austin_dern (austin_dern) wrote,

Something to make the fourth-column headlines

Our pinball friend MWS, as well as a couple of other friends from pinball, went to the Professional and Amateur Pinball Association tournament in Pittsburgh last week, which is why MWS missed the Lansing league's most recent night, and why the Marvin's league was rescheduled from one week to another. We naturally followed how they were doing, bunny_hugger more directly, as she follows them on Facebook.

Unfortunately, they didn't do extremely well. The most heartbreaking was MWS, who kept buying cards to make attempts at qualifying, and not having the run of several strong games in a row needed to qualify for the final tournament. One or two strong games, yes --- he put up some personal records on some machines, and they were set on crushingly difficult settings --- but not the five or so needed together, and he ended up, he said, buying too many cards, spending far too much money, and ultimately not qualifying and not having fun. (Among other things he prefers match play, playing against one or more people, and this was all solo play.) He also admitted to having pretty high expectations, since all the A-class players said that his position --- in the C division --- was undervalued and that he should clean up in such lowly company.

(PAPA has reorganized its skill classes recently, and pretty controversially opened up the C division to a wide skill range, wide enough that I don't believe there's any regular player in the Lansing league that doesn't meet the minimum ranking, and that does seem overly broad a range.)

So he had a lot of agonizing attempts over the weekend and at one point declared he was quitting pinball. (He was back with us on Tuesday, to make up the games missed at the regular league night, along with several other folks who'd missed the chance to play.)

Our other pinball league friends had similar disappointments, though; I don't think any of the Lansing league regulars qualified, never mind finished strong. So from our point of view it was a weekend of exciting stuff happening but the particular news being disappointing.

Trivia: Henry Shreve's snag boat, designed to clear dead trees captured in riverbeds, managed in the 1830s to cut a path through the Great Raft, a logjam on Louisiana's Red River some 150 miles long. The cleared river opened up to commerce and the city of Shreveport. Source: An Empire Of Wealth: The Epic History of American Economic Power, John Steele Gordon.

Currently Reading: Buffoon Men: Classic Hollywood Comedians and Queered Masculinity, Scott Balcerzak.


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