austin_dern (austin_dern) wrote,
austin_dern
austin_dern

Ever since I was a young boy

OK, all this was a bit more giddy fun before the terrible news about rapidtrabbit's death. I'm shocked and saddened. We'd not seen him enough at conventions, and had held out hopes of sometime getting to a New York City-area amusement park with him. Part of our anniversary trip (story to follow) was guided by his experiences, and his advice was part of what made that wonderful.


OK, so, Pinburgh. I'm excerpting just that part because it was so exciting to end up highly placed in one division of the biggest competitive pinball event held to date. There was more on the trip, before and after, and I'll get to that in time and I hope remember to weave references to this back in.

It began early Thursday, in Pittsburgh, with the long walk from our hotel to the David L Lawrence Convention Center. This was where Pinburgh was held last year, and also where Anthrocon's been years in a row. Earlier than we might have liked, because Michigan Pinball wanted to take a group photo. The group consensus was that it would be taken at 9:15 am, and we had less ambiguous information about where to gather than we had last year.

So it got started late, and we could have probably left ten minutes later and not be missed, and so we could have slept in another ten minutes, which would have been great. We had started the expedition to Pinburgh with an all-day drive down to Cincinnati, and then a full day at the Kings Island amusement park, and then another day of driving, and a small side tournament, and we had already, before the first plunge of a tournament that has you going for twelve not-quite-straight hours of competitive play against a selection of the world's most eager competitors, going in fatigued and with sore feet. Ten more minutes off them would have been nice.

bunny_hugger was not the designated group photo taker, despite her clear expertise in taking a lot of really good photos, what with how she uses an actual camera and stuff. Someone had brought in a 360-degree panoramic camera. We were to gather in a circle around a golf-ball-sized orb mounted atop a tripod that looked like a misfired attempt at being Doctor Who future-alien technology. Still, all we had to do was stand in a circle. No, a circle. No, nobody should stand behind anybody else ... right, in a circle. No, come closer and ... well, we got that done in time for the official Michigan Pinball group portrait and I think only a couple people who should've been there missed out entirely.

The area was set up a little differently from last year's. Mostly the main stage was farther back from the free-play and other public areas of the convention. This let them fit, it seemed, more and more comfortable chairs in for the audience. It also let them fit in some big circular tables that would be great for snacking when one was eating between-rounds. And we could all gather together and listen in reasonable comfort to the welcoming and inspirational words of whoever was the master of ceremonies: or we would if we could hear them. I'm pretty sure all I could make out was that there were the full complement of 800 attendees, fifty more than last year's total and the greatest number ever to attend a Pinburgh or, as far as anyone knows, a competitive pinball event. Also, we should remember (something) and (something else) and I'm not sure but it did seem inspirational and that's as much as we needed.

And then --- 10 am, and the start of the first round. I was the 255th seed of the 800 players, based (I suppose) on my International Flipper Pinball Association ranking. That ranking recorded me as something like the 600th-highest-ranked player in the world. bunny_hugger was seeded 287th, I suppose on the strength of her roughly-700th-place world ranking. The contest was under way.

Trivia: ``Singing In The Rain'' had its film debut in M-G-M's The Hollywood Revue of 1929, performed there by the Brox Sisters, Dagmar, Loraine, and Kathlyn. Source: The Encyclopedia of Vaudeville, Anthony Slide.

Currently Reading: Luna: Pittsburgh's Original Lost Kennywood, Brian Butko.

PS: The Summer 2017 Mathematics A To Z: Cohomology and the first of this A To Z sequence I'm not positive I'm actually competent to write! Does it show?

Tags: pinball, pinburgh
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