday Bowl was a chance at redemption. Led by Jake Locker’s gutty performance in his last game as a Husky, the Dawgs played a tough, physical game that included rushing TDs from Locker and Chris Polk. Linebacker Mason Foster had a standout performance as well, knocking embattled Husker QB Taylor Martinez out of the game. Washington’s win set the program on the correct course in many Husky fans’ minds, and the Huskies have gone bowling in each season since.
2013 Season Record: 8-4
Date Opponent Result Highlights
8/31 Boise State W 38-6 Video
9/7 Illinois W 34-24 Video
9/21 Idaho State W 56-0 Video
9/28 Arizona W 31-13 Video
10/5 Stanford L 31-28 Video
10/12 Oregon L 45-24 Video
10/19 Arizona State L 53-24 Video
10/26 California W 41-17 Video
11/9 Colorado W 59-7 Video
11/15 UCLA L 41-31 Video
11/23 Oregon State W 69-27 Video
11/29 Washington State W 27-17 Video
11/29 BYU ? ?
Home Away
Key Players this Season:
Bishop Sankey - Highlights
A second-team All American and Doak Walker Award Finalist, Bishop Sankey has had arguably the best season for a tailback in Washington history. Breaking Napoleon Kaufman’s single-season rushing touchdown record as well as Corey Dillon’s single-season rushing yards record, Sankey is a well-rounded feature-back. Most believe that Sankey will forgo his senior year at the UW and enter the NFL draft, making the Fight Hunger Bowl his last game in a Husky uniform.
Keith Price - Highlights
In a pass-heavy conference, Keith Price’s numbers got buried this season due to Washington’s reliance on Sankey and the run game. However, don’t let his lack of yardage fool you for a lack of production. Price threw the second fewest interceptions, and had the second highest QBR in the Pac-12 this season. Price is an efficient passer, and has some mobility to escape the pocket.
Austin Seferian-Jenkins - Highlights
Austin Seferian-Jenkins is the winner of the 2013 Mackey Award, honoring the nation’s best tight end. ASJ is an elite-caliber blocker, with ball-skills that are unmatched at his position. At 6’ 6”, 275 lbs., Austin has a size advantage on almost everyone on the field. His pass-catching ability coupled with his size and blocking skill have many projecting Seferian-Jenkins as a next-level tight end.
Biggest Plays this Season:
Great throw by Price to Perkins vs Boise St.
Coming in to the Boise St. game, people weren’t sure if Keith Price would be back to his 2011 form. In front of a packed house at Husky Stadium, Keith made his case and put on a showtime performance highlighted by this amazing scrambling TD pass to put Huskies up by 18 and further seal the victory.
John Ross great kickoff return.
John Ross opened the Oregon State game with this great kickoff return, which put momentum in the Huskies favor in one of their most complete wins of the season.
Interception by John Timu to seal the Apple Cup win.
This interception by John Timu prevented WSU QB Conner Halliday from mounting a comeback late in the 4th and sealed the deal for the Huskies, bringing the trophy back to the shores of Montlake.
Season Summary:
Season Review Video
2013 was a bit of a disappointment for Husky fans, who had images of the Rose Bowl dancing in our heads. After starting the season 4-0, the Pac-12 North was within reach with the toughest part of the schedule ahead of us. A controversial and very close loss to Stanford in Palo Alto, followed by a loss to Oregon in Seattle ended that conversation. Then, an absolutely terrible game in Tempe saw the Dawgs give up 53 points to squash any hope of an AP ranking this season. That being said, the Huskies have finally eclipsed the 7-win mark, and look to be an improving program that could challenge for the Pac-12 North Title sooner rather than later.
The Huskies basically won the games they should have won (with the exception of the ASU game) and lost the games that they came into as underdogs to finish the regular season at 8-4. A high point of the season was ESPN College Game Day’s visit to campus for the Oregon game, marking CGD’s first trip to the state of Washington. Other high-points were the opening of the newly remodeled Husky Stadium in a 38-6 victory over Boise State, a 69-27 blowout of Oregon State, and an Apple Cup win to end the regular season. Low points included the aforementioned loss in Tempe to ASU, Myles Jack’s dominant performance against the Huskies in Pasadena, and the 10th straight loss to Oregon.
The break between the Apple Cup has seen Husky Head Coach Steve Sarkisian take the HC job at USC. The Huskies replaced Sark with Chris Petersen, formerly of Boise State. Coach Petersen brings one of the best all-time FBS records to Montlake, as well as two Bear Bryant Coach of the Year awards from his time at Boise. Though Coach Petersen will not coach the Huskies in the Fight Hunger Bowl, he will be in attendance, and has observed some of Washington’s bowl practices.
Why we are going to win:
The Huskies will be coached by former Washington Quarterback, and 2013 QB coach Marques Tuiasosopo. Coach Tui, as he is affectionately known by the team, is a motivator. Despite his lack of experience, he’ll know how to get the team fired up to achieve a 9-win season for the first time since 2000. The Husky offense is powered by one of the top-3 running backs in the country in Bishop Sankey, as well as an ample stable of receivers and a senior quarterback. The Husky Defense vastly improved this season under Justin Wilcox, and Shaq Thompson and Danny Shelton will be hungry to cancel the Cougars’ running game.
It’s Tui’s Time
Brigham Young University Cougars
Bowl Record: 13-17-1
Season Bowl Opponent Score W/L
1974 Fiesta Bowl Oklahoma State 6-16 L
1976 Tangerine Bowl Oklahoma State 21-49 L
1978 Holiday Bowl Navy 16-23 L
1979 Holiday Bowl Indiana 37-38 L
1980 Holiday Bowl SMU 46-45 W
1981 Holiday Bowl Washington State 38-36 W
1982 Holiday Bowl Ohio State 17-47 L
1983 Holiday Bowl Missouri 21-17 W
1984 Holiday Bowl Michigan 24-17 W
1985 Citrus Bowl Ohio State 7-10 L
1986 Freedom Bowl UCLA 10-31 L
1987 All-American Bowl Virginia 16-22 L
1988 Freedom Bowl Colorado 20-17 W
1989 Holiday Bowl Penn State 39-59 L
1990 Holiday Bowl Texas A&M 14-65 L
1991 Holiday Bowl Iowa 13-13 T
1992 Aloha Bowl Kansas 20-23 L
1993 Holiday Bowl Ohio State 21-28 L
1994 Copper Bowl Oklahoma 31-16 W
1996 Cotton Bowl Kansas State 19-15 W
1998 Liberty Bowl Tulane 27-41 L
1999 Motor City Bowl Marshall 3-21 L
2001 Liberty Bowl Louisville 10-28 L
2005 Las Vegas Bowl California 28-35 L
2006 Las Vegas Bowl Oregon 38-8 W
2007 Las Vegas Bowl UCLA 17-16 W
2008 Las Begas Bowl Arizona 21-31 L
2009 Las Begas Bowl Oregon State 44-20 W
2010 New Mexico Bowl UTEP 52-24 W
2011 Armed Forces Bowl Tulsa 24-21 W
2012 Poinsettia Bowl San Diego State 23-6 W
2013 Fight Hunger Bowl Washington ? ?
Historic Bowl Games:
1980 Holiday Bowl - the ‘Miracle Bowl’. BYU came back against SMU in one of the greatest comebacks in NCAA history. With just four minutes left in the game, SMU took a commanding 42-25 lead, and many BYU fans had begun to exit the stadium. Jim McMahon led a furious comeback and scored 3 touchdowns to win the game 46-45. Some believe this was the hardest scenario to complete in the NCAA Football challenges. Full game
1984 Holiday Bowl - BYU entered the ‘84 Holiday Bowl as the #1 team in the nation. Due to the lack of prestige of the Holiday Bowl, many top teams refused to play BYU in the bowl. Eventually the Michigan Wolverines agreed to play, and BYU would win 24-17 to secure their 1st National Title. Full Game
2013 Season Record: 8-4
Date Opponent Result Highlights
8/31 Virginia L 19-16 Video
9/7 Texas W 40-21 Video
9/21 Utah L 20-13 Video
9/27 Middle Tennessee W 37-10 Video
9/4 Utah State W 31-14 Video
10/12 Georgia Tech W 38-14 Video
10/29 Houston W 47-46 Video
10/25 Boise State W 37-20 Video
11/9 Wisconsin L 27-17 Video
10/16 Idaho State W 59-13 Video
11/23 Notre Dame L 23-13 Video
11/30 Nevada W 28-23 Video
11/29 Washington ? ?
Home Away
Key Players this Season:
Taysom Hill: Our Idaho country boy started the season with ridiculously high expectations. BYU fans have been extremely spoiled in our QB recruits, however, Quarterback U has not boasted much passing greatness in the last couple of years. Hill, a Stanford transfer, showed great promise in 2012 but an ACL injury sidelined him after starting only one game. In 2013, his scrambling ability and speed have carried the offense, though many of us are anxious for him to learn better pocket presence and accuracy in the years to come.
Jamaal Williams: If Hill is a little bit country, Williams is a little bit rock n’ roll. The Hill-Williams running duo has not only resulted in a top 10 rushing offense, but an offensive style BYU fans have never seen in Provo. While Hill finished the regular season with 1,211 rushing yards, Williams was just 9 yards behind him (that’s 1,211-9 = 1,202 yards for you Utah fans). As an 18 year-old Sophomore, we expect great things from Williams for at least one more season.
Cody Hoffman: At 6’4”, 210 lb, Hoffman and his sticky fingers have been a consistent go-to target for 3rd downs and other big plays. Though considered to be an NFL prospect after last year, he surprised us all when choosing to return for his Senior season. As a result, he has broken every major receiving record at BYU, including career receptions (passing Dennis Pitta), career receiving TDs (passing Austin Collie) and career receiving yards (passing Austin Collie). This feat has been doubly impressive when considering that his passes have been coming from 3 of BYU’s most inefficient QBs in history.
Biggest Plays this Season:
Beautiful catch by Cody Hoffman in Georgia Tech win.
Taysom Hill TD pass to Skyler Ridley to beat our Cougar bros in Houston.
That whole Texas game was pretty sweet.
Season Summary:
BYU fans were revelling in the Independent status entering the 2013 season. AD Tom Holmoe and staff had put together one of the toughest schedules in school history and had the team travelling to all parts of the country to compete. With Williams, Hoffman, and a healthy Hill returning with NFL prospect Kyle Van Noy, expectations were high. Bronco Mendenhall also hired on several new coaches, including OC Robert Anae. Anae had coached at BYU previously, but this time he returned with new ideas. He implemented a fast-paced offensive scheme which targeted running 100 plays a game.
The offense took a few weeks to gel and was still working out the kinks against opening opponent Virginia. BYU gained national recognition with a 40-21 thumping of Texas in Provo, but they followed that up with a pathetic showing against in-state rival, Utah. After starting the season 1-2, BYU then won 5 in a row! With win #6 they immediately accepted a bid to the Fight Hunger Bowl. Some (delusional) fans thought this was a tad early, claiming we could still make a push for the BCS. This talk was squashed, however, with the very next game in Madison, WI. The badgers gained a respect for Hill and the BYU defense, but ultimately defeated the cougars handily: 27-17. BYU finished the season going 2-1, with their fourth loss coming in the November “Independence Bowl” in South Bend.
Overall, 8 wins on a tough schedule is an excellent season. BYU is one of only 3 schools that won 6 games versus opponents with winning records this year (tOSU and Missouri being the other two). They did not lose any game by more than 10 points, which kept each game exciting until the end. I expect the same for the Fight Hunger Bowl.
Why we are going to win:
I’m a little concerned that UW’s best player is named Bishop. No good Mormon boy is going to tackle a Bishop. However, this is BYU’s 9th straight season going to a bowl game. They have won 6 of their last 8 and their last 4 in a row. HC Bronco Mendenhall knows how to prepare for these games and as DC, always has a defense that will keep BYU close. With 4 weeks of practice since last playing in Reno, Hill and the offense have had time to work out the kinks. Here’s to hoping Hoffman and Van Noy can finish their BYU careers with a bang.
Related Subreddits: /byu, /huskies, /pac12
Contributors: warox13, jkfunk, Nebrasskicker, MustSeeReason
For more info on the 35 Bowls Project, go here.
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2013.11.01 08:21 tabledresser [Table] IAmA: I'm an ER doctor (Now with more proof and twice the calories!)

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Date: 2013-11-01
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Questions Answers
Could you elaborat on the worst thing you've ever seen? Was the fireworks accident the worst phisically, or the worst emotionally for you? And if it was physical, then what was the most emotionally challenging thing you've seen (abused children, mass killings, etc.)? Hmmm...that firework incident was the worst physically, and tied for worst emotionally with a handicapped child who was brought in by parents in rigor mortis (had been deceased for hours, neglected). That got our blood boiling, but we still had to remain professional.
Person with chronic pain here. Presuming that we aren't viewed to be drug seekers (which is a difficult subject), how high are we on the triage list on an average night? During my worst, there were times when I wasn't sure I would make it through the hour, let alone the night. If our tools fail us and the pain is high (8-9), where would we fit? Great question, and I'm so sorry to hear about your suffering. The best answer is that your wait will depend on how many people in the waiting room have more immediately life/limb-threatening conditions. Pain itself IS an emergency, but pain itself is usually not going to kill or permanently injure a patient. When I see a patient with chronic pain, my goal is two-fold: treat their pain (an emergency itself, as mentioned before), and make sure that they don't have a life/limb-threatening condition that is masquerading as their chronic pain.
I'm currently a pre med student and plan on applying to med school next year. So far I'm thinking I'd love to work in the ER. I was wondering, why did you decide to specialize in emergency medicine? What are the perks? What are the drawbacks? Thank you for doing this btw! Terrific!
I considered several different specialties, including ER, general surgery, plastic surgery, trauma surgery and psychiatry. They each had their pros and cons.
I found that I really enjoyed being in the ER; I liked the idea of working hard for a 12 hour shift and then going home without having to take call (no pager).
Additionally, I felt the need to balance work with home life. General surgery residency takes at least 5 years, often 6 years; add on 1-2 years for a Trauma fellowship or for a Plastics fellowship, and consider that vs only 3-4 years for an ER residency. Most of the surgeons I met who had been practicing for a while after fellowship were still working 70-80 hours per week, waking early, coming home late and taking pager call. Some people (bless their hearts) are so dedicated to medicine and academia that that lifestyle is OK with them and with their spouses. I felt that it would be too great a sacrifice for myself and for my wife (and I had a son during my 3rd year of medical school).
Psych...eh. It was interesting on paper, but the practice was incredibly boring!
ER lets me learn about and see a whole spectrum of surgical disease and psychiatric disease without having to deal with the downsides of each of those specialties.
A final point is that I have a fairly short attention span. Having to round on a patient for days or weeks on a medical, surgical or psychiatric floor of the hospital is nothing short of purgatory for me.
Awesome, that sounds about like what I had hoped. What particularly is boring about psychiatry? I'm curious because other than ED I'm considering psychiatry as well. To quote Toby Keith: compared with psychiatry, ER has "a little less talk, and a lot more action".
Also, do you see your own doctor? Or do you diagnose yourself most of the time? How often do you disagree with your doctor? I've always wondered! I do see a primary care physician -great guy, and he has years and years more experience than I have so I do trust him. As you've probably already realized, it is impossible for a doctor to know everything about everything; as an ER doc, I know a lot about some things and a little about most things, but chronic management of blood pressure or eczema never really interested me so its good to have someone on your team who does know that type of thing inside and out (not that I have hypertension or eczema). I fortunately haven't had to see him for many problems yet.
I see you use a few Christian references here and there. Are you associated with any religion? If so, has there been any times when your religious views and what a patient wants conflict? Such as emergency abortion or what not. Not sure if that made any sense... Good question. I am Christian, and I try to treat everyone as I believe Jesus would -he didn't discriminate and neither do I. I haven't felt any conflict in management of medical conditions, with the exception of a couple instances during residency in which two patients did not want blood transfusions for their own religious reasons. In those situations I remained professional, kept that "even keel" I mentioned earlier, discussed with them the "risks, benefits and alternatives" of the decision at hand and abided by their choice.
ER doctors don't perform abortions. The closest thing to it would be what is called a peri-mortem C-section. This is an emergency c-section performed in the instance of severe maternal trauma, when the mother is dying rapidly or has just died and the focus is on making every possible effort to save baby. Seconds count.
I know some Obstetricians who opt to not perform abortions, so if a patient requests it from them they will provide the contact information for another Obstetrician. They don't do it out of spite, hatred or callousness, but because they feel that the baby has the same rights as its mother.
Thankfully I'm not in that position.
I'm glad to see Christian doctors all the time. People who have faith in God and also a very good understanding of science. Many people think religion and science will forever be enemies. Another question of mine would be, do you have a few colleagues that also share your faith? How did you find out? I always enjoy finding Christians in places outside of church. One big happy family! Also, what are some hobbies or interests you have? Being so busy at night, how do you find the time to do things you love? And what are the leadership positions you've reached in these hobbies like you said earlier? Totally agree! I actually don't hang out with other doctors on a regular basis because I live in a small town, but during medical school and residency I had a lot of Christian colleagues.
Hobbies & Interests: I have become a dedicated musician -I write Christian rock/progressive rock, play drums, learning bass guitar. So when I do have free time on days off that is what I choose to do. I also spend as much time as possible with my wife and son and with my dad. Occasionally we go wake surfing with a friend who owns a boat; we go snowboarding most winters; I used to sail and golf a lot, but now family has replaced that (o; I still love the arts, but haven't painted or done any dedicated photography in years.
I was drumline captain; I was a founding member of Toastmasters at UCSD (not very impressive, but it demonstrated leadership potential to med school committees); I organized a series of forums for pre-medical students to meet and pester med students, heheh...It doesn't have to be big deal -just little things that show committees that you have initiative.
Earlier you mentioned a girl living a sinful lifestyle. I know it's nobody's place to judge, but do you sometimes just cringe a little? For example a pregnant teenage Christian who came into the ER for whatever reason? Oh sure. The immediate, natural response is some level of judgement. But then I make the conscious effort to subdue my own sinful nature and to help those in need.
Hi. Do most ER doctors have unhealthy diets? What I can say is that I probably have an unhealthier diet than most ER docs. (o; By default, we don't get lunch breaks. So I constantly snack. And since celery and carrot sticks taste terrible with coffee, which I guzzle all night, I tend more towards chocolate and cookies. Fortunately, this is in addition to a very balanced diet that my wife forces on me when I go home.
Prefer Miller or Mac? I've found using a Mac 4 on moderately sized pts and physically lifting the epiglottis instead of the using the velecula to lift the anatomy is preferable. Little trick an anesthesiologist told me, seems to work. Source: medic. I totally agree -I choose a Big Mac whenever possible. Miller is too narrow, imho.
What's the strangesting thing you've seen? Yes, that's strangesting. It's a combination of strange and interesting. I'd say the gentleman who caught a tree branch between the legs while ATV'ing on someone else's property. It entered his body adjacent to his genitals, passed through his pelvis and exited through his low back. We had to get the maintenance man to bring a circular saw into the trauma room to trim the branch and then he went to the OR; he actually did just fine! I've also seen a lot of strangesting things that strengthen my belief in God, but that's for another forum (o;
Have u considered calling it ERD (Emergency Room Department) or EDR? I think EDR rolls off the tongue better even if it doesn't make the most sense I dig it!
What advice do you have for a high school student who is considering your field of work? A TON of advice, but I'll boil it down to the following.
1) develop an efficient way of studying; the quicker you can REALLY learn material, the more time you'll have to do other things (see #2).
2) be well-rounded: volunteer doing something that you are passionate about; elevate your sport or hobby to a leadership position (everyone has hobbies, but being a leader is desired by medical schools).
3) be a good person; practice keeping "an even keel" when under pressure.
4) study hard: no matter how great a person you are, if you can't learn an ENORMOUS amount of material then you can't practice medicine.
I may revisit this question if anything else comes to mind.
Why does it take like, four hours(or more) to see a doc in the ED? Depends on the hospital/town. My little ER has only 4 beds. I work nights and it is just myself, my RN and my tech overnight. Most of the time I'll see the patient within 5 minutes. However, if we have 5 patients coming in at once, and if each patient requires 15 minutes to discuss their condition, perform an exam, place orders and chart, then that 5th patient may not be seen for over an hour.
Larger ERs have the benefit of more staff, but they are usually more crowded.
It takes at least 5 minutes to discuss the patient's condition with them, and to examine them for even a basic complaint like "flu"
It takes another 10-15 minutes to place orders and document (write notes about the patient, their exam findings, etc.).
Then it takes about 30-45 minutes for most labs to come back, about 30-45 minutes for any radiology studies to be performed and read by the Radiologist and for us to receive their report of findings.
Then I have to reassess the patient's progress (sometimes many times over the course of several hours, if they are very ill).
Then I have to think through all of the data we have accumulated, and decide on the next course of action: 1) admit to my hospital for further care/testing? 2) transfer to the larger regional hospital? 3) let the patient go home? 4) keep them in the ER for further observation/treatment?
Then I have to place calls (we don't have a secretary) to the patient's primary care physician or to various specialists to admit/transfer or to arrange for follow-up appointment. (5-60 or more minutes)
Then I have to print up discharge instructions & write prescriptions if patient is going home, or I have to place orders for their hospital stay, or to fill out transfer forms if they are going to another facility. (5-20 minutes)
If there are multiple patients who need procedures like repair of lacerations (cuts), or replacements of dislocated shoulders or placement of special IV's called "central lines", or a whole variety of other time-intensive things, it can really add up. Now, if you slammed your finger with a hammer 4 days ago and it's still purple and painful, you will probably be one of the last people to be seen.
If you have a condition which the triage nurse (or at my little hospital, myself or my one nurse) feels is very time-sensitive such as the NSTEMI or unprotected airway mentioned earlier, then we're going to whisk you into a room as soon as possible.
If you slammed your finger JUST prior to coming to the ER, you're more likely to get seen sooner than the person who injured it 4 days ago.
I've been an ER patient a couple times and know that the wait can be VERY frustrating.
My little brother(13) had a head wound in a golf cart accident (the skull was visible) why did he spend 4 hours in the er waiting room. Saint Francis hospital in Tulsa I believe. Sorry I can't give you a definite cause, but I've felt your frustration myself. Typically when there are those kinds of wait times, the ER doctor and staff are just as frustrated by the situation as the patients (though not in pain, of course), and are struggling to keep things moving while making sure that they are not discharging sick patients out of the ER sooner than they should. And of course, when the ER has a lot of really sick patients who all need to be admitted to the main part of the hospital, LONG delays take place. the ER doc has to call a hospitalist or specialist to request admission, then ER doc has to call the "bed control" person, then wait for a bed to be assigned (which can take HOURS if the hospital is full, which it usually is), then wait for the nurse upstairs to accept sign out from the ER nurse, then someone has to transport the patient upstairs and someone else has to clean the ER room. Tremendously frustrating for everyone involved.
How much are you paid specifically? I'm sorry, I don't feel comfortable sharing the specific number, but I can say that ER doctors in SoCal typically are paid between $100-200/hour. Most of us work between 10-16 12hr shifts, though because I live in a relatively expensive part of California I have to work 16-19 12hr shifts to live comfortably (note: NOT luxuriously, just comfortably). Some places pay more, but you're going to work harder or work in a more stressful environment at those locations.
How is the medical field treating you financially? Emergency medicine is somewhat isolated from who is paying and how much they are paying because most of us are employed by large groups that pay us by the hour, or by an annual salary. Some facilities also compensate physicians based on how hard they are working ("RVU's" - if one doc has a really easy shift while his colleague has a very busy shift, the second guy is going to be compensated for that additional work).
Is this your favorite specialty or did you want to do something else in the medical field? Primary care and surgical specialties are probably more at risk of volatility in the payer system. ER is a fairly safe option.
What is your opinion on MD vs PA, for some the Physicians Assistant option is more feasible than Medical School? ED's in my area have gotten away from using PA's for anything other than simple sprains, colds and stitches. In the past they were partnered with Physicians in the ED to treat patients with more complex complaints however they are no longer allowed to handle any severe cases such as COPD/CHF exacerbation, STEMI's, and CPR's. Would you recommend against pursuing PA school for someone looking to work in Emergency Medicine? I know exactly what you mean. For the vast majority of people, becoming a PA is a much better option than becoming a doctor. A LOT less school, a LOT less stress & responsibility (since they are supervised they are less liable legally), and better work hours usually.
I would say go for medical school if you tend to be more academically oriented, love studying & learning, and want a position of greater responsibility. Go for PA school if you just want/need to just get out there soon and start helping people.
What are some of the things you have seen which have strengthened your relationship with God? The most "miraculous" recovery I've seen was a massive stroke with herniation of the brain; she was comatose on a vent in the ICU one day, Neurosurgeon was pushing to withdraw care; next day she was sitting up in bed alert, oriented and speaking; next day she was walking.
Now, my view of miracles is that they don't have to be these dramatic, intense moments. I had a female patient who was suffering from complications of a sinful lifestyle, one night. In general I am not allowed to bring up religion in the workplace, but if someone else brings it up then I feel comfortable responding (always remaining professional, respectful, polite). I prayed that somehow God would help her out of her destructive lifestyle. While discussing her lab results, she said "Thank God" (casually, not piously) -I saw the opportunity God had given us and engaged her in a wonderful conversation about God.
Lots of other unexpected recoveries and interactions.
What is the most rewarding part of your job? I earn a decent amount of money, but I could make more if I was in business rather than in medicine.
The emotional satisfaction I get with helping others (I feel we are all God's servants and that this is one way that He acts through me)
And the mental stimulation that the job constantly provides.
As a chaplain resident who has seen some very poor ones, what are your thoughts on death notifications? What has helped you become better at them? Excellent question. Some people (physicians and in the general population) are naturally better at human interaction than others. I went into medicine with a fairly balanced interest in human interaction and science, and feel comfortable with most social situations while I have seen many doctors whose strengths are clearly greater in the sciences! Death notifications and delivering bad news is a learned skill that improves with medical school and residency, but it does require at least some basic competency and empathy.
In terms of what specifically has helped me to become better, I would say observation & practice. Watching every notification I was allowed to observe, picking out details of the primary physician's delivery that I respected and those that I didn't like as much.
If a child brought their sick cat to the hospital in an emergency, perhaps it is choking, would you treat it or let it die? Oooo...hmm. I love animals (though not especially fond of cats) so I'd try to treat it as best I could. Basic airway control would be similar to an infant or small child probably, but medication doses? vascular access? shrug
Do you remember what your MCAT and USMLE tests? Just curious... Wow -haven't thought about those in a LONG time. They were average, but I still got into an excellent medical school (UCSD) and an excellent emergency residency program (ECU).
Once you're practicing, those numbers don't mean a lot. This is the first time I've been asked about them since residency.
What is med school like...? What are some of the emotions and difficulties that you experienced? I don't even know how to properly word this question... Just... What's it like? I want to go to med school - PECOM hopefully. It's been my goal since elementary to become a pediatrics surgeon and work with the W.H.O., but... I'm absolutely terrified of getting there and being hit with a truck that says I can't take the pressure and I don't have what it takes. I'll probably still aim for it no matter what though, I have my mind set, but I can't help but wonder and feel anxious. Also, how much/difficult is the math you use? I may be in honors/AP bio and chem, but math is one of those dreaded subjects for me. Have any tips on what math knowledge is most needed/should be focused on most? ABSOLUTELY keep aiming for that goal. Sounds like you're in high school right now? The math that I use on a daily basis is simple multiplication. And I use a calculator, heheh. The problem is that in order to learn and understand the principles of physiology (the function of all the systems in our bodies), you really do need to understand mathematics fairly well. But you know, from high school through college they take you in baby steps -get a tutor if needed, just don't back down from the challenge. That goes for all the difficult courses you'll eventually get to in medical school too, and some of them are VERY difficult, but all of them are doable. I was always a slow, distracted reader, so I had a tough time in medical school but like I mentioned, it can be done (even by those of us who are not natural geniuses). WHEN you get to medical school, keep your focus on that specialty as that goal will help motivate you through emotional & physical fatigue, frustration. However, also keep an open mind to other specialties -most of us changed interests during 3rd year.
In the grand scheme of triage, how high up is an NSTEMI? Compared with?
Someone with a normal EKG in triage, but with chest pain and a history of coronary disease, and someone else who is drunk to the point of unconsciousness (we've all see that guy at parties/bars, right?) who is vomiting and at risk for aspiration (inhalation of their puke), the drunk is getting a room immediately, getting suctioned & getting intubated while I the RN gives an aspirin and nitroglycerine to the NSTEMI who stays on the EMS gurney until I've secured the drunk's airway. (that's assuming that the NTEMI is otherwise stable) Everything is relative (o;
Last year at age 26 I went to the ER with a 230 heart rate, 106 fever and 70/40 bp and blood cultures showed Staph aureus . How serious or sick would you consider that to be? Septic shock, quite serious but treatable. Prompt triage, IV fluids, antibiotics and vasopressors STAT, along with a central venous line and potentially an arterial line (I still love the word STAT in spite of being a cliche). I'd also assume that you were transferred to the ICU after stabilization in the ER.
Yes 10 days in the icu. I thought I was going to die! I was given adenosine for svt 3 times and it failed 3 times so then I was cardioverted. How often do you see young, healthy people in septic shock? Fortunately not that often. When it does happen in a young healthy person it is usually due to a urinary infection or pneumonia.
My girlfriend recently passed after going into septic shock with a bad kidney infection that did not respond well to antibiotics. Would it be ok to inbox you with a couple of quick questions about her treatment? I am SO sorry to hear about that, Dandino7. You can feel free to message me, and I'll let you know whether I am legally comfortable giving specific responses (I can't testify as to whether another doctor did a good or bad job, for instance). My heart goes out to you and your gf's family.
Would you say it is difficult for someone who didn't enter college immediately following high school to get into a college for pre med? Disagree. Many of my medical school colleagues at UC San Diego took substantial time off before going to medical school. One I remember worked as a pharmaceutical rep, one did overseas volunteer work, one was a professional surfer, lots did research or had other careers, some were in the military.
Thanks for the response! I always felt like I had missed my chance when I didn't go to college right out of high school. Thanks for the renewed hope :) Best o' luck!
What's your opinion of the training and skill level of EMS providers? Should they be doing more, or less in the prehospital environment? I am very proud of my EMT's. They do amazing things with relatively little training. In NC where I did my residency, we would often get first-responder EMT's (basic) who would come in in their camo hunting gear or chest-high fishing boot-suits, but those folks save lives!
Two men walk into your ED, both sporting injuries from what seems like what may be a series of violent altercations with animals. Given their injuries seem to be about the same to the naked eye, which man would you treat first: the one who fought 1 horse sized duck, or the one that fought 100 duck sized horses? Thank you for this AMA. LOL I can't say I know the best answer to that one, but I'd write up both case reports for journal publication!
Also, do you like it when patients call you "Doc," or do you see that as disrespectful?? "Doc" doesn't bother me at all (o: That's what several of the staff call me too. I always introduce myself to patients "Hi, I'm Dr. Norvell, Garrett Norvell". That way it's clear what my role is in their care, but it feels more personal, that I'm not just a title, that I'm not there to be domineering.
If you were to choose another medical specialty, what would it be? Plastic surgery: I've always been an artist, and I would love to combine that passion with the practice of medicine.
What is your best piece of advice for aspiring doctors? Please see the question posted about 10 minutes prior to your's. All of those points are very important.
What in your opinion is the most incredible thing about the human body? Development & the INTERACTION between all the separate parts -and its potential to recover from astonishing injury.
Why be an ER doctor instead of a cardiologist or anesthesiologist? Isn't money an issue if you only make a teacher's salary? All residents earn approximately the same amount, depending on local cost of living (everyone at a given facility will earn the same amount), and it is usually around $35-40k per year.
After residency, the spread is HUGE. A cardiologist can easily earn 300-400k per year, as can an anesthesiologist, and it's possible for them to earn a LOT more. Anesthesia never really interested me for some reason. Cardiology would be interesting but you have to go through a 3-yr Internal Medicine residency first, THEN do a 3-yr Cardiology fellowship; the whole time you are spending hours and hours and hours rounding on patients on medical wards in the hospital AND you're always going to have to take pager call (work from morning to night, then get called many times during the night [often requiring that you return to the hospital], then go back to work the next morning...ugh.) UGH. Not for me (o:
Somehow I think a doctor that can work in ER could hack doing rounds on patients. PS. Is there any cheap over the counter product that will test how much plaque is in my arteries? Sorry, I'm not aware of anything like that, but a "fasting lipid profile" is an easy, affordable test that your regular doctor may order for you.
What's a DO degree? Doctor of Osteopathy (as opposed to an MD which is Allopathy). Osteo tends to approach disease from a more holistic perspective than Allopathy, but my understanding is that the actual practice of Osteopathy is not significantly different than Allopathy.
Are there any DO's watching this forum who can chime in?
Do you have any good study habit tips? If I had it to do over again, I would probably want to take a speed-reading course before medical school. There is just so much to absorb in such a short period of time. I would also recommend that you decide on just a couple hobbies to keep up during medical school so that you are not constantly fighting against studying for the chance to do all the fun things in young adulthood. Beyond that: set a specific number of hours to study and really dedicate yourself to that. set bathroom and snack breaks so that you aren't constantly distracted and getting up from your desk. Study with the best students in your class. Do lots of practice questions. Attend office hours whenever possible; that's when professors let slip what questions will be on the exam (or at least what types of questions, what specific subjects will be "important" [i.e., tested]). Get plenty of sleep.
Have you read the book 'Proof of Heaven' by Dr Eben Alexander? If so, what are your opinions of his claims of experiencing the afterlife? He states his brain was inactive during his bacterial meningitus induced coma, but surely he could have experienced his lucid visions/experience whilst coming to and surviving? You know, I haven't read that one; honestly, I haven't read a book for pleasure/interest in a couple decades! But I'll look that one up -it sounds interesting.
Hello from SLO! (I'm assuming you're at Santa Ynez Hospital in Solvang?) So anyhow, to my question. I ave always wondered, is it difficult to eat at times when you get done with shift/ take your lunch? I would think there would be plenty of days that just make your stomach churn. Heheh, my appetite overrules any objection brought forth by the rest of my body. (o; In general I snack and drink coffee all night. I actually tend to eat more when I'm stressed. Costco trail mix with M&M's is my favorite, but I'm also a fan of WhoNu cookies. The hospital provides me with a meal which is usually well-balanced but on several occasions has been entirely veggie-based and difficult for a meat-eater like me to stomach (a memorable one was as follows: veggie quiche, green bean casserole, cream of carrot soup and carrot cake). When I get home in the morning I have breakfast with my son while my wife gets ready; this is frequently a smoothie or bowl of cereal and a finger of whisky, neat.
Where is the strangest location you have found a stray pubic hair? Huh...good question, and I don't have a very interesting answer! (o: I remember that when I was a kid, I saw a stray short n' curly stuck to the wall about a foot from the ceiling of my friend's bathroom. I always wondered how it got there...
Thank you for the time and effort you have put into this AMA. I appreciate you replying to my question. Everyone is posting wonderful questions -it's a pleasure to answer.
Do patients ever flirt with you since you are a young, handsome doctor? Occasionally. You just have to remain polite and professional (o: Same thing applies when people are viciously rude to myself or to my staff. It can be quite challenging, especially when you're tired.
Have you ever removed a botfly? No, it's not as common an occurrence here as in other parts of the world. From what I've seen and read it's a pretty disturbing procedure!
Also at what age did you finally become an ER physician? I was 31 when I finished residency. Some of my colleagues were older, some younger, most were between 30 and 33.
What do you think about the debt that many medical students take on these days? What can be done about it? I don't think that a lot can be done about it. It feels awful when you see that final total over 200k at time of graduation. And paying it off takes a considerable chunk out of your paycheck each month, but it is all part of the job.
Last updated: 2013-11-05 03:45 UTC
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