June 25th, 2014

krazy koati

My name is David, he don't care

Since bunny_hugger got into pinball we've been looking for amusement parks which have machines. Cedar Point has a bunch, obviously; Michigan's Adventure had the rumor of one that turned out to be untrue. Kennywood? We heard talk of there being old machines in its arcade. We hadn't thought about it. But if any of the parks we planned to visit would have pinball machines, surely Kennywood would be the one. On to find the arcade, then, which was next to Jackrabbit and across from a great 50s-style refreshment stand with neon signage.

Did they have pinball? No. They had a bunch of games, certainly, many modern ones and quite a few from the late 70s and 80s, including yet another arcade with the Popeye video game that's some kind of imitation of Donkey Kong that I can't play. I couldn't play this one either as it was out of order. But other games, like Pole Position, were there and functional and bunny_hugger played that well enough to get into the Top 100 Players of the Day or whatever their high score table exactly was. It reinforced my thinking that of the many video games out there I can't play any of them worth squat. Also apparently there was some kind of Die Hard video game for some reason? Asteroids I understand.

On a raised platform above the floor they had items from the past, because of course they do, and apparently Kennywood just never throws anything away. Among the stuff were some old carousel horses, what looks like a seat for a driving ride, some miscellaneous arcade-type ``test your love'' machines, some one-person movie projectors --- one title card promises the chance to see ``Whipping The Huns''; another, ``Johnny Comes Marching Home'' and yet another, ``Movie Queen'' --- and so on, in that vein. They have a similar display of miscellaneous old stuff in the pizza place at Lost Kennywood, that including the miniature circus wagons they used in the 30s to show off raccoons and rabbits and squirrels for public amusement because it was the 30s --- so even when it wasn't quite what we hoped for, it was still great, and Kennywood. They also had a sign giving the exchange rate between Fascination tickets and regular redemption game tickets, but as far as we know (and found) there's no Fascination parlor at Kennywood. But why keep the sign around if there's no parlor? Other than it's Kennywood and they apparently don't throw stuff away.

We took a ride on Racer, just beside it, the last of the wooden coasters we hadn't gotten to yet. We've been trying when we visit to get the reach-across-and-slap-hands thing that's current at Cedar Point's Gemini racing coasters to catch on at Kennywood, and this group seemed promising, but our car got too far ahead of the other for it to matter.

I mentioned the joys of finding touches of nature in the amusement park. Here's one of them: in the main lagoon were several mother ducks and their flocks of children. We tried counting them some, but it was hopeless; there were the ducklings belonging to several mothers puttering around and orbiting adult ducks in different combinations. At one point a mother duck brought two whole lines of ducklings in neat, uniformly spaced rows flanking her. I riffed this as ``The Kennywood 4th Duck Flotilla shall now reenact the Battle of Jutland.''

But it was getting toward mid-afternoon and despite the threat of rain several times over it never quite broke out into more than a few scattered droplets. It was warm enough, though, so we went to the Golden Nugget to get some of the square ice cream cones, dipped in chocolate and rolled in either nuts (my choice) or sprinkles (hers). I broke with my habit and ate the cherry first, saving it from the squirrels.

This brought us pretty near the Auto Race, a ride that was closed during the Rain Check Trip and that we didn't get to on the original Pennsylvania Parks Tour. It's a vintage ride, going back to the 1930s, though the cars have been refurbished. It's a long windy path of self-driving cars, but, they're great old-fashioned cars and given how often the ride was non-functional last year and persistent rumors that This Will Be Its Last Year (though why the money they spent on refurbishing the ride over the winter?) we couldn't resist. Possibly we should have: the ride had a long, fairly slow-moving line, rather like a Wild Mouse roller coaster does. While we were waiting, in fact, the ride stopped and everyone had to walk back to the station while the cars were dragged into the station and restarted. I believe it happened even a second time while we were waiting.

Now, it's a good ride, with wonderful old-style cars that fit one (1) adult. I gave steering it a try, a little, but determined that I couldn't turn the wheel, so I just sat back, in the back seat, and enjoyed the ride in a driverless car. bunny_hugger explained to me you can too turn the wheels, it's just very hard, and it's regarded as a mark of real ride expertise to be able to go the whole path without the car hitting the left or right bumpers. I can't imagine being strong or dextrous enough to manage that.

With that ridden, though, we went to one of our old friends, the Turtle. These tumble bugs used to be common and now there's only two of the adult model left, at Kennywood and at Conneaut Lake Park. With luck we'd be riding all the adult-size tumble bugs in existence between that Tuesday and that Thursday.

Trivia: The number of accountants or auditors in the United States grew by about 24 percent between 1930 and 1940. Office machine operators grew by 31 percent; typists and secretaries by 11 percent. Bookkeepers and cashiers shrank by two percent. Source: Before The Computer: IBM, NCR, Burroughs, and Remington Rand and the Industry They Created, 1865 - 1956, James W Cortada.

Currently Reading: A Stranger In Olondria, Sofia Samatar.