super volcanoes and the space needle: exactly the same to me

I love movies about supervolcanoes and tidal waves and crazy disasters. I don’t mean the big budget movies, like The Core or The Day After Tomorrow, but the TV movies, like the one I’m watching right now: Supervolcano. Or that one on TNT a few years back: Atomic Twister, which was totally awesome because it was two tornadoes, and they were both heading for a nuclear power plant! These movies are so great because they have budgets of like $5 and so they have to make due with dramatics over special effects. The actors flail about, waving their arms, and predicting the worst possible thing, which does of course happen, but generally not on screen.

Like in this one, they’re mostly showing showering ash, which I’m pretty sure is stock news footage of snow storms. They had a fakey expert on the fake news, talking about how for airborne planes, volcanic ash is like buckets of sand in the the engine… except it’s rocks pelting the plane (unlike, um, sand). And then one of the main characters, who happened to be on the plane, got into the cockpit because he explained to the flight attendents that he was a scientist and needed to tell the pilots how to change the flight pattern to avoid the eruption.

The documentaries on networks like the Discovery Channel are just as good, full of scientists looking for TV time and re-enactments that vy with this TV movie for production quality.

Why do I love them so much? Maybe because they take my actual fears and make them totally preposterous and melodramatic and crazy. And the production values are so poor, there’s no chance I might accidentally get sucked in and find it all believable.

I fear a lot of things, although I try not to think about it. I don’t know what makes some people fearless and other people fear everything. I remember as a kid doing lots of crazy things: edging forward in an icy pond to see who could go the farthest without being chicken (or falling in), climbing up rocks and trees and turning over rocks looking for scorpions, climbing on top of oil well pumps. What changed? How did I become afraid of roller coasters and airplanes and four-wheel driving through mud and driving over tall bridges?

Obviously, I don’t want to die, but at some point, I will, and I don’t want to die without living either. Not that I’m living if I’m not mud bogging it, but do I have to be such a baby of going up the elevator at the Space Needle?

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