In 2015 the Silver Balls tournament was the penultimate pinball match of the year. MJS held one New Year's Eve, which let him get into the state championship series just ahead of bunny_hugger. (She got in anyway when GRV ``happened'' to arrive late.) This year, with a little encouragement, MJS decided to hold it again. It would not decide whether bunny_hugger made it into the championships; she was too high-ranked for that. Nor whether MJS would; he was too low-ranked for that. But there was a lot of enthusiasm for a closing-out-the-year event like this.
It was a four-strikes tournament, and in a nice touch was in the location that would be used for the state championship series. So even if you were knocked out early you could still get in some needed practice on the tables. This may be why it was so well-attended, although some of the east-side folks didn't make it, fueling (incorrect) speculation that they were going to skip the finals. Over the course of the night one of my wins was against SMS, my first-round opponent, on Whirlwind, which is what gave me the bright idea to try taking her to that. (She beat me on it at the state championship contest. Still, it was worth trying.) I would end up having a surprisingly good night, considering my usual performance in tournaments like this, and tie for ninth place with SMS.
Among the entertainments I noticed, besides quite a bit of food, was playing on the TV a bunch of movies that got made into pinball machines. Demolition Man was the one that stood out, since it was recently added to two of our pinball leagues' venues, but they also showed ... uh ... now I forget which, but it was some tolerably-well-known 90s-license thing. I'm not sure if this was stuff on DVD or just what the satellite TV happened to have.
After midnight we all tromped outside a little, into the huge backyard with some actual snow on the ground and a line of small, decorated trees. There SMS set off a bunch of fireworks, a show not very large but right up close and against every instinct I ever learned growing up. But it was ringing in the new year well, and with a fantastic backdrop.
We stayed at a hotel in Kalamazoo, not because we were too tired to drive but because that seemed a little better than an avoidable 75-minute post-midnight New Year's Eve drive. It was at the Red Roof Inn we'd stayed in before, although this time we were next to a quite noisy room and the hotel Wi-Fi didn't work. This screwed up (a little) bunny_hugger's experience with a habit-reinforcing web site she's been using to cultivate good and break bad habits. Not that she wasn't keeping her habits up, but that she didn't get to log them for credit. Which may sound petty but if you are doing what you hope to, you should get that little virtual reward for it.
The previous year MJS had held a New Year's Day tournament too, but he didn't feel up to that much organization and management, for which nobody can blame him. (Plus he'd be opening his pole barn for the weekends for about a month ahead of the State Championship, and hosting the State Championship.) So the next morning all we had to do was drive home and try not to feel like the house was empty.
Trivia: The term ``buccaneer'' trades to ``boucaniers'', after the wooden rack --- the ``boucan'' --- used for drying meant from wild pig herds on the islands of Hispaniola and Tortuga. Source: To Rule The Waves: How the British Navy Shaped the Modern World, Arthur Herman.
Currently Reading: The Complete Peanuts, 1987-1988, Charles M Schulz. Editor Gary Groth.