With the boss taking forever to upgrade software on the wrong server the question of what to do Friday night kind of answered itself. I had thought about going to Great Adventure for the holiday lights display, but also felt wrong going to an amusement park without bunny_hugger. It didn't matter; even if I'd had the time, Great Adventure cancelled the night's show due to weather concerns. It was cold, yes --- almost as cold as back in Michigan --- and snow was forecast, but not until after midnight. And it wouldn't be much snow anyway. I'm not sure what they were worried about.
For Saturday I took the train up to New York City. I'd wanted to get to the Strand bookstore, particularly, and see what might be there. I got a little more Christmas shopping done. I also got to Kinokuniya bookstore where I bought a very non-book thing, a little planetarium nightlight thing. It just projects a fixed star pattern onto the ceiling, which makes going to bed a little more pleasant and which goes nicely with the glow-in-the-dark stars we have on the ceiling. Kinokuniya is just opposite Bryant Park, where they had once again set up a little shopping mall. The Turkish coffee place that bunny_hugger and I'd visited repeatedly wasn't there, or was relocated, and I didn't find any good earrings or other little bits of jewelry. I did find a place serving raclette sandwiches, made by scraping melted cheese onto buns, that were fantastic. Also very warm, which was great considering it was a slushy cold day and my boots were no longer watertight. I did watch the little carousel there but, again, felt like I shouldn't ride it without bunny_hugger.
In Manhattan there's the Superleague. It's a barcade that's on the verge of breaking the International Flipper Pinball Association ratings scheme. It does this by inviting basically everyone who ventures inside to play a game, making them part of the ``league'', and whose existence then contributes to major IFPA points for the serious players who actually participate in finals. I had thought about stopping in there and putting in some games. I wouldn't get anything out of it, since I wouldn't be there for finals and so could only get a tiny handful of IFPA points for participating. All I'd get would be to be, like, 1500th-rated in the state of New York. But it turns out they only take all comers for ``league'' games on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays. And, this year, the IFPA attempted to correct for Superleague irregularities --- basically that they couldn't be confident people who played even knew they were participating in a pinball ``league'' --- by disregarding every score by someone who played less than half the league ``meetings''. So I would have lost my meaningless points anyway.
So I went back ``home'', got some cards, and wrote out Christmas cards to friends. I hadn't had time to write them out before the trip and supposed nobody would be too offended if the cards were just signed by me. She wrote her cards out without me, too. I don't think we overlapped anybody.
Sunday I went off to the Book Garden, the used book store that's near enough Great Adventure and that I hadn't been to since August of last year. They'd rearranged the front section some, disorienting me. Also disorienting: the owner recognized me right away. I know it's good practice to remember your customers but, c'mon, I've been there one or two times a year for the past four years, and while I was more common before that I wasn't there all the time.
Back home bunny_hugger was going, alone, to Fremont for pinball league finals. I figured to parallel that by going to the Silverball Museum. That, also, felt peculiar without her, but probably no stranger than going to Blind Squirrel League finals without me felt. I started out on FunHouse for her, and put up some lousy games. I'd close the night out on FunHouse too, that time getting on the high score table.
And for want of any better ideas, I went to each of the electromechanical tables and put up a game on each. Ended up spending something like six hours there, which was pretty satisfying for all that. I got back to the hotel in time to share pinball day stories with bunny_hugger, though not in time to catch Columbo on MeTV. (There's an affiliate on the DirectTV the hotel has; the MeTV for Lansing doesn't appear on our satellite TV.)
Trivia: The first railway connections between Paris and the French Channel ports were developed by the London and Southampton Railway Company. Source: The Company: A Short History of a Revolutionary Idea, John Micklethwait, Adrian Wooldridge.