Stepping out of time order to this past Saturday, my birthday: we went to a pinball tournament, the Meijer State Games/Harvest Festival tournament in Fremont, Michigan. It's the same place that hosted the Baby Food Festival, and it was run by the same people, with the same format. Different machines, though.
For competition on my birthday, well, I got a low but valid seeding in the Classics tournament, playing on older machines. And I won two rounds, in the second beating someone far stronger than me, thanks to a startlingly good round of Boomerang, one of the few times I've rolled a score. I lost in the third round, but that's all right; I got to the final eight.
In the Main tournament, though ... I didn't qualify for the playoffs. I was just on the bubble until the final minutes, when a friend's final game of FunHouse --- my favorite game, and bunny_hugger's too --- gave him enough points to take my place. That was disappointing, but I've got no grounds to complain. If I'd chosen a better strategy in picking qualification games I could plausibly made my place secure. (As I make it out, my best strategy would have been to re-play FunHouse until I got about 10,500,000, which would ordinarily be doable. The game was set to be extremely sensitive against nudging, ruining many players. I had taken a tolerable but not strong enough 6.2 million.)
bunny_hugger did place, though, and while she didn't get to the finals --- I wouldn't have either --- she did take home a Meijer State Games medal anyway. Her qualifying games rated her as the second-best in the women's division, and she's now collected an impressive set of pinball trophies.
In the midst of the handing-out of medals the fellow running things (PH) paused to announce that it was my birthday, and they brought out a cake and everyone sang Happy Birthday. The cake was inscribed Happy Birthday to (my pinball nickname, such as it is) and ... well, I mean, gosh. People had been wishing me a happy birthday through the day, naturally, but I hadn't imagined anything like that. The cake was a surprise imagined and conceived by our pinball friends MWS and CST --- you may remember them from the FunHouse prank last year --- and it's just so wonderful that they'd do that.
So, I'm happy. bunny_hugger had more pinball, but I did get more cake. And I won a dollar in a post-tournament dollar game of Tri-Zone, so I have some winnings to my name.
Trivia: The British Post Office laid an undersea telephone repeater in the Irish Sea, between Anglesey and the Isle of Man, in 1943. Source: How The World Was One: Beyond the Global Village, Arthur C Clarke. (It followed five years of experimental work. It just feels weirdly small a thing to work on given the big news of those years, even though practical undersea telephony would be of obvious use to the war effort.)
Currently Reading: Roads To Infinity: The Mathematics Of Truth And Proof, John Stillwell.
PS: Making Lots Of Change, a little piece inspired by the algebra fact of the day.