Our trip to Pinburgh, in Pittsburgh, held at Anthrocon's convention center, started with a drive to Flint. (Well, a suburb of Flint.) This is because MWS, like much of the Michigan competitive pinball community, was going, and it made good sense for us to carpool. We'd have carpooled with somebody last year, except that given the precarious state of Stephen's health we wanted to be able to drop everything and head for home in case our pet rabbit's health crashed. It had crashed while we were at Holiday World for a two-day stop in May and we had no reason to think it might not happen again, then. It wouldn't, it turns out, but we'd had to plan for what seemed likely.
This year, with a much younger and healthier rabbit, we had no serious qualms. So we would carpool with MWS, who was happy to do basically all the driving. And we would set off for the long, tiring car trip from Flint to ... Cincinnati. Which you might note is not on the way between any spot in Michigan and any spot in Pennsylvania. The thing is that Kings Island amusement park put in a new wooden roller coaster, and we all wanted to get to it. This doesn't make the Cincinnati-area park any more near a sensible path, yes. But MWS needed to care for his mother, struck with early-onset Alzheimer's syndrome. He had been able to arrange for her care for the week or so he'd be at Pinburgh. It was relatively easy to add a day or two to that trip. It'd be harder to arrange coverage for a separate trip that went to Cincinnati. So the logic of carpooling with him for Pinburgh also meant we scrapped loose plans to visit some other southern-Ohio-accessible parks on a trip just down there.
(His mother's since gotten worse, beyond his ability to care for at home. She's had to go into a specialized care center and that is shuffling around all sorts of things in MWS's life. And, gosh, it's not right things like this happen to great people like MWS and the person we just kind-of got to know in his mother.)
The driving wasn't exceptional, beyond being kind of long. It took us near enough Columbus that we probably could have diverted to show MWS where we always went for Morphicon/AnthrOhio without losing much time. Or stopped in for the Hothead Burritos that are otherwise an annual indulgence for us. Well, nothing big. We got to our hotel, one that he had booked through one of those Hotwire-style dealmaking places. It had a lobby that perfectly captured the look of ``suburban public library built in 1984'', albeit wallpapered with a replica of some telegraphic map of the world from the late 19th century. I never got a good enough chance to study it to say just when it was from.
After some internal debate we chose to do something with the evening. There was this family fun center near enough the hotel to give a try. They even promised to have pinball, and did: Roller Coaster Tycoon, a game I thought impossibly rare but that seems like it's turning up everywhere this year. We also signed up for an escape-room experience, which would be a complete novelty to us. While waiting for our appointment we took the chance to try out their miniature bowling alley, one like we'd seen at Cedar Point. MWS is an experienced bowler; bunny_hugger and I are not. The miniature game, with shorter alleys, a tiny ball, and pins that are hung on strings, turns out to be a good bit of fun and we all realized we were up for more of this.
But then we had an imaginary space station to get out of.
Trivia: In 1900 there were about thirty thousand telephones in France. There were twenty thousand in New York City's hotels. Source: Wings of Madness: Alberto Santos-Dumont and the Invention of Flight, Paul Hoffman.
Currently Reading: Voodoo Histories: The Role of the Conspiracy Theory in Shaping Modern History, David Aaronovitch.
PS: So last December, I had a work trip out east. On Saturday I made a quick trip up to Manhattan, looking for nice little surprises for bunny_hugger and along the way I popped in on Bryant Park.
Water fountain at Bryant Park carrying on despite the near-freezing weather that forced me to face just how many holes there were in my boots after all. At the corners there are waterfalls that have given over to ice, but there was still enough spray to make being around it feel considerably colder.
The tiny Bryant Park Carousel's peacock chariot, given a bit of attention. And, you know, the cat and some of the horses that are close enough to it. Also snow.
The rabbit of Bryant Park's tiny carousel. Also bits of snow and, apparently, evidence that someone thought the seat belt ridiculous too. (Hoo boy but carousel seat belts are ridiculous.)