austin_dern (austin_dern) wrote,
austin_dern
austin_dern

Come to this house!

We went back to the far end of the convention hall. There was another show that had interested us. They had set up someone to play ... uhm ... some late-80s video game about a guy fighting ninjas who kidnapped his dad. It'd be a speedrun through the game. The twist is that they had a band on-stage with the game player, and they'd perform the music of the game live. That's interesting enough, sure, though I'll admit I had no idea what the game was or why its performance would be particularly interesting. There had been another such live-game-playalong earlier, for some game bunny_hugger was more interested in. But there was a schedule conflict. I think it was opposite one of the rounds of Pinburgh. We'd similarly missed an 80s show the night before, if I'm not mistaken.

And all afternoon, all evening, it seemed, there were people streaming along the glass-walled bridge over the center of the convention floor, people going to the Clinton rally and then, at some point, leaving the Clinton rally. The streaming of people seemed to be going on every time I glanced there, through to past midnight. That felt good. Comforting.

At some point we ate, and here I realize some confusion in my memory. I remember too many meals for the time we have available. I know that one day we found there was a whole counter selling burgers, including vegetarian burgers, on the far opposite side of the convention center, which is why we didn't know about it early on. And we got a dinner there, about the last one they sold for the night, that was mediocre enough but easy to get and that didn't require we go tromping around Pittsburgh.

But I also remember one night gathering with many --- not all --- of the Michigan Pinball folks in the Weston's burger bar/restaurant. This must have been at the end of the night. I remember sitting amidst a bunch of tables stuck together as everyone worked out about how they did and what this would mean for world rankings. It must've been Friday night; I think we spent time working out who might have games to play in finals, and who was going to head home early. But I also remember bunny_hugger and I getting a little naggingly hungry and that seems hard to square with our having gotten burgers and fries just a couple hours before. Maybe we met up later in the night than that, but then what were we doing between the end of the pinball competition, about 10 pm, and whenever we went to the bar?

Furthermore, though, we went out in a slightly smaller mass to that three-storey restaurant again. And we brought my friend JIM along, giving him a decent introduction to at least some of our group. This was certainly in the night; I remember walking in the dark. Also that it was another organizational fiasco. We'd gotten the idea that most of our group was gathered in the beer garden on the top floor, for which there was a queue roughly nine hours long. It turned out they were on the second floor, sitting down to eat instead. But it took more people arriving and some cross-conversation with people whose cell phones were with them (unlike mine) and charged (unlike bunny_hugger's) to get that established.

I think JIM had a good meal. I know he was delighted to hear about some of our local customs. For a good several years in the 90s pinball machines let the player buy an extra ball, in exchange for one credit, after the end of their last ball. It's a fine idea, especially since that was the era when wizard modes, giving some triumphant conclusion to a really great game, were just coming into vogue then. Who wouldn't pay an extra 50 cents to really distinctively beat the machine?

Well, turns out, most serious players don't. I suppose they figure if they're good enough to be in range on three balls, they're good enough to get there again. So this is why most games of that era will have a high score table that's populated by the local players, and then the buy-in high score table that's left to default scores and one or two names you never see on the normal high score table.

Except that our group has picked up the habit of, if you do buy in for some reason --- and it is usually the design reason, to complete some objective that you fell just short of --- and you hit the high score table you don't put in your initials. You put in those of someone else. So bunny_hugger and MWS have put CST initials on buy-in tables for Jack-Bot, and CST retaliates in kind. JIM was awestruck by the ``high-level trolling'' of our community. This sort of thing hasn't reached the Los Angeles competitive pinball scene. We do try.

Well, one of those was our last meal for Saturday night, and the others happened at some point over the weekend, and I suppose we can check our credit card receipts if we ever really need to know just which was which.

It wasn't, remarkably, yet the end of the night.

Trivia: Skylab astronaut Jack Lousma was born the 29th of February. He was also one inch taller than the requirement that candidates be not more than six feet tall. (His Marine Corps flight surgeon ``measured'' him at 5 feet, 11 and 7/8th inches tall.) Source: Homesteading Space: The Skylab Story, David Hitt, Owen Garriott, Joe Kerwin.

Currently Reading: The Lost Work of Will Eisner, Editors Andrew Carl, Josh O'Neill, Chris Stevens.

PS: How October 2016 Treated My Mathematics Blog, now that I remembered to post the thing I wrote up for it.

Tags: pinball, pinburgh
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