The day after Easter bunny_hugger ran the March Hare Madness tournament. This is one of her quarterly pinball tournaments, and this is the one named for beloved lost rabbit Stephen, with the funds raised for it going to the rescue we got Stephen (and Penelope) from. The couple days before saw, as traditional, bunny_hugger feeling the stress that she didn't have time to make trophies as good as she wanted. Particularly a lovely hare statue she wanted to use for one of the trophies broke, and she was cursing herself out for days that she had dropped it and that a replacement was nowhere to be found. It was part of Michaels's Easter tchotchkes and there wasn't another to be had within sixty miles of Lansing; we checked with the store. We had to go to alternate statues that didn't match her vision.
Also she worried about the conditions of the tournament. It was to be an Amazing Race format. In this, everyone in the group plays a game. The lowest score of the group is eliminated. Everyone else moves on to the next game. It can be a fun format. It rewards people who just never play lousy. It does mean the person who's put up a lousy game --- and we all do it --- has to sit there watching everyone else, hoping they do even worse. Not for the first time we've thought that the right mascot for this format is a vulture. Also, more of the pinball games at the Lansing venue have become a dollar a play. That's fine enough for regular play. But the Amazing Race format means you don't have to play once you've beaten the elimination-threshold score. And for the sake of saving time people don't. If someone's put up a rotten score, then you might pay a dollar to play part of one ball of a game and then drain; that's less fun. Fortunately most of the games on the upper level of The Avenue are 50 cents, half the pain. And there were enough games there that it would be a tolerable ``racecourse'' by itself.
Then the week before March Hare Madness --- which, again, was happening the 2nd of April, but consider that so was the NCAA Men's basketball final game --- The Avenue blew up every plan we had. They were going to have a show Monday night. They never have a show Monday night; that's always karaoke night, when someone drifts up to the microphone about 10 pm to stumble through ``We Didn't Start The Fire'' and ``Piano Man''. We could have a fair, not-distracting, tournament through that. But a music show? ... The tournament would get started way before show doors opened, so players shouldn't have to pay the cover charge. But the stage pretty much faces the balcony level, where all the 50-cent games were.
Oh also it was going to be a punk band playing. Apparently one of local renown, based on the publicity, and one that hadn't performed for years and that the local punk music scene found exciting. But, you know, just in case there was hope that the show wouldn't obliterate all the sounds of a pinball tournament from the pinball players, there we go. We thought hard about whether to warn people that there was the show scheduled. If it would drive away players to know a punk show would start sometime during the night, they just had to know. Worse than knowing this distraction was coming would be not knowing the distraction was coming. We'd have to risk the hit to the turnout.
Trivia: France's King Louis XVI was a skilled watchmaker. Source: The Measure of All Things: The Seven-Year Odyssey That Transformed the World, Ken Alder.
Currently Reading: Timekeepers, Simon Garfield.
PS: Someone Else's Homework: Was It Hard? An Umbrella Search, thoughts about how to solve a problem.
PPS: Some fresh Bowcraft pictures.
Operator's station for the Crossbow roller coaster at Bowcraft Amusement Park. N.J. Dept of Community Affairs tag number 6150.
Low-angle view of the Tilt-a-Whirl.
The bookbags and backpacks of the many, many kids who descended upon the park, all set at the tables off by the Party Castle. The normal-sized parking lot is in the back there.