austin_dern (austin_dern) wrote,
austin_dern
austin_dern

And I don't think I'll be coming back again

Our vacation up north would not come without a price. We had to miss the opening night of the Lansing pinball league. That's sufferable; the league format makes it easy to make up games at a later date. But it hurts to know all our friends are getting together playing pinball without us. We could at least play pinball. Pinside's map identified a bar in Traverse City that even had a FunHouse, our favorite game. It was a bit of a hike, in hot sun, from the parking garage where we'd stashed the cigar for bunny_hugger's father, but we had the promise of FunHouse ahead. And a pleasant discovery just short of the hipster bar with the pinball game.

There was another arcade just across the street. It looked to be a converted garage, now with a couple dozen old arcade games and some video game consoles and even two pinball machines in. We went in The Coin Slot, to find it was blazingly hot; nobody was there except the attendant and we don't blame people for staying out of that oven. The attendant asked if we'd been there before and then explained all the games were on free play, but you had to have a wristband, which was $10 for the day.

The pinball machines were 1989's Earthshaker and the 1990 Data East Simpsons. They're games from a particularly brutal era, games with extremely challenging shots and very harsh rules; you haven't got much choice in strategy. With machines in good, well-maintained shape, they're real tests of skill. If the machine were, somehow, in less-than-good shape after twenty(?)-plus years on location, they're just frustration. Also there's a well-maintained Data East Simpsons in Grand Rapids where we can play all we like for a quarter a pop. We don't play it much because even in best possible shape it's not that good. All it has going for it is its theme, and that's limited by the game being made in the first season of The Simpsons. So it has like four things to refer to, and boy does it get tired to hear Bart call out ``Way to go man!'' every ten seconds. Sadly, we passed on the chance to pay twenty dollars for possibly unplayable games.

Ah, but across the street, the Workshop Brewing Company, its promise of pinball and FunHouse --- which is also from that brutal era, but has a more modern set of rules and flexibility so it's fun even if stuff isn't working well. They didn't have FunHouse. The map was outdated. They'd replaced it with the Tales From The Crypt pinball. No idea when. They also had a Jurassic Park, another game we could play in Grand Rapids if we wanted. The table had default manufacturer's setting high scores, but that could reflect nothing more than that the table was reset during some maintenance.

We made do as best we could, admittedly something I'm skilled at. They had a jazz band playing, which started up nearly twelve feet away from the pinball machines. They had your classic overly complicated drinks and food menu and I think we tried just to get soda without embarrassing ourselves. It seemed like a pleasant enough spot, just, the fact we had the Cryptkeeper instead of Rudy there gave it a lonely feeling. Still, we had some decent games, working out some strategy for Tales From The Crypt. And I squeaked onto the Jurassic Park high score table, thanks to it storing the top six scores (four is the industry might-as-well-be-standard), winning me the title of whatever that chicken dinosaur is called.

While we waited, possibly obscured under the music and the bar noise, bunny_hugger's father sent a series if increasingly worried voice mails to her. This was regarding our other task for the day. Her brother and his girlfriend were to fly in to Traverse City in the evening, and we figured to pick them up. But there had been some kind of delay with one of the flights they were taking, and they were not, absolutely not, going to be able to make the Chicago-to-Traverse-City flight. No idea when they'd be able to make it. We'd lose a day with them, and we'd have to drive the half-hour-plus to Traverse City and back to pick them up. But we could also go back to the house whenever we felt like.

While you know where this is going, somehow, we didn't.

Trivia: As investment agent for the Province of Pennsylvania in 1761, Benjamin Franklin --- with the advice of stockbroker John Rice --- lost about £ 4,000 of some £27,000 put into stocks. (Peace talks between Britain and France had broken down, and the war expanded to include Spain.) Source: The First American: The Life and Times of Benjamin Franklin, H W Brands.

Currently Reading: American Monsters: A History of Monster Lore, Legends, and Sightings In America, Linda S Godfrey. Which has a bunch of interesting critters, but it's all discussing sightings rather than cultural context or scientific opinion on related topics. It almost feels like it'd work better as a blog, highlighting a cryptozoological phenomenon of the day.

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