austin_dern (austin_dern) wrote,

Bowling or root beer or taking the train

Another thing that might have drained people from the Fear and Trembling tournament, besides the immediate shock of the election: there was another pinball tournament that weekend. This would be at MJS's pole barn, outside Kalamazoo, the spot of the famous Pinball At The Zoo afterparties and the New Year's Eve tournaments that made leaving 2015 and 2016 our choices for things. Maybe. I don't imagine people were really thinking they could go to one or the other. But it did mean that as we were licking our psychic wounds we could go somewhere with other people and to an event someone else was organizing, which we also needed. BIL, of the basement tournaments, was one of many people there and offering hugs to the (many) shocked people.

This tournament was a pinball bowling format. It's similar to pin golf. You had a score to reach, which if done in one ball would be scored a strike (30 points), two balls scored as a spare (20 points), three balls scored as I don't remember but it was worth 10 points, and if missed altogether some other arbitrary number of points, some randomly drawn number for each game. The top 14 went on to the finals. It wasn't exactly bowling scoring because nobody wanted to make it quite as complicated as scoring ten-pin bowling.

And for a wonder, in a tournament, it worked well for me! I had, I think, two strikes, which put me well ahead of some frankly better players. Possibly working against them: really good players instinctively play strategies that may build slowly but pay off big on the third ball. It's hard to think of going for the quick-and-dirty point grab. I qualified in fourth place. bunny_hugger finished in sixth place. Some really fine folks like MWS didn't make finals at all.

Then on to finals, a set of four-player matches, because current International Flipper Pinball Association rules don't give much credit for contests that have no player-versus-player matches. Each pod of four people played three games, with first place getting 35 points, second 20, third 10, and fourth 5 point. I lost the first match, and came in third on the second, and realized then the best that could possibly happen was I might tie for third. And then I went back, staring at the point spread again, because that seemed really out of place. No, that's how it happened. I would understand being knocked out after two last-place finishes, but it really seems like my fate should've been less set after a last and a third place finish.

Well, I got knocked out, and so fell from fourth-seeded to 12th place. I would tie with SMS, whom I'm scheduled to face in the first round of state finals next weekend. bunny_hugger also got knocked out, finishing in 11th place. Such happens.

Still, any excuse to get to the pole barn and that grand variety of electromechanical and solid-state games, not to mention games we'll need to do something on at the state championship, is a good one.

Trivia: Mercury was first solidified by Russian scientists A Brown and M V Lemonosov on the 26th of December, 1759, as they experimented with achieving much colder temperatures by mixing acids with salt and snow. Source: Nature's Building Blocks: An A-Z Guide To The Elements, John Emsley.

Currently Reading: The Disaster Artist: My Life Inside The Room, The Greatest Bad Movie Ever Made, Greg Sestero, Tom Bissell. Me poaching a Secret Santa present bunny_hugger got from someone on The Flophouse podcast's Facebook group.

PS: How January 2017 Treated My Mathematics Blog, when I accidentally went a month without actually writing it.

Tags: pinball

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