This past weekend was the Michigan state pinball championship. It was also the championship weekend for, I think, 32 other states and three Canadian provinces. And who do you think happened to be among the top 20 ranked, eligible players in the state of Michigan this year, against everything that he would ever have imagined could be even as recently as October of 2013? That's right; as the rosters for the championship were drawn up I was ranked as number 18.
Unfortunately the championship is between the top 16 ranked, eligible players, so I would get an invite to be crushed by much better players only if at least two people above me bowed out. It's not unthinkable; one of the state's top players couldn't make it because he was getting married, and another skipped out on the Michigan tournament to play in Kentucky's instead. And if the weather had been a little worse, well, maybe we would've been able to make it to The Pyramid Scheme, in Grand Rapids, for the tournament while someone else couldn't. This didn't happen, but they might well have.
We had been to The Pyramid Scheme twice before, once on a free-play day when we were returning from Michigan's Adventure, and once at a pinball show they held a week later. We'd hoped to make it there last week, during their (monthly) free play day --- a true free play, too, with no cover charge --- but since a foot-plus of snow came down that day we just weren't crazy enough to make that. Our pinball friend --- MWS --- who did earn an invite to the tournament, and who'd never been there before, went out the night before the tournament so he'd have the chance to play the tables at all and discover how much they didn't feel like any tables he was used to playing. While there he saw one of the state's pinball overlords --- CST --- put up an absolutely unholy score on The Simpsons Pinball Party.
The Simpsons Pinball Party is a game we have at our local hipster bar, and everyone hates it, because it's on all the hardest settings and nobody really gets above ten million points on it. Most people count it as a great game if they break three million. On Simpsons at the Pyramid Scheme, CST put up four hundred million points before walking away, plunging his last three (extra) balls because he was just bored after an hour or so of playing. I think he's way overreacting to my fluke score on The Walking Dead. Still, four hundred million points on The Simpsons Pinball Party. Yes, every table is different --- that's part of what makes pinball fun --- and different settings will ratchet scores up and down dramatically but that is still higher than all but four scores boasted of on Pinside, and by far the highest score for an on-location table there.
So that was all part of the setting before we even got there Saturday.
Trivia: The English physician Martin Lister described among the highlights of his 1698 trip to Paris a visit to ``the Glass House'', where he encountered a mirror 88 inches long and 48 inches wide. Perhaps three of that size had been successfully made by that point. Source: The Essence of Style: How the French Invented High Fashion, Fine Food, Chic Cafés, Style, Sophistication, and Glamour, Joan DeJean.
Currently Reading: Arming America: The Origins Of A National Gun Culture, Michael A Bellesiles.
PS: At The Pinball Tables a little math problem broke out. Fifth since the last roundup, if you haven't already read it on the RSS feed or in Livejournal Syndication form. Or just read the blog where it got published in the first place.