austin_dern (austin_dern) wrote,
austin_dern
austin_dern

It takes two to tango, it takes two to fall

Perhaps you've wondered what it takes to wake us at 5 am. That's not quite how late we normally stay up anymore, but it's much closer to our normal bedtime than even our early wake times. It was the Michigan Pinball Expo's penultimate day. It also turns out that April is Michigan pinball convention season, with quite a few events happening in rapid order. Sorry if you find pinball boring.

The Michigan Pinball Expo had, on Saturday, a pairs competition. The contest would start about 8 am, and so everyone had to be there at 7:30 to register, and so we had to set out about an hour and half before that to get to the expo site, Oakland University's campus, and the arithmetic works out sadly like that.

So we sleepily assembled in a college student union, with the pinball machines in one of the larger meeting areas and a balcony. We were placed in the ``C'' division, at some offense to our honor, although as things turned out that was probably just as well. The pairs competition was for each of four people to play three groups of tables --- one a modern dot-matrix-style machine; one a 1970s/80s-style solid state machine; one an older electromechanical pinball --- with scores given for individual and team positions, and for total scores.

We had the highest seed and picked Monster Bash, a familiar and gentle table. It was not gentle. bunny_hugger and I both lost to a kid who was there with his mother(?). I did particularly badly. Bad start to the day. We would get a bit better as we got a little less horribly early, but we were still a pretty weak combination, and I blame myself since I was way off my game.

We'd get to having some stronger games, particularly the 1976 Apollo-Soyuz-themed Space Mission --- on which not only did we both win, but which I managed to roll over the score twice, something I believe I've never done before (or since) --- but would come up short ultimately. Some of this was my fault. One table I picked was a machine that I'd never played before, but that was treating me nice in practice, and I didn't pick up the warning sign that one of the other team's players was able to describe the quirks not just of that machine, but of that specific table wich had just been restored to playable shape days before. Well, it's still a fun game. The Addams Family was also harsh and some instant drains on that ruined my legendary cool. Still, bunny_hugger finished off the last game of our last round of play with an extremely good Silverball Mania, one in which she got the glory of being able to plunge her last ball as she'd already beat all the other players. The other team let her go ahead and play out the ball, to see what high score she could get.

But we fell short by one point of beating the last group we played, and so we finished the pairs tournament without any victories. Rough morning. But we could go to lunch, and then there were some more tournaments to compete in.

Trivia: (Hessian) General Wilhelm von Knyphausen launched an abortive invasion from New York City into New Jersey on 7 June 1780, four days before receiving (British) General Henry Clinton's orders to be ready for a two-pronged surprise invasion of New Jersey. Source: The Uncertain Revolution: Washington and the Continental Army at Morristown, John T Cunningham.

Currently Reading: Hoboes, Bindlestiffs, Fruit Tramps, And The Harvesting Of The West, Mark Wyman.

Tags: pinball
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