Sunday! Finally, after five days in a row of necessitated early rises we could ... not sleep in. Check-out time was 11 am. Had we known several months earlier that we'd be using JTV's employee-discount extra room, and that he was planning to reserve rooms through Tuesday, we wouldn't have. But, expecting we'd have to stay at normal mortal convention-room rates, we had booked the Red Roof Inn we usually use for Kennywood trips, for Sunday and Monday night. And booked with Hotwire or something so, no refunds. And we weren't going to pay an extra day's room, even at discount, just to sleep in Sunday morning. But we were going to stow our luggage with JTV, since he and his wife were keeping their room, and this way we didn't have to leave luggage in the car untended all day. We did figure, as long as we're getting up early anyway, why not go to the hotel breakfast? We rarely stay at a place with a proper breakfast service, rather than industrial-grade omelette patties under a heat lamp. And hey, already-paid-for food, just like we like. I feel more in touch with my coati side when I yoink a hardboiled egg from a bucket of them.
And we could enjoy the walk to the convention center, for a change. The pigeon strolling the sidewalk. The Weiner World that seems like a place my father has to know even though I'm not sure he's even been in Pittsburgh ever. The S W Randall Toyes-Miniatures-Giftes shop with a window display and a painted door fascinating enough to overcome our worries by the excess E's there. They were closed because, of course, it was a Sunday. This would spoil visiting most of the interesting-looking shops or restaurants, including an ``authentic Indian food specializing in Vegan and Curry Chicken'' but, considering, it was worth it.
So we didn't get to the actual convention center until just before 1 pm and, hey, fine with that. Gave us the time to take in little local quirks like the flock of bicyclists going down the street. Or people cosplaying inside the convention center, stuff like Deadpool giving the finger to Imperial Storm Troopers, or one of the Tusken Raiders playing Bad Cats. People dressed as Something Or Other From I Think One Of The Zelda Games Maybe playing a Dance Dance Revolution-class game.
And we poked around the video game consoles. bunny_hugger found a Nintendo playing the Little Nemo Dream Master, a game I guess I maybe had some faint idea existed. It's appealingly odd. It's still baffling that it was ever made. She also found an Atari with Adventure and did her best to show me how it was a game, but, I mean, who can tell what anything is on that?
Also we sat down because we had been going a long time, with a lot of days spent standing on concrete floors and waiting for stuff to happen. There was a concert going on, something apparently called the Super Thrash Brothers. The band was in costume in what I am informed by people I trust as villains from various video games I don't know. So, you know, great.
The last couple hours were about playing what was available and appealing. Or what might offer revenge. bunny_hugger took me and MWS to Atlantis, a late-solid-state game, the quest for a multiball on which sank everyone in one of her groups. MWS wanted time on Alien Star, which had sunk him in the C Division Finals. I did point out my personal most-hated-game, Frank Thomas's Big Hurt, but I didn't suggest playing it. I gathered from comments that the game was everybody's least-favorite game of Pinburgh. Even Frank Thomas doesn't like it.
We made sure to visit some special tables before the convention ended. By this I mean Class of 1812, since that's the one that has a multiball featuring the 1812 Overture as sung by a chicken. I was enjoying Welcome to Cactus Jack's --- a similarly ridiculous game also from Gottlieb and about the same time --- when the 5:00 hour came and passed and they just turned off the machines. Right in the middle of a great game, too. Really thought they'd give us a little warning.
We took the long, slow walk out of the exposition center. I checked that no, they didn't still have the various Anthrocon standees around, not even in the welcome center. We met up with some other pinball folks to go to the taco place across the street from the Westin Hotel. It's one of those places where you put in a detailed checklist order out of dozens of options. Good, solid stuff.
Then we returned to the hotel, meeting up with JTV and CVK, talking some about how the weekend went and slightly freezing to death as they (and MWS) like to keep their room at meat-locker temperatures. And we also worked out our plans for the next day. But we did have to relocate to the Red Roof Inn at some point, so we hugged and thanked them and got on our way.
We also discovered the parking garage just had its exit gate open. MWS found a security guy and said we wanted to pay for our four days' parking like honest people. The security guy said no, no, exit is free Sunday afternoons (maybe all Sunday). Even if you were there days. ... Well, all right, if that's the way the parking authority wants to play and they're sure about it. We sent JTK and CVK this tip, too, and they took their car out and back in to get a new parking-ticket entry date. Really seems like something's wrong there but the gate was open and the security guy presumably knows his business and what the parking authority intends.
MWS drove us to the Red Roof Inn, the one we always stay at for Kennywood visits and the one we stayed at last year with him and his roommate K. (K didn't come this year.) We had time, and the board game Betrayal at the House on the Hill and thought, well, if we use the narrow desk spaces efficiently maybe we could play a game here. So we could, and did. I remember ending up being the betrayer in the game (something you don't learn until partway through). My recollection is that while I didn't win, I was able to strategize well enough that I dragged out my inevitable loss. There's a point where this makes the endgame more suspenseful, and a point where it makes the endgame just tiring. I hope I stayed on the suspenseful side.
But I did manage to drag it out too long to play a second game. Not a desired goal, just something that happened. We accepted the hour, and packed the game up so we could sleep. No, we weren't going to get to sleep in on Monday.
Trivia: In 1504 the Fugger brothers guaranteed to supply 1,000,000 pounds of copper each year to the King of Portugal to be carried to the Indian Ocean; in exchange, they were to get preferential rights over purchasing and distributing the pepper returned. Source: Worldly Goods: A New History of the Renaissance, Lisa Jardine.
Currently Reading: Flash Gordon: The Lost Continent, Dan Barry. There is a special grade of high-level ridiculousness available only when they're putting on Hard SF airs. Here's the story where Flash figures out a kid is from Mars because he weighs about three times what he should for an Earth baby. And since Mars has about one-third Earth gravity, the baby likely comes from Mars, QED (and correctly too).
PS: Some more of what there is to look at in the dark at the Potter Park Zoo. Also bunny_hugger pointed out she had borrowed my iPod to take pictures so maybe some of those yesterday or today were hers. Not sure which.
The otter tank, at night. I think all the otters were asleep but wow isn't that a great weird collection of light and color and shape?
Santa and some reindeer above a conservation plaque. The zoo has some red pandas that I'm not sure I've ever seen not sleeping.
The, I think, rhino enclosure, empty for the sake of it being winter and all that.